Archive for the 'Christlikeness' Category

(Posts Archive)

Looking for What’s Missing

In the previous post, “What’s Wrong With this Picture?” the close up of the ant sculpture in the Atlanta Airport shows what happens when perspective is missing. My guess (trying to read the lines, and between them) is that when Paul says to the divisive church in Corinth (inconsiderate of one another, and drinking to […]

Living with Imagination

While watching a PGA golf match on television the other day, I caught an interview with the professional who, at that point, was on top of the leader board. When he was asked, “Do you have a strategy for what it’s going to take to handle the pressure and win this tournament?”, I expected him […]

Echoes of the Garden

While working in my yard the other day, I was startled by something moving in the bushes. Once I calmed down and saw what was happening, I ran to get my camera. A harmless (to me) garter snake had its jaws around a live toad and over the next half hour gave me a chance […]

Ubuntu

A story is going around the internet that, in some ways, sounds more like legend than fact. But the idea behind it seems to represent a cultural value that is real. As related on an Ubuntu website, an anthropologist made an important discovery after completing his study of a tribe in a southern region of […]

Love Song

How do we know we are in love? Am guessing many of us can remember with a smile the wonder… and the pain. Sometimes it takes a lifetime to discover that seasons of blind desire aren’t the same as the love that makes us good for one another. Without taking anything from the gift and […]

No Questions Asked?

What do the questions we ask, or don’t ask, say… About us? About our thoughts of one another? About what we think we already know? What about the questions we ask,  or don’t ask, about God? Why am I asking? Maybe because I’ve been listening to conversations, to the way people like us sometimes talk […]

Life in the Spirit

While reading an article on what the Apostle Paul calls the fruit of the Spirit, I was struck by the author’s reminder of something that we might regard as either too obvious to mention, or a wonderful re-discovery of what we already know. The author pointed out that it’s important to remember that the fruit […]

Loving in Loss

Two days ago dear friends lost an adult son in a tragic work accident. This morning I received an e-mail from the father who described what happened last night when their grieving family reached out to the man who had accidentally killed their son, brother, husband, and father. The note described not only their overwhelming […]

The Ways of the Cuckoo Bird

In a list of latest headlines this morning I found one that stood out from the rest, being different in kind— yet similar in nature. Appearing in the BBC Nature News, the headline is Cuckoos’ Shameless Egg-laying Tactics Revealed. Before reading the article, I thought of the cowbird that is known for laying its eggs […]

Body Swap

An article on BBC’s online Future section describes an experimental technology that gives two people the experience of feeling as though they have exchanged bodies with one another. The thought behind the science is not new. It’s ancient wisdom that trying to imagine what it would be like to live in another person’s circumstances, bodies, […]

Mandela and the Bible

It’s hard for me to think about how often the Bible was quoted to resist the policies of emancipation for civil rights in the USA, or to support apartheid and to resist Nelson Mandela in South Africa. The question has me thinking again about a conference I recently attended on the trustworthiness of the Bible. […]

The Legacy of a Peacemaker

As much of the world mourns the passing of peacemaker, a friend sent me this quote of Nelson Mandela “I have walked that long road to freedom. I have tried not to falter; I have made missteps along the way. But I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds […]

A Signature Mark of Work in Progress

If there is a progression in Jesus’ Declaration of a New Day, then hungering and thirsting for righteousness bears the seeds of what he says next. “Blessed are the merciful for they shall receive mercy.” (Matt 5:7) Showing up for this Operation Rescue is an indication of having seen the undeserved relief of misery that […]

Where’s He Taking Us?

Along the way, we’ve talked among ourselves about what happens when others hear us refer to righteousness —as if those who believe in Jesus are morally good people while those outside of him are not. We probably self-describe like this because that’s the way the Bible speaks of us.  We find it natural to think […]

Jesus’ Manifesto

The word “manifesto” is often associated with the Socialist Manifesto of Marx and Engels (1842). But in a more general sense it is a public declaration of intentions as issued by a government or a political party. If Jesus had a manifesto, or inaugural address, it probably would be what we now call his Sermon […]

Persecution Complex

In general usage the idea of a persecution complex refers to an unhealthy state of mind that causes persons or groups to assume that they are the victims of an evil conspiracy that has singled them out because they are different than the mainstream. The term therefore is apt to cause many of us to […]

The Mercy Prayer

In the Discover the Word recording studio today, I’m looking forward to our interview with Robert Gelinas, author of a book that is releasing in the bookstores this week called, The Mercy Prayer. In preparation, I’m finding the book to be surprisingly provocative in the way it develops the tension between mercy and justice. His […]

A Time to Speak

Some of us have been around long enough to see that the Bible we treasure has been used to multiply the pain of racial minorities, women, the poor, the mentally ill, the divorced, abused, addicted, unemployed, and prisoners. This past week I attended an event that showcased the stories of people who have repeatedly heard the […]

Hope for Marwa’s World

Marwa was 12 years old, frightened by the wail of air raid sirens and deafened by the concussions of falling bombs. Desperate to do something, anything to escape the terror and confusion, she grabbed her 8 year old sister Adra, and together they began to run. With nowhere to go, they ran, chased by the […]

Notes on a Diplomat

Last night I had a chance to hear a lecture hosted by our regional World Affairs Council. The speaker was an articulate member of the international diplomatic core who walked us through the complex issues of: Rhetoric and reality—the difference between what is said and done. Interests vs values—the tendency to act in the interpretation […]

2013 With Bagels and Rocks

In these health-minded times, we may have lost a proverb. It’s been a while since I’ve heard, “Whatever you do, keep your eye on the donut… and not on the hole.” Maybe switching to bagels could help us recover one of life’s most important lessons. From the beginning of time it’s been an issue.  We […]

Our Response to Loss and Controversy

Thanks to all of you who have been willing to honestly think about what a follower of Christ brings to an issue as tragic as the death of Trayvon, and as controversial as the law’s reaction to George. In addition to appreciating so much of what you have already said, here’s where I am. Seems […]

What’s Not to Like Here?

Have you ever noticed that some of us seem to have a  low and suspicious view of human nature, while others find something to like and love in everyone? Jesus seemed to do both. Sometimes he’d call those who came to hear him evil people who knew how to do good things  (Matt 7:11).  Or […]

Business as Usual

Do you ever wonder how things got “back to normal” in the minds of a generation that had heard the news of a miraculous star, the vision of the shepherds, the mysterious magi from the east, and rumors of a birth that resulted in Herod’s eventual murderous actions in Bethlehem? (Matt 2:16-18) Did anyone wonder […]

Slippery Slopes

Many of us know what it’s like to find ourselves on a steep roof or on some other slick incline of mud, ice, or loose gravel. So when someone uses the argument of “the slippery slope” to caution against taking even a small misstep in a dangerous direction, we do more than understand the warning. […]

The Goal of a Follower

In sports the goal is to win. And, as a number of you commented in the last post, competition shows up in every area of our lives– always raising questions of relationship and accomplishment. So what is the goal of the follower of Christ? I’ll give the answer I’ve been thinking about recently, and see […]

The Goal and Means of Wisdom

In the last couple of posts we’ve been thinking together about the relationship between what Paul says about Christ “being made wisdom for us” (1Cor 1:30) and the description of wisdom James gave us when he wrote, The wisdom that comes from above first of all pure, peaceable, gentle, willing to yield (deferential), full of […]

The Wisdom of the Cross

Solomon put a high value on wisdom. According to him nothing that we desire can compare with it (Prov 3:13-15). But then came Paul. He wrote that God made Christ to be wisdom for us (1Cor 1:30). Since wisdom is the ability to use knowledge to reach a desired goal, Paul seems to be saying […]

Fool’s Gold

The California Gold Rush of 1848 created its share of prospectors who thought they had struck it rich—until learning about a glittering rock that came to be known as fool’s gold. More than a few saw their dreams fade in the metallic luster and brass-yellow hue of a relatively worthless mineral called iron pyrite. Such […]

Laws of the Harvest

I have a friend who uses a simple word picture to tell the story of his marriage. Having lost the trust and affection of his wife, he says he began to show small acts of kindness as if he were planting seeds into barren ground.  Even though there are no formulas for assuring outcomes in […]

Bragging Rights for Losers

The reality television series known as “The Biggest Loser” is in its eighth season. Once again contestants are competing for a cash prize and bragging rights for losing the most weight. Much of the program’s appeal lies in the personal hopes and struggles of contestants that viewers can identify with. Making winners out of losers […]

Business and Ministry

Is it possible to do ministry in a businesslike way . . . and to see business as a ministry? The question seems important because, even though nonprofit and profit-making efforts are different, both have a lot in common. To survive, both need a clear mission. Both need to know their public, adapt to change, […]

Children and Disciples

Like clockwork, each new generation rides a pendulum of reaction to “the sins of the fathers.” As grateful as we may be for the good we have inherited, we are apt to “overcorrect” what we see as the failures of our parents. Seems to me that this is happening in the way an emerging generation […]

The Urge to Jump

In April 2006, a man attempted to jump from the top of the Empire State Building. At the last minute, security guards physically restrained him and New York City police charged him with first-degree reckless endangerment. A judge later dismissed the charges, noting that the man had taken steps to ensure the safety of others. […]

The Road to Realism

Someone has noticed that, “Optimists think the glass is half full. Pessimists think it’s half empty. Realists know that if they stay around long enough they’re going to have to wash the glass.” In art, realists paint life with blemishes, wrinkles, and scars. Idealists paint a subject as they imagine it could or should be. […]

The Creative Process

TEACHERS OF CREATIVE THINKING sometimes say, “All things are connected. Try to find relationships where you’ve never seen them before.” The exercise might raise questions among those who are more committed to “living by the book” than to “thinking outside the box.” On the other hand, it could be that no one has a better […]

Abuse of Authority

There is a fine line between the healthy and unhealthy use of power. At any time, even the best of leaders can begin making decisions that increasingly put their own interests before the needs of others. The misuse of authority, however, is not always subtle. History tells the stories of countless leaders who boldly acted […]

Futures Trading

The Wall Street we see on the evening news looks out of control. The flailing arms and white shirts on the floor of the trading pit give the appearance of a madhouse way of doing business. The earlier chaos. The confusion, however, is more orderly than the system it replaced. Before the development of “futures […]

The Values of Christ

Mel Fisher has been called the world’s greatest treasure hunter. His motto “Today Is The Day” came true on July 20, 1985, when his team found the Mother Lode of their dreams in the tropical waters of the Florida Keys. After years of salvaging shipwrecks of lesser significance, Mel’s team discovered stacks of silver bars, […]

The Attitudes of Christ

What is the goal of spiritual maturity? Jewish rabbis had their opinion. They did more than impart knowledge of the Torah and the Talmud. Their goal was to leave something of themselves in their students. Ben Sirach, writing about 180 years before Christ, expresses the Jewish point of view when he says of a mature […]

Religious Conservatives

Why are the villains in the greatest story ever told a group of religious conservatives? The question is personal. I am a religious and biblical conservative. I believe in the importance of the family and am convinced that our children need to learn the dangers of Darwin, abortion, and same-sex marriage. Theologically, I’m a fundamentalist. […]

The ‘‘H’’ Factor

I don’t want to walk with the proud. But neither do I want to be counted among the humble.  ¶  Humility has P. R. problems. Pride has done a good job ruining the reputation of its rival. Many of us cannot even think of humility without suspecting pride in disguise, or an unhealthy and self-defeating personality. […]

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