Day Bidet #69

Tell me that you’ll open your eyes:

  1. Another very belated advent story. (Related: “This is where Jesus would have been in this situation.”)
  2. This, more than anything else I’ve read, helped me understand where we’ve been and where we’re going with COVID. (Related: “When the vaccine was first announced, I found a review paper on mRNA vaccinces from 2018. It described the 30 years that scientists had been working on mRNA vaccines. I read about all the problems and thought it was a might[y] odd coincidence that they worked out all the bugs just in time for COVID.”)
  3. “How do we change?” (Related: Pray the psalms.)
  4. “Lethal aid.” (Related. Related. Related—lol.)
  5. “The identification of Jesus with YHWH seems to have been part of … Christianity from more or less the very beginning.”
  6. “[L]iberalism is essentially a Christian heresy.”
  7. “You have touched me, and I have burned for your peace.”

More:

“Nothing was ugly / just because the world said so.” (Related. Also related, if you think about it.)

“Provide for us day by day—the elk, the buffalo, and the salmon. The corn, the squash, and the wild rice. All the things we need for each day.”

Clown World. Clown World. Clown World. Demon World. “Progress.” “Progress.” (Related.) “Progress.” “Progress.”

Dallas Willard: “Laughter is the automatic human response to incongruity and incongruity is never lacking on the human scene, no matter how far advanced we may be into the kingdom. It is indelibly imprinted in our finitude. There will be lots of laughter in heaven, you can be sure, as well as joy, for our finitude will always remain. Just imagine an eternity in which no one laughs!”

P.S. I will be posting less frequently the next couple months. Please keep me in your prayers (everything is fine, just busier than usual). As always, thank you for reading!

All This Was Proclaimed Progress

Dmytro Kuleba on Twitter: "We will never forget & never forgive the # Holodomor, Stalin's 1932-1933 genocide killing millions of Ukrainians. For  their entire lives, our elders couldn't leave a crumb on the

Putin:

The advocates of so-called ‘social progress’ believe they are introducing humanity to some kind of a new and better consciousness. Godspeed, hoist the flags, as we say, go right ahead. The only thing that I want to say now is that their prescriptions are not new at all. It may come as a surprise to some people, but Russia has been there already. After the 1917 revolution, the Bolsheviks, relying on the dogmas of Marx and Engels, also said that they would change existing ways and customs, and not just political and economic ones, but the very notion of human morality and the foundations of a healthy society. The destruction of age-old values, religion, and relations between people, up to and including the total rejection of family (we had that, too), encouragement to inform on loved ones—all this was proclaimed progress and, by the way, was widely supported around the world back then and was quite fashionable, same as today. By the way, the Bolsheviks were absolutely intolerant of opinions other than theirs.

This, I believe, should call to mind some of what we are witnessing now. … The fight for equality and against discrimination has turned into aggressive dogmatism bordering on absurdity, when the works of the great authors of the past—such as Shakespeare—are no longer taught at schools or universities, because their ideas are believed to be backward. The classics are declared backward and ignorant of the importance of gender or race. In Hollywood, memos are distributed about proper storytelling and how many characters of what color or gender should be in a movie. This is even worse than the agitprop department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

Peterson:

[A]ll of you going along with the DIE activists, whatever your reasons: this is on you. Professors. Cowering cravenly in pretence and silence. Teaching your students to dissimulate and lie. To get along. As the walls crumble. For shame. CEOs: signalling a virtue you don’t possess and shouldn’t want to please a minority who literally live their lives by displeasure. … At the moment, I can’t tell if you’re more reprehensibly timid even than the professors. … Musicians, artists, writers: stop bending your sacred and meritorious art to the demands of the propagandists before you fatally betray the spirit of your own intuition. Stop censoring your thought. Stop saying you will hire for your orchestral and theatrical productions for any reason other than talent and excellence. That’s all you have. That’s all any of us have.

And the Egyptians Lived Happily Ever After

JMW Turner, The Fifth Plague of Egypt

If anyone’s the evil oppressor in the Bible, it’s the Egyptians, right? So the moral of the Story is that the Egyptians will get what’s coming to them, right?

Thus, after all, saith Isaiah:

The burden of Egypt. Behold, the Lord rideth upon a swift cloud, and shall come into Egypt: and the idols of Egypt shall be moved at his presence, and the heart of Egypt shall melt in the midst of it. And I will set the Egyptians against the Egyptians: and they shall fight every one against his brother, and every one against his neighbour; city against city, and kingdom against kingdom. … And the Egyptians will I give over into the hand of a cruel lord; and a fierce king shall rule over them, saith the Lord, the Lord of hosts. And the waters shall fail from the sea, and the river shall be wasted and dried up. … In that day shall Egypt be like unto women: and it shall be afraid and fear because of the shaking of the hand of the Lord of hosts, which He shaketh over it. And the land of Judah shall be a terror unto Egypt, every one that maketh mention thereof shall be afraid in himself, because of the counsel of the Lord of hosts, which He hath determined against it.

Isaiah 19.1-2, 4-5, 16-17

But then comes what poets call the volta—the turn:

In that day shall there be an altar to the Lord in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar at the border thereof to the Lord. And it shall be for a sign and for a witness unto the Lord of hosts in the land of Egypt: for they shall cry unto the Lord because of the oppressors, and He shall send them a saviour, and a great one, and He shall deliver them. And the Lord shall be known to Egypt, and the Egyptians shall know the Lord in that day, and shall do sacrifice and oblation; yea, they shall vow a vow unto the Lord, and perform it. And the Lord shall smite Egypt: He shall smite and heal it: and they shall return even to the Lord, and He shall be intreated of them, and shall heal them. In that day shall there be a highway out of Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrian shall come into Egypt, and the Egyptian into Assyria, and the Egyptians shall serve with the Assyrians. In that day shall Israel be the third with Egypt and with Assyria, even a blessing in the midst of the land: whom the Lord of hosts shall bless, saying, Blessed be Egypt My people, and Assyria the work of My hands, and Israel Mine inheritance.

Isaiah 19.19-25

The masters become the slaves. The taskmasters are given over into the hand of a cruel lord. Justice is served. End of Story. Right?

Not quite. “Mercy rejoiceth against judgment.” The Lord shall smite Egypt, yes: The Lord shall smite and heal Egypt. Because the people of Egypt—like the people of every other nation—are the Lord’s and the work of the Lord’s hands.

Day Bidet #68

Archaeologists unearthed the skeleton during an excavation at the village of Fenstanton back in 2017 and have just completed their analysis of the grisly find. Pictured: the slave's heel bone — or 'calcaneum' — showing where the iron nail was driven through it

And life ain’t nothin’ but a funny funny riddle:

  1. “Christianity … isn’t fundamentally about morality. Christianity … is fundamentally about learning to see.” (Related: “There are things I’ve learned about love, joy, peace, sacrifice, kindness, sin, reconciliation, failure, marriage, friendship, life, death and fulfillment that I could have never discovered all on my own.” Related: “You must act.”)
  2. “[Socioeconomic status] is only very modestly correlated with educational attainment.”
  3. Very cool new resource.
  4. Not National News: “[A] jury recently failed to convict Dayonte Resiles based on his race after he snuck into a woman’s home, tied her up, and stabbed her to death.” Also Not National News. Also Not National News. Also Not National News—#StopAsianHate. (Related. Related—”100+ arrests, most suspects released within 24 hours on zero bail.”)
  5. If this doesn’t cheer you up, I don’t know what to say. (Related.)
  6. Wild. Wild—brave new world! Even wilder. Stunning. Not at all stunning. Lolz.
  7. Chesterton: “Christianity even when watered down is hot enough to boil all modern society to rags.”

More:

“Du Bois describes Reconstruction as ‘one of the most extraordinary experiments of Marxism that the world, before the Russian revolution, had seen.’ The parallel is apt.” (Related: Happy Belated Lee-Jackson Day!)

“What Micah is proclaiming is a judgment on the king who lived in Jerusalem. God was bypassing the present king and going back to Bethlehem … Thus, the new king will be a new David. God was beginning the process all over again.”

“Clearly, this is not about saving lives. It’s about control.” (And fear. Related—the puzzle disappears when you realize how much more profitable vaccine mandates are. Related. Related—whoopsie! Related—”directionless” is a very interesting word. Related. Related. Related. Related.)

“And is it true?”

The Winsomeness of Jesus

Manuscript Study: Sermon on the Mount — Resurrection Philadelphia

Our Master was his own Gospel. Men came to Him one by one attracted by the winsomeness of Jesus. He spake, of course, as never man spake, and He was as never man was, and … he reversed our ordinary experience about our human ideals. The nearer we draw to an individual, as a rule the more plainly we see the flaws and the crevices in his character; but the nearer men drew to Jesus the more His faultless excellence declared itself; they were drawn to Him, they hardly knew why, with a reverence and a devotion unexampled in the history of the world.

RJ Campbell, City Temple Sermons

You Can’t Trust the Experts: COVID-19, Part II

Why conspiracy theories on coronavirus have spread so quickly - Vox

Statistics and data are important, but so are stories:

‘Everyone’ was saying these vaccines were safe for pregnant and breastfeeding women. But how could they? There were literally zero studies. This is when I realized we were being lied to.

The problem was everywhere. Almost every paper I read had at least one obvious and serious problem with it, often of a type that you didn’t need any actual expertise to notice. I started to wonder how these papers were getting through peer review and getting published. … [M]y confidence in publicly funded science is completely destroyed … Our society is completely in the grip of people who have effectively evolved under selection pressure to strongly resemble scientists without actually being scientists.

[L]egislation which institutes lockdowns with no exit strategy … is not drafted with the view that the emergency will (can) end. The people drafting this legislation are not stupid. If they have not written an exit strategy into the legislation … they do not intend to implement one (at least not unless it is politically expedient). … The young, the poor, and people with disabilities would be among the cohorts who would bear the brunt of the damage.

40 years of NIOSH and OSHA data said their containment strategy was a joke.. and every hazmat expert who spoke up got de-platformed. That convinced me the government was not serious, and it was all theater. … I knew from history that both cloth masks and 6 feet “social distancing” were both failed strategies from the pandemic of 1917-1919, which Facui et al just recycled. That’s not serious science.

How could anyone be over due for a vaccine that was still in clinical trials and was only available under an emergency use authorization

[T]he media was flooded with stories of apparently healthy 40 year olds who died from covid. No comorbidities or risk factors, just died. I started to recognize it for fear porn and even suspected some of these ‘stories’ were fabricated.

[M]any children killed themselves across the US and the media would not cover it…. [T]he game plan was to day by day, using the Task Force daily briefings, make Trump look incapable and that all he was doing was a failure…to report infections by the thousands daily, and to make America unmanageable and ungovernable so that by the time the election came, people will be fed up and hurt and crushed by the lockdowns etc. and they actually pulled that off.

None of this involves “conspiracy theories,” just recognition that we are ruled by people whose ambition exceeds their ability to lead—because they are groupthinkish, or incompetent, or dishonest, or (in some cases) malicious, or cowardly—or all of the above. If you work at a large organization of pretty much any kind—”public” or “private,” “for-profit” or “not-for-profit,” etc.—you probably know the type(s). Heck, you (and I) have probably been the type at some point or other.

The only reasonable course of action is to adopt a stance of alienation from the prevailing Narrative—which is certainly not always wrong, but which never deserves the benefit of the doubt. Alienation—not just from journalists, but from politicians (both Democrats and Republicans), bureaucrats, “scientists,” professors, CEO’s, and pretty much any other “expert.” Not just about COVID, but about faith, health, family, and pretty much any other aspect of the good life.

But alienation is not enough. You cannot turn your back on the prevailing Narrative without something—or Someone—else to turn to. Or else you’ll go crazy. (Cynicism and despair are arguably even worse than blind trust. Tolkien: “The greater part of the truth is always hidden, in regions out of the reach of cynicism.”)

(Part I here.)

Day Bidet #67

And they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks:

  1. “Love is discipline.”
  2. The 2021 death rate in Indiana was 40% higher than the pre-pandemic death rate—and most of the deaths weren’t COVID deaths. (Related—admittedly small sample size. Related—a good read. Related—ruh roh.)
  3. “Only God can walk on the seas.”
  4. Extremely interesting Huberman Lab episode on slowing and reversing aging.
  5. “We have a happy God.”
  6. Heroic. Gorgeous. Self-parodic. (Related.) Accurate. Mildly cyberpunk. Wildly cyberpunk. (Related.)
  7. Willard: “We can be vulnerable because we are, in the end, simply invulnerable.”

More:

Say it ain’t so, AOC! (Language warning. Related. Related—my condolences to fans of modern art. Related. Dallas Willard said, “[P]op culture today … is an economic enterprise and only by accident occasionally has something to do with art.” He should have added: “and a political enterprise.”)

“[T]he second lament may indeed reflect Jeremiah’s struggle with Hananiah.”

The human race is slowly committing suicide. (Related. Related: Why is a Supreme Court Justice referring to a human being as an “it”?)

“When I went to China, one of the top officials asked me, ‘What is a communist to you?’ I said, ‘A child of God.'”

Haint Blue Sunday

Beautiful old porch swing! | Porch swing, Country porch ...

If my Pappy had known, he’d have sat me down

out on the porch that haint blue Sunday

(not on the swing—in the slatback chair) and said,

“You are not a snail, young man.

You are a human being.

You won’t ever reach Bethlehem

by slouching sluggishly towards it—

you gotta run, son, till you’re good

and dead, and then Bethlehem will come to you.

The carpetbaggers will enter the kingdom

of God before the footdraggers”—

or a walk through the crooked churchyard

where the red cedars and the little ones sleep:

“Son, you are not a woman

or a child. You are a young man,

the heir of a granite yeomanry

which carved a nation out of wilderness

and ate blue fire. Be not afraid—

cowardice is the only eternal sin,

and the only way out is through”—

or kneeling at my bedside

and whispering through my doldrum dreams:

“You are a darling child of God

and you are a darling child of mine

and you are loved clean through”—

But I never did tell him.

Day Bidet #66

That which hath been is now, and that which is to be hath already been:

  1. “At the end of all our striving and longing we find, not a force, but a face.” (Related: “[I]t’s this concrete specificity, the sharp-edged exactness of the image, that makes me profoundly, unapologetically religious.” Related: “Our North American dominant cultural values are massively resistant to a theology of the cross, precisely because the cross places suffering at the heart of God’s character and at the heart of meaningful, faithful human life.”)
  2. You can’t trust the experts… (Related. Related. Related. Related. Related.)
  3. “They wouldn’t bend.” (Related.)
  4. “I wish the bay was clear like it used to be.” (Related: “[W]e will never again experience the true glory of the American chestnut.” As Dávila said, “The horror of progress can only be measured by someone who has known a landscape before and after progress transforms it.”)
  5. “[A]fter Jesus came into the world, his mother wrapped him in cloths. After Jesus died, Joseph of Arimathea wrapped his body in a linen cloth. After wrapping Jesus in cloths, Mary laid him in a manger, a place for animals. After wrapping Jesus in a linen cloth, Joseph of Arimathea laid his body in a tomb, a place for dead bodies.”
  6. “[T]he power of material goods as symbols of social position has diminished due to their accessibility. As a result, the aspirational class has altered its consumer habits away from overt materialism to more subtle expenditures that reveal status and knowledge.” (Translation: Millennials don’t care about being wealthy as much as they care about being cool.)
  7. “‘I gave my hat,’ he said with a huge smile.”

More:

Homeschool your kids (language warning).

An interesting hypothesis.

Carnivore success story. (Related. Related—language warning.)

“My own heart let me more have pity on.”

Ancient Rome in 3D. (Related.)

Pascal: “Two errors. 1. Taking everything literally. 2. Taking everything spiritually.”

There Is No Such Thing as a Waste of Time

Janus and Public-Sector Innovation - The Atlantic

We liked wasting time, but almost nothing was more annoying than having our wasted time wasted on something not worth wasting it on.

Joshua Ferris, Then We Came to the End

And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

Colossians 3.17

Many things feel like a waste of time. My, uh, housemates expect me to do certain chores which in my view are obvious wastes of time. (Which chores, you ask? Ha!) But I had a realization the other day: Nothing is a waste of time unless I allow it to become one.

Why? Because literally anything can be an opportunity to become more Christlike—more loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, gentle, faithful, self-controlled—and becoming more Christlike is never a waste of time. Even (and perhaps especially!) life’s annoyances are opportunities to grow, because it is precisely life’s annoyances that teach us patience and every other virtue. Anything that comes our way can refine and strengthen us. So no life experience has to be useless.

For better or for worse, it’s not physically possible to work towards any earthly goal literally all the time. We can’t work out or study for the MCAT or [insert earthly goal here] 24/7. But we can become more like Jesus 24/7 (though of course it’s hardly natural or easy to do so). And the more we look at annoyances, inconveniences, obstacles, trials, and tribulations as opportunities to become more like Jesus, the happier, healthier, and holier we’ll be.

No doubt, the change in mindset from “This is a waste of time” to “This is an opportunity for me to grow and become more like Jesus” is not one I’ve mastered. (The art of living is hard to master!) But it is one I’ve been keeping in mind the past few days, and it’s already started to pay tiny dividends in who I am.

And what could be more valuable than that? If I have love, joy, peace, and all the other virtues—all the other qualities of Jesus—what more could I want or need?

Happy New Year, readers! I’m thankful for all of you. My 2022 thought: There is no such thing as a waste of time.