Tag Archives: cultural musings

Nero and His Kind: Fear Them Not

Sometimes you, my readers, put things so eloquently that I find it best just to step aside and let you speak.

Some of you–I daresay just about all of us, from time to time–look at world events today and fear the future. I can’t imagine what it would be like, not to. The servants of Satan are running wild. Who can stop them, short of Christ’s return? We cannot help thinking the Last Days are just around the corner, if they haven’t started already, and that there’s going to be an awful lot of collateral damage–to say the least.

Isaiah, speaking for the Lord, wrote, “Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils: for wherein is he to be accounted of?” (Isaiah 2:22)

He might have been thinking of Nero, Emperor of Rome, who persecuted Christians viciously, put on airs like no Roman before him had ever dared to do, and wound up miserably put to death by his own subjects. Here we have him as played by Peter Ustinov in Quo Vadis (1951)–coward, bully, and self-proclaimed poet whose lines don’t even scan and are peppered with the wrong words. Let this Nero stand for all the persons whom we’re afraid of today: he is a more than adequate representative.

Yes, he did a lot of damage. He killed a lot of people. As our friend Watchman pointed out the other day, God works within the confines of free will. And I believe that God intervenes in history. If He didn’t, we would have no history.

But in the long run, Nero was an idiot, Nero was a fool, he had nowhere near the power and might he thought he had, it proved a fairly simple matter for a small number of people to murder him–and he’s gone, but Jesus Christ still reigns.

And shall reign forever, and ever–King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and a priest after the order of Melchizedek.


The Humanist Messiah

Image result for images of c s lewis

When you take over God’s job, you have no end of problems.

Take that business about being the Creator. It’s maddening. All you’ve got to work with is stuff God already created. Even the minds of secular humanists were created by God. We do not know why He didn’t make them better at using them.

God created man, so humanists want to create something better. Their creation, their Homo sapiens 2.0, will be new, improved, far superior to the current version. It will be able to solve all the world’s problems that have licked us so far–war, poverty, hate, and getting blackberry seeds stuck between your teeth.

This is the humanist messiah. Artificial Intelligence. Flawed, sinful, mortal man will, with his own intelligence that has given us movies like Gigli and foreign policies that look like they were dreamed up by Punch and Judy, create intelligent beings that’ll be much smarter and much better behaved than their creators.

Yes, there are a few scientists who’ve been trying to warn us that the A.I. enterprise is bound to turn out like Windows 8–not quite as nice as you expected. But because there is no one as anti-human as a humanist, the God wannabes seem eager to scrap H. sapiens 1.0 altogether, just plain get rid of us, with all our stupid problems, and replace us with their own creation. “It’ll be sooo much better! You’ll see!” Although how we’ll actually be able to see it from the boneyard, they don’t say.

C.S. Lewis already told us all about this, way back in 1945, in That Hideous Strength.

We already have a God, a Creator and a Savior, and He has equipped us with enough common sense to see that something perfect cannot and will not be created by imperfect beings. But it was Satan who told us that it can–way back in the beginning (see Genesis 3).

And it is Satan who’s the god of humanism.

 

 


There Oughta Be a Law

Image result for images of dagon idol worship

Dagon, the pagan fish god

Remember the old Simon & Garfunkel song, The Sound of Silence? “And the people bowed and prayed to a neon god they made…”

Idol worship, forbidden by the first two of God’s Ten Commandments, has been with us for a long time, and still us. We’ve gone beyond quaint Philistine fish gods like Dagon. Our idols are bigger, bolder: Science and the state–both of them the works of human hands.

These are the deities of those who reject Christ, Son of God the Father. This is why leftists seek to write laws governing every aspect of human behavior. Putting themselves on God’s throne, as it were, they struggle with the ordeal of trying to live up to their own presumed omnipotence. All those things they blame God for not doing, because (they say) He does not exist–abolishing war and poverty and disease, even uprooting such rootless intangibles as “hate” and this or that ism, even to controlling “climate”–they now have to do! Because they do exist, and they derive their right to rule over us from their claim to be able, if only they are given enough power and clout, to do all those things that God couldn’t do and create a paradise on earth.

You could almost feel sorry for them. Almost, but not quite.

When you try to do everything, you usually end up doing nothing. If globalists got out more often, they might understand that. Because their wealth insulates them, personally, from the often hideous results of their failed public policies, they just keep on cranking them out. Science and the state, their own creations, keep telling them they’re doing the right thing. One more bunch of regulations, and they’ve got it! But they’re really only just talking to themselves, and don’t know it.

Poor Dagon. When in the presence of the Ark of God the Lord, he fell off his pedestal and broke in pieces (I Samuel 5). Sooner or later, such is the fate of all idols.

No matter how many laws their worshipers write to prop them up.


Doug Smith’s ‘West Texas’–Inspiring

My wife wishes to dedicate this beautiful video to her Pogo friend Bob Capps, from Texas, who originally emailed it to her, along with many other messages that we both enjoyed immensely. Bob died recently: he is greatly missed by many.

West Texas is music composed and played by pianist Doug Smith, with pictures by Wyman Meinzer, the official state photographer of Texas. The beauty moves us to cry out: “O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!” (Psalm 19:1)

Doug Smith overcame a near-fatal auto accident, that left him largely paralyzed, to continue his musical career. He died last year. This, below, is his story, told by him.

If this doesn’t inspire you, if this doesn’t move you, please check to see if you can fog a mirror.


Are Cyber-Friends Real Friends?

Image result for images of emoticons

A lot has been said, lately, about simulated sorta-friendships on the Internet and social media taking the place of real, face-to-face friendships, to the detriment of society. As someone in a Pogo Games chat room once said, “But we’re only Pogo people!” It was a true cri de couer, even if I still can’t explain exactly what she meant.

As a thought experiment, let me remove all the “cyber-friends” (for want of a better word) from my life and see what’s left.

Family? Well, almost everybody’s dead. Those who are left have all moved far away from here, and we see them only on special occasions.

Old friends? Well, I hung on to those longer than most–but in all honesty, my boon companions, my bosom buddies, are not really the most wholesome company for the Christian that I want to be.

My wife is, of course, my best friend, and we are inseparable. But apart from her, if you take away my friends that I’ve made here on this blog, in the course of my work for Chalcedon, and on Pogo–well, there’s hardly anything left. For some people, online friendship is what’s on the menu.

But I don’t feel deprived. I’ve met wonderful people from all over the country, even from other countries, met them here and in my Chalcedon work, here and there and elsewhere–and I have grown quite fond of them. (That means some of you who are reading this: you know who you are.) I profit from my exchanges with them. I draw emotional support from you all. I am thankful for you.

Because of course–of course!–“just Pogo people” are real people. Man, I know happily married couples who “met” in a Pogo game room! If I could travel, I’ve got invitations from all over. Some of you, I’d love nothing better than to sit down and have a cup of tea with you–maybe even sit outside on a nice day and have a cigar. I may never meet you in the flesh, but you are my friends and I treasure you.

All right, enough of the sappy talk. You all know what I mean.

Yeah, constant texting, etc., a narcissistic urge to have strangers know the moment-to-moment boring details of your life–obviously that’s not what I’m talking about. I know some of you have come to enjoy the little community that’s growing up right here on this blog.

So, yes, we are all, in our fashion, Pogo people! And deplorables, too. Ich bin ein Berliner!

Let us wear our badges proudly.


Something to Think About

Image result for images of henry van til

Henry Van Til, a Professor of Bible at Calvin College, Michigan, died in 1961 and is best known for a single thing he once said: “Culture is religion externalized.”

It’s a truism, on a par with “What you say and do reveals your personality.” There’s no way to deny it.

If our Western culture today is our religion externalized, our Christianity is in deep trouble. Look at our culture–rampant lawlessness among our supposed lawmakers, same-sex pseudomarriage, transgenderism, lies heaped upon lies, ultra-violent video games, sex robots: I could make a longer list, but it’s starting to depress me. No wonder radical Muslims think Western culture is like ripe fruit on the tree, ready to fall into their laps if they keep on shaking the tree.

This is why I spend so much time reporting on culture developments–culture rot and culture collapse, if you will. Because if we can’t maintain our culture, nothing we can do politically will make the slightest difference. Kill the culture, and the culture will kill you right back.

For a thoughtful essay on this subject, courtesy of George Grant, see https://christianculture.com/discover/what-is-culture-religion-externalized/

For the time being, and to come, it’s something to think about.


Does Entertainment Shrivel Your Brain?

Image result for images of 3 stooges throwing pies

For as long as there have been people, there have been story-tellers. God created us in His image, and so we like to create things, too. And one of the things we create is stories.

Being sinners, we also create idols, street gangs, rap music, poison gas, and communism, among other things. And we create stories that edify, stories that ease or stir the soul–and stories that debase and corrupt the hearer.

Some of you have said you’re fed up with “entertainment,” especially TV and movies, it’s all cheap and worthless, if not downright malevolent–and I’m not here to disagree with you. Crikey–it’s gotten so anyone who’s looking for a life partner demands that he or she be “funny.” Like it’s everybody’s job to entertain you, all the time.

You will note I have posted a picture of the Three Stooges. Why? Well, if I’m really stressed out, their inane antics are a pick-me-up. And that’s a legitimate purpose of a story. As J.R.R. Tolkien said, fiction often provides a kind of escape, and no one blames a prisoner for trying to escape.

In addition to meeting my needs for vegging out from time to time, movies and novels, etc., are my diet as a story-teller. I learn by listening to other people’s stories; that’s how I learn to tell my stories. I gobble up stories, always trying to learn from them even while I’m chilling out. I hope the finished product convinces you that I’m on the right track.

This is a large subject and I don’t propose to write a book about it. Some “entertainment” is good for us, some is bad, and some is only good or bad depending on how we as individuals respond to it. There is a huge amount of entertainment out there that’s downright toxic, pure crapola. It’s good stuff to avoid.

I do know a few persons who never consume any form of fiction, and I just can’t imagine how they get by without any stories at all. Well, true, all of them watch TV news, and some of that’s fiction, and the sum total of all its parts is more fiction than anything else. But I would much rather get my fiction from Jules Verne than from CNN.


How Infirm a Foundation

Image result for images of blatant lies

I fear the long-term consequences, whatever they might turn out to be, of basing a whole civilization on a foundation of lies.

I’m not talking about the little, everyday lies that are part of human life in a fallen world. No. I mean great, thumping lies–not silly opinions, not mere mistakes, but actual bodacious whoppers: like, for instance, that whole business of “I identify as something that I’m most certainly not,” for which various government agencies are poised to punish you if you don’t believe in them. Untruths upon which public policy is based, like Man-Made Climate Change. Things that simply aren’t true. But power is brought to bear against anyone who tries to deny those things.

It hit home for me yesterday, when I went from writing about the big, hulking, smirking man who “won” a women’s weight-lifting title, with all the nooze media slavishly calling him “her,” to reading in my Bible, John 8:40-47, in which Jesus, unable to persuade some Pharisees that He was telling them the truth when He said He was sent to them from God, concluded that they were wedded to a lie.

“If God were your father,” Jesus said, “ye would love me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me. Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word.

“Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not.

“Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me? He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.”

Ye are not of God.

Our universities teach that there is no such thing as truth–only “your truth” or “my truth.” There are no facts: only whatever helps the Left politically, or doesn’t help.

And so, leftids, you’ve convinced me–convinced me that your whole secular humanist, globalist, heaven-here-on-earth enterprise is owned, lock, stock, and barrel, by Satan, the father of lies.

Is it harmless for a man to say he’s a woman, and for all sorts of important and influential people–nooze media, government, the Olympic committee, multitudes of college professors and teacher unions–to support him in this claim, and demand that everybody else support him, too, or else?

No, it’s not harmless: because it amounts to foolish, sinful mortals setting themselves up as having the authority to re-define, and overthrow, God’s created natural order, as if they themselves were God.

And we know where that comes from, and we know where it’s going. Selah.


Trivializing Women

Image result for images of women in 1950s commercials

When I was a boy, our popular culture often depicted women as trivial creatures who couldn’t do much of anything and whose primary interests in life were clothing, hair, and gossip. Just search “women in 1950s commercials” and you’ll see what I mean.

If the media had to take notice of a woman who had actually done something, pains were always taken to argue that she was “still a lady, still daintily feminine,” still bedazzled by a new dress, even while she ran a business, made a scientific discovery, or wisely managed her household.

The overall impression I got, as a 10-year-old boy, was that women were, well, boring. But then I knew my mother and my grandmothers and my aunts were not at all boring, not trivial, not silly or anything like that. It made for some confusion.

I think we can all be happy that this isn’t done anymore. Except by the fashion industry, Hollywood, fantasy novelists, and feminists. And men, for that matter, are now trivialized, too. Except for when we’re demonized. Our popular culture has a lot not to recommend it.

Women are not trivialized in the Bible. And if we cannot see that the Biblical images of women are infinitely truer to life, as we ourselves live it, than anything slopped out to us by the advertising and entertainment industries, and by liberal politics, then our vision doesn’t amount to much. Think of Phebe, servant of the church at Cenchrea, and a deacon, who picked up Paul’s epistle in Corinth and delivered it to Rome. Think of literally hundreds of other examples.

And I would not be writing this, or anything else, but for my wife’s wisdom and diligence in managing our household–not to mention also having to manage Aunt Joan’s finances and paperwork, too. The work she does is staggering to behold.

Moral: The way they show it to us isn’t like it is.

If it were, the human race wouldn’t last another week.

(P.S.–I know “Phoebe” is normally spelled with an “o”, but I’m going with the spelling I find in my own King James Bible.)


Are We Too Old to Appreciate Cool Fashions?

Image result for Girls with Half Shaved Heads

A reader this morning remarked, speaking, I take it, to the rest of us, “You all seem as if you’re 70 years old.” As if being 70 were a bad thing. “Sometimes a haircut is just a haircut”–referring to someone going around with half his or her head shaved–“and it means nothing except style.”

As far as I can see, those who adopt this style are imitating certain Grade B celebrities that I never heard of. To go to this much trouble is to be making some kind of statement. It may be as simple a statement as “I am an idiot,” or it may be something as profound as “I are a Intyerllectural and i re-ject yore stopid borzoueis socile confentions!”

It used to be that being 70 years old entitled you to a modicum of respect, owing to the experience one accumulates over the course of seven decades.

Speaking only for myself, I do try very hard not to move with the times, because the times are evil and increasingly insane. If it seems to me that a lot of people are going out of their way to look ugly, it’s because a lot of people are going out of their way to look ugly.

Yes, I know–my father, in the 1960s, worried about young people turning into “the bell-bottom type,” although he himself wore bell-bottoms for a couple of years: in the Navy. When he volunteered to serve his country, at risk of life and limb. But I was 18 and I could only laugh at him. What a fool I was!

Now I’m the one who’s pushing 70, and I can look back over the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, and 17 years of a new century–and see how far we’ve slid down the pipe.

I am proud of my grey hairs. I think I’ve earned them. And I’ve earned the right, by looking back on my own damned foolishness, to say that a society that thinks the shorter a time you’ve lived, the wiser you must be, is headed for a real hard time.


%d bloggers like this: