Life is Unpredictable

My local newspaper includes a "Year in Review" section in the December 31 edition that is titled "In Memoriam." Pictured, and listed, are a number of nationally prominent persons who died in 2006. Also listed are a number of local people as well, several of whom were friends of mine. It seems that this kind of looking back on the … Read More

Sin and the Human Genome

Francis Collins, who heads the human genome project, is a devout Christian. He actually believes in original sin. He also believes there is evidence for original sin at the most basic genetic level. "There are no perfect human specimens at the DNA level," says Collins. "We are all walking around with a significant number of misspellings [in our DNA]." Most … Read More

Good Guys and Bad Guys 2006

I thought I had seen almost every possible poll imaginable until AP-AOL News issued its leading "good guys/bad guys" poll today. President Bush tops both polls. People either think he is worse than Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden or they think he is the best guy of the year. (His numbers for best guy were much lower than for … Read More

Who Really Cares for the Poor?

Syracuse University professor Arthur Brooks challenges perceived mainstream social orthodoxy in his new book, Who Really Cares: Who Gives, Who Doesn’t and Why It Matters. For generations it has been assumed that political and social liberals are generous towards the poor while conservatives are proverbial tightwads. At least since the days of Charles Dickens’ Scrooge this has been the popular … Read More

Gerald R. Ford, RIP

The death of Gerald R. Ford (1913-2006) is an occasion for a little historical reflection. He came to the presidency as the only non-elected president in our history. Under the 25th Amendment he was appointed as vice-president when Spiro Agnew resigned in disgrace in 1973. On August 9, 1974, he became our 38th president when Richard Nixon resigned under the … Read More

Love and Marriage

Today Anita and I celebrate our 36th wedding anniversary. I love my wife more now than I did when I met her, in fact even more than I did at our 35th anniversary. Love, to me, is first friendship. Friendship, like love, is destroyed by long absence, though it may be increased by short intermission. Anita and I have understood … Read More

The Nativity Story

I waited until Christmas afternoon to see "The Nativity Story," thinking it would be an interesting day on which to see a movie that corresponded to the Christian celebration of Christ’s birth. Though the script clearly had some facts out of place (e.g., the wise men visited the Bethlehem birth site the same night the Savior was born in the … Read More

Christmas Tradition and a Prayer for Blessing

We obviously do not know the exact date of the Messiah’s birth. The church has celebrated his birth on December 25 for more than seventeen centuries, give or take a few years. It fits nicely into the liturgical flow of the year and helps us all "remember" the advent of the one who came to save the world. We can … Read More

Contemplation: The Second Part of Effective Mental Prayer

I wrote yesterday about meditatio (meditation), arguing that it is essential to meaningful prayer and spiritual formation. The other essential practice is contemplari (contemplation). Contemplation is a simple dwelling upon God, a reflective resting in God’s presence. The term contemplation suggests a subject that is intent upon an object. Contemplation is plainly rooted in Neo-Platonic concept of theoreo (theory). But … Read More

The Place of Meditation

Mediation and contemplation are both essential aspects of prayer and Christian devotion.  I was taught very little about either growing up an evangelical. I have learned a great deal more by pursuing the subject of spiritual formation over the last ten years or so. Today I want to consider the value of meditation. Tomorrow I will connect this to contemplation. … Read More