172 Easter 4: Save Your Pride
"The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want." ~ Psalm 23
Save Your Pride
Arrogance is a major problem. You are a fool not to believe so. But another major problem is pride.
The problem with pride is that pride is not always arrogance. Sometimes it is and that pride is bad. But, at least as the Hebrew Bible tells the story, some pride is very, very good. It is not arrogant. It is not evil. It is glorious. It is dignified.
The problem with pride is that in Christian English we have consigned dignity to a permanent relationship with arrogance, thus, semantically, gutting our language of the proper terminology for lives of respect.
If every time you do good, if every time you take pride in yourself and what you have done, it's now deemed “bad,” by the sheer nature of incentives, very little good will soon be taking place at your hand.
Take away a man’s dignity and you destroy his sense of self-respect. You rob him of his feeling of value. You ruin him.
It is the assault on your name that hurts the worst. It is identification with failure that hardens the soul.
“I have called you friends.”
Till angel cry and trumpet sound,
The Mad Christian
In this edition of Mad Mondays:
The rise of paganism
Plus a bunch of headlines you don't want to miss!
Not safe for children
It is an observable fact that the United Nations has lost its way. Once positioned in the public imagination as an organization that could save the world, the list of criticisms against it, including horrible scandals are many. The UN may well be the perfect handmaid of global elites as it now favors abortion and population control measures, infringes on national sovereignty, and allows autocrats a seat at the table. You would think that would be enough to have the thing dismantled, but it gets worse. In its March report, the UN claims that children can consent to sex with adults. While this may come as a shock to some, others said the quiet part out loud: this was the plan all along.
When evil is so clearly on display, there can be no doubt we are dealing with principalities and spiritual darkness – those endorsing these policies are taking their marching orders from somewhere and it's not concordant with truth. Summarizing liberal progressive ethics as a religion is certainly apt, but Jewish journalist Liel Leibovitz believes we are also seeing a return to paganism.
According to Leibovitz, pagan belief can be distilled down to this: Nothing is true, everything is permitted. He sees paganism in the tribal nature of identity politics and in the worship of nature expressed in climate alarmism. "They’re part of a cohesive belief system...that is gripping those who have rejected monotheistic ethics and mores." But his main observation about how modern pagans worship their gods is salient. The ancient deities were only appeased with the offering of treasured possessions and what do humans have that is more precious than children?
Leibovitz writes that state-sanctioned child sacrifice is alive and well in the USA, not just at the UN. "Turn over every rock in our craggy contemporary political landscape and you’ll find some pagan policy offering up the well-being of children to the gods of virtue." You can probably nominate a few. Covid school closures? Drag queen family shows? No-fault divorce? How about the anti-natalist, pro-abortion agenda of climate activists?
All the while, those in authority like to tell us that parents don't know what's best for their kids. Agencies, such as educational bodies and the medical establishment, have been emboldened to come between parents and their children, all with the blessing of the state. With unnerving breeziness, President Biden said last week that there is "no such thing as someone else's child...Our nation’s children are all our children." The pagan gods will not be satisfied with anything less than total access to our kids and adult supplicants are happy to oblige.
So are you awake yet?
Leaning on his Jewish faith, Leibovitz gives some recommendations at the end of his piece. We who believe that Jesus Christ is the risen Son of God will not track with some of his advice, but we do agree with him in this: "Save your children by shielding them from an ideology that perpetually seeks ways to harm them; root them instead in traditions that nurture them and give them dignity, hope, and a future." Thankfully, the mighty Word of God is a light to our path, strengthening our hands for the battle and giving wisdom to anyone who asks.
What does Google think? While internet searches have proven a valuable tool for sourcing information quickly, a new piece at Big Think warns that Googling is not thinking. That may sound obvious, especially if all your thoughts are organised Rev Fisk-style in boxes of 3 x 5 cards! But critical thinking expert Ozan Varol writes that algorithms and auto-complete give us the illusion that we are thinking when we aren't.
Varol gives examples of people looking for answers to deep questions in the collected knowledge of the internet, when the solution is often found by setting aside time to dig into your own thoughts. He asks why it is that we outsource our thinking to others instead of trusting our own ability to work things through. "Thinking for yourself isn’t just about reducing external inputs. It’s about making thought a deliberate practice."
While Varol focuses heavily on "exploring the depths" of your own wisdom, we know there are limits to what man can find in himself and in creation. So carve out some time for solitude, grab your Bible and think!
Israel at 75
Last week, Israel celebrated 75 years since its formation, with many Israelis jubilant about what the country has achieved in those few years. From the early decades of socialistgovernment to the present day, modern Israel has been through a lot.
A lot of Western corporate media sounded alarmed, warning that Israel stands at "perilous crossroads". Protests in Tel Aviv have dragged on over the last few weeks. Sparked initially by judicial reforms proposed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Dr. Micah Goodman, an Israeli writer and political advisor, says the unrest is now over the fundamental issues dividing the country.
Listening to Dr. Goodman, you may note that things are slightly different in Israel than the US – the conservatives want change, the liberals want things to stay as they are; the Right is angry about the past, the Left is anxious about the future. But it appears the issues playing out are pretty much the same as in many Western democracies: there are two competing visions of what makes for a flourishing human society. Each side thinks if the other side wins, the country is lost.
Interestingly, the modern nations of India and Pakistan were founded at the same time as Israel, and partitioned for the sake of religious practice. Both are also wrestling with their national identity, whether it will be a religious one tied to past lore and traditions or something else. As one commentator put it, Israel will need to choose whether it wants to be a state for Jews or a Jewish state.
Modernity, and especially its progressive iteration, is a potent solvent. A worldview founded on rationality, directed by science and formed by mass education will dissolve tradition and faith unless it is checked. But Modernity can't fulfill the needs of human hearts and so we also find many nations, including out own at the crossroads. "Righteousness exalts a nation" as Proverbs says, so we keep praying for our nation, living as redeemed people do and bringing the hope of Jesus Christ everywhere we go.
President Biden announced in a video that he is running for a second term in the White House with VP Kamala Harris as his running mate. The video focuses heavily on the culture war – abortion, race, LGBTQ – and pitches "MAGA extremists" as a threat to America. The President said he wants to run again to "finish the job" he started, which sounds a touch ominous to us!
Little was said about this administration's economic record, even while money issues remain a priority for a lot of Americans. The President's foreign policy decisions may also dog him, among them the botched withdrawal from Afghanistan and the evacuation of four embassies during his first term.
Daily Wire was not the only one to point out that the President will need to work hard to convince people to turn out given his age and low approval ratings. Even Axios which is generally supportive of the President noted how much time off he has taken this year alone. But as the Associated Press observed, "Few things have unified Democratic voters like the prospect of Trump returning to power."
The African nation of Sudan is in the news as a struggle between warring generals saw violence on the streets of Khartoum. The conflict has left hundreds dead, and a number of countries have evacuated their embassies during a brief ceasefire. While the feuding factions of the military government are receiving all the attention, a number of smaller voices are suggesting that this is as much a proxy war between the US and Russia as it is an internal Sudanese struggle. At the very least, the manipulation (not to mention, looting) of African nations by foreign powers does as much harm as good.
Related.. The World Health Organization has been warned that bio labs in the war zone represent a "huge biological risk."
Sudan is an old country, with Noah's grandson Cush settling there in ancient times, and there has been a lot of conflict in its long history. The eunuch met by Philip was likely from Sudan. Though the population is now 90% Muslim, there are still Christians there and they need our prayers.
Tucker on the Orient Express
Tucker Carlson has left Fox. Arguably the network's biggest star, the ouster has yet to be explained. But the situation is a little like a murder mystery – there are plenty of suspects and lots of reasons. Speculation that Carlson was too big for his boots. Perhaps Rupert Murdoch needed to assure shareholders that they were making changes after the massive payout in their Dominion defamation suit. Some even said that Rupert Murdoch's ex-fiance was a Tucker fan and a very vocal about her newly found evangelical faith (he broke off the engagement). At any rate we suspect he'll find an audience wherever he goes next.
Carlson gave a notable speech at the Heritage Foundation a few days before his final show. He encouraged the audience to speak truth and realize that marshaling more facts will not help us in an argument where all the definitions have changed. "I’ve tried. That doesn’t work...Maybe we should all take just 10 minutes a day to say a prayer about it", he said. "I don’t pray enough for the country, and I should, but the answer is to include the country in your prayers." Fine advice.
Odds and Ends
Health and medicine
A list of this week's pandemic gaslighting:
Dr Fauci says he was not responsible for a single lockdown. (New York Post)
Head of powerful teacher's union, Randi Weingarten says she wanted schools open (Washington Examiner)
Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau says no one was forced to be vaccinated (National Post)
A review of mask studies shows a possible rise in the "risk of stillbirths, testicular dysfunction, and cognitive decline in children." (Daily Mail)
Delaware becomes the latest state to legalize recreational marijuana. (CBS)
Scientists believe they can "sneak past" the blood-brain barrier, delivering gene therapies directly to brain tissue. They say the discovery could help slow degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. (Medical Express)
Guns and crime
A Tennessee Council member told the New York Post that the manifesto left by the Nashville shooter is a "blueprint for destruction" and would be "astronomically dangerous" if it fell into the wrong hands.
A manifesto reportedly left by the Louisville bank shooter claims that the gunman killed five of his colleagues to have firearms banned. The man, who was apparently suicidal, wanted to prove that guns are too easy to come by. The shooter was killed by police.
Jury selection in the long-delayed trial of a Pennsylvania man charged with the Tree of Life synagogue shooting began last week. The massacre four years ago claimed the lives of 11 people attending the synagogue on a Saturday morning. The killer offered to plead guilty on condition that he was exempted from the death penalty, but families of the victims are divided on the offer.
Texas police say they have "zero" leads in a tragic shooting after a neighborhood dispute in Cleveland, TX. The shooter who is Mexican is still at large. The victims were all Honduran immigrants. (USA Today)
Money, markets and jobs
Representatives of the real estate industry, as well as financial experts, have weighed in on a new mortgage fee structure introduced by the Biden administration. The plan aims to lower fees for those with "less-than-perfect credit" so they can purchase a home. But the scheme, which kicks in today, will also see some paying more for their mortgages, namely those who have higher credit scores and make larger down payments. This has led to accusations that the tax is akin to redistribution, as folks who are low risk will be subsidizing riskier customers. We can see that encouraging home ownership often has positive benefits in local communities, as people put down roots, but the plan could also entice folks who really can't afford houses (especially currently) to get in over their heads. Those who remember the sub-prime mortgage catastrophe which kicked off the global financial crisis in 2008 may see a familiar pattern here! (The Hill, Insider, Fox)
The New York Post says that Americans have effectively taken "pay cuts" for 24 months in a row. The Post says that due to inflation, workers are essentially earning less. (New York Post)
University enrollments are dropping while trade school sign-ups are on the rise. (The Hustle)
Science and technology
New Pew research shows Americans surveyed are a bit wary of AI in the workplace. The larger share of survey participants believed AI would do more damage than good. Most agreed that AI would impact industry significantly but not them specifically. The survey showed that the majority of folks thought AI could be used to narrow a field of job candidates more fairly than a human, but said that hiring and firing decisions should ultimately rest with people. (Pew)
Twitter has restored blue check marks to high profile accounts. (BBC)
After ticking off various news accounts, Twitter removed "government-funded media" labels. (Tech Crunch)
Scientists have sequenced the genomes of 10,000 ancient people. (Nature)
The Mad Christian rec's: "Why Better Engineering Can't Fix The Problem of Bot Bias" (Salvo)
The dispute over Disney's special governance in Florida goes on, with the House of Mouse now suing governor Ron DeSantis for his "campaign of government retaliation." (AP)
An IRS whistleblower claims that the Department of Justice is blocking criminal prosecution of Hunter Biden. "It’s clear from our investigation that Hunter and other members of the Biden family engaged in deceptive, shady business schemes to avoid scrutiny as they made millions from foreign adversaries like China." (Just the News, ZeroHedge)
Hunter Biden's failure to comply with a lawsuit regarding child support payments has brought additional legal troubles to his doorstep. He also has four other charges against him - three are related to tax crimes and one is a felony gun charge. (Hot Air)
Texas bill would bring prayer and the Ten Commandments back to schools. (Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick)
Pope Francis has given women the right to vote at a meeting of bishops in October. (BBC)
In keeping with his desire to be known as "defender of faith", the soon-to-be crowned King Charles III, has invited religious leaders to participate in his coronation next week. "Leaders from Jewish, Hindu, Sikh, Muslim and Buddhist groups will deliver a greeting to the King in unison, which he will acknowledge". (Independent)
Headlines from far away
Spanish authorities have exhumed the body of fascist leader José Antonio Primo de Rivera who was buried in a prominent mausoleum. Primo de Rivera's body has been moved four times, but in a bid to remove fascist symbols from public spaces, his remains will now be interred in a regular cemetery. (BBC)
Ukraine president is "upbeat" after a phone call with Chinese leader Xi Jinping. China says it wants to be the mediator for peace between Russia and Ukraine. (AP)
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
🚀Move over International Space Station! Airbus has an idea...
🦜 Researchers teach parrots to call each other via video.
👀 My chair loves treats.
Harrowing video shows a skier who must feel lucky to be alive. almost missed
💪 Kid's got tee-ball confidence.
🗺️ Fascinating! Maps distort how we see the world.
↔️ Physicists determine the ultimate strategy for height on the playground swing.
🇬🇧 Beware the "level five goose warning!"
Only Illuminati Need Apply: Your Reaction Highlights
Brief History of Power listener Dr. Joshua Pauling whom we have featured previously in Mad Mondays has written a great piece for Public Discourse on our digitized world and the false promises of disembodiment. Check it out!
A Good Word: Links from the Show Notes
It was another Saturday morning with the Fisks. Want to do some reading now? Here's what was mentioned.
Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus: The Classic Guide to Understanding the Opposite Sex by John Gray
That Hideous Strength by CS Lewis
The House Swept Clean: a biblically balanced pattern for the diagnosis, exorcism, and pastoral care of the victims of demonic possession by Darrell Arthur McCulley (a free PDF from Concordia Seminary St. Louis)
and one for the ears- A Brief History of Power #140 Channeling Old Demons
Promo of Friends
Subscribers of the Sons of Solomon Newsletter saw it first.
Sweetness You May Have Missed
Let us pray: Almighty God, merciful Father, since You have wakened from death the Shepherd of Your sheep, grant us Your Holy Spirit that when we hear the voice of our Shepherd we may know Him who calls us each by name and follow where He leads; through the same 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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