Friday, October 18, 2013

Not After Old Things At All

He's at it again. He's Peter Leithart, brilliant author, pastor, speaker, and on and on. But the fact remains, he doesn't get it. He can't, because he finds himself unable to question his three fundamental assumptions: 1) his absolute right of private judgment in matters of Scripture or Tradition; (consequently) 2) the fundamental invisibility of the Church; and--this is a tough one-- 3) that he's actually in Christ's Church. If you do not question these assumptions, you have not gotten into the mind of a true convert. You have not seen the other side. You've seen your own side, and dabbled in it. Let's get real.

Quite honestly, too, if you don't begin to make that effort, you're just wasting your breath. Because I can tell you, on balance, converts to Catholicism do understand what they left better than those who went the other way. Yes, that is a direct challenge. One that I hope you take.

Let me just be honest, and perhaps make a concession: I do not view all defections from Catholicism as unmitigated tragedies, or at least irredeemable ones. If you find Jesus in some Bible church in the middle of nowhere, I rejoice with you. We say "poorly catechized" over here so many times, I want to cry. FIND JESUS! The real Jesus. But realize that life with Jesus never ends with a prayer, and you're good. When we walk with Jesus, he asks things of us. He says to each one of us, "I have more to give you, more Love, more of Myself" and we've got to be ready. What if he asks you to lay down Sola Scriptura? What if He asks you to put your heroes in the dock? What would you do?

If you put the underlying ecclesiology of the Reformation in nicer words, and you write books about our brotherhood, and unity, etc. it sounds great. You can appreciate Catholicism all you like, but unless you have taken the risk of questioning the truth of Protestantism's fundamental assumptions, you don't understand the convert.

One other thing: We are quickly approaching the time when the individualism intrinsic to the Protestant interpretive paradigm will completely overwhelm categories like "liberal" and "conservative" entirely, and make them meaningless, if they aren't already. If we don't come back to the bedrock question of how we know what we know, in both theology and ethics, we are doomed. The reason we have so many denominations is not because we are sinners, (though we are) not because "those people are wrong" (though they might be). There's an irreconcilable dilemma between private judgment (Sola Scriptura) and ecclesiastical authority. Real simple. No bad faith, no assumption that Johnny Bob is just a wicked sinner, and that's why he doesn't agree. The Noltie Conundrum, as we call it. It actually only becomes a problem when we take Johnny Bob at his word that he is in communion with the Holy Spirit, and He will interpret the Scriptures. Because the still-inevitable chaos becomes a theological problem, not a human one. That's where it gets fun. We're not chasing old things, Peter. We're trying to follow the Incarnate Word. It becomes historical, visible, and physical because He is all of those things.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

When This Thing Crashes...

I agree with Jonah Goldberg: GOP intraparty squabbling is pointless. Strategically, the message is this: "You said we would be helping the poor get health care, and addressing its rising costs for all of us. Instead, we got higher premiums, higher taxes, higher everything, in a law that's nothing more than a giveaway to Big Insurance and lawyers." People will not generally ever dislike President Obama. He's done almost everything possible to destroy the country and freedom as we know it, and people still like him. The elections are over now, but realize that Obama is still a buffoon. He uses words without knowing or caring what they mean. Articulate, highly intelligent, but his world-view is Swiss cheese. He's a college freshman who got way older, just like every aging "progressive." Show the country that we are governed by highly-credentialed stupid people. Just like Bush did, twice.

We lost because we got angry, and then we nominated Scrooge MacDuck. I think Mitt Romney is a great guy. I really do. And I thought he'd win. But you can't insult the regular folks, even to make the relatively obvious point that the Democratic Party has nearly created a permanent majority by buying votes.

We need a guy who can look right in the eyes of the average folks--even people living on Social Security and Medicare--and say, "I know what it's like to live month-to-month. They want you to think I don't know and don't care. But I've been there. And I'm proposing these things because I don't want all of us living like that for generations."

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

I'm With That Guy

I guess I've heard a lot of popular music in my day. And even though I was roughly an adult when I first believed in Jesus, I've heard a ton of Jesus pop also. On the one hand, we all know what we hate about it, and I suppose we could lodge objections until we were 82. On the other hand, if you worship Jesus, you're going to face scorn, no matter how talented you are.

The thing that bothers me the most is when I don't believe someone when they sing to me. They might know the words are true, but they don't know. You know? When people say, "This is 'everything is great' music" this is what they mean. On the other hand, there are some who are experts at telling us how bad they are. Same pride, different day. Frankly, I'd rather listen to James Taylor than most of this stuff.

But there's one person who made Jesus records I could listen to all day, every day. Born in Indiana, the same year as my mother. Died in an accident when he was 42, and I was 17. Everything I ever heard him say, I believed. That's probably the highest compliment I can give. The man's name was Rich Mullins.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Jesus Is Actually A Priest

Today, someone said this:

"Clericalism is also the insistence that one can only approach God through a priest, or receive forgiveness of sins through a priest, and that truth is only available through a priest."
I could hardly keep myself from chuckling, because the person who said this is a Lutheran. Dude, pick a side. You sound like an evangelical. The reason to have a big liturgical to-do in the first place is because you have priests. You have priests only if you have a sacrifice. And if you believe that the Christian liturgy reaches its climax and purpose in the sacrifice of the New Covenant, you might be a lot of things, but you're not an evangelical.

It is incoherence, in fact, that pushes us forward in the Christian life, either in the walk of faith, or in the work of theology. And in either case, that incoherence will force us toward the abandonment of false principles, or to the loving contemplation of supernatural mysteries. People cannot abide incoherence, nor should they.