Further musings on free will

Last week I wrote a bit about free will and now I want to do so a little more. Specifically, I want to talk about the nature of choice.

Choice is a tricky beast, partly because it is a holistic process. The Nature vs Nurture camps can debate all they want but as far as I’m concerned the issue is settled, neither nature nor nurture can be said to reign supreme in shaping our lives (though Proverbs 22:6 does give a big nod to the effectiveness of appropriate nurture). We are as far as I can tell composite creatures, shaped by father Adam’s sin and the sin of our immediate fathers, shaped by upbringing, by knowledge and by experience, by things both physical and spiritual. We are shaped by all of these things, and coupled with the specific circumstances from moment to moment we approach every decision in our lives. And we do not possess the ability to separate these things from who we are and how we choose.

The problem is, if you accept this, then God must walk a very careful line of interacting with us, lest He tip our scales one way or another. In fact, if one were to take this seriously, the list of areas where God would not be allowed to exert His will would be incredibly large. And if He did choose to act, He would have to nudge us back towards perdition every time He did something that pushed us in the direction of redemption, lest He be accused of making our choices for us.

And this leads us to the problem of understanding the nature of choosing. How much chance has to exist that a person will choose either option for it to be properly called a choice? We know that all decisions aren’t 50/50. We know that there are many days that given the choice to live or die (and don’t we almost always have that option) there would be no thought involved, our choice is already made. “But I could have chosen death,” you say, “if I had really wanted to.” But isn’t that part of a choice? Yes, we choose what we want, but many little somethings have gone into making us into the sort of person that wants some specific thing. And how many of those little somethings bear the mark of the work of God? None? One or two? All of them?

I’m not trying to say there is no such thing as free will. I’m trying to say that we have defined it in such a way that it cannot exist with a God who wants to do any specific thing. It cannot co-exist the way we have defined it with a passage such as Romans 9.

Does that make sense?

A closer look at Ron Paul

If you haven’t been to Wikipedia and read their article on Ron Paul, you should do so, right now. This guy is sharp, he’s humble, and he is according to both his own party members as well as his political opponents, an excellent example of what a congressman should be.

Some of the things that stood out to me about Ron Paul:

  • He is strongly pro life (something very few presidential candidates can claim in this election)
  • He has never voted for a tax increase.
  • He has never voted for a congressional pay raise.
  • He does not participate in the Congressional pension (calling it immoral).
  • He sometimes spends three to four days a week in his district addressing constituents’ concerns, often accompanied by one of his 17 grandchildren.
  • Paul’s Congressional office returns money to the government each year; in 2000, the sum returned was $50,000

So, if you haven’t done so, it may be time for you to take a look at Ron Paul, because he’s running for President, and so far, he has my vote.

Facts* about me: Stuff I never even knew, though I suspected the bit about the dolphins


Ten Top Trivia Tips about Charles Churchill!

  1. Charles Churchillicide is the killing of Charles Churchill.
  2. Some people in Malaysia bathe their babies in beer to protect them from Charles Churchill.
  3. The condominium – originally made from Charles Churchill – was invented in the early 1500s!
  4. More people are killed by Charles Churchill each year than die in aeroplane accidents!
  5. It takes more than 500 peanuts to make Charles Churchill.
  6. Britain’s Millennium Dome is more than double the size of Charles Churchill.
  7. The only planet that rotates on its side is Charles Churchill.
  8. Never store Charles Churchill at room temperature.
  9. Charles Churchill is actually a vegetable, not a fruit!
  10. Dolphins sleep at night just below the surface of Charles Churchill, and frequently rise to the surface for air.
I am interested in – do tell me about

* Not to be mistaken with the word “facts” (notice the lack of asterisk) Facts* are quite tricky and are typically not facts at all. See Truthiness, also Honesty*

Blog of the Week: One more week of Bittersweetness

I’m about to do something unprecedented. It’s BIG. Really, really, BIG. But before I do, you have to understand something about the Internet, this website, and the Blog of the Week feature.

The Internet is a vast and virtual expanse of wasteland filled predominantly with web sites of little or no interest to anyone. It is a dark place. A bleak place. A place where, if you will pardon the expression, happy flowers do not grow.

But there are oases.

The problem is finding them. This is where The Preacher comes in. Poised between the Internet and the oases, like a magnifying glass between the sun and an anthill, this website, and in particular the Blog of the Week feature, serves to magnify those sites of quality which are oh-so-difficult to find.

But there is a downside. Much like the magnifying glass, the unfiltered gaze of The Preacher can prove unbearable. The strain produced by the flood of new visitors has been known1 to bring even the largest web site to its knees. In short, such power brings with it a terrible responsibility.

Which brings me to my announcement: Bittersweet Life will remain the Blog of the Week for one week more. You are shocked. Believe me: I understand your shock. You are amazed. Know this: I can empathize.

Never, not even once, in the two-week history of Blog of the Week has a blog remained as King of the List for such a span of time. But quality demands such a concession. For such a site as this, there is no other choice2

1 “known” in a figurative sense. Loosely known, as in “not really” or as in “I’m making this up” see fiction

2 Also, I am going out of town for a few days, and it is going to be super busy.

This is a love story: a very short (and possibly unfinished) work of fiction

Author’s Note: This is not a new piece. I wrote it a few years ago, and while I’m still not totally happy with it, for some reason, I like it very much. So, occasionally, I get it out, reread it a few times, make a few edits, and stare at it, all the while wishing I had an idea for making it longer. This time, I thought I would share it with you. As always, comments are welcome

This is a love story. There is a girl. There is a boy. It is traditional.
I should warn you though, you have already been lied to.

Continue reading “This is a love story: a very short (and possibly unfinished) work of fiction”


I’ve been sick for the past week or so, but it’s been a kind of background thing; the sort where you feel horrible in the morning, but you gargle with salt water and take a hot shower and seventeen aspirin1 and pretend that you’re not really feeling bad, but by the time evening rolls around you want to buy a cheap coffin and take a really long nap. Anyway, it finally caught up with me this weekend., so that’s why there haven’t been any new posts.

I do have some posts brewing though, and hopefully, I’ll get around to posting them later on this week.

1I don’t really take seventeen aspirin. I almost never take aspirin, but when I am feeling really lousy, I usually take three regular strength aspirin, twice a day2.

2This is the type of hard hitting triviality that you can expect from this site. Aspirin quantities, irrelevant footnotes, fever induced rambling. You have been warned