Why Atheists Think Christians Are Arrogant

Eric E. Wright:

Here is an exceptionally clear and helpful post.

Originally posted on A Christian Worldview of Fiction:

Preaching God's wordMy post today is actually in response to a comment from an atheist on another site. We had a brief exchange of ideas, and in his last comment, he said I shouldn’t bother responding because he wouldn’t be reading on that thread any more. Then he repeated his charge that I, like other Christians, am arrogant.

This individual isn’t saying anything I haven’t heard before, but it’s not a charge I’m willing to accept in the context he’s delivering it.

As it happens, I am arrogant—it’s a part of my sin nature which causes me to be deceived into thinking I’m better than I am, more truthful, more intelligent, more kind-hearted, more . . . you name it, and I’ve probably thought it if it puts me in a good light.

But that’s not the arrogance I, and other Christians, am being accused of. Rather, the idea is that because…

View original 973 more words

Spreading Sunshine not Gloom

Originally posted on Country Inspiration:

These November mornings I find myself taking longer to wake up and shake off the aches and pains of arthritic joints. I hobble down the hall into the kitchen, fumble with the coffee maker then collapse on my overstuffed armchair content to ease into the day slowly—very slowly. It’s downright annoying and quite humiliating. Where did the vigor and energy go that had me jumping out of bed to embrace a new day while I sang the hallelujah chorus? Okay, maybe my memory is a bit cloudy here, especially when it comes to singing anything.

If I let myself, I could easily feel as gloomy as the yard outside the window looks. Leaves litter the grass. The flowers are shriveled husks. The deciduous trees are bare, except for some beech and oak whose leaves hang on longer. I face another day of November rain or early snow with four…

View original 318 more words

Fallen Leaves and Learning Patience

Originally posted on Country Inspiration:

November winds and rain have torn most of the leaves off our trees. The maples and aspens, the ash and ironwood stand stark and bare. Only the oak, beech and, of course, all the evergreens cling to their leaves.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe fallen leaves will increase the humus that enriches the forest soil in the years ahead. A wise neighbour has a sign by the road, Leaves Wanted. He obviously understands the potential that too many of us waste. He must be a patient man.

The production of humus and compost takes time, lots and lots of time. The production of character takes even more time—and patience. Sometimes we are too impatient with our children or with ourselves. Why am I making the same mistake again? Why haven’t I yet learned to trust God, to stop being anxious, to give thanks in every circumstance, or to know unshakeable peace?

Our impatience…

View original 349 more words

A Season for Aches and Aging?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASummer and fall is a wonderful time of harvest. Apple season came as sweet corn season wound down. Some vegetables, like beans, carrots, cucumbers, and Swiss chard seem to do well throughout the summer and into the first weeks of fall. Other crops are short-lived: strawberries, cherries, blue-berries, and our own lettuce. Every year I look forward to real field ripened tomatoes which don’t become available here until late July. But the seasons quickly pass.

The wise author of Ecclesiastes tells us that “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven…a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot…a time to weep and a time to laugh”(Eccl. 3:1,2,4).

This is certainly true of the seasons of the year. It’s also true of the seasons of life: childhood, youth, marriage, family, career, retirement. There is a time for leisure and fun. But a time for aches and pains, for wrinkles and balding, for sleepless nights? It’s called aging. No matter what creams and treatments we use, we can’t do more than disguise it. Oh, sure, the good health care we enjoy in the west and the nutritious foods we eat have contributed to putting it off a little longer. But aging is inevitable.

And yet aging is hard to accept. I look with nostalgia and a little envy at the energy of younger people; those who can play tennis with verve, hike all day, andOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA climb mountains. Right on, I say. Enjoy it as long as you can. I used to walk fast, hike through dense bush and climb steep hills without pausing for breath. Now I have a replacement knee and a miscellany of other conditions—some rather benign, some more serious.

There are always exceptional people who laugh in the face of aging. My jaw drops open when I watch some ninety-year old run a marathon. Along with everyone, I celebrate his or her achievement. But when a whole gamut of gurus imply that we could all share his health if only we subscribed to a certain regimen of supplements or exercise, I shake my head. Oh, is that so? Take this vitamin or that? Eat more kale? Can we really neutralize the effects of aging? Are we all nothing but the product of our lifestyle? Are there no differences between us? Can we really escape the inevitability of our DNA? Of course, the gurus are making lots of money pretending we can.

Sorry, I’m a skeptic. Now, I believe in eating nutritious natural foods including lots of fresh vegetables and fruit along with exercising as much as possible. I believe in postponing the inevitable as much as any. But! And this is a big but. There is also a time to accept the reality of our fragile humanity. The quicker we accept actuality, the happier we will be.

Why? Because we are fallen creatures, along with everything else in creation, creatures who have inherited decay and deterioration as a result of the space-time fall from innocence. With all creation we groan as we wait for Christ to return to remake our fallen world. “Our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us….the creation was subjected to frustration…in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of Colour across a hay fieldGod…we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption our bodies”(Romans 8:18, 20, 21, 23).

So, instead of grinding our teeth in the face of the inevitable, let us lift up our eyes as we look into a future that is as bright as the promises of God—a future in which our body will be transformed like Christ’s body, free from pain and aging. And until that day, let’s accept the season we’re in.

Blooming Out Of Season

Two months after the rest of my shasta daisies had ceased blooming, almost overnight a lone daisy poked up its cheerful head. What led it to bloom as the days got colder and shorter? The blooming season for flowers in this part of Southern Ontario is ending. The hostas are wilting. Even the petunias look the worse for wear. The fall mums have lost their sunny sparkle. We’ve had a frost and a week of rain without much sun. And still my solitary daisy blooms!

This single daisy reminds me of people who bloom in difficult circumstances.??????????????????????????????? Most of us can rise to our potential when we have a good job, reasonable health, supportive friends, and regular sleep. When everything is sunshine and roses we can smile and whistle a happy tune. But that’s not so easy when cancer strikes, or gossip destroys our reputation, or the Taliban besiege our town, or we face an impossible task.

There’s the cheerful woman in her late 90’s who still comes to prayer meeting, cracks jokes and loves to spread a ray of sunshine around her retirement home.

There’s Diana, beaten, molested and told she was stupid and worthless who after kicking her addiction to drugs cajoled government to help her develop successful businesses for ex-psychiatric patients.

I’m reminded of Thomas Edison who kept on experimenting through hundreds of failures until he perfected a light bulb.

I think of children who remain hopeful even while going through chemo-therapy and worse.

Consider the survivors of the Muslim attack on the Northern Nigerian town of Yelwa that killed 75 in their burning church building. Despite threats the surviving Christians boldly rebuild their church.

What about the young woman fighting against the tide of despair to rescue Ebola orphans in West Africa?

Then there is Malala, shot and almost killed by a Taliban a sympathizer just because she stood up for the right of girls to be educated. Undeterred she continues to agitate world-wide for universal education. A worthy recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.

I think of the retired pastor who earns enough during the year to travel half-way around the world so he can encourage persecuted Christians and train pastors.

What of the scores of Chinese, Ethiopians, Koreans, and westerners who ignoring warnings about Muslim terrorism go to spend and be spent in dangerous parts of the world. Against all rational odds, SIM has more missionaries from more countries now in the challenging mission field of Pakistan than it did when things were much easier.

Second Timothy 4:2 exhorts preachers and teachers to, “Prea???????????????????????????????ch the Word; be prepared in season and out of season.” Clearly, we need teaching about God’s grace in Christ when things are going well lest we become complacent; and when we plunge into difficulties lest we be discouraged.

Whether we are preachers or not, we should all aspire to bloom in every season by displaying the godly characteristics of love, patience, kindness, joy, peace, gentleness, faith, and goodness. Indeed, Lord, help me to bloom like that daisy even during dark and cold days.

Color My World Autumn

Sumac

Sumac

Many in our northern latitudes find autumn their favorite season. For a couple of months the countryside exchanges a large part of its green wardrobe for gowns displaying a profusion of colours. The countryside is a giant canvas. The Divine Artist gradually fills in the mural with subtle shades here and splashes of color there. As the weeks pass, the canvas becomes more and more vibrant. By the way, it’s not Jack Frost at work or Mother Nature but the Creator Himself. Even plants like the sumac, which some consider a nuisance, get in on the act. As if afraid to be overshadowed by the scarlet frocks that towering maples don laterin the season, the sumac heralds its place in this drama by dyeing the fringes of the roads and fields with crimson.

White Ash

White Ash

Next come the stalwart ash, first displaying subtle shades of beige and rust before donning brilliant gowns of plum and wine.

The leaves of beech and oak, which often cling to their branches throughout the winter, paint their trees with hues of fawn and brown and taupe that gradually turn to gold.

Trembling Aspen

Trembling Aspen

Part way through this seasonal drama, the Divine Tailor stitches up a gown for the aspens and poplars composed of a dozen shades of yellow–flaxen, lemon, saffron, amber. All in preparation for their autumn dance.

Meanwhile the Artist on High has been tinting the maples, most dramatic of the trees, with every colour in His palate from lemon yellow to bright orange and scarlet.

Throughout the fall, pine, cedar and spruce maintain a background of rich green to set off the multi-hued pigments of autumn that wash the fields and woodlands with bright color.

Sugar Maple

Sugar Maple

As the season develops, commentators keep us abreast of where and when to visit our woodlands to catch a glimpse of this yearly display. And so, throughout Eastern North America, city dwellers abandon their grey city haunts to tour the lakes and forests of New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Ontario, and Quebec.

The wind blows and the leaves begin to fall OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAleaving windrows of fading colour all along the verges of field and roadway. No human artist can hope to best the skill of the Creator. And this yearly exhibition is free for any to enjoy. No wonder many view autumn as their favorite time of the year.

Where Have All the Butterflies Gone?

Monarch butterflyEvery summer we look forward to monarch butterflies flitting from flower to flower. But we’re now well into September and have seen only one or two. Days go by with no sightings. What has happened? It can’t be the lack of a food source near where we live. There’s lots of milkweed upon which the monarchs lay their eggs.

Not only monarchs, but other butterflies along with bees seem much diminished. And bees fulfill a crucial role as food pollinators. Why this decline?

Part of the answer is found in extreme weather; some recent winters have been unusually cold while some summers have been dry throughout much of the Texas and the mid-West of the US. These extremes have proven to be life-threatening for the fragile monarch.

However, the largest culprit remains our careless approach to the environmentHoney bee on fall mums. Certainly, the slow decimation of the monarchs’ preferred wintering ground in Mexico has contributed. But here in the rest of North America agricultural practice must also be considered. Farm fields used to be separated by fence rows where wild flowers and small animals thrived. Recently, most fence rows have been bulldozed into oblivion creating enormous fields with little space for natural species to flourish. Hence, throughout the plains, monarchs find less and less wild flower nectar for themselves and less milkweed upon which to lay their eggs.

Monarch Butterfly

Monarch Butterfly

Scientists tell us natural habitats face a perfect storm of environmental problems. The existence of so-called weeds, such as milkweed, suffer from the widespread use of herbicides which eradicate weeds that hinder the growth of genetically modified seeds. Pressure to produce high yields almost compels farmers get onboard this biotech nightmare.

Added to this threat to plant diversity is the widespread use on engineered insecticides. These new generation pesticides effectively control sucking insects, some chewing insects, soil insects, and are also used to control fleas on domestic animals. They increase profit but decrease biodiversity and threaten to destroy not only butterflies but bees as well. In a sense farmers are in a bind, under enormous pressure to use whatever means is available to compete world-wide.

Surely there ought to be national and international regulations about protecting ???????????????????????????????biodiversity. Neither monarch butterflies nor bumblebees nor chickadees nor sparrows seem very significant. They do not obviously contribute to GDP. But surely life is more than GDP? What about EDP, esthetic domestic product? After all wasn’t it Jesus who taught us about God’s care of the birds and delight in lilies and grass? (See Matthew 6:26-30) If He cares for them; shouldn’t we?

Sadly, most of us feel more devotion to the Almighty Dollar than we do to the Creator. But the Creator has made it clear, “the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof”. We hold land in trust, as His stewards. That means caring for the earth not thoughtlessly exploiting it.