The Arrogance of Unwarranted Certainty

Picking up where I left off yesterday, I want to consider further the first of three important truths I mentioned at the close of that post. There I noted that the older I get, the less certain I am about a lot of things, and I am not troubled by that. In fact, unwarranted certainty very often breeds arrogance, while honest doubt encourages humility and deepens faith.

I have a theory. It is not something I have read anywhere, at least not that I recall. It is the product of gut feeling and personal observation, not surveys or scientific testing of any kind. I may abandon it tomorrow, but for today, here it is. Continue reading

Coping With IPR (Involuntary Premature Retirement)

In the spring of 2008, I experienced the onset of a disorder for which I was totally unprepared. The symptoms reached maximum severity during the first year. After that, the intensity subsided, but the symptoms have persisted. While uncomfortable and discouraging, they are not, so far, totally debilitating.

The disorder, which seems to be on the rise among people (especially men) of a certain age (55-64) is commonly known as IPR—Involuntary Premature Retirement. I have pursued several avenues of treatment, and while their effectiveness has varied, none has resulted in total eradication of my symptoms. With each passing month, the possibility of full remission becomes more and more unlikely. Continue reading

Some Thoughts About the Bible: Interpretation

I have just read another article, this time a sermon, by a prominent American church leader in which he kindly and eloquently referred to his point of view on a matter, and that of his congregation, as “the biblical position.” In another place he defended his viewpoint as “simply standing for what the Bible teaches.”

Here is my earnest request. Please stop saying stuff like that. Continue reading

Pastor Mark, Meet Father James

The saga of Seattle minister Mark Driscoll and the mega-church he founded and served as pastor for eighteen years has dominated the evangelical church press for far too long. I have written almost nothing about that situation, since, even with all the press coverage, I didn’t feel I knew enough about the particulars to add anything substantive to the discussion. A quick review of the archives for this blog turned up only one other reference to Driscoll, way back in January 2013 in one of the Arthur Chronicles, and there I simply listed his name along with several others associated, at one time or another, with the movement known as “emergent Christianity.”

Continue reading

In Over My Head: Another Facebook Status Update That Ended Up Being A Blog Post

About ten years ago, I had an epiphany of sorts. It dawned on me that, although I had made a few changes in my catalog of basic beliefs, most of my worldview, along with its attendant beliefs and convictions, I had inherited from my parents and the community inQuote (1) which I grew up. Was it really logical to assume that the belief system into which I was born was absolutely correct in every particular—that I had been blessed with the right ideas about everything (political, social, and religious) by accident of birth? Continue reading

The Insidious Evil Of Smugness

Just when I thought I had gotten over my hang-ups about what my aspirations to become a published writer might really be saying about my character, along comes David Brooks with an op-ed column that reinforces my self-doubt and suggests that my earlier hesitancy might have been a sign of prudence after all.

I am a pretty good communicator. In some respects, it is a natural ability or, some might say, a gift from God. Even when I don’t work at it very hard, I am still better than average in the communication department. When I do work at it, I can be very good. Continue reading