Sunday, 10/2/22


Well, do tell! I had no idea that anyone had put the popular Christian idea of “worldview” under a microscope and dissected it. What’s So Bad About “Worldview”? – The Davenant Institute.

What he says rings true about the people I know who’ve been through Christian “worldview camps.”

The author commends wisdom over worldview, but that would only fly if wisdom were as easy to get as an off-the-rack “worldview.”

Getting what you want or wanting what you need?

I think still, in sort of a modernist worldview, people look at this conversation and think, “This will help me get what I want,” instead of understanding that this will change what you want.

Paul VanderKlay

Banning politicians from Communion

[A] direct attempt at a communion ban [of President Biden] will inevitably be interpreted as a partisan intervention, at a time when the partisan captivity of conservative Christianity, Protestant and Catholic alike, is a serious problem for the witness of the church.

By this I mean that however reasonable the bishops’ focus on abortion as a pre-eminent issue, in a polarized nation it’s created a situation where Republicans can seemingly get away with a vast accumulation of un-Catholic acts and policies and simple lies — many of them on display in Donald Trump’s administration, which was amply staffed with Catholics — and be perpetually forgiven because the Democrats support Roe. v. Wade.

Ross Douthat, The Bishops, Biden and the Brave New World

A stain

Russian soldiers who die in the line of duty in Ukraine have all of their sins forgiven, the patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church proclaimed in a sermon ….

Religion News Service

Remembering not only lurid versions of what Islamic Jihadists are promised if they die in jihad, but that Popes also said such things to Crusaders, always appalls me. That Patriarch Kirill says it now to Russia’s rag-tag conscripts is a stain on my Church, but let my readers be aware that he stands alone, and is widely criticized by Orthodox laity and leaders outside Russia.

Judging from the Loyalty/Betrayal axis of Jonathan Haidt’s Moral Foundations test, I likely suffer from a deficit of patriotism, at least in comparison to a typical conservative. So statements like the patriarch’s particularly grate on me.

I would feel the same if a Bishop of the Ukrainian Church promised forgiveness of all sins to soldiers dying in defense of the homeland.

It’s a fearful thing to be a clergyman. Orthodoxy holds that Priests, Bishops and Patriarchs will be judged by God for misleading the faithful. Does Patriarch Kirill really believe that?

Paul vs. James

Martin Luther had “issues” with Saint James’ Epistle, and reportedly wanted to kick it out of the Bible. Calvinists aren’t too crazy about it, either. The response isn’t that complicated once you see it:

Saint James’s Epistle is unique on several levels. While the Pauline Epistles speak of Christ primarily theologically, explaining the significance of who Christ is and what Christ has accomplished in the Cross and the Resurrection, St. James teaches in a way that is redolent with the teachings of Christ in His earthly ministry.

Fr. Stephen De Young, Religion of the Apostles

Mind and body

Over the course of his long book, Haidt builds up a case file of evidence from neuroscience, psychology and other fields to demonstrate that the objective, rational mind, magically divorced from the clumsy, emotional physical body, is a fiction. One of the founding myths of modernity has no basis in reality. Haidt compares the relationship between intuition and reason to the relationship between the US president and his press spokesman. The spokesman’s job is to explain to the world what the president has already decided to do; to rationalise it and to justify it, however unjustifiable it may sometimes be.

Paul Kingsnorth, In the Black Chamber

Toxic Shame

I have noted through the years, that some people (including some priests) are convinced that a soul can only be saved with disciplinary slaps and corrections from time to time. If there are such corrections needed in a human life, then it is likely only God who has the wisdom to know when and how such correction should take place. My experience as a priest and confessor is that I simply need to be consistent in sharing God’s love and be patient with what might be a process of healing that takes years. I would add that, in my experience, spiritual abuse is almost always a case of manipulating toxic shame against someone. If that happens, we are not asked to tolerate it.

Fr. Stephen Freeman, When Shame Becomes Toxic

Liberation theology for white people

For the social-gospel-oriented left wing, Christianity exists to build a social order in step with the upward progress of humanity. For the Christian nationalist right wing, Christianity exists to build a social order in step with national or ethnic identity. The gospel is the means for a forward-looking utopianism in the one case and a backward-looking nostalgia in the other. Christian nationalism is a liberation theology for white people.

Russell Moore (H/T John Brady)

Compel yourself to love

When you accuse someone of being judgmental, you’re doing the same thing.

Practice at all times compassion for those you disagree with. Try to understand their reasoning, which is different from yours. Perhaps they have had life experiences that you have not had.

Never distort what they are saying in order to make it sound more outrageous. That’s a form of lying. Deal with what they are actually saying, not a parody of it.

With a contentious issue, the goal is to persuade those on the other side. Judging and denouncing does not persuade. No one was ever humiliated into changing their opinion.

We live in a paradoxical time when condemning and judging is severely condemned and judged. It seems like an effective way to stay on the right side of correct opinion is to identify people saying the wrong things, and denounce them. This is not love.

For your own sake, compel yourself to love your opponents (they are not your enemies; we have only one Enemy). Compel yourself to love, for your soul’s sake.

Frederica Mathewes-Green (emphasis in original)

[S]ubordinating truth to politics is a game which tyrants and bullies always win.

Jonathan Rauch, The Constitution of Knowledge

The Orthodox "phronema" [roughly, mind-set] cannot be programmitized or reduced to shibboleths.

Fr. Jonathan Tobias

You can read most of my more impromptu stuff here (cathartic venting) and here (the only social medium I frequent, because people there are quirky, pleasant and real). Both should work in your RSS aggregator, like Feedly or Reeder, should you want to make a habit of it.