Theology

Remembering A Hero Of The Faith

What other-worldly level of strength, character, and faithfulness would it take for your spouse to write this about you after fifty (50!) years of marriage?

A brilliant thinker who could engage any scholar on that level, a consummate professional writer who could pack more into three paragraphs than anyone I ever knew, a tender-hearted lover of poetry who regaled us all with Thanatopsis and Gray’s Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard (all stanzas!), and a man with a sweet grin and sense of humor which sometimes veered into intricate puns and corny jokes which he delighted in telling and re-telling to any willing listener. He was nonjudgmental, humble in spirit, kind in manner and as Jesus described Nathanael, “a man in whom there is no guile.” He cherished me for over 50 years, since our first Florida College days, delighted in our two wonderful children, and loved his six precious grandchildren who gave him great joy and hope for the future.

— Sara Faye Fudge

Edward Fudge and Doug Smith
Edward Fudge with Doug  (2014)

This is the fruit of a life well lived—all-in—focused on what is most important in this world. This is what all men should aspire to become. Not necessarily a brilliant scholar, but one whom those closest to him could say “a man in whom there is no guile.” And every husband should live so that his wife could say of him “he cherished me for over 50 years.”

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Desires

What Do You Want, And Why?

Which Way Do You Want To Go?

“Sweetheart, what do you want for dinner?”

“I don’t know, what do you feel like?”

“I don’t care, whatever sounds good to you.”

“Well, I don’t care either, and I asked you first.”

We have conversations like this all the time, don’t we? We often don’t really know what we want to do next.

But there are powerful media leaders who know exactly what they want you to do next, and next, and next, for the rest of your life. In fact, they have a plan for every minute of every day of your life, from before you were born, to after you are buried. They know what you should eat, drink, and wear. They know what you should think about, believe, and worry about. They know how you should spend your time. They know what your priorities should be, and how obsessed you should be with current fashions and trends. They know what kind of car you should drive and that you should borrow money to get it. In fact, they know that you should borrow money for just about everything, so you can have it all quicker.

They know that you should be focused on short-term pleasure more than long-term happiness. They know that you should focus on feeling good right now instead of sacrificing to make a positive difference in the world.

They know that you should accept their definition of “freedom”—which is the ability to do whatever feels good at any moment without consequences. And they help you learn that by feeding you a constant stream of increasingly sexualized and violent content, 24×7.

They want to save you the trouble of thinking about hard problems for yourself, so they boil things down for you into soundbites that help you agree more quickly with their agendas. Economics, government structures, morality, even faith systems, are really hard to work out—and they ultimately get in the way of how much fun you should be having or what is next on Netflix, so don’t worry about those things. At least, not in detail. They will provide you with the headlines that keep you feeling educated and the celebrities who eloquently espouse their values in ways that you can’t help but agree with, especially as you partake of whatever substance they know you should be free to imbibe.

All the while they’ll tell you that they want you to be happy, to live in a fair and just world and that they want to keep you safe and free and give you the chance to find a “meaningful” purpose. While they’re telling you that, they’ll be selling you something to quickly feed your short-term desires, or amplify what you’re worried about right now.

You see, if you don’t know what you want to do, you will be led to the most profitable end—profitable for those who do have a plan for your life, that is.

So, what do you want? Are you willing to take the time to seek a life purpose that is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, and good, which ultimately leads to the highest good for God and everyone you impact? It’s hard work, and will push you to delve into your deepest motives. But the result will be much more valuable that drifting along—unintentionally—led by powerful media leaders who would shape your desires into what is most profitable for them, at your expense.

Screens

Social Media Is Free, But …

Then we freely give back:

  • Our time
  • Our attention
  • Our ideas
  • Our photos, videos
  • Everything we like
  • A diary of our whole lives
  • Unlimited permission to data mine everything we share
  • Our relationships
  • Our future

And, because we’re all doing this, they play us against each other. We distract each other, while they keep cashing ginormous checks. While billions of us share our lives together on social media, we are the largest free workforce in history.

Of course, the irony is: I have to share this on social media because we’re all there.

Free may not be such a great deal for us after all.

Desires, Free Will

You Are Not Your Feelings

thermometer-1584773_1920

Everyone’s heard this cultural mantra: our feelings define our identity. According to pop-culture wisdom, truth itself is created and validated by our feelings. We must listen to and act upon our emotions, as they are the most authentic part of who we are. Just remember this verse and chorus from the most popular psalm of this doctrine-defining movie, Frozen:

Don’t let them in,

don’t let them see

Be the good girl you always have to be

Conceal, don’t feel,

don’t let them know

Well now they know

Let it go, let it go

Can’t hold it back anymore

Let it go, let it go

Turn away and slam the door

I don’t care

what they’re going to say

Let the storm rage on.

The cold never bothered me anyway

Elsa couldn’t hold back her feelings because they were the truest part of her identity. The story shows her parents reacting to her powers with the untenable command: “conceal, don’t feel.” When Elsa finally “can’t hold it back anymore,” she releases the “real her,” full of power and glamor and no limits. What an attractive message!

The problem? It’s just not true.
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Desires

A Call For Noble Men

Man in Wheat Field
Photo Credit: Pexels

It means something to be a Smith.

I come from a long line of Oregon wheat farmers. I tasted my heritage when Dad sent my teenage self away from my comfortable middle-class city life to hoe weeds around hundreds of acres of hot, arid, Eastern Oregon fields with my uncles and cousins. I’m grateful now, though I wasn’t then, for the front-line exposure to my family’s history. It cultivated (nice pun!) some of the honor of being a Smith within me.

I realize now that Dad taught me nobility. I learned that Smith men are hard workers. We keep our word. We are responsible. We make plans and follow through. He especially taught me that Smith men treat women, all women, with respect and honor.
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Desires

The Battle Is Real

Armies at battle
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Do you ever feel like the problems of the world are so overwhelming, there’s nothing you can do?

I’ve felt that way—consumed by fear of the future with a paralyzing inability to know what to do about it. Want to know the positive difference I made in the world while I was feeling that way? Not much.

Imagine a war between two forces. One army deploys a weapon against the other that, instead of blowing them up, it warps their minds. It makes the other army fight against anything except their real enemy. They fight themselves, they fight things that aren’t real, or they get so overwhelmed that they give up. The first army would win the war with little physical effort, since their deception would make the other army destroy itself.

If you knew you were in that second army, being inoculated against a real enemy, would you want to know? Would you do something about it?

I think many of us are living like we are in that second army, unable to make positive changes that may require a battle because we are too distracted, or overwhelmed, or apathetic.

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Desires

Hatching A Risky New Desire

Copyright: 3m3 / 123RF Stock Photo
Copyright: 3m3 / 123RF Stock Photo

Is 2016’s newest holiday toy craze a Trojan horse Penguala, threatening to ensnare millions of unsuspecting children?

Kids worldwide are begging Santa to bring them clever, cute, and harmless-looking toys called Hatchimals. Following similarly hyped interactive toys like Furby and Tamagotchi, Hatchimals simulate a real, ongoing relationship with their young owners.

With stores running very low on supplies of Hatchimals, the online auction market is seeing prices range from $150-$500+ for these ordinarily $50 toys. What is driving this incredible demand? What has hatched the desire in so many kids that drives their parents to blow their budget for the latest fad?

Before Christmas comes, will there be violence in the aisles over whether your child gets Owlicorn or Draggles?

On the surface, Hatchimals seem sweet, innocent, and harmless. As a dad of four grown daughters, I think my girls would have enjoyed one of these lovable toys, and I may have wanted to give them one.

However, the hidden risk of following the Hatchimals craze is the loss of your child’s ability to freely think for themselves, to become all they are made to be, and to apply their God-given gifts to help meet the world’s great needs.

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Desires

Where Are Your Desires Leading You?

cereal-fruity-pebbles
By Evan-Amos (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
I can remember wanting Fruity Pebbles for breakfast as a child. The Flintstone family, from the 60’s-era cartoon, were my frequent TV friends, and they loved Fruity Pebbles. So of course, I loved them too. On the rare occasion that my Mom bought them, I devoured bowl after bowl. As a kid, I never connected how yucky I felt an hour or two after eating sugary cereal. I just knew I wanted those tasty Pebbles, and that’s all that mattered.

Why did I want that cereal? Was it because it was good for me? Certainly not. (There is no fruit in Fruity Pebbles—it’s debatable whether it’s even food.) Would it give me the ability to meet my 7-year-old goals of being able to run faster or play longer? Not in my experience.

I think I wanted Pebbles for two reasons: my favorite TV characters loved them, and professionals intentionally engineered the ingredients to attract me. In fact, we now know the addictive properties of sugar makes us want more of something that is actually enslaving us.
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Atheism, Free Will, Science

Study shows Free Will is an Illusion. Really?

[~1,100 words, reading time: ~6 minutes]

Image of computer keyboard with brain key
Copyright: maxkabakov / 123RF Stock Photo

If you were being programmed to believe something that wasn’t true, and that lie was leading you to a harmful end, would you want to know? If there was an agenda to lead you to abandon reality and ultimately give up your freedom, would you be upset?

Several weeks ago, we had cordial and thought-provoking discussion of free will here. Since that time, a new study was trumpeted across national news outlets, promoting a study that suggests free will is an illusion.
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Atheism, Free Will, Science

Do We Have Free Will, or is Free Will an Illusion?

[~2,100 words, reading time: ~10 minutes]

Image with ball and chain with open shackle
Copyright: faithie / 123RF Stock Photo

Many scientifically-minded people claim that mankind does not have free will. Instead, they say that all of our choices are determined by physical laws, and our perception of free will is an illusion. I hope to show that this claim is either false, or if it’s true then we can’t know it, because it is self-refuting.

In his bestselling book, Free Will, atheist neuroscientist Sam Harris boldly proclaims that our perception of free will is an illusion. He begins by telling the story of a heinous series of murders committed by two psychopaths. Dr. Harris then explains that if he had the same genes, upbringing, environment, and brains as these men, he would have also committed the same crimes. He says:

As sickening as I find their behavior, I have to admit that if I were to trade places with one of these men, atom for atom, I would be him: There is no extra part of me that could decide to see the world differently or to resist the impulse to victimize other people. Free Will (p. 4)

This is a compelling argument. It reminds me of Star Trek’s transporter: a person’s atoms are beamed across vast distances, and when they rematerialize, they are still the same person as before. If my atoms were converted into the atoms of another person, I’d be that person.

Beg Your Question?

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