Fundamentalists are Winning

If you had any doubt about the way Trump has turned the advocates of tolerance into fundamentalists, consider David Brooks’ (courtesy of Rod Dreher) assessment of the left and the right:

I’d say the siege mentality explains most of the dysfunctional group behavior these days, on left and right.

You see the siege mentality not just among evangelical Christians but also among the campus social justice warriors and the gun lobbyists, in North Korea and Iran, and in the populist movements across Europe.

The siege mentality starts with a sense of collective victimhood. It’s not just that our group has opponents. The whole “culture” or the whole world is irredeemably hostile.

From this flows a deep sense of pessimism. Things are bad now. Our enemies are growing stronger. And things are about to get worse. The world our children inherit will be horrific. The siege mentality floats on apocalyptic fear.

The odd thing is that the siege mentality feels kind of good to the people who grab on to it. It gives its proponents a straightforward way to interpret the world — the noble us versus the powerful them. It gives them a clear sense of group membership and a clear social identity. It offers a ready explanation for the bad things that happen in life.

Most of all, it gives people a narrative to express their own superiority: We may be losing, but at least we are the holy remnant. We have the innocence of victimhood. We are martyrs in a spiteful world.

This is precisely how I as a fundamentalist youth thought about the world. I can’t imagine graduating from Harvard and thinking like Jack Van Impe (I wonder if he grew up in the CRC). But apparently, the state of America is so bad that the nation’s elites have taken a page out of my ancestor’s playbook.

Word of advice: the only improvement that fundamentalists would make to Ridley Scott’s decision to erase Kevin Spacey from All the Money in the World would have been to use Kirk Cameron instead of Christopher Plummer.

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What Would Trump Be Like as POTUS?

Think Jerry Jones as president of the Dallas Cowboys?

In charge but not and outspoken about it:

In the locker room after Sunday night’s 31-17 win over the Chicago Bears, Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones said Dez Bryant had X-rays on his injured right knee. He said they revealed a sprain and the star receiver would have an MRI Monday.

However, during his Tuesday morning radio interview, Jones said Bryant still had not had an MRI.

“He hasn’t taken an MRI, to my knowledge,” Jones said on 105.3 The Fan’s Shan and RJ show [KRLD-FM]. “I’m assuming that he’s on go [for Sunday]. Will he get an MRI here probably later today? Maybe.

“But he certainly finished the game out. That in and of itself is a good indication. It doesn’t mean he’s going to be free of the symptoms of the injury, but again, we may look at an MRI before this day is over.”

He’s rich, he hangs out with celebrities, and he’s outspoken about it:

Jerry Jones seems to have a story about everyone he’s ever met.

This includes Grammy Award-winning couple Jay Z and Beyonce. The two attended Sunday night’s Cowboys game at AT&T Stadium.

During his Tuesday morning radio interview, Jones said he’s known Beyonce since her former group, Destiny’s Child, performed at halftime of the Cowboys’ 2004 Thanksgiving Day game at Texas Stadium.

“As a matter of fact, they were planning to perform and it was so cold you couldn’t stand it out there on Thanksgiving Day,” Jones recalled on 105.3 The Fan’s Shan and RJ show [KRLD-FM]. “And I got them all coats from Neiman Marcus. And to this day, one of the things that we kind of smile about are those jackets that we got them so that they could go out there and do a good job and give us Thanksgiving Day halftime. Boy, I’m telling you, she’s phenomenal.

What does Jones think about her husband?

“He, as an individual, is one of the neatest people that I’ve met,” Jones said. “Make no mistake about it, he’s the real deal. He’s as easy to be around, talk to, as sharp as anybody I’ve met. I see what she sees in him.”

Don’t forget that Jerry Jones is a patriot and want a great America:

“I got to give a big pat on the back to our entire team, our coaching staff, our entire organization,” Jones told the Cowboys’ flagship station. “We strongly, strongly support the flag in every way we support — and it’s almost ridiculous to be saying it — the people who for generations and generations have given it all up so that we can get out here and show off in front of millions of people on television.

“We respect that so much. That’s the real business. The forum of the NFL and the forum on television is a very significant thing. I’m for it being used in every way we can to support the great, great contributors in our society, and that’s people that have supported America, the flag, and there’s no reason not to go all out right there. And for anybody to use parts of that visibility to do otherwise is really disappointing.”

Is there room in the Constitution for Jerry Jones?

Homosexual Militarism

When I think of gayness, I don’t think of weapons of mass destruction. Call me a homophobe, but the cause of gay rights and the promotion of alternative “lifestyles” has not usually been synonymous with a strong U.S. military or neo-conservative (read interventionist) U.S. foreign policy. Then again, if Gomer Pyle really was gay, maybe the Navy’s decision to name a ship after Harvey Milk makes sense:

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus is expected on Tuesday to formally name a fleet replenishment oiler after gay-rights activist Harvey Milk, but one congressional critic says Mabus’ name choice is putting politics ahead of the Navy’s legacy.

Mabus will participate in a naming ceremony for the USNS Harvey Milk on Tuesday afternoon in Treasure Island, Calif. The oiler, which can carry 156,000 barrels of oil, is the first of six that will be built by General Dynamics NASSCO and will replenish Navy ships, as well as the aircraft deployed on them, while at sea.

Some conservatives are not happy, as you might expect. According to Congressman Duncan Hunter:

What this says to the men and women of the Navy is that there wasn’t one of you — at any time in history — who is more suitable for this honor. There are plenty of names out there to pick from, but Ray Mabus makes every decision with politics in his mind first and foremost, and that’s a real disservice to men and women of the U.S. Navy and the service’s legacy.

But are homosexuals also comfortable with having one of their heroes’ names painted on a ship that doesn’t make love but executes war? If, for instance, Equality California, one of the larger LBGT rights organizations, is currently soliciting support for a proposition against gun violence, are they comfortable with military violence?

Then again, if you want a seat at the table of the U.S. of A., for now that means cozying up to the nation’s military. Isn’t integration grand!

Confused but Not Dazed

Father Dwight has counsel for discouraged Roman Catholics:

4. Regarding Pope Francis – Many conservative Catholics are troubled by Pope Francis. They think he is a textbook 1970s liberal. He’s not. Take time to understand his context and background from Argentina. Read this post to put things into perspective. Get to know the man and pray for him. It is ok to disagree with him and question his judgement. He’s not infallible all the time you know, but you can do so with an open heart and a desire to understand and be with him and learn from him. What’s the alternative? You set yourself up as the judge of the Holy Father? Hmmm. There’s not much mileage in that now is there?

Once upon a time the western church had councils because Rome had three popes.

Also, it’s a free country, right? So separated siblinghood is an alternative. But being Roman Catholic means you have to accept whatever the bishops do? Fr. Dwight might make sense in a pay-pray-obey environment. But the world of immigrant parishes is long gone. Root-root-root for the Fightin’ Irish.

5. Regarding Cafeteria Catholics – Are you maddened by so called “devout Catholics” who openly endorse same sex marriage, women priests and are “pro choice”? Join the club. They annoy me too. Are you also annoyed by the bishops and priests who take the same view? I’m with you. However, remember that the Catholic Church is universal. We’re not a sect where everyone agrees. We’re inclusive and that’s why we’re Catholic. The Church has always had dissidents, rebels and downright bad Catholics. Have you ever read the Old Testament or taken a close look at the twelve apostles? The saints and sinners are all in together. The weeds and the wheat, the goat and the sheep are mixed. Jesus will sort it out one day, and stop for a moment and ask yourself, are you a perfect saint yet? I’m not. I’m still learning and growing and repenting. So I guess we must offer the mercy (and benefit of the doubt) to others that we would wish to receive.

Isn’t the church supposed to stand for the truth? And if observers of Pope Francis need context to understand him and his unwillingness to do something about dissent and error in the church, has not Fr. Dwight entered the cafeteria of choosing what he wants to believe? Why does he get to have perspective on the church’s problems that Pope Francis doesn’t because of his Argentinian background?

6. Regarding You and the Church – I’ve heard some Catholics grumble that the church has let them down. But what did you expect of the church in the first place? The church is divine, but she is also human. The church is a work in progress, an ark of wounded warriors, a tribe of troubled pilgrims, a family of lost children looking and longing for home. When you see the church like this, instead of hoping that the church will be the instant answer to all your problems you will be more content. Our role in the church is to be faithful, prayerful, hard working and stable in our love for Christ and his people.

But Roman Catholicism was supposed to be an upgrade, better than Protestantism. Isn’t that why Fr. Dwight left fundamentalism for Anglicanism and then left Anglicanism for Rome? So shouldn’t the standards for the bearer of the truth, the only true church, be higher? If converts knew that Rome was going to be as incoherent and liberal as the PCUSA or the Church of England, why leave Tim Keller? Or is it that this is godly mess and Protestants only have ungodly messes (and of course, having ONE mess is better than having many).

7. Regarding Priorities – The main thing is to stay close to Jesus and Mary. How do you do this? The Catechism says we experience Christ in five specific ways: 1) in the Sacred Scriptures 2) in the person of the priest 3) in the person of the poor 4) in the fellowship of believers 5) in the Eucharist. I can guarantee you, if you make these five things your priorities, then you will have a solid, sure and secure relationship with Jesus Christ. These five meeting places of Christ assume that your life is bathed in prayer and that you have as your main priority being with Jesus and Mary in these ways. If you get this right the other worries fall away.

Jesus is good and having his Spirit is really good. Mary is good but she is not exactly going to save. But is Fr. Dwight suggesting we can have Mary or Jesus apart from the Bishop of Rome?

Lots of sorting to do. Sure would be nice to have a hierarchy to do this for the faithful.

2k is Unobjectionable

Here’s why:

If all 2K people want is for Christians to speak as individuals rather than through the institutional church except in cases extraordinary, I have no serious objection.

The only qualification to make is that when Christians speak as individuals they do so not as the Bishop of Rome. That means that when Christian persons speak, they do not define the Christian religion or the normative, Christian view of gay marriage legislation, baking recipes, who plumbers fix leaks, or which method an accountant should use (accrual vs. cash). Just because a Christian is speaking doesn’t mean any other Christian needs to recognize or heed the person who invokes Christianity for his or her views. And just because a beliver thinks Christianity requires a certain curricular choice, a specific set of historical circumstances, a particular policy initiative, doesn’t make it so.

In other words, if the institutional church is near to your understanding of Christianity, as in you need to belong to the body of Christ, then what churches say about Christianity carries weight. What church members say is like just an opinion, man. (Remember, in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, study committee reports are merely pious advise.)

And when you look at what institutional churches say about public policy, you find surprising little or nothing, unless, of course, you belong to the Roman Catholic Church where for over a century popes have pontificated about almost every square inch.

Yet another reason why anti-2k is the gateway drug to Christendom and the bishops who created it.