Friday, April 23, 2004

I suppose when the opportunity smacks me in the face to share the gospel, especially in a way that is very comfortable to me, I should take advantage. I received this in my email today:

"Dear Paul,

My name is John Forth from Melbourne Australia. I got your e-address from Amazon reviews.

Neil Postman is absolutely correct about the totally insidious nature of television anti- "culture".

I wish to point you to 2 essays which address the same themes as Postman but also offer a way of really doing someting different.

Please check out:

Cooperation and Doubt at:


Radical Politics For Ordinary Men and Women


Grace Shines

John Forth"

Here's what I sent in response:

Hi John,

You might be pleased to know that you are the first person to contact me through an amazon review. I have actually made a couple of freinds through contacting them via amazon reviews myself. I'm glad that you wrote to me and hope that you are enjoying your life in Australia. I often think about what an interesting place Australia is. I read Robert Hughes book, The Fatal Shore some years ago and found it interesting and disturbing.

I appreciate the articles you sent to me. They do of course have some degree of overlap with my own perspectives on our modern world. This is particularly the case in the area of how we are affected by "news" and also by the idea that we need to be part of a community which has its own values which transcend our time and place.

Having said that, the differences are almost as great, if not greater. The shorthand version would be that I am a Christian and not a Hindu. But shorthand is often deceptive, so allow me to expand that just a little. I'm not at all an expert on Hinduism of any variety, so forgive me if I mischaracterize anything. I'm also assuming that you more or less share the perspective of these articles (you did send them to me), so I apologize if that is not the case.

I think as a Chistian, while I stand with you and criticizing the materialism and other evils of modern "western" culture, I have a rather different view of what the proper goal and expectations of a human life are or should be. These views, I feel, are inseparable from my conception of who God is. I believe in the God who created heaven and earth, who called Israel out as his chosen, representative people, who punishes sins (the nature of these sins being summarized in the ten commandments), who sent his very own (and only) son to earth to die for his people and who extended the nature of who are his people out from Israel to "all who believe in his name", as the gospel of John puts it. And as the apostle Paul says, if we die with him (Jesus) in baptism, we shall be raised again to a new life. The goal then, as it were, of the christian life is to be faithful to God in this world and live in the hope of resurrection in the next, where all things will be set right.

I would be happy to converse with you more about any of this or about anything else you like.

Paul Baxter

I was just trying to think how to sum up the essentials of the faith in a really short form and figured I probably should just paraphrase the apostles creed, more or less. I hope y'all don't jump all over me for what I left out or said badly, but pray for John to think over these things and let God's Spirit move in his heart.

No comments: