Some thoughts on the crisis of liberalism—and how to fix it

Liberalism needs nothing less than a great rebalancing if it is to regain its intellectual and political vitality Jun 12th 2018 by BAGEHOT
BREXIT is such an all-consuming process for the British—at once a drama, a muddle and a mess—that it is easy to forget that it is part of something bigger: a crisis of liberalism in the west. A growing number of countries have had their own equivalents of Brexit: Donald Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election; the election of a populist government in Italy; the Catalan revolt in Spain; the rise of populist authoritarians in Russia, Hungary, Poland and, to some extent, India; the simmering rage against what Viktor Orban calls “liberal blah blah” in the intellectual dark-web. The list will be a lot longer by the time Brexit has been completed.
It’s worth taking a break from the ins-and-outs of Brexit to look at the bigger picture, partly because the bigger picture helps us to understand Brexit better (NB: there’s more goin…

06. Luke 1:39-45: Mary and Elizabeth

Exposition Mary receives Gabriel’s message, opens herself to it and hotfoots it 70 miles to visit Elizabeth. Their exchange illustrates Luke’s reversal theme. Mary, the younger greets her elder as is proper. Elizabeth, unknown to Mary but not the reader to be pregnant, hears Mary’s greeting and her child leaps in her womb. And she then acclaims “the fruit of Mary’s womb” and Mary herself as “blessed” and treats the young woman as her superior. The God whom Mary will shortly acclaim as one who sponsors reversals of this kind is already at work in the lives of these two women! Garland observes: “The greeting is mentioned three times for emphasis, and it creates three effects: the child leaps in Elizabeth’s womb, Elizabeth is filled with the Holy Spirit, and she announces twice that Mary is blessed and interprets the meaning of the child’s leap in her womb theologically” (Garland, Luke: 2389-2391). Filled with the Spirit at this point (v.41), Elizabeth realizes the she and Mary and the…

05. Luke 1: Some Comments on the “Virginal Conception” of Jesus

“Virginal Conception” not “Virgin Birth” is the proper term. Jesus’ birth was a normal human birth. It was his conception by the Spirit that is unique.
“We affirm that Jesus was born of woman as is every child, yet born of God's power as was no other child.” (A Declaration of Faith, ch,4, par.1)
“Luke does not stress Mary’s virginity to exalt her as one who is a pure and holy vessel and worthy to give birth to such a child. Her virginity is presented as an obstacle to conception that can only be overcome by the miraculous, creative power of God” (Garland, Luke: 2112-2114). Karl Barth on the “Virgin Birth”
In the creeds the assertion of the Virgin Birth is plainly enough characterized as a first statement about the One who was and is and will be the Son of God. It is not a statement about how He became this, a statement concerning the basis and condition of His Sonship. It is a description of the way in which the Son of God became man.
The Holy Spirit has never been regarded or desc…

04. Luke 1:26-38

Exposition Gabriel’s annunciation of Jesus’ birth to Mary parallels his announcement of John’s birth to Zechariah with some significant differences. The man, Zechariah, is a highly-placed and respected religionist in Israel. Jesus’ mother, Mary, is a peasant girl of no account. He works in Jerusalem. She lives in out-of-the-way Nazareth. Yet her child is the greater of the two announced to be born. He and his wife are too old and have failed sexually to bear a child. She is too young and has not had sex. Zechariah and Elizabeth’s child’s birth is marvelous. Mary’s is miraculous (“virgin” 2x in v.27). Zechariah could not get over his doubts to accept the news of his son’s birth-to-be. Mary believes the angelic announcement enough to say “yes” to it. Luke’s story moves in a downward-outward direction, away from the center and the Temple. This reversal theme is prominent in Luke and it is well to be alerted to it early on.
Mary’s father has agreed to her marriage to Joseph. The bride pri…

Butchers, Bakers, and Wedding Cake Makers

Christians should have the freedom not to support what they think is sinful. However they are called to serve sinners and service need not be seen as affirmation. Serving others is an act of good witness. The public sphere is not the church. The fight for political rights are not the same as Christian witness. They overlap some, but they are not the same. Christians would be wise to remember that. The public sphere is a place where not all agree, and it is the job of the government to regulate relationships to promote common good and common well-being. Would a Christian want an atheist business to refuse promotions under the notion that they can’t promote someone they thing is deluded? How would a church feel if a company refused to sell them communion cups? Or an atheist government clerk refusing to send charitable status paperwork or ordination papers out of their defiled conscience? In a world exploding with differences, Christians can have a faithful political witness by merely promot…

Interest in you tube tube videos on Genesis 1-11?

I'm thinking about posting a number of 5-10 minutes you tube videos on Genesis 1-11 taking a leisurely stroll through the oft overlooked riches of these formative texts beginning in a couple of weeks. I will read the texts literarily (according to genre) rather than literally. Anybody interested?

The Liberalism of Jordan Peterson – and Us!

Jordan Peterson wants to help men reclaim their masculinity and lead successful productive lives in a world where chaos and disorder reign making it particularly hard on men to be all they can and must, for the health of society, be. The philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre sagely observes that one cannot know how to live if one does not know the story of which he or she is a part. Peterson, therefore, calls men to embrace a different story than the one(s) currently dominating North America. The response he has generated shows he has struck a nerve for many more than a few people. He’s found a live and important concern – we are living by a false story about who we are and what we are to be about in the world.
The itch he scratches is palpable, perennial, and profound. -Palpable because it involves how we actually live, our interface with the world, the quality of our relationships, and the character of our influence on others. It matters. -Perennial because it never goes away, is never s…