November 22, 2017

The IM Saturday Brunch: Sept. 2, 2017 — Labor Day Weekend Edition

THE INTERNET MONK SATURDAY BRUNCH

”It is talk-compelling. It puts you in a good temper, it makes you satisfied with yourself and your fellow beings, it sweeps away the worries and cobwebs of the week.”

The Mercer clan will be camping out on the family farm once more this Labor Day weekend. The weather this year will be autumnal and unseasonably cool, so I don’t know if the kids will be swimming in the pond or just fishing. But this weekend is one to which I look forward all year, and I hope we’ll all get a bit refreshed. It’s also the weekend of the Fulton County Fair, so we’ll be fair walking and enjoying one of the great American traditions.

Wherever you may find yourself, and in whatever circumstances, I hope you’ll have a good weekend as we honor the working men and women of this country who help us enjoy the abundant life we have each and every day. There has been a lot of angst, anger, and anxiety about the U.S. economy and its workers over the past couple of years, but we still enjoy an astoundingly high standard of living and have much for which to be grateful.

• • •

The American Working Conditions Survey

The American Working Conditions Survey (AWCS), was done in 2015 by the Rand Corporation. The AWCS is a survey of individuals designed to collect detailed information on a broad range of working conditions in the American workplace. This report presents detailed findings about the prevalence and distribution of working conditions across the American workforce by age, gender, and education. Here is an overview of its key findings.

Here is the Rand Corp.’s summary of these findings:

The AWCS findings indicate that the American workplace is very physically and emotionally taxing, both for workers themselves and their families. Most Americans (two-thirds) frequently work at high speeds or under tight deadlines, and one in four perceives that they have too little time to do their job. More than one-half of Americans report exposure to unpleasant and potentially hazardous working conditions, and nearly one in five American workers are exposed to a hostile or threatening social environment at work. Positive findings include that workers appear to have a certain degree of autonomy, most feel confident about their skill set, and many receive social support on the job. Four out of five American workers report that their job met at least one definition of “meaningful” always or most of the time.

• • •

Just trying to do her work, officer…

This Salt Lake City nurse found out that doing your job isn’t always easy or appreciated. She explained to a police officer who is trained to do blood draws on suspects that hospital policy forbade him from doing so if the patient is unconscious. He didn’t accept it, and ended up creating the following scene. You can read the full story HERE.

• • •

Working in the Aftermath of Harvey

As we meet for brunch today, let’s especially remember those who have been working tirelessly to help folks in the flood-ravaged communities in Texas, Louisiana and other places affected by Hurricane Harvey.

Photos from The Atlantic

• • •

Prayer for those affected by Hurricane Harvey
Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston

May God, the Lord of mercy and compassion, protect all who are still in danger, and bring to safety those who are missing.

May He care in a special way for those who were already homeless, or without support and resources, before this disaster.

We pray in thanksgiving for the first responders who are risking their lives to save others at this very moment.

We include in our intentions the everyday heroes reaching out to help their neighbors in need, those who,
like the Good Samaritan, cannot walk by a person in need without offering their hand in aid.

• • •

Joel Osteen Criticized, Defended

A great deal of attention, most of it negative, was focused on Houston megachurch, prosperity-gospel pastor and television preacher Joel Osteen this week. Huffington Post reports some of the brutal memes that appeared on social media when the perception was that Osteen’s Lakewood Church would not open their massive doors to shelter refugees from the hurricane. Fair or not, as HP says, Joel Osteen became the “poster boy for how not to act in a crisis,” as well as a target for critics of Christian preachers, especially wealthy ones.

Others, such as the Dallas Morning News, have said, “Wait a minute, not so fast.”

Southeast Texas is drowning under the weight of Harvey, yet people nationwide —particularly those outside the state — have settled on making Osteen the villain.

After the pastor’s staff announced on social media Monday that his massive Lakewood Church, formerly an arena used by the Houston Rockets, was “inaccessible due to severe flooding,” the flame-throwing began: Megachurch pastor with great hair and giant bank account hating on poor people.

Lakewood Church has since announced that it’s serving as a distribution center and preparing to take in evacuees. And it’s worth noting that the initial church post, which so fired up the Internet, included helpful information regarding shelters and emergency help.

We aren’t writing in defense of Osteen. Insufficient facts are available to responsibly assess whether or not his church was slow to open its doors to those in need.

But the backlash is an excellent example of what too often happens in the midst of crisis these days: The chance to fire off pre-written narratives without pausing for any evidence.

• • •

A Poem for the End of Summer

A white, indifferent morning sky,
and a crow, hectoring from its nest
high in the hemlock, a nest as big
as a laundry basket …

In my childhood
I stood under a dripping oak,
while autumnal fog eddied around my feet,
waiting for the school bus
with a dread that took my breath away.

The damp dirt road gave off
this same complex organic scent.

I had the new books—words, numbers,
and operations with numbers I did not
comprehend—and crayons, unspoiled
by use, in a blue canvas satchel
with red leather straps.

Spruce, inadequate, and alien
I stood at the side of the road.
It was the only life I had.

From “Three Songs at the End of Summer” (Jane Kenyon)

• • •

The Nashville Statement

“The Nashville Statement is an urgently needed moment of gospel clarity. In a culture nearly defined by sexual confusion and brokenness, the church of Jesus Christ has to proclaim with one voice that God’s good design for gender, marriage, and sexuality. To capitulate to the spirit of the age or wring our hands in outrage at those around us would be to abandon our mission field. The Sexual Revolution cannot keep its promises, and the church must stand ready to receive with compassion the many who are in need of a better hope. The Nashville Statement is part of that mission, and my prayer is that it will help anchor churches and Christians to the gospel of Jesus Christ for years to come.”

Russell Moore
President, Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission

The Tennessean reports:

A national coalition of more than 150 evangelical leaders signed a new statement affirming their beliefs on human sexuality, including that marriage is between one man and one woman and approval of “homosexual immorality” is sinful.

The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood released the list of 14 beliefs, referred to as the Nashville Statement, on Tuesday morning. The statement says the evangelical coalition who signed it are responding to an increasingly post-Christian, Western culture that thinks they can change God’s design for humans.

“Our true identity, as male and female persons, is given by God. It is not only foolish, but hopeless, to try to make ourselves what God did not create us to be,” the statement reads.

The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood convened a meeting of evangelical leaders, pastors and scholars on Friday at the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission’s annual conference in Nashville. The coalition discussed and endorsed the Nashville Statement.

John Piper, the co-founder of The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, called the Nashville Statement, in a news release, a “Christian manifesto” on human sexuality.

“It speaks with forthright clarity, biblical conviction, gospel compassion, cultural relevance, and practical helpfulness,” Piper said. “It will prove to be, I believe, enormously helpful for thousands of pastors and leaders hoping to give wise, biblical, and gracious guidance to their people.”

Of course, people broke into predictable camps when responding to this statement. You can see Russell Moore’s endorsement above — he was one of many listed on the CBMW site affirming the statement, all of them from the Neo-Reformed end of the Christian spectrum, and all but one of them male. On the other side, you have folks like Rachel Held Evans, Daniel Kirk, and Morgan Guyton, who have signed the statement on LGBT+ inclusion in the church by Christians United. In a Huffington Post article, one of its representatives responded to the Nashville Statement with these words:

It’s high time Christians heard from a different moral authority on queer identity, said Brandan Robertson, a pastor and LGBTQ activist who drafted the “Christians United.”

“Conservative evangelicals often get the most air time, polluting the image of Christianity as one that is exclusive, condemning, and archaic,” Robertson told HuffPost. “The reality is that there is a rapidly growing wave of Christians around the world that embrace an inclusive, unifying, healing message, and that’s what I had hoped to portray in this statement.”

Nadia Bolz-Weber, in response, posted “The Denver Statement.” And John Pavlovitch even offered his own “plain language translation” of the Nashville Statement, suggesting that the CBNW piece and its timing reveals the fear and tone-deaf nature of those who drafted it.

Finally, HERE is a summary of 15 reactions for and against the Nashville Statement.

• • •

A Collect for Vocation in Daily Work
Book of Common Prayer

Almighty God our heavenly Father, who declarest thy glory
and showest forth thy handiwork in the heavens and in the
earth: Deliver us, we beseech thee, in our various occupations
from the service of self alone, that we may do the work
which thou givest us to do in truth and beauty and for the
common good; for the sake of him who came among us as
one that serveth, thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth
and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever
and ever. Amen.

• • •

Finally… “I thank God for the work”

Comments

  1. so what
    if the moon’s not really full–
    it is in my mind

    • senecagriggs says:

      The Nashville Statement re-affirmed the church’s belief on sexuality for the last 2,000 years. This will always be offensive to the surrounding culture.
      The villages of Sodom and Gomorrah would have hated it. [ no snark intended ]

      • The Catholic condemnation of Galileo re-affirmed the church’s belief on astronomy for the last 1000 years.

        The Southern practice of slavery re-affirmed the church’s belief on the ethics of slavery for the past 200 years.

        Those colossal blunders were based on the same exact hermeneutic that you’re using now.

        The Church can, and has, changed her mind before. What about you?

        • Richard Hershberger says:

          senecagriggs is Protestant, isn’t he? Now that I think of it, I’m not sure. In any case, I remember fondly the first time I heard a Lutheran–a Super Lutheran! at that–make this argument explicitly on the basis of tradition. It was quite startling the first time. Now I have seen it often enough that it is shocking, but not surprising.

        • Adam Tauno Williams says:

          > The Church can, and has, changed her mind before.

          True or not, that doesn’t address what is the PURPOSE of these Declarations? I am dreadfully orthodox/traditional in my concepts of sexual morality – yet I do not feel compelled to make a Declaration. It doesn’t really angst me much that people disagree with me; because my moral beliefs are principally about what *I* do – or not, as we I suspect all fail to uphold even our own professed statutes.

          These Declarations aren’t about The Church.

          They are about Evangelicalism, and the purpose is to fulfill Evangelicalism obsession with border-drawing. See Article#10 which redefines one position on sexual morality or concept of gender as an **”ESSENTIAL”** part of the “Christian faithfulness”. The purpose is to make it a clear border for Evangelicalism – this issue defines WHO IS IN AND WHO IS OUT. This is to put everyone who claims “Evangelical” on notice, if you aren’t behind the Nashville Statement, then you are OUT.

          In that sense this is actually a great document; it may compel more people to realize they are NOT Evangelicals. That’s part of what border drawing does.

          Article#10, is, IMNSHO the entire actual point of the Nashville Statement. This defines not the ‘sin’ as the break with “Christian faithfulness” but the mere failure to call it out as such. If you are not with them you are not a faithful [Evangelical] Christian. No room for a ‘big tent’ on that island.

          • It’s all about personal and corporate purity. Jesus went out to those in need, broke ritual and purity laws where they got in the way of directly interacting with people, but this statement is written from the mentality that draws up the bridges during the plague, and tries to keep all the infected on the other side of the battlements.

          • It is the religious cult mentality.

          • “These Declarations aren’t about The Church. They are about Evangelicalism”

            They’re the same thing in their minds.

            • Evangelicalism = The Church, and The Church = The Bride of Christ.

              And attacking the Bride of Christ is the same as attacking Christ.

              So they’re protecting Christ. All very logical and biblical in their minds.

          • This is a good analysis Adam. Evangelical Protestants have the weakness of no formal authority to draw the lines like other Traditions and as a result they need to put together documents like this from time to time to resolve confusion. I don’t really understand the outrage as this statement says nothing new. I would add that the Progressive Evangelicals are acting at least as self righteous in their condemnations and their claim that if you don’t adopt their theological innovations fully and completely that you somehow fail to love those struggling with same sex attractions and gender identity issues.

            • So was Jesus being “self-righteous” when He condemned the Pharisees?

            • senecagriggs says:

              Quoting Ben Shapiro

              “Did I miss the part of the #NashvilleStatement where any serious Christian doctrine changed in the slightest?”

              I think your insight is correct Josh.

              • I think much of the criticism here is the result of the posturing and self-importance exhibited in the document, and the positive public commentary about it. As you know, we differ regarding the theological rectitude of things like non-heterosexual marriage. Does my disagreement with you on this matter mean that you don’t consider me a Christian? In that case, we have nothing to talk about, I guess. But if it doesn’t mean that, then I think we can agree that Christians of every theological tendency should get over themselves. As far as I’m concerned, that advice would include the authors and signatories of the Nashville Statement.

                • Adam Tauno Williams says:

                  This document clarifies it – No, you are out of fellowship if you disagree, or even are uncertain. At least it is clear.

                  • So, if seneca accepts this statement in its totality, he cannot consider the two of us brothers in the faith. If he does consider us brethren, then he also is no longer in fellowship with the document’s writers and those who accept it, having been made guilty by association with me.

                    Well, seneca, what will it be? Brothers in the faith, or only friends?

                  • Article 10 of the Nashville Statement:

                    WE AFFIRM that it is sinful to approve of homosexual immorality or transgenderism and that such approval constitutes an essential departure from Christian faithfulness and witness.

                    WE DENY that the approval of homosexual immorality or transgenderism is a matter of moral indifference about which otherwise faithful Christians should agree to disagree.

                    This elevates our view of sexuality to the level of essential doctrine–even for those who are heterosexual and faithful in marriage, or celibate.

                    According to Denny Burk of CBMW, most of the push-back from the Statement has been related to Article 10. Burk says, “Evangelicals who have been drifting away from biblical fidelity on these issues have often been running under the cover of confusion—confusion about what is essential and what is not essential to the Christian faith.”

                    https://cbmw.org/the-nashville-statement/why-the-nashville-statement-now-and-what-about-article-10/

                • Robert, I don’t think what they are saying in article ten is that you are not a Christian, but that if you disagree on this subject they wouldn’t able to participate in a church with you. In other words, to them, saying you are not a Christian is the same as saying you are going to hell, and I don’t think that is what they are saying here. But if you are in disagreement on this issue, they don’t see how you could participate in church together. They can’t agree to disagree and go on doing ministry together, just like people have done the same concerning the mode of baptism or the meaning of the Lord’s Supper, or even women’s ordination.

                  • It’s that whole tribalism thing again, which I’m pretty sure Jesus can’t stand.

                  • I’m pretty sure 1 Corinthians 5 is a justification for this point of view—not simply the part about the man sleeping with his father’s wife, but about Christians who approve, or say nothing when another Christian misbehaves. Those outside the church, according to Paul, are outside our discipline.

                    I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister[c] but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.” —1 Corinthians 5:11)

                    But ask Julie Anne over at Spiritual Sounding Board about that. According to her blog, some of the signatories of the Nashville Statement have in fact been complicit in cases of sexual abuse.

            • Adam Tauno Williams says:

              Spot on.

              > they need to put together documents like this
              > from time to time to resolve confusion.

              Exactly. All anti-institutinalism does is create dysfunctional institutions.

              As for “Progressive Evangelicals” … Oh, boy. Expecting anything sensible from them is misguided. They make about as sense as an Athiest Catholic. In a decade or so they will have shed the Obsolete and dewilderibg association.

              • Just out of curiosity… how would you differentiate us and “progressive evangelicals”? 😉

                • At least three ways to define “Evangelical”; sociologically, culturally, soteriologically. IMO, the first 2 flow out of the soteriological and the defining systematic perspective is Penal Substitutionary Atonement.

                  I am not an Evangelical.

          • MelissatheRagamuffin says:

            Slavery was condemned by the Church fathers. I could post a homily from Gregory of Nyssa condemning it in 325. It was also condemned by Gregory the Great and Basil the great. Just to name a few. Even Paul – while he appeared to tolerate it – he still commanded Philemon to treat Odissimus (sp?) as a brother in Christ – hard to justify owning a brother. But, I guess some people did it. The Divine Liturgy itself prays for captives.

            However, the church fathers all upheld what we now think of as “traditional sexual morality.” The Didache up holds it, St Polycarp in his letters, St Justin Martyr, St John Cryssostom, I think St Ignatius addresses it in his letters as well. St Clemment of Alexandria. St Iraneus did. St Athanasius dedicates almost a whole chapter to it in On The Incarnation. The list goes on and on. It also tells us that there have always been people hanging around on fringes of The Church whining about why the Church wouldn’t give in on this issue, or the Fathers wouldn’t have felt compelled to address it over and over and over again.

            As for slavery in the US – the fact that Protestants cut themselves off from the history of the church and the wisdom of the councils and thus fell into heresy – kind of to be expected, don’t ya think?

            I don’t really see this statement and the Evangelicals need to make them as really all that different from the Councils of the early church. Just because our churches (Catholic and Orthodox) did it over 1000 years ago, doesn’t mean we didn’t do it.

            • As for slavery in the US – the fact that Protestants cut themselves off from the history of the church and the wisdom of the councils and thus fell into heresy – kind of to be expected, don’t ya think?

              There was European-instituted slavery throughout Latin America, too, where Roman Catholicism was the prevailing colonial religion. You can’t be Protestant isolation from church history and wise councils at fault for that.

            • The Church Fathers also held to the (very closely related) view that women are relationally and ontologically subordinate to men. VERY. Closely. Related. Hard to ditch one and keep the other…

              • Nope. Some thought women were meant to be subordinate in marriage, but **not** on the basis of ontology – rather on the basis of what Paul writes in Eph 5, as a point of order in the family, reflecting the sociology of the time. I haven’t found anything in my reading of the Greek Fathers to suggest an ontologically-supported view of women as somehow less human than men. Females are seen as every bit as human as males, full stop. EO honors many women as saints who were not married and not monastics. Some were responsible for the Christianization of whole people-groups; they didn’t need “male covering.” Even Chrysostom was not anti-woman (nor was he anti-Semitic); he has to be read in his context, like we have come to insist about every other author.

                Please believe me, Eeyore, that this was THE make-or-break issue for me as I was investigating Orthodoxy, after having been “in-country” among complementarians for so long, and for a few years believing that interpretation myself. I looked long and hard for any whiff of official teaching that women are less human than men; if I had found it, I would have ended up looking longingly at Orthodoxy from afar, but would not have sought reception into the Church. I truly don’t know what I would have done to remain a Christian in a worshiping community. It was that big a deal for me. (The RCC also holds this high view of women, but I couldn’t go there or anywhere else in the west because of the view of God being bound by his very nature to condemn us – common to all western Christian teaching, but not a feature of EO).

                Yes, there are some in the “old countries” who are confused about this. But it’s not because of Orthodox teaching; it is because of ignorance of it and/or fidelity to a cultural standard more than to the love and humility EO enjoins of Christians. And before you think about condemning “those people”, pay close attention to some things in our culture that indicate to me the continued non-religious subordination of women, even while on the law books women have achieved some parity: overt display of female sexuality in advertising (sex still sells); the costuming of women in video games and superhero movies; the abandoning of women and children, within and outside of marriage (but mostly outside) without any consequences (yes, I know women abandon children too, but this still happens more with men); continued male-on-female domestic violence and other abuse; refusal to care for poor women and children, the majority of the poor in our country; continued disparity in pay rates between men and women who are employed; continuing to assign certain traits to males and others to females, reflected in marketing tactics (The last time I was in a big box store looking for baby clothes for a gift, the only colors available were pink and blue…), fashion, and other cultural expressions. Do you think that police officer would have arrested a male nurse or doctor? Well, maybe… This is all alongside the tendency in many non-liturgical Protestant churches to make what the NS affirms to be a matter of “the gospel” – a lot of us here at IM are familiar with the brain-bending doctrinal rationale of even sincerely Jesus- (and spouse-) loving complementarians. To me, the religious and the non-religious subordination of women are two sides of the same cultural coin.

                I’m VERY sensitive about this topic. I’m not that familiar with the Latin Fathers – but, nope, don’t blame the Greek Fathers.

                And for the record, I do believe that there are differences between men and women, that biologic difference is important and is an icon of Christ’s relationship to the Church, and the union of the Created with the Uncreated most clearly seen in the Incarnation (yes – it *is* all about Jesus), and that non-biologic traits are irreducible and not to be generalized, and are expressed by each unique person in the combination and strength specific to that person.

                Dana

                • Well my 2 cents which won’t buy a good piece of bubble gum anymore is God creations got better with each one and woman was the last. Created from man it just might have been the best part of man. When he might have said metaphorically no we aren’t eating that fruit and then became a bus driver he blew it. Now My thoughts are we need each other to be one and every time I see a 1 year old my heart still melts. Nice expressions Dana..

            • The early/middle Church Fathers (and Mothers) didn’t speak in terms of homosexuality as we understand it, rather in terms of pederasty and the use of penetration as power dominance.

              The Nashville manifesto is not congruent with the Great Tradition, rather, it is a perspective based on a misleading translation/interpretation of a couple of specific Koine words.

              • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

                The early/middle Church Fathers (and Mothers) didn’t speak in terms of homosexuality as we understand it, rather in terms of pederasty and the use of penetration as power dominance.

                The same dynamic as a prison rape:
                One ANIMAL forcing Dominance on another.

                Some years ago, radio talk-show host Dennis Prager got a firestorm for an online essay of his: “Why Judaism Rejected Homosexuality”, regarding the strong taboo in Leviticus.

                His thesis was that before Torah, sex was not between male-and-female, but between Penetrator and Penetrated. (Again, ANIMAL Forced Dominance – Penetrator Wins, Penetrated Loses.) And that the taboo in Leviticus was “subversive wisdom” to force sex away from that Forced Dominance, opening up the eventual possibility of reciprocation and equality and a mutual Win-Win situation. However, going for that end game when Penetrator/Penetrated was normal would have been Crazy Talk. Especially in a warrior tribal culture of Manly-Man Warrior Comradeship & Bromance.

                1) This echoes the thesis I get from Thomas Cahill’s The Gift of the Jews, where Torah was meant to Uplift humans from animals to people “made in the Image of God”.
                2) Or some observations in a Gene Edward Veith book (whose title I can’t remember) on literature, when he mentions Torah’s prohibition on graven images and emphasis on the Word had the effect of forcing the development of abstract thought instead of simple “monkey see, monkey do” stimulus-response.
                3) Or a theme in some SF and Furry fiction focusing on the difference between animal and people and Uplifting one into the other.
                4) And the Comps are going back to Penetrator-and-Penetrated, defining “Woman = Penetrated”. Which also explains the rabid Homophobia and Homopathy you find among them. Homosex means some Penetrator has to become the Penetrated, i.e. that some Stronger Meaner More Manly-Man could use them as they use a Woman (and a lot of the most vocal comps are physical weaklings who could easily be overpowered and penetrated by a larger stronger man…)

                • Well HUG it never was about stronger weaker for me, it was about love and souls entwined in an intimacy that isn’t on physical levels. Unfortunately to much of your above comment is true and even at times my struggle. I have experienced my soul becoming one and it is 1000 times better then lust of the flesh.

                  • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

                    If you can only think in terms of Win/Lose Power Struggle, it WILL be about Stronger/Weaker. I figure that’s the underlying dynamic.

                    Some years ago, a Jewish SF fan told me about “Subversive Wisdom” of Torah. His examples were Honor Killings and Slavery — both Normal for Bronze Age Semitic Tribal Culture of the time. If Torah flat-out forbade them, the people would just blow it off as Crazy Talk and do it anyway; if Torah let it slide, what’s the diff? So Torah got sneaky, regulating them in such a way as to make them impractical.

                    Honor Killings are permitted, but the Dishonored MUST get permission in Public from the “Elders at the Gate” (i.e. the Authorities). Since the point of an Honor Killing is to hush up the Dishonor (“If no one knows of my Sin, I Am Not Shamed” + “Dead Jezeblels Tell No Tales”), having to seek and get permission in public defeats the entire purpose.

                    Slavery was so regulated — terms, Jubilee years, treatment — that it would be less hassle to just hire free workers for most functions. (However, slaveowners went for loophole after loophole in the regulations, a practice which got flamed by a LOT of the Prophets.)

      • I’m sure they would have.

        Ezekiel 16:48-50

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          48 As I live, saith the Lord God, Sodom thy sister hath not done, she nor her daughters, as thou hast done, thou and thy daughters.

          49 Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.

          50 And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me: therefore I took them away as I saw good.

          Not a word about homosexuality (or rather SERIOUSLY violating Hospitality by gang-raping strangers who’d been given Guest Right in Lot’s house). Which might have been only a symptom of a deeper root cause listed by Ezekiel.

      • Really??

      • I’m highly suspicious of the statement. It’s saying nothing new and just seems like a way for the signers to pat themselves on the back and be holier than thou. I noted on Scot McKnight’s blog that like much of evangelical culture, this seems to be a thinly disguised attemp to market the Reformed books, blogs, snd conferences. On a spiritual level, the statement serves to divide Christisns and distract them from the real work of Christ: loving God, loving their neighbor, telling others about Christ, feeding the poor, saving people from the flood, etc. Let the Holy Spirit worry about people’s sexual preference; deal instead with what Christ told us to deal with.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          I’m highly suspicious of the statement. It’s saying nothing new and just seems like a way for the signers to pat themselves on the back and be holier than thou.

          SEEMS?
          A lot of these guys “live and move and have their being” in “I THANK THEE, LOOOOOOORD, THAT I AM NOTHING LIKE…” spiritual one-upmanship.

      • Burro [Mule] says:

        I don’t care for either the Nashville Declaration or the reaction against it. If you’re going to make Christianity about sin management, you’re going to have to go one of two ways; 1) Pretend you don’t sin or 2) Move the goalposts so everybody makes a touchdown. Note that the two approaches are not mutually exclusive.

        Everything the Nashville Bozos say is true. Not true in “I, Mule, happen to believe it’s true”, but true like bouyancy and gravity. What is missing is an admission of our common f*cked-upness that sounds heart-felt and genuine, and a call for common repentance, faith, and ascetic struggle.

        • –> “What is missing is an admission of our common f*cked-upness that sounds heart-felt and genuine, and a call for common repentance, faith, and ascetic struggle.”

          That’s the ONLY thing the Nashville Declaration should’ve been about. I was thinking about this earlier today and saw a bit of the gap being between the declaration “As for me and my household, we will worship the Lord” and “As for me and my household, we will worship the sanctity of marriage.”

          Jesus didn’t die on the cross for me (or other Christians) to declare a stance on sanctity of marriage, He did it so I could live again and proclaim the Good News of that. I won’t stand up and declare anything else.

          This is where these Evangelical mouthpieces drop the ball, in my opinion. Declare and Proclaim the Good News, nothing else.

        • So human sexuality is as delineated as the laws of physics? Really? :-/

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          If I remember right, surviving Journals from Massachusetts Puritans are all dominated by Sin Management and navel-gazing Sin Sniffing. These Neo-Puritans have just retargeted on all the Heathen and Witches on the Outside.

      • Christiane says:

        Seneca Griggs,

        the Church for last 2000 years has pointed to Jesus Christ

        the Church for the last 2000 years has PROCLAIMED the Good News

        the Church for the last 2000 years has had no need of ‘declarations’ to witness to Christ in the way of the Good News, the Gospel, where no words or declarations are needed,

        the Church for the last 2000 years has been able to proclaim the Gospel without words by living out the fruit of the Holy Spirit

        Is a saying:
        ‘Teach the gospel at all times, if necessary, use words’
        There is a language of the Good News that is proclaimed, not in human words, but in kindness, and compassion, and patience with people, and long-suffering, and the love described by St. Paul in his famous ‘love chapter’.
        It is this ‘language’ that bears witness to Our Lord and is a ‘language’ that is universal among our human kind. It needs no ‘translation’ because it is a proclamation understood within the human heart.

        Even the smallest child understands this ‘language’ that needs no words:
        http://a.abcnews.com/images/Health/AP_Amanda_Scarpinati_MEM_150929_4x3_992.jpg

        in this picture, the little 3 month-old baby was terribly burned and being cared for by a pediatric nurse in hospital. Many years later, the baby all grown to womanhood, and having been inspired for years by the photo of that loving nurse gently holding her, sought out the nurse and embraced her saying, ‘My God, you’re real.’

        Fruit of the Holy Spirit: a more powerful force than any human weapons against the darkness, yes;
        and needing no ‘words’ in order to be proclaimed

        How are the people of the SBC living out the fruit of the Holy Spirit in this declaration that seems to wound even more hearts and drive them away from Our Lord AND from themselves???
        There must be some ministries among Southern Baptists that come alongside people in need of Christ and are not cruel or judgemental or finger-pointing or looking down on them . . . . I know there are such ministers, yes, but their voices are being drowned out by the homophobes who are throwing out hatred like red meat to the ones who are filled with contempt for ‘those other sinners’

        People can’t point to Christ with one hand and point at ‘those other sinners’ with the other hand. What people who honor Christ CAN do is to ask for the grace to embrace the ‘leper’ and live among them and show them what it is to honor Our Lord by witnessing to them through the fruit of the Holy Spirit: patience, and kindness, and the kind of love that St. Paul speaks of in his ‘love chapter’ . . . .

        you can’t put that intense kind of ministry into some ‘words’ in a judgmental ‘declaration’ and think that ‘the Church’ is honoring Christ,
        no

        All people hear is the hatred and all people see is the contempt.

        For two thousand years, people have pointed to Christ, and yes, by God’s grace, they have also been able to embrace the lepers and come among them bearing to them the peace of Christ . . . . that has not changed, no

        • Good thoughts, Christiane.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          How are the people of the SBC living out the fruit of the Holy Spirit in this declaration that seems to wound even more hearts and drive them away from Our Lord AND from themselves???

          But it FLATTERS them about Their Own Righteousness, laying the Flattery on with a gunnite sprayer.

          I know there are such ministers, yes, but their voices are being drowned out by the homophobes who are throwing out hatred like red meat to the ones who are filled with contempt for ‘those other sinners’

          As an aside, I wonder how much this was a factor in the 81% of Christians For TRUMP we saw in last November’s election? Because TRUMP’s campaign style sure threw out a lot of Red Meat to those who were “Mad as Hell and Not Going To Take It Any More”. In many ways, he was acting like that kind of Preacher-man (and hasn’t been able to turn it off once taking office).

          you can’t put that intense kind of ministry into some ‘words’ in a judgmental ‘declaration’ and think that ‘the Church’ is honoring Christ,
          no

          All people hear is the hatred and all people see is the contempt.

          And they will close ranks and push back against The Threat.
          Them or Us.

        • To quote from a recent news article, American evangelicalism has jumped the shark.

        • Patriciamc says:

          You go Christiane!

      • BTW, Sodom and Gomorrah were not destroyed because of “sexual perversion”, rather for the reasons that Ezekiel cited;

        16:49 “‘The sin of your sister Sodom was this: She lived with her daughters in the lap of luxury—proud, gluttonous, and lazy. They ignored the oppressed and the poor. 50 They put on airs and lived obscene lives. And you know what happened: I did away with them.”

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          And in the actual Genesis account, what gets skipped over is the fact that the Men of Sodom were willing and able to gang-rape visitors who had been given Hospitality and Guest Right by Lot. This as told by a culture where Hospitality and Guest Right were VERY important.

          It wasn’t a Gay Bathhouse situation; more like THE RED WEDDING.

  2. The Nashville Statement is no Barmen Declaration. Except for a few of its signatories, in ten years no one will remember that it ever even existed.

    • Andrew Zook says:

      It seems to me (even though I may support some of its points…I haven’t read it all), to be another example of the religious right’s penchant for public posturing and symbolic balms for its huddled, fearful constituents… It doesn’t actually, in an embodied way, Do Anything. It’s just words, on paper. Useless unless it really does inspire people to love and serve as Jesus Christ did.

      • Adam Tauno Williams says:

        > It doesn’t actually, in an embodied way, Do Anything.

        Nailed it!

        > Useless unless it really does inspire people to love and serve as Jesus Christ did.

        Yes, because that is what Declarations by Theological Bureaucrats do – they inspire people. 🙂

      • Doesn’t “inspire” anything except the fleshly desire to condemn.

        “People always assume that the church’s primary business is to teach morality. But it isn’t; it’s to proclaim grace, forgiveness, and the free party for all. It’s to announce the reconciling relationship of God to everybody and to invite them simply to believe it and celebrate it. Morality, law, rules, prescriptions – those are all the world’s business. And the world keeps up a steady drumbeat on those subjects: you must do this; you mustn’t do that; you’re out until you can prove yourself worthy of being let in. But that’s just a thinly disguised way of saying that most people aren’t going to be in for very long and that none of them can be in for good. Nobody, from Adam to the last person on earth, can pass a test like that. And therefore God simply doesn’t risk it: by the Mystery of the Incarnation, he cancels all the tests and gives a blanket hundred percent to everyone. In the Mystery of Christ’s death, he drops all the rotten works in the world down the black hole of his own forgetting; and in the Mystery of Christ’s resurrection, he makes a new world in which we’re all home free.”

        — Robert Farrar Capon, The Mystery of Christ… & Why We Don’t Get It

        • That quote is gold.

        • Love that quote. Thanks, Tom, and Robert Farrar Capon.

        • Thanks for reading Capon for us, Tom.

        • +1

        • …”it’s to proclaim grace, forgiveness, and the free party for all”..,

          So I have a question. Modern thought iseems to be deeming things allowable that have historically been called sinful. If this continues why the need for grace? What will we need forgiveness from? What was the cross about?

          Thoughts anyone?

          • I see it more of a question about what sins evangelicals decide to prop up and make a big deal about vs. the ones they choose not to focus on. And when they/we focus on one subset of sins while ignoring others they/we become much like the hypocrites who wanted to stone the woman for adultery while ignoring their/our own sins.

            That’s what leads me to view the Nashville Statement as a bit arrogant. “We declare this specific sin is against all we stand for.” Gee, great, since it’s not a sin you struggle with. How about a declaration against arrogance, self-righteousness, pride, etc…?!

            Or how about a simple declaration focused squarely on Jesus? “We believe we all fall short of the glory of God and need a savior. We believe Jesus Christ is that savior.”

            • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

              I see it more of a question about what sins evangelicals decide to prop up and make a big deal about vs. the ones they choose not to focus on.

              Simple.
              The ones they “decide to prop up and make a big deal about” are the OTHER GUY’S.
              The ones they “choose not to focus on” are their own.

          • Mr Ski,

            “Sin” is missing the mark of what it is to be fully human and alive. “Sin” is a swerve into death and nothing-ness. When Paul ask the rhetorical question “shall we sin that grace abounds?” he was asking a ridiculous question; “hamartia” is a NOUN, not a verb. He was not asking as the NIV suggest by faux interpretive translation, “shall we continue to sin…” but rather Paul was stating that reality of our rescue from the “dominion” of Sin–the country of Sin, and, that being the case how can we “abide/live/dwell” in that country any longer?

            Christ is THE sacrament — the REAL presence of that which is eternal, invisible, beyond reckoning and understanding, or as Capon said it;

            By sacrament, I mean a real presence, under a particular sign in a particular time and place, of something that’s already present everywhere. It’s not just a de novo production of that something or a mental reminder of that something, but the same old something itself present under a renewable sign. Take a kiss between two lovers: it’s not some third thing that merely rep­resents their love; it’s their whole, already present love, re-presented — made really present again — at a specific point under a specific sign.

            If we hadn’t already understood it, the point of the Incarnation is to make us aware of the forever true reality that the cosmos was, is, and forever will be the sacramental domain of the One we cannot see except in the face of Christ–Who Is the representative/instantiation of all Humanity. And that is why I consider ALL OF US–even stupid Evangelicals– “saved”.

            Now that we know what and who we are, let’s get going. Clean your room. Don’t say things that you know to be false. Look for the ways to make personal improvement and to improve the condition of those around you.

            The older theologians understood the most insidious sin to be pride. The worse of the worse pride is when we think we’ve got God figured out and begin treating certain groups of people (as determined by our pride ridden idiosyncratic ideology) as “outsiders” and despised of God. “Nothing’s worse than a monster who thinks he’s right with God.” (Captain Mal Reynolds, Free Trader Serenity)

            Jesus’ death on a Roman cross was nothing but a nasty piece of execution. However, if Christ is the “wisdom of God” and the “effulgence of the divine image”, then what we see in Jesus on the cross is God being unjustly, cruelly murdered and NOT RETALIATING but forgiving. Our “traditional” imaginings of God are in need of eternal forgiveness. God have mercy.

            • In my next-to-last paragraph I did not include my thought that Oliver Cromwell and his Party are a great example. The Irish were his “despised of God” and the evidence of his ire is still visible in Ireland today and in the fact that the first slaves to the New World were Irish–many of whom ended up on sugar plantations on British held Caribbean Islands.

              • The most successful colonization in what later became the US was by refugees who were of Cromwell’s party but lost power in England–the Puritans. John “Peepster” Piper and his cronies are the Neo-Puritans.

            • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

              “Nothing’s worse than a monster who thinks he’s right with God.” (Captain Mal Reynolds, Free Trader Serenity)

              Shiny…

              But Captain Tight Pants missed one.
              There IS something worse:
              A monster who KNOWS he’s right with God.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        public posturing and symbolic balms for its huddled, fearful constituents…

        “Public Posturing and Symbolic Balms” is all the rage these days. You also find a stream of them from Our Progressive Betters/Thin Grey Ponytails in Sacramento and the Fashionable Media.

        The complete opposite of the 1950s “Can Do” attitude, which after getting through the Great Depression and WW2 would have first thought of Finding a Solution and Doing it. (Granted, some of these would have been DUMB solutions, but they would have been doing SOMETHING!)

    • Cambridge Declaration?

      Anyone?

      Anyone?

      Bueller?

      Bueller?

      • Adam Tauno Williams says:

        Manhattan Declaration. Anyone?

        The Nashville Declaration conveniently side steps the entire issue of Divorce. 🙂

        • Excellent criticism. A strong condemnation of divorce and need of appropriate repentance prior to remarriage is needed among Evangelicals.

          • Who exactly will enforce that repentance? If they do it in one church, they won’t do it in the church down the road, where perhaps the pastor himself was divorced and remarried without any such public repentance. Widespread enforcement is next to impossible for the atomized churches of Protestantism.

            • I would think the director of repentance would be someone (preferably a pastor or specially trained layperson) that has an actual relationship with the individual who is repenting. I think the root of the problem is more the sinner denying a need for repentance than it is the lack of a formal enforcement of a process. (I can’t shake my low church evangelical background)

              The presence of divorced and remarried clergy is shameful in my opinion. Your critique about the structural weaknesses of current Protestantism, especially the Evangelical stream, are valid and appropriate.

              • Btw, I’m not a fan of such enforcement; it doesn’t fit with my own liberal theological understanding of things. But if you’re going to play conservative theological hardball, then you need to not only make rules, but be able to enforce them, otherwise you’re a toothless tiger and no one can take you seriously.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            But that conflicts with a Privilege of Pastoral Rank.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          The Nashville Declaration conveniently side steps the entire issue of Divorce. ?

          It’s called “Keeping My Options Open”.
          Because you the Righteous never know when YOU might need to use that escape route.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          Declaration/Manifesto du Jour, anyone?

          We’ve got so many of them these days you need an App just to keep them straight.

    • What we have is a statement by Neo-Puritans like John Pipster the Piper who have a dreadful image of God the Father, an Eternally Subordinate Son, and a Holy Spirit wringing her hands saying, “Why does daddy make Son pay for everything?”

      Their world is a theologically systematic fantasy rooted in a First Temple, Jewish Nationalistic wet-dream brought down by the Neo-Babylonian neighborhood pit-bull.

      But, I doubt that many of the signatory blind-guides would have a clue as to what I just wrote…

      • Adam Tauno Williams says:

        Agree, spot on. With the caveat that I own two ‘hood pit-bulls, and love them.

        • Finn, Josh & Tom, you all pretty much expressed what I think about the NS. The word “gospel” has been over-used as an adjective to the point of non-meaning.

          The Christians of the first centuries didn’t issue “statements”. The majority of them, on the whole, simply lived their lives worshiping Jesus and doing good. Their sexual ethic was seen as completely nuts by their Greco-Roman cuture, but when persecutions came it wasn’t because of their “weird” sexual ethic, but rather because they would not worship the Emperor alongside Jesus. They went to their deaths because of a pinch of incense; I often ask myself: what does it mean when Christians today pour a lot more than a pinch of money into the coffers of politicians (on “both sides of the aisle”) seeking political influence?

          Dana

          • Josh in FW says:

            Amen.

          • Michael Bell says:

            “The Christians of the first centuries didn’t issue ‘statements'”.

            I just gave away my 10 volume series of the Ante-Nicene fathers tonight. These are the preserved writings from the the first 300 years of Christianity. Trust me. There are a lot of “statements” in there.

            • Were there any addressed to the government or to non-Christians (aside from the heretics whose ideas they were contesting)? I’m very curious, Mike.

              D.

              • Michael Bell says:

                The sense that I get is that they issued polemics against various people or issues that they had problems with.

                Their audience would have been other Christians. I very much see similarities in the Nashville statement.

                For example: http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/03121.htm

                • Yes, they spoke to other Christians. That was my point. The NS is like in that regard. At the same time, we have so many Christians (most or all of whom would agree with and sign the NS), who would very much like to impose – by law, even – the limitations of the Christian sexual ethic on people who don’t identify as Christians. I think that is a fruitless exercise that saps our energy and keeps us from entering any further into humility, and I don’t see anywhere in Scripture where we are called to do that.

                  Dana
                  comment #200?

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            Finn, Josh & Tom, you all pretty much expressed what I think about the NS. The word “gospel” has been over-used as an adjective to the point of non-meaning.

            “Gospel” has become the new “Smurf” or “Marclar”.

          • Exactly Dana.

          • Actually, I think it’s a travesty for someone who has a systematic theological perspective such as Piper’s to even use the word “Gospel.”

    • The people who will remember are those who are further distanced from a relationship with God and Christ because of it.

    • Ten years? Try ten months.

      • Michael Bell says:

        I fear it is going to become similar to the Chicago statement on inerrancy which is still used as a litmus test 38 years after it was drafted.

  3. Prayers for the people of Houston and its environs.

    • +1

    • Thank you for your prayers. I have a lot of friends and family down there. The initial rescue response has been great, but the recovery is going to take some time. The hurricane hit Rockport, the flooding extends east all the way the Beaumont area. I checked Google Maps. It’s 298 miles from Rockport to Beaumont. On facebook I’ve seen pictures from friends and family of their neighborhoods where the houses have already been gutted to the flood line. The curb is already piled high with the flood damaged furniture, sheetrock, cabinets, insulation, flooring, etc. The neighbors are working together to help each gut the houses that flooded. The damage is immense, but there are lots of islands that escaped damage that are serving as staging points. It’s inspiring to watch the recovery. My church’s disaster relief group is in the standby phase waiting to for things to settle down and working to identify where our team will be most effective. It’s hard to wait, but the initial responders are going to need to be relieved and our group would probably just be in the way if we headed down (4 hour drive with no traffic snarls) there now.

  4. Thank you for “Three Songs at the End of Summer.”

  5. “it’s worth noting that the initial church post, which so fired up the Internet, included helpful information regarding shelters and emergency help.”

    Go, be warm and well-fed… just not by us.

    James would have been impressed. NOT.

    • Eeyore, did you miss this;

      pastor’s staff announced on social media Monday that his massive Lakewood Church, formerly an arena used by the Houston Rockets, was “inaccessible due to severe flooding,”

      • Did you miss the pictures where the high-and-dry parking lot was filled with cars?

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          And the fact that a lot of media types were holed up in a hotel next door (with a great view of the Mega) sure didn’t help. I remember the morning and afternoon drive-time reports from KFI whose on-scene reporter was in that hotel and specifically mentioned activity (or lack of same) at the Mega next door.

          The fact that Osteen really prospered from his Prosperity Gospel (net worth of $60 million, mentioned in afternoon drive-time) was also a factor.

        • Yes, I missed those pics, Eeyore.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        “Formerly an arena used by the Houston Rockets…”

  6. “the American workplace is very physically and emotionally taxing, both for workers themselves and their families. Most Americans (two-thirds) frequently work at high speeds or under tight deadlines, and one in four perceives that they have too little time to do their job. More than one-half of Americans report exposure to unpleasant and potentially hazardous working conditions, and nearly one in five American workers are exposed to a hostile or threatening social environment at work.”

    Not to worry… the almighty Free Market will correct these flaws. :-/

    Time was when conservative people recognized that Big Business was a real threat to society. Certainly the mid-20th century proved that Big Government can also be a threat. But the pendulum has swung again, and movement conservatism has blinded itself to the problems that rampant corporatism is wreaking on society while myopically refighting the War on Big Government.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      > Time was when conservative people recognized that Big Business was a real threat to society

      I miss those times.

    • In my 30 yrs of swine production no one axed me to take a survey with questions that pertained to “exertion” and “exposure to unpleasant and potentially hazardous working conditions.”

      Go figure… ;o)

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      Not to worry… the almighty Free Market will correct these flaws. :-/

      Just like it did in that Perfect Example of Free Market Economy, Victorian England.

      All burn the pinch of tobacco before the statue of Ayn Rand.

  7. Adam Tauno Williams says:

    I found the responses to the Nashville Declaration to be disappointing; nearly everyone missed the point – or lack of point.

    Who remembers the Manhattan Declaration [2009]? Right, nobody.

    > the evangelical coalition who signed it are responding to an
    > increasingly post-Christian, Western culture

    Yawn.

    > The Sexual Revolution cannot keep its promises,

    Which were? Mr. Moore is a good guy, this is beneath him. There is so much ahistorical nonsense here, and a failure to understand the civic environment – another declaration, really? As if they are monks bravely nailing sheets to a church door; this is nearly delusional. Mr. Drehner’s book about his Benedict Option, all about how his clan is being persecuted, opened onto the TOP TEN LIST OF THE NEW YOUR TIMES – seriously, if that is an indicator of persection….

    Mr. Moore’s statement begs the question: what were the “promises” of the sexual revolution? Was it a “revolution”, or a rupture from the brief 1940s – 1950s period of formality amidst the post-war [government manufactured] white middle class?

    Do we forget the Roaring 20s that quickly? The moral panic created by the automobile? [young boys and girls taking off by themselves]. Or was it the moral purity of the Gilded Age . . . assuming you have a heavily redacted history book – wait . . . perhaps wealthy men having mistresses, discarding their bastard children, and beating their wives is OK? [that does seem to get a pass even today]. Have they seen the statistics on the number of brothels that existed around those factories?

    I don’t care what these bafoons publish in a Declaration. The world they are Declaring against is a fiction. It is just more tired declinism.

    People should not bother to be outraged by these guys. They should giggle at them, and pat them on the head. They’re sad.

    Tend to the Gospel, and loving people. Enough with the Declarations and nursing the persecution complex.

  8. Nurse arrested for insisting the police follow the agreement they made with the hospital??

    WTF!! Extremely poor police work–to say the least. Looks like a suit for unlawful arrest.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      Yep.

    • Actually, the SLT piece was a bit misleading on how they reported this. What she actually told the officer was that the hospital policy was implemented due to a 2016 Supreme Court ruling and that it is ILLEGAL To draw blood from an unconscious patient without a search warrant.

      • “You know the sc ore, pal! You’re not a cop, you’re little people!”

        Captain Bryant, *Blade Runner*

        • Yep. I’ve been handled much the same as the nurse. Something like that makes a lasting impression in your view of law enforcement.

          • Have no worries, Tom. Our fake president has just this week made it possible for our local police forces to be as heavily armed as an occupying army; they can now acquire “surplus” weaponry from the US military, and use it at a location near you. Can anyone say “Collateral Damage!”? That nurse better be careful; the next time, she might get cut in half by a machine gun wielding peace officer!

            • Any would-be fascist needs two things: a heavily militarized police force, and police enforcement officials just like Joe Arpaio all around the country.

            • That’s not a new program – it’s been around OVER 20 YEARS.

              It started under Bill Clinton, of all people. Funny how law-and-order conservatives never give him due credit for that… :-/

              https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/1033_program

              • Adam Tauno Williams says:

                > It started under Bill Clinton

                Yep. The Clinton’s at the time were nuttily law-n-order.

                • Actually, it started with Nixon and intensified through Reagan and their “war on drugs”, aka, a war against the American public, especially those of color.

                  We live in a militarized police state.

              • Yes, but Obama put restrictions on it a couple years ago so that far less military gear could go to the police; now, just this past week, our current POTUS reversed Obama’s restrictions by executive order. Now they can be armed to the teeth. It’s in the news.

                • Not denying that. My only point is that this train has been a long time coming, and we should NOT be surprised how it’s turning out.

                  • No, there is more than enough responsibility, left and right, to go around, and no doubt in our own hearts as well, or at leas in mine.

                • And therein lies the problem with executive orders. It is a quick way to get things done, but it can just as quickly be reversed. I don’t think that executive orders were ever meant to become our new means for making laws. The power of the presidency needs to be rolled back, and it seems there needs to be more clarity for what an executive order can and cannot be used for.

                  • To be sure. I’m not happy with the way Obama so freely utilized executive orders to achieve his goals for two reasons: it provided precedent for even more liberal use of them in the future, and they are not a secure foundation for long-lasting legislative changes, even for things that need changing, because they are so easily reversed. Having said that, the main problem is that the 1033 Program is a bad piece of legislation, leading to a militarized police force that would be bad in a very big way for this country.

                  • Amen. I’ve always cautioned against cheering for things done under the power of someone you agree with because that same thing can (and will) eventually be used by someone you don’t agree with.

                    Obama was horrible in using (abusing?) executive power, which Trump now uses (abuses?). And while Trump supporters cheer those things, they’re shortsighted if they don’t think the next Dem President won’t then use that power in ways they can’t stand.

            • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

              Who then gets off with a Presidential Pardon.
              (And all the pulpits go “HAYYYY-MENNNN!”!)
              Code of Blue, anyone?

            • Right, lookin’ forward to tanks patrolling the streets…

              In NE Tennessee EVERYONE is armed. If police became more abusive than the locals then they’d be in a heap of trouble in Kingsport city.

  9. Mike, the ancestral farm looks to be a great place for your clan get-together. I wish you and all your clan well.

  10. 1) Loved the end of summer poem. And I love the end of summer.

    2) We need to re-exmine working conditions for US workers. Both living wge and the eight hour workday are under siege for some time. And while there is some altruism behind my concern I admit that it is primarily self-serving – these two are the cornerstone of prosperity and civil composure.

    3) The Utah officer that broke the law because a nurse wouldn’t break the law is unfit for that job. He needs a dishonorable discharge followed by something more to his temperament, like nothing involving tasers or firearms.

    4) The sad truth that none of its principles is likely to grasp is that the Nashville Statement (only one in a long line of immanently forgettable “statements”) won’t be examined on its own merits. Most people will brush it off simply because the men associated with it are unsavory characters. Of course, when examined on its own merits, the Nashville statement is nothing more than a papal bull (and something somewhat less, frankly) – a Sauronian attempt to bend all will to one fascist end.

    • “The Utah officer that broke the law because a nurse wouldn’t break the law is unfit for that job. He needs a dishonorable discharge”

      As does his lieutenant, who ordered him to draw the blood and stood by the order even when it was pointed out to them that it was illegal.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        Maybe he was counting on a Presidential Pardon?

        • Keep your eye on (former) Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke. Similar to Arpaio, and Trump endorsed Clarke (“a great guy”) and his book a few days after the Arpaio pardon. Clarke since resigned and may be coming to Washington. Another great example of law and order.

    • Kudos to that courageous nurse, who, despite being terribly frightened, did the right thing. It could’ve ended much worse than it did, but that would not have made her behavior any less right. A brave woman.

      • Klasie Kraalogies says:

        Excatly.

        I was telling my daughter last night, in reference to this incudent, that what is needed is “Abuse of power”legislation. With very serious penalties. An officer, or official for that matter, that abuses their power does 2 key things: They induce fear, even terror in the general populace. Secondly, they erode trust in government, law and order. Basically, they are doing the work of terrorists. If officials, both police, military and bureaucratic want to be honoured, they should be held to a high standard.

        • I like to think that I would act as courageously as she did in a similar kind of situation, but talk is cheap. She was willing to pay the price. God bless her.

  11. Side note: Piper’s tweets about the Nashville Statement remain comedic gold:
    “With sorrowful joy I celebrate the beautiful light of the Nashville Statement shining in our tragic sexual darkness.”

    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      Urgh, I just threw up a little bit. These guys are more self-impressed than I had imagined. Wowzers, that is either comedy or stomach turning.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      Standard Flutterhands Word Salad, delivered in a Piping voice.

    • “With sorrowful joy…”

      AKA – “This hurts me more than it does you, but HAMMER TIME!”

      Reminds me of watching MacArthur’s “Grace to You” videos, where Grace is served with a sledge.

      Neither of these guys know grace like Jesus displays grace. (Maybe neither do I, but I don’t have as wide an audience and as deep a responsibility to avoid being a Pharisee.)

      • Hence the exhortation “Not many of you should aspire to be teachers, for teachers face a stricter judgment.”

    • “Sorrowful joy.”

      “Tragic sexual darkness.”

      Piper is so poetic.

      Robert F: is there any zen in this? Is it a wannabe haiku?

    • Christiane says:

      ” Piper’s tweets . . .
      “With sorrowful joy I celebrate the beautiful light of the Nashville Statement shining in our tragic sexual darkness.””

      oh my . . . . he’s starting to sound like a deranged hippie out of Woodstock nation

      I don’t tweet, but that is SO bad that I wonder if he wanted to ‘untweet’ it ?
      Actually, CAN you ‘untweet’ ??

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      At least if he’s Twittering about the Nashville Statement, he’s not doing his usual Twittering regarding Hurricanes Harvey & Irma.

  12. I hate to defend Osteen, but they were right in this case. To open up a very large building without the right security and logistics support could have been devastating.

    • As opposed to not having it open with tens of thousands of people in need of shelter?

      If you have a big asset like that, and you have NO contingency plans for putting it to good use in a disaster, you’re doing it wrong. It’s not like that congregation lacks money and expertise…

      • A large local Houston-area mosque opened its doors to evacuees, even with their high holy days at hand. One of the mosque authorities said that the congregants would worship in the parking lot if necessary, but by no means would the evacuees be moved or disturbed in any way. He also said that offering help to those in need is itself the most important form of worship, and the one around which all others are centered.

        • Don’t forget “Mattress Mack”. Like Osteen, he owns a big Houston business. But his is furniture galleries, and he kept them open with food, dry clothes and let people sleep on the mattresses. Like Osteen, everyone knows him here. I’m not sure if he is religiously affiliated, but somehow, I can’t get the Good Samaritan story out of my mind here.
          Pray for Houston – our displaced who still can’t get to their house, the families living in motels, those who lost eveything and without flood insurance, kids who start school on Monday but are housed elsewhere- the list of need is endless. We’ve been knee-deep in filthy water all week, dumping peoples’s lives onto the curb.

          • Josh in FW says:

            In one interview Mack mentioned his Catholic School education and it taught him the right way to treat people.

        • I like Muslims. They tend to be more consistent that Evangelicals.

    • Agree that logistically it could be problematic. Which begs the question was consideration even given by LC that their very large and spacious building could be used as a shelter prior to the storm? Regardless, the church during the height of the rainfall did not flood (it actually sits high). Their below ground parking garage did. Aceessibility to the building? I’m not sure of that but there is a youtube clip that’s out there that would seem to dispute that being an issue.

      Yes I am aware LC does much for the community at times. But I think they could have managed this better. The area needs more than just “me and Victoria are praying for you”. We need people actually helping. Whatever that may look like.

      And a special thanks to the mosque for opening their doors. We may have differing theologies, but they seem to get it.

    • The Babylon Bee had a rather hilarious take on the Osteen/flood thing.

      http://babylonbee.com/news/joel-osteen-sails-luxury-yacht-flooded-houston-pass-copies-best-life-now/

    • Yup. Modern church structures are designed to entertain rather than to worship and serve, in Benedictine sort of way (work and worship). The secular world still thinks churches should help people. Poor lost souls.

      Christianity Today had an article a few weeks ago stating it is not the job of churches to provide social services. After decades of conservatives declaring that the church can care for the poor better than the federal government, now the church is saying “not so fast”. Again, cue the clip of Fonzie jumping the shark.

  13. already autumn
    is coloring a few trees,
    making the rain cold

    • senecagriggs says:

      Where I live Robert, we’re at least 2 months out. sigh

      • Autumn brings relief from the heat; despite that, it will always be a bittersweet season to its very marrow.

      • And my area saw a few all time heat records broken yesterday. San Francisco is not suppose to be 106F (41C) and hasn’t been since records started in 1874.

        • WOW! I imagine that was pretty rough for a city where it is so unusual.

          • I live on the peninsula though my town reached the same temperature yesterday. One drawback is that many homes do not have air conditioning (or cool basements); I don’t so will hunt down a cool place to stay for most of today. An elderly friend without a car and on limited income just emailed me to say her pastor and a couple of church friends spent several hours yesterday tracking her down to ensure she was ok and staying cool (she had spent the day away from her place with another friend and doesn’t have a mobile phone).

            This area does do microclimates so getting to the ocean coastline drops temperatures considerably (though 89F in Half Moon Bay is unusually hot for it) admittedly SF usually counts as ocean coastline around here. I suspect the beaches will be packed today. Fortunately most of the libraries are open until 5 today so the homeless will have a place to shelter until then. Some of the local cities have also opened cooling centers which will be open until 9pm (we usually have dry heat so temperatures tend to drop dramatically once the sun has set).

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          Yes. MASSIVE heat wave here in Cali.

          What surprises me is the usual suspects haven’t been hitting Twitter. Whether it’s Piper waxing word salad, Pat R claiming it’s God punishing us for HOMOSEXUALITY, various claiming End Time Prophecy, or their secular opposite numbers wagging their fingers about GLOBAL WARMING GLOBAL WARMING GLOBAL WARMING.

          All Righteous Scolds parading their Righteous Moral Superiority over all us Lowborn.
          “DISASTER? WHAT AN OPPORTUNITY TO ADVANCE MY AGENDA!”

  14. +1 to the Denver Statement. My appreciation of Lutherans grows.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      Anything like the Nashville Statement (of which the Mayor of Nashville wasn’t pleased) is going to invite heavy pushback. (And both Wartburg Watch and Wondering Eagle are pushing.)

  15. Who is even listening to Piper anymore? And if they are….why?

    Capon quote – priceless.

    • –> “Who is even listening to Piper anymore? And if they are….why?”

      Neo-Calvinists, primarily. I’m good friends with several, and it’s my observation that as to the why, I think it’s because there are certain personalities, probably developed through life experiences, that thrive on and find comfort in Truth Declarations. Some humans thrive in black-and-white, hate the gray area.

      I think Jesus thrived in the gray area.

      • “there are certain personalities, probably developed through life experiences, that thrive on and find comfort in Truth Declarations. Some humans thrive in black-and-white, hate the gray area.”

        *sheepishly raises hand*

        “I think Jesus thrived in the gray area.”

        So do I, which is the only reason im with you guys and not with the Nashville Declarers.

        • When you know people – close, as friends – who thrive on Piper and MacArthur, it’s easier to see the why.

      • Yeah, we can call it “grey” areas, but something I’m beginning to understand in an articulate fashion is that instead of “black” and “white” I’m seeing things more as order/chaos. We need both. The sweet-spot is a balanced position on the edge of chaos. It is those who are willing to go to the edge that bring back to us wisdom that helps us thrive. Think of Odysseus as an archetype.

        • I prefer binary vs analog. Fundies speak in terms of black and white vs gray to imply there is no other answer but theirs -implying gray does not represent a valid answer. Binary logic works in a world of one and zeroes, but not in a world represented by colors, sounds, natural logarithms and fractals.

  16. September rain
    makes its lonely sound
    and silence

  17. Hi everyone – this is really OT but could you please pray for the fire fighters, evacuees, and potential evacuees of the La Tuna Canyon fire near Los Angeles? And that the winds stop? We would really appreciate it.
    Thanks.
    Grace and peace to you.

  18. The only “good” that comes from declarations such as the Nashville Statement is that those doing the declaring feel good about themselves. This isn’t a declaration that helps anyone else. It’s a selfish thing that makes them feel righteous and holy. Do they think God will have any more mercy upon the USA because of it? Do they think God will have any less mercy upon the USA if they hadn’t declared it?

    Look in the mirror, guys. None of you are righteous and holy of yourselves. Only through Jesus. If they thought about the arrogance of such a thing, they might actually have a profound moment in which they ask God and Jesus for forgiveness.

  19. Rick Ro.’s Statement of Declaration…

    I affirm that for me and my household, we will worship the Lord.

    I deny that I’m 100% able to avoid other idols.

    I affirm that I believe Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior.

    I deny that I follow Him as well as I should.

    I affirm that the sins of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like.

    I deny that I don’t slip now and then.

    I affirm that I will bear the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

    I deny that I’m able to do this 100% of the time.

    • Brianthegrandad says:

      I should have that cross stitched and framed on our wall here at home, instead of the crosses and other religious items of encouragement we have. Or maybe in addition to. Perspective and all. Should make for interesting talk when the pastor and other religious folk come to visit.

      Btw, rejoice with me in the baptism of my second grandson. All of my sons and daughters, daughter in law, and much of my extended family were able to join my wife and me at our son’s church and later at our home to celebrate. It was enough to make a middle aged man get a little emotional to see us take up 3 pews and gather around the font and table of the Lord together. Praise God for his blessings, large and small.

  20. As one with at least seven relatives and several friends who are or have been connected to law enforcement in some way, please don’t judge all law enforcement personnel by a few bad examples, or fear because they are prepared to face the world as it is. We pray regularly for their safety!

    I am greatly saddened by all the parsing and ready criticism of other members of our family in Christ. There are, of course, times to discuss and even disagree with our brothers and sisters, but there seems to be an epidemic on the internet and elsewhere of incivility, even to the point of assigning motives.

    If this comment comes across as uncivil or harsh, I’m sorry. Please forgive me. I’m concerned by what seems to be a lot of yelling all around me, even, or possibly especially, among us Christians. May Christ’s love uphold, sustain, and guide each of us.

    • Have any of your cop relatives testified against another cop?

    • I understand your position and I have no way of knowing what kind of cops your relatives are, so I can’t judge them. However, it’s clear to me that many, perhaps most, police departments have a culture that is unable to correct the few (or sometimes more) bad apples. And that is the real problem. Too often there is automatic defensiveness, or total silence, when a cop has committed some outrageous criminal act. The system doesn’t seem to have a corrective. Many departments “oversee” themselves.

      And the silence and inaction and lack of correction are all ultimately forms of complicity in the evils that occur.

      So please, don’t pretend there isn’t a widespread problem. The first step to making things better is identifying the problem. If your relatives are working to do that and correct things, they have my full support. Maybe they are. I can only hope so.

  21. Christiane says:

    that poor nurse, she was so scared . . . . . uncalled-for abuse of a person trying to do her job

  22. Both women and children are held in a high regard in Christianity compared to pagan cultures because of the Incarnation. Orestes Brownson, an American nineteenth century scholar and RC convert, wrote very eloquently on this subject. So, I am not surprised there isn’t evidence among the church fathers to the contrary. Patriarchalism by creating classes of inferiority imposes non-being.

  23. Here’s one of the quotes from Brownson. It is very Catholic; nevertheless, it comes as no surprise dehumanizing social views arise within a Christian subculture that has no place for Mary apart from the manger scene.

    “The last, perhaps the only, remedy for this fearful state of things is to be sought in promoting and etending the worship of Mary. Society is lapsing, if it has not already lapsed, into the state in which Christianity found it some eighteen hundred years ago, and a new conversion of the gentiles has become necessary. Christian society can be restored only by the same faith and worship which originally created it. Jesus and Mary are now, as then, the only hope of the world, and their power and their goodwill remain undiminished. The worship of Mary as Mother of God redeemed the pagan world from its horrible corruptions, introduced and sustained the Christian family, and secured the fruits of the sacrament of marriage. It will do no less for our modern world, if cultivated; and we regard as one of the favorable signs that better times are at hand, the increasing devotion to Mary.” – Orestes Brownson.

    • Josh in FW says:

      Odd, that he uses the word worship for devotion to or adoration of Mary. The Catholic apologists I listen to on the radio are constantly insisting that they do not worship Mary.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        I understand there are three words in Church Latin that can translate to “Worship”:
        Dulia, the level of veneration of saints.
        Hyperdulia, the level of veneration of Mary as first among saints.
        Latria, the level of worship reserved for God alone.

        And the use of the English word “worship” in this context may have changed since Brownson’s time.

  24. I have misses Susan. I hope she is well.

  25. !00 billion dollars is an estimate of a storm in Texas. Harriet….Just joking about names. New commercial from Wal mart, we have raised 25 million for Texas. Well they say any money is better than none. What a great political sentence. What does the work out to a percentage for such a great and profitable company and did the even feel the pinch. I guess it would be hard for us all in a certain position we find ourselves in. I have a friend and he says as he runs a non profit for men coming out of drug addiction and prison that the rich have so many dollars for giving and after that an accountant says it isn’t worth it. Everyone is presenting why it should be them and not some else. What a wonderful world was a song……..There were really good people in the mix of everyone and I believe that.

  26. Patrick Kyle says:

    From the Denver Statement released as a reply to the Nashville Statement

    Point #14 “WE DENY that God is a boy and has actual arms.”

    So much for the Incarnation….

    • I don’t think this is a statement about the Incarnation; it’s Nadia B-W being flip – which she has the tendency to do. I truly don’t know what theology she actually holds as regards the Incarnation.

      The whole thing, NS and most responses, is a case of bellicose contentiousness based on poor theological reasoning to begin with, resulting in ever more sloppy – or essentially no – theological reasoning down the line.

      Dana

  27. “Everybody sins, therefore homosexuality is not a sin”.

    Sorry, but this is what a lot of arguments advanced in defence of homosexuality seem to boil down to.

    “Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more” is great, but doesn’t make sense if it wasn’t a sin after all.

    I think there is value in people in responsibility in churches standing up and saying what they really believe, and thus giving appropriate guidance to their flock. Just fudging it because you don’t want to take the heat is a cop out.

    Making declarations to the world in general doesn’t make so much sense to me.

    //As for slavery, I think that in the economic context of the times in which it was legislated on in the Old Testament, it made sense, and the conditions laid out in the law were revolutionary and humane.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      “Everybody sins, therefore homosexuality is not a sin”.

      Sorry, but this is what a lot of arguments advanced in defence of homosexuality seem to boil down to.

      Sounds like the opposite tack from what you usually see in sin-levelling.