A few random life events, and one invitation to the public:
1. As of Aug 1, I have accepted a new job as a "Research Associate" at the Stanford Institute for Theoretical Physics (SITP). Really it's my 3rd postdoc position, but apparently their rules prohibit them from calling me a postdoc since it's been more than 5 years since I got my Ph.D. (Hard to believe, but true.)
I've been commenting a bit less, because of all the work from moving. Hopefully this is temporary.
2. I don't know if any of you happen to live in the South Bay Area, but if you do, you are welcome to come to a Discussion Group I'm leading for the next few months on the Apostles' Creed, what it says and why Christians believe the various points mentioned in the Creed (although you don't have to believe anything to participate, you just have to be curious). We will begin this Sunday, Aug 20, with the opening lines: "I believe in God, the Father Almighty".
It will be held on Sunday mornings, from 9:30-10:30 am, in Building D of New Life Church of the Nazarene in Cupertino, CA, which is also the church I grew up in.
If you can stick around for a while after that, there is a congregational worship service at 11 am. On Aug 20, there will also be a free BBQ lunch at 12:15. Again, you do not need to believe or buy anything to be welcome at these events. (You could be a flaming gay atheist; but as long as and you and your boyfriend are willing to spend time with us, we will be willing to spend time with you.)
3. Speaking of creeds, a friend-of-a-friend pointed me to the following interesting interview with St. Jaroslav Pelikan on the role of creeds in the Christian Church.
Note however, that there is a critical misspelling: the Nicene Creed was written to combat Arianism (followers of Arius, who denied the full divinity of Christ), not Aryanism! This is particularly egregious considering that the same interview refers to actual Aryanism (the Nazi veneration of the Aryan race) later on... [NEVER MIND THEY FIXED IT]
Also, the interview doesn't provide the complete text of the Maasai Creed.
4. Also, I have found my new favorite heresy! (Favorite to tell people about, anyway.) Apparently, St. Justinian (the Byzantine Emperor) found it necessary to pronounce the following condemnation:
If anyone says or maintains that in resurrection the bodies of men are raised up from sleep spherical, and does not agree that we are raised up from sleep upright, let him be anathema.
In order to clearly see the stakes involved in this question, please consult the following two figures describing alternative pictures of the afterlife:
This "spherical heresy" might seem pretty funny, but I think in order for us moderns to understand it, we have to think of it as being like the ancient version of "body image disorder", where people are uncomfortable with the shape of their own body, even though God created us to be physical beings.
This discomfort with our own bodies is one of the many effects of the Fall, and therefore it will be remedied at the Resurrection, when our flesh and spirit will no longer be at war with each other. So that will be all right then.