Monthly Archives: March 2015
I was introduced to the idea by a Bible college professor. He said he was neither an optimist nor a pessimist, he was a “realistic optimist.” Say what? He explained that he was optimistic about the future, Christ would make all things right, but in the meantime he was realistic about the fact that we live in a broken and fallen world where a lot of bad and nasty things happen every day. Made sense to me then. Still does. Continue reading
The poor woman was dying. Her children were gathered around her hospital bed in the ICU occasionally adjusting her oxygen mask as she gasped for air. Emphysema fueled by a lifetime of smoking was taking its toll.
I was there only because the hospital called. The family requested “clergy” and the hospital pulled my name out of the book. I felt awkward but that was nothing compared to what her children were feeling.
When the doctors brought up the question of what to do next, the tension was palatable. Most wanted to “let her go,” one daughter didn’t. Because no one even knew who I was no one asked my opinion. I didn’t volunteer. Continue reading
It seems to me looking ahead is a mark of wisdom. If you know someone you want to be like when you are their age it might not be a bad idea to figure out how they got that way. It’s true in the other direction as well. If you know someone of whom you have said, “Man, I hope I’m not like that when I’m his/her age,” you might want to start working on it now.
It’s good to remind yourself that people older than you were once your age. There is a good chance that what you’re thinking about them now, they were thinking about someone when they were your age. It’s all rather unsettling.
In January 1961 C. S. Lewis was 63 years old and had seen a lot. By November of that year he would die. In a letter to Mary Willis Shelburne he seeks to help her through a difficult transition. Buried in the middle of that letter is this observation, Continue reading
In a recent interview about their book, Churchless: Understanding Today’s Unchurched and How to Connect with Them, researchers George Barna and David Kinnaman remark that they were shocked when interviewing young Americans (those under forty) by “how little they know about Christian history” or how much the Christian church has added to society. According to Barna, “They couldn’t think of anything positive that the church stood for.” He sums up the situation by saying, “We are essentially in the Dark Ages, in America today.”1
They couldn’t think of anything positive? Nothing of hospitals, orphanages, schools, feeding and housing the poor, addressing illiteracy, healing broken homes, the role of medical missionaries, first responders after natural disasters? Nothing?
In his book Mere Chrisitianity C. S. Lewis sums it up in a sentence: Continue reading
It can be difficult learning a new skill. It can be in athletics, academics, or starting a new job. You want to get it right but there’s often a trial period before you get there. Here’s where a patient mentor is worth his weight in gold.
Some people can’t seem to get beyond, “That’s not how you do it.” How is that helpful? I usually have a sense I’m not doing it correctly. That’s not my problem. I need you to explain to me what I’m doing wrong and show me how to do it the right way.
C. S. Lewis agreed: Continue reading
There are a number of ways to share one’s faith. Some appeal to the mind with evidences of a Creator based on science or philosophy (apologetics). Others are more comfortable appealing to the heart with stories about changed lives (personal testimony). And still others think it best to quote passages of scripture and leave it at that (“For the word of God is living and active” – Hebrews 4:12).
As someone who has used each approach I notice they all have one thing in common. C. S. Lewis put it this way: Continue reading
In the early 1970’s country singer Kris Kristofferson was going through a difficult time. After attending a religious service and meeting with Johnny Cash he wrote a song entitled “Why Me.” The song turned out to be Kristofferson’s only major country hit as a solo recording artist, reaching No. 1 of Billboard magazine’s Hot Country Singles chart in July 1973 and it managed to be ranked as the second most popular Hot 100 single of 1973.
The words go like this: Continue reading
The standard response to how God answers prayer is that sometimes he answers “Yes,” sometimes “No,” and sometimes “Maybe.” I would like to submit another: “None of the above.”
I’m not sure I can verify this from scripture. It’s more of a sense of things based on hindsight. When I think back over some things I’ve asked God, they don’t look as important now as they did then. In some cases they now look dopey. Funny how time changes perspective. Continue reading
On more than one occasion I’ve been told “You can’t help me. You’ve never struggled with _______.” It comes up regarding anything the person thinks I know nothing about: alcohol, smoking, depression, anxiety. The logic seems to be that it takes one to know one. I get it. But I’m wondering if it takes one to help one?
A challenge to this thinking is Jesus. If the only way to help is to have experienced the same level of sin and depravity, what does one do with “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15)? Did you notice, “yet without sin.” Sort of leaves Jesus unable to help anyone except someone who never sinned! Continue reading
In an act of brutality people are sometimes referred to as “animals.” Seems we’re doing a disservice to the animal kingdom.
It’s human to project human characteristics to animals. Owners “know” what their pets are thinking. Reminds one of the old joke: A dog thinks, “Hey, those people I live with feed me, love me, provide me with a nice warm dry house, pet me, and take good care of me…..They must be gods!” A cat thinks, “Hey, those people I live with feed me, love me, provide me with a nice warm dry house, pet me, and take good care of me…..I must be a god!” Continue reading