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 →
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 →
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 →
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 →
The Prosperity Gospel gets a lot of hype – both positive and negative – in evangelical circles. Let’s be honest, who doesn’t want to believe that Jesus wants us to have our best life now or that by trusting him all of our problems will disappear? Who doesn’t want to pay their bills, have a nice house, be healthy, or live in peace? Many Christians have experienced the physical blessings of God in Christ, and that is something to rejoice over and sing about.
Yet is this prosperity truly the focus of the Gospel message? Is this what Jesus came for; is it why he died? The theology of the prosperity gospel has always bothered me intellectually, but recently is has also angered me experientially, sounding like a clanging cymbal in the midst of difficult circumstances. It has been the joining together of theological reflection and experience that has caused me to take seriously the danger which the Prosperity Gospel presents. There are five key areas where I see this gospel being theologically and experientially untenable, undermining the true beauty of hope in Christ. Continue reading →
*Spoiler Alert: Warning, this blog discusses specific, key scenes in Man of Steel.
This past weekend Man of Steel, the latest revamp of Superman, opened with great box office success. Having just returned from seeing the film I can say that I highly enjoyed it, both as a story and for its visual effects; though there were a few moments too corny for my taste.
Yet spectacular special effects and cheese aside, what intrigued me the most about the film were the rumors of strong Christological and biblical themes woven throughout the movie. One pastor has said, “When I sat and listened to the movie I actually saw it was the story of Christ, and the love of God was weaved into the story.” Continue reading →
My niece has reached the age where she can distinguish between telling the truth and a lie. Like most four-year-olds, she has tested the waters as she learns to navigate the trajectory words have on life. This has led to both serious discussions on why it’s important not to lie, and humorous moments as I’ve watched her process those lessons, applying them to her actions and to the actions of others.
Now, when my niece is uncertain about something I say, she will ask me, “Are you true?” I love when she asks this question; not only because it shows she’s learning to think critically and to seek the truth, but because there is a deeper question being asked, one she’s not even conscious of raising. Continue reading →
Living in the Midwest, the first days of spring, when the temperature stays above 40 degrees two days or longer, is a time of celebration. Coats stay in closets and t-shirts come out of drawers, while children and adults take advantage of the fresh air that won’t cause frostbite.
But this morning, as I went for the first of many warmer weather walks, the same mixed emotions that I experience every year at this time came upon me. The beginning of spring has always been a time of joyful anticipation and deep frustration for me. The rising temperatures and brighter sun awaken the hope and excitement of life. Soon everything will be green; flowers will be blooming; the sky will deepen to a cheerful blue that will eventually transform into a warm haze. But none of this has taken place… yet. The ground is still frozen; everything is still lifeless. The world is still draped in the browns, grays, and dreariness of death. And this always depresses me. I long for life, but instead I’m confronted with decay. Continue reading →
In Acts 4:12 it is said of Jesus that “there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” How is one to interpret this in light of the religious diversity and plurality we see in our world today?
Understanding the salvation claims of Christianity in regard to other religions has always been a challenge. There are two main approaches to this issue I want to discuss in this post. The first approach is religious pluralism, which states that all religions bring a different yet equally valid way of salvation. Humans are transformed from self-centeredness to being centered in the ultimate Real. The second approach sees Christianity as exclusive, or particular. Salvation is conferred only through faith in Jesus Christ. These two views have been in strong opposition to each other, particularly in our current diverse and pluralistic culture. Continue reading →