Archives For September 2012

I recently started using the iPhone and thought you might like to know what apps I’m currently using and why I’m using them.

Twitter – I use Twitter. Therefore I use this app.

Desiring God – Intuitive design for accessing John Piper resources.

Fighter Verse – Incredible Bible memorization tool.

ESV Study Bible – my go-to app for Bible study. I believe my friends over at ChurchApp had a hand in this.

PocketSword - Add on for the Fighter Verse app to access some commentary.

Kindle – Constantly using this to read all of my books.

Agenda – a simple solution for Calendar use. The pre-populated emails and messages are a huge plus. Fantastic app that I’ve become a missionary for.

Instagram – fun photography social media.

Over – Text over photos. I endorse it here.

Shazam – I like music and sometimes I want to figure out what the song is.

Evernote – I’m a premium user. I could write a whole blog post on why this tool is worth your time to download. It’s free to start.

Base – A new CRM tool I’m using for some freelance sales I’m doing.

E Startups – I love reading about startups and best practices.

FoxNews – My news source.

eBay – This has been a key tool in winning bids because it updates me when I’m 50 cents away from winning.

MapQuest – I love the spoken turn-by-turn navigation.

PivotalTracker – I use this for work. Enough said.

Zite – Personalized magazine. Probably getting rid of this in the near future because it’s not getting a lot of use. I used to like to read daily stuff through this.

Saga/Chronos – creepily tracks my life so I can look at where I’m spending all my time.

UrbanSpoon – good food reviews as I attempt to be a foodie.

Starbucks – so I can become a Gold Card member and finally get free refills. Recently had some issues with it.

Book Crawler – incredible tool for organizing my library. Scan the barcodes and I’ll never buy a duplicate book again.

Pages – Essential to every writer. A bit pricy.

MyFitnessPal – using this to get fit.

RunKeeper – using this to track my runs around town.

Games – there are quite a few games I play. Currently rocking Words with Friends consistently.

Flashlight – for those emergency purposes.

OnSong 1.95 – a great tool for worship leaders.

ScoreCenter – essential during the NFL season

ESPN Radio – the Redskins aren’t always playing on local TV.

Redbox – my wife and I are regular movie watchers.

Kids-in-mind – We want to be careful of what we watch, so we check it first.

ABC Player – for the times when I want to watch Shark Tank.

Stamped – a new app I’m trying out that is supposed to let me “like” all kinds of things.

Glympse – another new app that will send directions to where you are currently at if you want to bring friends together for a meeting.

This is a repost from February 13, 2006. This article is referenced in the book Saving Leonardo by the excellent author and professor Nancy Pearcey. I wrote this as a young 16-year-old wrestling with how to best impact culture. 

For a first article on Total Truth you may be surprised at what you find here. I’m not only going to talk about Total Truth, but also some other related books that I’m reading at the same time.

First off, let me tell you my Total Truth story.

It all began with a little article called “Tolerating the Intolerable” that I wrote after hearing a presentation given by Josh McDowell, and by doing some extra reading and reasoning on my own. This article gave me the foundation for believing that there is a final, one and only Truth. After that article was a time of relative quiet, other than critics of my article. Then, before I knew it, I was on a flight to Nashville for the Southern Baptist Executive Committee, unaware that Total Truth would pop up.

I met a member who was very interested in blogs and was able to talk to her a lot about them while I was there. She told me about her book (not Total Truth), I told her about my blog, and we both discussed the blogosphere. And as our discussion continued, she told me about a fantastic book she was reading by Nancy Pearcey. Immediately I thought of all those Mind and Media reviewers and the book by Nancy Pearcey on their sidebars. I remembered an interview done by Catez Stevens, and a book review by Tim Challies. The committee member offered to let me borrow the book for the plenary session, and I jumped at the chance to browse the book. Ironically, I wasn’t able to browse it much because I was called out by a man who looked somewhat familiar, and ended up being on his radio show about an hour later (another reason I wasn’t quite as prepared as I could have been for the Albert Mohler Show, but it was awesome!).

When I returned home, I began doing research on the book, and found that Nancy Pearcey had a website, and began reading it. And finally, I received her book and began my reading experience.

I opened the book and began reading the introduction, which absolutely floored me. It was as if I was reading the message of my blog, along with many other fantastic goals. One quote struck me about why kids fall away from church, something that is heavy on my heart.

“Not only have we ‘lost the culture,’ but we continue losing even our own children,” says Nancy Pearcey, “It’s a familiar but tragic story about devout young people, raised in Christian homes, head off to college and abandon their faith. Why is this pattern so common? Largely because young believers have not been taught how to develop a biblical worldview. Instead, Christianity has been restricted.”

She continues by telling us that “as Christian parents, pastors, teachers, and youth group leaders we constantly see young people pulled down by the undertow of powerful cultural trends. If all we give them is a ‘heart’ religion, it will not be strong enough to counter the lure of attractive but dangerous ideas. Young believers also need a “brain” religion–training in worldview and apologetics–to equip them to analyze and critique the competing worldviews they will encounter when they leave home. If forewarned and forearmed, young people at least have a fighting chance when they find themselves a minority of one among their classmates or work colleagues. Training young people to develop a Christian mind is no longer and option; it is a part of their necessary survival equipment.”

I find this so true as I see “double-agents” if you will. Kids, who are Christians in church, and some other places, but have a completely secular mind view. It’s as if they have a split personality, something that has concerned me as I read MySpace stories. It’s the story of our culture–the “dichotomy” of public and private, heart and mind.

Another interesting quote from the book was “politics is downstream from culture.” This struck me hard, especially when I received Tim Echols book Real Citizenship in the mail the other day. On the front of this book, the subtitles states “Practical steps for making and impact on your culture.”

Immediately that quote from Nancy Pearcey popped into my mind, as the red flags waved frantically. If politics are downstream from culture, how much affect does “real citizenship” have on culture?

Now, I realize this could put in a bit of hot water, but think about it for a moment. Forget the rest of the book, and just think about that statement for a moment.

Done?

Okay, now, as the saying goes “don’t judge a book by its cover.” And, thankfully I did not judge this book solely by its cover, but rather read the entire book within an hour and a half on Saturday night. And I found that it is pretty much in harmony with Total Truth. Both heavily emphasize the need for a biblical worldview, especially for young adults.

“Essentially, one’s worldview provides a basis for understanding reality,”says Tim Echols, “for understanding how and why things are the way they are.” Nancy Pearcey agrees when she talks about our youth. Having the correct worldview allows us “to interpret the world around” us. Tim Echols believes that “thinking biblically is not enough.”

But, let’s move away from that and focus on the political aspect. How much affect does politics have on culture? “Politics tend to reflect culture,” says Pearcey, “Not the other way around.” Tim Echols adds that political activism is not enough. “America’s social problems are too severe and pervasive to be solved in the power of the Flesh.”

He quotes Dr. James Dobson, who said to Christian public policy leaders,”Everything you are doing [to impact public policy] is just stopgap until God sends revival.”

Nancy Pearcey asserts that “the most effective work is done by ordinary Christians fulfilling God’s calling to reform within their local spheres of influence.”

Now, let’s do a little backtracking. We must have a biblical worldviews. Politics is downstream from culture. Politics is not going to do much of anything without a Christian worldview and a revival. And the greatest work on the culture is done by ordinary people. As Tim Echols says, “You can be a catalyst for change. Anyone.”

But the pervasive question is how important is politics upon our culture?

Bill Wichterman, policy advisor for Bill Frist, says that “all we can do on Capitol Hill is try to find ways government can nurture healthy cultural trends.”

Tim Echols believes that influence, “when used properly can pave the way for biblical and traditional family values to be reflected in public policy.” In other words, we would be in huge trouble if we don’t have Christians in the public sphere using their power and influence correctly.

“Living in the Washington, D.C., area,” Nancy Pearcey tells us, “I have witnessed first hand the growing numbers of believers working in politics today, which is an encouraging trend.” But there is a problem. “Few hold an explicitly Christian political philosophy.” She speaks of a chief of staff who admitted “I realize that I hold certain views because I’m politically conservative, not because I see how they’re rooted in the Bible.”

Tim Echols addresses this issue, exhorting us and telling us that “knowing and honoring Christ should go to the top of our priority list as Christians and should permeate our every decision.” (Emphasis mine.) “One of the snares awaiting politically-active Christians is the temptations to assign more loyalty to a political party then to Jesus and His precepts.”

The bottom line for him is that he is “politically active to promote a biblical worldview in political campaigns, legislative chambers and on battlefields of the culture war.”

I believe those battlefields are not just Capitol Hill. Those battlefields are on blogs like ours, in our homes, in our towns, and at our State level. It’s the small things that make the biggest difference. It’s the smaller websites joined together that make the biggest change.

So, the discussion continues: how politically active should we be if we want to change our culture for the good?

**

Most interesting quote from Nancy Pearcey from and interview done by Allthings2All:

“Working out an intentional Christian worldview certainly includes a biblical view of politics, but that it is only one part of our cultural engagement. We are also called to have a Christian worldview on economics, education, entertainment, and every other area of life. Of course, we all have to specialize in some field or profession. Because I live in the Washington, D.C., area, many of my friends are political professionals. But they are keenly aware that they are part of the larger Body of Christ, and that cultural renewal requires all of us to be faithful in the sphere of influence and responsibility where God has called us.

In fact, I would go further and say that if we are not working out an overarching, comprehensive Christian worldview that applies across the board, we will not be effective even in politics. Why? Because we will get caught up in sheer activism. We may win elections, but we will not know how to address the deeper, underlying ideas that shape our culture. We will always be reacting to the latest outrage instead of acting intelligently in ways that establish justice and protect the public good.”

From Dr. Albert Mohler: 

A recent letter to columnist Carolyn Hax of The Washington Post seemed straightforward enough. “I am a stay-at-home mother of four who has tried to raise my family under the same strong Christian values that I grew up with,” the woman writes. “Therefore I was shocked when my oldest daughter, ‘Emily,’ suddenly announced she had ‘given up believing in God’ and decided to ‘come out’ as an atheist.”

The idea of a 16-year-old atheist in the house would be enough to alarm any Christian parent, and rightly so. The thought that a secular advice columnist for The Washington Post might be the source of help seems very odd, but desperation can surely lead a parent to seek help almost anywhere.

You usually get what you expect from an advice columnist like this — therapeutic counsel based in a secular worldview and a deep commitment to personal autonomy. Carolyn Hax responds to this mother with an admonition to respect the integrity of her daughter’s declaration of non-belief. She adds, “Parents can and should teach their beliefs and values, but when a would-be disciple stops believing, it’s not a ‘decision’ or ‘choice’ to ‘reject’ church or family or tradition or virtue or whatever else has hitched a cultural ride with faith.

Read the rest here. 

If the Moon Landing Had Failed

I was excited and blessed to read Mary Kassian’s excellent treatment of complementarianism today on The Gospel Coalition:

A little while ago a reporter asked me to define “complementarianism.” She didn’t know what it meant. And that’s not entirely surprising.

The word “complementarity” doesn’t appear in the Bible, but is used by people to summarize a biblical concept. It’s like the word “Trinity.” The Bible never uses the word “Trinity,” but it undeniably points to a triune God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Though the concept of male-female complementarity can be seen from Genesis through Revelation, the label “complementarian” has only been in use for about 25 years. It was coined by a group of scholars who got together to try and come up with a word to describe someone who ascribes to the historic, biblical idea that male and female are equal, but different. The need for such a label arose in response to the proposition that equality means role-interchangeability (egalitarianism)—a concept first forwarded and popularized in evangelical circles in the 1970s and 1980s by “Biblical Feminists.”

I’ve read several articles lately from people who misunderstand and/or misrepresent the complementarian view. I was at the meeting 25 years ago where the word “complementarian” was chosen. So I think I have a pretty good grasp on the word’s definition.

So I want to boil it down for you. In emulation of the popular “for Dummies” series of instructional books, I’ll give you a “Complementarianism for Dummies” primer on the intended meaning of the word.

1. It’s complementary . . . not complimentary.

The word “complementarian” is derived from the word “complement” (not the word “compliment”). The dictionary defines “complement” as follows:

Something that completes or makes perfect; either of two parts or things needed to complete the whole; counterparts.

Complementarians believe that God created male and female as complementary expressions of the image of God—male and female are counterparts in reflecting his glory. Having two sexes expands the view. Though both sexes bear God’s image fully on their own, each does so in a unique and distinct way. Male and female in relationship reflects truths about Jesus that aren’t reflected by male alone or female alone.

2. June Cleaver is so 1950s and so not the definition of complementarity.

In our name-the-concept meeting, someone mentioned the word “traditionalism,” since our position is what Christians have traditionally believed. But that was quickly nixed. The word “traditionalism” smacks of “tradition.” Complementarians believe that the Bible’s principles supersede tradition. They can be applied in every time and culture. June Cleaver is a traditional, American, TV stereotype. She is not the complementarian ideal. Period. (And exclamation mark!) Culture has changed. What complementarity looks like now is different than what it looked like 60 or 70 years ago. So throw out the cookie-cutter stereotype. It does not apply.

3. A proletariat-bourgeois-type hierarchy has no place in complementarity.

Feminist theorists maintain that male-female role differences create an over-under hierarchy in which men, who are like the privileged, elite, French landowners (bourgeois) of the 18th century, keep women—who are like the lower, underprivileged class of workers (proletariat)—subservient. Complementarians, however, do not believe that men, as a group, rank higher than women. Men are not superior to women. Women are not the “second sex.” Men have a responsibility to exercise headship in their homes and church family, and Christ revolutionized the definition of what that means. Authority is not the right to rule—it’s the responsibility to serve. We rejected the term “hierarchicalism” because people associate it with an inherent, self-proclaimed right to rule.

4. Complementarity does not condone the patriarchal, societal oppression of women.

Technically, “patriarchy” simply means a social organization in which the father is the head of the family. But since the 1970s, feminists have redefined the historic use of the term and attributed negative connotations to it. Nowadays, people regard patriarchy as the oppressive rule of men. “Patriarchy” is regarded as a misogynistic system in which women are put down and squelched. That’s why we rejected the term “patriarchalism.” Complementarians stand against the oppression of women. We want to see women flourish, and we believe they do so when men and women together live according to God’s Word.

Read the rest here.