If you’re like me, you have a hard time keeping your thoughts to yourself…or simple…or short…or remotely uncontroversial…
If you’re like me, you’ve had painful experiences with others using them against you, twisting them, making false accusations…
And, if you’re like me, you’ve noticed these people often spew anger, hurtful accusations, and condemnations due to differences that really shouldn’t be that big of a deal. For instance, a friend was told he’s going to hell because he’s a theistic evolutionist. Not only is that hurtful and divisive, it also doesn’t make any darn sense. Bottom line: most differences just do not warrant the strong emotional responses they are often given, and I’m. So. Over. It. Continue reading “Tears for Tiers”
In group discussions on doctrinal differences, all too often group-think takes hold, and I despise where it usually goes. We’re usually either intrigued, engaged, and contemplative, or we’re defensive and accusatory. When the latter occurs, which is unfortunately often, these discussions become detrimental to the health of our community, and for two primary reasons: First, our language inaccurately reflects our thoughts. Second, our motivations are void of humility.
Let me give you an example: In one camp of Christians (Group A), biblical inspiration and inerrancy are established, indisputable facts. Most Christians are in Group A, so this group holds the most power to accuse and abuse. In one of many other camps (Group B), they accept divine inspiration, but reject inerrancy. Let’s say Group A learns of Group B’s beliefs and is thrown for a loop. In the ensuing discussions, Group A may ask, “How can they believe that?” One person may interpret this question as, “How is it logically possible to believe that?” But another may interpret it as, “How can people who claim to be Christians not trust the word of God?” See the dilemma? Continue reading “How Conversations Kill”
Let’s talk about service. I don’t know about you guys, but I struggle with service. I always have, and I probably always will. There are two themes always at play in my relationship to service, both of which have a huge influence but which also seem to stifle each other:
- Service to others is important, and I should commit to it regularly.
- Service to others is often tiring and inconvenient, so it’s hard to do it as much as I should/want.
Anyone else have this problem? On the surface, it looks like this is a heart issue, like I’m not really as committed to serving others as much as I say. Otherwise a) I wouldn’t associate service with tiredness and inconvenience, or b) tiredness and inconvenience wouldn’t be enough to keep me from serving. Right? Well, no, I don’t think it’s that simple. This is definitely a heart issue for many people, one with which I do periodically struggle myself, but I don’t actually think this is the primary issue in my case. No, this isn’t a heart issue; this is a mind issue. Continue reading “Small Ways to Live a Life of Service”
I recently stumbled upon a post by The Activist Mommy that concerned me. Actually, it made me heave with annoyance, but my emotional responses are incidental. What’s actually important is the impact of the article, My Womb is My Weapon, and what its implications teach vulnerable women about their worth and abilities as women of God. They are extremely problematic and need addressed. So I’m going to respond quote-by-quote, as clearly as possible, so there’s no question of why her post is problematic. Continue reading “I Am a Weapon”
Dimiter by William Peter Blatty, 2010
I’m going to set aside the obvious connections to the biblical Paul that, well, pretty much set the foundation for this entire novel. Instead, let’s discuss the fictional character Vlora, and how the literary devices used in this book help us recognize the inherent goodness in the ugly other. I’m particularly addressing those Christians who believe lacking God = lacking goodness.
When evaluating the supposedly inherit evil-nature of a person, it is only just to consider the circumstances to which the person is subject, as it is these circumstances which foster a person’s psychological and moral development. According to the fictional version of Albert Einstein, “God did not create evil. Just as darkness is the absence of light, evil is the absence of God.” (Y’all that quote is totally a lie. Albie definitely never said that, but the idea is nice.)
Colonel Vlora, a man raised in and subjected to the paranoid, oppressive, and atheistic environment of mid-20th century Albania, cannot justly be considered an “evil” man. Just as when the sun is absent and darkness fills the night, we can still see glimmers of light from the stars, so too there is a glimmer of goodness in Vlora which is simply “out-shown” by the absence of God. Continue reading “A Glimmer of Goodness: Lessons from Blatty’s Colonel Vlora”