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Friday, June 21, 2019

An Ally of the Elusive Presence with Mark Galli

An Ally of the Elusive Presence

Very much in concert with my online series, The Elusive Presence, is this essay on “Self Denial in an Age of Distraction”:
Technology amplifies, but does not alter, who we are. We are creatures with a deep and abiding desire to avoid the real. We seek to escape awareness of ourselves and of God through distraction and denial, a point Pascal made centuries ago when he famously pointed out that all the trouble in the world stems from people’s inability to sit quietly in their rooms alone. Not much has changed.
Just saying, I’m not the only one sounding the alarm.
In this week’s offering, I respond to some initial critiques and then go on to show how Saint Paul affirms a crucial biblical theme found in the Prophets.
The Celibacy Amendment
When it comes to an abortion war solution, this writer and/or her mother seem to think that white, privileged males would be loath to consider the idea of holding men responsible for the pregnancies they help create. It’s a farcical suggestion, yes, but I dare say a lot of my ilk might very well welcome it.
The Lord’s Congenial Prayer
Despite being editor in chief of an evangelical magazine, I have great respect for the papacy. And despite the common misunderstanding of papal infallibility, no Catholic believes the Pope is inerrant (except when he speaks ex cathedra, when he is pretty darn sure of something!). Well, here’s an example of the fallibility of Pope Francis. Not speaking ex cathedra, he says the church should change its liturgy where it recites The Lord’s Prayer, changing one line from “Lead us not into temptation” to “Do not let us enter into temptation.”
There’s only one problem: That isn’t what Jesus said. How about we just try to understand this admittedly difficult petition in light of all revealed Scripture? I much prefer if Jesus had said, “Turn the other cheek now and then to show you are a reasonable fellow” or “Sell just a handful of your possessions (like at a garage sale) and give some of the money to the poor and put some in your retirement fund.” Same problem: This isn’t what Jesus said. And one feature (not a bug) of discipleship is being forced to wrestle with the hard sayings of the one we call Master.
Summer Reading Suggestion #1
I recognize GR readers don’t have enough to read—I mean, why subscribe to this newsletter if you already have plenty to digest? So at the risk of prompting canceled subscriptions, or worse, a drop in the number of newsletter opens (which my publisher tracks religiously!), I’m going to suggest some reading for your leisurely summer hours over the next few weeks. Let’s start with something short and uplifting—ha!—Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Here’s a short video to entice you.
Grace and peace,

Mark GalliMark Galli
Mark Galli
Editor-in-Chief, Christianity Today

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