Obedience Without Worry

I recently reread C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity, and I’d like to start today’s post with one of the many quotes that stood out to me:

“Handing everything over to Christ does not, of course, mean that you stop trying. To trust Him means, of course, trying to do all that He says. There would be no sense in saying you trusted a person if you would not take his advice. Thus if you have really handed yourself over to Him, it must follow that you are trying to obey Him. But trying in a new way, a less worried way. Not doing these things in order to be saved, but because He has begun to save you already.”

It’s a perfect way of describing the relationship between faith and works. We’re not saved by anything we do, but being saved inspires us to obedience and therefore faith-fueled action.

A Different Perspective on Law

This whole idea also makes me think of Psalm 119, which we were just looking at a couple months ago. The writer of Psalm 119 crafted a beautiful poem that pays homage to God’s law, precepts, and ordinances with every line. It’s a celebration of God’s precious words and of the positive effect following his instructions can have on our lives.

Blessed are those whose ways are blameless, who walk according to Yahweh’s law. Blessed are those who keep his statutes, who seek him with their whole heart. (Psalm 119:1-2, all quotes from WEB translation)

I will delight myself in your commandments, because I love them. I reach out my hands for your commandments, which I love. I will meditate on your statutes. (Psalm 119:47-48)

How I love your law! It is my meditation all day. Your commandments make me wiser than my enemies, for your commandments are always with me. (Psalm 119:97-98)

When was the last time you thought of God’s commandments as a delight? Or felt like exclaiming, “I love His law!” All too often, modern churches describe God’s law either as a burden we’re well rid of or as something we still have to put up with and must fear breaking. The people closest to God, though, have historically seen His words as something precious; a gift given for our good. He is to be obeyed, but not out of a sense of obligation. We obey because we love, and because we are loved.

Read more

Myers-Briggs Types of the Characters in Avatar: The Last Airbender — Aang, Katara, Sokka, Suki, and Toph

Many of my friends my age and a bit younger watched Avatar: The Last Airbender when they were kids. We didn’t have TV growing up so I missed that, but now Netflix has made it possible for me to find out what the hype was all about. And with people who loved the series when it first came out re-watching it as well, this seems a perfect time to take a look at the personality types of the characters in this series.

This was turning into an enormous blog post, so I decided to split it in two. In today’s post, I’m talking about the “Team Avatar” characters — Aang, Katara, Sokka, Suki, and Toph. In the next post, I’ll be talking about the Fire Nation characters (yes, I know Zuko could go on both posts, but if I put him in part two there’ll be five characters for each post so that’s why he’s in the Fire Nation group).

You’ll notice as I talk about each type that I reference functions. In Myers-Briggs® theory, functions refer to the mental processes that each type prefers to use. If you’re not familiar with functions or want a refresher,  you can check out my post “The Simplest Guide to Myers-Briggs® Functions Ever” and Susan Storm’s post “The Cognitive Functions – What Are They?

One more note: usually when I type fictional characters I research other people’s typings as well, but for this post I chose to approach the characters with fresh eyes. I haven’t read any other articles about the Myers-Briggs® types of Avatar characters. This is all just my perspective on the characters after binge-watching the series on Netflix for the first time.

Myers-Briggs Types of the Characters in Avatar: The Last Airbender | LikeAnAnchor.com
Image credit: Bryan Konietzko

Aang — ENFP

Aang is a character who loves life and sees endless possibilities in the world. He thrives when at peace with people, but also believes in staying true to his personal convictions even when that puts him at odds with those he cares about or with every Avatar who has come before him. He’s not tied to just one way of seeing the world and can see possibility for change even in the most unlikely people. Read more

Staying Loyal to Our Core Identity as Children of God, and Using It to Create Unity

Who and what are you?

We can all answer this question a variety of different ways. Our identities are multifaceted things — human, female, Christian, daughter, American, writer, friend, white, Midwestern (to give you some of mine). Some are chosen by us, some are given by God, nature, or other people. The things we identify with, wherever those identities come from, shape who are are.

Sometimes our identities might be in conflict with each other, or with those of other people. We need to be able to handle and resolve those conflicts. On the small scale, it might be something like “student” vs. “friend” (such as finding a balance between needing time to study and finding time to maintain friendships). On a larger scale, it might be something like “national” vs. “religious” (such as wanting to uphold your country’s ideals, but finding some of them at odds with your faith, and needing to choose between them). Or it could be an interpersonal situation where you find yourself interacting with people who have different political affiliations, ethnicities, faiths, and priorities than you do.

How we resolve these inner and outer conflicts says something about who we are and what we value. As Christians, we have an identity that is meant to be first in our priorities and underlie every other part of our lives. But we don’t always live as if this is truly the case. Sometimes we choose to put other beliefs and identities first, and if we do that too often it can damage our relationship with our primary identity as children of God.

Staying Loyal to Our Core Identity as Children of God, and Using It to Create Unity | LikeAnAnchor.com
Photo credit: Claudine Chaussé via Lightstock

The Problem of Conflicting Identities

I recently listened to a podcast episode titled “A First Step Toward Racial Reconciliation,” which was an interview with Mark Vroegop. His book Weep with Me: How Lament Opens A Door For Racial Reconciliation is coming out next month. In this interview, he talks about how the church should be the best place to resolve racial differences because “the gospel creates an identity that gets underneath all other identities.” Read more

“A Bride of Conveience” Book Review

As a Jody Hedlund fan, I was thrilled to receive a copy of her newest book A Bride of Convenience to read and review before its release. This is the third book in her Bride Ships series. I’ve also reviewed the other two: A Reluctant Bride and The Runaway Bride.

Pastor Abe Merivale has no intentions of getting married during his five-year mission to spread the gospel in British Columbia. Not even to beautiful Zoe Hart, a former mill-worker among the women to arrive on the latest bride ship. But shortly after their meeting in a hospital, one of Abe’s parishioners shows up and extracts a promise that they’ll find a good home for the infant daughter he hasn’t been able to take care of since his native wife died. Zoe takes to the baby immediately, and Abe finds himself taken with Zoe almost as quickly.

After a series of impulsive decisions, the two find themselves agreeing to a marriage of convenience. Marrying Zoe gives Abe a way to sooth his recent heartache and fulfill his promise to care for the baby, and marrying Abe protects Zoe from a less-desirable match while making it possible for her to keep baby Violet. Abe’s Bishop doesn’t approve of the hasty marriage, though, nor of the half-breed child. Tension and attraction in Abe and Zoe’s relationship rise as they discover this marriage might not be so convenient after all. Read more

Justice Belongs To God

One of the things we discussed in last week’s post about a Christian’s role in seeing justice done was that there are very few situations where God says it’s okay for us to judge other people. There’s an important reason for that which we only just touched on last week. It’s that justice and the application of judgement belong to God. We are to become like Him, yes, but there are certain roles that He does not share with us, at least not yet.

Paul says that one day the saints will judge the world and even angels. We’re not there yet, though there are certain situations where we can practice such as settling disputes in the church or discerning when there’s a sin being committed (1 Cor. 5:1-5, 11-13; 6:1-3). We’re not entrusted with final judgement, though, nor with the execution of justice or vengeance. In fact, we’re instructed to step aside and let God handle it whenever we’re tempted to take any vengeful action.

Judged by the Word of God

Back in Deuteronomy, Moses told Israel not to show partiality in judgement or be afraid of judging fairly (no matter what other people think) “for the judgement is God’s” (Deut. 1:17 all scriptures from the WEB translation). Judgement belongs to God, and He cares a great deal about seeing justice done properly. That’s one of the main reasons “You shall not pervert justice. You shall not show partiality. You shall not take a bribe” (Deut. 16:19). Of course, these instructions were given to handle legal disputes in a nation where God’s law was the standard of government. We now live in nations with secular law systems and most of us aren’t involved in that. But the principles still apply. God cares about justice done rightly, and His definition of “rightly” might not always match with our human impulses. Read more

How Do I Know If I’m an INTP or an INFP?

One question you might have after learning about Myers-Briggs® types and taking a few tests is how to tell two similar types apart. Maybe the online tests you took gave you a couple different results. Or maybe you started reading about the types and discovered more than one sounds a lot like you.

If you’re trying to decide whether you’re more of an INTP or an INFP type, I hope this article will help. Just looking at the letters in these personality types, we might think the only difference between them is that one is a thinking type and one a feeling type. This is only party true. When we dive deeper into the cognitive functions that describe the mental processes each Myers-Briggs® type uses, it become easier to see the differences and similarities between these two types more clearly.

If you’re not familiar with cognitive functions, you can check out my post “The Simplest Guide to Myers-Briggs® Functions Ever” and Susan Storm’s post “The Cognitive Functions – What Are They?” for a good overview of how that works. INFJs and INFPs might look similar at first, but they use completely different functions, as shown in this graphic:How Do I Know If I'm an INTP or an INFP?

The way these cognitive functions work together makes INFPs and INTPs similar in some ways and very different in others. They might seem near-identical in some ways, but they lead with very different functions and that makes them much less similar than you might think. Read more