Tuesday, October 03, 2006


It always sounds a tad snobbish when we talk about "culture" but Christians do a lot of it. Not that there's too much agreement on what that culture looks like. Still, allow me to ruminate a minute.

Christians have always valued this world. True, it is a love-hate relationship since this world is fallen and under a curse and is "passing away". But in essence, the world is good. Christians have refused to adopt the Manichean and Gnostic dualism of early Christian days (sorry for the big words, but Ligon and I are team-teaching a course on this period of church history and, well, some of the views that were "hot" then are bizarre to say the least). These folk regarded material things (including our bodies) as devoid of value (leading some to view the flesh as a license for sin since it had no value, and for others into the morass of asceticism). Despite what history has said and done, the Puritans, too, thought the material world good and not evil. Creation bears the stamp of the divine (like a ruined castle, Calvin said -- something which Plato saw from afar, I think).

All this came to me as I pondered the mess which is my back yard! I used to love gardening but the Mississippi climate was meant more for beast than man, and unless the temperatures fall considerably, I will view the work that needs doing from the other side of an air-conditioned window! Adam, on the other hand, was placed in a garden, to till and sow and replenish, developing a culture that was decidedly earthy, harnessing the environment and building a culture that would enrich him and others. (See Genesis 1:28; Psalm 8:6-8).

Pleased as I am to enjoy the beauty of material world --where are those orange, brown leaves? --I relish, too, what man has done to enrich life here: my beloved Bruckner, for example. Last night, Rosemary with Mom's Bible Study somewhere in North-East Jackson, it was just me and Jake and Bruckner's ninth symphony.

Shades of heaven.

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