*we put the "mmm" in communism


This is the personal blog of Tim. Here, Tim writes on anything he has enough inspiration to finish a post on. That usually ends up being matters of science, pop culture, technology, religion, and philosophy.

This blog is around nine years old, which is over a third of Tim's current age. Back in 2003, it was called "Of Tim: Tim's life - or lack thereof", and it was as bad as you might expect the blog of a freshman in high school to be. Tim hopes that his writing is a little better, these days.

Tim welcomes any input that you, the dear reader, might have. Comments are very much appreciated, especially if you have a dissenting opinion. If you'd like to learn more about Tim, you might want to see his facebook or google+.

Also: Tim is a very avid consumer of various sorts of music. You may be interested in his playlists!

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I have, of late, felt driven to make some sort of decision about Christianity. I dislike standing on middle ground when people try to place where I am. When someone pegs me as a Christian, I feel cornered by stereotypes and misunderstandings, trapped with a group that I find less and less in common with. When another pegs me as an unbeliever, I feel undefined and vague, lacking in virtue and values, like a philosophizing windbag that thinks about deep things without coming to conclusions that positively change his life.

I know that whatever my choice is, I'll never be rid of it all (and not just because I have a phoenix plastered to my chest). My parents, and my parents' parents have forever been steeped in very core of America's Christian culture. My whole way of thinking, my worldview, and my language have risen straight from that - a fact which I do not resent or regret, but that I cannot avoid due to its prominence, even if it sits only in the background of my life. I don't mind this, because I can see that it gives me a set of experiences and a perspective that if I did not have, I would not understand a thing about, an ability which few looking from the outside in are very good at. It's given me a drive to ask hard questions and seek hard answers - but it's precisely there that I think the faith of my fathers does not satisfy.

I'm tired of trying to fit Christianity's answers to the problems that the world presents. While an impressive many of those answers work and are fruitful, too many, for my tastes, do not. If I am to be expected to disbelieve my senses and to trust in an ancient dogma, I would demand answers that do not falter in the face of scrutiny. Primarily, the problem of God's character is what troubles me.

I have rather high expectations of God - and while God is in no way bound by those expectations, if he expects me to recognize him for who he is and to honor him for that, then his character should be far more evident than I have yet found it to be, as the Bible presents it.

I see little consistency between the Old Testament and the New. I have heard dozens of scholars attempt to explain how the God of Abraham saw fit to enact genocide plural times or of his complete lack of forgiveness for deviance within his people, when the God of Paul claims to be so overwhelmingly full of love for his creations. I simply cannot reconcile the two: one is entirely similar to the gods of ancient Greece, or China, or Arabia: wholly vain, perhaps even whimsical and capricious in his judgment upon the world, while the other is suddenly willing to engage in a living relationship with people beyond an arbitrarily selected group of nomads. Yet, even this God is not willing to forget Hell, a place of judgment for those not lucky enough to be born of God-fearing parents, or (and this doctrine truly riles me) those pre-destined to know their Creator.

There is no justice or mercy in either God of the Bible. I am willing to admit that humanity is plagued by sin, and that we are in need of salvation from that sin - no one need look far to confirm that. Yet the fact remains that God is responsible, yes, responsible for his creation. I do not deny responsibility for my own actions, yet I cannot, in good conscience, worship a God that claims to be just and merciful, yet would knowingly craft billions (billions!) of people only to condemn them to Hell. It is folly to say that every person has had their chance at redemption - ill cultures raise ill families, and ill families raise ill children; sociology has taught us that much, at least, and it would be ignorant to claim that every person has had proper exposure. One lecturer at L'Abri put it roughly like this:

The Bible is not in every language. Even for those, not every person can read. Even for those, not all of them have access. Even for those, not all of them have a church to go to. Even for those, not all of them have a good church to go to. The simple reality is that most people will never hear the message of salvation.

For the longest time, I have refused to separate the many great Christians I've met from Christianity. Yet perhaps, like others that I have met, they were simply great people, that just so happened to be Christians. They would most certainly deny this notion, but I have yet to see anything truly miraculous in another person's life, or my own. The change (so often attributed to God) I see looks quite human. Perhaps faith was the key to unlocking that change, but to claim that true change can only come through Jesus is to ignore the many examples that speak to the contrary throughout the world.

Even still, however, I recognize many of the truths that Christianity speaks towards. The men that wrote the Bible were geniuses - the wisdom therein is timeless and wonderful, but this does not mean it is ultimate truth, the final truth, the only truth. The Bible carries a powerful story, and is itself an astounding piece of literature - but for now, I do not believe it is more than that.

If God wishes me to be a Christian, then he'd best speak up. I would love nothing more than to be proven wrong: to have some form of definite answer about the nature of the world around me would be a wonderful gift. To have a Creator I could recognize and share with and to love, would be even greater. Yet God has made no such attempt. If my experience is all I have to go on, I could conclude just as easily that he hates me rather than loves me, but of course this conclusion would merely change based on how well my day was going.

Until then, I've stopped wearing that good old coconut bead necklace. I'm not sure what to replace it with, though.
posted by MC Froehlich at with 4 Comments
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Watching the political tides has been intensely painful, these past weeks, not just because I'm a supporter of Obama, but because I simply cannot fathom what brings my former brethren to rally under such a wicked woman as Palin. Alone, McCain was cute - he was the best the republicans had to offer, and yet he was still strictly inferior to Obama in every regard. Here we are, with a man of unfathomable proportions, that for once inspires the people to be more and do more with the record to prove it, and he is being forsaken for a woman of blatant hypocrisy and corruption, the very traits that have pushed so many away from politics in these past few decades. Her nomination, some have said, restarted the culture wars, and will lead to an increasingly bitter and divided America if she is allowed to take such a high profile place.

As one writer from the Guardian put it:

If Sarah Palin defies the conventional wisdom that says elections are determined by the top of the ticket, and somehow wins this for McCain, what will be the reaction? Yes, blue-state America will go into mourning once again, feeling estranged in its own country. A generation of young Americans - who back Obama in big numbers - will turn cynical, concluding that politics doesn't work after all. And, most depressing, many African-Americans will decide that if even Barack Obama - with all his conspicuous gifts - could not win, then no black man can ever be elected president.

Palin represents to me all that is ill about neoconservatism, that if you want a WASP America, if you want an America that caters to the privileged, an America that fears change and scorns its responsibility to the rest of the world, if you want an America that has no room for dissent, you must vote for her. Oh, and John McCain, too, though he's just an accessory, at this point.

I would pray that America doesn't go down this path, but I don't believe God's listening.


ABC interviews Palin.
more, and some really juicy more.
posted by MC Froehlich at with 4 Comments
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In an attempt to teach myself how to immerse myself in a book again, I've been re-reading Lord of the Rings, and as I've progressed through it, I've had a growing desire to make my speech and writing more beautiful. The first aspect of my words that comes to mind is my cursing.

Thus far I've felt that cursing is merely a fashion of words that polite society drowns upon. Not being much a fan of catering to the easily offended, I've taken pride in my choice to utilize the entire English language as I see fit. That logic continues to appeal to me quite a lot, but when I consider it in the context of beauty, it's immediately apparent how harsh cursing is in comparison to the rest of our language. Even the most jaded ears can spot the difference it makes upon one's message.

I don't buy the argument that swearing is uncreative or lazy. The strength of a word such as fuck doesn't come from its power to offend or its ability to displace other, more proper words. Its strength, as I see it, lies solely in the fact that it's unbeautiful in its motive and in its result. The unbeauty of its sound and structure seems totally contextual, in regards to the surrounding culture or situation, and is irrelevant in a discussion that seeks timeless, absolute answers.

Considering it in this manner seems more in sync with our speech as a whole. To curse another's name, is (in this age, anyways), to speak unbeautiful words about another. To be cursed, is to be unbeautiful, and whether that unbeauty is seen or unseen, is irrelevant. The relationship between polite society and cursing, then, becomes more logical; polite society has long thrived on its desire for beauty, to surround itself with beautiful people, beautiful things, beautiful words. Yet, the wise will see the skin-deep nature of this beauty, and thus the absence of something like cursing doesn't make their illusion of beauty any more real.

Simply, I don't know what to do with my favorite four-letter words. In many cases, my speech feels wholly neutered or too aloof when I abstain from it, but I often myself being too cavalier about its use. Indeed, I make a point about cursing on this blog so as to set myself apart from my past associations, and I do the same in conversation. Among Christians, I tend to enjoy being seen as a non-Christian: not in an uncouth manner, but I enjoy playing devil's advocate, and I especially delight in challenging the common assumption in Christian groups that everyone here is of like mind and heart. In non-Christian settings, I prefer to make my mark elsewhere, as I find no moral high ground in declining to swear.

I suppose it might seem obvious that if I wish to make my speech more beautiful, and cursing is by nature unbeautiful, that I would abandon it; but a large portion of me regrets the though of parting from it, and I don't really know why.
posted by MC Froehlich at with 3 Comments
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I appreciate all the inquiries about the laptop deal - I didn't lose my job, thankfully. I was reprimanded, but the woman who picked the laptop was found, and I (think) it made its way back to its owner.
posted by MC Froehlich at with 0 Comments