Archives For January 2012

How does the artist – or any concerned citizen of postmodernity – face the threat of unreal simulated hyperreality? You could accept it, of course (“anything goes”). Or you could carry on with experimentation as Lyotard urges. But the trouble is, there are no longer any rules or categories by which to judge the experimentally unfamiliar. “Those rules and categories are what the work of art itself is looking for.” 

The question isn’t simply one of further experimentation, but of whose power will “legitimate” what is done as the right way of doing it. This brings us to the . . . central issue of real postmodern concern. Legitimation (Appignanesi, Richard and Chris Garratt, with Ziauddin Sardar and Patrick Curry, Introducing Postmodernism, 50).

Not a week goes by in which I don’t undertake an internal battle revolving around personal legitimation. Perhaps I’m unnecessarily insecure. Maybe it’s due to having “Words of Affirmation” as my love language. Whatever the case, it seems like I’m constantly struggling to feel like my contributions “matter.”

Internal-struggle

Continue Reading…

In this short video, I ask whether or not there’s any truth to the assertion that evangelicals are lazy thinkers. Weigh in below!

Mind_control

Several years ago I read Harry Blamires’ The Christian Mind: How Should a Christian Think? Written in 1963, the Englishman describes with penetrating clarity the lack of applied Christian reasoning in the church. For me, this was the first cogent treatment I’d read of the disparity that exists between modern academic scholarship and modern Christian life. 

Blamires calls the reader to a life of the mind marked by distinctive Christian reasoning in all areas of life. His challenge to the church is to do the hard work of thinking “Christianly” about all things intellectual. He laments the sea of secularity which exists in the life of the Academy and argues for a “Christian Romanticism” which sees everything that is good, including the ability to reason and apply reason, as creations of God, pointing to Him.

Some 30 years later, Mark Noll published The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind. Noll’s “scandal” is that there is no evangelical mind. Extending Blamires’ thesis, Noll paints a bleak picture of Christian scholarship and academic engagement in the closing decade of the twentieth century. He writes, “American evangelicals are not exemplary for their thinking, and they have not been so for several generations” (Noll, Kindle loc. 101, emphasis mine). Continue Reading…

Always a Few Steps Ahead

January 20, 2012 — 2 Comments

…then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. And the LORD God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. (Genesis 2:7-8, ESV)

As I was reading through the first couple chapters of Genesis this morning, the above verses stuck out. I’d never noticed before that Adam wasn’t created in Eden. No, God formed Adam out of the dust of the earth, breathed life into him, and then crafted Eden as a place for Adam to dwell.

Why is that important? I think that it shows two things: that God is interested in a dynamic relationship with us and that God continually goes before us, preparing a place for us.

It’s really quite beautiful, isn’t it? After creating Adam, God rushes off to make a place for him to dwell–a paradise–that is suited to Adam. God didn’t create paradise and then create a caretaker for it. Nope. Paradise was tailor-made for His beloved.

In a crazy, upside-down kind of way God is in the business of pursuing us and preparing for us. 

“Behold, I send an angel before you to guard you on the way and to bring you to the place that I have prepared.” (Exodus 23:20)

Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. 4 And you know the way to where I am going.”

I’m not sure I’ll ever get used to the idea that the all-powerful Creator is that into me. But over the last year, I’ve felt His presence at my back and seen evidence that He’s already been where I’m going.

 

Trampoline

“I have something to tell you,” Jeff began. It was a warm spring afternoon near the end of my freshman year in high school. We lay outside on the trampoline in my backyard, staring at the sky through the tree branches overhead. 

“Mmmkay,” I said.

“I’m gay,” Jeff said in a rush. We both continued to stare at the sky as a heavy silence settled over us. 

I’d met Jeff the previous fall shortly after the beginning of our freshman year. Both of us were new to the private Christian high school. Neither of us felt like we really fit in well. We became fast friends, spending time outside of class together whenever we could.

Dozens of questions flooded my mind. What does he mean he’s “gay?” Doesn’t he know what the Bible says about that? Why is he telling me this? Does he “like” me? Does he think I’m gay too? What does he expect me to say? 

I settled for, “Oh.”

Jeff continued, “I’ve never told anyone before. Please don’t tell anyone yet. It’s not like I ‘like’ like you. I mean, you’re my best friend, but I don’t ‘like’ you that way. I just had to tell someone.”

“Ok,” I replied, still fixated on the branches above us. I don’t remember any more conversation on the subject after that. Continue Reading…

Served

January 16, 2012 — Leave a comment

P61

Tonight I was served communion by my six-year old daughter. What an amazing, humbling experience.

Hope for My Girls

January 13, 2012 — 6 Comments
Sydneyrylee
My girls, Sydney (8) and Rylee (6)

In late-spring 2003, I sat with my wife in a doctor’s exam room while a nurse practitioner readied her machine. I was quite nervous. I held my wife’s hand as the nurse began the procedure. Images I didn’t understand morphed across screen of the machine. After what seemed like an hour, but was merely minutes, the nurse spoke. “It’s a girl!”

Within hours the news was making rounds among our family and friends. Our first child is to be a girl! My dear mother-in-law nearly keeled over in excitement. Then she went straight to the department store and began buying dresses and all things pink. We were having a girl. 

It is interesting, isn’t it, the things people attach to prenatal sexing? In some ways, a bit bizarre. We blast low frequency sound waves into the uterus to catch a glimpse of what is between the fetus’s legs. What we find there is used by the soon-to-be parents and their friends and families to make all sorts of decisions on behalf of the child–paint color for the nursery, clothing style, toys, books, to name a few.  Continue Reading…