Saturday, February 27, 2010

Friday, February 19, 2010

What elevates the heart?

Tony Esolen on why egalitarian schemes can never unite us:

United from Above

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Oh. That's pretty!

I am sitting at the library today - better computer, faster connection, bigger screen. I noticed a bit ago that it was getting dark. It's early to get so dark. Then, just now, I looked up again.

Big. White. Flakes.


I did think I did see all Heaven before me and the great God Himself

Handel is reported to have said that upon composing, Messiah. It came to me again today, as I was listening to this piece of music:

Lauridsen's O Magnum Mysterium

I simply cannot describe the beauty of this piece.

ht: Joseph Susanka

Quem Deus vult perdere prius dementat

The following was copied this morning from an "Egalitarian Christian" website:

I'm going to say here, in this place of safety, what I'm very much wanting to say elsewhere but so far haven't had the courage:

Subjugation/subordination of women is morally wrong. This means that if the Bible actually promoted the same, the Bible would be morally wrong. If the God revealed in the Bible actually promoted this, He would not be God-- it would be a false god, because it would be an immoral god. The real, true God would still be out there somewhere, and I would still go seeking Him-- but I cannot worship a god who is immoral.

In effect, this renders all of the endless wrangling over whether the Bible does or doesn't say, "women are born to be subordinate," moot. If someone could prove to me that the Bible said that, this would be proof that it was not the book that revealed the true God. I would not bow to the immoral practice of female subordination, just because the Bible said it

True worship of God is not "follow the Bible, whether it's true or false, good or evil." True worship of God is to seek the true and good, and thereby to seek the true God.

Fortunately, as I've read the Bible I've seen it to reveal a God who designed and promotes the equality of all peoples, races, nations-- and both sexes. I've seen in Jesus a Man who raised women up, contrary to the practices of His day. I've become convinced that He is the perfect revelation of the true God, and the Bible is the Story of His revelation.

So, complementarians-- don't seek to prove to me that the Bible really teaches subordination of women. Not unless you're trying to turn me away from being a Christian.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

How PD James made me a Complementarian

One of the criticisms of the detective story is that this imposed pattern is mere formula writing, that it binds the novelist in a straightjacket which is inimical to the artistic freedom which is essential to creativity, and that subtlety of characterisation, a setting which comes alive for the reader and even credibility are sacrificed to the dominance of structure and plot. But what I find fascinating is the extraordinary variety of books and writers which this so-called formula has been able to accommodate, and how many authors have found the constraints and conventions of the detective story liberating rather than inhibiting of their creative imagination.

So writes P. D. James on page 10 of her new book, Talking about Detective Fiction.

I am not quite sure if it is better to talk about the irony, the dramatic irony of finding freedom and beauty within what seem to be unduly constraining rules -- or the appearance of contradiction. Whichever it is, one of the most delicious and beautiful delights of Complementarianism is finding this freedom within the boundaries of Gods laws.

James is here obviously talking about writing detective fiction and the normal conventions of same. She later mentions the same sort of finding in connection with writing romance novels. And here we might be able to see, more obviously, how it plays out. From page 11:

And detective stories are not the only novels which conform to a recognised convention and structure. All Jane Austen's novels have a common storyline: an attractive and virtuous young woman surmounts difficulties to achieve marriage to the man of her choice. This is the age-long convention of the romantic novel, but with Jane Austen we have [Harlequin] written by a genius.

When I read that first paragraph quoted above, I had a frisson of anticipation, a sort of vision. What immediately bloomed forth in my mind's eye was God's conventions for men and women. From the outside they look artificially constraining. But, from the inside, we can see that they provide for a beautiful variety of expression. No two marriages look exactly the same. There is much play within those conventions. As with dancing, there is a beauty expressed by living within these conventions, but each dance, each marriage is its own. The apparent contradiction is to be found that, by watching from the outside, it often looks like those marriages, those couples who are living at the center of their faith -- it sometimes seems impossible to tell when the man is leading. But leading he is.

Now, in the second quote above, we can see the same thing. I have substituted Harlequin for the British series James mentions, but the outcome is the same. Our critics look from the outside, look only at the conventions, and come up with Harlequin. But from the inside, that is inside to those who embrace sexual orthodoxy, we can see the beauty of individual expression. We have embraced the reality and not simply the instructions. Standing on the outside looking in, all you have are the rules and all you can see is Harlequin. But, once you step inside, you see the freedom and beauty -- what looks like a Harlequin formula becomes Emma.

Whether it is dancing, cooking, marriage -- what looks like a simple, constraining formula from the outside reveals an incredible depth of beauty and freedom of expression from the inside. Once you learn the rules, you can improvise -- and appear to break them while actually filling them out and making them your own.


Yah, sure, you betcha, I want one just like that!

First, we had the Canadian provincial premier of Newfoundland exhibiting a bad case of south of the borderitis but that didn't slow down the Obamacrats agitating for Obamacare. No sirree, Bob!

Do you think this latest report on patient safety orders in the NHS will have any effect?

The Guardian reports that:

• 25 NHS organisations have not ­confirmed compliance with an NPSA safer-practice notice designed to reduce the risk of patients ­falling out of bed. It was issued after about 90 patients who rolled out of bed on to the floor in ­hospitals, mental health and learning disability units, fractured their neck or femur; 11 of them died.

• 81 hospitals and other care providers had not taken the "required actions" outlined in patient safety alerts covering opioid (painkilling) medicines. The alert was originally issued in July 2008 with a deadline of January 2009; the 81 had not complied by 29 December 2009.

• 10 NHS trusts have not said they have complied with a February 2005 alert on nasogastric feeding tubes, which can sometimes be wrongly placed into the lungs during insertion. Errors involving the feeding tubes caused at least 11 deaths before the alert came out, according to the NPSA.

In other words, 81 hospitals and other care facilities in the UK still do not have standard safety measures in place like, oh say, BEDRAILS! 10 NHS trusts (regional administrative units) still have not required their hospitals, etc. to comply with training/education which prevents their practitioners from inserting NG feeding tubes into the lungs instead of the stomach!

These are ordinary standards of care which, if violated in this country, no hospital receiving any sort of government funding through medicare, etc. would be allowed to keep its doors open if they didn't have little things like bed rails and adequate training on NG tube insertion. And say, oh, safe administration of opioid painkillers.

But yeah, we want this sort of care in our country. right.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The New Population Bomb

David Bayly has a great post up today. It's something I've been watching for a couple of years. Some of you will remember reading an article by James Tarranto, originally available in the WSJ online edition and now available on his own website. The article was called, The Roe Effect and traced the demographic/voting effects of the SCOTUS decision, Roe v. Wade.

David Bayly highlights a related topic from an article in the current issue of the journal, Foreign Affairs, The New Population Bomb. (the full article is only available to subscribers)

Go over to Baylyblog and read David's post.

I wonder what Paul Ehrlich thinks?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Oh well, if it's only an "organization" . . .

I am frequently amazed at how often "lifelong" adherents of {insert denomination/religion here} utterly fail to understand their supposedly lifelong "faith". Whether one is a Baptist, A Roman Catholic or worships at the Fellowship of the One-eyed One-horned Flying Purple People-Eaters, it is a source of semi-constant amazement at how often one can successfully navigate through such a body without learning one true thing about the faith one supposedly holds.

In this case, Anne Hathaway and her family have left the Roman Catholic Church in a snit over the Church's view of homosexuality subsequent to her brother's coming out as gay. Diogenes is right to note that, "the Church's view of brother Thomas changed not a whit when he announced that he is homosexual". In the eyes of the Catholic church, as well as in the teaching of any orthodox Protestant denomination, Miss Hathaway's brother is no more and no less than any of us. He is simply a sinner in need of redemption as am I. And as are you, dear reader.

As Diogenes also correctly notes, it is not the Christian faith's view of her brother that is limited. True, repentant faith of the redeemed in Christ is liberating and freeing. It is the Hathaway family that has a limited view - consigning their brother, their son, to a life of bondage to sin.

It is no surprise, then, that they had joined TEC.

ht: Michael Liccione

Zoe, I take it back. Well, at least some of it.

I watched part of the Oprah show where she sent Lisa Ling inside a Dominican convent. I'd sworn off Oprah, but Margaret Cabaniss's post over at Inside Catholic and Brenda Steele's column at Catholic Advocate made me break my vow.

It went much better than I thought it would. Although I still think Oprah holds most genuine expressions of Christian faith in contempt (I've seen it too often to believe she's had a change of heart and it's one of the reasons I've sworn off her show), but she also seemed genuinely astonished at the peace and easy laughter of the Sisters of Mary. Too astonished to muster her usual responses.

I'll give her a "B" this time. Not an "A" because her reactions made it obvious she's never considered such things important enough to have even a passing familiarity with. And also because sex was such an overriding concern for Oprah - those poor women can never have sex! It was also interesting to note in the teaser blurbs that, "never have sex" and"never have children was separated by "never have a career" [as an aside, what does she think a vocation is?!]. She also seemed concerned, this woman with no children of her own body, that the sisters could never have children. I was so pleased to hear the sisters make the point that they *are* mothers, mothers of many spiritual children. That particularly touched my heart because I can never have children and a dear friend cautioned me some time ago, knowing that I couldn't have children of my own, to not die never having been a mother.

Lisa Ling, however, gets an "A-" for her reaction to the time she spent with them. I can only pray that something of the sisters' spirit will cause both she and Oprah to reconsider some of their past positions, such as their enthusiastic highlighting of the Indian womb rental business (which, by the way irritates me mightily because I can't believe I didn't blog on it, but if I did, I can't find it by any search term imaginable).

So, Zoe (for the rest of you, see my comments on the first link, to Margaret's blog post), I take back some of what I said about Oprah's contempt for genuine expressions of Christian faith.

Francis Schaeffer was right

Russian journalist calls for infanticide

I'm taking Wesley Smith's word for this, as I don't have the stomach to follow the links - and I suggest you take care if you do follow them.

It seems the journalist's "sin" was not in calling for infanticide, but in using, ahem, hateful language in doing so. If you are a Dutch doctor writing about your country's infanticide protocol in measured, technical language, you get published in the NEJM. If you are an ethicist, you get an endowed chair at Princeton.

And, while I'm at it, might I suggest you purchase a copy of Smith's book, A Rat is a Pig is a Dog is a Boy when it becomes available next week? Surprisingly (at least to me), the forward is by novelist Dean Koontz.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Sally Jenkins "gets" it

Yes, here it is. The inevitable Tim Tebow Super Bowl Ad post. You knew it was coming, it comes to every blog sooner or later. Some love it, some hate it and very few of those have even seen it. It's just the idea of the thing which gets people going.

Jenkins' article is full of wonderful mockery of the "Dwindling Organizations of Ladies in Lockstep" and "The National Organization of Women Who Only Think Like Us". Sarcastic titles aside, she points out simply and without fanfare that these women have shown themselves to be anything but pro-choice. As she notes they, "reveal something important about themselves: They aren't actually 'pro-choice' so much as they are pro-abortion."

Will the National Organization of Gals (NAGs) succeed in getting CBS to pull the ad? At this time, it looks like the ad will air as expected. But, never fear! If it does, Gloria Allred is one the case . . .

Jenkins' article is online at the Washington Post website to subscribers only.

Oh, so THAT'S how it works

When we have Canadia-style healthcare here, where will Canada's politicians go for their heart surgery?

What have we wrought?

The traditional number of parents is two, right? Turns out that *is* merely tradition. Heather McDonald, at NRO has an excellent piece on Reengineering the Family . I highly recommend you go over there and read the entire piece. Here are a few snippets:

"To the extent that a gay couple wants to retain the traditional number of parents in the home, it must exclude one biological parent from inclusion in the family unit."

"Infertile heterosexual couples unwilling to accept a biological limit in their lives spurred the ever-increasing array of gamete- and womb-swapping technologies that now includes sperm banks and complicated surrogacy arrangements."

And, the two money quotes:

"When a heterosexual couple or single woman (and occasional single man) makes use of someone else's sex organs, biology is severed from parental responsibility no less than when a homosexual couple engages in that process."

"The institutionalized severing of biology from parenthood affirms a growing trend in our society, that of men abandoning their biological children . . .The negative consequences of this family breakdown for children include higher rates of school failure and lack of socialization. Moreover, in a culture where men are not expected to raise their children, boys fail to learn the most basic lesson of personal responsibility and self-discipline."

Ms. MacDonald also refers to NYT writer, Adam Cohen's recent consideration of the possibility that these technologies will results in ever-multiplying genetic contributions resulting in what he terms, "fractional parents". It is important to note that Ms. McDonald does not appear to be a Christian.

What is astonishing is that the world is now noticing these connections while those in the church still try to deny them. In 1930 the Lambeth Conference became the first Christian ecclesial body to affirm the use of birth control as a good. Prior to this, we were all Catholics - no Christian denomination or body had affirmed the use of birth control as *anything* other than sinful.

In less than 100 years they have all caved and Rome stands alone on this, as a body. There are a few pastors who care enough for their flocks to preach and teach consistently on this, but not many. In fact, the last time I approached a pastor (who subsequently became president of an evangelical seminary) on this topic, his answer was to avoid an answer.