Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Nothing of any importance happened Monday, or surely I would have commented on it Tuesday. Or I was insanely busy Monday into Tuesday. One of those.

  1. Two words that might be game-changers.
  2. Religious ignorance.
  3. Right Brain vs. Bureaucratic Brain.
  4. Reparative Therapy Ban.

1

There are two words that might suppress my gag reflex enough to let me vote for Romney: Supreme Court.

I’m not alone in that regard. Ted Frank’s issues aren’t my top issues, but it’s hard to imagine any issue on which I’d prefer Obama’s likely nominees to Romney’s.

2

I’m definitely in favor of telling the truth about everything (or shutting up if the truth would hurt). So I cannot help but give one thumb up for this initiative to have Evangelicals in Utah learn what their Mormon neighbors believe.

Now I would challenge rank-and-file Evangelicals to learn what their Roman Catholic and Orthodox neighbors believe.

There’s a tendency – maybe I should just say “this is how I did it as an Evangelical” – to read only tendentious Evangelical secondary sources on the beliefs of non-Christian, dubiously Christian, and disfavored Christian traditions. I read within the past week that Evangelicals are baffled by kin as close as Missouri Synod Lutherans because they don’t practice the faux spontaneity of Evangelical worship.

This seems a glaring and unnecessary ignorance, and I know that I believed falsehoods about Roman Catholicism that were, if not exactly lurid, at least so alien that Catholic friends could not recognize their faith in the books I so foolishly relied on.

Let’s start with baby steps: the Ever-Virginity of Mary. What do you know that 15 centuries of Christians didn’t know about that?

3

There’s a reason, apparently, why I couldn’t find my favorite craft brewery in Traverse City this year:

Just after Memorial Day, Russ and his crew packed up their equipment and closed their astonishingly popular brewpub on Garland Street in Traverse City’s Warehouse District for what was supposed to be a brief hiatus before reopening in new digs in a former factory on 16th Street – on the west side of Boardman Lake between Cass Street and the railroad tracks. They were supposed to reopen on June 15.

What followed was a bureaucratic nightmare of such depressing predictability that I haven’t the heart to go into it here. Suffice it to say that Right Brain remained closed for the entire summer, missing the most profitable season of the tourism year (and a particularly hot, thirst-producing year it was, too) and causing great disappointment to its many fans.

Chubby Squirrels and Concrete Dinosaurs: The Return of Right Brain Brewery.

I may have a few words with some bureaucrats up there next summer.

4

A few thoughts on Reparative Therapy as a ban goes into effect in California:

  1. I doubt that more than a handful of gays and lesbians can change their orientation, and that handful would have to be well-off, highly motivated, highly disciplined, and lucky or smart enough to find someone who wasn’t just going to try praying they gay away.
  2. There probably are a lot of “pray they gay away” pastoral counselors, some of whom may do harm. That’s a risk of free exercise.
  3. Sane people, gay or straight, can control their behavior (versus their desires) with greater or lesser success.
  4. The ban smells to me like lynch mob or witch hunt. The harm of failed therapy may be no better documented that the witchy cause of afflictions in Salem, MA, circa 1693.

If you’re waiting for me to call the California legal challenge, you may be disappointed. I don’t know how the statute defines “reparative therapy.” I’m doubtful they could so define it as to both (a) ban any dubious secular therapy while (b) respecting the free exercise right of trying to change one’s orientation, with help from pastors, pastoral counselors and others. If California is banning or chilling religious counseling based on its objective, I think it will lose.

* * * * *

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.