The Native Tourist
reformed/biblical observations on Christianity and culture

Tuesday, November 29, 2005
Sir, There's an Alligator Next to That Painting...
At the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, they have taken the Baroque art collection and combined it with other period furniture and other "curiosities" to recreate several period rooms including a “chamber of wonders.” Very cool.

Read about it.

See a pic.

Monday, November 28, 2005
Good Book Hunting
One of the nice things about living near Portland is the book stores. Besides book selling powerhouse Powells (which is really expensive even if it is impeccably organized) there is also Pilgrim Supply on the east side of Portland on Stark which has a wonderful array of used Christian books and well as new ones. (It also sells the "Christian" trinkets but, thankfully, they keep them safely away from the books.)

On Saturday I went there with a friend to buy my wife a new bible (an ESV). We went shortly before closing so we didn't waste too much time...

Wednesday, November 23, 2005
An Observation
about college admissions marketing. Who is it that the college is actively targeting with their admissions materials?

What does this tell you about their view of the family?


Friday, November 18, 2005
Wrong Turn

In the last 300 years Christianity has steadily lost ground as a spiritual force in Western culture. The secularization inherent in a highly developed Western philosophy has emasculated a Christianity that had already at crucial points made its peace with that very philosophy. Christianity has not escaped the bitter fruits of its early compromise with Greek thought — these fruits have now rendered it weak and effete in the face of secularism.

--from a post by Andrew Sandlin

Thursday, November 17, 2005
Blast from the Past
I was doing some snooping on New Saint Andrews College and I came across a comment made by yours truly that appeared in the comments to this post. Gave me one of thos "did I really say that" moments:

Post 7:
I am all for the liberal arts. I have a degree in art history. But I had to get a graduate degree in library science in order to be able to have a job that puts food on the table.

I wonder how ready the young men who get a bachelors degree from NSA are to provide for a family in terms of a salary? What kind of jobs (other that teaching, like you Jon) can a liberal arts graduate do which earn enough to provide for a family?

Augustine may not have had a degree in computer science, but he didn't have a family either (at least one that was legitimate and who he provided for.) While Augustine was busy turning the world upside down, he was single and lived in a quasi-monastic community. Augustine pushed the church in the direction of monasticism out of which the liberal arts in the west came into our age. Is this what the liberal arts produce? Virtual monks destined for a single life?

I am surely not arguing for monasticism or for an abandonment of the liberal arts, but these practical issues need to be worked out. Young men must be ready to provide for the families they will (hopefully) be head over.
by: The Native Tourist (URL) on 2003-04-15 11:24:23

This was in response to two articles critical of the radical liberal arts approach taken by NSA, which I bloged on here.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005
Crabby Authenticity

But our longing for “authenticity” also bears a suspicious resemblance to the latest plot twist in the story of consumer culture: the tendency to rapidly replace the squeaky-clean franchise with the “authentic” franchise. The leather seats in our sport-utility vehicle caress our stonewashed jeans as we put some blues-tinged pop on the radio and drive to the local Joe’s Crab Shack. It’s a ramshackle dive that you might think would fall down any minute, if you hadn’t seen it being built just eight months ago by a speedy professional crew that travels around the country building Joe’s Crab Shacks.

--from an article "Stonewashed Worship" by Andy Crouch

Sometimes "authentic" worship is the most phoney. But its important to be relevant...

Tuesday, November 15, 2005
Kirker Poem
Speaking of Moscow: Aaron Rench (a former native of Oregon it needs to be said) who I met last weekend and who works at NSA has a poem published by Books & Culture. Kewl.

Monday, November 14, 2005
from a fact-finding mission in Moscow, ID. Some observations:

1. The Palouse is beautiful, even in November.

2. Bucers is super cool. No big surprise here. Had a token pint of Guinness.

3. NSA is impressive. Speaking as a dad, I really like the sense of community. I was also glad to see that at least come men didn't wear ties and some women wore slacks. And there is some ability for students to specialize via electives. I'm not sure I buy the professional education is evil rhetoric.

4. Moscow is has a lot going for it for a city of twenty thousand.

5. Moscow has real winter weather (unlike the Willamette Valley). The people I stayed with plug their cars in at night!

6. Worship a Christ Church is really, really big. I like the intimacy of our small congregation.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005
Off to Moscow, Idaho
to visit New Saint Andrews College with my daugher. So blogging may be slow the next couple of days.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005
Frightening. Utterly Frightenng.

(table of contents)

Monday, November 07, 2005
sung by yours truly at this years Reformation Day party at Trinity OPC:


There’s a man who lives a life of danger
A man who’ll share the truth with any stranger
You know that every step he takes
Could bring him closer to the stake
He knows He might fail to see tomorrow

Reformation Man
Reformation Man
He’s bringin’ you the gospel
That will take away your shame

Beware of inquisions that you find
Bishops robes can hide an evil mind
“Salvation is by grace”
Has the Pope’s men red-faced
He knows he might fail to see tomorrow

Reformation Man
Reformation Man
He’s bringin’ you the gospel
That will take away your shame

copyright, Dave Hegeman, 2005

(I'll leave it to you to figure out what tune this was sung to)

Friday, November 04, 2005
In Praise of Helpful Summaries
and discussions.

Gregory Baus, who is taking an MA at the VU (Free University of Amsterdam) has this nice post summarizing a great deal of Dooyeweerd's and other reformational views/critiques. Very helpful.

While I'm at it, I would like to give kudos to Matt at Fragmenta for his ongoing effort to summarize/distill Schilder's Christ and Culture.

Thursday, November 03, 2005
Brown Gold
Reading my blog, you might think that I am fixated on 17th century Dutch art. And you would be not far from the truth. (Indeed, I hope to make it my next book project, Lord willing.)

Anyway, there is another show in Washington, DC of the work of "Claesz: Master of Haarlem Still Life" (see review from NY Times)

Claesz' paintings (along with Heda and lanscapist Van Goyen) have contributed to the stereotyoe of the "brown" old masters. But his small cabinet paintings are the epitome of gentle balance, subtlety and quiet grandeur. I still can't forget Francis Schaeffer discussing these dutch still life paintings in the film series How Then Shall We Live? For Schaeffer the embodied the very essence of protestant thinking/worldview.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005
This comes from the review of the Ruisdael exhibition which is now in Philadelphia (from the Inquirer):

His paintings aren't concerned with religious belief - the 17th-century Dutch masters were doggedly secular - but in the Art Museum show he comes across as a confirmed pantheist.

This reporter needs to do his homework. The "secular" works produced by the Dutch masters had everything to do with their Christian understanding of the world, even thought they weren't about saints, biblical subjects, or doctine per se. They saw real value and spiritual meaning in ALL of reality. And they enjoyed it to the full.

It was exactly this embrace of reality in the full that allowed Ruisdael and his fellow landscape brethren to take joy in the creation that was their home. The review in the New York Times captures this beautifully:

That his landscapes are grand is remarkable, given the material he was working with. England had its Windermere, America its Rockies. Holland had duney flatness, with the occasional steeple poking up. But Ruisdael found this sufficient for starters: he painted what was in front of him and invented what was not.

He took full advantage of his country's greatest scenic resource: sky. It usually takes up at least half of any Ruisdael painting. It was Holland's Himalayas, awesome, many-hued, dominating all.

This is not to say that Ruisdael was a slavish follower of this reality - a pure realist. Rather, like a farmer or a gardener he embellished the original.