Whatever Happened to Mary?
As you’ll see, I still have not learned the fine art of humility. But I can’t help but point to an article by one of my favorite scholars that makes the exact same point I’m making in my forthcoming book (part of which was featured in my online series, The Elusive Presence—more on the book closer to its release in April). The article is by Hans Boersma, professor of ascetical theology at Nashotah House in Wisconsin, who begins with the classic contrast between Mary (the contemplative) and Martha (the activist). While noting that “Martha has made a comeback” in our times, and while acknowledging the place of action, he concludes, “we should insist, without compromise, that contemplation (not action) is ultimate and makes up our eternal future. The reason is simple: The Creator, not the creature, is our final end.”
Trump x 3
Given how much attention the media gives President Trump, I’m loathe to imitate them in the GR. But it so happens that I have three recent candidates in my “GR to Use” file that relate to our controversial President. So let’s get them out of the way all at once, and then you won’t see any Trump here for many a week.
The first looks at the making of Donald Trump, by the man who edited his best-seller, The Art of the Deal. It’s a fascinating look not only at the future President, but also how the New York book industry operates.
The second is entitled “The Cursing President,” and uses Trump as an example of the coarsening of our culture. As an editor and writer, I am keenly aware of how words are used and can be misused, and how powerful they remain, even in an image age. Coarsening language is not a pietistic concern but a social one. By no means is Mr. Trump the cause of that coarsening, let alone the only culprit among our leaders. In short, all our public officials can do something to start putting brakes on the coarsening.
Finally, there is our latest Quick to Listen podcast: “The Pentecostals and the President: Why their prophets exalt Trump and Paula White pastors him.” Our guest, religion professor James Beverely at Tyndale Seminary in Toronto, gave a fair minded evaluation of these Pentecostals and their championing of Trump. I was most fascinated by the various prophecies about Trump, starting in 2015, and seeing another dimension to Paula White.
That may be more Trump than interests you, and if you have to choose one, I’d suggest you read the first article.
Humanizing Isn’t Evil
A speaker/author who has captured my attention the last couple of years is the controversial professor/ public intellectual Jordan Peterson. Now there is a documentary about him, The Rise of Jordan Peterson, which has become as polarizing as its subject. It’s hardly a tribute, nor is it a take down, as far as I can tell. While exploring the culture war over Peterson, it also attempts to show a more human side to the controversialist. That at least is the director’s intention. For that, Patricia Maroccia has been severely criticized, and she defends her work here.
Staring at Starlings
Tired of controversial people? Well, take a break by watching some starlings. This video is formally about Peregrin falcons hunting European starlings, but what impressed me was how deft and beautiful is “The Starling and Falcon Dance.”
Grace and peace,
Editor-in-Chief, Christianity Today