The price of free thinking

thThere is a serious tension between how to think and what to think.

Lois wrote us after reading yesterday’s Catch, “As a Christian and an educator, I know how you felt, John. It is heartwarming to find young people who think. Sadly, most schools are teaching information and not critical thinking. Blessedly, I have three homeschoolers who are intelligent thinkers. Praise the Lord!”

Yes, indeed, however there is a price to be paid for teaching any level of critical thinking.   Continue reading

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‘Cogito ergo sum’

René Descartes  "I think, therefore I am."

René Descartes
“I think, therefore I am.”

I ran into Chandler the other day at the Koffee Klatch — the local coffee hangout in town where I often go to write. Only this wasn’t our Chandler; it was another Chandler; actually the only other Chandler I’ve met since we named our son fifteen years ago. I’ve always been surprised at that. Being that Chandler was one of the friends of the very popular TV show by the same name, I thought there would be a rash of Chandlers. But that hasn’t been the case.

This Chandler is a college student at Biola College headed for graduate work at Loyola Marymount University. Meeting this Chandler was like uncovering a time capsule. Continue reading

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The kingdom of God

th-10One day the Pharisees asked Jesus, “When will the Kingdom of God come?” Jesus replied, “The Kingdom of God can’t be detected by visible signs. You won’t be able to say, ‘Here it is!’ or ‘It’s over there!’ For the Kingdom of God is already among you.”  (Luke 17:20-21)

Isn’t it just like us to always be trying to locate what’s already here? We want definitions and labels. We want sides to take so we can be over here and everyone else can be over there. We want lines in the sand. We want to organize. Continue reading

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The Gospel According to You

Your Picture HereWe’ve got so many of these — the Gospel According to Peanuts, The Simpsons, Biff, Mary Magdalene, and of course, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. But of all of them, aside from the actual Gospels in the scriptures, the greatest of them for each one of us is our gospel. Think of it as the Gospel According to You. Continue reading

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Living in the lowlands

“Here’s to fragility and recognizing the treasure that can be found living in the lowlands in the place where faith and doubt, courage and fear, surrender and struggle, bravery and timidity and belief and unbelief happily intermingle and coexist quite nicely without needing to cancel one or the other out totally.”

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The quote above came from Robin Frost who was empathizing with me after one of last week’s Catches. Robin is one of our regular readers who sends me comments from time to time and I always think when I glance at the name that I am getting an email from a great American dead poet. But that’s Robert. However, Robin waxed poetic in this comment that I think captures the reality of where we all live all the time. Continue reading

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The dark and lonely closet of regret

No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God. Luke 9:32

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When you begin to step out into your dynamic future (see yesterday’s Catch), regret becomes something tied to your static past that no longer serves a purpose. Regret, like guilt, is useful only as a passageway to something better. Regret is good in that it gets us to agree with God over what we have done wrong, but it needs to quickly be eclipsed by God’s forgiveness and hope, counting on the new creation that we are in Christ. You regret something only long enough to change. Any longer and it becomes a bondage to one’s past. Continue reading

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Don’t let your past control your future

Photo: Gunnar Simonsen

                                                                                                                Photo: Gunnar Simonsen

I learned something very important yesterday. It’s one of those commonsense realities that when you hear it, it seems so obvious you wonder why you haven’t thought about it before. In fact, when you hear it, you think, “Big deal; I know that.” But the more reflection you engage in, you realize that you may know it, but you are not acting on it. Indeed, you are acting on something quite the opposite. Continue reading

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We are all together

th-4Over the years I have had the incredible privilege of traveling and sharing the ministry with so many different people in different environments representing different systems of belief and traditions of faith, and the overwhelming conclusion I have come away with in every case, is not how different, but how much the same, we are. Even those who on the surface may appear to be enemies — some of them carrying a history of conflict over certain theological differences or cultural disagreements— with deeper understandings, these differences fall away. In every case, among groups who are supposed to disagree, I have found agreement. Continue reading

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