Monthly Archives: November 2014

Why Atheists Think Christians Are Arrogant

Here is an exceptionally clear and helpful post.

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…

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Spreading Sunshine not Gloom

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…

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Fallen Leaves and Learning Patience

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…

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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.