Friday, June 16, 2006

on baptism

This weekend, I saw two baptisms. Orthodox and Nominalist.

The first was of an adult Russian before the Sunday liturgy for the great and final day, Pentecost. He entered into the Church of Christ and was washed of all his sins. He died, was buried, and was resurrected in union with Christ, and then he was sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit. He was justified, illumined, illuminated, sanctified, washed clean, in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

In the afternoon, the parents' protestant gathering was having a picnic. My mother was going to be at opera rehearsal and my father was going to be in the dunk tank [missions fundraising], so, since my grandmother was in town, my brother and I had to come along and keep her company. There was also, of course, going to be like seven baptisms or something. The pastor explained that the baptism was not efficacious in any way, no grace was imparted by God through it. It was, rather, only a declaration to the world on the part of those being baptized of what God had done for them, that they were called by Jesus Christ to follow Him and they freely chose to follow. At least four of them had been baptized before as infants. And then they were baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

I know my father leans Calvinist [there's a brochure for R.C. Sproul products on this table beneath my open Nestle-Aland], so I sort of wonder how he deals with the discrepancy between what Scripture teaches, what Calvin teaches, and what his pastor teaches about baptism. But that, perhaps, is for another day.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

a few contentious resolutions

1. if one approves of contraception in general, there is no real ground for opposition to homosexual intercourse. this is not original to me [i've seen it bandied about in, among other places, Touchstone [bah] and Anscombe [hurrah]], but it seems intuitively clear even if i can't rigorously argue it.
2. if one approves of legal homosexual marriage, there is no real ground for opposition to legal polygamy. though, frankly, i think the latter ought to be legalized before the former because of the next contention.
3. if one approves of current american divorce laws, there is no real ground for opposition to legal homosexual marriage or legal polygamy. i am trying to track down who first referred to modern "serial monogamy" as "rotating polygamy": i remember leon kass quoting it, but he doesn't cite who called it that.

and this is why we need to turn to a reactionary theocracy.

EDIT: I think I might actually write on this subject for That Other Site - leaving off, of course, the bit about theocracy. But would it be too much like trolling? Because over there they all support contraception, homosexual marriage, and divorce laws, and perhaps even polygamous marriage.
EDIT: I have decided against writing such an article. It would be a singularly poor idea as all it would do is expose other relatively orthodox Christians who have been seduced into playing the culture war game while still joined at the hip with modernity to uneducated mockery by "pagans1" and liberalists. Granted, this would have the salutary effect of making me dislike liberals and liberalism even more, but it is still not a very nice thing to do. I hate That Other Site.

1: There aren't many religions on my "too stupid to respect" list, but modern paganism is one of them. Despite all the weirdnesses of the ancient paganisms, I can respect them if only because they produced good literature. The hallmark of modern paganisms, however, is a morbid shallowness which cripples the creative faculties. Good modern literature can only come from existentialists or Catholics [both broadly conceived]. And maybe magical realists, I'm not sure what box they fit in.

on A baseball

yesterday was dollar hot dog night at the A baseball club the next town over, and the game both started and got out at about the same time as my mother's opera rehearsals just down the road from the stadium, so my father said, "today is a good day i think for watching a baseball game." quite so! and so we went.

Yea, verily, the game reminded me of all I loved about baseball. Cheap summer seats thirty feet away from home plate, a pitchers' duel, players who weren't overpaid and whiny, campy promotions between the innings. Unfortunately, they played with DHs, but you can't win them all. The starting pitcher for the home team pitched a complete game and he was throwing better stuff at the end than the beginning, staying in even though he was down 3-1. In the bottom of the ninth, the starting pitcher for the away team walked the first batter and was replaced by a sidewinder. He struggled a bit, getting to the point where there was one out and two men in scoring position. The next batter had a long at-bat, then pulled what would have been a game-tying double down the line, but it turned out to be foul. I was thinking, after the fifth pulled foul, that he should just choke up and try to poke it the other way, since any single to the outfield would tie the game, but he grounded out to third on the next pitch, driving in a run and advancing the other runner. And then the next batter hit a line-drive home run on the first pitch. zam! The game barely took two hours - another improvement over major league ball. Granted, the price you pay for that is fewer flashy plays and much poorer baserunning [two mistakes which I would not expect to see past high school varsity ball occurred!], but in these great and final days, one needs some comic relief.

I've been away

But I have more thoughts about polygamy, baseball, and the satanic delusion of protestantism [i happened to attend both an Orthodox and protestant baptism this weekend]. Since I'm sojourning in Parentia for like a week or two, I'm also going to complain [tongue-in-cheek] about the inadequacy of the parental library. So I was like, hmm, today is a good day I think for reading the New Testament in Greek, so I poked around and was not impressed: the Nestle-Aland is the 25th edition and the UBS is only the 3rd edition. I won't comment on the lexicons, but, I assure you, they were not up to snuff, either. I realize the parental basement is hardly a world-class research library, the likes of which I am accustomed to, but if I can't be snobbish about this, what can I be snobbish about?