Last week I celebrated my birthday. This was a BIG one… the big 6-0. Seems huge. I have told several people—60 just seems old. When you are in your 50’s you can convince yourself that you are still at the upper reaches of middle age. But 60? That’s old. Bordering on elderly. Within sight of ancient. (One friend reminded me that biblically I only have 10 more years left to live, cf. Psalm 90:10.)
But, it is not the demise of my fading youth that is on my mind this morning. Actually, what I am thinking of is the difference between everyday life in the 21st century and what life was like when I was growing up. My, what differences there are! Continue reading →
Have you noticed the shift in our society? We have gone from a society grounded in a Judeo-Christian worldwide to a diverse, generally post-Christian culture. There were many contributing factors in this shift—the Vietnam War, the 1960’s counter-culture, and the sexual revolution among them. Add to these the national disillusionment after Watergate and the scandals of fallen Christian leaders in the 1980’s and you have a motivation for rejecting traditional beliefs and values. As a result, for many the church is now viewed as antiquated and irrelevant. Continue reading →
Recently I have been doing research on the Emergent Church. Just in case you are not familiar with this movement, let me give you a little background. The Emergent Church movement originated in conversations between various pastors, youth pastors and church leaders back in the 1990’s. They were concerned about certain trends and practices they saw in the church. They were especially concerned about how relevant and effective the church was in reaching a postmodern culture. Out of their conversations arose an entire movement which has swept through America, Britain, Australia and other parts of the world.
The original ambitions of those involved in these conversations were noble and good. However, in their efforts to address the concerns of a postmodern society, they ended up becoming a postmodern movement. It seems, at least in their thinking, that to be relevant you must accommodate yourself to the culture—even if this accommodation involves sacrificing some of the foundational truths of the Christian faith. Continue reading →
In the 17th century a giant intellect arose in France by the name of René Descartes. He is considered by many as the father of modern philosophy. His thinking certainly served as a harbinger for the period known as the Enlightenment that would follow in the next century.
Descartes was a son of the church. He did not set out to reject faith or deny church dogma. What he did purpose to do was explore with his mind the limits of human knowledge. His pursuit of knowledge is said to have begun with a series of three visions, which he believed were divine visitations. Following these heavenly encounters, he began to explore what could be known through reason alone. There is an apocryphal legend that he enclosed himself in a barrel for these ruminations. Although this is a fanciful tale, he did seclude himself in order to explore the power of his own reason. Continue reading →
We live in a day when everything is relative. According to the popular mythology, nothing is absolute. (How popular mythologists get by with this absolute I will never understand.) Truth and morality are situational, personal, relational and relative. The all-too common thinking runs something like this: “If I think it is okay, then it is okay. If I perceive it as moral and good, then it must be moral and good.” Usually what such thinkers actually mean is “if what I am doing is something I want to do—that makes me happy—then it must be good.” Continue reading →