Sunday, April 30, 2017

A Tale of Two "Offensive" Pics--and One Old & Stale Narrative

Recently Jemar Tisby of the Washington Post ran a column with the title, "Why a racially insensitive photo of Southern Baptist seminary professors matters." A photograph posted on Twitter by five professors working at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SWBTS), then deleted, prompted Mr. Tisby to write said article. Here is the photo:

Readers will have to show patience in parsing this incident, since it is extremely complicated. I will explain more about the photo later. First let us establish the genesis of Mr. Tisby's article. (His Twitter profile states that he is a PhD student, which I assume means he has not defended a dissertation yet. Out of respect, I like to call people the highest title I can infer, so that would be "Mr." here, though I would call him Dr. or Prof. if I could extrapolate that from what's published about him.)

The picture above only circulates on the web because some people took screen shots of it and continue to post it around, against the wishes of those who first published it. But Mr. Tisby seems in concord with those who republish the image. He fears that with the deletion of the photograph, which offended him, people might forget about it before he and others have a chance to explain why it hurt them.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Looking forward to many new summers

Ten years have passed since I began personal online publishing.

In 2007, when my adventures in blogging began, I had written much but shared little of it with the public. I'd never had many opportunities. I had hardly published any place other than local newsletters and opinion pieces for my left-wing mentors in Buffalo. Some of my earlier articles had gotten picked up by CounterPunch and even Daily Kos. 

Those years seem an eternity ago. In retrospect I must admit that the 2000s were a calmer era of my life, though I have always had a tendency to get myself into arguments I probably could have avoided. If it felt calm, it was because I was blissfully unaware of my own depravity. I lived untroubled by knowledge of how far I'd fallen from Christ.

Back then people who read my polemical pieces against George W. Bush's policies, and especially my antiwar screeds, understandably took me for a leftist. If they got to know me and figured out my complex and often contradictory politics, they usually couldn't handle it. Most people I knew then hailed from the left but didn't think they had any political camp at all. They thought their place on the political spectrum was the only plausible position to hold.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Reflections on the Day Mankind Killed God

In the Gospel of John, we are told that the last thing Jesus did before He died was drink sour wine from a sponge stuck to a piece of hyssop, or "brush."  "It is finished!" Jesus said. Then He bowed His head, and "gave up His Spirit."

Athanasius of Alexandria convinced me, in his treatise On the Incarnation, that every small detail of Jesus's death mattered--how his trial and conviction proceeded, the twists and turns of a day marred by chanting mobs and haughty bureaucrats, the number of days His body lay in the tomb, the way the tomb was found empty, etc. Indeed everything in the Word of God matters.

God is all-powerful and all-wise, infinite and eternal. That Jesus died in obscurity, without glamour or theatrical spectacle, tell us something about who He is and what His death did for us. Our imperfect minds cannot see God's light automatically. We need help, which God provides by arranging these all-important events in the way He did.

What would it mean if Jesus Christ died in a melodramatic sword fight against hordes of warriors attacking Him from all sides? Perhaps such a scene would have been more entertaining. Maybe the record of His crucifixion would have been recorded in annals recognized all the way in Rome, allowing Jesus's early disciples to skip the heroic evangelizing of Acts.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Inspection Report from a Lieutenant of the Culture Wars

Robert Oscar Lopez 
Everywhere Christian conservatives speak of a culture war, and increasingly this refers to sexuality. Sometimes the term surfaces so that people can complain that it’s been lost, and that we should stop fighting it. At other times the left uses “culture wars” as a slur denoting everything the right has supposedly done wrong. We are such prudes that we discourage sexual habits leading to genetic engineering, broken marriages, babies for sale, lying to children, and lifelong hygiene problems.

The term “culture war” requires no embarrassment or apologies. While higher education issues warrant books and discussions, academic problems incur lighter consequences than does the collapse of a nation’s moral scaffolding.

The battles over LGBT are peculiarly complex and require particular care from those willing to assess how social conservatives are doing. Attacked constantly by the left, we so-cons have a tendency to spare ourselves and our comrades the added pain of more criticism. But the defenders of true sexuality—the sacred bond between a man and a woman, as set down by God—need to avoid making the mistakes America has made with feckless strategies in the Middle East. We need to learn from the past and pursue strategies that work.

Our ultimate mission is to save souls by bearing witness, specifically, to the truth that homosexuality is both evil in itself and a sinful gateway to other evils. If we lose sight of that truth or doubt whether it is the truth, we will never make headway.

We must show the world first that there are no homosexuals, for no person’s being is defined by one error. Our mission is not against any person, nor against the “flesh and blood” mentioned in Ephesians 6:12, but rather against the “authorities,” “powers of darkness,” and “spiritual forces of evil in the heavens.”

Monday, April 10, 2017

Latino families overwhelmed by LGBT lobby taking over their kids' schools

Caryl Ayala, a Texan teacher, opens up about what she saw happening in a Title 1, majority-Latino elementary school in Texas. Sadly, in Hispanic school districts often parents are scared to confront school administrators about the troubling curriculum forced on their students. The dependence of poor, minority-dominant schools on grants and financial assistance also means oftentimes administrators are gagged and cannot push back against sexually inappropriate curriculum in their schools. This is an interview you have to hear if you are still hearing everywhere that LGBT fits in with multiculturalism. For more reading:

How can we get more Latinos to stand up as bravely as Caryl has?