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The Monster We Created: Councils, Brand Names, and Celebrities

In Mary Shelley’s novel, Frankenstein, a young scientist, Victor Frankenstein, conjures up a way to give life to the nonliving. His ambition leads him to an unorthodox science experiment that breeds a grotesque creature for whom he will claim no responsibility. In the course of time his monster becomes all his grief and ruin. With his lofty ambitions shattered by despondency, Victor determines that his only destiny is to “pursue and destroy the being to whom I gave existence.” But it’s too late. The monster couldn’t be contained.

I’m not a literary critic and, to be honest, I’m only superficially familiar with Frankenstein. But among its several themes the story line stands as a warning against overreach and creating what was not meant to be created. While Shelley’s novel is the Romantic movement’s pushback against the Industrial Revolution, perhaps there’s a small prophetic voice to remind the church how quickly ambitions can spiral out of control and result in misshapen monsters that actually prove to be destructive to the noble aspirations with which we began. I say that because, as it appears to me, this is exactly the kind of monster the broader evangelical movement has created. In the laboratories of […]

Can Capitalist Pigs be Pious Christians?

This is a guest post by J.K. Wall who is a writer and former business reporter in Indianapolis. His modernized abridgment of William Symington’s work, Messiah the Prince Revisited, was published in 2014 by Crown & Covenant Publications. You can e-mail him at jk.wall@gmail.com.

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The world of business has a bad name because most people—including those running businesses—don’t know why they exist.

In a 2011 survey by Rasmussen Reports, 64 percent of Americans thought the primary objective of businesses should be to create jobs while 26 percent thought that business’ primary objective should be to create profits for shareholders.

Both those answers are wrong.

“There is only one valid definition of business purpose: to create a customer,” wrote Peter Drucker, the famous business professor and consultant, in his 1973 book Management. “It is the customer who determines what a business is,” he added. “The customer is the foundation of a business and keeps it in existence.”

How does a business create customers? By providing for their needs. If they are hungry, businesses feed them. If they need clothes, businesses clothe them. If they need shelter, businesses provide them a house or a hotel room. If they are sick, businesses provide medicines to heal […]

One Tasty Audio Pick… And Let’s Toss in a Movie for Fun

So the theme is ethical dilemmas.

Both the RadioLab episode and the movie I’m about to recommend present us with situations that unsettle our ethical equilibrium.  Sometimes life in a cursed, sin filled world create impossible situations.  Choice A is bad.  And so is choice B.  So which do you choose and why?  That’s where the conversation must inevitably turn.

So tune in to RadioLab’s powerful episode Playing God for an example of this problem.  And if that isn’t enough, check out the movie Eye in the Sky.  Both are well worth your attention.

Oh, and if you don’t know anything about the movie Eye in the Sky and you are interested (Warning: some language and a little bit of violence), don’t watch the trailer.  It gives too much away.  Just jump in.

Maybe I can get the 3GT gents to discuss these?…

We shall see.

Male Models

No, not the kind that appear on the cover of GQ. 

In this day of gender confusion, political correctness, and spineless faith, we need male models. Men who exemplify true masculinity. Here I speak not of the overblown sort of a powerful sports figure or movie icon, but the strong, steady walk of a man who fears God, loves his family, and serves Christ’s church. We need to be able to point to them and tell the young men around us, “That’s what being a man is all about.”

Men like Herb, who for nearly three decades has been faithfully teaching junior high students, as he enjoys working with the young people under his charge. When he’s not teaching, during the summers this father of two daughters and five sons has had them up on ladders re-roofing and painting homes so his children could learn the value of work and obtaining useful skills. He also has employed other young people during their times of need, including two of my sons during a summer when one was supporting a new wife and the other needed the companionship his sons provided after a recent move. He and his wife Patty have had college students live with them for […]

You’re Invited: A Day of Prayer and Fasting

“Yet even now,” declares the LORD,“return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments.” Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster.” Joel 2:12-13

Our session (at Immanuel RPC in West Lafayette) has called for a day of fasting and prayer on Thursday, September 8th. I would like to use this opportunity to invite you and your congregations to join us. 

The Immaturity of Addiction

A person who has practiced addictive behaviors for a good portion of his life once told me an insight he had been given. Though it came from a secular source, this observation rings true. He was told that one of the side effects of addiction to drugs and alcohol is immaturity. In fact, the counselor told the class my friend was attending that at the age you began to use intoxicating substances to get drunk or high in an ongoing way is the basic maturity level you currently have. For instance, if someone began to use drugs heavily at age sixteen and was now twenty-four, such areas as his mental, relational, and work maturity levels would roughly still be that of a teenager. You simply stop maturing very much when you do drugs.

This rule of thumb makes sense under closer observation. When someone begins to abuse substances repeatedly, they are often exchanging responsibility for pleasure. Many addicts enter this lifestyle to escape hard circumstances, trials, or truths about themselves they do not want to face. Consequently, the lessons they would have learned in meeting these situations, dealing with them constructively, and growing in maturity through them are lost opportunities. If you ever wonder […]

Screaming Life

I’m very happy to highly recommend the “for such a time as this” work and artistry of this sister in Christ.   Pastors and other Christian counselors take note:  If you want an experienced, empathetic, incisive, eye-opening and heart-enriching understanding of the broken, aimless hearts abounding in our culture, read Lacey Sturm’s The Reason   It’s quietly iconoclastic in tearing down the shallow cultural assessments and pseudo-spiritual advice offered up by pop-Christianity’s baptized agnosticism, which glorifies brokenness and uncertainty (so long as they’re experienced in community) as the marks of authentic, honest faith.  And its heartfelt substance fleshes out answers so often left as stillborn theological theory by writing efforts which rightly promote truth and our ability to know it with certainty, but which present it dry and cold to the reader, giving the unintended impression that God has nothing full of life to say to generations reared on the belief that he’s dead.      

C.S. Lewis on the Crux of the Problem

“How did the Dark Power [Satan] go wrong? Here, no doubt, we ask a question to which human beings cannot give an answer with any certainty. A reasonable (and traditional) guess, based on our own experiences of going wrong, can, however, be offered. The moment you have a self at all, there is a possibility of putting Yourself first—wanting to be the centre—wanting to be God, in fact. That was the sin of Satan: and that was the sin he taught the human race. Some people think the fall of man had something to do with sex, but that is a mistake. (The story in the Book of Genesis rather suggests that some corruption in our sexual nature followed the fall and was its result, not its cause.)

Countering the Happiness Project

The Indian state of Madhya Pradesh is to create a new government ministry—the country’s first ministry of happiness. It will be dedicated to “putting a smile on every face”. It also aims to track their smiling citizens’ growth in happiness.

The state’s chief minister, Shivraj Singh Chouhan, said, “The state will be made responsible for happiness and tolerance of its citizens and will rope in psychologists to counsel people on how to be always happy.”

The reason this caught my eye was that I was preparing to preach this Sabbath on “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted”—so happiness had been uppermost in my contemplations this week. I had also been listening to a lecture Carl Trueman gave at our Shaftesbury Square congregation—and he unpacked a further level of significance to the quest for happiness.

Without being overdramatic I believe the pursuit of happiness (or The Great Happiness Project) lies at the root of many of society’s problems—both personal and social. Obviously I have no problem with happiness—I’m all for it—but the pursuit of it is the problem.

Trueman quotes American sociologist Philip Rieff who set out four stages of Western civilization:

‘Political Man’ of classical civilisation—man defined by the city and […]