John Starke

Our Secular Age edited by Collin Hansen

Our Secular Age edited by Collin Hansen

The premise of Our Secular Age doesn’t have strong curb appeal: evangelical Christians grappling with the contribution of a contemporary philosopher’s nearly 900 page tome. Despite the fact that one of my favorite authors, James KA Smith has been significantly influenced by Charles Taylor, I still have yet to pick up Taylor’s A Secular Age.

Despite the less-than-enticing premise, Our Secular Age is a book that should be broadly read by Christian leaders. Even for the reader (like myself) who has no first-hand experience with Taylor, his theses are laid out clearly and the wide-ranging impact of his thought is explored and at times critiqued.

Taylor’s central thesis is that the secular world is a world that has turned its focus on the self and lost its sense of the transcendent. Collin Hansen says that Taylor traces the beginnings of this age to Martin Luther: “Taylor faults the Protestant Reformation and modern evangelical Christianity for disenchanting the world and turning the focus on the self rather than on God through and turning the focus on the self rather than on God through shared religious rituals.”

This Week's Recommendations

This Week's Recommendations

1.       There Goes that Pesky Biological Reality Again: Matthew Hosier on when the trend toward progressive views on gender backfire, " It turns out that when it comes to health men and women are not the same. Contrary to popular opinion, men have a higher pain threshold than women (though older men feel pain more than younger men as their levels of testosterone decrease); women are more prone to knee injuries than men, because of the size of their pelvis; the male brain has more connections within each hemisphere while the female brain has more connections between the two hemispheres..."

2.       4 Reminders for the Weary Mom on Mother’s Day: You are loved, moms! These are healthy reminders. I love this one: “You are exactly the mom they need… Long before you actually had children, even before you rocked a baby doll and pretended to be a mommy, God knew the children He would place in your life. He could see what kind of mom you would be. Our God is not a random god. His works have purpose and meaning, and even before He made you a mother, He shaped you for motherhood. This motherhood.”

3.       How an Ancient Pagan Roman Saved an Atheist: John Woodbridge shares his story of deconversion, and then God's rescuing hand in his life. He shares the pivotal moment of his life, "Like a thunderbolt, the idea struck me that Jesus might very well have existed and walked this earth. After all, I reasoned, Tacitus was no Christian propagandist and had nothing to gain in reporting a myth... As I read the statement by Tacitus, it dawned on me that if Jesus had existed, it had potentially huge implications... Could it be that Jesus not only existed but that his message was true after all?"

4.       Godly People are Happy People: My friend John Starke reflects on this truth, " The longer I live as a Christian the more it becomes apparent that the holy life — a life lived with a conscience before God — is a happy life. Sadly, it takes some misery to see it. Sin not only offends God, it disrupts the Christian’s communion with God and forces him to sense his Maker’s displeasure."

5.       Why Raising Your Children to be Independent is a Bad Idea: Bob Kauflin reflects on why raising your children to be independent is a fool's errand, "...I began to consider the adults I respected. They didn’t do things on their own... Then it hit me. The most mature people in my life were not those who belittled the input and counsel of those around them, but those who welcomed and even pursued it. Their awareness of their weaknesses caused them to seek out other eyes and perspectives. That realization shed new light on our parenting goals."

6.       Billions of Birds Migrate. Where Do They Go? This graphic-rich National Geographic article is a must read even for those, like myself, who don't have a particular interest in birds.