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about me footwear

Shoes

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When I was a kid, I got new shoes once a year at the end of August. My parents would pack us all into the station wagon and head to the shoe store where our feet would be measured for new shoes. Since we were growing children, and the shoes had to last—hopefully—a year, I always got shoes that were too big, with room to grow. Occasionally, when my parents had more cash, I would also get a pair of dress shoes for special occasions, but they were a risky investment when I was growing fast, so I didn’t get them until the pace of my growth had slowed. So I sometimes had two pairs of shoes: one for everyday use and another for dress-up occasions.

Now I have seven pairs of shoes, each with its own purpose. I have summer work shoes, comfortable and lightweight. I have winter work boots, heavy and warm. I have hiking boots for traipsing over rough trails in the Minnesota wilds and mesh walking shoes for urban rambles or paved trails. I have an old pair of work shoes for projects that might damage my shoes. I have a pair of dress shoes that I will use any excuse not to wear because they are uncomfortable. And finally I have a pair of slip-on house shoes for wearing in the house. I might have more shoes than my wife.

As a child I often went barefoot in summer. The soles of my feet grew callused and tough, and I could walk on gravel without discomfort. Now I wear shoes nearly all the time unless I am in the shower or in bed. My feet are tender and require coddling, so I pamper them.

It’s odd to me that as I have aged, I value comfort more at a time when I experience more pain that seems to have no specific cause. As a child, pain was always immediate and specific. Once it was addressed I forgot about it. I can still forget about pain, but if I think about it, I realize it hasn’t subsided. Pain forms more of the background of my life than it once did.

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about me pride self sin theology

Protected: Me Supremacy

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about me Christians faith fighting jesus kindness logic love persecution poverty punishment Satan sin struggle suffering theology trust war

What If God Ruled the World?

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As a child in elementary school I already had a reputation among my peers as a Christian. Other kids called me a goody two shoes. Boys would try to get me to swear. One day a boy asked me if I believed God could do absolutely anything.”

“Of course,” I replied.

“Can he make a stone so big he can’t lift it?” he responded.

I was speechless. I saw in a flash that if I said he could then I would be admitting there was a stone God couldn’t lift, and if I said no, then I was admitting that he couldn’t make such a stone. Either way, I had to admit God was not omnipotent. I thought long and hard about this conundrum.

I finally decided that what I was being asked to admit was that God could not do what was logically impossible. There can’t exist both an unliftable stone and an omnipotent being who can lift any stone.

Christians tend to take God’s omnipotence for granted. Yet it raises a lot of questions. How can God stand by and allow horrors like the Holocaust or the Cambodian killing fields or the Rwandan genocide to occur unchecked? And if God allows such things because they fall under the free will of human actors, then how can he stand by and allow natural disasters like hurricanes Katrina and Maria, or the tsunami that claimed so many lives in southeast Asia or the earthquake in Haiti? Some Christians propose that such catastrophes are punishment for sin. Yet what kind of punishment sweeps away the innocent with the guilty and visits the worst disasters on the poor while sparing the rich?

There are only two possible conclusions. Either there is no God, or God is not omnipotent. Many of my friends on Facebook have opted for the former explanation. Some of them were raised in Christian homes, and their disappointment with God has fueled their disbelief. I have come to conclude that God is not omnipotent, at least not in the way we commonly think of omnipotence. In fact, I think that belief in God’s omnipotence is one of the most successful lies of the devil. There are things God cannot do, not because he lacks the power or will to do them, but because he lacks the authority. To act without the authority to act would call into question his goodness.

The New Testament is very clear about who the ruler of this present world is, and it is not God. It is the devil, Satan, the serpent who beguiled our original parents into giving up their authority over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and the beasts of the field. It is the devil, along with those deceived by him, who are responsible for the evil in the world.

Jesus revealed God as a loving Father who cares for his children and wants them to love as he loves—without condition or favoritism. Jesus demonstrated that love by healing the sick, curing those who suffered from inner demons, and by eating and drinking with the outcasts of his society. He touched the untouchable, forgave the unforgivable, and esteemed the worthless. What he did is what God does, and it is in this context of putting forth extraordinary effort to find ways to be kind that we must understand that with God all things are possible. You can be kind to those who hate you. You can love those who say awful things about you. You can contribute your hard-earned income to help those unfortunate enough to have been born in poverty in a place where upward mobility is all but impossible. You can use your own influence, however small, to bring God’s rule into the world ruled by the devil. This means war. It is inevitable when kingdoms are in conflict.

There will be casualties. Don’t give up.

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