‘And the Word was made text, and the text was bound among us’

A Gospel reading from the first chapter of John, evangelical edition:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God.

All things were taught by the Word; and without the Word was not any thing taught that was taught.

In the Word was life; and the life was the light of men.

And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

And the Word was made text, and the text was bound among us, and we beheld its glory, the glory as of the only transcribed of the Father, full of inerrancy and truth.

And of its fulness have all we received, and inerrancy for inerrancy.

For the law was given by Moses, but inerrancy and truth came by the Word.

No man hath seen God at any time, the only transcribed text, which is from the bosom of the Father, it hath declared him.

(This is me, venting — letting off a bit of steam so I’ll be able to write a more substantive response to the horrifying bibliolatry being preached in reaction to Steve Chalke’s recent argument for honoring all marriages equally. “Christianity is not about a book,” Chalke said, and the emphatic reply from his evangelical brethren has been to insist that, Yes it is, yes it is, yes it is!)

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  • When I went to a conservative evangelical church, we were told (in so many words):
    The Bible is the Word of God.
    Jesus is the Word of God.
    Therefore, the Bible is Jesus.

    Now I’m an Episcopalian with strong poststructuralist tendencies.

  • banancat

    I just recently started a new job with good prospects and some measure of security and I so I decided to get serious about buying a house or condo, as maybe a 2 or 3 year goal.  And when I mention this, the first thing everyone says is to worry about resale.  I understand that is this economy if I get laid off and have to relocate for a job, it will be necessary to sell my house.  But I also want it to conform to my preferences since I finally get some say in it.

    I really want hard floors in every room.  To me, carpet is just too hard to really keep clean.  Hard floors with rugs are my dream.  But I’m embarrassed to even share this suggestion because others will just view me as some naive kid who doesn’t understand the almighty importance of resale value and what some hypothetical future buyer might want instead.  Maybe I’ll get the hard floors but keep a fund of cash so I can put in some carpet if/when I decide to sell it.

  • Because no man is an island, and making life less pleasant for your neighbors is antisocial behavior?

    (Now, I don’t have any issue with my neighbors painting their houses any color they like. But I grew up in a neighborhood where people would put offensive or dangerous things on their lawns, and respond to any suggestion that they oughtn’t to with “It’s Mah Pra-per-tee!” and pumping a shot gun.)

  •  And just to be clear, that’s not “There are some houses that expensive.”  That’s “There are no houses cheaper than”

  • You know, given that law (both written law and case law) has invalidated aspects of home-use covenents before, could someone get some of the more egregious HOA covenants invalidated in a civil suit for unreasonable infringement of use of property?

    Considering how sacred private property is to the American cultural gestalt, I’m surprised it hasn’t happened yet.

  • BaseDeltaZero

    You’d think, but modern usage of the “personal relationship” term seems specifically aimed at ending-around First Amendment provisions which have the legal effect of forcing the government to treat all stated religious faiths without favoritism, which of course some Christians just cannot abide.

    Are there not laws forbidding government favoritism on the basis of personal relationship?  I’d think if you used taxpayer funding to build a huge monument to your BFF, it would tend to raise some eyebrows…

    Huh? What on earth … how can that be a jailable offense, and not a simple fine, even if the municipiality set the rules and not the HOA? 

    The only concievable way I can see that is if the grass in question was toxic or otherwise potentially harmful.  But I’m not sure how many fulfil that criterium…



  • Lliira

     It’s not like letting people paint their houses whatever color they like is going to lead immediately to letting people have dangerous things on their front lawns. Our choices are not anarchy or totalitarianism.

  • Münchner Kindl

     It’s not a huge generalization, it’s called an average. It’s what you get when you add up prices for houses* in “in” places like California and “out” places like Idaho/ Kansas/ Detroit, and even them up.

    The example calculations by our banks for a building savings plan (showing how instead of paying a monthly rent, you can pay off your own house in 20-30 years and then own it forever) work with a price for house + ground of 300 000 Marks, now 150 000 Euros, which is split 50 000 for the ground, 100 000 for the house. In Upper Bavaria, with its wonderful scenery, you’re lucky to get the ground itself for 150 000, never mind the house; but in Lower Bavaria in the middle of nowhere and therefore no infrastructure, you can get ground much cheaper. And of course the house is the standard off the rack; any custom changes because it’s your house and so you want your own ideas will change the price. (This is mostly about buying the ground and building your house, not buying a pre-existing one).

    *Houses means average-sized one-family house. Not villa-like mansions, not multiple-flat houses that are rented out. This excludes most cities which don’t have single-family houses, only big houses with multiple flats, counting suburbs, outskirts and the countryside.

  • Münchner Kindl


    From the home owners’ perspective, I don’t see much difference between
    the city telling you to mow your lawn and your neighbors telling you to
    mow your lawn

    Why would the city care about mowing your lawn at all? Given the climate and if the city wants to avoid “scruffy” looking tangle -of-weeds, just write that the standard are desert-adapted plants which don’t grow into knee-high tangles; and that anybody who does want a lawn has to make sure it doesn’t grow beyond x inches (so it’s not wild-looking).

  • Dave W.

    And that, in a nutshell, is why I’ve been on the board of my HOA for the last 22 years.  I don’t have a burning desire to micromanage other people’s lives, but I figured that somebody needed to be running things, and the best way to keep the micromanagers out of power was if people like me were willing to run and serve. 
    We’re pretty relaxed about architectural variations – as a general rule, if you want to do something to your unit that doesn’t threaten the structural integrity of the buildings (that the HOA is responsible for), and that the people who will have to look at it are ok with, then we will generally approve it.  So if someone wants to do something in their back yard that will only be visible to the immediate neighbors, we’ll generally tell them to go talk to their neighbors on either side, and if the neighbors are willing to sign off on it, we’ll approve it.  Front doors and windows are a little more sensitive, because they are visible to everyone from the street, but even there we accommodate a much wider range of individual variations than previous boards did.  We’re not going to sweat minor color differences as long as you make a reasonable effort to blend in.  If you want to paint your front door chartreuse, we might want to talk with you in more detail first.

  • Dave W.

    Unfortunately, it takes a lot to get HOA covenants thrown out as unreasonable, although they are still subject to other laws.  So, for example, CC&Rs have to permit satellite dishes up to a certain size, because the dish manufacturers lobbied for a law that required that.  So any more restrictive conditions on dishes in older CC&Rs are null and void.  But in general, the courts have tended to side with “the right to contract” over “the right to do what you want with your property.”  The theory is that you got to review the CC&Rs when you bought your house, and if there was something in there you didn’t like, you should have called off the sale and bought somewhere else.

    There was a notorious court case in California several years back, where a woman had a cat in technical violation of a “no pets” clause in the CC&Rs.  The cat in question was an indoor cat who never went outside and never affected the other neighbors.  But the court sided with the HOA, and ruled that she would have to get rid of the cat.  A lot of us disagree with that ruling, but that’s the way the courts have tended to come down.

  • Cathy W

    I’ve seen studies of American housing prices that showed that over the long term – back to the ’20s, maybe? as long as we’ve had data to track both of the numbers involved, definitely – the median home sale price was almost exactly three times the median income (and I was told by a mortgage underwriter in 1997 – pre-bubble – that “3x household annual income” was a rule of thumb for how much mortgage you could afford, and the bank would look more closely at your mortgage application if you were borrowing even 3.01 times your income.)

    Sometime around 2000, that number started to go up, and that should have been the first sign that someone in the financial sector was up to something. Right before the market crashed, the multiplier was up to something like 5 – and the housing market will probably not be healthy again until it’s back down to 3, which will hurt a lot of people who bought when the multiplier was higher because we’re sure not getting there by raising incomes…

    …also, the prevailing ethic used to be that your mortgage should be paid down/off as quickly as possible, but at some point that switched to “your house is building equity! Pull that cash out, it’s not doing you any good sitting there being a house!” I found that appalling – perhaps, again, because I intend to stay in my house? But also, the idea of putting my home at risk so I could buy a boat or go on vacation seemed self-evidently bad.

  • Kiba

    I really want hard floors in every room.  To me, carpet is just too hard to really keep clean.  Hard floors with rugs are my dream.

    You and me both! I hate carpet. Hate it. Give me hardwood floors (tile in the bathroom and in the kitchen) any day.

  • That sort of tendency by courts to rule in favor of HOAs is a clear sign that they are endorsing the culturally accepted tendency to take the word of the organization or person with more power over the person with less.

  • Münchner Kindl


    …also, the prevailing ethic used to be that your mortgage should be
    paid down/off as quickly as possible, but at some point that switched to
    “your house is building equity! Pull that cash out, it’s not doing you
    any good sitting there being a house!”

    That was never advertised here. The normal mortgage runs for 20 to 30 years; the standard used to be that between 20 and 30 you finished studying or apprenticeship, got a steady job, found yourself a spouse, and built a house in the countryside; for the next 30 years, you lived in a nice house raising the kids, and at age 65, when you retired to lower pension, your debt was fully paid off, so you could live with less money. (Left out was the possibility that after 30 years, the house might need major expensive work…)
    A recent variant was that after the kids had grown up and moved out, and since living in a big house in the country away from infrastructure sucks for older people, the paid-off house is sold and the pensioneers use that money to buy a small 2-room apartment in the city, which can be easily cleaned, and has public transport and easy access to nursing services available.

    Today, most people, even with good training and degrees, can no longer get lifelong jobs, only 1 or 2-year contracts, and often have to relocate elsewhere. This understandably makes them hesitant to commit to a family or a 30-year mortgage, so less stable families or homes are built.

    The shocks from the financial crisis was not because people here speculated unwisely, but because of the bundeling and selling of hundreds of mortgages and debts, without telling people about it. Some couples who had paid off each months for years got a shock when their local Sparkasse/ savings bank had sold their mortgage to some anonymous bank or debt collector who despite good behaviour suddenly cancelled it and sold the house. After the uproar that caused, a law was quickly passed to make this behaviour illegal.

  • Tricksterson

    So Charlie Parker is God?  That’s certainly an idea my father could have gotten behind.  And there is a Church of St. John Coltrane.

  • P J Evans

     The 3x rule is the one I grew up with. It’s at least sane in terms of keeping money and housing balanced. (But in a lot of areas it really does limit your choices.)

  • No, of course not. But if I’m going to say that “But it’s Mah Pra-per-tee!” isn’t a valid defense of putting whatever the fuck you want on your lawn, then I’m pretty much signing up to let