Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Doubt?

I have recently read two books dealing with the topic of doubt and whether or not it plays a role in the lives of people who claim to have faith. The first book is titled Doubting by Alister McGrath and the second book is titled Faith and Doubt by John Ortberg. Both books explore the place of doubt in the life of faith. I would highly recommend these books to anyone!
What I have found fascinating in both books and in several discussions with people over a period of several years is that there are divergent views on what doubt is. There are people who say that doubt is the opposite of faith, that if you doubt then you lack faith and therefore need to simply believe more. There are people who doubt everything; they are unwilling to believe even when evidence provides them with quite a good foundation upon which to place their belief. There are people of all different perspectives and views on faith and doubt.
I have had a couple of conversations recently where I came to the realization that some Christians are afraid to question their faith. Some of us who believe that Jesus Christ came to save and redeem humanity are afraid to ask questions, as if by asking questions we believe less. This frustrates me. If we believe (as most Christians would agree) that God created us with minds. Then there must be a reason for reason. We must have been given minds in order to use them. Why should we be afraid to use something God has given us? If we really believe what we say we believe, then I would argue that we need not fear questioning! To ask questions is to glorify God through the use of our God-given minds. Our minds are gifts and we have been given the opportunity to use them to think, question and consider thoughts, beliefs and the meaning of life.
What if Christians were not afraid to ask questions, or to entertain the questions of non-believers? Maybe we would find that we actually grow in our faith and that others would see us as intellectually honest men and women.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Ben and Jerry

My wife and I have been thinking about buying a second puppy for quite some time and just a few days ago we took the plunge. Our first dog (Benny) is quite a social dog, as far as loving being with other dogs, so we finally decided to stop in a little shop near where we live and we found the most adorable 3 month old little miniature poodle. Benny is a mix between a Yorkshire Terrier and a Poodle also known as a Yorkie-poo. Our newest addition to the Stanwood Schaar clan is Jerry. Thus, we now have Ben and Jerry! They are quite a pair to behold. Benny has his own personality quirks, and Jerry has, well, all of the trappings of puppyhood (i.e. not yet potty trained, chewing on stuff, and whimpering whenever you are not in his line of sight). At the moment they are sound asleep, Benny on the couch and Jerry in his little doggie bed in front of our warm and cozy wood stove, complete with crackling fire. This peaceful calm and general serenity makes all of the poop and pee clean up worthwhile.