When I am not writing about art, culture, and theology here at Patheos, I serve as Director of Theological & Cultural Practices at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and my chief responsibility is curator of LIBERATE, the online resource ministry of Senior Pastor Tullian Tchividjian. The website launches this afternoon at 3pm (EST) and I invite you to visit.
Our mission is, following Jesus’s in Luke 4, “to proclaim liberty to the captives” (v. 18) and we do this is by bringing God’s two words (law and gospel) to a worn our world, and exploring their implications for our private and public lives. We continue:
Through the demand of his law, God confronts and condemns people in their bondage and sin; through the declaration of his gospel, God comforts and forgives people with the liberating love of Jesus Christ. We want sufferers to hear these “two words” (law and gospel) so they can believe the promise that frees us from our past of guilt and shame; frees us from the present bondage of bitterness, insecurity, self-reliance, and fear; and frees us for the joy of worshiping God and serving our neighbor.
Our mission is to announce (and then announce again and again) this liberating word to a wounded and worn out world, hoping that the burdened and burnt out, the Christian and the non-Christian, will hear and rest in the freedom that Jesus came, died, and lives to give.
The website features sermons from Tullian Tchividjian and others; Tullian’s blog and blog posts by other contributors, such as Knox Seminary professor (and Director of Content) Jono Linebaugh, Elyse Fitzpatrick, and many others. We also have and will continue to produce video conversations with theologians, pastors, culture makers, and counselors. We hope that you will find these resources helpful and of interest, which retrieves classic Reformational law and gospel preaching that is the crux of sixteenth century Lutheran, Anglican, and Reformed traditions. It is also our conviction that the reassertion of the sacramental nature of law and gospel preaching, opens up fruitful space to reconsider the nature and scope of cultural participation and social action for the evangelical church that tends to swing from triumphalism to withdrawal.
My theological understanding of artistic and cultural practice derives from the implications of God’s two words, and so LIBERATE will serve as an important context and continued source for my thinking. In the weeks to come here at Patheos I will be writing about Tullian’s book Jesus + Nothing = Everything and its relevance for a robust theology of cultural life. (For Patheos readers see Tim Dalrymple’s two-part interview with Tullian here and here.) In addition, upcoming topics at Patheos will include the importance of art for a theology of culture; an analysis of Andrei Tarkovsky’s The Passion of Andrei Rublev; disruptive grace in Vincent Gallo’s Buffalo 66; the grace-filled theology behind the baptism scene in O Brother Where Art Thou?; icons and evangelicals; the unpreached God of Melville’s Moby-Dick; the importance of criticism; and an appreciation of the recent work of Los Angeles-based artist Robyn O’Neil. Some of these posts will also appear over at LIBERATE.
It’s also been a few weeks since my first of two blog posts on Thomas Kinkade’s work, The Dark Light of Thomas Kinkade, generated considerable attention and many comments, quite a few of them negative. I’ve waited to respond in order to offer more thoughtful observations, and I will be doing so in the next few days. Visit my first post on Kinkade this weekend and join the discussion of a topic that continues to receive attention.