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Category: Society

The Ministry of Stability

Not to ignore the depraved state of our political discourse, this painting of Nero’s Torches reminds us that the Church went forward even under that criminally insane emperor, despite his martyrdom of the Church’s greatest leaders Peter and Paul. As our culture-Protestants blow about with every wind of doctrine, breathlessly pursuing a world that passes away, that despises them all the more through every accommodation, I admire the steadiness of the Roman Church that continues through the centuries while nations rise and fall. “Better to be a Roman Catholic than one of our Neo-Protestants.” (Barth) At least they believe something definite. Without an anchor in the eternal, we cannot withstand the battering of wind, waves, and current. “The whole Church…

Into this Very Darkness

Pondering the current national security debate — any moral sensibility beyond utilitarian self-interest is hard to spot. If the prophets have taught us anything, it is that armies, weapons, and foreign alliances cannot compensate for expelling God. We still have “in God we trust” on our money only because the courts have accepted the defense that it is a “theological affirmation devoid of content.” Indeed. We are not self-securing beings. God controls the pre-conditions that make possible profitable labor. Apart from his blessing, we labor under a futility curse. Heedlessness cannot defeat lawlessness — it turns us into something not worth defending and stores up judgment for ourselves and our posterity. The chaos that results from disregarding the first commandment…

Homeless God

The greatest delusion of our day is that, absent God, our neo-pagans will somehow just decide to be nice. Even the atheist Freud knew better. Without a healthy conscience, civil society becomes impossible. We will prey on one another until violence becomes the only means of restraining chaos. A gun is a very weak tool to produce social order. God’s wrath has already begun when he lets us throw off his restraints. When disordered loves rule, we become our own worst enemy, we make God our enemy, and Satan remains our enemy. We cannot win that war. Above illegal immigrants, and armed terrorists, a nuclear Iran, and soaring national debt, if we are wise, we will fear the homelessness of…

Signs of an Evil Peace

Putting asunder what God has joined; Joining together what God has put asunder; Like Christ and Satan; Christ and anti-Christ; Christ and the rebellious world; Grace and license; God’s approval and the godless’ approval; No other gods and any other gods; The Holy Spirit and any other spirit; When the Church’s theological conviction can fit on the bumper sticker “whatever”; A peace that fosters indifference where God has promised to punish indifference; A peace that makes no distinction where God has commanded to make a distinction; A peace that in the name of conscience fosters a stupefying of conscience; A peace that fosters complacency to sin and false teaching in the name of love; A peace that elicits these words…

Unequally Created Compassion

The combination of today’s (Nov. 23, 2015) lectionary text on the Widow’s Mite and the pile of sanctimonious, hypocritical rant lately emitted on behalf of the Syrian refugees has prompted me to the following disconnected observations: 1. Many surveys over the last fifty years have shown that the most benevolent sector of the American population by far are evangelical Protestants. And, of those, the most likely to give 10% or more of their income are not those of $200,000 plus incomes but rather middle and lower income families. Conservatives typically give their own money. Liberal, rich hypocrites give other people’s money and then try to take credit for that. The widow who gave her own mite was most likely an…