Miscellany Letters

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Important Stuff First

Greetings Pastor Wilson, I first want to applaud your song “Hold Your Peace” and thank you for sharing it. You and your team did an excellent job and it always lifts my spirits every time I hear it.

On a related note (pun intended), I’m also writing with simple request. I would very much appreciate it if you could share any sheet music, lead sheets, chord charts, etc. related to the song. Just as a suggestion, if you’d be inclined to make them available on the original blog post (or on a fresh post), I’m sure others would enjoy playing around with them as well. I leave all of this to your discretion and would appreciate anything you’d be willing to share.

Grace and peace brother,

Robert

Robert, sorry, there is nothing like that available yet. If you want to try to figure it out on your own, it is pretty simple. It is open D tuning, with both E strings lowered to a D, and the basic riff is a climb down on the two lowest strings. I think you can see it in the video.

How to Get There

Head Blown

My head is being continuously blown off-in the style of Solomon’s vain repetition-at how Lewis called the current situation. For example, have you noticed that Biden and John Wither are exactly the same person. Or, how BLM is the riot squad of the NICE, Fairy Hardcastle is Kamala, and CNN is everything that Feverstone wanted Mark Studdock to be in his journalism.

B

B, Lewis was certainly prescient. There are applications everywhere.

“We fight because fighting is most necessary, but I have also discovered that fighting is a very effective filter. It helps to prevent people from joining your church for no better reason than that it is a good place to sell insurance.” How would you counsel a young pastor who has “inherited” a congregation that shows very little interest in fighting for or against much of anything?

Thanks

JG

JG, the first thing I would do is garner their permission for you to fight. And then I would pick your battles carefully, building up slowly.

Towns Benedict

Mr. Renn’s observation of Moscow and ownership could be perfectly used to describe my church. Much of our church is made up of people that own businesses, farms, rental property, agricultural enterprises, etc. There are many, many blessings from this. We employ much of the community, which is a great way to be a good witness. And when one church member loses a job, another church member is usually quick to provide another place to work.

However, one thing I’ve noticed, is that we are also a church full of highly opinionated people. When men are used to calling the shots in their own businesses, that translates into wanting to call the shots in church dealings. So simple discussions like, “when should we redo the carpet in the cafeteria” become bigger deals than they need to be, because everyone has an opinion, and everyone is used to getting their way. It’s not debilitating, but definitely a personality quirk of the church. I’ve been part of churches with less ownership (men who work in the corporate sphere), and they tend to know how to fall in line over trivial decisions a little better.

Do you see a similar thing and how would you suggest dealing with this kind of issue?

Roger

Roger, what seems necessary is teaching on governments and their respective responsibilities. If you have a congregational form of government, and if you ask for everyone’s opinion on the color of the carpet, then you are going to get it. So agree beforehand, in your form of government, what sorts of things you won’t even ask about. The deacons decide that. The elders decide this. And so on.

More MacArthur

I’m sorry to bother you with something so insignificant, but I like to thank you for your blog post, “Littlejohn, MacArthur, and the Binding of Conscience.

While reading the post, I had many ah-ha moments so I won’t bore you by listing them all. But oh my goodness — it was as though my eyes have finally been opened to those who view COVID as a pandemic. I, like you, refer to it as the flu and have received several hateful tirades — mainly at the grocery store — contradicting my less than panic-filled attitude. I am praying that the Lord will help me see them through His eyes instead of as the masked enemy.

Please pass on to your lovely wife how much I enjoy listening to and learning from her podcast.

Sincerely

Amy

Amy, thanks much.

Masking Stuff

Recently I discussed the issue of mask requirements with my pastor. Masks are required, at the church I attend, for those 2 years of age and up. I don’t think my family or I should be wearing masks, because I believe it promotes a false narrative. I recognize that COVID-19 is a deadly virus, but it is not Ebola and I do not think our country’s reaction has been reasonable. In fact, I believe our nation’s response has done and is doing a great deal of harm. Additionally, I’m not going to make my 2-year-old daughter wear a mask, because it is about as useful as a propeller hat at protecting her or those around from serious illness. Moreover, she likely would not keep it on. I cited Romans 14: 1-4 as a reason why we should be charitable to each other about mask wearing, i.e., not look down on each other over the choice we make to wear a mask or not. My pastor cited Romans 14:21 as a reason why my family and I should wear masks. My pastor is sympathetic to non-mask-wearers, but sees people in the church who feels we should all wear them as “weaker brothers and sisters.” He believes those who do not wear masks should wear them for the sake of those who think we should. I read your sermon on Romans 58: Righteousness, Peace and Joy (14:16-23). In it you said, “When someone is in the right, and is willing to destroy a weaker brother for the sake of that right, then not only is he missing the deeper right, he is embracing a deeper wrong.“ I do not believe mask-wearing is a sin, but I do believe it is promoting a false narrative. Should my objection to mask wearing be put aside for the sake of “weaker brothers and sisters” in our church, because they may stumble and decide not to wear masks even though that would go against their consciences? I have the sense that I’m missing an important point or a distinction somewhere, but I’m having trouble sorting this all out. I would really appreciate your insight on this matter.

Samuel

Samuel, there is a difference between defering to the weaker brothers, on the one hand, and putting them in charge of what the whole church must do, on the other.

Another angle on “binding consciences”. . . you wrote: “Binding the conscience is an act of authority. It can only occur when someone under authority is required by an authority to act contrary to what that person believes to be right. Binding the conscience doesn’t happen unless there is actual binding. As in, you know, making someone wear a mask.

Consequently, if the civil magistrate requires that everyone wear a mask, then this is binding the conscience. If the elders of a church require all the parishioners to wear a mask in order to come to worship, this is also binding the conscience.”

One thing that has struck me about those who have been yelping the loudest about MacArthur by claiming he is binding their conscience, is that it appears they are confusing exhortation and a call to rally with a binding of conscience. I know of nowhere where MacArthur has said, “If you don’t heed my call, I’ll enact punitive measures against you.”

THAT would indeed be conscience-binding, wouldn’t it? I mean, that’s what the government, in many cases, is doing to us with these so-called mask mandates, isn’t it? Comply, or face consequences!

My point being that isn’t part of binding someone’s conscience the implications of consequences as well?

With THAT being said, to the idea of churches requiring parishioners to wear masks, I agree that perhaps they don’t have the authority to require such things, but is there a line somewhere for them to ask such a thing on a voluntary basis? As in, say a church posted a public notice that says, “We don’t require that you wear a mask, but we ask that you do so voluntarily?” Would that cross the line into binding consciences?

You may have covered this already, but I have been away the last couple weeks and have not gotten caught up with your recent writings..

Guymon

Guymon, for the elders to say something like “we will not turn anyone away, but we do request that you wear a mask” would be a poor decision, in my view, but it would not be binding anyone’s conscience.

I found your ‘7 reasons for unmasking the mask’ fascinating as it totally agrees with my personal opinion of what has/is happening at the current time . . . So much so that I want to share it with friends and relatives . . . but can’t seem to copy a link from your post to paste into a url to send.. What I find is that the name or title is copied but is not an active link to be clicked on to activate . . . Since I firmly believe what is stated I think it is only proper to share it with those I care about . . . Please advise how to, if this is possible…

You have created a new reader and have subscribed to future postings . . . I only hope I can share them too, if it is possible . . .

Don

Don, I am not sure what the difficulty is. I copied the url with no problem, and pasted it here.

I just read & enjoyed your article “ 7 Reasons for Unmasking the Masks” it was outstanding! Thank you for posting what so many Americans are thinking & believe. I found your article on a friend’s timeline on Facebook & sent it to safari to read. God saved me by His grace many years ago & I’m forever grateful! I love to read the old reformers (& todays :) books & messages along with Gods holy word! God Bless!

Frances

Frances, thanks, and God bless.

Throughout this pandemic, I have been avoiding wearing masks as much as possible. But as I am anticipating masks to become mandatory in my province, I’m beginning to consider how to use my mask as a tool to glorify God. I want to be intentional with the type of mask I chose. I noticed that you have started selling your own mask, and it is close to what I would like to buy. However, I am hoping for something a bit more feminine. I was wondering if you are currently (or if you would consider) producing any other designs that would be geared specifically towards women?

Jasmin

Jasmin, very sorry. The guys down in development (Butch, Bruno, and Billy) don’t have the feminine touch.

Related to the COVID panic, one interpretation of recent events that I have not heard anyone communicating yet, but which has seemed obvious to me from the beginning, is that the fact that churches have voluntarily shut their doors is ITSELF a judgment of God, per Isaiah 1:10-15. When I read Isaiah 1, I can’t help but think that God, by means of His providence, is “saying” something very similar to American churches today, that He will have no more of our worship and that it has become loathsome to Him, and we are too dense to see what is happening, being lost in debates over whether to “love” our neighbor or once again worship the Lord. Do you see the church shutdowns in this light as a judicial act of judgment from God similar to the historical situation addressed in Isaiah 1?

Tim

Tim, yes. I believe that many of the churches that have “fled” are under a chastizing judgment. But I also believe that a number of other churches are being purified and strengthened.

Hello sir, I noticed that your post on vaccines from five years ago had a certain pro-vaccine slant. I was wondering if you would consider readdressing the issue in light of the masked church debacle of 2020. How shall we then live when churches make not only masks and distance a part of worship, but vaccines? Some of your readers have major moral issue with this, and I expect they are mostly women. Maybe the men sitting in Rotary meetings hearing about all the “good” they were doing in third world countries during the early vaccine days still are swayed into the belief that it was alright because they were old fetuses? The aborted fetal cell usage in vaccine (including COVID) development is no small thing: can anything good come of abortion for the Believer? I am of the group that thinks that we have ignored this evil as a sacrifice on the altar of safety. What say you now? Sincerely,

Alison

Alison, not sure what post from five years ago you are referring to, but here is a more recent one. This was written before the COVID madness, and the way the medical/political establishment has disgraced itself should certainly affect our view of any rushed and mandatory vaccines.

Book Plugs

Your reviews of authors and books via podcast and Blob & Mablog have started me on journeys of which I’ve enjoyed and benefited (i.e. CS Lewis & Wodehouse to name only two). How would you suggest I start reading Chesterton? I just finished his bio of GB Shaw which I loved. Could you suggest a plan for reading this giant (I apologize if you’ve done this and I missed).

Jerry

Jerry, I would start with Orthodoxy, then The Everlasting Man, and then The Ballad of the White Horse. After that, as you please.

My Inner Lutheran

I just finished “The Bondage of the Will” by Martin Luther from your Christian Heritage series. A great book! I have a comment and a question. The question first: Do you recommend the books in the series be read in any particular order?

The comment: I couldn’t help but think as I was reading that this Luther fellow reminded me of another cheerfully belligerent pastor I know of, who insists on free grace, thinks that we should read the actual words of the Bible, and also seems to tick off the ‘respectable’ Christian types of his day. I think he lives somewhere in Idaho…

Anyway, thanks for your work publishing this series!

Jason

Jason, no, the books in the Christian Heritage series need not be read in any particular order — just as interest demands.

Thanks, But . . .

What a witty pen! I can’t stop laughing! Thanks for the comic relief. “… but rather what God was doing when He fashioned Trump into the kind of catnip that has driven the entire Respectable Elite bonkers.”

Ted

Ted, thanks, but these days the funny stuff just writes itself.

Revelation

First of all I just want to say thank you for the work that you are doing for the advancement of the gospel. I have been blessed by your ministry personally and while I may not always agree with everything you say (as I consider myself a Reformed Baptist) I really enjoy how well you defend your positions and always stand upon Scripture as the authority behind your position.

I recently purchased your book, “When the Man Comes Around,” as I have within the past year become disillusioned with the mainstream pre-millennial view of the book of Revelation and have become interested in the postmillennial view because of the sound biblical exegesis that I see behind it. While reading your book, I found intriguing your position that the 24 elders and the 144,000, listed in Chapter 4 and 7 respectively, refer to the elect of God. However, as I was reading through Chapter 7 of the book of Revelation and looking through your commentary on it, a question came to my mind that you did not answer in your book. Specifically, I was reading starting in verse 13 of Chapter 7 where John speaks to one of the 24 elders, who then gives a description of who the 144,000 are. He gives the answer, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation.” It appears to me that the 24 elders and the 144,000 are two distinct groups. The elders may be representing all the elect, and the 144,000 specifically representing those believers who went through the great tribulation leading up to the destruction of the temple in 70 A.D. I also noticed that you linked the salvific description given to this 144,000 and explained that the language means it refers to all the saved. So, my first question is would you say that all Christians in some sense “come out of the great tribulation?” And second, how would you explain how the elder can give a description of the 144,000 as though the description does not apply to him, but be a part of the same group (the elder seems to see the description as applying to others and not himself, but maybe I am mistaken). I appreciate any time that you can give towards my question as I am sure that you are busy with many more important things. Thanks again.

Sincerely,

Tyler

Tyler, those are great questions, and I so take your point. I believe there are layers. The great tribulation was the one in view in the first century, but the more things change, the more they remain the same. And I don’t think that every single member of the elect has to be martyred, but I do believe that it must be a martyr church. And that provides the distance needed between one of the twenty-four and one of the 144,000, considered as individuals.

Do you recommend any Bible translations that don’t lean premil? Whenever I hear postmil teachers explain how some words are translated incorrectly because of the translator’s end times view or desire to sell Bibles, I’ve never hear which version would be a better one to use (in modern English) that is closer to the original languages.

If there isn’t one, is there one with built in commentary you know of? All the Reformed study Bibles I have seem to miss any postmil or preterist opportunities to explain the text properly.

Thanks,

Matthew

Matthew, sorry, no real help here. I have not used it, but you might check out the Reformation Study Bible. RC Sproul was involved with that, and he was postmill.

Remember my eschatology expert friend from a long Tuesday ago? He has recently published a book “Inmillennialism: Redefining the Last Days” on his model of eschatology.

Luke

Luke, thanks.

Paedo Stuff

Thought this might interest you, new take on paedobaptism.

Lance

Lance, somewhere in the Banner of Truth collection of Calvin’s letters, a paperback, Calvin swallows that reductio.

You Say You Want a Revolution

I have an analogy that I wanted to get your thoughts on. First, some background is necessary.

I have come across your views on the French Revolution compared to the American Revolution and it has made me curious, however, I have not done much more research. Due to different circumstances I ended up looking up a documentary on the French Revolution, particularly Marie Antoinette and Luis XVI. I came across one on Amazon called The Rise and Fall of Versailles. When talking about Louis XVI the people being interviewed, presumably well educated about his life, made it seem as though he knew what he needed to do to save the French people, he just didn’t have the courage to do it. The guidance he received from three different accountants was to tax the courtiers. When Louis suggested this to the courtiers he was met with great opposition and each time he, inevitably, caved.

First, I have a question: does this match with your understanding of Louis XVI? And, if so, do you think Trump’s approach to American politics could be compared to what Louis XVI needed to do? In the sense that Trump is making life uncomfortable for the political “elites” for the benefit of the American People. The difference being that Louis XVI did not have the courage to stand up to his elites and Trump does.

I appreciate all of your work and your opinions. Thanks so much,

Jessica

Jessica, yes, I think there is something to that. However, real life is always more complicated.

You Are Most Welcome

Dear brother, I write you in regards to no particular article, but primarily to say thank you to yourself and all the contributors to Christ Church’s ministries. I have only recently stumbled upon the material that comes from Christ Church (a little funny, as I am only about an hour and a half north of you), and I have been richly blessed by everything that comes from it. Please, be encouraged, and encourage our brothers and sisters who are contributing and making things possible. May the Lord richly bless you all, and to Him be the glory forever and ever, amen!

Duane

Duance, thanks much.

Abortion

You have on occasion cited abortion as a leading reason for the mess our nation finds itself in, along with homosexuality and gender confusion, and the lunacy we see all about with increasing fervor. I fully agree with you. So, what is to be done? Do you think we would be advised to render abortion illegal again? I do. So how do we do that?

If you could donate money to a single entity in an effort to make abortion illegal again, what entity would you choose? I ask because it’s not as easy to decide as one might think. Who is honest and efficient? Moreover, who is serious? Any thoughts or suggestions?

Dave

Dave, I honestly can’t answer that question because I think that abortion will not be ended through any one entity. Here are some of my thoughts on the whole thing.

Renn’s Take

Re: The Masculinist

Thank your or your example of handling (unfounded) criticism with grace and good humour.

The Masculinist article and your response, however, raise a question that I am hoping you may be able to comment on.

In at least that article, it seemed to me, Renn was articulate and thoughtful about things that I would consider peripheral (owning the space) and ill-informed and dismissive of things that are fundamental (gospel and theology). In that, there is no point owning the space with bad theology and owning the space must grow out of a good theology.

I almost stopped reading because it was too typical of one of the big problems I see in contemporary evangelical Christianity.

I am a pastor and it seems to me that it ought to be enough to love your people and preach the gospel.

If owned space was essential wouldn’t it be explicit in Timothy or Titus or somewhere?

So much of evangelical leadership training is about a technique or a tool, so much of church growth seems to be about an atmosphere or a personality or a structure or gimmick etc.

Faithful men of past eras didn’t have access to all this psychology and systems theory etc, they had the Scriptures.

What is the place for just putting your head down and living in and living out the Scriptures?

What of those churches who don’t ever find themselves in a position to own the space or build the hype or impact the town?

I suspect that I, as a pastor, lack the intelligence or initiative or experience or training or something to be as high level strategic as you or Mr Renn seem to be.

I preach the gospel and give grace to my folk and trust Jesus will build his church.

Isn’t that enough? Isn’t that everything?

I’d appreciate it if you could comment.

God bless,

Michael

Michael, happy to comment. I think that the concept of owned space is explicitly scriptural. Baptism is a mark of ownership, and we were commanded to baptize the nations, teaching them obedience.

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Joshua Lister
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Joshua Lister

In response to Samuel’s questions, I think another important point to add is that in Romans 14:21 “It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble.” Paul is not including communion. Even consideration of the weaker brother has its limits.

Nathan James
Member

That last letter is very thought provoking. Aaron Renn’s writing strikes me as the opposite of commonplace. He’s always trying to shine light on unexamined aspects of how society functions. For those who ask “Isn’t it enough to just preach the gospel?” The answer is a qualified yes. The gospel is enough only when ALL of its implications are included. None of us can exhaustively lay out the wisdom of God, yet we will eventually need all of it. The crux of the thing is that we all have blind spots. When someone addresses our blind spots we either respond… Read more »

Zeph
Guest

If you have to wear a mask, put a political statement on it.

Amanda
Guest
Amanda

Re: “weaker brothers”

I know we usually broadly apply Romans 14 to specific personal sins, but wasn’t it idolatry that was the first-century-specific danger that the weaker brother would be stumbled into?

What is the idolatry at work in the pandemic restrictions ? Isn’t it statism?

If so, then isn’t masking actually driving people closer to stumbling into the idolatry of the day?

And wouldn’t refusing to wear one be guarding a weak conscience from participating the idolatry in a way that might lead to their downfall?

The Commenter Formerly Known As fp
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The Commenter Formerly Known As fp

The other idolatry at work here is a heaping helping of self-righteousness, as in:

Look at me! Look at meeeeee! I’m wearing a mask because I don’t want my family to get sick! I mask up because my family’s safety and lives are literally at stake! You see, I’m wearing a mask because I care, unlike you rubes who are literally murdering Grandma if you don’t mask up like me!

Dave's not here
Guest
Dave's not here

Yep, there’s a whole lotta that goin’ on. I mean can we be honest here since it’s just us girls talkin’? OK, so that’s why I wear a mask in my car while tooling about town all by my lonesome. In fact, I burn 5 or 6 gallons a day doing just that because it’s soooo important to be seen by the right people. Yes, that’s the price I pay to sit with the cool kids in the lunchroom… and at church too, of course.

My5thBurnerAccount
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My5thBurnerAccount

Note to self: make sure you log into the right account before posting.

Augus Tinian
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Augus Tinian

This “weaker” brother argument is lame. The reason pastors and elders are going along with the mask mandates is they are cowards. They won’t stand up to the authorities and the Karens in their own congregations. Then too, some of them are fully on board with the entire farce, they believe the propaganda and they are guzzling from the kool-aid keg. Don’t discount the effect their wives and daughters have on them either. Boils down to they are wimps, unworthy of the position. But then the obvious question surfaces: is their congregation not being justly served?

Nathan Smith
Member

This is undoubtedly true of some. But others take a view that wearing a mask is mandatory by law. And since the law doesn’t violate any biblical commands, we are commanded to submit to it.

John Martin
Guest
John Martin

Hi Augus, coward is a strong accusation. Do you feel that same way about those making liability judgements (i.e. “I’d rather make my people wear a mask, than get sued by a grieving family because we didn’t.”)? When the local hospitals, health districts, school boards and major businesses in an area are all ‘masking up’, not wearing masks seems to take too much courage for a seemingly small principle. Or maybe a better way to express it is that for churches (and their leaders) to follow establishments that are otherwise trusted in the community seems a judgment call, not timorous.… Read more »

J.F. Martin
Member

Hi…that was me posting…I’ve worn out my guest status… : )

Cynthia Callahan
Member
Cynthia Callahan

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6352544/ Now we are playing with RNA and The delivery system is suspect. There is so much to assess. Please weigh in when you get a chance. And, I am listening to the David Chronicles and learning so much. Thank you for making sermons available online. PS. I used to get your sermons in the mail on cassette tape.

-BJ-
Guest
-BJ-

I thought Sproul was amil.

Jane
Member

He made the switch at some point. His 1998 book “The Last Days According to Jesus” was his coming out as postmil.

JohnM
Guest
JohnM

That must be painful news to a couple people.

kyriosity
Member
Jane
Member

You may well be right that it was not actually a firm declaration of a postmill position. That was the understanding I had, and we had mutual acquaintances at the time the book came out, some quite close to him within Ligonier. Perhaps I misunderstood something.

My5thBurnerAccount
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My5thBurnerAccount

Looks like the trolls, bots or both are in full downvote mode.

Christopher
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Christopher

Here’s a thing that anyone looking at Blog and Mablog might be interested in.
https://articlesofunity.org/
https://youtu.be/InphL6kz0ZE

Andrew Lohr
Member

Masks…the Dutch, Danish, and Swedish equivalents of Dr Fauci, or people of similar stature over there, all said masks don’t do much good (common masks in crowded public spaces, anyway). The Dane was twitted as having moved to the right of president Trump.

kyriosity
Member

I’ve been thinking lately that Biden’s more like the Head. He’s being propped up by some dark arts and treated with the forms of honor, but the poor guy is hardly there anymore. Yesterday’s post also reminded me of Lewis in another context: “There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations – these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub and exploit – immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.” I’ve been looking toward… Read more »

kyriosity
Member

Jasmin — Are you doing the Bible Reading Challenge? On the website (totheword.com), under Resources, you can find graphic files that you could use to get a custom mask printed. And if you’re not doing the BRC, you should! ;-)

kyriosity
Member

True fact: When the New Geneva Study Bible (precursor to the Reformation Study Bible) was originally translated into Russian, the naughty translators unscrupulously changed the notes to reflect their own premill views…and nobody noticed for quite some time.

JP Stewart
Member
JP Stewart

Rather than another round of mask or intramural theology debates, maybe we should look at the real elephant in the room: 95 days of rioting, leaving over 30 people dead, countless assaulted and probably a few billion dollars of damage. They’re still going on in quite a few cities. As soon as one city quiets down, another one or two erupt. We also have angry BLM mobs harassing people in restaurants and trying to force fist-raising allegiance–pretty odd for “anti-fascists.” They roam through residential areas, often loudly at night, vandalizing the home of San Jose’s mayor and literally trying to… Read more »

We Be Libtards
Guest
We Be Libtards

This is clearly an exception to Jesus’ command to worry about nothing. So you should be worried and afraid, very, very afraid. Or you could just relax and go do a clown show. 💕💋💗💜🗣

JP Stewart
Member
JP Stewart

Crouching Clay, Hidden Libtard. By the way, emojis are really gay.

We Be Libtards
Guest
We Be Libtards

Why do you hate gays? Is it because you have latent tendencies? Every time you post I think of Luke 18:11. 😍

JohnM
Guest
JohnM

A Constitutional militia operates under the aegis of a state. Besides the National Guard, the closest thing we have to what the Constitution means by “militia” is State Defense Forces, in states where they exist. State Defense Forces are a thing, not well known, and not presently organized in every state.. Perhaps they can and should become better supported and more important.