Monthly Archives: January 2015
Sometimes it can be hard to discern the difference between faith and presumption. On more than one occasion I’ve seen two people in a similar situation convinced God was going to do something. One person had faith, one presumption. One would be satisfied either way, not so the other. And maybe that is the distinguishing characteristic.
For true faith to survive it needs the oxygen of humility. Presumption on the other hand can live quite comfortably alone with self. “I know” replaces “He knows.”
Have you noticed people texting? In other words have you noticed people? It doesn’t matter where, no place is sacred. Around the dinner table, at a restaurant, in school, at the bus stop, on the bus, at the coffee shop, in the store, at the library, in the bathroom, at the wedding, and yes, at the funeral. They text alone, they text in crowds, they text while talking to you, they text while you are talking to them.
What are they all talking about? How much would anyone’s life change if they didn’t say it? On the other hand no doubt some people get closer through texting and I wonder how many times the letters I-m s-o-r-r-y have been typed?
Two labels common in Christian lingo are MK and PK. MK is for Missionary Kid and PK is a Pastor’s Kid. Both are often used so as to solicit sympathy. I recall hearing about a pastor’s kid who, after speaking to a secular counselor was told, “So your father is a pastor. Gosh, that must be the worst!” When I first heard that story I thought to myself “Maybe, though perhaps a murderer or child molester could edge him out.”
Christianity and psychiatry have always made strange bedfellows. How does a Christian honestly respond to a secular psychiatrist when asked, “Do you speak to, or hear from, God?” in a way that does not result in a prescription?
Mary Margaret Dobbs (1913-1980) was born in Ackerman, Choctaw County, Mississippi on December 11, 1913. On February 14, 1934 she married Alston Jones McCaslin IV. They moved to Eupora, Mississippi and had two sons. On July 8, 1953 Alston was killed in an accident. On the one year anniversary of her husband’s death Mary Margaret wrote C. S. Lewis for only the second time and notified him of her husband’s tragic passing.
Lewis was saddened to hear the news but knew, as Mary Margaret knew, that not all was lost. In his short response Lewis sends along these encouraging words,
I’ve heard people express a concern about being in church too much. “You expect me there every time the doors are open?” Well, no, but do the math. There are 168 hours in a week. Depending on your church we are talking a maximum of what? Maybe three or four hours a week? When did this become a sign of fanaticism?
Such thinking is all wrong. The criteria was never the number of services or the hours spent together. It’s just about being together. It’s about relationships.
Occasionally Jesus says something hard to understand. The reasons are many. Sometimes it’s due to the hearer; the heart is hardened (Mark 6:52) or you don’t want to hear him (John 8:43). At other times it’s because things are hidden (Luke 9:45). More often than not, at least for me, sometimes you just don’t get it (Luke 2:50). This certainly isn’t a recent phenomenon. Others who didn’t understand Jesus included his disciples (Mark 6:52) and even his parents (Luke 2:50).
In Matthew 6 Jesus says something that I understand. I just don’t get it. “Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof” (Matthew 6:34, King James Version).
It’s hard to think of more useless advice but I’ve heard this little nugget my entire life. “Don’t get old.” The response is of course, “What are my options? I can grow old or die young.”
We all know the intent. The loss of health and independence along with an increase in fear and loneliness can tarnish the so-called “golden” years. Few people desire becoming frail but even fewer desire dying before getting there.
I once knew a guy (no longer with us) who could stop a conversation with the question, “But what good is it?” An infomercial, telemarketer, invention, or new idea simply needed to pass under his scathing “But what good is it?” to be vaporized. If it wasn’t helpful in a practical way then it was a waste of time and money.
We didn’t have any philosophical conversations (I knew better) but it would have been interesting to hear his thoughts on suffering. I’m sure he suffered, we all do. I wonder what he made of his difficulties. I wonder if he was able to answer his own question.
We’ve all heard it and all said it. “It’s for your own good.” We prefer saying it over hearing it.
The comment presents a conflict. I’m going to do you good by doing you bad. I’m going to hurt you so you will be healthy. I will make you happy by making you miserable. You will thank me later for hating me now. Depending on whether you are saying it or hearing it makes all the difference. We understand the truth either way but it takes the one hearing it a little longer to accept it.
In various forms it’s a joke every pastor or priest has heard about a funeral. After giving a glowing eulogy the spouse of the deceased walks up to the casket, looks in, and says “I just wanted to make sure we are talking about the same person.” Ha ha.
What’s interesting is that I’ve never heard that joke at a funeral.
People can be cavalier about death when it’s not in the room. Just recently I heard someone say “I guess she croaked.” I can assure you it wasn’t his mother who just passed away.