Saturday, March 16, 2013

Briefs. 03.16.13

Marriage: What It Is, Why It Matters, and the Consequences of Redefining It - This is a great paper that defends traditional marriage based on three lines of argument: (1) men and women are complementary, (2) reproduction depends on a man and a woman, and (3) children need a mother and a father. The author argues that gay marriage doesn't simply expand the definition of marriage, but effectively rejects these truths.

I once heard R. C. Sproul say that one of the best ways to study Christian orthodoxy is to learn what it isn't, the point being that theological heresy has the healthy consequence of forcing Christians to think precisely about what they believe. I think the gay marriage initiative does something similar for conservatives. The militant push to redefine marriage affords us all an opportunity to contemplate the institution at these basic and foundational levels.

Why Arguments Against Gay Marriage Are Usually Bad - A lengthy and critical response from Alastair Roberts to Peter Leithart concerning the Wilson/Sullivan debate. There are some good thoughts here. While I enjoyed the debate overall, I did find myself wishing that Wilson had had a bit more to say about the detrimental effects of homosexual marriage on society, besides pointing out the inescapable fact that it leaves the door wide open to polygamy. This quote from Roberts is potent: "The Christian thinker should be a student of the consequences of particular actions in God’s creation and the ways in which the creation prosecutes the will of God against those who flout it."

Additionally, it's always puzzled me that homosexual marriage caught on faster than polygamous marriage. Roberts notes this enigma as well: "The resurgent fear of polygamy in the context of the same-sex marriage debates is strange indeed, given the fact that same-sex marriage is by far the more radical aberration. . . . expressing a concern that same-sex marriage might lead to polygamy would be akin to worry on our part that mainlining heroin might lead to experimentation with marijuana." You can read Wilson's response to Roberts here which is, not surprisingly, chock full of more good thoughts.

What We Talk about When We Talk about Rob Bell - Trevin Wax reviews Rob Bell's new book, What We Talk About When We Talk About God. His conclusion: "Rob Bell is a fundamentalist of a different sort."

Google Reader Meets Its Inevitable End - This is a little bit sad. But thankfully, Feedly is ahead of the game. There is also The Old Reader, which looks right up my alley.

Dashboard Confessional: Live in Sao Paulo - This short web documentary evoked some major nostalgia. When I was a teenager, I flat wanted to be Chris Carrabba. Still kinda do.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Briefs. 03.09.13

Is Civil Marriage for Gay Couples Good for Society? - A debate between Doug Wilson and Andrew Sullivan. It might have gone better in some ways, but this is a good exchange overall. Wilson doesn't disappoint. The Q&A portion is always entertaining, especially when the questions are for Wilson. After viewing the debate, one thing I'm contemplating is the question of how overtly our presuppositional apologetic should be expressed. As perfectly legitimate (and necessary) as the ultimate authority card is, does it sometimes get thrown too quickly?

And if you're one of those who are quick to call a foul on Wilson's "slippery slope" argument...

Yale Hosts Workshop Teaching Sensitivity to Bestiality - The sexual revolution moves forward. Notice that much of the language and argumentation used here to defend bestiality is very familiar. We're told that we need to be "sensitive" and avoid judging other people for what we personally consider immoral.

One Family Under God - Good thoughts from Tom Ascol on children's church. I think he re-frames the discussion in an important way. Family-integrated churches aren't the ones excluding children.

Loritts and Wilson - Bryan Loritts speaks out about what he sees as Doug Wilson's racial insensitivity. Wilson responds here and offers to fly Loritts (along with Thabiti Anyabwile and Eric Mason) out to Moscow to talk through the issues. We'll see if it happens.

Made Alive - A new song from a Mars Hill band called Citizens. Cool little tune.