Friday, July 31, 2015

Social class, manosphere maps, Reformed doesn't necessarily mean Calvinist, and more


  • Bob Wallace on Class and class. One of my favorite books. The American dream died in 1973; the Sixties were among its killers: ...this is a class I'm not sure exists anymore. They're the working class/blue collar class who worked themselves up to middle class. Those were my parents, who dropped out of high school. My father was a general contractor and my mother worked nights at the local ER. I never lacked anything. The reason I don't think this class exists anymore is because the economy is so bad, has been for a long time, and will be for a long time. See my comment under his post. He's a smart manosphere critic who changed my thinking by introducing me to Rob Fedders' better social-hierarchy chart. (Real alphas, not bullies or "player" parasites.) Roissy's for example is still useful, but you can think of the manosphere maps Wallace criticizes as alchemy is to chemistry, or like chiropractic: manipulating your back helps your back even though the reason chiropractors do it is hooey. ("Mixers" in chiropractic are OK: basically physical therapists who don't buy the hooey.) "Bad game's better than no game"; an inaccurate map's better than none. The British cartoon infographic is from here.
  • Ex-Army: Man as fallen angel vs. man as rising beast. This is way too simple, of course, because for one thing I don't fit neatly into it anywhere. But it's a good jumping-off point for discussion. The terms seem metaphorical. Of course we're not angels; they're pure spirits. We're unique in creation for having spirits like God and the angels but also bodies like animals. Also, nobody has proved that one species has evolved into another.
  • Anglicanism: I stand corrected. I misremembered Bill Tighe telling me that continental Protestants considered Anglicans eccentric Calvinists who happen to have kept bishops. Actually he said they're eccentric Reformed with bishops. Easy to confuse the two as Calvin's continental denominations, such as the Dutch, call themselves "Reformed." Here he explains how and why that came to be. The only correction which I might be tempted to make to your blog posting is to deplore the promiscuous (and inaccurate) use of the term "Calvinist." (It reaches its reductio ad absurdum in one of your correspondents' statement that the Episcopalian 1928 BCP is "thoroughly Genevan:" there is nothing "Genevan" whatsoever about that BCP, or really any other one, in form or even content [except insofar as it reflects a basic "mere Protestantism" shared among all Protestants, or, in this case, all non-Lutheran Protestants].) Calvin, as you know, attempted to find a via media position between the Lutherans and the Swiss Reformed of Zurich and elsewhere, following in this his mentor, Martin Bucer of Strasbourg. But whereas Bucer "crossed his fingers" and came to an agreement (an agreement with "loopholes") with the Lutherans in 1536 (the eventual result of which was that the "Bucerian" churches of SW Germany, forced by the Emperor in 1548 to choose between Catholicism and Lutheranism, chose the latter, while Bucer himself fled to England, where he died in 1551), Calvin came to an agreement with Bullinger/Zurich in 1548, in which Calvin did most, if not all, of the conceding on issues of disagreement (such as the Eucharist) — and so Geneva formally became part of the "Reformed" world and Calvin had to abandon his attempt to mediate between the Lutherans and the Reformed. Calvin had almost no influence on the English scene before the 1560s: as the enclosed article shows, it was Zurich that was the beau ideal of those who ran the Elizabethan Church of England for decades after 1559. Calvin's influence grew (especially at Oxford and Cambridge, and so among theologically educated clergy) throughout Elizabeth's reign, and beyond, but it never became dominant (and what the English took from Calvin was what he taught on predestination and soteriology generally — mostly they neglected his sacramental teachings, on which English Calvinists tended to be more Zurich than Geneva, and also followed the Zurich "erastian" pattern of subordination of Church to State). Scotland, of course, was different: their Reformation was, among its devotees and leaders, full-bloodedly "Calvinist" in the strict sense of the term.
  • An old idea that always flops in America. I've been hearing about getting rid of the $1 bill for 40 years. We already have coins. People don't use them. The British and Canadians use pound or dollar coins; I wonder why Americans don't. I like the big Ike dollars, even if they're too big to be practical, not the little Susan B. Anthony ones that look like quarters. The Sacagawea one was pretty because it was fake gold. The British make using pound coins easy by using relatively small but thick coins, which are a distinctive color much like the Sacagawea dollar. But all are glorified subway tokens. Bring back real money: gold and silver.

10 comments:

  1. "But all are glorified subway tokens. Bring back real money: gold and silver."

    Cash is on its way out. In London buses no longer accept cash and you have to pay with an "Oyster Card," or a contactless debit/credit card. As for me, I oppose this trend with every inch of my marrow and use my debit card (I don't have a credit card, and never will) only in cases of extreme necessity.

    Think what you will of conspiracy theories about one world government, or the "mark of the beast," but keep using cash as often as you can, even in its current diminished form. Cash is anonymous and blind; bank cards are surveillance and thralldom.

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  2. To expand a little more on my comment:

    "But whereas Bucer "crossed his fingers" and came to an agreement (an agreement with 'loopholes') with the Lutherans in 1536 (the eventual result of which was that the "Bucerian" churches of SW Germany, forced by the Emperor in 1548 to choose between Catholicism and Lutheranism, chose the latter, while Bucer himself fled to England, where he died in 1551) ..."

    These churches (like that of Strasbourg) had to adopt strict dogmatic Lutheranism after 1548/1555, BUT unlike the Lutheran churches of northern and central Germany, and Scandinavia, even after their Lutheran "confessionalization," in their worship they jettisoned entirely the Western Catholic liturgical heritage that other Lutherans largely retained, in favor of services very closely resembling those of the Swiss, Genevan and other Reformed churches (with "the Lord's Supper" as an occasional service tacked on after the end of the normal Sunday "preaching service"); and even those Lutheran churches of SW Germany (such as that of Wuerttemburg) that never were "Bucerian" adopted this non-liturgical form of worship as well. It is, therefore, not really true to claim that Lutherans, unlike the Reformed, preserved what they regarded as acceptable from the pre-Reformation Catholic Church. Most Lutherans did, but not all - and those that did not were never considered by other Lutheran churches as any the worse for not having done so.

    (to be continued)

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    1. Thanks for the explanation of low-church Lutheranism. Peter Robinson adds that Pietism further low-churched much of Lutheranism. And on top of that, as our close cousins the high-church confessional American Lutherans explain, in American Lutheranism there's always been tension between classic Lutheranism's semi-Catholicism and blending in with the rest of American Protestantism, so by the 1950s many American Lutherans were low-church in practice and even un-Lutheran theologically, a Presbyterianish form of "the American religion"? As we know, our friends the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod aren't wannabe Catholics; it's largely unstated but they think they ARE the real, "reformed" Western Catholics because we are in grave error. (Real high-church Anglicanism, not Anglo-Papalism, says the same.) I think the worship war in the LCMS is between the Lutho-Catholics and those who want praise-band evangelicalism. Also, I think like in Episcopalianism, the high-church tend to be clergy; the congregations know they're not Catholic even if they don't know much else and don't want to be Catholic. I understand most Episcopal priests now say they're not Protestant while most lay Episcopalians (think George H.W. Bush?) are fine with being Protestant. That doesn't mean most Episcopal priests are would-be Catholics. It's because of liberal high church, actually a continuation of the classic Anglican and Lutheran claim to be THE church in the West if you think about it, and these Episcopalians identify "Protestantism" with American evangelicalism, which is conservative so they don't want to be identified with it (also due to snobbery, evos being seen as low-class).

      Most Lutherans did, but not all — and those that did not were never considered by other Lutheran churches as any the worse for not having done so.

      Which is why the episcopal Swedes, the non-episcopal Germans, and the not-really-episcopal Danes and Norwegians have been in communion all these years, and why American Lutheranism historically isn't episcopal. Ironically, ELCA now claims apostolic succession through the Episcopal semi-merger but the LCMS still doesn't. And because most Episcopal clergy now claim the Dutch touch (Old Catholic succession — an argument Catholicism doesn't accept, and you've explained earlier a reason that's meaningless; the Polish National Catholics didn't really ordain or consecrate), former ELCA Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson, for example, claims it. As if the episcopi vagantes hadn't already stretched Western theology of holy orders to the breaking point. Makes the Christian East's classic view look good: orders depend on being in the church. But I'm still happy we recognize the non-Catholic East's orders. We don't accept the Anglicans' claim to orders not because they're outside the church but because they're heretics about, among other things, the Eucharist.

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  3. (cont'd)

    "... Calvin came to an agreement with Bullinger/Zurich in 1548, in which Calvin did most, if not all, of the conceding on issues of disagreement (such as the Eucharist) — and so Geneva formally became part of the "Reformed" world and Calvin had to abandon his attempt to mediate between the Lutherans and the Reformed."

    On this agreement (known as the "Consensus Tigurinus") of 1549, see the lucid little book by Paul Rorem, *Calvin and Bullinger on the Lord's Supper" (Grove Books: 1989). Historically, after 1549 all Reformed churches shared "Calvinist/Genevan" and "Swiss/Zurich" emphases in varying proportions: some (the French Huguenots, the Dutch Reformed, and, especially, the Scots Presbyterians) more "Genevan" and others (the Hungarian/Transylvanian Reformed, the Polish/Lithuanian Reformed, and most German Reformed churches) more "Zurich." The Geneva-oriented ones tended to have a higher sacramental teaching than the Zurich-oriented ones, and emphasized the distinction between "church matters" and "state matters" (while the Zurich-oriented ones allowed "the civil magistrate" almost unlimited authority over, and even within, the church) - although by ca. 1650 even the Geneva-oriented ones (and, indeed, even Geneva itself) had become thoroughly "erastianized" (the only exception was in Scotland, where the Kirk, after its final "presbyterianization" in 1690, had much more relative freedom vis-a-vis the Crown/State than the Church of England). On the other hand, the Geneva-oriented churches tended to be much more radical than the Zurich-oriented ones in their rejection of the traditional liturgical calendar: the latter retained the celebration of Christmas, Good Friday, Easter, Ascension Day, and Pentecost, whereas Geneva and its "daughters" abolished all of them, retaining only the Sunday "sabbath." For a century or more after the Reformation, there was one other difference: those who followed Calvin tended to express high regard for Martin Luther, and to argue (to the immense annoyance of Lutherans) that Calvinist Reformed Christianity was the carrying to their logical conclusions Luther's "rediscovery of the Gospel;" whereas the Zurich line tended to be that Luther, although right on some matters, was wrong on others, and had a dictatorial streak which they rejected - and that Lutheranism itself was semi-popish. Later on, the Reformed took a more benevolent outlook on Lutheranism, especially during the 18th-century when German Lutheran princes, under the influence of Enlightenment rationalism and (in some cases) Pietistic anti-ceremonialism, simplified Lutheran liturgical rites and eliminated the use of Catholic vestments; and for many Lutherans their previous robust belief in the Eucharistic bread and wine really becoming Christ's Body and Blood (as well as their practice of auricular confession) became embarrassments to be eliminated.

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    1. Right, as I wrote in a comment above, Peter Robinson has said that Pietism further de-Catholicized many Lutherans. Add American Protestant influence to that and by the '50s many American Lutherans were low-church.

      Geneva and its "daughters" abolished all of them, retaining only the Sunday "sabbath."

      Why the Puritans banned Christmas, so until Prince Albert's German version of it was popularized in the 1800s in the English-speaking world (many/most of our Christmas customs are now German: the tree, for example) and maybe even into the 1900s, New England Yankees didn't celebrate it?

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  4. I can't speak firsthand about the Church of England itself, but in America, it's hard to talk about Anglicanism without paying due homage to John Wesley's (and Charles Wesley's) influence, which is usually left out of these discussions. Wesley's theology of prevenient grace and sanctification is the thread that permeates much of The Episcopal Church's soteriology. It's true that TEC takes certain aspects of it far into heretical territory. It's also true that the current wave of Anglican breakaways -- CANA, ACNA, etc has leaned away from Wesley and toward Calvin in such a way that doesn't really match what Anglicanism in the US has looked like -- so much so that it's initially jarring to many Anglo-Catholics who have far, far more overlap with Wesley than they do with Calvin et al.

    I'll admit my perspective is possibly skewed; I attended a Methodist seminary with an Anglican Studies program, and so it was hard for us to get away from Wesley. But, really, outside of TESM in Pittsburgh, what Anglican seminary in the US pushes Calvinism / Reformed theology heavily?

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    1. Good point. Wesley's Arminianism was a theological move back Catholicwards. But Peter Robinson has told me there were Calvinist Methodists too. Methodism spread far in America; many Americans still are United Methodists. But they're very low-church, with no connection to their Anglican origin. By the way, how did Wesley get away with breaking order by ordaining ministers for America, yet remaining an Anglican priest?

      I can see that and the old high-church influence from Scotland (Episcopalians got their episcopate from the high-church Scottish Episcopalians, so the Episcopal Prayer Book was always a little higher than the English original) contributing to the view I learned as a child that in the Episcopal Church we were Catholic; I didn't know much yet about Catholicism. But still understandable, despite Bill's argument that Anglicanism's origins are really Reformed, not Lutheran, even though the high churchmanships of Lutheranism and Anglicanism have long been treated as equivalent and even interchangeable, even before Porvoo arguably made hash of the Anglican claim to orders.

      I've gone through three stages relating to Anglicanism: believing in what I thought it was, based on what I'd been taught ("this is a Catholic church"), after finding out about women's ordination and the Articles, fighting for what I wanted it to be (Anglo-Catholic looking for a fight), and now, looking at it from Catholicism, accepting it for what it really is. The Episcopalians are wrong but, based on what they really are, make sense.

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  5. "Peter Robinson adds that Pietism further low-churched much of Lutheranism."

    Absolutely correct; and it also brought into Lutheranism a kind of debased Reformed sensibility that celebrating "the Lord's Supper" more than a few times a year "cheapened" the Sacrament (by leaving it open to the vulgar and impious ordinary routine church-goer) and, at the same time, ascribed too much importance to it.

    "By the way, how did Wesley get away with breaking order by ordaining ministers for America, yet remaining an Anglican priest?"

    It was considered the idiosyncratic action of an old "enthusiast" who, although never leaving the Church of England, had ignored the authority of its bishops, and who had not held a beneficed position in the Church of England for many years, and so it was ignored (or ridiculed). Wesley's action (which was not "ordaining ministers" for America, but actually purporting to consecrate two bishops, Asbury and Coke, for American Methodists) was publicly criticized in the strongest terms by his brother Charles. (I think, IIRC, that Wesley's "consecration" of Asbury and Coke preceded the consecration of Samuel Seabury, and that Wesley thought that there never would be a bishop consecrated for the remnant Anglicans in the United States.)

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  6. This isn't precisely accurate.

    Coke, at least, was ordained as a priest in England in 1772. Wesley had appointed Coke to be Superintendent in 1780, and Coke, at Wesley's instruction, purported to ordain Asbury as Co-Superintendent in 1784. Asbury gave himself the title of Bishop in 1788. Seabury was consecrated in Aberdeen, Scotland in 1784 and returned to America in 1785. It's a perfect example of (highly preventable) pastoral insensitivity indirectly abetting destructive nonsense.

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    1. Thank you for the correction.

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