Saturday, 9/9/17

  1. Hospital or Hospice?
  2. Be careful what you wish for
  3. SSM Ramifies
  4. Ginning up outrage
  5. Ten Conservative Principles
  6. Evangelical Anthropology Failure
  7. The Atlantic — again
  8. Meet Lactatia — or not

1

It occurred to me that one source of conflict among putative Christians is that some see the Church as a hospital for sinners, some as a hospice for sinners.

(Yeah, there’s the club for saints folks, too. Put them aside. They’re wrong. Period. Full stop. No. Make that wrong and delusional.)

A hospital for sinners is committed to helping people get well spiritually. All the patients are chronic cases, but none is incurable.

Though all will die, death need not be eternal. You could put that over the entrance.

I’m not a spiritual physician, so I’ll leave it there.

A hospice for sinners, on the other hand, assumes that there’s no getting well, and that the job of the Church is to keep everyone comfortable as they die. A hospice for sinners considers attempts to help people get well — at least if their presenting sickness is so trendy as almost to pass for health — as extraordinary care, and as imposing cruel and unnecessary suffering for no good purpose. Unless you’re an extra icky sinner (e.g., racist, sexist, anti-gay), you’ll find nothing but dulcet-toned affirmations.

The hospital-Church takes all comers, though the patients sometimes fight and heretics (e.g., phyletists) can be on “outpatient observation status” for a long, long time, (or can be put on that status if heresy is adopted or discovered after admission). Repentance in its full sense is the price of admission (and the daily rate as well).

The hospice-Church requires repentance at most from those whose sins are unfashionable.

2

America is de-churching. See here and here.

But be careful, liberals, what you pray wish for. There’s a whole genre of Genie-three-wishes jokes out there for a reason.

Liberals tend to assume that those who have left religious traditions and institutions behind will end up being … secular liberals, which is to say paragons (in their own eyes) of liberal tolerance and moral virtue. But not only is this belied by the occasionally harsh anti-religious fervor of many secular liberal pundits and public officials. It’s also contradicted by the rise of the post-religious right.

There is no guarantee at all that those who leave religious institutions and traditions behind will end up on the liberal left. As Trump’s strong support in the GOP primaries among non-religious Republicans attests, a significant number of the post-religious (especially those who are less well educated) could well end up on the nationalist alt-right.

Ross DouthatPeter Beinart, and The Week‘s own Pascal-Emmanuel Gobryhave all noted the ominous emergence of a post-religious right, and have made the point that the left’s most vociferous critics of the old religious right (of which I was once one) may well end up ruing the decline and fall of their former opponents.

(Damon Linker)

3

Much was made in the UK, about supposed exemptions, designed to ensure that believers would always be allowed to stay true to their convictions [when gay marriage became law].

Four years later, the very same people who made ‘heartfelt promises’, now work tirelessly to undermine them.

(David Sergeant, What’s changed in Britain since same-sex marriage?, The Spectator Australia) I thought this blog was getting awfully long, and it was hard to know what to cut from a block quote, so go visit the source, particular the sections captioned “freedom of religion,” “freedom of speech,” and “children.” It’s chilling.

4

Andrew Sullivan strains pretty hard to gin up outrage as he writes of the Nashville Statement:

[I]t does more than condemn the sexual behaviors of gay and transgender people. It erases our self-understanding entirely. Money quote: “We deny that adopting a homosexual or transgender self-conception is consistent with God’s holy purposes in creation and redemption.” It is not just what we do that these Evangelical leaders object to; it is who we are. Our very “self-conception” is a defiance of God’s will …

I beg to differ. Denying that “adopting a homosexual or transgender self-conception is consistent with God’s holy purposes in creation and redemption” erases nothing and objects to nobody. It is a warning — to Evangelicals, according to the authors, but not highly offensive even if directed more widely — that a mindset may get you crosswise with The Almighty. It may be true or it may be false, but it is not dehumanizing if you think your church is a hospital rather than a hospice.

More, this time on the right block if not the exact address:

For a few generations now, gays and lesbians and transgender people, by coming out, have been telling our stories, and those with open minds and big hearts have heard us. It is one of the great tragedies of many Evangelical and orthodox Christians that they are not interested in listening.

And so in the Nashville Statement, there is no advice to gay or transgender Christians, except to be heterosexual, dammit. They don’t even air the possibility of chaste spiritual friendship as a way for such people to lead lives not beset with loneliness, or sexual repression of a kind no human is truly capable of without profound psychological distortion. There is no mention of love at all — as if human attraction is not bound up with that deepest Christian imperative. Instead, we are told that gay and transgender people are deceiving themselves or are incapable of loving each other.

As often, even when he’s a bit off, Sullivan is worth reading. He has some pretty colorful indictment of Trump-supporting signers of the Nashville Statement, but I’m trying to steer clear of that sort of thing.

5

First, the conservative believes that there exists an enduring moral order.

Second, the conservative adheres to custom, convention, and continuity.

Third, conservatives believe in what may be called the principle of prescription.

Fourth, conservatives are guided by their principle of prudence.

Fifth, conservatives pay attention to the principle of variety.

Sixth, conservatives are chastened by their principle of imperfectability.

Seventh, conservatives are persuaded that freedom and property are closely linked.

Eighth, conservatives uphold voluntary community, quite as they oppose involuntary collectivism.

Ninth, the conservative perceives the need for prudent restraints upon power and upon human passions.

Tenth, the thinking conservative understands that permanence and change must be recognized and reconciled in a vigorous society.

(Russell Kirk, who ought to know) H/T Mike Bennett on Facebook. The Ten Principles are expanded here.

6

[T]he Nashville Statement also fails to situate sexuality within another important context: that of the psychological assumptions that underpin modern Western identity politics. The statement operates within the accepted modern categories of identity, never addressing the root of the problem. It deals with symptoms, not causes, and only with the symptoms that play best within the increasingly fragile coalition of conservative evangelical Christianity.

Christian leaders should assert a bold anthropology that rejects the primary political relevance of psychological categories. Such an anthropology would help shift Christian thinking away from the modern secular idea that contemporary notions of sex and gender describe who we are at our most basic level. It would offer a more comprehensive foundation for addressing the major issues of our day, such as sexuality, hate crimes, race, and the threats to freedom of speech and religion. The Nashville Statement’s focus on gay and transgender issues is understandable, as these are the presenting issues for religious freedom at the present moment. But the metaphysics (or lack thereof) upon which such a notion of identity rests are not restricted to the sexual sphere. They need to be identified and critiqued wherever they appear, even—or especially—within the church.

(Carl R. Trueman)

7

8

I do not know how to trigger-warn you on this. I find it unbearable to watch.

Meet Lactatia, a bespoke Marjoe Gortner for particularly perverse people.

Sigh.

* * * * *

There is no epistemological Switzerland. (Via Mars Hill Audio Journal Volume 134)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.

2 thoughts on “Saturday, 9/9/17

  1. Even cohabitation is no longer unfashionable. I heard recently of a (divorced — for good reason, according to the information I have been given) member of a conservative(-ish) reformed(-ish) church who announced to her girlfriends (also church members) that she had met “the love of her life” and was going to move in with him, and that her retired-minister father was fine with it. Her girlfriends thought it was wonderful and congratulated her. I asked one of those girlfriends —
    an elder — whether she was going to be refused Communion; the response was: “This isn’t an Orthodox church. Do you want her to stop coming to church!?” She stopped going to church anyway, and only a few weeks later she announced to these same girlfriends that she and this guy had split up and that she had spent a week in hospital (presumably because of what he had done to her).

  2. We’re not without problems. I recall a story of an adolescent boy who went to Confession and told the Priest that “I cheated on my girlfriend,” by which he meant had sex with another girl. He hadn’t a clue that the girlfriend was off limits, too.
    Constant vigilance required.

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