Friday, August 16, 2013

+ Paul A. Bartz +

Paul Bartz was born on May 1, 1948.  The Lord called him home to glory on August 15, 2013 after an extended battle with cancer of the tongue and jaw.

I met Paul while I was a student at Concordia College in St. Paul Minnesota.  I can no longer recall if it was my first year or my second year there.  There are too many memories and it was too long ago, back in 1969, I believe.  We met because his dormitory roommate at the time was struck by how our senses of humor were so alike.  We were introduced at the campus coffee shop's informal "Laugh-In" evening of improvisational humor.  We went on to make quite a hit of our improvised skits and jokes.  We were fast friends ever after, discovering that we shared the same love for theology as well.  I met Paul the day after he had met the woman who became the love of his life, and eventually his wife, Bonnie Bruhn.  I was always a third wheel for that first year.

Paul loved Luther.  He was the first person I knew who subscribed to the Luther's Works subscription program, buying every volume of the American Edition as soon as it came out.  His other great interest was the Creation/Evolution debate. When it came time to write his Master's Thesis, it included those two interests.  It was entitled, "Luther on Evolution".  It was great stuff.

This is not an authorized obituary, but a remembrance of a friend.  We saw each other through very difficult times.  He was my friend when my first wife chose another man and divorced me.  I was his friend, and hopefully of some comfort, when he was driven out of his parish in Garrison, Minnesota, by the sort of unjustified abuse and unconscionable attacks that have become all too common in the Lutheran Church today.

We were there for one another in good times too.  He was best man when I married my second (and still) wife, some twenty-seven years ago, and he is God-father to my first-born son.  I was his close friend when the Lord surprised Paul and Bonnie with a daughter in their mid-forties, and he honored me by asking my wife and me to be god-parents for their only child, a daughter, now 17 years old.

Paul was an amazing man in so many ways.  He was the editor of the Bible Science Newsletter for many years.  He created the one minute radio spots called "Creation Moments" that continue yet today.  He spoke widely on Creation and the issues surrounding the debate in our society, and not just in Lutheran circles.  It is little known that Paul was, briefly, an independent publisher, co-founder of Onesimus Publishing, which published several tracks and pamphlets and one good book.  Paul served faithfully as a pastor in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, a vacancy pastor for different congregations, and did pulpit supply after he left the parish ministry many years ago.  He was a member of the ministerium of the LC-MS to the day of his death. He was also a sinner, one that rejoiced in the forgiveness Christ poured out on Him in Word and Sacrament.  That, too, was part of what marked Paul as special.

One character trait that struck me as marking Paul was consistency.  He was a faithful Christian.  He was a consistent and thorough theologian.  He was a meticulous researcher and and excellent teacher.  When Paul settled on something, he did not change.  For example, I knew Paul before he had a mustache.  I always liked to grow a beard every winter and cut it off in the spring.  Paul asked me about it and I suggested that he should try it.  He did.  He grew a beard and then he wore it for it for years.  Eventually he shaved the beard, but after that day, I never saw Paul without his mustache.

Mostly, to me he was a good and faithful friend.  In our final conversation just a couple of weeks before his passing, he reaffirmed his friendship, confessed his faith, and joked about having Martin Luther pour a beer for me, too, to be ready for the day I would be joining him at the heavenly table for that meeting with brother Martin we have been waiting for anxiously for so long.  His sense of humor was the primary impetus in our meeting, and it was still active in our final conversation, during which we spoke of death.  I said it was weird for me to be talking to him about his death as such an immanent thing, and he said, "Yeah, it's kind of weird for me, too."

Now He has finished the race, passed through that dread door, and is with the Lord he served for most of his life.  I thank God for Paul.  My life would have been much poorer, and certainly a great deal different without Bartz in it.  It is at times precisely like this that the message of Christ and the salvation He has wrought for us is so precious.  I shall see him again, because of Jesus Christ and His great grace.  I take comfort there, and pray for Paul's family, that God will strengthen and comfort them through the Gospel.  Meanwhile, the tears are appropriate.  Paul Bartz is man to be missed.

Friday, August 02, 2013

Humanism is a Fraud

While searching for specific information about the court stating that Secular Humanism is a religion (Torcaso v. Watkins – 1961) for another topic, I came across the following, numbered “1" at the top of the webpage:

Humanism is the approach to life based on rational thinking and includes ethics based on our shared human values and on human compassion. If you live life without religion and strive to do good within society just for the sake of doing good, then, you are a natural humanist. Humanism’s core belief is that everything has a natural cause rather than a supernatural cause, therefore it falls under the banner of philosophical naturalism and the vast majority of humanists are atheists although there are some agnostics too. Science and reason continue to be major positive influences on Humanism. Humanist activists typically battle for human rights and for secular politics. Secularism, promoted by secularists, is the belief that religion should be a private, personal, voluntary affair that does not impose upon other people. Public spaces and officialdom should therefore be religion-neutral. Secularism ensures that religions are treated fairly and that no bias exists for a particular religion, and also that non-religious folk such as Humanists are treated with equal respect.”   (

The webpage goes on to assert that humanism is no religion – as other humanist pages also assert.  They decry the abuse of the footnote reference in the Supreme Court decision that lumps secular humanism in with other religions that do not hold to the existence of a deity (such as Buddhism and Taoism).  It is not right or fair to lump them together, or to use this footnote as any sort of indication that, before the law, secular humanism is a religion.

Okay, let us look at what humanists assert and go from there. A caveat: in the course of the article, “humanism” is used to refer not to the general philosophical category, but to the political and religious movement, whether formal or informal.  The Humanist Manifestoes (one and two) both make assertions of a clearly religious nature, denying explicitly the existence of a God, rejecting as unreal and irrational any talk of a savior or salvation coming from outside of ourselves, and decrying specific religious texts.  The original Humanist Manifesto referred, in point of fact, to the humanism it espoused as “religious humanism”.  Their goal was, “To establish such a religion”.

The second Humanist Manifesto reflected the forty years of experience following the writing of the first, and attempted to shed the explicitly religious image of the original, but failed.  The opening assertions were boldly religious, and they identified themselves again in religious terms.  “We believe, however, that traditional dogmatic or  authoritarian religions that place revelation, God, ritual, or creed above human needs and experience do a disservice to the human species.”  A statement of belief, making theological points, does not mark one as non-religious.  They even take a position that must be marked as religious: “As nontheists, we begin with humans not God, nature not deity.

I quote these ancient resources to make the point simply that modern humanism is distinctively religious from its foundations.  The courts acknowledgment of that fact does not establish humanism as a religion, it simply acknowledges the obvious.  So, our modern resource, above, is being disingenuous when it asserts that humanists are non-religious, “non-religious folk such as Humanists”.  In number 2 on the same website, the authors say, “Humanism as a religion in its own right, rather than a philosophy or outlook, has been proposed occasionally, although it has never gained much support.

The truth is that humanism may not be identified with any single specific religious organization, (although the recent news of the establishment of “the Atheist Church” challenges that notion) but that does not exempt it from being a religion.  If that were the identifying feature of something not being a religion, Christianity would fail the same test.  There are hundreds of bodies that claim Christian doctrines, but distance themselves in their teachings from others.  Humanism is a religion, with very specific doctrines, which the Humanist Manifestoes go to great lengths to detail.

The vast majority of humanists are atheists, according to the author of this web-article.  Others could make counter-claims, I am sure, although many humanist sites would agree with this author’s assessment, and, as pointed out previously, doctrinal variety does not remove one from the sphere of religion.  The notion offered above that “Secularists” are a separate and autonomous group fighting to create a religion neutral space is simply another fraud of humanism.  When one makes it necessary to ignore the existence of a deity, in specific or in general, they are making a theological statement, and establishing (in the sense of the Constitution) a religious viewpoint or doctrine in public policy.  Such a policy is contrary to the Constitution, and making atheism the standard of public discourse is a distinctively religious action.

Even the now common restriction on naming a specific God is an unconstitutional infringement on the rights of anyone praying in public.  That is true even if the Courts might rule otherwise.  The Courts have erred egregiously before!  Just as certainly as one might invoke the right not to hear another deity appealed to in prayer, it would be as rightly said that the rights of the offended not to hear another’s prayer extend only as far as the right of the next man to freely exercise his religion.  You may have the right not to listen to my prayers, but your right not to listen does not extend so far as to limit my right to pray.  Surely the religious garb of a Muslim forces the confession of his or her faith upon everyone who can see them.  The yarmulke of the observant Jew confesses his faith.  The cross or prayer of the Christian is no more offensive.

Banning, restricting, or limiting any of these observances is wrong.  Restricting one particular confession while ignoring the others is to establish their faith in preference to the discriminated-against one.  Barring them all from public would be tantamount to establishing those faiths which do not acknowledge a god, and suppressing and abusing those who would otherwise mark their faith by sign, attire, or audible prayer.  Regulating prayer, as in the case of forbidding a public prayer before a football game, violates the free exercise clause of the first amendment, and gives priority (thereby establishing, in the reasoning of the court in recent years) the faith of those who would plead offense.  They have the right to not listen.  They do not have the right to regulate the rights of others to pray.

Humanists have stated the goal of establishing a world free from religions which contradict theirs.  They are surely free to set such goals and pursue them.  The rest of us do not need, and dare not attempt, to pretend that those goals are religiously neutral.  They advance the religion of Humanism.  These are not morally or ethically neutral activities.  They are the establishment and advancement, by the courts and any participating legislatures, of a specific creed.  The rest of us have no duty to respect that activity.  We have our rights, too.  The plea of the humanist for our sensitivity is, like the rest of Humanism (as a political and religious movement) a fraud.

Sunday, July 28, 2013


A chaplain of the US Military has been censured for expressing his faith (  If that isn't military oxy-moronic.  Chaplains are there to express faith!

The MRFF is to be censured for hate speech.  The fact that it is hate speech aimed at Christians should make absolutely no difference.  To quote the MRFF, “Faith based hate, is hate all the same.”  His hate should not be tolerated either.  His assault on a military chaplain doing his duty is an act of “spiritual rape”and must be stopped immediately!

The Atheist faith -- or lack thereof -- is no less religious, and having it imposed on us in this nation is every bit as obnoxious as any other public establishment of religion!

It must stop.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Continuing Education

Pastors rise at convention to encourage the requirement of continuing education for all pastors.  I would like to know why.

"This is the only profession that does not require continuing education."

Okay.  There is nothing new about the Gospel.  Jesus has not come and updated and revised the good news.  Preaching and teaching has no necessary new stuff to it.

Mind you, I have regularly participated in continuing education, attending at least one theological conference of substance every year (a three day conference!) for the past twenty-four years, plus numerous seminars on counseling, family, ethics, pastoral conduct, and the like, presented by the Synod, districts, and various Lutheran organizations, often Recognized Service Organizations.  I don't object to continuing to study and learn.  I insist on it.

I object to being compelled to do so because the compulsion to do so is surely followed by the compulsion to do specific study, which amounts to indoctrination to the modern thought.

I left the Seminary persuaded that I knew what I needed to know to begin my ministry, and that I knew how to learn and find the stuff I discovered along the way that I still needed to know. I was proven correct in that persuasion.  I don't want somebody else telling me that I need to study what they choose in order to continue to serve the Lord and the parish to which He has called me.

If you want to continue your education, by all means, do so!  I have.  But don't make it a law that I should have to do what someone else chooses.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Stupid Politics

I am watching the convention of the Missouri Synod on computer.  It makes me happy that I am not actually there as a delegate.  Once again, the stupid politics of our Synod is standing in the way of listening to voice of the Synod.  Points of Order are being called every few minutes -- which generally are not points of order -- taking time from discussion and deliberation.  The discussions reveal that there is an expectation among an element of the convention delegates of sinister intent.  Every step of the business of the convention is being fought and hobbled by parliamentary procedures.  Something as simple as changing the name of the circuit counselor to its historic name of circuit visitor is debated for twenty minutes, with attempts to amend and to refer it back to committee.  The single point of the resolution is to change a job title.  It was finally adopted by a significant majority, which points out that all of the parliamentary maneuvering was simply to slow or stop the business of the Synod and to obstruct the peaceful work of the convention.

I have been to many conventions -- several as a delegate.  Each convention has the same bizarre behavior.  All that this obstructionist behavior accomplishes and stopping the Synod from working together and expressing their will -- leaving us in the hands of bureaucrats to make the decisions about who we are and what we can and will do.

The people of our Synod have been denied a voice in so many ways.  Nominations from the floor now must come from a pool of names already having been nominated.  Then the convention has to vote on each nomination individually just to get them on the ballot.  There is very little voice left, and the points of order and the calling of the question, and the motions to re-commit to the committee, just robs the people of the Synod of a voice.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

A Dog's Life

I was walking my dog the other day when it struck me that the dog is a good illustration for man''s sinful nature.

My dog always wants to go outside of the permitted area. If he is on a leash, he is pulling it to the end and straining to go just a little father. If he is walking free around the yard, he is always wanting to go outside of the yard. It doesn't matter how large or small the yard is, he wants to be just a little father out than I want him to go. He is well trained to voice commands, but he is always testing the limits.

If I call him, he will ignore me as if he is deaf until I get close enough to grab him, or he will comply for a moment, and, when he thinks I am not paying attention, he will head right off in the direction I just called him from. I know that he is not deaf -- he can hear me open a bag of dog-treats (or animal crackers - his favorite!) from three rooms away! But if I call him for something he would rather not do, like a bath or a haircut, he feigns deafness almost perfectly.

He likes to dawdle to sniff and what-not for no apparent reason. If I am in a hurry, this dawdling is more important than otherwise. The dog is just contrary at times.

I asked him (yeah, like the animal can understand everything I say) why he always wants to go where I have made clear he is not supposed to go, and it struck me that all of his behaviors are like those of any person facing the law of God. We want to go where we are told not to go. We always want to test the limits. If nothing is permitted, we push to get away with something. If nothing seems to be forbidden, we go to outrageous lengths to find some way to offend or transgress. And we humans seem to be almost perfectly deaf to the Word of God, until we get into trouble, or we want something from Him very badly.

Seeing his behavior as an object lesson on human sin and contrariness has made it no easier to put with, it just makes me laugh at myself, and thank God that He is more patient and forgiving than I am often minded to be. In some ways, the situation reminds me of that poem, To a Louse, by Robert Burns - "O wad some Power the giftie gie us To see oursels as ithers see us! "

 Sometimes I think that is why God gave me a dog.

The Natural Knowledge of God

The CTCR recently released the report on the Natural Knowledge of God called for by the Synod in Convention in 2007.  It took six years of study and writing to assemble what might just as well have accomplished by directing the Synod to read Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis, cited copiously by the report.

I have no argument with the report’s content or conclusions.  It is well written, if somewhat dense linguistically.  Your average layman will give up long before they get to the application of the sixty-some page report, but for those who make it all the way through, the ‘application’ section is written like a theological paper, as well.  The weakness of the report is that it is not easily accessible to the average reader, laity or clergy.  It should have ended with a short arch-books type of summary for the less cerebral reader.

The report not a fun read, even for one interested in the topic.  It held a treasury of quotes and analysis, and in that sense was a joy to behold.  Of course, there were issues and arguments that were missing, some old favorite chestnuts that one might wish to have seen, but in a report of this brevity, it is perfectly clear why some editorial choices had to made.  After reading the report, however, the first question to come to mind was “Now, what do I do with all of this in terms of witness?”.  Since that was the point of the report, one must wonder why it was entrusted to a body of the nature of the CTCR, and not assigned instead to a group of pastors who have to make what they present palatable and comprehensible to the common man in the pew.

Frankly, four pages ought to have accomplished what the entire report says – not in detail, but in substance.  Those four pages would have answered the original question of the Synod in convention more clearly and to greater profit, I suspect.  The discursus on the theological debates over the natural knowledge of God was informative, but did not really serve the question of how one might apply the natural knowledge of God to witnessing endeavors.  The short excepts (or so they seemed, although unattributed in the footnotes) from other writings seemed most to-the-point, as examples of using the ideas discussed in the report.  One could devoutly wish that there were more of them and less of the dense and stilted prose that made of the body of the document.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The End of the World

(Post originally written in early January)

Is the end of the world coming? of course.  Is it coming soon?   I hope so.  But there is no sure way to tell. I see the natural disasters, the fires and floods and such as God taking blessings away by the handful. He does it because the nation which He has so abundantly blessed has taken their wealth and blessings as something they have earned an deserved and used them in ungodly ways. The popularity of divorce (not ones that are needed like yours, but those where they just get tired of one another after a year or two), open sexual immorality, the promotion of homosexuality, the openness of porn, the popularity of violence, the "me-first" of our culture and the abandonment of the church and of faith and worship - these things are being addressed, I believe, by the withdrawal of blessings.

It doesn't happen all at once, but God does some here and some there, calling us to repentance. The troubles will fall on everyone, in general, but those that trust in the Lord will have their comfort in Him, and will show the way back to the Lord. Whether society will follow or not is another question. Finally, the nation will fall because of the corruption of society. How few are not participating in the corruption! You don't need to be a prostitute to share in or at least tacitly approve of general immorality. Look at the abortion issue! We have a candidate for office who supports infanticide! He is running neck and neck in the polls with the other candidate. Wouldn't you think that believing it was a fundamental right to murder babies would disqualify someone from office? I am not just talking about abortion, but putting to death a baby that survives the first attempt on his or her life.

Church after church drives their pastor out for not being fun enough, or for holding faithfully to the teachings of the Scripture. Okay, so none of those people may have murdered their neighbor in his sleep. But they told God to take His truth and shove it, and demanded to be entertained instead of hearing the Word of God and worshiping. In their unfaithfulness, they close the door to those who have not yet heard the Word, no longer allowing the truth to be proclaimed in all its power, so that they might be saved -- thereby murdering souls. They spend a fortune on their clothing and toys and entertainments, and allow their pastors to live below society's standards, their churches to fall into disrepair, and the mission to the unbelieving to die a slow death of underfunding. They sing "Take My Life and Let It Be", but they don't mean a word of it. "Take my silver and my gold, not a mite would I withhold." Yeah, right!

When the church members had only two sets of clothes - church clothes and work clothes - and did not even need closets, just a nail on the bedroom door, the church built hospitals and orphanages, and wonderful church buildings, and schools for their children. Now we are rich, and cannot afford the school, and the pastor's support is too much, and no one has time for bell choir or church activities. We don't do hospitals or Orphanages any more. We leave that for Uncle Sam.  The church may be struggling, but Walmart is doing great business, and new restaurants open every week or two, and every child seems to have a cell-phone and an I-pod. Who is innocent?

The crap on TV is there because people will watch it. I am as guilty as the next guy, there, but if I could watch The old shows - Lucy, Beaver, Sgt. Bilko, Uncle Milty, Crusader Rabbit, I would. I am so tired of seeing women in their underclothes in commercials, and hearing about feminine hygiene products, I could scream. And who gives a rip whether some guy has E.D.? Then there are lawyers advertising for people to authorize them to sue someone. They don't tell you that as a member of a class you might get a buck forty-nine, while the lawyer gets ten or twelve million dollars. Open, stupid, hateful greed! Where is the innocent person?

Could someone as shallow and dangerous as Obama be a symptom of the wrath of God against a society gone terribly wrong, and all the evil in our country? Yeah, it is possible.

The Official Publication

One of the most telling and troubling signs on the horizon for the LC-MS is the Lutheran Witness letters.  People write in, and editors choose to print false doctrine and broadsides aimed at our confession without a word of correction.  It presents the false ideas of those who are clearly not solidly grounded in Lutheran doctrine (that is to say, the Scriptures) alongside sound doctrine as though both are equally valid and acceptable.

It is true that writers can write in to correct the false teacher, but their letter appears a month later -- ineffective for making the point that what was written was error, because it appears not as an official correction, but as an expression of another, equally valid idea.  Fancy re-design of the publication and even sound articles published in the magazine will not work to promote or preserve sound doctrine when the apparent policy is to publish truth and error side by side as equally valid positions.  Someone needs to review their Krauth.

I append the Krauth quote for the novice to his works:

The Conservative Reformation and Its Theology, by Dr. Charles Porterfield Krauth, original copyright 1871, reprinted by permission of Fortress Press by Augsburg Publishing House, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1963.

Pages 195-196

     A human body may not only live, but be healthy, in which one lobe of the lungs is gone; another may be sickly and die in which the lungs are perfect.  Nevertheless, the complete lungs are an essential part of a perfect human body.  We still truly call a man a man, though he may have lost arms and legs; we still call a hand a hand, though it may have lost a finger, or be distorted.  While, therefore, we freely call systems and men Christian, though they lack a sound sacramental doctrine, we none the less consider that doctrine essential to a complete Christian system, and to the perfect faith of a Christian man.  The man who has lost an arm, we love none the less.  If he lost it by carelessness, we pity his misfortune, yet we do not hold him free from censure.  But, when he insists, that, to have two arms, is a blemish, and proposes to cut off one of ours, then we resist him.  Somewhere on earth, if the gates of hell have not prevailed against the Church, there is a Communion whose fellowship involves no departure form a solitary article of Christian faith -- and no man should be willing to be united with any other Communion.  The man who is sure that there is no such Communion is bound to put forth the effort to originate it.  He who knows of no Creed which is true to the Rule of Faith, in all its articles, should at once prepare one that is.  Every Christian is bound either to find a Church on Earth, pure in its whole faith, or to make one.  On the other hand, he who says that the Church is wrong, confesses in that very assertion, that if the Church be right, he is an errorist; and that in asking to share her communion while he yet denies her doctrine, he asks her to adopt the principle that error is to be admitted to her bosom, for as an errorist and only as an errorist can she admit him.

        But the practical result of this principle is one on which there is no need of speculating; it works in one unvarying way.  When error is admitted into the Church, it will be found that the stages of its progress are always three.  It begins by asking toleration.  Its friends say to the majority: You need not be afraid of us; we are few, and weak; only let us alone; we shall not disturb the faith of others.  The Church has her standards of doctrine; of course we shall never interfere with them; we only ask for ourselves to be spared interference with our private opinions.  Indulged in this for a time, error goes on to assert equal rights.  Truth and error are two balancing forces.  The Church shall do nothing which looks like deciding between them; that would be partiality.  It is bigotry to assert any superior right for the truth.  We are to agree to differ, and any favoring of the truth, because it is truth, is partisanship.  What the friends of truth and error hold in common is fundamental.  Anything on which they differ is ipso facto non-essential.  Anybody who makes account of such a thing is a disturber of the peace of the church.  Truth and error are two co-ordinate powers, and the great secret of  church-statesmanship is to preserve the balance between them.  From this point error soon goes on to its natural end, which is to assert supremacy.  Truth started with tolerating; it comes to be merely tolerated, and that only for a time.  Error claims a preference  for its judgment in all disputed points.  It puts men into positions, not as at first in spite of their departure from the Church's faith, but in consequence of it.  Their recommendation is that they repudiate that faith, and position is given to them that teach others to repudiate it, and to make them skillful in combating it.

A Little Here, A Little There . . .

"As was laid out above, the office of pastor is Word-based, not ritual-based. To distinguish one pastor from another on the basis of education, so that the non-M.Div. pastor cannot “consecrate the elements” makes an unacceptable distinction between the means of grace, as if consecrating the elements is the chief task of the pastoral office. This has never been the Lutheran position. Furthermore, the Lutheran Confessions do not regard “ordination” as that which qualifies one for the office; rather, it is that the candidate be “rightly called,” of which ordination may be viewed as a recognition by the wider church of this man’s training and call. However, by no means is ordination a necessary element."  -- from the St. Louis Seminary statement about the SMP Program.

This is what results when a church body abandons its confession.  Someone got the strange idea that it was okay to let those who were not pastors preach from the pulpit.  At first it was just the odd "special" occasion.  The Augsburg Confession surely never meant to restrict anyone from speaking the Word of God, and, after all, a pulpit is just a place.  It has no specific New Testament sanction.  AC XIV did not intend to stifle such free speech, so they said.

Men of good intention then marked the distinction of the office with the administration of the Sacrament.  A retreat from Augsburg, for sure, but intended to maintain the distinction.

Now the seminary can see no distinction in ordination -- or no need for it,  So, the unordained can preach AND administer the Sacrament.  We don't really need trained pastors, after all, we no longer have any confession to maintain.  Welcome to the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod - Baptist Association.  If you feel the call, get up and start preaching.  If you can gather a crowd, you are a minister.  If your "congregation" gives money to the Synod, through the District, you will have their hearty support.

The only thing required in reality to be a Missouri Synod pastor is the permission of the District office.  And if you don't have their support, training and ordination is not of much use to you.  They will even help your critics remove you - and see to it that you do not get called again.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

What Is Missing?

We hear of a new scandal every day.  Our government is going all 1984 on us.  Persecution for the Christian faith is undoubtedly not far behind.

Have you noticed what is missing?

There is a ridiculously obvious absence of outrage or even real concern by our elected representatives.  They passed the laws that enable this totalitarian shift, and they have no concern for us.  They apparently see themselves as insulated from the effects of this change in policy.

I recognize the few voices of concern, and that the Pravda-esque Media immediately dives into the effort to marginalize those who speak out, but there are too few speaking.  Apparently, free-enteprise and a representative republic (for the people, or the people and by the people) is only for small countries and pre-industrialized civilizations.  Once you get too big or too prosperous, shameless socialism and oppression is required. 

The Democrats have taken the lead in finally bringing us to a state-controlled, socialist society.  The Republicans are taking us there too, but first they have to run against the way things are before they acquiesce to the need to put us serfs back in our place.  Thank-you congress for undoing the Revolutionary war and bringing us back to the monarchy.

It does get a little tiring now and then to watch those we elect to preserve our liberties betraying us.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Mendacity as a Virtue

Here is another sign that our society is collapsing: Mendacity is now proclaimed as a virtue.  Mendacity is defined as the tendency to lie, or lying itself.  People have always lied, throughout history.  For much of this nation’s history, deliberate deceit has been considered a bad thing.  In modern America, it is now considered a virtue.  Oh, not by everyone, just by the leaders and shapers of public opinion (such as the media) and such.  Mendacity is a good thing.

It was probably growing for a long time unnoticed.  Every politician knows that a little deceit is a powerful campaign tool.  It began to flower when Bill Clinton was president.  When he boldly lied about his relations with that female intern, the media gushed over how well he lied and how useful a lie could be.  Articles even appeared in various publications about how lying was good, useful, profitable, and healthy at times.

Today, politicians, particularly the president, can openly and boldly say things that are easily demonstrable as lies not only without being challenged on the deceit, but being applauded for saying that which is false as though it were true.  Advocates for various political agendas can, if the goal is “politically correct”, openly say things that are false to advance their agenda without fear of being challenged.  Their patent lies will be cited, quoted, and rehearsed by the media and others who would endorse their cause.  Challenging the veracity of such obvious deception is attacked as an assault on the speaker, or adherence to outdated ideas, or *gasp!* fundamentalism of some sort.

Public policy is now being formulated on the basis of mendacity.  The ten percent of the population that pays eighty percent of the taxes paid in this country are still not paying their “fair share”.  The fifty percent of the population who pay less than five percent of the taxes are overburdened.  The mentally ill individual that misuses a firearm tragically is evidence that the average, law-abiding citizen should have his or her second amendment rights curtailed.  The cooling of the earth over the last two decades is proof of “global warming”.  The dramatic increase in the world population of polar bears is evidence that they are endangered.  The erosion of our economy, with higher unemployment, fewer (by millions) in the workforce, and a deep decline in average incomes in our nation is cited as evidence of nearly robust recovery from a recession even though marked by failures of businesses and banks on a scale not seen in America in over fifty years.  And the massive increase in the deficit of this nation is proof that we are not spending too much, . . . somehow.

Politicians lie to get elected and then lie to explain their nearly inexplicable actions.  Media personalities misrepresent the positions of politicians and other public figures – and their own statements of the past – depending on whether they wish to advance or hinder the work of those public figures about which they report.  What is a virtue for one is a sin for another.  The double standard is breath-taking.  Criminal activity by some hardly merits mention, but taking a sip of water during a speech is proof of some cosmic failure in another.  Even when they acknowledge a lie, they may often marvel at how effective it has been, without correcting it or decrying the deceit. For such people, mendacity is a virtue to be admired rather than a failure or character flaw.

I could expand this post by a discussion of false doctrine and unfaithful church practices that are being advanced, but it would make this post much longer.  Suffice it to say that those who are charged with defending the truth often do not, and those who should know better follow the crowd rather than the Lord in their teachings.  There are some faithful, but far too few.  This is the one place where deceit is to be expected.  The Lord promised us that it would be so.  It is not a good thing, but it is a mark of the times and of the truth of the prophecies that such things (and such people) would happen.

No society can stand for long without reality as its foundation.  No political system can endure the embrace of the lie for long.  The Church alone can stand in such an environment, and that only because God is control and will not allow His Church to disappear completely.  The gates of hell shall not prevail against it.  Deceit will inevitably destroy such a society, however, because no one will know what to stand for, or where true value lies.  Perhaps that is the reason for the adoption of mendacity as a virtue.  The goal may well be the dissolution of our nation as it exists and the establishment of something other.  If things don’t change, I suspect the great American experiment with freedom and democratic ideals is over, and although it was a great success, it has been manipulated into failure in the end.

May God have mercy on us all.

Saturday, January 05, 2013

The Time Is Right

I am wrestling with a cold.  I am too sick to do anything productive, so I was looking at various things that popped up in Google -- articles and blogs and the like.  I saw nothing enormously good, so it was a reasonable sick-time activity.

I noticed a number of pieces, blogs and such, that focused on spiritual sounding topics from a non-spiritual perspective.  One listed twelve rules of a personal philosophy about how to become a better you.  Another observed the tendency of people in our modern world to invent things to be distressed about: Zombies, phony apocalypses, potential but unlikely disasters and the like.  One writer saw the problem as boredom.  Another saw it as a flaw in human nature.  Many of the articles sounded like Christian writings of our era, only struggling to not sound Christian.

The sense I came away from the articles (as a group) with was how the world really needs what Christ has provided.  One article actually used a progression of something like 'malady -repentance - redemption'.  There was no mention of Christ or how this closely followed the sin-repentance-redemption of the Christian Gospel.  But the world around us is trying to make sense of what only God can explain.  They want a self-improvement program that echoes what the Gospel teaches us about our conduct as His people.  They are bored with this decaying world and need something to focus them and lead them through to a salvation of some sort.  They need the Law and the Gospel, they just don't know it, and they don't want the misrepresentations that so many religious bodies advance instead of the Gospel.

Jesus had it right, and it is still true today: The fields are white unto harvest.  Pray the Lord of the harvest to send laborers into the fields.