Monday, October 31, 2011

Plowing in Hope or Probing for Land Mines?

How do Christians understand their place in the world? How deep does the antithesis run? How far does grace extend?

In my experience it seems that Christians often fall into two camps in their approach to the Christian life and their place in the world. On the one hand, there are those who are deeply concerned about brokenness in the world, and particularly their own personal failings or shortcomings. As they apply grace in their lives, they seek to avoid sin, to engage in constant self-reflection in an effort to become more Christ-like. In practice, I see their efforts as akin to probing for land mines. They see the world fraught with moral dangers and their calling in the world is to avoid those dangers.

On the other hand, there are those who see the application of grace in a broader way. It equips individuals to conquer sin in their lives, but also fuels the redemption of God's world. Christians working with this perspective see their calling as more than avoiding sin, but fulfilling their pre-fall calling to work as God's image bearers, to develop his creation, and, in this broken world, to act redemptively in all areas of life (not just their personal lives). Such individuals typically have more confidence about their place in the world and I would characterize their outlook as plowing in hope. Instead of seeing the world as a field that is full of dangerous land mines that must be carefully picked through, they see the world as full of hope and promise, they accept the invitation by our Lord to plow it, not forgetting what every good farmer knows about the potential dangers to themselves and their plowing equipment in the form of stumps, rocks, gopher holes, and so forth.

Literature on the Christian life often falls into these two catagories. For example, Dallas Willard's Divine Conspiracy does a fine job of helping Christians probe for land mines whereas books such as Bradshaw Frey(et al)'s At Work and Play: Biblical Insight for Daily Obedience encourage the faithful to plow in hope.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Blogging Poet

I'm quite pleased to share with you my wife's website and blog. She began writing poetry several years ago and has recently begun an MFA program in poetry. I'm quite proud of her and feel that my own stature has been raised now that I share a home with a poet. I don't even mind so much that I sometimes serve as the subject of her poetry.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

New book on Herman Dooyeweerd

This past year, University of Notre Dame Press published Jonathan Chaplin's new book, Herman Dooyeweerd, Christian Philosopher of State and Civil Society. I'm eager to see this book, and find time to read it. In the meantime, I've contented myself with a review of it by Keith Sewell in the latest edition of Pro Rege.

I was also interested to see that the University of Washington, Portland State University, University of Oregon, and Whitman College libraries all have a copy of the book. I'm not sure who's deciding that such staunchly reformational books should be added to their collections, but I'm not complaining.

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