The Kuyperian Commentary

Politics, Economics, Culture, and Theology with a Biblical Viewpoint

The Love that Loves Us │ To the Wonder: A Review

From Special Guest Contributor Remy Wilkins. Originally posted at The Whole Garden Will Bow

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It begins at the Wonder, La Merveille, Mont-Saint-Michel in France to be exact, with Neil and Marina at an early edge of love, leap or let go is the question. She cavorts along the coast as the tide swells and he, as implacable as the sea, follows; whether entranced or temporarily entrapped in her orbit we hardly know. They leave the Wonder, and Marina, with her daughter from a former husband, travels to America, to the heartland to see if their love grows.

The culture has failed Terrence Malick. All of his films, but particularly Tree of Life and To the Wonder, are cut from the cloth of Christendom, both its scripture and traditions. There’s a liturgy to his films; cinematography as psalm, narration as prayer, and critics can sense the richness, but rarely can they taste it unless those same rhythms are their own. The trouble is that where Tree of Life strained the secular imagination, To the Wonder tramples and twirls upon its grave.

Apart from the vocabulary and iconography of Christianity, To the Wonder can only be pretentious, vapid and a portentous self-parody. To an outsider the connection between a husband and wife and a priest and his parish might seem tenuous and arbitrary, but to the believer it is Christ and his body, the second Adam and his Eve. Read more…

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Top Ten Books Pastors Should Read

This post was originally published at the Becoming Human blog. You can read the entirety of the post here.

Every time I see a list of the “Top Ten Books for Pastors” I can almost always guess what they’ll be. I may be wrong on which specific books will be suggested, but I’m always right on what kind of books will be suggested: non-fiction. Allow me to diverge from the regular fare of book suggestions.books1

Read more…

Mother of Ten: “Abandon the slavery of the coercive boot camp of the state.”

Carmon Friedrich started with “We are often told we have freedom of choice in this country, but in things that really matter, our choices are growing increasingly limited.”

She is pointing out the apparent hypocrisy in the current political climate to favor a woman’s right to an abortion, but not the right to choose “to control our lives.” Read more…

Down South: Southern Baptists convene amid declining overall numbers

By Thomas Kidd

The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) held its annual meeting in Houston in June, and although the assembly did not witness any of the spectacular controversies that have marked previous SBC meetings, it nevertheless confronted some hotly debated topics.

The meeting’s most anticipated issue concerned the SBC and the Boy Scouts. Some had predicted that the SBC would endorse a full-fledged boycott of the Scouts for the group’s recent decision to admit openly gay boys as members. But the actual resolution stopped short of a boycott, expressing “opposition to and disappointment in the decision” and calling for the removal of Boy Scouts executive leaders who supported the change.

SBC representatives (called “messengers”) also passed a resolution exhorting member congregations about their “legal and moral responsibility to report any child abuse to authorities.” Its sponsor, Peter Lumpkins, crafted the statement in response to a lawsuit alleging abuse cover-ups by leaders of Sovereign Grace Ministries (SGM), including its founder, C.J. Mahaney. A judge dismissed the case against SGM pastors in May, citing statute of limitation requirements. Mahaney stepped down as president of SGM in April. Prominent Baptist leaders Albert Mohler of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and Mark Dever of Capitol Hill Baptist Church expressed their individual support for Mahaney in a public statement in May. Read more…

Aaron’s Rod Swallowed Their Rods

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by Marc Hays

Christian, do you feel as though the enemy has won a victory?  Is your pessimillenialism lingering just under the surface ready to burst through with eschatological doom and cliches about polishing the brass on a sinking ship?

If so, C. H. Spurgeon offers sage advice in his devotional, Mornings and EveningsRead more…

DOMA & Gay “Marriage” – a Christian Evaluation

Guest Post by Ben Rossell

In the aftermath of the SCOTUS DOMA ruling, here are 7 points to help us understand why we are where we are and 7 things Christians should do about it.

1. Heterosexual couples destroyed the sanctity of marriage long before the gay rights movement hit the mainstream. “I have two dads, you know.” This is what a young boy I know recently told me. His words struck me. I knew they were true. But I’d never thought of it … like THAT before. His birth parents divorced while he was an infant [for what I believe were sound, Biblical reasons]. His mother went on to remarry a fine Christian man and so, like so many other boys around, he has “two dads”. Why should we think it so odd that this trend continue, though now with the ruthless efficiency of eliminating the mother altogether? A long time ago, our society began to deliberately streamline the process by which a man or woman can dissolve the oath they had previously made before God, church, family, community, and state to stay united until death.  And for decades, the process of oath-breaking has been made more and more convenient.  At this point in our history, “the sanctity of marriage” is nothing more than a hollow-sounding phrase; a string of words that used to mean something.

2. The Heterosexual promiscuity paved the yellowbrick road on which gay rights activists now march – the What young people really mean when they say “Don’t tell THEM what THEY can’t do in THEIR bedroom” is “Don’t tell ME what I can’t do in MY bedroom”.  This is what ‘the pill’ is all about.  What we see today is the fruiting of seeds that were planted fifty years ago and have been faithfully watered and fertilized ever since. Pulling levers and pushing buttons isn’t going to change that or stop what has been in motion for so long. But being faithful will… eventually. This is a bitter fruit, but the story is far from over.   Read more…

“Where’s my Diversity?” asks the Polygamist

By Uri Brito

Does the Supreme Court truly believe in equality? If so, why is the long tradition of polygamy being discriminated against? As Steve Deace observes:

They’re just as guilty of discrimination as those dastardly conservatives still bitterly clinging to their guns and their religion. Why no argument for polygamy, polyamory and other forms of diversity? Why are they only defending their exclusive definition of diversity?

The LGBT should be up and arms about not valuing other types of consensual relationships like polygamy. Is this the next step? Or to put the question more forcibly, “is this the inevitable next step?” Read more…

The SCOTUS Decision and the Christian Future

by Uri Brito

Christians are called to be a future-oriented people. This is easy to forget when we see clear judicial reversals of what God has judicially declared. The SCOTUS decision does not change what is, it simply re-enforces that what is is not cherished. When “what-is” is not cherished, people seek out that which is not.

The Creator established a pattern for all of history. He established condemnations attached with those who attempt to usurp that divine pattern (Rom. 1). The pattern which God has created let no man put asunder. Scalia’s dissent brilliantly summarized the undoing of this pattern:

“Some might conclude that this loaf could have used a while longer in the oven. But that would be wrong; it is already overcooked. The most expert care in preparation cannot redeem a bad recipe.”

Untrained cooks are raving about this new recipe. Though overcooked, it is still the flavor of the day. This is the out-working of that very first sin. As C.S. Lewis observed:

Through pride the devil became the devil. Pride leads to every vice, it’s the complete anti-God state of mind.

And speaking of anti-God state of mind, mainline churches are celebrating today’s ruling with the same enthusiasm as the vocal LBGT community.  The InterFaith Alliance President the Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy issued the following statement celebrating today’s Supreme Court decisions:

The enormity of today’s decisions cannot be overstated. The combined impact of these two rulings puts our nation further down the inevitable and proper path towards full marriage equality for the LGBT community. All Americans should rejoice in today’s decisions because they bring us that much closer to fulfilling the promise of our Constitution. I am hopeful that today’s decision striking down DOMA as unconstitutional and overturning the Proposition 8 case on standing will be followed by continued victories in this fight for equality. That a majority of the Court recognized in the DOMA case that this was an issue of equal protection denied is no small victory.

The IRS, on the other hand, is in panic mode. Though nationally distrusted, now it is going to have to create two tax regimes:

One system, for couples in states where same-sex marriage is recognized, will allow gays and lesbians to file their tax returns jointly, exclude them from paying taxes on their spouse’s estate and clear them to contribute together to health savings and flexible spending accounts. The other system, for couples in states that don’t recognize same-sex marriage, wouldn’t allow such benefits.

The law does get complicated when the equality trumpet is sounded in a minor key. Ultimately, this is not about civil rights, this is about imposing one right: the right to call evil good and good evil. And these advocates will not rest until their agenda is accepted at a national level. We all know that California has not only bitten the garden fruit, but devoured it. The serpent did not even need subtlety in his argument. However, persuading the nation, that is another story. And as long as there are ten righteous, God will not destroy us.

We are a future-oriented people. And we should always be. Jesus has not relinquished his throne to a perverted Caesar. He is still king of kings and Lord of marriage. His marriage is still to a female bride. And while Hollywood cheers on this ruling, we should be saying “bring it on!” The prophets of Baal may eat well at Jezebel’s table. They may conspire against us and the Lord’s anointed, but when they are finished God will laugh for the future is his.

Uri Brito is the founder of Kuyperian Commentary.

Book Review – The Authenticity Hoax

reviewed by Justin Dillehay

Authenticity_Hoax_FNL_cvrOrganic food. Samuel Adams. Mud-floors. Vintage Levi’s. What do they all have in common? According to philosopher Andrew Potter: authenticity. People eat, imbibe, walk on, and wear these things in an effort to be “real.” Potter views this so-called authenticity as a reaction to modernity, describing it as a “rejection of the various tributaries of mass society’s current, including the media, marketing, fast food, party politics, the Internet, and—above all—the program of free markets and economic integration usually derided as ‘globalization’” (8). In the space of 273 fascinating and often hilarious pages, Potter analyzes the history, meaning, and manifestations of authenticity, ranging from Jean Jacques Rousseau in the 18th century to Oprah Winfrey in the 21st. Through it all, Potter concludes that authenticity is a hoax; a “dopey nostalgia for a non-existent past, a one-sided suspicion of the modern world, and stagnant and reactionary politics masquerading as something personally meaningful and socially progressive” (270).

For me, Potter’s most helpful (and entertaining) insight is that authenticity is a form of one-upmanship and status-seeking; an effort not to be real, but to be different. If everyone starts listening to the Avett Brothers, the truly authentic will drop them like last month’s YouTube sensation (they must be sell-outs anyway). If Wal-Mart starts placing organic food within the financial reach of the hoi polloi, this is cause—not for rejoicing—but for anti-capitalist consternation (129). Once indie bands and organic food lose their ability to distinguish the authentic from the rabble, the truly authentic move on in search of substitutes, like locally grown food. All this and more in a chapter entitled “Conspicuous Authenticity,” a term Potter adapts from economist Thorstein Veblen’s Theory of the Leisure Class. Read more…

How to Distrust the Media

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By Andrew Isker

I often hear something like this said, “you have to assume the mass media are usually lying.” I don’t think this is true. Not because I think it is false, but because I think it is simplistic. The media obviously doesn’t create a totally false reality that the average person could readily recognize is just not so. The world they create in print, on the internet, and on TV is mostly true, just not entirely true. They introduce just barely enough falsehood that only those who are consciously discerning can recognize it. And usually any discernment practiced when watching and reading the news is only done through a left-right grid. If you are liberal, Fox News is obviously neoconservative propaganda and MSNBC is where you go to get he truth. If you are conservative, MSNBC puts a pinko-homosexual slant on everything whereas Fox News will straighten everything out. Rarely does anyone question whether their news channel or website is consistently not giving you the whole story.

Of course, anyone who urges someone to be more discerning with all corporate media will be treated as a paranoid conspiracy theorist. To be honest, many who are skeptical of all corporate media will treat cluttered websites with blogspot.com or .biz in the address as though they were gospel. This is clearly no better than believing all that flows from the lips of Sean Hannity or Bill O’Reilly is true truth. What I am urging you to do is treat the billion Dollar corporate media with as much skepticism as you would a website your tin-foil-hat-wearing cousin frantically sends you a link to at 3 am.

One of the major problems with corporate media is that they are quick to accept even the weakest explanations that the government gives for anything, yet are quick to condemn the most basic journalistic inquiry into the doings of the government as “conspiracy theory.” Why don’t they ever label press releases from the White House, Pentagon, or State Department as “conspiracy theory”? The more paranoid will begin to see conspiracies themselves, which is foolish. Corporate media sidle up to the government because access is the currency of the prominent 21st Century American journalist. A good example to corroborate this can be found in coverage of not politics but sports.

I have watched and read the sports page since I was a teenager. I listened to sports reporters on TV and the radio even before that. Everyone who pays close attention to sports which reporters will never say anything but nice things about the local teams even when the teams are abysmal. They will usually say nice things about players too. And these are usually the sports reporters and personalities that are older and have been around the teams for a long time. They have developed relationships with owners and executives and a result of these relationships is information. In Minnesota, you knew that a player was on his way out when the geriatric Star Tribune sports columnist, Sid Hartman (who never had anything not nice to say about the local teams and players) would start to criticize him. But these criticisms would never cut so deep as to make the team and it’s ownership look bad. It wasn’t that Sid was secretly on the payroll of the Twins or Vikings. It was because he had spent his entire career cultivating access with the important people that weren’t going anywhere. And without that access, Sid is a 93 year-old, high school dropout.

Political reporting is not that different from sports reporting. Establishment journalists seek access, and their acquisition and maintenance of that access will affect their reporting. This means that they will say what the important people in the government want them to say. Times have changed for both political and sports reporting. For instance, every Major League Baseball team has scores of sabrmetric blogs which analyze baseball (and more importantly, baseball decision-makers) using advance statistical methods. And traditional baseball reporters typically have much disdain for sabrmetric bloggers, and if they could make the label “conspiracy theory,” they would. This is not to say that establishment political reporters who are part of the corporate media do not provide a useful service, but that the service they provide is disseminating the ruling class’s side of the story. But we would be kidding ourselves to consider them investigative journalists. They are not. Real investigative journalism must necessarily be done by those who do not crave access. And they are almost entirely found not on the payroll of corporate media companies.

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