Monthly Archives: May 2013

Students Need a god to Serve

Because of an expanding interest in “multiculturalism,” as well as the passion of its adherents, it has been deemed dangerous enough to have provoked the distinguished historian Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., to write a refutation of it, The Disuniting of America: Reflections on a Multicultural Society . Although Schlesinger’s book will, I believe, stand as the definitive critique of “multiculturalism,” there is at least one point he does not stress enough…. I refer to the fact that those who advocate a “multicultural” curriculum … understand better than most … the need for a god to serve; they understand that the reason why students are demoralized, bored, and distracted is not that teachers lack interesting methods and machinery but that both students and teachers lack a narrative to provide profound meaning to their lessons. … [Multiculturalists] have a story to tell, and they believe their story can serve as a foundation to schooling. The trouble is that it is a terrible story, at least for public schools.

Quoted from Postman, N. (1996).  The end of education: Redefining the value of school. New York: Vintage Books, pp. 51-52.


The Cross of Jesus: An Eloquent Silence

Have you ever felt that God was most needed him to speak? That you really wanted him to speak— that you desperately needed him to speak—but that all you heard from him was the deafening sound of silence? When the pathologist tells you: “The tumor is malignant”. . . ‘When your ob-gyn says: “The baby you’re carrying has Down syndrome”. . . When you discover that your spouse has been unfaithful. . . or that you’ve been laid off. . . or that your teenager has been hit by a drunk driver? You come to God, laying bare your heart, and you cry out for explanation, “Why?” But all you get in response is silence. Have you ever felt that God was silent at the very moment you most needed him to speak?

Jesus Christ knew that very same experience when, on the cross, he cried out for explanation: “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” What was the response of his Father? There was no response. No explanation. There was only silence. Absolute silence. Inescapable silence. But forever silence? No! We are here this morning because three days later his Father spoke. And his response came loudly and clearly when he raised his Son, Jesus, from the dead.

You see, friends, the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ tell us that God’s silence is never the silence of indifference, never the silence of a lack of compassion. Rather, God’s silence is always an eloquent silence—a silence that sets the stage for his eventual, and most powerful, speaking.

 

Quoted from Clowney, E. P., & Johnson, D. E. (2009).  Heralds of the king: Christ-centered sermons in the tradition of Edmund P. Clowney. Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Books, p. 207


When Self-Actualization Cripples the Next Generations

[The Demographic Transition is a theory where demographers] believed was fertility rates decline from being in the 6 or 7 range, which is what they had been in the 1800s, and that they would then settle another replacement rate because they thought that what people naturally would want…what everybody would naturally want was two children and would settle into a replacement-rate society.

Well the problem is as fertility rates began shrinking they didn’t stop at 2, and so anywhere where fertility decline has set in, it never stops at the replacement rate. It always continues diving towards the floor and heading down towards 1.4 or 1.5.

And that became the question: So why are we stuck in dramatically sub-replacement-rate fertility? And the theory which was put forward to explain that was called then the theory of the second demographic transition. And what those guys argued … very persuasively that the reason people didn’t stop at two was because once they mastered contraception, once they had conquered infant mortality, once they had access to food and higher standards of living and medicine and could do whatever they want—conceive of themselves however they want—they would change their worldview.

They would no longer really see themselves as standing in a long line of people paying sort of fealty to the past and looking forward into the future. They would see themselves in their own self-actualization, the highest form of human existence, and this would then cause them to have fewer and fewer and fewer children.

Jonathan V. Last on Thinking in Public , America’s Coming Demographic Disaster Transcript , April 1, 2013. Audio here .


Always Preaching Some Kind of Gospel to Yourself

“No one is more influential in your life than you are, because no one talks to you more than you do.” Whether you realize it or not, you are in an unending conversation with yourself, and the things you say to you about you are formative of the way that you live. You are constantly talking to yourself about your identity, your spirituality, your functionality, your emotionality, your mentality, your personality, your relationships, etc. You are constantly preaching to yourself some kind of gospel. You preach to yourself an anti-gospel of your own righteousness, power, and wisdom, or you preach to yourself the true gospel of deep spiritual need and sufficient grace. You preach to yourself an anti-gospel of aloneness and inability, or you preach to yourself the true gospel of the presence, provisions, and power of an ever-present Christ.

 

Tripp, P. D. (2012).  Dangerous calling: Confronting the unique challenges of pastoral ministry . Wheaton, Ill: Crossway, p. 21.

 


God’s Love for Us, Fuels Our Service to Him

For until men recognize that they owe everything to God, that they are nourished by his fatherly care, that he is the Author of their every good, that they should seek nothing beyond him— they will never yield him willing service. Nay, unless they establish their complete happiness in him, they will never give themselves truly and sincerely to him.

Quoted from Calvin, J., MacNeill, J. T., & Battles, F. L. (1960). Institutes of the Christian religion: In two volumes. Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, p. 41. (I.2.i)


La-La Land

For someone like me, here lies the heart of the problem of the New Left: once the concerns of the Left shifted from material, empirical issues—hunger, thirst, nakedness, poverty, disease— to psychological categories, the door was opened for everyone to become a victim and for anyone with a lobby group to make his or her issue the Big One for this generation. “Authenticity” and “inauthenticity” are entirely subjective categories, and forms of oppression are thus whatever the oppressed person claims them to be. This is why the media outrage that greets a perceived racist or homophobic comment often far outstrips that which greets scenes of poverty and famine, and it is what leads the likes of Richard Rorty to compare the Holocaust of the Jews in the 1930s and 1940s to the treatment of homosexuals in America and to do so with an apparently straight face. At that point, we are truly in a la-la land with no moral compass, a place that should provoke nothing but ridicule and contempt. This is not to say that bigotry of any kind is at all acceptable or desirable, but to argue that the Left has lost all sense of proportion with regard to what is and is not of most pressing importance. It has become, by and large, the movement of righteous rhetorical pronouncements on total trivia.

Trueman, C. R. (2010). Republocrat: confessions of a liberal conservative. Phillipsburg, N.J.: P&R Pub., pp. 17-18.


Confession: Drawing Us Closer to God

Early in my marriage I would haltingly reveal secrets about myself to my wife, secrets I had never told anyone. “Do you still love me?” I would ask. Yes, she would assure me, even when the secrets may have caused her pain. I learned from her a truth I would later understand about God: only if you are fully known can you be fully loved.

My spiritual growth has meant bringing a succession of secrets, in fear and trembling, to God, only to find that God of course knew the secret all along, and loved me anyhow. I have learned that God is hardly surprised by my failure. Knowing me better than I know myself, God expects failure from me. I am more sinful than I ever imagined—and also more loved by God.

“Adam, where are you?” God called out in the garden. It was Adam, not God, who hid. God takes the initiative to come searching; we are the ones who hide. And Jesus, the Great Physician, sees our sins not as disqualifiers but as the reason for his journey from another world to ours. Rescue is God’s business.

A pastor friend told me that when he sits in his office and hears tearful confessions from people who have failed, he realizes at that moment they are closer to God than he is, the religious professional.

 

Quoted from Yancey, P. (2003). Rumors of another world: What on earth are we missing?. Grand Rapids, Mich: Zondervan, p. 156.