If you want to see an excellent example of what happens when people use the word culture with criminal indifference to its meanings, you will want to read this post and the trailing comments.
And ponder this—dare I call it a thought?:
The answer, I would suggest, is faithful ministry in confessionally bounded churches committed more to the spirituality of the church than they are to the socio-political and cultural relevancy of the church. By striving, self-consciously, to be as culturally transcendent as possible, I would argue, we can cultivate timeless, transgenerational bodies that do not need to reinvent themselves every quarter century to remain solvent.
I’m a little bit afraid of people who imagine they can “cultivate timeless, transgenerational bodies”. I would be very afraid if I thought they could do anything of the sort. (Wasn't there a horror movie based on this idea?)
Fortunately tonight I shall sleep well knowing it’s a fool’s errand and the energy expended might keep the participants from more harmful endeavors.
I believe Al Mohler really does think that hip hop has a place in the church. I believe Tim Challies really does think that Amish people are legalists, and I believe he really does love a church that sings badly. I believe that Leon Brown does hold racist views of the church, and I believe that the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals publishes those views thinking it is calling “the church to a reformation that recovers clarity and conviction about the great evangelical truths of the gospel and to encourage their proclamation in our contemporary context”. I believe Robert Brady when he says Leon Brown “makes him think” and causes “folks to talk about what they believe and why they believe it”. I believe Greg Forster really does think that the institutional church receives a special formation and an equipping to engage a culture in ways that are faithful. I believe that James K. A. Smith really does think that if a congregation cannot sing along with a song, the song can’t be worship.
I believe that these and many more equally ludicrous statements are like the sand that is upon the sea shore in multitude, and that they constitute our religious environment and our intellectual climate.
I believe these things are not ornamental grotesques or weird specimens of a genre; they are the glory and the express image of Western Christianity. I believe they are inconsistent with the historic faith and contradictory to the New Testament teaching.
I believe American Christianity is infatuated with ephemeral things, indifferent to permanent things, and contemptuous of eternal things.
I believe that the faith cannot survive our ice cream stories, our celebrity chatterboxes, and our dorky gatekeepers.
And I also believe I may never attend a proper church in my natural lifetime. We will never achieve worship by pursuing entertainment, we will never acquire Christian doctrine by pursuing personal fulfillment, we will never experience holiness by pursuing fashion, and we will never see reformation by listening to people like Al Mohler, Tim Challies, Leon Brown, Greg Forster, and James K. A. Smith.
Here Lisa Goodyear tells a most charming story about ice cream, and she elaborates on its spiritual implications. These implications might not leap out at a normal person, that’s why we need Evangelicals. How tragic would it be if millions of people around the world bought and ate ice cream without considering the eternal significance hiding just below the surface?
Evangelicals help us “go deep” with insightful ice cream stories.
Tacked on to the end of this wonderful ice cream story are a few personal observations drawn from the lives of some older folks, most of whom probably never experienced the joys of ice cream. Nevertheless:
The journey of ice cream is an illustration of our journey with God. The sweet taste gives us pleasure, the right choice brings us joy, and the anticipation with that first bite gives us the hope of a delicious and wonderful experience. May God bless you and your children as you experience Ice cream and the sweet taste of Jesus.
I don’t believe Tim Challies is the dumbest man in the world, but I suspect the dumbest man in the world is beginning to worry that competition for the position is getting a lot stiffer than he anticipated when he first chatted with his academic advisor and dropped out of the third grade.
If you want to see a trivial mind at work, check out Tim’s musings on why “we” love the Amish. Challies never defines his we, by the way. Maybe he means himself, Aileen, and their three unfortunate children. Maybe he means Canadians. Maybe he means preachers. Maybe he means fad-obsessed and clueless Evangelicals. By “we” he might even mean the daft Englishers who swerve around Amish buggies on the road, who fondle Amish quilts once every year, and who order hasenpfeffer and shoo-fly pie. The only thing I can say for certain is that his we does not include me. I know why I love the Amish and Challies isn’t even close to guessing the reason.
Challies demonstrates that he does not understand Amish beliefs, that he cannot distinguish between grace and law, and that he is not interested in learning anything about those “apparent” contradictions which strike him as eccentric.
But of the many things Challies is incapable of understanding, the most amusing is this: “We admire them in many ways, but perhaps most deeply simply for being, and remaining, who and what they are.”
I would love to hear Tim Challies, or any Evangelical, develop this point.
What do you admire, Tim, about people who “remain who and what they are”? Try to be specific; don’t hide behind phrases like “The Amish recall a purer time.” What is the purity you suppose they recall?
And if the Amish stay off the internet to avoid the musings of dunces like Tim Challies, they are certainly the wisest people that ever dwelt upon the earth. We should make them all kings and prime ministers.
God honors you when you follow your heart.
Like Pharaoh? Like King Saul? Like Absalom? Like Haman? Like Ananias and Sapphira? Like Cerinthus?
Here are two kids who fell out the rear emergency door of the Evangelical Short Bus. Franklyn Schaefer elaborates on his reasoning behind marrying queers: “It was a no-brainer.”
Then he Googled a liturgy he judged appropriate. And perhaps it was.
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