Showing posts from February, 2017

Book in Review: "Crime and Punishment"

Crime and Punishment is a classic Russian novel written in 1866 about a young murderer by the name of Raskolnikov, and the unavoidable consequences of his crime.
The book can be read two ways: the first is to enjoy the dynamics between characters, resonate with the theme of true love, feel the effects of evil, and be gripped by the power of the conscience (micro level). This is primarily how I read it.

The second (which may be the way Dostoyevsky intended it to be read) is to read with the intent of understanding the consequences of ideas (macro level). Dostoyevsky is highly critical of the Nietzsche “ubermensch” or “superman” philosophy, in which man’s ultimate goal is to rise above the societal constructs of religion and morality—structures that are nothing more than crutches for the weak. In fact, the very reasoning for Raskolnikov’s murder in the first place was because he had embraced such a worldview. He had no utilitarian motivation for such a crime and only wanted to set himsel…

Theology and Praise

What do you think of when you think of the word theology? Be honest.
Maybe it brings to mind some arrogant scholars who live with their heads in the clouds, out of touch with the everyday. Maybe the thought of theology makes you a little sleepy. Or maybe the word “doctrine” burdens your mind with further thoughts of big words and divisive debates.
We often make the mistake of associating theology with dry and boring intellectualism. Something that is not really connected to the reality of everyday life, or worse: something that may even distract from a truly vibrant relationship with Jesus. Who needs that doctrine stuff anyways? I have written before about a growing trend in modern Christianity that looks to break free from the “shackles” of theological structures, replacing them with the free space intimacy of just me and God. Whatever that means.
But the truth of the matter is that real theology (the study of God) is unquestionably the most important study anyone can undertake. It is o…

Embracing Reality

My brother-in-law Garrett just got his driver’s permit, which means that he is now legally able to drive in the state of Maryland as long as another licensed adult is in the passenger seat. That licensed adult “privilege” happened to fall on both me and my wife this past weekend: which turned out to be…very interesting.
To his credit, Garrett actually did pretty good (he may have been a little too close to the white line), but this experience resonated with an illustration J.I. Packer uses in his book Knowing God where he compares learning to drive a car to living a life of wisdom:
“What matters in driving is the speed and appropriateness of your reactions to things and the soundness of your judgment as to what scope a situation gives you. You do not ask yourself why the road should narrow or screw itself into a dogleg wiggle just where it does, nor why the van should be parked where it is, nor why the driver in front should hug the crown of the road so lovingly; you simply try to see a…


I have been blogging on here for almost a year and a half, and the intent has always been more selfish than it has been for the benefit of others. As a slower, internal processor of information, writing has been a great way for me to try to form some of the ambiguous and formless thoughts that bounce around in my head, and hopefully make them a little more defined.

So for the different things I am wrestling with internally, or impressions I get from different books I am grappling with, or even experiences I may be struggling with personally—writing on here helps me “iron out” what I believe. If God uses it in any way to bless someone else, well that is great!
I am pleased to say that “Homeward Bound” has gone over 10,000 views all time this past weekend. With 114 total posts this averages out to about 87 views per post--which is really awesome! We are not viral by any means, but that never has been the objective. You may notice that click bait titles or extreme stances on controversial…

The Sympathetic High Priest

I am often astounded by my propensity to fall short. With all I have been given and blessed with I still manage to find ways to stumble and fall. Frequently. 
With all the goodness I have experienced I still find myself riddled with anxiety and fear. With all the truth I know I still fail to speak it out when its voice is needed most. I still spend most of my time preoccupied with temporary things instead of things eternal. I still am more fixated with myself than I am with Christ and the cross. Often times that crucial Christian character trait--joy--is just plain missing in me.
I am indeed reminded from time to time that I have a long way to go. And as often as I am reminded of my shortcomings, I am also reminded of the amazing character of our God. A God who is exceedingly patient, who is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
And thankfully, my security is not found on the basis of my goodness. My hope is not built on the foundation of my devotion. My joy is not rooted in a…

Book in Review: "Holiness of God"

Holiness. If there is a topic that has been curiously glossed over by much of modern Christianity in the west—this is it. We know of a God of love. We know of “Amazing Grace.” We love to learn about the God who gives rest to the weary—but holiness…holiness is different. But if R. C. Sproul indeed is correct that “how we understand the person and character of God the Father affects every aspect of our lives” we would do well to recover a proper understanding of holiness with a vengeance.

It is THAT central. As Sproul goes on to say:

“Only once in sacred Scripture is an attribute of God elevated to the third degree. Only once is a characteristic of God mentioned three times in succession. The Bible says that God is holy, holy, holy. Not that he is merely holy, or even holy, holy. He is holy, holy, holy.”

But what is holiness? Sproul breaks it into two definitions: The first refers to holiness to mean purity or cleanliness; the second means to be set apart. To be other. Sproul uses this sec…

Love Hurts

Love, in its highest form, is a very weighty thing. Unlike the cultural counterfeits so prevalent in our day and age (which degrade love to empty emotionalism or a passive fancy), true love costs something. The greek word for such love: “Agape” is defined as sacrificial love or loving someone at the expense of yourself. Jesus expands this sort of love further when he said that “greater love has no man than this, that a man lays down his life for his friend.”
This true love by definition requires pain to give. But is it also painful to receive I wonder?
That doesn’t sound quite right does it? Receiving love frees us. The whole gospel message hinges on the transforming power of Christ’s great love for us—that gives us joy and eternal hope; and furthermore empowers us to love and forgive one another. Surely it is a delight to embrace, how could it not be?
I ask this question because I recently ran across a passage in Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s classic novel Crime and Punishment that stopped me d…

Scattered Thoughts Regarding Refugees

When I started blogging, my second post was addressing many Christians' gut reactions to the refugee crisis. To me, the fears of many in the church regarding the admittance of immigrants (and refugees in particular) screamed self-protection and a "get off my lawn" rhetoric that felt straightforwardly contradictory to much of Christianity. Jesus tells us to love our enemies. To turn the other cheek. To die to self: which includes laying down even our own safety to follow after Jesus Christ. So why are we caring so much about ourselves? But recent developments (as in Trump's temporary ban of refugees from seven Islamic countries) have blown up my facebook feed. I have seen some Christians, most in fact, who have bemoaned the executive order. How is this loving our neighbor? How is turning away families from war torn countries loving justice, seeking mercy, and walking humbly with our God? These people have eternal souls. In most cases they have lost everything. Where is…