Category Archives: Christianity

How to Stay Christian After Graduation

In a study of peer influence, psychologists displayed three charts, each with three lines of different lengths, to groups of ten teens. The teens were asked to raise their hands when the teacher pointed to the longest line on each chart. The teens in each group, minus one, had been secretly instructed to raise their hands when the teacher pointed to the second longest line. 75 percent of the time, the lone teen, wanting to blend in, joined the others in casting a wrong vote. Blending in can be deadly to the spiritual life. Continue reading

Posted in Christianity, Faith | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Going and Coming: Christian Faith in America

From his perspective, religion is like a physical trait. People are born with it. Yes, a person can undergo a kind of spiritual surgery to change her faith, rather like a person can undergo surgery to change her nose. But, apart from such radical intervention, a person’s faith is the faith her parents gave her.

The Bible offers a different and more nuanced perspective. It is the news and entertainment medias and, frankly, uninformed academics, that present oversimplifications. The Bible offers a rich, multi-layered, intelligent exposition of faith. Continue reading

Posted in Christianity, Faith, Theology | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

What it Takes to Change: Hope for a Better Future

If you’re going to change in a way that leads to even better changes and does not lead back into the bondage of old habits, these three elements must be in place.

First, you have to see the benefit that change will bring. You have to think it, feel it, want it, dream it, daydream it; you have to live with a vision of what your life will be. Without that hope, change won’t last. Continue reading

Posted in Bible, Christianity, Spiritual life | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Can People Really Change?

I know alcoholics who have stayed sober for decades, but they stayed sober by changing and continuing to change – by growing. But staying sober is not the only thing that requires change; staying Christian does too. It requires progressive changes, one leading to another, across the span of a lifetime. Continue reading

Posted in Bible, Christianity, Lifestyle, Spiritual life | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Christian Hope: Does It Differ from Optimism?

He then told me something – and it was hard for him to talk, so I had to listen closely – that I have never forgotten. He told me that the last two months – since he had come over to Jesus’s side – had been the two best months of his life. I looked at him in wonder. Here was a man from whom everything had been taken. His former life was gone. His world was a bed. His body was a prison. And the last two months had been the best time of his life.

How was that possible? What had happened? Continue reading

Posted in Bible, Christianity, Faith, Sermons, Theology | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

8 Things Hope Does for Us (According to Scripture)

Hopelessness makes work seem pointless, but hope has the opposite effect. It is no wonder that the New Testament’s most hopeful chapter closes with these words: “Stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain” (1 Cor. 15:58). You know that when you have hope. Continue reading

Posted in Bible, Christianity, Faith, Sermons, Theology | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Hope – I Need Somebody (Hope- Not Just Anybody)

Posted in Bible, Christianity, Sermons, Spiritual life | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

“I Believe in the Forgiveness of Sins”

Many people find the extravagant breadth of Christian forgiveness objectionable. Should even Hitler, if he has expressed “repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ,” be forgiven? What about the sexual predator? The murderer?

I have had to be clear about this in my own mind. The forgiveness of sins is easy enough to believe when you are sitting in a church pew. It is another matter when you are sitting in a jail cell with a man accused of molesting a two-year-old child or a woman who shot her sleeping husband and then decapitated him so she could be with another man. In such situations, could I honestly say that I believe in the forgiveness of sins?

Yes. I have been able to believe in the forgiveness of sins – even in those cells – because I believe in the God of Jesus. I am, however, in doubt about whether the people I came to see believed. They didn’t stop making excuses long enough for me to find out, but people who believe in the forgiveness of sins make confession, not excuses. Continue reading

Posted in Bible, Christianity, Church, relationships | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

When Does Happily Ever After Start?

In faith-friendly books and movies, principal characters always face struggles and frequently experience doubts. As their circumstances worsen, their doubts grow and then, at some critical moment, they face a difficult decision. Will they trust God or will they go their own way?

In the few movies and books in this genre with which I’m familiar, a secondary character usually models the wrong choice for the reader or viewer. The protagonist then models the right choice by trusting God. After that moment of faith, the suspense grows greater still. The question of whether the hero will trust God is already decided. Now the question is whether God will prove himself worthy of that trust. Continue reading

Posted in Bible, Christianity, Faith, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

The Uncommon Politic

According to the political scientist Eiten Hersh, of Tufts University, “politics is for power.” In his book by the same name, Hersh, who self-identifies as a political liberal, complains that Americans have lost sight of this obvious truth. This is especially true of the left who, in recent years, has engaged in what he describes as “political hobbyism … emoting and arguing and debating, almost all of this from behind screens.”

Whether Hersh is right or not depends, it seems to me, on two things: (1) whether power is a means or a goal and (2) what type of power is being considered.

If in politics the use of power is seen as a means to an end and that end is the common good of a people, then the acquisition of power is not only a legitimate pursuit, but also a necessary one. However, power is dangerous even when it is legitimate. And it is dangerous, in part, because it is addictive.

The American Church, particularly its more conservative wing, has suffered from this addiction. In the 1970s and 1980s, under the leadership of the Reverend Jerry Falwell, Sr., conservative Christians began seeking power in both politics and the media. The Moral Majority flexed its muscle to oust liberals from Congress and “The Teletubbies” from the airwaves.

The power conservative Christians wielded grew. Politicians began courting them.
Continue reading

Posted in Christianity, Worldview and Culture | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment