Meaningless: Reflections for Lent, Week 4

In this fourth week of Lent, the author of Ecclesiastes continues to speak to me. I have begun to believe this may be my favorite book of the Bible. Despite the uselessness of any teaching I have ever had on it before (including in my college and seminary classes on it), it has so much to offer.

I’m realizing that while it needs the context of the rest of the Bible to help illuminate exactly what it’s talking about, these 12 chapters contain the core of everything the whole Bible has to offer. It lacks the narrative of God’s people and Christ’s gospel, but the fundamental wisdom contained in both are here.

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Meaningless: Reflections for Lent, Week 2

As we observe the second week of Lent, reflecting on the words of Ecclesiastes, I find myself thinking about the prominent people in our world as I read chapters 3 and 4. I also find reminders for myself. The work I do is important for my clients, and the money I earn is important for my family. The classes I take are important for our future. But if I spend so much time meeting my responsibilities and lose my relationships or let opportunities pass me by, I’m a fool.

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Meaningless: Reflections for Lent, Week 1

Ecclesiastes. It’s so little understood. My youth pastor once encouraged a group of us to do a study on it and then apologized a few weeks in because it was just…. Well, what would you expect from a simplistic Bible study curriculum designed for teens? So much angst…

But it’s not the dark, useless whole in the middle of the Bible people tend to think it is. It’s beautiful really. It’s not really about what is meaningless, though it sure seems like it most of the time. It’s trying to show what really is meaningful by contrast. It’s the result of someone’s meditating long and hard about life, about love, about God.

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The Voice of Wisdom

Sometimes it does it by saying something that makes you cringe. Sometimes it does it by contradicting itself and making you figure out how both can be true. Sometimes it does it by being vague, forcing you to figure out how it relates to real life. Whatever the method, if you’re taking it at face value and moving on, you’re missing the point.

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With All Your Mind, Part 05: Prayer that Shapes Me

Five months. That’s how long I have been practicing meditation and contemplative prayer. It has begun to transform me and the direction of my life. And, providentially, it has saved me as I struggle through balancing and trying to thrive as a student, as a social worker, as a father, as a husband, as a brother, as a son, as a member of my church community, as a thinker and writer, as an American, and as a follower of Jesus.

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In Control in Your Heart

I am with you. Regardless of your opinions, positions, convictions, now is a time with the potential to stretch you to your limit and beyond.

If you’re feeling worn down, I am with you. If you feel judged unfairly or rejected out of hand by friends or family because you see things differently than they do, I am with you.

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Draw and Drive

Understanding approaches slowly, but it arrives all at once.

Since I was a kid, I have had an affinity for certain people who didn’t quite align. I remember helping out at vacation Bible school as a young teen, and I was drawn to the kid (maybe kindergarten age) who was already the “difficult child.” I immediately liked him, and I spent more time with him than with any of the others.

As an adult, I have found that same element in myself drawing me toward certain people.

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A Voice with Many Faces

The following is an allegorical telling of my life’s developing relationship with Scripture. Enjoy. When I was a boy, my friends were more a matter of proximity than affinity. When you’re just starting to grow, other kids are more decoration than companion, but they can be comforting. One day I accompanied my mom to a […]

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The Secret of Wisdom

What is wisdom? There are many answers to that question. I’ve heard it described as knowledge applied to life. I’ve heard it worshiped—under the name Sophia—as a sort of new-age or neo-pagan spirituality. I’ve read it was involved in the creation of the world.

That last one is provocative, and I think Christians tend to gloss over it, ignoring its significance. It’s found in the most known collection of wisdom writing in the Western world—the biblical book simply known as “Proverbs.”

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