129 Pentecost 2: In Negative Territory
"I lay down and slept; I woke again, for the Lord sustained me. I will not be afraid of many thousands of people who have set themselves against me all around." ~ Psalm 3
Note: The Mad Christian is travelling but will return next week.
In Negative Territory
Writer Aaron Renn has published an article for First Things about the declining status of Christianity in America. Writing from an Evangelical viewpoint, Renn argues that Christians in the recent past were viewed positively by the culture. Today, he says, Christianity is seen as a liability in modern America.
While the methods of growing the church in past decades - "seeker sensitive" approaches and cultural engagement - have "worked", Renn writes that Christians in a hostile society must adopt new strategies. We know that it is God who grows his church as she clings faithfully to Word and Sacrament, but we also know Mad Christians are thinking about many of the things Renn writes about.
He writes that we must be "building churches and Christian communities that rely less on support from secular institutions and are resilient to outside pressure". He also exhorts his readers to "remain prudentially engaged in politics" but warns that we need to start working through the issues for ourselves: "Stop outsourcing your political thinking to movement conservatism and your socio-cultural analysis to secular academics".
Renn states what is painfully obvious to those who are fighting back the white noise: we must be "willing to accept a loss of social status". So, perhaps we should look to the first-century church as our example, to the cloud of witnesses who persevered in their faith though they could not always see their reward. What we are building is for our children and those who will come after us.
Let us not grow weary in doing good but continue to speak the truth of God's word to a world which despises us. After all, we have already died to this world in our baptism. What can men do to us? We are immortal now, because Christ is risen from the dead. Alleluia!
There was a recent scuffle between the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi and her archbishop, Salvatore Cordileone, after he barred her from being communed at Catholic churches in her Californian diocese. Archbishop Cordileone had warned Speaker Pelosi for a number of years that as a prominent Catholic, she could not hold a pro-abortion position and expect to be received at the altar.
We don't have to subscribe to the Roman doctrine to see that the reactions to principled stances in our culture of self-serve religion reveal our underlying idolatry. The contempt for being told "No" shows that any rules, especially God's rules that impinge upon my ability to do what I want, will not be tolerated. Actress Whoopi Goldberg felt herself eminently qualified to call out the Archbishop saying it was "not his job" to dictate who could be communed.
Although Mrs. Pelosi seems to have found a priest happy to ignore Cordileone's request, the uncompromising stand on the part of the archbishop no doubt gave some food for thought.
Since the Supreme Court opinion was leaked a month ago, pro-abortion protestors have been disrupting masses, but those who want to identify as Catholic might find themselves unpleasantly surprised that their devotion to the sacrament of abortion is not going to fly. Colorado bishops have also warned pro-abortion lawmakers that they should not present themselves for communion.
For his part, Archbishop Cordileone was overlooked for promotion by Pope Francis in an apparent snub. But we thank God for men like him who have the courage to stand for the lives of unborn, even under pressure from the powerful.
This one goes out to all the Dads
Saving lives is a choice
While we're speaking of abortion...
Pro-life crisis pregnancy centers have been the object of attacks since the news that a majority of justices on the Supreme Court would vote to overturn federal abortion laws. The Post-Millennial reports that activists are calling for organized violence if the Court goes through with its decision.
Issues, Etc. interviewed Patty Knap, a pregnancy care counselor, about all the excellent work that pro-life centers do. Mrs Knap highlighted the hypocrisy of those who promote "choice" but refuse to present women with the option to keep their babies. So we must gear up for whatever the future holds and pray the Court has the courage to undo the terrible decision made in Roe v. Wade. If you can, find out ways to support a pregnancy center near you.
A picture of health
Anyone who has tried to move away from the grip of the Standard American Diet knows it. Even more, anyone who's tried to explain that fresh air, sunlight and losing some weight are helpful ways to combat COVID knows it. What do they know? That the definition of what it means to be healthy seems to be devoid of objectivity and is largely becoming detached from reality.
The Wellness Industrial Complex, under the guise of self-help, has gotten us accustomed to thinking that healthy is whatever makes us feel good, safe, happy, and comfortable. But there are limits to that as the ultimate criteria. Readers may have noticed that the "body positivity" movement has begun to push obesity as a good thing. Advocates of neuro-diversity are redefining mental illness to be more inclusive. In New York, injecting drug users are encouraged to see their habit as a source of empowerment.
Chris Bedford at The Federalist has been pondering the shifting goalposts and concludes that increasingly the term "health" means whatever those in power want it to mean. He writes:
"'Sexual health,' for example, is used to justify all sorts of perversions in the classroom. 'Mental health' is used to justify feeding hormone suppressants to vulnerable children. 'Reproductive health' is used to justify abortion."
If you have been listening to A Brief History of Power podcast, you may have heard Rev. Fisk and Dr. Koontz warn that those who would rule the world are happy to have a population of fat, lazy people, distracted with every shiny object. While redefining health may promise an easy way to remove shame or guilt, Bedford warns that we should not fall for it. While there are those who are content "to wield words as weapons", giving in just makes you less focused on the sleight of hand.
St Paul acknowledged that he was free to enjoy the good things God gives, but he also disciplined his body so as not to be disqualified. It's not about eating your greens and hitting the gym, but we should not let the world's truth dictate what is good, what is right and what is true. That is found in God's holy Word. We know it.
Not built, not back, not better
The US Federal reserve went all out in its effort to try and cool inflation, increasing its interest rate by 75 basis points, the biggest hike since 1994. Across the pond, the Bank of England is set for its fifth straight rate hike.
In a recent interview, President Biden maintained that recession is not inevitable, acknowledging that "people are really, really down". Although The Market is a bit of mystery, it makes some sense that prices follow expectations.
During a recent speech, the President was angry at the idea that reckless spending by his administration had triggered the current economic turmoil. The disruption caused by the pandemic is a factor, but it is hard to understand how forgiving $25BN of student debt and sending another $1BN to Ukraine will help America's woes.
As the President announced plans for a massive release of gasoline from the Strategic Reserve, NotTheBee dug up a video of Joe Biden circa 1984, when he ran on a platform of limited government spending and thinking about the future impact of debt on our children. How things have changed!
BitCoin has done the unthinkable dropping below $20000, the lowest value since 2020.
The FDA has approved COVID vaccines for children ages 6 months to 4 years old. Journalist Alex Berenson says the approval is based on very flimsy data, which shows that the 80% efficacy figure is "fabricated". Although children have a very low risk of serious illness from Sars-CoV-2 virus as we noted last year, some parents have not been able to move past the fear that was pouring out of every agency during the pandemic. Todaysurveyed some parents who were relieved they could "finally" vaccinate their toddlers. And the lengths this doctor has gone to isolate his child from life is kind of crazy.
Perhaps there is no way of getting through these folks. Double-boosted, multi-masked Dr. Fauci made headlines last week after he came down with COVID. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and actor Hugh Jackman both reported they had caught it for a second time. But the drumbeat of the vaccine devotees is always "imagine how much worse it would have been if not for the vaccines." You can't argue with circular reasoning..
Put not your trust in networks
Fox network took flak from conservatives last week for featuring a story celebrating a transgender child and her family, who have pushed the ideology on her from before she could speak. Many parents who fall for the transgender trap are spooked by medical practitioners who tell them that their child will take their own life if they do not go ahead with chemical and surgical mutilation.
But a new study from the Heritage Foundation found that making puberty blockers to widely available to children increased the risk of suicide. While downplaying this risk, those who profit from dysphoria fixate on celebrities like Caitlyn Jenner. But brave de-transitioners are speaking out about the brutal reality versus the glittery lie. Rev Fisk shared one such tweet thread during Stop the White Noise last week. It is a hard read, but the barbarism that is sold as the solution is something we need to be aware of.
Have you ever wondered which Woke folks consider the worst offense? Is it transphobia or racism? For the ELCA powers-that-be, turns out, it's racism. Well, you'll just have to read the crazy story for yourself.
After the Department of Homeland Security put its disinformation board on ice, the woman who was in charge claimed that the board tanked because of fake news. However DHS has not given up on their desire to be the arbiters of what speech is allowed online and have tapped a new girl boss, Vice President Kamala Harris to lead another taskforce. VP Harris said her aim was to "protect people from online harassment and abuse".
A leaked Facebook memo suggests that the social media giant is looking to make itself even more addictive (our word, not theirs) by taking a leaf out of TikTok's book.
Firefox browser announced last week that it would prevent companies from tracking usersby confining cookies to the site you are visiting.
Microsoft's OG browser, Internet Explorer is being put out to pasture after 26 years.
A little green
Hey, let's talk about something else. A few stories about plants came across our feed last week, and we were happily distracted by them. ScienceAlert reports that a new study found that plants make "decisions" about how much CO2 they store in their cells.
One chemist from McGill University believes that mistletoe's natural stickiness could be used to make a super glue.
Futurity is reporting on findings that suggest artificial light sources in cities ruin the circadian rhythms of plants and prolong the pollen season.
Headlines from far away
Occupied Ukrainians are having their internet rerouted through Russian servers. (Wired)
Moldova and Ukraine are close to securing membership in the European Union. (Politico)
A European human rights court has blocked the UK from deporting asylum seekers back to Rwanda. (AP News)
The United Nations has drawn criticism after letting North Korea preside over the disarmament committee. (CNN)
British authorities has approved the extradition of Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange to the USA. His wife says he will take his own life rather than face trial. (DailyWire)
John Michael Jones Gets a Life is produced for Mad ⳩ Mondays by E. Darwin Hartshorn. Episodes can also be found on Tuesday, along with previous episodes, on Bunny Trail Junction at bunny-trail.com.
Quick Hits for the Eyebuds
🚴♂️ Ninja bike skillz
🐌 One of the strangest things you'll see today: snails eating yams
🗡️ A day in the life of a knife-maker
🇨🇦 A chompy beaver has caused a telecom service outage
🇯🇵 Japan is dropping a YUGE turbine in the ocean
🌧️ Geosmin: the smell of fallen rain (but don't taste it!)
💺 Packed like sardines: double-decker plane seats
⛪ The man who built his own cathedral
🐢 Lost tortoise found in attic 30 years later
🏁 Slo mo' pit stop of NASCAR crew
A Good Word: Links from the Show Notes
A few recs came from this week's episode of Stop the White Noise with Jonathan and Meridith. As always, be sure to check your brain and apply your discerning wisdom.
Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus by Dr. John Gray
An Evaluation of Claims to the Charismatic Gifts by Douglas Judisch
This UnHerd interview with Bret Weinstein
Christian Dogmatics Volume III by Francis Pieper
Not Until I Say I Do, a WeTV classic
Bringing Up Boys by Dr. James Dobson
Wild Things: The Art of Nurturing Boys by Stephen James and David Thomas
Praying the Psalms and joining the Sons of Solomon
Promo of Friends
Dr Koontz shared the 2022 Evanguard Retreat this week in the Mad Christian Discord. Dr. Koontz will be presenting on a Biblical understanding of patriarchy. The event will take place at Camp Trinity in Arkansas November 18-20, 2022.
Sweetness You May Have Missed
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