Thursday, April 18, 2024

Jesus is not an excuse for cowardice

 I've seen this pop up over the years in different outlets:

It's of some men's choir from the bygone days of Hollywood, but around the time I was a youngster.  The individuals are, back row left to right: Kent McCord and Martin Milner (from the very pro-police show Adam 12 - a childhood favorite of mine), Charles Nelson Reilly (who my mom liked, but knew even then that he walked on the other side of the fence in terms of sexuality), and Ed Asner, not exactly your hard rightwing radical.  Front row is Glenn Ford, next to him Redd Foxx, a racy fellow who obviously was not white, Jack Carter (a comedian I know little about), and the always awesome Ernest Borgnine. Sitting are John Wayne, a well known leftwing communist, and Howard Cosell, known in my day as the most hated man in America (for reasons I never could fathom).

I looked at that and thought about the unthinking diversity of people and ideals in the photo.  They were singing together having a grand old time with much joy and laughter.  Did it dawn on Foxx to chafe at all the racism and white skin around him?  Did Wayne seem offended at Reilly, since if my mom guessed it, the ultra pro-American conservative Wayne couldn't have been in the dark?  Was Asner and his leftwing sensitivities bothered by two actors in a very pro-police television show?  And who is Jack Carter?

These things I wondered as I looked at this photo and couldn't help but smile.   

Then I thought of today, and the growing number of young people who see America from when this picture was taken as an extension of some 400 year old racist Nazi state.  A country awash in bigotry and homophobia and misogyny and racism.  A nationwide gas chamber with hippy music.  Young Americans taught to divide everyone into groups and hate and condemn and hate some more.  Young Americans taught that Americans have ever and always been driven by only the most evil motivations conceivable.

And things like this are compounded by not just the radicals, but ones willing to accept the premise to some degree or another.

I recall deacon and film critic Steven Greydanus, and his laments over the racist undertones of the Rocky franchise.  When pressed, he said the obvious problem was that of Stallone being the heroic white guy beating up on black guys.  When it was pointed out Rocky also beat up on at least one white guy, and was beaten up by black guys, it still didn't matter.  I pointed out that Stallone wrote the part for himself (in one of Hollywood's most beloved rags to riches stories), and he just happened to be white.  If there were no blacks at all in a 1976 boxing movie, do you think people would have said nothing?  Otherwise, what was he to do, give up his dreams for the person with the proper skin color because he had the misfortune of being white?  At that point Deacon Greydanus said other parts could have had the proper skin colors represented.  Perhaps scratch Burgess Meredith with the wrong skin color and replace him with an actor having the right skin color for the part of Mickey.  And this was written by the good deacon unironically. 

Think of that.  A nationally known Catholic deacon and film critic and he couldn't not see divisions, racism, and bigotry simply because of the skin colors in a beloved franchise.  And more than that, he said with almost casual ease that removing a person from a part due to the wrong skin color is a perfectly reasonably solution. 

Is it any wonder that young people today hate each other, our nation, our society, our religious foundations? That they divide everyone into groups and condemn and hate accordingly?  That they judge and perpetually condemn our culture, values, principles, laws or everything and everyone associated with the world around them?  The people insisting they're just trying to get to the truth accept a perspective that would have been asinine fifty years ago.  At least if the picture above has anything to say about the majority opinion back then. 

Yes, it's entirely possible that we live in the most self-righteously judgmental, close minded, intolerant and hypocritical age in many a moon.  We don't even hold back.  Assume the worst, judge without mercy, condemn and eradicate.  Execute judgment and apply slippery standards based on convenience and intolerance in the name of diversity.  

None of these things are acceptable for a person with common sense, much less acceptable for a Christian.  Going along with it, or finding lame reasons to justify it in the name of some Christian virtue, is even worse.  For as often as not, failure to call out the obvious comes from a  lack of courage to stand up to it, while donning a Jesus mask in the hope of making it look good. 

Saturday, April 13, 2024

The Washington Post charges forth to help the Trump reelection bid

The #1 hope for Donald Trump supporters is that the White House and the MSM will continue to push the narrative that we are in the midst of a robust economy, that everything is looking positive, and there's good news right around the corner

This has been the official economic news for over a year and a half now.  Often planted firmly between stories about how people can't afford groceries, or housing, or utilities, or insurance, or can't get loans, or are amassing catastrophic levels of personal debt.  

Operating on the old notion that if you repeat a lie often enough it will become true, the MSM has been spinning things positively since 2021.  Yet most people can't miss this little fact:

My personal hypothesis is that the press's attempts to lie Hillary Clinton into the White House in 2016 by telling us we never had it so good or we're a racist, helped tip the votes in favor of Trump.  It wasn't the only reason.  But when Fareed Zakaria gushed in front of the CNN camera that the world was on the cusp of unprecedented bliss, largely because of the Obama admission, it wasn't tough to notice a big gap between his editorial and reality. I mean, a sluggish recovery and ISIS as 'the new normal' is tough to spin positively.  Hence there was enough of a gap that people might not have voted for Trump, but they chose not to vote at all. 

I see the same here.  Between the growing splits within the Democratic Party between the old codger liberals and the young 'Death to the West' radicals, and the wars and Afghanistan disaster (still remembered despite the MSM's desperate attempts to sweep it under the rug), there is enough reason to question the current administration.

Add to that the complete impotence the White House has displayed in the face of two wars that have exploded onto the world stage amidst a growing number of uprisings and violence, along with the economy that we're told is so good as we pay $80.00 for two bags of groceries, and you almost think the MSM wants Trump to win.  

BTW, just as I prepared to post this, I overheard the news reporting on the latest inflation report.  It was completely unintellegicable.  Basically, the wording of the story was that all is well and has been well.  Prices have dropped or stayed the same or something.  Incomes are looking good or the same or something.  This inflation report was higher or something but not bad or could be good but all is looking splendid.  And yet during the entire broadcast, the graphics showing prices and cost of living over the last year or two were all of those little red arrows pointing up.  The report was so out of whack from the reality it was showing that it made no sense whatsoever.   

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Slap it on a Sherman

Let's face it.  Our nation has been teaching its kids to hate our nation and everyone in it for years.  Ages ago when we still had cable, I remember watching CNN.  Your typical roundtable discussion.  It was Larry King, but someone else was the host.  I can't remember the topic.  But I remember what some young scholar activist said.   

She said America is falling behind because we live in the age of STEM. Of science and tech and genetics.  In the last century, it was an industrial age. And that fit America fine.  After all, any stupid can be a blue collar construction worker or coal miner.  But STEM takes smarts, and that's always been outside the grasp of Americans.  

Now, she didn't say it that bluntly, but it wasn't too far off either.  I've seen that observation echoed more than once over the years.  Which, of course, is false.  America was always at the head of the race for medical, scientific and tech breakthroughs during the age of invention.  Many of the inventions I'm sure that young woman takes for granted came from America and Americans.  

But we were also a hard working, get your hands dirty, build and accomplish nation as well.  And nothing demonstrates that more than our experience in WW2.     

It's been said that the American soldier's best asset was his ability to do.  To build.  To improvise.  So many soldiers had worked with their hands, could disassemble an automobile, could build their own houses, that in the military they were quick to adapt.  And the military itself demonstrated this time and again.  We might not have had the best of anything, but our ability to improvise and turn on a dime was second to none.   

That is seen in all its spectacular glory in what my sons call 'slap it on a Sherman.'  The Sherman tanik was the second most produced tank in WW2.  Second only to the Soviet's famous T-34.  Unlike the T-34, the Sherman was found everywhere, and used by more countries than any other armored fighting vehicle.  

But beyond that, it's almost hilarious just how we were able to adapt it to anything under the sun, beyond just being an army tank.  That's where my boys get that saying.  Which they use when it comes to us improvising or having to think outside the box on a dime.  Because on any given day, that Sherman could become a bulldozer, a repair vehicle, a rocket launcher, minesweeper, or, as in the case below, a crane:

I hadn't seen that before.  It popped on on a history page I follow.  Heh.  Just one more thing.  It was used to facilitate the moving of heavy rollers to aid in the recovery of armored vehicles.  

Here are some other pics of the Sherman tank and its various identities based on the need at hand:  

The one with the iron spikes on the front is the famous 'hedgerow clippers'.  The hedgerows of Normandy famously caught us off guard.  Mammoth hedges whose roots stretched down to China, we had to go around them through sometimes narrow paths and gateways.   

The Germans, however, being the best trained of the WW2 armies, seized upon this and made sure every path through the hedgerows was heavily guarded.  Much to the misery of Americans.  Until an army Sergeant, Curtis Culin, came up with an idea, based on a conversation he had with a 'hillbilly named Roberts' (according to historian Max Hastings).  Why not take those metal anti-landing devices from the Normandy beaches, modify them, and slap them on a Sherman?  The world's biggest hedge cutters! And it worked.    

That was the old American ingenuity once celebrated, by the 1970s mocked, and today forgotten.  For me, I prefer to celebrate that sort of thinking and accomplishment.  Not the thinking that celebrates what we celebrate today. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

This seems significant

I've not seen it pop up yet in many mainstream outlets, at least in the US.  Apparently a group of 2000 women sued Switzerland over its failure to curb global warming - and won.  At least in some international court in France.  

Something about the story suggests that this is far closer to the end goal behind the Global Warming narrative than making bank off of green energy.  I don't know why.  It's the sort of thing that gives me the impression of people in the future saying 'We never thought it would lead to this.'  

I don't know.  Just something about this says more trouble is ahead.  That we can move past 'Are you sure this is settled science?' to 'Yes, and you are legally guilty because you failed to address the problem as defined by the latest settled science' makes me see clouds on the horizon.   

Which one is which?

 We had a right fun Eclipse party with our daughter-in-law and her family.  Totality hit pretty much over our house.  So it was a splendid view.  We even saw the comet.  So the question is, which of the pictures below was taken at around 3:12 PM, and one around 8:30 PM.  Which was which? 

Monday, April 8, 2024


 How to seize the moment:

Mr. Kimmel gets it

It turns out Jimmy Kimmel thinks America (and Europe) is a pretty filthy place.  At least compared to the always awesome Japan. 

You have to have a sense of pride in yourself to strive for the best.  You have to have the same for your country.  The same country Mr. Kimmel and his compatriots have spent years - decades perhaps - trashing, and hashing, and bashing. The same country young ones for three generation have been told is one of the worst ever in history.  The same country filled with people that young ones have been told are, and always have been, the worst: the most stupid, boorish, vulgar, bigoted, arrogant, violent and useless in the world. 

Everything around you sucks.  Everything around you has always sucked.  Perhaps you are a true god who should be worshipped and if you say you're Napoleon then the definition of Napoleon should be changed.  But the fact that it doesn't work that way just shows how bad everything around you does, and always has sucked. 

Loyalty?  Duty? Honor?  Patriotism?  Gold Rule?  Bah.  Insert copious F-Bombs here.  By the time I came along, those were punchlines, not principles.  Everything is subjective, except for everything that objectively sucks.  You owe nothing to anyone, everything owes all to you.  And if you aren't Einstein or the Beatles, it's because everything sucks.  

Oddly, this constant thrice-daily repeated mantra hasn't build back a better country.  Though it hasn't  always been this way, it should be noted.  In high school and early college, I took karate.  The fellow who taught me was pushing for karate to be an Olympic sport, so he couldn't accept fees (we paid for the facilities instead).  He traveled much, however.  He had a love for Japan.  But even then, he admitted traveling abroad was tough because it could be so dirty.  Even in Europe and Japan (we won't discuss what he said about the Middle East).  

I knew students in my graduate days who were from other countries, including the former USSR.  One thing they complained about was America's cleanliness fetish. They said we were almost psychotic about being clean and having everything clean.  That was the 1990s.

So Mr. Kimmel, what you are lamenting is what America has become under your watch.  You can't be a willing partner with a media culture that has promoted the worst, the ugliest, the dirtiest, the most judgmental and most critical of everything that was ever seen as good and then be shocked with the results.  You can't tell kids for generations that their society is garbage and then be shocked when things begin to smell.  

It takes effort to be good, never bad.  When was the last time anyone said 'You know, all my life I wanted to be a lazy couch potato, but I couldn't overcome the temptation to eat right and exercise'?  Probably never.  In this world, goodness, virtue, beauty and maturity take effort.  They have to be practiced and worked for. But we went on the cheap and aimed lower than dirt, and now we're seeing the results.  Thank you Mr. Kimmel for admitting the obvious.  Now, if you could admit why it is.  

Saturday, April 6, 2024

Jimmy Akin unpacks modern Catholicism in a nutshell

From L-R: Western Christianity, the World (and we all know it)    
That is, you just thought you knew what Catholicism teaches

I can't think of anything more devastating to the Christian witness ot the modern world than what we're seeing today.  On any given day, we have people - and I mean leaders including some popes I know - act as if what we always thought Catholicism taught was wrong.  Or incomplete. Or mistaken.  Or a bit off the mark.  Or you just never know.  Or it's open to debate. 

In our age, where people in the dying West are perishing from misery, pointlessness, depression, drugs, suicide, mindless violence, and a general malaise of existence, taking this message into the world is like bringing gasoline to a house fire. It's telling people today that what secularism has been saying for years is true: Religions in this objectively valueless world are just made up fables and rules because none of it is true.  Therefore all is whatever, it's all up for grabs, life sucks and then you die. 

This is exacerbated by the modern Church and its leaders constantly changing, modifying, or casting doubts on what the Church seems to have always taught. Or so you thought.  As my son said after one of his college classes that dealt with Christianity, the Church continually acting like Catholics have been getting it wrong all these years plays right into the secular hand.  

And it isn't just this or that petty custom over which we're casting shadows of doubt.  The  things you're hearing people and leaders cast doubt on cut to the base of reality for the Christian: Are the people and events in the Bible true or fiction?  Deacon Greydanus says there are several things in the Bible that can be dismissed as myth.  Others will no doubt add more to that list than Deacon Greydanus would concede, and then you have yet another problem.   When does it end?  Who is right?  Which ones are myth?  Or if this is suddenly myth today, how can we know that those stories over there won't be myth tomorrow? 

Or consider salvation.  Is Catholicism even that important when it comes to being saved?  Is Jesus?  Apparently it's nice to believe in Jesus, but if you don't it's hardly a deal breaker. How about morality?  Sexuality?  Heck, abortion.  I'm seeing quite a few supposedly 'pro-life' Catholics modifying the Church's opposition to abortion by adding such terms as 'elective' or 'convenience', as if other abortions might be fine.   Or Hell?  Hell, can we even know now if there is such a thing or possibility?  Or is it that the Church never technically said anyone would certainly be in Hell, so clearly nobody might be there, and turns out Jesus never even talked about the topic in a clear way. If Catholics before thought otherwise, just chalk it up to one more thing the first 2000 years might have gotten wrong.  You just never know what we should have believed.  

It reduces learning the Divine Truths to nothing other than a polite debate around the water cooler. It makes religious belief into anything but indispensable.  Does the world approach debate about climate change that way?  About racism?  About gender?  About feminism?  About DEI? About European Imperialism?  About the Transatlantic slave trade?  Any polite discussions there?  No fundamentalist tent revival preacher was more assured of the indisputable truth than the modern World is about its proclamations.  If you want something willing to question anything it believes, I'm afraid you'll have to look to the modern Christian Faith. 

It's getting to where I can't rightly say the Church has always taught a growing number of things, at least if I pay attention to the conversations today.  The only ones sure about anything are the non-believers, the secularists, the youth weaned in our atheistic society, and others who know Christianity and flying saucer cults are practically one and the same.  That's why we change the rules.  The rules were always based on no better than the Tooth Fairy all along.  And our constant willingness to change to order does nothing other than reinforce that teaching. Hence my son's point. 

Oh, and before we evoke development of doctrine, or historical debates over theology, or that we always need to instruct the faithful on the true teachings of the Faith, we must admit youthful hipsters are also honest. They know all of these sudden debates about what we only thought the Church taught is a direct result of the Church buckling before the World.  It is not clarifying orthodoxy in the face of heresy.  They see the World push, and the Church retreat.  No St. Bonifaces or St. Patricks here.  We're not about to tell the World it's wrong.  The World changes the rules, and we begin asking if there were ever rules to begin with.  That's not explaining that God is not an angry child wanting to hurt us because people mistake God's justice and mercy.  It's saying we're not sure if God cares what we believe at all since the World has already said there is no God, so it doesn't matter what we believe. 

And not just the youngsters, but the World at large sees it for what it is:  The World compelling the witness of the Apostles to be changed to fit the World's latest demands. And if we think that will reach people for the Gospel, I'm sure we also believe that the Brooklyn Bridge is finally up for sale. 

Friday, April 5, 2024

What would Omar think?

Omar would be shocked
I've written before on my propensity to attribute nostalgic feelings to certain times, seasons, music and even movies.  One of the movies we watch each year as part of our annual cycle of traditions is the old 1985 yarn The Jewel of the Nile.  A subpar sequel to a surprise hit the previous year, it has all the hallmarks of a movie rushed through production for the buck of it. 

The story - and I use that term loosely - involves romantic novelist Joan Wilder finally getting her big break.  She yearns to be a serious writer.  That opportunity presents itself in the person of Omar Khalifa, a fictious leader of a fictious realm in a non-specified region of the Nile.  Yeah.  They could make up entire African regions back then.

Anyway, the ruse begins to unravel as Miss Wilder discovers all is not well in Omardom.  What she thought was the serious biography of a major political figure was just cover for a sinister plot of war, conquest and worse.  When she confronts him, she announces she will let the world know the truth.  He responds that she has no idea about the truth.  She's a romantic novelist.  That's why he hired her.  If he wanted the truth, he would hire 60 Minuets!

Ah, I finally get to the point.  All that came flooding back to me as I watched what could generously be called a leftwing hit piece and propaganda broadcast presented by Lesley Stahl for 60 Minutes.  I mean, my jaw dropped, and you all know how cynical I am about the modern thing that used to be called journalism. 

It was stunning.  It didn't even pretend, and yet I found myself asking 'Does she really think she's seeking the truth?  Does she really believe she is being unbiased, fair and balanced? Or does she know it's a hack partisan hit piece and propaganda circus and that's the point?'

My sons who were watching it with me immediately caught one telltale sign.  Whenever she interviewed a leftist activist bemoaning the horrors of conservatives and the need for the government to filter dangerous speech, she let them have an open microphone.  Basically, sit back and let them speak, a few cheers and high-fives along the way. 

The most hilarious part was when Ms. Stahl pointed out that the professor interviewed, Kate Starbird of the University of Washington, has been threatened.  And the professor said yes, she received a death threat once.  My thought was 'only once?'  In the Internet world, if you haven't had a death threat, you're a nobody.  I always get a kick out of the times journalists feel the need to bring up death threats, and when they don't.  

When she showed interviews with Ohio representative Jim Jordan, however, a good 2/3 of the interview was not him speaking.  It was Ms. Stahl overdubbing and giving us a play by play, telling us her version of what he was saying, rather than letting him say it.  Giving commentary on the nature of the interview itself, often with negative assessments.  And obviously trying to catch him at something, including asking him if Biden was actually elected and then focusing on his pause - because you know what that means.

No. As bad as I know the thing that used to be journalism is, I was legitimately stunned.  Again, that she accepted various leftwing talking points as gospel truth was bad enough.  But it was the partisan hackery.  The naked cheating on behalf of the cause. Of loving her some leftists, while having naked contempt for Jordan and the very thought of challenging leftwing narratives.  If it wasn't so serious, it would be hilarious.  More of a SNL skit or a Monty Python segment.  You could almost laugh.  Almost. 

Because it is serious, however, you really can't.  And it shows the Fourth Estate consummating its marriage to the powers that be.  And that includes warning us that if we try to do anything about it, we will have a target on our foreheads.  And the press, operating ever more like a secret police branch for the Left, will fire at will. 

BTW, money quote section from the segment: 

“Katie Harbath spent a decade at Facebook where she helped develop its policies around election misinformation. When she was there, she says it was not unusual for the government to ask Facebook to remove content, which is proper, as long as the government is not coercing.

Katie Harbath: ‘Conservatives are alleging that the platforms were taking down content at the behest of the government which is not true. The platforms made their own decisions. And many times we were pushing back on the government.’”

Note, she doesn’t deny that the government was trying to get content removed. She merely says the platforms weren’t influenced by the government, which I can actually believe. I feel most were happy to ban and remove all sorts of non-conforming content on their own. 

Also, according to 60 Minutes, she even says it’s proper, so long as the government isn’t ‘coercing’. 

At which point I would have liked Ms. Stahl to ask her if it is always proper as long as the government isn’t coercing, and to define coercing.  But that would require journalism.  Not the thing we watched that evening. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

If you follow the news media

You likely forgot that today is the anniversary of the horrible Covenant Christian school shooting in Nashville at the hands of a transgender activist.  That last part of the sentence being why you likely missed it, and why it was swept under the rug as soon as possible.  I had to Google "Covenant" to see it pop up among multiple other stories.  Only when I Googled "Covenant School Shooting" did I find a long list, and then almost all focused on gun control.  

I know that during the great Liars for Jesus kerfuffle many went way off the rails about lying.  In a way of legalism that would shame a pharisee, they boasted that it's better to let a thousand children be murdered than so much as tell a white lie in a desperate bid to save them.  Personally I liked what an Orthodox priest said who I was talking to about that time.  He said it's not lying as much as honesty. Truth. Sure, we shouldn't lie if at all possible - and never for our own gain. But it's because Truth matters most.

We live in an age of endless lies upon lies upon mendacity upon more lies and subterfuge and lies galore.  We are told C-A-T spells DOG, squares are round, teaching math is racist, and O'Brien was holding up five fingers.  And there is no end to the cheating lies that continually pour our way in order to sustain the endless falsehoods.  

That's never good. We often salve our wounds by insisting everyone in history is was bad as this.  Everyone has always lied and been selfish and what have you.  I've always thought you have to be pretty lousy if your go-to excuse after decades of trying to save the world is 'it's always been this bad.'  

But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the polluted, as for murderers, fornicators, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their lot shall be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.    Revelation 21.8

When we see the evils riding pig-a-back on the endless streams of lies, falsehoods and deviousness that is dumped on us on a daily basis, it isn't difficult to figure why all liars were included in such a list. 

A chapter closes

Lou Conter's ship, the USS Arizona, in happier days
And an era ends.  As they always do.  Lou Conter, the last survivor of the USS Arizona, has passed.  God bless him.  

As usual, there is a fine write up over at The American Catholic, where I first saw the solemn news.  

It was WW2 that introduced me to history.  And Pearl Harbor became a point of interest for me like few other events in history.  

I don't know, I guess I'm someone who likes the biggest and best.  The definers and the milestones.  Consider what I like: Citizen Kane and Star Wars for movies, The Lord of the Rings among my favorite novels, The Beatles and Frank Sinatra and Mozart for my musical tastes.  I'm not saying that's all I like, but clearly I gravitate toward those who transcend being merely good at their craft. 

The same for history.  Part of what fascinated me about the Jesus story as an agnostic was the Crucifixion.  I remember watching an old show introduced by David L Wolper titled Appointment with Destiny: The Crucifixion of Jesus Christ.  That struck me at how the world changed forever because of what wasn't worth paying attention to in the halls of Roman power that year. 

Likewise Hastings, the Titanic, and Pearl Harbor also figure high in my interest level.  Perhaps due to proximity to my lifetime, Pearl Harbor especially struck me as a thick dividing line between the before and the after.  The world, at war though it was, on December 6th, compared to the world ever since beginning on December 8th.  

Because of that, I've read many, many, many books and articles over the years.  I've watched interviews and documentaries galore.  And within the broader attack, the ill-fated USS Arizona more than anything captured my imagination.  I don't know why.  

Years ago I missed the chance to meet an Arizona survivor.  My family went to the Dublin Irish Festival for the first time.  It was summer of 2001.  In the 'Genealogy' tent, there was an old codger walking about with a cane.  He had one of those veteran caps on.  But standing behind him I couldn't see what it said.  I pushed my way through the crowd to get in front of him to see.  And then I saw it: WW2.  US Navy.  USS Arizona.  

My jaw dropped and I froze.  I wasn't sure what to say.  How does one say anything in that situation?  I could kick myself in later years, but at the time I remained silent.  I wonder if it was Mr. Conter.  

Whether him or likely not, we mourn his passing and the virtues and best values that his era brought to the world.  A world in desperate need of the best they had to offer.  Hopefully his was a life of peace, and he will now indulge in that peace and joy of a better life than this one.  

The USS Arizona meets its end; how Lou Conter spent his morning on that sunny Sunday

Sunday, March 31, 2024

Christ is risen!

 Truly He is Risen!

And entering the tomb, they saw a young man clothed in a long white robe sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him. But go, tell His disciples—and Peter—that He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him, as He said to you.  Mark 16.5-7

Friday, March 29, 2024

A long Good Friday

One of my boys said we are living through a long Good Friday.  It's hard to disagree.

That first Good Friday, from the POV of Jesus' followers, ended a good thing.  A week earlier and a triumphal entry.  Dare we think Rome will be tossed out the window and a new David will reign (minus the bad stuff)?  Now He's dead.  Lying on the ground, dead.  And having made Himself an enemy of the powers that be, his followers knew the score. 

We often give the disciples grief.  Couldn't you even stay awake?  How could you be so daft?  Running away from Jesus?  Ages ago in my ministry days, I recall one Easter sermon I gave. 

In that sermon, I took on that tendency to judge too harshly when it comes to His followers.  I told the congregation that I can show some pity since I'm sure I never would have abandoned Jesus.  Unlike the disciples, I would not have run away. 

How do I know this?  Sounds sort of arrogant, more arrogant than just judging the disciples, don't it?  Well, how can I make such a bold claim?  Easy. I wouldn't have abandoned Jesus when He was arrested, tried and crucified because I wouldn't have been within a hundred miles of Him in the first place. I would have been home, going about business, doing my thing.  Perhaps I heard of Him, saw Him, was even healed by Him.

But knowing me, I would have been glad, maybe liked what He had to say, then back to business as usual.   To abandon Jesus, the disciples already had to have given up everything and everyone to follow Him.  They would have done more than I ever have.  Only when you leave hearth and home and walk with Jesus through thick and thin do you have the chance to fully abandon Him.  Or even betray Him.  And how many of us who so easily judge the disciples over that first Good Friday can say we've made the grade in that department? 

Well, today there are ones who are holding fast to the historical Faith as so much of it is being pulled out from under us.  We see the World openly make war on everything God revealed.  And as we watch our leaders and those we  trusted throw in the towel, wave the white flag, and willingly question anything we ever believed rather than stand up to the World, it reminds us of something. Something that might make us a little more understanding when we see such capitulation.

We've been a godless, atheistic, secular society for many generations.  Oh, there was some Christian residue, but that was fading fast.  By now, we can see the secularization was purposeful, and the paganizing increasingly complete.  From a time when leaders invoked Almighty God, to today where ideas of the afterlife or divine will have no place anywhere in our social debate, we've seen a growing number of believers and leaders turn their backs on God, Christ, the Gospel, and goodness. 

And I know it's frustrating.  As my son said, we're heading into a long, dark Good Friday that seems to show no end.  But as we see so many throw in the towel, consider that at least until recently, many were holding fast..  If they're buckling now, they've had decades to join our nation and abandon God and flip the bird to the Gospel, yet they didn't until relatively recently.

Perhaps they're finally doing it now.  But at least they held out, so there is hope.  I'm not downplaying or diminishing the harm being done as Christians and our leaders day after day seem to grovel and buckle under the World's assaults.  But at least they made it this far.  Many buckled ages ago.  Many turned their back on God long before I came along.  Our nation certainly did.  But the ones we're watching today at least made it to the modern Gethsemane.  And that's worth something.

Again, I'm not downplaying the severe harm done in our Church's age of capitulation.  The harm it does and the damage to the witness of the Truth.  But before we get too angry, consider that the ones we talk about and say "I never thought it would be him" at least made it this far.   As a former agnostic, I can testify that our God fearing nation had already gone pagan, and provided plenty of reasons and excuses to abandon God back when cable meant twelve channels.  Yet these who are struggling and giving in today made it this far. 

Of course there is even hope for those who turned away decades ago or grew up never caring because our nation and its institutions told them not to.  Thief on the cross moment there.  But for those who fought the good fight until the Internet, or Facebook, or Twitter, or BLM, or this or that social woke twist to sanity in recent years, at least made it farther than we sometimes give credit.

So pray that at some point as we stumble through this Good Friday time in the Church's history, they will come back around.  That those of us who say 'surely not I Lord'" will mind ourselves so that we don't join the ranks of those fleeing into the woods.  Instead, pray that we remain faithful, and those who traveled so long will return to the narrow path.  For however long our Good Friday is, we know that Easter is always round the corner.  And that's our hope and assurance that nothing happening today can't be overcome. 

In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.   John 16.33b

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

On the other hand

On this Spy Wednesday, beyond not betraying Jesus, commit to stand firm on that which was revealed as holy and just:

Easter for the time of shadow, but not for me.

See, I set before you today life and death, good and evil. If you hear the commandments of the Lord your God I command you today, to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His ordinances and judgments, then you shall live and multiply; and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you go to inherit. But if your heart turns away and you do not hear, but go astray and worship different gods and serve them, announce to you today, you shall surely perish.                 Deuteronomy 30.15-18a

Is it any wonder that our society is dying?  Read that last part and let it sink in.  

The lesson

 For Spy Wednesday is don't be Judas.  

When it was evening,

he reclined at table with the Twelve.

And while they were eating, he said,

“Amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me.”

Deeply distressed at this,

they began to say to him one after another,

“Surely it is not I, Lord?”

He said in reply,

“He who has dipped his hand into the dish with me

is the one who will betray me.

The Son of Man indeed goes, as it is written of him,

but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed.

It would be better for that man if he had never been born.”

Then Judas, his betrayer, said in reply,

“Surely it is not I, Rabbi?”

He answered, “You have said so.”

                                        Matthew 26.20-25

There are many ways to turn Jesus over to the crowds.  The most obvious being turning Jesus over to the crowds.  Let's not do that.  No matter how loud the crowds scream.  Don't betray Jesus to the crowds, even if we think that kiss we give on Sundays will make it all better. 

Friday, March 22, 2024

How old am I?

I'm old enough to remember when Democrats wore as a badge of honor the fact that they raised less money than Republicans.  My ethics professor, the late and great Glen Stassen, used to make plenty of hay out of that fact.  I recall a sociology professor in my undergrad days at OSU who also hammered the fact that the Democrats were the 'people's pols'.  This was demonstrated by the constant falling behind in funds when it came to election time. 

But we all know the Left's biggest trump card - changeable principles!  Here today, gone later today.  It might be the eternal scientific God-truth now, but wait five minutes when it is no longer convenient.  

The same is true for a politician's age.  Growing up in the Reagan/Bush years, the Left pounded, and pounded, and pounded the pulpit over the superiority of youth versus old people.  Old was backwards.  Old was history.  Old was the past.  Youth - like Bill Clinton - was the future, was hope, was cool.  And they didn't hold back in their attacks on those old time [GOP] politicians.  At the slightest stumble - like President Bush (Senior) misstating the attack on Pearl Harbor as December 7, 1981 -  they pounced and mauled and pounced some more.

But again, that's so yesterday's eternal principles.  Today?  Why, what kind of a horrible person are you to question a politician's age?  How dare you.  Unless, of course, Trump stumbles.  Then it makes the news and we should question his age. 

It's tough to play against a team  that wears jerseys saying 'We Heart Cheating.'  It's worse when the officials make it clear they're on that team's side.  And when the sport's commissioner  openly endorses that team, cheating and all, there's not much point.  

That's where those who challenge the modern Left find themselves.  The various organs for the Left don't even pretend anymore.  With nauseating smugness, they almost dare us to do anything about it.  Worst single day slaughter of Jews since the Holocaust?  Sorry, doesn't help the cause.  Go ahead and try to make something of it.  We'll be back when another high school football team uses the word Nazi for a blitz play.  Then it will be the holocaust all over again, and you'll agree or be a Nazi yourself. 

In the video for Land of Confusion, a senile Reagan in a nursing home accidently hits the nuke button. Standard stuff back then. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Some Buckeye politics for the day

Not a state for radicals and extremists
So Bernie Moreno, the senate candidate endorsed by former president Donald Trump, won the primary.  OK.  He's going up against Sherrod Brown.  Senator Brown has been serving in elected positions since I got a "Desert Fox" playset for my birthday in fourth grade.  Now I'm waiting for my first grandchild, and he's still there. 

That's the first thing that could topple him.  The fact that Americans are growing a bit impatient with the super lifer pols who never go away.  

The second thing that could topple him is being linked to the economy.  At least if it shows all the improvement it has shown for the last two years.  Across the state, bond issues and tax hikes fell to the ballot, largely because of timing.  Who is going to vote 'yes' for more taxes when groceries are barely affordable?  

I know.  The press has spent the last year pouring a ton of manure on the economic news in the hopes that something beautiful will grow.  But people won't believe that things are looking hopeful when for almost two years they can barely afford to live.  So all of those municipalities and school districts who thought this was a grand time to raise taxes learned a lesson about reality versus media narratives. 

If Sherrod Brown falls, it might be because of the economy and his link as a Democrat.  The sad part of him is that he still falls along party lines.  And like the Democratic Party, he will not call out anything left of center no matter how bat-crazy radical.  He doesn't make a big stink about it.  He's not mister fanatic with a bullhorn, cheering the transactivists fanatics or celebrating the eradication of Columbus statues.  But he doesn't speak out against them either. 

That's why most Republicans, even those who do respect Brown as an old timer politician, aren't going to vote for him.  As a politician, he's pretty much traditional 'what Ohioans want'.  He keeps his feet close to the ground.  He's the guy who goes around and actually talks with people at the local diner.  He works to accomplish the best for his charge.  He reaches across party lines.

He has worked with Senator JD Vance since Vance came into office.  When the train derailed in East Palestine, Brown and Vance acted like they were in a buddy movie. They called out the railroads, the State and the White House for their responses or lack thereof.  

Heck, when my oldest was in high school, he sent an email to Senator Brown over some issue of the day.  I can't remember the topic in question.  But he responded with a hand typed message to my son.  A US Senator took time out to answer a teenager directly.  It was respectful, it was thoughtful, and it made an impression.  That's why he's generally liked in a state that usually isn't too radical and tends to gravitate toward a more moderate tone.  

Bernie Moreno, who until recently was pretty liberal about more than one issue, suddenly insists he's seen the light.  It's  mostly good old conservatism most of the way.  But his main campaign slogan was basically 'I'll obey Trump'.  Matt Dolan was, as far as I know, the only one of the three GOP candidates to poll ahead of Senator Brown in the polls, showing that Brown is vulnerable.  

Why Donald Trump didn't support the one who was able to poll ahead of Brown is pretty easy to figure. Dolan has criticized Trump.  And by now we know the routine. Obedience to Trump is a major priority for Trump, and he would rather loose at the ballot box than see someone who might not always agree with him take the seat.  If we end up with yet another term for longstanding Sherrod Brown, that will be a big reason.  

Monday, March 18, 2024


Why is it that the Left goes bat-crazy psycho-nuts whenever the issue of Sex Trafficking is brought up? Any time someone brings up the prevalence of the sex slave trade today, they seem immediately linked to crazy conspiracy theories and attacked as liars and kooks.

Jeffrey Epstein, whose life story should be the subject of a million movies, TV shows and streaming specials, is largely ignored.   I can imagine, in a different age, his case being one of those stories that never goes away.  Yet it only appears to raise its head when something makes it happen, and then it is quickly swept under the carpet again.  Which I find interesting.  

The movie Sound of Freedom was ravaged.  It was brutally attacked.  Film critic and Catholic deacon Steven Greydanus linked to an authority who said the movie's lies would lead to endless death and suffering on the part of trafficked children.  Others attacked the movie for failing to be a full scale dissertation on the subject.   Triumph of the Will got less pushback.  

Now we have Senator Katie Britt, who gave the response to the State of Union stump speech.  Wow.  I mean, the Press/Left always attacks the Republican who gives the SOTU response.  Remember the great Dry Mouth Apocalypse of Marco Rubio?  But this has been brutal.  Apparently she bold face lied about a case involving sex trafficking from decades ago.  I don't know the details since everyone has their versions.  I just notice that the topic of sex trafficking itself has been all but ignored in preference for attacking her.  Once again.  Even the victim in her example has jumped on board and attacked her as the main point of contention. 

I just notice trends.  And one trend I notice is that the national press spends scant little time discussing the modern global slave trade driven largely by the sex slave trade.  Especially given our current lack of mercy or empathy for Western slave traders and slave owners of the past.   Local press outlets will sometimes cover it, mostly in the sense of how local agencies are helping victims.  But there's no real big national 'we must stop the horrors!' media frenzy.  No ongoing headlines keeping it in the public eye for months on end, like George Floyd or the Unite the Right rally of 2017 or gun violence.  In fact, it seldom comes up.  

Unless someone brings it up, and then it's pull out all the stops and attack - the ones bringing it up.  Again, I'm no conspiracy theorist.  Nonetheless, if those - usually on the Left - would mount an outrage driven crusade against sex trafficking with the zeal that they go after those who bring up the problems with modern sex trafficking, I'd be far less inclined to give wild conspiracy theories even a second glance.  

But as I've said before, there comes a time when it takes far more credulity to disbelieve a conspiracy theory than to believe in one.  And given the reactions I've seen over the last few years where this topic does and doesn't come up, the craziest thing to believe appears to be the claim that nothing is going on behind the scenes where this modern scandal of human slavery is concerned. 

Friday, March 15, 2024

Twisters twisters in the night

To our West.  Image from the Dayton Daily News
So we were in the path of those tornados that swept through the Midwest last night.  Just to our west, the worst of the tornados - at least as of now - hit and did much damage.  At least three were killed by the storms.  In these parts tornados are usually of the weaker variety.  But in recent years, especially in the last couple, the storms have growing in frequency and severity.  I've noted the sudden shift in weather in just the last couple years.  

Fortunately for us, the cell that produced the tornado suddenly swung south and then after it passed, turned east again.  It weakened a bit as it approached us, and then strengthened.  It looks like places farther to the east also got hit hard.  

This is the fifth tornado I've been through, including two that hit right next to where I was at the time.  When I was little, about four years old, a tornado cut a path right up to our house and then 'jumped' over our property.  In Florida, I was getting ready for work when a tornado hit and cut travel across the intercoastal bridges, leaving me stranded.  

Apparently when I was an infant, my mom was home with my sister and me while Dad was at work.  A tornado hit the town then (that town has been hit before, owing to its place in the Ohio landscape) while she kept rocking in her rocking chair.   

And finally when I was a pastor in Southern Indiana, our church was one of the few buildings with a basement.  So we were assigned to make sure the doors were opened in case of something like a tornado outbreak.  One night it hit, while the Final Four was going on (prompting those basketball obsessed Hoosiers to constantly apologize for having to break from the important stuff to talk about all of that saving our lives gibberish).  

And now this.  I will say this, the stories are true.  Of the three tornados that hit when I was able to see the conditions, it's just like they say.  First you have the storms, massive winds, lightning, downpours and hail.  Then silence.  A dead, suffocating silence.  And then it hits.  The two times I heard the tornadoes actually hit nearby, it does sound like a locomotive.  

And they are fickle things.  Back in 1974 during what they called The Super-Outbreak, my dad was at work on the railroad.  He stayed where he was, since it takes only the strongest tornadoes to damage a railroad engine.  So he kept on moving, watching the distance as he crossed no fewer than four of the tornadoes that night.  He said there's no sense trying to plot a course and guess.  They jumped around like rabbits, appearing here, vanishing there, reappearing a mile later.    

So having gone through number five, I hope that's it.  We were fortunate, though others weren't.  Our prayers for them while the state digs out of the second outbreak of tornados in almost as many weeks.  Again, nobody denies the climate changes.  And it's tough not to see a sudden shift in weather patterns.  It's approaching it scientifically and realistically that most people want, not doing the political thing that dominates the disucssion nowadays. 

Just admit it

Obviously a badge of honor

Abortion has become the source and summit of modern liberalism.  It is the one sacred issue behind which all other issues and priorities can be placed.  Racism has its place.  Sexism is usually important.  Opposing sexual violence is more often than not important.  The border?  Eh. Climate change as good as always.  But abortion?  Apart from complete fealty to all things LGBTQ, I'm at pains to think of anything more important, more cherished, or more emphasized among the Left than legalized abortion. 

This is not hyperbole on my part.  It is, if anything, a restrained observation of just how much passion, zeal, and focus is prioritized among the Left for defending legal abortion to the exclusion of almost any other issue.  It's the ace in the hole that could, by liberal pols' and pundits' own admission, save the day in November. Whatever else is happening in the world, whatever suffering or misery, they are betting that liberals will turn out for Biden over abortion rights if for no other reason.  Again, something they point out almost gleefully. 

The New Pro-Life Catholics who swept abortion under the rug as an unfortunate, but completely understandable, result of everything from patriarchal conservatism to capitalist corruption are going to have to admit to this.  For years they have insisted that nobody wants an abortion, nobody is 'pro-abortion', Democrats have other priorities, they merely maintain, as a sort of last ditch necessity, the right to abort pregnancies by the tens of millions. 

Now we have the party that is willing to promote abortion and everything to do with it in a way that would make P.T. Barnum blush.  And beyond that, the growing 'I'd proudly abort a million pregnancies because I can' testimonies are becoming all too common in pro-abortion advocacy.

You can just see the agony and regret on their faces

The slick sleight of hand by New Pro-Life Catholics was that they took a caricature of those who insisted abortion was a non-negotiable and used that to altogether avoid confronting the Left's emerging abortionphilia.  That was at a time when they could still lean on 'safe and rare is all we want.'  But that, like the age of sanity and virtue, has long since passed.  So 'New Pro-Life Catholics' who hang on the 'nobody is promoting abortion' label had best be honest.  For siding with the movement dedicated above most things to aborting undesirables on an industrial level is bad enough.  But lying in order to justify it?  That would give a whole new spin on the old 'Liars for Jesus' kerfuffle.  

We won't get into this being one of the top issues for our most Catholic president. The growing notion that Vatican II means never having to care about Catholic teaching is for another post. 

Catholics who insist liberals drive down abortion numbers might want to consider context

And they have built the high places of Baalim, to burn their children with fire for a holocaust to Baalim: which I did not command, nor speak of, neither did it once come into my mind.  Jeremiah 19.5

Wednesday, March 13, 2024

I never saw this

Of course insurrection is a thing.  It's a crime.  An actual crime.  Like robbing a bank or stealing a car.  And if you commit those crimes, you're charged with, and perhaps found guilty of, committing those crimes.  But you aren't a car thief because someone calls you a car thief. Or a bank robber simply because media talking points say you are.  Or a racist just because someone says you're a racist. It has to be officially proven for it to stick, at least on this side of the Gulags.  

With that said, it doesn't appear they have actually demonstrated that the January 6th protests and riots were an insurrection, despite media narratives to the contrary.  To me, and many of those in that 'billions', it was yet another riot in a year of riots. This one directed at liberals in many ways that riots following Trump's election in 2016 were directed at conservatives.  

Or just like the riots and protests of 2020 that were aimed at anything American in general, at government buildings, at Christian churches, at religious art featuring white people, or businesses and residential areas, injuring and even killing innocents*, and destroying much property.   And all of that after four years of pundits, activists and even journalists declaring the 2016 election a fraud, stolen, corrupted, illegal, and in need of being overturned by hook or by crook. 

But I didn't see an insurrection on January 6th, 2020, at least not yet. I'm waiting for the verdict.  For I vehemently reject the modern Left's insistence that things like due process, presumption of innocence or burden of proof are antiquated ideals once used to keep the oppressed down, and therefore worthy of being overhauled or eliminated.  

If it is found to be legally true, that by the law an actual insurrection did take place, and a court has ruled so, then I'll concede the possibility at least.  As far as I know, however, that hasn't happened yet, at least with the riot as a whole.  Much less that Donald Trump has been found legally guilty of being linked to such a crime.  

*I'll assume at least some of those 25 said to have been killed during the 2020 riots were killed due to the 2020 riots.  I recently had a debate with deacon and film critic Steven Greydanus who challenged that assumption, and suggested that just because they died during the riots doesn't mean they died because of the riots.  If that is true for some, I have a hard time believing all of them were only coincidently killed in ways unrelated to the riots and protests in which they were killed.  

Monday, March 11, 2024

The State and God are not the same

 Because obviously God would have some improving to do to equal the State:

The ease with which Christians have shoved God into the Sunday closet and deferred to the efficacy of the State as our only salvation shows the speed with which God can so easily be mocked. 

For the godless Left, of course, the State is substitute God.  And activists are its prophets.  For the believer and the sane and rational individual who made it through kindergarten, we know better. 

Now I have no idea what issue is being referenced here. Mocking thoughts and prayers began with selectively chosen shootings and the idea that guns and guns alone are the only thing worth focusing on.  Since then it has spread to a host of issues where the only acceptable response is to take your loser thoughts and your loser prayers to your loser God and keep them for an hour on Sunday mornings where they belong.  

Again, it is the progressive activist and the dogma of progress that will save the day.  God, prayers, and anything spiritual has bupkis to do with the real problems of the real world.  Let's bet on how many good and faithful Christians approve this message. 

I should say that it goes without saying I believe Christians should be involved in things, including politics.  But since mocking thoughts and prayers unless tied to distinctly leftwing activism has become all the rage among the Left, I'm wagering the shirt is supposed to imply more than a simple statement of intent. 

This might come as a shock

But apparently this last winter was the hottest on record.

Which is a headline getting as common as the morning traffic report.  For quite some time, every month, ever season, every year, every week, every day seems to be the hottest on record ever.  

Even when summers have been mild or we have been hit with disastrously arctic level freezes as a year or so ago.  The headlines always read 'Last [insert here] hottest on record.'  Sometimes there's a qualifier, like hottest in US, or hottest in Europe, or hottest in a month with an R in it.  But always the hottest.  Always.

Why do I feel like there is something about this that doesn't seem right?  I mean, they must have the stats, the numbers, the data.  Yet call me too much of a skeptic, but I can't help but think the headlines and the accompanying meteorological data somehow aren't the whole picture.

Of course I could be wrong.  It wouldn't be the first time. 

Saturday, March 9, 2024

Pope Francis nails the spirit of modern Christainity

By telling Ukraine to embrace the 'white flag' of negotiations.

Let's face it.  Christians have been charging forth with white flags waving for generations.  Since WW2, Westerners and Americans have joined the call to charge forth and surrender.  That's how we're at the place we are today.  

And it isn't in one area alone.  The world has been having its way with the Church, and by extension the civilization it helped build, for more years than I can remember.  If what Pope Francis said seems bothersome, I'd suggest we take a long, hard, honest look at the last century or so and ask why.  

Wednesday, March 6, 2024

Shameless shout out time!

In the 'little store that could' department, my son and daughter-in-law were asked to speak at the local public middle school about business, entrepreneurship, and bookselling.   Hard to believe they're heading into their second anniversary as business owners.

This isn't to say we're any less proud of our other boys.  Oh, they're no angels.  And heaven forbid the topic of politics comes up where two or more of them are gathered.  But as hopes of parents goes, we couldn't do much better.  

Monday, March 4, 2024

I don't believe it

So Reuters has a poll by Reuters that finds extremism is voters' greatest worry.   I don't believe it.  Granted, by now everyone should take polls with at least a block of salt.  But in the polls I've been following out of morbid curiosity, I've not seen extremism anywhere near the top.  In not a few polls it hasn't been mentioned at all. The economy, the wars, the crime rates and the border crisis all top the majority of polls I've seen, with concerns about healthcare always being a contender.  

Nope. This strikes me of one of those 'how to stuff a survey' polls.  You know, like asking 'Do you support legalizing child rape or do you think extremism is the country's greatest concern?'. 

Again, polls by now should be seen as reliable as the media that reports them.  Nonetheless, when I see something like this that is hell and gone from what I've seen almost anywhere else, you just know something is up.  The only thing I can think of is that the sampling of Americans in the poll were all from the Reuters press office. 

Saturday, March 2, 2024

Our choice in a nutshell

Choose God and choose life.  Embrace the Gospel.  Flee the hellish culture of death that sees life as important only when expedient.  Carl Olson chose well: 

"I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse; therefore choose life, that you and your descendants may live, loving the LORD your God, obeying his voice, and clinging to him; for that means life to you and length of days... " 

Deuteronomy 30.19-20a