Thursday, November 20, 2014

Some linkage I liked

Lots of good stuff on the interwebs and by good I mean either thought-provoking or nausea-provoking.

Speaking of nausea, the American Conservative (which has replaced National Review as my online opinion mag of choice) looks at Hillary Clinton as The Military-Industrial Candidate. The article has this quote that is telling (emphasis mine):

Karen Kwiatkowski, a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel who has spent her post-service days protesting the war policies in Iraq and Afghanistan, is more blunt. “Interventionism is a business and it has a constituency and she is tapping into it,” she tells TAC. “She is for the military industrial complex, and she is for the neoconservatives. 
 On the surface it would appear that Clinton is expert at fusing her touchy-feely side with a seemingly instinctual desire to use the military to sustain and wield American “global leadership” to whatever ends. This approach can yield political paydirt, drawing in hawks from both sides of the spectrum. But to critics it smacks of “soft empire” and in that way, it’s no different than say, Robert Kagan’s neoconservatism—it’s all a matter of branding.”
“You don’t get to be a serious person in Washington until you are considered pro-intervention,” said Mike Lofgren, who spent 30 years as a budget analyst and aide on Capitol Hill, specializing in defense. Plus, the “Clintons, they really like to hang out with rich people and there is a lot of money in the military industrial complex.”  

Is it possible that so-called "neo-conservatives" might actually prefer hawkish Hillary Clinton over someone with a realism based non-interventionist foreign policy like Rand Paul? I think it is although not many are willing to say it now as Hillary is (or at least used to be) one of the most loathed figures on the political Left. If you are inclined to support the architect of Hillarycare, the precursor to Obamacare, over someone who actually wants to reduce the size and scope of the government because you are terrified of spending a nickel less on the military, you might be many things but a "conservative" of any sort you ain't. I also liked this...

Money, of course, is high on the list for a credible presidential run, and Clinton has been raising lots of it. Hollywood, which appears to hate war only when Republicans are waging it, is forming the left flank in her PAC operations. Meanwhile, Israeli billionaire friend Haim Saban (yes, that Saban) told theWashington Post that he will spend “whatever it takes” to get her elected.

Remember folks, according to the Left it is evil when the Koch brothers spend money to elect Republicans but it is noble when liberal billionaires spend money to elect Democrats.

Harvest Public Media has been doing a series on the obscene amounts of food thrown out in this country in a special report Tossed Out. What seems to be missed are the social changes and economic and cultural pressure that leads to both parents out of the home at a job, which in turn leads to convenience foods and lots of waste. Preparing meals, saving them leftovers and reusing those leftovers takes time and that is a precious commodity in our culture.

Last week a Muslim prayer service was held (and heckled) at the "Washington National Cathedral". A lot of people were upset about it. I might have been if anything even vaguely Christian took place in this cathedral. As it is, who cares?

A couple of weeks ago the CEO of Apple "came out" as homosexual. As part of his remarks he said "...I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me" What a tragic notion that God would gift an image bearer with something that is abhorrent to Himself. Being famous and wealthy doesn't absolve Mr. Cook of his eventual judgment. I can only hope that his heart is changed before he discovers that his sin is not a gift.

Speaking of homosexuality, Slate of all places has an insightful piece on why the mormon "church" will eventually come to accept homosexuality. The article, Divine Revision, looks at the tendency of mormon "prophets" to revise or completely reverse the "divine revelation" of their predecessors.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a firm view on homosexuality and gay marriage. “Marriage between a man and a woman is essential to the Creator's plan,” the church declares on its website. “The Church’s doctrinal position is clear: Sexual activity should only occur between a man and a woman who are married.” 

 But there’s a catch: LDS doctrine is subject to sudden reversals. While other churches cling to the Bible, Mormons believe new revelations can overthrow past injunctions, including those written in Scripture. “Nowhere does the Bible proclaim that all revelations from God would be gathered into a single volume to be forever closed,” the church contends. 

 In fact, Mormons have been revising their doctrines all along. The revisions are driven by cultural and political changes, though the church attributes them to revelation. This is the pattern in a series of essays, posted on the church’s website, that explains its evolution on difficult issues. The pattern suggests that eventually the church might do the same with homosexuality.

Makes you kind of wonder if God is just constantly changing His mind or perhaps these "prophets" are noting more than politicians and religious charlatans who lead by checking the direction of the wind. I expect that Jorge is the vanguard of the same thing happening in Rome and for the same basic reasons.

A while back Ed Stetzer posted a great piece on why we need to destroy the clergy-laity divide, Sunday is for Series: “Laypeople” and Ministry. While Ed is sometimes off the mark I like what he is doing here, laying out a systematic defense of all Christians as owners rather than customers of the local church ministry. This post is actual an collection of prior posts that go into more detail. We need more prominent Christians to work to tear down the system of clerical privilege that is muzzling the church and overburdening the clergy.

Owen Strachan writing at Patheos looks at comments from Matthew Vines that make the same argument I and others have been making for years, namely that the same hermeneutic approach that rejects complementarianism at the same time leads many to embrace homosexual behavior: Matthew Vines: Rejecting Complementarianism Means Accepting Homosexuality. The two are not really in the same conversation but the method of arriving at both positions is the same and demands that the Bible bow to pressure from contemporary opinion rather than the opposite being true. Pointing this out used to draw an angry response but it seems less so now.

Stephen Henderson, writing in the Detroit Free Press, asks a question that is bordering on blasphemy in the state of Michigan. Is football worth the risk? He answers no in his piece College Football's unacceptable bargain.

Someone at the party wondered: What if football is becoming like the military? A dangerous path forward for economically desperate college aspirants, but something that most people with options direct their children away from? 

And if that parallel holds, is the university offering opportunity or indulging exploitation — and if the latter is true, does football still have a place on a college campus?

I agree in principle if not in particulars. "College football" has been a misnomer for a long time. These guys are mostly semi-professional athletes who provide entertainment for the masses in return for a few years at a school for free. We really should just end the farce of people rabidly supporting an athletic team at a school many of them didn't attend. I have gradually stopped watching sports and started caring less and less about them. It seems to appeal to the basest impulses of humanity and embodies very few of the characteristics that the Bible finds praiseworthy. Is it time to end the college sports system? I think it is, for a lot of reasons.

One last one, a simply loathsome and self-serving essay by Jay Adam at The Institute for Nouthetic Studies, How to Obtain a Living Wage in the Pastorate. This is an ugly mix of borderline prosperity preaching, logical inconsistencies, terrible exegesis and the sort of entitlement mentality that most evangelicals find revolting in welfare recipients but acceptable and even noble among the clergy. For example Mr. Adams points out that while Paul was a tent-maker, he wasn't a pastor so that doesn't apply and then turns around and says that Paul's "right" to make a living from the church does apply to pastors. Which is it? This paragraph was the worst of the bunch:

If you—as their official expounder of the Word—(1) allow your people to rationalize their way out of a proper understanding and application of Scripture, (2) cater to selfishness in the congregation, and (3) thereby fail not only to explain and insist upon the Lord Christ’s orders,1 but fail to heed them yourself, you are unfaithful both to Christ and to His church.

So in this paragraph he describes a pastor "letting" his people think differently, as if they are in control of people's opinions, claims that not paying as much as he thinks they should is selfish (when demanding others work to pay your salary is not) and puts words in the mouth of Christ. Other than that and the pompous self-description as "their official expounder of the Word", it is a great argument! This essay is an example of the very worst sorts of clerical self-serving misuse of Scripture. Thanks a lot to the guy who sent it to me.

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