Showing posts with label Hope. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hope. Show all posts

Thursday, January 11, 2024

Smeagol on a Leash

The title?

Ah, yes. Well, to get that, you’ll have to have seen the blockbuster film Lord of the Rings, or have read J.R.R. Tolkien’s original trilogy. There’s a scene in there involving a loathsome little creature named Gollum or Smeagol. He’s a kind of nasty little creature of the dark, a sinister and malevolent little dwarf, who is taken captive by two of the adventure’s heroes, as an alternative to having to kill the homicidal little maniac on the spot.

Smeagol doesn’t take well to being ‘rescued’ in this fashion; and his obstinacy and treachery compel the heroes to put a rope around his neck and lead him where he is bound and determined not to go. The subsequent convulsions of wheedling and drama are truly magnificent. You can see his performance right here.

So now you’ve got an idea of my central metaphor for the day.*

Thursday, January 04, 2024

Hope, and the Problem with People

Last week we were talking about hope. I hope you found it hopeful.

Our key text was 1 Corinthians 13:7: “Love hopes all things.” And we were pondering the exposition given to it by the Danish Christian philosopher Søren Kierkegaard. If you didn’t read that one, I really encourage you to go back and read it before forging ahead. Some of what I will say depends heavily upon it.

The big realization with which we left off was this: Christian hope is not ever to fail. It is to persist all the way to its fulfillment in eternity. We are to hope until we see the object of our hope, the blessing, the justice and the righteousness guaranteed to us by God, in eternity. All of life is to be lived in hope.

Now, let me mess that up.

Thursday, December 28, 2023

Quitting Before the Final Whistle

“It’s not over ’til it’s over” — so goes the famous saying in the world of sport. Pity the poor competitor who thought his team had secured victory, began celebrating, and forgot the last-ditch home run, the injury-time goal, the buzzer-beating long shot, or didn’t quite get into the end zone before spiking the ball. Apparent victory suddenly turns to horror and shame.

Who would choose to be that man?

In scripture, we find this observation: “Love hopes all things.” A hundred times, perhaps, I have seen and heard this phrase … from the pulpit, on plaques, on the radio, and of course, in every wedding ceremony since Adam. Never have I thought much about what it means.

“Love hopes all things.” Sounds nice. So what?

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Sleeping on the Job

Socially, there are conservatives and liberals.

Geopolitically, there are globalists and nationalists.

Philosophically, there are uniformitarians and catastrophists.

The vast majority of us find our way into one or more of these camps by default.

Sunday, April 10, 2022

Outlooks and Uplooks

Expectation ... fear ... hope. What do they have in common?

Each is a way of anticipating the future. Each inevitably excites a response. This is true even if we refuse to think about what will happen tomorrow or later; we cannot avoid reacting. Even burying one’s head in the sand is a reaction which says “I choose to not think about what the future might hold.”

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Smeagol on a Leash

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Hope, and the Problem with People

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Quitting Before the Final Whistle

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Hope Against Hope

I’d like to play an under-par round of golf this summer. I’d also like to play QB for the Browns once Baker decides to hang up his jersey. Sadly, neither the PGA nor the NFL have been in touch to schedule my appearance. If you’re making a list, I also wouldn’t mind winning the lottery; although apparently I’d have to actually buy a ticket to have a chance of that happening.

Some people might call those things “hope”. I call them pipe dreams.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

One Wild and Awful Moment

Hidden away in the deep wilderness of Canada’s Algonquin Park is a memorial plaque dedicated to a grandfather and a teenage grandson who lost their lives in a storm on one of the lakes.

How it got there is a mystery to passing canoeists. The location is quite remote.

The plaque itself is of considerable size and weight, apparently being made of bronze. Time has softened the edges of some of the letters and greened the surface; but the plaque has not been moved since it was put there half a century ago. It is solidly drilled into the rock face. Someone went to a lot of work to ensure that their loved ones would not be forgotten.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

What’s Across the Finish Line?

Christianity Today’s Todd Billings on people who have “too small a view of heaven”:

“A pastor in my home state of Michigan mentioned to me that many members of his congregation assume that there will be plenty of woods and deer in heaven. So naturally, they fantasize about shooting a 39-point buck in the heavenly woods.”

It’s a thought provoking article, worth a few minutes of time if only to draw attention to the extent of what seems like a massive blind spot in modern evangelicalism.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

One Wild and Awful Moment

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Monday, October 06, 2014

One Wild and Awful Moment

A more current version of this post is available here.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Gifts, Choices and Aaron Hernandez

“Good burst off the line from the three-point stance into a four-yard hook route. Good pad level and leg drive.”
— from Aaron Hernandez’s Gut Check Scouting Analysis, December 2009
“His delight is not in the strength of the horse, nor his pleasure in the legs of a man, but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love.”
(Psalm 147:10-11)
We all know (or know of) people who like to go to the track and drop a few bucks on the ponies. Under such circumstances, I can easily imagine taking delight in the strength of a horse, especially one that goes wire to wire. Why wouldn’t you? But back when the psalmist wrote, I suspect a soldier in a chariot would not be merely delighted by his stallion; that horse’s strength might well save his life.

I, on the other hand, take a fair bit of pleasure in the legs of a man.

Too bad, then, about Aaron Hernandez.