Tuesday, November 11, 2008

New Direction

I have decided to stop using this blog. The title is too long and clunky and when I have utilized the blog it has been a catch-all for everything going on my in life. So I have decided to provide more focus for online connectivity to friends and family. I am going to continue to host a blog, but it is going to function as a an arena for me to work out some theological ideas. For family and friends that just want to keep up with pictures and day to day stuff that is going on, you can look me up on facebook.

The new blog can be reached by going here.

I can be found on facebook by doing a search for Jonathan Hughes or by clicking here.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008


On my drive to work this morning I counted 8 smashed red-eared sliders on the side of the road. On my recent trip to Ohio to the wedding of my brother the smashed turtles were too many to count.

For some reason I feel a certain measure of sadness as I view these wonderful creatures splayed out on the side of the road. I don't know if it is because I always wanted to have pet turtles when I was a kid or if I remember rescuing a turtle from oncoming traffic during one of our family vacations.

This recent reflection on turtles has given me a great idea (well at least I think it's great). I am thinking about building a turtle habitat or sanctuary in my backyard where they will be able to swim, eat, sun, hibernate, and even mate.

I am sure the kids would love it; Lyndsay even thinks it is a cool idea, although she just smiles and nods her head at me and says, "You and your ideas," which means, "You'll have forgotten about this idea in a few more days." We'll see.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

An Unexpected and Pleasant Surprise

Some of you know that I am very near the end of the Thesis writing process, and believe me, I am very ready to be done with the project. While I am ready to be done with this specific project, it is not as if I am ready to shove all the books aside and be done with the topics I have been researching.

As with any research, you can always follow multiple rabbit holes, and one has to limit the scope of their research. My plan up to this point has been to finish my thesis and then do further research on the writings of process theists: Charles Hartshorne and Alfred North Whitehead. I also have desired to further study some finer points of Arminian theology, as well as explore the writings of Karl Barth.

The unexpected and pleasant suprise is that I have become quite fascinated with the writings of, none other than, Alexander Campbell. I have been reading parts of The Christian System, which is the closest thing he wrote to a systematic theology, and his articles in The Christian Baptist, which can be found by searching google books.

I'll have to say that up until now, I have not given him enough credit, mostly because, for me, all of the Christian Church "slogans" have overshadowed his brilliant mind. His reflections on Jesus as the eternal logos are similar to the pre-Nicene theologians like Justin Martyr. Also, his view of human freedom is also very interesting, since it departs from the traditional Arminian view and is much more akin to the view of freedom espoused by John Cassian and the Eastern Fathers.

For someone who spoke so pejoratively about theology, he certainly had quite the theological mind. Interestingly enough, after the writing process is complete, my plan is to start reading Campbell and many of his ideas before any of the aforementioned subjects. What a strange twist for me! Since I entered seminary I have been very intentional about questioning and deconstructing my own church heritage, and it seems ironic that I would now discover it in the process! Ha!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Recommended Book

If you are looking for a good book to read, then I would wholeheartedly recommend this book to you. I finished reading this book back in January and I am very thankful for the content that it contains. The author is J. P. Moreland, who is a professor of philosophy at Talbot School of Theology and has written many fine volumes. This has become my favorite of his works.

I find that books fall into two categories. First, there are books that are well written, thought out, contain logical argumentation, and are all around engaging. These books are typically written by members of academia, but are often times inaccessible to the general population, mostly because the language can be confusing, they don't contain a lot of story, and can seem "dry."

Secondly, there are books published at the "popular" level that touch the emotion, inspire with story, but are often times poorly reasoned, exhibit little research, and argue against strawmen. The authors writing these books are generally not scholars in any field. Every once in a while a scholar/writer will be able to take his expertise and communicate effectively to a wider audience, like C. S. Lewis and Dallas Willard. Kingdom Triangle has that feel. It is not easy or light reading, but it is also not too technical.

Moreland believes that if the Church is going to find its way forward in our current cultural context, we must recover the Christian mind, renovate the soul, and restore the Spirit's power. What excites me so much about this book is that these three themes have been so prominent in my own thinking and learning over the last 8 years. Three seemingly divergent themes coming together in one fine book.

To recover the Christian mind means that we must see that throughout the history of the Church the Christian tradition has been a knowledge tradition. The relationship between knowledge and faith has become lost or grown fuzzy in the minds of many Christians.

To renovate the Soul is to experience authentic spiritual transformation. Moreland's discussion of the empty self is insightful (and is great sermon material) and his Tennis Righteousness illustration of spiritual discipline is very helpful.

To restore the Spirit's power is to begin to experience the supernatural power of God; to experience the "power" of the Kingdom of God. Moreland is among the growing numbers of evangelicals who identify with "third wave" charismatics, who stress miraculous healing and words of knowledge instead of tongues and other sensational phenomenon. He critiques both the cessationist (those who say the charismatic gifts have ceased) and the overtly sensational charismatic in an attempt to find a middle road between the two. Moreland even tells his own story of instantaneous healing he received by God through the prayers of church leaders.

I wholeheartedly recommend this book to you, my family and friends. You can also check out Moreland's website to read more of his stuff including his recent paper, which was read at the November 2007 Evangelical Theological Society Meeting. It was quite the "hit" this last year.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Lost Theory

Edit: Well the most recent viewing of Lost leaves this theory pretty banged up, although, the part about Ben could still be true, but now I'm not as sure as I was about his character. We'll see what happens. As Jason said in one of the comments below, half the fun of watching this type of show is having theoretical conversations about the show.

I am a huge fan of the television show Lost and I have been developing a theory about the subject matter of the show. If you are not completely caught up on the show then you may want to stop reading here, for what I am about to type will obviously spoil your enjoyment of the show.

I want to lay out the two pieces of data from the show that are very conflicted, which have led me to my current theory. I call it the Wardrobe Theory.

First of all, there are conflicting stories about the actual airplane and the passengers of Oceanic 815. In seasons 1 & 2 we saw the airplane break apart, with pieces landing on the island and various people surviving the crash. However, the last two seasons we have heard that all of the passengers on Oceanic flight 815 in fact died, and recently we have seen news coverage of a fully intact plane, submerged, with all of the passengers dead inside.

This leaves us with two versions of what happened.

1. The entire plane went under water and all of the passengers onboard perished.
2. The plane broke apart and quite a few individuals survived.

At first glance, both of these versions of reality cannot be correct, but maybe they can be.

My proposal is that the island is a point of contact between two parallel worlds. We could call them world A and world B, and the island is some sort of wormhole or intersection between the two.

Following this theory, in world A the plane takes off in Australia and breaks apart over the island and passengers survive. In world B the airplane does not break apart but travels through the intersection of worlds to crash land in the ocean in world A.

The reason I call this the wardrobe theory is that one of the recent characters names Charlotte Staples Lewis is a play on the name Clive Staples Lewis, who is more affectionately known as C .S. Lewis, who of course, wrote the Lion, the Witch, and Wardrobe. In this book, the children find a wardrobe that allows them to go into another world, all the while no time in their home world ever passes.

This theory can explain why we have two different versions of the plane and fate of passengers.

This theory opens up the possibility of some sort of time fluctuation as well as Desmond's "consciousness" travel.

This theory may also explain why mothers are dying on the island. It could be that the island is actually a real location in world B and some condition in that world is hostile to pregnant women from world A.

This theory also posits a reasonable motivation for the 3 experts (Daniel, Charlotte, and Miles) to investigate the island and or world B. Daniel Faraday is there to uncover all the scientific information; Charlotte is there to investigate the humanity, and Miles the spirituality.

This theory also makes sense of the reference to Steven Hawking, who did a lot of study on wormholes. If you don't remember the reference, think of the jewelry lady who talks to Desmond about the determinacy of the future; her name was Ms. Hawking.

Furthermore, the entire show is filled with many other references to philosophers and scientists. Generally speaking, many of the scientists referenced in the show studied in the area of space-time continuum, and some scientists within the context of quantum mechanics posit many world theories. Philosophers, also engage in modal logic, which centers on possible world semantics. Though the two ideas (possible worlds and alternate worlds) are not synonymous, it is not a stretch to think the writers of the show have been in contact with these ideas.

Finally, I think that Ben is really the good guy or rather the lesser of two evils. In general, he is an important and powerful person, who is keeping this island a secret from those who would exploit it. For Ben, the end justifies the means, and so he is willing to lie, cheat, steal, and murder in order for the greater good to be accomplished. That is why he killed the Dharma people, why he is currently so slippery, and why he is having Sayid hunt other people down in the future.

I would love to see your ideas about this theory: where its weak spots are, what is doesn’t explain, or any other thoughts about it. I hope you are enjoying the show as much as I am.

Here is a link to a website that details some of the connections between the characters of the show and their real life referents.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

After 6 months of non-blogging...

Well, it has been quite a while since I have visited the blogging world, and I am feeling the itch again for this creative outlet. We have been extremely busy over the last 6 months getting adjusted to our new home and chasing dreams and goals. Lyndsay loves her new job and the kids are growing like weeds and make sure to pound out of us the last few ounces of energy on a nightly basis. But we are having a lot of fun and really love being where we are. We feel settled and know that we have found a great place to raise our family.

I have been working feverishly on my Master's thesis and I expect to graduate in May. I have also been doing quite a bit of research for the work that here at the church, so the last 6 months have really been a lot of researching and writing, and I've been having a blast. I have a lot of new ideas, thoughts, and areas of interest, so I hope to explore some of those on this blog. I also hope to articulate my current "Lost" Theory in the near future.

To my friends and family, I hope you are doing well and I'll see you online.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Egg on the Floor

I returned home Sunday evening from our regularly scheduled men's basketball night to my lovely wife, who began to create a small meal for the two of us within a few minutes of my arrival. Shortly after I had popped a few popcorn chicken pieces into my mouth and tasted their wonderful flavor, I reached for the refrigerator door, which at that moment completely fell off its hinges and sent several items crashing to the floor, one of which was an egg.

Luckily, I was able to keep the door in a somewhat upright position while Lyndsay rescued the remaining items from their designated slots. We then spent the next thirty minutes scrutinizing the architecture of the door and were able to return the fridge to its former glory. So far that has been the strangest event that has happened to us since we bought our new home. And in case anyone is curious, Lyndsay had an important role in this process which only adds to her long resume of fixing bizarre items around the household. Her resume can be found here.