This week, Arizona finds itself at the center of American political discussion.

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Rep. Steve Yarborough is concerned about religious people being discriminated against.

The reason? The bill that now sits on the governor’s desk, waiting for a signature or a veto, which protects businesses and their “religious convictions.”

The religious convictions in question are specifically those convictions which pertain to whom the business owner should deny service.

Last year, an Arizona couple were denied service by a bakery when they requested a wedding cake. A New Mexico couple were turned down by a photographer because taking pictures would violate his convictions as a “born again Christian.” Both couples were denied service because they are same-sex couples.

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Steve Yarborough says, “This bill is about preventing discrimination against people who are clearly living out their faith.”

I’ll let you parse the irony of that statement as you see fit. I don’t have a thing to say about it.

But as the cost of doing business in America rises, financially and for some people, morally, there is a lot that I am thankful for as bills like these are debated all over the country. Continue Reading…

What does it mean for a man to be “wise?”

What does it take for a man to be “honest?”

True, most of us think that we are basically honest.  And most of us do not believe ourselves to be fools.  We believe that we are prudent, careful, responsible adults.  And we believe that, as our basic moral principles tell us, it is good to tell the truth.  So we do, at least most of the time.

However, we know, deep down, that as honest as we may believe ourselves to be with others, it is with ourselves that honest often becomes most difficult.

That is why I find these words from one of the history’s great teachers so fascinating.  Because it is not thinking of ourselves as “wise” that makes us wise.  And it is not imagining ourselves to be “learned” that makes us knowledgable.  And it is not looking at ourselves as “grown up” that makes us role models.

Rather, the wise man knows that he is, at his best, still a fool.  An educated man keeps learning because he knows there is an ocean of knowledge he does not have.  And the man who stands tallest among us got that way because he never lost his childlike wonder for the world.

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What if, rather than starting with what we do know, and what we can do already, and what problems we can solve, we instead started with what we have yet to learn?  There might just be some wonder left in the world.

There are some weeks when you just need good words.

This was one of those weeks when good words just seem to soak in like rain.  There has been so much to read, to watch, to absorb, and it has all been very needed.

These are some of the things that fueled me this week.

The Problem with Little White Girls

I have literally never heard of Pippa Biddle’s blog until this week, but she wrote something that suddenly blew up all over the internet.  It’s especially timely for me, having just returned from Africa.  And it made me all the more thankful to have gone to do what I am able to do.  We did not have a bunch of third world people trying to “make a mission trip” for us white people.  The Problem With Little White Girls (And Boys)

The Church Was Super Lucky

Let’s be honest, the internet feeds on criticism.  And Christian blog land is really no different.  I am just as guilty as the next blogger of using the negatives as blog fodder.  I’ve been trying to be more positive, I really have.  But Ed Cyzewski definitely wrote a post that convicted me the most this week.  The Church Was Super Lucky to Have Me As An Online Consultant.

Bad Theology Can Kill

Now, if there is a reason to be negative, it is probably this.  You know about the snake-handling pastor who died (from snake bites).  I’m usually pretty comfortable with a little mystery and leeway in my theology, but it’s this kind of thing that makes me veer comfortably back to a more Type A, Left Brained theology.  There are some lines we have to draw.  And Zack Hunt draws them beautifully.  Bad Theology Can Kill.

Terrified of Bravery

Finally, I know this is from last week, but it really resonated with me.  Yesterday, I knew I was not going to sleep well and sure enough, I was awake at four a.m., brain reeling with some kind of anxiety.  And so much of anxiety is about anticipating what will happen to me, rather than how I will live my life.  That’s why Alece Ronzino’s words really impacted me.  I’m Terrified of Being Brave.

Those are a few of the writers who fueled me this week.  What about you?

As many of you know, my wife and I have been journeying through infertility.images

It has been many months, many doctors, many dollars.  We weigh each procedure carefully, as it is more invasive, more costly, more personal than the last.

And sometimes we wonder…if we are playing God.

Plenty of people might say we are playing God because we are manipulating life.  Some people are very uncomfortable when you start talking about embryos because usually the only time that word comes up, it’s accompanied by “stem cell research.”  Issues of life are big topics.  And the closer you get to merging the sanctity of life with the cold march of science, the more ethics are brought into question.  “In vitro” just has that ring of “Brave New World,” doesn’t it?

Yes, for a myriad of reasons, there are still a few areas of medical science that are still taboo, a little frightening.  We don’t know if we’ve somehow crossed a line.

But here’s the thing.  As my wife and I continue to trudge onward through infertility, we have learned a lot about what it means to manipulate science, create life and, yes, “play God.”

Continue Reading…

Have you ever felt uninspired?  Like you just can’t get in the flow of things?

I know I have.  I have struggled to get started on writing.  I have struggled to start art projects.  There are days when it all seems easy, and days when it’s just a drag.

Maybe Mondays do it to you.  Or maybe someone at work.  Or maybe the pile of laundry at home drains your inspiration.

Whatever the cause, I have often believed that I have to feel inspired before I get started.

So I try to find just the right place to write, with just the right light and temperature so I’m comfortable.  And I try to listen to just the right music.  And hopefully I will have read just the right books over the last few days so my brain is feeling full.

See, we all have this romantic idea of creativity, that it is this ultra-inspired thing that happens.

The problem is our real lives are never situated just right for maximum inspiration.

We have distractions.  We have problems.  We have writers’ block.  We are tired.

And the quest for inspiration becomes just procrastination.  We never start because we are trying to get inspired.

That’s why I like Chuck Close so much.  He is one of the most accomplished painters of our time.  This is what he says about inspiration.

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What if we stopped trying to feel inspired and just did something?  We might just be surprised at how inspiring the results are.

Well, it is another one of those pink and red holidays.

My wife and I have never, and I pray will never be bound to celebrate Valentine’s Day.  We have Christmas, both of our birthdays and our anniversary within three months of each other.  By the time we get through all of those, our schedules and our bank account are tapped out.  We know we love each other pretty sufficiently without V-Day.

But, I still tried to give a little love to…love this week.  And I really appreciated all the great stuff that was written about the nature of love and relationships this week.  Here’s a delicious taste:

Two Choices Today

I think Valentine’s Day must be one of the most hated holidays of all.  Somehow, even Christmas can’t rankle naysayers the way February’s lovefest can.  I haven’t been a fan of the holiday since I stopped getting cards and candy in elementary school (though I kept the one from a “secret admirer” for a good long time, never finding out who dropped it in my shoebox.)  Ally Vesterfelt gives her V-Day rant, but tells us we really have two choices when it comes to the holiday.

On Marriage Idols

You know, we all have idols.  And as much as we are loathe to admit it, the American church is full of them.  And one big idol is marriage.  There are innumerable churches putting on mixers this week to get all their sad single people fixed up.  In that light, I really enjoyed Jessica Dickson, guest writing for Renee Fisher about how marriage became her idol.

On Giving Up

Countering that, of course there are a lot of negative statistics when it comes to marriage (though somehow, all of the positive statistics get buried).  Christen at The Uncontainable Truth tells us why we shouldn’t give up on marriage on V-Day.

One Small Change

Finally, perhaps the most positive of all the posts I read this week came from Amanda Edwards guest writing for Addie Zierman (two guest writers?)  Addie has been hosting a series called “one small change,” and Amanda nailed it.  A perfect encouragement on what we should do every single night (it’s not that, guys).  Especially timely in light of my post on Wednesday about people paying for hugs.

That’s what filled my blog reader and fueled my mind this week.  What about you?