Fireworks on the Arno, Florence, 1949.5.192

Happy New Year! I have the honor of the first Morning Walk article in 2022. The twelfth day of Christmas has just passed, and it’s time to focus on the new year. We all want to be prepared for what lies ahead, so that we can capitalize on the positives and avoid the negatives. The time-honored tradition of resolutions is commonplace. Voices in the backs of our heads give us unease as we write them down, unless festive drink drowns those voices out. We get a slight feeling that this is wrong. I’d like to crystallize that feeling now, so … Continue reading “Resolutions”

Hunger and Thirst

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, because they will be satisfied.” Where do we see righteousness? How do we measure faith? This is a question that transcends all times and all places. Philosophers have connected their personal faith to all aspects of their persons: to who they are, and to what they believe, and to what they do. What does the New Testament say about these things? Christianity, thank God, does not consider the aspects of who we are to have any role in righteousness or faith. Paul goes to great length explaining who he is in … Continue reading “Hunger and Thirst”

How Did We Get Here?

I came across a line from Richard J. Foster’s Celebration of Discipline stating, “The surest sign that it is God’s will for us to be where we are is simply that we are there.” Less wordily, God approves of every situation in which we find ourselves. Even between His engineered plan and His engineered punishment, I disagree. Setting aside the predestination/free will argument as far from this essay as I possibly can, I believe it is possible to screw up your life so badly that you knock yourself off course. Taking Jesus’s parables as examples, was it God’s will for … Continue reading “How Did We Get Here?”

Daydreams of Heaven 2 – Many Are Called

A Daydream of Flower Clouds

Nota bene: this passage does not necessarily apply to heaven as much as physically following Christ during His travels; still, it presents itself as food for thought. I awoke on a platform that ascended through the sky. I knew nothing about those who sat beside me, nor they of me. The near distance was obscured by infinite fields of clouds; I could not comprehend the rate at which we flew by them. I looked off the platform and could see no ground, only a great host of angels guiding the platform upward. I called out to them, but they did … Continue reading “Daydreams of Heaven 2 – Many Are Called”

Daydreams of Heaven 1 – The Amphitheater

I saw myself in a great amphitheater. I looked to my left and right. The great multitudes of people there measured beyond fathom, though it made little difference—miles off into the distance, the crowds became enshrouded in a bright light. I looked down at a small platform upon which a single individual was seen by the countless masses. I dared not look up, for I knew deep in my heart the great power that hovered above us all. As if by miracle, all the peoples who had gathered hushed as the one at the center of the platform beneath us … Continue reading “Daydreams of Heaven 1 – The Amphitheater”

On Scripture Expansion

Jesus' Sermon on the Mount

Extracting meaning from the Bible is perhaps one of the most necessary, important, and by proxy dangerous activities in all theology. The Good Book has many applicable lessons hidden within its verses, but stretching the passage to distortion in a greedy rush for enlightenment can ruin the entire endeavor. The book I was tasked with reading (for the Morning Walk Fellowship), David Timms’s Living the Lord’s Prayer, runs gung-ho into reckless analysis, attempting to dissect the Lord’s Prayer word-by-word but soon settling for phrase-by-phrase. Ignoring the hilarious irony that a prayer designed to be short was stretched into a 217-page … Continue reading “On Scripture Expansion”

Theft – Don’t

Recently, I discussed the nuances of the Ninth Commandment. I believe that it is equally reasonable to talk about the absence of nuance in the Eighth Commandment. “You shall not steal.” It reads as clearly in Hebrew as it does in every language on the planet. There are no caveats, clarifications, or mitigations. This rule is clear and undeniable. Even so, I want to talk about the elements of the Bible that discuss the lax transfers of property, if only to sharpen the point of the Eighth Commandment. Neither the sons of Israel nor their ancestors were ever meant to … Continue reading “Theft – Don’t”

Celebration and Relaxation

Tomorrow is a celebration; it marks both my birthday and the conclusion of my move to another house. I figured, in the midst of all the more sober prescriptive articles of the past, I would take this opportunity to discuss celebration, luxury, relaxation and the like. For one, there’s very little to go off with regards to visuals. Mentions of art, paint, color, and drawing are very rare in the Bible. It makes me wonder if “You shall not make for yourself a divine image with any form that is in the heavens above or that is in the earth … Continue reading “Celebration and Relaxation”

Pilates: Different Caricatures of Pontius

Easter’s just around the corner, so it’s time to commence with the several-hour long discourse on the nature of Pontius Pilate. What? You don’t do that on an annual basis? What better time to start the tradition than during your Easter video chats! Pontius Pilate’s character was the basis for a mold, an archetype which sticks in modern literature. He was the man who found Jesus to be an innocent man, but he loved popular praise too much (or, conversely, he was too weak to fight the will of the mob) to spare Jesus from crucifixion. Over the years, Pontius … Continue reading “Pilates: Different Caricatures of Pontius”

Youth Groups

I will be in a new house come Sunday, so my workload for the past few weeks has been full. I am quite tired, and perhaps a little grumpy. Still, the process of moving has retrieved several memories of my years at my college’s Christian youth ministries. I figured I’d reflect on those times and my views on college ministry as a whole. The common piece of advice I hear from youth group leaders is to find a group you particularly like and to stick with it. This might be perhaps due to my own personal habits, but I often … Continue reading “Youth Groups”