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Clips and Comments, Vol #4 - Issue #69

Note: Every now and then I send a collection of....well, clips and comments. This one includes some r
The Path Before Us
Clips and Comments, Vol #4 - Issue #69
By Matthew Lee Anderson • Issue #69 • View online
Note: Every now and then I send a collection of….well, clips and comments. This one includes some reader responses.

Sam Allberry and Rosaria Butterfield
I don't think this means what you think it means.
“But all the global pro-life energies poured into saving Charlie and Alfie weren’t wasted. Charlie’s Law, per the Mail, “is being championed by a string of senior doctors – including some who were once opposed to Charlie’s parents. The proposals could become law later this year, as part of the Access to Palliative Care Bill, if the government grants parliamentary time.” – Sohrab Ahmari
I’m fully supportive of Charlie’s Law, and of pursuing broader reforms to how the UK makes determinations about medical treatment when individuals are unable to make those judgments themselves. If anything, this week’s horrific judgment forcing an abortion (which was overturned) on a cognitively disabled woman makes it clear that they need serious, substantive reforms.
But the missing premise in Ahmari’s piece is that the pro-life outrage helped Charlie’s Law. Paradoxically, if Charlie’s Law is passed it will be because Charlie’s mother pursued what Ahmari himself has recently criticized: she has pursued a civil, democratically engaged effort over several years to persuade a broad coalition that changes to the law were needed–rather than undertaking a populist, winner-take-all campaign of the kind that Ahmari seems to prefer.
The World is for the Church
“Since the church’s destiny—its very reason for being—is to be a people that basks in the pleasure of being united to God in Christ and to one another so that Christ fills all in all, then right now, before that promise is fulfilled, we are called to live into that destiny. That means first and foremost learning to live in unity and love with one another as we praise his glory together in worship. This, it seems, is the equivalent of the prophetic call for the people of Israel to live righteously together.” – Mark Galli (read the whole thing!)
Reader Responses: The OT and Celibacy
From Steven: “Two other OT verses immediately came to mind highlighting the individual’s relationship with God over and above the family:
Psalm 27:10: "For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the Lord will take me in.”
Isaiah 49:15: “Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you.”
And Malachi 1:6 may also be relevant:  “A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If then I am a father, where is my honor? And if I am a master, where is my fear? says the Lord of hosts to you, O priests, who despise my name. But you say, ‘How have we despised your name?’"
Those first two are interesting, in that they are deliberately about the failure of parents to abide by their God-given responsibilities. They don’t quite get at the same themes as I was trying to drive at, but you’re right: they’re close.
Brahms - Symphony No. 1 (Leonard Bernstein)
A Reader: Forbearance and our LGBT Neighbour
“I also think that the paths forward for the evangelical community would have to sort of involve confronting our disgust. I use the word ‘disgust’ because that is sort of the best word to describe the emotion that viewing homosexual acts seems to evoke in most Christians. I think that it is such disgust that led the church for decades to place a lot of weight on reparative therapy aimed at 'curing’ people of same-sex tendencies. This disgust isn’t the same thing as when the Scriptures say Jesus was 'provoked in his Spirit’ nor is it the same as the 'distress’ Paul had seeing Athen’s idolatry. I think the difference lies in the fact that one is merely a 'primal’ instinct aimed at self-preservation and the other is open to charity. I think we need more of such 'holy distress’ than our 'visceral disgust’.” – Jeremiah
I’m not sure whether disgust is a 'primal’ instinct, nor would I necessarily ground the interest in reparative therapies in disgust. But otherwise I think I agree: when the morality of homosexuality first began to be discussed in full, few Christians had meaningful resources to draw on other than their visceral responses. That left them ill-equipped to respond to such arguments and shifting tides with real respect and care for the people being discussed. I don’t know how much of that lingers now. But thinking retrospectively about where evangelicals have come from, this probably does have to be a part.
Deliveries from Amazon
Ending Overcriminalization and Mass Incarceration: Hope from Civil Society
A Reminder
I’d like to reclaim the ‘advice column’ from banality, by writing opinions both for and against a particular judgment. If you have a situation that you’re confused about (which means it’s not obvious, morally, what should be done) send it over and I’ll consider it. Just respond to this email.
The Penultimate Word
“The good news of the Christian faith is that these [good] things will not fail and that the delight we derive from them today, delight that God smiles upon since he is the giver of the gift, will continue on into eternity, world without end. Christ’s promise to his people to come to our rescue and renew both us and the world will not fail, even when the church has been compromised and assailed by enemies both within and without. These things will not fail when the world itself seems to be failing. And they will not fail at the end of all things when God returns and creation is laid bare. And the reason they will not fail is that in their goodness and beauty they reflect the goodness and beauty of the God who is eternal, the God for whom and to whom are all things made.” – Jake Meador (best go buy it)
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