Does God have a Dark Side?

In the previous post, I argued that we ought to allow the incarnate and crucified Christ to redefine God for us rather than assume we know God ahead of time and then attempt to superimpose this understanding of God onto Christ. When we do this, I’ve argued, we arrive at the understanding that the essence of God— viz. what makes God God—is his unsurpassable, self-sacrificial, love. With Kreeft, I submit that all other attributes of God should be understood as expressions of this love, perceived and/or experienced from different angles.
As we also noted in the previous post, this conception of God is foolish and scandalous to many. And this, I believe, is why the scandal of the cross has often been minimized in the church’s theological tradition by being blended with pre-understandings of what God is like. ... The crucified Christ was thus embraced as revealing God’s loving and merciful side, but the portraits of God (say) sending the flood, commanding the extermination of the Canaanites or destroying Sodom and Gomorrah were said to reveal God’s “wrathful” side. As a result, we’ve often been given a rather schizophrenic portrait of God: Jesus is loving, but the Father is terrifying.
Against this composite portrait of God, I have argued that the revelation of Jesus on the cross should be understood as culminating and superseding all previous revelations. All previous revelations should be interpreted through the cross rather than placed alongside the cross. This means that we should never envision a non-Christlike, “dark” aspect of God lurking behind the revelation of God on the cross, such as Luther did. The self-sacrificial love of God revealed on the cross rather defines God down to his very essence.

... excerpted from a post by Pastor Greg Boyd. Suggest you read the whole post here.

The Rocket Man

Growing up in the 1950s and 60s I was fascinated by America's space program. One name that seemed to regularly surface was Wernher von Braun. Here is an excerpt from Wikipedia:
Wernher Magnus Maximilian, Freiherr von Braun (March 23, 1912 – June 16, 1977) was a German rocket engineer and space architect. He was one of the leading figures in the development of rocket technology in Germany during World War II and, subsequently, in the United States. He is credited as being the "Father of Rocket Science". ... According to one NASA source, he is "without doubt, the greatest rocket scientist in history". His crowning achievement was to lead the development of the Saturn V booster rocket that helped land the first men on the Moon in July 1969. In 1975 he received the National Medal of Science.
I love how a man who worked against us in World War II came to America and helped us go to the moon. I worked on missiles when I was in the Army and was so impressed with the folks who imagined, designed and built them. Sad that NASA's budget has been cut so much. Maybe the moon is the limit? Or maybe we will dream of Space again?

Fonzi Scheme

Seems like every time that I turn the TV on I catch Fonzi or the guy from Law and Order doing commercials for Reverse Mortgages. So I thought that I might share a few thoughts on the topic from a post by Laura Agadoni:
  • What It Is: A reverse mortgage takes the equity in the home once someone owns it or almost owns it and converts that equity back to cash given to the homeowner in various ways. The homeowner can choose to receive monthly payments, get money through an equity line that she can tap whenever she needs to, receive a one-time lump sum payment or some type of combination.
  • Rip Offs: The FDIC warns that it’s not uncommon to enter rip-off territory with a reverse mortgage and that some unscrupulous companies charge the borrower for unnecessary services.
  • High Costs: Lenders like to do reverse mortgages because the upfront costs are high, making the loans profitable in the short term. All mortgages involve closing costs, which are various fees and expenses above the cost of the property, such as deed filing and title searches. However, these costs are significantly higher with a reverse mortgage compared to closing costs of a traditional mortgage.
  • When Not To Use: The FDIC does not advise people to take out a reverse mortgage if they plan to leave the home in less than five years. It’s not the answer to cover small monthly expenses, either. The fees associated with the reverse mortgage process, which could be thousands of dollars, are too high to justify unless you plan to stay in your home for years to come, and you need the money to live on
  • No Home Left: Your mom or dad has to pay mortgage insurance with a reverse mortgage. This is to protect the lender in case the value of the home should drop during the course of the reverse mortgage or if the reverse mortgage is held for such a long time that the interest exceeds the home’s value. Of course, if that happens, that is bad news for any heirs, as well, because there will be no or little house left to inherit.
I recommend that you check out more of what Laura writes about Reverse Mortgages here.

About Time | ★★★★★★★★☆☆

I had not heard of this movie when Netflix recommended it to me. I am so glad that they did. The plot revolves around the idea of being able to go back in your personal timeline and make changes to the things that you did. The writers do a great job of blending time travel into a movie that really has little to do with going back in time.

The movie is first and foremost one about love and romance. The romance between the leads (played by Domhnall Gleeson and Rachel McAdams) is central to the plot but the relationship between a father and son is so endearing. And the love of a brother for his sister is also a strong theme. Overall I really like this movie, found the story to be creative, the characters to be endearing and the acting genuine.

I recommend it to you and, on a scale of ten, give it ★★★★★★★★☆☆.

Catch my other mini-reviews by selecting the Movies link in the menu bar above.

Tragedy, Mediocrity and Praise

A bit of mid-week wisdom from noted author W. Somerset Maugham ...

“The great tragedy of life is not that men perish, but that they cease to love.”

“People ask you for criticism, but they only want praise.”

“You can do anything in this world if you are prepared to take the consequences.”

“There's always one who loves and one who lets himself be loved.”

“The secret to life is meaningless unless you discover it yourself.”

“The only important thing in a book is the meaning that it has for you.”

“I always find it more difficult to say the things I mean than the things I don't.”

“There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.”

“To acquire the habit of reading is to construct for yourself a refuge from almost all the miseries of life.”

“When you choose your friends, don't be short-changed by choosing personality over character.”

“Unfortunately sometimes one can't do what one thinks is right without making someone else unhappy.”

Why did the religious chicken cross the road?

He was unconditionally elected to cross that road.

The Devil made him do it.

God said it, I believe it, that settles it!

All things happen for a reason.

God brought him to it. He will bring him through it.

No one but God can know!

... feel free to add your answer to the question in the comments. ツ

Tuesday with Greasy Pancakes

Shrove Tuesday is the day before Lent begins when people historically have eaten pancakes to use up their perishable food like eggs and milk before the Lenten fast. It comes from the word shrive, which means to "confess" - as in confessing one's sins.

Another name for the day is Mardi Gras which is French for Fat Tuesday. This refers to the practice of the last night of eating richer, fatty foods before the ritual fasting of the Lenten season. However (or if) you celebrate it, I hope it is a good one where you are!

Why did the chicken cross the road?

Albert Einstein: The chicken did not cross the road. The road passed beneath the chicken.

Isaac Newton: Chickens at rest tend to stay at rest. Chickens in motion tend to cross roads.

Marie Curie: Good question. And one that is much less hazardous to one’s health.

John David Jackson: You’ll find out after you complete this 37-page calculation.

Archimedes: I was running through the streets yelling and screaming, and it was only afterward that I realized I was carrying a chicken.

Blaise Pascal: The chicken felt pressure on this side of the road. However, when it arrived on the other side it still felt the same pressure.

Stephen Hawking: Chicken fluctuations will inevitably create a scenario where a chicken ends up on the other side of the yellow line, in which case there is a nonzero probability that it will escape to the other side.

Carl Sagan: There are billions and billions of such chickens, crossing roads just like this one, all across the universe. [Apologies for perpetuating the misquote.]

Robert Oppenheimer: Although it was deemed appropriate at the time, people will forever question whether it was correct for the chicken to cross the road.

... find more answers from the Harvard Physics Department.