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.

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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A homeless man sheltering in front of a fancy store with sale signs in the windows

Resisting Conformance to Consumerism

Followers of Christ are called to resist conforming to the patterns of this world. As we work to avoid conforming to our culture, it is helpful to critically think through what those patterns of our culture are, and how they influence us.

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A person fishing in a river

Restoration in Rest

Constant work not only exhausts us, but it exhausts the world around us. It is consumptive. When we choose to build in rhythms of rest and delight, we give those around us and the earth itself a break from our demands.

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People rushing up and down the stairs of a building

“Are You Keeping Busy?”

Our culture idolizes and rewards busyness. Although work is a good part of God’s plan for humankind, God does not intend us to be constantly busy. Instead, he invites us to daily, weekly, and seasonal times of rest. Choosing to build rest into the rhythms of our lives is one of the most important steps of faith we can take.

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A signpost with arrows pointing in different directions against the background of a sunset

Discernment and Knowledge

Life is full of difficult decisions for which there are often no easy or obvious choices. We all need discernment.

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