The Center for Faith & Culture—Olivet Nazarene University


Does This Make Sense?

What do you see?  A vase or two faces?

Discussion Starters:

  • Have you ever found yourself or your faith confronted by “logic” or “reason”?
  • Have you ever talked yourself out of doing a “good deed” for someone else?
  • Did anyone try to convince Jesus to be logical and abandon His mission?

It seems that a lot of people are talking about “reason vs. faith” these days. I’m a very logical person. I love it when things “click” or make sense in my mind. In fact, friends and family often tell me that I think too much. The longer I walk on the Narrow Path the more challenged I am to integrate my faith and my thinking. Up until this point in my life I have been very dependent upon my knowledge about Christianity and mostly reliant on my reasoning to work through sticky situations.

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Awe, Wonder, and Praise


Awe, Wonder, and Praise

My grandmother used to say, “Life is good, if you don’t weaken.”  (An aside:  Her sister had memorable sayings as well – for example, “Beauty fades, but ugly holds its own.”)

While my grandmother had a good life, she faced numerous challenges.  One of her two daughters, my mother, contracted polio as a very young child and had to be sent away to Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.  Later in life, she and my mother would spend years of suffering with debilitating rheumatoid arthritis. Her other daughter would die at a fairly young age with hepatitis.  My grandmother’s story is not one which is strange to us.  At times, we too may affirm “Life is good, if you do not weaken.”

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Tags: Faith, Heaven

The God of Christianity and Islam: The Same, Right?

Leading evangelical Protestant ministers, Roman Catholic priests, and Jewish rabbis are coming together in record numbers to encourage us to join hands with our Islamic brothers and sisters and celebrate the fact that we all worship the same God.  So, in the interest of shedding light on this faith and culture notion, I want you to think with me for a few minutes then decide for yourself if you believe it is true.

If you go to the Internet for your authority, you will be quickly convinced that the proposal is, in fact, true.  Hundreds of people have posted articles, research, blogs, and comments that affirm that God is the same for Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.  They believe the T-shirt slogan one of my students used to wear to class just to annoy me!  It had symbols of all of the world religions on the body of the T-shirt; under the symbols read “One God; many paths.”  I know a religion professor at a Christian college near my boyhood home who teaches that God took all knowledge of God’s self and distributed it evenly among the world religions.  He says we must all get together and put our puzzle pieces of God on the table to have a complete understanding of God. 

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Culture Responding to the Church?

The news reporter on the evening news made a thought provoking statement that sounded strange to my ears.  I perked up a bit as I listened more closely to the news item.  I’ve been thinking about it all day today.  Here’s the line.  Give it some thought along with me.

“Tonight is the last night of Mardi Gras in New Orleans.  So we have to live it up all night tonight, because we’re going to have to start our fast for Lent in the morning.”

Really?  Is this guy serious?  A whole series of questions hit my mind all at once as I pondered that statement about Mardi Gras.  I knew the word literally meant “Fat Tuesday.”  I knew the event started as a celebration that takes place in the days prior to the Christian calendar’s Wednesday which begins the Lenten season.  I knew the purpose of Lent was to prepare our hearts for the Easter season.  So, with that in mind, what do I do with all of the questions rolling around in my mind from the news story on Mardi Gras?

1.    Is secular culture really taking its cue from the Christian calendar?
2.    Does our culture sense a need to party excessively prior to a most sacred time of heart searching leading up to Easter?
3.    Does preparation for Lent grant a license for an entire night of wild parades, liquor consumption, partying, and immoral activity that marks this Tuesday evening?
4.    Will these same people who live-it-up all night during Mardi Gras also be fasting and preparing their hearts for Lent as the news reporter implied?
5.    How do we compartmentalize our lives so completely between a bacchanalian Mardi Gras Tuesday night and a worshipful Lenten Wednesday evening service just 12 hours later?

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Mission Impossible


One of my favorite television series as a kid growing up was Mission Impossible.  I saw every episode more than once.  I know Hollywood has updated the concept in recent years with three new installments from Tom Cruise.  I'm not talking about that series; I'm talking about the black and white version.  I'm talking about the one without special effects, unless you count exploding reel-to-reel tape recorders!  The thing that kept me tuning in week to week was the notion of the Mission Impossible team taking on seemingly insurmountable odds to reach what seemed to be an impossible goal.  I never doubted their superhuman ability; I had confidence that within the next 60 minutes they would triumph, and the world would be safe again.

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Tags: Culture, Faith