Pets and Suffering

What can pets teach us about evil? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

We’re awfully odd. Many of us take in creatures that are predators. They hunt and kill other smaller animals and eat them. It’s not anything pretty to think about. These creatures also eat their own poop and sometimes we have to clean up their poop for them. We know them as cats and dogs.

And why? Do we want other animals hunted? For some, this could be the case. My family’s first cat came because we had a mouse problem, but before too long, the reason for the treatment of the cat was not mice, but just a love for the cat. From then on, we were getting cats just because we loved cats.

Some people get dogs for the purpose of hunting. My in-laws, however, have a dog and they now have their second one after the sad passing of Nessie last year. While some value dogs for hunting, my mother-in-law was not pleased when Nessie brought a dead squirrel to her.

Nessie would eat her own poop. That sure isn’t an appealing thought to have. For our cat Shiro, I have to regular scoop into a litter box and clean out his. That’s also not a pleasant thought. With Shiro, we end up spending a good deal of our money making sure that he is taken care of.

And for what?

For Shiro, it’s just companionship and comfort. There’s something nice about having the little guy come sit on the arm of the chair when I play a game or watch something on TV. Sometimes, he seems to want me to hold him for a little bit and then he’s done and wants to go his own way. I love the little guy, but it would be hard to really put a finger on why. I just do. Taking him in though was realizing we would have to make sacrifices.

When we first got him, we had been apartment hunting and someone had abandoned him and he wandered the complex looking for food. We went back one more time and we were told the pound was going to get him the next day. We decided to take him in. Very few people supported that choice, but we did it. I don’t blame them for being skeptical about it. It costs a lot of money to take care of a pet and they had our best interests at heart, but now most of them also know taking him in was a great decision.

Yet that first day, he didn’t think so. I remember going into the apartment office and there Shiro was and the staff had a maintenance man trying to catch him so we could put him in a kitty carrier we had got. His first time with us was spent taking him to the vet to check on shots and matters like that. That’s hardly a good introduction.

Slowly though, he came to trust us. Our first night with him, he had ran under the bed, so Allie and I just went to sleep. Around 2:30 in the morning, I heard the cat crying. Now I had told Allie she wanted the cat the most so he would be her responsibility, but being the good and loving husband that I am, I did what any good and loving husband would do when the cat whines at that time of night.

“Honey. Wake up. The baby needs you.”

As it turns out, we both got up and stayed with him for about an hour and he actually ate for the first time. As it turns out, for awhile, he would only eat when Allie was watching him. As I wrote this, I just now heard his food machine go off indicating breakfast is ready, and it saddens me now because like the first time, he had to go to the vet today.

Nothing serious. No need to worry. It’s just a regular check-up. Still, that sound is a reminder of his absence. On the way, Shiro whined some and I am sure he doesn’t care much for me right now. After all, I put him in a kitty carrier and he hasn’t got to eat.

Now the difference between a cat or a dog or any other animal is a finite distance. The degree of difference between a human and God is infinite. We can never fully understand God. The interesting point about the passage of “My ways are not your ways” is really not about that, but about how God is so willing to forgive the wicked when we are so not. The wicked fear turning to God for judgment. God tells them He is not like us. He forgives. They just have to repent before they can receive it.

So it is that right now, assuming Shiro is still cautious as they have to get him anesthesia to work on him, he probably does not understand why he is there at all. What did he do to deserve this treatment? Now I am not saying that Shiro is thinking like we do, but I am sure it is confusing. This is just a way of saying that if a cat could think like we do, could he understand this?

Not only that, but when Shiro communicates to me, I don’t always understand. I rarely do really. I don’t speak kitty. I don’t know exactly what a purr means or what a meow. I’m pretty sure I understand what it means when he hisses at me, but that’s about it.

There is also a difference in that I can feel compassion for Shiro. Possibly, his whining could motivate me to not put him in a cage and take him to the vet, but that would not be love. That would be just me acting for my own interest in not wanting my cat to think ill of me temporarily. It’s not really a loving thing to do.

If this distance is hard to understand, then imagine the much wider gulf between man and God. Part of the whole problem of evil is when we assume that God must give a justification for His actions. No doubt, we want to understand a lot of them, but isn’t that a high presumption right at the start to assume that if God exists, His actions must be in the wrong?

As one who holds to impassibility, I also don’t believe God has feelings for us in any way. This does not mean God does not love us or care for us, but it does mean we can’t change God in any way, which would include emotionally. This is really a good thing. Do we want it that we could blackmail God in some way by pulling at heartstrings and have Him do things for us just because He wants us to think well of Him?

God will do things to us at times knowing we will not understand them and that we will even resent Him for them. We will accuse Him of being in the wrong. God does them anyway. He does them because He knows what it is that He seeks to accomplish for the good.

Does this mean we cannot love God if He does things to us that hurt us that we don’t understand? Not a bit. Understanding why someone does something, even if it seems cruel to you, does not mean you cannot love that person. There’s one person many of us do love that does things all the time that we don’t understand and are hurtful and we love them anyway. That person is ourselves.

How many of us love ourselves, but we do things we don’t understand to ourselves. We want to lose weight, but we open another box of Oreos. We want to stop drinking, but we wind up going to the bar. We want to love our wives more, but we’re watching pornography instead. We want to save money, but we go on a shopping spree. We can say we get some pleasure from these actions, but how many times are we doing something and asking ourselves, “Why am I doing this?’

Yet we still love.

We love because we seek our own good. To love is to seek the good of that which is loved. Even the person attempting suicide in some way loves themselves. After all, they want to put themselves out of their pain and misery. In a twisted way, they want something better for themselves. It is a wrong way and it is too much an emphasis on self, but it is still seeking the good.

If we cannot understand our very selves and we cannot fathom how we could explain things to our pets, why do we think we could understand God or that He could even explain things to us in a way that would make sense to us? The problem is likely so multi-faceted that it’s beyond us. What we have to ask is overall, do we trust God even when there are aspects that we do not understand. That is not a requirement to love after all, as we do the same with ourselves.

Hopefully, before too long I will pick up Shiro with a good report. He will be angry for awhile, but in the evening if I get in some gaming or watching something, I hope he will be right there next to me. Perhaps I don’t know why I care about Him, but then I don’t give God anything He needs and He could do just fine without me and yet He has a great love for me.

Maybe it’s best to just accept it.

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

Thoughts On Eve

What are we to think about this woman? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

When your wife is away from you long-term, as mine is right now being in a facility for excellent mental health treatment, you start thinking about what it means when you want to have her around and what the absence means. Naturally, I go to Scripture first and then beyond that to thoughts from great Christian minds and my own philosophizing. When it comes to women in the Bible, the first one we get is Eve.

Now there are many interpretations held about Eve by Christians. Some are very literalistic with a YEC approach that says the Earth is young and these were the only two humans. Some are OEC and say the Earth is old but Adam and Eve were the first human creations. My view is more akin to the idea that there could have been other humans, but these two were chosen as our representatives. Some even say this is just a story and there was no Adam and Eve.

At this point, while that is a fascinating debate, it is irrelevant. That is not in terms of Biblical interpretation, but it is in terms of what I wish to say about Eve. What does Eve mean for women today?

We live in a world where women are saturated with images of how they should look. Hollywood models are put on display and magazines are full of images of women that are no doubt photoshopped, but this is held as the ideal. Even worse, a number of women watch porn to think about not just how they should look, but how they should be with men.

Leaves me thankful I have avoided porn.

Now sometimes I have speculated what Eve, if she is a real person, looked like. Imagine the woman chosen to represent all women. If we are talking about the YEC or OEC model, the idea that God personally hand-crafted this woman for Adam. I can wonder what she looked like, but the Bible never tells me.

What we are told is how when Adam saw her he said “This is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh. She shall be called woman for she was taken out of man.” That is some wonderful language that we don’t really understand today. Friends who know Hebrew well have told me a direct translation that would best capture the thought of what Adam is saying would be something like….

“YOWZA!”

But ladies who are thinking about this, please consider at this point some things we don’t know about Eve. Maybe a few we could guess well, but we just don’t know. We can’t say for sure what race she was perhaps, but we could make a good guess based on where the story takes place. We don’t know her hair color or her eye color. We don’t know her height. We don’t know what she weighed if she could have stepped on a scale then. We don’t know how curvy she was or if she had an hourglass figure. We don’t know if her hair flowed down her body or if she was short. We don’t know her bra size. We do not know how her hips moved or how big her butt was or what her legs looked like.

Those are some of the biggest ways we judge women today and I am sure there are others and yet the text says nothing about them. She even made her first appearance in the nude and yet, there is no judgment given on her features. She has no shame. There should be none in a Paradise situation.

What do we know?

Adam loved his wife. One interpretation of why Adam ate of the fruit even is that he knew Eve had royally screwed up and he didn’t want her to face it alone. He chose to take it with her.

If so, that is some devotion on his part.

And to all ladies reading this, you are also meant to represent God on Earth just as much as Eve was. My wife knows I have said several times that I think the way women reflect God best on Earth is by beauty. If I am correct with that, it’s not a shock woman was the last being created since woman is the most beautiful in all of creation. Even perfectly straight women will say that as handsome as a man can be to them, the beauty of a woman stands out still.

You also could look at that list above that I gave. You could be excellent in all those areas or you could think you’re deficient in all of those areas, but whoever you are, as a woman, you are beautiful. If anyone does not see that, it is because they are blind.

There’s a line from The Good Doctor which I will paraphrase, but it is one whose sentiments I have thought before with my own wife. “I do not love your body because it is excellent. I love your body because it is yours.” If you say you love a woman and her body undergoes a change and your love changes, then you did not love her. You loved her body only. You should care about the body because it is hers and love it and treasure it, but your love should not be dependent on it.

So no, the Bible doesn’t tell us what Eve looks like. Looking back now after thinking about this more the past few weeks or so, it’s a good thing it doesn’t. Women would be comparing themselves to Eve and sadly, too many guys would compare the women in their lives to Eve. There is no need for that. All women should be celebrating what they have and should properly in public, live without shame for being a woman and delight in it, and behind closed doors with their husbands, totally live without shame relishing in the love they have.

Women. Remember you are beautiful. And men, remember too that she is and treat her that way.

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

Update on Allie

How’s it going? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

So I figured today I would just do a quick thing and let you all know how Allie has been doing. I don’t know how much longer she’s going to be in this place exactly so don’t ask please, but the fundraising is still going on. Some people have sent in checks and those don’t show up on GoFundMe. At this point, we have about $18,000 to go in fundraising. You can make your donations here.

Allie has been in there for about a month or so now. I’m actually incredibly surprised. I was under the suspicion that she would be reaching out to us and complaining about how her experience has been. So far, I have not heard about her doing that. She normally wants to get out of mental hospitals, but this place is quite different.

She posts regularly on Facebook about her progress if you’re friends with her here. I have been pleased to hear about the amount of discipline she has developed while there. I haven’t got to have a family session yet with her, but when the time comes, I definitely want to commend this place on how they’ve done.

She has even got on Instagram, which really surprised me since I thought she wouldn’t want to again, and has created a page. Just look up the name d1v1n3_artistry. She’s doing great work with her make-up. Even better, she’s wanting to work a lot more on Christian character, to which the inner beauty makes her outer beauty all the more glorious.

I remember sometime before Allie went to this place talking on the phone with her and her priest. I was there when he talked to her mother after about how he wanted to do some fundraising as well and said his reasons were very selfish. He wants to see her get well. If that’s what selfish is, I certainly hope we encounter a lot more selfish people.

Some of you have donated anonymously. That’s fine. I understand it. I cannot think you online directly. Some of you, I don’t know. I have tried to make it an effort to thank people who have donated. If you have and I have not, please realize sometimes I do miss people and it’s nothing against you really. I appreciate anyone who has made a donation.

Definitely in all of this, I appreciate your prayers. These go not just for Allie, but also for her parents and myself. We who are the family are going through this walk as well and wondering how the story is going to be playing out from this point.

I have been making it a point to pray not just for Allie’s health but her holiness. My best man at our wedding gave us a toast and said that health is not guaranteed, but may you always be holy. I am working hard to deal with my own issues while Allie is in this place and thinking about what she means to me. My thanks to so many of you who have reached out in this time.

If you want to send Allie something directly, you can do so at the address below. Remember that anything you get is I’m sure opened by the staff there before Allie can see it, so don’t worry about any wrapping. Even something like an Amazon gift card can greatly help her.

Allie Peters
1961 N DRUID HILLS RD NE
ATLANTA, GA 30329-1807

Thank you all for your consideration in this time.

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

Responding to WaPo on Moses’s existence

Did the great leader exist? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

A reader sent me this old article from the Washington Post wanting my thoughts on it. Did Moses exist? Let’s say at the outset that while I think he did, the case is definitely not as clear as it is for someone like Jesus. I can understand Moses mythicism whereas Jesus mythicism is just a crackpot theory.

The article is by someone named Ishaan Tharoor and can be found here. Something I notice right at the start is that a similar argument is used against Moses as is used against Jesus. That is the argument from silence.

The reality is the record is not completely silent. One can say he’s not mentioned outside of the Jewish Scriptures of the time, but so what? Do we automatically throw out those Scriptures because they are Scriptures? If anyone would have a reason to write about Moses, it would be the Jews, and a writing does not suddenly deserve hyper-skepticism because it is considered holy by some specific faith.

Now who else would write about Moses? The Egyptians? Doubtful. What would the record say “So these ragtag Hebrews managed to escape after their God kicked our gods to the curb and we couldn’t overtake them when our soldiers drowned in the Red Sea.” Nah. Historians of the time would write about their victories, but they would not write about their defeats.

It is true that we don’t have the exact timeline on when things took place. The most common dates I hear for the Exodus are either 1446 BC or somewhere around 1290. A lot of it depends on the reference to 480 years in the book of Kings. The Pharaoh on the throne is not named, but this is also not a surprise. Pharaoh is not the main character and is a figure portrayed in a shameful light. Another great way to do that would be to not even name him.

What about the Red Sea? Again, there are people who say that what happened was a natural occurrence really, and they could be right. It could be the winds could make the sea part at times. In this case, the miracle would be that it happened when it happened. I do not know of any accuracy of reports of Egyptians and chariots being found at the bottom of the Red Sea, but sadly, even if that was true, it should not surprise us that a sea near Egypt would have dead Egyptians in it. It would be evidence for something, but it would not necessitate it.

I have seen the comparison to Sargon. My ministry partner has an article on that one so no need to reinvent the wheel. I was really amused to find a claim that this is a copy of Krishna. This is the same kind of thing that happens with Jesus Mythicism, as if the Israelites would have known about the story of Krishna and choose to use it, even if you go with a late date such as with the Welhausen JEPD hypothesis.

The author also says that:

Some researchers believe the “Hymn to the Aten,” inscribed on the walls of the ancient city of Amarna, prefigures Psalm 104 of the Hebrew Bible. Both are paeans to the power of one god. Here’s the hymn:

The earth comes into being by your hand, as you made it. When you dawn, they live. When you set, they die. You yourself are lifetime, one lives by you.

And an excerpt of Psalm 104:

You hide your face, they are troubled,
You take away your breath, they die,
And return to dust.
You send forth your breath, they are created,
And you renew the face of the earth.

As I look at this, it is extremely flimsy. The first one is describing the movement of the sun. The Psalm is not and both of these are statements that could easily apply to a supreme being.

Noteworthy also is no interaction with anyone who believes in the historicity of the accounts. Do you see any interaction with someone like James Hoffmeier? Nope. Not a bit. Of course, he could be entirely wrong, but if you give your audience only one side of the story, what a shock that most readers walk away thinking that one side is true.

Also, for Christians, one of the main evidences is that Jesus seemed to treat Moses like a historical figure. Now it could be the incarnation does not entail Jesus as a human has perfect knowledge, but many of us who are Christians tend to take Him a bit more seriously. If you’re a skeptic of the resurrection, that won’t mean anything to you. If you believe in it, it means a lot to you. I realize my point here then won’t convince skeptics, but it should give Christians something to think about.

In the end, I don’t think the article really delivers. The evidence is one-sided and arguments from silence. It doesn’t convince me with mythicism and it doesn’t do so here.

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

Reading The Bible Less

Could there be a time when less is more? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Often in the Christian walk, we’re told we need to read our Bibles more. There is a lot of truth to this. I try to start every day reading a chapter of the Old Testament and a chapter of the New. If you live in a modern country where you can read and have access to the Bible, there’s no excuse not to as a Christian. There are plenty of countries where you could be killed for having a Bible let alone reading it.

While that is true, there are times you might want to consider reading less of the Bible. That is, take in a small small portion and focus on just that portion for some time. This has been a nightly habit of mine and has served me well.

I am going through the book of Romans at night and have been for several months. You really notice parts of the text more when you go through it slowly. How slowly am I going through it? A verse a night. Just one. Then as I go to sleep I ponder that verse and ask questions about it and see what’s going on in it more and more.

Let’s consider a recent example. That will be Romans 14. The chapter starts off simple enough. It’s about what food someone is allowed to eat as a Christian. Then before too long, it becomes an area of the resurrection of Jesus and Jesus is the Lord of the living and the dead. If we judge our brother and sister, we must remember we will give an account to God Himself on the last day.

Yeah. All of that is going on. Sometimes if you read it quickly, you can become so familiar with the text that you might rush through that. By reading slowly, you force yourself to see it bit by bit and think more about what each part means. You can also think about previous parts you’ve read of the passage and see how it all fits together.

You can do this at your own pace and you might want to change based on what part of the Bible you’re reading. Maybe you want to read just a parable of Christ tonight, or just part of a parable. It’s up to you. It’s your reading.

My suggestion is just to try going through it slower. If you want to, get out a commentary and go through it at the same time to have some guidance as you read the text. Whatever helps you is good. Just take a few bite-sized portions and go with it.

Try it and see how it works for you.

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

The Exchange Of Ideas

What happens when we try to limit voices? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Yesterday a friend gave me a Kindle gift of the book Irreversible Damage. I started it pretty much immediately. It’s about the transgender craze and how it is affecting girls. There was a time when Gender Dysphoria was hitting some of the population, though it was a small group and it was consistently boys. Now, all of a sudden girls are claiming that they are really boys and this is happening increasingly due to the influence of social media.

The author pointed out that many conditions such as anorexia and cutting and others tend to affect teenage girls the most. She talked about a school where one girl talked about a number of people who were claiming to be really boys there. When asked how many were lesbians, she paused and said “None.”

What I find fascinating at this point is the fact that the writer of the book said she was told to not speak out about the matters she was writing about. The ACLU is already wanting to ban the book. I thought that this is why many people I think can struggle with accepting a reigning scientific paradigm. If they have the impression that anyone who thinks differently on the matter is to be silenced, then it’s not going to persuade them to hear this is the reigning paradigm.

That doesn’t even mean the paradigm is false. It just means people won’t be as prone to listening. It could be evolution or climate change or COVID or vaccinations. If people think dissent is not allowed, they will get more suspicious.

We saw this also during the campaign in another way. Many of my fellow conservatives wanted to talk about the Hunter Biden laptop. At this point, what you think about it doesn’t really matter. What matters is the silence on the story was driving it all the more and when Facebook and Twitter would censor certain news stories, that only made them more popular. It’s known as the Streisand Effect.

This is also why many are going to other sites like Parler and MeWe in addition to Facebook and Twitter. They want the free exchange of ideas. They don’t like other social media sites punishing them for sharing a story. It’s not that they want a safe place or something like that. They just want to be able to join in the discussion. It’s one reason I’ve opposed Facebook and other sites independently fact-checking news stories.

Why not have more exchange of ideas? If you’re sure your position is correct, then allow the other to speak freely. When it comes to evolution in schools, regular readers of the blog know I don’t have a problem with evolution even though I haven’t signed on the line of being an evolutionary creationist yet.

Some will say “Well if we allow the creation story of the Bible into the classroom (Though I think what they mean by that is different from what the Bible actually teaches as I go with John Walton’s view), then won’t we allow any other creation account to be taught?” My idea is “Why not?”

If anything, this could make students more invested. Suppose someone is in the class who is a Hindu or a Muslim or a Native American or some other belief system. Why not have students make a presentation of their belief on how everything came to be and then present it to the class and be ready to defend it? If someone wants to teach something like young-earth creationism, let them, but they have to be ready to defend it to their peers.

We in the church need to make sure we’re not doing the same thing. There are some activities we don’t want our youth to engage in. Sex before marriage and pornography come to mind. We need more than “Because I said so.” What we need is a whole worldview that explains the way sexuality works and then show why these behaviors fall outside of that so that the young people will understand not just that they don’t do XYZ but why they don’t do XYZ.

As for reading, forbidding books will have the same effect really. State why. This is also so with skeptical books. I recently encountered a Christian on Facebook scared with some material from Bart Ehrman. It was about his latest book Heaven and Hell. I have the book and made him an offer which to this day he hasn’t accepted sadly. Go and get the book, I don’t care if it’s the library or not, and go through it and keep a notepad nearby, Write down any concerns you have chapter by chapter and we’ll go over and discuss each objection and examine it.

This would be a far better way I contend to deal with doubt than what we normally do. We should never shun anyone in the church for asking a question, no matter how odd it might seem to us. Those who ask questions are our great gift. They are the ones who could be taking Christianity the most seriously. When we shun them, we tell them it’s not worth taking seriously and that they shouldn’t ask questions and then they think Christianity is not defensible since it won’t allow for questions.

The church should definitely be a place where you are allowed to question. If we want to condemn the modern world for not allowing questions and dissenting opinions, we in the church should not be the same. A faith that does not have the capacity to stand up in the free marketplace of ideas is not really worth believing in the first place.

We can’t control what outsiders do, but we can what we do. Are we going to be complaining about Facebook and Twitter all the while doing the same thing? If you think you can’t handle questions, well that’s something to work on on your end, and if you’re a pastor not open to questions, then either change that position or give your position to someone who is.

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

Book Plunge: Time and Despondency

What do I think of Nicole Roccas’s book published by Ancient Faith Publishing? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Sometimes when I have been struggling with something, I will talk to my wife’s priest. While I am not Orthodox, that is not a problem with us as he’s more than happy to help me with things. I also think wisdom can be found outside of one’s own tradition (And even religion) and if we as Christians ever think it’s only people of our theological heritage that have true wisdom worth gaining, that is a very sad state.

Right now with some present circumstances, I have been in normally a state of seasonal depression. When I mentioned the word depression to him, he turned it into despondency. At that moment, I remembered I ordered for my wife who is a catechumen in the Orthodox Church the book Time and Despondency. I decided to get it out and give it a try.

Let’s start with one excellent thing about this book. The author does not come out as someone high and holy and thus you read the book and think “I will never reach this level.” Nope. Roccas is a fellow traveler on the journey and she too would prefer at times to do something like binge watch Netflix.

She definitely writes from an Orthodox perspective, but that does not overwhelm the book so much that others won’t benefit. As a Protestant, I found much of the advice helpful. The advice of great saints is found as there is wisdom to be found in many places.

She also writes of goals that are doable. She never tells you to go and pray for an hour or so. Instead, just work on matters bit by bit and learn and grow in them. There’s even a place advocating quick prayers. Those are fine many times. When I am out in public and I hear sirens and see a first responder going by, I always pray for that situation. (Definitely not with eyes closed if driving.)

Her advice to deal with despondency is also not just purely spiritual matters. She talks about St. Antony who was scolded by someone for playing with his fellow monks when surely he should have been praying and how Antony responded to justify his actions. She talks about the use of humor, which at this point, I couldn’t help but think of Harry Potter and the spell to deal with boggarts.

For those who don’t know, boggarts are creatures that take on the image of your worst fear. The way to deal with them is to use a spell with the word “Ridiculous!” and turn them into something you can laugh at. I think Rowling at this point hit on something with the nature of fear.

Roccas also shows that this is a problem that is not just modern in nature. Monks from well over a thousand years ago dealt with this. They had times they didn’t want to pray either or work on the Scriptures. Apparently, some could have even committed suicide from sorrow. It was even called the noonday demon. The condition is the same, but today we probably have more means to encounter it.

There is also definitely good theology in here. Roccas brings out the reality of the resurrection and what it means. God being the God of all time is there to redeem every moment of time, including the moment that we are in. Again, just like before, none of this though is spoken in terminology that is over the layman’s head.

If you’re struggling with depression, or despondency if you prefer, this is a really good book to read. The advice is practical and doable and not over your head. Most of the chapters are short enough to read in one sitting and even the longest one can be broken down into manageable pieces. Give it a try. It beats living in despondency after all.

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

Book Plunge: Capitalism and the Historians

What do I think of this book published by University of Chicago Press? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Being in ministry, sometimes it’s thought among my fellow Christians that you only really need to study things related to your job and then the Bible. You might add in philosophy and history. If you’re married, you could include marriage. Some form of self-help could apply, but why do Christians need to bother themselves with issues like politics or economics or even science?

This is a great weakness of ours.

This is our Father’s world and that includes not just the history and philosophy of it nor what is found in the Bible, but also economic theory and political theory and science. This time, I’m going to be focusing on economic theory since this is a book about capitalism. Why should a Christian read something like this?

We should because if we want to know how best to use the resources we have been given efficiently, we need a good study of economics. Note I didn’t say use of money but use of resources. Money is a resource, but economics is about more than just money.

How do we best reach the poor and help them? Is it through Capitalism or through Socialism? What is the big problem with Communism? Considering the political upheaval in America now, we need to know more about these.

So you read a book like this. This book looks at the way intellectuals and historians have looked at Capitalism. Many of these approaches made make tremendous mistakes and the book strives to point them out. Note that these are written by intellectuals for intellectuals. This is not a simple read for someone wanting a casual entry into the subject. Such a person would be better served by a book such as Economics in One Lesson.

It’s fascinating to find out how many intellectuals can really take a shallow approach to issues in economics and just go from that basis. This isn’t just about our own modern times, but times shortly after the Industrial Revolution. How did Capitalism play a role in that? What about factory labor and child labor?

If there’s any lesson to learn here, it’s to try to go back to the original sources first. That is not done enough. Right now, we in America have been blessed greatly by having a Capitalist economy. It’s my fear that if we move away from that, we will move away from so much that makes us a great nation. I sincerely hope that more people, especially Christians, will read more on economic theory, which includes books like this one.

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

The Importance of Gratitude

What difference does it make to give thanks? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I always had a problem with this when I was growing up. My grandmother was one of those people big into manners. Whenever I got a gift, she would tell me to say thank you in a voice I look back on as patronizing. Being the kind of kid I was, it left me instead wanting to not say that to people.

That has “thankfully” changed.

Last night, I was doing some reading in a book called Time and Despondency. It’s a book on dealing with what we would call depression from an Eastern Orthodox perspective, but if you’re Protestant or Catholic, you’ll still get a lot out of it. The author talked about hearing a message from a Catholic who struggled all his life with major depression. He was asked once what a sign is that he would be entering depression again. His response was surprising.

Lack of gratitude.

The author then goes on to talk about how the Bible doesn’t really say to be thankful as much as it does to give thanks. It tells us to do the action. “But I don’t feel thankful right now.” So what? If you act only when you feel like it, that doesn’t merit you anything. The reality is you have to act contrary to your feelings.

I can attest to this in my own personal life. When I am depressed over something, I am not really grateful for anything. I look out the window and see the sky and the trees and the birds and people going about their lives and cats and dogs in our apartment complex and think “Who cares?” When something happens that changes my attitude, I look at those items differently. Has anything in the world itself changed? No. I have changed. That is the difference.

Many of you know that my wife Allie is in a facility now receiving in-depth therapy and medical treatment for BPD. It is my hopes she comes out of this a whole new woman. If you want to contribute to her ongoing fundraising to cover this, please do so here.

Today, she posted a picture of herself on Facebook with something she wrote about how she really is beautiful just as she is. I commented telling her I have been telling her that for years. I hope now she is starting to believe it. She replied with a personal thanks and a little smiling emoji.

You might think that’s cute.

I can tell you that that has easily been the highlight of my week if not my month so far.

With that comment, a cloud that had been hanging over my head really just vanished. Once again, nothing in the external world really changed. What changed was my attitude. It was easier to be pleasant around people and I was less bothered about things and I was genuinely happy about my life. Thus far, that hasn’t gone away.

By the way ladies, unless your husband is being needlessly crude, if he compliments you on your appearance, always say thank you at least. If a husband compliments his wife on her beauty and she argues against him, that cuts deeper than you know. The message you give him when you do that is “You’re a liar” or “You’re deluded.” Either way, you are insulting him. Just tell him thank you and that will make his day. If you want to make it more past that, that’s up to you, but thank you goes a long way.

It’s also interesting that the more you get thankful for someone in your life, the more you will really care about that person and genuinely love them. If you tell yourself that someone is a pain, well lo and behold, you will have a self-fulfilling prophecy. You may not be able to change other people directly, but you can sure change how you treat them.

Ultimately, this comes back to God. Did I give thanks to Him when I saw this message? Yep. Sure did. I intend to keep doing that. Hopefully, I will also learn to give thanks even when things aren’t going good in my life. It’s a command. God doesn’t say “Give thanks except when you don’t feel like it.” He says to give thanks regardless.

I encourage you then if you need encouragement, give thanks. If you don’t need it now, maybe that person you’re giving thanks to does need it. You don’t even have to know them. It could be the random person just doing their job. Give them gratitude and if you can, a little bit more. Not only will it make their day possibly, but you could get better service. (I remember working near a pizzeria once and I would go there on my lunch break. I noticed I had no problem getting service after I left a $5 tip one time.)

Remember, something could be little to you, but it could be huge for someone else. You could lift someone out of depression or even stop someone who is pondering suicide just by an act of kindness. Show love to that person, regardless of your mood. Everyone will be better for it.

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

Happy Veterans’ Day

What are we celebrating today? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

It actually wasn’t until this morning that I found out why we celebrate Veterans’ Day today. It was on this day that World War I came to an end. That was referred to then as the Great War. It was the war to end all wars.

Well, twenty years later we found out that that part wasn’t the case.

Fortunately, it’s been about 75 years since then and while we have had wars, we haven’t had any world wars, but let’s not underestimate our depravity. It sure isn’t because we don’t have the capacity of evil inside of us. Whatever the reason is, we have managed to avoid such an event.

Still, war is always a possibility with us and it is foolish to think something will never happen to us again. While I am not saying all causes of war are sin, if you think you cannot fall to a sin, that is the first sign that you’re likely to do so. All you need is the wrong situation and a little spark lit and boom, it’s off to the races.

Thankfully, when those times come, there are people who are willing to fight for our cause and hopefully, when it happens it is the right cause, much like in World War II. Sometimes there are evil people who don’t take no for an answer and good people have to do something. It is not anything we should delight in, but it is a duty that has to be done at those times.

Whenever I am out in public and see someone wearing something indicating they’ve been a part of our armed forces, I always thank them for their service. The saying is freedom is never free, and that is true. We enjoy what we can enjoy in our country today because those people were willing to risk not being able to enjoy it.

They often don’t get the appreciation that they deserve. Not all serve on the front lines, but all serve. Many leave not knowing if they will ever see their spouses or children again. For some people, it can be hard enough going on a business trip and being away from a spouse for a week. Imagine what it would be like to thousands of miles away with no guarantee of ever coming back?

Some people are willing to do it. They choose to do it. They embrace it as a duty on their part because of love of the country and something greater than themselves. Thank God they came back home, but they had no guarantee.

I am pleased today to see several restaurants and other places offering deals to Veterans. However, let us remember that we should be remembering them all year long. When you see a veteran, thank him or her for their service to our country. For all of us in any line of work, we all want to be thanked and appreciated for our jobs that we do. Veterans especially deserve it.

Thank you Veterans for your service.

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