In Praise of Fat Pastors was a great post at the Gospel Coalition. But then Jared Wilson had to go and ruin it for me. Last paragraph:
So no, I am not advocating gluttony here, just a Christward self-disregard, a godly un-self-consciousness…
No, you’re not advocating gluttony because nothing you are writing about has anything remotely to do with gluttony. The Bible never associates gluttony with fat but with profligate spending and thus the temptation to crime as a way to support oneself. It associates gluttony with the laziness of refusing to work for a living, not a refusal to use the gym.
Since I’m posting on this anyway, I’ll make another comment about Jared’s post: It is simply a fact that fat or otherwise unattractive pastors are rarely going to be hired. If you want to get into ministry and are not young or hip or skinny or handsome you need to go into a denomination where you get assigned to a congregation by a bishop or some other authority. If you are relying on a congregation to call you, you are up against bad odds. Jared’s anecdote about the pastor who wore his pants too high is nice, but that’s an anomaly.
The people who cultivate the godly attitude, which Jared rightly commends, are people who don’t have calls and are working odd jobs to pay off money borrowed to pay for a useless seminary degree.
Nothing Jared said is wrong; but I’m telling you the way it is.
I suppose my advice would be to cultivate self-disregard and then cover it with a layer of savviness about acquiring gainful employment. I guess that means your example will be somewhat distorted. So you’ll have to decide what you think about the trade-offs in your quest for a church ministry.
Without the Federal Government businesses would sell pretend medicine pills that are really useless white powder. They would even sell poison as medicine that would kill babies.
Isn’t it great that all these homicidal fraudsters and stupidly vulnerable dupes can come together and form a government that is so competent and ethical that it can save us from all this stuff we would do to ourselves without it? We can be sure such homicidal plotters would combine their votes with the easy marks to get exactly the kind of government that would restrain the homicidal and protect the marks, but never one that would provide cover for the homicidal and false security to the marks.
This story by my co-worker Phil Hodges has me shaking with rage.
We see people wringing their hands in the media (often to the point of absurdity) about violent video games. But then when some real boy is discovered who actually can survive and work in meatspace, they try to imprison him and basically destroy his life.
The modern state is pursuing the formation of a domesticated male. And they are willing to get brutal to get what they want.
One of the ways that Dispensationalists pretend their position is not only right, but the standard for orthodoxy, is to give a novel name to traditional Christian theology. Rather than admit that the Church throughout the ages, outside of their own recent sect, has understood the Church as the new Israel, the label such a view “Replacement Theology.”
Within the Reformed Tradition, the attempt to import Dispensational ideas about the difference between law and gospel is using a similar tactic. People who believe, as Christians have always believed until recently, that Jesus is Lord of all of life, are being called “Transformationalists.”
Wall Street is clear about who’s to blame for the government shutdown and a looming debt default: tea party Republicans.
What’s less clear is what Wall Street can do about it.
The reality is that deep-pocketed financial services executives and their lobbyists have little leverage against tea party lawmakers who don’t much care for financiers or big banks and don’t rely heavily on the industry for campaign cash.
“Those are the ones who are most problematic for Boehner,” one D.C.-based lobbyist who represents financial services clients said of tea party lawmakers. “I don’t think there’s any way for Wall Street to punish the 25 to 50 hard core House Republicans. It’s not like [Reps. Steve] Stockman and Tim Huelskamp are doing a lot of Goldman Sachs events. I don’t think Justin Amash cares if Bank of America gives to him or not.”
The rise of tea party lawmakers’ influence is a shift from years past when the Republican party was more business friendly and could be counted on by Wall Street to give great weight to its concerns.
For many members of Congress, wooing wealthy Wall Street donors and financial services PACs is a routine part of their reelection efforts and a source of frustration for industry critics who view this largesse as standing in the way of reforms. The reputation of the banking industry has taken a beating since the financial crisis, but it nevertheless remains a powerful lobbying force in Washington thanks in part to its generous political donations.
But the industry feels powerless when it comes to dealing with some members of the tea party, who are immune from one of Wall Street’s most potent tools: campaign donations.
“The extreme radicals are going to get reelected because they come from districts where they don’t need to raise that much money,” said Greg Valliere, chief political strategist of the Potomac Research Group. “This new tea party movement is not particularly pro-business. They certainly are not pro-Wall Street and pro-big banks. That is a new strain in the Republican party that worries many on Wall Street.”
The heads of big banks — including Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein and JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon — met with President Barack Obama on Wednesday to discuss the shutdown, debt ceiling and other issues. They are also expected to meet with some lawmakers as part of gatherings organized by the Financial Services Forum — a group that represents the heads of large banks and insurance companies.
So despite all the Occupy Wall Street propaganda and the exaltation of Elizabeth Warren and all the other anti-Wall-Street posers, it is all really an act. So-called Leftists are wetting their pants at the thought of a movement that might truly fight against the Wall-Street-Washington-DC industrial complex. They’re all a pack of hypocrites.
The real voice of the 99 percent is the tea party.
I picked up John Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion some years back. Dipping into it, I anticipated a dry, grim, and doctrinaire treatise. Perhaps because I came to it with such low expectations, the books surprised me. I found the Institutes surprisingly accessible, written by a lively, engaged mind. I anticipated the argument of the books to be tightly wound around the theme of God’s sovereignty—with the focus on God’s glory coming at the expense of humanity’s abasement. Instead, as in Martin Luther’s treatment of predestination, I found that God’s sovereignty and the doctrine of predestination played a manifestly pastoral role in Calvin’s theology. The focus was not on obliterating the human, but rather underscoring God’s great love for his people in rescuing humanity from death, darkness, and despair. The upshot of the doctrine as I read Calvin was “This is a God you can trust.”
Similarly, although the PCA issued a fevered condemnation of Federal-Vision theology at the national level, she hasn’t been able to find any local individual who holds to what she condemned. Men tried for Federal-Vision leanings are always exonerated.
In this post, on a different topic, a denomination (The Presbyterian Church in America) that makes a general statement about an alleged movement is compared to WalMart having a national return policy that individual stores won’t uphold.
The analogy is breathtaking. Rather than criticize it, I will simply point out a couple of other analogies that are more apt.
One is the child-abuse hysteria of the nineties where we would see huge media stories about satanic covens, ritual abuse, and all sort of other even weirder allegations. Then when it came time to prosecute in a court of law, it was all revealed to be a tissue of insane falsehoods. Naturally, the prosecutors never backed down even after being humiliated, and kept braying about he guilt of the people whose lives had been ruined by their own gossip production.
But there is another element. It is really like a law that bans violence against homosexuals where the law is vague enough that, if they can get the jury to cooperate, it will actually be possible to prosecute people not for real violence, but rather for Christian ministers preaching against homosexuality from their pulpits on the basis of the Bible. Then, when the juries refuse to convict these ministers, the prosecutors loudly complain about lawless judges and/or juries who refuse to uphold the law.
The fact is the PCA acknowledges on Bible and one group of doctrinal standards (Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms). When a man is tried by a presbytery it is according to Scripture and the secondary standards. There is a process for reforming those standards, but it can’t be done by one General Assembly voting to approve one study committee (even if that study committee hadn’t been stacked to get the “right verdict” beforehand). So when it comes to trial, you actually have to prove a case. The GA can’t send out a drone to assassinate your target for you.
Christians in the Middle East and Africa are being slaughtered, tortured, raped, kidnapped, beheaded, and forced to flee the birthplace of Christianity. One would think this horror might be consuming the pulpits and pews of American churches. Not so. The silence has been nearly deafening.
And why that silence among conservative Evangelicals? Easy. Conservative Evangelicals supported Bush, then McCain, then Romney. Bush started the “Sunni turn” in 2007 (assuming it wasn’t the plan all along and he just took a brief break), McCain… I don’t have to say anything more…, and Romney was openly in favor of the same intervention in Syria (and elsewhere). Unless we get a Rand Paul miracle the next GOP president will pursue the same policy. Obama is simply following the same playbook as any other president of the “two parties.”
American Christians would rather just keep quiet while American policy promotes the mass slaughter of Christians rather than give up their warmonger Republicans or their Zionism.
What do you suspect God thinks of that choice?
What is more maddening is that the same Christian groups will speak about the importance of the Gospel “for all of life” and say that Christians should work for public justice are the same populations that are doing virtually nothing on this issue.
Decisions have consequences. When Christians decided to care little and do less about Christians in Iraq, we did something to our consciences that is growing and spreading among us. We committed ourselves to a path that can only lead to a worse place.