Christianity and Pluralism (5): Christianity = Statement or Story?

In this final installment on how Christianity interacts with a pluralistic culture, I want to start with a story.

Many years ago, our human ancestors huddled around fires listening to shamans and elders telling narrative stories by which they made sense of their world and their lives in it. They told myths about the world’s origins, and about how they as peoples came to be….They recounted myths about fairies, spirits, gods, and powerful cosmic forces. By narrating such fictional stories, our ancestors recounted meaningful explanations of a world that was to them mysterious and dangerous….As primitives, telling such stories, myths, and legends was the only way they knew how to explain the world and contemplate how to live in it…

But all of that has changed. We moderns no longer have to huddle around fires telling fanciful myths about creations, floods, trials, conquests, and hoped-for paradises. Science, industry, rationality, and technology have dispelled the darkness and ignorance that once held the human race captive to its fanciful fables. Today, through progress, enlightenment, and cultural evolution, we now possess positive knowledge, scientific facts, rational analyses. We no longer need to be a people of ballads and legends, for we are a people of periodic tables, technical manuals, genetic maps, and computer codes….We have left behind myths and legends….Indeed, by struggling to break out of the fear and ignorance of our ancestral myth-making past into the clear daylight of rational, scientific knowledge, we have opened up for the human race a future of greater prosperity, longevity, and happiness.

Such is the story we moderns–huddled around our televisions and computer work stations–like to tell each other. This is the dominant narrative by which we make sense of our world and the purpose of our lives in it. (Moral, Believing Animals, 63-4) Read more of this post

Pain and Authenticity

Well, about an hour ago I was playing basketball and tore my hamstring. I was on a fast break, and it felt like two very evil and very tiny men were pulling on a rubber band from my knee and my hip, and the thing just snapped. So here I am, laying on my couch with my leg over the side and thinking, “I’m 24! This type of thing should only happen to men twice my age!” But four Advil later, I at least feel good enough to write this little blog.

Pain is a funny thing. Read more of this post

Pithy Post: Truth in an Age of Politics

During this election season, going to is a necessary but altogether distressing practice. Too often, truth is not nearly as important as repetition and rhetoric is substituted for reason. As discouraging as this is to so many of us nowadays, the reality is that throughout history people in power have used language as a tool to gain and maintain that power. It is in this type of world that Jesus sent his disciples and sends us to speak and live authentically. Read more of this post

Steve Jobs and My Own Death

“According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that sound right? This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.” When I hear those words from Jerry Seinfeld, I almost always laugh. But then I wonder why I laugh, and realize that the reason Jerry’s joke gets a chuckle is because it is completely ridiculous. He sheds light on the faulty methods of studies that yield results so entirely opposite of most of our experiences.

Almost all of us are afraid of dying.

Shockingly and tragically, Steve Jobs has passed away. Read more of this post

In Defense of Regret

What do you regret? When I was about 6 years old, with a head so hot it could steam milk, I threw a claw hammer at my brother’s head. I missed…but I regret throwing it.  Of course, there are plenty more serious things to regret. Some of those more serious things have touched my life, and yours. Read more of this post

How God Affects Your Portfolio (Part 1): Fear, Idolatry, and the Money Market Mantra

Dow Jones Industrial Average

Image by ftosete via Flickr

“Stocks plunged Thursday in their single worst day since the 2008 financial crisis,” reported CNN Money yesterday.  The article continues, “The Dow tumbled 512 points — its ninth deepest point drop ever — as fear about the global economy spooked investors.”

Now, I have been told by businessmen, financial advisors, and stock-market gurus to buy low and sell high. I am no expert, but it seems like the people who are selling after the plunge has begun, even after it has erased all of their gains for the year, are ignoring this advice.  The question I have then is, “Why do the experts often not follow their own advice? Read more of this post

For Better or for Worse: The Real Christian View of Marriage

Wedding rings

Image via Wikipedia

Call me a sap, a romantic, a bleeding heart. I don’t care. Coming down off the emotional high of my anniversary (yesterday) is a slow process.  I love my wife, I love being married, and I  love reflecting on those two facts. But our anniversary was also a chance to reflect on something else…the slightly uncomfortable fact that I am, in a very real sense, an anomaly. Read more of this post