When the church is functioning as Christ intended, it becomes a safe haven where we can be transparent about our struggles, as well as a hospice where prayer, encouragement and practical help are lavished freely on the suffering.
When FDR realized that the liberation of Europe might destroy its artistic and cultural heritage, he ordered the Army to find a way to fight the Nazis while protecting Europe's art. The elite corps given that mission were known as the Monuments Men.
We're quick to put our trust in ourselves despite flawed judgment, inadequate skills and a checkered past. But when it comes to trusting God, we demand certainty, proof, and guarantees. What's wrong with this picture?
Faith is not an emotional impulse, but an intellectual decision. The big lie about faith is that it requires the suspension of rational thought. Faith comes through a process of testing the evidence. It never requires eliminating all doubt or suspending disbelief, but leads us to conclude that the evidence in favor of God outweighs the evidence in opposition.
The angel's announcement of the birth of Jesus to a group of shepherds was the modern equivalent of appearing in the midst of a homeless encampment under a highway overpass. What does this well known fact of the Christmas story tell us about God?
We experience a great many things in this material world that seem greater than the material phenomena they arise from. It seems they are more than just activities of the mind, as if they are rooted in something timeless, something transcendent.
When we carry our cross, we stand apart from the faceless mob. We will swim upstream against the current. We may appear foolish, even dangerous. We will be rejected by those who wish to cubbyhole Jesus as an interesting moral teacher whom history has passed by.
It's ironic how much blind faith is required to live in the modern world. Technology forces us to put our complete trust in things we do not, and cannot, understand. We must live by faith or live in paralysis.
Secular ideologies have been responsible for more deaths and suffering than any other cause in human history. But in a courtroom in Cambodia, love is overcoming a terrible evil from the dark days of the Khmer Rouge..
Our lives are lived out in a rich cultural framework that has been created for us by the genius and hard work of countless men and women. We know this, even if we are often blind to the fact, or simply incurious about who it is we are indebted to.
At a time when America should be proud of the achievement of a certain black man, the politics of race threatens to incite us to war. Whatever the outcome on Nov. 4, it will be up to black and white Christians to set an example, putting aside our political differences to embrace each other at the foot of the cross.
Here's proof that life isn't fair: The "super wealthy" New York Yankees have won the World Series 26 times. The "middle class" Chicago Cubs haven't won in 100 years. What exactly is Congress doing to fix this World Series unfairness?
With all the recent political talk about the importance of experience, doesn't it seem ironic that Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch and so many other Wall Street juggernauts have been sailed into the rocks by some of our nation's most highly experienced corporate managers? Am I missing something?
God is (unhelpfully) invisible and apparently silent. When I am sitting on a rock in the desert sun, I may believe God is watching, I may even believe there are leprechauns hiding among the trees, but that hardly makes it so. Are we alone?
We desire beauty, but live in a time of great violence. It has always been thus in human history. It was just the same in Jesus' day, when he taught that the conquest of violence would happen through beauty.
We borrow everything we believe from someone else. All of us are persuaded by the words and actions of others, and once we are persuaded, we build our lives around their beliefs. Whose words move you? Whose philosophy guides you?
Every one of us adopts a framing set of beliefs that describe life's purpose and our duties. These framing stories may have been handed down to us by our elders or adopted from the library of modern secularism. They help us define truth and error. But how do we know our story can be trusted?
Sin is our failure to conform to the purposes God created us for. Sin is like a malfunction that causes harm to ourselves and others. But God came up with a remarkable kindness to deal with our malfunctions.
God is calling every one of us to abandon everything evil, everything sinful, everything unhealthy, everything that takes our attention away from God and his program. And he wants us to lean on each other for help.
"I'm for change" has become the rallying cry of the front runners in this year's election. Personally, I don't much like change, but the core of Jesus' message his Good News and his New Covenant was that it was time to change how we relate to God, and each other.
Something in the Greek ideal of the hero still resonates with us today. We honor heroic deeds; we make heroes the central characters in film and literature. Why? Perhaps because the essential terrors of human existence have changed so little since the days of the Greeks.
Jesus claimed that he and God were partners. Buddies. The two of them had divvied up responsibilities, and Jesus was going to be there on the Day of Judgment, deciding who had been good and who had been bad. Is it any wonder the religious leaders thought he was dangerous?
Our western love affair with libertarianism, individualism and egalitarianism has led many pedophiles to see themselves as victims of Puritan taboos, and a class of people being denied their civil right to have sex with children.
This faith in Christ, this life of obedience to an unseen God, is by definition a life of hardship and uncertainty, all in pursuit of a prize well worth the pain: a relationship with the eternal God, the God who loves us.
Evolution should be creating life in every corner of the universe. Technologically advanced civilizations should be bombarding the universe with radio signals, just as we are. So... why is the universe so quiet?
Jesus claims to be our source of hope in desperate times. He claims to be our peace in moments of terror. He is calmness in chaos. He is wisdom in confusion. He is reassurance when panic sets in. He also claims that we, ourselves, can be a light to each other.
If God is loving, if God is powerful, why didn't he step in and protect his people from hurricane Katrina? Among the dead, the injured and the newly homeless, how many counted themselves as members of God's family of faith? Why did he ignore them in their time of need?
Progressives want to reshape modern culture by overturning centuries-old traditions. These traditions are not arbitrary moral conventions, but the result of thousands of years of social and cultural adaptation. Tradition is our community DNA.
Liberal pluralism cannot survive where there is no love. Universal human freedom is only possible when we agree to hold every human being in the highest regard, even when we disagree with his or her views.
In every corner of the world Christian missions, Christian humanitarian relief, Christian hospitals and medical services have brought the practical love of Christ to the suffering. Christians are global Samaritans, and places like Darfur make it perfectly clear that no other group is ready to step into the breach.
What Andrea Dworkin knew instinctively is that male-female relationships are terribly broken, the pieces so scattered and torn that no one seems to know what the thing ought to look like. She blamed this brokenness on men, and there she made a philosophical wrong turn. But if she failed to understand the root causes of the evil she witnessed, she did not fail to grasp the terrible price women were paying in a society that views them as sexual objects.
More than anything else, we must learn how to serve one another in love. Serving enriches us, especially when the one being served is unable to repay the debt, except through gratitude, except through the very gift of life itself.
Quantum theory seems to require us to step beyond the material to the metaphysical. It suggests a need for consciousness, for mind, for something that is more than just a collection of synapses in a glob of gray-matter. It seems to demand something transcendent, like God.
In sub-Saharan Africa, about 7.4% of all adults are currently HIV positive. Of the 3.1 million people worldwide who died of AIDS in 2004, more than two-thirds were from this same region. What would Jesus do?
If you can't accept the virgin birth, none of the other claims about Jesus are any easier to swallowin fact, none of them make much sense unless you begin with a grand, eye-popping miracle right off the bat.
The Democratic party, while chastising conservatives for their hawkish tendency to drop bombs on dictators and, collaterally, children, is meanwhile waging a much deadlier war on the children themselves.
Ray Kurzweil works in the rarefied field of artificial intelligence. He is pursuing the holy grail of engineering: a machine that can think like we do. Kurzweil is absolutely certain such a machine is possiblein his view, we ourselves are machines: thinking machines, spiritual machines. Are we biological machines? And if so, what are the implications for the future of the human race?
Islam teaches that Jesus was a prophet. Christianity teaches that Jesus was the Son of the living God. Judaism teaches that Jesus was just a simple rabbi caught in the jaws of Roman justice. So who is he, this Jesus, and how do we separate myth from reality?
The cross is a dirty bomb, terrible and full of fury, a symbol of the high stakes battle that is raging (invisibly) between Satan and God. In parts of the world where men and women do not enjoy the grace of religious freedom, Christians are being persecuted because of their faith in Jesus Christ. They suffer beneath the weight of the crossand how does God call us to respond?