Monthly Archives: September 2011
Every generation has its stereotype- the industrious gentleman of the 1910s, the degenerate flapper of the ‘20s, the family centered husband of the ‘50s, the free love hippies of the ‘60s, and so on. The layman historian naturally embraces such distillations because it makes his job that much easier, and we naturally sympathize with his generalities because it makes for easy conversation pieces. The problem is that these stereotypes skew or at least introduce biases into our perception of what life really was like ‘back then.’ Not everything in the 1920s roared, and not everyone in the Middle Ages was religious.
Lyrics adapted from Frances Brook
Music arranged by Henry Thomas Smart
My home is God Himself; Christ brought me there,
And bade me dwell in Him, rejoicing there;
He bore me where no foot but His hath trod,
Within the holiest at home with God.
O holy place! O home divinely fair!
And we, God’s little ones, abiding there.
Recently I read an article in the NY Times called, “The Meaningfulness of Lives.” The author argues that the meaningfulness of your life consists in whether or not your life tells a compelling narrative. What makes a compelling narrative is subjective and objective value.
Our experience of regeneration determines our subsequent experiences of life.
The experience of regeneration initiates something that continues for eternity. Regeneration orients us for the rest of our life and becomes the standard by which we evaluate all other life experiences. When we are awakened to what transpired within us at the time of our salvation, we begin to value “that which is really life.”
Watchman Nee’s hymns are some of the deepest and moving I have ever heard. I wish more believers today enjoyed not just his ministry of the word but also his wealth of hymns.
I recorded this on my iPhone in one sitting without looking at the number of stanzas, so please forgive the fact that I don’t play the whole thing through.
1. Lord, when the Father ne’er was known, / The Father came through Thee below,
That we who lived in ignorance / Might through Thyself the Father know.
God’s desire that all men be saved (1 Tim. 2:4) requires that Christians sympathize with God in this desire. God does not act unilaterally to carry out His purpose. Rather, He relies on man’s agreement, consent, and obedience. If Christians respond sooner, then God’s purpose will be accomplished sooner. For this reason, the Bible tells us that we can actually speed up the day of Christ’s return (2 Peter 3:12).
All Christians will agree that the Bible reveals God. What has interested me lately is what kind of God?
With a surface reading of the Bible, it seems that God has a drastic mood swing between the Old Testament and the New Testament, bordering on a fundamental change in personality. But the revelation of God in the Bible is consistent, although it’s progressive. The trouble to many people is uncovering what that central thread is which ties it all together.
However, the survival of the Christian faith and believers living a society-impacting church life, historically, has not depended on professional marketing or hip adaptations of Christ’s teachings to make them more relevant. These have hurt more than helped.
God’s word has prevailed during the last 2,000 years because of its essence- spirit (John 6:63). God doesn’t need us to breathe fresh life into a failing institutional system. He wants us to breathe God in as the Spirit through His word. God gives the Spirit without measure.
Although all humans share the creative use of language, it seems that not all of us are using it. Especially in today’s social-media saturated generation, where the ephemeral nature of conversation is touted, the art of writing well or of producing something to be read at length is vanishing. This is most alarming to writers, but also to the rest of us who still want to communicate beyond chat boxes, text messages, or the 140 characters of a tweet.
“Because the God who said, Out of darkness light shall shine, is the One who shined in our hearts to illuminate the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”
-2 Corinthians 4:6
I’ve been commenting here and there on how existential views of man or theological concepts have shaped religious building works. Architecture is very philosophical and theories abound as to why or how we should build and what our built environment says about us. Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, Modern all, at their core, are tectonic theories about life.
“Giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you for a share of the allotted portion of the saints in the light; who delivered us out of the authority of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son of His love.”
Your portion as a Christian is “in the light.”
Gothic architecture may have been founded on similar theological notions, but the religious, creative mind of the day, in its attempt to materialize this truth in concrete terms, stripped it of its full import. Beautiful stained glass windows diffracted light into a kaleidoscopic metaphor of God and a whole new genre of religious art flourished. Medieval man’s experience of this ‘lux nova’ was confined to basking in the colorful glow of physical light. The resultant concept was that man could rise to the contemplation of the divine only through the senses- a physical experience of an immaterial abstraction.
The far reaching ripples of this objective or physical experience of God lap upon the shores of modern Christianity.
“We ought not to suppose that what is divine is like gold or silver or stone, like an engraving of art and thought of man.”
I found these style descriptions on a promo website when the W Hotel in Dallas was under construction. I think they were trying to say that the W appeals to all style dispositions, no matter how your chromosomes are wired. Obviously they have made selective reductions in the style spectrum. Which one are you?
I wanted to say more about the organic emphasis in what’s termed sonship or adoption. If not in popular theology, at least in the Bible there is a definite emphasis placed on our growth in and experience of God’s life. As amazing as reconciliation is, the Bible itself says that there is something “much more.”
“Much more we will be saved in His life, having been reconciled.” -Romans 5:10