Well, it’s been quite a long (but good) year so far, which is part of the reason I haven’t blogged on here so much. This past year has seen me switch employers, have several papers published, submitted, and in various stages of preparation, and the birth of my first child in mid-July. Another reason I haven’t blogged as much as I had hoped is that I just simply haven’t had much of an urge to do so, not because I don’t remain passionate about the topics this blog was meant to address: far from it! Rather because I’ve found writing down my thoughts to be surprisingly more difficult than I had anticipated. But, I have no plans of giving up this blog, and hope to change this situation over the next few months. I have lots of ideas for posts, including a discussion of “nothing” and what it means in physics and philosophy, musings about whether God intervenes in Nature and what that would look like if He did, why I used to be a young earth creationist and why I eventually abandoned that view to embrace theistic evolution, my position on global warming (hint, it’s happening and humans are at least partly to blame!), a post on tornadoes and “natural evil”, and many others. Stay tuned!
The few people who actually read this blog up to this point may be wondering why I haven’t posted much of substance, and why there has been so much time between posts.
The short answer is that I have been struggling with two main personal issues. One is spiritual in nature, and the other a matter of a lack of discipline in writing. I’ll talk briefly about both.
First, the spiritual issue; this is mainly a struggle that I’ve had for a long time with the idea of confrontation with those who do not share my view, especially those who are my friends. I tend to dislike confrontation for many reasons, but the main one is a sort of over-correction for my past, when I was fairly confrontational and blunt about my opinions, which led to some less than desirable outcomes in my relationships at the time. Since then, I’ve mellowed out considerably, but I fear that I’ve gone too far the other way, and it’s taken me some time to come back to a balance. This blog is my attempt at finding that balance, and now that I see that more clearly, expect more posts on these important issues of science, religion, and faith than what you have been seeing.
The second issue has collaborated synergistically with the first. Namely, my lack of discipline in writing. I recently read a great book, that I actually stole from my wife, who had picked it up in an effort to help her own academic writing (don’t worry, I gave it back!). It is How to Write a Lot: A Practical Guide to Productive Academic Writing. The main thesis of this short book is that productive writing is all about having a regular writing schedule. To most, this may seem utterly obvious, but to someone like me, who is rather free-floating in my schedule, it was something of an epiphany. I am, I’m ashamed to say, one of those “binge writers” described in the book, who often waits to write until a deadline is approaching, or until the “inspiration” comes upon me to do so. Recently, I have made some strides in the right direction to improve my writing output by scheduling specific times during the week to write, and I’ve already seen my productivity go up. It occurred to me that I could do the same for my blogging. Even if I don’t post every few days, or even every week, as long as I schedule some time every few days to a week to work on a blog post or two, then I should have both more frequent and more substantial output.
Welcome, readers, to my new blog! It’s what all the cool kids are doing these days, isn’t it? Need I any more motivation?
In all seriousness, this blog is born out of an attempt to get some of my scattered loose thoughts about things variously scientific, theological, philosophical, and experiential down in some sort of coherent journal form. I can’t even begin to count the number of times an idea has come to my head and I’ve failed to write it down, only to have it reappear unbidden at some later date. It’s as if they are bouncing around inside my mind, like a fly trapped by a window, looking for a way out, and becoming increasingly frustrated because I keep them in there. If you check out the “about” page, you can read more about my motivation in this regard. In brief, this blog is about discussing the Christian faith from an intellectual perspective — loving God with all my mind — and in particular, to explore the interplay of scientific thinking and practice with that of the Christian faith. I also want to use it as a discussion of my faith journey, which has been heavily influenced by my chosen vocation, namely that of a practicing scientist in the field of Meteorology. My hope is that the posts here will alternately resonate, inspire, challenge, and provoke thinking in the readers of the blog, for my fellow Christians and non-Christian friends and whoever else happens upon this blog.
I want to make it clear that I’m not writing this blog in a vacuum. I have been inspired and influenced myself by several other excellent intellectual Christian bloggers out there. Some that top this list are the late Michael Spencer of Internet Monk , Scot McKnight of Jesus Creed , and my old friend Nathan Gilmour and his cohorts at The Christian Humanist (on which I was a recent podcast guest), among many others, which you can visit in my blogroll. One thing that these bloggers have in common is that they all approach the Christian faith passionately from thoughtful, careful, and serious points of view. It has been writers like these that have brought me through a time of wilderness in my faith, and have helped confirm and increase it beyond what I thought was possible, for which I thank God. If you continue to read this blog, I daresay you will hear more about this in future posts. All would describe themselves, I think, as firmly orthodox in their theology and faith practice, but yet all have a distinct desire to engage seriously and respectfully with the great intellectual issues of our time, at least those that occupy our lives in the West. As should go without saying, I don’t necessarily always agree with everything they say on their blogs, but their humility, civility, true respect for the issues and those that disagree with them, and their overall Christian character, are qualities I would like to emulate here in my own blog. I can only hope to contribute in some small and humble way to the conversations that they have been having, adding my own experience from the scientific realm, and thus to contribute to God’s glory.
As for comments on my posts, I welcome them wholeheartedly, but I wish to make it very clear from the get-go that I will tolerate no personal attacks, spamming, or trolling in any form. I expect that much of what I have to say will be disagreed with from all manner of perspectives at some point or another, and that commenters will disagree with each other, sometimes vehemently. I have no problem with disagreements, but civility must be maintained. I’ve had quite my fill of wading through any number of flame wars on other blogs to get at nuggets of goodness, to see the same thing happen here. I do not see this blog as a debating platform, but rather as a platform for civil conversation and mutual learning. I’d ask people who choose to comment here to please respect this vision; I reserve the right to terminate a line of discussion at any time, if only because time is valuable, and with my full time job, I don’t always have a lot of it.
Finally, I hope that writing in this blog will also make me a better writer overall. It’s not one of my stronger suites, but being a scientist means writing a lot, and since I’ve only been recently decanted from the Ph. D. mold, I had better get to learn to like it and get good at it!
Thanks for reading!