What exactly is “a brute connoisseur“?

It’s an expression of the dichotomy that I think many of us face in our living and our engagement with the world.  In the scriptures of the Bible there are numerous references to the wrestling of humanity with our two natures; one being our divine nature and the other being our earthly, fleshly, or worldly nature.  They intermingle like the innards of a bird’s egg; being distinct in its parts yet extremely difficult to dissect.  The Apostle Paul gives the most poignant illustration of what I’m getting at when he writes in The Bible (Romans 7:14-21/NIV):

“We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin.  I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.  And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good.  As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me.  For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature.  For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.  For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.  Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!

So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.”

Whether the topic of conversation is technology, television, or the eternal influence of Jesus Christ, a brute connoisseur is one who digs deep into life and culture from the perspective of a human being wrestling from both a spiritual and natural, brutish point of view. It is me, us, carefully engaging and examining our flawed, clumsy lives and culture while maturing into the purpose for which we were designed. Then, once we’ve begun to make sense of it through our stringent critique, educating ourselves and those we influence in an effort to become less flawed and less clumsy…everyday.

So why am I looking at you so skeptically in the image on the front page, you ask?

Don’t worry. I’m not actually looking at you.  The image is a multi-level metaphor.  On one level this site is about my own reflections on my life so, in a way, I’m looking in the mirror.  On another level, while I look into that mirror, I realize that we are all related by being created in God’s image.  “Good” people, “bad” people, Atheists, Muslims, Christians, White, Black, and so on.  So when I look in the mirror the me that I see is also a part of you and the rest of our global family.  At another level, I’m looking into global culture, and studying the ideas, traditions, and collective values that we espouse and asking “Why?” to all the answers I get concerning my questions of who culture desires to make us all and how that compares to who we were created to be.  At the final level (at least from what I’ve considered so far), I’m looking into the eternal truths that I find working in the existence of humanity and trying to figure how I can dig deeper.  My goal is to mature myself and then as much of culture as I can into more of what, I believe, we were designed to be.

So, I’m actually not looking at you.  I’m looking at us and what ultimately makes us…well…us.