Here are some blurbs about what’s going on, and then today’s God Thought.
In terms of happenings, there are lots.
I just got my first signed freelance editing contract in the mail today, which means I’m officially working 5 jobs. My late grandpa who first came to the US as an illegal immigrant would be proud. Contrary to the “I’ve invaded, screw your laws, speak my language, buy me dinner, and pay for my healthcare” socialists from Latin America, grandpa came over from Great Britain with the following work ethic: “Never go on the dole*, never go on the dole, never go on the dole; if you have to work three jobs, you never go on the dole.” That’s going to put me up to 85 hours per week right now not including time to train or teach martial arts, or write, but this is what my degree is for, so if I can do a good job and build a resume then I may not have to work night shifts as a machinists for more than another year or two.
My martial arts teacher and another master I’m on good terms with are coming to Bemidji this weekend so we can prep for an upcoming black belt test. I’m very glad to see them and this weekend will be a great training challenge.
I have a couple of students now in the Fisher, MN area. We’ll be training from 5-7 pm on Saturdays if you’re in the region and want to get some sword work in!
As an English major I was delighted to find Kenneth Branagh’s mostly unedited version of Hamlet for about $10 on Amazon instant video. The play is about four hours long, so it is very rare to find an unedited rendition. I remember seeing this film in an art festival back in Akron but that was twenty years ago at least.
I have been fascinated with history all my life, and I study it when I have time, but it is increasingly difficult to find good source material. The trumpling crew puts out books like Rush Limbaugh’s Rush Revere stories that are so dedicated to building up America that they skip some of the real problems in history. For example, he omits how the “Brave Pilgrims” put surrounding Indian tribes in disarmed prison camps around their settlement so that they would be the first victims of hostile attack, and basically used women and children as an early warning system. That is to say nothing of the 20,000 members of my own Celtic tribe killed in the Prayer Book Rebellion back in England because the brave Pilgrims would rather slaughter us than let us pray in our own language before they were chased out of Europe for good reason. Mainstream publication for academia is by Marxists, for socialists, reviewed by communists and takes the opposite track: America and western civilization is always to blame. They will cry for a century about Wounded Knee but omit two separate massacres by native tribes against the Jamestown colonists in the early years that each equal or doubled (depending on whose numbers you use) the scale of Lakota deaths at Wounded Knee, and simultaneously vindicate Amerind hatred of the government for an event 120 years past while vilifying colonial hostility against native tribes for the same provocation over the same period.
I have zero tolerance for the unthinking, “USA USA USA!” view that America is always in the right and even less for the knee-jerk condemnation of America ripped completely out of context of real-world history and equivalent standards perpetrated by the left.
God says that he hates unjust scales. Jesus excoriated hypocrisy wherever he found it. Now I can add a second book to my collection of histories that strive to deal equally with both sides.
The first is A Patriot’s history of The United States by Schweikert & Allen, a pair of history professors in Ohio who could not find a textbook without left-wing bias so they researched and wrote their own with careful notes about points of contention. That book is so well-written and researched it has since becomes a standard textbook in the American homeschooling movement.
This week I got a copy of The Earth is Weeping by Peter Cozzens, who takes a similar approach to the western Indian Wars. (The sociopolitical events in the Ohio river valley and Canadian border in the prior century having vastly different components rightly deserves separate treatment.) Cozzen’s book won the Gilder Lerhman Prize for Military History in 2016, and comes recommended by the Smithsonian Institute. I have been fascinated by Indian history all my life, and even so I learned two new details about plains Indian culture just listening to his interview about why he wrote the book. I was so excited about that possibility that I also bought a copy for the last friend of mine who spoke to me about Indian history and questions of justice.
I do care about justice, and from reading the Old Testament I feel confident that God also cares about justice. But one of the things that sets the modern Anglo justice system above almost any other in the history of the world are the very things that set me apart from mainstream conservative in terms of modern politics. Justice must be blind. If I believe I have the human right to call witnesses to my defense, have a lawyer, and present my evidence, then I cannot deprive another, be he Jihadist or Antifa socialist, of the same rights without betraying justice. Then I can only perpetuate a cycle of violence however much I want to call it justice.
Unlike the socialist nightmares of party courts under Communism in Europe and Cuba, or the bloodbaths of the French Terror, the accused deserve to have their evidence, their witnesses, and testimony considered before judgment. I firmly believe that if this is the standard of justice, then it must be applied to history as well if we are ever to make a just judgment about things of the past. In fact, I have to be even more careful when judging the past because it is even easier to silence the subjects of my scrutiny unless I deliberately invest the time and energy to give their viewpoint a voice.
That brings us to my God Thought for the day, and this one isn’t a quick and perky pick-me-up.
7 “Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. 3 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.
-Matthew 7:1-5 ESV
The confessional Lutheran interpretation of the Sermon on the Mount is pretty unique. The Reform (read Baptist and non-denominational) school of thought searches this passage for a bunch more rules to pile onto the backs of others help you do better. The humanist view tramples Jesus’ divinity and searches for whatever uplifting sound bites about God’s love and human fellowship they choose to allow to be God’s Word for their current emotional state while ignoring the law that condemns them.
The truth of the Sermon on the Mount is twofold, and this passage highlights them both!
The first is the Law, that word of condemnation, and in case you missed it, Jesus just states that the entire population of the world deserves to go to hell in verse 2 alone. Even if you forgot all of the standards that Jesus explains in chapters 5 and 6, there isn’t a single sliver of humanity that can pass Matthew 7:2.
I would go so far as to say pretty much all of America has declared itself fit for hell in the past six months alone. The main reason I have not blogged much is that I have been so angry about the hypocrisy, hatred, and violence washing back and forth in partisan America that I haven’t been able to find a way to speak the truth in love, and man’s anger does not bring about the righteousness that God requires (James 1:20).
- When Kathy Giffords was shot, the left hung the blame for the violence on the partisan speech of the opposite political side, even proposing legislation to silence people like Rush Limbaugh. By their standard, partisan speech was culpable for the shooting. By their own standards they stand guilty of the Bernie Sanders volunteer’s attempted massacre of Republican congressmen. I do not need to condemn them, nor does God. On the day of judgment their own words will ring loud and true and without the blood of Christ the crime of murder will hang on them like chains.
- When President Obama passed a trillion dollar stimulus plan Republicans cried out that it was a betrayal of America’s future and an unforgivable burden on our children. Now with a deficit 10 trillion dollars higher than the start of Obama’s first term, they think that they will be innocent while passing Trump’s trillion-dollar stimulus plan as if that money won’t be taken from the wealth and well-being of their own descendants. They will be guilty of the charge of theft that they pronounced upon their enemies.
- The same leftists who demanded their platform in the name of freedom of speech while they defied and offended the sentiments of the majority through the 70’s and 80’s while spewing hate and condemnation of their country and most of its people now seek to destroy and silence those who offend their sentiments as hateful speech. When they stand before the throne, will they have hate to shout, or will they be silenced?
- Conservatives rallied for years to “defend marriage” from homosexual sin while permitting ten to twenty times as much heterosexual corruption defile marriage legally throughout the country in terms of adultery (sex outside of marriage), fornication (sex before marriage), and adultery. Do they think that God will give their own sexual defilement an understanding wink and nod while joining them in condemning sexual sins that never tempted them?
- The homosexual activists who campaigned quite sympathetically for freedom to be left alone (In the 1950’s it wasn’t uncommon for police officers to go to bars undercover and then arrest, convict, and imprison gay men for hitting on them), and decried physical assaults with some justification now label anyone nonconforming to their standards as a thought-criminal. Peaceful protesters against their beliefs are assaulted along the sidelines of gay pride parades, violating the very principle of freedom to dissent that they depend on to stand against the way of the majority. Those who were imprisoned for their beliefs pro homosexual activity now imprison others for heterodoxy against it. Pastors are jailed in England and Canada, and now children shall be taken away from their parents should their parents believe incorrectly in Ontario. Those who shouted for freedom from oppression have received it only to become the oppressors themselves. Will they be able to stand before God Almighty and look him in the face? I promise that they will not.
- The party that longed for the impeachment of Obama and Clinton for legal dodges and games now excuse Trump for pleading executive privilege to shield his own appointees from congressional scrutiny.
- The party that bragged about Obama hitting a “reset button” with Russia and cheered Hillary selling 25% of America’s uranium reserves to Russia wants to impeach Trump for speaking with the aforementioned kleptocracy.
- My Twitter feed is completely clogged with those guilty of betraying God’s Word while frothing at the mouth over the public sins of others:
19 eWe love because he first loved us. 20 fIf anyone says, “I love God,” and ghates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot1 love God hwhom he has not seen. 21 And ithis commandment we have from him: jwhoever loves God must also love his brother. -1 John 4:19-21 ESV
On and on it goes. I have watched the death of integrity and grace throughout my country on both sides of the aisle and for the most part kept my mouth shut because I was too angry at the sins of all sides of the aisles to form any constructive criticism. Even now I am biting back dozens of more specific examples because the general principle is enough, but no one reading or receiving this message, not my own mother nor my oldest friends, not me myself, none of us escape the condemnation of a single verse in Matthew 7. Worse, almost all of us fail to follow Jesus’ commandments to first repent of our own wrongdoing before going about trying to fix or help others.
But my judgment does not matter, God will use our own, and then our self-serving excuses for why we do not live up to our own standards will blow away like the wind.
There is a refuge from the storm, one not specifically stated in the sermon on the mount because he is giving the sermon himself. Jesus Christ lived a perfect life of absolute integrity that we cannot. He fulfilled the law where we cannot, do not, and never will until we reach heaven. He does not make us able to be righteous, he makes us righteous through his ability, what he has already accomplished in our stead, and then he went on to pay the price that we have earned through our failures so that those who believe in him can be called children of God, friends of Christ, and live eternally with him.
20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.
21 But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness is given through faith in[h] Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. -Romans 3:20-23 ESV