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becoming conversatioanl

Jesus had a wonderful ability to talk with outsiders. A woman who’d gone through five husbands. A religious leader fraught over his daughter’s health. An officer in the imperial army of occupation. A rich and influential young man. Jesus was so good at engaging outsiders that He was popular at dinners and parties. Religious people, however, dismissed Him as a friend of drunks and sinners. Read More…

social media deception

Social media styles itself as a great way to connect with friends. Facebook Live advertises: “If you have more to say, take out your phone and press this (Facebook icon), tap this (video camera icon) and go live. Now you’re not alone. Your friends are here to listen.”

Only they aren’t. Because the more you’re on social media the more lonely you are.
Read More…

escaping the goolag

Google has been getting some bad press. They deserve it. And more.

Most everyone’s heard about the Google programmer who naively trusted his company’s motto, “Don’t be evil.” But then his
10-page memo critiquing the company’s diversity policy which mandates “Unconscious Bias” training, began circulating beyond Google. James Damore abruptly discovered the most evil thing any Googler can do (that’s really how they identify their employees) is to criticize the mother-ship. Read More…

defining evil, part 2

Before the deadly events at Charlottesville are flushed away by our 24-hour news cycle, a reflection. The week before Charlottesville I observed that neither philosophers nor theologians have developed a widely accepted definition of evil. Rushing in where they fear to tread, and adhering to Albert Einstein’s desire that explanations be as simple as possible, but not simpler, I offered my own definition of evil.

Evil views death and/or destruction as a solution. Read More…

Bible translations

Why are there so many different translations of the Bible? The cynical answer is, Bible translations are money-makers. To be sure, every few years a few fragments of ancient manuscripts come to light. But not since the Dead Sea Scrolls in the late 1940’s (which included only Old Testament books) has a trove of Bible manuscripts appeared. Yet translations keep popping out.

Allow me a heretical claim. Almost every modern translation of the Bible is quite acceptable.
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defining evil

Why evil exists is a hard thing. If there is a God who is good and omnipotent—if He is the loving heavenly Father, why does He tolerate evil? And, what exactly is evil? We may know it when we see it, but we usually recognize evil only after it has produced some horrible harvest. It often isn’t readily recognized. Nazi Germany was awarded the 1936 Olympics. Cambodia welcomed the Khmer Rouge as liberators. Read More…

God is. The Trinity

A classic question asks, “If god is completely complete in and of himself, if he is totally fulfilled, fully self-sustaining, lacking nothing; then why does anything exist beyond god?”
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justice or something

Last week the Prime Minister of Canada issued a formal apology and ordered the Canadian government to pay $8+million (10.5million Canadian dollars, although Canada refuses to disclose the amount officially) to Omar Khadr. Mr Khadr previously pleaded guilty to tossing a grenade that killed Sgt Christopher Speer, a US Army Delta Force medic. Another American soldier, Sgt Layne Morris was partially blinded in the attack.

No court anywhere ordered this action. What prompted
Prime Minister Trudeau? Is this about justice? Or something else? Read More…

the simple and the gentle

In the classic The Legends of King Arthur and His Knights, characters carry a myriad of often antiquated titles; kings, queens, sorcerers, barons, knights, maidens, squires, damsels, etc. Still, I was surprised to discover that in the legend every character fits into one of two broad classifications: the simple or the gentle. Even more surprising was discovering a king could be among the simple and a servant among the gentle. Read More…

wonder woman

In two weeks the latest super hero movie earned $435million internationally. More than a little controversy spiced up traditional Hollywood promotion of the Wonder Woman movie. October 2016 the United Nations designated Wonder Woman an honorary ambassador, a publicity coup for some marketeer and all-too-revealing of what the UN is all about—symbolism over substance. Just two months later the UN dismissed their ambassador for the “empowerment of women and girls” due to protests from Muslim nations. Read More…

memorial day

The bugle call Taps is played by the US military at dusk, and at military funerals and commemorations. Perhaps the most famous playing of Taps was at the 1963 funeral of President John F. Kennedy. This bugle call was arranged in 1862 during the US Civil War by Union Army General Butterfield. Within months it was being used by both Union and Confederate armies. In 1874 Taps was officially recognized by the United States Army.

There are lyrics to Taps. When sung they are, like the simple 24-note tune, both calming and haunting: Read More…

disagreement & charity

This past weekend graduates walked out of Notre Dame’s commencement when Vice President Pence began his speech. By all accounts they protested respectfully, departing quietly. They acted out of disagreement with some policy of the Trump administration, likely immigration policy. Critics said students should have heard-out Mr Pence, but Administration policies are readily available and widely known. So it’s unlikely the protestors acted ignorantly.

The apostle Paul initiated a meeting with those who disagreed with him. And give them credit, they accepted.
Read More…