Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Things I Want to Blog About When I Find the Time

1.) The spiritually abusive church. Why is it some pastors respond to criticism with abuse? What about the passive-aggressive pastor? What does this say about the church, as a whole? How do we recognize its signs? How do we respond in such situations? What do we do for its victims?

2.) America's great contribution to the world was meaningful folk (or pop) culture. American culture stopped producing meaningful artifacts about the time that Johnny Cash died. Why? How did we go from Sinatra, Cash and Norman Lear to Katy Perry, Lady Gaga and Two and Half Men? I contend that it is because what happened in high art about 1950 (dada-ism, Jackson Pollock, Schoenberg and Brecht, etc) has now filtered down into folk art --meaninglessness.

3.) Why all the talk about Hell all of a sudden? Why does Rob Bell raise questions and never answer them? Where does he buy those hip glasses?

4.) Depression. Massive topic, needs some more Christian light shed on it, I think.

Thoughts? Other things you might like to see addressed?


  1. Stephen AtkinsonMarch 8, 2011 at 7:01 AM

    On 1. You must include, 'the tyranny of the minority'. What happened to mutual submission in the Lord?
    On 2. Be careful with the phrase "America's great contribution." Your comment box may well become overloaded.
    On 3. Hip glasses draw attention. Instead of "read my lips" it is, "see my shades (while I hypnotize you)."
    On 4. Been there, done that, got T-shirt, video, scars and medication. No glib answers please. Sibbes and "Bruised Reed" comes to mind.
    OK - now write the full blog! Your fan club awaits!

  2. #4: No glib answers, and maybe no answers at all. I did see, however, a gem in F. Dale Bruner's Matthew Commentary (one of my favorite commentaries, period) today. He quoted a pastor saying that his burnout came not from major changes in his life that needed to be made, but from carrying the weight of responsibility for his people, and that he wasn't sure he wanted to do away with that.

    Very interesting take. It redeems depression, somewhat, I think to liken it to Paul's daily burden for all the churches.

  3. Re: Hell - About 3 years ago (whenever Driscoll spoke at Piper's Desiring God conference), he said something along the lines of this - Everyone's talking about hell except the church. Shampoo companies talk about bad hair hell; dating services talk about relationship hell, etc. The only people who are scared to talk about hell are the church.

    And then he basically said, by golly - or the close equivalent :) - we of all people should be unafraid to talk about hell.

  4. Re #2: I should have said "A" not "The!!" And I don't write to please a Euro audience! :-)

  5. Depression definitely needs to be viewed through a spiritual lense. It seems that our desire to escape it at times denies the realities of the fallen world we live in and is more akin to stoicism than faith. I think of Isa. 53, speaking of Jesus being a man of great sorrows and Rom. 8 and the whole creation groaning and 1 Peter 2 and our being described as strangers and aliens in this world. How can anyone live in this world and not experience depression? It seems to me that in some cases our preoccupation with trying to "fix" it demonstrates an inward focus, which can actually contribute to our getting stuck there. I was reading Ferguson's Children of the Living God just last week and have not been able to get his comments about 1 John 3:1, Behold! What manner of love the Father has lavished upon us. He used that as a counter to man's tendency to focus too much either on his guilt or his seeming righteous deeds and God is saying, your focus is all wrong. Look up here!
    So I think if we are to be like Christ, we will be depressed when we see all the hurt and pain and sin around us and as we try in our own imperfect way to help others. It reminds of our own need for grace and hence the need to look outside of ourselves to long for Jesus' return.