Happy Summer!

    1. Clip your belt to the rail
    2. The dog ate our e-mail, not your tax records
    3. Her prejudice ate her brain
    4. “Jurassic Church” takes wings and flies!
    5. What’s hateful, what’s “meh”?
    6. Platitude in context


Let me be the first to wish you “Happy Summer.” I don’t care what the meteorologists say: Summer arrives June 21. I learned that in school. So there!

1

A society doesn’t capsize all at once; it leans by degrees. It tilts, and the opinion mavens who are its deckhands rush about reassuring everyone that it’s the horizon that is at fault. We are finally leveling things, they say, now clip your belt to the rail so you don’t go overboard. The enlightened canter society, they level it to their horizon-scorning vision, and then, once a sufficient pitch is reached, gravity takes care of the rest.

(Tony Woodlief, Cantering to the gas chamber at Sand in the Gears) Just thought I should throw the game right away by a Reductio ad Hitlerum so y’all can relax and enjoy what(ever) follows.

2

You ask taxpayers to [keep] seven years of tax records in case they’re audited and you can’t keep six months of employee e-mails?! … I don’t believe you.

(Rep. Paul Ryan to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen) I don’t believe him, either. I don’t believe that the IRS IT department is that incompetent. I’ve long heard that you can’t make e-mail vanish from skilled computer forensics.

Over at Prawfsblawg, Pepperdine law professor Naomi Goodno considershow courts would handle equivalent conduct by a litigant facing a discovery request for e-mails and other electronically stored information.  The short answer: it’s not pretty.  Concludes Goodno: “If this discovery issue had arisen in federal court, the IRS would have likely been subject to monetary sanctions and possibly an adverse inference instruction.”

(Jonathan Adler) In other words, we may assume from the IRS’s spoliation of evidence that it’s guilty as hell of everything the conservatives have accused it of. Would this guilt not put the Obama Administration in the top tier of historic American fascism?

3

I’ve written from time to time about the hysterical misrepresentation of conservative arguments by progressive idiots. Case in point: Sarah Moon at Patheos, who mendaciously tries to strap a reductio ad Hitlerum label to the erudition of N.T. Wright (who had the audacity to question the prudence of linguistic positivism, where we declare certain words out of bounds, coin euphemisms, and redefine words by fiat).

Maybe she’s usually thoughtful, but as she says, thoughtful people leave thought behind when it comes to their prejudices.

(H/T Matthew J. Franck)

4

I’ve been using the Jurassic Church category now since – gosh, only October and only once before now; it seems longer ago and oftener than that. It’s nice to see Gabe Martini catching up and providing further useful elaboration of the même.

The paradox here is whether these reconstructed dinosaurs were really dinosaurs or something else.  All that the scientists had to go by were fossils, not actual living dinosaurs from the Mesozoic era.  Similarly, for Protestants all they had to go by were ancient patristic texts but no living church tradition that goes back to the early Church.  This leaves them guessing as to what the early Church must have been like.

Lacking a living tradition that goes back to the Apostolic Church, Protestants end up having to reconstruct the early Church as they best understood it to have been. The Jesus Movement of the 1970s had house churches where people sat on the floor, played guitars and sang praise songs, and everyone with a Bible in their hands. More recently, Evangelicals have discovered the writings of the early church fathers and are seeking to incorporate these discoveries into their congregations: reciting the Nicene Creed, celebrating the Eucharist weekly, vestments for the clergy, candles and incense.  Not being part of a living tradition they end up creating a “version of the past” trusting God to bless their sincere efforts to return to the early Church.  It is like lost travelers seeking to find their way home without knowing where home is on the map.

Jurassic Park & the Protestant Quest for the Early Church: Part 1

5

I have made my peace with twenty-first century masculinity in America. I fake it. I read just enough of the sports section to mumble my way through a few beers, abiding my time until I can gently turn the conversation toward more pressing (and to me, interesting) matters.

(Stephen H. Webb at First Things) Webb then turns to how he got more hate mail for writing that soccer is unAmerican than he ever has for a theological opinion. Odd, no?

Peter Leithart, also at First Things, also muses about sports via a piece about a couple of books on the topic. Although I’m more in the “read just enough to mumble” camp, I can easily relate to  “The professional sportsperson is simply an actor or a prostitute. Either way, they are not a player.”

6

Laugh, and the world laughs with you;
Weep, and you weep alone.

Those famous lines are from Solitude, a poem by Ella Wheeler Wilcox. I don’t know that I’d seen the poem intact before Sunday, but it’s all quite good.

* * * * *

“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.