Category Archives: Worldview and Culture

Do Not Judge Me by the Enemies I Have Made

Franklin Delano Roosevelt famously said, “I ask you to judge me by the enemies I have made.” He may have drawn on the Arabian adage, “Judge a man by the reputation of his enemies.” It seems people have long defined … Continue reading

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Everyone (Else) Has a Problem with Entitlement

Americans have a problem with feeling entitled. Almost anyone you ask will tell you. But they’ll tell you it is some other group that feels entitled. White people think that black people feel entitled because they are black. Black people … Continue reading

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What Does God Think of You?

Louie Zamperini was a Lieutenant in the Army Air Corps in the Second World War, serving as a bombardier when his plane was badly damaged by Japanese anti-aircraft fire. The plane made it back to base but was no longer … Continue reading

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Life on Earth: Comedy or Tragedy?

We owe the words “comedy” and “tragedy” to the ancient Greeks, whose stage plays in the fifth and fourth centuries B.C. gave rise to the terms. A hundred years of films and about 80 years of commercial television have left us thinking that comedies are comic and tragedies are sad. The Greeks were more nuanced.

Tragedy may contain humorous moments and funny characters, but what makes a tragedy tragic is that it ends badly. The hero fails, the aspiration goes unfulfilled, night falls. Continue reading

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The Convergence

God is working in our lives and world, but we are liable to miss it because we are expecting something else: something obvious, something “religious,” something extraordinary. But in Samuel we learn that God works through the mundane events of life, its pleasures and its pains. Continue reading

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Feeling Misunderstood? You’re Not Alone

According to a Pew Research Center survey from 2020, nearly 6 out of 10 Americans feel misunderstood. This figure holds across racial and ethnic lines, with 58 percent of black, 55 percent of Hispanic, and 61 percent of white Americans … Continue reading

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You Can’t Argue with That

We are the most argumentative people in generations. We now have technological pillboxes from which we, unseen, can send a volley of argumentation at our opponents while remaining shielded from their counterarguments. At the same time, there are fewer listening posts than ever before—and most of those we do have are abandoned. We simply never have to hear what our opponents are saying.

Contrast that with the Emperor Antonius, adoptive father to the philosopher-emperor Marcus Aurelius. He was said not only to tolerate frank opposition, but to be “pleased if somebody could point to a better course of action.” Such openness to reason has always been uncommon. In today’s climate, it is astonishing.
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The Case of the Displaced Yard Signs: How We Gather Evidence Is Important

In our already splintered America, the last thing we needed was something else to divide us, but that is what we got. Solar power has come to our rural neighborhood. Or rather, solar power wants to come to our neighborhood.

Some of us in the neighborhood want solar power and some of us do not. More precisely, some of us want it and some of us want very much not to have it. Signs have appeared up and down our road, most opposing the massive solar farm but others supporting it.

My wife and I take a two-mile walk each morning along our country roads, so we walk by many signs. On a recent walk, I noticed that the signs opposing solar power were all standing where they had been placed, but more than half of the pro-solar signs were lying on the ground. It appeared that there was some mischief at work. Continue reading

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A God Veiled in Time and Space but Revealed in Christ

Second Time Around Sunday.

First published in the October 19, 2018 issue of Christianity Today.

But why would God want to hide? Is he just waiting to jump from his hiding place in quantum uncertainty and shout, “Surprise!”? Does he want to astonish us by the revelation that he has been here all along, working in our lives and our world, turning evil to good, and making all things serve his incomprehensible purpose?

Perhaps. God, as the Episcopal priest Robert Farrar Capon once pointed out, loves throwing parties: “Creation is not ultimately about religion, or spirituality, or morality, or reconciliation, or any other solemn subject; it’s about God having a good time and just itching to share it.”

Yet there is more to this than God’s love of a good party
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What Should Christians Do About President Biden?

“What Should Christians Do About President Biden?” I hear that question, though perhaps in a less respectful form, regularly. It is more like, “What about Biden?” or “Did you hear what Biden’s done now?”

Most of my friends are Christians who voted for Donald Trump in 2016 and 2020. In conversations about politics I, who did not vote for either of the major candidates, generally find myself on the outside. I sometimes try to reframe, or perhaps enlarge the frame, of such conversations to include God’s plans for the church and the world and Christian responsibility within those plans.
What is that responsibility? What should Christians do about Biden? The biblical answer is that
they should pray for him. St. Paul urged “that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone – for kings and all those in authority…” As the Bible scholar Christopher Wright put it, “Paul commands all kinds of prayers for all kinds of rulers.”

How should we pray for rulers like President Biden? Continue reading

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