Thursday, November 22, 2007

The ZigZag Café

We will be convening here at the ZigZag café, Suisse, on Thursdays for conversation and dialogue.

I invite you to stop by every Thursday for the question of the day. Your thoughts and participation are most welcome. Pull up a stool, avec un café, un thé, ou un chocolat chaud, et un croissant, and join in here on Thursday at the ZZ café.

For today:

Will a focus on creation give us a better understanding of God?

19 comments:

harry coe maynard said...

Question - Where do Truth True Spirituality and Romanticism come together? (See Tomlin video)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VmTxZAl7ceU&feature=related

Greg said...

Harry coe,
Welcome to Living Spirituality and thanks for your question and the video suggestion. This would be a wonderful question to discuss face to face at the ZZ cafe, but for the time being this format will have to do.

Truth, True Spirituality and Romanticism are big topics. How about this brief response? They are all related to and distinct from each other. Related in that they have something in common (creation), distinct in that none of them can be reduced to the other (perspective). I happen to be working on Romanticism at the moment for a forthcoming book on Imagination. Fascinating. This 19thC movement strikes me as quite idealistic, yet wars and strife began to eat away at this and R fell out of favor.

harry coe maynard said...

So other generations have struggled with this to? Somehow compforting. Sent this video to an environmentist friend. He said it reminded him of his brief time with Campus Crusade but that was when he was young and romantic about Christianity( I think Shaeffer used the term emotional mind trick). I like to think of it as romantic but also completely True.

You were right about young people leaving their Faith. Have a nephew who wanted to be a minister, spent two months at Mother Teresas working for more reality in his Faith but almost lost it. Doubts the Bible. Spoke about the universe and two chaires, really helped. He said our Christian college groups are starving out here.

Today is Thanksgiving here, watch the Andy Hardy movies on TV, depression era, which some called a romantic period, interesting.

Greg said...

Harry coe,
Yes, as your friend, I too believe these types of songs and videos can be somewhat romantic about Christianity, but surely it doesn't mean they contain no truth - not sure about completely True.

I think I agree with your nephew -Christian college groups are famished and don't see much around them offering a credible and satisfying meal.

harry coe maynard said...

Dr. Schaeffer was on a video from James Kennedys Church. He liked to get to the bottom lines of things like saying we can have conferences on the family or other things but what is causing the breakup of the family or education ect. you have to start farther back.

I guess that's what I'm thinking that if you start at that point you won't be able to get there from here.

The Indescribable song was totally contrary to my environmentalist friends view and was shocking to him. "He made the stars and He knows them by name" can be earthshaking. That men and animals are different.

I guess Christian song give a romantic taste of True but like my nephew you need more and more.

Schaeffers phrase that something can be True without it being exhaustive was very helpful. That way you can hang on to what you do know knowing that is not the end of the relationship.That helped me a lot.

Greg said...

Harry coe,
Thanks for this. Indeed! I wonder if we spent more time living the truth we do know and less on that which we don't, the world would be a better place.

harry coe maynard said...

Great idea of a Cafe, thanks, picture great to. Use to take a week to get a letter back and forth, ammazing. Sorry for spelling don't have my glasses here.

Follow the Pres. Election next six weeks could effect the Christian community a good bit. Not promoting but search Mike Huckabee.
Have been very much involved in Politics over the years.

Thanks for your, time will check back and email others about this.

John said...

Hey Greg,
I think an understanding of creation ultimately does expand our view and understanding of God. Unfortunately, this is an aspect of the Gospel and the Christian worldview that is too often not mentioned in Evangelicalism.

I know for me it was life changing to hear creation weaved into the Gospel redemptive narrative, as it showed me how life is supposed to be and who we as humans were created to be, in communion with God.

If creation is better understood, I think a lot more Christians would better understand who they are and why they are the way they are.

John said...

I'd also like to comment on Harry's mention of Christian college groups and their effects and sometimes lack of depth.

I agree that many are lacking in depth on the organizational level. As you get deeper into the organization and it starts to get more personal, I think it gets deeper, though by no means are organizations perfect.

I think what the problem comes down to is a lack of depth in the leadership. I am involved with Campus Crusade on my campus, and many people are, as you said, young and romantic about Christianity. But this is also a mirror of the people who are in these groups, because many are young in their faith or just learning to stand on their own two feet in their faith and in the world. Many have not yet had to deal with harsh realities in life. I haven't either, though I have seen more of the world than many and as I am coming out of that culture and into a more reasonable faith, I can look back and see how things are, because I was that way too.

I think many Christian college organizations, such as Crusade and Intervarsity, do an incredible job for what they are entrusted with. I am walking with the Lord today in part because of Crusade. I have learned a lot, though I have also gone other places (L'Abri, for example) to learn other important things. No organization can be expected to be perfect, and each does what it can with the resources and leaders it has been given.

Tim Wright said...

I'm not being glib when I say I think attention to God will expand our understanding of creation. I see God as the Source of Spirit of which all of us are part, individual manifestations of the One Spirit. And as such, I believe we are, with God, co-creators of an ever expanding, ever increasing and ever improving existence (greater than "world").

Greg said...

John,
Thanks for your comments and perspectives. Yes, creation is essential to the character of God and to our faith and spirituality.

The college groups, I believe, could try to open up rather than close down questions. This might help, but you're no doubt right, that no organizations are perfect and some are doing a good work.

Greg said...

Tim,
Thanks for your comment and welcome to Living Spirituality.

I like your emphasis on creation, God and seeing us as co-creators. I wonder though if we are so related to God as being part of One Spirit. Seems like there is more distinction between God and creation, including humanity. One example might be evil.

harry coe maynard said...

I Became a Christian through Campus Crusade and think it is the best and Youth with a Mission is doing great things Worldwide. I have given much over the years to the Jesus film project and L'Abri.

Think that those like L'Abri who have thought things through are and will be needed more as these groups grow (both YWAM and CCC have tripled over the last 10 years).

Writtings from Dr. Greg and the work of English L'Abri at Cambrige and Oss Guiness, Ellis Potter and others have had much more effect than even they might realize.

I wish Greg and other L'Abri folks could attend such events like this Call2All congress(below)I think Dr. Schaeffer spoke at 3 of these Belin, Laussanne, Amsterdam.

http://www.call2all.org/Group/Group.aspx?id=1000014360

As far as Creation, it's a tough sell, until you look at it.

Harry

Greg said...

Harry coe,
Appreciate your comment. Good to have contact with CCC and YWAM. Worldview and biblical studies in the latter are to be welcomed.

John said...

Harry,
I wholeheartedly agree with you. At the moment I'm still in college (graduating next month) and involved with Crusade on my campus. Many of the things I learned at L'Abri and brought back with me and shared with others were not openly received at first, but as I was more able to explain (and live) them, some people close to me have arrived at a bigger understanding of the Gospel. So I agree that those who have thought things through a little more need to be engaging, especially as CCC and such groups grow.

How can we encourage such growth and openness to questions? This is something I have struggled with nonstop since I returned to campus.

harry coe maynard said...

John,

Boy is that a good question!
There is no one I mean no one more capable than Greg to answer.

But I will say L'Abri did have a Conference at U of Iowa. Maybe there will be many more.

Former L'Abri workers are doing much, Like the Veritas Forum Oss Guiness. Ellis Potter and Citygate are speaking at many of the YWAM training centers in Europe. English L'Abri at Cambridge, Ravi Zacharius at Oxford. And of course the writtings like Greg is doing.

CCC used Dr. Geisler from Dallas which helped years ago.

That's why I mentioned the Call2All Congress in Orlando and maybe some L'abri Folks attend.

Harry

Deep Calleth Unto Deep.

Greg said...

John,
I think we have to go very slow and make every effort to build trust. We need to show that asking questions will promote and not destroy faith in God. Grace has to be in the forefront - not winning a battle. Meeting people where they are is crucial, and then we go from there. Asking questions has to be understood as a good thing. No questions - no growth.

John said...

Hey guys,
Picked up J.I. Packer's book "Knowing God" last night and started reading. And kept reading. I couldn't put it down.

I think this book speaks very well to the original question of this post. Packer says that as we look to God and know him (not just have knowledge of, but actually experience him) and meditate on His Word, we will KNOW God better.

I think a focus on creation is a GREAT starting place in learning about God, because it tells us so much about His character. And then as we move on from there, through the OT into and through the NT, we see increasingly broad yet personal views of God, and our worldview expands. A Christian worldview, which can help us know God better, is not complete unless it goes from creation all the way to ultimate redemption.

Thoughts?

Greg said...

John,
Packer writes some helpful stuff. Glad to hear that you're into his Knowing God.

Agreed about focus on creation leading us to know God better.