The following is guest posted by Tim Pepper – single father to one, brother to one, friend to many, master of biotechnology, writer of over 100 songs and singer of many more.
Fear Causes Inaction
It Doesn’t Excuse It
Fear. “Fear will establish the limits of your life.” That statement really resonates with me. I think it’s because I have experienced the limitations that fear can place on a person. Not all fears are bad but I don’t think our lives are meant to be characterized by fear. Furthermore, I don’t think it’s healthy to live in fear and I don’t think a persons actions ought to always be determined by fear.
The counterbalance to fear is apparently Faith. But faith in what? Faith in God? That’s all very well but what is it about God that I’m supposed to have faith in? Am I to have faith that I will inherit a million bucks? Am I to have faith that I will experience no loss or disappointment or difficulty? The things I grew up believing are these: God is good. God is kind. God is loving. God is my father and friend and master. God has a plan. God has a partner for me. God has a purpose for me.
It is hard for me to understand or know exactly what all of that means. I don’t know if I believe anymore that God has a partner for me. I want to believe it but I find it hard to do. As for God’s plan; I don’t know what to believe about that either.
I think about all the problems in the world. Difficult things like idiot countries with idiot laws that oppress their people. Difficult things like people who rape and murder other people. In a world where these things exist it’s difficult to understand how God’s plan is taking shape.
I think about God’s purpose for me and I wonder if I’m right in the middle of that purpose right now? I don’t want to believe that mostly because I don’t really like where I’m at right now. It’s not what I want. But I pray and pray and pray for things to change and nothing changes. So I wonder if I’m supposed to actively try and change things or if I’m supposed to just try and accept what is happening in my life.
I don’t know the answer to that but I think about things like slavery and medicine and wonder what would have happened if the abolitionists had only prayed? What would have happened if a few people hadn’t stowed away some Jews under the Nazi regime? Where would we be if doctors and nurses hadn’t studied and hadn’t administered treatment and had instead only prayed? Would we be here at all?
If you have certain heart conditions you can reduce your chance of having a heart attack by taking half an Aspirin every day. If you simply make the choice to eat right and exercise you can possibly prevent yourself from getting those heart conditions.
There are actions that people take that change the course of their daily lives and even sometimes change the course of history. Sometimes those actions are as easy as taking an Aspirin but I imagine it wasn’t that easy to abolish slavery and I imagine it was fairly fearful to have Jews hiding in your attic when the Nazis came knocking on your door.
People do these difficult (and sometimes easy) things because something in their being tells them that they have to do them. Something tells them that what they are doing is the right thing to do. So they do them despite the difficulty and despite the fear. They do them because they believe in that thing that is talking to their conscience. They have faith. Read more
On Vibrant Perspectives
Must Be Tempered
Unfortunately, discovering one truth or fact – here to fore unknown – is not the end of the journey.
Truth never stands alone. One piece of truth, like digits on a hand, form only a part of the picture. A finger does not a person make, so it is difficult to draw conclusions based only on one truth or even two or three separate truths.
For example, if you found an unclaimed finger on the sidewalk and reported it to the authorities their first response would be to answer several questions, the most important one being, “who does it belong to?” You couldn’t know for sure without further investigation. It’s not an easy question to answer. More detail is needed.
Getting a finger print would help but only if the person’s print is in the system and in the case of mutilations the print might not be so clear.
If the person’s print isn’t in the system the DNA is probably missing also, so there may be no help there.
Even with a witness there is no guarantee. The value of the witness is determined by how well they knew the victim, if they knew them at all, and/or how accurately they remember what they saw. Assuming, of course, they are willing to come forward.
I think you get the point.
One truth is not an answer or a conclusion. It is nothing more than one truth. You can make up a “missing finger” story and use that to guide your search for other truths but until you have more detail you can’t draw conclusions. Your hypothesis remains unproven.
But that’s not all. Read more
Not All Inches Are Equal
Variety More Important
Basically there are three kinds of people: routinely organized, obsessively organized and sufficiently organized. The differences are:
The Routinely Organized person can give you a list of things they will do on any given day.
They start each day with the list in hand. During the course of the day they will accomplish all or most of the things on their list. At the end of each day they will make another list for the next day. This person is comfortable with habit.
My grandmother was this kind of person. She made many hamburgers during the course of her life using her special recipe and every one tasted exactly the same. They were amazingly delicious like everything else she cooked.
The Obsessively Organized person can give you a list and a timetable for every item on the list.
They can tell you when each item will or should begin and they can give you an end time as well. They also have a contingency plan should things not go as expected. This person loves reaching short term goals.
The Sufficiently Organized person may or may not have a list each day.
This person takes the long view not the list view so the day to day grind bores them. Living in the moment – the opposite of routine – characterizes their life. They easily over schedule and over commit but contrary to popular opinion this persons knows there is an ultimate reason for everything and can eventually achieve significance.
All three approaches are important because each one represents a different kind of inch: routine, project and ultimate purpose. None alone is sufficient. It is true that routine is the bedrock of success but you need more than a bedrock to succeed.
What you do in any one day doesn’t represent a life purpose and you can’t always “goal” your way into that purpose. The many common things we routinely do are good examples: eat, sleep, brush teeth, bath, tend the garden, go to work, pay the bills, etc.
Those things give us a sense of personal control and continuity but none of them are all important.
What about cultures where people don’t brush their teeth. Would they gauge individual significance on how many teeth you have left or how many false ones you can afford at the end of life? To them a full set of teeth would seem weird. Fortunately, meaningful living is possible even for people who gum their food. That’s good because brushing your teeth regularly is no guarantee you won’t lose your teeth anyway.
All of that is to say that ultimate success isn’t determined by numbing routine or an endless list of goals achieved and there are many proofs of this in the Bible. Biblical characters with the most impact aren’t easy to emulate. There was nothing routine or repeatable in their path to significance as the following examples will show. Read more
I recently received an email from a man I’ll call “Sincere.” He was responding to one of my posts on tithing, Too Poor To Tithe, and was not happy with some of the remarks I made.
I decided to respond because, even though he disagreed with me, he wasn’t being disagreeable. Instead of calling me names and impugning my character he offered very sincere arguments.
There was a little bit of “mud throwing” – it’s hard to disagree and not fling a little – but for the most part he was thoughtful. I respect that.
I copied his email below for those who care to read it. What you will find is:
- He doesn’t disagree with tithing.
- He does disagree with the way tithing is taught but doesn’t repeat, ad nauseum, the same “Old Testament vs New Testament” arguments to suggest tithing is no longer valid.
- Although he makes it very clear that he thinks I am wrong, he doesn’t once lower himself to refer to me, or any other tither, as: thief, manipulator, liar, etc. No name calling.
- He doesn’t misrepresent my ideas either. He disagrees honorably.
I will offer a few responses but for now please take a moment to read what he says: Read more
They may not believe Heaven is for Real but academic heavy hitters are lining up to take a swing at Colton Burpo.
Susan Jacoby, for one, suggested the American public’s infatuation with his book proves they are immature minded and this isn’t a new trend for her. In a February 2008 article she referred to the same group as “dunces.”
About Colton’s book, she quips, “only in America could a book like this be classified as nonfiction.”
I’m not sure if “immature” represents an improvement or is the reason she thinks we are dumb, but you get the feeling things would change if we would just read a few books on Reason – starting with her’s, of course. She’s written several and you could almost map the road to reprobation in the titles:
- Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism – 2004.
- The Age of American Unreason – 2008.
Not that that matters to her. She doesn’t believe and is proud to say so.
The real issue is, Colton’s book has sold over a million copies – and counting – and is breaking all the records at Thomas Nelson publishers. And, as a non materialistic atheist, who apparently doesn’t appreciate people suggesting she or her kind writes books for money, she doesn’t hesitate to suggest the Burpo’s did just that, accusingly, as if there is something wrong with making money.
Her cynicism doesn’t slur it gushes arterially.
I will say that it’s good she doesn’t write for profit because her books don’t sell that well. Read more