Does Fear Belong in Christianity?

Despite the Gospel often referred to as ‘good news,’ many people associate other feelings with Christianity. One of the most common reactions is fear. It’s understandable, as we tend to present the ‘good news’ with an ultimatum. If you choose NOT to follow this good news there’s a steep price to pay. Namely, you’ll burn forever.

Now it’s not usually said in those terms, it’s usually couched in language that shows our concern to save others from burning forever. But that simply communicates the same fear in a friendlier way. We’ll be sad if they burn.

Is this what Jesus had in mind?

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People Inspire People

My first book of 2022 was The Storyteller by Dave Grohl. Dave is the frontman of the band Foo Fighters and was the drummer for Nirvana. I’ve been a Dave fan since his song “Everlong” enamored me as a junior higher.

The book is a fun look at the life of a rockstar. What’s most surprising is Dave’s humility every time he meets one of his musical heroes. He recounts story after story of these encounters throughout the book and the joy he has in each one is contagious. Throughout these stories he repeated a phrase that has stuck with me.

“People inspire people.”

As an artist, he attributes much of his inspiration and creativity to the people he’s interacted with in his life. I appreciate the simplicity of this idea and it seems this is an insight we would do well to keep at the forefront of our lives.

We’re all trying to keep our heads above water amidst a collective weariness in our world. Michelle and I have noticed that we seem to be getting Covid emails from our kids’ schools every day for every grade. None of us are quite sure what ‘normal’ looks like anymore. We are likely spending less time with others these last few years than ever before. Now more than ever it matters that invest ourselves into the people around us.

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The Problem with a Good God and a Broken Humanity

I’ve noticed a certain tendency in our language of God and people. We often talk about how broken we are and in need of saving. Some theological circles dive even deeper into this idea and use phrases that explain how we are ‘totally depraved.’ Basically, our conversations dwell on how God is good but we are not.

While I’m not suggesting we don’t need God, I do want to suggest there’s something a bit off in how we talk about this.

Stop for a moment and think this through with me. According to Christianity, who made people? The answer is God made us. Okay, that seems easy enough. But how did God make us? The answer is that God made us in God’s image (Genesis 1:26-27, 5:1). This creates an issue for our current conversation.

If humans are bad, what does this say about the Creator? Especially one who created us in the Creator’s own image? If even half or a third of humanity was bad, we’d still have to acknowledge that God isn’t very good at making people. But what kind of problem do we have if one hundred percent of people are broken (obviously excluding Jesus as unique)?

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The 100 Books I Read in 2021

The 100 Books I Read in 2021

I’ve met my yearly reading goals the last few years and I’ve challenged myself with bigger goals each year. My previous record for a year was 71 books. This year I decided to aim for 100. It got a bit tight toward the end (hence needing every single day of the year before posting this), but I was able to do it. I love learning new ideas and I’m grateful for the chance to read all of these books. It takes a lot of work to put a book together and it’s a huge win to be able to benefit from that work by spending a few hours reading it.

Below are the books I read since January of 2021 with my rating for them (5 being the best) along with a brief review. Any book without a number rating has been given to me by the author or publisher. Click on any of the titles below to get to a link to buy it. (Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate, I may earn commissions from qualifying purchases from Amazon.com).

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Christmas is More

Merry Christmas friends. I’m not sure where your mind is at as you’ve been preparing and enjoying Christmas week this year. My head hasn’t really been dwelling on Hallmark plots that make you feel good. I read a tweet a while back and now I find myself thinking about it again as Christmas draws near.

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Holding Something While it Rots

I once heard the marketing guru Seth Godin say that “Too many people are holding onto something while it rots.” If you think of this idea in physical terms—say of holding onto a rotting piece of fruit—it seems absurd. We wouldn’t do that. Yet when it comes to the intangibles we often don’t realize the absurdity of our actions.

I think this tendency to cling to what is rotting is why we are slow to embrace new things.

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