Showing posts with label Politics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Politics. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Headship and Representation

Today I am going to generalize, because there’s no way to discuss the topic at hand usefully without doing so. Since it is my occasional, bitter experience that some people detest generalizations, I will dutifully warn you up front that you are in for endless amounts of them if you read on. Best come back another time if you find yourself emotionally triggered by statements about averages offered in the absence of hard evidence.

You heard me right. I’m not even going to offer statistics to support the assertions that follow. Why not? Because people of a non-generalizing disposition who dislike what I have to say will simply dispute the data. Again, bitter experience. That, and those capable of pattern recognition don’t need statistics to back up what they already know.

Friday, July 12, 2024

Too Hot to Handle: The Peasants Are Revolting

In which our regular writers toss around subjects a little more volatile than usual.

Joel Kotkin of The Daily Beast coins the term “Great Rebellion” to describe the phenomenon of eroding trust in elite opinion-shapers: scientists, politicians, economists, corporatists and the media. He’s not alone: Village Voice and even the Huffington Post have just run similar articles.

Tom: The peasants are revolting, Immanuel Can.

Wednesday, July 03, 2024

On Being Babylonian

If you’ve been paying attention to politics in Europe and south of the border, you’ll know that the so-called rules-based international order — the neo-liberal status quo in the West — is staggering around like a drunk looking for somewhere quiet to vomit. Tens of millions of voters across Europe, Canada and the US simply aren’t buying anything their leaders are telling them anymore.

Projecting power around the globe ain’t what it used to be, folks.

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Break Out the Dynamite

In a post last November, I agreed with Australian pastor Matt Littlefield that Israel currently has no divine mandate for the reconquest of Gaza, much as many evangelicals would like them to. We disagree, however, about whether God is at work in the current situation. Matt calls the IDF’s efforts to root Hamas out of Gaza “a work of the flesh seeking to fulfil the things of God, rather than a work of God to fulfil prophecy”. In response, I went back to the Old Testament to demonstrate that those statements are not mutually exclusive.

Even the actions of exceptionally wicked men may be both at the same time.

Tuesday, April 02, 2024

Sighing and Groaning

“Put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations that are committed.”

Our brothers in Christ over in the Reformed camp are haggling back and forth about Christian Nationalism a great deal these days. But any differences of opinion within the ranks of the fastest growing faction in evangelicalism are not concerning the question of whether a political movement to bring the nations of the world under the government of Christ is a good idea. They decided that issue long ago. Their eschatology and theology both demand it.

From the Reformed perspective, it’s not about whether we should fight, but about how we do it.

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

What Does Your Proof Text Prove? (28)

Judd is writing a letter to the editor at one of his frequently visited websites. He finds it suboptimal that despite “signaling moderate distaste” for Donald Trump, its editor would actually consider voting for the man should he run for president in the 2024 election. Judd’s counterproposal is that the Republican Party seek out a candidate who epitomizes biblical values rather than a divisive individual sporting a well-acknowledged plethora of warts and wrinkles.

By way of correction, Judd offers a familiar proverb. To his mind, the teaching of scripture should be conclusive: “When a man’s ways please the Lord, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.”

Wednesday, July 05, 2023

The Commentariat Speaks (27)

Over at Doug Wilson’s place, Jackson asks:

“Why are pastors so terrible at political philosophy? It seems to me that most pastors just assume a modern political theory of democracy, constitutionalism, liberalism, or republicanism and then read it into the Bible.”

Good question, and an observation that is largely true.

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

The Language of the Debate (8)

With respect to politics, the terms “left” and “right” have been in modern circulation since the French Revolution. Depending who is using them, the terms have traditionally been a cheap and easy way to describe the two sides in the conflicts between individualism and collectivism, liberty and authoritarianism, or conservatism and liberalism, bearing in mind that both sides exist on a spectrum.

That spectrum means terms like “far-right” and “far-left” had to be coined to designate the extremes of each position.

Thursday, February 23, 2023

The Unbearable Heaviness of Individuality

“Shallum the son of Jabesh conspired against him and struck him down at Ibleam and put him to death and reigned in his place …”

“Then Menahem the son of Gadi came up from Tirzah and came to Samaria, and he struck down Shallum the son of Jabesh in Samaria and put him to death and reigned in his place …”

“Pekah the son of Remaliah, his captain, conspired against him with fifty men of the people of Gilead, and struck him down in Samaria, in the citadel of the king's house with Argob and Arieh; he put him to death and reigned in his place …”

“Then Hoshea the son of Elah made a conspiracy against Pekah the son of Remaliah and struck him down and put him to death and reigned in his place …”

Ah, the kings of Israel. Their history is very much like that of all the idolatrous nations around them. Somebody gets the kingship, then somebody else murders him and takes over. And each one is as bad as the last.

“Meet the new boss, same as the old boss,” as Roger Daltrey famously intoned.

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Inbox: Something to Think About

A few days ago I watched a couple of men argue on social media about the so-called “slippery slope fallacy”. One said it isn’t really considered a formal fallacy and may be a legitimate concern in many instances; the other claimed it’s entirely specious.

That’s wrong. The slippery slope is very much a real thing, especially when you are dealing with the radical Left. Give an inch, and they will take a mile. Give them a Pride parade, they want same-sex marriage. Give them same-sex marriage and they want to adopt and raise kids in their own likeness.

After that they are coming for yours.

Monday, March 14, 2022

Anonymous Asks (188)

“Are you more likely to trust politicians who claim to be Christian?”

Some people are reluctant to claim to be Christians. Jordan Peterson has dodged the question for years, sometimes more adroitly than others, for reasons he explained in a recent video clip: “Who would have the audacity to claim that they believed in God if they examined the way they lived? Who would dare say that? To have the audacity to claim that means that you live it out fully, and that’s an unbearable task, in some sense.”

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Religion and Worldview

I rarely agree completely with anyone, and I doubt anyone ever completely agrees with me. Moreover, the longer we go on talking, the more likely we are to find points of disagreement with one another.

When IC and I comment here on what others have written, we usually try to quote just enough to allow the writer to fully and clearly make his point in his own words. The goal is to find the sweet spot between unfairly representing an argument and letting it overwhelm our commentary on it; after all, they have their platforms and we have ours.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Saving America

Personally, I don’t think America can be saved. As a Canadian, I think we’re toast too. I believe both those venerable entities are bound for history’s wood chipper. We are on borrowed time, enjoying the last dregs of the benefits conferred to us from previous generations. Our own generation’s lazy, haphazard defense of the blessings we have inherited has pretty much guaranteed they will not survive us.

That’s pretty negative. But don’t check out yet.

Friday, January 29, 2021

Too Hot to Handle: Abandoning Evangelicalism

In which our regular writers toss around subjects a little more volatile than usual.

Rachel Held Evans, who is post-evangelical herself, documents dissatisfaction among those she calls “defenders of the marginalized” in U.S. evangelical churches. In some quarters, it appears, the fact that so many of their fellow pew-occupiers voted for Donald Trump is not going down well.

Brandi Miller tweets, “I drafted my divorce papers with evangelicalism a long time ago. Tonight I serve them.” Glennon Melton asks, “Does a Love Warrior Go? YES. If that’s what her deepest wisdom tells her to do.”

Tom: What do you think, Immanuel Can? Imagine your fellow churchgoers voted for an immoral, bigoted incompetent with no regard for the dignity of women, as Rachel so delicately puts it. Something worth leaving your church over?

Friday, January 15, 2021

Too Hot to Handle: Will Science Survive Our Politicized Culture?

In which our regular writers toss around subjects a little more volatile than usual.

The Autumn 2016 edition of City Journal is home to a lengthy but remarkably even-handed piece entitled “The Real War on Science”, in which author John Tierney points out that it’s actually Progressives rather than right-wingers that are holding science back.

Tierney reveals that academia has become what he calls a “monoculture”, much like the media, that is in danger of losing public trust because so many scientists insist on mixing politics with their jobs.

Tom: We’ve documented this trend here a number of times, Immanuel Can. [Way too many times to link to, in fact; click “science” in the topic sidebar on our main page to view all our articles on the subject.]

Friday, August 28, 2020

Too Hot to Handle: The Peasants Are Revolting

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

The Least Worst Option

With Christmas over for another year, it’s time for the usual abrupt swerve.

Christianity Today’s December 19 online edition contains an editorial unambiguously entitled “Trump Should Be Removed from Office”, in which Mark Galli takes aim at the President of the United States. I managed to miss it until now. Adam Ford did not.

While Galli’s strong stand will surely generate serious pushback from more than a few of his readers (after all, the president won 81% of the evangelical vote in 2016), CT’s editor-in-chief had already announced his upcoming retirement early in 2020. Thus, it will fall to Galli’s successor to manage whatever fallout his political posturing may produce.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Immanentizing the Eschaton

Let’s get this out of the way right up front: when you hear that someone is trying to “immanentize the eschaton”, it’s simply educated jargon. It’s a more confusing way of claiming they are trying to bring on the end times. I expect it’s intended to leave us midwits scratching our heads in perplexity, but who knows? The accusation has been leveled against utopian secularists and evangelical Christians alike.

Most recently I found it in Infogalactic’s entry on Postmillennialism, which I was discussing in this space just the other day: “It [postmillennialism, especially reconstructionist postmillennialism] has been criticized by 20th century religious conservatives as an attempt to immanentize the eschaton.”

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Unhobbling Don Quixote’s Horse

In a couple of earlier posts this week I looked at some of the differences between the premillennial and amillennial schools of thought about Bible prophecy. You can find them here and here if you’re interested.

All beliefs about prophecy have practical implications of one sort or another, but the one most likely to ruffle feathers in the here-and-now, I think, is postmillennialism. That makes it worth chewing over a little.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

The Unbearable Heaviness of Individuality

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Patriots and Propagandists

The lack of historical perspective and context among the general public is not a new problem. It might be at an all-time high today, though I doubt it; the earthly powers-that-be always have practical reasons for sowing confusion, and the spiritual Powers-That-Be even more so.

But even if ahistoricism is not setting some kind of new record, many of us have a legitimate concern that the media narrative currently being pushed on us is profoundly out of step with reality. Labeling modern conservatives “Nazis”, for instance, is either naive or remarkably devious.

Either way, it is politically useful. Not accurate, but useful.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Getting Kavanaughed

We used to hear about getting “Borked”, but I think it’s about time to retire that one. Robert Bork’s abortive Supreme Court nomination hearing was so long ago that you’d be lucky if 5% of your audience has even the slightest idea what you’re talking about when you trot that one out.

We should probably refer to getting “Kavanaughed” instead. The process is exactly the same, after all. The more things change, the more they don’t.

As the late Teddy Kennedy put it in 1987: “Robert Bork’s America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens’ doors in midnight raids, schoolchildren could not be taught about evolution …”

Sound familiar? Thought so.

Friday, February 02, 2018

Too Hot to Handle: #MeNOT

In which our regular writers toss around subjects a little more volatile than usual.

Have you heard of the “Pence Rule”? The term comes from a 2002 interview of current American Vice-President Mike Pence in which he confirmed that he never eats alone with a woman other than his wife.

Tom: This idea didn’t originate with VP Pence. It has Christian roots. Way back in 1948, Billy Graham and team members George Beverly Shea, Cliff Barrows and Grady Wilson agreed to something called the “Modesto Manifesto”, which obligated each man on the Graham team to never be alone with a woman other than his wife.

Naturally, today’s media find the Pence Rule scandalous.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Inbox: Radical Pruning

A reader writes:

“Over the past year I had to do a radical pruning of my social media feeds and the time I spent looking at them … the constant barrage of complaints and call-outs from Christians and non-Christians worked up about some political / social / educational / economic / artistic outrage was exhausting. It was making me feel angry and disgusted with humanity, and not in a good or holy way.”

Hey, that’s honest. And taking practical steps to solve the problem, as this reader did, is an eminently more sensible solution than fuming about the world and being miserable.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Quote of the Day (35)

Photo: Adam Jacobs, under license
I’ve been promising to transcribe this and fisk it since I first came across it a few weeks ago, so here we go.

Jordan Peterson (for the three remaining people who haven’t heard of him) is a U of T professor who took a lot of flack late last year for adamantly refusing to use the made-up gender pronouns of the transgendered Left with his students. Since then, he’s been all over YouTube, and I’m not surprised. The number of Canadians willing to take a public stand in front of the daunting combo of the State, the State-owned media and the Progressivist lobby for things like morality, tradition or (God forbid) anything even remotely resembling Christian values is, well, microscopic.

The following exchange occurred in the question period after Peterson’s fourth lecture in his Old Testament series, which was NOT about abortion. Not at all.

Monday, June 19, 2017

This Would Be Why I Can Do Without Denominations

Wow, those Southern Baptists sure don’t waste any time.

Seems like the Alt-Right only really came to the attention of the mainstream for the first time back in September when Hillary Clinton gave her now-infamous “basket of deplorables” speech in New York City. Whether calling a significant number of Trump supporters racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic and Islamaphobic hurt the Clinton campaign is a matter of opinion; what isn’t debatable is that today the “deplorables” have their guy in the White House.

The Dems don’t.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Recommend-a-blog (23)

What political theology are you?

I’m a ‘Radical Anabaptist’, or at least so says Mere Orthodoxy’s political theology quiz.

Not sure quite what to think about that. I guess I’m glad to be a radical something. These days I think I’d be more insulted to be called a moderate. And while I dislike the implicit nod to infant baptism in the “Anabaptist” label, I am indeed a firm believer in baptizing believers only, as readers of my baptism series (left sidebar) will confirm, and glad to take a stand on that.

It seems a funny point of theology to fixate on, but I’ll take it ... I guess.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Lies That Sound Like Truth

It’s getting harder and harder to figure out what’s really going on, isn’t it? This week, I’ve tried to navigate my way through two very different propaganda minefields.

The first is a brief speech from President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin in which he lectures the West on its departure from Christian morality. Pure, ironic gold.

The second is an uncharacteristic opinion piece from the pen of Lefty billionaire and master manipulator George Soros, who usually lurks in the shadows behind paid political operatives when trying to tip the scales of American public opinion. But nobody flushed more money down the drain in November’s election than George Soros, and in this op-ed he purports to tell us why.

Both Putin and Soros assure us they are determined to save Western civilization — by precisely opposite means.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Show’s Over

It’s the devil’s show I’m talking about, not God’s. I mean this present world.

The fact that it is the devil — Satan, Lucifer, Abaddon, Beelzebub, the Serpent of Old — who is running the show here on earth is not well understood in or outside religious circles, possibly because so many have difficulty with the notion of personal evil. Social evil, sure. Patriarchal evil, definitely. We’ll even maybe sorta kinda acknowledge that once in a while there comes on the scene a man or woman so virulently depraved that even a bad upbringing, lack of education, racism or poor social conditions do not fully account for it. Who would blame Jeffrey Dahmer’s mother, after all?

But an invisible supernatural being pulling the strings behind the scenes? A bit of a stretch. For the source of all the bad news in this world, let’s look elsewhere.

Friday, December 02, 2016

Too Hot to Handle: Will Science Survive Our Politicized Culture?

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Rights and Freedoms

In the wake of the U.S. election, Crawford Paul muses on the role of the church in a democracy. Here’s his setup:

“The dilemma comes when the church, which is NOT a democracy, exists in a nation that IS a democracy. How does the church uphold a democracy that would ensure their right to follow the teachings of the Bible while at the same time grant rights to those who contradict the Scriptures?

Hmm. I agree with much of what Crawford says in his piece, but I have a very different take on a few of his assumptions.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Too Hot to Handle: The Trump Years

In which our regular writers toss around subjects a little more volatile than usual.

Anybody bristling at the thought of one more word about last week’s U.S. election is advised to turn back here. But I promise this two-parter is absolutely our final discussion of the subject for a while — at least until President Trump actually assumes office and does something worthy of commentary.

Assuming, of course, we are allowed to comment.

Monday, November 07, 2016

Quote of the Day (26)

I have great appreciation for people who stick to the sola scriptura principle; people who are willing to go to the wall for what they believe the Bible teaches. It shows sincerity and courage, qualities that are most admirable.

But what do you do when, year after year after year, the facts on the ground stubbornly refuse to conform to your theological schema, a system of thought you are convinced is entirely scriptural?

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

The Race Card

It’s on, ladies and gentlemen. The bell has rung, and the Gospel Coalition smackdown is underway.

In one corner we have respected theologian Wayne Grudem telling American Christians they should vote for Donald Trump. In the other, respected theologian Thabiti Anyabwile insists they should vote for Hillary Clinton. Meanwhile, out on the ring apron, respected theologian Douglas Wilson is explaining the rules of engagement to both parties while recommending Americans vote for neither candidate.

He’s also being called a racist on Twitter for the crime of daring to disagree with a black man, but we should be used to that by now.

Wow. This part is almost more fun than the actual election.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Too Hot to Handle: The Peasants Are Revolting

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Friday, February 05, 2016

Too Hot to Handle: What Is Progress?

In which our regular writers toss around subjects a little more volatile than usual.

Donald Trump’s popularity is hugely alarming to the political left, whose agenda is often called “progressive”.

In the last couple of years Democrats have had much of their policy wish list implemented by presidential fiat to almost no resistance from the largest Republican majority in Congress since the late 1920s. Crickets.

All this social “progress” is rendered precarious by the specter of a Trump presidency. Trump has tweeted things like, “If elected, I will undo all of Obama’s executive orders”, posing an existential threat to the dream of the “just society” that lies at the heart of progressivism. Thus Carlos Lozada of The Washington Post can argue that Trump is a throwback; that he appeals to what Lozada calls the “stone-age brain”.

Monday, October 20, 2014

The First Amendment, Harassment and Leftist Overreach

The other day, Qman brought up the ongoing news story about subpoenas served on five pastors of Houston churches for their position on … well, we’re not sure now exactly. The City is evidently fishing for something:
“The city of Houston has issued subpoenas demanding a group of pastors turn over any sermons dealing with homosexuality, gender identity or Annise Parker, the city’s first openly lesbian mayor. And those ministers who fail to comply could be held in contempt of court.”
“Homosexuality, gender identity or Annise Parker” cuts a fairly broad swath, but Fox News is already calling it a “war over religious liberty”. Five specific pastors have been named and are collectively represented by Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a law firm that specializes in cases to do with religious liberty.

Friday, April 04, 2014

Culture, Politics and Christianity

I’ve been asking myself lately where my loyalties really lie.

Christendom is part of the cultural mainstream. That is not news to anyone. That Darren Aronofsky’s Noah, at a cost of something in the neighbourhood of $130,000,000, would get released at all in 2014 is evidence that Hollywood thinks there are plenty of Christianized or at least vaguely Christian-influenced pockets out there to be picked.

(No, this is not going to turn into a movie review. Matt Walsh and Ben Shapiro have done such fine jobs eviscerating the movie that I wouldn’t take a crack at Noah even if I’d bothered to see it. Think three words: “Perversely pagan mess”. That should about do it.)

And of course, in addition to cross-pollinating with popular culture, we have our own “vibrant” Christian subculture going on. We have our own fiction writers, our own music, t-shirts, bumper stickers, and now even our own films.

They’ve infected us. We’ve (kinda) infected them, at least to some degree. We’ve become mercantile. And they’ve become aware that we’re a market, and they’re not so uncompromisingly leftist (yet) that they’re willing to let a buck pass without grabbing their share.

In this miasma of kinda-sorta Christendom that doesn’t seem a whole lot like the first century church in the book of Acts — at least not by any spiritual metric I can easily locate — one wonders what exactly the Lord would have to say about us, assuming we’d stop to listen.