Don’t Adjust the Contrast

 

From a humanities perspective, God’s word to us is a study in contrasts. Distinctions of people, places and things are noted on page after page. The Creator, who dwells in unapproachable light, provided those created in His image with eyes to see and ears to hear so as to discern the dissimilarities with a handbook of juxtapositions as a guide. And so, we read of light and darkness, good and evil, love and hatred and much, much more. Let’s take a look. 

At the beginning of the God and human narrative one can read of a void and then a creation, of night and day, of sea and dry land, of heaven and earth, of human and animal, of male and female, of right and wrong choices, and of the garden and not the garden.

Later we learn of Egypt and the Promised Land and of leeks and garlic and of milk and honey.

Israel is given the Ten Commandments to contrast right from wrong behavior towards God and others.

Slavery or freedom are predominant alternatives posed to Israel.

Israel must choose between serving idols or serving the One True God.

The Torah provides Godly practices to do and unclean pagan practices to avoid.

The Psalms of Solomon (eighteen psalms) serve a didactic role as they describe the ways of sinners and their end and the way of the righteous and their end.

The wisdom literature of Proverbs encourages us to consider the ways of the wise and the foolish.

Ecclesiastes talks about contrasting seasons and perspectives.

The prophets reminded Israel of the alienating contrast between seeking God’s hometown blessing through obedience and exile from the City of Peace because of disobedience. Isaiah contrasts the fate of the Babylonians and Israel (Is. 26).

Daniel the scribe presents us his account of dreams and visions which contrast beastly rulers and beastly empires with the coming righteous and just reign of the Son of Man.

The intertestamental Jewish writings repeat and augment the differences found in the Old Testament:

Unrighteous rulers and the Messiah; Antiochus IV Epiphanes and The King of the Universe (2 Maccabees)

Fallen angels and holy ones of God (1 Enoch 15)

The fate of the unrighteous and the righteous at the time of the resurrection and judgment (4 Ezra 7).

 

The Gospels record the polarizing life and teaching of Jesus. Here, briefly, are some of the dichotomies Jesus presents through parables and encounters:

Sand and rock.

Lost and found.

Blind and seeing.

Out of your mind and in your right mind.

Pride and humility.

Wheat and chaff.

Sheep and goats.

Water and wine and the best wine.

Blessings (Matthew 5) and woes (Matthew 23).

Virtue signaling righteousness and honest to goodness righteousness.

Truth and untruth.

The world and the kingdom of God.

The self-righteous and the humble.

The wide way and the narrow way.

Faith and sight.

Life and death.

First and last.

There is a contrast within no contrast: the rain falls on the just and the unjust.

The fierceness of Jesus’ gaze and his tears over Jerusalem and at a funeral.

(Jesus does not contrast the rich and poor as do Progressives based on their power-gathering political ideology. Instead, Jesus contrasted the poverty of material mindedness with the richness of righteousness mindedness.)

 

The Epistles continue the contrast narrative begun in the Old Testament and reiterated in the Jewish writings between the testaments. With this univocal background and the unequivocal words of Jesus, the writers of the epistles provide the theology and practical application of the Kingdom of God on earth using opposites. Here is a list of some those:

The righteous and the unrighteous.

The justified and the unjust.

The reprobate and the rescued

Those who have exchanged truth for a lie and those who dwell in truth.

Those who do not acknowledge God and those who

Those with a stubborn and unrepentant heart and those who “by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life”.

The glorious inheritance in Christ and the minimum wage of death

There are those who say you may have faith but I have works and those who show their faith by their works.

Those who live by faith and those who live by sight.

Those who say one thing and do another and those who love in word and deed.

False teaching and teaching that has been handed down.

The physical body and the spiritual body.

The body used for immorality and the body as the temple of God.

Saints and sinners.

The Levitical priesthood and Melchizedek’s priesthood.

Light and darkness.

Throughout Scripture we read of the people of God and the enemies of God. The opposing forces clash in the last days. They and the whole universe reach a summing point in Jesus.

 

The Apostle John, in The Revelation of Jesus Christ, testifies that mankind’s entrenched polar opposites come together for the Lord of the Universe’s final division:

The letter begins with a heart-stopping contrast: “I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever!”

Seven letters to churches delineate “well done” times and sharp warnings about dysfunctional times.

John’s apocalyptic letter details…

Those written in the book of life and those not written in the book of life.

Hades and Heaven.

The lake of fire and the river of the water of life.

Demonic forces and angels.

Satan and the Son of Man.

The Beast and the Lamb.

A war to end all wars and a peace to end all wars.

The lion and the lamb.

 

Despite all the bally-hoo touting rainbow-colored “diversity, in the end all of the temporary social constructs will be torn down to reveal the definer of persons and groups to be result of choices each has made with black and white alternatives. Note, Jesus did not say, “I am for your way and your truth and your lifestyle”. Even Jesus did not choose his own way but the Father’s. Had Jesus chosen that which was offered to him by the Satan in the desert and later by Pontius Pilate where would mankind be?

With all of the contrasts, binaries, dichotomies and lack of ambiguities in the God and human narrative that are re-voiced from start to finish, it’s as if God wanted us to “choose this day whom we will serve”.

~~~~

In C.S. Lewis’ Perelandra novel, Ransom questions the Green Lady. He is trying to understand why he was invited to Perelandra and about its world and its ways. At one point the Green Lady responds:

“Since our Beloved became a man, how can reason in any world take another form? Do you not understand? That is all over. Among times there is a time that turns a corner and everything this side of it is new. Times do not go backward.”

Leszek Kolakowski-The Sacred and Profound

“We learn history not in order to know how to behave or how to succeed, but to know who we are.”

– Leszek Kołakowski, Polish philosopher and historian of ideas

Darwin’s Myopia, Our Dilemma

Darwin’s Myopia, in excerpts: 

Darwin’s Myopia, in excerpts: “Once, Milton, Byron, Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Shelly “gave me great pleasure” and “I took intense delight in Shakespeare.” -Charles Darwin ~~~ “In his old age Darwin admitted, “I have lost the power of becoming deeply attached to anyone.” He assured Tennyson that there was nothing in his theories to prevent anyone believing in a supreme being. But he did not think about God or the possibility of an afterlife. He closed his mind to speculation about the infinite and concentrated on worms. One is tempted to feel that he deliberately shut his eyes to the ultimate consequences of his work, in terms of the human condition and the purpose of life or the absence of one.” Paul Johnson (emphasis added) ~~~ “It is hard to believe that Darwin himself would have accepted this huge, bottomless emptiness of life. Or, rather, perhaps because he felt it yawning, he averted his eyes from the big issues and focused them on the small: climbing plants, orchids, insectivorous plants, worms. The truth is long before he died, he had lost control over his own theory. The point at which he lost control can be precisely identified. It was when he decided that natural selection, to be of internally coherent, has to be comprehensive and universal. But if this is so, then there is no essential difference between man and any other animal. The differences, however obvious and seemingly enormous, are of degree and not of kind.” Paul Johnson (emphasis added) ~~~ Enter the paradox, missed by Darwin: “It can more easily be grasped if we see natural selection as destructive as well as constructive-and not only destructive but self-destructive. Once natural selection had created man, it was in its own danger zone. Human beings think…are conscious, and self-conscious. It is at this stage in evolution that natural selection falters and ceases to work with all its previous triumphalism and certitude.” (emphasis added) ~~~ The above quotes are taken from Historian Paul Johnson’s insightful biography Darwin: portrait of a genius Copyright © 2015 From Johnson’s concise, detailed and deliberative biography we learn that Charles Darwin inherited genius stock-“a classic case of genetic inheritance”. We read of Darwin’s luminous and wealthy patriarchs-of his paternal and maternal grandfathers and of his father. We learn of Darwin’s moneyed care and education upbringing. Self-education would soon become a way of life for Darwin. Darwin married a godly wife, Emma Wedgwood, a “clever, educated, equable, hardworking, industrious, economical, and, not least, sensitive” woman. Together they had many children together. Darwin, a lover of botany and the author of On the Origin of the Species, we are told, never involved himself with the study of anthropology. He also never regarded math to any usable extent. Statistics were never his bailiwick. It is likely that Darwin never met up with and had never studied the Christian Monk Gregor Mendel’s foundational work, a well-read paper on genetics in 1866, a writing that would support natural selection and which also gave birth to the science of genetics. Darwin, during his Beagle voyage focused on botany, insects, flora and fauna in general and the facial expression of savages such as those of Tierra del Fuego. At home he read the local press, deeply concerned about how other people viewed everyone else, scientists in particular who differed from what he considered church dogma. Darwin’s s fear of being ostracized on earth with his published work coupled with his revulsion of any thought of eternal ostracization-punishment in hell forever-kept Darwin spiritually self-ostracized. He turned away from God and turned inward with a self-defensive mode of living. At one point Darwin, we read, became enthralled with Thomas Malthus’ theory of overpopulation, an unsubstantiated and later refuted theory that would become lifelong dogma for Darwin. At the same time Darwin also denied any Christian accounting of creation. “Ever since he became a systematic naturalist, Darwin had been an evolutionist. That is, he dismissed the account of Genesis of the separate creation of the species by Yahweh as symbolic and not to be taken literally. They had some way evolved. There was nothing new, surprising or alarming in this.” Others before him held similar views. See Chapter Three, “The Loss of God.” In the chapter titled “Evils of Social Darwinism” Paul Johnson postulates, and I agree with his assessment, that a hybrid of natural selection-Social Darwinism-has led to all manner of evil: “Those who studied progress were hugely attracted by Darwin’s notion of natural selection as a relentless self-driving machine, “daily and hourly scrutinizing, throughout the world, every variation…silently and insensibly working…at the improvement of each organic being…” Darwin’s words “Struggle” and “Survival” would later be found in the works and placards of atheists and agnostics and of German philosophers. The words would be used to secure featherbedding in the humanist realm of law as well as in sociology, psychology and psychiatry. Culture would make the leap of Social Darwinism. “Struggle” and “Survival” would be the seed words for the monstrous propagandized outgrowths of Fascists and of Socialists and of a Hitler and Marx and Engels and for the crushing rollout of Stalinist Communism. These same words were used to foment the works of Francis Galton and his sterilization eugenics program, a program practiced in many nations! Under such a program it would be decided by someone(s) who was “desirable” or “undesirable”. If a person was found “undesirable”, then that person was “unfit to procreate” and then sterilized. Soon, the same eugenics process would be used to decide which races were “unfit to live.” You can take the thread of thought from here. Today, Progressives want to define life: who is “fit to live” and who is “unfit to live” (e.g., abortion, death panels); who is to benefit (the 99%) and who isn’t to benefit (the 1%). Here’s a sample from an apparent Epicurean atheist: The website Slate, a website where myopia studies itself in the mirror; where intelligence and moral absolutes proudly go to be reprogrammed, has a review of Johnson’s book by Mark Joseph Stern. Incidentally, Slate provides its sycophantic readers with atheistic Progressive hubristic feel-good dispersions and mostly Turkish Delight. The article written by “red in tooth and claw” Mark Joseph Stern apparently hoped to incite a circle of atheistic humanist commentator wagons around the theory of evolution by using a well-known electric atheist prod-a rant that desperately wanted make the point that the “Bible is wrong”. Though mostly accepting of historian Johnson’s overview of Darwin’s life and work, Stern’s feathers are ruffled by Johnson interpolation of Darwin’s natural selection. He ends his piece with reassuring hubris: “But no thoughtful reader could possibly tolerate Johnson’s stunning intellectual dishonesty.” The article: “New Darwin Biography Is Horribly, Almost Comically Wrong” – “The latest effort to smear evolution by natural selection.” ~~ Well, think again Mark Joseph Stern. In fact read the book again. See that in no way does Paul Johnson dismiss or “smear” evolution or natural selection (you stated this in the subtitle of your article). At the end of the book, Johnson does extrapolate what he sees as the natural and ideological outcomes of the humanist “survival of the fittest” thinking tied to Darwin’s natural selection theory and apart from a God-consciousness. As can be seen by reading Slate and other ideological publications, Social Darwinism is now an applied theory that will abide no reference to mankind as created by God. Social Darwinism must abide with “the will to power”. Slate readers, I fear, would hate the correlation between God and man as much as they do their own shadows (Paul Johnson’s book) cast on cave walls. Our Dilemma: Do we take to heart and flesh the words of Slate and the Progressives and let Social Darwinism and materialism define our lives? Do we, in the same vein, live like animals and subvert reason while claiming “science made me do it” and continue to make “unnatural selections (e.g., homosexuality)? Or, do we return to our Creator? I commend Paul Johnson’s book to you. Read it and discern for yourself. I believe in God as a theistic evolutionist. ~~~ Other Christians who think like I do regarding Creation: “Even before Darwin published The Origin of Species in 1859, many Christians had already accepted an old Earth. One of the first supporters of evolutionary science in America—Harvard biologist Asa Gray—was a devout Christian. Conservative theologian B. B. Warfield also accepted the science of evolution, and both he and Asa Gray rejected the idea that evolution leads to atheism. Even the authors of The Fundamentals, published between 1910 and 1915, accepted an old earth. It wasn’t until a century after Darwin that a large number of evangelicals and fundamentalists began to accept the combination of flood geology and 6-day creation promoted by Seventh-day Adventists.” -How have Christians responded to Darwin’s “Origin of Species”? (emphasis added) Copyright © 2015 The BioLogos Foundation “Given the stark difference between evolution and six-day creation, many people assume that Darwin’s theory shook the foundations of the Christian faith. In truth, the literal six-day interpretation of Genesis 1-2 was not the only perspective held by Christians prior to modern science. St. Augustine (354-430), John Calvin (1509-1564), John Wesley (1703-1791), and others supported the idea of Accommodation. In the Accommodation view, Genesis 1-2 was written in a simple allegorical fashion to make it easy for people of that time to understand. In fact, Augustine suggested that the 6 days of Genesis 1 describe a single day of creation. St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) argued that God did not create things in their final state, but created them to have potential to develop as he intended. The views of these and other Christian leaders are consistent with God creating life by means of evolution.” -How was the Genesis account of creation interpreted before Darwin? (emphasis added) Copyright © 2015 The BioLogos Foundation https://youtu.be/niCgFJB2SGU

“Once, Milton, Byron, Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Shelly “gave me great pleasure” and “I took intense delight in Shakespeare.” -Charles Darwin

~~~

“In his old age Darwin admitted, “I have lost the power of becoming deeply attached to anyone.” He assured Tennyson that there was nothing in his theories to prevent anyone believing in a supreme being. But he did not think about God or the possibility of an afterlife. He closed his mind to speculation about the infinite and concentrated on worms. One is tempted to feel that he deliberately shut his eyes to the ultimate consequences of his work, in terms of the human condition and the purpose of life or the absence of one.” Paul Johnson (emphasis added)

~~~

“It is hard to believe that Darwin himself would have accepted this huge, bottomless emptiness of life. Or, rather, perhaps because he felt it yawning, he averted his eyes from the big issues and focused them on the small: climbing plants, orchids, insectivorous plants, worms. The truth is long before he died, he had lost control over his own theory. The point at which he lost control can be precisely identified. It was when he decided that natural selection, to be of internally coherent, has to be comprehensive and universal. But if this is so, then there is no essential difference between man and any other animal. The differences, however obvious and seemingly enormous, are of degree and not of kind.”

Paul Johnson (emphasis added)

~~~

Enter the paradox, missed by Darwin: “It can more easily be grasped if we see natural selection as destructive as well as constructive-and not only destructive but self-destructive. Once natural selection had created man, it was in its own danger zone. Human beings think…are conscious, and self-conscious.

It is at this stage in evolution that natural selection falters and ceases to work with all its previous triumphalism and certitude.” (emphasis added)

~~~

The above quotes are taken from Historian Paul Johnson’s insightful biography Darwin: portrait of a genius   Copyright © 2015

Darwin Portrait of a Genius

From Johnson’s concise, detailed and deliberative biography we learn that Charles Darwin inherited genius stock-“a classic case of genetic inheritance”. We read of Darwin’s luminous and wealthy patriarchs-of his paternal and maternal grandfathers and of his father. We learn of Darwin’s moneyed care and education upbringing. Self-education would soon become a way of life for Darwin.

Darwin married a godly wife, Emma Wedgwood, a “clever, educated, equable, hardworking, industrious, economical, and, not least, sensitive” woman. Together they had many children together.

Darwin, a lover of botany and the author of On the Origin of the Species, we are told, never involved himself with the study of anthropology. He also never regarded math to any usable extent. Statistics were never his bailiwick.

It is likely that Darwin never met up with and had never studied the Christian Monk Gregor Mendel’s foundational work, a well-read paper on genetics in 1866 and a writing that would support natural selection. Mendel’s pea hybrid work would give birth to the science of genetics.

Darwin, during his Beagle voyage focused on botany, insects, flora and fauna in general and the facial expression of savages such as those of Tierra del Fuego. At home he read the local press. He was deeply concerned about how other people viewed everyone else, scientists in particular, who differed from what he considered church dogma..

Darwin’s s fear of being ostracized on earth with his published work coupled with his revulsion of any thought of eternal ostracization-punishment in hell forever-kept Darwin spiritually self-ostracized from the Creator. He turned away from God and turned inward with a self-defensive mode of living.

At one point Darwin, we read, became enthralled with Thomas Malthus’ theory of overpopulation, an unsubstantiated and later refuted theory. Malthus’ theory would become lifelong dogma for Darwin. At the same time Darwin also denied any Christian accounting of creation.

“Ever since he became a systematic naturalist, Darwin had been an evolutionist. That is, he dismissed the account of Genesis of the separate creation of the species by Yahweh as symbolic and not to be taken literally. They had some way evolved. There was nothing new, surprising or alarming in this.” Others before him held similar views. See Chapter Three, “The Loss of God.”

In the chapter titled “Evils of Social Darwinism” Paul Johnson postulates, and I agree with his assessment, that a hybrid of natural selection-Social Darwinism-has led to all manner of evil: “Those who studied progress were hugely attracted by Darwin’s notion of natural selection as a relentless self-driving machine, “daily and hourly scrutinizing, throughout the world, every variation…silently and insensibly working…at the improvement of each organic being…” Darwin’s words “Struggle” and “Survival” would later be found in the works and placards of atheists and agnostics and of German philosophers. The words would be used to secure featherbedding in the humanist realm of law as well as in sociology, psychology and psychiatry. Culture would make the leap of Social Darwinism.

“Struggle” and “Survival” would be the seed words for the monstrous propagandized outgrowths of Fascists and of Socialists and of a Hitler and Marx and Engels and for the crushing rollout of Stalinist Communism.

These same words were used to foment the works of Francis Galton and his sterilization eugenics program, a program practiced in many nations!

Under such a program it would be decided by someone(s) who was “desirable” or “undesirable”. If a person was found “undesirable”, then that person was “unfit to procreate” and then sterilized. Soon, the same eugenics process would be used to decide which races were “unfit to live.” You can take the thread of thought from here.

Today, Progressives want to define life: who is “fit to live” and who is “unfit to live” (e.g., abortion, death panels); who is to benefit and who isn’t to benefit (class and race warfare). Here’s a sample of the Progressive’s rejection of anything that might rattle their cages, written by an apparent Epicurean atheist:

The website Slate, a website where myopia studies itself in the mirror; where intelligence and moral absolutes proudly go to be reprogrammed into “who’s the bigger hypocrite” moral relativism, has a review of Johnson’s book by Mark Joseph Stern.

Incidentally, Slate provides its sycophantic readers with atheistic Progressive hubristic feel-good dispersions and mostly Turkish Delight.

The article written by “red in tooth and claw” Mark Joseph Stern apparently hoped to incite a circle of atheistic humanist commentator wagons around the theory of evolution by using a well-known electric atheist prod-a rant that desperately wanted make the point that the “Bible is wrong”.

Stern wanted to protect the atheist’s raison d’etre-a material world without moral agency (read accountability) and certainly one without Absolutes. A Darwinian Social scientism in lieu of God is more to their liking, more controllable and less scary.

Though mostly accepting of historian Johnson’s overview of Darwin’s life and work, Stern’s feathers are ruffled by Johnson’s interpolation of Darwin’s natural selection. He ends his piece with reassuring hubris:   “But no thoughtful reader could possibly tolerate Johnson’s stunning intellectual dishonesty.” The article:

“New Darwin Biography Is Horribly, Almost Comically Wrong” – “The latest effort to smear evolution by natural selection.”

~~

Well, think again Mark Joseph Stern. In fact read the book again. See that in no way does Paul Johnson dismiss or “smear” evolution or natural selection (you stated this in the subtitle of your article).

At the end of the book, Johnson does extrapolate what he sees as the ideological outcomes (Social Darwinism, humanism, nihilism, eugenics, etc.) of Darwin’s natural selection theory, a theory deliberately configured apart from God-consciousness as it was detached from Mendel’s foundational statistics experiments over time. (By way of information, before Darwin someone else would coin the phrase “survival of the fittest”.)

As can be seen by reading Slate and other smug ideological publications, Social Darwinism is now an applied theory that will abide no reference to mankind as created by God. Instead, Social Darwinism must abide with “the will to power”. Slate readers, I fear, would hate the correlation between God and man as much as they do their own shadows (i.e., Paul Johnson’s revelatory deductions) cast on cave walls.

Our Dilemma:

Do we take to heart and flesh the words of Slate and the Progressives and let Social Darwinism and materialism define our lives? Do we, in the same vein, live like animals and subvert reason while claiming “science made me do it” and continue to make “unnatural selections (e.g., homosexuality, abortion)?

Or, do we return to our Creator?

I commend Paul Johnson’s book to you. Read it and discern for yourself.

I believe in God as a theistic evolutionist.

~~~

Other Christians who think like I do regarding Creation:

Even before Darwin published The Origin of Species in 1859, many Christians had already accepted an old Earth. One of the first supporters of evolutionary science in America—Harvard biologist Asa Gray—was a devout Christian. Conservative theologian B. B. Warfield also accepted the science of evolution, and both he and Asa Gray rejected the idea that evolution leads to atheism. Even the authors of The Fundamentals, published between 1910 and 1915, accepted an old earth. It wasn’t until a century after Darwin that a large number of evangelicals and fundamentalists began to accept the combination of flood geology and 6-day creation promoted by Seventh-day Adventists.”How have Christians responded to Darwin’s “Origin of Species”? (emphasis added) Copyright © 2015 The BioLogos Foundation

 

Given the stark difference between evolution and six-day creation, many people assume that Darwin’s theory shook the foundations of the Christian faith. In truth, the literal six-day interpretation of Genesis 1-2 was not the only perspective held by Christians prior to modern science. St. Augustine (354-430), John Calvin (1509-1564), John Wesley (1703-1791), and others supported the idea of Accommodation. In the Accommodation view, Genesis 1-2 was written in a simple allegorical fashion to make it easy for people of that time to understand. In fact, Augustine suggested that the 6 days of Genesis 1 describe a single day of creation. St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) argued that God did not create things in their final state, but created them to have potential to develop as he intended. The views of these and other Christian leaders are consistent with God creating life by means of evolution.”How was the Genesis account of creation interpreted before Darwin? (emphasis added) Copyright © 2015 The BioLogos Foundation

Memorial Day 2015: Wake Up America Day!

 

“People will not look forward to posterity, who never look backward to their ancestors.” Edmund Burke

U.S. Army’s 1st Infantry Division Museum, Cantigny

U.S. Army’s 1st Infantry Division Museum, Cantigny, Wheaton, IL

 

 

 
Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement: and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. George Santayana (empahsis mine)

 

Fourth of July father and son, Cantigny

Fourth of July father and son, Cantigny

Modern liberalism, for most liberals is not a consciously understood set of rational beliefs, but a bundle of unexamined prejudices and conjoined sentiments. The basic ideas and beliefs seem more satisfactory when they are not made fully explicit, when they merely lurk rather obscurely in the background, coloring the rhetoric and adding a certain emotive glow. James Burnham (emphasis mine)

 

 

"The Spirit of Commitment" by Jeff Adams - Cantigny - Wheaton IL

“The Spirit of Commitment” by Jeff Adams – Cantigny – Wheaton IL

 

 

 

It is not that liberals, when they enter the governing class…never make use of force; unavoidably they do, sometimes to excess. But because of their ideology they are not reconciled intellectually and morally to force. They therefore tend to use it ineptly, at the wrong times and places, against the wrong targets, in the wrong amounts. James Burnham

 

7-4-2013 Cantigny COMMITMENT 2

Under Progressivism, criminals are ‘victims’.

Under Progressivism the healthy and productive are the ones to be coerced.

Wake Up America!
****

American Composer Aaron Copland (November 14, 1900 – December 2, 1990) wrote “Fanfare for the Common Man.” Here it is performed both traditionally and surprisingly.

As a big fan of Aaron Copland and of Emerson, Lake and Palmer (ELP) and as a trumpet player I am commending this to you. Enjoy (and certainly remember the cost of liberty) this Memorial Day 2015!

***

“The Spirit of Commitment” by Jeff Adams

U.S. Army’s 1st Infantry Division Museum

All photos © Sally Paradise, 2015, All Rights Reserved

 

 

Haman and Hate (and Hamas by Proxy?) meet the Hangman, Conclusion

Part One: A Feast for the Eyes

Part Two: Persia Meets Reality and Esther

Part Three: Haman and A Star is Worn

 

Mordecai sitting at the King's Gate-all ears and eyes

Mordecai sitting at the King’s Gate-all ears and eyes

 

 

Haman is booked

Haman is booked

 

 

 

 

 

 

Part Four, Conclusion: Who Remains Silent in Times Like These?

 “The entire story of Israel, on one level at least, is the story of how Israel’s God is taking on the arrogant tyrants of the world, overthrowing their power, and rescuing his people from under its cruel weight.” N.T. Wright, “How God Became King”

 As we have learned so far, Persian King Xerxes and his right hand man Haman have issued decrees, edicts and proclamations. At the urging of Haman a death warrant for the Jews was sent throughout Xerxes’ vast kingdom.

 The edict, that genocide of the Jews was to occur on a certain day, is shouted from the citadel in the capital city of Susa. The targeted Jew’s days are numbered: on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar the Jews are to be annihilated, their property plundered.

 This horrifying declaration is soon answered by the Jewish population. The people mourn and fast. They put on sackcloth and ashes as signs of their distress. Xerxes and Haman, on the other hand, party on.

 But then banqueting tables are turned and the Jew’s great sadness is turned to rejoicing. Moving quickly though the events we’ll see how.

 Before we go on you should know this Resurrection Day that…The days of evil are numbered and the Day of Final Deliverance from Death is at hand. The empty tomb is the proclamation of our deliverance from both evil and death, on a certain future day. The Purim celebration would become a foretaste of deliverance. Resurrection day is the foretaste of the Day of Deliverance.

 From Chapter One of The Book of Esther: King Xerxes, in response to Queen Vashti’s no-show at the royal bacchanalia deposes Queen Vasti and sends out a decree to everyone in his kingdom, a decree proclaiming that every man should be ruler over his own household.

From Chapter Two: Esther is fast-tracked by the head eunuch to become Xerxes new queen. The king then gives a great banquet, “Esther’s Banquet” to show off his queen to all his nobles and officials. Xerxes proclaims a holiday throughout the provinces and distributed gifts with liberality. Mordecai’s salvation of Xerxes from an assignation attempt is recorded in the king’s record books.

 From Chapter Three: Xerxes honors Haman, making him his right-hand man. Haman is paraded about and is honored by all except a particular Jew-Mordecai. Haman’s ego is crushed. His anger turns to hate. Haman chooses to become anti-Semitic. Haman complains to Xerxes about a “certain people”.

 Xerxes to Haman regarding the Jews, “do with the people as you please.” A genocidal Death Warrant is issued after the king’s authority via his signet ring is handed over to Haman. A copy of the text of the edict is to be issued as law in every province and made known to the people of every nationality so they would be ready for that day.  …couriers went out, spurred on by the king’s command, and the edict was issued.”

Chapter 4: Mordecai, Esther’s uncle, hears about the edit. It is shouted from the citadel in the capital city of Susa. Mordecai is stunned. With sackcloth and ashes Mordecai let’s the world know, and more importantly, let’s God ‘know’ that he is mourning the loss of his family and his people the Jews. (Notice how Mordecai’s protest (like Job’s) is personal and self-effacing and not riotous, vulgar, angry and destructive like today’s demonstrations?)

Important to our understanding of The Book of Esther wherein there is no mention of God is the fact that God had promised Abraham in a covenant (see Genesis 15) that “a) Abraham’s seed would become as numerous as the stars of heaven, b) his family would be exiles in a foreign land and eventually be brought out, and c) his family would inherit the land of Canaan.” (N.T. Wright, “Justification”.)

Mordecai’s great distress is based, I believe, on his understanding of God’s promises to Abraham and his understanding of God righteousness–God keeping his promises-and the declared challenge to God’s faithfulness by an earthly tyrant. Sackcloth and ashes are man’s quiet submission to God: man is dust and will return to dust and that salvation alone comes from God. Let’s see what happens next.

Esther quickly learned about Mordecai’s distress. She sends him new clothes to put on, to comfort him. She did not know about the edict.

Mordecai responds to the eunuch sent by Esther. He hands him the edict to give to Esther. Mordecai tells the eunuch that Esther must approach the king and get him to rescind this edict. Esther receives the news with great dread. She replies to Mordecai that people who just show up at court uninvited are put to death. And, “…thirty days have passed since I was called to go to the king.”

When Esther’s words were reported to Mordecai, he sent back this answer: “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”(emphasis mine)

 Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai:  “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.”

So Mordecai went and carried out all of Esther’s instructions. The Jews in every corner of the kingdom fasted for three days.

Submission takes the high road.

Maybe you have noticed by now that submission plays a big role in this and other Biblical narratives. Putting on sackcloth and ashes and fasting are forms of submission. Replying, “If I perish, I perish” is another. Recall Mary’s submission to the angel regarding her being impregnated by the Holy Spirit? “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered, May it be to me as you have said.” And, we must recall our Lord’s submission to the Father’s divine purpose: “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”

 The act of submission to a sovereign God even when God’s presence and His direct intervention are not evident is described for us in a ‘genealogy of faith found in Hebrews chapter 11. There we read of the “By faith…” accounts of individuals who submitted themselves to God. That submission is faith in the righteousness of God. It is saying God keeps His promises and that He does so no matter what men do to affect them, even up annihilation of those promises personified in God’s people the Jews.

 Submission to a scepter

After three days of fasting Esther puts on her royal robes and presents herself to the King. She appears in the hallway within direct view of the king. She anxiously awaits his invitation. Xerxes scepter is offered to her. Esther touches the tip of scepter showing respect and submission to his authority.

Civil disobedience and submission

Civil disobedience and submission

 Now imagine for a moment being Queen Esther. Xerxes, the King of his household had, had by proxy decree allowed for the annihilation of her people the Jews without giving it second thought. Queen Esther no doubt felt that her life hung in the balance, one side of the scale weighted against her. But then the finger God was upholding her.

 The king asked Esther “What is your request? Even up to half the kingdom, it will be given you.”

Esther’s response is not direct. She invites Xerxes and Haman to a banquet that same day. The banquet happens, the wine is poured and again the king asks Esther what her petition is. And again, Esther, faltering in courage, suggests another banquet the next day and “Then I will answer the king’s question.” On to banquet number two and a swelling ego.

 With banquet number one under his belt and banquet number two written into his day planner Haman is pretty impressed with himself. He brags to his wife and friends that it was only the King and himself who were invitees to the Queens banquets. Haman boasts of his great connections and vast wealth. Yet, there was something sticking in his craw-that Mordecai who is mourning everyday at the gate in sack cloth and ashes.

 Haman’s wife, knowing that Mordecai was the decreed king of his household offered a solution to Haman’s hangdog demeanor.

“Have a gallows built, seventy-five feet high, and ask the king in the morning to have Mordecai hanged on it. Then go with the king to the dinner and be happy.” In other words, “Don’t Worry. Be Happy!” Haman liked the idea and had the gallows built. Problem solved.

 Sleepless in Susa

That same night the king couldn’t sleep. This was due to too much wine at the banquet or perhaps God’s purpose was the pea under the mattress. Whatever the reason the king ordered his favorite book to be brought in-the king’s chronicles. These books were records all of the king’s doings, perfect for nights like these.

The king ordered his favorite book to brought in-the king’s chronicles. These books were records all of the king’s doings, perfect for nights like these.

 Lo and behold, what was long ago forgotten was still in black and white on the parchment- Mordecai had saved the king by exposing an assassination plot. The king then asked his attendants what had been done for Mordecai. Such an act of respect for the king’s life should be honored. His attendants answered, “nada” (I don’t know Persian for “nothing.”) The king wanted to settle up with Mordecai immediately so he asked his servants, “Who is in the court?”

 Lo and behold, Haman, the proud, is, at that very moment, standing in the outer court hoping to get permission from the king to have Mordecai hanged. Haman, too, wanted to settle up quickly as possible.

 Haman enters the king’s presence and immediately the king asks Haman “What should be done for the man the king delights to honor?”

 Haman, already full of Haman, thinks the king is, of course, talking about whom else but Haman. Haman, with great flare, then details a litany of delights that the king should lavish on such a man.

 The king commands Haman, “Go at once.” “Get the robe and horse and do just as you have suggested for Mordecai the Jew, who sits at the king’s gate. Do not neglect anything you have recommended.” Oh, the irony.

 Haman did as the king commanded. He paraded Mordecai through the city streets proclaiming as he went, “This is what is to be done for the man the king delights to honor!”

Carpe the irony:  Haman is leading Mordecai through Susa

Carpe the irony: Haman is leading Mordecai through Susa

 Afterward Mordecai returned to the king’s gate (nothing had changed; a curious ride through the city on horseback does not a decree rescind). Haman returned to his wife and friends and gave them the low down.

 Zeresh, Haman’s wife, taking the reins away from Haman decides, like many others had in recorded history, that it is time to stop messing with the Jewish people. In her mind the Jews’ God defends them. He is real. Enough already, Haman, your pride is plaguing us. Be done with this man and his people.

 While she is talking Haman is whisked away to banquet Number Two

 No Fear (well maybe some)

 King Xerxes and Haman, knees knocking I’m guessing, dine with Queen Esther a second time. And, a second time the king asks Esther, “What is your request? Even up to half the kingdom, it will be given you.”

 “Then Queen Esther answered, “If I have found favor with you, O king, and if it pleases your majesty, grant me my life-this is my petition. And spare my people-this is my request. For I and my people have been sold for destruction and slaughter and annihilation.”

 Well, king Xerxes is greatly troubled by such a statement. He wonders out loud who would do such a thing “Who is he?” ”Where is the man who would dare do such a thing?”

 “Esther said, “The adversary and enemy is this vile Haman.” 

Esther points out the evil.

Esther points out the evil.

In a rage, knowing that he had been used by Haman, Xerxes got up from the dinner and went into the palace garden. In the mean time, Haman knowing that his life is over throws himself at Esther’s feet and begs for his life. The king returns and finds Haman now clawing at Esther. His rage grows.

As it is written, one of the eunuchs attending the king, Harbona, pointed in the direction of Haman’s house. He told the king that Haman had erected a seventy-five foot high gallows on which to hang Mordecai, “the same Mordecai who helped my lord.”

 The king didn’t ponder this at all. “Hang Haman on that same gallows”. Then his fury subsided. Problem solved. Seventy-five feet: my how the mighty have fallen! 

Evil begs for mercy and finds none.

Evil begs for mercy and finds none.

The tables are turned

 That same day King Xerxes gave Queen Esther the estate of Haman. Esther told the King of her uncle and how he adopted her after her parents had died. The king took off his signet ring and put it on Mordecai’s finger. Mordecai was appointed the head of Haman’s vast estate by Esther. But, a decree was still out there and could not be rescinded. Something had to be done before the day of annihilation.

 Déjà vu all over again but this time Sovereignty steps in.

 Esther once again approached the king weeping and pleading for the life of her people. She asked for a counter decree to be issued. King Xerxes answered both Esther and Mordecai, “Write another decree in the king’s name in behalf of the Jews as seems best to you.”

 So, all the same secretaries who were summoned once before to write out the Jew’s death warrant were summoned again. Mordecai’s counter decree would allow the Jews to defend themselves from all enemies and to take their plunder. The edict was dispatched via multiple couriers to the 127 provinces of king Xerxes.

 “The couriers, riding the royal horses, raced out, spurred on by the king’s command. And the edict was also issued in the citadel of Susa.” The response is celebration in each Jewish community.

 “In every province and in every city, where ever the edict of the king went, there was joy and gladness among the Jews, with feasting and celebrating. And many people of other nationalities became Jews because fear of the Jews had seized them.”(emphasis mine)

 Hate has its day in the People’s Court

Haman’s day of holocaust, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month of Adar, finally arrived. But the Jews had prepared to defend themselves. Mordecai’s edict gave them the power to stand against their enemies and take their plunder. And so the attempt at genocide began throughout the kingdom.

 It is written about the Jews, “No one could stand against them, because the people of all other nationalities were afraid of them. And all nobles of the provinces, the satraps, the governors and the king’s administrators helped the Jews because fear of Mordecai had seized them….The Jews struck down all their enemies with the sword, killing and destroying them, and they did what they pleased to those who hated them…But they did not lay hands on the plunder.”

 In summary, the last two Chapters of The Book of Esther detail the extent of the Jews self-defense against hatred. Various numbers of deaths occur in different places within the 127 provinces. In one verse (16 of Chapter 9) it is written that seventy-five thousand enemies of the Jews were killed. That is seventy-five times one thousand deaths or one thousand deaths for each foot of height of the “Haman Gallows”

 Speaking of justice by extrapolation, Haman’s ten sons, the ten acorns that don’t fall far from the tree are hanged on their father’s gallows. The Jews understood that evil is passed down from generation to generation. The sins of the father, in this case anti-Semitism, would continue to manifest its ugly hatred if not nipped in the neck. 

Haman meets the end of his rope.

Haman meets the end of his rope.

After all of the fighting had stopped and the Jews enemies vanquished, Mordecai sent letters to all the Jews in every province of King Xerxes. He declared these days of Adar to become an annual celebration, “as the time when the Jews got relief from their enemies, and as the month when their sorrow was turned to joy.” These days would become known as The Feast of Purim, “For Haman son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, the enemy of all the Jews, had plotted against the Jews to destroy them and had cast pur (that is, the lot) for their ruin and destruction.”

 The balance of The Book of Esther tells us that all of the prior events were recorded for posterity in the king’s books. Mordecai was held in high esteem by all who knew his name.

 

 Something to think about this Resurrection Day

You may cast your lot with those who hate the Jews but the outcome will be the same as those enemies of the Jews in the Kingdom of the Media and Persia. This historically proven pronouncement includes Hamas, the anti-Semitic Boycott-Divest & Sanction (BDS) groups, Iran-The Islamic Republic, ISIS, anti-Semitic Europeans and all those who hate the Jews. So all such, you are forewarned. And, nuclear bombs are no threat to the God who created the vast universe, the infinitesimal atom, a particle’s chirality and also allowed man to find quantum mechanics among the mysteries of life. God knows the number hairs on your head. Did you think that he doesn’t notice the hatred raging in your head?

If you cast your faith on God’s sovereignty you will find that God is faithful to his covenant promises. Make a stand with God and you find God standing with you (read about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the book of Daniel). Esther’s life is an exemplary illustration of submission to God’s sovereignty.

 Esther, in an act of civil disobedience came before King Xerxes and spoke truth to power. It took Esther a couple of banquets to ramp up the courage but Esther made a stand for herself and for the people of God.

Esther is also an example of one life given as a ransom for many (see the Gospel of mark, chapter 10, vs. 45 regarding these words spoken about Jeshua, Jesus).

 It has been said that the degree of anti-Semitism in a society is an indicator of its health. Look at Europe to see where the U.S. is heading.

 Finally, Orthodox Christian theologian Charles Malik who was also a Lebanese diplomat, political theorist, philosopher and president (1958) of the U.N.’s General Assembly wrote a book titled “Christ and Crisis” (1962).

 Malik’s definition of crisis: “the crisis is simply the fact that Jesus Christ is the Lord and is judging.”

 Malik warned that “The greatest weakness of Western strategy is its relative neglect of the intellectual and spiritual dimension.”(emphasis mine)

 When facing a crisis at any level, in any context we must confront it with courage and the cross.

 In 1962 Malik wrote,

“There are three unpardonable sins today, to be flippant or superficial in the analysis of the world situation, to live and act as though halfhearted measures would avail; and to lack the moral courage to rise to the historic occasion.”

 Esther understood “crisis” and acted with sober courage to avert a holocaust that was decreed with hatred within the shadow of a gallows. (See also the life of Dietrich Bonheoffer.) 

Who Remains Silent in Times Like These? 

***

For current information regarding the increasing anti-Semitism in our world bookmark this website: LegalInsurrection

 Here is a sample post: Vienna, “Free, Free Palestine” chant becomes “Kill, Kill the Jews”

 

 

Fourth of July at Cantigny Park – 2014

Cantigny Entrance 7-4-2014

 

Fourth of July at Cantigny Park has become an annual event for me. You will see why.

 Cantigny Park is the setting for Col. Robert R. McCormick Museum (the Colonel’s former residence), the First Division Museum of military history and 30 acres of gardens.

 Regarding Col. Robert R. McCormick’s military career, Wikipedia says:

Returning to the United States in 1915, he joined the Illinois National Guard on June 21, 1916, and, being an expert horseman, became a major in its 1st Cavalry Regiment. Two days earlier, President Woodrow Wilson had called the Illinois National Guard into Federal Service, along with those of several other states, to patrol the Mexican border during General John J. Pershing’s Punitive Expedition McCormick accompanied his regiment to the Mexican border.

Soon after the United States entered the war, McCormick again became part of the U.S. Army on June 13, 1917, when the entire Illinois National Guard was mobilized for Federal service in Europe. He was sent to France as an intelligence officer on the staff of General Pershing. Seeking more active service, he was assigned to an artillery school. By June 17, 1918, McCormick became a lieutenant colonel, and by September 5, 1918 had become a full colonel in the field artillery, in which capacities he saw action. He took part in the capture of Cantigny, after which he named his farm estate in Wheaton Illinois, and in the battles of Soissons Saint-Mihiel, and the second phase of the Argonne. He served in the 1st Battery, 5th field Artillery Regiment, with the 1st Infantry Division. His service ended on December 31, 1918, though he remained a part of the Officers Reserve Corps from October 8, 1919 to September 30, 1929. Cited for prompt action in battle, he received the Distinguished Service Medal. Thereafter, he was always referred to as “Colonel McCormick.”

Crusading publisher

McCormick returned from the war and took control of the Tribune in the 1920s. Given the lack of schools of journalism in the Midwestern United States at the time, McCormick and Patterson sponsored a school named for their grandfather, the Joseph Medill School of Journalism. It was announced by Walter Dill Scott in November 1920, and began classes in 1921.

As publisher of the Tribune, McCormick was involved in a number of legal disputes regarding freedom of the press that were handled by McCormick’s longtime lawyer Weymouth Kirkland. The most famous of these cases is Near v. Minnesota, 283 U.S. 697 (1931), a case championed by McCormick in his role as chairman of the American Newspaper Publisher Association’s Committee on Free Speech.

Tribune Tower Chicago

A conservative Republican, McCormick was an opponent of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and compared the New Deal to Communism. For a period in 1935, he protested Rhode Island’s Democratic Judiciary by displaying a 47 star flag outside the tribune Building, with the 13th star (representing Rhode Island) removed; he relented after he was advised that alteration of the American flag was unlawful. He was also an America First isolationist who strongly opposed entering World War II to rescue the British Empire. As a publisher he was very innovative. McCormick was a 25 percent owner of the Tribune’s 50,000 watt radio station, which was purchased in 1924; he named it WGN, the initials of the Tribune’s modest motto, the “World’s Greatest Newspaper”.…

McCormick carried on crusades against gangsters and racketeers, prohibition and prohibitionists, local, state, and national politicians, Wall Street, the East and Easterners, Democrats, the New Deal and the Fair deal, liberal Republicans, the League of Nations, the World Court, the United Nations, British imperialism, socialism, and communism. …

The New York Times said:

He did consider himself an aristocrat, and his imposing stature6 feet 4 inches tall, with a muscular body weighing over 200 pounds, his erect soldierly bearing, his reserved manner and his distinguished appearance—made it easy for him to play that role. But if he was one, he was an aristocrat, according to his friends, in the best sense of the word, despising the idle rich and having no use for parasites, dilettantes or mere pleasure-seekers, whose company, clubs and amusements he avoided. With an extraordinary capacity for hard work, he often put in seven long days a week at his job even when elderly, keeping fit through polo and later horseback riding. In his seventies, he could still get into the war uniform of his thirties. (emphasis mine)

 

Maybe now you can see why I would visit Cantigny every July Fourth. We need men like Col. McCormick today.

Long before the (Harry-Reid-demonized) philanthropic Koch Brothers, Col. McCormick’s Foundation has contributed more than a billion U.S. Dollars for journalism, early childhood education, civic health, social and economic services, arts and culture and citizenship.

Now, some of the photos I shot on July 4th, 2014 at Cantigny Park, starting with the McCormick mansion:

 McComick Mansion 7-4-2014

reflection pool McCormick mansion 7-4-2014

above, a reflection pool facing south of the mansion; below, a pool facing east of the mansion

Reflection pool facing east

The mansion’s South entrance, below:

south entrance McCormick Mansion

gardens, guns and gallantry:

Idea garden 1

garden path Cantigny

arbor Cantigny

pond Cantigny

La Fleur Cantigny

flowers Cantigny

Illinois in living color:

Illinois in living color

 A day at Cantigny with dog tags, wild turkeys, cannons, Chevys and all:

dog tags, program

wild turkey

water lily

Foutains in the Rose Garden facing the Idea Garden

fountains facing idea Garden

garden path

tank

tank

military museum

her boy - military museum

 

The wilting photog on a hot 4th:

the photographer

cannon fire

Chevy

There too many pics to download for this post.  Here are pics from last year:

July 4th, 2013 – Cantigny Park