Losing Our Religion – Russell Moore

But nobody ever said, “Remember when I said ‘Gog and Magog’ of the Bible is the Soviet Union? I was wrong about that” or “Mikhail Gorbachev, I told you was probably the antichrist, but, my bad” or “Now that I also am using these supermarket scanners, maybe they’re not the Mark of the Beast after all.” These folks just moved on with the next confident assertions, as though the last never happened at all. 
— Read on www.russellmoore.com/2021/04/15/losing-our-religion/

Photography vs. Art

Photography used to be a rather arcane skillset. Oh, yes, anyone could snap a shot with a Brownie, but when you had a big event you wanted someone who knew what they were doing to record it.

This is not the case today. Lots of weddings are being photographed by Uncle Gene, and he is doing a fine job of it.

Professional photographers have been scrambling to differentiate themselves from Uncle Gene, but their skills, for the most part, are not any better. Another generation, and “professional photographer” won’t exist as a career choice. Even today, it doesn’t exist as a viable means of income.

Photography, in this vein, is recording of information. It is the realm of weddings, events, school yearbooks, and engagements photos. And journalism, phone photography, and candid snapshots.

Like everyone else, I do some of that. If the dogs do something cute and I have my phone, I try to capture it. If my wife is sleeping with her mouth open, I have to capture it. If I see a neat car parked on the street, I’ll probably capture it.

But mostly what I do is personally expressive. I’m not capturing a picture of a small town business. I’m expressing a nostalgia for something from my past. I’m trying to invoke a similar feeling in the mind of the viewer of my picture.

There is no money in that either, by the way, but at least no one else can do it quite the same way I can. And the same is true of you, if you care to give it a try.

Wide-open Spaces

Wherever a church’s culture is characterized by a “do this and be damned, do that and be damned” mentality, the power of the curse is revived and the gospel emasculated. Yes, there are genuine ethical dangers that jeopardize our forward progress in “Christ being formed in us,” which are therefore to be avoided (Gal 5:19–21), but churches and their leaders cannot create new bodies of regulations (now not even given by angels, but just formulated by mere human beings) in order to confine their congregations under the protective custody of human-made regulations, hedging them in and imposing authoritarian rule over them.

Wide-open spaces are scary for people who ultimately trust in walls. The freedom that God’s sons and daughters are meant to enjoy requires responsible use of that freedom, as Paul will develop at great length (5:13–6:10), but ultimately Spirit-directed freedom is God’s will for God’s people in Christ. New Torahs, while having the appearance of nurturing obedience, in fact constitute disobedience to God’s purposes for us and a repudiation of Christ’s death to bring us that freedom.

David A. deSilva, The Letter to the Galatians, ed. Ned B. Stonehouse et al., The New International Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2018), 304–305.

Redeemed from the Curse

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”— in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
(Galatians 3:13–14, NRSV)

I am most thankful that God made a way for us gentiles to come to him. It was a costly move, and I must never take it for granted.

And now we can be children of Abraham along with his genetic children. Through faith!

That means trusting God and living in loyalty to him. His Spirit is among us and in us.

That whole program is more amazing than I can imagine.

Hymns

My practice lately has been to listen to hymns while I’m working on Mondays. Tuesdays are downtempo. Wednesdays are eclectic. Thursdays are chill. Fridays are jazz.

But Mondays are hymns. Sometimes the Gettys, sometimes Andrew Peterson, sometimes Mary Beth Carlson.

Today I started listening to a WOW collection of hymns. Some were just fine. But on the whole, I don’t think hymns are improved by adding endlessly repetitive elements, as if they were Hindu mantras.

Most of the time, the hymns were just fine the way they have developed in the church over many years with no need for improvement.

Call me a curmudgeon.

Reading

I have (I am sad about it) drifted into watching mindless stuff on Netflix and Prime Video in the evenings. I’m trying to change that now. I’m starting with the ideas on The Rabbit Room. I’ve read stuff by most of those authors and I’m pretty charged up to renew those acquaintances while also making some new ones.