Posts Tagged ‘Worldview’

Desiring the Kingdom

Friday, October 1st, 2010 by Diane Chandler

Recently, I read the book entitled Desiring the Kingdom by James (“Jamie”) K. A. Smith (2009).  As a philosopher, Smith attempts to provide a critique of current Christian worldview parlance and approach by offering another model in which to view the human person, formation, faith, and the role of the Christian college or university.

Rather than a book review, per say, I want to offer my reactions and recommend that you consider reading it yourself, rather than simply reacting to my comments.  While I do not agree with all that Smith advances regarding formational approaches to the human person, I believe that his perspectives are worthy of consideration and offer those in Christian higher education and the church a perspective worthy of discussion and dialogue.

Overall the book attempts to rearticulate the telos (or goal) of Christian education from being one that relates to establishing a distinctively Christian worldview through the development of the cognitive domain to being one that views education as formational and guided by what we love and desire, as fostered through worship.  What he aims at is the differentiation between education as informative and education as formative.  As you can well imagine, this topic greatly interests me. 

Smith critiques an understanding of the Christian faith as being reduced to a set of ideas and principles, which creates worldview thinking at the expense of our calling to be passionate followers of Christ who love rightly both God and neighbor.  Smith argues that we are oriented to the world by the primacy of that love. Therefore, Smith offers Christian worship as the most profound practice that shapes our identity and takes us beyond a mere belief system to a fully embodied identity as loving God and neighbor. 

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Proposed Islamic Center and Christian Faith

Friday, September 3rd, 2010 by Diane Chandler

In the past several weeks, opposition to the proposed 13-story Islamic Center in New York City near Ground Zero has escalated around the country.  Originally called the Cordoba House, the proposed $100 multi-story building, which formerly housed the Burlington Coat Factory, would include a mosque, memorial for victims of 9/11, and a cultural center, complete with swimming pool, theater, and health club.  However, suspicions that the stated rationale for building the Islamic Center masks unspoken intentions, opponents also cite the insensitivity regarding the planned location and the projected debut date of September 11, 2011. Abit of background about the proposed initiative and also my concern regarding some of the reaction.

Leading the building initiative, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf and his wife, Daisy Khan, had previously established the American Society for Muslim Advancement, with the purported aim of enhancing dialogue between Muslims and the West and healing pervasive wounds between Muslims and non-Muslims.  In his own words, Rauf stated, “Our purpose is to interweave America’s Muslim population into the mainstream society.”  He denies that the proposed initiative is a mechanism to gloat over the 9/11 attack but rather desires to portray Islam as moderate. Rauf has refuted terrorism and violence.

Yet even the name of the project, Cordoba House, catalyzed immediate protest, as many perceived Cordoba as referencing the Muslim conquest in 712 of the city of the same name in southern Spain. To dispel the uproar, Cordoba House was renamed Park51.

With questions swirling, reactions run the gamut from acceptance to complete hostility.  Several American values seemingly have collided mid-air.  The first value relates to religious freedom and lawful assembly, protected by the US Constitution.  The second value is the safeguarding of freedom from fear and threat of harm.  Americans remain vigilant against further radical Muslim attacks on US soil and abroad.

However what is especially troubling to me is the response of one church in Florida which has launched a national campaign to burn the Qur’an, the Muslim holy book, on September 11, 2010 in protest of Islam.  Dove World Outreach Center of Gainesville, Florida has declared an “International Burn a Koran Day” as posted on their church website and newly established Facebook page. 

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Teenagers, Worldviews & Rated-R Movies

Sunday, May 2nd, 2010 by Marc Santom

Tis the season…of summer movie blockbusters, just around the bend. Robin Hood, Iron Man 2 & Twilight Eclipse are just a few titles that will don the cinema marquees and rake in fistfuls of dollars–not to mention the hearts and minds of our teenagers.

It’s been about six years since Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ hit theaters in 2004. You know what I consider to be one of its best, barely-noticed legacies? That is was rated R.  I loved the uncomfortable irony of it all—that this film, which many Christians considered to be one of the greatest evangelistic tools of our day, was labeled with the scarlet letter of the MPAA movie rating system. That meant that this film about Jesus’ triumphant love would share the same rating as brash films like Pulp Fiction, Superbad, Saw V and Sin City.

Of course I loved The Passion for more that its R rating. I was elated to see the greatest story ever told conveyed with a lot of Scriptural accuracy, a real budget and genuine artistic sensibilities brought to bear. What also elated me was that many preachers who elevated the (often arbitrary and inconsistent) MPAA rating system to sacred status and made “Thou shalt not see R-rated movies” the Eleventh Commandment were forced to re-think the issue.  They had to begin to ask questions like this:

  • “Can an R-rated film have redemptive value—and can it have more of it than a PG film does?”
  • “Does this mean that PG and PG-13 movies are always safer and more accurately reflect a Christian worldview?”
  • “Can God’s truth, beauty and goodness be found in other films that don’t star Jesus as the main character or fail to have an overt Christian message like Fireproof or  Facing the Giants?”

My aim is not to debate the value of R versus PG rated films or the competency of the Motion Picture Association of America. There’s a bigger story here…

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