Saturday, October 27, 2007

Watch the Hyperactive Watch

Looking over some watches in Sears today, I noticed several that blinked and flashed (for no apparent functional reason). I said to the salesperson, "I'm already overstimulated by American culture. I don't need any more." This comment was probably lost on her, but maybe not on you, faithful reader.

Everything must move, must dance, must dazzle, must post-sane American culture. We twitch on command. It must be loud, large, and fast (as my wife just said on our walk).

I bought a watch with no day and month reading--too complicated for me to set--and no light show. It is not digital; too much is already digital. It is not garish. How about quiet, small, and slow--not loud, large, and fast?


Luke said...

The value of simplicity is slowing fading away, as shown by our need for more and more gadgets and functions within those gadgets--whether we use them or not.

Daniel said...


Sam Harper said...

I, for one, still appreciate simplicity, which is why I hate it whenever I have to upgrade my software. It seems like every new technology that's supposed to make our lives better improves one thing while complicating something else.

Ken Abbott said...

I, too, have recently acquired a new watch (my old Seiko having bit the dust after fifteen years). The extent of my choices was rather daunting and bewildering as was the number of functions new watches offer. Watches seem to do everything except get up and refresh your drink nowadays.

Deciding that a "chronometer" was too grand a thing for my wrist, I settled on a $20 Timex with conventional display and a nice brown leatherette band. It tells me the date. The dial lights up if you press in the stem. And it ticks. It actually ticks.

Paul D. Adams said... Manchester Terrier (a.k.a. Philip of whom/which Dr. G has become endeared to recently) is addicted to movement and animation. Have we been reduced to the canine family?

"Be still" (Is. 46:10; Mk 4:39).

David Strunk said...

For some reason or other, your post made me think of Advent: the juxtaposition of shopping and slowness/stillness. I had already woken up with a Christmas song in my head, and so perhaps this message will ring resolutely in a month or least for me.

Anonymous said...

Hopefully this argument doesn't make me sound stupid (please don't insult me if you disagree with my statements Dr. Groothuis), but the world of ideas seems hyperactive. The basis of knowledge is clearly identifiable because of our a priori beliefs as conservative Christians, yet we too often travel down some trecherous warren even though we're making a simple point. It tires me to over-nuance arguments and to be cautious with biblical texts. I'd often just rather open up the English Bible and read things straightfowardly, rather than try to put things in the appropriate linguistic, historical, and literary context. Or other times I read translations of philosophers (e.g. Kant). I tried to read him, but had to switch to English in order to sort of grasp what he was saying. The English was tough--the German is impossible! One day I'll read Kant, hopefully.

Maybe because misery loves company, but do you all ever just give up with the difficulty of reading things like I did Kant? Or am I just alone in not having read Kant?

I like Paul's Bible quotes. We need to be still--the noise of sophisticated arguments and other more technoligical forms of "entertainment" sometimes need to be muted.

We know that God created the world, trying to "prove" it obfuscates the clear meaning of the Bible and shifts the conversation from the primary (what we know) to the secondary (why we know).


Ken Abbott said...

It tires me to over-nuance arguments and to be cautious with biblical texts. I'd often just rather open up the English Bible and read things straightfowardly, rather than try to put things in the appropriate linguistic, historical, and literary context.

It is certainly possible to abuse a good concept. I would argue that the early recognition of the profundity of Scripture led some later men to the erroneous conclusion that every passage had to have four levels of meaning, leading to some pretty ridiculous interpretations. And sometimes it is sufficient just to let the Scriptures, properly translated (which is, of course, already a work of interpretation on some level), speak.

But if the Christian seeks to be one who rightly handles the word of truth he will have to pay diligent attention to matters of language, literature, and history.

To borrow from Ecclesiastes, there is a time to relax in the word and a time to get down to work.

Paul D. Adams said...

The intent when using the stillness passages (admittedly out of context) points primarily to the "noise" in the world of entertainment, not to the noise of sophisticated arguments.

It's important to identify and confront the volume of things we acquire in life that may hinder our spiritual fruitfulness. It is often true that the more we have, the more complex our lives become. Jesus calls us to “Lay up for your self treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys” (Mt 6:20; see also 1 Tim 6:17-19). That is the spirit in which my post was intended.

Sometimes sophisticated arguments are required to capture a critical appraisal of technology, entertainment, or Kant, for that matter.

Keep reading Kant .... and Scripture.

BJS said...

Not trying to insult (...honestly),
but for future reference if you have to begin anything you are about to say with

"Hopefully this argument doesn't make me sound stupid"

it's probably best to wait and reformulate your ideas and make sure you have them right... particularly in a public forum.

Righteousness first guy, I don't know you -- please don't take it personally. This is just the first thought that comes to mind when you write that. You are prejudicing your audience to brace themselves for something which very well might make you sound stupid. Again: probably not a prudent way to begin, well, anything.

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for your helpful feedback.

I guess I'll just have to learn German really well if I ever want to read Kant. I slogged through Critique of Pure Pure Reason in English over the course of 4 months--but as you all know, reading Kant in English is only slightly better than reading Copplestone. And one day I'd like to be able to interact with Kant's ideas.

BJ: You're probably correct from a rhetorical standpoint, but I suppose the same could be said for most of our communication. Nevertheless, I feel it is important that we be honest as evangelicals. It think it's important that we say things humbly and honestly and not equivocate. All my ideas are in flux, I've never read Kant, my worldview is shaped because I believe in the inerrancy of scripture, etc...

Daniel said...

Righteousness First--

I applaud your attempts at engaging heavy material and searching for a deeper understanding. But why then say this?:
"We know that God created the world, trying to "prove" it obfuscates the clear meaning of the Bible and shifts the conversation from the primary (what we know) to the secondary (why we know)."

Some people say, "The Bible is true because the Bible says so."

Don't be "that guy". Continue to search, study, ask questions and find answers.

Anonymous said...


Thanks for the exhortation brother! Unfortunately, I'm going to have to disagreee with you there a little.

As for God creating the earth, I believe this is true because the Bible says so. Except for a measly undergrad class I had in Organic Chemistry, I am unable to evaluate the data. While I could say that I put my faith in respected scientists: Dr. Hovind, Dr. Morris, Dr. P. Johnson, I have more faith in the Bible. Ultimately my decision rests on the Bible rather than respected scholars.

If I have the strength, I might do a PhD in science so that I can look at some of the data, but until that time (which will never happen), I just believe in the Bible.

When thinking through the data, etc... and when trying to create more sophisticated arguments, I think that it is important to remember the locus of our arguments. Doing otherwise is sophistry, plain and simple in my book.

Fundamentally, I believe in the Bible because it tells me so. The vast majority of scholars and scientists don't believe that the world is 6,000 years old, that there was evolution, that there wasn't an Adam and Eve, that multiple languages didn't start at the Tower of Babel, that 2 million Jews didn't leave Egypt, that Moses didn't write the Pentateuch in the 15/13th century, that Daniel didn't write in the sixth century, that Jesus wasn't born from a virgin, that Hell isn't eternal, that John didn't predict things, etc... While I know that there are some conservative scholars who holdfast to the literal reading of the Bible, few would say that few do--and those that do usually aren't Biblical scholars. Thus, I would rather trust in the Bible rather than trust in scholarship.

Daniel said...

Righteousness First--

So you're saying again that "Fundamentally, I believe in the Bible because it tells me so."

How does this play into apologetics and witnessing to a person who doesn't believe the Bible. This is where we look at things like Intelligent Design and First Cause arguments. We are expanding our scope, a cumulative case if you will, when talking to a non-believer. This is a far better technique for evangelism than just telling someone to believe the Bible because the Bible tells you to. That won't get you anywhere.

Moreso you don't have to have a pHd in science to discuss origins of the universe and mankind. It's a philosophical battle between philosophical materialism (naturalism) and widening one's intellectual depth to include supernatural possibilities.

Again, I plead that you don't be "that guy" to which you are describing. Don't give us thinking evangelicals a bad reputation with the vaccuous response to an apologetic problem of "Because the Bible says so."

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