Cross Purposes

You and I are inundated by narratives day and night. We are implored to spend our time, money, and allegiance in response to them. Their goads come at us through the mail, and via emails, radio, TV, and social media. Here are only a few of their associated rallying cries:

“Today Only!” “Act Now!” “Call Now!” “Last day to act!” “Crisis into opportunity!” “Doing nothing is not an option!” “Let’s get it done this year.” “We must move beyond climate talk to climate action.” . . . And there is, of course, The Great Reset’s pervasive “Build Back Better!” (bidding us to become the bricks and mortar of the Globalist’s Tower of Babel.)

The pressure to surrender and conform to narratives can be as manipulative as it is intense. The pressure is especially persuasive when a long-standing narrative fuels pressure to have a defining moment enacted. To wit, Palm Sunday and the so-called “triumphal entry”.

In terms of the gospel according to Mark, Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, though taking on a “triumphal” and precursive tone, was anti-climactic. There was no takeover, no ousting of Roman rule, and no fire coming down upon the unrighteous.

Jesus entered Jerusalem, went into the temple, and looked all around. It was already getting late, and he returned to Bethany with the twelve. (Mk. 11: 11)

Those who had lined the road up to Jerusalem and had shouted “Hosanna in the Highest” did so out of the highest hopes. Along with the palm branches, they held expectations of a “Messianic Apocalypse”:

. . . for the heavens and the earth will listen to His [God’s] messiah . . . [and all w]hich is in them shall not turn away from the commandments of the Holy Ones. Strengthen yourselves, O you who seek the Lord, in his service! Will you not find the Lord in this, all those who hope in their heart? . . .

These words, from the Qumran text 4Q521 dubbed “Messianic Apocalypse”, were written some 100 years before Jesus. I wonder. Did the people go home that night and ask each other “What’s up with that guy? Why doesn’t he get with the program?” They would have had their reasons for asking.

Second Temple period Jews were experiencing a cultural crisis. Under the rule of a Seleucid (Greek-Syrian) king named Antiochus IV Epiphanes (“god manifest”), that began in 175 BC, the Jews had been under tremendous pressure to conform to Hellenistic culture.

(Note: the apocalyptic visions recorded in the latter chapters of Daniel (7-12) were written in response to the ongoing Jewish persecutions (167-164 BCE) by Mr. “god manifest”. The chapters can be dated toward the end of the Maccabean revolt (see below).

Antiochus did all he could to push his cultural narrative onto the Jews. He plundered the temple, erected an altar for Zeus Olympus in the Jerusalem temple and sacrificed to Greek gods. Traditional practices of Judaism were outlawed.

Many Jews at that time were greatly concerned about the growing assimilation to Hellenism and its gods. While some Jews went along with the cultural change, others revolted against it.

The Maccabean revolt was the armed resistance. Mattathias, a priest, and his sons Judas Maccabeus, Jonathon, Simon, John, and Eleazar led the resistance.  Under Simon, Judea and Jerusalem achieved political independence for a time – the yoke of the Gentiles was removed from Israel (1 Maccabees 13:41-42)

After purifying the temple of foreign elements, Simon led a procession of those playing musical instruments and hymn singers waving palm branches into the temple. This much abbreviated version of second temple times sets the stage for Palm Sunday. You get a feel for what the people were thinking about Jesus.

Jesus entered a Jerusalem under Roman rule. The accounts of the Maccabean revolt, Simon’s “triumphal entry”, and the Messianic Apocalypse stoked imaginations that day. The crowd wanted Jesus to be the fulfillment of their Messianic hopes.

Jesus had encountered similar pressure to conform to the long-standing narrative – the advent of the Messiah – several times before.

When Jesus began to teach his disciples something new – there’s big trouble in store for the son of man – Peter did not hear Jesus conforming to the ‘popular’ messiah narrative. Sure, there had been trouble before. But this? . . .

There’s big trouble in store for the son of man. The elders, the chief priests, and the scribes are going to reject him. He will be killed – and after three days he’ll be raised. He said this all quite explicitly. (Mk. 8: 31-32)

Moments before Jesus said this, Peter had boldly declared Jesus to be the Messiah (Mk. 8:29). Clinging to a notion of the messiah as a formidable political and spiritual power and projecting onto Jesus that notion, Peter rebuked Jesus for saying things that took the wind out of the narrative he and others had been floating.

Jesus forcefully replied to Peter’s cross purposes:

Get behind me, Accuser! You’re thinking human thoughts, not God’s thoughts.

The renunciation of man’s narrative brings to mind Mark 1: 13. There, we read that Jesus went into the desert for forty days and was tested by Satan’s narrative.

Satan wanted Jesus to be the Messiah – a compromised, self-promoting, and self-advancing Messiah. He wanted the Jesus to be the Messiah the people wanted and not the Messiah the people needed.

Jesus had a growing number of people following him. Why not take advantage of the populist surge and clean house and become a hero? As before, there would be processions honoring a conquering hero. “‘C’mon, fulfill your destiny!” “The time is ripe.” “Act now!” “Build back better!”

Good Friday and Easter. We find out Jesus’ Cross Purpose. We find out why, though dealing with enormous opposition, he did not surrender to the pressure or conform to narratives and to cross-purposes. We are admonished to carry on the same way by considering his example:

We must look ahead, to Jesus. He is the one who carved out the path for faith, and he’s the one who brought it to completion.

He knew that there was joy spread out and waiting for him. That’s why he endured the cross, making light of its shame, and now has taken his seat at the right hand of God’s throne. He put up with enormous opposition from sinners. Weigh up in your minds just how severe it was; then you won’t find yourselves getting weary and worn out. -Hebrews 12: 2-3

Next, we’ll look at the gospel record of Jesus countering narratives and settling debates using “God’s thoughts”. We’ll also take a look at conformity.

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“We need an army to rise up,” he said. “We need people to stand up and not comply. We need a civil rights awakening again, noncompliance like Martin Luther King, Jr.” Our guests are: Rabbi Spero, Rudy Giuliani, Pastor Artur Pawlowski, John Brakey

The First Noël

The following took place during my thirteenth year . . .

A week before Christmas Day, a gaggle of us self-conscious teenagers loaded into three cars. We headed to Elgin State Hospital, formerly called the Northern Illinois Hospital and Asylum for the Insane. Our church’s youth group leader had decided that, in the spirit of Christmas, his charges should bring hope and joy to the less fortunate.

Four of us sat bunched together in the back seat of one of the cars. We kidded each other about who was the crazier. We cackled and fidgeted and sniffed the mimeographed sheets of Christmas Carols and became giddier. None of us knew what to expect. “But for the grace of God” is all I heard the youth group leader say before I got in the car.

The high school senior driving our car asked us if we wanted to hear about “Elgin State.” We became quiet and ready to squeal like when the four of us sat at a campfire last summer. Jeff slowly spun out his words and waited for our reaction.

 “They say the place is . . . haunted … horrific experiments had been performed there . . . spirits of the unclaimed dead walk the cemetery grounds and, . . .  in the buildings, . . . the criminally insane live there.”

It didn’t take much. Jeff’s description of Elgin State and the winter wind that howled through Jeff’s rusted-out car gave us goose bumps. I wound and unwound the pretty purple printed sheets. Lise snapped her gum. Mary kicked the front seat and Joan kept biting her nails.

The three cars drove through the front entrance and down a long driveway towards the largest brick building I had ever seen. I suddenly felt out of place. I saw no signs of Christmas anywhere.

We parked along the front of the building. The youth group leader led our group of sixteen through the front door. He announced us at the front desk. Soon an older gentleman came down the stairs.

Dr. I-Forget-His-Name was bald and wore thick-rimmed glasses. In his white lab coat, he looked like the mad scientist I’d seen in a movie that I wasn’t supposed to watch but watched anyway at a friend’s house. Up close, I could see small blood vessels on his nose and cheeks. Whispering to Lise, I wondered if that is what happened when you work here. I tried not to stare when he escorted the group upstairs.

On the second floor he directed us to a double-door entrance. We walked through it. The room before us was bigger than any church sanctuary I had been in. There were large windows along the length of the room. They were foggy, providing a pale spectral light. None of the patients stood near them.

There were no curtains around the windows. There were no pictures on the walls, no paintings, and no Christmas tree or decorations. The furniture, wooden chairs and tables, was scattered around the room on the dull linoleum floor. The hall seemed soulless and indifferent toward the fifty gowned inmates within it.

The patient’s voices, moans, yelps, and shrieks sounded like they were coming out from a deep cave. Many sat staring off blankly. Some of them bobbed their head endlessly. Those who walked around seemed content to be walking in no specific direction. Our appearance at the double-door made no difference to them.

We gathered in two rows just inside the doorway and began signing Jingle Bells. Our voices reverberated and then seemed to go off somewhere. Our captive audience didn’t stir. We followed with Silent Night. There were a couple of moans of recognition. Then we sang The First Noël.

The First Noel the angels did say
Was to certain poor shepherds
In fields as they lay
In fields where they Lay keeping their sheep
On a cold winter’s…

Out from the hallway behind us came a naked man. He began shouting and writhing right in front of us. One of the girls shrieked. The patients whooped and hollered.

Two men with white coats tried to grab the man. But he squirmed and threw them off again and again. He jumped and shouted and flung his arms right in front of us. He wanted to be right in front of us.

More white coats came to help. They surrounded the man and subdued him. He was dragged from the room.

It took a few minutes for our youth group leader to get us back to singing. When we did, we kept looking behind us to see what was next. But nothing happened after that.

When we finished singing our host escorted us down stairs. At the door, he thanked us for coming. On the way home we had a lot to talk about. Jeff said nothing.

That night I told my parents about my experience at Elgin State. Father said he was reminded of the Gadarene demoniac. Mom said “That poor man.”

Two weeks later, on New Year’s Eve, I was allowed to stay up late. I sat with my father as he watched the newsman recap what had happened in 1965. Something was said about demonstrations and Vietnam and The Great Society. But I sat there thinking about “that poor” wild “man” in Elgin State. He sure reacted to The First Noël.

Are We to Be Their Playthings?

“There is no question in my mind that very significant powerbrokers around the world have either planned to take advantage of the next pandemic or created the pandemic.” – Dr. Michael Yeadon, ex-Pfizer VP

Sixty years ago, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, in his farewell address January 17, 1961, warned the nation:

“. . . we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military–industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists, and will persist.”

The “conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry” persisted by the means of self-preservation: generate kinetic military action to generate the continued sales of military armament.

Clearly this “misplaced power” existed in the Bush-Cheney and the Obama-Biden administrations. Both made sure to continue world strife.

The Nobel Peace Prize winning 44th president launched more drone strikes than “43” carried out during two full terms. Obama launched two undeclared wars, and—as he bragged in a speech defending the Iran deal—bombed no fewer than seven countries.

Sixty years later and we are witnessing and are subject to another disastrous rise of misplaced powerGlobalist Oligarch Tech World Order Kyrioi Enclave (G.O.T.W.O.K.E.).

 The “military–industrial complex” was described as an “iron triangle” with government officials, legislators, and military-industrial firms at adjoining angles.

G.O.T.W.O.K.E. can be described as an inverted pentagram. The five interconnected points of darkness are globalists, oligarchs, techno-utopians, politicians and the media. Within the star are the stakeholders: government entities such as the CDC, NIH, DHS, etc., the Party of Davos, Pope Francis, and a supporting cast of useful idiots such as Progressive Christians -Evangelicals, Catholics, Jesuits – and election-stealing Democrats.

The inverted star represents the consortium of power and Satanic influence at work to subvert the created order.

Literature has analogies to G.O.T.W.O.K.E. For, the evil that man does to man has been repeated throughout history. Those who write to warn us, take the implications from the record of atrocities and apply them in a post-contemporary setting which contain new means to apply the same evil.

The three authors below published their novels after WWI and WWII. They understood the horrors resulting from progressivism and totalitarianism.

Aldous Huxley, in his novel Brave New World wrote of the World State and its motto “Community, Identity, Stability”.

In George Orwell’s 1984 we read ofthe “Party” and its enigmatic leader Big Brother. Of course, the Party has slogans: “War is peace,” “Freedom is slavery,” and “Ignorance is strength.”

C.S. Lewis penned a space trilogy. In the third novel in that series – That Hideous Strength – we learn of the National Institute for Co-ordinated Experiments (N.I.C.E.) N.I.C.E. is a scientific and social engineering agency and a front for dark supernatural forces. There are significant parallels of N.I.C.E. activity to what is happening today.

Like N.I.C.E., G.O.T.W.O.K.E. will stop at nothing to get their way. The epigraph and the following is from the article Ex-Pfizer Vice-President: COVID-19 Vaccines to Cause “Mass Depopulation” Event Within 2 years | The Red Elephants (the entire post is a must read!)

“I think the end game is going to be, ‘everyone receives a vaccine’… Everyone on the planet is going to find themselves persuaded, cajoled, not quite mandated, hemmed-in to take a jab. 

“When they do that every single individual on the planet will have a name, or unique digital ID and a health status flag which will be ‘vaccinated,’ or not … and whoever possesses that, sort of single database, operable centrally, applicable everywhere to control, to provide as it were, a privilege, you can either cross this particular threshold or conduct this particular transaction or not depending on [what] the controllers of that one human population database decide. And I think that’s what this is all about because once you’ve got that, we become playthings and the world can be as the controllers of that database want it.” 

And so it is that one of the pointy fingers of G.O.T.W.O.K.E., the media, invoked a representative of an increasingly Progressive Christian college to call out, persuade, and cajole White Evangelical Christians to submit to “a jab.”

“If we can’t get a significant number of white evangelicals to come around on this, the pandemic is going to last much longer than it needs to,” said Jamie Aten, founder and executive director of the Humanitarian Disaster Institute at Wheaton College, an evangelical institution in Illinois.”

White Evangelical Resistance Is Obstacle in Vaccination Effort – The New York Times (nytimes.com)

We are told in the NYT article that “Distrust of scientists has become part of cultural identity, of what it means to be white and evangelical in America”.

So, we are to trust Anthony Fauci, who with Francis Collins of the NIH, was behind the gain of function experiments gone awry in Wuhan China? Are we to trust scientism – scientific claims devoid of empirical evidence and debate and derived from ideology?

I wonder. Do Progressives pray “woke will be done on earth as it is in my belief system”? This would make sense with the following.

One of the rules Victor Davis Hanson lists in his article Radical New Rules for Post-America, Americans privately fear these rules, while publicly appearing to accept them is . . .

“Wokeness is the new religion, growing faster and larger than Christianity itself.”

Of course, to be a woke crusader one must wield the sword of wokeness. One must slash scientism deniers with cutting edge wokeness.

While woke warriors are fighting the good fight with yard signs, bumper stickers, virtue signaling, and interviews they are too busy to notice what G.O.T.W.O.K.E. is doing. This is by G.O.T.W.O.K.E. design.

The COVID-19 “pandemic” is being employed to produce a feudal state. The new class structures will mirror Medieval times.

 Following a remarkable epoch of greater dispersion of wealth and opportunity, we are inexorably returning towards a more feudal era marked by greater concentration of wealth and property, reduced upward mobility, demographic stagnation, and increased dogmatism. If the last seventy years saw a massive expansion of the middle class, not only in America but in much of the developed world, today that class is declining and a new, more hierarchical society is emerging.

The Coming of Neo-Feudalism: A Warning to the Global Middle Class by Joel Kotkin (goodreads.com)

One major way to bring about a feudal state is the control of money.

You may be aware that the Fed has propped up the stock market with low interest rates. But those not in the stock market and with a savings account have not earned interest on their money. So, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer – by design.

And, when the Biden regime talks about spending trillions of dollars for infrastructure (‘crumbling roads and bridges”) they mean they will spend a small portion on infrastructure and a massive amount to produce Obama’s “fundamental transformation” of society. The inordinate spending will mean increased taxation and not just of the wealthy. Raising your taxes is in the docket.

With the amount of government spending based on printing money and accruing debt beyond our GDP, a devaluation of the dollar and inflation will soon hit the economy. The middle class and poor will be hit hardest. Inflation means that the cost of goods will go up but wages will remain stagnant so that businesses can afford the cost of goods. Your purchasing power will decline.

With a devalued dollar, the Fed will create a digital world currency to replace physical currency. This may be done under the guise of securing public health: “cash passes on disease and pandemics”.

You will be required to exchange your physical dollars into the new digital dollar (DUSD). But here’s the kicker. The exchange rate will not be one for one. It will start out less than one for one and then decrease over time. This will serve to persuade, cajole, and force you to exchange your USD for DUSD.

And, as Dr. Michael Yeadon infers about the vaccine, a digital currency means we become playthings and the world can be as the controllers of that database want it.” 

Your smartphone is to become the controller’s means to monitor your behavior. A social credit system will be set up using your phone. This is not science fiction. This system will parallel the China Social Credit System mandated by the Chinese Communist Party. China’s population of 1,443,585,192 is controlled digitally.

Your money, your health, your contacts, your purchases – everything about you will be monitored in light (dark, really) of G.O.T.W.O.K.E. social policy. G.O.T.W.O.K.E.’s Great Reset is going to make this happen in our lifetime.

Consider what the above means for Christians. G.O.T.W.O.K.E. is led by atheists, nihilists and narcissists. None of them want anything to do with God. The tower of Techno-Babel they are building has nothing to do with God. They desire to delete Christ with their apps and algos and then by persecutions and deaths.

Some place their hope in a “horses and chariots” election, in an outpouring of rebuke against what is happening. But what I have written about above is taking place now and will not be overcome by voting in the ‘right’ candidates. We must prepare for what is next.

So, I believe it is time for Christians to prepare to go underground. Get rid of personal debt. Get rid of church buildings, building programs and church debt.

The underground church is nothing new. And, it is necessary. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists, and will persist as Christians in China are fully aware.

We go underground to recover what it means to follow Christ and to steel ourselves with prayer and intimate community for what is coming.

For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the LORD will arise upon you, and his glory will be seen upon you.

Isaiah 60:2

*****

Episode 852 –they are coming for people of faith NY Times and Liz Cheney
Episode 854 – Occam’s Razor … Fauci’s Virus and Open Borders Superspreaders
Episode 858 – Naomi Wolf Cryptocurrency and China’s Passports … The CCP’s Next Attack

You can choose to not submit your yourself to those who would use you as playthings:

Here it comes:

CDC declares racism “a serious public health threat” – Axios

Bill Gates, George Soros Team Up To Form Organization Tasked with Policing with ‘Disinformation’ – Conservative Brief

Some women report heavier and more painful PERIODS since getting the COVID-19 vaccine | Daily Mail Online

Second Vaccination Site Halts Operations After Adverse Reactions to Johnson & Johnson Vaccine (theepochtimes.com)

Beautiful 28-Year-Old Nurse Died Because of the Pfizer mRNA Injection – Shaneya.Info

They Are After Your Child – They Want to Inject Your Child With Dangerous Synthetic mRNA Technology – Shaneya.Info

Mandatory Vaccines, Mandatory Tracking Bracelets and Mandatory PCR Tests Are a Pretext to Mandatory RFID Implants Into Our Hand and Brain – Shaneya.Info

Georgia is the fourth state to pause Johnson & Johnson vaccine (nypost.com)

We are CNN’s Playthings:

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Note: The “rapture” is a fantasy imposed onto Scripture. We should see the Scripture in the context it was written and not add fantasy notions to it. The Apostle Paul, by the Holy Spirit, gave us the imagery of Christ returning in power. In 1 Thessalonians 4.15-16 the Apostle “Paul is casting a vision of Christ’s return wrapped in political overturns (he actually does this a lot!)”. There will be no “rapture”. “The Late Great Planet Earth” and the “Left Behind” series of ‘end times’ books are fantasies imposed on Scripture. These books are not worth your time.

*****

The Eyes Have It

At the cross. At the burial. At the empty tomb. Three wait-and-see days. Three women.

The gospel according to Mark begins with the ushering in of “the good news of Jesus the Messiah, God’s son” (Mk. 1:1). Composed of short narratives that could be easily visualized by those who heard its reading, Mark’s terse and unembellished gospel clears a straight path so that the reader can see and perceive Jesus as the fulfillment of God’s promises (Mk. 1:3).

For example, Mark uses literary bracketing (inclusio) to focus in on that fulfillment. Two accounts of blind men receiving their sight bracket Jesus telling his disciples (three times) that he will be rejected, handed over to the authorities, killed and then rise from the dead after three days.  (Beginning Bracket: Mark 8:22-26; End Bracket:  Mark.10:46-52.)

Because of their own unwillingness to really really look at Jesus (cf. Mk.8:25) the disciples do not perceive Jesus as the fulfillment of God’s promises through death and resurrection.

At a mission critical point in the gospel account -Mark chapter 8 – Jesus reproaches his disciples for their lack of understanding. We learn from the brutally honest account that those closest to Jesus, each with two good eyes and two good ears, still did not grasp that the Messiah had to be crucified and then rise again. We hear that in Peter’s repudiation of that mission (Mk. 8:32).

Peter is Mark’s principal eyewitness source of what Jesus said and did and of the disciple’s reactions. But after the end of Mark chapter 14, where Peter’s denial is recorded, Peter and the male disciples are nowhere to be seen or heard from.

Three women are introduced into the passion narrative (Mk 15). They are the source for Mark’s passion account. They are eyewitnesses of what occurred at the cross, at the burial and at the empty tomb.

Earlier in the text, Mark wrote of the blind gaining sight, of those with two good eyes not seeing and not perceiving what was taking place. Mark now places emphasis on seeing that would lead to perceiving and, hopefully, to belief. He records the seeing of the women seven times:

Henry Ossawa Tanner

At the cross. Some of the women observed from a distance. They included Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of the younger James and of Joses, and Salome. They had followed Jesus in Galilee, and had attended to his needs. There were several other women, too, who had come up with him to Jerusalem. (Mk. 15: 40-41).

(Note that Mark added that these women had also been with Jesus for most of his ministry. He is telling us that they had observed Jesus from his early ministry to the empty tomb. These women likely heard Jesus teach his disciples new things: about him being handed over to be killed and his rising from the dead after three days. (Mk. 8:31-32; 9:31-32; 10:32-45)

At the burial. Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses observed where he was buried. (Mk. 15:47)

At the empty tomb. After the Sabbath, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they could come and anoint Jesus …” who’s going to roll the stone away for us?”

Then, when they looked up, they observed that it had been rolled away. (It was extremely large.) (Mk. 16: 1-4)

So they went into the tomb, and there they saw a young man sitting on the right hand side. He was wearing white. They were totally astonished.

“Don’t be astonished,” he said to them. “You’re looking for Jesus of Nazarene, who was crucified. He has been raised! He isn’t here! Look – this is the place where they laid him.

“But go and tell his disciples – including Peter – that he is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there, just like he told you.” (Mk. 16:5-7)

The earliest manuscripts of Mark’s gospel account end at 16: 8:

They [the three women] went out, and fled from the tomb. Trembling and panic had seized them. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.

This is a curious ending for a gospel that begins with “the good news of Jesus the Messiah, God’s son”. Mark clearly wanted the readers to perceive Jesus as the Messiah, God’s son. He clearly wanted the reader to take in the crucifixion of the Messiah and his bodily resurrection. Why end good news with fear and trembling?

Mark’s gospel account may have had a longer ending. If the original manuscript was written on a scroll (likely), the edge of the scroll containing his ending may have deteriorated. This also happened to many dead sea scrolls.

Later copies of Mark contained appended text (Mk. 16: 9-20). This text may have been added by a scribe in the second century who was familiar with Luke’s gospel account. There are similarities. Mark’s promise of “the good news of Jesus the Messiah, God’s son” has been restored- fulfilled – with the added text. And so was Mark’s emphasis of those not perceiving what is taking place.

Mark’s narrative emphasis on hardness of heart leading to unbelief – rejecting what has been seen and heard by eyewitness accounts– is reinforced in the added text:

When Jesus was raised, early on the first day of the week, he appeared to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons. She went and told the people who had been with him, who were mourning and weeping. When they heard that he was alive, and that he had been seen by her, they didn’t believe it.

After this he appeared in a different guise to two of them as they were walking into the countryside. They came back and told the others, but they didn’t believe them.

Later Jesus appeared to the eleven themselves, as they were at table. He told them off for their unbelief and the hardness, for not believing those who had seen him after he had been raised. (Mk. 16: 9-14)

At the cross. At the burial. At the empty tomb. Three wait-and-see days. Three women seeing seven times. Eleven hard-hearted disciples. And you? You still don’t get it? (cf. Mk.8:21)

All God’s promises, you see, find their yes in him: and that’s why we say the yes, the “Amen,” through him when we pray to God and give him glory (2 Cor. 1:20)

The eyes have it. Amen.

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Episode 836 – No Sanctuary in a Church … Mask Police Attack Pregnant Woman
Episode 843 – The Deep Church … Fraud and Fines Against Christians
Episode 847 – Descent Into Hell Transhumanism and the New Human

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“Nowhere in early Christian literature do we find traditions attributed to the community as their source or transmitter, only as the recipient. Against the general form-critical image of the early Christian movement as anonymous collectivity, we must stress that the New testament writings are full of prominent named individuals . . . Compared with the prominence of named individuals in the New Testament itself, form criticism represented a rather strange depersonalization of early Christianity that still exercised an unconscious influence on New Testament scholars.”[i]


[i] Richard Bauckham, Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony (William B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., Grand Rapids, MI), 2017), 297

A Plain Reading of the Times

The brainwashing techniques of the tortuous past year – the state’s coercion to make us obey irrational and inhuman restrictions, the sensory-depriving mask mandates, the social isolation, the state-instigated shaming and punishment of those not conforming, the 24/7 fear-peddling of the media, the forced subjugation to pseudo-science, the unrelenting “get-the” vaccine goading – reminded me of the O’Brien-Winston Smith struggle session in George Orwell’s 1984:

I tell you, Winston, that reality is not external. Reality exists in the human mind, and nowhere else. Not in the individual mind, which can make mistakes, and in any case soon perishes: only in the mind of the Party, which is collective and immortal. Whatever the Party holds to be the truth, is truth. It is impossible to see reality except by looking through the eyes of the Party.

O’Brien later questions Winston as to Winston’s understanding of why people are brought to Room 101. Winston replies “To make them confess”. O’Brien replies “No, that is not the reason. Try again”. Winston answers “To punish them.” “No!” exclaimed O’Brien.

“Shall I tell you why we brought you here? “To make you sane! . . . The Party is not interested in the overt act: the thought is all we care about. We do not merely destroy our enemies; we change them.”

What has taken place the past year is also eerily similar to the mind-control techniques used on Korean War prisoners detained by communists in North Korea and China. The Biderman Report of 1956, details techniques used on prisoners (see chart below).

What has taken place the past year -the quashing of dissent – is also eerily similar to the destabilization techniques (“decomposition”) that was used in Stasi psychological and political warfare.

…the Stasi often used a method which was really diabolic. It was called Zersetzung, and it’s described in another guideline. The word is difficult to translate because it means originally “biodegradation.” But actually, it’s a quite accurate description. The goal was to destroy secretly the self-confidence of people, for example by damaging their reputation, by organizing failures in their work, and by destroying their personal relationships. Considering this, East Germany was a very modern dictatorship. The Stasi didn’t try to arrest every dissident. It preferred to paralyze them, and it could do so because it had access to so much personal information and to so many institutions.
—Hubertus Knabe, German historian

“The aim of decomposition is the fragmentation, paralysis, disorganization and isolation of hostile-negative forces, thereby providing a differentiated political-ideological recovery.”

You can read about the methods of The Stasi Decomposition here.

The 20th century handed us blood-stained receipts for the purchase of ideological conformity. These should have served as warning signs. But these signs are being taken down. History, with its own voice of dissent, is being “decomposed” by those who are taking control of the past (e.g., the 1619 Project). For . . .

Those who control the present, control the past and those who control the past control the future. ― George Orwell, 1984

2021 and the “PARTY” continues. Over my 68 years I’ve witnessed the American psyche transformed from an attitude akin to that of fiercely independent frontier folk to that of the emasculated, passive and childlike Eloi. In the process Americans have become fodder for the ruthless dark army of the “PARTY”, aka Globalists.

It is the Progressives – “PARTY” useful idiots – who use coercion and control, as documented above, to demoralize, degrade, and dispatch Americans. It was the much-ballyhooed Progressive FDR who ordered Japanese-Americans into internment camps. FDR created a milieu of fear to perpetrate this crime against a portion of humanity.

Have you noticed? For Progressives, being a U.S. citizen means doing nothing more or less than what they say. And, Progressives do not stop with removing freedom and rights of Americans. They desire the exorcism of the human spirit so that you and I may only be possessed by their collectivist ideology.

Human agency is a problem for Progressives. Your claim to be made in the image of God is a major problem for them. Your heart, mind and soul must be purged of anything that is God-resident. We do not merely destroy our enemies; we change them.

Over the past year we’ve witnessed how they “change them”. We’ve seen people forced to submit to the indoctrination of Critical Race Theory. We learned of the dark army’s passage of the For the People Act of 2021 (H.R. 1) – the act works to keep the dark army in control Of We the People.

We’ve learned of Megan Markle’s childish “me-me-me” worldview that was meant to be replicated worldwide. And, we’ve seen the entire population locked down when only those at risk – a small segment of the population – should have been quarantined.

We’ve seen the normalcy “goal post” moved over and over the past year (a destabilization technique). We’ve been forced to follow the (pseudo-)science of COVID pronouncements.

In truth, leftists and Democrats have become the purveyors of superstition. Their creation of a fantasy world is not because they do not believe in science per se, but because they believe more in the primacy of ideology that should shape and warp science in the proper fashion for the greater good. What prompted Paul Ehrlich, Al Gore, or Representative Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) hysterically and wrongly to forecast widespread demographic or climatological catastrophe in just a few years was not ignorance of science per se, but a desire to massage science for our own good.

. . . Fauci has rejected science, as he knew it, to mislead the public. . . he adopted the Platonic “noble lie” on occasion. – Victor Davis Hanson, Follow The ‘Science’ They Said

In this post I presented some analogies from history of what the intelligentsia – those who think they know better than you; today these are the Globalists of Davos – will do to make sure you are controlled to the nth degree so as to produce the outcomes they desire.

Now come the questions: Since we have the blood-soaked receipts of the evil that occurred in the 20th century are people now allowing it to happen again?

Where are people’s heads at right now? Are people running around in a make-believe Where the Wild Things Are world created for them by the thought-control Globalists? Is political correctness and the “cancel culture” about people preferring a make-believe world as found in children’s books? Do people relate to Megan-Markle spewing her WOKE pablum?

(What should be deeply concerning: history and now literature, which also takes us beyond our finite self-world, are now being discarded as not being relevant to one’s own “me-me-me” experience.)

Do people like being treated like children? Are there people who are perfectly content being juvenile in their thinking and playing the Eloi? A plain reading of the times would indicate this to be so.

“Take your medicine and we’ll give you a cookie (or a Krispy Kreme Donut).”

****

Below are some links, videos, and podcasts – basically, a plain reading of the times:

“…reports of injuries and deaths following the experimental COVID-19 “vaccines.”

3,964 DEAD 162,610 Injuries: European Database of Adverse Drug Reactions for COVID-19 “Vaccines” (healthimpactnews.com)

Doctors Around the World Issue Dire WARNING: DO NOT GET THE COVID VACCINE!! (healthimpactnews.com)

The vaccine – “an experiment on humanity.”

Wait Until You Find Out What They’re Not Telling You About Covid-19 – Revolver

Man’s skin ‘peeled off’ in reaction to Johnson & Johnson COVID shot (nypost.com)

Transhumanism, (Nano) Technology, and the New you!

Transhumanism Is The New Religion Of Technocracy

Here’s someone fighting the dark army with Light:

Deconstructing “Wokethink” – Mark Jeftovic (02/25/2021) – WallStreetWindow.com

Dr. Gad Saad: How Infectious Ideas are killing Common Sense; Idea Pathogens

EXCLUSIVE: Cigna’s critical race theory training: Don’t say ‘brown bag lunch’ and be mindful of ‘religious privilege’ (washingtonexaminer.com)

Episode 818 – Industrialized Crime … The Globalists’ Border Crisis and Endless Warfare
Episode 825 – Trust the Science, Follow the Money … American Elites’ Connection
Episode 831 – Black Box Voting … Ending Voter Fraud in Machines and By Mail

Added 3-31-2021: Here’s an interesting talk by an interesting character. Brand gives us a plain reading of the times. He comments on the Davos’ elitist view of things (us) and their takeover of the world via technology. He talks about the COVID Pandemic Shock Doctrine, The Great Reset, and the disturbing trends of technology.

(You will want to read the thread.)

“You still don’t get it?”

“I can see people,” said the man, peering around, “but they look like trees walking about.”

A blind man gains partial sight. He interprets the forms he sees via his prior limited understanding. Did he know at this stage that his perception was off?

The gospel according to Mark is composed of short narratives that could be easily visualized by those who heard its oral performance. Mark would have the listener hear, see and perceive who Jesus is. He would have the listener understand that seeing and hearing alone are not sufficient for the followers of Jesus. Understanding is what is required. At a mission critical point in the gospel account -Mark chapter 8 – Jesus reproaches his disciples for their lack of understanding.

The disciples had been mumbling about not having brought enough bread for their boat crossing. Yet twice before they had seen with their own two good eyes Jesus multiplying loaves to feed thousands. They had picked up the leftovers! And now they are mumbling about not having enough bread!

“Don’t you get it? Don’t you understand? Have your hearts gone hard? Can’t you see with your two good eyes? Can’t you hear with your two good ears?”

“You still don’t get it?”

Right after this rebuke is the narrative of the blind man who receives a two-stage healing of his eyesight (Mk. 8:22-26). The man’s depth of field is made whole. He could see everything clearly. Men were no longer like walking trees. His perception was growing.

Mark then increases the depth of field for those visualizing the account of the blind man’s healing:

Jesus and his disciples came to the villages of Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked his disciples, “Who are the people saying that I am?

(I suppose in this setting that Jesus’ question could also be stated as “What do people perceive about me?”)

He gets feedback.

John the Baptist,” they said, or, some say, Elijah. Or, some say, one of the prophets.

Like the blind man whose initial vision is without depth of field and lacking clarity, people are reporting that they are seeing a form that they were vaguely familiar with.

What about you? asked Jesus. Who do you say that I am?

Peter, recently admonished about the bread incident, doesn’t hesitate to declare “You’re the Messiah.”

The people perceived Jesus to be one of several polemical figures: Elijah, John the Baptist or a prophet. The people were looking for just such a figure to re-enter into their times and bring about God’s judgement on the wicked.

Peter, like many Jews during the second temple period, looked for a new emergent figure: the messiah.

Hearing Peter’s reply, Jesus gave his disciples strict orders to not disclose this to anyone. It would appear that Jesus had more to teach the disciples and he didn’t want them to go public without them seeing/understanding what he sees. Mk. 8:31:

Jesus now began to teach them something new.

Jesus tells the disciples that the son of man must suffer and die at the hands of those who reject him.

Peter is clearly rattled with this new teaching. Clinging to the vague figure of a messiah and projecting onto Jesus that image, Peter rebukes Jesus for saying things that would alter his own view of things.

Jesus sternly rebukes Peter for rebuking him.

Get behind me, Accuser! he said. You’re thinking human thoughts, not God’s thoughts.

Even after all that he had witnessed, including an unclean spirt that identified Jesus as “God’s Holy One”, Peter still did not perceive who Jesus is. Peter still didn’t understand. Peter, with his “human thoughts”, was still in “men as trees walking” mode.

Jesus does not hold back. Jesus goes on to describe what is required of those who follow him. He talks about life altering choices. He talks about accountability. (I think Peter, at this point, wanted to go back to passing out bread.)

Having taught them something new, Jesus, his mind set like flint towards Jerusalem, brings his closest disciples on a field trip. Peter, James and John go with Jesus up atop a high mountain. There, Jesus is transfigured into heavenly splendor right before their eyes. Moses and Elijah, the Law and the Prophets, are standing with Jesus.

Peter, again using human thoughts, didn’t know what to say but he said it anyway . . .

I tell you what – we’ll make three shelters, one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah!

Peter (“You still don’t get it?” Peter) gets another stern rebuke:

Then a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud: This is my son, the one I love. LISTEN TO HIM!

This same Peter declares to bystanders who are questioning his relationship to Jesus, “I don’t know this man you’re talking about.”

A Roman centurion who stood before the cross, saw how Jesus died. He declared “This fellow really was God’s son.”

Seeing, hearing and perceiving. “You still don’t get it?”

****

Mark’s skillfully structured biography uses a literary device (inclusio) to emphasize that seeing, hearing and perceiving things from God’s perspective are absolutely essential traits for followers of Jesus. Between healing-of-blind-man narrative brackets, Jesus takes his disciples aside and talks mission detail. He relates what His father has told them. He wants the disciples to take this in. This information will prepare them for what is coming.

Beginning Bracket: Mark 8:22-26. We read of a blind man receiving a two-stage healing. Then, in Mark 8:31-32

There’s big trouble in store for the son of man, he said. The elders, the chief priests, and the scribes are going to reject him. He will be will be killed – and after three days he’ll be raised. He said this all quite explicitly.

And, again in Mark 9:31-32:

The son of man is going to be given over into human hands. They will kill him; and when he’s been killed, after three days he will rise again.

They didn’t understand the saying, and they were afraid to ask him.

And, again in Mark 10:32-34:

“Look, he said, “we’re going up to Jerusalem. The son of man will be handed over to the chief priests and the legal experts, and they will condemn him and hand him over to the pagans. They will taunt him and spit at him and flog him and kill him – after three days he will rise again.

End Bracket:  Mark.10:46-52. A blind beggar named Bartimaeus receives his sight after calling out loudly to Jesus “Son of David! Jesus! Take Pity on Me! … Son of David take pity on me! . . . Teacher, let me see again.”

****

Both hardness of hard (Mk. 3:5) and the leaven of the Pharisees and of Herod (Mk. 8:15) can keep one from seeing and perceiving who Jesus is and what he is about. Jesus warned against both.

When the disciples asked about his use of parables (Mk4:10-13), Jesus’ response included words from Isaiah 6: 9-10:

The mystery of the kingdom is given to you, but for the people outside it’s all in parable, so that ‘they may look and look but never see, and hear and hear but never understand; otherwise they would turn and be forgiven.’

Don’t you understand the parable? He said to them. How are you going to understand all the parables?

When Jesus confronts the disciple’s mumbling about not bringing enough bread (Mk.8:17-18) he questions them as to whether they are just like the outsiders he talked about in his response to parable use:

Can’t you see with your two good eyes?

Can’t you hear with your two good ears?

Many today do not perceive who Jesus is. They, like Peter, readily associate themselves with Jesus, as Jesus appears to them as being “on the right side of history”. But they remain clueless as to who he is. Instead, they project onto Jesus a form they are familiar (and comfortable) with.

Some are not comfortable with a Jewish Jesus. Some project onto Jesus a Catholic or Evangelical image. Some project onto Jesus an image of a Progressive social justice warrior. Some say he is Elijah, some say John the Baptist and others . . . Oprah, for instance, projects a Pluralist-Pantheist-Playdough image onto “the Son of God”.

***

Why was Jesus pressing so hard for his disciples to gain understanding? Human thoughts deny the reality of Jesus every time. With God’s thoughts, God’s perspectives, we can see beyond our present circumstances and our present suffering and grab ahold of God’s resources.

The apostle Paul, who wrote of unwise hearts growing dark (Rm. 1:21) and teachers possessing an outline of knowledge and truth (Rm. 2:20) prayed for the church at Ephesus. He desired that the church receive the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Jesus.

I personalized Paul’s prayer, found in Ephesians 1: 17-19, so that those of us who follow the Lord can pray and grow in the wisdom, knowledge and understanding of our Lord.

I pray that the God of King Jesus, our lord, the father of glory, would give me, in my spirit, the gift of being wise, of seeing things people can’t normally see, because I am coming to know him and to have the eyes of my inner most self opened to God’s light. Then I will know exactly what the hope is that goes with God’s call; I will know the wealth of the glory of his inheritance in his holy people; and I will know the outstanding greatness of his power toward those who are loyal to him in faith, according to the working of his strength and power.

****

War Room Episode 795 – Dennis Prager, Transhumanism, and the West

Step Outside

“Late last month the Boundary Waters was named a dark sky sanctuary by the International Dark Sky Association, a nonprofit that works around the world to reduce light pollution and protect night skies. It’s one of just 13 such designations in the world

To qualify, a place has to have exceptional starry nights, and a “nocturnal environment that is protected for its scientific, natural or education value, its cultural heritage and/or public enjoyment.

 . . . We’re looking at a sky that people looked at thousands of years ago. And to me it feels like preserving a really special heritage. It’s part of the fabric of the Boundary Waters.”

Boundary Waters designated a dark sky sanctuary

Many years before this recent designation of “dark sky sanctuary”, I took in the “exceptional starry nights”. I did this during my two-week canoe trips out of Ely, MN into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

The trips were about camping out in a secluded wilderness with close friends. And for me at least, it was about getting out of town and experiencing a different reality. My parents were not campers.

Born and raised in the city of Chicago and later moving to the suburbs, life was lived under manmade illumination.

I ate, played, did homework – did everything – by the light of incandescent, fluorescent or thungsten-halogen lamps. At night I walked or rode my bike under the mango-yellow light of street lamps.

In the Boundary Waters Wilderness there was none of that. When the campfire smoldered out, or when I wandered off from the camp, the firmament provided the only light.

Within that night sky sanctuary, absent of “light pollution”, billions of stars were sending out light. I learned later that the starlight had come to me from the distant past.

The night sky sanctuary is a time machine. Things had been set in motion long before I came around. I needed to step outside my frame of reference to understand this.

****

Within the eyewitness testimony recorded in Mark’s gospel, there is an account not recorded in the other three gospels. We read of a blind man receiving his sight in two stages. The account is situated right after the account of the disciples not “seeing” – not understanding – what is right in from of them.

In Mark chapter 8 vs. 12-21, we find the disciples concerned about not having brought enough bread for their boat crossing. Their concern and confusion began when they did not understand Jesus’ warning.

“Beware!” said Jesus sternly to them, “watch out for leaven – the Pharisees’ leaven, and Herod’s leaven too!”

(One could say that “the leaven of the Pharisees” leads to a rising sense of self-righteousness. And, the “leaven” of Herod leads to a rising sense of self-importance. Both leavens lead to an eclipsing of the light of day.)

Jesus then sternly replies to the disciples and their mumbling about not bringing bread.

“Don’t you get it? Don’t you understand? Have your hearts gone hard? Can’t you see with your two good eyes? Can’t you hear with your two good ears?”

Jesus goes on to point out the obvious to his disciples: they were directly involved in feeding the five thousand and the four thousand. Each time they started with only a few loaves and ended up with baskets full of leftovers. How could they not understand and take in what took place in their presence?

Then comes the account of the man without two good eyes. Mark 8: 22-26:

They arrived at Bethsaida. A blind man was brought to Jesus, and they begged him to touch him. He took his hand, led him outside the village, and put spittle on his eyes. Then he laid hands on him and asked, “Can you see anything?”

“I can see people,” said the man, peering around, “but they look like trees walking about.”

Then Jesus laid his hands on him once more. This time he looked hard, and his sight came back: he could see everything clearly. Jesus sent him back home.

Don’t even go into the village, he said.

The blind man recovers partial sight after Jesus touches him. He gains full sight after Jesus touches him again. The man looks really, really hard all around. Everything then came into view for the once-blind man. He can now “walk perfectly on all his paths.”

Though I’ve read this passage many times before, what stood out this time – Jesus leading the blind man out of the village before restoring his sight. Did the village represent an established framework of thinking – a frame of reference – that needed to be reorientated by Jesus?

Was the variation in setting, from where the man had long groped for a path to outside the village, meant to be an object lesson for the disciples? They also groped for understanding. Did they need to step outside the village understanding of things?

Was the relocation outside the village for the healing a means to clear away obstacles from the man’s path? To straighten out paths for the blind man and the understanding of the disciples?

The disciples and Mark’s readers would no doubt understand the meaning within this account. Seeing and not seeing correlate to understanding and not understanding in words of the prophet Isaiah (Is. 6: 9-10). And both states correlate with the path one walks. This is heard in the words of the Damascus Document found near the Qumran community.

The “Teacher” exhorts the reader to “Listen to me and I shall open your eyes so that you can see and understand the deeds of God . . . so that you can walk perfectly on all his paths” (CD2:14-16)

The gospel of Mark opens with quotes from prophets Isaiah (40:3) and Malachi (3:1) in reference to John the Baptist:

“Look! I am sending my messenger ahead of me; he will clear the way for you! A shout goes up in the desert: Make way for the Lord! Clear a straight path for him!”

In the verses that follow we read of relocation, redirection and the clearing away of impediments in order to walk perfectly.

Mark writes of John the Baptist appearing in the desert announcing a baptism of repentance. A relocation outside the village.

Then we read that “the spirt pushed him (Jesus) out into the desert.” A redirection from villages. (Imagine the night sky over the desert – a dark sky sanctuary declaring the glory of God.)

The blind man, once groping for a path, stepped outside his frame of reference with Jesus. There, he was healed and saw what the disciples had yet come to see– that Jesus is the Frame of Reference. All else is darkness, murkiness, groping, and . . . mumbling.

****

2017 Biologos Conference, Astronomer and President of BioLogos Deborah Haarsma: Christ and the Cosmos

Playing the “Ice-game of Reason”?

Years ago, now, I read the folk stories of Hans Christian Anderson to my two youngest. Storytime included The Ugly Duckling, Thumbelina, The Little Match Girl, The Princess and the Pea, The Steadfast Tin Soldier and… The Snow Queen.

First published in 1845, The Snow Queen centers on the struggle between good and evil as taken on by a little boy and girl, Kay and Gerda.

Below are the seven stories of the Snow Queen (audio and pdf).

First Story: Which Treats of a Mirror and of the Splinters

Second Story: A little Boy and a Little Girl

Third Story: Of the Flower-Garden at the Old Woman’s Who Knew the Art of Sorcery

Fourth Story: The Prince and Princess

Fifth Story: The Little Robber Maiden

Sixth Story: The Lapland Woman and the Finland Woman

Seventh Story” What Took Place in the Palace of the Snow Queen, and What Happened Afterward

Juxtaposed! News ™ Lightfoot and Barrett

Intersectionality Wins the Day

“For years, they’ve said Chicago ain’t ready for reform. Well, get ready, because reform is here,” announced Chicago’s first openly gay and African-American female mayor Lori Lightfoot during her inaugural address. Lightfoot defeated Preckwinkle in the runoff election, becoming mayor-elect of Chicago. on May 20, 2019.

Lori Lightfoot Mayor of

The mayoral election results confirmed that the threefer intersectionality of Lightfoot (black, female, lesbian) trumped the twofer intersectionality of Toni Preckwinkle (black, female) and that identity politics matters to Chicago Democrats. The election results confirmed that “change” was just one more label away.

“I campaigned on change. You voted for change. And I plan to deliver change to our government.”

In her latest attempt to “deliver change” and show Chicago that “reform is here”, Mayor Lightfoot, a former federal prosecutor, a former president of the Chicago Police Board and former chair of the Chicago Police Accountability Task Force, is taking steps to deal with the city’s crime and the coronavirus. “Change” is just a ticket and a mask away.

Mayor Lightfoot has proposed an intersectional two-fer to handle Chicago’s violent offenders and its budget crises:  a city budget that includes speed-camera ticketing of drivers going over six MPH over the speed limit. If enacted, cars that speed away from drive-by shootings will be ticketed and the city will gain revenue. Reform is here. But, what about the city and state’s Covid-19 initiative?

Defeating Covid-19 and enforcing what some are calling “a culture of safetyism” are behind Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s latest mandate outlining new rules for restaurants, bars and social gatherings in multiple counties including Chicago’s Cook County. The rules included a decision to close indoor dining. The Governor, throwing the full weight of his office behind the new mandate, said Wednesday that he would send the Illinois State Police to the regions where restaurants and bars were defying his orders.

Mayor Lightfoot and Gov. Pritzker

In the shadow of Gov. Pritzker, Mayor Lightfoot, on Oct. 1, 2020, offered her own tour de force – subjecting the Coronavirus to a triple threat of her intersectional power in super hero fashion. Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, donned “Rona Destroyer” costumes for a pre-Halloween press conference.

Lightfoot as Rona Destroyer

On May 20, 2019, Lori Lightfoot was awarded Chicago’s four stars. Elections have consequences. So, watch out Covid-19.

Intersectionality at the Crossroad

On Tuesday Oct. 27th, 2020, following a private ceremony in the Supreme Court’s East Conference Room, Judge Amy Coney Barrett officially became Justice Barrett. Chief Justice John Roberts administered the Judicial Oath to Barrett, as husband Jesse held the family Bible. Justice Barrett – wife, mother of seven, adoptive parent, lawyer, circuit judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and, academic – became the ninth member of the Supreme Court.

Justice Barrett sworn in

Justice Barrett’s nomination was supported by every law clerk she had worked with and by all of her 49 faculty colleagues at Notre Dame Law school. The American Bar Assoc. Standing Committee gave her a “Well Qualified” rating. Colleagues and close associates lauded her as “Whip smart” “Brilliant writer and thinker” “Intellectual giant”.

Justice Barrett’s family

Justice Barrett revealed her legal aptitude and intellectual prowess during the senate committee’s questioning. Without notes, Judge Barrett answered each question with aplomb. And, unlike her activist predecessor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Barrett made it clear during the confirmation hearings that she would abide by the Constitution and not substitute her own views in rulings.

“A judge must apply the law as written. Judges are not policymakers, and they must be resolute in setting aside any policy views they might hold.”

Yet, the recounting of Barrett’s positive recommendations and stellar qualifications and her adroit answers fell on some deaf ears. The Democratic senators wanted to be heard instead.

During Barrett’s confirmation hearing the Democratic senators decried the timing of the nomination to their GOP colleagues on the committee. They also repeatedly questioned Barrett hoping that she would reveal a bias against the policies and laws they favor. They pleaded with her to recuse herself from cases where they desired favorable rulings, including a probable election case. The Democratic senators then brought in “expert witnesses” to echo their concerns and to provoke an activist sympathy in Judge Barrett. The witnesses gave pro-emotive accounts of abortion and the Affordable Care Act. One of the witnesses spoke of the “real-world harm of ending the ACA”.

The media, along with the Democratic Senators speaking outside the hearing, presented Barrett’s intersectionality – her faith and the law – as a problem. As a Catholic, conservative and Constitution Originalist, Justice Barret is seen as a triple threat to LGBT rights, abortion rights and healthcare rights held sacred by Progressives. Social media echoed the main stream media’s negative take.

After Justice Barrett was sworn in, the Girl Scouts of America congratulated her on their Twitter and Facebook pages. But the posts were quickly deleted after social media erupted and began spewing vitriol against “the 5th woman appointed to the Supreme Court since its inception in 1789.” 

Replying to the deletion, actress Amber Tamblyn tweeted “@girlscouts thank you for deleting the tweet. Be on our side – the side of girls who grow up to become women who fight for other women and girls and not the opposite.”

The Days of Cain

 

In fourteen hundred ninety-two

Columbus sailed the ocean blue.

He had three ships and left from Spain;

He sailed through sunshine, wind and rain.

He sailed by night; he sailed by day;

He used the stars to find his way.

A compass also helped him know

How to find the way to go.

-Columbus Day poem

 

So, here we are. The summer of 2020. And we find, once again, activists without actualities, wandering through a universe circumscribed by themselves. That which stands in their way, whether human or representation, must be removed, cancelled, done away with. Only their likeness must stand.

The statue of Christopher Columbus was removed from Grant Park during the night. Chicago’s Mayor Lightfoot said the likeness was a “public safety issue”. So, to appease the raging horde who had emerged from their cramped safe spaces (perhaps a darkened basement in their parent’s home lit only by the glare of a computer monitor) Lightfoot removed the static and mute reminder of a discoverer who used fixed reference points outside of himself to voyage to a new world.

As we have come to witness in Chicago, Portland and, Seattle, wanderers with no reference point other than their own solipsistic compass create a world of lawlessness. There is nothing new or Progressive about the ways of the lawless wanderer. As House Speaker Nancy Pelosi remarked when hearing about the toppled statue, “People will do what they do.” The way of the wanderer is a return to the old world of Cain.

You remember the story of brothers Cain and Abel. Their relationship was removed, cancelled, done away with. The sibling dysfunction began with their mother Eve. After giving birth she declared “I have created a man with the Lord”. Her words go well beyond acknowledging God’s help in the birth of her son. She ascribes to herself equality with God as a source of life. And so, she named her first born Cain (translated in this context: “to create”), imparting to her firstborn the same delusional thinking, the same self-actualization and self-divination, that she and Adam had chosen when they ate from the forbidden tree and were kicked out of the garden for doing so.

(It is interesting to note that Eve named her second son Abel, meaning “breath” or breeze”. Perhaps Eve, after seeing herself in Cain, chose the name to acknowledge that man is ephemeral, transient and, mortal and not equal with God after all.)

Both Cain and Abel worked the land, exerting dominion over it as God had charged in the first chapter of Genesis. Both were aware of God’s presence. Both offer the fruits of their labor to him as a sacrifice. But there is an issue with one of their sacrifices. The issue is not so much the quality of the sacrifice. They both offer yields from God’s good creation. The issue lies beneath the surface.

Abel offers the best cuts from the first born of his flock. Cain offers portions of what’s growing. It cost him nothing to do this. Abel’s sacrifice is a recognition that the growth and flourishing of his flocks were gifts from God. His sacrifice is a recognition that God is God and therefore deserves respect and the best creation has to offer, no matter the cost. Cain’s sacrifice is a recognition that Cain is co-creator with God. He had worked the land and thought of himself as the one who made it grow and flourish. As such, Cain’s sacrifice is an attempt to bribe God into blessing him as caretaker, to make things go well for him.

When his sacrifice is rejected by God, Cain became angry. His face became downcast. Cain felt that he had rights by placing God in debt to him. He did what he felt was required and now God must do what is required and give him his favor. Freedom from anxiety, peace of mind and pleasure were of the highest priority to Cain. He traded some token of produce in order to receive back empathy for his epicurean life.

Cain’s quid pro quo religion – seeking to broker with the god/s for order and harmony in one’s life, would go on to become the religious practice for many in the world, old and new. But religion is mere formality. Doing what is right is more important than sacrifice before God. Doing what is morally and ethically right begins with the acknowledgement of and respect for God as God. So, God gives Cain a choice: do right and be the offering that is accepted or continue his self-divinization; rule over the works of God’s own hands or let the works of his own hands rule over him.

Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast?  If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.” Genesis 4: 6-7

Cain made his choice. He brought Abel to a field and out of jealousy killed him. Perhaps he thought, “I shall have no other gods before me”. But what happens on the field does not stay on the field. Abel’s blood cried out to the Lord. And the just Lord came looking for accountability.

After Adam and Eve made their choice, God asked “where are you?”. Adam answered “I was afraid…” After the murder, Cain was asked: “Where is your brother Abel?”  Cain answered “I don’t know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” Cain denies culpability. Perhaps he thought, “If I remove the competition the god will have to deal with only me. Besides, I did my due diligence and have nothing to show for it. So there!”. Maybe he said, “People will do what they do”.

Genesis 2:15 tells us that The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. Mankind’s vocation was to care for God’s creation, His Temple. That care would include God’s image bearers placed in the temple. Abel did the work of caring for creation and bringing its best back to God. Cain would have none of it. He evaded his responsibility with self-deception and denial. He canceled it. So, God dealt with Cain. Cain was cursed.

The curse God imposed on Adam, Cursed is the ground because of you is similar to but lesser than the curse imposed on Cain: You are cursed from the groundWhen you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth. The land and now a man are cursed.

The form of justice to be imposed on Cain could have been a life for a life. Instead, Cain is exiled by God. He is to be a wanderer. But Cain decides to be a whiner and not a repenter.

 Cain said to the Lord, “My punishment is more than I can bear. Today you are driving me from the land, and I will be hidden from your presence; I will be a restless wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.” Genesis 4: 13-14

In exile, Cain has a chance to repent and turn back to God. God will look after Cain. God put a mark on Cain so that anyone who came across him would not kill him. The mark of protection, not described in Gen. 4:15, reminds me of the Passover lamb’s blood put on the two doorposts and lintel of the houses of the Israelites in Egypt. Clearly, God is patient and merciful with Cain. He could have canceled Cain from the face of the earth. Yet, God watches over Cain; God does for Cain what Cain should have done for Abel.

But none of that matters to Cain. Cain will watch after Cain. The self-indulgent Cain goes his own way. Instead of wandering he builds a city. He wanted to make a name for himself and become the kingpin of his own domain, his own safe space. Cain’s descendants glory in their barbarism and in possessing women as objects (Gen. 4:19-24). The dysfunction that began in the garden continued in the line of Cain. He is the father of the self-reliant god-like superheroes who control their own destinies with force.

Genesis chapter 4 ends with the birth of Seth to Adam and Eve. Eve has had a change of heart after the tragedy of Cain and Abel: God has granted me another child in place of Abel, since Cain killed him. There is no talk of being a god-like superwoman. And the line of Seth does not go the way of autonomous Cain.

So, here we are. The summer of 2020. And we find, once again, activists without actualities, wandering through a universe circumscribed by themselves. That which stands in their way, whether human or representation, must be removed, canceled and, destroyed. These are the days of Cain.

 

It is easy to rail against the anarchists and their subjectivist view of morality. It is easy to condemn the barbarism and destruction of the wanderers. It is easy to denounce those who kneel to false gods before games. It is easy to deride the Democrat pols who appease and dismiss the angry mobs with “People will do what they do”. But what about the choices we each make to go our own way and to do what we do thereby creating dysfunction and havoc in our relationships? What happens when we cancel relationships by not forgiving? Some may thumb their noses at God under the guise of American Individualism and self-sufficiency. Some may have even offered some token to God (going to church, putting money in the plate, etc.) hoping to receive back the American Dream (a “Made in the U.S.” sticker placed on a cask of Greek Epicureanism). We make relational choices based on our relationship with God. We become what we do with God. Have you become a likeness of Cain?

In addition to the behavior describe above, Cain is impatient, short-tempered and, 

…self-referring.

…demands tokens of assurance, of victory, of winning.

…uses fear mongering to gain and remain in power.

…avoids all risk to obtain security and protectionism.

…seeks to replace the timeless with the temporal.

…obtains identity from tribal sources and denigrates all others

…is self-centered and narcissistic in his demand for self-preservation.

…makes everything personal.

…has no problem inflicting pain on others

…shuts down discussion and debate

…goes his own way; is his own man.

 

The choices presented to Cain are the same choices presented to each of us. But we don’t have to live the days of Cain. If someone has made wrong choices and has wandered far from God, they should know that God, as he had done with Cain, is asking, “Where are you?” God is ready to show mercy. He wants to bring the wanderer back from exile and to redeem his life from the garbage pit and crown him with love and compassion. God seeks to restore His likeness in His image-bearers. No other likeness will stand before him.

 

He delighteth not in the strength of the horse: he taketh not pleasure in the legs of a man. The LORD taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy. Psalm 147:10, 11