Is America beginning to operate under the “image of liberty”?

29 Sep

From Steven Smith:

As the celebration of Constitution Day attests, Americans still honor our Constitution. But is it alive and well and with us still, actively guiding our decisions and shaping our law? Or is it something that we gratefully acknowledge for its historical significance but then ignore—like the Mayflower Compact, for instance, or maybe the Magna Carta?

It is surely true that we continue to invoke and talk about the Constitution as ifit were our currently governing law. And at least some of what happens in modern governance does seem to conform to what the document prescribes. For example, every state is still represented in Congress by two senators, even though some people think it is unfair that Wyoming and Nevada get as much representation in the Senate as New York and California do. Those senators are directly elected by the people, which is not what the original Constitution provided, but that change was formally and explicitly authorized by the adoption, in the constitutionally prescribed manner, of the Seventeenth Amendment. So, in this case, we seem to be adhering to the Constitution in a plausible, straightforward sense.

In other areas, though, our laws seem only distantly related to, or even incompatible with, what the Constitution prescribes. In these areas, the Constitution exercises a kind of ceremonial or perhaps diversionary function; it provides a venerable facade that covers or disguises the real workings of government. This sort of situation is hardly without precedent; a look back at the disintegration of republicanism in the Roman Empire yields important lessons for contemporary American government.

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Pope Francis failed to mention Jesus before Congress and the President. Would the Apostle Paul?

25 Sep

From Matthew Tuninga:

If the Apostle Paul or the Apostle Peter were given the opportunity to address a joint session of Congress, do you think they would mention the name of Jesus? Pope Francis allegedly occupies the place of St. Peter, the bishopric of Rome. Though often introduced as the “leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics,” his primary claim is to be the vicar of Jesus Christ. And yet the pope did not find it necessary to name the name of Jesus when he addressed Congress yesterday (transcript here; Nor did he mention Jesus’ name when speaking at the White House reception on Wednesday).

I am not the sort of person to be instinctively critical of Pope Francis, and I have praised his work before. Indeed, I largely agree with what he said in his speech about the importance of hospitality to the immigrant, care for the environment, justice for the poor, the protection of life, and the nurture of families. But I cannot get my mind around the fact that he mentioned all of this without saying why any of it matters. He did not even mention the name Jesus, or Christ, let alone say anything about Jesus’ death, resurrection, or future return.

Some of my Catholic friends are concerned about this too, and rightly so. Is Francis not as committed to the “new evangelization” as we had hoped?

Pope Francis has the attention of virtually the entire United States right now. The media is covering every word, every act, every moment of his visit. And what is the media talking about? Politics. Whether the pope’s comments benefit the right or the left, whether he’s helping Republicans or Democrats. No one, it would seem, cares much about the substance of the pope’s faith regarding Jesus. And why should they? The pope hasn’t mentioned Jesus, so Jesus must not be an important part of the pope’s message to America.

An atheist friend enthusiastically wrote on Facebook yesterday, “I am an atheist, and I love this Pope!” A writer for the Huffington Post happily declares that America has a “man crush” on Pope Francis. All people are speaking well of him.

There was a time when Jesus warned his disciples that such favorable reception on the part of “all men” is not a good sign (Luke 6:26). He warned them that the world would treat those who speak Jesus’ message as it treated Jesus himself (Matthew 5:11; 24:9). Prepared for this, the disciples insisted on doing everything that they did “in the name of Jesus,” using every opportunity, even when confronted by those in authority, to proclaim the good news of his death, resurrection, and future return. As the Apostle Paul wrote to the Colossians, “whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Colossians 3:17).

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“Uh, I’m, like, a Christian, but I…” (If I had a nickel)

23 Sep

More Lutheran Satire:

We are not our brains

16 Sep

Source: We are not our brains

How comprehensive does God intend gender complementarity to be? Cherney: “Are Women Real?”

16 Sep

Most evangelicals are gender complementarians (equal but different). But some limit that complementarity to the church and home. But how comprehensive does God intend gender complimentarity to be? Thorny issue on which reasonable Christians disagree. Here is one take.

“From Lily Cherney (Are Women Real?):

Growing up as a secular person, as a materialist, I didn’t have any category in my world for the existence of real categories, of “natures.” All was one, or all was bits and pieces, or whatever—it was all just matter in motion. The idea that there is some real thing called human nature, and moreover that it gets even more complicated than that and there is a feminine nature and a masculine nature—those were supernatural ideas, as floridly and extravagantly supernatural as unicorns or resurrections or Narnia. That they also, strangely, matched my actual experience of the world more accurately than the materialist story—that they seemed to come with better evidence—was… spooky.”

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Nietzche’s restless heart, and ours

15 Sep

From RR Reno (clip):

Nietzsche’s almost unwilling final affirmation of the ascetic impulse echoes St. Augustine’s basic insight into the human condition. Our hearts are restless. The human animal wishes to give itself to something higher. It is a need more basic than our instinctual urges. It is a nature more fundamental than everything our age wishes us to affirm as natural.

Our restless hearts suggest that the real dangers of the present age are not to be found in an open-ended, nihilistic non-judgmentalism that encourages us to imagine our world devoid of compelling truths. Such possibilities are abroad, but, as anyone who has been exposed to our educational establishment knows, it requires the constant infusion of disciplinary energy to keep young people from actually believing something.

Instead, if Nietzsche is right, the danger we face may be idolatry. Deprived of a God worth worshiping, we will find substitutes, even to the point of ­prostrating ourselves before birds or animals or reptiles that our modern minds have transformed from graven images into shrill moral imperatives and brittle political causes.

The last century’s graveyards testify to the reality of this danger. Turned away from something truly greater than ourselves, we do not come to rest in a modest ­loyalty to humanity. Instead, as Nietzsche’s and Augustine’s insights into the human condition warn us, we fall into a devotion to subhuman primal powers that reward our service with debasement.

Five Christian millennial errors

15 Sep

From John Reid:

Disclaimer: While most of my material is soft in delivery, there is a time and a place for a strict and assertive approach. I found this to be an appropriate time for such.

Recently a video went viral with a message about what Christians are not. Typical trendy rhetoric followed that while perhaps had good intentions in breaking down the barrier between the Church and the world, the message was very problematic: “I’m a Christian and I’m queer. I’m a Christian and I like Beyonce.” A very well written critique to the video can be found here.This piece is not a critique of the video but rather a holistic response to young Christian millennials who often sacrifice their Christian values for the sake of being relevant to the world. I will remind you, oh beloved children of God, that Jesus himself said that the world will hate you because of your love for Him. You can love the world like Jesus loves the world and still be hated. It’s not your fault, so don’t change your method. Your advocacy for Christ should never come at the expense of your relationship with Him. Here are 5 ways that many Christian millennials are hurting their delivery of the gospel to a world that desperately needs it.

1) Tolerance
Tolerance flies in the face of the gospel because it is apathetic both to brokenness and holiness, and when we don’t recognize our brokenness then we will never recognize our need for holiness…and thus Jesus becomes, at best, superfluous. Millennials have it in their minds that hating people’s sin means hating the individual. This message is due in part to the liberal media but many young Christian millennials sing the same tune. Instead of hating sin for the separation that it causes between us and God, they accept the sins of others in the name of “loving them for who they are.”

But the problem with that is when we accept people for who they want to be, we neglect the people that Jesus made them to be.

Jesus was the prime example of love, but never does He display an ounce of tolerance. (see: Jesus, The Epitome of Intolerance) Indeed the cross was proof of His intolerance. What type of tolerance prompts a king to step off his throne to die for his people? Tolerance was never part of the story! The gospel does not boast “come as you are, stay as you are” but rather “come as you are TO BE RESTORED!”

We don’t get to make up the narrative here, folks! The story has already been written- and it is beautiful!

2) Neglecting Theology
Consider the etymology of the word theology; theo- God, logy-study: the study of God. A trendy message among young Christians these days is “theology is good, but loving like Jesus is better.” The problem here is that the two are not mutually exclusive. Not only are they not mutually exclusive but rather they are dependent on each other. The more we know Jesus, the more we love Him and the more we love Him the more we want to know Him and so the cycle continues. Our desire to know him (theology) should be an implication for our love for Him. And the more this continues the more we will desire to live like Him and thus love His people AS HE loves them.

You wouldn’t show your love for a spouse simply by how you talk about them, you’d show your love by knowing them, spending time with them, and serving them.

But when theology is neglected, the ramifications are made known in the way we treat others. Even with a Christian label we only love on them with a wishy washy love that promotes no agenda for change and restoration. When theology is neglected Christian millennials succumb to weak cultural ideas and defective scriptural interpretation such as “Jesus just said to love people, so why should we be opposed to gay marriage?” and “the Bible says not to judge, so don’t tell me that I shouldn’t be sleeping with my boyfriend!” when the Bible actually tells Christians to judge each other (Matthew 7:24, I Corinthians 5:9-13). A good theology will inform the individual that not only are they wrong in their sin, but that Jesus wants so much MORE for them; more joy, purity and intimacy with Him.

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