Jan 9, 2014

Therapy's a synonym for 'sanctification': Thursday links

Defending the Wesleyan tradition of therapeutic Christianity:
There is the problem of Smith's and Denton's use of the adjective therapeutic to describe modern spirituality. Within the Wesleyan tradition, the accent has been on the transformation that occurs in sanctification rather than justification. This is not to say that a doctrine of justification is absent, but the emphasis is on the therapeutic effects of sanctifying grace, which heals the disordered emotion and desire of the soul through the union with Christ the Spirit brings about. The primary focus of Christ's atoning activity is the sinful condition from which humans must be delivered rather than the guilt that invariably emerges from such a condition. Hence the focus on perfect love ruling all the tempers, as Wesley would say . . . In other words, there is a strong tradition of therapeutic Christianity within Christian tradition (First Things).
Goin' to church movies:
By the 1920s, Protestant church leaders, pointing to films such as Cecil B. DeMille's bedroom dramas, were saying that Hollywood was 'antagonistic to the faith' and 'spreading a moral blight across America.' Churches began to install projection equipment and show wholesome films to parishioners at church, hoping that 'sold-out sanctuaries would persuade Hollywood that churchgoers were a ready market for inspirational and biblical movies.' Romanowski explains that 'church-oriented films . . . had an unimpressive track record,' but the effort resurfaced over and over (Christianity Today).
Christian ethics, vaccinations and a blood-donation lie:
While the healthy unvaccinated children of wealthy parents may well survive the mumps, measles, or rubella, their infant siblings, elderly grandparents, immunocompromised relatives and pregnant neighbors may not be so lucky. It is never for the young and vigorous that we sit still for the needle; it's for the mother who works too many hours for too little pay to shuttle her child to doctor's visits for booster shots, or for the gentleman sharing the subway handrail with us who happens to have a weakened immune system. 
It's for that same reason that I lied (The Nervous Breakdown). 
Towards a politics of kindness:
Condemnation by category is the lowest form of hatred, for it is cold-hearted and abstract, lacking the heat and even the courage of a personal hatred. Categorical condemnation is the hatred of the mob, which makes cowards brave. And there is nothing more fearful than a religious mob overflowing with righteousness, as there was at the crucifixion and has been before and since. This mob violence can happen only after we have made a categorical refusal of kindness to heretics, foreigners, enemies, or any other group different from ourselves.

Kindness is not a word much at home in current political and religious speech, but it is a rich word and a necessary one . . . In the Gospels the sinfulness of all humans is assumed. It is neediness that is exceptional, and in Jesus’ ministry need clearly takes a certain precedence over sin (Christian Century).
Problems with conservative Christian arguments against the minimum wage:
Obviously, this is radically oversimplified, but the overall structure of our economy looks something like this: increasing profitability has gone almost entirely to increased compensation at the higher levels of income over the last few decades, while wages have stagnated at the low end, with income inequality approaching its highest levels in a century. Were there the sense of justice and the will to do so, wages could be adjusted (The Sword and the Ploughshare).
Dinesh D'Souza, disgraced president of The King's College, hawking fake Christmas trees: