Jesus Creed

Jesus Creed


Weekly Meanderings

posted by Scot McKnight
This is the 200th edition of Weekly Meanderings, 
and we get this nice greeting from a Snow Leopard baby!
(And I must be crazy.)
 
SnowLeopardBaby.jpg
John Frye sees Jesus as a discernment artist. This is a good read and a big idea.
Andy Stanley at his best.
Inner peace.
BillyGra.pngDavid Dunbar nails it for many of us. Time to get off the bus.
Allan Bevere posts a map of the most and least religious States.
Chaplain Mike, at iMonk, leads a writers’ roundtable.
A good chart on motherhood. (HT: RJS/MK)
The sex life of college students (on one campus).
The farm life of young adults.
Sarah asks “Do you do denominations?”
Who does the speaking for evangelicals?
The skinny on diets.
Meanderings in the News
1. From The Washington Post: “These are some of the findings of a two-year investigation by The Washington Post that discovered what amounts to an alternative geography of the United States, a Top Secret America hidden from public view and lacking in thorough oversight. After nine years of unprecedented spending and growth, the result is that the system put in place to keep the United States safe is so massive that its effectiveness is impossible to determine.”
2. Robert Marquand, at CSM, sums it all up with this: “Vatican officials today said the attempt to ordain women in the Roman Catholic church is not an equal crime to priestly pedophilia – even as critics point out that in practice, the ordination of women is dealt with more harshly inside the church than are charges of priests abusing children.”
3. Russ Reno: “But even Benedict’s renewal can only do so much. The Vatican also needs a more flexible central command, one capable of coordinated, intelligent responses to challenges. Her governing structures and bureaucracies are superannuated forms of a system originally designed to run a Church thoroughly intertwined with European society, not a vibrant, active, and counter-cultural Church. The Church needs a leadership that know they are always at a disadvantage, and that they can no longer rely on deference or favors if she is to meet the storm, and it will be a storm, of social disestablishment and elite hostility .”
ObamaSerious.png4. E.J. Dionne Jr., on Obama’s centrist ideas: “But this should not be seen as an alibi for Obama as the moderate, misunderstood progressive, though this is more or less what he is. The president’s most important tasks include convincing the public that he’s doing the right thing and improving the standing of the politicians who support him in doing it. Here is where Obama has fallen down on the job.”
5. How long does helicoptering last
6. David Brooks: “When historians look back on this p
eriod, they will see it as another progressive era. It is not a liberal era — when government intervenes to seize wealth and power and distribute it to the have-nots. It’s not a conservative era, when the governing class concedes that the world is too complicated to be managed from the center. It’s a progressive era, based on the faith in government experts and their ability to use social science analysis to manage complex systems. 
This progressive era is being promulgated without much popular support. It’s being led by a large class of educated professionals, who have been trained to do technocratic analysis, who believe that more analysis and rule-writing is the solution to social breakdowns, and who have constructed ever-expanding networks of offices, schools and contracts.”
7. The earth’s atmospheric changes.
8. Ross Douthat on university admissions: “If such universities are trying to create an elite as diverse as the nation it inhabits, they should remember that there’s more to diversity than skin color — and that both their school and their country might be better off if they admitted a few more R.O.T.C. cadets, and a few more aspiring farmers.”
9. This has to stop… the sooner the better. (HT: JT)
10. Who is surprised by this? Just sayin.

Meanderings in Sports

Sports writers are all over Tiger Woods these days, with a recent spate of journalists saying Tiger’s days are over. Well, here’s my own take: I’ve not seen Tiger strike the ball as well from tee to green in a long, long time. His putter was bad. Which means this: some modest gains in putting and Tiger will again win. Tell me, when was the last time you saw Tiger hit the fairways so well and be so long as he has in his last few tourneys? It’s been awhile. A long while. 

Lou Piniella will retire at the end of the season, three months later than some players.



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Comments read comments(22)
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Karen Spears Zacharias

posted July 24, 2010 at 3:43 am


Scot It’s like finding out you’re having twins. I don’t know whether to offer my congratulations over this joyous event or to feel sorry for you because of all the work that entails. But rest assured there are many of us who are blessed by watching you work this hard.



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RJS

posted July 24, 2010 at 7:23 am


Crazy – like Andy Stanley?
The link to horse crashing is broken – perhaps the story is no longer on line.



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Scot McKnight

posted July 24, 2010 at 7:37 am


RJS, I found another link to the story.



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Michael W. Kruse

posted July 24, 2010 at 8:49 am


The Brooks piece is one of the best short summaries of the political era we live in that I have read.It sums up what I mean when I talk about the rise of an expertocracy. And it is still mystifying to how so many who see themselves as emerging in the religious world have little trouble with this, indeed embrace it.



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Scot McKnight

posted July 24, 2010 at 9:11 am


Yes, Michael, and those who have no trouble are most vociferous on local, local, local and personal, personal, personal. Postmodern sensibilities and progressivism don’t match well.
Captcha: Myth denatured



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Jim Martin

posted July 24, 2010 at 11:10 am


Congrats on the 200th edition of Weekly Meanderings!
I want to echo Karen’s thoughts regarding this. For quite sometime, you have provided us with this helpful weekly post.
I check Weekly Meanderings each week. I generally find a real nugget or two that especially interests me. Quite often, you will introduce me to writers who are unfamiliar to me. I follow these links and quite often continue to read these blogs on a regular basis.
Thanks so much for the time, effort, and work that you put into this post weekly.



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Jean

posted July 24, 2010 at 11:53 am


Apparently I have been RickRoll’d in the Weekly Meanderings. The link to Andy Stanley led me to a music video by Rick Astley singing “Never Gonna Give You Up” Good song btw.



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Ted M. Gossard

posted July 24, 2010 at 11:57 am


I agree. Thanks, Scot for the meanderings,and for all the work you do on this blog.
As to politics, David Brooks, etc., I just don’t know. That about sums it up for me. So one ends up trying to make the best choice one can make. And keep working at what it means to be a follower of Jesus within a kingdom that is for this world.
I do have to admit though, that I am wary of ANY easy explanation of what is up, such as that from David Brooks here. He is surely getting at something, but I am not much to buy into anything at this point. And surely we can find God’s grace somewhere at some places in the mess of this world.



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DRT

posted July 24, 2010 at 12:17 pm


Scot, come on, you a Rick Roller? I have been Rick rolled by my kids, but you? et tu Brute?



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Jason Lee

posted July 24, 2010 at 3:06 pm


“those who have no trouble are most vociferous on local, local, local and personal, personal, personal. Postmodern sensibilities and progressivism don’t match well.”
…could you unpack this some more? I’m not debating it…I’m sincerely interested in understanding…



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Scot McKnight

posted July 24, 2010 at 6:10 pm


Yep, some of you were Rick Roll’d.
Jason, the essence of postmodernity is decentralization into the local and the personal; the essence of the progressive political agenda these day is centralization.



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Michael W. Kruse

posted July 24, 2010 at 6:25 pm


Jason #10
I wrote a post here at Jesus Creed back in March Selective Emergence. That may flesh out a little more of what I’m getting at.



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DRT

posted July 25, 2010 at 10:58 am


Michael, I read you post and want to offer another theory (rationalization?) for the difference in behavior in beliefs and economy. The issue is that the conservative mind desires control. As you have pointed out, this seems to be in conflict with the idea of conservatives wanting a free market but instead it is the epitome of control. I believe the conservative mind fully embraces the idea of total depravity. Depravity and it’s market manifestation of greed is very predictable. The unpredictable component is regulation that forces people to behave in a non-greed oriented way.
Just as in the conservative churches, they seek to control the thoughts, actions, theology and everything precisely because they believe in depravity and people left to their own devices will do bad things. They know that church is needed to control them and their families so that they in some way can predict behavior based on what was taught, or at least have an authority to appeal to if someone is not being nice to them.
So from the conservative side it makes total sense that they would have the desire to control be manifest in a lack of centralized economic control because the decentralized greed gene is much much stronger.
From the non-conservative side, they view that people are basically good, or at least that they want people to be good. So in religion that give the benefit of the doubt and allow people to be themselves because the stakes are not that high (at the individual level). But they also recognize that there is a lot of people who are greedy, so they seek fairness by making more rules thereby enabling those who are more evolved the ability to have an impact beyond resorting to the lowest common denominator.



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kevin s.

posted July 25, 2010 at 6:27 pm


DRT,
Your theory doesn’t particularly work because there are different spheres under which one might be in control. A conservative has no desire to control the political landscape, at least not for control’s sake.
Most people think humans are innately flawed. Progressives see this as a reason for government intervention, while conservatives see this as the very reason why government ought not be trusted.



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DRT

posted July 25, 2010 at 7:55 pm


kevin, you are right and I too believe that conservatives do not want to control for control sake. I believe they want to have the political and economic/corporate landscape be predictable, and that is what a lack of centralization does, it allows greed to run….
So I see the same thing you do. That is that humans are innately flawed but as you say the progressives see this as a reason for intervention because at the societal level there is an averaging effect of the base orientation of people. So on average they are on the selfish side.
I must admit that I really struggle with the competing forces on the conservative side. I too see this as a reason that centralization of power can lead to abuse of power. But lack of centralization will lead to abuse of the, as the CEO of BP said, the small people. So if someone or some party gets in control that is evil (e.g. Hitler), then we are hosed. But allow people to run without control and we are also hosed, but then it is at least predictable, which is the root of my argument. It is not an easy choice.
catcha – starrier please! – am I that transparent? Really, I am grounded….



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kevin s.

posted July 25, 2010 at 9:46 pm


So the desire for predictability is borne of a desire for greed to run? Isn’t economic and political predictability the product of a successful Democracy, and end in and of itself? It seems to me that greed will run regardless.
“That is that humans are innately flawed but as you say the progressives see this as a reason for intervention because at the societal level there is an averaging effect of the base orientation of people.”
That about sums up the attitude I perceive.
“So if someone or some party gets in control that is evil (e.g. Hitler), then we are hosed. But allow people to run without control and we are also hosed, but then it is at least predictable, which is the root of my argument.”
Fair enough. Historically speaking, which government do you see as a primary example of the latter phenomena?



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AHH

posted July 25, 2010 at 10:33 pm


Chiming in late on Brooks — I think it is not trivial where one might draw the line between being rightly suspicious of an “expertocracy” and the sort of anti-intellectualism that has characterized so much recent politics (and not only that of the Right). Brooks even wrote an essay before the 2008 election about the rarity of Obama as an out-of-the closet intellectual (I think it had the phrase “war on brains” in it).
I hope we don’t let being wary of centralized expertocracy devolve into the shallow, appeal-to-emotion sloganeering that one gets from Sarah Palin, Jesse Jackson, or Joe the Plumber.



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Michael W. Kruse

posted July 25, 2010 at 10:55 pm


If a progressive/liberal believes that centralized control is necessary to restrain evil, then why doesn’t that apply in the church? Shouldn’t church institutions be centralized entities preventing people from sinning instead of being fluid conversations?



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kevin s.

posted July 26, 2010 at 1:44 am


“If a progressive/liberal believes that centralized control is necessary to restrain evil, then why doesn’t that apply in the church?”
Most politically progressive Christians come from the mainline denominations, so I don’t see an inconsistency here. The emergent church is an exception, but it’s easy to view that as a fledgling denomination.



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DRT

posted July 26, 2010 at 1:25 pm


Michael #18 – “If a progressive/liberal believes that centralized control is necessary to restrain evil, then why doesn’t that apply in the church? Shouldn’t church institutions be centralized entities preventing people from sinning instead of being fluid conversations?”
I think the key is the definition of evil. If you define evil by people believing the “wrong” things then you would try to control that as much as possible (conservatives). But if you define evil by what people do, then exercising strict church control is probably a bad way to stop evil doing. I would believe (and am certaily progressive in this regard) that we will have less people doing evil at the church level through a lack of structure and rules. The more rules at that level the more the evil one knows how to evade notice.



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kevin s.

posted July 26, 2010 at 1:52 pm


Isn’t Greed a “wrong” thing? Didn’t you argue above that conservatives hope to exacerbate greed’s influence, while liberals hope to consolidate power to mitigate against? You seem to have contradicted your thesis here.



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DRT

posted July 26, 2010 at 7:16 pm


kevin, I think I see what you are saying, but I think that what I am saying is that good and evil is a subjective thought relating to the degree of predictability of the conservative and more of an absolute in terms of impact on society for the progressive. So a conservative considers evil to be that which cannot be predicted and controlled, while a progressive considers evil that which is mostest worstest for society and Shalom.
captcha – cruder of, ….



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