Sunday, July 31, 2016

Quantum Faith

It’s inspiring to me when I listen to fellow Christians excitedly quote their favorite authors who ignite and guide their faith journey: C.S. Lewis, Max Lucado, Tim Keller, Rob Bell, Beth Moore; the list could take up an entire blog post. I’ve recently been inspired in faith by a name who first encountered in the seats of a college lecture hall – physicist Werner Heisenberg.

The most famous principle that carries his name essentially states that for related physical properties, knowing one with exceptional precision (say the location of a particle) comes at a cost of the precision of the related property (the same particle’s velocity or direction). Now before you stop reading, I promise the quantum physics lesson ends here. I do want to share a couple of Heisenberg’s quotes though and testify to how they’ve helped strengthen and shape my faith.

“The first gulp from the glass of natural sciences will turn you into an atheist, but at the bottom of the glass God is waiting for you.”

A study conducted 10 years ago of research institutions and medical facilities found that approximately 2/3 of all scientists and more than ¾ of doctors stated they believe in God. Despite those encouraging statistics, when I was studying chemistry in college it was truly difficult for me to attend church. I had grown up in the church, went to services every Sunday, could name most of the books of the Bible for memory; but suddenly a questioning attitude and a waterfall of truth in academia left my relationship with Christ short on answers and parched in thirst for truth in Him.

In hindsight I see my “college self” was sold on the idea that somehow “science truth” had to be different from “God truth”. Fortunately He revealed to me that nothing could be farther from the truth! Going through the Disciple Bible Study within our small group at BUMC opened my eyes and ignited a passion for studying scripture. Looking at how things revealed by God in Genesis would play out centuries later through the life of Jesus made the Bible an academic challenge – one I still love to test (both to myself and others) today!

“Quantum theory provides us with a striking illustration of the fact that we can fully understand a connection though we can only speak of it in images and parables.”

I know, I promised no more quantum theory, but stick with me this quote: If you replace “Quantum theory” with “Jesus”, you will find its truth and validity just the same! The documented teachings of Jesus contains dozens of parables he used to illustrate the nature of God to his audiences. How much do we as Christians still struggle today to put into understandable images the Trinitarian nature of God? What Heisenberg reminds me is that the struggle humans face to understand quantum theory is essentially the same struggle humans face to understand God’s plan for us! Therefore, isn’t it only logical that the brain functionality God gave me to comprehend wave-particle duality is the same as I should use to comprehend His very own nature?

“What we observe is not nature itself, but nature exposed to our method of questioning.”

Again, if we swap “nature” for “God” (something even a ‘spiritual agnostic’ might allow), we find Heisenberg has made a profound insight of how we accept God’s revelation of himself to us. Acts 17:11 says of Paul and Silas’s arrival in Berea: “Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.” These early Christians in Berea were practitioners in studying the Scriptures through exegesis (letting the Scriptures “lead them” to the truth. I personally have been guilty of applying eisegesis to the Bible, or “reading into” the text how I want to interpret its meaning. All too often, a single verse of scripture can be pulled out of its context and used to defend an antithetical viewpoint, not only from what the verse is actually representing, but contrary to the essence of God completely!

I’m very proud to be both a science nerd as well as a Christian strong in my faith. I have my favorite Christian authors, but Werner Heisenberg inspires both sides of this character equation. As we learn, grow, and discover more of who we are as a human race, I believe that in doing so we are actually chasing Him and therefore should equally embrace His word at the same time. We still continue to struggle with understanding our connection to God and His image within ourselves, but it’s okay because Jesus himself had to endure human struggles to be that connection. Lastly, God doesn’t want our witness of Him to be one of open interpretation and “feeling our way around our faith”. He has revealed His character to us through the prophets of the Old Testament and Jesus’s teaching here on Earth. It may not help explain quantum physics, but a scholarly study of the Bible will reveal who God truly is in the context that He wants us to know Him.

At the core it might just be the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle that reminds us to maintain balance in our lives. If we get too focused on where we are going, we’ll lose sight of where we are. If we focus too much on our jobs, our family and spiritual lives will suffer. If we get so caught up in trying to control and understand every detail, we’ll forget that God has got this and He’s making all things work together for our good, according to His plan.



Kyle Rasmussen and his family currently live in Centerville, UT and attend The Bridge Community Church. He is a Quality Control Specialist with Holly Energy Partners in the greater Salt Lake City area.

Monday, July 25, 2016

God Uses Our Hard For Good

I got to spend a few hours with a friend the other night. We hung out at her empty house, just about to be sold. We sat on the floor and ate, as we talked about her house closing that was happening a few days later and all that had led up to this day. It was very bittersweet for this friend, as the last year has been one of the hardest of her life. Just over a year ago her life took a turn that she never saw coming. To respect her privacy, just suffice it to say that I’m not sure how I’d ever get through all that she has gotten through. She really is an inspiration.

As we sat on the floor and talked for a few hours, through the laughs and the tears she had such grace. A year ago when all of the hard stuff went down, a few weeks into it I remember her telling me that her theme word as she walked through this rough season was going to be “grace”. GRACE. She had been treated poorly and the easy and very natural way to respond to it all would be resentment, anger, unforgiveness, negativity. Did she have moments of those feelings? Of course. Naturally. But she set her mind on having grace be her goal. She trusted in God in the worst of times to help her through, and to get through it being gracious.

As the night continued on, it turned out to be such a gift for me. As my friend shared story after story of how God has shown up just at the right time in the most amazing ways, we both had tears in our eyes. Her commitment to model grace was so hugely rewarded by God. She shared about little things, like when she needed a new laptop and the next thing she knew, a woman at work needed to sell hers, because she needed money. Both of them were blessed by the transaction, and my friend marveled at the perfect way that God brought all of that to be. What a blessing it was to hear her give God the glory, example after example.

As I drove home that night and reflected on the evening, I was struck with how even in the worst of times that seem like they will destroy us, God is so faithful. He is so gracious with us! We can feel like there is no way we’ll ever live through a situation, but somehow we do. Day by day. And the coolest part of that is that one day all of a sudden in the midst of the hard, if we are paying attention, we can start to see where God has been showing up all along….where God has given us the strength that we needed along the way but didn’t have on our own…..where God has crossed our lives with people who end up being hugely impactful to our journey……where God models grace and love and hope and peace through one circumstance after another…..where you realize that truly through God’s grace, the terrible time feels slightly less terrible now.

I believe that in every instance, God can use our hard for good, somehow. He creates a history of showing up in the hard so that we can look back to that during the next hard thing. While I would NEVER wish such a terrible time on anyone, my friend has such a testimony to share for God’s glory, even as she continues to walk through it.

When has God showed up to help in your “hard?” I’d love to hear your story in the comments below!

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 (NIV)



Vicki Cromarty is the Family Ministry Director at BUMC. She loves getting to know families and kids and having the privilege to learn with them about God’s amazing love. Vicki and her husband, Dave, have a beautiful daughter, Lauren, who is 13-years-old. Their family also includes Sadie, the Lhasa Apso. Vicki loves spending time with her family and friends, and enjoying all that beautiful Colorado has to offer! You can contact her at vicki.cromarty@broomfieldumc.org.



Friday, July 15, 2016

Seeking God's Love in the Darkness

When starting to write this blog, I started over several times. First, it was the shooting in Orlando, FL, then there was the shooting of the Police Officers in Dallas, and then the bombings across the globe these past few weeks, and now the terrible attack in Nice, France.  I thought about what I could say. And, there was nothing I could say to take away the hurt and pain felt by our nation and the world. What I asked myself was this… What is the path that Jesus has put me on, and what can I do? And, I thought and prayed, and the answer did not come in the form of a lighting bolt or voice from the heavens, it came from the mouth of my 6-year-old son.

Overhearing the news stories I was listening to, he asked me what what was going on, and I told him (sort of). He asked why people were so mad, and I tried to explain it to him. After thinking for a bit, he looked at me and said, "all they need to do is show God’s love like Jesus tells us to and everything will be okay." Then he went back to playing with his toys. And, there it was, the path…

The prayer that I turn to in these tough times, or when I am feeling despair or overwhelmed by the evil in this world, comes from Saint Francis:


“Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.

Where there is hatred, let me sow love;

Where there is injury, pardon;

Where there is doubt, faith;

Where there is despair, hope;

Where there is darkness, light;

Where there is sadness, joy.

O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek

To be consoled as to console,

To be understood as to understand,

To be loved as to love;

For it is in giving that we receive;

It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;

It is in dying to self that we are born to eternal life."


Life’s path is often difficult. So if we expect that God will always give us an easy road, we may be tempted to turn our back on Him when the terrain gets tough. If you’ve ever considered doing that, think about the people of Israel. When they were given freedom from the Egyptians after hundreds of years of bondage, they took off for the Promised Land. But God didn’t send them straight home. He “did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter” (Ex. 13:17). Instead He sent them on the hard road through the desert. In the short run, this helped them avoid wars (v. 17), but in the long run, there was something bigger at work.

God used that time in the desert to instruct and mature the people He had called to follow Him. The easy road would have led them to disaster. The long road prepared the nation of Israel for their successful entry into the Promised Land.

Our God is faithful, and we can trust Him to lead us and care for us no matter what we face. We may not understand the reason for the path we are on, but we can trust Him to help us grow in faith and maturity along the way.

My path is to try to be the light in the world, shining God’s love into the darkness, to help others see that we are all God’s Children, no matter who we are, where we have come from, what we have done, or our past.

Dave Lockley is a lifelong Methodist who has attended Broomfield UMC for the past 8 years, with his wife Jamey and children Eddie and Anabella. He has degrees in History and Education from CU Boulder and is a teacher, for the Adams 12 School District. At BUMC, he teaches classes and small groups studies on Christian History and the Bible. You can contact him at David.Lockley@colorado.edu.  

Friday, July 8, 2016

Focus

I went to motorcycle school this week. For many years I’ve wanted to get a motorcycle. My parents would probably say I wanted a motorcycle since before I could pronounce the word “motorcycle”! I decided some time ago that a smart first step would be to take a riding course. Earlier this year I finally signed up for a Motorcycle Safety Foundation Basic Ridercourse™. Some of the elements of riding a motorcycle defy intuition, while others are common sense. One such common sense lesson I re-learned this week is, “you tend to go where your head is looking.”

As an avid mountain biker and skier, I’d learned this lesson many times. Look at that rock and you’ll tend to point the bike at the rock. Look at that snow-laden tree, and you’ll find your skis pointed toward branches and bark. During the riding portion of our motorcycle training, we were asked to perform ever more complicated tasks as we gained skills. An exercise toward the end of the course involved complicated low-speed figure-8 U-turns in a tight space, followed by a higher speed swerve to avoid an obstacle, followed by a quick stop. None of the students got it exactly right on the first try, but our instructor continued to reminded us of a lesson from our first turning exercise: “the bike will tend to go where your head is looking.”

After one unsuccessful swerve, our instructor asked me why I hit a cone. “I was looking at the cone,” I replied. He nodded and asked, “Can you fix that?” Because I knew that all I had to do was focus on where I wanted to go instead of the obstacle, I answered with a confident, “Definitely!” And I did. I completed the whole exercise without missing a point, all because I began to focus my mind and my eyes on the right things.

God knows this about us, and that’s why Paul wrote to the Philippians, “From now on, brothers and sisters, if anything is excellent and if anything is admirable, focus youth thoughts on these things: all that is true, all that is holy, all that is just, all that is pure, all that is lovely, and all that is worthy of praise.” (Philippians 4:8 CEB). Where your head goes, the rest of you will follow. It’s true with bikes and skis, and its true in much of the rest of life as well.

I don’t pretend to know the thoughts of the people who committed acts of violence this week in Louisiana, Minnesota, and Texas. This I do know: when my head is focused on excellence, truth, justice, purity, and everything that is admirable, lovely, and praiseworthy, I’m much less prone to turn toward darkness. There’s little room for anger, fear, and hate when my eyes are fixed on beauty, truth, and peace.

The problems we face in our individual lives, and in the life of our nation, are not simple. The solutions will almost certainly be multifaceted and challenging to implement. The start, however, might be as simple as recognizing where our heads are pointed. So, where is your head pointed? Where are your eyes looking? On what are you focusing your thoughts? Pay attention, or you might run into a rock, or a tree, or something much darker…

8 From now on, brothers and sisters, if anything is excellent and if anything is admirable, focus your thoughts on these things: all that is true, all that is holy, all that is just, all that is pure, all that is lovely, and all that is worthy of praise. -Philippians 4:8 (CEB) 



Mike is the Director of Student Ministries at BUMC. He’s done ministry with students in Pennsylvania, Connecticut, California, and now Colorado. Mike recently finished his MDiv degree at Fuller Theological Seminary, and his passion is to lead kids of all ages toward adoption into the family of God. If he’s not hanging out with Middle School or High School students, you’ll probably find him on a bicycle or on skis. He makes killer chocolate chip cookies. Reach him at mike.orr@broomfieldumc.org