Friday, November 27, 2009

It's no wonder they all think we're crazed nut jobs . . .

Earlier, I wrote a short post on the actress, Kristen Chenoweth, who is sometimes presented as Christianity's public face.

Tonight, I caught a few moments of Sean Hannity's recent interview with Carrie PreJean, being rebroadcast tonight. Here is the relevant portion from the Foxnews website:

HANNITY: And one of the things that you do in this book that I like in the book is you really address young girls, and you try to maybe counsel them and advise them. What do you tell young girls that, you know, have these boyfriends, their first loves, like this was, I guess one of your first boyfriends?

PREJEAN: Yes. Yes.

HANNITY: You really were close to him. Now it's been a big betrayal. What do you tell young girls?

PREJEAN: Be careful. Nothing is private any more. Nothing is private. With Facebook, with MySpace, with all that going on, I mean, you have to be so careful. In my last chapter of my book I give, you know, advice to young women and just to people in general, that you know, I'm not perfect. I make mistakes, just like all of us make mistakes. And you know, this book has been so great for me to share with other people what happened, because I do share. I do share what really happened. And people have heard bits and pieces of, you know, the liberal media's version of it. But basically, it's for Americans who believe their beliefs are under attack.

That's it -- be careful? No -- it's sinful and I'm a Christian, I shouldn't have done it at all? No -- it was sinful, I have asked God for forgiveness and I repent?

This is what the media, even big names like the Roman Catholic Sean Hannity, present us with as the public face of Christianity. This is the sort of Christian we are told is normal and good and right and acceptable.

And we don't, at least most of us, don't bat an eyelid. Ho Humm. "Well, she's a bit more liberal than I am, but she seems to be a nice girl. She's awfully pretty and she did say right things about marriage at the contest." That's largely been our response.

And then we wonder why we get marginalized as nut-jobs when we dare squeak out a defense of genuine, orthodox Christianity?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Martyrdom of the Intellectual

From my dear friend, Tony Esolen. I hope it encourages you as it does me:

The Martyrdom of the Intellectual

Today, Roman Catholics commemorate the deaths of Andrew Dung-Lac and his companions, who were martyred in a wave of persecution in nineteenth century Vietnam. I am always stirred by stories of the martyrs, wondering whether I too would prove willing to take a bullet in the head, or something far worse, rather than keep silent about my faith in Jesus. It requires fortitude, one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit; but also, in most cases, perseverance, and that may be a rarer and more precious gift still. Which reminds me of a passage I read recently in Josef Pieper's Faith, Hope, Love, to the effect that Thomas placed those who sally forth in intellectual battles for the faith alongside the martyrs of blood. Thomas' reasoning was that those fighters too require great courage. They must not only preach the truth; they must wade into the marshes where errors lurk, and confront them directly, discovering in them what truth they distort, and separating it from the distortion, and, in general, to use St. Paul's bracing admonition, quitting themselves like men.

I confess that I'm far from that martyrdom -- and that may explain my sometimes wistful admiration for the martyrs of blood, who seem to have had the more terrible battle, but also the clearer battle. Meanwhile, I see young apologists for the faith going forth to brave the dragons in their lairs -- may God increase their number! May the Lord who teaches our fingers to fight bestow upon them his Spirit of wisdom, to thresh out falsehood and unfold the truth. Give us the signal, unsurpassable Commander! We cannot each of us fight across the whole of the field, but what we can do, give us the heart to do, that we may bear upon our hearts, if not our limbs, the scars of nobility.

Two questions

Sometimes the lies and seemingly deliberate misunderstandings, well, truthfully, I am too weak to not be drawn into responding to such muck at times. Better to remain blissfully ignorant of what the professedly wise yet woefully ill-educated are nattering on about. Recently, I allowed myself to be drawn into such a conversation which resulted in great works of literature being compared to Harlequin romances while biblical illiteracy was on display for all the world to see. All of which lead me to two questions:

First -- Can blood be shed without violence? For the context in which evidence of blood shed is important, see Deuteronomy 22.

Second -- The great works of literature are a Christian heritage to us. These works consistently use symbols in certain ways. Is this use meaningless coincidence or do they point us to a hidden truth?

Monday, November 23, 2009

psst, Marjorie . . .

Could you email me when you get a moment? I have a question I've been wanting to ask. Of course, I'd love to just say "hello" as well.


Sunday, November 22, 2009

The plot thickens . . .

. . .or at least the brain of one half of the "equal life partnership" that runs the CBE blog. In response to an anonymous poster flying under the flag, "Blank Slate" who responded on the thread mentioned in a previous post, Liz has this to say:

Interesting……I have never heard that idea before. I think it’s a bit like some of the Christmas traditions which originated in paganism and later people thought of some Christian symbolism to match the tradition. (Please let’s not start a discussion on Christmas traditions) There is nothing biblical about that comparison, however Christian it might sound.

Your comment, Blank Slate, shows that you are not aware of from where the ‘giving away’ idea came from and that it is still practised today in far too many countries. In these places the bride is sometimes dressed in finery and the couple are surrounded by friends and family with all the attendant pomp and ceremony.

In most situations the bride Is ‘traded’ for money and/or or given away to be a virtual servant to her husband’s family. The thought of a woman being property is nothing new and is how so many cultures have always perceived the whole marriage relationship.

It’s very sad that within the so-called Christian world this tradition has persisted and been sanitised to be a sentimental happening. Even in the ‘nicest’ way, it is still the thought of a young woman going from the care of her father to the care of her husband without the corresponding thought of a young man going from the care of his mother to the care of his wife.

I'm sorry, I really am. I've never met the woman. I've only corresponded with her briefly but, to be honest, I simply don't believe she is that ignorant of the bridal imagery shot through the whole of Scripture, from beginning to end, from the first marriage to the last -- the wedding feast to end all wedding feasts. Does the Marriage Supper of the Lamb mean nothing to her? Does it not even ring one tiny, tinny little distant bell? Really?

This is why I believe Steve Hutchens is right to call Egalitarianism a heresy. If they win, we lose the Fatherhood of God, from which all human fatherhood derives. And we miss the second important image in Scripture - The Bridegroom and His Bride, the Church for whom he gave his life. It's lost, and with it the Gospel.

Period. End of Story.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Let's just seal that life partnership with a kiss, shall we?

Our religious feminist friends are fond of now claiming they believe in "complementarity" without hierarchy. They are beginning to warm to this idea that they are the true complementarians and that Complementarians are really just prettified hierarchicalists. But when pressed as to how men and women complement each other, well . . . now, we can't go around stereotyping, can we? These differences they loudly protest that they recognize and celebrate turn out to boil down to this: body parts and their immediate reproductive functions. There is no further implication, certainly no deeper symbolism to be had in the obvious physical bits that differentiate men and women.

Never mind that our skeletons differ, our muscular structures differ, our relative hormones differ -- never mind that even our brains are wired differently. No, this only results in stereotyping because, inevitably, there is the brawny woman who can lift a car or the man who is good at singing his infant son to sleep. And lets not get sidetracked by the argument about gifts. Whoever said possession of a gift automatically confers the right to exercise it when and where the recipient feels "called" so to do?

So it's really hard to determine what they think the legitimate differences are. Yet they claim to be the true complementarians. But, every once in a while, their slip shows. And it's then that we know my friend, Tony Esolen, is right to call them Indifferentists. For here we see that they really don't give a rat's right butt cheek for any differences, real or imagined. They don't give a fig about tradition or the deep reasons for those traditions. Nor do they care about God's labels, you know those awful "traditionalist" outmoded labels the church has used for two millennia. Yes, the ones that point us to the Church's relationship to Christ. Yes, THOSE labels:

I now pronounce you husband and wife ( I now pronounce you life partners would be even better) seal the covenant you have made to each other with a kiss.”

Yes, this is the latest from CBE's blog. Better even than husband and wife is the indifferent moniker of "life partner" with whom you may seal your "covenant" by a kiss.

Forgive me, but isn't "life partner" one of the designations preferred by homosexualists who play at pseudogamy?

Addendum: Lest you think I am exaggerating the ugliness of the Egalitarian vision for remaking the sexes, our correspondent above has returned with an additional comment:

I mean just look at how traditions have changed already I seldom hear Love Honor and Obey in marriage vows even in comp churches which is a good thing so hopefully we are moving in the right direction.

I guess at least one Egalitarian believes a wife should not Love and Honor her husband (we already know she shouldn't obey him, according to their lights). Let's see if anyone contradicts him in this. To his vision of marriage, all I can say in public is -- Ick, ick, ick, ick, ICK!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

It was a very good year . . .

With apologies to Frank Sinatra, let me just say that 2009 was a very saucy little year for Beaujolais Nouveau.

On a whim today, I stopped by the wine shop on the way home from lunch with a friend. They had some new wines sitting on the barrell at the front and I took a quick look. My wine guy said, "Those are new today." I looked a the label and they were all Beaujolais Nouveau. I looked at him and said, "Already?"

Yep, third Thursday in November.



Saturday, November 14, 2009

Yes, Fr. Bill, I intend to

Under the previous post, my dear friend, Fr. Bill Mouser asks if I am going to comment on any of these books.

Yes, that is the plan. I intend to add more consistent books reviews to the offerings on this blog. The first two will involved sex trafficking/women's issues. The reviews you can expect before the end of the year are on the following books:

Kristof and WuDunn, Half the Sky
Ratushinskaya, Grey is the Colour of Hope
Schlossberg, Idols for Destruction
Oddie, What Will Happen to God: Feminism and the Reconstruction of Christian Belief

Although, I am a little irritated because the book by Oddie should have arrived before I left home and it hadn't. As you can probably guess, I won't be taking any more trips this year. But I am very excited to dig into all of this - plus the good folks at Bob's Red Mill are sending me lots of goodies like French Flageleot Beans and Millet and Scottish Oatmeal, so there will be a few cooking posts the rest of this year as well.

Oh, and, along with those goodies from Bob's, tucked away in the bottom of the box is Rose Levy Berenbaum's, The Bread Bible which should provide lots and lots of therapeutic kneading time, right?

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Welcome to Bibliomanes Anonymous

Hello, my name is Kamilla and this is my first meeting.

Welcome to BA, Kamilla. Everybody say hello to Kamilla . . . .

So Wednesday is the day. Many books will be browsed through, picked up, etc. Four of them are already paid for and waiting on a shelf for their new owner. Yes, it's the long-awaited trip to Portland, Oregon and Powell's City of Books.

Here is the list so far:

Steve Kellmeyer, Sex and the Sacred City (a popularization of JPIIs TOB)
Herbert Schlossberg, Idols for Destruction
Richard Weaver, Ideas Have Consequences
Henry Chadwick, The Early Church (Penguin History of the Church)
Nicholas Krisof, Half the Sky (to be reviewed on this blog as part of the Sex Trafficking series)
J. Gresham Machen, Christanity & Liberalism
Elizabeth Loftus, The Myth of Repressed Memory

And the other contenders, which might find a new home:

Julia Child, My Life in France (NOT the movie tie-in cover, please!)
Julian Green, The Other One
Alessandro Manzoni, The Betrothal
Edmund Spenser, Amoretti The Fairie Queene
John Milton, Paradise Lost
Homer/Fagles, The Odyssey

Fun, eh?

Channeling Goebbels

Elsewhere I made a recent reference to the truism, "If you tell a big enough lie often enough, it will be believed." But I couldn't initially track down the source.

Today, I found it. And no, this is not an instance of Godwin's law.

The source is Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi propagandist. I guess he knew.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Slander and lies and accountability, OH MY!

Sure as spring follows winter, sure as chocolate is one of the basic food groups and, most importantly, sure as anything on Baylyblog is seen as remotely critical of an "egalitarian" -- the religious feminists are howling with rage at the prospect that one of their number who has made claims of abuse might be asked to be accountable, to provide proof of her charges.

Never mind that we can all, if we be honest, tell a tale of false abuse claims made in the furtherance of a nicely advantageous divorce and child custody settlement. Never mind that false claims dog the victim the rest of their lives - there is *always* a whisper of suspicion on the part of some -- once the word is said, it can never be recalled. Never mind that it is *extraordinarily easy* to create false memories during "therapy". Never mind the wronged father who, once the claims of abuse were found to be ridiculously false and could never have occurred, lamented, "Where do I go to get my name back?" Never mind that religious feminists purvey their slanderous claims all over the internet - contrary to the public and repeated teach of men they claim enable abuse.

Oh, no, never mind all that. The only thing that matters is that evil patriarchalists are seen to be criticizing a poor, hurting, (allegedly) abused woman. Oh my, poor thing, how she has suffered. How DARE you question her, she used to be really, really famous and gave it all up. OK, no need to continue -- you know the drill.

Carl Friedan knew. For 30 years his ex-wife's false accusations of abuse dogged him -- for the rest of his life. Even then, he still lauded her for what she had accomplished on behalf of women. She was a raging dynamo, he said, but then lamented how she never realized that didn't work at home. Turns out that, when the crockery went flying in the Friedan household, it wasn't usually Carl tossing it at Betty.

Deuteronomy 19:17-19, NAS:

17 then both the men who have the dispute shall stand before the LORD, before the priests and the judges who will be in office in those days.

18 "The judges shall investigate thoroughly, and if the witness is a false witness and he has accused his brother falsely,

19 then you shall do to him just as he had intended to do to his brother. Thus you shall purge the evil from among you.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Temporal Pragmatism, Or the Futility of Utility

"Our marriage works. I'm happy, my husband is happy, we submit to each other and our two children are well-behaved. What could possibly be wrong with that?"

The temporal pragmatism of Contemporary Evangelical Egalitarianism is a comforting picture, is it not? It conjures up the beautiful image of . . .no. On second thought, it conjures up a world of greys. A world of partners, equal partners with no distinctions outside of mere biology and individual personality. There is no eternal drama of man and woman, no blending of melody and harmony. No recognition of the titanic impact of two sexes, coming together in the one flesh relationship of marriage. It's vanilla. And not even the good kind of vanilla with real flecks of vanilla bean throughout.

But, they say, we have a great marriage that works.

Oddly, even when I was an Egalitarian, I recognized something of the flatness of it all. Even though I was (mostly) convinced that this was how God wanted it, I recognized there was a sort of boring sameness, a workmanlike stewardship of individuals as mere individuals. And I really didn't have much desire for marriage. Why had I any need of a husband? I could walk forward on my own.

But what seems to work in the here and now, the everyday world is not always to our eternal advantage. This was one of the problems I struggled with, having been directed towards Utilitarianism and John Stuart Mill by my advisor when I was a student at Denver Seminary. For some years I tried to push a square peg into a round hole. I nudged this, adjusted that, try to shave off that corner, etc. But I could never, ever manage to make Utilitarianism and Christianity meet for anything other than a glancing blow.

The problem with both Utilitarianism and Egalitarianism's temporal pragmatism is that they don't go far enough. The sort of happiness each has as its goal is only temporal, temporary, at best it lasts the length of their sojourn on this earth -- but it will never carry them into eternal happiness. If they make it there, it isn't because of their Egalitarianism, it is in spite of it.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Light and Fire

A friend recently posted this to our email group:

There is a strong thread in Orthodox thought that heaven and hell are, in fact, the same place, and that the fires of hell and the Uncreated Light are the same thing, perceived in different ways. For the righteous, the Light is warmth and comfort and illumination; for the wicked, it is blinding and burning and torment, in the same way that someone who has spent a long time in darkness flinches from the light of the Sun. God neither condemns us nor punishes us--we do that to ourselves by our response to God.

I think this is a tremendous illustration of what passes for dialogue, conversation, debate between religious feminists and orthodox believers. To us who have embraced orthodox sexuality, we experience the teaching of Holy Scripture as warmth, light and illumination. For the religious feminist, the same teaching is experienced as a torment, something they flinch away from.

It is hard to understand what you experience as burning. You can't really comprehend something that is blinding, or paraphrase accurately something which is tormenting. How can you possibly have a sensible conversation with something that causes you such pain? And it isn't any easier when you do, if you are still able, turn into the light. You know how much it hurts when someone shines a flashlight in your eyes. Or when you flip on the bathroom light during a middle of the night visit. This is the experience of the religious feminist who does begin to turn to the light and embrace its illumination. I think this is why so few make the journey -- the first steps are too painful. Better to stay with the pain you know than to walk through a new pain, not knowing what you will find on the other side of it.

The Wisdom of God, I Corinthians 18ff:

18 For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.


20 Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?

21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.

22 For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom;

23 but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness,

24 but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.

25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

26 For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble;

27 but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong,

28 and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are,

29 so that no man may boast before God.

30 But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption,

31 so that, just as it is written, "LET HIM WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE LORD."

On the Slippery slope of heresy

Religious feminists are known to rear back in indignation if you, ever so gently, hint they might be on a slippery slope to the open embrace of homosexual practice. Whether this is a legitimate concern or an irredeemable fallacy, I'll leave that judgment to the evidence before your eyes.

However, I noticed that the blog of CBE, The Scroll, was discussing this very matter recently. I chose not to resist the impulse to participate briefly and posted a couple of examples that indicate it might not be so obvious a fallacy after all.

Drat, I forgot the best one of all. It comes from one of the current darlings of the movement, Professor John Stackhouse of Regent in Vancouver. In his book, Finally Feminist, Stackhouse lets the slope slip a little too much for anyone to legitimately deny it. See page 89 where you will find this admission:

I acknowledge that in this deeply troubled world some people will find the first serious and genuine love of their lives in a homosexual relationship. I believe therefore that such relationships can be condoned, cautiously, for pastoral, therapeutic reasons as temporary accommodations to some people's particular injuries and needs. The church nonetheless does not "bless" such unions, let alone "normalize" them, but upholds scriptural sexual and relational ethics as the ideal toward which we strive. In the meanwhile, however, we can appreciate the sad truth that some people will have to take the long way home, and a caring homosexual relationship may be a necessary part of that journey. This is clearly a difficult area of pastoral ethics and requires deep theological, psychological and spiritual wisdom.

This is passing strange, coming from one who claims he wants to make the case for religious feminism. Why include this note? I don't believe the professor to be naive on this score - he had to know it was inflammatory.

So why include it, unless it truly is on the inevitable trajectory of religious feminism.

Looks to me like the slippery slope does, indeed, exist.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Argumentum ad Victis

An Argumentum ad Victis is a form of the argumentum ad misericordium, an appeal to emotion in combination with the argumentum ad hominem. In the Argumentum ad Victis, the validity or appropriateness of arguing against, or criticizing the claim of, one who presents herself as a victim is ruled out of bounds.

The Argumentum ad Victis, rather than being an appeal to emotion is a tactic of intimidation. The victim is held as being unquestionable and without fault. You cannot criticize a victim, because they are a victim. You cannot test the truth of their claims, because they are . . . a victim. Any perceived criticism is held to be a savage attack upon the victim himself and justification for their future actions, including libel and slander.

Here is how it works in practice:

Victim shares her experience suffering physical and emotional abuse at the hands of her husband.

Respondent wonders about the depth of abuse and asks questions seeking corroboration.

(Victim's) Friend responds in high dudgeon, saying that you shouldn't criticize Victim or say she's lying because she has been really, really hurt. Really hurt.

Respondent replies that she didn't say Victim was lying, only asked for corroborating evidence.

Victim/Friend reply that this sort of inexcusably horrible and unChristian treatment is exactly why she has rejected "X" or done "Y".