Sad State of Affairs

Barrenelle Stutzman has been ordered by a Washington State court to provide flowers for gay weddings. This came about when a 9 year customer of hers asked her to provide flowers for his gay wedding. She politely and even lovingly refused. Her refusal ushered in a social media whirlwind that caused the attorney general of Washington state to press charges based on the social media readings. She lost in court and the court did its utmost to punish her by not only allowing damages to be collected from her business but from her personally also. What spirit is motivating these people?

I read the story on Gateway Pundit and I short video is included.

Her eyes seem to have been opened to Jesus’ call to be hot or cold. She says in the video that she was lukewarm, but not any more.

She and we think that people will naturally act fairly and decently; but the lines between the spirit of anti-Christ and Christ are becoming painfully obvious.

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A Must Read (Hugh Hewitt)

“What Isis Really Wants” truly is a “must read”. The establishment of the Islamic State or the Caliphate changes all of the dynamics for a believing Muslim. Now, for the first time pure Sharia law can be followed. The article does a great job in describing what that means and how it is different from, say Saudi Arabia.

To see how we have misunderstood and miscalculated the events surrounding Isis would seem comical; except for the suffering and damage that has been done.

The Isis view of President Obama, as apostate Muslim, lecturing them on the meaning of true Muslim worship comes across as painfully relevant to the times we live in.

Are we all racing to the end together?

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One Minute Bible Studies

Joan and I attended a marriage seminar today. The speaker was Pastor Richard Cox. He is an ex-New Jersey cop who had a few thoughts about his new home in California. At one point he complained that you couldn’t do anything church outreach wise without a permit.

The beauty of “one minute bible studies” is that you do not need a permit. I have handed out flyers in Walmart’s parking lot and have been asked not to. I have done “one minute bible studies” in the same parking lot without incidence.

You do not need a permit to do “one minute bible studies”. Something that will become more and more valuable as we progress to the time of Jesus’ return and the revealing of the anti-Christ.

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JP’s Funeral Sermon

JP was a Praying Man

Morning Prayer

The Problem with Prayer

Chinese Aristocrat who the early missionaries had high hopes for: Why he rejected Christianity: It doesn’t work.

The church world has always taken advantage of our desperation to get our prayers answered. Church commercials with the phrase: “The church where your prayers will be answered” is an acknowledgement of the desperation people have to do whatever it takes to get their prayers answered.

Currently there is a group of churches that teaches their members to pray upside down. You might wonder why. The leader had fallen in a well in the countryside and was stuck upside down. He was using all of the entreaties to deities that he knew of and when he tried Jesus someone looked down and rescued him. Thus if you pray upside down your prayers will be answered.

If Christianity was the door to have all of your prayers answered in the way you want them answered the whole world would be Christian.

JP and Dixie’s birth into the kingdom was prefaced with their desperate prayers for the healing of their daughter Leanne. I am sure to the day JP died he continued to pray and believe for Leanne to get out of that wheelchair and walk.

If Christianity and prayer isn’t about getting our prayers answered what is it about?


The unjust ruler in Luke 18 represents God, a God who is not doing our bidding. The parable finishes with this phrase: “Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?”

JP and Dixie would pray every morning for anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour and a half. I know because I felt guilty not praying as long.

For most people; prayer becomes quiet time, because after you have asked God for more money, better health, take care of your loved ones and the special need of the hour you are done. So how did JP and Dixie stretch this out to an hour or more?

They prayed in tongues.

There is a whole chapter about it in the New Testament. For most people it has to be the most confusing chapter in the bible. Speak in tongues. Don’t speak in tongues. Sometimes speak in tongues. But for the person who has taken the step of faith to be filled with the Holy Ghost and speak in tongues; the chapter actually makes sense as it differentiates between prayer, praise and the gift of tongues which is different from just praying in tongues.

Because we don’t know all of the details surrounding anything we pray for we pray in a language, or an unarticulated sound, that no human understands, only God, for the people and needs of our life.

JP was a praying man who prayed in tongues.

  1. JP was a Church Man

When the church doors were open JP was there early and always willing to lend a hand in what needed to be done. To sustain this to the day he died is quite the commendation.

In today’s world, this is unusual to say the least.

The problem with church is people. Any member of a church is going to have to learn to forgive and have grace. During his years in this church he has been let down by new converts, old converts, true brothers in the Lord, pastors and once even Dixie.

Yet, he stayed faithful. Why?

The illustration that God has given us to identify the true believer is his or her relationship with the people who are in the same church as they are.

John 13:35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Its easy to love someone who you have very little contact with in a spiritual sense. Easy to say I love the persecuted Christians of China. Harder to live this way year after year: Rom 15:1-3 We then who are strong ought to bear with the scruples of the weak, and not to please ourselves. 2 Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, leading to edification.

He understood the value of church. I am not talking about the universal church. I am talking about this local assembly and his being a part of it.

The church is meant to be an example to the world of the love of God, but it has another purpose I want to make clear to you.

1 Tim 3:15 I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.

The purpose of the church is to life up the word of God for the world to see. Somehow we need to get the word of God into circulation in the communities we live in.

JP understood this calling of the church and has given himself to it in his years of being a church man. As a church we have been doing one minute bible studies. We drive around town looking for wandering souls outside of the cocoons of their TV’s, computers and smartphones and ask them to do a one minute bible study with us. Almost everyone says yes. When we would do this as an organized outreach JP would always be in the car.

JP understood the importance of a small group of people in a small town in the overall strategy of a commander in chief who sits in heaven directing His armies, from the divisions of fellowships to the companies and squads of churches like ours.

III. JP had Chosen a Side

Are there really sides? You mean like good and evil? Can I just stay neutral? Suppose I don’t want to pick a side?

You can do whatever you want to. This is what Joshua did: Josh 5:13-15 And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, a Man stood opposite him with His sword drawn in His hand. And Joshua went to Him and said to Him, “Are You for us or for our adversaries?” 14 So He said, “No, but as Commander of the army of the Lord I have now come. “And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped, and said to Him, “What does my Lord say to His servant?” 15 Then the Commander of the Lord’s army said to Joshua, “Take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy.” And Joshua did so.

JP, like Joshua, has chosen a side. He was under no delusion that there was an incredible spiritual war unfolding around him.

Matt 12:30 He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad.

Gathering or scattering.

Building or tearing down.

More specifically, are you living a life that can draw people to Christ or are you living a life that says it doesn’t really matter.

JP has been able to see this nation change.

Balaam told Balak that he could not curse the people of God, “I cannot curse what God has blessed.” We used to believe that we were a nation blessed by God. Are we still?

Balaam couldn’t curse Israel but he instructed Balak in how to get the Israeli’s to curse themselves. Balak introduced sexuality immorality into the ranks of the Israeli’s.

Cursed, by the actions we do or condone or just don’t do anything to stand against.

I’ll name three: Abortion, Homosexual Marriage and standing against Israel.

I won’t take the time to explain to you why these things are wrong and bring a curse down upon our entire nation. If you need an explanation you have already chosen your side and it is the side of the anti-Christ.

A cursed nation is a nation that hardens it heart to the only thing that can break the curse; the word of God.

JP saw this and understood this. That is why he was a praying man and a church man.

The world is hurtling toward the return of Christ and the coming of the anti-Christ. You are working for one or the other. There is no in between.

One world government, one world religion and one world economic system is the fruit of a world chasing after the anti-Christ.

You say “Who’s chasing after the anti-Christ?” If you have rejected the gospel then you are chasing after the anti-Christ.

The idea that you don’t take this serious just shows that you don’t take God seriously.

Jesus looks at this time and this people and says this: Rev 3:15-16 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16 So, because you are lukewarm — neither hot nor cold — I am about to spit you out of my mouth.”

JP was hot to the end.


Finally, JP knew where he was going. He lived a life of always being ready and always properly preparing for the events ahead in his life.

The check.

Food joy.

Rev 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.


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JP and Me

I met JP Prediger 6 and a half years ago when I came to Sparta to pastor the Potter’s House Church. One of the highlights was to take a road trip with JP and his wife Dixie, and Kenneth and Maida, their best friends, and Joan and I. We took the back roads out of Sparta taking us to the Mississippi below Chester. We made our way to the Little Grand Canyon. This was fall and the colors were fabulous. We stopped at the stores representing the apple farmers of the area. We went across the state to a great National Wilderness Area; Garden of the Gods. We then made our way south to the Ohio River and checked out the Cave in the Rocks where pirates use to raid the boats going down the river. We crossed over and spent the night in Kentucky. The next day we visited Paducah. We then made our way to Cairo where the Mississippi and the Ohio meet. From there we headed home.

As they were passing judgment on me, their new pastor, I was passing judgment on them. Here is what I noticed about JP. He loves his food. Each food stop was accompanied by a string of superlative adjectives that could not even be equaled by Bill Murray in “What About Bob”. These were important events that I gladly rejoiced with him in the pure joy that emanated from him with each food stop. There was barbeque, fish fry, special apples, ice cream and a farmer’s market where JP showed his knowledge about gardening and pickling. JP knew his food and he knew his good deals.

It was great to get a call every once in a while about a particular good deal at Walmart or Aldis. Of course, any roadside deals deserved extra special care in descriptions and directions. We then discovered a peach orchard. Not just any peach orchard, but a pick your own peach orchard. Now this is a little piece of heaven that I could share with JP. Trying to compare the delicious peach I just ate with the delicious peach he just ate was no contest. He won every time.

JP gardened but I found there was one item that I consistently grew that he really appreciated. When I showed up in the Midwest I bought some black tomatoes. Delicious, and a first for me. I would buy plants from May’s farm as well as other locations. They never produced tons but they had a peculiar way of ripening and splitting that just added to the joy for me. A joy I could share with JP.

There was a time when JP would show me his spiritual side by asking me to search out a lost soul named Steve who seemed to be some kind of survivalist. It could be a dangerous undertaking for me; but he seemed to think it was worth the risk. I found Steve in a little trailer set back in the woods outside of Tilden. The more I got to know Steve the more I could see why he and JP were such good friends. Steve knew where to find big hickory nuts and every once in a while would stumble upon the morels hiding out in the woods.

Our Easter celebration with a meal will be a moment for me to remember JP again. In the mean time I will be thinking of him whenever I smell or see Good and Plenty. For a man of his years to have that simple joy of eating candy the way only he could can never be something I forget.

“Behold I stand at the door, and knock. If any man hear my voice, and open the door. I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me”. Spoken by Jesus to all of us. Rev. 3:20

Enjoy the feast JP.

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Road Trip with a Storm

I had decided two years ago to spend this last Christmas with family in Reno at Billy and Brooke’s house. As the season approached I was watching gas prices go down and down. Everything I was reading said they were going to continue to go down on the strength of Saudi Arabia’s geopolitical strategies. It would be 850 to fly for both of us and due to new environmental regulations concerning jet fuel the reduced oil prices would not affect airline prices. So I announced to Joan that we would be driving out there from Sparta in Southern Illinois.

After calculating spent time in car verses spent time with grandchildren she, weeping, agreed. Corey set us up with some modern science fiction (Emperor Mollusk verses the Sinister Brain) and even a Peter Wimsey, Unnatural Death. We had bought ourselves a Christmas present of JBL Flip2 to run with our devices in the car. We left Monday morning at 3 after a good Sunday church day, arriving in Laramie, WY around 5pm their time gaining an hour, about 15 hours of driving with only the last stretch with ice and snow. Good thing we made it that far; the highway was closed down behind us between Laramie and Cheyenne the next day. A cheap hotel and an early start got us into another stretch of ice and snow as we made our way up through the passes on the easiest route through the Rockies on Hwy. 80. We spent some extra time in Salt Lake City where we got $1.95 gas (already this seems high now). We arrived without mishap that night about 8 their time gaining another hour for about a 28 hour trip. Total gas cost $160. I let everyone in church know that 2015 is the year to take a road trip.

The glory of grandchildren consumed our life from arrival to departure. Julia is becoming more and more articulate and also more and more observant. We brought our presents in and as we had picked names this year so you only needed to buy one gift (excluding grandchildren) I had a very large wrapped present for Billy. Julia and Roman were immediately attracted to the large present and let everyone know that it was their Daddy’s. Roman is all boy and we would have it no other way. Interacting with Julia and wrestling with Roman took tag team wrestling strategies for Joan and me.

Christmas Eve included attending church with Billy and Brooke. Laura Michelle and Joe would be flying in later that night. We were going to have them meet us at a casino buffet that we were sharing with Billy’s family that night. Their flight was delayed but joined us at Billy’s sister and Brother in law after dinner. Mexican tradition seems to be to stay up late on Christmas Eve, shoot off fireworks and open presents at Midnight. Billy couldn’t wait for his nephews to open their presents from him. BB handguns. Well it was shooting time until we all left together with the arrival of Laura Michelle and Joe.

Christmas day was a slow unwinding affair. My Mom and sisters would join us around noon. It was nice since neither Julia nor Roman had any preconceived notions on how the morning would unfold. We were able to open stockings with some goodies and wait to open the presents under the tree later. Laura Michelle had brought lots of goodies. I had brought some Russian salamis and candies that I had bought in the international district of Chicago just for this time together. Joan had brought a prime rib for the day after Christmas. The most special present was a letter from Laura Michelle’s doctor telling her the sex of the baby in her tummy. She happily opened the note with news of their first baby being a boy. Joe said all the proper things about health and it not mattering but we think he was inwardly pleased. Billy’s big present was a drone. I saw an advertising for a deeply discounted drone (includes camera with video capabilities). I called Brooke to see what she thought and she said go for it. Billy’s first flight would end up in a tree, too much wind, but what was nice was he was able to power it up and out of the tree from down below. Laura Michelle had drawn my name and was able to complete my Harold Lamb library.

Roman was doing fine opening presents until he opened his first of several nerf guns. No need of presents after that. He was set although he did dutifully open the rest of his presents, but really there was no contest. We shared an enchilada dinner together, my Mom and sisters went home and we settled in for the evening.

There was one missing element. That was my daughter Audra Lea and her husband Jesus. They had been planning showing up Saturday morning with a special surprise for Joan. The surprise was a little white puppy similar to the one that was Joan’s little man in Zambia. The puppy had gotten sick enough for the breeder to return their money. They decided to make the trip anyway. So we spent Saturday with Joan and I, our three daughters, their husbands and our 3 grandchildren with a 4th listening in from Laura Michelle’s tummy.

There is a pleasantness here to describe that is known the world over but really words cannot do justice. Even now it just feels good. We played tabu from an I-phone that night with Oliver and Brenda and all of us with only a little blood spilled. I was ready for Sunday in which I would preach in the Reno church. I had an experiment with end times thoughts that I tried out Sunday morning and a sermon I made from reading a book I had given Joe at Christmas called “The Five Rings” by the Japanese samurai Musashi. Joe had trained as a MMA fighter before salvation but was still looking like he was ready to rumble at a moment’s notice. My favorite insight for the sermon that I got from the book was Musashi’s view about fighting stances. He believed you should know them all but believed that every stance has a weak point. Therefore, he trained to fight in the same fluid movements of everyday life. If you have even a touch of evangelism fire in you; you should be able to see how that would preach.

I had given Jesus a Bank of America hand book that was filled with maps of the entire world, data and currency info as well as blank pages to make notes on your world travel. It looked like a small leather bible from the outside. I had given Billy a book, Eagle Blue, chronicling the season of a small village of Alaskan natives who field a winning basketball team year after year. Did I say that Billy was the best Guatemalan basketball player I have ever seen? The day after Christmas he had to work but after work he dragged Joe and I down to the gym where he played. There were church guys there as well as some ringers that he had met on a downtown outreach. I can’t even remember the last time I played play, but it was fun.

Joan bought a basketball to give him for Christmas. Brooke, being a basketball widow, handled it all well. Billy wanted to play again Tuesday. I ended up being teamed up with Billy and we were winning the games when the ringers from Reno showed up to play. We were playing 3 on 3. It would be one 59 year old white guy, a wrestler from Guatemala and a Mexican transplant who had just got off of work against the three black guys. I am not sure I am allowed to take notice that on a general level black guys seem to be better basketball players than white or brown guys. Allow me to insert a recent substitution adventure. I had a very unruly, talkative class. The most unruly and talkative seemed to be the black kids. I know we are not allowed to notice these things yet actually say them but I did what I have always wanted to do in this situation. I asked the class if there were differences between the black students and the white students. They let me know that it was prejudice to ask them that. While they were still in a state of shock I asked specifically the black kids if they were noisier than the white kids. The roar of the answer to which they all joyfully affirmed was very, very true put an end to all of that prejudice talk. After that as I was teaching the math class using the board; I would turn around when there was talking and ask everyone to point to the person or persons who were talking and it seemed to always be the black kids and we had a fun time with the insight into living moment. Back to the game. They would field two teams and we beat them one after another both times by a 7 to 6 score. I am proud to be on Billy’s team.

Joan and I would have to eventually leave. Julia was sleeping with us when we slept in the living room. I played hide and seek as a monster looking for them until I almost lost my voice. Joe and Laura Michelle had left Monday morning. Jesus and Audra had left Sunday morning. I was monitoring the highway conditions for the trip home and had decided to leave early New Year’s Day (around 3 in the morning) to make as much time as possible that first day. The same icy spots that we traveled over coming seemed to be the same icy spots we would return over on the way home.

Audra called and let me know that the puppy was not as sick as the owner had thought. We made the decision to leave for Las Vegas New Year’s Eve mid-morning to get to Audra’s and pick up the puppy that night. We arrived at Audra’s church where a Jewish man who had gotten saved had preached a New Year’s Eve centering on his salvation experience and his admonition to have faith. That night Joan was given a box, and as she opened the lid she screamed because something was moving in it; it was her puppy, named Poochini in honor of a Amy Tan book she had been reading.

The next morning we took Jesus, Audra and his sister and her kids to a small casino that was their favorite place to go for one of those cheap breakfasts that are fit for a king. I thought about heading back up to Salt Lake City, but the snow that was supposed to hit Las Vegas of all places failed to land and I figured since we were getting a late start there was plenty of time for any snow to be plowed along highway 40. We crossed the new bridge for the first time south of Boulder Dam and made our way to Kingman. To my amazement there were some slippery iced spots along the highway. Highway 40 would be closed. The highway to Wickenburg and Phoenix would be closed also. We were in Starbucks, where Joan and I would both amass 20 bonus stars on this trip since it coincided with a Starbucks reward special program, checking out the possibilities. We decided to go south along the Colorado River through Lake Havasu and then east on 10 to Phoenix where we check out conditions around Flagstaff to go north. It was a beautiful day for a drive away from the icy snowy conditions between Kingman and Flagstaff. We had honeymooned along the Colorado River in January of 1984, London Bridge and all. Well, we could barely recognize the area. It seems that every cash rich, public employee of the great state of California had built their dream mansion along this desert stretch centering on the transplanted London Bridge. Excuse the “cash rich, public employee” comment, it is just as I saw all of those new houses I knew the majority were from California and I remembered a program I saw where the owners of some fancy boats on a lake were being interviewed and the interviewer was shocked to find out that they were not millionaires but just well taken care of public employees of California.

The storm that was raging north of us was making the temperatures unusually cold as we made our way to Phoenix. We were just driving having fun with Poochini listening to “Have Spacesuit Will Travel”. In Phoenix we couldn’t go north to Flag so we continued on to the Rio Grande and the city of Las Cruces. There we would check out the storm between Albuquerque, north of Las Cruces on the Rio Grande and Amarillo. The beauty of smartphones. We had to keep driving passed Las Cruces and made our way to spend the night in El Paso. It was cold in El Paso. It looked like the way north to Dallas through Odessa was impossible and the storm was about to come in behind us and hit El Paso with an unusual snow. We called all of the hotels in Van Horn to try and beat the storm now following us. They were all filled. Finally we got a complete answer as to why. Ice on the road was making everyone stop their journeys. Well, I would rather slowly deal with ice rain in the daylight than night and that is why we spent the night in El Paso.

We got an early start the next morning after a comfortable Starbucks stop. We were buzzing along when we hit our first meeting with ice rain on top of an iced road. We slowed down. The rain stopped and I picked up the speed a bit, but the people behind me tried to continue on like nothing had happened. We slowly came around a big bend to see cars spun out everywhere. Many people had stopped to help. We slowly carried on. As we climbed higher onto the rising plateau it became a one lane road with all of us slowly following each other. Then we began to see the damage from the craziness of the night before. Huge semis ripped in half littered the causeway between the traffic lanes. They appeared as slain dinosaurs following a primitive hunt. Then I witnessed one of those things that at least one person will probably never forget. To lose control and go into the snow on the side of the road would be the end of our journey. Coming in my direction I saw a car spin out and fly into the causeway; he kept his tires moving in the snow as he desperately slipped and slided his way back to the highway. His chances were slim, but there was something exciting to watch him make it back to the highway as the single line of cars opened up for him to enter back in without having to stop or slow down in the snow before reentering the flow of traffic.

We made it to Ozona where we stopped for a Supersonic lunch. While there we struck up a conversation with a Ray Lambert type cowboy, the real deal. How do I know? He just wanted a black coffee. He described the state of the highways just the day before. We had missed being caught in a little hell of a trip by just a day. We went through San Antonio and continued on 10 to Houston. The snow was over but now in the darkness the monsoon rains from the cold colliding with the warm gulf air was almost enough to make me pull over for the night. I felt energized to continue on. I had Lake Charles in my mind from my old Biblesoft sales days. Joan had taken a turn driving from Ozana to the other side of San Antonio so I was ready to press on. We were listening to Dorothy Sayers’ Peter Wimsey as we decided to see how far we could go.

We made it into Lake Charles late that night, I want to say around 12 or so but I cannot really remember now. It was late and when I opened the door it was one of those nice moments of life to be feeling cold, cold and then welcomed with a rush of tropical warmth. We spent the night in Lake Charles, LA and got a late start the next day. We got our cheapest gas in Baton Rouge (1.85). We would finally have to go through the storm we had avoiding the whole trip. It wouldn’t be snow but torrential downpours as we made our way to Memphis where we ate at an Elvis restaurant. We were able to text Phillip so he could share our joy as only a true Elvis man can. We had ribs as we looked at Elvis memorabilia all around us and watched old Elvis movies on the screens that were scattered throughout the restaurant.

The last home stretch to Sparta unfolded before us after a long, long drive. We crossed the Mississippi and we hit our last danger spot in the last 8 miles of our journey. Joan had warned me about watching for deer on this last stretch. Wouldn’t want to end the trip that way. I ignored her; until there was a deer on the side of the road. It slowed me down and about a mile later there he was crossing the road in front of us. I slowed down knowing I would miss him but we both were waiting for the second one following. There he was as I came to almost a complete stop. We would make it through the last 8 miles safely. Poochini would have his first night in his new home and we would just be happy to be home.

That’s right; Sunday is coming the next morning.


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Stephen Hawking’s Film; I Nice Review

Had a great back and forth with a high school student that touched all of the scientific chords related to Christianity, Athieism and science. What got us started was his question about what I thought about Stephen Hawking. I referred to the “The Pale Blue Dot” and the great divide that is evident upon one’s reaction. The Christian has confirmed the special place this planet has with technological life (a life that can create technology to understand the universe) and the Athiest reaction that this planet is far from special but just a small insignificant dot among billions of dots.

Our conversation came to involve the whole class and of course ended with a look at God. I saw him last week while I subbed for the librarian, and he let me know he was going to see the Hawking film as he checked out a Hawking book. After reading this review I think God will be gently minister to him.

Here is Father Barron’s review of “The Theory of Everything”.

Here is one of several great quotes:

In light of these clarifications, let us look again at the central preoccupation of A Theory of Everything, namely, Hawking’s quest to find the one great unifying equation that would explain all of reality. It is always fascinating to go to roots of an argument, that is to say, to the fundamental assumptions that drive a rational quest, for in so doing, we necessarily leave the realm of the purely rational and enter something like the realm of the mystical. Why in the world would a scientist blithely assume that there is or is even likely to be one unifying rational form to all things, unless he assumed that there is a singular, overarching intelligence that has placed it there? Why shouldn’t the world be chaotic, utterly random, meaningless? Why should one presume that something as orderly and rational as an equation would describe the universe’s structure?

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