March is almost over, and I still haven’t written a blog post. I have ideas for posts, but nothing has grabbed me enough to dedicate a full post to it. So here’s a grab bag post, mostly stream of consciousness, with a few things for you to ponder.
All Christians Believe…
One of the biggest revelations for me in the past few years has been how many differences in belief there are between Christians. From baptism to end times, even to whether Jesus was a literal, historical person, there are people who identify as Christians and do their best to follow and worship Jesus Christ that believe radically different things.
This is something I’d like to fully explore in a longer post, but the short takeaway here is this:
- If you’re a Christian, please love your brothers and sisters. If they believe something you don’t, there may be an appropriate way to challenge them on it and explore the topic together, but please, let’s always put loving Jesus and our neighbors ahead of every other issue.
- Whether you’re a Christian or not, place the Bible in higher authority than people. Every Christian is going to misunderstand or warp at least something, and some will even deliberately abuse the culture of Christianity for decidedly un-Christian ends. This is not a failing of Christianity, this is a failing of people. If you want to know whether the Bible is true, don’t use Christians as a rubric; use God’s word.
I try to avoid talking much about politics online (the signal to noise ratio is already brutal), but this year is ridiculous. All I’ll say, right now, for anyone who’s reading this, is: when deciding who to vote for, ask yourself, “Will this candidate increase or decrease the amount of love in the world?”
Some of you may know that I read 60 books last year (thanks mostly to commuting by train). I thought it would be good to recommend some of the best books I’ve read, not just last year but in my lifetime. I may write deeper reflections on some of these later.
In no particular order:
- Ender’s Game – sci-fi novel, very thought-provoking and formative for me, first read in elementary or middle school
- Mere Christianity – A common favorite work of C.S. Lewis, really added fuel to the fire of my faith
- Orthodoxy – This book is a masterpiece, and helped restore a wonder and delight in mystery that I had started to lose.
- I Am Malala – A beautiful, touching book from a perspective profoundly different from mine. Eye opening, emotional, necessary.
- The Calorie Myth – Like many health-and-diet books, it drinks its own Kool-Aid quite a bit, but I’m persuaded by a lot of the ideas and the book does a fairly good job backing its claims up with data and study citations.
- Desiring the Kingdom – American Christianity has often presented itself to me in a very individualistic way, being all about a personal relationship with Jesus, and all about how things move you and how you respond to them. This book opened my eyes to the importance of liturgy, communal practices, and how essential it is that faith be lived out together.