Mother Hubbard's Cupboard

A look into the mind of one of the most random, crazy people in all the land.

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Location: East Peoria, Illinois, United States

A Lutheran seminarian eagerly awaiting the return of Our Lord. Soli Deo Gloria!

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Colbert Report on "Better Know a Lobbyist"

The Gay Lobbyist. Shared with me by McG. I was interested in how the lobbyist was stumped by a question (even though a joke) about contraception.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Gay Marriage, Abortion, School Violence, Euthenasia...are They Really Random?

I love how my ethics class seems to intersect many areas of my life. Two weeks ago the topic was abortion. This week, the topic is sexual morality and same-sex marriage. It was not until debating with an atheist on youtube over the issue of gay marriage that I realized several things that I think have led to our current predicament. These thoughts were assisted in "coagulation," by Chris McGarvey, though I alone bear the burdon of error.

1. The modern world, particularly the West, has lost an understanding of the nature of "cause and effect."
2. The "modern mind" is actually "post-modern" (what I was describing as "existentialist"). By "existentialism," I am referring to that general philosophical worldview that has several points: A. There is no God. B. The existence of a being occurred before its essence...that is to say you have no soul apart from your physical existence or life experience. C. The structure of the universe is dynamic chaotic. This means that the universe has natural laws only to the point that they do not change. We can predict they will remain the same universally, we cannot claim knowledge of such a thing. D. Our fundamental worth as human beings comes about by our participation in an earthly relationship. E. ALL things are relative.
3. Starting from the 1950s with the influence of Freud on sexuality (McG argued even earlier in the 1930s with the advent of birth control which made reproduction a choice as opposed to a fundamental aspect of marital happiness), sex began to be spoken of apart from the action of sex. This allowed for sex education to focus on the nature of the organs and their functions without actually talking about the physical act. In 1957, Sputnik was launched, and the introduction of evolutionary theory into public education became mandatory...because knowing we came from Old World Monkeys is vital to rocket science!
4. In the 1960s, the sexual liberation occurred. This separated the act of sex from the bounds of marriage in a social movement and context. Relationships existed, but they were fundamentally based around individuals seeking pleasure. Such pleasure focused on the gaining of pleasure using someone else (even if they consented) rather than sharing in the pleasure.
5. In 1973, the United States Supreme Court overrode every state ban on abortion (some would argue unconstitutionally) and made abortion legal (with some stipulations). Now, not only was the act of reproduction a choice with regard to its first step, now the act after the first step was a choice.
6. In the late 1980s-1990s and today, there is a fundamental rise in school violence, in overall societal respect for one another, and towards human life in general. Many of those individuals who committed the school shootings that were big (Columbine, etc.) were self-avowed evolutionists, atheists, etc. This time period is roughly one generation after the Roe v. Wade decision.
7. Now: The redeffinition of marriage is in the public mind. Gay marriage is considered by some to be another step in the ruination of society. In other minds, to ban it is seen as cruel, discriminatory, and an issue of civil rights.

What can we take from this? I put them in this order for a reason. The fundamental issue here isn't even gay marriage (for Christians it really isn't about a philosophical worldview - a la sin), but the worldview of post-modernism/hyper-existentialism (I'll say "hyper-existentialism" to differentiate the view of existentialism that is actually helpful towards scholarship and is constructive and in some ways united with Christianity). Post-modernism speaks to our needs about community. It recognizes we need a community to be whole. This is clearly in line with Genesis when God says, "it is not good for man to be alone." The institution of marriage by God himself at the creation is fundamental to this community. While not all are married, the Christian view espoused by St. Paul is that virginity is a higher gift than marriage...meaning it is a special grace of God. The default goal however, is marriage.

Such separation in the modern mind however of sex and marriage or sex and reproduction, has led to a disastrous situation. Those supporting gay marriage don't even realize they're stepping into a trap! They believe that by simply redefining the word and making it legal, it becomes good and right. What they really look for is legitimacy in the eyes of society. Why? Because at least a generation ago, the traditional family began to break down. Now these sorry people are trying to find legitimacy in the highest authority they know...the society. Don't get me wrong, there are homosexuals out there who claim to be Christian, but aside from the fact that they are not, those who defend gay marriage don't need to argue usually with religious folk....they know they'll lose. They'll argue politically, using the assumption that God is for their literature and you'll see this. If the spiritual "Father" is for you, then it only stands that your earthly father be for you support your decision and value you. Sadly, many lack this or don't see it as inherent within their father...instead the government is the highest form of authority figure, and since the government in this country is a democracy, to affect the law is to assume the legitimacy of the idea in the minds of the people.

Of course many would disagree with me. They would say I'm being bigotted or mean spirited. Consider further on top of the historic argument, these:
1. In nations that have adopted same-sex marriage, less than 10% (being generous) enter into it. Therefore they don't take advantage of the estate...they wanted legitimacy in the public's eyes. Maggie Gallagher's iMAPP has statistics of this kind.
2. To redefine gay marriage in the eyes of the law is to assume that the law alone was responsible for its origin and structure. Many see that view of history as highly speculative, arguing instead that the law simply recognized what the religious institution and biological relationships already other words, God/religion instituted it or at least dealt with it because of its role in giving life.
3. The Ancient Greeks and Romans were practitioners of homosexuality. Read Petronius's "The Satyricon" if you don't believe me (on second thought, don't. It's quite disturbing.). Yet even though they practiced...they never made it legal. How long did their civilizations last?
4. Gay marriage would alter the very nature of marriage and legally separate the insitution from the initial role of child-producing and raising. While there are heterosexuals who cannot have children, this is an exception, and laws should not be fundamentally based upon exceptions.
5. If I grant that I can only marry a consenting adult, what is to stop polygamy/polyandry or incest? If we're consenting and marriage isn't about reproduction, why not?
6. While the law in the U.S. defends your right to pursue happiness, it does not grant rights on the basis OF happiness. To say that you must be married to be happy is a stretch...especially if sexuality has been separated from marriage. Instead, the law recognizes the social contract nature of the institution. Yet still, traditional marriage, even done before a judge, has to do with committment, not happiness.
7. Marriage is not just is religious. Even marriages done before a judge usually have a Bible or Quran or some mention of "God." One must also take up the argument with religions.
8. The financial benefits granted in marriage are not a justification to get married...that would be using an institution or person to an end...Kant's Deontology theory would say that is wrong. For those instances when individuals are not allowed to see their friend/lover in the hospital, this should be lifted for all people regardless of their sexual preference...I would want to see my best friend even though I am not a lover nor family member.
9. To redefine marriage is to think we can redefine words and change what they really mean. I can redefine colors, but this won't change what I was initially talking will shift to a different thing.
10. Gays have the same marriage rights as straights....they can marry a member of the opposite gender.

But again, we are left with a quandy...what do these have in common? The breakdown of the family and the injection of anti-Christian ideas into our culture. Because people in the West are lazy, we have swallowed it all, hook, line, and sinker...because we don't bother to analyze what we think about anything. Talk to someone sometime about anything difficult or involved (politics, theology, etc.), and you'll soon find that the vast majority of people in the West do not have a coherent worldview. If they do, it tends to be post-modernism. It is sometimes good to talk to those who have a consistent worldview...because then you can actually talk!

God showed us what marriage is and what it is for. The church is Christ's bride, and with Him present in the Gospel message, new children are brought into the faith and family. It is for this reason that John's Gospel becomes poignant for us when Christ is on the cross. He gives His rightful mother over to St. John to protect and care for...and He gave St. John to her....St. John became adopted, or brought in to the earthly family of Christ just as we are adopted in a similar way to God the Father. Hence, the church's mother, the Theotokos is our best image of what it means to be a full woman. With Christ as the New Adam and the Blessed Virgin as the New Eve, the initial created order is not only fixed, but moved beyond its original bounds. God truly becomes "Our Father" again. The bond between a man and a woman in Holy Matrimony is one of the greatest and closest bonds in creation. The other bond is between the mother and her child. It is for this reason that both abortion and homosexuality is abhorrent. They are denials of God and our renewed natures in Christ!

As we live in this Easter Season where we celebrate our new life in the Resurrection, so to we should remember the growth of Christ in the Virgin's womb.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Sir Lancelot Attacks!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Phrases No LCMS Church In Their Right Mind Would Use

The title says it all:
1) "Make a decision for Jesus." - Haven't seen this yet, but some have said it is in some Ablaze!(tm) literature...if it's not, let me know.
2) "Biblical principles." - Used by Epic Church ( ...this just paves the way for sermon series on finances, marriage, etc. It wouldn't be so bad if it were talking about a Bible Study...but it's the SERMON!
3) "Bigger Heaven tomorrow." - Used in the Salem Lutheran Ablaze!(tm) service. Now, I don't know about you, but this language just strikes me as just a by this statement. Maybe it's just me being paranoid....but something about it doesn't seem quite theologically right.
4) Not a quote, but comparing the verse "they will know that we are Christians by our Love" with simply respecting people. We do acts of mercy and compassion...simply respecting misses the whole point of "agape!" - Used in the Salem Lutheran Ablaze!(tm) service.
5) "Purpose Driven Church for People who Don't Go to Church." - Used by Jefferson Hills you're saying you aren't a church? Are you saying that other churches aren't "Purpose Driven"...whatever the heck that even means?

Now this list is only a group of five...but that's also from a cursory examination of several churches...ones which I would HIGHLY recommend anyone following the "Issues, etc.", look into.
1) Jefferson Hills Church - in particular, you should check out (This and This are interesting...particularly the ones about the billboards).
2) Epic Church - I see no mention of Holy Communion on their webpage...only how boring the old way of doing church is. I do see they have a "relevant" youth ministry though...especially the names "Momentum" and "Excelerate." How about one for the college youth, "Hyperspace" or "Extremeinate!"
3) Water's Edge - Many of the sermons are...interesting. They really get at the heart of Lutheran pastoral theology (you know, Law/Gospel, Sacraments, prayer, faith, etc.). Especially the hits at the "old way of doing church" which according to I believe the March 9th sermon can't grow the church.

Now, I'm no expert on Lutheran theology or anything, but I do find it troubling that churches such as Jefferson Hills looks to Willow Creek for their inspiration (you know, that church that came out and criticized its own methods of "doing church?"). I also find it troubling that the pattern of Christianity for centuries is being broken here....we change for the culture now? We change to be relevant? I'm sorry, but I got the distinct impression St. Polycarp and St. Ignatius of Antioch gave a raspberry to that idea. The church has historically dealt with change as it has come, either passively if it were not harmful or actively in her preaching or apologetic writing if it was harmful.

I also find this idea truly strange: We seem to be trying to "do church" as if we're non-denominational megachurches (even if some of the churches above have less than 300 members), yet we're making use in our attempt to be relevant of Emergent ideas or language. Of course, one of the Emergent ideas is that Protestantism is bankrupt in her worship life...thus RETURNING to liturgical worship and ancient prayer practice. So let me get this straight...Confessionals are hammered for being "dogmatic" on the nature of the Divine Service (and for those who look at this blog and think, "oh boy, another one who thinks the liturgy has never changed," think again. I'm not defending the rigid use of TLH's setting...I'm defending the use of liturgical style and habit) yet those who we are using the language of and looking into are finding out that at least at the superficial level, there's more substance in liturgy! Combine that with the non-denom. model of worship which will inevitably lead to a lower view of worship in general and the Blessed Sacrament in particular (don't believe, me? Check out Spirit Garage and their statement on Holy Communion under Worship....yeah, that's not a low view of the Sacrament at all! I know it's ELCA...but what's to stop us!?).

Again...I'd say the Salem Lutheran Ablaze!(tm) says it all where absolutely no reverencing of the altar occurred. Call me finicky on rubrics...but when you just flat out don't give a crap about recognizing God present in worship....I find it hard to believe that a lower view of what is on the altar won't follow.