The Native Tourist
reformed/biblical observations on Christianity and culture

Friday, April 30, 2004
Blind Ambition

Make that woe.

I just came across a review of a blood-chilling book at the Boundless.com site. Its titled In, But Not Of: A Guide to Christian Ambition and the desire to Influence the World by a radio "personality" Hugh Hewitt.

Here is some of the description from the publisher's website:

"In, But Not Of takes a hard look at Christian ambition, the need to acquire influence in the world, and the appropriate manner for doing so.

Hugh Hewitt has worked for and with people in some of the most powerful and influential positions in the country. He knows what is required to reach and thrive in such positions, and in this book he shares some of that valuable, hard-won knowledge.

In, But Not Of provides readers with valuable insights, wisdom, personal experiences, and advice on how to rise in the world and achieve the kind of radical success that honors God."

Sure it would be nice to be as rich as Bill Gates and use all that money to promote the Kingdom. But I still advocate the slow and steady approach.
In a faithful, culturally active community. With a longterm view.

Thursday, April 29, 2004
I Wonder When John Robbins
is Going to Get Around to Attacking Plowing? I feel left out.

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

"Nothing is less real than realism. It is only by selection, by elimination, by emphasis, that we get at the real meaning of things."

--Georgia O'Keeffe

Tuesday, April 27, 2004
Some Fun
Here's a little visual diversion for the day. (Kind of a make your own Damien Hirst.) Not as fun as the Mr. Picassohead, but it is still entertaining.

I found this elegant little game (it doesn't use flash) on the site of this design firm which I found when I was looking at art dept. alumni from Calvin College. What do you think of their stuff? Does it seem Christian? Redemptive? Distinctive?

Friday, April 23, 2004
When I consider every thing that grows
Holds in perfection but a little moment,
That this huge stage presenteth nought but shows
Whereon the stars in secret influence comment;
When I perceive that men as plants increase,
Cheered and cheque'd even by the self-same sky,
Vaunt in their youthful sap, at height decrease,
And wear their brave state out of memory;
Then the conceit of this inconstant stay
Sets you most rich in youth before my sight,
Where wasteful Time debateth with Decay,
To change your day of youth to sullied night;
And all in war with Time for love of you,
As he takes from you, I engraft you new.

. . . Who Need Enemies
I have often thought of writing an essay on how the TV show "Friends" and others like it have contributed to the moral erosion of our culture. Thankfully, Andrew Sandlin has done it for me. I wonder how many "culturally-relevant" Christians are addicted to this show?

Wednesday, April 21, 2004
Who Said This?

"“Work, truly unselfish work, animated by the spirit of fellowship, will be the mark of the future, the character of the humanity to be. Work as spirit, work as living reality, such as we all have lost, dedicated work simply for the love of being together—that is the fundamental character of God's future...Where all the senses are consecrated and all tools dedicated; where everything physical becomes holy and every task a joy; where there is zest, the bubbling vigor of enthusiasm in work—there is the kingdom of the future.”

Tuesday, April 20, 2004
All That Jazz
Check out this intriguing article "That Glorious Mongrel: How Jazz Can Correct the Heresy of White Christianity" by Rodney Clapp (excerpt from his book Border Crossings - from the TeDeum.com site).

Surely Jazz is one of the most diverse (both in its origins and the variety of styles within its purview) of all artistic "schools". It can be popular, avant garde, large-scale, intimate, new age, philosophical, "lite", soulfull, etc. What else could bring together the Mahavishnu Orchestra and the Glenn Miller Band?

Monday, April 19, 2004
Come Together
I just knew that popular culture was good for something.

"A recent study reports that audiences watching a movie will register similar brain-wave patterns. Pessimists might see this as proof of pop culture as brain control. Optimists would regard it as a key to artistic universality.

No single work of art can appeal to everyone. But when a movie like "Titanic" is seen all over the world, it suggests that its director, James Cameron, has reached down to artistic bedrock. Or when people throughout the United States, watching at home on their isolated television screens, are riveted by the final episode of "Sex and the City," that helps bind us together.

This country's great gift to world culture has been its popular arts. Partly because such art offers this kind of bonding experience — corporately distributed popular culture as intimations of community — and partly because the art at its best is so good, on the strictest elitist criteria."

-- from a recent New York Times article, "Corporate Culture Clash: Elitism, Popularity and Rock 'n' Roll"

All together now . . . mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

Friday, April 16, 2004
Loving Work
Hat's off to Dr. Crist, who recently retired from Messiah College at 104 years old!

Thursday, April 15, 2004
What is Neocalvinism?

Seems that everyone wants to know. Here's my take on the question:

"I'm going to enjoy watching you paint, Mr. Anderson"

"You take the blue pill - the story ends, you wake up in your bed and remain culturally irrelevant. You take the red pill - you find out how deep Christian Culture goes."

Wednesday, April 14, 2004
The Two Mandates
What is the relationship between the "Cultural Mandate" and the "Great Commission"? This is being discussed over at Gideon Strauss' blog. David Koyzis gives and answer from Paul Marshall. And see this discussion I had a couple of years ago with poet Aaron Belz.

In short, I argue, that the whole point of the Great Commission is to make disciples who will fulfill the cultural mandate - part of what it means "to observe all that I have commanded."

Tuesday, April 13, 2004
Rags (Canvas that is) to Riches
Some people play the lottery. Others merely go to garage sales.

Monday, April 12, 2004
A Resurrected Earth

Tim Gallant posted his easter sermon here: Easter is about NEW life in all its glorious manifestations -- human and otherwise.

"And she thinks Him the gardener. So wrong - and yet, so right too. For here before her is the new Adam, and who is Adam, but the one is called from the beginning to care for the Garden, to tend it and to guard it? Not for the first time in John, one of the speakers utters words far truer and far more profound than they realize. Just as Caiaphas said that one man must die for the people; just as Pilate called Jesus the King of the Jews: Mary has hit the nail on the head. Jesus is the new Adam, the Gardener of the new creation."

Interfaces nicely with Andrew Sandlin's brand new book New Flesh, New Earth
The Life-Changing Power of the Resurrection

Friday, April 09, 2004
Crunch Time

"For example, if you are driving across the northern band of the country -- especially in Vermont, Massachusetts, Wisconsin or Oregon -- you are likely to stumble across a crunchy suburb. These are places with meat-free food co-ops, pottery galleries, sandal shops (because people with progressive politics have a strange penchant for toe exhibitionism). Not many people in these places know much about the for-profit sector of the economy, but they do build wonderful all-wood playgrounds for their kids, who tend to have names like Milo and Mandela. You know you're in a crunchy suburb because you see the anti-lawns, which declare just how fervently crunchy suburbanites reject the soul-destroying standards of conventional success. Anti-lawns look like regular lawns with eating disorders. Some are bare patches of dirt, others are scraggly spreads of ragged, weedlike vegetation, the horticultural version of a grunge rocker's face. "

--David Brooks, from New York Times site: excerpt of new book On Paradise Drive

Two Thoughts for the Day

"But nothing worth having comes without some kind of fight --
Got to kick at the darkness 'til it bleeds daylight"

--Bruce Cockburn, "Lovers in a Dangerous Time"

"Two thousand years and half a world away
Dying trees still grow greener when you pray"

--Cockburn, "All the Diamonds"

Wednesday, April 07, 2004
Great Culture Starts with the Little Things
like the design of man-hole covers.

Tuesday, April 06, 2004
Christian New Urbanists Unite!
Eric Jacobsen, author of Sidewalks in the Kingdom has a website.

Friday, April 02, 2004
Is Vision Forum Really Ready for This?

Link (Does't it look kinda like a Marlboro ad?)

Whence Cometh Progress?
It all about patents and profits saith R.C. Sproul Jr.

Thursday, April 01, 2004
What Could Have Been
Today I was going to blog a mock news story about a tearful press conference held by Thomas Kinkade. How he was sadly turning his back on being the Painter of Light(tm). That he deeply regretted how he ruined the aesthetic taste of millions of his Christian brothers and sisters, and led them to foolishly pursue empty sentimentality and banality in the name of "fine art". That he in turn has decided to become a photo-realist and paint a series of works based on old baptist churches built in the 50s in Texas. That he came love the irony of wood paneling and formica and polyester and that he wanted to capture this in finely executed paintings. Real paintings - no more prints, mouse pads, glassware or screen savers. The satirical piece would have ended with "Jerry Falwell could not be reached for comment."

Then I imagined getting a nasty letter from his lawyers. Then there would be the lawsuit. The publicity would be fun for a while, but I would lose, owe Kinkade and his multimillion dollar international corporation several million dollars. We would lose our house, our minivan, all my books, our vast record collection including all our Bruce Cockburn records.

It was too much to bear.

So I will have to leave it to your imagination.