January 16, 2021

Saturday Ramblings 9.8.12

Good morning, iMonks. How is the weather where you are? Here in the flyover state I call home, it has cooled down from the 100s to the low 80s. Break out the mittens and scarves. Put another log on the fire (and tell me why it is you’re leaving me). And while we’re at it, what say we take a walk down the ramblin’ road?

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The news this week was dominated by some event in Charlotte, North Carolina (a city, by the way, totally lacking even one good barbecue restaurant). Before we get to those fun and games, let’s look at a few other items that may be of interest to you. First up is the Trio in Rio. A notary public granted marital status to a man and woman and woman in Brazil. Yes, the three are now married to one another. How long before this happens here in the United States?

What is here now is 3D printing. And guess what someone has figured out how to do? Print a gun. That’s right, no more seeking out a back-alley dealer in untraceable handguns. Now you can simply print one off in the comfort of your own cave. Adam Palmer spotted this, and finds it disturbing. You?

Speaking of disturbing, here is an apologetic for the contemporary church in America. Am I too cynical? Is there really a place for entertainment in a worship service in order to attract seekers? Oh, wait. we’ve already covered this lots of times, as recently as this Thursday. Still, your thoughts?

Are you a member of your church? Does your church even offer membership? If so, what are the requirements? The majority of churchgoers in the U.S. have no idea if they are members of their church or not. Again, why does this not surprise me?

Following his comments that many times, the victims of sexual abuse are the ones to blame, Fr. Benedict Groeschel has stepped down as the host of his popular TV program on EWTN. It had to happen, of course, but I can’t help but be sad  that this is how we will remember a good man.

Well, I can’t put it off any longer. Let’s delve into the tragedy we call politics. First of all, did you know that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has an “evangelical ambassador“? How do you feel being treated as a political consumer based on your religious habits? Oh, I know it has been going on forever, and it happens from both sides of the fence, but I just don’t get excited knowing Mark DeMoss is trying to get evangelicals to vote for a specific candidate.

Meanwhile, the Democrat’s convention created a tempest in a cup of tea by first leaving God out of their platform, then voting to put him back in. I’m sure that must be a relief to God. Stephen Prothero sees both parties using God as a stage prop for their theatrics. Again, this is nothing new. But it is still … sad? disgusting? blasphemous?

Former Ohio governor Ted Strickland invoked Jesus’ words from the Sermon on the Mount to take a jab at Romney’s business practices. He says, “In Matthew, chapter 6, verse 21, the scriptures teach us that where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. My friends, any man who aspires to be our president should keep both his treasure and his heart in the United States of America.” I’m not quite sure that is what Jesus was getting at, but hey, since when does accuracy come into play when we’re dealing with our political opponents?

And if having Clint Eastwood talk to an empty chair was not enough, now we have Chuck Norris predicting 1,000 years of darkness if President Obama is reelected. Well, who is going to disagree with Chuck Norris? (Did you know Chuck Norris has already been to Mars? That’s why there’s no sign of life there. Jesus walked on water. Chuck Norris can swim through land.)

Our final political story come courtesy of the ever-vigilant Synonymous Rambler regarding a billboard in Victoria, Texas, urging passersby to pray for our president. It includes a Scripture reference, Psalm 109:8. Look it up for yourself and see why the Secret Service is investigating the matter.

And finally, the Pope has a new car to tool around in. Something called a Kangoo. No, I am not making that up. What I find interesting is the picture that goes with this story. There is the Kangoo, standing with its door open, awaiting its famous passenger. There are two fingers pointing at the car. But where is the Pope going? What is he looking at? As always, your insights are most welcome.

Birthday candles were blown out this week by Boxcar Willie; Conway Twitty; Lily Tomlin; Barry Gibb; Jimmy Connors; Terry Bradshaw; Eric Dickerson; Keanu Reeves; Alan Ladd; Freddie King; Al Jardine; Buddy Holly; Charlie Sheen; Saint Paul Harvey; Bob Newhart; and Raquel Welch.

I am quite vocal in my contention that there is not a lot of good music being produced these days. I listen to an internet station that plays “deep tracks” from the 60s and 70s. But even I will admit not everything from that era was good. Here are two songs featuring two of our birthday boys from the 70s, one very good, and one rather hideous. You decide which is which. Enjoy (at least enjoy one of them).

[yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_JoZS6LgqYI&feature=related’]

[yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GGLmZCZ1sXY&feature=related’]

Comments

  1. “A notary public granted marital status to a man and woman and woman in Brazil. Yes, the three are now married to one another. How long before this happens here in the United States?”

    Not long.

    Why not?

    On what basis would you deny 3, or 4, or more people from getting married? If love is all that matters, then who is to say that you can’t marry your dog and four people and a goat?

    • That Other Jean says

      Because the dog and the goat are unable to grant informed consent?

    • In this day and age, we can tell if a dog is really in love or just scratching some amorous itch.

      And for a goat, no love is baaaaad love.

      • What, using brain imaging or something? First we would have to define “love” in a way that is scientifically measurable.

    • The main reason not to allow polygamy is just that it is legally complicated.

      • WHOA! The main reason not to allow polygamy is that it serves an oppressive ruling patriarchy and robs the average man. It’s wrong all the way around. (it’s also what original Mormonism has in common with Islam, and a tip-off that both are wrong.)

      • I’m stumped. What’s your angle? Are you pro-polygamy or anti-sexual restraint?

        • Neither! 🙂

          • But seriously folks.. I am not pro or anti poly-marriage. I think it would be legally complicated due to issues such as decision making on medical matters. However, that is essentially a pragmatic, not a moral one. As for the claim that it is oppressive and favours patriarchy, a marriage between one man and one woman can do that, as it does for example in the complementarian paradigm. However, the abuse of something by some people is not a good moral reason to deny it to others. If a group of people of whatever genders wish to enter into some legally binding marriage with one another, so long as consent is present from all involved, I see no moral problem with it at all. That is not to say that I would promote it, but neither would I fight against it. The concept is, in my opinion, morally neutral. Just as any form of marriage is, in and of itself, morally neutral.

            As to sexual restraint, I am of much the same opinion. It is not a moral issue in and of itself. If the constraint makes someone else happy, then I am glad for them. If a lack of constraint makes someone else happy (provided that consent is always present of course), then I am happy for them as well.

          • Well, ok. But just keep in mind you are not in an entirely morally neutral stance there. “…any form of marriage,” implying that there in fact are multiple forms of what may legitimately called “marriage” is a moral position, and quite a progressive one at that. The same goes for sexual restraint. I appreciate that you don’t condemn restraint as being objectively wrong or oppressive, but remember that those of us who embrace it consider extreme libertinism to be both harmful and frustrating, in that it does not deliver what it promises. So while I don’t mean to cram my sexual ethics down the throats of others, the fact that I believe it to be sincerely in the best interests of all prevents me from remaining completely silent on the issue.

            Do you consider self-control to be a virtue?

          • The morality of marriage, as with the morality of any human interaction rests (in my opinion, obviously) on consent. If all the parties involved offer informed consent to the interaction, then I see no moral issue with it. The number, gender and race of the people involved is irrelevant to the morality of the situation.

            If you believe sexual libertinism to be harmful to you, then I would assume that you would not consent to take part in it, and so the moral question would reside there, in your lack of consent to such activities that would involve you.

            And I would not want you to be forced to remain silent on the issue. If you believe that any particular sexual activity was immoral, then I would fully support your rights to speak against it. I would even support your right to lobby for it to be made illegal. However, once you cross that line from trying to persaude people to trying to legally prevent them, that is when you become immoral (in my view of the world).

            So, for instance, I think that Fred Phelps is actually morally preferable to the Republican Party of Texas when they were attempting to change the law on homosexuality. Fred Phelps holds up signs and tells people that he thinks homosexuality is morally wrong. I think that he is incorrect on that, but his actions are not going to harm the rights of a gay person who wishes to have sex with her wife. The Texas Republican Party, however, attempted to use their political power to change the laws to actually harm gay people who choose to have sex in the way that they want.

            And as for your final question, I think self-control is morally neutral.

          • Wow. I do not believe I have ever encountered your perspective before. I’ll be chewing on that for a while. In terms of ethical philosophy, would you put “consent” as your moral supreme? I can think of many situations where “consent” might not actually validate a practice, such as spousal abuse. Wouldn’t you agree that it’s wrong for a man to beat his wife even if she agrees to it?

            I find your view of the interaction of sexual practice and the law to be somewhat appealing. However, I don’t think you would be as consistent to your approach on legislation when it comes to non-sexual issues such as theft or murder. Is it possible that some practices, sexual or otherwise, are objectively harmful, or even wrong, regardless of consent? Surely humans can, knowingly or otherwise, consent to things which inflict harm on themselves/others. But I agree wholeheartedly that the approach of Phelps, though it reveals his inner hatred and bitterness, ought to be legal. Ultimately, this protects gay people from his views even if he hurts their feelings, because at the end of the day it’s just an angry man ranting who has no coercive power over them.

            Well, at least you don’t consider self-control to be a vice, but I’ve never encountered the perspective that it is neutral. Would you say that there is nothing objectionable about being led around by your passions and obeying any desires, lusts, and emotional reactions? Personally, I think it is preferable for society if we allow our intellect to check the impulse of our natural inclinations. I think it’s one thing that separates us from the animals.

          • I’m glad I have given you something to think about! And now to answer your new questions.

            I don’t know about moral supremes, but when judging the morality of any interaction, consent is what I find most useful on the first pass. If there is consent, then something is not immoral. If happiness comes from it, and there is consent, then it is probably moral.

            No. I do not believe it is wrong for a husband to hit his wife (or vice versa) if that is what she genuinely wants to happen. BDSM is, provided (as always) that there is consent is not morally problematic. Indeed, if all persons involved offer informed consent, and it makes them happy, then it is a morally good thing for them to engage in it.

            As for theft and murder, those are by definition non consensual and thus I find them to be immoral. If, however, there is consent, then the act of killing is not immoral. This leads me to support the concept of voluntary euthanasia, but oppose the death penalty.

            Something being harmful to the person doing the action or not is not, to my mind, a necessary part of determining the morality of the situation. So, while smoking is “objectively harmful”, in that it increases the risks of cancer, and causes other diseases, that does not make it immoral, since there is consent. Indeed, these days there is usually informed consent about the risks. What IS immoral is smoking around other people who do not (or in the case of children, cannot) offer the necessary consent.

            As for your last comment, nothing separates us from the animals. We ARE animals. That is just a brute fact of biology. The question is, what sort of animal do we want to be? What sort of society do we want to form.

            I don’t hold the denial of desires, lusts and emotional reactions to be morally good or morally bad. Morality only applies (in my view) to interactions between people. My actions become moral, or immoral depending on how they affect other people, and whether the other people offer their consent to that effect. If someone is led, by their emotions, to a desire to study science and come up with a new drug to cure cancer.. then hurrah for them, and hurrah for the rest of us. They have made our lives better. If, however, someone is led, by their emotions, to hurt other people against their will, then that is immoral. But it is the ineraction itself that has a moral character, not the emotion or the denial thereof.

            If you would prefer to continue to talk about this off-board, I can be reached at james andrew bremner (at) gmail (dot) com

    • Steve, it’s better to avoid mention of the dog and the goat in the marriage discussion. You’ll sabotage your own credibility because dogs and goats can’t legally sign documents.

      This keeps coming up, unbelieveably, in the gay marriage discussion (and here with polygamy) and it’s better left out if people want to be serious.

      But I’ll agree with you that polygamy may become legal here in the US, shortly after gay marriage or along with it. Animals, never.

      • Richard Hershberger says

        When I hear someone making the “dogs and goats” argument I immediately tune them out, as this is proof that they have not actually given any thought to what is coming out of their mouths, and are merely regurgitating talking points they don’t understand.

        • That’s exactly what I was warning Steve against, but it still seems to be a talking point.

          In the anti-abortion battle, people are often warned against playing the Hitler card, associating abortion with the Nazis or the Holocaust, because people will immediately tune out. You can’t win friends and influence people after you’ve already called them mass murderers.

    • If Romney is elected, perhaps some Mormons will push for repealing the federal laws which targeted Mormon polygamy at the turn of the century – the very ones which lead Romney’s ancestors to move to the Juarez polygamy colony at that time.

      • But the Trio in Rio is more than polygamy. It is not one man with two wives. All three are married to the other two. The two women are married to one another as well.

        • Understood. I just think the definition of marriage issue is going to become far more surreal. I am actually quite surprised that the rabid patriachialists haven’t come out in favor of polygamy…yet.

          • Next election. But it won’t be the Republicans.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            Back in the 2008 primaries it was said of Mitt Romney “You know things have gotten weird when the only GOP candidate with one wife is The Mormon.”

          • And a century earlier it was said of Reed Smoot and certain unnamed others, “I would rather have…a polygamist who doesn’t polyg, than a monogamist who doesn’t monog.”

        • Right. I believe the technical term is “polyamorous.” It’s a “relationship” of 3 or more persons.

          • They used the Portuguese equivalent of “polyfidelity,” emphasizing that there is an expectation of non-philandering outside the trio.

          • I see. So it is a “committed relationship” after all. Expect the Episcopal church to make a rite for blessing it before it becomes legal! 😛

    • Many of the same exact arguments were used against inter-racial-marriage..

      Seriously.

    • It always seemed to me that marriage involved giving yourself completely to another person. Possible with two, but not so easy with three.

      • Ah yes, it is quite difficult to give 200% of myself away. That is one way of putting it. But quite honestly, I’m doing pretty miserable at the first 100%, so why would I want to try and double my goal? From a pragmatic perspective alone, polygamy just has so little draw for me. Regardless of it’s moral or legal state, I just don’t see why people like it.

      • Polygamy was legal during Old Testament times, but the bible shows that it didn’t work out so well. Consider Rachel and Leah. And I’m told that the Hebrew word for “second wife” is the same as the word for “rival”.

    • Canada allowed it a few years back also, it was a custody arrangement though, not a civil union. They granted three adults legal custody of a Toronto area child. The mother and father were never living together, had only a platonic relationship (as a favour, he fathered the child for the lesbian couple). The woman (mother) lived with her wife. The two women divorced and the custody case went to court. Since the father had had a role in raising his biological child (I think son) the court granted all three equal parental access. Poor kid, how confusing. In Canada, biological parents don’t necessarily trump step-parents, living, even common-law, with a step-child can result in custody payments as if it was the person’s biological child. I am not sure if this is followed in the US, but Canada always wants as many people as they can legally tie to a child to be on the hook to pay for the child after divorce/separation. It is always done on a case-by-case basis.

      Many western countries already allow polygamy if the ppl were married in, say, Saudi Arabia, then immigrated to Britain, Sweden, Canada, etc. The only way it won’t come to you soon is if you add special legislation to ban polygamy in your laws. Otherwise, the common-law/married status can be used to support polygamy (Fundie Mormons for example). That is a mess in Canada. All second, third, fourth, etc. wives of Fundie Mormons go pick up single-parent support cheques, yet can live with their husbands as common-law spouses. They are a tricky bunch though, they live in separate buildings on the same compounds, so investigators can’t prove common-law (in Can. common law status is only granted to co-habiting couples). The first wife lives with the husband in his home, then all subsequent women live together in a huge, dormitory-like building (in separate family quarters), thus nullifying any common-law status. Frankly, I think common-law should extend to harems, but our government is too restricted by human rights legislation to take all the kids into custody and give them all DNA tests to prove sexual relations to the man in the other house with a legal wife.

      • Does anybody remember the case of Valentine Michael Smith? Three legal parents.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          Funny thing you should mention Heinlien. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress and the fictional example of Valentine Michael Smith is the inspiration for polyamory activist groups such as “Live the Dream”, which used to show up all the time at SF litcons.

          • Smith’s weren’t polyfidelitious, though–two of them were cheating on the third. The underlying legal consequence is not at all farfetched–a child may well end up with more than two legal parents.

            From what I grok of polyfidelitous unions, they are about as stable as you would expect any radical communal arrangement to be. (Sci-fi fandom may be an additional red flag!)

  2. Regarding the weather, it’s the second week of September, the kids have all gone back to school, so naturally now is the time we get the real summer. We’ve had three consecutive days of sunshine!

    🙂

  3. Is there really a place for entertainment in a worship service in order to attract seekers?

    Why not — entertainment seems to be the standard everywhere else.

    Bill Kinnon quoting someone said at his blog some time ago, “What you win them with is what you win them to.” He is so right.

    T

  4. The gun story has been around for a few weeks. The problem is the hyperbole. The person did NOT 3D print a gun. Just the lower receiver(frame). You could make this out of wood if you wanted.

    What makes a gun a gun is the barrel and chamber parts. They are what took so long to develop such that we have modern guns that don’t blow up in your face. And while it may come to pass that 3D printing can make an entire guy that’s more than a zip gun at some point, we are a long way from being able to figure out how to consider printing high strength metals needed for the chamber and barrel.

    There’s not there there. Unless you’re thinking of that gun used by the John Malkovich character in the movie “In the Line of Fire”

    • “What makes a gun a gun is the barrel and chamber parts.”

      That depends on the gun, according to the ATF here in the US. The “gun” part of an AR-15 is the lower receiver so you have to buy that from an FFL dealer, but you can buy all the rest right through the mail. On some others, like say a Ruger Mk1/2/3 pistol, it’s as you say and the chamber/barrel assembly is the gun.

      Of course, I’m only talking legally. But you could certainly print out a lower receiver since all that needs to do is hold a couple pins.

  5. The Pope owns a Renault? Well, we have at least something in common now! I prefer my Scénic though…

    • Wonder if he sings this old ditty as he travels:

      Well, I don’t care if it rains or freezes,
      Long as I have my plastic Jesus
      Riding on the dashboard of my car
      Through all trials and tribulations,
      We will travel every nation,
      With my plastic Jesus I’ll go far.

  6. Jeff, Psalm 109 started showing up right after Obama was inaugurated. I think enough people thought it was in bad taste that it went away. But with the election looming all of the ammunition is coming out of the trunk.

    With verse 9 it reads,
    8May his days be few;
    may another take his office!
    9 May his children be fatherless
    and his wife a widow!

    I’m starting to see an increase in the pressure among Christians not to vote for Obama because of the abortion and gay marriage issues. Some Christians will insist that one cannot consider himself truly in God’s will (and therefore even a Christian at all) if one votes for such a candidate. Expect more division within the church in the coming weeks. The abuse of these verses is merely an uglier twist to that division.

    • I’m not a political fan of Mr. Obama, but it has really ticked me off how some of my fellow Christians have spoken about this man. Maybe I was too young to notice the rhetoric prior to W, but it seems to me that since W Bush’s extremely close election the political rhetoric on both sides has been more about attacking and demonizing the other than vigorously debating ideas and how to best implement those ideas.
      [rambling diatribe deleted]
      There is something wrong with our faith as Christians when we have more in common with non-Christians in our political party than we do with Christians that are in the other political party.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        With an Idealist generation dominant, ANYTHING and EVERYTHING is going to be elevated to Cosmic Importance and treated as a Fundamentalist Religion. Including Politics — welcome to the world of Messiah Politics and Jihad Politics.

        • I didn’t want to blame the Boomers (my parents’ generation) because it might sound like a young whipper snapper whining. 🙂

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            Josh, I’m 56 (late-period Boomer) and I don’t like Boomers. As my old Dungeonmaster put it once:

            “HUG, why are you so down on Boomers when you’re that age yourself?”

            “Because I’m one of them doesn’t mean I have to like it.” I mean, just because of my age I’m lumped in with the biggest bunch of arrested development cases and perpetual adolescents to come down the chute in 90 years. You would not believe some of the spam and junk mail I get because I fit the Boomer/Yuppie demographic in age, status, and income. I think I’m going to get one of those “DIE YUPPIE SCUM” t-shirts, even if I have to have it custom-printed at the T-shirt shop.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      Expect more division within the church in the coming weeks. The abuse of these verses is merely an uglier twist to that division.

      As well as sounding like a “Let Bubba Do It”.

  7. Here in Denver, we’ve blasted out a record hot summer with over 70 days in the 90’s. HOWEVER, yesterday was a cool 72!!! I even pulled my socks out of the archives and LOVED IT.

    That’s all – carry on!

  8. Yesterday afternoon the bank sign in West Fort Worth read 113 F. This morning when I opened the door to get the paper I was greeted with a refreshing chill. Amazing how much more I appreciate the nice days when they come right after a tortuous one.

  9. With all the talk of “American exceptionalism” and “a thousand years of darkness” it’s clear to this student of history that the fascist movement is alive and well in the GOP. Hitler used the churches and a lot of God-talk, too, until about 1939, when he was finally able to abandon it and show his true colors.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      And the National Socialists’ bitter enemy during their Thirties rise to power — the Communists — didn’t demonize their enemies real and imagined?

  10. petrushka1611 says

    And if any young man comes to date MY goat, he’s going to get a tour of my 3D gun collection before they head out for the evening!

  11. Watching unglossed convention coverage on C-Span has its advantages. For what it’s worth, the “pressure” to restore the name of God to the Democratic Platform did not come from either pro-Israeli groups or the Republicans. It came from the White House. And the floor vote to “restore” the name of God to the platform was split 50-50 in each of the three voice votes the chair used to force the issue, only to finally declare that the required two-thirds majority had been met. God was railroaded in from the top down.

    I was disappointed in the Republicans, dismayed by the Democrats and surprised by neither. Prothero’s article was spot-on, except that the pressure was from another source.

    I’m joining the party of the “Caves and Double A’s” as soon as I can find it. 🙂

    • The certification of the voice-vote had obvious procedural problems, and smacked of fraud.

      • …which is to say that the party got what the leadership had determined was politically savvy and not really what the majority of those glassy-eyed hero worshipers on the convention floor were expecting when they hammered out the original platform.

  12. Have fun shooting a gun made on a 3D printer. Rapid prototyping has come a long way, but I don’t think it yet can render a gun barrel capable of firing a bullet without disintegrating.

    • Just because a rapid prototype can be rendered in metal (which is already being done) that it will have the metallurgic properties required by a barrel or a receiver. There are far simpler and cheaper ways to make a deadly weapon; just ask the Taliban.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      Yeah. That’s the first thing I thought of when I heard “3-D Print a Gun”.

      Like to see how a 3-D printing is going to handle those kind of chamber pressures.

      Though I’m sure we’re going to see much running around in circles screaming to Ban 3-D Printers. “If It Saves Only One Life…”

      • I guess as soon as somebody pulls the trigger, they’ll find out whether the gun will fire, or just blow up in their face.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          Which is why you don’t use modern smokeless powder loads in antique black-powder firearms. The chamber pressures are many times as high. Do you feel lucky today?

  13. Richard McNeeley says

    Here in the mountains of Arizona we have had rain all week with the temps in the 70s and low 80s. Looks like next week will be the same.
    With the current nature of politics, I would think God would rather be left out.
    I don’t even have to watch the videos to know which song I prefer, not a fan of disco.
    Happy birthday Jane Curtin and Jo Anne Worley

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      Here in SoCal we’ve been having highs in the 90s and lows around 70. The lows are the problem; with inside temperatures running 5-10 degrees Fahrenheit above outside temps, it doesn’t get low enough to turn off the AC and open up the place at night.

      And don’t you know that cool summers/cold snaps PROVES Global Warming Global Warming Global Warming(TM)?

  14. Some thoughts on same-sex and polygamous marriages:

    1. Marriage by most definitions is between complements, not sames, so same-sex marriage is in a sense an oxymoron. In human marriage, there must be present the two genitalia – i.e., male and female – required for human sexual reproduction. Whether the couple can actually conceive or actually has children is less defining than the fact that the couple is a male and a female, because that is what “marry” means – i.e., to join two complementary parts to make a union that both retains the individualities while also creating or allowing for the creation (if children are born) of something that is a blend of the two. Think of marrying art styles or cuisines.

    2. Marriage can only be between two such persons, not three or more, because that is the only way one person can totally give of and live from themselves for another person in the same measure in which that person gives and lives back to them. That is what a marriage covenant would and should involve. Contrarily, e.g., when one male shares himself with two females, each female only gets half a male, while the male only gives half of himself to each female. There is not a reciprocal giving of one’s whole self to another’s whole self, and vice-versa. I think the Biblical directive at the end of Genesis 2 (actually 2:18-24) recognizes these things – i.e., that marriage is between a man and a woman, who by physiology complement each other, and that the two becoming one flesh is integral to that definition; as Paul notes in 1 Corinthians 6:16, one-fleshedness has to do with sexual intercourse.

    It seems to me that once you change the definition of marriage for support or health or tax benefits or whatever so it does not contain and require these two elements – i.e., 1. it’s between a male and a female, and 2. it’s between no more and no less than 1 male and 1 female – one loses the argument against allowing legal “marriage” for every and any chosen or preferred or supportive or beneficial arrangement, whether between members of the same sex, or non-sexual partnerships between siblings who care for and support each other, or partnerships between 3 or more persons, etc.

    Two books on the subject:

    The Meaning of Marriage: Family, State, Market, and Morals, by Robert P. George and Jean Bethke Elshtain, Editors, argues for the state’s interest in benefiting and protecting marriage, and against defining “marriage” to include same-sex couples. I’ve read this book.

    Beyond (Straight and Gay) Marriage: Valuing All Families under the Law, by Nancy D. Polikoff, argues against granting married partners special rights vis-a-vis non-married families. I have not read this book.

    • There are already, around the world, numerous families with more than one wife (or more rarely, more than one husband). We can argue about the social and legal effects all day, but these unions exist and are legally recognized in many countries. If such a family unit should immigrate to Europe or the Americas, for example, how should local, monogamous law and culture deal with that?

      Should marriages be recognized according to the laws of the country in which they were enacted? Or should countries with laws enforcing monogamy refuse to recognize any “extra” partners? Before you answer, consider a Saudi man who immigrates in the company of two wives. Wife #2 files for divorce (which would be illegal back in Saudi Arabia, where only the man can initiate). The husband claims that according to U.S. law, which does not recognize polygamous marriage, he and wife #2 were never married, thus no compensation!

      Here’s another “conflict of laws” issue: Suppose an Iraqi man immigrates with his 14-year-old bride. Should the state arrest the man and put the “wife” in foster care, or recognize the marriage? Does it matter what the girl wants?

      • Here’s another “conflict of laws” issue: Suppose an Iraqi man immigrates with his 14-year-old bride. Should the state arrest the man and put the “wife” in foster care, or recognize the marriage? Does it matter what the girl wants?

        I suspect the law on this varies by state. It wasn’t all that long ago there was noting wrong with this situation in many states. But even today it might be legal in many states to get married at such an age if both parents consent and a judge approves. Wikipedia has a lot of information but is thin on minimums.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          I DO know in rural Louisiana the minimum age of marriage is 14 for a girl (I think it’s with parental consent). Found out that piece of trivia when I was in Nawlins years ago on a business trip. The caterer at the Convention Center was telling everyone his daughter had been accepted in Law School and somewhere in the process mentioned that either him or his bride had married at 14.

  15. Final Anonymous says

    Jeff, don’t forget,

    September 8, 1998 — Mark McGwire broke Roger Maris’s single season home run record of 61 in ’61. Not a birthday, but a significant day to (Redbird) baseball fans nonetheless.

    I know, I know, it was all tainted by the steroid era, and the fact that Bonds broke it the next year. But somehow I have an easier time granting forgiveness to baseball players than politicians.

  16. The mosquitos are attacking in mass in Charleston where we live hot and humid for another month. Sigh.

  17. Concerning the contemporary church apologist? No, you’re not being cynical. As I said in the comments following the article – the biggest problem I have with the “contemporary/relevant” church model is that it doesn’t offer something that is much different than what society in general offers. Sure it sounds a little different but in substance… no – it’s often a lot of watered down feel-goodism, self-centered, entertaining, production oriented, social-clubiness, short-n-sweet for people’s stunted attention spans…dressed up in some christianeze and that’s all it is, Sunday after Sunday after Sunday with programs sprinkled in between. I can get that kind of “relevance” almost anywhere. My soul longs for something that at least tries to transcend and counter our culture’s worst impulses, not play footsie with it all the time. Of course no group of earth-bound believers is going to accomplish perfection this side of glory but can’t we at least try? Can’t we set up structures and patterns and habits that are “irrelevant” – in a good way? What is the point of the kingdom of Jesus anyways?

  18. I think the guy who wrote the “contemporary” church article subscribes to the theory that more he uses the word “contemporary”, the stronger his case will be… I counted 19 instances in that little article! Anyway, it sounds like something written by a third grader in a Christian school to me. “Johnny, I want you to write a paper about the contemporary church for and read it for us next week.”

    Just bad, bad writing…

    • Phil,

      I was going to say the same thing myself. Beyond the actual content of the article, for some reason the actual writing of the piece just struck me as remarkably poor. A compound sentence once in a while wouldn’t kill a guy, you know.

      Then again, when Chris Tomlin’s “Amazing Grace” adaptation includes the nonsensical line “And like a flood, His mercy reigns” and nobody ever blinks an eye, I tend not to expect a great deal in the way of serious writing from Contemporariana.

      Just go with the flow until the field is plowed.

      • Yeah, Trevis, the proof of the pudding is in the lap of the gods, as my grandmother used to say.

        • Of course, my own English-teacher mother would probably remind us all of Shakespeare’s gem “…to take arms against a sea of troubles…”

          I have to think he never lived that one down at the local pub. (“Yo, Shakey, how ’bout another draft of ale? Just try not to stab it or nothin’!”)

    • My problem with most contemporary Christian writing (especially fiction…think “The Shack”) is that it is” Just bad, bad writing…” And yet the masses eat it up.

      Seems the modern church is suffering from the same problem as modern society — failure to launch. Stay young, simple and naive forever.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        My problem with most contemporary Christian writing (especially fiction…think “The Shack”) is that it is” Just bad, bad writing…” And yet the masses eat it up.

        Just as they do Twilight, Fifty Shades of Grey, and Atlas Shrugged. All of which have been flying off the shelves over the past four years.

        • True, HUG, but shouldn’t Christians be a little more discerning? We take the same crap, slap a Christian label on it, and say we are an alternative to non-belief?

  19. Wow that apologetic piece was a piece of work. I love how he describes the contemporary church as “faithful to Jesus and the Bible.” What a joke. This reminds me much of how CCM apologists say similar things. Apparently “faithfulness” has come to mean anything not blatantly promoting anti-Trinitarian heresy or sexual immorality. It’s like, as long as it doesn’t say something that we know the Bible blatantly contradicts, we know the sermon/song is “Biblical.” Baloney. Faithfulness to Jesus means actually making him the center of EVERYTHING, and rightly proclaiming who he is (the King) and what he has done. Or you could just trivialize the cross. Beat it to death with recycled cliche’s and skin-deep catch phrases.

    I like Todd Wilken’s criteria for doing a “sermon review.” He asks three questions: 1. How often is Jesus mentioned? 2. Is Jesus the subject of the verbs? 3. What are the verbs? What is the preacher telling you Jesus has done, is doing, and will do? I’ve not seen very much labeled “contemporary” that scores very high on this grid. I’ll stop here before this rant grows legs.

  20. “What is here now is 3D printing.”

    I spoke the other week to an equipment supplier who sells a line of 3D printers. He stated they have multiple models that use more than just resin. He said that the military (they are generally years ahead) has already been using printers to email parts overseas to remote areas.

    Pretty cool stuff. As soon as they learn to make this affordable you will buy a pair shoes online and print them out.

  21. There was good BBQ in Charlotte last week. “Dan the Pig Man” had a truck downtown for the convention. Good stuff.

  22. There was good BBQ in Charlotte last week. “Dan the Pig Man” had a truck downtown for the convention. Good stuff.

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