A false virtue
Dietrich Bonhoeffer knew within a month that he had made a mistake. Arriving in New York in 1939 to accept a position at Union Seminary, he wrote to a friend: “I shall have no right to take part in the restoration of Christian life in Germany after the war unless I share the trials of this time with my people.” Bonhoeffer returned to Germany to help the Jews flee Nazi persecution, crediting his resolve to an ancient virtue. With rear view mirrors, we can see it… and appreciate why optimism is a false virtue.
A false virtue…
Christians are to “be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have” (I Peter 3:15). Has anyone recently asked you to give the reason for your hope? If the research is right, few Christians are asked and few can answer.1 But the problem might not be the person in the pew. It might be that modern day Christianity has made a virtue out of a vice. To fix this problem, you’d have to pull your car over and peer into the rear view mirror. What – your faith has no rear view mirrors?
Henri Poincaré’s flash of insight arrived as he boarded a city bus. Albert Einstein’s epiphany came as he imagined a boy riding alongside a light beam. When C. S. Lewis arrived at Whipsnade Zoo, he got a surprise – he believed in Christ as the Son of God.1 In each case, insight started with a surprise, not a search. Surprised? Welcome to the “doggie head tilt” – the first step for reframing religion in today’s world.
Praying for China
They say if you throw a frog in a kettle of boiling water, it will immediately jump out. But if you throw it in a pot of cool water and slowly turn up the heat, it’ll boil to death. If Japan’s economy is a frog, it’s already boiled, says Shumpei Takemori, a professor of economics at Tokyo’s Keio University.1 China’s economy is following the same flight path as Japan’s – just a few years behind. There’s only one problem with the pictures of frogs and flight paths. Only one is true. As the Summer Olympics open this Friday in Beijing, it will help those who pray for China to know which one is right.