Suffering is no stranger to humanity. Millions of people are trapped in human trafficking. Countless suffer from a physical, mental, or emotional disability that ostracizes them from society. The stress of losing a job, paying bills, natural disasters, broken relationships, unmet longings, or the loss of a loved one plague us on a daily basis.
Suffering’s complexity has been responded to with a complexity of answers. For some suffering is an illusion, a figment of our imagination. For others, it’s simply a way of life. It is what it is, therefore we should grit our teeth and bear it. Still others see suffering as punishment for past misdemeanors or current behavior (we get what we deserve), while others claim it is for our good to make us better people. Yet these answers tend to leave the sufferer tossed on a sea of pain, with no hope of anchor. Continue reading →
Having just finished Seeking Allah, Finding Jesusby Nabeel Qureshi, I’ve been contemplating how to review it. Scanning through the reviews on Amazon, I noticed that it is doing well. People are responding positively to Nabeel’s autobiographical account of his life as a Muslim and journey to Christ. The insight he sheds on the Muslim religion, culture, and the importance apologetics played in preparing him to truly see and trust in Jesus Christ, is both educational and uplifting. It gives a window into the difficulties of growing up as a third culture child, also showing the struggle many Muslims in the West face in a post 9/11 world. I affirm all of this, so what more could I add? Just this; after finishing the book, sniffing loudly from the tears I was shedding, I wished there was a way for me to beg, and possibly require, everyone to read it. Granted, I love books and there are many I wish everyone would read. However, this book has now reached the top of that list.
As I was reading Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus certain words kept running through my mind, popping up consistently like mile markers on the highway. They became words that formed a theme for me, ones that touched both my head and heart with their joy and poignancy. These words form the basis for why I wish everyone would read this book. Continue reading →
As a child, when someone would ask me, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” my answer was always, “A wife and mommy.” Blame it on my upbringing, culture, or gender, but it was the honest truth. Entering college (one that had ‘Bible’ in its title, which students tongue-and-cheek changed to ‘bridal’) that desire continued. While I did not go to college to find a husband, like many young people, I assumed I would find my spouse during those four years and get married soon after graduation. As freshman year faded into memory, senior year reached its climax, and nothing happened, anxiety had set in. Was I doomed to a life of singleness? Was something wrong with me? Was I hoping for it too much?
Questions, unfulfilled longings, and the struggles they bring filled much of my twenties. Well-meaning people made statements meant to encourage, which sometimes accomplished their purpose and sometimes brought unvoiced angst and frustration. After all, I believed God was in control. But what if his control meant my singleness? No thanks, Lord. Continue reading →
Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ, what is theologically called the Incarnation. God the Son, the Word, took on flesh and dwelt among humanity, being both fully God and fully Man (John 1:1-14). He did this to deal with our sin. The sole purpose of his birth was to grow up and die, thereby dealing with the darkness of sin us that separates us from the Light of Life (Matt. 1:21; Luke 2:11; 24:45-47; Isa. 9:2-6; 53:4-12; Jn. 1:9-13). Yet rarely have I stopped to consider the magnitude of the fact that Jesus did not appear on the scene as an adult or fully developed. Continue reading →
Next week Fox will première its latest series Almost Human. Set in the not-so-distant future of 2048, the story will follow Detective John Kennex – a cop who lost a partner, leg, and stability in life; and Dorian – the ‘synthetic’ (i.e. android) who’s assigned as John’s new partner, possessing the unfortunate flaw of emotions. Full of special effects, cool gadgets, legitimate actors, and a promising plot, Almost Human has the potential to be truly entertaining and worth watching. But how should we watch this new show?
If the trailer and extended scenes are any indication, Almost Human will dive into serious ethical and existential questions, offering up answers in the process. Therefore, we need to practice wisdom and alertness in how we watch and interact with what the show communicates (this applies to all TV shows, by the way). Three questions immediately stand out that deserve our awareness. Continue reading →
Having recently begun pursuing a master’s degree in bioethics it has come as no surprise to me that I now see bioethical issues and topics wherever I go. Whether it’s the rise of sex-selection abortions in India and China, Syria’s use of chemical weapons, the continued controversy of Obama Care here in the US, the pros and cons of embryonic stem cell research, or my use of caffeine as a stimulant, I’m confronted with the reality that we live in a world that must daily deal with the ethical implications surrounding life’s beginning, end, and desire to flourish.
Yet this bioethical reality is predominantly ignored by most of us. This is partly understandable in our day and age when we’re bombarded by more issues we can legitimately process on a personal, local, and global scale. We have enough to worry about. Why concern ourselves about bioethical issues on top of everything else? We can leave those topics to the few scientists, ethicists, and theologians it impacts.
Unfortunately, ignoring today’s bioethical challenges is not a viable option. While we may not have the ability or time to fully understand all the issues at hand or delve into their details, we all need to be aware of them and why they matter. Specifically, there are three broad reasons why bioethics matters. These reasons are deeply interrelated, yet also stand alone. Continue reading →
Yesterday Relevant Magazine published an article entitled 11 Questions Every Twentysomething Should Ask. Written by Paul Angone, the premise is that as twentysomethings leave college and fully enter adulthood there is a lot of confusion on where one is headed, or where one wants to go for that matter. Angone writes,
“Often, the question of ‘what now?’ plagues us in our twenties like chickenpox. The more we scratch, the worse it itches. The overwhelming vagueness of ‘what am I doing with my life?’ can crush us like the bully who sat on our head in third grade.”
The article must have hit a nerve, because it’s been shared over 5,000 times since being published yesterday afternoon. Having just left the terrible twenties 113 days ago, I can testify that my twenties were full of more confusion and questions that I ever would have imagined. Some of that confusion has not left now that I’ve hit the magical age of 30 either. Looking back over the past decade of my life, I agree with Angone that “if we don’t ask the right questions, we will forever remain stuck.” Where I disagree with Angone is in discovering the right questions to ask.
The 11 questions every twentysomething should ask “to be successful,” while not wrong in and of themselves, nevertheless are not the right questions to be contemplating. Each question posed rests upon a me-centered philosophy of life rather than a God-centered philosophy, which concerns me coming from a Christian magazine. Unfortunately, much of my confusion in my twenties wasn’t because I thought too little about the ‘me’ and ‘I’ questions; it was because I thought too much about them.
Rather than go through each question in the Relevant article and explain why I disagree with its overall message, I’d like to share 12 questions I wishevery twentysomething would ask to find true purpose and success. These are questions I’ve learned to ask myself and ones I wish I asked more often. Continue reading →
God and Evil (GAE), published this year through Intervarsity Press, is a book that deals with possibly the hardest questions humanity faces no matter one’s religion. Why is there suffering? Why is there evil and pain? And if God exists and he is good, how can we reconcile this with the evil we see and experience? The reality that people have wrestled with these questions for centuries demonstrates that in every generation we need men and women to reword the question and possible answers in modern-day vernacular for those who struggle to reconcile what they believe about God with what they experience on a daily basis. This is where GAE comes into play. After getting a feel for the books’ big picture and attention to detail, I was surprised at my final reaction. It’s a book I highly recommend, with only one word of caution. Continue reading →
In a recent article that has spread like wildfire through social media, Rachel Held Evans discussed on CNN why millennials are leaving the church – the evangelical church specifically. Evans, who identified herself as a millennial in the article, expounded on why we see the current trend of 20 something and early 30’s leaving the church.
It is not my wish to critique the strengths and weaknesses of Evan’s argument; others have done so in great depth and with real insight (see links below). Rather, as an evangelical millennial myself I want to comment on a recent trend I’ve noticed within my heart and life; one that played out in Evan’s article. I’d like to offer a few lessons learned on disillusionment to those of my generation who resonate with Evan’s critique specifically. Continue reading →
One common objection formed against Christianity is the idea that Christians abandon intelligence and knowledge in favor of unreasonable, blind faith. If Christians really thought through and questioned what they believe they’d see that there is no intellectual basis for their faith. Yet instead of embracing reason, Christians choose to blindly cling to their beliefs, willfully disregarding knowledge in the process. This is a serious objection that deserves a thoughtful response.
Are Christians anti-intellectual? Do we sacrifice knowledge on the altar of blind faith? As a Christian, how do I respond to these objections? Continue reading →