What would our world look like if the humanities didn’t exist? Imagine our civilization, our workplaces, our economy, without the humanities. Post-apocalyptic or dystopian images ensue. The varied arts we voraciously consume would vanish, including all visual and entertaining arts from painting, photography, and cinema, to music and aesthetic design. Written language? Nonexistent. Verbal communication reverts to stone-age simplicity. No literature develops, no fictional stories transport our imagination. Not even a scientific journal article breathes without the careful attention to language usage. Written law? None. Property rights and records? Zip. Perpetually dependent on the language arts the vital transfer of knowledge, stories, and wisdom through time would be lost. Without the humanities, civilizations never rise out of the dust, never germinate, never see the light of day. Peoples without the humanities remain clans and tribes, far short of becoming a civilization. Absent recorded historical knowledge and the collective identity that gives a people purpose and values, civilization and its great gifts fail to launch. Critical thinking halts too since its home discipline of philosophy would be absent. Try to conceive the vaunted STEM disciplines without the womb of the humanities. Science was born after and because of two thousand years of the humanities, and while no longer an infant, science cannot survive alone. Without the humanities, we shiver in the infamous state of nature where life is, as Hobbes described, “nasty, brutish, and short.” …Read More.
Does Prayer Change God's Mind? J.D. Greear
After the Israelites responded to God’s faithfulness in delivering them from Egypt by making a golden statue to worship and having an all-night orgy around it (not a good response), God confronted Moses on Mt. Sinai and told him that God’s wrath would “burn hot against them and consume them” (Exodus 32:10).
“But Moses implored the LORD his God and said …. ‘Turn from your burning anger and relent from this disaster against your people. Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, your servants, to whom you swore by your own self, and said to them, “I will multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have promised I will give to your offspring, and they shall inherit it forever.”’”
And then, the most amazing verse:
“And the Lord relented from the disaster that he had spoken of bringing on his people”
(Exodus 32:11-14 ESV).
What is going on here? Does Moses’ prayer convince God to change his mind by reminding God of something he had said, something that he had apparently forgotten about? Was God just having an off day? Had he forgotten to do his quiet time that morning?
Did Moses really change God’s mind? …Read More.
Reasons To Stay in the SBC: D. Scott Hildreth
During the Conservative Resurgence, I heard several people say, “I don’t care who wins this battle, I am going with the Annuity Board.” That comment always rang hollow. Now, don’t get me wrong, the older I get, the more I understand the need to protect retirement funds. But, that doesn’t seem like a reason to stay part of a denomination. In the face of current SBC conflict and crisis, people are asking questions about staying.
Should we stay with the Southern Baptist Convention? …Read More.
4 Truths to Remember When Identifying Spiritual Gifts: Meredith Cook
Personality tests are entertaining. It’s fun to take them in groups and laugh about the extreme parts of our personalities. I don’t necessarily think that these tests have an authoritative word on personalities and their implications, but they can be helpful in understanding general aspects of a person.
Personality tests, though, are pretty individualistic. I take them to find out how Ifunction; how I process information; how I relate to others. Sure, knowing others’ personalities may help me understand them better, but I didn’t take the test to find out about others’ personalities. I took it to find out about my own.
The culture in which we live celebrates individualism. That’s probably why we have personality tests in the first place. But what happens when believers apply this same attitude to our spiritual gifts? If we let the culture, rather than the Bible, inform our understanding of spiritual gifts, then what we get is just a baptized personality test. …Read More.
Most economists agree: The wealth gap in America has been consistently growing since the 1980s. The National Bureau of Economic Research released numbers in 2016 that showed that the wealthiest in our society, the top 1%, earn an average of 1.3 million a year, and the bottom 50% of our citizens earn an average income of $16,000. In fact, within the five most populated states in our country (New York, California, Illinois, Texas, and Florida), 48% or more of the students enrolled in public school live in poverty. For the first time in American history more poor people live in suburbs than in cities. …Read More.
Summer is upon us, so now is the time to plan your summer reading. As you craft your reading list, Intersect contributors would like to recommend some books. We’ll share their recommendations over the coming weeks.
This week, our contributors highlight books on power, motherhood, charity and the problem of evil by Andy Crouch, Chelsea Patterson Sobolik, Robert Lupton and Cornelius Plantinga. …Read More.
Teaching. Planning. Paperwork. Discipline. Meetings. Data. Testing. Such is the typical day for a public school teacher in America.
Today is Teacher Appreciation Day, which means we have a special opportunity to thank teachers and pray for them. I recently asked several public school educators how we can pray for them. Here are a handful of their responses. …Read More.