A Quiet Conversation About Purpose, Meaning, And Destiny

“Why do deities need supernatural tricks: A Rebuttal

115898_twins_1One day twin brothers were having a quiet conversation, and the meaning of life came up.

What do you suppose it’s all about? the first brother asked.

It’s about getting what you can in the here and now, brother two answered. There’s nothing else after this.

Seriously? His brother wrinkled his brow. You mean, when we leave, we …

Go into oblivion. What else could it be? I mean, when you’re gone, you’re gone. If you go first, I won’t see you again and vice versa.

It all seems so pointless.

That’s why you have to make every minute count while you’re here. Grab what you can. Live for the moment. Eat and sleep like there’s no tomorrow, because there really might not be one.

I don’t know. I have this feeling that there’s more.

Crazy talk.

No. It’s talk that makes me think there’s more. I’ve heard things.

What kind of things?

You know, voices. One especially. Over and over I hear, ‘I love you boys.’

Your imagination.

I don’t think so.

Look around. You see any mysterious person who might be talking to us?

Well, no.

All right then.

But why couldn’t this person, you know, be somewhere else and when we leave here we join them there?

Because there is no other place.

How can you be sure?

Do you SEE another place?

Well, no.

Case closed. If you can’t see it, taste it, smell it, feel it, or taste it, then it doesn’t exist.

You said ‘taste’ twice and you left out hearing.

Do you hear anything now?


All right then.

But I’ve told you, I hear this voice almost every day. Sometimes it even sings.

You’re losing it. And I’m stuck with a crazy for a brother.

Why is it so crazy to think there’s a world beyond the one we know?

Because you have no evidence, no proof.

I’m telling you, I do have proof. I’ve heard the voice of one telling me how much we’re loved.

That’s nothing but your wishful thinking tricking your mind into believing something that has no basis in fact.

How do YOU know there’s no basis in fact?

Show me this mysterious, invisible person. Where are they, huh?

Next time I hear their voice, I’ll wake you up.

Don’t bother. If I have a sour stomach, I can imagine things too. Hearing voices of invisible people is not proof.

Then what is?

How about an actual person, right in front of my face?

I don’t think it works that way. Somehow, I think we need to go to the I-love-you person, not the other way around.

You’re making this up.

No, actually I’m not. I’m on my way now.

And with that the first of the twin boys was pushed through the birth canal and born.

Published in: on May 24, 2013 at 5:20 pm  Comments (8)  
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Broken Cisterns

Cistern_getting_waterAccording to Wikimedia “a cistern is a tank for storing water, usually covered. It may be as small as a toilet cistern or large enough to be essentially a covered reservoir.”

God, through the prophet Jeremiah used cisterns as a metaphor to show His people’s relationship with Him.

For My people have committed two evils:
They have forsaken Me,
The fountain of living waters,
To hew for themselves cisterns,
Broken cisterns
That can hold no water. (Jeremiah 2:13)

696415_mountain_waterfallI don’t know about you, but if I were in need of water and had to choose between “living water”–the kind that flows freely, abundantly, cleanly–and water stored in a cistern, I’d take the former every time.

But God didn’t just accuse His people of choosing cistern water over living water. They were making for themselves broken cisterns–ones that couldn’t hold water at all. In other words, since we need water to live, they were abandoning the source of life in favor of their own empty effort.

What a great picture of Humankind’s attempts to make it without God. We dig and work and build and produce and save, but in the end we go out like we came in–alone.

Our own efforts to provide the love, security, purpose, sense of belonging that we all need, net us dry ground. Furthermore, one person’s attempt to do religion is no better than another person’s rejection of religion.

Water isn’t found in man-made activities. We can’t give up enough for Lent or fast often enough or even serve in homeless shelters often enough to get the water we need.

The Jews Jeremiah was talking to had left worship of the LORD their God and were serving false gods, made with their own hands. They couldn’t see how silly it was for them to pray to a statue that they had carved from a block of wood, one that could not walk or talk, and certainly could not give them Living Water.

But people in contemporary Western society aren’t any smarter. We think happiness will come if we just have enough money, just get the right job, just marry the right person, just have freedom or protection or safety or health. We go all in on things that are temporary, ephemeral, over which we have little control.

God tells us we can’t do it, that He’ll provide. But like little children we say, No, no, let me, I want to do it. So we’re hacking away to dig out these systems we think will make life make sense or fill up our loneliness or at least get us through to the weekend. It’s a sad way to live, trying to squeeze water out of the muddy mess we make.

Especially when we can turn and enjoy Living Water in abundance.

Published in: on April 4, 2013 at 6:42 pm  Comments Off on Broken Cisterns  
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Holding Life Loosely

holding plant looselyApparently humans have an innate survival instinct. Certainly celebrities have an obsession with looking younger than they are and sometimes a knack for acting more foolish than they ought to be (but that’s another subject).

I’ve seen a major change in our approach to doctors, too. It used to be you went to the doctor when you were sick. Then there developed an idea that you should have a routine physical. Now there’s almost an obsession (there’s that word again) with keeping track of our blood pressure and cholesterol and blood sugar and …

Then there are the things we shouldn’t eat, drink, or smoke and the things we should do religiously. All for the sake of adding years to our lives. This reminds me of a Woody Allen quote I heard recently:

Life is full of misery, loneliness, and suffering – and it’s all over much too soon.

The thing is, both sides of that equation are wrong. Life doesn’t have to be full of misery, loneliness, and suffering. Well, maybe the suffering. But for God’s child, we are never alone–the tag line Wayne Thomas Batson used for his Door Within books. It’s beautiful and true. We have the Holy Spirit living in us. How much better is that than what the people of Israel had–God coming into their midst in the form of a cloud or fire.

We know God through His Son, through the sacrifice He made on our behalf. The most notable thing about God, then, is the extent He went to in order to bring us near. He does not want us to be alone. Or miserable. His presence provides peace that surpasses understanding. His Person gives us joy unspeakable.

The suffering isn’t even the same when we have this relationship with God. Yes, we all lose loved ones and we all face death–in one way or another we all have or will suffer. But God doesn’t leave us without His strength to cope. He says in one place in Scripture, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you, and through the rivers, they will not overflow you.” Elsewhere he says when we stumble we won’t fall because He holds our hand. Then in David’s famous psalm, He says when we pass through the valley of the shadow of death He will be with us.

Which brings me to the other part of Woody Allen’s quote that he has wrong. It’s not over when it’s over. Death is the beginning of a new life experience, not the end.

When we understand this, we realize that we don’t have to cling to this life relentlessly or pretend that time isn’t passing. It is and it will and we can’t hold it back for the simple reason that our time is in God’s hands. He is the one who determines when we will pass from this life to the next.

It seems to me, if we try so hard to hold onto this life, our focus is in the wrong place. Paul says in Colossians

Therefore since you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things on earth. (3:1-2)

Of course the key is to have that relationship with God available only through Jesus Christ that makes it possible for us to experience His presence, His joy, His peace, and to look forward to the future, not some all-too-soon end.

“For to me, to live is Christ,” Paul said in Philippians, “and to die is gain.” What a difference the Savior makes!

Published in: on December 13, 2012 at 5:52 pm  Comments (2)  
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Your Body Your Own

“A woman has the right over her own body” has become a rallying cry for abortion advocates. But because a fetus is inside a woman’s body does not make that life a part of her body.

Anyone born without all the usual body parts is normally classified as disabled. Is someone without a fetus disabled? Certainly not, or all women who aren’t pregnant and all men would be in trouble.

In this day of liposuction and plastic surgery, women are exercising their rights to change their bodies. But how many willfully discard body parts? “I don’t like this toe, so I’ll chop it off.” Or, “Who needs that other kidney . . . think I’ll have it removed.” A woman keeps the parts of her body because she needs the parts of her body.

Not so with a fetus. Instead, the fetus needs her. She doesn’t gain nourishment from that growing baby. She gives nourishment. She doesn’t gain protection from that little one; she gives it.

When a woman decides to have an abortion, what she is really deciding is to remove the fetus from the safe environment in which this new life is growing, maturing, developing.

If someone were to remove an infant from the safety of their home because they didn’t want it, and that baby dies, we’d call it child abuse. When a pregnant woman does so, we call it legal.

Published in: on September 11, 2012 at 7:15 pm  Comments (1)  
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Inside I’m Crying

The batter swung a little early, pulling a little blooper toward third base. Cathy didn’t have much time to react, but as usual she had an incredible jump on the ball. Diving forward she made a shoe-string catch. But what’s more she had the presence of mind to regain her balance and throw to second, just ahead of the runner who was trying to scurry safely back. The play was still not over, however. Cathy and several other teammates directed the second baseman to tag out the runner coming from first who was unaware of that magnificant shoe-top catch. A triple play! Even for a junior high girls’ softball team it was the thrill of the year.

Cathy was one of the best athlete I coached. She had such natural talent–speed, strength, quickness, ability to jump, intelligence, and an innate anticipation and understanding of what was about to happen on the softball field and what to do about it.

But Cathy had something else that made her successful in areas off the field as well as on. She was willing to work. I would watch her day in and day out work just as hard in practice as she would in a game. She was also coachable, responsible, a team player–the kinds of things that bring college scholarship offers to a freshman in high school.

Besides her obvious success athletically, Cathy had a great sense of humor, she was a good student, and she became a beautiful young lady.

I’d have to say that my life is richer for having known Cathy.

Yet I had the chance to know Cathy only because of the courageous and selfless decision made by her birth mother. This girl–yes, girl, only thirteen, perhaps in middle school–became pregnant, and though abortion was legal, she allowed Cathy to have her chance.

It must have been a hard, painful decision–first to be so young and to be pregnant for nine long months. Then to give her baby up for adoption, never to have the advantages of mothering this child she had brought into the world.

But if this young girl, this child bearing a child, had not been willing to go through the hard times, I would never have known Cathy. Neither I, nor her adoptive mom, her high school coaches, her friends, her teammates. We would all have been the poorer if abortion had robbed us of Cathy.

Isaac was also a fine athlete. In his eighth grade year, he helped his coach lead the school football team from being a laugher to being a competitive unit with a winning attitude. Isaac was the stopper on defense. As middle linebacker he had the uncanny ability to read the quarterback and make the clutch interception or the big stop on a running play.

He was big and strong, quick and aggressive. And he was a character, a real jokester. He kept things lively both on the field and in the classroom.

But what a lot of people might not see right away was Isaac’s soft, sensitive heart. He was bursting with pride, for example, at the birth of his baby sister, blustery when talking about her, but soft and tender when he held her.

As Isaac matured, he began to use his lively personality in positive ways. He was a natural leader; his teammates respected his talent and intensity. And he became more serious about his school work and about his walk with God.

I feel privileged to have known Isaac, and my life is richer because of him.

But he, too, was born in the age of “choice,” when his birth was not to be taken for granted. His mother was a single parent, and yet she made the selfless decision to give birth to Isaac and the lonely decision to raise him. I can only speculate at the years of heartache she was willing to endure for the sake of her son.

And yet how unthinkable the alternative. If Isaac’s life had been snuffed out in the womb, I would never have seen his laughing eyes or known his gentle heart or appreciated his athletic prowess.

I cry inside for the millions of Cathy’s and Isaac’s that none of us will ever know because abortion has robbed us of their lives. Having known Cathy and Isaac, I have some small idea of how much we really are losing.

Published in: on September 10, 2012 at 6:38 pm  Comments Off on Inside I’m Crying  
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A History Lesson

Pro slavery Pro choice advocates believed believe that a landowner woman could can do with his her property body whatever he she wanted wants because slaves fetuses were are not persons
Nineteenth century America Twenty-first century America

Published in: on September 9, 2012 at 6:47 am  Comments (5)  
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