Alan Jacobs has argued that parts of American culture and history have always been hostile to certain orthodox Christian beliefs. In this case, he points to the hostility shown to those who spoke out against racism, Jim Crow, and segregation. He is rejecting the premise of Aaron Renn’s Three Worlds Evangelicalism model: there never was truly a positive world and the negative world of today is not uniquely negative. Point taken. However, there are two key differences between the abolitionist and integrationist movements and our current situation. The first is that the church, particularly the Black church, was challenging an historically embedded establishment. Currently, the cultural establishment has shifted while the church has not…
Last year I drafted an outline for what an intentionally, far-reaching strategy to support disenfranchised Christians could be. The inspiration comes in large part from Rod Dreher’s book Live Not By Lies, but with a practical focus on supporting Christians who lose their livelihoods and social resources as a result of staying faithful to Christian ethics.
If the church is going to urge Christians to choose suffering over conformity to the world, we should also be prepared to care for those who have lost out for the sake of Christ. That requires the standards of ethical behavior to determined in advance rather than being left up to individual consciences or corporate charity. The church needs to take the lead. Using the 10 Commandments as the jumping off point, I provide a sketch for ethical requirements alongside areas of current social pressure. While the tools for practical implementation have a slight EPC-bent, they should be amendable to most evangelical traditions.
Three thoughts on David Brooks’ recent and otherwise excellent “What Happened to American Conservatism?” over at The Atlantic.
First, conservatism naturally requires love of place and people. Conservatism values sentiments cultivated rightly, which happens through people and societies that are not interchangeable. The sentiments in-cultured by the English village are not the same as the sentiments cultivated by the open the expanse of west Texas. Certain values may be held in common, but the means of that cultivation is specific to concrete, enfleshed peoples and traditions. The habituation of communities also instills love of those communities. Conservatives love their communities (neighborhoods, cultural histories, states, nations, families, churches) because they have been formed by them. It is loving your father and mother, civilizationally…
This is a follow-up post to my two-part series on the Westminster Standards and gay Christianity, which can be found here. In this installment I will be addressing the question of transgender pronouns and the Westminster Standards. I am not here addressing the subject of transgenderism in general and the best medical or social response to it, for which I recommend the work of Madeleine Kearns on the subject.
The topic of transgenderism and pronouns is a fraught one, but exactly because of its complications it needs to be addressed. There are two foundational principals that I am not interested in demonstrating here, but am rather assuming. First, that men and women are distinct in sex and gender and these distinct attributes are not interchangeable (e.g. Gen. 1:27, 2:20-24, Rom. 1:26-27, 1 Cor. 11:8-15; cf. WCF 4.2, WLC 17, WSC 10), and second, that our bodies are not incidental to being human but constitute who we are. Men have male bodies and women have female bodies. Men ought to be men and women ought to be women.
There is a difference between sex and gender, in that sex refers to someone’s biological sex while gender refers to someone’s personal or social identity that directs their sexual behavior, which is normally, and ought to be, tethered to their biological sex. Someone’s gender is how they live out their biological sex, and ought to be reflective of that sex. Since our bodies matter and are constitutive of our identities, our genders should be consistent with our embodied being. In other words, men should be masculine and women should be feminine. Men should identify as men and women should identify as women…
From him most of all I took my own idea of what conservatism is, the attempt to preserve or recover a home in this world — a place of consolation, a sanctified somewhere that connects us to the dead, the unborn, and our neighbors through love, memory, and sacrifice. A place that belongs to us and implants in us a longing for the true home that can never be destroyed by storms, war, neglect, or the encroachment of speculative exurban developers who want to replace our homes with parking lots and Panera Bread. We put in our labors to preserve freedom, decency, and culture, so that our children receive this somewhere as a place prepared for me by my father.
From Michael Brendan Dougherty’s memorial to Richard Scrunton.