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I think I’m ready to come out and say it. I don’t like stories with happy endings. If you know me, you know I love stories. I really enjoy novels, and movies, and even well-done television series. I have have argued for the indispensable value of stories and defended fiction in many places. Students of the Bible and pastors especially must embrace and enjoy good stories. Stories train us to understand the narrative of the Bible. They stretch our imagination in all kinds of helpful ways. They allow us to live out other people’s lives, to sympathize with other sinners to see and appreciate God’s creation at different levels and from different angles. Stories are good for us.
But I’ve gotten to the place where I’m bored with stories that have happy endings. I don’t mean that you have to agree with me, or that you can’t enjoy them, and I may come back around and find some enjoyment in them some day. Yet for now I’ve come to the conclusion that most of today’s stories that have happy endings are false stories. They don’t picture the world the way it really is. They don’t properly account for the wickedness and the depravity of man. They don’t deal with the depth or the width or the height of God’s mercies because mercy in these stories, when it comes, is trite. Cheap grace is easy and light. It’s never painful, and never demands anything of anyone. Read more
In any disagreement or conflict, the most difficult task is getting to the bottom of the issue and finding out what the real problem is between the accuser and the accused. Usually by the time the shouting begins, there has already been a long period of silent build-up, during which offenses are collected and catalogued with tabs for quick reference. Then, when the moment is right to “get it all out into the open”, you almost never hear the whole story unless you have the patience to do a great deal of digging. Arguments become so obscured and muddled by all of the peripheral issues that parties can easily forget what it was that started it all. We have all been there. Read more
The life of Jesus is book-ended by two phenomenal, extraordinary events: the virgin birth and the resurrection from the grave. Both events show life where it is unexpected – a virgin womb, a burial tomb. In both, there is life abundant, breaking out everywhere. These two events show us that Read more
Luke’s gospel opens in a time of tension and tyranny. Dreadful King Herod is on the throne and the spiritually barren landscape is mirrored in the barrenness of the wife of faithful old priest Zecharias. Childlessness is futurelessness. Both the land and the people are caught in a situation without hope Read more