Jane Haddam’s WordPress weblog

A Note in the Early Morning

with 4 comments

Just a couple of notes in response to Lymaree’s post.

1) My shoulder is like Lymaree’s husband’s shoulder.  I first dislocated it at 15.  It’s been popping in and out ever since. 

I don’t know if they had the surgery back then, but if they did nobody mentioned it to us.  If they had, my father would have had me in the hospital before I had a chance to complain.

The surgery was recommended to me many years later, when I was first married, but I treated it the way I treat all suggestions that I seek medical attention.

Phooey, as Nero Wolf would say.

2) When I said that all the Reform denominations seem to end up in the same (philosophical, political and religious) place, I was talking about their organizations and hierarchies, not their individual  members.

Most of the individual Methodists I know are fairly conservative, but the United Methodist Church as an organization could trade its web site with the American Humanist Association and be pretty much where they are now, except for a few mentions of God, which they don’t seem to know what to do with anyway.

And although I do get Robert’s point about people and the way they behave, it fails to explain why the Catholics–although they go in for all the welfare state and soft socialism stuff–do  not get snared by the rest of it.

The problem seems to me to be specific to Protestant denominations, and I can’t quite figure out why.

And the right royal mess of it started early, too.  You can see its beginnings in 19th Century Quakerism and in the Unitarianism of 19th Century New England. 

I’ve got to teach two three hour classes today, back to back.

I come home from these things so hoarse I can barely talk.

In some cases, ice cream is medicinal.

Written by janeh

April 10th, 2013 at 6:39 am

Posted in Uncategorized

4 Responses to 'A Note in the Early Morning'

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  1. I don’t KNOW, and it may not be knowable, but I would suggest a two-part answer.
    First, a large institutional church is subject to the individual moral rot I described yesterday and the usual failings of a bureaucracy. There are far more believers in Methodist pews than in the Methodist hierarchy. If the individual Methodist no longer believes, he says home, and saves time and money. If the Bishop or the Bishop’s staffer no longer believes–she says right there: there is, after all, a salary and a pension at stake. If the measure of ethics is doing something you don’t want to do, the measure of commitment is doing something that is a net loss in material terms.
    But I agree the Roman Catholic church better resists this, and I think it’s true of Orthodoxy as well. I think that’s because of the second factor: a sincere priest or congregant has his back to the wall. If your church is one of many God has created for His purposes, then the obvious response to unbelieving superiors is to found another church. But if your church is the body of Christ and there is and can be no other, there’s nothing to do but stay and fight it out. Picture all the “non-denominational” (i.e. generic Protestant) “megachurches” and picture all that energy and intelligence–not to mention sincere belief–coursing through institutional Methodism or Presbyterianism. Hernan Cortez is not a popular figure these days. But when he burned his ships, he knew exactly what he was doing.


    10 Apr 13 at 8:01 am

  2. I agree about the divide between the people in the pews and their leaders. There are exceptions, of course, but in some branches of Protestant Christianity, one sometimes gets the feeling that the hierarchy wants to move along the laity in the right direction, which often seems to involve reducing the focus on God and your neighbour and increasing it on social action and institutions. In fact, I think the emphasis on social ‘sins’ and ‘institutional’ evils is directly contrary to the need of each individual to treat other individuals properly. And it’s a very handy way to prevent self-examination – see, I’m marching against intitutionalized racism, so I’m a good person. How I actually behave towards other people doesn’t seem important.

    The situation is self-perpetuating, too. Once people who are taking the new ‘modern’ approach to religion dominate in theological colleges and the upper administrative levels, they teach and hire like-minded people.

    I don’t think all the ones who stay to run the church are doing so for their pensions and positions, although probably some are. A lot of them seem to really believe that views that once would once have been considered evidence of lost faith is really true faith, the modern variety, one that fits well with modern society. But Christianity, in particular, is not intended to reflect the views and actions of society in general – and especially not of the popular and powerful subcultures.


    10 Apr 13 at 11:19 am

  3. Here’s an interesting Quadrant article that is kinda sorta relevant:



    10 Apr 13 at 9:34 pm

  4. “A Trip to the Trailerhood” isn’t accepting comments. Please feel free to move this one to there.

    I think, if you’re serious about this, you’re going to have an interesting time reconciling your normal attitudes and policies with the “male” thing. You do realize that prioritizing procedure–even defining justice AS procedure–is about as “unmale” as it’s possible to get? The point is to defend the innocent, punish the guilty and uphold the law in that order–with apologies to ROBOCOP. Letting the murderer go free because the judge didn’t initial Page 3 of the warrant, or because he wasn’t mirandized again that morning is not how males do things.
    The same goes for a view of history that pays serious attention to Plato’s Cave but thinks Thermopolae and Fish Hook Line are optional.
    And if you ask a male about deriving moral code by making it up yourself after reading a lot of books, bring a lunch with you. It will be a long time before he stops laughing long enough to give you a reply.
    Admiring maleness while having no use for the things intrinsic to it is like really loving hamburger but objecting to grinding beef.
    I’ll wait for the explosion.


    13 Apr 13 at 5:39 pm

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