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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 19, 2014

Comments Which Conservatives Block From Their Blogs For November 19, 2014

Nov 13 

To Joe Carter and his review of the movie Fury. This appeared in the Gospel coalition website.

Some of the points made here by Mr. Carter have been made by former war correspondent Chris Hedges as he has written and talked about his experiences. In particular, the difference between the comradeship experienced during war and friendship experienced in normal life. In addition, both seem to state that war corrupts everyone who is involved. 

We might note that some have seen WW II as a war between empires. The emerging German empire vs the Soviet, British, French, and even America empires. We should note that all of the major participants in WW II were empires. We should also note that it was during that time that America decided to help the French reclaim a part of their empire in Indochina. That attempt was made after the war.

Finally, perhaps the best anti-war movie I've seen is Joyeux Noel. For in that movie, both war and peace, peace displayed through the fraternization of waring troops during Christmas, is put side by side for us to compare. That movie was made to honor those who sought peace and friendship with those on the other side during Christmas of 1914 and even afterwards.


Nov 14

To R. Scott Clark and his citation of the 6th circuit court of appeals in its statement about same-sex marriages in society. This appeared in Heidelblog.

Quite simply, the courts have one job regarding same-sex marriage. That job is to determine whether laws democratically made violated the constitutionally defined rights of those seeking relief from such laws. One might disagree with some of the decisions made by the courts in these matters, but it is another to say that the courts have no say over the passage of laws.


Nov 15

To Elise Hilton and her blogpost on how raising the minimum wage hurts the vulnerable. THis appeared in the Acton blog.

Here is the problem with this post, it bases a general conclusion on a small sample of data while not considering the contextual factors involved. It is sad that raising the minimum wage hurt an outreach restaurant like Tastes Of Life. But Tastes Of Life operated within a certain context that might have been unjust to begin with. To consider whether the economic environment in which Tastes Of Life operated, one only needs to read about the government assistance programs on which employees of franchises for big corporations who were possibly receiving equivalent wages to what those in Tastes of Life were receiving who must live on various forms of local to state to federal assistance programs to survive. This dependence on government assistance programs not only helps those employees to survive, it allows these corporations, and we can include banks too, to use tax-funded government assistance programs to subsidize their payrolls (for example see http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-11-13/how-mcdonald-s-and-wal-mart-became-welfare-queens.html ). And we should note which of these corporations do all they can to avoid paying the taxes required to support the programs they rely on.

So while this blogpost is content to look at a tragic small picture, it neglects the exploitation of not only government assistance programs, but of the people directly involved while claiming that this specific example serves as adequate grounds for making the general statement that raising the minimum wage hurts the vulnerable. Another way to critique this article is that it looks at the localized harm of an instance without asking us to critique the system in which this instance occurs.


Nov 17

To Collin Hansen and his blogpost on America's Pastor. He identified America's Pastor as Billy Graham but identified Martin Luther King Jr and Pope John Paul II along with Graham has the 3 ministers who had the most influence on America in the 20th century. This appeared in the Gospel Coalition website

Just a quick comment about Martin Luther King Jr. He was highly regarded for his work against racism. But we need to remember that he was assassinated while campaigning for economic justice and that his popularity dropped when he spoke out strongly but compassionately about the Vietnam war. In his speech against that war, King talked about America:

I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today -- my own government.

In that speech, King made reference to the need to change our economic system when he said:

True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it is not haphazard and superficial. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring. A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. With righteous indignation, it will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries, and say: "This is not just." It will look at our alliance with the landed gentry of Latin America and say: "This is not just." 

One of the sites that has the speech containing these quotes is http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article2564.htm

King opposed materialism, militarism, and racism. But more than that, he saw them as interconnected and that we needed a revolution in values to address all three.

The thing about King which might be true about Pope John Paul II and could become true about Billy Graham is that as time goes on, what is most honored about them becomes a distant memory of them instead of their words and works. Such an honoring shows that some want to have their cake and eat it too.


To Bethany Jenkins and her blogpost on how Christians should live in a pluralistic culture. This appeared in the Gospel Coalition website.

There are some good things here but I am not sure if we are recognizing everything that involve with interacting with our culture. Yes, Keller and others put an emphasis on how we approach our vocations in an effort to change culture. But what is glossed over here is how we should try to change culture as citizens. And though we claim to recognize freedom of religion, some issues show that we have not recognized it as fully as we might think. Marriage equality is such an issue where we have been trying to force our religion's view of the institution of marriage on others. Now, I am not sure if this post is suggesting that we change our game plan on marriage equality. If it is, then I agree. 

Two other points must be made. Sometimes, having the Gospel causes us to believe that we only have something to give to others who are different rather than having a give-take relationship with them. We need an emphasis on common grace that effectively tells us that there is much for us to learn from nonChristians. We cannot afford to think that we have everything to teach and nothing to learn. Such an attitude is unjust according to Martin Luther King Jr.

Finally, we just can't work for the betterment of our own culture and society without keeping an eye on how our way of life affects other societies. Nor can we ignore how our culture and way of life here might cause others in our society to suffer injustice. To ignore these two things is to ensure that the Church will lose a significant portion of its prophetic voice in society. Thus, we cannot discard this part of our political side especially if we wish to give nonChristians cause to listen to and honor the Gospel.


Nov 18

To Gavin Ortlund's blogpost on the new era of seminary education. This appeared in the Gospel Coalltion website.

Having gone to seminary and living in the present, it seems to me that what is most important in a seminary education is this: teaching students to listen to the present while being faithful to what is important from the past. Too many times, in churches claiming to be always reforming, have paid cursory attention to what is asked today while burying our heads in the sand of the past to retrieve the answer. Such is a glorification of the past over the present. What we need to do is to learn to listen to the present for at least a part of our answers to the questions being asked now. But we must balance that with what we have learned from the past which is essential to hold on to.

To give an example, think about determining what is a just war. Are we content to regurgitate what Augustine said or are we going to join that with what the Russell-Einstein Manifesto and what Howard Zinn, Martin Luther King Jr., and Gandhi have said? To ignore what has and is being said now is to tell the Church that the past has everything to teach us and nothing to learn from us--such is an adaptation of a Martin Luther King Jr. statement.

To not include what is being said today tells the rest of the world that we have retired from listening to it. Is that how we want our seminary students who are our future church leaders to be?

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