jtrhart

Posts Tagged ‘travel’

Why I Am A Young-Earth Kinda Guy

In travel on March 24, 2008 at 8:05 pm

My wife and I took a few hours this week and went down to the Museum of Natural History in D.C. They have a new butterfly exhibit that Libby wanted to see and I’ll take any chance I can get to think more about evolution/creation. Butterflies have created quite the stir lately given one genus’ particular mating habits that seem to reinforce the idea/theory/fact of natural selection. So I assumed this exhibit was in-place to help create more buzz about this research. And it was.

T-Rex

First off, museums need to create more modular exhibits and their accompanied text. It’s unfortunate with the speed of things today that museums are months or years behind current research, I found people actually crossing things out with a permanent marker because something on a plaque was incorrect. Other than that museums are wonderful places to get an up-close, 3D look at things. There’s only so much a computer screen can really tell you. So just a quick note, if you are like me and haven’t been to a museum in a long time, go spend a Saturday at one.

Steg

Two major schools of thought exist today in Christian circles. Some call themselves young-earth creationists, others would label themselves old-earth creationists. One group sticks to a literal interpretation of Genesis 1-2 and say everything was created in six 24-hour days and, given the recorded genealogies we have in the Bible, would say the earth is around 5000-6000 years old. The other says Genesis 1-2 should be read poetically and that the time period of God’s creation was very long, thus accounting for the scientific research stating that the earth is about 4.6 billion years old. Within both of these groups there are all types of differing ideas on evolution and man’s beginnings. Both sides would hold fast to their high-view of the Word of God and the truth that God created all things no matter what process He used to get there.

display

I hold to a young-earth creation viewpoint only because I haven’t been convinced otherwise. Old-earth creationism has too many gray areas that haven’t been answered yet for me. For instance:

Gen 1:7then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature…15The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it…But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. 21So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man.

I don’t know how to read that poetically. If man evolved from more primitive forms of modern-day humans, at which point in the evolution did God say “this one is the first one”? Paul said we all sinned in Adam, did all the other creatures before Adam sin or is Romans 3:23 incorrect? Adam is found in genealogies (Genesis 5, Luke 3) which tells me that we are not to interpret Adam as being mankind but as a particular individual. Even more so, Paul says Adam is a type of Christ, we certainly can’t say that mankind is a type of Christ, it must be an individual otherwise we all become a type of Christ.

You might say there are too many gray areas in young-earth thought but those seem to be gray areas when viewed from the ever-changing state of current science. Where did the dinosaurs come from? What about the look/feel of the earth? it looks old. What about the bones of primitive man we’ve found? I don’t have any answers to these questions that don’t refute what I believe to be a correct interpretation of Genesis 1-2 so therefore I continue in my young-earth beliefs.

Where are you on this issue? Is it even an issue for you? I would love to hear from those who consider themselves old-earth folks on this.

Where Has Jason Hart Been The Past Week?

In personal, travel on March 7, 2008 at 10:31 am

Ship

It is good to be back at sea-level…

When God uses metaphorical language in the Bible, its meaning really takes hold when you experience the metaphor itself. For example, God says we are in darkness until our eyes are opened and we see the world through the Holy Spirit’s council. This metaphor has a lot more meaning when you attempt to find your way around a room that you’ve never been in that is 100% devoid of any light. Psalm 40:2 says He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm. This has taken on a deeper level of understand after coming down from a place that is not exactly “firm”.

And no, that is not the exact ship I was on, I just liked the picture.

Jonathan Edwards Whirlwind Weekend; Pictures

In travel on January 15, 2008 at 8:53 am

All the pictures from this past weekend can be found on flickr now.

Jonathan Edwards Whirlwind Weekend; Take 2

In travel on January 14, 2008 at 10:37 pm

This past weekend Libby and I were able to spend a few days in the New England area, touring a few sites that were of particular interest to us…ok mostly to me, but Libby had fun too! From Wikipedia:

Jonathan Edwards (October 5, 1703 – March 22, 1758) was a colonial American Congregational preacher, theologian, and missionary to Native Americans. Edwards “is widely acknowledged to be America’s most important and original philosophical theologian”. He is known as one of the greatest and most profound of American theologians and revivalists. His work is very broad in scope, but he is often associated with his defense of Calvinist theology, the metaphysics of theological determinism, and the Puritan heritage. His fire-and-brimstone sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” emphasized the just wrath of God against sin and contrasted it with the provision of God for salvation; the intensity of his preaching sometimes resulted in members of the audience fainting, swooning, and other more obtrusive reactions. The swooning and other behaviors in his audience caught him up in a controversy over “bodily effects” of the Holy Spirit’s presence.

It is hard to sum up Edwards in one paragraph, so I would suggest reading more about him.

Our trip included a visit to Northampton, MA, then we stopped in NYC to hear Tim Keller preach again, then we made a quick jet to Princeton, NJ.

Northampton, MA – this is where Edwards began his ministry. I have to say the town seems to have forgotten its past in this respect. If you didn’t know who Edwards was before visiting the town, you probably wouldn’t find out before leaving. This is not to say that it is not worth a visit to the town, one site in particular made the trip an absolute joy.

  1. Historic Northampton Museum and Education Center has a section devoted to Jonathan Edwards and the life of the town during his ministry there.
    historic northampton museum outside

    historic northampton museum

  2. First Churches is the site where Edwards’ church met. It is not the original building; only a circular step remains of the original building with a small plaque to describe it. Inside you will find a bas-relief memorial to Edwards, although the building was closed when we were there. The building location is right in the center of town on the main road. In the 1700s it would have been a meeting house for all types of community events other than Sunday Morning services. Today, it doesn’t seem to have the same draw. The main street is lined with small boutique stores which seems to be where the townspeople spend the majority of their time.
    First Churches

    First Churches stepping stone

  3. The Edwards Church was started in 1833 but named its church after Jonathan Edwards. There are portraits of Jonathan and Sarah inside although this building was also closed when we were there.
    edwards church
  4. The Manse was the residence of Edwards’ grandfather Solomon Stoddard. It is privately owned today so a tour was not possible.
    the manse
  5. 127 King St. is the original location of Edwards’ homestead, where his wife Sarah provided housing to all types of travelers and missionaries in addition to raising their eleven children. The actual home is no longer there, what’s in its place now?
    st. valentines church
    A Roman Catholic church.
    edwards square
  6. Bridge Street Cemetery has a memorial to the Edwards family and is the burial place of his daughter Jerusha, who died when she was only 17.
    burial site of Jerusha Edwards
  7. The Forbes Library is not an historical site with regards to Jonathan Edwards, but, for me, this was the gem of the entire trip. There is a fabulous woman working in the library who spent quite some time showing us a few handwritten letters from Edwards as well as some of his handwritten sermons. The sermons he wrote were far to small to be read with the naked eye and she described to us that Edwards had a photographic memory and did not have a need to re-read the sermons he wrote out. She was very knowledgeable in the history of Northampton and, being a believer, has devoted much of her research to Edwards himself. This insight she gave us was far better than any of the historic sites we visited and both Libby and I left feeling uplifted from the time she graciously spent with us. Outside the library, they have kept a doorstep from Edwards’ homestead and setup a small plaque to describe it.
    doorstep from jonathan edwards' homestead

In all, the town is a great place to visit if you would like to see more of the history surround Jonathan Edwards. Obviously, the town has changed much physically since the 1700s but walking around gives you a feel for what the layout of the town would have been back then. With the church building so prominently in the central part of town, it is apparent how active the church was in the affairs of the town. Edwards’ home was only a few blocks away and would not have been very far for him to travel back and forth between the two.

After driving down through New York City to hear Tim Keller preach again (more on that tomorrow), Libby and I made a quick stop at the Princeton Cemetery, where Edwards was buried along side many other men who were president of Princeton University.

Edwards grave

edwards grave plaque

So ends our trip. Libby and I had a great time, I would like to go back and drive through Yale and see the collection there sometime and also go back to Northampton and see the sites when they are actually open. I would highly recommend this type of trip for anyone who has studied the life of Jonathan Edwards.

Jonathan Edwards Whirlwind Weekend

In travel on January 13, 2008 at 9:19 pm

Libby and I just got home from our trip and we are exhausted but I am so excited from this weekend. We visited:

  1. Northampton, MA; where Jonathan Edwards began his ministry
  2. Clinton, CT; to visit some good friends
  3. NYC; to visit Redeemer Presbyterian Church and listen to Tim Keller preach, again
  4. Princeton, NJ; to see where Jonathan Edwards was buried

I will share more about the trip this week, but here is a teaser

Jonathan Edwards

Visiting Redeemer Presbyterian (Where Tim Keller Preaches)

In Uncategorized on January 7, 2008 at 9:17 am

I had to do some travel for work in NYC and figured since I had to be there Monday morning that I could drive up on Sunday and hear Tim Keller preach. I enjoy listening to Dr. Keller whenever I can, his sermons are more “practical” and topical than expository but he has a way of relating Scripture to everyday living that is (almost) universally relevant. He is very down to earth in his speaking and does a great job of explaining the human condition (sin) in a way that most people understand and relate to.

Redeemer Presbyterian Church was started back in 1989 after Dr. Keller moved to New York City to plant a church in the way Paul did; move to the biggest city in the area and start churches then let those churches spread to the areas surrounding the cities. One of Keller’s best-known quotes (it may not be his, but he sure uses it enough) is “as the city goes, so goes the culture”. And the idea is that the cities are the cultural/academic/artistic/etc. trend-setting sources for the entire world; if you can reform the people in the cities you will, in essence, be reforming the whole world.

So, after making the trek from Northern Virginia (which included my hourly rate in tolls and possibly getting two traffic tickets) I arrived at one of the three facilities that Redeemer meets in. Every weekend they hold five services in three different locations with Dr. Keller preaching at four of the five and a combined attendance of around 5,000 people.

The evening service that I attended incorporated jazz music during their corporate worship times, which was phenomenal; I enjoyed singing “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name” at three times the regular speed with a sax solo in the middle. The service itself is, well, Presbyterian. Which surprised me. I wasn’t expecting the liturgy, even if it was very minimal, found in a typical Presbyterian service (corporate reading/response of God’s Word, reading corporate prayers, reading the Apostles’ Creed, healing prayer/anointing with oil). I guess I just assumed that since this was a church in “the city” that they would not have these types of traditions. After singing, there were announcements and an offering was collected and then Tim Keller preached on the book of Job.

So, I can hear Tim Keller teach online by downloading his sermons, the reason I went to Redeemer was to see what this ministry looks like. How is the ministry team at Redeemer reaching out to the people of NYC and accomplishing what Dr. Keller’s goal is?

It’s a great approach. Tim Keller’s role is mainly as a teaching pastor. There are a lot of elders and deaconesses who are very active in the ministry. Obviously in a Sunday service this large, people cannot connect before/after the service so it’s the small groups and classes/events that bring the people closer. And this list is extremely extensive. This seems to be the way Redeemer has chosen to carry out its ministry. There is a meeting or small group or class for just about every profession and hobby you can find in the city. Business, the arts, advertising, lawyers, health care, entrepreneurs, actors, techies, financial, etc. are all represented. There are also classes on anger, finances, conflict,beauty & women’s issues, missions, bible studies, leadership training, church planting, etc. There are support/recovery groups, wide ranges of ways to serve and get involved, pastoral/elder care, short term missions projects, and the list goes on. This is a very large ministry and is well organized.

I wasn’t able to attend any of these groups, but if the leaders carry out their ministries in the way that Dr. Keller preaches, bringing the gospel to hurting people in a way that they can relate to, I would imagine they are very effective at accomplishing their mission statement, “To build a great city for all people – through a gospel movement that brings personal conversion community formation, social justice and cultural renewal to New York, and through it, to the world.”

I know it sounds like I’m reviewing a ministry like one would a book or movie and that is not my intent. I wanted to share what I learned about an effective ministry that is somewhat different than the types a guy from the ‘burbs is used to. I’m going to attend a service again with my wife on the way home next week so check back for more.