Guest Commentary

Guest Commentary

"Why, God?" 5 Things to Remember When Natural Disasters Hit

It happened in 2005 with Hurricane Katrina. It happened in 2011 with the tornado "Super Outbreak". And now we're watching it happen in Texas with Hurricane Harvey. With each natural disaster that has ravaged America's communities, believers and nonbelievers alike have been left asking, "Why, God?".

In the aftermath of disaster and doubt, here are 5 powerful things Beth Ann Baus invites us to remember:

It's the Little Things That Mean so Much

If you have difficulty understanding this great love that God has for you, turn to Isaiah 55:8-9, where we are reminded that our thought processes and God’s are not the same. His are far superior to ours, and we can trust in His knowledge, goodness, and plan for our lives. In the eternal scheme of God’s plans, it would be easy to assume that we don’t matter, but we do. God’s thoughts and ways are not like our thoughts and ways—the great and small matter equally to God.

On the Death of Two Arab Journalists in Israel

News this week in Israel included the death of two Arab journalists, in different locations, under different circumstances, and unrelated. But the circumstances, accusations and double standards are glaring and need to be discussed. This week, months after Palestinian Arab-American Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu-Akleh was killed in Jenin, following a lengthy investigation, Israel has affirmed that she was likely killed by an Israeli bullet.

10 J.R.R. Tolkien Stories to Read Before Seeing Rings of Power

J.R.R. Tolkien is easily the best-known fantasy author of the last 100 years. If you haven’t read The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings or seen the various films based on those stories, you almost certainly know at least one person familiar with them.

You may not know that Tolkien wrote many more fantasy works than just his famous ones. As he built his stories about Middle-earth into full-fledged mythology, he wrote numerous other stories about its history leading up to the fight over the One Ring. As a scholar of languages, Tolkien studied and translated famous medieval texts like Beowulf and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. He also wrote shorter fairy-tale works for his children, some connected in interesting ways with his more famous works.

With Amazon’s The Rings of Power coming out soon, it’s a good time to look at some of his other work. The following is a list of his great shorter works and some of his more accessible Middle-earth writings. Many of these shorter stories have been published separately, but you can also find them collected in anthologies like The Tolkien Reader or Tales from the Perilous Realm.

Further Reading: Does the Lord of the Rings Have Christian Themes?

Photo Credit: Unplash/Madalyn Cox

Are Christians Losing the Culture War?

There’s no need to fight a culture war if your worldview is in the ascendency. Christians in the Middle Ages didn’t go on crusades to lands full of churches. Upper-class men didn’t fight for the right to vote because they already had it. So why does it feel like, in every sphere of society right now, a culture war is being fought by both sides? Why does literally everyone feel as if they are the victim?

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