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Culture Articles

  • Ashish Naidu — 

    Wonderful is the word that encapsulates the world of horology. The more I read about the art and craft of watch making, the more I reflect on the infinite complexity of the divine mind, particularly the wondrous design and the meticulous plan of salvation—conceived in eternity—but executed in time and space.

  • Ben Shin — 

    Leading people is never an easy task. It takes great skill and character to lead people effectively. It also takes time, effort, and patience to work with people and to lead them well. All of this is part of building a relationship. Unfortunately, many leaders take “shortcuts” in trying to work with people especially in the church. These leaders are not so concerned about the well-being of the common good but may be more bent towards controlling the people with biblical power sources such as the Bible. This entry will explore and potentially warn against these misuses and will respond with appropriate biblical refutations.

  • Rick Langer — 

    Thanksgiving from William Bradford to George Washingto to Abraham Lincoln to 9/11, has not just been a holiday celebration but rather a discipline of gratitude grown in the soil of adversity.

  • Jeffrey Volkmer — 

    The recently convened Searching for Sanctuary Film Festival at Biola University presented significant independent films that explored the meaning of, and human longing for, sanctuary. The films screened were illustrative of the deep yearning all humans have for true sanctuary and the repercussions of its absence, ultimately pointing to the archetype of sanctuary for the Christian, Jesus Christ. One of the films screened was directed by Orlando van Einsiedel entitled, Skateistan: To Live and Skate in Kabul. It provided a beautifully shot and deeply poignant portrayal of the importance of sanctuary in the lives of the children of Kabul, Afghanistan, whose lives are tremendously impacted not only by the notable absence of sanctuary, but also how they were able to find it upon a skateboard. Here is not only an opportunity to view this wonderful film, but a theological reflection of its significance.

  • Joanne Jung — 

    It happened this past Sunday. The moment my daughter said, "I do," I became a mother-in-love. No one knew except the wedding planner, but I had written a letter addressed to my daughter and had it read in the presence of our guests at the reception. Though short, it was long in writing, as the memories, emotions, and tears often paralyzed yet drove the process. I share these words with you.

  • John Hutchison — 

    Just a month ago I was glued to the TV for an entire weekend as our nation replayed and remembered the tragic events of 9/11/2001. Even after all these years, the many stories of heroism and survival cannot remove the sting of that day. As I watched the video tapes of those well-documented events, I was brought to tears by the stories of so many families who were . . . and still are . . . living with sadness and great loss. The way this story was reported ten years later reveals to me two of the most difficult ideas for many people to accept . . .

  • Ashish Naidu — 

    I have often wondered if the lack of interest in the external beauty of sacred space and décor, which characterizes much of our church culture today, is due to the struggle with dualism? Or is it due to the residual sense of over-correction that we have inherited from the Reformation movement? I suspect it may be both.

  • Ben Shin — 

    One the trickiest situations within leadership, has to do with how many people should be leading the church. Many people and cultures would strongly suggest a singular or monarchial type leader for the church while others would suggest a plurality of leaders. Which one is correct? Which model is the wisest? And what does the Word of God says about this? This entry will suggest that the Scriptures prescribe a plurality of leadership as being the wisest and most widely practiced model for leadership for the church.

  • Moyer Hubbard — 

    I was perusing the news on msn.com some time ago and saw a link that said, “Do you have a spending problem? Take the Savvy Spending quiz.” I guess I had too much time on my hands, so I thought I’d take a look at the quiz. Before I started, however, MoneyCentral at msn.com gave me their advice ...

  • Joe Hellerman — 

    One Sunday not too long ago I preached on Daniel 4, where Nebuchadnezzar discovers the hard way that “the Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone he wishes” (v. 17). I serve a wonderful, God-loving congregation of mostly conservative Republicans. A couple weeks earlier, I had delighted my people by informing them that I would not make a very good Democrat, because I don’t trust big government. Their delight was short-lived, however, because I immediately said that I also wouldn’t make a very good Republican, because I don’t trust big business. Then, I really got ‘em thinking when I added that I probably don’t make a very good pastor—at least not according to current American evangelical criteria for pastoral success—because I don’t trust big institutional churches.

  • David Talley — 

    This next month is an important time to be praying for the Muslim world.

  • Walt Russell — 

    My 83-year-old mother has dementia. To help me work through the pain of this living death, I recently gave her a gift she was not able to receive: a letter commemorating her 10th anniversary in the nursing home.

  • Walt Russell — 

    1 Thessalonians 5:22: “Abstain from all appearances of evil” (KJV) “Abstain from every form of evil” (ESV) I confess that whenever I encounter this verse, I picture old, withered saints shaking their bony fingers in younger believers’ faces and exhorting them about some questionable behavior. In this recurring scenario, the godly, mature Christians find it necessary to exhort the younger saints, not because they have done something that is evil, but simply because they behaved in a manner that could have the appearance of being evil.

  • Moyer Hubbard — 

    Is it possible to be a Christian and a polytheist? The correct answer, of course, is no, but a close reading of 1 Corinthians 8 reveals that the matter is perhaps not so simple.

  • Jeffrey Volkmer — 

    I am now in my second year as a faculty member at Biola University’s Talbot School of Theology. Prior to this, I’ve spent the last 16 years of my life doing primarily two things: 1) attending three different universities, and; 2) working for local churches in a variety of capacities. You would think that after that amount of time invested in both theological higher education and church service, I would have learned quite a bit about the local church. Yet, this is anything but the case and not because the curriculum of my seminary lacked adequate focus on ecclesiology. Rather, teaching at a Christian university has opened up an amazing new curriculum for me and afforded me a unique and fresh vista from which to view the Church and learn from one of her most precious treasures – young people – and in this case, undergraduate students. I would like to share some of the greatest lessons this new curriculum has taught me as I seek to teach undergraduates.

  • Joe Hellerman — 

    As we approach the Passion Week, it might help to think about Jesus’ crucifixion in a threefold way: 1. Cross-Bearing: The physical pain of Jesus’ death 2. Sin-Bearing: The spiritual anguish of Jesus’ death 3. Shame-Bearing: The public humiliation of Jesus’ death

  • Rick Langer — 

    We live in one of the most materially prosperous cultures that the world has ever known. We live with full stomachs and warm houses, surrounded by technological toys, secured by gates and walls, tended by the best of medical practice, and endlessly entertained by a 24/7 stream of media. There is only one thing we are missing: contentment. Why is "enough" so hard to find?

  • Freddy Cardoza — 

    Ideas are not neutral and irrelevant. They are constructs of language that can have helpful or hurtful cooresponding effects. All ideas are not equally valid and are not necessarily even true... but, true or not, ideas can have powerful effects and great care should be taken in our handling of them.

  • Jeffrey Volkmer — 

    Along with speaking to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, if one were to peruse the communication literature of most American, Evangelical churches, it would seem that Paul had somehow left off Twitter, Facebook, Wikipedia, and blogs of every sort. The ubiquity of “social media” in all its iterations has found quite the tender audience in Evangelicalism with seemingly no parachurch ministry, church (along with each respective ministry therein), pastor, youth minister, or seminary able forge ahead without intermittingly spreading communicative buckshot across the world wide web at a 140 character pace.

  • David Talley — 

    With thousands upon thousands daily passing from our world, awakening to the reality of a Christ-less eternity without hope or salvation, new strategies toward the evangelization and discipling of the nations are desperately needed. Today, we are witnessing more than ever, a move of the Spirit across former mission fields, as the 2nd/3rd World takes aim toward the daunting challenge of completing The Great Commission mandate. Such a reality gives cause for great joy as mission ministry is no longer only a Western movement. Countries like South Korea, China and Brazil are changing the way we’ve always thought of mission work. History is being rewritten before our very eyes. There’s no doubt the Latin American mission movement is making, and will continue to make, a significant impact in reaching many of the still unreached “creative access” nations, particularly within the Islamic family. With tremendous linguistic advantage, worldview commonality and a simple physiological similarity, some of the best missionaries to the Islamic peoples are proving to be Latin American in heritage.