As I have much to get done between now and my flight to St. Louis (hello TSA, here I come!), I am going to drop these two items together despite the fact that they are…well, worlds apart.
First, John Bugay provided some insightful commentary on the conversion syndrome today here. I was, ironically, listening briefly to “Deep in Scripture” from the Coming Home Network today while driving home, and had pondered the fact that the deepest I have ever heard anyone go on Scripture on that show would be substantially less deep than the junior high schoolers get at PRBC on a regular basis, so—what’s the draw? Then I realized that the conversion syndrome always leaves a tell-tale sign: it is what people have converted TO that tells you about the nature of the conversion. When I hear stable, long-lasting, mature converts from Romanism, they do not focus their story on Rome. They focus on Jesus, and the gospel. But what is the constant drumbeat of the converts to Rome? Jesus? Salvation? No, it is…Rome. The Church. The Pope. They are converts to a system, an organization, not a Person. Listen carefully, and you will hear it when they speak.
Now on a completely different topic: we often hear folks criticizing Islam for failing to condemn acts of violence committed in the name of Islam, and there is a great deal of merit to the criticism especially when we are talking about the leadership of major Islamic institutions in majority Muslim lands. But I subscribe to a number of Islamic blogs and newsfeeds, and I do see a concern on the part of at least segments of American Islam about violent radicals. What has interested me the most has been the attempts made by so-called “moderates” regarding providing a theological/Qur’anic argument against jihadism. I wish them well in their argumentation, obviously, as I fly more than most folks do! But the road is a hard one, and when I read articles such as this one, I am left wondering just how compelling the case really is. It seems it is a matter of “which authorities are you going to accept?” because the foundational documents are just not clear enough to close the case with finality. But I am going to spend more time on this article so that at least I have a good grasp of how you could make the argument. Might come in handy someday! There is a linked audio file as well.