Recent Responses and a passing …

First, this tribute to the maker of the classic claymation shows Gumby and David and Goliath. When I was a kid, David and Goliath captured my imagination. If you ever get a chance to see an old episode – they were commissioned by the Lutheran Church – you’ll see the moral substance beneath the colored clay.
A reader from South Africa writes about my posting on the primitive brain:

Thank you, as ever, for taking the trouble to write yet another long, sensible and rational blog – this time (12-01-2010) on the topic of terrorism and our need to put aside the instincts of the primitive brain. I agree with much of what you say, but may I point out the following?
(1) It was the primitive brain (the originator of fear) that caused Simon Peter to deny Christ. And it was the primitive brain that caused the other disciples to flee (in fear, obviously) when the arresting party arrived in Gethsemane. And what about Jesus himself? The Agony in the Garden must, surely, owe something to that same brain. My point here is that these scenes are, I think, the most moving in the Gospel. Let me put it another way: the primitive brain is part of our redemption. Let us not despise it too quickly, for all its faults and warlike ways. It is, at least, honest, and not capable of the crafty sophistication that leads to, say, smugness and hypocrisy.
(2) I am inclined to believe that fear and love are closely linked. If I am correct, then this suggests that the we may be treating the primitive brain in much the same way we treat our shadow self. Something to be denied and repressed – and yet something that is of enormous value. And, to return to the gospels – “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you” – again, another of the most moving of scenes, and one that owes nothing to the light of rationalism or the evolved mind.
I could write much more, but I know you are very busy and that you receive hundreds of e-mails every day, so I will leave it at that. Thank you, once again, for the quality of your writing – and thinking.

R: Thanks for these excellent insights. You’re right – the dark and “primitive” are part of our story, and we must not simply vilify them. This is an important theme of the last section of my upcoming book.
More after the jump …

A reader from Oklahoma writes …

Thanks for ruining my life …not really.
Just wanted to say thanks. Your books mean a lot to me. I am from Oklahoma, the reddest of red states. I grew up a conservative christian. I went to a conservative christian Bible college. I work at your typical conservative evangelical church. But I saw you one time on Larry King and what you said struck a chord….
After I saw you on Larry King I read “Generous Orthodoxy” and really re-evaluated what it means to be a Christ-follower. I’m still working at it and I am looking forward to your new book. Keep up the good work and know that you are making a difference.
Thanks again for messing up my comfortable life.

R: Wow – it’s hard to believe that Larry King appearance – I think it was early 2005 – had such an impact. Thanks for letting me know, and for the encouraging words. Keep up the good work in your place of service. It matters!