Ranking Six Flag America’s Roller Coasters

roller coasterby John Ellis

I rode my first roller coaster the summer after 6th grade. My family was vacationing at Disney World, and my dad was eager to ride Space Mountain. I don’t remember if he had to cajole me or bribe me into riding, or if I entered the line with great eagerness under my own, unmanipulated will-power. However, I do remember that after we had finally made it to the front of the line, with a serious look on his face and in his tone, my dad pointed to the empty, returning cars and said, “Look. The cars leave with people in them, but return empty. Do you think that’s what all the screaming is about?”

Before I could answer, he ushered me into the car, and we were off.

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The War on Mother’s Day

Mother-with-baby

by John Ellis

Tomorrow is Mother’s Day, and I’m taking my wife to Six Flags. Mainly because we’re assuming that very few people are going to take their mom to Six Flags on Mother’s Day, making the park far less crowded than usual. That, and tomorrow is “Bring a Friend Day,” which means that season pass holders (us) are allowed to bring a friend into the park for free for each season pass. My point, we don’t make a big deal out of Mother’s Day, nor our anniversary, birthdays, Valentine’s Day, whatever. We also don’t begrudge those who do. I think that Mother’s Day is a fine holiday, and I applaud those who take it seriously and enjoy it to the fullest extent allowed by law.

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National Teacher Appreciation Day

teacher

by John Ellis

This year, National Teacher Appreciation Day is being observed on May 9, which is today. Over my life, I’ve had many excellent teachers. I’ve also had the privilege of working with and befriending many excellent teachers. I’m thankful for all of them. In fact, I’m even thankful for the “bad” teachers that I had, because I learned quite a bit from them, too (to be fair, I wasn’t always the easiest student to have, and the “bad” teachers generally exhibited far more patience and grace than I deserved). However, and surprising no one who knows me, one of those teachers occupies far more space in my memory than all of my other teachers combined. That teacher is my mom, of course.

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My 2017 Reading List: April

manreadingabook

by John Ellis

After the month of April, my goal of reading two hundred books in 2017 may be out of reach. Having read nine books last month, my total for the first four months of the year is fifty-one. This means that I will need to read one-hundred and forty-nine books during the remaining eight months of 2017. At an average of 18.6 books per month, it’s doable, but highly doubtful. To be fair, in April I began reading Paul: An Outline of His Theology by Herman Ridderbos. That dense tome has eaten up (in a good way) much of my reading time.

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Parents, Don’t Be Afraid to Bore Your Kids

yawning

by John Ellis

When we were expecting our first child, people with raised eyebrows and a condescending tone would warn, “Oh, your lives are going to change!” Well, duh. Of course, lives are going to change when a new baby is born. Change is a natural state of life. No offense if you’ve said or say this to new parents, but advising that, “Your life is going to change!” is almost nonsensical in its obviousness and unhelpfully wrong in some of its underlying implications.

Yes, as stated, life is going to change, but life would’ve changed without the baby. However, even with a new baby, life doesn’t need to change as much as some new parents assume and some old parents believe.

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After Bad Things Happen, How Do You Talk to Children About God?

scared-child

by John Ellis

If we live long enough and King Jesus doesn’t return, we will all face hard providences. Sadly, even children face hard providences. When that happens, parents are often at a loss as to how to discuss the event with their child, and understandably so. Often, though, that inability stems from an anemic doctrines of God, sin, and/or suffering. Without a robust understanding of who God is, the awfulness of sin, and the overall purpose of suffering, adults are going to miss out on an opportunity to preach the gospel when bad things happen to children.

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