Extracurricular Activities — April 5, 2014
After saying in my last post that I would probably wait to see Noah until it comes out on video, I went and saw it anyway because so many people were telling me things like, “Dude, you HAVE to see this movie; it’s epic” etc. So I went with my wife Sue on Saturday...I’ve read some thoughtful reviews out there (though I purposefully avoided reading Darren Aronofsky’s take so as not to influence my viewing experience), and I don’t want to add one more, nor do I want to spoil the movie for those who haven’t seen it. So here are some things that struck me that will hopefully just make you curious. For those who have seen it, please feel free to leave your own thoughts in the comments.
Lately a lot of my tasks and projects have converged at the point of the Bible and, more precisely, the nature of God’s Word. I have been thinking about the sheer otherness of the Bible, the fact that it is so different from every other book. And I got to thinking, What if I had written my own bible? How would it be different? How would a simple, sinful person like myself approach the task of writing a standard of faith and practice that was meant to transcend all times, contexts and cultures?
If I wrote the Bible…
What we often want Paul to be saying in Philemon, namely set the man free and emancipate him and make a statement about the church and slavery for all the ages, is not enough to cover what Paul was doing...Paul wants to do more than emancipate Onesimus because emancipating him may well have jeopardized the man. Slaves were like pets even when they were loved and trusted and part of the family. They were not on the same level. And a runaway was a lost cause altogether. Paul forgives but manumission wouldn’t have made the man a citizen. Freedom meant to choose permanent slavery (a dependent) or to go into exile.
Ludwig Wittgenstein believed that the proper task of philosophy was to make the nature of our thought and talk clear. The problems of philosophy were illusory, he believed, and arose as a misunderstanding about language. While I think he greatly overstated the case, I think Wittgenstein was on to something important. Many problems—not only in philosophy but in other areas such as religion—result from the imprecise use of language. A prime example is the debate about what constitutes a "religious belief."
I [DeYoung] asked Pat Quinn, our Director of Counseling Ministries, if he had any thoughts on the latest exchange between David Murray and Heath Lambert (both friends of mine) on the topic of mental illness. Pat’s reflections struck me as wise, balanced, and Christ-centered. So I thought it would be good to share them.
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