Sunday, September 28, 2014

That Evil Pocket Watch!

Seventeenth century Europe, time of progress - the pocket watch evolved. One can only speculate the discussions concerning this technology. Did some want the latest and greatest while others, who were more modest, maybe never embraced this mechanism? Did some decry this technology? Did some say it would change the face of history for ever? Did the contemporary “luddites” opposed this latest technology?

One could say that clocks and watches hurt culture and human nature - arguing that the reliance on them made us less inclined to look up at the natural signs for time. Social interaction became more stiff, people had to keep a tighter schedules. Life became less organic - did this offend others?

Other technology

Now let’s let our mind wander, what about the telegraph, the train, the short wave radio, the phone and the radio? What about recordings, both visual and audio? Did those cause much upheaval in society as well? Even paper, books, hammers and spoons are technology. Anything that extends our human capabilities could be considered technology.

The modern technology

For example, in the critical cross hairs of some resides the cell phone, ebooks, social networking and the internet. However, there is a double standard and lack of knowledge. They are against certain types of technology but not others. Even though I’m no luddite, I do understand the risks, just as there is in any novel technology, there are real concerns that do need to be addressed. However, many are arguments are just silly.

Is Technology Wrong?

The one sentence answer is no, technology is not wrong! It’s the person who uses it who makes it right or wrong. Some, who are of maybe the religious luddite bent, have spoken out against technology. While some argument may have some merit, some sound quite silly.

Satan owns the internet.

I don’t think this is true, like any technology there can be great good but also great evil - it’s the people who use it who do the right or wrong.

Texting is wrong because it brings instant gratification...and we should “wait on the Lord.”

Two things here, talking to another person also brings instant gratification - anything does. I’m not sure why this makes texting bad and not other things. Oh, in case you were unsure, “wait on the Lord” is taken out of context and does not really fit in this situation. It's from Psalms and is talking about when the evil ones come against the psalmist.

It is better to call someone on the phone then text them.

I am left wondering, what’s the difference? Both are technology. It is like saying that the telegraph is better the the telephone. This just does not make sense. Both have their uses and places - it may depend on the type and length of conversation - but one is not better or worse then the other.

There’s no reason to have Facebook.

I can think of many reasons. However, I understand that some may not really want it, that is fine, but that does not mean there are no good reasons. Let me name a few. First you can be an encouragement to others. Two, you can show others the gospel and evangelize. Three, you can connect with friends and family who have moved away. I’m sure there is more that one could give. Yes, some people do spend too much time on it and get self absorbed, but that is any issue of selfishness and lack of self control - not the technology itself.

Technology like texting and social networking decreases ones interpersonal interaction skills.

While this may be true, from my perspective and experience I have not seen it to be so. Even if someone is on his or her phone texting, they would rather speak to you-to-your face. If you go up to a total stranger who is on his or her phone and say something, they will look up and enjoy the conversation. So, yes, there could be an issue, but from my experience it’s not. Spelling accuracy is lost with texting.

Many are concerned with one letter words and all lower case text. They claim that this is not having one's life in order. While I understand and agree that’s not how we are to write a professional papers or essays, it's the language of texting. In fact, we can’t hammer texter’s that much, even in our natural language we use acronyms and shortcuts for words. Think of the word car (for carriage), bldg (for building) and DNA (for deoxyribonucleic acid). In addition, ancient Hebrew and Greek also used acronyms and even used only one case of text. In fact we use verbal shortcuts when speaking that wouldn't be correct in an essay format. However, we understand each other because that’s how our language works. Yes, people may try to bring this type of attitude over to professional writing, but just like the rest of education, training is the key.

A cell phone will prevent people to come to Christ.

The argument goes like this, when one has a cell phone, one can fill the emptiness of being without Christ. Now I’m not sure if I should laugh or cry here, yes it is true that one can run from God, but one using a lawn mower could also fill one's life and cause one to ignore the call for salvation. Also, I'm not sure why a cell phone would be a greater block then other types of technology.

We need to “deny self” and follow Christ.

I’m at a loss here. Yes, like anything, if it becomes our focus and takes all our time, then yes we should deny self. Also, we need to follow Christ. However, I'm not sure why this is an argument against technology.

With the advent of new technology we will see the loss of books, newspapers and magazines.

While this may bring us discomfort, I'm not sure what this has to do with spirituality. It may cause concern to the printing industry, but from a biblical perspective it is void. Second, both ink and paper and digital text are types of technology. It is like saying a ball point pen should not be used because we will see the decline of quill pens. This is not wrong. In addition, I do think, as we have seen, that paper products will be in decline, however, I really can't see them being totally removed from our lives.

Technology conclusion

Because of my background, technology is an interesting subject for me. That's why I'm disappointed when those, who don't know what they're talking about concerning history and technology proper, push arbitrary thoughts on others. Technology is all around us, stuff that these people depend on day-in and day-out include technology. What they seem to miss is the fact that the technology is not the issue, rather  we need to train people for its proper uses and wise implementation. In addition, we need to remember, technology is not the thing that's good or bad, it's the people who can use it for good or for evil.

You will not want to miss the next posts. If you found this one helpful, you will want to keep an eye open for others. The best way is to click here, because you can get them straight to your inbox so you don’t miss out! (Click here.)

Your thoughts Do you have some thoughts about technology? Can you think of some good arguments where we should be concerned with the use of novel technology? Enter your thoughts below.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

To Build the Spiritual Immune System

Ebola, that deadly virus is rocking parts of the globe. Other diseases throughout history have done the same. There are three main approaches to many diseases, isolation to prevent exposure, succumb to the disease and hope for survival, and with some diseases, inoculate beforehand for greater resistance. We can learn from these approaches and apply the concepts to our faith and lives.


Jesus knew the world needed to know the good news of the kingdom. He knew that the harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few (1). So he sent out 70 of his disciples to preach throughout the surrounding cities. However, he did not send them empty handed, he taught his disciples about his kingdom and they had saw him interact with others and heard his message. They then went out and emulated that example and his teachings (2).

The act of sending out his disciples seemed to have a three fold reason: 1) so others could hear of salvation and his Kingdom, 2) to prepare the way for his preaching and 3) so the disciples would have hands on experiences sharing the Gospel to prepare for future experiences.

This builds a backdrop for many things we can learn. However, in this post, I want to focus on one aspect, the third main reason for sending out the disciples - to prepare them for future experiences.

Time of Questions

I have some questions. How do we learn? What are some powerful steps for deception prevention? In what way can we prepare for and be protected from the philosophical ugly heads that keep raising against our faith? How do we prepare ourselves, young disciples of Christ and our children from evil attacks on the Christian mind?

Lesson from Biology - Isolation vs. Inoculation

Lets answer this by considering our immune system. We can do two things to prevent ourselves from contagious disease 1) isolation from that infection or 2) inoculate the body to be prepared to defend itself.

Isolation is sometimes the essential and only mode to be protected from disease. One separates oneself from the communicable diseases - such as Ebola. However, with isolation comes a down fall, one has no immunity. In the world of ideas, many isolated young people, rebel in their independence. Their views were never challenged in age appropriate situations and settings, so they never were able to build a solid foundation. They had very little experience, foundation and growth. If we isolate ourselves we lose reality and the ability to learn and affect others.

Acquiring the infection is only worse. It would be crazy to go into battle without proper weapons and training. They have had now experience,  and walk into the midst of fire. Most succumb to the disease.

However, while isolation and infection are inadequate, inoculation of one's system build resistance and immunity is of great value. Allow controlled and structured experiences for immunity and growth is the answer Jesus used to prepare his disciples for future evangelism, push-back and persecution.

Using these elementary principles of immunology, let's apply this to our own lives. As humans, we are not usually isolated, nor necessarily should be from each other. Being a Christian does not change this interaction. In fact followers of Christ are supposed to be ambassadors of the Kingdom, being "light" and "salt" effecting those around us (3). But it is a dangerous place out there, so what do we do?

Three Main Steps

I can think of three main steps that will help one build "resistance" and prevent from getting sidelined or discouragement.
  1. Construct a firm foundation for life. In a previous post titled "Wrong!" (Click Here) I detailed out how to protect and shelter the young. However, at this time, one needs to be building a healthy and the spiritual "immune system". At our disposal we have tools and weapons - such as the Holy Writ, prayer, the power of God to use our God given wisdom and the philosophy of Christ which builds knowledge and reason to prep for reality. As goes the adage "more sweat in training, less blood in battle."
  2. Be real a real follower of Christ. Outlined in a post titled "Christian Narcissism" (Click Here), I describe how we are called to do Christ's commands and shun hypocrisy. We need to love God with our whole being and love our fellow man. Without this foundation, all or efforts are void. How can we be valuable to prevent deception and how can we help the spiritually immature and the sick if we ourselves aren't prepared?
    1. Three main steps of inoculation. As with any preparation or training there are three main steps to proficiency and mastery. This last step brings everything together. First we need to train to gain in understanding and knowledge. Second is the time of testing and examination, which is where we are put on the spot in difficult situations to give us experience and help drive us to learn more. Third is a debriefing, appraisal or analysis where assessment takes place. We look at our experiences and find our weakness and return back to the training phase. Anyone who takes time to think and learn automatically does these three main steps. However, having them spelled out helps us focus to excellence. This process is also called discipleship. Without this, our spiritual "immune systems" will be weak. 
    As we train ourselves and others we must keep this in mind, prepare them for the real world by solid and clear training, let tests present themselves in a controlled manner and then let questions assessment check ones status.  The last step is essential to clear the confusion and indulges in more training. If our desire is to help others, we ourselves must have a strong "spiritual immune system".

    What's your thoughts, please post below: 

    What experiences do you have in this area? What are some things that you could prepare for? Who in your life do you think you can "inoculate" and how are you going to do it?

    (1) Matthew 9:37
    (2) He sent them out at least twice, at on time he sent out the 12, at another time he sent out the 70. Matthew 10, Luke 9, Luke 10 and Mark 6.
    (3) 1 Corinthians  5:10

    Image source: UK Ministry of Defence

    Thursday, September 11, 2014

    The Bible's View on Who is Our Brother and Sister

    If you read no farther, I want you to read this: A brother or sister of Christ is a brother or sister to me. I hope it is this way for you as well. I do understand that there are specifications for being a brother or sister in Christ, however, my assertion does not negate that. Our foundation is Christ and those he trained to follow after him. It is my desire that their words that were written will take precedence over my culture, denomination or even my own desires.

    It seems that many Christians hold to views that aren't even Christian, the views I am going to talk about seem to be on the opposing ends of the spectrum.
    Who Is My Brother?Words, Actions and Enjoyments of Some Professing ChristiansChristian UnityWho is a Christian?


    One view is exclusivism, those who hold to this view feel their denomination, congregation or group is the only group following the Bible, they are the only Christians – they only call each other brother and sister. In fact, if one leaves their gatherings, they are excommunicated and are no longer called a brother or sister. Unfortunately, the Bible does not teach this, but teaches against it (1, 2). Does this make you feel uncomfortable? Who do you want to follow – Christ or a group?


    Just as detrimental is another type, they tip the scale to the other side – they are inclusivists. Anyone who practices any religion, and are faithful to that faith, will have hope of salvation through Christ, even if they do not follow him. If one is a good Muslim, Jew or you name it, also has salvation. No matter how good ones feels about this view, this is not what Jesus and those he trained taught for salvation (1).
    Christian NarcissismThat Lonely Silly Man, Please, Don't Act Like a ChristianCasual or Carnal?


    Others are pluralists, they believe all religions are truth and all lead to God and heaven. Strangely, not all can be true, because each say contrary things. One may say that Jesus is God and another that Jesus is not God. Both can't be true. This view is illogical and not biblical (1). This is perfect post-modern ideology – it makes people feel good.

    Did I Offend You?

    I understand that I may be offending many. In fact, denying any of these views leads to questions and concerns. I understand, however, if you are a follower of Christ, you must follow what he and those he trained said on this issue. The particulars can be worked out later. Many of those questions have been answered in previous posts. Specifications for being a follower of Christ have been given.

    Who is a Christian?Emulating The CarpenterBig Thoughts on Christianity

    Positive Going Forward

    Fortunately there are those who do not believe in hard exclusivism, illogical pluralism, nor in un-biblical incluvisivm. But they are following Christ, they feel he is the only way to heaven. In addition they recognize other followers of Christ and treat them as brothers and sisters – even if they are not of the same group.

    (1) John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. John 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him. John 1:12-13 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. Acts 16:31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

    (2) Titus 3:15 All that are with me salute thee. Greet them that love us in the faith. Grace be with you all. Amen. Matthew 12:50 For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother. Romans 15:7: Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God. Philippians 4:21 Salute every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren which are with me greet you. III John 1:9-11, one named Diotrephes forbid others, and would not himself, receive the brothers. And then in Galatians 2:11-13, Paul withstood Peter to the face because he separated himself from the gentiles, because they were not circumcised.

    Image source: Patrick McDonald

    Wednesday, September 3, 2014


    Covering the design company IDEO's product design process, the host of the documentary called “IDEO Deep Dive” said something to the effect of “everything besides nature was designed.”

    The Gear

    Consider the lowly gear – classically an iconic element to indicate human technological progress and design. We all have seen them - mundane right? Actually no. Gears aren't interesting because of their boring shape, but rather because of the design criteria needed for proper function. Nor are they arbitrary or haphazardly designed and fabricated. Teeth and gear spacing, proper alignment and material type, and optimal size and shape are all essential.

    As ancient as almost any other human technology and as human of a design as they come, I think we would be stunned if nature contained a beautiful geared system. One is technology, the other is biology. Gears are very mechanical and systematic, seemingly very different than the organic nature of life.  I want to changeable this notion.

    The Nymph

    An unremarkable English insect took the biological world by surprise some time ago, the Issus nymph (1). Interlocking gears studs the trocantera this insects hind-legs (above image hosted by

    Synchronizing the jumping legs, these gears coordinate the action of simultaneous movement in both legs (first image below, hosted by The design is essential for this little creature so its jump is synchronized. Moving at high rates of speed through the air, the insect would spiral out of control without this arrangement (second image below from

    Best Explanation 

    As you study these beautiful images, reconsider what the host of that documentary expressed. Now tell me, what's your gut reaction, do these gears look designed or do the demonstrate mindless origins? I'm not asking what you think, but rather your first reaction? If you are like most, you have to agree, they appear designed.

    A method that many use to answer historical science questions is to observe the present to understand the past events. While not every historical event may be deduced this way, many concepts can be elucidated. Every new design from our experience has been agent designed. I can' think of an exception. So why wouldn't we expect agent causation in the design in nature? Isn't the most reasonable explanation for the design in nature a mind?

    It seems that biology has an habit of surprising us, why? We are stunned with the design we find in nature. Many times technology and biology overlap in design. We infer design in technology, is it not logical to infer design in biology as well? The design in nature seems to jive well well with our presuppositions of design, not chance and random like process. Intuitively we can detect design.
    In addition, designs in nature seem to be optimally designed for the function intended. In fact, the designs are so good that we, in our quest for technology, copy biological designs in a field of study called biomimicry. We look in awe at biological artifacts and let them inspire us for tools we make. Technology, while amazing, is clumsily and klutzy in comparison to biology. Brilliant minds spend hours, days and years on designs that are far inferior to what we find in nature.

    Elegance At Its Best

    Again, let me ask you, from your intuition and from experience, can't you infer design? Your gut reaction is awe at the beauty of the gear design, you don't automatically infer randomness in mechanical like structures like this, do you? The only source of new design, from our experience, is intelligence. In fact, we can even learn from optimal designs in nature, including this gear. We are able to copy these structures, even though they are more elegant than our own mindful designs. From our intelligently designed technology, we come short. Biology has very advanced designs, while it seems illogical to infer origins from mindless process, it's not only natural but also logical to infer design on biological structures - even this gear.

    (1) Burrows and Sutton. "Interacting Gears Synchronize Propulsive Leg Movements in a Jumping Insect"

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