Book Plunge: Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives

What do I think of Ana Smiljanic’s book published by St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

This book is the collected wisdom of Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica. He never wrote them down, but his students and others apparently gathered them together. This is a work at what in psychology today would be called cognitive behavioral therapy. The idea is that what you think has intense power over you. Thaddeus would add a spiritual element that most secular psychologists wouldn’t, but that’s not a shock from a Christian worldview.

While I do come from a Protestant perspective, this has been one of the most helpful books I have read. I think CBT is already great, but it’s even better when used from a Christian perspective that focuses on eternal realities. That is what Thaddeus gives us in the book. He urges us to look at the way we think about ourselves, about God, and about our fellow man.

Sometimes when I am going through a hard time, I talk to a good friend who knows this technique well and he encourages me to write down good thoughts to tell myself on a 3×5 index card. It might sound silly, but usually after I write it down, it helps. I then carry the card around with me and look at it throughout the day.

Much of our days are often spent thinking about things we cannot control. We think about other people and how they treat us. We spend less time thinking about how we treat them. We think about our situations often as if God does not exist or if He does exist, He’s not really good and working for our good.

When we have these negative thoughts, there are physical and other side-effects with it. How many of us have had intense stomach aches or sleepless nights just because of our thoughts? How many of us have had relationship issues because of what we think about the other person even when we later see it’s far from the truth?

Thaddeus covers topics like family life and repentance and prayer and love. Most any aspect of the Christian life is in this book. Sometimes, I think he thinks our thoughts have too much power on reality, but for the most part, there is really good material in here.

The chapters are really easy to read. You can just read the one that you want and go through it quickly. Each chapter is also divided numerically into smaller bits so you can read one thought a day or so before heading out on your day.

As I was going through this book, I found myself trying to catch myself in what I was thinking. Am I thinking ill of my fellow man? That is not doing him any harm and it is only doing me harm. Am I assuming reality is going to be horrible? Then I am saying that God does not really care about me like He claims to. I tried to work to see my fellow man in a new light and try to understand where he was coming from even if what he was doing seemed horrible to me. I tried to see how God could be working in my life in ways I couldn’t understand.

Protestant readers might not care for references to praying to Mary and matters like that, but if a Protestant decides that will keep him from reading the book, he is really missing out. This is a book I wish more of us would read. I think even an atheist could get something out of the book as well even though he disagrees with the Christian side.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Book Plunge: Chasing Love

What do I think of Sean McDowell’s book published by B&H Books? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

“All you need is love.
All you need is love.
All you need is love, love.
Love is all you need.”

So said those great philosophers decades ago, the Beatles. So says modern culture today. Many girls grow up with a dream of that Prince Charming who will come up and sweep them off their feet and take them away to a life of bliss. Many guys tend to think more physically and think about getting married and having constant sex with their wives. Both sexes have legitimate desires.

Yet love is one of the most confused topics in our culture today and this is what Sean McDowell is writing about. His writing is aimed mainly at teenagers. Thus, it’s really easy for anyone to understand. The chapters are short and you could read on just one chapter of your choice at a time if you wanted to. Each chapter also ends with a question that McDowell answers.

It’s clear in this that he’s spoken to a lot of teenagers and knows what is on their minds. That’s great and needed. He is also not legalistic. Nothing in this book remotely gets close to the idea that sex is some dirty and taboo subject. (And yes, there does seem to be a connection in the book and in our culture between sex and love)

McDowell works to set up the idea that sex is God’s idea and gives us a theological basis for how to think about sex. This is absolutely essential I think as too many people, including Christians, do not have a worldview place for sex. Sometimes it can seem like a happy accident, but I honestly cannot fathom how someone can have sex and think of it as just an accident of the universe.

McDowell encourages students to look at the sexual ethic of Jesus found in Scripture and practice purity. However, if someone does mess up, he’s there with grace as well and to show that God has grace for you. He also says if you are abused, it is not your fault, which is 100% true. There are also chapters on hot button issues like homosexuality and transgenderism.

So anything I would change? Yes. I think more needs to be said on some topics.

For one thing, Sean McDowell’s Dad, Josh McDowell, has said that pornography is the greatest threat the Christian faith has ever faced. Even if that’s not true, and I think it certainly could be, it is a great threat that we face. Unfortunately, I don’t think there’s enough time spent on that topic. I would have at least a few chapters devoted to it.

By the way, pornography is not just a guy’s problem. It has largely appealed to men, but it is becoming more and more appealing to women and many women have no place they think they can go to talk about it. Too often when guys get together to discuss their struggles, sex is all they talk about. For the women, it’s the opposite as sex can be rarely talked about.

With that comes another issue that needs to be discussed and that is sexting. Even if a woman isn’t engaged in pornography, she is affected by it. Too often, boyfriends are just assumed to be watching porn and women think they have to compete with that. If so, then a woman is more prone to send pictures of herself completely topless to guys. Women can feel more pressured to go further thinking it is necessary to keep a guy.

This should also touch on social media. Nowadays, when kids get home, they have sexual pressure on the internet as well. Think about the story of Amanda Todd. It’s so prevalent out there that I just typed in three words to remember her last name. Amanda, flashing, suicide. Ten hits on the first page all about her and the last one was something about the most beautiful suicide girls of all time. Yeah. Lovely stuff.

So anyway, this girl is apparently on a video chat one day and a guy convinces her to lift up her shirt so her breasts can be seen. She does and the image is stored forever and the guy ends up stalking her. He threatens to share the picture everywhere and even uses it as his Facebook page image and he regularly created new accounts to stalk Todd. Before she was even 18, Todd had hung herself.

The pressure is real.

I think in light of events like this, definitely more needs to be said about social media and sex. If someone like Ravi Zacharias isn’t even safe from doing sexting, we definitely need to say more about it. Too many kids are playing with sex not knowing the powerhouse that it really is. Movies and sitcoms and other shows often show a lot of the pleasures without any of the side-effects which can be physical, psychological, emotional, and I would add in spiritual.

So thus, McDowell’s book is great as is, but I want to see more added on to it. Perhaps if he releases a future edition, he can include more on these topics. Our young people are entering territory that is completely new and they need guidance.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Book Plunge: Greek Genres and Jewish Authors

What do I think of Sean Adams’s book published by Baylor University? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Not too long ago, I saw a post on Facebook arguing for Jesus Mythicism and sometimes, these guys come up with arguments I haven’t seen before. Unfortunately, they’re never good, but at least it’s something different. In this case, we have nothing written about Jesus in Hebrew. Instead, it’s in Greek.

Granting that, why would that be a big deal? As Sean Adams shows in his book, Jewish writers were regularly writing in Greek. It makes perfect sense. It was the lingua franca of the time. However, not only were they writing in Greek, they were taking the genres of the people around them and writing in those genres as well.

Those of us with a great interest in the New Testament are immediately thinking of Greco-Roman biographies, and that is true, but others were used too. Jews wrote poetry, including epic poetry, didactic literature, philosophical treatises, novels, and histories.

Some writings we don’t have examples of. We don’t have any Jewish comedies in Greek. We can only speculate as to the reasons why this is. It would be wrong to say flat out that no Jew ever wrote a comedy in Greek. They could have written it and it was just lost like a number of writings have been.

Yet all of these show that Jews were interested in what was going on in the world around them at the time. They not only knew the language, but they were educated in the writings and could put out writings that matched it. Some of these would bring knowledge of their people and their thinking to their Greek speaking neighbors.

This meant Jews had to have access to these writings and be reading them and know them. While Jews were isolationists in some regards such as making sure they kept the Law properly including Sabbath observance and circumcision, in other ways some of them freely interacted with the culture around them. It wouldn’t be across the board. There would be some disagreements, but these writings show that for some, such interaction was acceptable.

Adams has done a marvelous work cataloguing all of these. Some might be skeptical of the Gospels and the letters of Paul and others being used saying that these are Christian writings. It is understandable, but it would be a mistake to say that because a writer was a Christian, he was henceforth not Jewish. I remain convinced that if you spoke to Paul right before the axe came down on him and asked if he was a faithful Jew, he would say yes.

Anyone wanting to see how Jews interacted and what works they wrote should go and get this book. Having said that, one caveat. This book is not really layman friendly. Adams assumes you have a strong knowledge of Jewish culture at the time and of Greco-Roman writings. A layman will still get something out of it, but a lot will go over their head as well.

Either way, Adams has definitely shown an area that needs more research to it. We had a remarkable revolution in New Testament studies with the strong arguments that show the Gospels are best described as Greco-Roman biographies. If that is so, and I think it is, it’s time to study how else Jewish culture interacted with Greek culture on the literary front. Adams has done a great service with that and we should be grateful.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

On The Fall of Ravi Zacharias

What does what happened to Ravi mean? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and fall out.

Not too long ago, RZIM released a statement saying that it looks like allegations of sexual misconduct against Ravi Zacharias are true. I am sure some of you are still skeptical, but we can’t do all of our own investigations into Ravi and for the sake of argument, since RZIM is saying it and I have no reason to think they would want to make up something about the founder of their organization whose name is on them, I want to ask what it means. Even if you don’t think the claims are true, consider it at least a for the sake of argument discussion.

Concerning Christian truth, it really means nothing ultimately. Ravi was a man like any other man. Christianity did not stand or fall on him. If your faith was built on Ravi Zacharias, you built it on the wrong man.

Concerning ethics, well that’s a different matter. It’s not that any ethical truths stand or fall with Ravi. What matters for this is how one should live their life, especially if they’re in a ministry capacity.

Regardless of where they stand on the issues, I am convinced someone would have to be a fool to think we don’t live in a sex-crazed society. Even as I do something simple like play Words With Friends on my phone, something even my wife’s grandmother does, I see ads popping up for games that are meant to appeal to lust in some way. It has really become unavoidable.

This is also one reason men especially need to be careful. We are not the only ones who can fall in this area, but it seems we are more prone to falling. It’s one reason why when Allie has been in the facility getting treatment, unless they were related to me or with someone else, I have not allowed a woman into the apartment. I do not drive alone with other women unless they are family.

Apparently, Ravi didn’t live up to the sexual ethic along the way somewhere and sadly, his ministry will suffer for it. For my part, I keep thinking about a lady who heard him speak who was a skeptic and when asked on the way home what she thought of the talk said, “I wonder what he’s like in his private life.” Sadly, we now know that private life wasn’t consistent and if your private life and public life are inconsistent like that, your witness for the kingdom will suffer.

Not only that, but anyone connected with RZIM could suffer. What about the memory of Nabeel Qureshi? He traveled frequently with RZIM. Will this damage his reputation even though he quite likely had nothing to do with it or even knew about it? Time will tell. It’s not fair if it does, but sadly, it’s what happens.

We also sadly remember a man’s failures much more than we do his successes. We remember fondly King David’s battle with Goliath in the Bible, but what’s the next story everyone remembers if it’s not the first one? David and Bathsheba.

Earlier this year, it’s believed that Mike Adams committed suicide. Sadly, when I think of him now, I don’t think of all the good he did, but remember how he died, which seems to be common with people who commit suicide. It shouldn’t be that way, but it is. When people fail, we remember it.

In some ways, you could say our society delights in it. Perhaps we think it makes it easier for us. “Hey! If Ravi Zacharias can’t live this kind of ethic out, surely I can’t be expected to!”

None of us is off the hook though. We’re all expected to honor our bodies and those around us properly. Perhaps when one gets in a position of fame, which is a kind of power, then one becomes prideful and thinks they are above the rules and can hide indiscretions.

We can’t.

This is not to say the Christian ethic is easy, but it is possible. It’s doable. There are plenty of people who do it. You and I have never heard of them, but they do it. Several people save sex for marriage and stay faithful to their spouses. Several people can still avoid pornography.

Watch a sitcom or movie today and it will look like everyone, including the women, want nothing more than to jump in bed immediately and have at it. Everything also always works perfectly. If there’s one piece of advice I give guys who are virgins who are about to marry concerning this, it’s to consider everything you see in movies and TV because it’s totally unrealistic. Unfortunately, this also does set up a norm.

What is needed is for our society to really think about sex and sexual ethics. You might think we do that already. That’s the problem in our society isn’t it? We all think about sex too much. No. It’s really the opposite. We think about it too little if we do at all.

Oh we dream about it. We fantasize about it. We talk about it, watch it, and just plain do it, but think about it? Hardly. We don’t think about what it is, what it means, and what it’s for. Very few of us have a worldview of sex. We could just see it as a happy accident that the universe worked out this way to give us this experience.

It’s even worse though if we’re Christians. If we are, we should realize God is the one behind all of this and seek to want to know why he made the system the way He did. It’s all His idea after all.

We also need to build one another up in this. We absolutely need to have other Christians to hold us accountable. I have Christians I can talk to about my struggles, including while it is that my wife is away at this time. It is either my passions are going to control me or I am going to control them.

But it is doable. One can control their passions and in the end, for the sake of the holiness of sexuality, I am convinced it’s worth it.

As for Ravi, it’s hard. For me, Ravi was my first apologetics hero. I look over and see the gift that he had given to me and my wife on our wedding day hanging on my wall right now. I know I have several of his books on my bookshelves. It doesn’t mean what is in them is false. Still, perhaps everything he wrote will be viewed with more suspicion now because of his own personal sin.

That is a tragedy.

And yet then, I think of the saying, “There but for the grace of God go I.” Scripture tells us if anyone thinks he stands, he needs to be careful lest he fall. It further tells me I want to live by the Pence/Graham rule as much as I can. We all have only one shot at building a reputation in life. When my time is done and people look back on my reputation, I hope it will be something that people will be pleased with. I hope even my opponents intellectually would be able to say that though they disagreed with me intellectually, I did live my life honorably.

And to my friends who have been supportive of me over the years and been my confidants and mentors, I thank you greatly. When I was with my folks this past weekend for Christmas, I showed my Dad the final speech of Sheldon Cooper on The Big Bang Theory with him receiving the Nobel Prize with his wife. He said something in it along the lines of how he used to think his accomplishments were his own, but they were also the accomplishments of those who stood with him, including his biological family and his family of friends. I fully say the same thing. Everything I do here is not mine alone.

I have played the Final Fantasy games for most of my life. What you learn from those in one sense is you need a party. No one fights alone. I don’t either. My friends mean everything to me and I am grateful to them all and hope I can be just as good a friend to them as they have been to me.

In the meantime, pray especially for Ravi’s family. One can hardly imagine what they are going through with these revelations coming out. Then learn to watch yourselves. If you are in ministry, do so especially. Your failure would have far greater ramifications than that of many others. Be careful.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Is God’s Goodness Always Good?

What happens when good doesn’t seem good? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Christians hold that God is good. We also hold that there is real evil in the world. It’s not an illusion. It actually happens. There are things in this world that are unjustifiably evil.

Let’s understand if skeptics see a problem here. I understand logically things work out, but emotionally, evil is a real problem. I’m wanting today to write about when the idea of the goodness of God is hard.

It’s easy to say God is good when things are going fine in our lives. That’s not a problem. However, as soon as we start having problems that are serious, many of us start to wonder about the goodness of God. Besides, isn’t it so obvious what should be done in this situation? Surely God who is all good and all loving and knows all would agree with what needs to be done and do what we ask. Right?

Not necessarily.

That’s when the goodness of God gets really difficult. If anything, it becomes more painful to believe in the goodness of God. You have to accept that what is happening is not necessarily good, as evil is never good, but that God is not doing anything wrong in allowing this evil to occur, whatever it is.

Do you still believe in the goodness of God?

If you don’t, you don’t really believe in the goodness of God. You believe in it only if God is doing what you think is good for you. God is subject to what you think. If you do believe in His goodness, then you believe in it regardless. That is the real test of belief in God’s goodness.

This is what happens in the book of Job. The book of Job is not about the problem of evil. You can look high and low and you will not find the answer to why good people suffer. It is also not God making a bet on a whim. It is asking why does Job serve God?

Does Job serve God because life is going good for Him and He gets all the goodies? Well, congratulations. Anyone can serve under those conditions. If you were a Christian and one of the wealthiest people if not the wealthiest in the world at the time and had a good family on top of that, it would be really easy to talk about the goodness of God.

Can you talk about it when things are rough?

What if Job lost everything? Would he still serve God? If he doesn’t, then he only serves God for the goodies. If he does, then he serves God because of who God is and it’s the right thing to do.

This is not to say Job can’t question and complain. He does. So do we. We can do that also. The Psalms are full of such cases. You are allowed to talk to God. He’s a big God. He can take it. You’re still supposed to trust Him in it.

C.S. Lewis said years ago this is the kind of Christian that puts the cause of evil in a panic. If a soldier looks up for a God who he feels abandoned by, asks why, and still obeys, then that soldier will serve through anything. That is a position we are all to take.

God’s goodness can be hard, but it is the best hope that we have. When things are rough, God is still good. He is still in charge and it is His story, not yours. Trust the author to work it out.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Ads, Memes, And Arguments

Are you getting the message across? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Since I live in Georgia, when I turn on YouTube, I will often see political ads. These are pertaining to a coming runoff election in Georgia. What I notice often as a problem with ads is that you simply have a soundbite of about thirty seconds and for whatever party you’re on, that’s not enough to make a case.

Consider ads against the Democrats. We’re told in them that these people running for Senate will be able to bring about the third term of Obama and continue a socialist agenda. Now if you’re a conservative like me who doesn’t like any of that, that sounds persuasive to you.

But what if you weren’t? What if you were someone who liked Obama and who likes the idea of socialism? The ad could actually get you to vote the exact opposite way. Unfortunately, there’s no message coming across of “Here’s why this is bad” or “Here’s why this is good.” If it’s anything, it’s a few brief statements and certainly not an argument.

Memes on the internet are the same way. People who share memes thinking they are convincing arguments are fools. Usually, memes come loaded with presuppositions of what people already think. If you buy into the thought prior, the meme is convincing. If you don’t, it isn’t.

Now if you have made an argument prior, I’m fine with using a meme as an illustration. I’m also fine with using a meme as a point of humor in an argument. We all know that they can be incredibly funny. What I have a problem with is thinking they are the argument itself.

We can also do this in our evangelism today. If you go up to someone and just quote the Bible, it’s not going to be fully persuasive. After all, if they believed the Bible, they would be on the path to being a Christian. (I say this because cults will say they believe the Bible as well.) Your preacher’s point might sound persuasive, but to a skeptic, it might not.

Remember how a few weeks ago I shared how the worship leader at my church said that weapons and items like that had been found at the bottom of a Red Sea in a row? The average layman might have found that convincing. Your average skeptic will not and if he goes home and looks it up or looks it up right there, he could be greatly disappointed.

Internet atheists do the same thing. An account will be thrown out because it contains miracles and I have never understood the point of going after Christians because they believe that a dead man came back to life or that a virgin gave birth (Which I do affirm). This is part and parcel of Christianity. To make the argument that this is stupid, you need to show that miracles are impossible or go even further and show that there is no God who can do miracles. If you go up to someone who believes in God and tells them their religion includes miracles, why should that be a negative?

This is one more reason you try to understand what the other person believes. You need to make an argument that depends on what they believe and showing that that is false instead of going with just what you believe. If your ad or meme starts with what you already agree with, it won’t convince at all, except for people who are already convinced.

This will sadly require work that most people just won’t do. Most people won’t engage on both sides and most people will be persuaded by memes and ads because they are not taking the arguments seriously enough. Don’t be one of those people and you’ll be more persuasive in the end.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

God and the Big Rock

What about this common objection? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Within the past week, I have seen the objection shared on a Facebook group I’m in and realized I don’t think I’ve ever written on it. You’ve probably heard it before. Can God make a rock so big that He can’t lift it? This is a case where there are some real atheist objections and then there are some that people think they’re saying something profound, and they’re really not.

The short answer is no. God can’t do this. It can’t be done because it involves a contradiction. A rock is finite and God is infinite and this would mean the rock would need to be finite and infinite. C.S. Lewis once said “God can” does not make nonsense any less nonsense.

The reality also is that this does raise up good questions about omnipotence. Unfortunately for internet atheists, Christians were already raising up these objections long before they came along. This was especially so in the medieval times. Consider this much more simple question that does raise a question on what omnipotence is. Can God swim?

We might be able to say Jesus could in the incarnation, but apart from that, could He? We know God can become a man, but could He become a cucumber? In each of these cases, we can discuss what it means for God to be God and what natures are compatible in some way with deity.

One objection also was if God could change the past. Thomas Aquinas said no. Again, this is a deep question and the TheologyWeb forum I’m a part of long ago had a good laugh about it. This was shortly before the massive meteor shower that wiped out Seattle. Oh? You don’t remember that? I had prayed about it. You’re welcome.

What about omniscience? One could ask if God knows what it’s like to sin. He could know in the sense of understanding our experience, but not in the sense of experiencing our experience. This raises the question of what knowledge is much like the earlier question raised was what power is and what it can do.

We’ve been asking these questions for centuries. They’re not new. Unfortunately for internet atheists, since they don’t read contrary thought and don’t know the history of ideas, they miss out on these. One saying I have is that those who don’t read will always be at the mercy of those who do.

Again, there are real atheist objections, like the problem of evil. This is not one of them. Atheists who use objections like the big rock think they are revealing something profound, and they are, but the problem is it’s only their own ignorance.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Is Christianity Bad For Aspergers?

Do Aspies get a major disadvantage? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I came across this post recently. I will grant it is an older post and one that a lot of people probably didn’t see, but it is raising concerns that I think need to be addressed. That’s on whether Christianity is bad for Aspergers.

The author, Corbin Croy, says that he is not formally diagnosed, but the diagnosis would make sense, and he is by no means an expert. From here, he goes on to list some problems with Christianity and Aspergers. It is clear he has some education in historical matters, but seems too caught up in modern phenomena of Christianity.

The first is that Christianity is too gesture oriented and not critically grounded. Croy points to events like altar calls and being slain in the Spirit. Part of the problem with the argument is that Croy never defines a gesture. Is a gesture any act on God’s part? If so, well it’s obvious God has to act at a certain point for Christianity to be true and it would be bizarre to think God has to keep doing that same event over and over again.

I have never found a problem with what Croy calls indirect communication with this. I can read the Gospels like most any other history and I can gather such information from the epistles as well. Croy makes much of how God speaks today, but I think this is largely a western problem that we have. We think we are so great that surely God must communicate with us directly today or God must speak in a clear way that modern 21st century Westerners can understand.

So on this first point, I am puzzled by what Croy means.

The second is a lack of freedom and again, I find it puzzling. Croy says Aspie memories are unreliable, but I find this odd. I consider my memory more reliable than that of many other people. Croy also says that Aspies can struggle to express themselves and that there is a lot of bickering and power plays going on in the church.

That’s not really an Aspie problem. That’s a human problem.

I hate to say it, but if any of us on the spectrum or off feel like we can’t speak or anything of that sort, that is a problem within us. We are responsible for our own feelings. No one else is. Despite what you think, no one can make you feel anything. If you have certain difficulties whether it be from Aspergers or anything else, it is up to you to deal with them. You can get help from others, naturally, but you own the responsibility.

At the same time, freedom is still not defined. Freedom doesn’t mean you can do anything you want. I can’t say, “I have Christian freedom, so I am going to sleep with every girl I can in my apartment complex.” Freedom means I am no longer under a penalty and I can behave the way that I ought without owing any debt.

Finally, Croy says Christianity has no fail-safe. Again, he doesn’t define this. If he means what to do if Christianity is false, of course we don’t have that because we do not think it is false. The only option we have is let us eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die.

He also says Christianity has this idea called faith. He never defines it and it looks like he could mean more what Richard Dawkins means by it as just belief, and blind belief at that, instead of trust in what has been shown to be reliable. Croy’s whole argument here is confusing. He never really explains what he means by terms and acts like his experience is universal.

Christianity is hard for everyone, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad for everyone. The most worthwhile and good things we will ever do are hard. Being on the spectrum can be hard, but life itself can also be hard. Sadly, Croy has some challenges for himself, but I don’t think they’re because of Christianity per se. It could be more because of Western thinking instead of Christianity.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Christianity Is Hard

Are we really taking up a cross? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I found a post over the weekend about why Christianity is difficult for people on the autism spectrum. As an Aspie myself, I found myself disagreeing with a lot of it as the author lists traits of Aspergers that I don’t think are universal and I don’t think understands Christianity well. However, before commenting on that, let’s comment on a simple point. Christianity is hard.

If you are going through your Christian life and you are finding it easy, you are doing it wrong. Why is Christianity hard though? Why is it such a struggle. The simple answer is that Christianity calls you to die to yourself. Many of your desires that would seem “natural” are not to be allowed on Christianity. You are to control them.

You are driving down the road and someone cuts you off. The natural desire is to be filled with anger at that point and hold hostility and hatred in your heart towards such a person. Note I am not saying your immediate reaction is necessarily sin. I am asking what you do with it. As a Christian, you are to not let that anger take hold of you and you are actually to pray for that person.

Someone wrongs you in a great way. There are many ways that this could be, but you have been wronged. The person comes to you and seems to be genuinely repentant and wanting to change their way. You are called to forgive. It is not an option. It is mandatory.

You are a guy out in public and your co-workers are all wanting to go to a strip club together after work. You have to say no. At this, you get some teasing asking if you are gay and if you’re even a man at all. You might be married. You might not be. It doesn’t matter. You are to say no because you are to view the female body as something sacred and not just an object for your own enjoyment.

You are also called to trust. We are in a tumultuous time in our country and everyone has a different opinion on politics and a virus going around. The response of the Christian is to trust God regardless. You are to do what you are to do, but then you are to trust God with the rest. That trust is hard.

For all of us, our natural tendency is to look out for #1. How are other people treating me? There is a place to look at that, but as a Christian, your first responsibility is to ask how you are treating other people. That is difficult.

When suffering comes along, you are still to rejoice even in suffering. You are to mourn the deaths of loved ones, but not like you have no hope. You are to endure suffering as someone faithful. This is again a hard matter because our natural tendency is to ask “Why me?” You are to receive with thanksgiving whatever God allows you to have and if something is taken from you, you are to realize God never owed it to you in the first place.

All of this you do because you serve a king, something we have lost sight of. We often sing about what a friend we have in Jesus, but Jesus is not just a friend. Jesus is our king. He is our Lord and our Master and He will judge our lives one day. We will be told to give an account for every action we have performed here.

So while I do plan on looking at this article about Christianity and Aspergers, regardless of where I agree or disagree with the author, let’s agree on one thing. Christianity is hard. If you are finding your Christian walk easy, you are not doing it right. If it is getting harder and harder, it could be you are actually doing it right.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Colonoscopy Thoughts

How did this weekend go and what thoughts did I have? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Yesterday there wasn’t a blog because I was having a procedure done, which from the title you can tell is a colonoscopy, and I was told to take it easy the rest of the day. My parents had come to be with me and handle driving and taking care of the apartment. The doctors telling me to take it easy said things that I normally do should be done like reading, watching TV, and playing video games.

You know, doctor’s advice can be so hard to follow! How did I put up with such cruel treatment?

That’s what I was doing yesterday. Right after, I wanted to get something to eat so we went to Subway together. Then we came home and it was a day of watching various TV shows together and sometimes I’d play games on my Switch there with me or my phone. My Dad and I found for a Christmas classic, MST3K with Santa Claus Conquers the Martians.

So what did I learn from this event?

First off, if you don’t know my age, I am 40 years old. Normally, this happens at 50. Back in May, my wife and I had got a pizza at the grocery store. After we shared it, I remember taking out the trash and not feeling well. I figured I just overdid it and it would pass and I would deal with it by just going to the bathroom.

Allie heard me screaming though in there and when I came out, my hair was so wet from sweating I suppose that if I had told her I had stuck my head in a running shower, she would not have been surprised. She told me I needed to go to the ER. I had no objections to that at all.

They did a Cat-scan (At least I think that’s what it was) of my stomach and I later met with a GI doctor. He informed me I had a polyp. It was about a centimeter long. I needed to get it out in six months or it could become cancerous. That would involve a colonoscopy.

This is one of those procedures I had long prayed to never ever have to go through. It’s just something disgusting for me to think about. Honestly, the prep for the procedure was more frightening to think about than the procedure itself.

So Thursday, the first day of prep came. I had nothing solid to eat that day and surprisingly, I handled it fine. However, in all fairness, I have sometimes forgotten to eat. I have had times where I have been out driving and stopped to get something because I realized that I forgot to get breakfast. If I get engrossed in something else, I lose sight of food easily.

I’m definitely an exception to the idea that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.

But then came the time with taking the medication to clear me out. I had told Allie’s priest that I was praying the Jesus prayer over it. No. Not, “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me, a sinner.” Instead it was, “If there be any other way, let this cup pass through me.” He laughed at that one. My former roommate told me as a hospital call screener that yes, it would certainly pass through.

I wasn’t wrong, the experience was awful and if I have to do it again, I’ve said I want a different procedure, I ended up having some vomiting both times over it, though fortunately not enough to stop the stuff from doing its work. Friday morning, I had to start at 4:45 again, so I got up at 4:15 to make sure I could do things like read the Bible and pray first.

So my Dad when the time came took me to the hospital. I remember them giving me this little gift bag that had in it some portable hand sanitizer, but it also had a little book of Sudokus and Crossword Puzzles and a pen. Okay. That’s enough to occupy me.

They wheeled me and talked to me about anesthesia. They gave me a medication that my father-in-law had told me was great stuff. I was told I would be out for an hour. I remember they had me lying on my left side and when they injected the stuff into the IV, I was immediately feeling woozy.

It’s really interesting to think how such medications work. Someone can do something like that to you and then do all manner of things to you and you can’t feel it. Having had scoliosis surgery before, it’s really incredible to think of what the body can go through.

Back in Knoxville, there was a time I had a dental procedure where they gave me the medication and the next thing I know, I was waking up in my bed. I posted on Facebook about if I saw anyone, please understand I wasn’t exactly myself. A girl I went to high school with said that that explained a lot because she saw me at Subway with my Mom (How did I order exactly?) and she said hi as I was heading out and I asked my Mom, “Do you know her?”

It’s kind of creepy to think you’re walking around appearing coherent when you’re not really there.

So anyway, I wake up maybe about an hour later and the doctor comes in to see me. I asked if they got the polyp and he says it turns out, there wasn’t one. I must have just had an infection that day.

It’s not pleasing to hear you went through something you didn’t want to go through with and had a fear about cancer and have it be wrong.

Still, I learned a lot about anxiety as well. Sometimes getting ready to take the medication here at home, I was so tempted to just pass it up. Maybe it would be easier to just get cancer and treat that. Anxiety can cause to do or not do many things.

Yet one thing I told myself was that in 24 hours, it would all be over. It was. The rest of the day was just fine with me doing my own thing and my Dad and I mainly spending the time together. All the anxiety and it hadn’t helped me prepare for the procedure at all. Maybe it even had something to do with the vomiting and it made it worse.

So anyway, for the time being, it looks like my health is fine. I have been told I should not have to have something like this done for ten more years. It’s my sincere hopes that technology will somehow improve in ten years so I won’t have to do this kind of operation again, but that’s not my area of focus.

Today, it’s still life goes on. I probably will still be taking it easy today and relaxing, especially since my folks are here. If you are a reader and were concerned about there not being a blog yesterday, that’s why. Next week I hope to return to a regular schedule.

For all who did know, thanks for the praying for me.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)