January 2016 Archives
January 1, 2016
The Church is a Field Hospital
It is a common phrase in Pope Francis’s mouth, that metaphor invoking the image of a field hospital. And it is an apt metaphor, for the Church does minister to those in severe straights, gravely damaged by sin.
But is there any reason to suggest that this metaphor is complete? That it describes the entirety of what the Church is and does? No, of course not. Even keeping to the tenor of usage in which the metaphor originates, we could make use of many more descriptors.
The Church is a Field Army. Yes, this Church that Christ founded: the one of which He said “the gates of hell shall not stand against it”. That’s a metaphor Christ himself gave us. And it is a field army that attacks a city’s gates. This is (among other reasons) why we call the Church here on Earth “the Church Militant.” This Church goes out and takes new territory: With its missionaries it attacks Satan’s holdings to recover from Satan what really belongs to God. It claims new souls for God by preaching Christ crucified to pagans and atheists and unbelievers of all types.
January 4, 2016
Taking children and the passivity of the European Christian
A case has been in the news lately of a Christian family in Norway, the Bodnariu family, whose five children have been seized by the Barnavernet, the Norwegian equivalent of Child Protective Services in the United States. The Barnavernet has a long history of allegations of abuse of its power. (See here, here, and here, among many others.) This case is by no means unique in that respect.
What caught the attention of the Christian media in the case of the Bodnariu family was the claim that the principal of the children's school initiated the trouble by stating that the children were being "radicalized" in Christianity by their parents and being taught that God punishes sin. According to the family, these matters were listed on the document given to their lawyer telling them what accusations formed the basis for the seizing of the children. Now, even though termination of parental rights has not been finalized, the CPS is beginning the process to try to place the children for adoption--apparently this could be in separate homes, as the siblings have not been kept together in foster care. This story states that, in a different, earlier case which the CPS lost in court, the CPS nonetheless was allowed to continue placing those children for adoption on the grounds that the case had gone on so long that it would be too traumatic to return them to their parents!
January 9, 2016
Miller case update
Scott W. in the comments below asked about the Miller case. I've posted about this many times. You can follow links back starting here. I was able to get the relevant web site up. The latest news is that Pastor Ken Miller apparently will be returned to prison to serve a 27-month sentence. This is expected to happen in the next few months as a result of a plea bargain deal (of sorts) according to which the government will not pursue new charges and Pastor Miller will not pursue further appeals. How kind of the federal government. Meanwhile, the feds were still as of fall, 2014, apparently pursuing other people in the case, though I have no recent updates on that.
January 12, 2016
News from the world of the death dealers
I wish I had better news on this snowy morning, but I don't. Here are two bad items from abroad:
Holland has officially relaxed its rules for killing people with dementia. (My own strong suspicion is that they've been euthanizing them already, but this is official.) If you state ahead of time in writing that you want to be killed if you get Alzheimer's or some other form of dementia, then the doctors will legally bump you off under those circumstances. It won't even be bending the rules. It will be officially allowed by the rules. (Try not to choke laughing at the linked article's statement that euthanasia is allowed in Holland only under "strict conditions.")
I think that counts as "choice devours itself." Yeah, sure, it includes a nod to "choice" because you're supposed to have chosen to die ahead of time. And yes, it's a logical extension of dehydrating people to death based on their statements ahead of time. In fact, viewed in an entirely secular, utilitarian way, a lethal injection is more humane. (That is not to be taken as an endorsement.) But in either case, what we're doing is killing people who are mentally incompetent to ask to die. Which really isn't choice.
January 15, 2016
Islam and the "same God" question
Given our interest in opposing jihad, readers may have been wondering when and whether any of our W4 authors would weigh in on the "same God/god" question that has been doing the rounds of the Internet. For various reasons, I preferred for quite a while to engage in debate on the issue only on my personal blog, where I put up a brief post, or on Maverick Philosopher, where the conversation has been quiet and gentlemanly, though at times rather esoteric. (See here, here, here, here, and here for some of the conversation there.)
I did a little discussion of it on Facebook but found that frustrating. In any event, The Gospel Coalition asked me to expand upon the remarks at my personal blog, and here is the article that I wrote for TGC.
As I said there, it doesn't do for us to ignore the practical implications of the question, "Do Muslims and Christians worship the same God?" and I think we should try to avoid the philosophical fault of defining a sense of some concept that is so "thin" that it cannot possibly be of any real-world relevance, despite the fact that the issue as originally raised obviously does have connections to the real world.
On that front of practical implications, this story just came to my notice yesterday: A pastor in Germany has been investigated (though cleared, how kind) by the prosecutor for "hate speech" for saying that Muslims and Christians don't worship the same God. Obviously, I'm not saying that those who think Muslims and Christians worship the same God are in favor of hate speech laws against those of us who disagree! But what I am saying is that this illustrates the urgency of the issue and the rubber-meets-the-road implications of various answers to the question.
January 24, 2016
You can trust God, but men are fallible
New post by this title up at Extra Thoughts.
In the abortion wars, the truth is always on our side
This year I missed posting anything on the anniversary of the infamous Roe v. Wade because of a combination of busyness with the "same God" controversy, a bout of political discouragement, and a lack of inspiration.
Here, two days late, I'd like to do a small bit to rectify that omission.
Back in December, Newsweek published an article on abortion that was hardly a pro-life op-ed. But as it happened, the cover picture at Newsweek showed (I know this will horrify you) a pic of an unborn child, and that was just too much for the more-pro-abortion-than-thou Sady Doyle at Elle, who was shocked, shocked, to find that a fetus looks like a baby.
That's a Shame
There is a big war over shame. Some (many?) think that it’s wrong to shame people. Period.
Others think that shaming constitutes a public service, and will pursue it at every opportunity.
Some say that shaming is not Christian. Other say that good Christians ought to shame others.
What do you say?
As a public service, I hereby promise not to shame those of you who answer wrong. At least not too badly. Well, at least not immediately. Unless you really get me going with something totally outrageous. So feel free to say what you really think. And remember, this is for posterity, so be honest.
January 27, 2016
A legal puzzle about the indictment of David Daleiden [Updated]
Pro-lifers have been shocked by the fact that a Texas Grand Jury has refused to indict a particular Planned Parenthood for baby parts trafficking and instead has indicted David Daleiden and one of his helpers who engaged in undercover investigation of Planned Parenthood. The indictments appear to stem from the fact that Daleiden pretended to offer to purchase baby parts, which is allegedly a crime in Texas, and that he and his helper had to create fake IDs of some kind in the course of their investigation.
Numerous reports give the strong impression that the Grand Jury was asked to investigate Planned Parenthood but, moved by a surprisingly detailed knowledge of the law and purity of motive, felt bound to indict Daleiden instead when they just happened to notice that he broke Texas law by offering to buy fetal tissue and faking a driver's license.
This seems implausible.
January 28, 2016
Donald J. Trump’s campaign for the U.S. presidency fills us with a mixture of bewilderment and dread. The Trump “phenomenon” appears calculated to discredit conservatism, to make a laughingstock of the party whose leadership he would seek, and to implicate American democracy in the low-rent spectacle of the reality TV star. When Trump boasts of the imperviousness of his supporters to any argument or evidence, he serves only to undermine respect for democracy as such. Trump’s supporters, meanwhile, take it as a point of pride that they are willing to ignore any fact that cuts against their vision of the man as the great tonic to all that ails us. Trump represents the final triumph of celebrity over substance in American politics.
The Left’s open embrace of lying as a legitimate alternative to persuasion seems to have found its corollary in Trumpism, which can be reduced roughly to the belief that “real” conservatism can find its strength in the abandonment of reason and, with it, whatever remains of the standards of uprightness in public behavior. It is a concession to the idea that the politics of a free society are but a stage for ever-more-evocative performance art by professional charlatans, who are expected to be by turns ridiculous and vicious. In Trump’s public persona, outlandish statements and a firm refusal to admit fault ally themselves with a thuggish resort to highly personal invective in the face of scrutiny. If he were a literary archetype, we might call him the Silly Brute. This is not the stuff of a proper conservative standard-bearer.
Of course, Mr. Trump stands little chance to win the general election, so his nomination would also represent the triumph of spite over sound political judgment. A further explication of our rejection of Donald Trump follows.
Update: Comments are back open, with the firm emphasis that anti-Semitism is despicable and will not be tolerated. Nor will profanity, including a certain fashionable Twitter insult.