THE COMMENTARY is a weekly conversation about vision, worship, and life at Grace Presbyterian Church.
As we begin the season of Advent, Cameron poses a question: Is it quite right to describe this season as a time of “longing,” or would a better way to think of Advent be to to consider it a season of expectation. In this episode, he and Mark distinguish between longing and expectation, discuss the similarities and differences between Advent and Lent, and mix it up over how early in the year listening to Christmas music is permitted.
Faith, Power, and Plan
Mark’s recent sermon on the cursing of a fig tree in Matthew 21 left some unanswered questions about prayer, faith, and how the power of God relates to the plan of God. In this episode, he and Cameron return to the passage to consider an interesting point: when Jesus claimed that with a little faith mountains could be moved, was he simply wrong, or is it that no one has had enough faith (even through the bar is set so low)? Or is there another explanation entirely?
Enemies of the Novel
It’s hard to write a great novel these days, and those who manage find that the public isn’t exactly waiting with bated breath. In his recent book The Novel, Who Needs It? critic Joseph Epstein catalogs a list of what he terms “enemies of the novel.” In this episode, Mark tries to convince Cameron that these enemies threaten more than just the novel, though; they menace faithfulness and flourishing in general.
Anti Social Media, Or "Ad Mundus!"
Earlier this week, Cameron made the momentous announcement that he was deactivating his social media accounts — something many of us have thought about, though few carry it out. In this episode, Mark (who hasn’t followed suit) asks about Cameron’s reasoning, and together they discuss whether social media is more a tool to be used wisely or a rigged game.
Tradition Without Traditionalism
Tradition may start as a supplement to Scripture, but it has a tendency over time to serve as a replacement. At the same time, since tradition amounts to interpretation passed down through time, its presence is inescapable. In other words, you’re going to have a tradition. The question is, what will you do with it? In this episode, Mark and Cameron will talk about how we can benefit from tradition without lapsing into mere traditionalism.
Monergism or Synergism?
One of the most fundamental questions when it comes to salvation is: “Who does the work?” Is salvation entirely a divine effort, or are we called upon to contribute — and if so, how much? In this episode, Cameron and Mark unpack the distinction between monergism and synergism, and how it relates to justification, sanctification, grace, and the call to obedience.
A chance to pick Mark Bertrand’s mind? I’ll take that.