Day Bidet #45

Didn’t mean to make you cry:

  1. “When [it] comes to morality, do you want to know what is cozy and comfortable? Atheism. Read any of the atheist writers who blather on about morality. You’ll find nothing there as disturbing, upsetting, and difficult as what you find [in] the book of Jonah.”
  2. Homeschool your kids.
  3. Love little details like this.
  4. “Democrats now represent 65% of taxpayers with a household income of $500,000 or more.”
  5. “[W]hat characterizes genuine faith is not that it never doubts but that it perseveres to the end.”
  6. Clown GOP: “What the right has is nothing but … a whine-o-sphere … who are able to make their living publishing the latest ‘leftist outrage of the day.'” Clown GOP. (Related.) Clown freethinkers—not very freethinky!
  7. “We struggle to live according to our design as lovers in large measure because our attention has been stolen.” (Related.)

More:

This aged well. (Related. Related. It’s still early.)

“Five incidents reported in biblical and extrabiblical sources set the context for the accounts of Pilate’s involvement with Jesus’s crucifixion.”

“If we are actually serious about gun control laws, the first step should be to enforce the ones we already have.” (Of course, most people aren’t actually serious about gun control laws—nor should they be. Related—language warning.)

“[T]he Sabbath remembers the liberation of slaves from Egypt, the Exodus just as much as it remembers the days of creation.”

Targeting Young Girls

The custom of the diamond ring took root in the early twentieth century when diamond giant DeBeers experienced languishing sales. The company contracted with an American advertising firm, N. W. Ayer, which unleashed one of the most effective media campaigns the world has ever seen. They gave diamonds to movie icons and had magazines run glamorous stories and photographs linking diamonds to romance and high society. In a 1948 strategy paper, N. W. Ayer wrote, “We spread the word of diamonds worn by stars of screen and stage, by wives and daughters of political leaders, by any woman who can make the grocer’s wife and the mechanic’s sweetheart say ‘I wish I had what she has.'” In a memo to DeBeers, the agency described targeting young girls through lectures at high schools: “All of these lectures revolve around the diamond engagement ring, and are reaching thousands of girls in their assemblies, classes and informal meetings in our leading educational institutions.” After twenty years of effort, N. W. Ayer declared victory in the late 1950s. They reported to DeBeers, “Since 1939 an entirely new generation of young people has grown to marriageable age…To this new generation a diamond ring is considered a necessity to engagements by virtually everyone.” The firm would next take aim at Japan and introduce the diamond engagement ring as a posh Western custom. The firm succeeded: from 1967 to 1981 the percentage of Japanese brides wearing diamond rings went from less than 5% to about 60%.

Finny Kuruvilla, King Jesus Claims His Church

It’s Mammon’s world—we just live in it.

Day Bidet #44

I am a poor wayfaring stranger:

  1. “Even though my relatives were African American people—the community was there to help clean up, handing them money and gifts of time and expressing love.”
  2. Whoops.
  3. Something I didn’t expect to read about just quite yet: “the underground church in Canada.” (Finland not far behind. Nor Oregon.)
  4. Not national news. Not national news. Not national news. Not national news. Not national news. And fake news.
  5. “We need to see in our minds Jesus entering into the mikveh, immersing himself, and soaking wet as he enters the Temple courts.” (Related.)
  6. Clown World. Clown World. Clown World. Clown World. Clown World. Clown World. Clown World. Clown World. But this one takes the cake. Demon World.
  7. “What, then, is the meaning of Armageddon for contemporary readers of Revelation? It is the confidence that God is at work in history to reveal divine justice and righteousness.”

More:

You can’t trust the experts. (Related.)

“Jeremiah may have been the brother of Azariah the high priest whose seal impression was found in the city of David.”

“Even in the 1980s, slightly over half of women had a maximum of one sex partner before walking down the aisle. … By the 2010s, only 5 percent of new brides were virgins.”

“The best explanation for why attribution of the fourth gospel to John was so popular in such a variety of orthodox and heretical circles from the middle of the second century onward is that the attribution predated that timeframe.”

Reading recommendations.

“Contact with Jesus didn’t render him unclean. Instead, sinners and the unclean were purified and made holy.”

The Shallowness of It All

How to Interpret 'Bad' Tarot Cards | Keen

In the modern spiritual marketplace, you pick your enchantment, like shopping for deals at Walmart…. Our enchantments have become lifestyle choices. We pick the enchantment that suits us or is most in fashion. … If we’re thoughtful, we can sense the shallowness of it all. Can an enchantment we pick up and lay down at a whim really give our lives the sacred meaning and weight we’ve been longing for? Can an enchantment we choose for ourselves become anything but narcissistic, a reflection of our own highly selective and cropped self-image? Immanent enchantments are on the rise because they are perfectly suited to our consumeristic age. And that is the fatal, fundamental flaw.

Richard Beck, “Pascal’s Pensées: Week 2, Transcendence Matters”

Good Ears

Christianity isn’t a religion because it isn’t a path toward God, a spiritual regimen to follow. Oh, to be sure, people turn Christianity into a religion all the time, twisting it into a moral self-improvement project. But whenever Christianity is turned into a pathway, gives you a plan to get closer to God, it is no longer a proclamation of the gospel. … Christianity is history. An event. A report. News. Glad tidings.

Richard Beck, “The Non-Religion”

Of course, two thousand years later, you might think that the good news isn’t exactly new. And when life gets hard, as it often does, you might also feel as though the good news isn’t even good, either.

And yet—and yet—if we let it, for him who hath ears to hear, it is a continual surprise, “a knock at the door,” a new-every-morning universequake.

The trick is having good ears.

Day Bidet #43

A double portion:

  1. “One would have thought that I, as a Catholic priest, would have spoken out against the atomic bombing of nuns. … One would have thought that I would have suggested that as a minimal standard of Catholic morality, Catholics shouldn’t bomb Catholic children. I didn’t.”
  2. Flashback.
  3. “Humans, to remain human, cannot become inured to killing. The death of each animal has to be marked and given sacred recognition.”
  4. Carnivore success story. Carnivore success story. Carnivore success story. Carnivore success story. Carnivore success story. Carnivore success story.
  5. “Those who complain about ‘drama’ in worship have limited historical understandings of what ‘worship’ was like in Israel, and for centuries among Christians.”
  6. You can’t trust the experts. (Related: “The Road to Sociology is the ‘corruption of the epistemic process in an entire discipline’ when everything becomes subservient to progressive political ideology.” Related.)
  7. “Jesus wasn’t born ready to be our high priest, but by the grace of God he died ready.”
  8. “What kind of kingship is this?” Related: “Who, I say, could have hoped that the nations would hope in the name of Christ, when He was arrested, bound, scourged, mocked, crucified, when even the disciples themselves had lost the hope which they had begun to have in Him?”
  9. Not national news. Not national news. Not national news. Not national news.
  10. “I love Christ more than this.”
  11. “[W]e’re told society pedestalizes whites while causing people of color to feel bad about themselves. The data say otherwise.” (Related. Related.)
  12. “He had set the example by sexually exploiting one subject and killing another. Sexual exploitation and murder were soon to devastate his own household.”
  13. Clown World: “How better to honor the legacy of a gang of murderous felons by discriminating against whites?” (Related. Related.) Clown World. Clown World. Demon World. Demon World.
  14. Q&A on the Resurrection.

More:

It’s still early. (Related.)

“[W]e can place Paul confidently in Corinth in 52 CE.”

Drowned in a Sea of Irrelevance

Pin on Red Root ideas

What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared that the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance.

Neil Postman

No doubt, our world increasingly resembles Orwell’s dystopian vision rather than Huxley’s. (For instance, here‘s Twitter Minitrue Global Public Policy team doublethinkingly saying they strongly condemn Internet shutdowns and have also recently suspended a number of accounts in the same tweet.)

But the advantage still probably goes to Huxley. Even in the Current Year, the truth still remains fairly unconcealed—because it does not need to be concealed, because hardly anyone wants to discover (read: unconceal) it, because doing so means wading through a sea of irrelevance to something not just unfashionable but blasphemous.

Much easier, then, simply to drown in our regularly scheduled programming. Certainly it is quite enjoyable—but then again, so was soma.

Day Bidet #42

“Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever”:

  1. “I am more and more of the opinion that when the apostles argued ‘that it was necessary for the Messiah to suffer,’ they were thinking especially of David in the books of Samuel (and as refracted in the Psalms).”
  2. “If someone can’t argue for low-status beliefs without fear, then it’s better to just admit that there is no fair discourse.” (Related: “Not National News.” Related. Related. Related. Related.)
  3. NT Wright on the Pharisees.
  4. Nature trumps nurture.
  5. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
  6. A handy resource. (Related.)
  7. “Idolatry Is Always Polytheism”

More:

Pray for the world.

An interesting suggestion.

HODL bitcoin. (And remember: You can’t trust the experts.)

“Christians who believed in bodily resurrection seem to have regarded their own mortal coils as the crucial venues in which they were to live out their devotion to Christ.”

Which Is It, Then?

Becoming Mrs. Lewis' explores the turbulent life of the woman C. S. Lewis  called 'my whole world' - The San Diego Union-Tribune

If God’s goodness is inconsistent with hurting us, then either God is not good or there is no God: for in the only life we know He hurts us beyond our worst fears and beyond all we can imagine. … But is it credible that such extremities of torture should be necessary for us? Well, take your choice. The tortures occur. If they are unnecessary, then there is no God or a bad one. If there is a good God, then these tortures are necessary. For no even moderately good Being could possibly inflict or permit them if they weren’t.
Either way, we’re for it.
What do people mean when they say ‘I am not afraid of God because I know He is good?’ Have they never even been to a dentist?

CS Lewis, A Grief Observed

Which is it, then?

“No God” must be ruled out. Our contingent, finite, spatiotemporally bound universe exists. Ex nihilo nihil fit: Our universe must therefore have a cause which is necessary, infinite, and unbound by space or time. Things are slightly more complicated than that—but not by much.

Which is it, then? A good God, or a bad one?

What reason have we, except our own desperate wishes, to believe that God is, by any standard we can conceive, ‘good’? Doesn’t all the prima facie evidence suggest exactly the opposite? What have we to set against it?

We set Christ against it. But how if He were mistaken? … The trap, so long and carefully prepared and so subtly baited, was at last sprung, on the cross. The vile practical joke had succeeded. … Is it rational to believe in a bad God? Anyway, in a God so bad as all that? The Cosmic Sadist, the spiteful imbecile?

I think it is, if nothing else, too anthropomorphic. When you come to think of it, it is far more anthropomorphic than picturing Him as a grave old king with a long beard. That image is a Jungian archetype. … It preserves mystery. Therefore room for hope. Therefore room for a dread or awe that needn’t be mere fear of mischief from a spiteful potentate. But the picture I was building up last night is simply the picture of a man like S.C.—who used to sit next to me at dinner and tell me what he’d been doing to the cats that afternoon. Now a being like S.C., however magnified, couldn’t invent or create or govern anything. He would set traps and try to bait them. But he’d never have thought of baits like love, or laughter, or daffodils, or a frosty sunset. He make a universe? He couldn’t make a joke, or a bow, or an apology, or a friend.

A bad God (or a bad man) could perhaps ape goodness and beauty to some degree. He could not create them out of nothing without examples of each to imitate (and eventually pervert). Have your pick of all the archvillains of history and fiction: Could any of them have composed not just your favorite poems but poetry itself? Could any of them have fashioned not just your favorite flowers but color and light and life themselves? Could Sauron, Hitler, Stalin, the Joker, or the Wicked Witch of the West not just have faked love but invented it?

But then every daffodil and peal of laughter and act of love is a singular proof of the existence of a good God.

Why, then, the tortures?

One answer is that faith only becomes serious when it becomes a latter of life and death—that only torture can awaken us from our madness:

Bridge-players tell me that there must be some money on the game ‘or else people won’t take it seriously’. Apparently it’s like that. Your bid—for God or no God, for a good God or the Cosmic Sadist, for eternal life or nonentity—will not be serious if nothing much is staked on it. And you will never discover how serious it was until the stakes are raised horribly high; until you find that you are playing not for counters or for sixpences but for every penny you have in the world. Nothing less will shake a man … out of his merely verbal thinking and his merely notional beliefs. He has to be knocked silly before he comes to his senses. Only torture will bring out the truth. Only under torture does he discover it himself.
And I must surely admit … that, if my house was a house of cards, the sooner it was knocked down the better. And only suffering could do it. But then the Cosmic Sadist and Eternal Vivisector becomes an unnecessary hypothesis. … God has not been trying an experiment on my faith or love in order to find out their quality. He knew it already. It was I who didn’t. … He always knew that my temple was a house of cards. His only way of making me realize the fact was to knock it down.

But another answer, in some respects the only answer, is that we simply do not know: do not know why Joy Davidman rather than CS Lewis, why the apostle James rather than his brother John, why this tragedy rather than another—or no tragedies at all.

And all the while the tortures continue apace. What, then?

Two widely different convictions press more and more on my mind. One is that the Eternal Vet is even more inexorable and the possible operations even more painful than our severest imaginings can forbode. But the other, that ‘all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well’.

A Madness Took Me

Fellowship Of The Ring ~ Extended Edition ~ Gandalf warns Frodo about  Boromir at Moria HD - YouTube

‘Come, come, my friend!’ said Boromir in a softer voice. ‘Why not get rid of it? Why not be free of your doubt and fear? You can lay the blame on me, if you will. You can say that I was too strong and took it by force. For I am too strong for you, halfling,’ he cried; and suddenly he sprang over the stone and leaped at Frodo. His fair and pleasant face was hideously changed; a raging fire was in his eyes.
Frodo dodged aside and again put the stone between them. There was only one thing he could do: trembling he pulled out the Ring upon its chain and quickly slipped it on his finger, even as Boromir sprang at him again. The Man gasped, stared for a moment amazed, and then ran wildly about, seeking here and there among the rocks and trees.
‘Miserable trickster!’ he shouted. ‘Let me get my hands on you! Now I see your mind. You will take the Ring to Sauron and sell us all. You have only waited your chance to leave us in the lurch. Curse you and all halflings to death and darkness!’ Then, catching his foot on a stone, he fell sprawling and lay upon his face. For a while he was as still as if his own curse had struck him down; then suddenly he wept.
He rose and passed his hand over his eyes, dashing away the tears. ‘What have I said?’ he cried. ‘What have I done? Frodo, Frodo!’ he called. ‘Come back! A madness took me, but it has passed. Come back!’

JRR Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

Madness. A passing madness, for Boromir—but the madness of sin is not always passing.

In fact, the mass of men lead lives of permanent madness. If we are not mad with rage like Boromir, we are mad with lust, or pride, or fear, or jealousy—or simply “respectable selfishness.”

Sin is rebellion, but sin is not just rebellion. It is madness, delusion, self-deception. “Man is not a rational animal; he is a rationalizing animal”—and the first person a madman rationalizes his madness to is to himself.

The first step, they say, is admitting you have a problem. But how can a madman recognize that he is mad?

One way is to practice the spiritual disciplines: to love, give, pray, fast, confess, humble oneself—to think on things that are true and honest and just and pure and lovely and of good report—to turn aside (as Frodo says earlier) from “the way that seems easier.”

The other is to sleepwalk in your madness, until you are awoken—by a broken trust (like Frodo’s in Boromir), or a broken dream, or a broken body, or a loved one’s death—or your own.