What I’ve written here is not all that can be said about suffering: far from it. But I’ve published it, somewhat hesitantly, because I think suffering will drive all of us to this point sooner or later.
flickr: Pink Sherbet Photography
I sit there stony-faced, staring out the windscreen, driving in automatic, lips pressed together. I’ve had enough. I don’t want it any more: this struggle and these doubts and these unanswered prayers. I’ve had enough. It’s been a long week – a long year! – and there’s nothing left. I’ve had enough.
My 12-year-old son sits next to me. (more…)
Trillia Newbell has interviewed Megan Best about issues covered in her new book, Fearfully and Wonderfully Made, specifically on assisted reproductive technologies (ART).
Christians face many dilemmas, some more obvious than others, with new methods of reproduction. Best acknowledges that the Bible does not specifically address ART, so Christians must look instead at what the Bible does address—human life.
If you can get to the Gospel Coalition conference, her seminar would be well worth attending.
What is so special about Wayne Bennett? Wayne Bennett, for the uninitiated, is one of the most successful rugby league coaches of all time. Before Bennett, St George were a talented collection of chronic under-achievers. With Bennett, they became a team, won the minor premiership in the first year, and won everything the year after that. (more…)
There is no longer any Christian bookshop in the city I live in. But not everyone can, let alone will purchase books online. To generalise, this is particularly true of older generations and of the non-tertiary-educated. (more…)
This Christmas the American Atheists have posted a large billboard in Times Square New York. It has two pictures: one of Santa Claus and the other of Jesus on the cross. The captions under the pictures are “Keep the Merry” and “Dump the Myth”. Apart from having the captions under the wrong pictures, the sentiment is one I agree with. (more…)
Speaking of Dave McDonald, he’s got lots of other great writing on his site. This piece, about ‘clumsy Christians‘, clicked with me and my stumbling efforts:
My experience of Christians is that many of them – including me – are really quite clumsy. Not literally stumbling or falling over ourselves, but often doing the social equivalent. We put our feet in our mouths, we make others feel uncomfortable, we have a knack of saying the right thing at the wrong time, and vice versa.
Let me say this. I hope that none of my friends dismiss the Christian message simply because of my clumsiness. I pray they’ll put up with some of my mistakes, my awkwardness, even my selfishness, and hypocrisy… and look beyond me to Jesus.
I also appreciate his reflections on dealing with his lung cancer, such as this post on body image.
In my last post, The joy of service, I wrote about the need to serve practically when all you want to do is teach. Karen asked a great question: “Does it work the other way, Jean–when you’re good at (and often prefer) to stuff envelopes, stack chairs and wash dishes, but the thought of leading Bible study fills you with extreme terror?” Here’s The joy of service re-written (with apologies) for such a person. Because, yes, I have friends who lead Bible studies even though it terrifies them. And, yes, it works both ways. (more…)
I’m no behind-the-scenes servant. My love is given to wordy ministries: the nervous plunge when I teach a group of women, the energy that sparkles in a small group, the light in a friend’s eyes when God’s truth sinks in. If I’m honest, I also love the recognition that comes with this kind of ministry. There: I’ve said it.
The humble roles, the practical roles, the self-effacing roles: they don’t come naturally to me. Setting up for a meeting, cooking for an event, serving food, running crèche, stuffing envelopes: these mundane tasks aren’t on my bucket list. I have to fight my inner whinger as I do them. I don’t like this about myself, but it’s true.
I know this isn’t good enough. (more…)
flickr: Liz Grace
“Count your blessings.” “Put a smile on your dial.” “Raindrops and roses and whiskers on kittens.” Thanksgiving has always seemed a bit trivial to me, a Hallmark greeting card sentiment next to the lyric poetry of praise.
Here’s how my (faulty) reasoning goes: (more…)
I burst into tears.
Not true! Sorry Jean, I don’t burst into tears (at least can’t remember the last time), but I get moist at the corners of my eyes quite often! For example, just yesterday… (more…)
The theologian and social critic David Wells suggests that we have seen a significant rise in the language of victimhood in both society and the church. He suggests ‘playing the victim’ comes from being overly sensitive to individual rights. We often excuse our behaviour by noticing every insult or injustice that comes from others. Wells warns that when everyone is a victim—as it seems many feel—it trivialises real victims. (more…)
Thoughtful and practical reflections from David Mathis:
The pursuit of holiness may keep you from bad company. But have you ever considered that it might also lead you to keep some pretty bad company?
Jesus is our litmus test of lived-out holiness. He is the Holy One of Israel in human flesh. His life serves as the best answer key for what divine holiness looks like when reflected in humanity. And they rightly called him “a friend of tax collectors and sinners” (Matthew 11:19).
So what are we to do with a God-man who associated with the most blatant nonbelievers of his day?
Tim Challies with some good and challenging reflections on using our houses and homes for others:
[Rosaria Butterfield] writes about the open door policy in their home and it reminded me of my younger days in my parents’ home: “Anything worth doing will take time and cost you something. We notice, as our attention focused more on families and children, that many people in our community protect themselves from inconvenience as though inconvenience is deadly. We decided that we are not inconvenienced by inconvenience. We are sure that the Good Samaritan had other plans that fateful day.”
flickr: Pink Sherbert Photography
A week ago it came, kicking its heels like a witless lamb. Spring. Didn’t it know it wasn’t due yet?
We’ve been locked down in cold for months. We swap war-stories of coughs and runny noses, risk suffocation under layers of bedding, and shiver in the school yard as we wait for the kids to emerge from over-heated classrooms. I listen to winter complaints but secretly love it: (more…)
It’s amazing how culture changes and we don’t notice it. The practices that one generation took for granted become unknown, and slightly shocking, to a later generation. Even for those of us who live through the change it happens too incrementally for us to observe it. It is when we revisit the old times that we detect how much we have changed—sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse, and often without any real difference. (more…)