Imagine receiving clothes you chose to never wear, cars you didn’t ever drive, or houses you never lived in. What would be the point? If we’re not going to use those things, we might as well not possess them.
What did you do?” That question typically escapes the mouth of us dog owners whose furry friends have tested our patience. “Chester, did you chew up my shoe?” “Did you eat the kitty’s food . . . again?”
Sheep have a bad reputation, often seen as one of the dumbest animals on the planet. But a recent University of Cambridge study reveals they’re actually quite clever. The research proves that sheep can be trained to recognize human faces from photographs, and they can identify a picture of their handler without prior training. Given their relatively large brains and longevity, researchers are hoping the humble sheep can help in the study of neurodegenerative disorders like Huntington’s disease.
During the fourteen years I’ve lived and served in East Africa, I’ve had a few opportunities to join others on safaris. Typically, we’ve encountered large herds of elephants, Cape buffalo, zebras, and gazelles.
I’ve learned through various job and ministry experiences that being surrounded by others too long can often lead to exhaustion, anxiety, or stress. There are other relationships, however, that create a sense of rest in our lives even though the investment in those individuals makes demands on our time and energy.
Author and pastor Eugene Peterson has offered some profound cautionary words for those seeking to know God. In Subversive Spirituality, he warns seminary students that although theological education is designed to train hearts to pursue God, far too easily “human words about the divine Word . . . threaten to upstage the Logos [Christ] itself.” When that happens, students can become addicted to head knowledge about God instead of actually drawing closer to God. Seminary—a time designed to draw persons pursuing ministry closer to Him—can instead feel like a spiritual desert.
Brian Jackson lives for adventure. For years he’s led expeditions into some of the most extreme environments on the planet. Having trekked thousands of miles across many continents, he loves nothing more than setting foot where no known human has ever been before. In 2014, he and his team made the ascent of a previously unclimbed peak in the Himalayas, setting foot where no human has probably set foot before.
Dr. Richard Swenson in his book Margin writes, “We must have some room to breathe. We need freedom to think and permission to heal. Our relationships are being starved to death by velocity. . . . Our children lay wounded on the ground, run over by our high-speed good intentions. Is God now pro-exhaustion? Doesn’t He lead people beside the still waters anymore? Who plundered those wide-open spaces of the past, and how can we get them back? There are no fallow lands for our emotions to lie down and rest in.”
Four year old David climbed into bed one night and folded his hands to pray. “Dear God, thank You for Lego Star Wars,” he said. “General Grievous has four lightsabers! Watch.” He stood up on the bed and began a dramatic rendition of a battle in the air using imaginary lightsabers. His mum tried not to laugh as she watched. David finished his performance, dropped back down on the bed and folded his hands again. “Amen!”
In 2017, two surveys highlighted the growing number of lonely people in the UK. One report claimed that some eight million men felt lonely at least once a week, with an estimated three million experiencing it every day. Another survey of more than 2,000 people suggested that nearly 75 percent of young people with disabilities suffered from loneliness.
Whenever I counsel couples considering divorce, I always start by asking them this question: What kind of relationship did your parents have? Children whose parents divorce are far more likely to do so themselves—in fact, men whose parents are no longer married are 35 percent more likely to divorce, and for women the likelihood is a startling 60 percent. Sometimes in order to heal our broken relationships, we have to look back at the relationships in our past.
When I visit my nieces and nephews, my two-year-old niece almost always (after handing me several “blankies” and stuffed animals to make her stay comfortable) stretches out her arms to be held. Like any proud auntie, I’m happy to oblige.
During our lifetimes we might occasionally find ourselves uttering the words, “It’s finished!” For the student who just took a final exam, it means “I’m done with that class,” or perhaps even “I’m finally graduating!” For the project manager, it could mean, “The project is successfully completed.” For the husband ending a conflict with his wife, it could declare, “I was wrong, please forgive me.” For someone caring for a dying loved one, it might mean, “Your father has passed on.”
The movie Self/less tells the fictional story of a wealthy, dying man trying to attain immortality by transferring his consciousness to a younger man’s “host” body. While things go well at first, it eventually becomes clear that all is not as it should be, as the memories of the younger man begin surfacing in the wealthy man’s mind, resulting in some dire complications.