Be Ready with an Answer

“[…] Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope.” I Peter 3:15b

The news has been quite busy lately… coincidentally, so have I. With VBS in full swing at the moment and camp not too far away, my plate has been a smorgasbord on its own. I’ve also been studying some Mandarin Chinese for kicks and giggles and studying up on Chinese history in my (albeit small) free time.

All that to say: the news has snuck up on me. FIrst of all, we have had a whole bunch of racism in the news lately. As a white middle-class man, I am probably the least qualified to speak on the subject, but let’s be frank. We are all different. We are all made in the image of God. We live in a broken world, with a broken society, and a broken system of privilege. We, as a people, a nation, and a world humanity have written ourselves into a corner. It will take a great deal of effort to break out of this prison of pain, frustration, and brokenness. Thankfully, we have a big God that reminds us about how we should tackle this.

First, we should recognize privilege where it does happen. It does. Once we’ve recognized it, those of us who have it should work to wean ourselves off of it. This sounds like a huge step, and it is. Consider Jesus who, “being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped but took on the very nature of a servant and became obedient to death, even death on a cross.” Our model should be Jesus who had every privilege, but gave them all up in order to share in the lives of others. As many people in the past have said, Jesus has already modeled the best life. Follow him and we will begin to build heaven on earth.

Have you talked to your kids about race? Have they asked questions? How do you as a parent deal with it? Where do you see hints of racism in your own life?

Secondly, and this is another huge topic I’m going to try and fit in as few words as possible. The Jenner debate. regardless of what you call the Jenner clan member currently in the news, it will probably come up in conversation, especially if you have an older child.

Post after post have argued one way and the other on many different sides of the divide. Here’s what it boils down to. Are you ready? If you are a Christian looking at this issue you have to wrestle with Scripture. God still speaks through the Bible, and you must be ready with an answer that you can find contained therein. As a parent and a Christian, you need to make sure that you are soaking in the life of Jesus and in the story of our big God daily.

We often try to argue people into a relationship with Jesus. Not once do I see Jesus do anything of the sort. If he wants a relationship, he begins a conversation. He looks for a need and meets it. He peers into the deepest, darkest recesses of the human being in front of him and finds what that person most truly needs – which is usually companionship, purpose, truth – and he gives it to them in the context of relationship. Jesus’ actions speak loudly. He turns expectations on their head and when he’s asked why he’s doing, whatever it is he’s doing, he’s ready with an answer. “There was a shepherd who had 99 sheep and lost one…” “There was a woman who had 10 silver coins and lost one…” “There was a man who had two sons…” “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick…” Cryptic, strange, thought-provoking.

Whoever does the asking, brothers and sisters, whether it be your kids, neighbors, coworkers, or passersby, be ready with your answer. Make sure it’s built on the solid foundation of Jesus life, words, and relationship with you. Make sure it’s in the context of relationship with that person. Give your answer, plant a seed, and then allow God to do the heavy lifting.



For Christmas, my wife and I were blessed with a fantastic cruise. We so enjoy the worry-free attitude on the ship: no chores, no cooking, no cleaning, and a full week of rest and refreshment to start off the year. Despite some relatively minor frustrations (looking back) of traffic and boarding delays, the week went wonderfully.

One of our favorite past times (which I got from my parents) is “people watching.” Sometimes we simply watch as people go about their lives, and other times we go to great lengths creating stories for why we think a person dresses or behaves a certain way. It can be a fun exercise in creative storytelling, and makes for an interesting hour or so.

One thing I noticed on the cruise was the persistence of entitlement that seemed to be everywhere. We took notice of fellow cruisers raising a fuss and getting angry at the smallest inconveniences. I saw the faces of servers and crew members fall as they realized the immensity of the cruisers’ ire. Several times I became angry at this treatment, resolving to try harder to be kind and graceful myself.

I begin to wonder, though, where this attitude originates. How high does a person’s expectations have to be before they lose all decorum and go on an angry rant because a vegetable snuck its way onto their dinner plate? Does it happen over time living in an affluent society, or does it begin at home?

I wonder if these people watched their parents throw similar fits in restaurants or other establishments. I wonder what would have changed had their parents modeled more graceful behavior at home and in public? Or maybe they saw their friends act this way, or picked it up at college?

Regardless, can we, in the church collectively decide and choose to model polite, graceful behavior to the children in our care? When something goes wrong, can our reaction be one of patience and forgiveness? Maybe we can turn this shocking trend around one family, one child at a time.

And for those of you already modeling this behavior, praise the Lord for you and what you do! Keep it up!