Archives For Identity

for-sale_rl2016According to the Oxford Dictionary, a Social Justice Warrior is ‘a person who expresses or promotes socially progressive views.’

The online Urban dictionary offers a more substantial explanation:

“A pejorative term for an individual who repeatedly and vehemently engages in arguments on social justice on the Internet, often in a shallow or not well-thought-out way, for the purpose of raising their own personal reputation. A social justice warrior, or SJW, does not necessarily strongly believe all that they say, or even care about the groups they are fighting on behalf of. They typically repeat points from whoever is the most popular blogger or commenter of the moment, hoping that they will “get SJ points” and become popular in return. They are very sure to adopt stances that are “correct” in their social circle.” [i]

In case you’re doubting the credibility of the Urban Dictionary, take as further evidence, examples highlighted by The Observer in an article called, The Totalitarian Doctrine of Social Justice Warriors’.

Their standout point:

“Since new “marginalised” identities can always emerge, no one can tell what currently acceptable words or ideas may be excommunicated tomorrow.”

I’m not in full support of every claim made by The Observer in that article, but the majority of it makes sense. It’s a poignant observation and it draws a line in the sand between S.J.W’s, their bulldozers, and those they’re told it’s trendy to hate.

The Observer points out the monstrous maelstroms of confusion that S.J.W’s create.

Such as:

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We get that S.J.W’s like to protest. Their right to protest is respected, but what it is that their protests are trying to achieve? What is the end goal? Who benefits? If asked the majority probably couldn’t give an adequate answer.

Take the S.J.W’s support for a war on the rich; their counter-productive boycott of business. Movements such as Occupy Wall Street and the anti-Israel, Boycott, Divestments and Sanctions (BDS).

Poverty is to be challenged and real injustices responsibly corrected, but how does boycotting businesses, just because they don’t line up in total ideological conformity with something like same-sex “marriage” fight poverty?  Putting people out of work because they hold an opposing view on these issues seems to only create poverty, not remedy it.

There seems to be confusion in what and how S.J.W’s protest. For example, they’re either against poverty or for same-sex “marriage”. In the end one will trump the other. As we’ve seen in well documented court cases, where Christian businesses have been sued for making a conscientious objection to same-sex “marriage”. It’s logical to conclude that putting people out of a legitimate business, in order to support same-sex “marriage”, means supporting poverty.

Take, for instance, the costly interference in the long standing business relationship between Coopers Beer, and The Australian Bible Society.  S.J.W’s protested that relationship, simply because of the position the Bible Society took on same-sex “marriage”. The precedent that event set is this: businesses can only be friends with those whom S.J.W’s approve of.

The manufactured industrial process of “boycott, hashtag, hashtag… people lose their jobs. Company shuts down. Capitalism is blamed [24hrs passes]. Next victim”. Is a radical cycle that only pads ego, wallet and blog stats. It’s not only narcissistic, it’s exactly what fascists do.

What real purpose does this manufactured “outrage” serve, other than to boost approval ratings, celebrity funding drives or ignite social media with a feel-good fifteen minute hashtag movement, that may live longer if (and that’s a big if) it s attractive enough to go viral?

Is the real concern of S.J.W’s, the marginalised, the minority and the poverty-stricken, or is it their own personal level of “social media influence”?

The militancy of all progressive ideologies are not about “…and justice-for-all.” They stand above, over and against us. They raise themselves to a sinless plain of existence. Sinners are those who’ve been accused of opposing, are being a threat to the prevailing ideology.

Militancy like this rejects original sin. There is no recollection of the equality spoken about by the Apostle Paul when he said, ”for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by His grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 3:23-24).

S.J.W’s forget that there is only one who is sinless, and His name is Jesus Christ. They raise themselves to godlikeness, and operate from within a sphere of sinlessness, and by doing so they place Jesus under humanity, and raise themselves up as saviours of it.

From within this sphere the S.J.W can feel justified in calling for the punishment of those they deem sinful. Failing to comply is an act of treason or blasphemy. Such is the pressure applied to State, Church, business or community groups, who are forced to sign onto the S.J.W agenda without question.

S.J.W militants hand justice over to pseudo-politicians who judge from people’s courts, controlling popular opinion with image, idea, internet, and an index-finger pointed in judgement against blasphemers who speak out against idiotic statements, double standards and the toxic ‘isms which encourage them.

The S.J.W therefore tends not to ask ‘…what can they do for their country?” (John F. Kennedy). Instead they demand that their country do for them what their free country tries to empower them to do for themselves. The power of state and church is wielded in whatever direction the S.J.W commands it to go.

It’s reminiscent of the Soviet leadership who, in the early 1980’s, sort to remind Poland’s Communist leaders that any hint of counter-revolutionary blasphemy among Poland’s largely Christian population, should be suppressed:

“…You should say openly that the law forbids any statements against socialism”
 (“Theses For Conversation With Representatives of the Polish Leadership“, 1980. Vladimir Bukovsky, 1995)

This was not affirmative action. It was bullying through fear, suspicion and threat. The type that coerced people to support the Nazis. It incites the same self-serving action as ‘Judas Iscariot, who went to the chief priests and said, “What will you give me if I deliver Jesus over to you?” Who in return paid him thirty pieces of silver. And from that moment sought an opportunity to betray him.’ (Matthew 26:14-15/ Mark 14:10-11/ Luke 22:3-6) [ii]

The same ‘Judas who protested, after seeing Mary take a pound  of expensive ointment , anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair:

“Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?”, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the money-bag he used to help himself to what was put into it.’ (John 3:6)

The same Judas who, as the anti-Nazi theologian, Karl Barth wrote:

‘Perverted his office [of Apostle] into the exact opposite; placing Jesus under humanity, instead of humanity under Jesus – to deliver Jesus to sinners, not sinners to Jesus…Judas prepared for Jesus the fate of John the Baptist.’ [iii]

Because Iscariot thought that:

“Jesus was for sale.
He reserved to himself the right to decide for himself, in the face of Jesus, what the way of apostolic discipleship really involves.
It is an indication that his nature and function are those of the apostle who ultimately regrets his own devotion and the devotion of others to Jesus, who would prefer ultimately to use the power of this devotion for something which his own judgement considers to be better […]”
(Barth, [iv])

These statements form Barth’s critique of a people who, in their rejection of Christ, reject themselves; suffering a similar fate of self-destruction that consumed Judas:

‘The one who kills Jesus also kills themselves […]’ [v]

S.J.W’s, by placing Jesus under humanity, make Jesus a slave of ideology. There is no acknowledgement of His Kingship as LORD over all lords, the one who is and was, and is to come! In this way, the power of state and church is wielded in whatever direction the S.J.W commands it to go.

‘Neither man’s headship or humanity’s dominion (lordship) over the earth equals ownership of woman or creation. Humanity’s rule exists, as a gift. It exists in the light of God’s rule and therefore cannot be absolute.’ (Barth. [vi])

The Social Justice Warrior is in many ways the soldier for hire of the progressive ‘liberalist religion’, identified by Eric Voeglin in his 1968 work, Science, Politics & Religion. The Leftist ‘liberalist religion‘ preaches a gospel of ”self-salvation” through works-righteousness and blind allegiance to it’s sinless spheres.

The bloodshed of the 20th century shows that what lies behind this is pride. This coincides with the will-to-dominate, which is, today, masked by the veneer of social justice. This veneer hides the nature of its true intent.

Those who give in to pride, are determined to devour those who stand opposed to it. In this context, pride serves no one, and is guided by nothing, but its own lust for power. Its only interest in mercy, justice and love, is that which advances its own cause.

So goes the Social Justice Warrior and their banner: “peace, love and bureaucracy” [vii]. Preaching a confusing message between #loveislove and the more accurate, God is love.  Then moulding God’s throne of mercy and justice in their own image.

The late, political scientist, Jean Bethke Elshtain was on point when she stated that viewing Christianity As An Ethic Of Universal Niceness Misses The Point:

‘Misunderstandings of Christian teachings are rife. Christianity is not an exalted or mystical form of utilitarianism. Jesus preached no doctrine of universal benevolence. He showed anger and issued condemnations.
These dimensions of Christ’s life and words tend to be overlooked nowadays as Christians concentrate on God’s love rather than God’s justice. That love is sometimes reduced to a diffuse benignity that is then enjoined on believers.This kind of faith descends into sentimentalism fast.’ [vii]

As Paul the Apostle encouraged a young Timothy. Take heed, stand ready to answer with a loving “no”, those who would preach a different doctrine; a different Jesus Christ than the one the early Jewish Christians walked with, witnessed and spoke of:

‘If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing.
He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain.’
(1 Tm.6:3-5 & 20-21)

Jesus isn’t a Marxist rebel clad in olive drab. He isn’t a golden-haired, blue-eye, bearded, robe wearing guru, sitting on a cloud with rainbows coming out of His ears; sprinkling love dust, answering the lamp rubbing wishes of a group of “super-nice” people, who claim for themselves the moral high-ground [xx]*.

Any person who hands Jesus over to a corrupted, enslaving ideology; any person who chooses to measure Christian discipleship by allegiance to Leftism’s ‘liberalist religion’ , or any equivalent on the Right, are the brethren of Iscariot, not Christ.


References:

[i] Social Justice Warrior, sourced 29th August 2016 from urbandictionary.com

[ii] English Standard Bible, Crossway Publishers

[iii] Barth, K. 1942 The Doctrine of God: The Determination of the Rejected, Church Dogmatics, Hendrickson Publishers  (p.481)

[iv] ibid, 1942 (pp.462 & 463)

[v] ibid, 1942 (p.471)

[vi] Barth, K. 1958 Creation & Covenant: Creation as the External Basis of the Covenant, CD.3:1 Hendrickson Publishers (p.205, paraphrased)

[vii] O’Sullivan, J. 2006. The President, The Pope & The Prime Minister: Three Who Changed The World Regnery Publishing (p.4)

[viii] Elshtain, J. 2008, Just War Against Terror: The Burden Of American Power In A Violent World Basic Books Kindle Ed. (p. 100-101).

[xix] Voegelin, E. 1968 Science, Politics & Religion Regnery Publishing, Inc.

[xx] J. Gresham Machen: ‘The prophets said, “Thus saith the Lord,” but Jesus said, “I say.” We have no mere prophet here, no mere humble exponent of the will of God[…]Jesus here represents Himself as seated on the judgement-seat of all the earth[…] Could anything be further removed than such a Jesus from the humble teacher of righteousness appealed to by [the cult of] modern liberalism?’ (Christianity & Liberalism)

*Charles Spurgeon: ‘some two faced men are hypocrites by nature; slippery as eels, and piebald like Squire Smoothey’s mate. Like a drunken man, they could not walk straight if they were to try…They are born of the breed of St. Judas. The double shuffle is their favourite game, and honesty their greatest hatred. Honey is on their tongues, but gall in their hearts.’ (The Complete John Ploughman, p.115) [added, 23rd November 2017]

** Cardinal Robert Sarah: ‘Trying to win popularity with the media at the expense of the truth amounts to doing the work of Judas.’  (The Day is now Far Spent) [added, 24th February, 2020]

(Slightly edited 2nd Edition, updated 2nd November 2018)

©Rod Lampard, 2018

Blogpost 18th May 2016Here’s my two cents, in response to some current events.

Human identity is not found in what the world, the oppressor, flag or economic status allows us to define ourselves as. Nor is it in the what that world, that oppressor, flag, or economic status defines for us.

If it is to be full human identity, it begins with Jesus Christ. That means that we are called to self-identify with [Yahweh] God who made humanity in His own image. The God who chose to create man as man, and woman as woman.

The one who chose to raise humanity up, then speak and walk with both, in a garden of His making. Providing for both, even when both chose to entertain the subtleties of evil and its sly use of God’s own words to incite human rejection of Him.

Defined by their Creator, man is to be fully man, woman is to be fully woman. Unique, different, reconciled, enabled to be together in a joy-filled, committed relationship with each other. Both free for each other and free for God.

New life begins here. This is real freedom. Real identity. All of which is based on the call to relationship within a new covenant. One called into being by the God who acts in freedom.

Choosing to decisively grasp humanity one final time, in His physical appearing and dwelling in history through His son, Jesus Christ. Choosing to once again to make Himself the painful reminder to humanity of its real identity; of its real home and ultimate place of rest.

Offering humanity a path to freedom from it’s oppressors, it’s soulless routines; freedom from the false security of its alliances, the injustice of empty promises and the smoke and mirrors used to buy and sell our hearts allegiances.

Our freedom was brought at a great price. We are instructed to be responsible with how we choose to invest it. May future generations look back with reverence, gratitude and humility towards those who stood against the currency of shares, likes and comments. Who stood firm against the tide of over indulgence, abdication of responsibility, blame and selfish self-fulfillment.


Related reading:

When a Man Loves a Woman: Barth’s Freedom in Fellowship

A loving neinHidden away, near to the middle of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s ‘The Cost of Discipleship[i],’ rests a three page essay on marriage called ‘Woman.’

Why Bonhoeffer named this chapter so specifically is a mystery.  My best guess here is that he was looking to the growing ease by which society has sold and objectified sex.

The chapter is an analysis of Jesus’ views on marriage, divorce and sexual immortality; or as Bonhoeffer states, ‘sexual irregularities’ (p.85). The texts referred to are Matthew 5.27-32, 1 Cor. 6:13-15 & Gal 5:24, and it forms part of his larger discussion on ‘The Sermon on The Mount.’

What Bonhoeffer means by ‘sexual irregularities’ is clarified by his reference to the Greek word πορνεια. Translated this reads as porneia, meaning, “unchastity”, unlawful sexual acts. It is linked to a metaphor for idolatry, but refers to sexual immorality, such as incest, homosexuality […et.al]. (An important side note: porneia is also linked, but does not mean adultery. This is because adultery is a separate word – μοιχεια; moicheia.)’[ii]

Although separate from the state, Christianity is in part political. The Church is never apolitical. It is this primarily because of its acknowledgement and proclamation that Jesus Christ is Lord of Lords and King of Kings. At its beginning everything is brought under the mercy and judgement of Christ’s Lordship. Theology is its starting point in a reliable critique of all ideology. Whether left or right, up or down, what God has communicated through His Word, stands to confront and lovingly correct human ignorance, and arrogance.

As a result, the church has never been politically fashionable. When it becomes so, it is likely to no longer be a Christian Church. If so, it surrenders to a politics of displacement, where people are ruled by “Lordless” human lords. This a Church no longer speaking out from a position where it acknowledges and proclaims Jesus Christ as its Lord.

Underpinning the importance of Bonhoeffer’s discourse is the issue of identity. Our identity in Christ overrules, and overcomes, any identifying with the fallen nature. No one can be other than a Christian, if that Christian claims to follow Christ. Prefixes like ‘gay Christian, on-fire Christian, etc’ are aberrations. They don’t pin well to those who bear the crucifix. Such is the cost of discipleship.

It is in the valley of God’s gracious decisiveness that a Christian’s identity is forged. Our identity is in Christ, transformed by the hand that chooses to reach for humanity, at cost. Like Karl Barth, Bonhoeffer calls those who would hear the good news to align their lives with the God, who in Jesus Christ, made a way for us to align with Him. This authentic allegiance is costly, but it is what and who a Christian is called to turn towards, if they are to be a Christian in word, deed and attitude.

According to Bonhoeffer:

this ‘adherence to Jesus allows no free rein to desire unless it be accompanied by love. To follow Jesus means self-renunciation and absolute adherence to him, and therefore a will dominated by lust can never be allowed to do what it likes.’ (p.83)

Bonhoeffer is drawing from an, ‘all or nothing’ idealism, but he does so under the light by which God’s grace frames our finite and future existence. On the surface, the influence of Kant’s ethical absolutism might be seen to be clouding Bonhoeffer’s conclusions. However, a closer look at the text, shows that, although present, Kant’s ethical absolutism barely colours what Bonhoeffer is truly getting at.

Bonhoeffer moves beyond the existential towards God’s purpose for marriage.

Stating, ‘the disciple’s exclusive adherence to Christ extends even to married life. Christian marriage is marked by discipline and self-denial. Christ is the Lord even of marriage. There is of course a difference between the Christian and the bourgeois conception of marriage, but Christianity does not therefore depreciate marriage, it sanctifies it […] purity or chastity is safeguarded amongst those who follow Jesus and share his life.’ (pp. 84)

Bonhoeffer conceded that although Jesus’ commands, regarding sexual sin are clear, His voice on marriage is not, but they clearer than they appear to be.

‘Instead of ‘abolishing marriage, Jesus sets it on a firmer base. Choosing to sanctify it through faith’ (p.84). ‘Jesus also approves of absolute celibacy for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. But he lays down no definite programme for his disciples, whether of celibacy or of marriage, only he delivers them from the perils of sexual irregularity inside or outside of the married life.’ (p. 85)

The point being that Jesus chooses ‘to liberate marriage from selfish, evil desire, and to consecrate it to the service of love, which is possible only in a life of discipleship.’ (p.84)

Highlighted here are the words: Christ is the Lord even of marriage…[the health and beauty of] purity or chastity is safeguarded amongst those who follow Jesus and share his life.

In the Pre-Constantinian era, the early Church tells us that pride is the enemy of grace. When it comes to Jesus Christ, any attempt to make our word His own, is an attempt to dethrone Him.  It misrepresents grace, does violence to the science of theology and hinders healthy democratic dialogue. Like recent examples on social media have shown. Particularly when the words, ‘Jesus said, “Don’t Judge,” are turned into a passive aggressive whip statement, used flippantly against Christians who disagree with Same-Sex “marriage”.

Pride and love are polar opposites. Where love is conscripted into the cause of pride, love is lost. Where pride becomes part of a person’s identity, there is no room for Christ. Where pride pushes for normalisation, and blind acceptance of sexual irregularities, pride revels in disunity. Where pride wins, and is then raised up to be the quintessential example of love, the beauty of true love, especially and uniquely shared between a man and a woman; a woman and a man, is overshadowed.

Pride cannot be compatible with marriage because love is not compatible with pride.

The penultimate result of an allegiance to pride is that, man for woman and woman for man; both reconciled under God, are no longer seen to be uniquely reconciled to one another. It then follows that a normalisation of separation and estrangement will only encourage each to act against the other.

Under the careful rule of human overlords, who search through any and all dissent for offense, the end result is a passively violent, gender segregation. One unleashed upon the world through unfettered misandry and misogyny, made law under the “feel-good” disguise of tolerance and equality.

The consequence of which, may enslave men and women to a renewed, but subtle, hatred of each other. Forcing apart that which was long ago ordained and reconciled by, in and under God. Here the chains of even racism are echoed and rattled inadvertently by Same-Sex “marriage” activists who seek to undermine heterosexuals: ‘Men and women stick to your own kind, and never the two shall meet.’

The Church, if it is to be a Christian church, in its discipleship, must answer this in two ways. First, with a firm, reasoned, loving ‘no.’ And second, with,

‘ Choose this day who you will serve […] as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
(Joshua 24:14-15, ESV)

 

References:

[i] Bonhoeffer, D. 1937 Discipleship/The Cost of Discipleship SCM Classics

[ii] Green, J.B & McKnight, S. 1992 Dictionary of Jesus & The Gospels, IVP