Friday, 10/3/14

  1. Has Your Bible Become A Quran?
  2. Rebuilding orthodox Christianity in the U.S.
  3. Bad Religion
  4. Academic Diversity
  5. Perspective
  6. Valid (positive) law
  7. Contempt for law (in high places)
  8. What’s the net gain?

1

Has Your Bible Become A Quran?

I cannot remember how I began to recognize the parallels between Protestantism (at least as I lived it) and Islam. Perhaps it was an article along the lines of what Fr. Stephen Freeman now has written. Maybe it was even one of those sublime rarities: an original thought.

But however it came about, the cat’s out of the bag now. After some brief introduction, Fr. Stephen states his thesis and then, after the ellipsis, his concluding paragraph. Do not miss what’s in between.

[A]t the outset I will state:

  1. The Bible is not the Christian Holy Book.
  2. Christians (and Jews) are not People of the Book.
  3. Submission to God is not a proper way to describe the Christian faith

Further, any and all of these claims, once accepted, lead to fundamental distortions of Christianity. An extreme way of saying this is that much of modern Christianity has been “Islamified.” Thinking critically about this is important – particularly in an era of renewed contact with Islam.

Contemporary Christianity needs to come to its historic senses and reexamine its various distortions of the gospel. Christ is not a cypher for Allah – they are nothing alike. The fullness of Christian distinctives is required in our present confrontation with Islam. The Bible is not the Christian Quran. It is nothing like it. Being able to articulate this is essential. Christians are the Body of Christ and not People of the Book. The absence of a true ecclesiology in contemporary Christianity is a hallmark of its Islamification. The call to relationship with God in Christ, true union in the Divine Life of the Triune God, must be rightly proclaimed and taught among Christians. We have centuries of unthinking to do if we are to reclaim the wholeness of the Christian faith and speak truth to error.

(Fr. Stephen Freeman)

2

Not only has the GOP lost its way (no, that’s not a segue from item 1: it’s an axiom), but public intellectual conservative Christianity is struggling, albeit in what I think is a more productive way than GOP efforts.

Rod Dreher, en route to Florence, Italy, stopped over in New York for a conference sponsored by First Things.

His account, assembled during travel I think, was garbled a bit initially, but seems to have been cleaned up. Do read it if you care about the future of orthodox Christianity in the United States. It’s the next best thing to being a fly on the wall at the conference.

First Things … was the flagship intellectual journal for engaged religious conservatives in Neuhaus’s day, and if it hasn’t quite had that stature in the post-Neuhaus era, it is mostly, in my view, because the disaster of the Iraq War and the failed Bush administration, in both of which the magazine was implicated, as well as the overwhelming cultural tide in favor of same-sex marriage, has left all of us on the religious and social right dazed and confused about the best way forward. I am encouraged to see First Things moving to regain its position. The challenges we face now are very different from the challenges Team Neuhaus faced, and the answers are much less clear.

For what little it’s worth, I tend to side with the Patrick Deneen “radicals.”

3

Life can seem a bit like an unending family reunion, and a family reunion, as everyone knows, is one of those gatherings at which you must listen politely, for long stretches of time, to people who are utterly defenseless against bad religion. Perhaps you are unaware of this, but the second coming is at hand, which means we have military obligations in a certain far away place.

(Jason Peters at Front Porch Republic)

4

A woman to my right asked, ‘what’s the short reply to the charge that going home or staying home leads to parochialism or provincialism or small-mindedness?’ Jeff Polet gave it: ‘thank you.’ But I think the question is a good one and deserves a longer short reply, beginning, perhaps, with the observation that the charge, if it comes from the academy, comes from a place of even greater small-mindedness. (Diversity in the academy, for example, means this: many different kinds of people from many different places wearing different kinds of clothing over their differing skin colors but all thinking the exact same permitted thoughts.)

(Jason Peters at Front Porch Republic. Yup, the same article, but a topic shift.)

5

We hear a lot about the Republican war on women. It’s not cool. Rush Limbaugh called somebody a slut. Okay. But Saudi women can’t vote or drive or hold a job or leave the house without a man. Overwhelming majorities in every Muslim country say a wife is always obliged to obey her husband. That all seems like a bigger issue than an evangelical Christian bakery refusing to make gay wedding cakes.

(Bill Maher. H/T Kathleen Parker)

6

One of my colleagues tells of a favorite saying of a law school professor of his, which went something like this: “If the legislature convenes, with a quorum, and duly passes a law that midnight is noon and vice-versa, it’s a valid law.”

Yeah. The Supreme Court, too.

7

Why is the Obama Administration so contemptuous of the Constitution and the rule of law?

That title tells you all you need to know about the premise. For the answers, from David Bernstein of the Volokh Conspiracy blog, click here.

8

John Cuddleback tells why he is going to avoid texting, after attending a conference for which he borrowed his daughter’s smartphone and did some texting during travel:

Wendell Berry gave the keynote presentation of the conference I attended. He passed along to us one of the basic rules of thumb that he tries to use in life. He said that he learned it from his father.

“Always consider the net gain. Not just the gross gain.”

I think the practice of texting is a net loss. Yes it can be very convenient. But it seems to me that the cost is too high—and this apart from the obvious evil uses for which this media can be used. Here are three reasons for this judgment:

1. You shouldn’t always be on call …

2. It’s rude to those around you …

3. It cheapens communication …

If you doubt that technology shapes not only how we do things, but how we view things, consider how sola scriptura Protestantism is an artifact of printing presses and bookbinders, and how it has Islamifide the Christian faith.

* * * * *

“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.