By the time we got home, I didn’t care about Bevin or Trump anymore. I didn’t care about obnoxious football fans. None of it mattered. I felt perfectly content, at peace with God and the world. I’d tapped into something sublime.
Humans, by contrast, mainly aren’t like God. Left to our own devices, we incline toward arrogance, self-delusion, selfishness, dishonesty and cruelty. Sure, we’ve got good points, but we prefer self-destruction.
I praise the Lord for public schools. Daily, they perform God’s work. That’s why I’ve been troubled at recent attempts by our governor and some — although not all —Republicans in our state House and Senate to malign teachers and underfund public education.
On the face of it, the Easter story is ludicrous. And that’s not just my opinion. In fact, two millennia ago, writing to the church at Corinth, even St. Paul called the tale of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection “foolishness,” and referred to himself and his companions who preached that story at enormous personal cost “fools for Christ’s sake.”
I have my own non-scholarly ideas about why religion often betters poor people’s lots. I think, most religions place a strong emphasis on what we might call clean living. And, by its nature, religion offers hope to the hopeless and purpose to the purposeless.
Many evangelicals expect Jerusalem to become the center of the world’s attention during the period leading up to Jesus’ return. Some say the Jewish temple will eventually be reconstructed there. Some say a cataclysmic world war will may erupt in the process.
Whether we’re Christians, Jews, Buddhists, agnostics or secularists, a key part of our spiritual development consists of having our self-delusions gut-stomped out of us. “As long as you are proud, you cannot know God,” C. S. Lewis wrote.
What set Graham apart from many religious leaders — in addition to his being one of the great orators ever to stand behind a pulpit — was his willingness to admit his faults, reject them, learn from them and grow.
People aren’t supposed to die in their 40s. But recently, a young woman I know did. Her family was in shock. I felt shocked, too. I find that when people come face-to-face with their own death, or they’re watching the person they love most die, those with faith receive two transcendental benefits.
While I’m no expert on public healthcare, I’m reminded that our culture warriors seem to display dueling philosophical assumptions about the causes of and solutions for poverty. This Medicaid debate might be just another manifestation of that binary disagreement.
I draw column ideas from all manner of sources. And I trust that at times the still, small voice whispers things to me that might touch the heart or the hurt of a stranger 100 miles away whom I’ll never meet.
For the umpteenth time, I’ve undertaken to pull together the genealogy and inherited stories of my own family. I hope to compile this into a privately published book I can pass down to my grandchildren, so they’ll know who they are and where they came from, if they ever care to read it.
Here, in no particular order, are characteristics that distinguish healthy religion from unhealthy. If your own house of worship exhibits too many signs of bad religion, look for a different group to join.