Today we are being bombarded by events that are numerous and matched only by their intensity. All are finding their ways into our lives and are having an impact upon us one way or another. Whether it is the invasion of Ukraine or rising inflation or the threats to our democracy or the failing physical health of our friends, loved ones, and our own immortality—of which I am reminded of daily with each ache and pain—our hearts and minds are on overload. Given all that we are managing, I thought it would be helpful to offer a myriad of article choices for today’s blog post. Below you will find four different articles that will provide insight into some of things that are weighing heavy on us. The titles are hyperlinked to the articles with a short blurb underneath to give you some sense of it. I do not have the expectation that you would have the time or inclination to read all of these articles, but if you are struggling with the emotional and spiritual components of life I would highly recommend the first article by Hugh Whelchel, Our Hope and Anticipation of the Next Resurrection. As you read his article, please keep in mind that Hugh was given the diagnosis of ALS three years ago with the prognosis of only living a year. He does mention that by God’s grace he has celebrated his third Easter since receiving this devastating news. If you are not familiar with ALS, just know that it is a horrific disease that ravages the body and typically gives one on average about eight more years assuming it was caught in the early stages, which sadly Hugh’s was not. The hope he has and can still espouse while battling a disease that will ultimately win out is inspiring.
The second article looks at the implications of the war in the Ukraine extending far beyond its borders with an impact on new world order of sorts. John Owen has written a short article, The Russo-Ukrainian War and Global Order: What Might the War Mean for the Liberal International Order?, that provides a summary of where things stand and what the future could possibly hold.
The third article may seem tangential, but in reality we need to consider these things more directly if we are going to be light in a dark and confused world. We all handle added stress and difficulty differently. Sometimes that is an issue of our grounding, but it is also related to our personalities or how we are wired. For example, I can usually handle things in the moment and it is not until later that I will have a let down or even become overwhelmed. Regardless, of how you cope, there are certain side effects that show up for us all. Presently, one of those issues is a sense of being scattered or fractured. This matter does not purely rest with the headlines of the day, rather these just exaggerate it. Unfortunately, our culture is really to blame for the fractured nature of our lives. This is significant because we are made in the image of God, who is a God of order. We should not be content with our fractured state which can take many forms. Brandon Vaidyanathan in his essay, Resisting a Culture of Incoherence: Understanding the forces that fragment our sense of self, encourages us to be proactive in combating these forces so that we might live the full lives the Lord intends for you and me.
The final article looks at a lie that many have perhaps bought blindly. The democracy known as America has become quite blurred as to what this means. A sampling of various generations would quickly prove this point. While capitalism is not perfect because we live in a fallen world, so often I find the rejection of capitalism is more out of something akin to sentimentality rather than a true understanding of where socialist leanings will take us. Dr. Anne Bradley addresses this point head on in her interview, Why Does Socialism Fail?
Hopefully, these articles will provide insight and encouragement at a time when we need it. And as always, happy reading!
by Hugh Whelchel
“…Recently, someone asked me how this ordeal has impacted my faith. After thinking about it for a moment, I replied that it has neither positively nor negatively impacted my faith. My faith in Christianity was strong before my diagnosis and still remains strong.
Yet, as I have studied passages regarding the resurrection over the last couple of weeks in preparation for Easter, I have realized an important part of my spiritual life has been greatly impacted: my hope. This should not surprise me since the Apostle Paul tells the Romans, “But we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope” (Rom. 5:3-4)…”
By John M. Owen
“…The war also has demonstrated that most of the rest of the world—that is, the great majority of the world’s population—is more ambivalent about the war than is the West. The war has put China on the spot. That country’s growth has slowed in recent years, and in the medium term, that growth will continue to require economic partnerships with the West. No doubt Xi Jinping was unhappy with Putin for attacking Ukraine on February 24. But now he and China’s leadership must try to capitalize on the war and its aftermath.
Taken together, these ramifications of the war could accelerate the separation of global order into two separate but overlapping international orders: the familiar liberal international order, supervised and underwritten by the United States, and an authoritarian-capitalist international order, supervised and underwritten by China….”
By Brandon Vaidyanathan
“A few years ago, when researching the relationship between faith and work in the lives of Christian corporate professionals, I was surprised to hear many of them describe themselves as mercenaries. “We’re not loyal to the company,” they would say. “We’re loyal to the cash.” They described their work environments as toxic spaces where everyone was out for themselves, pursuing upward mobility at any cost. You planned your exit from a company the day you arrived; you learned to mistrust everyone; you played your cards close to your chest and aimed to sabotage your co-worker before they did the same to you.
Yet these same professionals were lay leaders in their churches, trying to build communities of trust and healing. Most of them truly sought to live integrated and coherent lives—indeed, they thought they were doing so—but were straddling starkly opposing commitments in a way that had come to feel natural.
Fragmentation is a defining feature of modern life. Most of us find ourselves constantly pulled in different directions by our myriad social roles, which make demands not only on our time and energy but also on our sense of identity. We take this state of affairs for granted. Incoherence is now the norm…”
By Dr. Anne Bradley
“The reason that socialism does not work in the long run—there are a couple of reasons: who are we as human beings, what are we capable of, and what are we not capable of. So I think it comes down to anthropology and economics…”
Crosland Stuart, of Crosland & Company, LLC, works with The Collaborative
on vocational guilds and content creation. Additionally, she also works in the areas of
foundation consulting, communications, and is a literary agent.