I’m afraid my blogging has been a bit remiss of late, and I think most of you know the story of the semester from hell, so I won’t bore you with details, but I have some new thoughts that I would love your input.
I have been having a lot of religious/scientific conversations lately, and I was wondering about your perspective on apologetics. I’ve also promised to read/ respond to arguments in The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins. Because I’ve been reading this, I’ve been thinking about all the things that Christianity brings to my life that are difficult to explain. Because of Christ, I have an identity that doesn’t depend on my performance, I know I am deeply loved and nothing will ever change that, I have hope for the future and strength for the present, and I have a sense of wonder at the complexity of the universe. Dawkins (in addition to many other atheists) seem to think science and religion are diametrically opposed. What about you guys? Is science impeded by religion? How do I respond to these claims?
I’m reading this after just finishing Chesterton’s Orthodoxy. I definitely don’t agree with all that Chesterton asserts, but he paints the world as such a magical place, full of adventures, mystery, wonder, and danger. Perhaps I am too much of a poet for my own good, but how do I compare Chesterton’s world with that of Dawkins? And how do I convey the difference?
In the end, part of me thinks that nothing I can say, no logical demonstration can ever change anyone’s mind for the existence of God. It is hard for me to talk about Christianity, because it cuts to the core of my very being, but I’m learning. Thoughts? Suggestions? Reading material?
Do I love small dogs enough to be Parisian? I think the answer is no.
Most of you guys know that I am very auditory, not so visual. I’m used to basing my judgments on what I hear, not what I see. Sometimes, I know that something looks good, but I can’t necessarily tell you why. Despite all this, I’ve chosen to live in a city driven by aesthetics. It’s a complete inversion of my value system (pretty things/ people actually make me nervous). My family in particular has always tended to value form over function, practicality over style. Now, I’m gaining my own education in the value of aesthetics, something I never really thought mattered. Fortunately, Susan helped me start training my eye, and there’s no going back.
I suppose if you begin your life taking field trips to see the world’s most beautiful art, you can’t avoid developing an eye for beauty. Like a Parisian kindergartner, I’m learning to do the same. Perhaps appearances are more important than I thought.
A favorite at the Louvre
It’s true. Goes hand in hand with my new research assistant job! I get to research both the progress (or lack thereof) of the UN’s Millennium Development Goals and the German and Finnish responses to the Greek/Eurozone financial crisis. Sometimes this interferes with my social life, but hey, I’m getting paid to learn. So, if you know anything about German or Finnish politics, or can help me get a clearer picture of the Euro economy, let me know. I would love to hear your opinions. Till then I’ll just keep reading the Economist (or BBC or NY Times or Der Spiegel).
Just checking in to assure you that all is going well. I got a research assistantship working on a global poverty research project! I’m super excited. Also, I made fajitas today. And I went to the Champs-Elysees last night. That is the big news of the week. I’ve been working on a blog for everyone (not just a blog for me close friends), and that will be coming soon. Also, I will be posting pictures soon too, so stay tuned. I haven’t forgotten you, and you will hear more about the fabulous world of Paris shortly (I do have a full-length blog planned, I just need to write it tomorrow). I leave you with two thoughts this evening: 1) there is an art to running with dogs that I have yet to learn. 2) Sometimes pretending that I speak terrible French is necessary on trains.
Since my posting has been a bit remiss of late, I thought I’d give you a 2-for-1 special, 2 posts for the price of 1 today. I’m currently nicely installed at Chloe’s house. This happened earlier than expected because of my school did not tell me I was not allowed to use interim housing when they weren’t finding my apartment for me (but that’s another story). I miss my independence a little bit, but the Plaines are extremely good to me. And the food is amazing (roast chicken, BREAD, sole meuniere, pastry)! I may even learn to like fish here, and that is saying a lot. I’m hoping in the coming months I can find ways to make myself useful, as I kind of feel uncomfortable receiving all the time. They really are too good to me (despite the fact that I get teased a lot).
It is fun to be at a school where people can locate Burundi on a map, talk about the politics of famine in Somalia, and speak more than 1 language. It’s like living the pages of the Economist, which makes me all kinds of happy. At the same I miss being able to discuss the theology of the reformers and make II Tim feminist jokes. Also, sometimes alcohol still makes me uncomfortable, even though I know a lot of that is cultural. Definitely a big change from ORU.
Sunday I visited Hillsong Church Paris, and I liked it a lot. I miss BCC and the small church feel, but I’m determined not to let theology department snobbery influence my decisions (haha). I need other Christians desperately, and the people here seem genuine and connected. I’ve gotten several texts from people I met there already. More on church to come later…
I’m still trying to figure out what I think about Palestine’s upcoming petition to the UN (they are asking for official statehood). If you know any details about this, let me know.
This is what I’ve been thinking about this week. What are you guys learning and thinking about? Inquiring minds want to know!
I know that news has been a little slow in coming. I feel like I’ve hit the ground running, and I’m just now fulling settling in. My goal will be to update once a week. I’m thinking Sundays if you are interested. This post and the next will be a little bit of the nuts and bolts of what I’m doing, but hopefully it should get more interesting after this.
My school exists! I know that no one except me actually worried that my school was an internet scam, but now you can be assured that I have arrived and both my kidneys are in tact. My school is actually all about connections, which I am thrilled about. I’m trying to get over some of my reticence and start using these school connections, but it’s hard. I have a module (short, intensive class) with the former German ambassador to Afghanistan (!). Monday (I wrote this on Wednesday but didn’t put it up until just now) we get to tour the International Chamber of Commerce because an alumnus works there. I am satisfied. This is a real school. Oh, and we get access to the Sciences Po Library (one of the best libraries in Europe for my degree) 🙂 It doesn’t hurt that the Eiffel Tower is visible from several buildings, either.