Does that Apply to Justin Bieber and Global Capitalism?

Jason Stellman is back in apologist mode and thinks it great that Roman Catholicism loves paganism (not even Michael Sean Winters says this):

Our paradigm has at its heart the Christmas story, the coming-in-the-flesh of the Son of God. If divinity assumed humanity to the point where the second Person of the Trinity will forever participate in human flesh and human nature, then there simply is no option for pitting heaven against earth, spirit against flesh.

If the Incarnation teaches us anything, it’s that God is all about affirming the world, not destroying it.

When a Catholic considers pagan culture, then, he doesn’t think of it as some kind of defective problem to overcome, but instead views it through the lens of Christ and sees a divine exclamation point placed after every true and beautiful pagan idea or endeavor.

In a word, we see kinship and commonality with paganism. Pagans may worship nature or bow before a sacred tree or stone altar, while we worship the Creator of nature and bow before the cross and venerate the altar on which the Eucharistic sacrifice is offered.

The problem for Jason is that Roman Catholicism didn’t embrace incarnationality when it came to Protestantism in the 16th century. And if what Jason says is true for contemporary Roman Catholicism, does that mean he has gone to the other side about the benefits of free markets and the beauty of Justin Bieber’s music (I seem to recall in the one episode of Drunk Ex Pastors that Jason was gleeful in mocking the teenage crooner)?

It also makes me wonder if Jason became a Roman Catholic because the communion now resembles liberal Protestantism. And that’s another wrinkle in Jason’s argument. Protestants of a certain kind also affirmed the incarnation to embrace the world. We used to call them modernists.

Some Protestants opposed modernism. So did Pope Pius X. Neither wanted Christians to embrace the pagan world the way Jason does. In fact, it used to be the case that Jason would need approval from his bishop to read John Calvin or David Hume. An index of forbidden books does not sound, in Jason’s words, like a “healthier avenue toward dialogue and mutual respect.”

So which Roman Catholicism is Jason talking about? And is that the one to which Bryan Cross is calling?

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46 thoughts on “Does that Apply to Justin Bieber and Global Capitalism?

  1. At this point, one has to wonder if JJS is just making it up as he goes along. Which Protestant, save maybe the Amish and radical fundamentalists, is saying that there is nothing good about pagan culture in any sense? Surely there is more of a distrust of the secular world among some Christians, but hardly anyone is withdrawing from the culture. It’s more like they’re borrowing stuff from the pagans to invent a Christian subculture.

    Further, has JJS thrown out the first chapter of the book of Romans? Yeah, Paul admits that even the Gentiles know something of the law of God, but he says that everyone apart from Christ invariably suppresses the knowledge of God.

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  2. If not Bieber, how about Oprah?

    The pontiff apparently is interested in discussing how the church is perceived by Western media influencers and ways to improve its portrayal in entertainment. The Vatican, which is said to be working with the nonprofit Varkey Foundation, came up with a list of Hollywood players to invite to a summit of sorts. Film and television producer Brian Grazer, OWN mogul Oprah Winfrey, actor Matt Damon and semiretired supermogul David Geffen also scored invites, according to sources.

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  3. Marcus Johnson:, Moody Bible Institute — God justifies us because we are joined by the incarnation to Christ.

    mcmark— God joins us to Christ when God imputes to us (while we are ungodl) the death of Christ. God joins us to Christ Himself because God joins us to the merit of the death of Christ.

    Marcus Johnson– Berkhof thinks that justification cannot be the result of any existing condition in the sinner, not even an intimate, vital, spiritual, person union with Christ. This strikes me as enormously confusing. p 97

    mcmark: Johnson thinks that both the atonement and justification are fictions unless we agree with him that the INCARNATION means that all sinners are already in some kind of union with Christ before legal imputation. This strikes me as an universalism which removes the reality of God’s justice in giving Christ as a propitiation for sins legally imputed.

    Donald Mcleod, p 202, the Person of Christ, IVP, 1998–
    The hypostatic union did not by itself secure the theiosis of every human being. In fact, the hypostatic union did not by itself secure the theiosis of even our Lord’s human nature. He was glorified not because He was God incarnate but because he finished the work given him to do (John 17:4). It is perfectly possible to be human and yet not be in Christ, because although the incarnation unites Christ to human nature it does not unite him to me

    p 214, Donald Macleod, Christ Crucified, IVP, 2014—-Christ never fell and knew no sin. Human nature as individualized in Christ was not fallen. Christ did not suffer from the disease of sin. In what sense then did Christ heal human nature by becoming the patient and taking the disease?
    Human nature after the cross remains as it was before the cross. If Christ healed our humanity by taking our humanity, then Christ was crucified by the very nature he had healed….

    According to Torrance, Christ condemned sin by saying no to the flesh and living a life of perfect faith, worship and obedience. But this would mean that the condemnation of sin did not take place on the cross, but in the daily life of Christ. But Romans 8:3 says that God the Father condemns sin in the flesh. While it was indeed in the flesh of his Son that God condemned sin but it was not only in his Son as incarnate, but in his Son as a sin-offering.. God condemned sin by passing judgement on his Son. Theosis (participation in the divine nature, II Peter 1:4) is NOT the reason for God being reconciled to us. We are justified as ungodly (Romans 4:5), not as partakers of a nature which has been united with the divine.

    Donald Macleod—There is a great discontinuity between Christ and sinners. They were sinners and Christ was not. He could not trust in God’s forgiveness because he had no need of forgiveness. He could not be born again because he required no changed of heart. He could not be converted because His life demanded no change of direction. If we move from the idea of Jesus as a believer to the idea of Jesus as the one who is believed IN, does Jesus believe, vicariously, in Himself?….It is not his faith that covers the deficiencies of our faith (as it is given to us by God). It is Christ’s death that covers the deficiencies of our faith…Our faith is not in the Son of God who believed for us, but in the Son of God who gave Himself for us.

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  4. DG, of course PR, product placement, lust for paid or free celebrity endorsements is the norm for pragmatic multi-national corporations. But how many multinationals have their own bank? And country?

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  5. Jason Stellman was already against individualism in Dual Citizens. So how could he be for capitalism as the “means of grace” now? “God never deals with us as individuals” (p 9)

    Spiritual capitalism still needs mediation. And money mediates.

    The wonderful thing (in theory) about being Roman Catholic is that there is no “free market” for which clergy you listen to or which parish church you atttend. As Stellman explained in Dual Citizens (p 13) . when we hear Christ preached, we then hear Christ preaching.

    WHO IS HEARING? Are the non-yet-Christians not hearing, because they don’t yet care about their sins? Are the non-yet-Christians hearing “you are forgiven” by the ”administrator of the sacrament” as telling them that THEIR sins are forgiven?

    Even then, Stellmn would have dismissed as “pietism” attempts to warn incarnate humans that the New Testament is written only to “as many as” are individually Christian? He did not want to divide individual Christian from individual nonChristian when it came to “taking the sacrament”.

    Since Stellman refuses “to speak to the church as if were the world” (even though he waters some of the world as infants into the church), he only needed to think more about about the possibility of water passing on salvation to pagans who are not children, and about the supper being converting for pagans. As he already asked, “Even if there is no faith, is there no blessing?”(p 14)

    Why go on pretending that everybody listening to the sermon and observing the sacrament is an exile from the world and a Christian? Better to assume that Christ’s incarnation means that all sinners are already included in Christ and united to Him.

    Stellman did not want us to talk about “dead” Christians (p 80) as if some internal work of the Spirit needed to be done. Better simply to ask if people are “regularly observant” at the sacraments.

    As soon as the coin in the coffer rings, the sinner in purgatory springs.

    http://beggarsallreformation.blogspot.com/2012/01/did-tetzel-really-say-as-soon-as-coin.html

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  6. “In a word, we see kinship and commonality with paganism.”

    Jason was really on his game here. RC is all about pagan practices, from the saints who mirror Roman/Greek Gods, to smells, bells and pomp, to the magic of the Eucharist, to saving pieces of dead bodies for blessings, to its various rituals. Just add Jesus. All the stuff about bleeding palms, appearances of Mary and miracles on toast are not oddities but very much of the same spirit as the pagan core of RC.

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  7. Mud, this is where 2k concepts applied to worship are so important. Earthy RCism and earthy evangelicalism are more similar than different. Both pragmatically appropriate cultural forms for worship, both focus horizontally more than vertically. A wall between the church and world, between the sacred and the profane is most important at worship. RC and the e-fish fail on this point most of the time.

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  8. RC is believing the church is right and because I’m part of the church I am right. Even when I or the church am wrong or contradict thoughts from 30 seconds ago.

    Impossible to talk to someone like this uses you also think that way.

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  9. Jason, more than once alluded to the ‘freedom’ he regained in becoming RC. But, he could’ve had the same in 2k. Maybe being a pastor hemmed him in too much, even with a 2k paradigm. So, he goes for a syncretism that is on the same continuum as kuyperianism in seeking to make everything sacred. How this ties into Cross’ paradigmatic dichotomy is kantian at best.

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  10. DG –
    In fact, it used to be the case that Jason would need approval from his bishop to read John Calvin or David Hume.

    Hume was obviously dangerous, had a very bad impact on society, and was in many ways a poor philosopher.

    The quickest way to identify egregious errors in Hume with regard to human nature is the case of imagination. Every person present here through about 10 seconds of self-reflection can realize his error.

    1) Hume defined the imagination as a faint reflection of perception. This is false, and embarrassingly so.

    I suggest this is revealed through a simple description: we perceive objects, store the impressions in our sensory memory, and through acts of will are able to recall them to mind in our imagination. The key distinction between perception and imagination is not intensity, it is presence of the object imagined or perceived (the intentional object).

    2) Recall also that he considered morality to be defined by an emotional response;

    3) And recall that he stated we can’t have knowledge in any sense that the sun will rise tomorrow (an admittedly interesting point regarding the causal basis of knowledge- but appropriate for academic discussion, not undermining common sense on a mass scale).

    Putting together these 3 contentions, you come up with a model of humanity grounded completely in the material and yet irredeemably subjective – we can’t judge each others’ emotions or “faint perceptions,” and further don’t need to as they are fundamentally insignificant since their sole source of data is the material world – which we can re-investigate.

    So, the only appropriate source for judging truth or decision-making in all areas of life is the contemporary and material.

    Sounds like a perfect setting of the stage for an overthrow of the social and political order, rejection of Christianity, an over-emphasis on “experts” with stats and science, a justification for government support of all of the above at the expense of the moral order, and commensurate prioritization of the will of the powerful.

    Hume was indeed appropriately put on the index. I don’t get the obsession with “everyone should be able to read whatever they want.”

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  11. If someone liked Justin Bieber, I wouldn’t question their theology, I would question their taste in music.

    There are some things in the world to celebrate because they are the product of people who are made in the image of God and there are things in the world to shrink back from because of how sin has affected the world and its inhabitants. And we have to use the Scriptures to decide which is which. And we should note the importance of the things we can celebrate lest we think of ourselves as having nothing to learn from those who are different.

    As for the free markets, regardless of the benefits we could list they always include exploitation. And I could easily embrace protests against free markets for their exploitation. That just shows that some of the world isn’t wrong all of the time.

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  12. Curt,

    As for the free markets, regardless of the benefits we could list they always include exploitation.

    What economic system is entirely free of exploitation?

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  13. If divinity assumed humanity to the point where the second Person of the Trinity will forever participate in human flesh and human nature, then there simply is no option for pitting heaven against earth, spirit against flesh.

    This sort of lofty prose always rubs me the wrong way. I suppose it is intended to sound profound, but it really is silly. I think the first statement is true – divinity assumed humanity so that the God the Son will always have a human nature, but that “then” is really problematic. Why does Christ’s incarnation remove the option of pitting heaven against earth or spirit against flesh. The sentence is just a total non-sequitor which then undermines the rest of what he wrote. He needs to make the case for why the particular of one person of the trinity taking on human nature means (if it means anything) that God is affirming the world. Of course, the NT writers have a very different understanding of the relationship between the spirit and the flesh and heaven and earth – insofar as his commentary on the commonality between RC and paganism is accurate (and I think many thoughtful RCs would disagree), it really undermines her validity.

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  14. @KiN
    I don’t know – I’ve always had a soft spot for Hume. The criticisms I’ve seen have been really quite weak and more concerned with pointing out that they don’t like the consequences of his argument rather than with the argument itself.

    Looking at your criticism of Hume’s understanding of imagination and perception, I don’t see how this undermines his description of imagination. Can you imagine something the components of which you haven’t perceived? You wrote,

    I suggest this is revealed through a simple description: we perceive objects, store the impressions in our sensory memory, and through acts of will are able to recall them to mind in our imagination. The key distinction between perception and imagination is not intensity, it is presence of the object imagined or perceived (the intentional object).

    I think there is a problem here. First, we don’t perceive objects, our minds construct them from sensory interaction. Secondly, it isn’t clear that our recollection is a matter of will – often times we want to recall something and can’t. Others we don’t want to recall something and can’t get that %$@^^ song out of our head. What triggers the recollection that causes our minds to construct the sensory experiences is not different in kind from perception.

    Of course Hume recognized that one couldn’t live as an out and out skeptic, but it seems to me the point of his critique isn’t to undermine common sense, it is to undermine metaphysical justifications – pragmatism strikes me as the best response.

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  15. Mr. Hart,

    Jason Stellman is clearly having some sort of breakdown: emotional, spiritual, both? I don’t know how appropriate it is to be quoting him and engaging with him as if he’s fully compos mentis, which I don’t think he is if any of his podcasts are anything to go by.

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  16. Curt, Robert –

    [Curt:] As for the free markets, regardless of the benefits we could list they always include exploitation.

    [Robert:] What economic system is entirely free of exploitation?

    If “free markets” entails an economic system, I can’t think of a single example of where it has been implemented (e.g., the 19th Century UK was essentially protectionist, our current economic system is anything but free market). “Free markets” are an abstraction (useful in economic speculation).

    I think the issue is that some economic systems seek (successfully) to systematize exploitation

    (Cuban Communism, Chinese “Communism,” Anglo-American Capitalism, much European contemporary socialism)

    and some don’t

    (the German post-WWII Social Market Economy, perhaps contemporary Norway or New Zealand, and numerous sub-national level economic organizations like wealthy and productive regions of Northern Italy).

    Seeking complete freedom from exploitation at an individual level is, of course, elusive, but seems to me very much a core function of government: preserving justice between individuals and coordinating society as necessary to maintain order.

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  17. Sdb –

    Looking at your criticism of Hume’s understanding of imagination and perception, I don’t see how this undermines his description of imagination. Can you imagine something the components of which you haven’t perceived?

    I agree that the origin of the images (visual, auditory, tactile, etc.) represented in the imagination is derived from experience. (btw., I prefer the term “percepts” for isolatable components of perception, e.g. shapes, colors, full images of objects – and avoid “sense data,” which I find ambiguous between all of experience and particular elements).

    [kc: I suggest this is revealed through a simple description: we perceive objects, store the impressions in our sensory memory, and through acts of will are able to recall them to mind in our imagination. The key distinction between perception and imagination is not intensity, it is presence of the object imagined or perceived (the intentional object).

    This was a quickly-described typical case, not a full definition.

    [sdb:] I think there is a problem here. First, we don’t perceive objects, our minds construct them from sensory interaction.

    I take the view usually called “naive realism.” I believe we actually see the Statue of Liberty, actually imagine the Statue of Liberty (perhaps being consecrated with corn, wine, & oil by masons praying to the non-Christian Architect of the Universe), etc. Granted, the way in which it appears to us in perception or imagination – the specific qualities we perceive – depends upon the visual faculties of the human mind.

    Secondly, it isn’t clear that our recollection is a matter of will – often times we want to recall something and can’t.

    Agreed. I don’t think will is the key distinction between perception and imagination. More fundamental is the actual presence or absence of the intentional object.

    Others we don’t want to recall something and can’t get that %$@^^ song out of our head. What triggers the recollection that causes our minds to construct the sensory experiences is not different in kind from perception.

    I disagree – imagination employs the same or mostly the same faculties in its act of re-creation as does perception in its act of initial creation, but the causation of perception is an exterior object (and, worthy of noting, unwilled- we can’t turn our faculties on and off).

    The causation of imagination can be habitual (daydreams of St. Lucia or Sicily on lunch break), unwilled/subconscious (annoying songs), willed, a malfunction (hallucination), counterfactual (artistic inventions, fiction). It’s a much richer and more interesting faculty than perception- I don’t think Hume recognizes this, although Suarez and Aquinas and other philosophers addressing human psychology were aware of it.

    Of course Hume recognized that one couldn’t live as an out and out skeptic, but it seems to me the point of his critique isn’t to undermine common sense, it is to undermine metaphysical justifications – pragmatism strikes me as the best response.

    ‘Undermining metaphysical justifications” seems like a rather questionable goal to me, but I’ll take Hegel and his occasional battyness over Hume any day (I’ve not read either in a decade, though). “Pragmatism” in what sense? I don’t think we ought to ever cast aside true metaphysical principles, first and foremost those derived from theology.

    “Common Sense” I am trying to get in the habit of using as I believe it was originally used – the “sense” which intuits (unwilled) conceptual unities in experience derived from the various senses (e.g., a calico cat has soft fur, has characteristic orange and black spots, meows)- i.e., it operates not within a particular sense, but is common across all.

    So “the Common Sense” then provides both the basic concepts as well as the percepts (or “sense data”), which become available for both conceptual and imaginatory manipulation.

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  18. Sdb-

    One editing error (dangerous in philosophy):

    I agree that the origin of the images (visual, auditory, tactile, etc.) represented in the imagination is derived from experience.

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  19. Andrew Purves, The Crucifixion of Ministry, IVP, 2007, p 57—“Making the incarnation something that we do can easily assume that the living Christ is not present and active. But it is Christ’s ministry that is primary, for His ministry alone is redemptive.”

    quotation from Todd Billings, “A Critique of Incarnational Ministry”, in Union with Christ, Baker, 2011

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  20. Mark Jones—-“Christ is not only God’s reaction to sin. Sin did not necessitate the incarnation… The king of creation, to whom creation would bow, could not ultimately have been Adam. It had to be Christ the heavenly man, who makes possible what was ontologically impossible for the earthly man (1 Cor. 15:49). We will be given sight and enjoyment of the God-man. To think that we would have missed out on this if Adam had not sinned makes little theological sense to me .”

    Van Driel , Incarnation Anyway—
    “The incarnation cannot be explained as only a divine countermeasure against sin… I am so impressed with the Christ as He is that I argue that the category of redemption is not rich enough to explain the wonder of his presence” (p 164)

    http://www.reformation21.org/blog/2015/04/incarnation-apart-from-sin.php?hc_location=ufi

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  21. sbd, as in stuff like this from Paul:

    So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.

    So what does it mean exactly to say that there is “no option for pitting spirit against flesh”? If he means that creation is very good and there is no spiritual ground for being suspicious of it then ok (why not say that?). But if he means what he says, that there is no inherent conflict between the spirit and flesh, then one can hear Paul getting a little indignant.

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  22. “If the Incarnation teaches us anything, it’s that God is all about affirming the world, not destroying it.”

    Then why is he going to make everything new?

    Isaiah 65:17, Rev 21:1, Isaiah 66:22, 2 Peter 3:12-13

    Worst convert ever.

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  23. Not sure whether anyone would find this quote applicable:

    Sic enim dilexit Deus mundum ut Filium suum unigenitum daret ut omnis qui credit in eum non pereat sed habeat vitam aeternam.

    non enim misit Deus Filium suum in mundum ut iudicet mundum sed ut salvetur mundus per ipsum

    Or for those more comfortable in the vernacular:

    God lufode middaneard swa ðæt he sealde his ancennedan Sunu, ðæt nun ne forwurðe ðe on hine gelyfð, ac hæbbe ðaet ece lif.

    Ne sende God his Sunu on middanearde ðæt he demde middanearde, ac ðæt middaneard sy gehaeled ðurh hine.

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  24. All recent Popes would agree with Jason. Saint JPII The Great Blah Blah was the ringleader on this sort of tripe. Modern Catholicism is at odds with preconciliar Catholicism, plain and simple. You have to be willfully blind not to see it, whatever machinations Bryan Cross cooks up. As for Francis, heaven help us. A more clay footed theologian there could not be. He is the ‘wise latina woman’ of popes, without offending his manhood.

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  25. Robert,
    Isn’t exploitation why we should make changes? After all, when Adam Smith saw how the merchants of his day were exploiting their customers by controlling what products would be available, he tried to propose something new.

    There is something ironically wrong with Christians sweep the sins of their adopted ideologies under the carpet of the sins of others.

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  26. Kevin,
    I like what you wrote but would put in one exception. I don’t think Cuba’s economic system relies on exploitation. That is the job of its political system despite the benefits it brings to its people.

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  27. Sdb-
    @Kevin – It’s all geek to me.

    I didn’t even post my favorite translation, from the Jamaican Patois Bible:

    Kaa, yu si, Gad lov di worl so moch dat im gi op im wan dege-dege Bwai Pikni, so enibadi we chos iina im naa go ded bot ago liv fi eva.

    Kaa yu si, Gad neehn sen im Bwai Pikni iina di worl fi rait aaf di piipl iina di worl. Nuo! Gad sen im fi siev dem.

    You’ve got to hear the audio, though: https://youtu.be/l1Z_hapmdUY?t=1m41s

    It’s a serious project, translating from the original languages. Genuinely touches the hearts of Caribbean people (although it’s obviously Jamaican rather than generally West Indian, which is an important issue in my line of work).

    Joe M – Modern Catholicism is at odds with preconciliar Catholicism, plain and simple. You have to be willfully blind not to see it

    I’d suggest reading the Remnant and Catholic Family News- both have websites, so you don’t even have to spend money.

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  28. [formatting corrected]

    Sdb-
    @Kevin – It’s all geek to me.

    I didn’t even post my favorite translation, from the Jamaican Patois Bible:

    Kaa, yu si, Gad lov di worl so moch dat im gi op im wan dege-dege Bwai Pikni, so enibadi we chos iina im naa go ded bot ago liv fi eva.

    Kaa yu si, Gad neehn sen im Bwai Pikni iina di worl fi rait aaf di piipl iina di worl. Nuo! Gad sen im fi siev dem.

    You’ve got to hear the audio, though: https://youtu.be/l1Z_hapmdUY?t=1m41s

    It’s a serious project, translating from the original languages. Genuinely touches the hearts of Caribbean people (although it’s obviously Jamaican rather than generally West Indian- more different than the most old-fashioned accents of, e.g., Texas or the Appalachians v. New Hampshire).

    Joe M – Modern Catholicism is at odds with preconciliar Catholicism, plain and simple. You have to be willfully blind not to see it

    I’d suggest reading the Remnant and Catholic Family News- both have websites, so you don’t even have to spend money.

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  29. @Kevin
    Anything that gets the scriptures into a form people can better digest is fantastic. The variety of human language and how it evolves is fascinating!

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  30. sdb-

    I agree. Unfortunately the approach has been misapplied – can’t comment on the Hip Hop Psalter in particular, but some attempts to inculturate reinforce conceptual problems.

    The English translation of the Catholic liturgy in use until a few years ago is the most disastrous example in history.

    God’s only-begotten Son as His “diga-diga Boy Pickney” (child) I rather like.

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  31. Curt –

    Kevin, I like what you wrote but would put in one exception. I don’t think Cuba’s economic system relies on exploitation. That is the job of its political system despite the benefits it brings to its people.

    I know very little about Cuba, but I think you’re right they are a different case. Based on the conversations I had with a number of Cubans in Miami last week (including, e.g., gov economists and other administrators who got out as recently as 1-2 years ago), I think life there isn’t too bad as long as you don’t mess with the government.

    Of course, try not paying taxes here and see what happens (e.g., Irwin Schiff).

    Just an FYI, but one common concern those I spoke with raised regarding opening economic relations with the US is that it will benefit the Castros/government at the expense of the people. Government-owned resorts and such.

    Does your liking of what I wrote extend to my comments on Germany’s economic-miracle policies and the success of parts of Northern Italy?

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  32. Kevin,
    My Socialist friends and feel conflicted about Cuba. On one hand, it has brought some relief and benefits to a broader range of people. On the other hand, it is totalitarian which is against what we believe Socialism to be.

    As for not paying taxes here, don’t our taxes bring benefits to all? To refuse to financially support those benefits would be financially irresponsible.

    As for Germany and N. Italy, there are some socialist principles being practiced but they are still practiced in a capitalist environment. And usually one has to be able to see the invisible people of a system’s stakeholders to spot the exploitation.

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  33. Curt Day
    Posted August 7, 2015 at 11:49 pm | Permalink
    Curt Day
    Posted August 7, 2015 at 11:49 pm | Permalink
    Kevin,
    My Socialist friends and feel conflicted about Cuba. On one hand, it has brought some relief and benefits to a broader range of people. On the other hand, it is totalitarian which is against what we believe Socialism to be.

    Another moral imbecile: Old Life seems to attract them. “Conflicted” about the murderous and soul-crushing Castro regime? Rome did a better job–more bread and better circuses.

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  34. Tom, I see it as OL attracting a diverse audience, and the Internet allows people to enhance their quirks to a certain degree.

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  35. vd, t, “Another moral imbecile: Old Life seems to attract them.”

    Now I understand why you care about OL (though your point has a certain boomerang quality).

    But isn’t PP a bigger fish to fry? Do you really have moral outrage or are you a poser?

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  36. Curt-

    Kevin,
    My Socialist friends and feel conflicted about Cuba. On one hand, it has brought some relief and benefits to a broader range of people. On the other hand, it is totalitarian which is against what we believe Socialism to be.

    The Cubanos I talked to in Cuba (ethnically pure Spaniards for the most part I think) had a range of responses.

    The educated ones who came over very recently seemed primarily concerned with the totalitarian issues with regard to freedom of traditional cultural expression (including limitations of traditional public religious practice in the larger cities- feasts and parades) and freedom of association.

    The ones who’d been here a long time and worked as busdrivers and such were nostalgic for the country, said they’d like to retire there, but definitely hoped for a change of gov.

    The ones who’d been here a long time and got educated here tended to be Americanist Republicans (definitely capital-R). Change must come from within Cuba, but the goal would be basically US-style Capitalist “democracy.”

    Second-generation who were 30s and younger had no strong or informed opinions- were basically typical young Americans (public school educations).

    The more educated (broadly- museum curators, doctors, teachers and such) acknowledged the prior economic injustice but pointed out that in the schools, crucifixes were replaced by flags, textbooks became propaganda (2 apples + 3 apples = 5 under Catholic auspices; 2 guerilla soldiers plus 3 = 5 under Communist), pictures of saints by pictures of Castro.

    As for not paying taxes here, don’t our taxes bring benefits to all? To refuse to financially support those benefits would be financially irresponsible.

    Agreed on grounds of the ideal role of gov (coordinating other sectors of society for the common good, but not managing them) and importance of maintaining social stability- but I think our gov has gone way off the rails here (wars, bailouts, international moral upheaval).

    As for Germany and N. Italy, there are some socialist principles being practiced but they are still practiced in a capitalist environment. And usually one has to be able to see the invisible people of a system’s stakeholders to spot the exploitation.

    I would look at them as the principles of Catholic Social Teaching (which Adenauer’s administration, Lutherans included, explicitly acknowledged). Italy’s gov is barely legitimate, Germany’s Social Market Economy has been corrupted by Anglo-American Capitalism and hostility to just personal freedoms.

    But the huge network of small businesses in Emilia and Romagna and the regional autonomy of the South Tyrol I think should be viewed as great examples by governments today, creating widespread well-being and not interfering much with religious expression or personal freedom (outside of unjust federal actions).

    I’d be interested to hear more of your thoughts on socialism with specific examples and with reference to religion- what you believe Socialism to be.

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  37. Kevin,
    Fully agree that the gov’t has gone off the rails, but part of that is our fault. Democracy requires constant monitoring and participation. We seem not to want that role. We seem to be so caught up catching our American Dream, getting wealthy, and, in short, building our fantasy islands that we have neither the time nor the energy to pay attention and participate to the degree that is necessary.

    Am not surprised that many Cubans who have come here become Republicans. They have only seen two alternatives. But the ones who choose to stay there have obviously not chosen to be Republicans.

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  38. DGH, maybe Tom has a more advanced personal definition of “imbecile” that isn’t as bad as it seems on first glance.

    Guess I can go take a look and see the definitions in the Big Book of Words…

    And I won’t play the game of pretending that when someone tells me to stop being a “jerk” that they want me to stop being a spicy Jamaican style of cooking…

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  39. Curt,

    Isn’t exploitation why we should make changes? After all, when Adam Smith saw how the merchants of his day were exploiting their customers by controlling what products would be available, he tried to propose something new.

    There is something ironically wrong with Christians sweep the sins of their adopted ideologies under the carpet of the sins of others.

    Sure, but that doesn’t answer my question. Is there an economic system that does not include exploitation or at least the possibility of it? Where has socialism NOT exploited people, for example.

    I’m not necessarily advocating that the Bible teaches capitalism or socialism. Both of those constructs make little sense since neither economic system had been invented yet. It seems to me, that a true free market system would be the best way in a fallen world to minimize exploitation. A centrally planned economy is going to be centrally planned by sinners. Better, it seems, to have sinners serve as a check on one another at every level of the game, and I don’t see that happening economically anywhere except in a true free market.

    But we don’t have a true free market anywhere.

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  40. Robert-

    It seems to me, that a true free market system would be the best way in a fallen world to minimize exploitation.

    What would that mean or look like, though?

    I take what we have now to be Capitalism, defined as political system in which those in charge of the financial system (relatively few in number, e.g., .01%) have control of government and arrange policy in their own favor, permitting benefits to accrue to those who carry out their work.

    They are “too big to fail,” entitled to special treatment. They put up barriers to market entry across industries. Perhaps you agree in saying “we don’t have a true free market anywhere.”

    The enablers (generally “useful idiots”) include academics, politicans, the hardworking and arguably mostly personally moral upper middle class who pay most of the taxes and carry out most of the work of society (“tax donkeys”).

    They will provide for the common good (part of the proper role of government) when it suits their interests. They will launch wars, support ssm, and promote feminism (specifically the attraction of having fewer children and working full time) when it suits their interests.

    They will encourage inflation to devalue wages, promote massive indebtedness on the part of individuals and gov entities, and move jobs hither and yon as it suits their interests, and they will reincorporate in Bermuda or the Cayman Islands as soon as they are assured of losing no political or market influence in doing so.

    I find former IMF economist Jim Rickards, economic writer John Médaille, historian John Rao, and journalist E. Michael Jones to all be good on the subject – providing both analysis of problems as well as indications where solutions may lie- not to create an earthly Jerusalem of the social gospel, just to bring a realistic order to an undeniable and unnecessary mess.

    Curt – any links that reflect your definition of socialism? How does it differ from Marx (bad) and Germany’s post-WWII Social Market Economy (good)?

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  41. 1 Corinthians 6:17 ” For the one who joins himself to the Lord is one Spirit with Him. ” There i fixed Rome’s brand of incarnationslism (idolarmtry). Can it be clearer we are incorporated into His body through the SPIRIT not the flesh.

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  42. Stellman says God is about affirming the world not destroying it. Has he read Genesis, Adam and Eve got kicked out of the garden, fallen creation, well, fell. Catholics still think we are in the garden. Jesus came to His own they rejected Him. Someday God will destroy this world. The early church denounced Rome’s brand of incarnationslism as idolatry. One Father saying God is Spirit and must be worshiped in Spirit.

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