The Unsinkable brian cork™

Brian Patrick Cork is living the Authentic Life

swine!

April8

Preamble:

The (deservedly) immortal Dr. Nick Pappas at Radford Univerity called those of us that yearned to be learned “swine!”. This might mean brutish, possibly contemptible, certainly ignorant. But, a badge of honor, as it turns out, because Dr. Pappas knew we had merit based on the desire to change for the better. We sought enlightenment.

There! I’ve set the stage…

But, and just so you know, I started drafting this post on Sunday while it was, potentially, apropos. But, I wanted my thoughts around Bill Pope to run a certain course. And, so they have. Then of course, many of you know I struggle, and mightily so, with the Jesus element. Although the example, as established by those two men, both now otherworldly, continue to abound.

Thusly, I had these words that I intended to post. But, none of them seem sufficient in the face of the enormity of the events of which that day (Easter Sunday) is a commemoration.  I probably don’t have to tell you that Jesus was killed, in the worst possible way, for the stupidest possible reasons, by, as Chesterton has pointed out, elsewhere, and paraphrased here, an unholy coalition of all that was more or less the best in both government and religion at the time.

Travesty is an insufficient descriptor. Or, opportunity. Because, yet another stage was, therefore, set.

In the midst of this, a thought: Love is the visible attribute of an invisible God.

So… If you are a Christian then you are of the opinion that the Lord is Risen!  So, rejoice, ye swine, for something greater than we had ever hoped is at hand.  No grave could hold Him.  No earth could keep Him down.  Hell itself was merely a brief sojourn; and, He didn’t come back alone. (According to the Bible and Gale Jackson) After forty days of gathering darkness, and the great falling blow of Good Friday, we may finally stand up tall again with our splendid and appalling King.  He brings not peace, but a sword; He brings us to a fight, but it is a good fight and, well worth the trouble.

I’m not a Christian, mind. you. But, I WANT to believe this can happen – or, has occurred.

Many of you raised your glass Sunday (but why not each and every day?), wherever you were, in honor of the One who conquered death and gave us life in abundance.  Take the Bread and the Wine, if you are able.  Be in fellowship.  Love your families, your friends, your colleagues, and even your loathsome, miserable enemies.  You may fling them to the ground, when the time comes, but on this day of days it is best to hope for better outcomes, and more noble.

This might lead us to take the position that it’s apparently faith, not proof, that makes Christians believe in Jesus Christ’s resurrection, the central tenet of the religion.

Well… Possibly until now.

I offer this because it’s being reported that Oxford University professor Richard Swinburne (I don’t know if he is or was a swine, but close enough!), a leading philosopher of religion, has seemingly done the impossible. He is using logic and mathematics to create a formula that he says shows a ninety seven percent (97%) certainty that Jesus Christ was resurrected by God the Father. This information reported by The Age and Catholic News (However, I pulled it off MSNBC, again). NOTE: Meanwhile, nothing particularly original here, as I’m confident you’ve read about this elsewhere (on this very Blog, to be sure),

Nonetheless, as a reminder, this stunning conclusion was made based on a series of complex calculations grounded in the following logic:

  1. The probability of God’s existence is one in two. That is, God either exists or doesn’t.
  2. The probability that God became incarnate, that is embodied in human form, is also one in two.
  3. The evidence for God’s existence is an argument for the resurrection.
  4. The chance of Christ’s resurrection not being reported by the gospels has a probability of one in 10.
  5. Considering all these factors together, there is a one in 1,000 chance that the resurrection is not true.

“New Testament scholars say the only evidences are witnesses in the four gospels. That’s only five percent of the evidence,” Swinburne said in a lecture he gave at the Australian Catholic University in Melbourne. “We can’t judge the question of the resurrection unless we ask first whether there’s reason to suppose there is a God. Secondly, if we have reason to suppose he would become incarnate, and thirdly, if he did, whether he would live the sort of life Jesus did.” He says that even Jesus’ life is not enough proof. However, the resurrection is “God’s signature,” which shows “his approval of Jesus’ teaching.”

I’ve called the good fellow, to verify his sincerity, but he has yet to return my call.

By way of reference, the calculations that Swinburne says prove the resurrection are detailed in his book, The Resurrection of God Incarnate. Download it to your Kindle, or iPad, I have. Do it!!!

In closing, as I round out my point… We know why God took Jesus (providing you follow the Bible, and Gale Jackson). However, we are still asking ourselves why God felt He needed Bill and Bryce more than we did. Unless the simple answer is the establishment of a compelling example, driven home, if you will, with an awful and dramatic flourish. Our attention is caught. Now we have that scienter in our lives.

This means we need to be ready.

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

death is morbid but Meaningful and we need to be Ready

April4

I found myself, and early Thursday morning, looking to the stars while getting ready to walk with Emma Jo to the bus stop.

Amidst the caucaphonic singing of birds I found myself contemplating the twilight, and rapidly processing a broad array of thoughts that included: Gatsby, the “Word” as a lens, Speed Racer (actually, Racer X), and why it is light posts dim when special people draw near.

I thought of Bill Pope, and how he and I would have stood there quietly together, our hands in pockets, putting lines-of-thought together that might have only, and at best, confused (possibly, admittedly, concerned) others. It’s not simple easy understanding where Walker Percy both came from, and where he was coming from.

…and, now this:

Bryan Davidson had opened my eyes Wednesday when he reminded me of something one of his own professors had said to him at Liberty Baptist College: “Death is morbid but meaningful”.

Apparently, and according to this same professor, the meaningful part is because it opens your eyes. It’s how you see it.

Death, that is – someone else’s.

I’m also pondering what death might look like when it’s racing at you, or even creeping up on you. I’ve faced my own mortality in some tough spots. But, I don’t want any of this to be about me, right now.

So… I’m in a kind of “zone” for the moment around the whole Bill Pope situation. I’m not seeking answers, nor understanding. Possibly I am sorting out direction. I do know that I, for one, won’t ever be able to say enough good things about Bill. However, wherever he is – it begins in my heart and memory, and has clearly set a standard for a baring point.

By the way…

…on the tail tale-end of that telephonic exchange with Bryan I asked him how he was feeling (he was sick with what seemed like allergies to everything, including air and all edible things, for years). He mentioned “some dude” put his hands on him at a soulybusiness event, and he was healed.

I asked him if it was John Stein, of course.

And, it was, indeed (and Jesus, apparently).

John, just so you know, is a Healer. It’s true. I don’t even find it odd. But, then, you need to understand John – and man, is that another story. My favorite is a long run in the mountains of Tennessee early morning along train tracks. But, that, another time.

Bill Powis (I call him: “Pastor Bill” – a natural teacher, by the way) is leaning into me as well. I think he likes my torment. But, he also appreciates my open-heart. Man, he would have really liked Pope.

And, if we must be judged, I’ll hope it’s by the men around me.

And, to that end…

I’ll note, and do it here, that Marcus Crocket came back from Bill and Bryce’s funeral with the comment: “I was amazed at the testimonials for Bryce. It made me understand what a great influence in his life Bill and Jane were. They were READY. They lived their lives like Jesus”.

Those are powerful words around a man with a life well-lived.

But, there is more. It’s happening all around us. …change and perspective, I think…

Another dear friend, and agonizingly patient spiritual mentor, Durwood Snead, also lost his seven day old grandaughter this week, ironically named Madison (the name of Bill’s surviving daughter). She held her Mother’s gaze for only a few short hours. In his email to me, today, Durwood said: We talked about how we did not understand why God needed Madison more than He felt we did, but that we had to trust Him because He gave His only Son for us.”

I’m not sure what’s next with all of this. So, now this is something like they. But, we can all count on there being a next what.

This I do know… We’ll need to make our stand her, and now. We must decide, each of us separately, and together, to either reel with these blows, or grow because of them.

We need to be READY.

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

NOTE:  Walker Percy (May 28, 1916 – May 10, 1990) was an American Southern author whose interests included philosophy and semiotics. Percy is best known for his philosophical novels set in and around New Orleans, Louisiana, the first of which, The Moviegoer, won the National Book Award for Fiction in 1962. He devoted his literary life to the exploration of “the dislocation of man in the modern age.” His work displays a unique combination of existential questioning, Southern sensibility, and deep Catholic faith.

The Truth: apple changes the world Before its technology is in your hands

March8

It’s all about perspective.

Business writers love hyperbole (I’m not one of those – I’m just saying…).

To wit…

…The ground will swell. The paradigm will shift.

But, what if occasionally a new tech gadget comes along that really does shake up society?

Apple’s iPad, may just be such a one-device-to-rule-them-all.

This is the vital difference between “rolling boulders up hill”, and “rolling boulders down hill”.

The timing certainly makes sense.

The iPhone is three years old, the U.S. economy is rebounding (I recognize this is a relative term), and gadget demand is pent up amongst Americans who held off on toy upgrades during the recession. By spring we’ll no doubt be past the holiday sales of the black-and-white e-readers that still look vaguely like medical prostate screening devices. I still like my Kindle (read more about that here: evil wireless empires (and their minions): a prudent and optimistic comparative Analysis), mind you, but it won’t surf the net or track my email like the iPad is designed for.

The world is recovering from its Wall Street hangover, and it’s looking for a new tech party invitation. The Apple iPad will be the guest of honor. Laura DiDio, an analyst at Information Technology Intelligence, has predicted the Apple iPad will be “the next big thing”.

I find that trite and obvious. However, it’s likely going to be true, for awhile, because we WANT it to be so. And, Americans must have progress. And, it’s gotta be big and profound. That’s our way. How we “roll”, as it were.

Other manufacturers such as Dell (DELL) and HP are preparing tablets, too, but Apple is the one to watch because Apple is best at making radical new hardware formats undeniably cool.

Yes… The “Jesus Tablet” will be available in April (there were some production delays that took it out of March). NOTE: I use “Jesus” instead of “Moses” (relative to tablets, eh) because Jesus was an actual trend setter, like Steve Jobs is, today – and, it’s all part of the setup around me trying to make a point, here.

But, there are going to be some other unexpected ripple effects as the iPad is skipped across a veritable sea of technology change in the coming year (Hey… I actually just engaged in some of that aforementioned hyperbole).

And, as that happens, the iPad, like the Ten Commandments, and the Bible, will change the world in at least six ways (I know the Bible changed the world in more than five ways. Just work with me, here):

Off we go, then…

Magazine and Newspaper publishing will bounce back as consumers rediscover paid subscriptions. Sorry, Chris Anderson, but not everything will revert to free. It’s no mistake Time Inc.’s (TWXSports Illustrated invested in a provocative dictating controlling what, and how, you want to watch on television. Rather than being a device to watch television, the Apple iPad is more likely to be an interactive advertisement opportunity. So, watch how all of this directly impacts mobile, and mobile devise-oriented advertising creativity. Here is an example:

Nielsen noted this trend of “concurrent media usage” this spring, in a $3.5 million study that recorded what hundreds of people actually do when commercials air. apparently when television advertising spots came on, people picked up laptops, magazines, or cell phones and did something other than watch the television screen. Expect that trend to accelerate when you (and everyone else) have an Apple iPad in your lap.

Augmented-reality views of the world will increase. If you missed this trend, it’s simple: Augmented reality puts computer graphics on top of live video feeds (similar to the yellow line you see on the field in NFL games). Here is an example:

iPhone users can already download applications that overlay a video feed from their iPhone camera, providing floating arrows on the screen showing you, say, the distance to the nearest New York City subway station. With a larger screen, provided by the iPad, such video overlays on reality will become even more compelling. Expect iPhone and iPad app developers to take advantage of this new platform that will enable them to create tools that might include giving construction workers 3D instructions at job sites.

Social Networking and Social Media will reach the next plateau. Look for iPad and iPhone developers to look for ways of providing consumers with product reviews that float over items on sale at the mall – or, serving daters a visual display of the job history, FICO score, and criminal record of that cute guy or gal they meet at a bar, or Church speed-dating events (yes, they are really doing that).

Telecommuting may finally take off. If you hate your commute and care remotely about the environment, then why do you still sit in traffic for two hours each day? Because society has decreed face time is better than phone time. But when Apple tablets make portable video truly accessible, plane tickets and poor coffee in cars may become things of the past. In truth, I feel this is a weaker example. I do believe the virtual work=place is inevitable. But, that will be driven more by technologies we can’t envision, just yet (because steve Jobs has not unveiled them, yet.

Service Providers. The earlier iPads aren’t expected to have video capabilities (at least the one we tested didn’t). However, eventually, two-way video on tablets will push communication costs even lower. I suppose, technically, you can already do portable video today, if you’re willing to walk around town with a laptop flipped open near a Wi-Fi zone. But, by and large, our North American infrastructure still can’t accommodate simple two-way video on the go (Clear might be trying hard to change that, but we still aren’t, well, clear, whether Clear is a scam, or not). Add an iPad with built-in Webcam, and suddenly video calls are as easy as holding up a mirror. You better believe AT&T (T) and Verizon Wireless (VZ) are sweating about the advent of Skype video in subway trains or on Hawaiian beaches. Perhaps Apple will throw its partner AT&T a bone by holding off on iPad Webcams for a few generations. Or it will throw AT&T under the bus by cutting an iPad deal with Verizon Wireless, a scenario at least under consideration earlier this year. My guess is that Verizon comes on-line with the iPad by 2011. And, by the way, Verizon is getting very aggressive, as evidenced by their recent deal with Google and the Nexus One (we’re trying that out, ourselves, through T-Mobile and Google Voice).

That’s sort of my point here… Apple brings technology on-line that you did not know you could not live without. However, I want to make you aware of a few more possibilities before I end this post. Quit rolling your eyes. All of my readers know I’m right. So, you might as well surrender to the truth, here. Apple is deploying technology today under a master plan, and within it’s own terms, of how Steve Jobs wants you to use (his) technology and be more productive. In the end, it affects Apple’s stock. and, now you understand the ultimate brilliance of Jobs, setting the example, beginning years ago, of taking his executive pay in the form of Apple stock.

Perhaps it’s too much to hope for: a world where Apple provides low-cost, two-way video anywhere that saves print journalism while reducing phone costs, augments reality while cutting your commute – even brings humanity closer together while stopping traffic jams and pollution.

You set the example; and, you lead the way.

Just no “padding”-while-driving, please.

I wonder if pad-centic terminology will go Verb like Google has?

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

riddle, or paradox, or what ever

September20

Someone pointed me to a link showing a couple of religious leaflets that they’d found. It’s all quite interesting, in a flagellating kind of way, I suppose.

a leaflet

It took a lot of effort to load one of them into this post, and I’m not at all, not all, I tell you, convinced it’s worth the effort. And, after all my work, it’s still grainy, almost like some form of pornography, and difficult to read – let alone fathom. Just use your imagination. You have, after all seen hundreds just like  it. And, if you haven’t, it’s no true tragedy. I say this because, after all, it’s a religious artifact. God will live on, one way or another, well past the point the bloody leaflet is dust.

Why are things like this called “leaflets”, any way?

In any event, I don’t really understand something about the evangelist logic illustrated in things like leafllets and religious artifacts, in general. In their analogy (use your imagination here – or, perhaps you’ve decided to, otherwise, take a nap, especially if Georgia is playing in an American football game), I’m a terrible felon standing in front of a judge; I’m guilty of murder and theft, among many other crimes. I should probably go to prison, as I’m clearly a danger to society.

Yet evangelists would posit that a monetary fine would pay for my crimes, and it doesn’t even have to be me who pays it. Jesus will apparently pay the fine, and I can leave the court that very day. I suppose I’d have to promise to pay him back – but as they point out in the first part of the leaflet, I’m a liar as well as a thief. I am man, after all. Apparently, and according to those ferocious evangelists, God made man to sin, and not made man capable of sin, which puts a different spin on everything.

Perhaps it’s all a form of cosmic riddle.

The key to freedom, as it were, is accepting Jesus.

So, if I do pay Jesus back, by being his friend (or, at least asking him over for a play date), I get to go to heaven. Although I remain a sinner even when I’m friends with him.

Why would Jesus want so many evil friends? Unless it’s to make him look all the more noble by association.

I understand the “evil friend” question is where everyone is going to pounce on me, with a love of course.

The more I find out about Christianity, as a religion, as opposed to simply coming to grips with a mighty God, and how I make that work for everyone around me (truth and light, reflecting and representing, etc. /1), the stranger it seems.

Paradox(?) you might pondering a this point… Well, perhaps it’s that point where you must face the difference between faith, religion, belief and discernment. It’s after all, why God gave you a brain – and, made it larger (not necessarily better) than a dog /2 or chimpanzee’s (cats don’t count, ever.).

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

________________________

1/ I could hyperlink to many examples of my prior work on these topics. However, they’ve become copious in number. So, it’s a lot of work. And, if you actually cared (and, I understand many of you do, and will, ultimately), you’ll search and sort them out. All you need is the desire and proactive nature to utilize the search feature offered to the left of this post.

2/ One of my favorite posts: Sammy: The best argument I ever knew for Dogs in Heaven has now been read over 4,000,000 times. It’s being read in schools (one teacher told me it’s how he gets around the ban on religious (ouch) information. That’s fine. It’s kinda like being a pirate. Certainly a Prudent Gentleman.

Off topic: I think it’s funny that spell check doesn’t correct the word ‘kinda’.

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What’s All This About?

"What am I looking at?", you might wonder.

Lots of stuff.

Meanwhile, here, I discuss events, people and things in our world - and, my (hardly simplistic, albeit inarticulate) views around them.

You'll also learn things about, well, things, like people you need to know about, and information about companies you can't find anywhere else.

So, while I harangue the public in my not so gentle way, you will discover that I am fascinated by all things arcane, curious about those whom appear religious, love music, dabble in politics, loathe the media, value education, still think I am an athlete, and might offer a recipe.

All the while, striving mightily, and daily, to remain a prudent and optimistic gentleman - and, authentic.

brian cork by John Campbell





photos by John Campbell

 

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