Sam

Unpleasant Grace

Unpleasant Grace

One evening years ago, I babysat my three sons, which meant I read a book upstairs as they wrestled each other downstairs. A shriek rang out and I raced down to find David, my son five-year-old son, holding his head as blood gushed through his fingers.   One of his brothers had pushed him off the sofa, and he hit his head against the corner of an end table. It opened an inch-long gash on...

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The Humility of Our Mysterious Purpose

The Humility of Our Mysterious Purpose

Two and a half years ago, my wife and I decided to sell our house. We followed commonsense wisdom: we decluttered closets, upgraded appliances, and replaced old wallpaper with fresh paint.   Then we put our beloved house on the market. And nada. Well, not quite nothing. We had multiple almost-buyers, couples who claimed they would make an offer by the weekend. But an obstacle always cropped...

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Surprised by Ignorance

Surprised by Ignorance

During my sophomore year at university, I met a freshman new to college life. His dad was a business-exec in a wealthy suburban neighborhood; my dad was the pastor of a poor church in a dodgy Detroit neighborhood. He studied performance violin; I studied physics.   His dad frequently traveled; my dad never missed family dinner. His older sisters taught him boys were naughty, and to flee...

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It’s Only Stupid If

It’s Only Stupid If

I recently heard a popular Christian speaker tell of a “rich spiritual exercise” he began practicing in secret. A friend of his encouraged him for years to try it, and for years he resisted. Finally, he gave it a shot. And he loves it.   The friend who introduced him to the spiritual practice is an Eastern Guru, and the exercises themselves are born out of Eastern Mysticism. At first,...

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Christian Meditation

Christian Meditation

In February 1978, I sensed God call me to spend a summer volunteering on a kibbutz in Israel (a communal farm that provides room and board for six days of work). I asked friends to help me discern if I heard God correctly. Some were pretty sure it was from God, and others were certain it wasn’t. After deliberation, I decided to go, but not until April.   The deadline to register as a...

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