Life and Books and Everything
Life and Books and Everything

Episode 9 · 1 year ago

Season 1: Episode 8 - Tearing Down Statues, Kneeling During the National Anthem, the Imago Dei, Favorite Writers

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Originally released on June 16th, 2020, Kevin DeYoung, Collin Hansen, and Justin Taylor discuss the tearing down of statues, kneeling during the National Anthem, what it means that we're made in the image of God, their favorite writers, and how to avoid bad writing.

This is life and books and everythinghosted by Kevendiyan Justin Taylor in colinhanonreadings and salutationswelcome to life and books and everything. I'm Keven dyyoung Callin Hanson and theever mysterious, often glitchy, but never underestimated that right, just intailor justen areyou with us. I believe that I am Yes nises. They HA thirty for thirty ofUME TRYING TO CET into the network. What, if I told you a grown man in SouxCity, Iowa? Well, the network's run on eth and allthere isn't it Godfis ave been aesel lately, yeah,okay, so thirty for thirty speaking of have you got seen after the Jordan onedid you watch the Lancearmstrong or yesterday the h, the Mark Maguire SammySosa Colin? I was too busy trying to read books. So I'd have something tosay on this Podcastno I miss those anjusttive, no, no yeah after basketball and football. Myinterest in sports drops off considerably. In fact, I I think I wasunaware of macguire N Sosa when it was happening. Is How that that? No? No,that can't be true, I mean, if you told me, like those guys played. At the sametime, I would say what that's I didn't know that that's plausible, I was one of the greatest sportsstories of our generatos. Is it is the thirtyfor thirty about who did more steroids or is it about something else? It'sit's. It's actually not very much about steroids, but it's it's about the homerun chase in the summer of nineteen ninety eight and how that saved,baseball and H, the two guys were t y. They were, they were good to each otherand it was a feel good story and yeah it it's great and they they talkabout. It was all fake, but you know it's not fake. To hit a a baseball, Imean there was actually some I' Wax a little metaphysical at onepoint Mark Maguire. I don't know what sort of religious fate he did talkabout, the the man upstairs and that's usually a good st yetright, the Triterian man up stairs. He did say he said you know I feel,like God puts us on this Earth for a purpose and we spend a lot of life justtrying to figure out what that purpose is, and I knew from an early age. Theone thing I could do better than anybody was hit of baseball really far so there's some self awareness there, then his dealer said God put me on the planet, you androwhave they both admitted it or they both say like no, I just was taking vitamin B supplements and Soly Rubed,something on my Hampster ength and car. I thought was yeah. I I don't think Sammy has fullyacknowledged it, but Maguare did a few years ago. So this is s my question,how to which is relevant to what we're seeing in the world around us. How doyou guys think we should handle fallen heroes mean? Doyou think those guys should be in the the hall of fame? I is Lance Armstrong,as the documentary put it, is he a good person who did bad things or a badperson who did good things? What do we do when our Heroes Fall from grace? Do you think if you were to complicateeI'd say t at again, I know almost nothing about baseball but p rose is a harder example. Isn'the because Riai cheated at the game itself?And U know, there's some body doingsomething that didn't necessarily affect what he was doing on the field?Should he be punished for his accomplishments? I think it's that's aharder case than somebody like a sosao Maguire who cheated in such a way togive them a physical advantage that potentially others didn't have and it's hard because take those I meancertainly Maguire and bonds and Roger Clemens. They were all sure they wereall all of famers. They were all going to be all the FAMOERS and now they're,not because of what you know and the baseball is interesting, because it hassome language in in the voting that some sort of character claws orsomething so Colin. How do you think of it with sports or otherwise, heroes whofall from grace? We don't have any heroes, Tho aren'tfalling right. So I mean especially when we're looking theologically ifyou're looking for your Martin Luther Your John Calvin or Yor George, willwitfield er, Youre Jonathan Edwards to...

...be Proseng you're, going to have a lot ofproblems, it just isn't going to work and that's why we have Jesus the only?U, you know not fallen hero, so some of US Christians. We should be able todeal with that. I think specifically, though, when Ithink about baseball the tricky thing with baseball is that one reason why people are upset aboutit is because it's a historical sport if all of a sudden, some technologicaladvancement comes along that makes everything skewed all of a sudden. Thenew bassline is. Seventy home runs something like that. Then you just lose any ability to beable to compare somebody to e in different eras, except if you have touse you know, winsagain's replacement or abuz replacement. I should say, and-and things like that- you know compared to their appears, but I think that thechallenge for me with baseball and why have been against steroids- is that Ithink when, for the record against steroids, alsothere we go m. When you see somebody, do it in acompetitive environment like that, it really almost puts the burden ofresponsibility on everybody who doesn't do it and that just really messes up theentire sport, and so, while I understand that baseball has alwaysincluded elements of cheating. I also wonder there was a lot ofpushback to what the Astros did in terms of surveillance- and I thinkrightly so, and I think it's for the same reasons.If everybody else is using surveillance against you, then you feel like to becompetitive. I have to use it and nobody's going to cut you a break ifyou say yeah, but I was the only person who didn't use steroids or I was theonly person who didn't use, Um surveillance, and so I think it's justan important part of baseball being able to keep the plane field level. Now.Of course we can talk about football, where there's always been widespread,tolerance for performance enhancing drugs at some level, and they can partbecause we don't expect football to be a historic sport. We want our athletesto ever be bigger, faster, stronger and to be able to crush the men who camebefore them so thing part of it has to do with what you're talking about thereand some sports are easier to manipulate than others. Right,baseball's somewhat easy to manipulate, but I should say not in the ways we always think ofecause. You pointed out right there with clemens pitcheres were using tooso it wasn't just hitters. There were certain advantages for H for picters aswell yeah, and it doesn't, you know the argument. Is it doesn't help you tha? Ihave a better swing or help you with Handeye coordination, but certainly yousee the physical changes and it helps you endure a hundred and sixty twogames season and, as you said, baseball is unique because baseball is not nearly as popular asfootball or basketball now. But if you ask people you know who has the recordfor most points all time in basketball, they probably say: Isn'tthat Jordan? Well, no, Jordan was he now I don't know six seven, I don'teven know Ckareem. He still have the the point record. Lebrown might catchhim, but the the records in baseball are sacred. You know what I mean with homeruns in rbis and average and it gets lost it some of the savor metrics now,but that's why those numbers matter and the Lancearmstrung one too, I mean t Iit's a similar argument, though it was a wildwile West. Everyone was doing it,you had to do it in order to be competitive, wewre, just the ones whogot caught, but rather than just talk about sports just in what about historical symbols right now, as werecord this we're seeing around the world statues being toppled thrown intorivers, sometimes against the authorities, sometimes with the theblessing of the powers that be, how do we determine which of our heroes, all of whom areflawed? As we know, theologically still ought to have a place on our literal orfigurative pedestals yeah. That's a one of ten thousandissues where I would rather hear what you guys think and then I adjust mypoint of view of Fase Tufon your considered wisdom on such topics. Idon't have a fully formed theory or philosophy. When it comes topublic statues, I mean we have to acknowledge. I think whatColin said we there are nopyou o there's only one person who has walkedon earth who is worthy of? U, I can't say, building a statuebecause we're talking to a Presbyteriam here, but EAH knwhere, the worthy of you no movie and no TV shows Sholl, drow, twork or yeah another time.Can't even imagine him in your mind.

Yes, I mean we. We know that there'sonly one person who is perfect and worthy of infinite respect andeverybody else has fallen. Everybody else is problematic. everyody else hasclayfeet, it does seem like there are certain sins that disqualify someone from public honorand in subbolic representation and it's it seems to me that it would be hard tokind of open up your computer start a MicrosoftWord Document and enumerate what sins those are exactly and what sins arefine in what proportion it seems like you almost have to have a a case. Bycase basis, I mean we can all think of people that no matter what they mighthave accomplished in terms of h, science or progress or humanity did somany terrible things, whether of Aracist, nature or sexual nature. Thatthey're, just not it's, not helpful. It's not contributing to the commongood. There's always going to be disagreements on those. So I don't knowexactly how to sort through all of that. It's not Um Gin, say a black and white issue andI'm not intending to be Punne there. It just seems like one of those complexwas, I think there 're some that are easy cases and there's others where, ifyou can oppress me to have a fully formed theory of what? What is yourcriteria? What's in? What's out? What's acceptable sin o respectable sin andwhat is so problematic that it's is not worthy of being honored and thenit's different too. When you're talking about W, should we make a new statuefor person x Yrz, or should we tear down a statue for somebody that Wataready exists? So you guys tell me what to think and then we word to be somewhat case. By case I mean, I think,it's hard to develop a hardened fast rule for every single case, becausesome monuments, like we talked about last week, I'm very happy if staaues,I'm very happy for us to take down other ones, I'm very sad about goven Osthere any talk the're in North Carolina about Fort Bragg, Oh yeah, reall comeyet up. T yeah, there's a lot of talk about that yeah part of part of whatparty. What I'm trying to figure out here is that maybe, if somebody heresFort Bragg, they hear Oh famous confederate general Um, you know partof unifying the country or something like that. Well, somebody reads a lotof civil war, I'm thinking Raxton bragged and the southerners hated him.He was awful. He was terrible, basically lost all the time why in theworld will be name Aba a military base after him or John Bellhood Fort Hood inTexas? Does it make any sense at all? He was a terrible general. He got hisown men Massacre d. He Lost Tha Battle of Atlanta. He lost a battle ofFranklin and lost the battle in Ashville. It doesn't add up that's whatI'm saying on a case by case basis. I might stand in one case for a WinstonChurchill and say Yeah I get it he's, definitely not up to standard for ustoday, but certainly we we ought to be able to appreciate a lot of what he did.I can't really find anything in Brag or hood that we should be celebrating. Sodoes that mean if they were successful in attacking the? U S Army that we areworthy of honor. No, I'm just trying to evade that argument altogether to saysomething is strange here that we're not even celebrating successfulsouthern generals. We're celebrating unsuccessful hated southern generals,so it can't be about something of like nobility or popularity. It's got to besomething more. I don't know if they'd say insidious, but more just awkward,man that W we can't be Tau wwe're, definitely not talking about here, itssome sort of notion of southern honor. I guess is what I'm trying to get outthere, because these were not men who were held to honor, I mean t were notheld as honored figures even in their time, so something else is going onthere, it's confusing yeah, so it is very confusing. I think statues at at least statues. Well, it depends on where theyare. I mean you could have a museum that is solely the purpose ofremembering history and that's a that's a different discussion. I certainlydon't think we should erase our history as complicated and messy as it is attimes, but statues in you know prominent places and parks and inrotendas there's no doubt there they're honoring someone or something. So youknow some of the the questions I ask myself is: Is this person a hero withflaws? That's always true or is the cause for which this personis deemed heroic itself flawed. So someone who is heroic for a noble purpose, and yet it is discovered.I mean what was the statue in in the UK last week that was tornen out becauseuh...

...father, you know, was inmade money fromslavery, that that seems, you know fundamentalist in the truestsense of the word second degree of statue's separation. So might weconsider someone is honored and for the cause that was noble, Beit of scienceor humanitarian, some Wa, and yet some aspect of their character wassignificantly flawed. I think Justin's right the there there would be someaspects of character so flawed that would mitigate any other good of human flourishing. But then, ifwe look at as a Christian perspective, I think it gets even more complicatedbecause, while our whole, you know world largely, would agree that youknow racism or slavery or bigotry. I is sinful and is a significant characterof flaw as Christians. We know. That's not the only way to be dishonorable.That's not the only sin. So yes, what? If the the person had sins of anger or greed or sexual immoralitythan do we as Christians, insist that those persons ought to be no longerhonor, so it becomes very complicte, certainly you're right. It has to be acase by case basis. I think at least with t wit, the case of statues atleast there's some Claraty, that a statue is meant to honor someone. So wecan ask the question: Should this person be honored? What I find even amore frustrating and difficult conversation are the more ambiguoussigns. So the whole discussion about kneeling with the national anthem andthere's that's become it's own. Culture Warrior flashpoint for everyone h now, a fist, rase or kneeling, or allof these things have their their contexts where they mean something butther'r they can be so emorphous and they change with time andwhat someone first meant by them as lost, and then they become somethingelse, and someone else means h that I find them to be some of the not that people don't have legitimate,strong opinions, one way or another on some of those flashpoints. But I findthem to be the most h. They do the least for our publicdiscourse. They generate more heat than light, because what you mean bykneeling to the anthem is what someone else means by not kneeling vice versaor STA, so it becomes very complicated and I think it's not usually a very profitablediscussion with those more ambiguous signs. How do you see it? Justin Yeah? I think that the flag, one is onethat W. I don't hear, people in my circles or church or neighborhoodtalking about statues and about uh military bases the flag. When I'msurprised, when I hear that come up, just the I'm not so deeply embeddedinto our American psyche and to family members and to veterans that that it it's not even sort of for somepeople, a matter of debate but inherently you know a college studentwho does that Co Collin and I were at the Nebraska northwestern game, fewNebraska players knelt. We didn't even realize it to we, I ver ot in the newslater Um I mean you have powers that be in thestate of Nebraska, saying that the students should be expelled from theteam. I mean not even hey. Here's an idea, here's a suggestion. It's such aan emotional flashpoint, so t that to me feels like a debate where thesieverything has symbolism, but the symbolism of the flag with that meansto people deep down is not just a respectful sign. It's I mean peopletalk as if they were committing treason, an enough itself and it's hard. I itseems to me like the flag, should re be respected. I mean we were all kindergarteners in the midwestlearning to stand and haveher hand, Oer, ards and Sav the pledge of alleginceevery morning when you have that ingrained and you and it's hard toseparate that out from Truth and righteousness and goodness and justiceand Apple Pie, and especially if the person kneeling and it's and it's Morto bit, but they say no, I do respect all that. I respect our military.Here's. What what I mean is, of course, I'm going no kneel, becauseI think that the country is guilty of injustice and if you don't kneel, thenyou're complicit somehow in that injustice or you just don't get it well. That's why I think, is itpossible? I mean that we can agree respect the military respect the flag.Be Patriotic. Injustice is bad. I know...

...that's so simplistic, but it becomesthis absolute zero, some game. The only wayit seems like my point can be made is if your point is not made, and that isgoing to lead to greater in greater consternation in our country of a dangerous kind. Have you guys everstudied the the history of the American flag in Church worship, R inconcreational worship? When did it come in yeah? I I I neverhave. I would love for somebody alert to somebody who runs an evanjocalhistory blog, maybe maybe our friend Timy Kid iwuld love toknow the history of. When did the American flag START TO APPEAR INCHURCHES? Mi'd just be interested too, thatHristian flag cm F. I think I've Si Zampian Mossels Paul, designed that one Paul designedit yeah yeah okayall right different different topic. One of thethings that Justin suggested early on this podcast off air was maybe from time to time. Wewould discuss a theological topic. We're going to get to books, be ourthird segment, but there aren't many podcasts just trying to give some goodtheological discussion on important theological topic. So I thought we'dspend a few minutes and you'll see the relevance here, but talk about theAmago Day. You say in Latin. You sound, really cool the image of God. Just in where do we see this in theBible? What does it mean? What is thi significance of being made in the imageof God? Yeah we get the image of God in thefirst few chapters of t e book of Genesis, and God tells us the Tihe, created man andwoman in his own image. Um Genesis, one twenty six, let us make men in ourimage after our likeness and then he talks about the dominion that they'resupposed to have over fish and birds and lifestock, and thenvers. Twenty seven SESA got created man in his own image. In the image of God,He created him male and female, He created them and then God blesses them tells them tobe fruitful and to Multipli fill earth have dominion, and we see it picked up in the New Testament in termsof the image of Christ that we are to be conformed to the image of Christ inthe Book of James tells us that we should not curse a fellow human being,who s is created and God'St Image, so it seems like I, I think I first read it in JackCollins work on genesis where he haddenfive three kind of big pictureviews of of how schoars have tried to sort through what we mean by the imageof God and he's got a nice little alliteration and as a a baptistfriendly contributor. Here I like a three letter alliteration, so manresembles God, man represents God, and then man in relationship with God. Soon the one hand you have the view of image of God is about man resembling who, God is h. Thesecond one is more, representing God, representing what God does rulingcreation on behalf of God and then the third one often associated with CarlBart, has man in relationship in terms of male and female, so m in terms ofGod and and others. So my own view is that all three Ar ar pres in the textand the representation, the relationship are really a consequenceof the first one, which is more onthological that that man is toresemble in some sense, not God, physically of course, but morally, sowe we objectively have the image of God, and then we lose something at the falland seek to regain it in Christ, but there's another aspect thatigologically doesn't change, that we represent and resemble God, even if weare unregenerate and M, despite ourselves, we are still made in theimage of God. That's good, this great summary, Colin wh. What would you say? Why is it important doctrine for us? I was going to say a loo Wa Justin saidso he stole my material, which is not very, not very helpful there. A lot of what I like to do doctrinallyis to be able to put it within its historical context, its reception, itsdevelopment over time, and specifically, I think it's so interesting here thatwhen you're you're preaching through you're teaching through Genesis, oneit's going to land on different people...

...in different ways in different times,so specifically, I think about the revolutionary effect of of of female being made in the image ofGod and what that would have meant in so many different ancient c ancientcultures, including Roman culture of the early church, and how revolutionarythat would have been. But our own church ran through genesis this yearand you guys probably won't be surprised to know that there was adifferent aspect that was super controversial in our church about thispassage, and it was that there are categories of male and female. The Godcreated two categories: two sexes, male and female, both mame image of God, nota spectrum, but two male and female. I don't think that would have beencontroversial to the Romans. Don't think it would have been controversialto the Hebrews, but to the twenty first century West, your require a differentRoma reer Colin, your statue with that remark. That's right! Oh, my goodness! So yeah I mean that'sUm, just th t! That's what I think about the Development Adoctrin is why Ithink preachers when they go through and we've done, genesis a couple ofdifferent times in our church when you go through it's you're gong to have differentthoughts in your head, you're going to have different needs in yourcongregation, and so the image of God is a foundational doctrine that willpay pretty remarkable dividends in terms of its application in a widevariety of situations, and so any doctrine I mean we we produced lastyear, a curriculum with lifeway at the Gosipel Coalition, written by writtenby Mike Cosper, called Amagoday and part of what we were looking at was theway it can unify such desperate, well, situations that are disperate in ourpolitical environment, but ought not to be publically speaking. Things like thedignity of of people made an Imajagad of every tribe tongue and nation andthen also at the same time, including those Um, the weakest among us, those children inthe room and also people at the end of life, and things like that, so adoctrine that can be applied to racial unrest and to abortion and at the sametime to cove it and how we care for the elderly. I mean that's, that's a reallyimportant and helpful doctrine that I think, deserves a lot of emphasis, andI think I mean I I don't know can you're the expert here. I don't want toput you in a position Hovt to play historical theologian, but I wonder,has this doctrine always been appreciated? The same way has alwaysbeen seen, or is there any times in history when it's kind of come to thefour in any particular way, I'm not sure yeah, it's changed quite a bit. Idon't think in ways that are have to be mutually exclusive, but you know a lot of the reformationtheologies n. They don't spend as much time on the image of God as morecontemporary theologies May. With all of these issues in mind, and therecertainly has been a significant shift toward the relational aspects of theimage of God so, for I think most of church history, the emphasis H,certainly through a qiness and many of the reformers, would have been on thestructural aspect of being made in the image of God and t would have seen thatto be in the image of. God is to to be rational, to be a free moral agent tohave the capacity for worship, and I I don't think we should completely losethat, though there are dangers there. What if you know I is, Iis a human person who um is of such an impairment or such an agethat they don't at least display those bilities for rational thought. Are theyno longer made on the image of God w? We would want to answer that question.No, they still are made in the image of God. So whereas it used to be what distinguishes us from the animals, it's moved more toward than toward thefunctional. What it is that we do tha the ruler aspect. We Have Dominion andnow, given our time more towar, therelational aspect that we are, that we have we're reflection and a connectionof God. That's what it means to be made in the image. I think there's somethingto all of those. I think we have to be careful wit if, if we go back to thestructural image for those reasons, but we can certainly overemphasize- that'salways good to be aware of our own time and proclivities to overemphasize therelational aspect, to the detriment of view on another R I'd, say the image ofGod as rectitude, that is as as moral uprightness. One of the the recent books on theimage of God by a Professorat Trinity International is titled Dignity andDestiny that the image of God. I gives...

...us dignity as human beings, and it also points to our destiny. Whatwhat is God's intention for us as human beings? Actually th the Amago Day ismuch less precisely defined in scripture than we would like, and whereas the emphasis on dignity iscertainly true and you can go to Psalm Eigt, what is man that remindful of himand just the order of creation where the crown of creation, all of thatabout dignity, is true and significant? Yet it's not mainly what the Biblestresses when it talks about the image of God and looking back through the NewTestament, we have to say, there's a difference between us made in the imageand likeness of God, but we are not the image of God. That is Jesus. Christ isthe image, so our our destiny, the intentionality God, created us towardthe end that we would be like his son. So the image of God is not just a static thing that you have, butit's what you're to grow into. That's, why? I think, if we're really to teachpeople robustly the significance of the imageof God, we need to tell them yes, this means you have intrinsic worth andvalue as a person, no matter how small, no matter, your age, no matter yourmental acuity, no matter of your skin color and at the same time it alsospeaks to God's intention for your life that you are to be renewed in the imageof Christ to become more and more like him. So Y, you can say the image of God.An one. Senseis is alone that we squandered. It's also a giftthat we retain. It's also a deposite that God wants to see mature and then it's an inheritancethat we're going to receive in fullness for Christians a at the endof time. So it says something about who we are and just, as importantly, itsays something about who we ought to be made in the image of God, any otherthoughts. Justin. I think that's really helpful to tolayout, and it is, I think, a truism of theology that ifyou emphasize one aspect to the exclusion of the others, you often endup in theological even ethical problems there.So I really like how you laid out that multiorbed way of thinking about it,because it's tempting those of us who are pro life to so emphasize the objective image ofGod and and to see it only of something that is static and rather thansomething dynamic. I I think there's something laudable and somethingimportant about that. But if you only kind of bring that construct to the pages of scriptureonce he gets a New Testament d you're talking about, I conformi to the imageof Christ and the son being in the image of the father, I think you just don't have categoriesthin to have a a more robust biblical theology of image of God, an in theancient Near East. They, the the king, the Susaran, would put an image of hislikeness in his land and it was to represent that this belonged to him. Itwas to indicate that this is his possession. He Has Dominion over it,and so we are placed in the world to say this belongs to God. This belongsto the one in whose image we are made and he has given US dominion over. I dothink it's important and countercultural whatever good there. There can be inenvironmentalism, or certainly in stewardship of God's creation, a lot ofimportant things there. The Bible is unapologetically. It is not a abiocentric text in the sense of just life generically it is ananthropocentric text. Now it's Al l, it's more than that's Atheosin tric,it's God, but the the crown of his creation is man, and we are stewards ofthis creation in a way that supports the flourishingof human beings. That can be abused, and you say we're Gong to just you know,pillage the earth, because it's good for somebody's bottom line. That wouldbe an abusof the doctrine and yet it's important for us. If we do believe thatmen and women are the crown of God's creation and that the story line ofScripture is not ultimately about the newts or the salamanders or the trees,we believe that all of creation is renewed, but it's those things pulledinto the redemption of all things as they long for the revealing of the sonsof God to be redeemed. There is a profound, anthropercentric h...

...reading of the text that I think isreally the the way that the Bible story is told, with humanity and God'sredemption of it at the center of the text colony last word before I bring ussisome books, you don't hear too often about genesis,nine, six anymore, one of the applications of the image of God, Licapital punishment yeah. Well, I was ju I waiting to get into that wholeargument, but Kevin. What would just give a brief explanation for m? That'sone of the first immediate applications and just to your point right therekilling man is not the same thing as killing an animal God has differentexpectations. Different requirements there in Genesis is first chapteras therereat three turning points. You have reiterated the image of God, which issignificant, because we don't you, don't hear a lot about it in the restof the on testimate. So if theyare inGenesisoan, it's there in Genesis, five and then it's again in Genesis, nine byman's blood y been shed so that because you are made in the image ofGod, so you face capital punishment. I I do believe capital punishment isbiblical. Now t can always debate on. Is it carried out in a way that isequitable and and fair, but as a PRINCIPL, it's imminently biblical andit may seem counter intuitive. But it's because human life is so valuable. Theargument of Chepternight in the image of God, that the punishment for thosewho unjustly snuff it out is for themselves to lose their life. That isone way to uphold. The honor of the image of God in man is to say this isso sacred that you face the supreme penalty if you deface it in this such aserious way- and I alluded earlier to the book ofJames, but it's James, three, nine where he says about the tongue. We wecwe bless our Lord and father and with the same time, we curse people who aremade in the likeness of God and he doesn't elaborate, but I think the theimplication there is what in the world are you doing cursing? Somebody who isis an image bear, so you have not only genesis, nine, with ethicalimplications of the image of Gud, but also James, three, nine, where itimpacts how we should talk and how we should look at a fell, oke, human beingthat they are image bearers and therefore that has ethical implicationsupon how we talk and about how we act and how we treat other people great good, okay, Yours whet we'redoing now, as we transition to books. There's no Segua, it's not related, butthis is a topic that three of us have talked about before. Some recordingsomewhere and the gypsin mind somewhere is is our previous discussion aboutthis topic and we're going to revisit it several years later, but we're all readers we're also all writers, and we alsoread a lot of writing some. That is good. Some. That is not so good. I wantus to talk about good writing. Maybe we'll talk aboutsome bad writing, but the entree into this discussion and let's limitourselves to this question- think about Christian writers of nonfiction. Give me some of your let's say: Favorit, I ont say whoyou think are exceptionally and the skill of writingnow, hopefully they're also what they're saying is good, but goodChristian, because there's a difference between someone who may be have a lotof good insights, but somewhat workmen like or sort of writing that doesn'treally soar but is still helpful and technically, you know very useful,somebody's disortation or something but good writing and, while you're thinkingof that one of the reasons I think this is soimportant is I'm of the conclusion that good writingis one of the most underappreciated aspects of what makes a Christianclassic become a Christian classic. So one of my answers is certainly ceus.Lewis, he's not the most influential personfor me like he is, for you know one of the imost influential people for apiper or a Keller, but I certainly learn for, but he's undeniably a verygifted writer and there's a reason why generations later people still readmere Christianity, which began as a series of radio addresses, because it'ssuch good writing the way he talks about a poached egg and the way he llays out liar lunatic or Lord. It's good writing. He doesn't just say really pedantic like now listen. Thereare three options that we may have when we consider Christ. First of all, hemay be a liar. Second of all, that may...

...be a fine for a lecture, but he writesit in such a way that it's very good writing an, and I think one of thereasons we keep coming back to certain authors is they have such a punch and avitality to it, and we don't always insist upon it in our own day. But it'sa very underappreciated overlooked aspect of what makes a good nonfictionChristian book and that's the quality of its writing. So Colin, who would yousay, past or present, are some very good Christian writers inthe writing itself? That is a good good question. I need togive myself a little bit more time to think about it thoroughly, because I don't, I think people get confused asto what they mean by good writing. So you've done a good job of laying thatout. Sometimes, I think people imagine that it's being very colorful M or thatit's being ornate or there's being kind of complex of what we imagine to beliterary right, anl prose Youre over at the top yeah and there's and there'ssome people who can pull that off and there're some people who imitate it andcan't pull it off um I will this is. This is off the top of my headand I can give this more thought, but the people I tend to appreciate are theones who right in such a way that in ga I mean Iforget that I'm reading, I guess, is what I'm I'm getting at there. I forgetthat I'm reading I'm just I'm drawn into it, and I'm going to mention two colleagueswho I think do this really well, so I'm going to talk contemporary and maybe Ithink it over a little bit more and come back to historical ones, but twohundred and they real din I mean come the don't have to R er. Its is a long preface to say youguys, Um, I'm gong, to mention Sam alburry and mattsmitherst Um Matt does not um publish enough hintmat Um. Listening to this podcast, the man is a genius at twitter. WE GET T B,t the reason he's a genius at twitter is because he he has a sense for whatis going to cut through the noise. He knows how to. He is one of the bestwriters. I know a communicating popular information or at least communicatingat information at a popular level and W we've got him working behind the scene,so anything that you appreciate at TGC he's edited Um, but that is really oneof his amazing gifts and you can see it come out in his sweets. You can see itcome out elsewhere, um, but that's that's mat and then Sam Um Sam, has such an interesting compellingstory that you might think he would fall into the trap of Memoir and that'snot always a bad trap. It can often be really good but SAM. I just I just get engrossed intohis presentation of a topic. I G get drawn into his world of ofunderstanding. Neither one of these guys mean the kind of work that I amtrained in and that I write is is basically journalistic. So I'm not anexpert in in literature and things like that, but that kind of journalisticcommunication and those two guys are absolutely excellent at doing that andI' I'll throw another one, and this is go, it's goingno sound a its, not Imean like a anyway. You know backhandy Ol, justcomplementing people I work with, but Megan Hill is also exceptionally goodas a writer when it just comes to simple clarity- and maybe that's whatI'm getting at that. I think the point of writing is to be able not always butto be able to teach to be able to persuade and to be able to illumine atopic, and those are three riters who consistently do it well, Um and butthey're not going to win awards as as being like best rider because theydon't seem to fit the criteria that, like a festival on faith and writing,or something like that, might look toward right. Just in what D Yeu Say yeah, I think it's a great question andthe three of us are thinking about this all the time I mean just by the verynature of our jobs and being writers and being editors and being readers. So from the past. I know that J Ipacker is still alive. Ati'll categorize him as sort of a twentiethcentury evangelical figure, m packer is a great writer and a distinctive writer he's got a voice.He's got a style, a style that would be...

...very difficult, I think, to imitate,but he's a bit likes s Lewis. I think in th, in his in his clearity, in hisuse of imagery in his use of just the right word in his use of Syntax. That is not always predictable.It never seems like Heis showing off or trying to be Cte or trying to be clever. Our pastor at our church tust startpreaching an efhusion, so I picked up a couple of Efusians commentaries and Hgot off Amazon, John Stots Opusian's commentary. This been dipping into itand you just have to read like one sentence of stog or one paragaph torealize. Like every word matters, everything's clear you don't read asentence and say now: What did you mean by that or I have to reread thatsentence? You never have to reread a sentence YEU's just unbelievablystraightforward and clear, and you get the sense that he's he's redand enormous amount, he's thought an enormous amount, and then I think oneof the signs of good writing is that it just seems effortless you imagine theseguys, just kind of sitting down and just kind of flowing. Just not usuallythe case. I think clarity is is at the foundational level you can.You can do lots of fancy things. You can wild people, but if you're notclear you're, not a good writer, and we can, we could do a whole pog guestepisode on academics, who have international reputations forbrilliance and can't figure out what they're saying or you feel like. You'vegot. Ta have a PhD in order figured out or pastors who are great preachers whocan't write. They might be very clear in the pulpit, but they cannot be clearon the page or on the ater rand. So that is so important and it goes bothways. Just pastors half I Hammer Thi tomyself and to my students it is a very different means of communication and you can be a good writer and if youwrite and then you you preach from that and you've written for the eye, itsounds very stilted and if you just turn preaching into pros, that's whatLoyd Jones did and he he had very strong convictions that he wanted tosound like sermons and they do sound like sermons and he editd his books. Sothat they're readable and we benefit from them, they work because he was such a goodpreacher, but as writing they're very repetitive and they're they're not going to winliterary masterpieces, but they seve the force and the punch of a sermon. Iwas going to add to the list. Certainly gk Chesterton mean he was his books are like a streamof twitter. Before there was twitter, I mean it. Just almost every sentence issome epigramatic, it's just sometimes it's almost too much. You think thatsounds better than than maybe what it says, but Orthodoxy, the everlasting man I meanhis mystery. He was, he was very gifted with the turn of the phrase. There's awit there there's a way. Ioyumi would necessarily be characteristic of even alot of the favorite writers that I have, who are very clear. It's hard to beclear and witty. It's like try again like trying to be funny in the pulpit.You can pull it off great most people can most people can't you know Contempora. I Carl Truman is avery good writer. He seems to do it quickly, effortlessly. I think H,Russell more can really write with a power, an an eloquencebehind it. I Find David Wells. Oh great is really a very good writer,theological social commentary. If you haven't read David Wells, read DavidWells Kevin is the reason that I like wells so much. I don't read a lot ofSYSTEMAC theology and I find it very difficult intedious in many cases, BatI'll read anything from wells is that just because I love how he fitstogether. Culture, history, sociology theology, together infuses it I've,assuming that's the case or is it a writing thing with him? It's both N andBritish British by way of Africa Norivi, but he's he gives you the payoff and we needboth of those kinds right. We need that the very technical systemanic theologythat I find invigorating, that's what that's one of my jobs, but you need thekind that are giving you the pay off and you need the RC sproll that aregiving you as clear as possible. I think JC ryle from the nineteenthcentury for clarity and simplicity, is a verygood writer Calvin. Of course, it's hard wheneveryou're dealing with somebody through a translation, not reading Kelvin, an theFrench and in the Latin, but he was an accomplished Rhetoritian and his styleis much easier and much more eloquent thanin Edwards might be, and then I mean...

Don Carson is a very good academicwriter and has the ability to write. You know world class commentaries thatyou're still underlining and have a little bit of his you know, personalityand humor and put downs come through and his popular stuff is is wellwritten. So you know we'regoing to do a podcast at some point of Don Carsonbook endorsements we will and W will don. If you ever listen to this one, Idon't know why you are but too go'l waste your time. Yeah, don't waste yourtime. You know finish the commentaries w. We Need Hem, they're, so they're. Sowell done. You guys both read a lot of writing andI'm not asking you to UN to reveal trade secrets. But you read bad writing you get from fromsubmissions, maybe from people whose, by the time we see them. It's goodwriting because you've worked your magic. What are some of thecharacteristics of the bad writing that comes across your Desk Justin? I think the first thing that comes to mind isreally what Collin was saying earlier, and this is in terms of t effect. Thisis not in terms of the technical things Um, but when I'm looking at a proposalI'm reading something I mean this is not a published book, so everyoy outthere who is listening. Ninety percent of what you're reading is, it's alreadybeen vetted. It's been published whether it's online or it's in anewspaper or it's a published book, so we'rereading a lot of unfiltered things that you know maybe we're the first peoplereading it and there is such a distinct difference between being carried alongand feeling like. You have to push a law. You know the difference betweensaying supper's ready and I need to get goinghere, and I really don't have time to do this, but I could just do one morepage or one more paragraphor, I'm almost done Veres. I just this is like a painful to work. My way through this orI have to keep pushing my way forward, so good writing is like when you'rewalking through an airport and you get on one of those magical, little movingsidewalks and you're walking, but it's kind of carrying you twice as fastother writing is like pushing your luggage through the airport. So I C S Lewis talked about a good writers like a shee hurger andthe reader is going to get like a sheep beard off the road one way or the other,and you didn't need to make them go where you want them to go. I thinkthat's one thing Um, I think lack of clear thinking is another one you youcan have all the all the bells and whistles, but if youweren't thinking logically and building your argument in such a way that yourterms are clear that the steps actually follow that they're supported byevidence a lot of times, people people will notlike writing, but they don't know how to identify. What's wrong with it, andhopefully that's where an editor. I can help and say here's here's what you'redoing wrong. You might be writing things so much in the passive voicethat it feels like things are happening to the subject and the subject isn'tactually doing things. So lack of clarity, I think, is a huge part of it.Lack of imagination, lack of Um the empathetic mind where you're, puttingyourself in the mind of the reader, who has not been thinking about thissubject for years and years in hasn't, read everything that you have read. Those are some of the things I thinkthat can go wrong for writers. Just in what what percentage this it could be aquestion for you to Collin I'll. Let you answer the first question as well,but can you put a percentage on w the workthat comes to you? It all needs to be edited the bestwriters I mean see U Sluis or who said Kno, there's! No writing, there's onlyrewriting most. Everyone is always editing. Part of great writers know howto edit themselves what percentage comes to you and is you know it'salready really good and you need an editor to fix some typos and make a fewsuggestions and what percentage of it needs a lot of work. Yet in the sausagefactory yeah. That's a great question. I don'tknow exactly how to quantify it. I think, most of the time the proposals that weare greenlighting. We are happy enough with them that it's you know they needsome massaging and they need uh some help and working through it. It wouldbe much more rare that we would receive something it would say. You know thisis a really great author, a really great subject, but it's going to Leneed a lot of developmental work, and I would I would put that more in the afive percent category. Perhaps but there's a huge spectrum between thatand something that you know has just...

...been menticulously copyedited before weeven see it and even something like that. That can be technically free fromTypos. That doesn't mean that the argument holds together, there's notweaknesses or undistracting elements to it. Collin, you probably see morewriting in a very raw state w whatwhat is badwriting look like in? How often are you and your editors havingto do a lot of work to get things presentable? Well answer the latter question. First,we don't I learned years ago when I was the news. Editor t Christianity todaythat you just don't have enough time and journalism to be able to rewritepeople's work. So if something comes in and it's unusable, you're better off just cutting andgoing somewhere else also, interestingly, you might often think that somebody's proximity to an issue iswhat will make them good at presenting something b t the fact. There's goodwriters can do just about anything, whereas somebody who is an eye witnessor some sort of an expert in something. Does it not mean that they can do agood job of talking about it? So so we don't do I mean if something comes inand is totally unpresentable, we don't really do a lot unless that person we wouldn't rewrite something.Certainly, unless that person is the only one who can tell that story,they're the only one that you know that their name attached to it is what makesit work M. Those are rare occasions, but usually we're we're trying to cutwe're, trying to simplify we're, trying to use active voice, we're trying tohelp with organization. There are a couple tips I want to share when itcomes to to bad writing. I think the I think the major challenge is that is organization. Organization of yourthoughts is why books are harder than blog posts, and things like that. So Um there's a reason that, with the amountof volume that's published on the Internet today, you see so manylisticals, also q and a it's because it's a foolproof formula or fororganization and almost anybody can write.Introduction point four points, three points, something like that. Almosteverybody can do that Steven wise to make your marriage better exactly playto walk my dog yeah. Exactly so, and also it's not only is it help withorganization, but it's easy to browse in the Internet is a browsing medium inmany cases and also it's just people kind of know exactly where they'regoing ind the article so they'l they're more likely to click eye in the firstplace and then the the qn a format is just really easy. Ask You a questionyou answer and they keep it short there. The difficulty comes in the longer itgets, and you know, certainly when you come into books and things like that,that's where the writing kind of the wheat n, the chaff, will be separatedin that process. So yeah I mean way more than half the battle isorganization, well one having something to say and then to organization. Ifyou', if you've achieved those two things you're just about there, the rest of itand editor can help you with. But H I mean bad. Writing is going to come intoplace where somebody doesn't have anything to say and if they did havesomething to say they don't know how to organize it in a way that they can.That other people can latch on to so, but thankfully one benefit to being aneditor where we publish a lot of material is that if people want to knowhow to get published with us, they have a standard that they can lookat and they can know if it doesn't match that standard, then why wouldthey be submitting it to us? And it reminds me of how you know: I've paid a lot of money tostudy journalism in college and got into a magazine class in my last yearmagazine, Writing Class. Remember magazines when they were around Um andthe professor said all right, I'm going to tell you the secret read and imitateyeah, read and imitate okay, so find whatever somebody canhelp. You understand is good writing and then do that and then find somebody to tell you howbad you are and don't compare to that and then keep trying it's very hard. Imean it's, they do gro just for anybody listening those wentby quickly, but they're really really important a Goono. I I was going toagree with thim that I I am always trying to find a way tohelp people right better. I do a a lecture for one of my classes on onwriting and I tell my student says I don't knowwhat other professor say, but for your your final paper, I am going to gradeyou on writing. I know there's some that just say I just want to see youget the content and say no. What does...

...it matter as a pastor? If you havecontent and you can fill in the blank on a test? That's fine to Tesh you forknowledge. I want to know how you can communicate this, so I'm a sticklerwith word, acounts and Coun surprised by that, becausewe're now past an hour here, but it is important for writing. I tell them. Iwill not reach your paper if it's over. You know two thousand words, fivehundred words, because you need to learn how to say it and to say in aspecific allotted time, it's very difficult to teach people how to write, and youknow about the best Adviceis, just what you guys said read a lot and write alot. If you're not reading a lot, you won't pick up vocabulary and tricks andthings that you just it start to imitate, and if you don't write a lot,so I tell people if you're, when you're writing try to write well, I use punctuation and emails intaxeven in Christmas letters whenyou're writing practice writing. Well. I think I agree with all what you said:clarity as King Organization. I'd also add that in bad writing the writerexpects the reader to do the work to to bridge the gap. So I find that I a lotof writing lot of students. Writing thin. You used almost the right word.That's almost the right preposition and I know what you mean to say, but you'remaking me stop and think about it. I'm sure this is what you're trying to say,and rather than like justice it getting on the people mover, so that it's veryclear what you're saying and it's it's easy for me to understand from atechnical standpoint. I'm sure you know his editors cutting words. Yomurderyour darlings, simplify h helps in often people put weak verbs at the endof their sentences. Instead of saying you now Colin ran tothe bank, one of the things that is often trueabout can is that he and you put the is, or the Waz after a big huge set up.That doesn't need to be there and put your verb at the very end. So there'slots of technical help. We can give people, and yet it really is a matterof reading a lot and writing a lot and it's to serve one another. It reallydoes serve. It helps communicate truth, as Christians were in the truthbusiness and to have our own voice have er own style is certainly helpingcommunicate the truth last question: Do you have off the top of your head anygood books, you'd recommend on writing. OK, I'll! Give you two 'cause. I knowas he ask the question: There's lots of them out there, but strunken whiteelements of style. That's an old classic, and I know some people hatethat book because of it, but I had to read it in college. In fact, I had aprofessor who said it was just a religion class. He said you have toread this book, it's a little book on style and common writing mistakes. Hesaid, if I see more than five mistakes thing rules, your breaking fromstrunken white. I will hand your paper back. No, I'm not sure he actually didthat or who would want to be that tedious to go through and find those,but it it did, get the comm. The point. Ocross read this book: Pay Attention tothese rules and H: Try to imitate the good advice, another one that Ibenefited from writing tools by Roy Peter Clark. It's very well written!You know if you're going to write a book on writing it has to be wellwritten. He follows his example. He gives lots of examples of even his ownwriting in the book of how editors helped him make his voice more activeor shrink. The word count and there's lots of really pithy good advice,writing tools, roypeter Clark, Justin Books on writing that come to mind yeah one that comes to mind, is Helen'sswords, a writers' Diet, she's at of the University of ChicagoPress. I think publish the book and it's a short book. It has. I think it'sorganized around five ways to make your writing a more active and morecompelling and and more clear Soso youeven got a little writer's Diet,dotcom or something like that where you can enter your pros into a littlewindow and it will tell you based on her five metrics, where you're writinghis flats or flabby or or what have you Um Williams inser's on writing has aclassic that everybody refers to and is clear and is enjoyable, and he givesexamples. You know from even his earlier drafts of the book on how itcan be improved and how it can be edited H, Stephen King, I mean is Icalled onwriting. I can't remember what the exact idol is: Callin rthin thereis onwriting. Well right, do you...

...remember the name of the Kinglin? Ithink I'm writing good. I'm writing good er right more detter. If it's stepen king, it probably hassome profanity in it, but I remember reading it and just there there'scertain books that you read for kind of the technical proficiency or thenohowothe steps. Stephen King is a good one in terms of a stepping back and thinking morephilosophically in hearing somebody who just loves the writing process. UmBrian Gardeners got an APP a big book, but on American usage, modern Americanusage and any serious writer should probably have access to that APP ortalks about the the correct usage Um. So those are a couple I I would echowith the strunken wiy. Even if you move on from strunken white yesming, I didn't say earlier, you haveto know the the nuts and boats of grammar. It's like somebody going out and tryingto imitate Michael Jordan's, a crazy shot. If Michael Jordan didn'tknow how to do that, unless he learned the fundamentals and the grammar is thefundamentals of good writings of, if you don't know the difference betweenthe active passive way, you don't know how propositions work m. You don't knowabout. Subject Verb Agreement, you can be brilliant with metaphors.You can know a lot of things. You can have a lot of passion, but without thatkind of grammatical, Baseline Youre writing is just not going to be clearand communicate effectively. Galan any suggestions, you guys coveredem. I I prefer to read writing than to read about writing so, but you guyscover the ones that I would recommend. We just had one more quick thing tothat. Not only you guys have mentioned. Ithink the importance of you have to read good writing, but I'd also say if the next level beyond that is to figureout. Why is this an effective paragraph? Why does this sentence work? CollinsRight, you get into great writing. You're hartdly Eveng aware that you'rereading, Youre God being carried along, but if you could stop go back and saynow, why did that sentence grab you? Why could I picture that in my mind?What's the author doing there take it apart, see what techniques they'reusing see how they could have set it in a n, a more flat prosaic way. I I think,there's that's another level of seeing why a writer is good. Not just thathare good. I did a a blog post several years agoon the power of the poached egg, where I just pulled apart that paragraph fromC S Lewis and tried to explain Mer, Christiani why that works. Partly it'sthe metaphor. It's Aot Liar Lunatic. Lord and you'd be a madman on the levelof a poached egg. I mean that that's that's funnier and wittier than you'dbe a crazy man or even saying a Luni mean a poached egg. That's just a it'sgot a punch and it's funny I sit in there. You know he could have saidBeluga whale. I think that would have worked well, but there's certain thingsand you follow that paragraph. He varies from short to long sentences.One of the rules of thumb and good writing is the more the less seriousyour subject, the more playful you can be with it and almost show off yourwriting and the more serious this subject, the more you play it straightbecause the subject itself is carrying it forward. Lewis had a real knack forthat kind of sense, and above all this T, probably the most important thing isyou need to understand the difference between an MDASH in an endash back to that one. We are that well yeah.I mean it's hardly even worth reading those writers who who can't understandthe difference justabody listening C. How do you do that? Like I Microsoft wh, I mean? Is there like a shortcutout there 's like a a dash like the littledasdash space, but here's the thing. You know what I use word perfect. Wi use o perfect. Do all of my now useword because I xat a thing. I can't communicate with ittapl in the realworld, but I still use all of my sermons are on word perfect. It still exists. I still have a newversion and I believe it's better than word yes. Well. Well, I mean that'swords, not perfect. I mean, but we're ot word perfectin. Yes, who would you get do perfect a sponsorto this episode? Yeah then my tune would change. Anwe went for my wor newword or ER overlords. Have you ever used? Word Perfect, Colin, not sincethe eighties well at was in elementary school cow, even who even who owns wordperfect arou. I think I went form a typewriter toMicrosoft, ware and skipped over work. Perfect, Tha, Weclean, I'm pulling itup right now. You can't see it, but it's really. I got all my sermons onhere. Carai I wore perfect ete. I...

...probay need to get a new version. It'sgot some next time. T could be had whole episode. I could really tell yousome nil: do they also make like cliar different different people? Oh sodifferent than the office ehoh ill, Geta? Okay, I just Ye. We Ha. We have hit all of the high points.Thank you Justin. Thank you, Callin! Thank you for Justin's phone and hotspot for making this all possible. We look forward to Joany last thing if youmade it this far, just now were we're listening to the feedback that we'regetting from our legion of Listeners, and we are hoping to uh kind of launcha season two later this summer and have some improvements with some show notesand to get the books out there written down. So you don't have to befeverishly. Writing them down, maybe some time stamp. So you can skip overall the parts that you don't like or we're talking about things you findboring. We are hoping to re up for a two point, O so bare withus, as we go a couple of more weeks here in this season, one as we call itand then Lord Willing, as season to and will try to continue to improve thanksfor being with us, th next time of God. lorify him enjoy him forever and read.A good book see you next time.

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