Musings of an Anglican/Episcopal Priest

Month: August 2005 (Page 3 of 3)

Comments from whitehall

whitehall: “Good practices (to say nothing of “best” practices) are hardly discernible among any of the various parties in the Episcopal Church these days. Too often conservatives cling so tightly to doctrine that they lose their grip on charity. Too often liberals talk about “inclusivity”, “diversity”, and “tolerance” out of one side of their mouths, while clamoring out the other side of their mouths for the ouster of those they deem intolerably anachronistic.”


titusonenine: “Americans are noted for broad humour, or slapstick. Yesterday I picked up an online news report from New Jersey titled “Is Marriage Old Fashioned?” The reporter asked four local religious figures whether they thought cohabitation equally acceptable to marriage. Father Lou Scurti, a Roman Catholic priest, said No, it was not. An Evangelical Reverend with the wonderful name Yeathus Johnson, reminded the interviewer of the biblical injunction to “honor the marriage bed.” Mr. Mohammed El-Filali stated: “From a Muslim perspective cohabitation is not permissible at all.” Riding to the rescue of the cohabiters was the Rev. Ronnie Stout-Kopp, of Christ Church (Episcopal): “I think, from the perspective of a modern female priest … there isn’t a problem with people cohabiting or ‘trying it on for size,’ so to speak.” My wife said to me: “This is a joke, isn’t it?” No, it isn’t. It’s the Episcopal Church that is a joke.”

slacktivist: L.B.: Tin men

slacktivist: L.B.: Tin men: “Tin men

Please forgive a brief aside, we’ll pick up again on page 129 this week in a second post. Here I want to explore a theory about the theological foundations of Bad Writing and, in particular, Bad Evangelical Writing. As it turns out, I doubt this theory applies to LaHaye and Jenkins, but bear with me.

In the last installment, we followed Buck Williams on an impossible journey across central New Jersey to Manhattan, which seems distorted and immense — like Greenland on a Mercator map. I grew up in central Jersey, in Dunellen, just a few blocks from the commuter train that Buck may or may not have ridden, so the garbled, unreal geography of that section hit, well, close to home.

Gershom Gorenberg had a similar response to the Left Behind series. Gorenberg lives in Jerusalem where he is, among other things, an editor with The Jerusalem Post. He happened to be on vacation in the Galilee, near Tiberias, while reading the third book in LaHaye and Jenkins’ series, Nicolae: Rise of the Antichrist.

Gorenberg reads that Buck Williams, ‘would find who he was looking for in Galilee, which didn’t really exist anymore.’ But it gets worse:

A couple minutes later I’m giggling again: Now Buck has decided to make the three-hour journey to ‘Tiberius’ (sic) by boat — one of the many touring boats that, in the book, ply the Jordan River. Which would be fine if the Jordan were really ‘deep and wide,’ as the song goes, but in reality it’s a narrow trickle not fit for navigating.

The experience is jarring, like meeting someone who calls you by your name, insists he knows you, remembers you from a high school you didn’t attend, a job you never had. I’m reading a book set largely in the country where I live — but not really, because the authors’ Israel is a landscape of their imagination, and the characters called ‘Jews’ might as well be named hobbits or warlocks. Israel and Jews are central to Nicolae and the other books of the hugely successful Left Behind series — but the country belongs to the map of a Christian myth; the people speak lines from a script foreign to flesh-and-blood Jews.

That’s from Gorenberg’s fascinating book The End of Days: Fundamentalism and the Struggle for the Temple Mount. (Gorenberg has a lot more to say about LB and the apocalyptic obsession of folks like L&J, so we’ll be getting back to him and End of Days a bit more down the line.)”

the New Pantagruel: Hymns in the Whorehouse

Check out tNP’s book list

the New Pantagruel: Hymns in the Whorehouse: “Recommended Books

Here you can find books that have been reviewed or mentioned in tNP, books by tNP editors and authors, and other noteworthy items picked by tNP editors.

A portion of all proceeds on books purchased through these links willl go to tNP and help support our operations. To shop on for any item with a commission returned to tNP, go to Amazon here.”

Look Out for the Luddite Label

From 1997Look Out for the Luddite Label: “The ultimate purpose of labeling some approaches to technical practice as anti-technology or Luddism is not difficult to discern. Applying the decals of opprobrium-romantic, unrealistic, negative-to dissenters effectively excludes them from policy debates. When those who have serious reservations about the latest high-tech development are marginalized and stigmatized, the juggernaut of ill-considered change can proceed unimpeded.”

Questioning Progress

Read it all. . .
Questioning Progress: “Neo-Luddite questions, however, go further back, to why we want this technology in the first place and whether it does what it promises. Neo-Luddites come closer, that is, to confronting the advocates of advancing technology on their own ground. In The Road Ahead, his wide-eyed survey of the information kingdom to come, Bill Gates notes that some people have misgivings and deals with them as technological optimists have always done: he says that ‘progress’ is inevitable and assures us that we have always managed to adapt to it. What is coming, Gates wants us to believe, is at the same time utterly new and utterly familiar. In particular, we are going to get more of our familiar consumerism. This is the major benefit Gates promises. In what he calls ‘friction-free capitalism,’ I will be able to contact anyone in the world who has anything to sell simply by jotting my want ad on my ‘wallet PC.’ Of course, the power to buy anything from anyone must put everyone in the world in competition in the race to use up whatever is available. Gates sees no peril here. ‘All the goods in the world,’ he writes, ‘will be available for you to examine. . . . It will be a shopper’s heaven.’ But the competitive consumer market has mined, burned, eaten, wasted, and poisoned so much of the planet in the last five headlong decades that its very endowment for life is depleted. Gates doesn’t see this or think it relevant. His technology is protected from criticism by the assumptions of classical economics, which refuses to track ‘goods’ back to their sources in nature. The mesmerizing effect of Gates’s vision is so strong, moreover, that even skeptical observers fail to see past it to its planetary effects. Writing in the February 15, 1995, New York Review of Books, James Fallows surveyed Gates’s critics (including Clifford Stoll) without ever raising the obvious question: whether we or the planet can afford to have us heighten our economic appetites. “

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