Author Archives: madblog

What We Are Left With

When we jettison those old timey manners and morals because all the cool people don’t like them anymore, we have only a passing whiff of ginned-up good feelings to guide our moral behavior. As you see:

I found this fuzzy pink thing in my Instagram feed. Its author was serious.

 Literally any random ancient moral code is better than this. This is shallow, reductive, and simplistic. How does one go through even a day living by this code without meeting an insurmountable challenge?

After just seconds one has to ask: What is the good? How do I choose which response is good?

Why should I be good? Why should I do good?

Why should I be good when it doesn’t benefit me? When it hurts me?

What will tell me which action is good? Can I trust my own gut? 

What is good, anyway? How do we define “good?”

We are surrounded by voices, pressing in to our thoughts, demanding our allegiance to their rightness. There is no lack of advice. But does any of it have authority? Plenty of the available advice is bad.

Thank God, there is an objective moral guide. How do I know? Our inner conscience testifies to it. Your conscience tells you to choose actions that you don’t like. Your inner voice would have you do the uncomfortable thing, the scary thing, the selfless thing. That selfless thing is according to a code of ethics which is outside of you or me, and in particular outside of our feelings.

There is a Moral Law, and there is a Moral Lawgiver.

Moral decisions are  much too complex for such a code as DO GOOD — BE GOOD. Because of that innate regard we have for the objective law, we often know what is good. But more often, there are competing interests to consider.  Most moral choices are not presented in a vacuum. How do we choose one over another? We have to compare our options to something objective before we can know what is the good.

This moral code, DO GOOD—BE GOOD, reductive and outrageously simple minded, leads to injustice and inhumanity. Why? Because in dismissal of that objective, transcendent moral law, we throw out anything which tells us what is right and wrong. We have ejected our reason. We are left with our feelings

Our feelings are undependable. They lead us wrong. And the bedrock, the absolute bottom layer of the foundation of our psyches, is how we feel about ourselves.

We love ourselves, we like ourselves, we feel good about ourselves. We can’t stand feeling bad about ourselves. We believe we do good and right things, always. Because we are us and we’re good. We’re not like those other people who are bad. We haz the vituez.

In any given moral situation, I am going to choose the option that puts me in the best light in my own mind. If we can be persuaded to believe that one side of a political issue is angelic, and the other is straight from The Devil Himself, we are sold out. Rioters want me to confirm their moral superiority to police? If I’m not objective, my need to be a morally superior person tells me what to do. No contest.

We are more committed to feeling right than to doing right.

Millions of women believe they are righteous defenders of civil human rights because they march, vote, condemn and hate in the service of the legal right to kill unborn human children. Done. And I am evil if I disagree.

Be good—do good.

Civiliwhat?

Where has civility gone?

We’ve reached a level of incivility where we consider ourselves civil and virtuous if we only refrain from effing a person off.

As I move away from a recent social media conversation, I reflect on the interchange and find it sadder and sadder. Please understand that I am a person who nearly always feels horrible about my part in a disagreeing conversation. I feel exposed and ashamed.

Not so with this conversation. I am more and more disappointed as I think about the treatment I received. There were no curses and no outright personal attacks. Yet I seem to feel a knife in my back.

Clearly the person I was speaking to thought she was above the nasty fray, and quite quite absolutely correct. Her opinions were the literary and thoughtful thinking person’s thoughts. Undeniable by all reasonable people.

I made my case politely, even pressed a bit, because it’s an important point.

The reply: We will have to agree to disagree.

Meaning: Because nuh-uh. I recognize your reasons and I dismiss them.

I don’t expect to be persuasive. I don’t expect agreement with my argument. But I do expect discussion. Listening. Considering. Respecting. Countering. Back and forth.

What I received: condescension, dismissal, veiled put downs.

At the end, I was thanked for keeping it civil. And I want to ask: is there a reason why you expected me to be uncivil? Aren’t you congratulating me for refraining from acting like one of those _________?

Do you see how the tribes are conceived? She was in the US and I was revealed to be one of THEM.

Once I had been identified, I must be dismissed, but not before I could be put in my place. Notice, I was not expected to recognize that I was being insulted. That recognition was for her and her tribesmen. It is important to maintain the social hierarchy.

Sad indeed.

Politics Aside…

I have lived with two people who had dementia. One had Alzheimer’s and the other dementia with zero short-term memory. I know it when I see it.

My mother could present very well to a visitor. She had a vivacious personality and a sharp wit, along with a lotta atty-tood. Her doctor thought she was amazing and lucid. He didn’t stay long enough to have to repeat the conversation twenty times consecutively.

Other times, there were sundowning, agitation, insomnia. The sundowning stopped abiding by the clock when she no longer recognized day from night.

And there were days at a time when she drifted in and out of a half-sleep, no longer differentiating dreams from reality.

To the end, if you engaged her, she remained unusually articulate. Though she could not remember anything but who her kids were.

She was in her mid 90’s when this happened to her.

I’m telling you Joe Biden is much less focused, much less articulate than she was.

And we must acknowledge that the little we are seeing is his best. We are seeing the best, most functional, most lucid parts of his days. To vote for him is to participate in elder abuse.

As a Christian, How Can I Support Trump?

I’ll make this a nutshell kind of answer to all the millenial hand-wringers who stress about how Christians can supprt the uncooler boogieman in the race. How can I be OK with voting for the uncool tweeter?

If you can assent to voting for a ticket whose platform is legal and unrestricted abortion up until birth, you have a far greater ability to rationalize away evil things than I.

Let People Speak for Themselves

This woman is articulate. She doesn’t need your help to be understood.

Black people do not need our white activism to matter. Why don’t you just get out of the way and let them speak, protest, demonstrate?

The answer is obvious and embarrassing. It’s two fold. First, because you shamelessly use their newfound relevance to make yourself relevant. You use them to virtue signal. Me too! Look at me!

Second, and more awful, you really think that they need you. You really think they can’t achieve without your white help.

You racists.

Lord, Have Mercy. People, Give Us a Break

Has anybody noticed we’re not talking about George Floyd anymore? Or even his murderers?

I don’t know about you but as of the end of April, I thought I was carrying all the burden I could. A global pandemic scared the crap out of me and every day I was managing the max amount of stress.

Apparently some people weren’t that worried, because they decided this would be an excellent time for total societal destruction followed by a Marxist revolution. I marvelled at their timing for about 40 seconds.

How I wish George Floyd had followed a pandemic stay-at-home order that day. We all watched the video of a cold blooded murder and we were all appalled. We wanted the murderers brought to justice. We agreed that now would be a good time to examine our society for the vestiges of racism. We planned peaceful protests as encouraged by our founding documents and principles to petition our gov’t for positive change. To remember our principles of justice and equality and to see that we commit afresh to living them.

But we innocent lambs go about our business as though there are no agendas waiting to pounce on our way of life, no -isms opposed to ours, no unprincipled powers who would use our good will to usher in their own power structures. There are.

They usurped our good intentions to drive us to their own destinations.

My friends by the droves sent money to a right sounding slogan. They sent money to a slogan. Unfortunately the money went to an organization which wasnt even a charity.

Let it be said that “Black Lives Matter” spoken by a white person is the most paternalistic and presumptuous expression known. If that isn’t an expression from the perspective of white superiority I don’t know what is.

It really was time to shut up and listen to grievances. Then act to correct what we could so the disenfranchised children don’t have the same grievances years from now. But that legitimate opportunity has been lost, co-opted and drowned out by people who Just. Want. Power. at any cost.

My question is this: how much can the public bear? How much longer before people just turn it all off, fetal-curled on the floor? I’m ready for some relief from man’s inhumanity to man, displayed 24/7 on megaphones outside our windows.

And if by chance we should miss a bit of outrage, one or two of our friends feels the need to have us join them in the pearl-clutch.

We can’t take this level of stress forever. Let us have something positive for just a minute.

How We Are Loved

Christmas is behind us and half a year away, but let me talk a little about the Incarnation. The birth of Christ has much to tell us at all times of the year, and we may even be able to see its significance more clearly in the absence of tinsel, parties, and colored lights.

That Almighty God chose this way– as a bsby– to send his infinitely precious son into our world is something we take for granted, but thinking about it yields much.

In mythologies the world over, gods enter the world of men as gods.

I grant there are stories of gods disguised as human beings, even doing so to learn the perspectives of lowly humans. Odin humbled himself and sacrificed an eye for humanity. God figures put people-masks over their glorious faces but retained their godhood underneath.

Only one became a human being, fully and without safeguards. He was a zygote with human DNA, an unborn child, a newborn, a dependent baby. Jesus was not disguised as a man. At the Incarnation, Jesus became one of us.

God does not thunder from on high and send lightning when you don’t obey. He does not float in nothingness and shake his smug and passionless head at your endless failure to achieve just enough enlightenment.

No, he waits at the curve of the road so he can see it stretch far into the distance, looking for you to return home. And when he sees you limping with shame, he runs to embrace you and welcome you back, celebrating with a feast for his whole dominion.

He was not detached. He was born helpless into a very poor family, subject to a powerful state. It is important to note that he remained subject to the established worldly powers right up to and including his execution by those powers.

Though He has every justification to shrink from us, divorce us, alienate us…He comes closer to us than any other conceivable closeness. God became one of us.

In the Mirror

This is a re-post from awhile ago.

The case against abortion rightly focuses on the harm to the unborn. But what does the abortion culture do to us?

It desensitizes us. I hardly need illustrate this point. A comedienne recently celebrated abortion via patriotic parody on Netflix. Basically nice people put on vagina hats, put vagina hats on their minor female kids, march them along to protest in the streets, enjoying the tribe vibe, then go back to work and school and friendly society sure of their moral superiority while nurturing a constant state of rage against their family and friends who believe that life is a right belonging to all human beings.

It dehumanizes us. We keep our human status, but we lose the context for what it is to be human. We lose the criteria for deciding what being human is. We lose that because we trash it. We must, if we decide to create castes in which some humans are human and some are not. If personhood must be relative, then we will end by re-evaluating all persons’ personhood, according to what scale I try not to imagine.

When we throw in with abortion culture and accept it as necessary, we reveal that we are rank elitists.

Elitists because we have decided that we have the right to declare who is human and who is not, who is a person and who is not, who is “viable” and who is not. Viability is an arbitrary and ever-shifting goalpost if there ever was one. And if the doctor was incorrect about viability, he will often impose non-viability without prejudice. This happens. We decide who lives and who dies.

Abortion culture makes us children.

When we grow up, we learn that things we didn’t plan for often happen. Sometimes we should have forseen the consequences of our actions, and sometimes unforseen things present themselves regardless of our actions. Whichever the case, we must meet life’s challenges, take responsibility, and make the best outcome we can, though perhaps no possible outcome is what we would have chosen. Life isn’t perfect.

The abortion culture has taught us that if we face a challenge that we find too great, or even too inconvenient, there is a panacea  which will take our circumstances right back to where they were before that interruption. No consequences are tolerated and if there are consequences we must be victims of an oppressor. Blame must be assigned. We have learned to expect life to clear itself up so we can get back to our comfort. It’s a childish perspective. The abortion culture infantalizes women and men.

Abortion culture relativizes killing.

Is this killing? Is this kind of killing justified? How can I make this killing OK?

It’s a bad place to find ourselves.

A culture which endorses abortion is destroying itself. Proverbs 8:36 declares that there are many who love death: Those who hate me love death. That culture has put death on the menu. It has made death one essential option. And once we approve of death as a tool, an instrument of expedience, a means to an end, we cannot put it away. We give death a kind of life and it may have its way with us.

I’m better than them

“In contrast to my family, I am not racist. I try to talk to them about their racism though.”

– social media post by a young friend whose parents walk the talk when it comes to meeting each person as an individual and actively caring about them.

If you have to diminish someone else in order to express your virtue, you have failed.

Imagine

If we sing a song all together

…which from its first phrase alienates all people of faith

…faith which built civilizations, particularly Judeo-Christian faith which created Western Civilization and gave us justice, other-centeredness, charity, the conception of human equality, the erasure of which would witness the rushing in of their opposites

…nothing supernatural to our existence, no consequence to our lives, no significance of our deaths; nothing but what we can see, no transcendence, no meaning, no purpose

…then goes on to wish for a world with “no countries”

…no nations, no borders, no establishment of lawful bodies which protect the weak from the powerful. In other words, anarchy and the rise of tribalism and brutal tyrants with no other qualification than raw power

…the mass of humanity suffering helplessly under warring megalomaniacs

…and we declare that “then the world would be as one”:

Then we advertise our allegiance to arrogance, slavish peer dependence, and simple stupidity. 

This is not a beautiful song. It was meant to be a message of hate for perceived social enemies. You may marvel at his talent but in this case, not his insight.  This is possibly the most vapid lyric ever put to paper. It is simple-minded nonsense which could only be wished for by the ultra-privileged, cushioned from the mundane cares most of us tend every day.

Listen once more. Try to notice who is left out of this supposedly united world. Anyone of any faith. Any poor person who looks to some lawful body to protect his access to necessities. Anyone under the crush of many of our world’s oppressive states. The victims, the powerless, the vulnerable. Anyone who clings to faith while immersed in an existence these singers would consider nightmare dystopia.

Because, you know, in places where they rejected the idea of heaven, justice, compassion and peace became the norm.

One world united under faithlessness, anarchy and oppression. A garden of delights for the pretty people, the rich, the right-thinking. Like the elite-signaling who sing it.