Where is the PCA's Glenn Loury?

Recent travels sent me again to the inter-web in search of podcasts that inform, provoke, and keep me awake. My latest favorite source for vigorous exchanges is The Glenn Show at bloggingheadstv.com. You can watch the discussion on-line — it’s the weird images of talking heads in Skype session. Or you can download a show as an audio recording. (Who knew that mp audio formats had climbed to 4?)

Glenn Loury is an economist who teaches at Brown University, an on-and-off-again black conservative intellectual who broke with the Republic establishment (as I understand it) over the reception of Charles Murray’s The Bell Curve. A frequent guest on Glenn’s show is John McWhorter, an African-American linguist at Columbia University who wants to defy political categories but because he is often critical of the left he gets pigeon-holed a conservative. (Full disclosure: the missus and I heard McWhorter at a book festival in Philadelphia a few years ago and from the audience I asked him if he had seen The Wire and if so who is favorite character was. He became enthusiastic about The Wire in a George Whitefield way and declared Omar his favorite character. I was delighted in my frigid Old Life way.)

The reason for asking about the PCA is that the sort of ideas about race relations you hear from Glenn and McWhorter you don’t hear in NAPARC circles. Consider, for instance, a couple of columns that McWhorter wrote this summer at the Daily Beast. First, McWhorter opines that all the talk of structural racism may be well meaning but it doesn’t actually do anything (and whenever I read the African-American pastors I am left wondering what I’m supposed to do):

No, the fact that Hillary Clinton is referring to structural racism in her speeches does not qualify this as a portentous “moment” for black concerns. Her heart is surely in the right place, but talking about structural racism has never gotten us anywhere significant. Hurricane Katrina was 10 years ago; there was a great deal of talk then about how that event could herald some serious movement on structural racism. Well, here we are. There was similar talk after the 1992 riots in Los Angeles after the Rodney King verdict and, well, here we are.

The old-time Civil Rights leaders did things; too often these days we think talking about things is doing something. But what, really, are we talking about in terms of doing?

Who among us genuinely supposes that our Congress, amidst its clear and implacable polarization, is really going to arrive at any “decisions” aimed at overturning America’s basic power structure in favor of poor black people?

So instead of merely talking about structures that to abolish would require a slate almost as clean as the one the Puritans encountered when the landed at Massachusetts Bay (and yes, I know they weren’t the first ones there), McWhorter recommends real policy. Reformed Protestants won’t like these but they do give specifics to those who want to know what might be done:

1. The War on Drugs must be eliminated. It creates a black market economy that tempts underserved black men from finishing school or seeking legal employment and imprisons them for long periods, removing them from their children and all but assuring them of lowly existences afterward.

2. We have known for decades how to teach poor black children to read: phonics-based approaches called Direct Instruction, solidly proven to work in the ’60s by Siegfried Engelmann’s Project Follow Through study. School districts claiming that poor black children be taught to read via the whole-word method, or a combination of this and phonics, should be considered perpetrators of a kind of child abuse. Children with shaky reading skills are incapable of engaging any other school subject meaningfully, with predictable life results.

3. Long-Acting Reproductive Contraceptives should be given free to poor black women (and other poor ones too). It is well known that people who finish high school, hold a job, and do not have children until they are 21 and have a steady partner are almost never poor. We must make it so that more poor black women have the opportunity to follow that path. . . .

4. We must revise the notion that attending a four-year college is the mark of being a legitimate American, and return to truly valuing working-class jobs. Attending four years of college is a tough, expensive, and even unappealing proposition for many poor people (as well as middle-class and rich ones). Yet poor people can, with up to two years’ training at a vocational institution, make solid livings as electricians, plumbers, hospital technicians, cable television installers, and many other jobs. Across America, we must instill a sense that vocational school—not “college” in the traditional sense—is a valued option for people who want to get beyond what they grew up in.

Note that none of these things involve white people “realizing” anything. These are the kinds of concrete policy goals that people genuinely interested in seeing change ought to espouse. If these things seem somehow less attractive than calling for revolutionary changes in how white people think and how the nation operates, then this is for emotional reasons, not political ones. A black identity founded on how other people think about us is a broken one indeed, and we will have more of a sense of victory in having won the game we’re in rather than insisting that for us and only us, the rules have to be rewritten.

In another column, McWhorter explains why we don’t hear specific policy proposals in church circles but instead hear a lot about the vagueries of white supremacy. He argues that anti-racism is a religion (and that plays directly to the Reformed case against racism) and it is dogmatic:

The Antiracism religion, then, has clergy, creed, and also even a conception of Original Sin. Note the current idea that the enlightened white person is to, I assume regularly (ritually?), “acknowledge” that they possess White Privilege. Classes, seminars, teach-ins are devoted to making whites understand the need for this. Nominally, this acknowledgment of White Privilege is couched as a prelude to activism, but in practice, the acknowledgment itself is treated as the main meal, as I have noted in this space. A typical presentation getting around lately is 11 Things White People Need to Realize About Race, where the purpose of the “acknowledgment” is couched as “moving the conversation forward.” A little vague, no? More conversation? About what? Why not actually say that the purpose is policy and legislation?

Because this isn’t what is actually on the Antiracists’ mind. The call for people to soberly “acknowledge” their White Privilege as a self-standing, totemic act is based on the same justification as acknowledging one’s fundamental sinfulness is as a Christian. One is born marked by original sin; to be white is to be born with the stain of unearned privilege.

The proper response to original sin is to embrace the teachings of Jesus, although one will remain always a sinner nevertheless. The proper response to White Privilege is to embrace the teachings of—well, you can fill in the name or substitute others—with the understanding that you will always harbor the Privilege nevertheless. Note that many embrace the idea of inculcating white kids with their responsibility to acknowledge Privilege from as early an age as possible, in sessions starting as early as elementary school. This, in the Naciremian sense, is Sunday school.

This will keep you awake on a long drive to Baltimore.

No one has to agree. But if some folks want us to have a conversation about race in the Presbyterian and Reformed churches, are those same people calling for the conversation willing to listen to the comments of Glenn Loury and John McWhorter? And if others are wanting the church to confess their sins, might they want to consider Anti-Racism as the religious source more than the gospel?

Let the conversation go on but make sure we include all the voices. They are only a download away.

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108 thoughts on “Where is the PCA's Glenn Loury?

  1. it’s the white man’s middle class dilemma, finding yourself going

    “oh no…. now i’m going to have to… [fill in the blank]

    examples: get in the car and pick the kids up at their friends, go to the store to buy something that wasn’t on the shopping list, unexpectedly have to say the grace before dinner, watch a second rate game because the cable/satellite is on the fritz

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  2. This is a slightly bizarre question to ask Dr. Hart. Is it possible that these people exist and that you haven’t read them or are you simply asking why are there no African-Americans in the PCA who teach economics or linguistics at Ivy League schools?

    John McWhorter is atheist and I’m not certain if Loury is a Christian or not so that may, in part, provide you with some insight.

    Also, here are just a few more reasons why your question seems bizarre: (1) My first book “Liberating Black Theology” uses John McWhorter and Thomas Sowell explicitly to challenge the racilized claims of progressives. (2) My second book “Black and Tired” uses (again) much of the work of Thomas Sowell to challenges progressives on a laundry list of communitarian claims regarding race. (3) I have yet another book, which was endorsed by Walter Williams, “The Political Economy of Liberation,” which again used Thomas Sowell’s work specifically to talk about race, class, markets.

    I’m not alone Carl Ellis has done this as well as Dr. Larycia Hawkins who teaches at Wheaton.

    Have you bothered to read any of us on these issues?

    Based on your question, I can only assume that you’ve read none of us on these issues. Since this material is out there is makes me what what you’re really asking my your question or you question confirms that black scholars who write regularly on these sorts of issues are ignored because like us are only listened to when we talk about race.

    Your question is confusing at best. BTW, I joined the PCA in 1994 and contrary to what black professors at the University of Chicago have published, I am black.

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  3. Dr. Bradley, sorry I haven’t read everything you’ve written. For starters, you did not write much about Michael Brown and Ferguson which was the occasion for a lot of Reformed African-American attention to racism.

    For another, I have read Aliens in the Promised Land and I do detect there a posture where white people need to admit racism but not much else beyond McWhorter’s view of Anti-Racism as a religion. You use examples from responses at your blog to accuse the larger white community of racism. I don’t think Reformed white folks are innocent. Nor do I think you need to print private emails to show that some people may be unaware of views among Presbyterian forebears.

    But in your introduction you seem to advocate what McWhorter finds a problem. You quote a confession of sin by a pastor at Independent Presby. Church in Memphis. But when I go to the church’s website the images seem to include only white folks ministering to white folks (except in Africa). So what did they DO? What must I do to be saved from racism?

    The government can do things by policy and legislation that have force attached. Churches don’t operate that way here in the U.S.

    BTW, I’m surprised you would discredit to prominent African-American intellectuals because they aren’t Christian. Does Dr. King have to measure up to the Westminster Confession for me to take his advocacy seriously?

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  4. 1. The War on Drugs must be eliminated. It creates a black market economy that tempts underserved black men from finishing school or seeking legal employment and imprisons them for long periods, removing them from their children and all but assuring them of lowly existences afterward.

    …Bunny Colvin should have gone one step further.

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  5. Dr. Hart, respectfully you seem way out of touch of the growth and progress of black academic life within the PCA world. You simply seem out of your lane on this issue.

    (1) Correct, I didn’t write too much because ,unlike Drs. Loury and McWhorter, I have a full teaching load at a college where a normal load is a 4/3. Give me a 2/1 teaching load and a sabbatical every 3rd semester, and graduate students, and I would have written much more. Trust me.

    (2) If you had ever bothered to read any of black scholars in the PCA at Wheaton or Covenant College you would know that we’ve been writing about these intersections years before Michael Brown and Ferguson. So your causal claim is not even close to being true.

    (3) If you haven’t read my writings on these issues then I would recommend that you would practice the courtesy of being “slow to speak” regarding my positions until you’ve done so. I’ve been writing on these issues publicly for the Acton Institute for 13 years. Where have you been? Walter Williams has actually used my work in his own writings and, again, endorsed one of my books.

    And drawing any conclusions about my perspectives on political economy from a book about race in the church makes no sense to me. If you want my perspectives on political economy (which is what your post is about) then you need to do a little more homework. I also, btw, have a book out on John Rawls. I have written directly and specifically on the issues you highlight in the post but you haven’t bothered to read them.

    (4) I wasn’t discrediting those men, I was actually light-heartedly mocking you because your asking why the PCA is missing voices that never write on Christianty. You might as well have asked why the PCA doesn’t have a Marty Zupan (the President of IHS at George Mason). You’re asking why the PCA doesn’t have more secular (as far as I know) black conservative economists like Loury? Really?

    Again, you don’t even know the black scholars in the PCA who write and speak on these issues regularly and, of those you may have heard of, you’ve haven’t even bothered to read their works on political economy. So it’s seems that your question has more to do with your own ignorance and lack of knowledge of the books and articles that are out there on these issues than some indictment of the PCA.

    So, then, are you really asking why more blacks in the PCA are having more op-eds published in the popular media? That question makes more sense.

    To prove even further that you don’t know what you’re talking about on this issue it seems you missed that I am working on a project with Glenn Loury and John McWhorter. http://www.civilrightsinstitute.org/new_research_kerner_commission

    How did you miss that?

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  6. I’ll make a deal with black and white officers within the PCA, they stop being and acting embarrased of the WCF and it’s doctrinal approach to the faith and they stop behaving, acting, enacting and ‘incarnating’ like an EPC denomination or the PCUSA in worship practices and social justice initiiatives, and I’ll try to figure out why I need to know something about something called the ‘black academic life in the PCA”

    And if it’s just more bi-lateral, slavery induced post traumatic stress disorder, well, I already heard it. And you can color me, unimpressed.

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  7. Sorry Dr. Hart, I intended to type, “So, then, are you really asking why more blacks in the PCA are not having more op-eds published in the popular media? That question makes more sense.”

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  8. Just to give equal time, if we want to acknowledge the scourge of lily white southern frat boys manning PCA pulpits, you got my amen to just about any remedy you might want to apply to that malady.

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  9. Anthony Bradley
    Posted September 18, 2015 at 6:02 pm | Permalink
    Sorry Dr. Hart, I intended to type, “So, then, are you really asking why more blacks in the PCA are not having more op-eds published in the popular media? That question makes more sense.”

    In Dr. Hart’s defense, Dr. Bradley, I read the popular media a lot and sadly haven’t come across you either. I just followed you on Twitter

    @drantbradley

    but it is a rather confusing bag of race, random news, inside Protestant baseball, and sports. I’ll be happy to retweet your articles, but a look at your profiles at World mag and the Acton powerblog don’t show a lot of entries.

    You seem quite a fresh voice and I’d like to see you become better-known.

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  10. Dr. Bradley, I read your book on church life. I mentioned that you there made claims about racism in Reformed circles that sound a lot like the kind of arguments McWhorter and Loury criticize.

    But what do I know?

    So what you want me to DO is read YOU.

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  11. Dr. Hart, I could care less if you read my work. You could read me, Hawkins, Ellis, and many others. I really don’t care. Kay James in the PCA and she worked for the Bush administration. Have you read her? So, I think what I would prefer you do is (1) ask questions based on facts, (2) ask those questions about your own denomination (last time I check you were in the OPC) instead of some other denomination. That may have changed so I’m open to being corrected there. If you’re not in the PCA, it seems super odd to me that it matters to you that those people exist in a communion that’s not yours. Why didn’t you ask the same question about the OPC, the RPCNA, etc.? Why just the PCA? You’re not even familiar enough with who is in the PCA to ask an informed question. Those would be good places to start. I don’t know anyone in the PCA who writes about the OPC on a regular basis or at all.

    Again, I have entire books on these issues and you’re going to extrapolate on my views on political economy based on a narrative introduction and brief epilogue on a book about the church? Really?

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  12. Dr. Bradley (Author, Professor, Public Intellectual – http://www.dranthonybradley.com/about/), it seems entirely appropriate for a member of a denomination with whom yours (and mine) is in communion via NAPARC to raise issues about the handling and treatment of THE issue of the decade in NAPARC’s largest and most influential denomination. The PCA does drive the conservative Reformed bus in this country whether anyone else likes it or not. Surely it’s okay for the passengers to comment on the driver’s performance and to inquire about the route he has chosen.

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  13. Anthony Bradley
    Posted September 18, 2015 at 10:20 pm | Permalink
    Dr. Hart, I could care less if you read my work. You could read me, Hawkins, Ellis, and many others. I really don’t care. Kay James in the PCA and she worked for the Bush administration. Have you read her? So, I think what I would prefer you do is (1) ask questions based on facts, (2) ask those questions about your own denomination (last time I check you were in the OPC) instead of some other denomination. That may have changed so I’m open to being corrected there. If you’re not in the PCA, it seems super odd to me that it matters to you that those people exist in a communion that’s not yours. Why didn’t you ask the same question about the OPC, the RPCNA, etc.? Why just the PCA? You’re not even familiar enough with who is in the PCA to ask an informed question. Those would be good places to start. I don’t know anyone in the PCA who writes about the OPC on a regular basis or at all.

    Again, I have entire books on these issues and you’re going to extrapolate on my views on political economy based on a narrative introduction and brief epilogue on a book about the church? Really?>>>>>

    I am so happy to meet you, Dr. Bradley. I will be following you on Twitter.

    Glad to find you here. A pleasant surprise.

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  14. Anthony Bradley
    Posted September 18, 2015 at 10:20 pm | Permalink
    Dr. Hart, I could care less if you read my work. You could read me, Hawkins, Ellis, and many others. I really don’t care. Kay James in the PCA and she worked for the Bush administration. Have you read her? So, I think what I would prefer you do is (1) ask questions based on facts, (2) ask those questions about your own denomination (last time I check you were in the OPC) instead of some other denomination. That may have changed so I’m open to being corrected there. If you’re not in the PCA, it seems super odd to me that it matters to you that those people exist in a communion that’s not yours. Why didn’t you ask the same question about the OPC, the RPCNA, etc.? Why just the PCA?

    Oh well, Dr. Hart, out of a sense of fairness I tried to get your back against what appeared to be an unfair attack.

    But it looks like you were once again exposed as more the unfair attacker–d-bagging other people’s churches. As a “fellow” Presbyterian, Dr. Bradley was like WTF, as the OPC numbers only 30,000 souls out of millions of Presbyterians.

    Of course a billion Catholics are like, you people have your own problems, Dr. Hart.

    He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind

    Anthony Bradley
    Posted September 18, 2015 at 10:20 pm | Permalink
    (2) ask those questions about your own denomination (last time I check you were in the OPC) instead of some other denomination. That may have changed so I’m open to being corrected there. If you’re not in the PCA, it seems super odd to me that it matters to you that those people exist in a communion that’s not yours. Why didn’t you ask the same question about the OPC, the RPCNA, etc.? Why just the PCA? You’re not even familiar enough with who is in the PCA to ask an informed question.

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  15. Dr. Bradley, I would encourage you to be the Glenn Loury of the PCA. The OPC isn’t debating race. The PCA is. If you were as critical of the anti-racism in the PCA as Glenn Loury and McWhorter are, that might help us all know what to do.

    But I did ask a question about IPC in Memphis. It was honest.

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  16. Dr. Hart, that’s pretty close to being silly. I have no interest in trying to be “the Glenn Loury of the PCA” just be known by you and your minions. The fact is simply this, if you had actually bothered to do just a little bit of homework you wouldn’t even have written that post. Again, the thinkers and writings are out there but you didn’t know about any of us so you assumed they didn’t exist. I’ve been on FOX News several times, on C-SPAN talking about these issues at the Heritage Foundation, etc. and you did know about that either. Why not? And so has Carl Ellis (another Westminster grad).

    Also, I don’t really have the fettish that you seem to have about the PCA to waste time being “critical of the anti-racism in the PCA.” Who cares? If the PCA dissolved it wouldn’t even make the news. Like Loury and McWhorter my concerns are chiefly about these issues in the America at large, which is why I am working with them directly. The are much better and more important things in life than ranting about what happens in the PCA.

    Regarding Memphis, there’s more lack of knowledge on your part it seems. I’ve both spoken and written about the project I’m working on with 2nd Pres and Independent Pres with a national team of mostly Presbyterian academics to figure out the best way forward. I fly there at least once a year (and sometimes twice) for several days of meetings. How did you not know that? I’ll be back there in October. Also, as an historian you should know that repairing a 50 year-old problem, in one of the largest churches in Memphis, does not happen overnight and certainly won’t be evidenced by cosmetic pictures on a website. You sound like you expected some sort of affirmative action solution. You may have more progressive DNA in you than you realize;).

    It seems that the moral of the story is you are largely unaware of what happening on these fronts in Presbyterian world. You don’t know the writings nor the scholars. It seems to me that focusing on your tribe has you operating under a rock of sorts. There’s so much more happening than you seem to know about and the real question, for me at least, is why it is that you are so out of the loop that you wouldn’t have made a reference to Carl Ellis at the Heritage Foundation, etc. His last chapter in my book, BTW, classic Thomas Sowell. That’s the real issue in my mind.

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  17. And once again DGH is proven not to be omniscient on every paper or talking head appearance or unacted upon wish by everyone involved in the Presbyterian domain.

    Always amusing to see that people get upset when this lack of omniscience is exposed.

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  18. 3. Long-Acting Reproductive Contraceptives should be given free to poor black women (and other poor ones too). It is well known that people who finish high school, hold a job, and do not have children until they are 21 and have a steady partner are almost never poor. We must make it so that more poor black women have the opportunity to follow that path. . . .

    This is a bit too close to the position ‘African Americans aren’t capable of living up to Christ’s call for chastity’ for my taste. Yes, I realize one could attempt to justify the position through pointing to out-of-wedlock birth stats- a problem I don’t deny.

    But here is where the Moynihan report and similar are useful, and an actual look necessary at the impact the introduction of contraceptives had upon the US African American community in increasing the frequency of immoral sexual behaviour. (The impact it has had on the Anglo-American community is at least as significant, of course – cultural marginalization through numerical decline, a real change in the orientation ‘elite’ culture has toward the family and the duties of individuals to society).

    It wasn’t a factor which operated alone by any means, but I take it to be a significant one. More reliable contraception would likely mean a greater cultural habituation to sexual activity outside of marriage – with a concomitant rejection of Christian morality, increased psychological dependence on sexual pleasure (c.f. Augustine on the blinding force of lust), and increased teaching of false sexual morality to children (already in a quite problematic state, but yes it can get worse).

    But more fundamental is the general truth that difficulty in evangelizing any group to what God asks of them does not justify a compromise of Christian principles.

    On the other hand, if you believe God approves in principle of sexual activity outside of marriage and which is not by nature/in essence oriented to the conception of children then you may by all means pray that contraceptives be showered down upon us all like manna from heaven, and that each of us share in the blessed pleasures of fornication, reaping all the benefits it has on offer.

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  19. “But more fundamental is the general truth that difficulty in evangelizing any group to what God asks of them does not justify a compromise of Christian principles.”

    For those just tuning in, KiN is a Romanist so his confusion of law and gospel and generally muddied soteriology is, like, to be expected, man.

    But, KiN — does the pope really even agree with you on this? We are talking about Papa Who-Am-I-To-Judge here.

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  20. Kent, this is easy. If you never present yourself as omniscient then, when it’s exposed that you’re not, no one will care. His original question was not a question. It’s was rhetorical device to mask an attempt at an indictment. It failed. Thomas Sowell rails against academics who believe that have the credibility to talk about any subject matter.

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  21. Nigel Chortlington
    Posted September 19, 2015 at 9:32 am | Permalink
    “But more fundamental is the general truth that difficulty in evangelizing any group to what God asks of them does not justify a compromise of Christian principles.”

    For those just tuning in, KiN is a Romanist so his confusion of law and gospel and generally muddied soteriology is, like, to be expected, man.

    But, KiN — does the pope really even agree with you on this? We are talking about Papa Who-Am-I-To-Judge here.

    Yes, he is a Romanist Catholic, and gave an elegant explanation of the Catholic position. No “confusion” at all. That “the law” should institutionalize sexual immorality is what needs theological justification, a task way over Old Life’s head, not that it won’t try to sneer its way through it.

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  22. “His original question was not a question.”

    That wasn’t how I read it. Quite a conversation killer to assume otherwise. Perhaps something along the lines of, “good questions, you might find the work by _______ in the PCA worth reading”. Or some such. Instead you come across as a thin skinned jerk. I get that this is a blog and that’s what people do, but it doesn’t make such responses any more productive. But maybe productivity isn’t the goal.

    Your comment about not caring about the PCA is alarming. That is certainly the suspicion that a lot of us have of the Kellerite transformationalists…. namely they are using our church to further their own agenda irrespective of what that means to the longterm health of the gospel ministry of those of us in small (read insignificant) churches in the provinces. Perhaps I misunderstand you or you misspoke. In my better moments I assume I am paranoid, but maybe not.

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  23. CW de la Geneve des Appalaches-

    For those just tuning in, KiN is a Romanist so his confusion of law and gospel and generally muddied soteriology is, like, to be expected, man.

    Doesn’t the gospel teach chastity; that all should live by the gospel or perish; that we should teach to all (lawmakers included) gospel truths; that all (lawmakers included) should act in charity toward others; that willfully harming another is a damnable offense?

    How is providing an object (contraception) with instructions to use it in a harmful manner (unchastity) not an instance of failure of charity?

    But, KiN — does the pope really even agree with you on this? We are talking about Papa Who-Am-I-To-Judge here.

    I can only judge his actions wise or ill-considered and presume in charity he adopts a strategy to shock people into reconsidering assumptions. A statement may shock through apparent novelty, and yet be orthodox. I don’t think we have adequate evidence of heresy on his part (and pray that remains the case).

    Such a statement may also be ambiguous or (in principle) indeed heretical. I take it as an epistemological truth that we all will form beliefs according to our understandings; we then must act as our conscience dictates. Yet we must remain wary to properly form that conscience and avoid rash conclusions so to avoid heresy and schism.

    In any case, it is up to future popes and general counsels to make authoritative statements about other popes and the content of the faith, not laymen (i.e., probably all those present).

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  24. “Take some Kellerian Winsomeness pills, AB.”

    Do you know who you are talking to. This is Dr. Anthony frickin’ Bradley. He’s been on Fox News. He was writing dozens of books before you were born. He is so superior to Tim Keller. In fact, Tim Keller should take AB pills. Get in line, pleb. Dr. Bradley is holding court. We are privileged to partake of his wisdom.

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  25. As a member of a downtown (Baptist) church that tries to engage our larger regional Christian community, I have heard every one of the four proposals that McWhorter advocates in DGH’s first lengthy excerpt. But I have heard them advocated for whites– around here, on the borders of Appalachia, blacks are maybe 10% of the population, and the poor and marginalized are far more likely to be white and rural than black living in a hosing project (though we have that presence also).

    Far be it from me to say what kind of conversations the PCA, the OPC, the PCUSA or any other group of Prsebys should have, but it seems to me that focusing on race might mask the underlying pathologies of poverty that are, IMHO, more universal and less tractable to “structural” change than many believe. A good place to start might be Theodore Dalrymple’s “Life at the Bottom.”. Rod Dreher has posted some things that are relevant lately, also; see http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/trailer-park-gothic-dylann-roof/
    and other subsequent posts.

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  26. (ad)D-

    it seems to me that focusing on race might mask the underlying pathologies of poverty that are, IMHO, more universal and less tractable to “structural” change than many believe.

    It’s an easy way for some, at least, to be convinced it isn’t their problem (‘they’re black, I’m white, let them solve their own problems’). In a sense I agree and in a sense I disagree – we are responsible to care for what is closest to us, and the current result of US history is that race is good predictor of division of ethnic communities. So is religion.

    Yet we share a bond of citizenship and many-to-most live near and interact with members of ‘other groups.’ To the extent a healthy shared polity, neighborliness, and social ties contribute to our being a coherent nation (a legitimate human good), we ought to work to strengthen them (c.f. Brazil, the D.R., perhaps Russia at certain historical moments).

    This extent is limited, though. A real nation can’t arise without a shared religious faith and practice, whatever else is celebrated as unifying. “The pathologies of poverty” can be ameliorated through evangelization, but this won’t solve the problem of national identity. We would remain Yugoslavia writ large.

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  27. Wait a minute Dr. Bradley, first, I’m supposed to familiarize myself with “black academic life in the PCA” but then you say, “If the PCA dissolved it wouldn’t even make the news. Like Loury and McWhorter my concerns are chiefly about these issues in the America at large, which is why I am working with them directly. The are much better and more important things in life than ranting about what happens in the PCA.”

    But then you say, “I’ve both spoken and written about the project I’m working on with 2nd Pres and Independent Pres with a national team of mostly Presbyterian academics to figure out the best way forward. I fly there at least once a year (and sometimes twice) for several days of meetings.”

    And finally,”It seems that the moral of the story is you are largely unaware of what happening on these fronts in Presbyterian world. You don’t know the writings nor the scholars.”

    So, what am I as whitey mcwhite to do? Which brings us back to the point of the post(partly), am I just supposed to sit in the corner with all my whiteness lamenting my privilege? Am I supposed to repent before God of my uber whitebread sensibility and/or let you tell me a few things about me you think I might not know about me, cuz you’re a PCA BLACK ACADEMIC and that apparently both matters a lot to you and you could care less about all at the same time. This being white is rough.

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  28. Dr. Bradley the problem with your vacillating on the religious identification, or not, is one of attempting to bind my religious conscience, or not. So, you need to make up your mind. You either want to do some variation of Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson or Mike Huckabee and illegitimately utilize religious authority to grease the tracks of your social/political agenda or you don’t. But don’t sit here and tell me you are and you’re not and you are again.

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  29. As a Cuban American living in Miami where poverty knows no color, I find all this black v. white talk alien and amusing.

    I will say this though, I’d rather have a white church that says nothing about race but treats me nice instead of the white church that says “We need to change” but doesn’t give me money for seminary :^). Heck I can’t take ECO seriously because most of them are white, and every time I see PCA churches try to be racially aware, I’m insulted because I’d rather sing Psalms than sing stupid Pentecostal worship songs, in Spanish.

    But hey. Whatever. Maybe I’m an Uncle Tom.

    Saying that, I agree with the talking points above in DG’s post. Minus the free birth control. I’m a libertarian ya’know, the State is violence etc etc.

    Heck, I have black friends that are not this angsty. Probably because they grew up with more money than me.

    Then again I know this one black girl whose father is a professor but complains about being oppressed. (sigh) @_@

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  30. Dr. Bradley, SJGIII,

    As a Cuban American living in Miami where poverty knows no color, I find all this black v. white talk alien and amusing.

    Well, that’s the US for you. (I live in an equally atypical area, so get where you’re coming from).

    Where it really gets interesting to me is trying to figure out some of these puzzles:

    —Why are we the only country on earth whose residents don’t in overwhelming numbers identify on our census as being ethnically of our own country? Brazil is equally heterogeneous in origins and the people overwhelmingly identify as “Brazilian.”

    —Why do so many Scotch Irish in this country write “White” for ethnicity on the census? (an invalid response – Most of the rest choose “American” – the only significant group to do so).

    —Why do African Americans not identify as “American” -?

    —Why was MLK marching through Polish neighborhoods in Chicago (& Catholic neighborhoods generally in the North) with crowds singing “We Shall Overcome” to people who at times hardly spoke English and whose families had basically 0 interaction with anyone of African blood – i.e., since Adam & Eve? Why did Quakers invite him, sponsor his travel, and plan the route? Why did the Quakers subsequently buy houses in Catholic neighborhoods for black families (but not in the Philly suburbs they inhabited)?

    —Why couldn’t Marcus Garvey find a black man in NAACP headquarters, just Jewish lawyers?

    —Why do so many English, French, & Dutch West Indian Americans (1%+ of the US pop) roll their eyes or grimace politely if you call them African American?

    Dr. Bradley, I don’t use Twitter much, but I’ve “followed” you for years. Frequently interesting comments. Would be interested to get your thoughts on whether you find any or all of the Qs above to be significant.

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  31. Dr. Hart, do you know who doesn’t care about Christianity at all? Glenn Loury and John McWhorter. If you’re asking about black professors academics in the PCA and their role as public intellectuals then you should write a post about that topic because that’s what you seem mostly interested in.

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  32. Dr. Bradley, Loury and McWhorter don’t care about Christianity but do care about race relations. PCA professors, some of whom care about the PCA and some don’t, care about Christianity and care about race. If you compare what Loury and McWhorter write about race to what PCA professors do, you get an arresting set of contrasts. Yet PCA professors presume to speak for blacks in America. Why don’t they also speak for Loury and McWhorter?

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  33. DGH,

    I want to know what a “frigid Old life way” in contrast to a George Whitefield way, looks like and really means. I thought that was pretty funny.

    I have been listening to a lot of David Simon speeches, interviews and panels on the internet lately, and, as I’m sure you know, he speaks in a contrarian way to the issues brought up in this post. I especially enjoyed listening to the following interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SL6Jv2Jpnpg. Having experienced a lot of the stories that Simon tells about in his dramatic TV series, in an up close and personal way, what he says really resonates with what I have experienced in my painful but adventurous journey since the late 90’s. I’m convinced that his diagnosis of the issues that need to be concentrated on is what will make a big difference to a lot of lives in American society.

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  34. JohnnY, I try not to wear my emotions on my sleeve.

    Where are you these days?

    Curious what you mean about Simon being contrary to the post. After all, one of the main points of — shhhh — The Wire, is that the War on Drugs was awful on so many levels. McWhorter wants to end it too. Not sure what else Simon would disagree with.

    Let me know.

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  35. DGH,

    I know you don’t wear your emotions on your sleeve but you do wear your sarcasm on your sleeve. I think we have had this conversation before.

    I guess my communication skills are poor. I did not mean to convey that Simon was contrary to what you posted. I meant to convey that he was a fellow contrarian in regards to what most in American society think are the important issues that have to be faced. I know you agree with a lot of what Simon and McWhorter say. You got me interested in both of them. I watched most of, The Wire, again this summer and got a lot more out of it due to the ongoing commentary about it at Oldlife. I am on Season 4 episode 8 but school has started again so I don’t have the time I used to have during the summer. Having watched the Wire more closely I also get more out of listening to Simon in his lectures, interviews and speeches. I think he is right on in his analysis of what ails American culture. Money needs to be taken out of all the political processes. That includes legislative processes and in the election process too.

    The for profit prison system is turning the jails into a Gulag for slave labor. There is almost no way back for those who become part of that prison system.

    Simon also argues that the Capital owners have won the battle against the laborers and the laborers have not found the will to fight back like they used to. No one should always win in society and the tension between labor and Capital is what drives healthy social discourse.

    The war on drugs has not worked either and the money used to fight the drug war should be used to help those who have been left behind in the changing economic, political and social environment. Those who have gained have a responsibility to those who have been displaced with the new changes. Lots more to say but I am sure the dialog will continue.

    I’m still a misfit in the northeast corner of Tennessee. I really don’t like it here that much but want to finish my classes at the school I am going to. I got a grant and my program will be done in May. I do enjoy going to school so I like that part of being here. My plan is to move to Nashville when I finish in May. I did have a decent job this summer for 3 months so that helped a lot. I also found a part time job tending the big community college garden that pays for my utility and electric bills in the apartment I got in March. My rent is paid through December. I also bought a motor scooter I get around in. My upward mobility is in process. I appreciate you asking.

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  36. Thanks, JohhnY for the explanation. Not sure what difference religion makes in all the mess or urban life and war on drugs. Chanting structural racism does little but confirm McW’s point that Anti-Racism is a religion.

    Glad to hear you’re back in the rat race.

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  37. I’m just seeking the good of Babylon in any way I can while trying to be realistic about any hope of Babylon ever really changing. My hope is in a better future country that will never be shaken. I also have a concern about being of any assistance I can be to the elect who might have fallen and are having a hard time getting up and back to where they should be. You never know where you might find them.

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  38. I don’t know Ali or the point he is making. I’m not sure if Kent is being sarcastic or not. Perhaps he feels unworthy of Omar and Jimmie and the street cred earned tru dat. Lastly, I am usually miffed with Nigel’s comments so I am not sure how to respond or who he is directing his comment towards. It’s life as usual at oldlife.

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  39. What’s the message of Dalrymple’s “Life at the Bottom?” What’s the overarching mentality of those “at the bottom?” I bet the reasons for someone finding themselves there have changed a lot in the last 20 years. From what I gathered from a quick internet search Dalrymple was a psychiatrist who lived in London and gathered his data between 1990 and 2000. Most of those he interviewed were white.

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  40. Wow, such hospitality. Thanks Jeff, good to hear from you too. You guys are making my day. Zrim probably won’t like me saying this but he sent me a gracious email message too.

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  41. Jeff,
    Sorry I couldn’t comment back over at “When Did Christian Amer..” Guess we crashed that page.

    Hart,
    That is the second page we have crashed on this topic. Think you could give a post for it? Something on where we get doctrine from? Scripture, Tradition or both? Might give some space for the topic.
    Peace, Michael

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  42. The overarching message of Dalrymple’s book, as I understood it, is that antisocial behavior – which is destructive to individuals, families, and societies as a whole – is not limited to any one racial or ethnic group. A corolllary is that many of the programs of the left and right in the UK (and perhaps by analogy in the US) intended to aid the “underclass” are destructive and only further their dissolution. The refusal to make moral and cultural judgments, a mindset fostered/required by

    If you’ve read Thomas Sowell’s “Vision of the Anointed” or “Quest for Cosmic Justice” much of it will be familiar. The difference with Dalrymple is that he approaches the topic from a medial and psychiatric rather than economic perspective, and the context is UK rather than the good ‘ol USA.

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  43. David,

    I think David Simon would take issue with Dalrymple and Sowell. However, Simon is a liberal and a Keynesian to boot. I’m curious as to how much prevailing assumptions color the analysis and conclusions of both sides of the debate. I find the topic to be very interesting. I bet you would get a lot of different definitions of what constitutes anti-social behavior too.

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  44. John Y.,

    I miss the reference. Which ‘Simon’ do you mean please? I think you’re right that prevailing assumptions do color the analysis and conclusions of both sides of the debate. The question, as you say, is “how much?” To what extent? I don’t believe that biases are without basis, and many of them are quite accurate portrayals of what is true of a group as a whole, and do not necessarily bear any relevance to what is true of any given member of that group. Bias is culpable and prejudicial, to my mind, when it refuses to adjust to the facts presented. We cannot live life without operating by a set of convenient, time-saving assumptions and biases (the elderly are less likely to be terrorists, the young are often less self-controlled, someone with a suit and tie is likely to have more education, criminals are more beholden to instant-gratification, women make better mothers than men, etc.). These are the mostly harmless, non-inflammatory biases by which most of us operate.

    That “you would get a lot of different definitions of what constitutes anti-social behavior” is no doubt true, but I don’t think all definitions are equally valid.

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  45. David N.,

    I don’t have time to respond back right now. I would like to do a bit more research and reflection on the issue before commenting further. The corollary, “that many of the programs of the left and right in the UK (and perhaps by analogy in the US) intended to aid the “underclass” are destructive and only further their dissolution”, certainly rubs me the wrong way. I have problems with concluding that “the aid” is the sole (or even major) reason for “their further dissolution.” And I would have to think more about the following sentence: “The refusal to make moral and cultural judgments, a mindset fostered/required by multiculturalism is largely to blame.” My gut reaction is that sounds like a bunch of BS too. It sounds more to me like two differing social groups having no clue about each other. And one group making judgments from on high.

    John Y: I should probably also make this clear that I have never received any money from any of my acquaintances that I have met on the internet. I’m clueless as to why Sean would say anything like that. I certainly do not owe him any money.

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  46. John Y.,

    There’s certainly no shortage of BS in this world. I’d hate to be a peddler of such and hope I’m not.

    Didn’t know Sean had ever said anything like that. I hope he owes me $.

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  47. John, all things considered, I would strive my utmost not to be sarcastic with you in my replies.

    As for a few others on here…

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  48. Yeazel, urrbody owes me. And urrbody pays…………..or else. And I don’t take partial payments and I collect on the vig. Money is a truth teller.

    But, yes, John, I was giving you a hard time. It’s just what I do.

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  49. David, I mentioned Dalyrmple earlier in the thread a few days back Good summary of “Life at the Bottom.”. But, most summaries, whether by his supporters or detractors, miss the true compassion he has for the less fortunate. He has served them as an MD for decades, both in Africa and the UK. I believe he is sui generis. There is a web site that provides a lot of background and links to what looks like a god bit of his work. http://www.skepticaldoctor.com

    JohnY, good to see you back. Hope your plans for the future come to fruition.

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  50. John Y – OK, that’s what I figured. I have some relatives living in the Kingsport area. So, by communication with them I get a sense of what you’re getting at with this PCA business. They’re (liberal) Lutheran, but they’ve been rebuffed numerous times by those in the smug OSAS crowd so they’re familiar with your experiences.

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  51. (A different) Dan
    Posted September 22, 2015 at 6:10 pm | Permalink
    David, I mentioned Dalyrmple earlier in the thread a few days back Good summary of “Life at the Bottom.”. But, most summaries, whether by his supporters or detractors, miss the true compassion he has for the less fortunate. He has served them as an MD for decades, both in Africa and the UK. I believe he is sui generis. There is a web site that provides a lot of background and links to what looks like a god bit of his work.

    Yah, Dan, Dalrymple Da Bomb.

    http://www.newcriterion.com/articles.cfm/dalrymple-derbyshire-2059

    Derbs:

    Dalrymple is particularly good on the squeaky-wheel syndrome that is so characteristic of modern social services. Defy your circumstances; manage to get some scraps of education; win some decent, if low-level employment; stay out of trouble; stay off the dole; maintain some minimal standards of honesty and chastity; and see what happens to you! If you are lucky, the authorities will ignore you; if not, they will actually harass you. Should your less disciplined neighbors make your life a misery, you will get no help from police or social workers. But if you follow your peers into the world of dysfunction and dependency, all the attentions of England’s extravagant welfare state will be lavished on you. You will be given a free apartment furnished with all modern appliances, a regular supply of money, free medical attention, and the doting ministrations of “health visitors,” “case workers,” “counsellors,” and so on.

    Americans may find it surprising that most of the people wallowing in this slough of ignorance, illiteracy, promiscuity, bastardy, intoxication, vice, folly, lawlessness, and hopelessness are white English people. Much of what is described here is the sort of thing Americans instinctively associate with this country’s own black underclass. There is some satisfaction, I suppose, though of a very melancholy kind, to be drawn from the revelation that sufficiently wrong-headed social policies, persisted in with sufficiently dogged refusal to face simple truths, will visit moral catastrophe on people of any race.

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  52. Sean, good thing for you- I was considering contacting my Uncle Vito.

    Interesting comments about Dalrymple- the issue does stir up a lot of heat. I’m trying to get a better handle on why the views are so divergent and almost antithetical to each other. What are the underlying assumptions about human nature that make the competing viewpoints go ballistic against each other? And how can the Catholic TVD and the Protestant (different) Dan be in agreement about Dalrymple? I’m miffed.

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  53. JohnY, I would only reiterate that there is much more depth to Dalyrmple than you will ever get by reading his fanboys or his detractors, or both. It is not his fault that TVD, Derbyshire or I like him.

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  54. Machen—-I am opposed to the reading of the Bible in public schools. As for any presentation of general principles of what is called “religion”, supposed to be exemplified in various positive religions, including Christianity, such presentation is opposed to the Christian religion at its very heart. The relation between the Christian way of salvation and other ways is not a relation between the adequate and the inadequate or between the perfect and the imperfect, but it is a relation between the true and the false. The minute a professing Christian admits that he can find neutral ground with non-Christians in the study of “religion” in general, he has given up the battle and has made common cause with that syncretism which is today, as it was in the first century, the deadliest enemy of the Christian Faith.

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  55. (A different) Dan,

    You do have to give Dalrymple kudos for his seeing the issue of the malcontents and “bottom” dwellers in society as a serious one that needs the attention of thoughtful and compassionate people who have been able to overcome the drives towards destruction that we all are vulnerable to. There are a lot of variables involved in why some do and others don’t. You can’t ignore the issue because it effects everyone in society in some way- usually for the worse. It is messy and Dalrymple at least contributes his best efforts in trying to understand it better and trying to find some solutions. What is being done now is not really working so you have to appreciate a lot of his observations. I should probably read the book rather than just what is written about it by others- you are right about that.

    What I do is compare what I have learned in my experiences “at the bottom” with what others say and write about it. I often find a huge disconnect with the realities that I have experienced. Dalrymple is trying to bridge that gap. Being only an observer can sometimes lead one to differing conclusions than actually being a participant in the problem. I have a tendency to react too quickly because of what I have experienced. It is a challenge to find and face the truth and reality about why this happens to you. And the varied reactions and attitudes you find in others can cause a lot of anger and confusion. You can’t get around the pain and suffering involved in the whole messy process.

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  56. JohnY: “You can’t get around the pain and suffering involved in the whole messy process.”

    Yep, which is why I like Dalyrmple more than I do Sowell or Williams, say– and I like them.

    I only discovered the web site I pointed out to you above yesterday. I had a chance to look at it some more last night— some good stuff there.

    I read DGH’s main posts daily, but I only dip into the comment threads sporadically. Retirement keeps me busy. I will, though, look for you in the sidebar, and hópe things work out for you.

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  57. Mark Mcculley
    Posted September 23, 2015 at 1:39 am | Permalink
    Machen—-I am opposed to the reading of the Bible in public schools. As for any presentation of general principles of what is called “religion”, supposed to be exemplified in various positive religions, including Christianity, such presentation is opposed to the Christian religion at its very heart. The relation between the Christian way of salvation and other ways is not a relation between the adequate and the inadequate or between the perfect and the imperfect, but it is a relation between the true and the false. The minute a professing Christian admits that he can find neutral ground with non-Christians in the study of “religion” in general, he has given up the battle and has made common cause with that syncretism which is today, as it was in the first century, the deadliest enemy of the Christian Faith.

    Great stuff. Look how they treat “religions” as fungible in the Ben Carson mess, that the content of Islam is more or less the same as the Bible’s. Religion scholars also tend to treat theological content as unimportant.

    Things have changed since Machen’s day, and I wonder how he’d react to the current assault on truth and reality, that our schools now teach that Heather can have two mommies, and that a girl can be born in the body of a boy, and our children should call her “he” if that’s what she wants.

    Or maybe Machen thinks we should render onto Caesar what is his–our children. I don’t know–he went MIA when Bryan asked him for help with the Scopes trial.

    http://tinyurl.com/pw82g5h

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  58. Derbs:

    Are our personalities formed in response to our physical environment? Why, then, the inanimate world is our master, and we cannot fairly be held responsible for the things we do. “The knife went in,” three different stabbers told Dalrymple, when he pressed them, in the prison, to describe the deed that landed them there. Why should a low-IQ barely literate youth believe in the doctrine of free will, when, for all he can see, his intellectual superiors have given up on it?

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  59. Not saying Machen was a Clarkian, but Clark begins his apologetic with the distinction of Christianity from all other religions. He even goes so far as to say that religion in general cannot be properly defined, so the only religion he concerns his apologetic with is the one defined by the Westminster Confession.

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  60. This is statement is complete ignorance. “Dr. Bradley, Loury and McWhorter don’t care about Christianity but do care about race relations. PCA professors, some of whom care about the PCA and some don’t, care about Christianity and care about race. If you compare what Loury and McWhorter write about race to what PCA professors do, you get an arresting set of contrasts. Yet PCA professors presume to speak for blacks in America. Why don’t they also speak for Loury and McWhorter?”

    This is one of the dumbest things I’ve ever read. Now, I don’t care about Christianity? Really. Are you still in high school Dr. Hart? So dumb. Comments like this explain a lot. Now I just feel sorry for you.

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  61. Dr. Bradley, you continue to come back and sidestep any substantive comments. I would really like to hear what you say about the thesis that anti-racism is a religion. It sure looks like an ultimate & primary concern at times.

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  62. cwiu, actually, I think the book is going to be a collaborative effort by Dr. Bradley, TKNY, Eric Metaxas, and Greg Thornbury on how Cornel West and Michael Eric Dyson can bury the hatchet through transforming the city.

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  63. @AnthonyBradley

    You wrote, “Dr. Hart, do you know who doesn’t care about Christianity at all?”

    Dr. Hart used the same structure to write, “Dr. Bradley, Loury and McWhorter don’t care about Christianity…” Instead of jumping to the conclusion that he is implying that *you* don’t care about race rather than that he is addressing you the same way you addressed him, perhaps seeking clarification would be a bit more productive. A more likely reading is:

    Dr. Bradley,
    Loury and McWhorter don’t care about Christianity but do care about race relations. PCA professors, some of whom care about the PCA and some don’t, care about Christianity and care about race. If you compare what Loury and McWhorter write about race to what PCA professors do, you get an arresting set of contrasts. Yet PCA professors presume to speak for blacks in America. Why don’t they also speak for Loury and McWhorter?

    rather than

    Dr. Bradley, Loury, and McWhorter don’t care about Christianity.

    So perhaps the statement isn’t so “ignorant”… Your statements and Darryl’s schema put you in the class of PCA professors who care about Christianity and race but not the PCA. Clearly, you wouldn’t be in the set that doesn’t care about Christianity. I’m hope you will be as quick to apologize for your baseless accusation as you were to make it.

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  64. /he is addressing you the same way you addressed him/

    Which is why I say if agreement on the Oxford comma goes, civilization goes with it.

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  65. @MG did you hear about the panda that eats, shoots and leaves? I’m still trying to figure out how he got his paws around the trigger.

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  66. sdb, good lesson in commas… but where is your scolding for innuendo on the Praise post? Speaking of partiality: John Yeasel, feeling the hospitality, but not so much Dr. Bradley for disagreed-with thoughts and for commas?

    today’s verse: Romans 155 Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus, 6 so that with one accord you may with onevoice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.7 Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God.

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  67. @Ali
    You’ll have to help me out. You mentioned something along those lines earlier and I asked for clarification, but I missed it if you provided it. A bible verse doesn’t tell me where I’ve gone wrong here.

    Surely you aren’t suggesting that if I respond to one person for making a really vulgar comment as an insult to myself and others here, I need to police every comment on this blog. As I noted to that guy, I didn’t want to be a scold and I realize the nature of anonymous off-the-cuff chatting. I don’t think we need to be sticklers for everything everyone else writes. He was gracious in response. I’m afraid I don’t get what you are after.

    In regard to this particular thread, the problem is not that AB disagrees with dgh. Rather he has accused dgh of writing something in “complete ignorance” and “one of the dumbest things he has ever read”. That’s a pretty harsh accusation, not just an analytic, methodological, or factual disagreement. In fact, I don’t see much in terms of disagreement from AB – just a lot of invective about how dumb the writer is. I’m sure it is cathartic and all, but it isn’t very productive. Further more, it is pretty clear that AB has utterly misconstrued the comment he is responding to, so it seems to me that pointing out that he has made a mistake is worthwhile to him.

    I have no idea what any of this has to do with Yeazel. I don’t read everyone’s comments – is that the partiality you keep referring to? Do you read every comment on this blog with equal care or do you show partiality? I don’t think picking and choosing in that way is what James has in mind, but I am willing to stand corrected.

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  68. SDB, you mean that book that almost nobody read at all on grammar?

    If you did, like I did, you’d have come across a very tasteless racial joke involving the n-word.

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  69. @kent
    You’re a better man than me. I never read the book, but I like the title. I guess that is where I picked up the quip. Sad to hear the book was sullied by a tasteless racial joke.

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  70. Has race therapy hit the PCA?

    The stated goals of the race therapy complex — which include raising ‘racial awareness’ and being more ‘sensitive’ about race — sound pretty innocuous, but they are actually problematic for overcoming racial divisions and realising civil rights for black Americans. As Elisabeth Lasch-Quinn diagnosed in her essential book, Race Experts, the demise of the civil-rights movement in the 1960s led to the rise of self-appointed social engineers wielding the new tools of racial etiquette, sensitivity training and new-age therapy. While influenced by the black-identity movement that had replaced Martin Luther King’s universalism, the primary factor behind the creation of the diversity profession was the boom in psychotherapy, which swallowed the civil-rights movement, and many other social movements.

    Despite surveys documenting a sea change in attitudes regarding race, these race experts refused to believe that the US had become more egalitarian. Convinced of the entrenched bigotry of Middle America, they sought to tackle racism in a new frontier: the mind. The race professionals shifted the focus of anti-racism to stereotypes, language and feelings, and constructed codes of conduct to police personal behaviour. In other words, they positioned race as an issue of therapy and etiquette, rather than justice or equality in employment, education and society-at-large. In commenting on events at Mizzou, the writer Jason Whitlock (who is black) put it this way: ‘Liberal elites define racism as “code words” and “dog whistles” and the utterance of the n-word by white people. They reduce racism to a language. Martin Luther King Jr, Rosa Parks, Thurgood Marshall and our Greatest Generation defined racism as laws and policy.’

    As the complaints of the student activists show (about everything from the revving of a car engine near protesters to the phrasing of emails), this outlook continues to situate racism in relatively minor, interpersonal incidents. The race therapists encourage hyper-sensitivity, expand into new areas where offence can be taken, and urge apparent victims to not hold back their emotions – all of which have been witnessed in the current protests. In doing so, they create new sources of anxiety and coarsen social interactions. Diversity engineers stoke the fires of division. As Lasch-Quinn wrote, they promote ‘a world in perpetual recovery, a world of endless slights’, in which ‘racist crimes and social faux pas are one and the same’. That pretty much sums up students who have a meltdown over Halloween costumes.

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