Be Real

I have a friend who is a real blessing to me who came to me tonight and we started discussing hard times going through and I got told something along the lines of “Do you still see me as this kind of person even though I’m suffering now?”

 Honestly, I’ve thought the same kind of thing before. It’s amazing that we’ve got this view of life that we’re supposed to be invincible in Christianity. Are we still having Job’s doctrine, one doctrine specifically refuted by God himself in the Bible, that if we’re having problems, we’re less than Christian?

 I think of what G.K. Chesterton said. The stoics of the time prided themselves on concealing their tears. Christ never concealed his. Christ was extremely forward with his emotions. He’s the one who went into the temple and drove out the merchants and who asked the Pharisees how they would escape Hell.

Would it not be great if we would learn from that? Does it not help you whenever you see your heroes in the faith admit their weaknesses and problems? I really am blessed when the men I want to be like and feel so distant from admit that in many ways, they are just like me.

 Friend. Christ never told you to be invincible. Christ never told you to be ashamed of yourself or your emotions. Christ told you to be real. He came to give you a whole life and not part of a life.

No. Don’t be overcome by emotion either of course. Self-control is a Christian virtue. Do not become devoid of emotion however. Share your struggles. Share your sins.

And guys, this is probably harder for us. We men are taught that real men don’t cry. We learn to conceal our emotions and shut them off. Look at Jesus. If you are a Christian, will you not say real men ought to be like Jesus? Look at your idea of masculinity and look at Jesus. Do they match? If they don’t, and mine sure doesn’t, then our views of masculinity are wrong.

And to my friend who knows who they are, you rock entirely. I believe one thing that’s shaped me be the man that I am today is having a friend like you in my life. Thank you.

Wonka Wonder

We have TVs where I work and it was slow tonight and myself and the lady I work with do not really care for “Cars” so we decided to put in a movie we both enjoy which would be Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. This is just one movie I never tire of, particularly the Veruca Salt video.  There are times I have watched that video on YouTube and just hit the button to watch it again over and over.

<> This story is just so magical. Willy Wonka is just this amazing character who seems to be stuff that is said to be impossible  “But Willy Wonka did it!”  As you watch, you are amazed at what wonders he has in his factory, but at the same time, it is almost as if they were expected. Part of the children leaving the tour seems contrived, but at the same time, it seems like a natural progression to their actions.

<> Imagination is such a wonderful thing. It is like having a transcendent experience every time.  I wonder how many of us are like Neo and living in a dream world. Do we live in a world where adventure awaits just around the corner? Do we live in a world where the knights win the damsels and where warriors show up to slay the dragons?

This is one reason I am such a fantasy buff. I find it easy to imagine something greater beyond this world. How many of us look at our day to day lives and just watch and think “No. There has to be more to it than this.”? How many of us are reaching out and grasping for something greater than ourselves?

In this, the odd view out would be atheism. If this view is true, all that is is what is detectable by your senses. If that which you seek is not in this world, then it simply is not. There is truly no place for magic. There is also no place for wonder as why should one hold wonder at what chaos has wrought? (Odd that the skeptical worldview says that chaos can produce good in physics yet they don’t want that in morality.)

What kind of world are fantasy stories more at home in? In a theistic one. This is one reason we all love these stories so much. These stories are either our story or we want them to be our story. What little boy did not watch Superman growing up and dream of flying through the air and beating up bad guys? How many girls heard the stories of Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty and thought “Someday my prince will come.”?

Yes. This is why these stories are still so popular and why so many of us become children again upon seeing these stories. We do believe there is something out there greater than us and we long for it. Our hearts thirst for it endlessly. We don’t know what it is, but we know that it is.

I believe this is the afterlife in Heaven we are seeking. This desire is described by C.S. Lewis in his autobiography “Surprised By Joy.” The world of the imagination points to that as imagination belongs to the kingdom of Heaven and not to the kingdom of this world.

Yes. Wonka casts a spell on me every time that makes me believe the good will be rewarded and that there are places where your wildest dreams come true. It is a spell I willingly submit to and have no desire to ever see dispelled.

Wild About Harry!

I know I’ll probably lose some readers at this one. These are the readers that I hope will stick around to see what I have to say. I am devoted to my love of Christ and my enjoyment of Christian Apologetics. I am also a great fan of the Harry Potter series.

<> I have a friend also in ministry. However, we are diametrically opposed on this one. It seems a shock to him that someone like myself would like Harry Potter since that “teaches the children witchcraft” and is a lure of Satan. It is things of this nature. From what I understand, it has been said that I MIGHT make it to Heaven.

<> Don’t get me wrong. I like my friend. I really do. I just don’t understand this one and frankly, neither does most anyone else who speaks to us. It seems that he will allow Lord of the Rings, Narnia, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Star Wars, Warcraft, and anything else. All of these can be explained away. If all magic is wrong though, then so is Lord of the Rings and Narnia. If however it isn’t, then you have no problem with the genre. Stop acting like that’s an issue.

<> Why do I like them though? I have a vivid imagination. The Potter stories touch with my story, which is why we like any story. Somehow, we can all connect. I can connect with Harry Potter  on the story level. Maybe someone else can connect with Hermoine or Ron or someone else. Maybe you connect with parts. How many of us would like to have an Albus Dumbledore in our lives?

I also recognize that this is fantasy. The truth is, so do other children. If someone starts thinking this is real, they had other psychological issues to begin with. People look at Dungeons and Dragons the same way not realizing how many other kids had other issues and they just choose to focus on one thing in their lives and blame it all on that.

<> I also believe the world has more wonder than we realize. This is a magical world. When I speak, I communicate my thoughts to another person. As I push buttons here, words are showing up on my screen and before too long, all of you will be able to read them. I find technology simply marvelous, but let’s not forget that there are greater things in Heaven and Earth than are dreamt of in our philosophies.

<> We need a return to fantasy because we are seeking that which is fantastic. This world is not our home. We are made for a world where dreams come true. We believe in dark powers, but we also believe in light powers that will fight them and we believe that while the angels are in this war, they often seem to encourage soldiers on the side of the light to fight for the cause as well.

Yes. I’m wild about Harry. It doesn’t shake my Christian faith at all. In fact, I thank God for the gift of great imagination.

A Nation of Wimps

Exactly when did America become one? I saw another news story today about a statue of Moses with the Ten Commandments being removed because some people found it offensive. This boggles my mind how much we in America give in to fear. Could it be we fear violating everyone’s personal god, themselves, expressed through their own prophets, their feelings?

<> Not all offense is wrong of course. There are some things that just shouldn’t be done in public. I do believe in decency laws. There is another kind though where the word offensive isn’t enough. When you hear a story about rape or child abuse or the like, then you should not feel offended. You should feel outraged.

<> Outrage isn’t allowed though. You’ll hurt someone’s feelings. Geez. We need to grow up then instead of having a nation of children. It is a shame we can’t have rage due to the threat that we might actually hurt someone’s feelings. Forget how they treated their victims. Be sensitive and understanding. No. Here’s another idea. Give justice.

<> Yet this permeates our whole society. The employee gives in to the angry customer lest he hurt their feeilngs and they complain to the manager. The manager does the same lest the district manager does the same. The district manager does the same lest the, well, you get the picture.

<> I really think we need to recover the fine art of offending people, especially those of us who are Christians. Why do I say that? Because Christ called us to go out into the world. He did not call us to have the world walk all over us. When they say they don’t want to offend anyone, orthodox Christianity is always the exception. You can say what you want about the Evangelicals. Just don’t insult group X.

<> We don’t need to be needlessy offensive of course, but we need to be tough. The only way we’ll get some people to move is by stepping on their toes. In fact, the gospel should offend people. It should still offend us. Do you like being told that you’re a sinner after all? Do you like that your choices on how you live your life are called into question continually by the carpenter from Nazareth?

<> I speak especially to my fellow men. We need to be men. There was a day when a man was considered to be a warrior. Today, we are turning men into pushovers. Yes. Men and women are ontologically equal, but we are not entirely equal and thank goodness for it. You would rather go on your honeymoon with Danielle than with Daniel if you’re a guy.

<> What’s at stake? Everything. Our story is that we have allowed ourselves to be walked on in the name of political correctness. Truth knows nothing of this. Truth is willing to offend people if it will do them good in the long run. What is the purpose of protecting a feeling that is not only wrong but will lead away from truth?

<> Go out then! Be a warrior!


 I was online Saturday night and I saw a friend of mine typing excitedly in the theologyweb forum, “SAINTS WIN! SAINTS WIN! SAINTS WIN!” I care nothing about sports really, but I thought I’d have some fun with this obvious reference to football and said something like, “He must have just read Rev. 21 and 22.” I then continued with comments like “Yes. The saints do win and it is worth celebrating.”

 However, that thought kept coming to me. It wasn’t just seeing “Saints Win.” It was seeing “SAINTS WIN!” I wondered if I had ever really taken the time to consider that that is how the story ends. The saints do win.

 There are some truths that are obvious that we just seem to forget. If we remember them, we do not realize the impact. How much could be said on what a difference the resurrection of Christ makes or the incarnation or creation ex nihilo or salvation by grace through faith. Each of these doctrines should leave us in absolute wonder throughout the day. We say we believe them, but do we really realize them?

 The saints winning is such a point. This one hits us home because we live in a world where we do undergo suffering. We all have mountains that we are trying to climb in our lives that are weighing us down. We all have struggles we’re trying to get through. Who among us has not once looked to the heavens and asked “Why Lord? Why?”

 Our answer if we believe the Scriptures, is to trust the author. The saints do win. This is the reason why we should not hold back at the problem of evil or have it keep us in terror. G.K. Chesterton in his work “The Man Who Was Thursday,” describes a character in a way that if you saw his ugly side, you thought there was no way there could be any good, yet if you saw his beautiful side, you knew there had to be a reason for the ugly.

This was not meant as a strict parallel of God. G.K. Chesterton did say that this book was to be considered “A nightmare.” However, I do believe there are many that look at the world this way. They see suffering and cannot begin to fathom that there is so much goodness here as well. We should be the people who see goodness and think “Yes. It is because of this that we know there must be a reason for suffering.” Are we to know this reason? Not always and in fact, rarely. The reason is there though and we should trust that.

 All things work together for good to them that love the Lord. Please notice first what it is. All things. It doesn’t say “All good things” and it doesn’t say “All things are good.” It says “All things work together for good to them that love the Lord.”

 All things work together then for the saints, for these are the people who love the Lord. If you are a member of the body of Christ, then you are included in this group.

 If you are not saved in fact, then you are not truly doing what you can about the problem of evil as you are not dealing with the evil nearest to you, the evil in your own heart.

 The answer to the problem of evil then is that the world needs saints. We need to be saints who will trust in God that he is working all things together for good and to bring as many people into the fold so they can be a part of that good.

 And it is best to be part of that good. It is best to participate in the glory of God. As C.S. Lewis has pointed out, you will bring glory to God somehow. John the apostle and Judas both brought about the plan of God. One did it knowingly and willingly and the other one didn’t. Either way, any action will bring about the glory of God. Why not make it a good one?

Of what good is it to do an evil act? You will harm those around you and you will harm your own soul as well. Each action you do helps to shape you and your view of God. If you treat sin lightly, then you are treating God lightly. In our world today, it is good that we celebrate the love and grace of God, but let us not forget other attributes like holiness and justice. Hebrews 12 reminds us that our God is a consuming fire and how the Israelites were afraid to approach him including Moses. Yes. We can boldly approach the throne of grace and should, but let us be clear on who we are approaching. He is not just a grandfather in the sky. He is God Almighty, maker of Heaven and Earth.

 Thus, let us do good for the glory of God. Why should we fear anything either? We are on the winning team. Whatever suffering we undergo in this life, it will work for our good. As Kreeft has said, our worst day here will seem like a bad head cold from the viewpoint of eternity. We have all eternity to live in bliss and joy. The temporary suffering we have here is nothing in comparison to that.

 Go out then! Be a saint! Remember, you are on the winning team!