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Monthly Archives: December 2016

Milo Yiannopoulos’s Most Dangerous Bomb Toss, Whether He is Aware of it or Not

No offense Milo, but its true.

No offense Milo, but its true.

He is a Brit, Jewish and Greek in ethnicity, and identifies as both a practicing gay and “bad Catholic”. To be sure, one of the most controversial and colorful characters in the world of right-wing politics and culture today is Milo Yiannopoulos.

He says, however, that there is a method to his madness. He claims that because of his sexual orientation and sexual preferences (i.e. black males), is able to get away with sharing “hate facts” that others cannot say. Shocking people out of their complacency and simple-minded categories he aims to start conversations. This then opens the door for others, who in a more gentle and reasonable way, can persuade those who remain persuadable.

At the same time, Yiannopoulos makes Ann Coulter’s bomb-throwing look remarkably tame by comparison. His talks are laced with profanity, insult and overt and not-so-overt sexual references.

I contend that Yiannopoulos’s most dangerous bomb is also one of his most covert – even though it is presumably the basis for his entire program. Sometimes, he has summed this up as:

Read what you want.
Watch what you want.
Play what you want.
Think what you want.
Say what you want.

Elsewhere, he has claimed that “words only have the power you give them”.

This is Yiannopoulos’s biggest bomb. This is the phrase that should start the biggest conversation. Is he just saying “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” (even this, we know, is not fully true) – or something more?

Words are connected with all kinds of things. All kinds of things which exert their presence and influence our lives. And if we know – or even just believe – that there are some things in life that endure in our shared sojourn together on earth, then we cannot accept what Yiannopoulos claims. In other words, his words do not only not have enduring power, but ultimately, no real power at all.

And not because we don’t give them power, but because they are untrue. Unreal.

Regardless of what this world’s power-brokers think. Regardless of how much they want to say that truth is power and power is truth and you can just see this by looking at the evidence.

No.

There really are things that are “trans-historical” and “trans-cultural”. There are things that will never fail to impress themselves upon all of us (things like fathers, mothers, joy, tears, food, and animals) and there are things that only have, due to the geographical and cultural limitations of some of us, the potential to impress (like snow and fish).

In sum, insofar as we are human creatures, we cannot avoid speaking about things that exist, that are real, that are true. We cannot avoid saying things that are true (we can only deny so much of the truth).

This is why saying “words only have the power you give them” is not the full story.

To sum things up, as I noted in a past post:

“A person who is conservative… would continue to agree with the words of the late Russel Kirk – or, perhaps, at least want to agree with him: “[conservatives are] all those people who recognize an enduring moral order in the universe, a constant human nature, and high duties toward the order spiritual and the order temporal.” “Conservatives” who say that what Kirk says is “no longer true” or irrelevant are being anything but conservative. After all, if what Kirk says is no longer true, how was it ever more than an illusion to begin with (given that he speaks of the words “constant” and “enduring” as if these terms mean something)?”

What Kirk says is also something that many of the ancient Greek philosophers, Yiannopoulos’s ancestors, would have upheld. It is certainly something that Christians have upheld and should continue to uphold. For if there is nothing that endures among men, the words we pass on cannot endure either…  at least, this is the illusion that begins to colonize our mind.

And then, the Word of God, which endures forever, cannot endure among us.

But the Word of the Lord does endure forever. And, the “hate fact” of the matter is that it doesn’t matter whether or not you think you can ignore it by not “giving it power”.

Verbum Domini Manet in Aeternum, or the Word of the Lord Endures Forever is the motto of the Lutheran Reformation.

Verbum Domini Manet in Aeternum, or the Word of the Lord Endures Forever is the motto of the Lutheran Reformation.

FIN

 

(for more thoughts on this topic see this post, always open for comment and critique – and for philosophical justifications for the things I say here, see this: http://worldagainstmerages.blogspot.com/2015/10/several-theses-combined-with-some.html)

 

Note: This post was updated for the sake of clarifying the ideas therein on Jan. 28, 2017.

Images:

Milo Y. picture by @Kmeron for LeWeb13 Conference @ Central Hall Westminster – London (Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0))

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Posted by on December 15, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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Issues ETC.’s Todd Wilken on “Once Saved, Always Saved” via Hebrews 6: 4-8

issues-etcOne of my favorite internet talk radio shows – which I absolutely recommend to everyone along with Pastor Cooper’s Just and Sinner podcast – is Issues ETC.

“Issues” has been running for over twenty years now, and its current host, LC-MS (Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod) Pastor Todd Wilken has been at the helm for about the last fifteen. It’s a smart, guest-driven show that covers issues like church history, Christian doctrine, current social and political events, Scripture studies, classic hymns, apologetics, etc. It’s un-apologetically and confessionally Lutheran, even as its guests are often not (and Pastor Wilken is always pleasant and irenic to all – perhaps to a fault!).

Here’s a sampling of some of the “taglines” the show and its audience have used to describe the show over the years:

  • Christ-centered, cross-focused talk radio
  • For sinners only
  • It’s not about you ; it’s about Jesus for you
  • Real Reformation Radio
  • Evangelical and Catholic
  • Contending for truth in an age of anti-truth
  • A voice in the wilderness of American Evangelicalism
  • Were churchmen, not company men
  • Only our listeners can cancel us now (see here)

What follows below is an example of the kinds of clear and helpful answers Pastor Wilken provides on one of my favorite parts of the show, the “Listener Email”, “Issues ETC. Comment Line” (its an answering machine), and “Open Lines” segments where they deal with questions from their audience. On the August 31st show, Pastor Wilken dealt with the question of Hebrews 6:4-8, and the following is essentially what he said that day:

If Lutherans reject Once Saved, Always Saved, do they therefore teach Once Lost, Always Lost?

The answer is no. The passage I cited above is particularly instructive in this regard. Hebrews 6:4-8,

“For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God, and put Him to open shame. For ground that drinks the rain which often falls upon it and brings forth vegetation useful to those for whose sake it is also tilled, receives a blessing from God; but if it yields thorns and thistles, it is worthless and close to being cursed, and it ends up being burned.”

Now, at first glance it would seem that this does teach Once Lost, Always Lost. But it doesn’t. The problem here is a less than accurate English translation. The word “since” (since they again crucify…) does not appear in the Greek, but is often provided by the translators to make sense of the passage.

While this translation is possible, it is not the only possibility. In fact, there is one that is far better in my opinion. This is going to get a bit technical, but…. The participles avnastaurou/ntaj (they are crucifying) and paradeigmati,zontaj (they are putting to public ridicule) are in the present tense. Present tense active participles often denote continuing attendant action or circumstance.

So the best translation here is probably, “it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, as long as they again crucify to themselves the Son of God, and put Him to open shame”, or, “while they continue to crucify to themselves the Son of God again, and put Him to open shame. Note the difference this makes. The passage isn’t saying that a person who falls away can never be restored to repentance. It is saying that a person who falls away cannot be restored as long as they continue to crucify to themselves the Son of God, and put Him to open shame.

The immediate context of this verse indicates the same thing when it warns that those who have fallen have indeed fallen away, but are not yet cursed, but are close to being cursed. It then warns of a final judgment on those who continue in apostasy by saying, it ends up being burned. In addition to this, there is simply no other passage of Scripture which teaches that repentance is impossible.

This passage is a warning to believers to not presume upon God’s patience, and a warning to apostates to repent. If it is up to me, I would fall. But it is not up to me. It is up to God to keep me faithful through His Word and Sacraments.

If I forsake these, I am “going it on my own” and will certainly fall away. But if I remain with those things by which God sustains faith, He will never fail me.”

Check out Issues ETC. – I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

Pastor Wilken in the studio with a couple guests.

Pastor Wilken in the studio with a couple guests.

FIN

 
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Posted by on December 8, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

25 Traditional Marriage Talking Points from Peter Scaer – But Use Advisedly

All marriages are an icon of The One True Marriage.

All marriages are an icon of The One True Marriage.

 

One of the best defenders of natural marriage in the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LC-MS) is Peter Scaer, a professor from Ft. Wayne theological seminary. He recently posted this on his FB feed:

:Hmmm. The marriage debate is a tough one. On the one side we have Moses, Jesus and St. Paul. Aristotle and Cicero. All the poets from Homer and Virgil to Dante and Shakespeare. All the heroes of our nation, from Washington to Lincoln to MLK. Not to mention our grandparents and their grandparents, and their grandparents for all the generations that have been. On the other side, we have the deep wisdom of the enlightened decade that brought us Desperate Housewives and Jersey Shore.”

I like that approach – seems like a good, dismissive way to lead off the public debate in most cases these days – but do it with a smile (on the other hand, of the 500 or so students I’ve had the past 5 years, I’ve never met a person who didn’t really seem to want to intelligently discuss the issue – the main problem is powerful and influential elites, I think). Another commenter, who’ll I’ll simply refer to as the Fearsome Pirate (not the Pirate Christian), felt the same way. First, he said, jokingly: “Actually, they have the right to get married to someone of the same sex. It’s in the Constitution.” Explaining himself, he put it this way:

It’s not a debate. It’s a power struggle. On the one side, we have people who have been retreating from every sphere of public life after ceding the moral high ground to their enemies. On the other side, we have the people who control the universities, the television, the primary schools, the media, and the courts.

I agree with this man (Scaer did as well). Christians need to recognize that for many powerful persons this was not a debate (or if you think “debate” is too harsh, a “serious discussion”), and never was. Even as we insist that life, and the words we speak, are about more than power, we need to recognize that those who oppose us may or may not believe that. Many don’t – particularly many persons wielding earthly power.

This commenter went on to say:

I know I’m a broken record on this…but it bears repeating over and over. We know what happened in the mainline churches—true believers allowed the godless to ascend to positions of power in a spirit of liberality and tolerance. Their generosity was “repaid” them sevenfold by their enemies. The same happened with Christians in the kingdom of the right hand as in the left.

Scaer responded by saying “Yep. We pretend we are being nice, when we simply don’t want to be the bastards we need to be to be good. Call crap for what crap is.

Shortly after that post, he produced these talking points, which I recommend for people you find really do want to think about and reason about this issue. Again, I think that this kind of person is pretty rare (among the elites), and that joyful scoffing should probably be our default approach:

1. Marriage is the only institution that binds a man to his wife, and to any children that result from that union.
2. Only the union of one man and one woman is able to produce a child, and for that reason, there is marriage.
3. Every child is the result of the union of one man and one woman, and should have a reasonable expectation that those same parents will care for her.
4. Mothers and fathers are not interchangeable. A child does best when he has both a mother and a father.
5. Only a woman can be a mother, and only a man can be a father. Mothers offer nurture unique to motherhood, and fathers offer the unique leadership and protection of a father.
6. Each one of us has a respiratory system, a cardio-vascular system, and a digestive system, whole and intact. Only the reproductive system is different, made whole only in the union of one man and one woman.
7. By redefining marriage, we fundamentally reorient marriage to romantic love, away from care for children.
8. Redefining marriage will result not in a change of definition, but the loss of definition all together. Already, groups are pushing for polygamy and polyamory.
9. At the birth of every child, the mother, by the very nature of things, is present. Marriage is the one institution that encourages, incentivizes, and obligates the father to be present as well.
10. Some ask, “How will same-sex marriage affect me?” Changing the definition of marriage will be harmful to the institution itself. Consider, for instance, the way that no- fault divorce laws have hurt our society, and left so many of our children abandoned and unprotected.
11. Marriage is the fundamental building block or cell of our civilization. Without marriage, society, inevitably in the form of bigger government, will have to fill the void.
12. Our society already suffers from fatherlessness. Without fathers, children are more likely to grow up in poverty. Without fathers, boys often become violent, looking to gangs for male bonding. Without fathers, girls often lack self-esteem, and end up making bad and harmful choices. Fathers are needed more than ever, and same-sex marriage makes fathers optional.
13. While it is good to have a mother and father, it is not healthy to grow up with two mothers, who will then vie for the affection that belongs naturally only to one.
14. As same-sex marriage becomes the law of the land, Christians will be increasingly persecuted for their belief. Already, florists have been driven out of business, as have hotel operators. Teachers will be forced to teach that which is clearly against God’s will. The very profession of the Christian faith will be labeled hate speech.
15. As same sex marriage becomes the law of the land, values such as permanence and exclusivity will be difficult not only to maintain, but even support.
16. As same sex marriage becomes the law, the institution of marriage, having lost real meaning, falls into disuse. Of this, we already have evidence in the countries who have taken the lead. Why do we need to be lemmings?17. Same-sex marriage will further sever the ties between biological parents and their children.
18. Parents, not the villages, are our children’s best defenders. Think of China, where children are thought of as a commodity, a flock to be culled or cultivated according to the needs of the state.
19. Same sex marriage encourages a culture in which children become cards to be bought, sold, and traded.
20. Consider who is pushing same-sex marriage. It’s hardly a grass roots effort, but is funded with big money by the likes of George Sorros, the Ford Foundation, and all the usual suspects.
21. The Left has been about the business of systematically subverting societal institutions, and this is the Big Kahuna, the ultimate prize.
22. Same-sex marriage is not a civil rights issue. Whether you are black or white makes no difference, but men and women are different, biologically, psychologically, and emotionally. From our differences, new life comes into the world, and with our complementary differences, we are best able to support and nurture the next generation.
23. Planned Parenthood understands what’s at stake. No lover of children, they have come out strongly for gay marriage. But then, this is the perfect marriage for PP, for it is inherently no reproductive.
24. And , as PP recognizes, pro-marriage is pro-life.
25. Traditional marriage is the best social program in history, as well as the bedrock of a republic, a mediating institution recognizes the primacy of family.

FIN

Note: Post has been updated for the sake of clarity, grammer errors, etc.

 
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Posted by on December 7, 2016 in Uncategorized

 
 
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