Some Stories

This is a list of some stories. Sort of parables, I guess, or at least interesting things. Some of them are fictional and some are true. If I use the first person, they are true.

  1. A newly married man is having a pretty good life, when it occurs to him to doubt that Jesus was right. He has had this a little bit before, but this time he just can’t stop thinking about it. It is eating him alive. So, he looks into it. He decides that God has got to be real, and he is at peace. Next, he wonders, “God exists, okay. But why should I trust the Bible?” He is again eaten from the inside. He looks into the issue, and is satisfied that there is reason enough. In the process, he discovers a new question: “How are we to interpret Scripture?” This time, he expects an intellectual whirlwind of doubt, but there is not one. Only a strong desire to know. He looks into the problem, and finds an ocean. His whole life he never stops sailing towards the answer, and his wife is grateful for a Godly husband.
  2. I know a Godly and goofy woman who is a joy to be around. There are times, though, when she seems fraught with despair. You see, she married a good man who is an unbeliever. She once said to me, “Marrying him was the worst decision I have ever made.”
  3. A young man is looking for a way out of his broken home. He is desperate and runs to the Church. They receive him with open arms, and he has found his true home. He cleans up, graduates college, and gets himself a good career. He marries a beautiful woman with a nominal faith, and together, they slowly forget Who saved them. Decades later, when the man is in his mid-seventies, he remembers, oh he remembers. Sadly, his wife never does.
  4. I once visited an Islamic center of worship with a few other students. Everyone was very polite and it was a pleasant experience. We got to talking with the Imam about Qur’an 4:34. Particularly, we were interested in the text’s command to “strike” your “wives from whom you fear arrogance,” after other preliminary steps. The Imam said gently, “Yes, that is a tricky verse. But it is really more of a light tap or shove than a strike.” There was one girl with us, and she became suddenly very still, and her eyes became suddenly very wide.
  5. A respected man’s wife dies when he was just about to retire. An unmarried woman younger than his children says to herself, “I could love that man.” Within a year, the two are married. The community is unsure at first, but their happiness convinces everyone.
  6. Two politicians have wildly different ideologies and oppose each other in every issue. The thought of each other fills them with anger for most of their career. But one week, their fathers both pass away. Their hearts are softened and they become lifelong friends, though remain opponents in policy.
  7. A woman’s sister passes away. Two months later, it still hurts. She talks through her grief with her best friend, and in that moment, it is okay. She comprehends the hope of the Lord, and her whole day is improved. The next day, however, she is back to sadness.
  8. Some friends decide to begin a soup kitchen. It is exciting and goes well for a while, but the passion begins to fade, as it does. One member sees this and is appalled at his friends. He thinks to himself, “Have they forgotten the importance of what we are doing?” He says nothing, but everyone else can see his bitterness. One day he is particularly peeved and he lets them have it. The friends are a bit shocked. But, they understand. One of them says, “Hey, we get it. But we are here with you, aren’t we?” The member hesitates for a moment, then laughs. He says, “I’m sorry, that was silly of me.” They never had another problem.
  9. You get to talking with Derrida about the incomprehensibility of Postmodernism’s rejection of absolute truth. You tell him that making the assertion that assertions are fruitless is self-contradictory, and conclude with confidence that absolute truth must exist. He chuckles and asks, “What ever are you talking about? Postmodernism says nothing of the sort.” You are a bit confused, because you had always been told that that is the central claim of Postmodernism. Derrida then says, “Your confusion in this moment? That is precisely the point.” You beg him to explain, but he refuses. You press further and eventually he just says, “There is nothing outside of context.”
  10. A woman observes the sadness that is in the world and decides to do something about it. She becomes a social worker and changes the lives of a lot of people. She is a warrior, fighting for beautiful redemption in the wilderness of misfortune. But over time, she begins becoming more and more angry at the ones she is helping. She is angry at them because they need help. Her anger overflows to her family, to her friends. No one enjoys being around her and she soon starts being the one who needs help. One day Jesus tells her, “A warrior without a home forgets what she fights for.” She understands and breaks into tears and is filled with a deep gratitude for her Home, and everything changes.
  11. A young man begins thinking and discovers that the questions he asks cannot be answered by the people he respects. He is thrown into doubt and immerses himself in books to find some soothing answer. He comes across Plantinga and finally feels satisfaction. He continues his quest for theological expertise, and begins knowing some things. Eventually he realizes that he is impressing no one but himself, and becomes deeply frustrated that others do not share his passion for Calvin or Edwards. He nigh abandons the community that loves him well. One day, an old man takes him out to lunch and reads him 1 Corinthians 13:1-3. The young man is annoyed by the gall of his elder who is suggesting that he is forgetting love. The old man is sad, because he wants him to understand. Years later, the two are reunited, and the young man feels he cannot express how grateful he is for that conversation.
  12. I once heard of a missionary who has been faithfully spreading the Good News for over a decade. Very few know that the reason he has not married is because he daily wars against same-sex attraction. Even members of his own ministry team do not know. He cannot trust them when he hears the way they joke about the deepest struggle of his life.
  13. Among the most humble men I have ever known told me the story of how he met his wife. The moment he saw her, he knew she was the one he wanted to marry. After gathering up the courage, he asked her out. They dated for a little while. But, she broke it off. He was undaunted though, because he knew they were to be married. So, he decided he would start dating another girl to make her jealous. It worked and they are now a very happily married couple, showing Christ to everyone.
  14. A young woman is raised right and believes that the Gospel is what is important. She goes to college and finds that her innocent happinesses are not shared by her culture. So, she decides to become important, so that she can bring the Gospel into the public sphere. She is successful and becomes the governor of a state. But the few times she visits her family, they barely recognize her. She is harsh and impatient. When she finally retires and settles down, she realizes that in the process of serving the Lord, she left behind His still, small voice.
  15. I know a sixty year old woman who is quite the character. She was my coworker at Subway. A few years before I knew her, she was living in the streets and was heavily addicted to drugs. She moved into a halfway house and got a job, and began the long process of being reconciled to her husband and children. She would often pull me aside to talk about spiritual things for a minute or two. She once said, “These emotions, Tim. I used to just go to the drugs to push them away, and now it is so hard.” She thought I was giving her strength through listening and offering encouragement, but she was the one giving me strength. Twenty months or so after leaving Subway, I saw her at Huddle House, and she told me that that week was six years sober. She had an apartment and a car and was doing well. We both smiled and teared up, and I congratulated her.
  16. A husband and wife are getting into that part of life when they are beginning to raise a family. They are excited for the future and are happy where they are. They realize that they care for their children deeply, and that they really ought to go to church. The whole family visits one, only to find theologically sound, hateful, people. They never go back, and for the rest of their lives, the parents associate religion with the hypocrites.
  17. A husband and wife are getting into that part of life when they are beginning to raise a family. They are excited for the future and are happy where they are. They realize that they care for their children deeply, and that they really ought to go to church. The whole family visits one, only to find welcoming people who only hold to their great-grandfather’s wise old tales. They stay for a little while until they realize that “those Christians” have no idea what the world is like. They never go back, and for the rest of their lives, the parents associate religion with the fools.
  18. A husband and wife are getting into that part of life when they are beginning to raise a family. They are excited for the future and are happy where they are. They realize that they care for their children deeply, and that they really ought to go to church. The whole family visits one, only to find a community that loves God and others without a hint of naivety. A community that is built from many different kinds of people. A community that seeks to serve and understand. A community that has been through hard times, but whose joy has only increased. The family goes back every week and within a year, both husband and wife are converted.
  19. A young woman is raised by devout Catholics. Her parents walk with the Father and seek to serve Him. She has a happy childhood, growing in her knowledge of the infinite loveliness of Christian doctrine. She graduates high school and goes to college, where she thinks to herself, “Alright, I’m in college now. I guess I should talk to some Protestants to see why they aren’t Catholic.” She makes some friends and a boy who thinks himself a theologian tells her that Catholics aren’t Christian. She is shocked, and from those few words, one of Christ’s saints is temporarily destroyed by confusion. Unsurprisingly, she remains Catholic her whole life.
  20. A youth does the wise thing and listens to his elders. He learns their knowledge and is pushed to believe it and live it, and he does. But nagging doubt always eats at him, and he never tells anyone because he is ashamed and scared of it. The second semester of college, it consumes him and he rejects his bountiful inheritance, preferring skepticism. He is never able to live out his new philosophy quite as well as his former, however.
  21. A happy girl decides that she wants to take seriously the command to love the broken and the outcasts. She makes it a point to seek them out and befriend them. While she is with them, they seem quite appreciative. She feels good about the whole thing. She notices that none of her friends follow her in this, and gets annoyed. But it is not a big deal; she forgets about it. Later she is hanging out with some of her pity cases and they start talking about how excluded they feel around the girl’s friends. She is appalled and never knew that that is how they felt. Her compassion trusts them to be innocent, and so she is won over. She slowly identifies with the outcasts until she, too, feels excluded around her friends, and breaks from the community. Unfortunately, the community she broke from was, in fact, very hospitable.
  22. A girl has always been very independent, especially in her mind. She rebels at being told what to think. She takes this with her into adulthood, and so she loves people genuinely. But as she gets older, she begins to question more and more of what her Presbyterian church tells her about God and about people. At the end of her life, the only thing she believes in is compassion, and the only people she cannot stand are those who disagree with her. Sadly, it turns out that God Almighty is one of those people.
  23. In my free time, I used to think to myself, “In this moment, what would be the absolute best use of my time? What does God want me to do the most?” I would sit for one or two hours at a time trying to decide what to do, and end up doing nothing.
  24. A young boy and a young girl start to notice each other, and soon are in love. But the boy is not yet mature enough to understand community, and it goes rather badly. He breaks it off and is left with a deep resentment and anger at … someone. The girl is heart-broken, but yearns to forgive, and does, and is healed. After months of cruel silence, the boy sees that he is a fool, and apologizes. They marry different people, and remain lifelong friends.
  25. A man is born whose intellect has never been equaled in history. He sees the world and comprehends. He absorbs all knowledge and all philosophy, and is unconvinced by Aquinas, unconvinced by Hume, unconvinced by Edwards, unconvinced by Sartre, unconvinced by Van Til, unconvinced by Hitchens, and unconvinced by Zacharias. He despairs of wisdom and enters a deep depression. His humble brother takes care of him during his illness, and he is convinced by Christ.

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