God in a Pickle

I have only on a few occasions reposted articles or blog posts in their near entirety. Doing so smacks of my days as an English TA in college, when 50% of the papers were handed in 50% plagiarized by unassuming and presumptuous freshman who borrowed another's thoughts because they said them so much better. Well of course they did, but they were freshmen once too and did their homework more earnestly, I promise you. (Lest there be any confusion, I am the freshman in this case.)

This book review by Joni Erickson Tada kept me gaping the whole time I read and so I'm at least sharing a few nuggets of it with you. But go read the whole thing if you please, and the book reviewed as well; I plan to.

Through the decades, I have learned that when you’re hemorrhaging human pain, answers—even if they are good, right, and true—can sting like salt in a wound. When you are decimated and down for the count, the “16 good biblical reasons why all this is happening” can come across as cold and calloused. Answers are good when you’re asking “Why?” with an open heart, but they can do damage when you’re asking “Why?” with a clenched fist.

That’s what irks [a few friends who gag when they hear the God of the Bible is not embarrassed to say he’s sovereign over suffering]: that sticky, inconvenient propensity of God to tuck everything under his overarching decrees without explaining why (or getting himself dirty). That’s what drives them crazy.

Admit it: like pickles in a jar, our minds are soaked with all sorts of secular subtleties. We are infected by our culture of comfort and convenience, and would rather erase suffering out of the biblical dictionary. We want a God who supports our plans, who is our “accomplice;” someone to whom we can relate as long as he is doing what we want. If he does something else, we “unfriend” him.

From Joni Erickson Tada's review of Walking with God Through Pain and Suffering by Tim Keller

Who Has Not Left the Church?

train I have a short article up on The Gospel Coalition today on Millennials and who has not left the Church: 

There are times I wish we could capitalize letters verbally.

One of the main speakers at a conference I attended this week stated his case, including some lines about "the church shrinking these days." Did he mean his local church, lowercase c? Or did he mean the great, grand, beautiful capital C Church, the one encompassing millions of believers the world over, the one that has lasted for generations and generations, withstood dark ages and bright ones, the one Jesus said he would build and nothing would prevail against? I don't know, and the comment wasn't clarified. But recently I read an article about why Millennials are leaving the church, and my heart had the same reaction.

Whose church are we talking about here?  Continue reading.