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Leaving the place better than we found it
Seeing with my eyes closed
Thomas Jefferson on gun control
How to lie convincingly
Our hardy heartland
Breaking the cycle
How to catch the sun's comings and goings
Thoughts from the inside
Leveraging the internet to build our walls
Twitters from the past
And the invincibility of youth
Without ego projection
Yet another gift of the road
The charming side of obstinance
The creative part of photography
A movie critic looks in the mirror
We are not alone
As part of the system
Defecting from the rear guard
The end of Kumbaya
The wanderer's poet
Running out of dirt
Striking a balance
The Bay of Fundy, where the sea breathes
How to photograph them with anything, even your cellphone
A simple question we get every day
We may be failing to fail
And why no one should hesitate to examine them
Becoming a hero in one's own life story
A writing assignment
A new discovery of something old
Finding new eyes to see old landscapes
Hick humor
Toys for photographing wild places
You're on this page
A radical thought about our radicals
Redemption with style
Hidden heroes among us
Resetting our parallel processor
A village with heart
A lesson from the road
The bullet dodged
A soul sparkles
Isolation in style
Painless ways to lose your virginity : 11/12/15
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Experiencing life with God

Tramping along the Blue Ridge Mountains, I find the strangest thoughts cross my path, and in one case, it was about a fork in the trail.

One thought went all the way back to high school. I was annoying my catechism teacher with, "Can God make a world where he can't know its future?" This was of course a trick question to leave God either no longer omnipotent or no longer all knowing. I forget how Brother Paul wiggled out of that, but my next flashback was to a quantum mechanics class studying physics a few years later at UCLA.

Turned out a Martin Heisenberg fellow came up with a clear, mathematical answer with his Uncertainty Principle. A blackboard full of Greek graffiti proved that it was impossible to predict exactly which orbit an electron would fall into. Not that we couldn't predict it but that no one and nothing could predict it. This wasn't an opinion but a scientific law as solid as Newton's had been for the big stuff like planets.

An electron here or there doesn't matter for most things. Newton's laws govern much of what happens in a snowstorm, for example, but not the path of an individual snowflake. So much is going on that a single electron can decide if a snowflake will zig or zag on its way down, and that one snowflake landing in the wrong spot could be the tipping point for the avalanche that wipes out a village. Key is that no one and nothing can exactly predict that avalanche.

There you have it. Heisenberg gave a factual, scientific answer to my high school inquiry. Not only could God make a world where he can't know its future, but the facts show that he did make such a world. God no longer knows everything, only what can be known.

If no one can predict an individual snowflake, no one can predict the electrical path of an individual neuron, an even more uncertain path.

So it was that my forest trail diverged, with both paths looking good. As I walked up to the fork, I didn't know which way I would go, but what was more fascinating, neither did God. I had free will. I was not following the preordained footsteps of my destiny.

But of course, why would God make a world where he knew everything that would happen? Where's the fun in that?

So he made a world where it's amusing to watch his lab rats. The question then evolved into, "What would make me worth watching for the Big Guy?"

Religions are quick to pitch scripts, and indeed I'd rather be watched loving my neighbor than hating him. But God must be interested in more than just mules on a path, even a righteous path.

If he built this world to surprise him, wouldn't it befit us to have adventures, to discover miracles, to love deeply, to pursue inspirational ideas, and to experience wonder?

We've got to entertain him given that he has the ultimate blaster to change channels.

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Fort Sumter, where the music stopped

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Artillery shell embedded in wall

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Under Fort Sumter

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Charleston walkway

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Where po' folk gather

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St. Phillip's Church

For more pictures of South Carolina, click here.

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