Reading the language of creation

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I’m at the Conference on Classical Lutheran Education in Cheyenne, Wyoming, the theme of which this year is “A Pedagogy of Truth.”  Our keynote speaker is Rev. John Hill, who is giving a brilliant series of lectures on the concept of truth according to the Bible (delving deeply into the original languages), the Lutheran Confessions, and Christian theology in general.  His message is not just “truth is objective!” in a simplistic end-of-the-discussion sort of way.  Rather, he shows that the Biblical notion of truth is rich, complex, and provocative.  (If Christians want to counter the postmodernist view that truth is relative, they need to understand what the Christian view of truth really entails.  Rev. Hill has got to publish these lectures.  CPH editors, take notice.)

Here is one example. . . .Creation, he says, is God’s speech.  As the Bible teaches, God created the universe by His Word (e.g., Psalm 33:6).  Rev. Hill quoted Luther’s Commentary on Genesis, in which Luther says that “God speaks reality.”  When we speak, Luther said, in grammatical language. But God’s speech involves things coming into being.  We are all words of God.  The created word is spoken by the uncreated Word.

The connection of creation to language is evident in those beautiful but puzzling words of Psalm 19:

The heavens declare the glory of God,
    and the sky above[a] proclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours out speech,
    and night to night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words,
    whose voice is not heard.
Their voice goes out through all the earth,
    and their words to the end of the world.

So all creation is a kind of language.  But to whom is God speaking in the language of creation?  To us! Rev. Hill said that human beings “are meant to hear and to read this language.”

He tossed off this provocative statement and moved on to a related topic.  But notice what we have here:  a new way to think about learning!  a theology of education! [Read more…]

“What are your preferred pronouns?”

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In the Disco era, the opening get-to-know-you line was “What’s your sign?”  Before that, it was “What do you do for a living?”  Or “where are you from?”  Now in our gender-fluid era we are told to ask “What are your preferred pronouns?”

Not just “he-his-him” and “she-her-her-”, which must now be used according to the person’s preference rather than biology, but also the newly-coined pronouns invented to fit the new gender smorgasbord or the canons of gender neutrality: “ze-hir-hir”; “ze-zem-zir”;  “ey-eir-em”; etc., etc.

What’s unsettling is that this suggestion comes from the Canadian police.  Our friendly neighbor to the north has passed a law that potentially criminalizes addressing someone with the wrong pronouns, counting it as a hate crime. [Read more…]

Leftist fundamentalism

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David Gushee is a religion journalist, on the liberal side of things, who has long criticized “fundamentalists.”  That’s mainly a derogatory term for religious conservatives, with additional connotations of legalism, narrow-mindedness, and extremism.  It’s usually not a fair term to use, though it originally simply meant adherence to certain “fundamental” Christian doctrines and is a name embraced by a certain faction of Baptists.  It is also used for other religions, as in “Muslim fundamentalists.”

But now Mr. Gushee is worried about “left-wing fundamentalism,” a kind of rigidly doctrinaire progressivism that is also legalistic, narrow-minded, and extremist.

He discusses the ball park Congressional shooting, the gay pride event that kicked out gay jews, the celebrities fantasizing about killing the president, the behavior of leftwing social media, and the totalitarian thought-police on college campuses.  Then he says why this leftist fundamentalism is so harmful.  For one thing, it hurts the image of Democrats!  See his other reasons after the jump.

I would just add that the hard-left always polices people’s words and thoughts, to the point of violence and suppression.  Just look at the record of left-wing regimes–see the Soviet Union, China, Cuba, East Germany, the other Iron Curtain governments.   Such tactics follow logically from Marxist and post-Marxist ideology and should be expected in people who hold to those beliefs.  A true believer will consider freedom, human rights, individualism, and the rule of law to be bourgeois values that the revolution must suppress.

But it’s a healthy development in the language that the word “fundamentalism” can now be applied to the left. [Read more…]

Liberalism’s obsession with language

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Camille Paglia is a feminist, a leftist, a lesbian, an atheist. . . .And yet she is a harsh critic of today’s feminists, leftists, gays, and atheists.

A new interview with her in the Weekly Standard offers some fascinating takes on Donald Trump (whom she defends), Democrats (whom she criticizes), Transgenderism (which she says is impossible), and Islamic terrorism (which she accuses liberals of whitewashing).

After the jump, a sample, giving her response to a question about why liberals are so squeamish about criticizing Islam.  This gets into a further discussion about political correctness and what happened to the left.  “Today’s liberalism,” she says, is “all about reducing individuals to a group identity” and “defining that identity in victim terms.” [Read more…]

The new religiosity

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An academic journal published an article by a scholar arguing that if there is “trangenderism,” in which a person’s sexual identity is determined by an individual’s choice, then there also needs to be “transracialism,” in which a person’s racial identity is a matter of an individual’s choice.  Though the article is impeccably liberal, it brought out the “outrage mobs,” who forced both the journal editors and the scholar to do penance for their sins.

At the end of a discussion of this particular case, Nathanael Blake draws some close parallels between the “outrage mobs” and a particular kind of religiosity, one that is all about purity and language taboos, but lacking a concept of grace or redemption. [Read more…]

Profanity and politics

swearing-294391_640Politicians are now using the whole array of four-letter words in their speeches. President Trump does it, but Democrats seem to be doing it as a purposeful, repeated, and calculated rhetorical ploy.

Why is so much of our political discourse adopting profanity?  What does it mean this this is happening?

Click the link after the jump.  (I won’t quote from the article, since it includes the words that it decries, and this violates the high standards of decorum that characterize this blog!  So don’t click that link if would be offended.) [Read more…]