Saturday, July 14, 2012

Why Liberal Christianity is Changing and Dying

This is an excellent op-ed piece over at the New York Times by Ross Douthat.  A sample:
Both religious and secular liberals have been loath to recognize this crisis. Leaders of liberal churches have alternated between a Monty Python-esque “it’s just a flesh wound!” bravado and a weird self-righteousness about their looming extinction. (In a 2005 interview, the Episcopal Church’s presiding bishop explained that her communion’s members valued “the stewardship of the earth” too highly to reproduce themselves.)
It's not so much triumphalist as it is sad.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

J. Kameron Carter on Whiteness and Christianity

"The 'strength' by which whiteness became a fait accompli is the strength by which Christianity was quite violently severed from its Jewish roots and subsequently redeployed, again quite violently, as the ground of Western civilization and white cultural nationalism. In short, modern Western civilization is, in the strictest sense of the term, a racial accomplishment, the accomplishment of whiteness. But this accomplishment is a distinctively modern 'Christian' accomplishment, an accomplishment rooted in the refusal to understand Christian identity inside Jewish covenantal life... Alas, Christianity became the white man's religion."

p 286, Race: A Theological Account by J. Kameron Carter

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

How to Resist Greed

"One danger is that we might seek to build up our bank account of righteousness through our giving. A strategy to combat this is to give frivolously. Someone might say, “Why did you give them money? They’re just going to buy alcohol.” But this frivolous giving is basically a way of saying, “To hell with the world and worldly success.” Ultimately, it’s a way of tearing up dollar bills in the middle of the street."

Rusty Reno in an interview for the publication Fermentations.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Danger of Being Materialists

(Orthodoxy ought to
Bless our modern plumbing:
Swift and St. Augustine
Lived in centuries
When a stench of sewage
Ever in the nostrils
Made a strong debating
Point for Manichees).
W.H. Auden, from "Geography of a House,"

The really remarkable thing about this poem is that it really is all about excrement.  Several stanzas, deeply reflecting on humanity and our waste.  Frankly, I'm more than a little glad he wrote it.  To defend the goodness of materiality is easy until we deal with the frank protests of pungent odors and unsightly matter.  After all, isn't this the scandal of the Incarnation?

Monday, December 26, 2011

Prayer (1).

Prayer the church's banquet, angel's age,
God's breath in man returning to his birth,
The soul in paraphrase, heart in pilgrimage,
The Christian plummet sounding heav'n and earth
Engine against th' Almighty, sinner's tow'r,
Reversed thunder, Christ-side-piercing spear,
The six-days world transposing in an hour,
A kind of tune, which all things hear and fear;
Softness, and peace, and joy, and love, and bliss,
Exalted manna, gladness of the best,
Heaven in ordinary, man well drest,
The milky way, the bird of Paradise,
Church-bells beyond the stars heard, the soul's blood,
The land of spices; something understood.

- George Herbert (1593-1633)

Monday, November 28, 2011

Bunny Culvin, The Wire's Bonhoeffer

In the final episode of season three of The Wire, Bunny Culvin the architect behind the infamous Hamsterdam project pulls a Bonhoeffer. After McNulty accuses Bunny of "cutting a few corners" Bunny replies, "I just did what I did, it felt right, and I'm fine with that". Sounds eerily reminiscent of Bonhoeffer's justification of his violation of his own pacifist code.