Friday, December 31, 2010

Flight 2010 Reports the Runway in Sight

It’s a quiet morning in my quiet place, here in Suburbia Majora. The past hour has had all the right ingredients, a comfortable seat, a fast Mac Book, a Scotty, and John MacArthur on the radio. I can think of few better ways of finishing up a year that will conclude (on the east coast) in 14 hours and some change. So, ensconced in my comfy chair with my faithful Scotty, it’s a great time to think on the year that’s been.

Those who know me know that I can be a “sweaty-palmed” flier when the fragile bird starts rockin’ and rollin’ at thirty-three thousand feet. On those types of flights, there is nothing more comforting than feeling the landing gear lower and lock into place. Its that indication that the CRJ will soon be on the ground and approaching the gate. I’m feeling that same sense on December 31, 2010. Man, this has been a bumpy flight.

Nationally, (That is if we can still be considered a nation by its true definition), we’ve ended this year with a sigh of relief. Never in the Republic’s history, have we teetered so close to the edge of the abyss. We’ve faced danger from within and without, amassed a brain-exploding debt, and embraced the elements of societal erosion and decay. I have no time for conspiracies or wild-eyed conspiracy theorists. Yet, in light of the year that’s been, I’m forced to one of three conclusions.

Conclusion #1: we’re being ruled by a cabal of the most inexperienced, inept and unqualified individuals to squat in that fever swamp city on the Potomac. This parade of Marxists, and washed-up hippies have tried to force failed politico-economic theory down the throats of whom they see as the lumpen proletariat (that would be YOU citizen). It’s the working definition of insanity in motion. The governing theories that failed the “Great Society”, the Carter nightmare, 70 years of Soviet rule, North Korea, et al are being attempted once more in hopes of bringing “profound transformation” here in what has been the most blessed nation in the history of the world. To quote Cousin Sarah, “How’s that hopey-changey thing workin’ for ya?” This current administration has shown themselves to be, using one of their favorite phrases, profoundly intellectually incurious, in their understanding of the United States Constitution, fundamental economics and the historic American ethos.

The remedy for Conclusion #1 is simple; we take back our Republic. The left is already snarking “Take back our country from who?” OK Nancy, this has nothing to do with dermal concentrations of melanin and everything to do with worldview and experience. The current administration hasn’t put the bus in a ditch; they’ve about driven it off a cliff. They tried, and failed and need to be sent back to driver’s ed.

Conclusion #2: There may well be evil, craven men who are purposely working to see to the Destruction of our Republic. Consider just some of these facts for a moment. A sovereign state moves to outlaw a body of law (sharia) that flies in the face of the U.S. Constitution and the first amendment’s establishment clause. This move is challenged by an individual working on behalf of a foreign interest, and is struck down as “unconstitutional”. Another state moves to enforce existing U.S. law, only to be taken to court by an activist Justice Department. Elected officials are on record clearly flouting Constitutional constraints and abrogating their oaths of office. As if this weren’t enough, there appears almost to be a concerted cultural subversion of the American ethos. Faith, family, freedom, thrift, ingenuity, vision, and hope; all the facets of that jewel of American Exceptionalism have been under continual assault.

The remedy for Conclusion #2 is also simple. We investigate, and if there is a preponderance of evidence, convene a court to try this cabal for treason. I did say treason, a word that few have the gonads to utter in this post-modern, PC-addled world. If these Bradley Manning’s and their ilk are found guilty, they should face the historic penalty for this craven crime.

Conclusion #3: It is very possible, and conceivable that this nation has fallen under the Hand of Divine judgment. Think about it for a moment. This is a nation that was conceived and birthed by individuals who were thoroughly steeped in the Judeo-Christian Consensus. Christian, Jew, Theist, Deist alike was cognizant of the providential hand that appeared to rest upon the new nation. In-turn, there was a reverential respect. All of this began to come under assault in the last half century as God haters and other infidels, in their contempt for the Divine, declared war on the Almighty. Since then, they have waged a long war to systematically erase the presence and very memory of the Almighty from the American story. With God, cast into the dustbin of history, there would be no need for his laws and decrees. In this atheistic new world, life is cheapened, truth is irrelevant, and we become like those in the Book of Judges who "Did what seemed right in their own eyes." I believe that if we’ve been smote by the Almighty, their would be no doubt in anyone’s mind. It could well be a case however, of Him taking a step back, letting us stick our fingers in the light socket, and saying “How’s that hopey-changey thing working for ya’?”

Conclusion #3, though seemingly simple, is a much taller order. This will require individual introspection and soul searching, the kind of self-examination that Saint Paul spoke of. It will require both private and public acknowledgement of guilt against the Kingdom of God. It demands both private and public repentance, along with a turning from our wickedness and turning towards the face of God. In this, perhaps He will turn from His anger, show His mercy and heal our Republic.

May God save us from another 2010.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Feast of the Holy Innocents, and Michael Vick

Today, our calendars mark the Feast of the Holy Innocents; a day that has captured my mind since I was six years old. This day, and my understanding of it has taken on an evolving understanding as I’ve grown into adulthood. Today, we remember those whose lives were prematurely snuffed out at the hands of cruel soldiers operating under the orders of a megalomaniacal puppet of Imperial Rome.

The second chapter of St. Matthew’s Gospel provides us with a brief, chilling account of the events surrounding this feast day.

When Herod saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, he was infuriated, and he sent and killed all the children in and around Bethlehem who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had learned from the wise men. Then was fulfilled what had been spoken through the prophet Jeremiah:
"A voice was heard in Ramah,
wailing and loud lamentation,
Rachel weeping for her children;
she refused to be consoled, because they are no more."

Herod “the Great” clearly suffered from paranoid-schizophrenia, a particularly dangerous condition for a despot with the power of life or death. His wife Mariamne and three of his sons were executed under his orders. Though being one who professed to be a Jew, the historian Josephus recounts a decadent lifestyle that would have been completely scandalous to the observant Jew. So when in another fit of paranoia he ordered the slaughter of male infants in the vicinity of Bethlehem, it would hardly raise a blip radar. Herod was so consumed by the fact that few if any would mourn his passing, that he assembled a group of influential men at Jericho. Upon his death, these men would be slaughtered with the idea that expressions of grief and mourning might be seen as mourning for Herod. His son Archilaus refused to carry out the order.

When I first heard this Gospel account at age six, it was truly frightening. I had an incomprehensible image of soldiers descending on unsuspecting children and hurting them. I could only ask why. It would take some more time to begin to understand the greater magnitude. Growing to adulthood and becoming a parent with two little guys of my own, the focus seemed to turn from the little ones and onto Rachael and her neighbors. Rachael (as foretold by Jeremiah) was seized with a searing grief that no consolation could assuage. Mere moments ago, her little Matthias or Joseph was quietly playing at her feet as she perhaps kneaded the dough for the family bread. Or, maybe her little Jonah was following her home from the well. Now, in a horrific moment, he’s gone. She cries out to heaven as acid tears burn her cheeks.

This morning as I meditate over the Collect and appointed readings, my focus has been pulled back all the way to the Throne of the Almighty. We serve a God who is acquainted with our griefs and sorrows. What did He feel at that moment? What does he feel in the face of man’s abject inhumanity to man? Does his heart feel like my heart when I ponder acts of cold, wanton cruelty?

I know that Michael Vick’s name in the title may seem absolutely random if not a bit kooky. But, at least in my fever swamp brain, he fits into this.

Mr. Vick was tied to a dog fighting ring for which he was tried, convicted and punished. He served hard time for this and I pray that the lessons were learned and the debts paid.

There are many sports that guys and their dogs can participate in, but dog fighting doesn’t make the list. It is cruel at is very core and has no place in our society. What I don’t understand however, is how those who cry for the dogs in the dog fighting trade have absolutely no issue over the 3,100 prenatal infants whose lives were suddenly snuffed out today in what should have been a sanctuary… their mother’s womb. This really speaks to a societal cognitive dissonance

Friday, December 24, 2010

A Visit from Saint Nicholas

Merry Christmas! Let me say it again, only louder so the secularists and the pathetic PC crowd can hear me... Merry Christmas!!

In our western experience of Christmas, a particular 4th Century Bishop has become associated with December 25th, even though his feast has traditionally been observed on December 8th. Yes, I'm speaking of Nicholas, Bishop of Myra. To the curmudgeons, super saints and scrooges who want to see Saint Nicholas, St. Nick, Santa Claus, et al banished from the Christian expression of the Nativity of the Christ, I say Bollocks!! Those voices in American Evangelicalism who loudly proclaim that "Ol' St. Nick" draws attention away from the Christ of Christmas, know nothing of the man. History speaks of a man who was a mighty apologist for that "babe in the manger"... The incarnate Son of God.

This saint, famed throughout the entire world today, was the only son of his eminent and wealthy parents, Theophanes and Nona, citizens of Patara in Lycia. They dedicated to God the only son He gave them. St. Nicholas was instructed in the spiritual life by his uncle Nicholas, Bishop of Patara (see below), and became a monk at `New Sion', a monastery founded by his uncle. On the dealth of his parents, Nicholas distributed all the property he inherited to the poor and kept nothing back for himself. As a priest in Patara, he was known for his charitable works, fulfilling the Lord's words: `Let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth' (Matt. 6:3). When he embraced a life of solitude and silence, thinking to live in that way until his death, a voice from on high came to him: `Nicholas, set about your work among the people if you desire to receive a crown from Me.' Immediately after that, by God's wondrous providence, he was chosen as archbishop of the city of Myra in Lycia. Merciful, wise and fearless, Nicholas was a true shepherd to his flock. He was cast into prison during the persecutions of Diocletian and Maximian, but even there continued to instruct the people in the Law of God. He was present at the First Ecumenical Council in Nicaea in 325, and, in his zeal, struck Arius with his hand. For this act, he was removed from the Council and from his episcopal duties, until some of the chief hierarchs had a vision of our Lord Christ and His most holy Mother showing their sympathy with Nicholas.

Nicholas contributed to the Creed of Nicea, the genesis for the document which would become the Nicene Creed. This document stridently defended the eternal deity of Christ Jesus. A translation of that Creed reads:

We believe in one God, the Father, Almighty, Maker of all things visible and invisible; and in the one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, begotten of the Father, only-begotten, that is, from the substance of the Father; God from God, Light from Light, Very God from Very God, begotten not made, of one substance with the Father, through whom all things were made, both in heaven and in earth; who for us men and for our salvation came down and was incarnate, was made man, suffered, and rose again on the third day, ascended into heaven, and is coming to judge the living and the dead; And in the Holy Spirit. And those who say: "There was a time when he was not", and: "Before he was begotten he was not", and: "He came into being from nothing", or those who pretend that the Son of God is "of another substance" [than the Father] or "created" or "alterable" or "mutable", the catholic and apostolic church places under a curse."

Hardly the words of one trying to obfuscate the "Christ of Christmas". Now, once more for effect... Merry Christmas!!