Starless, Starless Night

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                   Here we are, groping our way through the promised Age of Aquarius, constantly bombarded with images of kids snorting prophylactics or swallowing detergent, college professors gloating over the dead, and young people committing random, mass shootings. Ignorance and arrogance vie for first place in our national personality. We’re uprooting our past in the irrational belief that it will improve our future. We literally roll out the red carpet for those whose ideology is idolatrous, murderous, seriously abusive. Not a day goes by without us finding out some additional skullduggery committed by people high up in government. It’s just mind boggling – and I think I know one reason why this is happening. 

 

Yes – the education system is partially responsible. 

 

Yes – most churches do more to entertain us than they do to teach us.

 

Yes—we’ve removed God from the public square. All these are part of the problem, but there’s another underlying cause. Stars.

 

Or the lack thereof.  We have lost sight of the stars. 

 

Stars are useful.  We need to be able to see them – all of them spread out against a black velvet sky, trillions of little pin-pricks of light reminding us of who we are, of how little we are, how lucky we are to live on this tiny jewel of a planet, out on the edge of an ordinary galaxy where we have a magnificent view of places so far away that they no longer exist. We need constant reminders that we are not self-sufficient, that something is not only bigger than we are, but so good, so gorgeous, so dynamic that we can’t begin to wrap our brains around it. We need awe. We need wonder. We need humility. 

 

But today our cities vie with the stars, blocking them, drowning them in a light that we think is of our own making, homogenizing the night with neon signs and hydrogen street lights, with spotlights strafing the heavens, with flood lights on a football field, with millions of miles of headlights snaking through our cities. We’ve come to the subconscious conclusion that we make the light. 

 

We have, it’s true, found ways to transfer the light from the day into the cosmic darkness of night, and that is wonderful. We’ve all admired the lights of a city laid out before us, been grateful for the split second that it takes to flip a light switch and illuminate a room, a stage, a baseball field. Our ability to do that reminds me of God’s words as He watched Nimrod build the Tower– “…nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them,” (Genesis 11:6b). It’s true that the human mind and our opposable thumbs have done a cracker-jack job of subduing the Earth in spite of the linguistic barrier the Lord created at Babel. We live so much more comfortably than even kings were able to do just a couple hundred years ago.

 

But, we have forgotten the stars. 

 

According to Genesis 1:14-19, stars were created on the 4th day.  

Then God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years; and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth”; and it was so. Then God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He made the stars also. God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. So the evening and the morning were the fourth day. 

 

God created them for “signs and seasons.” Ancient people used them for just that – the heavenly bodies told them when to plant, told them when winter was coming, when the days would get longer again. The Zodiac, many scholars say, tells the story of the Gospel – from the Virgin, to the judgment of Libra, through the feeding of the 5,000 with a handful of Pisces, to the sacrifice of the Taurus. I’m not arguing that ancient man read it that way, but we do know from the book of Job, written c2500 B.C. that men had already named the signs of the Zodiac, the Mazzaroth, 

 

Job 9: 8 & 9 --He alone spreads out the heavens,

And treads on the waves of the sea;

He made the Bear, Orion, and the Pleiades,

And the chambers of the south;

 

Job 38:32 -- Can you bring out Mazzaroth in its season?

Or can you guide the Great Bear with its cubs?

 

This is God telling Job the same thing – don’t get arrogant here, Job. I made all this; you didn’t. Look at the stars and re-align your thinking, fix your perspective. I am in control here. 

 

Job had forgotten that. We have too.

 

Recently I ran across an article about a newly developed map of the universe. The images were startling – as if the galaxies had just been flung outward like a woman tossing feed to her chickens. Another image was color-coded and looked like someone had just slung a handful of glitter and some of it had doubled back on itself, some arched, some curled, some still headed straight out from the center. It was gorgeous. And then when I realized that these specks of light were entire galaxies, and we live in a non-descript, ordinary galaxy, in a not very extravagant solar system on a small sphere in exactly the right place, with exactly the right minerals and gases and liquids, exactly the correct gravitational force, exactly the right temperature variation. Earth is unusual only in that we live here, that we can live here.. And who are we? Was all this for us? 

 

Then, “What is man that thou art mindful of him?” We are nothing in the face of the vastness of this universe, and yet, this universe seems to be for us. And if so, then our lives are about much more than getting the next promotion, or a date with the girl at the coffee shop. The stars tell us that – their vastness, their distance, their sheer multitude, their beauty, the messages in their arrangement, the clocklike order of their movement, their utter dependability. 

 

Stars, like all sparkling things, draw our attention. They pull our gaze away from contemplating our navels. They carry us out past this world and up into eternity. They take the lid off of our imaginations and raise our awareness of God. We need stars. 

 

Maybe we need to institute a holiday for the stars. Once a year we would shut down all the lights everywhere so we could all go outside, lie out on old blankets spread on the grass in our backyards, or stand with our neighbors in the middle of the street and look up. Just for an hour, once a year. Maybe that would help us keep our heads from swelling, keep us in touch with reality, keep us humble. 

 

We are in desperate need of humility – not humiliation – just the ability to realize our rightful place in the order of things, to realize that there is an order to things and that order is not of our making. He who made those stars and flung them across the heavens is in charge – whether we like it, or not. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Narrow Brick Road

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We hear often in the media disparaging remarks about Christians. It is the one group society is allowed to attack, the one religion that political correctness refuses to cover with its blanket of protection. But why? Isn’t one of Christianity’s most basic mandates to “love one another?” How is that obnoxious or objectionable? Doesn’t Jesus represent to all of us God’s perfect love? Two answers occur to me:

  1. 1.    The media (i.e. the left) knows so little about Christianity that it has made up its own straw man version to knock about. …and, more importantly,
  2. 2.    The negativity is the fault of the Church writ large – the Roman Catholics, the Anglicans, the mainstream Protestants, the Baptists, the Evangelicals – all of us. 

 

So, in what way has the Church failed Christ? 

  1. 1.    The Gospel is good news, but the Church rarely presents it that way. Christianity isn’t about sin, about who’s committing what sin where. Our sins were paid for on the cross – that’s not a catch phrase but an ontological truth. All humans know that perfection is beyond us. And most people – when we think of God at all – understand that He is perfection and demands perfection, can tolerate nothing less. That’s a nasty pickle to be in, but God solved the problem for us. The Gospel tells us that our imperfections have been permanently paid for and forgiven. This is called grace.  It is very good news, but…
  2. 2.    Grace is what most Christians get wrong. Oh, we can all repeat the phrase “unmerited favor,” but few think much beyond that and I know that because even our theologians, our Christian writers, our church leaders say the phrase and then start listing all the things Christians have to do earn God’s approval, all the things we have to avoid doing to keep His favor. It’s no wonder non-Christians are confused. Is Christianity about recognizing what Christ did for us, or is it just a club for the self-righteous and the do-gooders? And nobody much likes those folks.
  3. 3.    The Church has failed to make it clear that God is rational, clear, and wanting us to be so as well. It is not rational to say to someone, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved,” and then turn around and present a list of must-do’s to keep that gift. We can’t say that God is good, that He’s just, that He’s loving and then insist that some of us have been predestined to go to heaven and some to hell. That does not make sense.  A God who would arbitrarily choose some to bless some to curse is a nasty being indeed. 

 

Christianity isn’t about following the Ten Commandments, though when a society, generally speaking, does limit behavior along those lines, the society benefits. Christians recognize the worth of those rules, but obeying them does not determine where we spend eternity.  It will make life here on earth easier, more pleasant, more fulfilling.  But no one can fulfill those mandates perfectly; Christ made that clear in the Sermon on the Mount; if we even think sin, we are guilty of it. If we break even one aspect of the law, we are guilty of all of it. Yet, no matter how obnoxious a sin is, it is not the mandate of the Christian to wipe it out. 

 

Christianity isn’t about earning “Boy Scout” badges, about doing good, about being generous and kind – though both make us feel good and can result in benefits for others.  Being generous and kind should be an effect, not a cause, not a requirement, not a way of keeping score. Christians far too often give that impression. It’s about grace, about UNmerited favor. 

 

Christianity isn’t even about praying. Not about memorized prayers, not about public prayer, not about ritualistic prayer. Christianity is about getting to know God and prayer results from that.  We communicate with those we know and the better we know them the more contact we want, but prayer without knowing is no better than Facebook. God has introduced Himself to us in nature, but the advanced course in knowing God is in the Bible, and yet many Christian churches downplay the Bible as if it were just an embellishment, another book with which to decorate a shelf.

 

Christianity isn’t about trying to “change the world,” or “make a difference” by expending our own energies and concentration, our own relationships and worldly goods. That just plumps our own egos.  It is man’s basic flaws that screwed up society in the first place – how can a broken part fix a broken car? Besides which, God’s clear communication to us lets us know that He has the solution for this broken world well in hand; we can’t fix it, but He can and He will. 

 

Oddly enough, Christianity done well does change the world. When Christians learn what God would have us do, and do it through the guidance and power of God, amazing things happen. It is Christians who brought into the world orphanages and hospitals, schools and charities of all kinds. It is Christians who insisted in stopping the practice of slavery. Christian countries are usually much more prosperous than their unbelieving counterparts. But the same activities outside of contact with God through Christ don’t fare as well. Look at what happened when a non-Christian foundation set out to help the people of Haiti after the hurricane. Tens of millions of dollars vanished and only six houses were built. Christianity, i.e. a personal connection with the God of the universe, creates almost automatically, an improvement in the world, but one cannot become a Christian by “changing the world.”

 

We hear people talk about “staying on the straight and narrow path,” and we assume they mean avoiding sin, but the narrow brick road is not the path of uptight, anti-fun, judgmental self-righteousness, though that’s certainly what non-Christians believe we mean and it is often what Christians themselves think it means. The narrow brick road is the path of grace, of acceptance of the fact that we need God to save us, to save our world, to fix all that is wrong. It means living our lives as a thanksgiving for what God has done for us. Our pathologies fight us on this. We want the gold star. We want to earn it ourselves. We want to lord over others. We want others to look to up to us. And we want to ignore the fact that, “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” We actually think we can impress God. 

 

The atheist has every right to look on that silliness and want nothing to do with it. Of course, the atheist has his own silliness to contend with. It’s just as ridiculous to think that humans – whom the atheist often paints as the chief evil of the world – are capable of creating a utopian society that will be good for everyone. They, too, totally forget the garbage-in-garbage-out rule. 

 

As this age winds to an end, and it is doing so quickly, we must remember that history will play out just as God has planned it – whether we believe in Him or not, whether we obey Him or not, whether or not we follow and worship His Son. It’s truly pointless to travel down any other road than the narrow and humbling road of perfect, actual grace. It is only that road that leads to permanent joy. 

 

 

 

 

Not in Kansas Anymore

I have a 1956 Norman Rockwell print of a frumpy, sweet-faced teacher standing in front of a class of clean-scrubbed, straight-backed children. They had just written “Happy Birthday, Miss Jones! ” on the blackboard for her. It’s a scene light years away from a 21st century school massacre, and it may take some time for the more Pollyanna amongst us to readjust to what the 21st century school really is. This may explain the freak-out over the idea of arming teachers: Miss Jones with a Ruger tucked into her belt is just too hard to swallow.   

This worries me because we can’t fix a problem that we don’t have the courage to really acknowledge. Our schoolrooms are still full of great kids -- sweet-natured and teacher-loving, but these days every class has an ever-increasing number of students carrying major psychological damage. I’ll never forget a class of freshman I had one year – of the 27 students in that section, 9 were seriously mentally disturbed. I know a teacher who’s trying to deal with a student who has already thrown rocks through the principal’s office windows and is currently threatening to burn down the school with a flame-thrower. He’s 6 years old.  

It’s been 10 years since I’ve been in a public school classroom, but even back then the horrible parenting I was seeing had me worried. I’ll never forget the young man who chose to write his narrative essay about the night his father tried to strangle him.  He was nervous about testifying at his dad’s trial. Or the young woman whose father was willing to pay for the braces she needed as long as she would bring home friends for him to have sex with. And the young man, fatherless and very troubled, who brought a hatchet to school to use on me if I made him give a speech. His terrified mother’s warning saved both my life and his. 

Or the kid who stole my credit card and was going to hold it hostage until I changed his failing grade. Or the young lady I found sobbing her heart out in the hallway one morning. I hesitated to stop and talk to her – she was prone to frequent tearful meltdowns – but I did stop and I was glad I had. That morning her father had walked into a local park, doused himself with gasoline and lit a match. He was, of course, dead – and no one in that household thought to keep this poor girl at home that day. 

I’m sure most teachers have those stories, but such stories are anecdotal -- there have always been bad parents and damaged kids, but we’ve never had so many. We can trace some of this breakdown through stats – the counselors at my last high school estimated that at least 60% of our clientele came from highly dysfunctional homes. Look at the stats on drug overdoses – our kids, by the tens of thousands, are willing to risk their lives for the momentary faux-euphoria they can get from opioids. They are lonely enough and unsure enough to spend hours on social media, trying, I suppose, to build a facsimile family, a façade of a life. 

According to research done by the Barna Group, Generation Z finds professional achievement, hobbies, and sexual orientation more important in their lives than either family or religion. (Remember that Gen Z includes not only our high school students, but a great many of their teachers.)  Their grandparents’ values are just the opposite. In fact, the same study shows that only 9% of these young people are committed, active Christians. That’s what happens when we send our kids into a system where God is either ignored or mocked. We leave those kids there for 12 years and then they go to college where they are ridiculed and excluded because of their faith. We bought the lie that schools can be neutral and now we’re having to cope with the results. And what happens when the post-modern moral compass of students fails?  Some stats can give some insight. In the 1910’s there were only 2 reported incidences of violent attacks in U.S. schools, and one was actually an accident.  In the 2010’s there were 126 such attacks. Students all over the country are attacking (with both knives and guns) each other and their teachers at an ever-increasing rate. The correlation is unsettling; something has gone wrong. 

Let’s look at this from a teacher’s perspective. A study published in 2011 by CNS News concluded that 145,100 public school teachers had been physically attacked by their students and that 276,700 reported being threatened by students. And that was almost 10 years ago. Just recently (2017) a Huffington Post article mentions that 11% of the teachers in Wisconsin had been attacked by students. The article also discusses a union study that showed that 27% of the instructors interviewed had experienced threats, bullying, and harassment, and half of those incidents had been perpetrated by their students.  This is a long, long way from happy-birthday-Miss-Jones. 

We have developed an undercurrent of thought in this country that has created a mirage, a distant vision of a utopian society in which everyone will live effortlessly and harmoniously, placing no strain on dear Mother Earth, offending no one, and rarely taking responsibility for much of anything. We will puff our egos and pat ourselves on our collective, non-working backs about the Shangri-La we created without any help from that nasty, demanding God. After all, we are evolutionarily sure that people are basically good, so all we have to do is to sing Kumbaya and smoke a joint or two. 

It’s quite a shock therefore when things like the Parkland shooting happen. If people are basically good, then how do we account for the Wicked Witches flying around our cities? How do we explain the massive amount of irresponsibility that led up to the Parkland massacre? We can feel the philosophical panic building. To unravel the twisted, inconsistent, evil worldview that got us to the Austin bombings, the Los Vegas and Parkland shootings, to the shooting in Maryland will take some excruciating soul searching and human beings are not usually willing to go there.

We want to imagine that our schools still look like Miss Jones’ classroom, but that’s not what’s out there.  We want to picture Dorothy skipping merrily down the yellow brick road and we don’t want to think about the hordes of flying monkeys following her. We don’t want to be told about the sex, drugs, cheating, harassing, ugliness of a great many of our public schools – and not just the high schools. As we send our daughters off to the school dance, we don’t want to be told that kids on a dance floor don’t dance; they have sex, clustering around the engaged couples so tightly that the chaperones can’t get to them. I’ve seen that happen myself. We may be able to adjust to the teenage society pictured in Grease or American Graffiti, but not the actuality of today. There is no longer romance because they go directly to sex. There is no more thrill of pushing the speed limit or sneaking a cigarette out behind the barn. That’s no big deal anymore. 

I graduated from high school in Lincoln, Nebraska, in 1963. The big, super-cool thing a kid could do then was to drive 75 miles south to Marysville, Kansas where you could buy 3.2% beer at the age of 18. Luckily that road was mostly straight and flat and few of the wild boys in my class got hurt driving it.  That was about it.  I had parties at my house once a month – dozens and dozens of kids – and we drank Pepsi and ate popcorn and danced – just danced – to my brother’s band.  

But we’re not in Kansas anymore. 

I pray that we snap out of the Emerald City fantasy we’ve been lounging in and face the fact that Miss Jones is going to have to strap on that Ruger at least until we’ve rescued the next generation and raised those kids in a Norman Rockwell way. 

 

1. https://www.barna.com/research/gen-z-questions-answered/

2.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_attacks_related_to_secondary_schools

3. https://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/bullied-teachers-145100-public-school-teachers-physically-attacked-students-276700 

  4. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/amid-attacks-teachers-weigh-their-safety-against-student_us_5a1d784ee4b05df68936d064

 

 

 

Truth or Consequences                      

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What do humans do when they discover – albeit subconsciously – that everything they’ve believed in is wrong -- is, in fact, evil?  Are folks likely to do a face-palm, shake their heads and say, “Can’t believe I bought into such stupidity!” Sometimes the truly honest amongst us will do that, but it doesn’t happen often.  When the ground shakes under us, we are more likely to just mindlessly grab for the nearest support. 

If we grew up sure

that God is just a convenient fairytale, 

that the government’s purpose is to take the place of indulgent parents, 

that sexual desires, all sexual desires should be fulfilled ASAP, 

that people are just the evolutionary top of the food chain, 

and are merely animals and therefore expendable, 

that drugs are enlightening, 

that truth is nonexistent, 

and that, most important of all, utopia is within our reach because we know better than God how to organize a nation, -- then what do we do when we see even our most important leaders functioning as if there is no moral code? What do we think when the people we see as special turn out to be sexual predators? How are we to understand our misery when our children OD on opioids, kill themselves over Facebook bullying, or kill others just because they are angry or want to be famous? How do we handle it when we pray to the God we no longer believe in and get no response at all? 

What do we do? Most people look around desperately for someone else to blame, or, even better, some inanimate object to hold accountable. Ban guns! It takes no moral courage to blame a thing, but it takes massive internal fortitude to look in the mirror and blame the unsustainable ideas that we’ve held dear now for several generations.

It’s hard to look at the slaughter of our children in a schoolyard, but we are still willing to kill them by the thousands in an abortion clinic. It’s horrifying to see the damage wrought by social media, but we don’t have the stomach to face down our spoiled children and deny them access.  It makes us sick to see the sexualization of our young children, but we’re too spoiled ourselves to limit our own indulgence in nearly pornographic television. We don’t seem to have the national backbone to admit our part in the destruction of our offspring. 

So we demand the banning of guns.  We don’t fall on our knees and confess our faithlessness to the God who made us free and prosperous.  We don’t change our own behavior, vow to make a go of our marriages and raise our children with both love and discipline. We don’t look with a more critical eye at the policies that contributed to our fractured families, our failing schools, our angry, drug-addled youth. No. We scream, “Ban guns!” Maybe if we scream it loudly enough the guilt will go away.

And the screamers don’t follow up their hollering with careful thinking about what taking guns out of our society would look like. There are over 300 million privately owned firearms in this country. We understand – those of us who know anything about history – how important it is that we keep them.  We know that all our other rights rest on the right to defend ourselves against tyranny. I’m not giving up mine without a fight and I don’t think I’m alone in that. The confiscation of guns in America will be a blood bath that makes Parkland look insignificant. 

But the deep panic that the unwitting left feels at the blatant, obvious, horrifying evidence that all their most prideful beliefs are bogus is not going to allow any self-searching. Will there be curriculum meetings sprouting up all over the country to try to determine if we’re teaching only what’s truly wholesome and productive? I don’t see that happening. Will Congress take a fresh look at how welfare policies affect family structure? Not likely, and if they did, where would we find the strong, stalwart men to step up and become great fathers? We are training our young men to be women, so how is that going to work? Are we likely, as an entire culture, to realize that law and a godless moral code can’t protect us from evil? It’s easier to ban guns, or at least to vociferously demand that; I’m not sure the reality really matters to the screamers. 

I take heart in knowing that a society can be swayed by only a small percentage of us thinking clearly. I am reassured when I remember Abraham bargaining with God over Sodom; God agreed to save it if only 10% were good, God-fearing people. I take heart in our current administration; Trump seems to be thinking clearly and several steps ahead of his opponents. His cabinet appears to understand what is at stake here. 

It was Jesus Christ who said, “And you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.”  The truth isn’t always comfortable, or flattering, and when ignored long enough, it can be excruciating when finally acknowledged. Therefore, truth is under attack today, but it is still readily available; if we want truth, we can still get it, though it wouldn’t be surprising to find that after they ban guns, the Bible will be next. 

Not a day goes by anymore that we don’t come face-to-face with the evidence that our progressive worldview stands on a weak and crumbling foundation. Science is dealing blow after blow to evolutionary, God-less theories. Our liberal educational ideas are proving counterproductive. Our laissez-faire child-rearing practices are evidently inadequate. The way we care for our poor causes more problems than it solves. We don’t want to control our own behavior, but we resent the police who then have to do it for us. The Parkland shooting proves that our culture is a disaster, not that our gun policies are. We need to be able to face that fact or there will be hell to pay. 

 

 

 

Flying Over the Cuckoo's Nest

One would think that enough has been said about Harvey the Hut, Kevin Spacey, and the general debauchery that is Hollywood and the halls of American power, but I find myself amazed that a couple of issues still remain unsaid, unexplored, and therefore unsettled.

I am, for one, amazed and horrified that we are amazed and horrified. This realization hit me a few evenings ago when we turned on the TV and decided to start watching a series we had recorded, but had never turned on.  It’s a series ironically called Good Behavior. Half way through the first episode we were hit with a sex scene between two total strangers. The main character, a young woman, knew only one thing about her partner – that he had been hired to kill a man’s wife – an interesting resumé bullet point. The sex scene was long and extremely athletic – almost violent. I’ve never thought of myself as a prude, but I had to turn away; I couldn’t watch it all. 

It was then I realized the irony. Most movies these days include a sex scene (and this show we were watching was only a TV series meant to be viewed in one’s living room, presumably while the children slept a few doors away). I wonder if these actors and actresses have to do specific auditions for those parts, and I wonder why we’re all exercised over the sexual demands of movie producers and directors when we, as an audience evidently demand the voyeur’s equivalent on the screen. 

Why are we all feigning surprise that those who produce a product that is only a hair’s breadth (pardon the comparison) from pornography, are busy being pornographic themselves? Why do we expect a producer to treat his leading “ladies” like ladies when these women are willing to let the whole world watch them writhe nakedly about a tangled bed, groaning and grimacing, faking orgasms while inventing new and astounding yoga poses?  

I’m not speaking out in defense of Weinstein or Spacey or any of these sex-obsessed people; what they have been doing is indefensible. Nor am I pointing accusing fingers at the actors and actresses – I’m not implying a direct correlation between the metoo’s and involvement in sexual screen moments. What I am saying is that the American public bears some of this guilt. We are willing to pay money at the theaters to watch such scenes – almost always played out between characters barely known to each other. Have you ever seen a rambunctious, passionate sex scene between married characters? Of course not – evidently the stranger-danger element is a pre-requisite. 

Back in the June 1967 issue of Esquire Magazine Tom Wolfe published an essay entitled Pornoviolence in which he decried the latest trend in the movie/TV business – an almost pornographic need for violent scenes. He was right even though his examples were shows like Gunsmoke (!). Now, we not only have the required expenditure of thousands of rounds of ammunition, we have full-on torture scenes. Back when Wolfe wrote this article, television shows couldn’t/wouldn’t have shown a man and woman in bed together, let alone engaged in anything openly sexual. The fact is that Hollywood has made a fortune feeding the American public in a manner similar to the way Roman Caesars fed their constituencies – with sex and blood.  How is it that we are nonplused by those, who produce such entertainment, choosing to partake themselves? And buried in our national psyche is the notion of the casting couch – it’s never been a secret that many a starlet became a star while in a horizontal position. 

Granted Weinstein is no romantic figure – repulsive even, so I can grasp the revulsion, but note that the complainants got what they were after. 

On the other hand, Kevin Spacey is an attractive man, but gees – 14-year-old boys?!  But then, who was feeding their children into the Hollywood maw? Where were the parents? It’s no wonder that child stars so often have tragic ends if this is what they’re exposed to. And yet we all love movies featuring attractive youth – at what cost to those kids? 

 

Secondly, I’m concerned about overkill. The Metoo campaign is understandable, but it’s blowing the abuse balloon up so tightly that is going to pop and the whole mess will just vanish. 

For one thing, we have defined down sexual harassment to mean any unwanted advances at all.  Now that’s a given when children are involved – any overture is out of line. But between two adults? Come on now. The level of harassment and outrage seems directly proportionate to the unattractiveness of the man making the advances. I get that – even a leering look from the likes of Harvey Weinstein would be offensive – but we women are making a big mistake if we make a mountain of even a giant molehill.  If everyone piles on, the hysteria serves as a smokescreen that obliterates the actual rape incidents and makes any kind of justice impossible.

Basically, women just want to be treated like ladies. Children should be treated like the precious future that they are. But that gets me back to my original point – that if women are willing to act otherwise, and do so for the whole world to watch, we shouldn’t be surprised at the result. If parents are willing to leave their children in the hands of rich, self-indulgent, powerful people, then we shouldn’t be surprised at that result, either. More importantly, we need to check our own appetite for sexual material on the screen.  We need to be less willing to see movies featuring child actors. That’s a tough prescription, but what do we value more – entertainment or decency, respect, and safety for our children? We’ve been enjoying flying over the cuckoo’s nest – we shouldn’t be so horrified to find that it’s being run by crazy, dangerous people. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Holes in our Heads

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We’ve all noticed that our leftist fellow-Americans have ceased to make sense. We’ve figured out that they’ve descended into redundant, irrational name-calling because they’ve lost the thread of their argument – if there ever was one. But, lately, due to several articles I’ve run across, I’m beginning to suspect that some actual, physical brain anomalies may be in play here. I’m not being sarcastic.

In a recent study done in Great Britain, using a half million participants, scientists discovered that people who suffer from depression show changes in the white matter of the brain – that part that is key to communication. Since depression has reached epidemic proportions, this seems important. A study done by the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance discovered that the hippocampi of the brains of depressive individuals appear to have shrunk. An article in Science Daily reported on a study of casual marijuana users that showed a noticeable difference in the shape, size, and density of the reward centers of the brain – affecting motivation – and of the amygdala – the emotional center of the brain. In fact, a study done at the University of Michigan showed that experience, psychoactive drugs, sex hormones, and dietary factors affected the shape of the brain. Not the mind, the brain.

I could go on and on. Recent technology is allowing us to see the brains of living people, to watch them work, so we can now start to ask some very important questions.  The questions that come to my mind center around the leftist brain. It seems the more obvious it is that collectivist ideas are all vacant and useless – whether we’re watching the Venezuelans forced to eat rabbits, looking at the abject failure of the War on Poverty and its dissolution of the nuclear family, or at the Muslim destruction of European culture – the more adamant and angry socialists become. They seem utterly unable to walk away from demonstrably false concepts. Why is that?

We can show them the climate change data and the numerous times that data has been falsified, and what do we get? A stare as blank as a petit-mal seizure. We can whip out the statistics on the starvation factor in North Korea and the same thing happens – no contact made. I’ve been amazed listening to the protestors in St. Louis. They appear to have no ability to question the presuppositions they had before the trial, nor do they have even a glimmer of the absurdity of their preference for justice-by-mob. Here are streets filled with black people demanding the right to lynch their fellow man, yet I see no flicker of irony on any of the faces. 

The same was true of the protestors in Berkeley. No grasp at all of the silliness of demanding the right to express their ideas by denying another person’s right to express his.  No inkling of the contradictory nature of their stance – i.e. that committing violence is free speech, but that free speech, when it is actually speech, is not. Not free, not allowed, not appreciated. These are supposedly intelligent, expensively educated people. 

How can a normal brain function like that? How did we get to the point where people, instead of arguing logically against policies and positions, prefer to promote the assassination of a sitting president, burn American flags, or think that tearing down statues will somehow fix society? That’s not just a difference of opinion; it’s medical pathology. 

There was a time when most of us saw mental disease as a disability of the mind, the immaterial self, but I’m beginning to believe that it may also be physical. Can one think untruth day after day, year after year and expect it to not affect one’s brain? We recognize that daily indulging in chocolate milkshakes will affect our waistlines; is it so far-fetched then to wonder what a constant intake of anger will do to the cerebral cortex? Will a steady diet of lies eat actual holes in the grey matter? Any attempt I make to converse with leftists always leaves me scratching my head – the wiring just seems to be off. 

Is it wise to assume that we can live in anger and bitterness for months and months and not have it twist our brain’s chemistry?  No affect the delicate cell structures? Can we routinely ingest drugs – prescribed or purchased on a street corner – and expect the synapses to go off when they should? I mean, if I put water in the gas tank will the engine run? 

And if we have actually changed our brains, can we change them back? Is the plasticity of the brain that flexible? 

I think of the stanza from Frost’s The Road Not Taken

“And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day,

Yet knowing how way leads on to way

I doubted if I should ever come back.  “ 

Can we come back? Have we “educated” the last two generations into serious, permanent, mental disabilities? Have people developed eating habits, pharmaceutical practices, thinking propensities that have distorted their brains to point where they really can’t see the logic, can’t process any factual information that doesn’t already fit the rigid shape their brains are locked into? 

I believe it is possible to reshape a crooked brain. I believe that’s what the Bible means when it says that those who believe are “new creatures in Christ.” It takes time for an abused brain to recover, time and a steady, hefty diet of biblical thinking, but I’m living proof it can happen and I’ve seen it happen to many, many others. But, I’ve also seen many who keep on keeping on with those things that are ruining whatever brains they have left. 

You know those scenes in old movies where the heroine has thrown herself into a hysterical hissy-fit and a more level-headed character has to slap her across the face to bring her back to sanity? That’s a good metaphor for America today. Too many American brains have gotten warped, misshapen, and hysterical for the nation to function. I suspect that these Western wildfires, the two hurricanes, and whatever disasters happen next are Providence giving us a collective slap across our arrogant faces in hopes that we’ll snap out of it long enough to start rebuilding whatever remains of our national psyche, of the American soul. There is much work to do, much healing to happen, much prayer needed. God help us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Newsflash!

Recent news makes it clear that not all that needs to be said is being said. Most reports, reports rife with sly innuendo, fail to understand or admit what is really happening. I’d like to rectify that ----

Newflash #1: History sucks. It’s merely a record of how screwed up mankind is, was, and, I’m afraid, will be in the foreseeable future. It’s a list of wars and rumors of wars, of pestilence and drought and hunger. In fact, other than the First Advent, the founding of this country may well be the only bright spot in human history. But even the birth of this nation was heavy with death and misery. And yet we need history – how else can we make decisions about the future? 

This recent spate of statue-hatred stems itself from a lack of historical knowledge. It is ignorance promoting more ignorance, and placing further national policy choices in even more jeopardy. Has there ever been a nation that has improved itself by erasing or altering its history? Every country that has gone that route has ended up with a tyrannical government and violence is always a part of the process.  Visit Cuba.

You can understand the disaster of the loss of history simply by imagining what your life would be like if you woke up tomorrow and had no memory – no knowledge of who you had been. There might be the benefit of not remembering your sins and embarrassments – but that would be tempered by the suspicion that they had happened nevertheless, only you don’t know what they were and therefore can’t atone. You wouldn’t know who your friends were, where you came from, or where you belonged. You wouldn’t know what you had believed or why. You would always be only half a person. 

Our history may suck, may be a scary, cringe-worthy litany of things gone wrong and only now-and-then right, but it is our history, our life as a nation, and it cannot be erased without erasing our future as well. The movers and shakers on the left know that. A few years from now we may look just like Venezuela.

Newsflash #2: There is no shortcut to moral rectitude. And to make things worse, there are a million ways to be wrong and only one way to be right. It is never right, for instance, to mindlessly adopt a few slogans, have occasional self-righteous tantrums, and repeat anything, no matter how senseless, that airs on NPR or CNN. I suspect that there must be a list somewhere of mandatory opinions one must espouse in order to remain a person in good standing with the more-progressive-than-thou crowd – perhaps a kit we must buy that contains a few pat phrases, a flag to wave, some posters, and a stick for hitting those with whom we don’t agree. Anyone who’s made the mistake of purchasing such an item, has been robbed. Anyone who got his as a door prize for matriculating at a leftist college, has been doubly robbed. 

Goodness only comes when we care more about individuals and their well being than we do about the faceless “masses” and the “oppressed.”  To be good means to see each person as a masterpiece of God’s making, a person with a unique purpose in God’s plan, a person with worth and special talents and potential, a person in need of freedom to become what he can become. We can’t be good and hate any group or any individual. We can’t hate the rich, or people with white skin, or people who just don’t suit us. We have no moral right to hate people with whom we don’t agree. We can’t hate our way to love. 

It’s a lot harder than marching around with flags and torches, a lot harder than calling people names to show how angry we are, a lot harder than pretending we can change the world. It requires that we change ourselves, from the inside out. In fact, it requires that we let God change us – give up the reins completely. 

Newsflash #3: The mainstream media can splinter opinions into a thousand differing factions, but I know a lot of people and none of them belong to any of these micro-sects. America functions fine with two parties – I learned that the hard way from Ross Perot. When we get more than that, everything falls apart; note how well Europe is doing these days. I’m sure, as are all thinking people, that this fragmentation is part of the leftwing agenda – the divide and conquer approach. If you look closely enough you can see that all these groups -- Antifa, BLM, alt-left, alt-right, white supremacist, white nationalist (there will be 6 more by tomorrow) are all tentacles off the same giant squid. They have one credo – knock people around and make a mess. Distract. Confuse. Accuse. Defuse.

I talked to one person this last week who was sure the BLM were in the right in Charlottesville because they were against the anti-Semitic, torch-bearing radicals. However, to do so ignores the fact that the leftist Antifa/BLM is anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian – so how does that work? How do you hate one group for hating a group that your group also hates? When logical, careful thought is no longer occurring on a regular basis, the society will cease to function. 

Newsflash #4: America is ceasing to function.  Congress is frozen solid. The presidency has taken more incoming fire than any other administration in history. The judiciary hangs on one vote. And the fourth estate has utterly abdicated its responsibilities.  Our education system is churning out dimwits so fast that we can’t keep up with it, and our medical infrstructure has been damaged beyond repair.  

America has survived and thrived long enough to prove that freedom without righteousness doesn’t work, that limited government doesn’t stay limited, and law doesn’t protect. Only God does that.  Israel – ancient Israel – proved over and over again that her Law didn’t make for a perfect nation. It would have, had the Hebrew tribes actually followed it. Like the United States, Israel was now-and-then successful in what she set out to be – during the reigns of David, Solomon, Hezekiah, Josiah – but those regimes were short-lived and the rest of the time the Israelites were joining their neighbors in worshipping demonic idols. America was successful until we, too, walked away from God. 

Our forefathers set out to build a righteous nation, but she can only be as good as the righteousness of her citizens and if those citizens think they can fake integrity and moral virtue by being destructive loudmouths then America is over. When asked what kind of government the Constitutional Convention had given the people, Ben Franklin answered, “A republic – if you can keep it.” It’s becoming more and more evident that we have failed at that, and destroying the history that proves my point will not stop our downfall.

 

 

America's Deadly Sins

         

 

Most Americans are sick of self-righteous, breast-beating leftists moaning about the shame they bear for being American. They claim we have become wealthy “on the backs” of the “oppressed” – as if no American ever worked for anything himself. They whine that America has treated its women badly, its natives even worse, and that the poor are still poor, and the rich, heaven forbid, are still rich. Shame on us. Really? Let’s take score.

 

In our brief history from the early European colonization efforts until now, Western society in North America has only existed a little over 500 years, and as a nation we’ve only been in business for 241 years – about which the average college student knows very little. However, said students seem certain that we do not measure up to some unstated scale they have set for national behavior, and, in spite of their lack of historical expertise, they seem sure that our sins were mostly buried in our deep, dark past. 

 

Slavery, of course, comes to mind. Though the average liberal seems unaware that only 1.4% of Americans ever owned slaves, that only about 250,000 ever arrived in North America. In fact, in 1860 when the slave population was at its highest there were under 4 million slaves – 20,000 of whom were owned by other blacks. None of which mitigates the fact of slavery, but to hear a leftist tell the story you’d think our entire economy was built on the forced labor of a quarter of a million blacks. And the left ignores the fact that 620,000 Union soldiers were either killed, wounded, or imprisoned trying to stop slavery. That number tops the total number of casualties in all our other wars combined. The number is also over twice the number slaves brought here to begin with; one could say reparations have been paid.

 

But even before slavery we were awful. When Columbus and subsequent explorers landed in the New World, they brought with them small pox and other diseases for which the natives had no immunity. That they didn’t do this on purpose seems not to alleviate our white, privileged, European guilt. 

 

Some historical events do sully our history – the Salem Witch Trials, the Trail of Tears, the massacre at Wounded Knee, and the desecration the Great Plains bison herds. There was both carelessness and evil in those events, but most were perpetrated as isolated incidents and none were stated policy of the majority of the people of the United States. 

 

It is true that in our free enterprise economic system some people become very rich and others remain poor. Which, to a conservative, seems better than everyone being poor, but to a leftist it is a situation most dire. That our poor have hot and cold running water, electricity, heat and air conditioning, TVs, phones, cars, and access to food from all over the world doesn’t seem to matter. That we all have an opportunity of climb out of poverty is also of little importance.

 

All of these indictments are: 

1. So far in the past that we can do nothing to change them; 

2. No worse than the general muddle human beings have been making of history since the dawn of time; and 

3. Mostly the result of a cherry-picking, Marxist twisting of history. But what is really disturbing is that the things this country is guilty of right now – things that land squarely in the leftwing lap – are what we should be concerned about. 

 

You see, we are alive now and can do something about our current national sins, but instead, half of this country seems just fine about it all. 

 

It doesn’t bother liberals that cities like Detroit, and Baltimore, and New Orleans – once powerful, prosperous cities – are now, after decades of Democrat rule, fiscal and moral disasters, mere ruins of their former selves. 

 

No one seems particularly worried about what has happened to the black family. Fuss and moan and complain about what happened over 200 years ago, but not a word about today. Over 70% of black babies are born out of wedlock. That’s over two-thirds of black males growing up without fathers, who no longer need to be there for their families because the government has taken over their responsibility for supporting their children. Black youth are gunning each other down in their own neighborhoods because they have never been taught not to. America did this to these people when Johnson’s War on Poverty swooped in to make dependents out of a vital portion of America. Therefore, the inner-city blacks are still slaves but we’ve taken from them the dignity of work. That we should feel guilty about; it happened on our watch.

 

We’ve further trapped the poor in this nation by forcing them into failing schools. It’s hard these days for the average middle-class white kid to get a really good education, but these inner-city kids don’t have a chance, and yet liberals fight tooth and nail to keep at bay efforts to free them with school vouchers and charter schools. Teachers in their unions care more about their jobs than they do about educating children. There’s some remorse to chew on. 

 

We have promoted, both with governmental policy and by cultural rot, a broad-spectrum of sexual immoralities, which have further destroyed the family and the stability and prosperity that strong families bring to a society.

 

During the Obama administration –with his sanction and involvement – we left the Iraqis high and dry for Iran and ISIS to set up shop in. We destroyed civilization in Libya, and aided and abetted Syrian rebels, who turned out to be ISIS. Twenty million people in the Middle East have been displaced and 500,000 Christians, Jews and Yazidis have been brutally murdered. Rape and the taking of sex slaves is endemic, and the world has not seen the current level of brutality in a thousand years. Crucifixion is back, as are beheadings and immolation.  In turn Europe has been inundated with these Middle Eastern refugees and will never again be Europe as we have known it.  All this on our watch. 

 

In the name of Mother Earth, our new goddess, and a demi-god called the snail darter, we have destroyed the economy and the hard work of generations of Americans by cutting off the water supply to family farms. Drive through the dead orchards of the San Joaquin Valley in California and see the devastation. We can be blamed for letting this happen. 

 

But none of those national sins come even close to the lives we’ve taken (using taxpayer money) before they even got started. Most estimates put the number of aborted babies since the Roe v. Wade took effect in 1973 at some 60,000,000 children. Sixty million.  Who would those tiny people have become? What gifts would they have brought with them? What effect has this had on the black community, which has been hit especially hard by the presence of Planned Parenthood in black neighborhoods.  I have been complicit in this, coming late into the realization of the demographic devastation. The hard-hearted selling of baby parts and the cruelty of the methods used makes my stomach turn. We allowed this to happen. 

 

We have driven God out of our schools, allowed drugs to be brought across our borders, and sexualized our children. We have much to atone for and much that can be fixed, that can be stopped. But before we do that we have to stop wallowing in a pit of pointless guilt that can help no one, and get on with undoing the damage we ourselves have done and making things as right as we can for those who have suffered under our stupidity. 

 

 

 

 

Absolutely Nuts

That phrase – absolutely nuts – pops into my head often when I read or hear the opinions of my leftist friends and acquaintances. Then, I think about that word absolutely, and I realize that’s the problem – the left denounces absolutes, but leftist thought is thoroughly sodden with them.

I am conservative and Christian – a real pre-modernist. I believe in absolute truth, in the absolute existence of God, and that the Bible is unquestionably the Word of that God. I believe the basic concept of morality as absolute – the liberal situation ethics is nonsensical and the Ten Commandments are just as relevant now as they were 3500 years ago. I am sure that Christ’s mandate to love each other is an absolute. When Christ said, “I am the way, the truth, and the light. No man comes to the Father but through me,” He was speaking in absolutes.

The left-wing post-modernists mock all the above. I have my truth; they have theirs. God is whatever a person wants him to be. The Bible is just an old book written by a bunch of ancient, dead men. Morality needs to keep up with the times. Love should be dependent on one’s race and political point of view. Ones’ sex is not tied to biological reality.

But leftists are not nearly as “open minded” as they claim. For all their trumpeting of liberal tolerance, they actually lean heavily on their own version of fundamentals.

They are absolutely dug in on their ideas – even the ones that obviously need softening and mitigating. Let’s look at tolerance. That’s at the top of their must-do list; must be open and accepting of everyone’s post-modern beliefs. Now, tolerance is a noble virtue – to an extent. If my neighbor is an atheist, it is a virtue to be polite to him, to love and care for him, to get to know him. But what if my neighbor is a pedophile? What if he lures young boys to his house and I know what he’s up to? Should my tolerance continue? The left would say yes. Tolerance is an absolute in their world. Should I tolerate Muslim men harassing young women in my community? Plotting to blow up my church? Mutilating their own daughters? Is there no line to be drawn here?

Diversity, another leftist absolute, is the other side of the tolerance coin. Everyone else’s culture is absolutely better than anything American -- even though it’s not. It is true that America is an amazing amalgam of dozens of cultures, partially because of assimilation, and partly because of intermarriage. I am Danish-Czech-Swiss-Dutch-English, etc. I am married to an English Luxembourgian. We have Irish grandchildren. Most of us are mongrels of one kind or another. And we eat Italian, Mexican, Chinese, Mongolian, and Thai food. Our language is a polyglot affair filled with bits and pieces from hundreds of languages. We are richer for it.

But the liberal doesn’t want us to appreciate our multifaceted culture; we are to denigrate it and prefer the cultures of those who come here illegally. We are to spend a large portion of our children’s education teaching them about other cultures and doing so without any censure of the behaviors of those other societies. If the Netsilik Eskimos want to put their elderly out on ice floes to drift off into a cold, lonely death, then that’s okay. If the Maasai want to yank out the canine teeth of their toddlers then we shouldn’t judge. If it’s part of Sharia law that a man can beat his wife, then what’s wrong with that? The left has sacrificed all moral judgment at the feet of the god of diversity.

They see their right to speak their minds as absolute, never mind how incendiary or untrue. They see their right to believe what they want as such an absolute that it extends to an imagined right of protection from any facts or ideas that go against their beliefs. Even the most diehard conservative Constitutionalist knows that all of our rights have limitations. I can’t yell “Fire!” in a crowded theater; I can’t practice a religion that requires human sacrifice; I can’t set up a loaded Gatling gun in my front yard, and I understand that under certain circumstances the government has to be able to tap phones and read emails. The liberal, however, sees his own rights as absolutes and one of those rights is to demand that government cushion his entire earthly existence regardless of how that affects the rights of others.

Now, I admitted that my beliefs are also unqualified, so where do I get off lambasting the leftists? That’s not hard to explain.

Unlike the left, I have no outward quarrel with absolutes. In fact, the things I see as irrefutable and eternal, are, in fact, irrefutable and eternal.
o    God, the Judeo-Christian, triune God, being outside of both time and space, is an absolute.  All we know of science and history underscores that as fact. God is the uncaused, immutable Cause who pre-existed all of both human and angelic existence. The left sees godness as merely a misguided human construct, but the evidence makes that nonsense. Extra-biblical verification shows that man has been aware of the Godhead from the earliest times – ancient Chinese pictographs, universal flood stories in over 250 cultures, etc.
o    Because God is perfect righteousness and perfect justice, His law is perfect and therefore does not need readjusting to 21st century human standards. Good and evil have not changed. Human nature has not changed. History bears witness to this -- Darwinism notwithstanding, mankind is still a mess.
o    We have not outgrown our inherited original sin – the 20th century was the bloodiest in all of human history and the 21st is shaping up to be even worse. The best mankind can do on his own is to fake uprightness (this goes for all of us – Christians included) or to declare that our sins aren’t sins, which changes their status not at all, mitigates their devastating effect on human society not one iota.
o    And lastly, truth is true or it isn’t truth. Now, it’s correct that given a half-dozen witnesses to an event you’ll end up with a half-dozen versions of the same event, but that doesn’t mean that an actual event didn’t take place. In short, I believe in reality. Can we always find the absolute truth, be totally aware of the truth. No, partly because, as Jack Nicholson’s character said in A Few Good Men, “You can’t handle the truth!”  Reality is often a bitter pill.

Reality demands that we face our own imperfections and also face God’s perfections and our ultimate incompatibility with Him. It requires that we accept the fact that the problem has been solved for us. That’s pretty hard on our over-developed egos, but it is true in the most absolute sense. “No man comes to the Father but by me.” Jesus Christ absolutely allowed Himself to be nailed to the cross in order to build a bridge from us to God Almighty.  There was nothing wishy-washy there.

The left’s failure to understand that avoiding these uncomfortable absolutes divorces us from reality, leaves us trying to stand and move forward with our feet stuck in the quicksand of fuzzy, nonsensical assumptions. It can make us absolutely nuts.

 

 

To Serve my Turn Upon Him

Does anyone else have the strange feeling that we’re caught up in some Shakespearian tragedy, some skullduggery creeping through the entourage of Henry VIII? I sense spies hiding in the curtains and hear whispers behind the potted palms. I’ve always thought of American politics as functioning in a fairly straightforward way, without the baroque, twisted nature of the old European courts. But here we are. Last week, watching Comey testify I kept hearing in my head the words of Iago in the opening act of Othello,

I follow him to serve my turn upon him: /We cannot all be masters, nor all masters /Cannot be truly follow'd.

Iago is the evilest character in all of fictional literature. Throughout the play, he is referred to as “Honest Iago.” He’s really good at being bad. He looked good, competent, confident. Weren’t we told how honest Comey is? What a fine, upstanding person he is? Doesn’t he give that appearance? Tall, handsome, impeccably dressed, buttoning his suit jacket in the appropriate lawyerly manner, looking straight into the eyes of those he lies to. Iago is also fond of breaking the fourth wall – he comes right down to the footlights, looks the audience right in the eye and tells us what he’s going to do to Othello. And there we sit, stuck in our seats, unable to do anything to warn him. I felt like that listening to Comey as he told us that he leaked his memos in order to get a special counsel set up to investigate Trump (This he did right after Trump fired him.), yet no one rushed out and arrested him. No audible gasps, no rolling eyes – nothing. It was like he’d just announced that he’d had lunch.

Last July Jim Comey shocked us all with his weird testimony about Hillary and her errant emails. Yes, she’s guilty. No, we won’t indict her. Huh? The whole nation walked around with wrinkled brows for weeks. What kind of a Janus act was this guy performing? Iago liked to swear, “By Janus!” I heard him again: Heaven is my judge, not I for love and duty,/ But seeming so, for my peculiar end:..

His “end” is peculiar indeed. Is he motivated by hatred for Trump? Or by fear of Hillary? Or fear of Obama? Obama was still in office during these first two forays. Both of them are dangerous people, so fear of them is not as irrational as hatred of Trump.

Or – more likely yet – is he motivated by his own ambitions, his own greed? That motivates many a villain. Comey once worked at Lockheed Martin where in one year he earned $6 million as vice president and general counsel(It is interesting to note that Lockheed is a major donor to the Clinton Foundation.) His questionable connections to a London bank and to his brother’s real estate dealings also raise character questions. We never do know Iago’s motivations; he tells us, but he keeps changing his mind, and his wife, speaking of his jealousies, says:
They are never jealous for the cause./They are jealous for they are jealous.

It’s hard to tell what Comey is up to; it’s like trying to stay ahead of Thomas Cromwell.  On July 5th he announces his Hillary-guilty-but decision (which was not his to make). On October 28th, he announces he’s reopening the investigation into her emails, then turns around, less than a month later and just 48 hours before the election, and says, basically, “Never mind.”  What maneuver is this? What palace intrigue?

Never mind! On Hillary’s watch, and under her supervision classified information was left to wander the streets alone, at night, in fact, ended up on the laptop of Anthony Weiner, well-known pervert and husband to Hillary’s right-hand woman, Huma Abedin who has well-known close family ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. And the perfect, “honest” Comey is willing to look the other way. Never mind. Nothing to see here; move right along.

This man was the head of the FBI, but we cannot tell whether he’s at all interested in the well-being of the people of the United States, or just intense about the well-being of James Comey. He certainly was interested in expressing his feelings about things but had no factual, useful information for us. He felt strange; he was very concerned; he was even nauseous on occasion. Do any of us care how he felt? I had always thought of the FBI as a just-the-facts-ma’am kind of organization.

To make matters even more unsettling, now that the Russia conspiracy has fizzled like cotton candy on a hot day, he’s drummed up some real serious reservations about Trump’s General Flynn comment – which only Comey heard and which Comey only brought up after Trump had fired him. Curiouser and curiouser.

And why is Comey’s BFF the special prosecutor trying to prove The Donald obstructed justice? How can you obstruct justice if no crime has been committed? Trump, could, if he needed to, just pardon Flynn, but the General doesn’t seem to have done anything illegal; talking to the Russians was his job. And if Comey thought Trump’s remarks were an order to circumvent prosecuting Flynn, why didn’t Comey do what he thought he was told? But he didn’t do anything until he lost his job.

I am glad to see the President no longer trusts this man. It was good that he waited until Comey was not around to fire him – no chance for this Judas to hide anything. I do wonder what Trump has on him and I do hope it’s good, for Comey appears to be doing the same thing Iago did to Othello –
…practising upon his peace and quiet Even to madness.

Later in the play, Iago, attempting to convince Othello of Desdemona’s infidelity, says,
I speak not yet of proof.  

There wasn’t any because she was innocent. Then later he adds:

And this may help to thicken other proofs/ That do demonstrate thinly.

But there weren’t any other proofs. A point Othello misses. It’s a point the media and those who pay attention to it miss as well. There are no proofs. Of anything. There’s no evidence of any behavior even slightly unethical, let alone illegal. But charge ahead they will.

They do because all they have to accomplish is to kill Trump’s reputation and that’s not hard to do. As Iago points out to Cassio (whose reputation he has just destroyed:
Reputation is an idle and most false imposition: oft got without merit, and lost without deserving…   He (and Comey) should know.

Yet later on in Act IV he tells Othello:
Good name in man and woman, dear my lord,/ Is the immediate jewel of their souls: /Who steals my purse steals trash; 'tis something, nothing; /'Twas mine, 'tis his, and has been slave to thousands: /But he that filches from me my good name/ Robs me of that which not enriches him /And makes me poor indeed.

And knowing that, he went right ahead and did everything to ruin the reputations of Othello’s wife, his best friend, and of Othello himself.

Throughout the play, Iago knows exactly what he’s doing. Throughout the Trump presidency, Comey has known what he was doing, too. I don’t think he’s as smart and sly as Iago, but he’s attempting to ruin the president and he’s using many of Iago’s methods to do so. We should remember as we watch this drama unfold that, though by the end of the play 5 people are dead including Othello and Desdemona, Iago is hauled off to the dungeon to be tortured and executed. Comey will get his – I just pray it’s before he does more damage, not after.

 

 

 

Cliff Hanging and Earthquakes

           This is shocking, and in our post-modern world I shouldn’t admit it, but I like to think.  I know, I know – if I were truly cool and trendy I’d acknowledge, in grand existentialist style, that everything is just matter, therefore nothing matters, so I should just emote away about whatever matter is currently in vogue.  But I can’t.

I am human and I was made in God’s image and God thinks, therefore I think.
Q. Why isn’t thought more popular, then?  (I can hear you thinking.)
A. We’ve been taught to start in the wrong place, so we get lost and give up.
Q. Where is the wrong place?
A.  Read on…..

Picture two cliffs separated by a great chasm.  The cliffs are made of sedimentary rock, layer upon layer, each a slightly different shade.  On one side the stone deposits have built up on bedrock, solid and immovable – absolute truth.  On the opposite bank the levels are less regular and horizontal.  The foundation on which they rest their considerable weight is cracked and volcanic, full of air bubbles, nearly weightless – relative truth.  

If you stand with me on the solid side, you’ll understand what I’m about to say; if not, hang on tight because somewhere deep inside you’re about to feel wobbly.

Let’s look at the bedrock.  It consists of God – the God who existed before He spoke time and space into existence, before Earth, before before.  This is Jehovah – “I am that I am,”  (Exodus 3:14). Where God is there is absolute existence, and therefore absolute truth.

What about the opposing pumice foundation, the one that says nothing is absolutely true?

Well, we all intuitively know that one of the most important rules of logic says that no true statement can be self-refuting.  “I am not me,” makes no sense.  “My Dachshund is not a dog,” fairs no better.  How does “There is no absolute truth” strike you?   Yes, I know, It has an absolutist ring to it, but most of today’s intellectuals will swear by that assertion, even while their base crumbles beneath them.  In this scenario God becomes nothing more than a human construct embedded in the string of time we call history; godness is whatever we want it to be.  We aren’t made in God’s image, but he/she/they in ours.

If, though, we start with the stability of side one, we can figure out that the God of Truth would want us, His creatures, to know truth – and sure enough, there’s the Word of God; we can barely imagine a being so true to Himself that His Word and His existence are one and the same-- “In the beginning was the Word. And the Word was with God and the Word was God,” (John 1:1).  Not only did He reveal Himself in His Word, but also in His creation; what we know that modern science began as a search for more information about God.

The opposite side of the chasm boasts purely human wisdom and post-modern science, which schlepps about in its own quagmire of Darwinian assumptions, assumptions that are being rapidly demolished by real science, which is more interested in truth than in invention.  Follow me – if there is no absolute truth and God is just another fabrication, then science alone can explain our existence – though, if nothing is true, I can’t imagine why we would bother.

Under it all we want to know who we are, why we are, so we keep looking. “What is the nature of Man? “ my favorite teacher always used to ask.  If we take God’s Word as absolute truth, then the “nature of man” is not a rosy picture,  “ All have sinned and come short of the glory of God,” (Romans 3:23).  If, on the other side of the chasm, we’re just making things up as we go (which is reasonable if nothing is rock bottom – pardon the pun – true).  It feels just fine to state, with absolute surety, that man is basically good.
Add a little evolutionary twist to that and we learn that man is getting even better, the barbarism of the last century (to say nothing of the current ISIS mess) notwithstanding.

This attitude puts the relativist in a pickle though.  How is he going to explain evil if man is basically good?  The scapegoats (sorry about using a biblical term) obediently line up – society, chemistry, family, corporations, poverty, bullying – and all get the cart before the horse.  How can the crookedness of a building be the reason why the bricks it’s built of are warped? The relativist spends a lot of energy trying to restructure society, the economy, the drug laws, etc. all in an effort to rescue perfect man from his evil oppressors.  Somehow the fact that the oppressors are also people eludes him.

The relativist has another option, though, if the transference thing gets shaky: he can change what “sin” means.  If we’re doomed to do evil, and nothing is carved in stone, then let’s just change the meaning of evil.  Easy.  Pedophilia is really just fine because kids really want it.  I had a class of honors students tell me right after 9/11 that it wasn’t wrong that the high-jackers flew those planes into the Twin Towers.  They were doing what they thought was right.

Evil, on the other cliff, is a very clear and solid idea.  Anything non-God, anti-God is evil – a once-perfect angel, a “well-meaning” politician, a self-centered parent.  God is absolute perfection (and I am not talking about Allah), so anything short of that perfection ….. Yikes. I’m very glad God has a solution for this, because I don’t. “For God so loved the world that He gave is only begotten son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life,” (John 3:16).

Our national dialogue is getting nastier and nastier because, at the very bottom of the cliffs we stand on, our assumptions are diametrically opposed.  On one side morality is clear, immutable, and imposed by God – on the other it’s improvisational, constantly changing,  and driven by whatever the latest catch phrase is – tolerance, diversity, equality-- the ends always justifying the means.  Nothing is evil, just sick or browbeaten.

The solid cliff recognizes free will and our own responsibility; it acknowledges that only the grace of God can fix anything because we humans are too screwed up.  The relativist side assumes that we are all victims, doomed to be poor, or addicted, or gay, or whatever, and that stopping our pain will involve transferring that pain to someone else.  “Tax the rich” folks shout, believing that impoverishing someone else can enrich them.

We can’t straighten out this tangle of ideologies without acknowledging our basic differences.   Let’s choose our cliffs with our eyes wide open and let’s be ready to defend our positions from our foundations without feeling the need to malign or threaten, bully or demean. It is true, however, that standing on a shaky foundation is enough to make any of us desperate enough to start name-calling. If you can’t logically, factually win an argument then you are doomed to committing that faux pas.

So where do you come from?  On what do you stand?  Which cliff do you claim? And should you be feeling equivocal, there are only two, and the gulf between them is widening. We can all feel the ground shaking.

 

 

 

Didn't See it Coming

In the summer of 1787, our founding fathers sweated out the details of the new Constitution in locked, stifling rooms. They were remarkably prescient considering they were so new to governance, new to the idea of federalism, unused to living in a constitutionally controlled republic. They had to take what they knew of human nature, connect that to their copious knowledge of ancient civilizations, and try to write into this fresh constitution methods of heading off every pit the nation may ever stumble into. They did a great job. Here we are, after 250 years of the most rapid change in human history, and the pattern they designed is still holding – but just barely.

Some things they didn’t foresee. They knew, as a matter of principle and from the prosperity that they had already achieved, that a decentralized economic set up would create affluence, but they couldn’t possibly have imagined the vast and unheard of wealth that resulted, nor could they have anticipated the intricacies of that economy. That a single company could be worth hundreds of billions of dollars (inflated or otherwise) would have seemed unbelievable.

The Industrial Revolution was right around the corner, but not clearly visible. They didn’t yet know the extent of the continent on which they’d set up shop. They didn’t know the plethora of natural resources that were at their fingertips. They couldn’t possibly have pondered jet flight or instant, visual and auditory communication. War, to them, was still muskets and gunpowder.

I don’t think it occurred to them the amount of power that would settle on this new country. They wanted to hold their own on the world stage, but I’ve never read any of their writings that indicated a vision of being THE world power.

Our founders figured correctly that aggregated power was a bad thing so they broke the power up – leaving most of it to the states. They set up a legislature to create law, an executive to carry out the desires of the legislators, and a court to sort out the details. They left the fourth estate, the press, outside of the government per se so that they could ride herd on the whole thing. All that, however, was dependent on the assumption that the American individual would continue to self-govern under the commands of Almighty God.

These were wise men, our forefathers, but they may have over-estimated our ability to continue to fear God once we became rich. The average American, stressed as he may be over paying his bills, enjoys a standard of living far above what most of history’s kings ever managed. It’s not easy to remember God once you’ve gained control over the elements, have more than enough to eat, and don’t have to destroy you body to earn all that. You get to thinking you deserve it. It’s a challenge to remain humble in the midst of wealth. Job did. Abraham did. And many Americans still do, but many have not met that challenge.

As a result, power has leaked out of the containers we thought were secured. It has metastasized and festered, worming its way into our most private decisions and experiences.

Official power in America is well curtailed, but the unofficial power is operating completely outside the checks and balances we have always depended on. The press, no longer hampered by any conscience demanding truth telling, and baptized into the change-the-world cult, appears drunk on the power it has to control the average voter. We can’t vote for the best solutions to problems if we’re being lied to about those problems.

The press and academia have joined forces to erase from the memory of man the original America and replace it with an ungodly, dystopian delusion in which reality plays no role. As our willingness to govern and provide for ourselves wanes, the bureaucratic part of government burgeons. In fact, this gargantuan web of agencies now dwarfs the three Constitutional branches of government, in both numbers and power, and no checks and balances keep it under our control. We are governed now, not by duly passed law, but by silent unrestrained regulations designed to appropriate our money and to steal our freedom.  

This is shored up by special interests all vying for their slice of both the power and the secondary wealth accumulating in Washington. Some of this has developed as a way for business to manipulate crushing bureaucratic power to its advantage; some is the result of greed untrammeled by any vestiges of Godly morality.

We sent Donald Trump to Washington to unravel this grasping tangle, to “drain the swamp,” but that may be like sending St. George in to slay a thousand dragons – dragons we keep feeding, for as long as we demand that the government handle everything for us, the dragons will proliferate.

So, how do we fix this? Have you ever tried to untangle a snarl of yarn or silver chain? You can’t just cut it – you need it all in once piece. Unraveling the jumble takes ultra-patient concentration for with every bit of progress comes another snarl.
Trump fires Comey – now the Dems ramping up their Russian allegations. Comey is countering with allegations of arm-twisting. The press is salivating over the mere thought of impeachment – never mind the fact that no crime has been committed. No one human can fix this. Not even a whole battalion of right-thinking people can do it. It’s going to take divine intervention.

How do we plug into that? WE don’t. It can only be done individually, one person at a time under each person’s free will. It doesn’t require that every one of us sign on, but enough of us must, and no one knows what that number is.

God has a lot invested in this country – which is a subject for another essay, but His reputation is at stake here, so I have no doubt He’d like to straighten us out.

God has always been active in human history, no less so now than ever. We cannot untangle the mess we’ve gotten ourselves into without His active assistance. What can we do to avail ourselves of His grace? Nothing but believe, accept His offer – each of us individually – of a free relationship with Him. The crux of everything in this world is the answer to this one question: What think ye of Christ?

This is what I think of Him:
1.    He is who He said He was – the Son of God – “I and my Father are one.” It is either that or He was a liar or a lunatic.
2.    He allowed Himself (in spite of His being also the 2nd Person of the Godhead) to be beaten, illegally tried, and nailed to a Roman cross so that the justice of God could mete out the punishment all humans deserve. This incredible gift was necessary because all three members of the Trinity are perfect and cannot tolerate imperfection (All have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Rom 3:23). In order for God to accept any of us, this price had to be paid and we can’t pay it ourselves any more than we could repay a trillion-dollar debt.
3.    He rose from the dead. Another issue that needs more discussion.
4.    He is accessible through His Word. Internalization of that Word is our main responsibility in this life. “Study to show thyself approved unto God, rightly dividing the Word of Truth.”
5.    We affect history through prayer.

We can do no more than this. The golden calves we worship in our souls must be replaced with divine thinking and that thinking will save our nation. Nothing else will. Nothing.

 

 

 

Needing Eden

Needing Eden            

All of us – liberal or conservative, Muslim or Christian, black or white – are homesick. Deep inside all of us lurks a longing for something, someplace so lost in the past that we can no longer name it. I contend that we compose music in minor keys, stage tragedies, and write mournful poetry just to express this. For anyone who stops in the midst of this hectic life to think, to actually feel, knows what I’m talking about – it feels like missing someone terribly, but not remembering who.

We all deal with this lost-ness differently. Some of us drink or do drugs. Some of us hide in frantic sex or work or social involvement. We play endless computer games, read mystery novels, watch hours and hours of bad TV. We grasp for wealth and power. We go shopping, we gamble, we go bungee-jumping and cover the longing with an adrenaline surge. Some us figure it out and grope our way back to God. What we’re missing is Eden and our evening walks with Him.

One of the great sicknesses of our time is our insistence that we can recreate Eden and do it on our own terms. We have assumed that our unhappiness crawled out of a badly designed social structure – one that has allowed some to get ahead while others go without, one that falls short of paradise. Perhaps we misinterpret our longings and think the emptiness can be filled with things – if only we had some of the money the rich have too much of.

This resentment toward the rich is understandable if you go back to, say, medieval times when wealth came when one sucked up to the local royalty enough that he shared with you whatever wealth he’d stolen from someone else. A man who buckled on his armor and rode off to war with his king was banking on the king’s gratitude after the battle. The rich back then didn’t get rich by inventing something useful, manufacturing something everyone wanted, by making life safer, less painful, or more fun for everyone.

I recently watched a documentary on one of the old manor houses in England and I was struck by some statistics. The owner of the manor (bequeathed to him by some king) often entertained a hundred people for dinner. One of the most admired dishes at these dinners was turtle soup. It took one turtle per guest and each turtle cost 20 pounds sterling – the average yearly wage for the servants serving this exorbitant meal. Under those circumstances I can understand the bitterness that could take root in a person’s soul.

I listened to woman – a professor (of Marxism 101, I assume) trying to explain how right and true and good it would be to tax the rich (which did not include her, she assured the host) at 80%. She just assumed that they had no right to that money, no more right than the nobles of the 11th century, and that everyone would live happily ever after if the rich were poorer. If she can’t think any more clearly than that, she doesn’t deserve her professorial position.

But this the 21st century, a thousand years after the turtle soup, and now any person who can muster the determination and the self-discipline to make something of himself, can, theoretically, do so. No one is locked into a feudal system, or a rigid caste arrangement; deep-seated resentment is misplaced and sounds silly, like a 5-year-old complaining that his brother got more ice cream.

But in all fairness to the professor, she was just wanting Eden. She doesn’t understand that, in a sense, it’s gone – the cherubim are stationed at the gate and we can’t get back in. Every human being since Eden has something wrong inside him. We’re all broken, from the get-go; no matter what our physical, mental, or social standing -- we’re broken.

However, God did provide the information we need to produce a society that will provide the best possible organization, considering our fractured condition.  Any society made of human beings is one built with crooked bricks and that takes expert engineering. The bricks can’t do it themselves.

The closest mankind has ever come to building a viable social order is recorded in the Constitution of the United States. That document recognizes the brokenness of man, his tendency to aggregate power, and it took the laws of God – the design of the Chief Engineer – into account. It has worked well – not flawlessly, but well for over 200 years.

But here we are faced with a generation of Americans who are trying to assuage their longing for the Garden by denying that we ever left it, by denying the God that created that Garden, by thinking they can make their own Eden.

And look what it’s taking to do it:
1.    Government so vast, so wealthy, so powerful that we no longer have a clear idea of where the power is even located. Is it in the bureaucracy? The press? The courts? It certainly doesn’t seem to be in the legislature or the presidency anymore.
2.    Schools dedicated to indoctrination instead of education, where speech is tightly controlled, ideas other than the DIY Eden-approved memes are prohibited, and where self-discipline and decency are no longer required.
3.    Taxation that limits all of our activities; taxation that is intended not only to raise revenue, but, more importantly, to control our daily activities; taxation that robs us of our incentive.
4.     Division. The fact is that you can’t organize individuals nearly as easily as you can groups, and if you can pit the groups against each other you can distract them from the truth of their unique individuality. The only group that is not easy to herd is the family and therefore the family also has to be eliminated and to do that sexuality has to be shaken loose from its moorings, allowed and encouraged to run amuck ruining children, killing babies, and, as an added bonus, the destruction of the Christian church. Our previous administration accomplished a great deal in this area. The much-lauded “diversity” is a celebration of just that – the fracturing of a previously stable society.
5.    Heavy doses of guilt, of angst, of hopelessness, because angry, unhappy people are also easy to manipulate. No sense of purpose can be allowed to flourish.
6.    Language manipulation. For one thing, if you change meanings often enough, no one knows what anyone is talking about so political prestidigitation is easier. For another, it’s easier to control people’s thinking if you control their language.

You see, Eden was a place of free will – to eat or not to eat; that was the question – the only question. But man didn’t choose well, so those trying to mickey-mouse a new Eden know not to include free will. In Brave New World Huxley kept his population so giddy with Soma, sex, and entertainment that most didn’t realize that they’d lost that all-important attribute of being human. Orwell’s Big Brother didn’t allow any options, either, and in Shangri-La, Conway could do a lot of choosing, except for one decision – the choice of leaving. The place was perfect, but it was a prison nevertheless.

The world is littered with dead and dying utopian dreams. Man has been trying since Babel to recreate that first perfect garden. Sir Thomas More wrote out his utopian plan in the 15th century. The Pilgrims tried to rewrite society’s rules that first awful winter in Plymouth. Joseph Stalin, Adolf Hitler, Mao, now Maduro and Kim Jong-un all have tried to make perfection out of evil. But it can’t be done. Not on human terms. We have to wait for God to come do it for us – and He will. Until then we will continue needing Eden.

 

 

 

Clearing the Cobwebs

Lately, when I check the news, I feel like I’m fighting my way through a room full of cobwebs like I’m boxing with phantoms; there are no clear, understandable positions on the left. They’re fighting, yes, but in that thrashing, flailing, windmill fashion that infuriated little boys are prone to. Liberals have no rational point to make, but they make it loudly, wearing ridiculous costumes, shouting obscenities and marching, marching, marching.  They even marched for science! Who is against science? Is science something we VOTE for? An activist Muslim woman, who is in favor of Sharia law, organized the women’s march. What?! Are we to assume that the women’s movement is now in favor of female genital mutilation and honor killings?

I’m compelled to attempt to sort this out. I’ll grant that not all Democrats are this nutty, but they all need to face the fact that many of their fellow Dems are operating in such a deep sheep-dip of cognitive dissonance that they are a danger to themselves and to others. It’s not just that the liberals oppose conservatives; they appear oppose themselves.  Perhaps it can help to lay out the contradictions in an orderly fashion.

The Top 10 Liberal Confusions

1.    Feminism can’t decide whether women are superior to men or victims of them. They can’t decide whether they’re proud of the physical capabilities of their bodies or so anxious to deny them that they have to kill their babies. They are vociferously attracted to all the trappings of Sharia in spite of its cruelty to women and young girls. Many can’t even decide if they’re women.
2.    Liberals don’t like law, but love government. (It doesn’t seem to occur to them that government is largely made up of law.) They depend on it for everything from food and shelter to protecting their egos from the onslaughts of reason. Yet, in reality, they want what they want regardless of law. In order to assuage the guilt the government schools have programmed into them, they want to flaunt the immigration laws – never mind the dangers of terrorism and drugs and disease the illegals bring with them. In order to cushion their economic, environmental, and cultural misapprehensions they are willing to close down highways, burn buildings, and silence anyone who disagrees with them. They are more than willing to shut down the Constitution because it limits government, and they are unwilling to obey the laws the Constitution allows.
3.    In fact, the left openly hates the Constitution and seeks to weaken it by making the claim that it’s a “living document,” though they clearly wish it were dead. And then they bristle if you question their patriotism. They seem unaware that what makes America America IS the Constitution; you get rid of that and this country will just be another starving sinkhole. Libs also love to hate on the Bible and Christians, yet they like to misquote scripture to justify whatever socialist nonsense they’re currently pushing, utterly ignorant that the West wouldn’t be the West without either.
4.    They feel so strongly about their spongy ideas that they commit violent acts against people and property to demonstrate the rightness of those ideas (They can’t argue their points rationally), and all while asserting that nothing is absolute and all ideas are relative. AND that violence is always bad-- all the while accusing everyone else of being hateful.  How do you beat the tar out of a total stranger because you think HE’S a hater?
5.    They claim to be anti-fascist, yet support Islamists and defend their asserted right to impose their religion on others and to do so in the most heinous, barbaric ways imaginable.  It’s OK to burn toddlers alive, but Christians are horrible and hateful because we won’t bake cakes. It makes my head spin to try to think like that: violence, hate and cruelty = good; love, morality, and charity = bad.
6.    They see no problem in their contradictory environmental ideas. It’s okay in their world to scar an area with garbage while protesting an oil pipeline. It’s okay in their world to deplete the world’s food supply to use corn in our gasoline. It’s okay to kill birds with solar arrays and wind farms, to deplete world’s lithium supply for car batteries, to jet all over the world to wring their hands about climate change. It somehow makes sense to them to outlaw cow flatulence.
7.    They don’t like white people discriminating against blacks, but see nothing wrong with blacks being anti-white. It’s like third-grade payback.
8.    Diversity is their holy grail, but only within the liberal framework. Tolerance is the liberal virtue of virtues in spite of the fact that such a moral code puts them in the confusing position of having to support the murder of babies, the torture of non-Muslims, and leaders who would starve their own people. And then they get all tangled up in the fact that they can’t/won’t tolerate anyone who points out these inconsistencies.
9.    They want to change the world – take it to a better place, but they know so little about history that they have no idea where it’s already been. It’s really hard to arrive in the right place if you don’t know where you’re starting from. This week New Orleans began taking down its historical markers as if the future will be better if we roll up the past behind us. They claim to want a better world, but turn away from all the methods mankind has been successful with in the past. They embrace the evils they claim to be against: lying, corruption, manipulation, propaganda. They champion coercion, tyranny, and taxation and have no respect for freedom. (See point 2 above.)
10.    They claim to be for the little man, but have nothing but contempt for him unless said little man has succumbed to the lure of drugs, irresponsible sex, and abject dependence on his government. Then he’s cool. Otherwise one has to have a college degree – the more expensive the better, vote Democrat, and sneer at decency. “I am a naaaasty woman!”

The America I love is a place where you call an idiot an idiot; you don’t elect, and re-elect him/her to office. The America that has shown the world what freedom can do, that has saved the world from tyranny, come to everyone’s aid in times of disaster is now becoming the baby-sitter for whiners, and the encourager of a plethora of evils. The more we give credence to this nonsensical “thinking,” the more we are in danger of imploding. I recently ran across a collection of Norman Rockwell paintings – a family gathered at Thanksgiving, a bunch of little basketball players before a game, a profile of church-goers praying. THAT America made sense. This one doesn’t. I have the feeling that we’re being played by a master magician – keeping us all so confused with his right hand that we don’t notice that with his left hand he’s slicing Lady Liberty to pieces.  

 

 

The Point of no Return

The point of no return, the place of no more chances, the door that slams forever shut – these are concepts that make us cover our ears and holler, “La-la-la-la.” The western world in the 21st century works hard to mask final realities. A pregnancy used to be a point of no return, but now a woman can abort (the same word used to end a mission – how odd is that?) the inevitable, even just before birth. A student can fail a test, and then retake it and retake it. Some folks even freeze their dead bodies, counting on science to eventually provide a second chance. No deadline is really a deadline, no expectation must really be met, nothing is really due when it’s due. So very many of us just assume that every can can be kicked down the road to infinity, but those of us who still live in reality know better; sometimes it’s just permanently too late.

I’ve been pondering that quite a bit lately; I keep running into it in my Bible studies. Remember the Pharaoh of the Exodus? For the first five plagues Pharaoh hardens his own heart – digs in his own heels and won’t let the people go. But by the time the sixth plague hits – the plague of boils – it’s too late. At that point, “God hardens Pharaoh’s heart.” He uses up all his chances; God imposes this plague and the following four, “that you may know that there is none like Me in all the earth.” Each time Pharaoh rejects Moses’ demands, he adds more callous to his soul until, by the plague of boils, he is so encrusted, so inflexible that he can’t make a positive choice. He passed the point of no return; after that, he, and his nation were doomed. Egypt has never really recovered.

Look at western Europe – Sweden, Germany, the UK. Their reproductive rates have dropped so low that immigration must have seemed a good way to deal with that problem. A society can run into a population dead end if, on the average, each person doesn’t reproduce him/herself. When the birth rate falls below 2 children per couple, eventually that society will implode; there will be an inadequate number of young people to do the work. So Europe imports Muslims from the Middle East and now they’ve lost parts of their countries and their culture. Can this be undone? The problem with the point of no return is that those involved never see it coming.  

Now look at 2nd Thessalonians 2: 9,”The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, 10 and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this reason, God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, 12 that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” At some time in the future (quite possibly the near future) people will refuse truth until they can no longer do anything else. As I’ve watched the left stagger about in disbelief over the election of Donald Trump, I can’t help but remember this passage. “Strong delusion” is right. Russia? Really?! But here’s the sobering part: are all these people past that point of no return? Is our western society permanently screwed? Could be.

I look around American society today and I see many dead ends looming. Education, for instance. With John Dewey (at the turn of last century) our school systems began a subtle change from attempting to produce independent, knowledgeable thinkers to generating non-thinking workers. During the late 60’s the pace increased, curricula backed off the classics, and social engineering became a major thrust. God was banished from the classroom, and since He couldn’t be there, we had to find shortcuts, counterfeit ways to teach virtue: tolerance instead of real mercy; acceptance instead of righteousness; self-esteem instead of love and care. We erased purpose, discipline, and need. We’re several generations into this fiasco and even if DeVos manages to clean things up and institute vouchers and charter schools, where will we find well-educated, un-indoctrinated teachers to man those schools? How can we de-program our colleges and our public schools? It may be too late.

Let’s go back to the Bible. Look at what happens in Matthew 12. Over and over in previous chapters, we see Jesus healing the crippled, the blind, the mute, the demon possessed. Yet in the 12th chapter, the Pharisees demand that He give them a sign that He is, in fact, the Christ. So He does another healing, and what do they say? “He does that in the power of Beelzebub.” After that, Jesus teaches only in parables and explains them only to his disciples. He cuts Israel off and later we discover that an irrevocable curse has been placed on Jerusalem; 40 years later the Romans lay siege to the holy city and over a million Jews die, Israel and Judah are no more, are scattered over the earth not to be reconnected with their land for 2,000 years. They each used up all their chances – a point after which they would no longer be able to believe. And of course, once they were dead…..

According to the gospels, on Passover of A.D. 30-something, Roman soldiers nailed an obscure rabbi from Nazareth to a cross propped between two thieves. One thief made the deadline just in time and secured his place in Paradise. The other missed it. Forever. Throughout the entire Bible, there is one theme: God will fix the problem of sin – our job is to believe that, to accept the free gift of salvation. God was able to offer this because His Son was willing to take on the punishment for that sin. Our part is to just receive the gift – before death takes us. If a person misses that deadline, there is no going back. In the most permanent and irrevocable way imaginable, there is no going back. And we never know exactly what that due date is.