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December 05, 2008

A Great Christmas Gift

Faith_and_culture I was thrilled last week to get my copy of Kelly Monroe Kullberg and Lael Arrington's Faith and Culture Devotional. Full disclosure--I have a piece published in it, so that added to the thrill. But also, I was excited to see the great line-up of authors and wonderful range of topics that the devotional covers: including Chuck Colson, Dallas Willard, Frederica Matthewes-Green, Os Guiness, John Elderidge, Phillip Johnson, Vera Shaw, Keith Getty, Gene Edward Veith and more.

As I flipped through my copy of devotionals arranged by topics of Bible and Theology, History, Philosophy, Science, Literature, Arts, and Contemporary Culture, I stopped to read passages on the wonders of God hidden in the periodic table, in T.S. Eliot and Julian of Norwich's writings, in Bach, U2 and Plato.

This morning I was reading an excerpt by Betsy Childs, formerly a writer with Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, on holiness. It gave me a lot to think about. She writes about G.K. Chesterton's favorite childhood past-time of drawing with white chalk on dark paper. Quoting Chesteron, she pulls out this truth:

"'One of the wise and awful truths which this brown-paper art reveals is this, that white is a color. It is not a mere absence of color; it is a shining and affirmative thing, as fierce as red, as definite as black. ... The chief assertion of religious morality is that white is a color. Virtue is not the absence of vices or the avoidance of moral dangers; virtue is a vivid and separate thing, like pain or a particular smell.'"

Childs points out that we typically think of virtue as merely the absence of vice, but it is so much more. I'm pondering that, and looking forward to reading another devotional offering tomorrow.

By the way, all the proceeds of the book go to help Compassion International and Veritas Forum. That makes it a particularly good Christmas gift to add to your wish list or give someone else this year. You can buy it on Amazon.

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The Chesterton quote and the commentary from Childs brings to mind John 1:5 - "The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it." Because it is in contrast to black that white is most clearly seen, and in contrast to sin that holiness is most clearly seen. This is why sinners dislike being around "holy people"; it highlights the darkness of their behavior.

Unless, of course, there is a path from darkness to light, and photophobia can be gently overcome...



Define "sinners."

I'm really not trying to be a jerk, but aren't we all? It's time we Christians quit calling non-believers "sinners" - it implies something contrary to what I'm sure you(we) truly intend.


You're right, "AA". I thought I had done what was needed by putting quotes around "holy people", since I believe Christians are sinners who are also saved by grace.

But my apologies for using that term in what could be perceived as a pejorative manner. That was not my intent; quite the opposite.

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