For optimal viewing, choose to view in browser. View in browser

Issue 027

Mad Mondays Issue 017
Pagan Moontide of Julius 6, Anno Domini 2020

"The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made." Psalm 145

Artwork:  "Freedom"  Artist: blee-d

On the Risk Assessment of Civil War

I think it is generally irresponsible to use the term civil war. It’s like calling someone Hitler. If you cry “Wolf!” often enough, the stories stop having their meanings. 

Maybe that’s why so many are passive as meaning is torn down around us. 

As a father of five, with a marvelous wife who nonetheless has some very specific health needs, I took the talk I heard last week from at least two news sources with utmost sincerity. I asked myself, “What if…”

… as a pastor...
… as a Lutheran of the LCMS...
… as a man...
… as a woman...
.… as a child...

Lord, have mercy and stay thy wrath!

But here’s the conclusion I came to: even if there were to be the most horrific multi-civil, globally-guerrilla, cold-and-hot world war, yesterday would have been the same. I would love those near me, and seek their warmth, their nutrition, and their spiritual growth. More! 

In such a time, with more suffering around us than we can possibly imagine now (reckless as 2020 has been), life would not only still go on as the same human experience of tentatio, but the oratio and meditatio would be even better gold-mine-gifts of God than they are now. 

This is not because God needs life on earth to get worse for our love of him to grow wiser and stronger. It is because the human experience of knowing God in Christ always gets better. Forever. That’s what he does. That’s who he is: the everlasting positive-sum God. 

So, if the dystopian video game amps itself up to a real-time fps survival-sim, not only does my religion promise to improve its stake in everything, my religion also teaches me to live to the full those parts of life that are meant to be lived to the full forever, in every place, and to the joyful good of all. 

Like many things, it is a matter of perspective, which itself is usually a matter of which story you listened to last. 

Maybe it’s time to have a little more say in that, before too many others are parroting the fear-preaching of war, civil or otherwise.

Oh, and God bless America. 

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

Fires are dangerous, but this is amazing.

Quick Hits for the Eyebuds

White Noise Got You Down?

Tune in to Stop the White Noise with Jonathan Fisk and Bryan Wolfmueller. Silence the white noise. Cut out the background. Adopt the Everbook. And do more good.

Listen Now

Clickbait Paradise

A bit of tech news: A small corner of Idaho is testing OpenRAN technology, which may present a way to keep 5G network investment in local hands.

Light fantastic: Scientists have observed that light “flowing like a river,” and huge lightning events known as “megaflash” present danger for infrastructure and people too. Also bright and shining, NASA has released a decade of footage of our sun. Each second represents a day, so you might not watch til the end, but it’s a fascinating chance to look at our closest star. No eye protection necessary!

Speaking of things far away, scientists made a list of every place aliens could be hiding. Perhaps they’re just very shy? Or maybe 2020 is enough to scare anyone away. This tweet has a point: if humans ever invent time travel, surely we’d see people coming back to 2020 to make it a bit better? Or at least study it for “how not to" do it!

Make arguing great again

If you had a chance to watch Rev Fisk’s recommendation from last week’s edition of Mad Mondays, you would have heard Professor Bret Weinstein tell Joe Rogan about his deep concern for the way hard sciences are being impacted by the influence of big tech and corporate concern with being profitable. He’s clearly not the only one who’s observed this. Lenny Pier Ramos warned that there is also a religious threat to science, and it isn’t the favorite whipping boy, Christianity, but critical theory.

"[The] popular idea here is that different groups have different “ways of knowing,” different modes of sense-making, and even different epistemic paradigms. To insist on the exclusionary standard of “Western rationality” would therefore amount to suppressing black, Indigenous, or even female knowledges. And, since knowledge and power are said to form an indissociable nexus, the insistence on universal scientific standards is, by this logic, connected to the perpetuation of (male) white supremacy. This emerges from critical theory, a body of thought that casts truth as relative, and asserts that some ideas are accepted over others only because those in power perpetuate them."

We know that there is a religious zealotry among many who support this pervasive ideology, and humanity's self-justifying project is on full display in much of the social media hashtags and corporate messaging. Weinstein also suggested that genuine curiosity about the world and a humble view of your own conclusions makes for good science. Stuart Ritchie argued at Unherd that we should not have “heroes” in science as "scientists are human beings, and are subject to very human flaws. Most notably, they’re subject to bias, and a strong aversion to having their cherished theories proved wrong."

Ritchie points out that the confusing advice regarding the pandemic from the beginning shows that we all need to carefully consider what we are told about “the science”:

"Healthy science needs a whole community of skeptics, all constantly arguing with one another — and it helps if they’re willing to admit their own mistakes. Who watches the watchmen in science? The answer is, or at least should be: all of us."

Keep up the Madness


💢 Roughhousing: Dad's physical play may help their kids to control their emotions

📚 Kind of Dickens-meets-grunge-meets Goth: TikTok’s "Dark Academia” trend

🥩 The push for non-meat meat continues: 3D printed steaks, anyone?

🔪 Perhaps a better use for 3D printing: Damascus steel

☢️ Powerball: “Triso” fuel touted to be the key to meltdown-free nuclear power

🧙 The digital history of Magic: The Gathering

🎷 Oh the thinks you can think: one man decided to play his saxophone near open pipelines.

📋 Clear your clipboard! TikTok and many other iOS apps snooping on data left lying around.

youtube twitter facebook instagram amazon

4881 Kilburn Ave., Rockford
Illinois 61101 United States

facebook twitter
In the end, it's all Dust anyway:
Creative Meanderings in the Fictional Mind of Jonathan Fisk

Here is, yet again, another start to a new book, only this one does have a different plan.... stay tuned.

It doesn’t matter who you are. There is always another tax, all for your own good, of course.

This prelude is perhaps most valuable, enlightened reader, in reminding you that the painful relations between the conquerors and the conquered not only dissolve toward peace with tragic gravity over bloody, bitter epochs, and, more so, are stoked anew in every generation by men of some power, who glory to gobble up men of little power, and so become something closer than before to all powerful, as if such endeavors could hope to end well.

Beneath them, men of no power but their own will must suffer in every age under the classes above them, who war at games of battle with little skin in the game regarding their own breadbaskets, but filled with dire ramifications to the food supplies of a majority of tables.

What we have been, for great and ill, and what we are hoping to be, with equal perilous juxtaposition, is not so different from what we will likely be next.

The pattern may not rhyme, but the echo of history has both melody and harmony built for humming in chorus.

Your fathers' errors are not likely, but guaranteed to be your own. Such is life without a good king. Each man does as he sees fit: he tries to build himself a kingdom better than the neighboring one, and upon the ashes of his fathers’.

Bad kings make the same problem much worse.

It’s the good kings that can help.  If you can find one.

A good king is worth his weight in extra lives, or lives sacrificed in his service, and while the question of chicken and egg might be applied as well, the better path remains to pray that long would such men reign, even in exchange it means their sons be all cursed fools.

In all this blatheringly, unmodern prolegomena, the matter of the matter that you really must know is that in the heightened tale upon which we embark, we begin in the realm of one of those most exquisitely rare and bounteous very good kings.

But. . . 

The good king has also been long away on behalf of the kingdom and his brother reigns Lord Regent in his stead.

It is, unfortunately, as a direct result, by and large, exclusively the worst of times.

For ever since the second decade ebbed by without the king’s return, every baron, duke, lessor magistrate, margrave and mayor has been compelled to acknowledge via the hard school of carnage, betrayal and survival, that carpe diem is no byword of mere dead white men, but the wisdom of Prometheus, which only a simpleton would scoff to covet a greater will to possess.

Are there good men any among them? To be sure. But it is now the mid-fourth decade since the king’s ship made port for the 12th Diet of the Galactic Imperium, a high honor for an upstart colony planet with only a millennium of development to its claim for planetary house ranking. But not one to do much good to an embittered people. Yet what is one man against a mob? And what else is a kingdom without a king?

So it was that Jon of New Damascus, Lord Regent of the continent of Goshen, and reigning Planetary Executor on behalf of his brother, Richard the Judahite, second of his name, Alpha and Omega of the Flock Everlasting, Bearer of the Bloodline Scepter of the Ancient Tarshish Solarigm, right-born, star-christened King of Israel 14, class M planet of the system Manchu-Khanium 20.4, found himself the inconvenient ruler of very little but his own mounting debt and, in the everlasting wisdom that is bestowed on the indigenous human heart, realized that the obvious answer was to compel those good citizens, who were looking to him in such aspirational times of crisis to provide leadership and aid, to look to those sheriffs once sent round the way for protection, and find in their stead yet another open palm, hot in need of greasing, not once, but three times over.

Though all such derogatory talk may seem but an unfairly painted fairy-dream or forced overblown analogy, I assure you that the jeopardy to your own enlightenment is for real.

For beneath the names and dates you were taught to forget, a more subtle story has unfolded, as it were, beneath your very mind. So do not expect to tread lightly on my novel frolic, without finding in the vision the darkness you’ve brought with you.

For the story that are told is soon the man you hope to be. If the sons of Noah shall learn anything from the generations X’d out of history by the brittle collapse of the future we thought to build, it is that the line between the fantasies and our reality is exquisitely thin.

And rainbow colored.

And on fire.

So we descend as beleaguered listeners in need of a song, and find ourselves in a place we thought we knew, filled with people we’ve already dismissed, in a conflict more like our own than tales of foxes and hounds might tell, in order to listen again to those stories retold again because they are so worth the telling, even if you sing with a different accent than those greats who have worked the tune before.

Let us pray: We give thanks to You, almighty God, that You have refreshed us through this salutary gift, and we implore You that of Your mercy You would strengthen us through the same in faith toward You and in fervent love toward one another; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.