David Brooks – This Age of Wonkery

Background

Newspaper Man, David Brooks, writes an article only he can write; as it takes not being solidly behind an Ideology.

 

Story

 

Link

If you were a certain sort of ideas-oriented young person coming of age in the 20th century, it was very likely you would give yourself a label and join some movement. You’d call yourself a Marxist, a neoconservative, a Freudian, an existentialist or a New Deal liberal.

There would be certain sacred writers who would explain the world to you — from Jung to Camus, Dewey or Chesterton. There’d probably be a small magazine where the doctrines of your sect would be hammered out.

People today seem less likely to give themselves intellectual labels or join self-conscious philosophical movements. Young people today seem more likely to have their worldviews shaped by trips they have taken, or causes they have been involved in, or the racial or ethnic or gender identity group they identify with.

That’s changed the nature of the American intellectual scene, the way people approach the world and the lives they live.

In his book, “The Ideas Industry,” Daniel W. Drezner says we’ve shifted from a landscape dominated by public intellectuals to a world dominated by thought leaders. A public intellectual is someone like Isaiah Berlin, who is trained to comment on a wide array of public concerns from a specific moral stance. A thought leader champions one big idea to improve the world — think Al Gore’s work on global warming.

As Drezner puts it, intellectuals are critical, skeptical and tend to be pessimistic. Thought leaders are evangelists for their idea and tend to be optimistic. The world of Davos-like conferences, TED talks and PopTech rewards thought leaders, not intellectuals, Drezner argues.

Intellectual life has fallen out of favor for several reasons, he continues. In a low-trust era, people no longer have as much faith in grand intellectuals to serve as cultural arbiters. In a polarized era, ideologically minded funders like George Soros or the Koch brothers will only pay for certain styles of thought work. In an unequal era, rich people like to go to Big Idea conferences, and when they do they want to hear ideas that are going to have some immediate impact — Jeffrey Sachs’s latest plan to end world poverty or Amy Cuddy’s findings on how to adopt the right power stance.

Drezner doesn’t call this a decline, just a shift (let’s not underestimate how silly and wrong some of the grand, sweeping intellectuals could be). But I’m struck by how people’s relationship to ideas has changed.

In the first place, public thinkers now conceive of themselves as legislative advisers. Drezner writes a book called “The Ideas Industry,” but he is really writing about public policy. When George Orwell, Simone de Beauvoir or even Ralph Waldo Emerson were writing, they were hoping to radically change society, but nobody would confuse them with policy wonks.

Second, there was a greater sense then than now, I think, that the very nature of society was up for grabs. Call it a vestige from Marxism or maybe Christianity, but there was a sense that the current fallen order was fragile and that a more just mode of living was out there to be imagined.

Finally, intellectual life was just seen as more central to progress. Intellectuals establish the criteria by which things are measured and goals are set. Intellectuals create the frameworks within which politicians operate. How can you have a plan unless you are given a theory? Intellectuals create the age.

Doing that sort of work meant leading the sort of exceptional life that allowed you to emerge from the cave — to see truth squarely and to be fully committed to the cause. Creating a just society was the same thing as transforming yourself into a moral person.

For George Orwell, this meant being with the poor and the oppressed — living as a homeless tramp in England, a dishwasher in Paris, getting shot through the neck as a soldier in the Spanish Civil War. It meant teaching himself how to turn political writing into an art form.

For the Italian Communist Antonio Gramsci, it meant committing fully to ideas, even if it meant years in prison, and doing the rigorous mental work required for a life of hard thinking. He was as left as can be, but he believed in traditional school curriculums, the tough grinding of learning Latin and Greek grammar. “It will be necessary to resist the tendency to render easy that which cannot become easy without being distorted,” he wrote.

It also meant joining a tradition and a team. There were a whole set of moral tests involved with obedience to the movement, breaking ranks when necessary, facing unpleasant truths, pioneering a collective way of living, whether feminist, Marxist or libertarian.

The 20th century held up intellectuals like that, and then discredited them — too many were too wrong about communism and fascism. But we’ve probably over-adjusted, and deprived a generation of a vision of the heroic intellectual. It’s good to have people who think about North Korean disarmament. But politics is most real at a more essential level.

Continue reading

Andy Stanley

 

Sermons & Discussions

  1. Skin in the Game – Full, Unedited Conversation
    Your Move with Andy Stanley
    Guests :- Sam Collier & Joseph Sojourner
    Published On :- 2016-Sept-20th

  2. Exposed: Michael Leahy and ex-wife Patty talk with Andy Stanley about Michael’s sex addiction
    A compelling interview my ex-wife Patty and I did years ago at North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, GA with Senior Pastor Andy Stanley. I’m posting it here so more people will watch it and reach out to me for help as we mentor men who struggle with sexual addiction and their hurting spouses. To learn more about our mentoring programs, visit http://www.bravehearts.net.
    Published On :- 2014-May-3rd
    Link
  3. Leadership, Preaching, & Cultural Engagement
    Conversation between Russell Moore and Andy Stanley at the 2016 ERLC National Conference
    Published On :- 2016-Sept-20th
    Link

 

Indepth

Skin in the Game – Full, Unedited Conversation

  1. As Police Officers we want control
    • If people will just understand that they should do what we want them to do

 

Skin in the Game – Full, Unedited Conversation

  1. Bible Verses
    • But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts. ( Romans 13:14 )

Damon Thompson – 2017-March

 

 

  1. Damon  Thompson – Cycle Of The Supernatural
    The Place, Lyndon Amick, Brad Kuster, or Damon Thompson
    Published On :- 2014-Jan-16th
    Added On :- 2017-March-1st
    Link
  2. Damon Thompson- Remaining in the Wilderness
    Damon Thompson encourages us to continue in the process and outlines the benefits of a wilderness season in this Launch service message.
    Published On :- 2013-Oct-7th
    Added On :- 2017-March-1st
    Link
  3. Damon Thompson- Colliding With Trouble
    At Rochester First Assembly of God
    Published On:- 2102-Sept-7th
    Added On :- 2017-Mar-2nd
    Link
  4. Damon Thompson- In The Right Position
    Featured on Celebration Church podcast
    Uploaded On :- 2012-Feb-23rd
    Link

Sermons & Discussions for 2017-March

 

Sermons

  1. Paris Reidhead
    • Satanic Strategy By Paris Reidhead
      Published On :- 2014-Jan-5th
      Link
  2. Damon Thompson
    • Damon Thompson- Discerning Transition and Receiving Direction
      Published On: 2013-Feb-3rd ( Super Bowl Sunday 2013 )
      Added On :- 2017-Feb-27th
      Link
  3. Live Your Song. | Jon Foreman | TEDxUniversityofNevada
    Published On:- 2016-Feb-8th
    Added On:- 2017-Feb-27th
    Link

 

Daniel Davis – Bruce Jenner’s Transformation Is A Lose-Lose For Liberal Ideology

 

Background

Admittedly I have listened in on Juanita Bynum’s take on Eddie Long’s untimely transition a few times.

And, I summarized her comforting words here.

A short, less than 10 minutes, segment that talks of the Work of the Holy Spirit is here.

She mentioned a name Daniel Lamont, I think it was.

As I am not familiar with that name, googled it, but did not find correlative matches.

 

Daniel Davis

But, found an interesting article by my Tocayo, Daniel Davis.

I think listening into his thinking will help yours.

 

Link

Bruce Jenner’s Vanity Fair coming-out party reaffirms traditional gender norms, even as he attempts to flee from them.

DanielDavis

By Daniel Davis

JUNE 3, 2015

Judging from the new cover of Vanity Fair, it appears that Bruce Jenner’s highly publicized transformation to purported womanhood has finally reached its climax. The title reads, “Call me Caitlyn.” The actual meaning? “Call me woman.”

As we’ve seen in recent months, the transgender movement sees itself as the next civil-rights frontier. It clearly hopes to copy the LGBT movement in winning public approval by securing more and more media exposure. But as the movement makes its public appeal, some internal contradictions in liberal sexual ideology are quickly emerging. One major contradiction looms large for the transgender movement, and it deserves attention.

For years, a major aim of the sexual revolution has been to deconstruct gender differences as being “social constructs,” mere cultural projections of what maleness and femaleness are and mean. This critique evacuated gender of any physical meaning and reduced it to an existential feeling—a feeling of being male or female, regardless of one’s sexual biology.

The effect of this critique has been to relativize gender, and thus to abolish it as a meaningful category. Because you can no longer tie “femaleness” to a normative set of traits or acts (for example, wearing dresses or marrying men), the category itself cannot help but lose its meaning. To call any particular act a “male” or “female” act would be to revert back to antiquated, repressive, patriarchal norms—norms that only serve to foster social inequality.

This is the ideology that governs liberal sexual philosophy, and it collides head-on with major aspects of the transgender movement. Transgenderism is unavoidably based on a kind of gender essentialism. It recognizes gender identities as being associated with certain socially accepted norms. What does it mean, for example, that Jenner’s “gender” is female? It means that he gets a sex change. It means that he poses in traditionally female attire for the cover of Vanity Fair. It means that he reaffirms traditional gender norms, even as he attempts to flee from them.

So Now Femininity Has Meaning?

In fact, he cannot help but reaffirm them, for they are the only tangible way of expressing gender. Inner feelings must inevitably take on flesh, and gender—understood as a mere feeling—must inevitably express itself in material form.

This is a problem for the broader liberal sexual movement. It wants to celebrate transgenderism, but it cannot do so without referring to—and thus, at least tacitly affirming—gender norms. To celebrate Jenner’s femininity is actually to commit a liberal heresy: to revert back to a form of gender essentialism.

There’s a flip side to this coin. As we noted, liberal sexual philosophy strips the term “gender” of all normative meaning. It reduces gender to a cultural phenomenon. In doing this, it robs transgenderism of its key claims to gender authenticity, and therefore of its right to moral affirmation. Consider it this way: If gender has no real connection to biology and certain social traits, then someone’s claim to a gender identity is virtually meaningless. And if it is meaningless, how can we be morally obliged to recognize it—let alone even understand it?

Marc Lamont Hill of the Huffington Post caught on to at least part of this problem on Twitter recently. After making clear that he supports for Jenner’s new gender identity, he wrote:

 

Between the Vanity Fair spread and “she’s so pretty” convos, we’ve smuggled in the same old cis/Eurocentric narratives about womanhood.

MarcLamontHill-20150601-0450PM

If we only celebrate and welcome Caitlyn Jenner bc she conforms to tradition cis/and European standards of beauty, we are making a mistake.

MarcLamontHill-20150601-0451PM

Hill understands that affirming someone’s gender identity involves affirming some cultural instantiation of that gender identity. As a post-colonial liberal, he wants to tear down those standards because, in his view, they perpetuate social injustice and gender inequality. Hill wants to affirm people’s gender identity in the abstract, but refrain from affirming the particular instantiation of that identity.

Unfortunately for Hill, the transgender community is seeking an embodied affirmation, one that sees gender identities as rightly fitting with a certain biology, a certain set of clothes—a lived femininity. Caitlyn Jenner doesn’t want to be affirmed in the abstract. He wants America to affirm his gender identity in terms of a lived femininity, and that means affirming his sex change and clothes as feminine. Those cultural norms are exactly the kind of “repressive” gender norms that Hill and other progressives want to abolish.

Hence, the liberal contradiction. If you truly celebrate Jenner’s transition, you have to do it by recognizing some cultural narrative about womanhood, thereby perpetuating gender “inequality.” But if you’re committed to the abolition of gender norms, there’s no way you can affirm Jenner’s femininity, except in the meaningless abstract. It’s a lose-lose.

What Is Gender, Anyway?

The root problem that led to this contradiction was the divorcing of gender from sexual biology and social traits. Having critiqued gender norms as being social constructs (and oppressive ones at that), gender has now become a free-floating abstraction that is wholly disconnected from material norms.

For gender to actually mean anything, it must instantiated in particular ways of being—a particular biology, particular clothes, and a particular way of relating to the opposite sex.

Even if these ways of being were all socially constructed, they would be essential to any meaningful understanding of gender. When gender is unhinged from biological sex and from generic social traits, it is an empty term, devoid of content and meaning.

The transformation of Bruce Jenner into Caitlyn Jenner only proves this reality. For Bruce to actualize his “true gender”—his femininity—he had to get a sex change and dress up as a woman. His “gender” had obvious implications for how he would live.

There’s no getting around this connection between gender and sex, between gender and social traits. It testifies to the eternal fact that human beings are fundamentally soul and body. However much we might try to be gender Gnostics and suppress this objective connection between the body and the soul, we cannot achieve the separation. Just as the soul depends on the body, gender depends on biology. If we wish to speak of gender, we must speak of the body—and that’s not going to change.

Daniel Davis is editor at Ecclesiam.org, a Christian journal dedicated to contemporary cultural issues.

Quotes

  1. Oswald Chambers
    • The Privilege of Conviction
      Conviction of sin is one of the rarest things that ever strikes a man. It is the threshold of an understanding of God. Jesus Christ said that when the Holy Spirit came He would convict of sin, and when the Holy Spirit rouses the conscience and brings him into the presence of God, it is not his relationship with men that bothers him, but his relationship with God.
      Link
  2. Leonard Ravenhill
    • Holiness
      • The greatest miracle that God can do today is to take an unholy man out of an unholy world, and make that man holy and put him back into that unholy world and keep him holy in it.
        Link
    • Church
      • The early church was married to poverty, prisons and persecutions. Today, the church is married to prosperity, personality, and popularity.
      • The Church used to be a lifeboat rescuing the perishing. Now she is a cruise ship recruiting the promising.
    • How we live
      • One of these days some simple soul will pick up the Book of God, read it, and believe it. Then the rest of us will be embarrassed. 
      • Why is there this criminal indifference to the lostness of men? Our condemnation is that we know how to live better than we are living
  3. Mary Peckham
    • Lewis 1949 Revival Testimony by Mary Peckham
      • Conviction of sin in a season of revival is too terrible for words
      • The Spirit of God witnessed with my Spirit and I knew I was saved

 

ecclesiam.org

Other good write-ups from ecclesiam.org

  1. Josh Holler
    Josh Holler is a graduate of Wheaton College with a B.A. in International Relations and a current student at Covenant Theological Seminary

    • Children as Vessels of Sanctification
      Link
  2. Matthew Arildsen
    Matthew Arildsen is pursuing an MDiv at Princeton Theological Seminary and is the associate editor for Ecclesiam

    • Voting Advice for Christians
      Link