Friday, 11/4/16

  1. The greatest heresy
  2. Still the cheapest date in politics
  3. Passing the “horrid red things” test
  4. Russophobe hegemonists
  5. Talk to 90%, catch flak from 10%


First Things

1

I believe the greatest heresy of all is the belief of some Christians that they are “saved.” If we believe we are categorically and without question already saved, it is a good sign that we have been dominated by demonic pride. St. Paul’s statement, “If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Rom. 10:9), must be read in the context of Christ’s words: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

(Thirty Steps to Heaven by Vassilios Papavassiliou)

Secondary Things

2

Isn’t it striking that George Soros has to invent pseudo-Catholic organizations to support the Democrat agenda whereas Evangelicals will do that kind of work for Republicans for free?

3

I once heard a lady tell her daughter that if you ate too many aspirin tablets you would die. “But why?” asked the child. “If you squash them you don’t find any horrid red things inside them.” Obviously, when this child thought of poison, she not only had an attendant image of “horrid red things”, but she actually believed that poison was red.

(C.S. Lewis, God in the Dock, “Horrid Red Things”)

When retired Yale Philosopher Nicholas Wolterstorff squashed his gay friends, he did not find any horrid red things:

He said that Romans 1 depicts a truly appallingly wicked people. “Can we generalize from this passage and say that Paul is saying that God says homosexual activity is always wrong? There is a night-and-day difference between what Paul describes and the same-sex couples I know,” he said.

(Gayla R. Postma, Wolterstorff: Biblical Justice and Same-Sex Marriage, The Banner, October 2016)

Tertiary Things

4

In concluding our discussion, I can’t help but touch upon a matter that is all over the mass media: it is no secret that there is an information war between America and Russia. What must be done to prevent the deterioration of relations in all facets of life, from the civil sphere to the spiritual?

This is a big question, not easy to answer. I agree that this is sad and painful… Our countries are becoming more and more antagonistic towards each other. I am convinced that this would not have occurred had not some influential people not gotten involved who profit from war. In our country, there is a group called “neo-conservatives,” adherents to the notion that there should be only one superpower in the world. They see a threat to their hegemony in a renewed Russia and China, which are developing quickly. They are committed to war with Russia and warn of nuclear attacks. This is madness, there is no other word for it, it is demonic behavior. We Orthodox Christians must understand that we must first of all preserve our faith in Christ. It is written in the Scripture, that “our citizenship is in heaven.” We must fervently pray “O God, save Your people and bless Your inheritance.”

(Interview with Fr. Seraphim Bell)

5

Rod Dreher keeps getting blow-back and misrepresentations of his “Benedict Option.” A reader gives him a message of good cheer:

[About the pro-life cause:] People realized eventually that we have lost that fight for the time being, just as you’re saying about the culture war overall. People realized that there was no point in trying to pass laws that would make abortion illegal. So they poured themselves into local action, at pregnancy care centers.

That wasn’t done in opposition to national-level work by experts. They didn’t say that people working at pro-life organizations in DC should quit, or that they were wasting their time. We still need to keep a presence, to keep up the drumbeat and win small victories. But nobody thinks that what people are doing in the offices of the National Right to Life Committee is the most important thing happening for the pro-life cause. Reduced expectations caused ordinary people to fall back upon ourselves and ask, “Well, what can we do?”

I think the miscommunication has to do with the fact that you are speaking primarily to the 90 percent — the Christians in small and large towns who are never on TV, who never publish op-eds, etc. You are telling them that they can’t expect the professionals to do the culture war for them vicariously any more. They need to look around, like pro-lifers did, and figure out what they can do locally.

But while you’re talking to the 90 percent, the people responding to you are necessarily the 10 percent, the ones who are appearing on TV and publishing op-eds. To them, it naturally sounds like you’re telling them to give up. Your point is rather that they can’t do it alone, and you’re telling the 90 percent to gear up.

(Emphasis added) I love the title Rod chose: Everybody Row, Or We’re Going Over The Falls.

* * * * *

“In learning as in traveling and, of course, in lovemaking, all the charm lies in not coming too quickly to the point, but in meandering around for a while.” (Eva Brann)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.