Assyrian King Lumbersexual Beards

The only way we can physically inhabit the same common space is by a shared understanding of the meanings of things. There of course needs to be a shared “language proper,” but this principle also extends to other things that are not explicitly verbal. When Nancy and I have traveled to the U.K., we have certainly benefited from the shared use of English—but the traffic signs are as different from ours as they are in Germany. In a particular culture, shared meanings extend well beyond the definitions of words as you might find them in a dictionary.

When this reality is denied, or flouted, this is not a refutation of the point I am making here. Rather, it marks the disintegration of that particular culture into chaos and madness.

Say after worship services on Sunday one of the elders was informed that a teenaged boy in the congregation had gone down to the nearest thoroughfare and there, dressed in his Sunday best, was giving the bird to passing motorists. The elder went down to remonstrate with the boy, and to inform him what that particular gesture meant, and to inform him that twenty percent of a wave does not “mean” a moderate or understated friendliness.

What would happen if the boy replied that moderated friendliness is what the gesture meant to him? That was his private understanding. This is what he is thinking of in his heart.

What would happen if I wore a yarmulke during a day of air travel, and replied to any inquiries I might receive that it signified the fact that I was a lapsed Missouri Synod Lutheran? That is what I intend by it.

And what would happen if someone put a dog collar around their neck, with an attached chain, and said that it signified their submission to Christ, for does not the word doulos mean slave? And that the tattoo of the tarantula on their cheekbone meant defiance of the devil and all his works? Cathedrals have gargoyles and so why can’t we ink a row of them just below the hairline? We are the Temple of the Holy Spirit, and such sanctuaries should have gargoyles along the forehead.

We either accept these private meanings or we do not. If we do not, then we are recognizing that hair, clothing, jewelry, etc. are all forms of public communication, and if they are shared communication this means that they are part of a shared language. They are public acts. We are communicating by means of them, and do not get to complain when people who are more astute than we are actually comprehend what we are saying. Nobody gets a privatized lexicon.

But if we go the other way, and if we accept these private meanings, we are not just accepting the personal views of an eccentric individual. We are rather accepting the dissolution of the West. We are wadding up and throwing away something that took many centuries to build. We are surrendering to the rotting decadence of the postmodern mind. We are climbing up on the pyre with Denethor.

If your hair only means what you want it to mean, then why does this remarkable magic authority stop there? Twenty percent of a wave it is. And every time somebody sneezes, just say “eff you” because down in your heart you have assigned the meaning of God bless to all such expressions.

When we say that a person’s demeanor, outlook, behavior, or dress is “edgy,” do we know what that means? If something is edgy, there must be edges. If there are edges there must be a center. If there are both edges and a center, then what would possess Christians to go out and stick their toes over an edge that was defined and owned by rank unbelief?

Note that I am not talking about what happens when Christians are devoted to true holiness, and are accused of being “edgy” by dissolute paganism. The early Christians were accused of atheism, cannibalism and incest by the pagans of Rome, but this was not because their pastors wore ironic propeller hats and Assyrian king lumbersexual beards. They were accused of this because they were devoted to one God only, because they partook of the body and blood in a holy ritual, and because they loved one another like brothers and sisters.

Edgy is as edgy does, and sins are like grapes. They come in bunches. Run a thought experiment survey. Among the edgy Christians you know, do they feel free to be foul and profane in their verbal expressions? Are they clearly resolved to not be your grandmother’s effing Sunday School teacher?

But the apostle says this:

“Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers” (Eph. 4:29).

“Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving” (Eph. 5:4, ESV).

And Jesus gave us another important principle:

“A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh” (Luke 6:45).

The Bible teaches that the mouth reveals the abundance of the heart, and so among many edgy Christians we therefore need to conclude that their hearts are little more than sewage lagoons.

And here it is that the central rot is revealed. My point could be resisted in a comparatively Christian fashion, but overwhelmingly today the response is simple relativism. “But who’s to sayyyyy . . .?”

Now I have claimed that outrageous personal adornment has the meaning which our culture has assigned to it—which is that truth is autonomous, individual and personal, and does not overarch all of us together. There is no binding truth—this is what such language means in public. And I have argued that this cannot be turned into anything other than what it is by the privatized intentions of confused evangelicals (“It means ‘twenty percent of a wave’ down in my heart. Where? Down in my heart.”). If there is no overarching truth, then it is not possible to take the symbols that have been created to represent that rebellion and wrest it from the rebels, turning that bone through your nose into something pristine, fresh and virginal. The yarmulke is closer to the Missouri Synod than outré edgy is to the modesty and dignity plainly required by Scripture. The beauty of holiness is not represented well by the ugliness of a badly executed whitewash of unholiness.

Now I know that relativism is incoherent, and that it necessarily contains hidden absolutes. That there is no truth is thought somehow to be mysteriously true, but we will bypass that for the moment. But relativists only allow such absolutes in when they are suitably disguised and enable them to save their incoherent system. They will never allow an absolute in if it would destroy their entire project—which is the rejection of the God of Heaven.

So unbelievers, who are the inventors of all this stuff, have two different reactions to the Christians who ape them. The first reaction is when they scoff at how LAME it is. It comes across to them like Pat Boone singing Iron Butterfly covers. But the second reaction is where they welcome the efforts of the edgy Christian . . . but they only do this because they have no objection to apostasy in process. They don’t mind recruiting from our ranks, and do not mind encouraging the vulnerable to step right along.

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insanitybytes22
Member

“We are surrendering to the rotting decadence of the postmodern mind.” Before we can even begin to agree on the definition of things, we must stop navel gazing our own alleged intelligence, and give up the habit of building golden calves that celebrate the sheer vanity of our own vast understanding of the alleged post modern mind. That’s all that really is, just an idolatrous relationship with a bit of philosophy that helps us to feel morally superior to all those poor unfortunate souls who are allegedly trapped living on the wrong side of the Matrix. As to heart sewage,… Read more »

Jane
Member

I suppose you can delegitimize a negative reaction to anything the Bible condemns by calling it “taking to their fainting couch.”

insanitybytes22
Member

We can also totally redefine Jesus Christ Himself until He begins to resemble a totally feminized churchian lady who spends all His time tone policing the world into political correctness and so called civilized behavior.

OKRickety
Member

Not only is it possible, it seems that said redefinition has already been achieved in most “churches” in the USA today.

Jane
Member

We could do that. But I’m not interested in that at all.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Although if civilized behavior encompasses living in harmony, showing kindness and respect, stifling ill temper, and not causing unnecessary pain to other people, I think that our Lord would generally want us to be civilized.

adad0
Member

And use emoticons!????????????

Jane
Member

Of course– but that’s not redefining Jesus into a churchian lady, that’s following Him.

I like how the apostles’ explicit teaching on taming the tongue and avoiding unclean use of it is here reframed into “making Jesus into a totally feminized churchian lady.” I’m not interested in imposing Victorian values on scripture, but I’m also not interested in rejecting scriptural teaching out of a horror of purported Victorian values.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Absolutely. But it’s the old story about false alternatives. There is nothing innately virtuous about screaming and swearing. There is nothing innately virtuous about being squeamish and mealy-mouthed. On a purely human level, I would prefer to live with option two over option one. But neither option is what we are required to do.

Jane
Member

Also absolutely. But keep in mind what I was responding to — a suggestion that being upset by the very same things that are explicitly condemned in scripture is by definition some sort of feeble preciousness.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

It got me wondering, though. When St. Paul writes about avoiding filthy and corrupting discourse in Ephesians, is it a ban on using specific words or is it a ban on conversation that would be filthy even without them. Or both?

Jane
Member

I’m sure it’s both. I mean, the specific words are always going to be context-relative but that’s what language IS. The argument that no words are bad words because there’s nothing inherently wicked in certain sounds is nonsensical sophistry, because there’s also no inherent meaning in certain sounds, yet by common consent the speakers of a given language understand them to mean certain things. And the words generally thought of as “bad words” are understood to mean coarseness, harshness, obscenity, blasphemy, or whatever is the case with the particular word in question. That doesn’t mean that the utterance of the… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I was thinking more about that while allowing three cats help me wind a skein of yarn (it took some time). I agree that it is sophistry for anyone to argue that a word is merely a collection of sounds and nothing more. I think what I was trying to convey in my post to ME is that a word is not taboo when completely divorced from its commonly accepted meanings, its associations, and the intention of its speaker. There are cultures in which a word can be considered taboo as if the power to create evil resides in the… Read more »

Bibcnsl
Guest
Bibcnsl

There does seem to be an overcorrection in the church where the morality of a couse of action is almost exclusively determined by intent.

holmegm
Guest
holmegm

Precisely. All words are just words, but for some reason only the profane ones can be absolved of all consequences due to that fact.

Using profane words means that you intend to communicate profanity.

JohnM
Guest
JohnM

You think indifference to the effffff word signifies masculinity and should be cultivated in the church so as to avoid being totally feminized? So then Christian women who f-bomb, or at least don’t mind when other women do, are masculinized women, just like they should be?

insanitybytes22
Member

Like totally,dude! Like, that’s exactly what I said. Yes, let’s all cultivate the efffff word and convince women to grow lumbersexual beards. Fabulous.

JohnM
Guest
JohnM

As long as I don’t have to say that last word.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Doug’s reference to Iron Butterfly was enough to send me to my fainting couch. I thought I had successfully repressed the memory of In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, but apparently not.

adad0
Member

I thought the smell was Assyrian king lumbersexual beards? No?
????

But anyway, Memi, what would a non-idolatrous relationship with righteousness and wisdom look like?
Me? Or you? ????????????????

Come to think of it, it would look like Jesus, Stephen, Paul or the prophets, who often found themselves on the right side of The Word, and the wrong side of fashion and popular thought.

insanitybytes22
Member

“…who often found themselves on the right side of The Word, and the wrong side of fashion and popular thought.”

Well, if there’s one thing we do know for sure, the disciples always practiced total conformity to the religion of the day, never cursed,and avoided all things…..edgy.

adad0
Member

??? I thought the disciples hung out with That Guy who would speak with unattended Samaritan women?
That was pretty edgy wasn’t it?????

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Ya missed the sarcasm again.

adad0
Member

Whew! Good thing you stopped by to model “edgy” J’! ????????
Although the various and sundry ways we could interpret sarcasm and offer counter sarcasm would seem to support Memi’s complaint about our collective “alleged intelligence”! ????
I bet we would all at least look smarter with Assyrian beards!

ashv
Guest
ashv

That’s what Jesus told them to do in Matthew 23:1-3.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

ME, I was thinking about that. Do we have any reason to think that the disciples cursed? I mean, do we assume that all manly men curse, or that all commercial fishermen curse, or that all poor people curse? I picture the disciples speaking plainly, even earthily, but I can’t go beyond that without setting up some sort of principle to the effect that good, honest, plain people swear while sophisticated and sanctimonious hypocrites never do. And surely our life experience doesn’t bear that out.

Jane
Member

I would have thought cursing was more conforming to the fashion of most eras than not doing so, anyway.

insanitybytes22
Member

It’s not a “principle,” Jilly, it’s just a fact. “Good, honest, plain” people do swear and often “sanctimonious hypocrites” do not.

LOL, I wasn’t thinking the disciples cursed because they were “manly men,” but rather simple, working class people who generally do not follow the same rules of so called polite society. I was trying to figure out why we perceive “corrupt communication” as swearing, but tend to ignore it’s more sophisticated and civilized presentation?

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I really have trouble believing that swearing is a class indicator. Trump’s recorded language was pretty vulgar, but there is no possible definition of working class that covers him. Most people swear nowadays if they are not restrained by early training, manners, or religious conviction. And I don’t think it is correct to conclude that politeness is a function of social class. And are we attaching too much importance to social class in a nation that is supposed to be beyond all that? One set of my grandparents, living in England at a time when society was very stratified, were… Read more »

insanitybytes22
Member

“If Trump had expressed his views on what he likes to do with married women in “cleaner” language, I would not have said, “Hey, it’s okay because he didn’t use any vulgar words.” Jilly, what you or I think or believe is not really what I was getting at. I meant the culture at large, the pop culture.So Trump and Clinton have a similar perception of women in terms of behavior. Clinton however, hardly caused a blip on the social radar because his language was more sophisticated, more deceptive, less vulgar. And people will defend him to this day because… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

You really think so? I don’t think I know anyone, even the vast majority of my loved ones who voted for him, who didn’t think Clinton was a complete pig in his attitude toward women. And I don’t see that he wasn’t a blip on the radar. For eight years I seemed to hear every day that the man was a sexual psychopath going back to his Arkansas days. I’m editing to add something I forgot to say. People who voted for Clinton did so because they supported his policies, not because they liked his sexual behavior in itself. Some… Read more »

fp
Guest
fp

Sorry, ME, but Clinton didn’t get a pass based on language and perceived culture; he got a pass from a liberal, pro-abortion press that votes overwhelmingly Democrat because he was… wait for it… a liberal, pro-abortion Democrat. You may have never heard of him, but there was a senator from Oregon by the name of Bob Packwood. According to Wikipedia (not usually the best source, but it’ll do for now), Packwood “resigned from the United States Senate, under threat of expulsion, in 1995 after allegations of sexual harassment, abuse and assault of women emerged.” I remember a certain local radio… Read more »

insanitybytes22
Member

“…because he was… wait for it… a liberal, pro-abortion Democrat.” So you mean one of those high falootin, elitist members of the upper class who have a good education and are politically correct about all the right things? And we distinguish those people from the uneducated, racist, depolorables, who speak plainly and inhabit the hill country, right? Well, obviously Trump went and flipped the whole cultural narrative, but I think my point is still valid. Clinton was given a social pass for years, while Trump was raked over the coals. I think a lot of that had to do with… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Who ever thought of Bill Clinton as one of the elites? All I heard for years on end was what can you expect from Arkansas trailer trash? That is not a term I like or ever use, but that was certainly the perception. I think he was highly intelligent and well educated. But classy? Not in this lifetime. As I said earlier, he was acceptable to Democrats because he was electable and he toed the party line on abortion. He was way too conservative for the Democrats I know personally, and his eager embrace of the death penalty made him… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

It it’s a liberal guy and you’re a woman, you’re not supposed to mind. I noticed that long ago in my politically active days in Canada. Girls were supposed to run the mimeograph machine, make the coffee, and take care of the sexual needs of the comrades.

I do think that has changed in Canada. My Justin is squeaky clean!

John
Guest
John

I don’t quite understand your disagreement. Are you saying that postmodern thought isn’t a real thing?

insanitybytes22
Member

I’m saying our anti-postmodernism has become a total golden calf that we use to make ourselves appear morally and intellectually superior, completely unable to even recognize that what we are actually doing ourselves is the very epitome of post modern thought!

John
Guest
John

I still don’t quite understand. Isn’t Biblically based and Christ centered thought intellectually and morally superior to postmodern thought?

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

If that’s what they were doing. But people who apply postmodern assumptions to their Biblical interpretation think they are Biblically based and Christ-centered too. Modern worldview lens are no more valid than postmodern ones, yet a lot of those who critique a postmodern view are doi g it through such lenses. At least the postmodern crowd knows they’re postmodern – most of the modern crowd wouldn’t even be able to articulate how they differed (or not) from the major assumptions of modern philosophical thought without looking it up first.

John
Guest
John

Using postmodern assumptions to Biblical interpretation doesn’t even make sense. The Bible claims to be authoritative truth that all are called to follow. This is fundamentally contradictory with the relativity and individualistic importance found in postmodern thought.

wtrsims
Member

100%

If the answer to postmodernism is modernism, then no thank you.

At least the postmodern crowd knows they’re postmodern – most of the modern crowd wouldn’t even be able to articulate how they differed (or not) from the major assumptions of modern philosophical thought without looking it up first.

Exactly right.

Leithart’s Solomon Among the Postmoderns really helped me to appreciate this.

As one of them, I wish conservative-type Christians would evaluate the irony of denying contemporary scientific (whether true/legitimate/valid or not) ideas like Evolution, Old Earth, or Global Warming while picking up contemporary secular science’s tab by running to modernism.

Jennie
Member

Thank you very much for the book recommendation, Wesley Sims. I look forward to reading it.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I’ve been missing you here. Have you been busy taking down the storm windows?

Jennie
Member

Hi, Jilly! I didn’t feel I had much useful to say, I guess. I had a conversation with katecho a while back that gave me pause, and I’ve been mulling it over a lot. That’s what I like about this place. I come here, eat a bunch of grass, and then just spend a while chewing on it until I’m ready for more. Bovine theology. Bears are out. One broke into a neighbor’s greenhouse to get at the chicken feed a couple of weeks ago, and our dog chased one away from our fence line yesterday. Someone saw a mountain… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Yes, thank you! One of my favorite things living up north was the weekly trip to the town garbage dump where we watched bears picking through the trash. I love them at a safe distance. Mountain lions, on the other hand, are a little scary! It must be beautiful where you are. My daughter is going to Israel next month, and I have to wonder if the people conducting her tour know exactly what they’re in for. This is a girl who took three suitcases on a five day trip to New Orleans. One whole case held her crinoline and… Read more »

Jennie
Member

You give such an excellent description of your daughter, that I’m quite convinced that if I ever saw her I would recognize her instantly! Is she going over with Birthright Israel? I’ve heard a lot of good things about it.

I’m sure it will have a strong impact on her, and she will doubtless come back having met the man of her dreams. It will be a great adventure for her. (And don’t worry. She’ll be fine. They take good care of their American family/visitors over there.)

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Thank you! She actually looks like her father, but she talks like me. Yes, it is Birthright Israel. I was amazed to learn that they offer specialized trips to fit the participants’ interests–culinary, performing arts, and so on. And they do get to interact with IDF kids, as well as with the ex-IDF guards that accompany them everywhere. When I was young, my Jewish friends paid their own way to go work on kibbutzim in the summer. I find this simply amazing that donors cover all the costs. My daughter and I did a tally of all her closest friends,… Read more »

Evan
Guest
Evan

“Bovine theology.”

I think you’ve just won.

demosthenes1d
Member

A pretty interesting read about the project of modernity:

http://slatestarcodex.com/2017/03/16/book-review-seeing-like-a-state/

And this was interesting:

https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/sex-scandal-drive-to-abolish-male-female-childbearing

I dont know if the future Alistair is forseeing is modern or postmodern. It seems to have the worst qualities of both and, unfortunately, it looks like a high probability outcome.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Ugh…your first link reminded me perfectly of some of the arguments I’ve had on this blog. There are people who simply can’t accept that the modern project has made some wrong terms no matter how poor the results.

And yup, I agree with your analysis of the second – neither solely modern or postmodern but the worst of both views.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

It’s difficult. I’m sure people were angry with John Snow for having the pump handle removed during the London cholera epidemic. I’m sure people are upset with UN health workers who say you can’t do your traditional care for the dead in the middle of an ebola outbreak. At what point do you say it’s better to respect local autonomy and let them lose children to preventable deaths, and when do you step in?

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

There’s a ton of things wrapped up in that scenario and question. I think the onslaught of modernity is much more fundamental than how you address a superficial cultural practice during a particular disease outbreak. For example, trying to convince local farmers that they should stop providing food for themselves and instead make a cash crop so they can sell the proceeds and pay for their children to be educated as factory mechanics, or better yet sell their land to a corporate entity and move to the city so they can live in a place with more exact concrete divisions… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Did everyone else know what quantitative easing is? I had to turn to The Guardian for help. I really enjoyed the first one. I learned in doing Lithuanian genealogy that one reason people in the Baltic states avoided census participation, as well as lasting surnames, was to avoid conscription into the Russian army. And the point of about having wide streets to increase state control was certainly true. Wasn’t that partly why Napoleon III had Haussman design all those Parisian boulevards? (Although we’re glad he did.) I’m not sure if I agree with all his conclusions. The second one was… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Yup Yup.

Katecho
Member

Wesley Sims wrote:

As one of them, I wish conservative-type Christians would evaluate the
irony of denying contemporary scientific (whether true/legitimate/valid
or not) ideas like Evolution, Old Earth, or Global Warming while picking
up contemporary secular science’s tab by running to modernism.

In order to establish irony, there would need to be some examples of “running to modernism”. Without those, the charge never lands on anyone.

My Portion Forever
Member

If post-modernism is the idea that meaning is controlled by the subject, or the audience (a.k.a. me, myself, and I), then what is the essence of modernism? I honestly do not know.

adad0
Member

J’, while we can’t help but be products of our time, to some degree, I am thinking the polemic our host speaks to is not postmodern vs. modern, but postmodern vs. timeless or eternal.
After that, our host seems to suggest that “modernism” whatever that was, held more “timeless” positive attributes than postmodernism does.
Wow! How did I even say something without a joke integrated? (Whoops!)????

Katecho
Member

“A” dad wrote: … I am thinking the polemic our host speaks to is not postmodern vs. modern, but postmodern vs. timeless or eternal. Wilson is contrasting postmodernism vs. objective truth. He has critiqued modernism elsewhere. Just because modernism also holds to a form of objective truth, it doesn’t follow that anyone who confronts postmodernism must be compromised by modernism. That suggestion is just nonsense with raisins in it. It’s a non sequitur and a false dichotomy to suggest that we must go easy on postmodernism or else be guilty of modernism. If someone wants to make such an accusation… Read more »

adad0
Member

Raisins do tend to make most things worse!????

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Do you think that it is possible that anyone who has been well educated in the arts and sciences can have avoided incorporating, at least to some extent, a modernist world view? Can you immerse yourself in reading, teaching and writing about late Victorian novels, for example, without their understandings becoming part of the way in which you interpret the world around you?

Katecho
Member

jillybean wrote: Do you think that it is possible that anyone who has been well educated in the arts and sciences can have avoided incorporating, at least to some extent, a modernist world view? Sure. Being exposed to the modern world is not the same as modernism. In the Western world, modernism is, foremost, a rejection of the authority of revelation, and, therefore, a rejection of the Biblical account of human history. Modernism was a new, totalizing narrative of history, as told by man, and as grounded upon man’s authority. Unlike post-modernism, modernism attempts to retain the concept of authoritative,… Read more »

wisdumb
Guest
wisdumb

I would agree, but did ”pre-modernism”, as you’ve described, ever really exist?

demosthenes1d
Member

“In the Western world, modernism is, foremost, a rejection of the authority of revelation, and, therefore, a rejection of the Biblical account of human history.”

The katecho definition of modernism is a ridiculous strawman. The movement from medieval to modern thought was not about the rejection of revelation. And the idea that you and Pr.Wilson havent been influenced by modernism is laughable. Indeed you are both thorough-going modernists.

Katecho
Member

D wrote: The movement from medieval to modern thought was not about the rejection of revelation. The primary thing that distinguishes pre-modernism from modernism is submission to, and belief in, the authority of revelation. Modernism was a paradigm shift establishing man’s authority independent of, and above, revelation. It was a celebration of the achievement of man on that basis. D wrote: And the idea that you and Pr.Wilson havent been influenced by modernism is laughable. Indeed you are both thorough-going modernists. This accusation is ironic coming from someone who didn’t even bother to give us his own definition of modernism.… Read more »

Tim Paul
Guest
Tim Paul

Some people can travel in epistemological categories better than others.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Yes, I think you’re right “A” Dad. And I think the big problem is that our host has ingested certain modernist assumptions from his own 17th-19th century heroes and assumed that those were among the timeless truths.

Katecho
Member

Jonathan wrote: And I think the big problem is that our host has ingested certain modernist assumptions from his own 17th-19th century heroes and assumed that those were among the timeless truths. I’m not sure that Jonathan could be more mealy mouthed if he tried. What “modernist assumptions” is Wilson guilty of? If Jonathan wants to accuse Wilson of something, why doesn’t he spell it out in a way that he would want accusations against him to be plainly stated? Jonathan seems to be under the impression that mere participation in the fruits of technology is modernism. This is nonsense.… Read more »

D
Guest
D

The thing with “post-modern” and modern is that they aren’t on an equal footing. Much like post-Christian is a rejection (or moving beyond) of Christianity which can take a number of shapes (reactionary “right” vs radical egalitarian “left”) a postmodern worldview has no handles.

Besides, I don’t think there are many true “post moderns” I think we just have a more radical modernism where many of the traditional, pre-modern, underpinnings of society have atrophied. We haven’t gotten rid of moral absolutes, for instance, we have just replaced them.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Often with ones that are much more rigid. Ruler-wielding nuns tolerated more diversity and independence of thought than some of the nameless young persons with whom I deal regularly!

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

I’m not trying to support the postmodern worldview as a way to live or anything. I’m criticizing blind allegiance to modernist assumptions. The problem with that doesn’t go away by pointing out how bad postmodernism is. It’s like the Pharisees defending themselves by saying, “But we aren’t pagans!” Yeah, well, at least the pagans know they’re pagans. You can be even harder to deal with if you’re missing something fundamental and yet believe you already have the keys to the Kingdom. And yeah, I agree fully with your second sentence. Most people, even the moderns that I’m criticizing, even to… Read more »

Katecho
Member

Jonathan wrote:

Most people, even the moderns that I’m criticizing, even to some degree myself, have an ugly blend of modern and postmodern influences still messing with them.

Jonathan’s attempt at criticism will continue to fall to the ground until he successfully defines what modernism is (note that it’s not simply participation in technology).

Modernism is not simply owning a personal printed Bible. Modernism is not using an iron plow to till the soil. Modernism is a shift in the dominant cultural view of the hierarchy of authority. It’s a shift placing man’s authority above the authority of revelation.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Tell me more about that. What would you consider the transition point between Victorian and Modern thought, or would you consider early Victorian thought (pre-1850) to be a subset or precursor of Modern?

My Victorian lit professor in 1970 was positive that we were still (as of 1970) working out the reaction to 19th century thought as opposed to generating new ideas.

demosthenes1d
Member

Not Jonathan. But he is using modern in the broad sense of modern philosophy. The outworking of empiricism, the idea that complex entities can be broken down into component pieces and described, the idea that nature operates according rules that can be formulated. This is basically enlightenment through present. I would say it starts proper with descartes, but certainly Bacon, Galileo, and even the reformers prefigured it.

Modernism is used very differently, in a more bounded manner, in the arts.

adad0
Member

Unlike raisins, bacon does tend to make most things better!????????
(See previous raisin comment.)

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Oh, I put most of the Renaissance going back to the early 1600s as fully beginning the modern experiment. The 1800s on “look” more modern because it took a while for the intellectual assumptions to work their way into changing the shape of the physical world we live in. Even much of the Reformation was built out of early versions of the same assumptions that pushed the Modern worldview, though some of it was clearly not modern and only gets re-interpreted in Modern ways by its current adherents. I’m thinking in the very large brushes of: Medieval (probably 8th or… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

So you see developments like the Uncertainty Principle, general relativity, and Jung’s work on dreams as being set within the postmodern period? Or do we have to specify whether we mean literature, visual arts, science, or philosophy? I would tend to argue that guys like James Joyce, Braque, and Camus are well within modernism, and that postmodernism in literary theory doesn’t significantly precede Derrida. However, I should note that “D” pointed out earlier that modernism has a more restrictive meaning applied to the arts.

bethyada
Member

Read Nancy Pearcey.

Though do you read books still, or just online?

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I prefer reading stuff I can hold. My eyes tend to get irritated with online reading. I’ll look her up.

bethyada
Member

You could follow her on Facebook. And this is the book I thought addressed your question.

adad0
Member

One plain language thought Memi, Stephen expressed his “post levitical” thought, which by the Grace of God was morally and intellectually superior. Up to a point, it was attractive, but his audience could not take as much truth as Stephen was speaking, so they stoned him to death.
I do think it is possible that our host here is speaking as much truth to this topic, as Stephen did to his topic.
Although it seems less likely that our host will be stoned in the same way that Stephen was.????

insanitybytes22
Member

Words of wisdom, A-dad. But let us also remember who stoned Stephan. It wasn’t a liberal post modern atheist sporting a man bun and pink hair. It was the Apostle Paul.

adad0
Member

As road incidents go, you can’t run in to more moral and intellectual superiority than Paul did on the road to Damascus!????????????????

OKRickety
Member

Actually, there is no statement that Paul (Saul at the time) did any stoning of Stephen. However, it is clear that he was present and he was “in hearty agreement”, which leads me to wonder why he didn’t throw stones or, if he did, why this is not stated. It is clear that Paul was not opposed to violence, as he later dragged Christians off to prison.

adad0
Member

At the time, I think Saul was a Sanhedrin establishment “coat holder.” Literally.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

I agree with that, but with an additional critique. A lot of the people I know who rail on postmodern thought do it from an obviously modern worldview…while unaware that their view is just as non-Biblical, just as much a modern innovation (only 16th-19th century rather than 20th-21st). In fact, they usually don’t even realize they’re expressing a modern worldview, they just assume that whatever perspective the Reformers and their descendants held in 17th-century Europe must have been indistinguishable from 1st-cenfury Israel.

John
Guest
John

I’ve seen time and time again the masses of atheists and apostates who inhabit and feel welcome at the “progressive” Christians blogs of the world. They are welcome because they agree on almost everything with the so called “progressive” Christians. The two groups sit around saying how much they love each other, but, oddly enough, the flow from one to the other only seems to go in one directly, from “progressive” Christian to atheist. It seems to me that soon as the question you’re asking goes from, “How can I best transform my mind to the truth of Christ in… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Are you saying that you’ve never met a progressive Christian who had converted from atheism? Perhaps that’s true for the old-school mainline types, but the more “seeker-friendly” progressive evangelical type of churches are rather loaded with converts from atheism and secular backgrounds.

You might not like that, but to claim they don’t exist is obviously false.

John
Guest
John

“Seeker-friendly” has nothing to do with having “progressive” doctrine. You can be seeker-friendly while still holding to traditional doctrine.

I’m talking about the churches with female pastors that celebrate gay marriage and say that no one goes to Hell. The kind of churches that use the word “love” like an end all, be all argument.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Oh, I agree with that completely first sentence completely. And a church can be “progressive” in the sense that it is used on this blog and still hold to traditional doctrine. Extremely radical service to the poor, nonviolence, non-rigid modes of worship, etc. were quite in vogue in the 1st-3rd centuries. And I personally don’t have any experience with churches like your second paragraph, though I’m quite aware they exist. I wouldn’t be surprised if they don’t get a huge number of converts. I had been more thinking of the sort of churches that pop up in urban contexts, that… Read more »

Katecho
Member

Jonathan wrote: And a church can be “progressive” in the sense that it is used on this blog and still hold to traditional doctrine. Extremely radical service to the poor, nonviolence, non-rigid modes of worship, etc. were quite in vogue in the 1st-3rd centuries. No. That’s not the sense in which the term “progressive” is used on this blog. Progressivism refers to the social and political movement that began in the 19th century that sought to advance the condition of man through human means. It is basically a counterfeit gospel, based on humanism and the promise of the reformability of… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Further to our discussion of Hamilton, I read this in the New Yorker and thought of you. The main idea isn’t so much Canada as the rift between Radical Whigs and Authoritarian Reformers. Tell me what you think when you get around to reading it.
http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/05/15/we-could-have-been-canada

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Some of the stuff goes further along lines I don’t know much about to really comment one way or the other. But there are a whole lot of fantastic points in that essay. I truly do think that the glorification of the Revolution has had a major influence in why America became and remained such a violent place compared to many other Western nations. Not that plenty of other Western nations don’t have their own violence. But we have internalized this narrative of “Lethal violence saved us and gave us birth!” almost completely without critique, expanded it from the Revolution… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

It’s important to note that the freedom index put out by the Heritage Foundation refers only to four economic freedoms, such as trade, investment, and property rights. In 2016 Canada ranked sixth, while the US ranked 17th. I think this messes with the idea that a social democracy cannot provide economic freedom to its citizens, but it is true that Canada restricts individual freedoms in a way that many Americans would find intolerable. These restrictions certainly never troubled me while I lived there, but I understand many people here would hate them. They include hate speech laws (you may not… Read more »

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Not just Economic Freedom though (though that’s the Heritage)

CATO Institute Human Freedom Index: Canada #6, USA #23

Heritage Index of Economic Freedom: Canada #7, USA #17

Freedom House Freedom in the World: Canada #6, USA #47

RWB Index of Press Freedom: Canada #22, USA #43

Though, like you say, of course it’s not universal (that’s why I said, “In some ways” in my original statement). You gave a good rundown of some of things Americans wouldn’t be as comfortable with. Though I’d consider not being sued or executed to be freedoms rather than restrictions on them!

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

And if you were a Canadian child, you might appreciation the freedom not to be hit with dowel rods and plumbers’ line. Of course I accept the ratings but I do find them odd. I would need to look up how they are defining and measuring freedom. I think Canada is better at providing freedom from want, freedom from violence, and so on, but not at providing the kind of personal liberty that is part of the American ethos. I’ve come to view hate speech laws differently now I have lived here this long. I don’t like Ann Coulter one… Read more »

jonathanhakim
Guest
jonathanhakim

I agree that I think Canada’s approach to hate speech is non-ideal. However, I think it’s such a tiny thing barely worth complaining about. I had this conversation with a friend literally today. In Canada, you might have a handful of people who have gotten prosecuted for hate speech, right? Whereas in America, Trump is allowed to say outlandish things about Black persons, Muslims, Mexicans, etc. that actually instigated people to commit assaults and even murders against immigrants and brown people (or, at least, such incidents significantly increased after major Trump events with several of the perps directly citing Trump’s… Read more »

wisdumb
Guest
wisdumb

Don’t trust anyone under 30!

Nathan Smith
Member

I hope he’s not talking about Mumford and Sons…

adad0
Member

I thought they were Irish? ????

Steve H
Guest
Steve H

I hope he is, what a terrible group

Oscar Schneegans
Guest
Oscar Schneegans

“If you throw a rock into a pack of stray dogs, the one that yelps is the one that got hit.” ~ D.L Moody

Lots of yelping from predictable sources.

Steve H
Guest
Steve H

Sure, Doug quoted this recently. But someone also said “Don’t be surprised if you get bit while grabbing the dogs tail”

David Mullin
Guest
David Mullin

I don’t think 99% of the people in the pew know what postmodernism or modernism is. The point Doug is making is that some communication is symbolic not verbal and that we need to be aware of our non-verbal communication and strive to make it Holy, fruitful and constructive of His Kingdom. I’ve done mission work in countries were shorts and beer drinking were regarded by our local partners as non-Christian activities that would retard the evangelistic and social justice mission we were pursuing. I think that same thing applies to aspects of our own culture. It is important to… Read more »

Daniel Fisher
Member

“My point could be resisted in a comparatively Christian fashion”

now this piqued my curiosity, what might be referenced here? are we thinking about quoting from Ezekiel to show that, sometimes, edgy language is quite appropriate for Gods people?

bethyada
Member

From a snapshot perspective this post is pretty much correct. And this is how we live our lives: day to day. So I am not really free to invent my own meanings. But this is not true if we view history as a movie rather than a still. Language and meanings change over time. This is not to defend private meanings which really have no place in communication, it is to acknowledge multiple or changing shared meanings. One of my children asked my wife what “gay” mean and she gave him a long discussion. When I later heard about it… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Bethyada, that is so well stated. When I read Doug’s post, my first thought was that the logic only holds if there is a settled and largely permanent consensus on the meaning of particular words, gestures, and styles of personal adornment. We don’t get to make up our own meanings and then claim innocence when people accuse us of meaning something else entirely if we violate a widely prevalent standard. But, as you say, meaning changes over time. It is seldom static. I remember a time when a woman known to be Catholic who attended mass without a hat or… Read more »

Steve H
Guest
Steve H

good sense. This has been my beef with the pink hair et al stuffs. Defending a questionable behavior by claiming that “my heart is in the right place” is wrong if you are lying. But if the connotation of flying the bird is misunderstood or lacks a shared cultural definition, then we have a different bird altogether. It’s bad to think that your personal definition of stuffs is only what matters, and it’s bad to be offended by German traffic signs; if there is no shared meaning, it might not be a good idea to think a spade is always… Read more »

bethyada
Member

it’s bad to be offended by German traffic signs

Perhaps that is an exception. I think German is intrinsically insulting.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

When I was there, all my years of German class flew out the window. Everyone sounded as if they were yelling at me, and it frazzled me so much I couldn’t think. It is amazing that the language of Rilke and Schiller can sound so harsh.

bethyada
Member

I don’t think bad words are that big a deal and are not necessarily sinful. I think that course language has far more to do with what is said than the specific words used. Of course we may be especially guarded around some sensitive people, and constant use just removes any effect.

If a person is angry that may suggest he is speaking coarsely (especially if he is angry for himself). But as an appropriate rebuke for someone who needs rebuking, perhaps just the right thing.

Jane
Member

I generally agree with that, but I think Doug here is talking about words that are generally viewed as coarse by both religious and secular culture, and situations in which they are used by Christians for reasons having more to do with wanting to be hip or relatable or not church ladies, than with forceful and righteous anger.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I think C.S.Lewis made a useful distinction between vulgar and sensuous. Somebody stubbing a toe and saying #$$$% doesn’t bother me in the slightest. But not all day every day, and not around people who hate to hear it.

insanitybytes22
Member

“Somebody stubbing a toe and saying #$$$% doesn’t bother me in the slightest. But not all day every day, and not around people who hate to hear it.”

As kindly and respectfully as possible Jilly, but that is the very definition of post modernism. Sin should not be defined by what does not “bother you in the slightest,” versus what annoys the crap out of you.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I had a well thought out reply that disappeared, so I will try to recover it. I don’t think I have personally reached modernism yet, let alone postmodernism, in many areas, but I don’t actually think “bad language” is generally sinful in itself. Its sin lies in the intention with which it is used. Most of what George Carlin called the seven words you can’t say on TV came to us from a language in which they conveyed no offense. Some of the words we now find innocent and even sweet were filthy in the Middle English tongue. The etymology… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

I see that. But if somebody prefaced telling me off by using dramatically bad language, I would be so alarmed that the actual rebuke would be lost on me.

insanitybytes22
Member

“Sunday one of the elders was informed that a teenaged boy in the congregation had gone down to the nearest thoroughfare and there, dressed in his Sunday best, was giving the bird to passing motorists.” Is that child holding a sign pointing back to his church? Because if he was I would probably consider that some honest evangelism and be tempted to follow him home out of curiosity. His behavior is certainly much preferable to the more civilized knives and prim and proper versions of the efffff word being lobbed by the garden club churchian ladies. And that is yet… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

ME, you’ve mentioned before that you think garden club ladies are driving people out of the church. Has this been your experience with some of the women at places you worship? I have thought about this before, and I really haven’t seen this in any of the churches–Protestant or Catholic–I have attended. The women have been a cross-section of the community, and have run the gamut from saints to newly converted sinners. Obviously, some are nicer than others, but that would be true anywhere in creation. But I have not encountered wholesale malice, backbiting, or backstabbing. I have, on the… Read more »

Steve H
Guest
Steve H

There is an angle that is possibly being missed here. It is the assumption that all this non-verbal communication is coming from cogent well-adjusted people who want to fly the bird at God to be cool, defiant, rebellious, vain, pomo, etc. Why are we not asking Timmy why he finds flipping the highway off to be a meaningful way of spending his sabbath? People wear their hurt. We can scoff at the parolee in our midst for his tear-drop tattoo. We can assume the heavy-set girl with blue hair is being bitchy. I wonder what markings Mary Magnaline had on… Read more »

insanitybytes22
Member

“Is it only communicating bitchy third-wave-rebellion? Or is it also communicating a distant and angry father, sexual abuse, divorce, condemnation, self-loathing, etc.?”

Oh, a big amen to that! Church is a bit like a hospital, but rather than treating the wounded, we as the church have a tendency to simply eat them.

wisdumb
Guest
wisdumb

We are to be like Jesus.
Jesus says, your sins are forgiven – go, and sin no more!
We forget to say the sin-no-more command.
He doesn’t want us to remain in our sins.

He didn’t look like He stood out from the crowd, but His actions did.
His actions were always good.
He didn’t look cool – He acted radically.

We have a hard time with this.