Saturday 11/26/16

  1. Principal verities
  2. Presumptuous election post-mortem
  3. Pro-life’s “old guard”
  4. Price of Freedom


First Things

1

On Thanksgiving, I led with a blog about the gnosticism that is clearly implicit in transgender theory. I wish I had spotted that myself, but I needed help from First Things.

Too often people, including me, approach every issue as if it were one-of-a-kind, with the merits needing full exploration. Since we don’t have time to fully explore every bit of special pleading that comes along, we go with the flow of popular opinion.

Better if we can keep a few principal verities in mind, as they can make relatively short work of settling many issues in our own minds.

Binary sex is one of those. XX or XY. Call it “male and female created He them” if you need a prooftext.

The unity of body and self is another. The self is not separate from the body — we are not ghosts inhabiting machines. The Church views death as an evil because it unnaturally separates soul and body until the resurrection. The Church cannot, then, celebrate ideological efforts to distinguish self and body during life, as if the self could be any of 57 (or more) genders instead of one of the two arising from its sexual embodiment.

Those two don’t solve everything, but they’re a good start, and can give you warranted confidence in some of the controversies of the day that your crap detector is not giving a false alarm.

Both verities are related to gnosticism, which has plagued the Church almost from the beginning and is pandemic in the Protestant world, including Evangelicalism. And gnosticism if, or so it seems to me (perhaps this reflects my autodidactic studies) related to nominalism.

It behooves, us, I think, to admonish our neighbors when they’re following foolish fads. Rudyard Kipling makes the point:

Some readings I’ve indexed under “gnosticism”:

  1. Salvation as Escape from the Body from the Colson Center.
  2. Resurrection and the Sanctification of Matter from the Colson Center.
  3. Raised a Spiritual Body from the Colson Center.
  4. Sex and the Cartesian Body from Ethika Politika.
  5. Sex Without Bodies from Christianity Today.
  6. Gnosticism vs. The Incarnation: The Ancient Battle Renewed from Catholic World Report.
  7. Dorothy Sayers, Gnosticism and the Problem of the Body from Salvo.
  8. Are Calvinists Also Among the Gnostics? from Robin’s Readings and Reflections.

Secondary Things

2

To those Americans concerned about the moral state of the nation, the immediate reaction to the November 8 elections was one of enormous relief. It was as if a colossal amount of pressure was suddenly released. There was the thrill of something entirely unexpected. People were overjoyed beyond words.

Wow! I would not call that “Imaginative” or “Conservative,” but there it sits, a blot on a generally pretty good blog series.

I’ve said repeatedly that I felt a certain relief at Trump’s election, but “enormous,” “colossal” and “beyond words” are wildly inapposite adjectives.

Was I not concerned about the moral state of the nation? I said the whole POTUS race had God’s judgment written all over it. I’m grateful that we missed Scylla, but Charybdis looms, and I’m just not all that exultant.

Tertiary Things

3

The real crime of the [pre-life] “old guard” [in the eyes of “a group of bloggers at the increasingly wacky and irrelevant Catholic channel at Patheos”] is they went where they found a political home and that is the Republican Party and the Republican Party has not been perfect. Pro-lifers have had to fight to maintain our policy dominance in the party and some presidents have let us down in Supreme Court picks. And among the party membership there is not uniformity of opinion when it comes to our issue. All true, all true. But consider that you cannot run for president as a Republican without announcing you are pro-life. Without a doubt, it is the party that has most carried the pro-life message while the Democrat Party is without a doubt the party of death. One can be a dissenter on the life issue in the GOP. One must be pro-abortion in the Democrat Party. Pro-lifers have no home there even if they are “better” on the minimum wage.

(Austin Ruse)

4

The sad but true reality is that nothing has changed since the time of the ancients. The Romans knew that the masses could be kept in their servile state if they were provided with bread and circuses (panem et circenses). As long as we can keep ourselves fat on junk food and keep ourselves distracted with our hand-held devices and the celebrity circus that they serve, we really could not care less about freedom.

(Joseph Pearce, We Don’t Want to Pay the Price of Freedom)

* * * * *

“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.