Tonight, I moved the computer to a strategically better place, which happens to be the, yes, dinette set in my apartment!
Let’s do a “SWOT” analysis:
Strengths: The computer is now nearby my 1981 print Britannica set (as well as a useful supplement to the modern Britannica internet service) and many other great books. It also serves as further discipline for the lust issues (sparing the gory details, of course!) which has been, thanks to faith in God, plummeting. And of course, many other great websites. My room without the computer allows for quality study without the cares of the internet or other computer applications (the king of them, in my opinion, is most likely Facebook).
Weaknesses: Many other books are in my own room, so both sites can mutually could be “lending libraries.” In other words, not only does a book taken from the bedroom need to be returned, but a material taken to the bedroom must also be returned.
Opportunities: Move as many books as possible from my room to this “information station,” as well as obtaining more bookcases as appropriate. This allows one library per my apartment. When I want to get down and dirty with such a reading or study, I shall take it to my room until I’m finished, and thus return them to the (single) home library.Threats: While there is no loan period (after all, it’s not a true lending library, it’s hyperbole), they should be put back when I am done using them. The key enemy here is laziness, an trait that makes the autism spectrum a liability. Also, I put so much debt (not in money, but progress) toward books when the earlier portions are attacked by others. Therefore, willpower aided by God and His Word will get me success.
Interestingly enough, this SWOT analysis was done after the move. I must be a good strategic planner already! Yet, a SWOT analysis is a very helpful tool!
“I express my Christian faith in scholarship by taking very seriously the Lord’s commandment to love him with all my heart, soul, and mind (Matthew 22:37). Through my research and other scholarly activities I learn more about the wonderful intricacies of the Creation. Such discovery leads me to a deeper understanding and appreciation for the Creator and for his presence in the world. Thus, I see my scholarship as an act of worship to the Creator and King. Just as an artist is honored when someone admires her masterpiece, so too our Lord is worshipped when we carefully and respectfully examine his Creation.”
Curtis Blankenspoor, Biology Professor, Calvin College
While I’m not a scientist or college professor (at least not right now, but it may be a possible door opened later!), I agree with him wholeheartedly. Blankenspoor, like all Christian brothers and sisters in science (and academia overall), here manifests the first Great Commandment to love the Lord with your heart, soul, and mind here (and in this case, the mind stands out). My love for the Lord and His creation motivates me to seek His presence therein, and if the Lord leads me to a scholarly or otherwise professional career in the sciences, this may add a special dimension to that understanding. If not, at least there is plenty of quality material in books, the Internet, etc., concerning such topics, wherein the glory of God can be found.
And this applies to all fields, not only the “hard” sciences that I tend to relish most. Politics, geography, history, sociology, and other social sciences can also show God manifest in the details. It equally applies to non-academic areas as well, like one’s lifework (which often draws on academic knowledge), parenting, and hobbies.
“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Cor 10:31, ESV, emphasis added).
Every area of life, even the most mundane things like eating and drinking (which in themselves, are manifestations of God’s glory, in their taste and nourishment) can be acts of worship in themselves. In the final analysis, worship is more than a pious activity on Sunday mornings, but a godly attitude for the entire week. This attitude quenches the “Ecclesiastes enigma” that may be suffered when you don’t truly adore and obey God Almighty.
Now that that’s out of the way (yet persistently always there!), let’s dig in!
A voice says, “Cry!”And I said,[c] “What shall I cry?” All flesh is grass,and all its beauty[d] is like the flower of the field.The grass withers, the flower fades when the breath of the Lord blows on it;surely the people are grass.The grass withers, the flower fades,but the word of our God will stand forever. (Isaiah 40:6-8, ESV)
As we approach winter and the Holiday season, we give a tribute to this wonderful season we are leaving called autumn or fall. In a way, both scientifically and psychologically, it shows a shift from outer to inner beauty, just like people. First of all, in the fall, chlorophyll (the molecules that make plants green; the “men at work” for photosynthesis) is robbed from the leaves with help from its own biological clock (detecting shorter days), and pigments providing yellow, orange, red, etc., surface. The leaves thereby show their true colors.
If you could compare it to human beings, as people age, physical strength plummets (just as the chlorophyll is absorbed from the leaves). And the youthful “outer” beauty typically observed in the teens, the 20s, and (at least a good part of) the 30s, shifts to an “inner” beauty that ages like fine wine through middle and old age. Human middle age (as manifest chiefly in the 40s and 50s decades), is that “bridge” between youth and age. Looks aren’t as important as character by that point. (Since leaves are just plant organs, the closest parallel is to change color). If looks dominate in young adulthood, and character in one’s golden years, middle age is kind of an amalgam of the two, though a progressive one.
OK, we mentioned shorter days, which, while often blamed for depression as manifest in SAD and such, will reverse come the winter solstice, the official astronomical end of autumn. (Meteorologists tell us it ends November 30.) The same is true for the summer solstice; light declines in both summer and fall, so “autumn” leaves can be observed in August, July, or even occasionally, June. These are in decreasing order of count, and increasing order of day length. May and June, when leaves are at a younger state of their “adult life,” are probably the greenest of months. (July and August are hotter only because of a “seasonal lag,” but that’s for another post).
However, thanks to the shorter days, you don’t have to wake up so early to add another beauty to the picture: the rising sun! In June, where I live in Philadelphia, the sun rises earliest (around June or so) around 5:30 AM. If there were no DST, it would be (yikes!) 4:30 AM. (You can thank Ben Franklin for that shift; he originally proposed it). Now, in mid-to-late November, it’s about 6:45. Due to the increase in light in summer in polar or sub-polar regions, e.g., Russia, Scandinavia, Alaska, parts of Canada, etc., and during our winter, Antarctica, I wonder how they could ever get to sleep. They say New York City never sleeps, but I wonder about Anchorage, Fairbanks, Reykjavik, Oslo, Stockholm, Helsinki, St. Petersburg, Moscow, and countless other cities with few hours of summer darkness (NOT the case with NYC), can. On the other hand, the do have plenty of winter darkness!
Anyway, sunrises show that every day is new, God is behind it all, and he beautifully says “good morning” using his Master Palette. And on an annual scale, once spring comes, it represents the Easter message quite well. So, while I’ll discuss that more then, suffice it to say that the combined beauty of the sun rising and the leaves dropping shows balance, beauty, and new beginnings. As the scripture says above, we all decline in our physical beauty (and following then, die), but the word of God promises us eternity with Him, wherein earthly representations like sunrises and autumn leaves are no comparison to seeing God and his beauty directly.
But for now, enjoy your early-morning walks when autumn is still here in 2015! After all, there is no guarantee of tomorrow. It’s also great I plan to study a double major of Biology & Geoscience in my U of choice after finishing community college, giving more insight into subjects included, like astronomy, meteorology, and botany. In the next blog post will twist this to sunrise’s evening beauty rival, otherwise known as sunset.