Tag Archives: Christianity

The Forgiveness Payback

ImageNearly every time the need for apologizing arises, I hear not only my mother but every mother’s voice ringing in my ears: “Say it like you mean it.”  That may sound like a simple thing, after all I often really do feel badly about what I have done (at least since becoming an adult) because most of the time the pain I inflict is not intentional.  (All the other times I like to think it is for their own good.)  But I have begun to notice something that has made it all the more difficult, not only to say “I’m sorry,” but to mean it.

In a recent, shall we say “discussion” with my wife I felt this creeping goblin behind me.  We had had very little sleep and were just missing each other all day.  Trying to get things done around the house when it is full of zombies, I suppose, requires some level of force.  The conversation came to a head, and I will not begin to make myself look good.  We came to an unspoken truce and decided that we needed time to cool off.  I went to wash dishes (the dishwasher being on the fritz) and began to think.

Ever notice how doing something so mundane as dishes can be a great opportunity for thinking?

Almost as if the garden window dropped a screen and showed a replay of the argument, I noticed a shadow lurking just over my shoulder.  As if in a whisper, it seemed to suggest that if I would go to my wife and apologize, she had better follow suit.  It was even worse than that: it was as if my apology was not really an apology at all, but a covert way of demanding that she apologize to me.

How old am I?

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Review: Relentless Pursuit: God’s Love of Outsiders Including the Outsider in All of Us

Relentless Pursuit: God's Love of Outsiders Including the Outsider in All of Us
Relentless Pursuit: God’s Love of Outsiders Including the Outsider in All of Us by Ken Gire
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Do you ever feel alone? Do you have resentments about the past and regrets about where those bad decisions have taken you? Have you found yourself in the gutter with no idea of how you got there? Are you aware that as much as you have tried, you still do not see how you can live a pure and moral life?

If we are honest, we have all been there and may be there still. Our world is wrecked beyond recognition of those who saw God’s original design for his creation. We all bare the stain of sin and wickedness. But it is no state that God cannot not find us.

In his book Relentless Pursuit, Ken Gire takes us into the raw ugliness that life can bring and shows us that even in these bleak times, God seeks after what is lost with wreckless abandon. He leaves behind the 99 who have been found to search for the one who is lost.

Gire sets this scene in the haunting poem ‘The Hound of Heaven’ by Francis Thompson, who in the late 1800s found himself alone, abandoned, and addicted. Yet in his most desperate condition, he experienced God’s incessant involvement in his life, as a hound that chased him with the goal of his capture. What started as something fearful to escape, Thompson, at the end of the poem, describes his surrender to the only one who could save him.

The first chapters of this book were beautiful, and at times even the prose were poetic as the author shares not only his story, but experiences of others who have described their pursuit by God in so many powerful ways. The appreciation of this book breaks down for me in later chapters as the author begins to deemphasize God’s loving pursuit and begins to turn the light on us as individuals and lays on the burden of self-discovery and self-recovery. I had a difficult time connecting what the author thinks of the pursuit of God and our personal responsibility in the process.

Gire definitely uses an approach to talking about God in terms of relationship and experience rather than theology and exposition of the Bible, which is what gave this book its weakness. No doubt there can be a balance between this author’s gifts of story-telling and creativity with a solid grounding in the truth of Scripture.

I do not know that I would recommend this book, even with the beauty and power of its opening chapters. If you do decide to pick this one up, don’t feel badly about abandoning it early.

Note: a copy of this book was provided by the publisher for review.  No obligation was given to give the book a positive review; all views expressed are my own and not influenced by the publisher.

Review: The Gospel of Yes: We Have Missed the Most Important Thing About God. Finding It Changes Everything

The Gospel of Yes: We Have Missed the Most Important Thing About God. Finding It Changes Everything
The Gospel of Yes: We Have Missed the Most Important Thing About God. Finding It Changes Everything by Mike Glenn
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

When you think of God, what immediately comes to mind? Do you think of an overbearing dictator in the sky who revels in telling you what to do and punishing those who disobey? Do you imagine a score-keeper who maintains a running talley of your faults and expecting you to make good for your wrongs?

Well, if those are your perceptions, you are the person that Mike Glenn had in mind when he wrote his book The Gospel of Yes. God is not that way at all. In fact, as Glenn points out, even in the Ten Commandments God lays out the way that life works best and opens our lives up to the “yes” of the rest of existence.

Glenn does an admirable job of laying out the story of the Bible and how even from the beginning God pursued humankind, making a way back to himself. In different ways to each prominent character he made declarations of his promises and his determined mission to carry them out. I was excited to read about how desperate our need is for a “yes” in a world that constantly tells us “no.”
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Out of Nothing

Did you know that God has been proven not to exist?

It was on the eve of the nineteenth century that renowned scientist Pierre-Simon Laplace met with Napoleon to discuss his research. On review of Laplace’s work, Napoleon remarked that there was no mention of the Creator. Laplace famously replied, “I have no need of that hypothesis.”

Startled? You should be! That this would be taken in any way as an argument against the existence of God is asinine. We may as well argue that there is no need to talk about an artist in regard to a painting, because the brush is explanation enough.

In his book, The Grand Design, Stephen Hawking says, “spontaneous creation is the reason why there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist.” His statement almost sounds like an explanation, much as Laplace’s comment. But it is clear that calling the existence of the universe “spontaneous” is no explanation at all. Rather it is the absence of all reason; ironic for such a brilliant scientist.

Likewise, a new book called A Universe from Nothing by Lawrence Krauss and Richard Dawkins, argues that even the nothingness of space has weight and mass. They also describe a process by which particles spontaneously appear from literal nothingness. “Oo!” they say, “here is evidence that God did not create, but it randomly appeared.” Sorry, guys, but that is not a reasonable or logical conclusion to make; in fact it is no conclusion at all. It is simply a sophisticated way of saying, “Duh, we don’t know.”

No, what Laplace said, whether he meant to or not, is that he does not need to give a supernatural explanation to fill in the proverbial “gaps” of his research. He found a logical and natural process.

Logical and natural does not mean that God is not involved. Somehow somewhere someone decided that God only could do the supernatural, when in fact, the Bible teaches that God is intimately involved in all natural processes as well, essentially writing all the laws of the physical universe.

God does not only stand in the gaps. He is all in all. The gospel of John, Colossians, and Romans all teach that creation, all of it, was created for him, by him, through him, to give him all glory and honor.

A special note to my readers: my break for the last four months has given me time to rest, recharge, and refocus my purpose in writing this blog. Thanks for hanging with me. What better way to start back in with a post on something from nothing?

Barbara Walters on Guilt and Abortion

When does life begin?  This one question is cornerstone to the debate on abortion and the so-called “woman’s right to choose.”  Beyond the obvious biblical references (Ps. 139:13, Ps. 51:5), there are whole cultures that celebrate a child’s date of conception as the beginning of life by adding a full year to the person’s age.

Yet people on the pro-abortion side of the debate argue that life begins much later.  Some suggesting that life begins with a beating heart (week 3) and others believe that it begins with the first breath outside the womb.  Surely Barbara Walters and the liberal ladies on The View would agree with one another that life begins, the “pregnancy” becomes a child, at birth.

On February 8th, the topic on the show was sparked by a ruling in Texas that upholds a law that requires women to view an ultrasound of the baby inside them before choosing to abort.

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