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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...

A Day at a Time: Contradictions?

By Scott Harrup
Sept. 28, 2014

Oxymoron, according to, is a “figure of speech in which seemingly contradictory terms appear side by side.” The website includes a list of 100 examples. Some that caught my eye: alone together, civil war, found missing, good grief, growing smaller, minor miracle, only choice.

One entry in the list fit perfectly with a Time article I read that had made me look for an online list of oxymorons in the first place — devout atheist.

Josh Sanburn’s Aug. 4 piece in the newsweekly, “Nonbelief system. Atheist ‘churches’ take hold, even in the Bible Belt,” examines the growing popularity of meeting places for nonbelievers, such as Houston Oasis, “a church that’s not a church.” Sanburn notes, “Oasis is one of a growing number of so-called atheist churches [a new oxymoron?] in the U.S.”

But an oxymoron is not intended to promote nonsense. As noted above, it is made of “seemingly contradictory terms.” Oxymorons help to illuminate deeper truths, and I believe “atheist churches” illustrates that function.

To the extent followers of Christ demonstrate His love and unity, especially in the public square, people of all spiritual persuasions (or of no such persuasion) will be drawn to that expression of community. Local churches are intended to be inviting representations of the true Church, Christ’s living body of believers. It should come as no surprise, then, that atheists would attempt to emulate that kind of interaction within a setting devoid of any claim to God’s existence or the lordship of His Son.

Responding to such hunger for community is one of the most compelling tools for evangelism. This week’s cover feature, “New Identities” by John W. Kennedy, reports on Chi Alpha’s growth among California’s universities. From small group meetings to public outreaches on campus quads, Chi Alpha invites students to encounter Christ through involvement in a loving community.

As a follower of Christ, you don’t have to be an ordained minister or full-time evangelist to share the gospel. You can reach out with kindness and concern to the people who surround you in your neighborhood, at your job, or in the grocery store.

Who knows, you might even be the means for attracting a member of an atheist church to a genuine house of worship.

Scott Harrup
Managing Editor

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