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Posts tagged with Culture

October 12, 2021 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

The lonely, thankless, dangerous job of the prophet

It is a lonely, thankless, and sometimes dangerous business to be a prophet of God. While for many, the term prophet may conjure up images of anointed Christian celebrities with the gift of telling the future or “reading people’s mail,” the life of the Biblical prophet was much different. The prophet was typically seen by his contemporaries as the bearer of bad news, calling rebellious and self-assured people to repent, stop what they were doing, and turn back to God. They were often reviled, persecuted, and killed for their services....Keep Reading

Posted in: Culture Tags: Culture, Prophet

February 18, 2020 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Searching for that elusive rest

As a parent to four children, I have noticed that one thing that has clearly changed over the generations has been play and leisure time. With every generation, it feels as if play has become less free and more structured. Instead of sending your children out to do whatever with their neighborhood friends and expecting them home by supper, now almost every activity is scheduled, with any downtime becoming increasing tethered to an electronic device. When children are finally faced with real downtime without electronics, you can almost guarantee that the first words out of their mouth will be, “I’m bored.” But children are not the only ones who have experienced a change in play and leisure time. ...Keep Reading

Tags: Culture, Seculosity, Play

February 11, 2020 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Work hard and rest easy

I think that one of the most humorous things in the Bible is that the all-powerful, holy and mighty God of the universe, after creating the world, rested on day seven. Was He really worn out from shaping all those llamas and aardvarks and mountains and stars and oceans? Or was there another reason behind that act?...Keep Reading

Tags: Culture, Work, Sabbath, Discipleship

January 28, 2020 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

The quest to become the perfect parent

I love being a pastor. And I love to read. But few things give me anxiety like the book table at a pastor’s conference. In every catchy title and accomplished author, I find yet another thing that I need to learn or don’t do well enough ...Keep Reading

Tags: Culture, Parenting, Seculosity

January 21, 2020 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

The search for your soulmate

You can take away religion, and you can take away God, but you can’t take away the human need to know that our lives matter and that we are loved. As our culture becomes less and less Christian, it seems clear that more and more people are looking to romantic love to convince themselves that their lives matter and that they are loved....Keep Reading

Tags: Culture, Seculosity, Romantic love

January 7, 2020 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

You are worthless, unlovable, and not good enough... or so you fear

Once a year, I like to use this space to interact with a book that I find intriguing, looking at a chapter every week. I particularly enjoy interacting with books that examine our cultural climate in the light of the gospel and can help us share the gospel with our neighbors. Over the next 10 weeks or so, I will be interacting with the book “Seculosity: How career, parenting, technology, food, politics, and romance became our new religion and what to do about it” by David Zahl....Keep Reading

Tags: Culture, Self-Image, Seculosity

August 27, 2019 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

What does it really mean to be free?

One of the fundamental values of our culture is that every person should have the freedom to choose for themselves how to live (within the bounds of the law). But our culture’s definition of freedom (the absence of restrictions) differs from the Biblical concept of freedom. The Bible tells us that in the end, you are either a slave to God or a slave to sin (Romans 6:16). The choice is not between following God and living free to do as you please. The choice is between serving God, which leads to eternal life, or serving sin, which leads to death....Keep Reading

Tags: Freedom, Culture

February 12, 2019 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

The messages we want to hear

In Paul’s second letter to his protégé Timothy, he warns him that the time will come when people will seek out teachers who “say what their itching ears want to hear.” I imagine there have always been teachers like this throughout the history of the church, but this warning is undoubtedly prophetic today. But rather than point the fingers at others, we would be prudent to consider where it is that we are most tempted as American Christians to have our itching ears scratched....Keep Reading

Tags: Discipleship, Culture

July 31, 2018 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Should I read that Christian best-seller?

One of my favorite things about my time in seminary was the library. I love to read, so you can imagine my delight at finding a place that housed what seemed like every Christian book ever written. There was even a shelf made up entirely of Max Lucado books! As much as I loved my seminary library, and as passionate as I am about reading good books, I am more cautious than ever when it comes to the average Christian book store, or Christian book distributor....Keep Reading

Tags: Culture, Books

February 20, 2018 by Eric Stillman 1 comments

Is the world getting better... or worse?

The eighth – and final – chapter of “This is our time” is entitled As the World Wobbles. In this chapter, Wax contrasts what he calls the “decline narrative” and “progress narrative” with the Biblical narrative. The decline narrative is the belief held by some that the world is getting worse and worse, while the progress narrative declares that things are inevitably getting better. Those with the former outlook wish we could return to an earlier time, like the 1950’s, or the time of the Reformation, or even the early church. Those with the latter outlook believe that the world is moving forward towards greater human knowledge and moral behavior, and that the old days were less enlightened than where we are today....Keep Reading

Tags: Culture, Progress

February 13, 2018 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Sex in America

The seventh chapter of “This is our time” is entitled Sex Rebels. In this chapter, Wax examines the myths surrounding sex in America. He discusses how there are two opposite extremes preached in today’s culture. One on end is the “sex is nothing” myth, where sex is simply a pleasurable activity to be enjoyed between consenting adults, with no deeper meaning or significance. Casual sex becomes the norm, nothing more than another biological itch to be scratched. On the other end is the “sex is everything” myth, where sex is essential to human happiness, something to be elevated above religious or cultural rules and restrictions, including even marriage itself. For the one who rejects the notion of God, sex may therefore become the closest one can get to experiencing transcendence....Keep Reading

Tags: Culture, Sex

February 6, 2018 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

American marriage myths

The sixth chapter of “This is our time” is entitled Marriage Matters. In this chapter, Wax examines the myths surrounding romantic love and marriage in America. He talks about the two extremes he sees in the world: on one end (in cultures with arranged marriages), there is marriage as a contract, where romantic love plays no part. On the other end of the spectrum is what often passes for marriage in America (myth #1), where it is just an expression of intense, romantic love, with no expectation that it will be forever if the feelings fade. Marriage as designed by God is somewhere in the middle, as best illustrated by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who wrote “It is not your love that upholds marriage, but from now on it is marriage that upholds your love.” In other words, romantic love matters in marriage, but the foundation is the commitment made to each other by a husband and wife. ...Keep Reading

Tags: Culture, Marriage

January 30, 2018 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

The American Christian

The fifth chapter of “This is our time” is entitled Never “at Home” in the City of Man.” In this chapter, Wax examines the relationship the American Christian should have with his or her country. He presents the case that from the beginning, the European settlers who colonized America believed that God had a special relationship with their new country, that America would be a shining “city on a hill.” Over time, this belief only got stronger, as American preachers taught that America would help usher in the Kingdom of God, and others viewed America as the Messiah the world needed, uniquely blessed by God to bring peace and freedom to the rest of the world....Keep Reading

Tags: Culture, America

January 16, 2018 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

The pursuit of happiness

The third chapter of “This is our time” is entitled The North Pole and the Pursuit of Happiness. Wax begins the chapter by telling the story of the first expedition to the North Pole, which ended tragically because the common belief of cartographers (map-makers) at the time was that there was an open polar sea that would make it easy for a ship to reach the North Pole. Wax uses this story to illustrate how having the wrong map can lead to a tragic ending, no matter how sincerely you believe in that map. In the same way, the map of “the good life” given to us by our American culture is leading us tragically astray, whether or not we realize it. As the writer of Proverbs puts it, “There is a way that seems right to a person, but its end is the way to death” (Proverbs 14:12)....Keep Reading

Tags: Culture, Pursuit of happiness

November 17, 2015 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Who is really in charge of your life?

I was reading an article on (the online home of The Atlantic magazine) the other day entitled “Hating Queerness Without Hating the Queer” by Emma Green. The author was writing about what the relationship between LGBT supporters and religiously conservative Americans might look like now that gay marriage is legal and the transgender movement is moving forward. I found the article to be very interesting and respectful in its tone, but there was one section in particular that made me think. Here are Green’s words, discussing the viewpoint of Al Mohler, the president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary:...Keep Reading

Posted in: Culture Tags: Culture, Relativism