The First Brain

You know, y’all are an unusually quiet bunch of readers. I would bet money I don’t have that a freakishly high percentage of you are Introverted Intuitives on the Meyer’s Briggs Personality Test. Which isn’t a complaint, of course. I’m an Introverted Intuitive myself. But it does mean that I know far less about y’all than most writers with an audience my size.

However, a few of you have been bold enough to reach out and make yourselves known to me. And I have to assume that the rest of you are really awesome because my readers who I’ve gotten to know have turned out to be some of my favorite people. I even consider many of them friends.

One of the first readers who connected with me is a professor of biology at The University of West Chester Pennsylvania named Oné R. Pagán. Over the last nearly two years, Oné has become a friend and has been a source of encouragement to me. I’m certain he would be shocked at just how often certain things he has said to me have kept me going when selfdoubt and discouragement came prowling. He has been a true blessing.

The reason I am telling you about dear Dr. Pagán is because not only is he a professor and great guy, he’s also a blogger and a newly published author who I think you should know about. You can find his blog at Bald Scientist where he writes mainly about science with an aim to make it understandable and interesting to lay people. A new Carl Sagan in the making.

PLUS, Oné’s first book was recently published by Oxford Press (he’s a fancy, impressive guy that way). It’s called The First Brain. It’s about brains. And flat worms. And drugs. And aliens. Ok, not aliens. But if you like reading about science and have any interest in neurobiology, you should check it out. Because then you’ll be smarter and the world will be a better place. And we all want the world to be a better place, don’t we?

Anyhow, I wanted to pass that along to you, my dear, mostly silent, anonymous audience. And offer a proper congratulations to Oné for the publication of his first book. You can learn more about the book as well as get a code for 20% off a hard cover copy of The First Brain here. I would put up a picture of the super cool cover for y’all to see, but I’m having no end of technical difficulties, so you’ll just have to follow the link and be impressed.

And, reader? It’s OK to speak up from time to time, k? 🙂

The Embodied God

Fairly often, I run across something that makes my soul say, “yes, yes, yes!” (No, not like Sally in the deli from When Harry Met Sally. Get your head out of the gutter. It’s not very much like that at all. Not really. . . Much. . .)

Anyhow, I’ve been meaning to do a better job passing along such things to y’all. Cuz who couldn’t do with a little more “yes, yes, yes” in their soul?

From Nadia Bolz-Weber:

Instead of a religion revealed through philosophical constructs – easily reasoned out and understood, instead we get a God inconveniently revealed in people, and food and wine and water and bodies and pies and oil and beer. When God chose to come and take on human flesh and walk the earth and break bread with friends it was as though God was baptizing the material.  As though to say “stop looking for me in the heavens when you aren’t even close to understanding the majesty of a loaf of bread” or as Jesus puts it, if you can’t understand earthly things you’ll never understand heavenly things.

You can read the rest of the message here. But I wanted to share this part in particular. I’ve written before about letting go of the idea of the sacred and the profane. A lot of Christians are afraid to do this because they’ve been taught to fear the world. They think that the world is sullied and dangerous to believers. But Jesus’ teachings and example demonstrate just the opposite.

God didn’t redeem us as a disembodied light speaking from the clouds at us. He redeemed us by joining us here in creation. Which means that God, who is incompatible with darkness, evil and sin, had no problem living within creation. These bodies and bodily functions and drink and food and illness and menstrual problems are not incompatible with God. In fact, they testify to God.  That’s a pretty remarkable thing, if you take it seriously.

If we want to testify to God, then we’re going to have to learn to testify to God in this material world. The bible says that the created world testifies to God. Perhaps our job is to learn to recognize God at work in creation all around us. Not in spectacular miracles or times when creation doesn’t work the way it normally does. But in the everyday. In bread rising or a seed sprouting. Maybe even in other human beings. Perhaps even in ourselves.

We don’t have to be afraid of the world. It’s good enough for God, after all.

Bloggy Linky Goodness

I saw a sign yesterday which said “‘Let’s agree to disagree’ is just another way of saying ‘you’re wrong but too stupid to change your mind so let’s stop talking about it’.”Oddly enough, my husband has repeatedly proposed getting through this election cycle by “agreeing to disagree”. And here I was thinking he wanted to agree to disagree because he was feeling threatened by my razor sharp logic and superior grasp of facts!

I wonder why we have such a hard time dealing with people who disagree with us? Perhaps deep down we all feel like my mom did when she told me once, “I’d rather be wrong than change my mind.” I don’t have a particularly good answer to the quandary of conflicting opinions, but this week’s Bloggy Linky Goodness does have some excellent advice for those trying to find their way through this election season without being an ass. And some other excellent stuff as well. So here goes!

Politics: A Biblical Approach I’m not entirely sure that this ought to be labeled “a biblical approach”, but it’s definitely a good approach anyways. I especially appreciate that she starts of with a warning to “be intentional in how you present history”. Today may not be ideal, but the past wasn’t nirvana either, folks! (more…)

Bloggy Linky Goodness

OK, my week had eight days in it this week. But it’s a holiday, so you won’t notice anyways and we’ll just keep it to ourselves, k? BTW, can anyone tell me if hyper-dramatic 6 year old girls ever work the histrionics out of their system. Or is this just our ramp up for her teen years? Cuz if she keeps this up, her bedroom door might end up as damaged as mine is from all the slamming. Although maybe that would help – I haven’t slammed my bedroom door in ages because it’s completely borked now. The doors in this house just weren’t built to stand up to a woman with a difficult marriage and 5 or 6 kids. IJS

So moving on . . . it’s Bloggy Linky Goodness! I know you’re all so excited. And really impressed with my semi-consistancy with getting this up 6 whole times now. This is amazing stuff from the woman who forms tendencies the way other people form habits. Well, I do have one habit – I read everyfreakingthing. Which is good for you because now I can tell you which things out of everyfreakingthing are most worth reading. Here goes: (more…)

Bloggy Linky Goodness

I never said consistency was my thing – it’s not. But missing Bloggy Linky Goodness last week wasn’t really my fault. The internet was out. Cuz, as I’ve mentioned a time or two, money’s tight and choices must be made. So we ate mediterranean style green beans* and did without the internet. I didn’t even check my email for 4 days straight! I don’t think that’s ever happened before in the history of the whole internet. Sometimes being piss-poor (well, ok – house poor) has its upsides. It was a good break. And eating is always better than internet, believe it or not. At any rate, I’m back. For at least another month by which time my husband’s long promised raise or settlement from his back-injury might have arrived. And life will be easier again. Maybe.

So, this week’s Bloggy Linky Goodness is a little lite because, as I mentioned, I didn’t have an internet connection for a week. But, the links I have are extra good. Which is a totally fair and awesome trade-off if ya ask me. So here goes!

Six Surprising Ways That Jesus Changed the World – John Ortberg Back when I attended Willow Creek Community Church, John Ortberg was my favorite teacher by far. He has this very funny joke he tells about Norwegian girls and chest hair that I can never remember correctly, but just thinking about it still makes me laugh. And he was meaty – he dug into the bible and had challenging and enlightening things to say about it. I have several “ah-ha” moments that were significant to me which came out of hearing him teach. Which is all to say that I really like John Ortberg and was happy to see this piece he wrote about how Jesus changed the world. We Christians need to do a better job of recognizing and proclaiming this fact, imo. (more…)

Bloggy Linky Goodness

Well, it’s been a slow week around here as you might have noticed. Next week will be different, but you’ll have to head down to the bottom of this week’s Bloggy Linky Goodness to find out more about that. In other news, I shaved my legs and pits for the first time in months. Most exciting thing to happen around here in a while, I tell ya!

But I do have some good writing/reading for this week’s Bloggy Linky Goodness to share with y’all:

Radical Practice Needs Deep Roots in Doctrine I love synchronicity – great minds think alike and all that. This beautiful post by Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove at The Everyday Awakening explaining the gospel, suffering, atonement theology and more reads like if you took my own posts on suffering, the church and the sacrificial death of Jesus and put them into one post with much more skill and clarity than I have. Really great stuff. (more…)

Bloggy Linky Goodness

OK, OK, you got me – I skipped Bloggy Linky Goodness last week. I’m sure there was a perfectly good reason. Which I’d tell you if it was actually important. Or if I had enough brain power left to try to remember what it was. But it’s back! Hooray!

Before I get started, allow me to share one of the weird things I’ve been thinking about. First, the number 40. Remember how it rained for 40 days and 40 nights for Noah? And how the Israelites wandered in the desert for 40 years. And Jesus retreated to the desert for 40 days before starting his ministry. And it takes 40 days to gestate a human baby. Coincidence? I think not.

Now on to Bloggy Linky Goodness: (more…)

Bloggy Linky Goodness – My 500th Post

So, after my less that cheerful and uplifting post last night, tonight I’m all good news. First of all, it’s still Sunday somewhere in the US of A which means that this is the 3rd week in a row that I’ve gotten Bloggy Linky Goodness out on time. Which is like a record for me or something.

Second, this is my 500th blog post. And I want you all to be properly impressed by this feat because it was done with children climbing all over me. I’m not even kidding – last fall, Olivia was channelling the spirit of a cat and kept sitting on my head and neck while I typed. Be impressed, damnit. According a guesstimation based on the usual length of my blog posts, this means I have written approximately as many words here at The Upside Down World as are in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy and the Hobbit. And I’ve only occasionally repeated myself. So, yay me! Too bad I don’t have any rum to have a celebratory drink with. I guess you’ll have to have one for me. But only if you’re old enough and not a recovering alcoholic. In which case, just grab some water and say, “yay Rebecca!” with that instead. B-b-b-b-but, but wait – it gets better! In honor of my 500th blog post, I’m offering 5 days of free-ness on the Kindle version of The Upside Down World ~ A Book of Wisdom in Progress. From Wednesday through Sunday of this week, you will be able to download my book from Amazon free of charge. I’m giving you a few days advance notice so you have time to inform your family and friends and arrange your downloading parties to take advantage of this amazing offer.

Third – and this is really the best news of all – I think I finally reached spiritual home today. The long journey I’ve been on is complete and I’m ready to start a whole new leg of the adventure. It’s good. I know some of you have been worried (hi, Mom!), but I’m finally OK. I can’t begin to guess when my non-spiritual life will pick up, but that’s just piddly stuff compared to where I’m at now. However, the details are all stuff I’ll have to be getting into over the next few weeks. Stay tuned!

Oh – and speaking of my mom, today is my parent’s 40th wedding anniversary! Yep – that’s them on their wedding day up at the top there. They are traveling through the Canadian Rockies where they took their honeymoon right this moment. Only this time, I’m pretty sure they are using hotels and not a tent. So, if you still have that drink handy say, “congratulations, Rebecca Trotter’s mom and dad!” (I’m sure that’s how they want to be addressed these days – as “Rebecca Trotter’s mom and dad”! LOL) If your drink’s already gone, pour yourself another and maybe think about cutting back on the sauce, will ya? (more…)

Bloggy Linky Goodness

Look at me – it’s been one week exactly and here’s another addition of Bloggy Linky Goodness, right on schedule. I’ve read some really great writers this week. In fact, too many great writers; they’re feeding my insecurities. But that’s my problem, not their’s.  So, without further ado, here is this week’s Bloggy Linky Goodness, pre-screened and pre-enjoyed for your convenience!

My 2 Great Guys A great post from regular reader and commenter O.R. Pagan/The Bald Scientist about one of those moments that parents of kids with autism cherish. I hope you’ll go check it out. And say “hi”. You guys are too quiet!

He Said/She Said I just discovered this blog – good2begone – and I’m loving it. (I spit my drink out reading about his stepdaughter saying Lincoln lived in a “login” in another post. That’s quite an accomplishment.) This post looks at the differences between men and women’s communication styles. (more…)

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