Monthly Archives: April 2015
She sat in a wheelchair in the nursing home clutching a teddy bear. The folks around her reflected various attitudes. One was busy doing her job. Another, there to visit her, looked sad and reflective. A third person, another resident, seemed not to notice.
Other visitors who came and went looked slightly saddened, as if they were thinking “That poor old woman. I’ll bet when she was younger . . .” Continue reading
I’ve grown up hearing a lot about the importance of how you start your day. Some folks emphasize exercise to begin the day. Put your feet in the sneakers and go. Other folks are a bit more reflective and see spending time in prayer and reading as the best way to begin the day. And then there are those that advocate rolling over.
With the exception of the last this is all great advice. . . in a perfect world. But of course we don’t live in a perfect world. Sometimes we have to work nights or swing shifts. Sometimes it rains or snows. Sometimes you are sick. Sometimes you are just “out of sorts.” And let’s face it, some people are better adapted at being physical as others are at being reflective. It’s all good.
But the one thing we do have in common is that we all have a “first thing.” It may not always be in the morning but we all have those first few moments of consciousness.
In his book Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis surprisingly refers to that moment as the “real problem.” As he explains, Continue reading
Poor Mr. Papworth was dead. Papworth (c.1922–36), otherwise known as “Mr. Papworth,” “Baron Papworth,” or “Tykes,” was C. S. Lewis’ third dog and a favorite of both Lewis and Mrs. Moore (for whom Lewis was caretaker). But now Mr. Papworth has, in the words of King David, gone “the way of all the earth” (1 Kings 2:2).
With Mr. Papworth gone Lewis now owned a golden retriever named Troddles. In a March 28, 1937, letter to Arthur Greeves, Lewis writes: Continue reading
There are so many ways to be wrong. There is innocent ignorance and willful witlessness. Some folks simply have mistaken notions while others are described as “those that will not see.” Some people can be corrected with nothing more than a look while others will bear the inscription, “Here lies a fool.”
On September 14, 1936, C. S. Lewis responded to his good friend, Dom Bede Griffiths. He begins by apologizing for taking so long in answering and then explains the reason, Continue reading
Lewis was apologetic. He sent a copy of his book, The Allegory of Love, to Leo Baker but in his response Baker discusses his struggles with arthritis. This prompts Lewis to write, “I should have hesitated to send you the book if I had known that it would find you in pain and by the need to acknowledge it lay a new burden on you.” Lewis was sorry not only for Baker’s pain but for unintentionally adding yet another burden.
C. S. Lewis would write quite a bit about pain, even entitling one of his books, The Problem of Pain. Pain has always been the problem. Continue reading
Eugene H. Peterson is a pastor, scholar, and author. He has written the Gold Medallion Book Award winner, The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language, a Bible translation apparently loved and hated by an equal number of people.
Peterson has also written over 30 other books, some with colorful titles such as: Continue reading
P. J. O’Rourke is an American political satirist, journalist, writer, and the H. L. Mencken Research Fellow at the Cato Institute. He once made the insightful observation “Arguing, in the sense of attempting to convince others, seems to have gone out of fashion with everyone.” I have that quote posted near my computer monitor.
For all the blather about the “meek and mild Jesus” finding such a Jesus is nearly impossible. More often than not, Jesus was disputing with the religious powers of the day. And yet he always did it absent the venom and rancor so common in religious discussions today. Continue reading
C. S. Lewis had a “cold on the chest” on Sunday, December 29, 1935. This caused him to stay home from church; so he took the opportunity to catch up with some correspondence by writing a letter to his friend, Arthur Greeves.
Earlier, Arthur had shared with Lewis about having to make a difficult decision. The details are not in Lewis’s response but it’s clear the decision was painful but necessary. Lewis writes, Continue reading
While it’s easy to separate the various hats we wear, we are still under the hats. Wife, mother, husband, father, child, brother; truck driver, millworker, landscaper, baker.
No one likes to be thought one-dimensional. A woman is more than a wife, a child more than a brother, and the man passing you on the left is a lot more than just a truck driver. The sum is more than its parts. Continue reading
For reasons that should be obvious it is easy, if not natural, to confuse thinking, feeling, spirituality, reason, logic, and experience. Where does one end and the other begin? Most of the time the fuzziness is not all that important. At other times it’s critical. The guy who tells her “I really sense God wants us married” puts his relationship, and/or his sanity, in jeopardy.
Even if it’s not easy, it is important to draw lines and make clear distinctions. Feeling and thinking should not be confused. A thin person can “feel fat” and a smart person can “feel dumb.” Both individuals would be greatly helped if terms were defined and standards were set.
Christians seem to have an especially difficult time with these principles. An opportunity comes along that they like (or don’t like) and they immediately determine that God is trying to tell them something. Listening to a delightful story or visiting a difficult part of the world can become a “calling” way too soon. It pays to slow things down, weigh the pros and cons, ask around, pray; get a second opinion (if not a third). Don’t worry, God has time. He created plenty of it. Continue reading