Spiritual Formation


Fulfillment vs. Pleasure

You were made for fulfillment! But that’s not the same thing as saying you were made for pleasure. Pleasure, however, is not a bad thing. Matter-of-fact, pleasure can be the natural consequence of eating a satiable meal or spending quality-time with an ole friend or behaving virtuously. The kind of pleasure that gets a bad rap is hedonism, that is, …Continue reading →

Postmodern Christianity and the Irony of Happiness

Some Christians are scared of the term “happiness.” They believe that since “happiness” is relativized today in our postmodern culture to mean doing whatever pleasurable thing one wants with whomever one wants, it is not a biblical term. But this analysis is fraught with several fallacious assumptions. FIRST Happiness, expressed in three hebraic terms–esher, barak, and shalom–is de facto a …Continue reading →

Out of Despair and Into DeLight

From the dark abyss of suffering was born my book Biblical Ethics. Five years ago, the last thing on my mind was writing a book on how to live a morally happy, flourishing life. I was deep in the throes of a PhD program when the walls of my intellectual ivory tower came crashing down. Debilitating depression, anxiety, and insomnia …Continue reading →

Going Home

Ron Arko was my spiritual father, my Paul and my Barnabas, always encouraging me, my writings, and my blog posts. He was always there for me when I needed him. The irony is that I need him here right now to help me get through his going home. Wounded you stepped onto the battlefield, while others walked away disheartened from …Continue reading →

Works of Faith

Works of faith, not works and faith, is what pleases God. A sincere faith that produces good works is most beneficial for the preservation of all creation. It’s in our best interest to investigate, refine, and express our faith in order to “redeem our consciousness” (Luther), and preserve our purity for the sake of others. Works and faith would force …Continue reading →

Spiritual Heirlooms

It is most unfortunate that some believers find it unnatural to disrobe themselves of their religious superstitions and convictions that prevent them from standing naked and unashamed before their Creator-Redeemer. It’s as if they’re still running around in the Garden after the Fall fearful of their own nakedness. One of the hardest things to let go of for most people, …Continue reading →

Self-Sacrifice

If we are to be like Christ, we must know something of self-sacrifice. To think that God will not refine us through the fires of pain and suffering, and melt away our imperfections like the dross of silver is to relegate the tao of Christianity. Let us embrace sufferings that serve to embrace our longing to be held tightly to …Continue reading →

Theological Happiness

I am sharing with you what is now Chapter 7 of my book Biblical Ethics. This happens to be my favorite chapter because it’s chock-full of vivid explanations of God’s emotional life and flourishing. It’s also a topic that is not talked about much from the pulpit, which I believe needs to be discussed in order to make sense of …Continue reading →

Preface to BIBLICAL ETHICS, Volume 1: Old Testament Flourishing

When we live the way we are supposed to, God is glorified and we are blessed (happy)! Sadly, most well-meaning dutiful Christians take issue with the notion that happiness is for the here-and-now, delaying it for the afterlife. Too often they gorge themselves on an ethical diet of doing the right thing out of a sense of duty, while their …Continue reading →

Worldly Happiness vs. Biblical Happiness

Worldly “happiness” is merely subjective (i.e., emotional) and non-virtuous, ergo, non-moral, not to mention superficial and fleeting. The world seeks it directly as a feeling but cannot attain it because true happiness is a byproduct of morality (e.g., justice and righteousness). By comparison, biblical happiness is character-based. That is, true felicity is virtuous, ergo, moral. True, it involves emotions and …Continue reading →

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