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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Bruni-Sarkozy and the Unbearable Lightness of Nudity

By Rick Pearcey • July 29, 2008, 09:07 AM

France's First Lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy seems to have second thoughts about having "posed for too many nude photos."

Good for her, and yet: How is this possible?

Is she no longer "proud of my body"? What? She wants something special, private, reserved, unknown to others, with her husband?

As if human love between husband and wife is more than the publicly accessible physics and chemistry of firing neurons.

Here's what may be bubbling to the surface: Despite the pronouncements of Darwinian and atheistic theory, human beings in fact are more than flesh, skin surfaces, and matter.

For all the MTV and artsy hype, the reduction of ethics and meaning to the raw power of individual choice diminishes the human being as a person.

Beauty may be skin deep, but privacy isn't. It goes to the heart of the living soul as a personal being who acts out into the external world.

Like an alienated man on a bridge in the dark of night, humanity screams out against the unbearable lightness of materialism and its inhumane orthodoxies, no matter how pleasing they may be to the skin trade or cash register.

Privacy is good. If it survives, we survive as free, humane beings. To be naked in love one must sometimes cover up.

Rolled Model: Tennis Pro Harkleroad "Proud of My Body"

Monday, July 14, 2008

Dembski Questions Famed Healing Ministry

By Rick Pearcey • July 14, 2008, 08:57 AM

William Dembski of Intelligent Design fame questions the healing ministry of Todd Bentley down in Lakeland, Fla.

Such questioning is legitimate, Biblical, humane, and necessary. Humaness, worldview, and discipleship are cut from the single cloth of truth.

We await a reply to Dembski's question: "Faith and Healing -- Where's the Evidence?"

Meanwhile, one way to test the validity of an organization is to examine its methods. Not just the PR methods evidenced on websites with glossy pictures, wondrous bios, and a Herculean list of accomplishments and books, columns, etc., "by" the latest version of "renegade-turned-modern-day-St. Paul."

No, sadly, not the methods on display for public view, but the ones kept "in the basement," as it were. That's where, so often, in the dark, the real work is done.

In this regard, and in liberating contrast, the Lord's work is meant to be done the Lord's way, across the board, and with application to the nuts and bolts of organizations put forward as "Christian ministries."

This was a central concern of Francis Schaeffer, as seen in chapter 13 of the beloved True Spirituality. It is also the concern of chapter 13 of Nancy Pearcey's book Total Truth. The Lord's work is meant to be done in the light.

To follow truth is to embrace beauty. To fake it, "nuance" it, and spin it for "the sake of the Gospel" (i.e., fundraising, etc.) is to demean people and take the Lord's name in vain.

Dances with deception set forth in the service of Celebriantity and its hard-charging gods are a disaster, no matter how much noise is made about "worldview" or "reforming manners," no matter how much access to Big Media or the White House is gained, and so on.

You know the song and dance. It's underlined in hundreds of thousands of "Dear Friend" appeal letters strategically underlined in blue and signed by machines. One might be tempted to conclude that some evangelical marketers think Christians are idiots waiting to be led around by their noses.

"Test everything," says the real Apostle Paul (1 Thess. 5:21). "Testing everything" is key to embracing love and avoiding the cruelty and ugliness of a truncated Christianity and inhumane "ministry."

One more thing: If this isn't fixed, it matters little who wins the election. Politics follows culture. Methods matter. It's a warning and a promise.

* Update: See discussion at Dembski's site, here. "Dembski Questions Famed Healing Ministry" is referenced at response No. 44.