Jefferson the revolutionary liberal or Jefferson the Virginia conservative?

17 Jul

This has confused me for some time.  Here is Clyde Wilson’s take (he’s a Virginia conservative).

To one group of American conservatives who were bred to regard Thomas Jefferson as the paramount hero of states rights and constitutionalism, it is shocking to encounter the virulence with which another group of American conservatives attacks Jefferson as the archdemocrat. It is true that as a thinker Jefferson was free-ranging. But one is hard put to find genuinely radical acts of Jefferson the statesman. He favored some experimentation with the legal forms of society, but almost entirely in subordinate matters. I would be prepared to maintain in a forum where there is adequate space that none of the tinkering Jefferson did was as fundamental or as harmful as that of John Adams in riding his hobbyhorse of checks and balances. Certainly Jefferson was a more truly conservative statesman than that rash innovator, Alexander Hamilton, whom Russell Kirk has rightly described as not qualifying as a conservative.

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10 Great Theologians of which You May Have Never Heard

17 Jul

From Nick Batzig:

Sir Isaac Newton, borrowing a phrase from Bernard of Chartres, once noted, “If I have seen farther, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” This maxim holds just as true in the realm of theology as it does in the sphere of scientific investigation. Anyone who has given himself or herself to a diligent study of theology will acknowledge that we are standing on the shoulders of such men as Augustine, Anselm, Athanasius, Bernard of Clairvaux, Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Knox, John Bunyan, John Owen, Jonathan Edwards and just about every other theologian whose name is “John!” While the hall of faith, full of men who have blessed the church with profound insights into the Scriptures, is well travelled, there are rooms in the annals of church history that have been, at various times, seeminly hidden from the sight of men–though they are also full of noteworthy theologians. As 2016 comes to an end, I want to introduce you to 10 theologians of superior giftedness–who have not always received their due respect–upon whose shoulders you may safely stand:

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The Spirituality of the Church. What is the Church’s social duty?

16 Jul

D. G. Hart and John R. Muether

Extracted from Ordained Servant vol. 7, no. 3 (July 1998), pp. 64-66.

What is the Christian’s duty to society? Such a broad question suggests many different answers and conjures up images as diverse as the Good Samaritan, who loved his neighbor despite ethnic and religious differences, and the American Presbyterian John Witherspoon, who was the only minister to sign the Declaration of Independence. Typically, Reformed answers to this question are easily distinguished from those of other Christian traditions. For instance, Cornelius Plantinga, Jr., a theologian in the Christian Reformed Church, has argued that the Calvinist perspective on society has generally been regarded as “conversionist” or “trans-formationist” or “world-formative,” as opposed to the Lutheran or Anabaptist traditions that have harbored isolationist impulses. Plantinga’s assessment reiterates the classic statement of H. Richard Niebuhr on the relation of Christ and culture. Unlike Luther who made sharp distinctions between the temporal and spiritual, or body and soul, Calvin, according to Niebuhr, had a more “dynamic” notion of the Christian’s responsibilities in the world. Niebuhr also detected differences between Lutheran and Calvinistic understandings of the state. While Luther sharply distinguished the kingdom of grace from the kingdom of the world, Calvin argued that the state not only restrained evil but also promoted human welfare to such an extent that magistrates helped to establish the kingdom of God. As popular and as well-accepted as this interpretation of the Reformed tradition is, it fails to make sense of those Presbyterians who adopted a more restrained idea of the Christian’s responsibility in political and social affairs. Unlike some Reformed theologians who have posited a basic harmony between church and state in the execution of God’s sovereignty, American Presbyterianism has also nurtured an understanding of society that stresses fundamental differences between the aims and task of the church and the purpose of the state. Sometimes called the doctrine of the Spirituality of the Church and attributed to the southern Presbyterian tradition, this conviction also informed the views of Charles Hodge who adhered to this doctrine at a pivotal point in the history of the United States.

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Sex Change: Physically Impossible, Psychosocially Unhelpful, and Philosophically Misguided

15 Mar

Source: Sex Change: Physically Impossible, Psychosocially Unhelpful, and Philosophically Misguided

“Coach I Need a Ride”

28 Feb

via “Coach, I Need a Ride”

Of husbands and grocery lists

23 Dec

The Husband and the Grocery List
The husband and the grocery list have a peculiar and dynamic relationship. Consciously or unconsciously, wives send husbands to grocery stores with grocery lists like popes send sinners to purgatory. It’s an attempt to have husbands work off past sins and earn the reward of reentry into the home. And don’t try to refuse the trip. The use of the word “no” here will come back to haunt you in myriad ways. Don’t bother saying you’re busy either. No excuse will satisfy her, since nothing you could possibly be doing will be considered important when you aren’t physically at work (unless you are on the roof in the rain repairing a gaping hole or under the house drowning from broken pipes, it’s all just “tinkering” or “piddling” to wives). But husbands needn’t fear. It’s a crazy deadly maze, but if played right, you can survive and extend time away from purgatory. The key is to do well enough to avoid a woman’s scorn but poorly enough to avoid making it a common occurrence. Here’s some things to remember.
First, if the grocery list is roughly five items or less, by all means, get it right the first time. Returning with the wrong or forgotten items will be considered inexcusable since “it was only five things; seriously? Five things? You can’t get just five things right? I swear…” and so on. While you are going back to fix it, she’ll be making another list that’s even worse out of spite. Getting a five-item list right will maybe get you a kiss on the cheek, but don’t worry, she won’t think it means you are competent to handle the scroll-down or fold-over variety on a regular basis.
But if she gives you a longer list — more than five things — the rules, expectations, and strategy changes considerably. With more than five things, you are certain to forget one item or get an item or two wrong. Just accept it. You are going back. You are going to forget an item because carefully and exhaustively checking a long grocery list before leaving is boring and will strike you as inefficient. You are going to get an item wrong because precisely matching items on the grocery list (which will be far too vague for husbands to understand) with the actual products on the shelves (or freezers, or bins, or endcaps or wherever) is an impossibly confusing test that Einstein would fail because his male brain isn’t wired to pass it. And that’s fine. Hopefully, you’ll end up with just enough of the list wrong or forgotten to keep her natural pity from turning into anger. To be sure, having to “go back” with your tail tucked between your legs will be bothersome but it’s better than doing so well that she becomes confident in you. Wives are different and so individual results may vary, but you should operate according to a 10-15% list-error rate. Above it, woman’s scorn. Below it, she’ll be too proud and send you more often.
Now when you get to the grocery store things are often not what they appear to be. The list will say “pork sausage” but you’ll come home with “links” when you were supposed to get “patties.” Milk, for instance, seems simple enough, but it turns out that grocers do science experiments on milk so that some milk is “evaporated” and others “condensed.” If you are lucky enough to find these chemicals, you won’t be lucky enough to get the right size. Sometimes your item will be literally buried in a sea of the same species. Beans. They’ll have 27 flavors; baked, kidney, northern (must we import everything from yankees?), butter, etc.. Oh, and “peas” are not simply the green version of beans. In fact, some beans are green, but are cut in different ways (ways that she won’t specify on the list). Or you will find that “ranch dip” is not simply ranch dressing used for dipping, but is in fact a pack filled with powder and comes in bacon, buttermilk, onion, and so on. None will say plain or original, but that’s probably the one you were supposed to get. Ground beef is actually measured out in body fat percentages. You will be scolded for buying off-brand cereal or cookies but also scolded for buying name-brand dairy products. In fact, remember that. On any given item, there is a 50% chance that getting the off-brand was the wrong choice. Yet, spending too much money is as wrong to her as spending too little. If she tells you to buy “snacks,” be aware that there is no such thing. Snacks are abstractions, a category of food, not an actual item, although it will appear as such on the list. The snack error rate is astronomical. Bread. Just go ahead and buy a loaf, it will be wrong. But remember, you are only shooting for 10%.
Often you will find yourself simply overwhelmed and lost; kinda like when a child gets lost and just stops walking altogether. You will literally come to a complete stop in the middle of an aisle and find yourself just staring at nothing in particular. If you end up doing this, whatever you do, don’t stop. And don’t bother calling or texting your wife for clarification if possible. Every call/text results in a husband demerit. Besides, help is on the way. One of these motherly-mother types, usually with an empty nest, will inevitably find you in your pitiful state (remember, they aren’t like us, they are multi-taskers seeing hearing and sensing not only what is directly in front of them but also beside and behind as well). Motherly-mother types know where absolutely every food thingy is down to the centimeter. And you are no waste of time for them; motherly-mother types live for this kind of stuff. You’ll see the desire to nurture on their faces. Just stand there with your mouth partially opened looking classically confused, and their natural compassion for helpless husbands will guide them to you. Soon you’ll hear “Honey are you lost?” or “You look really confused, what are you looking for?” or “Just show me your list and I’ll save you a trip back.” She’ll feel good about helping a stray and you’ll get all the credit. It’s really a win-win.
Don’t stay gone too long because that will mean you wanted time away from her. And don’t make the trip too short because you just rushed it, not taking her cooking seriously. Should you add stuff to the list? Yes, as a personal reward, but eat it before you get home. If she gave you a written list, accidentally lose it. If it was texted to you, don’t.
With these things in mind, a husband will not be able to avoid grocery list failures completely. It’s science or something. But he can avoid the extreme sufferings that wives are by nature entitled to bestow upon foolish husbands. “Honey, I need you to get a few items from the grocery store.” “Sure babe. How many?” And so it begins.

A needed dose of realism in the current sexual misconduct crises

13 Dec

From Mark Regnerus:

The surprising avalanche of publicized sexual misdeeds rolls on, picking up actors, executives, and politicians along the way. What each are guilty of no doubt varies widely. But the court of public opinion is in no mood for fine distinctions.

What interests a sociologist is less the scope of the purge, its timing, or predictions about who’s next than what it all reveals about the social structure of sexual interactions between men and women, and how change here could actually happen. The revelations of late have plenty to do with the exchange model of sexual behavior, which is and will remain an accurate lens through which to understand sex. (There are other sensible lenses, too.)

The “Weinstein avalanche” highlights three stable observations about men, women, and the relationships they form. Ignoring them in the name of virtue signaling will not help. But it may require new perspective to guide our way forward toward less sexual aggression.

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