Jim Denison on How a Daily Encounter With the Risen Christ Can Transform Lives and Give Hope

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Forty-eight hours after its launch, The Bible in a Year (with Fr. Mike Schmitz) became the #1 show on Apple Podcasts. The show now boasts over 1.3 million downloads. The producer explains the podcast’s popularity: “People are hungry for God, and we’re honored to help them encounter God’s word through a daily podcast, especially as so many of us continue to be cut off from our parishes, communities, and loved ones during these difficult days.”

“People are hungry for God” because, as the Westminster Shorter Catechism states, “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.” However, the catechism adds that “all mankind by their fall lost communion with God.”

The news demonstrates every day that we still live in a fallen world. For instance:

  • A ship that would be taller than the Empire State Building if turned upright became stuck in the Suez Canal, blocking all traffic on one of the busiest shipping arteries in the world.
  • A black hole three million times heavier than our sun is racing across the universe and scientists don’t know why. (Fortunately, it’s about 230 million light-years away from us.)
  • A man in Los Angeles says he found shrimp tails in his breakfast cereal, along with a length of string and something that looks like dental floss. The company says it is investigating.

Other stories are more troubling, such as the death by suicide of Kent Taylor, the founder and CEO of the Texas Roadhouse restaurant chain. His family said that he had been dealing with symptoms related to COVID-19 and that “the suffering that greatly intensified in recent days became unbearable.” And of course, the shootings in Georgia and Colorado continue to make headlines as we grieve for those who died and those who knew and loved them.

A brilliant article explains our cultural moment 

Desmond Tutu noted, “Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.” The question, of course, is where to find such light. In this context, a fascinating article by John Doherty of The Witherspoon Institute caught my eye recently.

He notes that ancient Gnosticism (from the Greek gnosis, meaning “knowledge”) claimed that living by right reason is the path to salvation. Doherty believes that many contemporary secularists follow a “new variant” of this approach by seeking to ground human reality entirely upon knowledge found only in human intelligence. Machiavelli, the “founder of modern political thought,” built on this approach by positing a public life built on justice.

The problem, however, is that humans are incapable of attaining true knowledge or justice apart from divine grace.

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SOURCE: Denison Forum, Jim Denison