Question: My Feelings and Lack of Feelings Are Killing Me

Anonymous asked:

I feel like a horrible person. I used to be compassionate and caring and now I feel horrible and selfish. I just don’t feel anything right now about anything and it is so scary. I feel guilt but I don’t know what for because everything is wrong and everything I am is wrong and I’ve been praying and I have faith God will stir something in me, but right now I feel exhausted and pathetic and I’m having doubts and horrible thoughts I can’t control. Do you have any advice? Thank you 

Hey my dear wonderful honest friend —

You might be surprised if you knew how many people felt this way too.  Including me sometimes.

I think the devil’s biggest lie is to make you think that how you feel right now is how you will always feel forever.

Sometimes we forget that our mood, our bodies, and a bad slice of pizza can completely alter our perception, and we think a bad day means a bad life.  We tend to cram a lifetime of anxieties into one singular moment, when really it’s just barely 0.05% of your lifespan that has flashed by you.

I’m totally not making light of what’s happening.  I’m sure there is a circumstance you didn’t share, maybe an addiction you’re struggling with, a relationship going upside-down, maybe a family issue (because family is always an issue). And even if there wasn’t, you’re allowed to feel your feelings, because you’re human.

Continue reading “Question: My Feelings and Lack of Feelings Are Killing Me”

Settling Into Jesus: A Good Thing

You had found a decent church, it had great big loud music, you made some cool Christian friends, had a pretty good pastor, and you did all the church activities.

But soon: it became a little routine, the flashy rocking music felt like ice picks in your brain, you became annoyed at some things in the sermon, your friends turned out to be not-so-cool and even downright hypocritical, and all the church activities were just self-serving programs. It all grew repetitive and you felt a widening distance between you and this “God” — and you began to wonder if you even really knew Him at all.

This is the story of millions of Christians.

The truth is: Every single person goes through a peeling back of layers to discover the real thing.

But for most people, they always expect the original excitement they had in the beginning. They hope to maintain the jumping-up-and-down, hopping-mad flashiness of youth group to “feel God again.”

This NEVER works out.

A couple married for fifty years will not feel the same butterflies when they held hands as high schoolers: but their years of perseverance have led to an ocean-deep commitment that is no longer lake-shallow. It’s the real thing. They managed to solidify their expectations of each other, both realizing that their feelings did NOT determine their relationship.

When your original feelings are gone — and trust me, those first feelings fade — it doesn’t mean that God is suddenly gone.

I’m afraid many churches make the mistake of topping themselves every week to give you a brand new rockshow experience, and it stretches your emotions to the breaking point. Exhausting. When you peel back the layers of a “show-church,” often there’s nothing inside.

I really don’t mean to be one more guy bad-mouthing the local church. There’s enough of that already. It’s not all their fault. It’s possible that even in a really rocked out ministry, you can peel back the glitter and actually find depth. But we just need to overcome those initial growing pains.

Let’s expect that we’ll all outgrow the emotional hype and eventually mature into a thoughtful faith — while at the same time having a new excitement that is grounded in who God really is.

— J.S.

Question: Breaking Bitterness and Cynicism

Anonymous asked:

Hello – I’m currently a leader for a campus ministry … I’m scared of who I’ve become – a cynical person. I’m really not sure what the root cause of this is… I know I have a hard time trusting people, but more than that I doubt peoples’ intentions way too much and too quickly and it’s getting harder to see and love them through God’s perspective. Some brotherly advice please?

Hey my dear friend, thank you for being so honest.

I have to say though: Do you know who else struggles with mistrust and cynicism and loving people?

Pretty much everyone breathing.

The worst thing you can do is to feel bad about feeling bad.  You are human, which on one hand does NOT give you permission to be crappy, but also gives you permission to feel your feelings.

So a few thoughts on cynicism:

1) Do not repress your negative feelings.

Any kind of suppression is completely unhealthy.  Certainly we should keep a lid on expressing every insane ugly thought that passes through us, but we need to release the valve sometimes.  Which leads us to —

2) Find a vent-friend to vent.

It’s not a good idea to talk-trap every bystander with your issues, but everyone needs a friend who can be a vault with lock and key.  Someone who will know when to listen for long stretches of time, when to cut you off, when to egg you on, and when to shut it down.  Someone who not only tolerates you, but loves your slobbery, flailing, messy, upside-down self at your very worst.

3) Emotions were made by God for a reason.

If nothing else than to point you to something better.  Which leads us to —

4) Be angry for the right things.

Anger in itself is not wrong.  That’s why Ephesians 4:26 has that curious phrasing, “Be angry, but do not sin.”  God designed us with a righteous anger, because He made us in His image. God burns with justice, and so do we.  But our sin causes us to use this anger for selfish reasons, hence “human anger does not produce the righteousness of God” (James 1:20).

If we can be angry for the right things, we will have less spiritual space to be angry for the wrong things.  Controlling anger doesn’t happen by counting backwards from ten or beating yourself up.  It happens when we are angry for the same things that God is angry about, like oppression, slavery, apathy, and injustice.

I preached a sermon on this called Prioritizing Your Outrage.

5) Go have fun.

When cynicism wins, it turns us into ironic sarcastic hipsters with no sense of humor.  So get back your childhood smile.  Do stupid non-productive stuff that makes you giggle.  Get the gross hamburger, the pint of Blue Bell, and rent a dumb comedy.  Go watch Brian Regan.  And laugh until you fall over in tears.

6) Celebrate, forgive, pray.

If cynicism has set in too much and you’re now displacing it in all the wrong ways, then you might have a Hebrews 12:15 problem.

In that case, God call us to remember grace.  I know this isn’t easy to do, especially when you’re seeing red and everyone seems to be purposefully pissing you off.

But if you can remember the same grace God has shown us from the beginning: you can celebrate others despite their screw-ups.  Because God also celebrated you despite you.  If you can look at the cross: you can forgive.  If you see how Jesus prayed for his enemies: so can you.  Not out of moral obligation, but because Jesus did all that we couldn’t do, and we can both rest in and be motivated by his grace.

This is a daily practice.  But I think the more we can take our eyes off ourselves and others, and first see Jesus in his total glory, then it will be that much easier to love others.  It will be that much easier to have hope and a renewed perspective.  We won’t crush others with our cynical expectations, because we’ve stopped demanding too much from them.  When we know that God operates by grace for us, we tend to flex grace for others too.  No one can do this perfectly and I am still learning as well.  But if we are to give grace, then our hearts must be broken by grace.

I pray you will believe this more and more, and that your heart will be torn and tenderized by His goodness.

— J.S.

Popular Discontent: There’s Something Wrong With Everything


The internet shouted down Donald Miller the other day after he admitted he doesn’t regularly attend a church, and once more when he wrote a follow-up.

I absolutely love Donald Miller and I sincerely believe he loves Jesus.  There’s no but and this isn’t leading up to a negative critique — I really do think he’s great.  His books re-energized my faith during a particularly bad slump, and like Lewis or Keller, he will always be one of my biggest influences in my personal faith journey.

I attend church.  Donald doesn’t.  We can still be bros.

I agree with just about everything that Donald Miller wrote about church. How could I disagree? When we’re really honest about it, the state of the entertainment model of the evangelical church is downright horrifying. We’ve managed to package the eternal saving power of God into a 1-800-number enterprise. We’re mostly tickled one hour a week to compensate for the guilt of our secret second lives, which only enables us into the spiral.

But the thing is: I can find discontent in just about anything. It’s hard to disagree with most criticism because as soon as you find something wrong, it’ll be wrong for life.  Look hard enough and you will see flaws. A critic-filter will always taint how you enjoy a movie or a book or a friend or the church.  It’s inevitable that imperfection will rear its ugly head.

I was talking with my friend recently about Timothy Keller.  I love Keller’s work, but my friend was less impressed.  I asked why, and he said, “I think he’s great, it’s true he does good work for the city, he has solid theology … but just, you know, I don’t get him. Just something about him.”

I really couldn’t understand this.  Something about him?  Couldn’t we say that about anyone? Isn’t it enough that he does good work for the city and has solid theology?  What more could we ask for?

Not to demonize my friend here: But if you dig deep enough, you will always find a reason to dislike someone or something.  That’s easy.  And we can write off an entire group or culture or work because of it.  For most people, they will never be pleased no matter how good they have it.

Continue reading “Popular Discontent: There’s Something Wrong With Everything”

Question: Overcoming The Constant Fear of Failure

buscaguayaba asked:

Evening, Joon. I’ve really been walking this submissive path in my life and its this constant fear of failure. It seems that there are things that no matter how much I try, I keep failing and it seems to become an infectious disease to my self-esteem. I ask God for help but I feel like I’m asking a strange request that I dont even know where its coming from. Its been a silent cry for years as a young boy and I’m over it. I’m so tired of failing so often and I want God to help me end it.

Hey brother, appreciate your honesty.

You know: the fear of failure has been one of the most debilitating fears of my life.

I am constantly, constantly afraid to try new things, because I only like to do things I know I’m good at.  If success is not a possibility, I make up some lame reason why I don’t want to try.

I could probably tell you all kinds of wisdom like, “Go for it anyway” or “God is with you” or “If at first you don’t succeed …” — and while these are true, I know how scary it is.  When you fail once, it crushes your soul to powder, and it makes every next attempt that much harder.

The only way I’ve learned how to personally deal with this is to stare defeat in the face and wrestle it to the very end.  This is different than just telling yourself “I’m a winner” or “I’m loved.”  This takes a little extra work, and it’s worth it.

For me, when I totally fail a sermon, later that night I’ll take out my notepad and write all the places I went wrong.  I’ll write all the missed opportunities, the awkward statements, why this or that didn’t work, how I failed to tie it together and land the ending.  It’s just brutal, and it feels like I’m punishing myself.

But you know what?  After I’m done, I feel a million pounds lighter.  And suddenly I have a clear picture of what I want to do next time.  I gain a little hope amidst the defeat, and I realize that I can do better.  And even if I still feel terrible, at least I am now moving in a direction.

You’ll have your own process for this, whether it’s writing it down or going on a walk or drawing a diagram or talking out loud.  But however it happens, it’s best to NOT skip this process.

Unfortunately what most people do is: they call everyone they know and look for validation in their failures, they text a million people fishing for a nice response, they blame their environment or other people or their “health” or their busy schedule, they avoid or deny or whine or wallow — but there’s no direction to any of this.  They haven’t even confronted what went wrong.  They’re using friends as a sounding board instead of examining themselves first.  They don’t bring that stuff to God for healing.

We tend to beat ourselves up over some amorphous concept of low self-worth, so then we’re defeated over being defeated.

Many of us also think all pain is always bad, but even if that were true: we still need to ride through the middle of it instead of avoiding it altogether.  What I mean is: if we’re going to be hurt by life, I’d rather learn from it than not learn from it.  Surprisingly, most people choose not to learn from it, which is like gaining XP in an RPG and then deliberately not saving your game.

I’m making this sound easier than it is, and I know it’s a gut-wrenching ordeal.  But life goes on, and so must we.  Whether it’s education or your job or your marriage or raising kids or heading a project: We need to expect failure and be okay with the emotions that arise — and then not waste those failures, but use them to plan and prepare.  

We get better by being specific in our honesty, and then asking God for wisdom and grace on the next go-around.  Otherwise, we will go crazy turning ourselves inside-out.  At some point, the self-confrontation also needs to end.  When we get it on paper, it needs to be released.  And we move forward.  We can’t stay in that place of evaluation too long, and even if we fail again, God has grace for that.

I have to add too: I don’t think the feeling of being an insecure little kid ever completely goes away.  The hesitation and uncertainty and awkwardness are rooted deeply, and I’d even say that people spend most of their adult lives compensating for the lost little twelve-year-old kid inside them.  So you’re not alone there.  It’s cool to feel like a big goober sometimes, and it keeps me humble: because no matter how rich or buff or successful I get, I’m still a little boy who needs my Heavenly Father.  I’m as dependent on God as I ever was.

If you need a verse, here you are.  Praying for you brother.  Hope to see you around again soon!

Search me, O God, and know my heart.  Test me and know my anxious thoughts.  See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

— Psalm 139:23-24

— J.S.

Quote: New Thrills

“People get from books the idea that if you have married the right person you may expect to go on ‘being in love’ for ever. As a result, when they find they are not, they think this proves they have made a mistake and are entitled to a change — not realising that, when they have changed, the glamour will presently go out of the new love just as it went out of the old one. In this department of life, as in every other, thrills come at the beginning and do not last. The sort of thrill a boy has at the first idea of flying will not go on when he has joined the R.A.F. and is really learning to fly. The thrill you feel on first seeing some delightful place dies away when you really go to live there. Does this mean it would be better not to learn to fly and not to live in the beautiful place? By no means. In both cases, if you go through with it, the dying away of the first thrill will be compensated for by a quieter and more lasting kind of interest. What is more (and I can hardly find words to tell you how important I think this), it is just the people who are ready to submit to the loss of the thrill and settle down to the sober interest, who are then most likely to meet new thrills in some quite different direction. The man who has learned to fly and become a good pilot will suddenly discover music; the man who has settled down to live in the beauty spot will discover gardening.

“This is, I think, one little part of what Christ meant by saying that a thing will not really live unless it first dies. It is simply no good trying to keep any thrill: that is the very worst thing you can do. Let the thrill go — let it die away — go on through that period of death into the quieter interest and happiness that follow — and you will find you are living in a world of new thrills all the time.”

— C. S. Lewis

When It’s Too Much To Share

Three anonymous questions:

– Hello Pastor Park, Quick question: How much should you share in small group? God wants us to be transparent and vulnerable but some things should be kept between you and God to keep intimacy with Him, no?? I am always encouraged by reading your entries! I learn so much through you teaching God’s word. Keep it up!

– I have been pretty honest about my struggle with porn on my blog because I think girls need to talk about it, but recently my boyfriend has gotten upset and asked me to disclose less information … Is he justified in saying that or is he being paranoid?

– Is the point of confessing your sins to each other as it says in the book of James only for accountability and community purposes? Why can’t someone confess only to God? … I had a friend who was rebuked on sharing something personal, so I’m confused as to when/ in front of whom is it appropriate to confess.

Hey friends, this is an excellent question that I often ask myself too.  I’ve been accused of being “too open” on my blog and when I preach on Sundays, and it’s a tough balance to know exactly when it’s TMI.

As always, I believe it comes down to one simple thing.

What is your primary motive in sharing your heart about these things?

When I first became a Christian, I was sort of the oddball in the group because of my sketchy past.  When we shared in Bible study, I would confess crazy things about streetfights and porn addiction and drinking binges, and the group would be fascinated.  The pastor would feel proud that I had been rescued out of a life of sin, and the others would love my thrilling stories.

But I was confessing these things out of a selfish, prideful, attention-hogging heart.  I loved it when people reacted with jaw-drops and looks of affirmation.  I even loved it when I told better stories than “I grew up in church and got saved.”  It was a terrible thing, and it took me a long time to see it.  It’s much less of a problem these days, but I still pray through these things to maximize God’s glory and humble myself.

You’ll really need to wrestle with your motives on this one.  While motives are a messy thing, we usually know what we’re doing when we set out to do it.  You secretly know if you’re just trying to get attention.  I can hear it in the voice of the vain shock-and-shlock preacher, the guy who confesses his criminal record during testimony time, the lady who continually victimizes herself in a self-pity-party.  It’s not hard to tell.

Continue reading “When It’s Too Much To Share”

Action Vs. Reaction: A Bridge To Somewhere

I see that so many blogs and platforms and ministries are built out of reactionary backlash against a previous injury.  “We got hurt this way, so let’s do it the other way.”  Or, “You were taught this wrong, so let me set it straight for you.”

I do think it’s totally right to love on people who got burned by the same thing you did. I think those who’ve been hurt by an oppressive culture need a common ground to vent their grievances and to form an alliance of understanding.

But I also think that making an entire platform on the anti-ground of your hurt will only perpetuate that hurt — because left unchecked, it will eventually breed smug self-righteousness and superiority.

You can see it in the endless reblog wars.  You can see it in public shaming.  You can see it in the Reformation.  The whole parachurch is basically just a middle-finger to the mainstream church.  Reformed Calvinism is a response to the seeker-sensitive movement.  And Contemplative Spirituality is a response to Calvinism.  And so on, it goes.

If you proudly declare, “We don’t do it like those guys” and “I’m not like those other people,” you’re really just powering up through cannibalism.  You’re eating flesh to drive flesh.  And if you do this long enough, the values you instill into your new culture will be overreactions based on bitterness and arrogance.  These are unstable poisonous foundations that will inevitably collapse.

I hope we can start up movements that are not reactions, but initiative actions.  I hope our words are not always talking back, but talking forward.  I hope we can be original instead of derivative.  I hope we are not motivated solely by the pain we feel — because even though it can work for a while, healing cannot come by deconstruction.  It only comes by re-creation, by introducing something new into the world.  And we each have this powerful ability to weaponize our words or to breathe life with them.  Our hands can build bridges towards oblivion or toward each other.

I hope for bridges that bring us closer.

— J

Question: Why Save Myself For Marriage?

Anonymous asked:

– Hi there! Can you explain to me what’s so great about marriage and saving myself? Won’t I be missing out on having sex with other people?

– Pastor Park, I am Christian as is my boyfriend. We are older and I have told him from the start that I do not want to engage in sexual intercourse before marriage. He seemed fine with it but every now and then pressures and or guilts me by saying that everyone does it but us. We have friends who are Christian and do it themselves but I cannot bring myself to do it. How can I convince him in a Christian manner that I do not want to because I think it is a sacred act?

Hey dear friends: So this is a very complicated issue that I know the world increasingly pushes away as old-fashioned moralism.  I understand that most people will not see eye to eye on anything the Bible has to say about sex, and it’s in fact the very reason that most visitors think the church is an out-of-touch institution that polices our behavior.

But I strongly believe the more we look into God’s plan for us, the more it will make sense at the logical, emotional, physical, and spiritual level.  If we can really think through why God would even give us this vision: it will win as the most sensible option.

Before making objections like “What about ___?” — please at least consider that fasting from sex until marriage could certainly work out for the mental and emotional health of the couple.  It’s easy to just buy into the societal “norm” about sex and shrug off the Bible on this area, but I’ve seen (and been through) too many miserable sexual disasters to not at least speak up about this.  Because I love you.

I know many will disagree quickly and say “Sex and morality are two separate issues.”  While I do think sex has a moral dimension, I also believe it’s equally an issue of wisdom.  God would only give us these sort of commands for a broken world if He knew the trouble that sex could cause — and if He also knew the best way to find maximum joy through it.

Sex has the power to be the most destructive or most joyful thing in the world.  However you feel about the modern state of Christianity, I very much hope we can consider hearing (and following) what the Bible has to say on it. Please consider that most of us already have a predisposed bias to shutting this out as crazy church talk. Whether you admit it or not, you have a vested interest in wanting to have mindless sex. So let’s please drop our biases, even for a moment. God loves you and cares for you in this area, regardless of how the church fumbled the message on it. The heart of God is for you.

So a question upfront:

Continue reading “Question: Why Save Myself For Marriage?”

The Language of the Enemy and the Infidel: How Religious Language Will Eventually Kill You

There’s a certain vocabulary in churches when good old church folk talk about the “enemy,” and how the “oppressors” and “injustice” and “persecution” are against us on all sides.

I worry about this sort of military mindset in churches because we’re cherry-picking Bible verses to find more reasons to alienate others and perpetuate a xenophobic cycle of the foreign stranger. 

This is a culture of nationalistic fear.  It is a triumphalist self-affirming theology.

And man does it feel wonderful.  It appeals to the most reptilian black-and-white part of our flesh-driven nature.  It requires no work except to label all critics and haters and naysayers as “them.”

Continue reading “The Language of the Enemy and the Infidel: How Religious Language Will Eventually Kill You”

Question: My Crush Went For Someone Else and I’m Devastated

Anonymous asked:
I recently found out that a church brother I’m crushing on has been interested in another sister for a while. They’re committed to each other but also keeping distance to see how things go. I’d be lying if I said I’m alright. I’m absolutely overwhelmed with anger, sorrow, self-pity and jealousy all bubbling at the core of my being. It is so utterly difficult for me to put God first and not look for approval from men. How do I move forward and learn to find my identity and security in God alone?

Hey my friend, I’m really sorry that happened, and you have a right to feel how you feel.  I wish I could weep with you too.  Let all those emotions wash out of your system each day as you let it go, and vent as much as you like to your closest friends and to God Himself.  He can certainly handle it.

However, I have to be very, very blunt with you here, because I love you and I want you to be better.  Please hear this as balanced wisdom, and that I both sympathize with your pain and want to offer a bit of sober reality.  You did ask for it.

It’s possible this is the best thing that could’ve ever happened to you. I don’t mean that in a positive way like “God has another plan” or “Just wait for your best” or something.  I mean: you needed this to happen in order to drag out all those horrible feelings and confront the truth about yourself.  You needed to be exposed.

I don’t mean to diminish what you’re going through and I know it hurts, more than you could know.  But see: the fact that you became “overwhelmed with anger, sorrow, self-pity, and jealousy” already shows you’re not ready for this relationship right now.

This is a hard thing for me to say and I’m sure you want to fight it.  If I do sound insensitive right now, you can stop reading at this very word and never read here again, and I’ll understand.

But let’s say you ended up with this guy and got everything you ever wanted.  In your current state, you might have been overly controlling and paranoid and envious and then totally crushed him.  The relationship would’ve been idolized right at the start, and it would’ve shrank you into a person you never wanted to be.

Again, I don’t mean to sound like an ass and maybe I’m presuming too much.  If I’m way off, I’m sorry, and you can blog-punch me in the face.  But you asked, “How do I move forward and learn to find my identity and security in God alone?”  Well this is it, my sister.  This is the way.  This is your time now to find security in Him.

Continue reading “Question: My Crush Went For Someone Else and I’m Devastated”

All That Relationship Advice — A Mega-Post on Relationships

Multiple anonymous questions —

[As always, please feel free to skip around]

– Hi, PJ. I need your help on something. I feel very guilty of my feelings lately. I am interested in this boy, but I feel like I’m not supposed to. Like God doesn’t want me to. I want my eyes to be fixed on Jesus, yet I am wanting to also get to know this boy as much as I do Jesus. I’m not sure what to do? Are these feelings for this boy bad?… Friends have told me to not feel guilty because God made us to have feelings and it’s what makes us human.

Hey my friend, thanks for being so honest here.

Your friends are right that feelings are human and they’re not all bad.  But also: Having feelings does NOT mean you have to follow through with them.

You might feel like beating up your boss or driving through the guardrails, but thank God we don’t always do what we feel.

Instead, let’s back this up and ask some important questions.

Why do I want to be in a relationship with this boy?

What will happen if I follow through with this?

Am I even ready for anything like this?

Where are these feelings coming from?  Are they based in a mature understanding of relationships or a derivative pseudo-romance from some movies I watched?

Where did I learn my idea of relationships from?

What are your motives? Are you longing for this because you’re afraid of being alone? Or dislike being single? Or because this boy is cute in the face?

See: Most people do NOT get to the bottom of their feelings.  They just follow the latest, loudest emotion and run themselves into oblivion, and then repeat themselves without learning from the last season. Many of us have bought into paradigms about dating, sex, money, fame, and success without clearly thinking for ourselves.

I’m not saying you’ve done this. Actually, I believe you are smart and capable enough to reflect on these things and root out what’s right. You will discover some good motives and some messy ones; you’ll find out what’s really driving you. But it takes that confrontation with yourself first. So please go through your heart with prayer and deep reflection, and I think the bigger you see God’s power, purpose, and presence: the more you will gain perspective.

— J

– Hi, Pastor J! I’d like to say that I’ve been in good terms with a friend and he recently confessed his feelings for me. I told him that I felt the same way but we agreed not to go steady immediately; instead, develop our friendship first. It’s going well so far and we try our best to center God in our relationship. We go online to have Bible study every night, and comfort each other with the Word of God. Just wondering if you have any thoughts on how to make this a more fruitful relationship?

Continue reading “All That Relationship Advice — A Mega-Post on Relationships”

Question: Taking Bible Verses Out of Context

danideewantsitall asked:

Hi there! What do you think of people taking scriptures “out of context”? For example, I was talking with my friends about Philippians 4:13, which is often used as encouragement. My friends said that it’s harmful to consistently quote that verse out of context, since that verse is, of course, part of a much larger story, but I say what’s the harm in someone using that verse for their own personal comfort and encouragement? Thanks!

Hey my friend, here are my general feelings about this.

1) Yes, Christians tend to take verses way out of context.

2) But most of us do it innocently without harm, because we just don’t know all the theology on that yet.

3) Certain Christians make a big deal about taking verses out of context, so they become the biblical equivalent of Grammar Nazis.

So if a superstar athlete wants to tattoo Philippians 4:13 all over his ribcage — well, why not? If a verse like Psalm 34:18 or John 3:16 can inspire someone and give them hope, then I say all the more power to them.

I would even suggest that most of us probably have entire chunks of the Bible all wrong. In other words, because of our human bias and our hazy filter of sin, I doubt any one person can properly contextualize the entire Bible at all times.

We have so many interpretive hermeneutics where everyone thinks “My camp is right,” but the older I get, the less I’m sure this or that guy has it totally right. I know dudes who are scholar-expert-level on the Bible but they’re total jerks, so it’s not working for them. I know others who are beginners at Scripture and still need the table of contents, but God has tenderized them with the little biblical knowledge they have.

When we get to Heaven, I can guarantee we will laugh at all the ways we misinterpreted Scripture and be shocked at what some passages really meant. And we’ve been doing that for hundreds of years already. Example: slavery.

Continue reading “Question: Taking Bible Verses Out of Context”

Quote: Credible

“Love alone is credible; nothing else can be believed, and nothing else ought to be believed. This is the achievement, the “work” of faith…to believe that there is such a thing as love … and that there is nothing higher or greater than it … the first thing that must strike a non-Christian about the Christian’s faith is that … it is obviously too good to be true: the mystery of being, revealed as absolute love, condescending to wash his creatures’ feet, and even their souls, taking upon himself all the confusion of guilt, all the God-directed hatred, all the accusations showered upon him with cudgels..all the mocking hostility…This is truly too much.”

— Hans Urs von Balthasar