Wednesday, March 31, 2021

To the church in Thyatira

And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write, ‘These things says the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet like fine brass: I know your works, love, service, faith, and your patience; and as for your works, the last are more than the first.

Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allowed that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce my servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. And I gave her time to repent of her sexual immorality, and she did not repent.  Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds. I will kill her children with death, and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts. And I will give to each one of you according to your works.    

Now to you I say, and to the rest in Thyatira, as many as do not have this doctrine, who have not known the depths of Satan, as they say, I will put on you no other burden. But hold fast what you have till I come.  And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations— ‘He shall rule them with a rod of iron; They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels’ as I also have received from My Father;  and I will give him the morning star.  He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”  Revelation 2.18-29

Whew.  That’s loaded.  We’ve allowed ourselves, even in an age of over a billion aborted pregnancies and tens of millions dead from AIDS, drugs and endless millions more lives slain on the altar of our debauchery, to be convinced that sexual sin and hedonism is no big deal. Oh in some dusty old tome in the Vatican furnace room it’s probably technically sin, but we only say that because of mean and hateful people who don’t understand the full divine grace of the ultimate orgasm.  After all, when was the last time you heard anyone say that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit?  Anyone? 

The crazy thing is that the heresy pushing this lottery for libidos, this genocide for genitals, has somehow managed to seize the moral high ground.  I can’t help but think it’s because, deep, deep down in places we don’t admit even to ourselves, we’re more than happy with some of the fringe benefits of this little moral affront to the Gospel of Christ.  I won't go into detail about that, but you get my point. 

Note that after a sweeping broadside of promised suffering and death for those who continue this way, even as we see millions upon millions of lives ruined and lost today due to the sex and drugs revolution, there is that promise for those who do not have such doctrines – which are called the depths of Satan.  The promise? No further burden will be given.

It’s almost as if the widespread agony and suffering we see could be the result, not of divine wrath, but of divine promise that such agony and suffering results when we plumb the depth of Satanic utterances.  Instead, our best bet is to cling to the One who warned us to sin no more, while also assuring us that His burden is light, and His yoke is easy.

What better day than Spy Wednesday to think of how much we've sold out the Faith, for no other reason than accommodating a modern Sodom and Gomorrah?

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

What the Left sees when thinking of poor white people


The church in Pergamos

And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write, “These things says He who has the sharp two-edged sword: I know your works, and where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. And you hold fast to My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days in which Antipas was My faithful martyr, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality. Thus you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.  Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it.”  Revelation 2.12-17

The Church that stands firm, and yet tolerates false teachings.  Boy is that the Church today. Somewhere along the line enough of our leaders, and perhaps our people, lost enough faith that compromise for the sake of the Gospel became compromise to avoid proclaiming the Gospel.  Note the warning.  It does no good to be faithful in so many things.  If the Church does not repent of allowing false doctrines to mingle with the Gospel, the One with the sharp two edged sword will come quickly and will fight against them (those promoting the false teachings) with the sword of My mouth.  

That’s always struck me as an odd thing.  You call that a threat?  I was expecting ‘you will be cast into the outer darkness’ or ‘I will take away the keys to the Kingdom’ or something of the sort.  But that?  I can only imagine it’s a reminder that we might at times take God a bit too casually.  The threat reads as a sort of ‘those people whose false doctrine you tolerate, let’s assume for reasons like you love them, will face the wrath if you don’t do something soon.'  If we really care about the ones we’re accommodating despite their embrace of heresies and falsehoods, perhaps the best thing to do is stop accommodating.  If nothing else, for their sake. 

Monday, March 29, 2021

No Whites allowed

The BBC reports on the latest drive to push white people into the back of the bus.  Young media superstar Amanda Gorman asked a young Danish colleague to translate her poetry into his language.  When he Tweeted of the honor, outrage ensued as he - and whites everywhere - were schooled on why whites have no right to translate the works of black or other minority authors. 

It's happening fast.  We're already past where the Nazis were in terms of anti-Jewish rhetoric before they came to power.  You have to get to mid to late 1930s Reichstag anti-Semitism to hear what we're hearing about Caucasians, Christians, Europeans and European Americans today. 

That it's lily white liberals helping lead the charge doesn't matter.  An ugly chapter of the Nazis was those Jews who did, in fact, turn over their fellows in the hope of currying favor with the Reich.  Same here.  It's actually called auto-genocide.  It means slaughtering your own people, reasons no doubt varying.   

Like most evils, it's about power.  A sort of 'hey everyone not White/European/Christian/American: Help us burn them in furnaces and you can have the spoils ... just remember to give us our beach mansions in Malibu and Manhattan penthouses when it's done.'   I'm sure there are a few journalists, and not a few Christian leaders, who imagine they will be part of the select few given such perks when the dust and ashes settle. 

And to those Christians who will excuse or even support this, irrelevant of their ethnicity: You also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.  

To the church in Smyrna

And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write, ‘These things says the First and the Last, who was dead, and came to life: “I know your works, tribulation, and poverty (but you are rich); and I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.

Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death.”  Revelation 2.8-11

I think Jesus meant it when He said, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”  

The storms of persecution are coming, and in some corners are already here.  This doesn't count areas around the world where overt persecution has been going on for generations.  

As this develops, many will apostatize and join the darkness.  Many will turn in their brothers and sisters who sit next to them in pews.  They are the ones who ignore or mock those who have already paid for refusing to sell out to the principalities and powers of this present darkness.

For those who don’t sell out, there is a beautiful promise.  This, I think, will become a very important passage of Scripture for that remnant remaining faithful in the upcoming years.  No doubt as important as it was for those under the Roman heel ages ago.  A Holy Monday reflection

Sunday, March 28, 2021

To the Ephesians

To the angel of the church of Ephesus write, ‘These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands: “I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil.

And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary.  

Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place— unless you repent.

But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.”   Revelation 2.1-7

Doing good for the wrong reasons. Dare I say most churches today would do well to live up to half of what the Ephesians have managed.  And yet the rebuke: You’ve lost your first love.  I’ve seen many things written about that jab over the ages.  One thing for sure: It doesn’t matter how much they’ve done, they’ve forgotten what it was all about.   

It may be quite the sin to do the wrong thing for the right reason (we’ll call that consequentialism for now), but it appears to be no better to do the right thing for the wrong reason, or do it without being grounded in the right reason.  Just something to kick around on this Palm Sunday.

Today is Palm Sunday

The beginning of Holy Week.  For Western Christians that is.  The Orthodox, forever stubborn where changing to align closer to their Western brethren is concerned, will be following in a few weeks.  But the days and the week itself are largely the same: the most holy and sacred time of the year.  

Not Christmas, despite what St. Madison Ave. might tell us.  Or even Rankin/Bass.  Christmas was actually a Johnny-come-lately in the big holy days of the early Church.  Driven largely by the Alexandrian school's obsession with unpacking the deeper implications of the Incarnation, it was logical that such an emphasis would lead people to want more focus on the front of the Jesus story to set the proper stage for what ends up on the cross and in the empty tomb. 

Some say only two Gospels have birth narratives.  That's not true.  John also has a birth narrative, albeit from a decidedly high philosophical perspective.  Nonetheless, Mark gives scant little mention at all, other than saying this is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, on we go to John the Baptist.  But the Passion?  The Crucifixion?  The empty tomb?  Those are in all four, and were key to the early Church's understanding of what this new Way was all about. 

For modern Christians, as we see ourselves in the age of Apostasy when so many believers are abandoning the faith altogether, or are twisting and turning, jettisoning and acquiring in the face of a rising tide of hatred of God, Christ an His Church, it's worth ponding the more obvious of angles to take this day. Today is the Triumphal Entry, as it's sometimes called.  That's Jesus arriving in Jerusalem to the cheers and adoration of the crowds Beatlemania style.  And we know what happens next.  By Good Friday, many of those cheering Him today will be screaming 'Crucify Him!'  

Will that be us?  Right now many are still holding firm, but how long?  We've seen so many jump ship, abandon the values and teachings of the Faith, compromise, look the other way, as our nation, civilization and world turn its rage and anger and hatred of the Gospel into full warfare.  Will Christ find any left who are faithful?  No doubt He will.  But who will they be?  Per Jesus, they will be the few, not the many.  

So perhaps this year, as we look to Good Friday and its almost clichéd application that we hear every year, it might be time to rethink what it was telling a Church already knee deep in Roman persecution.  For the stories of the Jesus event were being written down in Gospel form when Christians were learning that Rome was no longer a safe haven.  Many would gladly bow before Caesar, offer sacrifices at Caesar's altar, and even betray their brethren to save their skins. If they had to deny Christ to save their lives, they would.

We love the stories of the saints and martyrs of history, the ones who paid that full measure of devotion for the Gospel.  But for each of those who did so, as many if not more didn't.  And that's as it always is in history.  For evil to Triumph, good men have to make lame excuses, quit, buckle, surrender and look the other way.   Good men never do nothing.  They always do something to open the gates of history's next reign of terror.

Just some thinking as we look at the remarkable - and frightening - turn of events we've witnessed in just the last six years, much less the last  year.  Satan is cracking his knuckles, itching for the great infernal harvest.  Those of us who are loud in calling out the turn of evil we're watching, how will we do?  Will we persevere?  When the time comes will we, like most of the disciples, turn tail and run?  Indeed, as so many are doing today, will we join one disciple and betray?  Or will we be the minority, the few, who follow Jesus to the Cross, braving capture and exposure; prepared to take on whatever mandates Christ would have of us? 

Only time will tell. 

Friday, March 26, 2021

Bwa ha ha ha!

As a fan of Van Gogh, I never tire of the jokes.   

FWIW, as I've said many times, I'm not really much of a Sci-fi/Fantasy fan apart from what most such fans don't really consider deep, dark Sci-fi or fantasy (Star Wars, Alien, The Lord of the Rings).  But there was a Dr. Who episode that featured Mr. Van Gogh, and I must admit I recommend it heartily.  

Thursday, March 25, 2021

With all due respect to Bill Gates, MD


Biden blinks

So President Biden will finally give a press conference.  This is the longest in modern presidential history that a new president has gone without giving a press conference.  And we all know why. 

It should be noted that the "press" is nothing of the sort.  It is not journalism or media or press. It is the propaganda arm of the secular Left.  To that end, it lifts up and promotes various leftist agendas and the party that embraces those agendas - most of the time.  On a few occasions, however, the press will turn on those same leftists under certain circumstances.

One of those circumstances is when the general untouchable position of the press is challenged.  Remember Obama?  The man the press lifted up as the new Messiah?  Remember when Obama told media outlets not to use FOX News as a source?  Whew.  The press was on him like white on rice  Why?  Not that any of them would ever have used FOX anyway.  But they did not appreciate a sitting president - even one of their own - telling them what to do.

Another case is here with President Biden. By not having a press conference the Biden administration was inadvertently showing how pointless and meaningless these conferences are.  After all, we're getting by quite nicely without them. Poll after poll has shown Biden as the most popular president in history, and all is improving around the world.  Who needs press conferences?  

That's the last thing the media wants.  So beginning a couple weeks ago, I noticed reports starting to slip in this 'still no  press conference' jab when covering this or that story.  It was around then we also began hearing about the border crisis.  It's my guess - my opinion - that the press was trotting out the border crisis to force Biden's hand.  A sort of 'we're going to keep hammering this until you talk' tactic.  

I could be wrong, but I'll guess after the press conference the press's reporting on the crisis will change.  It will be emphasized how it's all Trump's fault.  The daily reports of abuse and suffering along the border will diminish.  It will be back to 'Biden saving the world one day at a time' reporting.  For the record, that's my guess.  Even today, after the announcement, I noticed a different tone when reporting on the border crisis than I had the last several days. Again, I could be wrong.  The press could keep the border crisis front and center and squarely on the White House lawn.  But I'm guessing not. 

Mass shootings and the ministry of lies

The press is dead, long live the propaganda ministry.  So when a man went on a killing spree and killed multiple victims in different massage parlors, the press almost immediately framed it as a racist hate crime.  Why?  Because most victims (not all, but most) were Asian and the shooter was white.  The shooter then claimed it was due to his spiraling sex obsessions gone out of control, lending credence to the old Christian principle that the wages of sin is death.  Really.  Sin leads to death.  Spiritual death and, as often as not, some variation on physical death. 

But not to be undone by reality, the press tried to make it about the sudden spike in anti-Asian crime.  Why this focus on anti-Asian crime?  Likely it's a preemptive narrative meant to shut down questions about Covid's origins and China's role in the entire pandemic.  You know, if you're asking the question, no doubt you're an anti-Asian racist who clearly wants as many Asians to die as possible. 

From the DOJ; proof of the anti-Asian violence problems in the US

Then a shooter walked into a grocery store and opened fire, killing ten victims and no doubt wounding many others.  There was no immediate narrative because the identity of the shooter remained fuzzy.  Early video showed the police escorting the suspect away, and those early clips made the suspect look mighty white.  Which was good.  That's more white racists killing people. 

But then things went wrong.  First, more evidence began to pile up around the massage parlor killings that the shooter's own testimony about his motives seems more likely.  After all, a racist hate crime doesn't only have to include victims of the particular targeted race, but it would help if there had been an Asian restaurant, or an Asian business or anything else included, rather than exclusively focused on massage parlors with a reputation of providing more than just massages. 

Then, worst of all, the identity of the Colorado shooter was revealed to be quite Muslim sounding and, even worse than that, an individual with social media posts railing against Donald Trump, Islamaphobia, and even such specific topics as immigration. Eeek. 

Beyond it being the first mass killing by a self-identifying Muslim since before Donald Trump was elected, the last thing we need is to look at motives if it doesn't include white people or men.

Relying on such obvious falsehoods is a way to show you're on the wrong side

Of course we can always default to gun control as good as any.  That's a standby for mass shootings where group identity can't become the story. 

But here's a guy with anti-Trump posts?  A guy with posts reflecting the media's own narrative of widespread Islamaphobic bigotry?  A guy who sounds pretty darn Muslim, if not Middle-Eastern?  What to do?

Well, do what all the media outlets I saw cover this have done.  First, spread doubt that a person who posted anti-Trump posts could really be motivated by things like anti-Trump feelings.  I mean, that's true. Just because someone posts something does that mean that was the motivator for the deed?   Not necessarily.  There are times the media loves nuance and death by a thousand trivial suppositions.  Come on, his anti-Trump posts are likely nothing at all, no clear reason to link those to his motives. I mean, if he had pro-Trump posts, do we really think the press would link his support to Trump with the violence? 

But his homophobic posts?  Ah, there you go.  He said something about Harry becoming Sally and his high school spying on him.  The media doesn't need to say there is a connection.  It's enough to keep mentioning it.  Over and over and over again.  The press isn't say he was motivated by homophobic bigotry, since there is nothing to suggest the victims had anything at all to do with the LGBTQ community.  It's enough to just say it.  That keeps the press from saying the nasty stuff that might hamstring the all important narrative.  Sort of a 'you know how murderous those anti-LGBTQ types are' without saying it, all while deflecting from other nasty conclusions about his motives. 

And all those pesky images of his anti-Trump, pro-leftist narrative posts:

Are these fakes?  Are they not real?  How do I know?  Common sense dictates that I can't trust what I see on the Internet.  Common sense also dictates that I can't trust what the news media tells me either.  At this point believing in doomsday UFO cults would make more sense than believing anything I see coming from the press.  So what to do? 

There comes a point when we begin to realize we know less about what is going on in the world than a 1st Century Roman or Medieval peasant would have known.  We think we know, but do we?  To trust what is on the Internet is difficult at best.  To trust what we are told by the news media is foolishness.  So how do we really know what is actually happening in this small, small world?  I don't know which is worse, that the press assumes we're stupid enough to believe this bilge, or that most today will actually (or conveniently) believe it. 

That's why it makes the most sense to pray. God knows even what the press chooses not to tell us.  Pray for the poor victims.  Pray for their families. Pray for the families of the shooters and all impacted by this evil.  Pray that people turn back to God and the source of every good and perfect gift.  And pray that the world turn to Christ, the author and perfecter of our faith.  Any trust in the horses and chariots of Washington rather than praying would necessitate us at least being informed.  I think by now, we should know that the last thing we are is informed. 

Thus says the Lord: “A voice of lamentation, weeping, and mourning was heard in Ramah. Rachel does not wish to cease mourning deeply over her children, because they are no more.”  Jeremiah 31.15



Does this mean him being Syrian, or Muslim, or any such thing had anything to do with the Colorado shooter's motives?  Of course not.  It could, but not necessarily.  But we all know damn well how the press would be framing this if he was a white Baptist with a MAGA hat.  That's the problem.  I find it more and more difficult to respect people who say they trust the national press.  

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

For the birds

Or at least the bird watcher curious.  A nifty webpage that identifies birds and their calls.  It is for Minnesota, so the birds are native that that little hunk of land.  But several of the birds are also found here in the Buckeye State.  I recognized the Cardinal, as any Ohioan should.  But several of the others were new to me.  Just something for fun and a little learning.  As I tell my boys, it never hurts to learn. 

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Blessing gay unions and the Catholic Left

A tale of two apologists.

First, the Shea.  Naturally Mark waded into this one as we all could guess.  He wasn't alone.  Many I saw on the more radical leftwing segment of the Church swung into action.  A couple openly condemned it, but most did what Mark appears to be doing here, and that's stating variations on 'next year and then Jerusalem.'  That is Development of Doctrine, the key teaching upon which the whole of liberal Protestant denominations came to be founded, is the capstone.  

With development of doctrine you have a real thing - just read the Bible.  And ostensibly this real thing is alive and well and forever teaching us what parts of old doctrines need discarded or rewritten.  It was such a powerful force in mainline Protestantism that I remember debating issues with leaders from those denominations who had no problem saying that they didn't know how to square, say, gay marriage with Jesus' claim God made marriage around man and woman, but they could assume development of doctrine and discover Jesus never actually said such a thing after all. It became a 'get out of jail free' card when it comes to changing things around to keep with the times. 

For Mark, he doesn't give an actual, definitive answer to where the Church will go from here. Thankfully the Church has embraced the post-Freudian idea that we are defined by our sexual desires, and that those are likely as much a part of God's plan for us as any other charism.  Therefore as long as no penetration is involved, all is blessing and glory where our sexual inclinations are concerned.  It's just that pesky no physical sex part that's the tricky point.  To this, Mark appears to argue that it's about the sex and the sacraments.  The sex is about the person, and the sacraments are for the person not the other way around, and since someday the sacraments will pass but the dignity of the person will not, well, you do the math. 

The second piece is from Dawn Eden, who has openly apologized for the harm she caused by standing up to modern, liberal values and beliefs.  In this piece, she makes it about love.  God is love and love is love, and all you need is love, and I am the walrus and a hard day's night and all.  It's about the love and the chastity.  Once again, the gift of same sex desires can be gloriously lived out in love because that's what it's all about.   Exactly why this desire leads to a sinful act if fulfilled and yet we insist God doesn't tempt us to sin, I'm not sure.  But it's about the love, and that's good enough.  Naturally her piece tends toward that approach in which we insist same sex attraction shouldn't be treated any differently than any other sinful inclination all while treating it differently than we treat any other sinful inclination. 

Now, I will not wade into the meat and potatoes of this.  Others far more versed and schooled in the nitty-gritty can do the heavy lifting.  I will note that much of what they are saying is merely what the Church teaches, and has been teaching for many years now.  There is development of doctrine.  There is modifying in light of new discoveries.  There is, for want of a better phrase, keeping up with the Jonses.  When the world zigs, the Church had best zig with it lest it zag in the wrong direction and be laughed at, or worse.  I'm at a loss to figure how someone could say that hasn't been the Church's approach for quite some time.  And it isn't alone.  That's where many religions have been since it appeared humanity entered into a new age of finally discovering how things really work. 

But what struck me in both of these was something I've noticed that is common when debating various topics driven by the modern Left.  Notice that in both, there is no question as to the motives of the LGBTQ community, openly gay believers, gay activists, or anything.  They are pure as the wind driven (but not white) snow.  There is no dealing with the seedier sides, or possibility that it is all part of a much larger revolution aiming at the very heart of the Faith.  There is not even the possibility that anything but the pure quest for love and God is at the heart of everything to do with this call to challenge the Church's teachings regarding one of the most fundamental beliefs in the Christian stockpile: the very definition of humanity, its relations with itself and subsequently with God.

Nope.  Dawn doesn't go into much regarding detractors or those troubled by the Church's direction.  Mark, of course, makes it clear where the bad motives are.  Echoing my former ethics professor David Gushee, he assumes it's always been about the kindly liberals pushing forward against the ever clinging conservatives fighting the Left's true revelations due to their wicked ways.  And in a way not at all foreign to Pope Francis, he can assume the motives for not jumping on the good ship Leftism are the most reprehensible, while the inner intentions of those individuals indulging in even full out gay sex (or abortion, or any 'sin of the left') should never be questioned or judged.

That is, IMHO, one of the most powerful weapons in the Left's arsenal, that every debate begins with the assumption of the Left's infallibility and blameless motives.  So true is what the Left proposes, so clear the evils the Left is attempting to fix, so blameless the Left's designs, that any resistance can only be attributed to the most questionable, if not the most evil, of reasons.  Just pick a topic: immigration, socialism, gay rights, transgender rights, Covid lockdowns, gun control - the list is endless.  

After all, it's how Pope Francis could so easily accept the decidedly progressive spin on Global Warming.  Are there scientists who question the mainline narrative regarding climate change?  Sure.  But if you recall, Pope Francis had no problem dismissing them as a wretched brood likely on the fossil fuel industry dole, and therefore not as purely motivated as those who march to the MMGW beat.  Same here.  Same anywhere in which we approach issues driven by the modern Left.  And that, kiddies, is a powerful attack that those who would resist the directions in which we are going have yet to overcome. 

One more thing.  During my sojourn with the Orthodox, I will say it has done a better job resisting the 'times changes, churches change' approach to the world.  Better, but not solid. Now, after about two generations of post-Soviet believers, the up and coming wee ones are itching to join the West in at least this regard, and shuffle off some old, antiquated notions about genders, sex and 'reproductive health' if nothing else.  How long the Orthodox can hold out is anyone's guess.  If they are smart, they'll look long and hard and see where too much of that has gotten the West.  But then, if Catholics were smart, they would look at where too much of that got all of those dying Protestant denominations. 

Monday, March 22, 2021

It starts

As things look at the start of the fun

I mentioned last week that my youngest son, at the behest of his three older brothers, has thrown his cap into the ring with Empires in Arms, the Napoleonic wargame against which all Napoleonic wargames are measured.

At a tender age of eleven, he has been playing big boy games with the big boys for years - almost always losing.  Almost, that is.  He's had his moments of sheer brilliance.  We don't let him win, for what it's worth.  If for no other reason than when we're playing against each other, going easy on him might be  to the advantage of one of the other competitors.  And my sons are mighty competitive.

Still, we will 'pull punches', especially in games where that subjective world of diplomacy exists.  We try not to take advantage of him.   When it comes to more tactical or strategic planning, we'll usually try to be objective and give him some pointers, but we leave final planning and choices to him.  When it comes to parts of games that boil down to pure luck, then it's on him. 

With that said, he's already shown promise.  The boys had Saturday off and just wrapped up a week in exams.  Therefore they decided that some point this weekend was as good a time as any to begin the next big campaign game.  In the first turn (one month game time), when it's usually a bunch of players grabbing what they can without much pushback, he quickly grasped the benefit of playing the very complex and difficult country of Turkey.  First, as long as he holds Constantinople, he controls the Dardanelles. It took him no time to threaten the two main countries that fact impacts with severing the important trade lanes: England and Russia.  That's me and my second oldest respectfully.

Second, he quickly made an alliance with France (our oldest).  Finally, when our third oldest, playing Spain, decided to expand into Morocco - which is something we've never objected to no matter who plays Spain - our youngest stepped in and backed Morocco.  That threw his generally aggressive older brother for quite the loop.  Something that typically is a formality could now drag down several turns to reap the benefits.  

So not bad.  He has a lot to learn.  Heck, with these games you never stop learning.  This is our fourth game out and we're still figuring out the rules.  But for a kid still properly in elementary school, quickly seizing on the advantages of controlling trade and shipping into the Black Sea and using it for diplomatic leverage, while hitting us where after years of playing we're not expecting it, isn't bad.  Thus far, his brothers have been impressed. 

Our youngest intensely plotting his next curve ball

Friday, March 19, 2021

Well there goes my bracket!

Oral Roberts?  We lost to Oral Roberts?   Does our team know how that makes a person of my generation feel, losing to underdog Oral Roberts at the outset?  Thanks goodness it's now I suppose.  If it was forty years ago I wouldn't be able to handle the jokes.

Ah Holtmann.  He manages to make silk purses out of sows' ears, and yet can never seem to sell those purses he made.  He will win early in the season against overwhelming odds.  And then, somewhere halfway through, the wheels start coming off and it seems as if he plays down to anyone he plays.  Put us up against a middle school team, and we'll barely scrape by.  That 'win at the edge of your teeth is sill a win' philosophy can only last so long.  Eventually it will catch up with you and that's what happened today. 

Oral Roberts beats OSU in overtime (and an overtime we had to catch up to and tie to get to).  Geeesh.  I suppose at least I don't have to sweat the rest of my bracket.  Warren Buffett can rest easy where I'm concerned.  

Words fail me

 So apparently this was a thing:

A Harlequin Romance inspired ... wargame?  That's Avalon Hill, the company I've praised many times over the years for its catalogue of wargaming fun and sound historical scholarship to boot.  

But this?  I just can't imagine how this works.  I'd like to think it was a put-on, or meant for the humor.  But it goes to show you something when it comes to remembering the past.  We sometimes remember the best of the past, while looking at and lamenting so much goofy or junk today.  Sometimes it's worth remembering that the goofy junk has always been around.  It's just that good taste and common sense have a way of filtering it out as the years droll on.  You're only in trouble when we begin actively lifting up the junk, and working to eliminate the best of the past. 

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Listening to Dick Durban assure us of our religious liberty

 Made me think of this scene from The Shining (Language Warning):

Yep. By now only leftists, liars and lunatics don't know what it means when a liberal says they're for freedom, they're only against evil.   This little duplicity is rightly condemned by anyone who hasn't sold mind, heart, body and soul to the ninety foot idol of the Leftist State. 

The time for a middle ground is over, but it might be past even that.  The Left holds the orb, the scepter and the crown.  It has the press, education, entertainment and now Wall Street.  Given the treatment Tucker Carlson received from the military for calling out their progressive policies, and given that both the military and law enforcement threw their support behind BLM, it's likely those holdouts are soon to go.

Religion?  The sad history of religion is that, as far back as the Old Testament, you can always count on the faithful to bow before Moloch.  The Bible itself is, after all, a minority witness.  In most cases, the Word of God speaks through those rare individuals or groups who remain faithful to the Covenants even as the majority betrays them. 

So those who cling to historical orthodoxy?  Those who cling to the values and teachings of the historical Christian revelation, and cherish the long testimony of those who came before?  Where will they be?  Hard to say.  How will they manage after centuries of Christianity being, for want of a better phrase, the 'easy way out'?  Indeed, how many will be those who remain faithful in the face of the coming storm?  

We'll see.  But it's odd if you think on it.  In recent generations it's been fashionable to quote Jesus almost exclusively as if there is no other source of teaching in the New Testament. When it comes to love and tolerance and diversity and inclusion, it was that one lost sheep and eating with the sinners all day.  If you ever notice, however, that when the subject of 'how many will be saved' unwisely enters the debate, it's almost as if we never heard of Jesus.  Then it's the letters, it's Paul, or it's a few select scenes from the Revelation of John. 

That's because, if you get right down to it, Jesus' appraisal of the crowds in the end times is a rather dour one.  More often than not it's many are called, but few are chosen.  Or it's many will say, "Lord, Lord", but Jesus will say never knew you.  Or narrow is the way that leads to life yet few are those who will find it.  'Few' seems big in the Jesus vocabulary when speaking to the faithful in the final judgment.  

I think of that as the Left begins mop-up operations in preparation for the final push to abolish the Christian West and the American Experiment, along with what Truths and values emerged through Christ's revelation.  We've already seen so many apostatize or jump ship or try desperately to compromise or throw other believers under the bus.  But when Christ does return, or when the tribulations come, will He find faith on Earth?  I'm sure He will.  The question will be, among how many will He find it.  Few, it would seem, if Christ's appraisal has anything to do with it. 

I just thought of that as I see what is happening.  It's not going to be easy, as we're seeing.  Much of the Church from top down and side to side is about finding ways to make an increasingly hostile revolution compatible with business as usual Christianity.  When we consider the somber appraisal of how many remain faithful and how many don't, and see how many are crumbling and acquiescing and surrendering now, it can hopefully motivate those who would remain faithful to hunker down and prepare for a long, cold night. 



Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Wearing the green

And have a blessed St. Patrick's Day.  Here is a nice bunch of fun info from the always informative Fish Eaters.  Needless to say, a big part of our celebrations will center around the dinner table.  Enjoy the celebrations and remember the reasons.  



The pillar towers of Ireland, how wondrously they stand

By the lakes and rushing rivers through the valleys of our land;

In mystic file, through the isle, they lift their heads sublime,

These gray old pillar temples, these conquerors of time!


Beside these gray old pillars, how perishing and weak

The Roman's arch of triumph, and the temple of the Greek,

And the gold domes of Byzantium, and the pointed Gothic spires,

All are gone, one by one, but the temples of our sires!


The column, with its capital, is level with the dust,

And the proud halls of the mighty and the calm homes of the just;

For the proudest works of man, as certainly, but slower,

Pass like the grass at the sharp scythe of the mower!


But the grass grows again when in majesty and mirth,

On the wing of the spring, comes the Goddess of the Earth;

But for man in this world no springtide e'er returns

To the labours of his hands or the ashes of his urns!


Two favourites hath Time--the pyramids of Nile,

And the old mystic temples of our own dear isle;

As the breeze o'er the seas, where the halcyon has its nest,

Thus Time o'er Egypt's tombs and the temples of the West!


The names of their founders have vanished in the gloom,

Like the dry branch in the fire or the body in the tomb;

But to-day, in the ray, their shadows still they cast--

These temples of forgotten gods--these relics of the past!


Around these walls have wandered the Briton and the Dane--

The captives of Armorica, the cavaliers of Spain--

Phœnician and Milesian, and the plundering Norman Peers--

And the swordsmen of brave Brian, and the chiefs of later years!


How many different rites have these gray old temples known!

To the mind what dreams are written in these chronicles of stone!

What terror and what error, what gleams of love and truth,

Have flashed from these walls since the world was in its youth?


Here blazed the sacred fire, and, when the sun was gone,

As a star from afar to the traveler it shone;

And the warm blood of the victim have these gray old temples drunk,

And the death-song of the druid and the matin of the monk.


Here was placed the holy chalice that held the sacred wine,

And the gold cross from the altar, and the relics from the shrine,

And the mitre shining brighter with its diamonds than the East,

And the crosier of the pontiff and the vestments of the priest.


Where blazed the sacred fire, rung out the vesper bell,

Where the fugitive found shelter, became the hermit's cell;

And hope hung out its symbol to the innocent and good,

For the cross o'er the moss of the pointed summit stood.


There may it stand for ever, while that symbol doth impart

To the mind one glorious vision, or one proud throb to the heart;

While the breast needeth rest may these gray old temples last,

Bright prophets of the future, as preachers of the past!

Monday, March 15, 2021

Deacon Greydanus knows not what he does

By wading into the tangled jungle of Southern Baptist culture.  Fact is, from a purely orthodox Evangelical perspective, c. 1990s, losing Ms. Moore, at least as a 'Bible Teacher', would be like Van Halen losing Sammy Hagar.  Despite her sucking up to #MeToo claims that criticism of her was due to sexist men, it was actually based on substance.  For most of us, her Bible studies came off like a loosely Evangelical combo of Oprah and Smilin' Joel Osteen.  She often seemed a mile wide and an inch deep.  While not all of what she produced was bad, it smacked more of the 'Talk Show' feel that was the rage in the day than a grounded approach to Scripture study.

As for the black pastor, I have no clue.  I see he posted on his church's Facebook page that learning figures in the Bible, like Solomon, were black makes it all the more special.  I guess embracing the idea that it's really all about the skin color.  Other than that, I don't know.  

I do know the tangled mess of SBC polity is something best not commented on, especially if you're Catholic.  Because, you see, Moore and the pastor and others in question can do just what they're doing.  That is, if they don't like their current denominational affiliation, they can happily ditch it and find another Protestant denomination more to their liking.  A characteristic of Protestantism that Catholics rightly criticize.  It's something that has been a cancerous rot in the greater Church for centuries: I'll choose the faith tradition that fits best.  Doing so under the modern 'because their politics are the problem and I'm not' template only compounds the scandal. 

Catholics can't do what Moore is doing, however, and must take the good Deacon's approach of blaming the Church's ills on those other Catholics over there who don't approach political narratives like the way I do.  Though so universal is the 'Be Leftists or be Nazi' paradigm, notice that both Catholic Deacon Greydanus and those Evangelicals interviewed in the article accept it as the goto ecclesiastical framework.  If you aren't aligning with the Left's narratives, you're a nationalist (read: Nazi), racist, sexist, etc.'   That framework is, in the end, simply a 21st progressive version of 'thank you, Lord, that you didn't make me like those wrong politically thinking Christians over there.'  

Saturday, March 13, 2021

A difference between Catholics and Protestants

We Protestants had our own versions of Fred Phelps to be sure.  But once we learned about them, we didn't invite them to be keynote speakers at our churches about things like homosexuality - or anything for that matter:

In today's world it takes nothing to find out what someone is about online.  That Mark continues to be lauded by endless Catholic clergy, publishers, schools, parishes and other outlets, despite what he does and how he does it, shows a glaring problem in oversight that seems worse in Catholic circles than I've seen in either Protestant or even Orthodox circles. 

Friday, March 12, 2021

Friday Fun: A wargamer is born

So where have I been these last few days?  I'll get to that down the road.  For now, allow me to congratulate our youngest.   I wrote that we had wrapped up the old Empires in Arms game months back.  That was when the Covid pandemic and the lockdowns and all where just taking off.  

My sons, who were on the verge of stepping out on their own, getting their apartments and moving on campus, decided to pull the plug on those plans.  After all, why spend extra money to live in a dorm that you are locked up in and unable to go out?

With them being around home, they decided to dust off some of the games  they had wanted to play, or had played and enjoyed.  Many fall into that category (and I may post on some of those we discovered over the last year).  Even as things loosen up and they're beginning to reformulate their plans, having gotten through a sizeable portion of their schooling sans debt, they still have time at home until they get things together to move on.  So they decided to have another go at that all time grand epic Napoleonic wargame against which all Napoleonic wargames are measured.

This time, however, they decided to let their youngest on board.  At eleven, he's been playing 'grown up' games with the boys and the family for years.  True, he almost always looses, which sometimes we fear can be demoralizing.  But he's always in there trying. A few times, such as playing Twilight Imperium (with the brothers) or Catan (with the whole family), he's come dangerously close to winning.  Now and then he has won with games like Monopoly or Poker.  Not bad for a ten or eleven year old against three or more adults - who generally don't pull too many punches.

Since he can hold his own, the brothers decided to bring him into the game of games.  It was decided to play through an introductory scenario, one based on Napoleon's grand victory at Austerlitz.  Ol'Dad sat with him, explaining the nuts and bolts, knowing a fair amount of it was either over the head or in one ear and out the other.  Nonetheless, when his next older brother (our resident game fanatic) moved to attack his force located in Lombardy, I offered suggestions, but left the final tactical decisions up to him.  

And viola!  His brother, who wins more often than not  because he fully invests himself in anything he ever ventures into (he's very, very competitive) - lost.  Despite having the esteemed Archduke Charles, whose game stats are second only to Napoleon's, and despite having a superior force of over 60,000 to my youngest's 40,000+, his forces broke after only two rounds of combat, and suffered significant losses.  He later explained that he didn't put much thought into the tactics of the battle because he didn't want to beat his younger brother too badly.  I told him mission accomplished. 

So this will be fun. I have no doubt it will be tough for the wee one, but in a game that puts diplomacy at the forefront, it's easier to guide him along without it seeming like we're playing the game for him.  I also know it will take him a bit of time to lock down all the rules.  Heck, we're still learning and finding out we've done it wrong here or there.  But it will get him to think.  He'll learn, as you often did playing those old wargame miracles from Avalon Hill, or reading the accompanying Osprey publications for wargamers everywhere. 

That's the important news right now.  Heh.  As for whatever else I have going on and why I haven't blogged much, I'll get to that.  But when you have a kid eager to play games from a lost age that may help him learn about what was lost, that does take priority.  Especially when, as homeschoolers, we can use this as the basis for lesson plans.  The joy of homeschooling. 

In hindsight, Charles might want to think twice

Friday, March 5, 2021

Racism is racism

Plain and simple.  The racist idea that only certain races or skin colors can be racist is no less racist than anything Goebbels or the KKK ever said.  The promotion of racism in the name of fighting racism is racism.  What we're seeing is the same old, same old.  It may be repackaged and rebranded, but it's racism.  That it's being promoted by people of the same race that are advocating it against their own race doesn't make it less racist.  

In fact, there is only one real difference between the modern racism against Caucasians and the anti-black or anti-Jewish racism of old.  Those latter two, at the end of the day, were rooted in centuries, or even thousands of years, of bigotry, ignorance and prejudice.  Hatred of Jews or contempt for blacks had been around for endless generations.  Many who repeated or added to the bigotry were only doing what they learned and what the broader world said was as true as gravity or a round world. 

But those embracing this latest incarnation of one of the world's oldest sins are doing so overnight.  Not only that, but they are doing so after we spent generations calling out racism as the ultimate of all human evils.  So what is their excuse?  Indeed, you begin wondering if the racism we are told to associate with the Christian West may have been delayed and slowed by the Christian witness after all.  Especially as we see those outside of the Christian fold, or those who have rejected the Christian fold, embrace in a matter of a few years what it took the civilization influenced by the Gospel endless centuries to embrace.  Makes you wonder.  Don't think I don't.  

Thursday, March 4, 2021

TCM to produce new series on essential movies

That is, movies that you need to purchase soon before they are banned forever.  The liberals who spent my youth and adulthood warning me about fascism have become the fascists they were warning me about.  Overnight, banning art, literature, films and expressions deemed offensive has become as American as apple pie.  

As usual, the moral arrogance and self-righteous superiority of those pushing this trend isn't even questioned.  It's like Jerry Falwell without the whimsy.  And since those institutions that were supposed to protect such freedoms are now the ones working to tear them down, we have nowhere to turn to stop the storm. 

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Another Christian agency bites the dust

Yep.  As a former Evangelical, seeing this news is like finding out that Hollywood was a stealth fundamentalist Bible camp all along.  It's almost beyond belief.  Bethany Christian Services has thrown in the towel and accepted LGBTQ dogma and, by extension, rejected the Christian Faith model of Creation.  

If I had the time and there was nothing else to do in life, I might make a series of 'Christian leaders, ministries, agencies and traditions officially caving and rejecting the Faith.'  But it happens so often now, not a day goes by without seeing someone or something from the Faith just giving up and surrendering, that I don't think I could do it justice.  For that matter, I'm not sure there are enough hours in the day even with nothing else to do. 

God seems to have removed His hand from our time, almost as if to see how many will remain faithful in the coming storm and how many will just run to Caesar and sacrifice at whatever altar is presented.  I might be wrong to assume such a thing, but given the speed of the World's victories against the Faith and the faithful, it's something I am pondering. 

Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.

And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, and unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.

                                                                                                    Romans 1.24-32

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

What is missing from this definition of censorship

The word "Government",  that's what.  I was unable to find one dictionary that said censorship is only when the government does it.  That, of course, is the excuse of the Left as censorship, like racism, becomes officially endorsed and codified in our country.  

Last year saw 'Equity not Equality' emerge, which was merely a way to officially resurrect racism and racial discrimination.  It says, basically, that seeking a color blind society where all are equal is racism.  The correct way to address ethnicity is to judge, condemn or exonerate based on skin color, and provide benefits or strip benefits based on skin color.  Jim Crow done right.

Now, almost overnight, we have censorship.  If literature, film, art or music offends the demographic group that matters, it must be banned.  And on a point of technicality, it isn't censorship since apparently, as of now, censorship only exists when it's the government passing laws do do so.  Otherwise, it isn't censorship.  It's good ethics.

For me, that's like saying the world is flat.  All my young life, through school and college, in the media and press, it wasn't just the government that could censor.  Censorship started at home.  If we weren't willing to tolerate, respect, and allow for divergent beliefs and expressions, no matter how offensive, we were fascists.  Copious examples were used: a record store owner not wanting to carry Madonna's Like a Virgin album; the old Fantastic Beatles Boycott of the 1960s; a Florida dentist sending video types of Daytime Talk Shows to their sponsors resulting in some sponsors pulling their ads. From professors, authors, entertainers, teachers to news anchors like the late Peter Jennings, nothing said teetering on the edge of Big Brother more that instances like these. 

So once again, we have something that was sacred mantra for me growing up, something repeated a million times a year by our liberal nation as good, that's suddenly bad.  And that which was equally called evil and wrong is now good. 

Judging based on skin color, banning offensive literature or art, suppressing hate speech, violence, imposing values on others, judging others, forgiveness and reconciliation - all of these things are the polar opposite of what I learned from our liberal nation in the 70s and 80s.  As I tell my boys, it's almost as if my whole life I heard liberals say they only wanted a nation where all animals are equal.  Now that the Left has complete power, having won over Corporate America, it now can modify that by saying we must concede that some animals are more equal than others.

Expect the Leftist revolution to go the same way all other revolutions that pull such tricks go.  It won't be pretty.  But we're the ones who let it happen.  Shame on us. 

Monday, March 1, 2021



Yes, as our country rushes to officially embrace racism, racial bigotry and discrimination, it might be worth pondering certain questions we used to ask.  Growing up, the number one question was always 'How did they [Germans in the 1930s] let that happen?'.  Well, look at us.  This is visible from Jupiter racism.  It's the same race hate and ethnic cleansing attitudes we saw in Germany.  Or that we saw in the KKK.  Or that we saw in the Democrats' push against desegregation and civil rights.  

The ones going along with it are just the types who would have gone along with the same thing a hundred years ago.  Anyone able to talk about whites the way Nazis talked about Jews a hundred years ago would likely have talked about Jews a hundred years ago like they're being called upon to talk about whites today.  

Just as a bonus, the euphemistically named Southern Poverty Law Center has taken the next step to say even violent crime should be understood through skin color.  That is, based on your skin color, some violent crimes you commit may be less bad than the same committed by that skin color over there. 

Again, what kind of person could let happen what happened in Germany in the 30s?  Easy.  The same kind pushing for, or letting, the same thing happen today.