I met Richard Mangone in 2013 when he came to a worship service at Mosaic Boston, back when we were meeting in the Regal Movie Theatre in Fenway. He had just finished his 18 year prison sentence, the longest sentence ever given for white-collar crime in Massachusetts. I was immediately moved by his fervent love for the Lord.
Google the term "humble confidence" and you'll get article upon article, blog upon blog, book upon book, about how developing the paradoxical blend of "humble confidence" is one of the greatest secrets to success in life. Though many can tell you that "humble confidence" is important, many are inept at telling you how to develop it. Life-coaches first start with tips on growing in humility, then give you tips on growing in confidence, and by the end, the lists seem to cancel each other out, and you're back to square one of prideful insecurity. Is it even possible to simultaneously grow in both humility and confidence?
In 2017, Rod Dreher, senior editor at The American Conservative, wrote a book entitled The Benedict Option, A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation. In the book, Dreher argues that because Christians have been decentered socially, culturally, politically, we can "no longer live business-as-usual lives in America." Because of the onslaught of cultural hostility and internal decay, Dreher calls for a "strategic withdrawal" of traditional Christians, who need to root themselves more deeply in the historic faith. He argues that "If believers don't come out of Babylon and be separate, sometimes metaphorically, sometimes literally, their faith will not survive for another generation or two in this culture of death." The way forward, according to Dreher, is the way "back" to St. Benedict of Nursia, the early medieval monk who retreated to the forest after Rome's fall.
If you haven't heard, I'm sorry to report, Popeyes is out of their brand new chicken sandwich.
If you have, for some reason, missed it, distracted by things more important than social media chicken wars, here's a quick recap of how we got here. On August 12, Popeyes debuted its new fried chicken sandwich, a slab of crunchy fried chicken breast on brioche with pickles and mayonnaise, which can be either spicy or not.
In Dostoevsky's Brother's Karamazov, a "Society Lady" goes to an elder of the monastery begging him to help alleviate her suffering.
"I suffer... from lack of faith."
"Lack of faith in God?"
"Oh, no, no! I dare not even think of that. But the future life--it is such an enigma...The thought of the life beyond the grave distracts me to anguish, to terror."
She wasn't struggling with believing in God.
She was struggling with trusting God.
She believed that God is love.
She had a hard time believing God loves her.
In the 1970's, American psychologist, Dr. Bruce Alexander ran a study called "Rat Park." Researches had already proven that when rats were placed in a cage, all alone, and offered two water bottles--one filled with water and the other with heroin or cocaine--the rats would frenetically drink from the drug bottle until they all died of overdose.
Dr. Alexander wondered: was it just the drug that caused the addiction, or might the isolation have something to do with it?
The greatest gifts in life are people you love and people who love you.
You can have a big, beautiful house, but if you live there alone, there's an ache in your soul.
You can have a fast, shiny car, but if you have no one to ride with, and no-one to visit, your passenger is sadness. The best trips are with friends. The best pictures from those trips aren't selfies.
Do you ever get to a passage of Scripture that is hard to understand? Don’t worry, you’re not alone! In 2 Peter 3:15-17, Peter confessed that some of the things Paul wrote in his letters were “hard to understand.” In that same passage, however, he also confessed that these letters were “Scripture.”