Category : Language
Judge Edgar W. Dickson Dickson Unpacks the South Carolina Supreme Court Ruling on the Property Dispute between TEC and the Historic Anglican Diocese
“This Court finds that no parish acceded to the 1979 Dennis Canon; the deed of Camp St. Christopher titled to the Trustee Corporation is controlling; the Federal Court has exclusive authority to decide all issues relating to the trademarks, service marks, and intellectual property; and the Defendants’ Petition for the Appointment of a Special Master and Petition for an Accounting are denied.”
Judge Edgar W. Dickson Dickson Unpacks the #SouthCarolina Supreme Court Ruling on the Property Dispute between TEC and the Historic #Anglican Diocese https://t.co/IcHxQnTDrD #parishministry #history #religion #lowcountrylife #law #ethics pic.twitter.com/W42aZiJZRu
— Kendall Harmon (@KendallHarmon6) June 19, 2020
(CT) Legal experts worry that ruling in landmark workplace discrimination cases can’t provide the nuanced exemptions evangelicals have advocated for
In an article for Christianity Today’s ChurchLawAndTax.com, attorney and senior editor Richard Hammar said churches retain important protections with employment decisions pertaining to clergy, despite Monday’s ruling. However, Monday’s decision fosters greater uncertainty for churches with employees in nonministerial roles, he said.“
Churches that take an adverse action against an employee or applicant for employment based on religious considerations should describe their action appropriately,” Hammar said. “Refer to the religious or doctrinal principle at issue, and avoid generic labels like ‘sex’ or other gender- or sexuality-based labels.”
Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, wrote that the ruling will have “seismic implications for religious liberty, setting off potentially years of lawsuits and court struggles, about what this means, for example, for religious organizations with religious convictions about the meaning of sex and sexuality.”
“This Supreme Court decision should hardly be surprising, given how much has changed culturally on the meanings of sex and sexuality,” he said. “That the ‘sexual revolution’ is supported here by both ‘conservatives’ and ‘progressives’ on the court should also be of little surprise to those who have watched developments in each of these ideological corners of American life.”
(PD) Adam J. MacLeod–Essences or Intersectionality: Understanding Why We Can’t Understand Each Other
Intersectionality is many things. It is a group of theories that join at the confluence of postmodern philosophy, poststructural social science, and critical cultural and legal studies. It is also a movement, which brings spokespeople for minority races, gender- and sexual-identity activists, and socialists together with a certain kind of feminist. And, as Warren’s quip illustrates, it is also a pose. It is a way for “woke” people to demonstrate their intellectual, social, and moral superiority over the unwoke.
The most essential tenet of Intersectionality is that nothing is essential. There is no essential human nature, nothing essential about reason or logic, no essential meaning of “man” or “woman” or “white” or “efficient” or “liberty” or “law.” At the deepest point in the Intersectionality pool, the very center of the confluence where all of its tributaries come together, everything is invented by those who hold power. Not only cultural norms and language, but also natural rights and duties, biological definitions, religious convictions, economic and scientific rules, and logic are all constructed “discursive practices.” Everything is a social construct, built by those who want to leverage their superior economic, cultural, or political positions to preserve their privileges and keep others down in the zero-sum contest for power.
This is one of two convictions that all Intersectionalists share in common. They are all, to varying degrees, against essence. They are all convinced that some term or feature that unenlightened people take for granted is both artificial and unjust. They do not always agree on which terms and features must be torn down. But they all share a motivation to tear down some aspect of the apparent essence of something.
Socialists and critical legal studies theorists focus on the constructs of “law” and “economics.” They teach our young people that “due process,” “price,” and “liberty” are suspect artifices imposed upon the poor by the rich. Critical race and dominance feminist theorists teach our young people to reject traditional notions of natural equality and equality before the law. Gender-identity and queer theorists go after the assumption that there can be anything essentially “masculine” or “feminine.” And so on.
The other conviction that all Intersectionalists share is that the most privileged people, who are responsible for the construction of most of the oppressive discursive practices, are heterosexual, white males.
Essences or Intersectionality: Understanding Why We Can’t Understand Each Otherhttps://t.co/b5BRZVWXAw
— Andrew T. Walker (@andrewtwalk) March 2, 2020
There was an excellent article in the NY times recently on the decline of the humanities on campuses all over the U.S. Indeed the article suggests it has reached crisis proportions. And partly it is because of the de-emphasis on teaching basic grammar, syntax, and even vocabulary to the young in elementary and junior high schools. When’s the last time you ran into a ‘humanities high school’ as opposed to a math and science high school? And we are paying a huge price in cultural ignorance and abysmal writing as a result. Here’s the article from the NY Times.
I personally have watched this decline over the last 40 years, even at the highest levels of the humanities. I’ve had countless masters level students who couldn’t write a decent essay. I’ve even had doctoral students that I had to send back to the writing center. They often ask me, how can I improve my writing other than getting help at the writing center? I tell them to read great literature. A certain kind of literary osmosis happens when you read great literature— Shakespeare, Chaucer, Dante, Bunyan, British and American classics ranging from Dickens to Faulkner and beyond. Students arrive at grad school having managed to get little or no education in English literature. It’s a travesty, and especially so in my case, since I teach the Bible, which is— wait for it, one of the great literary classics in human history, and it, along with the Christian movement itself, shaped European and American literature including its classics. Nobody who has read Bunyan, or for that matter The Scarlet Letter, could possibly not know this….
You can find the full text here.
I find it always is really worth the time to listen to and read and ponder it all on this day–KSH.
(LARB) The Outer Fringes of Our Language: A Conversation with Werner Herzog Robert Pogue Harrison interviews Werner Herzog
ROBERT POGUE HARRISON: In your conversation with Paul Cronin in 2014, you say, “Read, read, read, read, read. Those who read own the world; those who immerse themselves in the internet or watch too much television lose it. […] Our civilization is suffering profound wounds because of the wholesale abandonment of reading by contemporary society.” Could you share with us some of your thoughts about your relationship to reading books and the value of the literary?
WERNER HERZOG: In a way, it has been something that is guiding me throughout my life. Beyond this auditorium, there are many more students at Stanford University, and many of them do not really read — including film students. They read a book about editing, but they haven’t read, let’s say, the dramas of Greek antiquity. And I keep saying to them you have to read. Read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read. If you do not read, you will become a mediocre filmmaker at best, but you will never make a really good film. And almost everyone that I know who has made very strong, very good substantial films are people who are reading all the time. I see three, four films a year, maybe sometimes a little bit more during a festival, but I do read.
And of course, I’ve written prose and some poetry. I am fairly certain that my written work will outlive my films.
Is that right?
It’s very, very clear. There’s no doubt whatsoever in me.
“Read, read, read, read, read. Those who read own the world . . . Our civilization is suffering profound wounds because of the wholesale abandonment of reading by contemporary society.” – Werner Herzoghttps://t.co/A4HsLJxoSK
— Ernest Hilbert (@everseradio) January 2, 2020
“When the article came out we were braced for an enormous pushback. It was an explosive time, and things were beginning to get very strange politically in ways we’re only beginning to understand,” he says. “But the climate changed in early 2016, when the number of shutdowns and disinvitations grew, and everything got worse. Things were changing in ways that are really bad for what we do, so Greg and I decided we had to turn it into a book.”
Between the article and the book, which came out last year, Haidt’s research revealed a strong connection between Gen Z’s soaring rates of anxiety and depression (especially among girls), their emotional fragility and their upbringing . “Originally, we didn’t see how it all linked to childhood trends, such as fearful parenting and the decline of play. We also didn’t know, until research was published last year, that there was a sudden radicalisation among white progressives in 2014 about different types of inequality: feminism, racism, misogyny, white privilege, or any other term from the woke vocabulary.
“Another big shift came from changes in social media after 2012, through Twitter and Instagram. This new configuration has been much more effective at spreading outrage, because almost anything can be taken as an example of how awful the other side is if you strip it of context and put it out there.
Here is my interview in @EveningStandard, with Katie Law. I talk about “moral backsliding” –the way some of the moral progress of the last 70 years is coming undone:https://t.co/3dphUjarbs pic.twitter.com/jeZFgnLtT3
— Jonathan Haidt (@JonHaidt) October 15, 2019
The language used in debates both inside and outside Parliament has become “unacceptable”, the Church of England’s bishops have said in a joint statement.
The College of Bishops published a statement on Friday which argues that the tenor of the political debate is “not worthy of our country”.
The declaration, which was drafted by a group of senior bishops and put out in the name of all 118 bishops, reads: “In the last few days, the use of language, both in debates and outside Parliament, has been unacceptable.
“We should speak to others with respect. And we should also listen. We should do this especially with the poor, with the marginalised, and with those whose voices are often not heard in our national conversation.
“We should not denigrate, patronise or ignore the honest views of fellow citizens, but seek to respect their opinions, their participation in society, and their votes.”
The statement was released a few hours after the Bishop of Leeds, the Rt Revd Nick Baines, joined calls for the Prime Minister to apologise for his “destructive” language in the House of Commons on Wednesday evening.
“We should not denigrate, patronise or ignore the honest views of fellow citizens, but seek to respect their opinions, their participation in society, and their votes.”https://t.co/ER1RdkeVIs
— Church Times (@ChurchTimes) September 29, 2019
Good artists copy; great artists steal. Perhaps Benjamin Franklin knew as much, because when he wrote his famous Poor Richard’s Almanack, he did not cite sources for the proverbs that peppered its pages.
To many, quippy sayings like “Time is money” are synonymous with the Founding Father. People think Franklin thought them up. But Wolfgang Mieder, one of the world’s leading proverb scholars, knows better.
Mieder and a colleague traced the saying to a short, anonymous text published in a London-based newspaper, Free Thinker, in 1719. In fact, many of the sayings commonly attributed to Franklin actually come from English proverb collections, said Mieder, a professor of German and folklore at the University of Vermont.
Tracking down the origins of proverbs is “detective work,” he says. “You kind of feel like you’re discovering things.” He has researched and written about cultural wisdoms for nearly five decades and, in the process, amassed a one-of-a-kind scholarly library. It includes about 9,000 books (including 252 that Mieder has written, co-authored, or edited) and 6,500 photocopied articles and dissertations, all about proverbs. He doubts anything like it exists, anywhere.
This lovely story about a scholar, his passion, and a life lived in an institution feels like a time warp. https://t.co/GLXs2p4t9t
— James K.A. Smith (@james_ka_smith) July 16, 2019
Yesterday in our podcast interview, Ezra Klein asked me to explain why it is that when he looks at this blog, he sees lots of anxious material about LGBT stuff, when that kind of thing doesn’t appear in the actual life he lives as a New York liberal. It’s a fair question.
Here’s what I told him — or rather, the overall message you will have received from listening to the entire interview.
The Sexual Revolution is the most important social event of our era. It has overturned many of the structures, practices, and ways of thinking that ordered human life for ages and ages. It has radically changed the meaning of family, marriage, male, female, even what it means to be human. It is changing the way we use language, which itself changes the way we frame our experiences of the world. And its principles negate the Christian religion, which I passionately believe to be true. You cannot reconcile the Sexual Revolution to orthodox Christianity. You just can’t.
You can think this is a great thing, a terrible thing, or some of both, but what you cannot deny is that it is a momentous thing. Writing in the 1960s, sociologist Philip Rieff said it was a more radical revolution than the Bolshevik one.
— Thomas Jefferson (@Jeffersonianz) July 2, 2019
Interestingly President Ronald Reagan’s 1984 speech (prior post) is #58 in the 100 most significant usa political speeches of the 20th c, according to 137 leading scholars of usa public address, as compiled by Stephen E. Lucas (U of Wis-Madison) Martin J. Medhurst (Baylor U). See what you make of their list of the top 100 speeches of the 20th century there.
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. first delivered his famous “I Have A Dream” speech in Detroit in 1963 at Cobo Hall during the “Walk to Freedom?” He led 125,000 people down Woodward Avenue, delivering his 30-minute speech weeks before the March on Washington.#MLKDay pic.twitter.com/SnrMvsld4P
— Branden Hunter 🏁 (@JustCallmeBHunt) January 21, 2019
(Washington Post) ‘The boys of Pointe du Hoc’: The Reagan D-Day speech that moved a nation Washington
‘Sitting before him were 62 of the “boys,” now-middle aged men who had climbed the cliffs at Pointe du Hoc, using ropes, grappling hooks and ladders to reach a suspected German gun emplacement 100 feet up.
They were boys no more, and even on the that stormy morning in 1944, they were more a group of rugged characters than youths.
One, William “L-Rod” Petty, 63, had lost his teeth playing football and suffered two broken legs in training before he joined the Army Ranger outfit that fought there. It took him three tries to reach the top. He is thought to have killed 30 German soldiers that day.
Leonard G. “Bud” Lomell, 64, had been a railroad brakeman before the war. Shot in the side, he barely made it up the cliff but later destroyed two big German guns with thermite grenades. He would be awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.
Frank South, 59, was a Ranger medic, and had treated many wounded men on the beach before reaching the heights with the others. He would earn two Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star.
Antonio “Tom” Ruggiero, 58, had been a professional tap dancer before the war. He was plunged into the water when a shell hit his landing craft on D-Day and later became a sniper in the Rangers.’
— Kendall Harmon (@KendallHarmon6) June 6, 2019
I have also to announce to the House that during the night and the early hours of this morning the first of the series of landings in force upon the European Continent has taken place. In this case the liberating assault fell upon the coast of France. An immense armada of upwards of 4,000 ships, together with several thousand smaller craft, crossed the Channel. Massed airborne landings have been successfully effected behind the enemy lines, and landings on the beaches are proceeding at various points at the present time. The fire of the shore batteries has been largely quelled. The obstacles that were constructed in the sea have not proved so difficult as was apprehended. The Anglo-American Allies are sustained by about 11,000 firstline aircraft, which can be drawn upon as may be needed for the purposes of the battle. I cannot, of course, commit myself to any particular details. Reports are coming in in rapid succession. So far the Commanders who are engaged report that everything is proceeding according to plan. And what a plan! This vast operation is undoubtedly the most complicated and difficult that has ever taken place. It involves tides, wind, waves, visibility, both from the air and the sea standpoint, and the combined employment of land, air and sea forces in the highest degree of intimacy and in contact with conditions which could not and cannot be fully foreseen.
There are already hopes that actual tactical surprise has been attained, and we hope to furnish the enemy with a succession of surprises during the course of the fighting. The battle that has now begun will grow constantly in scale and in intensity for many weeks to come, and I shall not attempt to speculate upon its course. This I may say, however. Complete unity prevails throughout the Allied Armies. There is a brotherhood in arms between us and our friends of the United States. There is complete confidence in the supreme commander, General Eisenhower, and his lieutenants, and also in the commander of the Expeditionary Force, General Montgomery. The ardour and spirit of the troops, as I saw myself, embarking in these last few days was splendid to witness. Nothing that equipment, science or forethought could do has been neglected, and the whole process of opening this great new front will be pursued with the utmost resolution both by the commanders and by the United States and British Governments whom they serve. I have been at the centres where the latest information is received, and I can state to the House that this operation is proceeding in a thoroughly satisfactory manner. Many dangers and difficulties which at this time last night appeared extremely formidable are behind us. The passage of the sea has been made with far less loss than we apprehended. The resistance of the batteries has been greatly weakened by the bombing of the Air Force, and the superior bombardment of our ships quickly reduced their fire to dimensions which did not affect the problem. The landings of the troops on a broad front, both British and American- -Allied troops, I will not give lists of all the different nationalities they represent-but the landings along the whole front have been effective, and our troops have penetrated, in some cases, several miles inland. Lodgments exist on a broad front.
— History Lovers Club (@historylvrsclub) June 6, 2019
“This has nothing to do with freedom of speech,” says Aro. “This is not normal political discussion. Saying, ‘Jessikka is a crack whore who needs to be killed’ is a crime in many different countries.”
Confident, passionate and highly articulate, Aro speaks fluent English and Russian. She has tried reporting her abusers to Facebook and YouTube, but mostly receives an automated reply saying that they haven’t violated community standards. The reality of moderating, she argues, can be too complex for an algorithm, and requires human brains. “In fact, some of this content violates both their own community standards and Finnish legislation. By not removing it, they are enabling state-sponsored Russian troll operations.”
She accuses the companies of putting profit before anything else. Facebook has even profited from the trolls, she claims, because they pay for visibility and sponsored posts to attack her.
“Their moderation and security guarantee goes against their business model, basically. But if they’re going to do business in our countries, if they’re going to take our data and use it to make money, then they should also take some responsibility. It’s wrong, and illegal, to send death threats to anyone. They should have put an end to this years ago, but it’s still going on. They don’t seem interested in investigating it voluntarily, unless the US Senate or special counsel Robert Mueller demands that they do.”
Read it all (subscription).
After exposing a Russian ‘troll factory’, Jessikka Aro was so vilified that she fled Finland in fear of her life. Yet she refuses to stop reporting https://t.co/rOKH4KMxtr
— The Times of London (@thetimes) May 29, 2019
(CT) An interview with James E. Beitler on his new book ‘Seasoned Speech: Rhetoric in the Life of the Church’
Few of us can escape the torrent of heated opinion and commentary on the world’s issues—in the news, on our social feeds, in our conversational circles. What do you see as an effective response from people of faith and the church at large?
One of the most important responses is opening up spaces for active listening. That’s something that I found C.S. Lewis did particularly well. Lewis had this posture of goodwill toward those around him—toward friends and students, but also toward people he didn’t agree with, including non-believers.
Also, we have too few spaces right now where dialogue across differing viewpoints can happen. Figures like Marilynne Robinson are incredibly useful in addressing this. Her stories are realistic about the difficulties of belonging, as they’re inhabited by people with very different beliefs. Yet she makes a welcoming space for readers. There’s an important moment in her novel Home when two characters, a father and son (Robert and Jack Boughton) who have a very tense relationship, are watching the news. Jack sees the violence happening in the South, and he exclaims, “Jesus Christ!” And his dad, who was a minister, reacts instead to Jack’s taking the Lord’s name in vain. On one hand, you have this figure who is very much concerned with social justice. On the other, you have someone very much concerned with truth and holiness.
It’s so valuable when the church has places where commitments both to truth and justice are radically affirmed. Robinson’s book points to an ideal of restoration, of harmony—what the biblical writers would call shalom.
What the church can learn about communicating from C.S. Lewis, Dorothy Sayers, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Desmond Tutu, and Marilynne Robinson https://t.co/oCAyBriCEi
— Christianity Today (@CTmagazine) May 14, 2019
Berkeley scholar Robert Alter, in his new translation of the Hebrew Bible, has made a decisive statement against soul. Nowhere in the text does he render nefesh as soul—because he believes it would import Christian beliefs into the Hebrew text. Mr. Alter’s Psalmist declares, “The Lord is my shepherd. . . . My life He brings back.”
In the attempt to de-Christianize the nefesh, however, Mr. Alter and others create a metaphysical gulf between the Hebrew Bible and traditional English translations. Nefesh has a range of meanings—many of which indicate that it is indeed intrinsic to corporeal existence. Animals and humans, at the moment of their creation, are called a “living nefesh” in the book of Genesis. In Numbers, a “dead nefesh” is a corpse. The word is also found in Sheol, the shadowy underworld populated by the deceased described in Psalms 49 and 88. This raises the specter of a nefesh unbound by flesh.
Then there is the prophet Elijah. When calling on God to bring a child back to life, he requests the return of the boy’s nefesh. It re-enters the child and he revives (1 Kings 17:21-22). However the verse is parsed, the nefesh exists apart from the body.
Translators of the Hebrew Bible are removing the word ‘soul’ because it’s too Christian. They’re wrong, writes Blaire French. https://t.co/kPXCzU0Det
— WSJ Editorial Page (@WSJopinion) April 5, 2019
A colleague sent me a link to the “Living in Love and Faith” report to the General Synod of the Church of England, which is meeting later this month. For the uninitiated, the “Living in Love and Faith” (LLF) project is a massive exercise by the Church of England to tackle the thorny issue of human sexuality. The general supposition is that the LLF results will be forwarded to the Lambeth Conference in 2020, to be discussed in table groups (indaba), which in turn will conclude that Anglicans have a mixed bag of views on sex and marriage and that they have agreed to disagree. Such a result will in effect nullify the clear teaching of Lambeth 1998, which has been a touchstone for the Global South churches….
Despite its likening a book to a tree trunk, the entire report manages to avoid quoting the Book, the Bible, anywhere. Instead we get vague allusions to “creativity” and “hermeneutical understandings” and “situatedness of the gospel” and “ecclesiology in the context of difference.” The report makes no reference to Lambeth Resolution I.10 on Human Sexuality and suggests that it will produce a deeper understanding of the interplay of “inherited teaching” on marriage and singleness with “emergent views.” (The word “deep” seems a favorite of the authors, reminding me of this ditty from Gilbert & Sullivan’s Patience: “If this young man expresses himself in terms too deep for me, Why, what a very singularly deep young man this deep young man must be!”)….
It seems that the current controversy in the Anglican Communion and Lambeth 2020 comes down to branding rights. On the one hand, I would commend the 1998 Lambeth Resolution on Human Sexuality (300 words), the 2008 Jerusalem Statement and Declaration (2400 words) and the 2018 Gafcon “Letter to the Churches” (2500 words) as clear and concise statements of biblical teaching in the Anglican tradition. On the other hand, we have the ponderous Windsor Report (93 pages), the 2008 Lambeth Indaba (44 pages) and we are looking oh-so-so forward to the weighty multi-layered Oxbridge-endorsed LLF Project. Which of these “brands” will be fruitful for the future of the Gospel and mission of Christ to the nations?
The LLF likens its work to a tree. Well, it is a good metaphor. God’s Wisdom is “a tree of life to those who lay hold of her” (Proverbs 3:18), and as noted in Joyce Kilmer’s verse: “I think that I shall never see a poem lovely as a tree.”
But somehow, given this present update, I doubt the final Living in Love and Faith Report will be lively, lovely, or faithful. I suspect it may function more like the billboard in Ogden Nash’s “Song of the Road”:
I think that I shall never see a billboard lovely as a tree.
Perhaps, unless the billboards fall, I’ll never see a tree at all.
…everything is different now. With one slanderous blogpost or tweet, we can destroy someone’s reputation in the eyes of thousands—all within a few hours. And because we do it from the privacy of our home, any reproof from the community comes too late. Once the bell of slander has been rung, it cannot be unheard. Some people will never look at the slandered person in the same way. The acid of slander has permanently marred them.
How to repent of slandering
But what happens if we have slandered someone publicly and want to repent? What does true repentance look like?
The Lord does not leave us to guess, and the answer comes from a place we might not expect: the book of Leviticus. In Leviticus 6:1-7, we find a law that describes what a person is to do when caught sinning against another. In this case, the guilty party has defrauded someone by means of lying, and the repentance the Lord requires is that they confess their wrong (cf. 5:5 and Matt 5:23-24), repay what they have stolen, and then add 20% on top for damages. In other words, true repentance is characterized by three actions:
- Acknowledging and repenting of your sin to the person you have wronged.
- Correcting the wrong where possible.
- Paying damages on top.
What does this type of repentance look like in the case of public slander? First, it means directly contacting the person you have slandered, confessing your wrong and asking forgiveness. The more directly we know the person we have slandered, the more personally we should reach out to them. Someone in our immediate circle deserves a phone call or face to face conversation. In other cases, where we might not have ever met the person, it may be okay to send an email. The key is that the slanderer repents to the person he or she wronged.
Second, we must correct the wrong by setting the record straight in as public a way as our original act of slander. In the case of slander done on social media, this does not mean simply taking down the blogpost or tweet.
(Christian Today) David Baker–We need to be aware of the pervasive impact of ‘The ‘cult of relentless negativity” all around us
Hear it on the radio when pointlessly adversarial interviews are staged with two opposite views – because a negative clash is deemed more likely to engage listeners than a reasoned debate. All it does is leave both interviewees looking foolish – and the presenter as righteous ring-master. Hear it when interviewers constantly interrupt or harangue their interviewees, leaving an impression that the person being interviewed is stupid or inept.
Watch it on television when news reporters conclude their package with a phrase such as ‘But critics will say…’ without naming anyone, or indeed offering any evidence they have even spoken to such ‘critics’. And there’s that other lazy, negative journalistic sign-off – ‘But many questions remain unanswered’ – leaving the impression that whatever person or event has just been reported on, there’s probably some sort of cover-up or incompetence yet to be exposed.
Observe it in politics in the nastiness between Democrats and Republicans in the US. See it likewise in Britain: witness the way people on both sides of the Brexit debate have spoken of the other. Or hear Labour MP John McDonnell who said he could never, ever be friends with a Tory – as though they are to be regarded as some separate species of human.
And sadly, of course, the cult of relentless negativity is in the church too. Read Angela Tilby’s likening of Anglican evangelicals to Labour’s hard-left ‘Momentum’ grouping in last week’s Church Times. Why undertake any serious comment when you can just smear a whole group in this way? Meanwhile an ‘inclusive’ and influential Anglican website carries an article in which every member of the Church of England’s ‘Living in Love and Faith’ sexuality project is declared ‘guilty’ on six counts (yes, six!) of ‘evil’ by the writer, namely ‘prejudice, silence, ignorance, fear, hypocrisy, prejudice and misuse of power’. Quite some indictment!
More conservative Christians can be the same. There are websites purporting to offer objective comment on Anglicanism which seem dedicated, relentlessly, to reporting and reinforcing a 100 per cent negative view. One wonders what it does to those who churn the stuff out. Some of the loudest online critics of the Church of England have alienated potential allies by relentlessly disparaging anyone who does not see things exactly as they do. How easy it is, as the puritan Richard Baxter observed, ‘to tear our brethren as heretics before we understand them’.
This ‘cult of relentless negativity’ really hacks me off https://t.co/xztVB2SgMT
— David Ayshford Baker (@Baker_David_A) February 26, 2019
(Church Times) Tim Wyatt asks some of the C of E’s most prolific users of Twitter and Facebook what they think about social media
It is not hard to find a bad news story featuring social media. From allegations of data misuse and interference in elections to the opprobrium heaped on those guilty of ill-judged Twitter posts, and concerns about the impact on social cohesion and attention spans, it seems that we might be falling out of love with the medium.
In the halcyon days of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and the rest, the Church of England, like the rest of the world, appeared enraptured. There was widespread enthusiasm about the opportunities for mission and communication.
The Bishop of Buckingham, Dr Alan Wilson, captured much of the optimistic mood in a column for the Church Times in 2011: “Christians have much to say using social media because churches contain many ordinary people with engaging stories to tell. The more they get out there and speak freely, the richer a view of Christianity the world will get” (Comment, 6 May 2011).
Bloggers such as Church Mouse (16,500 followers) and the “digital nun” Sister Catherine Wybourne (19,500 followers) shot to prominence, while a thousand Facebook groups sprang up as believers coalesced online around their various interests and traditions.
One blogging priest, the Revd Peter Ould, even co-ordinated early efforts on Twitter into a website, the Twurch of England, which collated every tweet from Church of England bishops and priests into a single live feed. Asked in an interview whether he was excited by the possibilities, he replied: “Absolutely — and we’re only just beginning to see the potential.”
While these early experiments are often remembered fondly, the pitfalls were soon encountered….
On a Saturday night in April, the rhetoric of our historical era reached a culminating, symbolic moment.
In Washington — at the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner — comedian Michelle Wolf mocked the physical appearance of a Trump administration official, joked about feticide and compared the president’s daughter to “an empty box of tampons.”
In Washington, Mich., President Trump gave an 80-minute speech in a stream-of-semiconsciousness style that mixed narcissism, nativism, ignorance, mendacity and malice. He attacked the FBI, intelligence agencies, the Justice Department and his presidential predecessors. “Any Hispanics in the room? ” he asked at one point, producing some boos. Of the press: “These people, they hate your guts. ” Of his political opponents: “A vote for a Democrat in November, is a vote for open borders and crime. It’s very simple. ”
In both Washingtons, political discourse was dominated by the values and practices of reality television and social media: nasty, shallow, personal, vile, vindictive, graceless, classless, bullying, ugly, crass and simplistic. This is not merely change; it is digression. It is the triumph of the boors. It is a discourse unworthy of a great country, and a sign that greatness of purpose and character is slipping way.
(WSJ) Deborah Gastfreund Schuss: Learning to Pray When Words Fail–Disorders like aphasia pose a challenge for adherents of speech-based faiths
Julie Shulman decided to study linguistics because she wanted to help people with speaking disorders. She never imagined how personal this mission would become. After graduating from Israel’s Bar-Ilan University in 2000, the Maine native headed to Massachusetts for a master’s degree and job in speech therapy. Her husband, Ayal Shulman, worked as a business-development manager for an Israeli startup in Brookline. They returned to Israel in 2009—with promising careers and three young children.
Two weeks after their return, Mr. Shulman, then 37, suffered a massive brain hemorrhage. Despite the initially grim prognosis, his cognitive function is intact. But his speech is limited to sentences of three or four words, and his reading and writing abilities are limited.
Along with Mr. Shulman, at least two million people in the U.S. live with aphasia, according to the National Aphasia Association. Some 180,000 acquire the disorder every year. The condition, which produces a disconnect between what the brain wants to convey and what is actually expressed, often strikes survivors of strokes or head trauma without affecting their intelligence. The incidence is growing because medical advancements enable people with such maladies to survive at higher rates. Yet cures for the ensuing handicaps remain elusive.
Ms. Shulman —an Orthodox Jew deeply immersed in her faith—wanted to enhance her husband’s practice of Judaism. Today she helps reintegrate others suffering from aphasia into communal religious participation.
This is only funny because…[the children] miss her more than me too (they’ve set up an Instagram account devoted to her).
Even my husband, not the most expressive of men, is like putty when around her, as I discovered when I overheard him say: “Do you not want your breakfast?
“No? Shall I grate some Parmesan on to it?” (The dog in my new book, Still Me, has adopted this culinary habit).
She has inadvertently improved my writer’s back because I’m forced to leave my desk at least four times a day.
She has brought me and my husband closer — we walk together at dawn….
The Church of England is turning to millennial ‘creatives’ to boost its online reach as regular church attendance is replaced with digital engagement.
Around 50 ‘technicians and creatives’ from around the UK are being brought into central London for a day-long event pitching ideas for new apps, hashtags and websites to help the Church boost its web presence.
Their ideas will be judged by an expert panel including the BBC’s senior digital producer Lynda Davies and the LEGO Group’s global social media team senior manager, James Poulter.
It comes as the Church battles dwindling numbers coming on a Sunday and instead is trying to reach people through social media and digital marketing techniques. Figures released in October say 1.2 million people every month engage with the Church online through its videos, images, podcasts and blogs.
(CEN) The current Church is producing ‘bumper-sticker theology’, says the Chancellor of St Paul’s Cathedral, Canon Mark Oakley
Canon Mark Oakley was delivering the Donald Barnes Memorial Lecture, arguing for a renewal of theological language.
The Canon, who is responsible for the educational and outreach work of the Cathedral, explained that a priest’s vocation ‘is not about giving information’ but helping ‘formation’ and ‘growth’, adding that ‘the Church is always in danger of such deadening jargon that means little to the uninitiated’.
He said that talk of faith and God is ‘so often at the moment polarised’ and ‘beaten into crass characterisations and then fired like bullets’.
This leads to ‘a lot of bumper-sticker theology, soundbites on God that we’re meant to honk at if we agree or just drive by if we don’t’.
“We are not here to resolve the mystery of God but to deepen it. We are not to reflect jargon and cliché – the devil is in the drivel when logos have turned to slogan,” he said.
Coming in to Broadcasting House this morning I saw for the first time the statue unveiled this week, of George Orwell, with its inscription on the wall behind, “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” How badly we need that truth today.
I’ve been deeply troubled by what seems to me to be the assault on free speech taking place in British universities in the name of “safe space,” “trigger warnings,” and “micro-aggressions,” meaning any remark that someone might find offensive even if no offence is meant. So far has this gone that a month ago, students at an Oxford College banned the presence of a representative of the Christian Union on the grounds that some might find their presence alienating and offensive. Luckily the protest that followed led to the ban being swiftly overturned. But still …
I’m sure this entire movement has been undertaken for the highest of motives, to protect the feelings of the vulnerable, which I applaud, but you don’t achieve that by silencing dissenting views. A safe space is the exact opposite: a place where you give a respectful hearing to views opposed to your own, knowing that your views too will be listened to respectfully. That’s academic freedom and it’s essential to a free society.
Tyndale has been called the architect of the English language, and in many cases he invented words to better convey the original:
And scores of his phrases have proved impossible to better in the last five centuries”¦
“Let there be light”
“In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God”
Wonderful stuff–make sure to read it all.
Jews aren’t the only ones with profound disagreements within their community. Faith in the public square has become as polarized as politics. That’s really a shame for civic life, says John DiIulio Jr. of the University of Pennsylvania, once an adviser to President George W. Bush on faith-based initiatives. “Religion can be a tremendously and uniquely powerful civic tonic—and a tremendously and uniquely destructive civic toxin,” he noted during a talk at the Brookings Institution earlier this month.
At the same event Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, blamed heightened polarization on a loss of transcendent purpose and meaning in public life. He observed that people are “finding tribal identities in political movements or cultural arguments in a way that often really isn’t about coming to a solution to those arguments, but about identifying ‘I am the sort of person who stands here as opposed to the sort of people who stands there.’ ”
Tribalism, sectarianism, polarization, mistrust. Sounds like Twitter.
How about a real conversation? Recently I took part in one in rural Maryland at the invitation of the Jewish Week of New York, which has been convening such gatherings for more than a decade. There were more than 50 of us, all Jewish, but with different backgrounds, beliefs and experiences. The idea was that we were the ones who would set the agenda. From the start, we went around and talked less about what we do than what we care about and what we hope to do.
— Kendall Harmon (@KendallHarmon6) August 28, 2017