John Stewart interviews David Barton

John Fea, author of Was America Founded as a Christian Nation?, blogs on David Barton’s appearance on John Stewart’s show(part 1 and part 2. Barton makes his points, Stewart makes his points, and Fea blogs trying to give perspective on the debate. More links to Fea’s thoughts about David Barton are here and here.

No doubt about it, Barton is a fact machine. But the significant reality remains is that the Founding Fathers had the explicit debate about how directly rooted the new government would be in the Christian faith and the constitution they framed moved toward a more secular document. Barton’s argument is that a Christian nation was assumed and did not need to even be stated in the Constitution. But the fact remains that they explicitly argued this point and a direct connection to religion was not affirmed in the founding document.

Of course, while Barton’s method might not be wholly sound, the reality remains that the Constitution is rooted in a moral worldview and it is a worldview shaped by the Judeo-Christian tradition. As our culture experiments with secularism there will be increasing pressure put on our Constitution to guide us through the times of burgeoning conflict.

Ultimately, I think the only way to resolve this issue is through a revived and vital church that has the power to shape culture even while it extends to all the right to choose. To try to make America a Christian nation through the legal process primarily cannot work.

The debate on Stewart’s show is a good one to have and Fea offers a balance, though he is clearly not on Barton’s side of this issue.

Mark Tooley’s response to the tepid and ineffectual response of the Religious Left to the bin Laden killing.

Tooley concludes in his article:

The Religious Left disbelieves or is profoundly uncomfortable with the teachings of their own Jewish and Christian tradition, which declare that there is human evil and that God ordained civil governments to repress evil where possible in a fallen world. Commonly the Religious Left confuses the church’s role, which is to offer grace and forgiveness, with the role of temporal authorities, which is to punish and deter wrongdoing. Adding to its confusion, the Religious Left disapproves of national loyalties, especially to the hegemonic United States, and instead dreams of a utopian world government that supposedly would better model God’s Kingdom. Naturally, the Religious Left rejects any pleasure over evil’s defeat, however imperfect, despite countless biblical celebrations, such as Miriam’s joyful song over the drowning of Pharaoh’s army during their pursuit of escaping Hebrews. And finally, the Religious Left is smugly elitist and remarkably stews over even the fleeting patriotic display of mostly liberal college students in Washington, D.C., New York, and Cambridge.

Elitist obscurantists like the Archbishop of Canterbury will continue to count imagined angels on needle-heads. But Religious Leftists’ inability to confront even an obvious evil like Bin Laden illustrates their moral inconsequentiality.

The whole article is here.

On Pastoring-Eugene Peterson

Comments by Eugene Peterson at a talk Scot McKnight referred to

“The quality pastors lack the most is patience.”

“Stop listening to the church growth experts. Don’t have a public relations budget. Just do the best with what you have…”

“Pastoral work is slow and tedious. Be patient. It’s not easy or exhilarating. It’s plodding. In some ways its easy. Just stay there and be faithful. Pray. Know the names of the people in your community. Trust them and see them as blossoming saints, even if they don’t act like it.”

“Prayer begins when you step out of the door.”

On having “quiet times”:

-“I don’t like the term ‘quiet time’. Quiet time is not something I should be able to control.”

The young man who rings the bell at the brothel is unconsciously looking for God.

The thoughts below are from Peter Kreeft, referred to by Justin Taylor. I have underlined the words that make great sense to me.

I think a secularist has only one substitute left for God, only one experience in a desacrilized world that still gives him something like the mystical, self-transcending thrill of ecstasy that God designed all souls to have forever, and to long for until they have it. Unless he is a surfer, that experience has to be sex. We’re designed for more than happiness; we’re designed for joy. Aquinas writes, with simple logic, “Man cannot live without joy. That is why one deprived of true spiritual joys must spill over to carnal pleasures.”

Drugs and alcohol are attractive because they claim to feed the same need. The lack the ontological greatness of sex, but they provide the same semi-mystical thrill: the transcendence of reason and self-consciousness. I do not mean this merely as moral condemnation, but as psychological analysis.

In fact, though they sound shocking, I think the addict is closer to the deepest truth than the mere moralist. He is looking for the very best thing in some of the very worst places. His demand for a state in which he transcends morality is very wrong, but it’s also very right. For we are designed for something beyond morality, something in which morality will be transformed. Mystical union with God. Sex is a sign and appetizer of that.

Moral absolutists must never forget that morality, though absolute, is not ultimate. It is not ourSummum Bonum. Sinai is not the Promised Land; Jerusalem is. And in the New Jerusalem, what finally happens as the last chapter of human history is a wedding between the Lamb and His bride. Deprived of this Jerusalem, we must buy into Babylon. If we do not worship God, we will worship idols, for we are by nature worshippers.