After Saint Peter’s in Rome, the most famous church in the world is the ancient Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. People often — mistakenly — think that the church is dedicated to a woman named Saint Sophia. It’s not. Hagia Sophia is simply Greek for “Holy Wisdom.”
I want to be cool like Gandalf in the "Lord of the Rings" movies. I’ve tried to grow a beard, though, and it never turns out as well for me as it did for him.
In our last column we talked about how the early Christians looked fearless to unbelievers. Modern Christians can appear the same way — and the world marvels today at the courage of those men killed as martyrs recently in Libya and Ethiopia.
The martyrs weren’t made in a day. They didn’t learn fearlessness in five easy lessons. They learned it by meditating regularly on the life and teachings of Jesus. They gained it by sharing habitually in the life of Jesus. They got it by grace, but they kept it through practice.
Sometimes when Christians talk about love, we make it seem so theoretical. We want to make sure everyone knows it’s not an emotion. (Check.) We want to make sure everyone knows it’s not reducible to romance. (Check.)
I enjoy good movies and TV. And I tend to be optimistic about the potential of local believers to make a difference in the media. I’m more than a little proud when I see something good come out of our city’s studios — and prouder still when I can say I know someone who appears in the credits.
So much of my business is words. I speak them. I write them. (I’m typing them now.) I pray them. And I say I am doing it all for God.
I say I have faith. I preach the faith. Yet I pass the San Gabriel Mountains, and I do not see them move. In fact, at rush hour, my car barely moves.
Every generation in its turn is proud of its accomplishments — proud even to the point of arrogance. Usually we’re a lot more impressed than we ought to be. As we get older, if we are wise like King Solomon, we come to realize that “Nothing is new under the sun!”
Now that people call me Father, I’m beginning to appreciate the trouble I made for my dad when I was young. I’m not talking about any spectacular rebellion. But, like a lot of young guys, I bristled at the idea that anyone should have authority over me.
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