"The greatest truths are revealed, in the silence of the mind." - Me

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Dear Logan, (February 21st, 2012)

Dear Logan,

     I started to write you a few times in the last month, but always got side-tracked. This is because what I most struggle with in life is often balancing the many things I try to take on. Which leads me to what I want to share with you tonight: Balancing what you love.
     You see, son, I have a habit of getting overly busy, but always with things that are good in most ways... but too much of them can get in the way of what is really important. People tell me that too much of a good thing is a bad thing, and that's true in many ways. Because of this, I fear that what I'll teach you by example is not what really is the most important things in life. So, if I write it down for you, at least maybe you'll see this some day and be able to compare what you know about your dad with what you should learn about life.
     First of all, son, God comes first. If this is not the foundation of your life, nothing else will work right. Sure, things may seem to be "fun" without God, but in the end you'll find out just how little your life is fulfilled without Him. It's just something you'll have to learn for yourself, but when God is your highest priority, life works, even through the trials. Jesus said that if you seek God first, everything else will be added to you, and that is very true.
     Now, just in case you follow dear-old-dad into some ministry, you need to know that working for God and putting God first are not the same thing. Some pastors put the work of the church before their family thinking that they are serving God more fully. They are not. God, as in your relationship with Him, comes first, but ministry (or any job, vocation, etc) comes THIRD. Don't let any pious person try to tell you differently. If you try to put the "work of God" before your family... you won't have a family after long.
     So, then, your family comes second. As a pastor, I will be very busy in your life-time. Often I'll spend so much time helping other people that I may not seem to be there for your mother or you. That's not the way God wants things, though. If I do it too much, I'm going against God! Even though I'm working "for God," the primary ministry that I have is your mother, yourself, and any future brothers and sisters you may have. When "ministry" takes too much time away from you guys, it can become something that gets in the way of what God truly has for that primary ministry. If you ever look back and read this, and you find yourself in a career, vocation, calling, or even a ministry of your own, remember to prioritize your family as the second spot in your life. Hopefully, I will have set a good example in this for you.
     What comes third is up to you. Some people will tell you it's yourself. Others will say its your job (actually, "they" will probably tell you that the job comes first... they're wrong). Still others will say it's pleasure or something foolish. You have to decide what comes next in your priorities. But, as long as you seek God first, put your family next, and are level-headed about the third through last things... you'll do well, my son.
     By the way, your mother somehow stumbled on these letters to you (about 30 weeks into the pregnancy) and started to cry. She loves you very much. So do I. I can't wait to see you and start putting you as a part of my second most important aspect of life! Only 8 more weeks.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Dear Logan, (January 17th, 2012)

Dear Logan,

Every reliable source I can find tells me that a child's basic personality and bent is fully formed by the age of 5. On top of this, every source seems to agree that a person's view of God is formed by their early relationship with their father. Now, this means that by 2017, I will have either helped you form a firm foundation from which you can live a confident and faithful life, or I will have failed in a big way as your father.

Now, as in my last letter to you, I reaffirm that my goal is to be there for you in every way I can. I desire nothing more than to give you the benefit of having a father who shows you through his actions what it means to love and be loved. I want you to see how a real man, if I can dare to call myself that, treats a woman, and how a true husband loves his wife. For, these are not things you're going to get or see in the world around us, son. This world is booby-trapping its children, and removing from them every opportunity to find out what it means to be a child of God, a real human... and a real man.

I have every intention of being there for you, son. But, this letter is addressed to those areas where I fall short. You see, son, they say the road to hell is paved with good intentions. What that means is that people tend to want to do things much more than they actually do them in reality. It means that if you don't have a plan to follow through with your good intentions, they may remain just that... intentions, not actions.

I believe I do have a plan on how to follow through and give you benefits that many children never have in this current world. And yet, I also know my own shortcomings. I am driven. I get hard-headed. I may focus too much on getting "things" done, and not give you the precious time I set out to. So even though I pray that I will be there in the way you need, I want to write this for those areas where I simply fall short.

If it is true, and I believe from observation that it is, that your view on God will be formed by my interaction with you in the next 5 years, more so even than your interaction with your grandparents, or even your mother; then there is a great task on me, son. You see, I am not like God in so many ways. I do try, and I seek to be more like Him each day, but I fall short. Often, I get in my own way. Other times, I simply get caught up in wanting some new thing and giving my attention to wanting something new more than being truly thankful for what I have.

This is not God. God, you see, is so much more than we could ever imagine, and yet He also reveals Himself to us. He smiles at us through sunsets, comforts us through tragedies, and carries us when we cannot carry ourselves. If I am to show you God, little Logan, then I must portray characteristics that are like Him. I need to show you what it means to be holy. I need to show you what it means to be love. I need to show you that I truly have your best interests at heart, even when you can't see how that is possible... especially if you inherit my bull-headed want for "something new."

If I am going to show you what God is like, I'll need you to know that I am not out to get you. That when you do something wrong, there are consequences for your actions, but that it doesn't mean my love for you has changed. I'll need to explain to you that when I tell you "no," or when I won't let you do something, even if you want it really bad, it's not because I don't love you or am angry and vengeful towards you, but that I can see how that would hurt you, or hinder your life.

If I'm going to show you what God is like, you'll need to see how much I love you. Not just written in words in a letter like this, but really truly see it. Honestly, Logan, if I do my job right, you'll grow up knowing God intimately, and won't have any barriers to feeling His love and care for you. Because the truth is, you're even more his son than you are mine. I've simply been given care over you for a while, a time I'll treasure, He will be your Father forever.

So know this, even before you were born, I was thinking about you, loving you, caring for you. And when we all look up and open our eyes to the real world around us that this one so often veils, we would realize that that is exactly what God has been doing for us... before we were even born.

I can't wait to meet you, son. I look forward to caring for your every need at first, and helping you take care of yourself from there. So if you're reading this from some future date... well beyond 2017... know that in every way, I tried to show you the love of God, because that's what a Father does.

I love you in His Love,

Your Father <><

Friday, January 13, 2012

Dear Logan, (January 13th, 2012)

Dear Logan,
               Where do I begin but with the truth? As a child, my father was never there for me. I was raised by my mother and the absence created by my father. The latter informed the former. I was not able to spend as much time with my mother because she worked several jobs at once to fill the financial gap created by my father’s absence. I was also raised by my Grandfather and grandmother, persons whom I hope to share quite a bit with you in the future about. I expect that by the time you are old enough to read this and make sense of it, that they will be with our Lord.
               I want to write this to you, and make a habit of it. As for us, I intend to be very present in your life. I intend to be the one to give you to your mother the moment you enter this world, and I intend to be there the day you find a wife and marry, and all that is between. However, I know that nothing is guaranteed in this life. For every moment I wished I had had with my father when I was a child, I write this as a way to pass on instruction to you, to share our family history, and to give you a point of reflection in that point in future history (hopefully many years away) where I too become old and pass away.
               When coupled with the memory of physical time spent together, I hope this serves as a point of guidance in your life, and serves as a guidepost for our future family history. It will be my journal to you, my first son, but also a corpus of thought that I pray our family carries with it to whatever end. In short, this is my heart and soul, poured out on paper. Not a substitute for my the physical presence I promise to give through the years of your life, but a supplement to it. Something that helps you make sense of your life, your passions, and a tradition you may choose to share with your own kids someday. At times it may come across as distant and stoic, more thoughtful than relational. At other times it may come across as very personal and of no use to anyone accept as an account of persons who, by your time of reading this, have long since passed. Both elements are vastly important. You cannot shape the future properly without understanding your past. Logan, this is your past. This is the key to your future.
               So where do I begin but with the truth? In the days that I write this, truth has become a nebulous word. If someone does not like the “truth” which one person declares, they simply use an adage that what is “true for you may not be true for me.” In some cases, this works with the way reality turns; in other cases, it is simply a way to appease a person’s conscience so they are not convicted by some governing reality, while also being a way to proclaim that no governing reality exists.
               This is not the way the world truly works, however. In order to understand the meaning of life, you must first understand the principles that guide it. In certain fields, this is accepted, and we call it science. In other fields, this is questioned and we call it religion. For the one who knows, however, both find harmony in a central Identity.
The ancient Hebrew, a culture well documented to be an integral part of the history of our world used to hold to a concept called “wisdom.” “Wisdom,” asserted that God Himself created our world in an ordered fashion, according to His own being. He created the world to have certain rules. Some of these rules come into focus as “scientific” knowledge, like the study of inertia or gravity. Others, however, have to do with moral law. The world gladly accepts the first, while does all it can to negate the power of the other. The ancient Hebrews (as well as many generations that follow through to today) believed that just as God created gravity to guide the movements of the planets and the falling of feathers, God also created a moral order within us. This is why almost every culture in existence has found it appalling and criminal that one human would eat another; and yet why it is debatable by only a few that it is criminal for a human to eat a deer.
For those who follow after wisdom, the understanding that God created an ordered universe after Himself is the key to understanding life. It is what guides them when the social milieu says that certain things are now considered acceptable that were not years ago, or in the history of the world. The idea that God created a certain way to live life is where we begin. For this, my son, is the key to reality.
“In the beginning, God created…” are the first words we are greeted with in the greatest body of writing of all. It reminds us there is some ONE behind history, and that our lives are not meaningless or random. This fact also allows for people who get to know the ONE and to get to know how He created the world to work. The further you follow wisdom on this path, the more likely you are to be happy, fulfilled, successful (though not always in the eyes of society), and whole. It is also, in this present world, the very thing that will bring about persecution, mockery, temptation, and consequences for failures.
When you follow after the hard and narrow path that God created, you bring both trials and joys you cannot imagine along with you. But, make no mistake, there is order to this world at chaos. This is why persons from time immemorial have found that when you “take up your cross,” as our Lord said, you will find both the death of that “real” life that the world presents to you, and the rebirth of a life that brings peace, wholeness, love, joy, and fulfillment.
My heart for you today, my son, is that you find this path in your own life, and lead others along it. Hopefully, the Lord willing, I will have been a guide to you in this. However, I am flawed and fallen in a world of sin, like the rest of us. So, I may have failed you in some or many regards to this. This fault I accept as my own, as a result of whatever times that may come that I do not take my own advice and take up my cross, and follow wisdom’s call. God gave us a great gift of free will, and in that gift the ability to disobey Him, to follow after a siren's song, and to hurt those we love. But without it, we could not love in truth.
Let this writing, then, fill in the gaps between what I teach you, and what I sometimes do. Not that I plan to follow a path other than the path God created, but that through the efforts of the devil and the pain of indwelling sin, this may happen in small or large ways. This is why the Scripture tells us to, “examine yourself daily, to see if you are in the faith.” It is also why I feel writing the best mode of communication to your future self.
Take with you this truth first. God is One. God is Love. God is Holy. And from this Being, God created. And you, my son, were created in His image, just as you bear mine. You were created to seek truth, to love boldly, to act wisely, to judge discerningly, and to live in a manner that follows after the path of wisdom; which is a path, you’ll find, that goes through many patches of weeds, and ends at the feet of a crucified rabbi, the selfless Love that both created us all, and redeemed us when we fell.
This is the greatest truth. The governing truth. This is the basis for your life, my life, and all those who will take the blinders off for long enough to see what is declared to us in nature, and not what is preached to us on the screen. My heart for you today, my son, is that you find this Truth, and that The Truth shall set you free. Live your life for Him, for it is the only life worth living in the end.
In the midst of study,
Your Father.
January 13th, 2012.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Best of 2011

Now, I'm not usually one to make a year-end best of list, but why have a blog and not use it for such nefarious ends... So, here are my votes for the best of in 2011.

Best album: Blindside - With Shivering Hearts We Wait

Best Song: Becoming the Archetype - The Magnetic Sky

Best New (or new to me) Artist: Write This Down

Best Movie: Thor

Best tv show: Community

Video game of the year: Batman - Arkham City

iPhone game of the year: Scribblenauts

Author of the year: Francis Chan

Well, there you have it... My votes for the best of in 2011. Here's to an epic
And legen-dary 2012.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Reasons for the long iPhone 5 delay EXPLAINED!

As of 10:00 a.m. PST on Tuesday October 4th, few will still be asking the question “Why?” in terms of the long strange wait we’ve had on the road to the imminent release of Apple’s next piece of equipment. However, as we salivate over the coming day and wish we all had the ability to juice our Dolorean’s to 88 mph, I thought it might be a good idea to take a look back at the many possible scenarios that did, in fact, lead to the most documented wait in recent history (second only to the lines that awaited The Phantom Menace prior to its release!).
While we may never know exactly which scenario (or which parts combined) ultimately led to our 14+ month wait between the 4 and the 4S/4G/5/, we can look back with angst at the many possible end of the world scenarios that brought us to where we are today.
Natural disasters
Along the road to the iPhone 5, we’ve seen Mother Nature throw everything from Tsunami’s, to Earthquakes, to explosive Taiwanese plant fires, and many combinations of three at once in the way of iPhone production. Back when we all still had hopes that the new phone would release in June/July, this scenario seemed the most likely culprit for the delay. It’s highly implausible at this point that this scenario caused this long of a delay, but many are still pointing fingers.
  Verizon’s contract
Despite the fact that Verizon’s CEO would like us to believe that big red was expecting a new iPhone in July, there is certainly a possibility that Apple signed away the right to release a new phone until the fall. This would give Verizon a little time between their launch of the iPhone 4 and the new handset. Because, let’s be honest, the guy who buys the 4 a few days/weeks/months before the 5 comes out is going to be ticked.
New Carriers
Sprint will more than likely get the iPhone 5. China is also set to see explosive (sorry Foxconn) iPhone growth. Just as Verizon ran around screaming “We finally got the iPhone,” in February, Apple has supposedly been in talks with multiple new carriers for their upcoming phone. It is certainly possible that, from a marketing stand-point, Apple held off on the release of their hotly-desired product in order to execute a massive, multiple carrier launch, the likes of which we have never seen.
Long Term Evolution
How could three little words cause so much uproar? It’s well established that Apple has a track record for shunning new bandwidths until they make a significant splash on the everyday Joe. Still, many prognosticators believe that Apple held out for so long to ensure that their new phone would be “really and truly” 4G. With recent rumors suggesting that the next phone will “only” be HSPA+, we’ll have to wait until Tuesday to see if this could have been a factor. Either way, we all know that Tim Cook was not impressed with LTE just a few months ago… could technology have caught up with Apple’s strict standards during our wait?
Production Delays
Throughout the long gestation period of iPhone development, there have been rumors of various production delays. Several weeks back it was reported that the A5 chip, which is all but confirmed to be in the new phone, was overheating prototype models. Included in this are the many various legal battles that Apple is going through with frenemy Samsung, who produces the chip. More recently, it was reported that one of the smaller companies that produce screens for the new phone has experienced an issue with “bubbling” on the screens. This particular piece of news, however, is unlikely to delay the phone.
Perhaps the A5 could be the issue that we’ve all pondered over. More likely, however, it would not have delayed production for as long as we’ve seen. So, let’ look at the reasons I, myself, tend to lean towards.
  Steve Jobs’ one last thing
For as excited as Apple fanboys have been at even the idea of a new iPhone, we have been just as saddened by the unfolding tragedy that likely will be Steve Job’s final days. Not that his life has been a tragedy… FAR FROM IT. He is certainly one of the great American success stories that children will be reading about (on their school issued iPads!) in the near future. However, as it has been talked about all over the media… Steve has not been doing well.
We, as the consumer public, possibly didn’t understand just how poor his health was until the public resignation letter was issued, but let’s face it, Steve didn’t just wake up and decide that he couldn’t keep going… both he and Apple knew that that day was coming from miles away. This is why in his resignation letter, Jobs mentioned, “executing our plan” to make Tim Cook CEO.
For as much as people want the iPhone 5 to be the exclamation point on iSteve’s legacy… we often overlook the fact that IF this is his swan song, there would have to be more hardship on the road to this landmark than he has faced since he was reinstated as CEO. Steve’s rapidly declining health likely put Apple in a spot where they were forced to be real with life/death issues and not only map out a product roadmap, but a COMPLETE LEADERSHIP roadmap that accounted for the inevitable.
  The Tim Cook effect
Following the logic from the last piece, if Apple knew that Steve Jobs would not have the same role he has had in the past, then it is highly likely that one part of the transition process would be to ensure that Tim Cook was allowed to come out blazing. After all, just as pundits watched to see how far Apple’s stock would dip after Jobs’ resignation, so too are those same people… and all the rest of the world… looking at this announcement with shivering hearts (a term that Swedish musicians Blindside say is very meaningful when properly translated into their language).
The simple fact is this; if Tim Cook opens up a can of fail… heck, even if he opens up a can of “just a little better,” many will be ready to write off not only the iPhone, but Apple as well. Now, we all know that knee-jerk reactions like this often don’t last long… but Apple has a public reputation almost unheard of in corporate history, and I doubt they’re willing to put that reputation on the line. And that, my friends, means longer R & D to produce a more meaningful product.
Because Apple knows that both Tim Cook and the iPhone banner need to be raised high at this coming event… even if they let Steve give us… “one more thing.”

So why have we had to wait so long for the iPhone 5? Maybe we’ll know Tuesday. Maybe we’ll never know. We probably won’t care too awful much after next week. But for what it’s worth, these are some of the many reasons why we haven’t had a 5th generation iPhone in our pockets for the past 3 months.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Such is the digital age

Between looking up random rumors on the upcoming iPhone 5 and finding all sorts of incredible free (and legal) music over the last few weeks, I was randomly (and finally!) inspired to take back up my quest to finish the last 2 novels in my 4 part series. That being said, I started thinking about the digital age we live in.

Last night, I picked up Heath McNease's new mixtape "Nintendo Thumb" online. It was listed in the free links section on tvulive.com. When I went over to the site, it asked me if I wanted to pay for the album or just download it for free. For a second, I thought, free or pay? Hmmm.... but then I got the better of myself and decided to pay a meager amount.

Later last night, I got an e-mail directly from the artist, thanking me for my purchase and for paying a bit for it... which immediately made me wish I had paid more! And over the course of the day, Heath and I have exchanged a few e-mails about the album, his worship ministry, and etc.

Which got me thinking again about my own work, and about the possibility of giving it out for "free" online. The first book is up on amazon and is in the Kindle store, but what if I were to simply set up some sort of a site and give it away? I mean, when musicians who produce such amazing masterpieces are able to do this very thing, why shouldn't I?

Yet, the one thought running behind the whole thought process is "What an age we live in!" Even just 5 to 10 years ago, there would be no chance that I would download an album online for free... get into a conversation with the artist, and then be inspired to follow the lead that men like him are setting.

Such is life. And, speaking of which, sometime next week I'll write my reflections of our youth trip to Joplin!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Buddhists, The New Testament, and The Beatles - My final response to Dick Van Dyke's Memior

I've made no secret that Dick Van Dyke's Memior My Lucky Life in and Out of Show Business has impacted me. It has caused me to struggle through mostly existential thoughts brought on by the fact that I relate to Van Dyke (and have since childhood) in a very deep way. In many ways, I feel we are cut from the same cloth.

A couple days ago I recounted how I was struck by Van Dyke's dismissal of Christ while holding to a "good morality." In the pages that represent the rest of his work, I am still left with the same problem/question... how can a man who was an elder in at least two churches, who wrote a book on the humor he found in being a Sunday School teacher for many years, and who has admitted to reading the Bible at least once through, dismiss Christ?

The answer, though, is found later in his memoir, near the end of the book. Entrenched near his closing remarks about never leaving showbiz (which is exciting for a long time fan like me), Van Dyke comes back to a theme that he both subtly and directly weaves throughout the tapestry of the book: That it really is all about love. It is in this place where he states that he feels the Buddhists get it right, when broken down to their "big 3 things, as well as Carl Reiner, The New Testament, and the Beatles.

Van Dyke displays a classical case of syncretism, the religion of the modern world. If "traditional" religion were to be compared to ordering one specific dish off of a restaurant menu (I'll take Christianity with a small side of Judiasm, hold the hypocrisy, please), then syncretism would be more like eating at a buffet. The syncretist is not necessarily one who calls himself a "religious man." He may more likely call himself "spiritual" to some degree or another. But, in the end, what this philosophical/theological term describes is akin to someone who peruses through a buffet of choices and selects from them only the pieces he believes fit on his plate.

In so many ways, syncretism is the rule, not the exception in modern day society. This is the reason why a man who has been an elder and Sunday School teacher for so many years can, without quibble, find "what he feels is right" in such diametrically opposed sources as the New Testament (notice he did not say "The Bible," which, if intentional speaks volumes in his omission of the Old Testament) and the Beatles. The Beatles, though this is a discussion for another day, were ardent followers of Alestor Crowley, the "father of modern satanism," and hardly fit in the same category as the New Testament.

Which all boils down to the real question that Mr. Van Dyke has brought up in his book (though as a subtext); Is there really only one way? This question, as I noted on days ago, is one that he answers in his work, asking that very question and then answering with, "No. Not as far as I could tell..."

This is perhaps why he refers often to God and never to Christ (whom he was fond of calling "Our Lord" in his Faith, Hope, and Hilarity, and not at all afraid in that work to mention by Name). You cannot deny that there is only one way and also refer back to Christ. Jesus, as it were, took Himself off the buffet when He pointedly stated that there was only ONE way to the Father, and it is through Him (John 14:6).

And, truly, this is the part of Jesus' message and person that so many are prone to reject today. Like Thomas Jefferson who famously (and quite literally) tore out sections of the Bible that he did not agree with (leaving mostly the history, and parts of the Letters of Paul), post-modern man accepts Jesus as a good moral teacher, a true embodiment of love, a radical feminist (before it was popular to be one), and so many other things, but they do not accept the polarizing statements that Christ made about being the ONLY way by which man can be saved.

Really, this is nothing new. The world has been hammering away at that nail since the day Christ ascended. This is why C. S. Lewis made famous the statement that Christ was either a liar, a lunatic, or Lord. In all true and proper understandings of the words, life, and teachings of Jesus Christ Himself, the Lord did NOT leave his inclusion on the buffet menu an option. His claim to be the only unique (Homoousios) Son of God, the way, truth, and life, and the ONLY name under heaven by which man can be saved eliminated that option.

That is why C. S. Lewis famously said that He is either liar, lunatic, or exactly who He said He was. Jesus Christ cannot ever be considered to be "just a good teacher," or even "the perfect prophet" (as Islam is apt to call Him) and make the claims that He did. If he claimed to be God in the flesh (a more shocking claim than we allow for in our own pondering) and He was wrong... he cannot be a good teacher, for He would have to be a liar (eliminating anything "good" from Him), a lunatic, on par with the man who thinks that he is a glass of orange juice (which, also, eliminates Him from being a very good buffet item, despite the tasty sound the OJ reference has to it), or He was exactly who He said He was.

And don't misunderstand, no matter how many times Christ implored people not to tell others about Him, He did not shy away from blocking off ALL other options. He did not shy away from stepping on toes and letting people know that there is, was, and can only be ONE way to heaven... and it is not through good works, or even plain and simple love.

But here we come to the final point. The thing that Dick Van Dyke claims that the Buddhists, The New Testament, and the Beatles got right was "Love." He goes on, apparently through Buddhist vernacular, to describe that as, in essence, a feeling. Love boils down to feeling love from others, and making them feel loved. This reminds me very much of Rob Bell's extremely heretical Love Wins arguments in which he paints a picture of Jesus as only love and little else, thereby creating a new form of Jesus that has little to do with the Biblical revelation, despite focusing on one of its/His key elements.

Of course... Jesus is Love. And all real and true love is borrowed by humans from Him. The Bible says that "God is Love" (1 John 4:8). It does not say that He has love... it says that He is love, which may imply that ALL things that are really love are, in reality, Him. But God is not a feeling. And neither is love. You see, just like poor heretical Rob, it seems that Dick Van Dyke misses the rest of the equation.

God is not silent to man about what His character is. He is love, in its true embodiment... but He is also truth, Light, and Holy. In fact, the only time the Bible uses the Hebrew emphatic form of perfection when it is ascribing something to God is when it is said that "God is holy, holy, holy..." (Rev. 4:8). To say that God is love is absolute truth, but you have to be careful to define what love really is.

Van Dyke is also quick to side with justice and hate injustice, which is another aspect of God's heart. In fact, I think that Dick was more correct in leaving his home church all those years ago over them being a bunch of racists than he was wrong... I just wish he would have sought out a group of believers that had a better handle on things, rather than leaving "organized religion" altogether. However he does not stop to ponder (at least in this work) why justice is important or what kind of God calls us to fight against injustice.

In the end, Dick Van Dyke, one of my heroes from childhood to today, falls into the trap of following (and teaching subtly) syncretism through his memoir. And, like Rob Bell, only seems to glimpse a small part of God's true nature, misinterpreting the part that he does get right as something having more to do with feelings than the God Who Is.

My prayer, now, is that Mr. Van Dyke, who admits himself that he is not long for this world, does what he claims to love to do most, and ponders over the true nature of Christ, and His bold claims to exclusivity (which are inclusively offered to all). Of course, it is one thing to read a book, even one so touching and well written as Mr. Van Dyke's and truly get a sense for who that person really is, and where they truly stand before a Holy God of Love.

As Mr. Van Dyke's most famous character, Rob Petrie, once said, "You can draw a heart on a piece of paper, but you can't measure one."

And my heart sends out a prayer for one of my great heroes, that the light of Christ would challenge him to think, before he goes into the everlasting, what it means for Jesus Christ to be the way, the truth, and the life... where no man comes to the Father except through Him.