Emmet Fox challenges “believers” to accept that miracles are a necessary part of the gospel story, and likewise challenges “skeptics” to consider that they are a natural part of a universe that science doesn’t fully comprehend.


Now, one must extend every sympathy to the special pleadings of a man enthralled by the beauty and mystery of the Gospels, but who, in the absence of the Spiritual Key, seems to find his common sense and all the scientific knowledge of mankind flouted by much that these Gospels contain. But this simply will not do. If the miracles did not happen, the rest of the Gospel story loses all real significance. If Jesus did not believe them to be possible, and undertake to perform them—never, it is true, for the sake of display, but still constantly and repeatedly—if he did not believe and teach many things in flat contradiction to eighteenth-and nineteenth-century rationalistic philosophy, then the Gospel mess-age is chaotic, contradictory, and devoid of all significance. We cannot ride away from the dilemma by saying that Jesus was not interested in the current beliefs and superstitions of his time; that he took them more or less for granted passively; because what really interested him was character. This is a feeble argument, because character must include both an intelligent and a vital all-round reaction to life. Character must include some definite beliefs and convictions concerning things that really matter.

But the miracles did happen. All the deeds related of Jesus in the four Gospels did happen, and many others too, “the which, if they should be written, every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written.” Jesus himself justified what people thought to be a strange and wonderful teaching by the works he was able to do; and he went further and said, referring to those who study and practice his teaching: “The works that I do, ye shall do, and greater works.”

Now what, after all, is a miracle? Those who deny the possibility of miracles on the ground that the universe is a perfect system of law and order, to the operation of which there can be no exceptions, are perfectly right. But the explanation is that the world of which we are normally aware, and with whose laws alone most people are acquainted, is only a fragment of the whole universe as it really is; and that there is such a thing as appealing from a lower to a higher law—from a lesser to a greater expression. Now the appeal from the lower to the higher law is not really a breach of law, for the possibility of such an appeal is part of the major constitution of the universe, and, therefore, in the sense of a real breach of law, miracles are impossible. Yet, in the sense that all the ordinary rules and limitations of the physical plane can be set aside or overridden by an understanding which has risen above them, miracles, in the colloquial sense of the word, can and do happen.

The American student

Our educational system is about crowd control, but there is no small cabal of Lex Luthor-style evil geniuses that cackle with glee at their plan. The somnolence and mediocrity go all the way up and all the way down. The Secretary of Education herself would be horrified if she made a gun out of a Pop-Tart. — James Chastek

Right Place

“If your main goal is to show that your heart is in the right place, then your heart is not in the right place.” — David Schmidtz

It’s Not Your Computer Anymore

Over at Microsoft’s Technet site, the folks at their Security Response Center have posted the “10 Immutable Laws of Security.”

Admittedly, it only covers security for computers (and remember, that means your cell phone and tablet) and websites, but it’s still very worth reviewing. There’s nothing new, nothing arcane there, but they are the cold, hard facts that we all have to remember if we make any pretense of caring about our clients’ privacy. Simple things, like “If a bad guy can persuade you to run his program on your computer, it’s not your computer anymore.”

Do you have client phone numbers on your iPhone? Have you installed any apps?

Think about it. Seriously.

Portable Devices and PHI

I recently sent the following to a behavioral health researcher who was planning to develop a mobile application for clinicians that would include client information–I believe that it may be of interest to others who are considering the use of smart phones and laptops in their clinical practice:

“As you know, any high-technology product aimed at the medical market (defined in the sense of being subject to the Federal privacy regulations HIPAA and Hitech) needs to not only take all appropriate steps to protect the clients’ identity and other protected health information (PHI), but it must do so demonstrably. By that, I mean that it must protect the information and also appear to protect it to the satisfaction of funders, consumers and regulators. Continue reading


The marvel of all history is the patience with which men and women submit to burdens unnecessarily laid upon them by their governments. — George Washington

Despair as Pride

Despair is the absolute extreme of self-love.

Despair is the ultimate development of a pride so great and so stiff-necked that it selects the absolute misery of damnation rather than accept happiness from the hands of God and thereby acknowledge that [God] is above us. — Thomas Merton (1961)


In life I know, there is lots of grief,
But your love is my relief. — Bob Marley


Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works. Anything that’s invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it. Anything invented after you’re thirty-five is against the natural order of things. — Douglas Adams, “The Salmon of Doubt”