hope’s comfort

“Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear. If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today.”  ~Thich Nhat Hanh, Clergyman

“Let your hopes, not your hurts, shape your future.” ~Robert H. Schuller, Clergyman
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your voice brings a smile to my heart,
with words that soothe me as if an infant rocked by cradle,
your eyes, gentle yet focused, speak to me as if an audible language,
sharing the story of your soul… Continue reading

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moments of beauty

“Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.”  ~ Confucius, philosopher

“The best part of beauty is that which no picture can express.” ~ Francis Bacon, philosopher

“Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life.”  ~ Omar Khayyam, poet
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the water lily opening its petals as if arms outstretched prior to an embrace,
welcoming the light and warmth that slips past the darkness with sunrise,
morning’s meaning accentuated by its sudden vulnerability.
a new start with the coming day… Continue reading

Finding God in the Hyperreal through the Simulacra of Imaginative Prayer

As the Fall semester concludes for me, and the year is quickly coming to an end, I thought it would be interesting to share a book review I wrote on Tanya Luhrmann’s When God Talks Back: Understanding the Evangelical Relationship with God. This is a purely academic writing–in fact, it is my last paper submission of this semester. My review focuses on cautioning readers of research-driven books to consider the researcher’s/writer’s personal background, values, and convictions when placing weight on their words. This is especially true when evaluating qualitative research. While I found Luhrmann, a religiously pluralistic non-Christian, to be an exceptional writer who undoubtedly conducts methodologically sound research, the epistemological, ontological, and axiological lens from which she observed evangelical Christians produces inferences that fail–from my perspective as a professed Christian–to encapsulate what it is to truly experience God in relationship. In short, as a non-Christian, she misses the need to focus on Christ. Thus, she provides a perspective of Christianity that views the supernatural as a psychological construct. While I admire her intentions and professional acumen as a researcher, I struggle–after reading her book–to see her research accurately describing my own experience as a Christian. To experience God requires more than what she calls “imaginative prayer.” Rather, it requires faith, hope, love, and action [through relationship] focused on Christ’s leadership, through His Word. My review is provided below:
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When God Talks Back (Luhrmann, 2012) encapsulates four years of anthropological, ethnographic research focusing on two congregations within the Vineyard fellowship of churches. Within those four years—for differing periods of time—author, Tanya Luhrmann, participates in various church activities that include attending services, local conferences, and participating in a weekly house group; trying “to learn, from the inside out” (p. xx). Supplementing her ethnography, she interviews members from both churches—more than thirty total. From these observations and interviews, she then conducts experiments to delve deeper into the psychological aspects of prayer and sensory overrides (e.g. voices and visions). Continue reading

Seeking Sanctification

“Indeed, the more sanctified the person is, the more conformed he is to the image of his Savior, the more he must recoil against every lack of conformity to the holiness of God. The deeper his apprehension of the majesty of God, the greater the intensity of his love to God, the more persistent his yearning for the attainment of the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus, the more conscious will he be of the gravity of the sin that remains and the more poignant will be his detestation of it….Was this not the effect in all the people of God as they came into closer proximity to the revelation of God’s holiness.”
~John Murray, Redemption Accomplished and Applied

INTRODUCTION
As a Christian, I believe it is essential for me, and for other Christians, to seek greater sanctification. Christian sanctification refers to the process in which a follower of Christ is “set apart” as holy and sacred. In scripture, the Greek word for sanctification is the same for holiness, “hagios”—again, meaning “a separation.” When researching the topic, it seems that theologians commonly reference three roles—or phases—for how sanctification functions (or appears) in our life. Continue reading

Exploring the Dark Knight as a Type of Christ

“He’s the hero Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now. So we’ll hunt him. Because he can take it. Because he’s not our hero. He’s a silent guardian, a watchful protector. A dark knight.” ~Jim Gordon in The Dark Knight

The Batman from the Dark Knight Trilogy 

Over the past week, I watched the Dark Knight Trilogy—just one of numerous times I have done so. I find it an exceptionally well done movie trilogy. And if I was to select a favorite comic book super hero, it would most likely be the “Dark Knight,” Batman. Those who follow the comic book universe are aware that many comic book series periodically “reboot,” as the ever-growing stories become convoluted, eventually losing plot continuity. Characters’ stories will often be revised to more reflect the times; though, the core elements of comic book characters are often treated sacred–unchangeable. However, these slight changes in a character’s development allow for story reinventions—introducing new themes within the stories. In such a way, Christopher Nolan’s presentation of Batman—and the story told within the trilogy—leaves his version as my favorite incarnation of the Dark Knight.

(Please note: if you have not watched the trilogy, you will encounter spoilers by proceeding) Continue reading

Worth

It is a question that I believe all people must ask themselves at one point: “What is my worth?” Well, I know that I have asked myself that question many times, at different points in my life.  Most times the question is not phrased aloud, but festering subconsciously—only able to be recognized once the answer to the question is made visible in my actions; occurring at a later date.

A more frequently noted self-reflection question would be “what is my purpose?” When speaking with others philosophically, one’s purpose is the question that typically arises; maybe, because it is a safer question on which to dwell. While there may be some correlation between one’s purpose and one’s worth, it is possible to have little purpose and great worth. So too, is it possible for one to have little worth, and great purpose. It is far more unlikely, however, for one to prefer that they have little worth, regardless of whether or not they possess great purpose. I would suggest that most people believe that they can find purpose later, as long as they have worth.

Or, maybe people speak of purpose more frequently because they believe it is a determinant of worth. I think that, at times, this has been my mindset. And maybe, the better question is “WHERE do I find my worth?” Yes, I think that this is the more accurate question. Continue reading

Cakes Potpourri, and Pottery

Originally posted on Facebook–June, 2014

Living in the information age is overwhelming at times. The pace of life only seems to increase. The world is smaller, and means for communicating quicker. Where traveling from Europe to the United States once took months over rough seas on sailing vessels, one can make it across continents through flight within hours. There was a time when people wrote letters to friends and family states away, and waited weeks or months for a reply. Now, we can send them an email, text, tweet, or chat message instantly—expecting a response in seconds. And where we once had to stay in one location for phone calls, we can take our conversations with us—and often do. We multi-task (which I will argue is just an inefficient way of doing individual tasks) throughout the day, rarely focused on only one task, or one individual. We often have to plan way in advance, and ignore those sudden opportunities that present themselves due to prior commitments. Continue reading