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Issue 040
The Eighth Roman Month 4, Anno Domini 2020
Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him. Psalm 2

Artwork: "Soul of Cinders"  Artist: Dark Souls

Fractal-izing Age-ing

The millennium of synchronization has ended.1  The fragmentation of Babel 2.0 is upon us.

The build up has been in the water for some time. Boomers always believed they stood at the precipice of the ultimate novelty. Gen-X-heirs tasted the sweet gen-2 sales-pitch and found it a bitter potion.

The death of Kennedy, the Oklahoma City bombing, and 9/11, these were the beginnings of the age of Aquarius. But none of our bionically-manufactured, Abrahamic-lifespans could see before COVID that the real sea-change in our millennium is the contracting and expanding of a fracturing experience space and time.

As a species, we believed for centuries the clock would unify us. COVID has ended that delusion, if not for you, then for your grand children.

Time's epoch may or may not date back to the Game-of-Thrones-style history of the Astronomical in Prague square . But the modern "space race" is no less a new spin on the "space/time thinking" framework.

Time was money. Last March.

Saruman never did pay enough attention to trees.

So it was that the end of a Greenwich-based global era, actually broke as news of more weird faraway problems in China. Lost in the rush to stock pile toilet paper and tequila was a non-trivial fact: Wuhan was no longer on the globalization timeline. It was like they were knocked out of warp speed while the rest of us kept going.

But then we got knocked out too.

This is the key insight: the virus broke the global timeline. No one can sync again on a wide scale, at least for a ...year? Two? Ten?

Even when we do, it will be too late, thank God. The millennial (pun intended) damage is done.

The world is fractured. From the unique decisions of national tyrants with gladdening (Sweden) or maddening (England) or middling (Biden) impact, to the randomized potpourri of riots and lone-masked drivers that sundry localities have been dishing up, the end result is that you are on "your own" clock in a greater way than you have been in a long time; maybe ever.

More so, before this you were always striving to sync more and more toward a universally pushing globalization around you. Now you live on the other side of God kicking you over that hill.

Now you can feel the timelines of the people around you disturbing your own every time you sort of sync. This is why a trip to the grocery store is filled with the adrenalized pain of joining a hive mind, and why going to school or the office may keep you tied to "a" reality, but it will be a very different one from everyone who overlaps with you at your church.

This can be a good thing.

Think about it the next time you find a moment "off the clock." Retreat, remember, and ponder how much about your life got more right as a result of last March.

The longer the political theatre drags out, the faster I will personally accelerate my way out the door of post modernism's dark drone wars and into the phenomenally exhilarating fps-rpg open-world on-rails procedurally-generated fantasy-sci-fi dystopic-real-life religion meta without looking back.

I don't expect everyone to early adopt the way I do. Nor am I throwing out my clocks. I expect most of our lives to speed back up to something resembling normal-ish on the other side of 2020.

But each of these faster normals will still be fracturing timelines, lives speeding up more in a race away from the global Greenwich time project.

Might I contend that, now, as a result, is your moment as a catholic Christian to lead the world that will be here in three hundred years by laying roots now, not on a godless mechanic beating in the imaginations of far away magi, but on the Scriptures of Jesus, opened and prayed with force and vigor.

For this reason, the launch of our alpha-build, catholic Christian men's network, the Sons of Solomon, I am challenging you all to join me in a year of praying a series of Psalms that I believe our God has inspired for such a time as this:

Morning Psalms 123, 125, 127
Day Psalms 124, 129
Vespers (before dinner - optional) 126, 128
Compline 130, 131

These selections from the Psalms of Ascent are a clock to do more than just build into your everyday the ultimate promises and plans of God. They will also unite you to every other catholic Christian who joins in setting our hearts and minds by this clock heard out loud every day.

Be synchronized by these great words from our God as the first fruits of a movement on which the faith of our children's children will be established, and let us prepare to be amazed by whatever he has in store for us next.

He is risen.
This is Christianity.
Join us.

Until next time,

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

1 This article was discussed in the Mad Christian Discord this past week.  Join our server to get in with Us, the Chill.

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Quick Hits for the Eyebuds

🎓Crows are clever
📱 Some motivation to limit screen time!
💎Man finds large diamond in Arkansas
🐀 Rat honored as hero for finding landmines (no rats were hurt)
🍯 Fake whiskey last week to fake honey this week
⚓ "Dynamic tattoos" may be able to warn of health threats
🧦And “smart socks” may help diabetics with monitoring
⛅ Even weather presenters have to take their kids to work sometimes...

Shaken and stirred
Clickbait Paradise
Rise of the machines

It doesn’t look like the machines will be taking over any time soon. An article last week examines some of the limitations for machine learning, concluding that, well, we still don’t know that much about how machines learn, let alone how we learn: “Human intelligence is a marvelous, subtle, and poorly understood phenomenon. There is no danger of duplicating it anytime soon.” Try challenging that chess playing A.I. to a game of poker and you’ll see what they mean.

Some algorithms are pretty smart though. Or at least, they know how to push our buttons! A few sources have run stories about the TikTok’s “killer” algorithm. The Hustle lays out how the design of the interface is key to harvesting lots of data from users. One case study investigated how the app, although tedious in the set up is more addictive than other social media platforms. Less effort is needed to give you more variety and inbuilt reminders to stop scrolling make the app seem like it really cares. Sure.

The University of Michigan is developing a self-erasing computer chip. The designers hope that the chips will be able to show when a device has been tampered with or had components replaced. After years of using CGI to produce interior scenes for their catalog, IKEA has taken is a step further, using a virtual influencer to market their new Tokyo store.

Because: Monday

Do you need a better reason?

Spoonful of sugar makes the pandemic go down

Halloween is happening: pandemic misery and a clever marketing push from the National Confectioner’s Association have fueled record sales of candy Or let them eat bread: a court in Ireland has ruled that Subway subs are too sugary to be called bread. A longread from the New Yorker tells of the push to redesign sugar. While artificial sweeteners have left a bad taste, invested parties are trying to develop sugar that is sweeter and lower in calories. Or they could just try using less.

From fueling humans to powering machines... Hyperion has made a prototype supercar that runs on hydrogen, and runs really fast, at that. While this one will be rather expensive, the company hopes that hydrogen cars may become more commonplace in the future. A British aviation company have also completed a successful flight of their hydrogen-fueled plane. Mr von Hindenburg would be proud.

Chaos co-ordinator

Gene Veith suggests that the Constitution is strong enough to deal with “nightmare scenarios” in November.

ICYMI A suspect has been arrested over the horrific shooting of two police offices in Compton and USAToday laid out some more facts from the Breonna Taylor case. Pray for our police - it’s a tough gig.

Rev Fisk sent along a link from a group of physicians who advocate for ethical practice. They're compiled a lot of interesting info on masks.

Watch your language

This week saw the strange septuagenarian bar-fight that was the first Presidential debate done and dusted. There has been much dissecting of it (see Issues Etc or Al Mohler or The Federalist if you want more), so we won’t weigh in on the subject. However, one particular exchange was of interest to us here at Mad Mondays

At one point, Moderator Chris Wallace attempted to pin Trump down on whether or not he believes in “systemic racism.” A curly question indeed. Wallace asked the President why he had banned “racial sensitivity training.” The President assumed [rightly] that Wallace’s nomenclature was really a euphemism for Critical Race Theory, which is what Trump has actually banned in government agencies

This incident highlights the importance of using words with precision. Today, perhaps more than ever, two people can be using the same word and mean completely different things. An article from Spiked outlines how Progressives play word games to “gaslight” anyone who believes the culture war is real. The writer characterizes the way language is weaponized by quoting Humpty Dumpty’s line from Through the Looking Glass: ‘When I use a word it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.’

There is much to be said for the idea that whoever controls the language, controls the culture. Rev. Fisk has made the point that we need to take back words for ourselves and insist on their meaning. We need to keep our cool, but it never hurts to ask, "What do you mean by that?"

Paid-up-for-life member of Christ

To the UK- a lawsuit is being brought against the Garrick Club, a private members club founded in 1831. It is a watering hole and hangout for well-heeled legal types, entrepreneurs, celebrities, and politicians, but: no ladies, please! Women are only admitted as the guest of a man, at certain times and into specific areas of the building. 

This seemed immoral to businesswoman, Emily Bendell, who was refused membership earlier this year and is suing the club. She argues that membership at the Garrick affords access to networks of powerful people and leaving women out hinders their chances of promotion through society. She said she was “shocked” to find that men-only societies exist today. 

An article in the Spectator UK defended the club, by pointing out that there are bigger problems in the world than whether we have exclusive “men's spaces” or not. Yet, that is not really a defense that will stand up for long in today’s rabidly egalitarian and often "anti-male" environment.

This brought to mind CS Lewis’ essay, “Membership” where he states "I do not believe that God created an egalitarian world... I believe that if we had not fallen... patriarchal monarchy would be the sole lawful government.” What a hatefully archaic thing to say! Yet if your starting point is a good creation which subsequently fell into sin, such an idea won’t raise your blood pressure.

Lewis argues that the equality we strive for in this world is artificial at best. He says "Equality is for me in the same position as clothes. It is a result of the Fall and the remedy for it... I am not in the least belittling the value of this egalitarian fiction which is our only defense against one another's cruelty... [but] it is medicine, not food.”

While some movements have tried to create equality by downplaying differences, and others have attempted to expose people to diversity, hoping our shared humanity would be enough, sooner or later every worldly endeavor fails. Christianity has the mystery ingredient for true equality - our baptism into Christ. 

"In this way then, the Christian life defends the single personality from the collective,” stated Lewis, not by erasing individual identity "but by giving him the status of an organ in the mystical Body... Those who are members of one another become as diverse as the hand and the ear. That is why the worldlings are so monotonously alike compared with the almost fantastic variety of the saints.”

To the world, Christ’s church may look dangerously misogynistic. Yet here, men and women can enjoy a kind of unity uniquely ours. We do not have to contend with each other’s “privilege”, fighting each other for power, but can rather encourage each other to fully embrace the roles God intended when he created us. 

Lewis writes "It delights me that there should be moments in the services of my own Church when the priest stands and I kneel. As democracy becomes more complete in the outer world and opportunities for reverence are successively removed, the refreshment, the cleansing, and invigorating returns to inequality, which the Church offers us, become more and more necessary.” That’s definitely something worth considering.

Only Illuminati Need Apply
Your Reaction Highlights

Discord is where the party is.  As this week's Illuminati, enjoy BaronAlbatross's response to The Illusive Man's conversation starter (which was featured in this week's lead).

Good find @The Illusive Man! [Discord Hint: That's Rev. Fisk] It seems he has his finger on the pulse as to how essential narrative is to this whole situation. The hammer and dance story is an excellent example, it is effectively the 2017 WHO influenza pandemic guideline manual retold as a salvation story using the language of the popular scientism prophets. The stakes are high, even off the charts! But there is a green line that will save us, and it is us, so we must choose to save ourselves by heeding this prophet.

Yet we grumbling Israelites have become disillusioned, we are not satisfied with the mammon... I mean mannah from our government. Worse yet we have had time from our wandering to communicate with one another, among our neighbors Korra arises. Will we organize together or will Science correct the rebels by swallowing them in the earth? When we offer strange fire by wearing the mask below our noses will we be consumed? Will our insistence on assembly, our doubt in Science, our general faithlessness condemn us to longer suffering in the wilderness?

Jedi Ani Cringwalker also chimed in:

I have absolutely found this flow of time interesting. By taking hold of my own sleep and work schedule during our stay-at-home orders my prayer and fun time were far more efficient. I tended to take regular hour-long breaks throughout my normal "on call" hours at work. I wanted to keep honest with my employer so I still stuck to 8 hours of work done a day, it just tended to be more spread out. 2-3 hour increments from 7-11, 1-4, 6-9. In that schedule I was more productive with both my professional work as well as side projects.

The skillset I built up: 1: Learning how to make music.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Axoe11Mvkuo

2: Learning how to make a VR game

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uwH1yK-6BrU

3: Outlining a novel 

4: learning real math for stocks and making some extra money 

5: starting an architecture podcast 6: learning some basic Genetic engineering, but that's a secret for now

The upscale of productivity has made me SERIOUSLY reconsider the German-style time-slavery we have in favor of this regulated rest-work cycling

I count all this the blessings of this otherwise global crisis

I've taken to calling this a "Divinely enforced Jubilee sabbath".(edited)

Or perhaps, "God collecting our sabbath debt".

Because by being obedient to Biblical ideas of work-rest I found myself far far far more mentally and spiritually healthy. Even physically now as I've started exercising as well.

So what are you waiting for?

Seriously, we want you on Discord
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Let us pray:  Gracious God, You gave Your Son into the hands of sinful men who killed Him. Forgive us when we reject Your unfailing love, and grant us the fullness of Your salvation; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.