Just like God chose Saul. Just like God chose Caesar. Just like God chose Nero, and Stalin, and even Hitler. Our God is sovereign. Even when we don’t understand His choices, He is sovereign. It’s one of the comforts that comes with Christian faith.
But remember one thing: God can choose to punish as justly as God can choose to bless. Trump could be either. He could be neither. But God is sovereign no matter what.
There are many dorm room Voltaires, many privileged rebels. But here’s the thing: there are fewer atheists in the ER. Life has a way of humbling you.
But it is not only suffering that often pries open the human heart. Whatever took place in Zuckerberg’s heart and mind, the gift of children is a little worldview in itself, albeit one that comes to you with tightly-shut little eyes and a feeble cry. Though you may reject this discovery, having a child introduces you to a world beyond yourself. Suddenly, in a vigorous and unopposable coup carried out by a 7-pound baby, you are dethroned. You no longer have control of your life; you don’t get to be served by others; you can’t claim to be the priority of those closest to you.
Mark Zuckerberg, like Steve Jobs, falls into a Myers-Briggs personality type of INTJ. I have read much about these two men because I too fall into that personality type. INTJs are one of the most rational, analytical types. Rational types are often least likely to find religion. INTJs are, I believe, the least likely.
This is why my faith, while radical and odd to many not in my head, is very rational and intellectually-driven.
But Zuckerberg has always been an outspoken atheist. Until Christmas, when he posted that “religion is very important”. Having a child can do that to you.
We’ve been told that we’re just all flesh and blood, atoms colliding in a purposeless dance. But that’s not what you feel—in your bones, in your heart—when you look at your sleeping child. That’s not what you sense when your tiny loved one is hurt or sick. That’s not why you get out of bed in the middle of the night to calm your two-year-old experiencing night terrors. It’s not because of atoms colliding. It’s not because of chance. It’s not because of chaos theory. It’s because of love. It’s because your heart has opened to another.
There is so much immaterial. So much that cannot be understood with science. What's more, science often tries to explain the most radically unscientific concepts with theories that are just cold and illogical.
Seeing my daughter’s face for the first time over two years ago stopped time. I only know two women that have caused time to cease. When I hear beneath the sound of our television our daughter cry out “Daddy, help!” from her bedroom upstairs, I’m often on my feet before I can think.
“The leather-bound Bible owned by local man Kurt Ryder for over ten years reported Sunday that it was “super pumped” to participate in Ryder’s resolution to read his Bible every day, until he inevitably shelves it in the latter half of the first week of January, sources confirmed.”
Haven’t heard it put this way. I will need to internalize it and to use this.
Why are we hated? Why is it that we should be not surprised when the world turns against us?
Because Cain hated Abel. Just one verse earlier John has spoken of these two brothers and asked why one murdered the other. Cain murdered Abel “because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous.” Abel’s goodness exposed Cain’s badness. Abel’s righteousness convicted Cain of his unrighteousness. Abel’s love for God silently declared Cain’s disregard. Cain responded with the ultimate manifestation of hatred—he murdered his own brother.
I published this on Facebook two years ago. At times I look back at what I have written and question my wording, other times I look back and see a fire that I never want to lose. This is a fire I never want to lose.
The town I grew up in was tolerant in a way I don't see often today. We accepted that others had different views than ours, even if we didn't accept their views. It didn't matter who needed help, my family would pitch in to help. That is the Christian way.
I was never taught to ask if someone was homosexual, adulterous, a liar, or anything else. I was taught to love my neighbor and my enemy. In fact, I didn't know of a single homosexual in my graduating class until friending them on Facebook and seeing it in their posts. Charlie was among my friends, Gordon someone I admired, and Dani was a sassy girl that humored me. Things that they did never mattered to us in my hometown. Not once.
I had a black sister since before I can remember. She wasn't my actual sister, just one of many that we adopted. I can honestly say that it never hit me until sometime in high school that she was different. The thing is, she wasn't. She was no different. Her skin may have been darker than mine, but it never mattered to me or my family. Not once.
Things are different today. The media is louder. More in our faces. Maybe I never realized the controlling voices of the floating heads before I was outside my li'l piece of the Midwest. They cry hate and bigot left and right. Words I never understood until the floating heads showed me what they meant.
Intolerance, they echoed, but not at those that caused problems, not at those that hurt people, not at those that called homosexuals faggots, not at those that called blacks niggers. No, they screamed it at Christians that said that Jesus was the way, that we all need Him that made us.
These people are the lovers that still stop and help a stranger. These are those with compassion enough to drop their privileged lives in America to travel to Cambodia, Croatia, and Bulgaria to help the widows and the orphans, building homes and spreading Hope.
The talking heads bring them into the spotlight and give them the Litmus test: Do you believe homosexuality is a sin? They don't care about anything else. And once the answer they already have is given, they shred them for being intolerant, bigotrous, and hateful. It's followed by every media channel echoing the same decree.
This is not America. This America scares me.
I shudder at night, fearing that if I speak my faith in the wrong corner that I will lose my job, my livelihood, or worse. But I will never say of my Lord "I don't know Him." I fear my Lord over all else.
What do all of these have in common? These are things that Christians should be in an uproar about. Babies, the downtrodden, and the persecuted. Yet my feeds were clear of most of that while each of these events were at their heights. And now I see so many of my fellow Christians in an uproar about a cup.
Let’s be real. If you put Santa in a mall and don’t mention Christmas, you’re an idiot. You aren’t avoiding offending anyone or excluding anyone because the only holiday that involves a big jolly fat man in red this time of year is Christmas. Kwanzaa doesn’t. Hanukkah doesn’t. Only Christmas.
If you have a tree decorated with tinsel, lights, and ornaments: you have a Christmas tree. Calling it a holiday tree serves no one. No other holiday involves that tree.
But, as a free-market supporter and a conservative, I’m not going to force your business to call it a Christmas tree or to wish me a Merry Christmas. I might call you an idiot, but I won’t force your hand. I might choose to shop elsewhere, but I won’t force you to change.
So that brings us to a stupid little cup. Christians, when they see you stay silent about the murder of gays at the hands of ISIS and the selling of baby parts, what witness are you providing by complaining about that red cup? That $5 coffee is likely money not going towards providing an entire meal for a poor family or a week’s worth of water for a person in Africa. But you know, let’s complain about people not knowing how awesome Jesus is while we continue to not show them Jesus.
I heard a preacher over the weekend answering questions about the LGBT community and how to reach them and love them. He, himself, lives in Boystown in Chicago. When asked on how to respond to the harsh, bigotrous, anti-Christian persecution on Facebook, which comes to anyone that stands by the Gospel, he responded with a ridiculing laugh and said that we should know better than to do this on Facebook.
A man, who lives in Boystown, going where the people are and reaching out to a community in need of Jesus laughed at people that were going to and reaching out to a community in need of Jesus online. I agreed and nodded my head with most of what he said before this statement, but then this laugh stabbed through me, a backhand across the face. Where there is an open hostility towards Christianity, a people that live in mockery of God, a people seeking meaning, us Christians ought not go?
The irony apparently is lost on him.
As an introvert, the whole approaching-those-I-don’t-know thing is very difficult. Not because I’m shy— I’m not—, but because our culture is built around extroverts. To get to any sort of real conversation, one must jump through the hoops of small talk, formalities, and fakery to seem pleasant enough to be real with. Our churches, too, seem geared towards extroverts. “Turn around and introduce yourself to someone you don’t know.” “James, I don’t know you, but do you mind opening us in prayer?” “Join us Saturday for our ice cream social.” None of those seem even remotely enjoyable to me. And I’m not alone.
But where the one-on-one interaction in person is difficult, the Internet opens many of us up to be more bold, more social, more sharing. Where an extrovert shines going to Boystown, the introvert shines going on Facebook. Both locations need Jesus. Both places are hostile towards Christianity and God. Both are seeking purpose and meaning. So why is my mission field wrong?
During his remarks, which were regularly interrupted by rounds of applause from the assembled lawmakers, Pope Francis condemned the death penalty, called for better environmental stewardship, and even talked about the ills of political polarization. He did not, however, mention Jesus Christ, whose life, death, and resurrection form the very foundation of the Christian faith.
The Pope could have had a Jonah moment, going before the Congress of the most powerful nation in the world. He could have called each man and each woman to hit their knees before the Most High; repent, take up their cross and follow Jesus. But instead he talked about climate change and politics. Not even mentioning Jesus once, as if a congress of men could change the world when only Jesus can.