In the Wee Small Hours

In 2001, historian Roger Ekirch of Virginia Tech published a seminal paper about biphasic sleep. The product of 16 years of study, Ekirch’s research uncovered a wealth of historical evidence showing humans used to sleep in two distinct chunks. Stephanie Hegarty wrote all about it in an article from 2012.

It may not surprise Mad Christians who’ve been following Rev. Fisk’s fascination with time and circadian rhythms, that records, books and literature from pre-industrial times indicate that a normal night consisted of a “first sleep which began about two hours after dusk, followed by waking period of one or two hours and then a second sleep.” So what was everyone doing in the dark? “During this waking period people were quite active. They often got up, went to the toilet or smoked tobacco and some even visited neighbors. Most people stayed in bed, read, wrote and often prayed. Countless prayer manuals from the late 15th Century offered special prayers for the hours in between sleeps.” Doesn’t sound so bad!

Sleeping in “watches” seems to have been the norm for a lot of human history. As late as the 17th century, staying out at night was the wont of “people of disrepute – criminals, prostitutes and drunks… Even the wealthy, who could afford candlelight, had better things to spend their money on. There was no prestige or social value associated with staying up all night.” Hegarty writes that a change began to occur during the Reformation, when persecuted Christians would hold secret services at night. The trend to be awake during the hours of darkness began to catch on.

With the advent of street lighting, however, socializing at night began to filter down through the classes. Paris was the first city to get lit, using candles, oil and eventually, literal gaslighting (see what we did there?) A piece for Tedium concurs: “It began, as it always does, with the aristocracy. Robbed of the only cue they had to go to bed—the setting of the sun and the fading of the light—these raucous revelers stayed up later and later into the night, setting a trend which percolated to the lower rungs of society as lighting became more commonplace.”

Being out at night “became fashionable and spending hours lying in bed was considered a waste of time.” Interestingly, Ekirch notes: “People were becoming increasingly time-conscious and sensitive to efficiency, certainly before the 19th Century, but the industrial revolution intensified that attitude by leaps and bounds.” As late as 1829, medical journals urged parents to train their children to sleep their 8-hours per night. Towards the end of the 19th century, references to segmented sleep seem to disappear altogether.

It is strangely apt that Thomas Edison, who invented the lightbulb, thought sleep was a waste of time. He claimed he only needed three or four hours of sleep per night (though he was a notorious napper) and said humanity would eventually grow out of its need to sleep.

Not everyone is convinced that this type of segmented sleep is the best. Berkley sleep expert, Matthew Walker, thinks that the two phases you need are some at night and a good siesta in the afternoon. (These famous nap-takers would agree.)

So when you’re lying awake in the middle of the night, perhaps it’s not time to hit the panic button. Maybe you could pull out your Psalms, say the Creeds or even do some rewiring around the house. (Make sure you’re really awake before you attempt that though!) That would be an interesting way to reject Modernity!

War is Coming

If Jesus tarries, it seems inevitable that the violent clash of ideologies will eventually spill over into even more of the tremendous societal fracturing that is we see resulting from the crack put in Chronos’ reign by COVID. If the parousia delays for another decade or century, then the end of the pax Americana is not only a possibility, but an increasingly likelihood.

I do not think this is alarmist.
Jesus Christ is not a new god, but an Old One. Winter is always coming.
So let’s not be shy about these gray and latter days: Most of us were hooked on the wrong myth for the last eighty years, and it nearly snuffed out Christianity. Our godless fear, love and trust in technology (“clock worship”) according to the oracular preaching of its priests and ministers (#ABC #NBC #CBS #FDR #JFK #GOOGLE #JECKYLFED #AZON) had overwhelmed our corporate spiritual discernment to such a wide extent that we were no doubt on a trajectory that ended with our total destruction. Thank God that rather than give his sons up to the serpent, he condescended to use whatever conspiracy(-ies) were behind COVID to wake us all up to the greatest conspiracy of all: the utter lukewarmness of our own hearts.
As if by divine (or at least a blue moon) conjunction, TRUMP! Derangement Syndrome has amplified this divergence amongst anti-communists of all stripes, from Antifa to Dan Bongino (sic), all at the same moment that the authors of the Great Reset are hitting the “ludicrous speed” button on their agenda to end meat eating and property ownership (among other traditional American normalities) by 2030. 
(“Who?” you ask. “The U.N.,” Dr. Koontz answers on the upcoming Thursday release of A Brief History of Power with Two White Guys as we lay out the goods for you on the multinational organization Davos.) 
In the mean time, just like the proverbial red pill, “waking up” means having your previously idolatrous mind-meld with your worldly flesh yanked out the back of your skull. God crumbling your dreams to dust right before your eyes can be a bit disorienting. At first, it is impossible to realize the magnitude of what has even happened. As the ooze settles, the power of your delusions truly dawn:

You are not on TV. You never will be on TV. Even if you were or are on TV, you are still not on TV because no one one is actually ever “on” TV. Or in the movies. No one is on the internet. Or on the radio.

We are all in our bodies. Breathing. Fearing. Hoping. Reacting. Denying. And, these days, all too often feeling alone. Life is not a TV show, a book, a commercial, a joke, a chance, an opportunity, a mistake or a flaw. It is an F.P.S.R.P.M.M. Dystopic Sci-Fi Puzzle Adventure Magically Real Life that is in the process of a cosmic viral server purge and reset.
For my part, one year ago, my future was largely a set path, a story I’d been told over the course of my life which I’d come to believe would remain fixed for another lifetime because: “America!” (sales, patents, copyrights and good branding).
I was wrong, and I couldn’t be more thankful. What was a sterile, isolated world of global fatalism has reinvented before my eyes into real world survival, not-simulation rooted in the unlikely, but the God-blessed survival of my arcane religion as a more solid anchor in these storms, more than any of the other modern myths have proven. 
What more could a young man ask for? 
Being immortal makes a massive difference in your perspective as you wrestle with the collapse of the worlds you thought were too big to fail. 
μεθυω is the Greek word for “utter intoxication.” It is the grandpa root of modern methamphetamines as well as the magical ecstasies of Delphi and the Harlot on the Beast. μεθυω is the very opposite of watchfulness or readiness.
The opposite of μεθυω is νεφω, which Saint Paul insists is yours in 1 Thessalonians 5. Often translated as sobriety, beyond the mere avoidance of any demonstrably negative and stupefying substance effects, νεφω also means to partake of profitable libations. That is to say, to be sober is more than to “not be” something. It is “to be” something better. Rather than degenerate, the Christians mind seeks to regenerate, or to have what the pagan Greeks called λογισμος (a self-reliant and indomitably clear, directive inner voice).
Therefore now we shall not slumber as the many others, but we shall watch with sober-mindfulness (1 Thessalonians 5:6). Saint Paul promises: Christianity is a self-talk that leads itself to mental clarity and resists the degenerating effects of the hysterias driven upon the mythologies of all times.
When Peter walked to our Lord upon the waves, the waters of creation rose to meet his feet according to the perfect design of our Lord just so long as Peter did not try to make it happen. The key here is to avoid panic. Whatever is coming next where you are, assess it honestly, keeping all that you are fixed on the true story of how Jesus Christ has sustained your faith from the beginning. 
Steeples and flags will fall, and the powers of the earth shall be shaken. But not Christ. If he is coming back tomorrow, there is nothing to lose in selling it all out for him now. If there is a global war on the horizon, the story is no different. Normal is whatever today was, and that much is a gift from God even if bombs are falling from the sky. If the last thing I see is two suns in the sunset, I’ll watch and sing as the ministers of fire come to carry me home.

Because if our Lord tarries, and the end of the Pax Americana is not only possible but increasingly likely, this does not mean it is time for Christian men to cower in fear behind pagan civilization’s trans-drogenized skirts. It means that you were born and baptized to wake up for this very moment.

Till angel cry and trumpet sound, 
Rev. Fisk

A Brief History of White Noise

Tedium article from earlier this year tells the interesting tale of James K. Buckwalter and his creation of the white noise machine. He conceived of the idea to try and help his wife, who had difficulty sleeping. “White noise works by reducing the difference between background sounds and a ‘peak’ sound, like a door slamming.” 

The piece has a lot to say about ambient music generally, “pink noise”, “brown noise” and how a 24-hour video of The Enterprise idling is some people’s go-to for chilling. Well, they may not know about the one on Saturday morning…

No Country for Fatherless Men

Mary Eberstadt did a stellar job last week writing for First Things on fatherlessness. She lays out her reasons for believing that the absence of a father in so many homes is the cause behind the instability seen in our cities. While folks on the left will dismiss this as a conservative beat-up, Eberstadt sees a clear throughline from dads who are MIA and societal dysfunction, be it Antifa or White nationalists. 

Eberstadt writes that “six decades of social science have established that the most efficient way to increase dysfunction is to increase fatherlessness. And this the United States has done, for two generations now. Almost one in four children today grows up without a father in the home. For African Americans, it is some 65 percent of children.”

Eberstadt goes on to list famous writers and activists who are victims of fatherlessness, particularly those currently agitating for “anti-racism” movements . Identity politics has been “shot through” with the disappearance of paternal authority from the beginning, as Eberstadt observes. Unsurprisingly, the now infamous statement from the Black Lives Matter website, declaring their intention to “disrupt the Western-­prescribed nuclear family structure” never mentions fathers, as if it were a given that fatherhood is a non-essential part of family formation. 

Apart from the unrest created by fatherlessness, Eberstadt argues that this is the cause of the growth of the “nones” – those that claim no religious affiliation. Churches have been a place in America that connected different generations. But with the decline in church attendance, younger ones lose the benefit of the influence of people who’ve lived longer than they have. In addition, how do you relate to a good heavenly Father when you never knew an earthly one? Eberstadt points to the theory of sociologist Paul Vitz, – anger at “defective fatherhood” translates to anger at God. 

Eberstadt’s third argument is that fatherlessness leads to detachment from your country. Growing up with an intact family is first-hand experience with a source of authority. For a child, family members are “people from whom he could learn, with whom he could connect and network, and through whom he could learn commitments and make common cause.” A child growing up without a dad automatically has less family members to influence him, not only his father but also his father’s side of the family.

To Eberstadt this volatility manifests as hatred of America. It is why protestors “tear down statues not only of Confederates, but of Founding Fathers and town fathers and city fathers and anything else that looks like a father, period… It is why bands of what might be called “chosen protest families” disrupt actual family meals. It is why BLM disrupts bedroom communities late at night, where real, non-chosen families are otherwise at peace.”

Being without a dad seems to affect boys and girls differently but the longing for a father does not diminish, just because the white noise says the “kids are okay.” 

So, we need to ask our Heavenly Father for wisdom, and then look around. There may be things you can do right where you are to disrupt the cycle, to advocate for fathers, encourage moms raising kids on their own and find the lost boys who need to find “father, Father and patria”.

Dude Looks Like a Lady

Matt Walsh wrote recently to warn how the Left wants to feminize men. He points out how Progressive media will mock anyone for making a big deal out the the very thing they just made a big deal out of.

Exhibit A: Harry Styles wearing a dress. Styles’ recent photo shoot drew breathless admiration from fellow celebrities, describing him as the epitome of confidence, a man “devoid of any traces of toxic masculinity.” Yet when Ben Shapiro and other conservatives point to the absurdity of the whole situation, they are painted as making a big deal out of nothing.

Walsh says that the identity politics crowd will never succeed in a the genderless utopia they dream of, but creating an environment where “boys are made to be more feminine, and girls more masculine” leads to confusion as neither has any idea who they really are. Confusion, says Walsh, is the ultimate objective. “People who have good arguments don’t bother with mind games like these.” Well said.

Quick Hits for the Eyebuds

🌡️ Average body temperature of humans has dropped over the last two centuries
💨Cerebra’s wafer chip is 10,000 times faster than GPU
🔍 Can A.I. detect sarcasm? Suuuurrre..
🇬🇧 A group of British pubs decided to ban the MP who backed a 10 pm curfew
🔊A speaker that beams music straight into your head
🐊 Yes, that’s a huge ‘gator strolling around a Florida golf course
🙊 FBI hires robots to do sensitive file retrieval
 💊 As if world-domination is not enough, Amazon is getting in on pharmaceuticals

The eagle has landed

Pharmaceutical company, Pfizer, announced last week they have a COVID vaccine ready to go. While the timing of the press release looked strangely advantageous to a particular presidential candidateThe Hustle detailed the winners and losers. Airlines, fashion and fuel companies are on the up and home fitness and takeout pizza are down.Rev. Fisk is not the only one who is concerned about this vaccine. While questions remain about who gets it and how safe it is, many have noted the potential for COVID vaccines to use abortion-derived cell lines. The Lozier Institute is keeping tabs of which ones do and don’t. The CEO of Pfizer says he’ll take the vaccine first to ease public concern. Thanks, we feel so much better now…
Everyone’s favorite eccentric billionaire, Elon Musk says he tested positive and negative for COVID in one day. Rev Fisk found an informative Twitter thread from Mr Musk, asking about what getting a “positive” test even means.

He’s just not that into your politics

New York Times piece from recent weeks suggest that the real divide in the US is between those who are “hard partisans” and those who really don’t care about politics. “For partisans, politics is a morality play, a struggle of good versus evil. But most Americans just see two angry groups of people bickering over issues that may not always seem pressing or important.” To get some perspective, “a Pew study finds that 10 percent of Twitter users are responsible for 97 percent of all tweets about politics.”

While some voters’ “single issue” may be whether TikTok is banned or not (you can ask Dr. Koontz about that one), there is often no overlap between what political junkies think is important and what less-attentive citizens do. The researchers for this article found that drug use and the political influence of wealthy donors were high on the list of concerns for hard partisans (Republicans and Democrats respectively), but these issues hardly registered with those less engaged.

In contrast, the things that bothered the rest of the country were the deficit and moral decline. So “unity” between Left and Right may not be as useful as getting the chattering classes and the rest of America to listen to each other. Now, where’s my megaphone?

Ground News is a site that collects and collates reporting, according to a right-left spectrum. These projects are always interesting experiments, but often pleases no one, as most people assume their views are the centered and reasonable. At the very least, it is interesting to compare the language used by different news outlets. 

Inez Stepman argues that the way to help reduce the partisan divide in America is to gut the Academy. She argues that anti-American sentiment and revisionist history curriculum are perpetuating the domination of identity politics in elite institutions and business. 

Some considerate Britsplaining: Paul Collier, an Oxford professor, suggests that states should split their Electoral College vote according to their votes and reduce postal voting.

And about those pesky voting machines

Freedom is a Long Game

This week, a great Issues etc. conversation with Dr. Stephen Baskerville from 2017 came to mind. There and in a related article, Dr. Baskerville describes how there are some striking similarities between the French Revolution and one that we are still fighting, the Sexual Revolution. The desire of the early “liberationists” was the destruction of all barriers to sexual indulgence “as the means to advance their careers, accumulate wealth, eliminate rivals, punish opponents, extort money, and generally acquire political power.” 

While the sexual libertines promised freedom, the mess that was the #metoo era suggests that the promise rings hollow. Yet, rather than a humble return to the God’s model for marriage and sex, the revolutionaries have ramped up their assault. Baskerville argues that this revolution has entered its “Reign of Terror phase.” He says, “Having ridiculed not only the Christians themselves into silence but also their annoying, old-fashioned vocabulary of ‘sin,’ ‘immorality,’ ‘fornication,’ and ‘adultery,’ the radicals have substituted jargon that instead condemns ideological unorthodoxy.” 

Instead of “traditional sins [which] were clear and precise [and] applied equally to all”, Baskerville argues we now have vague categories such as “abuse” or “harassment”, which he maintains as having no fixed legal definition. By controlling the approved language, elites can maintain their power, not just over celebrity transgressors, but also over ordinary people. There are many casualties in this war, especially fathers and husbands who have way to prove their innocence of such non-descript crimes.

Baskerville also notes the way this new morality is enforced. Previously, immoral behavior was overseen by apolitical authorities like parents, churches, and local communities. The punishment was social disapproval and ostracism – no self-respecting father was going to let his daughter marry a cad! But that has changed, with the new morality enforced by “professional disapprovers with political muscle—journalists and media pundits, lawyers, judges, police, and jailers.” 

The tyranny of the Sexual Revolution is revealed very clearly in today’s Progressive agenda. A Democratic presidency promises the reinstating of Title IX and the Equality Act, both dangerous for the family and religious freedom. Kicking against reality by denying the distinctions between male and female, destroying the family structure, marriage and the goodness of the patriarchy will have a similar end to the French Revolution; it is good to take heed. 

So what are we to do? In many ways, Mad Christians are called to the same things we ever were. We build and plant and seek the welfare of the place God has put us. We tell the truth about life, and God’s purpose for marriage and family. We promote the things that enable this purpose. We meet faithfully and partake of God’s good gifts. It doesn’t look very revolutionary, but we shine brightly in the decaying age, as each stand for truth lights the way for another.

As you will hear Rev. Fisk and Dr. Koontz repeat on BHoP, the most subversive thing you can do is raise a family, in the fear and admonition of the Lord. This may be milk toast to the Progressives, but the realest place in the world is the home and the first line of defense against the lies of tyranny is the family. 

Freedom is not the ability to do whatever you want, as Os Guinness says, but the power to do what you ought. Fed by the Word and sacraments, the saints are empowered by the Spirit for just such a task. So don’t lose heart!  Teach your children, love the Truth and seek Wisdom. And maybe plant a garden.