What am I?

@adionne forwarded this New York Times post to me:

Here’s the article, for those who can’t get behind the paywall: PDF. (198.6 KB)

I stopped after the first couple paragraphs, and my response really isn’t about the article. But there’s something here that I’ve been thinking about for a while now that I can’t figure out. This woman thinks that I should be happy with contraceptives. But I’m not. I reject, whole hog…


This is the part I’ve been stewing over. The closest thing I can think of is “modernity”, but that doesn’t feel right. I reject modern anthropology and modern religion that denies God. I reject scientism and techism. Completely. So what am I?

I’m not sure what that is.

I consider myself an Evangelical and, obviously, a Christian. But neither of those labels get at it, either. Patriarch? That gets at the anthropology, perhaps, but it still doesn’t fit. Fundamentalist?

What do you think?


Pr. Lucas, you have to ask the question because in our day language has become “plastic,” and this frustrating feature of language lends it to becoming a weapon in the hands of anyone skilled at molding words to his purposes.

You’re evangelical? I’m pretty sure you would not wish to be counted among a great many folk who also insist that they are evangelical!

You’re fundamentalist? Your convictions very likely cohere with those fellows who were the original fundamentalists. And while you would still share those convictions with the fundamentalists of a generation or so later, those later fundamentalists were championing values and cultural characteristics and social agendas that you’d probably not embrace. And today the term is synonymous with knuckle-dragging, Neanderthal, misogynistic wife-beater-wearing hill billies.

Patriarchalist? Anthropology has nothing to do with it, unless you’re communicating within a teensie weensie Protestant demographic. Kate Millet’s Sexual Politics redefined the word for the entire English speaking world 50 years ago.

Even Christian needs help in order for you to avoid misunderstanding. Everyone at the General Convention of The Episcopal Church next year will call himself Christian. So will all those attending the national meeting of the Christian Science Church in Boston next year. Or anyone who worships at the Mormon Tabernacle.

Are you that kind of Christian? You see! You need some additional verbiage in order to distinguish yourself from that kind of Christian, unless you’re merely distinguishing yourself from Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, and so forth.

I don’t think there is any single word that serves as Christian did in the Book of Acts or in the earliest centuries of the Church. By 325 A.D., even Christian was beginning to need help. After all, Arius was a Christian clergyman!


How about “paleo-orthodox Christian?” Anyhow, I do continue to identify as a simple “Christian,” but if I’m talking with someone who is, also, I’ll say “Reformed Protestant Christian.” Talking to barbers, I say “Christian who’s very conservative” or “Bible-believing Christian.” Sometimes I say “real Christian.” As for the anthropology, I’ll often follow up the previous exchanges by mentioning my dear wife and I have 30 grandchildren. Usually, that firms up any lack of clarity from the previous efforts at identification.


This is pretty much what I do, unless my weakness for banging on bars overwhelms me.

For example, I refuse to call those who salute the Pope as their ecclesiastical head “catholic.” I call them Romans or Roman Christians. If I’ve got my pipe wrench and I’m in the part of the zoo where the Romans are incarcerated, I’ll bang on their bars thusly: “You are NOT catholic at all! I am far more catholic than your own Pope.”

When I happily frequented a forum for fundamentalist Anabaptists, I’d sometimes bang on their bars similarly. “No, brethren,” [I ddid and do acknowledge them as brothers], I’d say. “I am the one who believes the Bible. You just believe the parts of it you like. You’re just as cherry-picking as those liberals you warn your flocks about.” And, then, we’d have a nice discussion about it. :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

Paleo-orthodox Christian is good, partly because it is accurate, and partly because very few people today will understand what you’re asserting, opening the way to a discussion of issues, concepts, and so forth.


Precisely what my habit is, too. Love,


I read the article by the NY Times lady and she cites a statistic that around 40% of pregnancies are “unplanned” or unwanted. I wonder how in the world such a statistic could be collected, and how the language is deceptive. If I put a coin in a coke machine and a beverage comes out, am I surprised that a beverage came out? If I decide I don’t want it, yet did the activity that led to it coming out to me, is that the machine’s fault? Don’t my actions say that I wanted the beverage?

Then I had another thought, which is, in our world today, can any pregnancy be said to be wanted? This is what it means to have children by faith. Anyone who has them now has to have faith.