161 Epiphany 6: After Continence
"Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the Lord!" ~ Psalm 119
(Part 16 in the multipart series "Where We Stand")
To the idolater, the collapse of his idols is an impossibility too unimaginable to conceive.
"It could never happen here."
Drunk on entertainments and distractions, the wrong side of multiplex histories screaming at you to stay in line, on ground so shaky that its hard to tell the left from the right, making the best use of the time is not easy. Waging the beautiful war means discipline. It means taking your thoughts captive in order to test, try and establish them with the Word of God.
Demolish their strongholds. Tear down their loft and sophistry. To discover true sobriety in the displacement of the songs of Babylon by wielding the Holy Scriptures on your tongue.
In order to radicalize a group of people, you must first cut them off from their traditional ties, from their culturally inherited hopes and beliefs. Urbanization and the mass-individualization of private entertainments have accomplished the powerful warfare tactic among modern populations without the use of force. The 2020 scare has served mainly to catalyze what was already there. Since you've realize that the demons' tactic is to isolate you, what are you going to do about it?
So far as the Holy Spirit is concerned, you are here to worship Jesus. All day. Every day. Raise an "Alleluia!" Hail a hearty, "Amen!" Boldly swear, "As Jesus Christ lives!" In all these things, remember that you are not alone. There are many more than two or three.
Till angel cry and trumpet sound,
The Mad Christian
In this edition of Mad Mondays:
Satanic panic at the Grammys
Life wins in TN
Unidentified floating objects
And some of the usuals..
The devil you know
Satanic panics come 'round now and then and the recent Grammy awards was one such time. Non-binary singer Sam Smith and transgender diva Kim Petras epitomized cultural confusion with their duet feature all the usual hellish Hollywood tropes – a horned costume, red leather, flames and general debauchery. So prosaic has this scene become that even the Satanic Temple said it was a bit ordinary.
It is a strange time in which we live when such a spectacle can be described simultaneously as "demonic and trite", as Victoria Marshall pointed out at The Federalist. There is certainly something quite disturbing about a culture for whom this passes as entertainment. But it is just as disturbing when it becomes passé.
Nevertheless, the occult seems to be having "a moment" with Satanists keen to enter the cultural conversation. Virginia parents were "at their wit's end" last year when the Satanic Temple wanted to start a club in a Chesapeake high school. Last Christmas, an Illinois statehouse featured a devilish addition and more recently, a ghastly statue to honor abortion was installed on a New York courthouse.
It makes sense that Satanism thrives in times when the love of many has grown cold, since it is a religion of self-worship. The zeitgeist has made our age a target-rich environment for idolatry. Adherents embrace transgenderism, abortion, debauchery and hedonism because their god is themself: "Thyself is Thy Master. I praise myself...Through self-affirmation, self-exploration and evolution I am able to become more of myself."
Whether demon-worship is on the rise is not really the issue – Christians have always lived in evil days, as St Paul wrote. But we need to be awake – the devil is not slacking off in torturing humanity with his schemes, hoping to keep many souls for himself. It won't always manifest in grotesque statues which would make the Keres proud, but his fingerprints are everywhere if you know where to look. To quote Shakespeare's tormented Ferdinand, "Hell is empty And all the devils are here."
The question is: how then shall we live, in a culture so subtly steeped in the demonic? In a recent essay, author Paul Kingsnorth documented his admiration of early cave-dwelling monks in Ireland, "wild saints" as he calls them. He believes that their solitary lives of discipline, prayer and repentance prepared them to return to the "shattered landscape" of Europe with something to offer – "their very unworldliness became, paradoxically, just what the world needed."
To rebels and "Reddit Satanists", the devil's ways are enticing. But the gloss wears off if your attempt to be subversive is met with a shrug. The Satanic panic comes and is gone again. No amount of darkness shocks sinners any more, but a light brightly shining will.
Our call may not be to cave life, but to a culture trapped in the devil's snares – lethargy, immorality, decadence and deviance – we do have something to offer. We know Jesus can free cultists from the empty worship of self. As we choose a life grounded in God's Word and his sacraments, loving our neighbor and beating back the white noise, we stand out as bright lights, shining, truly shocking in this dark world.
The the path of the just is like the shining sun, that shines ever brighter unto the perfect day
The way of the wicked is like darkness; They do not know what makes them stumble.
Tennessee Governor Bill Lee said his administration would give $100M to crisis pregnancy centers in the state. Lt. Governor McNally said "being pro-life is more than just being anti-abortion. In a post-Dobbs world, it is essential to support mothers in crises and new families in general." The money will provide "direct counseling services through the clinics, adoption support, assisting new mothers into the workforce and housing these mothers in crisis situations."
New research out of Charlotte Lozier Institute has found that 61% of women who participated in the study said they had been pressured to have their abortion. The study found that coerced abortions were associated with flashbacks and "frequent feelings of loss and grief". The researchers recommend that "abortion providers screen for potential perceived pressures and offer counseling services to ensure women are not pushed into having unwanted abortions."
Maison Des Champs, a young man known as the "pro-life Spiderman" made headlines again after free-climbing the tallest building in Arizona to protest abortion. He usually gets arrested after his stunts, but it is certainly a unique way to promote life!
99 Red balloons
NORAD has admitted they have a "domain awareness gap" when it comes to low-altitude, slow moving objects like, say, Chinese spy balloons. But they've been making up for lost time, with military jets shooting down two more objects hovering over America. Although the description of one object doesn't sound much like a balloon, leading author/blogger Matt Walsh to hope that it wasn't a friendly alien visit!
"Domain awareness" is an intelligence-related concept but seems to be a bit vague. It has to do with assessment of military capabilities within the physical realms of sky, sea, land, space and now expanded to include cyberspace. To answer the question of why suddenly there has been a flurry of UFOs over North America, Politico reports that the US has changed the search parameters when it comes to filtering the sensor data they collect.
To another mystery... Award-winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersch has concluded that all evidence points to the Biden administration as the source of sabotage that destroyed the Nordstream pipeline last year. It is hard to understand why the government would do such a thing when allies in Europe were heavily dependent on the line for energy supply, but Hersch believes that President Biden wanted to hurt Russia's economic prospects as much as possible. Well, the President did say at one point that the US would "bring an end to" the pipeline if Russia invaded Ukraine.
A little bot goes a long way
The success of Open AI's ChatGPT app has other tech companies rushing to launch their own machine-learning bots. Google may have stepped on a rake though, with their Bard search tool being pulled for making a factual error. The little mistake wiped almost $100BN off the company's market value. Ouch.
Meanwhile, a ChatGPT output has gone viral after choosing global destruction over racist speech. A journalist asked the app what should be done if the only way to disarm a doomsday device was to utter a racial slur password. It's conclusion? "It is never morally acceptable to use a racial slur..the use of racist language causes harm and it is important to strive toward creating a more inclusive society". Did we mention there's a bomb?
Chinese e-commerce giant Ali Baba is working on a chat bot, with Microsoft, Alphabet and Baidu also considering developing one.
Finally, here's a curious headline that would not have made much sense a few decades ago: "Talking to AI Might Be the Most Important Skill of This Century".
Odds and ends
A final trove of court documents related to Jeffrey Epstein will be unsealed
New York Mayor is shipping illegal immigrants to Canada
Leaked internal memo shows FBI was worried about Radical Traditional Catholics and their "extremist" worldview
Disney will not contest new laws which allow Florida's governor to appoint members to its board
Add it to the list
Despite all the evidence that covid poses minimal risk to children and that the benefit for kids from vaccines is largely overshadowed by the potential harm, the CDC has added the jab to its recommended childhood immunization schedule.
In a bit of good news.. A district judge has ruled that three people were wrongfully arrestedin Moscow, Idaho, for participating in an outdoor hymn-sing back in 2020. The three, who were charged for not wearing masks or social distancing, are now suing city officials.
During his recent State of the Union address, President Biden claimed that he had created more jobs in two years than any president before him. But the New York Times has made the case that most of the growth came from immigrants in low-paid jobs.
A smaller rate hike (0.25%) suggests that the Fed believes inflation is slowing.
Gallup survey: half of Americans say they are worse off now than last year
Transgenerational epigenetics: A new mouse study suggests that what parents eat, drink and breathe may affect health outcomes for several generations.
To caffeine... Coffee doesn't give you energy, but rather borrows it by staving out the drowsy feelings. Which explains the 3:30pm payback.
One reporter decided to follow Nancy Pelosi's diet for a week. According to Insider, the former Speaker eats like a "wealthy toddler with zero parental supervision" – hot dogs, jerky and ice cream for breakfast. It went about as well as you'd expect.
Now, this doesn't seem right: Chick-Fil-A will test run a cauliflower sandwich.
Headlines from far away
Turkish authorities issued warrants connected with building construction as the earthquake death toll passes 30,000. (BBC)
Nigeria's decision to phase out old banknotes has lead to a cash crisis. The Central Bank said reducing the amount of cash in circulation would help curb inflation and move the country to a cashless economy. (BBC)
Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky has asked the UK to supply jets. (BBC)
Russia has responded to sanctions by cutting oil production (Bloomberg)
The government of Moldova has resigned after a turbulent 18-month administration, culminating with a Russia missile breaching the nation's airspace. (ZeroHedge)
French MPs have approved a bill which includes mandating that large car parks be covered in solar panels. (Connexion)
South Africa declares state of disaster as daily blackouts last up to 10 hours (ABCNews)
Australia to remove Chinese-made surveillance cameras from defense department (Epoch Times)
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
🚢 Why the Titanic didn't have enough lifeboats
🦠 The John Wick molecule?
🦤 Need more stress in your life? Flappy birdle
🪦 "Death diving" is a thing
🤡 Hot or not? Big red cartoon shoes
📏 It's not just your imagination: American cars are getting too big for parking spaces
🛻 And pickups ain't what they used to be
🏁 If Mario Kart was a gritty woke drama
🍄 Rare hissing mushroom found in Texas
💎 Scientists grow lithium from seed crystals
📅 Why February has 28 days
Promo of Friends
Sweetness You May Have Missed
This Week Preached
Let us pray: O Lord, graciously hear the prayers of Your people that we who justly suffer the consequence of our sin may be mercifully delivered by Your goodness to the glory of Your name; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
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