Author Archives: David de Bruyn

Ten Mangled Words:”Taste”

Ten Mangled Words:”Taste”

This entry is part of 49 in the series Ten Mangled Words You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

De gustibus non est disputandum, said the ancient Romans. There is no disputing over taste, meaning that in matters of personal taste and preference, there can be no profitable dispute, and therefore there ought to be none. There’s much truth to that. If you’re a fan of murder mysteries, and have no time for fantasy,… Continue Reading

Votes From the Democracy of the Dead

Votes From the Democracy of the Dead

This entry is part 48 of 49 in the series Ten Mangled Words You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

The idea of ordinate affection is not welcome today. Narcissism has become a celebrated virtue, and is now even given the monikers transparent, authentic, and real. The two ditches of sentimentalism and brutality now take up most of the road and a slender middle path of appropriate love is known by few and trod by fewer.… Continue Reading

Affect or Effect

Affect or Effect

This entry is part 1 of 49 in the series Ten Mangled Words You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

The difference between affections and emotions is seen in what art is used in worship. Since worship uses art, worship leaders can use it in precisely one of these two ways: to affect us, or to create effect. They can work with poetry, music and the spoken word to work with the imagination. There the… Continue Reading

Everything is Uh-Sim

Everything is Uh-Sim

This entry is part 47 of 49 in the series Ten Mangled Words You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

“How’re you guys doin’ today?” “Fine, thanks.” “Uh-sim. Will you be using a rewards card today?” “Uh, no.” “Uh-sim. Cash back?” “No, not today.” Swipes card, takes receipt.  “No prob. You guys have an uh-sim day!” *** I’m probably not being fair to the cashiers at Target, but that was certainly how their pronunciation of… Continue Reading

Emotional or Affected?

Emotional or Affected?

This entry is part 46 of 49 in the series Ten Mangled Words You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

While C. S. Lewis encourages us to not place too much stock in our feelings, he was adamant that the whole point of education was to create right affections. Affections are not a matter of bodily sensations, but a matter of judging value and responding appropriately: “Until quite modern times all teachers and even all… Continue Reading

Stop Feeling Your Feelings

Stop Feeling Your Feelings

This entry is part 44 of 49 in the series Ten Mangled Words You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Since emotion is a mangled and confusing word, we need to separate the different experiences it is used to refer to. As we have seen, older generations used the terms affections and passions to at least attempt to point out the differences. Some of these emotional experiences are moral desires and should be treated with the same caution… Continue Reading

Does God Have “Emotions”?

Does God Have “Emotions”?

This entry is part 45 of 49 in the series Ten Mangled Words You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Trying to answer a badly-worded question often leads to an inferior answer. Loaded questions implicate those who even attempt to answer them. “By what authority doest thou these things?” Whether Jesus had answered “By My own” or “By My Father’s”, he would have been accused of pride or blasphemy. Best rule of thumb: ask the… Continue Reading

A Short History of “Emotion”

A Short History of “Emotion”

This entry is part 42 of 49 in the series Ten Mangled Words You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Some might be surprised to learn that the word emotion is perhaps only 200 years old. Thomas Dixon has documented the history of the term “emotion” in his book From Passions to Emotions. He shows that what was originally a moral category in Christian thought named affections or passions became a psychological category termed emotions. What used… Continue Reading

Emotion

Emotion

This entry is part 43 of 49 in the series Ten Mangled Words You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Perhaps few words are as mangled as the word emotion. In this word is a cacophony of confusion. For some, emotion is nothing more than the superficial states of the body: neither moral, nor important. For others, emotion is the gold standard of sincerity: if you feel it, then you mean it, and lack of… Continue Reading

A Theology of Equality

A Theology of Equality

This entry is part 41 of 49 in the series Ten Mangled Words You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

When God made humankind, He made them male and female, both equally in His image (Genesis 1:26-27). According to Peter, this makes men and women co-heirs of the grace of life (1 Peter 3:7). He chose to do so in a staggered fashion, however, creating the male first, followed by the female. In so doing,… Continue Reading

Beauty and Knowledge

Beauty and Knowledge

This entry is part 8 of 8 in the series Doxology: A Theology of God's Beauty You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Beauty does not only encourage a pursuit of reality, but beauty encourages a Christian epistemology. It teaches how we know what we know. The Enlightenment project involved pursuing certainty without relying on revelation or authority. If a thinking, knowing subject could be “neutral”, pure reason would lead to truth. This resulted in a general suspicion… Continue Reading

Equality and Necessary Hierarchy

Equality and Necessary Hierarchy

This entry is part 40 of 49 in the series Ten Mangled Words You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

The current proponents of social justice have little idea of what they may be creating in pursuit of their goal. Their goal is a just society, but the pursuit of radical egalitarianism won’t provide them with that. Richard Weaver, writing in 1948, describes how radical egalitarianism provides nothing new that traditional societies didn’t already produce,… Continue Reading

Beauty and Reality

Beauty and Reality

This entry is part 7 of 8 in the series Doxology: A Theology of God's Beauty You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Beauty has made a comeback. After years of being relegated by intellectual elites to the junkyard of old and outdated concepts, it is now popping up everywhere. The terminology of beauty is, strangely enough, now heard often in scientific and mathematical discourse, speaking of the beauty of mathematical models or theorems, the elegance of “nature’s… Continue Reading

A Parable About Pop Music in Church

A Parable About Pop Music in Church

Christian 1: So I hear you have a problem with lollipops? Christian 2: Lollipops? No, I think they’re just fine. Christian 1: But you apparently won’t eat them for family meals. Christian 2: That’s true. I prefer my family eats some kind of meat, vegetables or healthier food for their meals. Christian 1: So you… Continue Reading

The Value of Beauty

The Value of Beauty

This entry is part 6 of 8 in the series Doxology: A Theology of God's Beauty You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

What possible value can the study of beauty deliver? Isn’t this fiddling while Rome burns, counting daffodil petals while barbarians lay siege to the city? In times of apostasy, false teaching, deception and darkness, shouldn’t aesthetics go to the bottom of the priority-pile? When caricatured as effete aestheticism, then yes, beauty will seem to be… Continue Reading

Beauty and Christianity’s Primary Endeavors

Beauty and Christianity’s Primary Endeavors

This entry is part 5 of 8 in the series Doxology: A Theology of God's Beauty You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Once we understand that beauty is close to glory in meaning, we will without any difficulty find beauty at the heart of many Christian endeavors. The most obvious is worship. Worship is the act of returning to God affections corresponding to His beauty. Psalm 29:1-2 captures this: “Give unto the LORD, O you mighty ones,… Continue Reading

Beauty as Scripture’s Theme

Beauty as Scripture’s Theme

This entry is part 4 of 8 in the series Doxology: A Theology of God's Beauty You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

The idea of beauty is present in the first chapters of the Bible, as God creates and then makes the evaluative judgement that it was “good”. God was not judging the morality of the world, but praising the the beauty of creation. The Bible opens with God creating a cosmos which was aesthetically pleasing to… Continue Reading

Beauty in Scripture’s Words and Forms

Beauty in Scripture’s Words and Forms

This entry is part 3 of 8 in the series Doxology: A Theology of God's Beauty You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

C. S. Lewis once wrote that the modern dilemma is either to taste and not to know or to know and not to taste—or, more strictly, to lack one kind of knowledge because we are in an experience or to lack another kind because we are outside it. As thinkers we are cut off from… Continue Reading

Beauty in the Hebrew Bible

Beauty in the Hebrew Bible

This entry is part 2 of 8 in the series Doxology: A Theology of God's Beauty You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Few Christians would say that beauty is unbiblical. After all, they vaguely remember references to “the beauty of holiness” or the desire “to behold the beauty of the LORD”. But many might think of beauty as extra-biblical: mostly an aesthetic and philosophical concept, more at home in art galleries and philosophy lecture-halls than in churches… Continue Reading

In Pursuit of a Doxology

In Pursuit of a Doxology

This entry is part of 8 in the series Doxology: A Theology of God's Beauty You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

In 1962, A. W. Tozer warned that the evangelical church was missing a jewel. “Now, worship is the missing jewel in modern evangelicalism. We’re organized; we work; we have our agendas. We have almost everything, but there’s one thing that the churches, even the gospel churches, do not have: that is the ability to worship.… Continue Reading