PEG on Honest Ecumenism

This I can get behind:

I view the ecumenical dialogue of the 20th century as one of the most important developments in all of world and religious history. The time when Christians of different stripes dialogued with steel is not that far removed. … And most importantly, ecumenism (along with pluralism and, perhaps, the rising challenge of secularism) has created a true détente, in the French meaning of the word, a relaxation, a détente of the hearts. We now, at least in the main and as much as can be expected of lowly sinners, really behave like brothers and sisters to one another. We don’t agree on everything, but we are still a family united by love.

But saying such things doesn’t preclude one from making strong theological assertions consistent with one’s confessional identity:

I can be even more pointed: I believe that “Sola Scriptura” is a self-contradictory, self-evidently absurd hermeneutic in blinding contradiction with the Biblical logic of a living, covenantal God who is active in history and works through men; that an ecclesiology of a confederation of national churches structurally renders to Cesar what is God’s; that the Calvinistic hostility to the cult of saints, the liturgy, ecclesiastical art and beauty, monasticism, the most holy treasure of the Eucharist and the central Biblical theme of human free will is the intellectual and theological equivalent of the steppe barbarian who goes around a Roman city smashing statues and burning books because they are beautiful and civilized (as, indeed, many Radical Reformers did) and then, once sitting on the emperor’s throne, wonders why taxes owed no longer reach the Treasury’s coffers; that Anglicanism is designed as a Voltairian caricature of what Christianity without the Gospel looks like, built out ofmy stolen property by one of the most transparently Devil-possessed figures of history as a country club staffed by petty functionaries where the pleasing aroma of petits fours hardly masks the stench of the blood and guts of holy Catholic martyrs, an “ecclesiological” formula which can only produce what it has produced, namely a doctrinal blob whose only ironclad precept seems to be “don’t rock the boat”.

He then makes some criticisms of his own Roman tradition before moving on to this conclusion:

Now, this might be a little too polemical. But I hope you’ll see the point as taken. But the real point is this: I believe all these things but I also believe we can be friends and even brothers and have arguments in good faith. If you’re a fellow Christian, you shouldn’t have to be offended that I believe these things, because you probably believe the reverse, and that’s fine. I like that you have serious faith commitments. And we are on a pilgrimage together, to Calvary, or perhaps to Emmaus.

The Tears of an 800 Pound Gorilla

Fredrik deBoer:

Game of Thrones is the most important TV show in the world right now. It might not have the most viewers, given that it’s on premium cable, although with the rampant torrenting and HBO Go-borrowing out there, who knows. But certainly there is no show that dominates our cultural attention right now more than Game of Thrones. It’s not just the popularity, but the rapturous critical praise, the utter dominance over what was once called water-cooler talk. It’s covered not just in our pop culture press but in every corner of the establishment media, every big magazine, every big newspaper, every big website. It’s as big as a television show gets. It’s got critical, cultural, and commercial dominance. There’s nothing else like it right now. It is completely unavoidable. But sorry– for Harry Cheadle of Vice, this is insufficient. Somebody said something mean about Game of Thrones, and so it’s to the battlements to defend a show that could not need defending less.

What Cheadle wants, clearly, is literal unanimity– he wants literally everyone to like and celebrate the things he likes and celebrates. He cannot tolerate living in a universe where all of his choices and tastes aren’t constantly validated and supported by the crowd. He wants a frictionless critical universe where he never has to encounter alternate opinion.

Joe Carter on a Forgotten Gay-Rights Essay

“Sadly, the essay [Kirk and Madsen's 'The Overhauling of Straight America'] wasn’t satire but an actual PR blueprint for efforts to gain acceptance of homosexual behavior over the past 30 years.”

While it is nearly impossible to find a LGBTQ activist who put religious liberty ahead of their agenda, it is possible (at least in theory) to find one or two who will denounce the “inconceivable” connection between homosexual activism and civil rights for African Americans. Though I was not able to find them, I assume they must exist. Yet even if they do, that view is definitely not widely shared amongst supporters of homosexual rights.

Instead, there is a concerted effort to vilify religious believers who oppose homosexual behavior. I used to believe such claims were the overheated rhetoric of misguided Christians. And even until recently, I would have disputed that vilification of religious opponents to homosexuality was a widespread phenomena within the community of LGBTQ rights activists and their supporters. But the indisputable fact is that I was wrong: Vilification has been a primary tactic of the homosexual rights movement for at least thirty years.

The Post-Evangelicals That Weren’t

Hannah Anderson saying smart things:

Millennials tend to associate evangelicalism with an odd collection of American religiosity, traditional mores, and a “God-said-it-I-believe-it” reductionism. In many ways, their understanding has been shaped by growing up in the culture wars of the 1980s and 90s, and has been exacerbated by a religious consumerism unique to capitalism.

Step back a generation or two and you’ll find an evangelicalism less defined by politics and more defined by a commitment to the relevancy and authority of Scripture. Step back yet one more generation and evangelicalism is embodied in cross-denominational cooperation, the global missions movement, and social reform. Step back again and you’ll discover an evangelicalism that was birthed in the revivals of the Great Awakening.

Just as our DNA is the product of the generations before us, today’s evangelicals carry traits, not only of their mothers and fathers, but of their grandmothers and grandfathers and great-grandmothers and great-grandfathers. What many millennials understand to be evangelicalism—some kind of quasi-Protestant, flag-waving, gun-toting, ‘mericanism–simply isn’t. …

What has become evident in the recent World Vision debacle is that many who wish to identify as post-evangelical continue to function within profoundly evangelical (and at times, fundamentalist) paradigms. Their objectives may have shifted, but their rhetoric has not.

A League of Their Own

The Far Post tells the story of how Kenyan soccer has matured in recent years, largely thanks in part to the work of a 71-year-old Canadian:

Bob Munro, 71, is completely at ease; his sweater is draped over his shoulders, and his shirtsleeves are rolled up. The waiters, at the popular local restaurant where we have met, refer to him by first name. At first glance, Munro doesn’t strike you an authority on Kenyan football; he has a kindly smile, his glasses are the proper old school kind (round, no frames) and, well, he’s white.

Munro, a native of St. Catharines, Ontario, has come a long way from the ice hockey and baseball of his youth, and is now one of the go-to people on Kenyan football. Munro, who moved to the country as an advisor to the United Nations Environmental Program and UN Habitat in 1985, founded the Mathare Youth Sports Association (MYSA) in 1987, and the professional team Mathare United FC in 1994. Both are based in Mathare, one of Nairobi’s sprawling slums, which are home to at least 60% of Nairobi residents. MYSA, a global pioneer in sports for development, was the only league in the stands to have a column for ‘garbage cleaning’ in the points table; the association now has over 1,800 youth football teams, and over 25,000 boys and girls who develop their community through environmental cleanup, HIV/AIDS awareness, and literacy programs. MYSA and Mathare United FC were amongst the 165 nominees for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003, and are expected to defend their FIFA Football for Hope championship title in Brazil this year.

War Has a Mind of Its Own

A thoughtful essay titled “The ‘Aresian Risk’ of Unmanned Maritime Systems,” by a Naval philosopher. The “Aresian risk” to which Hatfield refers is the risk the ancients understood but moderns have largely forgotten: war, symbolized by Ares, god of war, is more than just the sum of two warring parties:

It is instructive to note that the ancient Greeks, through their personification of war with the god Ares, had the conceptual resources to cope with the true nature of war in a manner that has become less accessible to modern strategists. In this respect we have become rational to a fault. Like the actual warfare that defines recent experience, Ares was thought to have a mind of his own. Capable of independent action, he was no tool of men. Because of this, all Greek commanders understood warfare as a peculiarly precarious undertaking.