Saturday, July 12, 2014

S.L. Whitesell, Making Sense

"The alarming question is how we are at a point where a federal bureaucrat decides whether a Christian university can conduct its affairs according to its organizing principles." And that's my general sense of the thing. The burden of proof is on the government to show why its interests are sufficient to override an inalienable right, and, in fact, the first and highest duty of humankind. In the classical way of thinking, rights always come with duties. A person doesn't have the right to an abortion, because there is no corresponding duty that the exercise of that right serves or facilitates. Indeed, abortion (for example) represents a failure of justice, the duty of a mother to her child.

Christians (and others) are losing the battle because the buzzword is "rights" instead of "duties." And we're losing rights even while we talk incessantly about them. Mary Ann Glendon is right about that. Consequently, a viciously positivistic conception of law has taken hold, and its only currency is power. 

This is highly useful. At the end of the day, we have two competing views of totalizing reality. The huge problem is that, whether talking about nature or the supernatural, there's only one reality. A person made for an ultimately spiritual end who gets "religious" about the stuff of Earth is more dangerous than an army of fire and brimstone preachers, and almost infinitely so, the nightmares of  secular leftists notwithstanding.

Today we talk about "freedom" in only one sense: the freedom from coercion. But there are others. There is the freedom to do something, like write this blog post. But any freedom to do something only serves a freedom for something, like peace, justice, loving God, et cetera.

Food for thought.

Friday, July 11, 2014

5 Thoughts For Today

5. "Intriguing," as Data might say.

4. Are the Heat fans angry?

3. Does D-Wade have enough to be the man again in Miami?

2. If one guy can immediately make an average at best team into a threat to win, the NBA's quality has certainly declined.

1. To each his own in popular music, but just so we're clear: John Legend owns me.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Hypocrisy Is Not The Worst Sin

No, seriously. It's not. The worst sin (and the first) is pride. Full-blown pride will lead to the unforgivable sin. The only sin God cannot forgive is the refusal to repent. If you think about it, that makes sense.

Some people take a sick joy that the 17-year-old daughter of a politician who advocates for "abstinence-only" education had sex and got pregnant. Yeah, that makes sense. Because allowing her to mutilate her body, or the defenseless child within it is obviously better, right?

I'd love to hear an explanation on that one. We'll never get one, because it's not about truth or reality for such people; it's about preening. If I can tear others down, maybe I can silence my seared conscience, and the Law written on my heart.

Teen pregnancy (and fornication) is bad. You know what's worse? When it's compounded by murder. I rejoice that some young girls and boys who make mistakes have strong families who uphold them. Would that our society did the same!

"Common Grace" Is Not A Thing

There, I said it. If an "unbeliever" (whatever that means) does a virtuous act, that's what it is. It could simply be an act of natural virtue, but virtue is virtue. Your problem, Reformed Guy who should seriously stop reading and listening to Kevin DeYoung, is that you don't believe an "unsaved" person can do a virtuous act. That's just dumb.

It's true that a person who lacks sanctifying grace cannot do a meritorious act, but that's an entirely different discussion. Grace always disposes toward, or effects, salvation. If it doesn't, it's not grace.

Maybe the problem is believing that God does not desire the salvation of every person, even though He says the opposite over and over. Food for thought.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

The Real Thing

Sometimes, things aren't good or bad; they just are. We feel slightly off. Maybe we know why; maybe we don't. But the answer is the same: Go back to God. Just a word of prayer, to remind yourself of what has been, what is, and what will be. His faithfulness. Him.

We can be sort of stunned into silence by the oddness of things, as much as by pain or joy. What do I do? I have no idea.

God is waiting for us on the other side. Maybe to offer our confusion as a gift will please Him more than any other thing.

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Dune Is Awesome, Fred Noltie!

I was shocked to discover that our resident sci-fi person at CTC, Fred Noltie, didn't like Frank Herbert's Dune. He was muttering something about "advocates drug use" and "eco-hippies" and such. I expected him to say something about the persistent "religion is all made up" theme. That didn't bother me, because I saw the movie first. The movie behaves as if the religious claims in the story are true, so despite the vague hints that our "Messiah" isn't all he's cracked up to be, it's a more comfortable story for a Christian to inhabit.

Herbert definitely wants us to see the Fremen as the Jews, or a related Semitic people. And we immediately like Duke Leto Atreides, the father of our protagonist, Paul. Jurgen Prochnow captured the Duke's nobility expertly in the film. Dr. Kynes/Liet had to be played by Max von Sydow, and that was great, also.

We don't know that the woman who becomes Paul's wife, Chani, is Liet's daughter, from the film. But we know this in the book. I loved it, and Fred is wrong. Sorry, buddy.

Monday, July 07, 2014

The Cross

Most Christians can talk a good game about the cross of Christ. They will say that it is the reason for their confidence, the forgiveness of their sins, and the like. This is mostly to the good. Yet there is a reason why the whole matter is called by the Church "the paschal mystery." It is forgiveness, the confluence of the covenants, the joining of a people, the realization of long-awaited hope. It is much more than we are able to say.

Let me ask this question: Does God love you? Does God love us? I ask it because I remember when I used to see in the Cross only pardon, toleration, a bemused and distant acceptance, and only for a few of us, at that. It was impersonal, and no matter what we'd say to massage it, it had to be: When God the Father looks at me, he doesn't see me; He sees Christ, or so it went.

But now I see something else. I see in that cross true good news for me. For you. Jesus preaches that gospel from His throne on that cross: This is how much I love you. This is how far I will go. The just for the unjust, with no hesitation. He did not wait, and he does not. The cross does not tell the story of wrath turned away for an undeserving yet arbitrary few; it tells the story of our hatred toward Him turned back, swallowed in unending mercy.

The wrath of God will indeed be terrible, but only because the most affectionate appeal has already been made from the mountain of Calvary. Jesus Himself said, "And after I am lifted up, I will draw all men to myself." No one who preaches it has more to say but, "Look!" Or, if you like, "Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world!"