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Author: Matthew Dickerson

Matthew Dickerson's books include works of spiritual theology and Christian apologetics as well as historical fiction, fantasy literature, explorations of the writings of C.S.Lewis and J.R.R.Tolkien, and books about trout fishing, fly fishing, rivers, and ecology. His recent books include: Disciple Making in a Culture of Power, Comfort, and Fear and The Voices of Rivers: Reflections on Places Wild and Almost Wild. He was a 2017 artist-in-residence at Glacier National Park. He lives in Vermont with his wife, dog, and cat, not far from three married sons, and is an active member of Memorial Baptist Church. Matthew is also a professor of computer science at Middlebury College in Vermont.

A street sign reading "Hope St"

Hope as Noun, Verb, and Person

Christian hope is both a verb and a noun: something we do, and something we possess. Even more importantly, our hope is a person. Christian hope is not the same as optimism. It does not deny the reality of sorrow, loss, failure, and suffering. Yet hope is rooted in the person and work of Jesus Christ and what was accomplished on the cross. It comes from faith that Christ continues to work in this world, and because of Christ’s work, our own work is not in vain. 

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A blue glass with water splashing into it

Hope That is Seen

Hope does not depend on circumstances nor it is the same as optimism. True hope is rooted in the person of Jesus Christ, and should be evident to the world, prompting those around us to ask for reasons. Christian hope lived out even when circumstances give little reason for optimism may be one of the most powerful witnesses a Christian has.

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Bees in a blossom

Delight in Creation

God can and does speak to us through creation. Sometimes that speaking comes in specific messages or reminders, like Jesus’ lesson from the lilies that we need not worry. But often our consideration of creation works in us wordlessly, as we simply enjoy the presence and goodness of our creator God through his created world.

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Matthew Dickerson holds a Dolly Varden char

The Extravagant Beauty of Creation

Jesus as well as the ancient Hebrew poets who gave us the psalms take time to admire that lavish beauty of creation, and to see it as a meaningful part of God’s plan—and a pointer back toward the beauty and creativity of God himself. Jesus exhorts us to do so also.

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Two bear cubs playing in the snow

Creation Made to Frolic

Even as God created a world in which work is good, God also wove play and delight into the fabric of creation. Surely play and delight is good for me also, and it even reflects something of the nature of the God whom we worship who fashioned all creation. We worship a God who delights in play, and who made a universe where work is balanced not only by rest, but by the need to frolic.

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Blossoms on a red maple tree

Considering the Lilies

All creation reveals the Creator and the Creator’s glory. When we read Jesus’ exhortation to “consider the lilies” or “look at the birds of the air”, before jumping to the particular interpretation of such consideration that he drew in his Sermon on the Mount, we would do well to take time to actually consider the lilies—and also the mountains, trees, rivers, and clouds as well as the wild creatures of the skies, the hills, and the oceans.

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A man walking past a building with a sign in the window that says "STRONGER TOGETHER"

Theology with Humility

Practicing humility toward both Scripture and toward fellow believers means acknowledging that we might not be right about everything, that we don’t have to be right about everything, and that even when we are right about something, our unity with other believers is more important than having others acknowledge that we’re right. Humility also allows us to learn from others, even if we don’t agree on all points.

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A parking lot and a grassy field with a sharp white dividing line running between them

A Body Divided

God calls his people to be united, telling us through his word that the unity of those who follow Christ will lead others to believe in Him. And yet Christians have used the very teachings of the New Testament that call us to unity—and our differing understandings of those teachings—as reasons to argue and quarrel and become divided.

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American(ism) Idol

Good things can become idols if we put them above God. Even when Jesus raised the dead, many of the religious leaders of his day seemed more concerned with their nation, their power and freedoms, and their temple than with the God they claimed to worship in that temple. We are continually called to let go of our idols and put God first.

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Three people skiing down a mountain

American Idol(s)

Even good things can become idols. Asking how we spend our time, how we spend our money, and where we get our significance can be good indicators of what we truly serve and worship. Jesus’ reminder that we cannot serve two masters is a call to let go of the idols in our lives.

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A duck on a log in a river, silhouetted against the sun

The Promised Liberation of Creation

The suffering of nature—what Paul refers to as creation—is the result of sin: of human’s not caring for creation as God intended. All creation suffers along with God’s image-bearing human children. The good news is that God’s redemptive plan includes not only bringing his image-bearing children into freedom and glory, liberating us from our bondage to sin, but also God liberating all of creation.

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An apple orchard on a sunny day

Keeping Creation

God called Aaron, brother of Moses, to bless the people of Israel, saying “The Lord bless you and keep you.” God called Adam to care for creation in a similar way: exercising our human stewardship over the created world in a way that reflects the loving, caring, blessing we seek from God for ourselves, and which is demonstrated in the servanthood of Christ.

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A man holding a Bible and preaching to a group of people

Consumerism and Worship, Part 2

Christ’s followers are not called to compete in a consumer market by offering a popular product with an easy-to-swallow message. But neither are Christians called to be intentionally abrasive. Jesus dined with tax-collectors and prostitutes. He was friends with sinners. That’s one of the very things that made him unpopular with the religious leaders of his day.

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A hallway in a high-end shopping center

The Church and Consumerism, Part 1

When people approach church as consumers shopping for a product, it is tempting for Christians—especially church leaders—to respond with a similar mindset: to view church as a product that must please customers in order to sell. Jesus calls us to a different approach than a consumer model. Though it is often not a popular message, the Gospel should always point to Christ, and through Christ back to the Father.

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A crowd of people in a dark room in front of a sign that says "JESUS" with their hands raised in worship

Consumerism and Worship

Contrary to a mentality of consumerism, when we gather for worship we should not be shopping for an experience. Worship is a response to what God has already done for us, and an act of love and obligation toward our brothers and sisters in Christ. Worship is not about ourselves.

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