You’ve probably never heard this, but this past year was unprecedented… Anyway, instead of the pleasantries and pontificating, let’s get on to what was interesting this past year.
Music My two favorite albums this year were Wild, Free by Acceptance and What’s New, Tomboy? by Damien Jurado. Both albums show significant departure of style from previous works. I miss the power pop of Acceptance, and some of Jurado’s other albums had more singles that I loved. Nevertheless, I found myself listening to these over and over. There are a number of stand out tracks on each album. For Acceptance, “Cold Air” is an obvious single, but “Wildfires” is where its at for my money.
On the Jurado album, “Arthur Aware” is my favorite offering:
Back in 2000 (twenty years ago!!), both John Piper and Doug Wilson were panelists at a Ligonier conference. Wilson made some remarks on rhetoric, satire, and taking the fight to the pagans. Strikingly – and from what I can tell, completely out of keeping with the rest of the kid-glove discussion – Piper challenges this at the 24:02 mark, “to balance it.”
Wilson published his book A Serrated Edge: A Brief Defense of Biblical Satire and Trinitarian Skylarking in 2003, just shortly after this. In the subsequent seventeen years, I would argue that this satire has not had the triumphant effect that may have been desired.
A few remarks in light of the video:
Distinctions Piper notes some important distinctions we must bear in mind. The first difference is between Christ as holy (in his divine nature & unfallen human nature) and my sinful inclinations (post-lapse humanity). Wilson had earlier noted how Jesus could skewer self-righteous Pharisees (many old Credenda readers or current Blog & Mablog subscribers will think of his “righteous horse laugh”). Piper’s point is valid, since Jesus possesses both the foresight and insight to know when such barbed rhetoric will be useful. It is precisely at this point where our sinful nature obscures us, making us liable to hurt more than help.
It was slightly unsettling how many of their suggestions hit home for me. And yet, there is a lot of good advice here as well.
Three things that really stood out to me:
Stop preaching for your seminary professors.* Turn around, and let the gallery shape and influence you, but preach for your particular congregation.
You are not in an audition, so quit seeking immediate praise for the job you’ve done. Start feeding the sheep.
Content cannot trump communication… and if you’re passionless, you are changing the content, because you’re saying, “Its not important to me.”
Watch the whole thing:
*Side note: At first I disagreed with Tullian’s remark, because I think it is so important to preach with your profs and the “cloud of witnesses” in mind when preparing and delivering the Word of the Lord. But then his remarks from his editor clarified what he meant, and I really appreciate the illustration.
SC got a lot of great one liners in, including a terrific set up for his last line. Though the entire show is on the chin, it was also a profound demonstration that something ≠ nothing. Further, the way Krauss was willing to speak in hushed/awed tones of “what we now know from quantum mechanics,” it is easy to see everyone worships something (and has presuppositions to boot).
The nuns taught us there were two ways through life—the way of nature and the way of grace. You have to choose which one you’ll follow… Grace doesn’t try to please itself. Accepts being slighted, forgotten, disliked. Accepts insults and injuries… Nature only wants to please itself. Get others to please it too. Likes to lord it over them. To have its own way. It finds reasons to be unhappy when all the world is shining around it. And love is smiling through all things… They taught us that no one who loves the way of grace ever comes to a bad end.