16 July 2018

Disquiet in the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC)

I've recommended Jeff Riddle's work in the past. He's a Reformed or confessionally Calvinistic Baptist pastor out of Virginia.
By way of clarification I personally am an ex- or more probably post- Reformed Christian and most definitely not a Baptist in any sense, but there are some in those circles I can appreciate. I think Riddle demonstrates some wisdom when it comes to discussing certain topics but most of all I appreciate his work defending the traditional text and concepts like providential preservation as opposed to the pseudo-conservative position of inerrancy and its embrace of the Critical Text.
I listen to his Word Magazine podcasts and while at first I wasn't that interested in this particular topic, it pulled me in. He and a guest (Clevenger) are talking about developments within the Southern Baptist Convention, both of them are apparently ex-members.

15 July 2018

Risen, Mueller and the False Exposé

I am consistently amazed by people like the former New York Times reporter James Risen. After all they've experienced, after all they've seen and been exposed to, they still harbour a fundamental faith in the system. Are they naive? If they are it's concerning human nature. I am immediately suspicious of anyone who has spent a career in journalism, especially reporting on politics, military and the security state and yet still believes that people are fundamentally good or that apart from a few bad apples... the state apparatus is inhabited for the most part by good, honest folks possessing honour and integrity.

01 July 2018

Depictions of Christ (Part 2)

Is the problem with pictures of Christ a question of devotion? Is it because people will 'worship' the picture? And thus the question implies that if it's non-devotional in nature, is it then permissible?

Depictions of Christ (Part 1)

Should Christ be depicted? For many this question is confused by debates over whether or not such depictions are appropriate for 'church' or whether they should be restricted to the arts. Some believe such depictions are appropriate for a children's Bible book while others would forbid even this. Can Christ be depicted in the movies?

24 June 2018

Romania and the Prospect of Moldovan Reunification: NATO's Ostsiedlung Programme

Americans struggle with geography and history. Largely ignorant of their own, they soon all but drown when delving into regions such as Central and Eastern Europe. Our education system and media do not help and to some degree I think this ignorance is deliberate. And yet if you want to understand what's happening geopolitically and what it means for the world at large and for the Christians living in these places, it's good to investigate these matters.
Perhaps you've watched some media pieces on Transnistria or the NATO missile bases being placed in Romania. Why are these things happening and why are some people upset about it? For the American audience everything is viewed through a post 9/11 and pro-America lens and yet for the people outside the United States this is not the case.

16 June 2018

Caesar's Coin and the Demise of Transactional Autonomy (Part 3)

One is reminded of the 2009 film The International wherein two low-to-mid level bureaucrats attempt to investigate and challenge the state-corporate power represented by international banking.  The movie has been noted for its cinematography wherein small figures are often juxtaposed with large overbearing architecture. It's meant to amplify and accentuate the virtual impossibility of the little man taking on the machine. In the movie the crusading bureaucrats (an Interpol agent and a state level district attorney) are all but crushed by the overwhelming power of the corrupt Western system.

Caesar's Coin and the Demise of Transactional Autonomy (Part 2)

There is a vicious cycle at work in which multiple bad actors seeking to profit from and at the expense of one another and to protect themselves from competitors have created conditions which all but destroy the ability for individuals to conduct all but the simplest transactions apart from regulation and government involvement. That is unfortunately where this all leads. The various industries press the government (and effectively buy it) to pass laws leading to regulations that will protect their industry (and profits) and will bring about stability and uniformity... the conditions investors and corporate boards want. They can deal with regulations as long as they know what they are. They can subsequently tweak and re-tool their models and make money.

Caesar's Coin and the Demise of Transactional Autonomy (Part 1)

Listening to people complain about the state of society, government intrusion, burdensome costs and the hosts of problems surrounding insurance and litigation, I am struck (in almost every case) by the tendency toward reductionism. Each person tends to assess the situation from their own limited perspective and experience and render judgment on that basis without ever taking the time to look into the larger picture. They're often right in one sense but because their inquiry is limited, they almost always represent but one portion of a larger truth and thus in the end, their depiction and judgment is skewed, distorted and ultimately misleading. This is hardly surprising and yet it often proves destructive, especially when people act in what must be described as ignorance.

07 June 2018

Evangelicals, Finances and Social Norms

Listening to Christian Financial Programmes one usually hears something to the effect that you should drive your vehicles into the ground. Don't trade in a vehicle until you have to and avoid the car loan at all costs. Even among the often rather affluent Evangelical world few are able to buy cars outright. Most people end up having to finance.
Debt is certainly something we as Christians should try to avoid. With modern capitalism this is becoming increasingly difficult. Our society and its financial model are built around debt, credit and interest. These financial instruments have changed the very nature of 'demand' and it affects all of us whether we like it or not.

03 June 2018

Financialisation and a Small Rust Belt City

It was recently announced that Erie Insurance is now the largest employer in the city of Erie Pennsylvania. If you've spent any time living in, reading about or visiting the Rust Belt, such an announcement is expected but still profound. Visiting Erie from time to time I often reflect on deindustrialisation and financialisation. My most recent trip had me musing on it more than usual and then I read the story in the news about Erie Insurance.

31 May 2018

29 May 2018

12 May 2018

Deep State Conspiracies: Not in the Anglo-American West

A couple of weeks ago I finished listening to Owen Bennett-Jones' BBC series on the Benazir Bhutto assassination. I enjoyed it and learned a few things. In typical fashion, it ignored certain aspects of the context and larger story but that is to be expected.

15 April 2018

Four types of Christian, Four Gospels and the Adulteration of the Visible Church (Part 3/Final)

Magisterial Protestantism Comes Full Circle and the Oracular Mark of the Church
What is a Christian? Is it an easy and straightforward question? While I don't want to pretend there aren't some nuances to consider, nevertheless on one level it is a pretty simple question we should be able to answer.

Four types of Christian, Four Gospels and the Adulteration of the Visible Church (Part 2)

The Socio-Cultural or Pronoun Error and Christian Antithesis  
Despite the stumbles and setbacks, Protestants continued in their attempts to create a new version of Christendom. In the centuries following the Reformation and Age of Reason, the nation state came to the fore and reached full flower during the Enlightenment. The concepts and categories of the period became deeply ingrained and citizen-nationalities were ultimately wed to the older concept of Christendom.

Four types of Christian, Four Gospels and the Adulteration of the Visible Church (Part 1)

Nominal Christianity and the Lordship Controversy
What is a Christian? How is that term to be defined? It may seem like an easy and straightforward question but apparently it isn't because there seems to be a lot of confusion.

08 April 2018

Not a Famine of Bread, a Famine of Word

The title refers to Amos 8.11. If you look it up, make sure you read the whole chapter. It's quite poignant and it's a reminder.... times change, but for the most part people do not.
But remember while it's proper to use Israel as an analogy to the contemporary situation, don't think in terms of contemporary Western society or American culture. That's not the analog to Israel. Think in terms of the Church. That's the New Testament sense it which it is applicable. Viewing it this way as opposed to society at large gives the message (and indictment) a quite different and actually much more severe meaning and application.

Embracing Dystopia: Reflections on the Ascendancy of Amazon and the Signs of the Times (Part 2 of 2)

Every state contains what might be described as the Bestial Impulse, the temptation of ultimacy. We can also refer to this as the Babel Impulse, the temptation to conflate the state project with divine presence or deity itself. Essentially what this means is that the state sees itself in the role of a god and a manifestation of heavenly presence or prerogative.

Embracing Dystopia: Reflections on the Ascendancy of Amazon and the Signs of the Times (Part 1 of 2)

I was reading a story from a few months ago about Amazon handing over large amounts of data to law enforcement and it prompted me to wrestle with the question of Amazon, Bezos and what it all represents. Immediately I thought of my past wranglings with Wal-Mart.

01 April 2018

Cracks in the Atlantic Wall

What were once subtle signals of fissures in the Atlantic alliance are becoming more pronounced. I refer here to Atlanticism, the belief that Europe and America have a mutual need, values and destiny. This is a deeper and more pervasive concept that transcends military alliances like NATO. This relationship involves not just military but cultural and economic alliances.

25 March 2018

Hanoi and Rome

The linked article mentions the Vatican and Hanoi still don't have formal relations and that this is a legacy of communism. The statement is interesting because someone might read it and think something along these lines: The communists were atheistic and thus they would have no interest in establishing diplomatic ties with a theocratic state like the Vatican.

18 March 2018

The Leaven of Evangelical Sacralism: A Warning Regarding Judaized Politics and the Hypocrisy it Breeds (Part 2 of 2)

Recently I was visiting a Reformed Baptist Church and the pastor, a graduate of Liberty University continually invoked the name of Jerry Falwell Sr. in the pulpit. He obviously admires the man and it was clear listening to him pray and preach that he has fallen into the same idolatrous trap as Dobson, Jeffress, the Grahams, Mohler, Perkins and a host of other conservative and Evangelical leaders have fallen into. They think America is an 'exceptional' nation by which they (as Christians) mean it has been granted a holy or semi-holy status apart from other nations.

The Leaven of Evangelical Sacralism: A Warning Regarding Judaized Politics and the Hypocrisy it Breeds (Part 1 of 2)

Hypocrisy is hardly unusual, especially in the realm of politics. And sadly we must admit it is also fairly common within the larger Church.
And yet there are times when it reaches levels that can only be described as over the top, even obscene. Maybe people have short memories, maybe some can't see it. In other cases one is left wondering if it isn't hypocrisy as much as just plain deceit.

12 March 2018

Christian Historiography, Recurring Patterns and Interpreting Current Events

In a recent article referencing history as an interpreter of current events, I said: The lessons and realities of history are on his side and there's a real comfort in that, especially in the face of storm and assault. Those who study history with open eyes will know great sorrow and frustration. They will often stand alone but having walked the paths of the past... they need not fear. They've seen it all before.
A further elaboration was requested and is in order.

02 March 2018

Neo-McCarthyism and Cold War II (Part 2)

The US is bent on overthrowing the Assad regime in Syria. Obama supported this action from its very beginning. From the standpoint of US imperialism the removal of Assad dovetails beautifully with the designs of Israel and would represent a significant victory for US policy in defiance of Russia and to the detriment of Iran.

Neo-McCarthyism and Cold War II

This recent Greenwald article calls attention to the inherent danger found in the Neo-McCarthyite campaign against Russia. Patrick Buchanan and others have also picked up on this and are sounding the alarm.

18 February 2018

A Clash of Protestant Intellectual Traditions and Metanarratives (Part 2 of 2)

Unlike the Theonomists who have chosen to ignore a significant portion of Post-Reformation history, most Protestants and Europeans in general emerged from the 17th century with a profound realisation that Confessionalism was not going to work as a basis for Ecclesiastical Establishment. England (in part) fought a war over this and in the end decided for Establishment and Social Pluralism. The Nonconformists were not granted full status and rights until the 19th century and after but they were at least tolerated. Just because that term has been abused does not mean it should be dispensed with. It is a noble and even Biblical concept (1 Cor 5.9-12).