- “No, I haven’t prayed about this—it isn’t that important, after all.”
- “I don’t want to bother God.”
- “I’m sure God has more important things to take care of than my little problem.”
Have you ever heard someone say any of these things? Have you?
As finite human beings, it is difficult for us to conceive of an all-powerful, omniscient God. We get overwhelmed—people constantly make demands on us, our calendars are full, and we just don’t have the time or energy to deal with every little issue that comes up. Moreover, when we’re so swamped ourselves, we have a hard time caring about the minutia of other peoples’ lives. Let them deal with their own problems—we have enough of our own.
I’m married to a man who loves the truth. It shows in his deep commitment to God. It pops up in his appreciation of civil but “vigorous” discussion. And it definitely appears in his penchant for researching and analyzing complex problems, be they technical or social. He has a compulsion to dig in and uncover the facts on any controversial issue, rather than simply going along with whatever hype the news media is currently pushing.
Of course, facts are always subject to interpretation. But one thing I appreciate about Pete’s approach is that he tries to separate the two—making a distinction between what is known to be true, and his opinion about it all.
Every day we read about more violence in the Mideast. Everyone seems to hate everyone else. In spite of decades of negotiations, cease-fires, and truces, the battle continues. Palestinians, Jews, Arabs, Christians. Can they live in peace? It seems that no matter what we do, the problem is unsolvable. We pray for the peace of Jerusalem, but do we really expect an answer?
Pete and I enjoyed a real treat this week—getting to sit down with some long-time friends to hear what God has them doing now. Bob and Kathryn Carlton are the kind of people that you can’t resist. Meet them for the first time and an hour later you’re best friends. Perhaps that’s because no matter where they go, they fall in love with people. Put them in Tibet, and they love the Tibetans. Put them in Burkina Faso, and they love the people there. That kind of love is irresistible!
One of my good friends read my “Bait and Switch” article and wrote me a thoughtful email about another kind of bait and switch that has become a significant issue in the church. She gave me permission to fill out her thoughts; the resulting collaboration is today’s post.
There is another bait and switch—not pulled off by God, but by the church—that is weakening the Body and causing dissatisfied “customers.” We, the evangelical church, are “selling” the gospel as merely therapeutic, rather than as the Good News it truly is.
A friend emailed me this morning, distraught that he’d been unfriended on Facebook because of some comments he’d made defending Christianity. I didn’t find his remarks all that offensive—unfriending seems a rather extreme reaction!
Then there was this week’s news that North Korea has banned the import of any products with shapes or logos resembling a cross. It’s not just religious articles or symbols—the ban includes men’s neckties and women’s hair pins!
At first glance, these two events seem to have little in common. A closer look suggests that the same emotion underlies both—fear. Let me explain.
If there was ever a Holzmann family signature dessert, this would be it: buttery whole wheat biscuit, mounds of sweetened whipped cream, and far more luscious, red strawberries than strictly necessary. It’s filling enough to make an entire meal, and at times (usually on Father’s Day) we’ve considered it one.
The story behind this amazing feast is from the 1970s. Teenaged Pete decided to ride his bike the 30+ miles to his aunt and uncle’s home in upstate New York. When he finally arrived, hot and hungry, a plate-sized strawberry shortcake was waiting to reward his efforts. I could tell from the way his eyes lit up every time this landmark event was mentioned, that creating a repeat performance would be enthusiastically welcomed. So I did. And it was.
If you’ve paid much attention to advertising, you’re familiar with the old “bait and switch” tactic. You know the scheme—the ad in the paper features a hot used car for a ridiculous price, but when you show up to buy it, you learn that it was “just sold”—but here’s another one, only a bit beat up and for a lot more money than you’d planned to spend. Would you like to go for a test drive?