01 January 2007

Resolutions, refusolutions, thoughts and challenges

by Dan Phillips

Sad to say, I don't have anything very inspiring to say on this topic, myself, today. Others have, though. Here are some spots that offer help in directed thinking, assessment, and evaluation.
  1. Don Whitney offers Ten Questions to Ask at the Start of a New Year or On Your Birthday. There are actually 31 questions, total. Think of the other 21 as Bonus Questions. Don's aim is to learn from some retrospection, and to put an eternal, Godward perspective on the decisions and life-courses facing us in the coming year.
  2. Maybe this is a day late, but Doug Phillips (no relation) at Vision Forum offers How to End 2006. My wife Valerie pointed me to him last week, and I found some of Doug's suggestions helpful and thought-provoking.
  3. Jollyblogger pointed me to a list of 15 Refusals by Douglas Groothuis. Frankly, I find them a somewhat mixed bag, but the upshot is thought-provoking, and what's good is very good.

    And knowing in advance that you'll ask: Groothuis' refusals to waste time on trivia, to accept the anti-intellectualism (and even misology) of American evangelicalism, to join those Christians who seldom read or reflect on the Bible, to pose (rather than live), and to speak in cliches or outworn adjectives, are very good, as are his accompanying comments.

    But on the other hand, to my mind, Groothuis violates his own last "refusal" when he refuses "to accept the de facto deism of so many evangelicals who do not seek God for supernatural manifestations of Christ's Kingdom (healing, signs and wonders)," and "to consign Christian women to second-class status in the church, the home, or the world." These themselves are outworn clichés, at their best. But they don't destroy the value of the many and weighty positives on the list.

  4. And finally — though I retain the right to revise and extend my remarks (and this list) — knowing that many of you regard Jonathan Edwards as your homeboy, I remind you all of the Resolutions of Jonathan Edwards.
Hope your year is a happy one.

Dan Phillips's signature

7 comments:

donsands said...

"I refuse to tolerate ... kitschy Christian culture"

I was talking with someone last night about this. I never heard the word 'kitschy' before last night, and here it is again.

I still don't know quite how to explain it, but I think I get the idea.

Happy 2007!

DJP said...

(Don't tell anyone, but I like Kinkade's paintings just fine, though I know it's fashionable to diss them. If that makes me a lowbrow... oh, well.)

Robert said...

Kinkade may not be a Rembrandt, but I find most of his paintings inteesting.

Anyway, Happy New Year everyone!

candyinsierras said...

Kincade is certainly "seeker friendly" art, that's for sure.

Kaffinator said...

Kinkade's happywarmfuzzylight paintings do not illustrate the tension between love and death and therefore, according to published Pyro standards, cannot truly qualify as art.

But, sure, they can still be nice to look at. But "nice" doesn't push buttons, or offend, or challenge, or stimulate. Very unlike websites about setting things on fire.

David said...

Dan - I agree with your assessment of Groothuis's refusals. They were too good not to post, but I had problems with the ones you mentioned.

I'm preaching through Matthew right now, coming to the Sermon on the Mount where we see what a true citizen of the kingdom looks like. It's instructive to note in Matthew 7:22 that Jesus rejects those who make a big deal of "supernaturalism."

4given said...

I actually enjoyed answering Whitney's questions. Only answered the first 10 so far... but I highly recommend it. It will not be a waste of time. Very thought-provoking.