Monday, July 20, 2015

Psalm 23 a Modern Secularized Version

We will have no shepherd, and yet we shall not want …
By getting a competitive and marketable degree I have postured myself to lie down in the green pastures.
By attaining a certain socio-economic status I am able to reside beside the still waters,
I maintaining a generally law-abiding lifestyle I walk on the paths of practicing random acts of kindness from time to time for the sake of a tolerant coexistence,

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death with the help of my therapist I will fear no evil; my expansive healthcare benefits and the technical advances of medical researchers comfort me.

Thanks to modern biology, nutritional science, and economics – I have prepared a table for myself and my elected officials wield our military might to keep our enemies as far away as possible.

I’m able to take advantage of the convergence of Madison Avenue and Wallstreet so that my head is anointed with this season’s latest fashionable accessories, and inasmuch as I’m able to be savvy and tap into their lifegiving streams - my cup runneth over.

Surely material abundance and the right to make my own personal choices about truth and reality shall follow me all the days of my life and then afterward I will dwell in the house of bliss forever according to the details of my own preferred religion’s happy ending – unless of course there is no life after death in which case, I won’t.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Sin, Righteousness, and Judgment

Within the churches are those who defend the historic Christian teaching on sexuality.  It is assumed that there will always be some discernible dissonance between the Church and the world and that part of the mission of the Holy Spirit through the Church is, as Jesus says in John 16, to “tell the world that it is wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment.” 
On the other side are those who reject the historic Christian teaching and who seem to believe that the world, as represented by its most self-consciously progressive institutions and thinkers, is ahead of the Church in ushering in the Kingdom of God. Indeed, that the world is right in telling the Church that it is wrong about sin and righteousness and judgement. They say that God is doing a new thing. But they seem unable to imagine that God might say ‘no’ to any new thing done in the world in the name of progress. There seems to be no room on the part of the revisionists for any truly prophetic word to be spoken to the world’s claims about love and justice.

-Ken Myers

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Judges as Umpires

[Folks, here's an old piece I wrote for my students several years ago when we were studying government and history.  I'd probably nuance differently today, but the basic thesis holds true and is quite timely.]

Thurgood Marshall once admitted that his judicial philosophy boiled down to “do what you think is right and let the law catch up.”

This is exactly what we mean by the phrase ‘judicial activism’. A man [or woman] in a black robe takes it upon himself to change a state or country whether or not the Constitution gives him that authority.  It's a quiet coup.

This is the heart of the issue. We all want to change the country, but the ultimate question is this: which side is attempting to do so illegally? It’s that simple. The Constitution lays out what our judges are and are not authorized to do. Any actions they take beyond those found in that document are, properly-speaking, illegal.  As Justice Scalia helpfully points out, if you want to change the nation, pass a law.  Don't appeal to the Constitution or its interpreters [judges] because Constitutions are adopted to impede change, not facilitate it.  Stability is their whole purpose.

He uses the analogy of being a referee or umpire in the legal system.  A judge is umpire.  He doesn’t agonize about whether the rules are fair or right or good for the future of the game.  He makes the call to the best of his ability by applying the rules. That’s all. He doesn’t have the power to make or alter the rules based on a preferred outcome! He’s just an umpire. They’re just judges.

"In the system which says that the Constitution changes and it’s up to the judges to say what it means – they really have no answers. There is no criterion for when it changes and how it changes. Every day is a new day. Some of my collegues have said that they agonize a lot. I don’t agonize at all. Sometimes it’s hard to follow and find the record in history, but you know, I don’t agonize if there’s a right to this or that. But with these guys – every day’s a new day. Last year the death penalty was constitutional and I’ll have to worry about whether it’s still constitutional next year."