Birthday Joy: Finding joy is a good thing. What makes me happy? What do I find fulfilling? While these questions can lead one astray, no doubt, they are good questions so long as they are answered within certain bounds. Sometimes what brings a person joy can be something quite simple. Lately, I’ve been taking birthday money to buy really nice, special bags of coffee. I will not drink these from day to day, but instead, just dip into them every few days when I want a special cup of coffee. My goal is to eventually have 15-20 bags. I’m currently at seven. It has been a lot of fun.
Church According to a 4-year Old: Our Rhema brought her doll to church for the first time yesterday. When she got out of the van, she and the doll had a conversation about it being the doll’s first time attending church (I know that it is not a building, but work with me here). The doll then “asked”: “What is church?” I told Rhema that she needed to answer the question (I wanted to see what she would say). Her response: “Church is a place where you learn about Jesus. He is anywhere you want him to be.” Not bad!
Pastor Jason in the Sermon: “There is a huge difference between ‘I am one who serves God’ rather than ‘I am one whom God serves.’” This reminds me of what C.S. Lewis writes: “There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, in the end, ‘Thy will be done.’ All that are in Hell, choose it. Without that self-choice, there could be no Hell. No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it.”
Finished This Book: I just finished this book and it is a gem: Finding Truth: 5 Principles for Unmasking Atheism, Secularism, and Other God Substitutes. It is an extremely valuable read concerning biblical worldview.After spending time with Francis Schaeffer at L‘Abri decades ago, Pearcey eventually emerged as a Christian that was convinced that no worldview can hold a candle to the Christian worldview in terms of answering all of the fundamental questions about reality, ethics, and life. To use the phrase, Christianity’s “explanatory power” is far superior to all other counterfeit worldviews.
Reading Now: I am currently reading a book by C.S. Lewis that I have never read. Within a few years, I want to have read most if not all that he wrote, especially as it relates to the Christian faith. I am very much enjoying Reflections on the Psalms. You won’t be disappointed although it is not quite what I expected.
Aristotle on War: Aristotle wrote in Nicomachean Ethics that we make war so that we can live in peace. But do we? I doubt it. I think this claim implies a much too optimistic view of human nature. I think that so much of what drives various wars throughout history is greed, plain and simple.
A Great Prayer: Sometimes we are so fixed on what we want or what we envision God wants that we can veer to the right or left in our prayers. Here is a prayer that I believe is biblical, humble, and powerful: Lord, invite me/us somewhere.
Helpful Comment by Herman Bavinck for Understanding the Law in the New Covenant: “The Reformed insisted that for the believer, only the curse of the law was abolished, not the law itself” (Reformed Ethics: The Duties of the Christian Life). And yes, I just received Volume II in the series for my birthday!
The Word “Friendship” in Church: While a word like “fellowship” has its place in the church because of its use in the Bible, sometimes I wish that the more ordinary word, “friendship” was used instead. I will hear a pastor say, “Come and enjoy a time of fellowship.” That is fine. That is biblical. But I would like the term “friendship” to be used more. “Come and build good friendships here in this church.” People need friends.
An Easy Way to Learn Philosophy: While no article, book, or YouTube video is perfect, Crash Course does a nice job of introducing a subject on YouTube. For example, the philosophy series of videos (Crash Course Philosophy)—all about ten minutes long—contains 46 videos. I enjoy creating worksheets for each and selling them on my online store. There is a series on sociology, psychology, and various other topics. Try it out.
Recent Reflection on Logotherapy: Recently, I have been thinking through the similarities between Viktor Frankl’s Logotherapy and a biblical worldview. I am convinced that it is one of the more Gospel-friendly contributions of Modern Psychology in the last 100 years and can be appropriated within Christian ministerial and pedagogical contexts if done with wisdom and discernment. I have just finished writing an article on the topic. Here is an excerpt:
What I have always appreciated and find interesting from a Christian perspective are the three ways that human beings can find meaning according to Frankl. It does not take more than a glance to see how well they align with a biblical worldview: (1) By creating a work or doing a deed, (2) By experiencing something or encountering someone, (c) By the attitude we take toward unavoidable suffering. In his own terms, the first is the way of “achievement and accomplishment” (Frankl, 1984, p. 115). This is obvious enough and Frankl says so.
For the second way, Frankl writes that one can find meaning by “experiencing something—such as goodness, truth and beauty—by experiencing nature and culture or, last but not least, by experiencing another human being in his very uniqueness—by loving him” (1984, p. 115). It is here that Frankl discusses love—and sex within the context of love—in more detail. Frankl makes it clear that love is to precede sex. Love enables us to “grasp another human being in the innermost core of his personality” and actually be part of “[enabling] the beloved person to actualize these potentialities” (1984, p. 116). Due to the primacy of love as a means of finding meaning, sex is not reduced to an act of pleasure, but rather, it takes on a more noble distinction as an important mode, or “vehicle,” for communicating that “ultimate togetherness which is called love” (Frankl, 1984, p. 116). While Frankl does not specify that marriage between a man and a woman is the context for sex, the view that sex is intended to be a vehicle of love and not a mere means for experiencing pleasure can be easily integrated into a biblical worldview and help provide students with a rich, nuanced, and biblical view of sex as opposed to a moral code simply telling them what to do or not to do.
C.S. Lewis in the Introduction to a Book for Christians: I am currently reading C.S. Lewis’ Reflections on the Psalms. Unlike Mere Christianity, The Problem of Pain, Miracles, and so many other books, this book on Psalms is written for those who have already chosen to follow Christ (like The Screwtape Letters to some degree). In the Introduction, Lewis writes one of my favorite lines that he penned anywhere: “A man can’t be always defending the truth; there must be a time to feed on it.” I find this line to be so powerful, inspiring, and challenging.