25 random facts about myself

I’m a not massive fan of the social networking site, Facebook (for some sober reflection on the phenomenon, read Mohler’s recent post), but I’ve capitulated to the pressure and participated in the current wave of submitting 25 random facts about oneself. For those that aren’t on Facebook here are some quotidian facts about the person that is me.

1. I cannot play an instrument.

2. I like to climb trees.

3. I have an irrational ambition to witness a tsunami (preferably from a safe distance).

4. I’m afraid to calculate how many hours I have gamed. One of my favourite obsessions, Guild Wars, has occupied me for over 2,774 hours. This is 3 months of continuous play.

5. I have traveled to North America, Canada, New Caledonia, Australia, Fiji, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Hawaii.

6. The first movie I ever saw was Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. I had my eyes closed for most of it.

7. I have been asked out by more guys than I have asked girls out.

8. I am not proud of the previous fact.

9. My favourite movie is Collateral. Sometimes this can waver between Blade Runner and the Empire Strikes Back. Collateral has it’s clear flaws, but I love the shifting psychological landscape of the Mann film and his eye for capturing bruised twilight in an urban space.

10. Philippians is my favourite book of the Bible. Or maybe Habbakuk. Or Hebrews.

11. I have only been to the South Island once. And to Invercargill, of all places.

12. The only bone I’ve broken is in my left wrist. And I managed to break it twice. Once playing indoor cricket, and the other during a physical education class at high school. In both cases I said nothing until I got home.

13. I once had afternoon tea with the former king of Tonga.

14. I didn’t have a stand-out favourite toy as a kid but one particularly memorable gift was a Knight Rider trike my parents bought back from the states. It had a brake that enabled the driver to coax sharp turns. I had worn out the brake within a week.

15. My best ever bowling figures are 6 for 26, when playing for the Eden Roskill cricket club.

16. The last live concert I went to was a performance by Cliff Richard. This was fifteen years ago, so almost excusable.

17. It took me over five years to convince my dad to get me a dog, when I was growing up. He got me a fox terrier, who I called Monty and I loved enormously.

18. My verbal IQ is 136. My written IQ is 142. I usually disregard the latter.

19. I do not have a full vehicle license.

20. I am both a procrastinator and a perfectionist, which together form a debilitating impediment to beginning or completing any task.

21. I love the sound of night.

22. I have listened to John Piper’s sermon “How the Supremacy of Christ Creates Radical Christian Sacrifice” from last years T4G conference more times than I can count. Pipers words reverberate in my head.

23. My absolute favourite drink is lime juice. And it has to be fresh.

24. I have an inordinate love for stationery. It is true: stationery is the bedrock of civilisation.

25. My apartment is never tidy. I tell people it is an experiment in testing the law of entropy and the direction of time.

Recasting reality: David Wells on the importance of truth

A quote from Christian theologian and cultural analyst, David Wells, from his book No Place for Truth or Whatever Happened to Evangelical Theology?:

A Christian mind sees truth as objective. It seeks to understand reality as it is in-itself, not as it seems to the subject. The Christian mind has sought and found a way to understand life in the light of revelation; the modern mind rejects that light and turns instead to private experience for illumination. The Christian mind accepts God’s pronouncements concerning the meaning of life as the only true measure in that regard; the modern mind rejects such revelation as the figment of a religious imagination. Today, reality is so privatized and relativized that truth is often understood only in terms of what it means to each person. A pragmatic culture will see truth as whatever works for any given person. Such a culture will interpret the statement that Christianity is true to mean simply that Christianity is one way of life that has worked for someone, but that would not be to say any other way of life might not work just as well for someone else.

Because Thinking Matters: The Launch of Our Apologetics Journal

Amid the unravelling social trajectories of our skeptical, post-Christian nation, the New Zealand church must reclaim the importance of its intellectual life to safeguard not only its witness but its very health and identity. With this conclusion as our frame and impetus, a group of us have launched an apologetics journal Thinking Matters to try and respond to the increasing marginalization and irrelevance of the Christian community in this country. The release of the first issue this weekend represents a small but notable step towards bringing that commitment to fruition.

Almost exactly one year ago, I began corresponding with Dominic Bnonn Tennant, a blogger and (at that time) moderator of a Christian apologetics discussion forum. We both shared a passion for the supremacy of God’s revelation and a deep concern to see Christianity stand tall in the marketplace of ideas. We were aware that we weren’t the only individuals in the New Zealand Christian community with these convictions, but were dismayed at the fragmentation of the apologetic enterprise here. There seemed to be no coordination at a national level or even at least a self-identified apologetics group in its most populous part, the upper North Island. We weren’t particularly people of renown or with rigorous training in the enterprise: he, a fairly young Christian but with erudition spilling out of his socks and a sabre rattle of a book on presuppositional apologetics; myself, a university student with a wayward past who had inherited a passion for the discipline from my father. But despite our fairly modest footing, we wanted to act, and Dominic suggested the idea of a journal as a way to raise awareness amongst churches and to significantly gather similarly-minded individuals.

As our plans developed and ideas for the journal percolated, our project brought us into contact with others who shared our commitment for cultural and apologetic engagement. Among them were Stuart McEwing; a graphic designer and former church youth leader, Rodney Lake; the owner of a Tauranga based software development company, himself keen to set up an apologetic-focused discussion group in his region; and Rob Ward, the president of the Manawatu Christian Apologetics society and known to Dominic already, who assisted us with web hosting and introduced us to others who were willing to write for the journal.

In June, we were enormously encouraged to have one of the most prominent apologists in the Anglophone world, Dr William Lane Craig, visit New Zealand. Every Christian has his own heroes – an author or speaker that has ignited deeper reflection and greater appreciation of our ultimate luminary, Christ himself. I’ll admit that Dr Craig was not a particular hero of either of us. Dominic and I do not identify with his classical apologetic method but, regardless, we could not deny Craig’s seismic contribution to Christian philosophy and so it was greatly exciting to have him here. Every event we attended of his was overcrowded (except perhaps at the Bible College, but this was to be expected) and well-received, with long and thoughtful question and answer sessions. There seemed little doubt – a deep desire for apologetics existed amongst many Christians. The two debates on university campuses especially pulled huge audiences. The postmodern apathy to questions of truth and religion is simply overrated. Craig’s final impressions of our country were jarring but incisive; although he was positive about his time here, he saw the evangelical church as “pietistic, insular, and culturally disengaged,” and “generally passive in the face of this secularism” with “few Christians intellectually contending for the faith”. His thoughts accorded with our own and only galvanised our efforts more.

Throughout the next few months we were able to further establish the Thinking Matters site, visit Palmerston North and meet up with Rob Ward and Chris Good. Together, we agreed to work closer alongside each other and endeavoured to unite our visions. I was able to meet with some of the national coordinators of TSCF, a student Christian ministry, with Rodney Lake and was encouraged by their enthusiasm to integrate apologetics in their ministry and establish a relationship with us.

The final January release of the journal represents a genealogy of toil and heavy-lifting – particularly by Dominic and Stuart – and, for myself, it has been a humbling experience to have had a minute role in its development. I’ve been able to meet many new people during the projects evolution and it has especially been heartening to connect with others in the country who are both zealous for the intellectual heritage of the church and confident in the the credibility of Christianity in the world of ideas. God ultimately deserves every praise and if we are to have any impact for His kingdom or are to bring about any good for the church, it is only because of His generous condescension and grace. We recognize, too, that however satisfying it is to see the journal out there now, our work has just began. The retreat from biblical Christianity at the centers of New Zealand culture continues to remind us not only of the importance of knees bent before Him in intercession, but also of minds that are illumined, sharpened and submitted to God’s word.

journal-logo

You can download a pdf copy of the journal here or view the articles online at this page. I’ve placed direct links to each article below.

From the Editor: The Purpose of Apologetics by Dominic Bnonn Tennant

Christian Apologetics in New Zealand by Dr Steve Kumar

Introducing Apologetics by Stuart McEwing

A Blueprint for Apologetics by Sarah Tennant

The Broader Task of Apologetics by Stuart McEwing

Closet Closet Christians by Elisabeth Marshall

Interview with Dr William Lane Craig by Jason Kumar