I’m a Twentysomething

Jamie Cullum is one of my favorite musicians. He sings and plays jazz piano with a lighted-hearted, likable style. If you’ve never heard him, his Twentysomething album is a great place to start. In it, Cullum covers everyone from Cole Porter to Jimi Hendrix. But it’s an original track written by Cullum–”I’m a Twentysomething”–that perceptively expresses the quandary in which so many young people find themselves.Twentysomething

The song reveals the thoughts of a young man fresh out of college and his contemplations about what he should do with his life.

Maybe I’ll go traveling for a year
Finding myself, or start a career
Could work for the poor, though I’m hungry for fame
We all seem so different but we’re just the same

With a reference to his student loans, Cullum makes a wry observation about what his degree has done for his employment prospects:

I’m an expert on Shakespeare and that’s a h— of a lot,

but the world doesn’t need scholars as much as I thought.

I suspect that more than one recent college graduate can relate.

Then Cullum confesses that he doesn’t have a clue about how to proceed:

Who knows the answers? Who do you trust?

I can’t even separate love from lust.

He observes how so many cope with the grind of the workweek. He hopes for something different but fears a similar fate:

But don’t make me live for Friday nights
Drinking eight pints and getting in fights

Cullum mulls over love, marriage, career–and concludes none of these things can truly satisfy:

There surely must be more

Love ain’t the answer, nor is work
The truth eludes me so much it hurts

“I’m a Twentysomething” is a witty and catchy tune that expresses the dilemma of the human condition, particularly the condition of postmodern, western young people. The truth that he laments as “eluding” him is, of course, the Truth.

We know the truth and can answer Jamie’s questions.  So when the twenty-somethings in our lives question what life is all about, let’s be ready with a winsome presentation of the Gospel.

This blog is cross posted at www.theologyforthechurch.com

 

 

 

Christ Is Sovereign Over All

The title for this post is drawn from a famous statement by the Dutch statesman and theologian Abraham Kuyper (1837-1920). The full statement reads: “There is not a square inch in a whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry, ‘Mine!’” Where did Kuyper get this idea? I suspect, at least in part, from the Great Commission text of Matthew 28:18-20 where Jesus said, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” What Jesus has authority over belongs to Him. What belongs to Him He rightly claims as “Mine!” All of creation is Christ’s. As we advance the gospel across North America and to the nations we reclaim souls and territory that belong to King Jesus. This world belongs to the Son of God, not Satan.

C.S. Lewis certainly understood this to be the nature of our assignment. He said, “There is no neutral ground in the universe. Every square inch, every split second, is claimed by God and counterclaimed by Satan.” Lewis was right. We are indeed locked in a cosmic conflict for the souls of human persons. Eternal destinies hang in the balance. We are also locked in a cultural conflict that will determine in many ways how we think and work, how we live and die.

I am in complete agreement with Francis Schaeffer, whose letters and papers are archived in our library at SEBTS. This wonderful Christian thinker, whose writings have had a profound influence on my life, put it like this: “Christianity provides a unified answer for the whole of life.” Did you catch the key word? The “whole” of life. In other words, our Christian faith is to translate into a Christian life, a way of thinking, acting, playing and living. No area is off limits. No discipline is out of bounds. Our surrender to Christ’s Lordship will impact the totality of our lives. It will shape and determine what we call our “worldview.”

Southeastern Seminary houses “The Center for Faith and Culture.” It is named after my former teacher and colleague L. Rush Bush, who served as the Dean of SEBTS for right at 20 years. The Center reflects well the heart and perspective of its founding director who believed all of life should be permeated by a Christian worldview. Bush said, “A worldview is that basic set of assumptions that gives meaning to ones thoughts. A worldview is that set of assumptions that someone has about the way things are, about what things are, about why things are.” Complementing this excellent statement, I often say a worldview is a comprehensive and all-encompassing view of life by which we think, understand, judge and act. It guides and determines our approach to life and how we will live.

Because the seminary I serve is committed to cultivating a comprehensive Christian worldview, we allow these ideas– axioms if you like–to inform how we teach in the classroom. It is also why we hold conferences that address issues like creation, abortion, sexual identity, adoption, marriage and family, government, economics, politics, law, philosophy, ethics, the environment, poverty and more. Faith and culture meet at the intersection of real life, and SEBTS is committed to being in the center of all of it!

Schaeffer says, “Christianity is the greatest intellectual system the mind of man has ever touched.” I believe that. And Kuyper adds, “When principles that run against your deepest convictions begin to win the day, then battle is your calling, and peace has become sin; you must, at any price of dearest peace, lay your convictions bare before friend and enemy, with all the fire of your faith.” We at Southeastern believe this too, and we indeed accept the call to battle, laying our convictions bare for friend and foe alike!

 

In Case You Missed It

1) Over at The Gospel Coalition, Justin Taylor has been running an excellent series on “A Novel Every Christian Should Consider Reading.” Most recently, Russ Moore weighed in with his recommendation.

2) D. A. Horton, Executive Director of ReachLife Ministries and National Coordinator for Urban Student Missions at NAMB, writes about using what you have for mission. Posted at the SEND Network blog. 

3) How does the gospel relate to the culture? Over at the Gospel Project blog, SEBTS Provost Bruce Ashford describes the best kept secret in the Christian life.

4 and 5) Two significant events recently took place at SEBTS, hosted by the Center for Faith and Culture. First, the CFC hosted the “Day of Prophecy” conference, which featured Craig Blaising, Ed Hindson, Michael Rydelnik and William Watson. Topics discussed included the rapture and Day of the Lord.  Watch here.

Second, the annual Bush-Drummond Lectureship took up the topic, “Christian Reflections on the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act.” The lectures were brought by Dr. Gerald Smith and included a casual conversation at SEBTS chapel on the key issues.