“Quarrelling means trying to show that the other man is in the wrong. And there would be no sense in trying to do that unless you and he had some sort of agreement as to what Right and Wrong are; just as there would be no sense in saying that a footballer had committed a foul unless there was some agreement about the rules of football” (C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity , ch. 1).

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  1. I like Aristotle’s maxim that to say absolutely that all things are relative makes no sense.

    “Meaning” in and of itself can not exist unless we first assume a point of reference.

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God’s Broad Shoulders

One of the fascinating aspects of my profession is that I come in contact with a lot of Christians who want to engage with their faith in a deep way. Rather than being content with showing up on Sunday or being CINO (Christian In Name Only), these folks want to understand the Bible better and tease out the implications for their lives.

On the flipside of this, many of these same people are afraid to engage with their doubts in a deep way. It’s almost as if, doubts and questions are treated from a distance–“I don’t struggle with this, but…”

The biggest breakthrough in my own journey of faith came through (and continues to come through) engaging my doubts and questions as my own. They are not theoretical. They are honest struggles: problem of evil is the perennial one. I was in the throes of one of these bouts several years ago when a friend told me, “God can handle your doubts.”

I have used this same bit of advice for my struggling friends and self. If truth is not relative. If God is truth. Your doubts and questions will not overthrow this objective, transcendent truth. It’s not as though you are the first to struggle with doubts and fears and pain. The heavens will not collapse under the weight of your doubts. You won’t come up with a question that will cause God to close up shop. You can honestly engage with your doubts and fears and pain and suffering without having to be quick to give the typical and trite answers to matters of faith.

Go ahead, roll your burdens on God. He’s got broad shoulders.

Forsake Not

Woe to you, O people, who call evil good and good evil

Woe to you, who delight in hating the enemy

To those who speak of others in haste and for their demise

Who forsake the Greatest and Second Commandments

For the sake of your own security and comfort

For the sake of your own peace

For the sake of your own life

 

Woe to you, O people, who call lies truth and truth lies

Woe to you, who relish the overstatement

To those who denigrate others as the butt of a joke

Who forsake the Greatest and Second Commandments

For the delight of cheers and celebration

For the joy of making fools of others

For the hope of diverting attention from your own sin

 

Woe to you, O people, who line your pocket books with the flesh of your neighbors

Woe to you, who have forgotten the least of those among us

To those who laugh at the poor and downcast

To those who tell the sick to be well

To those who walk past the needy

To those who deny water and shelter and comfort to their Maker

To those who blame the messenger and heed not the message

Who forsake the Greatest and Second Commandments

For their own ease

For their own homes are warm and bright

For their belts are loosened from the bulge of excess

 

Woe to you, O people, who hate and defile and despise

Woe to you who shove and curse your opponent

To you who revile your brother

To you who kill your sister

Who forsake the Greatest and Second Commandments

Who forsake the Spirit of Love and Grace and Truth

Who forsake the Man of Sorrows

Who forsake your Maker

The Maker of us all.

Blow the Roof Off

Reading through Os Guiness’ new book, Fool’s Talk, for an Honors Seminar I’m leading on the art of persuasion. It is EXCELLENT.

I find that too many apologists take the defensive in explaining the Christian worldview. That has a place, but I would recommend that after you listen and listen and listen some more to the person you are engaging in dialogue, that you take the offensive. Of course, this is not being offensive, but taking the offense in showing the foolishness of the worldview. At some point the team has to score. If they only have defense, they will not score (okay, for the nay-sayers, the defense can score on a take-away…but even then there was an aggression to get the ball and not merely to prevent…BTW, prevent defense is such a great way to lose a ballgame, isn’t it?).

Here’s a juicy quote that I have underlined in the book:

From Jesus onward, the dynamic is crystal clear in Christian proclamation. “The tree is known by its fruit,” Jesus said–not by its seed (Mt. 12.33). If you had tried to persuade the prodigal son to return home the day he left home, would he have listened? If you had spoken to him the day he hit the pigsty, would you have needed to persuade him? Always “see where it leads to,” St. Augustine advised when dealing with false ideas. Follow it out to the “absolutely ruddy end,” C. S. Lewis remarked with characteristic Englishness. “Push them to the logic of their presuppositions,” Francis Schaeffer used to say. Too many varieties of unbelief are halfway houses. Too many unbelievers have not had the courage or the consistency to follow their thoughts all the way home –Fool’s Talk, p.118 (emphasis added)