But we don’t need to go to the “world” to find a comedy culture. I’m afraid this comedy culture has influenced the church. Many preachers seem to think that they cannot begin to preach without “softening up” their hearers with a little bit of stand-up comedy. So, in many ways, we cannot blame just the hearers. Preachers mix the most solemn of subjects with silly asides, so that people do not know whether to laugh or cry. I head one famous preacher asking for prayer about a particular weakness in his life. He then said a couple of funny things about this weakness. Eventually no one knew if he was seriously asking for prayer, or just making a joke.
For a season that brings so much death to creation (including a hunter’s prize), there seems to be quite a bit of joy. More than that, there seems to be a deep-rooted peace. No matter the cold that is coming for certain, I know it will not last. Spring will come. In approximately six months, the flowers will bloom and vibrant colors will return to the land. No matter how frigid the winter, life will be restored. Just think, if we did not have this certain hope, we would plead with God like the animals of Narnia for winter not to come, for all it brings is death and bitter cold. The promise of spring brings hope to my heart and a sweet reminder to my soul.
Rachel Gilson thoughtfully engages Gregory Coles’ new book.
Humility is the oil that lubricates the engine of plurality. When one considers all of the polity options God could have chosen for governing churches, I theorize that God chose plurality because he loves humility. And plurality can’t work without humility because in plurality, God imposes a governing structure that can’t be effective without embodying humble values. God loves unity, so he calls us to plurality where we must humbly persevere with one another to function effectively. God loves making us holy, so he unites us to men who will make us grow. God loves patience, so he imposes a way of governing that requires humble listening and a trust that God is working in the lives of others.
Americans today—even those of the Christian variety—display little ability to reason. While they do not walk the aisles humming “all you need is love,” the inattention given the life of the mind makes convoluted—even contradictory—thinking a foregone conclusion. Nuance is an art lost to the garbage heap.
But the person who tells the “panmillennial” joke, and really means it, isn’t interested in details about the end times. He realizes that eschatology (the study of last things) is loaded with difficulties, and says, “I’m not going to think much about end times doctrine anymore. Jesus is going to make everything right when He comes again, and that’s good enough for me.” This man hasn’t just given up on figuring out what “a thousand years” means in Revelation 20, but has decided that thinking about the end times beyond generalities is just too hard and ultimately fruitless.
A favorite from the archives:
This is something few of us are good at. In fact, it’s not something I’m entirely sure I know how to do. Working in the non-profit world, where we deal with money entrusted to us by donors, it sometimes feels as though we can’t afford to try something and have it fail. We can’t really take risks, which means we can’t really innovate.
Or so we think.
I wonder, though, how much would change for us if someone just said these five words: “You are free to fail”?