The Kuyperian Commentary

Politics, Economics, Culture, and Theology with a Biblical Viewpoint

Archive for the tag “George Grant”

Baby Steps Toward the Masterpiece

by Marc Hays

Thanks to a blue-light special at the Kindle store, I recently acquired an e-copy of N. T. Wright’s Simply Christian: Why Christianity Makes Sense. The first section addresses humanity’s struggle with justice, spirituality, relationship and beauty. His questions are honest and piercing.  His logic is so seamless, that I find it hard to decide on a pull quote without doing a great injustice to the surrounding material as well as the quote itself, but, having said all that, here’s a portion that is exceptionally tasty.  It is from chapter 4, For the Beauty of the Earth,

What we must notice at this stage is that both in the Old Testament and the New, the present suffering of the world–about which the biblical writers knew every bit as much as we do–never makes them falter in their claim that the created world really is the good creation of a good God. They live with the tension. And they don’t do it by imagining that the present created order is a shabby, second-rate kind of thing, perhaps (as in some kinds of Platonism) made by a shabby second-rate sort of god. They do it by telling a story of what the one creator God has been doing to rescue his beautiful world and put it to rights. And the story they tell, which we shall explore further in due course, indicates that the present world really is a signpost to a larger beauty, a deeper truth. It really is the authentic manuscript of one part of a masterpiece. The question is, What is the whole masterpiece like, and how can we begin to hear the music in that way it was intended? Read more…

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The New Kingdom Almanac: Alfred the Great, White Horse King

Alfred the Great, son of Æthelwulf of Wessex (West Saxons), vanquisher of the Danish warlord Guthrum, victor of the field of Ethandun, warrior king and royal servant of the Lord Jesus Christ. It was on this day, May 6 anno Domini 878, after having spent years studying the methods of the Viking raiders and engineering many advances in field and naval combat[1], that the Anglo-Saxon King Alfreda defeated the cruel Northmen of Scandinavia and preserved Christendom in Britannia, thus making the unification of that land possible for the first time since the occupation of the Roman Legions four centuries earlier [2].
White-Horse-of-Uffington

Read more…

George of Lydda: Patron Saint of Civil Disobedience

Posted by Aaron W EleyGreater Coat_of_Arms_of_Georgia
On this day, the 23rd of April, Christians throughout many countries in the world will be observing Georgemas, more commonly referred to as the Feast of St. George of Lydda. George is remembered as the Patron Saint of England, Libya, Lebanon, and many others including being the object of devotion of the country of Georgia (whose flag bears the Jerusalem Cross)[1], Catalonia, Aragon and others. Indeed, St. George’s Day will be celebrated nationally in England and the City of London over which the familiar ‘red cross on a white field’ of the Flag of St. George, the standard emblem of the Crusades, will be flown.

St-George-Cross-England-Flag_4

George was born in AD 270, in what is now Eastern Turkey, to Grecian parents of the Christian faith [2]. His father was from Cappadocia in Asia Minor and his mother from Lydda [3], which was briefly renamed Georgiopolis before the Muslim Conquest of the Levant ended that city’s Roman Period in the 7th century.

La_Tomba_di_San_Giorgio

Tomb of St. George, Lydda

Georgios (Gr. ‘worker of the land’) was a Greek of noble birth. At the age of 14, George’s father died while serving as an officer in the Roman Army. A few years later, George also lost his mother [4]. Read more…

Alfred, Calvin, and Tolkien

hillside

On a recent journey from our little hamlet in middle Tennessee to the bustling metropolis of Nashville, I was accompanied by my 10-year-old son, Calvin.  The journey takes about an hour, which gives ample time to listen to a lecture en route.  Dr. George Grant willingly rode in the mp3 player on the dashboard, while Calvin was happy to have the whole backseat to himself.  I asked Dr. Grant if he would tell me about Alfred the Great again, and he obliged. Read more…

My Big Fat Greek Education

In Ephesians 6, the apostle instructs fathers to bring their children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.  Paul did not speak English, so instead of ‘nurture’ and ‘admonition’, he said paideia and nouthesia.  These Greek words carried the weight of their culture in their meaning and usage, just as ‘nurture’ and ‘admonition’ hold a cultural connotation for us.  Off the top of my head, ‘nurture’ reminds me of ‘promoting life and growth via food and warmth’.  It reminds me of gardening just as much as child-rearing.  The word ‘admonition’ comes across as stern and rigid.  When I’ve been ‘admonished’, no one has to be there holding a dictionary for me to know it.

Since God did not reveal himself in English, we have to translate, and that’s not a problem in and of itself.  God likes translation.  Jesus taught in Aramaic, so I’ve been told, and the gospel writers wrote in Greek.  Therefore, the original texts of the gospels are themselves translations.  Some translations are simple, like when Jesus was called ‘Rabbi’ and the gospel writers had to tell us that meant ‘teacher’.  The translation requires very little work when it comes to ‘common stuff’ like: dirt, fire, water, or donuts. “This means that” and the translator could point to it. However, some words require a little more background to understand, not merely because they’re antiquated, but because the meaning is not as superficial. Read more…

Valentine’s Day: Christian Marriage, Cheap Love, and Sex

St. Valentine Day Valentine was a third century pastor who was imprisoned for his faith. He wrote small pastoral notes to members of his congregation on leaves he was able to pluck from a maple tree just outside his cell.  These little “Valentine’s cards” expressed his love for the flock, and his desire that they demonstrate like love toward one another. Gradually the tradition grew up for Christians to exchange notes of love and encouragement to one another every year on his birthday, February 14.

Dr. George Grant, http://grantian.blogspot.com/2013/02/st-valentines-day.html

We’ve seen baseball stadium proposals where a guy’s urgent question is slapped on the Jumbotron for all in attendance to see. Some men even think it’s romantic to shout their devotion in front of thousands of strangers. Several years back, Adam Sandler and Jack Nicholson even tried to convince us that women would actually want this type of proposal. In case you might be contemplating this type of proposal, let me tell you that it is about as tasteful as the rest of Sandler’s work.

In many ways, American romance is Jumbotron romance. Valentine’s Day is a good example. We couch our love in the impersonal and to the cheap. When did the standard fall so low that somehow chocolate and flowers become the epitome of devotion. We should understand these are good things. Any man who forgets them will enjoy the spurn of his wife. But this type of impersonal devotion once a year is akin to attending Easter and Christmas services, yet claiming to love Christ.

A culture of cheap grace produces cheap love. 

“Cheap grace is preaching forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession. … Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Cheap love is giving chocolate without cordial affection, flowers without real delight and pleasure, “I Love Yous” without contentment and satisfaction … Cheap love is love without submission, love without crucifying-self, love without Jesus Christ, living and Incarnate. Cheap love teaches, “Sex is such a hassle, talking is even worse.” Christian love teaches, “rejoice in the wife of your youth.”

Our romance should be modeled after Christ’s self-giving devotion to his bride, which is why St. Valentine is such a beautiful saint. This is not to say that the mark of Valentine’s Day is simply reading verses over flowers-rather that marriage is an image of loving tension. The tenderest love on one side, and loving obedience on the other. This means that romance is an adventure, not a commute. We don’t travel through life enduring the “trial of marriage,” but through the exploration of Godly marriage we are transformed by the circumstances of our love story.

Valentine’s Day is a day for us to look at our adventure, where we’ve been, and where we are going.

Valentine’s Day is a time for Christian men who once belonged to the old Adam to become priests of the New Adam. Where the old Adam betrayed the love of his bride, we -as Priests of the new Adam- guard, nurture, and protect our redeemed garden-helper.  And as such have been called to wash our wives in Christ’s love.

Valentine’s Day is a time to celebrate together as we see God transforming our brides into a holy bride without wrinkle, spot, or blemish.

Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a link is given.

In the past few months I’ve posted two articles on sexuality and marriage, you can read those here:

The Medium is Nearly as Vital as the Message

“The reality is that sometimes the packaging really makes a difference in what you can take away from the book.  I remember when Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose first came out in the 80’s.  I was just blown away by it.  I was captured from page one.  As William of Baskerville wanders up the trail toward the monastery and begins to notice clues that wow everyone.  He out-sherlocked Sherlock.  And then through the labyrynthine theology that takes you to the great climax at the end, I was hooked.  I told every pastor friend of mine; every theologian; everybody I knew teaching at seminary, ‘You have to read this book!’  Several of them, having become accustomed to such messages from me, put it off until it came out in paperback.  And then I started to get this trickle of voicemails and emails…well, I guess it was faxes back in those days.  Anyway, a trickle of messages from folks saying, ‘I can’t get into this.  It’s obtuse.  It’s dense.  I’m not getting anywhere.’  And then I discovered that they’re reading it in a mass-market paperback!  On paper that would have been rejected for USA Today for heaven’s sakes!  Not even worth printing factoids on it.  So I told them, ‘Go to Crown or Barnes and Noble.  Go to the remainder table.  Buy yourself a hardback, and read it properly.’  Now that may seem silly, but in point of fact,  prose that is dense and difficult needs an appropriate architecture to contain it.  Aesthetics matter.  Aesthetics always matter.  We, who think the height of American architecture is some tin shed on a highway, actually believe that aesthetics don’t matter.   But when you walk into a stone cathedral in the middle of Stephansplatz, a block from Mozart’s home, you realize, ‘you know–tin sheds aren’t all they’re cracked-up to be.’  And neither are crummy paperbacks…  Medium is nearly as vital as the message.”

George Grant (the one in Franklin, TN) from the lecture “Shelf Life: Reading, Thinking, and Resisting the Tyranny of the Urgent”.  You can purchase it here.

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