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Archive for the ‘Faith’ Category

Every one of us is, in the cosmic perspective, precious.  If a human disagrees with you, let him live.  In a hundred billion galaxies, you will not find another.
  —  Carl Sagan
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On This Day In:
2019 Nothing Is Too Difficult For Me
Patterns Of Caring
2018 And May Never Be
2017 Don’t Forget
2016 I Was A Percentage Man
2015 It Waits Patiently
2014 Unknown
2013 Explaining Love?
2012 Echoes of 1%
2011 Salaam, Egypt!!
Where Do You Learn?

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Those who never rebelled against God or at some point in their lives shaken their fists in the face of heaven, have never encountered God at all.
  —  Catherine Marshall
We cannot bear to regard ourselves simply as playthings of blind chance; we cannot admit to feeling ourselves abandoned.
  —  Ugo Betti
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On This Day In:
2019 Are Your Dogs Barking?
Dangerous Waistcoats
2018 And 40+ Years Later?
2017 He Is Alone
2016 Compensation
2015 Charlie Redux
2014 The Crux
2013 Erosion And Rechannelling
Alliance, n.
2012 How Many Thought… (One I Know Of)
Choices And Decisions
2011 Speed Spoils
Simply Intended
2010 A Second 4 Hour Jog

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There is not one big cosmic meaning for all, there is only the meaning we each give to our own life.
  —  Anais Nin
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On This Day In:
2019 The Deep End
Is Anyone ELSE Out There Listening?
2018 Defining Characteristic
2017 Just Asking
2016 Still A Burden
15 And Counting
2015 All A Game
2014 Two Thoughts
2013 RIP – Dear Abby
Half-Life Problems
2012 To The Soul…
2011 Reverted!!

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If a man would follow, today, the teachings of the Old Testament, he would be a criminal.  If he would follow the teachings of the new, he would be insane.
  —  Robert G. Ingersoll
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On This Day In:
2019 20 / 20 Foresight
He Knew Damned Well…
2018 Be Someone’s Kindling
2017 When The Moment Comes
2016 Changed Clothes Lately?
2015 Like Stone
2014 Resistance Is Futile
2013 Subtle Humor
To Look Behind Green Eyes
2012 The Path Is Endless
2011 Happy MLK, Jr Day!!!
A Factor Of Ten
Better Late Than Never?
Whoops!
Acceptable Beginnings
Slow Progress
Useful Confrontation
When Phenomena Are Different
Creative Avoidance
Thinking
Fast And Flexible
Surrender Certainty
Techniques
Vive La Difference
Destiny
Completeness
Art

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Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality.  When we recognize our place in an immensity of light‐years and in the passage of ages, when we grasp the intricacy, beauty, and subtlety of life, then that soaring feeling, that sense of elation and humility combined, is surely spiritual.  So are our emotions in the presence of great art or music or literature, or acts of exemplary selfless courage such as those of Mohandas Gandhi or Martin Luther King, Jr.  The notion that science and spirituality are somehow mutually exclusive does a disservice to both.
  ―  Carl Sagan
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On This Day In:
2019 Sad Words
2018 Self-Sorted
2017 Right
2016 At Least One Step
2015 Month To Month Rental
2014 Professional Beliefs
2013 Books Are…
2012 True Distinguishing Marks
2010 Sub-300

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You better cut the pizza in four pieces because I’m not hungry enough to eat six.
  —  Yogi Berra
[Merry Christmas to all… !!  Hug everyone at your table and say a prayer of blessings for absent friends and family.  —  KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2018 Merry X-mas – 2018
2017 Focus On Christmas — 2017
2016 Merry X-mas – 2016
2015 Merry X-mas – 2015
2014 Merry X-mas – 2014
2013 Merry X-mas – 2013
2012 Merry Christmas – 2012
2011 I Have Seen

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‘In the beginning was the Word’.  I have taken as my text this evening the almighty Word itself.  Now get this: ‘There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.  The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.’  Amen, brothers and sisters, Amen.  And the riddle of the Word, ‘In the beginning was the Word….’  Now what do you suppose old John meant by that?  That cat was a preacher, and, well, you know how it is with preachers; he had something big on his mind.  Oh my, it was big; it was the Truth, and it was heavy, and old John hurried to set it down.  And in his hurry he said too much.  ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.’  It was the Truth, all right, but it was more than the Truth.  The Truth was overgrown with fat, and the fat was God.  The fat was John’s God, and God stood between John and the Truth.  Old John, see, he got up one morning and caught sight of the Truth.  It must have been like a bolt of lightning, and the sight of it made him blind.  And for a moment the vision burned on the back of his eyes, and he knew what it was. In that instant he saw something he had never seen before and would never see again.  That was the instant of revelation, inspiration, Truth.  And old John, he must have fallen down on his knees.  Man, he must have been shaking and laughing and crying and yelling and praying – all at the same time – and he must have been drunk and delirious with the Truth.  You see, he had lived all his life waiting for that one moment, and it came, and it took him by surprise, and it was gone.  And he said, ‘In the beginning was the Word….’  And man, right then and there he should have stopped.  There was nothing more to say, but he went on.  He had said all there was to say, everything, but he went on.  ‘In the beginning was the Word….’  Brothers and sisters, that was the Truth, the whole of it, the essential and eternal Truth, the bone and blood and muscle of the Truth.  But he went on, old John, because he was a preacher.  The perfect vision faded from his mind, and he went on.  The instant passed, and then he had nothing but a memory.  He was desperate and confused, and in his confusion he stumbled and went on.  ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.’  He went on to talk about Jews and Jerusalem, Levites and Pharisees, Moses and Philip and Andrew and Peter.  Don’t you see?  Old John had to go on.  That cat had a whole lot at stake.  He couldn’t let the Truth alone.  He couldn’t see that he had come to the end of the Truth, and he went on.  He tried to make it bigger and better than it was, but instead he only demeaned and encumbered it.  He made it soft and big with fat.  He was a preacher, and he made a complex sentence of the Truth, two sentences, three, a paragraph.  He made a sermon and theology of the Truth.  He imposed his idea of God upon the everlasting Truth.  ‘In the beginning was the Word….’  And that is all there was, and it was enough.
  —  Navarre Scott Momaday
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On This Day In:
2018 But Much Is Worth Learning
2017 Mr. President, About Global Warming
2016 Starting To Stumble
2015 Begin Combat
I Am A Runner
2014 Just Dig ‘N It, Why?
2013 Additions
The Object Of Instruction
2012 Telling Her
2011 On Torture

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The author of this poem [the book of Job] is a profound philosopher with a superb command of language and an exquisite sense of natural beauty.  But the astonishing thing about the book of Job is that everyone who reads it comes to a somewhat different conclusion.   Job makes us vividly aware of the paradoxes in one of life’s ultimate questions —  why do we suffer pain?  —  but he doesn’t solve the problem.  He merely demonstrates that there are no easy answers.
This is similar to one of the principal discoveries of computer science, namely that some problems are inherently so complex that they can’t possibly be solved in a finite number of steps.  We must learn to face the fact that an intellectual approach will not lead to an understanding of the cosmos; we can’t transcend our limitations.  Yet we should keep trying.  We should question authority and be aware that the traditional wisdom of religious orthodoxy might be mistaken.  This book says that after an honest search, like job’s, we’ll learn to trust God’s fairness  —  even though some good men suffer, even though some wicked men prosper, even though religion itself remains a mystery.
  —  Donald E. Knuth
From his book:  “3:16 Bible Texts Illuminated
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On This Day In:
2018 Let Us Dare
2017 Two Good To Be Real
Secrets
2016 Learning Subtle Differences
2015 Dog Eat Dog World?
2014 And Sometimes Blogs About It
2013 Outside-In
2012 They Are All Perfect
2011 Delegation – The “How-To’s”
2009 Diet Update and Other Bits & Bobs…

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My idea for a Bible class was based on a fourth way to select Bible verses for study, making use of a mathematical principle that provides an effective way to gain knowledge about complicated things:  A large body of information can be comprehended reasonably well by studying more or less random portions of the data.  The technical term for this approach is stratified sampling.  It something like the Gallup poll, in which a lot  can be learned from studying comparatively little.  Stratified sampling is a surprisingly good way to magnify our perceptual abilities.
  —  Donald E. Knuth
From the Forward to his book:  “3:16 Bible Texts Illuminated
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On This Day In:
2018 Weight / Health Update
What’s Happening With You?
2017 The Great Leveler
Conservative Depressions
2016 Election + 1 Month
2015 Dance And Sing
2014 A Measuring Stick For Progress
2013 Courtly Love Or Victory Over Habit
2012 Have We Met?
2011 Efficiently Useless

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced yesterday (5 Dec 2019), that the House is moving forward to draft articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump. “Our democracy is what is at stake.  The president leaves us no choice but to act.
As she was leaving the press briefing platform she was asked if she hated President Donald Trump.   Pelosi turned and pointed at the reporter asking the question and said:  “I don’t hate anybody.  We don’t hate anybody.  Not anybody in the world.  Don’t accuse me.
She returned to the podium to continue:  “I think the president is a coward when it comes to helping our kids who are afraid of gun violence.  I think he is cruel when he doesn’t deal with helping our dreamers.  I think he’s in denial about the climate crisis.
Impeachment, she emphasized, was about protecting the “Constitution of the United States,” rather than about policy disagreements or dislike of the president which could wait for the election.
As a Catholic, I resent your using the word hate in a sentence that addresses me.  I don’t hate anyone.
Speaker Pelosi continued, saying she prayed for the president, and, in fact did so every day.
As she turned to leave the stage she concluded: “So don’t mess with me when it comes to words like that.
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On This Day In:
2018 Seek A Clear View
2017 Living With Myself
2016 Still Looking In Mirrors?
2015 Fear No Evil
2014 And Nothing Can Be As Tragic As…
2013 Your Tax Dollars At Work
2012 Historically Unacceptable
2011 Niners Are NFC West Division Champions!!
The Essence Of Leadership

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3:16 Bible Texts Illuminated”  —  book review
Today’s review is for “3:16 Bible Texts Illuminated” (1991©) written by Donald E. Knuth.  Back in 2011, I read another book by Knuth, titled: “Things A Computer Scientist Rarely Talks About“. (Review here.)  That book, was a discussion about the author’s faith and his prior book, which is being reviewed in this post.  When I retired (in 2017), I was presented with an Amazon gift voucher, which I promised to “waste” on books, music or technology.  In this case, part of it was used to buy this book (along with a number of other Knuth books).
To save everyone the time of reading my earlier review, basically, Knuth wanted to know if one can learn anything unique or unusual about the Bible by doing a stratified (but random) sampling / review of a particular Bible verse.  In theory, if you have a sufficiently large sample to draw from, you can gain “some” knowledge about any topic by analyzing a random sample of the topic’s data.
Because Knuth was not sure this type of investigation would work for literature, Knuth chose a verse he knew would have at least one interesting data point: “Chapter 3 Verse 16”.  The chapter and verse he was confident about was John Chapter 3: Verse 16 – “Yes, God loved the world so much that he gave his only child, so that all people with faith in him can escape destruction, and live forever.
The first problem Knuth encounters is that not all of the books of the Bible have 13 verses in their chapter 3.  To get around this, he simply carried the sample forward the same number (count) of verses and take up wherever that left him.  There were, however, a number of books which were simply to short to use even this method.  In those instances, he simply chooses to drop the book. Knuth ends up with a sampling size of 59 verses.
The second issue was Knuth found scholars did not always (rarely, in fact) agree on what exactly was meant by the writings in the various Bible sources.  Not only were the scholars interpretations differing, so were the texts across the various Bible versions.  There was (is) even disagreement on if some source material is valid and / or should be included in the Bible.
In order to determine why this was happening, Knuth determined to read the Bibles in their original Hebrew / Aramaic and Greek / Latin.  He could then present his own translations as he felt they should be interpreted.  In addition, he felt he needed to translate the verses immediately before and after the target verse to ensure he was accurately relating context as well as the literal meaning.
The method of describing each of the 59 verses itself is interesting.  Each verse is covered in four pages.  Page one provides overall historic, geographic and character background information.  The second page is devoted to a calligraphic representation of the verse.  The final two pages are a word by word breakdown of the verse.  In order to do this in a manner which makes sense, Knuth sometimes adds an analysis of the preceding or following verse(s).  Just a word on the calligraphy.  Knuth approached a friend who happened to be a world renowned typeface designer to assist with the book cover illustration.  The friend (Hermann Zapf), in turn commissioned calligraphers from over 20 countries to provide the “illustration” pages.  This calligraphy, in turn, became part of a formal exhibit which I believe is currently “owned” by the San Francisco Library.  I don’t know if it (the entire exhibit) is ever shown publicly.  I know it was back in 2011, but I was not able to go view it back then.  My loss, I am sure.
So, is this book interesting?  Is it entertaining?  Is it enlightening?  Yes.  Yes, and Yes!  I am a life-long Roman Catholic, but I have never read the Bible through cover to cover.  I tried to a few years back, but had limited knowledge of the names and places and found it rather boring.  I attempted to co-read Isaac Asimov’s “Guide To The Bible“, but even this was of limited value.  I now think I just gave up too soon.  Mea culpa.
Almost every chapter of this book explained something I didn’t know or fully appreciate about the book being covered in that chapter.  Some were simple “interesting”.  Some were “that never occurred to me”.  And, some (a few) were “Wow! I’ve got to go back and read that!”  Anytime I read a book which prompts me to read more or more in-depth, I am grateful to the author.  (I’m still not sure if I’m weird that way…)  In any case, I’m now more determined than ever to read more of Knuth’s books.
In this case: final recommendation – very highly recommended!!  Even if you are not a Biblical scholar or particularly religious, this book will provide insight into one of the greatest books in all of literature.  At less than 270 pages, this is a fast read and the calligraphy is truly beautiful.  Two final notes: 1) in the afterward, Knuth wonders if his selection of “3:16” was not “influenced” and therefor not entirely random.  His conclusion was, with further analysis, it may have been, but was not intentional.  He adds, however, that he enjoyed the process so much he intends to use the methodology for further future study of other verses.  And, 2) I’ve seen in various places this book was copyright in 1990.  My version says 1991 and that’s the year I’m using above.
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On This Day In:
2018 Happy 34th Anniversary, Hil!!
2017 Happy 33rd Anniversary, Hil!!
2016 Happy 32nd Anniversary, Hil!!
2015 Happy Anniversary Hil!!
2014 30th Wedding Anniversary
2013 Number 29 (And Counting)
2012 Hammer ‘N Roses
Happy Anniversary
2011 I Can Hear It Now

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When one person suffers from a delusion, it is called insanity.  When many people suffer from a delusion it is called a Religion.
  —  Robert M. Pirsig
From his book: “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values
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On This Day In:
2018 A Reluctant Joiner
#IncompetentDonald: On The Road To Ruin
2017 He Says, It Says
2016 Marriage Advice
2015 To James (and ‘Tasha)
2014 Ssshhush, You Are Not Alone
2013 So I Chose Living…
2012 For However Short A Time…
2011 Take A Deep Breath And Continue (Or Not)
2010 Tootsie-Roll Day

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There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread.
  —  Mahatma Gandhi
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On This Day In:
2018 2018 Mid-Terms
Praying For A Blue Tsunami Election
2017 Islam Is Not The Enemy
2016 A Checkered Past, A Checkered Future
2015 Preferences
2014 Have You Taken The Pledge?
2013 Nurture Tolerance
2012 Election Day – Please Hear What I’m Not Saying
2011 Mostly Strange, Always Blue
What Is It You Want?
2010 MSNBC, Bring Back Keith !!!
Value..
Worse Still…
Afraid So…
Making It
Don’t Jump Small
Time
Push!!
I’m Still Here… (A Message To Keith Olbermann)
Choose
Not Yet…
Mean Too
Still Building (and Planning)
Hangin’ High
Always…

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Much advance publicity was made for the address the Master would deliver on “The Destruction of the World” and a large crowd gathered at the monastery grounds to hear him.  The address was over in less than a minute.  All he said was: “These things will destroy the human race: politics without principle, progress without compassion, wealth without work, learning without silence, religion without fearlessness and worship without awareness.
  —  Anthony de Mello, SJ
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On This Day In:
2018 Too Significant
2017 Shadows
2016 Still Blurry
2015 For Awhile Anyway
2014 By Contrast
2013 A Very Long Time…
2012 Raise And Support
2011 Naturally
2010 A Quick Sunday Morning Read
Giants Win Game 4 In Shutout 4 to 0!!!

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Have courage for the great sorrows of life and patience for the small ones.  And when you have finished your daily task, go to sleep in peace.  God is awake.
  —  Victor Hugo
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On This Day In:
2018 And Flights Of Fancy
Dodgers Lose 2nd Consecutive World Series!!
2017 By Their Acts Thy Shall Know Them
2016 Remembering
2015 One
2014 Sure Experiments And Demonstrated Arguments
2013 Irrational Complacency
2012 Why Criticize?
Giants Sweep 2012 World Series With Game 4 Win (4 To 3)!!!
2011 Saying Just Enough
2010 Giants Win Game 2 Shutout of Rangers – 9 to 0!!!

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