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A little sociological memory. . .

  Posted:Jan 21, 2017 By Pastor Peters (Pastoral Meanderings)
Back at the old Concordia Senior College in the classroom with Prof. Ted Westermann, I first encountered the name and the sociology of Emile Durkheim, a man some refer to as the father of French sociology.  Just in case anybody is listing, I still have a couple of those Durkheim books on the lesser used section of my library.  I cannot toss out a book, even one I have not referred to for 40 years.

Durkheim taught, among many other things, that no society can survive without a common "collective conscience."  Either it will self-destruct from within or it will succumb to the forces outside without the majority of its members holding to and supporting this “collective conscience” and its implicit common morality. As societies become more diverse, this diversity tests the limits of this unity and, as the "common collective conscience" grows continually weaker, the society itself becomes ever more vulnerable to the tears to its fabric from within and the threats outside. 

This diversity is not merely the fruit of different religions but also different cultures and their inherently different worldviews.  When those different religions can find a common ground to support a "common collective conscience" those differences offer no threat to the core of unity but when when those different religions contradict each other over what is true, what is right, and what is good, they erode the ability of that society to function as once both to achieve common goals and to address common enemies.

Every society requires a certain commonality in order to function as one nation and people, a set of shared beliefs, ideas and moral attitudes which operate as one of the primary unifying force within that society.  Judaeo Christian communities have long shared a common morality and ideal which made it possible for societies including both groups to function as one.  Of course, national identities and ethnic prejudice can work against this but they pull against the natural common values that both inherently share.  Muslim Christian communities do not share this common morality, values, and sentiments.  In fact, the ordinary ethnic and nationalistic tensions are exacerbated by the tensions created by this lack of a "common collective conscience."  Where religious groups have worked to fully assimilate into their communities, such tensions may be minimized.  Europe is but one example of these tensions made worse by a lack of assimilation and "common collective conscience."

Durkheim was concerned before his time about how societies could maintain their integrity and coherence precisely when things such as shared religious and ethnic background could no longer be assumed.  It was to this end that Durkheim wrote much about the effect of laws, religion, education and similar forces on society and social integration to replace this "common collective conscience."  I do not recall everything from the sociology classes back at CSC, but I do recall how prescient Durkheim was in looking at what were already under stress in his lifetime and have come to full fruit in the diversity and pluralism of a modern world in love with the very things that mitigate against the "common collective conscience" he found essential if a society is to survive and flourish.


0201. Divorce Research – Glenn Stanton, 1/20/17

  Posted:Jan 20, 2017 By Issues Etc. (Issues Etc)
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walker Andrew Walker of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention

From Obamacare to Obergefell

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Soundbite 1 – Joy Pullmann, The Danger of the New Civics, 1/20/17

  Posted:Jan 20, 2017 By Issues Etc. (Issues Etc)
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Soundbite 2 – Ken Samples, Jesus in a Category by Himself, 1/20/17

  Posted:Jan 20, 2017 By Issues Etc. (Issues Etc)
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0200. Morning Chapel from Kramer Chapel, 1/20/17

  Posted:Jan 20, 2017 By Issues Etc. (Issues Etc)

chapel January 20, 2017

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As a new President is sworn in. . .

  Posted:Jan 20, 2017 By Pastor Peters (Pastoral Meanderings)
The day so many dreaded has come and a new President will be sworn in.  Since November 8, we have been daily reminded that this was not the choice of the media or the pundits and the Democrats are still trying to figure out with the media elite what caused Trump to be elected.  Could the fear of religious liberty being restricted have been the issue that stunned the insiders and brought victory to Donald Trump?

The exit polls tell a surprising story.  Trump received 81 percent of the white evangelical Christian vote and Hillary Clinton took but 16 percent. What is surprising is that Trump did far better than the squeakly clean and religious Mitt Romney or the "I am one of you" evangelical George W. Bush.  This fellow not known for his morality also over-performed among other theologically conservative voters, everyone from traditionalist Catholics to Pentecostals!. This is no small achievement for a fellow married three times, an admitted adulterer, who said he was not sure he had ever asked God to forgive him of anything!  So why would these support a candidate so different from them and their values?

Some are suggesting that the most logical answer is that they felt that their religious liberty was under assault from the liberal establishment.  They had to vote for the only candidate who appeared willing both to respect and support religious freedom. According to Sean Trende of RealClear Politics noted, since 2012 :
Democrats and liberals have: booed the inclusion of God in their platform at the 2012 convention (this is disputed, but it is the perception); endorsed a regulation that would allow transgendered students to use the bathroom and locker room corresponding to their identity; attempted to force small businesses to cover drugs they believe induce abortions; attempted to force nuns to provide contraceptive coverage; forced Brendan Eich to step down as chief executive officer of Mozilla due to his opposition to marriage equality; fined a small Christian bakery over $140,000 for refusing to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding; vigorously opposed a law in Indiana that would provide protections against similar regulations – despite having overwhelmingly supported similar laws when they protected Native American religious rights – and then scoured the Indiana countryside trying to find a business that would be affected by the law before settling upon a small pizza place in the middle of nowhere and harassing the owners. In 2015, the United States solicitor general suggested that churches might lose their tax exempt status if they refused to perform same-sex marriages. In 2016, the Democratic nominee endorsed repealing the Hyde Amendment, thereby endorsing federal funding for elective abortions.
Perhaps the chickens have come home to roost.  Obama was quick to castigate those who clung their guns and religion when cultural change threatened and Clinton was quick to condemn Trump's supports as "deplorables" who should neither be tolerated or supported.  What both did not realize is that they that they were by policy as well as words marginalizing both Evangelicals and traditional  Christian groups against the impingement of religious freedom in the name of cultural progress and trendy social advocacy.  Over and over again it appeared the Democrats felt the biggest threat to America was bathroom restrictions while Americans felt more and more threats to their faith and to their ability to express that faith within the public square without intimidation or consequence.  It is certainly all the more surprising since both Obama and Clinton claim more than Christian roots, they claim to be active professing Christians (perhaps even more than could generously be assigned to Trump).

Democrats went from being the party of the working class to the party of the cultural elites whose positions threatened this very working class and their most sacred values of faith and morality.  If these were not to be tolerated, they had little choice but to vote for someone who promised not to tread upon this religious liberty.

Sounds good.  It is the real reason for the election of Trump?  I could not say.  It is certainly one of many.  Whether the cultural and political elites in America have awoken to the reality of the fears of ordinary Americans is an unfolding story.  We will see.  The more marginalized these ordinary Americans feel, the more shots across the bow they are likely to lob in an effort to allow their point of view to be heard.  This, after all, is the very purpose of democracy.

weedon Pr. Will Weedon, Director of Worship for the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod

Celebrating the Saints
The Altar Guild Manual

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0192. The Movie, “Silence” – Pr. Ted Giese, 1/19/17

  Posted:Jan 19, 2017 By Issues Etc. (Issues Etc)

giese Pr. Ted Giese of Mount
Olive Lutheran-Regina,

The Movie, “Silence”

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