Monthly Archives: April 2013

Is It Okay to Charge Interest?

Question: “Is it okay for Christians to charge interest, especially in business loans?” R in Virginia

My Answer: The question of whether or not a Christian should charge interest on a loan is one that has been debated in the church for quite a long time. The Bible does speak to this issue in a number of places. The matter basically turns on how one is to interpret the relevant passages of Scripture. Opinions vary from those who believe that it is absolutely wrong for Christians to charge any interest at all, to those who assert that it is okay to charge interest of non-Christians but not fellow believers, to those who believe it is okay as long as the interest is not exorbitant or unfair. What are we to make of this issue? Continue reading

Kings of Misrule

Lately I have seen a resurgence of a phenomenon that I first noticed about eight years ago, while I was living in Uniontown, PA. It is now occurring here in Crozet, the small community in central Virginia where I live, even as it did years ago in Pennsylvania. I remember what prompted my ire those many years ago. While driving through Uniontown first thing one morning, I came to a four-way intersection. As I approached this intersection with the intent of turning left, I encountered another motorist approaching from directly in front of me. We came to the intersection at almost precisely the same moment: I, with my left turn signal on; he, with no signal, indicating that he was coming straight through. Now, I am much older than I was when I first started driving. Indeed, I have spent a good portion of the past 3+ decades behind the wheel of an automobile. But I do not tend to suffer from either early dementia or vehicular amnesia. I still remember the basic rules of the road. For instance, in such a situation as I have described, the car that is going straight has the right of way. I, the lefty in this situation, must wait and yield the right of way. Simple stuff. Continue reading

The Descent of Man

By now, you would think I should quit being surprised. Yet, I still find myself constantly being amazed at people’s abject ignorance. Far too many people are just plain gullible, accepting whatever nonsense comes down the pike. If a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, then a little misinformation coupled with tons of ignorance must have the same potential as a hydrogen bomb!

Let me tell you what started all this personal shock and ire. I was reading something I had written a few years ago. It concerned a revealing conversation that Sue, my darling bride, became involved in. Revealing in the sense that the conversation exposed people’s innate capacity to believe foolishness. My wife’s field of expertise is education, especially the education of those with learning problems. She has spent many years studying and teaching children (and adults) who have learning disabilities. She knows her stuff. So she was intrigued, and a little frustrated, to become involved in a group conversation that dealt with the subject of dyslexia. One person present was pontificating on a theory that attempts to explain away dyslexia in terms of social evolution. This theory holds that one category of people learns one way, and another category learns completely differently, based on whether they are hunter-gatherers or farmers by nature. Dyslexics, according to this theory, are hunter-gatherers. And, of course, the poor, misunderstood hunter-gatherers are castigated and denigrated by the more numerous and socially acceptable farmer learners. Alas, poor hunter-gatherers! How preposterous! Sue was appropriately irritated by this folderol. Continue reading

Size Does Not Equal Value

When I was a kid I was fascinated by space and stars and the planets. I was a Star Trek geek before there were Trekkies. No matter how much fun I was having playing outside in the summer time, I would always come in to see what was happening that week with Kirk and Spock and Bones. Yes, I must confess, I was also an avid fan of Lost in Space.  (“Danger! Danger! Be careful, Will Robinson!”) I read Tom Swift, and loved movies like Forbidden Planet, Earth Vs. The Flying Saucers and The Day The Earth Stood Still. I was a space nut.

Indeed, my ambition as a youngster was to become an astronomer. (God had other plans.) And so with this fascination with astronomy, it is not surprising that many of my youthful science projects involved models of the solar system. I made more than my fair share of planets out of Play-Doh and Stryofoam balls. I was the king of coat hangers and clay spheres. Yet, with all my juvenile enthusiasm I still missed something. I failed to comprehend the vastness of space. In fact, as is probably common with most young astronomers, I thought my wire and Stryofoam creations were pretty realistic. Continue reading