Author Archives: stanwiedeman

About stanwiedeman

Christian seeking to find a biblical perspective on culture and life

A SUBLIME GRACE

Valjean had experienced only the harsh and dispassionate force of the law, but he was now the victim of a sublime grace at the hands of a merciful and compassionate bishop. The bishop urged him to use the money from the silver to make himself an honest man. Then the bishop anoints him with these words, “Jean Valjean, my brother, you no longer belong to what is evil but to what is good. I have bought your soul to save it from black thoughts and the spirit of perdition, and I give it to God.” Continue reading

Advertisements
Posted in Grace, Movies, Redemption, Suffering, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

SEEKING SENSE IN THE “SENSELESS”

It is difficult to know what to say about the horrifying event at Sandy Hook Elementary School last Friday, especially when so much has been said about it already. Unless we have endured the pain of losing a young child, … Continue reading

Posted in Evil, Faith, Nature of Man, The Gospel, Violence | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

SCIENCE STUMBLES OVER DEATH

“Heaven Is Real” according to the cover story of the October 15 issue of Newsweek. The story chronicles Eben Alexander’s descent into a seven-day coma and journey into a wholly different level of conscious reality during that time. Dr. Alexander’s 25 years as a neurosurgeon and former professor at Harvard Medical School qualifies him to speak as a scientist, although his conclusions have provoked numerous critiques from fellow scientists.

In the fall of 2008, Alexander was rushed to the emergency room of Lynchburg General Hospital, where his colleagues determined that he had contracted a rare bacterial meningitis. E. coli had attacked his brain, shutting down his cortex, the part of the brain that controls thoughts and emotions. The synapses between the neurons no longer functioned, halting all electromagnetic activity that produces brain function. His doctors had verified by repeated tests that no brain function was possible during that seven-day period – no vision, hearing, emotion memory or logical reasoning. Continue reading

Posted in Death, Science and Faith, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

WHEN CULTURES CONFLICT

Now a professor in psychology at UCLA studying teaching and learning internationally, Stigler identifies a distinction in the way the East and the West view intellectual struggle. “I think that from very early ages we [in America] see struggle as an indicator that you’re just not very smart. Whereas in Asian cultures they tend to see struggle more as an opportunity.”

Eastern culture treats struggle as part of the learning process, not an omen of the lack of inherent ability. Struggle allows a child to learn tenacity and persistence in solving a problem and achieving a goal, according to Stigler. The West tends to stigmatize struggle as a negative experience, often conditioning children to avoid the hard tasks or to concede too early, “I can’t do it.” Continue reading

Posted in Culture, Human Nature, Individualism | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A SCIENTIFIC CRIME

Humanity will always search for a savior, someone who can protect them from disasters, deliver them from enemies or cure them of illnesses. Like dressing dogs in human clothing, fragile beings have costumed science with divine garbs. Those who point out the fictional character of the emperor’s garments are denounced as obtuse or unenlightened. Continue reading

Posted in God and Nature, Natural Disasters, Science and Faith, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

A GIFT DISCOVERED

This article makes number 587 (as best as I can calculate) that I have written for the Lamplighter in the 13 years and 9 months that I have served as pastor at Lakeside. Wow, how they have accumulated! Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 10 Comments

JUDGING THE GOSPEL

When a celebrity’s reputation tanks, what happens to his charity? “Nine times out of 10, the charity suffers when something bad happens to the famous person it’s associated with,” according to Ken Berger, head of Charity Navigator. “But Livestrong has been the exception to the rule.”
Identification has powerful implications, as Ken Berger indicates. When people think about the charity, they think about the celebrity. If the celebrity has acquired a negative reputation, those negative thoughts are transferred to the charity. The charity may have an impeccable reputation, but transferred feelings often have no rational basis. Continue reading

Posted in Character, The Gospel | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment