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Issue 046
The Ninth Roman Month 16, Anno Domini 2020
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. ~Psalm 111
Wise politics is the art of invigorating society and weakening the State. ~Nicolás Gómez Dávila

Artwork: "Please Don't Wake Up"  Artist: sinlaire

Teknae's Swollen Hermeneutic

Be suspicious of "news."

Humans crave conflict. Our bent/broked/fallen/"normal" understanding of the problem of "good" and "evil" leads us to conceive of our mythologies exclusively in the terms of heroes who slay monsters. The dilemma is that 1st-world molehill monsters can only help us justify our rebellious rage at God (and the dissatisfaction inherent in carnal love for American living) when we make mountain monsters out of them. This is how Twitter makes money. 

Or, when they feel like it, how any gaslighting power steals elections.

But before we tangent into a 51% mandate that Republicans follow completely different standards, expectations, and rules than the AP did for the last four years, let me just assert again that if learning the American Presidential election (or any election) endured or was won by fraudulent tactics comes as "news" to you, then you have already proven my point.

Evil men don't do good things out of kindness. They only do it out of selfishness. And, as the tragedy of the commons demonstrates, nobody is motivated to look out for anyone else without skin in the game. 

If you believe that on this side of our Lord's parousia the United States of America is beyond corruption or collapse, then I have a Small Catechism to sell you.

When no other monster is there to fight, my neighbor or brother will do in a pinch. That is the "news" evil men sell you as popcorn for the brain. Their consciences are seared. Those who listen to them become like them.

By the same token, be suspicious of your need to share. Remember that your information is the crop, and Twitter is the harvester, cutting the value off the top, repacking and selling it back to you from their mansions over the skies of Siliconopia. 

It remains, the more time you spend online, the more you submit yourself to these self-made overlords of information.

To believe that Christians, Christianity, or your local church and family structures can offer ourselves freely to the (atheistic/or-demonic) social and cognitive programming experiment that is the post-networked industrialization zeitgheist without ramification seems to me to be a perilous jettisoning of the fear of God.

If man's incurvatus need to justify our inner psyches at the cost of being hijacked by an oligarchy of corporations whose sole purpose is to amplify "news" of the discord among us, all in order to profit from it at our expense isn't enough to convince you that the ancient march of debt and ghettoized bond-servitude are present North American problems fast becoming future watersheds for you and your children, then nothing will.

I'm not paranoid. God is watching me. But give Ed Snowden a listen anyway: it will expand your mind. (Joe Rogan's language is "NSFW") 

  1. Joe Rogan Experience #1368 - Edward Snowden
  2. Joe Rogan Experience #1536 - Edward Snowden

Then remember that none of that matters. Only the Ten Commandments, the Creed and the Lord's Prayer do. But all this other nonsense helps us remember why we need them so desperately.

Until next time,

Be strong, and let your heart know courage.
Rev. Fisk

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Freedom is a long game

This week, a great Issues etc. conversation with Dr. Stephen Baskerville from 2017 came to mind. There and in a related article, Dr. Baskerville describes how there are some striking similarities between the French Revolution and one that we are still fighting, the Sexual Revolution. The desire of the early "liberationists" was the destruction of all barriers to sexual indulgence "as the means to advance their careers, accumulate wealth, eliminate rivals, punish opponents, extort money, and generally acquire political power." 

While the sexual libertines promised freedom, the mess that was the #metoo era suggests that the promise rings hollow. Yet, rather than a humble return to the God's model for marriage and sex, the revolutionaries have ramped up their assault. Baskerville argues that this revolution has entered its "Reign of Terror phase." He says, "Having ridiculed not only the Christians themselves into silence but also their annoying, old-fashioned vocabulary of 'sin,' 'immorality,' 'fornication,' and 'adultery,' the radicals have substituted jargon that instead condemns ideological unorthodoxy." 

Instead of "traditional sins [which] were clear and precise [and] applied equally to all", Baskerville argues we now have vague categories such as "abuse" or "harassment", which he maintains as having no fixed legal definition. By controlling the approved language, elites can maintain their power, not just over celebrity transgressors, but also over ordinary people. There are many casualties in this war, especially fathers and husbands who have way to prove their innocence of such non-descript crimes.

Baskerville also notes the way this new morality is enforced. Previously, immoral behavior was overseen by apolitical authorities like parents, churches, and local communities. The punishment was social disapproval and ostracism - no self-respecting father was going to let his daughter marry a cad! But that has changed, with the new morality enforced by "professional disapprovers with political muscle—journalists and media pundits, lawyers, judges, police, and jailers." 

The tyranny of the Sexual Revolution is revealed very clearly in today's Progressive agenda. A Democratic presidency promises the reinstating of Title IX and the Equality Act, both dangerous for the family and religious freedom. Kicking against reality by denying the distinctions between male and female, destroying the family structure, marriage and the goodness of the patriarchy will have a similar end to the French Revolution; it is good to take heed. 

So what are we to do? In many ways, Mad Christians are called to the same things we ever were. We build and plant and seek the welfare of the place God has put us. We tell the truth about life, and God's purpose for marriage and family. We promote the things that enable this purpose. We meet faithfully and partake of God's good gifts. It doesn't look very revolutionary, but we shine brightly in the decaying age, as each stand for truth lights the way for another.

As you will hear Rev. Fisk and Dr. Koontz repeat on BHoP, the most subversive thing you can do is raise a family, in the fear and admonition of the Lord. This may be milk toast to the Progressives, but the realest place in the world is the home and the first line of defense against the lies of tyranny is the family. 

Freedom is not the ability to do whatever you want, as Os Guinness says, but the power to do what you ought. Fed by the Word and sacraments, the saints are empowered by the Spirit for just such a task. So don't lose heart!  Teach your children, love the Truth and seek Wisdom. And maybe plant a garden.

The great divide

A recent Cambridge study claims that the partisan divide in the United States is approaching "levels of ethnic parochialism in Bosnia and Kosovo." Spending some time on Twitter might make you think there is a dangerous "balkanization" afoot, and yet, hanging out in your average neighborhood,  you may wonder at the hype. Reality has a way of biting back and the white noise of propaganda can only distract for so long.  

Many on the Left view anyone who is not sold out to the Woke agenda as ignorant "deplorables," but people see when celebrities excoriate anyone who won't "believe all women," but not when it's their candidate in question. People see when the COVID heavies insist on keeping schools, churches, and conservative political events shut down, but laud Biden celebrations and BLM protests. People don't want to defund the police and are tired of being told they are racists when they are not.

While a Biden/Harris presidency would likely be the Wokest yet, the alliances forming between classical liberals and conservatives under Trump are strengthening. Folks from all over the political map can agree that America is a great country and that the Constitution is worth defending. Across the nation, most people see that freedom of speech, religious liberty and open inquiry are foundational to a flourishing society.

There is growing defence of freedom against the totalitarian Left, and people are waking up to the inconsistency of the elites and their news media. So be strong! "The truth will never be extinguished by human arms", not even the strong arm of the White House.

Us the Chill has an unofficial Minecraft server! Join the Mad Christian Discord (press the button below) and ping @verny. He'll add you when he can. Please be patient - not all Chillgrims dwell in the US of A. There are plenty of skellies and mobs to go around... 🦴 🧨 ⛏️

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He's just not that into your politics

A New York Times piece from recent weeks suggest that the real divide in the US is between those who are "hard partisans" and those who really don't care about politics. "For partisans, politics is a morality play, a struggle of good versus evil. But most Americans just see two angry groups of people bickering over issues that may not always seem pressing or important." To get some perspective, "a Pew study finds that 10 percent of Twitter users are responsible for 97 percent of all tweets about politics."

While some voters' "single issue" may be whether TikTok is banned or not (you can ask Dr. Koontz about that one), there is often no overlap between what political junkies think is important and what less-attentive citizens do. The researchers for this article found that drug use and the political influence of wealthy donors were high on the list of concerns for hard partisans (Republicans and Democrats respectively), but these issues hardly registered with those less engaged.

In contrast, the things that bothered the rest of the country were the deficit and moral decline. So "unity" between Left and Right may not be as useful as getting the chattering classes and the rest of America to listen to each other. Now, where's my megaphone?

Ground News is a site that collects and collates reporting, according to a right-left spectrum. These projects are always interesting experiments, but often pleases no one, as most people assume their views are the centered and reasonable. At the very least, it is interesting to compare the language used by different news outlets. 

Inez Stepman argues that the way to help reduce the partisan divide in America is to gut the Academy. She argues that anti-American sentiment and revisionist history curriculum are perpetuating the domination of identity politics in elite institutions and business. 

Some considerate Britsplaining: Paul Collier, an Oxford professor, suggests that states should split their Electoral College vote according to their votes and reduce postal voting.

And about those pesky voting machines...

The eagle has landed

Pharmaceutical company, Pfizer, announced last week they have a COVID vaccine ready to go. While the timing of the press release looked strangely advantageous to a particular presidential candidate, The Hustle detailed the winners and losers. Airlines, fashion and fuel companies are on the up and home fitness and takeout pizza are down.

Rev. Fisk is not the only one who is concerned about this vaccine. While questions remain about who gets it and how safe it is, many have noted the potential for COVID vaccines to use abortion-derived cell lines. The Lozier Institute is keeping tabs of which ones do and don't

The CEO of Pfizer says he'll take the vaccine first to ease public concern. Thanks, we feel so much better now...

Everyone's favorite eccentric billionaire, Elon Musk says he tested positive and negative for COVID in one day. Rev Fisk found an informative Twitter thread from Mr Musk, asking about what getting a "positive" test even means.

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Cities and first world problems

The collective area of the world's cities has doubled over last 20 years as edges of urban centres expand. A study out of China found that "more than 400 million [Chinese] farmers have left their land for the cities since 2000. And in the three years from 2011, the cement produced in China surpassed the output of the US for the entire 20th century, according to industry figures." The trend for expanding cities is also seen in the US, but for different reasons. 

And to Norway, where a wokester has decided people need to know everything that's wrong with his city's history. Markus Moestue has come up with a "Critical Map" of Oslo, which highlights the sites that are must-see for Progressive tourists. These include a statue of Norway's national hero (a slave owner), the residence of the royal family, who perpetuate inequality by being rich, and the HQ of an evil oil company who use their money to promote their business. If Mosestue sees his dream come true, more people will make maps like these and hate their cities too. So be sure to pack your outrage!

Quick Hits for the Eyebuds

🚄 A "hyper-tube" train tested in Korea has achieved a speed of 1000km/h

🔒 A Google VPN... Is that an oxymoron?

🎙️ Deepfakes come for Frank Sinatra and it's kinda creepy

🌙 Jupiter's ocean moon Europa probably glows

🌋 Astronomers say they've discovered a "hell" planet with lava oceans and raining rocks

🕷️ Steampunk spiders made from clocks and mechanical components

🍗 Three men and a chicken: Some bros have been banned from Yellowstone after trying to cook dinner in a hotspring

📺 Netflix is trialing "linear TV" in areas of France, like, you know, normal TV. Turns out lots of choice can be exhausting.

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Your Reaction Highlights

Pastor Fisk,
I think this is a good example of a four part chant tone. Psalm 46 chanted to the tune A Mighty Fortress:


A Good Word: Rec's from Rev. Fisk

This week's book rec (via Rev. Fisk) is from @curiousbird64. You can find Deadly Medicines and Organised Crime: how big pharma has corrupted healthcare on Amazon.

Sweetness You May Have Missed
This Week Preached

Pentecost 24
Matt 24 and Phil 3

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Talk Them Into It Study
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Podcast Release

1787 Didn't Plan for That- from Suleyman to Orange Man Bad


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Let us pray: Almighty and ever-living God, You have given exceedingly great and precious promises to those who trust in You. Dispel from us the works of darkness and grant us to live in the light of Your Son, Jesus Christ, that our faith may never be found wanting; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.