गठबन्धनमा यसरी हुँदैछ सातै प्रदेशको शक्ति बाँडफाँट गठबन्धनमा सबैभन्दा ठूलो दलको हैसियतले सातै प्रदेशमा कांग्रेसको दाबी छ ।
प्रचण्डको 'ट्रेडमार्क' दोमन, दुवैतिर वार्ता .
Why Jesus Loved Friendship “Power can generate obedience, fear, awe, grudging submission — but not love. The God who comes to us in Jesus doesn’t want grudging submission; he wants us to love him and be loved by him. He wants relationship, including friendship, and so he came in vulnerability, not in power.” ........ The concept of a vulnerable God, meek and lowly in heart, was almost unfathomable to many at the time, and for many people it still is. But a vulnerable God is an essential part of the Christian story. We see it in Jesus’ life, from his birth in a manger to his weeping over the death of his friend Lazarus to the anguish in the Garden of Gethsemane, where he was betrayed on the night before his crucifixion. ....... “Our witness is not right doctrine; it is our relational orientation” ........ “Instead of being people who stink with judgment and criticism,” she told me, “we are to be an aroma of blessing, hope, joy, peace and love.” ......... “If the church claims to be the community of the friends of Jesus,” he adds, “it must engage in Christ-like friendships toward all people, particularly those who have been and are marginalized. The gift of friendship shows and reminds people that they are valued and indeed valuable individuals. That is a gift the church must offer all people.” ........ God is seeking above all else to be in a meaningful relationship with us ......... Those are the qualities — more than God’s power, more than his perfection — that ultimately won the affections of my heart as a person of the Christian faith. It is the knowledge that we can be seen and known by God, and that we can see and know God. That we need him, but that also, in some essential way, he needs us. ........ in so many cases the Christian faith has been shorn of love. When that happens, Christianity becomes a religion characterized by hard edges and judgmentalism, by brittleness and moral arrogance, by mercilessness and gracelessness. ........ For me, when my own faith was jumbled, uncertain and abstract, when I had more questions than answers, when God seemed a million miles away, they have been reflections of the divine. .
Why Jesus Never Stopped Asking Questions For most of his life, he was an agnostic; faith for him was “infinitely unattainable.” But attain it he did, late in life, and in 1975 he wrote, “The coming of Jesus into the world is the most stupendous event in human history.” ......... Twenty centuries after his birth, Jesus still holds a revered place in the hearts of billions of people. I am among them. I imagine that it has influenced almost every area of my life, like food coloring dropped in water. ......... his method of dialogue and teaching. He asked a lot of questions and told a lot of stories in the form of parables. ......... in his book “Jesus Is the Question” that Jesus was more than 40 times as likely to ask a question as answer one directly, and he was 20 times as likely to offer an indirect answer as a direct one. .......... Some of Jesus’ questions were rhetorical; others were meant to challenge or even provoke. In some cases, Jesus used questions to parry attacks by religious authorities who set traps for him. In others, he used questions to enter more fully into the lives of others and to help people look at the state of their hearts. He asked people about their fears and their faith. Jesus used questions to free a woman caught in adultery from condemnation and to inquire whether people considered him to be the Messiah. He probed deeply into questions not many had asked before him, like “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” ............. Jesus “created meaning like a dramatist and a poet rather than like a philosopher.” .......... refers to Jesus as a “metaphorical theologian” whose “primary method of creating meaning was through metaphor, simile, parable and dramatic action rather than through logic and reasoning.” .......... “Arguments may form our opinions, but stories form our loves” ..... “Stories ask us to enter another world — which usually has the result of broadening or disrupting our own.” .......... “Parables and questions invite us — require us — to think, to ponder.” .......... “The Truth must dazzle gradually/Or every man be blind.” .......... “With his use of everyday elements of life, people felt seen,” Ms. Dearborn added. “With his powerful depictions of a father who loves prodigals, tax collectors and Samaritans, people were comforted and felt safe enough to follow him. And hearing stories of the ways in which God stands on the side of the oppressed, people would know they could trust this God of both justice and love.” .......... “the aspect of Jesus’ style that stands out to me is how unpropagandistic he was. Imagine: He knew the truth more than anyone who has lived and could have responded with dogma and fiat, as the church so often has done in his place. Instead, he was anything but an arm twister.” ........... “Jesus was after our hearts, not just our minds. He was after lives changed, not just intellects grown.” ......... Jesus used stories, then, but he was also part of a story, one that contains thousands of characters and unexpected twists and turns, different genres (poetry, prophecy, epistles, wisdom literature) and countless subplots. But the Bible is also, above all, a metanarrative — the unfolding of a story God has entered, most conspicuously in the person of Jesus, a drama that has purpose and direction. That has been, at least for some of us, a source of comfort, especially in moments of grief and great pain. ........... “Jesus’ tender birth and violent death leave the problem of suffering unanswered until the end of days. We must learn to live and die in the not-yetness of suffering and empire, fear and uncertainty. But our questioning hearts in the face of evil is not an affront to faith. Jesus simply says: Wait. All will be revealed.” .......... trauma is like broken glass — shards in our lives that can randomly and repeatedly cut us inside. The trauma needs to be named and gradually integrated into a person’s life, and if possible, for those who are able, it helps for the trauma to be put in the context of being part of a larger story. For some people, that larger story need not have a faith component; they are able to create meaning without it. But for others, having their trauma understood not as a random, awful event but rather as a very difficult chapter in a larger and ultimately redemptive story can be life-giving. .
How Can I Possibly Believe That Faith Is Better Than Doubt? It can intensify during periods of grief and pain, when faith may not offer much consolation or even make much sense in a world that seems random and cruel. ........ Not seeing and still believing is held up by Jesus as a greater thing than seeing and believing. .......... treating Christian faith as different from proof doesn’t mean it’s antithetical to evidence and reason. Christianity is a faith that claims to be rooted in history, not abstract philosophy. ......... “Faith without reason risks descending into superstition; reason without faith builds a world without windows, doors or skylights.” ........... Materialists, rationalists and atheists ultimately place their trust in certain propositions that require faith. To say that truth is only intelligible through reason is itself a statement of faith. Denying the existence of God is as much a leap of faith as asserting it. As the pastor Tim Keller told me, “Most of the things we most deeply believe in — for example, human rights and human equality — are not empirically provable.” ......... “The supreme function of reason is to show man that some things are beyond reason” ........... why faith is prized within the Christian tradition is that it involves trust that would not be needed if the existence of God were subject to a mathematical proof. What God is seeking is not our intellectual assent so much as a relationship with us. .......... Every meaningful relationship — parent-child, spouse to spouse, friend to friend — involves some degree of trust. It is better and more vivifying to be the object of someone’s trust rather than the last person standing after a series of logical deductions. ......... “There is a force within love that longs to be received” ........ “Faith is a greater blessing than proof because it gives us a relationship with Jesus. All good relationships are bound together by love. And love is always an expression of faith.” .......... proofs don’t necessarily inspire belief. Toward the end of his Gospel, Matthew mentions that
some still doubted after they looked right at the risen Christ. (“When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.”) .............. Some of those who witnessed the miracles of Jesus eventually sought to kill him. And Judas, one of Jesus’ original disciples, betrayed him with a kiss. So sensory experience isn’t enough to compel belief and allegiance. ............. Our most important forms of knowledge rarely come from logic or proof ........ I know my wife loves me because I know her, I know her heart, I know her character, and because I trust her. “Your knowledge of her is less about physical certainty” ....... “Faith,” Ms. Harder added, “is tied to love in a way that logical deduction and reason are not. We are changed by what we love more than what we think.” ........ Faith can allow us to understand things in a different way than reason does, in a manner similar to what J.R.R. Tolkien meant when he said that pagan myths weren’t lies but rather pointed toward deep truths. The imagination could be integrated into reason, he believed, in a way that helped us to see reality a bit more clearly. Reason is one way to perceive reality; faith — rooted not in partisan ideology but in grace and a sense of the sacred — is another. ............ one other difference between faith and reason. The latter can analyze things like quantum physics and modern cosmology. But what faith can do is to put our lives in an unfolding narrative in ways reason cannot. It gives us a role in a gripping drama, of which the Christmas story is one defining scene. It’s a drama that includes sin and betrayal, redemption and grace; and ultimately it gives purpose to our lives despite the brokenness and pain we experience. .......... Some need proof, at least as a start; for others, faith alone is enough. .......... For many of us, shadows of doubt coexist with faith. ............ To emphasize faith is not to cast out doubt. In fact, it is precisely to take doubt seriously, but also to understand the doubter more completely — not just as a reasoning mind but as a full person, possessed of a divine spark that lets us see, now and then, right through the walls we have built between faith and reason. .
Christmas Turns the World Upside Down What does it mean for God’s power to be “made perfect in weakness”? ......... lowliness, obscurity, humility, fragility. ......... The circumstances of Jesus’ birth “were calculated to establish his detachment from power and authority in human terms” ......... That could be said not just about Jesus’ birth but also his entire life, which was in many respects an inversion of what the world, including much of the Christian world, prizes. ............ “He was raised by unremarkable parents in an unremarkable part of the world, conducted a ministry that was missed by most people, died as a criminal on a cross, and his ascension was seen only by a small band of disciples who then led a movement that within three centuries changed the world.” .......... His disciples did not have notable worldly status or influence. Jesus’ energies and affections were primarily aimed toward social outcasts, the downtrodden and “unclean,” strangers and aliens, prostitutes and the powerless. ......... The people Jesus clashed with and who eventually crucified him were religious authorities and those who wielded political power. .............. True greatness is shown through serving others and sacrifice. ......... Paul is describing a “thorn in my flesh” that was tormenting him. (We don’t know specifically what it was.) Three times he beseeched the Lord to remove it, according to the apostle, to which Jesus replied, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Paul went on to add, “For when I am weak, then I am strong.” ........... we often grow in times of weakness rather than strength, when we face hardship rather than experience success. That isn’t always the case; sometimes hardships and suffering simply overwhelm us and no good thing comes from them. .......... weakness can open the way for greater personal growth, reflection and self-reflection, and focus us on what is essential rather than ephemeral. ......... that suffering is good but that sometimes it can serve a purpose. This is true for people of different faiths and people of no faith. ........... “Our weakness finally opens our eyes to the need for a Savior. Nothing prevents that more than our strength. No one has ever said, ‘I was so successful I just had to come to Jesus.’” .......... the aftermath of his death was “the most powerless I’ve ever felt. Trusting in God’s goodness and yielding without being able to nail him down. That’s where peace begins: Surrender, in powerlessness.” ........... there are sufferings we may experience that make us a more resilient, deeper and more compassionate person, yet if we were asked whether we are glad for having gone through it, we would answer no. .......... “You can have scars and still be healed. There are some things in life you never move on from, but you do learn to carry them differently.” .......... human weakness and suffering are not meant to be ends in themselves. For Christians, they are meant to spur us to seek out God from a place of need and provide an opportunity for the display of divine power. And again: Power understood through the prism of Christianity is different from how the world generally understands power. ......... the difference between power over others and the power of connecting with others, which she said requires that there be openness and vulnerability........... weakness opens us up to a fundamentally new definition of strength — strength that is not coercive, domineering, prideful and self-seeking but rather compassionate, sacrificial, humble and empathetic. ........... God’s power, perfected through our weakness, makes us instruments of mercy, seekers of justice, agents of reconciliation. It helps us see the world in a different way. .......... “I am daily inspired by how Jesus continually turns the world upside down in regards to power, might, world success and achievement. Jesus’ subversive challenges to the human-crafted structures that oppress and bind is what keeps me following Jesus and holding on to hope that there is a third way — the Jesus way that brings healing to individuals, communities and nations.”........... “Jesus was most frequently out among the people — engaging and paying attention to the realities of ordinary people’s lives and helping them see that in God’s eyes they are extraordinary — and so often these are the people who are viewed as weak in the world. I am learning how to live well from those who hold very little worldly power but who are some of the most content and real people I’ve ever met.” ...... “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy,” Jesus declared in his most famous sermon. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” ............ “the valley of the shadow of death,” wasn’t simply Jesus spouting off abstract teachings; it was his life story. What the incarnation represents is God entering history not as the screenwriter of the drama but as an actor within it. Jesus is the suffering protagonist. ........... an infant placed in a manger in a troubled corner of a troubled world. You would have thought he would be among the most inconsequential individuals ever. .
After Great Pain, Where Is God? “I wish I could tell you that we are walking this journey with courage and faith, but that really doesn’t describe our situation at all. The outward courage feels like a ruse to convince ourselves that this immense pain will subside in time, and the weakness of our faith is showing us its shallow limits.” ............ Sometimes we suffer; other times we have to watch people we love suffer. Each situation is difficult in its own way. ......... My professional life has been focused on politics and the ideas that inform politics. Yet I’m also a Christian trying to wrestle honestly with the complexities and losses in life, within the context of my faith. .......... “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pain: It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” .......... Lewis wrote after his wife’s death. God’s megaphone didn’t just rouse Lewis, it nearly shattered him. In writing about his bereavement, Lewis described what it was like to go to God “when your need is desperate, when all other help is vain, and what do you find? A door slammed in your face, and a sound of bolting and double bolting on the inside. After that, silence.” ............ Jesus himself, crucified and near death, gave voice to the question many people overwhelmed by pain ask: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” ........... Like Job, we have to admit to the limitations of human knowledge when it comes to making sense of suffering. .......... So what, then, does Christianity have to offer in the midst of hardships and heartache? .......... the consolation that comes from being part of a Christian community — people who walk alongside us as we journey through grief, offering not pieties but tenderness and grace, encouragement and empathy, and when necessary, practical help. ......... All things may eventually be made new again, but in this life even wounds that heal leave scars. .......... The book of Isaiah, in prophesying the messiah, describes him as “man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” We’re told “by his wounds we are healed.” For those of the Christian faith, God is a God of wounds, where the road to redemption passes directly through suffering. There is some solace in knowing that while at times life is not easy for us, it was also hard for the God of the New Testament. And from suffering, compassion can emerge, meaning to suffer with another — that disposition, in turn, often leads to acts of mercy. .
The Uncommon Power of Grace A revolutionary idea lies at its core: radical equality. ......... No other religion places grace at its theological center. It was a revolutionary idea ......... grace “seems to go against every instinct of humanity.” We are naturally drawn to covenants and karma, to cause and effect, to earning what we receive......... the unmerited favor of God, unconditional love given to the undeserving. It’s a difficult concept to understand because it isn’t entirely rational. .......... “Love interrupts, if you like, the consequences of your actions.” ........ There’s a radical equality at the core of grace. None of us are deserving of God’s grace, so it’s not dependent on social status, wealth or intelligence. There is equality between kings and peasants, the prominent and the unheralded, rule followers and rule breakers. .......... They love us despite our messy lives, stay connected to us through our struggles, always holding out the hope of redemption. When relationships are broken, my wife Cindy told me, it’s grace that causes people not to give up, to extend the invitation to reconnect, to work through misunderstandings with sensitivity and transparency. ........... You don’t sense hard edges, dogmatism or self-righteous judgment from gracious people. There’s a tenderness about them that opens doors that had previously been bolted shut. People who have been transformed by grace have a special place in their hearts for those living in the shadows of society. They’re easily moved by stories of suffering and step into the breach to heal. And grace properly understood always produces gratitude. ........... We obviously can’t organize society entirely around the concept of grace. Yet the problem today is more the absence of grace than its presence. ......... Living a grace-filled life is hard. Most of us, when we feel wronged, want payback. Our first impulse, when hurt or offended, is to strike out, justifying our anger in the name of fairness. ......... “He that cannot forgive others breaks the bridge over which he must pass himself,” and we forget that only grace can break the cycle of ancient hatreds among peoples. ......... while I have regretted not granting grace to others, I’ve never once regretted extending it.......... There is a tendency among many people of faith to come across as holier than thou, more eager to judge than to forgive. Jesus encountered this throughout his ministry, which helps explain why he was more comfortable in the company of the unclean and reviled, the lowly and the outcast, than religious authorities. .......... when we see grace in action — whether in acts of extravagant, indiscriminate love, in radical self-giving, or in showing equanimity in the face of death — it can move us unlike anything else. ......... grace is “some combination of generosity and magnanimity, kindness and forgiveness, and empathy — all above the ordinary call of duty, and bestowed even (or especially?) when not particularly earned.” .
Why Is Jesus Still Wounded After His Resurrection? . “The risen but scarred body of Christ is the ultimate signifier of divine empathy.” ....... Jesus’ death by crucifixion was part of an unfolding drama, not the end of the story ....... “We bear all the ruins of the lives we’ve lived and the loves we’ve endured. What a gift to have a Savior who does the same.” ........ it is similar to the situation facing victims of trauma ....... when he’s counseling or mentoring others “often the most helpful thing I bring is my wounds.” ........ “Everything important about being a pastor I did not learn in seminary.” He learned it through the pain of a personal loss that will never completely fade. “Wounded people make the best healers because they know what it means to be wounded” .......... Jesus himself experienced a “dark night of the soul” at the Garden of Gethsemane, where we’re told his soul was “deeply grieved,” and especially as he hung on the cross, naked, beaten and left to die, feeling forsaken by God........ the idea that in embracing flaws and imperfections, you can create a more beautiful and more valuable piece of art.
@Peter_Wehner You have a lucid writing style. I have been reading column after column of yours. Thankful for the archives. My compliments.— Paramendra Kumar Bhagat (@paramendra) December 25, 2022
What It Means to Worship a Man Crucified as a Criminal A God who allows suffering is a mystery, but so is a God who suffered. ........ until the accounts of Jesus’ death burst upon the Mediterranean world, “no one in the history of human imagination had conceived of such a thing as the worship of a crucified man.” And yet the crucifixion — an emblem of agony and one of the cruelest methods of execution ever practiced — became a historical pivot point and eventually the most compelling symbol of the most popular faith on earth. ......... the idea that people would worship a God who is compassionate toward us is one thing, but to worship a God who suffers and dies — as a condemned criminal, no less — is distinct to Christianity ......... From the perspective of Christianity, one can question why God allows suffering, but one cannot say God doesn’t understand it. He is not remote, indifferent, untouched or unscarred. ........... there’s no good answer to the question, “Why is there suffering?” Jesus never answers that question, and even if we had the theological answer, it would not ease our burdens in any significant way. What God offers instead is the promise that he is with us in our suffering; that he can bring good out of it (life out of death, forgiveness out of sin); and that one day he will put a stop to it and redeem it. God, Revelation tells us, will make “all things new.” ........ a radiating effect of the cross was to undermine abusive power and injustice; that care for the disenfranchised and those living in the shadows of society came about as a direct result of Jesus’ crucifixion. .......... The most important moment in my faith pilgrimage was when the cross became my interpretive prism. ....... I was and remain a person with a skeptical mind and countless questions. There are parts of the Bible I still find puzzling, difficult and troubling. ........ the glory and joy of Easter Sunday is only made possible by the anguish of Good Friday.
@Peter_Wehner "There are parts of the Bible I still find puzzling, difficult and troubling." Can you please tell me which parts? I'd like to take a crack at it.— Paramendra Kumar Bhagat (@paramendra) December 25, 2022
The Forgotten Radicalism of Jesus Christ First-century Christians weren’t prepared for what a truly inclusive figure he was, and what was true then is still true today. ....... Simon Peter, already a disciple, registers his fierce objection. Matthew is a tax collector, who were viewed as tools of Roman authorities, often dishonest and abusive. ......... “I don’t get it,” Simon Peter says to Jesus about his decision to invite Matthew, to which Jesus responds, “You didn’t get it when I chose you, either.” ........ First-century Christians weren’t prepared for what a truly radical and radically inclusive figure Jesus was, and neither are today’s Christians. We want to tame and domesticate who he was, but Jesus’ life and ministry don’t really allow for it. He shattered barrier after barrier. ......... Jesus’ rejection of conventional religious and cultural thinking — in this case because Jesus, a man, was talking earnestly to a woman in a world in which women were often demeaned and treated as second-class citizens; and because Jesus, a Jew, was talking to a Samaritan, who were despised by the Jews for reasons going back centuries. ............ Jesus was repeatedly attacked for hanging out with the wrong crowd and recruited his disciples from the lower rungs of society. ............ Jesus’ parable of the good Samaritan, a story about a man who helps a wounded traveler on the road to Jericho, made the hero of the story not an influential priest, not a person of social rank or privilege but a hated foreigner. .......... For Christians, the incarnation is a story of God, in the person of Jesus, participating in the human drama. And in that drama Jesus was most drawn to the forsaken and despised, the marginalized, those who had stumbled and fallen. He was beloved by them, even as he was targeted and eventually killed by the politically and religiously powerful, who viewed Jesus as a grave threat to their dominance. ............ Jesus sees indelible dignity and inestimable worth in every person, even “the least of these.” If no one else would esteem them, Jesus would. .......... We place loyalty to the tribe over compassion and human connection. We view differences as threatening; the result is we become isolated, rigid in our thinking, harsh and unforgiving. .......... Jesus clearly believed that outcasts had a lot to teach the privileged and the powerful, including the virtues of humility and the vice of supreme certitude. Rather than seeing God exclusively as a moral taskmaster, Jesus understood that the weak and dispossessed often experience God in a different way — as a dispenser of grace, a source of comfort, a redeemer. They see the world, and God, through a different prism than do the powerful and the proud. The lowly in the world offer a corrective to the spiritual astigmatisms that develop among the rest of us. ............ who the modern outcasts are and whether we’re mistreating them ........ what ultimately changes people’s lives are relationships rather than rule books, mercy rather than moral demands. ......... we drift into self-righteousness and legalism, even to the point that we corrupt the very institution, the church, which was created to worship him and to love others......... all of us were once outcasts, broken yet loved, and worth reaching out to and redeeming. ....... If God did that for us, why do we find it so hard to do it for each other? .
Christian Doomsayers Have Lost It Leading social indicators are trending their way, but somehow it is only Trump who stands between us and the apocalypse...... in 1990 there were more than 1.6 million clinical abortions, the historical high-water mark in absolute numbers. (The abortion rate reached its peak in the early 1980s.) Since the early 1990s, the number of abortions has declined steadily, and recently the institute reported that the number and rate of abortions reached their lowest levels since the procedure became legal nationwide in 1973. ......... Clinics performed about 862,000 abortions in 2017 — the latest year for which data is available — the lowest number since 1974, when about 898,000 abortions were performed. .......... the total number of abortions dropped during 15 of the 16 years of the Clinton and Obama presidencies. ........ the teenage birthrate in the United States is also at a record low. ......... in 2018 the divorce rate reached a 40-year low. ....... Today nearly 40 percent of children are born to unmarried mothers. Pornography is ubiquitous in our society, and we face an opioid epidemic and an alarming increase in teenage suicides. ......... We are not living in Nero’s Rome. In world history, there are very few nations that have been as accommodating to Christianity as the United States is today; and America is hardly on the edge of a moral abyss. ......... Many Christians have become invested in a dark narrative. As a friend of mine puts it: “They seem to have some kind of psychological craving for apocalyptic fear. I wonder if walking it back is even possible.” .......... This apocalyptic moral mind-set has led to an alliance with a shockingly unethical figure, who embodies a mobster’s mentality and an anti-Christian ethic. Mr. Trump, a skilled demagogue, has taken full advantage of this. There appears to be almost nothing he can say or do to break the bond that has developed, and virtually nothing that many of his Christian supporters will not excuse. ............. A movement characterized by anxiety and anger, by harsh language and hard edges, by defensiveness and undue pessimism isn’t going to win many converts. Why would it? .......... We should be willing to accept good news where we find it. We shouldn’t assume that joy, gratitude and kindness are synonyms for weakness. And we should be known more for caring for our culture than for constantly being at war with it............. Jesus didn’t view the world primarily as a battle zone. Neither should we. .
How Would You Prove That God Performed a Miracle? He believes that God miraculously healed him of a brain tumor. ....... documentation purporting to link Christian prayers and revivals to sudden, inexplicable medical recoveries. But is it possible to prove that a miracle happened? Is it dangerous to even try? ........... stories of healings that are impossible to account for by natural means, based on current medical knowledge (although they believe that God mostly heals through modern medicine) .......... about half of American scientists and three-quarters of doctors believe in a higher power. ........... The Browns grew up in Christian families but not the sort that expected God to intervene ostentatiously in modern life. Still, he was desperate. He started traveling the country seeking out Christian healing revivals, dragging along his wife and baby daughter. “I needed to find out what was going on,” he said. “If there was any reality to it, I wanted a miracle.” ........... he saw things he couldn’t explain — like a blind man on a street in Cuba who appeared to instantly regain his sight after missionaries prayed for him. Months later, after many sessions of prayer for healing and deliverance, an M.R.I. revealed that his tumor had turned into scar tissue. ........ “One way or another, the tumor went away,” he said. “I’ve been symptom-free for 19 years. The doctors said very little.” The Browns felt grateful — and perplexed. “At that point I wondered why, when I had seen so many things that seemed miraculous and difficult to explain, why was there so little careful investigation of these things?” .......... But the Christian God does not work in randomized, repeatable trials. He works in history. ......... a blind woman who, while praying one night with her husband, regained her sight and a teenage boy who depended on a feeding tube until his stomach suddenly healed itself during an encounter with a Pentecostal minister ......... The Browns’ experiences are striking because they operate in one of the most antisupernaturalist subcultures in the modern world: secular academia. But in a global context — and we are in the midst of a worldwide Christian revival — stories of unexplained healing in response to prayer are common. .......... 80 percent of new Christians in Nepal come to the faith through an experience with healing or deliverance from demonic spirits. Perhaps as many as 90 percent of new converts who join a house church in China credit their conversion to faith healing. In Kenya, 71 percent of Christians say they have witnessed a divine healing ......... we are talking about millions of people who say something otherworldly happened to them. ......... He has been a healing evangelist since the age of 7, when, he said, Jesus appeared to him in a dream and asked if he would like to heal people. His family was not Christian at the time, but after his frightened parents heard him speaking English in his sleep (they spoke only Igbo), they took him to a local minister, who proclaimed that the boy was anointed as a healer. ............ In the Bible, humans see wondrous signs of God’s power where the Gospel is spreading to new lands, and Jesus refuses to perform magic tricks for skeptical Pharisees but heals those whose desperation drives them to faith. .......... They described startling cases of cancer remission and unresponsive people with dementia getting up to dance. But most of their stories emphasized internal transformation, the acceptance of approaching death by pilgrims and their families. ........... many Christians’ belief that miraculous healing ceased after New Testament times springs from “protection against pain, protection against feeling ill will toward God or other people. It takes hope and vulnerability to be open to healing.” ......... miracles are not the point. Miracles are signs meant to help humans see the greatest miracle of all, the incarnation and resurrection of Jesus Christ— God’s ultimate intrusion into ordinary life, by which he eventually “shall wipe away all tears,” according to the Book of Revelation.