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185 Pentecost 9: The Way of Outer Power
"As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds His people, from this time forth and forever.." ~ Psalm 125
The Way of Outer Power
While the Fisks enjoy a family vacation, we picked one of the Mad Christian’s posts from the archive. This one is from August of 2020..
American Christianity established its protesting-mythos as an experiment in preserving true religion, but she has become a bloated, undisciplined and cumbersome albatross.
For all the humming crusade of bulletin covers and emails stuffed to the gills with properties' committees’ reports, legacy-donations’ legal counsel, and reminder readings from Sir Roberts’ letter to the Romans, we are little more than the mistress of managing much ado while achieving very little in real time and space.
Or, I have been….
“That’s just the way it is,” he told me. He’d been a pastor much longer than I. He must be right, I thought. God does not call Christianity to win every engagement on every front. (That mortal error of the “Church Growth Movement” has left associated wounds all over the American Christian landscape.)
That was fourteen years ago now. But all these years later I still can’t make myself really believe it. I can’t compel myself by hook, crook or crowbar to shove this thought into the Bible I keep reading. Christians shall expect to suffer, be misundestood and maligned, and finally turned to dust by the world inherited of an unbelieving man.
But no where are we to expect to lose.
Christianity has nothing to lose.
Christianity can’t lose.
Because Christianity is the definitive reality that we (in our Lord) have already won.
American middle-class WASP culture-club masquerading as the enclave of the Holy God has been playing "not to lose" for years now. My coaches always told me, “Playing not-to-lose is the exact same thing as playing not-to-win."
Winners don’t play not to win. Winners play in order to win, with the nerve to handle losing as a cost paid to learn how to win. Believing you are going to lose before you take the field is for losers. By definition.
Champions play the hardest because they pass from believing they can win to believing they can’t lose.
And that’s you, Christian. So get out there this next six and play like you believe God is the one who said so. Because he has.
This is the first understanding of Karpos Ek-Grateia: the seizure of sensation, against sensation, by the person who believes in a power greater than sensation.
The fruit of the Spirit is … self-control.
Be strong, and let your heart know courage.
🔴 Mad Mondays will soon be joined by the Mad☧ Tank – additional content for you to chew over. So thanks for taking this journey with us and please excuse the mess as we set up our new place. If you have received this email in error, please let us know by replying or unsubscribe at the top of the page.
God’s peace! Frisby and the MM team.
In this [late] edition of Mad Mondays:
The devil falls on hard times
More troubles for Hunter
And some headlines that nearly got away.
Nobody believes in me anymore
In the 1995 movie “The Usual Suspects”, the nasty and enigmatic character, Keyser Söze utters a famous line: "The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist." Spoiler: Having spent most of the movie tricking the audience into believing he is not the bad guy, the sentence is loaded with duplicitous intent. Söze's quote was possibly a paraphrase from French writer, Baudelaire. But almost 30 years later, fresh audiences might have trouble deciphering who it is that Söze is talking about.
A new Gallup survey has found that less people believe in the existence of the devil than in decades past. Most folks are aware that belief in the existence of God has been on the wane in recent decades. But writing on Gallup's findings, Bob Smietana observes that "losing faith in God seems to be accompanied by disbelief in the devil." That makes sense to us, although it's interesting to note that the survey shows that belief in God and heaven is more popular than in hell or the devil. Funny how that works.
Commentators in Smietana's report debate the value of believing the devil and hell is real. One concludes that the devil is a symbol of "all that is wrong in the world" and is an "argument" that we live in an ordered creation where justice will eventually prevail. Others say that the devil is a "scary story" invented to control people. What seems to be lost on these experts is the fact that Scripture, even Jesus himself taught that the devil is real and hell is hot.
But even the debaters of this age might be in for a rude shock. As we see rabid support of baby killing in the form of abortion, the damage of the transgender ideology, the continued normalising of pornography, the stoking of racial hatred, the refusal of leaders to punish evil and reward good, it is hard to see how the existence of the demonic can be denied. Tucker Carlson said it well during a speech a couple of months back: when you see people and organisations whose goal is to destroy things, what you’re seeing is evil.
We should keep praying for repentance in our nation. We may have to deliver the diagnosis before we can begin to offer the remedy. Yes hell is real and the devil wants you dead, but Jesus is coming and his reward is with him! We must warn as St Paul warned sinners in Athens: God now “commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.” Ignorance is no excuse.
Souring the sweetheart deal
Hunter Biden has recently surprised everyone by entering a "not guilty" plea at his trial for failing to pay over $1.5m in income tax. As we understand it, Biden was expected to plead guilty to two misdemeanours and enter an agreement to avoid prison time for lying about his drug use when he purchased a firearm.
However, during the trial, it was discovered that the conditions outlined in Hunter Biden's plea-bargain would shield him from further prosecution, even though investigations into his financial dealings are ongoing. When federal judge Maryellen Noreika reviewed the details, she refused to rubberstamp the plea bargain, giving both sides another fortnight to tweak their documentation.
In other news, President Biden acknowledged his seventh grandchild publicly for the first time. The 4 year-old girl is the daughter of Hunter Biden and a stripper.
Odds and Ends
Marriage, sex and children
A Nebraska teen has been sentenced to 90 days jail in the first case tried under the state's pro-life laws. Although abortion advocates assumed the girl was prosecuted for taking an abortifacient pill, she was actually convicted of concealing and abandoning a dead body. The teen's mother helped her burn and bury the aborted baby's body and faces 8 years in prison if she is found guilty. (Not the Bee)
De-transitioner Chloe Cole has made a plea to Congress to put a stop to gender treatments and surgeries for children. "I speak to you today as a victim of one of the biggest medical scandals in the history of the United States of America.” Cole says that trusted adults in her life affirmed her delusion that she was a boy. She began began taking cross-sex hormones at age 13 and underwent a double mastectomy at age 15. (New York Post)
Speaking of confusion... A Japanese man has spent $14k for a life-like collie dog costume to fulfil a "childhood desire to transform into an animal". (The Blaze)
Law, policing and crime
An Oklahoma judge has come under scrutiny after courtroom security footage showed her scrolling endlessly on her phone during distressing homicide case. (The Blaze)
Illinois governor J. B. Pritzker has signed into law a bill which would allow any immigrant with legal authorization to work in the U.S. to become police officers. Any individual who wishes to become an officer or sheriff will be "subject to all requirements and limitations, other than citizenship." (WTVO, Illinois General Assembly)
Scientists in Korea believe they may have discovered a tech "holy grail", a semi-conductor which "works at room temperature and ambient pressure". (Independent)
Scientists found that replacing some lithium with sodium did not impact the performance of batteries. They are hoping the discovery will reduce the cost of producing batteries since lithium has become very expensive. (Spectrum)
SpaceX has used its FalconHeavy rocket to launch a communications satellite. The Jupiter 3 is the heaviest commercial communications satellite, weighing just under 10 tons. (ArsTechnica)
Stanford researchers have discovered an “ultra sensitive on-off switch” which helps axolotls regenerate limbs. (Scopeblog)
Climate and the natural world
Ford expects to lose $4.5bn on its electric vehicle department with enthusiasm for EVs lower than hoped. (Fortune)
Here's another reminder that solar panels create as many problems than they solve. (Twitter)
2022 Nobel Physics Laureate Dr. John Clauser has slammed climate alarmism saying there is no such thing as a climate emergency. Dr. Clauser has criticised climate prediction models saying they exaggerate "key processes...by approximately 200 times.” (Daily Sceptic)
Having gained notoriety for disrupting the lives of everyday folks in the name of climate hysteria, there was a kind of poetic justice when some normies crashed a Just Stop Oil gathering and gave them a taste of their own medicine. (Not the Bee)
Scientists think they know why there is a "gravity hole" in the Indian Ocean. (CNN)
An interesting article about the transformer model behind generative A.I. Eight Google researchers who pioneered the tech have now left the tech giant but discuss how they made it happen. "The binding forces between the group were their fascination with language, and their motivation for using AI to better understand it. As Shazeer, the veteran engineer, says: “Text is really our most concentrated form of abstract thought. I always felt that if you wanted to build something really intelligent, you should do it on text.” (Financial Times)
Facebook has passed 3 billion monthly users. (TechCrunch)
Google says it has 2 billion monthly users watching its youTube Shorts. (TechCrunch)
We're not sure why, but Elon Musk has rebranded Twitter and the platform is now known as "X". Who knows what "tweets" will be called? (CNBC)
Intel says detecting blood regulation in faces is the key to discerning deep fake video from real. (BBC)
How China's "Great Firewall" detects and blocks fully-encrypted traffic. (GFW Report)
Economy, banks and markets
The U.S. Federal Reserve has raised interest rates by a quarter percentage point. "At 5.3 percent, the Fed’s benchmark short-term rate is at its highest level since 2001." (WNG)
The U.S. economy unexpectedly “accelerated to a 2.4% annual growth rate from April through June”. (AP)
Yellow Corporation, a trucking company that services Walmart and Home Depot among others, is preparing to file for bankruptcy, placing more than 30000 employees in danger of losing their jobs. (Business Insider)
The U.S. has announced it is giving a $345m weapons to Taiwan. (Politico)
The New York Times has disbanded its sports news desk. (Awful Announcing)
In a win for citizen reporters, a federal judge has reaffirmed that "First Amendment protections are not exclusive to officially recognized journalists but extend to anyone engaged in journalistic activities." (Reclaim the Net)
Fox News has been sprung donating money to the Satanic Temple. (Not the Bee)
The arts and sports
IMAX has used a PalmPilot emulator to help screen its 70mm-wide film version of Christopher Nolan's Oppenheimer. (ArsTechnica)
Fans shaking it off at a Taylor Swift concert have registered as seismic activity. (CNN)
How to make your images and artwork confusing to A.I. scraping. (The Hustle)
Stories from far away
Russia has raised the age of conscripted military service from 27 to 30 years old. (Reuters)
Egypt and other African nations have called on Russia to revive Black Sea deal which would release blockaded grain shipments. (The Guardian)
Israel's Knesset legislature has voted in favor of judicial reform proposed by the Netanyahu government. The reforms seek to rein in the power of Israel's highest court, which currently appoints its own successors and can set its own standard of "reasonableness". The proposed reforms have seen both protestors and supporters taking to the streets of Israeli cities for months. (Just the News, The Federalist)
A "midlevel Taliban delegation" visited Indonesia last month hoping to persuade the government of the world's most populous Muslim nation to help Afghanistan's leaders gain legitimacy on the world stage. "To date, no countries have officially recognized the Taliban regime." (Nikkei)
A suicide bomber has killed at least 44 at political rally in Pakistan. (AP)
Vatican prosecutor seeks jail time for cardinal who defrauded $460m from 10 people. (AP)
A Hong Kong judge has defied a government request to ban a song "Glory to Hong Kong", which has become an unofficial anthem for pro-democracy protestors. (The Guardian)
The U.S. State Department has ordered non-essential personnel to leave Haiti after clashes between gangs and police. (CNN)
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, onBunny Trail Junction at bunny-trail.com.
Quick Hits for the Eyebuds
🌭 New Skittles flavour pairs with hot dog
🥪 Mesmerising: rotating sandwiches
✉️ The surprising etymology of the word "blackmail"
⛰️ A pair of mountaineers has broken a record by climbing 14 of the world's highest "super peaks" in three months
🍏 Apple pie fries and other deep-fried wonders you'll find at state fairs this year
🦑 What would Cthulhu eat for dinner?
😍 When armadillos pounce!
🔨 Different hammers and what they do
Sweetness You May Have Missed
This Week Preached: No sermon this week!
Let us pray: Almighty and everlasting God, give us an increase of faith, hope, and love, that, receiving what You have promised, we may love what You have commanded; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.