Listening In: Paul Gould


WARREN SMITH, HOST: Paul, welcome to the program. I’ve just got to tell you, I’m a big fan of your book Cultural Apologetics. And I’d like to start our conversation with that book. First of all, can you define cultural apologetics? I think a lot of our listeners might be familiar with the word apologetics, but what do you mean when you say cultural apologetics? 

PAUL GOULD, GUEST: Okay, yeah. Great. Thank you. It’s great to be here, Warren. Yeah, so cultural apologetics, it’s interesting. About five years ago at the seminary I was teaching that I was asked to teach this course called cultural apologetics, and so I did what any educator would do at the time. You know, I’m a philosopher primarily, and I do a lot in the area of apologetics. So I Googled the phrase cultural apologetics because I had that very same question you did. And you know, I found very little at the time. There was some people that had mentioned that phrase, but there was really very little there.

So what I did for the next five years, every time I taught that class, I would assign seven books on culture and the gospel and apologetics and work those out in seven different ones. And over the course of about five years of teaching, I finally came up with my own definition. So here’s my own view of what cultural apologetics is. It’s basically this: working to establish the Christian voice conscience and imagination so that the gospel will be viewed as reasonable and desirable. So in other words, as a cultural apologists we’re concerned with how the gospel is being perceived and how it’s being heard, or actually even if it is getting a hearing in our culture. So we care about how ideas work in culture and we care about the culture-shaping institutions of the world, and we care about how the gospel is being perceived at the level of individual lives. And so that’s what we’re doing in Cultural Apologetics

SMITH: Now, some folks might be familiar with the word or the phrase pre-evangelism. Is there any relationship between that, which I think may come from folks like Francis Schaffer and what you’re talking about? Or are you really talking about something completely different? 

GOULD: No, I think pre-evangelism could be helpful. It’s more than pre-evangelism. So the idea is, to even drill down a little bit more, you know, part of what the job, the task of the cultural apologist is to understand the culture we find ourselves in. Identify starting points, kind of like Paul did in Acts chapter 17 and then build a bridge from our culture to the gospel, responding to objections along the way. And so it’s more than pre-evangelism. It’s interesting. In some ways, this is basically how I view apologetics. You know, that the gospel is never proclaimed in a vacuum, right? There’s a collective mindset of our culture. There’s a collective conscience of our culture. There’s a collective imagination of our culture and all of that informs whether or not people will even view the gospel as plausible or implausible, desirable or undesirable. So, yes, pre-evangelism is part of it because we care about the soil where the seed is sown. But of course it’s more than that. It’s how do we build a bridge from this, the culture we find ourselves in to Jesus and the gospel as well. 

SMITH: You said something, Paul, in that answer that I want to ask you to say more about, and that is the idea of whether the gospel is plausible or implausible in a culture. That notion of plausibility is one that has been explored a good bit by philosophers and one that you take up as well in your book, right? 

GOULD: Yeah. And I think it’s so important that we ask and consider, you know, these questions. How is the gospel or how is Christianity in general viewed by those in culture? You know, if I walk into a university campus today and I want to have an outreach about the flat earth society, and so I put up, you know, banners everywhere, come hear what the flat earth society has to say about the world. My guess is many people, you know, they’re not going to be too interested in that because they don’t take that as a serious idea. And the idea is the same thing for many today. You know, if we want to have an outreach on a college campus, you know, come hear what Jesus has to say about the nature of the world. Well, it kinda sounds the same as it sounded to us when I talked about the flat earth.

And so as philosophers, you know, actually when we think of missions and things like that, we want to pay attention to the conditions of the soil to switch, you know, back to the parable of Jesus here. So that, you know, the gospel will actually get a fair hearing. And so that’s the idea of a plausibility structure.

SMITH: Well, you mentioned the word missions and that also calls to mind another important figure and sort of set of ideas around this figure in your book and in your work. And that is the missionary, Lesslie Newbigin. Would you say a few words about him and why he’s important to you personally and his role in helping you understand some of the ideas that you’re talking about? 

GOULD: Yeah, I actually found his work really helpful in thinking about the project of cultural apologetics today in the 21st century. And the reason is… So Lesslie Newbigin as a young man in 1936, he was sent from Great Britain to minister to the Hindus in India and he faithfully ministered there for almost 40 years. He comes back to his original sending country, Great Britain, in 1974 only to find out as he would put it in the time that he was away his, you know, the whole country had become post-Christian, is how he described it. And so he began to realize that he needed to have a missionary encounter with his own culture. And he explored that in a book that he wrote in the late, I think it was the late 70s called The Foolishness to the Greeks. And there’s a question that he asked on the very first page of that book that actually is the question that I think is, well, is the crucial question of our day and age. You can even call it Newbigin’s question. It’s basically this: what would be involved, he asks, in a genuine missionary encounter between the gospel and the whole way of thinking, perceiving, and living that we call modern Western society? And so again, I think that he just understood that the gospel is never proclaimed in a vacuum. And so basically I’ve been following in his steps in trying to understand our culture and then build a bridge like he did as well. 

SMITH: So given that, what are some of the implications of that idea of being sort of a missionary to your homeland, a missionary in a post-Christian culture as Newbigin identified—maybe first that we needed to be and your picking up the mantle of that. What are the implications of that? 

GOULD: Well, I mean, the implication is the more that we begin to look at our culture today, the more that we understand our culture, which again, I think is you know, the first step of a cultural apologist. We learned that things, the way that I like to say it, that this is not a business as usual time for the church. Sociologists have noted that the culture that we find ourselves in today, especially in the West, is unprecedented in all of history in the sense that prior to the West has evolved today most cultures thought there’s a tight connection between the sacred order and the natural or social order. But in our culture there’s been a severing of this tight connection between the sacred order and the social order. So pretty much anything goes. And so one of the words that I use in the book is that the dominant way of perceiving in our culture is that of disenchantment. And what I mean by that is that we no longer see the world in its proper light.

And of course if we don’t see the world, and this actually affects Christians just as much as non-believers, if we don’t see the world the way Jesus does and delight in it the way that Jesus does, well that’s gonna affect the way that we live in the world and act in the world. And so part of the project is that we need to re-enchant ourselves. And begin to see the world the way Jesus does and delight in it the way Jesus does and then go and invite others to do likewise. 

SMITH: Well, you know, that word enchantment, disenchantment is full of meaning. I mean, in some ways there’s a double entendre there, right? I mean that when we are enchanted with something there’s a connection to that thing that is beyond reason, right? I mean that we’re responding not just to, say, the truth of an idea, but to the beauty of that idea as well. And when we are disenchanted, there is a connotation of that, of being discouraged. It’s not just failing to be enchanted by an idea. But in some ways we’re also discouraged by that lack of enchantment. Are you meaning all of that whenever you are talking about that word? 

GOULD: Yeah, it’s an interesting word. It was originally coined by Max Weber where he was noticing that the world is being emptied of her magic. And, you know, we’re reducing—you know, if you think of the ancient experience of the world, think of the Greeks or the Romans. And it was a world that was populated with gods and goddesses and nymphs and dryads. And you never knew if you’re going to come into the presence of something divine. And so the experience of the world was one of mystery and vulnerability. You can’t buffer yourself from that kind of a world.

But if you contrast that with the current modern experience of the world, that disenchanted experience of the world, it’s a very flat experience to the world. And, you know, nothing’s beyond the mundane. There’s no deep meaning to the world. We exist in this cosmic, you know, this little planet in the middle of a mediocre galaxy in the middle of a vast, you know, 100 billion galaxies and 100 billion stars, and things like that. There’s no meaning, no purpose, no nothing. And we’re just kind of sailing along in a vast sea of nothingness as Nietzsche would put it. And so, yeah, there is a kind of, the modern view of the world is quite discouraging and quite boring, frankly. Because it says there’s nothing special about you. There’s nothing special about the world around us and so on.

But that’s not the way the world is, right? It’s deeply mysterious. It’s deeply—sacred is the proper word. It’s a gift from God. It’s creature. It’s created. And that’s part of the project, which was interesting in writing the book was that I realized that we needed to actually re-enchant ourselves as Christians. That we too, and this I talk about it in the language of we need to re-baptize the Christian imagination. But the idea is that we, you know, this is the air we breathe, the moderate intelligentsia tell us there’s nothing beyond the world. And so we kind of have experienced the felt absence of God too, just like everybody else. And so this is a project I realized, somewhat surprisingly, you know, has implications for our own spiritual journey and walk with the Lord and things like that.

SMITH: Paul, you earlier said that we need to be involved in this project of re-enchantment. It’s not just about the world, but it’s about ourselves. It’s about the church even, right? And, you know, it brings to mind an idea that I wanted to get you to respond to. A lot of Christian thinkers over the years have talked about the good, the true, and the beautiful and the relationship between those three. Often in sort of the modernist age, you could say, we really focus a lot more on propositional truth. What is true? What is false? Sort of a rationalist, materialist sort of understanding. But we ignore the good and the beautiful. It sounds to me what you’re saying is that we’ve done that to our detriment and that a part of—if we want the gospel, if we’re, again, following this project of cultural apologetics, if we’re wanting the gospel, the truth of the gospel to seem plausible in our culture, we’ve got to focus at least as much on the good and the beautiful as we do on the true. Is that fair? 

GOULD: Yeah, that’s exactly right. And this was, again, one of the surprises as I began to read and think and wrestle with this question. And really this question, I, you know, prior to becoming a professor, I was a campus minister for 16 years on the college campus. And the question I wrestled with there was how does the gospel get a fair hearing? And I was trained as a traditional apologist. And I’m a philosopher, so I love arguments. I love propositions. I love putting them together and syllogisms and things like that. But what I’ve realized is that—and actually Peter Kreeft who is a philosopher, was very helpful in this. And this was something that brought some things together for me where he talks about in one of his books, he basically says that God has given us three prophets of the human soul.

And the prophets are reason which is on a quest for truth. And then our conscience, which is on a quest for goodness and then our imagination, which is on a quest for beauty. And then, you know, if we put our theology caps on and ask the question, well, what is the source of goodness, truth, and beauty? Well, the answer is Christ. And in fact, I love how St. Augustine who wrote a book called Confessions, which is a story of his own journey to Christ, an early church father. He said this about Jesus. So he said, you’re the beauty of all beautiful things and the good of all good things. And then I would just add the truth in which all true things point. And so that idea that was unpacked in Augustine and then Peter Kreeft—and others actually it’s all over now that I have eyes to see—is so important because the objections to the gospel aren’t just objections against the reasonableness of the gospel, especially today. There’s questions about the beauty, you know—questions about the beauty of the church or the hypocrisy of Christians or, you know, is the God of the Old Testament a moral monster or things like that. They call into question whether Christianity is actually good for the world. So one of the things I realized is that number one, there’s more objections to the faith than merely, you know, belief in God is irrational as the atheist would want to claim. There’s also these objections that are aimed towards the goodness and the beauty as well. And so I do think a full-orbed apologetic would address all of those. And of course those are tightly related because they find their source in Christ and, you know, the longing of our heart, I know that you talk about story a lot, the deep longing of our heart is for a story that understands us. A story that is true to the way the world is, but also true to the way the world ought to be. And so the claim in the book, you know, is not a new one. It’s that Christianity is that story. It’s you know, the story of the world and it’s the story that satisfies all the deep longings of our heart. 

SMITH: Well, I’ve wanted to stick mostly to Cultural Apologetics, but you’ve got another book that is out this year called The Story of the Cosmos. And in some ways we’re sort of transitioning into ideas that are found there, right? I mean, the idea that a worldview is is a story of reality and we like the Christian worldview, or I should say we believe in the Christian worldview, not merely because we like it, but because we think it is the truest story of the world. Is that, again, some of what you’re trying to get at here? 

GOULD: Yeah, absolutely. So, truth matters. I mean, of course our life, you know, we need to be rightly related to reality. So truth is a high value. It’s a deep longing of the human heart. And so I wouldn’t want anybody to think, you know, when we talk about goodness and beauty that it’s a neglection of truth. Any cultural apologetic, any apologetic worth its salt has to argue for the truth of their view. But my proposal is that it’s more though. It’s so much more. And that’s the beauty of the gospel story, yeah, is that it’s true to the way the world is and true to the way the world ought to be. 

SMITH: There’s another important figure in your thinking and in your works that I’d like you to say a bit about and how he relates to the ideas that we’ve been talking about. And that is Charles Taylor. He wrote a book in particular, I believe it was about 12 or 14 years ago. 2007, if I’m remembering right called A Secular Age. He talked a good deal about this idea of disenchantment in that book. Can you say more about him and how he informed your thinking? 

GOULD: Yeah, I think Charles Taylor is a really important philosopher that—I mean, so that book you mentioned is 900 pages. So it’s not for the light of heart. Thankfully, though, Jamie K. A. Smith who teaches at Calvin, did write a commentary, you might even say or just a primer or, you know, a summary of Taylor’s work. And I find that really helpful, too. That’s called How Not To Be Secular, I think, is the name. But yeah, Charles Taylor is really important because I think he has his sort of finger on the pulse of what’s been happening in the world.

And he begins, the thing that’s so striking about his work is he basically begins and says, imagine that you are a person that existed 500 years ago. Pretty much everyone 500 years ago, right around the Reformation era believed these three things. They believed that the kingdoms of this world were rooted in reflections of the kingdom of God, number one. Number two, they believed that this world functions, the word is semiotic, but it’s just that this world functions as a sign or points us to the divine. And then third, that the world was enchanted. There’s that word again, the sacramental view of the world. And the more that I’ve studied this, and this is actually part of the sort of future projects that I’m working on, are recapturing a lot of what was lost in the last 500 years as we sort of pick up with the Reformation and then work our way through the Enlightenment. A lot of those views sort of are one by one replaced with more reductionistic views and materialistic views and things like that where the world was emptied of all that beauty. So yeah, Charles Taylor I think is really helpful for someone especially who wants to understand the deep contours of what’s happening in culture. Again, not for the, you know, fainted heart, but it’s a great work. 

SMITH: Well, it seems to me that one of the implications of Charles Taylor and one of the implications of what you’re saying is that we can believe in the propositional truth, or let me say it another way. We can give intellectual ascent to the propositional truth of the gospel, but the story we are living in and living out is so antithetical to the gospel that we are, for all practical purposes, atheist even though we might affirm the ancient creeds. 

GOULD: Yeah. And actually I’m glad you brought that up because this is the other big insight from Taylor. He talks about—the word that he uses his social imaginaries. But it’s just the idea that the story, the worldview that we live is something that sort of seeps into our bones and it functions at the level of our imagination. And so what I like about Taylor and other thinkers more recently have been pointing this out, too, is that it’s not just our minds. It is our minds, but we’re so much more than that, right? We have imagination. We’re desiring animals, we’re narratival animals, we’re moral animals. And all of that works together. And seeps, sort of as they put it, into our bones and that’s where we betray I think what we really believe. And so that’s why this project of rebaptizing imagination, which I actually argue is something—I break out some of the barriers to the gospel. Some are internal, in other words, things that we need to get clear as Christians. Some are external. So those would be objections out there. But one of the key internal barriers that I argue about in the book is that we as the church and as believers in Christ need to re-baptize our imagination and actually care about our imagination. Because that’s where a lot of the disconnect happens between that propositional ascent that you mentioned. And the way that we actually live.

SMITH: It seems to me, too, that what you’re saying here, Paul in part at least explains why when someone comes along who affirms Christian truth but also pays a lot of attention to the imagination that we just become infatuated by. I think of C.S. Lewis or JRR Tolkien and not just them. They’re probably the most prominent though. That we just almost instantly realize that there’s something very, very special and different about them, on the one hand. And on the other hand, when we ignore that as a church, other things fill up to replace it and come up to replace it. I think of, you know, Hunger Games and a lot of the dystopian literature that has popped up in the last 30 or 40 years. Shows like Stranger Things on Netflix, which have the sort of this sort of mundane material, ‘80s world of shopping malls and you know, whatever it might be. But also this sort of mysterious world as well. Our mind, our heart, our souls long for that in such way so that when we’re deprived of it, we look for it in strange places.

GOULD: Yeah. And that’s such an interesting observation because, again, the intelligentsia of the world say, you know, there is no God, there’s no meaning, there’s no purpose, there’s nothing beyond this material cosmos. But then you look at the things that we watch and the shows that we’re driven to. And, I mean, culture is fascinated with the occult, the paranormal. You know, Stranger Things is a great example where there’s something beyond the mundane. And then at some point, you know, we might want to ask ourselves, why are we so fascinated with this? As we drill down into our hearts, what is it about us as humans that is drawn to this extra mundane things? And I think that’s actually quite telling that our hearts betray what the intelligencia are telling us. And so part of our project I think as Christians is to connect these two routes. 

So, and part of the worry actually is you can have a lot of false re-enchantment that’s happening here where, you know, we long for something, everybody, I think, as we think theologically, everyone, the deepest desire of our hearts—as Augustine said—you know, our hearts are restless until we find our rest in God. So we know that sort of anthropologically as humans, we know that. But when we’re not aware of that deep longing of the heart but yet we still long for these things, what I see in culture is that we’re fascinated with all these things that aren’t necessarily going to re-enchant us in the way that are going to lead us to the true God. And so we can use these things, but we also need to be careful that we don’t settle with them. And so I would all of us as cultural apologists to push through it. You know, what is it about Stranger Things? What is it about, you know, the paranormal or zombies or the little, you know, magical creatures on your phones when you play that game that everybody was interested in a few years ago. Pokemon Go. Why are we looking for augmented realities and virtual realities? What is it? And so our job is to press through that to the actual long and that’s driving that, which is our longing for God.

SMITH: Paul, I don’t remember where I heard you say this, but I know I heard you say it. It might’ve been on the podcast, another podcast I was listening to that you were on, or it might’ve been in your book, now I can’t remember. But you said that one of the things that we need to do as Christians is to see and delight in the world the way Jesus did and the way Jesus does. Can you say more about that? 

GOULD: Yeah, this is part of the process, I think, of re-enchanting ourselves and joining with God and the Holy Spirit to re-enchant ourselves. If you think about, you know, if you look at the gospels and you look at the life of Christ and just more broadly the biblical worldview, it’s a world that is God-bathed and God is everywhere present. It’s not like  there’s a space that’s empty and things like that. But God is right here with us. You know, if you could see, I’m holding my hand right on my face. Like, this is where God is and this is the kind of world we have. And I think that we can’t proclaim fully the beauty of the gospel until we have learned to see the world the way Jesus does and then to delight in it. And I’m always driven as I think about this to a quote that CS Lewis said in the book The Problem of Pain, but he’s talking about divine goodness. And he says this, he says, look, God doesn’t give the happiness there isn’t, he gives the happiness there is. And, you know, we only have three options at the end of the day—actually two. One option is we can be God, but none of us are God. So we have two options. We can either enjoy God in creaturely response or we can eternally starve, right? This is the only options that we have as humans. And this is what happiness amounts to. And so, yeah, I think that the idea of seeing and delighting in the world is just this idea that the way that we view the world actually matters. And theologians today are talking about an idolatrous way of perceiving the world when we talk about disenchantment. Because when we perceive the world through the disenchanted lens, what we do is we reduce the world and reduce God to the level of human appetite and then we’re not actually being directly related or interacting with the world that God has made. 

SMITH: Well, somewhat related to that is something else that you said that I want to maybe ask you to say a little bit more about here and that is that the relationship between truth and beauty is the, I think you said, the aesthetic currency of our time. And in part, I think what you mean by that, and you can correct me if I’m wrong, is that while the church has often been pretty good at proclaiming what is true, we do it in ways that are ugly and banal. And that prevents what we are saying, the truth of what we are saying from being heard by the culture. Is that what you mean? Or do you mean something more or different from that?

GOULD: No, I think that’s right on. The idea is that, you know, we’re people of the book as Christians. We’ve been given the text of scripture yet we live and we find ourselves living in an age of image. And actually the idea of the aesthetic currency of our time as a phrase that Jamie K. A. Smith said in some of his writings. And I think that that’s right, that this is the thing, you know, song, music, poetry, music, Netflix binges, whatever it is. These are the things that drive much of culture today. And so we need to be tapping into that and helping people understand what’s going on, what’s going on in their human hearts and then point them through much of it, which is quite good. But the things that are good about it, the stories that we are drawn to or the music that we’re drawn to or the paintings that we’re drawn to, the things that are quite good, I actually think are the things that connect to the gospel story. And so we need to be making those connections. And that’s why we shouldn’t run from, I mean, you know, we have to have Christian wisdom, but we shouldn’t run from the aesthetic currency, as he would say, of our time.

SMITH: Paul, it seems to me that some of the ideas that you’re talking about, other people in the church are starting to think about as well. You’ve mentioned James K. A. Smith, for example, Jamie Smith. Not only has he been writing about these, but now he just took over the editorship of Image magazine, which is concerned with poetry and fiction and creativity and ideas. A friend of the Colson Center and WORLD Magazine and a personal friend of mine is a guy named Andrew Peterson who is a great musician, but also someone who’s written novels, fantasy novels, and he’s got a book coming out in the fall about creativity and the imagination. I guess my point is that this stuff is starting to show up here, even within the church. That’s gotta be encouraging to someone like you who’s been talking about these ideas for many years.

GOULD: Yeah, it is very encouraging, actually. I think that there’s—I don’t want to say yet that there’s a Renaissance or a rebirth in the Christian imagination, but I see some really encouraging trends. I think the people that you mentioned, Andrew Peterson and the Rabbit Room and the things that they’re doing, even here as we’re talking. We’re in Colorado Springs and they’ve got the Anselm Society that’s trying to re-enchant the church through the arts. You have these incredible theologians, like Malcolm Guite over in the UK and I’m thinking of Jeremy Begbie here in the States at Duke Divinity School who are, who are poets and theologians, are musicians and theologians that are teaching us how to do theology through the arts. You have—my wife actually is in a master’s degree at Dallas Theological Seminary right now where it’s, it’s an art and theology degree. It’s a masters in worship arts. But it’s basically for artists and people that are interested in spoken word poetry or film or writing, which is what my wife is there for, or painting. And so, yeah, I’m really encouraged and I think that the time is right. I think that we are so disenchanted, especially as Protestants and evangelicals. I think historically Catholics, Orthodox tend to have a more sacramental view of world as it is. The world that I live in as a Protestant, though, I think that we’re, we’re just, you know, we’re very disenchanted, but yet God is here, right? And God is faithful and God is working. And so, yeah, I’m super encouraged by some of these things. And I do hope that it would be a Renaissance in the Christian thought in art in this area.

SMITH: Well, I’m gonna push on that just a little bit more and ask for your advice. You and are both here speaking at Summit. We’re speaking about different topics, but complementary topics. One of the things that I talk about is the power of story and the power of media to shape our worldview. And I will usually begin my conversation with these kids by asking them, how many of you think you might want to be a painter, a musician, an artist, a designer in your life? And I’ll get maybe 20 or 30% of the people to raise their hand, which I think is great by the way. But then I ask another question. How many of you think you might ever read a book, might ever listen to a song, might ever watch a movie or a television show? Might ever buy a couch that you hope looks good in your living room? We are all consumers of the creative output of other people, even if God is maybe not calling us to a vocation of creativity. Got any word for the rest of us, for the church, the ones that may not be called to, like I say, to the creative arts as a vocation, but are really resonating with what you’re saying here and want to go deeper. 

GOULD: Yeah. I would actually say three things since you asked. Well, actually four. The first thing I would say is that it’s really important I think for us just to say, it might sound obvious to many of us, many of your listeners but I think we need to say it, that the church needs artists and artists need the church. I think it’s important that we just say that. I was just speaking to someone earlier this week who was an artist and just to verbalize with her that this is a worthy vocation is something that’s important to say because of some of the, you know, there’s a time in our history where we just didn’t know what to do with beauty, with art. And some many ways beauty was in exile but I’d say—Oh, go ahead. 

SMITH: Well, I was just going to add to that. I think that’s such a good word, Paul, because not only that, but artists, especially young artists, they’re pushing boundaries. They’re questioning. I mean, if art means anything, it means what is reality and how do I represent that in the craft that, you know, that I’m trying to master. And you’re going to get that wrong a lot. And it’s not going to be perfect, ever. But it’s not even going to be good most of the time. And for the artists to have a community that holds truth at a high level but also is OK with that messiness of getting it wrong is really difficult. And I think that’s why a lot of artists are driven out of the church. They go look for community elsewhere. 

GOULD: Or we just don’t know what to do with them and we freak out or we worry, you know? And instead of bringing them into community. And so part of the burden for me is that that we would have a tight link between art and theology and art and the kingdom because they’re related. Again, what is the source of all this? We own this as Christians because it’s rooted in the triune God. And so we should be the ones creating the best art and telling the best story because we live as part of the best story. 

So, real quickly, what I would want to say, though, to people as they’re thinking about this, how can all of us, because I think in some way a creator God who creates and then cultivates goodness, truth, and beauty, we are created in the image of that God. And so in some sense all of us are creators and cultivators of the good, the true and the beautiful. And so I would just say, real quickly, number one to work, to reincorporate beauty into your life, in everything that you do. You know, whether it’s making an omelette or a PowerPoint presentation or you’re mowing your lawn or whatever it is, just work to incorporate it at one level.

Secondly, though, and this is more in our relating with others, I would encourage us, and I’m thinking of how Jesus interacted through story and parable and metaphor and things like that, is to learn to engage in what I would call imaginative reasoning in our discussions. Where we take reason and propositions, but we learn to communicate it in a way that’s meaningful. 

And then the third thing that I would want to say is that—and, again, this is just maybe something that needs to be said, the most beautiful thing that we can do, all of us, is to locate our life in the story of the gospel. You know this is the true story of the world. And when we do that, our lives will be beautiful and others will want to hear more. 

So that would be three quick things. Or four.


(Photo/Preaching Source)

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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