Bike Rides and Crusades

Tim here.  I’ve been thinking about a few more things I wanted to share since my last blog post, although many of them aren’t nearly as deep or serious as those.

First of all – related to that post – I just wanted to point out that I really dislike phrases like “look at what religion has done” or “what science tries to do”.  Science and religion do nothing in and of themselves, and to speak as though they do creates what I consider to be an illusion.  It’s individuals who do everything, and to de-personify a thought or action as being done or thought of by science or religion takes away an important aspect of it; namely, that it is a personal thing.  While I understand that most people are just trying to shorten the phrases “religious people” or “scientific people” (each of which are also semi-useless terms, since most individuals have both scientific and religious sides) I feel like this makes it too easy to dismiss the individuality of a belief.  Individuals believe, individuals act.  Besides, lumping all scientific or religious people into their respective, general terms is meaningless since both fields have such variety and conflict within them.  Ok, rant complete (for now).

On another note, I’ve been watching an anime series called Fullmetal Alchemist over the last few weeks, on Netflix.  It’s actually quite a good show, since there’s a storyline besides “I’m gonna fight this guy, then I’m gonna fight that guy, then I’m gonna fight this guy, then I’m gonna fight….”.  There’s one character in the story, an investigator in the military’s special forces, who’s the father of a young child named Alicia.  Every time he talks to somebody he goes on a rant about how wonderful and perfect she is and shows pictures of her, which nobody ever wants to hear or see.  To be honest, it kind of reminded me of myself with Eden, and made me feel a bit embarrassed about times in the past when somebody (at work, for example) has mentioned Eden and I’ve gone to my facebook page to show off all the pictures of her…..  but, she IS cute (for example, see below)!

 

She's so proud of the fact that she can sit up on her own!

 

I had a conversation recently with a coworker about how not everybody needs to live the same life as everyone else to be happy.  It made me think about another former post, in which I talked about how silly I now feel I was – before having Eden – to have wanted to live a few more years without kids, just to enjoy my time with Kathryn.  I realized after having that conversation how much of a dingbat I might have sounded like in that post, trying to impose the changes in my life onto others.  I didn’t mean it to sound that way, but it’s hard sometimes not to believe that everyone else ought to do the same things you’ve done to become happy in order for them to become happy.  Sometimes it’s true that the best thing for me is not the best for you, so if you want to stay single for years and years go for it.  But I still stand by my main theme in that post, which was that we need to be cautious of getting stuck in one place and riding it out all the way to the grave, just because we’re relatively content.

In other news, I’m sure you’re all aware of that fact that I’m on the waitlist for Dal med now.  At first this was quite a bummer to find out, but my outlook has really changed since that day (March 7).  I guess getting on the waitlist has given me assurance that I CAN do this; after all, the waitlist consists entirely of people they are willing to take in, right?  We just didn’t quite make the top 30.  So, even though it means more waiting, and potentially not getting in this year, I actually feel more patient than I have for the last 2 months, and quite satisfied with the knowledge that I will make it sooner or later.  I have yet to hear back from MUN anyway, so there may be good news just around the corner anyway.

I went for my first bike ride today, down to the Irving to get some rolls and back.  It was a beautiful day, so I decided to save a bit of gas and get a bit of exercise.  This was a learning experience: I learned that I am in pathetic shape.  The total distance, there and back, was about 1.3 km, on a slight grade (uphill on the way home!!) and it just about killed me.  On the way home I could feel the burn in my thighs and I was practically hyperventilating… it was horrible, not so much physically but emotionally.  This winter has been one of the least physically active periods of my life, and the evidence was strong in that bike ride today.  I’m glad spring is here so I have no more excuses avoid running around!

Lastly, back to the religion/science thing.  Even if “religious” people did things in the past, or claimed to have done them in the name of God, it’s a moot point.  I don’t claim to be religious, I try to model my choices and actions after Jesus in the way that he approached problems and treated others.  I think this is what he asked of all of us, and if anyone in the past was truly following him he wouldn’t have had any part in the crusades, or the bombing of middle eastern countries, or even in the utter assimilation of other cultures in the name of Christian missions.  Jesus is the guy who, having been given the choice to defend himself against accusations of heresy and blasphemy, choice to silently allow his conviction to proceed (to execution) for the sake of people who hated him.  As it says in Romans 5:8:

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

And by sinners he just means people who were not living for – or even trying to live for – God.  It’s pretty crazy when you think about it, that somebody would die for somebody who hated him.  I don’t know about you, but when someone insults me or hurts my feelings I find it hard not to resent them, much less want to give up my time or effort on their behalf.  So, plainly and simply, anyone who claims to follow Jesus (i.e. be a Christian) and does intentional harm to another is a liar, and their actions or beliefs are irrelevant when it comes to a discussion on Christianity or its effects.

Well, it seems no matter how hard I try to make a light-hearted post it always comes back to these kind of issues.  At least you got to hear about a cartoon and a bike ride in the middle, right?  Haha… please leave a comment if any of these thoughts resonate with you (or are dissonant with yours).  We know from our blog stats that hundreds of people view these posts, so would it hurt to leave a comment?  Of course not!  Join in the discussion, motivate us to keep writing 🙂

Also, check out http://www.jeanofmarc.com to read about my friends’ recent experience in Japan, closer to the western coast of the country but still affected by the earthquake in some ways.  Plus, they’re good writers.

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3 thoughts on “Bike Rides and Crusades

  1. Tim., I have nothing to add cause you say it all so well, My friend!!!!!!

    As to Eden being ‘cute’, I kinda disagree. She is just absolutely gorgeous!!!!!!!! She’s getting sweeter as she gets older!!!!

  2. I find your posts rather interesting as I am in the middle of a personal quest concerning “science” “religion” and “spirituality”. I do agree on some points. Especially how we try to categorize all people into a specific category, as opposed to looking at the individual and their actions, thoughts or lack there of.
    I do in a way pity ( bad choice of word but I can’t seem to come up with a better one right now) those that have never grown up with any religious upbringing. During those moments when I truly have no idea what I believe, at least I can say I have seen a bit of both sides without being biased.
    “organized religion” does at times make me uncomfortable. The idea of people leading us and guiding us just doesn’t sit well with me. All humans, even religious leaders, have faults, biases, and sometimes motives. I prefer to find my own way and seek out guidance from people I feel are worth listening to. That and the fact that many times the people in a congregation are the people to judge you the most because “you should know better” or they want to feel like they are the “better” Christians.
    If you ever care to continue this conversation it would definitely intrigue me as most people can’t appreciate the inner turmoil I feel about this subject; trust me I have lots to say!

    • Hey Steph, thanks for sharing your thoughts (and sorry for taking so long to respond).

      I think a good church uses a model of leadership that’s more similar to mentorship/discipleship than authoritarian leadership. I believe this kind of model recognizes both the need for direction/guidance and the individuality of belief. Ideally your mentor would be a person you feel is worth listening to!

      It’s really unfortunate that there’s so much judgement that goes on within Christian (and, I assume, all religious) circles, particularly since Christians are commanded to leave judgement for God. On the other hand, I think there are times in the lives of believers and non-believers across the spectrum when friends and people who love us need to step in and say, “this needs to stop”, or “don’t you see the consequences your actions are having on the people around you?” Reminders like that can help us get back on the right foot at times, and can totally be done in a genuinely loving manner. Also, I’ve seen plenty of judgement passed between non-Christians all the time… perhaps it’s human nature.

      Anyway, I have lots to discuss on these subjects as well, although I’m kind of reaching the end of this particular phase (sometimes I’m content to go for weeks or months without overthinking things, and then I get in a flurry of research and turmoil, and then it tapers off again). Feel free to comment on any posts you see on the blog, I’m always happy to get feedback and opinions!

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