Book in Review: The Vanishing American Adult

As a 24 year old, I have long observed a general lack of maturity both in myself and in much of my generation. We may be able to get married, have children, and even purchase homes—but the vast majority of us lack traditionally “adult” qualities. This can be observed in the amount of money we spend on a monthly basis, the amount of time we spend playing video games and scrolling through social media, the avoidance of responsibility, the lack of work-ethic, the fear of long term commitment, the general softness and entitlement that characterizes us, the “self-centric” view of life we possess…etc. I could go on, but I will spare you.
We, and I include myself in this pronoun, have a big problem. We are not growing up. And that means America has a problem.
Senator Ben Sasse writes The Vanishing American Adult to address this problem and to give a few keys to break free from this forever young, “Peter Pan” syndrome. His tone throughout is not the “get off my lawn” old man rhetoric that you m…

Informing Emotions

Yesterday's broadcast of Ravi Zacharias's "Just Thinking" was excellent. So excellent that I decided to put a link here for your enjoyment. It is about the need for us as Christians to inform our emotions. Why? Because emotions fluctuate daily, for some of us hourly. Sometimes we feel the Lord's presence and respond with joy, and other times--we don't feel anything. And while a religion that does not manifest itself in the emotions in any way is likely not genuine, a religion that is founded on emotions alone will quickly collapse, for it rests on sinking sands.
This is an area that I personally struggle with, as my personality is one that is apt to grow melancholy or gloomy surprisingly frequently. Ravi reminds us that while "feelings are a vital part of our being" we must always "condition them and bring to them information". So while we may be predisposed to feel a certain way by personality or even circumstance--we have no excuse. We mu…

Cast your bread upon the waters

Ecclesiastes 11:1-6 Ship your grain across the sea; after many days you may receive a return. Invest in seven ventures, yes, in eight; you do not know what disaster may come upon the land. If clouds are full of water, they pour rain on the earth. Whether a tree falls to the south or to the north, in the place where it falls, there it will lie. Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap. As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things. Sow your seed in the morning, and at evening let your hands not be idle, for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well. ***
Ecclesiastes is an interesting book of the Bible, a book which my young adult group has just completed a study on. The Preacher in Ecclesiastes has undergone a thorough deconstruction of things most valued in his time. His findings are sobering,…

Book in Review: "The Prince"

The Prince is a short classic where author Niccolo Machiavelli looks at lessons learned from political leaders (princes) of the past and looks to give some advice for an aspiring price.

I will begin by saying: Machiavelli is not known for his morals. He sports a pre-Nietzschian “will to power” philosophy in which the expedient, self-advantageous option is always the right one. For Machiavelli there is no undergirding philosophy to which he is fastened to. There is no absolute ideal to which his prince is to daily strive. There is only power. There is only the acquiring, preserving, and expanding of your kingdom by any and every means necessary. Cruelty and deception are no worse than compassion and justice—as long as it serves your personal aims it is a tool to be used.

Such pragmatism is a brutal philosophy that has assailed the human race for as long as there have been humans. It also sounds to me like an exhausting, miserable way to live; not to mention quite contrary to a Biblical w…

Be Real with It

Stories are powerful things. I was encouraged this past Sunday at church as several members stood up in front of the congregation to share what God has been doing in their lives. What followed from one person in particular was a personal story of severe brokenness and addiction—and how the church and the gospel of Jesus Christ never let Him go.
I think it is important that personal stories of Jesus’s victory over the chains of sin are shared frequently in the church. More frequently than is common. Too often we dress up in our “Sunday bests” and put on our happy faces when we go to church. We clean ourselves up; and ensure that everyone sharing our last name looks good and is on their best behavior. There, of course, is nothing wrong with cleaning up and looking good for church, and I am quite thankful the people who sit next to me in church don’t smell too bad! The problem is the motivation: Why are we so concentrated on putting our best foot forward when we go to church? While some …

Life Change

So, I am going to be a father. Montana and I announced on social media a few weeks ago that we are expecting a third member of our family this November. That is what we call a big change. One might even call that life changing.
We are both excited, a little scared, and Montana at least, has been really sick for the past several weeks with nausea and dehydration. We have since got her on some medication so she has been doing better this past week as she enters her second trimester. Life is coming at us the only way life knows how to come: fast.
Bring it on.
My wife will tell you that I am a slow guy, and generally big life changes and major risks freak me out. In a perfect world I would like to know everything at a minimum 5 years prior; that way I could then comfortably prepare for the next chapter of life. If I could somehow catch a glimpse of 2022 I could see what sort of job I would have and make the necessary preparations today. If I could peer into the crystal ball and see myself se…

Book in Review: "Endurance"

Imagine being sentenced to months of polar exposure with nothing but seal blubber and penguin steaks for food. Your sleeping bag is perpetually wet. Your last remaining pair of clothing is continually soggy with ice water. Imagine further still being over a thousand miles from any remnant of human civilization, left on a God-forsaken pack of ice without any hope of being found. Your only chance at survival is to hope your ice flow drifts close enough to one of the Southerly islands, where you and your crew can make a mad break for it in three 20 foot boats--on the roughest, most unpredictable seas in the world.

Yeah, count me out.

Yet this was the sentence of Ernest Shackleton’s 1914 expedition that got stuck for months (and who's boat eventually was crushed to bits) in the Wendell Sea. As the journey homewards follows, every discomfort, every breaking wave, every stormy gale—becomes a desperate battle between life and death. The crew must face it all: the frostbite, foot amputation…