Sunday, October 30, 2005

Stuck in a Moment


Have you ever faced this kind of moment – a moment filled with opportunity and yet you let it slip away? Have you ever known that you should have gone to the right but you went to the left? Has it ever been in your power to do good but you choose to do nothing? You didn’t choose to do evil, you just choose not to do nothing at all – not to get involved – you choose to be neutral, a non participant, to do nothing. As if you were stuck.

Have you ever stopped to reflect on how your life would be different if you choose to go to the right rather than the left? If you chose to get involved, to get your hands dirty, to risk failing in an attempt to do something meaningful?

Can you look back on your life and remember moments that would have changed your life forever had you made different choices? Some moments have a lifetime of momentum, others appear to be mundane but later prove to be monumental.

Every moment is priceless, unique, and unrepeatable. It’s kind of like taking a picture. You capture it and that’s it. You can never relive that moment. We have countless moments like that. And within the countless numbers that make up our lives, there are divine opportunities awaiting us.

There have been many defining moments in the life of human beings that changed their lives forever. These defining moments in time often set the course for the balance of their life.For Moses, it was the burning bush. For Peter, it was walking on water.For Shadrack, Mesach, & Abednego, it was walking through the burning furnace untouched. For Paul, it was being blinded as suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him and he was spoken to by Jesus on the Damascus Road. For Daniel, it was deliverance from the lion’s den. For Joshua, it was taking over from Moses and parting the Jordan River and crossing into the Promised Land.We could go on and on. Each of these people never had years of preparation leading up to their defining moment. Rather, these defining moments forced these servants to experience something beyond their human experience. It took them outside their own paradigm of life. God had to bring them outside their own box. And when He did, their lives were never the same.If you can capture one moment of your life, which one would be? What particular moment in the past? A moment of regret? How many of us haven’t spent many moments reflecting on moments lost, all the time unaware that Moments lost in regret are exactly that…Moments lost? If you could take a moment, seize it, and squeezed out of it all the life available within it, shouldn’t that moment be in the future rather than the past?

Moments are as numerous as stars. It the only moment that you must take responsibility for right now is the one in front of you. Today, as I reflect, my personal moment was stepping out and starting our faith community… and I can honestly say…it is really cool…

7 comments:

Scotty B said...

Good post,

Umm i dont really regret anything i have ever done in my life, whats the point? Then you jsut dwell on what you could have done or should have done, why waste other moments that are similar by regreting them and then being afraid to enter a similar situation.

As for defining moments, i dunno every moment is defining, whether its was my choice to drop out of university for a year and then begin the next year with a fresh look and appreciation for University, or to stop going to church at the age of 15 - 17 becuase i was bored, now i go to church, and i appreciate all the things that i was taught in my previous church and its traditions. So, if everything happens for a reason why regret anything that happens.

My defining moment in my life would have to have been my whole no christian life. Whys this, well, it seems that from my experience that most christians that have been christians for all their lives, are 1. Ways to shelthered, 2. Not as christian as they seem, and 3. Overchurched.
Now if i pissed some people off then good, cuz that was kinda the point. My un christian childhood taught me about life, whether we like it or not we all live in a secular world, and we probably always will, so we need to be prepared, and i am thankful i was brought up in secular way, becuase my view is broad. Christians that i have talked to are way to narrowminded, and they know nothing about anything that goes on in the secular world, only whats going on next sunday at church, and the board meeting on tuesday.

Now my mom was the christian but i favored my dads thinking, or idealology, and i am thankful for that too, it was a big moment because i was free too say what i wanted, it gave me the chance to form my own opinions, and not jsut those soley of the church and the pastor, which isnt what anyone should do, the Pastors job is to lead and give insight, not to run your life and your thought process. Sorry Gerry, but i think u might agree anyways.

Another defining moment would be my resocialization into a Christian school, this was defining because i found my faith there, with help from some people. Most of the people i talked to never really talked back becuase they knew nothing of what i spoke, i mean most christians at my Christian school hadnt ever heard of Metallica, or Ozzy Osbourne, talk about sheltered.

In conclusion of this mess, i would say that i guess i have defining moments, some are jsut bigger than others, but they all contribute to the bigger picture of life.

God Bless, Scotty B

Mark B. said...

Alright, Scotty B. I've got a few things to say about that comment. I think that I'll proceed by quoting something that you say and then commenting on it.
Scotty B. said: "Umm i dont really regret anything i have ever done in my life, whats the point? Then you just dwell on what you could have done or should have done, why waste other moments that are similar by regreting them and then being afraid to enter a similar situation."

From looking at this passage, one thing is clear: Scotty B. doesn't understand the semantics of 'regret'. He seems to think that 'regret' is a crippling mental state. According to Scotty B., if someone is having this mental state (i.e. they are regretting something), then they are unable to act appropriately in any situation similar to the one at which the regret is focused. This is not how the semantics for the term work. If this is not evident, I have a whole arsenal of examples that will illustrate this point. I'm happy to share them, but I will leave them out in an effort to be brief. (One quick idea: regret plays an important functional role in our learning process, most notably with respect to social integration.)

Scotty B. said: "As for defining moments, i dunno every moment is defining, whether its was my choice to drop out of university for a year and...[a number of examples are given]...So, if everything happens for a reason why regret anything that happens."

First with respect to the claim that every moment is defining; this claim is also false. Or, at least I don't think Scotty B. realizes what it means. If this claim was true, then each moment between 2:33 and 2:44 AM (supposing that Scotty B. is sleeping then) is a defining moment. Since we know that those unconscious moments are not defining, we can conclude that not every moment is defining. Now, with respect to the final sentence of the quoted passage; the claim that "everything happens for a reason" is, I think, false (unless of course, Scotty B. is using 'reason' to include causal facts, but I doubt that's the case). Suppose that everything did happen for a reason, why regret anything that happens? Answer: because some things may happen for bad reasons that you could have prevented had you only done things differently. Regretting these poor decisions is a way of reflecting on them and subsequently improving one's decision making processes.

Scotty B said: "it seems that from my experience that most christians that have been christians for all their lives, are 1. Ways to shelthered, 2. Not as christian as they seem, and 3. Overchurched.
Now if i pissed some people off then good, cuz that was kinda the point. My un christian childhood taught me about life, whether we like it or not we all live in a secular world, and we probably always will, so we need to be prepared, and i am thankful i was brought up in secular way, becuase my view is broad. Christians that i have talked to are way to narrowminded, and they know nothing about anything that goes on in the secular world, only whats going on next sunday at church, and the board meeting on tuesday." [Sorry for the long quote...really I am.]

I quote this whole passage to bring up one thing, but first an apology. Scotty B. I'm sorry. I'm sorry, because you didn't achieve your goal of pissing me off. The thing that I want to bring out about this passage is that Scotty B. says, of himself, that his view is broad. This seems to me to be a good thing. The problem is that he then goes on to say things like: "Christians that I have talked to are way to narrow minded, and they know nothing about anything that goes on in the secular world..." If Scotty B. has such a broad view, then why does he have such a narrow view of Christians? Or, perhaps more appropriately, why has he only talked to such naive Christians? One thing that I can assure Scotty B. is that there are a lot of Christians who are very closely in tune with what goes on in the 'secular' world. In all, I'm just puzzled about the seeming inconsistency in the claims that Scotty B. makes.

Scotty B. said: "...it gave me the chance to form my own opinions, and not jsut those soley of the church and the pastor, which isnt what anyone should do, the Pastors job is to lead and give insight, not to run your life and your thought process[es]." [This passage is about his childhood.]

It seems that Scotty B. is making an inference from the claims made in the last passage (i.e. about Christians being sheltered and the like) to a claim about the impermissibility of one forming one's own opinions while thoroughly entrenched in a church background. This is a bad inference. Here are two claims that are true: many Christians DON'T form their own opinions while being so entrenched within the church. However, many non-Christians also don't form their own opinions. The second claim, if true, should defeat the evidence that Scotty B. had for thinking that the church was the CAUSE of many Christians not forming their own opinions. There are many Christians who have formed their own opinions, even though they grew up heavily entrenched in the church. (I, of course, have many examples if the need really calls.)

I don't think that I will quote anymore. I want to make a general point though. Scotty B. wrote a post that seems to involve a number of claims. If what I have said is accurate, then it turns out that a number of the claims are in fact inconsistent. Given that avoiding inconsistency should always be the first priority, it looks like we have some fixing to do if any of the ideas in Scotty B.s post are to be preserved. This, however, is not a job that I am interested in taking. If someone else wants to try, then I welcome them. If someone tries, and it becomes apparent that there is something to salvage, then I'll more than happily aid in the reconstruction of the idea, but until then, I'll wait.

Scotty B said...

im not quite sure really how everything i said is inconsistent, yes i talked about a wide range of things that came to my head at the time, so maybe some thoughs are shuffled, but can you really tell me how i think is Wrong? Since when did you get the authority to tell me i am wrong, since when can you judge what ive said, pick it apart and tell me flat out i am wrong, i mean you dont even know me (i didnt wanna say that, sounds to movie) but its true.

How can you tell me that what ive seen in my life is wrong, am i blind, have i been taught such i way when i see a car i think its a bicycle, Im sorry that you thought i really wanted to piss you off, cuz i didnt, it was jsut a comment, i had no intention of pissing people of as a "Goal" but merely to see if anyone agreed. Actually it seems to me that you are one of these types of people, becuase the whole post you defended yourself, and then tried to make up excuses to bash what i had to say. ITS OPINIONS, deal with them, but you really cant say i am wrong.

As for inconsistency, i dont really know what you mean, so please elaborate, ill admit i was all across the bored, but i was jsut answering a question in Gerrys post, about defining moments, and who knows maybe because im sleeping at 244 am, and am not awake, im missing something horrible that could have happened to me, so that would be a defininf moment, becuase i didnt die, or get badly hurt or w/e and it could be that everything happens for a reason, because i didnt have these things happen to me, i cna now go do something else, whether its good or bad.

As for the opinions about them being formed in church or by the church, i have many examples to counter your examples, i really dont see why you are going after me like this, if i dont agree with you is one thing, but saying you have many examples and assuming i have none is rediculous, i am not writing things on here without eveidence, but this isnt a trial, its just a broad statement.

"This is a bad inference. Here are two claims that are true: many Christians DON'T form their own opinions while being so entrenched within the church. However, many non-Christians also don't form their own opinions. The second claim, if true, should defeat the evidence that Scotty B. had for thinking that the church was the CAUSE of many Christians not forming their own opinions. There are many Christians who have formed their own opinions, even though they grew up heavily entrenched in the church."
----> not really understanding this, how do you know this, becuase of what youve seen, well i said it becuase of what ive seen, and i dont see how i defeat myself here, unless you put and take words out of what i said and change them into what you want them to say.

Anyways, dont have much time for this anymore, but i mean if your gonna pick what i say apart, at least next time dont judge me and assume everything, if i am inconsistent why not help instead of hinder, isnt that what a christian is supposed to do, your not setting a very good example for a young christian trying to make sense of it all by attacking them about how they think, telling them they are wrong, and judging and assuming that i know nothing a everything thing i say is wrong and inconsistent, my friend, im going to tell you that you are WRONG!!, now how do you like that one.

Have a nice day

Scott

Mark B. said...

I think that a response with titled headings is most appropriate for clarities sake.

(1) Wrongness and Inconsistency. Scott, I did not say: "everything you said was inconsistent," instead, what I claimed was merely that a number of the claims that you did make were inconsistent. (To say that two claims are inconsistent is to say that there is no possible way that they can both be true.) The example I talk about is where you say that your view is broad and you then make some very narrow generalizations about Christians. Those claims are inconsistent, the claim that your view is broad is not consistent with the narrow claims about Christians.

Scott, you ask me when I got the authority to tell you that you were wrong? I find this really puzzling. I think I could understand the question if you are using 'wrong' in a moral sense, but I'm certainly not doing that. What I'm claiming, as I just pointed out is that your claims (notice that your claims are not you) are inconsistent (and hence false) and because of this they should be rejected. (After all, we certainly don't want to believe (at the same time) two claims that can't both be true (at the same time).) The other way that I said some of your claims wrong (by which I mean false) is that there aren't good arguments for them. Now, at the end of my post, I said that there might be ways to salvage some of them, but I'm waiting to see how the salvaging goes (I'm waiting mostly because I don't know how it works). If I have arguments for why certain claims are false, I certainly don't need to have any sort of authority given to me in order to present them. So, I don't see why you think that I do.

(2) Opinions. You say that what you wrote were just opinions. That is simply false. In the original comment, you (Scott) reported a number of observations about the world. I didn't criticize any of these observations. You did something further though, namely, you inferred, from these observations that the world is a certain way. Or, in other words, you made some substantive claims about the way that the world is. These are the claims that I objected to. I would not object to a claim of the form: "it seems to me that..." but I will object to a claim of the form "it is the case that..." That is what I did. So, my objections were not simply to 'mere' opinions.

(3) In Jest. When I apologized in my first comment, it was intended to be in jest. The reason for this was that I found it funny that you would say something on this blog with the point of pissing people off. That's what you said you were trying to do in the first comment anyways. Now in the second comment you say that you never intended to actually piss people off.

(4) Types of People. You say that you think I'm one of these types of people and that I defended myself the whole comment and then made up excuses to bash you. First, I don't know where I 'defended' myself in the comment. It seems that I'd only defend myself is there was something that needed defending. Maybe you are confusing the giving of arguments with 'defending'. If that's the case, then I have nothing to say. If you are confusing 'qualifying' with 'defending' then maybe I can say something. I understand how qualifying a claim can look like I am being defensive, but all that I am doing when I'm qualifying a claim is making it the case such that people don't misrepresent my view.

(5) Evidence and Counterexamples. I never made the claim that there was no evidence for the things that you were claiming. If there is evidence however, then I urge you to give it in support of your claim. I also never said that you didn't have counterexamples to my claims, but if you do have them, then please share because by doing so, we can have a potentially beneficial conversation where we come up with some good arguments for some substantive claim.

(6) Defeaters and Understanding. This point is supposed to be with respect to what you say you don't understand. To be frank, I've already taught one class on Epistemology today and I don't want to type what I taught in here (you should just come to my class). But two quick points: (i) if I assumed anything in my comments, I am quite sure that I didn't assume anything controversial and (ii) you suggest that I'm playing a trick by taking your words and turning them into what I want them to say. I am not playing a trick, if I am then someone should be able to point out where I manipulated your words in such a way that what I say you said is not actually what you did say.

(7) Hindrance and Attack. First, let me reiterate what I said above, I'm not attacking you I'm criticizing the claims that you made. Those claims are not the same as you. You make this suggestion that I am doing something that is harmful, you suggest that I am hindering you in some way instead of helping. Two things in response: (i) I'm not that much older than you, so in terms of 'youngness' you don't win by much and (ii) one way of helping is to show someone what is wrong with the claims that they are making. Given that you have posted a number of times and in a fairly bold manner in fact (bold, as opposed to timid...and for the record, I think that writing boldly is better than writing timidly). Given that most people who write in this manner are quite able to face criticism, it is cogent to infer that you also would be able to face criticism. Was I wrong?


A Methodological Point. I made a similar point in a comment in another thread, but I'll make it again here. I see these comment threads as a way to comment on Gerry's posts and as a way to comment on each other's posts. 'Comment' here does not only mean 'share opinions' (although I think that, that is completely appropriate too), 'comment' also means 'evaluate'. One thing that we need to strive to do here is to make our thoughts as clear as possible. If that means not posting whatever comes to mind, then so be it. That said, I think that comments play an important interactive role in the blogosphere.

SoulPastor said...

mark b
Great post! I love your closing lines on the 'methodological point.'
To all who post...remember that you are being invited to respond and all responses are valid... however... one must remember that this is a static medium and one needs to be as "clear as possible" when posting. The essence of this blog is to engage others in discussion, thoughts and interaction because I already have my own thoughts on the topics of which I post. I love to read the thoughts of others, I love to be challenged in my thinking and opinions and I love to read when readers force each other to clarify their thoughts.

I went to a blog entitled “emergentno” and was truly disappointed when I was told (by a friend) that they removed my post! Why? No reason, all I can surmise is that I disagreed with them and they did not like it (Must have to do with that freedom of speech thing that the states talk about ). Anyway…please feel free to disagree with me or each other, but also articulate and clarify your posts. Let’s all have fun now, you hear?

Mark B. said...

I'm all about the fun!

One quick point though. Gerry says: "To all who post...remember that you are being invited to respond and all responses are valid..." The point that I want to make is with respect to the word 'valid'.

One of my pet peeves is misuse or misunderstanding of this word. I'm not sure whether Gerry is doing either of those things here (I don't think he is) but let's just make it explicit. 'Valid' does not mean 'true', 'valid' does not been 'of equal argumentative strength', 'valid' does not mean 'appropriate'; there are a number of other things that 'valid' might be thought to mean, but these are the main candidates. The way that Gerry seems to be using the term is to mean something like 'worthy of consideration'. Let's make sure that we continue to understand it as something like that.

(By the way, this post isn't just an instance of me being pedantic, but rather it is me trying to meet the challange that Gerry just set out; namely, of being clear. Also, this use of 'valid' is not the same as the technical philosophical use. If I ever say 'valid' and am using the term in the philosohical sense, then I'll specify. For the record, 'valid' used philosophically is a property of arguments. To say that an argument is valid is to say that the premises bear a particular relation to the conclusion; that is, if the premises are true, then there is no possible way that the conclusion is false.)

SoulPastor said...

OK!
Clarification issue here.
Posts worthy of consideration.
I wil "amen" that one!
:)