Category Archives: Culture


A few reflections about “our time.” (HT: David Wells)

Speed is sexy, but what do we miss by going so fast? There’s no time to ponder the question.

Inventions and innovations alter the landscape of human existence. How can we properly measure the net benefit of cars and the Internet? We can’t, so we go by faith which is one of the ironies modernity presents. Modernity wants us to believe that everything is measurable, yet it is constantly creating things that defy measurement.

Everyone says they crave community, yet many of us habitually do things that impede the community we supposedly crave.

We are regularly reminded that suicide and depression are at epidemic levels. Is this a bug or feature of modern life? If it is the former, who is the exterminator? If it is the latter, what does this tell us about progress?

We live in a disenchanted world. Only the material is real. A personal God is absurd. Has shaking off the divine absurdity made us happier? Rises in suicide, breakdown of the family, depression, and other social maladies (because we can’t call them sins) should give us pause. Pausing to ponder is not in vogue among us moderns, so we go on our less than merry way.

Modernity produces ironic inconsistencies. Alan Jacobs is a literary critic and Christian. When Jacobs said he was leaving Twitter, many Christians applauded him by going to Twitter and retweeting his departure from the social media platform!

Modern non-Christians have no vocabulary for sin, so people get categorized as evil. Modern non-Christians have no vocabulary for redemption, so people get categorized as unredeemable.

Modernity extols the “virtue” of having no limits, yet proper limits are found in everything we cherish.

The love of fads and formulas, steps and strategies.

Machine-like efficiency reigns supreme. 

Many admit that our gadgets have resulted in a diminished attention span. What many of us fail to admit is that attending to what really matters is threatening. It just might mean some major change needs to be made in our character or lifestyle.

Blaise Pascal said this centuries before the Internet and social media: “All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” Now we sit alone in our rooms, but most of us are playing video games or watching things that suffocate our souls.

Since we don’t have souls, there is no worry that pornographic and other worthless material can hurt us. The “real me” is only physical.

According to Emerson, since you are an autonomous individual (department of redundancy department), you, and you alone, hold the keys to the promised land of changing your identity. Congratulations!  You can be whoever you deem to be which is far better than the pathetic person you now face in the mirror every morning. It’s a sexy proposition. Many of us get snookered into believing this is really in our power.

Remaking the self is big business in America because we are amply supplied with gullible guys and gals who gladly buy the latest workout equipment, makeup, head to some exotic locale, or best of all, receive some plastic manipulation of body parts. Great effort coupled with high hopes all in the service of finding the better me.






I have read eight books by Tim Keller. None have been duds, but I certainly have my favorites.

Opportunities to interview Keller have come on two occasions. The first was on his book about suffering. That interview can be found here: 

Tim Keller on Suffering

The other was an exchange of emails about preaching. That exchange was published here: 

Tim Keller Answers: How Much Prep Time for a Sermon?

And now we have a terrific book on the formative influences that made Tim Keller who he is. Here then are a few observations from Collin’s Hanson’s wonderfully conceived book:

*Many times, God uses the most unlikely people. Keller’s awkwardness socially would not have made one think he was destined to the ministry we now know him for. By the way, Keller got a C in his seminary preaching class, not an encouraging sign that he would amount to much as a preacher.

*Mentors are hugely influential. Keller had several, but Edmund Clowney was one of the most formative. Clowney’s kindness, learning, and commitment to Keller reminds me of the role Ambrose played for Augustine.

*Keller’s ability to synthesize material, commitment to listen well to others, free people up to use their own gifts, but most of all, his humility, are things God has honored.

*There is no Tim Keller as we know him today without Kathy Keller. If you have a spouse who is a partner in ministry (I am graced by God to say that I do), then thank God for that blessing. If you are single and looking for a spouse, be diligent to find someone who shares the vision God has laid on your heart.

*If I were asked to list a couple of specifics that make a minister used of God, I would list true piety, humility, ability to keep loyal friends over the long haul, and courage. For the latter, Keller had a powerful model in a pastor who preceded him. He is a long-forgotten name, but you will be inspired by getting to know William E. Hill Jr. I’m glad Collin regularly brought in obscure figures who had a big impact on Keller.

*I mentioned above that I have read eight books by Keller. Making Sense of God is probably my favorite. I am glad that Collin gave some attention on the need to write such a book. My review of Making Sense of God is here: 

Tim Keller’s Newest








I have read many books on apologetics and how best to engage the culture. I have read and, in some cases, reread classic works by Augustine, Pascal, Chesterton, and Lewis. Contemporary folks like Keller, both of the two big books by Charles Taylor, Sire, Guinness, Schaeffer, Pearcey, and Moreland have been very helpful. You get the picture. All these have been terrific, but the book that now tops my list is Glen Scrivener’s book, The Air We Breathe.

In relatively short compass Scrivener winsomely, wisely, and wonderfully showcases that we do as Flannery O’Connor said, live in a Christ-haunted world. (She said a Christ-haunted south, but I am expanding on her words.)

If you are looking for a well-written and compelling resource that makes it crystal clear that many of the things we love and take for granted like freedom are a result of Christianity, then this book is for you. If you are not looking for a resource like this, you should be!


This is the third book I’ve read by this author. All have been terrific.

Sayers has a real knack for putting things in a fresh perspective. He effectively uses history and global trends to illumine the topic at hand. In this book, it is how the church can wisely address living between eras, what Sayers describes as a “gray zone.”

There are many invaluable insights to be sure in this book, but many times I found myself launching in a direction that the author probably did not intend, but I nonetheless found fruitful.

Highly recommended!


I’m sure most of us know that LOL stands for Laugh Out Load. When this abbreviation was first being used a friend used it in an email to me. I thought it meant Love O’ Lots!

There are now many of these abbreviations like TMI, Too Much Information or IDNK, I Did Not Know. 

I hate all of them.

They remind me of the pathetic and phrenetic world we now inhabit. Speed and the attendant loss of attention spans is now the accepted, even lauded norm.

We have lost much by such verbal shortcuts.

Christians should joyfully stand against the dismantling of language.

IMO, of course!


Late last night, I was overcome with grief. The tears were not expected.

It is impossible to digest properly all that happened yesterday. As I write in my forthcoming book Stuck in the Present, we need the longer view of history for that, so I am heeding my own counsel.

Stuck in the Present: David George Moore: 9781684264605: Books

Over the years, I have heard warnings to not take the American experiment in democracy for granted. It is sturdy in one sense, but still fragile. I remember hearing that each generation of Americans must commit to it. I thought it was good to issue such a warning but was never too worried. No longer.

Have things been this bad before in America? An argument can certainly be made for that and the antebellum period is the one historians typically mention.

Are our cluster of present problems unique to the more modern period of American history? Again, I think the 1960s offers another example of serious strife and deep division.

My deepest sadness, however, is not over our country’s present chaos and strife.

My deepest sadness is over the state of the Christian faith in America.

For many decades I have witnessed Christians who are apathetic about knowing God’s Word, loving one’s enemies, an unwillingness to suffer for Christ in the most modest of ways, prayerlessness, and much more. 

Most Christians are poorly prepared for times of crisis. We love the church programs that meet our insatiable desires. We adore our celebrity pastors. We are biblically and historically illiterate, but more than willing to offer our superficial opinions on the most vexing issues of the day.  

This sad state of affairs is due to a lack of making long-term discipleship and serious grounding in the Christian faith our priorities. These simply do not take place in many churches (or parachurches for that matter). We have sown the wind and are reaping the whirlwind. We should not be surprised where we find ourselves.

Things are not going to be any better by avoiding these realities. Things also might not be any better if we face these realities but at least we will have been faithful.

I pray for God’s mercy, but I do not find myself too sanguine. My lack of “optimism” is not because the culture is so bad. Rather, it is because many of us Americans claiming the name of Christ have become dull of hearing.

God’s Word makes it clear that Christians can lose their influence (Mt. 5:13; Rev. 2:4,5). We are kidding ourselves if we think this is not happening right now.

All of us who claim the name of Christ need to ponder and consider Peter’s dire warning:

Indeed, none of you should suffer as a murderer or thief or wrongdoer, or even as a meddler. But if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but glorify God that you bear that name. For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who disobey the gospel of God?… (I Peter 4:15-17)

I added this in the reply link, but will also add it here:

Again, to underscore the biggest point of the post: Yes, shock over the events of yesterday, but I am much more worried about the state of Christianity in America. And my concerns go way back before Trump or any other politician.

We must look at ourselves!