The Native Tourist
reformed/biblical observations on Christianity and culture

Friday, May 27, 2005
Tuesday, May 24, 2005
Ben House is Complaining
that there aren't any Reformed Novelists:

I’m jealous. I love literature and I love Reformed theology. Sad to say, but literary greats and Reformed theologians live in separate worlds. We have produced lots of theologians and preachers, but few poets and almost no novelists.

I don't know what rock Ben has been hiding under.

Let's see, to name just a couple, there's

Larry Woiwode (OPC elder and North Dakota poet laureate)

James Schaap

Doug Jones


Monday, May 23, 2005
More Antithesis Hitting the Fan
this time in Grand Rapids...

(or by I won't be sending my kids to Calvin College)

Additional note: to be fair, it should be noted that the letter signed by Calvin faculty and students was kindly worded (read it here). Never the less there is lot of anger too. But, hey, how many presidential addresses mention Abraham Kuyper?

Friday, May 20, 2005
Keeping Higher Christian Education Christian
A keen observation from a review of God on the Quad:How Religious Colleges and the Missionary Generation Are Changing America by Naomi Schaefer Riley on the Books and Culture website:

Riley is at her independent-minded best in the chapter entitled "The Classroom as Chapel," which deals with the integration of faith and learning, a principle central to the identity of all her evangelical colleges and of some of the others, too. She hears the case against integration at Yeshiva, and Soka seems included largely to serve as a contrast here, since it flatly rejects this concept. Riley ends up siding with institutions engaged in the integrative project; these are the heirs of the long history of education in the West that accepts the compatibility of liberal learning and religious beliefs. Thus, she challenges the view that religious colleges indoctrinate, a piece of conventional wisdom held by well-educated, right-thinking people who know little of evangelical colleges and less of the historical record. In a provocative reversal, she turns the charge of indoctrination back against the secular university. Also, she boldly offers a sharp warning to evangelical-college professors who—in response to peer pressure, she thinks—blur their "Christian perspective" by importing some postmodernism. "But one might well wonder whether …. the historicist denial that we have any access to a reality that transcends our particular perspectives does not undermine the notion of religious truth itself."

Reread that last sentence again.

Of course there is no truth that isn't "religious truth". Thus all truth is threatened.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005
More from Eric Jacobsen
I just heard about a course Jacobsen is teaching at Fuller this summer, TC515: TOPICS IN THEOLOGY AND CULTURE: THEOLOGY AND THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT.

He also has an intersting article on "The return of the neighborhood church" in the New Urban News.

Good Stuff.

Some Good Reading on Cities
Joel Kotkin on "CITIES: Places Sacred, Safe, and Busy" from the journal The Next American City.

From an earlier issue on the theme Religion and the City, check out "GOD'S GREEN EARTH: Christianity and the Environmental Movement" by Benita Singh, which interacts with Jacobson's Sidewalks and the Kingdom.

Monday, May 16, 2005
The Antithesis Is Hitting the Fan
in Moscow, Idaho.

We are called to a third approach. The task of the Church in the world is, always and everywhere, to confront idolatrous paganism. We are required to be the new Israel to the world, a light for the nations, and this is why faithfulness will always result in conflict. If we surrender, there is no conflict. If we retreat into our evangelical cloister, there is no conflict. But if we declare in faith that Jesus is Lord—Lord of heaven, Lord of earth, Lord of kings, King of lords, Lord of every blade of grass, Lord of mayors, Lord of nations, Lord of false religions, and Lord of cities and towns just like ours—we will have conflict. How could we not?

This is why we have had turmoil here in our town. This is why some Christians are distressed with us—we have broken that unsigned peace treaty they had worked out with the reigning paganism. But let us never forget that it is what we do here, in worship, that accomplishes everything that God has purposed. So let us sing around Jericho.

Friday, May 13, 2005
Time Warp
Ever notice that when you spend a half-hour in a book store and then step outside that 2-3 hours has elapsed in the "real" world? I wonder if Einstein pondered this strange phenomenon.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005
Schilder Crib Notes
Matt Colvin, classicist, Christian school teacher, and blogger, is undertaking the wonderful task of providing a section-by-section precis of Klaas Schilder's Christ and Culture. First installment is here.

All this in response to my whining about the difficulty in understanding KS's (what has seemed to me) cryptic work.

Thank you Matt!

Monday, May 09, 2005
How Much Is a Cat Worth?

More PCA Culture Critique
(Follow up of sorts of the Keller article - see below)

Article from New Pantaguel caught my attention: "Evangelicalism’s Insecure Calvinists: The Proliferation of the Evangelical Self-Critique Book at the End of the Twentieth Century" by Gregory Johnson. Questions the worth of Jeremiads like David Wells' No Place for Truth, Os Guiness' No God But God and Michael Horton's Made in America from the 1990s. Funny, I never thought of David Wells as insecure. Go figure.

A quick look at Johnson's site shows him to be firmly in pro-PoMo wing of the PCA. Could there be a connection here with his apparent lack of sympathy for those who see a real need for a recovery of the antithesis in the church?

Friday, May 06, 2005
Christendom Wrongly Conceived
From a recent post by Andrew Sandlin.

The more serious error the classical orientation poses to Christian culture is its ecclesiocentricity (church-centeredness). The classical world was the world of empire; and as most historians recognize, the patristic church gradually came to see itself as the replacement of the collapsing Roman Empire, with its own emperor (Pope), bureaucrats (priests) and vast human organization. The church-empire became the center of life.


What we need is a culture that seriously recognizes Jesus’ Lordship in all life and thought, that sees the material world as a fit object of holy Kingdom-building, and that moves beyond the institutional church to re-orient all areas of life in terms of distinctly Christian truth. (emphasis added)

Read the whole thing. Its has a very succinct and accurate description and critique of the Medieval concept of Christendom.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005
True Spirituality
From Doug Wilson's blog:

Therefore, it is not oxymoronic to speak of a spiritual businessman. And if the businessman pays close attention to his stock, his accounts receivable, his customer base, he may do this in a spiritual way or in an unspiritual way. But it is never unspiritual because it is here. This is where God wants us. It would be unspiritual to leave.

Reason for Optimism?
How much have you heard about Thomas Kinkade lately?

(note: this comes from one who does not frequent mainstream Christian bookstores.)