Saturday, March 04, 2006

A Grammar Lesson

During a discussion about the two kingdoms and the nature of the believer's role in culture, one of my former seminary profs once said, "There's a difference between an adjective and an adverb."

After nodding my head knowlingly (as if I actually understood what he was talking about), I walked out of his office somewhat bewildered. But then it clicked....

There is a difference between doing something that is holy (adjective), and doing something holily (adverb). For example, when I eat bread and drink wine at Jesus' table every Lord's Day, I am doing something that is holy -- the activity itself is sacred. But when I mow my lawn for the glory of God, the fact that I am doing it in a holy manner does not transform the activity from being common to being redemptive.

As Christian citizens of both the civil and spiritual kingdoms, we are called to engage in cultural and cultic activity, and moreover, the cultural activity we participate in should be done in a holy manner (i.e. out of gratitude to God, and to his glory). But this doesn't change the nature of this activity.

In other words, humming "A Mighty Fortress" while mowing my lawn doesn't mean I'm reclaiming yardwork for Christ.