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  • Leadership and influence, a dialectic.

    Leadership and influence, a dialectic.

    Jesus’ teaching style in the Gospels is never of the form: “Do this because I say so.” Instead, his instruction is always accompanied by the explanation of why this is the way we should live. He appeals to our ability to reason, so that we can acknowledge that what he is asking us to do is the right thing to do. Why did He teach this way?

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  • On Tempting God

    On Tempting God

    The worldwide catastrophe of the COVID-19 pandemic does not show signs of abating any time soon. Early on, the news media reminded us all of the Spanish Influenza pandemic of 1918 and its worldwide toll, in hopes that we would take the danger seriously. But whether we take the danger seriously or not is probably not the main issue. I think the main issue is whether or not we can reason about it correctly.

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  • When worldviews collide (Part 4, the end – for now.)

    When worldviews collide (Part 4, the end – for now.)

    I have been discussing the worldview that declares, “human beings are the product of mindless random events governed entirely, and only by the laws of Physics”. This worldview is alive and well in our culture, usually defended by claiming it is based on Science. Unfortunately, just saying something is Science doesn’t mean it is. Nor is something Science because a “scientist” said it. For something to be Science, it must be based on the scientific method.

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  • When worlds collide (Part 3)

    When worlds collide (Part 3)

    The worldview that says, “human beings are the product of mindless random events governed entirely, and only, by the laws of Physics”, has been around for a longtime. By its constant repetition, it has succeeded in diffusing deeper and wider throughout our culture. Sometimes this is the goal of the promulgators of a worldview: not to posit it as an issue to be debated and reasoned over but rather to spread it so wide that it is accepted implicitly, so that it becomes “common knowledge”.  By the looks of our media, they appear to have succeeded.

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  • When worldviews collide (part 2)

    When worldviews collide (part 2)

    I mentioned at the beginning of the last post that the most dangerous collision of worldviews is the subtle one, where one infects the other without being noticed. As believers we are susceptible to such incursions. This is because, even though by our choice we have left our old life in the world behind, we are nonetheless called to live in peace with, and to love, the people of this world. Sooner or later, that will require that we try to understand them. Which means we will try to make logical sense of what the world believes; and that can be a slippery slope. Because the moment we ask ourselves, “how can someone believe that?” we naturally ask ourselves, “why don’t I believe it?” At that point we must be able to think through the answer. If you are not ready to give yourself a reason for the hope that is within you (1 Peter 3:15), the warnings of Paul in 1 Corinthians 10:12 and Galatians 6:1 become very real.

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  • When worldviews collide

    When worldviews collide

    A collision between worldviews can be cataclysmic. The historical role of religious sectarianism in wars may prove that point. But maybe just as dangerous are the collisions where one worldview suffuses the other; where values are slowly and methodically changed over time. Outright collisions of the first kind (e.g. wars) can be recognized by the destruction wrought. People and societies suffer the consequences. But in the end neither worldview may be eradicated. It takes collisions of the second kind to do that.

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  • In Praise of Tears

    In Praise of Tears

    When Jesus said that we must be like little children to enter the kingdom of heaven, my tendency has always been to think about the positive qualities of childhood. I am sure you have heard more than one sermon on that passage. We mention their care free attitude, their dependence on parents, the implicit trust in them, their innocence before the world (taking all things at face value), the honesty with which they interact with that world (no hypocrisy, no posturing). And all of those are true. Furthermore, we know Jesus can’t be commending them for their tantrums, the moments of selfishness (unwillingness to share a toy), or their inability to fully understand consequences. But there is something else that is part and parcel of a toddler’s daily life that almost never makes it into the topic of these sermons: crying.

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  • Much ado about leadership

    Much ado about leadership

    Once you have worked in the same profession for a long enough time, the desire to become a leader eventually arises. Did you ever look at your boss and hear yourself think: “I can do that”? Or maybe it was: “I can certainly do better than that.” How long before we get to that point and how strong that desire is, varies from person to person. But the fact is that most of us assume it is a natural, even necessary, step in our lives. But why?

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  • Through the letter to the Romans – Part 21. The final conclusion

    Through the letter to the Romans – Part 21. The final conclusion

    Finally, the final conclusion. A good Conclusion should remind the reader of the most important points discussed. This is what Paul does now.

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  • Through the letter to the Romans – Part 20. The answer is Love and Faith

    Through the letter to the Romans – Part 20. The answer is Love and Faith

    We are in the middle of the discussion on disputable matters in Romans 14. But, before going on, I need to come back and ask the question: Did Paul contradict the Holy Spirit there in 1 Corinthians when he told them that, since idols are nothing, there was nothing wrong with eating meat sacrificed to idols? Remember, James said in Acts that the instruction they were sending seemed “good to the Holy Spirit and to us”.

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