In a way, part of this post is no longer helpful, since it announces a break that this new situation does not indicate. After all, these first few blogs--8 or so, I believe--have been transferred from that other blog on the same day and thus show the same date! Nevertheless, I have decided to retain it as is.
It's been a year and a quarter since my last post. That’s the sentence with which I recently revived or re-started the Companion Blog to this one, < Worldly Christianity >. I’m reviving this one with much the same language and info. Glad to be back and promise to stick with it this time. Here goes….
Things got too wild for me. Felt pressured to complete the last volume of my 8-volume series on Christian-Muslim relations. For details, go to my < www.SocialTheology.com/Islamica.html >. I did get it completed after close to ten good years, a lot of dollars that I was surprised to be able to muster, several computers and printers and 2700+ pages. You can purchase them from me, from the publisher, from Amazon and their ilk. You can also access it free of charge as e-books from < www.lulu.com >. Yes, free of charge! Just peck "janhboer" there and you will find them, all eight of them. The archives that emerged from this project are now lodged at Yale University.
After completion, I had to spend more time on getting the Nigerian side of the publication in place and I continue to be busy with that. Nigeria? you ask. Well, yes, my wife and I spent 30 years there. This series has ramifications for the entire world with its Christians and Muslims, but its primary focus is on Nigeria as a detailed case study of its 60 million plus of both Christians and Muslims. The place is a virtual laboratory of how these two religions can co-exist in relative peace.
Relative peace. I don't think you can expect more than that, if for no other reason than that they tend to have such opposite views about the functions of government. In addition to that, they have such different views on the nature and function of religion as well as on freedom of religion, that achieving anything more than relative peace may be asking for too much. But that is a whole lot better than what they have today, each with a knife at each other's throat. My series has a number of purposes, but the main one is to provide especially my fellow Christians there with more wholistic parameters so they can better understand the Muslim challenge and thus better respond to it.
OK, you got me going on the main subject of this blog already. Please remember it is the Companion Blog of < Worldly Christianity > where I already described myself as to my worldview and my locus in the world of perspectives. So, let me repeat that part as well under the title, “Calvinism by Any Other Name.” Once again, here goes….
In my previous blog, I introduced myself as a modern-day Calvinist. I did not define it but encouraged you to continue reading my blogs and so discover for yourself what's involved. So, you got yourself a job--you've become a detective!
But things are not quite as simple as I put it last time. Like every philosophy, school of thought, worldview or religion, so Calvinism has numerous variations. You've got orthodox, conservative, liberal, Swiss, Dutch, Scottish versions. Then there's the American scene in which you find all of them. Even within these schools you find variations.
OK, here comes a bit of a boring paragraph. So, either brace yourself or just skip it. If you are academically inclined, you may find it interesting. I am about to describe my life orientation with reference to schools of thought. Here goes:
Though I am a Canadian citizen and live in Vancouver, I am born in The Netherlands and hold dual citizenship. I have also spend around 15 years in Michigan, USA, and nearly 30 in Nigeria. My root Calvinism is of the Dutch variety, the most unique of which is known by names such as "Kuyperian" after its founder Abraham Kuyper(see Kuyperiana page on my website). I tend to lean towards the "Neo-Kuyperian" or "Neo-Calvinistic" branch of this one, which is also described as "Reformational. I am only giving you these names in case you decide to follow up on some of my blogs in the future. Then having these terms at hand will facilitate your research on the internet. Apart from that, forget these names.
You still there? Great! It is from that Reformational perspective that I am going to approach things. Of all Western Christian perspectives, it is the most world-affirming Christian tradition that I know of,that has not lost its classical orthodox orientation. World affirming! Now you can understand the title of this blog and where this comes from. If you're interested in knowing more about this school and its world affirmation more quickly, without waiting for my blogs, you can google any of the terms found in the above paragraphs and you'll find plenty to occupy yourself.
I promise that I am going to engage in discussions in terms of the world-affirming perspective promoted by Kuyper and his followers. You will probably find that I move around quite a bit between left and right, liberal and conservative, if those are your categories of thought. You may even wish I could make up my mind about where I belong. The reason for that is that Kuyperianism is beyond those categories. It is simply different. I was almost going to say that it is a third way, but that is a tired claim made by so many who reject those narrow cliches. So, let's just say I am beyond the conservative/liberal axis, while clearly within the orthodox camp. Like mainline Islam, I am wholistic. That is to say, I maintain that religion covers the whole of life.
I am going to respond in a Christian spirit to events or writers or to you, my readers, as they happen or write, without pretending to have the last Christian wisdom and I'm going to do this from a contemporary Calvinist point of view. If you stick with me, you will slowly discover what such an exotic perspective might look like. Yes, there is such a perspective and it is alive and well in Canada and many other countries. You might be surprised at the organizations and institutions it has fostered. It is active and working and making a difference, but often without flying the Calvinist flag, so that people do not recognize it even as they benefit from it.
If this post kind of gives you cold feet, relax, put your socks on—or your sandals. I promise from here on not to bore you with this kind of stuff and deal with more interesting topics about Christians and Muslims and, in a secondary way, Secularists.. If you have any suggestions as to topics, send it to me and l will try to accommodate you. But be careful: I just might engage you in a private discussion before I go public.
This, then, is my re-introduction of my good self. I hope that in time you will draw your friends to this blog and join me in conversation. Till next time--inshallah!
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