The Lamp Post is a collection of recent news articles, opinion pieces or blog posts that I found interesting and worthy of attention. If you see something that you believe should be in The Lamp Post, tweet it to me at @WardrobeDoor with the hashtag #LampPost.
Christ & Pop Culture: The Taste of Strawberries: Tolkien’s Imagination of the Good
One of the great sins of modern evangelicalism is our tendency to make the goodness of God seem boring. Thankfully people like Tolkien understood how to describe the good as exciting and something worth fighting for.
Certainly, the evil of Sauron throughout the Lord of the Rings is breathtaking, and Tolkien’s portrayal of the ring’s corrupting power proves his insight into the workings of evil. But this isn’t as remarkable an achievement as is his compelling depiction of good. Fallen humans seem to be able to imagine interesting, emotionally gripping evil characters more easily that we can imagine interesting good characters. In many of our movies and stories, the good characters are rather insipid, while the evil ones are much more fascinating. Think about the character of the Joker in The Dark Knight, Walter White in Breaking Bad, or Darth Vader in the Star Wars series. These characters are complex and compelling—they draw us into their struggle. All too often, overtly Christian attempts to portray good characters fall into sappy Hallmark blah-blah-ville. For the most part, Fireproof is yawn-worthy, and God is Not Dead is reductive and predictable. Other Christian art isn’t much better, as readers of the angelic Elsie Dinsmore series can attest. Why is goodness so damnably boring?
The election (get it? election? Calvinist?) of David Platt as president of the IMB yesterday caused a stir among many Southern Baptists due to the Radical author’s theological views and previous tepid support for the funding method used by the SBC.
I plan to write about this in the future, but the obsession with Calvinism (by some adherents and some opponents) is absurd – particularly when it fits well within the stated beliefs of Southern Baptists.
No brother who can clearly affirm the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 should be treated as though his beliefs are unwelcome, unacceptable, or out of the mainstream. The Baptist Faith and Message 2000 was written intentionally broad enough to accommodate different nuances of soteriology, so no one should be shocked when different streams of thought run through our SBC institutions. It would have been improper for me to oppose Dr. Frank Page’s election as President of the Executive Committee, for example, because he’s not as reformed in his view as I am. He is clearly within the Baptist Faith and Message, and that should be enough. I don’t even make it a litmus test to be on my church staff, so the venom with which some commentators attack brothers who are confessionally within the BFM2K always dismays me. It’s not right.
Tired of the incessant political arguments on Facebook and Twitter? You aren’t alone. People are self-censoring to avoid those confrontations.
Despite the still-prevailing idealistic vision of social media as a platform for engaged citizenry and robust debate, the report notes that “people were less likely to discuss these issues on social media than they were in person.” Moreover, “if people thought their social media friends and followers disagreed with them, they were less likely to want to discuss the issues at all.”
Christianity Today: Forgiving My Pastor, Mark Driscoll
A member of Mars Hill shares her thoughts about the unfolding situation with Driscoll and the sins it revealed in her heart.
I allowed myself to hold on to unforgiveness toward Pastor Mark as a way of proving to myself that I didn’t idolize him. During a campus gathering about four years ago, he lost his temper and accused the whole body of being unfaithful. His meltdown during this misunderstanding was both shocking and crushing. Yet, holding onto unforgiveness didn’t protect me. Meditating on the failures of our leaders doesn’t give us a healthy perspective. It merely prevents us from humbly receiving the lessons God teaches us through their weaknesses. The best way to avoid glorifying a leader is to glorify Jesus first.
News & Observer: There’s a bit of ‘Blind Side’ in Duke’s Laken Tomlinson
As college football kicks off tonight, here’s a great story about Tomlinson’s move from Jamaica, life as a poor kid in Chicago, his decision to go to Duke, and the future he has in front of him.
Tomlinson might be the only football player in the country thinking about preparing for the NFL Combine and the MCAT this spring. But those who have watched him work don’t doubt that he can do it.