Michael Wiltshire

Michael Wiltshire

    • This addresses a serious issue in our society, the lack of trust: of one another, of people different from us, of institutions (Bowling Alone), of our government. At the same time, we have a lot to be grateful for. Cultivating gratitude could be a means of restoring trust.

    • I wonder if the ubiquity of digital technologies and social media make it harder for America’s younger generations to practice gratitude? While these technologies offer much good, they also lead to constant comparison, the “latest and greatest” syndrome of disappointment with outdated technologies, etc.

    • This study suggests an interesting connection between gratitude and trust, but I wonder if the results of the study are “trust” as much as they are “grace.” By grace, I mean being altruistically-oriented; if people are more grateful for what others have done for them, perhaps they are more willing to “pay it forward.” The article hinted at this, but I think there is a small but important difference between “being trusting” and “being gracious.” Trust, in this context, implies doing good and expecting something in return, whereas grace implies doing good without expectation of return. I wonder if that data could be interpreted differently to arrive at this slightly different conclusion. Either way, I think it is evident that gratitude could do us all a lot of good!

  • Hey Aiden,

    Sorry about that. We’ll work on a fix. In the meantime, you can find the article here – http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/six_habits_of_highly_grateful_people

    • The link to read the full article doesn’t work.

    • Thanks for fixing the link.

    • Love how practical this article is, especially approaching it in terms of forming a habit of being grateful, and as Aristotle & others have noted, character is formed by habits.

    • Great article. I appreciate the way these practices were tied into Scripture

    • Great, practical, and biblical advice. A great read!

    • Some good points and I agree with most except the first one. I’m not sure how dwelling on one’s own death or someone else’s will increase gratitude. I guess it really depends on what your life situation is like. If I compare this life to what eternity holds I’m not always grateful for this life, especially with the world today I say come Lord Jesus come! And the point about Jesus morning Lazuras’ death, I don’t think He was morning the death but the sadness of Martha and Mary and other family. Especially since Jesus allowed his death to grow His apostles faith. But as the saying goes develop an attitude of gratitude which requires developing good habits which most of your points can do.

      • Good qualification Rich. I think that the phrase “every once in a while” in #1 helps…we shouldn’t think about death all the time, but occasional reflection can help us be grateful for the life we’ve been given, even with its sorrows and challenges.

    • Good point Matt, I hadn’t really considered the qualifier in #1.

    • Thanks for this article – It seems that no matter the work environment, as leaders, being a model to our staff is always paramount.

    • “Forgiveness, of course, does not mean we condone or ignore bad behavior. Every workplace should have policies and procedures for dealing quickly with serious transgressions” – Of course this is true, but it seems this is a lot easier to accomplish if you’re in a position of power. Outside of “serious transgressions”, the powerless do end up “condoning or ignoring bad behavior”.

    • Interesting read thanks. There is no doubt that forgiveness is imperative to the Christian walk and even physical, spiritual, and mental health. And to talk of it in the sphere of the workplace is helpful for some who compartmentalize.

    • This is helpful and timely, especially with the growing faith + vocation movement/conversation

    • Good article and I think forgiveness in any situation is necessary for our well being, mandated, Matt 6:14-15, and many others. And for me I have to remind myself in the workplace who I am really working for, “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.” (Col 3:23-24). This makes it much easier to remember that it’s not about me and be quick to humble myself and forgive as well as genuinely receive forgiveness.

    • “We’re all interconnected with each other,” she said. “And giving is just a reminder of our human connection to others: Not only are the recipients not alone, because we’re thinking of them, but we are not alone” – No man is an island.

    • How to Help Kids Learn to Love Giving – “Imitate me as I imitate XT” & “It’s more blessed to give than to receive”.

    • I figure pointing em to Scriptural truth helps. In a culture that says money and materialistic stuff is valued, then giving it away is more difficult. So by teaching them that those things don’t matter and by we ourselves not holding onto such things, helps set the foundation.

    • #1, “being a role model,” is so true in my experience. It reminds me of Paul’s frequent injunctions for his church communities to imitate him as he imitates Christ

      • Your comment reminds me of an article I read recently that amounted to the fact that it isn’t necessarily a bad thing (and maybe should be implemented more) to tell those we are trying to disciple, “Follow me as I follow Christ.” Not that I am an apostle or even close to perfect, but hopefully we are living Gospel-oriented enough to be able to be an example. Thanks for jogging that memory, Matt

    • It helps to teach children that God is providential, that we should be laying up treasure in heaven, that our generosity has to be rooted in our desire to make way for the Gospel, and that our love for people stems from God’s love for us. Science can show us that it feels good to give, etc., but we need to filter that science through the Bible.

    • I really appreciate the intentionality of this article. Giving generously is often to counter to my own desires, but it is a biblical mandate and a place where great joy and rich relationship is found. I think it is definitely an important character trait to develop in young children and in ourselves!

    • “But after years spent immersed in the science of touch, I can tell you that they are far more profound than we usually realize: They are our primary language of compassion, and a primary means for spreading compassion” – Could this in any way be related to the imago Dei – God forming us with His own “hands” out of the dust of the ground rather than creating us just with the power of His word?

    • “In a recent study out of my lab, published in the journal Emotion we found that, in general, NBA basketball teams whose players touch each other more win more games” – This is really intriguing.

    • “To touch can be to give life,” said Michelangelo – Good quote.

    • Hey it’s one of my top two “Love Languages”.

    • I have spent a lot of time with folks with I/DD disabilities and I can attest that this is true for many of them: touch is their primary language and means of showing affection and gratitude

    • A great topic that is unfortunately underestimated in so many places of worship.

    • This is something my campus ministry team has talked about a little bit– important topic.

    • I think this is a great example of science offering a welcome (or maybe not for us introverts!) corrective to church praxis. With many manifestations of Western Christianity being so individualistic and rationalistic–instead of communal and emotionally-aware–we need to be reminded of the ways we can show each other care and love. I think this fits right in line with the oft-repeated tropes in churches that “love is an action;” here is a concrete way to actualize love and create flourishing for ourselves and others (if done in an appropriate way, of course!)!

    • Thank you for your article. I especially appreciated your insight: “subscription to the theory of evolutionary creationism is not only a scientific commitment; it involves the careful integration of theology, hermeneutics, and biblical interpretation.” In my experience, too much of the conversation about biblical faith and evolutionary creationism is reductionist, without participants appreciating the multiple disciplines that are involved: science, biblical studies, theology, philosophy of science, etc.

    • I think the struggle I have with evolution is that the science behind it is foggy and not observable in time, it truly is still a theory. However, if God chose to use evolution as a way for creation, great. I have mad respect for Christian Scientists and they have way more understanding in those areas then I could ever pretend to know or learn. I can only imagine the difficulty you face every day in the balancing act between science and theology.

      But that brings up the question: Should I have to juggle the two? The underlying issue is what is your authority? Is it naturalism and the explainable through observation? If so then do you try and understand the miracles in Scripture through the eyes of scientific explanation? What about the resurrection? If not then why must we as believers in the resurrected Christ, in a Savior that is a scientific wonder, feel the need to explain the amazing act of Creation by the same God who raised Jesus from the dead? The underlying problem seems to be that we misplace what is to be our authority and often times it’s because our identity is split between the world and Christ. Whether it’s in the realm of our jobs, marriages, friendships, desires, etc. we struggle with submitting every area of our lives to the Lord, including our wisdom and understanding. Scripture is the only thing we have that tells us of who our Savior is and who our Creator is and who we are in nature and character. It must be our ultimate source of authority. Then we have Creation as seen in Romans 1 that also declares of our Creator and His attributes. Science is so helpful and a gift from God to help us understand how He works in the world around us. However I find danger when we begin to suggest things like the creation story may have been allegorical or Adam and Eve may not have been literal. Why would we assume that, unless it’s because we allowed our trust in science to trump that of what God has revealed plainly.

      It really comes down to how we view Scripture as a believer. How we see Scripture determines how we see everything else in the world around us and where we begin to distribute authority. What hermeneutic should be applied from Scripture? And why? What hermeneutic did Jesus himself as well as the NT apostles apply to OT Scripture. Was it contextualization? Allegorical, christocentric, genre specific, figurative, and all the rest? I assert when they spoke of OT passages and referenced them or interpreted them it was from a literal grammatical-historical hermeneutic. Jesus didn’t speak of Creation hardly at all. It when it was referenced it was in a literal way, as did Paul. If they themselves used such a hermeneutic then shouldn’t we? And if we domt think we should approach the text in a literal sense looking for the author’s intent, I would ask why not?

      I know this is a sticky and personal subject for many and I have many friends in which we lovingly disagree but again I must ask: Is God’s word not enough to trust as true and sufficient for us or are we not satisfied with His revealed Word and therefore must find answers in whatever field we study, teach, or experiment?

      Blessings as we all try and navigate our lives to the glory of God in our respective fields, relationships, ministries, and collectively as brothers and sisters in God’s family.

      • Absolutely agree with your view that our view of Scripture determines how we see everything else in the world. One word of caution though – When science says something is a theory, it’s an “explanation rooted in experiment & testing” and not just an opinion – You probably knew this already.

        • I understand that, however the evolutionary theory is not actually testable in time. But you are right it is an “explanation” though based on more speculation and a liberal use of “evidence”.

          I am in no way a scientist bit from what I have read, watched, and studied evolution is more of a “best guess” in regards to creation rather than having solid observable evidence

    • “There are situations where it would be best to keep views on evolution private” – Good point, especially since I have a tendency to honestly share my views openly.

    • What stood out to me was the distinction you made between, “theology, hermeneutics, and biblical interpretation.” I think this is an issue in and of itself. Those things are disconnected disciplines that need to be integrated. They are all part of a system that we must follow carefully. Our hermeneutics must be correct in order to correctly interpret the Bible which should lead to correct theology. Almost like a pyramid, with hermeneutics being at the base and theology being the tip. My point at the end of all this is that it seems like instead of committing to science, we need to commit to a right set of hermeneutics. Committing to science rather than the Bible is allowing a largely secular force to determine our theology. Come out as a biblicist, nothing else.

      • It seems that hermeneutics are influenced to some degree though by our social imaginary, which includes the findings of science. We can’t interpret Scripture in a vacuum, we’re unavoidably influenced by our time, context, culture, etc. Not that those things trump Scripture (they certainly do not!), just that they seem unavoidably to me to factor into hermeneutics

        • I understand your point and to an extent I agree. I would just say that the right hermeneutic takes into account the authorial context because it should seek the author’s intent (which, because of inspiration and inerrancy, is God’s intent). Abner Chou will be publishing a book soon on this very topic.

    • Ken Sande’s book the Peacemaker also points in this direction. It’s interesting to see science supporting his well-known approach to reconciliation.

    • Fascinating that apology can be academically researched in this way. This is interesting to think about the potential of both in inter–personal relationships, as well as in peace-building and reconciliation initiatives.

    • There are definitely nuances to apologies. An apology is another form of communication, good study in researching it thusly.

    • Thank you for this very insightful article. Apologies are so multifaceted and can not simply be a get-out-jail-free card. I appreciate this research in what seems to be the lost art of a true apology.

    • [Commenting on the issue as informed by the article “The Challenge of Cosmology” under Related Research; the Slate article was down at the time of posting.] I remember Richard Mouw, President Emeritus at Fuller Seminary and a Christian philosopher, once relating his encounter with someone who asked if Christian theology could handle extraterrestrial life without coming apart at the seams. His response was more or less, “I don’t see why not.” I think I have to agree; while there will be some messy details to hammer out, several approaches for incorporating extraterrestrial life–even intelligent extraterrestrial life–present themselves in neo-evangelicalism, Catholicism, and mainline Protestantism (I think Fundamentalism would struggle). The myriad of theories on how to interpret “image of God” in Genesis 1:26-27–rationalism, capacity for love, intelligence, creative agency–gives us multiple options for incorporating intelligent species into the story of God; the conviction of God’s cosmic dominion makes short work of questioning whether other life is outside the purview of the Christian God. Even the scandal of Christ being born in a backwater province, far from the center of the Roman Empire–and, further, raised in the country-bumpkin town of Nazareth (John 1:46)–makes it perfectly defensible that we can assert that the third planet of an average star in an average galaxy can be the focal point of God’s redemptive activity. I think the major challenge of intelligent extraterrestrial life is where it conflicts with the Incarnation: why did the Son come as a Homo Sapien instead of another species of intelligent being? This again might be easily solved by the same scandal of particularity defense that makes Jesus’s ministry on Earth the center point of space-time, though it also might push back on attempts to incorporate other intelligent life into the umbrella of “image of God.”

      So much speculation, and yet so fun!

    • This topic is always of interest to me. I’m not opposed to the idea of life in the cosmos. However, my questions would be: what kind of life are we speaking of? Intelligent life? And if so, what would be the purpose behind God creating them. If intelligent life then do they have a soul? Or are they just highly intelligent animals running on instinct and without morality? Maybe it’s just my ramblings but if these questions are necessary as it brings into question sin and Christ’s atoning sacrifice must reach to this “assumed group”.

      My honest thoughts are that if there is life beyond, it is fallen angels and the demonic. Though I haven’t fully hashed that out, only in passing conversations.

    • Coming back to this article, I am more convinced that as believers we must be very very discerning and watchful especially concerning such ideas. ETs and anything of the like placed up against Scripture leaves only one option and actually most easily understood, “aliens” to the world are in reality the demonic.

      We must see them as such, especially in light of theosophy, Gnosticism, and other such cultic ideologies that assume this future godlike state, after attaining the secret knowledge. It’s dangerous.

    • I mean imagine what would happen to so many of “aliens” made a grand appearance (think Revelation, beast, antiChrist). Headlines would read, “God is dead” or “God proven wrong” and it would shake up the entire world and even “lead astray if possible the elect” (Matt 24:24).

      All I’m saying is the fallen angels came down before and messed with humans and all kinds of weird stuff happened as a result (Gen 6:2). The whole idea of “aliens” as from some other world in the universe is the delusion. We have to be more discerning than to simply give this attention.

      Ephesians 6:12

    • Speculative theology isn’t wrong (Aquinas and others engage in a great deal of it), but I would caution against an over-emphasis on it in our church life. The theological implications of the possibility of other life in the universe is a hard topic to even address in the church, because it is speculative and it is difficult to theologically make sense of in the abstract.

    • Thankfulness is such an imperative part of the Christian life. And yet we tend to only be thankful for when we get what we want, if even then. Yet we are told to be thankful at all times and in all circumstances (1Thess 5:18).

      Our lack of thankfulness is because we are self-consumed. We are consumed with our own desires and wants and our acknowledgment and desire to live and seek the Lord’s will for us is somewhere else down the list.

      If truly loving a life pleasing to Him was our priority then gratitude in all circumstances even the painful and difficult seasons of sanctification would be automatic. Let’s truly be thankful in ALL circumstances and watch how the Lord blesses us in our spiritual growth and relationship to Him

      • Thanks for your word of exhortation. I know this is true of me – Sometimes the most difficult times I’ve had in my spiritual walk have been when my expectations don’t line up with my reality. Its then that I find myself swirling in ingratitude, so thanks again for your word of exhortation.

    • Good discussion on how important gratitude is to community praise. Praise centers on who God is and what He has done for His people.

    • Makes me think that prayers of thanksgiving should be given more ‘space’ in our services. I know in our setting, petitions tend to take up the bulk of prayer time. Perhaps enhancing thanksgiving prayers would stir people to this communal gratitude.

    • Interesting. But I have found the most sustaining part in my marriage, apart from Christ at the center which is the ONLY truly sustaining aspect of a healthy marriage, is humility and selflessness towards my wife. Humility is the root of it all, you can’t even be truly grateful without it. .

    • I know some couples that have kept a little box of memories of the things that they’ve done over the past year. Towards the end of each year, they take time to read and remember. Perhaps this idea could be adapted with this sense of gratitude: have a weekly/monthly box with notes about why you appreciate one another.

    • Seems kind of obvious – If you’re grateful for your spouse, you won’t practice what Dr. John Gottman terms the four horsemen of divorce/separation predictors: criticism, defensiveness, contempt, & stonewalling.

    • I’ve definitely heard that in a relationship it’s important to always show someone when you’re grateful for something they’ve done, but I really like this idea that you want to show the other person you are grateful for who they are– not just the kind things they do.

    • This makes me think of un-confessed sin: David talks of his bones wasting away because he tried to cover up his own sins. Perhaps there’s a theological connection between seeking forgiveness in addition to giving it?

    • Maybe the lament psalms knew more than we thought by crying out for justice when they felt they were being wronged.

    • I’ve noticed when I’m too upset to offer forgiveness, I feel my stomach churning.

    • This is such an important topic. It’s so easy to believe that we “lose” if we choose to forgive someone, but in reality forgiveness benefits BOTH parties involved.