A little knowledge may be dangerous, but not nearly so dangerous as a great deal of ignorance. Too often, when it comes to economics, we carry around just enough foolishness to make ourselves dangerous, believing “truths” that have no truth to them. Here are just a few:
It is graduation season. Academic regalia is being donned, parties are being planned, and boasting has begun. It’s the last that concerns me. No one, of course, ought to oppose learning, and learning well. God, after all, calls us to love Him with our whole minds. Studying well is one way to better fulfill that command. My concern, however, is that sadly we tend to value those virtues that are more easily measured more than those that matter most. Grade point averages are fine enough things if they stay in their place. Trouble is they rarely stay in their place.
He’s doing well. My father that is. Ligonier Ministries has done an outstanding job of keeping people up to speed on my father’s health since his recent stroke. We are being, as I would expect, open and honest in our updates, which means coming to me for the “real story” is an exercise in futility. The “real story” is the story Ligonier has been honestly publishing. That’s the kind of integrity my father has not only practiced, but has taught, including to the staff at Ligonier, and to my sister and me.
This article was adapted into podcast form, which can be listened to here. Imagine, if you would, there was a small group of men caught up in a bizarre and hungry ideology. Imagine they were committed to doing whatever it takes to enjoy the blessings of power and influence. Their stratagems ranged from sophisticated propaganda to political machinations to raw violence to quell those who stood in their way. Imagine that they had infiltrated the schools of the nation, and were about the business of indoctrinating the children in their ideology. Finally, imagine that this fringe group was so consumed with hatred toward the religious people of their land who once had wielded influence that they wanted them silenced or destroyed. What should, in this context the church do?
It would be funny were it not so sad and destructive. Our modernist masters have been beating their epistemological chests praising their empirical wisdom as the sole arbiter of truth, while mocking the notion that the Bible can tell us truth. They delight to pull out every miracle that stretches our credulity, every law that goes against the modern zeitgeist all to show how hopelessly out of it the Bible actually is. Their Bible, scientific consensus, on the other hand is the true light of the world. It is not only a better arbiter of truth but comes equipped with a mindset that drives away prejudice. It’s effective, dispassionate, objective, everything our pathetic Bible is not.
There is a great difference between being like a lamb before the slaughter and rolling over and showing your neck. Christians need to learn to tell the difference. We find ourselves dizzy with the swiftness by which we have lost our privilege in the culture and have become virtual pariahs. Our sitting president, while serving as president, took a position on gay “marriage” that now is not just considered unsophisticated but is on the fast track to being a hate crime. Homo-rage is all the fashion; homo-fascism is all the rage. And Christians are increasingly being herded into a cultural ghetto.
Even as a young man Joshua intrigued me. First, I loved his passion and commitment, not just for himself, but for his family. He had a profoundly covenantal perspective on the kingdom, which is why my dear wife and I had Joshua 24:15 engraved on the inside of our wedding bands – “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” What also caught my eye, however, was Joshua’s stamina. Genesis recounts for us some rather titanic shifts for humanity. Creation itself, moving from non-being to being is there. The fall, moving from perfection to depravity is there. The deluge, moving from a world of peoples to just one family is there. At the same time, however, there is this change – the shift from life spans measured in the hundreds of years to life spans much more like ours. Moses, of course, had a rather productive old…
I suspect that “comfort food” might better be called “nostalgia food.” There is, after all, nothing particularly comforting about macaroni and cheese, or meatloaf. The value in the food isn’t in the greatness of the taste, but the memories the taste brings back. This, we think, mostly subconsciously, is what I used to eat, back in the day, when things were better. Which is why we have not just comfort food but comfort television, comfort music, even comfort memories. Almost anything we experienced when we are young, if it can be reasonably accurately recreated, can be a source of great comfort for us.
It is, according to CS Lewis, one of the most potent pulls into sin, the desire to belong. Were Maslow a bit more honest in ranking our “needs”, I suspect the approval of others would make the top five of his hierarchy. For teens we call it peer pressure. Sadly we tend to diminish its power to those clear crossroads moments, when the joint is passed around the circle or when some back seat Lothario is pushing a peer to fornicate. The temptation, however, is likely more powerful when the stakes seem lower, and our guard is down. It is in the ordinary that we sell our souls.
We are fools. That’s a good starting point. We are all together made in the image of God. We are all together by nature children of wrath. We who have been born again have been remade into His children, by His grace. Yet, at every step along the way we face the compulsion of judging ourselves by ourselves. We want to know how we stack up against other image bearers, as if the petty things that distinguish us from each other could compare with the august majesty that we all have in common. We want to insist that sin has wreaked less havoc in and through us than it has in others, which is rather like arguing that Hiroshima was damaged less than Nagasaki. We want to insist that our sanctification is more potent than another’s, as if our actual holiness has a measurable significance in relation to our imputed…