Saturday, January 16, 2010


Some people who have seen the movie Avatar are experiencing depression, having to return to the ugliness of the "real world" after seeing the paradise of a CGI world. After hearing about the horrors of Haiti an escape to Pandora (or Middle Earth) may seem a welcome thought. This depression seems to me to be a longing God has put in us for our true home. This world is not as God intended, it's not the way it is supposed to be, but it has become broken, corrupted, pollutted by the Fall, by human sin. And so we yearn to return back to the Garden, but with that not possible, we look toward a new world someday that God will fashion when Christ returns.

Friday, January 15, 2010

the Name of God

I hear it said often that the God of Islam is the same God Jews and Christians worship. Yet a translation of the Bible was recently condemned by Moslems because the name of God was rendered Allah. Are they saying that their deity is not the same God as that of the Old & New Testaments? I really strive to be tolerant of all faiths, but I find that tolerance isn't always a two-way street. Most fundamentalists (regardless of their specific label) seem to be more interested in being correct than being loving. They're hard to love because they reject our acceptance. Well, we still need to reach out to everyone, even if they don't reach back.

Saturday, January 9, 2010


I read the cover article of the latest issue of Christianity Today magazine, "The Myth of the Perfect Parent" by Leslie Fields (available on the CT website).

Fields points out how Christian books on parenting assure readers that if they follow their formula they'll produce godly kids...yet this behavioral approach doesn't always work, in spite of parents' prayerful best efforts. If the way "they're doing it" doesn't work, then it's obviously not biblical, so some authors of parenting books claim. If that's true, then prayer isn't biblical, because all Christians parents agonize in prayer over their kids, and are often stunned by the answers.

Then there's Proverbs 22:6, "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it." This verse has caused some Christian parents to lose their faith in God's promises. It may be an observation, but the confident tone of the verse doesn't sound like a mere "principle". Fields point out that Solomon, who wrote this, was hardly a successful parent.

Like the author, I too sat down with a pastor I respected, and asked for parenting advice, only to be told that “Parenting is the area in which I feel the most amount of personal failure.” I think the only parents who feel good about their kids are those who happen to have compliant children (for which they take the credit).

Fields reminds the reader of the list of heroes of the faith from Hebrews 11, which highlights something I’ve been pondering for some time: you simply don’t find too many examples of successful parenting in the Bible, apart from Mary & Joseph. I’m the son (hardly product) of agnostic parents, and one of my kids is a prodigal, and guilt over this nearly made me quit the ministry. I intend to get the author’s book and I think every Christian parent should at least read her CT article.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Prayer for the New Year

Lord of time and eternity,
Length of days does not profit me except the days are passed
In Your presence, in Your service and to Your glory.
Give me a grace that precedes, follows, guides, sustains, sanctifies every hour,
That I may not for one moment be apart from You.
Cause me to rely on Your Spirit to direct my every step and prosper every effort.
Give me a desire to show forth Your praise, testify to Your love,
and advance Your Kingdom.
I launch my vessel onto the unknown, restless waters of this year,
-With You, O Father as my safe harbor,
-With You, O Son, at my helm,
-With You, O Spirit, filling my sails.
Your goodness has been with me in the past year;
Your goodness will be with me in the year ahead.
You are the pilot of my future as of my past…
Steer me toward the Celestial City with
my ear open to Your voice, my heart full of love, my soul free.
Protect me in the moving sea, steer me safely,
until I reach the shore of unceasing praise.

(adapted from The Valley of Vision)