The IM Saturday Monks Brunch: July 18, 2020
• • •
Rest in peace, J.I. Packer
From Regent College…
“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.” Psalm 116:15 ESV
It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Dr. J.I. Packer, a treasured faculty member, author, churchman, and friend.
James Innell Packer died July 17th in Vancouver, British Columbia. He was ninety-three, and humorous, gracious, and prayerful even in his final days.
One of the most widely-respected systematic theologians of the twentieth century, Jim drew his inspiration primarily from Scripture, but was deeply influenced by the works of John Calvin and the English Puritans. Jim brought seventeenth-century Puritan devotion to life for his twentieth- and twenty-first-century students. While named as one of the 25 Most Influential Evangelicals by Time Magazine in 2005 and author of one of the best-selling Christian books of all time, Knowing God, Jim Packer’s description of himself was as an “adult catechist.” “Theology, friends, is doxology” is a phrase students recall, and in many respects, the adage that shaped his lengthy career.
…As an author, Jim wrote forty-seven books, including Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God (1961), Knowing God (1973), Keep in Step with the Spirit (1984), A Quest for Godliness: The Puritan Vision of the Christian Life (1994), and Weakness Is the Way (2013). His final work, The Heritage of Anglican Theology, will appear in 2021. He co-authored nineteen others. Editors repeatedly observed that Jim was clear, factual, and humble—meticulous in proofreading his own work. He was an editor at Christianity Today for more than thirty years, and General Editor of The English Standard Version of the Bible, a role he considered one of his greatest contributions to the global church.
…Jim loved jazz, trains, and mystery novels. Locomotives were a lifelong fascination; he said trains (along with trees and waterfalls) evoked “his longing for the transcendent.” He could quote verbatim as easily from Dostoevsky’s Brothers Karamazov as Charles Williams’s The Place of the Lion. He was witty and quick to see humour; he made fun of himself but never others. He cautioned his students to expect rigour in his classes, quipping “Packer by name, packer by nature.”
When he was writing daily, Jim wrote 2000 words (on his treasured manual typewriter) before breakfast. When asked if he wanted a dictionary loaded onto his iPad (a device he used as his eyesight deteriorated), he smiled sheepishly and admitted, “Well, I haven’t needed one so far.”
For all his accolades and accomplishments, Jim’s focus was always, always, on Christ. He said the Book of Common Prayer‘s Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer services at the beginning and end of each day, often arising at 4 am to do so. Even recovering from a broken pelvis in his last year, he would sink to his knees to pray preceding the Eucharist.
Matthew Paul Turner’s big (and difficult) news…
Dear friends, I have difficult news to share. After much thought, prayer, and counseling, Jessica and I have made the decision to end our marriage. While we’re best friends and thoroughly love doing life, parenting, and pursuing our dreams together, ending our marriage is necessary because I am gay.
Being gay isn’t a new discovery for me. However, as someone who spent 30+ years in fundamentalist/evangelical churches, exploring God through conservative theologies, I’ve lived many days overwhelmed by fear, shame, and self-hatred. Though my own faith evolved long ago to become LGBTQ+ affirming, my journey toward recognizing, accepting and embracing myself took much longer. But for the first time in my life, despite the sadness and grief I’m feeling right now, I can say with confidence that I’m ready to embrace freedom, hope, and God as a gay man.
I would not be able to say that without Jessica’s undying grace and support. I fell in love with her 17 years ago and still love her deeply. Despite her own grief and pain, she has loved and encouraged me to be fully me. Many of the steps I’ve taken recently wouldn’t have happened without Jessica walking beside me, helping me through every fear. Jessica is and will always be my hero. She’s brave, strong and showcases love like nobody I know.
Our utmost desire is to move forward in love and compassion for each other and put the well-being of our kids first. Coming out to my kids was one of the hardest, most beautiful things I’ve ever done. Loving and protecting their stories will always be our first priority.
I will continue to write children’s books and am grateful for the support of my publisher Convergent Books. Writing books about wholeness, hope, and God’s love for children is an honor and privilege I do not take for granted.
That said, we ask that you be kind and respectful toward us.
Throughout these hard months, Jessica and I have looked at each other many times and said, “we’re going to be okay.” And on most days, we fully believe that. Please keep us in your thoughts, prayers as we engage this new path.
Hidden Blessings of the Pandemic
From the Babylon Bee…
U.S.—Regular VBS volunteers across the country are enjoying their most peaceful summer in years, sources confirmed Friday.
The people who usually volunteer at their church’s VBS for some reason thanked the Lord for even a single year of respite. Not having to make fifty gallons of punch a day, prepare hundreds of little cups of Goldfish crackers, and make their fingers bleed by helping kids glue together macaroni Jesuses for a week, they instead are spending their time resting, relaxing, and thanking God for His grace.
“While the pandemic is definitely bad, the silver lining is we don’t have to endure a week of mind-searing insanity,” said Sarah Pateo of Albuquerque. “I am well-rested. I haven’t had a mental breakdown while trying to create a pipe-cleaner Jonah. And I don’t have those infernal songs stuck inside my head.”
“So I’m NOT saying that the pandemic is good — but I am saying God works in mysterious ways,” she concluded as she relaxed with a book and an ice-cold lemonade that may or may not have had vodka in it.
At publishing time, the nation’s regular VBS volunteers had admitted that “it’s kinda crazy, but I actually do miss it a little bit.”
Church social distancing, with good humor…
Pandemic as Sabbath?
What if you thought of it
as the Jews consider the Sabbath—
the most sacred of times?
Cease from travel.
Cease from buying and selling.
Give up, just for now,
on trying to make the world
different than it is.
Sing. Pray. Touch only those
to whom you commit your life.
And when your body has become still,
reach out with your heart.
Know that we are connected
in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.
(You could hardly deny it now.)
Know that our lives
are in one another’s hands.
(Surely, that has come clear.)
Do not reach out your hands.
Reach out your heart.
Reach out your words.
Reach out all the tendrils
of compassion that move, invisibly,
where we cannot touch.
Promise this world your love—
for better or for worse,
in sickness and in health,
so long as we all shall live.
• Lynn Ungar
One thing is clear: “E Pluribus Unum” we ain’t…
Here is what I’ve been thinking lately — “I live in the wrong country for this kind of problem.” The United States is just too big, too complex, too decentralized, and too marked by zealous forms of individualism, libertarianism, and a partisan political spirit to deal adequately with a pandemic like the one we’re facing now.
In my opinion, the STUPIDEST conflict we are reading about and dealing with is the fight that is going on with regard to wearing masks.
People, it’s as much of a no-brainer as I can think of. And please don’t try to convince me otherwise. It’s the most commonsense, simple and helpful protection we can all do to help ourselves and others stay safe from the droplets we expel from our mouths and noses when we exhale, talk, and otherwise move air from our lungs. It’s not about your personal freedoms being abridged any more than “No shirt, no shoes, no service” is. It’s simple courtesy, respect for others, and a good sensible and healthy practice.
“We can only beat this virus if we are united as one, not divided by ideology or politics. I wear a mask to protect you and you wear a mask to protect me. It is simple as that.” (Gov. Cuomo, New York)
Of course, if you must wear a mask, but really, really don’t like it, you can always get one of these —
And then, of course, there is THIS to consider…
More Church Social Distancing…
Finally, a little lift for all those feeling burdened today…
224 thoughts on “The IM Saturday Monks Brunch: July 18, 2020”
Oh yes. THAT Rev Jim. [thumbs up]
Remember when we watched TV at a specific time?
*divorce has not been nearly as devastating
I do too.
My parent’s divorce ended the devastation of Mum being married to a severe alcoholic & gave us kids a chance at normality.
My own marriage, which legally ended just 20 days ago, has also not been nearly as devastating as our marriage was. I have survived the divorce but could not have taken any more of the marriage.
it’s true it’s not pleasant, & can be unnecessarily hard if the other partner wants to continue an abusive marriage or use the divorce as a way to exert control. I now know many divorced Christians, some of whom have divorced paedophiles, rapists & violent narcissists, & for them being divorced is a doddle compared to the marriage.
Culturally they were coerced into it though, because the prevailing Christian culture at the time (he alludes to how much his views have changed) stopped him from coming out properly as a gay man, & therefore not marrying a straight woman. I wonder if she knew, & if she did, if she’d have gone through with it? I know I wouldn’t.
And whilst marriage is more than a sexual union, it is also not less than that, being considered the only legitimate place for any human being to express their sexuality. And thinking that a marriage which is innately incompatible on this level is somehow going to be just fine is dubious. Many marriages become sexless due to age or illness or abuse, but going into one with a key component compromised like this is not advisable, due to human nature & normal human need. Most people in sexless marriages don’t want them to be that way.
“Especially when the devastating nature of divorce isn’t taken seriously…
I reject that universal typification.
Nope, never lived in Nova Scotia, but would have loved to visit there in my youth.
My husband and I honeymooned in Montreal, so that beautiful city will always be dear to me and even all those years ago, it was a shining modern international city. I’m very proud of my Canadian roots, you bet.
Yes. This. Trump is a coward who associates with dictators because he wants to be one of them. It’s our job to stop him in November, or the consequences for the country will be dire.
Actually MA has a Republican governor. Charlie Baker.
I think Lewis wrote those Dwarves to illustrate the concept of “Invincible Ignorance” or re-iterate the point of no return he illustrated in The Great Divorce.
Though nowadays it becomes such a GREAT image of the Grand Unified Conspiracy Mindset (“Worldview” in Christianese) and how it can pinch you off from outside reality.
HUG, I wanted to ask, but was embarrassed. You cannot make this stuff up.
What does “Cis” mean these days?
I know it as an astronomical term for “between”, like “Cislunar Space” being the area between the Earth and the Moon’s orbit.
That’s some mind-bending imagery.
Only question is — Chuck-e-Cheese or Five Nights at Freddy’s?
Result: They got screwed, and not in the way they expected.
(Funny how the same idiom can mean “having sex with” and “doing dirt to”…)
And when the evidence came in, the church’s response was standard: Double Down And Scream Louder.
That is NOT a Photoshop job.
That is an Actual Presidential Twitter Selfie.
Don’t forget “a FANATICAL Base”…
Maybe having one colony (13 actually) succeed in a breakaway influenced the British Empire to wake up and administer its other colonies to avoid driving them away.
Every culture needs its Mythic Stories and Mythic Heroes. If it doesn’t have them (or loses them, or deconstructs them), they will make their own — Marvel Superheroes, Paris Hilton, Charlie Sheen, Kim Kardashian, Donald Trump…
Just like Putin’s covops in Crimea.
“Washington is Ours.”
— Vladimir Putin, Tsar and Autocrat of all Russia, upon being informed of the 2016 US election results
In Christian Nationalism (which both Professor Fea and Eagle write about) THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE. Christian(TM) and Patriot(TM) are one and the same, including the Can You Top This One-Upmanship.
Try mapping that to some of the variants where the Pied Piper is either a personification of Death (as in a Totentanz imagery) or the Devil himself (“Pied”/multicolored clothing associated with Satan for some reason).
Not just “the anointed of God” (In JFJ Hebrew, ha-Moshiyah; sound familiar?) but God Himself, O Come Let Us Adore Him. (You think that’s an exaggeration? Take a look at Wondering Eagle’s main troll, the Bible-quoting Trump fanatic camping out on the blog to react within minutes to any hint of blasphemy — “I Give Donald Trump Praise and Adoration”, “There are too many Disloyal Americans.”)
Martin Mull, Fred Willard… comic geniuses!
No, I didn’t mean that Rev Jim. If you didn’t already, click on the red highlighted link, and you’ll see who I mean. He likely could’ve used some donations back in the day, but probably didn’t receive any. He’s a much better preacher.
Oh. I’m familiar with him. (Assuming you mean Baker.) He has some of our family money. My father would not let my mother send him money while he was alive. But after he died we think she sent him somewhere between $10K and $50K.
Well “had” might be a better word. I suspect it was spend long ago.
And then there was the Reverend Jim — also “utterly over the top”, in a very different way, but not quite satirical.
A flashback to a different time:
4 minute clip from Fernwood tonight.
For those of us alive in the 70s the satire is utterly over the top.
Then there’s this.
I’ve saved this, if only for a parody. I also like Goya, but we can get the store brand for a while.
Oh, I know we use it, I’m in an ECLA church too, and before that we used it in the Episcopal church, and before that in the Roman Catholic Church, but do we all mean the same thing when we use it, the same thing as each other, as the Roman Catholic Church, or as the Eastern Orthodox Churches? I don’t think so. The understandings of catholicity may all overlap —- although I’m not even sure about that — but there are areas of the different churches understanding of it that do not overlap.
Christiane, was it you who used to live in Nova Scotia and could tell when it was closing time at local pubs because people would break out in song with an Eric Bogle tune? Either Barrett’s Privateers or The Mary Ellen Carter.
I’ve only been to Montreal a couple of times but would love to return. Very modern, clean and international. Once was in the winter (never again for that) and the last time was only for one day in summer (we were returning from Burlington VT) and we stayed at a B&B run by a Jewish man from Brooklyn and his Japanese wife Mariko. They recommended a Greek restaurant around the corner, and there was a Bolivian band playing on the street. Very diverse and very cool.
a revisionist history of the creation of American football
Make sure you watch that episode of “Little House on the Prairie” that explains it all.
Fun little memory here: “The Band” reatured in the music video, got their start as Ronnie Hawkins and the Hawks in 1958. That lasted until 1964. They next teamed up with Bob Dylan starting in 1965.
By the late 1990s Ronnie Hawkins had fallen on some hard times. He lived just north of Peterborough Ontario, just a few miles from where I had grown up. They decided to turn their house into a bed and breakfast at the time that my parents and I were looking for rendezvous half way between our respective homes at the time. The Hawkins’ bed and breakfast fit the bill and I believe we were the first guests in 1998.
Ronnie had hosted the John Lennon and Yoko Ono at his home in 1969 on the world peace tour. Wondering if I had shared the same bedroom as John and Yoko, I discovered much to my chagrin that the Hawkins had moved to Peterborough in 1970. So, no.
Still, it was amazing to see all the memorabilia in their living room. He was friends with all kinds of celebrities, and had a special relationship with Bill Clinton, for whom he performed at the inaugural ball.
Ronnie Hawkins was also known for performing the “moonwalk”, long before Michael Jackson took it to another level. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y3WXLDluxCM
They sold their house in 2017 and are living out their retirement in Florida.
TED, my father was from St. Armand, Quebec. I love Canada, particularly the city of Montreal.
The family settled in New England, primarily in the area around Mt. Tom and in Pioneer Valley and also along the Mohawk Trail. I’ve loved that part of the country since I was a child.
So many good memories of my father’s family, of the beautiful memere and the ‘pepere with the wooden leg’ and all the aunts, each with their own gifts of cooking and sewing and creativity and making homes that were ‘warm’ and comforting.
So different from my Southern mother’s people who were more ‘formal’ and distant in the ways that they interacted with one another. Like another world.
BTW, thank you for your great comment to me yesterday and I hope you enjoy the music of Karen Matheson. Something about my family: they seek out the sea one way or the other and I think it is in the family DNA. 🙂
I’m pretty sure the Autocorrect Demon is simply another aspect of Titivillus, the patron demon of scribal error:
The common acronym DYAC (Damn You Auto Correct) is remarkably appropriate.
Cuomo of New York seems to know what he’s doing, and NY is well on the downhill side. How many states do you think willl adopt NY’s reopening checks and processes, or is this yet another “NO! MY WAY! YOU CAN’T MAKE ME!” except “Every State For Itself” instead of “Every Man for Himself!” or “The Dwarfs are for The Dwarfs!”
Back on Dr John Campbell’s YouTube videolog, his contacts in South Africa say the plan there is to “dig one million mass graves”.
But I like Goya, and now I’m going to have to cancel them.
My county’s Health Dept head had to resign because of the avalanche of death threats when she tried to put in a mandatory mask order. “YOU CAN’T MAKE ME! FREEDOM!!!”
So it’s Every Man for Himself — local businesses put in their own “No Mask, No Come In” and immediately became targets. Though that’s now a moot point because we just went back to full Lockdown. “Indefinitely”.
The new fight (besides masks) is the school reopenings; it’s at the county level so each county’s doing it different.
And Goya Beans is the new Loyalty Test.
Latest US news:
Yet another One-Day Record for new COVID cases, surpassing yesterday’s one-day record (which surpassed the day before’s one-day record which surpassed the day before’s…). 75,000 a day (and tomorrow’s will be 80,000).
My state has returned to total lockdown. Indefinitely(TM).
Now I need to figure out how to get my next round of doctor’s appointments (including a blood draw) without being infected. I already postponed them all once figuring that we’d be on the downhill side of the first wave by now, but never underestimate the power of “YOU CAN’T MAKE ME!!!!!”
Yeah, I don’t see that the “first wave” has finished anywhere in the U.S. at this point, except maybe in NYC. As you said, if schools here in PA reopen in September, we will be swamped with coronavirus.
The high-speed Cat Ferry was supposed to begin service again this summer between Bar Harbor and Yarmouth (it got killed back in 2009 with the bank crash) but this time around Covid killed it. Let us know when you come through the area.
Having heard how brutal the annulment process can be in some dioceses is one thing that prevented my wife and I from seeking reception for her, and reconciliation for me, as members of the RCC, which at times we had considered. The idea of her having to go through a potentially severely traumatic reopening of the bitter issues that led to the dissolution of her first short-lived marriage were just too daunting to even risk.
Ted, about NS and Maine: so I’ve heard! You’re not alone in that view.
It’s very intriguing, although i don’t know if I’ll ever be able to go and see for myself. Would love to, though.
There are other perspectives.
One of the most interesting bits of assigned reading that i got when i was in my 1st college-level history class was an annotated diary by a Loyalist who lived in or near Boston.
That kind of thing can turn one’s world upside down!
I think there were many good MPs at the time, and we are the only country that seceded. Funny thing about that…. i wonder why everyone else was somehow able to work things out and stay under British rule?
I don’t have any answers to that question, and obviously, it’s different for every former colony that dates back that far. But the victors are the ones who get to write history in the immediate aftermath of regime change or other major event.
There’s no single right answer here. There are many perspectives. In this country, we have wilfully suppressed the stories of Loyalists. That’s deliberate. And…. it’s wrong. We only tell the parts of the founding mythology that suit us. If that wasn’t the case, there would have been no Parson Weems to fabricate phony stories about Washington, the cherry tree, and “I cannot tell a lie.” Weems came up with a book’s-worth of them!
it would not be ‘out of place’ to someday seeing a statue of John Robert Lewis in the Capitol building of our nation, no.
I think he served with everything he had to give with his whole heart and remained a humble man respected by everyone in the House and in the Senate.
as for the American people, we won’t see someone like him again in our time.
His life calls to us to be honored in some way in the United States Capitol. I hope it will be. We can be proud of him and express our nation’s gratitude by honoring his efforts to make this a better country for all of us.
Yeah, but even we now use the phrase “one holy, catholic, and apostolic church” in the Nicene Creed. (“We” being ELCA Lutherans.)
There have been some big changes since the 1980s. That’s one of them.
And nah, disagreements over sacraments vs. sacramentals + beliefs about what’s going on in the bread and wine will always be with us, as long as this planet is still inhabited by humans.
I often wonder how God views these things, b/c regardless of what one believes or doesn’t believe regarding the specifics, the reality of what IS is far beyond our capacity to either grasp or effect.
Me, I’m an “in, with and under” woman per what goes on in communion – like the heat that infuses a piece of metal held in the flames of a forge, so is communion. Luther used that example (with a horseshoe, iirc, but?) and it seems pretty apt to me.
wow, these people would follow Trump to their deaths, some might;
but what I can’t get is that I see Trump as the Pied-piper of Hamlin, lining all our nation’s public school children up to follow him into the schools that are not prepared to handle covid-19 realities;
and for some of these children, their parents will allow this to happen because they ‘trust in HIM whom they see as the annointed of God’
and the children will go . . . and . . .
the story of the children of Hamlin is a fairy-tale, but our ‘get the schools open now’ is a brutal act of unconscionable ill-will against our nation’s children;
and for the sake of the trumpists here, we CAN verify that PRIVATE schools of the trumpist wealthy will be taking all needed precautions so THEIR children will remain safe from the disease that threatens harm.
a ‘story’ out of Grimm’s Faery Tales? Nope, it seems that it is based on some historical events according to this site:
now to me the story seems a premonition of some present dystopian reality we are seeing unfold in real time that threatens those we would hold most dear
what to give to Trump to call off the children returning to unsafe schools OR ELSE?
strange days, these, when the nation’s children are fodder for one man’s re-election hopes, but there it is.
Only *one* day??!!!!
I won’t post what I’m thinking. It would be deleted, and with good reason.
So…. as i find myself saying a lot these days: my God.
Assuming there is an election in November.
“President for Life — we really need to try that here.”
— Donald J Trump
I wouldn’t judge too much, because many of these men (and women) came too late to understand what was their situation with a sexual identity;
and their poor spouses trusted that all was well, when of course, it was not and the gay spouse was conflicted emotionally and physically;
yet people married, and made families with children who were loved and who loved BOTH of their parents and when, in time, the gay spouse could not ‘continue’ in good faith, there was a time when they might speak out publicly and attempt to ‘make it all right for themselves’;
but there’s the problem: other immediate family members are involved who love the gay person and the gay person loves them;
and IT IS A HUMAN TRAGEDY for that family, and sometimes for the ‘faith’ of the gay person. as was the case of the very sad story of the father of Elizabeth Smart, when Ed Smart came ‘out’ and he and his wife divorced, AND he left his Mormon faith . . . .
I’m not going to throw stones because it IS a great sadness for this family with six beautiful children, and already with grand-children. And they have already been through so much trauma with Elizabeth’s ordeal, that the suffering would just be compounded and that somehow seems wrong to me.
No stones here, just sad for them, especially for Lois Smart whose life has seemed so impacted by tragedy and YET, Elizabeth was found,
so there is some Providential mercy shown.
What do people do? I’m for staying if it is ‘possible’, sure. But we cannot understand what other people are going through, so judging doesn’t seem the right thing to do either.
So sad for all involved, yes. Stones thrown won’t help this kind of tragedy, no.
Hasty in my condemnation, Klasie? I’m sure they’re going through a tough time. Is doing it on public media going to help do you think?
+1 Correct, this suggestion asks them to not be what they are. Sure, if we can somehow Undefine evangelicalism the problem over time dissipates.
Well Sean, since you’re not in that marriage, you cannot possibly know what it’s like.
End of story.
But hey… let the one who is without sin be the 1st to throw a stone.
That’s all I’m saying.
Norma – very much agreed.
I somehow think that wouldn’t help me much, Eeyore. I’m just a bad typist. 🙂
Klasie, thanks f9r this c9mment. It’s much appreciated!
Robert – yep.
Although I hate to think of anyone having to go through the annulment process. It’s brutal, in conservative dioceses especially.
I used to know a woman whose 1st husband was extremely abusive. The diocese, which was exceptionally conservative, refused to grant an annulment. She and her 2nd husband were married in an Orthodox church as a direct result of this.
Because it was SO freaking pervasive in the evangelical world p, starting in the lzte 80s.
A couple of any background that *chooses* to marry, even though one spouse is gay/lebian/etc. is a whole different sutuation.
I am attempting to get across to you that there was and still is a crisis within evangelical circles d7e to the powerful influence of viewing non-hetero people as deviant and morally compromised + ex-gay claims that orientation change is possible.
There still are ex-gay ministries operating, even after Exodus International, which was the worldwide umbrella organization for them, closed down.
I am *not* talking about hypothetical coupkes who are un ither circumstances entirely.
Please read my upthread comments for context.
I am not really planning to repky to you again. I said pretty much everything i have to say far upthread.
But… you can easily Google a few search terms and find people’s actual stories.
Since MPT and his wife are from fundy/evangelical backgrounds, this is more relevant to what they’re going through than you seem willing to accept.
That’s fine. Go ask people who’ve been through it themselves, please.
HUG, nobody is “over the first wave,” per Dr. Fauci.
We were doing well here in PA, until bars and restaurants were reopened with indoor seating. They closed all bars again earlier this week.
I fear, though, that we’re losing everything we gained during the 1st 2 phases of lockdown.
Schools are supposedly going to open as usual, which will, if it happens, be utterly disatrous. There’s no way at all that this will spur anything other than a super-pandemic, as there are really NO strategies or substantive changes in place to reduce transmission.
* is, like me…
Robert, Gov. Newsome didn’t make masks mandatory.
I think, though don’t know, that that is a huge reason for the surge in cases. Also,bars being open. People do stupid things and take stupid risks when they drink.
Btw, d3fiance of mask laws is rife in my part of PA. I’m having to strategize re. groceries, since no stores here do delivery or curbside pickup. Everyone who might normally be able to help us, like me, over 60. So no go.
I think where denominations might run into disagreement is in what the catholicity in catholic doxology includes and doesn’t include.
Ted, I’ve been thinking a lot about my trips to Quebec City (when i was in HS) and am wishing i could go there or to Montreal and just *live.* ( i don’t qualify, on any of the important criteria, or i might have gone in 2017…)
I have friends whomdid emigrate, and i am *so* glad they were able to qualify. It’s a lot less fraught for them, which is marvelous for their kids especially (the whole reason they left).
Rick, is that about the cats with the red hats being at war with the cats with blue hats?
Yes! For us Lutherans, too. (Really, any denomination where the Eucharist is central, i think.)
In the UK.
Gah, forgot that part!
9/11 was the excuse for all kinds of evil. The official reinstatement of torture is just one of many hirrific things done in reaction to people’s fear and hatred.
The hatred – open and palpable – for Muslims was also expressed in pretty vehement ways on 9/11 and after. A friend’s sister got spat on while she was grocery shopping, and called a murderer and a devil. The attacker was a white woman. My friends are Sudanese Arabs.
I tried, very respectfully, to point out to a couple of my family members on Facebook that they were being foolish in propagating the latest memes forwarded by “friends” by giving them actual facts. They took offense. And sadly, I recently had to put those family members on ignore for my own mental health. I have been feeling much better since I no longer read what they are posting. I may renew the ignore after it expires in 30 days if they keep this up.
One of those family members insisted on forwarding to me all these things she got in Messenger. I asked her politely to stop doing that. Two days ago, she sent another one – so I blocked her messages in Messenger too.
If these family members don’t change their actions in the next few months, I will be forced to remove them as friends on Facebook. Since my profile is very locked down that means they will have no way to contact me on it. I know that will cause hurt feelings but unless they can start acting like adults and not willful children, I don’t think I have a choice if I want to maintain my mental health.
By the way, I swiped the face masks graphic and am going to post it on Facebook for my friends. That illustrates what I have been trying to tell them in a particularly understandable manner.
I miss Canada. We used to go there a lot right after the girls got out of school in June. Nova Scotia is more like Maine than Maine is, and somehow that makes it exotic. But I really like Quebec, and this year, after a 14 year hiatus, our girls (now in their 30s or knocking on the door of it) gave us a few nights’ stay in a B&B in the old city, but with the covid-thingy that all got canceled. Maybe next year? IS there a next year?
We’ve chatted about George Washington and Thomas Jefferson a bit. Now, over there in Canada those guys were already not heroes. Strangely, Benedict Arnold is.
Unfortunately, George III and his cronies were in no mood for compromise. I once read an article in American Heritage magazine that George, his incompetent advisors, and the stubborn Tories in Parliament, were the true heroes of the American Revolution, for without their tireless contributions the rebellion would have failed.
This was in answer to Burro.
An interesting take!
I would say that the Reformation didn’t make it worse, it just shifted the locus.
I have had some very interesting conversations in this regard, especially as to my views on marriage and sex. There was a debate on a Stoic forum once where a few of the men accused me of putting sex on a pedestal. Funnily enough, none of the women said that.
They seem to delight in that kind of cruelty, believing all the while that it’s also sanctioned by the Almighty.
If non-violent consensual sex was that big of a deal to God, he’d have done better to make it no more enjoyable or sought after than getting the wheat and barley crop in.
Eventually, but I am currently in discussions with a publisher about a different book entirely, a revisionist history of the creation of American football. If that pans out, that will absorb my attention for the next year or so.
What messed California up, HUG? As I remember, CA started the lock down early and extensively, and seemed to do pretty well in the first months, yet is getting hit hard now. What went wrong?
Could have been worse.
Could have typoed/autocorrected to “pubic oath”.
If only I could lay the blame at the feet of Autocorrect…
Take a look at the curves over time NY State must be doing something right; they are mostly over the first wave. They’re even reporting days with NO COVID-related deaths.
And they’ve had to close their borders to keep it that way. If you fly in to NY, you go into quarantine and/or have to give contact tracking information on your whereabouts. NY and the NE states do NOT want those refrigerated trailers to return to hospital loading docks.
Yes indeed. We are having mature disagreements Deep discussion. Nuance is examined. This is how it should be.
Just like whether Calvary Chapel (or similar not-a-denominations) are just a loose association of Independent fellowships or a single denomination:
Independent fellowships with no higher organization when that is to their advantage, single juggernaut marching in lockstwp when that is to their advantage. “Disperse for defense, Concentrate to attack” meets full Plausible Deniability.
But back then the anti-maskers didn’t have enough Critical Mass to dominate.
And/or we had enough grown-ups in charge.
I think we need to do a communal ritual of Casting Out the Demon of Autocorrect. 😛
And American Evangelicals still worship him.
“By this time, there could hardly have been a citizen in Rome who did not long for the death of Caligula… but for these Germans [barbarians of his personal bodyguard] he was the most glorious hero the world had ever known. And if he dressed as a woman, or galloped suddenly away from his army on the march, or made Caesonia appear naked before them and boasted of her beauty, or burned down his villa at Herculaneum… this inexplicable sort of behavior only made him more worthy of their worship as a divine being. They would nod wisely to each other and say “Yes, the Gods are like that.”
— Robert Graves, I, Claudius
They’ve always been lurking there – 9/11 was just an accelerant.
Explainable by the mind game of “Tough Guy”, where a small/weak man sucks up to REAL Tough Guys like Gangsters or Foreign Dictators.
“SEE? THEY TOUGH! ME TOUGH TOO! SEE? SEE? SEE?”
(In the words of a Brit writer, “A bully until he encounters [bigger tougher] bullies, at which point he becomes a sniveling sidekick”.)
Sex not only makes people stupid, it makes Christians crazy.
In the Reformation Wars, Married or Single (especially regarding Clergy) became the Litmus Test of “WHOSE SIDE ARE YOU ON?????”
Just like mask-wearing in the Age of COVID, 500 years later.
Based on the idea that a Straight Christian Marriage would automatically and supernaturally make them straight.
Much like the “just Get Laid, that will Solve All Your Problems” advice thrust upon me during my college days (when virginity was the new leprosy).
Indeed. Thanks, Robert. And thank God for the good example in living life as a Christian that Packer showed in so many ways.
You seem to be stuck on the stories of people who were pushed, forced, coerced, or otherwise manipulated into these marriages.
I know those situations exist and I’m not discrediting them. But it’s not what I’m referring to because it doesn’t seem to be the case according to MPTs statement.
You have personal/anecdotal stories, and so do I. Mine have to do with people who have come out later in life and left a trail of devastation in the life of their family. Celebrated by many while doing so. And in one or two cases, eventually tried to come back to the marriage once the self-fulfillment phase had run its course.
Some of these instances involved people of faith, and some didn’t. But the actual victims were hardly ever validated.
It seems like we are just going to talk past each other because of our different experiences.
Being a CHRISITAN author, make that “certain HIGHLY UNREALISTIC public expectations”.
Like Uber-CHRISTIAN(TM) Utter Perfection as a minimum.
Also, as one who has somehow survived being part of more than one highly authoritarian and abusive church, I’ll just say that a great many American American Christians view what I’m calling abusive as *very* Chrstlike. You know, “hate the sin, but love the sinner ” and all that.
Few churches in this countru were willing to lift a finger to help AIDS patients back in the 80s and 90s, but man, were they quick to heap opprobrium on every gay man dying of AIDS!
Frankly, we were unChristlike to the very core in that. Me, too, in my attitudes and total inaction.
:It was also interesting to read how FDR put people in key positions WHO KNEW WHAT THEY WERE DOING regardless of whether he liked them or not. Good leadership.”
It is a good thing that Hitler was a military idiot. Had he listened to his generals the outcome could have been quite different. FDR by contrast did listen. Imagine a leader without good advisors or any ability to listen to others, thinking he has all wisdom within himself.
I don’t think we’re hearing just echoes in hear today. I hear disagreement and discussion.
Take a public oath.
Typos are due to tiny phone keyboard. My apologies!
Ex-gay ministries. Coercion from churches.
I used to know someone whose minister demanded that she rake a public iath in frint if the entire congregation to stay celibate all her life, unless she married a man
Seems awfully damned abusive to ne!
Actually, i am, based on it being perceived as both emotionally and physically abusive to many who were pushed into such marriages by the now discredited ex-gay movement.
You see, i was a big straight supporter of that movement at one time, and i know people for whom this was and is true.
I left other replies upthread. You may find them to be of some interest. I’m not speaking in the abstract.
“Detention centers. “Camos” = autocorrect.
Err, one exception re. FDR: the internment of Japanese Americans, seizure and sale of their homes and businesses.
This was also done to the Aleurs and other Native Americans who lived in the Aleutians – the excuse was that a tiny habdful of Japanese soldiers (less than 10) landed, somehow, at the very farthest west part of the Aleutian chain.
So of course the Native peoples were blamed – scapegoating people feels great to those who do it.
I found out about this – the Alaska thing – 3 years ago. It came up in a novel set in Alaska. I found plenty of info., too.
I’m an Institutional Incremental/Non-Revolutionary Leftist, so that puts me in pragmatic alliance with many Progressives; so I know the feeling.
I had never heard of him either until today, so I looked him up on Google. Odd that the search results exploded after his announcement in comparison to prior to his announcement. I guess the powers that be expect us to devote a lot of time and energy to this. I’m just going to let it alone now.
And thank you. I missed part of your 1st reply, somehow.
David – yes to your entire comment.
And again I’ll say, as I did last week, that while living in echo chambers isn’t necessarily good for individual or community growth, it sure is nice to eat a Saturday morning brunch in relative peace!
Are you making the case that all mixed orientation marriages are flat out abusive? Because that is a dangerous generalization.
Or that MPTs marriage was specifically abusive? Because I didn’t see that in his statement.
OK, I’m relieved!
Not least because i was pretty angry when i wrote my 1st reply, the very general one.
It is, i know from my own life, far too easy to make assumptions about ither folks and their lives. That + religion can bempretty toxic, as well as, when handled right, life-giving. Having been in both circumstances, i know which one i vastly prefer.
The painful irony is that i couldn’t even begin to see which was which until i was booted by a very authoritarian evangelical church.
Coercion of any kind is fundamentally (pun intended) abusive and anti-Christian. Fully agreed there.
What I am reacting to is the expanding culture of “I’m different than when we got married so now it’s time for divorce and self-discovery” that is often celebrated in Christian circles.
I see MPT’s statement as closer to the latter than the former.
Gotta love our current POTUS, don’t ya?!?! First, he says he’ll let the states govern themselves and figure out how to handle Covid, but then when he doesn’t like the way they’re doing things, he’ll jump on ’em and handle it for them!
What a guy! (sarcasm off)
Sean, but it *is* absive by deafault, though not in the sense of domestic violence.
Abuse comes in many forms. And too much of the Church Universal is very practiced at abusive behavior – not talking about sexual abuse here.
Emotional abuse is just as devastating as all the other kinds. And in gay-straight marriages, there’s a kind of intrinsic sexual abuse as well. One spouse truly cannot fulfill the “with my body i thee worship” part of their marriage vows. And it’s abusive to both parties. There often is other emotional abuse and domestic violence.
The harm starts early in people’s lives, when their churches tell them that they are both defective and “disordered” in their being, and that if they ever act on their true emotional and physical affi ities, they’re going to hell, full stop.
It’s SO cruel. It is abusive, by any definition you’d care to name.
PS – I was going to add that we would be well-served by understanding, really understanding, the Jewish, Buddhist, Islamic, and Hindu views of marriage. This is not something unique to Christians.
Sean – thanks for this. I’ve known a number of people who were somehow coerced into mixed-orientation marriages by ex-gay “ministries,” and know *of* many more.
It’s horrible and extremely cruel to all concerned. And the straight spouses are 85-90% women, so there’s that as well.
It is abusive to both parties.
And the kids…. my God. It’s horrible.
Sex is a twelve-acre pond full of alligators that the Church has yet to drain. Once again we’re dealing with the caboose rather than the engine, and it shows. If your view of marriage is [as a Christian] one of “hurray! legal sex!” [overheard at a Presbyterian wedding], then, yeah, objection to same sex marriage founders because after all, everyone has a ‘right’ to the sexual Nirvana our culture promises us.
I am open to correction on this, especially from David and Klasie, but I think that the Reformation’s denigration of ‘monkery’ eventually did more damage than good. It exalted the married state and made it default in Christendom. In a way it opened the door for our present discontent, where the orgasm rather than the blessed Sacrament is the institutional means of theosis. This isn’t to say there wasn’t any sex in the monasteries. Traditionally, there has always been a lot of homosex (and heterosex) going on in the monasteries. It surprised nobody and nobody ever called for it for be rooted out by fire and pogrom. Just the traditional process of confession and repentance.
I’m going to assume that Matt and Jessica have settled their issues in an adult, Christ-honoring way. A local pastor whom I knew in college did much the same thing recently. He was gayer than a goose in college, albeit deeply in denial. He came out at 58 and his wife left. All the Assemblies of God in his area condemned him, but he handled it very well, mostly telling them to mind their own business and tend their own gardens. He is still in ministry. I know nothing of his sex life.
The Church has yet to weigh in on a couple of urgent questions. The first and most basic is ‘What is sex for?’ Especially now that technology has decoupled it from reproduction, does that mean that we have carte-blanche to turn it into an adult Chuck-E-Cheese? The second question is like unto it ‘How does our sexual dimorphism as a species reflect the image of God?’ I think the late St John Paul II was trying to get a handle on this when he was taken from us.
Abuse is an altogether different circumstance, obviously. I made no reference to it and I’m not even close to putting marriage on a fetish level.
I’m commenting on a scenario where the two parties classified THEMSELVES as best friends.
I’m glad you made it out of a toxic situation. But bringing up an abusive marriage in this specific conversation is a red herring that is frankly insulting.
Well Ted, in many ways, we were that.
The kind of American “history” that too often gets spoon-fed to us us like a Western: colonists wore white hats, Brits wore black.
No war is that simplistic. We committed atrocities, too.
It’s hard to hear and hard to accept. But you’re right.
I really wish – especially since 2016 – that we had stuck it out and fought via parliamentary debate and with words alone.
We would be in far better shape in pretty much every way if we had.
Apologies for typos. Phone keyboard is no fun.
thatotherjean – yes. It has been happening to people for longer, those who are either undocumented or who were, byt were still seized (sometimes shot and killed) on the streets and in their own homes by both IFE and CBP.
Did anyone *realkt* think this could only happen to someone else? DJT worship dictators, from Putin to Erdogan tomDuterte.
He was always going to do these things. He wanted a widespread round up and imprsonment if journalistsnin Feb. 2017. It was a headline story in the NYT and the WPost.
His relentless Twitter attacks on the press, which were stepped up in 2018 dye to accurate reporting in “detention camos” and family separations, have never ceased and have sound3d especially unhinged since George Ffloy was murdered.
I posted this last week (I believe); an excerpt from the great Brit series “Red Dwarf,” season 1, episode “Waiting for God”…
HOLLY: “And the righteous in the second ark flew ever onward, knowing they were indeed righteous.”
LISTER: This is terrible. Holy wars. Killing. They’re just using religion as an excuse to be extremely crappy to each other.
Robert, for me, 9/11 changed life, and not in a good way.
I lived near the Pentagon – and also had Muslim friends, neighbors and business associates. A fair number of them emigrated and came to the US fleeing repressive punitive, authoritarian regimes (politically, that is – the entire Middle East is like that, also the Arabic-speaking N. African countries).
Life changed for them and every other Muslim here on that day. It changed for many Sikhs as well. I’m sure you and others know that Sikh men were murdered, on both the West Coast and hmm… Texas, maybe? Because Sikh men wear turbans,
There were 2 restaurants in DC at the time that featured food from Afghanistan, both owned and operated by refugees from that country. They got horrible phone calls – constant death threats.
In one case, a 5 y.o. child answered the phone and the caller said what they had bern planning to say to an adult.
So yeah, America changed forever that day. Just not necessarily for white Christians. I will just add that things that are happening now started – i firmly believe- then.
–> “…but neither was it the tidal wave of constant unwavering selfless patriotism we have nostalgically painted it as.”
Yes. This was a surprising nugget I learned from the 1942 book as well. I think it was probably close to 90% unified front, but clearly there were some “you’re infringing on the way I want to live.”
It was also interesting to read how FDR put people in key positions WHO KNEW WHAT THEY WERE DOING regardless of whether he liked them or not. Good leadership.
We’re fine. Not beating myself up, just want to make sure that anyone who may have been hurt by my several comments earlier in the day has a chance to seeing and reading my apology and retraction.
–> “Who was it who pointed out that governing is like sex?”
I was going to say that if that was the case, then you’d think our current POTUS — given his previously documented shenanigans — would be good at governing, but maybe he DOES govern like he has sex…?
I wrote about it here
Yet, strict as the Roman Catholic Church is about the indissolubility of marriage, annulment is allowed in certain circumstances, including severe premarital psychological trauma that makes it impossible for the person to give full consent to the marriage vows. Isn’t it reasonable to think that such circumstances exist among those who have been raised in Christian subculture that forced theme to deny their sexual identity, and pretend they were someone they weren’t, since childhood?
Dude, you’re cool. 🙂
Much love to you and your wife. You are one of a handful of people big enough to think and apologize.
Are we good?
Don’t, don’t, don’t beat yourself up. One mea culpa was sufficient!
I was in an abusive marriage. I got out – but probably well more than a decade after I should have, precisely because of the idea that I will give the kids more security (turns out in the end they were the ones encouraging me to leave- and take them with me). Staying lead to a lot more devastation than leaving. Leaving led to healing. So while a life long marriage is a wonderful ideal, let’s not make a fetish out of it to the point of perpetuating misery and abuse.
I texted my pastor when he was on vacation once, and my phone autocorrected from this: “How’s the trip going?” to…
Yes, we had a great laugh over that one!
Robert – thank you. You’re a good guy. 🙂
I havevto admit that i sometimes feel uncomfortable here, since so few commenters are women, or Black + other POC, or openly LGBTQ+.
And you know, when i went through some hortible family crises in the mid-00s, the people who gave me THE most support were lesbians from evangelical backgrounds. They understood what being rejected by their nearest and dearest is like.
One of the women in question was literally out on the side of the road, suitcase in hand, within 15 minutes of telling her daughter and son-in-law the truth about her sexual orientation.
She had just moved over halfway across the country and literally had nowhere else to go.
These women were kind enough to admit me tomtheir forum as a straight ally.
They gave me so much.
The story above isn’t, sad to say, atypical 9n many religious circles, of all faiths.
I know that the dynamics of mixed-orientation marriages are complicated, complex, sensitive, and nuanced. I want to trust that those who make the decision to end marriages around this issue have worked hard at attempting to find a different way forward before coming to that decision.
But I push back at the commenters above who put all of the blame squarely on the fundamentalist pulpit.
“Til death do us part” can really mean something, especially for followers of Jesus. Especially in difficult circumstances. Especially when the devastating nature of divorce isn’t taken seriously (whether both parties are agreeable to it or not).
The “they deserve to be with someone who wants them” is a bullish*t trope. A bumper sticker platitude. Good marriages are made of different stuff, and best friendship can be part of that stuff, as can giving kids the security of parents who have a lasting partnership.
Fundamentalism sucks. But this is part of the other side of the coin. This is self-fulfilling progressive American Christendom.
He is a public figure; a writer of children’s books. Perhaps he does over explain. But it sounds to me as if he and his wife have been through a titanic struggle. The pain they both feel is beyond explanation. I have no trouble believing that they truly love each other, perhaps at a level that some straight people cannot understand.
Will staying married make it better for both of them? Will it make them more approved in the eyes of God and the Church? It’s really easy for us as outsiders to sit back and make judgement on how they are handling this. Should they have done this? Or rather not have done that?
I promise you that they both torn hearts. Personally I don’t feel like adding to their burden with any kind of judgement. They will stand before God just like the rest of us.
I was always cold when i was yoounger, and for a long time, i lived in places where heavy clothes are a winter necessity.
Nobody in those areas looks askance, b/c they get it. To nit “get it” is an oxymoron, kind of, in blizzardy climes.
Robert – it’s OK.
Don’t beat yoursekf up!
I’m sorry if i came across in a way that hurt you.
The thing is, the people I’ve known…. they all suffered there are things they all really regret about the ill-advised marriages they wrre in. It hurts kids, too. A LOT.
I’m not saying this to castigate you or anyone else. Just please stop and think – all of you – about how this might actually be IRL.
There are plenty of people who have bern in such marriages who can tell you honestly. They’re always there to help others in the same horrible predicaments.
The church – all of it, the Church Universal – has done and is doing incalculable harm to people who are not straight, cisgender individuals.
Hell, I’m a straight, cus woman and *I’ve* gotten it for things like wearing wool sweaters with flannel shirts in the winter. They literally saw that as me being some kind of butch lesbian. And i did ferl like there was something seriously wrong with me- although i could have easily pointed out that these clothes were actually *women’s * styles from LL Bean and Land’s End. I didn’t , b/c they didn’t have sny right to attack me for trying to stay *warm.*
But the end result was that i felt ashamed, as if God could not love me.
Yes, I should have a grasp of it. I apologize again to anyone whom my comments hurt. I was really holding them to a kind of standard I don’t hold myself to, and without knowing the personal aspect of their lives or story. David’s and Klasie’s comments were the truly Christian ones, and yours numo.
Robert, since you were raised in the RCC, i believe you have a very good grasp of a Catholic version of this kind of condemnation of others – you have written of your own fears re. Hell due to the religion of your earlier life.
You know what? It’s NOT “self-fullfilment” in the way you all think it is.
He and every other LGBTQ+ person from his religious background had heard how freaking evil they are – that they’re an abomination to God and man – for their entire lives.
If by self-fulfillment you mean that MPT and others like him are loved by God as they are and for who they are and don’t have to try to make themsekves straight by martying a straight spouse and inflicting ALL KINDS of pain as a result, well then, yes – it’s a good thing.
Let them live their lives without throwing rocks at them. Please. Peoples’ mental, emotional and physical well-beung is at stake here.
Quit piling on, for the love of God!
I spoke in ignorance and without sufficient thoughtfulness. I apologize to any my words may have hurt.
You are right, numo. I apologize if my words on this matter were hurtful to any readers. I’m sorry.
Robert, in love – please stop attacking him. It’s just not right.
You guys are doing the very thing he and his wife hsve bern anticipating. I’m sure they’re getting incredibly toxic blog comments, emails, texts and phone calls.
Please just don’t do it.
I wrote a reply that ended up way downthread about the peop,e i have known who were pretty much coerced by various ex-gay ministries to marry straight spouses. It’s pretty heartbreaking stuff, except for those who can live without major aspects of marriage. “With my body i thee worship” is just NOT a reality in these marriages, especially for the straight spouses, who are primarily women.
Klasie – YES
My reply to those of you who think this is a terrible thing ended up way downthread.
Please, for the love of all that is good, read it.
None of you appear to know anyone who has been through what MPT and his wife are going through. I have and do.
You don’t understand what’s at stake for the straight spouses in particular.
Pushed by (and on)….
Wow – you guys have obviously NOT been around the gay-straight marriages that were pushed by (on on) people seeking help from now-discredited “ex-gay ministries.”
It is a cruel thing. It is, to both parties, especially the straight spouse, who is usually a woman,
Please don’t get all up in arms about something you clearly do NOT understand.
MPT loves his wife, but there are major dimensions missing fir her, unless she is fine with an entirely platonic relationship. The same is true fir him as well.
I know people who’ve been in “mixed orientation” marriages personally, and i know OF many, many others.
If you have questions, i suggest that you ask them of people like Carol Bolz, whose ex, Ray Bolz (CCM singer) is gay. They split up b/c it was best for all concerned.
I honestly am very tired of all you straight white men pontificating about things of which you know *absolutely NOTHING,*
Yeah, I’m angry. Don’t trash these people. Try to understand what’s at stake here and what they’re going through instead.
You all (no dusresoect to our RC posters) sound like a self-appointed Magisterium.
” Individuals have to be protected from the society as well as by it. This is the main reason I continue to value liberalism with its emphasis on the rights of the individual above more communitarian visions of social and political existence.”
THIS. I am an introverted nerd, and cannot be anything but an ideological liberal. The built-in tendency in communitarianism to run roughshod over the marginalized is a complete non-starter for me.
‘The best option for the future is that conservatives begin to come to terms with the realities of sexual orientation and to make sure their children understand this early in life.”
Much of evangelical conservatism exists to reject and deny the very thing you want them to adopt.
I know this personally from my own life and that of others near me. Individuals have to be protected from the society as well as by it. This is the main reason I continue to value liberalism with its emphasis on the rights of the individual above more communitarian visions of social and political existence. I now regret having voiced criticism of this matter. I did need correction; thanks for providing it, Klasie.
Auto-correct, like atomic bombs and selfie sticks, is one of the worst pieces of technology ever invented by the human race.
Thanks Adam for the clarification and correction. I do get them mixed up-mashed together at times. I guess I fancy myself a progressive…maybe because I hear the word “leftist” used so often as a weaponized pejorative. But in my heart of hearts and even though I tend to be an individualist, I want to be less individualistic, self-fulfillment… so maybe I am a leftist? 🙂 (much to the horror of my more right-leaning family/friends!)
One thing that Ken Burns’ series on WWII brought to my attention was that, by the time 1945 rolled around, many Americans were tiring of the draft, the rationing, and the incessant pressures of the war. It never reached any kind of tipping point, of course, but neither was it the tidal wave of constant unwavering selfless patriotism we have nostalgically painted it as.
It already happened in DC, in the early days of protests over the death of George Floyd. And now in Oregon. We are sinking fast into Banana Republic territory, and letting Trump get away with it. Although how, with the Republican Senate and the DOJ not so much as turning a hair over it, we’re going to stop it, except by voting them out in November, I don’t see. Governors and Mayors need to raise a ruckus.
“ Trump hasn’t a clue how to lead.“
Understatement of the day!
“You or a loved one”
I haven’t found this season to be Sabbath either. Partly it’s because I’m still working, thank God. (I work at a health care facility and survived two rounds of layoffs.) Nor have I fond this to be a sweet season either; the senior pastor used that terminology in response to the results of a recent congregational survey. (He must not have read my response.)
Spiritually, this season has been difficult for me but nonetheless productive. I’ve been using it as a time for self-examination and dealing with some issues in my life, kind of like an extended Lenten season. I’ve read a couple of books I wished I’d read when I was a younger man; maybe I wouldn’t have made some of the mistakes I’ve made along the way. I’m also trying to undo the legalism driven into me as a younger Christian, legalism which eventually turned into rebellion in a few areas. I turn 61 this fall; may I make much better use of the remaining years the Lord grants me.
Read this online:
From our Law Firm
“If you were a loved one has been refused entry into a private business for not wearing a mask and you would like to explore legal options to protect your constitutional rights, our law firm is happy to explain just how fu%#*ng stupid you are.”
Quibble: “I think it’s the Achilles heel of the secular left side”, Perhaps of the Secular Progressive side, certainly not of the Secular Left side. You aren’t going to get any “self-fulfillment” bilge from a Leftists. Progressive and Left are two very distinct camps [in real life, perhaps not online – where everyone just calls themselves whatever they like without bothering to having read the foundational texts].
Progressiveness retains Liberalism’s focus on the Individual; the Left does not.
I very much agree with you, David.
To the point of “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him (Job 13:15)”?
“BEWARE THOU OF THE MUTANT.”
i.e. No longwinded Self-Fulfillment Justification.
(Which you hear everywhere these days — “I Gotta Be MEEEEEEEE!” translated into twelve-syllable psychobabble)
The current occupant of the White House is ordering flags to be flown at half-staff for John Lewis–but only for today. No word yet on lying-in-state. Although it’s customary, it’s not a good idea right now.
Who was it who pointed out that governing is like sex? If you think it’s bad thing you probably aren’t going to be very good at it.
I heard J.I. Packer speak about 10 or 11 years ago. Though he was on in years, his mind was clear and he presented his teaching with authority. If I remember correctly, he didn’t retire until a few years ago when blindness resulting from macular degeneration forced him to leave public life. RIP.
He is a public personality (author) who has to be in the public eye, and, since he is a christian author, has to face certain public expectations. Therefore he had to address the issue publicly. Not that something that I would ever wish to do (since I find happiness in my introversion), but let’s not get too hasty in the condemnation.
Same with the London Blitz: The government’s incompetence, and the people who complained about having to switch lights out, and the massive, massive crime spree that occurred are seldom talked about. The mythology about that time has, ironically, become a tool in the hand of, you guess it, right-wing nationalists. History is supremely weird…
As someone who had never heard of these folks before a few minutes ago I find myself both wishing them well and wondering how much time and energy I’m expected to devote to consideration of their plight? Are they seeking some kind of public validation? Protecting their brand? Next time I make some serious life decision I’ll make sure they get a copy of the video.
As others said, this is the result of fundamentalism. Of the Church’s persecution of otherness. As someone that went through divorce, not this kind mind you, I understand – the real culprit here is the toxicity from pulpits. I would never judge an individual who have gone through all that, if they want respite and joy. And few things are as connected to our fundamental biological being than sexuality. That is also why I think one should be very, very careful to criticize in these matters. Much is hidden and private, and will rightly remain so.
(A comment that has no relation to this comment.)
Richard, I’m fascinated by your research on baseball terminology. I assume that will some day be a book…?
Add that to “if I had a time machine” to-do list.
> After saying this, what alternative would you suggest?
A *MUCH* shorter statement. A statement of the event, an expression of grief/sorrow, and stop.
Indeed, the quantity one plus root five over two…
The ideal ratio of the human and the divine…
Because leadership requires actual understanding of the issues and the ability to think and plan ahead. And he is utterly incapable of thinking beyond the latest twitter cycle.
If only we had had better generals in the Revolutionary and 1812 wars… 😛
I had a cassette tape of that MacArthur/Sproul/Kennedy ragefest back in the day. Back then, I agreed with it. Now, I can only thank God I no longer think that way.
I would say those ultimately are all leadership failings at some level. In general, people tend to do what we see our leaders doing (and getting away with).
–> “Masks: Let us be blunt. The problem is not that the US is large or decentralized. It is one of leadership.”
Whole-heartedly agree. This was prime-time for President Trump to take charge, get experts in the room, and unify. Instead, he cast doubts, ignored experts, made it all about himself, then said, “Let the states figure it out.”
I still have Trump supporters who said he did the right thing in handing response to the states (“We are a Federalist nation, after all!”), only to then complain about how our governor has handled things. Idiots. This should’ve been a top-down, “Here’s what we’re going to do” response that unified all parties and peoples.
Trump hasn’t a clue how to lead.
The Canadians didn’t break with Britain. Somehow they considered “unum” with the Empire a thing to hang onto.
I get my mind twisted around when I go into marine museums in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island and discover that we were the bad guys. I feel like I’m in a parallel universe.
Yes. And I recently finished a book about the year 1942 (“1942: The Year that Doomed the Axis”… great book) and even THEN, when FDR was trying to focus all our American energy and materiel on the war effort, you had a smattering of people complaining about the stuff they could no longer do: get new tires for the auto, go on vacations, ration their meat, salt, sugar, etc. Nothing like today’s divisiveness, but it did exist even back then.
J.I. Packer was also one of the signatories of Evangelicals and Catholics Together (ECT) back in the 90s, along with Richard John Neuhaus and Charles Colson. This was deemed too ecumenical for others, such as John MacArthur, R.C. Sproul and D. James Kennedy, and there was a kerfuffle. A backlash. Harsh words were spoken.
But when the pandemic came along, he made the decision not to kill off his own constituents. This is the absolutely lowest bar one can imagine a political leader having to get over, but many Republican leaders can’t manage it. In effect, Hogan decided to act like a Democratic governor for the duration.
I don’t think it’s the time for partisan chest-beating. The top death rates (per 100k population) are New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Washington, DC. Not a Republican governor (or mayor, in the case of DC) among them. Any while Maryland is just outside the top 10 for worst death rate their rate is more than double states like Florida, South Carolina and Alabama. Maryland’s rate is almost 5x that of Tennessee and Arkansas.
All of this may change, of course, given current trends. I wear a mask in public and am glad that most municipalities in my southern state are mandating it. It’s not a big ask. Most people I see are complying although there are exceptions. Hopefully these small measures will yield benefits.
“rather than relating what is happening to Christian themes such as sin, death, repentance, reconciliation,and resurrection.”
Hard to argue with this. We’d rather hear a sermon about “how to have a Christian budget” or “hot Christian sex.” But all the themes you mention relate to every aspect of our lives, even more than budget or sex. And are to a great extent ignored by conservatives and liberals. Maybe I’m wrong because I really don’t follow current preaching or teaching trends.
I do hope you’re right about them lacking the resources to do it on a widespread basis. I certainly don’t have faith that there would be adequate resistance from within the ranks of the military if they did, however. Ultimately, whatever scraps their training may throw to personal responsibility, soldiers and law enforcement officers are taught to obey orders, and when second-guessing themselves — and they will always second-guess themselves because of the power differential between them and their commanding officers — will almost always defer to rank rather than the legality of the order given.
We came over here to get away from the ‘unum’ in the Auld Strand. Someone once said that Americans could be explained as ‘the twitchy ones who wouldn’t settle down’.
Doesn’t explain the Canadians, though.
All good points, David. What rankles me is the public relations spin that emanates from stories like this one when they involve people with high public profile, whether those people are heterosexual or gay, but even more the rhetoric of self-actualization and self-fulfillment that they endorse even when the people involved are Christian. It reinforces the general Americanization of Christianity in this country, which is already pervasive and perhaps indeed irreversible, rather than relating what is happening to Christian themes such as sin, death, repentance, reconciliation,and resurrection.
i.e. Pelvic Issues and “I GOT MINE!”
After this, “Christian” will only mean “Trump Worshipper” to me. Forever.
With the Christians cheering him on all the way.
“Who Is Like Unto The Trump? Who Can Stand Against Him? He Is LORD!”
Quite a few seem more willing to part with basic Christian goodwill than they are their “patriotism”.
And don’t forget decades of rhetoric on the evangelical/right media, constantly denegrating secular science, governmental authority, and anyone not explicitly advocating for traditional sexual values and laissez faire economics.
Again, totally agree with this, “And the things being revealed and uncovered are about myself and others, American society in its entirety, how much I and we have taken for granted with an obliviousness and presumption that is mind-boggling in retrospect.”
And it’s easy to point the worst of our culture in others, but then I pull up and yeah, it’s in me too… May God help us through it and if we survive, to be better humans on the other side. (It’s my strong opinion, that in order for that to happen, “americanism” must be repented of and turned away from… apologies to patriots, but this american “culture”, may have to go…)
I agree generally. But there were anti-maskers in the Spanish Flu pandemic 100 years ago too. There’s something about that American spirit that resists the “Unum.”
Call me trad., but I’m with you Robert. The “self-fulfillment” fetish is one reason I’m stuck and will probably stay towards the middle of the spectrum. I think it’s the Achilles heel of the secular left side… I’m all for the socialist, the communitarian, the pacifist, the conserve-nature/be better stewards, the stay-out-of-people’s-bedrooms, the anti-racist aspects, etc but sometimes the I-must-have “self-fulfillment” actually wars against all those other good things…
I see your point too, Adam, particular the “nauseating thing is the we-still-love-each-other-and-are-BFFs thing. Yeah, we’re being honest here, sure.”
Don’t know if that makes any sense. this is a complex issue for me and I’m conflicted sometimes although I would lean towards Robert’s sentiment, unless there’s abuse/extreme dysfunction etc.
Stott not story.
JIP was one of the first modern theologians I seriously read and interacted with (along with John Story).
They’ve been telling each other lies for so long that they no longer have any sense of truth or reality. (Insert HUG’s stock quotation from “The Last Battle” re: the Dwarves here…)
“Honestly, all these terribly kind divorce statements [how many have we had in the last 2 years?], the most nauseating thing is the we-still-love-each-other-and-are-BFFs thing. Yeah, we’re being honest here, sure.”
After saying this, what alternative would you suggest? If you or anyone else can come up with a good answer, I’d love to hear it. The best answer would have been for the gay spouse to have recognized when he was a young person, that he (or she) was gay, born that way, and could never change, thus cancelling out the possibility of a heterosexual marriage. But having grown up in a fundamentalist or evangelical family, to admit such a thing as a young person is almost impossible. Most gay people aren’t that different from straight people. They want a family. They want to be loved. They do not want to be different. Many have the idea that if they just act straight, they will become straight. So they fall in love, get married, have children — and then much their astonishment, they are still gay. Thus there is a fundamental ingongruity that will begin to reveal itself in myriad ways.
The best option for the future is that conservatives begin to come to terms with the realities of sexual orientation and to make sure their children understand this early in life.
. . . and then this guy, Jesus, comes along and messes with the equation: infusing both with the orthopraxy of love.
> It’s also an education system
Nah. Don’t blame the education system for Bad Parenting.
> at this point it’s easy to imagine it spreading across the U.S
America is **HUGE**, I doubt they have the resources to pull that off if they wanted to.
Also not certain that the guards everywhere would comply. Issuing an order which is openly defied would be a huge black-eye; and I wonder how soon that will happen (although it is clear now that our military leadership is a crew of hand-wringing cowards – hardly the courageous men of principle they play at being)
I find it interesting they chose Portland for this nonsense, not The Bay, or New York, or Boston or somewhere with *BIG* political heft. But a 2nd tier place they knew they would not risk a single seat in any chamber for busting into.
> Is it possible for public figures to just admit a failure without prettying it up
That is extremely rare.
> “Self-fulfillment” doesn’t feel like a good excuse
Yeah, I assume this is all marketing pablum to try to protect and re-orient his brand. These statements – and we’ve had so many in recent times – are deeply sad.
> imagine being his wife and going through 17 years of marriage never really sure if you’re
> physically desirable or not
This. My sympathies are for her. It is gross that their culture created this situation.
> Imagine the pressure they’ve probably both been under to “fake it” when the world is watching
Agree. That becomes progressively more agonizing with time. Especially when your whole shtick is pitching a particular culture; if you have a soul that has to begin to burn.
Which could mark him as evangelical in spirit, or traditionally catholic. There is overlap in those areas between those two types of Christianity.
Right now the federal government is using heavily armed agents with no badges or other identification in battle fatigues and full face coverings to break up ongoing protests in Portland OR, and against the request of the local authorities. This is real banana republic stuff, and at this point it’s easy to imagine it spreading across the U.S. Give Trump this inch, and he’ll take a mile.
I appreciated Packer back in my Calvinista days. He was intelligent and prolific. However, he broke with main line Anglicanism over the queer issues and also, if I remember correctly, over female ordination.
All true. I guess I find the pretty window dressing that this Christian blogger (is he known and does he have a public profile outsider the blogosphere? I’ve never heard of him before, and so have no familiarity with his level of celebrity) put on the affair tiresome, and supportive of American cultural rather than Christian values and habits. Is it possible for public figures to just admit a failure without prettying it up, and just move on? This seems to be a major deficiency in American culture and American Christianity.
It’s not just a problem of leadership. It’s a culture that for decades has focused on turning us all into perpetual adolescents, always looking for comfort and convenience and short-term benefit. If everyone is acting like a child, that’s great for the economy – people will buy things they can’t afford, taking on debt that enriches the banks. But it’s bad news when a pandemic comes along.
It’s also an education system that has failed to prepare people to think critically or understand science, so that a lot of people have trouble deciding whether they should trust the scientist telling them to wear a mask or the friend on Facebook saying the virus is a hoax or the email forward saying you can prevent the virus by spraying your whole body down with Lysol.
I tend to have the same reaction. “Self-fulfillment” doesn’t feel like a good excuse for ending a marriage. But it’s possible that the real reasons go a lot deeper than that but are harder for them to articulate.
For example, imagine being his wife and going through 17 years of marriage never really sure if you’re physically desirable or not. Or imagine the agony he might feel from caring about his wife and wanting to offer her the best and not being able to. Imagine the pressure they’ve probably both been under to “fake it” when the world is watching, and what that pressure might do to you. There are few things as harmful to our spiritual life as having to put all our energy into displaying a mask for the world.
He did want “to pick a fight, and win a war” — a civil war.
I think our friend Dana would heartily agree with that saying, and say that it is in fact the heart of Eastern Orthodoxy, not systematic theology but catholic doxology.
Exactly. If the president wanted to pick a fight, and to win a war, he could have found one in covid-19. He could have mobilized Americans against this enemy, united us against the disease, and presented the wearing of masks, and of social distancing, as acts of patriotism.
“Theology, friends, is doxology.” We should all keep it that simple.
I’ve discovered that friends and relatives think science is a global conspiracy and Covid-19 is a hoax.
If I’m not a Trump supporter I can’t be a Christian.
There’s a global pedophilia ring organized by high level Democrats in the US and if I vote for any Democrat I’m supporting pedophilia.
I’m dumb. (disagreeing with utter nonsense)
I’m gullible. (believing facts over nonsense)
I’m condescending (pointing out factual errors)
Trump never lies.
And all of this is a war that MUST BE WON.
And on and on and on …
And the rest of the planet thinks the US is rapidly going insane and needs to be disengaged from.
And there’s more but …
I can’t see how things get back to any normal (pick any definition of such) in less than a generation.
I do agree with that. If it gives his wife the opportunity to be in relationship with someone who’s willing to actually commit himself to her, then it’s the best outcome possible outcome. But to typify all this as somehow a triumph of self-fulfillment, rather than the failure of a marriage to due to the “pursuit of happiness”, is a little nauseating to me. In our culture, this narrative of triumphant self-fulfillment is not getting old, but already way past expiration date.
Masks: Let us be blunt. The problem is not that the US is large or decentralized. It is one of leadership. Had the administration believed its own experts and acted accordingly from the start, we would not have idiots refusing to wear masks. This is demonstrated by the example of Maryland, where I live. This is a very blue state, but with a Republican governor, Larry Hogan. Up to the pandemic, he was mostly a faithful Trumpist, but he really fits more into the Mitt Romney niche. (Watch for him: I predict a run for president in 2024 on that basis.) But when the pandemic came along, he made the decision not to kill off his own constituents. This is the absolutely lowest bar one can imagine a political leader having to get over, but many Republican leaders can’t manage it. In effect, Hogan decided to act like a Democratic governor for the duration. I’m not a fan of the guy, but in fairness he has done very well.
Now jump to my county. While Maryland is a blue state, I live in a red county. Everyone wears masks. When I go out shopping, I don’t see anyone without one. There was some pushback at first, but not much. Now there is hardly even any grumbling. Why not? Because the state leadership has presented a consistent message, and with a Republican governor giving this message, even the Republicans are willing to buy in.
Now imagine this on a national scale, had the president back in March begun appearing in public consistently wearing a mask.
I am reading a book from 1969, “Writing Rackets,” about sketchy correspondence writing courses and vanity publishers. We still have both today, though in updated forms. One chapter is on the “Christian Writers Institute.” The chapter is an interesting cultural artifact. This was before White American Evangelical Protestants convinced the general culture that “Christian” and “White American Evangelical Protestant” mean the same thing. The author of the book (the son-in-law of Jascha Heifetz, the classical violinist–go figure) clearly thinks of “Christian” writing in terms of denominational magazines dating to the 19th century. There is no particular reason a sketchy correspondence school could aim at Presbyterians and Methodists interested in writing inspiration blather for their magazines, and at first I took this at face value. But going along, there were clues that this was an Evangelical (which by this time meant Fundamentalist) grift, such as a mention in passing of Wheaton. One of the “benefits” of enrollment was a subscription to “Christian Life” magazine. Upon investigation, the same guy published the magazine and ran the correspondence school. Christian Life eventually merged into Charisma, this being a part of the integration of the Pentecostals into the Evangelical camp. The Christian Writers Institute had been founded in 1945 and is still around today.
The moral, I guess, is that while the rise of modern White American Evangelical Protestantism dates from the 1970s, many of the institutions underpinning it are older, including the sketchy grifty ones.
> I essentially agree with you Robert.
Same. Purity-Culture Evangelicalism and Divorce is just yet another of their moral head-stands. It illustrates, again, how Evangelicalism has no model of human relationships or sexuality for anyone after the age of ~25; it rapidly loses interest in people as they enter into full adult-hood.
> “self-fulfillment” is pursuing a relationship with another man
More charitably: it releases her to be in a relationship with someone who actually wants to be with her. It is hard to be against that.
Honestly, all these terribly kind divorce statements [how many have we had in the last 2 years?], the most nauseating thing is the we-still-love-each-other-and-are-BFFs thing. Yeah, we’re being honest here, sure. They read with all the authenticity of a employee lay-off notice after a corporate merger: you are so valued and appreciated,, yada yada, and please clean out your desk.
> The United States is just too big, too complex, too decentralized, and too marked by zealous
> forms of individualism, libertarianism
This pandemic is only a highlighter, we’ve been more quietly failing at important, basic, things for decades.
May he rest in peace.
at the rising sun
songs of light
Not really familiar with Packer, but maybe I should be. May he rest in peace.
I’ve not been experiencing this crisis as Sabbath, but as apocalypse, revelation, uncovering. And the things being revealed and uncovered are about myself and others, American society in its entirety, how much I and we have taken for granted with an obliviousness and presumption that is mind-boggling in retrospect. After the September 11 attacks, there was much talk in public discourse about how things had “changed forever” for America. But despite the horror of that event, that was not my personal experience; in fact, things seemed to get back to “normal” pretty quickly, despite the enormity of what had happened. But now, coronavirus really has changed things forever for me and mine, and a painful, revealing light has been cast on the vanity, impermanence, and contingency of so much that was taken for granted before its advent.
The Last Waltz…such a collection of performances!
I essentially agree with you Robert.
However, if part of Turner’s “self-fulfillment” is pursuing a relationship with another man then divorce may be best for all involved.
Perhaps I’m judgmental and need to be corrected, and no doubt others here can do that in response to my comment if they like, but I have a hard time with anyone dissolving their marriage so that they can pursue self-fulfillment, whether that it involves living out their gay identity or anything else. I would feel exactly the same regarding the dissolution of a marriage by two heterosexuals for the purpose of one of them, or both of them, pursuing self-fulfillment. Where there is abuse or severe marital dysfunction as the result of other problems, I understand, support, and would even personally help facilitate the dissolution of a marriage if asked to and it were in my power; but, insofar as I can see, with regard to Turner’s marriage this does not seem to be the case, in fact Turner says that he still loves his wife, and it seems from what he says that she also still loves him. Of course, I don’t know the details of the matter or all of what led to the decision, so I will suspend my judgment such as it is. But part of it may be that I don’t think marriage is ultimately about self-fulfillment or the pursuit of it; rather, I see marriage as a lifelong commitment to a discipline of love for one’s spouse, and I see that as its human and Christian purpose. Marriage is not part of the “pursuit of happiness”, nor is it meant to be; it may produce happiness, and I hope that in many or most cases it does, but that is not its purpose. It is an expression of self-giving love, which for a Christian means it is cruciform.
I hope you don’t mind. I lifted the pew sitting sign pics and put them on my facebook feed.
Great brunch, Chaplain Mike
a sad note:
Rep. John Lewis, ‘The Conscience of the United States Congress’, has died.
I do hope he is given the respect of being allowed to lie in state in the Capitol, but these are strange times indeed, and long lines of mourners might not be good during a raging pandemic. Perhaps some in the Congress would still honor him in the name of the nation that he served for so long. One can hope.