Tag Archives: Life

The real question about those one-star votes

OK, I’m bored, and I need a break from grading, so I’ll take the bait.

I’ve wondered about the motivation within the person who occasionally finds it meaningful to jump on my blog here and give one-star votes to everything on the first page of posts, regardless of extremely wide differences in the content of each. It has happened before, and this week, happened again.

These disapproving votes first appeared shortly after I added a link to a reputable charity seeking to help Syrian refugees, who through no fault of their own have been forced from their homes with their children. So I suspect the voter dislikes Syrians or Muslims. I wish it bothered me more, but that sort of dislike has become cliché.

However, for me, at the moment, the motivation behind the one-star votes is not the real question.

The real question is why, after voting one star on six posts on my homepage, did the voter fail to click that single left-hand star on the final post?

The homepage, the landing page, always displays seven posts. Until the post you’re reading right now was published, the seventh post on this page stood without a vote. It was right there, barely a mouse-twitch away. I assure you that post is just as hostile as the six previous posts to everything the voter stands for. Now it’s gone over to the second page, out of reach to quick protest votes.

So, since the voter missed it, I’ll extend the opportunity and give the link. It’s right here. Go click one star on the post you missed, right here, right now.

One star is better than nothing. Thank you.

So, I took the bait. You’re welcome. Thanks for the break from grading.

Four Brief Quotations About the Urgency of Living

I can’t remember the name of the book where I found these, but I thought they were worth snapping —


Now More Than Ever

Well, in light of my hyper-analytical last post, I guess the election has made this as relevant as ever, on all sides, from all perspectives: Try to love your neighbor, and try to love your enemies. “For if you love [only] those who love you, what reward do you have?” And what difference would you make in the world?

Living And Loving With Difference And Disagreement

From The Washington Post:

It was so Washington, the way they met. She was on the dais at a panel discussion on media and politics, holding forth knowledgeably; he was in the audience, smitten. At the steakhouse dinner that followed, Jake Brewer got the courage to walk up to Mary Katharine Ham and give her the hopeful, ambiguous let’s get a drink sometime line.

Then he e-mailed her an invitation to a tech policy luncheon. She never replied.

Soon after, he was sitting at El Tamarindo in Adams Morgan with a friend, and she was beelining for their table. She greeted the mutual friend at his table — and only then turned to him with a friendly stare of non-recognition.

“Hi,” she told Jake. “I’m Mary Katharine Ham.”

It was all so very Washington, for a couple who would become anything but: a conservative pundit married to an Obama White House staffer.

When Jake died Sept. 19 — after he collided with a car during a cancer charity bike ride in Mount Airy, Md. — the 34-year-old technology advocate was mourned on both MSNBC and Fox. His boss, President Obama, released a statement: Jake was proof, he said, that this generation is “capable of making a difference.”

Read the rest of this heartbreaking yet inspiring story.

Heartbreak for another pastor’s son lost to suicide

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides smart suggestions on how to address suicidal comments on social media, and the organization is available 24/7 at 800-273-8255.


Isaac Hunter, son of Orlando mega-church pastor Joel Hunter, has committed suicide, reported Christianity Today‘s Gleanings blog two days ago.

Isaac Hunter’s suicide happened about 8 months after Matthew Warren, son of mega-church pastor Rick Warren, committed suicide.

A pastor at Joel Hunter’s church noted, in a blog post, “… Isaac loved Jesus. And we are assured of his continuing relationship with Christ now in heaven (Romans 8:38-39).”

In other suicides that have touched ministries, believers have not been so charitable.

The Gleanings post also referenced a Christian Post article about a pastor’s suicide. Pastor Teddy Parker Jr. killed himself in November.

The article quotes one of the late pastor’s friends, E. Dewey Smith Jr. (also a pastor), who said:

“My friend was sick. He was the most kind, loving, humble, most genuine, loyal person I’ve ever met in my life and he was sick. He had a sickness and that’s it. He had a sickness just like somebody who had cancer and it was a sickness that was beyond his control.”

Smith told Christian Post his friend Parker had manic depression and emotional issues.

Smith also said, “It’s terrible how we blame people. Is it fair to blame a victim for being sick? Is it fair? Is it fair to expect sick people to always be rational? It’s terribly painful for me to watch pundits and people who don’t even know the story to assail and assassinate my friend’s character. I know him. I know his heart. He struggled. He was loving, he was kind” (emphasis added).

However, Christian Post reporter Leonardo Blair wrote, “While many readers have been sharing their condolences for the pastor and his family on CP’s Facebook page, others have damned pastor Parker to hell for taking his life (emphasis added).”

When I looked at the article’s webpage, I noticed a headline in the list of “top stories” on the website: “Many Christians ‘Utterly Unprepared’ to Defend Their Faith, Says Leading Christian Apologist.”

And many Christians are utterly unprepared to make the distinction between a failure of will and an illness of the brain.

I wrote elsewhere about the loss of Matthew Warren, and I’m going to repeat some of what I said before, but this time, with Isaac Hunter in mind.

I’ve had my own battles with clinical depression, and something in Matthew Warren’s story feels non-negotiable and irrevocable. When someone like Matthew Warren has for a father an internationally known pastor with access (as the pastor said in a statement after the suicide) to the best psychological and medical help in the world, I imagine him having God and all of human wisdom on his side. It wasn’t enough….

Today… I’m at a much healthier place, but I’m not going to tell you how I got there. The worst thing I could do would be to talk about how things got better.

That’s because I’m not Matthew Warren. I have no idea what he was feeling, how bad it was, what might have brought it on, what object he might have been looking at when he realized for himself he couldn’t carry on. I just can’t know.

One size fits no one. The worst thing about our culture right now is its plethora of singular answers. So many people claim to have found The Answer or The Secret or The Steps…..

At very least, we should ask, “Jesus is the answer to what?” I’m sure Jesus was an answer for Matthew Warren, an answer for some aspect of him, for some aspect of his life, but Jesus was not the answer he needed when he made his final decision.

I’m inclined to leave you with lyrics from several songs that come to mind. They are all inappropriate. The loss is real and final. There is no remedy. The best we can do is further question the road to suicide.

‘Living Faith: Belief and Doubt in a Perilous World,” or why no one really listens

The late French Protestant leader Jacques Ellul in his book Living Faith: Belief and Doubt in a Perilous World

“They comply unfailingly with the law and the commandments. They are unbending in their convictions, intolerant of any deviation. In the articulation of belief they press rigor and absolutism to their limits. They precisely delimit the frontiers between believers and unbelievers. They unceasingly refine the expression of their belief and seek to give it explicit intellectual formulation in a system as coherent and complete as possible. They insist on total orthodoxy. Ways of thinking and acting are rigidly codified.”

And a quotation from Daniel Taylor: “Legalism is one more expression of the human compulsion for security.”

Living east of Eden

“We know we do not live in paradise. Our present residence is east of Eden, in Vanity Fair. Most certainly, we grieve; but we do not despair. Our confidence is in the one who rules in his present lordship.”  – Gavin McGrath, A Confident Life

For the Christian, life is the day before the wedding.