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Issue 036
Pagan Moontide of Vulcan 7, Anno Domini 2020
Many are the sorrows of the wicked, but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the Lord. Psalm 32

Artwork: "When You're Not Payed Enough To Clean Up This Mess"  Artist: KJfromColors

We hope you enjoyed this book release week and that Talk Them Into It is having a positive impact on your conversations.  Thank you to those who have responded with thoughts and feedback.  You can help us by leaving a review on Amazon.  And remember, if you invite your friends to Mad Mondays, they will receive a free digital copy of the book too!

This week, in lieu of Rev. Fisk's lead, we introduce a new voice here at Mad Mondays.  Our editor, Sarah, helps us deliver quality content to your inbox, and this week, she steps up to the mic.

Radical Priests and Where To Find Them

This week, Fr. Kenneth Boller, a priest at New York City’s St. Xavier Catholic Church, proudly denounced white privilege during the morning Mass by including a “racial justice” prayer into the close of the liturgy. In addition, Fr. Boller placed images of George Floyd and other alleged victims of “racial injustice” at the front of the church on the left side of the altar. Congregants were asked to stand and join in the prayer by affirming each statement vocally as he read it. The statements themselves addressed the existence and need to defeat “white privilege” both in society and within church culture.

Knowing Rev. Fisk’s fervent stance on adhering to a traditional liturgy service that builds a timeless foundation of faith to stand upon, and knowing also the conflicts between the ELCA and other Lutheran synods for making similar public prayer/statements concerning gender issues, this provokes some interesting questions such as:

  1. Who is deemed worthy enough to publicly stand next to Christ at the altar and who decides that?
  2. What problems could arise when congregants are unexpectedly asked to publicly affirm a prayer/statement that is based on political sentiment and allegations, rather than Scripture?
  3. While in the historical context, the use of promoting political ideologies is certainly nothing new to the Church, how might we help to preserve the liturgy and the focus on Christ alone in our own Church families in this current political climate?


Quick Hits for the Eyebuds

🇬🇧 Queen Elizabeth eats burgers without the bun

🚀 Airline pilots report guy with a jetpack flying beside them

🧪 Engineers have built tweezers small enough to pick up individual molecules

🎈 Illusionist stuntman, David Blaine, reached almost 25,000 ft attached to helium balloons

⌚ A weird tech time warp: launch ad for Windows 95

💉 Polio has been eradicated from Africa

🌳 Amazon delivery drivers hang their phones in trees near Whole Food stores - nearest driver gets the passenger

Help Rev. Fisk Write Mo' Books
But seriously...
Clickbait Paradise
Wonderful ways with water

Large structures of ice are being built in northern India as a way of storing water for the drier seasons. Scientists have discovered a sort of “anti-gravity” using vibration and buoyancy and a Norwegian company has proposed using “bubble technology” to stop hurricanes

Humans have been placed in stasis for the first time. Working with patients suffering from acute trauma and blood loss, doctors replaced the person’s blood with a cooling solution that reduced their body temperature. While sci-fi movies portray this tech as pivotal to interstellar travel, the directors of this study simply hope at this point to give surgeons more time to operate in life-threatening situations.

Science fictions

An interesting book review from Quillette this week highlights the harm being done to our exploration of the world by political agendas in the hard sciences. Rather than accepting the world (and humanity) as it is, the writer outlines some high profile studies that have rejected findings they did not like. 

And… the science behind writing an effective menu! In this case, the proof would be in the pudding. Check, please...

Paper tigers

Russia has declassified footage of the largest bomb ever detonated, in 1961.

Geographical magazine featured an article outlining some of the historical events that have led to the current internment of the Uighur people by Chinese authorities. 

Google has stopped responding to requests for information from Hong Kong police, implying that they assume the city state is now run by mainland China.

If you’re guilty and you know it, wring your hands

An article this week at the Spectator has argued that the gaping hole at the center of the BLM movement is that of the concept of sin. The writer, Theo Hobson, points out that, to an anti-racist zealot, the only ones who are "free of racism” are its victims or those that "ardently side with its victims”. The only way of redemption is to endorse all that this movement stands for. 

Yet, Hobson maintains that historically, "abolitionists and anti-racism campaigners simultaneously believed that racism was a sin and that they themselves were sinners. ...They saw slavery and racism as manifestations of human sin that must be opposed, but also saw that the root cause of the problem would stubbornly remain, for human beings are greedy, proud, tribal, and hungry for any claim to supremacy that is available.” 

He goes on to say that even if our behaviour were perfect, our hearts remain impure. Holding this view, that sin is a real result of the Fall, "reminds them that they share the same sort of impulses that result in the immorality they condemn in others.”

Nobody expects the Woke Inquisition

Pastor Fisk found an interview with author Joseph Bottum this week, fleshing out a similar theme. Bottum argues that wokeness, the spawn of critical theory, is proof that the human desire for justification, to know you're a good person, never goes away. As the visible church diminishes in size and influence in the West, that “religious” tendency finds other outlets to placate it. 

Bottum says that in the past, the concern was that church would become political, but what we have now is the product of politics becoming “religionized." His criteria is this: "If you believe that your ordinary political opponents are not merely mistaken, but are evil, you have ceased to do politics and begun to do religion.”

In this system, Bottum says that the concept of “white privilege” is a close substitute for “original sin”. It is what you are born into, but unlike the Good News of forgiveness at the Cross, there is no way to rid yourself of the evil of being White. "You have to be constantly abject. You have to agree with your condemners, or you’re evil.“ 

As we’ve pointed out before in Mad Mondays, this is a religion that demands repentance but offers no absolution to comfort the penitent. "All it does is create more unhappiness in the name of your own self-righteousness. This is what I call the self-love of self-hatred. It’s ‘I’m such a sinner and aren’t I wonderful for knowing that I’m a sinner’.”

It would seem, amidst the distressing white noise that reaches us each day, the Mad Christians’ witness is all the more salient. We have a clear hope. Though we sojourn among the wicked, as Rev. Fisk says, our eyes are open and we are grounded in the assurance of our forgiveness. We have an answer for the nebulous guilt that is driving people to seek righteousness in all the wrong places. May God give us strength to not grow weary in doing good, to listen, to ask questions and stand up for truth.

"Politics as usual" by Pawel Kuczynski

Does not play well with others

If you haven’t heard of Critical Race theory or scratch your head at references to being “woke”, it may be time to find out a bit more (here is one resource). Albert Mohler interviewed James Lindsay on the Thinking in Public podcast last week. Lindsay outlined the slow march of progressives through institutions, politics and society.

Proponents of these ideologies (all those “isms”) observe society and lament: Racism still exists! There is still inequality! We haven’t won the war on poverty! So the call comes for a new revolution. Lindsay suggests philosophical movements since the Enlightenment have each been a reaction to the one before. He states that the church is not immune to adopting this worldview, warning that this is a take-no-prisoners movement. 

There is no doubt that certain church bodies have capitulated to “wokeness," however, many of these ideas are creeping into  faithful denominations. So Mad Christian, take note when fellow believers, even pastors are speaking of social justice, racial justice, gender roles... We need to be clear-headed as this dark cloud of nonsense makes it harder to see the truth. 

One final piece from Rev. Fisk… With the USA presidential elections looming, Joe Biden is claiming he's the key to a mostly peaceful presidency.  Yet the American Mind contends that the groundwork has been laid by the Democrats to create conflict, in the event of their defeat, especially if by a narrow margin. PJ Media had similar things to say

While this all seems so heavy, we do not need to fear the future. The world will continue to put its hope in the fleeting power of princes, but our hope is in our reigning and eternal King. As RJ Heijmen says, Christ can “bear the weight of our hope” in him and he will not fail us.

Only Illuminati Need Apply
Your Reaction Highlights

Check out this awesome blog post from Logic Monkey, who has taken Smart Noting to heart and connected it to homeschooling:

I intend to teach my children, and I advocate that everyone who can should do the same. And that everyone who can’t should re-evaluate whether he can.

One of my fascinations is theories of learning. Both because I intend to teach my children and because there are things I, myself, would like to learn. This fascination has already born fruit in the structure of the one educational book I’ve made. Alphabeasts presents the letters of the alphabet in reverse order, with a pause to review the entire alphabet every four or so letters, under the theory that this will help a child learn it more effortlessly and confidently.

Three unrelated (and yet perhaps related after all) concepts have been brought to my attention of late. I want to look at each in turn.

  • The Trivium
  • Smart Notes
  • Direct Instruction

The Trivium

Coincidentally, as I am comparing three educational roads, “Trivium” means “where three roads meet” (tri vium). No, it is not a recursive concept that refers to the Trivium, Smart Notes, and Direct Instruction.

The go-to text is Teaching the Trivium by Harvey and Laurie Bluedorn, which came highly recommended to me by a homeschooler who has done better with his children than I expect to do.* The concept of the Trivium goes something like this:

All learning passes through three stages.

  1. The Grammar stage, where the student memorizes relevant facts.
  2. The Logic stage, where the student learns the theories, patterns, and abstract principles, that is, how the facts interconnect with one another.
  3. The Rhetoric stage, where the student learns how to apply their knowledge to the external world.

The contentions of Teaching the Trivium, then, include:

  • All learning, from a toddler learning to toddle, to an adult learning a fourth language, passes through these stages.
  • However, as children grow, they pass through phases where they are biologically turbo-charged for a specific phase. They are top-notch memorizers around age 10, start to develop a capacity for abstract thought around 13, and a need to turn around and create something of their own around 16.

There’s more. A lot more. Teaching the Trivium is a beast of a book, with guidelines on how to apply this concept to different subjects, and I’ve not finished it yet. But that’s your bedrock.

Continue reading...

Promo of Friends

A few weeks ago, the Praise Song Cruncher came up in the SMChill. These questions are not limited to music, but can be used to to judge various media trying to influence your mind. Check out our noted version, or read more on the cruncher here.

  1. Jesus- Is Jesus mentioned? If so, is it in name or concept?
  2. Clarity- Is the song (or message) clear?
  3. Mysticism- Is the song about the things that God has done, or about my own emotions and experiences? Does the song repeat the same phrases over and over in a hypnotic mantra?
  4. Law and Gospel- Does the song proclaim the law in its sternness and the Gospel in its sweetness? Are law and Gospel rightly divided? Is the law presented as something that we can do, or does it show us our sins? Is the Gospel conditional, that is, based on my actions, decisions, acceptance?
  5. Other Heterodoxy- Is there any explicit false teaching?

Sweetness You May Have Missed
This Week Preached

Talk Them Into It

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The Fountain That Is Never Un-pure

Podcast Release

Pejorative Pride: The Irish in Wonderland


I Used to Be a Hypocrite like Them

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Let us pray:  O God, from whom all good proceeds, grant to us, Your humble servants, Your holy inspiration, that we may set our minds on the things that are right and, by Your merciful guiding, accomplish them; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.