The Christian Mind: Narrative

We’ve spent time in our past few essays laying a proper foundation to discuss Christian morality. Bottom line, any moral claim is an appeal to an authority beyond ourselves. By saying something is either right or wrong, we are claiming there is an ultimate standard by which human conduct is judged — what we called in our last post a Moral Authority.

In other words, you can say you do not like or prefer someone or something. But the moment you declare someone or something wrong or evil or unjust, you are imagining a standard beyond yourself. Continue reading “The Christian Mind: Narrative”

The Christian Mind: Authority

A relative of mine on Facebook a while back was taken up by the news of Caitlin Jenner (formerly Bruce Jenner) having undergone surgery to become a female. The topic in the news at that time was whether it was appropriate to still call Caitlin “Bruce.” My relative felt strongly about the topic and posted the following:

Come on, people! It is 2016! If anyone of my Facebook friends insists on calling Caitlin Jenner ‘Bruce,’ tell me right now so I can unfriend you.

This, in many ways, represents what we might call the New Morality in America: Passionate, vocal, somewhat angry, more than just a bit self-righteous, and completely self-assured of its moral superiority. Honestly, I thought that was the Church’s job. Continue reading “The Christian Mind: Authority”

The Christian Mind: Right

In our last post we explored whether it is wrong for moral values to be imposed upon society. This is an important question because in our day, there is this idea that no one’s values should be imposed upon anyone, much less society. To do so is to commit the modern-day mortal sin.

But the idea that moral values should not be imposed upon others — especially that we should be protected from others imposing their moral values upon us — is itself a moral value. This demonstrates what I called in our last post Newton’s Third Law of Belief: For every objection to the imposition of belief, there is an equal and opposite viewpoint imposing its own belief. Continue reading “The Christian Mind: Right”

The Christian Soul: Interlude

In our previous discussion on Christian spirituality, we took up the topic of obedience, and then proceeded to demolish any semblance of freedom we might be entitled to under the guise of “our freedom in Christ.” It was rather unfair of me, actually.

So before we launch into our discussion today, I would like to state plainly that I am all for freedom and like most have a part of me that fears its loss. That part of me imagines a life whereby I am denied every choice till I am left with nothing but the worst version of myself.

But there is a fear greater, and it is a life lived without purpose and destiny. We must be honest: Freedom has its limits. I am sure my friend Citizen Tom would agree that the purpose of freedom is not freedom itself, but what freedom is able to achieve. The country in which I live is based on the ideal of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. But even in that single phrase, we find liberty (that is, freedom) does not make a good solitary traveler: It must have companions. Freedom follows life, and it yields to pursuit. Continue reading “The Christian Soul: Interlude”

Maybe Life Is Not a Problem

I awoke the other morning with a thought too good to be my own. It was the type of thought that sheds light on all your other thoughts, even thoughts you have been thinking without even knowing it, as morning sunlight might do to your back lawn, revealing the toys left out the night before.

As the thought too good to be my own (which we shall return to shortly) rose up within me, one such toy thought it revealed was this one:  The goal of life is to solve problems.

The problems of life for the modern-day Christian are many. First, there is the problem of living in a manner so as to be perfectly acceptable before our Creator. Then there is the problem of living in a manner so as to be maximally blessed, which has its own set of sub-problems, such as the problem of walking in divine health and divine favor, and also the problem of walking in divine financial prosperity.

Then there are the problems of everyday life (in case you think the above ones are not about everyday life) such as how to find a mate and have a good marriage, how to raise godly children, how to communicate effectively, how to avoid worry, how to be a good leader, how to break free from destructive behavior and addiction — and so on.

Life has so many problems, it is reasonable to think that the goal of life is to solve them. It is reasonable to think of life as sort of a super-problem, consisting of a matrix of smaller problems, all designed to challenge our problem-solving abilities. And that our highest calling before God is to do so.

Especially when one consider the modern three-point sermon, and the vast selection of Christian blog post titles out there, such as:

  • 5 Tips for Overcoming Fear about the Future
  • How to Make Right Decisions
  • How to Break out of a Victim Mentality
  • 8 Steps for Walking out of a Poverty Mindset
  • 5 Ways to Stop Discouragement from Getting the Best of You
  • The Number One Way to Get Unstuck in Life

Yes, life is a problem, and God is the problem-designer, and we are the problem-solvers. And God’s deepest desire is that we get better at solving problems. And the better we are at solving problems, the more of God’s blessing we experience. For solving problems is what it means to be fully human.

As opposed to solving problems being merely the means by which we become fully human.

That was my thought at least. As I have mentioned already, I was not aware I had even been thinking it. It wasn’t as if I had heard it in a 3-point sermon or read it in a recent blog post. None of my fellow churchgoers had uttered it to me in passing conversation. It was just there, in the cadence and activity of the modern church body, each member focused on figuring out how to get more of God to improve their lives.

But then the thought too good to be my own rose up within me, in all its simplicity: Maybe life is not a problem.

Maybe life is not a problem to be solved. Maybe the purpose of life is not to solve life’s problems. Maybe the purpose of life is something else entirely.

But in life, there are problems. And those problems cannot — should not — be ignored. What do you mean, maybe life is not a problem? For me, life is certainly a problem. And I am hell-bent on solving it!

So I said in my heart. But as I sat pondering this new thought, I realized there is a big difference between life having problems and life being a problem.

If life merely has problems, then we are — and life itself is — more than the problems we solve. We are called to something greater than solving problems. Granted, we might have to solve problems in this life. But we only do so that we might be in a position to fulfill the real goal of life —that we might be fully human.

But if life is a problem — that is, we see the goal of life as figuring out how to master God’s laws and principles that we might live most successfully — then solving problems becomes our purpose. Our highest calling before God becomes being really good problem-solvers.

Maybe life is not a problem to be solved. Not only this, maybe the problems we encounter in life are not even ours to solve. Maybe life is such that the problems we face are solved while we are focusing on something else.

While I was caught up with the thought too good to be my own, I saw a picture. It was the body of Christ spread across the whole earth. And when the world looked upon it, it did not see a people diligently trying to figure out the problems of life. It saw instead a reflection of Himself. From greatest to least, each member a uniquely created expression of all that He is, and all that He hopes to be, to a lost and dying world.

So lift up your eyes, child of God. Beyond your problems, and all your efforts to to solve them. Your destiny lies beyond.