Worth Reading - 5/11

1. There is something wrong when we push kids to have a deep and abiding interest in things before they find pursuits they are truly interested in:

Standing on the sidelines of my son’s soccer game I chatted with the younger sibling of one of his teammates. “I don’t really have a passion like my brother yet,” he explained, glancing over at the field. “But my parents are helping me look for one.” I waited for the note of irony that never came.

At some point in the last 20 years the notion of passion, as applied to children and teenagers, took hold. By the time a child rounds the corner into high school and certainly before he sets up an account with the Common App, the conventional wisdom is that he needs to have a passion that is deep, easy to articulate, well documented and makes him stand out from the crowd.

This passion, which he will either stumble upon or be led to by the caring adults in his life, must be pursued at the highest level his time and talent, and his parent’s finances, will allow. It is understood that this will offer him fulfillment and afford him and his family bragging rights that a mere dabbler would never earn. This is madness.
Every time I write a column criticizing the misuse of English by “citizen journalists” on the Internet, I get two kinds of reader response. The first are letters of applause, often from prim grammarians pushing their own pet peeves. The second type is scolding me for being a prim grammarian, such as this letter from reader J. Meyers:

“I’m so tired of reading your stupid, nitpicking dribble.”

To which I responded:

“Dear Mr. Meyers: I believe the word you are looking for is ‘drivel.’ ”

3. Seven truths about hell, by J.D. Greear:

Concerning hell, C. S. Lewis once wrote, “There is no doctrine which I would more willingly remove from Christianity than this, if it lay in my power.” In many ways, I agree with him. No one, Christians included, should like the idea of hell. Those of us who believe in hell aren’t sadists who enjoy the idea of eternal suffering. In fact, the thought of people I know who are outside of Christ spending eternity in hell is heartbreaking. As a young Christian, when I began to learn about hell and its implications, I almost lost my faith. It was that disturbing.

Hell is a difficult reality, but it is something that the Bible teaches, and we can’t fully understand God and his world unless we grapple with it. These seven truths should frame our discussion of hell.

4. God is bigger than cancer, from someone battling the dreaded disease:

“There’s no doubt about the diagnosis,” the doctor said. Incurable cancer. A fatal disease. I had just celebrated my tenth anniversary with my wife, and we were busy raising our children, aged 1 and 3.

The next week, as I prepared for chemotherapy, my wife smiled and handed me a handmade card, colored bright with crayons and signed by a fifteen-year-old girl with Down syndrome in our congregation. My tears flowed as I read the top:

“Get well soon! Jesus loves you! God is bigger than cancer!”

My tears were a mingling of grief and joy. Yes, God is bigger than cancer, and bigger than my cancer! The girl in my church wasn’t denying that the path of my future seemed to be narrowing, hidden beneath the fog of a diagnosis. But she testified that God is greater: the God made known in Jesus Christ shows us that “the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:5).

In my tears, I relished the fact that in the body of Christ theological truths are not a commodity trafficked and controlled by theology professors like myself. God is bigger than cancer, period.