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Equipping followers of Christ to engage in their everyday work as the work of God, so workplaces are invigorated, communities flourish and culture is renewed to the honor and glory of the Lord.

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Friday, April 29, 2011

I Saw Walking Miracles

As a young man attending the University of Washington, I was one of 35,000 students. While our minds were busy with academic pursuits, inside every chest was a pump that expanded and contracted 100,000 times a day without a thought. Made of tiny vibrating loops of energy first set in motion by the voice of God, these fleshy little drivers kept us going even during sleep, whether in class, or in bed. 

Every professor's brain contained more cells than stars in the known universe. The electrochemical communication that flowed among 100 billion neurons allowed each instructor to do their work. Whether atheist, agnostic, or saint, each was continuously held together by the sustaining power of Christ's word (Heb. 1:3). He gave us all breath, 14,000 times a day.

Christ kept sustaining us, quarter after quarter (Heb. 1:1-3; Col. 1:16-17). God owned us, professor and student alike (Psalm 24:1). All around me at the University of Washington, I saw walking miracles, each created in the likeness and image of God (Gen. 1:26-27). What is secular about all this? Nothing.

And then there was the campus itself. Evergreen trees and rhododendron plants were everywhere. Cherry trees pinked each spring like clockwork. And the buildings! They, too, were made of vibrating loops of energy set in motion by Christ's voice, reverberating since the beginning, as a continuous symphony.  

I have never seen a secular building in my life. Ugly ones, yes, because we live in a fallen world where people do some hideous things with God's stuff, but never secular ones. Each one is made entirely of God's stuff alone, sustained through Christ's command, put together piece by piece by image-bearers of God.

I spent about six years at the University, earning two bachelor's degrees. One in music, and the other in German language and literature. Neither subject was a secular subject. Why? Because God created and sustains sound waves and eardrums. He also gives humans the amazing capacity to think abstractly, speak and write language. Music was His idea, and so is language. What's secular about that?

There is no secular subject at the University of Washington, because if it has anything to do with time, space, or matter, it's all the stuff of God. Furthermore, the University of Washington can never be a "secular school," because its Head is Christ.

Say what?!!

I'll pick up from here next week.


The best thing that happened during my time at the University of Washington was meeting a remarkable walking miracle by the name of Kathy Marie. She earned her Mrs. degree in just two years! (Brilliant woman.) This photo was taken on the U.W. campus, about four months before we tied the knot, nearly 41 years ago.

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Friday, April 22, 2011

Where Exactly Is The Secular World?

As a footnote to last week's post, let me add something here: to say that God is continuously sustaining all the elements of the universe is not to say He controls every human act.

To sustain and to control are two different things. If I punch you in the nose, I trust you won't think God made me do it. While He will sustain my fist if I choose to connect it with your face, don't assume He is causing me to swing, or that this particular act was planned by Him from the foundation of the world. God gives His image-bearers, as Thomas Aquinas put it, "the dignity of causality."   

While God is in a position of absolute control (that is to say, if He wanted to, God could turn my arm into Jello before impact, or send an angel to divert my aim), He does not control every act of humanity absolutely. I know I'm wading into controversial waters here, but the idea that everything that happens is "the will of God" is fatalism.

Back to the "sacred-secular split."

The second big help I've found in shedding the "sacred-secular distinction," is the acceptance of God's universal ownership. That is, the earth and everything in it belongs to Him. Not just the mountains, the rivers and the apple trees, but the ring on my finger, the shirt on my back, and the roof over my head. All the oil in every reserve, all the gold in Fort Knox, and whatever you may have in your checking account is His, along with all the cars on the freeway, the jets in the sky, and every person who drives or flys them.

"The earth is the Lord's, and all it contains, the world and those who dwell therein." [Psalm 24:1] This is God's world! Furthermore, He gives every human breath (Job 12:10), and "in Him we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:24-28)." 

So where exactly is the secular world?

Yet, as a student at the University of Washington, I attended a "secular school," didn't I? When I worked during the summers unloading box cars on the Seattle waterfront, I had a "secular job," didn't I?

Well...no. I'll explain why next week.

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Friday, April 15, 2011

String Theory And The Voice Of God

A good starting point for ridding oneself of the “sacred-secular split” is to accept the premise that the entire universe is sustained, day after day, by the command of God. Not only did Christ make everything out of nothing, but He continues to maintain every atom through time. 

Col. 1:16-17 tells us, “In Him, all things consist [cohere, are held together].” In Hebrews 1:1-3 we read how the Creator-Sustainer does this. It says that Christ, "through whom God made the world," upholds all things "by the word of His power.”

“By the word of His power?” What’s that all about? Is the Bible saying that the power holding all things together is Christ’s command? His utterance? His speech?

Hummm....

In Genesis 1, we read the universe was spoken into existence: “And God said, ‘Let there be…,’ and there was…” Sounds like God created everything via His voice to me. But, some may ask, “Isn’t that just poetic language?”

Maybe so. Maybe not. Maybe both.

Scientists tell us if you break matter down to its smallest components, you'll find atoms. If you break atoms down, you'll find quarks. It’s just a theory, mind you, but some scientists tell us if you break down quarks, you'll find “vibrating loops of energy,” called “strings.” The rate at which these “strings” vibrate determines the specific quality of the particular element in which the vibrating loops reside.

Could these vibrating loops of energy be the continuing reverberation of the voice of God, vibrating since His first creative command?

Einstein tried to formulate a “unified field theory” that would encompass both big-world physics (gravity and galaxies) and itty-bitty-world (sub-atomic) physics. A theory that would unify the diversity and complexity of everything. He never did figure it out.

I’m no Einstein, but this formula makes perfect sense to me:

U = (v + i) p

Where U = the Unified Field, v = the voice of God, i = the intelligence of God, and p = the purposes of God. It reads like this: the Unified Field is equal to the voice of God added to His intelligence multiplied by His purposes.

God has unified the entire cosmos through a single voice, emanating from one intelligent mind with guiding purpose. And He's still speaking―everywhere, all the time!

Please watch String Theory and the Voice of God: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5TtJSv5ojbU

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Friday, April 8, 2011

This Should Be Fun!

Ridding oneself of the "sacred-secular distinction" is like shedding 420 pounds. If you weigh 600, it probably means there is a long and significant history behind the matter, unless you have a glandular problem. Losing 420 is no quick and easy fix. But neither is losing 20 pounds! And keeping it off requires radically different mind-and-fork habits.

The reason shedding the sacred-secular distinction is no quick and easy fix is because 2,500 years of Western history are hard to buck. That's a lot of weight. Keeping the sacred-secular distinction "off" requires radical changes in thinking and doing.

When presenting live instruction on this topic, I tell my audiences, "the secular world does not exist." I'm convinced some people think I've lost a screw or two. The fact is, I know I have.

Dr. Albert E. Greene did "brain surgery" on me many years ago. Bless him! He took the necessary time to explain the problem in such a way that I was able to shed it.  

Helping people to shed the sacred-secular distinction has a long Christian history. Luther and Calvin fought it, as did the Apostle Paul.

The Apostle Paul? I think this is the best place to start. So, let's begin with his letter to the Colossians.

In Chapter 1, verses 16-17, Paul (led by the Holy Spirit) asserts that Jesus Christ "created all things that are in heaven and on earth." All things. Including everything we see and don't see. The visible and invisible. Mountains and angels: all things were created through Christ and for Christ.

And Paul doesn't stop there. He says, "In Him, all things consist." The Amplified Bible puts it this way: "...in Him all things cohere, are held together."

Let's camp here for a moment. Right now I am typing on a keyboard made of plastic, connected to a computer made of chips created out of sand and other elements from the earth. Is Christ holding together my keyboard and LCD screen as I type? Is He holding together the electronic signals going through the air that allow you to read the words I wrote? Is He holding my fingers together, and your eyes? Is He holding my chair together? Your house? Your office?

Stay tuned. This should be fun!


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Friday, April 1, 2011

The 800-Pound Gorilla In The Room

Leland Ryken, Christian writer and professor at Wheaton College, says, "Nancy Pearcey is unsurpassed in the current generation of Christian thinkers."

In 1999, Dr. Pearcey co-authored How Now Now Shall We Live, with Chuck Colson, and Total Truth came out in 2004. Her latest book, Saving Leonardo, has been met with critical acclaim. J.P. Moreland, professor of philosophy at Biola University, calls it, "her best effort yet . . . a must read." Gene Edward Veith, author and provost of Patrick Henry College, calls the book, "brilliant."

Nancy Pearcey is a voice worth listening to.

A couple of years ago, I did a telephone interview of Dr. Pearcey, and included it in my book-and-DVD, The Difference One Life Can Make: Experiencing God's Pleasure At Work. 

Very succinctly, Dr. Pearcey articulated why so many Christians fail to see their work in politics, business, education, the arts, and science as truly valid and authentic ways to serve God. They think, "if I really wanted to serve God, I would be in the ministry [as a pastor or missionary]."

The critical problem, she maintains, is that such people are "operating under the sacred-secular distinction."

When I asked her what the solution is, she replied, "We have to attack it at the root...the very idea of a sacred-secular split." 

Nancy Pearcey's analysis is spot on. But when was the last time you heard a sermon on getting rid of the sacred-secular split?

Holding on to the "sacred-secular distinction" neutralizes God's very purpose for the body of Christ in the world. Yet it continues to be the 800 pound gorilla in the room that many don't see.

I believe getting rid of the sacred-secular distinction is the single most pressing need for the overall health of the body of Christ (and the nations of the world) today. I say this because if this hairy animal can be eliminated, a host of other ailments will be mitigated, like when a 600 pound man loses 420.

With the understanding that the sacred-secular distinction is as dangerous to the health of the Church as 420 extra pounds to a human, I am compelled to devote several posts to shedding (and shredding) the ugly ape. 

To hear an excerpt of my interview with Dr. Pearcey click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ypID1NXF2Bw


Nancy Pearcey


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