Monthly Archives: June 2015
Every job has its occupational hazards. I imagine every doctor attending a party must listen to a diagnosis followed by “What do you think it is?” Lawyers are no doubt asked, “What would you advise?”
Pastoral icebreakers typically fall into one of two categories: Friend or Foe. A foe usually wants you to explain the most recent catastrophe. Trust me on this one, few things dampen a night out quite like the room getting quiet after someone asks, “How could a loving God allow all those people to die such horrible deaths?”
The response of friends is far less uncomfortable but no less difficult. It goes something like this, “Oh, I’m a Christian too.” Continue reading
For some people, belief in God comes easy. The reasons given are many. Raised in a home and culture where such faith is the norm, an impressionable temperament or personality, a “spiritual experience” in childhood.
But for other people such belief is arduous. Everything in their experience is perceived as evidence that there is nothing—and no one—out there. They’ve heard the stories, read the books, and weighed all the evidence only to be further convinced it’s a bunch a “hokum.” Continue reading
I think it was President Harry S. Truman who is credited with saying, “It’s a recession when your neighbor loses his job; it’s a depression when you lose yours.” Even someone as averse to economics as myself can understand that formula.
Problems always seem greater when you have skin in the game. People can walk into a funeral upset because their spouse “made them late.” It’s as if those five minutes carry more significance than honoring the memory of the deceased who is lying in front of them. Continue reading
Though I often forget, a good lesson in life is to give people time to change their mind. And like most good lessons in life, it’s easier said than done. The harsh word, the insult, the cutting remark, the adamant “My mind is made up” can lead one to conclude the mind will never change.
Early on in his book A Grief Observed, C. S. Lewis makes one of his most often quoted admissions of crying out to God and sensing God was not listening. Following the death of his wife, Joy, he cries out, Continue reading
Most of the time fatigue can be anticipated. The end of a workday. After a workout. The first day at work following a vacation. In the Sherlock Holmes adventure, “The Man with the Twisted Lip,” Dr. Watson mentions that his doorbell rang “about the hour when a man gives his first yawn and glances at the clock.” Each of us knows the hour.
But occasionally weariness blindsides you. Sometimes, for no apparent reason, you need a rest. It can be surprising to find yourself so tired when you least expect it. Continue reading
It was well over 30 years ago. I picked up a book at a library book sale and was thumbing through it when I stumbled across a short two paragraph explanation of love. Here’s the second paragraph. Continue reading
It’s interesting to notice what people do to relax. While there is the occasional nap, most people’s relaxation is pretty strenuous. They say things like “I go for a run,” “I play a round of tennis,” “I work in my basement,” “I enjoy time working in the garden.” I notice the last two have the word work in them.
In the only glimpse we have of a perfect environment, work plays a major role. “The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it” (Genesis 2:15). This was before the fall. This is humanity doing what it was destined to do. Continue reading
On April 12, 1993, Romanian-born Jewish writer, professor, and political activist, Elie Wiesel, delivered a speech entitled, “The Perils of Indifference,” in the East Room of the White House as part of the Millennium Lecture series; hosted by President Bill Clinton and First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton. The speech was an opportunity for the Nobel Peace Prize winner and former prisoner in the Auschwitz, Buna, and Buchenwald concentration camps to expound on his oft-quoted observation,
“The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.” Continue reading
What people believe in changes over time. It has to. Young children need to be told certain things not told to teenagers. The elderly need to be reminded of things they forgot from their younger years. Something we believed back then, we find foolish today. And today we would die for something we thought foolish back then.
This principle carries over in matters of faith. From childhood, some people take for granted the existence of a benevolent and sovereign God. They may have been born into a house of faith but not necessarily. I have met both. Continue reading
The moment can come at any time: it can be the very first thought in the morning, it can arise while in the shower, while driving to work, while doing your job, eating your evening meal, watching television, reading the paper, or while staring at the ceiling at night. It doesn’t discriminate based on race, education, or age. Continue reading