19 March 2012

le 19 mars 2012

1. "A woman who fears the Lord is one who, despite her desire for a date, fears being far away from God more than she does missing out on a man who is easily fooled by her exterior." -Jen Smidt
2. "When Christians press mute, people are left to make up their own versions of Christianity.... Actions might remedy a perception of personal self-righteousness, but only words can clarify the meaning of the gospel." -Jonathan Dodson

15 March 2012

this is brilliant

Justin Taylor: What are some of the things you have found most helpful in your own walk with the Lord in terms of developing a sanctified imagination?
Kevin Vanhoozer: Before I answer that, let me say something about the very idea (for which I am grateful) of a “sanctified imagination.”
First, I find that the imagination is a vital ingredient in my sanctification. I need to keep the big biblical picture (creation-fall-redemption-consummation)
in mind as I attempt to live day by day, minute by minute, as a follower of Jesus Christ who desires above all to have one’s thought and life correspond to the gospel. To do that, I have to keep the gospel story (together with its presuppositions and implications) in mind, and I have to connect my story to that of Jesus. That requires imagination.
Second, the imagination is “sanctified” because it is “set apart” for the purpose of making just these kinds of connections.
There are vain imaginings, of course. These tend to be the ones that encourage us to see our lives as part of some other picture where God is either absent or other than the Father of Jesus Christ.
As for practical helps for cultivating a sanctified imagination, let me mention two.
First, reading. Reading is the way we learn to inhabit the world. Not the natural world, but the cultural world: the world of meaning. Martha Nussbaum has some wonderful essays in her book Love’s Knowledge on how the novels of Henry James train us to attend to the moral significance of the details of human life. If we can learn moral sensitivity from Henry James, how much more can Christians learn, say, about speech ethics from the epistle of James, not to mention all the
Old Testament narratives, Jesus’ parables, and the Gospels themselves.
My concern is that many Evangelicals are suffering from malnourished imaginations. This impedes their ability to live coherently in the world–that is, according to a meaningful metanarrative. We want to believe the Bible, but we are unable to see our world in biblical
terms (this is a major theme of my Pictures at a Biblical Exhibition that I mentioned above). That leads to a fatal disconnect between our belief-system and our behavior, our faith and our life. If faith’s influence is waning, as two-thirds of Americans now think, I believe that it is largely because of a failure of the evangelical imagination.
Reading, then, is a kind of strength-training that flexes the muscles of our imagination. Those who read widely are often those who are able to employ metaphors that connect ordinary life to the wonderful real world of the Bible.
The second way I exercise my biblically rooted, theologically formed imagination is by viewing myself as part of the ongoing action that the Bible recounts. My task as a disciple of Jesus Christ is to continue the theodramatic action–the plot of salvation history–in a manner that is consistent with what the Father, Son, and Spirit have already done and are still doing. To some extent, the theologian is a worker in dramatic fittingness whose task is to help us understand the drama of redemption, both theoretically and practically. We need practical understanding of the gospel so that we can speak and act faithful and orthodox lines in new cultural scenes. It is by seeking to live by the word in the power of the Spirit that our imaginations become sanctified. I need a sanctified imagination as I seek each day to improvise my life to the glory of God.

06 March 2012

the creativity crisis

Just finished reading NurtureShock. Excellent, insightful read. However, I realised that I'm terribly grateful that the Bible is the trustworthy authority! Science can give great insights but findings are often contradictory or unclear because humans are so complex--made in the image of GOD, no less!
Anyways, someone linked to this article on the creativity crisis, by the same authors. Very interesting read.

03 March 2012

notes: le 3 mars 2012

1. This post by John Piper to remind us to tell the histories of horror; don't let ourselves or our children forget what atrocities Hitler did. 
2. From this post by Jon Bloom about strengths vs. gifts. 
 We tend to think of our strengths as inherently part of our identity. Strengths are our value-add; our competitive edge. But gifts connote grace. A gift does not originate with us. It’s something we receive from God and steward for his sake. Therefore our gifts are not so much our identity as our offering. And since God has given us these gifts, he’s not obliged to always put us in places where we can use them fully.