The love & hate idiom

Many a student has felt confused, while many a teacher might prefer explaining a different text. “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother, wife and children, and brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:26).

The explanation provided is often headed in the right direction. However, failure to explain the ancient idiom lying behind Jesus’ words robs the listeners of an “Ah Ha!” moment that can also unlock a number of other texts as well. Continue reading “The love & hate idiom”

True north: finding a reliable path forward

A compass points toward the earth’s magnetic north. However, the true geographic north pole lies several hundreds of miles away.

Kenny, a friend of mine, recently told me about an international trip where his flight passed between the North Pole and magnetic north. At such a place, if someone were to use a compass to locate the geographic north pole it would point in the exact opposite direction! If we can assume the compass would even function.

To accurately use a compass to discover true north, you must also know your latitude. In other words, to navigate the earth requires both good instruments and the knowledge about how to use them well. For the church to reliably chart its path through difficult scenarios requires understanding how to use well the tools God has supplied for his people. In 1 Corinthians, Paul tackled a rough situation by providing some of these reliable tools for the journey. Continue reading “True north: finding a reliable path forward”

A High Speed Motor, But No Compass

Summer is upon us and many will have enjoyed cruising across a lake or a river. If you have ever been in a high-powered speed boat, imagine the absurdity of opening wide throttle a powerful motor at night while lacking any reliable means for navigating where you are headed. The word suicide comes to my mind. As surprising as it may seem, this may be a fitting analogy for one aspect of our American culture since the time of the late 1800’s when a spiritually bankrupt philosophy called pragmatism was introduced to our country. Pragmatism (originally termed instrumentalism) replaced the … Continue reading A High Speed Motor, But No Compass