Happy New Year, everyone. I hope 2010 turns out to be a good one.
You might want to check out this interview article with evangelical theologian J. I. Packer published in the Washington Post a few days ago. Here's a taste:
I think that the number of lively evangelical Christians in North America is, in fact, increasing. I think that if overall statistics show that churches are losing ground, it's because the deadwood is dropping off the branches. Amongst younger people, there is a very great deal of evangelical Christianity. It's not always deep, but it's there.
Having said all of that, there's a great divide between all the spiritualities of the world and Christian spirituality because Christian spirituality is at every point a relation to the triune God of the Bible. Secular spirituality isn't focused on God, if God even comes into it, but on me and my fulfillment. My self-discovery. My inner peace. The more you look at that gap, the wider it gets. It's the difference between self-centeredness and God-centeredness. It's unhelpful, actually, that both sorts of concern are called spirituality.
And now for a commemoration. It was thirty years ago today--January 1, 1980--that Rush, a three-man Canadian rock group once described as a "head-banger's Genesis," released their album called Permanent Waves.
By then, Rush had been around for years. But this album was my first exposure to their music. Since then, I've spent a lot time listening to this and some of the earlier albums, even some of the later ones, too. I've even made it to a couple of their concerts; the first with Craig (2002), the second with Chloe (2004).
I don't listen to Rush for long stretches. But whenever I'm in the mood for their music, it's a lot fun.