Your Life Is a Work of Art

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It was quite a few years ago now. A friend was describing to me an interview she had been listening to. It was about Pablo Picasso. As it turns out, he wasn’t a very good person by even a modest standard. His granddaughter wrote this about him: “He drove everyone who got near him to despair and engulfed them. No one in my family ever managed to escape from the stranglehold of this genius.”

And yet, he was a very talented artist. This raises the question – should an artist’s personal integrity have any bearing on his or her art and how we evaluate it?

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The Significance of the Incarnation

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Every year on December 25th Christians around the world celebrate the Incarnation of God in Jesus Christ. But what is the significance of it? What does it mean when Christian say that God incarnated as a human being?

In normal, day-to-day English, you would probably almost never come across the word “incarnation.” If you did it would be more or less synonymous with the words “embodiment” or “version,” as in “My cousin Julie is so sweet she’s basically the incarnation of kindness,” or “This is the third incarnation of the novel I’m working on.”

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Psalm 137, Violence, and Justice

This time I decided to experiment with making a video. There’s a lot, lot more I’d like to say, as well as some concepts (like the Ancient Near Eastern concepts of justice and law) that I’d like to delve into more deeply, but I wanted to keep it short and to the point. Please let me know what you think of the video! (And here’s a shout out to my friend Andrew for recording and editing this for me!)

A Quick Look at Psalm 109

First, go ahead and take a few minutes to read through Psalm 109. I think you will get a lot more out of this if you have it fresh in your mind.

Psalm 109 is perhaps one of the most disturbing and violent psalms in the whole Psalter. At first glance, verses 6-19 appear to an extended request from David to see the absolute denigration, pain, and destruction of his enemy along with their family members. For those of us who value Jesus’s command to “bless those who curse you,” this is a difficult psalm to accept, and not to mention a difficult psalm to pray!

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The Meaning of Life

Photo credit Ravi Roshan

“Life” is a strange word if you start to pick it apart. 

On the one hand you use it to talk about a quality that belongs to things that are neither dead nor inorganic. This is the biological sense of the word. Things that have the incredible internal ability to grow, metabolize, reproduce themselves, and adapt to their environment have life and are alive. 

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Faith is Trusting Jesus and His Work

The Doubting Thomas, Albrecht Dürer, 1510

Is it ever okay for a Christian to have doubt? Can you question and struggle with your faith and still be a good Christian?

I think there are two common ways of approaching this question that are unhelpful.

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Do Not Doubt But Believe

The Doubting Thomas, Carl Heinrich Bloch 1882

Thomas, Doubting Thomas. Forever remembered in the Gospel of John as the disciple who refused to believe that his teacher Jesus had risen from the dead.

Why? Simple: the dead do not come back to life. Everyone dies and they are gone forever. Things break and they don’t come back together again.    

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There Is Only Either Logos Or Chaos

Rosa Celeste: Dante and Beatrice gaze upon the highest Heaven; from Gustave Doré’s illustrations to the Divine Comedy, 19th cent.

Lately, I have been reading through philosopher Peter van Inwagen’s book Metaphysics. (Metaphysics is a fancy word that describes a branch of philosophy that asks about the ultimate nature of reality.) He has a chapter where he asks whether human beings have a purpose or not—really, whether anything has a purpose or not, which is one of the quintessential questions people have been asking for millennia.

What are we here for?

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The Bible’s First Love Story

Abrahams Opfer by Adi Holzer, 1997

It is the first love story in the Bible.

Abraham entwines his fingers in his son’s hair as he grasps it, drawing back the young man’s head, baring his neck.

Isaac lies on the makeshift altar, bound tightly, silent, sweating, breathing deeply. He is young. His skin is tight and smooth—hardly a quarter century old and not yet showing the signs of age.

So young, yet it is time for him to die. His blood will wet and stain the altar. It will smell like copper.  

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Can You Trust the Witness of the Gospels? Craig Keener and Christobiography

The Incredulity of Saint Thomas, Caravaggio, 1601

This post is for those who are skeptical or curious about the historical reliability of the Gospels (as well as those who might be curious to learn a little more about me).

I’ve tried to keep it concise, readable, and interesting for anyone who had ever pondered such a question.

Personal Prelude

I’ve never been one to just take what people tell me at face value.

I don’t think it’s really that I’m a skeptic; it’s just that, to me, it seems like a lot of people haven’t really thought through the things they believe very well.

Personally, I can’t really believe people who don’t have a good reason for what they believe, and I’ve always disliked it when people give me the textbook answer rather than a conclusion that they’ve arrived at through careful study and thought.

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