Culture

Cutting through the rhetoric...

As already noted, the Hobby Lobby decision isn't particularly landmark. It is here, for now, but will likely dissolve within a short time-frame. During the interim, we will have our eyes and ears abused with twisted narratives used to induce panic and anger; certainly not careful thought or reflection. The weightier the issues, the more sinfully stupid people think about and talk about topics. It is not merely painful to our ears and eyes, it is tragic.

One such issue that sticks out is how so many articles and "news" outlets are focusing on the fact Hobby Lobby isn't a real person...


"A profound relative lack..."

Under the subheading "Books," Google News has this headline:

Literature Still Urgently Needs More Non-White, Non-Male Heroes 

And here's their leadoff text: "As Vanessa Veselka wrote in The American Reader, there is a profound relative lack of female road narratives in the Western literary tradition. This absence hurt her..."

Whatever happened to...


Hipsters are conformist...

If you're a hipster into analogue, fixies, and vinyl, you'll love Clearnote Church, Bloomington. We use tip-up concrete to build, mothers to raise our children, chemical barrels for our acoustics, and we receive pastoral care from an elder who recently sold a third of his personal classical vinyl record collection to the Library of Congress—20,000 of his 60,000 records.

We're so hip we're on Bloomington's west side and young couples from our fellowship are whole-hog into rehabbing ranches from the sixties and split-levels from the fifties. People do raised bed, heirloom seeds, and a growing number of our cars have rebuilt titles. Oh yeah, and we also subscribe to the seventeenth century's Westminster Standards, which is to say, we're pretty sure we're unique. Pretty sure, although it turns out unique is the new Company Man...


The invisible graduates...

This article was written by Kate (Yoder '07) Bedinghaus and Heather (Bayly '98) Ummel for the most recent edition of the Taylor University magazine.

Fill in the blank: More Taylor grads work as ________________ than in any other vocation.

  • Teachers
  • Missionaries
  • Youth Pastors
  • Business Professionals

​Answer: It's a trick question. We didn't do a statistical survey, but we're willing to bet the answer is mothers.

As young women at Taylor, our minds were consumed with endless tests, friendships, wing events, and cute boys. There were deeper spiritual questions to ponder. There were decisions about the future to be made. These thoughts left little room for the seemingly faraway possibility of motherhood. The idea of children was filed away under "Someday," after mission work, world travel, and a rewarding career...


Visualize impeachment...

Last week an NPR pundit opined on the U.S. Supreme Court’s strategy to impose sodo-matrimony on the nation. Speaking of last summer’s decision to overturn only part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, the pundit explained the High Court “didn’t want to get too far out in front of the people.” This sort of cant is supposed to lull us into believing that We the People and our Injustices are headed in the same direction toward the Promised Land of sexual liberation and tolerance. In other words, the Injustices are in the vanguard as they appeal to the better angels of our nature to acquiesce in homosexual marriage. With gentle nudges, they’re only accelerating the transition from our budding, enlightened inclinations toward actions we would eventually take anyway.

In reality, for the last fifty years the Supreme Court has exercised a debasing cultural and spiritual influence on our nation. Any moral capital the Court won in outlawing segregation in 1954 was years ago forfeited as it rampaged through state law after state law after state law erected to protect the weak and innocent. Abortionists, murderers and rapists on death row, and pornographers have been frequent recipients of the Supreme Court’s solicitude and succor. Then as if that weren’t enough, in the 2003 decision Lawrence v. Texas, homosexuals were enshrined in the constitutional Pantheon. The Court has an insatiable appetite for strong delusion.

A more honest pundit would have said that...


Is Google illegally discriminating against religious organizations?

Under my recent post regarding the Google Apps user agreement for non-profits, a discussion was started about how Christians should respond to terms of service like the one mentioned in the post. Here's my attempt to restate the position of one commenter:

The best way to keep the interpretation of these regulations (and terms of service, clauses, etc) from becoming established in a way that does violence to our understanding of the words used in them is to agree to said regulations and then battle it out in court if the need arises. We all see how Google and others are trying to set precedents that we disagree with, and so we shouldn't simply accept their interpretations, but should instead fight them. So, in this case, Christians should agree to Google's terms of service and then be ready to fight it out if the matter ends up in court.

I hope that I have accurately stated the position of the commenter. Here's my response:

Let's start with the word "discriminate". This commenter stated that "discrimination involves a denial of someone's civil rights." I don't think that's right, and I don't think that's how Google understands the word, either. The word "discriminate" now carries a great deal of negative baggage...


Google's evil karma: user agreements...

Historically, Clearnote Church in Bloomington, Indiana has used Google Apps for email and calendars. It's basically Gmail and Google Calendar for businesses using their own domain name.

Google also gives 501(c)3 non-profit organizations access to Google Apps for free. You just have to submit some documentation regarding your 501(c)3 status. For quite a number of years, we have been using the free edition of Google Apps here at the church.

We continue to use Google Apps to this day. Recently, I needed to reapply for non-profit status with Google Apps. I was in the process of filing the necessary "paperwork" online when I ran into a snag...


"Then watch me choose Jesus..."

Again and again, I trust that the flock under my care gives their eyes and attention to Doug Wilson. For Christians in America, reading Doug is part of the hard work needed that will yield the Christian's ability to discern between good and evil.

Today he teaches us how the Apple Pie/Motherhood/Stars and Stripes patriotism of the past has had "Hate is not a family value" patched into its fabric, and thus has turned to hatred of Christians who refuse to bow their knee to sodomy.

Faithful Christians, that is—not the quivering silent and saltless ones. Doug writes:

Force me to choose between Jesus and America, and then watch me choose Jesus.

The problem with the spirituality of the church men today is that no one is able to watch them choose Jesus. In fact, within many Reformed circles it is now a principle that the man out there in public visibly choosing Jesus has failed to think properly about, and appreciate sufficiently, that American value commonly referred to as "separation of church... {C}


Poor oppressed Oprah...

Few people are more typical of our age than Oprah Winfrey—even down to her misspelled name (Ruth 1:4, 14).

Three things—yea four—leave no doubt concerning God giving our nation over to lies: TV wrestling, TV reality shows, TV preachers, and TV talk. If I want a dose of horror, I choose any one of the four and give it five minutes. My friend, David Wegener, has been known to say he'd rather a man watch pornography than Trinity Broadcasting Network. I agree.

And I'd rather a woman read five romance novels than listen to Oprah for five minutes.

Speaking of Oprah, she's accusing the Swiss of racism because some clerk in some Walmart (or maybe it was an Aldi or T. J. Max) declined to show her a $38,000 purse, telling her it was "too expensive."

Now why would any sane person be...

Tags: 

Making suits from Adamantium...

A common refrain lobbed from R2K adherents is a "lack of consistency" on the part of those holding to the historic Two Kingdoms doctrine. If you think God has called you to call sodomites and baby-killers to repentance, why not call on civil government to enforce the worship of the Trinity and punish Sabbath breakers?

At the heart of this complaint is R2Ker's notion of the "spirituality" of the church. What is the spirituality of the church?

Good question. On its face, the term lends itself to being so vague as to be nearly useless. Calvin and others following him use this term much different than R2K men. Hisorically, it wasn't a paradigm.

But R2K has co-opted the term and R2K men are all over the board as to its meaning...


Cannibalism in Jamestown...

If anyone had an question concerning the work before us as Christians in our evil generation, here's a story by CBS on the confirmation of cannibalism within the Jamestown Settlement during the terrible drought (worst in 800 years) of 1609-1610. Giving the details of the discovery of a 14-year old's body providing evidence she was cannibalized, CBS reported Smithsonian forensic anthropologist Douglas Owsley responded to the discovery with this idiocy:

"There was a cultural stigma against killing someone for food, Owsley said."

Had they been present at the time, one finds oneself wondering if R2K men would think this a matter upon which the Anglican priest ought to have held his peace?

I'm reminded of a review that appeared years ago in the New York Times Book Review in which a Harvard philosopher did a write-up on a Kentucky philosopher's book defending infanticide...


Selling rebellion to church planters...

Apple "Think Different" logoI just got a special invitation to hang out a Google+ Hangout with another church planter named Vince Antonucci. The same email was also pushing a book that Vince just wrote:

Vince has started two churches, most recently Verve in Las Vegas.  He just released his third book, Renegade: Your Faith Isn’t Meant to be Safe, which challenges you to live radically. to live the life of a renegade - a person who rejects conventional behavior, who refuses to do what others are doing, and who realizes there’s a different beat they can dance to—and it’s better.

What is going on here? I'll never forget watching "Merchants of Cool," the PBS special on how marketers try to make you feel unique and special by...


What is God (part 1); Playing dress up...

God is a Spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable, in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth. WSC Q4 (emphasis mine)

That's how the Shorter Catechism answers "What is God?" The Westminster Confession has more to say but the focus is the same: a description of what amounts to "attributes" concluding with the Western formulation of the Trinity. None of these descriptions are wrong. I affirm them wholeheartedly. But should we start with attributes?

What are we describing when we begin with the "attributes of God"? Let me rephrase that: Who are we describing? 

At first it's difficult to answer the question. If "what" is in view, we're probably describing God's "essence", His "substance" or "nature." It's of no small consequence that the possessive "his" or "God's" precedes this "what." But even so, we're left with "Who?"

Detectives do their best to determine whose body they've found before turning it over to the coroner for an autopsy. But here we are, giddy as we pick apart the parts of God long before we've stopped to consider Who God is...


One possible witness against thought-crime legislation...

If a friend were living in a state where thought-crime legislation outlawing reparative therapy were being proposed by sodomites and their enemies and he wrote asking me for suggestions concerning what he might say testifying against that legislation, I might suggest he say something like this:

* * *

As a Christian speaking to many who profess Christian faith, this bill makes a mockery out of a statement in God's Word that says, "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new" (2Corinthians 5:17).

Through the years in cities like Madison, Boulder, San Diego, Boston, and now Bloomington, Indiana, I have worshipped among a number of brothers and sisters in Christ who were repenting of homosexual immorality, and I have watched the Holy Spirit give them new lives in Jesus Christ. The very center of all things becoming new for each of them was being restored to their natural sexual identity--men learned to be men and women to be women.

Under the guise of civil rights, we must not oppress those committed to repenting of sodomy and lesbianism, nor those faithful ones who stand with them as they give themselves to the hard work of repentance. We must not oppress those serving them with psychological and spiritual therapy that assists in their new birth in Jesus Christ.

The Apostle Paul assisted gay men and lesbians' repentance back in the sexual decadence of the Ancient World's Roman Empire and the Roman Senate did not pass legislation outlawing the ministries of the New Testament Church. Thus the Apostle Paul wrote...


Would Jesus fight a legal battle against [bestiality, incest, and pedophilia]...

Over at one of those "let's have an enlightened discussion showing how progressive we are" web sites, InterVarsity Press author Andrew Marin is brought in to address the question asked above as the title of this blog post, except that the words in brackets were "Same-Sex Marriage" in the original. Trying to figure out how to bring shame back to the discussion of sexual perversions, it occurred to me that I could make a few changes to the words Mr. Marin wrote and thus bring immense clarity to an otherwise exceedingly murky discussion. So, read ahead understanding that this is precisely what Mr. Marin wrote, except that the sexual perversions of bestiality, incest, and child molestation are substituted for Mr. Marin's perversion-of-choice, sodomy.

Each word changed to clarify Mr. Marin's argument is underlined. You may go here to see his original (unchanged) words. Yes, the blasphemous nature of the entire project becomes clear when you read the text below. But it was equally blasphemous before I made any changes, and that's my point. (Other than underlining, all emphases are in the original.)

So again, the words that are underlined are NOT what Mr. Marin wrote. They are words I've substituted for his original words to show the blasphemy of Mr. Marin's original words you can read here.

* * *

I appreciate the opportunity to contribute to this series because I am neither a philosopher like (John Doe) nor a legal expert like (Jane Doe). I am a practitioner through my work with the Society for the Promotion of Sex with Children and Animals (SPSCA). My daily experiences are intentionally spent in and among the tremendously painful juxtapositions of the philosophical, legal and existential battles that inhabit the spaces of the Bestiality, Incest, and Child Molestation (BICM)  and conservative disconnect. I am a bridge-builder — some have called me a translator — between these two communities to facilitate a new medium of engagement beyond the currently accepted way in which “the fight” is conducted from both ends of the spectrum.

My experience is housed within the global community through local churches and Bestiality, Incest, and Child Molestation communities, higher education institutions and government agencies. My relationship with these outlets have provided a clear perspective...


Announcing ClearnoteSongbook.com...

Clearnote SongbookTo reform the Church is to reform her worship.

Everything about our worship indicates our reverence, zeal, and love toward the Triune God; or alternately, our flippancy and indifference. Hearts aflame for God cry out for men to preach the Word, read Scripture, pray, and sing Psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with zeal. Sadly, though, worship today is aimed at the mind or the heart. It's intellect or passion--never both. When there is zeal, it's rarely "in accordance with knowledge." And those claiming knowledge make a principle out of their absence of zeal.

Five hundred years ago, John Calvin worked to reform every part of the Church's worship. We must give ourselves to this same work today.

That's why I'm very thankful to announce ClearnoteSongbook.com. The men behind the Songbook--Jody Killingsworth, Philip Moyer, and the Good Shepherd Band, along with Ben Crum, Joseph Bayly, and Lucas Weeks--have put together a site that is a call to reform our worship. The Clearnote Songbook is jam-packed with goodies to help in that work...


"A louse versus a flea..."

This from Hitchens the Younger (which is to say Hitchens the Wise). Peter writes about our recent presidential election and hits the right note throughout--from titling the piece "A Louse Versus a Flea," to labeling the White House, Capitol, and Supreme Court "those lovely white sepulchres of hope," to this conclusion:

For a proper conservative, American national politics is a desert. You can choose between declared liberals and neo-conservatives who are liberal on all important issues. And that’s it. Or there’s dear old Ron Paul, who is another sort of liberal, really. But he’s not important anyway. There’s nobody who is really socially conservative...

What absolutely amazes me about this election is the way that leftish commentators try to build up Mitt Romney as some kind of conservative monster. If only he were. But his own record shows otherwise (and I might add, his running mate, whose name I can never remember, is a keen student of Miss Ayn Rand, another liberal). (T)he "Romney is a raging conservative" claim must be an effort to make a dull contest between two mediocrities, for an over-rated office that isn’t really all that powerful, appear more interesting than it is.

I shan’t be waiting up for the results. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

(Thanks to Eric)


Lance Armstrong's disgrace...

Since the earlier Baylyblog post on Lance Armstrong, the sky has been falling on the man and we don't yet seem to be near the end of the obluquy pouring down on him. Here's an excellent article on doping in sports and Armstrong's disgrace. The article ends...


To our dear readers...

This post is deleted on the advice of my better half. She's wise. 


Shaaame, what you need you have to borrow...

Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing shameless deeds and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. (Romans 1:24-27)

Shame is a gift from God with a mission-critical function within His creation. For immoralities to increase in a culture, shame must be repudiated. Today there's precious little left.

Back in 1950, the pagan anthropologist, Margaret Mead, saw it all coming when the pagan zoologist, Alfred Kinsey, released his Kinsey Report. Mead condemned Kinsey's number-crunching approach to human intimacy, pointing out that all the talk about sexual perversion would lead to shamelessness:

In every society sex patterns depend on a careful and meticulous balance between ignorance and knowledge, sophistication and naïveté. (The Kinsey Report) has upset the balance …between the things we don’t mention, and the things we do. And it may be expected to have considerable effect in our society for that reason. Quite a good deal of our virtue has depended upon people not knowing what other people were doing (in their bedrooms).

In the past, it was said, “It is better to marry than to burn.” Now we translate, “It is better to have an outlet of some sort, because you’ve got to have an outlet of some sort.” …so it’s just a question of which outlet and (this) suggests no way of choosing between a woman and a sheep.

Sixty years on, the most basic distinctions God gave us in the Garden of Eden prior to the Fall we call "male" and "female" are being obliterated by postmoderns. This precious diversity is being destroyed before our eyes.

Meanwhile, environmentalists yawn...