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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Comments Which Conservatives Block From Their Blogs For April 20, 2016

Remember to expect more errors in this series of blogposts than in others because less editing is involved. What is below contains my comments to conservative blogs which were blocked. The errors here are minor and the ideas expressed here can be understood despite them.

April 14

To Steve McAlpine and his blogpost that reviews the book Disappearing Church: From Cultural Relevance To Gospel Resilience. This is book is about how the Church lost its groove in society and how it can regain it. This appeared in the Gospel Coalition website

With all of the analysis about how we are now in a post Christian world that has partially rejected us and the advocation for the Benedict Option, I was wondering where are the critiques of how the Church has failed society in this review. Where has the Church unnecessarily turned people off? Where was it mentioned of how the Church has focussed so hard on pounding the consciences of individuals while either remaining silently complicit with or heartily affirming the fragile self-esteems of those with wealth and power? For didn't the Roman Church support those with wealth and power prior to both the French and Spanish Revolutions as did the Orthodox Church prior to the Russian Revolution? And hasn't the Conservative Protestant Church been doing the same for most of America's history while we ethnically cleansed Native Americans from the land while embracing a Capitalist economic system that relies on human exploitation? Where are the critiques of the Church when, in the past, there was a Christian hegemony over society and culture that stood idly by when nonwhites were being marginalized while it worked and still does as hard as it could to marginalize the LGBT community in society?

And why support the Benedict Option? After all, with that option the Church can be likened to a kid who takes his games home because he couldn't win those games against his friends. So he withdraws and goes home in order to learn how to beat them at his games. Isn't that a picture of us? Doesn't the Benedict Option direct us to withdraw from society because we are no longer the privileged group in control of society so we can regroup in order to retake society? Doesn't this show that we don't know how to share society with others as equals?

We can't honestly discuss why we are in a post Christian society and world without taking a long, hard look at ourselves in the mirror. Though I can't say that the book has refrained from doing that, this review of the book has failed to do so.


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April 17

To Denny Burk and his blogpost criticizing Hillary Clinton’s stance on the greatest human crisis today: abortion. This appeared in Denny Burk’s blog

The disagreement I have with the analysis above regards emphasis. Is abortion the greatest human right crisis of our time when we still face the possibility of nuclear annihilation or the possibility  that our earthly lifestyles are in the process of creating a dead planet?

Or is abortion such a grave human rights crisis that we can afford to ignore the crises that come from war & poverty? Or should we ignore the grave problems caused by racism and economic classism in order just to focus on abortion.

Certainly abortion is a very serious issue today. And neither Sanders or Clinton have satisfactory answers to this issue. But lest we imitate liberals in playing the pharisee from the parable of the two men praying,  we also fall short in what say about other serious topics and that falling short has caused some not to see our stance against elective abortions  as being CONSISTENTLY pro-life. And until we get more consistent so that we understand that both major parties are seen as having failed to become pro-life, then complaining about Clinton on this subject will not  get us far.

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April 18

To Jeff Robinson and his blogpost on how intolerance can be beautiful. This appeared in the Gospel Coalition website.

There are at least  two conditions that can make some intolerances beautiful. The article above only states one: practices that are objectionable because they promote injustice. The second condition that can make some intolerances beautiful is that, depending on the practice, our first reaction would be not to punish. For it is when our first response is punitive  that helps sustain some objectionable attitudes and practices.

For example, racism should never be tolerated. But if society's first reaction to racist statements or practices is punitive, then all of us have a conflict of interest when we examining ourselves for any racism in our speech, attitudes, or actions. And I know from my upbringing where, because homeowners in my township were prohibited from selling their houses to noncaucasions and thus there were no Blacks in any of my schools until my senior year in high school, that I grew up with some racist views. Have I eliminated all of those views? I hope so. But the fear of societal punishment causes me to lose some objectivity in answering that question. BTW, we should note here that the intolerance Martin Luther King Jr. had to racism did not require that punishment be the first response. King sought to win over his opponents and enemies. Those who could not be won over were, according to what King promoted and practiced, to have their behaviors controlled by law.

We should note one other fact about when intolerance can be beautiful. It depends on the context. Should society be required to be intolerant of all that the Church should intolerant of? That was the question being asked when the Conservative Church in America was pushing for sanctions against homosexuality and then later trying to prevent same-sex marriage and is now trying to legalize discrimination against those from the LGBT community for religious reasons. It was also the question whose answer drove the Puritans to persecute people from other denominations such as the Quakers.

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To R. Scott Clark and his blogpost video clip surveying students on self-identity. This appeared in Heidelblog.

First, who said there were no limits to self-identity? Perhaps the validity of any self-identity should be measured on a case by case basis. But the current conservative evangelical approach to those who seek to change genders, at least from what is suggested by the video clip above, results in an all-or-nothing approach to self-identity. Such an approach only focuses on a specifically chosen limited set of criteria for each identity.

In addition, the same group believes that  the Church should determine the criteria society should use for each self-identity.

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April 19

To Joe Carter and his blogpost that claims that cars that run solely on electricity really run on coal because that is what generates our electricity. This appeared in the Acton Blog.

At the website, politifact.com, statements are graded on the following scale: Pants on Fire, False, Mostly False, Half True, Mostly True, and True. The above statement that says:

Tesla Motors Releases a Car for the Masses That Runs on Coal

would receive a Mostly False rating. Why? Because, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (see https://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.cfm?id=427&t=3 ), only 33% of our electric energy is provided by coal. Renewable energy accounts for 13%, natural gas and nuclear power account for 335 and 20% respectively speaking, and the rest is generated by petroleum and other gasses.

But there is another point to be made here. It is easier to convert the source for our electricity generation from coal to renewable sources than to do the same with our vehicles. So as we continue to find ways to rely more on renewable energy sources, today's investment in an all electric car gives us more potential to protect the environment in the future than if we continue to invest in cars running on gas.

But let's give Carter his due; he drives a Prius. That deserve recognition.

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To Joe Carter and his blogpost on what Bernie Sanders could learn from the Pope on the Capitalism while he visits there. This appeared in the Acton blog.

This article woefully displays Carter's ignorance of Socialism. For not only does he assume a set of beliefs on Sanders' part because Sanders has called himself a Socialist, he views Socialism as a monolith and thus asserts that all socialists have the same beliefs.

When one examines what Sanders is promoting, one discovers that Sanders is nothing more than a follower of FDR, not a Socialist. Socialism, especially from the Marxist tradition, is not just or sometimes even concerned with central government control or 'complete egalitarian societies.' Socialism is concerned with the redistributing of power from the bourgeoisie to the proletariat. From there, we have a variety of view regarding how egalitarian society should be to what ownership of private property is allowed to whether one believes or not in the state.  We should note that most Socialism is like Capitalism in one way, both believe in classocracy. The differences between them then is in the class in charge and how the class in charge gets its power. With Socialism, the class in charge is the proletariat and it arrives at its power democratically. In Capitalism, the class in charge is the bourgeoisie and it arrives at its power through power struggles. If only Carter would actually read what Socialists say and have done, he might being to know what he is talking about rather than rely on pejorative stereotypes.

As for the Pope's quote that "should" cause Sanders dismay:

on the level of individual nations and of international relations, the free market is the most efficient instrument for utilizing resources and effectively responding to needs.

there is nothing here to worry Sanders or even any socialist. For whatever positive the Pope says about Capitalism, as Martin Luther King Jr. noted, according to his biography by Travis Smiley, the actual redistribution of of goods and services has proved Capitalism not to have actually delivered on is potential. That is because Capitalism's fuel is greed, its lubrication is competition, and its engine is centralized control by those with wealth. And anyone could see that centralized control is potentially more efficient and effective than democratic control. The problem is that centralized control first feeds itself whatever it deems is necessary while leaving all other to fend for the table scraps. Let alone, we should note the context of the Pope's statement on the Free Market is within individual nations, not a globalized economy.




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