Monthly Archives: September 2015

Not everyone has a happy childhood. Just watching the evening news makes that clear. And yet, children are children. Whether playing with the latest electronic gadget or kicking a stone down a dirt road, children like to play. I think it was G. K. Chesterton who observed that toys are not childish, they are merely human.

Irrespective of one’s upbringing, I think something can be said for trying to hold on to one’s youth or, in the best sense of the word, one’s childishness. The ability to love and appreciate life, being open and receptive, cultivating an attitude of appreciation, to wonder at nature, and enjoy a good story. Why do these disappear between youth and adolescence? Continue reading

A principle I was taught in Bible interpretation is that “Context is king.” Like a flower to a seed, one grows out of the other. Want to understand a specific word? You must see how it is used in the sentence. But to understand the sentence, you must see it in the paragraph. To understand the paragraph, you must consider the chapter. And to understand the chapter, you need to have a sense of the book. Bible interpretation isn’t magic or mystery; it’s reading and thinking.

Context is king also applies to how words are used in everyday conversation. I have waited in line and heard the person behind me call the person with them a “dope,” “jerk,” or “fool,” followed by laughter! I turn around and they are hugging each other while continuing to hurl insults at one another. Continue reading

Years ago there was a department store that advertised its qualities of products with the labels Good, Better, and Best. As expected, the Good product was just that, good. It was also the cheapest. For many items, Good was good enough.

But for other things, Good didn’t cut it. Think of wanting to impress your fiancé. Then it was Best all the way! And when you got the product, you could see the difference. The quality, the options, how long it would last. Suddenly there was a world of difference between the Good and the Best. Continue reading

Are there any two words more likely to cause spontaneous combustion than Church and State? Hardly a month goes by that someone isn’t fighting somewhere against one or the other. “Throw the bums out!” “Religious fanatic!” “They are taking away our rights!” “Who are you to impose your beliefs on the rest of us?”

But as in military combat, culture wars are often won more by subtle, indirect moves, then by blatant frontal assaults.

In his book, God in the Dock, C. S. Lewis has a chapter with the curious title, “The Humanitarian Theory of Punishment.” About two-thirds into the chapter, Lewis makes this telling observation, Continue reading

I first heard the story from pastor and author Chuck Swindoll. He tells the story about some children building a clubhouse where they could get away and just be themselves. After building the house they needed to come up with some rules to make it a club. They came up with three:

  1. Nobody act big.
  2. Nobody act small.
  3. Everybody act medium.

When people think about Jesus, words that do not come to mind are acting medium. A virgin birth, healing the sick, multiplying fish and loaves, bringing the dead back to life, forgiving sinners, and coming back from the dead. Continue reading

I like to keep things simple. The more complicated the subject, the more one must work to simplify it. Break it down. Educators call it “chunking.”

This is especially true when it comes to subjects like God, eternal life, sin, and the person of Jesus Christ. Each one is complicated. It’s a challenge to keep it simple. Continue reading

I recall reading a book on anger and the author pointed out the irony of someone wanting to prove how macho he is, not by calling out everyone in a biker bar, but by picking on some poor slob walking down the street. I thought the illustration made a lot of sense. If the point is that you are the “baddest” guy in town, doesn’t that mean you whooped all the baddest guys in town?

But human nature (and perhaps common sense) doesn’t work this way. Some people are bravest when they are the safest. Continue reading


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