The Liberalism is Not in Remission Yet
Pastor Doug, have you seen this? Thoughts? https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/10-lessons-from-reformation-in-sbc/ I find it ironic since from the contact I have with people in local SBC churches, liberalism is far from having been defeated.
Amanda, I thought that article was outstanding, and on point. I like Al Mohler a great deal, and I admire and respect him even more than that. But he does need to look back over his shoulder.
The Trump Thing
“Now I find myself in the weird position of having been told the truth by a dishonorable man. One hardly knows where to look.” Look to the Word! (as always!) 1 Kings 18:16-17: So Obadiah went to meet Ahab and told him, and Ahab went to meet Elijah. When he saw Elijah, he said to him, Is that you, you troubler of Israel? “the great housecleaning has started with the pretentious and polished hypocrites, instead of with the cads.”
Why do people keep calling the bureaucratic establishment the “Deep State,” as if it were something shadowy, out of sight, under the surface, behind the throne, and all that? I mean, whatever it does bad or good, it’s hardly a secret. It’s pretty much right in front of us and not really trying to hide.
John, who they are is not shadowy at all. But what they have been doing is hardly out in the plain light of day. We are well into many years of high crimes committed with functional immunity.
NINE Times! Does anybody but me remember the Conservative cry of “Character Matters” in the 90s to dismiss WJ Clinton and his in-office adultery? A mere 20 years later, conservatives are validating Dabney’s screed against vain respectable growling while deferring to the progressives/secular humanists. Yes, those who dismissed tawdry details of Clinton’s term are exponential hypocrites when decrying Trump and Stormy. While it is pleasant to see the Swamp be called out in some regard, MAGA (which was also WJC’s motto) is a fraud. See all the photos of golfing Trump/Clinton/Guiliani. One wonders at what point he was denied or betrayed in some deal by these Swampers. Bush x 2, Dole, Romney, McCain, Trump. Here’s to seeing which clown the GOP offers up in the next cycle. Whatever truth he may be telling these days is simply for his own vain glory and vindication. It has little or nothing to do with the benefit of those who put their faith in MAGA. From the USFL to the XFL to WWF, to POTUS. #TrumpFirst Always a popcorn worthy spectacle, do we trust this guy to rebuild whatever he may tear apart?
Ron, you seem a little bit jaundiced.
After having just read this out loud in order to get the full impact of your analysis, I am just speechless. I don’t think I’m much of an apple-shiner (in fact, I’m probably a bit too critical at times and should be encouraging people more), but, I must say, you have really outdone yourself with this one. I hope this is read far and wide. Thank you for the very good work you do. Please continue to do so.
Paul, thankee. I resorted to my commonplace book.
Re: Bueller? Bueller? Mueller? Excellent! But how about a couple of minor style pointers from your Anabaptist friends? When emphasizing low morals, “greasiest” is best spelled “greeziest.” And I might have capitalized “precious.”
Steve, points taken. Thanks.
RE: Bueller? Bueller? Mueller? Dear Pastor Wilson, I always enjoy reading your discussions of what’s in the news since you bring a perspective that’s so rarely seen anywhere in the media. However, there are two issues that confuse me about your arguments. To me they look like blind spots or oversights, but I think that may very well be my blind spots talking so I’d love it if you could delve a little deeper on a couple things for me. 1. “The Deep State” is what exactly? It might seem like a dumb question or a trap question, but it isn’t. I hear so many references to it that I feel like it would be helpful if we defined our terms. The way some conservatives talk it comes across as if they think the CIA/FBI are being run by Wesleyan Graduates, and attendees of Obama’s constitutional gymnastics class. Aren’t these “Deep State” people mainly ex-military types? Isn’t it the Republican Party that gave them an infinite budget, passed the Patriot Act, and created the Department of Homeland Security? The lack of trust in these people from conservatives strikes me as convenience more than a sudden discovery of a liberal cabal at the Virginia Military Institute. 2. I’m old enough to remember the Clinton years, but not old enough to remember much before that. VBS was a long time ago, but once upon a time I could name all the kings of Israel. I’ve heard about half a kajillion sermons about Saul, David and the importance of humble leadership. What confuses me is the logic that says “Yes Trump cheated on his wife a thousand times, but he would NEVER take a bribe” or “Yes, Trump faked an injury to avoid the draft, but he would NEVER make a sleazy deal with a spy.” Is it possible you’re fighting yesterday’s battles? Is it possible that you’re fighting the absurd accusations of McCain’s racism, and Mitt’s Ebeneezer Scrooge greed? I appreciate your work. Thank you for modeling the humility that’s so lacking just about everywhere.
Nick, reasonable questions both. For the first, I define the Deep State as the structure of government offices and agencies that is largely untouched by elections—career operatives. It is the bedrock that lies under both Republican and Democratic administrations. In short, I don’t believe that Republicans and Deep State functionaries are necessarily in opposition at all. For the second, I don’t believe at all that Trump is somehow a shining knight outside this realm of corruption. That is actually the reason for my astonishment at what is happening. I feel like an Israelite watching Ammon and Moab attack Mt. Seir. And the fact that I find all the combatants distasteful won’t keep me from taking the spoil.
Alexa, What is Dirty Omniscience?
So . . . um . . . what are your thoughts on Amazon’s Alexa and all her wannabes? Half of me says “wow, that’s pretty cool” while the other half says “get that outta my house!” Frankly, I don’t know how it works, but I do know the microphone is always on, which is why every time I say “Alexa” (completely at random) she perks up and points her light in my direction. So who is listening on the other side, or might be listening? Or recording. Or monitoring, you know, for helpful suggestions that pop up in targeted advertisements in the future that I have to endure before Alexa will play the song I asked for. And why is this lighted canister a “she?” Maybe I wanted an “Alex.” Should I be very, very afraid?
Malachi, it is just an algorithm listening. Totally fine.
When you state “I believe that we should begin the fight to outlaw all such information in court,” are you advocating that all digital data is simply too easily manipulated to be useful as evidence in any manner in court? Our system accepts oral third party testimony, documents, physical items, as evidence in court, and all of these can be manipulated to frame someone. However, it is the trial process by which the evidence is rebutted/challenged and the defense made. For physical evidence, a prosecutor/plaintiff must demonstrate adequate chain of custody, etc. and even then, the defense can thereafter attack it (e.g. Wife testifies “yeah, I found this in Billy’s search history and called my husband to look at it, and here is the timestamp on my cell phone showing I made the call.”) Or are you simply advocating that the court of public opinion (aka internet mob) should not prematurely jump to conclusions and should take everything mentioning what was found on a computer with an adequate amount of skepticism salt?
Jess, I am certainly advocating the latter. And with regard to the former, I want the burden of proof to lie with the prosecution—not only to establish the guilt of the accused, but a burden of showing that their digital evidence could not have been tampered with.
Yes, the age of Big Brother has arrived and it is creepy beyond our ability to imagine. It makes me want to pull up a Huffington Post blog in another tab and leave it open for every moment I spend at Blog and Mablog. Big Brother may be watching, but I can control what he sees. It would bring me great joy to let him know that I know he is watching and I am not above manipulating the very data he is so diligently mining.
Dan, what if your camera is checking your eye movements to monitor what tabs you are looking at?
Peter the Protestant
Peter Hitchens emotional attachment to the Anglican Church is understandable and even commendable in a fashion. It reminds me of a man excusing his crazy uncle by recounting the man’s youthful exploits. Unfortunately, he left out some critical detail regarding those youthful exploits. The three Oxford martyrs—Ridley, Latimer and Cranmer—were indeed convicted of heresy. However, Hitchens omits the fact that they were deeply involved in the political management of the country during the reign of Edward VI. Cranmer was the boy king’s most trusted adviser; Ridley was the brains behind exceedingly consequential religious legislation; Latimer was the court preacher. They were essentially the top generals in a culture war that killed thousands of ordinary Englishmen and torched a thousand years of history. Thus it is sadly disingenuous for Hitchens to paint them as solely religious martyrs.
John, of course they were political players—the charade of secularism had not yet been established. But precisely because the charade of secularism was not yet in place, this means that the “ordinary Englishmen” you refer to had loyalties that were also not merely religious. This particular knife cuts both ways. The Armada of a few years later could have been called a trans-denominational outreach but, as you point out, more than that was going on.
Natural Child Birth?
Are you really against natural child birth? This is frankly bizarre. I get that child birth is now difficult due to the fall, but to suggest that the better option is to fill your wife and child’s body with admittedly dangerous chemicals to facilitate something that women do just fine all over the world and have been doing for millennia is again just bizarre. Using modern medicine is clearly not sinful, but to suggest that perhaps all of the new chemicals pushed by mega corporations to make money are not the best method or even necessary is completely rational. To suggest that it is ignoring the fall is silly.
BJ, of course I am not an automatic fan of “new chemicals” or “mega corporations.” But neither am I a fan of the mortality rates for women and babies that we had going “for millennia.” When women used to come to the point of delivery, without any artificial aids in sight for centuries yet to come, we know one thing for sure. Lots of them died.
“Every time I see something advertised as ‘all natural and free of chemicals’ I brace myself for the day—and it cannot be far off now—when certain food items are touted on the package as being entirely ‘molecule free.’” Well, Wilson expect things to get worse! Annnnnnnd, never believe anything an atom tells you, they make up everything! ; – )
Jason, was that really necessary?
[The 9 Pitfalls of Homeschooling] Hi Doug, I’m just wondering when you’re going to write that promised follow-up regarding “classroom” education? Thanks!
Max, thanks for the nudge. I got distracted. Will try to get to it soon.
Framework of Assumptions for Local Politics
Hi Doug, My question is this: should I run for mayor or city council of my small town? I, perhaps presumptuously, think I might be able to do some good (frankly not hard to do better than what we presently have) and have been asked to consider it by a few folks. Now, before you start cracking your knuckles to type a response, please bear in mind I’m not asking you to find God’s will for my specific life. But more generally, if I am considering such a question, what other questions ought I be considering, especially if I want to do so in a way that honors Christ, and does good for my community. Not so much interested in your thoughts on the logistical kinds of questions, as important as they are (how this might affect my work, family, church, weeds in my yard—I am working through those too); rather, philosophically and theologically, what are the kinds of practical matters and methods someone should keep in mind? I appreciate your insights on the ills and temptations of governance and the way it undermines truth and the gospel. But if you were to recommend a book or books, or write one on whether and how to be involved in local politics, what would you say? Or, to put it perhaps more clearly: if you were not usefully and pastorally critiquing the government as you do, but thought that it was time to move from pastoring to politics (please don’t, BTW); is it something you could engage in as a Christian? If not, why not? If so, then how would you go about it? Not looking for a magnum opus—but somewhere to start would be super appreciated. Thank you!
Bryan, I think I get your question. Leaving aside questions of yard sign politics, and leaving aside questions of personal priorities (e.g. family questions), what advice would I give? I would say this. Make sure you have a well-read, thoroughly established political theology/philosophy. Have a well-established framework of assumptions that you will take into any particular political question. If I were in your shoes, and a voter asked me, “What are you?” “What framework will guide your decision making?” Those are questions I would want to have answers to, independent of whether the city is going to widen the road on the east side to make it into an arterial. And my answer would be that I am a theocratic libertarian.
You Say You Want a Revolution
Please, I pray thee, elaborate on your penultimate paragraph there! I am always fascinated by explanations of the differences between the two Revolutions. Friedrich von Gentz’s book The Origin and Principles of the American Revolution powerfully explains one part of it, but I feel like there’s something beneath the surface in your insight here that I’m not quite grasping.
Samuel, Gentz is great, and I wrote an essay on him for the last of the Omnibus textbook series which I would refer you to. But for that “beneath the surface” issue you may have detected, I think it might be this. Most conservative Christians today are right wing, but this terminology comes from the seating of the revolutionaries after the French revolutionaries—the more modest revolutionaries sat on the right side of the chamber, but they were all revolutionaries. Fortunately, on this subject, here is a rough and ready worldview litmus test for the modern Christian—do you like Les Mis?