Let's start with this thought:
I recently (today) read a great blog entry from Evidence Unseen about the discussion between Calvinism and Arminianism. I've blogged about and thought about this topic before and this entry has only strengthened my confidence in my view that Calvinism/Reformed Theology (C/RT) is a poor view of what the Bible really teaches. I'm not saying I have all the answers, I'm just convinced that we do actually have true free will, and it is much easier to reconcile free will with sovereignty than it is to reconcile predestination with free will. Also, despite some indications to the contrary, the Arminian view is more biblically sound and verifiable than I've read in the past. Here are just a few examples (taken from that previous link): 2 Peter 3:9 key phrase, "not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance." In the C/RT view, how can we reconcile God not wanting any to perish but He creates (presumably) millions upon billions of people that will perish without God. Why would a loving God create people that He knows He will not choose to take to heaven. More verses: John 15:10; Joshua 24:15; John 3:18, obviously, God wants people to choose. If there's no such thing as free will there's also no such thing as sin, unless God is choosing or making people sin (which is impossible, Isaiah 6:3, and many other verses).
One last point on this issue (for now). A friend of mine that is a staunch C/RTheologian, said that God is 100% sovereign, and that Adam and Eve were the only free moral agents, everyone since the fall/initial sin is a slave to sin. Now there's still a problem... If God is truly 100% sovereign, that means he made Adam and Eve with the plan that they would sin. So God is responsible for their sin also. It was in His plan all along. They weren't really free moral agents to do what they willed, because God had already planned that they would sin. All of this, and more, leads me to say that C/RT has the more difficult issue, both biblically and philosophically, to show how God can predestine everything and yet teach us to choose/believe, and judge us based on those choices.
On to less weighty thoughts! I want to write at least two open letters. I often see "open letters" talked about on blogs and other websites and I want to write at least two. One, to atheists--well really to theists as well--that in discussions, we need to first discuss definitions of what we're to discuss before we discuss God, creation, biogenesis, etc. The second and the one I was thinking about tonight as I ran was an open letter to all runners (I won't write all my thoughts out in this entry but this is my start):
Dear Fellow Runners,
Please try to throw off the shackles of your predisposition and prejudice and TAKE OFF YOUR FOOT-COFFINS! Pardon the barefooter parlance, but "foot-coffins" are shoes. I know it's tough. When I first heard of the idea I was a bit sceptical. But really I promise, you will like it. Sure it might hurt a bit in different areas than when you run with your coffins on. But I promise you will eventually grow to love the freedom and comfort, yes comfort that comes when you free your piggies. I'm not saying that you must forever go barefoot. In fact I'm really only encouraging you to try it. I've not been running barefoot everywhere all the time since I started, but I'll tell you, my favorite "shoes" is when I'm not wearing shoes at all.
I won't lie, I recently restarted distance running training and tried to jump into it after a long break completely barefoot and I wasn't comfortable. Since I need to train, and completely barefoot wasn't a viable option at the distances I need to run, I've been wearing my huaraches. If you can't get around it, I recommend that if you cannot (because of whatever reason) go completely barefoot, try New Balance Minimus or Merrell's Barefoot line. I personally run in Merrell Barefoot Trail Run shoes because I'm forced to by military regulations and they're pretty good, but just not as good as my huaraches, and I even prefer barefoot to my huaraches.
A few caveats: if you're planning or working on a PR in an upcoming race--that you're already pretty far along in you training for--don't switch. If you're in an environment where the temperatures reach dangerous levels (though it is possible, I don't feel the danger is worth the risk). If you struggle with real health issues like diabetes or some other significant health issue that affects your foot sensitivity (keep in mind I'm not a doctor, and I don't take any responsibility for your health). Also, a word of caution and the reason I say hold off if you're working towards a PR or some other significant race, go slow. I'm talking painfully slow. I've heard some barefoot running teachers say only run one mile at a time for a couple weeks, and only add one mile a week for months. Go slow, and immediately you'll feel the benefits, but if you go too fast and too far too soon, you run the risk of hurting yourself and you won't be able to enjoy it.
So do it, go out there, take off your shoes, and go run. Set your piggies free!