Fascinating to see (literally see) the differences of social networks between Voltaire and Franklin:
The past two posts on Princeton have focused on places. This one focuses on people. My last week Princeton included four wonderful days with some terrific folk. My first was with well-known artist and author, Makoto Fujimura or Mako for short. Mako has recently written an absorbing book called Silence and Beauty. It is a commentary of sorts on Shusaku Endo’s novel, Silence.
We took a day trip to Yale. There we met with David and Karen Mahan. Doreen worked with Dave at Virginia Tech in the early 1980s. Both of them were on staff with Campus Crusade for Christ (Cru). I met Dave during the summer of 1985. Our son, Chris, is looking into various graduate programs. Yale is one of his possibilities so it was wonderful that he could join us.
James McPherson is widely hailed as our greatest living historian of the Civil War. In 1989 he won the Pulitzer Prize for his magisterial book, Battle Cry of Freedom. I spoke with Professor McPherson on how various people processed the carnage of the war.
My week finished up with Carl Trueman, Professor of Church History at Westminster Theological Seminary. Carl and I have corresponded via email, but never met in person. He is a terrific historian and wonderful essayist. Make sure to check him out on First Things and Mortification of Spin.
My latest interview on how Tolkien and Lewis processed being in the thick of WWI:
A good piece on why pastors (and the rest of us) make ourselves more vulnerable to serious sin.
I’ve talked with too many pastors (and non pastors) who have no real accountability.
HT: Tim Challies
To Richard Beck’s important reflections below I would add that many who say they want community, are really only interested in what Robert Bellah and his associates called “lifestyle enclaves.” We want to be around people like us in all ways. Different is scary, risky, and too big an investment.
My piece on what Augustine, Bunyan, and Jonathan Edwards might have to say about addictions can be found here:
7. A slowed down spirituality to lead with integrity. Our first passion is Jesus, not reconciliation. Reconciliation is a byproduct, an essential outworking of our following of Jesus. At New Life, we invite people to leave the world, along with the cultural American church, to radically follow Jesus. Reconciliation is a core theological outworking of the gospel, not an addendum. Slowing down for a deep, beneath the surface spirituality with Jesus is the only way our us to do this with integrity.
The rest is here: http://www.emotionallyhealthy.org/racism/
Getting to spend time with William F. Buckley was a great blessing. I had a couple of meals at his home. One was with some friends and our film crew. The other one was just the two of us. At both, peanut butter could be found. Bill liked to put it on this wonderful toast his cooks made.
My dear friend, Kurt Richardson, sent me this piece yesterday. It brought back some fond memories:
“It takes courage to stand up against your enemies. It takes more courage to stand up against your friends.”
Social context is huge. It does not need to be determinative. It does seem however to be determinative many times.
I have been in and among many churches and Christian organizations. One question I’ve asked which shows the power/influence of social cohesion is: Name one person who has raised an issue of concern about their respective church, school, etc. and was that person marginalized, fired, or promoted? I get lots of silence.
Sad reality and it is the kind of thing which made Niebuhr cynical about groups, including the church. But the church can and must do better. And I know several pastors who do, so I stay sane!
I heard via John Fea’s blog that Tom Magliozzi died. He and his younger brother, Ray, were the hilarious hosts of NPR’s “Car Talk.” They were affectionally known as “Click” and “Clack.” Though my mechanical skill is minimal (and that is an exaggeration), I loved listening to these guys. They acted stupid, but both were graduates of MIT. Their laughs and banter was infectious.
Here they help out an astronaut in space!