Who’s this guy?
I’m Nate, and you’re reading Nate Navigates the Bible, or ‘NatNav’ to those in the know…
What is this site?
In mid-2010, as I was doing a one-year Bible reading plan, I was encouraged by some friends to start a blog that served to journal my reflections and thoughts on what I was reading. That largely remains my goal for this site, although I’ve also included some less-structured features, like essays on whatever Bible-related topics strike my fancy, links to interesting stuff I’ve read in the biblioblogosphere, jokes/cartoons, and quotes.
So, wait, who are you again?
As I try to stress in the omni-present disclaimer, I am not a Bible scholar. I am not credentialled or in any way especially qualified to be doling out theological wisdom, exegetical nuggets, or any other advice or teaching relating to spiritual matters.
I’m just a dude who grew up in a mainline Protestant church and started to take my faith seriously and engage with the more evangelical tradition in my late teens. My degrees are all in political science and international relations, and I do analysis in these areas for my career. Unsurprisingly, then, I tend to take an analytical, intellectual approach to my faith, and I’ve always loved theology and Bible study and philosophy.
So what’s this site supposed to be?
Well, my hope is that it will fulfill three functions:
- It will serve as a journal for me to stay diligent in my Bible study.
- It can help me broaden and strengthen my writing skills.
- It will encourage and amuse those who stop by.
So who is this guy?
I’ve not had much success consistently sticking to a theological label. At times over the past few years, I’ve read definitions of Calvinism, Arminianism, post-evangelicalism, and post-Conservatism and said, ‘That’s it! That’s me!’
I think that the best sense of my beliefs can be gleaned from the totality of my writing here (contradictions and all!), but the Apostles’ Creed gives as good a one-stop telling as anything I’d write:
I believe in God the Father Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth;
And in Jesus Christ His only Son our Lord:
Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, dead, and buried;
the third day He rose from the dead;
He ascended into heaven,
and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father almighty;
from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.
In terms of Calvin’s five points, I only whole-heartedly subscribe to two, total depravity and perseverence of the saints. I’m largely on board with unconditional election, but not with the correlate that God has chosen from eternity to withhold Himself from the non-elect. I reject limited atonement because I believe that Christ defeated death in its entirety. I also reject irresistible grace because I think this idea gives short shrift to what you’ll often see me refer to as the dignity of free will. So from the tulip acrostic, I guess I’d be a ‘TuP,‘ and that’s probably not enough to call myself a Calvinist.
GK Chesterton and CS Lewis are the intellectual patron saints of this blog, and their influence will be strongly felt on even those posts where they’re not mentioned. John Piper is my homeboy, and even though I ultimately differ with him theologically, his ideas have laid a strong foundation to which I still adhere in my spiritual walk.
There’s a reading list on the top menu bar where I try to review relevant books that I’ve read and that have influenced me. The blogroll to the right will take you to many of the related blogs I follow.
So what’s all this?
There are a few topics that you’ll see arise in post after post:
- Determinism vs. Free Will: I am a recovering determinist in that I fell into the trap of distorting God’s character in my mind and only worshipping His sovereignty, His right and power to do what he liked. I’ve spent the last couple years trying to rebuild a more balanced theology, holding fast to God’s love and holiness.
- Ritual: I am fascinated by the interaction between our physical, spiritual, and intellectual aspects, specifically by their unity and the role that physical elements of ritual play in strengthening and deepening our faith. On this token, I’m also always exploring liturgical trends from the more traditional/sacramental to the contemporary/revivalistic, and what these trends say about our culture and our faith.
- Older/Younger Brother: My worldview has been truly impacted by Tim Keller’s Older Brother / Younger Brother dichotomy, which contrasts the opposite temptations of legalism and rebellion. I fall squarely in the Older Brother camp, and it fascinates me to see many intra-church conflicts through this lens.
- Gospel as Information: Is the Gospel a tidbit of information that we’re called to memorize? Or is it something bigger, deeper, truer? What is involved in knowing the Truth?
- Choosing Bad over Good: This is a notion of sin that defines it not as a particular set of actions or attitudes, but an orientation toward choosing that which is less fulfilling over that which is more, choosing not-God over God.
For all of these and more you can find links to the relevant articles in the Visitor’s Center on the top menu bar.
So, who IS this guy?
I’m starting to run out of ways to answer this question. I can only suggest checking the post where I gave my bio. Any futher questions can be left via comment.