Wednesday, October 30, 2019

The AND Campaign: “Seamless Garment” Redux?

When I first heard of the AND campaign, I was immediately reminded of the “Seamless Garment” pushed by the late Cardinal Bernardin.
An old Crisis article by Michael Pakaluk goes through the history of Bernardin’s Seamless Garment and the problems with it very well.  A key moment was when the Cardinal brought together liberal Democrats talking points under a “pro-life” umbrella in a 1983 address at Fordham:
If one contends as we do, that the right of every fetus to be born should be protected by civil law and supported by civil consensus, then our moral, political, and economic responsibilities do not stop at the moment of birth. Those who defend the right to life of the weakest among us must be equally visible in support of the quality of life of the powerless among us: the old and the young, the hungry and homeless, the undocumented immigrant and the unemployed worker. Such a quality of life posture translates into specific political and economic positions on tax policy, employment generation, welfare policy, nutrition and feeding programs, and health care. Consistency means we cannot have it both ways: We cannot urge rights of the unborn and then argue that compassion and significant public programs on behalf of the needy undermine the moral fiber of the society or are beyond the proper scope of governmental responsibility.
As Pakaluk notes, “this controversial passage, never withdrawn or repudiated by Bernardin, links regard for life with regard for the ‘quality of life’ in a highly dubious moral equation.”  And it is dubious. Say, letting illegals right on in and helping them stay, as the Roman Catholic hierarchy has long advocated and Catholic Charities has long enabled, is in the same category as protecting the unborn? No.  It is not.
For all I know, Bernardin may have had the best of motives. But the timing of the address and how the U. S. Roman Catholic bishops pushed the Seamless Garment is suspicious in light of the politics of abortion, Democrats, and Roman Catholics at the time.  
Democrats used to be a mixed lot on abortion.  Even Ted Kennedy once opposed abortion.  But by 1983, Democrat pols were becoming more and more pro-abortion under deceptive rhetoric such as “pro-choice” and “personally opposed but…”  And more than a few of these pro-abortion Democrats were Roman Catholics, such as Kennedy and New York Gov. Mario Cuomo.  Most U. S. Roman bishops were Democrats, of course, and liberal on social welfare issues while still opposed to abortion.  But with the Democrat Party becoming increasingly pro-abortion, continuing support for them was getting harder to justify.
In addition, Ronald Reagan was recovering well from his 1982 mid-term election setback.  Thanks to a robust economic revival and his social conservatism, he was popular among Roman Catholics and was well on the way to a landslide 1984 victory.  And he was pro-life. On the other hand, all but the gullible were not buying the “personally opposed” bit of Democrats.
This presented U. S. Roman bishops with some quandaries. How to get Roman Catholics to return to the Democrat fold?  How to justify voting for Democrats when they had become more and more pro-abortion?  And how could the bishops justify their own usual support for Democrats or even justify giving pro-abortion Democrat pols communion?
The Seamless Garment came to the rescue, doing far more for Democrats and for the bishops than for the unborn.  Now one could be “pro-life” by being for food stamps for illegals or by being for a “Nuclear Freeze,” a trendy stance back then, or by supporting Democrats on liberal quality of life issues as whole.  Abortion was relegated to one issue among many if even that.
By thereby supporting Democrats, efforts to protect the unborn were undermined. For the days of Democrats embracing the unborn under their liberalism were ending if not already over.  The Seamless Garment gave an excuse to put Democrat political and policy priorities above the lives of the unborn.  Oh, the pro-life rhetoric continued from the U. S. RCC, at least for a time.  But their political actions usually undermined efforts to protect the unborn. The Seamless Garment was a compassionate appearing fig leaf over that.
Obviously, this is a very condensed overview.  But discerning readers may already notice parallels between the Seamless Garment and what AND is promoting.  I see the AND Campaign, particularly their 2020 Presidential Election Statement, and I see Democrat priorities dubbed pro-life. I see an effort to undermine a pro-life Republican President (Reagan then. Trump now.) while wanting still to appear pro-life and non-partisan.  I see an effort to justify voting Democrat to pro-life evangelicals being driven away by Democrat extremism on abortion (and today on many more issues than in the 80’s).  I see once again the “highly dubious moral equation” between quality of life issues with the right to life.  And if AND comes close to succeeding in attracting Evangelical voters to Democrats as well as the Seamless Garment blessed Roman Catholic support of Democrats, I see the unborn as the losers in the end, along with church and country as well.

I see Seamless Garment Redux in the Evangelical Church of What’s Happening Now.
Again, the AND Campaign may be well meaning, but it repeats the errors of the Seamless Garment.  May it not repeat its influence.

Monday, October 28, 2019

AND’s 2020 Presidential Election Statement – Is AND Really Pro-Life?

AND has been promoting itself with some effectiveness as a non-partisan, pro-life Christian middle way.  But it’s 2020 Presidential Election Statement reveals that is deceptive posturing; it is hardly non-partisan as I’ve noted.  A close reading of the statement raises the question of whether they are even pro-life.  
The Healthcare and Abortion section:

We believe in building a society that respects human dignity at all stages of life, including the unborn. This includes accessible and affordable health care for everyone. Americans should not go bankrupt because they get sick or die because their medication is exorbitantly expensive. This includes policies that support maternal health and address our nation’s high rate of maternal mortality, especially among Black and Native American women. It includes vigilant prosecution of pregnancy discrimination in education and the workplace. It is essential that the sanctity of human life at every stage, in particular in the womb, is defended vigorously. Abortion is a tragedy, not a social good, that should be vehemently discouraged rather than promoted. 
That sounds good but there is something missing.  There is no calling for legal restrictions on abortion, not even late-term abortions.  There is not even a call for cutting off federal funds for abortion.   Those would seem no-brainers for an organization that calls itself pro-life.  
Bill Clinton also made noises to sound pro-life, too. Remember his saying abortion should be “safe, legal, and rare”?  Yet he ended up being such a pro-abortion President, vetoing even bills against partial birth abortion, that I called him Babykiller Bill.

I am not saying AND is in that territory. But their reluctance to make specific proposals to legally restrict abortion begs the question: Are they really pro-life?  Or are they just a ruse to make voting Democrat more palatable to pro-life Christians? 
I do not know.  But I know what I suspect.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Pachamama Returns: Is Francis Committing Idolatry? UPDATED

I will soon be going to [TRIGGER WARNING!! AVERT YOUR EYES ALL YE SNOWFLAKES!!] a gun show.  So I am posting in haste.  I do not like to do so but the controversy about the Pachamama statues at the Vatican’s Amazon Synod has become so significant that I am compelled to comment.
To be brief, Pope Francis has noted that “the Pachamama statues” have been retrieved.  Yes, that is what he has now called them, and that in itself is significant. He thereby acknowledges that the statues are idols that have been brought into the Synod even though he claims there were “no idolatrous intentions.”
That is just begging for satire, but continuing…
This situation could become much worse tomorrow.  For, even after acknowledging that they are “Pachamama statues,” Francis said that they may be included in the Synod’s closing mass:
The Commander of the Carabinieri [Italian police] wished to inform us of the retrieval before the news becomes public. At the moment the news is confidential, and the statues are being kept in the office of the Commander of the Italian Carabinieri.

The leadership of the Carabinieri will be very happy to follow any indication given on the method of making the news public, and regarding the other initiatives desired in its regard, for example, the commander said, “the display of the statues at the closing Mass of the Synod.” We’ll see.

I delegate the Secretary of State to respond to this.

This is good news, thank you.
Needless to say, if said display occurs, it would be a grievous and idolatrous provocation.  
Already, Fr. John Hunwicke is asking if Francis has committed “a formal act of Apostasy” under the canons:

If the statue venerated in the VGE was not of Pachamama, but PF erroneously believed that it was, would his act of veneration of this statue (if he did make such an act) still be a formal act of Apostasy, on the grounds that the Roman Pontiff intended to commit an act of idolatry?
I think the question answers itself although canon law may complicate the matter.  But, yes, this is a grave matter already.
I will continue to keep an eye on this matter and to pray for faithful orthodox Catholics, who surely must be distressed by this.


UPDATE: There are numerous reports that the Pachamama idols were not seen at the closing Mass of the Synod. 

Friday, October 25, 2019

AND’s 2020 Presidential Election Statement – the Mask Slips

The AND Campaign is a new political group which winsomely portrays themselves as being consistently pro-life, as a non-partisan Christian middle way that has issues with both major parties.
Well, lets see how they do in their recently released 2020 Presidential Election Statement.  The first section after the preamble is “The Health of our Democracy”:

By disregarding standards of decency and good faith, the current administration has significantly lowered our nation’s discourse and endangered the political process. This president’s callousness—especially toward non-white Americans and vulnerable citizens—his fomenting of chaos as Commander-in-Chief, and his cavalier attitude toward rule of law and basic norms of civility all undermine social cohesion, civic trust, and our very democracy.
And that’s it.  This section on democracy is just Trump bashing.  I will leave aside the question of whether the bashing is justified and ask where is AND’s concern about the attacks on our democracy from the Democrat Party?  There has been a perpetual coup against Trump since the day after he was elected and even before.  The phony Hillary-financed Steele Dossier was used by Obama Administration officials to lie to FISA courts in order to spy on Trump.  Then Obama officials leaked and leaked and leaked the dossier’s lies to the “News” Media to try to affect the election.  In these and other ways, the Obama Administration abused the investigative and enforcement powers of the federal government to try to rig an election.  They did so to help re-elect Obama in 2012, too – remember the IRS Tea Party scandal?
After the election there was a campaign to influence and, yes, harass electors in the Electoral College.  Then there was the long Mueller investigation of the Russian Collusion that wasn’t, an investigation that should have been open-and-shut but was drawn out to influence the 2018 mid-term elections.  And now the perpetual coup continues with a secret faux impeachment investigation by the corrupt Democrat liar Adam Schiff, one not authorized by the House of Representatives, and one in which Republicans and the President’s lawyers are shut out, all triggered by a politically motivated so-called “whistle blower.”

I could continue.  Hell, Obama’s CIA head Brennan was involved in the coup! (And here is a good chronology.) And more will surely come out with the probe of Obama officials having just become a criminal investigation as I write this. But I will sum up what has become quite clear: Democrats with a few RINOs are engaged in a perpetual coup against Trump.  They never have respected his election.  Heck, Democrats have hardly respected a Republican presidential victory this millennium!  That “undermine(s) social cohesion, civic trust, and our very democracy” far more than mean words from Trump. 
But the AND Campaign ignores all that and instead gets all weepy about Trump’s language.  It looks like they aren’t so non-partisan and principled after all. In the preamble, they say “Christians can hold both parties accountable,” but apparently AND is not among said Christians. 
That the AND Campaign does not care about and only enables Democrat Party attacks on our democracy is confirmed by the next section, “Race and Voter Rights”:

America was built by enslaved people and immigrant workers who brought the country closer to its founding ideals through their sacrifices and protests. And yet racial discrimination has pervaded American public policy and the law since our nation’s inception, and its effects continue today. People of color still haven’t fully recovered from the War on Drugs and a myriad of other government sanctioned efforts that devastated communities and weakened families. We must address racial disparities in education, poverty-levels healthcare, environmental quality, and the criminal justice system head on. Central to that effort must be the vigilant protection of voting rights. Voting should be fair, accessible, and convenient for all eligible American citizens, and enfranchisement should extend to former felons who have paid their debt to society.
Election fraud, which benefits Democrats more often than not, is not mentioned.  Efforts to stop election fraud are not endorsed.  Oh, but they want felons, who, yes, vote mostly Democrat, to get to vote.
So whether by intent or not, the AND Campaign enables corrupt Democrat designs on our democracy.
I may just end there for now.  For the rest of the statement is therefore hardly worth reading. So what if AND later makes nice sounding statements about abortion and religious freedom?  If the Democrats succeed in so rigging the system that pro-life and pro-freedom people can never gain power in Washington again and actually enact pro-life and pro-freedom policies, it will be open season on the unborn and on traditional Christians no matter how many nice statements AND makes.  Besides, what is the point of issuing such statements of moral posturing if one kisses constitutional democracy good-bye?
Or maybe that is the point.  It is putting a Christian veneer on backing the Democrat Party’s predations.
Again, I do not presume to know AND’s intentions.  But it is already clear that they are being used to make it more palatable for Christians to vote Democrat and further undermine our constitutional democracy.  That is their real purpose even if some of them are too idealistic and callow to know that.
Anglicans may want to note that Esau McCaulley, a fast-rising leader in the Anglican Church in North America, has signed AND’s 2020 Presidential Election Statement.  To his credit, he signed it simply as “author, Wheaton, Ill” and kept ACNA’s name off the statement.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Destruction of Pachamama Idols a Godly Example of Lay Direct Action

With Taylor Marshall, I rejoice in the infamous Pachamama fertility idols (And let’s cut the clerical bull manure – that’s what they are.) being removed from the church and thrown into the Tiber.
With traditional Roman Catholic sites covering the controversy, I wish to focus on just one aspect.  Judging from the dress of the men who removed the idols, it appears they are laymen.
This episode illustrates that when clergy will not do their job of banishing abomination and false teaching, the laity should step up and do what they can.  Once, at my Presbyterian Church back when I was still young, a visiting preacher said something like “We don’t believe the Bible, but the Jesus in the Bible.”  I made it quite clear to her on the church steps in front of others that we believed the Bible. Not just clergy but knowledgable laity should call out false teaching and false teachers.  And if clergy won’t do so, then all the more should laity take action.  Less dramatic but also needful is withholding offerings from churches and church agencies that espouse or even tolerate false teaching or abominable practices.
I’ve said it before, and I will say it again.  One big reason most mainline denominations went apostate in the 20thCentury is that lazy laity enabled the apostasy with their money and with their silence.  If the Southern Baptist Convention, the Presbyterian Church in America, and, yes, the Anglican Church in North America are not to go down the same path, the laity must step up, speak out, and make clear that false teaching and practice are not welcome and will not be tolerated.
So may God all the more bless those idol-expelling men for their godly example.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

How Should ACNA Deal With Critical Race Theory? III – By Directly Addressing Its Racism

Last time, we noted (admittedly with a lot of thinking out loud) that if a church addressed Critical Race Theory (CRT) by name, there may be a number of problems, the complexity of CRT being among them.  I perhaps should say that if I were in a synod that proposed a resolution unequivocally opposing CRT, I would vote for it in a heartbeat.  But I have my doubts about that being the best way to proceed.
Instead, I think it better to address particular concepts of CRT; for these concepts can and will recur under different labels in different contexts.  Also, it is easier to understand and address a particular concept than an entire complex and evolving ideology such as Critical Race Theory.
One CRT concept stands out as one to be opposed by the Anglican Church in North America and by all orthodox churches – that racism is prejudice plus power and that therefore (in America and the West at least), racism by people of color against white people does not exist.
As noted in the first of this series, this is a profoundly unscriptural view of sin that should be banished:

…Believing that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” but thinking only white people can be racist is inconsistent to put it very mildly.  To justify blatant racism against white people as CRT also does is worse. If we clearly oppose White Supremacist views in the church (And we should.), we should oppose CRT in the church, too.  To do otherwise is noxious sin against the dignity all have from being created in God’s image.  Why should whites or anyone put up with bigotry against white people?  Racism is racism and should be given no place in the church.
And this concept has infiltrated the church and has indeed enabled racism against white people.
It has been suggested that I should “chill” about this. Really? Let’s flip the colors. If some insane group was somehow justifying white racism against people of color by saying racial prejudice by whites is not racism at all or if actual White Supremacists were saying in church contexts that racism against black and brown people was right and justified, the church should not and I hope would not put up with that.  At the very least, people pushing such views in the church should be told to repent (or get mental help).
Full strength CRT is about that racist and noxious in denying the existence of racism from people of color and enabling racism against white people. Those who do so should also be told in no uncertain terms to repent.  And at least those in leadership should be disciplined strictly.  The dignity of men and women created in the image of God and scriptural teaching about sin is at stake.
So, no, I am not going to “chill” about this, thank you.
Unlike CRT, that racism is racism no matter the target or the source is something most can understand easily.  And although many are not familiar with CRT, most are aware of blatant racism from non-white sources and the absurd justification of it. Most also oppose such.
And that not just in the church.  Here is an opportunity for a positive witness.  People may be impressed if a church has the backbone and common sense to condemn racism from all ethnicities and to oppose the enabling of it.  The contrast with the CRT nonsense in academia and elsewhere would be a refreshing one to many.
So a well written resolution stating that racism is racism and opposing the concept that non-white racism is not racism at all should be one the church can understand and unite around.

In ACNA, there will be a minority, small I suspect, that would be upset.  I doubt more than a very few would leave.  But if they are that wedded to this aspect of CRT, then so be it. ACNA should not be hospitable to willful racism, period.  Yes and again, saying only whites can be racist is racist.  And if you want real division then allow CRT, especially its racism, to continue its infiltration of the church unchecked.
Those of a social justice inclination actually should welcome such a resolution; for it would facilitate conversation.  Using myself as an illustration, I am hesitant to engage in discussion with someone I think has a CRT concept of racism as something only white people do.  I’m even more hesitant if they seem to think that if a white person breathes, that’s racist. I doubt we have the common ground necessary to fruitful discussion.  But if there is agreed upon standard that racism is racism no matter the source, then we can talk. Put another way, if we somewhat agree on what racism is and that it is not just a white sin, then conversation is facilitated.
A well written resolution stating that racism is racism no matter the source or target would be effective not only because it narrows the subject to something people can understand and be united in opposing. In an important way, it would also be broader than directly addressing only CRT.  For there are a number of current ideologies that condone non-white racism and say it is not racism at all.  It would also be broader in time as well for false teachings have a way of recurring under different names, and the CRT view of racism surely will as well.  And, of course, it would be broader by opposing all racism.
Now there is no perfect resolution or bishops’ statement that solves all problems.  And passing a resolution alone will not do in opposing CRT racism.  There has to be the will to back it up and discipline when necessary.  But if the Anglican Church in North America clearly states that racism is racism and that it is a sin all can commit and all should avoid, then that would be an important and helpful step forward.

I may revisit this and act on this after further prayer and thought. Respectful comments to guide this are welcome. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

How Should ACNA Deal With Critical Race Theory? II – It’s Not Simple

For reasons spelled out yesterday (And, again, I am more or less thinking out loud.  To go through this whole subject in detail would torment both this blogger and readers.  Apologies if thinking out loud annoys.), I think it is time for the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) and ACNA dioceses to lay down boundaries opposing Critical Race Theory through synod resolutions and bishops’ statements among other means.  
But so opposing Critical Race Theory (CRT) head on and by name is not a simple matter.  Let’s say you want to pass a resolution at a synod.  Much of the room, perhaps most of it, will not have a good idea what CRT is.  And that makes passing a good resolution problematic.  One factor behind this year’s Southern Baptist Convention passing a not good resolution on CRT, Resolution 9, is that much/most of the delegates did not know what CRT was.
Even writing a good effective resolution on something as complex as CRT is far from simple.  It would be too easy to end up with a convoluted, wordy, attention span busting resolution that people would forget or regret or both.
But let’s say you manage to write a good resolution, and you do education about CRT beforehand and assume enough people listen.  There are still problems.  Assuming enough people will listen is indeed an assumption.  Is it reasonable to expect your average active church member or even your average synod delegate to be interested enough in CRT to sit, really listen, and comprehend?  And educating/learning about something as complex as CRT is going to take more than twenty minutes as I’ve discovered personally.  Is that the best use of church time? 
But let’s assume you successfully do the education somehow.  Another problem is once people know what CRT is, it could morph into something about the same under another name. Remember “global warming”? Once a few unusually cold winters and increased polar ice made that less credible, it suddenly became “climate change.”  We cannot trust our opponents to be honest although I will say the academics of CRT are new and evolving (or devolving); so terms and concepts can change without deception or dishonesty being involved.  Nonetheless, with CRT new and evolving, it is something of a moving target.
And we are not as concerned about labels, which can change, as about the concepts behind them, which can and do recur in different forms under different names. A good resolution that stands the test of time addresses said concepts more than labels that may become as passé as “Emergent” in a few years. 
Accordingly, I may have a better idea than a church resolution or statement confronting Critical Race Theory head on and by name.  Stay tuned.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

How Should ACNA Deal With Critical Race Theory?

Lately I’ve been wrestling inside about what I and my church (the Reformed Episcopal Church (REC) in the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA)) should do about Critical Race Theory (CRT).  It is far more than a matter of my personally disagreeing with it; it is divisive, toxic, and not compatible with orthodox Christianity.
But I should take a breath and slow down.  There are a number of ideas that may be wrong, perhaps very wrong, but the church wisely does not directly denounce all of these.  Many are secondary issues we can agree to disagree on and hope that good teaching from Scripture accompanied by spiritual formation and learning leads us as a church to become more and more conformed to the Truth of Christ.
Also, time can take care of some errors.  Time has taken care of some excesses mentioned in my Evangelical Church of What’s Happening Now series.  Remember The Late Great Planet Earth and the eschatological excesses of the 1970’s?  Time has largely discredited those, and such extreme eschatology is less of a problem now.
Also, at first glance, CRT may seem a secondary issue, more touching politics and academics than the Gospel.  And, yes, one can be an orthodox Christian and buy CRT.  Christians can be faithful on core doctrines yet hold other views which are just wrong. We can be very fallible and inconsistent that way.  I remember having a few very off notions as a young Christian.  We should give space for Christians to work through such with the Holy Spirit and learning working on them. 
But CRT does dilute and even contradict core Christian doctrines.  As I’ve noted before, believing that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” but thinking only white people can be racist is inconsistent to put it very mildly.  To justify blatant racism against white people as CRT also does is worse. If we clearly oppose White Supremacist views in the church (And we should.), we should oppose CRT in the church, too.  To do otherwise is noxious sin against the dignity all have from being created in God’s image.  Why should whites or anyone put up with bigotry against white people?  Racism is racism and should be given no place in the church.
Really CRT baptizes woke sin.  At the same time, it calls sinful or racist or white supremacist thoughts and deeds which are not sinful and are good.  What is that verse about calling good evil and evil good? Rightly disagreeing with these woke people or even just wanting to avoid disagreement by being quiet is racist or at least complicity with racism in the CRT view.  But, hey, if you agree with the woke crowd and support them and you are white, you are just trying to puff up your status as a “good white.” Instead of “victory in Jesus,” if you’re white, you just can’t win!
(By the way, this excellent video just out from Sovereign Nations on CRT notes this repeatedly.  I highly recommend the video for a good summary of CRT.)
And that gets into another way CRT contradicts key Christian doctrine.  If you are White, CRT lays burdens on you no man can carry instead of freeing you from sin and forgiving you through Jesus Christ. When I first heard that there is no redemption or forgiveness under CRT, I did not understand that.  But the more I watch CRT in action the more I get it.  I see far more grievance from CRT church people than forgiveness.  I guess one can hold to the Gospel and to CRT.  But to do so is to be a walking contradiction.
As mentioned, CRT is highly divisive.  A look at recent years in the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) or the Presbyterian Church in America illustrates that well.  And conflict is increasing in ACNA.  That is to be expected; for to divide people up into various “protected classes” that are supposedly oppressed by whites, especially those straight white males, is inherently divisive.  CRT is not just a philosophical or theological error about which academics argue.  It is tearing churches apart.  The departure of churches from the SBC has already begun.
But will time take care of CRT?  If we look the other way, focus on “making the main thing the main thing,” will CRT eventually fade away? Who knows.  But it is well embedded in academics.  Many/most universities practically brainwash their students in it.  It pretty much owns the social sciences. Opposing it can be bad for a career in a number of fields. And it seems to be becoming more influential, even (especially?) in the church.
But a better question to ask is do we have time?  CRT is dividing the church now.  Really it is dividing society and then importing those divisions into the church, which goes against so many things St. Paul wrote and even got in St. Peter’s face about. (Galatians 2:11-14)  If we just let CRT play itself out, a very possible result will be church splits.  A certain result will be good people dealing with it by walking out.  I am certainly among those who will put up with CRT in the church for only so long.  In ACNA, we have enough issues that make keeping good people and parishes and even a diocese or two difficult already without CRT.  So if we want to retain them, we must deal with CRT soon.
Having said all that (in admittedly very summarized form), opposing Critical Race Theory in the church is easier said than done.  I intend to say more about that, but will leave off for now.

Wednesday, October 09, 2019

Henry Parry Liddon and the Political Sermon that Wasn’t

I’ve just completed readingThe Life and Letters of Henry Parry Liddon by John O. Johnson. Before reading it, about all I knew about Liddon is he was a friend of Dr. Pusey and wrote his biography.
So I was deeply impressed and moved to read of Liddon himself.  What a godly and dedicated man!  His example moved me to reexamine what I am doing with my life.  And he was gifted man as well.  He was recognized as one of the best preachers in England, and his sermons often packed out large churches.  Yet he was modest and self-critical.  And he turned down a bishop’s mitre a number of times.
Liddon was involved in the politics of the day, especially as they touched the Church of England.  He and Gladstone were good friends.  Yet he rarely discussed politics during his sermons.
In Life and Letters, there is a diary entry from Liddon that reflects this wisdom as well as his English humor (and which follows up yesterday’s post well.):
December 3rd[1876] – A large number of people came to St. Paul’s this afternoon expecting a political sermon.  I disappointed them.
Would all Christian leaders so “disappointed”.

Tuesday, October 08, 2019

Politicize All the Things!!

My memory is fuzzy on this, but I may have noted here the Left’s tendency to try to politicize everything.  Some even demand everything be politicized.  This is part of their totalitarian streak.
Yes, yes, there are non-Leftist extremists that can be that way, too.  But it is much more frequent from the Left.

This morning, I see an example both annoying and amusing from an alumni group I am in.  One alum, who constantly makes political posts from the Left, replied to an admin’s very polite insistence that the alum group was not the place for political posts with the following:

With all due respect to you, there are no spaces that are inappropriate for politics. Doing politics is an ethical demand which must be carried to ALL spaces and the idea that there are or should be spaces in which politics are inappropriate is complicity with fascism.

It is precisely in spaces *like this* where doing politics is most important.
He followed it up with this:
Spaces where people feel uneasy about politics are the spaces in which doing politics is most important.

We dont have time to play around any more. The fascists are in power and the jet stream is collapsing. Theres no time for polite company. 
[Punctuation and logic his.]
Well there you go.  If you want a little space or time apart from politics, you are complicit with fascism.
But it seems to me that it is rather “fascist” and even totalitarian to insist all spaces be politicized.  But that’s just me.
And isn’t it funny that many of the same people, who insist you listen to them at all times and in all places, shout down and even assault those that dare disagree with them.
So I suspect I am right that Leftist attempts to politicize all the things come from a totalitarian streak.

By the way, a reminder that this blog is decidedly less political than it used to be.  Political posts that are not that relevant to Anglicanism, Christianity, or other recurring subjects on this blog go to my sister blog on history and current events.  So if you just can’t get enough of my wisdom on politics, go there.
Clearly I do still occasionally post on political subjects on this blog.  But I am much more selective about that than I used to be.  
You’re welcome . . . or I’m sorry, whichever is appropriate.

Wednesday, October 02, 2019

A Good Question to Ask “Social Justice” Church People

At the beginning of his latest video, James White tells of an online conversation he had with a professing Christian espousing various “social justice” themes.  White decided to ask him a simple question: Is there such a thing as Black racism?  Can a Black person be racist?
The social justice person hemmed and hawed and talked about history . . . and would not give a straight answer.  Whereupon, White decided to politely end the conversation.
White’s reasoning is cogent.  Scripture teaches that all are capable of sin and do sin.  And people are so fallen that they often sin in ways we might not expect.  The rich can be envious; the poor can be covetous; and so on. And, yes, people of all ethnicities are capable of racism. None are exempt.  
So to explain away or redefine sin as to exempt large groups of people is a thoroughly unscriptural view of sin.  And so it is with redefining racism to be just a White thing, and not a Black or Brown or whatever color thing.
Thus White’s question in a very simple, straightforward way smokes out whether someone’s “social justice” concerns come out of scripture (or a well-meaning misinterpretation of scripture) or are imported out of worldly ideologies incompatible with orthodox Christianity and with the orthodox view of sin such as Critical Race Theory.  
No, it is not the perfect question, if one exists, but it is one that reveals a lot.
I may revisit this.
N. B. Since CRT defines “racism” as prejudice plus power, and since in some countries Blacks are dominant in holding political and/or economic power, a more on-target way to ask the question may be, “In the American context, can a Black/Brown person be racist?”