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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 29, 2017

Comments Which Conservatives Block From Their Blogs For March 29, 2017

March 21

To Collin Hansen and his blogpost review of Rod Dreher’s Benedict Option in the light of Trump’s Presidency. This appeared in the Gospel Coalition website.

I haven't read his book but I have read some of Dreher's articles on the Benedict Option. The weakness I find with his approach which should have some bearing on how we agree with his approach or react to what he sees is that he believes that Christians should maintain a privileged place in society resulting in some degree of Christian supremacy over culture and society. This supremacy, historically speaking, has led to the marginalization of many people and that marginalization has not just been based on race. It is good that Hansen brought up past racism. But other bases for marginalization include economic class, religion, and sexual orientation and identity.

If we religiously conservative Christians could only be content with sharing society with others as equals rather than as being treated as a privileged group, we could see that today's culture wars are both unnecessary and harmful for all involved.

So the real question here goes to Dreher's analysis of culture and the presuppositions he carries in analyzing culture. For if we Christians want to have some degree of supremacy in controlling culture, then Dreher's analysis and solution have some legitimacy even though it causes Christians to appear like children who take their games home from friends because they lost in those games. But if we focused on sharing society with others as equals, especially with those from the LGBT community, then the only need we would have to address is to apologize for the how we have wronged the LGBT community in the past and ask about what measures must we take to address those wrongs prior to the pendulum hitting us in the face from its reversing direction. And we don't have to compromise on what the Scriptures say about sexuality and marriage to apologize.


The comment below is currently listed as being under moderation even though comments submitted later have been posted. Please continue to check the Gospel Coalition blogpost to see if the comment is still not posted.

To Kevin deYoung and his blogpost that claims that those in need as portrayed in Jesus’s parable of the sheep and the goats refers to fellow Christians only. This appeared in then Gospel Coalition website

But the charge to love one’s neighbor, according to the Good Samaritan parable, means that we must show charity to all who are vulnerable who come our way. And in an age of technology-enabled connectedness and governments that are more accountable to its people, then our neighbors include more and more people and thus opposing our government from caring for the vulnerable is to make Cain’s rhetorical question to God the basis for our political ideology.

IN addition, we should note the original definition of stakeholder before we oppose government as it tries to help those in need.


March 22

To R. Scott Clark and his blogpost quote of Andrew Sullivan on how intersectionality has become a religion. This appeared in the Heidelblog.

With how the Bible describes our sinfulness, I don't see any problem with considering the validity of concepts Sullivan associates with intersectionality. We know that identity-based oppression is a fact of history and life. And the only ones who should feel threatened by such ideas are those who cherish their association with privileged groups. They are often described by the OT prophets as those who either neglect or oppress the vulnerable. So certainly those who are privileged should be challenged on either their active participation in or silent complicity with oppressing other groups.

Where intersectionality has become a religion according to Sullivan is not necessarily in the concepts they espouse, but in their response to those who promote opposing ideas. At the speaking event Sullivan described in his article, some of those who adhere to intersectoinality not only prevented a controversial speaker, Charles Murray, from speaking, the manner in which they shut down the event reminded Sullivan of a religion. And that should not surprise us in today's world of  highly insular, ideological groups. It's the insularity that, more than anything else, contributes to a self-righteous intolerance by and even the religiosity of many of today's ideological groups.

What failed to be mentioned in the quote above is how Sullivan describes Trump as being just as much an enemy of truth as those who both adhere to intersectionality and disrupted the speaking event that Sullivan described. We should note that Sullivan commented on how Trump too disregards any facts that challenge his ideology. And it is here that Sullivan ties together those who disrupted the speaking event with Trump. For he states that neither side allows for any facts to exist which challenge their own orthodoxies. Thus, from different ideological perspectives, those who believe in intersectionality and Trump himself mimic each other in how they respond to challenges. They mimic each other not necessarily by tactics used but by only allowing for any reality that challenges their ideologies.

So the question becomes why does this blogpost only quote Sullivan when he describes intersectionality and not Trump?


March 24

To Bruce Ashford and his blogpost review of a book by David Koyzis on making idols out of our politics. This appeared in the Gospel Coalition website.

Two points to make here. Being a socialist, I felt that socialism was misrepresented that was because it was treated as a monolith based on one of its oldest models. We should note that many who have thought about and promoted socialism since Marx, realize that Socialism existed before Marx only he added some particular flavors to it, have some different views than his. Some have followed the Trotsky/Stalin division though I am not sure whether that is the best way to describe that division. Others have taken away the utopian and there are those who have minimized Socialism's materialism while add to that its relational aspects such as seen in the promotion of various degrees of worker control at the workplace and in government. While some want to define socialism around a particular ideology, others focus on socialism as a practice. BTW, when the following revolves around materialism, we could easily say that socialism and capitalism are two sides of the same materialist coin. Both seek a relative or absolute utopia based on the distribution of goods.

And though I can't speak for liberals, conservatives, and nationalists because of how I saw socialism oversimplified, my suspicion is that liberals, conservatives, and nationalists might feel the same misrepresentation of their pet ideologies due to oversimplification that I experienced when read what was said in the above article about socialism.

There is one point I agree with article about though I will put that agreement in my own words. The more ideological we are, the more prone we are to make our political approach into an idol. And how idolatrous we are in our political ideologies can be measured not just in how it changes our relationship with and view of God, but in how we treat others as well. The more we demonize others and think of our own group as having everything to teach and nothing to learn from others, the more our political ideologies have become our idols.

BTW, the line above that says everything to teach and nothing to learn is adapted from a Martin Luther King Jr. line. And I mention that because as Ashford cites the author he is reviewing, David Koyzis, he replicates a King practice that is suggested, if not implied, by resisting the urge to make any political ideology into an idol. That is, as King noted, from comparing America's Capitalism with Russia's Communism, both had unique contributions to make and unique flaws to correct. Thus, we should work with all political ideologies to develop hybrids that emphasize the strengths of each ideology.

But something else has to be said to us religiously conservative Christians. We have to recognize that society is not the Church. And thus, we have evaluate how we should share society with others prior to working with those who adhere to other ideologies in shaping society. For the more we religiously conservative Christians presume a privileged place where we demand some degree of supremacy over others in determining society's laws and mores, the more we will appear to others as those who have made their pet political ideologies into idols appear to us. That is the more we will come across to unbelievers as those who have everything to teach and nothing to learn. In contrast to that, the more we strive to share society with unbelievers as equals, the more we will naturally exhibit the humility Ashford writes about at the end of his article.


March 25

To Joseph Pearce and his blogpost about how he grew up as a racist but was converted and now sees some of the reactions against the traditions and beliefs of Western Civilization as being racist and, in some people, ethno-massochistic. This appeared in the Imaginative Conservative blog.

On the one hand, I respect the personal sharing Pearce did in this article. On the other hand, one doesn't have to be a White Supremacist to be a racist. Racism exists on a continuum. Though growing up in an all white neighborhood for most of my youth, I never became a "White Supremacist." But after reflecting on my college days, I realize that I was what I call a passive racist back then. It's not that I was an aggressive racist, but I had racist views stemming from ignorance and that governed how I interpreted and reacted to Black Americans at college. Hopefully I've fully corrected that but I have too much of a conflict of interest to objectively evaluate myself here.

And though we shouldn't believe that all White men were White Supremacists when looking at the history of Western Civilization, but that isn't the issue. We should realize that racism permeated the Western Civilization from its empires and colonialism to its practice of slavery and slave trading, to its ethnic cleansing of indigenous peoples from different lands, to its ethnocracy from the assumption of racial privilege which returns us to White Supremacy though such can be a softer version of White Supremacy than how we usually think of it..

However, we need to understand that what could be called an overreaction to the racism, which Pearce has noted, that is so much a part of almost every aspect of Western Civilization is not racist. Btw, I am calling the banning or burning of books or the total rejection of Western Civilization an overreaction. Rather, it is rooted in an all-or-nothing thinking approach to an outcome-based truth system that simply says if a belief system has produced any abusive behavior, then the belief system is totally false. This kind of reaction is what we see in phobias that are the result of suffering traumas rather than any ethno-masochism. For this kind of reaction is more directed at culture than race. So what we are seeing there is simply the foundation of Post Modernism with its rejection of historical metanarratives because of much of the fruit of those metanarratives. Thus, the supremacy sought in Post Modernism is found in its total rejection of and, by some, its attempts to cleanse ourselves of the metanarratives of Modernism and Pre Modernism rather than in any reactive racism.

And trying to tie racism to Marxism is done pejoratively here. Such is a set up for establishing the supremacy of one's non-Marxist traditions of thought while no specifics are provided to establish the alleged association. But where we do see supremacy showing its ugly face is when a group, whether that group is based on cultural identity, ideology, economic class, race, national identity, sexual orientation, religion, and so forth believes that it cannot afford to share society as equals with those who are different in a diverse society.

And this returns us to the beginning. Whereas Pearce has gone through quite a personal transformation that merits much respect, he seems to overstate his case about being cleansed from supremacist ways of thinking. But for that matter, who has been totally cleansed of all kinds of supremacist ways of thinking? We can find out by how willing we are to share society with others as equals. And we can only share society with others as equals when, using the phraseology of Martin Luther King Jr., we reject the notion that our own group has everything to teach others and have nothing to learn from them.


To Devin Ryan and his blogpost claiming that it is time for Russia and the others to bury Lenin rather than allowing his body to still be displayed in the Kremlin. This burying of Lenin would cut all favorable associations with him. This appeared in the Acton Blog.

We need to realize that some conflicts consist of evil vs evil. Such was the case when Lenin and the Bolsheviks hijacked the Russian Revolution. The first Revolution saw a provisional government overthrow the Tsar at that time. The provisional government then failed because it followed the will of the capitalists who wanted Russia to continue to fight in WW I. It also saw the Capitalists as having control of the nation. Thus, the conditions that led to the February Revolution of 1917 continued and that led to the October Revolution. We should note that during Russia's pre-revolutionary times, the Church supported the Tsars and the status quo. Though I am unaware of who the Church supported during the reign of the Provisional Government, it opposed the Socialists. Now while Lenin denounced religion, other socialists, like Rosa Luxemburg, called on the Russian Church to support the Socialists for everyone's good.

At the same time, we should note that Socialists like Rosa Luxemburg denounced Lenin's regime calling it a bourgeoisie dictatorship. Others have said that he simply practiced his own version of how the Tsars ruled. Other Socialists were cleansed from the scene by a power hungry Lenin who felt threatened by diversity and dissent. His reach for power included disbanding the soviets and Russia's Constituent Assembly. Other Socialists supported his hijacking because of the Counter Revolution and the crises that followed the Revolution. In essence, those who hijacked the Revolution were Bolsheviks. And thus what we have here is a complex picture of Socialism rather than a simple one that serves as a basis for the pejorative use of the word 'socialism.'

What we saw in Stalin was Lenin-gone-wild while what we saw in Lenin was Stalin-lite.  In either case, there was no proletariat dictatorship that was essential to what Marx taught. So it would be difficult to claim that under Lenin or Stalin, Marxist Socialism failed since it wasn't practiced. It wasn't until you get to Gorbachev who, btw rejected Stalin but embraced what Lenin taught, that you begin to see the Socialist concern for democracy being put on display in Russia. Should note that while not practicing Socialism, Lenin still tended to espouse Socialist beliefs and some just rationalize his totalitarian rule because of the crises that Russia was experiencing back then.

But returning to Lenin, both the Church and Lenin were on the wrong side of history. The Church was on the wrong side because of its support of those with wealth and power, including support for the Tsar, prior to the Revolution. Lenin was on the wrong side of history as he replaced one dictatorship with another. Thus, if we are going to cut all sentimental ties to Lenin, which is why he would be buried, the same goes for the Tsars. The result of both burials would be that bolsheviks and many from the Russian Orthodox Church would be ideologically orphaned.


March 27

To Joe Carter and his blogpost on the role of Christian journalism and how that is carried out at The Gospel Coalition. This appeared on the Gospel Coalition website.

The crux of many conflicts among Christians and between Christians and nonChristians is what is meant by a 'restoration of creation'? Does it mean that we start to impose Christian values and Church laws on society? And we should also look at the why of this restoration. Does that why revolve around us and the enjoyment of our new life?

Those are pertinent questions because we are sharing that creation with nonChristians. And what  happens when we overreach in that restoration of creation is that we start to use society as a supplemental disciplinary arm of the Church. We know from the Scriptures that unbelievers are not subject to Church discipline. But if we try too hard to assist God in restoring creation, won't unbelievers become obstacles and then we will try to use civil laws to remove those obstacles? And thus, we will be using society as a supplemental disciplinary arm of the Church on those who are not subject to Church discipline.

The most pertinent question that involves the third point of Keller's three-point outline is: How should we Christians share society with others? Does God want his people to claim a privileged place in society so we can enjoy places of supremacy in order for Him to use us to restore creation? Or should we share society with others as equals and work side by side with them in creating a society with equality and justice? In addition, based on that third point, must the world revolve around us Christians because we are God's people? Those are all pertinent questions for any Christian journalist or ministry because the answers to those questions will determine what is advocated and what is described by those doing Christian journalism.

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