Cosmic theater

This is an artist's impression of supernova 1993J, an exploding star in the galaxy M81 whose light reached us 21 years ago. The supernova originated in a double-star system where one member was a massive star that exploded after siphoning most of its hydrogen envelope to its companion star. After two decades, astronomers have at last identified the blue helium-burning companion star, seen at the center of the expanding nebula of debris from the supernova. The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope identified the ultraviolet glow of the surviving companion embedded in the fading glow of the supernova. Links: NASA Press release Spiral galaxy M81 Supernova 1993J in spiral galaxy M81 Supernova 1993J Scenario for Type IIb supernova 1993J

Terrorism, e-mail scandals, and police shootings are cosmic theater.

When a terrorist kills a single citizen, it captivates an entire nation.

When a police officer kills a single innocent black man, it arrests us all.

This is out of proportion to crimes committed in private or local circumstances. People steal, lie, and murder in our own cities. Why are the public sins so captivating, even more than supernova or passing comets? Why do we feel so right to be *especially* outraged?

Maybe we’re really upset because if none of that matters, if public evil can’t be identified and condemned, then maybe goodness and justice and beauty aren’t real and don’t matter at all. It’s all meaningless star dust.

Maybe cosmic theater matters because God designed us to pay attention to epic stories of cosmic significance, and justice and righteousness matter more than exploding stars.

Jesus on Leaky Spirituality

A leaking bucketJesus taught of a leaky spirituality.

What’s on the inside eventually leaks out. Your heart eventually overflows like water, even if you try to contain it:

“You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil.” (Matthew 12:34-35)

Where there’s smoke there’s fire:

“Out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.” (Matthew 15:19)

The evil of our persecutors will eventually be revealed:

“Nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known.” (Matthew 10:26)

This one is terrifying: False converts who seem to have escaped spiritual bondage will fall back under worse bondage:

“When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, but finds none. Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when it comes, it finds the house empty, swept, and put in order. Then it goes and brings with it seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there, and the last state of that person is worse than the first.” (Matthew 12:43–45)

There is a seed that is “proven unfruitful”:

“As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.” (Matthew 13:22)

Not even slick false prophets can hide their true nature. They become diseased trees:

“You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.” (Matthew 7:16-20)

The Pharisees were like, “We aren’t like that.” And God sends men to be killed to show that, yeah, “You’re like that.”

“You build the tombs of the prophets and decorate the monuments of the righteous, saying, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ Thus you witness against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers. You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell? Therefore I send you prophets and wise men and scribes, some of whom you will kill and crucify, and some you will flog in your synagogues and persecute from town to town, so that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah the son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar.” (Matthew 23:29-35)

The apostle Paul on this same topic (summarizing this whole topic well):

“The sins of some people are conspicuous, going before them to judgment, but the sins of others appear later. So also good works are conspicuous, and even those that are not cannot remain hidden.” (1 Timothy 5:24-25)

Your secret gorging on darkness makes your whole soul dark:

“The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!” (Matthew 6:22-23)

Jesus teaches that cleaning the inside results in an eventually clean outside:

“First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean.” (Matthew 23:26)

It’s no wonder that Jesus teaches us to give in secret (Matthew 6:2-4), pray in secret (6:5-6), and fast in secret (6:16-18). He teaches against anxiety of the heart (6:25-34).And his beatitudes are inward-oriented, a matter of hungering and thirsting (5:2-11). Jesus would have us cultivate an interior, secret life of righteousness, and let that leak out on its own.

Ten #NeverTrump Principles

donalf-trump-o-800

  1. Never vote for a characteristic fool.
  2. Public figures who speak recklessly warrant strong denunciation and a call to repentance, not soft or euphemistic critique.
  3. By voting for for an immoral fool we lose the right to say, “Character counts.”
  4. Advocating for a fool stains a person’s conscience and credibility.
  5. A Trump presidency (not to mention candidacy) does great long-term multi-generational harm to conservatism and Christianity.
  6. A reckless fool for a president is evidence of God’s judgment.
  7. Never vote for someone who would be a bad role model for your children.
  8. We are not morally responsible for the outcome of an election between two fundamentally disqualified candidates, neither of which we voted for.
  9. Voting signals a significant degree of individual approval.
  10. We should be optimistic about God’s miraculous intervention and judgment and redemption.

  • “It is true that all leaders, being sinners, will act foolishly on occasion. What we are looking for is consistent, characteristic fruit, not anomalies. If you find characteristic fruit of foolishness, do not be deceived by words or fear or any form of pressure. Do not elect a fool to a ruling position.” (Jon Bloom)
  • “If we back the man who is proud, sexist, racist, libertine, a lover a money, then we will lose the right to say ‘character counts’ forever.” (John Mark Reynolds)
  • “The Trump-supporting religious conservatives are right that he’s God’s instrument, but they don’t get that he’s the Babylonians.” (Ross Douthat)
  • “God is the God of the impossible. He shows Himself in situations when all human possibilities have been exhausted. So when it appears that we find ourselves at the edge of the Red Sea, so to speak, with Pharaoh’s army on one side and an impenetrable barrier of water on the other – in such impossible circumstances – God is showing us that we cannot trust in ourselves to resolve the problem and instead would have us seek His face by humbling ourselves in prayer, not just asking for wisdom, but for His intervention. Perhaps He will be merciful and do something that none of us suspected.” (John Hyndryx)

Productivity tips for programmers

  • ⌘+[number] for quick tab change in Chrome.
  • To finish typing filenames or directories in the command line use the tab key to autocomplete.
  • Install zsh + oh-my-zsh. Type some letters, then press up arrow. This will filter through command history.
  • Use SourceTree to quickly build small git commits from untracked files. Stage, commit, then push.
  • Use console.debug for logging in development. You can filter console logging in Chrome’s dev tools.
  • Shift-command-F in Atom for project-wide search.
  • Command-P in Atom for quick file search. Try misspelling the query, it will likely still work.
  • Use an eslint plugin in Atom to catch errors before anything else has to.
  • Use the SelfControl app to block social media for X number of hours.

The condemned gods of Psalm 82:6 and Mormon exaltation

LDS.org’s Becoming Like God essay situates its quotation of Psalm 82:6 in a paragraph about passages that “intimate that humans can become like God,” and that we are in a “process of approaching godliness.” The verse itself reads: “I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.” Mormon use of this passage is astonishing.

The gods of Psalm 82 were wicked

The psalm is one of judgment against gods who were defiant against Yahweh. They judged unjustly (82:2a), favored the wicked (82:2b), neglected the afflicted and destitute (82:3), refused to rescue the weak and needy (82:4), and were judged unto humiliation and death (82:7). Blomberg writes, “The context of [Psalm 82] refers not to anyone’s exaltation but to the judgment and downfall of those who defend the unjust and show partiality to the wicked.”1 Using the addressees of Psalm 82:6 as a model for exaltation is like using the Nephilim of Genesis 6:4 as a model for sexual ethics.

Oh, how the mighty gods have fallen

The passage does not teach that we are human gods-in-embryo. Those addressed are already in the “divine council” and are “in the midst of the gods” (82:1). God addresses them in the present: “You are gods, sons of the Most High.” Neither are these permanently exalted gods who have the same “power, glory, dominion, and knowledge” that God has.2 Having misused their jurisdiction, they are condemned to die. “You will die like men, and you will fall like one of the princes” (82:7). These gods are, by both biblical and Mormon standards, not fitting candidates for exaltation.

Continue reading “The condemned gods of Psalm 82:6 and Mormon exaltation”