Fear is a gift. Our capacity to fear is necessary for human survival and flourishing. It can protect and propel us to do what we never believed possible. Yet, not all fear is created equal. It can also devolve into something entirely other—a destructive force stealing our joy and hijacking our hopes. Unfortunately, most tragic of all is that often we are unable to discern the difference between fear as friend or foe. Why?Continue reading “Freedom from Fear”
Central to Christian faith is its ancient proclamation, “Jesus is Lord!” For many, such a cry may appear politically incorrect or even naive but only for those who’ve not yet seen what the early Christians saw. For such a vision of Christ has proven more powerful than even the threat of death. They could claim that Jesus is Lord because they could see that Jesus was sufficient. May God restore to us this very same vision even today!Continue reading “A Crisis of Vision”
Some things can only be known by experience. We’ll never understand the meaning of “peace” or “love” or “hope” until we personally encounter these realities ourselves. No amount of books or courses will ever suffice until such things are actually known by experience. While few people would challenge the truth of these claims, why is it that we tend to be so hesitant to speak of the need for an experiential faith? For many, it’s as terrifying as facing uncharted ocean waters.Continue reading “Beyond the Fear of Uncharted Waters”
The pursuit of happiness is slippery. But even more slippery is how we ought to think about it. Christian teaching on this topic ranges from one extreme of blacklisting it as “worldly” to the other of brazenly demanding it as a “right” owed us by God. Because of such variance, Christians often don’t know how to think about this topic—afraid that doing so is either sinful or selfish.Continue reading “The Pursuit of Happiness”
This week we launch our twelfth devotional poem. The next five weeks of blog posts will draw from themes in this poem.
This, that, these!
I need them all,
I need them please!
When these jewels are finally mine,
This life, oh yes, will be divine!
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”