On procrastination

I sometimes wonder what it is that makes us procrastinate. I am terrible at this. I often find myself completing 80-90% of whatever I’m doing, when I suddenly “remember” that there’s something else I need to do that I haven’t started yet. So it often ends up that I have a lot of things mostly done but nothing complete. I’m not very good at sticking at one thing.

The same is true of blog posts. I have about half a dozen that I have been writing for some time, taking a look at, putting away again and not feeling ready to put them online because I’m not happy about them for one reason or another.

I have also been lacking time lately, as I’ve been busy with work, often only getting half an hour or so spare in the evenings, as well as the fact that I was away for the entire weekend. Although that was quite nice. I was trying to teach my 7 year old niece about the idea of a “characteristic” by describing something that:

• Has four legs
• Has fur
• Has a tail
• Has teeth & claws
• Says “meow”

It was only at this last clue that a broad grin slipped across her face. I then asked her what characteristics uncles have (as well as me, she has quite a few other uncles). Here response was that they:

• Are grown-up
• Are male
• Have a special talent.

Naturally, at this point, I asked her what special talents I had. “You’re good at maths and tickles,” she said. That made me smile.

I have a relatively free weekend coming up, so I hope to be able to finish some of these half-creations. There has been much to think about recently, probably a lot of which I shan’t put online. I was sorry to hear of the departure of the departure of John Stott. Though I have not read any of his books for many years, I always found them honest, heartfelt and challenging. I did not agree with 100% of what he taught, though I have a great respect for him. There have, however, been losses of those much closer to me and much younger, that it would be inappropriate for me to comment on further in public. I have also been trying to find the time to do some thorough reading on the potential discovery of the Higgs boson both at CERN and Fermilab, though I have not had the chance to read more than the first paragraph of any article, nor have I surveyed what evidence has been published so far. I am also trying to find time to read Steve Jones’ report on science reporting in the BBC. Again, I have only read a brief summary of his findings.

I will share one thought I had recently. I’ve been going through the gospels of Matthew and Mark lately, and noted that both of them contain mention of Jesus talking about “taking up a cross.” (Matt 16:21-28, Mark 8:31-38) Most christians, I think, read this in the context of a complete picture of the gospels, post-crucifixion. I think there are some redaction critics who suppose this was added by the gospel writers at a later date, knowing the method of Jesus’ execution. Now, while I’m no expert at anything much, and especially redaction criticism, I’m not sure what the evidence is to suppose this was a later insertion. So, assuming it was a truthful testimony, was Jesus making some kind of prediction as to his own method of execution? Was it a common phrase in use in Roman-occupied Judea/Israel/Palestine at the time? What would those around him have thought he meant by it? What, crucially, did Jesus himself think he meant by it?

I’ve heard some very platitudinous answers to this, though I am not convinced by them. I shall continue to search and to think.

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