The Blackened State

TThe Blackened State When I read a book, I often wonder what first sparked the author’s imagination to begin reading that book. Often it is to illustrate a moral dilemma, as you see in the writings of Jodi Picault. Others write books about their own lives; sometimes, I think, to sort out their feelings and perhaps thereby to help others in similar situations. With a pure nonfiction, like a Bible study, it’s often hard to ferret out the book’s beginnings in the mind of the author. All physical books begin with an idea in an author’s mind, a representation that grows and usually changes during the writing process. With a book like The Parables of Jesus, an inductive Bible study, there’s little that’s personal in its pages. I do mention that I’d loved...

The Splintered Tree

The Splintered Tree Years ago, after a storm in the mountains, I walked through the damp, needle-strewn soil and saw the damage that had been exacted by the lightning the night before. I saw a tree blasted apart and immediately thought of an aspect of my life.   I’d invested years of my life in a relationship. I wasn’t perfect in it, but I was sacrificial. Not everyone you love loves you back. Not everyone you bless wants to bless you.   But as sudden as that crack of light last night, I knew it was over. The Lord had spoken. I was relieved, I admit that. But I was left feeling like the tree, wrenched apart. I knew it couldn’t be put back together. Sometimes in the life of a Christian, there is a John Mark with whom you can be reconciled, and...