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1151Wednesday's Belfast blog - the spirit of the age

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  • Jon Kennedy
    Jul 16, 2014
      Belfast blog - Jon Kennedy
      The Jonal, Jon Kennedy's blog on the Nanty Glo, Pa. Home Page.
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      JONAL ENTRY 1546 | WEDNESDAY, JULY 16 2014

      Today's Scripture: Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is from God, that we might understand the gifts bestowed on us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, comparing spiritual things with spiritual truths to those who possess the Spirit. The unspiritual man does not receive the gifts of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual man judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. "For who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?" But we have the mind of Christ.
      — From St. Paul's first letter to the Corinthians, chapter 2,
      from today's Orthodox lectionary readings.
      See the homiletical thought below. «

      Today's diary - life in Northern Ireland

      A full-kilt outfit was the uniform of the bagpipe band seen above in Monday's Black Parade in Scarva, County Down. This was one of perhaps half a dozen bagpipe bands marching that day; and to think on my first visits to Edinburgh the sound of a lone bagpipe, played by a streetcorner busker, had me running with my camera to capture such a rare sight! In the background two of the three wings of the huge farmhouse in front of which the parade reviewers did their task are seen.
      This afternoon is mostly sunny in Belfast.
      This evening, catechism class resumes at St. Ignatius Orthodox Church. «
      In the news
      Links to articles on current issues—news and opinion that may signify how the cultural winds are blowing. Note that most 'news reports' are not 'objective' and if some are 'neutral' it's because the writers and editors are disinterested (could care less about the topic). Neither are 'news reports,' in general, highly accurate or unbiased; try to discern the bias of any report's source; always read aware and at your own risk.
      Independent Catholic news service analyzes future of Christians in Middle East
      Orthodox blogger describes Tolkien's worldview as 'a long defeat'
      Former vice president Cheney: 'Obama worst President in my lifetime'
      Glenn Beck raises $1.8m to help illegal immigrant children and Texas churches
      France has moved to curtail Amazon's competition with bookstores
      Recording of Comcast employee trying to block customer from cancelling service goes viral; insight into NBC-Universal parent's business ethics?
      Disney, Universal theme park employees arrested on child porn charges
      Despite Planned Parenthood claims that abortion makes up only three percent
      of its services, stricter abortion laws are causing its clinics to close
      1989 book by 'gay' authors gave blueprint for their movement's eventual victory
      Now that 'gay is OK,' the media can admit they're less than 3 percent of population
      A second video about Ethiopa's churches carved out of 'living rock'l
      Planned Parenthood said to be teaching underage girls about kinky sex
      Wall Street Journal: Obama's IRS scandal worse than Watergate
      Canada's Liberal Party refusing to accept any more pro-life members
      State attempting to force priest to breach confessional confidentiality
      Rave review for D'Souza's movie 'America, Imagine the World Without Her'
      Christian worldview
      (This department alternates with Writing stuff)
      Items in other sections of today's blog shed light on a Christian worldview from two disparate points. First, in the news section above, the headline, Orthodox blogger describes Tolkien's worldview as 'a long defeat' refers to Fr. Stephen Freeman's "Glory to God for All Things" blog for today, in which he says, "History as a long defeat—I can think of nothing that is more anti-modern than this sentiment expressed by J.R.R. Tolkien. It is a thought perfectly in line with the fathers and the whole of Classical Christian teaching. And it’s anti-modernism reveals much about the dominant heresy of our time." The belief in unending inevitable progress (one of the underpinnings of the political philosophy of "Progressivism") is the "dominant heresy of our time" that Fr. Stephen refers to.
      He then shows how biblical teaching and the church consistently refer to the "last days" (the epoch beginning with the resurrection of Jesus and the founding of the church) as days of devolution, of the world getting worse, spiritually waning instead of waxing, as all the prophesies in Jesus' ministry and the Apostles' writings affirm, rather than evolution or progressing. Modernism, as implied in the statement above, bolstered by the discoveries and inventions of the industrial age, preached that the world was moving toward utopia, and the American Protestant establishment of the beginning of the 20th century was so enamored with this concept that there was much talk about that being the dawn of "the Christian century" (which is also the name of the major modernist Protestant magazine, still published in Chicago).
      The second contribution to the discussion of Christian worldview appearing here randomly, is the Apostle Paul's juxtaposition of "the spirit of the world" over against "the Spirit of God" in today's epistle reading. The Apostle then goes on to say "we have the mind of Christ." That's it: that's a Christian worldview. That's all you need.
      Theoretically, at least. In practice, it requires some work to examine every "new wind" blowing through, to examine how it is worldly in one perspective and, in some cases, how it may be of God in some other perspective(s) or entirely of God.
      Post-modernism, the new watchword in contemporary "outlook" (to use the C.S. Lewis term for it mentioned in today's homiletical thought) is "anti-modern," as Fr. Stephen says Classical Christianity has always been, because it is not optimistic. But unlike Christianity, it is also heretical because it concludes that in the final analysis it doesn't matter; whatever turns your crank or gives you a reason to get out of bed is all you need. That's the second biggest heresy of our time, to take a leaf from Fr. Stephen's blog. «
      Today's video
      Today's quotes
      The universe is not rich enough to buy the vote of an honest man.
      — St. Gregory the Great «
      I believe that there are too many accommodating preachers, and too many practitioners in the church who are not believers. Jesus Christ did not say, "Go into all the world and tell the world that it is quite right." The gospel is something completely different. In fact, it is directly opposed to the world.
      — C.S. Lewis «
      Homiletical thought: C. S. Lewis wrote that "Every age has its own outlook," and that is where it goes wrong. This "outlook of the age" is what Paul is writing about in today's epistle reading as "the spirit of the world" which stands against "the Spirit which is from God." A Christian worldview is nothing more or less than "the outlook" of Christ, which Paul here identifies as "the mind of Christ," which is acquired by diligent study of His Word, sharpening our faculties through interaction with peers who also want that mind and devote themselves to the Scriptures, avoiding the distractions and lusts of the world, and prayerfully purifying the mind that dwells in our heart. «
      §     §     §
      Jon R. Kennedy, C. S. Lewis Writer in Residence