Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Being worth dating

A couple of posts back, I talked about how most Christian date/don't date articles always focus on finding rather than being somebody worth dating. Well, I just wanted to give credit where credit is due. I finished reading How to Get a Date Worth Keeping today and Cloud had a whole chaper on being somebody worth dating. There's some good stuff in this book, but for the most part, I was unimpressed.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Competing dating philosophies

I apologize to you who aren't interested in all this relationship stuff. It's not usually like me to write about this kind of thing. I'm certainly no expert. But I'm reading this book, you see, and it makes me think of stuff.

This book advances a philosophy about dating that is completely opposite of mine. Now when I was in middle school/high school, I remember having this revelation that everybody was taking the whole boyfriend/girlfriend thing too seriously. It was a big revelation to me that maybe people ought to have these relationships merely for the fun of it. Then when you break up, there's no hard feelings.

As I got older, I began to change my mind. Now up until today, I have a different philosophy about dating. This is the way I look at it. Whenever two people start dating, one of two things are going to happen. Either it's going to come to an end at some point, or they're going to end up married. Very rarely do two people date each other for the rest of their lives. It makes absolutely no sense to date somebody if you know it's going to come to an end. First, you're just wasting each other's time. You could be moving on and possibly meeting somebody else you could marry some day. Second, somebody could get hurt that way. If you keep seeing the same person knowing you're never going to marry them, one or both of you are going to end up hurt. The longer you're together, the worse it's going to be.

So my current philosophy is that you should only date somebody if it's possible you could marry them some day. And dating is, in part, for the purpose of exploring that possibility.

But Dr. Henry Cloud disagrees with me. He has a whole chapter called "Dating is not about Marriage." Here's how he looks at it. He thinks that even if you date somebody you know you're never going to marry, there is still some advantage. The advantage is that you learn something about yourself and about other people. He thinks you should date just for the fun of it and for the learning experience. It teaches you people skills, it gives you practice, and it helps you figure out what kind of things you really like and don't like in other people, and it allows you to have a good time.

In some of his anecdotes, he's dialoguing with somebody who has as different philosophy. His method of debunking their philosophy is always the same. He asks them, "How is that working for you?" or "How long has it been since you've had a date?" And the poor ole bloke confesses that they haven't had any luck.

But is that a good argument? I haven't even tried Cloud's method, but I am enclined to think his method will work. But just because it works, does that make it right? The problem I see with Cloud's view is that he basically advocates using people. I think it's unfair to them.

There are some practical advantages to Cloud's method, too. I've always thought dating was paradoxical. On the one hand, you're supposed to have fun, but on the other hand, it's like going to a job interview. How can you have fun in a situation like that? Cloud's method avoids that paradox. Since dating isn't about marriage, there's no pressure. You're free to have a good time and be yourself. Forget about hurting anybody of course!

Monday, February 20, 2006

Dating books and stuff

A friend of mine has been raving about this book called How to Get a Date Worth Keeping. I have never reading one of these Christian date/don't-date books, but I'm going to read this one. The reason I don't read them is because every time I hear about one of them, I immediately disagree with what I hear. So I'm just skeptical of the whole genre.

But that's not why I bring it up. I have read a lot of articles on Christian dating/not-dating. There's one thing that just about all of them have in common, and I suspect this book does, too. The focus is the same in all of them. The focus is on you finding somebody worth having. The focus is never on you being somebody worth having.

Think about that for a minute. Not everybody is worth having, are they? Of course not. So what if everybody read the same book? Well, then you'd have a bunch of people not worth having reading the book. And they'd be out looking for people who are worth having. But if everybody is reading the book and following its advice, then those people who are not worth having are never going to find anybody. They'll be weeded out.

That brings me to something written on the cover of this book. It says, "Be Dating in Six Months or Your Money Back." The author, Henry Cloud, must be counting on the fact that not everybody is going to read this book. If everybody read and followed this book, then it would be impossible for everybody to be dating in six months. In fact, it would guarantee that a whole lot of people would never be dating at all.

I'm not bragging or anything, but I want to be honest about something. Usually when I read stuff like this--like what kind of person you would be looking for, and how to weed out the losers--I always look at myself. I always want to know if I'm worth keeping or if I'm the sort of person others ought to weed out.

Suppose we discover that we are not worth keeping. And let's be honest. No need to say, "Oh don't say that about yourself!" Let's be honest and admit that a lot of us are not worth keeping. If that weren't true, then we wouldn't need to weed anybody out, because everybody would be worth keeping. So some of us are not worth keeping. What should we do? Should we try to get people to keep us anyway? Should we even be reading books about How to Get a Date Worth Keeping?

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Do unitarian universalists really thrive on differences?

I was reading the web page for the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Tyler tonight and it said, "We're not like other churches in Tyler," and then gave a list of how they are different. One of the distinguishing characteristics was this:
We respect differences:
in fact, we thrive on them: whether its a belief in one God, many Gods, no Gods, God within us all, "the Force," or “the Sacred.” It is our diversity of opinions and beliefs, and our acceptance of our differences that make us a Fellowship of equals.
UU's often distinguish themselves from ordinary Christians in this manner. Whereas Christians are narrow and intolerant, UU's are supposedly open and accepting.

In reality, though, UU's and Christians are both accepting of diversity within limits. The only difference between them is in where those boundaries are. For example, in my church, you're free to say Jesus will return before, during, or after the tribulation, but people won't like it if you start saying Jesus is not God. At the UU Fellowship of Tyler, you're free to say there's a God or there isn't a God, but trying telling people Jesus is the only way to salvation and see how accepting they are of differences.

UU's are masters of euphemism. They use it to the point of misrepresenting themselves.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

How is God limited?

People are often disturbed by the notion that God is limited by anything. By saying God is all knowing or all powerful, they take it that God must know absolutely everything and he must be able to do absolutely anything. Otherwise, he isn't all knowing or all powerful.

This all powerful one comes up all the time, but I never hear the all knowing one come up that much. For the all powerful attribute, people conjure up scenarios of God creating a rock too heavy for him to lift and things like that. In response, we'll clarify that being all knowing means God can do all things logically possible. But then the other person might get bent out of shape about God being limited by logic.

But why don't people say the same sorts of things about God's knowledge? Instead of asking if God can create a rock too heavy for him to lift, why not ask something similar in regard to God's knowledge? For example, Does God know the earth is flat? If you say no, well then there's one thing God doesn't know. But then we would respond, "But being all knowing only means that God knows everything that's true." In a situation like that, a person might well be just as disturbed as before when God was limited by logic. Now, it seems that God is limited to only knowing things that are true.

Now I want to repeat a point I made on a previous blog entry. Let's assume God is not limited by logic. Now what? It seems to me all room for objection goes away. Can God create a rock too heavy for him to lift? Yes and no. Well which is it? Both.. Well if he can, then he isn't all powerful, because there's something he can't lift. But if he can't, then he isn't all powerful, because there's something he can't create. If God is not limited by logic, then God can be all powerful even if he is not all powerful.

Monday, February 06, 2006

How to make a bow

I made my first bow in May of 2004. I remember reading a whole lot of information about it before I got started. It was not all clear to me. Some tutorials would cover things that other tutorials would leave out. I couldn't find any one tutorial that was idiot-proof, and idiot-proof was exactly what I needed. I had no prior experience working with wood at all. I needed details and illustrations.

The first bow I made was a red oak board bow. It seemed like a good place to start because I could get red oak for pretty cheap at Home Depot and Lowes, and it came in the ideal dimensions, which cut out a lot of work. I learned far more from making bows than I did from reading about making bows.

Still, I have wanted for a long time to make the sort of tutorial I wish I could've had when I started making bows. Well, I have finally finished it. Here it is. Go have a look-see, then go make a bow, then come back here and tell me about it. I would like to know how helpful this tutorial was.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Who are apologetics for?

People say the strangest things. I was just thinking about something I have heard more than once from more than one person. It's an objection people have to apologetics. They'll say something like, "God doesn't need apologetics."

Silly people! Apologetics are not for God. They are for us. Apologetics deals with epistemological issues that we face. Christianity may be entirely true, and God may be all knowing, but that says nothing about the state of our knowledge. How do we know any of it is true? We certainly aren't all-knowing.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

My English class

A few posts back, I talked about how I was sure I was going to hate my English class. The impression I got was that we were going to spend the whole semester interpreting hopelessly ambiguous literature and that the goal was to pour as much esoteric meaning into it as possible. I was quite annoyed with it.

But I don't want to leave you with a bad impression of my English teacher. The class is turning out not to be nearly as bad as my first impression led me to believe. I'm still not into this sort of thing, but it isn't near the fiasco I imagined it would be.