Saturday, 1/17/15

  1. June bodes to be a banner month
  2. By your own words …
  3. How to describe the Chief’s book
  4. Yes, Yes, No, Yes
  5. Injustice at the Intersection
  6. S’il n’y a pas de solution

1

After I began writing/compiling on Friday, I got the news: This June may be the month when an oxymoron is declared a Constitutional imperative.

I’d say that will be the official end of the USA’s claim to the loyalty of anyone loyal to God, except that the exultant legal commentators (and most of the legal commentators in cyberspace are just peeing themselves over this like excited virtual Cocker Spaniels) have found some Cheese-Eating cultural surrender monkeys over at The Thing That Used To Be Evangelicalism, busily drafting the terms of their prophetic capitulation. Presumably, the Republican Party at Prayer is capitulating “for the sake of the children,” who threaten to hold their breath until they turn blue or until an oxymoron is declared a Constitutional imperative.

2

By your own words will you be judged:

Although Eichenwald characterized his article as “an attempt to save the Bible from the ignorance, hatred and bias that has been heaped upon it,” Eichenwald has rather contributed to that ignorance, hatred, and bias. In stating that “the actual words of the Bible can’t be ignored just to line it up with what people want to believe,” he has unwittingly offered us a picture of how the Bible is all too often misrepresented by those on the theological left who simply don’t like what it says.

(Robert Gagnon) Kurt Eichenwald’s Newsweek Advent Screed was apparently a pseudo-intellectual attack on the Bible, which is impenetrable and unreliable but also clearly teaches exactly what Eichenwald wants to believe.

Prof. Gagnon, in rebuttal, suggests that the apostle Paul really does consider homosexuality a particularly serious sin, but I’m content to view it as a garden-variety sin that has a particularly serious constituency denying that it’s problematic at all, but denying it with frivolous arguments.

3

It’s bad enough on America’s campuses, but illiberal shaming rituals of intolerance are coming to the workplace too. If you say or write anything, even privately, that certain groups may find offensive, you can lose your job. Just ask Atlanta’s Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran, who was recently fired because of a book he published outside of work in which he expressed Christianity’s traditional teachings on homosexuality.

(Kim R. Holmes at Public Discourse) Although Holmes means well, I think she (he?) overstates the offensiveness of Chief Cochran’s book. He tried to express Christianity’s traditional teachings on sexuality, which incidentally includes opposition to homogenital conduct, which got, so far as I have seen, two brief mentions, in lists of other sexual sins, reportedly on a single page, in the whole book.

“Uncleanness—whatever is opposite of purity; including sodomy, homosexuality, lesbianism, pederasty, bestiality, all other forms of sexual perversion.”

“Naked men refuse to give in, so they pursue sexual fulfillment through multiple partners, with the opposite sex, the same sex and sex outside of marriage and many other vile, vulgar and inappropriate ways which defile their body-temple and dishonor God.”

In other words, it was a not a book focused on homosexuality at all, but was focused on overall Christian sexual conduct – deviations from which by the 95% – 98% of Christians who are “straight” has robbed them of their will or credibility in opposing homosexual sin.

4

I haven’t been looking for sex and religion stories, but they’ve popped up anyway.

Non-florists don’t usually understand what it takes to create floral designs. It’s not as simple as “just making the flowers.” Using my artistic skills to custom-design wedding arrangements would offend God, because it would be celebrating, and even participating in, something that contradicts the sacred covenant of marriage. Marriage is between a man and a woman and is a picture of Christ’s relationship to his church, his bride. I spend hours with my wedding clients so that I can make the wedding as special as it is. The creations should convey what they want to say with flowers and capture their vision for the ceremony. It becomes a work of the heart. The support often includes attending the nuptials, performing touch ups for the flowers at the ceremony and reception, helping the wedding party prepare for the ceremony, and offering encouragement to the wedding couple. There is no question that I would have been participating in celebrating my customer Rob’s marriage in direct contradiction to my religious convictions.

Yes, this contradicts an impression I voiced Monday.

Yes, I retract that impression/opinion.

No, Barronelle Stutzman did not contact me directly.

Yes, I regret that her friend and long-term customer has allowed his ideology to imperil their friendship by punishing her for conscientious objection to participation in his solemn oxymoron.

5

Jaywalking, as Peter Norton shows in his landmark history Fighting Traffic, is an invented crime. It was the product of a massive publicity campaign orchestrated by automobile companies and allied motoring interests in the 1920s. Ostensibly aimed to promote safety, the real purpose of this effort was to push pedestrians off the street so that cars would move faster and be easier to sell.

Midway through the 1920s, car ownership was still largely confined to the rich, and the public saw pedestrians hit by motorists as victims of irresponsible behavior by a privileged elite. As car ownership spread to the masses, however, the class aspect of road design faded into the background. Seen through the windshield, the highway was a place where all were equal—even more so with the opening of the toll-free interstates in the 1960s and ‘70s.

Not everyone could afford a car, of course, even at the peak of postwar mass prosperity. But in the mid-twentieth century, the walking poor were shielded from the worst effects of the new road designs. Urban decay meant that their homes were still concentrated in old city neighborhoods, where they walked on streets laid out before the advent of traffic engineering.

Today’s suburban poor lack that scant protection. The full weight of ninety years of car-first engineering bears down as they make their way to and from decaying apartment complexes and aging tract houses. Long walks to the main road, unprotected dashes across wide highways, and perilous waits at bus stops on unpaved shoulders are a daily routine. A landscape created for affluent motorists becomes an oppressive burden in its decline.

(Benjamin Ross, Dissent; H/T Chuck Marohn)

6

No solution

Il n’y a aucune solution pour le terrorisme. Je ne veux pas vivre dans un pays qui se est engagé à résoudre complètement le «problème» du terrorisme.

* * * * *

“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.