“Elevator Speech”

An acquaintance of mine suggested that, for Lent, we ought construct what is called an “Elevator  Speech” in regard to our faith. Specifically, that it should incorporate the element of 1 Peter 3:15 (Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that is in you…).*

But this draws the question: As to what, exactly, is an “Elevator Speech”? First, it should be noted that it is, apparently, *not* a preemptive speech that is prepared specifically for “elevators” by which one may pigeonhole a captive audience. Another acquaintance put it this way: “The idea was that, if you should meet someone in an elevator and had only 30-60 seconds to answer the question, ‘So… What do you do?’, would you be able to explain your business and why a person would want to do business with you…’ Of course, the question was then “I’m curious, when people ask you, “So, why do you believe in God?’, do you have a brief, thoughtful…concise answer prepared?”**

Now, with all of the above in place, I suppose that my “Elevator Speech” would be something like the following: Existentially speaking, all of us ponder certain questions. Curiously, these questions seem to be central to each human being regardless of one’s ethnicity or culture. This, to me, is rather telling. An influential author frames those questions in the following manner: What is our Origen; Do we have Meaning; what grounds Morality; and what is our Destiny.*** 

And, of course, your personal beliefs, worldview, or belief system must answer these somewhat basic questions. I have found that the historic Christian faith answers these four questions in the most intellectually responsible fashion by offering robust, rigorous, and intellectually stimulating arguments, by which one is provided with the most philosophically and existentially sound  answers to life’s questions – and, just as importantly, in a fashion that simultaneously serves high honor to the emotional and heartfelt aspects of what it means to be human.  For these reasons, the historic Christian faith satisfies my intellectual, and emotional, yearnings in a way that corresponds to reality. A reality centered in the Person of Jesus. How does your worldview, or outlook on reality, answer these basic questions? And do you have good reason to believe it to be true? And I like ‘Audioslave’ – For Clay Jones and Maryann ; )

*Maryann Spikes
**Phil Jeske
***That author is Ravi Zacharias

“Faith”

There is a radical misunderstanding of the term “faith” within pop-culture. Sadly, it is often perpetuated by the Christian subculture.

There are those that wish to define ‘faith’ as belief in the absence of evidence; believing when common sense says no; or as Mark Twain (pejoratively) so put it:

“Faith is believing what you know ain’t so.”

So, on the above, the less evidence available – the more room one has for ‘faith.’ And one is, apparently, more virtuous, a better Christian for having more and more ‘faith’ the less reason one has for believing.

Well, unfortunately for Mr. Clemens, what if I were to ask him if I know *that* to not be true; an believed it? Would it then be a virtue?

Now, let us run a Reductio ad Absurdum. If the above definitions are true, then the best thing, in regard to ‘faith’, that God could do for us is to destroy all evidence for the Christian faith; destroy all Bibles (so that no one would know what Jesus said), destroy all congregations (so no one would know if anyone else believes) , destroy all preachers (so no one would even *claim* to know what Jesus said), and as philosopher J.P. Moreland puts it, “Allow the ‘Discovery Channel’ to actually pull out the bones of Jesus, Himself (so that what people *do* know is that it is false, after all).” Surely, this, if anything, would absolutely increase the amount of ‘faith’ that someone must have.

If the above definitions of ‘faith’ are true, then for one to believe in the claims of Christ in the face of such utter lack, then he/she would have the greatest faith of all. And this would be some kind of *virtue*? No, this would be insanity.

Now, the point. First, this is clearly not the way the Christian texts define the term ‘faith.’ Faith, in its biblical context, is much more akin to the term ‘Trust.’ And Christ always appeals/provides to some form of evidence, some *reason* as to why others (or you) should follow Him.

No, the Christian definition is simply trust; that one can trust God – and when it comes to believing in God, there are good reasons for doing so. And because of those reasons (whatever they may be) one can trust Him. But it has never been “believing when there is no reason to do so.”

The Sacredness of Sexuality – A Christian View.

Sexuality and the Christian perspective is an oft treated subject. Or, rather, it is not.

Of course, I mean this in the sense that there are usually two views that are presented – and unfortunately, they are something of a false representation of the Christian’s view on the matter. Naturally, one of these views comes from the culture that surrounds the Christian. That is to say, many will develop a view of sexuality through the lens of what non-Christians *claim* that Christians believe concerning the topic. Usually, this is very pejorative, closeted perspective i.e. “Christians believe the sexual relationship to be unhealthy, ugly, ‘sinful’, oppressive… but, inconsistent with their view, they do it anyway.” etc. The other is the view that many Christians, themselves, help to perpetuate – that the sexual relationship is no different than that of their own cultural expectations – and one ought to know those shallow expectations.

However, what *is* the Christian perspective?

The Sacredness of the matter. Sexuality is sacred.

The Christian, in this case male, perspective ought see the beauty of his spouse through all of what she is in light of her character, personality, relationship to her spouse, and undoubtedly, her physical presence. Now, in contrast, the alternative is that which one would witness on an everyday basis through film, pop culture, music, and, as of late, “Education” under the guise of “progressivism.”

But the latter is, somewhat obviously, a cheap imitation of the sacredness, the beauty, the richness, the robust, nature of what human sexuality was supposed to be to the man and woman. As C.S. Lewis observed as “sexual liberation” began to sweep his own generation:

““We use a most unfortunate idiom when we say, of a lustful man prowling the streets, that he “wants a woman.” Strictly speaking, a woman is just what he does not want.

He wants a pleasure for which a woman happens to be the necessary piece of apparatus. How much he cares about the woman, as such, may be gauged by his attitude to her five minutes after fruition (one does not keep the carton after one has smoked the cigarettes).

Now [true] Eros makes a man really want, not a woman, but *one* particular woman. In some mysterious but quite indisputable fashion the lover desires the Beloved herself – not the pleasure she can give.”

In other words, the woman in current culture is merely “a means to an end.” She is for the mere pleasure of the seeker. She is not to be valued as an end herself. And, clearly, this is why when her ‘appeal’ has vanished, a younger replacement is readily propped up before the insatiable eye of the pleasure-seeker on the magazine cover; the film poster; the record label; etc.

And he does not mind at all, so long as she is replaced.

But, from the Christian perspective, the sacredness of the sexual act is bound, protected, guarded even, by the strong walls of the marriage covenant. And she (and he) cannot be rid of each other like the “used carton of cigarettes” – she (and he) will be with one another for the next five minutes – and the next fifty years. In this way, she is not merely “used” as the means to the end. In this way, the sexual relationship is bound up within the marital bond, bound up within one another, so that it is a beautiful, and thoroughly enjoyable, process that helps to meld the two together into one.

To the Christian, the sexual aspect of his or her life is sacred. Because it belongs to us, and for us – not to me, and for me.

She (and he) are not reduced to mere ‘means’ to an end.

The man and his wife, by many different means, reach the end together, as it should be.

In more ways than one ; )

Dawkins, “Meaning,” and Delusion.

I have recently been mulling over a specific “end around” that I have often heard atheists use, specifically the president of the Ga. chapter of Atheists (whatever the ‘official’ name is leaves me) and Richard Dawkins.

It is this, more or less, “Christians state that (sans God) there is no meaning, or purpose, within the Universe. However, we can create our own purpose.” (Dawkins claimed that he “purposed to have a good lunch.”)

This is odd to me on at least two fronts. The first being that Dawkins will viciously retort that “it does not matter as whether you ‘believe’ God is real, it is delusional (his go-to word) and your belief has no bearing upon reality.” But does this critique, given by Dawkins, not boomerang against his own claim? 

Meaning that, roughly, Dawkins claims that if something is of your construction (not in correspondence with actual reality) then it is “delusional.” But if this a fair critique of believers (and it would be) then it is *also* a fair critique of those that “construct meaning” in the face of what they have conceded as a lack of “Ultimate Meaning.” I do not believe thatone can have it both ways. If it is “delusional” for a believer to construct his/her reality, then so it goes for those that, at least admit that no Ultimate Meaning exists, try to ‘create’ meaning.

The second difficulty might be this. Just who or what is to say that one‘s constructed meaning/purpose is capable of being evaluated? As in, what on earth does it mean to say that “I have created beautiful purpose and meaning for my life by traveling the globe. (Fair enough) and another claims the same, yet, has done so by “photographing his morning bowel movements for the last twenty five years”? However, these two must be held equally. A sort of ‘relativity of purpose’ with no serious, well for lack of better terms, meaning between the two “activities.”