When I played baseball as a youth, I had no idea that the game was actually preparing me for later life. Being a hitter involves a lot of failure. In fact, even the truly great Major League hitters fail (or get out) seven out of every ten times at bat. As I later discovered, coping with a batting slump in baseball isn’t all that different than coping with a string of difficulties and challenges in life overall.
I remember a particular game in which I was playing as catcher. I made a throwing error that allowed the other team to score three runs in the very first inning. Afterwards in the dugout, one of my teammates saw that I was really down on myself. He came over and told me that the sign of an excellent player is how they come back from adversity. I decided then that I would shake off this major blunder and concentrate on helping my team. As things would have it, I got a key hit late in the game that helped my team to come from behind and win the game.
In life I’ve also experienced some slumps, setbacks, and failures. As with baseball, I’ve had to shake off discouragement, refocus my energies, and “get back in the game,” so to speak—because my teammates (family, friends, ministry, and church members) were depending on me. In retrospect, while I was never a great baseball player, the game itself taught me many lessons that I’m still applying today.
With baseball season beginning anew this week, here’s an article I wrote some time ago that explains how I came to love baseball and how the game echoes life itself: “Reflecting on Baseball and Life.”
German philosopher and atheist Friedrich Nietzsche (1844–1900) was the first to proclaim, “God is dead.” Nietzsche holds an important position in the history of philosophy, serving as a forerunner to the secular movements of atheistic existentialism and secular postmodernism.
While Nietzsche remained very critical of institutionalized Christianity and Christians in particular, on occasion he spoke respectfully of Jesus Christ and of his character. Continue reading
A critical component of living a good (happy, satisfying, and meaningful) life is incorporating the concept of gratitude. Being aware of and appreciative for the good things one has been given can serve to transform one’s whole existence. This attitude of gratitude in life is one of the most important teachings from the historic Christian world-and-life view. Continue reading
Popular Christian bumper stickers featuring the letters “NOTW” remind drivers that Christ’s kingdom is “not of this world” and that His followers are “foreigners and exiles” in this world. For many American Christians, however, our spiritual loyalty can often get tangled with patriotism. How can we claim to be “not of this world” and yet still honor our earthly nations?
As the son of World War II soldier, I take great interest in the history of my country and look forward to celebrating our freedom tomorrow on July 4. I also have a moral responsibility to fulfill the civic duties my country requires. However, like all Christians, I must comply with my “eternal” responsibilities first.
Augustine of Hippo (AD 354–430) called these two allegiances the City of Man and the City of God, respectively. Knowing how these obligations relate to each other and how to balance them is a challenge. Check out these two previous posts for details on Augustine’s City of Man-City of God ideology and see how it can help Christians balance their present and eternal obligations.
Courage is a virtue that I’ve always admired and respected. Growing up I was deeply impressed and proud of my father’s strength and valor as a frontline combat soldier in World War II. By extension, I appreciate and respect all people—such as noble police officers, firefighters, and soldiers—who willingly put their life on the line for others. Continue reading
Posted in Christian Life, Death, Pain and Suffering, Problem of Evil
Tagged comfort, courage, empathy, encouragement, family, hope, illness, support, theodicy, virtue
Whether it was losing a loved one, becoming the victim of a violent crime, or facing a life-threatening illness, my immediate reaction to experiences of genuine suffering has been a profound feeling of being alone in that condition. I don’t know if other people react that way to sorrow. For me, suffering is a deeply personal issue that I don’t often discuss with other people. But I recently heard Christian psychologist Jim Wilder state that people who undergo trauma often lose a sense of relationship for a time—thus feeling personally detached and numb. Continue reading
Posted in Christian Life, Death, Faith, Pain and Suffering, Problem of Evil, Reflections
Tagged comfort in suffering, death, empathy, Gospel, problem of evil, sorrow, suffering, theodicy
Christmas is by far my favorite time of year. I never tire of hearing the incredible message that the Son of God took a human nature and became the God-man at his Incarnation (Philippians 2:5–11). But this past December, just as I was finishing up last-minute editing on my new book and planning much needed vacation and holiday time with my family, I was unexpectedly called to jury duty. Continue reading
In terms of holiday commercial sales, Halloween ranks second only to Christmas (especially in the United States). But is this extremely popular October tradition the “devil’s night,” a literal satanic and occult extravaganza? Or is Halloween a harmless celebration? Continue reading
Posted in Christian Life, Controversies, Halloween
Tagged All Saints' Day, Celtic traditions, Christianity, genetic fallacy, Halloween, holidays, occult, paganism, pumpkin carving, Samhain, trick-or-treating
How does the follower of Christ appropriately balance present things with future things?
In part 8 of this series I explored the historic Christian eschatological principle known as “already, but not yet.” This enigmatic expression conveys that while Christ’s kingdom has “already” been inaugurated by his first coming (John 1:14), it has “not yet” been fully consummated. This final stage will take place only at Jesus’ glorious second coming (Matthew 25:31-32). Continue reading