As a Christian, is it possible to have a faith that is rationally sound and experientially meaningful? Can we really “have this cake and eat it too?” While such a faith is eagerly sought by many, there’s often an unspoken skepticism against the quest for a more experiential faith. Clearly, cases of unhealthy and unorthodox emotional practices have given reason for such caution. Yet, I think more is going on than just the concern of an unhealthy emotionalism. Why is this?Continue reading “Having and Eating our Cake”
Humans are wired to seek pleasure. This drive alone has forged the destinies of individuals and nations. Because of our capacity for pleasure we have seen this pursuit focused on a multitude of ends—ranging from base hedonism to noble causes. Yet, somehow even in the acquisition of our ends, we’re still left wanting even more. People spend their lives and fortunes ever pursuing this elusive yearning. Why is it so difficult to satisfy? Perhaps the best way forward is to question the very nature of this drive. Might this unrelenting craving actually be a sort of premonition that we were created for more than this world has to offer?Continue reading “Frequent Feasting”
December in Brussels averages only a little more than one hour of cloudless sunlight per day. The days are short and heavy clouds rule the sky most of the time. Many people emotionally suffer from the lack of sunlight during this time of the year. Doctors have a name for this condition, they call it SAD—Seasonal Affective Disorder.Continue reading “Weather of the Heart”
My wife and I awoke once more to another pummeling wave of grief and sorrow crashing through our minds, “Oh God, why . . . why . . . why?” Though it had already been several weeks, we still could not make sense of the premature death of our baby girl, Isabella. Every medical report was positive all the way up to week 21, then at a routine sonogram the devastating news was still echoing in our minds—“I’m sorry . . . I can’t find a heartbeat.”Continue reading “Knowing in our Guts”
Emotions are a mixed bag. They can take us to the heights of joyful bliss and the depths of human despair. For some, they are the spice of life and for others . . . humanity’s curse. Such unpredictability has earned emotions a reputation of bad news for the life of the mind. Yet, interestingly, recent breakthroughs in the cognitive sciences have redeemed the perceived cognitive value of emotions. Believe it or not, these findings actually bear directly on our understanding and experience of Christian faith.Continue reading “Rethinking Faith, Knowledge, and Emotions”
This week we launch our eleventh devotional poem. The next five weeks of blog posts will draw from themes in this poem.
When I am tossed,
When I am thrown,
And when I feel a little bit blue . . .
In the ebb and flow of my churning emotions
I hear His whisper in the wind,
“I am enough.”Continue reading “Devotional Poem: The Ebb and the Flow”
Controlling love is an oxymoron. The moment we try to control by means of love is the moment we cease loving. It matters not if our control has good intentions or is kind and gentle. We cannot and must not call this love. Therefore, love respects the other’s free will—to choose however deemed best. To manipulate or remove this choice is to simply confuse love with self-interest.Continue reading “Love and Free Will”
Surrendering to God will cost you everything. But this is nothing compared to what he gives in return. Spiritual, physical, emotional, and social health are just some of the riches we discover from submitting our hearts to God. Recently, we’ve discussed how such surrender is the best asset for healthy social relationships and today we’ll consider the implications of this claim.Continue reading “Stewarding Love”
Human relationships rise or fall upon the currency of trust. Yet for so many, trust does not come easily. It’s difficult because it requires exposure; and few things are more potentially devastating than an exposed heart. Some people never move past such loss and most only do so with great emotional and mental effort. But if we’re willing, God can help us learn to trust again.Continue reading “Facing the Fear of Trust”
Human beings are intrinsically social. Our rich and complex relational skills uniquely distinguish us from any other creature on the planet. Regardless of introverted or extroverted personalities, humans are wired to be most complete when in relationship with others. Genesis 2:18 speaks of the importance of humanity’s social origins when God declared, “It is not good for man to be alone.”Continue reading “Love and Significance”