Saturday, April 07, 2007

The Pressure of Novelty

Stuart McAllister will be speaking at the RZIM Reasonable Faith Training Camp: "Christ among other lords" in Melaka this coming weekend.(I'm looking forward to make a trip there to meet the Agora Spore gang!)

Born in Scotland, he majors in topics like pluralism, postmodernism and consumerism. Check out his interesting mini-biography here which includes some imprisonments in Europe. Two articles from Just Thinking columns called Permanent Things and the church and culture in the 21st century are highly recommended reads.

But here's an excerpt from a favorite of mine called the Pressure of Novelty:

"What disturbs me personally—and many people whom I have talked to across the country and internationally—is the growing trend to ignore Christian history, to devalue Scripture, to reframe worship, and to lessen the role of discipleship, holiness, theology, and content. What matters is whether God is “experienced” (something I also seek), whether worship is compelling (a commendable value), and whether people actually come (a valid desire). However, this tendency and practice of avoiding the past is distracting, and I believe, wrong.

Speaking of this trend, Christian scholar R. R. Reno says, “In all cases we are modern insofar as we will not suffer that which we have received. We must step back in order to unburden ourselves, to lighten our lives so that we can be raptured away from the hindering, limited, ruined forms that the past has imposed on the present. This is the spiritual pattern that makes modernity modern.”

Within the mythology of modern and post-modern society is the deep belief and value that only what works or satisfies in the present is to be allowed. Thus a creeping evolutionary notion is married to an existentialist demand, and then served up with a muddle of therapeutic and marketing requirements, which begins to alter beyond recognition the thing (the Christian faith) that is the target of such enthusiastic revision.

Commenting on what he describes as the breathless pursuit of relevance, Os Guinness writes, “By our uncritical pursuit of relevance we have actually courted irrelevance; by our breathless chase after relevance without a matching commitment to faithfulness, we have become not only unfaithful but irrelevant; by our determined efforts to redefine ourselves in ways that are more compelling to the modern world than are faithful to Christ, we have lost not only our identity but our authority and our relevance. Our crying need is to be faithful as well as relevant.”

Another speaker to look out for is Aussie John Dickson and we could check out his free online resources here.

Here's an excerpt from his award winning book Spectator's Guide To World Religions:

"If Christianity is uniquely true, its beauty will be best seen only when viewed amidst a full and fair account of the alternatives. Let me give you an analogy that comes to mind. Imagine yourself as an art curator who is convinced that one piece in his collection has an unequalled quality. What will you do? Will you dim the lights on the ‘competitors’ in the gallery and put the spotlights on your favourite piece. Of course not. That would be a sure sign you were not actually convinced about the special beauty of your treasured masterpiece. I mean, if you’ve got to obscure the other pieces in order to make your favourite one look good, something is clearly
wrong. A truly assured curator, that is, one with a deep confidence in the excellence of his prized item, would place all the gallery lights on full, confident that as careful art-lovers inspect the whole collection, viewing all the works in their best light, one painting, in particular, will draw people’s attention.


I am Comp Science Student said...

keep up the good work Agora!!! Malaysia needs more people like u all...

chang said...

Join us la? We need all the help we can get :)

What's ur hot topic?