Saturday, June 22, 2013

Could any substitute for G-d work as well?

I was an agnostic until I served 200 burritos to over 270 people and had 12 left over. And no, I'm not asking anyone to believe me - I've paid to serve the homeless 2000 meals each week for 17 years, as have countless others. In that time I've had at least 50 people living in my home for free. And there aren't any Atheists who do what I do, because its only easier than it looks when you simply "invoke" G-d; some external energy enters the system. The problem is that millions of "double-blind" (although uncontrolled) experiments have been conducted, and (I believe) no substitute for G-d has ever been found. Edit Bio

Instead of asking pysicists and magicians about miracles, and atheists about the existence of G-d, we might find some more interresting conundrums for those atheists if we searched among econometricians and sociologists.  Eventually we'll find that the amount of energy required to achieve certain beneficient outcomes is simply unavailable in this Universe.

A long time ago I asked some microeconomists to reconcile Shannon's Law regarding entropy in communications networks of bidders, and their confusion led me to suspect that n-dimensional extensions of the Pareto-type representations common in microeconomic pedagogy were impossible, and that even 20+ bidder representations are so fraught with error (at any common frequency of bids) one wonders how anyone buys or sells anything without far more errors than we experience, or that Shannon's Law anticipates.

Clearly something is happening.  Now it's likely I'm applying Shannon's Law incorrectly.  It is more likely, however, that no economist really understands what happens when manny bidders and sellers engage in simultaneous transactions for many goods.  Whether we use outcry bidding and fiat money or more subtle models of internal representations of clusters of objects and cliques of transactors, so many more decisions are made for us than by us I think before we even pretend to tackle the G-d problem we Ants might want to know a little more about the Farm.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Early Retirement

When you’re sixty-two, a lot of things come full circle.  You start to get back some of the money you sent Social Security.  You get old and forgetful, and you tend to get led around by the “belt around your waist.”  If you’re lucky, you’re wife reminds you “of the near disaster that happened the last time you did that.”    A lifesaver, that woman! 

It is then that I recall the words of my sainted mother, “Don’t you have anything more important to do with your life than to get Rosaries into the jail,” and now I can proudly say, “Yeah, I can help the ladies from the backyard get their hair colored twice each month.”

In all the years I was a Chaplain I found myself giving theological advice to hundreds of different people, but it was really always the same advice:  If you pay attention to every time Jesus says something in the Bible, a pattern emerges.  If you keep track of who he’s talking to, you’ll realize that all the demanding, rebuking things are being said either to the Scribes and the Pharisees or to the Apostles, to the people with power.  Whenever Jesus is talking to one of us, he is always healing and forgiving, and therefore deeply with us - just where we’re coming from.  I say “coming from” because we’re all called on a journey to be just that way, both to ourselves, and more so, to each other.

Forgiveness is the rent isn’t the best advice I’ve ever given anyone, but it’s the advice I try to follow.  Now when it seems as though the terrifying possibility that everyone is right means therefore both sides are wrong, I’m struck by how foreign “forgiveness” is to our political dialog.  Accordingly, I have to wonder how comfortable Jesus would be with the process.

We live a simple life here, a sometimes healing life, and we try to deal with people’s pain in personal rather than political ways, and we invite you to join us, even if you’ve been gone a long time.  All is forgiven; you are welcome here.  Your gifts are needed and valued.