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Showing posts from December, 2016

2016: A Milestone Year for Me

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It is that time of year again: the end of it. And 2016 was in many ways a milestone year for me. I accomplished two really critical steps that were necessary for me in my 23rd year:
Milestone #1: Move out of my parent’s house.
After graduating college I obliged my parents by moving back into the downstairs guest room to save some money and hopefully get a job. The Lord provided work and I began to chip away at my college debts. It was a great arrangement for the two years that I lived there—and the food was fantastic.
But once I had some money set aside it was becoming high time to grow up a little bit and move out. I was getting old, and living at home did not necessarily inhibit my natural inclination to slothfulness. So thanks to my Aunt and Uncle, I got a good deal to rent from them and quickly jump to milestone #2.
Milestone #2: Get married to Montana. I proposed to my wife October 30, 2015, so this was in the works for a while. Perhaps, my wife will argue, it was in the works fo…

Book in Review: "Hillbilly Elegy"

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"Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis" is an incredible story about a world I knew practically nothing about. And once I cracked it open, I could not stop reading.

J. D. Vance records the childhood challenges he faced growing up poor in Middletown, Ohio. He recalls his Kentucky hillbilly heritage, and the generational sins/demons it left in left in his inheritance. Make no mistake, the poverty deck was stacked against young J. D. His father would leave the scene and put him up for adoption at a young age. His drug addict mother would be married five times with a slew of boyfriends in between. Such volatility gave J. D. the merest of statistical chances of making it out.

But like any good story, J. D.’s had a hero: his grandmother Mamaw. To say it simply, Mamaw was crazy. She was crude, vulgar, and violent. At one point J. D. recalls a story of her making good on a promise to burn her drunk husband alive with gasoline—fortunately he made it out with only …

Entrepreneurial Christianity

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Luke 16:1-13 records one of the strangest parables ever recorded. Jesus says:
“There was a certain rich man who had a steward, and an accusation was brought to him that this man was wasting his goods. So he called him and said to him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your stewardship, for you can no longer be steward.’
“Then the steward said within himself, ‘What shall I do? For my master is taking the stewardship away from me. I cannot dig; I am ashamed to beg. I have resolved what to do, that when I am put out of the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses.’
“So he called every one of his master’s debtors to him, and said to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ And he said, ‘A hundred measures of oil.’ So he said to him, ‘Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.’ Then he said to another, ‘And how much do you owe?’ So he said, ‘A hundred measures of wheat.’ And he said to him, ‘Take your bill, and write eighty.’ So the master commended th…

Recovering Shame?

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A primary presupposition to Christianity is the understanding that you are a bad person. That I am a bad person. So bad, in fact, that we are each fully deserving of divine punishment through hellfire.
That presupposition has been accepted largely throughout Christian history, even by substantial percentages of the unregenerate. C S Lewis writes, “When the apostles preached they could assume even in their Pagan hearers a real consciousness of deserving the divine anger. The pagan mysteries existed to allay this consciousness, and the Epicurean Philosophy claimed to deliver men from the fear of eternal punishment. It was against this background that the gospel appeared as good news. It brought news of possible healing to men who knew that they were mortally ill.”
Even the Protestant Reformation in the 1500s occurred during a time when people were fixated on the reality of death, and the morbid certainty of an eternal punishment that awaited them. Instead of fascination with celebrities …

Play some Chess!

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I will admit, and my wife will agree, that I am a little bit of a nerd. I love strategy. I love learning about fatal maneuvers in wars and battles gone by. Like Hannibal's double envelope at Cannae, or Stonewall Jackson's flank march at Chancellorsville. I enjoy reading about critical night marches and feinted movements that left the enemy lost in the dark. 
I think, in fact, that my love for sports is due largely to my love for strategy. Soccer in particular is a game of tactical precision--where the faster, stronger player by no means has the advantage over the skilled technician. I also relish board games where each movement has to be perfectly calculated; and the cost of each thrust and parry must to be carefully weighed before engagement. Games like chess.
I have been dabbling in chess for the last few years online through chess.com. And though I am quite the novice (and lose frequently) I am still a big fan. Here are a few reasons why you should dabble too:
The game of ches…

Head on a Swivel Christianity

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As a kid I loved to watch shows on the Discovery Channel and Animal Planet. I loved the ones that featured real time video (complete with British commentary) of wild animals living in their natural habitats. Whether it was of reptiles, sharks, or venomous rain forest snakes--I was enthralled by the beauty of diverse parts of creation that I had never seen before. I particularly enjoyed the shows which included carnivores stalking, chasing, and finally...devouring their prey. Those shows would go something like this:
The cheetah would crouch in the tall Savannah grass, blending in with its coloring--perfectly enshrouded. It's agile body lines compress like a spring. Like a sprinter loading up into his starting blocks, the cat gets into starting position.
And off in the distance, the unaware family of gazelles graze blindly in the scorched African plain. Two fawns prance together in the heat of the evening a bit away from the rest of the herd. One youth strays further still, chomping …