Social psychologist Jonathan Haidt offers an insightful diagnosis of the divisions and stunted intellectual discourse that have characterized American public life in recent years in his essay “Why the Past 10 Years of American Life Have Been Uniquely Stupid” appearing in The Atlantic. It is a longer read, but it does reward those who put in the time. (For that matter, there is also an audible version of the article available on The Atlantic’s website. I was able to listen to the essay while driving today.) Haidt compares the fallout of developments such as the “share” and “like” buttons in Facebook and Twitter to the splintering of the ancient peoples into different language groups at the Tower of Babel. There is much to ponder here for those of us who reside in Canada, who face similar, but not identical social dynamics. Russell Moore, the former SBC ethicist, reflects upon Haidt’s piece in a column, “Fragmentation is Not What’s Killing Us.” Moore agrees that there is much to learn from Haidt’s analysis, but suggests that a theological reading of the Tower of Babel story might suggest a different framing of the problem and understanding of the solution than Haidt proposes. For my part I could not help but think of Stanley Hauerwas’s important essay “The Church as God’s New Language,” which juxtaposes Babel with the Spirit’s animating of the Church at Pentecost.
I was invited to preach yesterday on the Feast of Pentecost at Prairie Presbyterian Church, my family’s home congregation in Winnipeg. The lectionary readings were Psalm 104: 24-34, 35b; Ezekiel 37: 1-14; and Acts 2:1-21. I am still not used to preaching to a camera in a largely empty sanctuary – for that matter, hopefully I will never get used to it! You can watch the sermon below.
A Guest Post by Ben Bartosik
This is the seventh in a series of posts engaging with the sermons in Leaps of Faith: Sermons from the Edge. This post is a reflection upon a sermon preached on Pentecost Sunday entitled “An Unlikely Candidate for Sermonic Success” (pp. 133-141). The Scriptural texts for the sermon were Acts 2:1-41 and Exodus 19:1-9, 16-19. Continue reading An Unlikely Candidate for Sermonic Success