George Bailey and Mary Hatch For those who enjoy the classic film "It's a Wonderful Life": Have you ever wondered about how Mary is portrayed in the alternate world in which George Bailey never existed? Bizarrely perhaps, she winds up an "old maid" - closing the library on Christmas Eve. Wouldn't she have married someone else and lived a great life? This essay examines that question, showing that Mary is the greatest hero in this story. Intentional, purposeful, and wise throughout, she makes George into the man he becomes. In his darkest moment, she’s what makes him want to live again. … [Read more...] about Mary’s Heroism in “It’s a Wonderful Life”
One of Stephen Covey's 7 Habits of Highly Effective People was to "begin with the end in mind." It's in this same vein that Pastor David Gibson exhorts us to live life backward. We must allow the inescapable reality of our death to dictate how we live: "Death can radically enable us to enjoy life. By relativizing all that we do in our days under the sun, death can change us from people who want to control life for gain into people who find deep joy in receiving life as a gift." Gibson draws from the mysterious book of Ecclesiastes to unpack his theme. The book can be thought of as one, … [Read more...] about Living Life Backward
On July 17 the former best-selling author and pastor Josh Harris announced that he was separating from his wife. On July 26 he confirmed that this separation was in fact a divorce and--in bigger news--that he no longer considered himself to be a Christian. On July 19, in between Josh's two instagram announcements, Sojourners published a long interview with Josh Harris. I know from experience that interviews like this are completed months in advance. The timing of their publication is often designed to maximize exposure. The interview included this exchange: Villarreal: You say in … [Read more...] about Josh Harris “Not Writing a Book or Starting a Podcast”
Josh Harris is strongly associated with "purity culture." The phrase "purity culture" is generally used derisively. But the Bible teaches purity. Christians should pursue purity. That said, it's fair to say that the "courtship only" school establishes a set of extrabiblical requirements which can prove helpful in some instances, but stiflingly restrictive in other situations. How you pursue a possible spouse depends on your circumstances. Though God's standards remain timeless (e.g., I Thess. 4:3-8), there is no one right method. It's one thing if you're 18 years old, living with your … [Read more...] about Josh Harris Abandons Christianity
People often ask "Is college worth it?" A research study from Strada Education has found that the best predictor for this question is relevance. Meaning this: If you think the courses you took at college were relevant to your life and work after college, you’re also likely to think you received a good education (quality) and that it was worth the cost (value). It's not about how much you paid. It's about whether you think what you learned was relevant. But the sad truth is that only 26% of working U.S. adults with college experience strongly agree that their education … [Read more...] about Relevance is the Strongest Predictor in Whether Someone Thinks College is Worth It
Dear Whatever Readers Are Left, I'm sorry for letting this blog go dark for almost three months. I love blogging, but my plate has been exceedingly full this fall. In August I returned to full-time teaching and administrative responsibilities after a year-long writing sabbatical in which, by God's grace, I published a book and completed a 60,000 word manuscript for another. These recent months I've also been fulfilling a few speaking engagements, doing a few online interviews related to my previous books, and working with my editor on the latest manuscript. This new book releases, Lord … [Read more...] about Blog Hibernation Over?