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The New Trilemma

Beknownst to many, I dread the idea of going to a karaoke bar. Unbeknownst to many, I have regular covert karaoke sessions on my commute to work. I drive an SUV with no tint on the windows, which means I'm afforded about as much cover as a fishbowl. Moreover, I possess none of the externally obvious signs that would indicate that I deserve to be rocking out like it's nobody's business (e.g. I don't care what you think musician outfit, “cool” ethnicity, etc.). Therefore I must daily find a way to perform my latest hits without the hundreds of people I see in traffic noticing.
So I improvise. At the stop light, if I pull up in between the two cars in the next lane over, neither of them can really tell what I'm doing. Rock on my friend. If I can't hit one of those sweet spots between cars, I might just do every other line ...wishin they was dancin a jig... ciga-cigar right from Cuba-Cu-ba ... They might think they saw something, do a double take, but look…

Finding God in an Orange

So I'm eating this orange. This juicy, delicious, liquid ball of orange juice. And I can't help but ask: Why? Why should this fantastic piece of fruit taste so good? Why doesn't it taste completely ordinary and bland? Why doesn't it taste boring and gritty, like a mouthful of the dirt from which it sprang? You could answer that this orange has developed its appealing taste because that taste helps it to get eaten by animals, have its seeds spread far and wide and grow lots of other orange trees. Okay, fine. I'm glad you got that out of your system. But how about this: That orange is one more proof that God made a creation that is delightful. And even though money still doesn't grow on trees, guess what? This stuff does. A creation that is beautiful, and not just a creation that is useful.
Take sunsets too. When was the last time you sat down and watched the sun set? Maybe you could care less. Maybe you're too busy. Maybe you have a hard tim…

Everybody's Doing It (Theology, That Is)

Few things mystify like telling others that you like theology. I mean, who does that? Theology can seem like one of the most abstract and irrelevant pursuits around. It conjures up visions of monks and philosophers doing calligraphy and asking stuffy questions like, “How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?” If words like aseity, supralapsarian and imputation mean little to you, well, they don't mean a whole lot to many other people either. But the fact is, however you talk about it, everyone is doing theology, including you.
So, let's just say that theology means the study of God. Perhaps you've never spent any sort of concerted or formal time studying theology, the fact is every day you are living out your beliefs concerning God. It could be saying, “God doesn't care if I (fill in the blank).” It could be the popular arguing point, “The God I believe in would never do that!” It might be the refrain of the prosperity movement, “God wants you to be able t…

Dear Christians: What if the Gospel is really true?

When I read the Bible, I like to ask myself a question: What if this is really true? It's not that I am a big skeptic, as far as I'm concerned the Bible has already proven itself to me. But that said, I can read about jaw-dropping truths of God and not even bat an eyelash. Perhaps it's familiarity. It is a rare talent to be able to delight in the treasures one has constant access to. Perhaps it's cynicism. Just about every time someone starts getting all grandiose on me (generally a politician or an advertisement) they generally fall through. But perhaps it's worse than that, maybe I don't actually believe what I'm reading. After all, could I just gloss over the earth-shattering words of God if I really believed what they are saying?
As an example, take one of my favorite chapters of Scripture: 2 Corinthians 5. It took me almost no time at all to pull out 5 of these so-called “jaw-dropping truths”, take a look:
1.Believers in Christ have eternal life…

The Great Escape

His eyebrows furrowed, he bit his lower lip in concentration. Long moments passed, his brain actually felt like it was burning he was thinking so hard. How had he not thought this through before? The questions troubled him, they were upsetting even and they shook beliefs he considered to be fundamental to his identity. Soon his stomach began to twist as the stress spread through his body. He clenched his fists, his shoulders stiffened. Then—then the moment came, and with it bliss and peace. “I guess I just don't know.” He smiled to himself and sighed. The dissonance would fade, the storm would pass overhead. He had successfully ducked another critical moment.

Label Me Christian (Wait, What Does That Mean?)

What above all else characterizes a Christian? The Republican party? Opposition to abortion and gay marriage? Is it creationism vs. evolution(ism)? Is it morality? The 10 commandments? The location of the 10 commandments in public places? Is it boycotts of offensive/immoral movies? Is it 7 steps to how to live life to its fullest? Is it don't drink, don't smoke, don't chew (or go with girls who do)? If one were to take a poll of non-Christians—heck, if a poll were taken of Christians themselves—what would be said to be the defining characteristic of a Christian? What would be that sine qua non of Christianity?
Dare I venture to say, it's the Gospel that sets Christians apart? Call me “Captain Obvious” if you want, but this is a point I feel more and more compelled to spread. Christians ultimately are not set apart by their political or moral views or by their personalities, they are set apart by the salvation accomplished on their behalf by the Son of God dyin…

Weeping With Those Who Weep

C.S. Lewis wrote A Grief Observed in the midst of grieving the loss of his wife. He reflects on why her death should be causing him not only to mourn, but also to doubt in substantial ways his own faith. In chapter 3, he reminds himself that he had always known that such sorrowful things occur daily in the world. Nothing unexpected or unusual occurred in the passing of his wife. Though this time the unfortunate event had happened to himself, and not someone else. Lewis writes that his faith would not be so shaken if his concern for other people's sorrows had been real concern. He goes on to say, “If I had really cared, as I thought I did, about the sorrows of the world, I should not have been so overwhelmed when my own sorrow came.”
I found this comment to be shockingly insightful, at least in regard to my own heart. How much do I actually care about the sorrows that go on in this world, especially when they extend beyond my immediate circle? When a child, whom I have neve…