Optimistic or Alive?

A number of scholars have commented on Augustine’s “pessimism.” The label has also been attached to Martin Luther and John Calvin who shared Augustine’s belief in Original Sin. That is, they all affirmed the Bible teaching that humanity died in Adam. So that no one has spiritual life without new birth. Jesus supported this when …

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Unity

What do we make of unity? Unity is celebrated in the Bible. As in the unity of marriage. Or in the broader call to the unity of “one faith.” Brotherly unity is elevated in Psalm 133. Yet the impulse for unity is more than a Bible theme. We love to be part of something bigger …

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It’s all OK

“Nothing is too hard” for God. God reminded Jeremiah of this just after he warned his prophet of the coming destruction of Jerusalem, where Jeremiah lived and ministered (see Jer. 32). And with this warning God also promised a time to come when Jerusalem would again be restored. Then everything would be OK. God, after …

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A new view of life

Last week I was with a church outreach in Guatemala. We used an autorefractor supplied by Global Eyeglass Ministries to examine eyes of hundreds of local Guatemalans. And with that we also had many used and donated eyeglasses to match needs through a computer program. Once we had a match we gave the eyeglasses as …

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The Reunion

Yesterday I hosted a reunion for some Bible college friends from my undergrad years. We shared stories that only old and dear friends can enjoy. We also laughed and had some near-to-tears moments. But what have we learned over the years? Two things stand out. Humility. And values. Let me start with the values. Years …

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Above and Below

I often watch Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) shows like Nova and American Experience. Or in the UK I’ve turned to BBC Four for similar programming. And in both settings I expect to find droves of programs with one common quality: a view “from below.” It’s also true of public education. We don’t find teachers today …

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Divine favorites

What if an angel were to say this to you, “O man [or woman] greatly loved, fear not, peace be with you; be strong and of good courage.” Wow—“greatly loved”—what a tag! It’s a greeting given to Daniel three times in Daniel 9-10, first by the angel Gabriel and then by another heavenly speaker who …

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The paper mill

I live in a paper mill town. For decades Camas was infamous for the fragrance it shared with its neighbors. No one for miles around could escape us if the wind was blowing their way. But that’s changed—new process scrubbers have made a huge and happy difference. Yet another worse sort of pollution is still …

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The most human human

With family, friends, and neighbors it doesn’t take long for our failings and fantasies to show up. We’re regularly exposed despite our efforts to inflate strengths and hide weaknesses. And as constant performers who stumble on steps, miss lines, or say things out of order, others notice. So we cover with a quip, “Just being …

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His Presence

Do we long for God’s presence? King David wrote in Psalm 27 about the “one thing” he wanted in life. That was “to gaze on the beauty of the LORD …” Later in the same Psalm he wrote, “You have said, ‘Seek my face.’ My heart says to you, ‘Your face, LORD, do I seek.’” …

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