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Issue 035
Pagan Moontide of Augustus 31, Anno Domini 2020
Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation. Psalm 146

Artwork: "Books and Pamphlets"  Artist: Jan Davidsz de Heem

In Quietness Shall Be Your Strength

Patience is the hard believing that doing nothing is more powerful than doing something. It is the evidence of one who trusts that what God will do is always more powerful than the best we might attempt.

But the natural ("fallen") man is do oriented. This is what we call the "opinion of the law" or the opinio legis. But those are just fancy names for the fact that fallen humans always interpret data (1) as if it is about us and (2) as if we can do something about it. 

No matter what floats your way, you can trust that your first instinct will be to act! Your natural thoughts teach you to believe that, no matter what comes, you will be able to do something about it. 

The Bible is not against making a difference. It is not against doing good things. 

But, it is against trying to make a difference (1) without God and (2) against God. 

Unironically, this is a great definition of "evil."

Patience is an outgrowth of trust. If you trust your authorities, the security and heightened courage that brings to your life amplifies your ability to put up with things you don't particularly like. 

This also means that the definition of an impatient person is, "A person who lives an entire life without trust." 

How lonely and painful such a mindset is to oneself!

But Christians have to accept such a deception-filled inner life. We need not only meditate on our inability to fix the world. We also dwell in, with and on the fact that we have an immortal King who has ascended to excelsis Deo in order to reign and intercede within the wrath of God on our behalf

The quality and quantity of the times you are authentically reminded of this is directly proportional to how much your faith impacts the way you feel. Christian meditation on Scripture does not make the pain go away. But it does change the way you understand the pain. Because all pain is ultimately experienced by your mind, revolutionizing the meaning of the pain on the foundation of God's Word does have extraordinary effects. 

They are not the effects the world seeks. They are better. 

Like patience

Being patient is hard work. It is a discipline one can hardly hope to attain without any less practice than one might give a sport or martial art. If you are discontent with impatience, the solution is not to do something about it! The solution is to trust that your King has already taken care of this too. 

He has set your steps before you. He will temper you until you understand the value of our suffering this life in his name. He will reflect himself to others through you by your imitations of him according to his Words. 

But the more you look like Jesus, the less you will notice the need to try to look like Jesus. You will be too busy looking at him and everyone else to waste much time on that. Rather, you will be trusting Jesus, acting less, and doing more, all because you worship the God who prefers to give rather than receive. 

"Blessed are those who wait..." - Isaiah 30:18

Until next time,

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

We did it!  This week we reached our goal of 1,000 subscribers and greatly surpassed it!  A huge shout out and thank you to Pastor Bryan Wolfmueller for sharing Mad Mondays in last week's Wednesday What-Not and to all those who had ears to hear the (lowercase g) good news!

Quick Hits for the Eyebuds

🔹 We’re feeling old! Home Alone’s Macaulay Culkin turned 40
🔹 A Welsh man built a backyard roller coaster for his nephew
🔹 All the fast food giants are racing to build the perfect drive through
🔹 Photoreal renderings of Roman Julio-Claudian Caesars
🔹 Google has used A.I. to make their pixel buds detect sirens, barking dogs, and crying babies

Just Released

Did you get your copy?  Rev. Jonathan Fisk's newest written work was delivered to your inbox this morning.  Courtesy of Us, the Chill, a digital version of the book will be available to all Patreon supporters and newsletter subscribers.  For those who are working on building a physical library, Talk Them Into It is also available in paperback on Amazon.

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You are on the ground floor
Clickbait Paradise
You need to get out more

A post from the Financial Times this week argues that, as unnerving as the pandemic has been, we probably won’t remember much about it. Tim Harford writes, "I doubt I am alone in finding that my memory of the lockdown months is rather thin. No matter how many new people or old friends you talk to on Zoom...they all start to smear together because the physical context is monotonous: the conversations take place while one sits in the same chair, in the same room, staring at the same computer screen.”

He notes how the most vivid memories we have are often tied to specific places. While the last few months have been filled with new experiences, it is new places that set his "brain taking notes.” He argues that “fresher ideas and clearer memories come when one works somewhere different: in a new place, the mind is more alert.” 

Doesn't add up

Rev. Fisk shared this CDC report with us yesterday, highlighting the current proportion of deaths that have been solely due to COVID - just 6%. The report states that the majority of coronavirus fatalities were accompanied by "2.6 additional conditions or causes per death.” A tweet from Owen Brennan sums it up this way: "America locked down for 9,210 deaths."

Chadwick Boseman, the star of Marvel's Black Panther,  died this week, after several years quietly battling cancer. Director Ryan Coogler wrote a tribute, remembering Boseman as "a caretaker, a leader, and a man of faith, dignity and pride." 

The citizens are doing it for themselves

More news from Belarus: as President Lukashenko cracks down on protests over election results, government officials ordered the Internet in the country to be shut down. People took things into their own hands, using VPNs and encrypted apps to report about brutality and spread news about violence.  

China made a troubling security ruling in Hong Kong last week, as it slowly makes its presence felt in the city-state. However, the effects of the ruling have been felt in elite academia in the US. Some universities are putting warning labels on some of their courses: "This course may cover material considered politically sensitive by China.” Some colleges are allowing students to use codes instead of their names in online chats to avoid unwanted attention from Chinese authorities.

The Gray Lady could be more black and white

An anonymous NY lawyer has taken it on himself to correct typos in the New York Times. His Twitter account has become a commentary on more than just copy errors, as he brings his blunt opinions to bear on the “content farm” reporting of the paper, with a bit of fact checking thrown in for good measure.

Speaking of accuracy, if you have a spare couple of hours, you can watch the typing world champion set “otherworldly” speeds. How fast do they type in other worlds? Inquiring minds want to know... Tapping keys of a different kind, researchers have found that it is possible to forge keys by recording the sound they make when turning in the lock. 

Not always black and white... Vice examines the way decisions are made regarding transport infrastructure, and shows the way algorithms can be unhelpful, even when they predict correctly.

Away from the hustle and bustle…

Slow as the day is long

If you follow the Saturday Morning Chill, you might have heard Rev. Fisk offer thoughts on the use of “commons,” the pleasure of living with open spaces, and the usefulness of growing things in the event of a zombie apocalypse. A film recently posted on YouTube follows a year in the life of a third-generation Vermont maple syrup farmer and echoes some of those thoughts.

Farmer Doug Densmore muses about stewarding the farm his grandparents started and about using old methods, handed down. The film does not press a point but is an insight into the demands and rewards of a bucolic existence.  There is something fascinating about a life spent waiting on the weather, making things by hand, and the way a piece of land can connection generations.

To problems facing farmers elsewhere, graziers in Botswana are experimenting with ways to prevent lions from taking their cows. They are trialing the drawing of eyes on their cows’ butts. And it looks like its working! (Pun intended.)

The Guardian reported that, even allowing for socio-economic factors, urban children raised with green spaces have a higher IQ.

Another very “slow” video displays the patience involved in making Japanese traditional textiles. The weavers file their fingernails with little grooves to help handle the threads.

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What to expect when no one’s expecting

There was speculation at the beginning of the pandemic, when the world was in lockdown, that there would be a quarantine baby boom. That seems to have been a bit short-sighted. As fear and fatigue have set in, the birth rate has been falling even further during recent months. In the light of this, Peachy Keenan has written a great essay making a biting but witty appeal for more babies. 

She lambasts the Progressive Left’s culture of death, the war on homeschooling, and the general disdain for large families often found in our society. She quotes Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s advice to "Never trust anyone who doesn’t have skin in the game.” (As Ben Domenech often points out, it is a strange fact that many of the Western world’s leaders are childless.) 

The disastrous fallout from a "demographic winter" is something Rev. Fisk has been watching carefully. Keenan warns, "The new 'No Lives Matter anti-natalist movement' is beyond abortion, even. Terminating children already in the womb is messy. This movement instead wants to convince you never to have them.” There is no way to replace a generation that never existed, but as she says, "It’s like the old saying: the best time to plant another tree was 50 years ago. The second-best time is today.”

Solution, meet Problem

Well, this is a different take on Blockchain than most you hear: it’s “the amazing solution for almost nothing.” While it’s not the coding equivalent of a Fyre Festival, the technology hasn't solved many of the problems that the hype claimed it would. Perhaps it is “magical thinking” that's driving the enthusiasm, rather than an actual breakthrough in efficiency and data privacy. 

Meanwhile, Amazon receipts are including less purchasing information than previously. Why? To prevent apps from “scraping” the data and profiting from it. This post examines this issue and also the implications of "world scraping”. Who owns the data captured by A.R. devices (augmented reality) and who polices it?

Only Illuminati Need Apply
Your Reaction Highlights

Here at Mad Monday we know that it is impossible to navigate the muck alone.  In response to last week's Illuminati discussing aborted fetal cells for vaccine research, a subscriber, Joy, has sent us some more information.  She points out, "The 1960's and 1980's human baby cell lines used in vaccines are being replaced with newer sacrificed humans in the last 5 years."  Walvax-2, published in 2015, is a human cell line derived from a fetus aborted at three months.  It has been compared to the WI-38 and MRC-5 cells and was propagated to study viruses and vaccines.

And thank you to Mommonster for sharing your artwork and words of encouragement with us.

The Tempers of Water and Fire

When Satan and his darkness have a tight suction wrap intending to pull me closer to the drowning depth of the encroaching waves and rising tide of trouble, that's the moment when I get smacked in the face with a wave to remember my Baptism “In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,” (depicted by the triple feather crest on the bird). I'm then reminded that God has me no matter what. He, after all, is the final Victor. As swift as lightning, God frees me from the grip of darkness through the Trinity (primary-colored lightning). His promises are found reading/hearing/memorizing His Word. He teaches us to use His weapons of Truth and Faith (Ephesians 6) by using them FOR US in battle (scorpion tail critical hit on the kraken, aided by God's lightning). We don't need to force our heads underwater to see and fully understand what all is going on. We don't need to see at all. We just need to trust in God that He will always faithfully bring you through the storms of life, no matter how many.

Pastor Fisk talked about our faith being tempered on the Ninth Sunday after Trinity on Aug. 9th, 2020. The sermon was titled 'God and Mammon.' Pastor Fisk speaks about temptation in the context of 1 Corinthians 10:6-13 as a test, tempering, as in metal work with fire.

Verse 13 reads: "No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it." (ESV)

Tempering heats metal in order to purify (getting rid of smelt) and strengthen it through the fire and refining process. Pastor Fisk reminds us: "God will not break you."

God will not test you beyond your ability. God will bring you through the trial to teach you according to His will and purpose for you.

So when the time comes for my chronic mental imbalance overload, like "lightning on the brain," I am in for another lesson of His Grace, Mercy, and Truth even amidst demons whispering in the world or in my conscience calling me "crazy, delusional, emotionally sensitive, irrational, unreliable, irresponsible, or an intentional excuse-maker and escape artist." I am held to take a deep breath and remember my Baptism and that He has me though these fires to strengthen my Faith. Yes, my head is held underwater by darkness at times, but I am given rescue breaths by His Word and Sacrament from my faithful Pastor back home.

With eyes of Faith, I am witnessing Him envelope humanity in His Grace won by Jesus. ("And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose." - Romans 8:28) Yes, we (ALL believers AND unbelievers) are still sinners capable of great evil because of our frail broken bodies and minds. With God's enveloping Grace, Mercy, and Truth, we can put down and end the darkness and hellish, life-like nightmares for a time.

These are mysteries that each of us learn, with each of our own unique set of crosses and experiences in our lifetimes. God tempers you in order to use you (yes, YOU) as a witness to His Great Grace, Mercies, and the Truth found only in the Holy Bible.

"Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing" (James 1:2-4 ESV.)

Promo of Friends

The 2020 Biblical Worldview Conference titled The Christian Church amid Seismic Shifts is happening in-person and online.  Five Christian scholars, including Gene Edward Veith and Andrew Das, will present on power politics, transgenderism, Christian persecution, and more.  For more information, check out WorldviewChicago.org.

Sweetness You May Have Missed
This Week Preached

Your Pact with Death: Isaiah, COVID, and the Book of Woes

Recent Release

A Symphony of Books

Podcast Release

Colonial Semi-Shemitism and Other Sordid Historical Anomalies

Throwback

How Can I Be Sure of My Salvation?

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Let us pray:  Almighty God, Your Son willingly endured the agony and shame of the cross for our redemption. Grant us courage to take up our cross daily and follow Him wherever He leads; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.