Thursday, September 29, 2011

God

God!  A simple three letter word that means so much and is used in so many different ways.  To some it is just a word used when swearing.  To others it is a general word used to describe all forms of deities.  To some it is the name of a non-existent mythical being.  And to others of us it is a title we use for our heavenly Father, the creator of the universe.

I believe that God is real and that he has a purpose for his creation and for me.  Can I prove that to you?  No I can't, although I can demonstrate that belief in God is reasonable, more so than any of the alternatives.  While I cannot prove to you that God exists, I am convinced in my own mind that he does and that belief is an integral part of who I am and how I live my life here.

I believe that everyone has an opinion, or belief, concerning God.  Those beliefs range from active disbelief (militant atheism), through indifference (more passive atheism and agnosticism), to passive belief (folks for whom that belief makes no practical difference) and on to active belief.  Active belief is where ones belief in God makes a practical difference in their everyday life.  I am different specifically because of what I believe about him.

I believe, among other things:
  • that God exists
  • that he is the creator of all that is in this universe, including the laws that regulate it
  • that he has a purpose for his creation
  • that the creation bears faithful testimony to its creator and that it is knowable
  • that he does not micro manage his creation, allowing it to function according to the physical laws he put into place
  • that he knows me and has a future for me
  • that he wants me to know him in a personal way
  • that he is not overly interested in me being healthy, wealthy or wise in this life time, but rather is using the events of this life to prepare me for a future life
  • that he is not like me in any appreciable way and the terms I can use to describe him are totally inadequate and often misleading
  • that he is not obligated to me in any way, but has provided me a way to be a part of what he is doing

And because I believe the above I:
  • actively seek to know him better, spending time with him
  • try to live, not to gratify today's desires, for in preparation for the future he has for me
  • live in awe of his creative power and what he has put together, our universe
  • am convicted of the need to share the good news with others who live without it

What do you believe about God?  And what difference does it make in your daily life?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Loving the Lord your God with all your mind.


Jesus, quoting from Deuteronomy, tells us to 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind' (Matthew 22:37).  Loving with our hearts and souls seems straightforward enough.  But what about loving him with your mind?  How is one supposed to go about that?  The mind seems like it is more for thinking than for loving.

Consider this; I love my wife, and there is a very emotional aspect to that (heart and soul).  But when I try and understand who she is, attempting to get to know her better and consider how to please her, am I not also loving her with my mind?  I believe that is the case, and loving God with my mind is similar.  Which do you suppose God is more pleased with:  blindly accepting what we are told about him; or investing time and effort in trying to discover and understand who he is and what he is doing in the world?  Which of those choices more clearly demonstrates a love for God (consider your spouses response if this was about them).

Monday, September 19, 2011

Retired

Today is kind of a bittersweet day.   After 31 plus years at Keyport I will not be getting up and going to work any more.  I had actually retired from government service a bit more than 3 years ago and returned to the same place to experience the life of a contractor.  I enjoyed the chance to be a computer programmer again, but last week I experienced the big downside of being a contractor.  The budget was tight and the workforce needed to be trimmed, resulting in 3 of us being laid off, effective today for me.  Walking away from the job had been in the back of my mind for some time, but I had not yet reached the point of pulling the trigger.  Now that it has been done for me I can  go ahead and begin to enjoy 'retired life'.

So what does the future hold for me?  That's a good question and one that I do not have a complete answer for.  For sure it will open up more time to hike and enjoy the creation.  I expect to spend considerable amounts of time on the PCT next year.  I had already been planning on finishing out the 300 miles of Oregon.  Now I may push on into California for a bit.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Do you have God in a box?

Seems like a pretty silly question, doesn't it?  How could you possibly find a box big enough to put God into?  But in a very real sense most of us attempt it from time to time, if not most of the time.  Think about what it means to box in something: it is the process of putting limits around that thing.  We do it with our children, hopefully allowing the box to get bigger and bigger until they finally bust out of it.  With our children the box is defined by the limits we impose on them, and what we think they are capable of.  As they grow and mature the box should expand to accommodate that growth.

But what about with God?  When I was a child I had a very simple set of beliefs concerning God: he lived in heaven and was watching over me; if I was good and believed in Jesus I would go to heaven when I died; in heaven I would get a harp, wings and a halo and would float around on a cloud and look down on the people who were still here.  But as I grew and matured my understanding of who God is also changed; the box got bigger, or at least it should have.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Great PCT Hike of 2011

The Pacific Crest Trail runs from the Mexican border to just inside Canada, approximately 2,650 miles.  Lot's of people hike parts of this trail each year and about 200 or so actually make it the full length in a single year.  To do that most people start mid-April at the Mexican border and hike north toward Canada, finishing up around mid-September.  I have dreamed about hiking this trail for a lot of years and finally started on it last year with the northern most section, getting in the first 75 miles.

I had planned on hiking the next 200 miles to the south of that section this year, starting at Highway 20 and hiking down to I-90.  But the snow this year in the North Cascades finally scared me off so I shifted my sights to Oregon.  The snow looked much more manageable down there, although I did not know as much about the trail.  I choose to start at the Columbia River and head south to Highway 242, about 160 miles away.  This trip was expected to take about 8 days with the option of heading on down another 30 miles if I still had it in me.