Monthly Archives: June 2015
It can be difficult not to reduce someone to a single attribute we like or dislike. We describe someone as being patient or angry, as if that is all they are. But even patient people will admit to being exasperated and people who are sometimes angry are also sometimes at peace (if only when asleep!).
This same kind of reductionism is applied to Jesus all the time. Some would have you think Jesus is only kind, only understanding, or only loving. Meanwhile there are others who portray a much different Jesus. Their Jesus is white-hot holy, righteous, and at times, angry. Continue reading
It felt good to write the above title. I like it to be all about me. No one put it better than the philosophical duo of Calvin and Hobbes:
Calvin: “I’m at peace with the world. I’m completely serene.” Continue reading
Anyone who has done even the most elementary of counseling (including most parents) knows the importance of words. Especially words like can’t, won’t, mistake, sorry, and I’ll try. Sometimes they express what the person means, at other times they express what the person wants you to think. Ask a child to pick up his toys and most parents won’t tolerate a “can’t,” “won’t, or “I’ll try.”
The same trait is evident in adults as well. People are often shocked, and rightly so, when someone acts in a way that is out of character. The typically mild-mannered individual who “loses it”; the person who “never would” who does. Continue reading
Every parent, and probably every child, thinks about it: how much of the individual is “self-made” and how much is the responsibility of the parent? In the extreme, there are people who give a child a pass for most anything because “Look at the way the poor kid was raised.” And not surprisingly, other people treat everyone the same. Irrespective of background, all children should act pretty much the same way. If it was only so simple.
Further complicating things is that sometimes the opposite of what was anticipated happens. The child who will “never amount to anything” because of his home life turns out successful, while the child of “privilege” turns out to be the lead story in the evening news for all the wrong reasons. Continue reading
We’ve all seen such odd couples. In the television series of the 70s it was a neat freak and a slob learning to live together despite their differences. We see other such combinations: the attractive drawn to the common, the intelligent to the average, the lazy to the energetic, and the frenetic to the steady.
As the saying goes, opposites attract. Many people delight in finding someone who can offset their emphasis or fill a certain void. Such opposites bring balance and equilibrium to life. Continue reading
Sometimes a discussion or debate is perfect for all parties involved. When there is more than one opinion over strongly held convictions, there is no better way to understand one another than to put it all on the table and let the proverbial chips fall where they may.
But not always. Continue reading
Much of the controversy over electronic books has died down since Amazon introduced its Kindle in 2007. Back then e-book and paper proponents went back and forth on items such as price, the ability to withstand usage, battery life, weight, and the ability to carry one book versus hundreds at a time. Each has its pros and cons.
Having used both for years I imagine I am like most readers. For some reading the e-book is perfect; but at other times I want to feel the heft and scribble in the margins. Continue reading
At the risk of being misunderstood, I want to re-package a word that makes many Christians uncomfortable: Evolution. I want to argue that Christians are evolving. Say what? Continue reading
Wisdom is being able to distinguish between love and naïveté. I think of two passages:
In the apostle Paul’s classic essay on love in 1 Corinthians 13, he makes this observation, “Love . . . believes all things” (1 Corinthians 13:7). It doesn’t take the savvy believer long to point to Proverbs 14:15 as an offset, “The simple believes everything, but the prudent gives thought to his steps.”
So yes, give the benefit of the doubt, but not when you have good reason to doubt. Continue reading
An antinomy is an apparent contradiction between two beliefs or conclusions that are in themselves reasonable; a paradox. Christians struggle with a number of such tensions: Was the Bible written by God or by human beings? If God is sovereign and good, why is there evil? Is God three persons or one? And then there’s the matter of God’s sovereignty and human responsibility.
This last one is especially challenging because of its practical application. Go too far in one direction and you’re afraid to do anything. Go too far in the other and you’re afraid you can’t do anything. What to do? Continue reading