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Commenter Cam left a long and thoughtful comment on a recent post of mine about suffering on earth vs. Joy in heaven.  There's a lot to talk about in it, but I want to start with a point about rational argument.  Cam says, …it might be worth noting a difference between some Christians and some atheists here. An atheist might approach an argument by saying: 'there may be some gaps in my argument, and these gaps may or may not be fatal'. A Christian however, who holds their belief on faith, will n … [Read more...]

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Which Monotheistic God is God?

Crucifix

Last time I looked at theological systems that aim at the divine as the ultimate reality, and rejected pantheism and deism for monotheism.  That still seems to leave a lot of ground to cover, but it's actually not so bad.As I've said before I've had personal experiences of the presence of God.  I don't want to make too much of them, but there they are, and they are part of my experience.  I don't claim that you should believe on the basis of my experience, but contrarily it is something that … [Read more...]

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Also Righteously Bad

Since I posted about the waiter in Overland Park, Kansas who received a nasty note in lieu of a tip, several similar cases have popped up. It now appears that one of them might be a hoax.Now me, I don't know who's lying in this case. I do know that the message conveyed by the note is an un-Christian message, and that's what I chose to write about in the earlier case. Such things apparently do happen, and they shouldn't.But on the other hand: if someone who leaves a nasty-gram in lieu … [Read more...]

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Listening to God Redux

I don't know whether Tom McDonald's latest post was inspired by my post on Listening to God or not, but it's well worth your time. My post focused narrowly on my personal experience in prayer, and on the human dimension. (You can't say everything at once, darn it!) But as Tom points out, every instance of human prayer is a response to a conversation initiated by God, however it seems at the time. … [Read more...]

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The Deadly Ambiguity of Aphorisms

In all my years of Christian living I've often heard the saying, "God will never give you more than you can handle." Recently I've seen a couple of posts that reject this saying with great force. On the other hand, there are those that insist that it's simply true.The problem here is that we're dealing with a saying, an aphorism, a maxim: a pithy statement of wisdom. The key word here is "pithy": an aphorism is meant to convey a large idea in a small amount of space. It's like an iceberg: … [Read more...]

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Bootstrapping the Interior Life: Time

So you've begun to pursue the interior life. You're learning to respond to the Lord's nudges. Maybe you've even asked Him to help you hunger and thirst for righteousness. So what happens next?It's like this. There's this person you've been bumping into. Maybe you meet them at the grocery store, or in the hallway at work, or at the gas station. And you find that when you bump into them, you have one of those neat conversations that just goes on and on, even though you both really need … [Read more...]

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UPDATED: Listening to God

I've often been told that prayer is talking with God, not talking to God, and so you can't just talk: you have to listen, too. This is usually followed by the suggestion that I spend time just sitting and listening. I've tried that, but it never seems to work out that well for me, I think because it's never been all that clear to me what I'm supposed to be listening for. God's voice, sure. If I'm listening to God then I'm hoping to hear His Voice.But what does God's voice sound like? … [Read more...]

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How To Call Someone To Repentance

Last month I spent many pixels criticizing a particularly bad and ineffective way of explaining to someone the error of their ways and calling them to repentance. It seems only fair that I should spend some time talking about the right way to do it.Um.Well.You know, I'm not sure I know just what the right way is, as a general thing. It's a hard thing to do. (Q: How do porcupines make love? A: Very carefully.) But there are couple of things I think I know.First, I think it … [Read more...]

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Bootstrapping the Interior Life: Direction

A couple of weeks ago I compared the interior life to a kitchen remodel. You've got a skilled workman doing a complicated job, and while he's responsible for the work, you still need to cooperate with him or the job won't get done.But there's another way that the interior life is similar to a kitchen remodel: it's not always obvious what's going on. In fact, it's usually not obvious what's going on. Some weeks it seems like there's a flurry of activity to no great effect. Other weeks, it … [Read more...]

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