I’m right now in the “lucky” situation of getting paid by a customer, for some programming I did for them in the last months and weeks. The invoice is slightly overdue, but at least the money is coming (it’s needed over here …). In my experience as a year-long self-employed, it’s not clear if and when customers will be able to pay the invoices you write. The bigger the invoice, the more insecure … .

And every time when I’m waiting for some bigger invoice to be paid, I’m thinking about what it means that God will “supply” for us. First, he promised to supply for the basic needs of those who “care foremost for His kingdom and His righteousness” (Mt 5:33 I think). I’m stumbling already here: I’m not sure if I fulfill the prerequisites. Do I care for God’s kingdom? Foremost?

Second thing is, God and us spoilt Westerners seem to have different definitions of what are the basic needs that are mentioned in Mt 5:33. Jesus mentions food, drinking and clothing there. Which means, we are in God’s supply if we need to live from Hartz IV. Sounds strange? This just happened to somebody from my Jesus Freaks homegroup, who, after his studies of theology, lived for some time on Hartz IV (before getting a job via a temporary employment agency, and making progress there).

Now, I find this option problematic. Because, no, I don’t want to live from Harty IV. It’s not because I’d be poor then … I did live and can live on even much less (330 EUR a month pure net income) without feeling bad. It’s because I’m too proud not to earn my own money, and, even more important, because I want to retain my freedom. I simply don’t want officials or a “chef” to tell me what meaningless job to do for them, where to be when etc..

The result: Because of our different definitions of “basic needs”, it can happen that I feel uncared for while being fully supplies by God with the things I need. That’s indeed a problem. And I think not just mine, but ours.

It has been some time now that I searched the Internet again and again, for a group of people with the same style and interests as mine. You know, expedition style, interested in God’s supernatural acts, living in and developing development countries, all that stuff … .

Now today about 0.00 AM I found the first group that’s close to the target! I mean, really close. I watched some of their videos and thought, wow, they have scenes I wanted in my vids in some years 🙂 The organization is called Overland Missions, and they do evangelistic outreaches and humanitarian help for “forgotten people” in their villages. Mainly in Africa, but they also do expeditions all over the world.

Also, what’s really really cool are their reports from the field, regarding God’s activity. To me, they seem quite sober and authentic (though further investigation is necessary, of course). One example, from their Nov 2007 newsletter: one of the team members (Lindsay) prayed for the healing of an African woman who was blind and dumb. Nothing happened. And then:

The next day the team was doing door-to-door ministry when they met a woman that began to share her testimony with the interpreter.

The interpreter said, “She said that she was healed by the Bible.”

Lindsay said, “Praise God! How great! Jesus heals!”

She then turned to the interpreter and asked him to speak to the woman about what she was healed from. He responded by saying, ” She woke up this morning and she could see and she could hear!”

It was at that moment that Lindsay realized that the woman that she prayed for the day before had been healed overnight.

Sounds incredible? If you can’t believe it, go yourself and check these stories yourself. Or, join me for that 😉 After all, if this is all true: it’s so way cool to have a God who proves himself to this wrecked world in such majestic ways!!!

Yesterday, some friends and me discussed a strange story from the Gospels. We had some ideas, but could not really determine what is the correct interpretation. So, some more thoughts here. The story was that where Jesus cursed the fig tree, in Mk 11:12-14, 19-24:

12 On the next day, when they had left Bethany, He became hungry.
13 Seeing at a distance a fig tree in leaf, He went to see if perhaps He would find anything on it; and when He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs.
14 He said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again!” And His disciples were listening. […]
19 When evening came, they would go out of the city.
20 As they were passing by in the morning, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots up.
21 Being reminded, Peter *said to Him, “Rabbi, look, the fig tree which You cursed has withered.”
22 And Jesus *answered saying to them, “Have faith in God.
23 “Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it will be granted him.
24 “Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you.

Now there happen to be many explanations for this story. Most of them make a story where the fig tree figuratively represents the fate of Israel. However, the problem with this is that it might as well be an “generated explanation”, just to have one. Because it’s not justified by the teaching that Jesus himself connects with the event (“Have faith in God”, Mk 11:22-24).

So I’m gonna try another interpretation. According to the story, Jesus was hungry. He saw a “fig tree in leaf”, and though he knew it was not the season for figs he thought, if any tree here has fruit at all, than this leafy one over there. Because, the figs develop 2-3 months after the leafs, so from a tree with fully developed leafs there might be some figs expected.

However, the tree had no figs. What made Jesus angry about this was probably that it was such a “hypocritical” tree: promising fruit even before season by its look, but having none. And because he was angry, he made the tree whither. Now, of course, Jesus knew that a tree cannot be “hypocritical”, and that there was no possibility to be angry about any “moral failure” of a tree. As there was no moral failure, there was no reason for moral punishment. There’s not even the possibility of moral punishment: a tree has no qualia experiences, so is not able to suffer, so is not able to suffer punishment.

Therefore, the whole event is no real anger and real punishment, but something that is just anger and punishment from the perspective of the sentinent being (Jesus). Seen that way, the behavior is allowable: Jesus did just what was admissible to man, as the master of plants and trees.

Regarding the use of supernatural power: it’s just that the divinity of Jesus glimpses through at this event. That’s what his disciples marvel at later. The event itself was “unnecessary” and has no meaning in itself, it was just “allowable” (and note that it’s the only event of this sort that we read from Jesus). But as the event shows divine power, it’s also a situation to teach about this. And that’s what Jesus did then. Which implies, yes, there might be situations in our lives as well where we might use divine power though its not “necessary” and even “without meaning” (like throwing a mountain into the sea). God grants this sort of stuff just because we prayed for it.


Start date: 2009-01-21
Post date: 2009-01-21
Version date: 2009-01-22 (for last meaningful change)

The Gospel is such a good thing that one wonders why it’s not self-marketing like the best industrial products do.

If it would be natural for all the converts to tell all their friends and neighbours about the Gospel, it could be called self-marketing. The story of he Samaritan woman in John 4 is one where the Gospel had self-marketing effects.

Revival times seem to be those where the Gospel is self-marketing. It is to be determined what conditions must be in place for such a revival to start. Esp. in our society. Perhaps it’s necessary to be able to talk about God and being taken seriously in the average case. If yes, what would be necessary for that? Second Acts or one of its results, like a movie?

There’s a guy, sitting in front of a Catholic church, selling candles.
Do you think God would do this?

There’s a guy, sitting tight before the idiot box and consuming all the cheap flicks.
Do you think God could be found doing so?

There’s a guy who preferred his pride to his girlfriend, and now he created a sad mess out of his life.
Do you think that’s what God would maneuver himself into?

There, a buch of greedy gamblers, kicking the world into its next economic crisis.
Do you think that’s what represents God’s character?

There, a small church that died from quarelling.
Do you think this modeled God?

There. This Filipina who got donated the money for a heart operation of a relative, but preferred to buy a TV, which killed the sick one within 3 weeks.
Do you think this is what God’s grace and mercy is modeled after?

And there. These people think it’s adequate to “revenge” themselves by firing missiles.
Do you think God fires missiles?

If no, GO AND MODEL GOD!! All of you, whereever you are.
How else do you think this world is ever going to become a nicer place?
Remember that your life’s time is everything you have down here.
And see that nothing’s more precious than modeling God in the time that’s given you.

So now, if you want to live in a lovely place, start to love.

Ok … now that I bought the truck on (Thu) 2008-11-27 and paid it and drove it home on (Tue) 2008-12-09, it’s really time to write something about that little adventure, and give some technical details. Sadly, without a video clip for now, as I currently have troubles uploading to JumpCut to edit the clip there (though JumpCut is a great tool, of course).

Paying the truck and driving it these 46 kilometers home was without any problems (quite astonishing to me). So there’s nothing to say ’bout that. I had a friend with me, who’s the most experienced car-and-truck geek I know, and that was really helpful. He showed me how to buy a car, as I didn’t know how to do that, out of lack of experience 😉

So what I’m gonna do now is giving the technical details and some pics of the truck:

Technical specification

General
information
manufacturer Klöckner-Humboldt-Deutz
type identifier K Magirus 100 D 9 FA
(means: 100PS, approx. 9 tons permissible overall mass, cab over engine
(German: F = Frontlenker), all-wheel drive)
registration date 1968
(the vehicle type 100 D 9 F was build from 1967-1968)
original use fire-fighting vehicle with dry
extinguishing equipment
used in the factory fire department of Chemische Werke Hüls
seats 2 (currently)
3 (per vehicle registration document, so mounting the third one in
between the two is no problem)
maximum speed 80kmh-1 (according to
vehicle registration document)
85kmh-1 (according to own test)
mileage 31019km (upon buying it)
noise level (standing) 84dB(A) (DIN-Phon) (according to
vehicle registration document)
noise level (driving) 89dB(A) (DIN-Phon) (according to
vehicle registration document)
AutoScout24 ID 😉 le2elusqhy1p
Engine
engine manufacturer Klöckner-Humboldt-Deutz
engine type identifier F6L 812 D
(meaning:

  • F vehicle engine (F
    = Fahrzeugmotor)
  • 6 six cylinders
  • L air-cooled
  • 8 production series
    no. 8
  • 12 cylinder stroke
    is 12cm
  • D direct injetion
    (D = Direkteinspritzung) (?)

This engine is also used in some Deutz tractors).

engine type Diesel
engine power 100PS at 2800Umin-1
engine size 5068cm3
Drivetrain
drivetrain 4×4 permanent, auxiliary drive available
gearbox five gears, synchronized gearbox
Masses,
sizes
permissible overall mass 9250kg (currently)
6500kg (approx., after licensing as my expedition vehicle)
permissible load per axle front
/ rear
3200kg / 6400kg
wheelbase 3150mm
Equipment
tires front single tires, offroad tread,
8.25-20 PR 12 (minimum size, according to vehicle registration document)
tires rear dual tires, street tread,
8.25-20 PR 12 (minimum size, according to vehicle registration document)
trailer hitch currently none
originally it had a Rockinger 201 G 130 mounted
it has a 24V trailer outlet and a trailer brake hose with single-line
brake system
Usage
data
fuel consumption not yet determined, but probably
around 18-20l/100km (street, street tires)
tax as truck, approx. 430-500 EUR/a,
depending on permissible overall mass (here: 6.4t to 7.4t)
as motorhome, approx. 350-440 EUR/a, depending on permissible overall
mass (here: 6.4t to 7.4t)

Images

By the way, the super-sized VW bus and the crumbled houses in the back are just a result of a panorama combination of images, as I could not find a suitable position for making a side image of the whole truck.


Start date: 2008-12-15
Post date: 2008-12-15
Version date: 2008-12-15 (for last meaningful change)

Decomposition as hindering being “intuitively human”

Or: “Why logic is no valid maxim”. “Maxim”, for the context of this post, shall mean “the single, highest principle that guides all activity of a human being”.

When conducting research in any aspect of analytic anthropology, an anthropological model arises according to which man is composed of components. And the components, the finer we analyse, turn out to be nothing but dumb matter. Elements (in different degrees of granularity) are: neurophysiological correlates of thoughts and emotions, hormons, cells, atoms.

Now this does not mean that natural scientists see themselves as something mechanical, but some of them see themselves as something that should be mechanical. More concretely: in their jobs, they arrive at meaningful results by applying mechanical means and mechanical logic unemotionally and consequently, while in their private lifes, they see rampant emotionality (their own or others) damaging everything. This can make one think that “logic” is better, or higher, than emotion. And then, they might train to act logically instead of emotionally. Until now, not much of a problem. But for these people who think analytically, it can become difficult to accept their “typical human” attributes, those like emotion that are the combined achivevement of the “system human being”. Because: as for themselves, these attributes don’t have something to do with objective reality or truth.

There are, for example, emotions: why should one allow oneself to exert emotionality, if it is neither true nor objective? However, there’s an answer to this. One has to distinguish between the implementation levels and the (abstract) level of what is “meant” by the implementation. It’s like with computer programs: the program is a collection of bits, but it means something different than just to be a collection of bits. So the justification to accept oneself as a human being (with all the “typical human” attributes) and to live as a human being comes from the fact that we’re meant, by God, to be human beings. He wants us to have and exert all these human attributes. And regarding the emotion example: emotion has nothing to do with truth, and it does not have to: it’s meant as a tool for sharing and experiencing love.

Probably, intuitive / “typically human” behavior and logic behavior should be treated as aspects, not levels. Because logic behavior is in itself typically human: animals are not capable of grasping abstract meaning and building logical steps on it. It’s a human noetic attribute. The essence is then: don’t use just logic but also the other typically human attributes.

But then, if logic and intuition are both justified, it’s also correct to say: While it’s ok to use ones intuition to determine interesting hyptheses and good assumptions what might be true, logic (and good observation) must be employed to see if something is true. For religion this means: It’s ok to “feel God at work” in some religion or in people of a specific faith, but this should be nothing more than the motivation to check this hypothesis. It’s not ok to determine truth by way of religious feelings, as done in most religions.

Women as being intuitively humans

The problem that I tried to explain seems to be a male one only. Women generally accept themselves as humans “a priori” (i.e. just based on their intuitive impression and experiences, so even without the desire to justify this acceptance by objective observations). In their eyes, they are humans, so they live as humans, and don’t think about their own decomposition. This is why, for women, emotions and relationship stuff and all that is “more of a direct, objective reality” than for men. Because, men think of matter as being the ultimate, direct, objective reality, and emotions and stuff being just “added” to reality (as something that’s unnecessary in most cases). But: if we’re meant to be humans by the wll of God, the way men think about reality is false! And, by the way, I must admit that this blog post was inspired by women, resp. by observing how women are and behave.

Implications

Implications for the basis of believing resp. my “Second Acts” project: it might be that the Gospel wants to be understood as something that’s dealt with by the humanities (i.e. as something that has to be accepted by exerting “typically human attributes” like faith / believing). This would mean that the Gospel is something that deals with humans on the human level, not on the level that deals with things, atoms, laws, and objective truth. Now while this might be the case, the foundation of a true Gospel is nonetheless the existence of the lower levels … just as there cannot be a human being without atoms, there cannot be a Gospel without the historic events it relates about. And Second Acts is about looking at these basic levels, as giving the justification for accepting the Gospel, then, on the highest (i.e. human) level.

Putting all this another way round: it’s not correct to see logic behavior as the highest goal of human behavior (as I do currently). Because logic means dealing with everything according to objective truth, adequately when just taking into account the material / lower level attributes of things. For example, logic behavior would lead to believe in Christ because of historic facts. This is logically correct.

However, what is missing by behavior that’s guided by the maxime of logic, is human behavior. Because, logic is cold, dealing with everything just according to its material / objective attributes. Logic won’t lead you to love your neighbour, and not at all to love your neighbour emotionally and in a way that’s beautiful to experience.

Therefore, it should be seens as something positive that humans are generally not lead by the maxime of logic. Example: different world religions couldn’t have evolved if people would’ve been logic. However, logic should be the basis of human behavior (so that it becomes true) and upon that, love should be added (so that it is graceful). See what’s said about Jesus: he came ingrace and truth.