Thursday, December 02, 2010

Beggars All: Reformation And Apologetics: A word about "intellectual converts"

Interesting post; both the post and the comments mention things that coincide with impressions I've gotten about the RCC and 'converts vs. cradle Catholics'.

Beggars All: Reformation And Apologetics: A word about "intellectual converts"

74 comments:

Leo said...

Jennie,

That entire post is nothing more than drivel. When I receive the Sacraments, whether Confession or the Eucharist, I truly am transformed and touched in the deepest part of my heart and soul by Truth Himself.

I can daily see disagreements with priests and bishops and there are many things I dislike about the mistakes made by the humans God chooses to work through.

You cannot possibly know the effects of the Sacraments because you do not receive them and because you have left the Church. You are nothing more than an outsider looking in and trying to figure out what is going on.

The posters on this blog are like those who live together outside of marriage and criticize the Sacrament because they do not understand it. They do not understand the sanctity of God's Church any more than a fornicator understands marriage.

The difference is that the typical fornicator does not criticize those who are married. They are also like those who are married, yet choose not to have children. These similarly do not understand the sacredness and purpose of marriage.

They are like those who would criticize you, for example, for having 4 children, or me for having 6 children.

Don't be like them Jennie. Come out of them and come to the full knowledge of Truth.

One will never find Truth by trying to find reasons why something is not so. One can only find Truth by trying to understand if something really could be so.

Jennie said...

When I receive the Sacraments, whether Confession or the Eucharist, I truly am transformed and touched in the deepest part of my heart and soul by Truth Himself.

Leo,
We believe and feel that abiding in Scripture and prayer, individually and together, transforms us and touches us in the deepest part of our soul. Maybe we focus on different things, but Jesus comes to us both in our faith. I hope that's so.

Christine said...

Your link is just more preaching to the crabby, cranky choir of commenters on that site. Again, what reason could there be for this obsession, this search for ever-new aspersions to cast upon Catholics only. One only needs to do this if one is feeling the need to justify remaining outside the Church. He's not reaching out to Catholics themselves and he shows no concern for them at all.

These fanatical attempts to undermine fellow believers show clearly that the intellectual Catholics he is dismissing are making a significant impact. And they are doing it without the rancor, mockery, and arrogance displayed daily at your friend's forum.

Christine said...

Jennie - on a completely different subject, I wonder if you are following the "Quivering Daughters" vs. "Steadfast Daughters in a Quivering World" drama at all, and what you think about it. The world of "Biblical" patriarchy/patriocentricity - Vision Forum, etc.

Jennie said...

Christine,
I hadn't been following the debate about 'Quivering Daughters'. I haven't been following those type of blogs lately, though I did for a while. Every once in a while I go and check one or two of the 'Titus 2' or 'Vision Forum' related blogs, but not often. I just went and read a review of the 'Quivering Daughters' book by Stacy McDonald here: http://steadfastdaughters.com/all-that-quivers-is-not-told/

I agree with alot that Stacy said in the review, but I haven't read the book. I don't have much personal experience with the Quiverful movement except in reading their blogs in the past and shopping on Vision Forum. I tend to agree with some of their teachings, but think they tend to become a rather insular group. None of my friends have been really involved in the quiverful or patriarchal movement. I've kind of been on my own in reading about it. My husband isn't into that, and is pretty easy-going about things, so we're not 'patriarchal' in that sense, but work as a team with him as the head ( and I have to work on being submissive; it's not my strong point).
More later, got to go.

John said...

"Interesting post; both the post and the comments mention things that coincide with impressions I've gotten about the RCC and 'converts vs. cradle Catholics'"

Really? Perhaps you could give some specific examples that would support the theory in the Beggars All post.

Other than the Merton book, what other books by Catholic converts have you read? Your opinions often seem to be shaped not so much from the work of intellectual converts, but by those that think they know the minds of those converts.

John said...

While I can see that an "intellectual convert" may be initially drawn to the Church because of a romantic desire for truth and certainty, I would doubt that an intellectual convert would not examine his or her reasons for conversion to ensure that his or her conversion was not because of some romantic view of Catholicism but rather that the conversion must make sense to them apart from any romantic fantasy. It seems that is what an intellectual would do in the conversion process.

Christine said...

Yes, John, when reading converts like Francis Beckwith and the folks at Called to Communion, you sense how rigorously they examined both their doctrinal questions and their own hearts, minds and motives. They demonstrate great humility and integrity as they describe their journeys.

Moonshadow said...

I haven't read the post Jennie linked to, but I know (and have known) "really smart people" who are Catholics, Protestants, atheists, transcendentalists, witches, etc., etc., etc. I.Q. seems to matter very little when settling on a worldview.

We often seem to settle on what resonates best with what we've already known. But, I feel hypocritical even asserting that because I find myself personally being "dragged" presently (so far, dragged) into new ways of understanding God's work. So I'm getting apart from what I've already known. I suppose that can happen.

Christine said...

On today's post over there the bullying is moronic, sophomoric as well as idiotic. It's hard not to jump to defent against the ganging up that is so wrong it's unbelievable.

Christine said...

Oops - that's "defend" - didn't have my glasses or contacts on, big mistake . . .

John said...

That is typical of that blog. Much of the comments one sees there border on bigotry. Triablogue and Turrentinfan have the same problem.

Jennie said...

John,
about the converts, what I've observed from reading accounts/testimonies/blogs by converts and by lifelong Catholics, is that new converts from protestantism seem to have a very romanticized view, not always excluding an intellectual view, but then sometimes express disillusionment later on with the everyday life of Catholicism. Mostly I've seen that they are not satisfied with members and priests that may not have their same enthusiasm about some aspect or aspects of their faith; or about disagreements within the faith. I don't remember where I read these things. There were many scattered sources over the last couple of years or more.
Sorry I'm not being very precise and detailed; I'm not at home and haven't had time to research, and I'm surrounded by my kids who need attention; so got to go, again.

John said...

Another example of the type of stuff one can find on Beggars All and Triablogue is this recent post on Triablogue, http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2010/12/catholic-kuru.html#comments

Christine said...

Truly horrible. These bloggers ARE just like Bill Maher. Smug and arrogant - if you don't like it, then you're accused of being either delusional, unenlightened or humorless. If we are to judge by "fruits" - then theirs is maggot-ridden and malignant.

James Swan said...

Truly horrible. These bloggers ARE just like Bill Maher. Smug and arrogant - if you don't like it, then you're accused of being either delusional, unenlightened or humorless. If we are to judge by "fruits" - then theirs is maggot-ridden and malignant.

Hi Christine,

I'm sorry about the offense the blog appears to cause you. Feel free to drop by any posts I've written, and I promise you the utmost courteousy.

Regards, James

John said...

Mr. Swan, I am curious. Do you find the recent Triablogue post I cited in my previous comment to be offensive?

John Bugay said...

Hi Jennie, thanks for the link.

For all of you all who think the original "intellectual converts" piece was over the edge, you do realize that the first part of that was written by a life-long Roman Catholic?

That is, it's an in-house dispute, and not something that "anti-Catholics" are making up?

Matthew D. Schultz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Matthew D. Schultz said...

Christine writes:

Yes, John, when reading converts like Francis Beckwith and the folks at Called to Communion, you sense how rigorously they examined both their doctrinal questions and their own hearts, minds and motives. They demonstrate great humility and integrity as they describe their journeys.

When these converts express definitions of Protestant doctrines that fail to properly represent them, and forward arguments in their works that have already been addressed in the relevant literature (acting as if such counter-arguments don't even exist), that hardly comes across as either intellectually rigorous or acting with integrity.

Anonymous said...

Matthew:

And where, pray tell, do you find the "correct" versions of these Protestant doctrines?

If you read, for example, McGrath's history of justification, it's a real mess, and that is supposedly the doctrine on which the Gospel stands or falls.

So, as long as Protestantism remains a moving target, you can always accuse the Catholics of not shooting straight.

John said...

Mr. Bugay,
I really have no knowledge of Mr. Vasquez. Do you know if he is still a Catholic or has he left the Church?

Jennie said...

But, I feel hypocritical even asserting that because I find myself personally being "dragged" presently (so far, dragged) into new ways of understanding God's work. So I'm getting apart from what I've already known. I suppose that can happen.

Teresa (Moonshadow), if you don't mind me asking, what new ways of understanding are you being 'dragged' into?

Jennie said...

Your link is just more preaching to the crabby, cranky choir of commenters on that site. Again, what reason could there be for this obsession, this search for ever-new aspersions to cast upon Catholics only. One only needs to do this if one is feeling the need to justify remaining outside the Church.

Christine,
you keep asking why John B. and the others do what they do, saying that it's a fanatical obsession, that they are trying to justify not being in the RCC, etc.. Today my pastor reminded us of many of the men and women throughout church history who have stood for truth against heresy and error, and reminded us that error and heresy still exist today, and must be stood against. He reminded us that truth mixed with error is still error; that man is religious and loves to worship a god and try to reach God on man's terms (works that make us feel good) instead of knowing that it is all God's work that draws us and saves us; that we are saved by faith and Christ's righteousness, not our own; that we are justified by faith and repentance and our assurance comes by continuing in faith and repentance. I think, Christine, that while the men on Beggars All are not perfect (who is?), that they are doing something necessary there; and that you may be reacting out of the enmity that you feel toward them and seeing more than is really there. I suppose there' always room for improvement in our attitudes, but I don't see the horribleness that you see.

Jennie said...

John B.,
you're welcome, and thanks for coming over. I don't have very many non-Catholics commenting over here, so it's good to see you, James Swan, and Matthew D. Schultz over here. I get overwhelmed sometimes.

John said...

For what it is worth, I do not find Mr. Bugay or Mr. Swan offensive. I do sometimes see some of the folks that comment on their blog offensive.

John Bugay said...

For what it is worth, I do not find Mr. Bugay or Mr. Swan offensive.

I appreciate this. I never try to be offensive, though I always try to be provocative. There is a difference.

Matthew D. Schultz said...

Anonymous,

First, who are you? If you're going to offer up a blithely dismissive response, the kind that indicates you're more interested in mockery than understanding, at least have the courage to do it by identifying yourself.

You write:

And where, pray tell, do you find the "correct" versions of these Protestant doctrines?

The same way you would find the "correct" version of any Christian community's beliefs. You start with the relevant confessions and expositions by recognized authorities within the tradition. In this case, relevant deals with those core Reformation principles that Beckwith and CTC have repudiated, both with Protestantism generally, and Reformed Protestantism specifically. These are clear and defined, and are defended in contemporary literature by recognized authorities within the Reformed tradition. You might not think that their defenses ultimately succeed, but to insinuate that we really don't have access to clear expositions of these doctrines is to stick your head in the sand.

That also unwittingly undercuts the arguments offered by people and groups like Beckwith and CTC. If there is no real and clear target of Protestantism to which they are responding, then either their works are useless--in that they don't actually address anything anyone believes--or they are functionally worthless, having simply found one ephemeral iteration of ever-changing Protestant doctrine, the analysis of which becomes immediately obsolete.

Certainly that isn't the impression one receives when reading their works. You get the idea that the conservative Catholic apologetics industry is interested in overturning broadly and consistently held and historically grounded Reformation principles.

As is regularly the case in these kinds of critiques, Protestants are united when convenient, and disunited when convenient.

If you read, for example, McGrath's history of justification, it's a real mess, and that is supposedly the doctrine on which the Gospel stands or falls.

This is a bit of a careless and illogical jab. It does not follow from McGrath's historical treatment that we cannot discern a "correct" interpretation of modern Protestant doctrine. When I criticize someone like Beckwith for failing to represent various doctrines, it does no good to appeal to something as irrelevant as historical studies of justification. I made reference to current arguments on the table that Protestants have offered up in response to the common Catholic arguments offered against Protestantism. Even if the history was "messy," that doesn't mean: (a) no correct version did exist within the "mess," and (b) no correct version exists today.

So, as long as Protestantism remains a moving target, you can always accuse the Catholics of not shooting straight.

How much has the WCF "moved" since it was drafted? How much has reliance on Calvin "moved" since he lived and wrote his Institutes? (And we're only talking about relevant doctrinal changes, of course, should you think just any change justifies your "moving target" characterization).

And I could say the same thing about Catholicism given the "mess" of historical and doctrinal changes around its understanding of salvation outside of the Church, but that would be inappropriate. The modern Roman Catholic denomination has a definitive and clear position on these matters, just as the relevant and prominent Protestant communities have their definitive and clear positions on these matters.

Christine said...

To those from Beggars All, etc., I am just mystified as to what your purpose is. The vast majority of your commenters are those who agree with you, and you all seem to have fun patting each other on the back. Well, I suppose that's a purpose of a sort.

You make no effort to appeal to Catholics to win them over, since you feel they're in spiritual jeopardy - FAR from it.

I'm always disappointed when Jennie links to you, since there are other Protestant/evangelical sources that take a more humble and charitable approach, along with intellectual rigor.

I've been warned to stay away from commenting on your blog, so I don't. I just wish Jennie didn't wish to be associated with it, but she must do as she believes is right.

Matthew said: Anonymous,

First, who are you? If you're going to offer up a blithely dismissive response, the kind that indicates you're more interested in mockery than understanding. . .


Pot, meet kettle.

John Bugay said...

Christine said -- I am just mystified as to what your purpose is ... The vast majority of your commenters are those who agree with you, ... You make no effort to appeal to Catholics to win them over, since you feel they're in spiritual jeopardy

Regarding our audience: I make a point to address Protestants who, for one reason or another, have had some interaction with, shall we say, "Catholic claims to authority," and have perhaps found them wanting, but can't really say why.

In the case of these individuals, I want to share with them what I have learned, and why I have found Roman Catholic claims [of all types -- believe me, I have encountered virtually all of them that can be made] -- to be wanting. So we all share that common experience. That's important.

This method comports with my own unfolding understanding of Roman Catholicism over my own lifetime. That is, I was born and raised Catholic, and had no reason for questioning "the faith". But then I read the New Testament, which contained nothing of Roman Catholicism; some verses of the New Testament were offered as "proof texts" in support of Catholic practices. But when you investigate further as to what the New Testament authors were saying, [think, "what did they know, and what did they intend to say in the first century, when they wrote"], it is clear that they had no idea that Roman Catholicism was coming down the pike, or could be built on their words.

So my own journey caused me to come into contact with "Roman Catholic explanations" for all of these "Roman Catholic claims" and "Roman Catholic proof-texts."

I found them wanting. Virtually without exception, I found them wanting.

And so, convinced that I could not remain Roman Catholic, convinced that I could not "say 'white' when my eye saw black," I left.

My own purpose for writing, then, has everything to do with explaining my own thought process [and the very similar thought processes that I have encountered from others who have made similar journeys - including the Reformers, theologians of the Reformation, "post-Reformation Reformed scholastics, etc.], and to placing them within the context of the very claims made by Rome. I want the best in Reformation scholarship to address, point for point, Roman claims. By placing both of these in direct juxtaposition with each other, I tend to think, my readers will be able to weigh the truth for themselves.

As far as not "reaching out to Catholics," well, that would be an exercise in banging my head off the wall. Your own response -- FAR from it -- shows me that your mind is made up, you have no doubts about the utter truth and veracity of Roman Catholic teaching, and so there would be no sense for me even to try to talk to you. So I don't.


The reason why this is important to me is because Rome places [or has asserted that it is the organization that should place] great constraints upon my conscience and behavior ["faith and morals"]. If anybody in the world wants to have that kind of control over me, I want to know, who they are and why they want to interfere with my life in that way.

Don't you think that is a reasonable question to ask?

For example, if I personally were to say to you, Christine, you MUST believe "X", and you MAY NOT do "Y", you would rightly resist my overtures, correct?

Christine said...

Mr. Swan, thanks for your invitation, it was very kindly made. I'll be interested to see how you answer John's question about the particular comment section he cited.

Mr. Schultz, I find the Called to Communion people to be very honest about claims contrary to their arguments, and they treat people who want to sincerely question or discuss without enmity very well. I also find blogs such as that of Denny Burk to be excellent examples of Protestant discussion with integrity and charity.

Mr. Bugay, thanks for clarifying your purpose - to find fellowship with others that have had connection or interaction with Catholicism. I still think you "protest too much" and that is understandable. I am a convert from evangelicalism and was obsessed with apologetics for about ten years - poring over everything that confirmed my decision to become Catholic. I had already spent the first 28 years of my life indoctrinated with the anti-Catholic arguments.

I can't imagine creating a blog that targets Evangelical people and Evangelical thought day after day after day - to like-minded readers.

In my mind, we share so much, and while there are very real differences that shouldn't be disregarded, we should listen and be kind, and no one needs to heed that more than myself (did I really need to add "maggot-infested"?) I feel that Jennie and I have much in common, and that she is influenced negatively by your example. My goal is mutual understanding and respect. While disagreeing.

John Bugay said...

Christine: I had already spent the first 28 years of my life indoctrinated with the anti-Catholic arguments.

You may find this hard to believe, but we are not "anti-Catholics," nor do we make "anti-Catholic arguments."

Christine said...

I do indeed find that hard to believe. You come across as such.

Matthew D. Schultz said...

Christine writes:

Pot, meet kettle.

I took the time to address the problems with Anonymous' objection. If I was being blithely dismissive, I would have done something like tell him he was dumb and leave to spend my time somewhere else.

So I don't really see how the charge sticks.

The vast majority of your commenters are those who agree with you, and you all seem to have fun patting each other on the back. Well, I suppose that's a purpose of a sort.

The demographics of the readers, not commentators in particular, is the critical piece of data. (All this assuming, of course, one should be interested in attracting a readership containing theological opponents and dissidents.)

However, many blogs naturally function this way. Like-minded people seek each other out, and of course people who agree with the general project on a certain blog or larger apologetic enterprise are going to celebrate when it is specifically and successfully realized in various ways. (I can think of various Catholic blogs that function just like this as well, and I wouldn't think it reasonable to criticize them on these grounds.) There's nothing necessarily wrong with this, unless you think our sole purpose is merely to promote each others' egos or some such base thing. If you are suggesting that it is, that doesn't strike me as either plausible or charitable, and demands a commensurate level of proof to entertain as anything other than slander.

As for the rest of your comments, I'm not sure what you'd like any of us over at Beggars All to say in response. That you don't like us or what we do is, to be frank, not terribly interesting or new. There are plenty of people who don't enjoy what we do, and they spend their time criticizing us (more often than our work, it sometimes seems) on other blogs. So the simple charge of "anti-Catholic" (veiled as it is in emotionally charged style of "homophobe" and "racist") or other general emotional condemnations have little effect when detached from concrete facts and broad generalizations, even if they are what typically constitute "argument" these days. If you have specific examples to cite, rather than vague generalities, perhaps we can discuss your concerns.

Matthew D. Schultz said...

That last section should read "and supported by broad generalizations."

James Swan said...

To those from Beggars All, etc., I am just mystified as to what your purpose is. The vast majority of your commenters are those who agree with you, and you all seem to have fun patting each other on the back.

I think if you'll survey the blogs you visit each day, you'll find that each has a group of people either thankful or encouraging of the material posted. Frankly, when I post a blog entry, I don't require such affirmation at this point. I've thought of simply shutting off the comments entirely, but I usually leave them open for the purpose that some tidbit or fact that I've presented could be challenged or augmented. I've been going in depth for the last few months on one particular subject. The comments actually challenging, correcting, or helping my findings are few.

You make no effort to appeal to Catholics to win them over, since you feel they're in spiritual jeopardy - FAR from it.

I can't speak for my co-bloggers, they may have different motivations. For me, some guys watch sports, others tinker with cars. I enjoy reading books, doing research, and putting together blog articles. I write what I do because I like to write what I do. So primarily, I don't write with the purpose that a Roman Catholic will abandon Rome. I write because I like to. If it so happens that a paradigm or worldview changes, and some meager set of facts I've presented are used in this change, that's wonderful. As a Reformed Christian, my goal is to live Corum Deo, in each thing I do. If God so chooses to use any part of my life to influence someone else's- that humbling, and completely His decision. I simply do the things I like to do. He will use (or not use) my life as He wishes to.

I'm always disappointed when Jennie links to you, since there are other Protestant/evangelical sources that take a more humble and charitable approach, along with intellectual rigor.

I'm humbled that anyone links to the blog. As to the "intellectual rigor" and "charitable" aspect, I'm sure there are other such blogs. The same is true throughout the blogging world, even for Roman Catholic blogs. Some Roman Catholic writers have called me such names as "Nazi" and a whole host of other things- some of these people are fairly well known Roman Catholic apologists. I guess if I had to follow the standards you're putting forth, I could classify quite a number of popular Roman Catholic blogs similarly.

I've been warned to stay away from commenting on your blog, so I don't. I just wish Jennie didn't wish to be associated with it, but she must do as she believes is right.

Well, here you are interacting with us. Are we as bad as the warning suggests, based on these comments?

Mr. Swan, thanks for your invitation, it was very kindly made. I'll be interested to see how you answer John's question about the particular comment section he cited.

Frankly, I haven't read the link. Based on my knowledge of the author, the material could be highly satirical or an example of argumentum ad absurdum. I'll try to get to it sometime this week.

I find the Called to Communion people to be very honest about claims contrary to their arguments, and they treat people who want to sincerely question or discuss without enmity very well.

Based on some brief interaction with a few of the CTC people, I've had the exact opposite experience. I presented simple historical facts on Luther to at least two of them. It was ignored entirely. This doesn't at all endear me to them. As a Reformed Seminary student, I'm not at all interested in getting a free book from a person who did extremely sloppy research on Luther's Mariology, and then when confronted with simple historical data, ignored that data. I don't trust such a person.

John said...

Mr. Swan,
I too look forward to reading your reaction to the link I mentioned. While one may see that post as highly satirical or even an example of argumentum ad absurdum, that it no way justifies the offensiveness of the post and are poor rationalizations for it. And, frankly, I find it sad that some of the Triabloguers attempted to defend the post, one of which offered a comment even more egregious. How one that claims to be a Christian would not find the post insulting and approaching bigotry is a mystery to me.

Christine said...

Mr. Bugay, you said:
For all of you all who think the original "intellectual converts" piece was over the edge, you do realize that the first part of that was written by a life-long Roman Catholic?

I realized that, yes. But we find disaffected, envious or critical folks in every denomination, and to search those out to post is kind of lame. Your eagerness to tear down those that others admire, whether it's Pope Benedict or Scott Hahn, would usually be a sign of insecurity, but I don't know you. When I said "FAR from it", I wasn't clear - I meant that Beggars All is very far from appealing to, or caring about Catholics, and now I know that you have no such intention. Fair enough.

Mr. Schultz, the "pot meet kettle" comment wasn't referring to the specific response to Anonymous, but just that I find your own blog to often be "blithely dismissive" and a forum for "mockery". With you in particular in mind, I searched my brain for something to say that would reach your heart. Now that you've explained to me how blogs function, what the pertinent data is, and that my viewpoint is neither interesting nor new, I am at a loss.

Mr. Swan - you are nicer and making an effort to reach out. I appreciate that. Having said that, it is intimidating to interact with any of you after seeing what your blog can be like, as John cited.

In summary, your blog APPEARS to mainly target the Catholic Church with posts that are carefully selected to show it in the worst light. And you've all explained that you are not trying to appeal to Catholics themselves, but to share with others who enjoy these "worst" things.

Where's the love, where are the fruits of the spirit? I imagined that those things are as vital to "reformed apologetics" as they are to other Christian endeavors. I guess I have to give you credit that you don't even make a pretense of those things.

Thanks for your time.

Matthew D. Schultz said...

Christine writes:

but just that I find your own blog to often be "blithely dismissive" and a forum for "mockery".

There's a lot of material at Beggars All. Probably the majority of it is a review of relevant scholarship as it pertains to various issues around the life and person of Luther. I recall that most of my posts have been about Whitaker's arguments in favor of sola Scriptura. John Bugay has spent a great deal of time analyzing historical issues around the Papacy. Of all of these, I don't recall posts like the kind John (not Bugay) referenced above, so the conflation of Triablogue with Beggars All based on a single post at Triablogue strikes me as unreasonable. Admittedly, I am the newest to the team, and I do not have the time to read everything posted there, but the content never struck me as either carelessly dismissive or defined by a mocking stance. It's always possible that these historical arguments and analysis are ultimately flawed and fail upon close inspection, but there's a substantial difference between that and saying that the whole place is as you've characterized it.

This is why I asked about specifics earlier. What specific posts do you have in mind to demonstrate your characterization of Beggars All? You are making some serious charges, especially given your most recent accusation that we do not produce fruits of the Spirit, and I would appreciate that they be demonstrated, if for nothing else than as a potential aid to our spiritual health.

Leo said...

"The reason why this is important to me is because Rome places [or has asserted that it is the organization that should place] great constraints upon my conscience and behavior ["faith and morals"]. If anybody in the world wants to have that kind of control over me, I want to know, who they are and why they want to interfere with my life in that way.

Don't you think that is a reasonable question to ask?"

John, you have hit the nail on the head. You do realize, I am sure, that those who get to heaven are actually assimilated into oneness with the Trinity. As such, we must totally and completely surrender ourselves to the will of God for that to happen. For, all in heaven are perfect and are without stain of sin.

Far from constraints, the Church actually gives us true freedom. True freedom is not licentiousness and is the freedom to live according to God's will.

For example, as a parent, we may tell our children when to go to bed, what to eat, what type of friends we should associate with, when to study, etc. Those constraints end up giving our children true freedom in the long run.

When we are instructed not to practice artificial contraception, it is meant to help us live in accordance with the will of God. When we are instructed to go to Mass every Sunday, it is to keep us close to the Faith where we are reminded of what we believe and to receive the Eucharist.

If the law of gravity exists, I don't need a perfect scientist to tell me before I believe it. I simply want to know for my own sake.

By the way, white may indeed look black to a person, but that does not make it black. Perhaps that person is looking in the dark. Light can make all the difference...

John said...

Matthew,

you said, I don't recall posts like the kind John (not Bugay) referenced above, so the conflation of Triablogue with Beggars All based on a single post at Triablogue strikes me as unreasonable."

In fact you are a frequent commentor on Triablogue. We have even had several exchanges on that site. At one point I even posted on my blog an attack on Triablogue after the way I felt I was treated after comments I made on the Triablogue site. After rethinking what I had written on my blog I deleted the post as I thought my remarks were unchristian.

Leo said...

There is one other thing to consider about the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Pure joy is an unmistakable sign of His indwelling. I do not ever sense pure joy on those blogs. In fact, I never sense it in anyone while they are busy attacking the Catholic Church...like you John, I sometimes find myself falling into their uncharitable traps and habits. This is why we should remember that all religions have their basis in God, but not all have the fullness of Truth. In fact, only one can possibly have that, by definition...

Christine said...

I posted a response to Matthew, quoting the past three weeks of posts and comments at Beggars All, and I don't see it here, perhaps too long.

Anyway, trying to quickly remember what I found that was dismissive or mocking:

The misrepresentation of the pope's words on "Jimmy Akin Comforts the Flock", and the comments thereof; the treatment of Blogahon; calling Catholics or the Church, using italics so don't have to keep on with quotation marks, happy Koolaid drinkers, whores . . . poor JP2 sleeping on the floor for his sins, wolves, deceitful, demonic, a devilish illusion, fundamentally dishonest, a large-mouth bass, and on and on. I had a lot more, but in providing you with examples, I'm just doing what you do - searching for the worst light to shed on you.

I'm a Steelikat fan, though! Loved his "walk a mile in someone else's shoes" discussion.

Christine said...

Matthew, I doubt you find my charges serious. As your commenters like to ask "Are you a scholar" - you don't think I'm one, and I'm not anything but a faithful Catholic and autodidact who seeks to find common ground and discuss things in order to build up the body of Christ. There's much to accomplish in this hurting world.

I don't like the attacking, condescending approach to disagreement. Regarding the fruits of the spirit, and I thnk Leo and John are wondering the same thing, I asked the question: Where are they? It is a sincere question, not an accusation.

John said...

As far as the issue of conflating Triablogue with Beggarsall, one only needs to go to the Beggars site and scroll down a bit to see the Triablogue logo. Not to say there is anything wrong with the two sites often quoting and referencing each other, but to say that conflating the two seems somewhat reasonable.

And now I must go out and shovel some more snow even though it is supposed to snow again starting about 6pm our time.

Christine said...

And speaking of Triablogue, this example of scholarly charity:

Does our Lord's dung get assumed into heaven as well?!?

Tired of snow here as well. LOTS.

Matthew D. Schultz said...

Christine,

I take your charge seriously enough to talk about it and reflect on it. Most people aren't willing to try and fill out those kinds of details when they assert that someone isn't preaching, teaching, presenting, etc. the fruit of the Spirit, so your approach lends a significant amount of credibility to your concerns.

As for your examples, since you're trying to judge Beggars All by the standard I gave to anonymous, here it is again:

"carelessly dismissive or defined by a mocking stance"

As contributors, we take time to engage contrary positions. We draw them out from appropriate sources, online or in print, and spend time critiquing them. Perhaps these critiques ultimately fail, but that's not prima facie carelessly dismissive. The attitude is critical, but if we were being carelessly dismissive, we would raise criticisms that simply do not in any way properly represent the original position and/or we wouldn't even bother spending any significant amount of time critiquing them. We would simply, like Anonymous, raise loaded "gotchas" and think this somehow qualified as a meaningful contribution to discourse.

As for mockery, there is some, but I specifically stated a defining stance. (I also think mockery is, on rare occasion, given the precedent set by the prophets, apostles and even, sometimes, Jesus, an appropriate response. It depends on what spirit it is offered in--to puff up the one who delivers or to help the opponent see the absurdity of his position.) If you look over my Whitaker posts, do you find their content to be overall mocking? Obviously others are generally better at judging our own work, but I don't think it falls into that general disposition. The same applies with John Bugay's historical posts on the Papacy. And this especially applies to James Swan's posts; the overwhelming majority of these are tedious investigations of the context of some hideously obscure Luther quotation. If I had to characterize these as anything, "really dry" immediately comes to mind. (I personally find them interesting, but that's a different matter.)

(Continued...)

Matthew D. Schultz said...

I have worked all of my adult life to diminish the amount of sarcasm I use, and this has been successful, by both my estimation and the estimation of others who know me. So you also have to consider what improvement might look like over a large period of time; no one enters the kingdom fully sanctified, including the contributors at Beggars All.

Consider, also, the limits of the internet in evaluating something as relationally-bound as fruit of the Spirit. (Btw. I have had a post in draft at Beggars All for a few days that reflects on the differences between online discourse and face-to-face interaction on these kinds of matters. Perhaps when it is posted it will help you better understand where I personally come from.)

I think most of your examples come from the comments of participants on the blog. I was referring to what the contributors at Beggars All post for entries on the main site. That's a distinction I think important to make given the inherent tension in comment moderation between free-speech and the quality of an environment. For various reasons, we tend to err on the side of free-speech. And I think it goes without saying that we don't endorse everything that gets posted on the site by visitors. We have been accused of double-standards when deleting comments before, so I think the recent stance has been to either close comments altogether or simply letting discussion run its course.

You object to our behavior, but the implied hypocrisy charge doesn't seem to fit given the specific words I gave in my own standard. If you want to judge Beggars All by another standard and ask us to consider those complaints, then you're welcome to do that, but we'd first need to know what the standard is. Lots of people have lots of ideas of what constitutes appropriate Christian conduct, not all of which are compatible, and some of which are influenced more by our cultural expectations than Biblical expectations. Without specifics, I don't know where you stand.

Matthew D. Schultz said...

John,

I think the logical relationship between: (a) me commenting on the site and Beggars All producing a link to Triablogue on its sidebar, to (b) Beggars All produces the same kind of posts as the one you referenced at Triablogue, is lacking. The inference requires more information than you have presented. Neither entails that we approve of everything at Triablogue, let alone what you originally claimed--that we really do produce the same kinds of materials that it is appropriate to criticize them together.

Christine said...

Without limiting free speech, you could interact with those commenters who are uncharitable to clarify your own stance. Just because Jesus was a rabble-rouser doesn't make all rabble-rousers Jesus.

I think the issues are clear enough, and I've made my own position as clear as I can - really sorry that the work I'd done to specify example after example got messed up (by my own error, I'm sure). It was an exercise in searching out nastiness, and I don't want to repeat it. It's not hard to understand what we are saying. You think the tone is acceptable, and it's your blog.

Comments are your responsibility if it's your blog, I think. Posts such as the Pope Starshine, and the romantic-nostalgia thing with converts - what's accomplished? You and your followers look uncharitable - that's all there is to it - you don't agree and that's all there is to that. Gotta be done with this. Thanks for engaging and asking and interacting.

John said...

Matthew,

Well lets try this. Click on the link I cited above and let us know if that post (the Catholic Kuru post on Triablogue) would be up to your standards.

Matthew D. Schultz said...

It seems one of my posts was eaten by the spam filter.

Leo said...

John B.,

You said,"For example, if I personally were to say to you, Christine, you MUST believe "X", and you MAY NOT do "Y", you would rightly resist my overtures, correct?"

Please explain just what it is that we Catholics MAY NOT do, that you find objectionable. I am starting with Morals because I cannot imagine what you might have an issue with there.

John Bugay said...

Leo, I am not avoiding your questions, just very busy and ar the moment waiting for my daughter's violin concert. I hope to be able to answer soon, not right now, but I did want to comment that your comment about being absorbed into oneness with the Trinity is very problematic from a Scriptural POV, and I think it alone is worthy of strenuous objection. But it is only one of many very offensive things that gets thrown out, thoughtlessly in many cases, and then all of a sudden we are at the races.

Jennie said...

Matthew,
I posted your spammed comment. It has reappeared. It seems the spam filter has something against you!

John said...

While we are waiting for Mr. Swans's and Mr. Schultz's comments on whether the Triablogue post "Catholic Kuru" is offensive or not up to their standards, I am also curious if that post is up to Mr. Bugay's or Jennie's standards.

Matthew D. Schultz said...

John,

Since you've moved on from addressing your initial relating of Beggars All to Triablogue without comment, I don't see how I'm under any obligation to address your new question.

John said...

This was my initial comment, "That is typical of that blog. Much of the COMMENTS one sees there border on bigotry. Triablogue and Turrentinfan have the same problem." Perhaps you disagree. That is fine with me and I will even withdraw that initial comment for your answer.
You are under no obligation to do anything, however if not for my benefit, but for the benefit of the rest here it would be helpful in understanding what your standards are if you addressed the question.

John Bugay said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John Bugay said...

Please explain just what it is that we Catholics MAY NOT do, that you find objectionable. I am starting with Morals because I cannot imagine what you might have an issue with there.

Leo, I was simply making a point, I don't, for the most part, have a problem with Roman Catholic morals.

What I do have a problem with is the usual stuff: the doctrines that are far, far away from what the New Testament says, and the authority structure that says "we had the authority to create and enforce all of those doctrines that can't be found in the New Testament.

Just as an example, show me where, in the New Testament, it says that we get "actually assimilated into oneness with the Trinity," [I say this as one "predestined, justified, and glorified" -- Romans 8].

If you can't find that particular thought or verbiage in the New Testament, just so we don't start talking past each other, show me where in official Catholic documents that particular phrase, or idea, is used.

John Bugay said...

John -- I've skimmed most of the comments that have popped up in this thread, but haven't read anything closely. I want to try and answer one of the questions that have come up and that sticks in my mind.

I'm not sure if you noticed that the particular post at Triablogue that you're objecting to was posted by Patrick Chan under the categories of "Humor" and "Satire".

Now, I'm not sure if you can think of any satires in the public culture. I'm thinking of the Simpsons right off. They make fun of everything. Here's a definition that I found with a Google search:

Satire: satirical: exposing human folly to ridicule

Now, we happen to believe that the Roman church has exhibited much more than folly over the centuries. And at a minimum, it deserves far more worse than just being exposed to ridicule. You're objecting to a bit of fluff.

Matthew is right. We owe you no explanation. You went over to Triablogue and you screamed "bigotry" like a gay man screaming "homophobe". Now that's a wonderfully engaging thing to do. No attempt on your part to interact at a more serious level.

I can't speak for Matthew, but I have gravitated to the message of the Reformation -- at the time of the Reformation -- because the history of that time period, I believe, is very helpful to focus one's attention on some of the genuine issues that need to be discussed.

We can't help it that Schleirmacher took Kant so seriously.

But what we can do is to talk about the need in our time to articulate the biblical doctrine of Justification by Faith Alone.

John said...

Mr. Bugay,

Thank you for your response. I guess I just did not realize it was "fluff."

As to:
"You went over to Triablogue and you screamed "bigotry" like a gay man screaming "homophobe". Now that's a wonderfully engaging thing to do. No attempt on your part to interact at a more serious level."
My initial comment about that post was that it was closer to insulting bigotry than satire. I further commented possibly ten or more times. If you think the interaction was not serious enough that is fine with me. You are correct Matthew owes me no explanation. I am left to assume his response would be similar to yours.

I am however disappointed that you seem to think that Triablogue post is acceptable because it is fluff or satire.

Jennie said...

I am also curious if that post is up to Mr. Bugay's or Jennie's standards.

John,
Do you want to know if it's up to my standards for humor, or for social interaction, or for theology? As far as humor goes, I don't generally like humor that leaves one group out of the laugh, as this seems to. Same for social interaction, since as a sort of 'inside joke' it is bound to offend the group that it points to (Same reason I don't like jokes by Calvinists directed at the intelligence of non-Calvinists). As far as theology goes, if he had left off the last paragraph, I might have thought he was onto something, since it is apparent that something is definitely wrong with physical cannibalism; so maybe that shows God's opinion on metaphysical cannibalism too.

James Swan said...

I think we've demonstrated our willingness to cordially interact with those who disagree with the content we post. There are occasions in which we delete comments or banish someone from the blog. This is always a last resort. Roman Catholics are welcome to comment and do so with zeal. Will we offend Roman Catholics at times? Probably. We'll offend those people who take their Romanism seriously, because we take our beliefs seriously. This can't be avoided.

Because of time constraints, this will probably be my last comment here. As I've skimmed through the comments, the major point of concern appears to be over a Triablogue post. The Beggars All blog got thrown in along with it. A few Roman Catholics here are looking for confirmation of "line crossing" from us, as if our opinion matters.

Here's my opinion- my co-bloggers are entitled to disagree.

I don't control the content of Triablogue. That said, I am a supporter of the material typically posted on Triablogue by Steve Hays & Jason Engwer. The very Roman Catholic comment that provoked the satire (from "David H.") is not simply an exercise in theological opinion. From my perspective, it's representative of a false gospel- a gospel that has eternal consequences.

As Hays pointed out, "Patrick then did a tongue-in-cheek riff on what this Catholic said. It's the Catholic commenter who went out of his way to describe the Eucharist (his take on Jn 6) in 'cannibalistic' terms." I agree with Steve. If Roman Catholics insist on defending their beliefs with such argumentation, they also need to take criticisms for it as well, even if it's argumentum ad absurdum being fired back at them. Deal with it. "David H" introduced the idea of cannibalism into his argumentation. It's now up to him to defend his argument against Triablogue. Simply crying "offense" isn't a meaningful response when the very offensive idea itself was introduced by the offended worldview (Roman Catholicism).

James Swan said...

If I had to characterize these as anything, "really dry" immediately comes to mind.

LOL- Well stated, I agree. (:

Leo said...

John B.,

I will respond later...sorry, presenting some sizable investment projects at work...

Christine said...

Do you not see that you all tend toward condescension?

John B patiently defined "satire" for us and accused our quiet John of "screaming".

Matthew has shrugged off his burdensome "obligation" to someone who asked for his feedback in all sincerity.

Thanks to James, we now know that we should appreciate a good "tongue-in-cheek riff" - no matter how nasty it sounds, recast in Latin as an argumentum ad absurdum, it changes everything.

John Bugay said...

Christine, it seems Tom me as if we are just standing our ground in a historical environment in which, by far, the vast majority of the condescension has flowed OUT of Rome, and not the other way.

Matthew D. Schultz said...

Do you not see that you all tend toward condescension?

I think you have in your mind an established perception of our motives and character. I won't speak for John or James, but it does not appear profitable, given how you've responded to us so far, to try and engage it further.

John said...

Matthew,

I am not sure if Christine has in her mind "an established perception of" your "motives and character," but I think you, Mr. Bugay, and Mr. Swan have been helpful in giving all of us a better appreciation of your character and motives.

Christine said...

I'll take that as a "no" in answer to my question. I think I gave current examples of what I meant, rather than going by an established perception. Just wish you'd treated John better (although it makes him look the bigger man), and that you'd answered his question with greater understanding.

James Swan said...

Thanks to James, we now know that we should appreciate a good "tongue-in-cheek riff" - no matter how nasty it sounds, recast in Latin as an argumentum ad absurdum, it changes everything.

That's not what I said. Why are you misrepresenting my words? Show me anywhere where I either said or implied we should appreciate a good "tongue-in-cheek riff" - no matter how nasty it sounds

Christine said...

You were quoting Steve Hays and said you agreed with him.

I have a bad habit of using dashes and thereby messing up what I'm trying to say. I apologize for that. I should have written a stand-alone sentence that said "No matter how nasty it sounds, if you call it an argumentum ad absurdum, it changes everything.

Leo said...

John B.,

Sorry it has taken me so long, but work has been busy and we are preparing for our son's wedding later this month.

That being said, we as Catholics believe as an integral aspect of our Faith that we will actually share in the divine life of the Trinity.

John, it is in the Mass, when the priest prays "...may we come to share in the divinity of Christ, who humbled Himself to share in our humanity." This is a silent prayer which is said during the Offertory.

Remember when Jesus prayed that all who come to believe in Him through the Apostles would become one and that He would be in us and we would be in Him. Well, we take that quite literally.

When we are adopted as God's children we become part of the family of God. Well Jesus is God's son, but He is one with the Father. We come to share in the oneness, although we do not actually become God...hard to explain in human terms.

This is what I meant some time back when I said that you really do not understand the true Catholic Faith. You know many of the peripherals and what even Catholics say about it but I can see that you were never properly catechized. If you had been, you would not say the things about what we believe that you do say.

Please understand that I am not being flippant or trying in any way to be arrogant. I am but a humble beggar who has discovered the soup kitchen...a sinner amongst sinners...