There’s a story of a young Buddhist monk who sat outside his temple two thousand years ago, with his hands clasped in prayer. He looked very pious and he chanted ‘Amita Buddha’ all day. Day after day he intoned these words, believing that he was acquiring grace.
One day the head priest of the temple sat next to him and began rubbing a piece of brick against a stone. Day after day he rubbed one against the other.
This went on week after week until the young monk could no longer contain his curiosity, and he finally blurted out, “Father, what are you doing?” Continue reading
As August ends and September begins with Labor Day just around the corner, I’m reminded that much of 2020 has been consumed by various crises.
Many of the challenges we’ve faced seem to be centered around COVID-19 which have contributed to health care crisis, financial crisis, and national and international crisis. This has affected families, churches, businesses, colleges, sports and our most cherished institutions.
Additionally, issues of racism have been reignited with the death of George Floyd, a black man, at the hands (or more specifically, the knee) of a white Minneapolis cop. Since then there have been other deaths that sparked further racial unrest. Continue reading
A recent Barna survey found that only 25% of “practicing Christians” live in households that they termed “spiritually vibrant.”
As a part of a new “Household of Faith” report Barna partnered with the Lutheran Hour Ministries and surveyed 2,347 adults and teens who claimed to be practicing Christian. Their goal was to determine how families practiced their faith together, and not just as individuals. Continue reading
President Trump has declared “A State of Emergency” on our Southern border in an effort to secure funding to build his promised border wall.
This declaration has further polarized Republicans and Democrats. Conservatives and Liberals. Pro-Trump and Non-Trump advocates. Of course, the media is having a field day with political pundits in their respective corners pontificating about the merits of this declaration or the lack thereof.
Predictably, many on social media are passionately sharing their views. Some with harsh and hateful language. Sadly some who profess allegiance to Christ have dimmed and diminished their light with vitriolic speech. Continue reading
I recently read a story about a Christian who was visiting with a preacher from Ethiopia. He knew the preacher lived in horrible poverty. So, he made the mistake of showing what he thought was some sympathy for his situation.
“Brother, I want you to know we are praying for you in your poverty,” the man said.
Very humbly the preacher responded, “No. You don’t understand. We are praying for you in your prosperity.” Continue reading
John Mason, in his book, Let Go of Whatever Makes You Stop, wrote, “The trouble with many educated (people) is that learning goes to their heads and not to their hearts. The heart is something of a prophet. The heart is no traitor. It is only with the heart that one can see correctly; what is required is invisible to the eye.
Mason’s words, unfortunately, speak to many Christians who have lost their passion for the Lord. Their Bible knowledge and learning, though it may be extensive, has only affected them intellectually, but not touched them emotionally. Or if it once did, that passion has subsided over the years. Continue reading
H.G. Wells was never particularly religious, but after he had studied the history of the human race and had observed human life, he came to an interesting conclusion:
“Religion is the first thing and the last thing, and until a man has found God and been found by God, he begins at no beginning, he works to no end. He may have his friendships, his partial loyalties, his scraps of honor. But all these things fall into place and life falls into place only with God.” Continue reading
Filed under God, Spiritual
The centerpiece of our annual anniversary trip was an Alaskan cruise on the Island Princess. Their theme is “Come Back New.” Their advertizing brochure invites you with these enticing words. ” Escape to breathtaking ocean views, fresh, local flavors and the chance to see someone you love in awe of the world again.
It is indeed a relaxing way to vacation and enjoy special time away from your daily routines with your husband or wife. They use words like “refresh,” “renew” and “revitalize” to emphasis the new feeling you will experience. Continue reading
“I tackled my first English essay in college with enthusiasm, a thesaurus, and a naive disregard for page limits,” writes Carolyn Arends in an April 2014 article in Christianity Today. To her dismay the professor returned her paper with this comment: “Carolyn, you’ve made some fine points, but unfortunately they are lost in a sea of circumlocutious wordiness.”
While Carolyn admits she has always “loved words” and “a well turned phrase,” she confesses that she grew “troubled by a growing sense that (she) needed to pay more attention to wordless things.” She asks, ” Have I reduced the scope of what I can know to what I can articulate?” Continue reading
Filed under God, Spiritual