Link: High noon for high news The Washington Times has this commentary on Rathergate and the Newsweek story about Koran desecration.
Three now-common themes appeared in each controversy:
(1) The misinformation erred predictably against the current American government. …
(2) These were not minor slips. …
(3) Neither organization was markedly contrite when exposed.
Mr Hanson has a point with regard to Dan Rather, but on the overall question of accountability it seems to me the conservative kettle is calling the liberal pot black. Or did I somehow miss a great outpouring of contrition over the inability of anyone to locate those weapons of mass destruction?
As for the Newsweek story, sorry to harp on this theme, but I'll put my money on historian Juan Cole (see below), who sounds to me like he knows what he's talking about. And has less of an axe to grind than Mr Hanson.
From a Brethren web site critiquing a declaration by Evangelicals and Catholics Together, a group for ecumenical dialogue, comes this choice specimen of muddled optical character recognition (OCR).
The statement refers to the "three solas" of the Protestant Reformation: "sola gratia = only by grace," "sola fide = only by faith" (elsewhere rendered on this site as "sola ride"), and "sola scriptura = only by scripture."
The signers of Evangelicals and Catholics Together say'We affirm together that we are justified by grace through faith because of Christ." To the charge that this statement is deceptive because it suggests that we have reached complete agreement on the central dispute of the Reformation, one must simply point out that anyone with the slightest familiarity with the history of theological controversy would immediately note the absence of the threefold "only's" (the "three solas"). The sofas are conspicuous by their absence, and it is not by accident that they are absent. Evangelicals and Catholics Together does not disguise but repeatedly highlights the fact that there are important questions of continuing differences and disagreements between evangelicals and Catholics.
I guess nobody reads these things once they're posted.
Update: Miaow! Well, that last sentence was pretty catty, wasn't it? (Yes, I know my persona is a cat, but there's no excuse for indulging one's fallen nature, now is there?) Anyway, I woke up this morning realizing I'd gotten really rather self-righteous lately. Oh, most of it was polite enough to slip under the radar of a casual observer, I imagine, but my heart has not been in the right place. I withdraw the remark. Mea culpa.
We can quick-link and cross-text and multi-chat while at the same time remaining blissfully ignorant of how these very info tools are quietly destroying that all-important human skill, that slower, longer, often far more subtle and difficult art called deeper understanding, and if you've lately been anywhere near a roomful of teenagers, you understand this phenom perfectly.
Juan Cole analyzes the reported desecration of the Qur'an at Guantanamo Bay and passes on a claim, which he considers credible, that the Bible was desecrated during US military training exercises simulating a POW camp.
They were tempting us with a big pot of soup that was boiling--we were all starving from a few days of chow deprivation. He brought out the bible and started going off on it verbally--how it was worthless, we were forsaken by this God, etc. Then he threw it on the ground and kicked it around. It was definitely the climax of his speech. Then he kicked over the soup pot, and threw us back in the cells.
I don't know what to make of this story. In terms of sacrilege, I think I'm more shocked by the auctioning of the consecrated host on eBay.
As it has grown into a powerhouse with sales of $256.3 billion—more than the sales of Microsoft and retail competitors Home Depot, Kroger, Target, and Costco combined—Wal-Mart has become a lightning rod nationwide in local tempests of moral outrage. Church leaders (primarily mainline, liberal, and Roman Catholic) have joined grassroots activists fearful that mindless global market factors will steamroll human dignity.
Such anger perplexes other Christians who think of Wal-Mart as a family-friendly place and a company founded on the biblical values of respect, service, and sacrifice.
The Passion of the Present quotes Independent MP David Kilgour, responding to the Canadian government's announcement of an aid package of $170 million including military personnel to train local forces. Kilgour says this is a start but doesn't go far enough.
We cannot allow domestic Canadian politics to prevent this
country putting an end to the worst genocide that has occurred since
Quite what the best way forward is, I'm not sure. Canada can't stop the genocide on its own. Roméo Dallaire's presence at the side of the Prime Minister when he announced the aid package lends Paul Martin a bit of credibility on the issue. But my heart is with Kilgour's call for "boots on the ground."
Amid all the attention afforded Pope John Paul II’s contributions
to the fall of communism, his pivotal role in ending smaller totalitarian
regimes has received far less fanfare.
Such was the sweep of his papacy that even historical footnotes reflect his enormous and
contradictory influence -- the same pope believed by many to have all but
squashed liberation theology in Latin America helped to liberate one of the
countries there that needed it most. Certainly any conjecture about the
direction of the Vatican under Pope Benedict XVI need only look to what
happened in Paraguay to see that a socially conservative papacy does not
necessarily spell an end to the church’s activism across the political
spectrum in support of human rights.
The old dualistic and hierarchical models are disintegrating in favor
of egalitarian and holistic models.
And on and on for screenful after screenful of postmodernist cliché.
I suspect that I actually agree with bits and pieces of what Hjalmarson is arguing, but why must we be subjected to spurious contrasts between the supposedly old and the supposedly new?
1. Bible Analyst: The modern Christian leader dissects the Bible because knowledge is power.
and nine more characteristics of the "modern" church leader. Bad! What's good, apparently, is to go
From Bible analyst to spiritual sage.
Uh-huh. (By the way, isn't dichotomous thinking supposed to be one of the great no-nos for postmodernists?)
Now aside from the "dissection" metaphor (ooh, ugly, no, I wouldn't want my appendix removed by a surgeon who had practised dissecting cadavers or small nonconsenting animals, I'd much rather have someone who agrees that scalpels are … well, they're not very holistic, now, are they?), the objection to the Bible analyst boils down to what exactly?
It boils down to the idea that knowledge is power, an idea that has fallen out of favour among postmodernists largely thanks to the trailblazing (oop! hierarchical and individualistic language, sorry!) efforts of Michel Foucault, a man for whom Romans 1:21 could have been expressly written: "they became futile in their thinking, and their senseless minds were darkened."
Now Hjalmarson does try to distinguish his position from the worst excesses of postmodernism and to salvage something of value.
Others have confused postmodernity as an intellectual movement and
postmodern culture with its particular value set, like tolerance and
moral relativity, and then tossed out the baby with the bathwater.
But like so many others of his ilk, he caricatures old-style leadership for the sake of making the flavour of the day seem more novel than it really is.
In the Church and in our wider society, we need leaders. We certainly don't need leadership cults – with that much I agree – but we do need people who aren't afraid to lead. We need people who can tell the difference between clawing their way up the corporate (or ecclesiastical) ladder and acting for the sake of the Gospel in ways that may not please everyone.
God knows our hearts. He knows our ambitions, both the godly ones and the ungodly. He knows our arrogance and our attempts to cloak ourselves in false humility. He knows our minds. Let us then serve Him with whatever good qualities He has granted us, including, as we find them, not just humility but also boldness.
So here I am, bursting to tell you all about … why same-sex marriage isn't a good idea, why I used to passionately believe otherwise, and, oh, lots of other stuff, most of which is a little less … prone to provoking polemical responses. But sexuality is close to our hearts, I believe, not just to other parts, so it's not surprising it's such a sensitive topic.
Anyway, welcome to my blog. I hope you find something to engage your mind or your heart, or both. If you do, please leave me a comment either by e-mail or in the Comments thread.
And now, in the words of Buzz Lightyear, "To infinity and beyond!"