Want to better understand the Christian worldview? Check out the four-part video study based on my new book Christ or Chaos. It’s like a worldview analysis crash course. You can download the study here. It’s available for use with small groups or for a discounted rate for individual use. The kit includes four teaching sessions, an outline of the material covered, discussion questions, and more.
Here’s your weekend worldview reader with links to articles, essays, reviews, and videos that I consider to be interesting or important from a biblical worldview perspective. Any work that I point to is not an endorsement, but rather an invitation for you to think deeply about your faith and the world around you.
⊕ Why Mere Christianity Won’t Go Out of Style (Posted at The Gospel Coalition)
⊕ Can we trust robots to make moral decisions?, Quartz (Olivia Goldhill)
⊕ Why a Christian Anthropology Matters for Liberty and Love, Letters to the Exiles (Charlie Self)
⊕ Christian Thinkers 101: A Crash Course on C. S. Lewis, Reasons (Kenneth Samples)
⊕ The Darkness of Porn and the Hope of the Gospel, DennyBurk.com (Denny Burk)
⊕ The ages of distraction, Aeon (Frank Furedi)
⊕ Kierkegaard and the Paradox of Religious Diversity, George B. Connell
∴ Review: Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews
⊕ You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit, James K.A. Smith
∴ Review: Reformedish
The twentieth-century journalist and Christian apologist G. K. Chesterton once said, “There are two ways of getting home; and one of them is to stay there. The other is to walk round the whole world till we come back to the same place.” Chesterton’s point was that truth might be closer than you realize, perhaps right under your nose. And sometimes, like with the prodigal son, truth is found at the end of a long road back to the Father’s house.
Chesterton was specifically speaking of Christianity. And in his book The Everlasting Man he contrasted two helpful forms of analyzing the Christian faith. The first is from the inside. The second is from a million miles away. As he said, “The best relation to our spiritual home is to be near enough to love it. But the next best is to be far enough away not to hate it.”
In other words, sometimes stepping just outside the front door of a particular worldview leaves you too close to have a clear perspective. You can be standing beneath the awning while complaining of the shade. Your proximity itself creates emotional and intellectual blind spots.
As Chesterton put it, “The popular critics of Christianity are not really outside of it. . . . Their criticism has taken on a curious tone; as of a random and illiterate heckling.” The modern-day terrain of heckling, as Chesterton describes it, is fraught with emotional landmines and intellectual blockades. Safe passage to meaningful conversations can be hard to find.
There’s only a couple days left to order The Owlings: Book Two and have it delivered in time for Christmas. Thanks to everyone for helping to support this project. It hit #2 on new releases in genre. In fact, J.R.R. Tolkien (at least the one who manages the Twitter account in his name) sent out a tweet to his 100K plus followers recommending it. After all, one of the owls is inspired by the author of the ever popular Hobbit. The other three talking owls are also inspired by British authors: Dorothy, Clive, and Gilbert.
Here’s your weekend worldview reader for December 20, 2015, with links to articles, essays, reviews, and videos that I consider to be interesting or important from a biblical worldview perspective. Any work that I point to is not an endorsement, but rather an invitation for you to think deeply about your faith and the world around you.
⊕ The latest social science is wrong. Religion is good for families and kids, Washington Post (W. Bradford Wilcox)
⊕ We Were Made to Marvel, The Gospel Coalition (Erik Raymond)
⊕ Univ. of Tenn. clamps down on campus Christmas parties, Washington Times (W. Scott Lamb)
⊕ Bandersnatch: C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and the Creative Collaboration of the Inklings, Diana Pavlac Glyer
⊕ Beyond Matter: Why Science Needs Metaphysics, Roger Trigg
No literary group has more shaped my imagination than the Inklings. C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and friends, were a larger-than-life, once-in-a-lifetime, kind of creative crew. Deeply committed to the Christian worldview, highly educated, gifted, compassionate, et cetera, the list of their qualities that have lead to their impact goes on and on.
At the heart of the group was Lewis and Tolkien who met weekly, often at the Eagle and Child Pub, for pipes, pints, and publications. G.K. Chesterton and Dorothy Sayers are often associated with them in terms of similar influence and interests, though they were not part of the weekly meetings. These four, Chesterton, Sayers, Tolkien, and Lewis, are the inspiration behind the owls in my worldview novellas The Owlings. You can get my latest installment The Owlings: Book Two on Amazon here.
Here’s a starters guide to reading these great British authors:
I. C.S. Lewis (inspiration for the owl Clive in The Owlings)
I like to recommend couplets of Lewis’s writings to my students to give them a contrast in his approach. Read Mere Christianity and The Screwtape Letters together, two very different avenues he used for presenting the Christian worldview. The next couplet I recommend is not as well known, though two of my favs. Read Miracles and ‘Til We Have Faces together for another delightful contrast. Additionally, I cannot recommend highly enough the reading of Lewis’s letters. They are rich in content.
II. J.R.R. Tolkien (inspiration for the owl Reuel in The Owlings)
Tolkien is best known for his trilogy based on the Hobbit. One cannot go wrong starting here, but plan for a lengthy adventure through Middle Earth. For a more leisurely introduction, I like to recommend his children stories like Mr. Bliss or Smith of Wooton Major. Tolkien was inspirational father in so many ways. His Letters from Father Christmas that he made for his children motivated me to begin a similar annual tradition of my own “The Chronicles of Father Christmas” that I write and illustrate for my kids to read on Christmas Eve each year.
III. Dorothy Sayers (inspiration for the owl Dorothy in The Owlings)
Sayers is remembered for her detective stories affectionally called The Wimsey Novels. But my favorite Sayers’ works are her apologetic pieces like The Mind of the Maker, her play The Man Born to Be King, and her essays like Creed or Chaos. Her little booklet The Lost Tools of Learning is a helpful resource for parents of young children considering educational priorities.
IV. G.K. Chesterton (inspiration for the owl Gilbert in The Owlings)
As with Lewis, I like to recommend couplets for Chesterton. Those new to the literary giant known by his initials G.K.C., should begin with his book The Everlasting Man that famously contributed to C.S. Lewis’s departure from atheism. This book pairs nicely with Chesterton’s novel The Ball and the Cross, a story about a theist and an atheist who start out trying to kill each other before becoming dear friends. The next grouping I’d recommend would be to toggle between Chesterton’s essays and his poetry, a colorful tour of his joyfully simple and paradoxically complex view of the world.
With little time before Christmas, you might want to pass along a couple titles from this list to anyone looking for stocking stuffer ideas. Books make great gifts, the best in my humble but accurate opinion. And if you’re giving literature, something by the Inklings is a great place to start.
And if you are curious as to what these literary powerhouses look like in animal form, check out my first book The Owlings: A Worldview Novella or the recently published The Owlings: Book Two. Thanks to all who’ve supported this project helping it to reach #2 in new releases in genre on Amazon. Please help me continue to spread the word. If you’d like to help promote the book consider posting (copy/paste) something like this on social media: