Friday, June 30, 2017

Church—Why Bother?

Two Cheers for Patriotism

I get why many are troubled by the slogan, "Make America great again." I for one am not troubled by the phrase, only how it might be worked out. The reason is wrapped up in "You Have God's Blessing to Say 'God Bless America,'" by CT's Matt Reynolds. He argues that "a faith that transcends all nations leaves room for patriotic devotion." To be sure, as Matt notes, we are not a perfect nation by any means—America is an ongoing experiment whose ideals are constantly tested and refined. And to be sure, nationalism can too easily become idolatry, which as history shows, leads to nothing but disaster.

Then again, we are wise to recognize that God in his providence has placed us, well, in places, just as he placed Adam and Eve in a garden. We are called to steward that place with care, and as we do that, likely—and naturally, by God's design—a love of that place will blossom within us. Love for the nation is not unlike love for one's immediate family, most obviously in this: Our families can have serious flaws and yet they still command our love.

And then there is this: Loving our families doesn't preclude loving those outside the family. In fact, love for our families, rightly conceived and practiced, will nurture compassion for other families, precisely because we have experienced the blessing that is family. In a more complex and nuanced way, I believe this dynamic can work at the level of nations, as well.

In short, Happy Fourth of July to my American readers. More on this in the last link below.

Church—Why Bother?

I can wax eloquent on why commitment to a local church, especially weekly worship, is vital for life. But such an essay sounds more convincing coming from someone who, rightly or wrongly, we don't expect to see in church—like this Hollywood screenwriter, who happens to be working currently on Hulu's The Handmaid's Tale.
The Chinese Are Down with Time, Apparently

Now for something a little heady, another excursion into how our language shapes our perceptions. In this case, the discussion is about time. For example, speakers of Swedish picture the future as forward, speakers of Aymara (Peru) picture it as behind, and speakers of Mandarin Chinese think of it as down. Why does it matter?
The fact that bilinguals go between these different ways of estimating time effortlessly and unconsciously fits in with a growing body of evidence demonstrating the ease with which language can creep into our most basic senses, including our emotions, our visual perception and now it turns out, our sense of time.
America and Britain Bump into Each Other at a Party

I found this link last year after the July 4 edition of The Galli Report, and I've been saving it for this occasion since. It is the Tomassees (whom I've linked to before) at their humorous and poignant best. Enjoy.
Grace and peace,
Mark Galli
Mark Galli
Mark Galli
Editor in Chief, Christianity Today

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