There is a great difference in excellency, usefulness, and comfort between people of clear, digested knowledge, and confused, undigested apprehensions. -Richard Baxter

Archive for sifting culture

Consumers vs. disciples: a more adversarial relationship than perhaps we thought

Jim Dennison is the pastor of Park Cities Baptist Church and writes a daily devotional entitled Godissues.org. Click there to subscribe.

This morning he speaks, I think, most aptly to our condition:

Consumers don’t make good disciples

Yesterday we began thinking about the folly of fighting your Goliath in your strength. As we saw, Alan Wolfe’s The Transformation of American Religion warns that many of us are consumers more than we are disciples, self-reliant rather than God-sufficient Read the rest of this entry »

More vérité about cinema

If Sir Heffner has gotten you thinking about what film requires of you, here’s some more wisdom that will serve you: a book review of Tony Watkins’ Focus: The Art of Soul and Cinema.

Before you plunk down another $10-spot on a film at NorthPark, you might plunk down $15 (or less if you use addall.com) on his book.

the more I scrub, the more pronounced the stain…

here’s an intriguing new film soon to be released.  (HT: RB)

new book. old subject. fresh comment

Hey, click on the book for a link to a listing for an upcoming book written by none other than Josh Foist’s sister!  Apparently we have here a playful and thoughtful counterpoint to HBO’s (and now syndicated tv’s) comment on the landscape of sexuality in our culture.  The book release is set for early next week.  Anyone want to read it and write up a review for us?

Bill Maher and his gift to believers

He’s crass, but funny.  Admittedly despises children, but probably could still make them laugh. His brief interlude off the air after his….inadvisable comments on his erstwhile talk show on HBO notwithstanding, he’s back true to form: teaming up with the director of Borat, he’s taking his comedic pot-shots at religious faith.

Paste Magazine :: News :: Bill Maher and Ben Stein facing off with religious docs

Tim Keller’s recent book, The Reason for God, instructs believers to do the counter-intuitive thing of musing on the reasonable doubts people have about the Gospel. Only by grasping their substance enough to be able to articulate them can believers show pre-believers the respect they deserve in voicing their doubts.

So Maher’s mock-umentary (think This is Spinal Tap with an edge and an agenda) gives us an opportunity, not so much to plumb the depths of deeply reasoned arguments, but to get a quick summary of where most Americans come down on their problems with religious faith.  Read the rest of this entry »

avoiding dumb and dumber

I listened to an interview with one Mark Bauerlein an English Professor at Emory University on the MarsHill Audio journal last week. I know most of you are out of college, but since our learning doesn’t end when we go through commencement (that’s why they call it Commencement: you’re BEGINNING!), you might consider how our media-saturation can really curtail how well we learn, which impacts how well we function in and contribute to society. Here’s the essay upon which the interview was based.

Any comments?

perusing Da Vinci for the first time?

Here’s a short bibliography of works recommended by Dr. Bob Pyne (Prof of Systematic Theology, Dallas Theological Seminary) for those interested in all the hub-bub about The Da Vinci Code. It’s not so much a list of books for how to debunk its contents, but rather an invitation to learn how to engage the culture’s in its almost innate tendency to minimize the deity of Christ. It also offers some recommendations for Christian fiction that will cultivate (or renew) your appreciation for the fiction genre. (Fiction doesn’t always have to center on the rapture.)

Is gore redeemable?

I made a friend in college named David Taylor who’s love for God is as thick and rich as his red beard. He was one of those souls who’d walked a few more (thousand) miles down the road with Christ than I had thus far. And so he helped me to navigate some of the more treacherous spots within the collegiate domain. We were both within a liberal arts degree plan at The University that liked to eat Christians for lunch. He was one of the few thoughtful, respectful souls who were fearless (and articulate) enough to raise certain objections to certain assertions in certain philosophical classes that were designed to undercut certain theological convictions Christians might hold.

He’s got an interesting article on whether horror films are redeemable as a genre. He’ll be one of the plenary speakers at the Trinity Arts Conference at the University of Dallas in June. I’ve never had an opportunity to attend the Thursday-Sunday gathering (June 15-17), but I’ve heard enormously positive comments from those who’ve been before. If you aren’t going to Japan this summer, you might consider attending.

black and white

By this time you’ve likely read plenty about what to think about the response to the cartoons. I think Piper’s comments here are helpful.

Religious sensitivities are to be respected, but you see in this whole debacle a stark contrast between Christ’s response to vilification (to be sure, to a far greater degree than anything that’s been published in newspapers of late) and this response.

Anyway, as always, the invitation to discuss remains open!

throw away lines

“our thoughts and prayers go out to (x)”

“sorry we can’t be there in person, but we’re with you in spirit”

“he’s not gone [dead] so long as he lives in our hearts”

what are some of your most exasperating throw-away lines: those patently double-tongued phrases people feel the need to say because they can’t think of anything else to say, even though what they say is furthest from what they’re really thinking or believing?