Trials or Missed Opportunities?

James 1:2-4 says

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

A careful study of the Word of God will teach us that, while God takes us as we are when we come to him, he does not leave us there. Jesus famously told the Pharisees that he came for the sick, not the healthy. He came for the sick to heal them, not so they could remain sick. Constantly throughout the Scriptures, we are exhorted to grow up in our faith, to put off the old man, to mortify the deeds of the flesh, to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord.

We are also told that the God ordained tool for accomplishing this in our lives is trials. Continue reading Trials or Missed Opportunities?

Blind Faith

Most people consider “Blind Faith” to be completely unreasonable. In the common view, you take something that you want to believe in and despite the lack of evidence in it, and even evidence to the contrary, you just decide to believe it. How silly. This is how Christians are portrayed  Superstitious. Simple Minded. Looking for a crutch to help them through life because they don’t want to face reality.

But that’s nonsense. Faith is not choosing to believe something despite any evidence to the contrary. Faith is coming face to face with something so wondrously true that you can’t help but believe it and remember it, even when you lose sight of it, and are driven by the hope that one day you will come to see it again.

Blind faith is believing the sun will come up again even in the middle of the night.

Ask anyone who has come to faith in their adult years. Ask them for their testimony. They will tell you of an experience. Now, Christianity is not just about an experience. It’s not about that one moment when we walked an aisle or when we said a prayer, but there’s something very real that happens in those moments. Like Paul on the road to Damascus, it’s in those moments that we meet God. And in those moments, we see reality so clearly that we suddenly see everything else in a new light. In those moments we see God himself and we surrender ourselves to him. Then we walk out into the world and are bombarded by a whole world that has never met him.

We are not children believing in Santa Claus.
We are Lucy Pevensie who KNOWS she saw Aslan on the other side of the river and wants nothing more than to go to him.

We are not mindless automatons going through motions trying to just add numbers to our group and notch our belts
We are the mayor of Whoville who has heard Horton’s voice and is so convinced of this reality that he’s willing to look like an idiot in front of the rest of the Whos in order to save them from the destruction he knows is imminent, even if they don’t believe him.

I love that scene from Horton Hears a Who. The movie really did a fantastic job with that. I don’t know what Dr. Seuss’s intent was with this. I know his overall theme was “A person’s a person no matter how small,” but I don’t know if he also had blind faith in mind either. I’m certain the film makers did not intend this to be an analogy for faith, but it still came out so well.

In the scene I’m thinking of, the mayor is trying to convince the Whos that Horton is out there even though he’s the only one who has ever heard him, and there’s a point at which he’s standing in front of his house trying to communicate with Horton so they will hear him, and in the midst of his frantic attempts to make contact, they collectively give him this LOOK.

The look said it all. “This guy’s crazy. He’s a nut. He’s lost his marbles”. And here’s the thing: They’d be right! IF Horton wasn’t up there! All the subtle accusations levied toward Christians – that we’re just superstitious or backwards and stuck in old traditions, etc, etc – All of those would be true, if Christ was not real. But as anyone who has met Christ can attest, he is real. But unless you meet him for yourself, there’s no way to convince you. So we are at an impasse. There’s no empirical evidence that can pass scientific muster. But that doesn’t make it any less true.

Blind faith is not choosing to believe the unbelievable.
Blind faith is choosing to hold fast to the undeniable.

A Struggle with Mediocrity

I’ll be the first to admit I struggle with being mediocre. Lukewarm. It’s so easy for me to be lazy in my walk, having a disengaged mind. It’s not that I don’t care, it’s just that in the course of a mundane day, it’s easy to put your head down and focus on the details of what you’re doing and forget the bigger picture. At the very best, I fail to take advantage of the opportunities to glorify God to the fullest. At the worst, I set myself up for all sorts of temptations.

So I found this quote from Urban Meyer inspiring the other day. He wasn’t speaking of spiritual things, but he was speaking of truth. He said this to the Ohio State football team after the first day of practice:

It’s so easy to be average. you know it as well as I know it. You just practiced. It’s the first day, cheering and all that kind of stuff and I still saw average. It takes a little something to be special, doesn’t it? It takes a little something special to be a great player. We don’t have enough great players. To hell with that! We don’t want to coach average. I don’t want to be around you, why be around average? Did you push yourself to be great today? Did you do it? If you didn’t do it, you lost a day. We don’t got many days to lose. We’re going to push your ass like it’s never been pushed. Because what you’ve got in you, we’re gonna find out, ok? I’m gonna find out. And if there’s a touch of greatness in there, how cool would that be?

Continue reading A Struggle with Mediocrity

Faith and Reason

Much has been said about the relationship between faith and reason. Many times faith and reason seem to be opposed. What is the Christian to do when faced with a claim that seems to have irrefutably evident reason behind it but contradicts the teachings of Scripture? If we believe that the Bible alone (when properly interpreted) is our infallible authority, what are we to do when met with claims such as Evolution?

As I’ve thought of this I’ve never really found an answer I’m comfortable giving. Though I hold both faith and reason to be important, the problem remains of what to do when they conflict. I recently remembered a book we discussed in my ethics class at Cedarville. It was by H. Richard Niebuhr called Christ and Culture. The book discussed five approaches to the relationship between Christ and Culture from a historical and ethical perspective. The details of the book are huge wash in my brain, but I remembered them enough to look up what the five views were. As I did so, I thought it might be beneficial to extrapolate these five categories into five views of the relationship between Faith and Reason. Continue reading Faith and Reason