Thursday, March 19, 2009

Picasso and God

I had coffee the other day with my friend Chumly (not really; I'm making up a story) and between sips on his grande, half-caff extra-hot latte with two (not one) packets of Equal, he explained to me there is no God because if there was, he would have designed the human eye to be like the more-efficient octopus eye.

I thought maybe God figured we could be dangerous enough with the eyesight he gave us, but instead, I stared vacantly out the window and then said, "Hmmm ... Did you know that Picasso never existed?"

"What are you talking about?" Chumly asked.

"Have you ever looked at the portraits they say were painted by him? The nose is pasted on sideways, the mouth and eyes are in the wrong places and are the wrong size and the colors are garish and not human?"

"We were talking about God, not Picasso! But I will digress long enough to urge you not to be an idiot. There are books about Picasso; there are people alive today who knew Picasso; there are photographs of Picasso. Of course Picasso existed!"

"But what about the portraits? They're all wrong!"

"Look, just because you don't understand or like Picasso's style doesn't mean he didn't exist."

"I rest my case."

"What?" Chumly said. (Chumly never was very quick on the uptake.)

"Just because you don't understand or like God's style doesn't mean He doesn't exist."

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Dirty Spiritual Feet

In John 13: 2-17 is the well-known story of Jesus washing his disciples feet. At the end of this sermon-by-demonstration, Jesus tells the disciples that he has given them an example that they should follow. Most teachers I have heard understand Jesus to be saying that we should serve one another in all sorts of ways, not just by washing feet.

All well and good. I agree.

But as I read the passage recently, I suddenly noticed in the middle of the story an interesting little sermon-within-a-sermon. Jesus replied to Peter - who had in his impetuous Peter-like way insisted that Jesus wash all of him, not just his feet - that, "A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you."

As is so often the case, Jesus takes an exterior example to make an interior point. If Jesus was talking about dirt on the body, it seems unlikely he would have excluded Judas from the ranks of the clean. And this seems especially unlikely since John specifically indicates (13:11) that the reason one of the disciples (Judas) was not clean was because he would betray Jesus. So it seems quite clear that Jesus is saying that his disciples (except Judas) were spiritually clean, and - if I may extrapolate a bit - fit for heaven.

But, if they were clean, then why did Jesus need to wash their feet?

I think Jesus meant that though they were clean and devoted to God, just walking around in this dirty world tends to stain them (and us) with various sins. We say and do bad things on the spur of the moment, or in a flash of passion or anger or inattention or weariness, things that smudge us with the dirt of sin. And though we are basically clean inside - we really do love Jesus and we really are citizens of heaven - we still need to have Jesus wash away those daily sins.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Longest Words

For a project I needed to repeatedly type a word (any word) and click the mouse button. I got annoyed taking my hand off the mouse to reach over for a key, so I wrote a little program to find the longest words that you can type with a single hand on a standard keyboard (without cheating and reaching over with the other hand), thereby allowing one hand to remain on the mouse.

Here are the results of my having too much time on my hands:

Longest words for left hand typing, winner is "reverberates" with 12 characters:


And a few shorter left-hand favorites:


Longest words for right hand typing, winner is "hypophyllum" with 11 characters:


Awful set of words, huh?

And a few shorter right-hand favorites:


Let me know if you can find any longer words for either category, and I'll add them. And let me know if you don't want me to use your name, otherwise I may.