Goats in Sheep’s Clothing

Earlier today, while reading an interesting article on church planting, I ran across this statement:

“Millions of people in the United States do not know Jesus and millions more claim to know him but have no connection to a healthy local church.”

While the first part is an undeniably true and important, it was the second part of the sentence that caught me. Just how many UNhealthy churches have I known? No, not “imperfect churches striving to follow Christ,” but unhealthy, even toxic churches? More than I care to dwell on: personality cults, Clique Clubs, “business churches” (moneymakers for the “in” group), etc. Goats dominating the sheep and misleading them is more common than it ought to be (heck, one case is too common, IMO).

But one case stands out. Oh, about 30 years ago or so, I knew of a church that was in turmoil. It seems their pastor–well-liked by almost everyone, “productive” in church growth, a “pack the pews” preacher–had admitted that by the church’s–and his own–standards, by any biblical standard, he wasn’t a Christian, did not believe that Jesus was the Son of God or had worked redemption for man, had doubts, even, that God existed, etc.

Let that sink in a bit. Accepted as pastor of a supposedly Christian church but did not believe anything that would define him as a Christian.

I suspect there are more churches in this position than are known. And, from my experience, even more with other toxic circumstances that lead many astray.

Crucial: if one is going to share one’s Christian faith, and Christians are enjoined to do so, being a part of a healthy body that is pursuing the doing of His will, with sound biblical grounding, and a clear lookout for subversion of biblical truth, is pretty darned important. If that group is just a dedicated group of “laymen” studying the Bible and praying, approaching the throne of grace in a proper attitude of humility, then that is better than becoming a part of a toxic social club or a personality cult.

“For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”

Yep.

Important Essay at Eternity Road

Just go. Read.

A very, very brief snippet:

Culture is more than superficial differences in cuisine, music, dress, or even language, though that hits closer to the mark. It is the unknown, unexamined, unquestioned principles embedded so deeply into our souls that we do not know that they are there, guiding our behavior and our thoughts without us even knowing. America’s cultural roots are deep and ancient, far older than her silly little government and far and away more powerful.

I would submit to you that not only is this true, but it explains why the Mass MEdia Podpeople Hivemind, the Loony Left Moonbat Brigade, politicians *spit* of nearly every stripe and Academia Nut Fruitcakes seek to, at best, subvert that culture and, optimally from their view, ultimately destroy it.

One of the “Seven Deadly Sins”

Of course, selecting seven sins as being somehow more “deadly” (or in some formulations “cardinal” or “capital”–more important–or “mortal”) is silly. Even those “lesser” sins labeled as “venial” can be as destructive.

And I fear that just that is so with our society. As we have denigrated the very concept of “sin” we have pejorated as well the truth of virtue. But that should be the subject of another post, I suppose, since this is addressed to just one of the so-called “deadly sins”–despair.

It’s hard to not throw ones hands in the air and simply give up in the face of the veneration of lies and the utter stupidity of the masses, especially in a society that was once governed as a representative republic with powers of governance that were diffused and acknowledged as simply loaned to government by a watchful and wary people. As we have, as a nation, regressed toward more and more democracy, power has naturally become more and more concentrated in the hands of demagogues and poltroons, as is the nature of democracies. For,

“In a democracy (‘rule by mob’), those who refuse to learn from history are in the majority and dictate that everyone else suffer for their ignorance.”-third world county’s corollary to Santayana’s Axiom

And that is what can lead to despair. *sigh*

Of course, one ought to also simply factor the selfish, auto-enstupiation of the masses into ones efforts to prevent the scoundrels, poltroons and outright evil soi disant “elite” from gutting society for their own short-term gain, I suppose. The problem then is finding a banner-carrier for reason whose charisma can appeal to the self-enstupiated, who are only appealed to by flash and sizzle and care nothing for substance, one who can resist the corruption of popularity bought through charisma and nevertheless remember his principles.

Such are found rarely in any generation. But in a time such as this, when self-styled elite rule through the approbation of the Mass Man thus largely negating any appeal to reason, I suppose those few who still attempt (and, like me, still often fail) to grasp at a straw of reason ought to be, like Diogenes searching for the mythical honest man, be searching for this paragon of virtue who nevertheless can appeal to Mass Man.

Perhaps as counter to despair, one might embrace a righteous anger, though it’s difficult to avoid unrighteous wrath once one has started down that path…

Whatever one does, avoiding the chief sin of the liars, poltroons, scoundrels and outright evil “elites” is essential. In pursuing justice and mercy, we must embrace an honest appraisal of our own actions, avoiding the pride of those who have for so long grown ever more powerful and who now bid to destroy this society, while falsely claiming to better it (Yes, Ø! I am talking about you and all your co-conspirators).

Of course, that does mean I’ll have to ameliorate my own disdain for those who, by their own selfish self-enstupiation and intellectual and moral laziness, have defined themselves as the lowest common denominator of Mass Man. I cannot erase my disgust for such, but I suppose I can at least say, “There but for the grace of God go I.”

But I reserve the right–no, the duty!–to mock rap “music” with jeers, catcalls and loud, wet raspberries. *heh*

We the People

–NOT the Beltway self-annointed elites–are the nation.


[OK, fair warning: a rather disjointed, rambling disquisition that suffers from early morning disorganization and too little coffee in my system. I trust that you, kind reader, will extract the pith and draw those connections that are missing. I want to find the time later to develop this, but may not. So it goes… ]


Principled actions, guided less by pragmatic “foresight” than by a rational application of hindsight combined with the collected wisdom of those whose principles have worked to produce good in the past, prognosticates future outcomes better than raw pragmatism or starry-eyed idealism or both combined.

Idealistic actions (or more properly, actions based on ideals some profess–honestly or not–to hold) that stand only on the thin air of unproven, untested dreams and reject or blithely ignore the lessons of history lead almost inexorably to bad results. Who can doubt that at least one or two of the proponents of the “Great Society” policies that we are still plagued by from the 1960s did indeed have “good intentions”? (Well, frankly, I do doubt it, because anyone who took thought to lessons from history could likely have foreseen the outcomes we face today, and thoughtlessness equals bad intentions in my book, because if the instigators of such as the “Great Society” policies didn’t care enough to be genuinely thoughtful, then their intentions were at best adulterated by that thoughtlessness and so were less than “good”–indeed they turned out to be downright pernicious.)

Santayana stated the lesson clearly enough: Those who fail to learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat its failures. (Close enough, IIRC :-))

And as the header on this blog asserts:

“In a democracy (‘rule by mob’), those who refuse to learn from history are in the majority and dictate that everyone else suffer for their ignorance.”-third world county’s corollary to Santayana’s Axiom

I know that last sounds like a clarion call to despair in a representative republic that has become both increasingly democratic and increasingly illiterate12, but we need not give up all hope. At least the post-literate age in which we seem to be living has alternative mass media outlets to disseminate facts to counter the propaganda from Academia Nut Fruitcakes, politicians *spit* and the Mass MEdia Podpeople Hivemind, and as woefully illiterate of Western Civilization’s history and culture as a majority of our American electorate may be (OK, the evidence is in: “is”), as ignorant of current events as it is (even, or especially, those who watch/listen to lots of “news”), at least–finally–We the People now almost universally have a sort of “press” within our power. Witness this modest lil blog.

We have that “press”. For now. We are not yet in the state of the presbyterians and puritans (uncial “p” in both cases for a reason) of Elizabethan England, where an organ of the State had asserted ALL control over the dissemination of information, and this week’s SCOTUS turnaround gives some small hope that that dire eventuality is receeding from us just a tad, but we must keep on spreading the good news: We the People are the nation, NOT Washington D.C. and the Beltway elites.

Past time to start acting that way.

Continue reading “We the People”

Are You In?

I found this in my email inbox. It has some holes and gaps and faces an even steeper uphill battle than The FairTax bill, but it has a certain rough appeal, doesn’t it?

We need THIS Change

*It will never be accomplished unless we do something about it now, not later! The only way that congress would ever vote for such a bill is for Americans to demand it to the point that our elected officials feel they have no choice. That means many Americans, which includes you, must push to get a bill written and persuade a majority to vote for it. Therefore, this must be distributed to every American who has a PC, every American! Will you help or are you just blowing smoke when you get upset with congress when they play partisan politics? Lets help bring about a Change in Washington that is more than just spoken words, a Change that Americans will be proud of, a Change that will benefit future generations. If something is not done our Children and grandchildren may not have a country like we had to grow up in. Can Americans depend on you to to distribute this and support it or will you make excuses as to why it will not work? I’m in; what about you?

*This is the best thing I have ever read pertaining to Government. It doesn’t matter what political party you like.. This is what’s best for EVERY AMERICAN!*

*Congressional Reform Act of 2010**

*1. Term Limits: 12 years only, one of the possible options below.*

*A. Two Six year Senate terms*
*B. Six Two year House terms*
*C. One Six year Senate term and three Two Year
House terms**

Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators; serve your term(s), then go home and back to work.

*2. No Tenure / No Pension: **

* A congressman collects a salary while in office
and receives no pay when they are out of office.**

Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators; serve your term(s), then go home and back to work.

*3. Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social Security:**

* All funds in the Congressional retirement fund
moves to the Social Security system immediately.
All future funds flow into the Social Security
system, Congress participates with the American
people.**

Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators; serve your term(s), then go home and back to work.

*4. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan just as all Americans*.

Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators; serve your term(s), then go home and back to work.

*5. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.*

Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators; serve your term(s), then go home and back to work.

*6. Congress looses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.**

Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators; serve your term(s), then go home and back to work.

*7. Congress must equally abide in all laws they impose on the American people.*

Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators; serve your term(s), then go home and back to work.

*8. All contracts with past and present congressmen are void effective 1/1/11. *

* The American people did not make this contract
with congressmen, congressmen made all these
contracts for themselves.**

Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators; serve your term(s), then go home and back to work.

If you agree with the above, pass it on. If not, just delete.


N.B. While I deleted some multiple “???” and “!!!” and redacted a few comma splices, the above is essentially as I received it in my email inbox.

Leaving, Not on a Jet Plane

twc central has been largely silent this week, and will continue to be so for a couple of days. Heading out to put some sweat equity into someone else’s house *heh* today and tomorrow (‘S’all right. I “sweated” some into our home earlier this week *heh*).

Read some back posts for a while. Yes, that link is to a whole category of posts, Mending Walls, for a reason. Coming soon to a twc blogpost: a Take Back Your Government/An Ordinary Citizen’s Guide to Our Government push.

Take Back Your Government

What would you pay to get the tools to take back our government and save our country?

From the author’s preface to Take Back Your Government:

HOW TO SAVE YOUR COUNTRY

This is intended to be a practical manual of instruction for the American layman who has taken no regular part in politics, has no personal political ambitions, and no desire to make money out of politics, but who, nevertheless, would like to do something to make his or her chosen form of government work better. If you have a gnawing, uneasy feeling that you should be doing something to preserve our freedoms and to protect and improve our way of life but have been held back by lack of time, lack of money, or the helpless feeling that you individually could not do enough to make the effort worthwhile, then this book was written for you.

Take Back Your Government (Click for larger image)

The book is currently being sold by Baen Books in a bundle with Taxpayer’s Tea Party by Sharon Cooper and Chuck Asay. The cost for both books bundled together in any of a wide range of eBook formats is just $8. I’m currently reading my copy of Take Back Your Government in my web browser in the html version.

Taxpayer's Tea Party Manual

Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau/Alfred Brendel – “Der Lindenbaum” -Die Winterreise

I think my appreciation for Alfred Brendel, first discovered as I listened to Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau accompanied by him instead of Gerald Moore, as had so often been the case, can be summed up in Brendel’s own comment,

“I am responsible to the composer, and particularly to the piece.”

That one simple, but extremely difficult, committment is why Brendel is so very good in finding the “voice” of his instrument–the piano. His committment to getting as close as he possibly can to the composer’s intention is fiendishly difficult, especially in a society where almost all artists seek to place their own thoughts, feelings and personalitiews above that of the desires of the composer, even when a composer may have explicitly stated directions and commentary for performance guidelines.

“I am responsible to the composer, and particularly to the piece.”

I can appreciate that, especially since in attempting to be responsible in such a way it results in such excellence of performance as Brendel’s.

Once again, one of my very favorite Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau performances, accompanied by Alfred Brendel:

Decaying Moral Fiber

[A repost, with redactions for typos, orthography and tenses, of a post buried two years back in the archives]

Originally stated as, “A decaying moral fiber, especially in America’s so-called ‘Christian’ churches.” And, of course, once again I’ll not do more than skim a very, very small aspect of the issue, leaving you, faithful reader, to do your own homework to discover the veracity of my observations… or not..

Now, before some subliterate self-lobotomized moron jumps in making a defense of “slut and rut” sexual mores resulting from a thoroughly moribund sexual morality and attacks the raising of this issue as mere prudery, let me remind us all that morality relates to all of our daily lives, not just sex.

Honesty, respect for property, respect for persons, etc., that results in a condemnation and avoidance of lies, thievery and unjust violence against and manipulation and coercion of individuals: those are hallmarks of moral individuals and a moral society.

What we have is… not that.

Simple example: heck, forget cops who speed on their way to a donut break–an all too common occurrence. What about so-called “Christian” pastors who break traffic laws speeding to a preaching gig?

…it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor. — Romans 13:5-7

So-called “Christian” pastors who think nothing of disobeying traffic or other laws are worse than politicians and LEOs who break whatever laws they wish, because in breaking the law, these so-called “Christian” pastors know they are accountable not only to the State and to society at large for their behavior but have represented themselves as accountable to a Higher Power for obeying the laws of the land.

But even if the shepherd of a flock leads the sheep astray by his actions, the sheeple of individual flocks of self-proclaimed “Christians” are still responsible for their actions.

Years ago, a group of us were discussing the passage above (and others) in a morning study group one Sunday. A deacon who was present had responsibilities in the service that followed, and interrupted the service for a personal confession and act of repentance. Between the time of the study group and the morning service, he had gone out to his car and removed his radar detector which he placed on the communion table saying that he was “convicted” of his sin in using it to disobey the law and get away with it. He made a public commitment then to start obeying the law.

Laudable, on its face.

After the service, of course, he picked the radar detector back up and re-installed it in his car and drove off as usual.

Now, you may think I’m playing nit-picker singling out traffic scofflaws as examples of moral depravity among churchgoers. Well, imprimis, traffic scofflaws can stand simply as examples of the many ways in which “good” church folks are often anything but. And those who stand as some sort of authority figures within churches who are scofflaws in one area of their lives have no moral suasion when speaking in others. And, as with the deacon mentioned above, most often the outright lies and blatant hypocrisy are moral wounds that even more deeply hamper “good churchgoers'” ability to impact society for good.

And after all, why should they even try to do so when their congregations are more and more openly embracing the “bread and circus” atmosphere of society at large in order to draw “seekers” in for fleecing?

Bah. The fundamental lie that blemishes most so-called “Christian” churches today is that they claim to be “people of the Book” all the while picking and choosing and explaining away or just flat denying what the Book they claim to use as their manual for life says.

And that’s the fundamental immorality of much of so-called “Christendom” today: the lie of claiming to be followers of Christ while trampling on His teachings.

(Liars are always immoral, by definition. )

Go ahead. Apply these thoughts to yourself, if you claim to be Christian, or even if you claim–if only in your own eyes–to be as “good” as a Christian ought to strive to be. Are “white lies” acceptable to you? Where do you draw the line between telling the truth and lying? Does it make any difference that you draw your own line? No. Does it make any difference that intellectual and spiritual laziness and dishonesty permeates much of what calls itself “Christian” today? Yes. Such, “Well, sure I do such and so (or, alternatively, “fail do any bit of real good at all, at all”), but I’m still a good person!” lies do nothing to persuade onlookers who see only the lies, the hypocrisy, the self-serving disrespect for law*, the fact that so-called Christians cannot be discerned in behavior from those who are outside the club. (Indeed, because of a long association with Christians–both genuine and typically fake–I avoid doing business with anyone who sells themselves and their services by promoting their self-proclaimed Christianity as a reason to do business with them. Almost always a sure sign of fakery, IMO.)

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is… Romans 12:2

Anyone who denies that distinctly Christian principles and manners of thought and behavior form the basis for (former?) American success in creating a free and open society is an idiot, a liar or an uninformed idiotic liar. And one has to ask oneself what the motives of the liars who deny the Christian foundations (or who deny the value of those foundations, as the ACLU and its ilk regularly do) are. Still, as those values steadily erode and I watch more and more Christian churches wallow in pellagianism, embracing “hip-hop theology” and denying the life and work of the One they putatively claim to follow, I have to wonder, “Where is the Amos to call these contemporary faux Christians to account?”

I dunno. It certainly doesn’t seem to be something many (most?) of the pulpits of contemporary “Christian” churches seem wont to do. I do know a prophet is without honor in his own country, and that anyone who points out that the emperor’s new clothes… “ain’t thar” is in very deep doo-doo.

As [a past] quote in the header of this blog read,

“Speaking the Truth in times of universal deceit is a revolutionary act.” George Orwell

Methinks we need a few more revolutionaries.

*BTW, is there such a thing as a true Christian who nevertheless disobeys the law deliberately? Of course there is. One instance in the New Testament gives an example of the only legitimate excuse a person claiming to be a Christian may have to deliberately disobey the laws of his community. Other excuses are bushwah, B.S., phony, lies. None of the folks I’ve heard make arguments for churches running “sanctuaries” for illegal aliens meet the criterion for biblically proper civil disobedience. None. Not one. Zero, zilch, nada, a big suck on a sour lemon’s worth. And never is simple personal convenience, pleasure or advantage a legitimate excuse for flouting laws, at least not for people who claim to be following the Nazarene. People who claim to be followers of Christ but who routinely and habitually and illegitimately flout the laws of their community without pang of conscience are plainly and simply liars, hypocrites and the truth is not in them–and that’s a fundamental failing of morality.


See also,

http://www.thirdworldcounty.us/?p=2212

http://www.thirdworldcounty.us/?p=2230

and

http://www.thirdworldcounty.us/?p=2250

for more along these lines.