Am I my brother's keeper?

I’ve recently been thinking about conflict, how we Christians usually handle it, and what might be lacking in our approach. These musings were stimulated by a conflict that I had recently with a Japanese person. The conclusions I’ve come to have been so revolutionary to my way of thinking that I wanted to share them with you, too.

In my North American mindset, I have a clear sense of boundaries: what’s mine, and what’s not. My feelings are my own. Yours are not mine. I am responsible for my…

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Chosen or Choosing?

We all know that Christians are very good at being divided and divisive. Sometimes the things they get upset about seem pretty small: the arrangement of the communion plates, the colour of the carpet—I once heard of a church splitting over the shape of the angels’ wings! Most of us roll our eyes and groan when we hear about conflicts over these small things, but what happens when we disagree on things we term theology?

In Christian circles, there is some question over whether God specially…

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Does God Cause Pain?

I've been mulling over an important idea over the past few weeks. It's stemmed from things I've seen written in several books over the years, by authors whose spiritual opinions I respect. I might be wrong in my interpretation of their words, but from what I understand, they have stated quite strongly that God does not cause suffering. He may use it, but not cause it. “[He] does not prefer and promote suffering and pain.” [1]

When I first read such statements, they seemed true. However, in…

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A Matter of Rights

Last month, Pastor Higa did a sermon series on the early church, as described in the book of Acts. One of his messages was on the passage describing that time when Paul and Silas were thrown in jail.

[T]hey grabbed Paul and Silas and dragged them before the authorities at the marketplace. “The whole city is in an uproar because of these Jews!” they shouted to the city officials. “They are teaching customs that are illegal for us Romans to practice.”

A mob quickly formed against Paul and…

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Valerie's Trip to the Hairdresser

When I was a little girl, my mum went grey before all the other mums. It probably didn’t help that she was 37 when she had me. New friends invariably asked if she was my grandmother, but she was self-confident enough that she didn’t care and never tried to hide her true hair colour. However, I decided that if I were to follow her into premature greying, I would dye my hair. Thirty years passed, which included several stints of pain, and I have indeed gone prematurely grey—even earlier than my…

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