Thursday, December 25, 2008

What the World Does not (Usually) Understand. Not inorder of significance

The sublime ecstasies of jazz

That television has done more to destroy the virtues of culture than any technology ever created

The profundities of The Book of Ecclesiastes

The depth, the wisdom, the beauty of the classically conservative political tradition. (I do not mean the Republican Party of today.)

The plight of the chronically ill and how to ameliorate their suffering (or at least not add to it)

That the classroom is a sacred space, an offering to God, a place that should not ape the sensibilities of popular culture.

Lament as a mode of being in the world

That no one should step into the pulpit without the fear of God and the love of learning and of oratory

That Africa must not be ignored

That manners matter

That literary memory is more important than cultural consumption

That silence--before, under, and with God--heals, disturbs, and is a tonic to much that ails us

That modesty is a virtue

That a market and a field of eternal souls are not the same thing

That architecture matters for worship

The loneliness that suffuses postmodern existence

That there is no Christ-ianity without the Cross of Christ.

That the Holy Spirit is not optional for ministry. (An observation of a Korean Christian after attending many religious services here: "It is amazing what they can do without the Holy Spirit.")

That Calvinism is not a cold, heartless, abstract system of doctrine devoid of biblical support, evangelistic zeal, and spiritual nurture.

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(Of course, there are dozens or hundreds of consequential things I do not understand, as my family, friends, and students would tell you.)

3 comments:

mark mathewson said...

Regarding number 12 (silence); at this time of year I always take time to listen to and contemplate the words of the French carol, "Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence." Here is the first verse:

Let all mortal flesh keep silence,
and with fear and trembling stand;
ponder nothing earthly-minded,
for with blessing in his hand,
Christ our God to earth descendeth,
our full homage to demand.

Claudia said...

RE: The loneliness that suffuses post modern existence.

With all the instant communication gadgets (including the internet), it seems that we have lost the art of thinking before speaking and writing. We say much that sometimes means very little. We have extended the range of reachable people without attaining depth in those relationships.

As an older lady (who would prefer to write long-hand letters to Emails), I'm always surprised by many superficial comments I read on blogs that would deserve better.

On the internet, we're lost in a global crowd, and stand very much alone without a sense of belonging, and being essential.

Often, today's families are separated by distance. Many churches fail to provide meaningful contacts. As one gets older, the circle of friends diminish, and the number of possible activities.

Only God can fill one's loneliness, and keep one's company days and nights. He is never absent.

"...and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Matthew, 28:20.

Fred said...

It's not just the world-- it's also much of the contemporary American evangelical church (but then, there are some who would say "what's the difference?"). Especially when it comes to things like lament as a mode of being in the world, the value of silence, the cross of Christ.... Way too much happy-clappy sentimentality..... Feh.....