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This Month's Scripture Verse:

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.
2 Timothy 3:1-5


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Comments Which Conservatives Block From Their Blogs For November 12, 2014

Oct 30

To Wayne Grudem and his blogpost on the value and morality of competition. This appeared in the gospel coalition website

The two questions that best address the morality of competition are: 1) What are we competing at?; 2) Why do we want to win?; and 3) What happens to those who lose? We need to ask these questions today because some competitions are costing jobs, some competition does prohibits a fair allocation of resources for many, trying to win in a world of finite if not dwindling resources is putting others at risk especially when environmental concerns are telling us to cutback if we are to survive. In other words, the world has changed since an economy based on competition was first formed.

In addition, why does the acknowledgement that competition can bring many temptations seem like an addendum while the benefits to competition receive the main focus? Does such an imbalance reflect the way competition can hurt/help us in the real world?

Perhaps Grudem would do better if he tried to develop a hybrid between his love of competition and the emphasis on cooperation and participation called for by Occupy documents such as Principles of Solidarity (click here) and The Declaration of the Occupation of New York City (click here)I say this because rather than providing a legitimate critique of the role competition plays in the world today, Grudem seems content with adamantly defending past values.


Nov 5

To R. Scott Clark and his blogpost on the Colossians passage that deals with Sabbath observance. This appeared in Heidelblog.

There is a problem here. There is no Sabbath pattern commanded of Adam. And that the Sabbath was the day without an morning and evening, as stated above, might suggest that pre fall life in the Garden was a Sabbath and thus the command to observe the 6 days work and 1 day rest is post fall rather than pre fall. Thus, to suggest that this patter was commanded of Adam is implied is to possibly inject into Scriptures what was not commanded.

What we know about pre fall times is that the work was not strenuous like work during post fall times. And that the Sabbath was made for man. And we might ask if the Sabbath commanded in Exodus pointed to something beyond itself rather than this creation narrative to be observed until the 2nd coming. In addition, our living with God during the NT times is more continuous, like the Garden, than during OT times. The worship of God is no longer as restricted in time and place as it was in the NT due to the outpouring of the Spirit.

And we should note that there is nothing in Colossians 2 that rules out the weekly Sabbath. The problem with the fact which Clark determines is decisive is that if Paul wanted to include both the monthly Sabbaths and the weekly Sabbath, he could not use the term used exclusively for the weekly Sabbath. We should also note that there are no NT passages that command the strict observance of a NT Sabbath that parallels the OT observance of the Sabbath. The Lord's Day is there so that we don't forsake our meeting together and its basis is not Creation but the Resurrection. In addition, the Epistles, noting that the NT times start with the passion of Christ, not the intertestamental times of the Gospels and that the Acts and the Epistles are regarded as the authoritative interpretation of Christ's life and mission, that deal with any Sabbath observance do not teach what Christian Sabbatarians teach. These passages include Colossians 2 and Romans 14.

Finally, we should note the irony here. Those who see themselves as champions of the Gospel of Grace and Faith are often the ones who are the most rule oriented over rules whose observance are not followed as recorded in the New Testament. The observance of the Sabbath and exclusive Psalm-singing are examples of the following of rules that are not either commanded or imitated by believers in the times of the apostles.


Nov 10? (possibly the 11th)

To R. Scott Clark and his blogpost quote complaining about how the state is forcing business people to provide services to same-sex marriages. This appeared in the Heidelblog.

Shouldn't the above depend on what those religious beliefs are? After all, some people used religious beliefs to support Jim Crow and slavery. In addition, haven't some conservative christians tried to prevent those with different religious beliefs about same-sex marriage from participating in that kind of marriage? It seems to me that this declared dependence on religious belief in order to justify denying business services to same-sex couples is rather spurious.


Nov 11

To Joe Carter and his blogpost defending Fort Lauderdale's laws restricting how groups can feed the homeless. This appeared in the Acton blog.

There is actually more to this story than what Joe Carter wrote about. That is because the laws banning food sharing and feeding the hungry are not the only laws that Fort Lauderdale has passed targeting the homeless. There are laws banning panhandling at busy intersections, sleeping in public buildings in parts of the city, camping on city property, leaving one's personal possession in public places as well as the restrictions on providing food for the hungry such as that one that mandates one must provide portable toilets too. In addition, one must look at all of the motives involved. While Mr. Carter points to how the laws empower churches to help the needy and to provide protective measures, others report that these laws were the result of business owners and their complaints about the presence of homeless people.

In fact, if I had done in Fort Lauderdale what I have done in the occupy camps, that is buying food from a fast  food place and giving that food to a person in need, it is possible that I could have been arrested according to Fort Lauderdale's laws. But instead of going into that, let's look at the law as Mr Carter has described it.  First, you must be 500 feet ( that is 1 and 2/3 football fields) away from residential areas. How can one know that one is the proper distance from residential areas to be able to distribute food? And a bigger question is this, with the allowances made by the city for the giving of food to the homeless, is the food accessible to the vast majority of homeless people? After all, not all churches feed the homeless and there very well can be areas where the homeless congregate which are too far from the churches that provide food.

But perhaps the most important point is this, how did the city use the input it received from the homeless in crafting the various laws that target them? See, people who are ideologues don't need to listen to the people they write about. They have their system of beliefs and logic. Therefore, the facts on the ground don't matter to them because they have already determined what the reality of different situations are.

Perhaps before writing this blogpost, Mr. Carter should have lived with the homeless in Fort Lauderdale to see if the feeding and other laws targeting the homeless make life even more difficult for them.


To Joseph Sunde and his blogpost containing an interview with SC Republican Senator Tim Scott on how to reduce poverty. This appeared in the Acton blog.

Kind of simplistic to unanalytically focus on one variable, that is which party ruled of Congress and what were the results and this is given by a person from the other party, isn't it? And consider the following that first LBJ's War On Poverty is recognized with have  gained some moderate success against poverty despite the fact that, according to Martin Luther King Jr., it was underfunded because of military spending. That not all of the war on poverty consisted on handouts, but it did include education and training. And that government's response to poverty is not the only  variable involved in what determines poverty. Dependency on others also depends on the availability of opportunities and those opportunities

And what is most disturbing is that while Conservatives as so quick to point out an associate dependency with race and economic class, they are minimalists when associating  dependency with state capitalism. It isn't that they don't acknowledge state capitalism and what they call "crony capitalism," it is that they don't give it its due so that dependency is more associated with  race and the economic class of people than it is with corporations benefitting from government business. And that state capitalism doesn't include tax loopholes and the lack of regulations which come in the form of deregulation or the lack of enforcement. The housing bubble and collapse was due to the lack of regulations.

Finally, we should also note that the Conservative definition of "big government" doesn't include the growth in military spending which is one of the foundational ways by which state capitalism operates. The Conservative definition of "big government" is when there is growth in spending on what Martin Luther King Jr. would call programs of "social uplift." That these programs can't be reduced to a simple transfer of wealth for spending money. And that they were stop gate measures for when jobs could be secured. But how do jobs get secured now? By labor making compromises to please stockholders. So workers work for less and with fewer benefits and fewer rights. Why? Because that puts profits and power in the hands of those who already have both. After all, who benefits the most from the use of sweatshop or trafficked or illegal labor? Is it the consumer who enjoys lower prices or the business owner who pays lower costs? Do we see where the worker fits into that answer? This is especially true when we consider how the new globalization has increased the labor supply. Note that wages are still stagnate. Scott's Conservative answers should surprise no one here.


The comment below has not yet appeared with the post to which it belongs.

To the video Matt Smethhurst posted on a discussion about what it means to be on the right side of history. Those who were discussing this subject were Don Carson, Tim Keller, and John Piper. The consensus in the video is that whatever side Jesus takes on an issues is what defines the right side of history. This appeared in the Gospel Coalition website.

Perhaps there is another way to look at being on the wrong side of history than was mentioned in the video. That other way is to ask this question: Did we cause people to unnecessarily curse God or look down on the Gospel by the stand we took? For if the answer is yes, then we definitely were on the on the wrong side of history.

This can pertain to today's sexuality issues in the following ways. Is stating that homosexuality is sin being on the wrong side of history as just defined? Here is where we could use the criteria presented in the video to answer the question. If we are following Jesus in stating that homosexuality is sin, then we will be found to have been on the right side of history when he returns because whatever offense we have caused is not unnecessary. But we also have to ask this: Is working against marriage equality and full equal status for gays in society being on the wrong side of history as defined above? To answer that question requires much meditation and discussion because the answer is not as clear cut as the first question.

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