Blog Posts on Culture

How to Watch ‘The Hobbit’

David Mathis

At long last, Bilbo Baggins is back. Whether you’re fanatic enough to dress up for the midnight showing, or patiently awaiting a weekend outing, or even content to meander into a theater after the crowds die down, here’s some advice for how to make the most of your experience of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

Don’t worry, there’s no spoiler below. My hope in seeing an early screening of…

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Not Your Mother's Kind of Tolerance

Jonathan Parnell

Views that advocate same-sex marriage are free to exist, but they are wrong.

Now, stop. Read the above sentence again. Are you okay with it?

Chances are how you feel about that statement indicates your understanding (or misunderstanding) of tolerance. D. A. Carson, in his book, The Intolerance of Tolerance, explains that Western culture isn't exactly firing on all cylinders when it comes to knowing what tolerance is. He…

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C. S. Lewis vs. Modern Education (Part 2)

Joe Rigney

We’ve seen, in Part 1, that Lewis’s critique of modern education begins by highlighting the marginalization of value statements, the separation of fact and value, and the creation of men without chests. However, Lewis is not merely lamenting the loss of virtues like courage, fidelity, and sacrifice. For he knows that nature abhors a vacuum, and in the absence of these virtues, men will turn elsewhere to find meaning…

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Bob Dylan Turns Seventy Today

John Piper

Yes, I still pray that he will find that the encounter with Jesus in 1978 was real, and that he will come to the end singing and believing his song, “Saved.”

Saved

I was blinded by the devil
Born already ruined
Stone-cold dead
As I stepped out of the womb

By His grace I have been touched
By His word I have been healed
By His hand I have been…

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Womanizing vs. the “N” Word

John Piper

Chronological smugness is the feeling that we have advanced to a moral condition higher than the generations before us. Shelby Steele has a good warning for us. We may not be advancing, but only reshuffling the vices about which we want to be relativistic or absolutistic.

I wondered if President Clinton would be defended with relativism if he had done what, according to gossip, Eisenhower was said to have done.

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Next Year In Jerusalem!

Jon Bloom

At the end of every Passover Seder, the Jewish diaspora pronounce the wistful prayer: “Next year in Jerusalem.” It is the deep longing for the promised, peaceful Messianic Jerusalem with a restored Temple—a profound wish that the next year be a happy one.

It seems to me that Christians ought also to say, “Next year in Jerusalem!” rather than wishing one another a “Happy New Year.” For we have…

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Footnote Gem: Humanity’s Need for the Gospel

David Mathis

E. T. is back—at least he’s made a brief reappearance in this footnote gem from John Frame.

In his chapter “Christians in Our Culture” in The Doctrine of the Christian Life, Frame writes,

Steven Spielberg’s character E. T. is, I think, a genuine Christ figure: recall the themes of preexistence, growth, teaching, miracle, healing, death, resurrection, and ascension. Spielberg denied this parallel, but in my view it is objectively…

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Faithful Presence Amid "Continuous Partial Attention," Part 2

Michael Johnson

In last week's post, we briefly discussed James Davison Hunter's observation (from his book To Change the World) that our increasingly omnipresent "fragmentation of consciousness" poses significant challenges to foster a distinctly Christian faithful presence in our modern world, as it "cultivates a kind of absence in the experience of 'being elsewhere'".

If Hunter's assessment is correct, what (if anything) should we do? How will we resist the…

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Faithful Presence Amid "Continuous Partial Attention"

Michael Johnson

At this very moment, you’re multi-tasking:

  1. you’re likely at work, home, or at a “third space”;
  2. have multiple windows open on your screen;
  3. are listening to music;
  4. are reading another blog post;
  5. are talking to/thinking about someone;
  6. reading or writing an e-mail;
  7. are blinking;
  8. have a pulse.

Okay, scratch the last two. (And lest you surmise I suffer from the “I’m okay, you’re not okay” malady, ironically I’m multi-tasking even…

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Andrew Walls On Two Principles of the Gospel in Culture

Jonathan Parnell

In his essay "The Gospel as Prisoner and Liberator of Culture," Andrew Walls introduces two principles of the gospel's impact upon culture. These two principles express an aspect of the gospel's wonder that we should celebrate. There is nothing else like this in the universe.

The Indigenizing Principle

Walls writes:

Church history has always been a battleground for two opposing tendencies; and the reason is that each of the…

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