We’ve made a mistake in how we understand the Christian life. Kate Bowler hints at this in the title of her recent book: Everything Happens for a Reason: And Other Lies I’ve Loved. We’ve fallen in love with some lies.
This blog is dedicated to exploring one of the ways that we’ve misperceived the nature of the Christian life. We’ve lost any sense of our earthly sojourn as long, hard slog.
As Christian puts it in Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress:
“To go back is nothing but death; to go forward is fear of death, and life everlasting beyond it. I will yet go forward.”
Let’s be honest with ourselves. The Bible never promises anything other than struggle, hardship, and a continual need to die to self in order to be live to Christ.
There is joy of course.
But it is the joy that comes from the shared experience of journeying together through highs and lows and in a heavenward direction. The liturgical calendar reinforces for us that this is the nature of our spiritual journey.
So. Let’s begin to explore the nature of the Christian life together and see if we can deepen and widen how we understand the life of faith.
I don’t know what you think about online education or online church. Whenever I’m around professors I sense a general skepticism toward online education.
The recent failure of the University of Texas’s online education pilot project raises concerns over the economics, but faculty are more often concerned about how the lack of classroom interaction and community affects the educational experience.
This book by Stephen Lowe and Mary Lowe is a fascinating assessment of the possibilities for both education and church. In short, they argue that a hybrid model–actual and virtual–can facilitate spiritual growth and genuine transformation:
“When we engage in online Christian education through mediated instruction, we are simply tapping into the existing spiritual communion of believers made possible by the ministry of the Holy Spirit, much like Paul did when he wrote letters to churches from whom he was separated and could not visit in person…. Both online and face-to-face learning experiences contribute to student development in their own unique ways.”
Read more here. Interview begins at p. 17
Here’s an interesting exercise in cultural interpretation. Here are two image grabs from news websites. The first is CNN and the second the BBC. What do you notice?
Screenshot of CNN.com 2/21/18 at 4:56pm
Screenshot of BBCnews.com 2/21/18 at 4:57pm
News of Billy Graham’s death at 99 is covered beneath the fold at CNN. There’s a single story with no photo. It’s eminently missable.
At the BBC, however, Billy Graham death is above the fold and there are two stories with accompanying photos.
Why the difference?
The world does not need another jerk. You know it. I know.
It’s kind of become a mantra for me. Any time I’m find myself getting impatient, frustrated, or just plain annoyed, I remind myself that the world is already full of unpleasant people. And I’m not aware that anyone’s life has ever been changed for the better because they were yelled at.
At its worst life can seem like a series of interaction with jerks.
You don’t need to add to the queue nor do I.