Sunday, April 24, 2022

A happy and blessed Pascha to our Orthodox brothers and sisters

Today is Pascha - that's Easter to us Westerners.  Of course Pascha works for those in the West just the same.  But popular Western parlance calls it Easter, while most Orthodox will correct you in two shakes of a paschal lamb's tail if you use Easter in their company. 

My second oldest son has chosen to remain in the Orthodox way, even as the rest of us returned to the Catholic Church.  This wasn't surprising, just as it wasn't surprising our oldest remained Catholic when the rest sojourned with the Orthodox tradition for a season.  

Years and years ago, on our way into the Catholic Church, we actually visited with the Orthodox for a bit.  In Protestantism, you have engrained certain 'anti-Catholic' biases that are a bit like having the Queen of Diamonds laid in front of you when you get too close to a Catholic tradition.  Because my wife had been born and bred Baptist, her family drinking deeply from the well of Baptist life, it wasn't easy for her to transition to Catholicism in a direct line.

Therefore we went in an outflanking maneuver that included visiting the Orthodox cathedral in Columbus, Ohio.  It was too far to seriously consider visiting on a regular basis.  And it was quite foreign to us.  But it wasn't Catholic, and that helped us look at various doctrines and teachings in ways a lifelong Protestant might not have if the only option was through a Catholic lens. 

Eventually we came into the Catholic Church - a long road to be sure.  But we did get an appreciation for the Orthodox tradition.  There were problems, of course, and that's why we returned.  But for my son, the problems our outweighed by the benefits, and the problems he sees in the churches of the Dead West.  Plus, from the time we first entered an Orthodox church before becoming Catholic, he had a wide eyed wonder that he never quite matched in the Catholic tradition.  

So for him, and all who will be worshipping through the Paschal Celebration today and last night - especially those in war torn Ukraine who will be doing so from underground bunkers and hiding places - prayers for a blessed and joyous celebration. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Prayers for Rod Dreher

Rod Dreher has posted that his wife has filed for divorce, and he has accepted.  I can speak no more about the topic, follow the link to his post which has more details. 

I've long said that Rod is a couple hits and a few misses to me.  Like many Orthodox, he doesn't hold back the chance to hash and trash the Catholic Church.  He also epitomizes my rule that at any given moment, modern leftwing activism can count on 1/3 of conservatives to join in with the cause.  

Nonetheless I value his book The Benedict Option, because I think Rod caught what many are denying - that the Christian Faith, in the dead West at least, is about to enter an era we've never experienced.  From the dawn of Western Civilization, Christianity was the big kid in the class.  Now we're not.  We're a shrinking minority in a secular pagan society.  And this new paganism enjoys a growing number of believers who are aligning with it in order to dodge the implications of resisting the new diveristy. 

Rod calling out what so  many, including conservatives, deny is valuable beyond compare.  Rod also is a tireless fighter against our culture of death, debauchery, and assaults on the youngest of these merely to slake our self-righteousness and hedonistic culture. 

All of these things, however, do not a person make.  I know nothing of Rod personally.  I've interacted with him in the comments section a couple times.  That makes me as useless of a source for understanding Rod as you can get.  Much less understanding him, his wife and family, and everything that has happened. 

In fact, true to most cases, despite the thousands of people Rod meets, most know little more about him than I do.  This is the stuff best left to Rod and his wife, his family, and the few inside their circle  of confidants.  

Prayers for him, and his wife.  Prayers especially for his children.  Divorce is a wrecking ball in the life of a child, no matter what the age.  I know few whose parents divorced, no matter what the age, who weren't scarred.  

Rod didn't allow comments to load for this post, fearing some might jump on board and use his suffering for their chance to score a few zingers.  Given my experience on the Internet, I have a hard time believing he's wrong.  

Nonetheless, I also feel many would have liked to post encouragement and prayers for him.  In lieu of posting it there I'll post those prayers here. I pray for him and his wife, and especially his children, that the Lord can reconcile and they can seek some path, however dim, to find their ways back to each other. 

You have to admit this is impressive


Sunday, April 17, 2022

Easter Sunday

 An old Sunday cartoon strip that says it all:

Have a happy and blessed Easter. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Holy Week and Catholicism at the crossroads

Same adversary, new tactics
By now it's easy to see that the goal of secularism is to portray Christianity as a half-baked flying saucer cult.  To believe in Jesus will be one step lower than believing you were abducted and operating on by aliens.  That is the goal.  With a firm grip in our cultural outlets - education, media, arts and entertainment - it has all the means necessary for this to happen. 

Therefore in the coming years, expect the Great Apostasy to continue.  Sad to say, it has been happening for quite some time.  Decades.  Generations.  Dare I say, centuries?  It's just picking up steam as secularism continues its quest to evangelize the Church, and convert the faithful.  Yes, secularism told us for years how horrible it is to convert people and tell them their religion is wrong ... all while converting Christians and telling us our religion is wrong.  A common progressive tactic if you've noticed. 

Anyhoo, we're heading into that Dark Ages period that must inevitably follow a golden age. In our case, a moderately Christian era to return to its pagan roots.  That is the carrot on the stick, to revert to a secular paganism.  The paganism being of a vague Hollywood spin where lots of sex and hedonism is the fringe benefit of godlessness and material focus. Devaluing the dignity of the human person is merely a happy price to pay.  Paganism is, after all, a sort of default position for humanity.  Devoid of the direct revelation of God, humans will labor to mold the divine into their own image. 

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of men who by their wickedness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse; for although they knew God they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking and their senseless minds were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man or birds or animals or reptiles. 

Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever! Amen. 

For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. Their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural, and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in their own persons the due penalty for their error. 

And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a base mind and to improper conduct. They were filled with all manner of wickedness, evil, covetousness, malice. Full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malignity, they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s decree that those who do such things deserve to die, they not only do them but approve those who practice them.  Romans 1.18-32

How is the above passage not a spot-on assessment of the last century or so of Western and American history?  Not only do they approve those who practice them, they will quickly punish those who dare call out the ungodliness and sin.  Where Christians had it easy - perhaps too easy - for endless generations, that is no longer going to be the case.  Just now, the movement is afoot to demand that people be fired for refusing to say men can get pregnant.  Hate crime charges will no doubt follow.   

In the face of this version of being told to say O'Brien is holding up five fingers, expect many believers to buckle and surrender.  Many already had their faith undermined by an inordinate amount of blind trust in scholarship, science and academia as disciplines that obviously proved the ancient beliefs about God have long been debunked. 

Having their faith undermined on all fronts no doubt made believing in that old time religion quite a chore.  And that likely held for those leaders under the same pressure to ditch the thing, even while making a comfortable living preaching the same. At least they could rely on post-war secularism's lofty ideals of subjective morality, tolerance, diversity and inclusion.  Respecting different values and beliefs was all the rage, and a reassuring safety guard against this non-religious world view.

But this new world has revealed itself.  In a manner that would make Big Brother blush, it has now said racism, discrimination and bigotry are virtues. Censorship and banning of offensive art, literature and speech are essentials. Violence can be a fine answer.  Equality is bad and liberty can be stealth oppression. And if it says women are men, men can have menstrual cycles, or squares are round, then by golly we expect politicians, SCOTUS nominees, doctors and scientists and, yes, preachers and believers to say the same under threat of retaliation. 

With the press now acting in the manner of a secret police force, dispensing with anyone who stands in the way of this new world, many leaders, including religious ones, who we trusted to resist are showing their true colors.  That is leaving many who imagined they would have the same easy faith walk that our parents had swinging in the breeze. In the wake of that, we're seeing a stunning number of believers jumping ship, baling altogether, throwing the values and teachings of the Faith under the bus or, at best, working to mold the old Faith into the image of the new world.  

If there is one thing I appreciate about Rod Dreher, it's his book The Benedict Option.  Not that Rod is the best ambassador for his own work.  It's easy to speak of forming some Benedictine alternative when you can afford to jet set around the world and wine and dine with people in the highest levels of society.  For the average person scraping by it's a different matter altogether.

But the basis of the book is spot on honest: The Christian Faith is entering into a brand new era, the likes of which it has never seen.  Some insist it's just the same old sins of the world, and that might be true.  But they're packaged in a way we've not encountered before, at least in the West.  A hostile culture hell-bent on converting the faithful, and willing to punish those who resist the call to bow before this new Power in the world.  A Power found on denying almost anything and everything assumed to be true by the last 2000 years of the Christian Era. Even in my ministry days in the 90s, when we could see the winds of change increasing, nobody imagined it would happen like this, at least this quickly.

But it has. I fear even many of us who hold true, firm and solid to the Faith are at times more secular than we like to admit.  I feel in hindsight we might be shocked to see how much we've compromised without realizing it.  Many were tripped up by the 'stand five yards away from the world' tactic, until you realize the world is now a hundred miles from the revealed Faith.  That comes from thinking your eyes are on the divine prize, when they were on the world all along. 

There is no way as believers we can't be subject to the context of our age.  But we can begin to cling to the old 'in the world not of the world' principle.  The answer won't lie in politics, that's for sure.  Not that we shouldn't still try to exert our values into the political sphere.  Just be aware that for traditional believers, there are a diminishing number of those who agree with our world view on any level of worldly importance.  Which is how it's often been.  Only in the past, the worldly designs were in the context of a vaguely Christian model of reality.  Now it's in the context of an ever shifting model more hostile to the Christian Faith with each passing day.  

This development includes conservatives by the way, as it obviously would.  If, that is, the conservatism is merely a wordily brand with eyes on the here and now.  As my sons have noticed, among there peers who call themselves conservative, the big fight is against pregnant men or woke censorship.  That homosexuals should be able to marry and that our nation is best defined by its racist past are simply assumptions they take for granted. Because by now those things are taught with the assurance that America the Beautiful was sung in my elementary school days.  My guess is that most political professionals will reveal such views when pressed.

No, we need to learn what it is to be an oppressed minority with eyes set firmly on the eternal prize. You can be an oppressed minority and still have numbers on your side by the way.  Just ask South Africans during Apartheid.  In fact, that's sort of what we're seeing.  The last thing you want in our nation today is to be a majority.  That's why so many fight to define themselves in some minority way.  We've already said that the only path to anything good is to draw a straight line away from whatever majority group in question says is true.  And those in that group who get steamrolled?  Sucks to be them.  

Am I saying we reject the world and go live in caves, foraging for berries and hunting squirrels for dinner between Bible studies?  No.  I'm saying we're going to have to buck up and begin reevaluating where we are and how we got here.  It may mean rethinking some of what we have cherished, and at least admit it may have been handed down in ways not consistent with a belief in the Gospel. 

I dunno.  I just know the storm clouds are no longer on the horizon, they're here.  Already we're seeing the fruits of our post-Christian society, and we're watching many we thought would stand firm buckle.  What's more, and in an odd twist, the ones who seem least willing to admit to this are sometimes those who are loudest about resisting it.  As if we see the problems emerging, but have a limit to how much we're willing to look at the root causes of those problems, lest they snare something we've come to value. 

What I do know is that for Holy Week and the week following, I'm going to lay low with blogging.  Last year I did a daily reflection on the seven churches of Revelation.  It actually got me to thinking, since I noticed a couple things I hadn't noticed before.  I've spent the year thinking on that.  

This year for Holy Week, I'll spend my time in more meditative pursuits.  Perhaps I might post something on a devotional level, something that touches me in a certain way.  Whimsy and fun are always on the table.  

But let the world have its troubles.   I'll focus on the Creation of God and His revealed Truths.  After all, there are better ways to spend Holy Week than getting obsessed about inevitable defeats in battles for a war we've already lost.  Better to look upon the greater war that was won long before we entered the picture. 

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Children are larval fascists and Scott Hahn is an authoritarian predator

And all because they believe America was a great county that needs to reclaim the good in its heritage:

Yep.  Mark is beginning to tar and feather children who dare blaspheme the Leftist State.  When you start dehumanizing children who might dare challenge the narratives of the Left, I'd say it's time to hit the brakes.  

In any event, I'm coming to believe we are living in an age of God's judgment on the Church.  For too long we got complacent, lazy, cowardly, and more or less let the world and the spirits of this present darkness have their way in the nation we inherited.  If tens of millions of little ones suffered and died on the altar of our era's libidos, well, let's not get fanatical about things. 

‘I know your works, your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your latter works exceed the first.

But I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and beguiling my servants to practice immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols. I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her immorality. Behold, I will throw her on a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulation, unless they repent of her doings; and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches shall know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you as your works deserve.

But to the rest of you in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not learned what some call the deep things of Satan, to you I say, I do not lay upon you any other burden; only hold fast what you have, until I come.

He who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, I will give him power over the nations, and he shall rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received power 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 2.19-29                                                                                (emphasis mine)

The trick is, of course, when God begins using instruments of correction on His people, don't join with said instruments.  

FWIW, here is the website Mark references, specifically the list of speakers.  .  

Some people say Mark is beyond all reason and rational discourse. On this side of heaven, that's likely true at this point.  Therefore, some say, we should ignore him.  For me, I think we should pray for his soul, and the souls of all who are quickly abandoning the historical Faith to align with this new Power that has arisen.  

He's also a cautionary tale.  Even those who defend right against evil can end up going down the Pit.  But the pressure will be on the faithful to torture the Gospel in order to bow before the emerging State and its emissaries.  If we do, Mark is what we might become.  And that's a powerful deterrent for caving in this twilight time. 

The once beloved Dr. Hahn at the once celebrated Stuebenville University, now a fundamentalist at best, a fascist predator at worst. The fruits of the modern Left

UPDATE: Speaking of picking the wrong sides, I was just sent an image from Mark's Twitter account:

Mark's hermeneutic is rather simple: hate and seek the defeat of white conservatives.  Period.  If you happen to want to altar the anatomy of children or begin mitigating the outrage against pedophilia, well, nobody's perfect. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

It isn't racism, it's winning

Winning for the ever creeping post-reality narrative of transgender normality.  At the end of the day, the entire transgender revolution is nothing other than O'Brien insisting he's holding up five fingers.  And how glad is the State to see so many - politicians, journalists, scientists, intellectuals, celebrities, and religious leaders - stumble over each other to declare that gender is one of those mysteriously complicated subjects at best, an abstract unreality based on our latest version of the latest at worst.

The article is supposedly about the head medical official in NYC slighting white women by only referring to white mothers as 'birthing people', while calling minorities the classic term for people who have babies: mothers.  The article on Fox stirs the outrage by referencing a Twitter post or two and suggesting there is some global backlash.  

But it's all wrapped up in the idea that what made this bad was that she discriminated in her terminology based on skin color.  No.  What makes it bad is that she is a medical expert proclaiming that O'Brien was always holding up five fingers, and it's time all who would serve the rising Power confess the same.  That is the story.  Because once you have men giving birth, going back to Jim Crow levels of hate and bigotry is the easiest step you'll ever take, even if it's directed against a whole new ethnic group this time around. 

Another win for equality

Fast on the heels of this small victory for freedom comes another victory for equality and universal humanity.  A California law that would have made corporations hire based on various group identity labels over and against personal qualifications has been struck down as unconstitutional.

I'm sure there are more laws like this out there.  Likewise, aside from laws, there is pressure for everyone to see humanity through group identity glasses. God may have loved the world, but we must love the demographic group. 

Running along with this, we also have rejected equality and replaced it with equity.  What does that mean?  It means that, per the diversity training (labeled Diversity, Inclusion, Equity, or "DIE") we've seen in our own family's college education and work place training instruction, equality is bad, and must be replaced with equity.

But Dave, what does that mean?  It means depending on your group identity, we can assume you either have had privilege, or have been unfairly blocked from opportunities and chances to succeed.  Therefore, we must treat different people differently based upon what type of group they're in.  We can give to some, or take away from others.  Last year, when NYC said it would move minorities to the front of the line in the fight against Covid - therefore moving non-minorities to the back of the bus line - was an example of this thinking in progress.

And this isn't, by the way, some inferred belief about equality being bad.  It is stated explicitly in the training courses that equality was at best a pipe dream that was tried and found to be seriously wanting. It had, sadly, became a tool of oppression and discrimination and unfairness, and that's why we need to stop thinking in terms of equality.  At worst, some suggest equality  was always a sleight of hand to be used to keep the minority down.  Just as concepts like forgiveness, reconciliation, liberty and even democracy. 

Because this is happening outside the hallowed halls of law and legislature, my guess is we'll see more of these laws in the future.  As goes the culture, eventually so go the laws.  But a victory, no matter how slight and temporary, is at least a victory

An educational image I've seen on not a few Catholic sites.  Equity is good. Equality bad.
And anything Western has to go (that would be the fence)

Friday, April 1, 2022

Pope Francis apologized

Of course he did.  

Pope Francis has made a "historic" apology for the abuses of the Catholic Church in Canada.  This is to do with the story about dead children from Canadian Indian populations that broke a year or so ago.  I put the apology in scare quotes because religious leaders apologizing for the sins of long dead people has almost become a sacrament; hardly unique or historic at this point. 

I'll admit, I don't know much about that area of history.  I was at the mercy of the press that talked of the scandal as the worst thing since Auschwitz, and others who insisted nothing happened, let's move on.  Really.  Some said it was a bunch of nothing, with the bodies found simply part of burials of children that the Church was taking care of.  Given the lack of available time, and assurance that most of the Church/West would respond as Pope Francis has responded, I didn't bother doing my own research.  

I'm inclined to believe the story was based on true events, but overhyped, since it led to a string of anti-Catholic arson and destruction over several weeks.  Since nobody seemed to cry a river, with no governmental or media bemoaning of Romaphobic bigotry run amok (think of the regular lamenting of impending Islamaphobic violence after each mass killing by a Muslim), I couldn't help but think no matter what the truth, the story was meant to gin up more hatred for anything to do with the Christian West. 

Of course Pope Francis continues what has become a defining characteristic of both modern Christianity and dying Western Culture: apologize endlessly for any and all evil ever committed ... and demanding nothing in return.  Given my brush with people from various cultures over the years, and pondering some of what they have told me, I think many in other cultures more than happily approve this message.  

We apologize, they don't, they demand we burn our heritage to the ground, we acquiesce and obey. Suffice to say, enjoy your next few Thanksgiving celebrations.  In a few more years they, too, will be a thing of the past. 

The real reason orthodox believers got behind Donald Trump

As well as conservatives and not a few non-conservatives who aren't sold on the whole leftwing package.  I mean, Trump was far, far from conservatism and conservatives on many levels.  Why the appeal?

The answer is easy.  Because they're all sexist and racist Nazi, that's why.  Or hypocrites.  Or all three.  Or not. Seriously, I think the reason is quite different.   I don't think that Trump was a slam at those rascally liberals, or a middle finger to the Left and its media outlets.  

At the end of the day, I think Trump was an indictment on all of those in the 'professional resistance professions' who had let believers and conservatives down for decades.  I mean the token conservatives on Sunday morning talk shows.  Or high profile religious leaders who seemed to have one foot in the Left's camp through much of the work week.  Or the Republicans who seemed to promise sun and moon and stars, only to go silent the day after elections. 

It was a growing suspicion that a sizeable number of individuals they imagined were prepared to stand on the hill and resist the barbarian hordes were, in fact, priming themselves for leaping down the slopes and joining the barbarian hordes.  Some had, for years, made it clear their loyalty to traditional Judeo-Christian, Western values and traditions was only in the 'token non-liberal' job description.

Others seemed to be strangely drifting as the years went  along.  Some of these were religious leaders and other similar figures.  They still talked the talk: abortion bad, gay sex culture bad, assaults on religious liberty really bad, Marxism and anti-Westernism bad, Christian Gospel good - but there were these hints.  There were subtle little developments that seemed to suggest more and more of these people were looking for an out as well.  

Like Saruman in The Lord of the Rings, these supposed faithful saw the power rising in the East, and they darn well knew it was time to show that power who its friends and enemies were.  As the Left began to shed all premises of tolerance, diversity, inclusion and respect for dissent, and as that same Left was making strides monopolizing more and more of our nation's social and cultural pillars, and as a new generation of power players, billionaires and corporate bosses aligned with this Left, it was clear that holding to that old time religion and apple pie Americana was going to be like waving the Hammer and Sickle in Washington in the early 1950s. 

Trump did little more than confirm their suspicions.  While some "Never-Trumpers" seem to remain committed to the cause, even if they sometimes join with the Power for the really important business of defeating Trump, most have simply jumped ship.  The majority of such religious, political, media and other figures who declared Trump the new Satan and his followers Nazis all, have more or less signed up for the very forces they once claimed to oppose, and have happily ditched many, if not all, of those cherished values they once seemed to embrace. 

In some cases, it must be stated that many who are swinging to the Left of center and aligning with this new power in the world are not ones who were part of this cadre of ideological mimes.  For instance:

Didn't see that one coming. Not from Dawn Eden. That's harsh, and borderline libel.  The others I don't know, but Rod Dreher?  I disagree with Rod over many things, and he can yield as many misses as hits.  But to suggest he's part of some clandestine ultra-right club dedicated to the service of Putin, simply because an international abortion activist says so, is not anything I would have expected from Ms. Eden a decade ago.   That she makes the dig about Carlson is just boilerplate partisan rhetoric - Rod has railed against Carlson as often as he's praised him.  It's simply the same partisan bilge that Shea would do: damnation by association. Leftwing partisan hackery 101.  

Whether Ms. Eden, or someone like Beth Moore, or even Deacon Stephen Greydanus, have only gone this way because they can't believe Trump was elected, or they're caving and getting with the Power in the East, is hard to say.  But they confirmed, I think, what many who fell behind Trump had already begun to suspect.

That is, for many generations, a growing swath of the faithful, those in the West, Americans, and conservatives were, in fact, abandoning the Faith and heritage of our Fathers.  Some made it obvious, others were a bit more tricksy.  But the orthodox faithful were seeing that many who they had trusted to stand with them to carry the banner had, in fact, been bilking them all along. Or, at best, they were losing heart and caving.  And what's more, many might have been ready to throw the white flag and join the opposition, they just didn't know it yet. 

If Trump did nothing else, like drawing puss from a wound, he drew out those who had long been shafting the ones they were supposed to defend.  He also, I'm afraid, became a slick excuse for multitudes of others who had no stomach for the upcoming fight, and gave them an all important out. He gave them an excuse that will allow them to be faithful on any given Sunday, while making sure they report to court with the rest of the prophets to keep their reservation in the next big party in Manhattan, Harvard or Hollywood.  You know, all the places where that Power in the East can be found. 

What if April Fools Day was April 2nd all along?

And all those times they said it was on April 2nd they were telling the truth?  My sons asked that the other day.  I have to admit, that would be a pretty good joke.