Seeing with the Intellect

  1. Seeing with the Intellect
  2. Unite against that hideous strength
  3. Grumbling against God’s anointed
  4. My outrager is broken
  5. Barren all the time


Christian Platonism proclaims that man is a creature who sees with his intellect.

(James Matthew Wilson, The Vision of the Soul: Truth, Goodness, and Beauty in the Western Tradition, p. 30)


I’ve been enjoying blogs from John Mark Reynolds, who may become an historic figure if his Saint Constantine School pans out. Father Michael Trigg, who appears from a bit of digging to have been Priest in a Western Rite Orthodox Church, was a big influence on Reynolds.

Apparently, Fr. Michael was also a Dean at Biola University, an Evangelical institution that in the late ’90s had to decide what to do about four faculty who were Orthodox, including Reynolds:

At the height of the controversy, which President Clyde Cook admitted had caused pain on both sides, some evangelicals charged that Orthodox churches do not hew to authentic biblical teaching on salvation and baptism, while an angry Greek Orthodox priest compared the whole affair to an inquisition.

“This in my opinion is a medieval inquisition and a display of ignorance by a university calling itself a Christian university that knows nothing of church history,” said the Very Rev. John Bakas, dean of St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Los Angeles.

“The credibility and authority and doctrinal value of the Orthodox Church has been around from Day 1 whether they like it or not,” Bakas said. “When they read Corinthians, Thessalonians and Philippians, those places are not in Antarctica.”

The controversy erupted last September when Lingenfelter said questions were raised by some students, alumni, pastors and members of the Board of Trustees.

Aside from possible theological conflicts, Lingenfelter said, many evangelicals have been concerned that the Orthodox Church in Eastern Europe and Russia has been discriminating against evangelical missionaries.

Responding to such concerns, Cook directed Lingenfelter to form a faculty task force to examine the beliefs of the four Orthodox members of the faculty and staff to determine if their beliefs were in keeping with the university’s doctrinal statement, even though all four had signed that statement when they were originally hired.

The task force issued an 80-page report calling some Orthodox teachings into question, particularly on the issue of salvation and baptism.

Several days later, the four Orthodox staffers were summoned to respond to the task force findings. Their responses have satisfied Lingenfelter and Cook, Lingenfelter said in an interview.

“I came away with a clear sense that not only do the men on our staff support our doctrinal statements,” Lingenfelter said, “but the theologians from their churches said Biola’s doctrinal statement was not inconsistent with their own doctrinal standing. That really, as far as the president and I are concerned, ends it.”

Lingenfelter said that Cook agrees with his recommendation that there is no need for the university to take any further action.

(Biola did better than the Christian Evangelical radio networks that that dumped “Bible Answer Man” Hank Hannegraaf when he became Orthodox this Spring.)

All that to set the stage for this. Reynolds blogged about Fr. Michael Sunday (linking to a May 2012 blog, too). The premise here is that Fr. Michael’s Parkinsonism, which took his life, was stress-induced from spiritual warfare:

He worried about us and what we would learn from it all. Would we become embittered and narrow? Would we become withdrawn and crabby? He reminded me that in hard times good people become deformed by the pressure. They do bad things, but much (if not most of the blame) is on the titanic strain of holding to goodness, truth, and beauty in an ugly age. Good people doing good can misunderstand, squabble, cause pain, but the chief problem is the hideous strength of evil that would divide us.

As a man of great conviction, Father Michael always wanted to unite with anyone he could against the shadows of that hideous strength ….



From Six Sure Signs You Picked the Wrong Church, also by John Mark Reynolds:

Frequent sermons on “murmuring” and “complaining.”

I grew up in the church and believe me, there are people that just cannot be pleased. The children of Israel did complain against Moses and God did tell them to quit. However, here is a general rule of thumb: we are not the children of Israel and our leaders are not Moses leading us through the wilderness. I have seen a pastor come to a congregation in gentleness to dialog about complaints that were not justified. That is a good thing.

We should stop whining.

However, I have seen such a sermon preached two or three times in forty-three years of church.  If you are in a church where people are always telling the congregation to “unify” around the leader . . . you may have a problem church.

Think about it. If you cannot remember a time when a complaint was heard and direction changed, time to find a new home.

To that I would add even the pastor saying of himself “Touch not God’s anointed.”


You probably didn’t notice that I haven’t commented on Kathy Griffin’s [supply your own noun] or Bill Maher dropping an N-bomb during in interview with Ben Sasse.

Don’t hold your breath waiting. My outrage threshold has risen to stratospheric levels over the last 18 months. The only way to remain sane, humanly speaking, may be to stay numb about such gossipy crap.


At least one close watcher says Team Trump is getting ready to rescind, for employers with religious or moral objections, Obamacare’s mandate of contraceptive coverage in group health insurance plans.

I’m not feeling any outrage over this one, though it rises well above gossipy celebrity crap. Indeed, one cheer for Team Trump.

A même reputedly from The Patriarchy was “keep ’em pregnant in the summer, barefoot in the winter.” Since contraceptive coverage seems like a pretty cheap way to “keep ’em barren and workin’ all the time” (about which ever so much more might be written), I assume that bona fide religious or moral objections would be the only reason for an employer to opt out.

* * * * *

Men are men before they are lawyers or physicians or manufacturers; and if you make them capable and sensible men they will make themselves capable and sensible lawyers and physicians. (John Stuart Mill, Inaugural Address at St. Andrew’s, 1867)

“Liberal education is concerned with the souls of men, and therefore has little or no use for machines … [it] consists in learning to listen to still and small voices and therefore in becoming deaf to loudspeakers.” (Leo Strauss)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.