08 November 2006

I Can Only Hope to Be Peter

Matthew 14:22-36

Peter catches a lot of crud. He proclaimed Christ and was called the Rock on which the Church would be built, but also denied knowing Christ and sank when trying to walk on the water.

But let us take a closer look at his little stroll on the Sea of Galilee. First, the context. John the Baptist had just been killed and Jesus withdrew. However, people followed to hear him speak. This is where we hear that famous story that we all remember from Sunday school: The Feeding of the Five Thousand. Afterwards, the crowds dispersed and Jesus sent the disciples away on boat while he prayed. The disciples hit some rough water and then see a strange figure on the water moving towards them...on foot. "And now," to quote Paul Harvey, "the rest of the story."

The disciples did what any red-blooded human would do - flip out. After Christ assured them, Peter calls out to him. This is often translated as "Lord, if it's you, tell me to come to you on the water," and this is often seen as Peter's first mistake (doubting Christ). But "if" could be better translated as "because". The NIV study note says it is "A condition assumed to be true." Peter is telling Christ that he will follow him, even in the seemingly impossible. And after having the faith to step from the ship to the sea, Peter gets scared and begins to sink. But here is where things get interesting: his first response isn't to try to save himself and swim back to the boat. Matthew tells us that he calls out to Christ for salvation.

I can only pray that when I start to sink, my first reaction is to call out to God.

Rock on.

The Simulated Economy

The economy is normally one of the biggest voting issues for presidential elections. Anyone will tell you that. But have you ever thought about our economy? And the global economy as a whole, for that matter?

Look at a dollar bill, or whatever piece of currency you have laying around. What is it worth? Can you take it to the government and get a dollar's worth of gold or silver or anything for it? Not anymore. Our currency is entirely theoretical. The dollar's value is derived from faith that when you give it to someone, you get something back for it. Dollar in soda machine, Coke out of soda machine. Five dollars to cashier, cheeseburger from cashier.

Bonds are based on the idea that you give money to the government and you get it back. A currency of currency, in a sense.

Stocks are just the same. The value of stock (non-prefered stock, that is) is dependent not only on how the company performs, but also (and more so) on the supply of the stock. How many people are buying it? How many people are selling it? You give money to a company, and assuming that the company does not fail, you can sell it to another person, assuming that that person is willing to pay for it.

Keeping this in mind, it makes sense that the currency in the game Second Life should have an impact on the currency in the "real" world. Currency in Second Life is a currency of currency as well. You give the Second Life makers your money, assuming that you will get Second Life money back. You use the cyber SL money assuming that you will get SL goods. You sell those goods, knowing that you will get SL money. You transfer the cyber bucks to "real" bucks, assuming that when you give the "real" money to someone, you will get something back.

In short, this cyber economy is every bit as real as the US economy.

Rock on.

Edit: It has been brought to my attention that this is the nature of economy. The point was made that gold has an assigned value, just like the dollar. After pondering it for a while, I realized that gold was used as a currency because it was a commodity, just like salt. A gold-based currency is a version of a barter system.