Monday, November 30, 2009

Does the Bible Frighten You?

"A Christian must always be frightened by the Bible, because it makes demands of him that only a saint could even come close to meeting and that no saint ever believes he has met."

--John Mark Reynolds, in his liveblog on Sarah Palin's new book.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Lose Your Life

I get headaches somewhat frequently (about three days out of the average week). When my headaches are especially bad, I remember something my grandfather once said, "After a certain age, you are always in pain." Always in pain. Imagine waking up with pain and going through life with no relief. That is where, unless we die young, we will end up. Your future most likely ends in a slow, painful death from old age.

So why do we try to save ourselves from discomfort? Pain is inevitable. Protect yourself all you can for your whole life, and you will still end your life with constant pain.

Jesus said, "For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it" (Matthew 16:25).

We have two options: attempt to preserve our lives from discomfort or embrace suffering for a cause greater than ourselves. Jesus calls us to lose our lives for Him and promises that He will save us.

Don't waste your life trying to keep it pain-free; instead, radically follow Jesus through all the pain involved and enjoy His salvation.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

I'm An Adult!

Hello again. Today is my eighteenth birthday, if you didn't know. I'm very happy to be a legitimate adult (I can smoke, get a credit card, vote etc.). Now I guess I just need to have my soul's maturity catch up to my age. Goodbye, readers, and have a very good Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

On Nostalgia

Nostalgia affects humans like no other basic emotion. Recently, I took a trip home. After dropping a friend off a bit south of my childhood home, I drove the back streets of my hometown. Driving those familiar roads, nostalgia filled my heart. I began considering nostalgia's nature: what is it and is it good?

My conclusion: nostalgia is a love basic to the soul and beneficial to mankind.

As we go through our lives, we subconsciously associate memories with locations, foods, books, music, and many other things. We involuntarily throw ourselves into others. In this way, nostalgia is a love. It is just as much a type of love as is "eros," "philia," or "storge."

This love pulls our gaze off of ourselves. Hence, it is a "proto-morality": the most basic hint at selflessness and love for others. An example: driving past a shopping mall while at home, I remembered the good time I had there with my youth group a year and a half ago. For a time, that memory pulled my gaze off of myself and onto the beauty of the friendships in that group. Nostalgia forces us to remember the good, true, and beautiful moments in our lives.

It also provides necessary elements of human life: stability and joy. Our souls need to return to home. If we are unable to do this, we will settle for returning only in our mind, through nostalgia. It enables us to recall previous joys at the mere sight, sound, or smell of a familiar object. God made humans to feel deeply nostalgic. While we ought not to waste too much time reminiscing, we ought to embrace nostalgia when it comes.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Prof J's Dating Paradigm

Today was an interesting day in my history class. My very colorful professor, Jeff Jensen (he asked us to call him Prof J), always puts on a show, but today was special. After giving a tough quiz, he turned to the subject of dating. He pronounced that the dating culture at The Master's College is all wrong. Here's his paradigm for dating:

1. Back off! Don't assume that other people are dating and don't pressure others to move too quickly in relationships.

2. Be realistic. Pursue love, not romance (here he quoted Bono's "Man and a Woman"--the pop culture references he made throughout the talk were hilarious).

3. Be holy. Don't act like the world in your dating.

4. Be mature. Communicate with people honestly and openly. We're adults; we can act like them now.

His main point was to marry your best friend. That's what he did, and that's what he thinks everyone should do. So, what do you think? Is Prof J right? Should we marry our best friends or is there an element of romance which ought to be present?

Monday, November 2, 2009

Tales from Denny's

Last Thursday night, my friend Jordan and I went to Denny's to work on our history projects all night. We arrived about 12:30am and ordered some "Sumwiches" (they're scrumptious, try them). About forty-five minutes later, a homeless man walked by to sit at a booth near ours. He stopped when he saw us, pointed at me, and said, "I think you're going to be a minister." I was shocked. "Yeah," I said, "I'd like to be a minister." He had called it. This was just the first of many slightly odd but true things he said to us that night.

We talked to him off and on for about three or four hours. Gradually, I realized he was extremely smart but perhaps a little mentally ill. In appearance, he was your typical homeless man: ripped jacket, extremely dirty hands, half his teeth missing, cigarette smoke clinging to him. But he carried several papers into Denny's and promptly began to read them cover to cover. He was very proud of his quick mind and told us many times that we need to keep our minds sharp as we grow older. He had been to Vietnam in the 70s and had clearly come away with a sense of the evil of man.

What made Michael (when I asked him for his name he said it was the same as Saint Michael's) so interesting was one thing he said right after he said I would be a minister. He said that there was no point in trying to save him for he was too mean and crusty. I stammered back that I could save nobody, but God could save anybody. But his comment brings up a question we should all ask ourselves: do we believe that God can save the dirty and smelly homeless? They obviously don't fit our narrow picture of the ideal Christian: White, affluent, and educated. Of course we believe He can save anybody, but do we live out this truth by evangelizing to any and all, even those different from us?