Doom and Gloom

First the gloom:

. . . the American experiment in limited government requires that the citizenry and those who hold public office honor certain moral virtues and respect the institutions that are crucial for a society to rightly function. Yet, we now find ourselves in a situation where the three leading candidates for president show little to no respect for such institutions in their articulations of public policy.

More:

The central principle of my decision is that Donald Trump is palpably unfit for the office of the President, and unworthy of the vote of anyone who dares think that the name of Christ still must have some salience for our public and political life. Since I posted my original essay on the matter, events have done nothing to dissuade me of this stance: if anything, they have further confirmed it.

Now some doom:

From elite critical theory in the lecture theaters of the Ivy Leagues to the rampant epidemic of pornography on so many computer screens, we live in world that seeks to detach and isolate the present from any accountability to past or future. Ours is the era of the sempiternal orgiast, the true hero of our time.

Is the reason for such despair an application of end-times standards to between-the-times times. Here‘s an example applied not to politics or culture but (Christian, mind you) books:

I find it difficult to read books by authors who have disgraced and disqualified themselves. Depending on the kind of immorality he displayed, I may even get rid of his books. We of all generations are so blessed by good books that I see little reason to even consider ones written by leaders who have made a trainwreck of their ministries. I can’t think of a single category of book that needs the work of a fallen author. There are other great books on leadership, other ones on marriage, on prayer and suffering and Christian living. I do not need to rely on the books of those who have justly been removed from ministry.

Imagine what does for someone who enjoys Mencken.

Lest readers let doom and gloom pave the way for a bummer weekend, here’s a reason for keeping hope alive:

White Christian traditionalists do not see Jews and Muslims as allies, Inazu said, and non-Christians and non-whites are not engaged in the cultural conflict, even if they agree with traditional morality. But they are not aligned with the liberal/left on these issues either, Inazu claimed. To be more successful, religious liberty efforts need to be made with many groups, with sensitivity to their outlook.

If white Protestants can figure out a way to look at society as less an extension of the church than as a shared space with people who aren’t white and Protestant, they might actually find political and cultural standards to hold them over until that great day.

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17 thoughts on “Doom and Gloom

  1. I had a professor of historical theology who had a rule that you shouldn’t read a book unless the author has been dead for 50 years. That would solve Challies’ problem, but it also might cause some new problems for TGIC. It also might push back against the arrogance that the end is upon us. Isn’t the end upon everyone between the times? Today I went to the used book store at the pubic library and saw some book by Trevin Wax and Trust Me by John Updike. You can guess which one I bought. And there’s something to be said about timelessness. Movies, books, shows, public figures who don’t take themselves too seriously usually are the ones who stand the test of time.

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  2. What about the pornification of the culture that makes you sure the culture in which you live is the worst evar? What about the pornification of culture that makes the historian anti-historical? Oh wait, somebody made that point. Can’t recall right off hand…………………..It’ll come to me.

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  3. Willliam James—The moralist must hold his breath and keep his muscles tense; and so long as this athletic attitude is possible all goes well–morality suffices. But the athletic attitude tends ever to break down, and it inevitably does break down even in the most stalwart when the organism begins to decay, or when morbid fears invade the mind. … What he craves is to be consoled in his very powerlessness, to feel that the spirit of the universe recognizes and secures him, all decaying and failing as he is. Well, we are all such helpless failures in the last resort. The sanest and best of us are of one clay with lunatics and prison inmates, and death finally runs the robustest of us down. And whenever we feel this, such a sense of the vanity and provisionality of our career comes over us that all our morality appears but as a plaster hiding a sore it can never cure, and all our well-doing as the hollowest substitute for that well-BEING that our lives ought to be grounded in, but, alas! are not.

    http://xroads.virginia.edu/~hyper/wjames/ch02.html

    Acts 4: The KINGS OF THE EARTH took their stand and the rulers assembled together against the Lord and against His Messiah. 27 “For, in fact, in this city both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, assembled together against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, 28 to do whatever Your hand and Your plan had predestined to take place

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  4. I very much like the last paragraph, it shows a strength that 2KT has over transformationalists.. We have to decide how we will share society with others. Democracy says that we will share it with others as equals. But that thought of sharing power as equals with those who are different is quite threatening to some.

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  5. D.G.,
    Note I said what Democracy says, not what we have now. Can’t have democracy now with all of the authoritarianism from both major parties and the tribalism from all groups, even my fellow Leftists, who wish to have a say. Everybody is looking to conquer all others and there can be no real talk about sharing society as equals when people want to control rather than share.

    But look at the bright side of my last comment, I agreed, which I have since I’ve understood the differences between transformationalists and 2Kers, with you and 2KT on something. With our multiple differences, we should celebrate what we can agree on.

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  6. Evidence of the gloom and the doom:

    As one piece of evidence for the cultural (sic) dominance of this anti-culture, I would cite the rapid acceptance of transgenderism. Its move from the margins of society to the status of an unquestionable mainstream identity has been amazingly swift. Indeed, it is indicative of the depth and power of the anti-culture that so much of what (to use Tony Esolen’s phrase) “everybody believed the day before yesterday” has vanished so quickly. It is not, as in the past, that society is gradually modifying or abandoning some long-standing positions while retaining a basic cultural continuity with much of what has gone before. It is that we are witnessing (to repeat myself) a conscious, concerted, and comprehensive severing of ties with the past in order to overturn and then eradicate all traces of that past.

    But historians at least want to wait and see the lay of the land a decade or two out, right? Outrage porn can’t wait that long.

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  7. It may be that ten years out, we aren’t being fed to wild beast, but that doesn’t mean that NO harm has been done. Things being “not that bad” is relative to whom evil is or isn’t happening. Legalized abortion is still here.

    Trueman is right on.

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  8. Transgendered bathrooms as the tipping point? Really? I’m supposed to set that up as an commensurate vice of our culture to, let’s say, the virtue of legal protections our culture has ‘produced’ for women and children compared to their historical treatment? Me thinks someone is being overly influenced by the 24/7 news cycle. And have you read the backstory on the sexual excesses and grievous treatment(sexually) of female adolescents in Victorian England? Provided you(man or subjected wife even) had the money to secure the medical treatment of virgins for your venereal disease.

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  9. To avoid the doom, Sean, should Tim Duncan play more or less tomorrow night?

    Tim Keller explains that the church needs to engage in more cultural activity— “First, it would have to be political without being partisan. That is, it would have to equip all its members to be culturally engaged through vocation and civic involvement without identifying corporately with one political party. Second, it would have to be confessional yet ecumenical. That is, the church would have to be fully orthodox within its theological and ecclesiastical tradition yet not narrow and harsh toward other kinds of Christians. It should be especially desirous of cooperation with non-Western Christian leaders and churches. Third, the church would not only have to preach the Word faithfully, but also be committed to beauty and sanctity, the arts, and human rights.”

    William Rushton: “In the exercise of His grace those who love the gospel have fellowship with each other, and they are despised by the world and are separated from it. Lo! the people shall dwell alone, and shall nor be reckoned among the nations. If, therefore, the people of God are united in the bond of truth, nothing is so effectual to scatter
    them as the influence of erroneous doctrine, especially such as effects the righteousness of Christ which is the ground of their unity, concord and hope. In the kingdom of Christ the advancement of activity which obscure the glory of imputed righteousness is an offense of the most malignant kind, because it tends to destroy unity among His people. The effect is not only to produce divisions among the people of God, but also to exalt the preacher.”

    https://books.google.com/books?id=VdphAAAAcAAJ&pg=PA164&lpg=PA164&dq=n+the+exercise+of+His+grace+those+who+love+the+gospel+have+fellowship+with+each+other,+and+they+are+despised+by+the+world+and+are+separated+from+it.&source=bl&ots=n3Kg8RAnst&sig=1uWCmwCi_a2bx5y12Agm5bjjsDw&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjLq5qD8NLMAhUDeT4KHf7KCy4Q6AEIKTAC#v=onepage&q=n%20the%20exercise%20of%20His%20grace%20those%20who%20love%20the%20gospel%20have%20fellowship%20with%20each%20other%2C%20and%20they%20are%20despised%20by%20the%20world%20and%20are%20separated%20from%20it.&f=false

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  10. McMark, it would have to be TKNY — the ultimate 3rd way. (I thought we were to avoid being Laodecian. Why fear dead orthodoxy when you have lukewarm orthodoxy?)

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  11. McMark, it’s always going to be too soon. It’s time to help Westbrook meet the stanchion.
    Darryl, I would say the automobile plus the drive in theater. It’s more dangerous than porn. Or so I’ve been told. But the 50’s.

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