When I was about 10 my grandfather had a massive stroke while boating at the Lake of the Ozarks. I ran up the hill to call the ambulance that took him to the local hospital which then life flighted him to University Hospital in Columbia.
The doctors’ prognosis went from likely death to spending the rest of his life in a nursing home with 24 hour care. My grandmother was old school, depression era tough and she ignored the doctors and took her husband home. For 20 years she devoted herself to taking care of his every need. She sacrificed her well being, her freedom, her relationships for him.
When my grandfather was diagnosed with cancer in his early 70’s, the family hoped that after his death my grandmother would finally get the opportunity to travel and and live the life she’d been deprived of the past 20 years. She’d finally get some of the good things she deserved.
Unfortunately as my grandfather died, my grandmother was diagnosed with advanced cancer and she was almost immediately bed ridden and then dead herself.
Members of the family were frustrated that God had allowed this cancer to come so soon and take her before she was able to live a little. She deserved better.
Are you asking (and answering) the right questions? I was sitting in a coffee shop with a group of guys that I regularly meet with and we came up with a list of unhelpful questions that people ask themselves.
- Is this fair?
- How can I get more?
- Don’t I deserve better?
- How do I compare to _______?
- Why did this happen to me?
Each of those questions causes us to think more and more about ourselves. I’m tired of thinking about myself, aren’t you? And the Bible is pretty clear that being self focused leads to unhappiness.
In her book Seated With Christ: Living Freely in a Culture of Comparison, Heather Holleman gives 4 questions that Christians should be asking themselves. I found them to be very helpful.
4 Hard But Great Questions
Vice President Mike Pence’s marriage was in the news recently when The Washington Post reported that he has a long standing rule that he won’t eat alone with a woman who isn’t his wife nor will he be at a party where alcohol is served if she isn’t present. There were all kinds of snarky
Homeless man with dog and sign
I’m sure that you are happy to help poor people and are willing to give generously to those in need. Personally, I’m motivated to help a certain kind of poor person more than another.
I like to help poor people who are very responsible and don’t overspend. It’s easy to help the poor person who doesn’t buy junk food and doesn’t own a flat screen television. I’m eager to help the person with financial struggles who works endless hours at a minimum wage job in order to support their family or if he doesn’t have a job fills out applications all day long. I don’t want to help poor people who have vices such as smoking or drinking. I expect that the people I help won’t have a car and walk everywhere to save bus fare, don’t make impulse purchases, and value education.
A couple years ago I came across an ad for a counselor that promised the prospective client their money back if they weren’t completely satisfied. I don’t know if that’s a smart business strategy because what person is completely satisfied with anything in life much less an area for which they are seeking professional counseling?
The natural response of dissatisfied people is to complain. Complaining is unattractive in others but barely noticed when it comes out of our own mouth.
3 Lies Complainers Believe
Maybe you’ve noticed The Shack is now showing at theaters in Columbia. You might not know that the movie is based on a rather controversial book by the same title that was released in 2008. The controversy centered around the book’s portrayal of the Trinity, the nature of God, the authority of the Scriptures, and universalism (everyone will be in heaven).
I’m sure that many people (or their kids) who attend The Crossing will see the film. That’s fine. I’m not one to boycott books or movies. But neither am I naive enough to believe that stories like this one don’t affect how we think. If you’re going to see the film or read the book, you’ll want to do so discerningly.
I’ve included a few links to reviews to help you think through the theology of The Shack.
The Crossing is full of smart people who are passionate about bringing their faith to bear on different issues. Today, I want to introduce you to Megan Owens who has served as a Crossing Kids intern for 3 years and will be graduating in May. Megan has been thinking about how her faith should shape her approach to the international refugee crisis.
Most of us have political opinions, and we view events going on in our world through these perspectives whether they are Republican, Democratic, Conservative, Liberal or something in between. One of the issues that often gets caught between our political views and Christian views is the issue of refugees and immigrants. How do we react when we see the refugee crises happening in various parts of the world? It can be easy to feel for those we see suffering when we see images of overcrowded boats or news stories of separated families or the conditions of refugee camps. But why is it hard for us to go beyond the fleeting moments of sympathy we experience after seeing these news stories or hearing of another world tragedy?
I remember seeing the image of the dead Syrian boy lying on the beach. In the moment, I felt deeply for him and his family, but a few minutes later I was back to thinking about myself and what I had to do that day. In this digital age we have been desensitized to the disturbing images that we are constantly bombarded by. It can be difficult for us to make sense out of them when most of our personal experiences are very different. Maybe we struggle with apathy because we see these issues through a political view instead of from a Christian perspective?
How should Christians think about refugees and immigrants?