The Matrix of Reality

[Christianity Today Online, May 11, 2003]If you can read this, you're probably not waiting in line at a movie theater. If you don't know why people might be waiting in line at a movie theater, you need to come out of that fallout shelter. Fans have been anxiously anticipating the release of The Matrix Reloaded ever since the house lights came up at the end of 1999's blockbuster, The Matrix.The Matrix is surely the most overanalyzed movie since they invented Christian film critics.

Praying for a Spouse, Personal Recognition

[Today's Christian, May-June 2003] Q. I'm a 25 year old single lady who loves the Lord. Lately I've been very confused about how to find the right partner. In my church, dating is viewed almost as a sin. They believe in the praying method--that God will show you the right person when he's ready. I've watched a lot of young people in my church follow this model, and almost four out of five ended up being miserable--some have even backslid.

About Face, Christian Soldiers

[Unpublished, March 2003] I subscribe to a newsweekly magazine. One week the cover story is about Buddhists. I read the article. It is about spirituality. Another week the cover story is about students of the Kaballah. I read the article. It is about spirituality. Another week the cover story is about Christians. I read the article. It is about politics.

Suicide, Why worship?

[Today's Christian, March-April 2003] Is Suicide Unforgivable? Q. We got into a discussion in my Bible class about whether Christians who commit suicide go to heaven. I always thought that God forgives everything, except the unforgivable sin of not accepting him. But others in my class hold different views. I have two questions: (1) Do Christians who commit suicide go to heaven? and (2) What is the “unforgivable sin”? --Carly M. Spokane, Washington

Jerry LaHaye & Mercy

[Beliefnet, March 2003] Since they debuted their after-the-Rapture thriller series a decade or so ago, Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins have not aimed their “Left Behind” books at pleasing the sophisticated elite, the so-called “chattering classes.” It's not great lit, and doesn't pretend to be. (Personally, I gave up a few pages into the first volume, when a character was introduced this way: “His coworkers called him Buck, because he was always bucking the rules.”) But the idea behind the series is nothing if not gripping.

Demons, Panhandlers

Today's Christian, January-February 2003] Q. I have a friend who believes that everything bad that happens to him is due to a demon. I worry about him both because he is not taking responsibility for some of the bad things that are happening to him, and because I believe that I do not really need to worry about demons when I am surrounded by the love and power of God. Am I right, or is he right, or are we both wrong? --Jodi J., Westville, IN

The Economics of Sin / Mosquitoes

[Today's Christian, November-December 2002] The Economics of Sin Q. I have a tough question for you. I was asked this in my Acteens Class and I need to know how to answer it next time. (1) Once we become Christians, why should we ask God's forgiveness for sins we commit, if he has already forgiven our sins? (2) What is the use of asking God's forgiveness for sins that we know we will continue to commit, and keep on committing, because we like to? Both these questions are hard to answer, and I'm not sure I did it well enough in my own words. --Ann P.

Anniversary of September 11th

[Beliefnet, September 10, 2002] A year ago everything changed. When the towers fell, we discovered how much we loved this country, and how much we needed each other. We found resources of courage that we hadn't known were there. We saw challenge on the horizon, and rose to meet it. And then everything changed back.

Seven Deadly Sins: Pride

[Beliefnet, August 15, 2002] Pride Here's why we hate those family newsletters we get during the holidays: ”It's been a great year for the Lamplighters! Greg had been hoping for a promotion, but what a surprise when the CEO came to his desk and begged him to take over the company. The whole office chipped in and gave the family a week in Paris to celebrate. Wasn't that nice?