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Showing posts from May, 2022

Chesterton’s Joy and Darwin’s Misery

British author and philosopher G.K. Chesterton had a rosy outlook on life because he could find happiness in the small things around him. He once wrote these words: “Seeing the glory of God may not require making a trip to the mountains or buying a ticket to the theater, but only opening our eyes—because I believe untold resources for mental health and spiritual joy in God lie all around us if we would but open our eyes.” Elsewhere he wrote that he learned to be thankful for small blessings, like the fact that God chose to give us noses so that we can smell. If frogs could speak, Chesterton wrote, then surely they would thank God for giving them the ability to jump.  Let’s contrast Chesterton’s perspective with that of Charles Darwin. In his earlier years Darwin was a lover of art, music, literature, and poetry, and he was enamored by the animal kingdom. But later in life he would lament that he could no longer stand those things. He once took “great delight” in the arts, but he would

Live While You’re Alive

  What are your future plans? Many of us plan out our lives into major chapters—I’m going to graduate, start my career, get married, have kids, buy a house, retire, and then I’ll travel and see the world. Or then I’ll do everything on my bucket list. Or then I’ll have time to spend with family and enjoying hobbies.  Having a plan is a good thing, but I want to encourage you to live while you’re alive. We are not supposed to spend the majority of our life getting ready to enjoy the minority of it. I want to share a parable I read recently.  An American investment banker took a vacation to Mexico and was enjoying some time fishing. He noticed a small boat docking, where a single local man unloaded his catch for the day—three good looking fish. The banker, who spoke decent Spanish, asked the fisherman how long it took him to catch those fish. “Only a little while,” the man answered. The banker was puzzled; it was early, and he caught a few fish in a short time, and yet he was calling it a

Smelling a Rotten Egg

  “If God is real, explain all the suffering in the world.” “If there really is a good and loving God, why doesn’t he stop bad people from doing bad things?” Questions like these are often used by atheists or agnostics to help them explain away the existence of God. There are very good answers to these difficult questions, and I frequently write about them in this space. But for many of us, we are not going to convince someone who is being argumentative; no answer will suffice, especially when the answer requires us to wade waist deep into the theological waters.  Instead of trying to explain why God allows what He allows, and thus play defense, we can turn that accusation around and go on offense. Dr. Frank Turek, founder of the Christian apologetics ministry Cross Examined, once had a brilliant reply to such a challenge against the existence of God. He said, “Its easy to smell a rotten egg, but its hard to lay a better one.”  The point is that anyone can throw accusations. That is qu

Getting Along with your Conscience

Do you get along with your conscience? You are supposed to, but some people view their conscience as their enemy because it is always arguing with them. Your conscience is that little voice in your head that lets you know if you are out of line, but it can also be that voice of vindication, confirming that you are living right when there may be some doubt.   The English word conscience comes from the two Latin words for with and knowledge. No person knows us like our own conscience, for it has more knowledge of us than any other person has. We can fool friends and family, parents and pastors, but we can never fool our knowledgeable conscience.  When Paul stood on trial before Felix in Acts 24, he said, “So I always take pains to have a clear conscience toward both God and man (v.16).” In II Corinthians 1:12 he appealed to his clean conscience when he was falsely accused (“For our boast is this, the testimony of our conscience, that we behaved in the world with simplicity and godly sinc

Mustard Seeds and Sorrow

  An old Chinese proverb tells of a mother who was distraught over the loss of her child. She was overcome with sorrow, and feeling that she would never be able to get on with her life, finally decided to visit a local philosopher. The aged gentleman told the grieving mother that he could bring her son back from the dead if she would just bring him some mustard seeds. But there was a catch. The seeds had to come from a household where no one had ever experienced suffering. The desperate woman went from house to house, investigating every family in the village. What she discovered was that sorrow is common to every person.  That proverb contains a great truth on the reality of suffering. It is an unfortunate part of life. But I like that the philosopher chose, of all things, to request mustard seeds because that is what Jesus used to teach on faith. He said, “If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it