Social Media Is Good

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Before I get started, I should be clear: I am just as prone to social media addiction as is the next person. And yeah, let’s call a spade a spade. It’s an addiction. I wanted to use a softer word – attachment? inclination? temporary periods of chronic usage?  – to distance myself from that association, but that would not be fully honest. It’s an addiction. And I’m prone to it. I know this because I go to it mindlessly, whether I’m busy or bored; I choose it over the work I should be doing; I feel the need to keep checking, to stay in the know. Over the years, I’ve deleted my Facebook account more times than I’d like to admit, and sometimes it feels like I delete my apps on a weekly basis. I feel the forceful effects of its pull and the burdensome weight of my response. Continue reading

Speeding Tickets and Other Great Offenses

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I got a speeding ticket recently. It was late at night, and though I had just exited off a highway, I was still on a long, open, empty strip of road. The momentum from the highway coupled with the apparent solitude of the road were contributing factors in the weight of my foot upon the gas pedal. I was tired and just really wanted to be home. I didn’t notice any speed limit signs; I wasn’t aware of my own speed.

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Weed Is Not the Only Weed

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“What’s so bad about weed?”

The first time I had this conversation was with a new believer. He followed up his question with the observation that the Bible never expressly mentions nor prohibits marijuana. I was a new believer myself, and as such, I didn’t have a thorough understanding of the matter. I (shamefully) remember all I had to answer was an insufficient and unsatisfying recitation of all I had ever heard: “It’s a drug. Drugs are bad.”

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“The Heart of the Matter” by Graham Greene

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“If I could just arrange for her happiness first, he thought, and in the confusing night he forgot what experience had taught him – that no human being can really understand another, and no one can arrange another’s happiness” (p. 85).

There are two things that concern Scobie most: love and faith. Overshadowing both of these things is his ultimate desire for happiness, a desire that consumes and manipulates him. Because no one can arrange another’s happiness, Scobie’s dogged insistence upon making others happy leads only to heartache and destruction.

It is exactly this heartache that brings him to abandon and desecrate the idea of a good God: “that was the mystery, to reconcile [suffering] with the love of God” (p. 121).

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"Love Does" by Bob Goff

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This is a hard review for me to write. On the one hand, I disagreed with a lot of this book and would not recommend it to others. On the other hand, if I were to meet Bob Goff in person, I know for a fact I would love him.

There are almost 2,000 reviews for this book on Amazon. Eighty-six percent of these reviewers have given it a 5/5 rating. That’s a ton of people who have loved and seemingly benefitted from it. This fact, combined with Bob Goff’s laudable character as well as my dissent, are what make this a very difficult review. I’m writing it out of sincere respect for Bob and everyone else who loved it, but also out of honesty.

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Struggling with Happiness

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How and why do some Christians always give off the appearance of happiness? How is it possible for a Christian to be so happy? Is that even right?

These are questions with which I’ve been contending recently. Sometimes, it feels like believing in Christ is the cause of more sadness than happiness within me. I know that Jesus brings joy and that God wants us to be truly happy in knowing him. I know this because I feel the joy of my salvation – a personal joy. But I don’t live in a box covered in mirrors; I’m a human interacting with other humans, surrounded and influenced by a world filled with evil.

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Future Hope

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We don’t think about the future. I mean, we do. We think about our plans for the future. But we don’t put our fullest trust in the future. It’s hard to feel a deep-seated and solid joy in something that seems so uncertain. It’s hard enough to trust the hope we place in present-day realities – a hope that so frequently seems to disappoint us. How can we place our hope in something that is essentially a mere idea? Continue reading

“Hausfrau” by Jill Essbaum

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“Hausfrau” by Jill Essbaum

Anna is a passive woman. She blames everything wrong with her life on this one flaw. It’s a passivity that controls everything, from the decisions she makes (or fails to make), to her desperate longing to believe in predestination (she doesn’t have to choose!), to her detachment from Swiss culture, to the way she gives herself up effortlessly to every one of her desires. An American expat living in Switzerland, she is a mother of three and endures a joyless, passionless marriage. She is depressed and lonely and suffocated by her misery. So she self-medicates the only way she knows how: by self-destructing. By having sex with men who are not her husband. Continue reading