Articles by Steven L. Porter



  • The Good Book Blog

    Steven L. Porter — 

    I just returned from visiting a hole. The last time I met this hole in the ground was twenty-two years ago. I was in my mid-20s and probably in the best shape of my life. I was just beginning my daily 5-mile run and, if I remember right, I was feeling great about myself. I was young, healthy, thriving. As I ran through La Mirada Regional Park in the prime of my life there was a little 6 inches long by 3 inches wide hole under some pine needles up ahead. My foot found the hole or perhaps the hole found my foot and in a fraction of a second I went from a vigorous young man to a pathetic young man, lying on the ground, writhing in pain. As I hobbled back to my house, barely able to walk on my freshly sprained ankle, I found myself keenly aware of how incredibly fragile and vulnerable I was. Of course, the truth was that I was that fragile and vulnerable seconds before the hole, but it took the hole to bring that ever-present reality into awareness. I was painfully right-sized ...

  • The Good Book Blog

    Steven L. Porter — 

    Recently I was in discussion with a friend who was concerned about the tendency of some Christians to spiritualize death and dying by appeal to the afterlife. To “spiritualize” death and dying is to utilize spiritual beliefs to avoid dealing with unwanted feelings over the loss of a loved one. “I just try to think of how happy she is with Jesus.” “When we see him again in heaven it will seem like no time has passed.” “I am just glad she’s finally at rest in Jesus’ arms.” To spiritualize death and dying in these and other ways is a defense mechanism. It is a way to defend against experiencing some painful part of reality as it actually is ...

  • The Good Book Blog

    Steven L. Porter — 

    Have you ever noticed how discontentment with the circumstances of our lives spawns all kinds of problems? Some time ago I missed the freeway exit while driving with my family. Of course, the next opportunity to exit was several miles further down and, due to some road construction, taking this exit led me on a seemingly never-ending detour in order to get back to the freeway. With our toddler crying in the car seat, I was anything but content with how things were going. As the discontentment grew I became more and more anxious about getting where we needed to go, frustrated with myself, impatient with the detour, and angry about our situation. All of this eventually spilled over in a pitiful attempt to blame my wife for my having missed the exit in the first place! ...

  • The Good Book Blog

    Steven L. Porter — 

    By now, most of us know about the Pokémon GO craze. My son downloaded the app on my cell phone the week it came out and while I don’t play much, I understand enough of the game to capture Pokémon and cash in on the rewards dished out at PokéStops (for the uninitiated, Pokémon are monsters of various species that appear on the game display based on where players are physically located and PokéStops are places where players can collect needed items—thus, people play this game on the move). So, the other day while on a prayer walk in a local park, I had my Bible app open to Colossians 3 and my son’s Pokémon GO app open as well. It turns out that parks are fruitful places for capturing Pokémon.

  • The Good Book Blog

    Steven L. Porter — 

    “It’s the thought that counts,” we say and, of course, thoughts do count. But the mere thought to do something—the desire and intention to do it—falls short of actually doing it. “I thought about getting you a birthday present, but … I didn’t.” And yet, there is something about the desire and intention to do good that is itself good. It is the right place to start. We desire and then intend to do something good and that desire/intention is an essential part of being a good person ...

  • The Good Book Blog

    Steven L. Porter — 

    While Christians decry the secularization of Christmas, the spirit of that season (gift-giving, twinkling lights, warm cocoa) coalesces rather well with the celebration of God coming to earth in the birth of Jesus. Easter is more difficult. For the Christian, the meaning of Easter is directly connected to the brutal and unjust execution of the one born in Bethlehem. Easter is the exuberance of the empty tomb, and yet it stands in solidarity with the alienation of a blood stained cross.