Yearly Archives: 2019

Do we Really Desire the Truth?

“The truth shall set you free.” This quote from the Gospel of John, chapter 8 verse 32 is often quoted and rarely understood in context. Jesus is speaking about the differences between his real followers and those that profess religious adherence while avoiding obedience to love and truth.

Just before this verse, Jesus shares that his true followers obey his commands…and THEN, the fullness of liberating truth comes into view. In other words, knowledge alone does not liberate; a relationship with God is what matters most.  And, consistent with all of St. John’s writings, proof of life with God is that God’s people love one another and all around them, willingly serving those that cannot return the favor.

When God-infused, unselfish love is the foundation of our lives, we can face the truth of any matter head-on, because we know we are loved by God and care more for his glory and the good of others that our selfish wants. We can face the truth about ourselves and our need for continual transformation. We can face facts about the economic, moral and social issues of our day, knowing that our neighbors are both divine image-bearers and in need of redemption.

Knowing the truth is liberating and here are some applications to everyday issues:

  • Abortion kills a human being. In an extremely small number of cases, preserving a mother’s life may require a tragic moral choice; however, technology allows us to see a real human developing inside the womb!
  • Our southern border needs regulation with hospitality, security with compassion. Ignoring it only exacerbates human suffering and political and economic agendas of elites that have no contact with the people involved.
  • Our soaring deficits are inexcusable, with tax revenues the highest in history. Smart people can balance our federal budget in a few hours, while cowardly congressional leaders kick the can down the road of future oppression.
  • Affordable housing is a local and national crisis. Neither socialism or hyper-libertarianism can lead us to the private-public partnerships and common good solutions we need. 

If we love God and our neighbor, we will seek solutions for these and other apparently intractable problems. We can face both human misery and divine opportunity with hopeful realism. It is time for thoughtful folks to say, “Enough!” to posturing politicians and pundits and work for justice neighborhood by neighborhood.

History is Made and the World Changes Forever

Easter. Bunnies and chocolate, egg hunts and beautiful dresses.
Easter. A time of renewal as spring is fully here.
Easter. Family feasting.

Easter includes all of these cultural expressions, some rooted in ancient spring rituals that antedate Christianity. The word itself originates with fertility deities celebrating new life. Other practices are the creations of brilliant marketeers.

For billions throughout history and around the world, however, Easter is about the most important event in human history: the bodily resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. His crucifixion on Good Friday is a mere martyrdom without this divine affirmation of triumph over death. In First Corinthians, chapter 15, the Apostle Paul, himself a former persecutor of the church, declares that without the resurrection of Jesus, the entirety of the Christian faith is in vain and founded on a lie. Without the resurrection, there is no hope in our future or present as we confront evil and suffering – we might as well, “eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die” (a famous Epicurean saying rooted in the denial of life after death).

Amidst all the chocolate and flowers, billions of Christians will declare, “He is Risen!” and respond with, “He is Risen, indeed!” this confession is at the core of the faith and ultimately, this belief is what splits history into BCE and CE or BC and AD…before Christ and “in the year of our Lord” (or “before the common era and the common era).

The resurrection declares that Jesus’ death is full of meaning: the forgiveness and sins and bearing of sicknesses, sorrows and undeserved suffering. Justice and love meet perfectly as the Incarnate One bears the penalty and shame for all human sin. But death does not win! The resurrection is also the preview of our human future as we see our destiny when the world is fully restored. Such hope, empowered by the Holy Spirit, inspires our acts of love and justice today. 

Please enjoy Easter in all its expressions…and remember that the essence of Easter is hope in Christ and an invitation to new life that is not mere pagan celebration, but spiritual transformation.

Finding Wisdom Amidst the Noise

Every day we are besieged with information. Some is useful…much is mere advertising. Our internet world often confuses data with knowledge and knowledge with wisdom. Soundbites and click-throughs are replacing research and reflection. On the American scene we already have nearly 20 presidential candidates vying for attention. Here are some observations from the last several weeks that I hope will prompt thoughtfulness:

Political correctness and cynicism are two sides of the same coin of fear. The first aims not to offend at the expense of humility and reality. The second avoids debate with caustic declarations that only widen differences. 
Let’s choose critical thinking with mutual respect – our civil institutions depend on people of character looking at reality and finding wisdom, not parroting talking points or practicing stand-up comedy.

Still reflecting on the powerful movie, “Unplanned” that Kathy and I saw together. Without hyperbole, this may unveil for abortion what Schindler’s List did for the Shoah. I recommend parents and teens pray and see it together. Not for children or the unprepared. There is divine grace for all ensnared in this tragic issue.

Encourage someone today. Everyone needs one person saying, “You can!” In a world of flattery and insults, genuine, positive encouragement is a gift. Our word in season may be just what someone needs in the midst of life’s pressures.

I challenge all aspiring Presidential candidates to offer doable solutions, not irresponsible speculation. Balance a budget (tax revenues are at an all-time high), secure a hospitable border, continue improving private/public healthcare and work on infrastructure and economic opportunity. President Trump is easy to criticize – but can opponents offer viable policies that have all Americans in mind?


We must start negotiating on important issues such as immigration reform, a balanced budget, infrastructure, improving access for economic opportunity, fixing student debt, and many more. Interpretations of the Mueller Report and investigations will never end…meanwhile, constituents deserve attention to solvable issues that promote human flourishing. Will we choose posturing or productivity; positioning for 2020 or practical help in 2019?