In the Reformed tradition, worship is an encounter with the living God, who, through the power of the Holy Spirit, speaks to congregants through the preaching of the word and communes with them in the sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Without the location of God in a place or object, without encountering God in word and sacrament, how can a believer’s restless longing for communion with God ever be satisfied?
We have a Creator who calls on the creation to create. We have a God who calls us to praise God’s marvelous deeds and summons us to sorrow over the sins of this world. Poets draw us into praise and sorrow through the songs they sing. They reconnect us with God’s world by wrenching this world awry. Their “mad instead” nourishes the faith of the faithful by making the familiar fresh.
The church has been entrenched for centuries in disputes about baptism, and our confidence in our own baptisms can weaken in the trenches. In this essay I want to suggest one way out of the baptismal trenches. I will point to the trail of the Holy Spirit in the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts.
My theory is that many Christian school educators have used different lenses to arrive at similar conclusions as CRT. As Reformed Christians who hold the Bible as our ultimate source of knowledge and truth, we need to be careful not to dismiss common grace working in secular arenas and not to discard Biblical ideas about justice and ethics because they arise from a secular ideology.
Here’s the question occupying so much space in my mental suitcase: why has the creation care movement been so ineffectual? . . . I wonder why the church is not seen as a leader in battling the climate crisis, the extinction crisis, and the injustices that ripple out from there? Why does the creation care movement seem to only exist in the minds of a small handful of lovely people, some practitioners but with an outsize fraction of academics? Creation care is a boutique concern in big-C Christianity – at best.
From the point of view of this biologist who is a Christian, science is a gift from God—the Creator of all things, including scientific questions and research that makes us uncomfortable. I am not afraid of asking hard questions or living in the tension of not understanding how a scientific discovery fits with my Christian faith. The gospel is strong enough for our questions and lack of understanding.
I have spent my life studying the Bible and trying to teach it in such a way that students could experience it as living and active in their lives. That is a high bar that more often than not I failed to clear; I was powerless to implement the deeper learning that I desired for my students. I could not make them love anything, or care for anyone, or open their hearts to the word of God. But I could invite them to follow me on a pilgrimage into the world of the Bible; I could invite them further up and further in (to borrow C.S. Lewis’s phrase) to this world where they might experience the glorious presence of God and feel convicted to live a glorious life. I would often invite my students to follow me into the world of Exodus 3, the narrative of Moses’ call and ordination.
If the snap in question is any indication, many white working-class Americans believe that ethnic identity is destroying meritocracy. According to this logic, being born non-white bestows unfair advantages over white people. Thus, I read the snap my daughter received as a claim of reverse discrimination.