Because a lot of the work I do in music preparation has me working on my computer for 10-15 hours a day (like this week), I listen to a lot of podcasts, lectures, and sermons. I recently stumbled across a veritable treasure trove of lectures at The Veritas Forum, where the speakers range from Madeleine L’Engle to Don Miller to N.T. Wright to Dallas Willard.
The one I’ve enjoyed the most so far is by Don Miller, author of Blue Like Jazz and To Own a Dragon, on “Staying Faithful.” I heard Don speak in Chattanooga two weeks ago, and he touched on several of the themes he talks about here. I especially enjoyed his opening:
Well, I was asked to speak on the topic of staying faithful at home, and this is really kind of a “how do we stay faithful to Christian theology”, and I put together a talk. This talk is only about two minutes, so I’m going to do that, and then we’ll take some questions. Because it’s very easy to stay faithful at home; this is not a complicated mystery, and here’s kinda how it works:
The first thing you do as a Christian to stay faithful at home theologically is you read the Bible, right, and then you reduce it to either systematic theology, creeds, or bullet points that also spell out acronyms. (laughter) I’m not kidding. And then, you defend those bullet points with arrogance or hatred, and you condemn people who don’t agree with you. That’s how you stay faithful at home.
I really appreciate you having me. I wish you the best in your attacking other people. Be creative, be loud (because they’re going to be loud, these people who don’t agree with you).
You know, as ridiculous as that sounds, that’s where we are, right? I mean, we memorize these creeds, we subscribe to these specific theological positions, we believe that they’re right, we defend them, we get upset with people who don’t agree, we call them heretics, this sort of thing. That’s how we stay faithful at home. And as silly as that sounds, that is what your culture wants you to do, that is what it is asking you to do. I find that odd, in light of scripture and the sort of methods God that uses to communicate truth, that our culture would have done this.
Download the full lecture here.