Archives for October 2009
I previously posted on a study which seemed to suggest that while feminism’s professional triumphs are undeniable (and, for many, a correction to an unbiblical diminishing of talents and skills through a distorted perspective grounded in male oppression) it has not come without its ill consequences. Greater societal expectations for juggling work and family have, for many, caused greater stress (not to mention a greater sense of fatigue and failure for not being able to “do it all” and “do it all well”).
Writing for the Seattle Times, syndicated columnist Ellen Goodman shoots back on the conclusion that feminism’s progress has been coupled with a greater level of unhappiness. But oddly, while combative, she seems to accept the basic premise. Her conclusion:
Going forward to the past won’t bring a grin to our lips — excuse me, a self-reported sense of well-being to our database. Happiness is a pretty elusive state and an even more elusive research subject. We are, as they say, happy as our least happy child, worried as the idea of Iran with a nuclear weapon, and insecure as our retirement fund. As for linking happiness and social history, today’s flight attendant isn’t going to wake up every morning and assess her own well-being in comparison to her 1970s predecessor any more than I wake up grateful not to walk four miles in the snow to school. It doesn’t work that way.
Feminism made me happy? Not, I assure you in a permanent state of good cheer. It opened doors. It opened our eyes — to everything including what still needs to be done. The women’s movement never promised us a rose garden or a warm bath of contentment. It offered a new way to understand the world, a lens on injustice and a tool to use in the pursuit of happiness. It’s a work in progress.
That’s happiness? Close enough.
Huh? Perhaps I’m missing something, but she seems to be acknowledging the point, and instead redefining happiness as the willing, glad preference of the current status quo. What would she say to women who feel more of a burden to be breadwinners because their husbands are less committed to providing? What would she say to women who feel pressure to advance professionally, even though their deepest longings center around having and caring for a family? What would she say about today’s crass sexual objectifying and exploitation of women in the media and entertainment industry? Read it for yourself.
John Piper offers a helpful, necessary correction for C.S. Lewis’ mistakenly truncated and distorted theology of hell. It is noteworthy that Lewis may have been heavily influenced in this regard by George MacDonald, an outstanding writer who penned gripping novels with stunningly authentic, righteousness-seeking lead characters, but who was sadly a universalist. An excerpt from Piper:
The misery of hell will be so great that no one will want to be there. They will be weeping and gnashing their teeth (Matthew 8:12). Between their sobs, they will not speak the words, “I want this.” They will not be able to say amid the flames of the lake of fire (Revelation 20:14), “I want this.” “The smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night” (Revelation 14:11). No one wants this.
When there are only two choices, and you choose against one, it does not mean that you want the other, if you are ignorant of the outcome of both. Unbelieving people know neither God nor hell. This ignorance is not innocent. Apart from regenerating grace, all people “suppress the truth in unrighteousness” (Romans 1:18).
The person who rejects God does not know the real horrors of hell. This may be because he does not believe hell exists, or it may be because he convinces himself that it would be tolerably preferable to heaven.
Read the whole thing.
Interesting piece by atheist intellectual Christopher Hitchens in Slate in which he discusses his many conversations and debates with Christians over the last few years. An encouraging observation:
I haven’t yet run into an argument that has made me want to change my mind. After all, a believing religious person, however brilliant or however good in debate, is compelled to stick fairly closely to a “script” that is known in advance, and known to me, too. However, I have discovered that the so-called Christian right is much less monolithic, and very much more polite and hospitable, than I would once have thought, or than most liberals believe. I haven’t been asked to Bob Jones University yet, but I have been invited to Jerry Falwell’s old Liberty University campus in Virginia, even though we haven’t yet agreed on the terms.
Wilson isn’t one of those evasive Christians who mumble apologetically about how some of the Bible stories are really just “metaphors.” He is willing to maintain very staunchly that Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ and that his sacrifice redeems our state of sin, which in turn is the outcome of our rebellion against God. He doesn’t waffle when asked why God allows so much evil and suffering—of course he “allows” it since it is the inescapable state of rebellious sinners. I much prefer this sincerity to the vague and Python-esque witterings of the interfaith and ecumenical groups who barely respect their own traditions and who look upon faith as just another word for community organizing.
Justin Buzzard, a young adult pastor in the Bay Area of northern CA (who I enjoyed having lunch with a year ago when we were living in Berkeley), is back to blogging, with a solid post on God’s sovereignty, wisdom, and goodness:
Forget your past. Forget how you used to operate, how you used to be a prisoner to your circumstances and feelings. Build your life on the truth. Preach more gospel to yourself. Tell yourself every hour that God is sovereign, wise, and good. The truth will set you free. Your emotions will begin to come in line with the truth.
Doubt your old doubts and saturate yourself in the Scriptures. Be transformed by the renewal of your mind. Read and meditate on and pray through your Bible with this threefold lens, always on the hunt for indications of God’s sovereignty, wisdom, and love. Meditate on Romans 8 or Matthew 6 or Psalm 139. Soak in a book like Jerry Bridges’ Trusting God.
Read the whole thing.
Keller makes an excellent contrast between our society’s view of work and the biblical model. We work not for money or for status or for ourselves (personal fulfillment). We work for God’s sake, for people’s sake, and for the work’s sake. The irony is that losing ourselves (working for God’s sake, not ours) is the path to true fulfillment (quietness, and true rest). Keller also explains how working to please God is very different from working to appease God. We don’t do things for God (i.e., to get things from him), but simply because we want to live in a way that is pleasing to Him (in response to the rest He has given us in Christ, and in the strength that He supplies). Check it out.
HT: Steve McCoy