Rethinking "God Allows"

The title of Mark Gregory Karris' post, "Rethinking the Phrase “God Allows” In Response to Evil", caught my attention yesterday. I found his thoughts to be a bit challenging. Here are a few clips from it.
The word “allow” is poison to the sensitive, God-seeking, and traumatized soul for two reasons. First, it makes God out to be a voyeuristic monster who arbitrarily jumps into time, willfully intervening in some people’s lives to save them from harm, and willfully choosing not to intervene in others. ... Secondly, the word “allow” assumes God could have done otherwise.
Evil events occur precisely because a loving and uncontrolling God is not in control of all things. ... Just because God is not in unilateral control does not mean that God is passive. According to the Oxford dictionary, the word control can mean “the power to influence or direct people’s behavior or the course of events.” I suggest that God is controlling, or to use a better phrase, “God is lovingly influencing” us, by inviting, empowering, inspiring, filling, convicting, leading, comforting, healing, and challenging us toward ever increasing experiences of shalom.
If you are interested, I suggest that you read Mark's article in full here. You may also enjoy the comments there as well.

SciFi Summer Sequels | ★★★★★★☆☆☆☆

To start out, I must say that my expectations are usually pretty low for movie sequels. There have been a few good ones for sure. These two, 'Now You See Me 2' and Independence Day: Resurgence' were not as good as the originals (by far) but were enjoyable flicks nonetheless.

Both had many of the original actors but depended way too much on computerized graphics rather than good acting and plausible stories.
Both movies pandered to SciFi fantasy nerds like me who really enjoyed the originals. I don't mind that but wish they were a tad better.

I am neutral about both of these. If you loved the originals you might like these. On a scale of ten, I give them both ★★★★★★☆☆☆☆.

It's About Time!

The idea of time has been the subject of sci-fi books, tv shows and movies for years. As early as the late nineteenth century men like HG Wells have been writing about time travel. I often ponder this idea of time and wonder if time ceases to exist when we die. Is this concept of time limited to this side of death? What do you think?

From a spiritual perspective it kind of makes sense that time ceases to exist when you die. Concepts like eternity and infinity are somewhat descriptive of an existence without time and space. The idea of God seems to embrace a reality where time is not relevant as He exists outside of it.

... originally posted August 31, 2009

What is a Cynic?

-George S. Patton            

        I am neither bitter nor cynical but I do wish there was less immaturity in political thinking. -FDR

        A cynic is a man who, when he smells flowers, looks around for a coffin. -H. L. Mencken

        What is a cynic? A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing. -Oscar Wilde

        A cynic is a man who looks at the world with a monocle in his mind's eye. -Carolyn Wells

        Scratch any cynic and you will find a disappointed idealist. -George Carlin

        I sometimes battle with cynicism masquerading as religious fatalism. -KC Bob

        Every ounce of my cynicism is supported by historical precedent.” -Glen Cook

        Cynicism masquerades as wisdom, but it is the farthest thing from it. -Stephen Colbert

        A blackguard whose faulty vision sees things as they are, not as they ought to be. -Ambrose Bierce

Remembering My Dad

My dad passed away on January 19, 2002. A few years ago I remembered him on Father's Day by posting the eulogy I gave at his funeral. This year I remember my dad by posting a poem that I wrote about him in the early 90s:

My Dad

I once imagined, that when I was old, a man of position I'd be.
An admired man. One of good works, that many would see.
Now, at the mid-point of my years, my eyes turn back to Dad.
I find myself wanting to be like him in ways that surprise me.

You see, when I was young, I didn't see the strength of his love.
I didn't understand the nobility of the sacrifices he made for me.
The part time jobs, the hard work, the man asleep on the couch.
Images, that now give warm feelings, I then didn't understand.

For I didn't know what made a man a man, and a dad a dad.
But I know now and I want to be like my father, Lawrence J.
A man full of kindness, of gentle strength, of quiet inner love.
I thank God for my Dad, his love for me and my love for him.

I sent this poem to my dad inside a Fathers Day card. We didn't talk about my poem while he was alive (wish we had) as he lived in another state. After he passed away I found the poem amongst his things. It made my heart glad.

This is a repeat of my fathers day post from 2007. It always inspires me to think of my dad and the man that he was.

Flag Day 2016

Martin Luther King, Jr. didn't carry just a piece of cloth to symbolize his belief in racial equality; he carried the American flag. -Adrian Cronauer

I believe our flag is more than just cloth and ink. It is a universally recognized symbol that stands for liberty, and freedom. It is the history of our nation, and it’s marked by the blood of those who died defending it. -John Thune

It is the flag just as much of the man who was naturalized yesterday as of the men whose people have been here many generations. -Henry Cabot Lodge

We do not consecrate the flag by punishing its desecration, for in doing so we dilute the freedom that this cherished emblem represents. -Justice William J. Brennan, for the Majority US Supreme Court Decision, 3 July 1989

Rolling with the Tides

Saw this image on Facebook today. It was posted by author Bronnie Ware. I so resonate with it. Last week I wrote this to a friend whose husband has been on a breathing machine for several months:

"I recently had the thought that I am only trusting God when I am not (trying to be) in control. It reminded me of a time in 2002 when my world was falling apart as Ann lay paralyzed from the waist down on a cruise ship in the Caribbean. I was totally stressed and in the middle of crisis when God began to quietly speak to me about flowing with Him in life and not trying to control my life. I pray that you will find a way to flow with the Spirit in this distressing time."

The imagery of tides speak to me about life's ups and downs. How we have absolutely no control over so many things in our lives. When we are in over our proverbial heads it is simply best to trust God.

Is Believing in God a Part of Human Nature?

Theologians have been trying to answer the questions around the origins of faith for thousands of years. A piece by CNN reports that a new study concludes that religious belief is an aspect of human nature. Here are a few clips from it:

Religion comes naturally, even instinctively, to human beings, a massive new study of cultures all around the world suggests.
Studies around the world came up with similar findings, including widespread belief in some kind of afterlife and an instinctive tendency to suggest that natural phenomena happen for a purpose.

"Children in particular found it very easy to think in religious ways," such as believing in God's omniscience, said Trigg. But adults also jumped first for explanations that implied an unseen agent at work in the world, the study found.
"If you've got something so deep-rooted in human nature, thwarting it is in some sense not enabling humans to fulfill their basic interests," Trigg said.

"There is quite a drive to think that religion is private," he said, arguing that such a belief is wrong. "It isn't just a quirky interest of a few, it's basic human nature."

"This shows that it's much more universal, prevalent, and deep-rooted. It's got to be reckoned with. You can't just pretend it isn't there," he said.
I expanded the word 'religion' to 'believing in God' in the title because it is a bit more specific. I think that many disagree with this study and would say that we are not born with the ability to believe in God. To atheists the idea that all have some kind of belief is a bit ludicrous. Yet there are religious people who believe that people are born without the ability to believe and God grants some the ability later in their lives.

I love these kinds of questions. It reminds me how early in my life I believed in God. Yet later in life I became a practical agnostic that embraced a sort of deism where I believed in a God who created the universe but was no longer involved in it. Thankfully, when I was 27, that agnostic belief turned into real faith. And I guess faith is the issue. Whether we are born with the ability to believe in God or not the real issue is what we do with that belief.

... originally posted on May 29, 2011.
... for more Best of Bob click here.

Reflections on Gandhi's Seven Social Sins

Wealth without Work
I sometimes think that the gold standard should be replaced by the work standard.

Pleasure without Conscience
It seems that Western Civilization has gotten more materialistic and hedonistic.

Science without Humanity
The real question always seems to be not whether it can be done but if it should.

Education without Character
The intellect seems so insignificant when compared with ideas like integrity and love.

Politics without Principle
True leadership embraces humility while political power is all about pride.

Commerce without Morality
Greed is bad. Why do we want more? Why do we want to get the best of each other?

Worship without Sacrifice
Cheap grace is not grace at all. Worship that does not cause us to bow is fake.

... first posted June 22, 2012

Disorganized Religion

The writings of many these days seem to include an almost a vitriolic campaign against anything traditional or institutional when it comes to church. Many in cyberspace write profusely on the topic often rejecting the idea that anything good has come from the traditional version of church. I just read this statement from a leader that I admire much:
"Some say they don't like "organized religion" but the alternative is disorganized religion - that is, a personal, private, individual religion. It lacks accountability, mutual encouragement, stretcher-bearers, the input and insights of others and perhaps most powerfully, the power of multiple people working together to do Christ's work in the world. Ten people can do more, working together, than any one of them can do, even than ten of them will do, when working alone without coordination."
Did you catch the idea that personal faith, when divorced from cooperative efforts, is simply disorganized religion? I so agree with the benefits of organization - we all need each other so much. Yet I also understand that many ... I mean so very many ... have not experienced the benefits of organized religion. Instead of benefits many have experienced the dark side of religion and cannot imagine being a part of a church again. The issue is so complex. I am a part of a church that embraces the best of organized religion but sometimes I want to retreat to my brand of disorganized religion. How about you?

... originally posted 4 years ago today

Muhammad Ali, 1942-2016

Doubtful I could say anything about Ali that has not been said before. Here are a few things that he has said.

He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.

A man who has no imagination has no wings.

Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.

Don’t count the days; make the days count.

The man who views the world at 50 the same as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.

It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe.

Hating people because of their color is wrong. And it doesn't matter which color does the hating. It's just plain wrong.

Live everyday as if it were your last because someday you're going to be right

Q&A with Robin Lee Hatcher

I think that I first read Robin's blog before Facebook came along. I appreciate Robin's love for God and for writing.
Here is my Q&A with her.

What is the name and URL of your blog?
My blog is part of my author website at
It doesn’t have a title anymore, although it did years ago.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
Here’s my official bio:

Robin Lee Hatcher is the best-selling author of over seventy-five books. Her well-drawn characters and heartwarming stories of faith, courage, and love have earned her both critical acclaim and the devotion of readers. Her numerous awards include the Christy Award for Excellence in Christian Fiction, the RITA® Award for Best Inspirational Romance, Romantic Times Career Achievement Awards for Americana Romance and for Inspirational Fiction, the Carol Award, the 2011 Idahope Writer of the Year, and Lifetime Achievement Awards from both Romance Writers of American (2001) and American Christian Fiction Writers (2014). Catching Katie was named one of the Best Books of 2004 by the Library Journal.

Robin began her writing career in the general market, writing mass market romances for Leisure Books, HarperPaperbacks, Avon Books, and Silhouette. In 1997, after several years of heart preparation, Robin accepted God’s call to write stories of faith and hasn’t looked back since. She has written both contemporary and historical women’s fiction and romance for CBA publishers (Thomas Nelson, Zondervan, Revell, Steeple Hill, Tyndale House, Multnomah, and WaterBrook).

Robin enjoys being with her family, spending time in the beautiful Idaho outdoors, reading books that make her cry, and watching romantic movies. Robin and her husband make their home on the outskirts of Boise, sharing it with Poppet the high-maintenance Papillon, and Princess Pinky, the DC (demon cat).
Share a few sentences or a paragraph about your blog.
I’m an eclectic and sporadic blogger. I love to host other authors and to do giveaways of their books. I post anywhere from three to ten giveaways a month. I blog two or three times a week, most weeks. I blog about the writing life. I blog about books that I have loved and movies I’ve enjoyed. I sometimes blog about Bible art journaling, a relatively new passion of mine that combines art with Bible journaling. Sometimes I blog about a spiritual lesson God has taught me.
Share a link to one of your favorite blog posts and tell us why it is a favorite.
As mentioned above, Bible art journaling is a passion of mine, so I’ve selected a recent post about this form of worship, Six Weeks of Bible Art Journaling (Including a Flip-Through Video).
Where do you find your inspiration to blog?
My inspiration for writing books comes from deadlines. I would say that applies to blogging as well. Although blogging deadlines are self-imposed, they do help me remember to write an original post every now and then. It’s easy to come up with something to write if I’ve just read a fabulous book or seen a great movie or when I have a new book releasing or when God shows me something new in my morning Bible reading. It is a little more difficult when my life is pretty much the same, day in and day out.
Share your favorite quote and how it affects you or speaks to you.
Given enough time, I could probably come up with a couple hundred “favorite” quotes, at least. So my favorite at given moment will probably be one I have recently read or been reminded of. This comes from one of the books I read in 2015:

“Don’t seek answers; seek God. And the answers will seek you.” — Mark Batterson

So often when we read our Bibles or go to God in prayer, we make it about us. Make it about God speaking to us and answering our questions. When the first goal of Bible study and prayer should be to connect with and worship God Himself. This quote is such a great reminder to seek God and let everything else come after that.
Thanks to Robin for sharing. Send me an email if you are a blogger and interested in participating in my Q&A.