March 2, Links and Thoughts

As you might have been noticing I’m trying to use my blog as link archive again. The old twitter, google buzz, system doesn’t work since buzz went the way of Google notebook so it’s time to play with something new. I read a lot of articles, etc. and it is almost impossible to remember all the URLs to things I’ve read so I’ll use my blog to take notes. Given the paucity of regular readers I doubt it will be a problem. 🙂

First thing via Voices this AM is James Bratt’s terrific piece comparing Rick Santorum and John Winthrop. It’s a good reminder of what real historians have to contribute to contemporary conversation.

I posted this to FB and Twitter via my Kindle from the Bonhoeffer bio. Bonhoeffer’s complaining description of the liberal congregations of NYC that he found during the Depression aren’t far from what you might find in some evangelical churches today I’m not so sure it’s as much about liberalism as it is Americanism.

Here’s the full quote.

This is quite characteristic of most of the churches I saw. So what stands in place of the Christian message? An ethical and social idealism borne by a faith in progress that—who knows how—claims the right to call itself “Christian.” And in the place of the church as the congregation of believers in Christ there stands the church as a social corporation. Anyone who has seen the weekly program of one of the large New York churches, with their daily, indeed almost hourly events, teas, lectures, concerts, charity events, opportunities for sports, games, bowling, dancing for every age group, anyone who has heard how they try to persuade a new resident to join the church, insisting that you’ll get into society quite differently by doing so, anyone who has become acquainted with the embarrassing nervousness with which the pastor lobbies for membership—that person can well assess the character of such a church. All these things, of course, take place with varying degrees of tactfulness, taste, and seriousness; some churches are basically “charitable” churches; others have primarily a social identity. One cannot avoid the impression, however, that in both cases they have forgotten what the real point is.

Metaxas, Eric; Timothy J. Keller (2010-04-20). Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy (p. 107). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

This is a haunting piece about change, disillusionment, youthful idealism in the church. I know a lot of people who can very much identify with this.

Yesterday I posted the TC review of Russell Banks “Lost Memory of Skin”. There are some other good reviews on the web too. This line from a NYT one:

This book expresses the conviction that we live in perilous, creepy times. We toy recklessly with brand-new capacities for ruination. We bring the most human impulses to the least human means of expressing them, and we may not see the damage we do until it becomes irrevocable. 

Another NYT review of the book.

The line that caught my eye was this.

A two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist, Banks may be the most compassionate fiction writer working today, and the Kid is only his most recent lens into the souls of seemingly decent men who do terribly indecent things out of ignorance, thirst and desperation in a deeply uncaring world. Balancing impressively on a moral tightrope, Banks never absolves the Kid of his actions even as he sympathizes with him.

It seems we can’t help continue to invoke the “good person” mantra of self-justification. “decent men who do terribly indecent things…” Then are we decent? Our need for righteousness is exposed.

Another review.

On a more political vein, or perhaps a-political this piece from Christianity Today in attempting it sounds to remain “non-aligned”.

Here’s the money quote: In 2010, Hunter told Christianity Today, “Whenever Christian churches and organizations partake in the will to power, they partake in the very thing they decry in society.”

Great piece by Neil De Koning on Church Discipline from The Banner. I’ve never met Neil but I’ve really grown to love and admire his wisdom and presence via his writing on the CRC Network.

About PaulVK

Husband, Father of 5, Pastor
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2 Responses to March 2, Links and Thoughts

  1. Steve says:

    “paucity” hey, I resemble that remark!

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