Neither the village idiot nor the village atheist escaped being socially marginalized in nineteenth-century America. Both distinct minorities, both pariahs, each faced discrimination, but where the village idiot was a gormless figure, the village atheist was often an intelligent threat to the religious status quo. The village idiot was gullible and harmless, the village atheist a sword in the side of Christian dogma. The idiot originated from bad genes, a simpleton often cruelly treated; the atheist hatched from choice and fiercely unwelcomed in American society.
Recent parallel and polarizing events in Europe and America have led to a rapid increase in urgency of claims that “We are in the last days!” and “Jesus is coming soon; we must get ready!”
Breaking News! Jesus has been coming soon for two thousand years; we should have been getting ready during that entire period, not just at the eleventh hour. That fact aside, what does "get ready" entail exactly? Travel insurance for our journey to Heaven? Some modest swimwear? Or maybe it is some form of doomsday preparation?
As a minister, one of the questions that tends to flutter through my mind is the credibility of my worship, public and private. I am wondering if what I call an act of worship reflects my personal worship experience. Lately, I am beginning to realize the importance of having an authentic personal relationship with God in relation to the meaning of worship. The more I continue my journey back to the heart of worship, the more I understand the importance of making it part of a lifestyle and not just a Sabbath morning service.
Recently, America elected Donald Trump. Objections to this have been duly noted.
As my friend David once told me, “Any situation or scenario in which Donald Trump is the president of the United States is likely to be complicated.”
However, one idea that some despondent liberals seem to have latched onto is, “Why didn’t Obama do anything?”
I would like to answer that.
Obama and Humanity
The heart of the wise teaches his mouth,
And adds learning to his lips.
Pleasant words are like a honeycomb,
Sweetness to the soul and health to the bones. Proverbs 16:23-24
An ungodly man digs up evil,
And it is on his lips like a burning fire.
A perverse man sows strife,
And a whisperer separates the best of friends. Proverbs 16:27-28
Why Wandering Deepens Your Faith
Christianity is in a transition, at least in North America. Some fear that the faith once delivered to the saints is being watered down with cheap grace or corrupted by bad doctrine. Any given week, one can find some preacher on the Internet declaiming the way other churches are giving in to low standards and abandoning cherished truth, all in an effort to be culturally relevant. But this is not the transition I see happening in the church.
Several brave people received their moments of fame in 2016. The film Sully was about Chesley Sullenberger, the pilot who landed a jet on the Hudson River in 2009 and saved all 155 people on board. I cried at the theatre as I watched Tom Hanks portray Sully’s methodical completion of the feat, and I marveled at his resolve not to leave the sinking plane until all passengers were evacuated.
Christmases of my childhood were magical and full of meaning. At the beginning of Advent each year, we dug special books out of the attic, and my mom read them aloud to my brother and me over and over again. From My Bible Friends’ Bethlehem story — “clip-clop-clip-clop went little donkey’s hooves” — to tales of lonely, misunderstood trolls wishing for someone to love rather than fear them. Each day we opened a window or door of our Advent calendar village.