Friday, December 12, 2008

Something for Everybody

A spate of topics have caught my interest in recent days, to-wit:

Good Music

I've never been the one to go to when it comes to music. I certainly enjoy it, but I generally don't pay it much mind and often prefer the quiet. A recent post by Rod Dreher, however, got my attention. He comments on the English band, "Show of Hands," with links to two of their songs; County Life, and Roots, here. Dreher also links to an excellent R. R. Reno review, here. Finally, he also links the Quebecois band "Mes Aeiux" and their song, Degeneration. By all means, read the posts, listen to all three songs, and particularly note the English lyrics to the last.

A New Byzantine Book

My nephew always gives me a B&N gift certificate for my birthday, which sneaks in just before Christmas. Usually, I have the desired book chosen well in advance. I had been wanting Andrew Bacevich's The Limits of Power, but this may just edge it out. Judith Herrin's Byzantium: The Surprising Life of a Medieval Empire sounds just right down my alley.

Gay Marriage

The Newsweek issue on gay marriage has created a bit of a dust-up. I respect editor Jon Meacham as a historian; less so as a theologian. His editorial, here, is needlessly dismissive of Christian (in this case, Episcopalian) opposition to gay marriage. To characterize their stance as "the worst kind of fundamentalism...intellectually bankrupt...unserious...and unworthy of the great Judeo-Christian tradition," is condescending, and a bit silly. Daniel Larison, to be expected, offers a measured response. Many of the 50 or so comments to his post highlight the fact that sane discourse on this subject is increasingly rare (and why I refuse to be drawn into it.) When Larison, an Orthodox Christian, says that God did not call His people to indulge their inclinations, but to deny themselves to follow Him, he is making a point often forgotten in this debate--but one which places it firmly within the Orthodox ascetic struggle. Rod Dreher's observations from a while back, here, are worth a second look, as well.

Rick Warren

I hate to keep picking on the Religious Right (well, maybe not that much), but honestly, they leave me little choice. I recently heard reports of a Sean Hannity interview of Rick Warren. I checked out Youtube to see if what I had heard was indeed true. Sadly, it was. [As a side note, I find it offensive that America's public preachers, as they are, find it necessary to go on these shows. For those of you who think my outrage only flows one way, I would be equally opposed to Warren sitting down with Keith Olbermann.] I'm a little disappointed in Warren, one of the much-touted new faces of American evangelicalism. He's certainly a more sympathetic figure than leaders of an earlier generation. But the interview shows that the theological waters are still as shallow as before, and Warren is easily sucked into the same political amen corner that characterized the Robertson-Falwell-Dobson crowd. Watch it, here.


Steve Hayes said...

I think one should make a distinction between "gay marriage" and "homosexual marriage".

Thjere's nothing to prevent gay marriage, other than personal inclination, but homosexual marriage is a contradiction in terms.

Milton Burton said...

On the gay marriage issue, the Newsweek crew simply has a disconnect when it comes to realizing that Christian's morality is directed toward pleasing God and not society and it's prevailing superstitions. They cannot understand that many religious people oppose gay marriage not because they want to persecute gays but because they feel that God demands such a position of them.

The truth is that among modern secularists religion and moral codes that grow out of it are seem more as annoyances than issues. And religious people need to understand that we simply aren't taken seriously by such people.

Mimi said...

Happy, Happy Birthday! That Herrin book is on my wishlist as well. Let us know what you think.

James the Thickheaded said...

Think avoiding the marriage/ordination discussion is a good thing. Tneds to arrouse passionate emotions on both sides and that tends to lead more to bludgeoning than insight.