Sunday in Outer Blogness: Reporting Live Edition!
This is Chanson, reporting live (as usual) from my desk in Switzerland. But is seems like everybody else is reporting from some conference or convention or other. First of all, we have live coverage — straight from Australia — of the Global Atheist Convention! Daniel has heard fascinating talks and met some very interesting folks, including PZ and an ex-Mormon lesbian comedian!
He’s not the only one, though. Aaron Shafovaloff is reporting on the Capstone Conference. His quote to remember from the conference is “God doesn’t blossom; he has always been in full bloom.” It highlights an interesting thing about Aaron’s perspective: with his emphasis on the idea that “God never sinned”, he seems far more offended by the doctrine of eternal progression than by any other aspect of Mormonism. Perhaps ex-Mormons have no business making suggestions on doctrinal points, but like the exmo in Kuri’s comment, I think it’s usually a shame when the Mormons abandon interesting, unique beliefs just because some other religion believes something different…
Anyway, in other conference reports, BiV announces a bombshell at the BYU Studies Symposium. In future events, I hope that some of you will attend (and tell us about!) the Our Visions, Our Voices: A Mormon Women’s Literary Tour! You’ll hear from Zoe Murdoch, Holly Welker, and many other authors you’ve always wanted to meet.
In other media, guess whose library was pictured in the New Yorker! (I’m amazed they were able to arrange their books to do that.) Also, since I got an mp3 player for my German lessons, I’ve decided to try listening to some of the cool podcasts in Mormon space. Not only can you hear fMh Lisa on Mormon Stories, but Mormon Expression you can hear the voice of Prairie Chuck! If you don’t know who Prairie Chuck is, you should — she’s the founder of Faces East, a great community for faithful Mormons in mixed faith marriages, offering support and advice on how to value and strengthen their (somewhat less traditional) families.
Then, in other other media, Glen Beck managed to offend more people than usual this week by claiming that when churches talk about “social justice” *wink, wink* it’s actually just a code word for promoting Communism and Nazism. Responses? Hackman has some:
I have heard Glenn Beck make similar statements on his show, but this week he opened the door of his conservative heart and has shown us what he and many of his followers really think. If it were just about government compulsion, then we would not have heard his statements regarding “running” from churches who are concerned about issues of social justice. It is not merely the government… he does not want voluntary organazations participating in the issues of social justice either. He feels that “they” got to our government, and now “they” are getting to our churches.
Well Glenn, “they” seem to have gotten to Jesus too.
Hackman also argued that Beck’s logic is moral relativism and wrote an interesting essay on Christians and social justice. (Plus posted a hilarious video about how he’s now on Beck’s hit list, as is the mysterious “Kuri the blogger.”)
For some reactions on the faithful LDS side, see If Glenn Beck followed his own instructions and A Mormon Perspective on Social Justice.
Beyond “God Never Sinned” I think those in Aaron’s camp put a very strong emphasis on God never changing at all. They will quote a scripture or two to make their case, but I have always thought that the narrative of scripture and God’s “behavior” in the Bible tend to contradict that notion. In this, I have come to feel that Mormons are a little more honest with the text.
Andrew H. — That’s an interesting point.
I’d always assumed that a common Christian response to the bad stuff in the OT is that since Jesus fulfilled the law, things have somehow changed.
Thanks for linking to FPR!
Well, didn’t Brigham Young himself try to turn the Church over to his sons?
I don’t think that Joseph Smith ever settled the succession question. Instead, he emphasized the relative importance of various institutions, such as the presiding bishop, the council of the twelve, and the first presidency, at different times.
The apostolic succession that we practice today happens to be part of the Brighamite origin myth. Other branches of Mormonism contested that version, of course, with their own narratives.
Chanson – I think it is fair to say that is a common response. That isn’t what I see in scripture. I was just discussing this with a friend who quoted the “God is the same yesterday, today, and forever” scripture to me. The problem is, that simply is not how the narrative reads. In order to get the OT (and the NT for that matter) to fit in that box, you have to play a fair amount of theological twister. At some point you have to fall over or quit playing the game. Of course, I do not believe in innerancy (though I still profess Christianity) and that leaves me a lot of loopholes that most of Christianity can’t make use of. 🙂
I think my favorite bit of speculation so far re Beck is that his latest outburst was all about engaging Catholics, an attempt to weigh in on the conversation being had by folks like Cardinal George at places like BYU.
More responses to Glen Beck:
Ebert’s “Jesus was a Nazi. So’s your preacher” and BBB found the one guy who actually agrees with Beck!!!