35@35 #13: Unpopular Opinions

Radioactivity-WarningTC's Principles and Guidelines for Life #13: "It's good to have a couple unpopular opinions." I wear my unpopular opinions like a badge of honor.

To me, they indicate that I am not simply willing to accept what I hear as fact.

They mean that I think for myself in an age where we have multiple cable channels that are incredibly popular simply because they tell people what they want to hear.

I'm always weary of 'group think', the dynamic where alternative perspectives are ignored for the sake of pseudo harmony.

If you put me in a situation where everybody is agreeing, I'm going to start playing counter point just to force everyone to examine their own belief or opinion.

Sometimes, I may go a bit far and start arguing just because I like to argue, but the overall purpose is to make sure there is safety in sharing opposing viewpoints for anybody who wants to disagree.

Sometimes, I flat out disagree with commonly held viewpoints ("As an American, I have a duty to engage in the political process by voting"), and other times I feel it is important to explore nuances ("Does supporting troops mean that I support war?")

Now, I think that in order for an unpopular opinion to be valid, you must be able to defend your position. Taking a stance just to get a rise out of people isn't valuable in the least.

Anybody can say that they hold another viewpoint, but without the ability to intellectually defend a position using respectable grounds (logic, philosophy, theology, scientific, etc), you're demonstrating ignorance. On the internet, we call this 'trolling'. I'm not a fan of this.

We must be willing to drop our opposing viewpoints if facts or compelling arguments demand that we must do so.

I am willing to be proved wrong as I explore new concepts within frequently trod paths of understanding.

Our brains...our intellect...is a gift from God. I never turn it off. Not when I watch TV, not when I go to church, not in meetings or conferences.

As long as we know how to have respectful discussion around disagreements, sharing differing perspectives and viewpoints makes us stronger.

Oh, and I almost forgot:

Cats are better than dogs.

U2 is the best band of all-time (Coldplay is 2nd and rising fast).

Hawaii is overrated as a vacation destination.


You're welcome.


35@35 is a blog series by Thomas Christianson which involves 35 blog posts in 2014 on 35 things he has learned at the age of 35.

Battlefield Earth

I started reading “Waking the Dead” by John Eldredge this morning.  In this book, he is talking about a lot of the same themes I’ve been working on lately: kingdoms, war, soldiers. He looks at the fact that when we encounter hard times, we usually think that either A.) We’re doing something wrong or B.) God is letting us down.

But if this earth is a battlefield, maybe that’s not the case. The solider that engages in a firefight with the enemy didn't do something wrong to get there or get let astray by command.

His job is to fight, to battle the enemy. Contact with the enemy doesn’t indicate something has gone awry.

Jesus tells us this is how it’s going to be. “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

Look, I’ve secured the victory, but you’re still going to have to fight.

When life gets hard, when you feel like everything is arrayed against you, that doesn’t necessarily mean you have some secret hidden sin that you have to repent for in order to get away from the heat.

“God, I think I borrowed one of those small pencils from the library and forgot to return it a few years ago! Is that why you aren’t giving me a husband/wife/child/job/whatever? Please forgive me!!”

Earth is a battlefield, and sometimes firefights just explode into existence. One minute everything is quiet, and the next minute fire is erupting from every direction.

When a solider finds themselves caught in the crossfire, he or she doesn’t start weeping and get on to the radio to command HQ and ask them to make it all stop. They dig in and start fighting back. It’s that, or be defeated.

Matthew records something Jesus said that we would probably prefer to ignore: “Don’t imagine that I came to bring peace to the earth! I came not to bring peace, but a sword.” (Matthew 10:34)

There will be peace once we’ve arrived at God’s kingdom. But our purpose on earth is not temporary peace. It’s to bring the eternal peace of God to everyone. And satan hates your guts for that.

So man or woman up. Remember that “he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4)  And when you get up and go out today, do so on war footing. Not looking for comfort or luxuries, but looking to advance against the enemy and take ground for the Kingdom.

Lock and load.