The Great Divide

A recent Cambridge study claims that the partisan divide in the United States is approaching “levels of ethnic parochialism in Bosnia and Kosovo.” Spending some time on Twitter might make you think there is a dangerous “balkanization” afoot, and yet, hanging out in your average neighborhood,  you may wonder at the hype. Reality has a way of biting back and the white noise of propaganda can only distract for so long.  

Many on the Left view anyone who is not sold out to the Woke agenda as ignorant “deplorables,” but people see when celebrities excoriate anyone who won’t “believe all women,” but not when it’s their candidate in question. People see when the COVID heavies insist on keeping schools, churches, and conservative political events shut down, but laud Biden celebrations and BLM protests. People don’t want to defund the police and are tired of being told they are racists when they are not.

While a Biden/Harris presidency would likely be the Wokest yet, the alliances forming between classical liberals and conservatives under Trump are strengthening. Folks from all over the political map can agree that America is a great country and that the Constitution is worth defending. Across the nation, most people see that freedom of speech, religious liberty and open inquiry are foundational to a flourishing society.

“The truth will never be extinguished by human arms”

There is growing defense of freedom against the totalitarian Left, and people are waking up to the inconsistency of the elites and their news media. So be strong! “The truth will never be extinguished by human arms”, not even the strong arm of the White House.

Twenty-Third Sunday After Trinity

Micah 6:6-8

With what shall I come before the Lord,
And bow myself before the High God?
Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings,
With calves a year old?
Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams,
Ten thousand rivers of oil?
Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression,
[a]The fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?

He has shown you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justly,
To love [b]mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God?

Psalm 116:12-19

12 What shall I render to the Lord
For all His benefits toward me?
13 I will take up the cup of salvation,
And call upon the name of the Lord.
14 I will pay my vows to the Lord
Now in the presence of all His people.

15 Precious in the sight of the Lord
Is the death of His saints.

16 O Lord, truly I am Your servant;
am Your servant, the son of Your maidservant;
You have loosed my bonds.
17 I will offer to You the sacrifice of thanksgiving,
And will call upon the name of the Lord.

18 I will pay my vows to the Lord
Now in the presence of all His people,
19 In the courts of the Lord’s house,
In the midst of you, O Jerusalem.

[a]Praise the Lord!

Philippians 1:3-11

I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ; just as it is right for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart, inasmuch as both in my chains and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers with me of grace. For God is my witness, how greatly I long for you all with the affection of Jesus Christ.

And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, 10 that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, 11 being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

Matthew 18:21-35

The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant

21 Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?”

22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. 23 Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. 25 But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and that payment be made. 26 The servant therefore fell down before him, saying, ‘Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ 27 Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt.

28 “But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, ‘Pay me what you owe!’ 29 So his fellow servant fell down [a]at his feet and begged him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you [b]all.’ 30 And he would not, but went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt. 31 So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they were very grieved, and came and told their master all that had been done. 32 Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. 33 Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’ 34 And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him.

35 “So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother [c]his trespasses.”

When the [elite] levee breaks…

Silicon Valley doesn’t like Abigail Shrier’s book about how Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria is ruining the lives of teenage girls.
Glenn Greenwald didn’t mince his words: the inability of the US to count votes is dangerous. “An electoral system suffused with this much chaos, error, protracted outcomes and seemingly inexplicable reversals will sow doubt and distrust even among the most rational citizens.”

The Devil at Your Fingertips

  “Twitter is the devil.”

I’m not the one who said it during our MadPx Election Night Catastrophe Special. (If you missed out, the entire thing is also available in podcastable format, without all the live glitches!) But I couldn’t agree more.

I have rarely in my life been more disturbed by the demeanor of a human being than I was in watching @Jack (Twitter’s CEO Overlord) get grilled by Senator Ted Cruz. Aside from appearing as some diabolical fusion of Neander Wallace and Howard Hughes, he actuated Wallace’s 2049 demeanor of a man in control of the situation with absolute power, fearless of whatever perceived threat his opponent imagined it was mounting.

He looked and acted like a man without fear, testifying legalized misinformation with impunity while a vested US Senator howled at the moon.

The reason Christianity has lost the “culture war” is that we endeavored to fight it without our most important, serpentine art of war: divinely revealed anthropology.

Men are evil. But culture war Christianity has been fighting as though we were, at worst, neutral.

Oops?

Naturally born, without influence from the uniquely revealed Christian Word of God, man is a bestial, primal, carnal thing. To call this “sin” is to use the stigmatized jargon. Terminology be damned if we miss the point:
1) Evil is experienced naturally as the fallen orders of the cosmos expand and collapse around us.
2) Evil is experienced personally as the corruption of entire beings, personalities who while created good have elected to self-identify in a finalized state of natural evil.
That is: Evil doesn’t always have a face, until all the times when evil most definitely has a face.

Hence, if we will not sit with Job in the ashes this week, then we instead watch it tweeted bold and poisonous across all news fronts: “government by the people, for the people” is a mythology with giant, gaping cracks in it, through which the social media overlords of the future are driving the semi-truck of their globally hegemonic agenda.

It’s not diabolical on purpose. @Jack only wants to rule for the good of others, just like the rest of us who swear we wouldn’t likewise be driven mad by the single-life accumulation of such exorbitant wealth and power.

The chief message of Job, if I have learned from him at all, is that life can never be so terribly bad that it would not become exponentially better in time. This, however, is purely the purview of the Almighty LORD Jesus Christ. He gives, and he takes away, for his own end.

The difference between us and that ancient Melchizedekian-ish King of Suffering is that we have seen his fulfillment. We know that the end for which God gives each suffering moment is the resurrection of our flesh in justified glory, according to the risen promises of Christ.

All the more then, as both kingdoms and steeples totter, we can wait patiently.

He knows their works, and he overthrows them in the night: they are crushed. He strikes them dishonorably in public places, because they caused the cry of the poor to come to him; for he hears the cries of the afflicted. Job 34:25-28

Until next time,

Be strong, and let your heart know courage.
Rev. Fisk
“Twitter is the devil.”

Never let the truth get in the way of a good story

While the post-mortems from Election Day continue, the newest addition to “least trusted professions” must be pollsters (and probably straight after “fact checkers”). Regardless of when the dust finally clears, what is plain is that pollsters are asking wrong questions of the wrong people. But there is also plenty of evidence to show that the architects of many polls are flat-out ignoring the data they don’t like. The blue checks and talking heads might plead that polling is not an “exact science,” but the fact that the prevailing narratives diverged so markedly from reality, shows that objectivity is not the goal.

The lack of willingness to follow where the facts lead is not limited to polling. The pandemic, which has held the world captive for most of this year, has highlighted something that is happening in many places – scientific dogmatism. A recent article in Spiked, written by Norman Lewis, focused on the interesting studies of Robert Edgar Hope-Simpson, a British doctor who is mostly known for showing that shingles is a reactivation of the chicken-pox virus. 

Hope-Simpson spent a lot of time studying influenza and how it spreads. In the late 1970’s he challenged the prevailing idea that direct person-to-person transmission was the sole mode of influenza spread. He observed how the flu travelled around the world, and proposed causes for the seasonal nature of flu outbreaks. His conclusions about pre-existing immunity in populations and the effect of changing seasons in activating the virus lead him to posit that “it seems certain that the current concept of direct spread is impeding our understanding of influenza.” 

“Knowledge is… power [and] as with all science, it can ossify and become an orthodoxy that bars the way to further study.”

So what could account for the lack of interest in pursuing Hope-Simpson’s theory? Lewis proposes that suppressing flu viruses through hand washing and distancing and masks, gives people a sense of agency. He also argues that some wish to weaponize The Science for their own control: “Knowledge is… power [and] as with all science, it can ossify and become an orthodoxy that bars the way to further study.” If you have the result you want, why search any longer?

Sumantra Maitra wrote for The Federalist in the earlier stages of the pandemic, lambasting the way world leaders had scrambled to adopt policies based on faulty modelling. He says, “The phrase ‘settled science’ is a classic oxymoron. There can never be science that is settled…” He goes on, “This pandemic has highlighted how much of our public and social media are full of mindless drones [and] it has highlighted just how much of our scientific consensus is flawed.”

Maitra goes on to outline that what is on display here is not science, but Scientism. He describes scientism as “faith in the idea that all social problems have only one answer, through the process of science… Scientism elevates science to the point of a religion, thereby defeating the whole purpose of scientific inquiry.” Scientism is the new dogma, with science masquerading as a savior. But it is a golden calf, an imposter, a god formed in an image we prefer. The bitter reality for those who put their hope in Science is that following its doctrines can never cleanse your conscience. 

The quote often attributed to GK Chesterton is apt: “When Man ceases to worship God he does not worship nothing but worships everything.” St. Paul says that we (humanity) became futile in our thinking when we “exchanged the truth about God for a lie.” We end up worshipping and serving “the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever!” 

In stark contrast is the freedom we have in knowing that Christ is The Truth. The world he created is orderly and magnificent, even though it is corrupted by our sin. He upholds every atom with his Word and graciously reveals the intricacies of creation to humanity. With that sure foundation, discovering the truth about our world does not become an idol to which we desperately cling, but rather joyful fascination at the mind of our Maker.

Baby Steps for Taking Out a Giant

Monster companies like Amazon have been devastating to bookstores globally. While it may just represent the inevitable march to the Googlazon industrial complex, one shop owner isn’t going down without a fight. Andy Hunter, who feels that book shops are “essential to a healthy culture,” started a site called bookshop.org which gives independent booksellers a way to compete against the Big Guys. Nice work!
“If you wish to move mountains, begin by carrying away small stones.”