"Remind them of these things, and charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness, and their talk will spread like gangrene."
When we look at these words from the Apostle Paul to his disciple Timothy, we should do an inventory of our attitude toward the truth and communication. Do we bicker about semantics? Do we present ourselves to God in a way which we would not be embarrassed by were the instant replay brought up on the jumbotron?
Paul tells Timothy to avoid irreverent babble. What is that but the working out in language of our lack of wisdom because we do not fear God? Forgetting our Creator, we conclude that there is no Judge. We then become nihilistic and frivolous. We say things flippantly which we either know are not true, or else do not care whether they are true. And who gets hurt by that? Who cares?
Yet Paul tells us that irreverent babble leads to more and more ungodliness. What we say, then, is the precursor to what we do. So if we are going to wrongly handle the word of truth, not be studious, and quibble about trivialities in definitions and grammar, or be godless in our expectations regarding the spoken and written word, what will come next is that we live like the truth has no bearing. We treat one another and ourselves in a contemptuous, callous, careless way.
By God's grace, we can study to show ourselves approved workmen who need not be ashamed. We can be more intentional in our speech and conduct. We can do good instead of evil, and speak truth instead of falsehoods. And by God's grace, we can bring the effects of disinfectants into corrupt, polluted, gangrenous situations.
My oldest son Josiah turned 14-years-old yesterday, and we celebrated in part by watching the movie Gladiator.
The film opens with an epic battle between Rome and the barbarian hordes. Then secret meetings are called by the emperor.
Commodus soon casts Maximus as the rebel. Yet it is Commodus who murders his father, Marcus Aurelius, and usurped the throne.
So long as everyone around affirms the madman as the rightful ruler, Rome is doomed. It is not a question of whether, but when. Excepting the proper and needful defiance of Maximus, the whole empire descends into chaos, poverty, and starvation.
"Fear is the mind-killer," as Frank Herbert famously put it.
So long as Commodus is able to terrorize everyone into affirming him and treating Maximus as the traitor, the truth will not win out. Neither will justice. But insofar as Maximus is given a free hand to stand on principle, he is maintaining the best of what the tradition of Western Civilization affords.
Who knows what Marcus Aurelius told Maximus in private about restoring the Republic prior to the suffocation of the hoary-headed philosopher king at the hands of his immoral son? None save Maximus until the end.
So Maximus is to be taken outside the camp and executed for refusing to kiss the hand of Commodus. And not only he, but also his wife and son are to be killed by the dutiful soldiers of Rome. This is not to punish Maximus still further, but to serve as a warning.
Whoever would dare to oppose Commodus can expect the same. Whatever faithful service they rendered to the wise, good king who preceded this pretender is now forgotten or even resented.
Meanwhile, Senators Gracchus and Gaius work behind the scenes, meeting with Lucilla in secret to discuss the situation. Rome will starve in two years because all the stores of grain are being sold to finance the bread and circuses designed to win a fleeting, temporary love for Commodus.
They settle on waiting until Commodus has more enemies than friends. That is when they will strike. Only that day will never come so long as all are too afraid of personal loss to risk meaningful, manful opposition.
Does all of this sound familiar? It should.
One of the consequences of being an honest non-conformist is that people who love standardization and so-called normalcy have their attention drawn to me, often with less-than-harmonious, happy effects.
I am not anti-authority, per se. But being a non-conformist who comes by it honestly on both my father's and mother's side, popular and typical ways of relating to authority are a puzzle to me.
When someone tells me to jump, I do not necessarily ask how high I should jump. Rather, the question which comes first to mind is whether this person actually in fact has the proper authority to be making this particular request in this particular situation. And if they do not, or if it is not clear that they do, the mere fact of raising the question is more often than not enough to produce conflict.
Growing up, my Dad especially impressed on me the importance of Romans 12:2, which says "...do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect."
Now it is worth noting that the very next verse should contextualize. "For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith."
What Paul is getting at here is the need for humility even amidst our God-ordained non-conformity. Where this gets sticky is at precisely the point when non-conformity leads to pointed questions of just who do we think we are that we would dare to do things differently than others do them.
It is admittedly hard to answer that we are trying to maintain integrity and excellence whatever everyone else is doing without being accused of lacking humility. What is more, it is admittedly difficult to remain patient when the very fact of non-conformity, or of questioning conformity, is taken as proof that we are arrogant, stubborn, or rebellious.
Hear me now, then, and mark this well. Christians ought not to be rebels without a cause. Moreover, we ought not to be rebels at all. But it is easy to be mistaken for rebels when we question whether lower authorities are acting in accordance with higher precepts and principles derived from greater authorities.
Therein lies the rub. However much the larger body politic needs non-conformists to question why everyone is going about things in a certain way, the non-conformists are historically the ones who get the pointed questions first of where they get off doing things differently.
And when the cause of standardization and normalcy becomes an end unto itself, the clipping of wings and rounding off of square pegs follows close behind.
“To err is human; to forgive, divine.” So says Alexander Pope, 18th century poet in his rare poetic essay, ‘An Essay on Criticism: Part 2.’
Most essays are written prosaically. Hence, our expectations so disturbed, we might fault Pope for having surprised and confused us. Transferring the embarrassment of surprise from ourselves to him has some advantages. But greater advantages are had from embracing rather than criticizing this work regarding criticism.
That really is the point, after all. For every single writer, ten critics wait in the wings. And too often, those critics – joyless in their outlook – rob joy from others even as they criticize for the sake of criticizing.
So what if Pope wrote his essay in poetic form? Perhaps that is not a mistake, as Bob Ross would say, merely a happy little accident. And where is it written that persuasive essays have to be prosaic rather than poetic, mathematical rather than artistic?
In every man, woman, and child there is both a head and a heart. Some live the life of the mind, while others are carried along by the wind wherever their emotions take them. But if we – as writers and critics – can endeavor to show up as the whole person, both head and heart, in whatever our hand finds to do, as unto the Lord, that is much better than half-heartedness and half-baked ideas.
Once upon a time, before my wife Lauren was Lauren Mullet, back when she was Lauren Duff, she had a Yahoo email address. ‘Entiercoeur@Yahoo.com’ is where I sent my letters to her when I did not handwrite them. And when I first asked her to be my girl in high school, it was over Yahoo Messenger, and it was to Entiercoeur that I messaged. That was her name, and that was how I knew her. And that was, whether I knew it at the time, a large part of why I loved her.
If I had taken French instead of Spanish as my second language, and if I had tried to dress to match her after a fashion, I might have called myself ‘Entieresprit’ – Whole Mind – for I was living the life of the mind, and I still am. But how much better am I to be completed, challenged, encouraged to a full heart in addition to a full mind?
“It is not good that the man should be alone,” the Lord God says in Genesis when first a thing that is not good is commented on by the Supreme Judge and Creator of the universe and mankind. “I will make a help-meet suitable for him.”
Just so, I imagine that God looked on a young Garrett Mullet much the way he looks on this now older self of mine, commenting in High Heaven that it is not good for me to be alone and that a help-meet suitable for me has been fashioned and provided.
Remember those commercials on Saturday mornings when we were kids. The crime dog came on the screen and told us all to stay in school and not do drugs. And what was the simple strategy for how to accomplish this? "Just say 'No'" is what the crime dog taught us.
Now here we are. The ability to "Just say 'No'" is as important as ever, but we may not recognize it in this form just yet.
Mask mandates, vaccine mandates - they may seem like no big deal to most folks. But they are a very big deal for what they represent, and for what will come after them if we acquiesce against our better judgment and interests, and regardless our legitimate health and safety concerns.
Ten-year-old humorist and all-around charming guy, Daniel Joseph Mullet joins me on this episode of the podcast to talk about what he has learned driving a big rig in American Trucking Simulator, the state of the world today, our favorite colors and numbers, and more.
Stay tuned until the end to hear Daniel's advice for cold-call sales of grass-mowing services.
What is going on with David Platt and McLean Bible Church? ChurchLeaders.com ran a story July 22, 2021 titled 'David Platt and McLean Bible Church Elders Sued After Recent Elder Vote Exposes Major Problems.' Christianity Today came out with a similar piece the same day, titled 'Platt’s McLean Bible Church Hit With Attempted Takeover, Lawsuit from Opposition.'
For footage and a breakdown of what happened at the church service and congregational meeting in question, check out A.D. Robles video from July 21, 2021 titled 'Chaos at McLean Bible Church Business Meeting/Worship Service.'
The long and short of it seems to be that the increasing Wokeness of many evangelical Christian leaders in America - notably including David Platt - is receiving impassioned pushback from lay Christians.
At first blush, it may seem as though the laypeople objecting are the ones out of order. And they no doubt are sometimes. But then that is to be expected when the leadership is itself also out of order, presuming to write Progressive politics into God's Word and present it as a new and better orthodoxy.
As Proverbs 18:17 tells us, "The first to plead his case seems right, Until another comes and examines him." And whatever is really going on at McLean Bible Church, a team of security guards escorting a member from the building rather than allowing for a cross-examination of leadership does not speak to an abundance of integrity in the process or paradigm of those leaders.
Kwon and Thompson have struck once more their hammer blows against DeYoung's review of their book. Publishing 'Distinctively Christian? An Additional Response to Reverend Kevin DeYoung' at The Front Porch, they get more into the substance of DeYoung's criticism this time. Mercifully, they are more succinct. Yet tragically, they are not more correct than they were before.
Consider again the poem by 18th century Englishman Alexander Pope, 'An Essay on Criticism: Part 2.'
"A little learning is a dang'rous thing;
Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring:
There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,
And drinking largely sobers us again."
For our part, perhaps reading the entirety of that long poem would be a better use of our time than studying overmuch the tired and very old complaints of Kwon and Thompson. Like the house of Israel to which the prophet Ezekiel delivered the word of Yahweh, they contradict the justice of God and say that "The way of the Lord is not right."
And what is it that Ezekiel 18 says? "Therefore I will judge you, house of Israel, each according to his conduct,” declares the Lord GOD."
Even if Kwon and Thompson were correct that we, like the 18th century bishop Tillotson arbitrarily reasoned, should limit restitution for theft to one generation, they wrongly claim that only one generation has passed since Jim Crow laws were struck down in America.
A quick search of the internet for how long a generation is tells us simply enough that it spans 20-40 years. And even if we take the upper range value and judge the White American Church with the same strictness with which God judged the children of Israel who grumbled against him on the edge of Canaan, we are now more than a generation removed from 1965 - over 50 years ago. So their argument fails here too.
Yet they persist in accusing and condemning the White American Church in the present unjustly on these grounds. And even God himself would seem to be guilty of White Supremacy, in their view, where God gives the Promised Land to the next generation of Israelites after their grumbling generation - save Joshua and Caleb - died in the desert.
Social Justice apparently recognizes no statute of limitations, nor does it respect individual guilt and innocence. Whatever their protests to the contrary, their argument is as simple as all White Americans being guilty merely by virtue of being born White.
The phrase "err on the side of caution" annoys me. Subtly baked into it is the foreknowledge that a course of action is error, and we are accepting that. Given the fact that a double negative makes a positive, I make a concerted effort to push back on cautious errors. We should err on the side of caution when it comes to erring on the side of caution.
That is to say, why err at all if it can be helped?
"To err is human; to forgive, divine." So says the poem by Englishman Alexander Pope in 'An Essay on Criticism, Part II' published in 1711.
By God's grace, there is forgiveness in Christ for our errors. Yet we should endeavor to not err, by God's grace. And where we see an error we are about to commit - whether one of caution or brashness - we ought to ask of ourselves and God how to do what is right and proper in light of the circumstances and God's Word.
Consider this: Christ our Lord never erred on the side of caution. We know this because we know that he never erred at all. Yes, "he was tempted in all ways as we are, yet without sin." And Hebrews 4:15 comforts us with the reminder that we do have a high priest who is able to sympathize with our weakness.
But what do we find? When caution was warranted, Christ took care. And when boldness was required, Christ was direct and aggressive in the best senses of those terms.
It inescapably follows that we should study the actions and reactions of our Lord to discern better when caution is correct and when boldness is. In so doing, we will ourselves better master when we ought to be cautious and when we ought to be bold.
"The wicked flee when no one pursues, But the righteous are bold as a lion." So says Proverbs 28:1.
And, "All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work."
What the Apostle Paul is getting at with his disciple Timothy is that teaching, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness has as its end our completion and equipment for every good work.
This means we adopt a position of humility, yes. But we also speak and act in boldness. And the truly difficult maintenance is in living, working, and relating from a depth of both humility and boldness.
Christ was tempted in all the ways we are - both to be cautious when boldness was necessary, and to be brash when gentleness was appropriate. But he deftly maneuvered between these two sets of sharp rocks. And by God's grace, so can we.
The idiots need to be told what to do says the arrogant rich man brought on as a guest by Joe Scarborough. "You don't have a choice." But of course not. And I suppose you do, Mr. Hubristic Know-it-all.
But let us all celebrate our fearless leaders in the Senate sub-committee voting this week that our daughters must sign up for selective service - also known as "the draft." Here is that much vaunted "equality" we have heard so much about. This individualist is not having it, particularly where his own daughter is concerned.
If we cannot say that America has become totalitarian just yet, we must be close.
Whether renewed discussion of whether to impose lockdowns and mask mandates produces one result or the other, the underlying premise is the same. You and I get to do what the centralized authority explicitly permits, and nothing more. We have rights only so far as they are granted by our government, and nothing more. That is what totalitarians believe.
For our part, we need to study diligently where the line is, and be ready to hold it.
Though many may say - wrongly, I would add - that individualism is just another word for selfishness, it is actually collectivism which creates the ideal growing conditions for the worst and most pernicious kind of selfishness. When all our life choices must be filtered and strained through the collectivist rubric, nothing whatsoever about our lives is sacred. For that matter, neither is anything about the lives of those around us.
In a totalitarian society, there is no God either to fear or to love. And while the wicked may celebrate being free from the constraints of the Lord of the universe, they will not celebrate long.
Horror vacui - nature abhors a vacuum. And in the absence of the Lord God Almighty, one strong man (or woman) after another will strive to sit on his throne and fill his shoes. We may all be made in God's image, but we are very poor substitutes for him, especially when we have no knowledge or fear of him or his ways.
In a totalitarian state, you have no right to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind. Nor are you truly free to love your neighbor as you love yourself. You are free only to love the state as a representative and embodiment of all your neighbors. Pay your taxes and obey uncritically. That is the whole duty of man.
Fortunately, the laws of the universe which God instituted in eternity past will not sleep forever. Indeed, they are not sleeping now. There will come a reckoning for this folly, and we ought to pray that it comes swiftly if there will not be repentance and renewal first.
A fault line in American evangelical Christianity is increasingly apparent. As Exhibit A and B, consider two articles of the past three months: one ‘Reparations: A Critical Theological Review’ published by Kevin DeYoung at The Gospel Coalition on April 22, 2021 dealing with the book ‘Reparations: A Christian Call for Repentance and Renewal’ by Duke Kwon and Greg Thompson; the other, ‘Sanctifying the Status Quo: A Response to Reverend Kevin DeYoung’ by the authors of that book DeYoung reviewed and critiqued, published July 19, 2021 at The Front Porch.
Wrapping up an examination of these two pieces, let us turn our attention more fully to the response of Kwon and Thompson to DeYoung and see it for what it is. While assuring us all that they do not believe DeYoung to be in any way, shape, or form a racist or White Supremacist, the authors nevertheless also insist over nearly 10,000-words that DeYoung is doing the dirty work of White Supremacy. This they do by attacking his methodology as being White-centric, excluding black voices, minimizing White Supremacy, and prioritizing White comfort.
The argumentum ad hominem is strong with this one. And it has an all-too-familiar feel to it for me which I recognize from many painful interactions with old friends and family who have embraced Woke ideology, particularly when wedded with a form of Christianity. Smiling, friendly, and complimentary, they nevertheless bury the rhetorical knife deep between the ribs repeatedly and without mercy as they carry out their revolutionary work.
In sum, Kwon and Thompson demonstrate in their response that the truth is malleable. We should all come away from their piece with a renewed appreciation for the importance of Western civilization even as they make an all-out assault on its foundations. Like sappers digging subterranean tunnels to plant petards beneath a besieged city's walls, these two pastors need to be called out as the traitors in our midst they truly are.
In our last episode, 'An Interesting Back and Forth About Reparations,' I introduced a pair of links regarding the book 'Reparations: A Christian Call for Repentance and Renewal' by Duke Kwon and Greg Thompson. The first link is a review of that book at TGC by Pastor Kevin DeYoung. In this episode, I want to talk about DeYoung's review.
To give a review of a review may seem like an odd thing to do, but I think we can learn a lot from examining closely DeYoung's treatment of this work. DeYoung is well-spoken for the most part, but he is like us in this one key regard. We can all get better at communication. And though I agree with all of DeYoung's concerns stated in the nearly 6,000 word piece he published, he does pull his punches and send mixed signals.
How is it possible for a work from two pastors to be presenting a competing worldview and Biblical framework, to be wrong in so many key and foundational ways, and for those two pastors to still be publicly affirmed for loving Jesus, the gospel, and the church? Why compliment them for their work while at the same time calling out that same work for being dangerous, misguided, and antithetical to orthodox Christian life and practice?
Perhaps it is not necessary to or helpful to attack them personally. But what about describing them clearly? Are we still trying to wrestle with what precisely to make of Critical Race Theory and anti-racism, and proving indecisive and muddied as a result? Are we afraid of being decried as a "White Supremacist" and racist, and consequently pulling our punches to the greatest extent possible? If so, the concerns are not unfounded. Caution is warranted. All the same, we need to steer well clear of flattery and ambiguity.
The truth of where the new brand of Woke Christians are coming from is, just like the subjects they often prefer to talk about so confidently, a bit complicated. Nevertheless, the complexity of the whole business is more a reason to be clear and direct rather than a reason to be less clear.
And so, in the interest of encouraging greater clarity and boldness, I contend that we who care about doctrinal purity and faithfulness to God in every facet of life need to be more bold ourselves even as we refrain from affirming a twisted kind of boldness on the part of men like Kwon and Thompson where their aggression should be more rightly called brashness.
Either this is false teaching or it isn't. Either these truth claims are compatible with the gospel of Jesus Christ or they aren't. And if we are not quite sure one way or the other, perhaps we do well to examine the source and origin of these "analytical tools" as being what they are - Cultural Marxism, plain and simple.
Today my neighbor JP Chavez shared with me "an interesting back and forth," as he put it, in the form of two links. One 'Reparations: A Critical Theological Review' published by Kevin DeYoung at The Gospel Coalition on April 22, 2021 dealing with the book 'Reparations: A Christian Call for Repentance and Renewal' by Duke Kwon and Greg Thompson. The other, 'Sanctifying the Status Quo: A Response to Reverend Kevin DeYoung' by the authors of that book DeYoung reviewed and critiqued, published July 19, 2021 at The Front Porch.
Time at present does not permit me to do full justice to either, much less both. But you should make time to read these two pieces and prayerfully and studiously consider them. Consider also this YouTube video of Voddie Baucham addressing why the Southern Baptist Convention adopted a resolution affirming Critical Race Theory instead of roundly condemning it as Marxist infiltration of Christ's Church.
For now, let me just point out the low-down dirtiness of smearing a critic for being a racist supporter of "White Supremacy" merely for having the temerity to disagree openly and at-length with some measure of authority a pseudo-theological, pseudo-historical, pseudo-psychological, pseudo-economical, thoroughly political attempt to argue for reparations being paid by white Americans generally and the white churches in particular.
Kevin DeYoung, Kwon and Thompson assure us, is not a white supremacist and racist - per se. But his methodology is thoroughly racist and white supremacist. And if we were not such racists and white supremacists we would have the wisdom, godliness, and maturity to take their word for that. If only we could get a non-racist word in edgewise, maybe we could talk about Antonio Gramsci. Alas, wisdom is too high for the fool. And civil discourse is the last thing on the minds of proponents of CRT. Indeed, the whole notion of civil discourse is merely a product of that very "Whiteness" which we are being ceaselessly called to repent of.
Grace? What grace? Don't change the subject to salvation. And don't you dare go pleading the cause of anything which might even sound like innocent white people having their lives and livelihoods destroyed in the name of anti-racism. We don't countenance that sort of talk around here where the new Woke gospel reigns supreme.
Heaven help us. With all this talk of reparations, it will take a miracle to repair the damage being done in the pursuit of naked self-promotion, virtue-signaling Leftism. And pay heed to the example of Pastor DeYoung. Being gracious scores you no points - not really. Surrender or die. Agree wholly or be cast out into utter darkness where there is only weeping and gnashing of teeth. Those are the rules.
Or perhaps there is another way. And maybe, just maybe, we should try a little more clarity and directness, and a little less of trying to be winsome with wolves in sheep clothes.
In Beyond Order: 12 More Rules for Life, Dr. Jordan B. Peterson delivers the follow-up to his 2018 best-seller, '12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos.' And liking most of what Peterson has to say though I sincerely do, there are points of concern which bear mentioning.
But first let us talk about the good in this book. Ecclesiastes 7:16 comes readily to mind. "Be not overly righteous, and do not make yourself too wise. Why should you destroy yourself?" That admonition of wise old King Solomon pretty well sums up this book, Peterson's personal anecdotes and musings on psychology, philosophy, and religion considered in sum.
And we do need to hear that, particularly if we read 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos and came away realizing we needed badly to make our beds in all the symbolic, metaphorical, emotional, intellectual, and relational senses of that phrase.
Yet I cannot help feeling concerned for the author, genuinely and without affectation. And I cannot help worrying about his audience of many desperate, drifting young men especially who - if they are straight, white men living in the ruins of Western Civilization - have been told that they are the villains of the world's story. They are the oppressors. They are what's wrong with the world.
There is a form of godliness in Peterson's ample references to Biblical stories. Yet does he affirm their power fully and truly when he treats them as only psychologically useful? I am not convinced they have staying power - personally or culturally - if we refuse to believe they are literally true, pre-eminent, necessary, and essential.
What prevents us from going down the same path pre-Nazi Germany went down in its insistence academically and theologically on a merely "historical Jesus"? Backing up a few decades on the number line and having another go at it, why are we not going to end up in the same place?
But that is just it. We cannot. And insofar as we cannot have it any other way, perhaps this book and its attendant enthusiasm - sympathizing with that hungry reception though I do given the circumstances - bears remembrance of another saying of King Solomon.
"What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun."
Our third son Solomon is only 11 years old, but already has demonstrated a remarkable artistic talent. If it were up to him, I think he would work on art all day for the rest of his days.
The trouble comes where he still has math to finish up from last year. As he tells us often, "I just get so distracted. I can't focus."
Though we try to be patient and work with him in this, I tell Solomon that he has to learn to focus. He has to learn to control and discipline himself to do what he needs to do even when he would rather be doing something else. In short, Solomon needs to learn what all of us must learn - to want to do what we must do.
Of course, that does not mean Solomon needs to grow up to be a mathematician. And we do not want him to abandon art. But this country and Western civilization needs more artists who believe in math, conveying through their mediums the fact and truth that reality must be transcendent and knowable by virtue of God having created us in his image, and by virtue of God giving us the Scriptures to know as much as we do about his character, deeds, promises, and plans.
But so much art in the past century has been a war on objective truth. To post-modern philosophy and its attendant artistic expression, truth is subjective. The only truth we can truly know and tell is what we feel. No wonder American society is in the mess it is.
For more on the history of art and philosophy, read Francis Schaeffer's 'Escape From Reason.'
And for more on the need for transcendent, knowable truth pervading the visual cues which society has come to depend on for people to get and develop their ideas and lives, read Charles C. Mann's 'The Wizard and The Prophet,' as well as Edward Bernays' 'Propaganda.'
Two plus two equals four and will always equal four. And we need more artists who are able to convey that in all the possible ways to a people who have lost the ability to be reasonable.
Fox News reported yesterday, July 15th 2021, that the Biden administration is consulting with Facebook to flag and censor user content critical of, or contrary to the official government talking points on, COVID vaccination. Critics are in a tizzy, and rightly so.
There is no freedom left in this country if we are not free to talk openly and critically about the government's handling of a crisis - past, present, and foreseeable future.
We have no freedom whatsoever if we cannot even talk freely with our friends and family about our concerns with the policy of our mayors, governors, legislators, and president where our liberty, livelihood, and health are concerned.
But then these folks don't believe that truth is an objective, universal, transcendent, and knowable thing anyway. So why not suppress your truth and allow only for their own truth if that's what can be sold as "the greater good"?
The more distant we are from the Protestant Christian ideas and ideals which founded the United States of America, the less distinctly we appreciate the original reasons freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of religion, and the right to keep and bear arms were originally enshrined as inalienable and God-given rights in the first place.
And now we are very distantly removed indeed. COVID is just an accelerant. All the components and necessary pieces of this implosion and self-immolation were already there in increasing measure.
One may be called crazy for suggesting the political establishment in the U.S. fostered the release and spread of COVID-19 from the Wuhan Institute of Virology. At a minimum, however, there is no denying that the political establishment - whether Democrat or Republican - has exploited COVID-19 in mercenary, self-serving fashion to ram down all our throats a great many things they wanted but couldn't excuse before.
And, yes, an open partnership with social media giants like Facebook was on that list. Claiming an imminent public health need to co-opt our freedom of speech is the excuse of the moment, but it'll stick around forever if we let it.
See also concerns about massive, wide-spread, decisive, and coordinated fraud in the 2020 Election, as well as any number of other topics which the Biden administration wants to control your thoughts, feelings, opinions, and influence on.
The bigger their power grab and the smaller our response, the less we will be able to ever again in our lifetimes challenge them. Give a mouse a cookie, and he'll ask for a glass of milk.
"It's just not that simple
I'm not trying to save it all I just want to create a ripple
And even if one individual is affected it's monumental with an unusual perspective
That's beautiful in essence traditional thinking won't suggest this
Is life really that precious well yes it is"
- Chapter 1, The Boy Vs The Cynic by John Reuben
Cuba rejecting communism at the same time the United States of America increasingly embraces it is surreal to say the least. Oh, the irony.
For several generations, Cubans have fled their communist dictatorship off our coast to come to America, yearning to be free. Happily, many of these Cubans have been the most outspoken voices for conserving American ideals in the face of an onslaught in recent years of naked Marxism.
No wonder the Biden administration is drawing an uncharacteristically hard line when it comes to a new wave of Cubans fleeing their government's brutal crackdown on protest and dissidence. If these refugees could be relied on to vote for Democrats, they would be welcomed with open arms. Make no mistake about that.
But we in America do well to pay close attention to the images coming out of our southern island neighbor now. Do not be naïve, ignorant, or evasive. Take a good, long look. And realize that this is what our grandchildren and great-grandchildren will suffer if we do not find the strength of character and conviction to oppose the present darkness trying to envelope our own homeland.
Despite growing efforts to infuse Woke Christianity into the Left-Right debate in America, we need to be Bereans. Search the Scriptures - particularly Romans 13 - more diligently. See that the responsibility is not for us to blindly, dumbly, passively validate and affirm every action taken by a supposed authority.
Yes, we are to submit to governing authorities. But there is a limit to the acquiescence which God requires us to achieve and maintain - and that limit lies where the supposed governing authority punishes those who do good and rewards those who do evil as a matter of course.
God is slow to anger, but his judgment does not sleep and wait forever.
In the meantime, we do well to look to our own affairs. Mind your own business, but understand more fully and completely what actually is your business. There might be more to it than you have been led to believe.
So also, let us strive to be content with whatever is our lot in life, and whatever the Lord ordains for us to endure or overcome. May we love and lead our families well, and love our neighbor as we love ourselves. And may we pray that God would have mercy on us and save us from the godless, covetous enemies of our souls, preserving us forever in his truth, wisdom, mercy, and loving kindness.
Jocko Willink's 'Leadership Strategy and Tactics: Field Manual' (2020) is a helpful follow-up to his other co-authored works - 'Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win' (2015), and 'The Dichotomy of Leadership: Balancing the Challenges of Extreme Ownership to Lead and Win' (2018). In it, he drives home and further explains concepts which bear repeating and emphasis.
For instance, consider the phrase "discipline equals freedom." Why would that be true, and what can we do about it?
Or for another example, how important is keeping our own selfish pride in check to being able to work together and collaborate with others on projects and in teams?
The short answer is that whether we lead or are striving to understand better those who lead us, these are worthwhile books to add to the library in pursuit of greater faithfulness and effectiveness.
Continuing our discussion from Episode # 97 of Season 3 - 'War Crimes and Genocide in the Old Testament,' I eluded in that episode to Deuteronomy 20 and the laws concerning warfare which God gave to Israel.
It is entirely too easy in our present context as Americans living in the 21st century, to see this passage and hear what it says, and to come away with a kind of latent disgust at the brutality and harshness of what is prescribed.
Again, though, we have to be very careful not to suppose we are the ones who are more righteous, just, and fair than God is. If we have a different standard, where did it come from that we are so confident in its greater holiness or utility?
Believe it or not, there is a remarkable amount of mercy in Deuteronomy 20. We just have to know where to look for it, and we have to be looking for it.
Besides that, though, there is the critically important matter of not being embarrassed of anything which God has commanded or instructed. We may not always understand what he was, is, or will be doing. Nevertheless, our aim should be to trust that the ways of the Lord are just and pure and perfect.
So if this passage gives us some difficulty and challenge in that regard, let's lean in rather than ducking out.
What does the Bible say about the rules of war? Or can we say there are any rules for war in the Bible when God not only permits but commands the total annihilation of certain of Israel's enemies?
An anonymous reader of my works published at On The Rocks Blog contacted me back in January to ask these and related questions. A Chinese university student in America, he came to faith in Christ about 2-years ago after having been a Democrat and Progressive up to that point. Now he is grappling with thorny problems like what the Bible has to say about war-time atrocities - for instance, the Rape of Nanking in World War II by Imperial Japan.
Honored though I am that Mr. Pseudonymous Chinese University student contacted me - "Internet Man," as he calls me - to answer these questions, I nevertheless have procrastinated until now to even begin to answer with more than a pledge that I would answer.
In short, let us begin by recognizing that "All is fair in love and war" cannot be true. As surely as there is a God in heaven who rules and reigns over the affairs of men, there must also be a standard of righteousness in the waging of war. And operating outside of this standard should not cease to be called wickedness just because "war is hell."
But let's take a closer look at the way war is waged in the Old Testament. Is God guilty of "War Crimes," and ancient Israel complicit with him? When taking certain cities occupied by certain people groups of the inhabitants of Canaan, God commanded that no creature be left alive - not men, women, or children, and not even the livestock.
Elsewhere, God commands that when other cities are made war against besides those singled out for complete destruction, the cities are to be given an opportunity to surrender. If they surrender, they are to be taken peacefully. But if the men of those cities insist on fighting, all of the men are to be killed and all the women and children taken as slaves.
However we might feel about this, this way of war does not comport with modern international legal codes. And if a nation today were to conduct war in this way, we would say that nation's government and military was guilty of war crimes and "crimes against humanity."
But we have to take a step back - intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually - and consider the specific context which Israel operated within as God's chosen people in the Old Testament.
Furthermore, we need to recognize that God not only establishes the standard of what is good and right. He is the standard. And consistently - in war or any other sphere of human activity - we are in very real spiritual and moral danger if we try to impose on God our own standard of righteousness, particularly when we then say that God has been weighed, measured, and found wanting. We are not more righteous than God. And if we think otherwise, we are the ones in error.
In short, this is a complicated business. But there are a great many threads that need to be pulled on and followed if we are going to understand some things which are a mixture of clarity and mystery. So let us begin to do that if we have not yet.
Let's talk about contentment. As the Scriptures say, "godliness with contentment is great gain." And that promise has been very much in my thoughts in recent weeks as I grapple with when and how and why I am not always so contented in the midst of trials or setbacks.
This line of thought intersects so many others that it's hard to know where to begin. But developing perseverance and resilience requires that I get in there and stay on it.
When so much of post-modern American society is addicted to instant gratification, the counter-intuitive is that we are actually better off accepting that the Lord does not always give us what we want, and that he almost never gives us what we want when we want it.
Yet in Christ we have everything we need for life and godliness. And in that realization we can find peace - with God and our fellow man and ourselves. And when we meditate on this fact, it helps us to stand up under trial in a way that is gracious, good, and wise.
Sometimes the meaning of one synonym is given a positive connotation while a negative association is ascribed to another word which means the same thing, or near enough. And when that happens, those discriminating persons who can still be found in society will find themselves puzzled.
Take for instance the prominent case of the word ‘Critical’. Cropping up in news piece after scandalous news piece in the context of ‘Critical Race Theory,’ how many of us are pausing to consider the oddity that discrimination is bad, but criticality is apparently good? Moreover, for a theory about race to be ‘Critical’ is such a good thing that all our children must be taught from little on up about it. Only do not dare discriminate.
If we were more discriminating, and better at it, we would not fall for these shell games. The sleight of hand would not trick us.
But now the winds and rains have come and all the houses built on the shore must be tested now to see what sort of foundation they were built on. Those who do not know and refuse to learn how to critique along the correct lines – moreover rejecting the idea that there is any such thing as ‘correct’ and ‘incorrect’ – will find that their homes were built on shifting sands and fall accordingly.
What is needed is not a new and better theory for understanding class struggle and inequity from 30,000 feet. Very ancient, even eternal, principles of planks and specks are what we need to recall. And on these we predicate the right judgment Christ told us to judge with.
An article by National Review senior writer Michael Brendan Dougherty titled 'Critical Race Theory as Metaphysics' was sent to me yesterday by my cousin, Micah Hershberger. In it, Dougherty makes the tepid statement that "It might be time to admit that education is an induction into a metaphysical and moral worldview."
If even National Review is starting to wake its readers up to the truly deplorable condition of American public education, you know its bad. Upper middle-class conservative conservatives trying to maintain their own personal status quo are reluctant to concede that the Progressive programme of American public education has declared war on everything they hold dear. Not even the thin veneer of love for country remains.
The handwriting on the blackboard could hardly be any clearer if teachers unions were announcing a new education initiative to 'Eat the Rich.' As such, we have to do better than saying we maybe, perhaps, possibly, if we feel like it should do something else with our children besides sending them to public schools.
Toward that end, check out my just-launched website for 'And This Is Why.' You can find it at andthisiswhy.us, and there also you can learn about my book, 'And This Is Why We Homeschool' - available on paperback and Kindle e-reader from Amazon.com and, if you prefer, Walmart.com. Buy a copy today for yourself and your friend or family member either currently homeschooling or considering homeschooling.
As Hank Berrien at The Daily Wire reported July 6, 2021 - 'Internet Erupts After Biden, Psaki Push ‘Door-To-Door’ Plan Targeting Unvaccinated People' - President Biden and White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki both announced that a strike force is in the works to make up for the Biden administration having missed its own benchmarked goal for vaccinating Americans by the Fourth of July.
Funny how that is always the way it goes with the Left, Progressives, and Democrats. When the government fails to meet its own metrics, the fault lies with the governed and not the governing. 'Once more with feeling,' the conductor tells our orchestra.
This is a dark precedent, though. And despite what wise old King Solomon says in Ecclesiastes - that bit about there being no new thing under the sun - show me when in our national history this sort of thing has been proposed or tried.
It ought to be enough that we who are plugged into the news or internet have been hearing about vaccination non-stop for the past year. If we are not yet persuaded as to the efficacy and safety of these products of Operation Warpspeed, coming and knocking on our door to bully or cajole us into getting the shot anyways is disrespectful and a waste of time.
In the words of Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino: "Get off my lawn."
“The science of government it is my duty to study, more than all other sciences; the arts of legislation and administration and negotiation ought to take the place of, indeed exclude, in a manner, all other arts. I must study politics and war, that our sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. Our sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history and naval architecture, navigation, commerce and agriculture in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry and porcelain.”
― John Adams, Letters of John Adams, Addressed to His Wife
As my oldest sons begin high school this coming fall, I need to begin talking with them about their plans for after high school. What do they want to do with their lives? Depending on the possible answers to that question, a college degree may be necessary. But it also may not be.
Is college worth it anymore, if you don't already have a set direction you know will require a post-secondary diploma? Ask the colleges and universities, and they can be relied on to answer in the affirmative. And perhaps in decades past, they were mostly correct. Now, however?
The cost-benefit needs to change when free speech, freedom of inquiry, and critical thinking are under such relentless and persistent attack on campuses from coast to coast. And when even many historically Christian universities become indoctrination centers for Leftist, liberal, Progressive, and Woke propaganda, we have to re-evaluate and double-check our math.
If college were free, that would be one thing. It most certainly is not, however.
If college were necessary to success, then the answer would be obvious. And where the path is certain and certainly requires college, then our minds are made up for us.
Otherwise, perhaps the most enlightened thing is to encourage our children to think and study deeply and independently on their own, and pursue the trades instead of diplomas which with each passing year seem less and less valuable adjusted for inflation and the laws of supply and demand.
July 4, 1776 - on this day 245-years ago, the Continental Congress signed the Declaration of Independence, thereby officially separating the thirteen colonies from Great Britain, and instituting The United States of America as a separate and self-governing Republic.
To read the text of the Declaration of Independence in its entirety, you can find its transcription at the National Archives website here.
Pay special attention to two features of the Declaration. First, that the signatories of this document finished it off in the last sentence with the following:
"And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor."
A Calvinist, an Arminian, and a rather agnostic Christian where the precise dimensions of predestination and free will are concerned will each read and interpret this differently.
Speaking for myself, I spend a day like today pondering the mystery of how God's authority institutes our authority to conduct our affairs, both as individuals and corporately.
The second thing you ought to pay attention to in the Declaration of Independence is that the key thing is not that we would sacrifice all we have in defense of our country or countrymen or liberties. We are no less Americans or Christians or Christian Americans if we have not died a martyrs death in proclaiming the gospel or defending our rights to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.
As 1 Samuel 15:22 records, "Samuel said, “Has Yahweh as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of Yahweh? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams.""
That is the stuff nations and peoples are made of, so help us God. That is the stuff on which countries rise and fall.
As James Madison puts it in The Federalist No. 51, “If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.”
So then, the enigma of American liberty is that it is predicated on restraint and the obedience of our conscience to the Word of God, and God's Law - also known popularly in the 18th century as Natural Law.
In other words, the mystery of government is that we must be subject to authority for God's sake. And at the same time, we must recognize that human government itself needs to be subject to God's authority for all our sakes.
Unless we understand such things as these, and how they were perceived by the Founding Fathers, we cannot understand the Fourth of July. And therefore, we cannot fully and truly celebrate it in all its glory.
An odd phrase I frequently tell my children on their birthdays is "I'm glad you were born." That sentiment really is what we are communicating when we celebrate birthdays, isn't it?
Just so, when in the United States of America we celebrate the 4th of July, or Independence Day if you prefer, we ought to do more than go through the motions and check the box of what is expected of us.
Or perhaps a great many of us are not happy this nation was born. In that case, those persons should not celebrate the 4th of July. And if they think some other country on Earth is better than this one, they should make arrangements to move there.
As for my family, we will celebrate with gladness and thanksgiving that day in 1776 on which the Declaration of Independence was signed by the Continental Congress. And we will thank God that we have the great privilege of having been born citizens of this great country.
May we be faithful stewards of our civic responsibility, and this great heritage which has been passed down to us as our inheritance. And may God bless us and America as we endeavor to make a more perfect union of these states, E pluribus unum, striving to honor him in the conducting of our affairs and in the exercising of our rights and liberties. So help us God.
Micah Hershberger recently reached out to me to ask my opinion on a question he is pondering.
What do I believe are the three greatest struggles facing men and women in American churches today? That is, what are the three greatest struggles facing men? Just so for the ladies also, what are the three greatest struggles facing women?
Believing as I do Solomon when he says in Ecclesiastes 1:9, "There is no new thing under the sun," my answer to Micah's thought-provoking question mostly sidesteps the peculiarities of modern technology concerning transportation, entertainment, food supply, the internet, and smartphones.
In short, I believe men and women alike have three main responses to the threats to purpose and belonging inherent to modern American society. Those three responses are: Fight, Flight, and Surrender.
But that is where the similarities pretty well dry up. The ways in which men and women fight, flee, and throw in the towel look markedly different. Listen in to find out how.
Why do we read the books we do? And when we read a book more than once, why is that?
Having just finished Colin Woodward's 'The Republic of Pirates' for the second time in less than a year, and now closing in on a third read-through of Charles C. Mann's '1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus,' I am trying to figure out what the common denominator is for me.
Then I consider this piece at CNBC from January 2019 stating '24 percent of American adults haven’t read a book in the past year' - and I am baffled that anyone can help reading at least one book in the course of a year, much less stopping at one.
If you read some books regularly or routinely, why do you go back to the books you go back to?
But if you do not read books at all, then you should. Fix that. Amend that. Add regular reading of good books to your routine. A mind is a terrible thing to waste, after all.
Yesterday afternoon, I had a follow-up appointment with a dentist in Greeley. At a minimum, he would be giving me a dental crown. However, he might also get into the procedure and find that he needed to perform a root canal.
On the way home, I called my brother who was moving his earthly belongings from his old house to his new house, and he sounded out of breath and tired. Joking, we discussed trading places. He would go to my dentist appointment, and I would go do his moving for him.
But of course it doesn't work that way, and that's the joke.
Similarly, it is odd to me that we think men and women are interchangeable authority figures - in the home, in church, or in broader society. And it makes about as much sense to say that anyone at all will do, so long as they are willing. Yes, willingness is an important component. But even more important is calling and qualification, as well as necessity. And most important of all is God's design and purpose and command.
Check out this article from 1948 by C.S. Lewis for more fine thoughts on these matters.
But suffice to say for now that when we think we need to modernize the Scriptures to meet our ideals of equity and fairness, we are not just fostering strife between one another, between conservatives and liberals inside and outside the church. We are fostering strife between ourselves and the Most High God whose created order we are expressing deep and abiding discontent and dissatisfaction with.
My neighbor two houses down, JP Chavez wrote to me yesterday afternoon with the following:
"I was listening to a podcast on Carl Trueman's 'Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self.' They pick up some aspects that Trueman himself doesn’t go into in the book - namely... the idea, “I think therefore I am,” and how that kind of introspection influenced the church.
I am curious to get your thoughts on how those ideas have influenced the church, both in the past when those ideas started to be purported, and today."
So let's dive right into who Descartes was and where this idea came from. And, perhaps more importantly, what has been the effect of doubting absolutely everything except our own existence, and building all our sciences off of that one truth?
In short, the result has been to build up a philosophy which is not the love of wisdom at all. Philosophy is supposed to be the love of wisdom, but believing that we are the only certain reality in the universe, and that "Man is the measure of all things" as the ancient Greek philosopher Protagoras put it, necessarily goes hand-in-hand with fundamentally rejecting the existence of a knowable, understandable, actionable transcendent and objective truth and reality.
Yet to reject the existence of that sort of reality and truth is also to fundamentally oppose the truth claims of the Bible and of the God of the Bible.
Perhaps in all our radical doubting and deconstruction we would do well do doubt our own interest in that kind of anti-philosophy approach to truth and wisdom. And perhaps we would do well to embrace the fact that we exist regardless our believing and doubting, and must exist because "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."
Back after my vacation last week, capped off with a busy and breathtaking trip to New Mexico for my son Eli's 13th birthday, I want to talk about comments made by President Joe Biden last week concerning the 2nd Amendment.
For those unfamiliar, you can listen to his remarks for yourself here.
Needless to say, I remain unconvinced. And vaguely threatening to use F-15's and nuclear weapons against proponents and advocates of the 2nd Amendment as an anti-tyranny protection is itself a good argument for why we should not allow the 2nd Amendment to be infringed upon.
In other news, a bi-partisan resolution in the U.S. Congress condemns a century of Maoist CCP oppression of the Chinese people. And isn't it an odd sight to see our lawmakers condemn a century of atrocities committed by communists in China while at the same time listening to ascendant radical Leftism threaten Americans who want to keep and bear arms and remain free?
I definitely think so.
But let me end off with a word of encouragement. Rights that are God-given can only be opposed by men. They cannot be taken away unless we surrender them. And if my trip to New Mexico with my son Eli underscored anything for me, it is that regimes change, but culture endures.
New Mexico was once Nuevo Mexico. And before it was a part of the United States, it was a province of what is now the United Mexican States. And before Mexico was an independent nation, it belonged to Spain. And before that, it was the ancient land of various tribes of indigenous Puebloan, Apache, and Chacoan peoples.
My point being that all of those cultures still live in to varying extents today. Regimes come and go. Illegitimate presidents and governments rise and fall. But if we maintain a culture of celebrating, affirming, and defending what is good and true according to God, our heritage and posterity will endure.
In the 2006 Alfonso Cuarón sci-fi flick ‘Children of Men,’ Clive Owen plays Theo Faron, a man tasked with delivering the last young woman on Earth capable of having children to a place where she will be protected and looked-after. For some unknown reason, everyone else has become infertile.
The film is set in the not-so-distant future, the year 2027. And the premise is gripping. With years having passed since the last child was born, humanity has devolved into chaos and disorder at the realization of the finitude of mankind. And now that a woman has been found who is somehow fertile when none of the other women on Earth are, everyone is going to want to use her for their own political aims.
“He alone, who owns the youth, gains the future,” as Adolf Hitler is often quoted.
Reign of Fire
Fast-forward to the present. Or rewind to the present. I suppose it all depends on whether you work from when this movie was made and released, or else work from when the film is set to take place.
This past weekend, in celebration of Father’s Day, I introduced my own seven children to another apocalyptic vision of the future. Or should I say, ‘last year’?
I had forgotten that the 2002 film Reign of Fire, starring Matthew McConaughey, Christian Bale, and Gerard Butler, was set in the year 2020. Funny, that. Or at least we all thought so.
But here too, the subject of having children to continue on the human race features prominently. And the importance of fathers to this plot also cannot be understated. Just look at Christian Bale’s character Quinn Abercromby. Or, for a darker example, consider the final dragon needing slain.
Psalm 127:3-5 reads as follows.
Behold, children are a heritage from Yahweh,
the fruit of the womb a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
are the children of one's youth.
Blessed is the man
who fills his quiver with them!
He shall not be put to shame
when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.
So what should we make of the COVID vaccine being dangerous to women who are pregnant or who may become pregnant?
As American Christians, I think it's hard for us to imagine being persecuted in our own country. Perhaps if we were trying to serve as missionaries in North Korea or China or the Middle East, we could expect to be arrested, beaten, or put to death just for sharing the gospel. But here in the United States?
Why not? What prevents violent and systematic persecution of Christianity from our shores?
The COVID lockdowns of the past year have proven to me with alarming rapidity that we are not so far removed from the plight of the church historically in diverse places and times. Church services forbidden. Singing songs together banned. And major alleged news media outlets running stories blaming Christians for being "anti-science" and thereby spreading the pandemic.
Despite not usually being a fan of John MacArthur, I must admit he has been a true American hero through the past year. For just the latest example of what I mean, check out his sermon from June 17th, 2021 titled 'When Government Rewards Evil and Punishes Good,' sent me by my friend Lukas Abernathy yesterday afternoon.
And to further drive home the point MacArthur is making about our current circumstances, consider the new documentary 'The Government War on Worship' highlighted yesterday in this article by Jon Brown at The Daily Wire.
Who would have thought a few short years ago that the Chinese Communist Party's repression of Christians in that country would be juxtaposed with some merit alongside images and footage of Canadian law enforcement arresting and repressing pastors and laypeople just for trying to hold church services in North America in violation of public health orders?
If you didn't see that happening - at least so soon - neither did I. And what else might come sooner than we think next? But whatever comes next, it's important to remember what's in play here. It's critical to recognize what is really at the center of this conflict. And most importantly, it's imperative we remember who wins in the end.
JP Chavez messaged me yesterday afternoon to ask the following question:
"How does one get better at communication? Specifically in regards to what you are having Josiah do this summer, how do you train yourself o organize your thoughts and distill information, then train yourself to express them in a coherent way?"
As part of my answer to JP's excellent question, I explained how I have filled out a personal reading list toward the end of understanding the elements of communication better. As promised, here is my list:
Humilitas: A Lost Key to Life, Love, and Leadership By John Dickson
Good Leaders Ask Great Questions By John C. Maxwell
Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High By Patterson, Grenny, McMillan, and Switzler
Influencer: The New Science of Leading Change By Grenny, Patterson, Maxfield, McMillan, and Switzler
The Culture Code By Daniel Coyle
The Talent Code By Daniel Coyle
Outliers: The Story of Success By Malcolm Gladwell
Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking By Malcolm Gladwell
The Marshmallow Test By Walter Mischel
Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALS Lead and Win By Jocko Willink and Leif Babin
The Dichotomy of Leadership By Jocko Willink and Leif Babin
Last night as I was sorting and folding laundry, I called my 13-year-old son up and handed him two books. Then I outlined for him a summer reading plan project.
The two books I handed him are co-written by the same two men: Jocko Willink and Leif Babin. Seasoned and experienced Navy SEAL leaders who have had long, full careers in the military and outside of it putting leadership principles into practice.
How do we take ownership of the situations around us for the benefit of those who depend on us in various spheres of life? How can we think rightly about self-discipline, hard work, communication, and our own personal attitude? It's all here.
And I think as far as summer reading projects go, you couldn't ask for much better for a teenage boy about to turn 14 at the end of next month.
But before I could recommend to Josiah reading these two books, I read them. And that's part of how we fathers of young men in the making have to approach these things. What example are we setting to influence our charges and lead them in the right direction?
Consider Proverbs 24:3-7.
"By wisdom a house is built,
and by understanding it is established;
by knowledge the rooms are filled
with all precious and pleasant riches.
A wise man is full of strength,
and a man of knowledge enhances his might,
for by wise guidance you can wage your war,
and in abundance of counselors there is victory.
Wisdom is too high for a fool;
in the gate he does not open his mouth."
LinkedIn Senior News Editor Andrew Seaman wrote me yesterday morning asking my thoughts on what is being called the 'Great Resignation' - 30-40% of the workforce signaling in polls and surveys that they want to change jobs post-COVID lockdowns.
What is my advice for people looking to make a move, either now or in the near future? Listen in to find out.
"The society that separates its scholars from its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards and its fighting done by fools." So said Sir William F. Butler, according to the meme sent to me yesterday by my neighbor JP Chavez.
This quote is also attributed more anciently to Thucydides, the ancient Greek philosopher (460BC-395BC).
And we know that this sentiment is true and universal, regardless who said it first or best.
In Pt. 2 of this series, I make the following claim:
"In a healthy marriage, in a functional marriage...you're serving your spouse, your spouse is serving you, and together you're serving God in the way that you serve one another. And we need to be mindful of that."
And on this point you may be asking yourself, ‘Where is this idea of husbands serving their wives and wives serving their husbands found in the Scriptures?’
Well, I’m glad you asked, and I shall endeavor to tell you. For starters, consider Ephesians 5:22-33.
"Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish."
This isn’t to say that every Christian man loves his wife as perfectly or blamelessly as Christ loved the church anymore than it is to say that the excellent wife described in Proverbs 31:10-31 is every Christian woman.
But what the aforementioned is talking about is the ideal. This is the target we’re aiming for. Women need love, and men need respect. And since we have these commands, I’m assuming that with God’s help men are capable of loving their wives and women are capable of respecting their husbands.
And who wouldn’t want that?
In reading The Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant, I have especially enjoyed the parts where Grant talks about his relationship with President Lincoln. And within their interactions Grant recounts, I found particularly amusing the fact that Grant pledged to the President – amidst a statement of his general intentions for prosecuting the war against the Confederate armies – that he would endeavor to not annoy the president.
A little later, however, Grant moves on to trying to execute his plans for defeating the South in battle, and one thing he says he was trying to do with regards to the generals and armies of his enemy is annoying them.
So also with marriage, our goal ought to be to not unnecessarily annoy our spouse in the prosecution of our battles and wars, but to annoy our Enemy.
God said it is not good for the man to be alone; so God made a helper suitable for Adam.
Ideally, marriage is an opportunity for men and women to learn to submit themselves to someone else’s needs and desires on a daily basis, as well as being an opportunity to be loved and served by someone else on a daily basis. And when we do that, we annoy the Devil, that Enemy of both God and our souls.
Before we get any further into that, though, let’s talk about singleness. In particular, let’s address the elephant in the room in what the Apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians 7:1-16.
If we are going to have a Biblical attitude and mindset when it comes to marriage, we need also to examine singleness and divorce. And here in what Paul writes to the church at Corinth we have an opportunity to talk about all the above. So let's.
Someone recently asked me why anyone should bother with marriage. Isn't it more trouble than it's worth, particularly for men in our society?
The courts are biased against them and in favor of women. The churches also in the way they typically emphasize passages pertaining to the responsibility of men in relationship while also de-emphasizing the responsibilities of women.
What feminism has wrought is a generation of men in America who are doing the cost-benefit analysis on taking a wife, settling down and raising a family, and concluding that the potential rewards don't justify the risk.
But here I am as a homeschooling father of seven with an eighth on the way. Lauren and I are coming up on 15-years of marriage in November. And we have a tall order in front of us - to swim upstream against culture on this issue as well as we endeavor to embrace and believe what God says about us and marriage, parenting, and family.
And as my sons are now becoming teenagers and starting high school, the time has come to earnestly prepare their minds for manhood and, we hope, marriage to lovely young ladies, as well as fathering sons and daughters of their own.
But first, before we can prepare the hearts and minds of our sons, we have to organize and arrange our own thoughts on these matters. What is good? What is true? And how can we make the case clearly so they understand rightly and orient themselves accordingly?
Such questions and related others have me thinking now is as good a time as any to begin working on a series of podcast episodes. #AndThisIsWhyWeGotMarried #AndThisIsWhy
Yesterday morning my family stayed home from church. We also stayed home from church the Sunday before that.
Before you go wondering, let me assure you our reasons for staying home were not anger and bitterness.
The sky is blue, the grass is green, and Lauren is pregnant. And with pregnancy at this stage also comes nausea and fatigue. So we felt it best to stay home and help her (and the rest of us) rest from the previous week, and rest up for the week ahead.
But a friend of mine who listens regularly to this podcast reached out to me to express concern with the bitterness I harbor for previous bad experiences with church. And I want to take his concerns and feedback seriously.
So in the spirit of thinking through how I'm doing on this front, let's take a look at Ephesians 4:17-32.
If you too like me have been hurt and betrayed in bad experiences in church, listen in. And hopefully we can all come away with a recalibrated understanding and sentiment on this thing and others besides.
For this week's Family Movie Night, we watched another Rodgers and Hammerstein's musical - 'Oklahoma!'
Having built up all my expectations off The Sound of Music and The King and I, this experience was not those.
Or at a minimum, Oklahoma! is not The Sound of Music.
For some idea of what I mean, check out this page for the 1955 version at Common Sense Media.
With songs like "I Can't Say No," and a traveling peddler telling a certain eligible young bachelorette that she's his "Persian Kitty" because they both have "soft round tails," there is a lot of innuendo and double entendre here.
Perhaps the 1950's weren't so prim and proper after all.
Dovetailing off recent episodes of this podcast - Episode #116 'Why Men Hate Going to Church' and Episode #130 'Reverse Sexism in American Churches' - I want to talk about the Men's Rights Movement.
Micah Hershberger sent me two videos this week to mull over. Watch for our forthcoming episode of On The Rocks podcast in which we discuss those further.
But for this episode, I want to take some time to process and unpack Cassie Jaye's documentary The Red Pill, and also this YouTube summary of what is being called MGTOW - the acronym for "Men Going Their Own Way."
What should we make of these responses to feminism in our day? And do they perhaps in part explain why fewer young people today are getting married and settling down to raise a family than in previous generations?
Let us bravely embrace the risk of offending everyone except the Almighty by delving into these matters so we can discern what is good and true, and how men and women can and should live in peace and harmony with one another according to God's Word.
My son Daniel recently talked me into playing American Trucking Simulator with him on our computers, and I have to admit that this is a fun little game.
Yesterday morning before going to work, I had saved up enough money to buy my first big rig. And as of last night before bed I had nearly completed my first run in the new truck - taking a load of large buoys from Colorado Springs to Spokane, Washington.
Where the game goes from here, I think, is that I keep on trucking until I can expand my garage, purchase more trucks and trailers, and hire drivers to work for me.
But as the son of a long-time truck driver, I find the premise of the game somewhat amusing for how popular it's recently become. Who would have thought so many people would find the idea of truck driving so romantic?
But on the whole it is a good thing that we as a society would better appreciate how our raw materials, manufactured goods, and food magically gets to the store and our front door.
Perhaps too this game can serve as a driver safety course when we all appreciate better how much longer it takes for a big rig hauling a heavy load to come to a stop, or how much wider a tractor trailer has to swing in order to make turns which for small cars, pickups, and vans are much tighter.
If you are looking for something to pass the time and might enjoy a digital tour of the western half of the United States, this is a good little game to turn on some music or an audiobook and pedal down with.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis should have the R for Republican behind his name changed to a C for Courage.
The Daily Wire reported yesterday: 'DeSantis On NCAA Threat To Pull Events From States That Protect Girl Sports: ‘To Hell’ With Your ‘Events.’
DeSantis, then, has done what South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem lacked the nerve to.
Are you taking notes, Republican Party? This is what your constituents want. This is actually an effort at conserving.
But it does take courage to stand up to Woke, Inc. and tell the NCAA and others where the boundary lines are.
As David Horowitz puts it in his 2019 book, 'Dark Agenda: The War to Destroy Christian America' - "The issue is not the issue. The issue is the revolution."
But so also, we need to be more than just against the woke mob and its corporate sponsors. We have to know what it is we are conserving and why. If the issue is not really the issue for the Left, what is the revolution?
And if we are the counter-revolutionaries, then whose authority are we insisting on still respecting and obeying? If not ultimately the Lord God Almighty's, all this moving and counter-moving is for naught.
Arizona Republican Governor Doug Ducey made headlines over the weekend by vetoing 22 bills passed by his state's legislature. He claims he vetoed these bills because Arizona lawmakers need to pass a budget and have it on his desk ASAP. But is that the real reason?
Also, I am down to the last little bit of Russell Shorto's 'The Island at the Center of the World: The Epic Story of Dutch Manhattan and the Forgotten Colony That Shaped America.'
Let's take some time to unpack how the attitudes and organization of the Dutch imprinting themselves early-on in the colony of New Netherlands and the trading port of New Amsterdam helped to shape how the 13 colonies ultimately came together to form The United States of America as we know it today.
If one looks closely, one can almost see current New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and the comedians at Saturday Night Live in the 17th century historical sketch Shorto provides.
For this weekend's family movie night, we watched The King and I (1956).
Starring Yul Brynner as King Mongkut of Siam and Deborah Kerr as Anna Leonowens, this classic musical was another standby for me growing up.
Lauren and the kids never having seen it before, they now can say they have seen it.
And a whole host of interesting topics came up in the course of watching. For instance, "Who is Buddha?" Also, "Why would you give a person to another person as a gift?" Also, "How does that work that he has so many children by so many different women?"
Are my kids ready to talk about those sorts of things? I figure there's only one way to find out, and that's by diving in and seeing how it goes.
And so we did. Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.
60 Minutes uploaded a video to YouTube on May 16, 2021 titled 'Navy pilots describe encounters with UFOs.' As of May 30, roughly 7.5 million views have racked up, and there are over 42,000 comments.
It seems every time I refresh the home pages for The Blaze, The Epoch Times, and The Daily Wire, there is another story on new disclosures from the U.S. government regarding UFOs.
For instance, I read one this morning from Paul Sacca at The Blaze - 'Leaked video reportedly shows swarm of UFOs circling US Navy combat ship; Pentagon investigating.'
For another example, consider this piece from Emily Zanotti at The Daily Wire - 'Head Of Pentagon UFO Office: Government In Possesion of ‘Exotic’ Materials From ‘Mysterious Vehicles’'
The images and footage are eerie. So also are the statements from officials and military servicemembers.
If we define our terms, all a UFO means is that something is in our skies that we cannot identify. We don't know who it belongs to, where it came from, or what it's doing here. All we know is that we are reckoning with something which has capabilities which surpasses the capabilities of the most advanced technology we know we possess.
Perhaps our own government has developed something we just haven't been told about. Or maybe some other nation's government has.
But the third possibility is that some other form of life from elsewhere in the universe is visiting us. And it is that third possibility I want most to explore here.
As a Christian, I reserve my fear for the Most High God who created the heavens and earth and everything in them. And if some other form of life besides God and man exists, my Sovereign God knows it fully and made it. And I do not need to fear what that life is capable of because I know it is not capable of anything more than what God permits.
But beyond that general truth, we read vague and passing references in the Scriptures to a created order of beings in between God and man. And though I am content that the Lord has told us enough when we read that they exist and are subordinate to him, it is fair game to speculate about them even as we reserve our obedience, fear, and worship for the Most High.
According to Wikipedia, "reverse sexism" is defined as follows:
"Reverse sexism is sexism directed towards men and boys. This form of sexism includes any form of prejudice or discrimination against men and boys. This can include stereotyping that may negatively impact men."
Without knowing there was a term for it, the concept has been on my mind for a long time, particularly in the context of American churches.
Why does it seem like every Mother's Day sermon I have ever heard sounds so different from every Father's Day sermon I have ever heard?
Mothers and wives do it all. They are so important and we just don't value or thank them enough. Proverbs 31 is an idealized image of perfection, and we should not ask women to aspire to this unrealistic goal per se. Buy them flowers and candy and tell them how beautiful they are as daughters of the King.
That is how Mother's Day sermons and all the teaching I have ever heard about women goes.
Fathers and husbands, on the other hand, are also so important. But we are failing. Everything is our fault - on the micro and macro levels. Men need to step up and do better. We aren't loving our wives and children like Christ loved and loves the Church, laying his life down for her. Prisons are full of boys who grew up without a father in the home.
That is how all the Father's Day sermons I have heard in my life play out.
A YouTube video of Paul Washer speaking on Marriage, Family and Parenting at the 2021 Fellowship Conference was sent to me this week, and I watched it. And though there is plenty of truth to what Washer shared, and he doubtless is a God-fearing man who loves the Church and his family and means well, I think there is a lot here that confirms my concerns about reverse sexism in American churches.
The error - if indeed this is an error which has crept unnoticed into our theology, teaching, and discipleship - is not conscious, I don't think. We all are like so many fish in water who don't know we're wet.
But if there is a better understanding that can be had for the Biblical roles of men and women in the home, we ought not to content ourselves that no temptation has seized us except what is common to man. (1 Corinthians 10:13)
Instead, we really need to grapple with the apparent double standard in the way these things are thought, felt, spoken, and taught about - particularly from the pulpit and in the home.
What if China did intentionally manipulate and then release COVID-19?
Reporting from Ryan Saavedra at The Daily Wire today - Biden Admin: ‘We Haven’t Ruled Out’ Possibility That Pandemic From China Was Deliberately Unleashed.
They will surely circle back on that one.
Of course the anti-nationalist, anti-national self-interest, political and governing establishment - which resents and utterly loathes the American Republic for its inequity and claims to objective truth and goodness - is thinking long and hard about how consistent it wants to be here.
If China hoisted COVID on the world to pursue its own national self-interest, then what?
If over half a million American men, women, and children lost their lives due to the pandemic, and if China deliberately caused said pandemic to take us down a notch while they rise to their aspired heights, then a state and condition of war exists.
And if President Biden is thinking long and hard about whether we would rightly call the spade a shovel here and get to digging trenches with it already, that is not a shocker. But it is tragic.
LinkedIn told me yesterday that as much as 25% of the workforce in America has stated it intends to change jobs now that the COVID-19 pandemic is over.
That in conjunction with a conversation I had with a friend who is interviewing for jobs and hates his current one has me thinking back over my working life.
I can relate to men who wonder whether they missed the boat. Hostile work environments, being passed over for promotions, dealing with established good old boy clubs, having achievements and accomplishments go unnoticed even as the mistakes of other people are either also ignored entirely or else blamed on you.
As a husband and father, I have to find a way to insulate my family from work stress. But so also, as a man myself - there has to be a way to buffer my heart and mind from being tossed like a ship on stormy seas.
"Beware when men speak well of you," we read in God's Word.
So also, we are not to repay evil for evil when we are treated unjustly. But we are called to keep ourselves blameless in every way, and to work "as unto the Lord."
Psalm 127 is also helpful here.
"Unless Yahweh builds the house,
those who build it labor in vain.
Unless Yahweh watches over the city,
the watchman stays awake in vain.
It is in vain that you rise up early
and go late to rest,
eating the bread of anxious toil;
for he gives to his beloved sleep.
Behold, children are a heritage from Yahweh,
the fruit of the womb a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
are the children of one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
who fills his quiver with them!
He shall not be put to shame
when he speaks with his enemies in the gate."
In other words, it's well and good to make plans and work toward a future purpose and outcome. But trust to God for the final results, and be content in his purposes for what those may be and how he will use them.
Our working life and careers are a means to an end, and should not be confused for the end unto themselves. And when we remember that, it can go a long way to curbing careerist ambitions or frustrations.
One of the things that was prophesied concerning John the Baptist was that in calling Israel to repentance and heralding the arrival of the promised Messiah, he would turn the hearts of the fathers back to their children.
In our day, entirely too much talk of suicidal children is relevant and necessary. But the reason we have so many children thinking of taking their own lives is because we have so many children being raised to not believe their life has intrinsic value and purpose.
Where do we come from? Why are we here? And what do we do about the problem of pain, suffering, and death?
An excessive attachment to positivity and happiness excludes meaningful discussion of the problem of evil, and it undermines the sense and conviction that God's Word gives us satisfying answers to this.
What are my wife and I to tell our son about how to help his friend who just tried to commit suicide? And how can we think rightly again as a people and as a church, and as mothers and fathers?
We have to remind ourselves and one another of what is good and what is true according to God. And we can only know what that is by looking to the Word.
Our family movie night this week featured the 1965 classic, The Greatest Story Ever Told.
Featuring Max von Sydow as Jesus and Charlton Heston as John the Baptist, this film was one of my favorites growing up.
Yes, the actor playing Jesus has funny hair. My son Eli was quick to point that out.
But I want to key in on Heston's portrayal of John the Baptist here.
John Lazarus Mullet, Lauren's and my youngest son, turned 3-years-old this week. And part of the tradition in our house for birthday dinners has been for my wife and I to take turns telling the story behind the naming of our children, and also to tell the story of our children being born.
And it just so happened that in my telling the story of how we came to name John as we did, I found myself recalling John the Baptist in The Greatest Story Ever Told.
Thus the inclination to watch the movie for the first time ever with my kids.
This brings up some interesting questions, though. How much do portrayals of Jesus and the gospels influence our impression of the Biblical text? And how much does an actor's performance color and shape the way we perceive our Savior and God's Word?
As Christians, we are supposed to be imitators of Christ especially, and God's faithful servants secondarily at least in some form or fashion. And I could insert here some cliché about the life and testimony of Christians being the only sermon some people will ever hear. But I won't.
All the same, we do well to be Bereans about how Jesus is portrayed in any and every medium. Whether we embrace or reject certain aspects of portrayals as entirely faithful, there is a value in the process of evaluating in light of the Scriptures.
Roman Catholic bishops weigh whether to withhold communion from pro-choice government officials and politicians like Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden. But then they get pressure from higher up in the food chain to relent. Atop the pyramid sits a Progressive pope, so that stands to reason.
Gone are the days when Americans worried that electing John Fitzgerald Kennedy would mean the pope was actually running our country. But never you mind when Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey decide what former President Trump can and cannot say.
This all should give us pause, and we ought to ask some hard questions about the legacy of the Roman Catholic church and tradition. How should the church relate to political power? And how much of the old Roman empire is still with us thanks to the legacy of Constantine the Great?
The Protestant Reformation really was all about the question of authority. And still today, Christians of every stripe wrestle with how to relate to authorities - whether civil or ecclesiastical - in light of our need to recognize and submit to God's authority.
If you want to understand the American Civil War better, read Mark A. Noll's book - The Civil War as a Theological Crisis.
In it you will find that before the question of slavery was a political or military question to be answered on the battlefield, it was a theological question.
How we read and interpret the Bible is of the utmost importance, and we have a fine example of the consequences of playing fast and loose with the text in the way the issue of slavery has been handled - both by abolitionists and by the pro-slavery camp in the lead-up to 1861.
Was slavery categorically evil? Not according to God. Or at least he never roundly condemned and prohibited the institution.
But then neither was God silent on the issue. And the pro-slavery theological arguments often ignored the restrictions and boundaries God put in place for his people in the Old Testament.
So also, the claim that black Africans were to be enslaved as a race because Noah cursed the descendants of Ham in Genesis was a particularly weak argument.
Did the fact that Noah pronounced a curse on Ham and his descendants mean that we are forever beholden to abuse and mistreat a certain race of people just because they were his offspring?
One might more readily interpret Noah's curse in light of warnings and admonitions against strong drink for kings at the end of Proverbs. Yet it was entirely too convenient that those arguing for continuance of the African slave-trade and the disposal of black slaves in the South chose an interpretive framework which put stock in Noah as the authority.
At the same time, radical abolitionists sometimes concluded that if God had made allowances for slavery in the Old Testament, they would just throw out the Bible. If the Bible was not any more just and fair than that, the overriding principle of liberty more important to them would take precedence.
In our day still, despite a century and a half passing, we see echoes of this conflict in the way social justice and other such is argued for and against in the American church. And Noll's book can help us in understanding the problems of our day in light of their ideological and theological roots and historical context.
As I look back on recent weeks of podcasting, there is a question which becomes obviously important and needful to ask. When it comes to contending for the faith - whether potential threats to faithful Christian life and thought come from inside or outside the church - how does one go about contending for the faith without being contentious?
It is too easy to confront bad attitudes with other bad attitudes. But when we counter falsehoods with other falsehoods, or respond inappropriately to inappropriateness, we are not doing well. We are not helping those we may be trying to so much as adding complexity to the situation.
For instance, if I have concerns about prominent Christian leaders who have placed themselves increasingly on the Woke side of the fault line in the modern American church, it does not necessarily follow that any and all ways of expressing those concerns are valid and helpful.
And perhaps a challenge issued by an old acquaintance of mine is good to remember here. If these men were sitting across a table from me when I said these things, would I express my concerns with more respect and gentleness?
I am a fan of calling a spade by its name, however much I may sometimes be tempted to gild the lily when I do. But that does not mean I am setting a good example if I add in some colorful adjectives to describe how I feel about the spade.
Nevertheless, what do we do about the examples set by Jesus or John the Baptist when they rebuke the scribes and teachers of the Law? White-washed tombs and sons of Satan have never been terms of endearment except perhaps to avowed Satanists. And it was not for no reason that John was beheaded or that Jesus was arrested, tried, flogged, and crucified.
So, again, how do we contend for the faith without being contentious? However thorny that question may seem or actually be, we do well to grapple with it in earnest as part of our pursuit of the charges to both "be sober-minded; be watchful" and to "in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience..."
Having now finished 'Lead: 12 Gospel Principles for Leadership in the Church' by Philadelphia pastor Paul David Tripp, let us do some soul searching and be Bereans about some of what is in the mix here.
Much of what Tripp has to say I readily agree with - not because he said it, but because it is sound and Biblically clear-cut and incontrovertible.
Unfortunately, also in the mix is a brand of woke Christianity designed to subtly but surely strip us of what the theological and political Left calls patriarchy, toxic masculinity, sexism, racism, xenophobia, et cetera.
This brings me to a question my neighbor recently asked me.
"...Where is the line, or points where we say 'Yeah, we may agree with them on some biblical points, but they are too far in error on these other unbiblical points, to where we cannot recommend anything they have to say?'"
He asks a good and necessary question, and the answer to it may not be easy. But one thing we must know is that the Bereans in Acts are held up as an example for us.
We are also warned throughout the New Testament to teach only what accords with sound doctrine, and to keep watch over our doctrine.
Similarly, we are told to contend for the faith, and to confront those who are undermining the gospel of Jesus Christ which was delivered once for all, and to guard against deceptions and diversions which would fundamentally transform that gospel into something contrary to God's character, promises, and commands.
The Apostle Paul's confrontation of Peter over his catering to the Judaizers at Antioch is relevant here. Substitute Woke Christians for Judaizers, and you will understand my meaning.
Perhaps also the disagreement between Paul and Barnabas over what to do with John Mark should be instructive.
That said, I would only recommend reading the works and listening to the words of Christian leaders on the Woke side of the fault line to mature, discerning Christians. And even there, I would strongly advise viewer discretion.
Otherwise, impressionable brothers and sisters may be taken in by virtual signaling missives like this one from Paul Tripp published almost a year ago.
If someone handed you a pan of brownies and you knew there was a turd hidden somewhere amidst the chocolate morsels, you might study it. But you would not consume it uncritically if you valued your health.
In juxtaposition, consider with me two stories from last week.
First, from the Epoch Times, 'Space Force Officer Relieved After Denouncing Marxism, Critical Race Theory in Military' published May 16, 2021 by Jack Phillips.
Second, from the HSLDA, 'Harvard Panel: Homeschooling is Here to Stay' published May 12, 2021 by Dave Dentel.
The long and short of it is that Leftists in academia and the military do not tolerate backtalk from the teeming unwashed masses of people they claim to be empowering yet have no respect or regard for.
Repeat after them three times that you do believe in Critical Race Theory. You do, you do, you do. Otherwise - whatever your other accomplishments - your career will be cancelled and you will be sent packing.
Meanwhile, highly educated folk are meeting together at Harvard to discuss whether parents should be allowed to infringe on the government's monopoly on education that is the public school system.
They apparently can't have parents loving and training and teaching their children as if they have a right to. Parents might raise little Johnny's and Suzie's who grow up to write books and record podcasts critical of Marxist indoctrination in the United States military.
But this all sounds very bleak, so let me tell you what you can do about it besides despairing.
Toward the end of combatting Statism in the military and the education of our children, buy my book - 'And This Is Why We Homeschool.' Then tell your friends and family to buy my book. It's available on paperback and e-book from Amazon, and now is an excellent time of the year to read it as we go into the summer and make plans for the next school year.
After you read my book, please leave a rating and review at the listing on Amazon. This will help immeasurably in getting this encouraging and challenging book into the hands of the folks out there who need to read it.
Do it for the children.
Then also tell your friends and family to listen to this podcast wherever they prefer, and leave a rating and review in that same place so others still will be reached by this endeavor.
Together, we can encourage greater intentionality and thoughtfulness in living out the Christian life on purpose and productively. And only in that way, by God's grace, will be saved from the tyranny of Leftist ideology and all other sinful systems which seek to enslave and oppress us, and be free to live in peace and harmony with God and our fellow man.
On Saturdays in our house, my wife typically makes homemade pizza and the kids and I watch a movie. This gives me a chance to expose my children to culturally enriching experiences, and to spend time with them. And it also gives Lauren some peace and quiet to work on sewing or school planning or reading without interruption.
Last night we watched Peter Jackson's The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, and I realized I had not seen that film so recently as I might have unconsciously assumed.
Jackson's Hobbit trilogy was released from 2012-2014. The Lord of the Rings trilogy came out from 2001-2003. We're talking 7-20 years ago since these films made their theatrical debut.
But it is just as well that it had been a long time since we had watched them, and I enjoyed sharing this first Hobbit movie with my youngest three children, since none of them were old enough or even necessarily born yet the first time around.
And even for my having seen the movies before, and read the book, I remembered how much and why I like Tolkien's story here. There are good, sound reasons why it has the staying power it does.
So let's talk about that, shall we? Let's delve into the resilience and durability, and eminent relatability of hobbits.
Among the people I trust and respect most, Paul David Tripp's book Lead: 12 Gospel Principles for Leadership in the Church comes highly recommended.
So I started listening to that one on Audible yesterday, and I am about halfway through it now.
But I will confess to being wary. Please take no offense if you can only find good things to say about this book or its author, but I intend to do a full review and unpack and analyze my discomfort.
Part of that discomfort can be unpacked now and already before I have finished the book. The rest will have to wait, and it is good to reserve judgment until the full argument has been laid out.
In the interest of full disclosure, I have been hurt as a leader in church and by leaders in the church. So my guard is up. Perhaps it should be, and perhaps it should not always be. Time will tell, and let God's Word be our guide in that regard no less than in others.
In recent days, the terrorist organization Hamas has fired hundreds of Iranian rockets at Israeli cities and Israeli men, women, and children. The IDF - Israeli Defense Force - has used its Iron Dome system to great effect intercepting more than 90% of the Hamas rockets, meaning that about one in ten rockets have gotten through.
As the nation of Israel actively asserts its right to defend its people and property from Muslim terrorists, fighting and striking back against rocket launch sites and hunting down and killing the leaders of Hamas responsible for these attacks, a significant portion of the world has chosen once again not to denounce Israel's enemies, but to condemn Israel for defending herself against her enemies.
I, for one, support Israel's right to self-defense. And more to the point, I affirm Israel's right to exist as a nation. Furthermore, I unabashedly approve of the material and moral support which the United States of America has provided over the years and decades to that end.
Anti-Semitism does not make sense to me. Anti-Israel sentiment does not make sense to me.
Calling Jews "Christ killers" is a lot of nonsense when you take a step back and realize that we all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, and when you remember John 3:16. "God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him will not perish but have everlasting life."
That means we are all Christ killers if the Jews are.
But then the notion that the Jews and Romans who descend from the men who put Jesus to death on a cross are particularly guilty of that innocent bloodshed may make sense to people who buy into Critical Race Theory, Critical Theory, System Racism here in America.
God promised he would bless those who bless the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and that he would curse those who curse them. And maybe that is part of why the United States of America still enjoys some of the blessing and protection of God despite our collective defiance of God's Law in abortion and the promotion of sexual immorality.
David Murrow's 2005 book, Why Men Hate Going to Church, was brought up in conversation with my cousin Micah yesterday, and I want to encourage you to read it.
The updated and revised version of it from 2011 can be purchased from Amazon here.
A good YouTube video summary of it can be found from a speaking event Murrow held at a church in Australia, and you can find that video here.
The premise is simple. American churches have a major gender gap. At the time of he first published his book, less than 40% of the adults in churches were men. That means close to two-thirds of churches are made up of women - or at least were 15 years ago.
Why do so many more women than men attend most churches? Because American Christianity has made men feel unwelcome.
Too many churches cater to women and present a feminized gospel with a Christ who is portrayed as embodying feminine virtues to the exclusion of masculine characteristics.
But this, in my view, is evidence that feminism has infected our church culture. The original curse God gave to Eve said that she would have pain in childbirth and that her desire would be to rule over her husband, but he would exercise headship over her.
Proverbs tells us that it is better to dwell on the corner of a rooftop than to live with a quarrelsome woman. This being self-evident, many men unfamiliar with the proverb know it instinctively. And when they feel hen-pecked and unwelcome or excluded or marginalized for being masculine men, they opt out.
But God has a better design - for the family, the church, the city, state, and nation. And blessing will follow as we embrace that design rather than rebelling against it.
A major American pipeline has suffered the most significant cyberattack in our country's history, and its being taken out of commission leaves the East Coast without a reliable and efficient supply of gasoline for the foreseeable future. Experts say the pipeline should be back online by the end of the week, but in the meantime over 1,000 gas stations have already run out of fuel for Americans who rely on fossil fuels to transport themselves and their goods.
Early intel has traced the source of the hack to a group based on Russia. But we should know better than to blame a private entity for this assault on our critical infrastructure. No private group in Russia of all places is going to carry out an attack on America of this magnitude without at least nominal cover and tacit encouragement from Russia and her allies - especially China and Iran.
The timing of the attack is highly suspect. Just days prior came the release of a report outlining internal dialog within the Chinese government from five years ago which sounds eerily similar to the release of COVID on the world, and the disruption of American and European economies. And the whole affair seems to me like a spy versus spy covert conversation.
If I were to venture a translation, it would be that this is payback for Western institutions shedding light and hinting at accountability for Communist China's use of a bioweapon to upset the balance of power in the world, upending American hegemony at home and abroad. Don't you dare even think of calling China out for its use of a bioweapon, or else things like the cyberattack on the Colonial pipeline will happen to you.
We are all being let in on the open secret that China and Russia and Iran can mess with us anytime they like. And if we want to play tit for tat, real American men, women, and children will pay the price.
The Biden administration and the Democrats more broadly, meanwhile, are reluctant to call a spade a spade because the whole narrative about Republicans and former President Trump unravels in a hurry once China, Russia, and Iran turn out to be more overt threats than Biden wanted to admit. Check out Glenn Beck here for more on that subject.
Ideas, like elections, have consequences. And the foreign policy ideas of the ascendant Democrats are very bad. So also are their attitudes toward critical oil and gas infrastructure like the Colonial pipeline.
Buckle up for a wild ride, because this is no more the end of the story than it is the beginning.
C.S. Lewis wrote a series of three science fiction novels known as The Space Trilogy.
Out of the Silent Planet (1938), Perelandria: A Novel (1943), and That Hideous Strength: A Modern Fairy-Tale for Grown-ups (1945) are the three works in the series.
All three at least were free with Audible Plus when I picked them up late last year, and I just finished listening to the last of them yesterday afternoon while building a new desk for my office at work.
Fans of The Chronicles of Narnia and Clive Staple's non-fiction works on Christianity will find in these a more adult tone and tenor than the children's literature likely conditioned them to expect.
And among the features which highlights this fact most for me is the presence of casual nudity. It is apparently not fashionable to travel through space with clothes on.
But this reminds me of taking Intro to the Humanities at Cedarville University back in 2006. I will never forget Dr. Clevenger's handout on nudity in art, born of many years experience with students and their parents coming to him complaining of all the wholly and partially unclothed human forms in Classical and Renaissance art studied in the course.
This then brings the question to my mind about Lewis's Space Trilogy. If it were made into a TV series or series of movies, would conservative Christians watch?
Already I envision a campaign against public indecency which might arise if the on-screen portrayals match the books. And I am already imagining the stern calls for boycotting all of C.S. Lewis' other works besides if he was willing to put out supposed smut in his science fiction.
But of course there is a bit more to it than that, and I think we do well to try and be Bereans about the whole affair. How much of our arguments for and against such things is firmly grounded in what God does and does not say in the Bible? And how much of our arguments stem more from vague and fuzzy notions stemming from mere human tradition and popular attitudes in our respective circles?
Namibia - an 88% Christian nation in 2013 according to Wikipedia - has struck oil with the help of a Canadian company called ReconAfrica.
The play is being called the Kovango Basin. By some reports it may be the third largest in the world. It is as-yet completely untapped.
Namibia's government and people apparently want to develop their reserves, and that is both marvelous and commendable.
Woke Western outlets like CNN have wasted no time in weaving a narrative of impending disaster in pieces like this one published earlier this month.
Watch for campaigns in the West to apply diplomatic and economic pressure on Namibia to discourage her from pursuing her national self-interest.
Rather than trying to poo-poo the effort with apocalyptic Chicken Little talk of ruined ecosystems and poisoned drinking water, however, it should be noted that American and Canadian oil and gas development is the cleanest, safest, and most efficient in the world.
With help from North American oil and gas expertise, we should expect Namibia will develop her own oil and gas industry both safely and responsibly.
As of 2019, Namibia was ranked 130th on the Human Development Index. With a current score of 0.646 as a starting point, how high might that HDI rise with domestic energy development? I hope we find out.
But the only hope of finding out is in resisting hyperbolic zeal for Climate Change dogma which is anti-human, anti-science, and purposefully counterproductive.
I for one am excited at the possibility of Namibia developing her own reserves.
Paul Shiver wrote a piece for The Blaze yesterday reporting on Republican pollster and political strategist Frank Luntz and his remarks to a podcast at The New York Times.
You can read the article here and you can listen to that NYT podcast interview with Luntz here.
But the long and short of it is that Luntz thinks Trump has only himself to blame for social media giants having permanently banned him from their platforms - even while he was still in office.
The whole business reminds me of William Wallace being sold down the river by the Scottish nobility in his fight for Scottish independence against England's King Edward I.
Or, for a biblical example, I think of King David ordering that Uriah the Hittite be put on the frontlines where the fighting was fiercest, then having the rest of his compatriots pull back to let him get cut down.
Frank Luntz makes clear that the Republican establishment wants Caesar politically dead once and for all.
But Brutus says he was ambitious; And Brutus is an honorable man.
On April 30th, Tyler Hummel at The College Fix published an expose of a diversity and inclusion training students and faculty at The University of Florida are being required to take in which white people in particular are singled out for their insensitive and condescending remarks to minorities.
All the usual fare is there in the screenshots. Straight white men are scorned. Cultural appropriation is frowned upon. Mansplaining and whitesplaining are shamed. Intersectionality enjoys an elevated position of sacrosanctity.
Critical theory makes every interaction, no matter how mundane and innocuous, exciting and dramatic. No longer are conversations about jewelry and festive parties allowed to be just that. Now they are part of the overarching oppressor versus oppressed narrative.
At the heart of it all is not a desire to lift hurting people into the light and deliver them from their chains. Rather, in diversity trainings like the one shown in this piece from Hummel, new chains are fashioned.
As bad or worse than telling hurting people that their legitimate grievances are of no account or merit is telling manipulative and oversensitive people that their illegitimate grievances are the stuff Marxist revolutions are made of.
Eat the rich is the big idea here. And if you refuse to jump on the bandwagon, you will be singled out for special attention.
Raise that black power fist high and repeat after the woke mob: "Black lives matter."
But of course evangelical Christian leaders should believe that black lives matter. But that wasn't actually the question. The question was whether we are prepared to forgo capitalism and the free market, or else redistribute wealth.
Yes, material wealth is in play here. But before we get to divvying out everyone else's fair share of your bank account, the social, political, and spiritual capital needs to be redistributed.
"Whom the gods wish to destroy they first make mad."
Laura Ingraham recently hosted a town hall event on Fox News in which she asked Florida Governor Ron DeSantis whether he would sign legislation recently passed in Florida to ban biological males from competing in girls' sports. Other Republican governors also signaled their enthusiasm for such legislation in their states, NCAA be damned.
Perhaps they learned a lesson from South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem's mistake in vetoing the same sort of legislation when her state wanted it. At least we should hope.
But consider the tagline on the featured image for the story about this over at The Daily Wire. Taken from a screenshot of Fox News at 10:53PM ET, underneath Ron DeSantis (R) | Florida Governor we read "How do we reinvigorate the belief in America?"
Might I be so impertinent as to suggest that America was only ever great because America believed in the goodness of God?
Only believing in the goodness of God can restore our confidence in a bright future for our country. And when I say we need to believe in the goodness of God, I do not mean we affirm just how nice he is for giving us so much nice stuff. No, I am talking about our regard for how holy and righteous he is.
Meanwhile, the Chinese Communist Party is revealed by The Epoch Times to be trying to take over the internet. If the CCP gets its way, you will not be able to speak a single solitary untoward thing which criticizes or runs counter their ambitions for world domination.
As Pinky might have asked the Brain on the cartoon series I watched growing up, after having dominated the domestic internet scene in China, "What are we going to do tomorrow night?" And just so, the Brain of the CCP might have replied - and still is replying - "Try to take over the world."
In America, conservative leaders are trying to figure out how to juggle their fiscal and political conservatives who are increasingly godless and secular while at the same time not alienating their theological conservatives who believe God created us male and female in the beginning.
In China, millions and tens of millions of mercenary trolls and strategically placed board members, executives, and investors are going to decide whether you can advertise, buy, sell, trade, or keep in touch with your family if you vote and believe in opposition to their Maoist principles.
And therein lies the rub.
A stomach bug has been making the rounds in our house this week, working its way through first the children and then Lauren and I from youngest to oldest. Only two of our sons were spared the first-hand experience.
Being sick always puts me in a different mindset. My wife tells me I have a tendency to be a tad melodramatic when I am laid up.
But all told, and even in light of that, I tried to have a better attitude this time around. Sickness can help us appreciate all the more the blessing of good health, for instance. When we are only ever healthy an surrounded by other healthy people, it is too easy to take for granted. After a bout with a stomach bug, on the other hand, we perhaps are more thankful to God for the blessing of life and being able to mill about as we please.
Thankfully also, our intrinsic value and worth is not dependent on good health, strength, and what we can produce - which it turns out for me at least is very little when I am sick. No, as Christians, our worth in God's eyes stems from the fact that he created us in his image - Imago Dei, if you want the fancy term; and also the fact that through Christ, we are justified and made right with our Creator to the point that when God looks at us, he sees the Son.
Wretched though we may sometimes be, God so loved us that he sent his only begotten into the world that whoever believes on him will not perish, but have everlasting life.
I only made it through the first 46:39 of President Joe Biden's first State of the Union address on MSN before I needed to leave out for work this morning, but here is what I have to say to as much as I heard.
As Doug Wilson over at Blog and Mablog has said recently, I agree - we are now living under both a bad and illegitimate government. The White House was taken by fraud. And this fraud, though perpetrated primarily by Democrats, was aided and abetted by far too many Republicans.
And as Andrew Klavan at The Daily Wire has quipped, a lot of sane people in this country cannot believe we are being lied to all the time - by politicians, corporations, and our mainstream media. Only an insane person believes they are being lied to all the time. And this fact means that all of the sane people now cannot bring themselves to believe the truth that we are in fact being lied to all the time.
Attendance of President Biden's SOTU address "was severely limited due to Covid restrictions," MSN tells us. But of course we all know the real reason attendance was limited, and it has nothing so much to do with Covid as it does with political theater.
They have to keep them Reichstag embers a-smoldering.
In Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, the supercomputer Deep Thought operates for 7.5 million years to spit out the answer “42.” But by that time, nobody remembers what the question was. So then another supercomputer – this one none other than our very own planet Earth – is designed by a race of hyper-intelligent, ultra-capable galactic house mice to figure out what the original question was.
In Fools, Frauds, and Firebrands by Roger Scruton talks quite a lot about the thinkers of the New Left who obfuscate the nonsense of their philosophies by burying the lack of meaning in a lot of complicated speech that’s difficult to get through.
Yesterday also, I finished up Children of Ash and Elm by Neil Price – the first and only definitive and dedicated history of the Vikings as a people I have ever come across. And I find it remarkable how the author takes little detours throughout the work to toss in woke-sounding modern conceptions of the patriarchy, gender theory, and the like. He apparently is looking to the Vikings for some kind of primeval precedent for the present-day revelry, chaos, and confusion regarding gender and sexuality.
Yet the contradiction that makes so little sense to me is that for all the efforts Price makes at portraying Viking society as open, inclusive, and tolerant, we must remember that the Vikings are so well-known to us because of their savagery, brutality, and penchant for murderous raids. They callously took slaves and sacrificed men, women, and children to their pagan gods. They bludgeoned, threatened, and generally terrorized all within their grasp for hundreds of years – and yet we are to extoll their virtues as some kind of throw-back precursor of a modern secular fantasy of living in a society where gender and sexuality are merely a social construct.
In other words, the madness of this present age – and moreover, of all ages in which sinful men hold sway and revel in their own and one another’s wickedness – is in loving and embracing death romantically so long as we can find refuge in it from the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and Christ Jesus the only begotten Son of the Father.
One final thought – and this is in response to some feedback I got from my neighbor after he listened to Episode # 104, “Choosing the Seventh Audiobook.” I may be speaking as much from my own human frailty and ignorance to dismiss Study Bibles.
Let's talk about the classic film Ben-Hur - the 1959 version with Charlton Heston, of course.
This is one of my favorite movies, and has been since childhood.
If you've never seen it, do yourself and everyone around you a favor. Watch it.
If it's been a while since you watched it last, watch it again.
"Anyways" - you would not believe how difficult it has been for me to try to eliminate just that one little word from my vocabulary.
But this just serves to underscore the larger point of Biblical passages like James 3:1-12.
Listen to this episode of the podcast to hear about my personal endeavor to get better, by God's grace and with his help, at taming my tongue.
I try to maintain seven audiobooks in my queue at all times. With having recently finished Fault Lines by Voddie Baucham, however, there is now an open slot.
Let's talk through why I chose to listen to the books I currently am, as well as which books those are and what I think of them so far.
In the end, that will help me in figuring out what to replace Baucham's book with, and you will get to see under the hood what goes into these decisions for me.
Voddie T. Baucham's Fault Lines: The Social Justice Movement and Evangelicalism’s Looming Catastrophe is an excellent book. Voddie reminds me here why I have admired and appreciated him so much over the years. My wife Lauren and I had the pleasure of hearing him speak at Cedarville University's chapel twice in 2006 when we were attending there, and he still communicates with the same grace, truth, and love he did back then.
In short, this is a book about arguably the most pressing issue facing the church in our lifetimes. Will social justice and critical theory be allowed to fundamentally transform our understanding of God's Word, ourselves, salvation, grace, sin, and the gospel? Or will the church standing in humble confidence and faith on the inerrancy and sufficiency of Scripture continue to be salt and light as Christ our Savior calls us to?
Before I head off to Wyoming for Gas Chromatograph training this week, I have the New Testament book of Jude on my mind, since we've been going through it as a church the past couple of Sundays.
Call me crazy, but part of how I learn things - and how I know whether I have learned things - is by talking about them. So rather than having the book of Jude rattling around in my head like a pinball in a machine, I decided it would be good to record a podcast to sort some of the thoughts, observations, and questions out.
At one chapter long, it does not take long to read this letter from one of the half-brothers of Jesus. But there's a lot of ground covered, and a lot of interesting nuggets to unpack, so let's dive right in.
At time of publishing, Steam tells me I have logged 2,816.4 hours on Civilization VI.
Bear in mind that with this being a turn-based strategy game I have been playing regularly since it was released in late 2016, a lot of those hours have not been active playing.
Being turn-based, a lot of those hours were the game just being up while I was waiting for friends and family to take their turns, or talking with my wife and kids between turns, or getting up and folding laundry or paying bills or answering emails or doing research.
Yet all the same, Civilization VI is without a doubt my favorite game ever, and I'd like to tell you why. So here we go.
This is the 100th episode of The Garrett Ashley Mullet Show podcast. To mark this momentous occasion, it seems good to me to take a look back at how this all started and how far the process has come.
The Garrett Ashley Mullet Show is not an end unto itself, but is rather a means to the end of encouraging greater intentionality and faithfulness in every facet of life, since Christ is Lord and God is Sovereign over the universe and everything in it.
To put it another way, how can you and I be better stewards of what the Lord our God has entrusted to us in this moment?
This podcast is an experiment in not burying our talents in a field. Perhaps some have or will question the utility and wisdom of investing time, energy, and attention in this way. But I say we are better off to try and that we get closer in trying than we do when we leave well enough alone and hazard hiding our lamp under a bushel in the process.
Whether you've just started listening or have been listening since the beginning - either way, thank you for listening.
Here's to one hundred more episodes of trying to puzzle out how we can better love God and one another with the time, resources, opportunities, and gifts which are at our disposal, because he first loved us.
Let's talk about J. Gresham Machen's Christianity and Liberalism. I just finished listening to it on Audible yesterday, and I am struck by the clarity and directness of Machen's arguments.
In sum, Liberal Christianity is a different religion. It is a counterfeit Christianity. It is a false gospel.
And just like the Apostle Paul and the early church had to confront the Judaizers and the Gnostics for presenting a distorted and untrue message about God, Jesus, and our condition in relation to them and our sins, we in our day must oppose clearly and consistently the false gospel of Liberal Christianity - which is no Christianity at all.
I have endured some hostile work environments in my time. Let me tell you how I keep my head on straight, even nominally, after several bad experiences.
In short, despite people predictably being unfair, selfish, dishonest, and even sometimes abusive, we cannot give up. We cannot throw in the towel. We cannot repay evil for evil.
When we suffer unjustly, the New Testament letter of 1 Peter admonishes us to remain blameless and trust to God's goodness and faithfulness.
And in the words of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego - "O King, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us. But even if he doesn't, we still won't bow down."
So don't fear man who can only kill the body (or career) and then has nothing more he can do to you. Fear God, since in that fear is safety and a strong tower.
They say that patience is a virtue, but why is that? And why is it so hard to be patient?
Patience for me is a challenge not least because I have a bias for action, and things do not always go according to plan.
Try and strive and plan and maneuver and position elements and my internal world as I may, the Lord is God. And I am not God.
Typically - in my case, at least - impatience on my part is remedied by remembering who God is and who I and other people are in relation.
What has God called us to, and what are we supposed to be about? We will have a far easier time remaining blameless in the midst of setbacks, disappointments, and surprises if we embrace rather than resisting calls to be patient.
Moving to Colorado has been great for my family in many respects, but there is at least one in which we have had ongoing struggles since shortly after we arrived in late 2019.
Ours is a quiet street, and our kids have enjoyed riding their bikes up and down it, and around the neighborhood. Yet we have found some not so great influences from some of the other kids in the neighborhood.
This past weekend, I had to talk with the parents of two boys in particular who were knocking over my kids' bikes, then cursing at and threating my sons when an objection was raised.
Let me tell you how we deal with neighborhood bullies and their parents.
Republican governors are going on record as saying they will oppose President Joe Biden's executive actions on gun control. Here's hoping they mean it and don't just get tired of fighting in a short span or if some professional or college sports organization threatens repercussions for non-compliance.
Zooming out on the timeline here, however, I find remarkable similarities to how Republicans and Democrats act today and how they acted a century-and-a-half ago during the Reconstruction Era.
In reading Ron Chernow's biography of Ulysses S. Grant, we can see just how little has changed in 150 years. Tyrannical Democrats are still willing to lie, steal, cheat, and murder their way into power and to use all the same to hold onto whatever power they get. And squishy moderate Republicans are as willing and ready as ever to abandon their principles as soon as it becomes clear the fighting is going to take longer than 15-minutes.
George M. Marsden's The Twilight of the American Enlightenment: The 1950s and the Crisis of Liberal Belief (2014) is worth your time, and you should check it out.
After finishing it yesterday, I have some thoughts to share with you regarding the oft-repeated phrases of late "trust the experts" and "follow the science."
These sentiments didn't come from nowhere, or arrive on our cultural scene without context or precedent with the rise of COVID. No, they've been a long time coming, and we're just reaping now the seeds of thought and sentiment which were planted decades ago.
The past is prologue, and we do well to understand our current condition as Americans in light of what Marsden lays out here.
My wife posed a great question to our family at the dinner table on Saturday.
Is it better to be kind or to be right?
After collecting our kids' insightful answers, I weighed in on this poignant dilemma.
Ian Haworth writes for The Daily Wire, "Clarence Thomas Appears To Endorse Outlawing Social Media’s Censorship Of Conservatives: Everything You Need To Know."
Should Big Tech platforms like Facebook and Twitter be regulated as common carriers like Verizon and Comcast and your power company are?
It behooves us to consider the need for humility in how we relate to the liberties of those around us.
God opposes the proud, but he gives grace to the humble.
Today I finished the late Roger Scruton's How to Be a Conservative, but Audible apparently doesn't want me to talk about that.
I've also almost concluded The French Revolution: From Enlightenment to Tyrannny by Ian Davidson.
Speaking of the French Revolution, former Democratic Senator Heidi Heitkamp was recently on Bill Maher's show where she falsely accused Gina Cerano of being a Nazi on nation TV.
Surprise, surprise. Cancel culture looks an awful lot like the French Revolution. And unless we're ready for the Robespierre's in our midst to start rolling out the guillotines, we'd best figure out how to stand up to it.
My brother Bryce came over yesterday afternoon and traded me two 140mm computer fans for an RTX 2070 that had some child's water inadvertently spilt on it. While he was here, he also set me up to mine Bitcoin on my RTX 3070 GPU.
So now I have run NiceHash all the past night, on both my computer and my wife's. And my graphics cards are making us several dollars a day worth of Bitcoin.
If we had gotten on this years ago, we'd likely be quite wealthy by now. So why do we wait for bandwagons and trailblazers on things like this?
My family and I rearranged furniture in several rooms yesterday afternoon, and now I have an office again after several years without. And sometimes that's what you have to do when you assess your priorities.
As with our literal furniture, so also with the abstract furniture in our hearts and minds.
On the heels of a shooting in Boulder, Colorado yesterday which left 10 people dead - including one law enforcement officer - Democrats across America are pushing yet again for gun control.
Let's talk about that, shall we?
Let's talk about The Miseducation of America's Elites by Bari Weiss, published March 9th at City-Journal.org.
And while we're at it, I will encourage you once again to order and read a copy of my book, 'And This Is Why We Homeschool.'
After a month of playing Valheim with my sons and friends and my friend's sons, we finally acquired scrap iron. My son Eli built a Viking longship, my son Solomon built a grinding wheel, and I built a stonecutter and our first stone building. We also got thoroughly demolished by man-sized mosquitos and some gremlin-like creatures when we visited the plains, and continued refining our teamwork.
In other news, my wife and I were discussing an article at The Imaginative Conservative titled In The Beginning Are the Words: Language & Liberty written by Joseph Pearce. So let's talk about how important building an ample vocabulary is or may be.
All that and more in this episode of The Garrett Ashley Mullet Show.
Recently working a lot on trying to build websites for this podcast and my books, concerns about self-promotion have been on my mind. There seems a kind of tight-rope to walk in promoting my work vigorously without becoming (or even seeming) conceited. How does one go about walking that fight line, though? Listen to this episode of the podcast as I think through that thorny problem.
Democrats have decided to lower the voting age in America to 16. What are their reasons, and what should we make of that?
Also, let's talk about the increasing prevalence of irritable and distracted people.
Finally, I want to briefly analyze the sentiment "We should all just mind our own business."
All of that and more in this episode.
Marriage can be hard. Nevertheless, we do well to remember where marriage comes from and what God has called those of us to who have the blessing and privilege of being married.
Even the hard times have a purpose, and we need to rely on the Lord's grace to make the most of them in a way that honors our spouse and the Lord.
Let's talk about Valheim - the Viking survival game I have been playing with my sons and an assortment of friends and family.
Important life lessons thus far: team work, strategic thinking skills, and how to fell trees without them dropping on your head.
What made Ulysses S. Grant so remarkable? I may be finding out as I listen to Ron Chernow's biography of the man.
And let me tell you a story about a recent instrumentation issue I had to troubleshoot at work, and how I think it relates to the fair-weather philosophy which so dominates our post-modern age.
Molly Ball at TIME magazine published an article last week titled 'The Secret History of the Shadow Campaign That Saved the 2020 Election.'
In it, she outlined and outright bragged about the - as she puts it - "conspiracy unfolding behind the scenes" to save Democracy from people like you and me who voted for the candidate disfavored by the powers that be.
By way of reminder, when you or I describe this exact same process, we are dismissed as conspiracy theorists and sore losers. When the likes of TIME publishes glowing reports about how great and helpful the conspiracy was to accomplishing their stated goals, we are all expected to forget that not five minutes ago this kind of talk was dismissed as craziness and sedition.
Dennis Prager has it exactly right when he says that the truth is not a value to the Left.
Curious what all the fuss is about with GameStop, Reddit, and Robinhood? Here is my quasi-insider small trader perspective.
Spoiler alert: there are two sets of rules. One for the big players, and one for the little guys.
Yet as Proverbs 20:10 tells us, "Unequal weights and unequal measures are both alike an abomination to Yahweh."
I may not be an expert on how our stock market works, but I sure have learned a lot in the past few weeks and months.
The takeaway is that we need to be wise in how we invest, and we need to diligently guard our reputation for honesty and fair-dealing by being above reproach.
If you give unscrupulous persons an inch, they will go a mile with it.
A listener recently asked the following question: If I'm encouraging people to find other marketplaces besides Amazon.com, why am I publishing and selling my recent book on Amazon?
That is an entirely fair question. Here is my answer.
Someone I am close to recently deleted their Facebook; and despite having recently started an account on MeWe, it would appear they deleted that account also.
This is not an isolated incident, though.
Conservative Americans now feel entirely alien and unwelcome online. Years of being maligned, manipulated, and censored on the biggest platforms have suddenly kicked into overdrive. And a lot of us are left trying to recalculate the cost-benefit on what if any time, energy, and attention we invest online.
This may well be the death of our social media lives. And yet, if we turn from those places and begin investing socially IRL with renewed vigor, that may be all for the best in the short, medium, and long run.
"Even the wise cannot see all ends," but God knows. And for our part, we must figure out how best to spend what has been entrusted to us.
Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were sworn into office today. I confess, it was a glum day for me personally as I considered the implications of that in the short and mid-term.
Yet even so, it is critically important that we not become discouraged or despairing.
The question we need to be asking ourselves, one another, and the Lord Almighty is this: how can we be good stewards now?
What good deeds are there to do? What good things are there to say? What does God have for us in the way of a purpose at this time, whatever our concerns about the direction of the country?
We cannot mourn as those who have no hope, but must press on and take the long view and remember in whom we trust.
These days, it feels like the United States of America is on its way to becoming the Divided States of America in the near-term.
Each half of the country possesses a collective distrust and even contempt for the other, and diplomatic negotiations seem to have broken down.
I want to lay out a couple of scenarios for what may happen in the days, weeks, months, and years ahead.
Regardless what actually happens, however, we need to make up our minds about what if anything is worth fighting for.
The United States House of Representatives voted 232-197 yesterday to impeach President Trump.
The reason why has more to do with deflection and spite than the actions of the president.
For one thing, no American president has ever been impeached twice. And the ambition is now for that to be Trump's legacy.
For another thing, impeaching and potentially convicting President Trump conveniently changes the subject away from election fraud, as well as the corruption and contempt for half of America which has come to define Washington, DC.
What is freedom of speech, and is there a biblical principle supporting what we commonly refer to as our right to free speech?
Unless we are dumb in the literal sense, we have the ability. We also have the responsibility. Yet freedom is not without reasonable constraint or consequence. And all things being permissible does not mean all things are beneficial.
You cannot shout a knowingly false claim of “fire!” in a crowded theater free of consequences. There are also laws – both from God and man – against libel, slander, and false advertising.
The Scriptures give both commands and examples which indicate we should say things which are true, helpful, and necessary. They also instruct us that we are not supposed to speak in a way that is unwholesome, perverse, or blasphemous; but define unwholesome, perverse, and blasphemous.
Instead, for instance, we are supposed to give a reason for the hope that is within us “with gentleness and respect;” but define gentleness and respect.
And if we believe the Great Commission applies to us, we have to make disciples of all nations, teaching them to obey all that Christ commanded us. This requires exercising our ability to speak in a disciplined way. And, fortunately or unfortunately, the Scriptures are replete with examples of this being punished by mobs and authorities.
“All Scripture is God-breathed and suitable…” means that we have the right and responsibility to talk about all the things which God’s Word talks about to the end of taking every thought captive to Christ.
The fact of prohibitions on speech that dishonors God and does ungodly violence against our fellow man implies inverse rights to engage in speech that honors God and edifies our fellow man.
Therefore, in summary, we have a right to do what God has commanded and enabled us to do.
Buckle up, friends. It's about to get bumpy.
Twitter and Facebook last week permanently banned President Trump from their platforms on the claim he incited protesters to violently assault the Capitol building last week during a joint-session of Congress.
Google and Apple have both made moves to remove the free speech social media network Parler from their app stores for iPhone and Android smart phones on claims that protesters turned rioters used the platform to incite violence related to election fraud.
Now Amazon has threatened to remove Parler from their web hosting service.
Also, the CEO of Mozilla claims her web browser needs to do more to deprogram Trump supporters by tracking their online activity and targeting them with advertisements designed to change their political positions and convictions.
It's going to be a challenge, but it's time to go to ground online and start looking for alternative platforms where our inalienable rights are respected and protected.
President Trump today all but conceded the 2020 election, saying that the objective now is a peaceful transition to a new administration at the end of the month.
American conservatives spent the day denouncing and condemning the storming of the Capitol building in Washington DC by protesters.
Where do we go from here?
The simple answer is that we put our faith in God, and we pray for wisdom, strength, and grace to be found faithful, good stewards of what God has entrusted to us.
Looking back on 2020, I realize just how much stress there was. So it seemed good to me to add an audiobook to my queue: The Upside of Stress: Why Stress Is Good for You, and How to Get Good at It, by Kelly McGonigal, PhD.
I also recently watched The Sound of Music with my kids, and I have a new appreciation for some of the main characters and themes of the story now compared with when I watched the movie growing up.
Chris Enloe at The Blaze reports 'House Democrat ends prayer with 'amen and a-woman,' gets destroyed when Ben Shapiro explains the meaning of 'amen'.
Spoiler alert: the root word of 'amen' is not 'men.'
Also, what is behind Hollywood releasing a spate of awfully feminist movies?
Wonder Woman 1984, The Croods: A New Age, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi, and The Rise of Skywalker? Filmmakers just can't seem to get enough of injecting raw, undiluted women's empowerment into stories, even at the expense of displacing necessary and indispensable elements.
As Isaiah 3:12 says,
"My people—infants are their oppressors,
and women rule over them.
O my people, your guides mislead you
and they have swallowed up the course of your paths."
We're there, folks.
The Epoch Times reported today 11 More GOP Senators to Object to Electoral College Votes.
I am reminded of Numbers 13-14 in the Old Testament, and that one time 12 spies were sent by Moses to scout out the Promised Land.
Israel would have been far better off listening to Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephuneh. But, alas, the whole lot had fear of man issues and fell for argumentum ad populum.
We would do well to learn from their mistake.
On the last day of arguably the hardest year for this country in my lifetime, I hit publish on my first book.
And This Is Why We Homeschool is up on Kindle, and will soon be available in paperback from Amazon.
Here is where things stand so far, and what my hopes are for the book now that it is launched.
The United States Congress finally passed another COVID stimulus package. Its stated goal is to help the American people negatively impacted by the effects of the novel coronavirus. Yet when a financial aid package totals nearly $1 trillion, we whose families and friends have been hurting financially this year because of the government-mandated throttling of our livelihoods can be forgiven for balking at each man, woman, and child getting only $600 while the lion's share of the monies go to special interests and foreign countries.
On a more personal note, I worked about 24-hours total in my first two days of Christmas vacation. It is well with my soul, and all that working gave me an opportunity to finish two books in my audiobook queue.
Caesar's Legion: The Epic Saga of Julius Caesar's Elite Tenth Legion and the Armies of Rome, by Stephen Dando-Collins
The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation, by Rod Dreher
I have written a book, and the manuscript is complete. Now begins the editing process.
By God's grace, I will finish editing the book and preparing it for publication in the last two weeks of the year.
Special thanks to the dozen and a half people who are reading the first draft and giving me feedback on how to polish the final product.
Here is my plan for successfully executing on this last stage of completing a life-long dream of mine to write and publish my first book.
Our social and political systems in the United States of America are faulting and need troubleshooting and repair.
From the standpoint of an operator and technician working in the oil and gas industry since 2012, this is how I see it.
Mitch McConnell congratulates Joe Biden and Kamala Harris for having stolen the 2020 election, urging his fellow Republican lawmakers in the U.S. House and Senate to not fight for election integrity in the face of massive evidence of rampant, coordinated, and sufficient voter fraud.
What should that mean to us? And how do we make sense of this move by the Senate Majority Leader?
To answer that question, we ought to look at human nature honestly in light of God's Word.
Amidst all the talk of judges, legislators, government officials, and media personalities failing to do justice or investigate fraud and illegality when it comes from certain sectors, I am reminded of a famous quote from Edmund Burke.
"All that is required for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing."
Was Edmund Burke correct, or is a friend of mine more right when he asks the rhetorical question of whether there are actually any good men?
Today, the electoral college meets across the United States of America. What will come of their voting? Time will tell.
In the meantime, we have an interesting headline to contemplate since yesterday, when the names and personal information of 1.95 million Chinese Communist Party members embedded around the world - including in the U.S., U.K., and Australia - was released to the public.
Could the release of this information in addition to other recent revelations regarding the activities of China help to sway the decision of American electors, judges, and legislators? Should it?
Perhaps it should, but it is anyone's guess whether it will. We have to remember the worldviews in play here as we consider the stakes and odds.
My family celebrated my son Enoch’s 5th birthday last night. To that end, we enjoyed having some guests over.
While our guests were over, we got into talking about genealogy, and that reminds me that I want to share with you some of the interesting things I have learned about my MacFarlane ancestors on my mother's mother's side of the family.
Also, last week, the U.S. Supreme Court turned down the election lawsuit by Texas and many other states. Why did they do it, and should they have done that? My perspective on this issue is partly informed by the things I have learned about the founding of this country by researching my family history.
In other news, I have some exciting updates to share regarding the plan for On The Rocks Blog Podcast moving forward. And similarly, I am considering going to a more modular design for this podcast in 2021.
A listener - Ben from Ohio - writes in with the following question:
“So, we as Christians are supposed to be kind and helpful and uplifting. How do you go about doing that to a liberal, for example, while also not giving the impression you support their stance or point of views?”
To help us answer this question, let's read what Christ teaches in Matthew 5:38-48 for starters.
Verse 39 - "Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also."
Verse 44 - "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven."
Let's also consider what Jesus says in Matthew 10:16-23.
Verse 16-17 - “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Beware of men…
Verse 22 - "...You will be hated by all for my name’s sake."
In the interest of defining our terms, we should also do a compare and contrast between what is meant by the term “Liberal” and what is meant by the term “Leftist.” What is the difference?
For starters, the term “Liberal” carries with it the connotation of someone being for freedom and liberty, but what are we being freed and liberated from, and what are we being liberated to?
“Freedom is slavery” is a famous Orwellian line from the dystopian novel 1984.
Lastly, consider 1 Peter 2:13-25.
Verse 16-17 - Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.
1. Thought exercise
You decide you are not going to offend anyone about the masks issue, and then immediately walk into a room with 10 people – 5 wearing masks and 5 not wearing masks.
The 5 wearing masks will be offended if you do not wear a mask; and the 5 not wearing masks will be offended if you do wear a mask.
So what do you do?
2. The sermon at church this past Sunday dealt with Romans 14 in particular. And with regards to the wearing or not wearing of masks, taking or not taking the forthcoming vaccine for COVID, we were encouraged to consider this passage in light of the subject of eating or not eating meat that has been offered to idols.
There have to be limitations to how far and wide we apply the principle of keeping our personal opinion to ourselves and not causing our brother to stumble. So what and where are they?
3. As much as depends on you, strive to live peaceably with all men. But how much does it depend on you and me?
4. How does open, honest, and substantive public discourse work if seemingly everything is offensive?
5. Love is not rude, but love is also not easily offended.
Exhibit A: Cancel Culture
Should we tell people they are being unloving when they are rude and/or easily offended?
6. What do love, wisdom, and unity in the church look like in a post-truth culture?
Intro/Outro Music: 8bitDetective by Bass Assassin
In Jeremiah 29, we see a mandate to God's people in Babylonian captivity. They are to:
Build houses and plant gardens
Take wives and have children
Marry off their children to get grandchildren
Seek the welfare of the city to which God has brought them as exiles
In all these things, God is saying he will be honored.
Practically applied in our circumstance, we should not apologize for seeking our own welfare and that of our family and friends, even when the seeking the welfare of the city, state, and nation we belong to increasingly means we are operating in a space which does not know God or honor him.
In this vein, I have written my forthcoming book, and my hopes are that it helps to further both the welfare of the United States of America more broadly and also the welfare of my family and me.
Intro/Outro Music: Dreaming of Babylon by Animals & Men
Everyone is talking about the several COVID vaccines being developed, but I want to talk especially about the idea that this vaccination might become a mandatory condition of travel and employment.
As Christians, we are directed in the New Testament by the Apostle Paul to "study to show yourselves approved workmen that need not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."
What bearing does the principle inherent to that call have on how we are to relate to scientific matters and trusting experts? The answer has much to do with the very foundations of modern science.
Intro/Outro Music: 8bitDetective by Bass Assassin
The day before yesterday was my wife Lauren’s and my 14-year anniversary, and we chose strategically to get married the week of Thanksgiving because we want to remember to have an attitude of gratitude about our marriage.
Yesterday was Thanksgiving 2020, and we had our neighbors over to share a meal and thank God for all we have been provided with.
Some Christians struggle with whether we should be flouting laws prohibiting get-togethers for Thanksgiving. Personally, I think of it like Daniel being entrapped by the edict which said for 30 days, no one could pray to anyone but the king.
Shout out to JP Chavez who has been listening to my podcast and giving me feedback and ideas, both general and specific.
Taking one of JP’s ideas and running with it, we are going to look at five logical fallacies – what they are called, their definitions, and some examples of what they might look like if they crop up in a conversation or debate near you.
Intro/Outro Music: 8bitDetective by Bass Assassin
I deleted my Facebook account this morning.
They asked me “Are you sure?” “Are you really, really sure?” When I answered in the affirmative each time, finally I got the response: “It’s scheduled for deletion in 30-days.”
I have been a very active Facebook user since 2006 – in other words, for all my adult life to this point.
It really did become unhealthy, unbalanced, out of proportion in its influence on my life.
So why did I stick around for so long?
Intro/Outro Music: 8bitDetective by Bass Assassin
We may not – now or ever – know the truth of these allegation of widespread, coordinated, conspiracy to commit voter fraud in the 2020 Election. But we know the mainstream media is lying to us.
Lies, deceit, manipulation – these are not new things. People just have more advanced means of perpetrating them.
Moral equivalence is a kind of dishonesty and refusal to observe distinctions between wisdom and folly, virtue and vice, truth and falsehood, or righteousness and wickedness.
Do we give some types of bad behavior, or bad behavior from certain people and groups a pass for the purpose of either advancing or protecting our interests?
Intro and Outro Music: Exotica by Juanitos
On The Rocks podcast with Micah Hershberger is a thing now! I am really excited about this new collaborative work. With weekly episodes discussing current events in light of the Christian worldview and history, I believe listeners will really enjoy and benefit from our analysis and commentary.
The Garrett Ashley Mullet Show as a solo project will also doubtless benefit as well as I continue refining my process and improving both audience engagement and making this into a value-added proposition for listeners looking for something different from the mainstream offerings currently dominating the marketplace of ideas.
Also, I just finished three audiobooks this week - Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queene, Thomas Sowell's Marxism, and Steve Ziehan's The Accidental Superpower. So let's talk about what I learned, as well as what I didn't learn.
Intro/Outro Music: Black Maria by Pistol Jazz
A listener writes asking how to respond when friends and family dismiss the links to stories he shares as "fake news."
Also, how can a factually accurate story be part of a misinformation campaign as Ben Roose at The New York Times recently alleged?
Perhaps it is time for conservatives, Christians, and especially conservative Christians to more intentionally develop and pursue new media outlets - specifically where social media is concerned.
Intro/Outro Music: Black Maria by Pistol Jazz
The mainstream media has decided to conspire together in telling us the election is over and that Biden has won the presidency, despite the following legitimate concerns and irregularities, just to name a few:
1. prematurely calling Arizona for Biden despite ample reason to believe sufficient Trump votes would come in from Maricopa county to give that state to the incumbent
2. freezing the vote counts in all the states Trump would have needed to win 270 electoral college votes on Tuesday night, then suddenly finding huge dumps of only Biden votes in Michigan and Wisconsin and adding those on Wednesday morning
3. barring GOP observers in Michigan and elsewhere from witnessing the counting of ballots
4. passing out sharpies to voters at polling places in Republican heavy counties
5. voting software used in 30 states mysteriously flipping 6,000 Trump votes to Biden votes in just one Michigan county, with similar complaints in 47 other Michigan counties
6. dead persons, fake addresses, and backdated mail-in ballots in Pennsylvania and elsewhere
Should we all just meekly accept a quite possibly stolen election before necessary litigation and recounts are complete, or should we fight?
If there is even a remote chance this election is being stolen by the Democrats, I say we should fight, and here's why.
Intro/Outro Music: Reveille Variation/Drum Call/Slow Scotch/Quick Scotch/Yankee Doodle/Montage by The United States Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps
Why do I want to talk about everything? Some have advised me to pick a topic, subject, or issue and make my podcast more focused.
Myopic single-factor analysis gets us into trouble, though. And someone needs to talk about everything so we connect the dots rightly.
This is the information age, and information is great. But in order to make productive use of information, we have to get wisdom and understanding. And in order to get wisdom and understanding, we must grasp the big picture.
Intro/Outro Music: Black Maria by Pistol Jazz
You may have never heard of Edward Bernays, but he had your number. The father of public relations gave us the modern mass marketing campaign as well as making Sigmund Freud - his double uncle - a household name.
Maybe, just maybe, the trick to not falling for propaganda, fake news, and deceptive marketing practices that prey on our emotions has something to do with picking up Neil Postman's premise in Amusing Ourselves to Death.
Intro/Outro Music: Black Maria by Pistol Jazz
I listen to a lot of audiobooks, on-purpose and for a reason. At the time of this recording, I am up to 44 titles finished since the beginning of the year.
Tune in to find out what I am listening to and why.
Intro/Outro Music: Black Maria by Pistol Jazz
To frack or not to frack? That is the question.
Rather, that is one of the questions at stake in the 2020 election here in the United States of America.
But what are the implications of our options? On a personal level, as someone who has worked in the Oil & Gas industry in America since 2012, I see this question as directly impacting my ability to provide for my family.
There is more on the line for all of us, and not just those like myself who work in this industry. An end to Oil & Gas development in America would also mean an end to energy independence for our country, and would undermine our national security as well as our economic recovery.
Deeper than the question of whether to frack or not is a question of how we see man's role. Who are we? Where did we come from? Why are we here? And what, therefore, is the nature of man's efforts to "Be fruitful and multiply, fill the Earth and subdue it?"
Tune in to find out.
Intro/Outro Music: Black Maria by Pistol Jazz
Even before all the craziness surrounding COVID-19, the past couple of years have proven a challenge for me and my family.
But why did I get into political commentary to begin with, and why will I not leave these things well enough alone, particularly in light of hardships?
This is my story.
Intro/Outro Music: Black Maria by Pistol Jazz
The final presidential debate between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden is behind us. But do we really understand the nature of the larger debate, or are we too caught up in the individual personalities of the two men running?
Intro/Outro Music: Black Maria by Pistol Jazz
The year is 2020, and a pandemic rages on around the world. Only not all of us are quite sure it still is a pandemic, if ever it was.
Originally written and published at On The Rocks Blog (onthe.rocks).