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Category: Society

Solomon’s Concession

I watched part of a documentary recently, until my stomach turned, on Bronislaw Malinowski, one of the founders of Cultural Anthropology. The discussion of his book The Sexual Life of Savages, reminded me of my Cultural Anthropology professor at the University of Texas at Arlington. His favorite dismissal term was “puritanical”. No reasons needed trouble us wherever he applied that term. He claimed to want discussion, so every time the p-word, I raised my hand. “Surely the Puritans deserved a “value neutral” ethnography,” I argued, but that would have meant letting go a pet Social Science hypocrisy. He grew weary of seeing my hand, but carried on unphased otherwise.  (It was a time when I had done well to heed…

Irrelevant Relevance

I once heard a seminary student ask the great German theologian Wolfhart Pannenberg if he might have done better to be more “relevant and practical” in his writing. Pannenberg  responded,  “What is more relevant than the truth?” Well, pollsters, evidently. Novelty is always more popular, and popularity is taken for relevance because it drives revenue. So how’s this for novelty — listening to God in Christ as the scriptures testify and the apostolic Church has confessed? Luther did that his whole life and yet could say at the end, “Christ is still new to me”. What a strange oldness to be always young. Who can keep up with a craze like that?

Preferred Company

The company of former felons and drug addicts is preferable to that of the cultured despisers of the Word who now run the old line denominations and their corresponding academic institutions. Jesus still dwells in resurrecting power among those who acknowledge their need, but, as Henri Nouwen observed, that is hard to find at Harvard.

No Tomorrow

“What if there were no consequences? Yippee! We could do whatever we want!” says the Bill Murray character above in Ground Hog Day. The post-modern mentality = where reason attacks itself by acknowledging no limits. We recover our senses as we put virtue ahead of pleasure. The ability to laugh at ourselves is an early sign of recovery.    

Every Wind

Protestants who lead with a wet finger in the wind, and Catholics who attack the secular power but apart from the secular power would not behave responsibly, these are the two great enemies of the Church’s credibility in our day. Add cheap grace to pulpit and pew and we begin to see it as a Holy Spirit miracle that windy doctrines have not blown the Church away without a trace. She endures not because of us, but in spite of us. Her one foundation we do not supply, only, at our best, we rest upon.