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Posts Tagged ‘Wholly Other’

It can be a challenging task to connect faith and culture in a way which respects both. By no means do I wish to hide from the rich experiences of culture, but I become uneasy when faith is swept away with the current. In recent years, Hollywood has become profoundly aware that Evangelicals are a huge market. While it may be affirming to see movies produced in consultation with people of faith such as The Prince of Egypt complete with discussion notes, a definite line was crossed when the same was done for Man of Steel.

Don’t get me wrong. I like Superman. No, I haven’t seen the movie yet, though I will. However, the specific content of this particular movie is irrelevant.

Marketing “God in a Box”

We, as Christians, are sometimes our own worst enemies when we forget who we are. In our zeal to witness to others about God, we often serve the gods of culture–in this case marketing. I am mindful of a friend who once became so frustrated with this phenomenon that he wrote out four full verses under the title “They Will Know We Are Christians By Our Fish” using the tune from a similarly named hymn.

My biggest concern here is that every attempt was made to create analogies between Superman and Jesus. While this is not a new idea, the effort reached a crescendo as language in the trailer and the film itself were crafted carefully to appeal to Evangelical ears. Images are powerful and, even in the face of reasoned contrasts, confuse our view of God greatly. Following are some key problems with making any comparison at all. (more…)

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In my third year of InterVarsity staff, the New York / New Jersey region required all new staff to finish their three-year training by developing a thesis of sorts. This study would then be the basis of a specialty for speaking to students on campus. Most picked typical themes for a general college audience such as multi-ethnicity, social justice, and gender roles. The work of my colleagues represented everything that made me proud to be part of InterVarsity.

Given my background in science, I thought it important to use my experience to further discussion of these issues. Dr. Sagan’s basic premise for critical thinking and how we learn was outlined in Demon Haunted World as being “wonder” and “skepticism”. This epistemolgy (how we know what is true) was deliberately meant to image “chance” and “necessity” as basic to his evolutionary understanding of science and the nature of the “Cosmos”.

Previously, I had read dozens of books across the spectrum of Christian understanding. It was a tortuous process in which I rejected view after view for various reasons. Finally, through this project, I would find a theologian who made sense of the science and faith chaos for me. But more on that in a moment… (more…)

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In Section 25 of Karl Barth’s Church Dogmatics, we looked at the fulfillment of the knowledge of God. Here in Section 26, Barth delves into what it means for God to be knowable.

“The possibility of the knowledge of God springs from God, in that He is Himself the truth and He gives Himself to man in His Word by the Holy Spirit to be known as the truth. It springs from man, in that, in the Son of God by the Holy Spirit, he becomes an object of the divine good-pleasure and therefore participates in the truth of God.” –Karl Barth (CD II.1, p.63)

In large part, his target is to discredit natural theology as a means to knowing God from every direction he can imagine. Barth will settle for nothing outside God’s own gracious self-revelation as the only means to knowing God. Later, we will see why he is so insistent on this stance, but for now we will review his argument at face value.

Without God, there is no revelation. It is an act of grace or good will toward humanity that he reveals Himself at all. There is no necessity that He do so, but He chooses to do so. (more…)

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