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Posts Tagged ‘Faith’

According to Christianity Today yesterday…

Mark D. Roberts is one brave evangelical. After rolling his eyes upon hearing of a new iPhone app that prepares users for the Rite of Penance, the Texas-based pastor decided to try Confession: A Roman Catholic App for $1.99, and lived to write about it.

Mark was impressed…

“I was chastened,” admitted Roberts, who believes confession is “one of the most often disobeyed commands in the whole Bible.” While using the app is certainly not requisite, he said, if it “helps some Christians examine their lives and confess their sins, either to the Lord alone or to another in God’s presence, then I can see benefit.”

And Christianity Today comments…

We believe the confession app generally points Christians of all stripes in a helpful direction. For one, it asks them to turn inward to examine broken patterns of thinking and feeling, thus preventing a rote faith that relies solely on priests to deal with sin. The app also chastens the believer who thinks he’s on his merry way to sanctification. As the iPhone is ever before the user, helping him manage e-mail and to-do lists and travel routes, so those pesky but piercing questions are ever before him, hopefully inciting the same sorrow over sin as the psalmist’s (Psalm 51:3). And, as good evangelicals, we welcome most any new technology that could introduce a generation to Christ and spur believers’ growth in him.

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Top 10 unanswerable questions…

Ask Jeeves “Top Ten Unanswerable Questions”  – see yesterday’s blog – has been picked up by BBC website.

“What is the meaning of life?”, “Is there a God?” and even “Do blondes have more fun?” – these are apparently the world’s trickiest questions.

Interesting that the post starts with two eternally significant questions before going on to blondes, but then spends most of the rest of it discussing why the mystery of whether Tony Soprano did or didn’t die…

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Saved by an Atheist

I get a daily e-mail from Christianity Today Direct. Often it seems just too American to me, but occasionally I find an article that sparks my interest. Such a one written by Rob Moll arrived last Wednesday.

I became a Christian again during my last year of college. After years of wrestling with God and doubting his existence, I had an intense, spiritual epiphany that seemed to change my life instantly. The following day, though it sounds hokey to say so, the grass looked greener, the sky bluer. Ordering coffee that day from a complete stranger, I nearly burst into tears. This is another child of God! I thought to myself. What a shame I’m handing her cash instead of praising God with her.

That moment was unlike any I’ve ever since experienced. Suddenly, and without words, I knew that God had said to me, I AM. Nothing more, just I AM. With those words, God told me that he cared enough about me to reveal just this little bit about himself. I AM. It answered none of my questions and gave no explanation for God’s five-year absence in my life. But those words were enough. I could say with Peter, “You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.”

There were a number of people through whom God worked before that revelation. Yet the biggest influence on my spiritual journey was the novels and philosophy of Albert Camus, a French existentialist of the 1940s and ’50s—and an atheist. C. S. Lewis warned, “A young man who wishes to remain a sound atheist cannot be too careful of his reading.” Camus should have been safe territory for me, but as I like to say now, I was saved by an atheist.

Several other comments and quotations grabbed my attention:

“If there were no God, there would be no atheists,” said G. K. Chesterton.

CS Lewis, once an atheist, describes his old tutor with respect that he might not have accorded the New Atheists:

Introducing one of his tutors, Kirkpatrick, in Surprised by Joy, Lewis calls him an atheist, but hastens to qualify the description: “He was a ‘Rationalist’ of the old, high and dry nineteenth-century type. For Atheism has come down in the world since those days.” In his science fiction novel That Hideous Strength, Lewis developed a character based on Kirkpatrick and included him among a small group working to save the world from evil. Maybe Lewis simply harbored fondness for his teacher, but I suspect he saw some spiritual hope in the old man’s atheism.

And finally Rob discusses the very unhelpful response of youth pastors to young minds struggling and wrestling with valid questions:

Atheism is a creature of Christianity. My turn away from God came at a time when I had questions about my faith. My pastors and youth group leaders, rather than hearing out my questions, prescribed more intense devotions, more fervent prayers, and further exclamations of biblical truth. My friends who wandered from the faith faced similar prescriptions. Our questions were heard first and foremost as a desire to flout the rules and to sin without compunction.

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Intensive Care Week

Philip Yancey wrote a few days ago in Christianity Today: he subtitled the piece…  Thoughts while sitting beside my brother as his brain and body failed

My brother’s life did not end this summer, but in one terrifying week of progressive strokes, his brain shut down much of his body. On a Friday, he began experiencing vision problems. The following Monday, he drove himself to the doctor, who sent him in an ambulance to a local hospital. On Tuesday he spoke sometimes clearly and sometimes in gibberish. Wednesday he could walk but lost control over his right hand and arm. By Thursday he could not stand and failed to follow simple commands. An MRI showed significant brain damage.

It somehow struck a chord with me. Since my four month sabbatical started at the end of October last year, three aunts have died, a spiritual “uncle” passed away and a number of friends have died either suddenly or in stressful circumstances.

Read the rest of Philip Yancey’s post here.

The Bible has words of hope and encouragement in such situations…

And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have die so you will not grieve like people who have no hope.  For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died.  1 Thessalonians 4:13-14

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