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.

 

Chaos and the Everlasting Arms

         Shakespeare’s play Othello showcases the most vile character in all of drama –a man often referred to as “honest Iago.” He is especially horrifying because he is charming, efficient, and intelligent, but mostly because he often breaks the fourth wall, looks the audience right in the eye, and tells us what his next diabolical move will be. We’re in on it whether we want to be or not. He creates chaos just because he can and we are powerless to stop him. Watching the news these days feels much like watching Othello.

We listen to the news (a word of increasingly unclear meaning), most of which deals with riots and robberies, murder and mayhem, barbarism and skullduggery at even the highest levels of government. Change – technological, social, and financial – is happening at lightning speed, but we have to be careful how we talk about it because the word-police are listening, and our most valuable words have been drained of their semantic weight and locked away in a closet. Of what use is hate, or woman, or Nazi?

We’re beginning to realize that our most important institutions – our schools and our churches – are closing minds rather than opening them, that our medical system is itself on life support, that our children have nothing to rely on other than the government that has done this to them, or the drugs being smuggled across our unattended borders. Our culture is disintegrating before our eyes.

China, North Korea, and Russia (Can I talk about that country without risking being wiretapped?) to say nothing of the entire Muslim world are all gearing up for a major fight and we’re not ready. Muslim refugees (another word that’s taken a beating) have successfully invaded much of Europe and half of this country wants them to do the same here. Is it not the epitome of chaos to desire that one’s own country be invaded?

Crime, which used to be fueled by need as much as by greed, has become senseless and random. Logic has taken a back seat to untrammeled emotion. Common sense is dead, but I needn’t say more – we’re all painfully aware of the chasm opening beneath out feet and we feel as powerless to stop it, as we do Iago.

But don’t “all things work together for good?” (Romans 8:28) Yes, they do – “for those who love God.” Isn’t it true that “underneath are the everlasting arms.”?(Deuteronomy 33:27) It is true. God’s order is evident everywhere. It is the backdrop for the chaos. Nothing is happening randomly. Nothing is out of His control. Nothing occurs that He didn’t foreknow. Let’s look at the evidence:

First, we must look to nature. The more we learn about it -- the more we see the order of God, the less random things appear. Back in the 19th-century people like Darwin could get away with ideas based on random mutation in simple cells and dog-eat-dog survival of the fittest, but now we know that the smallest of mechanisms bears the traits of super-engineering, not of haphazard happenstance. The famous flagellum motor of single-celled organisms, the human eye, hummingbird tongues are so intricate that it is more likely that a toddler could dump out the letters of a Scrabble game and spell macroevolution than it is that these amazing mechanisms happened on their own.

Not only is nature too complicated to be a willy-nilly arrangement, but it’s too mathematical for that. Look at Fibonacci sequences, which appear throughout nature, both in 3-dimentional space and in the 4th dimension as well. The Fibonacci sequence 0,1,1,2,3,5,8,13,21,34,55,89,144….(each succeeding number being the sum of the two previous integers), and the physical pattern that graphing the sequence produces, shows up in everything from the organization of the sections of a pine-cone to the human X chromosome inheritance tree. When graphed, these numbers produce a spiral confined to the ancient concept of the Golden Mean. Nature is not chaotic; it’s perfect proportions prove that. Perhaps the greatest damage Darwin did to thinking was to convince us of the randomness of nature – a lie if there ever was one.

We also need to look at fractals. A fractal is a pattern that self-replicates at an ever-increasing (or decreasing) scale. We see these patterns in the angle at which the veins in a leaf leave the stem, in the way branches head away from the trunk. We see them in snowflakes and crystal formations, in electrical discharges and river patterns. Even the circulatory system, with its network of arteries, veins and capillaries demonstrates fractal organization. Pineapples display fractal repetitions, as do earthquakes, ocean waves and even the rings of Saturn. When we look casually at nature we mistake its profusion and lavishness as arbitrary, as accidental, but none of it is.

Our brains, they say, are pattern-seeking devices, which is interesting because there are so many patterns to find. From the iambic beating of our hearts to the rotations of days and seasons, we are surrounded by pattern. We reproduce it in our language, our art, and our music. We have, since the earliest times recognized the patterns in the stars – note the mention of the constellations in the book of Job, probably written around 4,500 years ago.
It is Job’s God who gave Israel the Law, who organized a camp of 2 million people – the tents in neat rows according to the 12 tribes, 3 on each side of the Tabernacle. It was this God who provided them food and water in the wilderness, this God who stopped the Jordan and brought down the walls of Jericho.

We lose sight of all this in the frantic beat of modern life, but it is still there. The very stars have been making patterns lately – the four blood moons that coincided strangely with Jewish feast days and were punctuated halfway through with a total eclipse. This coming fall – the 23rd of September – we’ll see an amazing pattern when Leo and Virgo and Jupiter and Orion’s belt all arrange themselves just as Revelation 12 says they will. This will happen on the Jewish New Year during the Feast of Trumpets. Things are right on schedule.

Just because women have taken to dressing up as vaginas and milling around in public demanding the right to kill the babies the vagina was designed to bring forth; just because colleges no longer allow ideas; just because feminists seem to prefer Sharia law or because sexual abuse of a child is now being declared normal, we should not conclude that the world has spun off into the unknown.

The same God that parted the Red Sea is still in control. His Word has warned us the time would come when “…men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, [a]haters of good, 4 treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 holding to a form of [b]godliness, although they have denied its power…” (2 Timothy 3:2)

If God knew society would devolve so, did He not also provide a solution for such an eventuality? He did. The patterns of His plans are forming out of the miasma. His hand is on history. His will will be done. God also knew what “Iago” (i.e. Satan) would do, and unlike us, He has the power to stop him. Christ will return and the chaos, as loud and horrifying and painful as it is right now, will soon be calmed, there will be peace on Earth, and we will, as we once did in Eden, feel the safety of the arms of God.  

 

 

 

 

The Tens – Writing and Roots


I am a conservative – i.e. a person who wants to conserve those parts of our national past that have proven effective. America found the formula for maximum freedom and therefore for maximum prosperity. We are the only nation to have figured that out, so please, let’s not lose track of such a divine discovery. In spite of Trump’s victory we still have a large chunk of our population that’s ready to give up freedom. This is not surprising since our educational and media institutions have been trying to rid us of our fundamental national identity for over a hundred years.

The nineteenth century ushered in Charles Darwin. The twentieth century embedded his thinking in our schools and churches.  Now, even though his ideas have proven as wobbly as a loose-wheeled cart, twenty-first century Western society perches on his precarious doctrine. Not just science, but society at large, is saturated with the idea that mankind is always getting better, brighter, more tolerant. Nothing in 20th century history bears that out – just the opposite. In fact, the social law of entropy is in full bloom – witness the collapse of much of the Middle East, the failure of our school system, and now the dissolution of the Democrat party. Nevertheless the “progressive” faction soldiers on, convinced that the perfect society is within reach and, more importantly, all that stands between humans and Nirvana is the past. If we can just sever ourselves from the embarrassing evidence of man’s flawed nature, we can move back into Eden. And what keeps that from happening? Writing.

Written documents are the basis for a successful society. Those communities without a written set of rules and ideas have stayed primitive and poverty-stricken. Those nations that have put in writing, or carved in stone, their most basic ideals and ideas have been more free to go about the business of conquering their environments and making both financial and social progress.  The written–ness of documents, like our Constitution and the Bible, help maintain a stability, a continuity that provides a solid platform on which to build innovation and social improvements. If the documents are of questionable value (the Koran, for instance) the society suffers and even if those documents are of the very best and the nation fails to pass on their value and importance, the result will be the same – poverty and violence. Our nation is balanced right now on just such a razor’s edge.

America has based its social interactions and its governance on the two most important documents in human history. We have one historical foot placed square on the Ten Commandments and the other settled solidly on the Bill of Rights. And yet, the last administration did all it could to dislodge this stance. In fact the last century has seen a consistent hammering that has chipped away at these foundations; both government (through education and legislation, through court decisions and administrative dictates) and the 4th estate (through ridicule and neglect) have been whacking away at our foundational writings for decades.

Let’s look first at the importance of the Ten Commandments, which is not just a set religious dictates; it is a common sense guide to the behavior of wise and good people. The first demands that we love God. The second reiterates that by banning the worship of graven images. The third told us to avoid bandying about God’s name – swearing by Him, as if our word was as good as His. These first commandments merely underline that any law without the backing of our Creator will serve no purpose. We have to start there, with the understanding that God IS, and that He is absolutely perfect. Once there, a population, for the most part, polices itself and very little government is necessary. An appreciation of God is the foundation of freedom. A nation of atheists who had never been exposed to the behaviors delineated in the Commandments would cannibalize itself in just a few generations unless a heavy-handed government stepped in to control the population’s every move. Such a government would also operate sans God’s rules, thereby becoming ruthless and cruel, totalitarian and itself lawless.

But, but, but says the atheist, the Muslim, the Buddhist, don’t we have freedom of religion here? Well, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” doesn’t really say that you can believe anything you, or someone else, can conjure up. If you join a cult that practices human sacrifice, you’ll find yourself at odds with the law. If, you decide to become an Islamic jihadi, the DHS will not buy the 1st Amendment argument.

The next commandment tells us to take a day off each week. Man doesn’t appear to have ever done that prior to Moses and the Commandments. This Sabbath arrangement has two obvious purposes: one to set aside time to recognize our Creator, to celebrate all He has done for us, and for our own good, to take some time off, to rest. This is a practice we’d be wise to reinstate; too many of us work all the time and then we wonder why we suffer through divorces, drugged children, and heart disease.  

We are to honor our parents. If we did that, a large part of our school problems would evaporate, crime rates would go way down, and divorce rates may even slow. Parents, of course, need to be honorable, which gets us back to the other Mosaic mandates. A man who loves God and honors his mother is more likely to treat his wife and children wisely and well. Parents who avoid adultery and prevarication are more likely to be respected by their children. It goes round and round, but note, if the majority of Americans adhered to or even attempted to adhere to these commands, how much less government intervention in our lives would be necessary. If most of us walked away from the temptation to covet what others have, socialism would have no devotees.

Look for a moment at the 6th and 8th commandments and then think about cities like Chicago and Detroit. Both sins are making these cities into war zones so violent police can’t get control. Murder has become a way of life in those cities.

Now turn your gaze to the 2nd Amendment. What would happen in those cities if citizens were not hampered in their ability to protect themselves? And, on the other hand, what would fighting that crime look like without the 3rd and 4th Amendments – police ransacking their way through our houses, bedding down there if they felt like it. What would being arrested look like without the 5th, 6th, 7thand 8th amendments? If the police could force you to confess, could hold you in jail indefinitely, could turn your trial over to a judge, whom you’d have to face on your own. What if, once the sham of a trial was over, the judge could sentence you to be drawn and quartered?

Why is it that our government was willing to give its approval to such limited powers? Because those framers of the Constitution knew that their constituencies were people who already governed themselves; they knew that they could govern the society with very light reins.

The balance created by these 20 laws has made America great. Ten laws to govern the people, and 10 to govern the government, and if we have even one more generation that doesn’t have those ideas embedded in their bones, we will not survive.

 

The Tens – Writing and Roots                  

I am a conservative – i.e. a person who wants to conserve those parts of our national past that have proven effective. America found the formula for maximum freedom and therefore for maximum prosperity. We are the only nation to have figured that out, so please, let’s not lose track of such a divine discovery. In spite of Trump’s victory we still have a large chunk of our population that’s ready to give up freedom. This is not surprising since our educational and media institutions have been trying to rid us of our fundamental national identity for over a hundred years.

The nineteenth century ushered in Charles Darwin. The twentieth century embedded his thinking in our schools and churches.  Now, even though his ideas have proven as wobbly as a loose-wheeled cart, twenty-first century Western society perches on his precarious doctrine. Not just science, but society at large, is saturated with the idea that mankind is always getting better, brighter, more tolerant. Nothing in 20th century history bears that out – just the opposite. In fact, the social law of entropy is in full bloom – witness the collapse of much of the Middle East, the failure of our school system, and now the dissolution of the Democrat party. Nevertheless the “progressive” faction soldiers on, convinced that the perfect society is within reach and, more importantly, all that stands between humans and Nirvana is the past. If we can just sever ourselves from the embarrassing evidence of man’s flawed nature, we can move back into Eden. And what keeps that from happening? Writing.

Written documents are the basis for a successful society. Those communities without a written set of rules and ideas have stayed primitive and poverty-stricken. Those nations that have put in writing, or carved in stone, their most basic ideals and ideas have been more free to go about the business of conquering their environments and making both financial and social progress.  The written–ness of documents, like our Constitution and the Bible, help maintain a stability, a continuity that provides a solid platform on which to build innovation and social improvements. If the documents are of questionable value (the Koran, for instance) the society suffers and even if those documents are of the very best and the nation fails to pass on their value and importance, the result will be the same – poverty and violence. Our nation is balanced right now on just such a razor’s edge.

America has based its social interactions and its governance on the two most important documents in human history. We have one historical foot placed square on the Ten Commandments and the other settled solidly on the Bill of Rights. And yet, the last administration did all it could to dislodge this stance. In fact the last century has seen a consistent hammering that has chipped away at these foundations; both government (through education and legislation, through court decisions and administrative dictates) and the 4th estate (through ridicule and neglect) have been whacking away at our foundational writings for decades.

Let’s look first at the importance of the Ten Commandments, which is not just a set religious dictates; it is a common sense guide to the behavior of wise and good people. The first demands that we love God. The second reiterates that by banning the worship of graven images. The third told us to avoid bandying about God’s name – swearing by Him, as if our word was as good as His. These first commandments merely underline that any law without the backing of our Creator will serve no purpose. We have to start there, with the understanding that God IS, and that He is absolutely perfect. Once there, a population, for the most part, polices itself and very little government is necessary. An appreciation of God is the foundation of freedom. A nation of atheists who had never been exposed to the behaviors delineated in the Commandments would cannibalize itself in just a few generations unless a heavy-handed government stepped in to control the population’s every move. Such a government would also operate sans God’s rules, thereby becoming ruthless and cruel, totalitarian and itself lawless.

But, but, but says the atheist, the Muslim, the Buddhist, don’t we have freedom of religion here? Well, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” doesn’t really say that you can believe anything you, or someone else, can conjure up. If you join a cult that practices human sacrifice, you’ll find yourself at odds with the law. If, you decide to become an Islamic jihadi, the DHS will not buy the 1st Amendment argument.

The next commandment tells us to take a day off each week. Man doesn’t appear to have ever done that prior to Moses and the Commandments. This Sabbath arrangement has two obvious purposes: one to set aside time to recognize our Creator, to celebrate all He has done for us, and for our own good, to take some time off, to rest. This is a practice we’d be wise to reinstate; too many of us work all the time and then we wonder why we suffer through divorces, drugged children, and heart disease.  

We are to honor our parents. If we did that, a large part of our school problems would evaporate, crime rates would go way down, and divorce rates may even slow. Parents, of course, need to be honorable, which gets us back to the other Mosaic mandates. A man who loves God and honors his mother is more likely to treat his wife and children wisely and well. Parents who avoid adultery and prevarication are more likely to be respected by their children. It goes round and round, but note, if the majority of Americans adhered to or even attempted to adhere to these commands, how much less government intervention in our lives would be necessary. If most of us walked away from the temptation to covet what others have, socialism would have no devotees.

Look for a moment at the 6th and 8th commandments and then think about cities like Chicago and Detroit. Both sins are making these cities into war zones so violent police can’t get control. Murder has become a way of life in those cities.

Now turn your gaze to the 2nd Amendment. What would happen in those cities if citizens were not hampered in their ability to protect themselves? And, on the other hand, what would fighting that crime look like without the 3rd and 4th Amendments – police ransacking their way through our houses, bedding down there if they felt like it. What would being arrested look like without the 5th, 6th, 7thand 8th amendments? If the police could force you to confess, could hold you in jail indefinitely, could turn your trial over to a judge, whom you’d have to face on your own. What if, once the sham of a trial was over, the judge could sentence you to be drawn and quartered?

Why is it that our government was willing to give its approval to such limited powers? Because those framers of the Constitution knew that their constituencies were people who already governed themselves; they knew that they could govern the society with very light reins.

The balance created by these 20 laws has made America great. Ten laws to govern the people, and 10 to govern the government, and if we have even one more generation that doesn’t have those ideas embedded in their bones, we will not survive.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Getting Things Done

 For years Americans have been bemoaning the slow pace at which both the legislative and executive branches of the government “get things done.” Of course, there is the question about whether or not we really want any more laws, but we agree that some actions really must occur: the repeal of Obamacare, the vetting of refugees, the cutting of taxes. We all know that we’re in a national bind on many fronts and that things must change. But how?

Allow me to point out three major concepts that must be in place before any kind of forward movement can happen. These used to be common sense, but good sense of any kind hasn’t been groovy now for several decades. So let’s review:

Any sensible manager, leader, or club president knows that you make policy to cover the general state of things; you don’t make policy for the exceptions. That is, however, what has been the common practice for at least the last 8 years. How many people are truly transgendered and stuck in the awkward position of not knowing which bathroom to use? And yet Obama instated policy that affects the safety and privacy of all Americans to protect the feelings of less than 1% of the population. What percentage of that population is both permanently gay and wanting to marry? Maybe 1%, and yet Christian business owners all over the country have been attacked because their biblical beliefs preclude them from aiding and abetting such a mandate. About 80% of Americans identify as Christian. What percentage of the population is Muslim? And yet Christian students all over the country are being indoctrinated into Islamic practices and beliefs.  What is that?

It is true, everyone knows, that not everyone fits into every scenario. We know some of us are square pegs that are not going to fit into society’s round holes. So do we just flip those folks off and go on about our business? No. We make exceptions for those folks as best we can. The high school where I spent most of my teaching career had a strict no-hats policy, no headgear of any kind. That policy was designed to keep gang signs to a minimum, to keep distractions down, and to teach the age-old etiquette of removing one’s hat as a symbol of respect. But then what did we do when a Sikh boy enrolled? His religion required him to wear his turban. Simple: we made an exception for him. This allowed us to maintain control without stepping on his religious toes.

Making exceptions is tricky because it requires that we actually think through all the ramifications. If a young girl wants to wear a burqa to school, we have another problem – what could she be hiding under that gear? If a young man wants to dress in the girls’ locker room because he claims to think he’s a girl, well, what could go wrong there? Wouldn’t an alternate shower room be better? Mightn’t it be better to see to it this kid gets some psychological help? It is much more efficient to set up systems that generally work well, and then deal individually with the exceptions.

But there’s the rub for the leftist, who doesn’t want to think of people as individuals. To do that would open all their pet theories and projects to the kind of negative scrutiny they deserve. So it’s zero-tolerance policies and 5-year-olds being suspended for the way they chew their Pop-tarts.

Which gets to the next simple rule that a functional organization follows: it recognizes the miracle that is each individual. A truly effective group makes it the highest value to respect the intelligence and good sense of its members. Yes, people all have flaws, but anyone who has lived any time at all (and paid attention) has noticed that making rules rarely improves behavior. (See previous point; the more rules we create, the more exceptions have to be made.) People are smart and inventive and will find ways around stupid rules. Yet, because folks are smart they can generally be counted on to fix things themselves without formalities.

As a high school teacher, I learned quickly that rules and regulations were a waste – I’d just have to spend time enforcing them. I knew my students weren’t just variable units of the exact same being; they were each totally unique and I had to engage each in lessons so interesting that rules were really irrelevant; I owed them that respect.

I am pleased to see President Trump demonstrate that same deference, in his appointments, his demeanor with foreign heads of state, but also in the ways he deals with private individuals providing quietly the help needed.  I think of the man to whom he recently handed a $10,000 check, of the way he stood behind Saeed Abedini during his Iranian imprisonment, of the relationships he has with his children. These things give me hope for a more personal government.

The third characteristic of a society that functions well is rationality. Leaders do not make policy on the basis of emotion, but rather on the basis of fact, of historical and economic patterns, of acceptance of reality. These past 8 years were devoid of this trait. Our news organizations have lost track of it as well.

This is the fault of America writ large; we are so used to emotion-laced entertainment, so drenched in drama – most of us can’t be interested in politics unless it, too, is a tear-drenched soap opera. We watch non-sequitor music videos, play endless, winless video games that feature no clear villain and no clear hero. We don’t study logic or even care to be concerned about reason.

So what happens when we have to make quick, efficient policy? We’re paralyzed by the fear that someone somewhere will have his feelings hurt or his plans inconvenienced. We hear the word “refugee” and we picture a sobbing 3-year-old girl with a dirty face – never mind the fact that the majority of European refugees have been battle-age males.

Facts, because they are often unpleasant or don’t fit our preconceived, comfortable mental images, are offensive. History, because it demonstrates clearly that progressive ideas are utterly insolvent, and because it is filled with facts, must either be rewritten or ignored. No unpleasantness allowed.

This recent kerfuffle about immigrant vetting is a good example of both courageous, logical leadership, and of the insane, over-reactive, emotional reaction of the left. How can reasonable policy be developed by people who, on the one hand hate Donald Trump because 25 years ago he said the p-word, and on the other hand march around the streets wearing vagina costumes and shrieking about blowing up the White House?

I spent 20 years teaching dance – follow me here; I’m not off the trail – and I always emphasized good technique because it prevents injury and allows the body to move more surely and more openly. The same is true for making policy; the right technique must be practiced. That right technique involves aiming that policy for the general mainstream, dealing with people as individuals, and using logic backed by real information. A society led by anything else will quickly slide over the edge of the falls. Then all you have left is emotion.

 

 

 

 

 

Reality Bites


Last Friday the dream came true. For nearly 25 years this country has labored under leadership that discounted the concerns of everyday, ordinary Americans, or, worse yet, tried to “fundamentally change” who we are. Friday Donald Trump let the country know that the ship is turning, which will be painful for some who didn’t know the ship was almost over the precipice.  Judging from the press reactions, and from the appalling demonstrations, we can clearly see where some assumptions will need adjustment. Reality is going to set up shop in Washington and we wait to see how that will go. Let’s look at some of these realities:

Reality #1 – The 4th estate is fragmenting – dispersing to individuals who may not be trained reporters, but who are at least, for the time being, independent of government. I get a chuckle out of those folks who get most of their news from NPR. At a time when the country is divided between pro- and anti-government ideologies a quasi-government organization is not likely to be unbiased.  In fact, the whole myth of unbiased news has been demolished. Now, Trump’s willingness to go over the heads of the mainstream news solidifies their demise. “No need for you, “ he’s saying, “ so shape up and stop lying.” We’ll see if they do.

Reality #2 – Our foreign relations fog is lifting which will expose the 21st century’s holocaust.  We will soon see clearly who is friend and who is enemy. We will see that we HAVE enemies. Obama thought he could bat his eyes at the bad guys and they would purr and rub up against his leg. He thought he could bow to those folks while kicking our friends in the shins and we’d hit some kind of magic equilibrium that would save the whole world. The next 4 years will untangle a lot of that nonsense, but will jerk the dreamers up by the short hairs. The reality is that the world is infested with evil people in powerful positions, and, as has always been the case, we must show more power so that good can prevail. That may get ugly before it gets better.

Reality #3 – Having had a black president for 8 years has availed the black population NOTHING, and has not alleviated one ounce of white guilt. Those stuck in the inner cities are far worse off than they were when Obama took office. The unemployment levels are sky-high, education is worse, and crime makes cities like Chicago and Detroit look like war zones. One can extrapolate from this that having a woman in the Oval Office will not improve the lot of women either. For one thing, American women are blessed. Ashley Judd had to stoop to complaining about the tax on tampons in order to work up enough civic anger to rouse her crowd. What tax on tampons? And that’s something the leader of the free world would concern himself with?

Reality #4 – America has had all it can take of identity politics – if we’re going to survive, we have to be one nation. If we are going to do that, we just can’t think of ourselves as mortally aggrieved members of some special tribe. Most Americans watched women marching around in vagina costumes and booby hats screaming incoherent and obscene slogans and realized that we’ve taken this idea of underdog whining to its illogical conclusion, and boy is it ugly.  Political demonstrations have their place-- if there is a political solution to the problem, but these mobs don’t even have a problem, let alone a reasonable solution. It was an embarrassing weekend for all reasonable people. I don’t see us falling for the poor-me moaning anymore. There is no integrity there -- get a job.

Reality #5 – Business isn’t the bad guy. Trump’s swamp-draining operation, if it can actually be done, will prove that, and we’ll see if that brings any clarity to the leftist mind. His tax-cutting, bring-business-home efforts will also hit the left hard, because it will have an amazing effect on the economy, on personal income, on the national debt. I’m sure of that because it has worked every time it’s been tried. The left has used business as the whipping boy – the bad, evil rich – and has so beleaguered businesses with taxes and regulations that corporations have had to stoop to lobbying and cozying up to government just to survive. Trump will cut manufacturing loose from all that. It will be fun watching the left eat crow, but they’ll choke on it.

Reality #6 – Energy isn’t the bad guy, either. The left is going to be bereft of its goblins. The pipelines will get built. Drilling will get going. The EPA will be muzzled. Cows will go on passing gas. And, amazement of amazements, the earth will not burn up and seas will not drown Manhattan. We all know this. The left will figure it out.

Reality #7 – This is a Christian country. Progressives don’t like that, but this election has proven them wrong. We don’t want Islam invading our neighborhoods and our schools. We don’t want Christian businessmen sued and harassed when they want to live by their religious convictions. We don’t want babies torn from their mothers’ wombs and sold like spare parts. We know the difference between true Christian charity and government theft. We refuse to limit our religious freedom to Sunday mornings. We intend to say, “Merry Christmas!”  Our schools teach our kids – by commission and by omission – that God is not real and then we are horrified when they fill the gap with drugs and sex. We’ve had enough. Done. This, too, will stick in the liberal craw because Christianity also works every time it’s tried.

Reality #8 – the Constitution is still alive and well. The Supreme Court will soon go back to using that document as their guidepost. Congress will regain its rightful place in the order of things. The states will be able to reassert their 10th Amendment sovereignty. And we, the people – the working, productive, decent people – will pay more attention and go back to being citizens of a proud and good nation.

Reality #9 – Patriotism is a good thing. It is a natural thing – and it has nothing to do with Nazi Germany.  The Nazis didn’t put Germany first; they put the Aryan race first and sacrificed the Germans – both Jew and Gentile – to promote it. Trump’s inaugural line, “If you’re a patriot you cannot be prejudiced,” solidifies that. “America First” is just common sense.
Will the left mend its ways?  No. The left is on the wrong side of history and I don’t mean “the losing side.” I mean the evil side. All you have to do is look at the inaugural riots and marches. The level of evil nastiness reached a crescendo that was painful for all decent people to watch. George Soros, the ex-Nazi billionaire who likes to brag about how many nations he’s destroyed, financed those protests. The vagina marches were organized by Sharia-supporters (illogical as that may seem), and Satanists marched proudly with the women demanding free abortions. That’s being on the evil side of things, and as long as God gives us time, evil will be here to fight.

America put on the brakes this election. We stuck our feet clear through the floorboards and screamed, “STOP!”  This will be an adjustment for our communist fellow Americans, but the wall Trump is going to build will not keep them from going to another country where tampons aren’t taxed so onerously and where public fit-throwing can remove a duly elected president.

 

Let Me Get This Straight…. A Readers’ Digest Condensed Version of the Election

Take a deep breath and try to follow along:
    Hillary cheated her way into the presidential candidacy. We know this because John Podesta’s password was “password ” so he spilled the beans.  This makes her an illegitimate candidate.
    But Trump is an illegitimate president because she won the popular vote.
    But she isn’t the president because:
        The Constitution says so, (but no one on the left understands this).
        Her server was not secure – which was illegal, but never mind. That’s what the FBI said, “Never mind.”
        Neither was Podesta’s – which was monumentally stupid,
        Neither was Huma’s, and Weiner got a hold of it – and he shouldn’t get a hold of anything,
        Wikileaks found out a lot of things and leaked some--
        Meanwhile:
                back in the Kremlin, Putin was lurking somewhere in the murky corners trying to decide who he wanted to root for,
                 back in Washington, FBI agents and CIA spooks were skulking around in the cyberbunk looking for smoking guns,
                  in newsrooms all over the country, editors were busy making up stories about Trump and burying things about Hillary
                  and out at the airport, Slick Willy was nose-to-nose with Loretta Lynch. Shortly thereafter, Comey made his speech declaring Hillary both guilty and innocent.

Then votes were counted, and counted, and counted. Ninety percent of the media swooned and foamed at the mouth.

Now, the man isn’t even in office yet, but screams of impeachment ricochet through the halls of Congress – which, by the way, is now also Republican – which makes it hard to prove that Trump stole the presidential election, but we’re talking about liberals here, so little proof is necessary. The left thinks this apocalypse is happening because of some weird alliance made up of Trump + Putin + the FBI + Rush, oh, and the KKK that, by means of Facebook memes and chem trails, crept into people’s minds and made them vote conservative. Am I remembering this right?  

Friday he’ll swear an oath on the Lincoln Bible promising to protect the people and the Constitution, but few celebrities will be there because either they’ve been threatened if they show, or they really think their absence will mark that day in infamy and the tape will rewind and Barry will walk backward into the Oval Office and their fairytale will continue. Screw Hillary. And not to worry; a couple million bikers are supposed to be there to keep the peace. This is how we elect presidents post Obama – that’s quite a legacy.

 

Nothing but the Truth


We are all, deep in our souls, disturbed by lies – even the left likes to complain about prevarications, if only at a surface level.  Instinctively we know that a society cannot function without some level of trust. If we can’t trust what our doctors tell us, what our children’s teachers tell us, what our newscasters, our pastors, our statesmen tell us, how can we function? If we can’t rely on our tradespeople, our manufacturers, our store owners, how can we carry on? Yes – buyer beware, but if commerce and government is nothing but a free-for-all, everything collapses.

These last 8 years have brought us very close to that crumbling edge. Our entire federal government, which has now engulfed the 4th estate, has turned its back on truth and we are going to have to be most diligent in returning it to its proper place.

To do that we will have to be able to discern truth from smoke and mirrors, a difficult task for beings who can only “see through a glass darkly.” I’ve been reading J. Warner Wallace’s book Cold-Case Christianity and he makes some interesting points. As a cold-case detective he has had to deal seriously with this question, so I take his analysis seriously. He points out that truth has 5 attributes that we must look for. Truth is always:
1.    Feasible; we can imagine anything, but we all (unless we’re completely disconnected from reality) know instinctively what is not only possible but plausible. The small truths will always reflect the big truths – about human nature, about nature, about the supernatural. Strange things occur, yes, but there is always a down-to-earth explanation – quantum physics, without realizing it, is now showing how it might have been that Jesus could have walked on water.
2.    Clear. Truth is simple, uncomplicated and fairly obvious.
3.    Thorough. It should answer all the questions, deal with all the arguments, and cover the bases – no loose ends left to trip on.
4.    Logical. God is not the author of confusion. I recently was part of a discussion involving an atheist scientist who tried to wiggle out of the corner he’d painted himself into by claiming that logic was merely a human construct, which can be employed when one wants to use it. No. Truth is always logical – though logic is not always truth.
5.    Superior. The truth is always of highest quality.
Now, Wallace is talking here in terms of the kind of truth one has to have to convict a person of a crime. What kind of proof is that? Proof beyond a reasonable doubt. There’s that pesky term reason again.

I love, and have quoted before, I’m sure, Ravi Zacharias’ line from Jesus Among Other Gods, that if God were to come crashing down into a room full of people “in all His Michaelangeloid glory” that half the people in the room would kneel in awe and the other half would wonder who had drugged their coffee.  He’s right. Proof doesn’t necessarily lead to acceptance and belief. Our sullied hearts are too hard for that.

The Pharisees of the New Testament were forever demanding signs (we modern, sophisticated people use the word proof). They wanted a demonstration that Jesus was indeed the Messiah, but after he healed the leper (the first time that had been done in all of Jewish history), after he restored sight to the blind, made the paralytic walk, and cast out demons, these “devout” men merely claimed that the miracles were done with the help of the devil and refused to see that Jesus was the Son of God. Why didn’t they accept these things, which they saw with their own eyes and which had been prophesied throughout the Old Testament, as proof?

Why didn’t the left see all the evidence stacked against Hillary as proof? Why don’t they see all the odd and questionable things in Obama’s murky past as at least cause for concern? Why don’t the NeverTrumpers see the actions Trump is taking as evidence that he means what he says? Because they blindly choose not to.

But let’s return to the courtroom approach -- we also have to look at another standard for proof – the civil case standard – the preponderance of the evidence – in other words, most of what we know has to point in one direction. A reasonable person will look at Fibonacci numbers and fractals, at the complexity of the human eye, at the clockwork precision of the galaxies and conclude that the preponderance of the evidence indicates a designer rather than random chance as the explanation for all things. A reasonable person would add up all the instances of voter fraud and conclude that there’s a problem. A reasonable person would want more than some computer models to believe in global warming. Preponderance.

Does proof in a legal sense have to be scientific? Does it have to involve forensics? Or can it be a pastiche of motive, location, availability, eye-witnesses, videos, tape recordings, etc.? (Actually, even “scientific” truth is in question these days because we have to realize that science takes money, lots of money, and money can buy results. A lab coat does not guarantee honesty and fairness; it is not synonymous with integrity.)

We expend a great deal of argumentative energy demanding scientific proof for everything from Hillary’s shenanigans to the creation of the universe, but, truth be told (and pardon the pun) science will not solve those conundrums because data has to be interpreted and interpretation opens the subjectivity door.

I teach college writing classes and we talk about the need for a thesis – stated or implied, and the need to back up that thesis with examples, logical arguments, or evidence. We don’t, however, talk about proof. Very little can be proven in the absolute sense of the word, and certainly not in a 10-page college paper.  We can, however, stack up the evidence and at some point, the scale on our side will outweigh the opposition.  But even that doesn’t necessarily mean we’ve persuaded anyone because stubbornness is also part of human nature. Most of those who loved Hillary to begin with kept loving her even after the Wikileaks material came out.  Those who saw Trump as a misogynist still saw him that way long after the claims were debunked.

So my point is that as we move into this next phase of our national existence, we are going to have to work hard at this truth thing. It isn’t something we can pawn off on the scientists, the experts – whatever that means (I actually heard on the radio the other day the term “pajama experts.” Gees.) We know we can’t rely on the mainstream media and who knows which of the startup news outlets are news and which are circus sideshows? And since we’ve socially embraced all that is perverse and silly and outrageous, we’re going to have a lot of trouble sorting out the outlandish lies from the actual occurrences – remember the woman with green lipstick sitting in a bath of Cheerios?

This will require us all to think, to develop defensible values, to use those to guide our decisions about how to translate the mountains of raw data dumped on us daily into some meaningful conclusions and rational, unemotional opinions. We have our good sense to go on, the rules of logic to follow, and we have the standards of the Word of God to bounce things off of.  We’ll fail from time to time, but when that happens, we’ll have to shake the cobwebs out of our brains and be more aware next time around. Truth is also vigilant.

 

 

 

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing!

Christmas marks the time when angels sang close enough to the earth that humans could hear them. Shepherds out on the hills outside Jerusalem watching over the flocks of sacrificial lambs must have been terrified at the sight of hundreds of glowing beings streaming at them from out of the cold, black sky. Talk about unidentified flying objects! “Be not afraid,” an angel said, which tells us how scared the shepherds must have been…
    “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”
 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:
 “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” (Luke 2:10-14)
 

Even the stars celebrated. Men traveled for weeks to honor this birth, on the mere say so of those stars -- wealthy, educated men. Can you even imagine? Christmas marks the time when God Himself stepped into history, took on a human body and committed Himself to live a life under the limitations of His own creation. Astounding. He walked into time to demonstrate to both humans and angels His perfect justice and mercy and His so doing made every life meaningful and redeemable.  

The miracle of Christmas – even after 2,000 years, even though watered down by all of our prosperous fuss-and-bother -- remains a breathtaking event. A baby born of a virgin, a perfect baby arriving on earth without the taint of Adam’s sin, born into an impossible situation; Mary, the virgin (all of 14 years old, 9 months pregnant and unmarried, traveling for three days on the back of a donkey only to find herself in labor, stuck in a barn, a cave really, far from home and the women who might have helped her) just she and her betrothed, Joseph, clueless except for the information he’d had from an angel – who talks to angels? How preposterous, how unlikely.

How astonishing that news of this baby’s arrival would so unhinge Herod that he’d order all male babies killed. What?!

And yet there the baby was, wrapped in swaddling clothes – strips of cloth used usually to wrap corpses in – wrapped as His body would be some 33 years later. There He was complete with the “same hinged thumbs and toes, the same valved heart….” (John Updike Seven Stanzas at Easter)

There he was
    “… this amazing Jesus
Who made Uranus and Venus became a fetus
It’s such a secret that few if anybody knew it
Months later, he’s covered in amniotic fluid

The subject of the gospels, praise of Apostles
Armed with eye sockets, arm pits and nostrils? (Shai Linne The Hypostatic Union)

So – it was a baby. Big deal. But this child would know more about God by the time he turned eleven than the priests in the Temple knew. This child would, by the time he became an adult, command crowds of thousands, heal the sick, raise the dead, cast out demons, and withstand the temptations of Satan himself. This baby would grow into the man that would one day storm into the Temple and overturn the tables of the money-cheaters. This baby would stand on the walls of Jerusalem and weep for His city, for what He knew would happen to it. This child would grow into the man Pontius Pilate would one day crucify – a horrifying event, accompanied as it was by earthquakes and lightning, a blood moon, and the Temple veil ripping from top to bottom.

And this is the baby who would, after being beaten beyond recognition, through the streets of Jerusalem, up to Golgotha with a cross dragging on his torn shoulders, nailed to that cross and hung up for all to ridicule, who after all that would die and then vanish from his grave to be seen and talked with by hundreds in the weeks after his brutal execution.

This baby was the “woman’s seed” promised in Genesis, the one Isaiah prophesied – “For unto us a son is given.” This baby would be the Lamb of God, the Wonderful Counselor, the Prince of Peace. He would be called Immanuel – God With Us. He will one day rule over the whole world from his throne in Jerusalem.

This is a baby who would walk on water, and calm the storm, who would feed the 5,000 and bring Lazarus out of his 4-day tomb. That baby. THE baby. The one who would hang on that cross and finally, after hours and hours, shout, “Tetelestai!” It is finished. In fact, if one looks closely at the Greek here, it means, “finished in the past with results that continue forever.” Ah… THAT baby. The one who would take the punishment that the justice of God demanded from each of us. The one who condensed all of the law into two – Love God, and love your neighbor – and then showed us what that might entail, and what the ultimate reward would be. The “not my will but Thine” baby.  That baby.

Hail the heav'n-born Prince of Peace! /Hail the Son of Righteousness! /Light and life to all He brings /Ris'n with healing in His wings/ Mild He lays His glory by /Born that man no more may die /Born to raise the sons of earth/ Born to give them second birth /Hark! The herald angels sing /"Glory to the newborn King!"    (Charles Wesley 1739)

 

 

 

Faux News and the Value of Truth

 Gold supplies have always been small enough to keep gold valuable. The same is true of Cuban cigars, Russian caviar, and hand-built Italian sports cars. And now we find that the truth – about both particulars and universals – has become so unusual, so scarce that many of us would give all we have for just a drop of it.

Consider how hard it is just to find out what important political events happened on any given day. We used to be able to turn on the local news station at 6:00 p.m. and a handsomish man with slick, dark hair would read the latest happenings to us off a sheet of paper.  Then another man would point a stick at a map and tell us what the weather would do the next day.  We believed the newsman and paid little attention to the weatherman because he was rarely right.  It was simple.

We know now that they weren’t telling us everything; we didn’t know that JFK was sleeping around or that LBJ was a jerk. True. But they didn’t specialize in making things up, in just digging up dirt. I suspect that the switch to 24-hour news has put a lot of pressure on stations to produce enough juicy stuff to fill the hours and attract viewers.  And I understand that reporters are expensive, so, even though the world is just chock-full of fascinating happenings, they can’t cover everything and tend to beat the life out of what few events they do investigate.

That’s all a given, but I think we need to make some rules about the news, shake the bugs out of the rug, so to speak. Mostly we need to define news and we’ll do that by declaring what it’s not.

News is not what a person has said in an ordinary conversation.  That’s gossip, not news.  If a powerful person gives a public speech, what he or she says needs reporting, but if MollySue McGillicutty says something in an offhand way at a dinner party, that is none of anyone’s business. When Hillary asked, during a Congressional hearing, “What difference, at this point, does it make?” that was news – we learned a lot about her from that one, very public sentence. When a tape was leaked of Trump making a crude remark in a private conversation 20 years ago that was gossip. And it was twisted and misconstrued into a “confession of sexual assault.” Which brings up another point:

News is not what we want it to be; it is what it is. When Mary Mapes and Dan Rather went after George W. Bush about his stint in the National Guard, they were trying to find something with which to attack him during his second term candidacy. They weren’t reporting anything pertinent to the nation’s wellbeing; they were trying to defame him and they wanted that so badly they were willing to accept as truthful a fabricated document. Journalism schools need to be making that clear – news is what is. Period.

Which brings up another point: news is not narrative, not in the fictional sense. You don’t get to make up a story just to fit a preconceived “narrative” – a code word that means, “what we wish were true.” You don’t get to twist your phrasing to make the story mean something it doesn’t. You don’t get to mess with the bare facts. Innuendo has no place in a news story.

On another note, a free press is not a means for changing a society. Anyone who got into the news business with the idea that he or she was going to change the world is out of line and suffering from a highly contagious form of arrogance. It is the business of the 4th estate to keep a watchful eye on government in order to maintain the status quo, to keep corruption at bay, to keep the public informed. What the public does with that raw information is up to the public, and given the sinful nature of human beings, any change we concoct is likely to be a mess, anyway.

News is also not history. History is 10 years ago, a hundred years ago, a millennium ago. News is yesterday. There has to be a statute of limitations on past mis-steps, on things we let slip, or mistakes people have made. We must make room for growth and improvement in a person’s character. At some point bygones need to be gone. Digging up old dirt is just that – old dirt; it is not relevant and it is not news.

What might happen in the future is also not news. We don’t know the future – no matter how much of an expert (an un-measurable term that we should always be concerned about) a person claims to be, anything he or she predicts is not news. The future is, generally speaking, unknowable; this is a good thing. The present has enough going on to keep us busy and we can’t do much about what befalls tomorrow anyway. We’ve learned to be suspicious of the weather man for just that reason, but let a newscaster tell us that in 15 years the polar ice caps will have melted and New York will be under water, and we forget all about the unpredictability of tomorrow’s high.

The problem with forecasting the news is multifaceted. In the first place, if you say often enough that in 10 years most teenagers will have contracted an STD, you might normalize that idea so much that you contribute to the nonchalance with which teenagers regard that specter. You end up causing the event by your prediction. Secondly, if people expect a certain thing to happen, they see it as a done deal and you end up causing intense confusion when it doesn’t. Just look at this election. We have the fascinating situation now where newsfolk are so shocked that their own prediction didn’t pan out that they’re barely coherent. They made the mistake of believing their own story.        

We don’t know, even in this Information Age, who will start the next war, which volcano will erupt when, where the next hurricane will form or tornado will touch down. We don’t know which team will win the Super Bowl, or whether or not Obama will pack up and go away. We don’t know and we need the humility to admit that. News organizations are so busy trying to outscoop the next guy that they leap on into next week, but that is not news; it’s guessing, educated or not.

And now, post election, we find the very people who so happily manufactured lie after lie after lie (and tried to sell them as news) so unhappy with the ineffectiveness of those lies that they’ve suddenly noticed a new phenomenon – fake news. What a revelation! Why, we conservatives had no idea! How typical – accusing the opposition of doing what you’ve been blatantly doing all along, and having the audacity to act shocked.

Yes, reader beware -- of course. But it has become harder and harder to tell which organizations are dependable and which aren’t now that the Gray Lady has shown she can’t be trusted. What are we to do? When actual events are adequately shocking and outlandish, it gets hard for even the most highly developed common sense to tell if a story is too weird to believe. News sites all look real, even when they’re satire (which now means “prank”), even when they’re on the opposite side from what they claim to be, even when they belong in the sideshow of a traveling circus.

The truth may be rare, but even so, it is not a luxury. It is an absolute necessity, even if it as costly as gold.

 

 

 

The Opposite of Right

Many times in the last 8 years we have had to endure Barrack Obama’s pontification --“That is not who we are.” Really? Who are we? The Left has no idea. We – all human beings – are not what the Left likes to pretend we are, and therein lies the rub.

This election has turned the spotlight on the vast, wind-swept chasm between Worldview Left and Worldview Right. In the early days of the union people differed as to how much power the federal government needed, but beyond that, they appear to have all started from similar launching pads. While the government power-divide issue still exists, a much bigger dichotomy of assumptions grows ever more blatant -- assumptions about the nature of truth and the nature of man.

Team Left bases all its philosophical conclusions on the conjectures that absolute truth is absolutely nonexistent, and that human beings are basically good. The first is a silly, self-refuting statement and the second requires the wearing of serious blinders – we do not behave as if we’re morally responsible, loving beings.  

Team Right, spinning off of our nation’s Christian beginnings, sees Truth as a foundational, capital-letter concept and that Truth includes divine moral standards. Also, leaning back on biblical basics, the Right sees man as 1) made in the image of God and therefore valuable, but 2) fallen and therefore not to be trusted to live by the Truth that we so seriously value. The Right relies on common sense.

The walloping the Left took this election has been hard for them to handle, not because liberals were in love with Hillary, but because their most basal ideas just got kicked in the philosophical ribs; they’ve had the breath knocked out of them.

Being a leftist requires a huge amount of imagination and wishful thinking. One has to believe, in one’s heart of hearts, that society is to blame for man’s foul habits. We human beings, if as righteous as they believe we all are, would not rob and kill and rape and lie unless something extraneous drove us to it, so society takes the blame, never mind the fact that said society is made up of these badly behaving, yet “perfect” creatures.

Social organization is to blame, essentially for itself, which is an untenable thought, so the Leftist must believe that it’s possible to change that organization -- if enough people decide to “change the world” then utopia is in sight. Right? It has to be.

If we pass enough laws everyone will obey. If we take enough money from the rich, the poor will cease to exist. If we erase boundaries and ignore the differences between nations, there will be no more war. If we pretend that sinful behavior isn’t a choice we make, then we’ve eradicated sin. Easy peasy.

However, in order to do that we need massive government – run by our fellow man, who is still damaged by our less-than-perfect social environment, but who will, nevertheless, have life-or-death power over us all, and will ring a Brave New World.

In order to extract enough money from the rich, we have to 1) define down “rich” until it covers even those in the middle class – there aren’t enough of the wealthy to do the job -- and 2) convince the “rich” that they want to keep working in spite of the fact that the money they earn will go to others they neither know nor love, to others who do not work. This gets us back to oppressive governing techniques.

If we plan on avoiding war by playing nicey-nice with sworn enemies, we will have to embark on a dangerous mission of tip-toeing around atrocities and getting used to being attacked. If we pretend that sexual promiscuity, homosexual practices, and pederasty are not sinful then we have close our eyes to the dissolution of the family (which does destroy societies), damaged psyches, and rampant sexually transmitted diseases. If we think we can run a tidy community whilst lying to each other about everything important, we have no way to organize commerce, no way to maintain friendships, no way to choose those who will govern us.

Since all of this is really hard to accomplish, we have to take one more step: we have to change the language. That way if we fail to wipe out poverty, we can still talk like we succeeded. If we run up against implacable enemies, we can just quit calling them enemies. We can change the meaning of “marriage,” narrow the definition of “racism,” and twist “tolerance” into forced acceptance.  But this gets us right back to government again.

Team Right, relying on God and common sense, studies history, observes our fellow man and realizes that nothing can be built on a lie. We call a spade a spade and we like others who do – hence Trump’s popularity. We know we are all self-interested and likely to take that too far. We can admit that, without standards, we run amuck, but we only trust God to determine what those standards will be. We also know that God has given us all intelligence and ingenuity and the ability to work and that, given adequate freedom and encouragement, we will do a fabulous job of taking care of ourselves.

Team Left, having killed off God with their stance on Truth, has no common standards, no greater purpose, no One to rely on besides the government they’ve built out of smoke and mirrors, so liberals will defend their “leaders” with irrational fury. Their governmental betters are all that stands between them and the awful truth (pardon the expression) that they have been very wrong about some very important things.

This election, and even more, the coming Trump administration, will prove the error of their most basic assumptions. Just as the discoveries of the Intelligent Design scientists has given their Darwinian colleagues a bad case of the vapors, Donald Trump is going to poke huge holes in the hot air balloons of socialism, hedonism, and pacifism.

We, all of us, are imperfect and will, Truth be told, need to look out for our selves. It’s not just that Trump won, but that this election also shone a light on the inevitable corruption of a government built on two serious misunderstandings.  The Left does not know who we are, preferring the make-believe version of human nature to the obvious truth, but this election taught me that much of America has still got it right – Truth is truth and man is flawed. The opposite of right isn’t left; the opposite of right is wrong.

 

Wailing and Gnashing of Teeth

Cuts heal slowly, and they heal even more slowly if picked at and chewed on. We can, however, gain some insight into the wreckage of this election if we do a little calm analysis. I have the privilege of still being in contact with many of the students I taught years and years ago and watching their reaction to the Trump presidency has disturbed me. These young people are smart, well-educated (in the 21st century sense of the word), and hold responsible jobs. They aren’t discontent n’er-do-wells. Most of them, in spite of having sat in my classroom, are left of center and are filled with self-righteous indignation, and they are scared. I’ve been mulling this over, trying to figure out why fear is such a big part of this and I have some ideas.

For one thing, the 18-25 age group has never consciously known any other administration than Barak Obama’s. They have no personal experience with a Constitutional president. They see the presidency as an absolute power and seem to think that Trump will just sail into the Oval Office and start wildly issuing near-Papal bulls outlawing birth control and locking up the LGBT crowd. They seem to think that he can, within days, pack the Supreme Court – whether anyone resigns or not.

It is true that he can rescind any of Obama’s holy decrees that he chooses, and when he chooses – but that’s what we all elected him to do. He can, if he wants, send back to the states responsibilities that the federal government had previously absorbed, as per the 10th Amendment. It’s interesting that this seems to be scary to these young people; I suspect they’ve grown accustomed to thinking of the federal government as a deity of sorts and find the dissolution of that god frightening.

They are really, really scared about global warming and The Donald’s disdain for the concept. I noticed this fear years ago when I was still in the classroom. My colleagues were doing a bang-up job terrifying kids about this issue – I read hundreds of papers (I was an English teacher) wherein students bemoaned the fate of the planet. Occasionally one would come flying into my classroom, breathless and shocked, asking if it was true that I didn’t believe in global warming. Well that chicken has come home to roost. How are we going to unteach all these well-drenched people that it was all nonsense to begin with? It’s easy to prove, but this will take much more than proof.

They also seem to have no idea what danger the nation has been in for the last 8 years. They should have been frightened then, very frightened. In fact, they seem to have no concern at all for our national entity. They care about themselves and their families, but not for the nation, and not for their freedom -- in any sense other than their cherished license to climb into bed with whomever, whenever, sans consequences.

They’ve been most thoroughly taught that there is no absolute truth, and no objective reality. Therefore, they have felt fine believing that their own made-up rules of behavior are valid and must be obeyed by everyone; that if they want socialism to work, it will; that white people are the cause of all problems; that human nature can be changed by banning words; that ISIS is ok and no danger to us; that their freedoms and prosperity will always, effortlessly go on forever; and, most importantly, that the Constitution is irrelevant.

Trump’s election poked a huge hole in that balloon and these kids hit the ground with a spine-cracking thud. They had actually believed the media and the polls. This is not their fault, however. They had believed their teachers, their parents, the culture at large. Their brains, despite being efficient and filled with all kinds of impressive expertise, are thoroughly saturated with the idea that all conservatives are, to quote a recent presidential candidate, “deplorable;” that what people say is more important than what they do; and that lying to achieve a properly leftist agenda is just fine.

This election’s outcome has them pretty thoroughly discombobulated. It’s starting to dawn on them that all that fairytale stuff they’ve been stuffed with may not be true, a rough landing indeed.

What’s made it even rougher is that our current Commander-in-Chief has spent the last eight years demonstrating that it’s ok to be intolerant of people with whom they disagree, showing them how to stick stubbornly to their own version of reality regardless of the facts, and how to keep on demanding what they have no right to demand. Being a leader involves not only the power to give orders and sign laws, but a leader’s very soul trickles down into the tiniest crevices, fills up the smallest capillaries, and if one didn’t know better, hadn’t seen other styles of leadership, one wouldn’t know that the example is bogus.

At the beginning of my teaching career I taught in a small school whose principal, a kind, decent man, left in the middle of the year. Our new principal, who was quite different and suffered, I suspect, from an advanced case of paranoia, changed the tenor of the entire school within days. Students, who weren’t used to being treated like delinquents, started acting like they were. We teachers developed our own brand of paranoia—we learned quickly that the nicer he was to us, the more horrible his next move would be.

Later that year, he disappeared. He told the superintendent that he was off to a conference and just never returned. Within days of his departure the school snapped back into its gentle, relaxed tenor and life returned to normal.

I tell this story because I so hope that the same thing will happen in Washington. Donald Trump trusts the American people, even the deplorable, bitter clingers, to work hard, to support him, and we will, in turn, trust him to do what he promised. I don’t think it will take long for his realism to saturate everyday life.

Whether our millennials will be able to grasp and apply this new paradigm I don’t know. It may be that’s what they’re afraid of – having to do that. It will be hard. They’ve not been taught to think in syllogisms, but rather in sound bites and lists of isms and ists. The history they’ve been taught is so fraught with untruth and innuendo that they don’t even have that to fall back on. And since some 80% of Christian students have their faith torn to shreds in college, they don’t have that anymore either.

I, like everyone else, am really tired of being labeled and disparaged by people younger than my grandchildren. I’m exhausted from trying to reason with folks who don’t have any sense of actual morality or logic—it’s OK for my candidate to do this, but when yours merely says it – horror upon horrors. But I’m also aware that these bright young people have been sold a bill of goods that our generation paid for.

I started complaining about what the schools were doing to kids 40 years ago and it got me nowhere. I started teaching myself, argued with my colleagues and ultimately closed my classroom door and tried my best to teach clear thinking. With a few I succeeded. So, I’m not sure what else we could have done, but I do know that it is not the fault of these kids. As they bind up their wounds and whine and cry and throw fits I’m going to try to remember that this is where liberalism, where leftist, socialist thinking has lead us -- to a generation that can do nothing to cope but paint misspelled signs and scream about fascism – a word that to them means nothing.

 

Pearls and Swine

It’s time somebody laid this out. I’m tired of being told to vote on principle, to vote my conscience like a vote for Trump couldn’t possibly fit that mold, as if wasting my precious, bought-with-blood vote on a person I’ve never even heard of, like James G. Birney (Liberty Party) would somehow put the universe back into its normal spin. What’s more, these NeverTrumpers are fanatically furious about it, as if Trump didn’t win the primary properly.

I live in Oregon and we don’t have our primaries until May, so the vote I cast for Cruz amounted to nothing more than the carrying out of my earlier decision; I knew it would have no effect on the outcome one way or the other; it was a symbolic vote. Then came the convention and Cruz’s speech and my deeply felt disappointment in him, and my admiration for both Trump’s masterful playing of his opponents and his obvious, genuine pride in his children. Come November, I will be voting my conscience just as Cruz urged, but I’ll be casting that vote for Donald Trump..

I will be doing so because I live by these principles:

I believe in freedom. God created mankind with free will and he flourishes best when his volition has the most leeway. Hillary Clinton will destroy, via the bench, any shred of freedom we have left. A refusal to vote for Trump gives her and her evil a leg up. I refuse to provide that for her.

I believe that there is such a thing as absolute truth. I believe that connected to that is my awareness of objective reality.
Reality #1: A conservative candidate must actually win a term in the White House in order for it to matter at all. We need conservative policies, not just a figurehead.
Reality #2: In order to do that the electorate, which is a smart but busy bunch of people, must know who the candidate is. I have been angrily exhorted to vote for Tom Hoefling or Darrell Castle, who may very well be fabulous men, but I keep close watch on conservative politics and I’ve never heard of them, they didn’t even make the primary stage, let alone win, so how can they win the general?
Reality #3: The American psyche is a brash, energetic, no-nonsense, just get-er-done mentality. As is the Donald. We are an adaptable, idiosyncratic, fiercely independent people. As is Trump. The media has become elitist. Academia has done the same, but the average, ordinary American is a street-smart, savvy, inventive guy and when Americans look at Trump they see themselves. They’ll vote for themselves.

I believe that God intended for people to live in countries, to develop a love for their countries, a protectiveness for their homes. I believe in loyalty. I do not buy the elitist multiculturalism tripe, as if all cultures are as valid and virtuous as every other. They aren’t. Throughout history God has used one nation to vaporize those cultures that become lethally evil -- the Amalekites of the Bible who believed they needed to throw their babies into the fires of Molech while they had ritual sex, the Assyrians who held contests to see which soldier could skin his captive yet still keep him alive. Without borders, without countries we’d have no way to rid the world of such evil. What would have happened in the 1930’s if Hitler had come to power, not in Germany, but over the whole world? Who would have stopped him? I’ll vote for the candidate that has the best chance of protecting our borders… someone who at least thinks we should have borders.


I also believe that America has served as God’s surrogate for most of its existence. I believe it is special. I believe that we’re not down here on our own, but that God has a plan not only individually, but corporately. God has a plan for this nation much like He had for Israel and Israel blew it many times, in fact she was more often out of God’s will than she was in it, and yet Israel still is. America came into being as no other nation has. She is the product of the coming together of a group of extraordinary men and women in an extraordinary place at exactly the right time. That was God acting in history, and no matter how bad things seem, He’s still there, nudging us, whacking us on the rear, but still providing a way out, if we’re wise enough to follow it.

I also believe that God uses surprising people. Look at the women in the line of Christ: Tamar, who seduced her father-in-law, Rahab, the prostitute who helped Joshua take Jericho, Ruth, a Moabite, Bathsheba, David’s married concubine, Mary who was unmarried, 14-years-old and pregnant. Not your average prissy church ladies and yet they are named in scripture, their stories told, their place in the lineage of Our Lord clearly proclaimed.

Look at David, who not only seduced Bathsheba, but had her husband murdered, and yet he was God’s anointed and the best king Israel ever had. Look at Moses who killed an Egyptian taskmaster, at Paul who was, by his own admission, the chief sinner in Israel, at Peter who denied Christ 3 times. I could go on and on. I believe that we are all sinners in God’s eyes, and that He sees those of us who have believed that Christ died to pay for that sinfulness as unique individuals that He created to be full of awesome potential. If He chooses to use Donald Trump, then who am I to say no?

I also believe in logic. If I stick my stubborn, snobby nose in the air and proclaim that Trump is inadequately unsullied to deserve my pristine, picky vote and I either stay home, or write in some unknown, make-believe name, then I’ve succeeded in assisting the election of a woman whose behavior is clearly criminal. That does not serve logic. If I refuse to buy a very serviceable car because the previous owner cheated on his wife and is often rude, and buy instead a broken-down stolen car from a drug dealer – how does that make sense?

Yesterday, a woman I was discussing this with said, regarding another person in the discussion, “You should respect his vote. It’s his and he can do what he wants with it.” Yes. Of course, but a vote isn’t like picking out a paint color. You can paint your living room snot green or bubblegum pink; it’s your living room, and I don’t have to look at it.  But your vote affects me and mine. If you help Hillary into the White House, America is over. And I can’t respect a vote that is thrown away; if it’s of so little value to the NeverTrumper, why should I see it as holy?

Remember the passage in Matthew (7:6) when Christ warns, “"Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.” He was speaking of the gospel, but the message can be applied here. My vote is a precious pearl and I’m NOT throwing it to the dogs, not even if they’re very nice dogs. I’m voting my conscience.