Category Archives: culture
This word crashes onto the shore of human ingenuity like a wall of water. We humans solve everything. We have an intractable ambition to master our environment, overcome what stands in our way, and remake the world in our own image. The Enlightenment taught us to believe in progress, that all problems are solvable. Potential, progress, and pragmatism are the Western, secular trinity. This is faith in humanity. Read the rest of this entry
Hans Küng on the fact that the kingdom of God cannot be made into a program of political and social action:
It has been observed that Che Guevara, the Cuban guerrilla, bore a remarkable facial resemblance to the conventional picture of Jesus. But, apart from this, is it so surprising that Jesus has exercised an influence on many revolutionaries right up to Camilo Torres, the Colombian priest-revolutionary? And there can be no doubt that the Jesus of the Gospels is not the sweet, gentle Jesus of an earlier or later Romanticism nor a solid ecclesiastical Christ. Read the rest of this entry
The recent election and more particularly the reactions to it in on my Facebook news feed, caused me to reflect on a book title I read in college- Politics by Other Means. The book was assigned for a government class called Comparative Models of Democracy. To the chagrin of my former professor, I retain only incomplete and elusive memories of this book. What really stuck with me was the intriguing and suggestive title.
Faith is not mental assent to irrefutable facts.
The classic, oft-quoted, and definitive verse on faith in the New Testament is Hebrews 11:1. And I love the Recovery Version’s translation here (following Darby’s precedent):
“Now faith is the substantiation of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”
Liar, Lunatic, Lord? In my last post I presented a brief survey of this argument. A fourth option was eventually suggested as equally viable. Legend- Jesus is not a historical person but is a myth of some sort.
This is just the sort of argument that pseudo-intellectuals will bring up on college campuses. Or the sort of headline story you’d find in the grocery store check-out line. It is either a mark of ignorance or a strategy for sensational journalism and should not be seriously entertained.
1) Will we ever solve the ecclesiology problem?
To make headway in this area, Christians need to see that redemption fits into the larger picture of God’s eternal purpose to have the church. God’s masterpiece is the church (Eph. 2:10). By definition a masterpiece is unique. An artist only has one of them, and God is no different. Although He does many things, works in many ways, and accomplishes many things, only the church is God’s masterpiece. Understanding this should uplift our appreciation and regard for the church.
Religion, as old as humanity itself, has always managed throughout all millennia to capture man’s mind afresh.
Alain de Botton’s new book, ‘Religion for Atheists’, seems to reinforce this fact.
As much as man may rail against the idea of God or certain portrayals of God, he has a hard time of ever doing away with, once and for all, the question of God and religion. Even some of the most radical proponents of atheism, Feuerbach and Nietzsche, remained fascinated by these questions until the end of their lives.
A while back I read another one of Alain’s books, ‘The Art of Travel.’ Alain is an excellent writer and in general can poetically elucidate many aspects of life. Yet even this very human book on travel draws on religious and theological sources.
The world has lost its bearings. Not that ideologies are lacking, to give directions: only that they lead nowhere. People are going round in circles in the cage of their planet, because they have forgotten that they can look up to the sky… Because all we want is to live, it has become impossible for us to live. Just look around you!
-Eugene Ionesco, founder of the theater of the absurd, 1972
I recently read Alain de Botton WSJ op-ed article entitled “Religion for Everyone.”
In it he suggests importing the Christian love (agape) feast into secular society to remedy the threatened and waning sense of community apparent in postmodern life.
At 10,587,270 views at 11 pm on only the fifth day since it was posted, the “Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus” YouTube video can officially be dubbed viral.
It’s amazing to me that 685 words with the right video editing and some perfectly timed musical swells can attract such a flash flood of attention. The entire video lasts but a brief 4 minutes and 4 seconds.
The events of December 18, 2010 set off the Arab Spring nearly on the eve of the new year. The distrust, disgust, and dissatisfaction with the current economic, political, and social conditions quickly spread throughout much of the Middle East and North Africa.
Tunisia and Egypt both ousted their long-standing presidents and overthrew the governments (Ben Ali for 24 years and Mubarak for 30 years). Libya erupted in civil war resulting in the fall of its long-standing regime under Gaddafi for 42 years.
Of course Uncle Sam has been reeling with his own financial problems and political dissidence. People are unemployed, foreclosed upon, living with little or no health insurance, and in major debt. They are the 99%.
It has been a month since Steve Jobs’ death. The talking heads have had their lime light, the biography has been released, and the tributes have been turned down to a simmer.
Before this passes out of the realm of current events and sinks into the internet’s vast catalog of oblivion, I want to make one more observation on Steve Jobs’ life.
The absence of an on-off switch on Apple devices is more than a design feature. It’s a life philosophy. It has been said that Steve Jobs didn’t put on-off switches on his products because he didn’t like the thought that at the end of a successful, influential life a person is just gone- put eternally in the off position.
“Ever since I’ve had cancer, I’ve been thinking about (God) more. And I find myself believing a bit more. Maybe it’s because I want to believe in an afterlife. That when you die, it doesn’t just all disappear,” Isaacson quoted Jobs as saying.
“Then he paused for a second and he said ‘yeah, but sometimes I think it’s just like an on-off switch. Click and you’re gone,” Isaacson said of Jobs. “He paused again, and he said: And that’s why I don’t like putting on-off switches on Apple devices.”