Monthly Archives: April 2015
Recent research, by those who study such things, point out that soldiers wounded on the battlefield give the impression of experiencing less pain than similarly wounded civilians. The reasoning is that to the soldier, the wound means surviving the battlefield and returning home. The future looks hopeful. Alternatively, the injured civilian faces major surgery and a resulting loss of income, diminishment of activities, and many other negative consequences. The future looks dismal.
On October 20, 1957, C. S. Lewis wrote a short note to Mary Willis Shelburne who, earlier, had shared with Lewis some bad news concerning her health and finances. Lewis was shocked and distressed by her news. Wanting to offer both encouragement and perspective he thinks back to his time in the military and responds, Continue reading
It is perhaps most evident in athletes. They hang around just a little too long. The outfielder who can no longer get to the ball in time, the skater who goes down way too often, and the boxer who just goes down. We watch them and we wince.
But it’s not just in sports. It happens anywhere someone is getting older.
I recall attending a funeral presided over by a retired pastor who should have retired from doing funerals. He started out all right and I thought maybe he still had the stuff. But when he made his third point his second point, his whole message became pointless. I winced. Continue reading
Someone once shared with me a secret concerning work. He said if someone asks you to help them with something, and you see the potential of it becoming a job you don’t like, be sure to do a terrible job the first time. They won’t ask you back.
That’s certainly one way to do it. Another possibility is that you do a terrible job the first time; even when you do your best! It can be frustrating to those around you and quite humiliating to you, but you have both learned a lesson. Continue reading
Few things in life are as difficult as dying to self. Unless of course we can decide when and how.
In his commentary, Daily Study Bible, William Barclay comments on the incident involving Mary, Martha, and Jesus in Luke 10:38-42. As Mary sits and listens to Jesus, Martha becomes upset. She wants Mary to serve Jesus the way she is serving Jesus. Barclay observes, Continue reading
It can feel like an eternity between the first kid picked for the team and the last. Especially when you’re the last. As team captains alternate, your hopes rise and are dashed. Finally you are picked.
Most of the time the feeling passes when someone yells “Play ball.” And in the event you catch the winning pass or hit the one home run in your life, you guarantee a higher number in the next draft. Suddenly your hopes are fulfilled. Continue reading
No sooner had the ink dried that people wondered what it meant. “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27). What does it mean that male and female were created in the image of God?
Theologians, philosophers, the religious and nonreligious of all stripes have debated and defined the issue. Some thinkers are very specific about what it means while others paint with a much broader brush. Still others spend the bulk of their time saying what it doesn’t mean.
A brief post such as this is not the place to delve into explaining the idea. But it might be a good place to just remind us of the idea.
In a lecture given at Oxford University Church of St. Mary the Virgin on June 8, 1941, entitled “The Weight of Glory,” C. S. Lewis makes an observation that went on to become one of his most oft’ quoted remarks when he said, Continue reading
For some time now I have been dabbling in a study of technology and, more specifically, how technology affects our humanity and spiritual lives. There are some great books out there on the topic. I would suggest iGods: How Technology Shapes Our Spiritual and Social Lives by Craig Detweiler; The Next Story: Life and Faith after the Digital Explosion by Tim Challies; From the Garden to the City: the Redeeming and Corrupting Power of Technology by John Dyer; and Shaping a Digital World: Faith, Culture and Computer Technology by Derek C. Schuurman. These men know of what they speak.
But what I find interesting when I teach on the topic, is how quickly it brings up attitudes and feelings. We go from talking about the advantages and disadvantages of iPads and Smart phones, to talking about the people who use (or don’t use) them. It’s fascinating to watch how quickly the heart can override the mind and how rapidly fear or pride can slip in. Continue reading
There are certain attributes we like to extend throughout eternity. Perhaps the greatest of these is love. Most great acts of self-surrender and heroism are perceived as “Godlike.” The implication is that if there is a God he must be a God of love. Those who believe the Bible concur, “Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love” – 1 John 4:8.
But what about those attributes we don’t like to extend throughout eternity? Who are we to say that we get the full picture here but only a half picture there? The whole notion rings hollow.
In his book, the Problem of Pain, C. S. Lewis entitles chapter 8 simply “Hell.” He addresses the topic with some reluctance, Continue reading
William Norman Pittenger (1905-1997), was an Anglican priest and teacher and served as Chairman of the Theological Commission of the World Council of Churches from the mid-1950s through the early 1960s. In 1966 he moved to England, where he became a senior member of King’s College, Cambridge. He wrote more than 50 books and argued that the traditional Christian doctrines were incompatible with modern knowledge. He taught what came to be called “process theology,” an idea of God very different from traditional orthodox Christianity. Because of his published views on the Christian faith he crossed swords with C. S. Lewis in the pages of The Christian Century. In October, 1958, Pittenger attacked Lewis in The Century in an article entitled, “Apologist Versus Apologist: A Critique of C. S. Lewis as ‘defender of the faith.’”
In a January 1, 1959, letter to Mary Van Deusen, C. S. Lewis answers Ms. Van Deusen’s question of whether he ever replied to Mr. Pittenger’s criticisms. Lewis enclosed his response in the letter and adds, Continue reading
Perhaps the major difference between someone who follows Jesus and the Scriptures from someone who does not is that, to the follower, it just makes sense. And no surprise, this is difficult, if not impossible, to explain to someone to whom it does not make sense.
In his book, C. S. Lewis’s Case For Christ: Insights from Reason, Imagination and Faith, Art Lindsley makes the insightful observation, “A person comes to believe, not when one thing seems to prove that faith is credible but when everything confirms the teachings of that faith.”1 I like that explanation. It nicely sums up that moment in an individual’s life when they believe. The traditional words used to explain it are “conversion,” “saved,” “born again,” and (usually derisively) “got religion.” But I want to suggest saying “It just makes sense.” Continue reading