BRILLIANT AND BEAUTIFUL BLOG

Politics, Hatred, and Leeches

images-1You might hear around our house: “Monkey see, Monkey do.” So often children learn by watching. If I burp at the dinner table, our nine-year old, without missing a beat, summons a guttural barrage of belches. As he grins from ear to ear, is hard for the rest of us (my wife excluded) to keep from laughing. This reinforces his conviction that burping at the dinner table is acceptable. The point generalizes. What is modeled in the home, the athletic fields, and in the public square finds expression and embodiment in a watching generation of young men and women.

God the Most Joyous Being in the Universe

imagesWe humans are a bit cranky. We upset easily. To share some painful examples from my recent past: I pick the wrong line in the grocery story causing me to become impatient and resentful. An unexpected meeting invades my plan for the day. Anxiety fills my heart. I feel unjustly attacked and return the favor by being rude to some undeserving victim. There is a daily struggle in my heart, a tug-of-war between self-assertment and surrender to Another. I long for wholeness. I long for the “fullness of joy” in God’s presence (Psalm 16:11). More often, my heart wanders from God, seeking solace in small things, created things, which will not ultimately satisfy.

Two Questions about Story

Unknown-3Story draws us in. When life becomes too difficult or we need a break from its monotony, we escape to some other story (hence the strength and all-pervasiveness of the entertainment industry). For me, it is a real treat, after a long day of teaching, relating, studying, and writing, when I pick up a book or Ipad and lose myself in Gilead, Iowa (Marilynne Robinson), medieval Germany (Novalis), or modern day Gotham (following the exploits of a younger James Gordon and Bruce Wayne). These are the cities and towns I currently walk through story. Next week, no doubt, I will have moved on to other times and places, losing myself in tales of adventure, intrigue, injustice, hope, longing, and love.

How To Cultivate a Quiet Soul in a Busy World

images-1Busyness masks our insecurities. We rush. We want the quickest line in the grocery story, instant access to our news and movies, information at our fingertips, and food served hot and fast. We hurry to accomplish things and when we do, we don’t have time to savor the triumph because we’ve got to hurry to prove ourselves again. (I particularly relate to this with respect to academic publishing. By the time an article publishes I’m already researching the next project, needing to demonstrate again my prowess as a philosopher).

Why a Theology of Food Beats a New Year’s Resolution

images-1Barely two weeks into the new year and I blew it. Ugh! I hate dieting. As my wife and family will attest, I have a huge sweet tooth. When the sum total of my intake for the day is a green smoothie, a couple apples, and some crackers, it is hard to resist the temptation to binge when the late afternoon hunger hits. Rules don’t help: “watch what you eat, count your calories, exercise daily, blah, blah, blah.”

My Favorite Books of 2015

images-1Developing intellectual virtue in an Internet age challenges me. The beep, swish or yelp of an incoming email, Facebook message, or the favoriting of a Tweet constantly pull my eyes, and with it, my heart, into the mediated world of the smart phone.

Christ my past, present, and future

Unknown-2As a Christ follower, I am not defined by my past failures. Nor am I defined by my present projects. My hope is not in my future accomplishments. The good news of the gospel—the greatest possible story of the world—is that I am part of something much bigger than myself. Christianity is true, and so I find the source of all truth in Christ. Christianity is good, and so I find the source of all goodness in Christ. Christianity is beautiful, and so my heart is filled with joy as I become captivated by the glory of Christ.

Apologetics as Dance

images-1In this sound-bite age, engaging in thoughtful dialogue with others about issues that matter most is difficult. We lack patience. We want morsels of knowledge packaged in 240 character epigrams. Rarely do we know what we believe about God, the world, or self. Even more rare is knowing why we believe what we believe. For those of us who are Christians—and know what this means and why it is true—the question becomes: how does the gospel get a fair hearing in the age of Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram? How can we engage others in a conversation about things that matter most in such a way that progress is made toward truth?

You are what you see

images-1Do you struggle to find wholeness under the banner of Christ? Do your thoughts, actions, and emotions so often work at cross-purposes with each other? Does sin hamper your life and pull you down? Are your attempts at self-improvement short-lived and unsuccessful? If you answered yes to any of these questions, perhaps it is time to consider what fills your vision and captures your heart.

God and Logic Part 2: Do Laws of Logic Have Divine Attributes?

Unknown-2In my critical thinking class, in addition to learning the minutia of validity and invalidity, we are also exploring the relationship between God and logic. Needless to say, this is a topic that most standard textbooks on logic or critical thinking neglect. It is for this reason that I assign Vern Poythress’s book Logic: A God-Centered Approach to the Foundation of Western Thought. In this book Poythress includes 10 chapters reflecting on God and logic (insert: cheer and excitement here). While I appreciate the attention given to the issue, I often find Poythress’s treatment overly simplistic and, and at times, confused.