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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, March 25, 2015

Comments Which Conservatives Block From Their Blogs For March 25, 2015

March 17

To David Robertson and his blogpost objecting to Edinburgh being called a not-Christian city. This appeared in the Wee Flea blog.

To me, calling a place a Christian place does not refer to the number of Christians there or their activity level. Rather, calling a place a Christian place means that Christians have a privileged position in that place to determine that place's laws and mores. 

Our challenge as Christians is how to reach out to the people where we live in order to both share the Gospel and help those in need without seeking a privileged position there. The desire for a privileged position comes from the desire to be in control. And our history of being in control over places has now caused us to see the pendulum swing in the other direction.


March 20

To R. Scott Clark and his blogpost criticizing the PCUSA on its decision to  accept same-sex marriage in the churches of its denomination. This appeared in the Heidelblog.

I think that there are two tragedies here. The first one is definitely the failure of the PCUSA to distinguish between what should be acceptable in the Church and what should be acceptable in society. The denomination has a very valid concern for those who are marginalized (a.k.a., victims in Heidelblog-speak). That concern was also shown in the most recent decision regarding Israel. But that concern has trumped their commitment to the Scriptures. I have a friend who from the denomination who, unfortunately, thinks that the denomination is offering the love of Jesus by regarding homosexuality as being acceptable before God. The PCUSA is right to be concerned with how homosexuals have been marginalized in society and it is right for it to stand against that marginalization. But the Scriptures are clear on this matter and one must practice an olympic level of exegetical-gymnastics to read the Scriptures in any other way.

The other tragedy is the switch from using the conservative-liberal model in understanding the Church to the confessional-nonconfessional model. Why? It is not because of the adequacy of the conservative-liberal model of thought, this model of thought has many faults. It is because, as important as the confessions are, the confessional-nonconfessional model makes, in the hearts of many conservatives, the confessions operate like the traditions of the pharisees in Jesus' day. For we start regarding the confessions in the same way as those pharisees regarded their traditions as they used them to replace God's Word in their thinking. 

Yes, the confessions are important and they can be a useful guide. But dividing churches using the confessional-nonconfessional, especially when it comes to what the confessions say about the 2nd table of the law, puts those confessions on a dangerously high pedestal and forgets the cultural influences that were a part of the writing of those confessions. 


March 21

To Joe Carter and his blogpost predicting significant unemployment from Seattle's new $15/hr minimum wage. This appeared in the Acton blog

What is not mentioned here is that with the current wage situation, public funds are being used to subsidize corporate payrolls for many chains and that also involves chains not in the restaurant business. 

The problem with the conservative approach is that it never questions the system. And if Carter is right about there being too many negative side effects of the $15/hr minimum wage, then the choice we have is between public funds being used to subsidize corporate payrolls because of the poverty wages vs livable wage and fewer jobs. How is it that we are not questioning the system that limits our options to these two options?

Also, time will tell how many negative side effects there will be to the $15/hr wage. But regardless of those effects, we can't afford to be silent on what many are  now experiencing. To be silent while reporting on the negative effects of the new minimum wage indicates a conflict of interests.


To Elise Hilton and her article that attacks socialism by calling it fascism. This appeared in the Acton blog.

The trouble with this post is that it tells 2 stories from only 1 perspective. Both the description of socialism and the relabeling of it as fascism  along with the religious citations supporting and absolutized notion of property rights is stated from the conservative perspective. And the story is fuzzy because it is neither historically nor ideologically accurate. 

Historically speaking, the fascists were enemies of socialism. In addition, the fascists were hypernationalists. Don't believe me? Check the WWII record. Spain, Italy and Germany were fascist nations. And despite claims to the opposite, the so-called socialism of Germany and Italy had as a main driving force industrialists (a.k.a., capitalists), not workers which is the hallmark of socialism. The nationalism and the military spending was very good for businesses.  And they, along with Franco, opposed the left and socialism. Hitler supported Franco against Spain's Leftists. Hitler opposed the Soviet Union--even though Leninism-Stalinism was not really socialism. Both of those Soviet regimes were autocratic tyrannies. Unlike Nazi Germany, their governmental concerns was not driven by industrialists. In fact, Russia's capitalists, who favored the Tsars and kept their policies after the 1917 February overthrow of the Tsar, were defeated by Lenin. Then go ahead and read Mussolini and look at who supported his running of the government.

The topic brought up here is often obscured by rhetoric that absolutizes property rights and this is often done in ways that drown out concerns for workers' and others' rights. And what goes unsaid here is that the maintaining of property rights and the accumulation of wealth is due to a varying number of interdependencies including the essential contributions made by workers. And covered by obscurity and inaccuracies here is the fact that the Left, by definition, revolves around workers' rights and workers' control of manufacturing.  And those rights and control were not even seen in "Leftist" nations like the Soviet Union and Red China let alone the fascist nations like WWII Germany, Spain under Franco, and Italy under Mussolini. Whereas a legitimate Leftist government in Spain was defeated by Franco during the Spanish Civil War and in the name of nationalism--here, we should note that strong nationalism is a common trait among fascist nations while the international is a trait of socialist nations--with the help of Nazi Germany.

See, property rights, property rights, property rights is the battle cry for the capitalists and the business elites. And no challenges are allowed to be made without the accusation that all challenges come from "fascism."  The actual  battle here pits Capitalism's rule of wealth vs Government's rule of power vs the Left's democracy--rule of the people. That is what the stories of both World Wars tell us, and that is what is being played out today.


March 24

To Joe Carter and his blogpost about redistribution and how it is losing support among some of its beneficiaries. This appeared in the Acton blog.

The problem with this post is that because of its limited view of redistribution, it makes a false state, pertaining to our elected officials that is. Redistribution, according to conservatives can only flow in one direction and that direction is toward those who have less. 

But isn't there also a redistribution of wealth upwards? Think of the group that has benefited the most from the financial recovery from our economic collapse in 2008. It is the wealthy. And think about the flow of money that occurs when corporations use gov't assistance programs to subsidize their payrolls. And think about the flow of money which occurs when lobbyists write bills and obtain gov't contracts that richly reward their corporate employers. Most of our elected officials from both major political parties and wealthy recipients of the upward redistribution have no problem with feeling richer and more dependent on government with this upward redistribution. 

Why is it that what is redistributed to the poor is dumped on here, but what is redistributed to the rich goes unmentioned? Past revolutions suggest that this selective process of describing redistribution is not in our best interests. That is especially true for those who have any religious associations.

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