Walking Helps Creative Thinking

Stanford put out a study showing that walking increases your creative thinking.

The study found that walking indoors or outdoors similarly boosted creative inspiration. The act of walking itself, and not the environment, was the main factor. Across the board, creativity levels were consistently and significantly higher for those walking compared to those sitting.

I like this. I walk all the time while coming up with sermon ideas and going over things. I pace up and down the hall and around my room and down to the lake and around the block and all over.

Our brains need quiet, the ability to rest. During this time it’s amazing how many things come together in the brain. I think walking, running, or biking are great times for your brain to chill and put some things together.

It’s also interesting how often the Bible talks about walking and running. The Christian life is not described as sitting, but fighting the fight, running the race, and walking in the light as He is in the light.

Your brain needs you to move. Go move.

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Church Attendance and Spiritual Health

Yesterday was Easter, a Sunday when many people who don’t bother with church show up. I find this logic baffling. I won’t begrudge people going to church, good on ya, but only going once or twice a year (Easter and Christmas) might possibly be used against you on Judgment Day. You can claim ignorance anymore. Your showing up on the Big Days only shows that you know something Big is going on, but not Big enough to actually take seriously.

Church isn’t what it used to be, and I think the whole Body of Christ suffers because of it. Church attendance is a decreasing habit in America. “Regular” attenders are now described as attending once or twice a month.

Now, I don’t guilt people over church attendance. I let people do what they think they need to do. You being in church because you were guilted into being there, is about as effective as you staying home. But you cannot deny that this irregular attendance is affecting the Church.

I’m not just talking about my church (in fact, I’m quite pleased with the increased regularity of people in my church lately), I’m talking about The Church. People don’t go regularly anymore and the Church is hurting.

It becomes very hard to pastor a flock when the flock always changes. It is hard to feel deeply spiritually connected, hard to want to become vulnerable, to a group that is not stable in its membership.

Perhaps most germane to the politics of the moment, it is hard for church leaders to teach anybody anything in a sustained manner if hardly anyone is present in a sustained manner. The more technical way to say it is that Christian spiritual and moral formation weakens because fewer congregants commit to that formation in any particular place.

You can read more of the article these quotes came from here.

Spiritual growth is based on the work of the Holy Spirit. Yes, each believer has the Holy Spirit individually. Yet the Bible makes it clear that when two or three are gathered together, the Spirit’s presence is magnified, more so than when alone. Ephesians 4 is all about the gifted people in the church that can help, and the mutual edification of the Body in Love that is not possible in isolation.

When people isolate themselves from the Church, bad things typically happen. This isn’t some sort of Judgment handed down by an angry God; it’s a natural outflow of rejecting the Body of Christ. When one member suffers, the whole body suffers. When members keep away, the body is negatively effected.

I think the individualism of Americans has done bad things to our doctrine of Church. Members of the Body need each other to maintain health. That isn’t me talking; that’s the New Testament.

Roger Olson on Americans Wanting Demagogues

Unfortunately, in contemporary American culture, moderates and humble thinkers don’t get much attention. We gravitate toward demagogues. I see it as a result of American culture’s general and increasing anti-intellectualism and love of celebrities.

We want people who seem to know everything and being totally certain of all that they claim to know and never say “Well, I just don’t know.” As soon as a scholar, expert, thinker, pastor, theologian, philosopher, politician, whatever, says “Well, I just don’t know” people change the channel and find someone who appears to know everything they talk about with absolute certainty.

I’ve been interviewed numerous times by numerous people and can always hear a note of disappointment in their voices or see it on their faces (if I can see them) when I say “Well, I just don’t know.”

–Roger Olson

Torching Those Who Came Before Us to Light Our Way Forward

There’s a dynamic that occurs whenever you bring in a repairman: He takes a look at the job, figures out the problem, sketches the solution, and estimates the cost. But then another phase of the work, apparently equally necessary, begins: the Cursing of the Previous Contractor(s).

A theology professor makes a link between listening to contractors bash previous contractors and theologians bashing past theologians. Although this is fun and makes you look smart, it may also have a cost.

Theologians and pastors, whether in person or in print, ought to bear this in mind when explaining doctrine. Explain sympathetically what previous teachers or traditions were trying to do (hint: they were usually attempting to construe Scripture, so even if they ended up with some wrong answers you can always start there).

Explain doctrines and differences in such a way that your listeners focus their attention on the subject matter rather than the personalities. Because if you make it about you versus the previous craftsman, you’re likely to win the popularity contest. But that’s a temporary victory. You’re also likely to burn the whole industry, and that burn lasts longer.

To read the whole article, click here. On the other hand, I will probably find another article telling you how this article was written by a moron, so, whatever.

Bill Nye’s Science Botches Philosophy and Religion. Here’s Why.

I came across an article about an interview with Bill Nye the Science Guy about Philosophy.

Nye has said some awful things about religion over the years as a spokesman for the hip scientific-atheism group.

What is interesting about Nye, is that not only is he misinformed about religion, he has also recently upset philosophy people too.

Nye, in his science fixation, belittles all other fields. He is a fine Utilitarian–one who stresses utility over other values.

In his stress of utility, he demeans all other “less useful” modes of thought, such as religion and philosophy.

Nye is stuck in materialism. The Scientific Method is the only way to find Truth. Truth then must be defined as “stuff the Scientific Method proves.” Which then means truth can only exist in material things that can physically be examined with the Scientific Method.

Therefore, since philosophy and religion can’t be empirically tested, they are useless and we shouldn’t waste our time on them.

This the material world is the only world way of thinking is taking hold on a generation of young people who value the words of scientists over any other sources.

Science cannot answer philosophic questions, nor can it answer religious questions. Part of the Scientific Method also assumes that science should continue to test its own answers, because science doesn’t always answer science questions well!

Science has its place in the world and has done many wonderful things for our lives. Science cannot answer all your questions though. There’s no way it can. We are more than just material creatures in a simply material world.

There are bigger things out there. Bigger questions. Don’t let science limit your questions, nor your answers.

UPDATE: Here are a few more takes on Nye’s problems with philosophy:

Bill Nye’s Philistine Materialism–“Atheists like Nye, Tyson, or Hawking should be more circumspect if they want to retain any credibility in their public statements. When it comes to discussing all but the most technical questions in science, this kind of philistinism should be grounds for dismissal.”

Bill Nye Embarrasses Himself–“Nye sounds like old Uncle John discoursing on the “big issues” after six beers, except he is stone sober.”

PLOSONE Journal Retracts Science Article for Mentioning a Creator

A recent paper on the mechanics of the hand is causing many a scientist to get hot and bothered.

In the opening sentences of the study, it claims the link between muscles and hand movements is the product of “proper design by the Creator.”

Later, it says human hand coordination “should indicate the mystery of the Creator’s invention,” and concludes by again claiming the mechanical architecture of the hand is the result of “proper design by the Creator.”

God forbid. Ha. See what I did there?

Other comments on the paper called its publication “unacceptable”, and criticised the “sloppy job” done by the reviewers and editors. Some scientists said the journal should be boycotted unless amends are made.

One of the editors of the journal threatened to resign if the article was not retracted. Some of the scientists are from China and claim the “Creator” bit was a problem with translation.

“Indeed, we are not native speakers of English, and entirely lost the connotations of some words such as ‘Creator’. I am so sorry for that.”

They insist the Chinese word intended was “nature” not “creator.” As one who knows about translation errors and difficulties in the Bible, going from one language to another is difficult, so this explanation may be valid. They may also just want to keep their reputation.

Here is another article talking about the issue of translation and the white male atheist/science community being too isolated to understand cultural idioms. They play the Racism Card. It’s an interesting take as well.

Another editor said, “There is no room in the scientific literature for Intelligent Design. This is more than just a ‘language issue’.”

Dismissing out of hand a possible conclusion seems to be contrary to the scientific method, but alas, this is modern science. A bunch of highly educated, lab coat wearing, pitchfork wielding, over sensitive, white guys.

Alas.

Searching For the Lab Coat Wearing Messiah

A fundamental doctrine of Christianity is that the Curse has tainted every part of Creation. There is not one pure, righteous, always correct thing on this planet.

For the believer, this is what drives us to hunger and thirst after righteousness. For the non-believer, this is what drives them from one experience, religion, person, group, tv-show, musician, fad, cause, etc to another.

The unbeliever thinks perfection is out there. If we just try harder, get educated more, get the right people in charge, and all agree on one infallible source of truth, then all our problems will disappear.

Without this longing, I doubt there would be much motivation for the unbeliever doing anything in life.

Recently, many unbelievers have sought solace in science. The Scientific Method seems to promote a way to find perfection. It holds out the potential to discover absolutes, what is solid, what is reliable. The scientist, by default, has become the new priest–One we can go to with our faults, hear the theory that absolves us of guilt, and then we can carry on with a clear conscience.

Bill Nye has gone awry
Bill Nye has gone awry

Unfortunately, it is becoming increasingly clear that science and scientists are not a source of infallible truth either. The scientist is as fallible as the politician, the philosopher, and the theologian. Faulty people come up with faulty facts.

In other words, science is flawed. And scientists are people too. While it is true that most scientists — at least the ones I know and work with — are hell-bent on getting things right, they are not therefore immune from human foibles.

If they want to keep their jobs, at least, they must contend with a perverse “publish or perish” incentive structure that tends to reward flashy findings and high-volume “productivity” over painstaking, reliable research. On top of that, they have reputations to defend, egos to protect, and grants to pursue. They get tired. They get overwhelmed. They don’t always check their references, or even read what they cite. They have cognitive and emotional limitations, not to mention biases, like everyone else.

Science, the backbone of so much modern-day action and belief, is just as tainted as any other field. Money rears its head once again to destroy credibility. It’s almost as if money were the root of all evil or something.

Everyone is trying to leave a legacy, make a name for themselves, make their identity into a brand, and various other things that will destroy credibility.

Believers, on the other hand, are to be enamored with Christ. Not I but Christ. I must decrease; He must increase. Our trust is to be in Him and His Word. It is the only infallible and eternal foundation upon which to build a life.

But the Bible will eliminate all competing foundations. It will, in fact, eliminate you. It is no longer I who lives. We’ve been raised to newness of life that does not care what man may think of it. We live for and before the Lord in accordance with what He thinks. This is the only foundation upon which Truth can be found and adhered to.

Otherwise, your fallen self will distort, twist, and belittle eternal Truth in an effort to preserve itself.

Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.  Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.