The Town Drunk on a Park Bench

Marco Rubio

Last night I watched Marco Rubio announce his candidacy for the presidency, and as far as such speeches go, I thought he did a very good job. I also observed that those who want him to go far thought he did a better job than he actually did, but still, I thought it was a credit-worthy launch. I am sure that I will have more to say about Rubio as the campaign unfolds, but for the present I just want to take his marked emphasis on the American dream to make a few observations of my own. We are well beyond the ability of course corrections to help us. What is needed is a volte-face, and such an abrupt turnaround is not really a political technique. It will be very much like the town drunk at the tent meeting revival, and not very much like a refined woman deciding not to have cheesecake for dessert at the upscale bistro. When America repents we will see several different kinds of repentance. I've written about the first many times before. Repentance means a change of mind before God, and that means simple abandonment of certain practices that God finds to be detestable. “And they shall come thither, and they shall take away all the detestable things thereof and all the … [Read more...]

Doing the Sensitivity Sham

An extended discussion broke out in the comments of my "deny Him seventy times seven post," and it had to do with whether or not my way of expressing myself leaves someone who struggles with same sex attraction feeling quite "safe" around people like me. One of the themes of my writing is that of trying to get Christians to see how worldview assumptions are embedded in all language, like currants in the bread pudding. Everyone is standing somewhere, and everyone is trying to get us to go somewhere. Before we do so, may we be permitted to ask a few questions? I write something about the current homo-jihad -- because every obvious thing needs a noun -- and someone else inquires as to whether my use of such a phrase might be off-putting to a hypothetical visitor to my church, if such a visitor were struggling with same-sex issues. How will you reach him if he is offended by such language and disappears, never to be heard from again? … [Read more...]

With Stirrups Raised to Molech

Theology That Bites Back

The modern world has seen many revolutions, from the French revolution to the Russian, but the bloodiest of all of them has been the sexual revolution. And that provides the backdrop to our current uproar over the definition of marriage. We are now much occupied with the issues swirling around same sex mirage, but we need to take great care not to get distracted. Why have the homosexual activists gone all in on this issue? Why is their prosecutorial zeal so adamant? We went, in just a matter of months, from "let's let individual states" decide on this, to federal judges striking down state statutes, followed up hard by official harassment of florists, bakers, and photographers. Why the anger, and why the savage over-reach? And do they really think we wouldn't remember all the things they were assuring us of this time last year? I was talking last night with my daughter Rachel, and she mentioned something that she had observed, and which I believe is very much on point. The battle over same sex mirage is not just a distraction, but is intended to be a distraction. We do have to deal with these challenges to marriage, but without forgetting what they might be trying to drag us … [Read more...]

Balanced Worship

A dedicated space for worship has a shaping and disciplinary effect. When we meet in an informal setting, as we have been doing for years, we have had to make a point of selecting music that helps us swim upstream. Because the informal surroundings make it easier for the worship to become breezy and casual, we have deliberately leaned against that. This is because the Bible tells us bluntly that our worship should be offered up with reverence and godly fear (Heb. 12:28). God is a consuming fire. But when we have a sanctuary, and find ourselves meeting in a space bounded by classic church architecture, we are going to have to make a different set of adjustments. Hopefully, there will be no adjustments in our theology of worship, music, and liturgy, but we will notice—if we are paying the right kind of attention—that the natural pressures will at that time be coming from another direction. The outside Christian culture, and our rented space, push us toward greater informality. But Christian worship ought to be familial and reverent, which is quite a different thing than the very common “come as you are” approach, the come to church in your jammies approach. We were taught to … [Read more...]

The 5 Smooth Stones of Theocratic Libertarianism

Things in our public life together are gummed up enough that I believe we can openly call for radical reform. Whether we do or not, I think we are going to get the same treatment. We might as well respond with something that might actually help. Whatever the case, we will not be able to trim or pirouette our way out of this mess. As an insightful sailor on the USS Arizona at Pearl Harbor might have said, as the third wave of Japanese bombers flew over, "The time for nuance is passed." A few posts ago I mentioned the five smooth stones of theocratic libertarianism. This was in the context of an illustration using David and Goliath, and as with David, I think most of our problems would probably  be addressed in principle with just the first one. At any rate, here are the basic features of theocratic libertarianism. Here are my five smooth stones. 1. Jesus is Lord. I have been arguing for years now that what is required is a return to Christendom, but in a form that I call mere Christendom. If you like, you can call it mere fundamentalism. A free civilization is necessarily larger than any of the Christian denominations within it, but at the same time a free civilization will … [Read more...]

Deny Him Seventy Times Seven

If Someone Forces You to Bake a Cake for a Gay Wedding

I was recently asked how the radical ethic taught by Jesus -- if someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two -- relates to baking a wedding cake for a same sex mirage ceremony. And then shortly after that, I saw the meme off to the right floating around somewhere, and thought that it was perhaps time to shine my little flashlight, one of those two battery jobs, on this particular exegetical funny business. The first thing to deal with is the very glib equation of floral arrangements, wedding cake baking, and photography with carrying a Roman soldier's bag two miles instead of one. Back in the day, everyone who saw that civilian carrying the bag would know that the civilian had been pressed into service, and further, there is no sin involved in carrying a bag. The law allowed the Roman soldier to make someone carry his pack for a mile, no more. When the follower of Christ went the second mile, this was a means of assuming the center, taking control of the situation. When Jesus healed the ear of Malchus, He was doing precisely this sort of thing. This armed entourage came out to arrest Him, and Jesus quietly assumed command of it. What Jesus was teaching His disciples … [Read more...]

Our Transgressive Daisy Chain

Goliath

The great need of the hour is for Christians in North America to get a map in their heads, a map that has an x on it, that x indicating "you are here." Related to this, we need to know how exactly we got here. We need to be oriented, and that means we need to be oriented by Scripture -- not by the secularists who taunt us, on the one hand, or by the evangelical bedwetters, who believe every last one of their taunts, on the other. It is not as though we were not warned. We were warned repeatedly, but we did not have the right categories in our minds to process those warnings. We had some prophetic souls who were able to point out where the x was going to be a century after their time. We are now standing on it and we still don't know. Here is Chesterton, near the beginning of the 20th century. "For the next great heresy is going to be simply an attack on morality; and especially on sexual morality. And it is coming, not from a few Socialists surviving from the Fabian Society, but from the living exultant energy of the rich resolved to enjoy themselves at last, with neither Popery nor Puritanism nor Socialism to hold them back . . . The madness of tomorrow is not in Moscow, but … [Read more...]