The election is over. The race card, economy card, liberal agenda, obstructionist republican and “birther” cards have all been played. But there’s one gift that keeps on giving: the mythical virtue of tolerance. Please, let us be done with this. Proclaim the limited benefits of tolerance if you must, but not the virtue. Tolerance is not a Virtue.
Notice, I’m talking capital ‘V’irtue. What is Virtue, other than Webster’s “general moral excellence?” A suitable definition might read thus: “A concept, characteristic or ideal that is meaningful and worthy in and of itself, regardless of its particular application.” Virtues are like Platonic forms. They stand alone, basalt pillars upon which rests the mantle of human concern, tried and proven true by the fires of time and circumstance. The classic virtues—Love, Patience, Forgiveness, Loyalty, etc—stand on the strength of their own, well…virtue. At best, tolerance is a civic virtue. We need a reality check to take it off the high pedestal of Moral Virtue to which it has been falsely elevated in our national dialog. The obvious (and perplexingly unmissed) fact of tolerance as a pillar upon which to build society is that, as a moral construct, tolerance is slave to whatever is being tolerated. READ MORE >>>
The Free Ebook Giveaway
What’s better for a Christmas reader that to begin a glorious, epic quest? How about a glorious, free, epic quest. Word is spreading, and I want to fan the flames. I’m so convinced that readers will love my epic 5-part series, The Legends of Karac Tor, that I’m giving away all the eBooks I can to help people get started. In conjunction with my publisher, AMG, I’m giving people a risk-free way to dive in. For a limited time, you can discover book 1, The Book of Names, free of charge. If you have any eReader (iPad, Kindle, Nook, etc), go to my FREE BOOK LINK and get started. (Like my Author Page to access free content). Here’s a simple guide to help:
iOS: On the iPhone, iTouch and iPad, the process is dead simple:
- Click the ePub download link.
- Click the “Download into iBooks” link which follows. Done! Let the adventure begin.
- If this method fails, you can still do it the old-fashioned way through iTunes, HERE.
KINDLE: For Kindle devices, or Kindle on Android, download the Mobipocket file instead, and follow the directions at THIS KINDLE HELP FILE (scroll down for various methods, including):
- Load Books via USB
- Load Books via Web
- Load Books via Email
NOOK: For Nook users, download the ePub file and follow the instructions at THIS NOOK HELP FILE.
Hope that helps! Happy downloading, happy free…and happy reading!
“In the shadow of His hand He has concealed me, and He has also made me a select arrow; He has hidden me in His quiver.” (Isa. 49:2)
Let’s do a little anthropomorphic exercise. Let’s pretend the arrow is self-aware. Have you ever considered what a quiver must look like from the perspective of the arrow? An archer needs an arrow, right? He is a warrior. He must have a weapon. At some point in your past, you’ve probably prayed, “God, use me.” You wanted to be that weapon in his hand. But the prayer is the easy part. The fulfillment takes time. As soon as you said, “Amen,” a process began. READ MORE >>>
To speak of something breaking is to speak of the weakness of one thing and the strength of another. Typically, something breaks for a reason. The problem is inherent, whether due to fragile materials or flawed construction. For example, a vase can crack because the ceramic is very fine (read: brittle), or because the hairline fracture which had previously been invisible to the naked eye is finally revealed under duress. A broken thing has proven itself unable to “hold itself together”—to maintain integrity—beyond a certain threshold. It’s called “the breaking point” for a reason. Up to this point, I can manage. Beyond this point, all bets are off. And here’s the thing: most of the time we don’t know our breaking point until it is surpassed. Variables can be tangible or intangible: literal weight, literal force, or immaterial factors such as stress, temptation, delay, etc. In any event, the result is the same. Toys break. Coffee cups break. Relationships break. Men and women break. Hearts break. READ MORE >>>
I had the privilege of taking part in a “commissioning ceremony” for the son of a dear friend on his 18th birthday. I was asked to impart something on the topic of ‘Love.’ Here’s what I shared:
The First and Second Great Commandments are: to love God, to love others. The world has a polite notion of love. It makes love into heart-shaped candies. It distorts love with shame and perversion. It manipulates love, using it to sell cars or politicians or beauty cream. The church has a more accurate, God-inspired, yet sometimes still-too-polite and slightly distorted notion of love. Yes, love is a choice, more than a feeling. We love, because He first loved. True, agape love is unselfish and unconditional, imagining and acting upon the highest and best for another person above yourself. All of these are true. But they are soft and incomplete.
Let me add two more truths drawn from my own experience, from the conviction of the Word, and what I know of the character of God. These are less discussed, less preached on, less understood, less “churchy,” but no less true. They are the masculine and strong. Now more than ever, among the highest and holiest facets of love, are war and sacrifice. READ MORE >>>
As a dad, I find myself fairly frequently asking the question: “Am I really reaching my kids? Am I having the impact on them I want, and, more to the point, need to have?”
Exhibit A: My stepson will soon be a college senior, my stepdaughter a college freshman, my oldest blood son, a high school senior.
Exhibit B: My youngest children are on the cusp of their teenage years.
Exhibit C: My wife is talking more and more about how hot the room is. READ MORE >>>
The last 6-8 weeks have been a frenetic mix of holidays, travels and missed deadlines. As I’ve labored to finish The Ravaged Realm (thank you AMG for your patience!), I’ve also sought to get my creative bearings for 2012. I’m on a bit of a mission READ MORE >>>
The birth of Jesus is the ultimate outsider moment in history. We’ve long since dressed it up with tinsel and lights, making it something merry, pretty and popular. We celebrate with gaiety, food, song, gifts and warm, crackling fireplace fires. In the process, we’ve divorced ourselves from the starker, darker reality of the actual event, where a babe lay swaddled in a pile of straw, nervously watched over by two very human, very perplexed parents. By any objective measurement, the original Christmas moment was nothing we would want to celebrate as a crowning achievement. More likely, it was a desperate, cold, lonely affair.
And yet it is precisely the unreserved honesty of the story from which we draw a timeless sense of hope, as our darker human colors get shot through with divine light. Because the fact is, we all exist outside perfection, no less the babe in the manger. READ MORE >>>
Everybody does it this time of year, right? So here’s my random, highly subjective list of non-sequiturs, both meaningful and meaningless. Drumroll please….
To give birth, one must lose their dignity. Have you considered that? We cry out for the Lord to birth something into our families, our lives, our churches, yet we prefer the sanctity of our personal space to the mess and noise which almost always accompany the release of life.
A woman in labor is probably in the most vulnerable position possible. She cannot flee; her time has come. She is confined to a prostrate position, exposed, and must surrender her dignity to the hope of the life she carries. That life must come out, and it will come, but only through her brokenness. She is laid bare before the eyes of others. There is much pain. There is also a rhythm that must take over, an ebb and flow. The pain doesn’t all come at once. Vulnerability is not a singular experience. It is an unfolding, a progression, a series of humiliations. READ MORE >>>