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Peaceable, Gentle and Open to Reason

But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. (James 3:17) Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. (Philippians 4:5a) I’ve been thinking a bit about James 3:17 lately, along with the exhortation from Paul in Philippians 4:5 and half a dozen or so other related verses in the New Testament. My train of thought goes back to the final months of last year, as I looked on with a growing sense of bewilderment at the American political process careening toward its inevitable and ghastly culmination...

Strength to Live and Die

On the 5th June 1989, a University student stood in front of a column of four tanks in Tiananmen square in Beijing. As the tanks advanced, the student remained in front of them. And as they moved to manoeuvre around him, he moved to block them. One young man was willing to stand against the almighty power of the Chinese army, just before the brutal massacre of his fellow protestors that followed. A person has only discovered something worth living for if they have discovered something worth dying for. What would you be willing to die for? Where did that...

History’s Biggest Hoax? Resurrection and the Future

J.R.R. Tolkien, the master fantasy author, thought that at the heart of every great fairy tale lies a eucatastrophe.  A ‘catastrophe’ is a disaster, an event which suddenly ruins everything. In literary theory, the catastrophe is the event that changes the direction of the plot. In a tragedy it is the final undoing and resolution. According to Tolkien fantasy stories have a eucatastrophe (that is a good catastrophe) in which, unexpectedly, good comes from evil. A eucatastrophe is a joyous “turn”, a sudden and miraculous grace.  In the Lord of the Rings, the great eucatastrophe occurs at the edge of...

More Precious than Gold

I recently saw Ian Thorpe interviewed on TV and I was reminded of how he was disqualified from the Olympic 400 metres freestyle back in 2004. He overbalanced on the blocks and fell into the water before the start of his qualifying heat. As a result, he was unable to defend his title. The discussion that followed served as a beautiful example of why Christ needed to die on the cross on that first Good Friday. Let me explain. First, the law brought down by the swimming authority (FINA) was clear: no false starts are allowed in swimming competitions. Ian...

Smart Storytelling, Five Reactions to Palm Sunday

It’s one thing to have a COVID vaccine available. It’s another matter to convince people to get one. That’s why governments around the world have launched million-dollar ad campaigns to encourage their citizens to get vaccinated. As a former copywriter, I’ve been fascinated by how campaigns around the world have spun slightly different stories: US: “It’s up to you”—an empathetic appeal to freedom-loving Americans (“it’s up to you if you get a vaccine”), but with a clever double meaning (“it’s up to you to get back to the moments you miss and enjoy”). UK: “I’m still standing”—featuring Elton John and...

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