Recovering our Confidence: Four Theses on Social Conservatism (#4)

Note from Jake: This is the final post in Matt’s social conservatism series published in 2012 which we are re-publishing this week.

Post 1, Post 2, Post 3

One of my underlying themes through this week has been the current lack of confidence among mainstream social conservatism.  I’ll grant this is a somewhat surprising subcurrent:  after all, the religious right hasn’t exactly earned its street cred through timidity and reserve.  But I have always been haunted by that old verse, “in quietness and confidence shall be your strength,” as though the most authentic and honest sign of assuredness is the mocking silence in the face of those who oppose us. Continue reading

End the Hostilities Against Elites: Four Theses on Social Conservatism (#2)

Note from Jake: We are re-publishing Matt’s old series from the fall of 2012 on social conservatism:

Part 1

Thesis: For social conservatism to thrive, it needs to end its hostility toward elite institutions that are currently opposed to it.

Consider this bit by Rick Santorum from this year’s Values Voter Summit, which both stunned and saddened me: Continue reading

Mere Fidelity: Examining Populism

This week, Matt returns to the show and foists his questions about our current populist movements upon his reluctant dialogue partners Andrew and Alastair. Hilarity ensues.

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Finally, as always, follow DerekAlastair, and Andrew for more tweet-sized brilliance.  And thanks to Timothy Motte for his sound editing work.

To Sow or to Reap: Four Theses on Social Conservatism (#1)

Note from Jake: This series was first published four years ago by Matthew Lee Anderson in the months leading up to the 2012 election. I had tentative plans to do a similar series this year, particularly after Michelle Obama’s opening-night speech at the DNC highlighted the enormous gap between the Democrats’ ability to give a positive vision of American and the GOP’s ability to do the same. But as I reviewed these posts by Matt, I decided that what he is saying here still basically applies. Indeed, if anything these posts should be read even more closely today in the aftermath of the Trump nomination. So over the next four days, we’ll be republishing Matt’s series of four theses on social conservatism. 

At the recent Values Voter Summit, I was fortunate to join a few friends on a panel discussing the gap between social conservatism’s current incarnation and the generation of young people who have grown up at its edges and are increasingly dissatisfied by it.* Continue reading

Misreading Tolkien and Misreading Scripture: Responding to O’Keefe and Reno

I am reading John J. O’Keefe and R. R. Reno’s Sanctified Vision for the independent study on hermeneutics and theological method I am doing this summer. I have found the book fairly helpful overall, and think the authors are right to commend the church Fathers as models for Biblical interpretation in many ways. The authors do good (albeit somewhat tendentious) work arguing for whole-Bible/“intensive reading” strategies and the validity of typology as part of theological method. When they come to allegory, though, their argument almost immediately goes off the rails with a deeply misguided interpretation of The Lord of the Rings. I offer a critique in two (brief) parts:

 

Continue reading

Soma and the Silencing of Evangelicalism After Trump

In his novel Silence Japanese writer Shusaku Endo tells the story of two Portuguese missionaries in 17th century Japan. After initial pioneering work by Francis Xavier in the 16th century, a small native Japanese church had begun to flourish in the mid-to-late 16th century, possibly growing as large as 100,000 people. Then the government took a hard anti-Christian turn, closed the island to foreigners, and began a harsh regime of persecution against the Japanese Christians.

At the center of this persecution were small icons called fumi-e, pictured above. During the torture, the government officials told the Christians that all they needed to do to end it is agree to trample on the fumi-e, which was understood to be a way of renouncing the faith. To make sure it took, it was common practice in much of Japan to require former Christians to step on a fumi-e once a year. (Silence spoilers below the jump.) Continue reading

Explainer: Divine Simplicity and the Trinitarian Controversy

Today I’m pleased to run this helpful guest post from my friend Andrew Fulford. Given the confusion that has surrounded the recent trinitarian debate, I thought it would be useful to find someone who could write a relatively straight forward post explaining the different terms being tossed around in this debate so far. So this post is going to be a Vox-style explainer answering some of the basic questions that have come up due to the controversy.

What is divine simplicity?

If you have followed the recent upheaval over the Trinity and gender, you may have asked yourself that question. This doctrine was once taken for granted by basically everyone, from the earliest days of the church through to the Reformation and beyond, and only became unfamiliar quite recently. I’m not going to be able to explain all the details of the idea here. My objective is twofold: to give a basic outline of the idea, and to explain why the tradition of classical Christian theism held to it. Continue reading

Mere Fidelity: Understanding the Meritocracy

This week, Derek, Alastair and Andrew consider Helen Andrews’s essay on our meritocracy. Andrews is one of the liveliest and most compelling young writers of our day, and her essay is a fascinating analysis of how our aristocracy has shifted. You can see the excerpt Andrew posted from it here. 

If you enjoyed the show, leave us a review at iTunes.  If you didn’t enjoy the show, let us know and we’ll work to make it better.  Or we’ll ignore you.  And if you want to subscribe by RSS, you can do that here.

If you’re interested in supporting the show (you know, with money), you can check out our Patreon here.

Finally, as always, follow DerekAlastair, and Andrew for more tweet-sized brilliance.  And thanks to Timothy Motte for his sound editing work.