Entries in Tim Keller (9)
Things I've read or seen that have prompted thought recently.
Are We Together? Tim Challies reviews R.C. Sproul's new book, Are We Together?: A Protestant Analysis of Roman Catholocism. To be fair, I've not read the actual book, but the issue Sproul addresses has come up in conversation lately. I'll be picking it up and trying to think through more clearly the relationship the Catholic church has to Protestantism.
All of Life is Repentance Tim Keller responds to Luther's first Thesis: "Our Lord and Master Jesus Christ... willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance." Repentance is transformative and is to be a way of life for the Christian.
Caring for Creation with Non-Christians A friend of mine, Anna Clark, discusses her efforts to develop an organization that brings together people of faith (of various kinds) to support environmental stewardship. Her intention is not contention between Christians and non-Christians; rather, she is seeking to bring together people who are both passionate about God and his creation.
What others have said to me this past week...
The (lack of) Anticipation is Killing Me a friend of mine, Ali Dent, discusses what hinders her (and others) from anticipating the presence of God. She names a couple of things that prevent her from anticipating God's presence and then answer these hindrances with multiple truths.
Can a Christian Starve to Death? Blogger Tim Challies works through the 23rd Psalm, discussing the question Can a Christian Starve to Death? "What this tells me is that any suffering we experience in this life is in some way under the sovereignty of God, in some way under the banner of 'I shall not want.' God gives his people exactly what they need in order to lead them where he has determined they ought to go. Where they ought to go—where they will go—is the place that will bring glory to God."
True You: Self-Esteem Blogger Ginger Cimenello addresses this bunk notion of "self-esteem," and points us to seeing ourselves as God sees us. "My perception of self-worth shifts and changes all the time. (Wait, it just did again. Awesome.) But God’s perception never will. Self-esteem would have me working hard to feel better, but I now know that until my worth is centered upon God’s redeeming act of love, my feelings will fluctuate like a washing machine out of balance."
Made for Stewardship A link to a sermon by Tim Keller in which he talks about the dignity of work and of the God who got his hands dirty at creation.
The Inverted Nature of Christ's Invitation Tim Brister discusses the scandalous grounds of Christ's invitation to sinners: All you bring is your need. "The fitness, the qualification for Christ’s invitation is simply to feel your need of Him. It is to look away from yourself as though you had anything to warrant His invitation and to look toward the cross."
Thoughts from other people that I've found helpful this past week. Enjoy.
How to Watch the Olympics--the Olympics are glorious and enjoyable, yet they point to something more, as John Piper explains in this excerpt from a couple of sermons he preached back in '92.
Jealous for the Holy Spirit--In this piece, Kathleen Nielson notes the impact John Piper made during a discussion with D.A. Carson and Tim Keller concerning the importance of the Holy Spirit. She notes that because of the Holy Spirit, we are no longer alone nor are we powerless in our struggle for sanctification.
God of the Messy-- Wesley Hill asks "what would it mean to build a leadership strategy -- a blueprint for the growth of our institutions -- around a vision of the One whom Nogar calls the Lord of the Absurd, the God of messy, scandalous grace?" God is the Lord of order, but he is Lord of the messy as well.
Why Batman Doesn't Know Jesus-- Joe Carter demonstrates how the literary theory of Rene Gerard is exemplified in Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy. The article is a little complex and Carter's "reading" may be a bit incomplete or not 100% accurate (as the comment thread indicates), but he certainly is on to something.
Here are some links to articles or audio I've found helpful lately.
In Christ I'm Not a Sinner--Blogger for The Gospel Coalition, Dane Ortlund describes the new identity that is ours in Christ. "I'm learning that the more I see of the gospel, the more I see how little I see it. For every inch gained in gospel understanding, I gain a foot in seeing how little I grasp it. I peer over the ledge of grace and see a new hundred-foot drop, which enables me to see also that the cliff extends another mile beyond that."
What to do When "For Worse" Means Mental Trauma--my friend and colleague, Stan Ward, recounts the struggles in his life during the past few years that have followed a terrible accident his wife had. He also offers excellent advice for those struggling in their marriages.
Mercy, Not Sacrifice--Pastor Timothy Keller speaks on Matthew 9:9-17. From Redeemer's website: "Our hearts naturally divide the world into 'good' people and 'bad' people. Jesus will have none of that. He comes to our world and flocks to the sinners, not the self-righteous Pharisees. Jesus shows us that God does not view people as 'good' or 'bad,' but as 'proud' or 'humble.'"
The Essential: Sin--blogger and author, Tim Challies briefly discusses the definition and nature of sin: "Any time we see sin, whether in Scripture or in our lives today, the heart of it is willful contempt for God."
"So we can say that we are more wicked than we ever dared believe, but more loved and accepted in Christ than we ever dared hope — at the very same time." ~ Tim Keller
Is "suffering" a relative term? In other words, is it possible that what one person thinks is suffering, another might think is merely an obstacle? or even something petty?
Consider: we live in America. We might think not having phone service is suffering, having a bad hair day is suffering, having to walk to school instead of getting a ride the three or fewer miles is suffering. (God, help us).
In some parts of the world, people have no phones (no service or tech is available), people have no hair (having no hair helps keep lice problems down), people have to walk. Everywhere.
Who's got it worse?
It seems an easy questions, but maybe suffering has more to do with perspective than is does circumstances, at least in some instances. Oh, being threatened with torture or death, being forced to do labor, being starved--most of us would agree that these are circumstances of suffering.
Even so, perspective plays a part.
Here's how Tim Keller explains suffering in his book King's Cross:
"When the circumstances of life are giving you the desires of your heart, you're content. Suffering happens, we might say, when there's a gap between the desires of your heart and the circumstances of your life, and the bigger the gap, the greater the suffering."
He uses the phrase "desires of your heart." I used "perspective." Are they not connected? Isn't our perspective shaped in many ways by the desires of our heart? If this is right, it follows that if the desire of our heart is for trivial things, trivial things will cause us suffering? (Hmm. Maybe not.)
Ah, I don't know. There's so much more to suffering... and so little of it for most of us in America. I'm not sure most of us are equipped to give discussion of the matter.
Even so, here's the question: what causes you suffering? How's the gap between the desires of your heart and the circumstances of your life? More importantly, what's causing the gap? You?
[image from religiousintelligence.org]
If you love somebody, really love them, you're going to lose something.
It's a fact, one that we don't take into consideration too often when we enter into community of just about any kind. If you love a person, you might hurt or be hurt, give burdens or take on burdens (inadvertantly or advertantly). It comes with the territory of attempting to love in a world that needs love because it is in the process of being redeemed and restored.
In one of his more recent books, King's Cross, Timothy Keller puts this principle into crystal clarity (click the cover to see a "trailer" he did for the book, click the title above to check the book out on Amazon). He says, "It bears repeating: All love, all real, life-changing love, is substitutionary sacrifice. You have never loved a broken person, you have never loved a guilty person, you have never loved a hurting person except through substitutionary sacrifice."
I read this and thought, "Yeah, I guess that's right," but I didn't really grasp it--probably because I tend to love in a transactional way, as I've mentioned here on several occassions.
Then Keller gave a concrete example and I realized he confirmed what I've come to suspect: love is sacrifice.
He says, "Say you're one of the cool kids in high school, and there's a classmate who is considered geeky. Nobody likes her; she's isolated and alienated. You try to reach out and be her friend. The next thing you know, the other cool kids are coming to you and saying, 'What are you doing with her?' What's happening is, some of that geekiness is rubbing off on you. You're not so cool anymore if you hang out with her. There is no way for you to diminish her isolation without entering into it, without some of it falling on you."
Can you relate to this? As I teacher, I read this and immediately several students came to mind. I teach at a school that only has about 200 high school students; on the thin surface, it appears that most everyone is welcome and accepted. But it's just not the case. We have boarding students from China and South Korea who have had a difficult time mixing in with the American students. If they didn't have each other, they would be alone. And, of course, we have a few American students who are "on the outside." They are alone.
All of these students need love, the kind that takes on their difference and thus their isolation. The kind that sacrifices something. The kind that costs.
Oh, let's be honest: We all need it.
This is why Jesus came. It's plain and obvious when I say it like that, but I need to go further: He came so we could become the kind of people that love and sacrifice and take on the hurt, or guilt, or shame, or anathama of those around us--especially that of those called by his name.
Jesus loved in this manner; we are called to do the same.
Have you seen this kind of love in action? Felt it? Lived it? Let me know... let yourself know.
Also, pick up Keller's book King's Cross if you get the chance; it is sure to refresh, restore, or re-awaken your vision if you do.
You and I were made to work, and this, too, is good. I was reminded of this as I listened to Pastor Timothy Keller preach a sermon over Genesis 1.
Truth be told, I needed the re-memory (to borrow a phrasing from Toni Morrison). It's not that I don't work--I do--but I think my work has been less than focused as of late... less than intentional.
I, like so many people in this Western world, tend to evaluate myself based on my work. My identity or worth often stems from what I view to be my productivity (or lack thereof). Be careful, little one. Be careful of this.
So now it's Sunday morning and I'm in bed trying to avoid getting sicker than I already am. It's not often that I get laid up or laid by due to illness, so when it comes I'm startled. This time, I'm startled into the realization that I need to slow down and take stock of what I'm valuing most (it's not too pretty, I assure you... and "me" seems to be the center of it all). I also realize that I like to work and I miss it when I can't, or when it's too cumbersome to my ill, achy body.
Today I'll rest. I'll sleep. I'll feed my soul. My hope is tomorrow I'll be better-equipped--in mind and body--to work anew. I know my worth comes from being created in the image of God. I intend to image him and his labors in the six of seven days I'm given and commanded to work.