An accidental blog

"If God is sovereign, then his lordship must extend over all of life, and it cannot be restricted to the walls of the church or within the Christian orbit." Abraham Kuyper Common Grace 1.1.

Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Robert Knudsen

I have now added a page on All of life redeemed for Robert D. Knudsen. There are links to many of his papers scattered around the web.

Sunday, 21 September 2008

Modal aspects and the Bible

Over at ReformationalUK I've posted a summary of chapter 2 of B J van der Walt's excellent The Eye is the Lamp of the Body.

In it he mentions that the Bible is a multi-dimensional book and he gives some examples:
  • physical side - it is written/ printed on paper
  • historical side - it tells us what God did during the course of history
  • logical side - it is comprehensible
  • lingual side - it was first handed over verbally, and latter written down
  • moral side - it provides guidelines for how we should live.
I wonder, how might the Bible show its multi-dimensional character in the other modal aspects? I've put a few off the top of my head thoughts below.
  • Numerical - it has 66 books and a number of pages?
  • Spatial - it takes up a certain amount of volume/ space as a book or a number of bytes as a computer package?
  • Kinematic - ?
  • Biotic - it brings life?
  • Psychical- ?
  • Social - interpretation is best done in community; it helps create a community: church
  • Economic - it costs something to buy it?
  • Aesthetic - the design and layout
  • Legal - provides laws for us to live by (how is this different from the moral?)?
  • Faith - it is a book of faith
Some of the above could apply to any book - does the Bible have a unique numerical, spatial or physical facet?

Any comments, thoughts? And what about the kinematic or psychical aspects?

Saturday, 20 September 2008

Resources for a Christian approach to Psychology

Updated December 2017 (original Sept 2008)

Bussema, Ken.1993. 'Perspectives on developmental psychology.' Pro Rege 22 (1):1-8.

Charry, E.T.  and Russell Kosits. 2016. Christian theology and positive psychology: An exchange of giftsThe Journal of Positive Psychology, 1-12. doi:10.1080/17439760.2016.1228010

Coe, John H.  and Todd W. Hall Psychology in the Spirit: Contours of a Transformational Psychology. Downers Grove: IVP

Clouser, Roy A. 2005 (rev edn). 'Theories in psychology'. The Myth of Religious Neutrality (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press) ch 9

Olthuis, James 2001. The Beautiful Risk: A New Psychology of Loving and Being Loved (Zondervan) [Reviewed here ]

De Graaff, Arnold.1980. Psychology: sensitive openness and appropriate reactions. Potchefstroom: I.A.C. (Series F2 no 17)

De Graaff, Arnold. 1977. Views of man and psychology in Christian perspective: some readings. Toronto: Institute for Christian Studies (mimeo)

Hackney, C.H. 2007. Possibilities for a Christian positive psychology. Journal of Psychology and Theology, 35 (3): 211-221.

Tory Hoff

Johnson, Eric L.  2010. Psychology and Christianity: Five Views. Downers Grove: IVP.
Contributions by David G. Myers, Stanton L. Jones, Robert C. Roberts, P. J. Watson, John H. Coe, Todd W. Hall, and David A. Powlison
Jones, Stanton L. and Richard E. Butman. 1991. Modern Psychotherapies: A Comprehensive Christian Appraisal. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press.

Russell Kosits and W. May. 2015. On Christian psychology: An interview with Russ Kosits by Werner MayChristian Psychology Around the World, 7:14-22.

Heather Looy 2013.  Psychology at the theological frontiers.  Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith, 65(3):147-155. 

Myers, David  and Malcolm Jeeves. 1991. Psychology through the Eyes of Faith. Leicester: Apollos.

Stevenson, Daryl H., Brian E. Eck, Peter C. Hill 2007. Psychology and Christianity Integration: Seminal Works that Shaped the Movement. Christian Association for Psychological Studies. 

Ian Ridgeway

Lectures given during 2006 and 2007 at Tabor College, Melbourne, Australia as part of the Bachelor in Christian Counselling program

Earlier Lectures

Harry van Belle
2013. Explorations in the History of Psychology: Persisting Themata and Changing Paradigms. Sioux Center, IA: Dordt College Press.
Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen

D Russel Bishop. 1988. Integrating Psychology and Christianity. A Biographical Sketch of Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen PSCF 40 (December 1988): 229-231.

  • 1976. 'View from the lion’s den: Integrating psychology and Christianity in the secular university classroom.' Christian Scholar’s Review 5: 364-373.
  • 1978. 'The behaviourist bandwagon and the body of Christ.' Crux 14 (1): 3-28.
  • 1982. 'The unfulfilled apprenticeship of North American psychology.' Christian Scholar’s Review 11 (4):291-315.
  • 1982. The Sorcerer's Apprentice: A Christian Looks at the Changing Face of Psychology, (InterVarsity Press).
  • 1984. 'The female reconstructs psychology.' Journal of Psychology and Christianity 3 (2): 20-32.
  • 1985. The Person in Psychology: A Contemporary Christian Appraisal (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans)
1. Psychology in a Postmodern Age.
2. Non-western Psychologies from Ancient Times.
3. Ancient Greek Psychologies: Man as the Measure of All Things.
4. The Biblical Drama & the Meaning of Personhood.
5. Psychologists & Psychology's Paradigm.
6. Psychology & the Brain-Mind Debate.
7. Behavioral Psychology at Seventy.
8. The Cognitive Revival.
9. Social Psychology: A Battleground between two paradigms.
10. Personality Psychology; an Ambiguous Ally.
11. Psychology & the Agenda for the Future.

  • 1987. 'Personality theorizing within a Christian world view.' In: T Burke (ed). Man and mind: A Christian theory of personality. Hillsdale, MI: Hillsdale College Press, pp. 171-198.
  • 1988. 'Psychology’s 'two cultures': a Christian analysis.' Christian Scholar’s Review 17 (4): 406-424.

Paul Vitz. 1994. Psychology as Religion: The Cult of Self-Worship, (Paternoster/Eerdmans, (2nd Edition)).

Worthington Jr, Everett L. 2010. Coming to Peace with Psychology: What Christians Can Learn from Psychological Science. Downers Grove: IVP.

Roderick G. Youngs. 1953. A prolegomena to a Christian psychology Calvin Forum vol. 18 (March) pp. 150-155.

Organisations etc.

The Network of Christians in Psychology (NeCIP) is a UK-based organisation for Christian professional and student psychologists in academic and applied settings

Christian psychology forum

Christian Psychology: A Transdisciplinary Journal
Christian Psychology is published twice a year, by Society for Christian Psychology. The journal began with the name Edification but changed into Christian Psychology in 2013 to more directly expresses our agenda: Christian Psychology. We are using the term Christian psychology very broadly to cover the disciplined inquiry into the nature of human beings from the standpoint of a Christian world-and-life-view.

Journal of Psychology and Christianity - the journal of the Christian Association for Psychological Studies

Updated December 2017 (original Sept 2008)

Friday, 19 September 2008

Dawkins, clergymen, the Royal Society and Monty Python

Professor Richard Dawkins compared putting a clergyman in charge of education at the Royal Society to a Monty Python sketch, according to the Daily Telegraph...

...mmmm, weren't many of the founders of the Royal Society clergymen?

It also happens that this 'clergyman' has written extensively about the principles and practice of science education at both primary and secondary level; has directed a number of research, evaluation and curriculum development projects funded by:
  • the Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour
  • British Council, British Ecological Society
  • Department for Education and Skills
  • Department for Children, Schools and Families
  • Economic and Social Research Council
  • Field Studies Council
  • Gatsby Charitable Foundation
  • Institute of Physics
  • London Challenge
  • London IDEAS Genetics Knowledge Park
  • National Endowment for Science
  • Nuffield Foundation, Technology and the Arts
  • Nuffield Foundation, Planet Science
  • Qualifications and Curriculum Authority
  • Society of Chemical Industry
  • Wellcome Centre and Wellcome Trust.

He edited the Cambridge University Press Advanced Biology Series and was previously a Vice-President of the Institute of Biology.

For more on Reiss see here.

Royal Society's press releases: here and here

Reiss's essay Science lessons should tackle creationism and intelligent design
Audio here

Dawkins's letter here

Debating Darwin

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Skillen to step down as CPJ president

News from CPJ:

Dr. James Skillen has announced his intention to retire as president of the Center for Public Justice effective Oct. 1, 2009. Skillen has served the Center for more than 30 years, 27 of these as executive director and later president.

“We are grateful for Jim’s excellent work of promoting CPJ’s mission to foster justice in public life,” said Dr. Harold Heie, chair of the Center’s Board of Trustees. “I am pleased to announce that, with the full support of the trustees, Jim will continue to serve the mission of CPJ after September 2009 as a writer, speaker, and researcher.”

The Board of Trustees has appointed a special committee to be chaired by Gail Jansen, a former Board chair, to lead the search for the Center’s next president. The committee hopes to recommend a presidential candidate to the Board of Trustees at its spring 2009 meeting.

If you know of someone you would like to nominate as a candidate to lead CPJ’s future development, please send your recommendation, with contact information, to:

Gail F. Jansen
Attorney at Law
2930 North Swan Road, Suite 210
Tucson, AZ 85712

Resources for a Christian approach to geography

Christian Scholars Review 31 (4) 2002 - special issue on Geography:

  • Tom Bulten - Community and Propinquity of Church Members [Abstract]
  • Iain Wallace - Globalization: Discourse of Destiny or denial? [Abstract]
  • Mark D. Bjelland - Until Justice and Stewardship Embrace: Or, How a Geographer Thinks About Brownfield Sites [Abstract]
  • Henk Aay - Geography’s Cultural Landscape School: A Reformational Reading [Abstract]
  • Kathleen E. Braden - Exploring the Notion of "Good" in Sack's Geographic Theory of Morality [Abstract]

Henk Aay and Sander Griffioen (Ed) Geography and Worldview: A Christian Reconnaissance (UPA, 1998)

Chapters on:
  • Geography and the Natural Theology Imperative (Livingstone)
  • Postmodern Epistemologies: Are we stuck with our relatives? (Ley)
  • A Christian reading of the global economy (Wallace)
  • Christian worldview and geography: positivism, covenantal relations, and the importance of place (Curry-Roper)
  • God's own countries? Contours of a Christian worldview in Geography (Hoekveld-Meijer)
  • Alien in a foreign land: Human geography from the perspective of Christian citizenship (Hoekveld)
  • Christian worldview and geography: Christian schools in the Netherlands 1900-1960 (Aay)
  • Perspectives, Worldviews and Structures (Griffioen).
Available from CSU

Henk Aay 'Dooyeweerd’s spatial modality and its implications for Geography'

Henk Aay 'Geography’s cultural landscape school: a Reformational reading'

Henk Aay and A B van Langevelde 2005. 'A Dooyeweerd-based approach to regional development'. Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie 96 (2): 184-198.

Henk Aay 1976. 'Geography, calling and curriculum' parts 1 and 2 Christian Educators Journal 16 (1): 16-19 and 16 (2): 1114.

Janel M. Curry and Steven McGuire 2002. Community On Land: Community , Ecology, and the Public Interest Rowman & Littlefield.

Janel M.Curry and Kathi Groenendyk. 2006. 'Place and Nature Seen Through the Eyes of Faith: Understandings Among Male and Female Seminarians.' Worldviews: Environment, Culture, Religion 10(3): 326-354.

Janel M. Curry 2008. 'Understanding God, Nature, and Social Structure: A Case Study of GreatBarrier Island, New Zealand.' In Faithful Imagination in the Academy, edited by Janel M. Curry and Ronald A. Wells. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.

Janel M.Curry, 2008. 'Globalization and the Problem of the Nature/Culture Boundary.' In After Modernity? Secularity, Globalization, and the Re-Enchantment of the World, edited by James K.A. Smith. Waco, TX: Baylor University Press.

Gerben De Jong 1958. 'The nature of human geography in the light of the ordiances of creation.' Free University Quarterly 5: 97-119.

Gerben De Jong 1962. Chronological differentiation as the fundamental principle of geography: An inquiry into the chronological conception of geography. Groningen: J. B. Wolters.

G. Angus Hills 1974. 'A philosophical approach to landscape planning' Landscape Planning 1: 339-371.

Gordon R. Lewthwaite 1973. 'Geography'. In Christ and the modern mind. edited by R W Smith. Downers Grove: IVP.

John L. Patterson 1984 David Harvey's Geography. London: Croom Helm.

Mark Roques 1989.Geography. In Curriculum Unmasked Eastbourne: Monarch/CiE, ch7 and ch 15.

J. Van der Hoeven 1990. Development in the light of encounter. In Norm and context in the social sciences edited by S. Griffioen and J. Verhoogt. Lanham, MD: UPA. (with a response by L. Zuidervaart)

Any others?

Sunday, 7 September 2008

Jim Skillen on NZ radio

Jim Skillen, of CPJ, was featured on NZ radio on the Chris Laidlaw show:

8:40 Feature interview: Christianity and Politics

Dr James Skillen is the president of the Centre for Public Justice, an independent public policy research unit in Washington DC. He’s in New Zealand to talk about the way Christians relate to the political process and discusses with Chris Laidlaw what Christianity can contribute to the debate about public good, humane public policy and human responsibility in caring for the environment.
Produced by Christine Cessford.

Listen here.

[HT Bruce Wearne]

John Cleese as Screwtape 2

Music for a Sunday morning

Tomasz Stanko Quartet:

Saturday, 6 September 2008

odds and sods

Ben Witherington on Frank Viola's Reimaging Church
Rudi has links to Reformational presentations at metanexus
Between two worlds links to Crossway's book blog...
.... and to Keller's preaching notes
e-sword is now on-line ...
... check out the review here.

Archive footage from 1985 when you tube first started:

John Cleese as Screwtape

Friday, 5 September 2008

WYSOCS: Missing in action?

MISSING IN ACTION – where have the kids gone?
Communicating Christianity to youth today

Speakers: Lee Jackson, Arthur Jones, Mark Roques, Amy Stock, and Jon Swales

How can we equip young people to resist the secular voices and promote a vibrant Christian faith to friends and peers?

Time: 9.30 am – 4.15 pm

Venue: St Columba United Reformed Church, Headingley Lane, Leeds LS6
Cost: £30 (concessions £15) including sandwich lunch and refreshments

Leslie Newbigin recording from 1948

Jake Belder has posted a recording of Lesslie Newbigin from 1948 at the opening of the WCC in Amsterdam.

Thursday, 4 September 2008

New worldview course

Mark 'Rocky' Roques has been working on a new worldview course for urban saints . It comes to 70 thousand words, 20 PowerPoints and 20 written pieces.

Summary of Worldview/Story Course

In this course you will be equipped with about fifty stories which you
can use with your young people. Some of the stories are about
inspiring, culture-transforming Christians. Others concern mad,
eccentric people who have wasted their lives because of their
idolatries and obsessions. Further to this you will find entertaining
stories that you can find in films, television programmes, newspapers
and adverts. There are full-length stories and vignettes. Stories that
can be told in two minutes and yarns that will take longer to tell.

Before we launch into the stories we will explore what we mean by a
‘worldview’. Worldviews are best understood as the dreams that drive
our lives. Consider the 10 million pound challenge. How would you live
if you had this vast fortune? Many peoples’ dreams today are
consumerist. Consumerists have horizons of happiness and horizons of
possibility which reject biblical teaching. Some consumerists become
idle loafers and some become workaholics. We will put the finger on
consumerism and secularism by introducing the five worldview questions.

(1) Where am I? Or, what is the nature of the world and universe I live in?

(2) Who am I? Or, what is the nature, task and purpose of human beings.

(3) What’s wrong? Or, what is the basic obstacle that keeps me from
finding fulfilment? In other words, how do I understand evil?

(4) What’s the solution? Or, how is it possible to overcome this
hindrance to my fulfilment? In other words, how do I find salvation?

(5) What happens to me after death? Or, will I rot in the ground or will I be waiting for the resurrection of my body?

It is very powerful to get young people to understand these five big
questions. We will stress that stories are a great way to introduce
worldviews. Further it is vital to understand that most of these
stories are not embarrassing or threatening. Many ‘secular’ people
today (young or old) find it difficult to talk about God, faith, prayer
and ‘religious’ things. This course is different. We tell exciting,
dramatic stories which stimulate people to think about both Christian
and non-Christian worldviews. This is the great advantage of telling
stories and exploring worldviews. Leaders must select the stories that
seem most appropriate for their groups. The stories about Hetty Green,
Gordon Bennett, Beau Brummell, Imelda Marcos, William Sleeman and John
Portsmouth Football Club Westwood are perfect if the group is
embarrassed by ‘religion’.

1. Caribou story. This is a heartwarming story about revival and the
return of caribou to an Inuit community in Canada. God is at work
through His Son forgiving, restoring, reconciling all things. We will
mention other stories which include leopards, horses, cats and God’s
kingdom breaking in. We will focus on the six broken relationships that
idolatry brings.

2. George Cadbury story. Story about the great chocolatier who brought
celebration, mercy and the Sabbath into his chocolate factory. How does
the George Cadbury story help us to answer the five worldview
questions? God is reconciling people and the manufacture of
confectionary. Christ does not come to abolish culture but to transform

3. Hetty Green. Story about a very mean multi-millionaire. We become
like the gods we worship (Psalm 115). All people are incurably
religious. How did Hetty Green answer the five worldview questions? Her
answer is profoundly ‘secular’. We live as if there is no God. There is
a hidden depth dimension to Green’s worldview that needs to be
unpacked. Social materialism (obsession with material things) flows
from philosophical materialism (only matter and energy really exist).
By way of contrast we will explore the life of Angela Burdett-Coutts
who lavished her wealth on kingdom projects.

4. George Muller. A story about an inspiring Christian who adopted
thousands of orphans. God is the living God and He responds to prayer
when we seek first His kingdom. We will explore the secular worldview
of the people who hated Muller. How did nasty factory owners answer the
five worldview questions? Again their answer was secular. We don’t need
God. We put our faith in science, technology and economic growth. This
has been the dominant western religion. We put our faith in human
power, ingenuity and autonomy. We will tell the story of a modern day
Muller – a Ugandan man, David Serunjogi who has received many answers
to prayer for his orphanage.

5. Amy Carmichael. A story about a missionary who rescued thousands of
children from prostitution in India. What is the caste system? We will
explore how a servant of the goddess Yellama would answer the worldview
questions. This story helps us to understand the biblical theme of

6. Gordon Bennett. A story about an eccentric millionaire who was
always bored. This amusing story will help us to understand more about
autonomy and the master slave issue. For many secular celebrities there
is a hidden caste system. I am a god and you are my slave. Why do we
admire celebrities? We have the illusion that celebrities are
constantly making the most of their autonomy. They are able to escape
from work and everyday troubles, sorrows and responsibilities. We will
also tell the story of shoppaholic Imelda Marcos who bought incredible
numbers of shoes, handbags and designer gowns. She also stole billions
from the Philippine treasury.

7. John Anthony Portsmouth Football Club Westwood. A story about a
football fanatic who worships ‘Pompey’. Idolatry can take both a
secular and a pagan form. We will also look at Christian footballers
who reject this idolatry. Brief vignettes about Kaka, Lomana LuaLua and
Damiano Tommassi. Many western people (in particular men) are prone to
this form of idolatry. Idolatry always makes us less than human. Jesus
has come to restore our full humanity. This includes a healthy
enjoyment of sport.

8. Shay Cullen. A story about a Roman Catholic priest who rescues
children from the sex slave trade in the Philippines. We will focus on
corruption and bribery and the need for Christians to be engaged with
all spheres of life. Where are the godly police officers, magistrates,
lawyers and government officials? How might sex tourists answer the
wordview questions?

9. William Sleeman. The story of this Christian detective who destroyed
the Kali Thug sect is a great introduction to the clash of three
worldviews – Thuggee, Christianity and Consumerism. This story shows
how we can serve God in so-called ‘secular’ areas. God rescued Sleeman
from thug attacks on three separate occasions.

10. William Carey. This amazing missionary brought cultural
transformation to India. Signposts of the kingdom (incarnating God’s
will) should always accompany the preaching of the gospel. Carey’s love
of and interest in botany, astronomy and poetry is striking and gives
us a new template for doing mission. Carey begins with creation and not
with sin. Mission finds its true place and context when all of life is
being redeemed. Otherwise evangelism becomes an embarrassing, awkward
and painful burden. Many Hindus were deeply impressed by Carey’s
cultural achievements. They could see God at work healing and restoring
the six broken relationships discussed at the beginning of the course.
Briefly we will show how Carey’s work gives us a much richer
perspective on the gospel of the kingdom. The gospel is the
announcement that Jesus Christ, the Crucified One, is the resurrected
King of kings.

11. Beau Brummell. This is a fascinating story about a dandy who was
obsessed by his necktie and personal appearance. How do dandies answer
the five worldview questions? We will relate this to Channel 4’s Big
Brother ‘entertainment’ and modern celebrity themes. Many people today
are followers of Beau Brummell. Although Beau and Hetty are very
different types, they are both very ‘secular’. They lived as if there
is no God. Hetty’s god was the economic whereas Beau’s god was the
aesthetic. Idolatry always takes good things and perverts them.

12. Elizabeth Fry. Fry’s work in prisons is a powerful way of
explaining the difference between individual and structural sin. We can
distinguish between the sin of an individual murderer and the
structural sin of the prison which incarcerates the criminal. Prisons
can obey the call to follow Jesus by displaying both justice and mercy.
Murderers should be punished and their threat to society should be
negated. At the same time young boys who steal a few shillings should
not be transported to Botany Bay. The gospel does not only challenge
individuals to follow Christ. Prisons and all other institutions are
commanded to repent and believe the good news (Matthew 28:18-20). We
will contrast Fry’s worldview with Elle Woods the heroine of the
Hollywood film - Legally Blond.

13. King Pomare the 2nd of Tahiti. This story about a Tahitian king
helps us to understand the dark side of paganism and it reinforces the
message that ‘incarnating the just war’ leads to effective mission.
When Tahitians saw the gospel at work after the battle of Feii (1815),
they became hungry for God and there were many conversions. Preaching
the gospel became much easier when the gospel was embodied. We will
include some basic teaching about the just war.

14. James Chalmers. This story about a plucky Scottish missionary
focuses upon cannibalism in Papua New Guinea. Should we love our
neighbours or eat them? The gospel makes advances when it is embodied
and incarnated. We will investigate the worldviews of western people
who are unable to condemn the cannibal lifestyle. We will put the
spotlight on cultural relativism, existentialism, emotivism and social
Darwinism. These secular mindsets will be explained in a simple way
without using long words.

15. Catherine Booth. This story shows how missionaries set up a just
and merciful match factory in the east-end of London. Her story
illustrates a striking similarity between pagan and secular idolatry.
We always end up devaluing and depreciating some peoples’ lives. For
some cannibals the next-door-neighbour tribe can be consumed. For
hardened consumerists some people can be consumed by brutal regimes of
production (eg Wal-Mart). Biblical teaching rejects both of these forms
of idolatry. Just as in previous stories effective mission can only
succeed when the gospel is incarnated in both word and deed.

16. Owen Carey Jones. Owen writes screenplays as his vocation. This
story focuses upon the need for Christians to shape culture. If we
don’t do this - culture will become increasingly secularised or
paganised. Owen’s film making is a full-time, bona fide calling. Art is
not propaganda and great films should never be didactic. Great art
suggests without stating. We will spend time considering how films
shape our horizons of happiness and possibility. How would James Bond
answer the five worldview questions?

17. Peter and Miranda Harris. This story focuses upon ecology and
environmental sustainability. The A Rocha Christian community is doing
wonderful things to bring healing to communities and the earth. The
need to develop Christian communities in different spheres of life is
highlighted. We will tell a story about the great Russian novelist
Dostoyevski who experienced the world as the ‘theatre of God’s glory’.

18. Bob Lavelle. This story illustrates the possibility of a Christian
community which is not a church… a godly bank serving God and
neighbour. There are many manifestations of the body of Christ. Bob’s
bank is challenging both consumerism and a dualistic form of
Christianity. It is vital to distinguish between the Body of Christ and
the local church. Lavelle’s bank, Booth’s match factory, A Rocha and
Urban Saints are all Christian communities but they are not churches.
We will also explore the incredible and inspiring work of Christians
against Poverty which was voted the Best Small Company 2008 by the
Sunday Times.

19. Thomas Baker. This is a story which deals with forgiveness in
modern day Fiji. It shows clearly that Fijians know about their pagan,
cannibal past. There are some delightfully quirky and comical elements
to the story. We will show how this story is connected to the caribou
story and revival in Fiji which has lead to ‘nature’ miracles – fish
returning in abundance and poisoned ponds being miraculously restored
and healed.

20. Jerry McAuley. This story which focuses on rat-pits, crime and
conversion is a powerful reminder that God calls us to turn away from
false gods and false messiahs. The story is full of humour and we can
explore how rats can participate in God’s kingdom. They can be
worshipped but they can be partnered with (clearing land mines) in
order to see God’s kingdom breaking through. We will relate this theme
of animals back to the first story about the caribou.

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Worldview - a modal analysis

This is taken from B J van der Walt's excellent new book The Eye is the Lamp of the Body (ICCA, 2008):

According to a Reformational philosophy everything in reality exhibits at least the following fourteen facets: (1) a numerical, (2) spatial, (3) physical, (4) biotic, (5) sensitive or emotional, (6) logical, (7) historical, (8) lingual, (9) social, (10) economic, (11) aesthetic, (12) juridical, (13) ethical and (14) faith aspect. This distinction is known as the doctrine of modalities. (Modalities = aspects, facets or sides of reality).

According to this perspective on reality material things exhibit only the first three modalities, plants the first four and animals the first five facets. Human beings exhibit all fourteen aspects. This also applies to things created by humans, including worldviews.

When the doctrine of modalities is used in the structural analysis of a worldview the result is as follows:

14. The faith aspect: a worldview consists of deep religious convictions directed at the true God or other gods (idols) – it is a window on the transcendent.
13. The ethical facet: a worldview is accepted and trusted as the best (descriptively correct) image of reality.
12. The juridical facet: a worldview is prescriptive – it points out what is wrong and what is right.
11. The aesthetical facet: a worldview uses various symbols for inspiration.
10. The economic facet: a worldview offers only a basic framework, the most essential points of departure – not like a painting, but more like a sketch.
9. The social facet: a worldview normally is not something individual, but originates among people and is adhered to by a certain group.
8. The lingual facet: it is put into words by means of a particular vocabulary and a typical style of language.
7. The historical: it originates in a particular time and is relevant to specific historical circumstances.
6. The logical: it attempts to understand the variety and coherence of everything in reality as well as the human being's place and task within reality.
5. The sensitive or psychic: A worldview not only concerns understanding, but is also embraced emotionally, creating feelings of certainty, security and identity.
4. The biotic side: Although it grows in a different way from a plant or animal, a worldview is also something that lives and develops and changes.
3. The physical-energetical aspect. A worldview is a driving force, it supplies spiritual energy.
2. The spatial facet: It originates and exists in a particular place among a group of people.
1. The numerical denotes the uniqueness of every worldview.