Monthly Archives: November 2015
A word you seldom hear anymore, at least I don’t hear it, is doting. I guess it’s one of those words you heard if you were a little kid in the 50s and 60s. It was usually said about a certain aunt, they would whisper “she dotes over him.”
In looking up the definition, I find: Dote. Intransitive verb. 1: To exhibit mental decline of or like that of old age: to be in one’s dotage. 2: To be lavish or excessive in one’s attention, fondness, or affection —usually used with on “doted on her only grandchild.”
Okay, maybe it’s not always an aunt. Continue reading
I imagine few institutions are as inconvenient to support as church. To begin with, weather is not very conducive to attending church. When it’s raining, cold, or snowing, no one wants to venture out. And if it’s warm and sunny, folks can think of other places they would rather be.
And is there a more inconvenient time for church than Sunday morning? Many people will tell you it’s the one day they have to themselves. And many churches have their service right smack dab in the middle of the day. You don’t dare start a project in the morning because you’ll have to go to church. But by the time you get home and have lunch it’s too late. And then there is all the usual criticisms one hears about church: it’s full of hypocrites, you have to dress up, and all they want is your money.
What’s the use? Continue reading
A question posed by Jesus that perplexes many is when a man runs up and kneels down before him and asks “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” and Jesus responds with, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.” (Mark 10:17-18).
Even people who do not believe Jesus was all he claimed to be believe he was a good man. What’s he doing denying the compliment? Continue reading
Rufus E. Miles, Jr. (1910-1996) was an assistant secretary under Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson and six H.E.W. secretaries. He developed something that came to be called Miles’ Law. The principle goes like this: Where you stand on an issue depends on where you sit. He means that we see things and form judgments of things from our own perspective. We need to discipline ourselves to see things from other’s vantage point. We need to be reminded of this principle.
When thinking through the hot issue du jour, it helps if you can move forwards and backwards from the issue. My opponent believes in X. But how did they get to X, where is X going to ultimately leave us?
In a short but delightful essay entitled “Man or Rabbit?,” C. S. Lewis ponders this principle of considering an issue from two very different perspectives and considering where such views will lead. He writes, Continue reading
When asked to describe God, most people like to quote three words from the Bible, “God is love” (1 John 4:8). The idea seems to be that this is all one needs to know. These three words, this one description, sums up all there is to understanding God.
You might want to think this through a little more.
Though the testimony of the Bible is that “God is love,” he is described as being a lot more. Space does not allow a comprehensive list, but consider: Continue reading
The cartoon shows a man and woman standing on a busy city sidewalk looking in a store window at a Christmas nativity scene. The man says “Look at that, now religion has even wormed its way into Christmas!”
Christians have always lived in two worlds. In one place the apostle Paul said of his being a Roman, “But I am a citizen by birth” (Acts 22:28), while in another place he writes “But our citizenship is in heaven” (Philippians 3:20). And it was in this world that Jesus said, “I am not of this world” (John 8:23). Continue reading
Spoke to a friend recently and in the course of the conversation he mentioned a request he was mulling over. He told me he would get to it in a few days. He needed time to think over how best to say what he needed to say.
The funny thing is that I had a similar situation. I too had a letter sitting on my desk that I had been mulling over trying to decide how best to say what I needed to say.
Both of us were going to respond. We had to, and honestly, we wanted to. It wasn’t that we dreaded answering our letters, we just wanted to answer them in a way that was thoughtful and clear. A day or two and the matter would be behind us. Continue reading
We’ve all heard the cliché concerning people who are “so heavenly minded they are no earthly good.” But truth be told, such people are usually so earthly minded that they are no heavenly good. These are usually folks who feel they have a spiritual leg up on the unwashed masses of humanity. In the last few years their mantra has been “I’m spiritual but not religious.” Yea, ok.
Something that impressed even the critics of Jesus was the perfect synchronization of what he said with what he did. The reason “All were speaking well of him, and were amazed at the gracious words coming out of his mouth” (Luke 4:22) was because such a gracious man was saying them. Jesus is the only person of whom it can honestly be said “What you see is what you get.” Continue reading
Ever hear a parent say their child fell into the “wrong crowd”? I’ve sometimes wondered what the other parents say. One wonders how you can get a bad crowd out of so many good kids.
But of course it is not just children who are influenced by their peers. Most of us like to feel a certain sense of acceptance by those around us. Being “odd man out” leaves one feeling, well, odd and out. Be the only Christian in the workplace or classroom and you can become the center of attention in ways that are less than desirable. Continue reading
I recall hearing a song that opened with something like
The poor man envies the rich man,
The rich man envies the strong;
The strong man envies the artist,
We all believe that we sing the wrong song.
There’s another line in there about young girls envying women and women envying young girls but I forget how it goes.
The songwriter nails the human condition. Each one of us is aware not only of a deep desire for what we don’t have, but also of an even deeper need that never seems to be met.
In his book The Four Loves, C. S. Lewis sums up the human condition well in three simple words. In commenting on this sense of need that results in prayer he writes, Continue reading