Every Christian in America is political. This is unavoidable. It is the privilege and burden of citizenship. We can choose to not exercise the duties of citizenship, but that does not mean we do not have them. —Compassion & Conviction, p. 3
“Sometimes it seems like you either have theologians that don’t write commentaries or you have exegetes that are too lost in the details” —Tim Keller
Google makes a lot of software with terrible user experiences for users who have poor taste.
Terminologies evolve, sure.
But it is self-contradiction to moralize “words matter!” while simultaneously ignoring or abandoning etymologies.
Do you begin to see, then, what kind of world we are creating? It is the exact opposite of the stupid hedonistic Utopias that the old reformers imagined. A world of fear and treachery and torment, a world of trampling and being trampled upon, a world which will grow not less but more merciless as it refines itself. Progress in our world will be progress toward more pain. The old civilizations claimed that they were founded on love and justice. Ours is founded upon hatred. In our world there will be no emotions except fear, rage, triumph, and self-abasement.
—Orwell, 1984, part iii chapt. 3
The power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them… To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just as long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies—all this is indispensably necessary. Even in using the word doublethink it is necessary to exercise doublethink. For by using the word one admits that one is tampering with reality; by a fresh act of doublethink one erases this knowledge; and so on indefinitely, with the lie always one leap ahead of the truth.
—Orwell, 1984, part ii chapt 9
If he were allowed contact with foreigners he would discover that they are creatures similar to himself and that most of what he has been told about them is lies. The sealed world in which he lives would be broken, and the fear, hatred, and self-righteousness on which his morale depends might evaporate. It is therefore realized on all sides that however ofter Persia, or Egypt, or Java, or Ceylon may change hands, the main frontiers must never be crossed by anything except bombs.
—George Orwell, 1984, part ii chapter 9
Wicker Park, 2020
Francis Collins, literally the top scientist in the land:
We Americans tend to be pioneers in individual behavior, but this is a time for individuals to moderate their behavior.
It’s one of the great tragedies of this current moment that scientifically based public-health measures have somehow been captured as cultural or political phenomena. Your chance of spreading the coronavirus to a vulnerable person has nothing to do with what culture you come from or what political party you belong to. Your responsibility is to try to prevent that from happening to vulnerable people around you. But our country’s polarization is so extreme that it even seems to extend into a place like this — where it absolutely doesn’t belong. That is really troubling because it’s putting people at risk who shouldn’t be.
It took me a couple of years to get through those many thickets of intellectual debate, but it led me then at that point in my life to see science and spirituality as not in conflict but actually quite compatible, quite harmonious, quite self- and co-reinforcing. People said my head was going to explode, that it would not be possible to both study genetics and read the Bible. I’ve never found a problem with this at all, despite the way in which some scientists have caricatured faith to make it seem incompatible. Most of those caricatures don’t resemble my faith. Similarly, the way that some people have caricatured science as a threat to God, that doesn’t resemble the science that I’m doing.
To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it, to believe that democracy was impossible and that the Party was the guardian of democracy, to forget whatever it was necessary to forget, then to draw it back into memory again at the moment when it was needed, and then promptly to forget it again: and above all, to apply the same process to the process itself — that was the ultimate subtlety: consciously to induce unconsciousness, and then, once again, to become unconscious of the act of hypnosis you had just performed. Even to understand the word ‘doublethink’ involved the use of doublethink.
—George Orwell, “1984”
Christians, of all people, should know that evil is held in place not just by the flesh (the sinful self), or even the devil (and associated demonic powers), but also by the world: the structures and systems of human power that perpetuate injustice, idolatry and immorality. It seems clear to me, for instance, that contemporary Britain is not just comprised of individual men and women who are idolatrous, or sexually immoral; our systems, structures and institutions promote idolatry and sexual immorality, in a way that is often tangential to or independent of deliberate human agency. The same is true of injustices, including racial ones. Christians are not saying this because we have been influenced by Marx. Marxists are saying it because they have been influenced by Christ.
More in this quick primer on institutional racism, unconscious bias, legacy of historical injustices, racialized assumptions, and intentional racism.
an advanced city is not one where even the poor use cars, but rather one where even the rich use public transport.
To achieve great things, two things are needed: a plan and not quite enough time.
—Leonard Bernstein, quoted in chapt. 5 of The Nation City by Rahm Emanuel
Tim Keller on “Racism and Corporate Evil“:
Systemic evil… is a system that excludes and marginalizes people on the basis of race even though most of the people in the system are probably not intentionally trying to do so.
Friends, I’ve yet to find anything else like it:
The Christian gospel supplies both the security to boldly stand against injustice and the grace to humbly forgo cancel culture
Two explorers enter a cave filled with the most elaborate spiderwebs. One of them cannot locate a spider, and thus refuses to believe it exists. You see the webs, replies the other. The spider is implied. Racial prejudice is the implied spider that has woven the web of policies and practices, inequalities and abuses that have constrained black Americans now for four hundred years.
This is a great example of the Great Span, the link across large periods of history by individual humans. But it’s also a reminder that, as William Faulkner wrote: “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” Until this week, US taxpayers were literally and directly paying for the Civil War, a conflict whose origins stretch back to the earliest days of the American colonies and continues today on the streets of our cities and towns.
Many Christian leaders are asking how they can constructively and practically advance the cause of justice in the wake of the killing of George Floyd and national protests. Here are steps we recommend you consider as you lead people to address injustice through civic engagement. As the nation convulses with anger and mourning in awareness of its own injustice, the Church’s response will help to determine whether this is a season of rebuilding or one of disintegration. We’re in a position to change the dialogue and enact policies that change the system.
The Bible very clearly demands justice in the sight of oppression and murder. In response to vain worship, the Lord told ancient Israel, “Take away from Me the noise of your songs, For I will not hear the melody of your stringed instruments. But let justice run down like water, And righteousness like a mighty stream” (Amos 5:23-24, NKJV). Any theology or ideology that minimizes or denies the importance of justice in a social context is not biblical and must be called out accordingly. We cannot place our cultural preferences, partisan interests and flawed race narratives ahead of the Christian justice imperative.
More in the full statement from the AND Campaign…
“When Marco Polo came at last to Cathay, seven hundred years ago, did he not feel — and did his heart not falter as he realized — that this great and splendid capital of an empire had had its being all the years of his life and far longer, and that he had been ignorant of it? That it was in need of nothing from him, from Venice, from Europe? That it was full of wonders beyond his understanding? That his arrival was a matter of no importance whatever? We know that he felt these things, and so has many a traveller in foreign parts who did not know what he was going to find. There is nothing that cuts you down to size like coming to some strange and marvellous place where no one even stops to notice that you stare about you.”
—Richard Adams, Watership Down, “The Great River”
Jesus: “It is written.”
Satan: “Is it written?”
Know the difference.
Adrienne LaFrance for The Atlantic:
QAnon is emblematic of modern America’s susceptibility to conspiracy theories, and its enthusiasm for them. But it is also already much more than a loose collection of conspiracy-minded chat-room inhabitants. It is a movement united in mass rejection of reason, objectivity, and other Enlightenment values. And we are likely closer to the beginning of its story than the end. The group harnesses paranoia to fervent hope and a deep sense of belonging. The way it breathes life into an ancient preoccupation with end-times is also radically new. To look at QAnon is to see not just a conspiracy theory but the birth of a new religion.