Sunday, January 28, 2007
Thursday, January 25, 2007
Check out one of the comments my article got:
"Yet another sophmoric attempt at literary and social criticism by team Relevant. I'm running out of hope for this enterprise, it started out with promise, but is devolving into something with far too little substance, and far too derivative a style."
Sweet, eh? I have to admit that is hard to swallow. But hey, I stand by what I said, and I thought I packed as much content as possible in the allotted words I had to work with. Feel free to check it out.
All I have left to say is this: The real revolutionaries are the ones who are able to patiently and graciously and gently speak the truth in love in their church and bring change on God's timing rather than on the turtle's pace of the rutted and the hare's pace of the militant. Some will stand for nothing but their same old same old and some will stand for nothing but their cutting edge ideals. And as long as we fail to allow Christ to work it out among us we are all missing the Point, or should I say the Crux, of the matter.
Sticking with your church is not institutionalism, it is loving the church as Christ has loved you, it is trusting God's redemptive plan, and it is believing enough in biblical ideals to see them through--in real life and with real people--and learning a few things yourself along the way. I guess that's what I meant to say. It seems maybe it didn't come across.
By the way, I'm not the only one seeing Barna this way. Dr. Franklin Pyles says similar things in his blog, or at greater length even, in his pastoral letter. Just in case you want to read more on this.
Saturday, January 20, 2007
All I can say is that when Paul says the woman was made for the man, he is talking about “being the glory of man” (which no heterosexual man can deny), not some sort of ownership. Besides, a couple verse later Paul jumbles up the order lest anyone take it too far. One other thing, people keep hearkening back to creation order, but when Paul does this I think it has more to do with the long-cultured idea of promigeniture (or firstborn status), and not some inherent dominion over women that is given to man. And even promigeniture is a rule that in God’s redemptive plan seems to have been made to be broken (i.e. Jacob, Judah, etc).
Also, while I haven’t read every word of the comments above, I should note that the word “helper” is used of God more than anyone else in the Old Testmant, as in God helping humans, so to say it implies subordination is to read a lot into the Hebrew word based on our English translation.
And when you read the creation account you see a build up of this idea of mutuality in the human race, never more sacredly reflected than in the marriage relationship. Then comes the fall and it reads like a messing up of the whole thing. But if you look at the first two chapters of Genesis you are hard-pressed to find patriarchy unless you have those glasses on already. Which I’ll sadly admit, for most of my life I have had.
I am extremely grateful for the gracious way many egalitarians have continued to dialogue on this, and they can count me as one of the won over. Having said that, I resist the “fight” mentality, and even in disagreeing with complimentarians I simply ask them to not discount us egalitarians as liberal nutcases or even militant feminists (although there will be those) and to just keep in the dialogue, all of us who have been saved by the grace of Jesus speaking the truth in love. If we can do that, no matter what decision we make, we can be sure we’ll be glorifying Christ at least through the dialogue itself.
You can find the blog thread here as well as a great article this lady wrote in "Books and Culture" which originally led me to her blog (which has little to do with the issue of women actually, far as I can tell). I highly recommend this B & C article. I really want to read John Stackhouse's book, "Finally Feminist".
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
This guy in "The Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood" (which I think can be a somewhat helpful but mostly invigorating publication) was reviewing Donald Miller's book To Own A Dragon, and adding to what I think Tony Campolo refers to as "Great Adventures in Missing the Point". So here's my two cents on the issue. I could probably say more, but as mentioned, I have some editing to do. Maybe a few of you want to check up on this and tell me what you think. I find this issue quite interesting and important.
It is not uncommon for people to joke about what it means to be a "real man" or "woman", but for many today there seem to be genuine questions behind the jokes. In his book about growing up as a boy without a father, Donald Miller reflects on the alienation he felt at various evangelical men’s conferences which played upon stereotypical male identities in order to promote healthy manhood. In spite of these well-intentioned conferences, he writes, "I spent a lot of time believing I wasn’t a man because I didn’t like football analogies, or because I didn’t want to put a cheesy bumper sticker on my car."
This is why when he was given the opportunity to speak to 900 college men he decided to cut through the confusion with some affirmation and clarity, by telling them that biblically the one thing it takes to be a real man is a penis.
This prompted one reviewer to write: "Is Miller really approaching a biblical definition of manhood when he distinguishes between what a man does and what a man is? Does the Bible not speak of manhood specifically in the terms some of these students provide (Matt 7:9-11; Eph 6:4; 1 Tim 5:8)?"
Upon inspection, these passages do call men to certain ideals, but when one looks at the creation account to see how exactly the Bible defines manhood, like Miller says, there is a surprising lack of specifics. It is interesting that a journal for biblical manhood could miss the point of what Miller was saying. In an age of gender-confusion, boys and girls need to be affirmed in their manhood or womanhood and not sown seeds of doubt in every area where they don’t measure up or don’t match the stereotypes.
Friday, January 12, 2007
I watched a remarkable movie the other night. Actually, correct that, I finished a remarkable movie the other night. The thing is 3 1/2 hours long and I've been watching it for months. But this time I turned it on at the half way point and couldn't stop until it was over. Even then I had to watch 45 minutes of special features before I could go to bed.
I'm not sure whether to recommend this film because, quite frankly, a lot of people might hate me for it. It isn't your usual film. The director himself hates usual film. Hollywood stuff. And yeah I guess there are movie snobs out there and this gets talked about all the time but let me rehash it again.
There are two kinds of movie out there. One is where the director shows you a story and basically tries to convey a feeling for you. In other words, you are shown not only what happens but how to look at what happens and so you have what is for the most part a pre-fabricated experience. You are willingly manipulated, you might say.
The other type of movie is where they try to tell you a story but they don't spell out for you how to feel about it, or even tell you what the story is. They just show you as much as they can, they try to do it beautifully, and they let you experience it for yourself. These are the films that leave you moved, leave you thinking, leave you wanting to talk to others about it and enhance the experience by sharing it with others and bouncing it around and seeing what just happened to you. This isn't the same as a thoughtless plot full of holes. It still has to be a story. (The ending of Planet of the Apes (the new version) does not make it one of these films. Stupid doesn't count).
I'm not sure either film method is bad, per se, nor do I think there is a clear line between them. But I am coming to prefer the latter type of film far more. It is more like reading. And I love reading. I'm not saying I dislike all of the former types of films (in fact, one of my favourites, 12 Monkeys, would probably fit in that category), but I do think most of them suck. Am I a movie snob? Maybe. But no more than anyone who tells me I "just have to see" The Matrix or something like that.
With Hollywood type movies, let's face it, you have to want the experience you are being handed. And in most cases, with what Hollywood is trying to hand me, I'm not interested. In fact, I'm repulsed. The director of Andrei Rublev is not a big fan of that kind of stuff. In fact he says it is not art. He says that art must be complex, and must allow its audience to have multitude of different experiences of the same experience. He also says that art would not exist in a perfect world, because there would be no need to try to make sense of anything, or sort through any mess, or depict anything. We'd all just get it and there would be no mystery to explore. He has an intriguing point, and I'm not sure what the ramifications are for those who think we are going to do nothing but sing in heaven.
But that's another issue, and not what I'm talking about here.
With Andrei Rublev I'm not sure I agree with everything it is saying. I'm not sure what it is saying. But I came away from it feeling like I had visited another century and another place. I felt like for the first time I sort of understood the Eastern Orthodox; understood "Mother Russia"; understood icons in religion. I also saw myself or others in the characters and was moved by the depiction of the common human/religious struggle. And I feel enriched for the experience.
This was a great film. Believe it or not I actually think I'm going to watch it again. I'll appreciate it more the second time around methinks.
So, I don't know what to tell you. You won't be able to rent this movie I don't think. Many probably won't want to. But if you want a new experience; if you want to have that sense of reading a book but don't want to read all that much; if you want a truly magnificent film experience: Well, get your hands on Andrei Rublev. It is beautiful. A masterpeice.
Below is a still from one of my favourite scenes. A horse getting off the ground. Awesome.
Friday, January 05, 2007
Basically what you need to know is that the main character of the series, Ransom, has been transported to Venus (that part of the Deep Heavens known as Perelandra) and seems to have some sort of mission to accomplish. As he meets one of the two first inhabitants of this world he realizes that this may indeed be a place untouched by evil in the same way as Thulcandra, or earth (known by other worlds as "the silent planet"). After a crazy conversation with the naked green woman of Perelandra, Ransom notices a Presence in this world that he must come to grips with. Now here is the exerpt:
That sense of being in Someone's presence which had descended on him with such unbearable pressure during the very first moments of his conversation with the Lady did not disappear when he had left her. It was, if anything, increased. Her society had been, if anything, a protection against it, and her absence left him not to solitude but to a more formidable kind of privacy. At first it was almost intolerable .... later on, he discovered that it was intolerable only at certain moments--at just those moments in fact ... when a man asserts his independence and feels that now at last he's on his own. When you felt like that, then the very air seemed too crowded to breathe; a complete fulness seemed to be excluding you from a place which, nevertheless, you were unable to leave. But when you gave in to the thing, gave yourself up to it, there was no burden to be borne. It became not a load but a medium, a sort of splendour as of eatable, drinkable, breathable gold, which fed and carried you and not only poured into you but out from you as well. Taken the wrong way, it suffocated; taken the right way, it made terrestrial life seem, by comparison, a vacuum. At first, of course, the wrong moments occurred pretty often. But like a man who has a wound that hurts him in certain positions and who gradually learns to avoid those positions, Ransom learned not to make that inner gesture.
Tuesday, January 02, 2007
Anyway, that's not really what I wanted to talk about. I was just thinking about new years and all the hype and nostalgia, hope and forecasting. I don't really have anything to add to all that. Its just another day in my books. It usually takes me until February to remember what year to put on my cheques.
However, I tend to be fairly reflective on many days, and so on New Years I am reflecting a bit about the fact that as a kid there was no way I ever thought I'd see this day. I didn't think the world would make it to 2000. I was sure the Lord would return by then and it would all be over. Now I'd be surprised if he came in my lifetime. (Of course, he is most likely to come when we least expect it so what does that tell you?)
And Ordinary People has made me reflect about being real. See the movie or read the book and you'll know what I mean. How we long to have people we can be real with. But how scary it is when we are real with each other. True communion is very messy, and risky, and worth it. I am thankful this New Years that God is With Us, whether he is coming tomorrow or in a thousand years. This is very gracious and good of Him. I am also thankful that I have some friends and family who are God's nearness to me. They have for some reason or another sought and allowed true communion with me and I would not want to know who I would be today without them.
Thank God for friends who stick closer than a brother, and siblings who also manage to be friends. To you I dedicate Chesterton's pithy little poem (paraphrased), one of my all time favourites:
The sun rises on another day
Why do I deserve another?