Ride, Sally, Ride Review
I just thought you might enjoy this review of your newest novel, if you hadn’t already seen it
God bless, from Canada!
Laurel, yes, I had seen it. But thanks for the link.
I am once again saddened for our culture that seems to bend over backwards to lionize anyone, anyone at all, after their death. As if we are under some kind of obligation to virtue signal how “loving” and “nice” and “civil” we can be on the occasion of another’s demise? Meanwhile, a far more important and sinister consideration slips by unnoticed and unaddressed: RBG has now stood before the judge of all the earth, and she was found without excuse and no occasion to defend herself. She has now received the punishment due her for her wretched life.
And yes, her life was wretched. She devoted her entire life to tearing down and reversing everything God designed into the created order.
And I’m somehow obligated to “play nice” with that? I don’t think so. She was a detriment to this nation, and if anything, her wickedly depraved life should
a) cause all of us sober pause at her final outcome in eternity
b) motivate us all the more to warn others like her before they die
c) energize us to take this opportunity to do good in keeping with God’s law by doing everything we can (call politicians, write, vote) to get someone appointed with at least enough common grace to uphold conservative principles
These fawning “Christians” that are tripping over themselves to speak highly of her without highlighting the fundamental rebellion to which she devoted her entire life do a disservice to God.
Guymon, yes, I agree with everything you say. And there is a clear scriptural case for rejoicing when the enemies of God fall. It is, after all, an answer to prayer. At the same time, we want to make sure that we are not failing to understand what spirit we are of. “But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of” (Luke 9:55). Triumphant joy must never be allowed to turn into vindictive glee. I am, of course, addressing this to every believer, and am not assuming that you have fallen into this trap.
Ref: The RBG RPG in a Time of RTG
Even more important to remember is that some of them that we find on the left did not drift there at all, rather they were comfortably, and discernibly if we were paying close attention, ensconced left of center when they were nominated. Question we need to ask ourselves: Would a socially conservative woman be a woman positioned and willing to be selected for the SCOTUS?
John, yes. Some of our defections were visible early on, and the coyness that surrounded certain questions in the confirmation process made it difficult to address those troubling indicators. On your second questions, the indicators seem to be that there are at least some affirmative answers.
The Libertarian Thing
In regards to the article Four Questions for Christian Libertarians, I think your four questions get to the heart of the matter. Wrestling with questions #1 and #4 in particular ultimately lead me to reject Libertarianism.
Have you given much thought to the role that Fusionism has played in making Libertarianism a popular intellectual destination for young, conservative Christians? For the past 60 years or so we’ve tried to maintain strict Libertarian philosophy and rhetoric in economics, but also have socially conservative politics in every other area of life.
It seems to me that it’s impossible to maintain this tension for long. Either the way we think and talk about economics starts to bleed over into other areas of life or the way we think about social issues will start to undermine our market fundamentalism.
Mason, I think you have a point about the rhetoric of the thing. But I am a market libertarian and this is not a vacation from my social conservatism, but rather an application of it. I am against abortion because of the sixth commandment and against socialism because of the eighth.
More COVID Crazy
I am a teacher at a Classical Christian School who finds myself increasingly frustrated with the COVID measures currently in place on our campus. It is important to mention that we are operating on a waiver granted by the county and I assume (but I am not certain) that many of these protocols are in place as a means to satisfy the terms of our exemption. However, and herein lies my greatest frustration, I’m honestly struggling to see how they are consistent with our ethos. Here are some of the highlights:
-Students 4th-6th are required to mask up at all times (except when eating)
-No singing or chanting in the classroom (students must be outside, masked, and 6 feet apart)
– Our playground is partitioned off into quadrants and the students must remain with their own cohort at all times.
– No parents are allowed on campus. All faculty and students must check in with an app that tracks symptoms before being admitted into the school each morning. If students or faculty present any of the COVID symptoms throughout the day (including headaches, tummy aches, and the sniffles) they are immediately sent home and quarantined until they can obtain a negative test. In some cases, that means missing between 6-10 days of work.
I know that our founder and head of school is understandably concerned with the possibility of appearing on the five o’clock news because of an outbreak, but I still believe the protocols are, to say the least, extreme. Furthermore, they’ve contributed to an unnecessary and prevailing spirit of fear and anxiety on our campus. I don’t typically gravitate toward “rocking the boat” and I’ve very sincerely not wanted to contribute further to what has been an extremely stressful season for our leadership. Thus far, my gentle prodding aimed at implementing a more balanced approach has been met with indirect appeals to Romans 13 (i.e. We are bound by the state’s guidelines). I have great respect for our administration and I recognize that many of the decisions being made are nuanced, difficult, and well above my pay grade. However, I am disheartened by a response that is, in my estimation, fear-driven and inconsistent with our values. I love the mission and vision of our school and I am concerned that our current trajectory will lead to irreparable damage being done to all that we hold dear.
I am seeking your wisdom as to a biblical way to proceed. Frankly, part of me is ready to cut bait and head for greener pastures (we are in a blue state if that wasn’t already abundantly clear) but I also believe the mission of our school is worth fighting to preserve.
Please forgive my inability to be concise and thank you in advance.
Josh, I sympathize with your plight, but would say what I have said in other comparable situations. If the leadership of the school has been solid (and courageous) on other issues (like the woke stuff), then work with them as long as you can. At the same time, I think you are right to suspect that the damage to the school may be irreparable, and you may need to look for a new position at some point.
Way back long ago, at the beginning of corona-mania, a guy named Aaron Ginn posted a statistical analysis of available COVID data, and said, basically, that we had no reason to freak out about it.
Of course, immediately after that, everybody freaked out, his post was pulled down by Medium, and he was attacked by “experts,” including a guy named Carl Bergstrom, who posted a detailed takedown of Ginn’s analysis on Twitter.
You’ll probably remember all this because I think you posted a reference to ZeroHedge’s reposting of the whole donnybrook here:
Anyhoo, I bring this up because I was thinking, now that we have the experience of hindsight, wouldn’t it be interesting to review who was more right, the amateur or the “expert”? (Sorry, but I’ve gotten to where I can’t write the word “expert” any more without the sarcasm quotes.)
I don’t want this story to be forgotten, because I want everybody to remember that there were voices from the beginning saying “don’t freak out,” and those voices were silenced and ridiculed. And they were right.
Jason, yes, that would be worth resurrecting.
Divorce in the Church
I have been encountering people at the church that I just began pastoring (during the COVID lockdowns) who have been divorced, many of whom claim to have been a Christian before, during and after, both sides. And yet I am really struggling with the fact that God expressly forbids this. How can they be truly walking with the Lord as a believer if they do not see this major life choice as sinful? Help me see how best to handle this please.
Jon, I wouldn’t assume anything either way. As you get to know your people, ask them to tell you their full story. Don’t launch at anybody. If there are gaps and problems, then address it in your messages. Preach through the Sermon on the Mount. Lay out the biblical position, and the limited exceptions, and teach the people where confession of sin is needed.
The Looming Trump Vote
I appreciate how you have slowly pivoted on your views on Trump, as I have had a similar turning. However, I have gone to most likely voting for him on 11/3, to I’m going to pray that morning and ask the Spirit to guide me. While I will definitely not be pulling the lever for Sniffin Joe, I may be led to write in Rand P.
The thing that concerns me about Trump, is his savior complex. He seems to willing to let the Qanon mob anoint him as our new lord and savior, and even if he does save us from the wicked Dems and the Hollywood Blvd Pedos, I don’t want to wake up on Dec 3rd and realize I inadvertently voted for the little horn of Daniel 7.
Thanks for your wit and wisdom,
Mark, yes. Never vote for the little horn of Daniel 7. I do believe that Trump is ripe for a Nebuchadnezzar take-down moment. He gathers up glory for himself with both arms. At the same time, I think that God is being extraordinarily kind to us in this moment, and I want to see the kindness continue. So in my mind the issue is not what Trump thinks he is doing, but rather what God is doing. I want to be able to say amen to everything that God does in this. That includes the humbling of Trump, but I want God to finish humbling the Left first.
I would urge caution on predicting the demise of any party. I distinctly remember when Obama won in ’08 and the entire chattering class was gleefully writing the GOP’s eulogy. Even Republicans joined in the “we’re finished” story. Obama had permanently realigned the electorate. NYT, WaPo . . . all of them . . . were running stories about how we’d never have a Republican president again. Then Trump happened.
(Aside: I think the 2008 preening is the largest source of post-2016 hysteria.)
I see no reason to think the Democratic Party will disappear. Adjust? Yes. Disappear? I’m not betting on it.
Why not? Because a party is an electorate. And like the Democratic party constantly fantasizing about a world without “obstructionist” Republicans, we forget that the party exists because there are real flesh-and-blood voters out there who agree with the platform, or at least agree with it more than they agree with the other one. And that will not change.
Samuel, you are quite right that we cannot confident pronounce on such things. But your last point is the precise reason why I think something big is coming up. The people in control of the party now are nutters, and they have radically departed from their historic constituencies.
Thanks and Thanks Back
As the chaotic waves of our culture’s rage against God have increased, you have steadfastly stood up for the truth of God, looked out for the Church of God, and have faithfully attempted to snatch those who are perishing from the fire. While I know even you yourself would not claim to be perfect in all the efforts you make, I want to simply thank you for being faithful to the LORD. As you know, we are on the verge of a socialist revolution in the country, and it seems that shots will be fired and new lies told no matter what happens in November.
Please don’t lose heart. Continue the fight. Our culture cannot thrive unless we bow before our Lord, and we need preachers who will speak the truth regardless of the flak they receive, and you have been faithful here. I don’t sense that you are losing heart, but I just wanted to be a voice of encouragement and appreciation amid all the nonsensical criticism you receive.
My wife and I are raising our two boys here in Greenville, SC, quite a way from you in Moscow, but the content you and your team put out have been encouraging to us and have affected how we conduct ourselves in our culture. Every time you stand up and say “no” to leftist demands in the name of Christ, I feel bolder to do so myself. Thanks for leading by example.
James, thank you for the very kind words, and it will be the challenge of a lifetime, for all of us, to seek to live up to them. Thank you.
Stuff About My Novels
I recently read Flags Out Front and my husband and I are waiting for Ride, Sally, Ride to arrive in the mail. A few days ago I watched your CrossPolitic interview about Ride, Sally, Ride and I appreciated your insights into writing fiction.
Currently, I’m working toward my undergrad degree in the Humanities. I enjoy creative writing and would love to publish someday (I’m revising a manuscript now). Specifically, I want to publish in the young adult market, which sorely lacks stories from a Christian worldview. I have a handful of questions I would appreciate your insight on.
I’ve read quite a few writing craft books as well as blogs over the last few years. I liked Wordsmithy. With many others, however, I am often concerned by the way writing and storytelling is taught. For example, authorial intent often seems minimized and favor is shown toward a subjective “just let the story naturally spring forth from inside of you” type of approach. Another example is that character flaws are construed as being the result of former tragedy or trauma rather than a sin nature. Have you noticed this as well?
How would you recommend a Christian approach telling a story in light of the biblical worldview?
Do you have any recommendations for writing craft resources?
Thank you for your time,
Ashley, the only advice I would give you is to keep doing exactly what you are doing. Keep observing, keep reading, keep writing. And do not do any of it from some neutral spot. Wherever you go, you are there as a Christian. Whatever you write, you write as a Christian.
In your post on “Ride, Sally, Ride”, you telegraphed an expectation that someone would mention “El Problemo.” I love telegraphs, so here goes.
Masculine nouns in Spanish usually end with “-o” and feminine with “-a”, but “el problema” is an exception. One could make a case that “problema” is “transgendered,” an impossible state for humans because we are not parts of speech.
Those who assert that sex and gender should be non-binary have hissy fits with languages that use separate terms for masculine and feminine roles. For example, the US was able to switch from gender-specific “fireman” to gender-neutral “firefighter”, but German nouns for woman/women end in “-in”/”-innen”, so they have to take great pains to be inclusive. The Economist had a nice write-up on this, although one needs a subscription to read it. Mark Twain’s send-up of German is free, timeless, and much more comprehensive.
El problema último in English is with non-binary personal pronouns, an ever-increasing list. We ignore the fact that English has always had a personal pronoun that is neither masculine nor feminine: ‘it”. “He” is masculine, “she” is feminine, and “it” is everything else. No need for “ze” or “zim/zir/zis” — just use “it” and “its” for singular non-binary. (“Who was the androgynous person at your grandmother’s funeral?” “It was her neighbor, but I don’t know its name.”)
As usual, my suggestion has had a poor reception in polite circles.
John, thanks for sharing. And we could also use plural pronouns, but let’s not get into that just now.
Let me start by saying that I did read the book and find it helpful at a variety of points. I understand the intent of the book and think that a significant portion of evangelicalism is currently afflicted with the sorts of problems that will inevitably lead them to respond exactly as the majority of the characters in the book did to the scenario described. In short, the real world is clearly beyond parody already and we really are in trouble. Those advocating for pronoun hospitality will clearly be the first to evangelize and baptize the robot “wives” for the sake of their Christian witness and building relational capital and all that.
That said, before reading the book, the thing which troubled me and those that I have spoken to was the, in our minds, unnecessarily provocative title. I understood that it had to be a double-entendre. I wondered in a culture that is so saturated with sexual sin, is it wise to encourage people to reflect on the most natural meaning of the title given the subject matter? Wouldn’t that be unnecessarily dragging their minds through the mud? That said, I understand that I am possibly guilty of the same thing by virtue of asking my question. Yet, it does seem that there is something different between the two things.
After reading the book and understanding now that the title is indeed a double-entendre, my question remains. Could not the same book be written and the title and the scene that it was based on been a bit more “Victorian” for the sake of preventing people from having their own Asahael moments? Again, I do understand the intent was not meant to entice people, and the whole point of the book was to teach people to resist such temptations as to not be easily manipulated by those who wish to enslave them. However, suppose someone scrolling on Twitter, minding their own business, seeking to flee from their own personal lust happens to see that you wrote a book about sex robots with the title you described, and that same person went on to go search for something on the internet to gratify that particular itch, would you take any responsibility for that at all? (Obviously not 100% but let’s just say 5%). Is that sort of danger worth considering at all?
I do also understand that there is a type of person who sees themselves as lustful to the core, whose only hope of sexual purity is to never be put in uncomfortable situations lest they fall into temptation and blame it on others. This posture is the same as what Alcoholics Anonymous cultivates in drunkards. And, my question is not an attempt to give that sort of person an out for their bad response to encountering such colorful phrases, however I still wonder if there shouldn’t be some sort of precaution taken to not be overly colorful in your descriptions in the same way that when I do premarital counseling, I try to avoid going into gory detail until the last few weeks.
Thanks for your ministry
Tim, thanks for the thoughtful questions, and here is my response, such as it is. It is true that Ride, Sally, Ride is at least a double entendre (a phrase with two meanings that can only be taken one way), but a couple of other factors need to be remembered. The primary reference is to the song Mustang Sally by Wilson Pickett. There the reference is to an unfaithful woman running all over town. It has a sexual reference, but not crass or explicit. Second, in the novel it becomes a triple entendre. Girlfriend in a Mustang > unfaithful girl running around > sex robot in a compacter.
Sweater Vest Thing?
On “authority, submission, and the limits of Civil Government”, was the Romans 13 conclusion right as you ended, supposed to be a mic drop moment for our time or did it just happen that way?
Either way, well done sir
Jordan, if you are talking about the cut-off at the end of our last Sweater Vest thing, it was a computer thing.
The Blenheim Talks
Almost ten years ago, I gave a series of three lectures at a conference in the UK. As a result of trouble getting an ordinary venue, we wound up hosting the conference at Blenheim Palace. Long story. I address all that in the…