In spite of the recent proliferation of publications on the epidemic of fantasy-addiction in our generation, many of us are still scratching our heads. Perhaps we understand that it’s an issue, but we don’t understand why or how it becomes an issue. If you’ve never seen the appeal of video games, or if you stopped playing them as soon as you were old enough to feel ashamed of being “less mature” than your peers, then you might balk at the notion of spending hours a day glued to a screen.
Sure, you might admit to enjoying the occasional throw-back game of Tetris® here and there, but you could never imagine being so absorbed in a game that you neglect work and family (and even hygiene in some cases!) in order to complete missions, raid dungeons, storm castles, and level up on an endless path to virtual victory. But a large section of our global society not only can imagine it – they do it. My contention is that the key to understanding this growing subculture is found in recognizing they are not as different from the rest of us as we think, and I want to offer a paradigm that might facilitate a deeper understanding of what can be, for many of us, a mysterious issue.
Continue reading A Better Reality Part 1: Understanding Fantasy-Addiction
Shortly after I started dating the girl who is now my wife, I had my first ever panic attack. I had a dream that I lost my affections for her, broke up with her, ruined her life, and the entire church at which I met her hated me. I awoke covered in sweat, gasping for breath, and nearly blacked out. It was horrible. If you have, or have ever had, panic attacks, you have my sympathy. This was the first of two such panic attacks, both stimulated by nightmares, and they were high-frequency points in a season of my life stricken with fear. As anyone struggling with fear would do, I began a search for answers and solutions – why am I so afraid, and how do I deal with it?
Continue reading How Fear Works
One of my burdens for this blog is to provide resources for believers to stir up their affections for God. I want to help us want God more. Consequently, I intend to publish more devotional material alongside the kind of problem-analysis-solution styled posts you see elsewhere on the site. This is my first of such posts. In this case, I am sharing a meditation on Communion. I occasionally have the privilege of facilitating Communion at my church. When I do, I prepare some thoughts on the sacrament to help the congregation (myself included) dwell on the significance of the redeeming work of Christ for our life now in order to, as stated above, help folks want God more, to see Him as desirable and so to desire Him. This is the first in a series of such meditations that I’ll post on this blog. I hope they bless you.
Luke 22:14-20 HCSB
When the hour came, He reclined at the table, and the apostles with Him. Then He said to them, “I have fervently desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” Then He took a cup, and after giving thanks, He said, “Take this and share it among yourselves. For I tell you, from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” And He took bread, gave thanks, broke it, gave it to them, and said, “This is My body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of Me.” In the same way He also took the cup after supper and said, “This cup is the new covenant established by My blood; it is shed for you.”
Continue reading In Remembrance of Me: There was a time
As I mentioned last week, knowing that I can glorify God both ethically (my motives and the capacity of my work to serve good purposes in the world) and skillfully (the quality of my work) is the only part of working that brings me lasting, consistent happiness in my job. It fortifies me for the drudgery my job often affords me – work, at present, is more of a drain than a delight, and finding the pleasure of God in the midst of an unpleasant position is the only hope that keeps me going.
What I want to get at this week is an area of particular burden for me. You see, I am concerned that the church has a bad habit of forgetting that the God who is holy is also the God who is able, is competent, is skillful. Therefore, we who bear His image must also demonstrate ability, competency, and skill in our labor, and the more we excel in a given trade, art, or craft, the more of the excellency of God we have the potential to display. I’m sure this will sound controversial, “You mean to tell me that some people, by virtue of their competency, are more able to glorify God than others?” In a sense, yes. But this should be no surprise. We believe this to be the case with ethics; why not with talent and skill? But maybe I should illustrate.
Continue reading Work-Life Balance Part 2: The God Who Is Skilled
“I believe in God as I believe that the Sun has risen, not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” – C. S. Lewis
Though this remark was made apologetically, my reference to it is not apologetic but “nouthetic” (from Gk., noutheteo – to exhort, to admonish) and “parakaletic” (from Gk., parakaleo – to comfort, to appeal). In this blog, I am not out to convert the unbelieving to “sight” but to compel the believing to “see.” Of course, I hope that what is presented as “true vision” will entice skeptics and apathetics alike to consider the difference between the life they now live and the life they could live, and I pray the life presented in these articles is so appealing, so alluring, so vital, that it makes life without God look like death. If it does not, then I am not accurately presenting the life that is in Christ Jesus.
Continue reading Seeing Everything Else: The purpose of this blog