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In the world of “what if” | Why we are drawn to counterfactual thinking

The ability to imagine alternatives to events that have already occurred distinguishes humans from other creatures and machines—artificial intelligence has not yet succeeded in creating a device that can devise counterfactual scenarios. The fact that we can travel in an imaginary time and rewrite our actions and their outcomes can prove to be an advantage or can lead to dysfunctional emotional and cognitive...

How to speak to be heard

“The problem with communication is the illusion that it has been accomplished.” (George Bernard Shaw)

Spoiling is not love

Being a parent means, among other things, engaging in agonising negotiations to keep the supermarket aisles relatively quiet and the shopping trolley from overflowing with sweets. Some are successfully concluded. Others, a real failure. Although we are very adept at recognising a spoiled child on the street, we have a much harder time spotting the signs in our own children. After all, what...

The risen Jesus

Was the death of Jesus the end of an extraordinary life, or just the beginning of eternal life for those who believe in Him?

Resilience to shame

Where there's fear, there's shame, says a Romanian proverb. What the proverb doesn't say (and what many of us don't know) is that the folds of shame hide a multitude of emotional problems and dysfunctional relationships that are passed down from one generation to the next.

From science to magic: the unpredictable journey of positive thinking

Over the years, the concept of positive thinking has proved to be extremely versatile and has managed to lure millions of people into the grip of powerful promises, convincing them that life can offer more than what they have been able to experience so far.

Is disciplining children the responsibility of grandparents too?

“When grandparents enter the door, discipline flies out the window,” poet Ogden Nash once said, encapsulating one of the most common sources of intergenerational conflict—the role grandparents play in the upbringing of their grandchildren.

What (not) to say when apologising

"I was wrong. I'm sorry"—these words can have a magical effect on a struggling relationship. But if we fail to show empathy, the apology will sound fake or hurt the offended person even more.

Staring loss in the eye | Lessons from life’s disasters

In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, Max Lucado wrote an article summarising the spiritual lessons we can learn from an event that the news described as a "once in a thousand year flood".

“If the paper screen is closed, it means I’ve died”

When a closed window shade becomes an SOS sent by those used to living on their own but afraid of dying alone, something has fundamentally changed in a society that not long ago valued human relationships.

How (and why) to encourage your pastor

After 25 years in the ministry, during which he never once considered leaving, Pastor Tim Kuperus admits that the last three years have been difficult enough for him to consider a different path.

The art of slowing down time

"When things happen too fast, nobody can be certain about anything, about anything at all, not even about himself" (Milan Kundera).

Books: from windows on the world to mirrors reflecting our inner selves

I’ll never be able to separate the memories of childhood from that of books. They intertwine like colours in fabrics, in a jumble of real and fantastical, bitter and sweet, joy and guilt.

The outline of a plastic planet

"We've got all you need, and so much more!" is the tagline that appears in the opening minutes of a famous animated film; a slogan that is not at all disturbing to viewers who have long since become accustomed to the commercials of consumer society.

(Un)Interesting sermons and the forgotten art of listening to the Word

If we were asked how many of the thousands of sermons we’ve listened to in a lifetime were truly memorable, the answers might not be too encouraging for those called to share Scripture. Equally challenging, however, remains the way we prepare to be good listeners of the Word.