Ask the Pastor…. Strengths and Weaknesses of Postmodernism?

Dear Pastor,

In your opinion what brings the greatest concern with postmodernism and especially with the new generation Z.

Do you see any strengths of Postmodernism?

Thank you,

Bradley

Dear Bradley,

Good questions.

I.) Pomo’s Strength

1.) It not only deconstructs meta-narratives we know are true, it deconstructs meta-narratives that need to be deconstructed, such as Darwinian Evolutionary pseudo-science. Darwinism has been savaged by the Pomo’s and has really lost its status as the narrative of the West.

2.) Pomo reminds us of our creatureliness and that as creatures we cannot get outside of the universe in order to observe the universe and so know the universe. As such, there is always going to be subjectivity in our knowing. Creatures are subjective by definition and as such it must be admitted that the knowledge that we have of the objective has a tacit quality. Our knowledge is not only subjective as the pomo’s insist but neither is our knowledge only objective. See the works here of Michael Polanyi.

II.) Pomo’s weaknesses

1.) First, some would argue that pomo remains modernism but as on steroids, and there is a good deal of truth in that. Pomo like modernism interprets the world apart from God. As such pomo like modernism creates it’s own truths. The difference is that pomo admits it while modernism refused to admit it, choosing instead to embrace the nonsense of some kind of objective reality that can be posited by some kind of fiat act of the will via one kind of logical positivism or another.

2.) Pomo insists that there is no such thing as capital “T” truth but in doing so they demonstrate that Pomo’s capital “T” Truth is that there is no such thing as capital “T” Truth and that is every bit as much as a capital “T” truth as what modernity or any other meta-narrative ever wanted to offer. As such the broad claims of the pomo’s are myths.

3.) Pomo is irrational. So is modernism but Pomo doesn’t care and so doesn’t hide it like modernism does. Pomo’s today (self-conscious or not) embrace the most egregious and bald contradictions without caring one whit. They are irrational, and they love it so.

4.) Because Pomo’s think that they don’t care about capital “T” truth it is harder to get through to them with the Gospel or any true Truth in my estimation. When witnessing what you typically get is, “Well, if that works for you that’s nice.” As such to reach pomos you really have to understand that making them angry is the only way of doing so. (Angry because you have to really break up their worldview furniture before you catch their attention.) Even then they may not care. I’ve known more than one person I’ve engaged with who has said, “Yeah, I know I am in contradiction but I don’t care.”

5.) Pomo’s have no core in terms of character. If reality is what you make it then you can make up a new character and new reality every day. People who lie to themselves like this are sick people.

Thanks Bradley for the question,

Pastor Bret

On Not Voting For Anyone in the Republican Field


It is enough that the people know there was an election. The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything.Josef Stalin

Dear Pastor,

The lying of past presidential candidates in past elections does not relieve us of our responsibility to do our best to see to it that our country remains in or regains the best environment in which the progress of the Gospel and its implications for all life can flourish. Right now, we are slipping badly. We MUST do what we can. And granted, every candidate has feet of clay; but we as Christians have a duty to assess each candidate; make a judgment about their character, their perspectives, their strategies, and their electability, and then work for their election. I know Bret that you oppose the R2K position but doesn’t a defeatist attitude communicated by your refusal to vote for any major party candidate put you in the same camp? 

Dear Dusty,Allow me to answer, as respectfully as I can to someone I deeply respect,

 
1.) It is not defeatist to not look for victory where only defeat is guaranteed. The two party system has been broken for a very very long time. We see this in spades in DC today. We are presented with only three choices. We can either vote soft Stalinist Democrat. We can vote for Trotskyite neo-cons, or we can vote for what smells like Fascism. I do not have a dog in this fight. My dog died a long time ago.
 
2.) Therefore it is in my interest to do all that I can to see that each party weakens the other. IF it is the case that voting matters (a very dubious belief) then it is in my interest to create gridlock and chaos with my vote.
 

3.) Since the Republican party is so corrupt and is merely a Trotskyite expression of leftism then a case could be made that it is in the Christian’s interest to vote in such a way that the Federal Government is always divided with the House and Senate being Republican and the President being Democrat. The reason this is so is that when there is a neo-con Trotskyite Republican President the little remaining conservative strength in the party tends to go to sleep thinking that “there guy is watching the store.” HOWEVER, when there is a Democratic President the Republican party rank and file activists remain watchful and is more inclined to be in an activist mode of resistance.

Of course, even that is premised on the idea that the International Money interests aren’t really doing all the string pulling. Personally, I’m not convinced that they are not.

 
4.) Actually, I think voting for the best possible Republican candidate for President is where the defeatist attitude lies. In my lifetime Reagan is the model but even with Reagan what we got, when viewing from a macro sense is a guy who,
 
a.) Gave us two SCOTUS judges who supported abortion
b.) Grew the size of Government significantly
c.) Pursued the agenda that eventually resulted in the NWO GATT and NAFTA
d.) Left us the Bush family legacy that we still suffer with
e.) Gave us the last amnesty bill that has brought us to where we are now
f.) Gave the keys of power to the neo-cons
 
And this is our hero Republican President?
 
Can you see why I’ve come to the conclusion that voting Republican is defeatist?
 
5.) In my estimation victory is won by waking people up to all the above and hoping they begin to realize that they are being played. Victory is had in just one way when it comes to politics and that is by inflicting pain. Pain for a politician means that they do not get your vote. Republicans and neo-cons (but I repeat myself) have to be made to realize that they just cannot assume on getting the Evangelical vote. The only way to make them realize that is by quitting to vote for them. Politicians only understand pain.
 
6.) Victory, if victory is to be had, has to start at the local level. Mordor on the Potomac is lost until politics changes at the grass roots level. Once the grass roots begins to awaken then we can turn our attention to Mordor on the Potomac again.
 
I realize I’m in the minority among conservative Christians on this issue. I have thought this through though and I’ve spent a good deal of time studying the matter for whatever it is worth. Please understand that though it might seem that I am a purist I can assure you that I am NOT a purist. I would gladly vote for someone with feet of clay. The problem though is I’m not looking at people with feet of clay when I look at the current Republican field. I’m looking at people who are clay up to their eyeballs.
I must be honest enough to realize that all the action when it comes to National politics is from the left. There is no longer a right, nor is there any longer any semblance of the right strong enough to crack the current leftist Montagnard vs. Girondins French Revolution paradigm. O sure … there are a few cranks here or there remaining of the old right but the right as a movement is as dead as Marley’s door-nail.
 
However, hope remains as long as the old cranks remain as true as Lewis’ Old Narnians. This is so because God is able to make a way for them in some how and some way. This is where my hope for victory lies.

Ask the Pastor — What of John Donne’s Divine Ravishing?

Dear Pastor,

I wonder what you think of John Donne’s Holy Sonnet 14, “Batter My Heart.” ? It ends with a rape of the soul. But he links it to chastity. The paradox is present.

 
Jayson Grieser
 
 
Jayson,
 
Donne’s couplet in question,
 
Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.
 
I think one has to understand the points of perspective in order to dissolve the paradox. We, as humans, will always be ravished either by God or by the devil. As such, it is never a matter of being “ravished” or “not being ravished,” it is always only a matter of “ravished by whom.”

I think what Donne is getting at is akin to Luther’s prose in his, “On the Bondage of the Will,”

 
“Man is like a horse. Does God leap into the saddle? The horse is obedient and accommodates itself to every movement of the rider and goes whither he wills it. Does God throw down the reins? Then Satan leaps upon the back of the animal, which bends, goes and submits to the spurs and caprices of its new rider.”
 
So, man is always a ravished being, just as man is always a rode being. If we are ravished by the devil it is a ravishing unto corruption. If we are ravished by God it is a ravishing unto chasteness and purity. Man, having no free will, will thus only be a ravished being. Either we will be ravished unto purity by God or we will be ravished unto impurity by the Dragon.
 
Donne uses the “ravished” language but in my estimation he is using the language from Lucifer’s perspective when he uses that language. If he were to speak from God’s perspective he would have written instead something like,
 
Except you possess me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you keep me.
 
But that doesn’t make for as good poetry. I hope that helps.
 
Thank you for stopping by Jayson and thanks for a thoughtful question.

 

The “Push Me,” “Pull You,” of The Donald

Dear Pastor,

Something I am realizing more as I think about the Trump phenomenon is that there is a difference between White Nationalist politics and Christians. I may put together some quotes even from XXX XXXXXX that are interesting. In a lot of his analysis, he was not concerned in the least with the sort of biblical worldview we would want to start our analysis with. As a result, he was willing be aligned with strong executive power, and use the state, in ways that would make us uncomfortable. I don’t necessarily think Trump is this candidate, but what do we do with the candidate who is not really a Christian but brings good sense to issues of nationality? I think we were both on the same page, at least initially, that Wilson’s comments about Coulter and Trump were inaccurate, but you seem to have drifted more toward what Wilson was saying there. Sorry… very quick thoughts as I had a minute. I ought to stop thinking about this BS and go take care of my family.

Best to you and yours,

Opher Byrd

Dear Mr. Byrd,

Thank you for writing.

I am not drifting towards Wilson, in regards to his comments about Coulter and Trump, though I can understand why someone might easily think so. My problem is that I like what I think is Trump’s immigration policy. (Though after listening to the Brimelow  interview I’m wondering if there are cracks already in the Trump edifice on immigration.) As I was saying I like Trumps immigration policy as stand alone but I don’t like it as it sits in, what I take to be, his Fascist Corporatist Mercantilist worldview. As such it may sound like I’m drifting but I’m not. I think Wilson is in deep error to suggest that a Trump like immigration policy is to be eschewed because there is no current massive repentance. It is, at least possible, that such a immigration policy could be both a harbinger of future repentance or serve as a space of time as hiatus for eventual heaven sent repentance. If I could have Trump’s putative immigration plan as combined with promises to go after Corporate Welfare, and International aid, with a promise to decentralize power from the Feds to the states, (a historic Constitutional platform) I’d be in hog heaven. However, that is not what we are getting with Trump. Instead we are getting a favorable Trump immigration policy inside the plausibility structure of a Fascist Corporatist Mercantilist worldview?

I’m not sure that works, and so, I’m torn between supporting one slice of the man’s policies while being adamantly against the context in which I see that slice lying.

Make sense?

Thank your for the conversation Mr. Byrd. You know of my abiding respect for your instincts and the knowledge base upon which those instincts are pinioned.

Unitarian Universalist Apologetics

Bret,

Ah, a Calvinist. Well, that explains the hostility towards anything a Unitarian Universalist minister might have to say. Unlike you Bret, I respect the rights of others to follow the religious path of their choice. I also believe that humans have the capacity for reason and can determine for themselves what is true and right in life.
 
I will leave it to readers to look up your beliefs. Since John Calvin burned Michael Servetus at the stake for the heresy of freethought, our faith traditions have had little in common. Therefore, I am not surprised at your tone or your presumption to know what is in my heart.
 
Given our widely varying beliefs, I doubt that there is anything I could say that would be useful in any type of dialogue with you. People must be open to revelation from human experience, love, and goodness to move away from concepts such as inherent depravity, and I suspect that you are not at that point. When and if you do reach such a time, get in touch and I would be happy to talk.

Jeff Liebmann
Ordained Minister at Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Midland

 
Response,

Jeff Liebmann
 
My hostility, as you call it, has nothing to do with your UU status. My hostility is against your belief system that is destroying Biblical Christianity and so the West in the name of Christianity.
 
You respect the rights of others to follow the religous path of their choice? Really? Do you respect that Hindu family who insists that a young widowed wife immolate herself on her husbands funeral pyre because of their religious path called Suttee? Do you respect the religious path of those who would sacrafice their children in the fires of Molech? Do you even respect my religious path of pointing out how irrational your religious path is?
 
You try to posit yourself as the reasonable one in the conversation and myself as the extremist but in point of fact you are the one who has consistently revealed yourself to be the extremist. If humans, as you say, can determine for themselves what is true and right in life then how can there be any objection from you if, like the Marquis deSade, humans determine to go all sadistic on those who are weaker then them? How can you object if, like Friedrich Nietzshe, humans determine it is criminal for the stronger to esteem and protect the weaker in society? How can you object if, like Joe Stalin, humans determine that 30 million lifes spent is a reasonable price for political reorganziation?
 
You deny inherent depravity. Have you studied the 20th century at all? If 20th century empirical history proves anything it proves that man is inherently depraved.
 
No, the fact of the matter UUJ is that you are a non sensible person who has staked out positions that have no cohesion or coherency — and you have done so in the name of a Christianity that is vile and foul beyond reckoning. You may be full of good intentions. I don’t know. But regardless of your possible good intentions your belief system, when examined, is destructive and inhibitive of human flourshing.
 
Next you complain about my presumption. I don’t have to presume to “know what’s in your heart.” You tell me and the readership all the time. There is no presumption here. There is just taking your words seriously.
 
Finally, you insist that people must be “open to revelation from human experience, love, and goodness.” This statement leaves me incredulous. I contend that if man wants to live the good life we must come under God’s revelation of Scripture. You contend that if man wants to live the good life man must be open to the revelation from human experience, love, and goodness. Where as your revelation led us? Well, just most recently we see,
 
1.) Aborting babies and selling their body parts
2.) Sadism and Masochism on a wide scale (“50 Shades of Gray” anyone?)
 
You are correct though when you imply how little commonality we have. The difference between us is the difference between the Serpent who said, “Hath God really said,” and the Scriptural Prophet who has always said, “Thus saith the Lord.”
 
And yet, the Lord Christ died for sins such as yours and still commands all men everywhere to repent. Will you not repent Jeff?