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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, December 3, 2014

Comments Which Conservatives Block From Their Blogs For December 3, 2014

This series of posts reflects on the values of some conservatives. Realize that the comments expressed here will be the result of less editing than the blogposts here and will contain more errors than the blogposts. Please be aware that the decision to block a comment or blacklist a person is not made by the individual writing any blogpost, but by the administrators of the blog.

Nov 24

To Andrew Spencer and his review of a book that defends traditional marriage against change. This appeared in the Gospel Coalition website.

This is our problem, we write so much in reaction to changing societal values on marriage while writing little to nothing about the economic disparity and classism, war and empire, and environmental destruction. And why do we write so much about same-sex marriage and so little about the rest? Is it because we are upset that society is no longer following our lead on marriage? For if that is the answer, then, again, why aren't we writing about the other issues that produce so many victims and so much destruction? The answer could be convicting.


Nov 25

To Darrin Patrick and his blogpost showing a round table discussion on racism. This appeared on the Gospel Coalition website.

The mistake that was made when Michael Brown was killed was that his death was tied to closely with the struggles that the residents of Ferguson with racism and the abuse of power. Such a close association makes it impossible for Wilson to get a recognized fair trial. 

At the same time, the reaction of people across the country is further proof that we have still have a horrible problem with racism. That problem was demonstrated in this discussion when there was a discussion of Black-on-Black crime without discussing the problem we have with White-on-White crime. See, many Whites don't think in racial terms when White commit crimes against Whites. But they do see race when there is either Black-on-Black crime or Black-on-White crime. Such shows how racism can be subtle as well as in one's face. It is time we face all of the levels of racism that exist in our country today. And we need to show paradoxical approaches to racism. On the one hand, we cannot tolerate racism. On the other hand, we need to foster an environment where people feel free to openly deal with any level of racism which is in their hearts and minds.

Finally, racism isn't the only issue here, abuse of power is too. And this abuse of power starts at the top. Now we've always had abuse of power but it got a non-Colbert bump when the President of the United States decided to take action while refusing to recognize being accountable to anyone. That President, of course, was George W. Bush with his Patriot Act and his war against Iraq. Yes, President Obama has his own abuse of powers as well. But Bush amplified the abuse of power with his policies. 

This abuse of power has filtered down to local and state police. Certainly we have the high number of shootings of unarmed nonWhites. But we also have highway-forfeiture practices. Those of us in the Occupy Movement also witnessed the abuse of power by the police, noting that we also had faults, and observing how individual police officers could commit lower level assaults because the City was fined while the police officers were not criminally prosecuted.

For too long, the Church, especially the Conservative Church, has remained silent on all of these matters and other matters except for the obvious forms of racism. We need to do better.


Nov 26

To Voddie Baucham and his blogpost commenting on Michael Brown and Ferguson. This appeared in the Gospel Coalition website.

This is perhaps one of the most disappointing posts I have seen on this website. It seems that the writer sees an exclusive-or choice between individual responsibility and systemic sin. Such a choice is tragically unfortunate and unwise. For what is systemic sin but the sin of groups which is made of individuals. And if systemic sin causes one to sin, what should we say about that system? The more systemic racism that existed in our country in the 1960s and before was systemic and the reaction to that then was not to be apathetic. For to be apathetic to the more systemic racism seen during the 1960s and below was nothing less than to be complicit with that systemic sin.

And what if the white privilege to which Baucham refers acts a stumbling block to Blacks, at least for the sake of those who provide that stumbling block, shouldn't we address it. And what if White Privilege and systemic sin significantly contributes to fatherlessness in Black families, should the White privilege and systemic sins be addressed? Also, what if White privilege and other systemic sins contribute to the Black-on-Black crime rate? Shouldn't we address this privilege and our systemic sins? And we should note that White privilege cannot be reduced to being more likely to having 2 parents in the house as Baucham seems to suggest. And what about Blue-on-Black crime? Can it be reduced simply to the number of Blacks shot by the police? And why is it that White-on-White crime is the only kind of crime committed where race is not an issue to be addressed? And if it is true that Brown robbed a store beforehand, he deserves to be shot for that? Should that be what happens when White rob stores or use the law to rob people in our current financial system?

Finally, hasn't this site try to prevent the acceptance of same-sex marriage from becoming part of the system and now we are told in this post that we should only be concerned that people are sinners rather than worry about systemic sin?

Yes, there is an individual sin aspect which we can address from the Gospel perspective. But that should never imply that we ignore the contributions that system sins make to the plight of Blacks in this country. We need to address both; we need to address the sins of the individual and systemic sins, which are nothing more than the sins of a group with a group being a collection of individuals.


Nov 28

To Benjamin Watson and his thoughts on Ferguson. This appeared the Gospel Coalition website.

Watson's article is certainly better than some other articles I've read. But there is a problem for Christians here. The problem is that we want to reduce our problems with racism to sin. Yes, sin is a major part of it. But when we stare only at sin as being the problem and forget to look at the various systems involved, we hurt our chances at providing some relief because we are refusing to change actions that contribute to our problems here. 

Yes, let's talk about sin. But let's also talk about the systems employed by our society and how they contribute to the injustices being protested. 


Nov 29

Should note that a portion of this comment is now on the blog. Time will tell if it remains there. 
Update: comment was removed from the blog.

To armk and his comments which were in response to my comments about whether we could say that 1st century preachers preached material other than what was written in the NT Epistles. The context of our discussion was whether preaching reveals also reveals the social struggles of the congregation. This appeared in the Whitehorse In blog

First, what you first declared had nothing to do with what the NT requires. It had everything to do with documentation. Without the documentation, your declaration about what 1st century preachers preached on is speculation.

Second, will address evidence for divergence in a later note.

Third, regarding your first P.S., realize that the historical context between the first century church and today's church has changed. It has changed in the following ways:

1.    Whereas the Gospel was new to the world when the Acts of the Apostles, the epistles, and Revelation was written, the same cannot be said today.

2.    Whereas the Christianity and the Gospel had no track record in society in days of the Apostles, the same cannot be said today. And this point is vital because one of the major concerns expressed by the NT writers was the reputation of the Gospel.

3.    Whereas the Roman Empire ruled with absolute authority in the days of the Apostles, democracy has instituted a more participatory kind of government and, as such, disperses culpability for the injustices that exist in society.

4.    Did you forget all of the OT passages about social justice? Why aren't they important anymore?

Regarding your P.P.S.

Should the State be involved in religion? It is easy to say no right away but then we have to realize that many injustices practiced in America were done in the name of some sort of Christian faith.

Should the Church be involved in the State? Yes, but not in a way that seeks a privileged status for Christians. Not a big 2K fan here but they have a point to make to the NeoCalvinists about not seeking Christian privilege in society. BTW, when you look at how NeoCalvinists implement their efforts to influence culture, the differences between the two groups is actually smaller than what we are led to believe.


Dec 1

To Bethany Jenkins and her blogpost on false hierarchies in the work world and Church. This appeared in the Gospel Coalition website.

Overall, this post is very good. But some points need to be added. Because one is not gifted in certain disciplines does not mean that one should be given a hall-pass from learning them. Mathematics, for example, is a very important discipline to learn as much as one can. Its lessons can carry over to other disciplines. In addition, we need to push ourselves to learn some of the disciplines we are not prone to learning.

We should also note that what is valued in God's economy and value system is not what is valued in the world's--especially our immediate world--and this is noted in the section on culture. We should know that not only is there disparity in the incomes between both mathematicians and businesspeople and others such as artists, the incomes of many in the arts and other disciplines as well are are at a poverty level. Some of this is due to the economic system we are living under and the values it practices and promotes. Our current economic system teaches us to value things over people and so we will have less motivation to change the economic system in order to help others if that system is providing the things we want.

That the arts help us in many ways is an important point made above. That false hierarchies exist in culture so that the arts and some trade skills are minimized while both mathematics and business skills are magnified is do in part to our economic system. Those sensitive souls in the arts are intuitively perceptive in perceiving the injustices around us. And because of that, many artists can become prophets in society. But such challenges the status quo and disturbs the comfortable state of many.

One more point could have been made here. When the false hierarchies in culture carry over to create false hierarchies in the Church, we should examine the Church to see if it is bowing down too much to culture and too little to God. And noting the false hierarchies that exist in both culture and the Church is important because dismantling them will enable us learn more from each other.


To Cole Carnesecca and his blogpost about generosity. This appeared in the Gospel Coalition website.

Once we realize the connection between generosity and compassion, we could add a Martin Luther King Jr. quote to this article in describing generosity:

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.


Dec 2

To R. Scott Clark and his short blogpost on political correctness. This appeared in Heidelblog.

I think that we need to be more specific in defining 'political correctness.' For some points made in political correctness are correct. For example, it is politically incorrect to use the name 'Redskins' such as in the debate about name of Washington's football team. And when one looks up the definition of the word, it is easy to see why using such a name should be considered politically incorrect. At the same time, political correctness sometimes follows the same all-or-nothing thinking patterns that the predecessors it sought to correct used.

So in essence, it just might be politically incorrect to refer to political correctness in such a generalized way.

Finally regarding vanmorrisonfan's note, we need to ask if we should be tolerant of real intolerance.


To Joe Carter and his blogpost citing of an article by Samuel Gregg on Poverty, Prosperity, and the Rule of Law. Carter's blogpost was posted in the Acton blog. A link to Gregg's article can be found there.

The problem I see with the article cited is that it relies too much on single variable measurements and overly simplistic definitions. Take the reference to poverty for example. It is claimed that despite the Great Recession, poverty has been reduced worldwide because of the markets created by the Global Economy. But what is the definition of poverty and who exactly have been the beneficiaries of this reduction in poverty. And shouldn't we use other measurements to judge the Global Economy such as what has been the increase in or decrease of income and wealth in those not in poverty?

We should also ask that when nations enjoy an influx of foreign capital, what comes with that capital?For example, does an influx of foreign capital result in loss of national sovereignty?

We should also note the emphasis on the rule of law. Because at this point, we need to ask, whose law is ruling. Here in America, we have the rule of law but it is the rich who have more opportunities to determine what laws will be written. In Nazi Germany, which was referred to in the cited article, you had the rule of law--a point with which the author of the cited article disagrees. But in addition to whose law is ruling, we have to also ask if the law is moral.

Likewise, the claim that with the rule of law comes prosperity, realize that prosperity came to Nazi Germany all the way up until they invaded Russia. It is at that point that they began to lose the war. So, from that example, we might want to ask whose prosperity? Yes, lower prices help me maintain my prosperity and enables me to buy more. But who is sacrificing what in order to get me the low prices I enjoy? We should note that with measuring prosperity, those who sacrifice the most become invisible to those doing the measuring. We should also note that the greatest empires produced some of the greatest prosperity of their times. We should also note that, according to the statistics, some of the greatest reductions in poverty is seen in a nation that exercises much control over the global market within its borders. 

We should also note that not all prosperity is a prosperity shared by all.  This claim that the rule of law produces great prosperity is an offshoot of the religious beliefs of early Christian European settlers of America who believed that prosperity was a sign of God's approval of their lives. Those whom they enslaved or drove off the land might have wanted to express opposing views to that belief. Thus this claim needs to be challenged.

And so now we come down to the definition of freedom. For quite often, the definition of freedom is limited to the individual and often denies the voices of those who are most impacted by the exercise of that freedom. Well, there is individual freedom, but there is group freedom as well. Group freedom is the freedom a group has to determine how its members will coexist with each other and how the group will coexist with other groups or nations. A word that best expresses the idea of group freedom is democracy. And here we should note that there is a difference between defining democracy as a state of being for a group from defining it according to the political structures that are in place. And the existence of such group freedom is often denied by those who stress individual liberty and with good reason. Individual liberty will, at times, conflict with how the group wants to exist. This is where the rule of law often intervenes on behalf of the individual provided that the individual has a enough power to write the laws.

So things are a bit more complicated than what the cited article would have us believe. Thus we should ask who benefits the most from the opinions expressed by the article cited?

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