Saturday, October 26, 2013

Nadia Bolz-Weber and Internet Monk Deconstruction: An Epic Response to Modern Christian Impiety and its Juvenile Attendants

Over at Internet Monk a post entitled, The Impious Pastor, elicited some intense debate. The subject matter given was Nadia Bolz-Weber’s new book, Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner and Saint. The discussion and debate by those commenting bore a gallant, if not epic, response by a commenter named Katherina von Bora, about the matter of modern Christian impiety (basically anarchism). She makes other similar observations of the one I am posting in the comments section and packages her thoughts in a manner superior to most. Thus I am compelled to share this with you.

First, if you are not familiar with Internet Monk, it is a blog and you can do a search on its history. For now it I simply want to deal with it as it exists. And to me, as I see that it, Internet Monk may be generally classified as having two main movements:
  • Pro liberal Lutheranism via the ELCA (its attempt to move with appreciation or affirmation)
  • Anti historic Protestantism, fundamentalism and conservative Evangelicalism (its attempt to move with depreciation or dis-affirmation)
Thus, as you read Internet Monk no doubt you will find, at times, some material from which good ideas and reflection of orthodox doctrine may be gleaned (in as much as you can get from such sources seeing that they have problems, themselves, with their own history, orthodoxy and certainly while they drift ever leftward thus, I expect an eventual apology from the ELCA for Jesus claiming to be God). However, while sifting through that scribble you will also have to regularly deal with Internet Monk's penchant for reactionary preoccupation with fundamentalists, either bashing or blaming them for all things ecclesiastically, theologically and socially bad (I use the word "fundamentalist" loosely since it is the undefined or ill-defined boogeyman used by many liberal Christians to label anyone or anything in Christendom that they consider more conservative than themselves, thus these more conservatives must be in some way the fundieboogeyman or at least guilty of possessing at least one trait of the fundieboogeyman, thus permitting the implied or explicit tag). So exploring there and commenting there does come with a price.

Be that as it may, I visit there now and then because first, I like being ganged tackled by group-think types who become the very thing they claim to denounce or at least eschew (The Wartburg Watch surpasses IM in their exuberant mob-mentality style of justice if you happen to enjoy an amped-up experience of that). But better than that, I like going there and participating as well because now and then someone like Katherina von Bora shows up to let us all know an agent has not only done her homework but has arrived to instruct us all. It is not just her thoughts but her art of writing which serves up something superior to our pedestrian efforts and stimulates us all toward better and higher thought.

Thus, I wanted to share this with you and encourage you to go to the site and read the entire post and the whole of the debate and discussion which follows. She towers over everyone on the matter. But before you do let me encourage my readers to consider not just this "Pastrix" but the lesser yet very similar Young Restless and Reformed, Postmodern, and Seeker-Senstive types which are removed from the Protestant Liberalism the ELCA but instead, exist in Protestant or Baptist and non-denominational traditionalism. They share the very same thinking, though on a bit of a muted scale, as the Pastrix, Bolz-Webber (what if two hyphenated names get married, do their children then have a four hyphenated name and what, then, if their children get married to someone else with a four hyphenated name?).

So here is the context. Various people have chimed in, including me, with our comparatively aseptic thoughts. Some celebrate this daring tattooed and cussing Pastrix (sorry Mark Driscoll, you have just been one-upped) while others do not and the remaining unsure. And at the point of the quote I am posting bellow, von Bora has already engaged a few people. The debate and testing of arguments builds. And then, like a General commanding a battalion of thoughts in which each word is a solider serving at her command, she executes, both strategically and tactically, a take-down of the matter which simply conquers the entire construct, exposing and ravaging the errant ideology/theology and practice of the Pastrix and her cheering acolytes and re-establishing the cause and raising, again, the colors and superiority of established landmarks. Here it is:
Katharina von Bora says:
It’s frustrating that so much energy is being spent either critiquing or defending her language, here, because I think her problems as a preacher and theologian go far deeper than her questionable choices of language and attire. But of course the “mouth like a trucker” routine and the tattoos work as they are meant to–they are distractions. Half the readers will instantly admire her for shocking the bourgeoisie and “keepin it real/stickin it to the patriarchy” and half the readership will talk exclusively about what a foul-mouthed little ruffian she is. Then a whole subset of people will defend her to the bitter end without reading any deeper into what she’s all about, just on the principle of “we have to stand up for the bold lady against the mean prudish fundamentalists!” Even the title of her book cleverly taps into this kneejerk impulse. Very well-played, at least in terms of promotion.
I started out thinking she was interesting, at least entertaining. Her speech for the ELCA youth gathering was definitely dynamic and inspiring. (Though even watching that, I found the “shock comic” cadences she still uses, reminiscent of for instance Margaret Cho, distracting.) And the ELCA loves her because her church is one of the few in the ranks that isn’t dying slowly of old age or checking out of the denomination. The ELCA powers that be are not too picky about theological particulars–they allow Ebenezer in San Francisco to prance about with goddess “rosaries” and a mural of a Hindu death goddess on their exterior wall, after all–and they do love getting numbers and mission support dollars.
The swearing, I could get past in the right context. The tattoos are ultimately not so important. Those two things together, played up as being somehow central to her public persona, do suggest a kind of juvenile attitude. But when you get her talking at length, she starts saying things that are really troubling:
“Nobody believes every line of the Creed,” she claims. Really? Nobody? Even in the ELCA, this is not true. Sure everyone struggles with belief from time to time, but there really and truly are people who even when they are struggling, are praying “Lord I believe, help my unbelief” instead of crossing out a line here and altering a line there. It’s concerning to me that she so flippantly dismisses the possibility of real faith. And this isn’t a “church lady elitist” thing, either. I have found that often it is the “down and out,” the recovered addict, the abuse survivor, the formerly homeless, who have that full and sincere faith. In other words, the very people she claims to minister to…yet she cannot believe that any of them are capable of such faith? Really?
“We do this litany of the saints where we go outside and read the names of the dead and invite the dead to witness the resurrection, which is awesome because I’ll chant like “St. Peter and St. Paul.” And everyone says, “Come celebrate with us.” We have this book of dead that people write names in and I always forget to read them in advance because inevitably there’ll be like “Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett.”
Well…this isn’t a Lutheran thing, for one. We have a “litany of the saints” in the hymnal, but it does not invoke, invite, or implore the saints. It thanks God for their faithful example. That would be the standard Lutheran way. Doing otherwise is pretty controversial–it was a big deal for the Reformers, of course. Invoking and inviting, for instance, St. Paul would be odd in a Lutheran church…but invoking and inviting a drug addled decadent pop star widely accused by many young men of sexual abuse? What on earth are they thinking? What is the purpose of this, other than to just be edgy? This is plainly inappropriate.
“We are not the kind of family that does a lot of like family devotionals. We don’t pray together as a family. We don’t do this faith stuff in our home. You know why? My kids are around it all the time, and so I just feel like they need a break at home, you know. So like we — I know it’s like a big deal to like build faith in the home and do all that stuff. We don’t do that.”
This is just tragic. It confirms to me that all of this–the “lady pastor who swears like a sailor and is totes hip” is an act, a false front. A life that is authentically sustained by faith doesn’t leave it “at the office.” It is not something you need a “break” from. Church business? Absolutely! Take as many breaks as you can from that crap! Public speaking? Absolutely! But prayer, devotion, and the sustenance of faith? No…that is not something your kids “need a break” from.
But if what they have is NOT that faith, but a big, loud, attention-grabbing act meant to appear like a type of faith and religiousity, well, no wonder they get exhausted and want to unplug from that at home.
So here we have a pastor who doesn’t believe that childlike faith is really possible, who is willing to “bend the rules” in such a way as to ignore not only Lutheran tradition but basic discernment, and who doesn’t feel like her faith sustains her home life or her kids but is something they “need a break” from. That is way more concerning to me than the exterior trappings which she and both her supporters and detractors focus on with so much attention.
I did try to find an email for Katherina von Bora at her tumblr account but did not and have not been successful in finding one that I may contact her privately to express my appreciation (I don't do tumblr). Any how, thank you Katherina von Bora. Your thoughts on the matter, no matter where we find ourselves on the theological spectrum, are true and sobering as well as eloquent.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Did You Know It Is Red October?

Over at Faith & Heritage, you can and should read about Red October. If you are unaware of it, ever since the apartheid government was abolished in South Africa and the African National Congress (ANC) became the major ruling party (which is represented by blacks), the brutality by black Africans against white Africans has accelerated at a pace rarely seen in allegedly democratic states. It is alarming to say the least, some use the term "genocide".

Many Christians simply don't want to perform their due diligence with regard to racial issues. They have a narrative which betrays them, both black and white and those of other groups as well. In Christ, we are brothers in sisters, but the church is not the basis for nationalism nor are governments and its people's under any such ecclesiastical protocols seeing that outside of the church men and women in large numbers are pagan, heathen, bewitched by demonic religions which stifled freedom and destroy human dignity and so on. 

Hence, governments or "states" are formed so that men may live in an agreed upon state. And South Africa, until 1992, had an agreed upon state of living by its founders and constitution, one of great prosperity and advanced civilization. Some have objected that is practiced racial segregation and preference and t is true there was racial segregation but to what are you appealing? Certainly there is no command or edict in God's Word which condemns such a state by men and in fact, commends such a state if such a state exists as a state of freedom, protection and perpetuity of its people.

Under its new form of government, South Africa and its major cities have not only destabilized but have become places of constant brutality and crime by blacks against whites. Once pristine areas are now slums. 

As its founders and architects understood, the advanced civilization of South Africa depended on white genetic properties and their products, collectively. There is no equal or co-existence in peace possible in South Africa with whites and blacks. Whites and blacks, while being equally or quantitatively human are not qualitatively equal as collectives. Hence their products and the temperamental requirements both individually and collectively for a state's success are betrayed when the group with the inferior properties and capacities becomes the ruling class.

No matter what is given, collectively, to the black in South Africa, they cannot match the average IQ. of the white (and the correlating disposition which comes with the greater average IQ. which is self-regulation, impulse control, innovative mentality, personal independence and responsibility and all of this is necessary in an advanced civilization) thus, as they live together in a vain attempt, the black will always know their work and its products are less than their white neighbor. And they will forever be resentful.

These two groups must separate for their own sake as they once did. The South African blacks produce exceptions to the rule of their average IQ. on a rare scale. They will never, on average, produce children who are above their IQ. average, thus unable to produce the eventual leaders and innovators to perpetuate the advanced civilization in which the live at the level that the whites can and will.

The white South Africans have a right to their destiny as the blacks claim. And not only have the whites been dispossessed of this heritage but now they are being brutalized in every conceivable manner by blacks, never mind the black on black brutalization. Hence, it is Red October month. And what is that? Here is a brief quote from the article and I encourage you to read the article and explore the website:

A campaign to publicly protest the genocide and oppression of white people in South Africa has finally been launched. The Red October campaign will stage marches in opposition to the oppressive anti-white government of South Africa on the 10th of October, the birthday of one of the greatest statesmen in Boer history, President Paul Kruger.