Christ Jesus came, the pity of God pledged upon the world, the appointed sufferer who, Warrior King, conquered all in one great heavenly battle. This he achieved under Torah, under "the law," that is, as one of us.
As us, as our obedience, as our renewed and truly new human activity before the eyes of an angry God, he is the great exchange, the son sold into slavery in order to adopt the slaves as heirs.
You cannot escape Torah. It is a great curb, a guide, an ultimate mirror built into, and proclaimed by the heavens throughout all that is seen. Their voice has gone out and preached the singularity of creation, the holy devotion with which the cosmos is knit: everything works just so; distort it only a touch, and distort it entire. But such is this great Torah that all of our attempts to distort it only bring its truth barreling back down upon our heads.
This is the great mystery of the Torah become flesh, the birth of God from woman in order to obligate his new-inspired flesh and blood with all the perfect obedience a creation of the Good God ought rightly display.
Here, again, standing before the world in the "carne" of Jesus of Nazareth, the Torah remains a revelation of the everlasting and singular oath of our Creator-God: You are my son. Today I have begotten you.
God the Just punishes his rebellious slaves by adopting them into his own deity, a mystical union that is well worth praying over at length. God the Justifier punishes his Only-Begotten in order to bring our discord into concord with his far-seeing will.
Giving up is the temptation to reject patience as a virtue.
God's patience is his rejection of giving up on you.
Forgiveness is God's claim that you are his own: chosen, emphatically, with a giant "Yes!"
With 2020 almost behind us, we thought we'd revisit one of our favorites from this year. This one was from our Easter 7 May 25th issue.
I wonder as I wander
Rev. Fisk has often spoken about the urgent need for Christians to examine ways they could be more community-minded, using their vocations to best influence the course of our neighborhoods and rescue more from hopelessness in this decaying world. Thinking about the many talents we know our Mad Christians have, this recent opinion piece bemoaning the loss of the peculiar creature known as the polymath, caught our attention.
The writer, Dan Hitchens, suggests that something important is lost in a society where polymaths are rare. Since the 17th century, which seems to be a golden age of polymathy, the super-abundance of information means the intellectual world has been divided into specializing (knowing a lot about a little) or popularizing (knowing a little about a lot). He observes that most polymaths today were already middle-aged before the digital age. Hitchens notes that "serious intellectual work requires the increasingly rare skill of not looking at your phone every ten minutes."
Apart from the deluge of information available to modern man, the writer also delves into the idea that the elevation of the scientific method has devalued arts and philosophy as other ways of discovering truth. The almighty god of Scientism has ironically reduced the curiosity about the world that produces polymaths. In an age where the highest good is to “follow the science" any study that doesn’t trade in empirical data is rendered useless. Richard Dawkins once memorably asked, 'What did Plato say that was actually right?'”
What a difference for us, Mad readers! We do not have to choose to pursue what is “true" over what is good and beautiful. We are free to do "with all our hearts" whatever our hand finds to do. Hitchens says polymathy takes "curiosity, a capacity for hard work, a good memory, the ability to focus." Those traits seem to dovetail very nicely with everything 2020 has taught us. Rev. Fisk's advice to pursue an analog, slow, intentional and hands-on life, with lots of space for thinking might be just the ticket for shutting out the white noise and building the future we want to see.
COVID and 2020: welcome to the upside down
Think we can squeeze a bit more crazy out of this year..
The Department of Justice is suing Walmart for pressuring its pharmacists to fill prescriptions for opioids, even suspicious ones. The DOJ is accusing the retailer of "fueling the nation’s opioid crisis."
Ben Domenech of The Federalist recently interviewed outspoken California chef Andrew Gruel. Mr. Gruel has many interesting things to say about the random rulings of his state's Governor and the preferential treatment given to both online businesses and the interests of Silicon Valley. He has observed that property being sold off by small business owners is being snapped up by large companies. Gruel believes that communities will suffer if long-standing diners are replaced with a "Taco Bell on every corner." Barstool Sports founder, David Portnoy, observes something similar in New York and has launched a tirade at authorities there.
Gruel goes so far as to say that politicians are engaging in a class war. “All we hear about today is this outrageous spike in cases, hospitals overflowing, etc. And yet the narrative is still ‘shut down restaurants,'” Gruel said. “We’ve been shut down. We are not the culprit.” Putting his money where his mouth is, Chef Gruel is crowdfunding to help restaurant workers who've lost their jobs. It's nice to see that while Congress argues about how to spend relief money, people on the ground are getting stuff done.
The Federal Trade Commission is investigating how data is collected by some of Silicone Valley's biggest players.
The SCOTUS recently heard oral arguments in a case that is "splitting the privacy world in two." The case, Van Buren v. US, involves a policeman who "accepted money to look up a woman's license plate in a law enforcement database." Protocol notes that the outcome of the case will have far-reaching consequences.
Recent Google outages showed how steady its service usually is, but also how reliant the world is on it. One teacher likened the downtime to a “snow day” as school days revolve around using Google products, including Classroom and YouTube.
Space: it's complicated
A paper written recently by three Caltech physicists (and one high school student) suggests that the Milky Way is probably full of "dead civilizations." It is an interesting hypothesis, yet the presuppositions on the part of the authors are many. The scientists "looked at a range of factors presumed to influence the development of intelligent life," including the presence of sunlike stars, radiation blasts, and the "time necessary for intelligent life to evolve if conditions are right." Come on, Patrick. They also considered "the possible tendency of advanced civilizations to destroy themselves."
Astronomers are also excited about the recent detection of a radio wave which they think may have originated somewhere near the Sun. Similar activity has been picked up by radio telescopes in the past but usually there is a prosaic explanation.
Only Illuminati Need Apply Your Reaction Highlights
Overwhelmed by biased news sources? Scott offers a suggestion so you know exactly what you're consuming.
Hey Pr. Fisk- just wanted to pass this news aggregate site along. It may be useful for other Lutherans as it lets a user select news of the day from sources from either the left or the right, then further specify positive, neutral, or negative. In other words, it enables the user to siphon out the hyperbolic news sources on the left and right so better to manage your blood pressure if one wanted to do so. I don't know the creator of the site or their politics, but after a few days of using it its growing on me: Tiny Report.
Let us pray: O God, our Maker and Redeemer, You wonderfully created us and in the incarnation of Your Son yet more wondrously restored our human nature. Grant that we may ever be alive in Him who made Himself to be like us; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.