Miracles of Great Silence: Christmas, Francis, Right and Left

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15 Responses

  1. Avatar Jacob Lupfer
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    says:

    Well said. A challenge to followers of this holy child to actually love him more than they love their political ideologies.Report

  2. Avatar Will H.
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    says:

    Years ago, J. Budziszewski wrote a couple of articles, The Problem with Liberalism and The Problem with Conservatism, in which he identified a total of sixteen errors of faith. I highly recommend those articles, and they might still be available on the net. I’ll list those errors at the bottom here when I’m done blabbing.

    Some are able to see the church only as a political institution. That’s a deficiency in the seer.
    Likewise, there are those who believe faith-based institutions should follow the dictates of secular institutions. I like that idea.
    The reason is because my own faith prohibits seeking political office or acceptance of political appointment. Discussion of issues is fair game, and we do that all the time; partisanship is expressly prohibited.
    But if it came to choice between the two, either faith or government, that one of them has to go, I would prefer it to be the splintered nations where men separate themselves by artificial means.

    Merry Christmas, Ms. Stoker.
    I sincerely hope you find all those things you describe, and in abundance, throughout the coming year.

    Eight Moral Errors of Liberalism:
    Propitiationism
    Expropriationism
    Solipsism
    Absolutionism
    Perfectionism
    Universalism
    Neutralism
    Collectivism

    Eight Moral Errors of Conservatism:
    Civil religionism
    Instrumentalism
    Moralism
    Caesarism
    Traditionalism
    Neutralism
    Mammonism
    Meritism

    I realize the value is limited without a description of the terms and their use; but there it is.Report

    • Avatar ktward in reply to Will H.
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      says:

      … my own faith prohibits seeking political office or acceptance of political appointment. Discussion of issues is fair game, and we do that all the time; partisanship is expressly prohibited.

      Holy cow! I’ve been creeping on y’all, like, forever. Yet, I never knew this about you, Will. I genuinely appreciate the insight.

      (You call it “faith”, but such a specific stricture sounds like religion to me.)Report

      • Avatar Will H. in reply to ktward
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        says:

        The early founders of the faith were noblemen who gave up title & wealth to follow after God.
        I’ve heard it said often that we seek to achieve very liberal goals through very conservative means. Maybe not exactly, but not too far off.

        Two reasons I don’t speak about my faith with much specificity:
        1) To protect other members of the faith.
        There are still certain parts of the world where there is a great deal of persecution, and it is conceivable the authorities might seize on what I say here as representative of all members of the faith to justify greater persecution.
        2) The views I express are my own. Nonetheless, some may be seen as apostasy by other members of the faith. It is conceivable that I could be shunned for that.Report

  3. Avatar Chris
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    says:

    Then someone came to him and said, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.” He said to him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; Honor your father and mother; also, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” The young man said to him, “I have kept all these; what do I still lack?” Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be perfect, go, sell your possessions, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” When the young man heard this word, he went away grieving, for he had many possessions.Report

  4. Avatar ktward
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    says:

    Needlessly incendiary. Nobody wants anyone to be without a home.

    That no one actively *wants* anyone else to be homeless is not the same thing as actively working toward ending the plight of homelessness. Just saying.

    To come closer together in that mission, it seems sensible to me to encourage the small, quiet miracles that go on inside people every day: miracles of compassion, understanding, generosity, change.

    If only I had a nickle for every time I heard this shit. It rarely manages to translate into responsible public policy, so as much as I feel it, I’ve no use for it.

    It is possible to build a Christian church that is wholesale devoted to the care of this earth and all its people, especially its poorest, as we’re commanded.

    Y’all have had the better part of 2000 years to do just that. Yet, you haven’t. Surely you understand why some of us are skeptical that you can.

    If the Reagan-inspired political influence of the RR magically disappeared, what kind of world would Religious Lefties be working toward? I’m not entirely convinced that the Religious Left, in a place of real political power, would treat atheists much different than the RR has. Nevertheless, I am convinced that Belief, in all its various aspects, is a part of the human condition. Which explains why I am not an anti-theist.

    In terms of modern day US public policy, Protestant Christianism, especially the various fundamentalist varieties, seem way more problematic than anything the Catholic church belches up. So far, I like Pope Francis as much as I liked JP II and as much as I disliked Benedict XVI. But since I’m a staunch secularist, it doesn’t much matter what I think. The only thing that matters is what non-secularists, of whatever ilk, think.Report

    • Avatar Elizabeth Stoker in reply to ktward
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      says:

      If you received a nickel every time you heard that “shit”, you could make a fortune going to conferences on ecumenicism. If you read the sentence directly preceding that one, you’ll see I’m talking about coming together as a corporate body of Christ, not “responsible public policy.” But I appreciate the token secularist slam anyway — no discussion of religious communities would be complete without it, here on the good ol’ internet. Report

    • Avatar James K in reply to ktward
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      says:

      Nevertheless, I am convinced that Belief, in all its various aspects, is a part of the human condition. Which explains why I am not an anti-theist.

      I’m inclined to agree that Belief, in all its various aspects, is a part of the human condition, but that doesn’t make it a good thing. There are a lot of bad things that are part of the human condition. Even if we can’t eliminate faith entirely, we can at least attenuate its influence.Report

    • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to ktward
      Ignored
      says:

      That no one actively *wants* anyone else to be homeless is not the same thing as actively working toward ending the plight of homelessness. Just saying.

      But neither is it true that not wanting the government to force people to spend their hard-earned money bailing out the homeless is the same as wanting people to be homeless. If you can’t give the devil his due and still make your case, your case isn’t as strong as you think.Report

  5. Avatar LWA
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    says:

    “But a church of that character won’t arise out of bludgeoning one another toward the advancement of particular parties or ideologies; ”

    True that!

    But what makes you think the secular left wants to build a church?
    Maybe they just want to win elections and move policy.Report

    • Avatar Elizabeth Stoker in reply to LWA
      Ignored
      says:

      I’m referring to the Christian left here, as they’ve been pretty amenable to the analysis put forward by general leftwing media outlets so far. (Not that there haven’t been pockets of unease, mind.)Report

      • Avatar LWA in reply to Elizabeth Stoker
        Ignored
        says:

        Yes- My takeaway isn’t so much a matter of how seemly or not it is to be in the face of the other side, so much as striving to avoid making their mistakes.
        I think it would be heartbreaking to see the religious left in 20 years time create their own Ralph Reeds who fed our version of Karl Rove.

        I’m actually all for rough and tumble political battles a la Alinsky, but I think the religious left would be wise to hold the secular at arms length. Religion works best when its a detached critic rather than a team player.
        Which may have been your point to begin with.Report

      • Avatar Will H. in reply to Elizabeth Stoker
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        says:

        Not to disagree, but to act as counterpoint; because I believe this is an interesting statement viewed in historical context:
        I think the religious left would be wise to hold the secular at arms length.

        As I remember it, the last time the Left had a truly robust religious wing was with MLK. I remember more of the late 70’s, and the tensions between Jackson & the King estate; the Rainbow Coalition, etc.
        Now, when King mobilized his religious left, it was toward equal treatment for minorities, unionization, etc. Maybe those were the hot-button issues of his day; but I see engagement with secular aims as where the religious left might prove most effective.Report

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