Noting that the NT word translated “Grace” is simply “Gift,” Barclay goes on to enumerate how a gift might be perfected. Hugely important stuff.

…Barclay is working out the Pauline notion of grace under the rubric of anthropological treatments of the gift, and he argues that the notion of “grace” can be perfected in regard to the giver, the gift, or the reception of the gift. He enumerates six “perfections” of grace: superabundance; singularity, the notion that benevolence is the giver’s exclusive attribute; priority, in which the gift of grace is seen as always prior to the initiative of the recipient; incongruity, the notion that a gift is given “without regard to the work of the recipient”; efficacy, which highlights the fact that the gift “fully achieves what it was designed to do”; and non-circularity, the notion that the gift does not demand a response (70-75).

Barclay emphasizes that these perfections do not entail one another: “To perfect one facet of gift-giving does not imply the perfection of any or all of the others” (75). It would, for example, be possible to perfect the priority of grace without perfecting its incongruity; not only possible, but actual, since this is pretty much late medieval soteriology in a nutshell. Yet this non-entailment is often forgotten, and discussions of grace slip from one perfection to another, or assume that perfecting grace in one dimension implies perfection elsewhere. A lack of clarity about these varieties of perfection produces confusion. For those who define grace in terms of one perfection (say, incongruity), a congruent grace is no grace at all. Lack of clarity also means that different conceptions of grace are viewed as differences in emphasis on grace.

This sixfold typology provides Barclay with a powerful tool to examine conceptions of grace in Christian theology, in contemporary Pauline studies, and in Judaism….

Read more here: Perfecting Grace

…the doctrines of modernity, secularism, individualism, Americanism, liberalism — these aren’t New Paganisms. They’re Christianisms. “Lilies that fester smell far worse than weeds,” as C.S. Lewis put it, and he’s right: Our cultural stink doesn’t waft from newly sprouted ideologies, but from a rotten Christianity. We are “post-Christian” in the specific sense of being from Christianity — always referred to a Christian past, in thought as in history.

Our atheism is a Christian atheism (evangelical and fideistic), our murderous tendencies are Christian tendencies (compassionate and performed out of love), and our sexual issues are Christian sexual issues (deriving from the Christian elevation of sexuality to the level of freedom and love). Our Americana doctrines are the devolution and deconstruction of Christian doctrines: The Catholic understanding of religious freedom (a freedom which exists for the discovery of the truth about God) is not simply threatened by but devolves into secularism (a freedom which doesn’t exist for anything, but simply is, respected as an end in itself). The Catholic understanding of the equal dignity of humanity (established by our common status as icons of the Creator) isn’t a just a rival concept to liberal equality — it buckles into a conception of equality as the equal rights of the individual, granted by the State, as means of protection from the ill-intent of every other individual. In short, the Catholic hasn’t washed up on the beaches of a Pagan land — he lives in the Land of the Broken Church. He stands amidst the wreck of Christian doctrines, and is assaulted on every side, not by the anti-Church, but by the Church that has forgotten it is Church, a post-Church trying its best to prop up the values Christianity introduced to the world — universal love, charity, preference for the poor, freedom of conscience, the dignity of the person over the State, etc. — without any actual beliefs in the reasons for these values…

Worth a read at Bad Catholic

To answer the question of ‘Who is the God you worship?,’ I can simply point at the image of the man below. Can any Muslim agree?

They don’t call it the Feast of Orthodoxy for nothing. SIcon-of-Christhame on our faulty Christology.

  1. The Prime directive to love my neighbor (including my enemies) does not require a pacifist response in the face of violence against others.
  2. The responsibility to defend the innocent does not relieve me of the obligation to love my enemies.
  3. The current ‘Just War’ legal model of permission is different and often in conflict with the ancient Christian discipline of striving to become the sort of human being who naturally and virtuously handles the responsibilities of being a ‘just warrior.’
  4. Loving my neighbor does not require that I support the first or most obvious concrete proposal of how to do so/ It is appropriate to question short sighted ‘obvious’ solutions with the potential of creating greater evil in the long term.
  5. The Christian duty to love my neighbor begins at home and works outwards. This is not an excuse that relieves anyone of their obligation to love. It is an effectual focusing of the obligation, which is made necessary by the limitations that come with being finite creatures.
  6. Demands made of me that I love a neighbor who is far away seems to inevitably be accompanied by inattention to the needy neighbor that is lying under our own noses. Claims that one would ‘shelter every refugee that you send me’ seem rather uncharitable when one considers the homeless that surround us already.
  7. Self-righteous public justification is a perennial problem.
  8. In the end the true enemy is other than any human being.
  9. Appeals to scriptural concerns regarding refugees seem never to mention the scriptural context and assumptions that accompany those concerns e.g. “Israel certainly had plenty of people of non-Israelite origin living there. However, they did not just become naturalized citizens, were distinguished from Israelites in many ways in their identity, rights, and privileges, and were not really able to make Israel into a multicultural society. There were prohibitions on intermarriage. There were laws to prevent land from being alienated from Israelite owners. There were restrictions on the practice of other religions and strangers had to abide by practices such as that of the Sabbath, the removal of leaven, abstaining from blood. They could suffer the death penalty for blasphemy. Resident aliens were particularly subject to conscription for the construction of public works and for the most manual of labour, as we see in the verse after the one Hughes quotes, where Solomon calls up every one of the resident aliens to bear burdens and hew stones to construct the temple. Strangers were also typically menial workers (Deuteronomy 29:11).” Alastair Roberts (See comment).
  1. Questioning the wisdom of admitting immigrants of a particular ideology does not relieve me of the obligation to cheerfully attend to the needs of those immigrants who are here; nor of figuring out how to offer real aid and relief to those who are not.
  2. Even in situations where there is no ‘legitimate’ grievance, sinful human nature resorts to violent scapegoating based upon differences. The more obvious the difference, the more likely the conflict.
  3. In Christ (i.e. in his body the church) all scapegoating is abolished and natural identities relativized.
  4. It is a mistake that ignores an apostolic admonition to expect those who reject the Christian gospel to live as if they embrace it. It is a mistake of an irresponsible kind to build public policy on the expectation that those who reject the Christian gospel to live as if they embrace it.
  5. The prevalent, popular ‘common sense’ American conception of ‘religion’ is a myth of secular American Civil religion that is in conflict with the lived experience of humanity in general and historic catholic Xianity in particular.
  6. National ideologies and narratives are in no way consistently distinguishable from ‘religious’ ones
  7. ‘Religions’ do not agree about the nature of ultimate reality, humanity or human flourishing. Asserting otherwise is a clear faith commitment, which distinguishes itself from many other faith commitments by being irrational. In this obvious sense religions are not equal.
  8. Islam is distinctly and radically rooted in a violent origin, expansion and ideology, which are clearly at odds with the Western inheritance regarding the Transcendentals, humanity and human flourishing. Denying this aspect of Islam is dishonest.
  9. Many (apparently the majority) of Muslims have moved towards a more ‘Western’ way of interpreting their own inheritance. This is the reality, and the sincerity and legitimacy of their understanding ought not to be questioned.
  10. Every adherent of Islam is an encounter away (whether through a book, media or personal interaction) from discovering the more ancient and violent understanding of their inheritance.
  11. As with most paradigm shifts, it is a felt experience (whether a negative one regarding the community that one is leaving; or a positive one in the community that one is joining) that ultimately lies behind the new identification.

“My Christian faith demands of me—and my country, I believe—a response of generosity, charity, compassion, and hospitality toward all who are now fleeing the brutality and horror of ISIS. But this judgment need not entail unrestricted and indiscriminate admission of refugees. Other considerations, moral and political, are also legitimately in play here. These considerations need to be thoughtfully identified and discussed, without fear of being labeled xenophobic, anti-American, or whatever.

I am tired of twitter-bites masquerading as prophecy and wisdom.”- Fr Aidan (Alvin) Kimel

 

It was very disheartening to read about Mr. Falwell’s comments- the way he chose language that grouped all Muslims together and spoke of killing with swagger and the celebration of the crowd.  I can only imagine the discomfort it must have caused you. I can’t speak for the church in any official capacity, but as one of her members I want to apologize for the remarks; and I ask for your forgiveness for the fear it must have created for you.

As a follower of Christ (as understood within the Great Tradition), I’m anxious to point out that Falwell’s remarks seem more an expression of the individualism of secular American Civil religion, than they do of the Christian gospel. I don’t mean to imply any sense of superiority in saying that. I constantly feel the same tug of … let’s call it Americanism, and have secretly harbored the same compromised sentiments. He just said out loud what I’ve sometimes felt in my heart towards others. Usually it involves the ‘idiot’ in the car beside me. Truth be told, I’ve said it out loud a time or two, also.

But there is a difference in two becoming lost while struggling towards a shared destination, and disagreeing about the actual destination. It’s disagreement about that metaphorical destination that is the issue- both between the church and my Christian brother, Mr. Falwell.  I suspect between you and me, too.

What is God (i.e. ultimate reality) like, and so what does it mean to be truly human; and so what does human flourishing look like? The story that is the Christian gospel answers these questions in a very specific way, and being baptized into that story determines (or ought to determine) my interaction with everyone- friends, enemies, woman, believers and non-believers etc.

Pastor Carlyle Marney once explained ‘If somebody asks me what a quarter horse is, I describe Buck. He’s the greatest of the breed I ever saw…. He’s up there on my place. So when anybody asks me what a quarter horse is like, I say ‘He’s like Buck.’ If anybody asks me what’s a man like…. I don’t describe Napoleon, that poor little sick fellow. Or Hitler. Or even Winston Churchill, much as I thought he was… I describe Jesus Christ. That’s what a man’s like.’

When I wonder what God is truly like; I look to Jesus because I believe he was GOD made man. Likewise, when I ask what it means to be truly human, I look to Jesus who was God made MAN; and when I look to Jesus, the central defining act of both true God and perfect Man was his purposefully dying at the hands of his enemies for their own sake, and he was clear that the continuing Christian vocation is to take up our own crosses and follow his example.

I realize that this is a pretty unbelievable upside down spin on things. The current holiday season is as good as any at making that clear: God leaving the unimaginable glory of heaven up on a hill with some shepherds so that he could reveal his greatest glory down the road by being placed in a manger and dependently feeding at a woman’s breast.  God in a diaper. Foolishness, really. I get that; and I understand that part of what makes you Muslim is a rejection of the idea as found in the Christian doctrine of the Incarnation and Crucifixion. In answering the question of God, man and human flourishing you look elsewhere- as does the average practitioner of Americanism, regardless of the flavor of ‘religious’ frosting that they spread over top. Thankfully, the practical outworking of the various answers to these questions often overlap. But not always, as Mr. Falwell’s remarks illustrate.

The unequivocal Christian mandate is love of neighbor. Some of my neighbors are friendly (I believe you to be among them) some of my neighbors are not. Doesn’t matter. Christians are to love them. I am forbidden from hating or acting in vengeance. I am demanded to forgive. Its hard. I do a lot of driving.

 “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,  bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.”

Of course these are impossible demands- especially when I’m overwhelmed with the very proper anger that results from injustice; but that only shows how far I have to go to be a man, fully alive. Thank God that he forgives; and won’t give up until I am that man.

It would be a mistake to think that this requires pacifism (though a minority has argued so). On the contrary, the Great Western Tradition insists that I have a responsibility to defend my neighbor, which may even extend to the point of killing in their defense. (It may come as a surprise to some to learn that there is no comparable place for intentionally killing in simple self-defense. I bit of reflection will show why) Mr. Falwell is zealous to protect his students. I applaud him for that. But granting that there were jihadists for him to encounter, acting out of protective love for my innocent neighbor does not relieve me of my duty to love my enemy.  I can imagine a situation in which a beloved family member- let’s say a brother, perhaps as a result of drug abuse- strikes out at his innocent child. Doing what is necessary to defend the child does not invalidate my love for my brother; but my love for my brother will inform any emotional lead up to the confrontation, the nature and proportionality of the response and it will certainly guarantee that the aftermath is a very sad one. No place for swagger or anticipatory celebration.

I don’t fault Mr. Falwell for asserting that we must defend our neighbors. I fault Mr. Falwell for apparently failing to answer the question of ‘Who is my neighbor?’ as Christ taught us to answer it.

I don’t fault Mr Falwell for suggesting that there may be a duty to uphold; I fault Mr. Falwell for sounding as if that duty ought to be longed for.

I don’t fault Mr. Falwell for implying that scripture properly fences this duty of coercion. I fault Mr. Falwell because the restriction seems a checklist that ends in open permission to kill, not a weighty responsibility for the details of every action taken and the motives that lay behind them.

Perhaps the whole thing was simply an unfortunate misspeaking. I hope so.

Either way, against threatening warnings, I and other Christians offer you the protection of our families from the unjustified violence of those who would harm you. I do this not because I’m American (although I am grateful that I am); but because I belong to King Jesus. I suspect that if push comes to shove, Mr. Falwell would too.

I pray that you come to be overwhelmed by the truth, goodness and sheer beauty of a reality in which creation itself is rooted in the God who is ‘Father’ before ‘Creator’ or ‘Judge’, and in which the self-giving exchange of ‘my life for yours’ is naturally and unselfconsciously played out – whether in the shalom of the tangled legs of the marriage bed or the terror of protective shields held against the flight of hateful arrows- because each is an image of the God who is love and who eternally exists by giving himself away: Father, Son and Holy Spirit; one God; world without end.

But most of all I pray that the specific failures of Christians to live into such a reality don’t rob you of the opportunity to see that it is there for you to enter.

Christ had died! Christ has risen! Christ will come again!

 

Facebook made me aware of this: 10 Reasons I Kissed Halloween Goodbye.

The article really bothers me; I’m sure it will show below. Let me say up front that I know that Ms. Blake and those who advocate her views simply wish to honor Christ. I don’t question her motives. I question her view of reality. In my opinion this boils down to some basic convictions about the nature of the world, and so the faith that nests within it.

Here are my initial off the cuff, knee-jerk reactions:

Leaving the oft repeated, but dubious history of the holiday that she espouses to one side, and ignoring the assumption that any of the practices, language, concepts and traditions that she participates in are free from ‘pagan origins’ (I haven’t the heart to begin with that), her arguments have been used to bind tender consciences against all sorts of things besides the celebration of Halloween: reading fiction, attending the theater, dancing etc.

I know this from experience. My parents had tender consciences, and that because of their love. Growing up, our home avoided all ‘Hollywood’ movies. I once received a Cootie game as a birthday present. Our convictions wouldn’t allow us to keep it because it required the use of dice. Gamblers used dice. There was our testimony to consider, and the clear admonition to ‘be ye separate.’ Small things, lead to big things. This is so very familiar.

Syncopated music…. playing cards… what has light to do with darkness? To this we can add the celebration of Easter and Christmas. I’ve sat through many a sermon against the pagan Christmas tree. I’m thankful that silliness had little impact on my parents.

So I don’t find this sort of appeal very compelling. When I note the things that are allowed in the lives of those who condemn Halloween- though deemed obviously illicit by others because of the very arguments here presented, I go ‘Hmmm.’ It seems to me that the answer in each of these cases ought to be intentionality and discernment. When the response is a blanket ‘don’t taste; don’t touch’, children resent the loss. Perhaps more importantly they come to be embarrassed by (or worse, to embrace) the view of reality that the position assumes.

Perhaps Evangelicals would do well to explore the limits of the Modernity that is foundation of their tradition by considering more ancient visions of the Christian faith. If they were to explore other writers- Chesterton, MacDonald, etc they might find…

* God told Job that chaotic monsters were his good playthings. Things spooky and uncanny didn’t arrive with the fall, and like each of the other creatures, they were meant to point God-ward (here and here )- CS Lewis commented on the role of uncanny experiences (and by extension, things) in teaching human beings about the numinous nature of God and all things holy:

‘Suppose you were told that there was a tiger in the next room: you would know that you were in danger and would probably feel fear. But if you were told “There is a ghost in the next room,” and believed it, you would feel, indeed, what is often called fear, but of a different kind. It would not be based on the knowledge of danger, for no one is primarily afraid of what a ghost may do to him, but of the mere fact that it is a ghost. It is “uncanny” rather than dangerous, and the special kind of fear it excites may be called Dread. With the Uncanny one has reached the fringes of the Numinous. Now suppose that you were told simply “There is a might spirit in the room” and believed it. Your feelings would then be even less like the mere fear of danger: but the disturbance would be profound. You would feel wonder and a certain shrinking–described as awe, and the object which excites it is the Numinous.’

We can speak of ‘fearful awe’ until we’re blue in the face, but the mundane experiences that give meaning to the concept have much to do with the shiver that compels us to look over our shoulder on moonlit walks, or wrap our coat more closely when the dog howls mournfully in the distance. Deny or avoid these types of experiences, and ‘Awesomeness’ can only mean ‘Cool’ or ‘Wow.’

*All stories- as Tolkien insisted- are about the fall. Things Gothic are a focused consideration of things fallen. They allow us to Recover (in the Tolkienian sense) the reality we’ve become blind to.

What are werewolves, if not the concrete representation of the reality of ourselves, neighborhoods and markets: beasts disguised as men and women, devouring one another. Want to know what fallen reality is truly like- what you and I are really like at heart? I’d suggest Curse of the Werewolf.

What are vampiric beings who live on the blood of others, if not an anti-image of God. Fallen humanity lives precisely unlike the one who gives his own blood that others might live. Want to know what that means- what my selfish response to the person in the other car truly looks like? Watch The Horror of Dracula.

Zombies? Does Xianity know anything of those who wonder through life, though dead?

Frankenstein? There is no end to the Xian lessons of Frankenstein.

Want to know what all the manicured lawns and beautiful homes of the American Dream are hiding from us? Watch Poltergeist.

How can such focused opportunities for teaching truth (one of the themes that St. Paul required the Philippians to earnestly study) be missed? Fantasy (of which horror and the Gothic is a subset) is uniquely able to reveal the true nature of the lies, which we find the most attractive. Halloween gives us a focused night to reveal the grossness of the tune that the world dances to. I would think for a Xian, that is what Halloween is for.

*Things grotesque and uncanny stand in opposition to the rationalistic arrogance of modernity. They remind us that everything can’t be explained, that ‘All’ is mystery in the end- more than we really know or understand. Gargoyles and haunts snicker at our neat formulas and efforts.There’s always more than we know; or can know.

The tacit reductionism of the prevalent worldview is dehumanizing. I suspect that the opportunity to get our heads above its smothering layers is a chief reason for the popularity of Halloween. Where else are people to affirm this part of our humanity? Certainly not in the sterile gatherings of most conservative ‘worship services.’ You go there to learn stuff – ironically, often the biblical ‘magic spell’  which will solve one’s particular problem.

You can’t fix something with nothing, and evangelicalism has little with which to resist modernity’s reductionism. Of course catholicism (whether that of Rome, Canterbury, Geneva or Wittenberg) has a Eucharist in which Christ’s body and blood are present. Wild stuff- not empirically approved or rationally definable- like things uncanny and grotesque, but the American giants of conservative scholastic theology (e.g.Dabney and Hodge) rejected their own Calvinistic inheritance on the grounds that it was unintelligible. Just so.

Sacrament as flannel graph hardly scratches the itch created by modernity’s rationalism. Theologies that presume to aim for the diminution of mystery are superstitions of a kind that are much more hateful than that which is associated with things macabre. It seems to me that in the end, those who avoid black cats understand reality more truthfully than those represented by the ‘bible believing’ pastor I once had, who insisted that anointing the sick with oil for effectual healing is superstition. It seems to me that the latter could learn a lot about God’s world by visiting a haunted house. Just my opinion.

The world is not predictable or safe. There is much more of truth in the average horror story than in the Pollyannaish productions, which some Xians seem to so appreciate. If truth is the standard, then perhaps someone does need to repent.

*In a related way, the criticism seems to me to be much more 1950, Dick Van Dyke show, middle-class-American than biblical. Scripture contains incest, murder, tent pegs through skulls, infanticide, fat bellies swallowing slicing blades, women on all fours longing for men whose genital are like that of a horse and who ejaculate like a donkey. Christ spoke of people burning in pits and worms that never die. … Given that ostensibly that is the standard, I wonder what percentage of scripture Ms. Blake must avoid in order to be faithful to her maturing conscience.

*The tacit equation of the grotesque with evil is anti-gospel. For the majority of Xians, the primary symbol of our identity is an instrument of torture. The most precious reminder of our victory is a corpse hanging on a tree. (I understand that this isn’t true for many evangelicals, but that is, in part, my point). We learn from a consideration of gothic stories that ‘Monsters’ are opportunities for hospitality. We are not to judge or exclude the distorted, disfigured or corrupt. We are to look beyond the worldly, shallow and sentimental definitions of ‘lovely’ and ‘good.’ An evening spent watching The Elephant Man is a lesson in Xian perspective. (Or a Holy Week that refuses to skip over Good Friday and Holy Saturday to arrive at Easter, for that matter)

*In the Preface to his Letters From Hell, George McDonald (CS Lewis’ favorite writer) insisted that we should ‘make righteous use of the element of horror.’ He goes on to insist that those who refuse to do so out of a Xian fear of horror (to borrow from Travis Prinzi)…

…‘dismiss something of great value: an imaginative engagement with the consequences of rebellion against God. In fact, we become cowards ourselves, comfortable in our sin, committing the very evils we say we should not be reading in a story. When we throw out the horror genre altogether out of fear of Satanic influence, we give in to fear itself, become cowards, and lose a valuable conduit for truth. This is not to throw discernment out the window in our storytelling, but we err on the other side when we Pharisaically rule out the genre altogether.’

*Incidentally, I find the criticism that Halloween was never a Xian holiday to be somewhat disingenuous when advocated by those in a tradition that condemns the very idea of Xian holidays. I have no idea if Ms. Blake is reformed, but at least the re-poster who drew my attention to her article is, and (I’m certain) familiar with the Westminster Standard’s position on things like Christmas and Easter. For anyone who is not, I’d suggest you review Dr C Matthew McMahon’s: Easter, the Devil’s Holiday.

What are we celebrating on Halloween? It depends on what is meant by ‘we.’ For both pagans and Xians, Halloween is about death; as a Xian I am celebrating victory over death. Where my ancestors cowered at the approach of winter’s darkness and the contemplation of the reality of things both unexplainable and nightmarishly evil, these things are now occasion for play, rejoicing and mockery for those on this side of Christ’s resurrection.

Fear
In days before-
tribute offered-
To Death and her consorts.

Cold and welter nights, like this,
Enacted homage:
Cowering, loathing and dread of
Her patronage.

But hateful pretensions
This night
Cause us to laugh and play
Because we trust

Life has overcome
Death.
Christ has undone
‘The way its not supposed to be.’

Departed ones, without dread;
They are safe.
Terrors of the dark, no scourge;
Tonight mere flourish and farce for children at play.

A trophy raised; a prize of war:
Christ has died
Christ is risen
Christ will come again!

I don’t know what others are ‘celebrating.’ As for me, any attempt to escape modernity’s truncated, half-vision of creation would be reason enough to be thankful. Perhaps this is all they are up to- a vacation from the great dehumanizing lie. It’s likely that they do not celebrate Christ victory over death, but then I wouldn’t really expect them too. Perhaps- seeing that their vision of death must be different from that of the church- we should expect them to be up to something different, too. No?

But how wonderful to ask them to join us.

I acknowledge that as with all things, discernment is required. There are limits to be considered, but this is hardly only true of things horrific, grotesque or uncanny. Perhaps it is precisely those who think that their day to day lives have little to do with the themes of Halloween, that most need the lessons of Halloween.

Uncanny, spooky aspects of creation are God’s good idea for which we ought to be thankful; contemplation of the true nature and consequences of rebellion against God is needful; likewise learning that the grotesqueness of fallen things is really goodness in need of redemption- whether in a misunderstood ‘monster’ or a pagan holiday reaching for the truth- is needed; joyfully enacting the declaration “Oh grave where is thy victory” is worthwhile, and …. refusing to withdraw further into our pietistic enclaves on the one night that neighbors actually embrace community and act like neighbors- joyfully visiting one another- seems a wise course of action. At least to me.

If only as an augmentation to the vision Ms Blake endorses, I would suggest that one acquaint themselves with a more august one. Perhaps beginning with:
Taming of the Nightmare by GK Chesterton
Preface to Letters From Hell by George MacDonald
A Cautionary Note on the Ghostly Tale by Russell Kirk found in  his collection of ghost stories- Ancestral Shadows
Travis Prinzi’s The Parable of the Poltergeist in Light Shining In a Dark Place
On Fairy Stories by JRR Tolkien
Terence Fisher: Horror, Myth and Religion by Paul Leggett
Flannery O’Connor: A Proper Scaring by Jill Pelaez Baumgaertner

Short Online pieces:
James Jordan’s Concerning Halloween
Michael Spencer’s iMonk 101: My Annual Halloween Rant (One of them) Revisited and The Great Pumpkin Proposes a Toast
Reclaiming the Reclamation by Martha of Ireland

….Francis describes the root of our problem as a failure to affirm God as Creator. Because we do not orient our freedom toward acknowledging God, the Father, we’re drawn into the technological project. We seek to subdue and master the world so that it can serve our needs and desires, thus treating “other living beings as mere objects subjected to arbitrary human domination.” By contrast, if we acknowledge God as Creator, we can receive creation as a gift and see that “the ultimate purpose of other creatures is not found in us.”

In short, without a theocentric orientation, we adopt the anthropocentric presumption that we are at the center of reality. This tempts us to treat nature—and other human beings—as raw material to do with as we wish. For Francis, “a spirituality which forgets God as all-powerful and Creator is not acceptable.”

Of course, God is exactly what modernity has forgotten…

Read the rest here: The Return of Catholic Anti-Modernism

Though many will stumble at his acceptance of the current scientific consensus on climate change (and count me among those with a bleeding toe), all followers of Christ ought to give thanks for his diagnosis of the idolatry that lies behind the tacit narrative of Modernity, which shapes each of our lives.

It reminds me of a point made by C.S. Lewis-

“There is something which unites magic and applied science (technology) while separating them from the “wisdom” of earlier ages. For the wise men of old, the cardinal problem of human life was how to conform the soul to objective reality, and the solution was wisdom, self-discipline, and virtue. For the modern, the cardinal problem is how to conform reality to the wishes of man, and the solution is a technique.”

Conservatives (especially Evangelical ones) will be surprised to find that our great underlying sin is Sorcery,… and that because its lucrative.

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