January 19, 2021

Sights along the Road…(4/30/12)

Picasso Sculpture, Chicago Civic Center

Welcome back to this feature that we started on Sundays during Lent. I’m thinking we’ll take a road trip about once a month now. So, make sure your seat belts are fastened — Hey, everyone went to the bathroom already, right? Good, because it’s time to hit the road.

This week, Gail and I will head to Chicago for our annual spring trip to hear our son’s jazz concert at North Park University (note: news to come about NPU in this post). So I thought we would illustrate today’s trip through what I’m reading, watching and hearing by focusing on some of the more unusual landmarks around my home town Chicago, the windy city, the city of broad shoulders (and less-than-full trophy cases).

As of Saturday evening as I write, the Cubs are 7-13, the White Sox are 10-10, the Blackhawks have been eliminated from the NHL playoffs, and the Bears’ season is months away. However, no other Chicago sports fan disappointment this year can compare with what happened on the basketball court today when MVP Derrick Rose tore his ACL in the Bulls’ opening game of the NBA playoffs. Everybody now: “Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen…”

In spite of the Bulls’ bad news, you should still check out Mockingbird’s unique take on the playoffs. I mean, who else would tell you that “Joakim Noah is the living embodiment of the theology of the cross”?

Onan's Pyramid House, Chicago suburbs

Back to the subject of travel… Christian family? Planning a trip to Disney? Alert fellow-blogger Matthew Paul Turner found the perfect family-friendly devotional you and your crew need for your next visit to the land of dreams. On July 12, you can have your very own copy of The Family Devotional Guide to Disneyland Park and Magic Kingdom Park, by Jeffrey S. Berger. As the book’s website says, “Family members of all ages will delight in this unique devotional guide. Don’t get bored waiting in line for the next ride or attraction—get connected!” So, we’re going to have devotions while waiting in line now? Wow, I hope it comes with a waterproof cover for the splash rides.

• • •

In a New York Times opinion piece, Gil Troy reminds us that “Culture Warriors Don’t Win.” This informative article looks back at the history of how Republicans have won elections, and concludes, “Republican voters have rejected culture wars and fanaticism in presidential campaigns repeatedly – they know culture warriors don’t win. Despite the talk about the rightward lurch of their party, a majority of Republicans have learned Reagan’s central political lesson. A Republican candidate can only win by wooing the center, and a president must govern as a national leader, not a factional chief or a cultural crusader.”

Troy looks at what Mitt Romney is doing to follow this course, but warns that, though culture warriors don’t win, they do have the capacity to undermine centrist candidates in their efforts to triumph in presidential elections.

• • •

The Bean, Millennium Park

Paul Burkhart answers an email asking why he “hates” Mark Driscoll so much. He writes, “I don’t actually hate him. I love him dearly, but my heart breaks over some things about how he conducts himself and his ministry.” He makes an insight worth considering: that Mark Driscoll may be better at creating a culture than making disciples.

Burkhart suggests the “New Reformed” as a whole need a reformation, primarily because of the tendency of many in the movement “to put every ‘pet’ doctrine and idea under the heading of ‘the Gospel’, therefore making it non-negotiable, necessary for sound thinking, and unchallengeable lest the Gospel itself be defiled and fall.’

• • •

Wm. Sianis, founder of Billy Goat Tavern

Now, for the big news from North Park University (where my son attends and where we will be visiting later this week) — good friend Scot McKnight has announced he is saying farewell to NPU and saying hello to Northern Seminary, where he will take a position as Professor of New Testament.

For those who don’t know my connection with McKnight, a bit of background. Scot was a young professor at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, IL when I attended seminary there in the 1980’s. He worked closely with one of my primary NT professors, Grant Osborne, and though I didn’t have any full courses with Scot, I had him when he filled in for Grant. We reconnected through the blogging world when I began reading Jesus Creed, and one of the first things I did when starting to write for Internet Monk was go to him for advice. Not only do we share in common our Trinity experience, faith, love for Biblical studies and the church, and blogging, we are both die-hard Cubs fans, have coached our kids in baseball, and love to drink coffee (he is much more of a connoisseur than I).

I talked to Scot this week and wished him the very best in his next endeavor. I, for one, am grateful that he will be staying in the Chicago area, and I’m looking forward to having coffee with him again soon, hearing about his new situation, and talking shop.

• • •

First McDonalds restaurant, Chicago suburbs

Finally, I continue to be impressed with the content that is being catalogued on the BioLogos website to help Christians understand and work through the intersection of science and faith issues. For instance, if you would like a good basic education on the basics of the theory of evolution, you should take the time to work through Dennis Venema’s series, “Understanding Evolution.” This group of posts focuses on “aspects of evolution that are commonly misunderstood in the Christian community.” Venema is an associate professor and department chair for the biology department of Trinity Western University in Langley, British Columbia, Canada’s largest independent, Christian liberal arts institution.


  1. “Burkhart suggests the ‘New Reformed’ as a whole need a reformation, primarily because of the tendency of many in the movement “to put every ‘pet’ doctrine and idea under the heading of ‘the Gospel’, therefore making it non-negotiable, necessary for sound thinking, and unchallengeable lest the Gospel itself be defiled and fall.”

    I think we all need to take that to heart – left or right, reformed or other. Jesus plus anything is not the gospel.

  2. I just threw up in my mouth when I read about the Disney devotional….

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      Well, they had to do something after the “John & Kate Plus Eight” Devotional Guide tanked with that divorce scandal…

      So you can’t go to Disneyland unless you turn it into a Devotional and Bible Study? My writing partner has told me of novels where the Christianese publisher required a Bible Study Guide as an appendix! Apparently NOTHING has any significance unless it can be tied to a Bible Study. Kind of like Reciting the Koran or taking everything captive to The Inevitable Dialectic of History.

    • You just made me throw up in my mouth…..you know that thing where you see somebody doing it, then the reflex kicks in.

    • Next time at Disneyland when you hear “Someday My Prince Will Come”, you’ll know it’s really a teachable moment about the Apocalypse.

  3. Headless Unicorn Guy says

    Careful with that NY Times link if you’re using Firefox — it hung and crashed Firefox when I tried to open it.

  4. David Cornwell says

    Have a great trip to Chicago, one of my favorite cities. And may your son’s concert bring to you deserved pride.

  5. cermak_rd says

    I love Chicago! It is my adopted home city. I was actually born and reared in a small town in the middle of the state of IL. But when I went to college at Loyola up on the north side right by the lake, it was love at first sight. I’ve been here ever since and really, can’t imagine leaving.

    From the diversity of her people, to her architecture, to the rich variety of her arts and drama scene to her gritty let’s get the work done businesses that keep people moving, it’s just a wonderful place to live!

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