God and Evil: The Case for God in a World filled with Pain – a book review

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Image courtesy of Intervarsity Press

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

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Disillusioned Millennials

file0001440435941In 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

Are Christians anti-intellectual?

The ThinkerOne 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

Why the Prosperity Gospel angers me

941678_22182854The 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

Is Man of Steel a Christian movie?

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*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

C.S. Lewis: A Life, by Alister McGrath – Book Review

9781414339351_p0_v2_s260x420For as long as I can remember I the world of Narnia has captivated me. I have read the story of the Pevensie children and those that came after them literally hundreds of times throughout my childhood and into my adult years. I was the girl who consistently checked the back of her closet (I didn’t have a wardrobe) with the hope that I would meet Aslan or enjoy afternoon tea with Mr. Tumnus. I would offer up a brief prayer to God, reasoning that if he could do anything he could send me to Narnia, and then plunge behind my clothes. Sadly, I never got through, but I never gave up trying either.

As I grew older I discovered that the author of the Chronicles of Narnia, C.S. Lewis, wrote many other books, both fiction and non-fiction. Lewis was already my friend through Narnia, and I grew to appreciate him on a deeper level as I read his other works, such as: Mere Christianity, The Space Trilogy, An Experiment in Criticism (less popular, but one of my favorites), God in the Dock, and Miracles. Lewis quickly became my literary hero. He communicated in ways that resonated with my intellect and my imagination.

It came as no surprise that when Alister McGrath – one of my apologetic heroes – chose to write a biography on C.S. Lewis entitled C.S. Lewis: A Life, I waited eagerly for its publication and then for my copy to come in the mail (thanks Amazon). Having studied under McGrath in Oxford – Lewis’s long-term and my short-term home – made my excitement all the more palpable. Into my hands in Wisconsin came a book about one of my favorite people, written by one of my favorite people, located predominantly in my favorite city. Continue reading

Of Mermaids and God

165919_5884Awhile back I was amused to see that the BBC had a news story entitled, No evidence of mermaids, say US government. According to the article, a broadcast on mermaids, which was a work of fiction, was mistaken as a documentary. This led to people questioning if mermaids actually existed, and the National Ocean Service stating, “No evidence of aquatic humanoids has ever been found.” While mermaids have been a part of mythology across the centuries and in various cultures, they are nothing more than characters in ancient stories.

Of Mermaids and God

It hardly seems newsworthy to point out that there is no evidence of “aquatic humanoids.” Obviously they’re a work of fiction, a myth! Yet the more I thought about it the more I realized that this is the same way many people approach God’s existence – it’s outrageous. I can almost see an article saying, “No evidence of a Supernatural Being has ever been found.” He’s a myth that’s been passed down through the centuries. He’s just a character in an ancient story.

But is this the case? Is there “no evidence of God?” Is the belief in God similar to the belief in a mythical aquatic humanoid? Continue reading