== Love God == Delight in Light ==

Friday, February 22, 2008

Start Your Day in a Happy Way

Start your day in a happy way –
Don't grump and growl and groan;
A happy, smiley morning sigh
Is nicer than a moan!

Start your day in a happy way –
When the sun lights up the skies,
Think of lots of happy thoughts;
As you blink your tired eyes.

Start your day in a happy way –
Don't kick and shout and huff
A day begun is not much fun
If started with that stuff.

Start your day in a happy way –
As you get out of bed
Make sure you choose the happy side;
Put on your happy head.

Start your day in a happy way –
'Cos now you've slept your sleep
It's much more fun to smile and sing
Than mope about and weep.

Start your day in a happy way –
'Cos when the day is done
You may just find that all the day
Went on as 'twas begun.

So if you want a happy day
Then as the morning breaks,
Just say a happy morning prayer –
That may be all it takes!
- Mark H (DelightInLight.com)

Note: This is one of a number of poems for Christian children that I have posted on this blog. If you want to see more of them, please have a look at this post: "Fun Poems for Kids"

You can also email a link to this post by clicking the mail icon below...

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Precise Instructions

Sometimes your instructions just need to be a bit clearer...

Mum walks up and finds that someone has given a banana to Lucia (age 2) - the other children have been told that they are not supposed to do that unless they ask first.

Mum: "Who gave Lucia a banana?"
Joanna: "I did."
Mum: "Did you ask a parent?"
Joanna: "Yes, I asked Dad."
Dad (puzzled): "Did you??"
Joanna: "Yes."
Dad (still puzzled): "What did I say?"
Joanna: "Nothing - but you should have!"

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Is "God Exists" a Permissible Hypothesis?

The way science normally works is this:

  1. Something is observed that we would like to explain or understand
  2. We collect as many facts that appear to be relevant as we can, carry out various investigations and come up with one or more "hypotheses" (i.e. statements of possible conclusions on the matter)
  3. We carry out experiments to check if one of our hypotheses is correct (maybe with some adjustments)
Unfortunately, when it comes to investigating how the world or life came into being we are a little limited:
  • We can only look at the facts that remain now (rather than actually looking at the facts as they were then),
  • We are rather limited in what experiments we can carry out (starting up a new universe is a little beyond the capabilities of most labs!), and
  • This tends to be an emotionally charged question, so it is difficult to be completely objective about it.

Now, the question that I have asked myself is this:

Is the existence of God a permissible hypothesis?

In other words, in my aim to understand the origin of the world, is there anything unscientific in at least allowing for the possibility of there being something (that we could call "God") that is beyond what we call "the universe" (if the facts seem to point to that conclusion)?

This is an important question because there are people who would say that I should not even allow for such a conclusion and that to even consider that as one of the options is "unscientific" in some way.

For myself, however, I can't see any reason for excluding this as a possible explanation. I would rather look at the facts and decide for myself whether or not they seem to support this or another conclusion.

In fact, in my opinion, the exact opposite is true: it is a direct violation of the principles of science to exclude a particular conclusion before we even start looking at the evidence. That's not called "science", that's called "prejudice" (making a judgement before considering the facts). Or, to put it another way:

To reject a conclusion before you begin,
is to throw the word "science" into the bin.

So - if we want to be genuine about being "scientific", then we need to allow for any conclusion that is supported by the evidence. Including at least being open to the possibility that God may exist (as well, of course, as being open to the possibility that the universe came into existance by itself as a result of random processes).

If that's you, then you may be interested in the rest of these posts where I talk about some of those evidences. Of course, if you prefer to be prejudiced (which is, I guess, your right), then you probably won't be swayed by the evidence... but you may find the posts interesting anyway :)

Note: This is part of a series of posts about why I believe in God. See my post "You Believe that Stuff???" for more info and links to the other related posts.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Following the Leader

I was pleasantly surprised this week to find that I had won the "Best Manager" award within the IT department where I work. This had been organised to celebrate the fact that our IT department had been selected as a finalist in the Computer Weekly "Best Place to Work in IT" awards. [Update - we won our category :) ]

What's interesting about this is that I have been making a specific effort over the past year to try to base my management approach on principles that Jesus taught. Thus, for example:
  • I try to remember to start each working day by asking God for guidance for that day (though I far too often get distracted by emails and things and forget!), and I try to remember that I am answerable to God for my performance - not just my "human" manager.
  • I try to see my role as a manager as someone who is there to serve the people in my team - that involves giving overall direction and helping to remove obstacles.
  • I try to see people as people - with hopes, dreams, struggles, emotions, etc. - not as resources to be just used for the company's ends.
  • This doesn't mean, however, that I don't expect people to make an effort or that I just accept any old performance or behaviour - I try to give people challenges and expect them to work well and to deliver - when they don't I try to address the problem in a positive way, understand the reasons, and work with them to resolve the issues.
  • When I give people challenges, I like, as far as possible, to give them the freedom to tackle them in their own way.
  • I try to avoid working excessive hours because I have other responsibilities to God and my family - and I try to encourage my team not to work excessive hours either.
Of course it would be very presumptuous of me to assume that I know how Jesus would act as a manager. However, He has left some clues in the things He did and said, so I have tried to pick up on those and apply them practically in my working life.

What's most interesting about this is that I am far from successful in actually applying these principles all the time. I far too often don't respond in the right way, don't do the right things, fail to solve or avoid problems that I should have, etc. (And I'm not just saying that to sound "humble" or something - I really do fail way to often on these things.) But in spite of those failings I still won that award. To me this just goes to show that even trying to apply the principles of leadership that Jesus taught and demonstrated can make a real difference - even when your application of those principles is far from perfect.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Being an Adult

Another quote from the kids:

Abigail (aged 3) out of the blue announced this morning: "I don't want to be an adult when I grow up."

Dad: "Oh? Why's that??"

Abigail: "I want to be a ballerina."

Sunday, February 03, 2008

You Believe That Stuff???

One of the things that I promised the other day was that I would give you a bit of an explanation of why I believe in God, so I thought that now was as good a time as any to get started on that.

And, it seems to me that a good place to start is to point out a few things that I am not going to be trying to do:
  • I am not trying to set up a Christian evidences site. There are many of those already available run by people who are far more capable at it than I am (I'll try to post a couple of links to some at a later date). All I am trying to do is explain to you (in summary) just some of the kinds of things that I have thought about that have lead me to believe that there really is a God out there.
  • I'm not trying to force you to believe in God. Whether or not you believe in God is your business. Of course, if God does exist and if it is true that "He is a rewarder of those who seek Him" (as the Bible claims), then the question of whether or not He exists is more than just an academically interesting question. So if my telling you why I believe in God leads you to think about that question and ultimately believe in Him too, and if that turns out to mean that you also receive that reward, then that would be great - I believe that that reward is real and that it is offered to you just as much as it is to me so why wouldn't I want to tell you about it? However, even if you decide that you don't believe in God, I hope that what I have to say in these posts will help you to understand me a little better and at least see that there is some kind of foundation for my belief (even if you don't agree with it).
Another thing that I am not going to do is to try to get everything into one post - I'll create a series of posts that I will (no doubt) add to over time. To make it easy for you to view them all together I'll do two things:
  • I'll label them all with "Why I Believe", and
  • I'll try to remember to list them all here in the most logical reading order:
    • A permissible hypothesis - should I even allow for the possibility of the existence of God as an explanation for the origin of the universe?
    • Hello World - What are the chances of first life coming into existence?
    • Special Conditions - The chances are zero unless the conditions are suitable for life to form.
    • Random Writing - If we do get the first life we need to then progress towards more complex life.
    • Starting from Scratch - Repeatedly changing something over time doesn't usually result in a great system.
    • Changing in Parallel - Different parts of systems very often have to change in a coordinated way for the change to be successful
    • A Lot of Positives - Even if positive mutations happened every generation would there be enough time for evolution?
    • And more... - A few other points to consider and links to further information.
    • Yes But... - What about the arguments that people make against the existence of God?
    • Two Options. - It seems to me that there are two fundamental options that we need to choose between.
    • My Choice. - My reasons for choosing the option that I do.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Sugar & Chocolate

Here's another quote from the kids...

Joanna and Mum were discussing the fact that too much sugar and chocolate is not good for you.

Joanna: "But I only want a little bit - a little bit after breakfast; a little bit after lunch and a little bit after supper!"