Top 10-#10 Truth Is Truth No Matter Where You Find It...

Pilate asked, “What is truth?” Augustine said, “Truth is truth, no matter where you find it.” Well I thought he said it, but now I can’t find it. Nobody has a corner on the truth. We think we do, which is why we are so often willing to die for it. The problem with thinking we alone have the truth is that it can’t possibly be true. We all have limited perspective and experience. We can’t possibly know everything. This is humility. As a Christ-follower, I believe truth is found in nature, in the bible and in my conscience. I also think it’s found in paintings, great music, and pithy statements by people of insight. It’s found in pain, experience and wisdom. God likely speaks to you in many ways. Or maybe you don’t think there is a God or gods or anything bigger than you. Maybe you don’t even believe in truth. But I think you resonate with things that ring true, like justice, well-fed kids, spring flowers, stunning sunsets and freshly fallen snow. English author Algernon Blackwood (who died in 1951) wrote, “Let each philosophy, each world-view bring forth its truth and beauty to a larger perspective, that people may grow in vision, stature and dedication.” A guy named John once quoted Jesus as saying, “Know the truth and it will set you free. “ – (John 8:32) Look for it and you will find it. Truth is truth, no matter where you find it....

Top 10-#8 I Matter

According to astronomers, our galaxy—the Milky Way—contains up to 400 billion stars. You could fit a million of our earths in our sun; yet our sun is tiny compared to Eta Carinae, an enormous star that is a million times brighter than our sun. We are still finding planets and stars and galaxies. We are not even a spec on a spec on a spec compared to the enormity of the universe. So how could God manage the universe and still care about me? I am finite. Not only do I have a measurable beginning (birth) and end (death), I am very limited in my abilities. I have a finite capacity to multi-task, am terrible with details, forget stuff on a regular basis, and sometimes make bad decisions. I am only so smart; I will never be a brain surgeon or even a famous drummer. We often assign value to things that are rare. Gold and diamonds are considered rare (perception is everything), so they are expensive. People with unique abilities are looked up to because they are rare. Billionaires are a small minority. Twinkie snack cakes rose in value when it looked like they were going away. However, people are not rare. You only have to visit India or a big city to realize this. We are somewhere around 7 billion on the planet now. Wow, not rare. So how much value do I as an individual actually have? I’m not rare and I’m really, really tiny in the grand scheme of things. Imagine getting the most famous brains from history in one room: Einstein, Tesla, Jesus, Da Vinci, Polgar, Jobs, Neuton, and a few dozen others. Think of the brainpower you would have. Yet they would be limited. Imagine a being that...

Top 10-#7 God Is Not A Monster...

God has been misrepresented to many of us. As children we may have received a picture of God that is vengeful, boring, uncompromising, angry, arbitrary and narcissistic. As adults we were told clichés like, “God is trying to teach you something,” “When God closes a door, He opens a window,” and “You can trust God because he knows what’s going to happen anyway.” The problem is, these simplistic explanations for why stuff happens paint a picture that is limited at best and inaccurate at worst. God is often likened to either Frankenstein or Santa Clause. Frankenstein is out to get you. Santa Clause gives you everything you want. God is neither. What is your concept of God? Is it due for a makeover? Have you lost hope that God is knowable, touchable, relatable, and a best friend? Do you think he sits above with a really big stick ready to whack you every time you screw up? I often hear that people like Christ; they just don’t like Christians. I get it that the old testament of the bible is violent; it hits me every time I read it (as I have again the past few months). But as a communication scholar, I know there are pieces of the puzzle and context that have been lost on us thousands of years later. There is some great stuff there, but we don’t have the full picture. Despite my limitations to understand, I also see an image of God that is kind, patient, longsuffering, humble, persuadable, and more like a lover than a monster. Those passages are also there. Jesus is often looked up to as a model person. Even religions and philosophies that don’t consider him divine like him and think his teachings are beneficial...

Top 10-#6 The World is Complex...

Icebergs are beautiful. They can also be deadly (think Titanic). The thing about icebergs is that you only see a very small portion of the whole thing. Things happen and we try to understand. It’s human nature to try to fit life into our mental schemata; it’s how our brains are wired. We categorize things based on our personality and previous experiences. When things don’t fit, we assign explanations. We often assign false reasons because the world is too complex for us to grasp. There is no way we can understand everything. We say things like, “what a coincidence,” “the devil made me do it,” “it’s their fault,” and “God is punishing me.” I once heard an analogy that not only do we not see the tip of the iceberg, but we don’t even see the tip of the tip of the iceberg. Of course that is a metaphor for the complexity of life. There is a theory that to understand why any two cars pass on a road at any one time, you would have to understand the entire history of the universe. Why were they there? Why at that exact time? Why were they going where they were going? What kind of car were they driving? Who designed it? What kind of engineering limitations did it have? What was the condition of the road and why? Where did the weather come from? Why were those people even living in that place? Etc., etc., etc. You get the point. In my post, “Think Flexible,” I made an argument for viewing the world as flexible or open, as opposed to fixed. There is a world full of possibilities and complexities. For example, many people of faith pray. Then they assume the only influence on...

Gratitude

Watch this beautiful short by video artist, Louie Schwartzberg. He motivates us by getting up close with nature. The video celebrates life, love, beauty, art, nature, and especially people. It draws me to the one who made it all. Nature is incredible. People (made in God’s image) are even more spectacular. We and nature were made for our enjoyment and the honor of the highest Being. “You think this is just another day in your life. It’s not just another day, it’s the one day that is given to you, today. Its given to you; it’s a gift. It’s the only gift that you have right now. And the only appropriate response, is gratefulness.” Spoken word and music montage created and composed by Gary Malkin. Narration written and spoken by Brother David Steindl-Rast....

The Lost Art of Self-Reflection

For most of history, people got up with the sun and went to bed with it. Their worlds were very small, about as far as they could walk or ride a horse in a day. They heard the birds chirp. They were familiar with the stars. They were comfortable with silence and had time to think. That was then. This is now. In our busy world, we are always surrounded by sounds, demands, pressures and obligations. Silence and solitude are difficult to find. Being comfortable with our own thoughts is seemingly impossible. Everybody wants a piece of us. Before television, cars, electricity, billboards and city life (not to mention email, Facebook and all the overstimulation of the digital life), it must have been easier to engage in self-reflection. At least there weren’t so many distractions. I recently wrote about our need for holidays; we need the special ones as well as the  weekly ones some people call Sabbath. Those times give us pause to reflect on our lives. As a lay life coach, I pose four questions to new clients to help them reflect on where they’d like to grow. I encourage you to answer these questions for yourself. Also click the Rate Your Life link and score yourself on six life dimensions. As you reflect, you may learn some things about yourself and embark on a journey of growth, personal development and positive change. Questions: What are 1 or 2 things I think should be on the agenda for my life right now? If I could change one thing in my life right now, what would it be? What are the obstacles that are holding me back from reaching my potential in this season of my life? When I think ahead to 3 years from now, how do I want my life to be different?  ...

Finding God In Brokeness...

You can’t be satisfied. Life is difficult. You don’t know the secret. The Idolatry of God: Breaking Our Addiction to Certainty and Satisfaction is available here. Have you read the book? Post your thoughts below after reading...

Falling Plates

Interesting and though-provoking short film about life, death and redemption. We live in a world of broken plates. Watch it for the creativity and...

Jesus>Religion

I think there are millions of people who love God but hate religion. They find themselves embarrassed and loathing the task of defending the behavior of many people who call themselves Christians. If you haven’t seen Jefferson Bethke’s video, “Why I hate religion but love Jesus,” you have to see it. It hit 20 million hits in the first ten days it was on YouTube. It obviously resonates with a lot of...

Does God Think I’m an Idiot?

“God takes great pleasure in us living as we were meant to live; He even commands it in the Psalms: ‘Take delight in the Lord.’…Very few set out to live such a focused, beautiful life. Narrow is the way and only a few find it.” – Rob Bell in Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith.

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