Monday, February 28, 2011

Free Will

I've been thinking a lot about free will lately. Or as we used to say in the church, "Free Moral Agent." That just sounds funny to me. But free will is not funny. It's what made Adam and Eve sin in the garden. It's what makes you and me different from anything else God has created.
C.S. Lewis has always been one to frighten me....simply because he's so doggone smart. And when I read his books, I find myself with my eyes rolled in the back of my head and dazed. Recently, I purchased a book of daily passages from Lewis and I've found I can take him in smaller doses. That way my brain doesn't get fried. But here's a passage from Mere Christianity that talks of free will.

God created things which had free will. That means creatures which can go either wrong or right. Some people think they can imagine a creature which was free but had no possibility of going wrong; I cannot. If a thing is free to be good it is also free to be bad. And free will is what has made evil possible. Why, then, did God give them free will? Because free will, though it makes evil possible, is also the only thing that makes possible any love or goodness or joy worth having. A world of automata--of creatures that worked like machines--would hardly be worth creating. The happiness which God designs for His higher creatures is the happiness of being freely, voluntarily united to Him and to each other in an ecstasy of love and delight compared with which the most rapturous love between a man and a woman on this earth is mere milk and water. And for that they must be free.

Thanks, C.S. I couldn't have said it better myself. Have a great day. JW

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Next Christians by Gabe Lyons

Gabe Lyons' *The Next Christians* is a follow-up to the book *Unchristian* co-authored with David Kinnaman. His description of the condition of the church is very telling and relies on his personal and statistical study. The introduction of technology, the presence of pluralism, and the onset of postmodernism has permanently changed the scene of religion in America. As we progress toward what has already happened in Europe, Lyons warns us of what is rapidly coming to our soil.

In describing the present condition of the church, he describes present day Pharisees and Sadducees. However, he also describes what must distinguish the "next Christian" in the years to come. These include: Provoked, not offended; Creators, not crtics; Called, not employed; Grounded, not distracted; In community, not alone; Countercultural, not "relevant."

In essence, in my opinion, he describes not what a "new Christian" is, but what God always intended for His followers to be. This book serves as a great resource for those who are wondering what is happening int he postmodern church and what it will take for Christians to be salt and light.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. To see a video clip about this book, go to or go to to read the first chapter.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Graduation Song

Happy Monday and Happy Valentine's Day!

I graduated from high school in May of 1972 from Harding Academy in Searcy, Arkansas. Yes, that makes me 56 (almost 57) years old. For some reason I was thinking about that day recently. How many of you remember who spoke at your high school graduation? I do. It was my father. Thirty-six years later I had the privilege of delivering the baccalaureate address for my son's graduating class. But I digress.
At my graduation several of the senior boys were asked to lead the audience in a hymn. I was given the task to lead one of those songs and I still remember what song it was. I pulled out the words the other day and I thought how interesting. It was a song of youth asking for guidance in our lives as we get older. Now looking back, I see the wisdom in those words as I approach the later stage of my life. Here is the song:

Take my life, O Father mold it in obedience to Thy will;
And as rip'ning years unfold it, keep it true and child-like still.

Father, keep it pure and lowly, strong and brave, yet free from strife,
Turning from the paths unholy of a van or sinful life.

Ever let Thy might surround it; strengthen it wth pow'r divine,
Till Thy cords of love have bound it, Father, wholly unto Thine.

Ageless words that still speak to me today. I hardly understood them these 40 years ago, but now they ring truer than they did then. I sing these words in my heart today and I hear the calling to be child-like in heart, holy, and wise enough to follow the Divine guidance of the only Holy One.

Dear God,
Please let me live by the words of this beautiful hymn. And my I ever fill the loving cords of Your love in my life. In His name, Amen.

I hope you have a great day. JW

Monday, February 07, 2011

C. S. Lewis

I haven't ever been much of a C. S. Lewis fan. It's not because I don't think he's a great writer, I just have a hard time understanding him. His thought processes are so far above my own, I just don't get him sometimes. I bought a book not too long ago called A Year with C. S. Lewis which has a year of readings from him. Perhaps broken up in smaller parts I can "get" him a little bit better. Today's blog is from his book Mere Christianity. I hope you like it. I did.

Besides being complicated, reality, in my experience, is usually odd. It is not neat, not obvious, not what you expect. For instance, when you have grasped that the earth and the other planets all go around the sun, you would naturally expect that all the planets were made to match--all at equal distances from each other, say, or distances that regularly increased, or all the same size, or else getting bigger or smaller as you go further from the sun. In fact, you find no rhyme or reason (that we can see) about either the sizes or the distances; and some of them have one moon, one has four, one has two, some have none, and one has a ring.

Reality, in fact, is usually something you could not have guessed. That is one of the reasons I believe Christianity. It is a religion you could have not guessed. If it offered us just the kind of universe we had always expected, I should feel we were making it up. But, in fact, it is not the sort of thing anyone would have made up. It has just that queer twist about it that real things have. --C. S. Lewis

Thank you, sir....I couldn't have said it better myself. I hope you have a good day. JW