Finally there is something in print linking the Passion movement of Louie Giglio with the resurgence of Calvinism in the younger generation of evangelicals. This month's cover story of Christianity Today is titled "Young, Restless, Reformed: Calvinism is making a comeback-- and shaking up the church," and features a young gentleman wearing a t-shirt printed with the slogan "Jonathan Edwards is my homeboy." (Incidentally, they didn't show the guy's face. Aaron O'Kelley, is this you?)
John Piper has been speaking at the Passion and One Day Conferences for years. Yet if you try to peg any of the people who are passionate about Passion as Reformed, most of them will say they are only concerned with God's Glory or exultation not some theological system. They then start talking about their faith and it looks an awful lot like a system that can be explained with a floral acronym.
I understand the desire to resist having your beliefs placed in a box. This is one of the hallmarks of our generation. Once you become labeled it is easy to become more of an object to study rather than a subject to marvel at. We all contain multitudes and cannot be described by simple formulas. But many of the tenets of our personal faith resemble that of others and it is sometime helpful to describe those tenets in certain terms. When this happens, why not call a spade a spade so we can then move on to more pressing issues.
I guess the further removed I become from my once fervent political interests and ambitions, the more disdain I have for spin. I do understand that in every conversation meant to persuade there is a certain amount of choosing which nuances to stress and which to diminish in order to make something more appealing. But there is a line where the spin ceases to be a rhetorical device and begins to be bullshit. Rhetorical devices are helpful, but bullshit is a hindrance to understanding each other moving on to more pressing issues.
Case in point. At work there is an operational procedure we are required to follow that we have never really obeyed. It's something that is pointless and, frankly, quite irrelevant to selling books. Our new management has made it a point to make sure this procedure is being followed. To accomplish this, we have been given lectures on how bad the system works when this procedure isn't done and how efficient and smoothe the world runs when it is. I spent weeks butting heads over this procedure and systematically proving it to be total bullshit. I finally got the other party in the converation to admit that we just have to do this because the compay wants us to. Ok, I can handle that. If someone says we have to call something green when it really blue in order to draw a paycheck, that's fine-- I like to eat. But don't try to convince me it's green when I can see with my own eyes it's blue. The thing is, now that this understanding has been made, I feel more comfortable with my job.
I'll be honest, here's the real reason I'm happy that Passion is coming closer to embracing it's Reformed theology: There's many things about the movement I've always wanted to embrace but felt I couldn't because I'm not Reformed. I've deliberately not talked or meditated on the greatness of God for the past decade or so because I don't want to be identified with those whose speech is identified with that talk. It's childish, I know. But that's how it is. But if Louie Giglio comes out and says, yeah, we're Calvinist, (which he hasn't) I can finally say, alright, now that we have that out of the way, let's talk about how great God is.
An Afterward to the previous ramblings:
The preceding has been posted acting under that assumption that the people in the Passion movement will be forced to come out of the woodwork because of the Christianity Today article. It's possible, however, that they won't and my thought will be void (if they aren't already.) Another interesting possibility will be if it forces people to say they don't know what everyone is talking about, that they are really Arminian or Open Theists and what's the deal-- we didn't know Piper was Calvinist. That'll really cause an uproar.