The topic of beauty has entered our household as our 3-year-old daughter acclimatizes herself to a culture determined to unite self-esteem with a particular version of beauty. “Pretty” is a word we hear regularly, often only said in relation to something dressed up or done up.
Where do we see the holy? Where do we catch glimpses of grace? Where is God most present in our world? Maybe we think of grand cathedrals, where centuries-old art and architecture reflects the beauty and glory of God. Or perhaps a glimmering ocean sunset where the light dances to a tune of divine artistry.
But rarely will we think of a dirty homeless person rambling in the street.
Much has been said about perils of social media and the excessive use of smart phones. I've chimed in once or twice in the past. The latest rant has come via the clip "Look Up." I agree with much in the assessment of our obsessive phone culture and admit my own tendency to focus more on my phone than my surroundings from time to time. Smart phones and social media feed a lack of attentiveness in relationships and a general distraction in everyday life we’d all do well to avoid.
But I'm also uneasy with these repeated guilt-inducing tirades against the current state of society's use of technology.
I’m always intrigued when I’m reminded of some of the background stories (context) behind the actual words of the Bible. John’s famous line “God is love” was born of out of a messy leadership conflict (1 John 4:8). Paul’s unifying dictum “you are all one in Christ” addressed social and racial tensions (Gal. 3:28).
People often think things that are creative, or even subversive, in
culture will be the newest or best things around - the type of ideas
that no one else has thought of. Risk and originality go against the
grain of what’s generally accepted as the norm.
If you watch or read the news, likely you’ve heard the story of the genderless baby.
A family in Ontario has decided to keep the gender of their baby -
named “Storm” - a secret, so as to not allow social expectations around
gender influence the development of their child.
So, I’ve finally read Rob Bell’s Love Wins
and am working on a review. When I think about all the controversy
surrounding the book, I wish more people had a chance to take a study
seminar I took while studying at Regent College.
When we reflect on our projects as Christians, we are good at telling positive stories: an orphanage built in Thailand; numerous church plants in British Columbia; fundraising to support a local Bible college. To quote Eugene Peterson, “we work very hard at our faith,” and many times, this is a good thing. So we rightly tell these stories. They bring a necessary inspiration to continue making a difference in the world. We need to know and be reminded, I believe, that change is possible.
One problem. These aren’t the only stories to tell.
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