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Theology That Bites Back
Updated: 1 hour 33 min ago

The RBG RPG in a Time of RTG

Mon, 21/09/2020 - 15:45
Introduction

The passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg (RBG) has launched a rocket propelled grenade (RPG) into an genuinely tumultuous and vexed presidential campaign. And that campaign was already RTG (Really Tumultuous Garbage).

The president, of course, is going to nominate someone to fill Ginsburg’s seat, and Cocaine Mitch has already said that there will be a vote on the Senate floor for that nominee.

The only thing that could make this election year any zestier would be if RBG’s seat was not filled for some reason and the election came down to the wire in some swing state that naturally resulted in legal challenges, and for those legal challenges to wind their way up to a court that had only 8 members and could easily split 4/4. So whatever we do, let’s not do that.

So let us talk about filling that seat, shall we?

Is the Merrick Garland Problem an Actual Problem?

So far from being an example of high hypocrisy, the Merrick Garland problem is not really a problem at all. Recall that Obama nominated Merrick Garland for the Supreme Court, and Mitch McConnell refused to bring it to a vote in the Senate because a presidential election was in progress. Let the American people decide, said he. Well, the argument goes, there is an election in progress now. Why are you willing to bring it to a vote now? What’s with that, Mr. Let-the-American-people decide?

And the answer is simple. McConnell refused to bring it to a vote because there was an election in process AND because the two entities involved in the confirmation process, the White House and the Senate, were controlled by opposing political parties.

I have no doubt that if Hillary had won the election, McConnell would have then brought Garland forward for a vote. And, had he done so, and if the Senate was still controlled by Republicans, they would have had every right to refuse to confirm the nomination. It is worth remembering that the Senate has every constitutional right to refuse to confirm a president’s nominee. The Senate doesn’t owe anybody a confirmation. When the Senate is controlled by the opposing political party, it shouldn’t be surprising when such a showdown happens. When the Democrats have the Senate and the president is a Republican, that’s the name of the game, and vice versa. That is what the battle is all about. So when Mitch refused bring Garland forward, he was simply doing it the clean way and forgoing all the bogus rape allegations.

In this case, with the Ginsburg seat, the Republicans have the White House and the Republicans also have the Senate. As Ted Cruz has pointed out, we are in a situation that has occurred 29 times in the past, meaning a nomination for the Supreme Court being put forward in the same year as a presidential election. In 19 of those cases, the Senate and the White House were held by the same party, and the nominations were confirmed for all but 2 of them. In the remaining 10 instances, the Senate and the White House were in the hands of opposing political parties. In those 10 instances, only 2 nominations were confirmed. Merrick Garland was one of the eight who was not confirmed. That was not a high miscarriage of justice, but something closer to everybody’s standard operating procedure.

With Garland, the Democrats treated it as a gross violation of the rules because their definition of rule violations is anything that crosses their purposes.

So there is actually straight line consistency here. McConnell displeased the Democrats in the Garland case, and he is going to displease them again with regard to whatever child rapist and drug smuggler the president might choose to nominate this time.

Dirty Politics

What McConnell did to the Democrats was politics. What the Left does to any nominees who might threaten their sacrament of abortion is character assassination. Sometimes it works for them, and sometimes it doesn’t, but it is a play they always run if they can. Think Robert Bork. Think Clarence Thomas. Think Brett Kavanaugh. Think of the next nominee who is going to be treated like the second in command of the Tijuana Drug Cartel.

The thing that was so surprising about Mitch’s stand in the Garland case was that he withstood an enormous amount of pressure, not caring what it looked like. But Republicans ALWAYS care what it looks like. That is what Republicans do. They care what it looks like. Democrats never care what it looks like. The Democrats don’t have to care what it looks like because they have an ever-compliant media that is willing to turn their dirtiest deeds into a concern for climate change.

I know that I am generalizing here, but the reason Republicans care what it looks like is that they have dual loyalties that are still operative, and they are still operative because Republicans are good at kidding themselves. They have a loyalty to their party and their principles, on the one hand, and they also have a loyalty to an almost forgotten tradition, that of a two-party system where the other party was thought of as “the loyal opposition.” They still have a loyalty to the idea of getting along with the opposition. This can work when the politics are not inflamed and toxic, but in a time like ours it is simply a culpable and blameworthy anachronism. So the Republicans have a moral responsibility to do what it takes, within the framework of the rule of law, to fill Ginsburg’s seat before the election.

The Myth of Judicial Neutrality

John Roberts once revealed his deep and abiding faith in one of the great myths of our time, a myth that floats like a swampy green miasma above our courts and law schools. Trump had popped off one time about some “Obama judge,” and Roberts responded at the time to the outrage with a carefully parsed non sequitur.

“We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges, What we have is an extraordinary group of dedicated judges doing their level best to do equal right to those appearing before them.. That independent judiciary is something we should all be thankful for.”

John Roberts, in a carefully parsed statement

What I would like to do here, for your edification and possible amusement, is parse this carefully parsed statement myself, and hold up some of the pieces so that you can see them a bit more clearly.

First, is there anybody on the planet who actually thinks this? If there is no such thing as a Trump judge, then why does everyone have a case of the jim jams over the nomination process that is beginning right now? We have no Trump judges and we have no Biden judges! There is no difference! All we have, as far as the eye can see, is “dedicated judges” doing their “level best.”

“Well, that’s enough for me, Melvin. I guess we can rest easy now.”

If by Obama judge, or Trump judge, or whatever, we mean that wires are run between the nominating president and the judge occupying the judicial seat, through which wires signals are sent indicating which way the judge is supposed to vote, Roberts was quite right. We do have an independent judiciary. Judges are not political appointments, and they do not serve at the pleasure of the president who nominated them. Once appointed, they are ensconced in the woodwork.

This is why so many justices can “grow in office,” meaning that they can start to betray the principles that got them the nomination in the first place. This is a kind of independence that John Roberts should know something about. He has been able to drift as far left as he has precisely because judges really are independent that sense.

But judges are not independent of their own judicial philosophy, and presidents with their various political commitments try to pick nominees who are in line with their own philosophy. This is why Supreme Court confirmation battles matter; they are battles over the future of our legal tradition. They are battles over which direction we will go. If Biden were to fill Ginsburg’s seat, the lives of our grandchildren will be very different.

Roe and the Republicans

For years, we have been told that questions about general judicial philosophy are legit, but direct questions about Roe or the Next Roe should be off the table. We must not have a “litmus test.” This was done on the basis of a shared buy-in to the myth of judicial neutrality. And this is why Republicans have gotten rolled so frequently during confirmation hearings.

But this is not the result of the Republicans not meaning what they say. It is the result of the structure of the Senate, and the fact that the Senate is almost evenly divided. When it comes down to a controversial vote, this structure gives all the power of a swing vote to the Collinses and Murkowskis of the world. So sticky questions for the nominee are asked and answered in code, which gives the liberal Republicans room to vote for someone who might overturn Roe, it gives the nominee room to go native after he is appointed, and so forth.

Judges really are independent, but don’t you find it curious that no left-wing judge has used that independence to move steadily to the right, becoming at the last a reliable conservative vote? Nobody does that. But about half the Republican appointments to the High Court drift left over time, leaving the sad wisps of a cautionary tale behind them.

But the important thing to remember is that about half of them do not drift.

And that matters.

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Categories: People I don't know

Sons of Adam, Daughters of Eve/Young Men and their Strength

Sat, 19/09/2020 - 15:38
Introduction

As we seek to address the marital dislocations that confront us in every direction, remember that we want to do so in a way that respects the men, particularly the young men. If they don’t solve the problem, then nobody is going to solve the problem. And if the problem is caused by our culture-wide hostility to masculinity, we will only be pouring gasoline on these cultural fires if we bring along any additional contempt.

The Text

“And of the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do . . .” (1 Chron. 12:32).

Summary of the Text

Remember that the Word of God is given to men, and this means that it is not thrown into the Abyss or Void. In order to understand the Word, it is necessary to understand how it was intended to be applied, and that requires exegesis of the times. If you require that every biblical solution for every 21st century problem be spoon fed to us right out of the text, straight across and with no translation, you want something that is not going to happen. Scripture says nothing about computer dating services. At the same time, we do not want to coming up with our own vanities, willy nilly, independent of the authority of the Word. That is the sure road to self-deception. We want men of Issachar, saturated in the Word, and attuned to the times.

The Glory of Young Men

The glory of young men is their strength, but it has to be the kind of strength exhibited by the men of Issachar. John wrote to young men because they had overcome the wicked one (1 John 2:13). John wrote to the young men because they were strong, and they were strong because of the Word of God abiding in them (1 John 2:14). Again, they overcame the wicked one—but the wicked one is the father of lies. This great work is therefore done, through faith, by exulting in the truth.

One of the Lies of Feminism

Before addressing one of the most corrosive lies of feminism, we need to be reminded that the really potent lies are the ones that have a strand of truth running through them. Ardent feminists have argued for some time now that traditional marriage is simply a respectable form of prostitution. They advance this argument by making the (quite obvious) point that marriage involves an economic exchange, one that includes within its terms money for sex and sex for money.

Now marriage is an economic institution, and that’s the point. Even our word economy comes from the Greek word for household. But prostitution is not an evil because it includes sex and money; it is an evil because of what it excludes—it excludes kids, and fidelity, and curtains, and mowing the lawn. It also excludes love, but we have to be careful with that because of how greatly we have distorted what love means. But sex and money are supposed to be located near the center of your entire life, and not be some adjunct to your life.

Three Chickens and a Cow?

Whenever someone starts investigating market realities and traditional marriage, it takes about five minutes before someone starts yelling about dowries, and bartering for brides. But our modern cyber system has simply relocated and distorted the monetary exchanges that are involved—it has not eliminated them. If you want to do any serious interacting on eHarmony, you will need, ahem, a paid subscription.

As the whole world knows, men and women are different. Since I have gotten you ready for this, let us talk about this in terms of the stark realities of supply and demand. Men and women are differently sexually, and one of the differences can be seen here. Men represent the demand side, and women the supply. In the older order, the order we have demolished in the name of liberating women (ha!), men agreed to give up their roistering ways in exchange for something stable his wife would then supply—respect, loyalty, sex, legitimate offspring, and a stake in the future of civilization. Because he had to surrender the rest of his life for this staggering privilege, what she was therefore supplying was a high-end luxury item. “Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD” (Prov. 18:22).

So instead of this, what has the sexual revolution accomplished? What has our vaunted feminist liberation done—all in the name of eliminating the commodification of women? It has not eliminated the commodification of women. What it has done is send the price crashing through the floor. What has abortion done? It subsidizes irresponsible men. What has ubiquitous porn done? It caters to irresponsible men. What has the expectation of sex by the second date done? It flatters irresponsible men. Hey! Where did all these irresponsible men come from? If our generation were the prodigal son, we are now at the point in the story where we are staring at the pig food, and all the painted ladies are off with some other good time Charlie.

And incidentally, we live in a time when more evangelical “thought leaders” will be offended that I spoke of women in terms of “the price” than have been offended by the actual damage that countless women have suffered through having their value directly challenged and denied. You can refuse to set a price on a woman in two ways, you know. You can deem her priceless—“Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies” (Prov. 31:10). Or, on the other hand, you might deem her priceless because you have run her clean out of the market in the other direction. What we are dealing with is a sexual market crash.

Now sadly, too many Christians participate in some or all of these actual compromises, things like porn or hooking up. But even those who do not participate directly in the overtly immoral aspects of it are still having to function in a market where all the expectations and prices have been dislocated. It is like the private school that has to charge for what the government schools are promising to give away for free.

Someone can make a moral decision in a climate that was created by a host of immoral decisions, but that doesn’t keep it from being negative. I am about to mention that a young woman’s peak attractiveness and fertility happens in her early twenties, thus proving myself to be an incorrigible dinosaur. But let us say a woman wants to get a graduate degree or two, and then a successful career, and then, when in her mid-thirties, she wants the men to cluster around like they used to when she was 23. She is wanting something that rarely happens. Now she might be doing this because her thinking has been distorted by all the messed-up thinking the broader culture, or she might be doing this from necessity, because potential suitors are giving her space to “pursue her dreams.” But a godly young man should be willing to interrupt. He should be willing to mess up all her plans. “I don’t want you to pursue your dreams. I wanted to ask if you would pursue our toddlers with a spanking spoon instead.”

In Yet Another Prophetic Moment

“A society in which conjugal infidelity is tolerated must always be in the long run a society adverse to women. Women, whatever a few male songs and satires may say to the contrary, are more naturally monogamous than men; it is a biological necessity. Where promiscuity prevails, they will therefore always be more often the victims than the culprits. Also, domestic happiness is more necessary to them than to us. And the quality by which they most easily hold a man, their beauty, decreases every year after they have come to maturity, but this does not happen to those qualities of personality—women don’t really care two cents about our looks—by which we hold women. Thus in the ruthless war of promiscuity women are at a double disadvantage. They play for higher stakes and are also more likely to lose. I have no sympathy with moralists who frown at the increasing crudity of female provocativeness. These signs of desperate competition fill me with pity.”

C.S. Lewis, “We Have No ‘Right to Happiness’” in God in the Dock Christ the Truth

Jesus tells us plainly that He is the truth. “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). Young men are the ones who must overcome the wicked one, and they must do this by following Christ everywhere. They must realize that Christ is the truth everywhere, and not in some isolated spiritual realm.

The respective created natures of men and women are part of this truth. Following Christ in all things means resisting the lies of the world at this point, and acting on the basis of what God has given in the order of creation, and in revelation of Scripture.

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Categories: People I don't know

The Remains of Cute

Sat, 19/09/2020 - 02:00

“And Isadora was cute too, or had been once. The piercings and Halloween hair were now something of a distraction, and deep inside her soul Isadora had diligently been taking her ugly pills for at least ten years, and that was finally starting to show on the surface as well. They were slow-acting, time-release ugly pills, but they were nevertheless very effective. But there were the remains of cute about her still, depending on the lighting.”

Ride, Sally, Ride, pp. 150-151

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Categories: People I don't know

Four Questions for Christian Libertarians

Fri, 18/09/2020 - 23:00
Introduction

“When is it moral for a civil society to permit, authorize, or use coercion?”

As I attempt to address this complex question adequately, I want to set out four basic concerns that I have with the non-coercion principle, at least as it is commonly applied as a stand-alone maxim.

Who? Whom?

First, when we talk about permitting, authorizing, or using coercion, we have to determine who lives behind and underneath the nouns in the implied sentence. Who does the permitting, or authorizing, or coercing? Secondly, what entities may receive such permissions, or authorization, such that they can then pass it on down the line? And what entities may lawfully then be coerced and why? The last question is the one that is usually addressed, and the answer is that an individual may be coerced when by his behavior or threatened behavior he is coercing somebody else. Coercion as a matter of self-defense is not controversial, at least in our circles. As far as that issue goes, I believe we probably agree.

But in these calculations, the basic building block of society is assumed to be the individual. And because one of my central criticisms of libertarianism is the individualism it assumes throughout, allow me to focus on this point for a moment. Libertarianism has an important part of its appeal in the fact that it is formally individualistic, and is therefore quite appealing to a generation chock-full of individualism and me-first-ism.

So can it be moral for a civil society to recognize a marriage or a family as, say, the owner of property? Can it be moral for a civil society to permit, say, the spanking of a toddler? Or, to raise the stakes a bit, should a civil society permit a father’s use of “the belt” on a thirteen-year old son when that son had in actual fact done something egregious (but not overtly criminal), like yelling at his mother? Or for accessing porn on his sister’s computer and then lying about it?

We have to begin by asking what the constituent parts of society are. Does society always and in every case break down to atomistic individuals? Or should a civil society recognize the oneness of marriage, or the unity of the family, or the covenants involved with a local Christian congregation? Are those unities a social reality? Are Burke’s little platoons a thing? Are those larger entities some of the “eggs” in the civic omelet? Or are individuals the only possible eggs? Idaho is a community property state . . . should it be?

Here is another place where this problem could be manifested. Would it be consistent with libertarianism to have a civil society vote by household? After all, if the husband and wife were to vote differently, they just cancel their own household out. And if they voted the same way, we have only doubled the vote tally. Could a civil society apply “devote” logic to household voting?

In Liberty Defined, Ron Paul has said there should be “no limits” to the “voluntary definition” of marriage. His position is that he is supportive of all voluntary associations, and people can call these voluntary associations whatever they want. But this is thunderingly naive—an orgy is a voluntary association, and sinners may want to call it any number of things other than what God calls it—a ripe occasion for some sulfur and brimstone, and hailstones the size of cantaloupes.

Would it be appropriate for a civil society to outlaw pride parades out of self-defense? Say they wanted to defend themselves against possible fire from Heaven? “Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them, in like manner giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire” (Jude 7). That fire fell on a collection of cities.

So if a civil society treated marriage the way Scripture does, it would not be as a private contract between two individuals, one that could simply be abrogated if both parties wanted out. I could see an enforcement of marriage on libertarian principles if one party wanted out and the other one didn’t (under enforcement of contracts), but what if both wanted out? Is the oneness of man and woman, settled in the first pages of Genesis, to be ignored on the basis of modernity’s beau ideal of individualism?

So here is my basic question on this point: what is the scriptural case for treating each individual, and his free choices, as the basic building block of society? Because if larger units are seen as necessary, then there will be at least some instances where coercion will be permitted or allowed.

Restraint of Evil Elsewhere

My second concern is this. It is certainly the case that voluntary military bands could form under the non-coercion principle. Say they did in fact form in order to, say, fight off an invasion, and they did it so well that after the war, they happened to be a hegemonic superpower. What should they then do? Should they use that military might to do some good as the world’s policeman, or should they promptly demilitarize? Let us stipulate that as the world’s policeman, their goal was to limit themselves (at least at first) to fighting unjust uses of coercion around the world.

The example that comes to mind is the suppression of the international slave trade by the British Navy after the British had outlawed slavery in their own dominions. Their actions were coercive, certainly, but it was a coercive use of force to suppress slave-trading. But at the same time, it was certainly not being undertaken out of self-defense at all. It was an altruistic use of force, preventing parties “out there” who had nothing to do with England from shipping their slaves from point A to point B, with none of the three entities having anything to do with England’s security.

Should a nation that has (legitimately) acquired military might abandon it as soon as threats to them have been dealt with? Or should they use their power for good “just this once?” Or should they become a godly libertarian empire, intervening simply and solely to enforce global respect for the non-coercion principle?

So my second question is this: was the 19th century British suppression of the international slave trade a thing to be applauded, or not?

Is Libertarianism Consistent with Historic Reformed Orthodoxy?

The preamble to the New St. Andrews Statement of Faith references its commitment to the historic Reformed confessions, and specifically names the Westminster, the Heidelberg Catechism, the Belgic Confession, and the Synod of Dort.

According to them, the civil magistrate has the power to suppress “all blasphemies and heresies” (WCF 23.3). And then this in the Belgic: “We believe that our gracious God, because of the depravity of mankind, hath appointed kings, princes and magistrates, willing that the world should be governed by certain laws and policies; to the end that the dissoluteness of men might be restrained, and all things carried on among them with good order and decency. For this purpose he hath invested the magistracy with the sword, for the punishment of evil-doers, and for the protection of them that do well” (Belgic 36). That I show “all honour, love, and fidelity to . . . all in authority over me” (Heidelberg 104). And although the contents of the Synod of Dort do not address the question of civil authority directly, the fact that the decision of the synod was afterwards enforced by the civil government, and those ministers who differed with it were sent into exile and banishment, gives us some notion of their outlook.

On this score, the American Westminster (1788) is the most liberal of the historical Reformed confessions, saying that the magistrate may not interfere with matters of individual faith “in the least.” But even here, it says that the magistrate has an obligation to “protect the Church of our common Lord, without giving preference to any denomination of Christians above the rest” (WCF 23.3). It also assumes the ongoing existence of the magistrate, and says that it is lawful for Christians to hold this office in order to, among other things, “maintain piety, justice and peace” (WCF 23.2).

The question here is this: should our work in political theology seek to work within the established framework of the historic Reformed position?

Naked Coercion?

A common assumption among libertarians is that civil government is nothing other than coercion. Now it is certainly coercive when it comes to the lawless and reprobate:

“Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine.”

1 Timothy 1:9–10 (KJV)

But what is rightly-ordered civil government to the righteous? Can a righteous citizen hear anything other than threats?

“The God of Israel said, The Rock of Israel spake to me, he that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God. And he shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds; As the tender grass springing out of the earth by clear shining after rain.”

2 Sam. 23:3–4 (KJV)

“Just rule” here is compared to that which makes righteous grass grow. It is not compared to the lawn mower that cuts the unrighteous grass down.

“And the LORD magnified Solomon exceedingly in the sight of all Israel, and bestowed upon him such royal majesty as had not been on any king before him in Israel.”

1 Chron. 29:25 (KJV)

Whatever else majesty is, it is not coercive. It is, however, compelling. And this is why I would much prefer to learn my civics from King Lune rather than Murray Rothbard.

“And in mercy shall the throne be established: And he shall sit upon it in truth in the tabernacle of David, judging, and seeking judgment, and hasting righteousness.”

Isaiah 16:5 (KJV)

Another foundation stone of the righteous throne is the mercy that is shown when oppressors are dealt with righteously. A different way of putting this is that coercion has a flip side. Coercion against the international slave trade established Britain’s moral authority, which certainly caused the godless to fear, but the slaves who were delivered had other motives for supporting the righteous throne.

So my last question is this: what is the scriptural ground for saying that civil authority rests upon nothing but coercion?

My Four Questions Asked Again
  1. Do we have an exegetical ground for considering individuals simpliciter to be the basic unit of society?
  2. Is it consistent with libertarianism to right an injustice that has nothing to do with self-defense?
  3. When it comes to the role of the civil magistrate, is it possible for a Christian libertarian to affirm the system of doctrine that exists in the historic Reformed confessions?
  4. And last, why is it assumed that government is necessarily nothing but naked coercion when Scripture speaks of a righteous rule, one that evokes loyalties that have nothing to do with fear of coercion?

Presented at NSA Disputatio
September 18, 2020

Comments open for those who want to discuss these four questions.

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Categories: People I don't know

Harder Than it Looks

Fri, 18/09/2020 - 13:00

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Categories: People I don't know

Without Double Standards, No Standards at All

Fri, 18/09/2020 - 02:00

“And so it was that the two women drove off, back to their natural habitat, a deep thicket of double standards. No language was off-limits, no matter how crass, so long as it was uttered in the celebration of vice; and no language that indicated any level of disapproval of vice, no matter how mild, could be tolerated for a moment. All of it was lumped under the catch-all word hate.”

Ride, Sally, Ride, p. 146

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Categories: People I don't know

The Content Cluster Muster (09.17.20)

Thu, 17/09/2020 - 17:00
Grace Agenda 2020 Messages How to Read the Story You Are In | N.D. Wilson (GA 2020)

The first message from #GraceAgenda2020 is now available!We will be releasing two messages a week on all of our platforms, including the ChristKirk app (http://bit.ly/christkirkapp) and ChristKirk sermon podcast.—The last several years Christ Church has tried an experiment in grace and has not charged for the Grace Agenda conference. In keeping with this spirit of grace, we are accepting free will donations at https://www.graceagenda.com/donate to help cover conference costs.

Posted by Christ Church on Monday, September 14, 2020 Vote for Ourguy

Every Political Ad Ever, with @GoRemy. pic.twitter.com/N295FERQrj

— reason (@reason) September 15, 2020 Through the Windshield

And more here.

In Defense of Hypocrisy Something Like That

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Categories: People I don't know

What the Black Eye Hid

Thu, 17/09/2020 - 02:00

“Stephanie leaned forward intently, and with a really fierce look on her face. Her good eye was fiery, and we may guess that the other one was fiery also, if we could only have seen it.”

Ride, Sally, Ride, p. 139

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Categories: People I don't know

Our Wounded Duck Football Punt Election

Wed, 16/09/2020 - 16:48
Introduction

I have an encouraging word for those who really care about the future of our nation, all fourteen of them. I think it would be fair to describe these people as having a serious case of the jumps, and they need a word of encouragement. And I speak in jest — I know there are more than fourteen, and I speak to however many there are. That includes you, sister.

As in, I mean, here we are, seven weeks away from yet another death-defying election, and all fourteen of these thoughtful spectators are on edge. Three of them have a left eye that is starting to twitch. Six of them have had to go to the dentist several times because they have been grinding their teeth down. This is on account of how they dream every night of the various ways in which the Biden administration could turn into the Harris administration. As the skateboarding youth of today might put it — “how delightsome!” And the remaining five have a pallor that makes sickly green seem like the very pink of health.

Now this election, like a wounded duck football punt, could bounce any number of directions. That means a wise person will be emotionally and spiritually prepared for any number of contingencies — because footballs can bounce funny. So brace yourselves. But that preparation should not include believing all the handlers who are trying stage manage everybody beforehand. Allow me to explain.

The Revolution Will Too Be Televised

Contrary to that song by Gil Scott-Heron, the revolution will most definitely be televised. Everybody has a video camera in their pocket or purse, for pity’s sake.

On this 2020 Tilt-a-Whirl cycle, almost any news you see is the result of somebody trying to jigger with this election. Just about everything has to do with getting Trump out of office, by hook, by crook, and not by the book. If arsonists set fire to urban areas, it is a peaceful protest. If arsonists set fire to forests, it is climate change. Funny how climate change can drive up and down the Interstate, setting fires right next to the road. Also funny how climate change stops at the Canadian border. And when the health authorities declare a pandemic, it is not necessary for them to defend this notion against any cogent objections that might be offered. You just have your boys at Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Twitter shut the dissenters down. The unapproved information was probably coming from a QAnon nutter anyhow. And incidentally, if you are a pastor, and if you have been keeping any of God’s people away from the Word and sacrament because they see what is going on and you don’t, and if also (this part is crucial) some time within the last month you personally have been driving out in the country, all by yourself and with a mask on, then you are no shepherd of God’s flock. You are actually an ordained tool and patsy. Now let us switch scenes. If you are a drug-addicted inmate in California (with an ironic name like, say, John MacArthur), they will let you out of chokey because of all the COVID danger in there (instead of giving you a mask), whereupon you may, at your liberty, patronize an essential California service, like, say, a cannabis emporium. But if you are ANOTHER John MacArthur, and you attempt to worship God with God’s people, you are a hazard and a menace, and the state of California will then draw itself up to its full majesty, what there is left of it, and proceed against you in the courts. And then, if you have seen Joe Biden sniffing the little girls on multiple occasions, this must mean that you have a dirty mind. You don’t have a lofty biblical mind like those soft left Bible scholars who inhabit the evangelical stratosphere, and who now intend to vote for Biden. If we wanted, we could also call this the true colors election. And speaking of Joe Biden, if you have noticed that the Democrats are running someone who is at least twelve yards into his dotage, then you, my friend, have adopted a “controversial” position. You are probably a QAnon nutter too, another one.

And incidentally, just for the record, the QAnon people really are nutters.

All of these shrill inconsistencies, all this pandemonium, is about disrupting the election, fomenting chaos, and drumming leftist heels on the floor unless and until they get their way. All of it is election tampering.

Rounding into the Straight

But then the media, pollsters and pundits have their own game going. This does not exclude their full and enthusiastic participation in the game described above. It just means that they have a side hustle going as well.

Obviously, there are a bunch of people who want you to do different things during the course of this election. The Democrats want you to vote for Democrats. The Republicans want you to vote for Republicans. The Libertarians want you to vote for a little wispy cloud high above the Arizona desert. Free and lonely, the cloud seems to say. The Greens want you to vote for a federally financed expansion of the Everglades as far west as Alabama. So the political activist johnnies obviously want you to do stuff.

But the news networks also want you to watch their news shows every single night between now and November 3. Because ratings! Because advertisers! And in order for that feat to be accomplished, what do they need? I will tell you what they need. They need a close race, that’s what. What happens at a football halftime when one of the teams is up by 49 points? The stadium tends to empty out, as you might recall.

And so their model is to treat a presidential race as though it were a horse race, with the deep assumption embedded in everyone’s minds that the polls running up to the actual voting are “scientific” and something more than high tech guessing. In actual fact, polling is simply two levels up from haruspicy. For purposes of illustration, say that there were only three polls taken before election day. These polls are taken as POLL FACT/POLL FACT/POLL FACT/ELECTION FACT, which is why they love to use the word tightening. They talk as if they can actually see the horses rounding into the straight. Whereas, what we actually have is POLL GUESS/POLL GUESS/POLL GUESS/ELECTION FACT.

In the week before the 2016, what were we all looking at? We were not looking at the horses rounding into the straight. We were all blindfolded, including those calling the race, and about ten yards before the finish, we all took the blindfolds off. And what we saw didn’t comport with how the race had been called up to that point. Remember?

So the election might be close. But it is not close because of what everybody is talking about. It might be close because God wants to visit some more mayhem on us, and which we richly deserve. Mercy would consist of the election not being anywhere close to being close.

So suppose mercy then. Suppose that Trump takes it walking away. Are we done? Not even close.

Pivots

The logic of our political structures assumes a two-party system, and indeed helped to create the necessity of two parties. In a parliamentary system, the coalitions are formed after the election, and so it is natural to have a swarm of political parties. In our system, the coalitions are formed before the election, which helps to explain all of the odd bedfellows.

From the beginning of the republic, we have had Republicans, and the Federalists, and the Whigs, and the Democrats, but always in pairs. Sometimes a third party upstart (Bull Moose or Ross Perot) can affect an election, but they don’t really come into their own unless one of the established parties blows up.

I say all this because even though our structures assume two parties, they do not dictate which two parties they will be. Periodically one of the established political parties implodes, and is replaced by another one. The new replacement party makes the necessary adjustments to the new realities on the ground — and is not just a spiffy paint job on the old party.

I don’t see how Trump can win without winning big. Put another way, I think the only way Trump can win is through a decisive blow-out. If it is close, if it is a squeaker, a squeaker either way, I believe our only options will be a slow drift into totalitarianism or civil war.

But I also don’t see how Trump could win big without the Democratic Party then assuming the shape and demeanor of a large smoking crater. They have pushed all their chips to the middle of the table. If they lose this one, then they have lost everything. Their behavior since the 2016 election has all been driving toward this final ultimatum — “either Trump goes or we do.” So if Trump doesn’t go, then that huge blammo sound you heard was the end of the Democratic Party. And if that happens, and our constitutional system is saved, remember our constitutional and political structures (that were just saved) assume a two-party system. That means there will be another political party. Will I be in it, or opposed to it? Don’t know yet.

Evangelical Christians need to be thinking about this as one of the possible contingencies we are going to face. More on this will be posted here, as events continue to unfold. This is because a bunch of us may have to pivot, and pivot hard. This should be thought through beforehand, and not be based on a thoughtless yay team response to how the leftists immolated themselves.

Enough for now.

For Kirk and Covenant Jesus taught that we should beware when all men speak well of us. Few have ever spoken well of John Knox, either in his own lifetime or in the centuries since. Was he excessively harsh and fanatical as his critics have painted him? Or was he appropriately hard and firm as his time and calling required? In For Kirk and Covenant, Douglas Wilson staunchly defends this sta…

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Categories: People I don't know

159: Leaving a Church Over Masks Redux

Wed, 16/09/2020 - 08:00

Check out Doug Wilson’s commentary on Revelation: https://canonpress.com/products/revelation/

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Categories: People I don't know

Spelunking Down Below

Wed, 16/09/2020 - 02:00

“He appeared to be the kind of man in whom the tag self-awareness had almost no place to attach itself. If self-deception were a form of spelunking, he came across as the kind of person who would have been lost in Carlsbad Caverns for more than a few years now.”

Ride, Sally, Ride, p. 137

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Categories: People I don't know

The Tuesdaytudinous Letters

Tue, 15/09/2020 - 15:29
Ride Sally Responses

So, I just wanted to say, I read Ride, Sally, Ride over the weekend, and it was so, so good. Like really good. I read Flags Out Front a couple months ago, and have a particular fondness for those characters, so I wasn’t sure how RSR would hit me (especially with an unconventional plot set-up). But after reading it, I really think Ace & Stephanie, etc, are top notch. Thanks so much for a great read.

One thing I have noticed in your fiction is how often you make things “work out” with complex situations. Whether a character is in a confused state of mind, in a relational bind, or a life & death situation, it all just sort of falls into place, and God makes things click. I like this style a lot (especially when it comes to a character’s salvation), and it makes me wonder how often we miss God doing just that in the realities of our own day-to-day lives, how His hand (and plot lines) are evident in my own story, yet I am not looking for it, and so I miss it.

Thanks much for a good read, a challenge for my own cultural engagement, and a reminder that God is always writing a story in our own lives. Bless you. And keep up the great writing.

Scott

Scott, thanks very much.

A Merch Suggestion

Will NSA college make a “Hey Wokey McWokeFace” T-Shirt? You could have it so that “Hey Wokey McWokeFace” on the front and “All Black Lives Matter” on the back with # AbolishAbortion.

Thanks,

Ben

Ben, thanks. Keep passing on the ideas.

Back to Sally

God’s timing truly is astounding. Just 3 weeks ago, acquaintances of mine were outraged that anyone would use “such terms and descriptions” as you have in Ride, Sally, Ride to try and shock people awake to the perversion of our society.

Some of these same acquaintances are now loudly proclaiming that anyone who doesn’t see how “Cuties” was using shocking imagery to wake us up to the perversion of society, and is therefore admirable, if a bit nauseating, is a philistine and a prude.

Kevin

Kevin, ain’t it odd?

I haven’t read the book and don’t intend to, but I hope by coarse language you don’t mean the sinful ones. Taking God’s name in vain and pornographic words are both examples that should never be used by Christians in public. I’ll never forget when Leithart used the f-word many times in a review of the pornographic book, Lady Chatterly’s Lover. Under pressure later he munged it, but it still shows the incredible ego that some have that they can play with fire and not be burned.

Lance

Lance, two things. First, Christian liberty is not the same thing as “anything goes.” Paul is very clear that our language is to be disciplined and holy. But the second thing is just as important — the standard of holiness is to be Scripture, and not a standard of etiquette set by our great-grandmothers.

What Happens After Death

I would be delighted to have the phrase “meaningless concourse of atoms” appear in my eulogy, especially because it might actually jar one or two of my unsaved relatives out of their perpetual slumber. Bravo.

Tom

Tom, thanks. And thank God that we are not such meaningless concourses.

Politics and Such

Do you have any recommendations for when/why a pastor can be political? I recently cried foul on the Obamas (and others tied to Netflix) for remaining silent about Netflix’s “Cuties” film. And then came the darts. I was told “just stick to preaching” etc. Apparently questioning the Obamas is not acceptable. The idols of our day. I thoroughly enjoy your content.

Matthew

Matthew, that is like telling John the Baptist to “stick to preaching” because he went so far as to mention Herodias.

The David French Issue

Re: David French and the Train that Already Left the Station. I appreciated your gracious tone toward David French. At times, it is difficult for me to have such a tone when reflecting on what we might call the David French branch of the PCA. Not that he is the leader of this group. I don’t think he is an elder, but he does seem to speak for this group and to this group. My challenge is that I believe many of this group are doing significant harm to the PCA and church catholic. Sorta like the harm Chamberlain did to England in the thirties, except they are still doing it AFTER the war has broken out. I trust that these men, having been examined/ordained in the PCA, are mostly Christians. So that means they are not God’s enemies. But it sure seems at times as if they are aiding and abetting the enemy in their blindness. I understand that like Edmund’s brother and sisters we are to earnestly desire their repentance. Yet it seems to me that that doesn’t rule out stronger, or perhaps more direct, language than you used here is appropriate in addressing what they are doing. How does one balance all this in the pursuit of peace and purity, particularly within one’s own congregation?

Bill

Bill, I do take your point, and the point of the letters below. I see what you are saying. I take the approach I do because people I respect have a genuine respect for David.

I subscribed to David French’s writings after I heard him on CrossPolitic. I was looking forward to reading the thoughts of an accomplished writer as he applied biblical thinking to current events. I won’t be renewing my subscription.

After his post on Kyle Rittenhouse, his very next post was ‘Why Is So Much Diversity Training Radical and Weird?’ Perhaps because Christians have allowed the violation of the social compact, and have not been faithful in standing up to said violations? Can he not see the connection?

It’s not exactly surprising that David French would go the direction he did on the social compact. His writings clearly lean toward the ‘never Trump’ camp – always complaining, taking offense over minor issues, and seldom giving Trump credit when it is deserved (and then only begrudgingly). So taking issue with law and order is a shot at Trump supporters, and he attempted to use a theological justification for it.

While I have never met David French, I will be cancelling my subscription to him because his theology is bad. Actually, that’s not quite correct. His theology is thin , , , thin and brittle. He argues conservative principles quite convincingly, until you dig down a little and realize there is nothing in his theology to support his claims. He winds up attempting to use worldly wisdom to support his stance instead of biblical wisdom, and poof — it vanishes for lack of substance.

Thanks for another insightful and educational post, as together we joyfully and intentionally expand the Kingdom of God!

Jeff

Jeff, yes. It turns out that a house cannot withstand a storm unless it is built on a rock.

With conservatives like French, who needs liberals?

Jacob

Jacob, thanks, and see above.

David French learned a while back that there will always be audience for content denouncing Christians and conservatives for not being nice enough, especially if you are in that camp. Trump just made that business model more lucrative, and French is happy to fill that market share.

BJ

BJ, thanks.

David French is astonishingly blind not to see the complicity of governing officials in the rioting. More than a simple disagreement, I’m afraid he’s been grinding the Philistine’s corn for some time. His every action seems calculated to oppose faithful Christian political engagement. I sincerely pray God will restore his sight and even grant Mr. French Samson-style revenge.

Nathan

Nathan, I attribute this sort of thing to a real love for America, but they are thinking of an older America where the myth of neutrality, that deadly lie, was still plausible on the surface. In other words, that myth died, and some conservatives are still in the denial phase of the grieving process.

The Election Looms

As election day draws nigh, I was wondering if you would list of the specific decisions/actions Trump has made that makes you want to vote for him this time around.

Thanks

Tim

Tim, yes, I hope to do that.

Antifa and the Fascists

Hey there, I’ve been an irregular reader of your stuff since like 1997. “I wonder what Doug thinks…” is, I’m certain, some question that arises from my childlike desire for someone to throw a cultural molotov for the sake of Christ’s glory. Certainly the Mosowvite has one in hand. You hardly ever disappoint, comrade bruv. Question: why is it, in your HO, that Antifa never seem to target actual Fascists? They tend to aim at the blue collar business owners. The actual fascists, according to definition, would be peeps like Bill Gates, the leaders of the World Economic Forum, Davos, Carlyle Group and the WHO, etc. All Unelected, Corporate heads, who have been given carte blanche to do whatever they deem necessary for the Great Reset come 2021.

Thoughts? Thanks for being you.

In Christ,

Christopher

Christopher, as far as me being me is concerned, I can’t help it. I think you are right in the main, but some of them really are going the whole distance — think of the guillotine outside Jeff Bezos’ house.

Front Lines Mom

I take your point from several pieces you have written and things that have been said that it’s patently obvious we are on the brink of either a cultural reformation or dissolution. Up to this point, despite all the current events, it’s been relatively easy to rest in the Lord’s sovereignty over the situation. These recent days however, I find myself wrestling with a rising anxiety over the potential of civil violence and unrest on a large scale in America.

As a mother who is currently educating many children in our home, I know from a ground level perspective that I am wielding a potent weapon in the Kingdom as I ask the Lord to help me raise our children in His nurture and ways. And yet from a big-picture perspective the temptation is to feel like I’m little ole me at home with my flock whilst America is a burning dumpster fire and most men are either welcoming it or standing on the side, shrugging their shoulders with their hands in their pockets. Additionally, most Christians in our community are very dispensational in their theology, so of course, everything IS going to Hell and Jesus is coming back like, next week. Stay tuned. All of these things are beginning to converge in a daily battle of discouragement as I consider the months and years ahead.

How can I navigate these times with the proper mixture of courage, fortitude, and hope in a practical manner of speaking? I’m implementing the common means of grace in my life and in our home and I still struggle to be encouraged. What would your counsel be for me and other mothers like myself?

Whitney

Whitney, it sounds to me like you know what to say to yourself, but just need to be reminded to say it. Never forget, however challenging things might get, your children were born for this hour.

Hyper-Preterism Once More

I’m writing because I’m struggling with sorting out my postmillennial convictions and the heretical Hyper-Preterist movement. I grew up in a Fundyville of Pre-trib, Pre-mill hoop-la; I’ve since become Reformed and embraced Postmillennialism (btw, it truly is a lot of fun!). My issue, however, is that my mind wants to make a jump to Hyper-Preterism because I’m seeing how all of the passages I thought were supernatural (like the Olivet Discourse) were actually just hyperbolic language about A.D. 70. Why can we make this passage hyperbolic, and not every passage that’s about the supernatural resurrection in the New Testament?

Thanks again.

James

James, the key is to let Scripture interpret Scripture. When we look at the decreation language of Matthew 24, we find that Jesus is quoting decreation language from Isaiah, where it is talking about the destruction of Babylon and Edom. When we encounter language in the New Testament about the general resurrection at the end of history (as in Martha’s comment to Jesus about Lazarus), we see that the Jews of the Lord’s day interpreted the OT language about resurrection as being the climax of human history. And they weren’t wrong, as the Lord’s response shows.

Justice Stuff

I recently started listening to your podcast and I’m very appreciative of how your thoughts give grit to theology, something that is greatly lacking in evangelicalism today.

I have a question for you, can you recommend a few books on the topic of justice from a biblical perspective? There are many books on the subject of social justice, but I’d like to start with an objective approach by looking at what the Bible says.

Thank you and thanks for all that your doing. Keep up the good work, knowing that our labor and toil in the Lord is not in vain.

God bless,

Ethan

Ethan, thanks. And see below.

A Justice Primer

A basic introduction to the principles of biblical justice, desperately needed in our time.

$1.00 Shop now A Close Election

There’s a fairly important point you didn’t mention. The only reason there is any possibility of a close election is the electoral college. If the election were determined by national popular vote, Trump would be toast. In fact, neither he nor George Bush (nor any Republican ever again) would have been elected in the first place

Conservatives cite this as an example of why the electoral college is a good thing, but try, just for a minute, to see how it looks to the left. They see the election as stolen just by virtue of the fact that they command majority support among the American people but are deprived of power anyway. So to whatever extent they do steal, they see themselves as simply getting back what was first stolen from them. And so of course they are angry and in the mood to riot. So would you be. Is there any doubt that if the electoral college routinely awarded the White House to popular vote losing Democrats, instead of the other way around, that the right would be ready to riot too?

And what you are seeing is JFK’s dictum that those who make peaceful change impossible will make violent change inevitable. Whatever you think of socialism, the country wants national health care. And a broad social safety net. And if there is a violent civil war because the majority can’t get what it wants through democratic means, you may end up with far more socialism than you would have under Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden.

I’ve never been a fan of the Constitution. I see it as a bit of political expedience that managed to bring the states along into a union, but that also gave us a bloody civil war 75 years later. It may yet produce a second civil war. But, those who make peaceful change impossible, make violent change inevitable.

Mike

Mike, thanks. From the sociological side, I actually think there is much in what you say. But keep in mind that the liberal establishment dominated our political life for most of the twentieth century. It is the conservative resurgence that has actually been trying to change direction, ineffectually for the most part. The hard Left wants a lot more of what we have been doing for many decades. Conservatives want the real change.

“That does not mean that evil has triumphed for good, but it does mean you should be stocked up on guns and ammo.” Pastor Doug, what would be the best biblical case you can muster (this side of the Cross) for defending your property (and perhaps your neighbor’s business/home) from rioter’s by guns or other shows of force? I have heard a flip side argument of overcoming evil with good, loving your enemy, etc . . . which doesn’t seem quite right to apply here, but I’m not sure what the N.T. case would be for standing in front of Frank’s Quickie-Mart with an AR-15 all macho-like might be.

Joseph

Joseph, two things. First, there is an optical illusion here because we don’t understand how property rights are human rights. Behind Frank’s Quickie-Mart are Frank’s wife and kids, who need to be housed, fed, and clothed. Thus you are not defending the PopTarts with your AR-15, you are defending the rule of law, and through that, people created in the image of God. Second, I would prefer to make a biblical case, and not just a NT case.

If a thief be found breaking up, and be smitten that he die, there shall no blood be shed for him. If the sun be risen upon him, there shall be blood shed for him; for he should make full restitution; if he have nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft” (Exodus 22:2–3).

This happened at 2 am, after the alarms at Frank’s Quickie-Mart went off.

One More Lock Down Letter

Thanks again for the work you do. My apologies for the umpteenth questions about this lock down business. I guess it’s part and parcel of speaking faithfully on relevant and pressing issues…

Our church opened rather late (August) and stringently requires masks for both services. In addition, you cannot register to attend a service if in the last 14 days you have been in any state with a travel warning (as determined by the glorious socialist republic of New Jersey). A voluntary, but not really, quarantine order used to exist for all residents returning from those states, that’s why the policy is in place.

After visiting a military friend in Tennessee it now seems apparent I cannot attend church for two weeks. Word on the street is that even offering to take a COVID test will not make a difference. Services are streamed online. Me and my wife asked to meet with one of our elders and his wife about the issue, and while I sense they are in agreement over the ridiculousness of the matter, I doubt the verdict will change and I will likely be barred from attending, and by extension my wife along with me will be absent for two weeks since we would go somewhere else.

The gospel is preached at our church and the elders have held mostly steady on current issues, a gut-reaction from the pulpit on the George Floyd situation months ago being the outlier. But being barred from Lord’s day service with, presumably, no tangible biblical support, along with the host of mask requirements and other silliness that has gone on makes it feel like our membership might be worth reevaluating. A very solid 1689 Baptist church exists just down the road that we would heavily consider. By way of advice and caution, does this seem like an issue worth pressing and possibly leaving over, or should we be thankful for an otherwise faithful church? Many thanks

Wesley

Wesley, if your church has been otherwise faithful, I would urge you to do what you can to not divide over this issue. I would visit the 1689 church until the coast is clear back home, and then come home when you can. If your home church spirals into something worse, then I would consider transferring.

An Empty Spot Experiment A Parliament of Pots

This is collection of some of my more fanciful pieces — didactic parables, stream of consciousness rants, and so forth. The collection goes back many years, mostly into the Credenda years.

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Categories: People I don't know

If Babylon Had Phones

Tue, 15/09/2020 - 02:00

“But, as Stephanie had guessed, there was plenty of other stuff on his phone, stuff that would be illegal even in Colorado as it had now become. We might even go so far as to say that he had stuff on his phone that would have been illegal in Belshazzar’s Babylon. So, as I say, he bolted from the room.”

Ride, Sally, Ride, p. 132

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Categories: People I don't know

Jitney Jezebels and “Ride, Sally, Ride”

Mon, 14/09/2020 - 15:43
Introduction

So my latest novel is now out and about. It is entitled Ride, Sally, Ride. And what I would like to do here, besides encouraging you to get five or six of them, is actually to embrace one of the criticisms that some have made about the book thus far. I am, of course, going to embrace the criticism in such a fashion as to include a clear explanation of why it isn’t my fault. Goes without saying.

If I have time, I will also address the criticisms leveled by certain discernment voices out there on the web that have been conducting their ongoing great experiments in telepathy, having analyzed the book to Sunday and back without having read it. They apparently had all the damning information they needed, having seen the cover, upon which it was clearly indicated that I was the one who wrote it.

El Problemo

I thought to begin this section with a little cultural and linguistic appropriation, if that’s still legal, which it probably isn’t. El problemo is not my native tongue, and I went and used it anyway, and I have little doubt that I mangled it somehow. While there were no sombreros or umbrella drinks involved, none of that matters anyway because the doctrine of hegemonic realism dictates my incipient white supremacy regardless. My argument that Spain is white and European still fails to meet the purity tests developed in the struggle sessions of today. I am not sure how I got off on this tangent, but these things happen.

The central problem with my book that needs to be addressed is the result of my plain neglect of Muggeridge’s Law concerning satire. This law sets forth the idea that satirizing political correctness is impossible because genuine political correctness is every bit as ridiculous as any proposed send up of it. How do you sketch a caricature of a caricature? How can you make the nose any longer?

This law apparently grew out of a stint where Muggeridge served as the editor of the British humor magazine, Punch. Sorry, humour magazine. One time Khrushchev, the Soviet big pot of the day, visited Britain, and Muggeridge came up with a proposed list of places that Khrushchev could visit, those places being the stupidest that Muggeridge could think of for a Soviet poobah to visit. Difficulties then arose when over half of places on Muggeridge’s list were also on Khrushchev’s actual itinerary. Hence Muggeridge’s Law.

So Here It Is

My book is set a few decades in the future. I did this to give the reductio I was planning to write enough time to ripen on the branch. I thought the iniquity of the Amorites was not yet full. In the story, a young man named Ace crushes a neighbor’s sex doll in a compacter at the recycling plant where he works. This Phinehas moment happens in the first chapter, and the rest of the book addresses what happens when a local woke prosecutor decides to bring murder charges against him, instead of a mere destruction of property charge, and this is done because the owner of the sex doll identified the doll as his wife. In our new order of things personal identification is the ground of all reality, and I examine what happens when this collides with reality. That’s the set up.

The apt criticism of the book boils down to this: what do you mean, a couple of decades in the future? A couple of months is more like it.

Since the manuscript was turned in, a period of time best counted in weeks, what has happened? It was as though somebody gave a signal, and all the weird stuff came out.

As in, there is one gent who has decided to marry his sex doll. Second, then there is a Japanese artist, and yes, we are using the term artist more loosely now, who offers, for a fee, to conduct a funeral for your sex doll, or to dress you up as a battered murder victim, or to deck you out as a sex doll. And then, third, there is a new movie called Dummy, produced by Quibi, where a woman finds out that her boyfriend has a sex doll, and the twist is that the doll comes to life and starts talking to her. Then the two take a road trip together. “I got news for you, babe — we’re all sex dolls until we topple the patriarchy.”

Allow me to make this observation , offered in all patience and humility — the kind of humility for which I am justly famous, The story here is not the existence of such sad people. We have always had them. There have always been dark corners, and there have always been broken perverts living in them. The story for us is how these things are being reported. You, my friend, are being prepped, managed, handled, steered, and groomed. The problem is not that the asylum has inmates in it; the asylum has always have inmates in it. Dog bites man. The thing you must come to grips with is the more striking and salient fact that the inmates are running the asylum.

A Similar Move

The same play is being run on us with regard to the sexualization of children. For the first exhibit there, you can go back up to the previous link and watch the trailer for the movie Dummy. In that trailer, the sex doll makes a comment indicating that she has the hots for some young teen-aged boy. The objection comes, “He’s like, fourteen.” The sex doll replies so? — “I’m seven.” For the second exhibit, and you knew this one was coming, Netflix has done a 10 billion dollar face plant over their willingness to run with Cuties. In a retroactive move to cover their butts, unlike what they did for the eleven-year-olds who were acting in their movie, they have said that they were actually protesting the sexual exploitation of children. In order to understand this, you have to factor in the notion that protest doesn’t mean what it used to. In 2020, you can protest the mistreatment of black people by inciting white commies to burn down their neighborhoods. And you protest the sexualization of children by having little girls twerk for the camera. You prude. You Puritan. Don’t you understand art? And the third exhibit is the fact that Gov. Newsom, he being the one who, if California were a bucket, knocked the bottom out of it, covered himself with additional glory just a few days ago. He actually signed a bill that prevents LGBTQ+ types from being automatically registered as sex offenders when they have sex with a minor — whether that sex is oral, anal, or vaginal — provided the victim is at least 14-years-old and provided that the perpetrator is no more than 10 years older than the victim. Now please note. This is not legalization of such activity. It just means that a judge now has the discretion to prevent the offender from being registered as a sex offender. It is not legalization of adult/child sex, you moron. It is simply preparation for the legalization of such things. Try to keep up.

But notice how the LA Times headline framed this appalling move in their headline. It was to “end discrimination” against LGBTQ+ types because something similar had already been done in California for heterosexual abusers. Never mind that Newsom could have fixed the “discrimination” problem by returning to the automatic sex offender status for anybody who does anything like that. But no, no, that would make sense, and he is the governor of California when all is said and done.

Since we are here and on this subject, I think I need to make just one comment about those who, over the years, have been telling lies from the left about Christ Church and our stand on sex offenders. We believe that those convicted of sex crimes should be prosecuted by the civil magistrate, should accept their punishments as richly deserved, and should be registered as sex offenders. We also believe that if and when they repent of their sins and crimes, they should be received into the church, where they can be reminded every week of the crucified Lord who saves every kind of sinner “to the uttermost.” The thing that has drawn the ire of our critics on this issue has been that doctrine of repentance and faith. That is the only pathway to the only Savior, and our critics want their savior to be the state. For them, morality is determined by legality, which is why those who falsely accuse me of being soft on the sexual abuse of children will almost certainly be silent about the atrocity that Gov. Newsom just signed.

Straight Cut, Rough Cut

My telepathic critics were something else. I was accused of writing a book of erotica, when the book has no sex scenes in it. I was accused of invoking misogynistic S&M themes, I suppose because a female sex doll got crushed at the recycling center. But of course the whole theme of the book is that to suppose that male engineers can “build” a woman is the doctrine that is misogynistic. It is almost as insane as the idea that a woman’s body can be carved out of a man’s body, provided the surgeon doing it is in love with mammon. So there are those who think that because I wrote a story in which there was a crushing of a female sex doll, this somehow reveals a latent hostility to women on my part. But these are the critics who have therefore accepted an amalgam of silicon and circuitry as somehow an adequate representation of what it means to be a woman. There is a problem with misogyny here, certainly, but it is not with the one who believes that the Creator made man as the crown of creation, and woman as the crown of man. It is not with the one who objects to these jitney jezebels. You can’t be accused of attacking women when the thing you are attacking is not a woman.

One last criticism to deal with. Over the course of the novel, there are a few coarse expressions, put in there by the author, deliberately and on purpose. This was not done in the spirit of being naughty, or getting away with something that’s “not done” in a Christian book. No, the point of it was the pursuit of holiness.

“Nine times out of ten, the coarse word is the word that condemns an evil and the refined word the word that excuses it”

G.K. Chesterton, The Victorian Age

Moralistic is not the same thing as moral. Fastidious is not the same kind of word as righteous. Victorian is not the same thing as biblical — as Rachel Miller tried to warn us. Unholy is not the same thing as holy. There are many ostensible believers out there who would rather have a mouthful of buttery lies than one simple but angular truth.

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Categories: People I don't know

Nancy Rust, RIP

Sat, 12/09/2020 - 22:00

As we seek to remember Nancy Rust, and her life of kind service, one of the things we must do at the same time is remember the gospel of Christ, and how the kindness of God intervened in our world to bring us back to Him. The gospel of grace teaches us that we are not saved by our good works, but it also teaches us that we are saved to good works. We were saved by a good work, certainly, but it was the good work done by Christ.

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”

Eph. 2:8–10 (KJV)

So this is what happens. God intervenes in our lives, and saves us from our sins in a way that is entirely independent of any merit of our own. On the basis of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and on that basis alone, He grants us our salvation. He gives us that salvation in Christ, free and clear. And once He has saved us apart from any merit of our own, what does He then do? He gives us merit of our own.

Now that merit comes in many shapes, talents, colors, and kinds. In Nancy’s case, she was a godly woman devoted to gardening, crafts, loving and educating children, and more. This is all in the category that the Bible describes as good works, the kind of good works that God ordains beforehand for women like Nancy to walk in, as she faithfully did, over the course of years.

“Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha, which by interpretation is called Dorcas: this woman was full of good works and almsdeeds which she did . . . Then Peter arose and went with them. When he was come, they brought him into the upper chamber: and all the widows stood by him weeping, and shewing the coats and garments which Dorcas made, while she was with them.”

Acts 9:36, 39 (KJV)

In short, we cannot remember a woman like Nancy without also remembering the character of the God who gave her to us. And we cannot think about the character of our God like this without wanting to point to the good deeds that adorned the life of Nancy Rust. When Peter went with the women who were mourning the loss of Tabitha, one of the things they were able to do, and do easily, was point to things she had done, or hold things up that she had done. One of the glories of the Christian faith has to be the kind of women it produces.

“Let not a widow be taken into the number under threescore years old, having been the wife of one man, well reported of for good works; if she have brought up children, if she have lodged strangers, if she have washed the saints’ feet, if she have relieved the afflicted, if she have diligently followed every good work.”

1 Tim. 5:9–10 (KJV)

So rightly understood, the good works of the saints do not compete with the grace of God in Christ. Rather, they adorn the grace of God in Christ. Servants were instructed, for example “to adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things” (Tit. 2:10). This is no rival to grace, but is rather a great reminder of it. In the next breath, Paul says that “the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men.” We are not saved by our labors, but it is most certainly the case that our labors, along with us, are also saved (1 Cor. 15:58).

Nancy Rust, just like everyone who trusts in Jesus Christ, was not accepted by God because she did lovely works. Rather, she did lovely works because she had been made lovely in the grace of God poured out on a sinful planet. She heard the message that was declared and preached, and she did what all of us are summoned to do—which is to believe it. Christ was hanged on a gibbet, a spear was run into Him to prove to everyone that He was dead, His body was taken down and laid in a tomb, and three days later He came out of that tomb. Because He came out of that tomb, and only because of that, every Christian is privileged to report to their appointed places in order to occupy themselves with the good works they were ordained to do. Those who have the perspective of eternity will not sneer at the humility that shrouds many of those good works. If the last day will reveal every cup of cold water given in the name of Christ (Mark 9:41), I have little doubt that it was also reveal the various world transformations that were set in motion by faithful pre-school teachers.

The grace of God which saves Christians and the good works that Christians do are two things that exist in a necessary relationship. But it is crucial that we get that relationship right because it is the relationship of cart and horse. We must know which is the cause and which is the effect. A bramble bush doesn’t turn into an apple tree because it was successful, after much effort, in producing an apple or two. No, not at all, not a bit of it. God in His marvelous wisdom and power transforms a bramble bush into an apple tree, and as a result, as an inexorable result, the apples come.

And so then, as this is a Christian memorial service, we are here to honor the grace of God in Christ. This is not to shunt Nancy to the side, as though we were not remembering her. We do remember her, but what we are remembering is a life of faithfulness, the kind of life that can happen in this world only when Christ has intervened with His saving power. If there is no God, and if the gospel is not the truth of God, then the meaningless concourse of atoms that we called Nancy is now gone, and gone for good. But if Christ was raised from the dead, as He in fact was, she has been received into glory. She has already received her well done, and she has turned around just inside the door, to wait for the rest of us to catch up with her.

In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, amen.

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Categories: People I don't know

Sons of Adam, Daughters of Eve/True Counterculture

Sat, 12/09/2020 - 15:54
Introduction

It is the central duty of every Christian preacher to preach Christ, and to do so in way that cannot be confused with anything else. Our normal procedure for doing this is to work through a portion of Scripture, expositing it, then drawing out the applications, and then showing how those applications point to Christ and not to themselves. That is our normal procedure, and it is the good old path. But it is not the only path.

In this message, the text will highlight what I am going to attempt to do, together with you, over these three weeks. We will then look at our current diseased culture in the light of a biblical worldview, and then we will turn to look to Christ. The text will therefore be the same text for all three messages in this series.

The Text

“And of the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do . . .” (1 Chron. 12:32).

Summary of the Text

The Word of God is given to men, meaning it is not delivered into the Void. In order to understand the Word, it is necessary to understand how it applies, and that requires exegesis of the times. A preacher who understands the text only, and not the culture he is preaching to, is a preacher who understands nothing that really matters. He is called to be a messenger between worlds, but he only knows one of them. He is a builder of bridges over chasms, but one who never makes it more than a third of the way across. The men of Issachar were wise, and they understood the times they were living in. They consequently knew what Israel ought to do. Because they understood the law, they knew what direction to go. Because they understood the times, they knew what their point of departure was.

Marriage in Crisis

Now marriage is a creation ordinance, established by God at the beginning of the world (Gen. 1:27-28). The Fall did affect it profoundly, as it affected everything, but we must distinguish ordinary marriage, damaged and dented by sin, from what our current full-scale high revolt against marriage is attempting. In our day, we are dealing with same sex mirage, we are dealing with the tranny-lie, we are dealing with the pornification of everything, we are dealing with the broad cultural ramifications of birth control, we are dealing the mainstreaming of pedophilia, and we are also dealing with the related crisis that this series of messages is seeking to address—the marked downgrade of marriage in conservative evangelical circles. This is evidenced by the nature of the misplaced priorities that are placed upon getting married by Christian young people and their parents.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median age for “first marriage” in 1950 was 23 for men and 20 for women. In 1975, the year Nancy and I got married, it was 23 for men and 21 for women. Last year, in 2019, it was just shy of 30 for men, and 28 for women. And because the evangelical world is apparently a firm believer in “monkey see, monkey do,” the same trends are evident throughout the Christian world. When you factor in why this is happening—meaning our culture’s contemporary revolt against maturity—the thing has to be considered a dumpster fire crisis.

The Villain of the Piece

In the course of these messages, I am going to say some particular things that will rub the fur the wrong way, and this is going to happen because the evangelical world has generally imbibed a lot more of the world’s toxic unbelief than we think we have. There are many places where we think we are in the army across the way from the devil’s forces, but where the reality is that we are simply the stragglers at the tail end of the devil’s column. We are not against so much as we are behind.

“Worldliness is what makes sin look normal in any age and righteousness seem odd. Modernity is worldliness, and it has concealed its values so adroitly in the abundance, the comfort, and the wizardry of our age that even those who call themselves the people of God seldom recognize them for what they are.”

David Wells, God in the Wasteland

So the villain of this particular piece is something I am calling “entitled egalitarianism.” This entitled egalitarianism has spread a form of soft feminism (called soft complementarianism by its advocates) throughout the conservative church. This neutering service manufactures beta males, and calls the end product Servant Leadership®. And this approach flatters and manipulates young women the same way Emma flattered Harriet in Austen’s novel, and with similar bad results.

To put it another way, the assumptions of feminism are not just a problem for us when it comes to the specific questions of women being ordained to the ministry, or serving in combat roles in the military. Feminism is a corrosive disaster across the board, in every aspect of human life, and the etiolated male response to it is the other half of that disaster.

Not the Villain of the Piece

The problem of devalued marriage has been noticed and discussed by many Christians. And one of the most standard responses is to ask, sometimes in a loud voice, why the young men don’t get off the dime. Now there is a very limited place for this question, but we are dealing with a massive civilization-wide crisis, one caused by our endemic hostility to genuine masculinity. You have never encountered any form of true masculinity that our culture does not consider to be what they now call “toxic.” This is not a situation where all the young men mysteriously got cold feet for no particular reason, but where everything else is fine. No, this is something that all of us are doing. And besides, if the entire culture treats the young men with contempt, why on earth would the young women want to have anything to do with them? In a biblical response to the crisis, one of the things that we must figure out is how to respect the young men.

Singleness as Affliction

But let us go back to the villain of the piece. Entitled egalitarianism is like the Dodo in Alice. “Everybody has won, and all must have prizes.” This thinking has crept into absolutely everything. If you are obviously deficient in one area, you must be assumed to be making up for it elsewhere, because life is supposed to be like both sides of an algebraic equation, where both sides of the equation must be equal. Thus we no longer have cripples; we have people who are “differently abled.”

In a world where God designed marriage and family to be at the social center, if someone is single contrary to their own desires for marriage, this is not a “gift” from God—except in the larger theological sense that everything is in some manner from God. Paul’s celibacy was a gift (1 Cor. 7:7); Paul’s thorn in the flesh was an affliction (2 Cor. 12:7). The fact that both were in the hand of God does not change the nature of the reality on the ground. Belief in the sovereignty of God enables us to deal with our afflictions, which is not the same thing as confusing them with straight-up blessings.

So if you are gifted with celibacy, you are freed from distractions. If you are married, then you are occupied with your domestic duties. If you are single, but not gifted with celibacy, your unmarried status is as much of a distraction (if not more) than being married would be. That is, unless you are making a poor set of accommodations with the single state. Never forget that bachelors turn into old maids faster than women do.

A Cluster of Problems

Allow me to ruffle a few more feathers without resolving anything just yet. This is simply to maintain your interest in the topic for the next two messages. This is to pique your interest. Group standards can be dangerous—a guy who is not good enough for the best in your group is not good enough for the least? And the false chick flick doctrine of the “right one” is also a major problem—that is not how we understand living in the will of God. In another area, quite a few girls, and let us not leave out quite a few guys, do not understand what league they are in (Rom. 12:3). And we shouldn’t forget those parents who would care more about their kid finishing school than their kid avoiding sexual immorality. Career pressures are a thing.

But with all of this said, I do want to say on the record that arranged marriages would result in a whole lot of sorrow, sadness and heartache. That would be a really bad idea. But it wouldn’t be as bad as what is happening now.

Christ and the Conclusion of the Matter

Sons of Issachar don’t come from nowhere. They are a gift from God. And when they are given to us, they know what Israel should do. So successful marriages form in a particular kind of climate. Successful marrying-off is something that blessed cultures do. And so a climate conducive to biblical marriage is formed by a culture or subculture, not by individuals alone, and that only happens when Christ has given reformation and revival to a people. Try as you might, you won’t be able to grow orchids above the Colorado tree line.

This means we always come back to basics. Christ died and rose. Christ is therefore Lord. And this means that Christ is the Lord of all our sexual assumptions. And He has far more to say on the subject than the handful of things that modern Christians want to limit Him to. So believe in Him. Trust in Him. Follow Him.

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Categories: People I don't know

Yeah, Dwight

Sat, 12/09/2020 - 02:00

“Why did you molest me, then, Dwight?” She put as much English spin on her Dwight as she could. If Dwight were a ping-pong ball, he would have hit the table and then bounced sideways.”

Ride, Sally, Ride, p. 130

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Categories: People I don't know

Too On the Nose

Fri, 11/09/2020 - 13:00

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Categories: People I don't know

That’s How It Seemed Anyway

Fri, 11/09/2020 - 02:00

“The next ten minutes staggered around the room a few times, and then sat down abruptly, drunk. After that, five more minutes crawled around for a while on its hands and knees, looking for the door.”

Ride, Sally, Ride, p. 129

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Categories: People I don't know

The Content Cluster Muster (09.10.20)

Thu, 10/09/2020 - 17:00
Where You Get On

More here.

But Did Anybody Listen? An Explanation That Resonates The Old Bell Curve Problem Again . . . If the Year 2020 Had Two Wheels

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Categories: People I don't know

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