Michael W. Austin

Ideas that Matter.

Month: February 2016

3 Steps to Ridding Ourselves of Anger

Jesus is described in the gospels as being meek, gentle, and humble. But this doesn’t mean he was weak. Jesus was blunt with the Pharisees and he turned over the tables in the temple. He was not a pushover. What these traits point to, in part, is the fact that Jesus had no unrighteous anger. Just as Jesus did, his followers “are to endure wrongs humbly and patiently and…let go of our anger, which is the fruit of pride” (p. 63). What can we do to become more like him in these ways? St. John of Climacus offers practical advice about how we can rid ourselves of anger.
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Being Good: The Foundation of Christian Ethics

In some segments of the church it is now routinely suggested that Christianity is not about ethics; rather it is about a relationship with Christ. While we applaud any resistance to reducing Christianity to an ethical system, we are concerned that Christian antipathy toward ethical theory is itself unchristian. Christianity is not merely about ethics, but it does essentially include ethics. The Christian, as a follower of Jesus, should seek to embody the moral and intellectual virtues of Jesus Christ, our Lord. He is our moral and intellectual exemplar.

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The Trinity and Sports


What does the Trinity have to do with sports? Contemporary sport has its share of problems. Many athletes are more widely known for cheating, immoral behavior, and ego than exemplifying good character. This past week, a soccer referee was shot and killed after giving a player a red card in an amateur match in Argentina. Parents in youth sports cause all sorts of problems. The attitude that winning is the only thing that matters undermines many of the good things about sports.

Nevertheless, there are good reasons for thinking that God’s nature can be reflected in many sports.

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Does Prayer Have a Point?

5230673897_1a356a89b0_zWhat is the point of prayer?

If God already knows what will happen, why pray? If I pray for something good to happen, wouldn’t it happen anyway, if God is wholly good?

This last question has been considered by philosophers, and is called the divine goodness problem of petitionary prayer. In this post, I’ll first discuss a solution to this problem. Second, I’ll discuss part of what is valuable about petitionary prayer.


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What is True Happiness? A Christian Answer

FameIf you observe American culture today, you’d probably have to draw the conclusion that fame, fortune, and power are the keys to being truly happy. Unfortunately, many who seek to follow Jesus also buy into these myths, at least to some degree. It’s hard not to, given their prominence in our culture.

But according to the Christian tradition, our highest good, our happiness, is found in knowing and loving God.
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