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father of lies

Paulo Coelho’s book The Pilgrimage recounts the story of Coelho walking the famous Camino pilgrimage route between France and Spain with a guide. I bought the book, but I wasn’t prepared for what I read. “There are basically two spiritual forces on our side,” the guide tells Paulo early in... read more »

bridging the chasm

When a supervolcano erupts—and thankfully that’s extremely rare—it leaves behind a massive basin known as a caldera. But they are so huge we tend to overlook them completely. As geophysicist Bob Smith described the 45-mile wide Yellowstone caldera, “The size is so immense that people don’t... read more »

heaven scent

Bugs love it and humans hate it. It’s the pungent odor of the Rafflesia flower, a plant that can weigh more than 15 pounds and measure more than 3 feet across! This botanical beast smells like decaying flesh or rotting meat, an odor that carrion beetles and flies adore. Although this bloom... read more »

apathetic

In December 2011, USA Today ran an article that analyzed a group of Americans called the “spiritually apathetic.” Their attitude could be summed up as: “So what?” The article presented the following sad statistics: • 44 percent spent no time seeking “eternal wisdom.” • 19 percent... read more »

focus

I was enjoying singing with others during the worship service. Then a woman sang a solo. I don’t recall the song. But I do remember thinking: boring lyrics! Predictable religious clichés! Ah, just give me good old, Christian easy-listening music. (I confess my inappropriate sarcasm and... read more »

tested

As a kid, I enjoyed helping my mom in the kitchen— especially when it came time for our holiday baking. One tool that fascinated me was the sifter. My mom stored it in a large plastic bag that kept it clean and caught any remnants of flour dust from previous projects. Turning the handle, I’d... read more »

remaining true

A young man wavered between two worlds. Would he roll with the gangs in his neighborhood, or walk with Christ? Although his father struggled with addiction and his mother suffered from schizophrenia, his grandmother prayed for and encouraged him to follow Jesus. Christian hip-hop artist FLAME admits... read more »

not mine

My husband and I believe that the most influential people in a child’s life are his or her parents. But we wonder at times if our parenting decisions are having the impact we hoped for. Now that our kids are adolescents, friendships no longer consist of playing with toys and learning to share.... read more »

quick . . . and slow

If you engage in any form of social media (Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc.), you’ve surely read something that set your blood to boil. I’m not sure that we’ve figured out how to have meaningful conversation around divisive topics in the virtual world. Is it even possible? For believers in... read more »

sin-eaters

Many years ago, sin-eating was practiced in parts of the UK and the US. A sin-eater was normally a poor, hungry person who was brought to the home of a dead person, where he was given some bread to eat and a drink to consume. After having his fill, he would then ritually pray over the deceased. This... read more »
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