Posts

Looking Back On 2023, Looking Ahead To 2024

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The changing of the year is both a time of looking back on the year that was and a time of looking forward to the year that lies before us. I think both practices are valuable, and I'm finding myself wanting to reflect on the major events of 2023, while also looking ahead to how I want to focus myself in 2024, with a particular intention towards building on and continuing the places of growth I experienced last year. Let's begin in the past, then look ahead to the future! Looking Back On 2023 As some of you may know, I have a Patreon , and for that Patreon, I write a daily diary entry I call Dear Patrons...  wherein I share events of the day and things I'm thinking about. I first write these up as a text document that I carefully name to give me a summary of something about that day that was important to me. This served as an excellent resource for reviewing this past year, and it meant I didn't have to try to rely on my memory. Indeed, there were many things I'd do

Wrestling With Manhood

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  In the classic video game The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time , the hero Link starts his adventure as a boy, but partway through his journey, he finds the legendary Master Sword. When he goes to draw the blade from its pedestal, he finds himself transported forward in time by seven years, when he’s the man worthy of wielding such a weapon. I’d played this game as a child, and I think I always sort of assumed that’s how becoming an adult worked, that a day would come when I’d go to sleep a boy and wake up a man. But that never happened, and thus for all of my adult life, I’ve struggled to understand what it means for me to be a man. Growing up, there were a few key things I learned about manhood, things I was taught directly or indirectly—much of it through cultural osmosis. I was taught that men are competent, providers and protectors, and that they’re big and strong. (Of course, there are also adult males who used their competence and strength for selfish ends that harm others in

The Tragedy of Virtue

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  If virtue is a good thing, how is it that the pursuit of it causes so much pain and suffering? “Virtues” are the things—qualities and behaviors—that a society or culture deem to be Good. Virtue is how we earn a good reputation, social acceptance, and the praise and accolades of others, but perhaps more significantly, it’s how we protect ourselves: it wards away the threat of becoming an outcast or pariah. Different cultures do have their own sets of things that are considered virtues, though there are a few commonalities: being beautiful or attractive, having a respected job, going to a prestigious school, coming from a well-regarded family or region, and being wealthy are all examples of common virtues. Of course, what things cause someone to be seen as beautiful or attractive will be culturally dependent, what jobs are highly regraded may vary, as do other reputational markers (e.g. family, prestigious schools, etc.), and many cultures have other things they consider virtues be

Sientir's View of the Bible

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  I’ve been having a discussion with my pastor, and it’s prompted me to put into words how I view the Bible. So let’s start with an important question: How much authority would I say the Bible has? This is a trick question. The Bible, it turns out, is a book! Inanimate objects, such as books, cannot have authority, and to assign authority to the Bible is to anthropomorphize it: to treat it as a person. There are several serious dangers to this, not the least of which is turning the Bible into an idol. Remember, God is the one who has authority! This issue of authority is important, so I’m going to start with the dangers that can stem from it before delving into my views of the Bible more broadly. The most significant danger is, as already mentioned, turning the Bible into an idol. The Bible does not save us, Jesus does. The Bible does not speak, the Holy Spirit does. The other major danger is using the Bible to steal God’s authority for humans. This will require some explanation,

Perfect Love

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I once had a dream, and in this dream I was walking around a city. The initial details are vague, of course; remembering dreams is a tricky business. But there was an element of video-gameness to this situation, as I, like a game creator, was some sort of godlike being. Now, I don’t mean the pathetic gods we see in movies. No, I mean like the powerful gods the player inhabits in games like The Sims or the even more powerful godlike position of creating a video game, where you’re responsible for designing the rules of the universe. In this case, I was positioning NPCs—that’s “non-player characters,” an entity that the player doesn’t directly control. I was figuring out how the game engine worked: specifically, what would happen to NPCs on the street if I went into a building? Would their position reset (that is, was the outside reloaded into its default state when entering and then exiting a building?), or would they continue doing what they’d been doing? After all, computers (including