Friday, January 20, 2017

The Real Reason Half The Country Could Never Embrace Obama

Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! 

Shaun King is a racial agitator of dubious merit and provenance personally, professionally, and financially, and he has just published a piece for the New York Daily News announcing that Republicans may no longer claim to prize family values, because they have embraced the outrageously sinful Trump and had rejected decent Obama.

Many say that King is a radical, what with his Black Lives Matter shenanigans. I haven't really followed them. I can tell you, though, that I am a radical, and that I'm going to make some pretty far-reaching claims. You will think I am overstating things. Perhaps. But try to view the country through the template I'm about to lay down. You might be surprised at its coherence.

This country is fundamentally divided, and it isn't over "family values".

Donald Trump is a wicked man, and what is more he flaunts his wickedness. He is not, as former president Obama is, a decent man. I'm not a Republican and do not associate with the supposed party of moral rectitude. I agree with Mr. White that the GOP has lost moral credibility during this election and had been before. What's more, they've completely exposed their hypocrisy. I'd watch with glee if the party imploded.

So I'm not writing this to defend the GOP or the Republican establishment or even Republican voters. But Mr. King made this a Christian thing. I wish to explain the Christian thing to him.

According to Mr. King, these are the virtues which made Obama a man Republicans should have been willing to embrace: he is honest, decent, moral, and faithful. Let us grant that this is true. I want to talk about Obama and his character, and why Christians, if not Republicans, could not embrace him.

There are a lot of little flashpoints in American society and politics that are divisive and defining. Any one of them is enough to guarantee the political passions of many will be constantly aroused, and their toleration for opponents minimal. And the divisions formed in this country over these many issues are multiplying and growing.

But there is one thing that dominates the background for evangelical Christians the country over.

There has been a massive and systematic slaughter of innocent humans within our borders for the last forty years. We really believe that. Perhaps you think us disingenuous because most of us do not blow up the murder mills or strike out against the government from guerrilla bases in the hills. (Or even, like me, believe that it would be a good thing to do.) The truth is, most of us don't even picket or parade. We are hypocritical in our speech and morally compromised in our actions, but the fact remains, we believe and know that this butchery of babies is real.

People like to say that they're not single-issue voters as if that were a virtue. But this is not a world without truth. The truth is that we aren't talking about taxation or job creation, but state-sponsored murder.

You know how some pundits bemoan the zero-sumification of American politics, shaking their heads over how voters and politicians on either side of the aisle behave as if the other side were evil instead of misguided?

We see this perhaps most obviously in the frantic freak-outs of many left-wing SJWs who are convinced that anyone who wants to see IDs at voting stations or more restrictions on welfare is racist. We find their behavior laughable because IDs at voting stations ought not to be a moral zero-sum. But the fact is that, despite the red herrings, there are indeed zero-sum issues out there.

Abortion is the big one. It's far, very far, from being the only one. But it's always there, looming large over everything. And it's a core plank on the Democratic platform.

For all of President Obama's decency and morality, we could never embrace him, but only pray for him.

This country is full of decent people who not only murder children, but unrepentedly promote this atrocity in others, masking the oppression of the innocent as freedom for the poor. We live alongside these evildoers. They are our neighbors and even our family. We work alongside them and are cordial with them. We might have a beer with them or invite them to church. We may even like and love them. But murder is always there, crouching between us.

From the vantage of one who voted for neither major candidate, I would like to make a suggestion to the many Christian leaders who were scandalized that people who claim to be Christians could vote for as wicked a man as Trump. Perhaps voting for Trump was easy because we are already used to living under wicked rulers. This one simply happened to be not decent. Some might find that refreshing.

We accept the legitimacy of our government. But we couldn't embrace a man like Obama. He may be decent and moral and faithful, but only by Moloch's standards. And you will find that most of us are not embracing Trump; we are simply hopeful that his rule will alleviate our concerns and fears. It is possible that he is an answer to prayer.

I end with a pseudo-ad-hitlerum, reminding the reader that Dietrich Bonhoeffer was surrounded by decency, that Hannah Arendt reported on the banality of evil, and that decency and morality was expected and near-universal in the Waffen-SS.

When you post your objections, please begin by bringing up the Christians who, like many Israelites of old, go up to the high places and in to the shrine prostitutes. Bring up the Christians who say that the Bible is not God's word and get nervous talking about the divinity of Jesus. Or simply begin with the Christians who have managed to truly turn a blind eye to abortion. There are many. But there are more who cannot.

My prayer is that one day we will truly awake, and that our prayers will be faithful and true, and heard.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Do You Want Your Children To Push Back?

There's just a multiplicity of ways to exasperate and provoke your children. Such. A. Multiplicity. There's ignoring them, suffocating them, sneering at them, mocking them, despising them, crushing them, and raging at them, just to name a few. And most of us are fully capable of doing all those things to our kids before breakfast, which is when they make a disgusting mess in the kitchen, eat their stupid cereal way too loud, and run around the living room when I told them already not to run in the morning because I haven't had my coffee.

As I was saying, there are many ways to exasperate and provoke your children to wrath. When our kids react in sin we usually only judge their reaction, failing, like most basketball referees, to observe the foul play that provoked the reaction. This is especially harmful to the home's holiness when the instigator was, in fact, you. Which is why Paul in Ephesians 6:4 warns us fathers. Because, you know, worse case scenario we could be setting a millstone around their necks.

"Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord." This is the famous "nurture and admonition" (KJV) verse. Interesting that we struggle to decide in translating paideia whether it should be discipline or nurture, since neither our words "education" or "rear" transmit the idea of the process of raising a human, of forming a man. The discipline and instruction of the Lord, y'all, is a whole-of-life labor until the children are no longer yours. Fathers are responsible for the holistic formation of their little humans.

So, according to Paul, instead of provoking your children, you ought to discipline and instruct them. Which suggests that if you discipline and instruct them, you will not be provoking them. Hm...yeah, seems like that holds water.

Your children will sin, with or without your help. But it is important for their growth and sanctification that you shepherd them. There is only good in considering your child's frame.

One way to consider your child's frame is remember that you are fallible, and to set up a family structure that reflects that. Remember that your family belongs to God; Christ is the King.

Your children should see your wife discussing things openly with you. She should be able to suggest, challenge, and even disagree with you (depending on the weight of what is being discussed) in front of the children. Your authority can handle it, because your wife is a godly woman.

Your children should also believe that they can have opinions and disagree with dad. This is something that will have more and more amplitude as the children grow, but begins at a young age. And it should be taught. In our family, the kids must always say "Yes, sir" and begin the task before they express their objections. And their objection might very well be "Mom said not to throw that away because she'll need it tomorrow." And my response might very well be, "Oh, never mind then." What they may not do is express the objection before they begin to obey.

If your fifteen-year-old realizes that you're being a stubborn fathead about a particular thing and has had no nurturing/disciplining/education in how to handle his disagreement with you, he will have no categories for pushing back at you in a respectful and honoring way. He will see only two choices: to sin by submitting against his conscience, or to sin by rebelling against you. It is your responsibility to shape the family culture in such a way that he can disagree with you. Many difficult situations will be eased by the simple happening of a conversation; often the assumption of responsibility by you will ease his conscience and he can go ahead with whatever it was knowing that now it's on dad (remember, in this situation you're being a stubborn fathead, and are wrong).

It is also vitally important that your children be able to tell you when something is harming them, whether it is something they are doing, or you are doing, or a third party. If your children are afraid of provoking your wrath by telling you something bad about your favorite sports team, or another child, or a teacher, or a philosophy, or a habit of theirs, or a behavior of yours, you could be causing your little one to stumble. They must know that even if they are completely in the wrong, whether irrational, or fearful, or petty, or wicked in their telling you, that you will hear them, and forgive them, and nurture and instruct them.

Thus endeth this post, except for the video below, which includes an anecdotal illustration of why kids should speak and parents should listen.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

A Preemptive Love-On of Douglas Wilson

This is a preemptive post, published immediately after I published my "Last Person To Identify Himself As Federal Visionist..." post. Y'all. I love me some Douglas Wilson. And if someone described a bunch of that Federally Visiony stuff and asked if I believed it, I'd say know, as long as we could agree on definitions (sorry, too soon?).

So curious, y'all, to see how Pastor Wilson follows up his disassociation with the term Federal Vision. Crazy seismic ecclesiastical shifts could be about to happen. Or not much might be about to happen. But one thing's for sure...I hadn't heard that term in quite a while. I can feel the theological combat fatigue setting in already.

Last Person to Identify Himself as Federal Visionist Finally Decides to Drop Label

MOSCOW, ID -- Pastor Douglas Wilson, known in evangelical circles for his many books on marriage and family, recently announced that he no longer wished to be associated with something called Federal Vision.

"It was something we were all talking about fifteen years ago," said a spokesman for Pastor Wilson’s office. "A bunch of people got really mad. Man, we went through so many copies of the Westminster Confession. I remember there was that one guy who said we’d all become papists, then converted to Catholicism himself." 

"But that was like, before mySpace. These days, there’s a lot of justification and objectivity of the covenant stuff we like, but mostly we’re not really talking about that stuff anymore. We’re not sure why he didn’t just let sleeping dogs lie."

"I wonder if Doug’s going to move to California," he added. 

As of press time, the only people who seemed to care were early-twenties Reformed men whose beards were still coming in. It was observed that many of them were Baptists, but they had plenty to say about Covenant theology anyway.

Old Family Pictures

Your smile is a reward
Is what I meant to say
When I said you never smiled
As much as your brother.

The Gospel Is Many Things, Who Can Do Them?

The Gospel is one thing, but it is many things.

The Gospel is the annunciation of the Kingdom. It is the advent of the Kingdom. It is the conquest of the Kingdom. It is the deliverance of the Kingdom.

The Gospel is the keys to the Kingdom.

As the old English nursery rhyme has it, this is the key of the kingdom. In that kingdom there is a city. In that city there is a town. In that town there is a street. In that street there is a lane. In that lane there is a yard. In that yard there is a house. In that house there is a room. In that room there is a bed. On that bed there is a basket. In that basket there are some flowers. Flowers in a basket, basket on the bed, bed in the room, room in the house, house in the yard, yard in the lane, lane in the street, street in the town, town in the city, city in the kingdom. Of that kingdom this is the key.

This is a big life in a bigger Kingdom. It's hard to deal with the scope and size and variety. So much is happening at once. One could be tempted to think that proclaiming the Gospel is a thing for a few gifted ones, or a few well-placed ones. But proclaiming the Gospel is not far from you. It is at hand, and in your heart, that you may do it.

Be faithful, and be friendly. Make things and share them. Be modest and generous. Christ sends you his Holy Spirit to make it possible.

How many times have you heard "relationship evangelization" or "doing life" as a rationalization for why you fail to proclaim, or a capitulation to how you already live your life? This is not that. I am telling you right now that you must proclaim the Gospel, and that it is hard work, but that you can do it. God gives you the power. Go, eat with joy thy bread, and drink with a glad heart thy wine, for already hath God been pleased with thy works.

Do not be overwhelmed by the city and the town and the street and the lane and the yard and the house and the room and the bed and the basket and the flowers. In our Father's house there are many many rooms. Go where you must and live your life as Gospel, that where you are there he may also be.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Ground-Level Documentary On Italy's Historic Rugby Win Over South Africa

If you dig the rugby, or just dig sports, you will dig this twenty-minute look at Italy's win over South Africa last year in Florence.

(in English)