Tasty Tidbits 8/18/11

  1. Second thoughts on Adam & Eve.
  2. As pretty as …
  3. The Barbi-ization continues.
  4. Boycotts.
  5. “Recycling” drugs?!
  6. Partying kingdom style.
  7. Forgive us our debts.

1

Image licensed from iStockphoto

Reflecting a bit further on my ininital written reaction to Evangelical travail over Adam & Eve yesterday, maybe it comes down to whether a “type” must be historically factual. (If you have only a vague idea of what typology is and suspect it’s some liberal “explaining away” of the Bible, please do me the favor of looking at the linked Wikipedia article before writing me and Orthodoxy off as liberal. Thank you.)

The historicity of Adam & Eve almost never comes up in Orthodoxy; it seems to be a question we’re just not all that keen on. It certainly does not function for us, as for one of the “conservative” Evangelicals on the NPR piece, as “absolutely foundational.”

How can that be? Well, for one thing, we do not believe in “inherited guilt” from Adam. We don’t believe that babies are hell-bound with their first cry in this world.

But they are certainly bound to die. Orthodoxy overwhelmingly treats the “wages of sin [as] death,” not as hell. If you know a little Bible, you should be able to recall some solid warrant for that. The Adam & Eve/forbidden fruit account in Orthodoxy is the origin of spiritual death for humans, and the fear of death is how we become enslaved to sin (Hebrews 2:14-15).

Is it possible to have a “saving relationship” with Christ while entertaining erroneous ideas about things like, say, the historicity of Adam & Eve? I doubt that even the Evangelical leaders for whom literal Adam & Eve are “foundational” would deny that.

I’d rather be in that position — tenaciously but unnecessarily holding onto literal Adam & Eve, or giving them up too quickly in the face of scientific consensus — than to clutch right doctrine to my bosom while holding Christ at arm’s length — a posture known as “dead orthodoxy,” and the kind of ideology-in-religion’s-clothing that can lead to lurid front page news.

On the other hand, teaching wrong doctrine is a serious matter. That’s what has the “foundationalists” up in arms. They’re not so much witch-hunting for Evangelical faithful with wrong private notions as targeting leaders who are publicly teaching something that, ironically, strikes Evangelical innovators (a redundancy) as an illegitimate innovation.

We Orthodoxen pray daily “cleanse us of our sins … pardon our transgressions … visit and heal our infirmities.” It’s possible to be spiritually alive and in communion with Christ while holding wrong doctrine — through mental and intellectual sloth or “infirmity,” or just for lack of time to try to figure everything out.

So be advised, lest I, too, teach wrongly, that this item and the one yesterday are the meanderings of a guy who can say at times “What do I think about X? I don’t know, because I haven’t written about it yet.” I’m just trying to figure out what Orthodoxy, which I have come to accept a priori on things I haven’t figured out on my own, would say about the Evangelical’s bone of contention.

2

It can hardly be a coincidence that no language on earth has ever produced the expression “As pretty as an airport.”

Douglas Adams (1988), The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul, via Fr. Gregory Jensen.

3

From the Department of Size Discrimination comes critique of a controversial new book, Maggie Goes on a Diet, aimed at girls aged 6 to 12.

Having never been at risk of anorexia nervosa, it’s easy for me to dismiss critiques like this, but can anybody deny that there’s a feminine ideal out there that can never be met by some girls and women, and that trying to achieve it is unhealthy emotionally if not physically?

(HT Lindsey Nelson on Facebook)

4

Starbucks’ Howard Schultz calls for a boycott of political donations from big spenders until Congress shows some fiscal discipline. I wonder if he was inspired by a threatened boycott of Starbucks by GLBTetcetera unless he pulled out of an Evangelical-led leadership conference where he was under contract to speak?

The GLBTetcetera folk didn’t understand (or maybe they did, but still hated it) that the sponsor, Willow Creek Community Church, advocates abstinence from sex, gay or straight, outside marriage.

Sometimes Evangelicals still hold correct ideas: what we do with our bodies matters because there’s no sharp line between body and soul.

5

Three cheers for “thinking outside the box.”

In a bit of high-tech recycling, researchers have developed an innovative way to identify already-approved drugs that may work against diseases they weren’t designed to combat.
The scientists have also demonstrated how a couple of such repurposed drugs may have benefits in treating two conditions, inflammatory bowel disease and lung cancer.

6

Something I overheard the other day reminded me of how countercultural true Christianity is, and how hard it is to measure up consistently. What I overheard, from a professing Christian, was quite contrary to the Gospel:

[Jesus] said also to the man who had invited him, “When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, Then at the resurrection of the righteous, God will reward you for inviting those who could not repay you.”

(Luke 14:12-14)

Unfortunately, some people who are in Church every Sunday put this wisdom aside by Monday. They’ll tell you to pick your friends carefully for what they can repay you, and they’ll scorn you if you don’t.

I understand sucking up to people who can benefit you. I don’t understand being so calculated about it despite the Gospel one professes. “You and I have need of the strongest spell that can be found to wake us from the evil enchantment of worldliness.” (Tweeted C.S. Lewis paraphrase)

7

A nemesis whose name I shall not publish has died.

If everyone’s a genius, I’m uncertain what his genius was. At law, he was a “fish trying to climb a tree,” and at some point he began clear-cutting what he couldn’t climb. He did some very bad things and then clumsily but relentlessly denied wrongdoing and attacked those who called him on it, including me and my late father. (One pays a price for helping a profession police itself, of which time testifying in disciplinary proceedings is only a part.) He eventually relinquished his license to practice before they inevitably took it away.

May God have mercy on him anyway. I know no reason to think that his sins were so unforgivable that he should “roast on a spit” endlessly. “Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.”

***

Having foresworn heavy partisan political blogging, I’ve taken to Tweeting, and you can see those Tweets in the right column. 140 characters to pass along a political link seems about right.

Bon appetit!

About readerjohn

I am a retired lawyer and an Orthodox Christian, living in a collapsing civilization, the modern West. There are things I'll miss when it's gone. There are others I won't. That it is collapsing is partly due to calculated subversion, summarized by the moniker "deathworks." This blog is now dedicated to exposing and warring against those deathwork - without ceasing to spread a little light.
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