This category contains short essays on a wide variety of topics centered on the questions: Is Christianity reasonable, and if so, What does living faithfully to Jesus' teachings look like in the 21st century?

From despair to hope

The actor Jim Carrey, 53, and Cathriona White, 28, were on and off lovers in the modern way of things. They apparently started up their relationship again in May, only to separate again in the last few weeks. This time, the breakup seems to have been too much for White, who committed suicide, ... Continue reading

Whiplash: God, grace and the pursuit of perfection

"But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect." — Matthew 5:48, NLT Terence Fletcher is a sadistic, Machiavellian jazz instructor who believes the only way to create the next generation of musical greats is to push young musicians to the breaking point, and beyond. Andrew ... Continue reading

Christmas Encounters (reprised)

(I originally wrote this for Christmas 2006, as the first of four parts looking at the many ways God shows Himself in the Christmas stories. At the heart of the Christian Gospel is the name that the angel gives to Jesus: Emmanuel — God is with us. May you and your loved ones experience the presence ... Continue reading


"I don't know why I wandered out to this part of Texas drunk, and you took me in and pitied me and helped me to straighten out, married me. Why? Why did that happen? Is there a reason that happened? And Sonny's Daddy died in the war, my daughter killed in an automobile accident. Why? See, I don't ... Continue reading

Hold on

The created world is continually decaying, even as new life bursts from the ground every spring. Great trees succumb to disease and fall, mountains gradually erode away, sometimes with terrible swiftness, as we saw recently in rural Washington state. We baby boomers, who once felt invincible, have ... Continue reading

Walking backwards

I do not consider myself to have "arrived" spiritually, nor do I consider myself already perfect. But I keep going on, grasping even more firmly that purpose for which Christ Jesus grasped me. I do not consider myself to have fully grasped it even now. But I do concentrate on this: I leave the past ... Continue reading


Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord's glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. "Don't be afraid!" he said. "I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people." — Luke 2:9,10, NLT He called her a vile name, and ... Continue reading

Mercy from a long way off

To illustrate the point further, Jesus told them this story: "A man had two sons. The younger son told his father, 'I want my share of your estate now before you die.' So his father agreed to divide his wealth between his sons."A few days later this younger son packed all his belongings and ... Continue reading