The Native Tourist
reformed/biblical observations on Christianity and culture

Tuesday, February 27, 2007
Trip/Conference Thoughts Pt. 1
Before the conference, besides visiting my Dad and stepmom in Greenport, NY on the East End of Long Island, I took time to visit a handfull of art museums which had solid collections of Dutch art: the Baltimore Museum of Art, The Walters Art Museum and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The Walters and the PMA both have excellent collections of Golden Age art, the latter one of the best collections in the United States.

The Walters recently arranged their galleries to resemble (simulate is probably a better word) period rooms, which was effective esp. in that they were able to hang a large number of paintings (one above another) that would not be seen in a more typical museum layout.

The PMA has a fantastic collection highlighting the different facets of types and styles of 17th C Dutch art. I really liked the little kitchen still-life by Willem Kalf. The PMA also has an extensive collection of Delft pottery and tiles.

On the way up to New York from Philadelphia, I rode with Bill Edgar, professor at Westminster Seminary, who also presented at the IAM Conference. It was fun finding out about his experiences at L'Abri and with Rookmaaker, as well as talking about Jazz, music theory, two-kingdom theology, Kuyperianism, Van Til, etc.

Monday, February 26, 2007
I am back from the IAM Conference
I had a wonderful visit with family and friends, visited several museums, and of course there was the conference itself which was exciting and very professionally run. If you want a copy of my talk, email me. The audio of it will be available eventually from IAM.

Trip details to follow. . .

Friday, February 16, 2007

Sorry for the lack of posts of late. I have been working a lot on my talk. I will be leaving for New York and the IAM NY Conference on Monday. I may post some stuff if I get a opportunity.

I will definitely report on the conference when I get back!.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Calvinism, however, went further, for it also brought about an alteration in man's views of "things". Calvin's emphasis upon God as creator, sustainer and ruler over all of nature meant a new approach to the physical universe. For one thing Calvin gave a new dimension to the idea of natural law. It was not something that existed by itself, but had been created and was sustained by God through the Holy Spirit at all times. Therefore, if man wished to know about nature he should not follow Aristotle's rationalistic method, nor even the medieval technique of seeking explanations of physical phenomena from the Bible. Rather, man must go to nature itself for his answers. As a result he gave theological support to an empirical method of investigation of the physical and social worlds. Of equal importance was his insistence that all knowledge must be used for man's benefit and to God's glory, Since cultural activity should always be applied to life and used in life, mere rationalizing, speculation or even observation for their own sakes meant nothing. Man had the responsibility of using God's good gifts which he had found.

--W. Stanford Reid: "The Impact of Calvinism on Sixteenth Century Culture"

Thursday, February 08, 2007
Redemptive Quote #4

Redemption is a comprehensive salvage operation, the goal of which is nothing short of recovering all of life as it was meant to be lived according to God’s creational design from the very beginning.

--Al Wolters from Commment

Wednesday, February 07, 2007
Redemptive Quote #3

There is some truth in these emphases: the gospel cannot be reduced to a message of political transformation. But then neither can it be “reduced” to a message of personal or ecclesial transformation. It would be wrong, for example, to suggest that the gospel is nothing more than a promise of deliverance from chemical addiction. But for many addicts the gospel of Jesus Christ is rightly experienced as a power that can release them from enslavement to alcohol and drugs. Similarly, there are human beings who desperately need to hear the gospel as an address to their situations of political or economic oppression. To say this is not to “reduce” the gospel to anything. It is to recognize that redemption has a cosmic scope, since it is God’s gracious response to the complex brokenness of a fallen creation. Isaac Watts was right: “He comes to make his blessings flow / far as the curse is found.”

Richard Mouw - from an article Word & World (Luther Seminary)

Tuesday, February 06, 2007
Redemptive Quote #2

"The whole natural world, in all its glory and pain, needs redemption that will bring shalom. The world isn't divided into a sacred realm and a secular realm, with redemptive activity confined to the sacred zone. The whole world belongs to God, the whole world has fallen, and so the whole world needs to be redeemed--every last person, place, organization, and program; all 'rocks and trees and skies and seas'; in fact, "every square inch,' as Abraham Kuyper said. The whole creation is a 'theater for the mighty works of God,' first in creation and then in re-creation."

--Cornelis Plantinga - Engaging God's World (p. 96)

Monday, February 05, 2007
Redemption Quote #1

"The church is called not to just evangelism but to the discipleship of believers. The redemptive work of Christ which believers enjoy is the beginning of their restoration as full human beings. We are not, as my friend Paul Marshall says, apprentice angels. We are saved into our full humanity, not away from it. That means that our cultural lives, the way we institutionalize our engagement in a meaningful creation which God has placed us, are also implicated in the work of redemption. Our salvation is toward our fulfilled humanity and thus our discipleship must be a training in the contours of a fulfilled humanity."

--Ken Myers, After Evangelism lecture series

Thursday, February 01, 2007
More about Modest Houses (and Seattle)
A follow-up on my post on Frank Lloyd Wright from a couple of days ago.

This article on small houses for small urban lots caught my eye. The pictured example of a house built in Seattle (with the land) for under $250 is a near miracle!

We live in an old house (which we added on to) on a small urban lot (30x100') in a small city (20K). It is very workable. And being able to walk to stuff (stores, galleries, Christian college campus, library, friends) is an absolute delight!

Space and privacy are nice. But the pressure to achieve such an ideal puts unbelievable pressure on young families, mothers with young children to work outside the home, etc. The covenant community should be at the forefront of figuring out creative solutions to this problem.

HT: Gideon Strauss