Posted by: readerjohn | August 21, 2014

Thursday, 8/21/14

  1. Swinish heresy with a ThD
  2. Gender madness!
  3. We are the very model of a modern Major General
  4. There are no Christian Arabs (and they’re creepy too)

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Posted by: readerjohn | August 20, 2014

Wednesday, 8/20/14

  1. The increasingly intermediated cop
  2. Just like capitalism except …
  3. The dominant story of modern culture
  4. Degrading slavery

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Posted by: readerjohn | August 18, 2014

Monday 8/18/14

  1. Against Obsessive Sexuality
  2. SPLC does something unexpected
  3. The tone-deaf Cardinal
  4. Steyn on Police Lethal Force
  5. Not a real sabbatical

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Posted by: readerjohn | August 17, 2014

Sunday 8/17/14

  1. The Orthodox Philosopher’s God
  2. The myth that killed music for math
  3. No need for Christian tradition?
  4. Fighting for God as if possessed

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Posted by: readerjohn | August 15, 2014

Dormition of the Mother of God

  1. The Gospel is a year-long song, sung by the Churh
  2. When anti-abortion ≠ pro-life
  3. When lawyers just can’t help themselves.
  4. The Title of the Blog

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Posted by: readerjohn | August 13, 2014

Wednesday 8/13/14

  1. The pornification of clothes marketing
  2. A Gospel Reading meant to sting
  3. Robin Williams
  4. Clicktivism
  5. Another existential threat to the U.S.

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Posted by: readerjohn | August 12, 2014

Tuesday 8/12/14

  1. Is Putin another Hitler?
  2. If you don’t love US, you must be unhinged
  3. Icarus soared
  4. Desire of the Everlasting Hills
  5. Dr. Tipsy’s Tough Love Potion
  6. Pat Buchanan, Prophet

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Posted by: readerjohn | August 11, 2014

Monday 8/11/14

  1. What’s destroying the world
  2. Blood and geography
  3. Odds are about 1 in 26,000 that they’re right
  4. 0.5% of $0.00 is $0.00

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Posted by: readerjohn | August 10, 2014

On Becoming Christian

For 60 years or so now, including the nearly 17 years I’ve been Orthodox, I’d have called myself a “lifelong Christian.” But now I’m wondering whether that’s accurate.

I’ve thought, you see, that I became a Christian around age 4 or 5, when I did something mean to my younger brother, made him cry, got called on it, and suddenly the light went on that I had just disappointed Jesus, who loved me. I asked Him to forgive me. As a good little Evangelical boy, I asked Him to come into my heart. And never thereafter did I say “I changed my mind. Please leave now, Jesus.”

But I’m now thinking a probably became a Christian when I was 17.

How can that be?

Because I wasn’t baptized until then. Baptism makes Christians. Only if I’d been baptized as an infant would it be unequivocally true that I was a “lifelong Christian.” But unless I had stayed the course, that wouldn’t be saying much, because I could well have been a really miserable excuse for a Christian without, despite that, ceasing to be Christian.

“Christian” isn’t an encomium;  it’s a fact. That identity is not created by bare volition, but by initiation.

That’s exactly backwards from how an Evangelical sees it. If I’d been baptized as an infant but never “gave my heart to Jesus” until I was 17, they’d say I wasn’t a Christian until age 17. If I gave my heart to Jesus, then got baptized, and then behaved very badly, all Evangelicals except for those I call “One-point Calvinists” (of which there are tens of millions) would say I’d ceased being a Christian (the One-point Calvinists would insist I was still “saved” because, well, “Eternal Security”). I guess if you had multiple personality disorder, you could be Christian or not according to which personality you were sporting that day?

That’s a pretty deep difference. It leads Evangelicals, who really aren’t heartless people, to do unbiblical things like “dedicating” their babies to Jesus without baptizing them. And then they fault ecclesial Christians for not following the Bible! Real Chutzpah!

Dear Evangelical: Hear me now. Baptism is to Christian families and their children what circumcision was to Jewish baby boys.

I knew that even as a Calvinist, though I now suspect I “didn’t know the half of it.” In an important sense, parents determine a child’s religion not only by precept, but by initiation.

* * * * *

“The remarks made in this essay do not represent scholarly research. They are intended as topical stimulations for conversation among intelligent and informed people.” (Gerhart Niemeyer)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.

Posted by: readerjohn | August 9, 2014

House Cleaning

I had a bit of a backlog of blogs I’d saved for future comment. I tossed many for having passed the sell-by date, but some problems and idiocies are perennial:

  1. Religion and Worldview
  2. The “The Thorn Birds” Precedent
  3. The continuing irrelevance of the ancients
  4. Bigotry on display

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