My father died 42 years ago last week. The anniversary gave rise to various emotions — a little sadness, of course, though we’ve had time to get over it — but chiefly I thought about how much he has missed.
There is a very unpleasant little bug going around. It’s like the flu or the bubonic plague or something. It causes fever, makes breathing a chore, and makes one abnormally stupid. And I’ve got it. Which means that this would be the perfect time to run the “evergreen” column in this space. What is an evergreen column? Well …
“He was crucified,” the Apostle’s Creed declares. As the Church has confessed these three words pointing back to a day that seemed anything but “good” two millennia ago, we recall the most unjust, horrid execution of all time.
Last week, Brad Edwards looked at the New Scientist’s claim that religious beliefs such as the rise of “New Calvinism,” is a mere survival reflex we are biologically disposed to. The potential problem he pointed out with the claim is that it assumes that a biological survival mechanism must be irrational. Christianity claims otherwise.
At the Last Supper, Jesus demonstrated how the Kingdom faces her enemies. He could easily have exposed Judas. Even as soon as Judas began embezzling from the treasury shared by the group, Jesus could have acted, because He knew. He did not act.
“A poem should not mean, but be.” So said one of the great poets of the twentieth century, Archibald MacLeish. Meaning is important – direction and description are crucially important to life, but few people are motivated by “meaning” alone. The cliché about actions speaking louder than words gets at the heart of it. Luke seemed to know that quite well and he applied that lesson in the Book of Acts. As we begin the Lenten season today, it seems an appropriate time to meditate on the growth of the Early Church.
The idea of faith is one that gets caricatured in the modern world. In part, that stems from misunderstanding. What happens behind that word “faith” is not easily explained to our liking. Ed Hurst writes on the starting point of faith, laying a foundation of understanding.
It’s enough to give you a headache.
A few years ago I was working on a book with Dr. Morris E. Chafetz, and in the course of conversation he said, “Maybe time doesn’t really exist. Maybe it’s just something we’ve created for our own convenience.” As a child of the space age, I’d heard speculations of all sorts and now, with a book to get out, I didn’t see where we had time to discuss it. “Yeah, maybe,” I replied.
There was no way to tell whether the old fellow thought he recognized me or would have begun the conversation with anyone who happened by. Nor, really, did it matter. Our meeting outside the store on one of the warm days week before last began with his question. “What do you think of that tomb of Jesus they say they found?”
I have written in the past about various challenges in evangelical Christianity centered around history and memory, or the lack thereof. We as Evangelicals have often slunk towards ahistorical views, and this is exactly the last thing people need today. Perhaps a turn back to traditional forms in worship can help the problem.