What a good wife gets you

Megan!

A smile when you step through the door A hug when you head back out Mercy when you don't deserve it An embrace when you really need it Someone who will pray for you Someone who will tell you no A friend to share the better moments A partner to ride out the lesser ones Laughter, affection, home Warmth, surprise, support Kind words, wise words, funny words Hard words, soft words, sweet words Welcome indulgence Necessary resistance Encouragement Astounding intelligence and … [Read more...]

Why you can (and should) assume the goodness of God

Assuming the goodness of God

A friend recently told me about an acquaintance who's convinced that God is angry with her. She's in a rough patch right now and believes that he's punishing her. I'm not equipped to plumb the mind of God, but I wonder about that. Some people seem quick to assume the anger of God. Perhaps there are personal reasons they feel distance from him, and that distance feels like God's displeasure toward them. If you read the Psalms, you're familiar with the dynamic. But I don't think that God is … [Read more...]

Enriched by ritual

Enriched by ritual

I run into people from time to time who are very skeptical of religious ritual, things like liturgy or hourly prayers, practices like fasting or crossing yourself. If we discuss it, they usually tell me that they think it's deadening, that their spirituality is vital and free and that ritual would stifle things. I think I understand the resistance. Some come from families that just seemed to cycle through the motions at church. Some of those families were very serious and consistent, others … [Read more...]

The gospel of radical submission

The gospel of radical submission

The Scripture commands husbands to love their wives, wives to respect their husbands, children to honor their parents, citizens to obey the authorities, employees to follow their employers, and believers to subject themselves to the elders of the Church. None of this has anything to do with how much or well the other party deserves it. There are plenty of unlovable wives, disreputable husbands, dishonorable parents, unworthy governments, ill-willed employers, and untrustworthy church leaders … [Read more...]

Are you making progress?

Are you making progress?

What does the perfect Christian life look like? When asked the question by a friend, Gregory of Nyssa said it looked like perpetual progress toward God, a thought stemming from Christ's statement that Christians are to be perfect like God is perfect. This is tricky business. Perfection is easy if we're talking about the length of a yard or the number ten, things that have attainable, comprehensible limits. But what if there is no spatial or conceptual boundary? Exactly how long is virtue, … [Read more...]

Where real influence lies

Where real influence lies

North American evangelical leaders are reporting a decline in influence, according to a recent survey by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life. Pew conducted the poll, released June 22, at the Third Lausanne Congress of World Evangelization in Cape Town, South Africa, in October of last year. Started by Billy Graham in 1974, the Lausanne gathering represents evangelical leaders from all over the globe. Significantly for us, those from the U.S. seem especially … [Read more...]

Possessing an eager heart

possessing an eager heart

Reading the story of Abraham and his three angelic visitors, I was struck by the verbs. When Abraham saw the angels standing by the tree, Genesis 18 says that he "ran" to meet them. Once he got them settled, it says he "hurried" to Sarah to have her prepare bread for the guests, which he told her to do quickly. Next it says that he "ran" and selected a heifer for their meal. Just picture him: Abraham, an old man at this point, is hotfooting his way through the account, bolting this way, then … [Read more...]

Something my father gave me

By ginnerobot, Flickr

I have always loved books, an affection encouraged from my earliest years by my father. Our house was full of books, too many really. Books everywhere. Mom had her favorites and Dad his, mostly concerning theology, politics, and economics. My father was a Libertarian Party organizer when my parents first married, and the home shelves bulged with Ludwig von Mises, Friedrich Hayek, Ayn Rand, Murray Rothbard, Milton Friedman, Leonard Read, Faustino Ballvé, Wilhelm Röpke, and Albert Jay Nock. … [Read more...]

What’s the point of Lent?

What's the point with Lent?

Lent is the time we’re supposed to forgo things, right? Television, alcohol, Facebook, dessert. We’ve all heard the commonly asked question, particularly at the start of the forty-day fasting period: “What are you giving up for Lent?” But why? What’s the point? For some, it’s personal. Fasting exercises a rarely used muscle in the human will—self denial—and giving up a self-indulgent activity can help build character and possibly bring us closer to God. For others, it’s … [Read more...]

God made us to love us

God made us to love us

Why did God make us? When you look how the ancient writers of the Church thought about that question the answer might surprise. It’s the same reason he saved us: love. God made us to love us. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit live in a relationship of eternal and mutual love. But, as fourth-century theologian Gregory Nazianzen observes, it is the nature of love to seek objects to love. For an uncreated God, that means it is natural to create. “Good must be poured out and go forth,” said … [Read more...]

The sanctifying power of marriage

Icon of the wedding feast at Cana

When I think of marriage I think of grace, particularly the phrase “grace for the moment.” Marriage requires grace every moment if it’s going to be what God desires it to be. Thankfully, God extends his grace to us through marriage. Historically speaking, the church has always recognized marriage as a sacrament. This is important to understand when speaking of the mystery of marriage, as Paul does in Ephesians. The words “mystery” and “sacrament” are synonymous. The first is … [Read more...]

The lost mystery of marriage

The Mystery of Marriage

Ask a person what they think about marriage in society today, and they’ll probably say that the institution isn’t looking too pretty. Yes, the divorce rate has steadily declined over the last thirty years in the U.S., but so has the number of people getting married in the first place. More and more couples are choosing to live together unwed, while domestic partnerships and gay-marriage initiatives challenge the traditional purpose and place of marriage entirely. Various versions of … [Read more...]


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