Category Archives: Articles on Culture

Imagination, Illumination and Faith: a Proposed Connection

Imagination, Illumination and Faith: a Proposed Connection

This entry is part 9 of 9 in the series Christian Imagination You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

We have already showed the importance of imagination for shaping on overall Christian outlook and sensibility. Still, for many Christians these things seem abstract and somewhat arcane. But what if what we are calling imagination is very close to, or identical to the biblical concepts of faith and illumination? If imagination is either identical to… Continue Reading

Discerning the Christian Imagination: Consensus and Canonicity

Discerning the Christian Imagination: Consensus and Canonicity

This entry is part 8 of 9 in the series Christian Imagination You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Determining if a poem, hymn, musical piece, novel, devotional work, painting or other work should be considered a helpful work of Christian imagination is mostly an act of considering its meaning. Does its content agree with the truths of Scripture? Does its form remain consonant with that content, and shape the appropriate responses in us?… Continue Reading

Discerning the Christian Imagination: Analogies and Proportion

Discerning the Christian Imagination: Analogies and Proportion

This entry is part 7 of 9 in the series Christian Imagination You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

If Christians should grow in their ability to discern superior Christian works of imagination, how should they do this? Must every Christian pursue some kind of music appreciation, literary criticism or aesthetic theory in order to recognise Christian from non-Christian or sub-Christian imagination? Likely not, though no Christian should scorn the pursuit of knowledge, wisdom… Continue Reading

Handshakes: More Like Holy Kisses Than Ever

Handshakes: More Like Holy Kisses Than Ever

An interesting observation this morning. Libertarian-ish lawyer Ken White asks about handshakes, and stats and polling guy Nate Silver offers an answer that handshakes mean *more* now. As I’m wrapping up a series on 1 Thessalonians this week, this feels relevant to Paul’s command to greet one another with a holy kiss. I’ve noted before… Continue Reading

Shapers of Christian Imagination

Shapers of Christian Imagination

This entry is part 6 of 9 in the series Christian Imagination You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

How is Christian imagination shaped? A true but not very helpful answer would be to say, “everything shapes imagination”. Visits to the doctor, watering the garden, schoolwork, housework, trading and every other activity shapes our outlook on reality in small or big ways. But it is also true to say that certain actions imprint the… Continue Reading

Christian Imagination Fleshed Out

Christian Imagination Fleshed Out

This entry is part 5 of 9 in the series Christian Imagination You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

What does the Christian imagination look like when it is fleshed out? We can imagine it as a spectrum, beginning with Scripture itself and working its way out from the explicitly biblical to what is only implicitly so. The Bible. Scripture itself is the archetype of all Christian imagination. Its content and form are the… Continue Reading

Imaginative Knowing

Imaginative Knowing

This entry is part 3 of 9 in the series Christian Imagination You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

If “Christian imagination” is really another way of saying Christian knowing, or Christian knowledge, why persist in calling it imagination? Why not simply call it by the more regular words, such as knowledge, worldview, understanding, presuppositions or, for the more philosophically inclined, epistemology? The answer is that the Christian (or true) way of knowing is… Continue Reading

Imagination and Understanding Reality

Imagination and Understanding Reality

This entry is part 2 of 9 in the series Christian Imagination You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Should Christians persist in referring to “Christian Imagination”? Since we are concerned with truth, should we not avoid terms that have connotations of what is merely fantastical or unreal? We may choose to drop the term Christian imagination. If we do, however, we will have to use several other terms in its place, to capture… Continue Reading

Unprecedented

Unprecedented

These are not unprecedented days. That’s important to say, because unprecedented has become one of the most overused descriptors of the past year. To call something unprecedented is to make a very bold statement. It is not merely to say that “this thing hasn’t happened before,” but to say that “nothing even reasonably similar to… Continue Reading

A Concise Biblical Evaluation of Critical Theory

A Concise Biblical Evaluation of Critical Theory

Podcast version of this article: The issue of Critical Theory (CT) has become the hot-button issue for evangelicals over the past couple of years, as evidenced by SBC debates over the now infamous Resolution 9, controversy over the death of George Floyd, BLM riots over the summer and fall, and recently climaxing with evangelical opinions about… Continue Reading

Island Culture

Island Culture

Le Mont-Saint-Michel is a tidal island off Normandy, France. Water levels have varied over the centuries, but at its highest, the island would be completely cut off from the mainland, and at low tide, foot traffic could recommence. The tidal island is a decent illustration of the relationship between the church and its surrounding culture.… Continue Reading

Beauty’s Description

Beauty’s Description

This entry is part 21 of 34 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 defined may be abstract and remote; beauty described should be concrete. What does beauty look like? For that matter, since beauty is not only (or even primarily) visual, what does beauty sound like, feel like, or seem like? When we have encountered or experienced beauty, what is that experience? The best approach is to… Continue Reading

Tattoos: To Do or Eschew?

Tattoos: To Do or Eschew?

The Christian life is meant to be a life of obedience grounded in discernment. “Test all things; hold fast what is good.” (1 Thess. 5:21) Such discernment is not simply an inner sense of confidence, or a feeling of sagacity, but an active judging of all things for their meaning. The pursuit of meaning is… Continue Reading

Beauty’s Difficulties: The Problem of Taste

Beauty’s Difficulties: The Problem of Taste

This entry is part 15 of 34 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.

After more than a century of grappling with Descartes’ division of knowledge into “subjective” and “objective”, eighteenth-century thinkers developed a way to rescue the concept of beauty. The conversation about beauty moved away from a discussion of harmony, proportion, or unity and towards the idea of taste. In fact, at this early stage, the attention… Continue Reading

Lessons from a Pandemic: Science Is Limited

Lessons from a Pandemic: Science Is Limited

I’m obviously very thankful for science, I’m thankful for medical advancements that improve quality of life, I’m thankful for technology. However, what our current situation with COVID-19 has helped us to see is that science can’t solve everything because it is based on human observation, and humans are limited. The scientific method by definition is… Continue Reading

The Unexamined Life

The Unexamined Life

“The unexamined life is not worth living”, said Socrates. Socrates was teaching the need to live a life where all things are parsed for their meaning. A life lived on auto-pilot, following the great mass of humanity, takes most of life for granted. It is a life lived without reflection, without much meditation, and consequently,… Continue Reading

Live Images Are Not Living Persons

Live Images Are Not Living Persons

This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series Disembodied Christianity You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Our technologies have come a long way from when John wrote, likely using a reed-pen on a papyrus sheet, “I had many things to write, but I do not wish to write to you with pen and ink; but I hope to see you shortly, and we shall speak face to face.” (3 Jn. 1:13-14)… Continue Reading

Disembodied Christianity

Disembodied Christianity

This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series Disembodied Christianity You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

During last week, I read one man rage at ‘conservative Christians’ for their desire to re-open churches. He then proceeded to point out that Hebrews 10:25 does not really prove that churches need to gather in physical buildings, and that all Christians who call for re-opened churches based upon Hebrews 10:25 are abusing the text.… Continue Reading

Let Us Break Bread Together On Our Screens

Let Us Break Bread Together On Our Screens

This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series Disembodied Christianity You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

“John, we’d love it if you and Susan would join us for a meal on Thursday evening.” “Uh…well, Mike, thanks but…isn’t that illegal? I mean, doesn’t the lockdown prohibit that kind of social gathering?” “Oh, no, I don’t mean that you and Susan come to our home. We’ll host you online.” “I’m still not following.… Continue Reading

Ten Mangled Words: Conclusion

Ten Mangled Words: Conclusion

This entry is part 63 of 63 in the series Ten Mangled Words You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Words are not just names. If they were, we’d have no problem swapping out one label for another. No, words are things. Yes, they are man-made things, concatenations of syllables created by human cultures, and their particular meanings have been shaped through convention and association. But they are things that have meaning in themselves, and… Continue Reading