Monday, January 25, 2010
Euler's Identity may be key
I can't believe I somehow missed this beautiful piece of mathematics from Leonard Euler. Perhaps I just wasn't ready for it at 21.
Today, while perusing modblog, I came across this beautiful piece that some guy decided to print on his back (the hard way).
For about a decade, I've thought that when we figure out the connection between pi and e, we would be able to get a handle on the nature of the universe, since both of them are transcendental numbers. The fact that this knowledge has existed for centuries already obviously means either that I was wrong, or that we haven't dug deeply enough into this secret. I am actually amazed, almost tearful, at the beauty of this equation, because not only does it have e and pi, but it also has 0, 1, and i, which are pretty much the other top three starting/continuing points of the mathematical universe.
Just... wow. I guess I'm just behind the times. Now, to study up. It might take a lifetime or more to figure this one out. Maybe I'll get lucky. Then again, I still haven't learned circular breathing for the didgeridoo either.
"A torus is a geometer's thing.
It's a ring encircling a ring.
They come in many sizes and shapes.
And they have wings.
The ring torus, most common, is king.
The spindle torus has a football-shaped thing.
The horn torus has deep meaning.
A single point in the center,
Where everything comes together.
At a special place called the origin.
Where at every instance we always begin.
At this nexus we're creating our spirit
Our here and our now touching everything near it.
The pictures are denser than poetry knows,
So I'll try and explain it less densely in prose.
chant/prayer/mantra: Revelation is not corked.
agape to all,
Friday, January 22, 2010
Fascinating Deconstruction of the Social Construction of Sexual Orientation
Here is the link to the Prop 8 Trial in the Federal Appeals court. I think that's currently where it is in the process. Given the recent Supreme Court conservative bloc activist decision against campaign finance reform, I'm worried about what will happen if/when Prop 8 makes it to their door.
I won't comment on the trial right now, but this provides a valuable view into a sociological understanding of gayness. :)
agape to all,
Friday, January 15, 2010
Answers to a friend's questions
A friend asked me some questions on Facebook, and I want to answer them here, so that Facebook doesn't try and claim some weird rights to them, and because I realized that I haven't really blogged on the trinity for some strange reason (but thought I had)....
Here it is:
I've been meaning to ask you two questions. Your FB post today lends a third:
If you don't mind,"what does it take to be a Unitarian Universalist minister?","What does it mean to be a UU minister?", and now,"What do you know about the Holy Spirit?".
I hope the evicted fellow you were attempting to help is doing well,
1. What's it take:
- A calling
- A decision to answer the call
- Successful completion of an M.Div degree: ~3-5 years in seminary (I'm just finishing at sksm.edu)
- A one year internship in a parish ministry or community ministry setting
- A three month chaplaincy internship
- One needs to pass a preliminary and final review board composed of peers (ministers and lay people in the UU movement)
- And one needs to read this ever-looming pile of books: https://secure2.uua.org/leaders/leadership/ministerialcredentialing/16224.shtml
- Finally, it requires a congregation that sees fit to ordain/bless the minister's ministry
2. To me being a UU minister means that one upholds the 7 unitarian universalist principles, works as a prophetic agent for social justice in multiple arenas, tends to pastoral care needs in a congregation or community, and probably several other things, including sending handwritten "glad you came to visit us" cards to new visitors. :)
3. What do I know about the Holy Spirit? "Knowing" is the realm of epistemology and metaphysics, and in my studies, knowing has turned out to be conflated with believing far too often. As a dyed-in-the-wool universal agnostic who recognizes the ubiquity of metaphor, I come from a school of thought where we must operate within a consensual reality based on reason, extended by faith, whenever truth is impossible to ascertain....
To answer the actual question: from a Unitarian standpoint, I'd say the trinity is a human-made construction of meaning, applied to divinity. As a "Transcendental Trinitarian Unitarian Universalist,"I recognize a model of divinity in which there is a divine whole, undivided into sections. In addition, I also recognize the trinity as a model for understanding the nature of divinity, dividing it into three parts, cognitive handles that may help us grasp the divine in all its complexity and beauty:
Divinity Beyond: Commonly known as "God"--that which is beyond conception, beyond understanding, or even imagination. At one time, we didn't understand the Sun, or the seasons, molecules, or the inside of the human body/mind. As we learn more
Divinity Within: Commonly known as "the Son", but exists within everyone--it involves going deep to find that still small voice of conscience and drive within oneself; and
Divinity Between or Among: Commonly known as the Holy Spirit, which is a connection or glue that holds us together in beloved community--interpersonal communication with a quality more like a caress or kiss than an invasive/phallic communicative endeavor (to put one's words/ideas/psyche into another) or an enveloping/yonic endeavor (to inconsiderately frame another's words/ideas/psyche into one's own structure). I also touch on the Holy Spirit a little in the previous post on John 2.
Those three parts of this trinity can be kind of exemplified by a paper clip turned into a triangle. It's a scalene triangle--the sides aren't all the same length. We're not really sure which side/angle represents the within, beyond, or between. And the edges are curved, meaning there's a little bit of gray-space or overlap between each of the two where they meet. I could elaborate I suppose but I won't. I'm going to bed instead.
4. The evicted fellow is doing pretty crappy actually. He's fully living on the streets now (sleeping on the sidewalk) and took off mid-way through yesterday's Bible Study, leaving his coat and umbrella behind. I had intended to hook him up with some resources, but won't see him again until NEXT Thursday. Unfortunately, he is one of multitudes of people on the streets with mental illness who are unable to participate or navigate within the system--a system which would be nonplussing/stymieing for anyone, really.
lyrics: world wake up today
colors: black, brown, white
mood: long day
agape to all,
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Today at the Faithful Fools Bible Study, by asking for 3 one-digit numbers from 0-9, and given 8, 6, and 4, then adding 100 to 864, and multiplying by 2, we ended up at page 1928 in The Message translation of the Bible that was at my seat, which brought us to chapter 2 of the Gospel of John. Inside I groaned a little at first, because it's the story of the wine miracle, and then JC casting out the money changers from the temple. Both of which I've heard so many times...
But a closer examination brought a few new insights, so I'm glad we did it.
According to the story he made approximately 150 gallons of wine (starting from six 20-30 gallon pots of water). That must've been a heck of a big wedding, or a lot of drinking happened. Actually the part I liked the most was the symbolism. The wine miracle story needs to be understood on the symbolic level, or the reading of it is almost entirely wasted.
The vessels were for Jewish vessels for purified water. Turning the water into wine--not just wine--but 150 gallons of really awesome wine is symbolic. This was our reading of the story: The wedding party had apparently been going alone just dandily until they were almost out of wine. Jesus' mother asks him to do that one trick he does, and he kind of snubs her, telling her it's not yet time for him to out himself, and not for a wedding (in the Gospel of John, he has not yet performed any miracles, so this would be the first). Then he decides to do it anyway. No doubt the bridegroom would've been pretty embarrassed to throw this big shindig and run out of wine.
The wine is the Spirit. Water is the raw materials (the unanimated, unenlightened life), but then when it's come alive, it's wine. (FWIW, the Spirit isn't some indefinable mojo that only the Church or some formalized Kergyma group has access to--it's simply our down-to-Earth connection to one another as divine beings. It is namaste and recognizing the light between ourselves and each other.)
But the party had run out of wine, and Jesus (as Christ) introduced a ton of it (actually closer to half a ton).
So the bridgegroom then would be the controller of the party. The party is life itself. And when life all around is debased to its raw materials, and for sale, and individualized, and neglects our connections, it's time for Christ to bring the miracle, to let loose with an abundance of connective Spirit.
The fact that it's a wedding, a joining together of two people (or in the thinking of the times, a man acquiring a woman) can be seen in terms of process theology. Things in the world coming together in a concrescence of events. This can sort of be shown a bit by the nexus within the horn torus in the video sermon I showed on Jan 3 at UUSF, which I'll eventually provide a link to once I finalize the images in the video material.
Also at the Bible Study, somebody pointed out how the story expresses Jesus' unwillingness to perform miracles* at times (his push-back on his mother, his denial of Satan during the trial in the desert, and his refusal to do much of anything at Herod's request). IOW, don't do your miracles (or your work) at the devil's request.
*multithetical belief allows for the possibility and impossibility of miracles--both the certitude and certain denial....
Regarding bringing things together, and the Just-in-Time business model, or "just-in-timeness" in general...
This quote is what led me to want to comment on it: "The philosophy of JIT is simple: inventory is waste." I would offer a contradictory/complementary philosophy: "Inventory is security."
"Inventory is waste" combined with "Inventory is security" tells a lot of story, and sometimes one is true, and at other times, the other is true. When the inventory we're talking about is critical for life, inventory IS security. Having enough food, clothing, shelter, and health-care on hand in case of emergencies is really important. In the case of Toyota producing cars, inventory may very well be waste. Imagine creating 10,000 more gas guzzlers than is necessary, and then they're just left sitting on the lot. Or creating way too many of any product--whether it's a raw material being pulled from the Earth, semi-finished materials like gaskets, mufflers, and circuit boards, or final products such as a car or an iPhone--creating too much is indeed a wastefully large buffer. Even though people may clamor for luxury goods, we will be able to continue living if there are hold-ups due to buffer underruns. Not so with critical goods like food. The Mormons are supposed to keep a year's supply of food on-hand, and Joseph told Pharoah to prepare for a seven-year famine. For food, we have the ability to create enough for everyone, to transport it to everyone who needs it, and to keep more than a JIT inventory. For our leaders and property owners to neglect to do so is criminal. Witnessing the tragedy of this week's earthquake in Haiti when many of our church buildings and other buildings in the developed West are earthquake retrofitted at the cost of millions per building sometimes tells a bigger story about inequity. Spending trillions of dollars toward war that would be much better-spent on emergency preparedness is another example of the US government choosing destruction and neglect over creation and preparation. I pray that the US govt, other countries, and other agencies will be able to deliver a strong response to save as many in Haiti as possible.
I envision a world where anyone can plant gardens in the public parks, on the roadsides, and even in the medians (for anyone to tend and to harvest), so that the neediest will never go hungry. Further, I envision a world where our namaste connection is between each of us to every other, even those we've not yet met. Where the call of that light between us makes us recognize who among us is more needy, and make sure their most basic needs are met, and that the buffer for the basic needs is always larger than the buffers for luxury items.
And of course, JIT is not just limited to production of material goods--this understanding of just-in-timeness can also apply to provisional teachings in religion. Hopefully we can explore that some time.
lyrics: Once in a while, the zebras run to the spaceman and his gun, in the spider's web.
from Superhumans, by Flaming Lips
colors: pink and yellow
chant/prayer/mantra: let justice roll down like waters, with a half-ton buffer made out of wine (apologies to teetotalers and alcoholics).
agape to all,