Tag Archives: Curiosity

Is Pastor Bruce Gerencser a Theonomist?

Picture by Yuma, Bilboq, and Amada44.

Picture by Yuma, Bilboq, and Amada44.

Last week someone found my blog by searching for this phrase.

It’s stuff like this that makes me wish Google Analytics provided more information about individual searches because I’d love to know who was asking the question and why they were so curious about theological positions held by a former pastor many years ago.

Bruce is actually a friend of mine so we ended up chatting about this odd search phrase shortly after it popped up on my radar. Sorry to disappoint you, anonymous reader, but while he was a Theonomist many years ago he hasn’t been one for a very long time. ūüėČ

Longterm readers already know how I feel about the topic of gossip, but as a social phenomenon it’s a bizarre thing. Sometimes rumours are based on the truth, sometimes they’re based on outdated information, and sometimes the latest gossip about as accurate as the telephone game.

Here’s a modest proposal: instead of assuming or guessing what’s going on with other people…why not just ask them?

I know, I know. The truth isn’t always salacious. Sometimes even people who say controversial things end up being pretty ordinary once you get to know them.

Picture by Laura Bassett.

Picture by Laura Bassett.

Yes, some questions are too prying unless you know the recipient very well, but even then there are ways to circle around a topic if you’re absolutely dying to know and are willing to accept a polite redirection of the conversation if the other party isn’t willing to tread that ground.

Yes, some questions have been asked a thousand times before. You don’t always know which ones they are, though, and ignorance is really only a problem for people who refuse to seek out education on the matter once they’re aware it’s in their blind spot.

So I still say it’s better to have one straightforward conversation than swirl around in speculation.

 

 

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How to Be an Interesting Quiet Person

442px-Quiet!

“Quiet” by –ē–Ľ–Ķ–Ĺ–į –ė–Ľ—Ć–ł–Ĺ–į.

A few weeks ago a new reader found this blog by searching for this phrase.

The answer is quite simple: occasionally share the delicious thoughts you prefer to keep to yourself.

Those of you who have met me in person know how quiet I usually am in large social gatherings. Some folks have the irrepressible urge to share every single thought that flitters through their mind.

It’s great to listen to them but I’m not that kind of person.

I’d rather listen while I figured everyone else out than reveal too much information about myself prematurely. It’s better to be seen as a little mysterious than to throw all of your cards on the table before you even know which game everyone is playing.

At times I’ve attended a gathering, thoroughly enjoyed myself and gone home without talking more than ten minutes the entire night. I don’t believe in speaking for the sake of speaking or in sharing a premature idea. Better to mention something a little too late than to say what you’re thinking before you’ve decided what your opinion is on the topic!

Every once in a while, though, when everyone else least expects it I’ll pick the ripest thought and share it.

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The Controversies of 2113

600px-TheMoonTerraformedLow

“The Moon Terraformed,” by Ittiz.

One of my favourite blogs, Paleofuture, shows us what people in the past thought life would be like in the future. Some predictions are quite accurate, others are laughable off the mark.

In the spirit of Paleofuture here are my predictions for the biggest controversies of 2113:

Should android-human relationships be legally recognized? How do you construct a fair marriage contract between a machine and person?

If dolphins have been granted human rights why not expand the same privileges to other animals?

Now that we have universal antibiotic resistance how do we keep the gravely ill alive? Is it ever worth performing surgery knowing that act carries serious risk of post-operative infections we can no longer treat?

Can humming a song without paying the appropriate royalty fees be considered a copyright breach?

Is it ethical to cut off someone’s Internet access if they can’t afford to pay for it? Isn’t the Internet as crucial to modern life as electricity or running water?

With new, fertile land opening up and settlers moving in should Antartica be chartered as her own country or function as a colony of an existing nation?

Respond

How would you answer these questions? What do you think will be the hot topics of 2113?

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Stairs to No End

Stairs to no end from Daniella Koffler on Vimeo.

This is a parable about asking questions, the fear that inhibits us and how difficult it is to stifle curiosity permanently.

When I was 11 years old I thought all adults had to have children especially if they ended up in a longterm relationship. The few I met who did not follow this rule were deliciously rebellious. I wondered how they’d gotten away with it but was pretty sure I wouldn’t be able to follow in their footsteps. For one thing, most of them were men and I’d somehow come to the conclusion that the rules weren’t so easily bent for women.

I didn’t know why things were this way or how to change them but in quiet moments I thought about it often. It was a puzzle for which I hadn’t been given all of the pieces yet.

There were a few adult women in our social circles who waited until they were really old to have a baby. Some were 30 or even older! I thought, therefore, that I could probably delay it until I was that age. At which point I’d figure out some other reason to wait just one more year¬†for a decade or two until I became impossibly old.

It was only as I grew older that I figured out that becoming a parent really was a choice. No one could force me to have a child and it was ok to never do it.

That realization was a breathe of fresh air.  In the near future would come other labels: bi. non-theist. humanist.

A generation or two ago I don’t know that I would have been able to be so open about who I really am to the world.

But it all started with a question I had yet to answer and a conviction I couldn’t (quite) name.

Respond

What did you think of the video? What questions or identities have bubbled their way to your surfaces?

 

 

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3 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Agree with Everything You Read

CloudCoverRecently I had a conversation with someone who doesn’t understand my tendency to read blogs and books written by people with whom I disagree.¬†Why not focus on everyone who sees the world exactly the way that you do?

Well, many of the writers I follow do agree with me. There’s comfort in spending time with people who share your beliefs and don’t need lengthy explanations about X, Y or Z.

With that being said here are 3 reasons why it’s¬†beneficial¬†to read stuff that ruffles your feathers, too:

1. You might be wrong. I might be wrong, too! There’s value in holding opinions in the palm of your hands instead of in a clenched fist. Occasionally I’ve ¬†changed my opinion midstream when the person I’m speaking with introduces me to a new way of looking at the topic. Even if everyone walk away with no changes to our ideas we will at least know how others think.

2.¬†They’re good writers. Knowing how to clearly communicate through the written word is a gift. ¬†I’ve winced through far too many poorly-constructed books, blog posts and essays in my 29 years to continue giving them my attention. At this point I’d much rather focus on story-tellers (fiction and non-fiction alike) who know this craft well enough to creatively break the rules.

3. ¬†Friendly disagreement sharpens your mind. Disagreement doesn’t always mean conflict and ¬†conflict isn’t always bad. Once one begins to temper the urge to always be right there is so much we can learn from examining what it is we believe and why it is we believe it. It takes a long time for me to grow comfortable enough to do this with other people as it can lead you to quite vulnerable places. The list of folks who have made it so far is fairly small (and even they know not to push certain topics) but the rewards are long-lasting.

 

 

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A Response to Nothing is More Important

800px-Nothing_stoneLate last year my friend Zora blogged her replies to what a search engine came up with when she typed in the phrase, “nothing is more important.”

A few weeks after she posted this entry I kept finding articles about how google filters what we see on the Internet. You and I can enter the exact same word or phrase into google and get quite different results based on our previous browsing and search term history.

With this in mind let’s all search for Zora’s phrase and compare our results. Zora listed 7 items so I will stop at that number as well.

Here is what I ended up seeing:

1. Nothing is more important than money. Assuming you have enough money to pay for the basics I completely disagree with this.

2. Nothing is more important than a fair trial. This is pretty important.

3. Ain’t nothing more important than the mula. These are apparently lyrics from a Big Sean song. I am so out of touch with mainstream music nowadays.

4. Nothing is more important than relationships. Depending on the relationship, absolutely.

5. Nothing is more important than educating girls. This PDF would agree with that statement.

6. Nothing is more important than teaching compassion. This is tied with #2 for being the closest to the truth.

7. Nothing is more important than editing.¬†For writers this is crucial. Poor editing can destroy an otherwise amazing concept. While great editing can’t make an unlikable character or terrible plot suddenly worth your time it will make you wince less as you read it.

Respond

What were your results?

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How to Rediscover Your Sense of Wonder

With his permission today I’m blogging a response to a semi-recent tweet from @mike_friesen :

Somedays, I wonder how I can rediscover the beauty seen through the eyes of a child without the naivete. I want wonder and awe with wisdom. [sic]

This is what I’d recommend:

1. Stop watching commercials. ¬†There’s something about advertising that seems to dull¬†creativity¬†and playfulness. Instead of being happy with what I do have commercials make me think I need stuff that five minutes ago I didn’t even want. This doesn’t mean you have to stop watching your favourite shows…just hit the mute button, fast-forward through them or go take a washroom break.

2. Show someone around. Last week my uncle was in town. Drew and spent an afternoon with him walking around some of the best part of Toronto and it was amazing to me how many details of our city that I stopped noticing a long time ago surprised or amused him.

3. Read a book. As much of a cliche as this is to type a good story can transport you to worlds you never even knew existed. Need author suggestions? Leave a comment and I’ll see what I can do.

Photo by A4gpa.

4. Go for a walk and ask questions. Why was(n’t) that building torn down? Who chose the¬†name of this street? To where does this trail lead? What scent is tickling my dog’s nose? There are so many untold stories on even the most ordinary walk.5.

5. Seek out kindred spirits. That is, spend more time with the people in¬†your life who understand what you’re doing and less with those who think you’re being childish or silly. Any adult who thinks being practical and not asking too many questions is¬†the best response to the mysteries of life isn’t someone with whom I’d want to spend a great deal of time anyway.

‚ÄúMiss Barry was a kindred spirit after all,” Anne confided to Marilla, “You wouldn’t think so to look at her, but she is. . . Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It’s splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.‚ÄĚ
‚Äē¬†L.M. Montgomery,¬†Anne of Green Gables

 Respond

What would you tell Mike?

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How to Celebrate the Holidays When You Don’t Have an Extended Family

A new reader recently found this blog by searching for this phrase. It’s a great question, one in which is just as applicable for people who live far away from or haven’t formed a close or healthy relationship with ¬†their extended family.

My family moved several times when I was growing up. For four years we lived on the opposite side of the country as all of our extended family members. When I was a teenager we often ended up attending three or four dinners in order to visit everyone over the holidays.

As an adult I decided to move to another country in order to marry the man that I loved. His parents and siblings don’t celebrate Thanksgiving or Christmas so most of time we’re on our own. In other words, I have quite a bit of experience celebrating holidays with and without extended family.

It was a little lonely at first but now I’m perfectly content with our two-person holidays. As much as I love travelling to the U.S. every few years over Christmas there’s something to be said for a quiet day at home on the off years.

The trick is to figure out what makes you happiest. Do you want to be alone over the holidays? Is spending time with one or two other people your sweet spot? Or maybe you want to squeeze as many friends around your dining room table as possible?I can’t answer these questions for you but I can offer up a few concrete ideas as you make plans for the next six weeks:

Go commune with the trees. If the weather is nice go for a long walk. Even in the winter nature is full of surprises and there’s nothing I love more than disappearing into a quiet park, desert or forest for a little while to see what it has to offer me today.

Find people in the same circumstances. Trust me, you are not the only person who will be celebrating alone or only with your nuclear family this year. If you need someone or several someones with whom to spend the day pay attention to what your coworkers, neighbours, fellow volunteers or acquaintances say over the next several weeks.

Photo by Boby Dimitrov.

Start a new tradition. Make your favourite meal. Volunteer somewhere. Pop a fresh bowl of popcorn and rent the least (or most!) holiday-related movie you can imagine. Go see what restaurants are open in your city. Play board games. Stay in bed all day with your significant other – what you two do in there is no one’s business but your own. ūüėČ

Try something new.¬†This tip depends on where you live but here in Toronto there are people from so many different cultures and religions that most holidays are not actually universal. Some areas of the city shut down on Christmas. Others are so heavily populated by groups who don’t consider it holy or special that December 25 is treated just like any other day. Restaurants in these neighbourhoods remain open and provide a wonderful opportunity to try new dishes.

Respond

How are you planning to celebrate the holidays this year?

 

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Are Most People Happy?

Photo by Mohs Rahman.

Fair warning: this post contains mild spoilers for seasons one and two of Mad Men. 

Earlier this summer Drew and I started watching a fantastic drama called Mad Men. We recently started the second season and while watching one of the episodes last night I turned to Drew and remarked how odd it was that all of the characters were so deeply unhappy.

He didn’t see it as unusual at all. In fact, he thinks it’s a pretty accurate representation of how most people feel about their lives.

At first I disagreed. While my immediate and extended family and I certainly have had our share of tough times  over the years Рfrom cancer to serious financial crises, mental illness to various forms of assault Рmy life is pretty happy overall and I have a fist full of pleasant memories for every sad one.

I do wonder how typical this is though. A significant percentage of the people I’ve known were abused in some way as children. Others ¬†have been disowned by their families ¬†due to falling in love with the “wrong” person or are in circumstances ¬†so dysfunctional that they cloud out the rest of their lives.

Not everyone I know fits these descriptions, of course, but enough do that it seems as though it’s just as common to be miserable as it is to be happy.

Respond

Are most of the people you know best are generally happy or unhappy? How would you extrapolate this answer to people in general? (That is, do you think you and your loved ones feel happier, less happy or about the same as the average person?)

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2012 Questions

Almost all of us have made a New Year’s resolution at least once.

This year I’m asking New Year’s questions instead:

  • When and why did people first start making resolutions on New Year’s eve?
  • What do lychee taste like?
  • Does the Mayan calendar end on December 21 because the world is going to end or because someone forgot to finish their assignment a few centuries ago? ūüėČ
  • Can you make a dairy-free version of flan?
  • Is hiking more enjoyable when you add extra people?
  • What was daily life like for the average person in Europe a thousand years ago?

And probably many other questions I’ve yet to think of.

2012 is going to be a year of¬†curiosity¬†for me, though. There’s so much out there I haven’t learned yet!

Respond

Have you made a New Year’s resolution? What questions will you be asking in 2012?

 

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