To R. Scott Clark and his blogpost that distinguishes the earthly Jerusalem from the heavenly one. The reason for the post is because of Trump’s plan to move the US embassy to the earthly Jerusalem. This appeared in Heidelblog.
Though I often disagree with Clark's political views, I find this post to be very Biblical in terms of understanding the significance of the earthly Jerusalem. Unfortunately, those who subscribe to dispensational eschatology are, IMO, given to see support for Israel in superstitious terms. That is because they seem to believe that they merit a special blessing from God when they support modern day Israel and Zionism. In reality, they are relegating the Palestinians to a lower human status than they regard the Jews. That is not Biblical.
To fully understand the difference between the earthly and heavenly Jerusalems, one must not only look at what the NT says about Jerusalem, which is what Clark did very well in the above article, they must also look at how the NT regards the Jews and the nation of Israel. But one can't adequately do that from a dispensational approach because such an approach uses a strictly literal interpretation of the OT to interpret what the NT, especially regarding what Paul, says about the Jews. The problem with doing that is that applying a strictly literal interpretation of the OT contradicts a strictly literal interpretation of the NT when it speaks about Israel and the Jews. But not only that, to use a strictly literal interpretation of the OT to understand what the NT says about Israel forgets that the whole Bible is about God revealing Himself in Christ and how that revelation is veiled in the OT and becomes clear in the NT. To use a strictly literal interpretation of the OT to interpret the NT is inconsistent with how God revealed Himself in both parts of the Scriptures.
To R.Scott Clark and his blogpost about the intention of the establishment of religious freedom in our nation. This appeared in Heidelblog.
And yet, that religious freedom has limits. For example, many used their religious faith to defend slavery as well as Jim Crow laws and culture and all that were undone despite the religious defense people gave for them. We are facing that issue again today when religion is being used as a defense for discrimination against the LGBT community. We should note that opposition to the legalization of same-sex marriage was in violation of the religious freedom of many people, some of whom claimed to be Christian--we should note that that claim is made questionable by claim that homosexuality was Biblically acceptable.
If I remember correctly, both Jefferson and Madison wanted Virginia first, and the nation following, to be a place where other religions were tolerated, but a place where people of other faiths could feel at home.
But we shouldn't make too much about Madison being against government overreach. The Constitution itself was written in response to widespread dissent and Shays Rebellion. By focusing on the statements regarding the Militia, it is easy to see that The Constitution was written to strengthen the federal government, not weaken it. In fact, while debating the role and term of a Senator, Madison made it clear that the role of government is to 'protect the minority of the opulent against the majority' and that 'our government ought to secure the permanent interests of the country against innovation.' He feared that if elections in England were open to all classes, then 'agrarian law' would rule. We should note that the innovation Madison spoke against challenged a status quo that benefited him financially.
To Christopher DeGroot's blogpost that attacks multiculturalist elitists for their attempts to add to how institutions like family, sexual love, religion, culture, and so forth are carried out. This appeared in the Imaginative Conservative blog.
DeGroot's article is high on venting and the use of metaphors and low on evidence and the use of logic. It starts with his challenge to the prevalence of white privileged claimed by the multiculturalist intellectuals who, according to DeGroot, use the universities to poison the minds of the young.
Note how DeGroot acknowledges the degree to which white privilege exists:
The multiculturalist intellectual is a common example. In his youth, his noble sentiments of fairness, generosity, compassion, and the like are corrupted by the universities, because the universities are in the business of filling young minds with certain myths and idols—white privilege, the patriarchy, implicit bias, micro-aggressions.
For example, implicit bias, which, while it does exist, just like white privilege, is in most instances an irrational fallacy, a mad projection, herein again just like white privilege.
When the history of our nation which was plagued by slavery before our nation came into existence and by Jim Crow laws and culture following the Civil War, along with continuing significant racial disparities in wealth (see https://www.forbes.com/sites/niallmccarthy/2017/09/14/racial-wealth-inequality-in-the-u-s-is-rampant-infographic/#2c70dcdb34e8 ), incarceration and treatment by the Justice System (see http://www.sentencingproject.org/publications/color-of-justice-racial-and-ethnic-disparity-in-state-prisons/ and https://www.prisonpolicy.org/graphs/raceinc.html and http://www.businessinsider.com/study-finds-huge-racial-disparity-in-americas-prisons-2016-6) , and even in callbacks for job applications (see http://www.nber.org/digest/sep03/w9873.html and https://www.forbes.com/sites/hbsworkingknowledge/2017/05/17/minorities-who-whiten-resumes-get-more-job-interviews/#108480687b74 ), DeGroot is going to minimize white privilege in our nation?
DeGroot's basic beef is with the following:
And indeed, more and more, man’s most vital sources of meaning—the family, heterosexual love, religion, culture, community, dignified, meaningful work—are vanishing from the West
His problem is with change. These changes are taking place in the treasured institutions he lists. And the changes that are taking place consist of multiple approaches to these institutions. To his credit, he challenges the bourgeois idols of success. But he doesn't define that success. Martin Luther King Jr. defined the idol of success back in 1967 when he spoke against the Vietnam War (see http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article2564.htm )
I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a "thing-oriented" society to a "person-oriented" society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.
Here, we should note that being thing-oriented means that, overall, society prefers gadgets, profits, and property rights to people. But we should also note what King claims will always accompany being thing-oriented: racism, materialism, and militarism. While DeGroot can find agree with King's opposition to materialism, they disagree over the degree to which white privilege, advanced through racism, exists.
While DeGroot vents against the multiculturalists elites' and social justice warriors' efforts to erase racism by compensating for the different starting lines people of certain races tend to begin. That is done in order to reduce disparities between the racesand increase the number of equal outcomes. However, DeGroot's explanation for the differences in outcomes between the races is not clear. He states that we can never begin at the same starting line because:
For though it means well—this God-like endeavor to redress the differences of starting point at which we begin the so-called race of life—what happens is that we are all made guilty for the contingencies—the differences of class, talent, ability, physical appearance, and so on ad infinitum—into which we are born
But when the different starting line for the races are explained by differences in talent, there is some understandable confusion as to whether his view carries with it some racial overtones.
DeGroot then complains about addressing disparities through the use of affirmative action. For, according to DeGroot, such is the reason for the lowering of academic and other standards in our nation. DeGroot doesn't seem to fully appreciate the different starting lines that white privilege affords some and denies others. That is seen in his claim that excellence is being sacrificed in order to heal old sins. And yet, without some sort of Affirmative Action to overcome those different starting lines, those starting lines become entries to strict racing lanes that lead to a caste system. In addition, the continued discrimination that has produced disparities between the races points to the fact that racism, with its resulting white privilege, is still significantly hurting people's chances to succeed and close the wealth and incarceration disparities.
In addition, academic compromises in many of our colleges have nothing to do multiculturalists' attempts to increase the number and percentage of minority students, they have to do with the businessfication of our colleges--cutting support for our colleges so that they operate more like business and the students are then regard as customers--and the failure of our public schools. Here we should note that both parents and public school students are as responsible as anyone else for the problems with our public schools.
While much of DeGroot's article from this point still consists of venting and the use of fancy metaphoric devices, we should look at what he is defending and supporting. If he is attacking multiculturalist intellectuals for the diversity they are introducing to DeGroot's sacred cow institutions, it seems obvious that DeGroot is promoting a conformity in how society views his valued traditional institutions. For if multiple approaches to family structures, religion, heterosexual love, culture, and so forth are seen as threats to society by DeGroot, then they can't be tolerated. And this brings us back to his minimizing the degree to which white privilege exists. For those those who instituted white privilege in our nation were many of the same people who also brought the institutions of the kind of family, religion (a.k.a., conservative Christianity), culture, and heterosexual love, which isn't really being challenged as much as some want homosexual love to be allowed in society as well, that DeGroot demands. But to point out the sins of our founders, such as their creation and promotion of white privilege, is to put a blight on their credibility. And to do that means we minimize the reason for following their approaches to those institutions. DeGroot is promoting is a specific set of standards that he wants these institutions, and we the people too, to conform to. Thus, it is conformity that DeGroot is arguing for and that is why he vents so hard against multiculturalism with its celebration of diversity in DeGroot's sacred cow institutions.
The trouble with DeGroot's article is his overreliance on demonizing those with different views. He does this by ranting and venting against them without providing evidence for his claims. The implication of DeGroot's tirades is that American society is not big enough for DeGroot's traditionalism and multiculturalism. And at that point, we should examine how DeGroot thinks about we should share society. Does he believe that we should share society with others as equals, or does he want those show share his traditional approaches to family, heterosexual love, religion, and culture to have a privilege place of supremacy in society to maintain DeGroot's favored traditional approaches to his treasured institutions.