The Native Tourist
reformed/biblical observations on Christianity and culture

Monday, January 30, 2006
Kit Gloves
Here is a gentle demonstration of why religious commitment - in particular Christian religious commitment - matters in the area of education. In other words, there is such thing as Christian education. (Unlike what the Two-Kingdom proponants would foolishly argue.) From an article by Lee Hardy of Calvin College. (hat tip to Gideon)

Clearly, the acceptance of a creed is not irrelevant to the aims of the academy. The academy is dedicated to the pursuit of truth. In expressing and aligning our beliefs about fundamental matters, the creeds—if they are right—can enhance our ability to track the truth about the rest of the world. That is, they can enhance our positive freedom to know the truth by removing a key internal constraint: our striking ignorance of how things stand concerning the ultimate status of God, ourselves, and the world we inhabit. The creeds can therefore be seen as an academic asset, not a liability, as an intellectual resource, not a restriction.

Thursday, January 26, 2006
Some Good Advice for Artists

Conceive art as work and undergo its training like a trade.

No one thing has ruined art so much in Western civilization as the cumulative nonsense about the artist as supra-rational genius, the pious talk about "creativity," and the Romanticist creed that an undisciplined bohemian life affords the milieu most conducive for having artistic "inspiration" strike. Such adulatory isolation may prime artistic egos, but it inevitably undermines the ministry of christian art. Art is a task like building bridges and fixing meals; it takes intelligence, sensitivity to needs, and specialized knowledge.

--Calvin Seerveld

. . . no great work of art comes by itself as a product of chance. There is no instant art. Apart from coffee nothing is instant in this world! I remember the words of a great pianist: “If I do not do my exercises one day, I will hear it the next day. If I do not do them for two days, my wife hears it. If not for three days, my best friends will notice. After four days, the public will notice.”

Then there is that charming story of Hokusai, the great Japanese painter and maker of woodcuts around 1800. Once somebody asked him for a painting of a rooster. He said, “All right, come back in a week.” When the man came, Hokusai asked for postponement: two weeks more. Then again, two months; then half a year. After three years the man was so angry that he refused to wait any longer. Then Hokusai said that he would have it there and then. He took his brush and his paper and drew a beautiful rooster in a short time. The man was furious. “Why do you keep me waiting for years if you can do it in such a short time?” “You don’t understand,” said Hokusai. “Come with me.” And he took the man to his studio and showed him the walls that were covered with drawings of roosters he had been doing over the last three years. Out of that came the mastery.

This story of course does not mean that we can keep people waiting and that we should not fulfill our promises. The lesson is that even improvisation and socalled spontaneous achievements can only be the result of hard work. No artist can ever reach the top if he does not start his day with rehearsing, a painter drawing for a few hours, a musician practicing, anybody studying. Genius is not enough.

--Hans Rookmaaker

Tuesday, January 24, 2006
Just Let it Go

There is simply no interest in cultural reclamation -- and in fact conscious opposition to it.
--Andrew Sandlin on Michael Horton's (and David Van Drunen's) two-kingom cultural pessimism

Friday, January 20, 2006
The church has become this vacillating organization that moves with the ebb and flow of the culture. This is caused by the leadership rationalizing that they have a responsibility to compromise to keep up with the times, remain relevant to the next generation, and not become obsolete. Personified, the church is a silly woman so infatuated by the World that she abandons her former training and character, and dresses and acts like a floozy in a pathetic attempt to please her pagan boyfriend. When you read a church sign that says, "Traditional worship service at 10:00, Contemporary Worship at 11:00." She is essentially saying, "Whatever you want."

--Laurence Windham from the article "Skirting the Issues" which appeared in Every Thought Captive. Windam co-pastors Saint Peters Church with R.C. Sproul, Jr.

Thursday, January 19, 2006
I don’t think the Bible requires every Christian to be an expert in high culture, or even to appreciate it. The fundamentalists were wrong to think that the Bible forbade such cultural involvements. But it would be equally wrong to argue that evangelicals must be zealous advocates of art. We need to recognize more the diversity of the church, the differences in culture, gifts, and interests. These differences are not necessarily sinful. They simply indicate the richness of God’s image and of the Spirit’s endowments.

--from John Frame essay: "Should Christians Join the Cultural Elite?"

Wednesday, January 18, 2006
Kinder & Gentler
review by John Frame of A Generous Orthodoxy. But still pretty critical.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006
Kingdom Stuff
A further follow-up on Horton's article. Many Two-Kingdom View proponants see the Kingdom of God as a spiritual, internal and/or future state rather than something that exists now and consists not only of people, but also of actual,physical cultural stuff.

But Hebrews 12:25-28 affirms that the Kingdom does include actual physical stuff:

[25] See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven, [26] whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven.” [27] Now this, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain.

[28] Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. (NKJV)

Verse 28 says that we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken. What is this that cannot be shaken? Things. Things that are made. Some things that are made will not endure, but somethings that are made will remain. These are part of the Kingdom. The Kingdom is not ghostly, is physical, tangible and earthy. It could not be more plain.

Friday, January 13, 2006
Michael Horton is still banging his anti-Christian Culture drum. Paul Duggan has penned a marvelous response.

Why doesn't Horton just become a Lutheran or dispensational baptist and be done with it...

Thursday, January 12, 2006
Short & Sweet
This is the text of my "Artist Statement" I provided at my show at the Coffee Cottage.

About my paintings

The majority of the watercolor paintings displayed here were executed during the years 1999-2001. They were painted primarily on Saturday mornings while my daughter was taking dance lessons in Buell, Oregon. Drawn and painted directly from the landscape of the area, they were painted in 1-2 hours which gives them (I hope) a certain freshness. (It also explains their intimate scale.) The other landscapes and still-lifes were also done “from life” and contain scenes or objects which I found appealing.

My paintings are realistic but not photographic. I like to simplify the basic forms and choose subjects where texture is not so important. Compositional harmony and color is however very important to me.

The British literary critic and poet Donald Davie has described the Calvinist aesthetic as that which “breathes simplicity, sobriety, and measure.” While I did not self-consciously seek to create art with these characterics, it is fair to say that my work embodies these very qualities. This no doubt is not by accident.

I firmly believe that the chief role of art is to create pleasure for the viewer or as Jonathan Edwards would have put it, to arouse the affections toward the beautiful. I hope I have filled my obligation in this regard.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006
Show at the Coffee Cottage
Pictures came out pretty fuzzy. Will try to take better ones later with a tripod.

Send me an email and I will forward larger versions.

Friday, January 06, 2006
Really Big Shew

Greetings -

Just a quick heads up that I am have a exhibition of my watercolor paintings at the Coffee Cottage in downtown Newberg, Oregon ( 808 E Hancock St ). The show opens tonight (Jan. 7) and will run until Feb. 1.

I know its short notice, but tonight from 8-10 pm Marj will be singing as well! Several other galleries and stores are open tonight as part of the "First Friday" event here in Newberg.

I know that many of you live fairly far away from Newberg, but I just wanted to let you know whats up!


Dave Hegeman

p.s.- I hope to get some pictures of the show up on my blog next week

Plunder Theology

...what separates believers from pagans is that we are heirs, while they are merely slaves. We are sons, and they but hired hands. Even now, Mozart's Requiem, while it is ultimately God's, has been handed over to Bach for stewardship in heaven. Milton carries about the folios of Homer, Virgil, and Yeats. Relativity is being herded by Newton. David Brainerd is thinking Pascal's thoughts, and if he didn't actually make it, Chesterton's works are in C.S. Lewis's heavenly briefcase.

We are going to inherit the earth, and the fullness thereof. That means everything that is not wood, hay and stubble will belong to us, everything the heathen work for, and all that we work for, because we are joint-heirs with Christ. The jewelry of the Egyptians was but a picture and a down payment, a type and an earnest.

--R.C. Sproul, Jr.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006
Found this church description doing a follow up on an article on the New York Times on "church mixing". Forest Ridge is an RCA church. What will we have next?

Fun, Casual, Rewarding, and FREE!

At Forest Ridge Community Church, we don't have a big choir or a 100-piece orchestra. Our services start with modern heartfelt praise and worship music. Join in the singing at your level of comfort.

We won't announce your name, make you stand, or do anything that would make you feel uncomfortable. If you'd like more information, or a visit, just fill out the request card. The decision is always yours.

Wear what makes you comfortable. If that's a pair of favorite jeans, a pin-striped suit, sandals, whatever, go for it. We don't think it really matters.

Pastor Tim's messages are informal, easy-to-understand, and focused on our church purpose - "to establish relationships with each other while developing growing personal relationships with Jesus" . There's always something for everybody.

And, last but not least, leave your money at home. You're not obligated to place any money in the offering plate. You are our guest, so please feel welcome to our services anytime, and the informal gathering afterwards for coffee, and donuts in the school cafeteria.

(Are they trying to reach police officers?)

Tuesday, January 03, 2006
So, SO True!
Once again Doug Wilson flat out nails it on the head:

There is something pathetic about how many Christians try to relate to the worldliness and supposed urbanity of pop culture. Many of the Church's current problems in doctrine, ethics, theology, philosophy, and cultural analysis really amount to this -- a deep ache for respect from the world. And the way people try to get respect when they have this problem is through fawning and flattery.

If we ever want to make a Christian Culture that matters in any real sense, we MUST grasp this truth. Cultural engagement without cultural antithesis worthless, flavorless salt. That is to say it is no salt at all...