Gentle Selfishness

800px-Narcissus-Caravaggio_(1594-96)_edited A classic novel I’m reading had that phrase in it, describing a character’s personality. The old man was not evil, malicious, scheming, or even mean: he just had a gentle selfishness.

The kind of behavior we usually think of as selfish is obvious: lying, cheating, stealing, hurting, etc., to get what we want. Everyone recognizes it for what it is. But a gentle selfishness, because of its very gentleness, is subtle, deceptive, and far more difficult to detect than the blatant kind. Often, it is in adults. Everyone is born selfish, and children clearly express this, often learning more gentle forms of the sin as they mature and realize that crass egotism is both conspicuous and socially unacceptable. Continue reading

The Fog of Normalcy

Chicago-Illinois-USA-skyline-fogOne of the amazing abilities that human beings have is the ability to adjust to circumstances to the point that, after a while, they feel normal. That’s why people can live in the arctic: after generations, the bitter cold and dark/light cycle feels normal. It’s why babies eventually eat solids: after weeks of gagging on pureed rice or veggies, they realize that this is normal, and they adjust. This ability is how people do amazing things every day (like parent and wake up to an alarm clock and live in New York city) that we otherwise would not be able to do.

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When Divorce is Good and Holy

775px-Yury_Pen-Divorce Why is infidelity so rampant and pornography so prolific in the evangelical church?

Is it in part because we fail to see lawful divorce as good and holy?

Here is a not unheard-of scenario in the life of the church: a wife discovers the devastating, sickening reality that her spouse is an adulterer. The husband is either engaged in a physical affair with someone else, or virtual, pornographic affairs with multiple others. The betrayed spouse calls her elder or pastor. The leadership of the church steps in to provide shepherding, counsel, and discipline. Continue reading

God’s Justice in Christ

owen In the penalty inflicted on Christ for sin, God’s justice is far more gloriously revealed than in any other way. To see a world made good and beautiful, wrapped up in wrath and curses, clothed with thorns and briers, made subject to vanity and in bondage to corruption; to hear it groan in pain under that burden; to consider legions of angels, the most glorious and immortal of all creatures, cast down to hell, bound with chains of darkness and kept for a more dreadful judgement, and that for one sin; to see the oceans of blood spilt on account of sin will give some insight into God’s justice and righteousness. But what is all this to that which we see with the spiritual eye in the Lord Christ? All these examples are but worms and of no value compared to God’s justice seen in Christ. Continue reading