A thirteenth shift in thinking that came about during the Enlightenment has surfaced many times in my posts. In fact, a day does not go by that we do not see this new way of thinking bubble up in conversations, news reports, editorials, books, and everywhere else we turn. I am speaking of the way we now assume there is a difference between “facts” and “values” and between “reason” and “faith.” But this has not always been the case.
After 34 years in ministry, I had the opportunity to take a sabbatical these past three months in order to be renewed, refreshed, and retooled for the next season of ministry. Little did I know a global pandemic would play a defining role in what God wanted me to learn. My sabbatical ended April 30, and as I look back over the past three months I find three lessons the Lord taught (or retaught) me during this time.
During this Christmas season, I’m reflecting on the implications of understanding that Jesus was born as a boy, who grew to be a man in this same world we share. In my last three posts, I shared the first and second reasons that are vitally important to keep in mind, during Christmas and always. As important as these first two are, the third reason is the most important one for our salvation.
This article is the third blog in my series that discusses the importance of remembering Jesus is fully human as we celebrate the Advent season. Last week, I suggested that we devalue the worth of God’s creation (including ourselves) if we forget Jesus’ humanity. And Christians often do this very thing when they prize the spiritual to the denigration of the physical world. To highlight this issue, I pointed out three of at least seven ways Christians practice a Christian Gnosticism. This week, I will elaborate on the remaining four ways we forget his humanness and thus fall into the gnostic trap.
In my last post, I offered the first reason why, especially during this Christmas season, it is important to remember Jesus is fully human. In this article I suggest a second—to not do so means we minimize the worth of God’s creation (including ourselves). The incarnation is a constant reminder that God, more than anyone, values the physical world just as much as the spiritual world.
Jesus was born as a tiny, helpless baby boy. We say it but often don’t believe it. There are at least three reasons we must never forget that Jesus was fully human—that he “moved into the neighborhood” as The Message translates John 1:14. This blog will consider the first of these three reasons.
Artists are able to see beauty before it exists, and bring it into being, taking raw materials such as paint, canvas, clay, metal, fabric, notes, words or movement, and producing something of value. I believe this is what Christians are called to do in culture—take what God has created and produce something of value, which leads to human flourishing and the common good. As Ted Turnau puts it, “God commands us to develop his creation. It makes sense, then, that the Bible begins with a garden and ends with a city.” (Popologetics: Popular Culture in Christian Perspective, p. 54)
Wanting to avoid the extremes of the Demolition Engineer, many Christians go to the other extreme—a Cheerleader of culture. But this is equally unbiblical and problematic.
My friend was a Demolition Engineer in the Army. He complains that now he can’t enjoy beautiful architecture—his mind immediately goes to where to put the charges in order to destroy the building. This is how many Christians relate to culture.
During this Christmas Season, I’m reflecting on the implications of understanding that Jesus was really born as a boy, who grew to be a man in this same world we live in. In my last three posts, I shared the first and second reasons which are vitally important to keep in mind, during Christmas and always. As important as these reasons are, the third reason is the most important one for our salvation. (Read Post #1, Post#2, Post#3 here. These reasons were just too important to cram into the few weeks leading up to Christmas!)