Methodist Acting | The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Methodist Acting
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JOHN WESLEY, WHERE ART THOU?
Re: David Holman’s Madison Avenue Methodism:

The Methodist Church was founded with an emphasis on the redeeming value of the Gospel of Jesus. They took strong stands on moral issues and they changed lives that had been corrupted by sin. I grew up in the Methodist Church in the ’60s. In college, I left them and joined a very conservative Church, the Church of Christ (no, not the United Church of Christ). I was attracted by the strong emphasis on morality and biblical standards. My Father today attends a thriving Methodist congregation in West Texas. The preaching there is from the Bible and they take strong stands on moral issues. I suspect that it won’t be long before there is a schism between the Bible oriented Methodist congregations and the post-modern congregations who discount the Bible.
Michael Bergsma

Yep. Mush. I am 67 years old.

When I was growing up, the minister of my Methodist Church had very clear-cut sermons on right and wrong, sin, what we believe as Methodists. The service included recitation of the Apostle’s Creed, the Affirmation of Faith, etc.

Then I was away from the church for many years. The reasons are not important here. The last time I went, somewhere in my 40s, the sermon was mush, the services were mush, the recitations of Creed and Faith were gone. There seemed to be nothing to believe in, nothing to inspire us.

The Methodist Church needs another John Wesley.
Donald A. Holloway
Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Thank you, David Holman, for your article on “Madison Avenue Methodism.” Check out “Paradigm Shift” for how the same things are going on within so called “conservative” Lutheran synods.
Rev. Mark D. Ochsankehl
Albuquerque, New Mexico

Thanks for the insightful article.

I looked at the UMC website, and it appears that its position on abortion is not particularly equivocal, but instead pro-Roe v. Wade and keeping abortions safe, legal and rare.

I am a Catholic and my fiance is a Methodist.

We are both pro-life and politically conservative, and we will attend both churches.

From my brief review of the topics and positions, it appears that the positions of the UMC are distinctly similar to those of the ABA, of which I am a proud former member as a result of dropping out when it had Hillary and Anita Hill as its convention speakers in 1992 and adopting an official pro-abortion position at such conference.

Keep up the great work.
Chris Hall
Knoxville, Tennessee

I’m one of those “falling away Methodists.” I suppose I have an excuse as I work Sunday mornings. When I am fortunate enough to show up, I don’t recognize the church in which I grew up.

Mostly, I miss the music. I was raised on the Wesley Brothers, Sir Isaac Watts, “Fountains Filled with Blood,” “Old Rugged Crosses,” and congregations who sang all the verses, lustily, in four parts as John Wesley instructed. If the message from the pulpit was mushy, the music wasn’t.

The traditional hymns that remain have been stripped of references to anyone male, in order to be “inclusive.” We seldom use the traditional hymnbook, probably just as well. Even the responsive readings and the Call to Communion have been stripped of their poetry. Instead we have new-agey songbooks with tuneless, unpoetic songs with only the melody line in print.

The Assembly Folks have the Gaither family. The Catholics have Brother Joncas. Methodists have music now written by politically correct committees.
unsigned

WONDER WELD
Re: W. James Antle III’s Understanding Bill Weld:

Great article on Weld. He sounds just like the same political type as Pataki. Pataki got Change NY endorsements when he ran after Cuomo and cut taxes during his first term but since then has killed this state with outrageous Medicaid spending. Unfortunately for Weld, he will probably get clobbered by Eliot Spitzer. Too bad.
Paul Siwula
Buffalo Republican

TESTING GOD
Re: Paul Chesser’s Divinely Naive:

Somehow, I don’t think that the Lord responds to lab rats. One cannot conduct a scientific experiment and expect God to participate. The power of prayer comes from the heart. Prayer is an expression of our deep love and devotion to the almighty. When one prays, it should not be with the expectation that God will grant us our three wishes so we can live happily ever after here on earth.

What prayer is, is our acceptance of the Lord’s will, not our will. Remember the words in the Lord’s Prayer. “Our father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy will be done on earth, etc., etc.” You get the point. The key words here are “thy will be done.” Prayer should be delivered without any expectations other than the expectation that God’s will and not our will, is to be done. The Lord is not a merchant buying and selling favors for earthly gain. And prayer with the expectation of an earthly reward is a form of commerce. I give you money, you give me a product. God does not need or want that kind of, hey, I’ll pray to you if you give me something in return devotion.

Bottom line folks, the Duke University Medical Center, lab rat experiment is an exercise in, see, I told you so. This is scientific proof that there is no God so we should all get down on our knees and pray to some Godless, left wing liberal secularist government that will hand out welfare checks to all but the Christians.

Well folks, in my opinion, the final written lab report is less useful than a roll of toilet paper. For sure, it will be too scratchy for bathroom use! Lab rats belong in the lab, not God loving, God fearing Christians. Just my opinion and not necessarily the opinion of this radio station.
Jim L.
Cape Cod, Massachusetts

BON JOURNAL
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.’s The Journal of Public Trust:

Having long ago jettisoned the local rag, which is nothing more than an amalgamation of the wire services leftist pap, I am happily left with finding the WSJ in my mail each day. This arrangement has served me well, as I find comfort in its reality based in depth perspectives of the economy, finance and geopolitics. My liberal friends and relatives sneer at my caustic taunts of the NYT and have on more than one occasion suggested I be burned at the stake for my heresy that the true paper of record is indeed the WSJ. However, increasingly I find their testiness growing and the chinks in their armor more exposed as Pinch, Dowd, and Krugman lead the Times down the path of oblivion. Bon Voyage!
A. DiPentima

Your essay on the Wall Street Journal suggests you do not spend much time reading other than the editorial pages. Years ago, I noticed a definite left swing on the news pages — perhaps as much a reflection of higher education, particularly in such soft disciplines as journalism as anything else. While each year Kann and his wife gobble nearly a full edit page to tout their excellence, the journalistic, editing and fact-checking standards of the paper are joining the Gannetts, et al.

The gulf between so-called reportorial and edit pages is greater than ever. The standards of the former are lower. The number of supposed “survey” articles that are based on a handful, or even one, anonymous source is growing. On days that the reportage and edit pages cover the same subject, the sources typically are totally different.

The Journal‘s coverage of Iraq has been largely negative and defeatist.

Finally, the number of soft, or color, stories continues to increase. Perhaps this is the residue of the Journal‘s attempt a decade or more ago to become a national paper. Well, it has succeeded but at the cost of superior journalism.
Edward G. Tripp
Cincinnati, Ohio

WORDSMITH WATCH
Re: Angelo Codevilla’s Reality Denial:

I enjoyed your review of Mr. Conquest’s The Dragons of Expectation: Reality and Delusion in the Course of History and I intend to read it soon.

I have one small point regarding the following question you posed:

“Why — long after real economic figures became available and proved that Stalin’s massive diversion of social resources to industrialization did not raise the pace of his country’s development but rather retarded it — are the works of E.H. Carr still treated with respect?”

My issue is with the choice of the verb “retard.” Retard is synonymous with impede or delay. I would be willing to bet that Uncle Joe’s massive diversion of resources did not retard, impede, or delay Soviet development but rather sent it on into economic regression, rather than simply impeding progression.

It is a minor point on an otherwise wonderful review.
Andy Fuller

All one needs to know about Marxism is that it was responsible for more deaths (more than 100 million) in the 20th century than any other cause, with the possible exception of malaria. Anthropophilic philosophies do not kill, at least so liberally.
David Govett
Davis, California

PUBLIC DISDAIN
Re: David Hogberg’s Too White, Too Right:

Great article, Mr. Hogberg! The leftist politicians will go to any lengths to prove that in a “Government OF the people, FOR the people and BY the people,” the PEOPLE are just too stupid to know what’s good for them. I think the very bottom line regarding John Roberts’ confirmation is the left’s absurd (and phony) fear that Roe v. Wade will be overturned and legal abortion will cease to exist. Sen. Dianne Feinstein just stated at an L.A. County Bar Association meeting that she couldn’t vote to confirm someone who would overturn Roe v. Wade and “send America back to the 1950s” (this is drama queen rhetoric at its best). This statement, which is the left’s biggest carrot, is nothing but a LIE and a scare tactic intended to instill FEAR in people. Abortion would NOT cease if Roe v. Wade were overturned. Instead, the individual states would have the right to let the voters (the PEOPLE) choose what THEY believe regarding the “right to choose.” The left is NOT afraid of Roe v. Wade being overturned. But they ARE afraid of what average Americans would do in their respective states regarding abortion.

For most people, abortion, like gay marriage, is a moral issue. And just as gay marriage was “shot down” in the voting booths this past election, the left is grossly afraid of what we, the PEOPLE, would do in this case. Fortunately for them, there are plenty of blue states around to keep abortion alive (wow… is that an oxymoron!). Over 40 million Americans have lost their lives thanks to abortion. The Left would have you believe that these Americans were nothing more than benign tumors in need of removal. I urge anyone to do a simple Google search on “abortion” and find those sites that will show you who some of these victims were. These were real people, real Americans who never had a “choice.” God have mercy on us.

Thanks for your article, for shedding more light on the dark side of the left (move over, Diane, we have drama queens on the right, too, except our drama is REAL).
Margie Gary
Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

MYTHIC PROPORTIONS
Re: James Bowman’s Valiant:

It’s not so much the failure of the movie in its myth, but its failure to create a real myth (a myth is “news that stays news” — Ezra Pound).

I can think of two animated movies that succeed at doing this, i.e. creating a myth. The one currently at movie theaters is Howl and the Moving Castle, and the second is its predecessor, Spirited Away.

As an aside, all American children should see the first movie out of Kurdistan, A Time for Drunken Horses.
Fred Edwards

THE BOOK ON EDMUND WALSH:
Re: Mark Gauvreau Judge’s Joe McCarthy’s Jesuit:

In regard to Mark Gauvreau Judge’s essay “Joe McCarthy’s Jesuit” of July 21, I believe Mr. Judge is right in noting that despite his extensive accomplishments, Fr. Edmund A. Walsh has tended to be ignored by historians since his death in 1956. I was, however, surprised to note that he makes no reference to the fact that Fordham University Press has just released my book A Catholic Cold War: Edmund A. Walsh, S.J., and the Politics of American Anticommunism. Surely in the age of Google a writer of Mr. Judge’s experience could not have failed to come across some reference to this fact somewhere on the information superhighway. This omission was doubly surprising when I noticed how extensively Mr. Judge cites my 2003 doctoral dissertation in “Church History at The Catholic University of America,” without making any direct acknowledgement of its existence. While I appreciate his designating me as the “Walsh expert,” I would like to correct his assertion that publishers have “no use” for Fr. Walsh, or that scholars continue to overlook his significance.
Patrick J. McNamara, Ph.D.

Mark Gauvreau Judge replies:
I did not make any reference to Mr. McNamara’s new book because it wasn’t out yet — at least if Amazon.com is to be trusted. My Spectator piece ran July 21. Mr. McNamara’s book (which I would like to review if he wants to send this poor freelancer one of the $45 copies) is to be released August 30. Hard to note a book that doesn’t exist yet (and if you google Fr. Edmund Walsh it doesn’t even come up today). Yes, I made use of Mr. McNamara’s first-rate dissertation. I also made use of the Walsh biographical material at Georgetown University. What Mr. McNamara calls my “extensively citing” of his dissertation could well be us quoting from sources we both discovered at Georgetown — it’s not like I could add new facts about the man just to avoid repeating another account. I also used newspaper reports. I found it interesting and dramatic that a freak warm spell was broken the day Father Walsh met Joe McCarthy — a fact found not in McNamara but the Washington Post. I did google, but not much came up. Still, McNamara’s work is top-notch and I would encourage anyone to buy his book. If he sends me a review copy I’ll do my best to get it some coverage.

MORE 41, LESS 40
Re: Jed Babbin’s GWOT Is It?:

I live just outside of Indianapolis and listen to you weekly. Always enjoy your discussions with Greg Garrison and your insights into politics. As for President George W. Bush, he is looking more and more like his father as opposed to President Regan. He is inconsistent in his execution of this war much the way he is inconsistent with his domestic policy. I supported the President and, given the choices of the last two elections I would still vote for him but will not vote for another Bush again. If this develops into a quagmire, which it well might, we have the Bushes to thank. Not because it wasn’t the right war at the right time but because President Bush (just as his father) is going wobbly (to quote the Great Dame Thatcher). I am at a loss and concerned for the future of our country if the best we can do is occupying the White House now. What I see for 2008 does not give me comfort and that seems to be the big question now because Bush is acting, for all intent purposes, as a lame duck. God Bless America, but it doesn’t look good.
Steve Perry
Plainfield, Indiana

MEET ME IN MAUI
Re: Enemy of the Week’s Pedal Pushers:

C’mon, EOW, lay off the windsurfing digs already! We are not the enemy.

Real windsurfing is to John Kerry’s photo ops as New York strip sirloin is to steamed tofu. I’m tired of being dumped on because of that nitwit.

Anybody who thinks open-ocean windsurfing in 30+ knot winds and mast-high seas is for metrosexual wussies is cordially invited to join me off the North Shore of Maui next winter. Have your life insurance fully paid up and review your designation of beneficiaries.

Hmm, tropical storm approaching my neighborhood in Florida. Time to load up the gear and head for the beach.

But I don’t think we’ll see Senator Kerry there.
Paul Kotik
Plantation, Florida

BATTER UP
Re: Jay D. Homnick’s Zoning Variance and the “Outside the Zone” letters in Reader Mail’s Among the Underdogs:

Wrong, wrong, wrong. It’s a game. With humans, not machines. The umpire is a vital human part of a game humans play. Your idea would reduce both the “human” and “game” component of the equation.
Robert E. Martini, Esq.
Glen Rock, New Jersey

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