Cherishable Chores

Just had to pen a beautiful moment from my life as a stay-home Dad. A gift to me from God.
— David Sretenovic

Pacing the room, cradling my 20-month-old son, his head beginning to get heavy on my shoulder. The only thing that changed was that I reached around to embrace him more deeply, along with the melting of my heart. To any outside viewer, I would have been doing exactly the same thing, but for me the two activities were literally worlds apart. One moment I was putting him to sleep – a chore. The next, I was cuddling him for all he’s worth, for all I’m worth, with every atom of my beating heart, aware of the fleeting treasure I held: a beautiful young boy, growing into a man. In a breathtaking moment, my chore was transformed into my privilege and a task which I cherished; instead of seeking the task’s rapid completion, I spontaneously poured myself into the moment and felt it expand to meet my open soul. I have seldom had my day “interrupted” in such a powerful, meaningful way. I see it as a move of the Holy Spirit. It was an interjection of a spiritual force with eternal qualities; a gift of eternal life, entering my temporal life. I see it as God. A blessing!

Science Deniers and Finger Pointers

David Sretenovic loves science, but critiques it a bit too much for some “science-types” out there. In this blog he responds to a passionate spray by a denier finger-pointer. He suggests that real science leaves room for skepticism and critical analysis.

Insufferable Intollerance snip
“Insufferable Intolerance Blog” (April, 2015)

Any “science deniers” out there? Hehe … I think those opposite me in online debates sometimes see me that way. A post by “Insufferable Intolerance Blog” about “how science deniers think” got my attention (1). Ultimately this blogger sees deniers as “the problem”; specifically, deniers are “con-artists in lab-coats” and folks who can’t tell the difference between these cons and real scientists.

Well, I’m not the lab-coat wearing type. And as for not being able to recognize a real scientist… hmmm, well here’s the thing. I’ve linked an article (below) by Dr Richard Horton who is the chief of real scientists, and he admits that “much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue” (2). As a case in point, The Lancet itself published the now famously retracted study by Andrew Wakefield (linking autism to vaccines). As a long-term editor of The Lancet, I presume Horton himself would have presided over that oversight. Apparently even the chief of real scientists can struggle to separate the real and fake science … so tell me, Insufferable Intolerance Blogger, does that make him a denier, and a part of the problem?

Richard Horton snip
The Lancet, Vol 385, No.9976, p.1380, April 11, 2015

I can go one better. Although I haven’t read his article (due to inaccessibility), and I’m presuming this is an accurate quote, Horton is upfront about the paucity of the “peer review process”: “Editors and scientists alike insist on the pivotal importance of peer review. We portray peer review to the public as a quasi-sacred process that helps to make science our most objective truth teller. But we know that the system of peer review is biased, unjust, unaccountable, incomplete, easily fixed, often insulting, usually ignorant, occasionally foolish, and frequently wrong” (3).

I’m no hater, so Insufferable Intolerance Blogger, it’s cool – you’re entitled to have a spray. And the thread below your comment is a brilliant venting-ground for the frustrated boffin. I just hope you’re not pretending that you’ve made any sort of objective or scientifically rigorous case. It’s actually the same kind of subjectivity you’re accusing the deniers of using.

And for the record – I LOVE science! I simply exercise my right to remain skeptical towards any given publication, and use my critical thinking as fits my conscience. As a real scientist should.

 

References:

(1) https://web.facebook.com/InsufferableIntolerance/posts/625453310949124?fref=nf&pnref=story

(2) http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(15)60696-1/fulltext?rss%3Dyes

(3) Horton, R (2000). “Genetically modified food: Consternation, confusion, and crack-up”. The Medical journal of Australia172 (4): 148–9. PMID10772580 (from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Horton_(editor) )

 

Comfort from a Flawless Universe

For me, a foundational reason and purpose of Christianity is this: the unlocking of the creative imagination for the banishment of darkness, fear, hatred, discord and anxiety. For anyone who cares to read on, you’ll experience two things: hearing my own understanding, and a virtual experience of this “unlocking” effect.

I believe the following, and confidently share this statement with you: God is in control of everything. That comforts me. Now, I think many of my readers would have nodded in agreement or at least hopefulness. But I’m also confident that many would have a fairly limited definition of “everything”; for example, it doesn’t include “evil”, “bad things”, or my free-will right now (etc). So, let’s allow “everything” to expand in our minds for a moment: imagine EVERYTHING for a minute, just imagine it (you don’t have to like or believe it!): God is in control of EVERYTHING. For me, it brings amazing comfort to know that God is in control of absolutely everything, overseeing the entire universe operating like a finely tuned piece of machinery which can never break down. And it’s working towards a good and beautiful purpose, without any chance of any other forces disrupting it.

I have thought about this a lot, via Bible study, meditation, debate and journaling. So I am aware of objections, such as this logical (hypothetical) statement: “You say, David, that God is in control of everything and He has good plans for me. But you said that to my friend last week and then he died in a plane crash! How ridiculous!” My answer is this: I KNOW just how irrational it sounds, but I can still hold strong to my belief that God is in control of everything because if He, the good and perfect machinery creator and operator, isn’t in control, then it only leaves me with despair (or at least emptiness) as to what is happening right now in the universe and in my future (including the afterlife). You are welcome to reject the view that God is in control and that he is working all things for a good future for you, but I think that leaves you with less satisfying paradigms (at least as I see them): that the future is unknown; that some evil force might win in your or others’ lives; that luck reigns; that the afterlife is full of many equal gods; that we ourselves completely control our destinies. There are many options out there, and I’m happy for you if they guide your life in a meaningful way. But for me, I am comforted by this: that God IS in control, and He has never had his original creation fail in any way, nor has anything ever happened which He hasn’t accounted for. That brings me comfort.

I’m also aware that some folk will object and say that this isn’t what traditional Christianity teaches. Moreover some will question whether such a philosophy allows me to qualify for the title of Christian at all. My response is this: I came to this understanding via Christ and the Bible. Furthermore, it is only via Christ that I’ve been able to imagine a God both big and good enough to be able to pull off a flawless universe. On the scriptural front – and I won’t preach here in any detail, but I’m happy to elsewhere – the Bible to me makes it abundantly clear that the resurrection of Christ gives hope to both the living and the dead. Comfort. To me that’s real comfort.

To summarise on a personal note, I’m grounded enough to admit that I am an idealist to the core, and that this article represents idealism on steroids. Yet I believe these are imaginings – visions of reality – that have come through prayer, meditation and dialogue with God regarding His scriptures. Spirit-inspired, creative imagination for me has meant breaking down surface-level understandings of biblical and religious concepts, and then allowing new and deeper understandings to fill my heart and mind. I’m here to report that God speaks as you seek Him, with the result of windows of creative impulse being opened. And as these windows let their light in, scary darkness leaves.

Blessings on your journey!

–David Sretenovic, January 2016