Responding to the Moment

bible-1149924_1920While Democrats, Republicans, and also-rans work hard to dissect the implications of the recent elections, I hope that we as Christians do not spend so much time debating partisan politics that we miss the opportunity to evaluate our own recent behavior in the ever-penetrating light of Scripture.

In a pre-election blog, I wrote about my deep sadness over the political divides in the Church and the unchristian-like character that the election fights illuminated. My sadness continues in the post-election gloating and fear-mongering that I have seen from both our pulpits and our pews.

Continue reading “Responding to the Moment”

Thanksgiving Can Change Your Life – Part 2

looking-up-906888_1920Last time, we looked at three blockers that keep us from living happy successful lives. If you have not yet read part 1 or would like a review, you can find it here.

Today we look at four more ways that the gratitude we should experience in our lives gets stopped by our thoughts, words, emotions and actions.

Continue reading “Thanksgiving Can Change Your Life – Part 2”

Thanksgiving Can Change Your Life – Part 1

prayer-1380214_1920Sometime around the first century BC, Cicero the Roman Consul is credited with saying, “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.” Nearly five centuries later, Saint Ambrose would add, “No duty is more urgent than that of returning thanks.” As old as these quotes are, the art of thanksgiving is still much older. We see the practice all the way back in the very first book of the Bible.

A quick scan of scripture will quickly reveal the importance of thanksgiving to God, but like almost everything, what is important to Him is also very beneficial to us. Studies have shown that grateful people feel better about life, are more energetic, more successful, healthier, more generous, better thinkers, have better relationships and much more.

Most of us intuitively or experientially know that being thankful makes us better people, so why is it sometimes so difficult to put on an attitude of gratitude? If we listen closely, we will probably hear ourselves saying things to ourselves and others that is counter-productive to a heart of thanksgiving. Over the next two blogs, I will unveil seven blockers that turn what should be a thankful heart into a grumbling one.

Continue reading “Thanksgiving Can Change Your Life – Part 1”

Well That Was Stupid

portrayal-89189_1920One of the most frustrating things for me as a speaker and author is the inexactness of my own verbal skills and the uncertainty by which the things I say may be received by the hearer. It is one of the primary reasons I try to give grace when I hear someone say something stupid.

These thoughts were stirred recently as I watched a documentary on American History that appeared completely antithetical to nearly everything I have read and learned on the subject. While sometimes such challenges are good and help to correct wrong perceptions, I couldn’t help but wonder if the presentation was overly selective in its research.

A great challenges in today’s world is that people want to reduce everything down to a sound bite – One magic and memorable line that “says it all.” In reality, things are rarely that simple.

Continue reading “Well That Was Stupid”

Remember Shiloh

ruin-1557624_1920Passive faith has invaded the American religious community. It is easily detected in the conversations that have grown in popularity over the past several years. This is never more true than election time and in times of crisis.

Some of the popular tell-tell phrases include, “America always rises to the challenge.”; “We will be better than ever.”; “We’ve been here before and survived.”; “We are still the greatest nation in the world.”

National pride and positive thinking not-withstanding, the idea that things will never change is deeply rooted in human psychology but not in human history. Studies reveal that we are prone to a condition known as “Normalcy Bias.” This condition causes us to believe that things will always be the same despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

Continue reading “Remember Shiloh”

We Must Do More

We MustDo MoreThe election is finally over, but the conciliatory remarks from both sides have done little to alleviate the pain, distrust, frustration and feelings of powerlessness in our communities. The politicians minimize, and even trivialize, the eighteen-month vitriolic struggle with phrases like, “hard fought battle,” as they now call for national unity.

I wonder how many normal people believe that a year and a half of vicious accusations, innuendo and name calling can be simply wiped away by the wave of a hand and a few kind words.

While some celebrate, some mourn and others are conflicted, we the people continue to be divided along political, racial, economic, and philosophical lines. These will not easily go away by reaching across the aisle and saying, “you fought a good campaign.” They will not, and indeed cannot, be addressed with sound bites and partial truths. While we should continue to pray for our governmental authorities (1 Timothy 2:1-3), we should and must do much more.

Continue reading “We Must Do More”