Open Mic Thread 26


The open mic thread is where you have the floor and can raise or discuss issues of your choice. There is no such thing as off-topic here. The comments of this thread are free for you to:

  • Discuss things that you have been reading/listening to/watching recently
  • Share interesting links
  • Share stimulating discussions in comment threads
  • Ask questions
  • Put forward a position for more general discussion
  • Tell us about yourself and your interests
  • Publicize your blog, book, conference, etc.
  • Draw our intention to worthy thinkers, charities, ministries, books, and events
  • Post reviews
  • Suggest topics for future posts
  • Use as a bulletin board
  • Etc.

Over to you!

Earlier open mic threads: 123456, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19,20,2122, 23, 24, 25.

About Alastair Roberts

Alastair Roberts (PhD, Durham University) writes in the areas of biblical theology and ethics, but frequently trespasses beyond these bounds. He participates in the weekly Mere Fidelity podcast, blogs at Alastair’s Adversaria, and tweets at @zugzwanged.
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85 Responses to Open Mic Thread 26

  1. whitefrozen says:

    My latest reading trend is inspired by Robert Brandoms historical work on Kant and Hegel, and the rule-following in their respective metaphysics. Kant and Hegel both see the judgment as primary in knowledge, and we make judgments by following rules which are posited by the conditions for the unity of consciousness. Hegel goes further and says that the concepts which generate the rules aren’t just in our heads, like Kant said, but have their own being apart from any minds.

    ‘All judgmental activity thus takes place within the whole of the “space of reasons” – the “absolute Idea,” as Hegel calls it. The “absolute Idea” is the general comprehension of the “space of reasons” as articulating the original unity of thought and being – of truth itself – that is active in Geist, and the comprehension of the necessity of the original, “abstract” unity’s rupturing itselfand producing the kind of “negativity” at work in the Logic. As developed in this way, the “space of reasons” offers the reassurance that outside of itself there is nothing of normative significance, and that it has generated itself in a way that preserves the original, abstract, and primitive conception of “truth” as the unityof thought and being, while at the same time offering an understanding of how such a primitive conception of truth includes and generates its own negativityand skepticism within itself. The “absolute Idea” is thus the normative, self-correcting structure of a rational form of modern “social space,” and forms the“pure normative structure” of the patterns of reciprocal recognition that makeup modern mind, Geist.’ – Terry Pinkard

  2. Lindsay says:

    This feels like a silly question, but I’ve not really been able to find much of a Biblical answer. Jesus is the beginning of the new creation and has a resurrected body. But where is He? With the Father in heaven, but isn’t “heaven” a nonphysical realm? Or is that an incorrect assumption?

    • It definitely isn’t a silly question. He is at the Father’s right hand in heaven. Heaven is not a ‘non-physical’ realm (in the sense the term is being used here) but was part of the original material creation.

      • Lindsay says:

        Thanks Alastair. How would you distinguish heaven from earth if it is not physical vs. nonphysical? Is it simply “where God and other spirit beings dwell?” or can we say more about it from the Biblical witness? Do you have any recommendations on where to go to study this further?

        One thing that fascinates me is how what happens on earth seems to be reflected in heaven and vice versa, as in Daniel, for example.

      • I think that heaven is primarily about the location of God’s particular presence. However, it also seems to involve a form of created being that differs from our mode of materiality. The presence of the resurrected body of Christ in heaven seems to me to suggest that his body has properties that render it appropriate to that realm. It is a ‘spiritual’ body, a body animated by the Spirit.

      • Lindsay says:

        Thanks Alastair, that’s very helpful. It seems like the NT says that the new creation is already in heaven in some sense. Would you agree? The hope laid up for us. Jesus’ resurrection body. Heavenly Zion/New Jerusalem coming down from heaven, etc.

      • Yes, I would agree. Of course, the exact sense in which this is the case is where things become less clear.

      • mnpetersen37 says:

        What do you think of Jenson’s claim regarding the “location of God’s particular presence” being the Eucharistic assembly?

        Also, what about the arguments of how a body located in a particular place could (or could not) be “located” in the bread and wine? (Scare quotes on “located”, since no one says the location which used to be–and perhaps still is–an accident of the bread and wine is an accident of Christ’s body.)

        The Calvinists (I believe) argue that location is a proper attribute of a body, and so Christ’s body is *located* somewhere. And since that somewhere is not the many locations of the bread and wine, nor is the accident “location”, which used to be an accident of the bread and wine an accident with no substance (as on the Catholic view), the physical distance between Christ’s body and the bread and wine must be overcome by the Spirit, so that our reception is true reception of Christ, but Spiritual. Brenz (and perhaps Chemnitz), on the other hand, said that Christ has ascended above all heavens, and so cannot be located in a particular place, since were he to be located in a particular place, he would not have ascended above *that* particular place. And therefore there is no distance between the location of Christ’s body, and the location of the Bread and Wine, and therefore the Bread and Wine can be or become Christ’s body (though Lutherans usually omit an epiclesis, therefore seem to underplay the Spirit–though perhaps Calvinists, who also usually omit an epiclesis, perhaps emphasize the Spirit *in doctrine* but not in the speech of the liturgy).

        It seems that if we said that heaven is the location of God’s particular presence, we need to say that that location is a location along-side other locations–like it was when the High Priest entered heaven once a year–and so we could (in theory) find heaven, say, with a telescope, or that heaven can be many places, in which case, the Reformed objection to the Lutheran position isn’t operative any more.

        I’m perhaps rambling, but I’m curious where you stand on these issues.

      • I don’t have time to give this the thorough response that it deserves. For now, I’ll just say that the concept of ‘presence’ really needs to be unpacked, with recognition of the many different forms of presence that can exist and how many of these cannot be straightforwardly opposed to ‘absence’.

  3. thrasymachus33308 says:

    Who here has read Philip K. Dick? I’m fascinated by his ideas of the apparently real and the really real and his spirituality of empathy, as depicted in many of his books but particularly in “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” with the religion of Mercerism.

    For me the crypto-Christianity of Dick says a great deal about our current world, and I’m curious what reaction others have to this.

    • Paul Baxter says:

      I’m a huge fan of PKD. Dick seems to have been fairly well informed about some directions of twentieth century New Testament studies. His later works are full of discussion of theology. He was also arguably out of his mind in his later years, but you can see him very honestly struggling with the idea of the meaning of communication with the supernatural in a way I’ve never seen elsewhere. VALIS and Radio Free Albemuth are the places to go. The Transmigration of Timothy Archer I also remember being fascinated by, but it’s been so long that I don’t remember much of it.

      There are two PKD short stories which I have to mention. One is called Pre-Persons. It was written shortly before Roe v Wade and explores the idea of a world where it is legal to abort children until they are old enough to understand algebra. The other I don’t remember the title of, but it’s about books which are bound with some sort of immortal Martian skin and the texts inside them rewrite themselves with theological themes relating to eternal life. He also wrote one where the government convince the whole nation (falsely) that it is at war just to justify the continued sale of bomb shelters.

  4. quinnjones2 says:

    Re: ‘Consider’ by Richard Beck, recently posted via Alastair’s Adversaria:
    I found this very inviting and appealing and I have no complaint whatsoever against relaxing and yielding to the Holy Spirit. However, I’m also mindful of this:
    ‘Be sober, be vigilant, for your adversary the devil walks around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.’ 1 Peter 5:8.
    I think of relaxed/vigilant ‘modes’ as different ‘channels’ and I find it helpful to be able to ‘switch channels’ when it seems appropriate. On occasions, it has seemed to me to be appropriate to ‘switch channels’ pronto…and then switch back again later!

  5. The Man Who Was . . . says:

    Denny Burk is taking the rather odd position that merely to be tempted to do something is sinful. See here. Any thoughts?

    • This would seem to tie into traditional debates about whether concupiscence is sin or merely potential sin. See the end of the ninth of the Thirty-Nine Articles, for instance. This has traditionally been a point of debate between Roman Catholics and Protestants. Carefully qualified, I stand with the typical Protestant position on this one: concupiscence is sin. While I would regard them as sin, I would not, however, regard sinful desires as matters of personal culpability to the degree that some Protestants do.

    • I would also add that we need to define lust very carefully in such cases. I don’t think lust is the same thing as attraction.

  6. Anyone seen a lecture/paper/book OR have any thoughts on Conversion from Protestantism to Roman Catholicism and Epistemology? I’ve long wondered if the pull of Rome, especially for those in an American evangelical context is the deep longing for certainty.

    • Lindsay says:

      Hi Ryan, are you familiar with Jason Stellman and his story? I believe a pull for certainty in having the correct “authority” was part of his conversion. He is from my own circles and his is a sad story.

      • I am unfortunately familiar. It seems too easy to use the Confession-as-Paper-Pope foil. With some folks, it lands for sure. I have a friend in the city where I live now who has recently converted to RCC for the exact same reason. He jumped from an SBC church, though. I have to wonder if a kind of American premillennial panic at the unconscious cultural level of our psyches is to blame. We’re not good at patience. We’re not good at trusting the Spirit to sort it out in us in time. We haven’t had to be.

  7. quinnjones2 says:

    Re: ‘Conversion Therapy’ Article in the Atlantic ( I’m sorry I can’t post the link here).
    In this article, ‘conversion therapy’ is generally given the thumbs-down and there are also suggestions that it might be made illegal.
    I don’t know anyone who has participated in ‘conversion therapy’ for people with same-sex orientation, but I think it would be sad for such therapy to be written off completely, thus closing a door on some who may benefit from it.
    Therapy is not something a therapist imposes on a client and is effective only if the client co-operates fully with the therapist.Therapy is a tough option, and not for the faint-hearted. I can understand why some people feel that they can’t stay the course. I felt like giving up on several occasions when I engaged in long-term therapy for complicated grief after the death of my mother. I am thankful that I persevered and I take no pride in my courage in doing so, because I was encouraged by The Holy Spirit within me and by prayer support. But it was tough – painful, time-consuming, exhausting. And also deeply enriching. I wonder if I would have persevered less if I had been ‘molly-coddled’ by people making it easy for me to remain unchanged? I don’t know the answer to that question, but I do wonder. I also don’t know what it’s like to have same-sex orientation, so I’m in no position to judge.
    But when this ‘conversion therapy’ fails, I can’t help but wonder why it does.

    • quinnjones2 says:

      I have spent more time reading around this subject and I will now change ‘Therapy is not something a therapist imposes on a client’ to ‘Therapy is not something an ethical therapist imposes on a client.’ Nor is it something that ethical church leaders/parents impose on church members/offspring.
      I hope that LGBT people who want to engage in therapy will have the opportunity to do so with ethical therapists.
      I still believe that ethical church leaders/parents/therapists do exist.
      I also wonder on occasions if my second name should have been Pollyanna 🙂

      • quinnjones2 says:

        I’ve now expressed my minority viewpoint in the comment section of the Atlantic article. I don’t want to get to a stage where I can’t see the gold for the dross, so I’ve no serious complaints about ‘Pollyanna’ 🙂

  8. The Man Who Was . . . says:

    Is this an ad for an Evangelical megachurch?

  9. The Man Who Was . . . says:

    Alastair, I really think you need one of these.

  10. The Man Who Was . . . says:

    This seems to me totally off base.

    1. Kitsch is not the same as simple or even crude art.
    2. Kitsch is a modern thing. There are many cultures where it doesn’t exist.
    3. Kitsch is not the inevitable aesthetic choice of the less intelligent and less perceptive.
    4. The fact that Christianity in the past few centuries has become a large scale kitsch factory is an indication of deep spiritual sickness.

    • quinnjones2 says:

      Hi TMWW. I was interested in your comments on this. I first heard ‘Kitsch’ used in North Germany in the 60’s. It was used in a mildly disparaging way. I can’t think of a translation of it that really contains the flavour of it for me – the nearest I’ve thought of is that it suggests that something is ‘a bit infra dig’. I appreciate that its usage in North Germany then may have been very different from its usage in other German-speaking areas at that time, and also very different from its current usage in different areas, both by native speakers and as a ‘loan-word’. I would describe some Christian artefacts as far more ‘infra dig’ than ‘Kitsch’ suggests. For instance, you would never catch me sporting a ‘Jesus’ T-Shirt – if that counts as an artefact, which it may not. ( Either way, it doesn’t appeal to me aesthetically!)

      • quinnjones2 says:

        I’ve just re-read Peter Leithart’s piece and he seems be saying that beauty is in the eye of the beholder and has no absolute objective value.

    • mnpetersen37 says:

      Though, the last paragraph is better: “The museum causes two tears to flow: The first tear says: How nice to see something so subtly beautiful. The second tear says: How nice to be moved, together with all superior mankind, by the subtly beautiful.”

      That’s probably not an accurate description for everyone, but it does reveal that, precisely by being put into a museum, even Michelangelo can be made into kitsch.

  11. quinnjones2 says:

    Just a few imaginings.
    Every lush cherry has a stone and we usually enjoy the cherries and throw away the stones. But some people seem to want all the lush fruit from all the cherries and they take that, and leave all the stones for others. Not fair, that. But there’s a double punishment – having taken more than their fair share of the fruit, and left the hard bits, the stones, to others, they think that they are superior to the stone-holders, and treat them with contempt.
    ‘How can there be a cherry without a stone?’
    There can’t be, RHE and followers. Just for now you have the lush part, and you’ve cast the stones our way. But it is from the stones that new life grows. We will look after the stones.
    But how will you manage when you’ve worked through all the lush parts and have no stones to grow new cherries?
    I have an idea that you will return on your knees, like the Prodigal son, to your Father.
    I hope so.

    • quinnjones2 says:

      I have had many more thoughts about this but will just mention a few things here, briefly and simply.
      Yes, Jesus came to heal and many people came to him for healing and at first their love for him was maybe a sort of ‘cupboard love’. They loved him because of what he did for them. Mary of Bethany loved much because she was forgiven much. But along with the love of these people for Jesus came gratitude and humility.
      And Jesus also came to teach, and some of those lessons are tough. When people leave out the tough parts of the gospel, they also leave the burden of the ‘tough teaching’ to others, in addition to apparently failing to apply it in their own lives in some ways – Jesus told us to take up our cross daily, to repent of our sins…
      I think of the parable of the wise and foolish virgins. If we have oil in our lamps, we can light the way for others for a while, but then they need to get oil for their own lamps. Reminding them that they need to do that is not unkindness.

      • quinnjones2 says:

        I’ve just read some more comments by and about RHE and her assumption that some men are unhappy about her book because she is a woman. I can’t speak for ‘men’, but I don’t think this is true of many men. I am also unhappy about her book because of some of its content and not because of her gender. I am also unhappy about some books by men, notably Rob Bell and Steve Chalke, because of some of the content of the books and not because of the gender of the writers.

      • Yes, RHE claims this sort of thing a lot, attributing criticism to the fact that she is a woman who has the courage to speak up. The fact that she is emotionally reactive and starts online firestorms, that she repeatedly misrepresents others, that she has a limited grasp on some important theological concepts, that she goes against the historic teaching of the Church, that she polarizes people on account of her hyperbolic representation of situations, etc. is all ignored in the process.

  12. quinnjones2 says:

    Thank you for putting this so succinctly, Alastair. I think it’s all fair comment.

  13. Some of you might find my discussion of sex and sexuality in the comments here interesting.

    • quinnjones2 says:

      Yes, I read it and found it interesting. One commenter became really upset, didn’t she? I can see that her thinking is misguided, but my heart went out to her – a friend of mine gave birth to an intersex child several years ago, and I think my feet might hurt a lot if I had to walk in her shoes.
      So, wondering what goes wrong, I did this Google search: ‘Why do men have nipples?’ According to what I found, all embryos follow a ‘female blueprint’ for 60 days and then testosterone kicks in with those with a ‘Y’ chromosome’, by which time the nipples are established. I usually consult my younger daughter about things biological – she did biomedical science at Uni and now works in clinical research ( and tells me off if I don’t take all my medication 🙂 ) I’m sure she’ll will fill me in in due course. I’m also sure that you’ve already researched all this, anyway! I can’t see, on the basis of the little that I do know, how there can be any dispute about the fact that a clear ‘male blueprint’ kicks in with ‘Y’ chromosome embryos at some stage , that this is by design and is not a fluke, and that something apparently goes wrong at this stage in some pregnancies. But when it doesn’t go wrong, male and female are halves of one reproductive system, as you wrote.
      I must be mad giving myself a little biology lesson at this hour!

      • quinnjones2 says:

        Thank you for the Twitter convo, Alastair and Tricia.
        It seems to be evident that male nipples are redundant, but that they are also evidence of the embryonic links between male and female. I’ve never heard any boy or man complain about male nipples, but I won’t post this particular comment on Twitter in case any feathers are ruffled by it and I really don’t want to deal with any possible Twitter fall-out from that today – or maybe on any day!

      • I think that the commenter in question was more ideologically outraged than genuinely wounded (she did her PhD in the same department as me and is fairly committed to the feminist/queer theory line). In my experience, such persons like to substitute anger and character attacks for genuine engagement. They seldom honestly engage with opposing arguments.

        Intersex persons definitely need our support and recognition as Christians (I have friends with an intersex child too). However, this support and recognition should not take the form of ridiculous positions such as denial that there are only two sexes.

      • quinnjones2 says:

        Thank you Alastair for your information about ‘the commenter in question’. In the light of this I now revise my comment about her – I think that she is not only misguided, but also outstandingly impatient and ill-mannered.
        I wonder why on earth she denies that there are only two sexes – the parents of the intersex child I mentioned were certainly not in denial about that, and I’m sure that is also true of the friends you mentioned.

      • mnpetersen37 says:

        It’s odd that when we’re asking if there is such a thing as a heap or a tree, the sorites paradox is known to be a purely intellectual question–however they are present in the physics, or however impossible it is to define their boundaries precisely, both heaps and trees are phenomenological realities; and though the paradox is interesting, no one proposes modifying any behavior on the basis of the paradox: Although the boundary between tree and not-tree is arbitrary, no one talks about the great boyhood adventure of climbing blades of grass. (Indeed, it’s usually taken as a paradox to be solved.)

        But the exact same paradox is, in sexuality, taken to overthrow the phenomenological distinction between bearing and nursing on the one hand, and begetting on the other, and to necessitate a large change in action.

        There are definitely extremely important and difficult concerns about how to treat intersex persons. And I’m not sure that the existence of intersex persons is the result of the fall, nor whether all intersex persons will be resurrected as either male or female. (I’m agnostic on both–it is conceivable that the failure in an individual’s development be for a social end, and so not be a failure at all, only a different functioning that looks, from one perspective, like a failure.) But the sorites paradox isn’t a trump card that can be played to erase all phenomenological distinctions. And if it is a trump card that can erase some phenomenological distinctions, it can, in principle, erase all phenomenological distinctions.

      • quinnjones2 says:

        Thank you.
        I needed to look up the soritex paradox and, according to the definition I found, this paradox arises from vague predicates, so I don’t really think that it applies, in the majority of cases, to the presence or absence of Y chromosomes in human embryos. In the small percentage of embryos where there is an imbalance of hormones, as in the case of intersex embryos, I don’t think sin has any bearing on it. Though I think that, in many instances, sin/unwholesome behaviour and poor outcome are directly linked, as with alcohol abuse and liver damage.
        I’m not sure if I understand your comment about ‘bearing and nursing’ and ‘begetting’. There is an inevitable rupture between begetting and nursing on the relatively rare occasions when mothers die in childbirth. There is also a rupture between bearing and breast-feeding if a nursing mother’s milk doesn’t ‘come in’.* But then there are ‘wet nurses’ – my mother ‘wet-nursed’ a baby boy for several days after I was born, along with nursing me, and he thrived.
        I’m sorry if I’ve got the wrong end of the stick re: what you meant, and if I have therefore gone off at a tangent.
        Re: the resurrection of the body -I’m still pondering about that!
        * I’ve left bottle-feeding out because I think that belongs to another debate!

      • mnpetersen37 says:

        Thanks for the response.

        The arguments that gender is non-binary, but fully socially constructed, contain, I believe an appeal to a sorites paradox. The arguments, I believe, are two pronged: One against the using genitalia to define male and female; and one against using chromosomes (sometimes we get XXX or XXY). The second isn’t an appeal to the sorites paradox, but the first, I believe is. The problem with using the sorites paradox is that there are *no* sharp boundaries in nature, and while I’m not directly familiar with the literature, I believe that it has been shown that if we offer a reductionist answer–there really aren’t heaps–we destroy *all* phenomenon.

        For instance, we can ask: As we move away from this desk, at what precise instant do we move from “on the desk” to “not on the desk”? As we move up and down different branches of a phylogenetic tree, where does one species end and another start?–surely one species never gave birth to a different one. As we move outward from my body, at what precise point do we transition from inside me to outside me?

        This sort of question can be asked of any phenomenon, and I believe, there isn’t a principled way to give the answer “this phenomenon doesn’t really exist” in only some cases, and not in others. It’s either all or nothing: All phenomena are destroyed by this paradox, or none are. (Though I should probably read more before I say that too confidently: Perhaps I’m mixing Analytic and Continental traditions illicitly.)

        So here: The phenomenon of motherhood is a very different phenomenon from fatherhood, and not one that is entirely socially constructed: Mothers bear, and nurse; fathers beget. And this difference is produced by the difference between genitalia. Therefore, as phenomena, the difference between male and female, and even, between male and female genitalia is not fully socially constructed. At least, it isn’t unless we are willing to say that *all* phenomena are fully socially constructed (which very few people would be willing to say, even people who accept the argument here). By design or medical failure, there is a sort of continuity between male and female, and an ambiguous, grey, region in the middle that can neither rightly be called male nor female, does not overthrow the real phenomenological, embodied, distinction between male and female. But this in no way overthrows the basic phenomenological, embodied, distinction between male and female–at least, not unless we are willing to overthrow all phenomena, and wholly detach us from our bodies (and our minds, since mental phenomena are phenomena too).

      • quinnjones2 says:

        I’m not very good at abstract thinking, but I’ll do my best.
        ‘As we move outward from my body at what precise point do we transition from inside me to outside me?’ That precise point is our skin, which along with our hair is the physical boundary within which we are contained. Psychological boundaries are another matter.
        I don’t know of a ‘grey region’ between male and female. What we have in common is our humanity, and within that commonality are many physical, intellectual and temperamental variations – and then there are racial differences, including skin colour. On occasions, I’ve felt tempted, when filling in tick-boxes, to write ‘freckled’ 🙂
        As you see, I’m really not very good at abstract thinking.

      • mnpetersen37 says:

        I actually think for my first comment I clicked on the wrong “reply”–I meant to reply to Alastair’s link–hence some of the resulting confusion. (And entirely my fault for that.) But I enjoyed your comments nonetheless, and enjoyed writing up a response, so thanks for the interaction!

      • quinnjones2 says:

        🙂 It’s all part of the stuff of life.

    • The Man Who Was . . . says:

      The genitalia of intersex individuals are always composed of recognizably male and female features. They are never some new entirely new thing.

      • Indeed. And this really isn’t some obscure and complicated fact either. It takes a rather smart brain to rationalize such reality away.

      • The Man Who Was . . . says:

        It might be better to speak of intersex people as being of both sexes rather than occupying some middle ground between sexes.

      • quinnjones2 says:

        Yes. I just thought of a colour analogy – more a mosaic than a mix
        e.g. blue + yellow = blue + yellow (mosaic)
        blue+ yellow = green ( mix)
        A non-organic analogy is not really appropriate for human beings, of course, but as you said, ‘just a thought.

      • It is probably important to take into account that ‘intersex people’ aren’t just one thing, but a variety of different conditions that depart from human sexual dimorphism. It may be the case that we are best off speaking about different forms of intersex using different language, unsettling the implication that we are dealing with a unitary phenomenon.

      • The Man Who Was . . . says:

        Just a thought.

  14. quinnjones2 says:

    I used to think that ‘coming to terms with something’ meant learning to accept it or becoming resigned to it. Then someone suggested that it means ‘finding the terms that best describe something’ – this appeals to me, but sometimes it is more easily said than done.
    I wonder if intersex people are indefinable in terms of gender?
    This sentence from one of your ‘Threads’ comments has been on my mind Alastair, not least because in brings in the spiritual dimension:
    ‘Forms of life that arise out of natural disorder can become bearers of spiritual gifting.’
    My friend who has severe cerebral palsy said that although her disability is a fact, and a very visible* fact, she does not define herself by it – she defines herself as a child of God. I also define her as a miracle of God – she’s one of the bravest, wisest, wittiest people I’ve ever known.

    * and audible, as she struggles with speech

  15. quinnjones2 says:

    RE: RHE’s book again!
    I don’t follow RHE, but I follow a number of people who do. One particular tweet, which has appeared several times on my timeline, just doesn’t add up for me. I don’t reply to it on Twitter, because I think that for me to do so would be a bit like King Canute trying to hold back the tide, or the Little Dutch Boy putting his finger in the hole in the dyke!
    But I would like to get some things a bit clearer in my own mind, and I would really appreciate any help that any of you can give with this.

    The tweet/link in question reads:
    ‘But the gospel doesn’t need to keep the wrong people out. It needs a family of sinners, saved by grace, committed to tearing down the walls, throwing open the doors and shouting, ” Welcome! There’s bread and wine. Come eat with us and talk.” It’s a kingdom for the hungry.’
    My thoughts so far:
    – Quite apart from the fact that I think that I need the Gospel rather than the Gospel needing me, I can’t see how her comment about keeping out ‘the wrong people’ applies to ‘the narrow way’ (Matthew 7:13,14), and ‘the gates into the city’ ( Revelation 22:14-15)
    – ‘sinners saved by grace’- I have no dispute with that
    – ‘committed to tearing down walls’: I’m not sure what RHE means by ‘walls’. I think of them as spiritual strongholds and barriers in communication.
    – ‘throwing open the doors and saying ” Welcome!” ‘ This seems to agree with Jesus eating with ‘publicans and sinners’ (Mark 2:16), and the objections of the Pharisees to this, but it does not agree with 1 Corinthians 5:11. Not all are welcome in a place of worship (Matthew 21:12)
    – ‘It’s a kingdom for the hungry.’ This seems to agree with Matthew 5:6.

    I have several more thoughts which are certainly not PC so for now I will share those thoughts with God alone, in prayer 🙂

    • quinnjones2 says:

      Amendment: My RHE quote should read: ‘The Gospel does not need a coalition for keeping the wrong people out.’

      • William Fehringer says:

        Written from a church denomination seemingly intent on keeping the gospel out.

      • quinnjones2 says:

        Nice one, William 🙂

      • William Fehringer says:

        I usually resist snarkiness, particularly on blogs I don’t often comment on, but that one just popped in my head.

        I wonder how RHE’s affiliation with the ECUSA will affect her influence among evangelicals.

      • quinnjones2 says:

        Your comment gave me some welcome light relief. Yes, I also wonder how her affiliation with ECUSA will affect her influence with evangelicals, especially in the States. She has over 60K followers on Twitter, a number from the UK. So far, I haven’t come across anyone in our local parish who has even heard of her 🙂

      • quinnjones2 says:

        Local UK parish.

  16. mnpetersen37 says:

    I noticed in the Politics of Psalm 23 post that you use “YHVH” rather than “LORD” or “the Lord”, or “L-rd”, or any of the other possible spellings. Since reading Soulen’s book on Divine Names, and an earlier article of his, I’ve been interested in how we should write and pronounce (or not write and not pronounce) the Divine Name. If it wasn’t just a need to use some form, I’d be curious to hear why you decided on “YHVH”.

    • I principally use YHWH in contexts where I am concerned to emphasize God’s particularity as this covenant God. I am not referring to God in the generic terms of Deity or the Supreme Being, or even Lordship (a being who somehow stands behind all of the names that different religions give to him), but as the God who, over against the other gods, reveals himself through this particular history. I don’t use YHWH in a church context (in such cases I use ‘the LORD’), because this isn’t under the same threat.

      • mnpetersen37 says:

        Thanks! That’s helpful.

        What did you think of Soulen’s claim that we should use “LORD” rather than “the LORD” to indicate that “LORD” is a substitute for a name, not a title? (The LXX and the NT seem not to use an article.) We’ve been doing that in our Scripture reading, though not our Psalms singing, and it’s been helpful for me to hear it as a name.

      • I think it’s a good suggestion. In this case, however, habit tends to win out for me.

  17. The Man Who Was . . . says:

    A quote from Yoder I ran across:

    It is especially from the Anglican tradition that the rest of us have learned something of the pervasive intellectual power of the idea of the Incarnation. It has been a most impressive vision, to say that all human concerns have been divinely sanctioned and hallowed by God’s coming among us, taking our flesh. Gardening and the weather, our work and our family, the total fabric of our society—economics and warfare, have been bathed in the light of God’s presence. All of humanity is thus now seen to be good, wholesome, holy. This seems to a non-Episcopalian to be a deceptively incomplete way of saying something that is nonetheless deeply true. When God came among men He did not approve of and sanction everything, in ‘normal, healthy human society’; He did not make all human activity, not even all well-intentioned activity, a means of grace. There are some loyalties and practices which He rejected when He came among us.

    I think this illustrates the problem with the Yoder/Hauerwas position: it has to posit that some parts of the cosmos aren’t just touched with corruption, they’re irredeemably evil. So, for example, we can’t have secular communities pointing to and ultimately being fulfilled by the church.

    I wonder too if this doesn’t overidealize the church; its politics are often nasty in ways that can’t possibly be blamed on entanglement with secular government.

    NOTE: I use secular in the older sense.

    • I think that you are correct here. This is one reason why, despite condemning it so much, Hauerwas et al often have very little in the way of positive suggestions to make to the world of politics. As they say, you can’t beat something with nothing.

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