A Country That Was Lost

Arzawa High Resolution Stock Photography and Images - Alamy

I’m betting most of you never heard of a kingdom called Arzawa, in western Anatolia, although if you read the Bible you’ll have heard of its capital city–Ephesus. That city survived and thrived for many centuries after Arzawa itself disappeared from history.

Once upon a time Arzawa was a major power that rivaled and fought against the Hittite Empire. The kings of Arzawa made alliances with “Ahhiyawa” (probably Homer’s “Achaeans,” the Mycenaean Greeks) in the west and with Egypt in the south. Most of what we know about them comes from Hittite and Egyptian annals and diplomatic correspondence. Eventually the Hittites conquered Arzawa and divided it into three Hittite provinces, one of which, centuries later, morphed into the much more famous kingdom of Lydia, where Croesus ruled until he was conquered by Cyrus the Great of Persia.

The point is, Arzawa was a rather important and sometimes very strong kingdom, a going concern, a major power in Asia Minor that was able to maintain its position for several hundred years.

And now it’s gone; and almost totally forgotten.

This has happened to hundreds of once-important countries: you couldn’t count them all.

It could happen to our country. Give the Democrats a little more power, and we will live to see it happen.

Except the LORD build the house, they labor in vain that build it (Psalm 127:1).

Start praying. What we build without the Lord will not stand.


A Closer Look at ‘Light Dispelling Darkness’

Light Dispelling Darkness.

This government-funded sculpture/fountain, unveiled in 1938, is a two-mile hike from my door and has always fascinated me. It’s found in Roosevelt Park, Edison Township. As a little boy I used to stare marvelingly at the great globe that topped the fountain. It wasn’t till I was older that I saw the whole thing.

“Light Dispelling Darkness” features heroic figures representing Science, Industry, Agriculture, and Labor–sure, we can always trust these!–triumphing over the ills of the world: war, poverty, disease, capitalism (!)… Well, it was the 1930s and the useful idiots in the Roosevelt administration thought communism and socialism were the way to go. That’s why the “evils” are so creepy–you’ve got to admit, the sculptor had a touch of brilliance–and the purely secular heroic Answers to Every Problem look like their names are Boris, Vladimir, Yuri, and Smerdyakov, etc.

Here’s an article with more pictures (https://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/16870). Probably you’ve never seen anything quite like this before.

Because of low hillocks, if you want to see the whole thing, you’ve got to walk right up to it. Now and then the parks service has to refresh the paint job. And perhaps you’ll sigh, reflecting on the fact that just a year after this statue was unveiled, World War II broke out. And after that, we discovered that the only things that communism was really good at creating were prison camps and mass graves. The Heroic Answers turned out not to be the answers, after all.

The vanity of human wishes, as Samuel Johnson used to say.

Or better: “Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it” (Psalm 127:1).

A Belt of Courage: ‘King Alfred’s War Song’

We think we’ve got troubles? King Alfred, twelve hundred years ago–he had troubles! Heathen poured across the sea and swamped his kingdom, they’d have killed him if they’d caught him, he had to hide out in a peasant’s shack in the middle of a swamp…

And he wrote this: King Alfred’s War Song. “For the Lord is our defense, Jesu defend us!” I don’t know about you, but I need a belt of that just now.

Psalm 127: “My hope is in the LORD, which made heaven and earth.”

Someday the heathen will either be converted or destroyed. By their own hand, most likely.

Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might. (Ephesians 6)

Harvard Research: Religion in America is Getting Stronger

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For those of us who missed this, first time out: research by Harvard University and Indiana University at Bloomington finds “religion”–mostly meaning Christianity–in America, contrary to claims by noozies and other motormouths, is not fading away, but getting stronger (https://thefederalist.com/2018/01/22/new-harvard-research-says-u-s-christianity-not-shrinking-growing-stronger/?fbclid=IwAR2XkMLvWJzF3P4lTkrhMg-wSVxzmAdiCKhMoGsjhpNuM9s8U-Tu5n2YX9U#.XH7kV-iIzB6.facebook).

Meanwhile, the latest Pew poll shows some 50% of Americans would like to see “religion” (again, they mostly mean Christianity but for some reason are afraid to say so) play “a greater role” in U.S. society–with 18% opposed. I would like to hear them explain how it would hurt us to live by Christian principles.

Anyway, read the article in The Federalist, it’s really quite heartening and certainly worth another look if you’ve read it already. The research finds “persistent and exceptional intensity” in America’s Christianity, holding steady over the past 50 years.

I think we need to see that as something to build on. Consider how few people actually believe in Far Left Crazy ideas–and how many of those ideas have become public policy, like “gay marriage” and late-term abortion, simply because fanatics pushed them night and day for many years? What might Christians achieve in America, building upon an already broad foundation?

We just have to be careful, before we start building anywhere, that that foundation is Jesus Christ. We all know this, don’t we?–“Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it” (Psalm 127:1).

A Christian conscience, Christian families, Christian schools, Christian charities, a Christian popular culture–these are what we must build on that one foundation. Some have already built their share of this, and continue building as we speak.

If we would all join in–! I find inspiration in Haggai, Ezra, and Nehemiah: how the remnant of the Jews, released from captivity by King Cyrus, returned to the ruins of Jerusalem and rebuilt the Temple and the walls. What they did, with the Lord’s help, we can do, if God is our strength.

We can do it, if we hear His voice.

Encore, ‘All Glory Be to Christ’

I fell in love with this hymn–was it sometime last year, that I first heard it? All Glory Be to Christ, by King’s Kaleidoscope (with an assist from Psalm 127). Please don’t mind my posting it again!

‘Again–Students Assigned to Write Suicide Notes’ (2015)

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Suicide’s been in the news a lot lately, and I don’t think you need a crystal ball to foresee that there’s going to be more of it in the immediate future. Our culture, commandeered by the left-wing death cult, is trending that way.

And don’t think your kids will be safe because you’ve spent big bucks to send them to a fancy-schmancy private school. Like this one.


It’s true: unless the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it. Unless the Lord keep watch, the watchman waketh but in vain (Psalm 127:1).

That goes for education, too.

A Worse Taxation Regime Than Ours

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Julius Caesar

Don’t get me wrong–ours is pretty bad. My wife, with decades of experience as a top-notch bookkeeper, trained by CPAs, responsible for her company’s finances, took all week and half a ream of paper to prepare our taxes. If it’s that complicated and difficult for her, what’s it like for someone else?

But as bad as our taxation regime is, history provides us with one that was even worse, much worse–the one the Roman Empire used at the time of Christ.

Once upon a time the Romans financed their government with booty looted from the people that they conquered. Silver and gold, proceeds from the sale of slaves–it all went into the treasury. But eventually they ran out of rich peoples they could conquer, and at the same time, the Roman state became much, much bigger and costlier, so they needed another way.

Thus was born the Roman tax-farming system, perhaps the worst form of taxation ever devised by fallen man.

At least it was simple, though. The tax farmer purchased the franchise for a district to be taxed, paid the amount which the Romans had assessed the district for, and then it was up to him to get the money back, and then some. Naturally, the tax farmer had a big incentive to bleed the people of the district for all that he could get. That the system was onerous, unjust, notoriously corrupt, cruel, and could even be economically ruinous–well, the Romans decided they could live with that. Suddenly their reserve for uncollected taxes was “zero.”

Julius Caesar realized that these savings were illusory if you had to send in the legions to put down a revolt set off by insupportable taxation, so he tried to end the tax farming and replace it with a better system. Alas for all concerned, this was a battle even Caesar couldn’t win. Tax farming was too entrenched, and Roman accounting was unable to come up with a better way.

Now, here’s the question that occurs to me. Given the vast ignorance of history that pervades all levels of our own society, what would happen if someone introduced legislation to have “tax reform” by changing over to the Roman system of tax farming? “After all, it successfully financed the Empire for hundreds of years!” How many of our snail-brained leaders would vote for it? And which thugs and vampires would become our tax farmers?

Meanwhile, the Bible gives us a plain poll tax for an example, but no one’s interested in that.

Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it.   –Psalm 127:1

‘Except the Lord Build the House…’

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In the course of my work for The Chalcedon Foundation, I’m reading a book about income inequality, the resulting lack of social mobility, and what to do about it. I can see that a great deal of hard work and research went into the writing of this book; and I can also see that what drives it is 100% pure worldly wisdom, devoid of any reference to God and showing no attempt at all to know His will.

Psalm 127 springs immediately to mind: Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it (v. 1).

This is one of the most profound verses in the Bible; and so, naturally, it’s also among the most ignored.

I plead guilty. When I sit down to work on one of my novels, I always pray for God’s guidance before I write a word. Well and good. But then I don’t even think of doing the same whenever I prepare to write a blog post or a column, to say nothing of more mundane tasks. It may be that it’s not really necessary to ask God for His guidance when I  wash the supper dishes–but what could it hurt? Meanwhile, it came to me today that I really ought to ask Him for His help in all my writing, not just the books: so I will do that, because I hope that all my writing is in His service. Even when I’m writing something just to get a laugh, because God blesses wholesome laughter.

We have been collecting and applying worldly wisdom all the time. We invent all sorts of jimcracks and procedures, and then never find the best way to use them. We heap up knowledge, yet grow no wiser. And so we in general, and the author I’m reading in particular, will not only fail to come up with the definitive answer to the problem we’re addressing, but we won’t even understand the nature of the problem–even if we think we do.

Wisdom sought apart from God will only take us so far, and never to where we need to go. For all our inventions, for all our worldly wisdom, the smartest people in the world just can’t get done any of those things they say they’re trying to do. And to make matters worse, a great deal of this wisdom is only foolishness. I think that explains, entirely, the condition of our universities.

There are an awful lot of houses getting built without the Lord’s advice–and an awful lot of houses falling down.

Everywhere you look.


Piffle Alert! The ‘Lunar Temple’

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It was for just such notions as this that such expressions as B.S., codswallop, crapola, and blather were invented.

The European Space Agency has revealed plans to build a “lunar temple” or “dome of contemplation”–barf bag, please–on the moon, as part of a lunar colony ( http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-4162296/The-incredible-lunar-TEMPLE.html ).

Listen to this from the ESA grand poobah, who says the lunar colony will be “a fresh start, a place where there are no social conventions, no nations and no religion, somewhere where those concepts will need to be rethought from scratch.” Rethought by idiots. I marvel he didn’t ask us to imagine no possessions, while he was at it.

So… they’re gonna have a temple, but no religion. They’re even paying an in-house artist to design it. But a temple with no religion–how long do you suppose it’ll take for that vacuum to be filled by something rather nasty? I mean, do these turkeys ever think things through?

Yowsah, yowsah, folks! We’re gonna leave our Original Sin behind on earth, and live in outer space and be as gods!

Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it.  Psalm 127:1.