Blog (Page 2)

“Sermon on the Afternoon of Christmas Day” by Martin Luther

This message, preached on December 25, 1530 is among the most poignant and well-known sermons by the German reformer Martin Luther (1483-1546). The sermon focuses on the “trust” aspect of faith that leads a person to believe not only that Jesus Christ was born of a virgin, but that Christ was born for them, yes even born for you. You have heard today…

Promises Made, Promises Kept

Christmas brings joy because God keeps his promises. In her Magnificant, upon being told that she will give birth to the Messiah, Mary jubilantly proclaims, “He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and his offspring forever.”—Luke 1:54–55 The Father’s sending of his eternally begotten son to became incarnate in the…

Frankenstein: A Parable of our Times

A chlorine green muscular giant with jet black hair, yellow eyes, and nails protruding from his neck is such an ubiquitous sight at Halloween that any semblance of terror that would’ve plagued the original readers of Mary Shelly’s epic novel, Frankenstein, is lost. It has been called the first piece of science fiction, a modern reiteration of the classic Greek saga, Prometheus.…

Sermonic Reflections on Sonoma’s Recent fires

You Hold My Right Hand Psalm 73:23–26 Considering the destructive wildfires that have ravaged our community for the last week, there are genuine reasons to be discouraged, even afraid. Maybe you’re asking yourself why things like this happen. Perhaps you’ve had friends who’ve lost their homes. Scores of individuals have already lost their lives, and no doubt, many are wondering, “Where is…

What if the Robots take your Job? Theological Perspectives on Artificial Intelligence

What will you do when the robots take your job? If you reflect on the last 40, and particularly 20 years, you might discover that they already have taken jobs. Whether telephone automation, ATM’s, or express checkouts at the grocery store, technology works faster, more efficiently, and quite simply, better, than humans. Companies know that machines increase profit without the complexities of…

The Art of Persuasion and a Radical Heart Change

A recent NPR article covered the increasing popularity of a flat-earth cosmology. Several prominent retired, and current professional basketball players, among those, Shaquille O’ Neal, and Kyrie Erving have been vocal advocates of the view. Though not scientists by any stretch, Shaq and Erving’s views have been increasingly persuasive to young fans. The article explains that some middle-schoolers have remained unconvinced by their…

Pascal’s Wager: Much to Gain, Much Less to Lose

“Yes, but you have to wager…” “The wager” might be the most famous proposal made by Blaise Pascal in the Pensees. As a reader, you would expect an apologetic argument from probability from a mathematician, but then again, calculated decisions involving risk and reward are part of the general human experience. From investments to weather forecasts, we make choices based on the…

The Pursuit of Happiness and the God Who Shares

In the 2006 film, The Pursuit of Happiness, struggling salesman Chris Gardner (played by Will Smith) aspires to become a broker in San Francisco. Gardner lands an unpaid internship, but personal problems lead to his being homeless for a year. Down, but not out, Gardner works diligently and ingeniously to gain clients. He eventually lands the coveted broker position at Dean Witter,…

The Hidden God Who Reveals

This post is the third of an ongoing series on the Pensees by the 17th-century Apologist Blaise Pascal. In his Pensees, Blaise Pascal pursues his apologetic task in A LETTER TO FURTHER THE SEARCH FOR GOD [Fragment 681] an essay concerned with answering the objection often asserted by skeptics of Christianity, that insufficient evidence exists to believe the faith, namely, direct, universal,…

Distraction and Diversion and Attempts to Escape Despair

This post is the second blog in a series on the Pensees by Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) It’s a fairly accurate observation that 21st century people live distracted lives. The diverse forms of media, scarcely imagined in previous generations, vie for our undivided (perhaps divided?) attention. Whether messaging via smart phone, listening to music, or watching movies, we find little space for self-reflection…