Suffering for Jesus

It’s no business of mine, but I do wonder whether Ma and Pa Kettle out in the boonies know that this is where a portion of their tithe money goes.

The campus [Southern Seminary] has a bookshop bigger than the library at Oak Hill. It has a swimming pool, several gyms, two chapels, and I had two TVs, a microwave, fridge, and coffee machine in my guest suite (WEST doesn’t boast such luxury). In the President’s Dining Room the conference speakers were treated to fabulous food with SBTS branded butter in our SBTS branded comfy chairs. Wycliffe Hall, Oxford and Ridley Hall, Cambridge can’t match that. With iced tea though. Hmmmmm.

I didn’t get immersed while I was there, and nor did I come home with a new suit or $650 fountain pen from the on-campus emporium (it had an 18 carat gold nib, they enthused …

Branded butter? Seriously? Are they afraid people will steal it?

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Death-wish theology

I catch grief every time I use the expression, but “death-wish theology” is the heart of the Christian message: You should aim at the annihilation of self-interest and self-direction because your self is no damn good. Almost invariably, I hear that I am exaggerating, that I am indulging hyperbole, that Christianity is a religion of love-love-love for everybody, et cetera, et cetera.

No. Christianity exploits the insecure and directionless, cultivates and then feeds upon self-loathing. How, really, could it be otherwise? What need is there for ‘salvation’ without Original Sin? Without the belief that one is unfit to even exist — never mind be happy?

I remark all this because, before I broke my arm and was obliged to do negligible typing for several weeks (4 so far, and counting), I encountered a passage that captured this nicely in a book about the little group around John Dewey which launched the Progressive Movement at the start of the last century. Dewey had grown-up in New England, and his thinking was at that time strongly influenced by his Congregationalist upbringing.

The Puritans saw themselves engaged as God’s agents on an earthly errand. Yet according to Sacvan Bercovitch their literature discloses as well a concept of the self in which “selfhood appears as a state to be overcome, obliterated; and identity is asserted through an act of submission to a transcendent absolute.” Among Puritan divines, the impulses of the individual worldly self, for gratification, earthly love, the fulfillment of desire, seemed antithetical to the main concern of Protestant faith, the salvation of the spiritual self and the abandonment of worldly desire.

Andrew Feffer
The Chicago Pragmatists and American Progressivism

This is the message bellowed from Southern Baptist pulpits from one end of the country to the other every Sunday morning — and it is a message of malice.

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The Will to Power

Book One: History of European Nihilism
II: Nihilism

§110   Overall insight: the ambiguous character of our modern world — the very same symptoms could point to decline and to strength. And the signs of strength, of the attainment of majority, could be misconstrued as weakness on the basis of traditional (residual) negative emotional valuations. In brief, our feelings, as feelings about values, are not up to date.

To generalize: feelings about values are always behind the times; they express conditions of preservation and growth that belong to times long gone by; they resist new conditions of existence with which they cannot cope and which they necessarily misunderstand: thus they inhibit and arouse suspicion against what is new.

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Donohue demands Constitutional marriage amendment

Bill Donohue, famous nutcase, thinks it is time for a marriage amendment.

As any astute political science undergraduate knows, there is no constitutional right to gay marriage. But now that this issue has been thrust upon us by our constitutional law professor president, we need to affirm marriage between a man and a woman in the U.S. Constitution.

This is the same Bill Donohue who in 2013 instructed us thusly:

The whole purpose of marriage is to have a family. It’s not about making people happy; it’s not about love.

Bill Donohue’s sole redeeming quality is that he is stupid enough to articulate the Christian teaching frankly: Marriage is about babies — period. Marriage is not about the mutual loyalty and shared ambitions that go into building satisfying lives together, for those are presumptions on the absolutely sovereignty of the sewer-god, who is to have all of your loyalty and who will tell you what are your ambitions.

Y’all know I’m not making it up; there is not one of you, skeptic or believer alike, who hasn’t heard that many times. Donohue, and the Southern Baptists, are good examples of what you get when people are so foolish as to believe it and so debased as to try to live according to that familiar teaching.

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The end of the mystique, ctd

One of Eddie Long’s New Birth churches goes into foreclosure.

Foreclosure proceedings for New Birth Charlotte began five months after Bishop Terrell Murphy resigned as pastor in June 2013. Murphy left to begin a new church called Life Center International, which continues to meet at Audrey Kell High School.

During Murphy’s 10-year tenure, New Birth Charlotte bought the 25.12 acres in Huntersville and in 2008, built the 64,688-square-foot building with a 2,400-seat worship center.

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