If Your Election Lasts Longer than Four Years. . .

Jacques Ellul’s Propaganda: The Formation of Men’s Attitudes

In the current climate, with perhaps the most bizarre run up to a Federal Election in U.S. history, now seems a good time to re-read Jacques Ellul’s study of modern scientific propaganda which is helpfully titled Propaganda. In this important work, Ellul examines the techniques of the Russian, Chinese, and Nazi propagandists. Many of these techniques are regularly employed throughout the world. Propagandists (whether they call themselves that or not or whether they are aware that they are or not) continue to employ and perfect these techniques.

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We are constantly bombarded with propaganda. In the (post)modern world, many of us in technological societies are so immersed in propaganda that we are like flying-fish who momentarily discover that they are wet before they are pulled back into the water. Perhaps, it is more like moving through a warm spot in the pool, noticing the temperature change and hoping that it’s not what you think it is. That is, we may not realize that we are immersed we may only notice that we have encountered someone else’s propaganda.

Like the proverbial frog in the pot of water being slowly heated, many people don’t even notice it is happening. Continue reading “If Your Election Lasts Longer than Four Years. . .”

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Beyond the Veil: Keeping God Safe in His Box

God’s Empowering Presence

When Gordon Fee, retired Professor of New Testament at Regent College, reached the tearing of the Temple curtain that coincided with Jesus death on the cross, he described this as the Spirit of God rending the this thick curtain and shouting, “Get me out of here.” Fee’s book on the Spirit in Paul’s writings is fittingly titled God’s Empowering Presence. The Temple was a symbol of God’s presence in the midst of God’s people. Yet, the New Testament authors and I believe Jesus himself saw the Temple as a barrier to what was truly important to the Creator God, that is God desires to be with his people.

Although many Christian readers miss it, a key theme in both the Old and the New Testaments is the Creator God being present with God’s people. While some might see the climax of the Exodus in the parting of the Red Sea or the receiving of the ten commandments, it seems clear that for Moses and the author of Exodus the construction of the Tabernacle and the descent of the glory of God into their midst is the true climax of this narrative. Continue reading “Beyond the Veil: Keeping God Safe in His Box”