Also by Terry Mattingly, a piece looking at thoughts from Thomas Kidd and Russell Moore on how U.S. church membership has fallen to all-time lows.
Kidd highlights a trend in American religious life where lack of formal church membership is not prima facie evidence of being secular or secularist. In other words eve among the “none” or “done” categories of people who won’t attend churches this is not necessarily a sign of being irreligious. Not being an evangelical Christian with a church membership contract doesn’t mean a person couldn’t be one in doctrinal terms, or a deist or a pantheist or have some form of belief in the divine.
Russell Moore highlights something else, that the propensity of evangelicals in the South to conflate religious belief with cultural norms and political commitments has shown him that the commitments expected tended to work out in explicitly political terms. But if religion is so politicized why fault younger generations for just aligning themselves with political parties absent any religion? In such a political/cultural contexts the meat would be the politics and the bones to spit out would be the religious dogmas that led to them.
Conversely, Moore implicitly proposes, if the religious beliefs were really primary then the situation would be reversed. Christian doctrines would be the meat and politics might be the bones to spit out, so to speak. I have known people over the years who are conservative on religious doctrine but, because of that, progressive in their politics. Even within evangelicalism there have been progressive and reactionary impulses but a links for the weekend post is not quite the space to get into that. Maybe later.
In certain realms of the Christian blog scene and watchblog scene you might get the idea that penal substitutionary atonement is unique to the Reformed/Calvinist tradition. I can recall a few Americans who are skeptical toward penal substitutionary atonement. A friend of mine from the Mars Hill years converted to Eastern Orthodoxy and told me that once he got past his "cage phase" Orthodoxy he discovered that if you go deeply into the Church Fathers and Orthodox theological traditions you will discover that, in fact, even in Eastern Orthodoxy penal substitutionary atonement is considered a necessary doctrine. It isn't given the primary emphasis the way it is in the West but you do have to affirm it. Well, as I browse the internet I sometimes find stuff (via Fiat Iustitia blogroll). So, here you go, if you want to read someone in the Orthodox tradition explain why penal substitionary atonement is part of that tradition, too.
Crawford Gribben has a book out on survivalist resistance and Christian reconstructionism in the Pacific Northwest that came out last month and I’ve started into it. It’s an interesting read so far.
Gribben also has a particularly fascinating book on the genre of end-times/prophecy fiction I’m nearly done with called Writing the Rapture.
Freddie deBoer has his moment where he proposes that the newly woke (as distinct from people who were woke seven years ago) are like the PC crew from South Park back in 2015 when PC Principal showed up. Of course … for those who saw that season of South Park the meta-punchline is that while everyone else in the PC frat is going PC for getting laid PC Principal himself is 200% sincere. Parker and Stone have since gone on to say that while they obviously use him as a punchline character the like him.
If deBoer were to make his point even sharper and more gruesome he could point out that after decades of being branded for girl-power it appears that Joss Whedon’s girl-power branding may have just been branding.
Finally, I normally don't link to First Things in the Rusty Reno era but Ephraim Radner has a meditation on music that is composed and never heard and mentions a Native American composer I've never heard of before. That might be because said Native American composer was a political conservative who opposed inter-racial marriage and, as Radner eludes, had some views that were considered very controversial and not-so-liberal. I've never heard of David Yeagley before and considering that I've been trying to read a bit on Native American classical composers this name is news to me. Radner also reflects on music written by a composer who perished at Auschwitz. Seattle has had a Music of Remembrance series I haven't been to because, frankly, I'm not as situated to be at concerts the last few years either because of pandemic constraints or not swimming in funds, but there have been composers whose music was written in prisons whose works have been getting more attention. Zaderatsky's formidable cycle of 24 preludes and fugues for piano written in the Gulag springs to mind. Anyway, here's a link to Radner's thoughts on music that is never heard.
Finally ... what might you get if you did a musical synthesis of "Petrushka's Cell" from Stravinsky's famous ballet and "Miles Runs the Voodoo Down" from Bitches Brew? You might get something like "Enter Dessler" from the soundtrack of Space Battleship Yamato 2199.
aka Star Blazers 2199, which is a spectacular re-make of the classic 1970s anime. 2202 isn't nearly as fun because the Comet Empire/Gatlanteans aren't as interesting as antagonists. That said, series III (2205) is supposed to hit later this year.