Some Cultures Need to be Ruined

Daniel Everett is a celebrated linguist who started off as a missionary, but eventually abandoned his Christian faith. His mini-bio in Mastery makes this drift sound noble, because a big reason for his growing doubts was the realization that the Gospel would ruin these cultures in which he had been immersed. In particular, the Pirahã’s concept of truth and how it affected their language.

But the truth is that some cultures should be ruined. They are not all equal. While it is possible to “plunder the Egyptians” as Augustine put it, we should not look with longing and awe at the pots of meat back in Egypt, wishing to gorge ourselves.

That same Pirahã tribe forced alcohol down and infant’s throat to kill it, an infant that Everett and his wife were attempting to nurse back to health. That was their truth.

Some cultures need to be ruined (And if we’re honest, we’ll just look at our own culture and agree with this.) They need to die, so they can be resurrected. The Gospel does not ruin cultures to leave a smoking crater in its wake. It ruins so it can bring about a new birth. So it can create something new.

That doesn’t mean everything should be the same, one big morass of indistinguishable humanity. The glories of the Chinese church, for example, will look very different from the glories of the Western church. Those pilgrims will travel the same path, but they might go a different speed, notice different things along the way, manifest strengths that we had never thought about, sing songs that leave a different taste on the tongue. Their language and culture will be part of the rich tapestry of nations that God brings streaming to the Celestial City.

Welcome to Trump 2020 and Beyond

After it was clear that Donald Trump won the election, I wrote some takeaways and predictions. Among them:

However, it honestly wouldn’t surprise me if, at the end of 4 years, he has higher approval ratings than Obama ever did.

And look at the latest approval numbers from Rasmussen. 50% approve.

50%.

Obama, by comparison, had a 43% approval rating at the same time during his presidency.

It’s doubtful the Democratic party will be able to put up a strong candidate to unify behind.  By the time the primaries comes around, the party will put up some sacrificial lambs, much like the Republicans did with Clinton in 1996. And then hope they can solve their own identity crisis before 2024.

Welcome to Trump 2020 and beyond. And yet again, people will be shocked and surprised, because no one has really learned their lesson. Something else I wrote in that same piece:

Echo chambers around the country cracked open, and amongst the hissing caused by the release of stale air, comes crying and wailing and gnashing of teeth. Instead of getting some much needed sunlight, however, they will soon retreat back into those same chambers, covering the cracks with duct tape.

The Left will not learn their lesson, and will continue to belittle, shame, and insult those who disagree with them. And try to get them fired or ruin their livelihoods.

So far this seems pretty on the nose. Many have already retreated back into their insular social media circles to continue to pat themselves on the back for having the right opinions. For bodysnatcher-screeching at and scolding all the right people.

And then they will again be surprised about how many people voted for Trump. It’s like the same script is playing out again.

To Compose a Name – Adam and Eve

In Genesis 2, Adam names the animals. To name something is to claim authority over it, and earlier (Gen. 1:28) God placed everything that moves on the earth under the rule of those made in His image.

But Adam doesn’t bother to name his wife…until after the Fall. The man composes a poem, but doesn’t take time to compose a name.

After God lays down his curse, part of which is that the man will rule over the woman (Gen. 3:16), only then does Adam name Eve. A lot of things changed as a result of the Fall. Could one of them have been the nature of the man’s authority over his wife? Adam now claims his right to rule his wife by naming her, as he did the animals.

Paul makes it clear that the created order itself has some authority, and it included some form of hierarchy. Man is the image and glory of God, but woman is the glory of man (1 Cor. 11:7). Adam was created first, and then Eve (1 Tim. 2:13).

Likewise, the whole point of marriage, from the very beginning, was to image Christ and His Church, a clear relationship of ruler and subject. Pre-fall, the authority was in place, but the placement of the naming of Eve hints that something truly precious was lost between the sexes, a corrupting of the authority that lowered the woman closer to the status of a animal, less of the ideal helper than intended, and as a result both man and woman are diminished.