Welcome to my weekly digest for April 28, 2023. For new subscribers, this contains a roundup of my recent writings and podcasts, as well as links to the best articles from around the web this week. You can control what emails you get from me by
Re: The Kingdomcraft post-script.
It's a bizarre, quixotic sort of thing to put your own soul at risk for the sake of "retaking the institutions." Sure, maybe his strategy would be workable, if there was a coordinated invasion of the PCUSA by Christians from the PCA. But that does not appear to be happening anytime soon, and one guy by himself is not going to retake any institution. I'm sympathetic to him saying that "the PCA should not exist" because the mainline denominations should never have been abandoned. But that ship has sailed. For better or for worse, we live amidst the cultural and institutional rubble of our ancestors' battles. The faithful men abandoned those denominations and we're stuck with their decision. Him soldiering on in the PCUSA is a little bit of slamming the barn door after the horse has bolted.
But it's worse than that. He is putting himself (and his family, if he's got one) in danger. Multiple times he says that he thinks there aren't other Christians in the PCUSA. So he is depriving himself of the fellowship of Christian brothers, for the sake of reclaiming cultural clout? History is full of ups and downs. At various times the church has been exalted, and other times the church has been humbled. It's discouraging to admit that now is (and perhaps our entire lives will be) a time of the Lord humbling the church in America. But again: we live with the consequences of our ancestors' decisions. We can't drown it out with "The temple of the Lord! The temple of the Lord! The temple of the Lord!" The Lord exalts who He will, and He humbles who He will.
There's a meta sort of irony, too, that he's building a fantasy church in a computer game while fantasizing about building a new PCUSA IRL.
“Having amenities like public restrooms, for example, presupposes a certain level of public order and willingness to enforce that standard, something missing from cities today”
Indeed. in fact, the one thing we rarely discuss is just the lack of basic, good management of public space in cities. It’s one thing to talk about policing, it’s another to note how poorly most large cities are at doing any of the very basic things you’d expect in a well managed place - sanitation, cleanliness, orderliness, for example. The lack of this is why we’ve had an explosion of locally-created self-taxing districts such as BIDs or CIDs. I manage two of them now, and it’s a fascinating window into public space management and local governance.