Thursday, May 21, 2015

When Hope and History Rhyme

HT: Tim Keller

The ancients saw history as repetitious and endless. Their image of time was a wheel, in that the ages of the world repeated themselves in great cycles. The Hindu Vedas, for example, taught that the universe goes through great arcs of creation, rise, decline, destruction, and then rebirth, each of which last millions of years, and which go on forever without any resolution. Christianity, however, understands history to be under the control of God, who is moving it purposefully toward a great and irreversible climax.
Late-modern, secular culture has rejected religion and even belief in God yet held on tightly to the Christian-inspired idea that history is making progress. The people once called “liberals” now call themselves “progressives,” which shows how deeply the Christian idea has embedded itself in our thinking. Secular Westerners do not simply believe that we can make things better in this or that area, but that “the times” are inevitably moving the world to a better condition. We often denounce actions or positions as “having no business in the 21st century,” or as “archaic thinking out of step with the times.”
You can read the rest.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

In Praise of the Dying Art of Civil Disagreement

HT: Carl Trueman

I spent the first half of last week at a seminar at an Ivy League divinity school, where a friend and I gave a presentation on ministry and media. I had resolved before speaking that I would refer early on in my presentation to the fact that I belong to a denomination which does not ordain women. My discussion of ministry would be incomplete if I didn't mention this subject, though I knew my comment would draw fire at a seminar with ordained women present.
Sure enough, one of the women ministers present challenged me with some vigor on my position. For a few minutes we exchanged trenchant but civil remarks on the subject.We each spoke our minds, neither persuaded the other, and then we moved on to the larger matter in hand: The use of modern media in the church. The matter of my opposition to women’s ordination never came up again in the remaining two days of the seminar.
Later that evening, a young research student commented to me that it was amazing to see such a trenchant but respectful disagreement on an issue that typically arouses visceral passions. He added that he and those of his generation had “no idea” (his phrase, if I recall) how such things should be done. Later in the week, my youngest son confirmed that he too had never seen civil disagreement on a matter of importance in the university classroom. This is an ominous, if fascinating, indictment, for I had simply done what I had seen modeled when I was an undergraduate: Vigorous disagreement in the classroom followed by friendly conversation in the pub. If we no longer have a university system which models ways of civil engagement on such matters, then the kind of civic virtues upon which a healthy democracy depends are truly a thing of the past.
You can read the rest.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Praying Through the Beatitudes

HT: Scotty Smith

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons[a] of God.
10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
-Matthew 5:3-10
You can read the prayer.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Recycled Disney Animation Sequences

Some animation between some classic Disney movies looks a bit similar. But hey, as a composer, I've always figured recycling is good for the environment.


Thursday, May 14, 2015

How Not to Respond When Another Christian Embrasses

Alex E. Proimos, Flickr, CC. 2.0
HT: Samuel James

It happens. It’s happened before, it’s probably happening right now somewhere, and it will happen again. People who take the name of Christ and identify with His church are going to say or do something so inexplicable, so ridiculous, and so embarrassing that the rest of us will either shake our heads in disbelief or groan in frustration. Sometimes it’s something silly. Sometimes it’s more serious, and even blasphemous. It happens. There’s no use or honesty in pretending it doesn’t.
Sometimes it won’t even be necessary to respond, but other times, people around us need to know that this particular person does not speak or act on behalf of the church. Discernment and common sense will usually illuminate when that kind of response is necessary. When it is, I’d like to offer a simple list of some “Do Nots.”
Read the list.