Where's the Logic? Reflections April 2016
A Reflection for April 2016 by Richard Parrish


“For the word [message] of the cross is folly [foolish] to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” – 1 Corinthians 1:18 [1]



The Christian life is paradoxical. Rational thinking has its place. However, for followers of Jesus, logic is frequently stymied by our Lord’s teaching. Take for example:


For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life
for my sake will save it.” [2]


Do you mean: All the exercise, diet foods, and attention I put forward to make certain my body remains healthy, is to no advantage? Is everything that I’m working so hard to achieve, of no value? If I’m doomed to lose my life, why work so hard to save it? Where’s the logic in that?


Rational thinking requires the necessity of having sensible answers to complicated issues. “There has to be a reason.” “If we approach the problem sensibly, we will eventually be able to understand the matter.” I’m not suggesting that rational thinking is not okay. Where would we be if it were not for individuals whose minds have the capacity and curiosity to solve challenging problems?


Capable and thoughtful people purposefully challenged the acceptance of superstitious cultural beliefs, which supported the burning of witches as a means to cleanse a community. I would hate to live in a society – that when logic cannot reconcile the unexplained – merely brands people as witches, and burns them at the stake!


Living with mystery was not comfortable for the early Christian community. Paul the Apostle reminds his audience: “The message of the cross is foolish to those who are perishing.”  Where’s the logic in an ideology that supports the suffering and dying of Jesus? It was as perplexing as Jesus’ counter-cultural teaching that reveals the way to greatness is through humbleness (Matt. 23:11-12).  


The prevailing common sense in Paul’s neighborhood held that self-preservation is the primary goal. What is it in life that will get me ahead? How can I use others to help me advance my position? Paul (and Jesus) understand: This way of living is not only self-seeking and self-serving; it is ultimately self-destructive!


I question whether Paul’s community is much different than mine. His assessment of the unpopularity of the message of the cross was (I believe) accurate for his neighbors. And, I believe his words are just as precise for those in my neighborhood.


Jesus trusts the mystery of His Father’s will. Whether it made sense or not, he also experienced the anguish of wrestling with the longing of finding another way: My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not what I want but what you want.” [3]  His willingness to submit to a mystery that defied conventional logic became a blessing!


Frequently, we are invited to trust the mystery of God. Not everything in life makes sense. Analysis, inquiry, and exploration are good things. However, if I’m capable of having an answer for everything, why do I need faith?  And, it is faith that pleases God (Hebrews 11:6).


Jesus understands: Discovering real life requires me to let go of my life. Paul reminds us that the message of the cross becomes the power of God that enables me to trust when everything within me cries: Where’s The Logic In That!

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), 1 Co 1:18.
[2] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Lk 9:24.  
[3] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1989), Mt 26:39.



●     What’s one area in my life that doesn’t make sense?

●     Am I insistent to pursue a logical explanation when the issue is beyond my understanding?

●     Do I sense an invitation from God to trust Him when logic eludes me?

●     How comfortable am I with “mystery”?  Why?  Why not?

●     Am I open to trust the mystery of the cross? Am I ready to experience the power of the cross?