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Web Coding

Created on Wed Nov 09, 2016 4:20 pm with 22 blog posts
I am looking for help on Web coding as a hobby. It seems like most people are either not interested or interested all the way, as in making money out of it. Anyway, it's free, so why not.

The depths of despair... in Jesus Christ Revisited with 0 comments on Thu Jan 18, 2018 12:18 am
One of the common struggles, and complaints, about Christianity is the absence of God. Can there be a loving God if He does allows so much suffering and does not answer our prayers for relief and help? There is no easy answer to this, but the comfort is that the Bible does present this viewpoint as well. That even believers can despair, to the point of death:

Psalm 88 [NIV]
A song. A psalm of the Sons of Korah. For the director of music. According to mahalath leannoth.
A maskil of Heman the Ezrahite.

1 Lord, you are the God who saves me;
day and night I cry out to you.
2 May my prayer come before you;
turn your ear to my cry.
3 I am overwhelmed with troubles
and my life draws near to death.
4 I am counted among those who go down to the pit;
I am like one without strength.
5 I am set apart with the dead,
like the slain who lie in the grave,
whom you remember no more,
who are cut off from your care.
6 You have put me in the lowest pit,
in the darkest depths.
7 Your wrath lies heavily on me;
you have overwhelmed me with all your waves.
8 You have taken from me my closest friends
and have made me repulsive to them.
I am confined and cannot escape;
9 my eyes are dim with grief.
I call to you, Lord, every day;
I spread out my hands to you.
10 Do you show your wonders to the dead?
Do their spirits rise up and praise you?
11 Is your love declared in the grave,
your faithfulness in Destruction?
12 Are your wonders known in the place of darkness,
or your righteous deeds in the land of oblivion?
13 But I cry to you for help, Lord;
in the morning my prayer comes before you.
14 Why, Lord, do you reject me
and hide your face from me?
15 From my youth I have suffered and been close to death;
I have borne your terrors and am in despair.
16 Your wrath has swept over me;
your terrors have destroyed me.
17 All day long they surround me like a flood;
they have completely engulfed me.
18 You have taken from me friend and neighbor—
darkness is my closest friend.
When life loses all meaning... in Jesus Christ Revisited with 0 comments on Tue Jan 16, 2018 7:50 am
This past year has been a particularly difficult year for me. I was, for a short two years, heading a department at work. The pressure, intrigue, call it what you will, got too much and I stepped down. When I did so, I felt both a weight lifted off my shoulders and a sinking feeling in my heart. I had thought the position of heading a department would bring out my abilities and enable me to take myself to the next level. It wasn't to be. Instead, I struggled and, to my own mind at least, I lost.

So, what now? Pick up the pieces and start again? Being over 60, I most feel like giving up. Dang it all. I've had enough. Most people my age have retired. In the last year alone, I counted at least 3 from the department alone. I am now, amazingly, the oldest staff here.

I'm tired. And, my body is beginning to give, starting with my knees. They hurt when I walk. I am not as energetic as I used to be too. I forget what I'm supposed to be doing, and I feel overwhelmed by the future ahead. I really cannot go on.

So, now, I look at the year ahead with no enthusiasm. I plod along like an automaton, just being, as much as I can, the person I've always been. But I'm dead inside.

For us Christians, we awake to Christ when we die to ourselves. It's metaphorical, of course, but there is much evidence to support this. Both Buddhism and modern psychology encourages us to let go of our aspirations so that we may better appreciate what we have before us. For the depressed, anxious, and unhappy amongst us, the solution is to trade our worldview for a more positive one. There are those self-help programs that go further, and encourage you to seek and live your dreams. But underlying those, and the rest, less aspirational and perhaps more spiritual, is a call to appreciate the little things in life - the people who love you, the comparative ease in your life, the fact that you live in a peaceful and safe neighborhood, and so on. It appears that the most important things in life are the things you take for granted. It's the old, I was unhappy because I had no shoes until I saw a man with no legs, philosophy.

It's the paradox where the more you care about others, and conversely, the less you care about yourself, the happier you will be. In Christian terms, give your life to God, and He'll give you Life. It's not the older adage of doing unto others what you would others do unto you, but the further step of living your life for the other. The step of sacrifice. Easier said than done.
Buddhism and Christianity in Jesus Christ Revisited with 6 comments on Tue May 16, 2017 4:24 am
Although Buddhism is seen to be a very different religion from Christianity, I think the differences are human constructs, put in place to somehow differentiate ourselves from others rather than speaking to the underlying truth of the world we live in. It seems that this view is shared by some prominent Buddhists. For example, there's this post about the Dalai Lama who, when asked which is the best religion said, “The best religion is the one that gets you closest to God. It is the one that makes you a better person.” http://inthefootstepsofthebuddha.com/your-religion-is-not-important/

Is this not also, love God, and love one another? Why did the Dalai Lama talk at all about God? Why not just say, the one that makes you a better person? The thing is, the energy to love with compassion and forgiveness comes only when we can draw upon the well, the source of goodness, within us.

And then, there this post as well: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lewis-richmond/do-buddhists-believe-in-g_b_859658.html

It seems to me that when you search deep enough for the meaning in life, you will come to this simple answer, Love God, and love one another. In Buddhism, and now in modern psychology, through the practice of mindfulness, we have discovered that we cannot be kind to one another if we are not in touch with our deeper selves and draw our energy from that. Now, you may think, at first, that this energy comes from within you but there will come a time when you see this energy in the world and the universe and wonder, is there God.
Reading the Bible with fresh eyes in Jesus Christ Revisited with 0 comments on Fri Mar 24, 2017 5:31 am
If, as a Christian, we accept that God is not just God of believers but God of the universe and everything and everyone in it, and that, following from that, the expectation that God has of us is the same since the first humans were created and applies whether or not we are Christians, then I suggest that the best expression of this expectation from God, of telling us what life is all about, comes from Jesus: love God and love one another.

The command is self-evident, although we don't acknowledge it that deeply. The premise that Jesus puts to us is that we cannot do this (love one another) in its truest sense unless we acknowledge God's love for us and dwell in His love.

If this is the case, that God is greater than Christianity, then how are we to read the Bible? Bearing in mind the frustration that Jesus has with religion, even with the churches he spoke to in Revelations, and bearing in mind that Jesus didn't leave behind any writing of his own nor commissioned anyone to write down his words and teach them, and bearing in mind that Jesus did not commission the Bible nor ask that it be written, and looking at the way he lived and preached in the time he was here, then I suggest that the Bible is no more and no less a Holy Book than any other (the Quran, Tripitaka, the Tao Te Ching, etc).

It is when we approach it as such, with no divine expectations of it, and reading it in context (considering the time it was written, the people who wrote it, and the audience it was intended for), that much of the magic of the Bible manifests itself. It is when we allow that it can be flawed, that our reading of it can be mistaken, that looking at it in context will take us closer to the truth, that the real meanings in the Bible are revealed.

For example, to take the Bible's account of the Beginning, with God creating the universe and the people in it as a literal account, we get into all kinds of difficulties with the actual process and the number of days vs years vs millenia and wonder if the Bible is true at all. But, if we reflect on the fact that the Biblical account was written (and before that, shared orally) more than 5, maybe even 10, thousand years ago, the correlation between the Biblical account and the current scientific account of the Big Bang becomes amazing. It is when we compare the Biblical account with all the other accounts available at that time (see for example, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_creation_myths), that we can really appreciate how distinctive and unexpected the Biblical account is.

I read it again, and it still takes my breath away. How was it possible for anyone several millenia ago, to come up with anything that even remotely resemble the Big Bang, even down to the sequence of creation, that fishes came first before the birds and land animals, and then us?

To then pick on little details like how much time it took, seems to me to be pedantic and pointless. We have better ways than the Bible to get at the truth of these matters and we should rely on the evidence before us and conclude on what we can believe and what we should not.

It is pedantic and pointless both for the critics of the Bible and for the believers (who seem bent to prove that the Bible is literally true). Why? It seems to me dangerous to do so. And we have, historically and even today, seen how literal readings of Holy Books can lead us to much grief.

I suggest we read the Bible with fresh eyes, not expecting of it what it is not meant to provide, testing what we learn with what we experience in our lives, and finding our way through our lives (this gift we have) as best we can. And I think we will find, as I do, fresh encouragement from it and much unexpected wisdom.
The other side of the coin in Jesus Christ Revisited with 0 comments on Tue Mar 21, 2017 1:21 am
I have argued that the path to living a fulfilling life lies in taking up the challenge that Jesus has given us, to love God and to love one another. I've said that this is true whether or not you believe in God. And finally, I've suggested that we can find comfort in God through meditative prayer. I believe all this because (a) having searched into all kinds of religion, and living for a large part of my life an atheist, (b) attended counseling and reading up on counseling practices and their related theories in psychology, and (c) listened to how other people, Christians and non-Christians, live their lives, this is my best summary of what I've learnt.

Nevertheless, there are atheists who are living perfectly good lives (as far as I can tell, and whom I admire): http://www.deseretnews.com/top/2793/2/Jodie-Foster-12-non-believers-who-have-kind-words-for-the-religious-.htm.

And arguments against God which I can sympathize with: http://www.twainquotes.com/God.htm.

While I disagree with them (obviously), it seems to me kinder not to argue with them and to hold on to my belief that God is kind and loving, and that He, as any loving father would, understand their struggles and love them, as we do. I will even argue that they, in living their lives well, in accepting all religions, and even in rejecting Christianity because they see what is wrong with it, might be closer to God than many who believe. The only regret is that they do not have access to the loving God that believers have. One of the wonders of this life is that there are two sides to the coin.
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