Tuesday, January 22, 2008

A Disconnect

Just yesterday I was talking with a group of people and one of the people mentioned something that I found kind of amusing and ironic.

This person was saying how they were impressed by the fact that their doctor was open to discussing "natural" medicine. For the most part we all agreed that this was a positive thing. Most doctors of this next generation are opening up a bit to other medicinal options unlike most doctors of a more "modern" generation who think science is the be-all and end-all of their profession.

Anyway, after discussing all this we started to laugh as we then noted that this doctor's clinic also performs "medicinal aesthetics" like botox! So, on the one hand we have a return to a more "natural" way of life and health... but on the other hand these same people are injecting chemicals into people's faces so that they can look unnaturally youthful!

Obviously there is some sort of disconnect here. These two thought processes should not be considered to be compatible. And yet this is just one example of how seemingly incompatible beliefs are merged together. It's called 'syncretism'... and it happens all the time.

What other "disconnects" do you see in our pluralistic culture?
What other examples of syncretism can you come up with (incompatible beliefs being merged together)?
How often do you see divergent religious beliefs coming together?
Do you see any of this seeping it's way into the church?
Is this a bad thing? Is this a good thing?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Out of date = Out of mind

So, this semester I'm taking a class again at Bethany. This one is "Christian Apologetics". For those of you who may not know, apologetics can be briefly defined as "defending and commending the faith."

Ever since first reading CS Lewis' non-fiction more than a decade ago I've been interested in apologetics. Naturally, it all started when I first read Lewis' "Mere Christianity", the all-time classic Apologetic book.

I think it's important that Christians think through what they believe and why they believe it. I think it's important that Christians know they don't live in a vacuum. We live in a world that we are called to interact with. As such, we will have to be "prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you" 1 Peter 3:15 (ESV). This verse is often used as a basis for Christian Apologetics.

There may be a few of you out there who have read both Lewis' "Mere Christianity" and NT Wright's "Simply Christian". Essentially, Wright wrote his book to be the "Mere Christianity" of

the post-modern age. It is.

Anyway, the point of all this is that I have a little beef with Apologetics and North American Christianity in general: why are we always several decades behind the times?

Have you ever been frustrated at how Christian culture often sees a trend in the world then goes to work making a crappy, B-rate, "Christian" knock-off version of it... and by the time it's out there it's already out of date?
Any examples?

My beef with apologetics is that you can see a similar trend. Every once in a while there is a CS Lewis or an NT Wright who is a true contemporary of his day or even ahead of the times but they are few and far between. It seems as though many, if not most, apologists are still trying to address the questions posed by modernity when the rest of society has moved on to post-modernity.

Thus they render themselves obsolete to everyone but those Christians who read their books and become obsolete themselves.

People won't even consider the church as a source of the answers to life's hard questions if we're completely culturally irrelevant.

Out of date = Out of mind.

Am I being too hard on these people? Probably.
Is apologetics still relevant in a Post-Modern age?
Who is apologetics for; Christians or non-Christians?
Which is more important; "defending" or "commending" our faith?
What examples of crappy "Christian" knock-off trends can you think of?

Monday, January 7, 2008

The Power of Fear

This last Friday I received some depressing news: the 2008 Dakar Rally was cancelled.

Those of you who know me know that I am a huge rally racing fan. All year long I look forward to January because I know the Dakar is coming.

For those of you who don't care about rally racing or sports in general please bear with me; this is going somewhere. Just feel free to skip the following paragraph.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Dakar Rally here is what it is all about: The Dakar Rally is biggest rally event in the world. Hundreds of racers on motorbikes, SUVs, and big semi-trucks embark on an epic 20 day race across 6000 kms of desert. This year they were to begin in Lisbon, Portugal and travel from Portugal through Spain, Morocco, Western Sahara, Mauritania, and ending in Dakar, Senegal. The video below (although it's a few years old now) should give you a good idea of what I'm talking about.

Welcome back to those of you who skipped the previous paragraph. The reason I'm posting about this topic is because of the reason why this year's Dakar Rally was cancelled: the race was being targetted by terrorists linked with Al-Quaeda.

The ASO (the governing body of the Dakar Rally) received threats from an extremist Islamic group saying that they would attack the participants and spectators of this year's Dakar Rally should it go ahead. So the race was cancelled. Read all about it here.

Whenever things like this happen it is frequently noted that "the terrorists win."

I hate that. Fear should never win.

Simply by threatening; by injecting fear into the populace they can shut down our way of life.

How can we combat fear?
John says that "perfect love casts out fear" (1 Jn 4:18) but how does that work itself out with terrorism and fear-mongering?

Was cancelling the race the right decision? Why?
Was Mitsubishi going to win again or did Volkswagen have a chance?

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy 2008 Everyone!

Hey Everyone, I'm back after a little Christmas break. Our little family had a great Christmas with both sides of our family. Good times.

I love this Canucks soother/pacifier that Grandma and Grandpa Schmidt (Juanita's parents) got Kaleb for Christmas. However, I realize that by posting this picture I am opening myself up for all sorts of Canucks bashing... so, I may as well roll with it.

Let's see how many delightfully clever witticisms you can come up with connecting soothers and the Vancouver Canucks. Just keep in mind that the Canucks are first in their division so any Canucks bashing is purely facetious.