The events of recent days, along with topics I’ve been studying on my own, have brought to mind the title of Richard M. Weaver’s classic book: Ideas Have Consequences.
Weaver recognized a decay in Western civilization; the culture had lost its center and desperately needed repair. As a result, In Ideas Have Consequences (1948), Weaver both diagnosed the problem and suggested a solution. He explains:
First, I present an account of that decline based not on analogy but on deduction…. Second, I go so far as to propound, if not a whole solution, at least the beginning of one, in the belief that man should not follow a scientific analysis with a plea of moral impotence. (1)
I agree with Weaver’s diagnosis. But his solution? Read the rest of this (admittedly heady) Ideas Have Consequences book review to get my perspective. Continue reading →
Chris Pratt has been all over my Facebook and Twitter feeds this week — not just for his role in Jurassic World, but because of his comments about faith. Evidently he turned to God at his son’s premature birth, posts verses to Facebook, and goes to church.
Last year, Shia LaBeouf received similar attention when he said he “became a Christian man” on the set of Fury. Then, as now, Christians excitedly shared the story across Facebook and Twitter.
But it’s not just these guys. We tend to glorify the Christian athletes who praise God after a victory, musicians who sing vaguely inspirational songs, or reality TV stars who say they’re Christians. In each situation, we hastily, enthusiastically share the story with glowing comments:
- “Can’t believe that he is a Christian, too!”
- “Wow, God could really use her!”
- “Take that liberals in Hollywood!”
We treat their faith, no matter how genuine, as a cause for unbridled celebration.
To be clear, my issue isn’t with Pratt, LaBeouf, and others. I desperately hope they know our Savior, and I applaud their openness to talk about matters of faith.
Rather, my issue is with us. Our frenzied reaction to such stories points to a problem: we have an unhealthy infatuation with Christian celebrities. I’m afraid we subtly believe that we need Christian celebrities to vindicate our beliefs — or worse, that God needs Christian celebrities to accomplish His will. Continue reading →
I feel for the friends and family of seminary students. I really do. Seminarians incessantly name drop dead Puritans, use big words that end with –ology, quote books you’ve never heard of, and spice up their conversation with Greek and Hebrew. To the untrained ear, most seminarians don’t make a lick of sense.
Throughout my seminary career, I collected a list of the most common seminary clichés — and what they really mean — to help you understand what your seminarian is talking about.
“Land the Plane.”
Example: “I know we’re talking about some weighty theology, but soon we’re going to land the plane.”
What it really means: “I’m finally ready to tell you why this matters.”
No, your seminarian didn’t accidentally register for flight school. When he tells you he’s going to land the plane, it’s usually because he’s been droning on about a difficult-to-understand topic and he’s finally ready to tell you the point. Continue reading →