The Impeachment Coup

fascist-motto-Ds

What we are witnessing in the nation’s capital is nothing less than a continuing coup disguised as a Presidential impeachment.  I have previously discussed the actions taken by our Justice Department, Intelligence Community, Democrat  politicians and presidential candidates, and now our State Department to undermine and ultimately remove a duly elected President of the United States.  By so doing they have in effect claimed that the power of unelected bureaucrats and a losing political party trumps that of the citizens of the United States in determining who occupies the office of President.

This fraudulent, evil farce is being foisted upon the American people less that one year from a presidential election in which the citizens can decide if President Trump should serve a second term.  This current attempted fraud comes on the heels of previous pathetically failed frauds all intended to bring down the President by undemocratic means, some of these being:

  • flipping Elector votes from Trump to Clinton
  • the Steel dossier
  • the Mueller investigation
  • the voting-machines-hoax
  • the Logan Act
  • the Emoluments Clause
  • the 25th Amendment
  • the McCabe-Rosenstein-Comey collusion
  • various Michael Avenatti-Stormy Daniels-Michael Cohen accusations
  • and now, the Ukraine accusations by disgruntled intelligence and State Department officials.

All of these assaults were based on purposeful deception and outright lies.  And yet we are expected to presume that the Democrat Party, the deep state and the mainstream media have the moral and intellectual credibility necessary to take seriously their latest charges.

I have previously suggested that a credible model for this cabal’s thought process is “Leninthink.”  Given the show trial mentality exhibited by the Congressional Democrats and bureaucratic witnesses this designation is now confirmed.  However, if we search history to find the slogan that most accurately conveys their primary operating principle one is inexorably drawn to the Fascist motto of Benito Mussolini:

Everything within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state

It shouldn’t be surprising that the proto-totalitarians operating in the United States should have blended previous ideologies into a unique American version that best serves their needs and is most easily sold to a large cohort of our public.

The election of Donald Trump brought to the Presidency a man who rejected the power and position of our national elite establishment.  The citizens of the United States had every right to vote in a Chief Executive intent on changing the nation’s direction.  They also have every right to decide in 2020 that President Trump has failed and/or the Democrats offer a better option.

But that’s not how our Leninist/Fascist elites see things.  No, they are attempting to demonstrate to the electorate that they own a veto over any President who they deem to be unfit.  And by “unfit” understand “not beholden to their power and position.”

Can there be any doubt that, if they are successful in destroying the Trump presidency they will act to prevent such a challenge by the nation’s citizens from ever again occurring?  They have told us outright that our First and Second Amendment rights will be curtailed if not erased.  The Electoral College and the Senate will go into history’s trash heap.  The nation’s law enforcement and intelligence agencies may begin to operate as a defacto secret police.  Any citizen who dares voice non-approved political ideas will be subject to loss of their good name and livelihood at the whim of a Progressive social media mob.

It’s time to take our heads out of the sand and look straight into the abyss of evil that is being offered to us as the alternative to our messy but liberty-protecting Constitutional Republic.  If we don’t stand up to and peacefully defeat this outrageous, monstrous wicked cabal in 2020 then we may have lost the opportunity to do so thereafter.

If you believe that I’m right (or near-to-right), please think, speak, organize and vote accordingly.  If you think that I’m wrong, please consider the possibility that someday those who consider you to be guilty of “wrong-think” inherit the governmental powers that you now seek for yourselves.

A Bit of Encouragement (1)

intimidation-doesnt-last-very-long-quote-1We Need Not Be Intimidated

There’s no doubt that the Progressives now dominate virtually all of our nation’s centers of power (e.g., mass media / entertainment, federal and state bureaucracies, education, religious denominations, large corporations, etc.).  Thus the threat of retaliation that affects the reputation and/or livelihood of individuals in open opposition is real and present.  Due to this position of economic and cultural power their policies are advanced under the implicit threat of retaliation that we all know can become painfully real in some seemingly randomly occurring cases.  We only need to hear about a very small number of actual cases to be inhibited from visible opposition.

The good news is that there have been situations in which the punishment mob has been thwarted due to courageous groups of opposers who unify behind their beliefs.  It’s far easier to isolate one member and attack than to take on a unified, unyielding group.

Thus here’s the sorry secret: intimidation through intolerance is all they’ve got.

Our Bloody-Minded Betters (2)

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The Party Line Tell

How can we know that we are living through a “different in kind” political moment?  After all, political acrimony is the norm in our nation.  So, isn’t what we’re now experiencing just a “difference in degree” as opposed to “in kind?”

My first inkling of this state-transition from “degree” to “kind” occurred while observing the behavior of Democrat senior leaders after the 2016 election.  Recall that, prior to the election when the polls claimed that Hillary Clinton was the overwhelming favorite to win, the entire Democrat establishment from President Obama on down were all on the “party line” that it would be un-American if not treasonous for Mr. Trump to reject the election results.  Here’s what President Obama had to say on this issue.

“That is not a joking matter,” Obama said. “No, no, no. I want everyone to pay attention here.”  …  “when you try to sow the seeds of doubt in people’s minds about the legitimacy of our elections, that undermines our democracy.”  “Then you are doing the work of our adversaries for them,” “Because our democracy depends on people knowing their vote matters.”

Dear reader, please pause to carefully consider these words.  President Obama was not here making a conditional statement (e.g., IF my party wins THEN the election results must be accepted.).  No, President Obama was making a statement of principle, independent of results, about the seriousness of maintaining legitimacy for our elections.  The fact that Hillary Clinton happened to be considered the prohibitive favorite to win this particular election was irrelevant.

So, given this solemn statement of principle by the President whom they served, how did high Obama administration officials react when Donald Trump unexpectedly won the 2016 Presidential Election?  We all know the answer.  They responded by rejecting the legitimacy of the election and by declaring open, unremitting resistance to a Trump presidency!

In particular:

  • Ex-Attorney General Loretta Lynch made a video that was distributed by the Senate Democrats that claimed without a shred of evidence that “our rights are being assaulted” and the only remedy is street protest up to and including blood and death.

loretta-lynch“I know that this is a time of great fear and uncertainty for so many people,” Lynch says. “I know it’s a time of concern for people, who see our rights being assailed, being trampled on and even being rolled back. I know that this is difficult, but I remind you that this has never been easy. We have always had to work to move this country forward to achieve the great ideals of our Founding Fathers.”

“It has been people, individuals who have banded together, ordinary people who simply saw what needed to be done and came together and supported those ideals who have made the difference. They’ve marched, they’ve bled and yes, some of them died. This is hard. Every good thing is. We have done this before. We can do this again.

John Brennan“Donald Trump’s press conference performance in Helsinki rises to & exceeds the threshold of ‘high crimes & misdemeanors’,”  “It was nothing short of ‘treasonous’. Not only were Trump’s comments ‘imbecilic’, he is wholly in the pocket of Putin. Republican Patriots: Where are you???”

James ClapperCLAPPER: Well, it is to me. I think this past weekend is illustrative of what a great case officer Vladimir Putin is. He knows how to handle an asset, and that’s what he’s doing with the president.

SCIUTTO: You’re saying that Russia is handling President Trump as an asset?

CLAPPER: That seems to be — that’s the appearance to me.

I could continue with other Obama ex-officials, but the point is made.

That point is top Obama Administration officials turned on a dime from the “party line” that election results must be honored to election results must be delegitimized and resisted when their party’s candidate lost.

This ability to, without shame or even embarrassment turn literally overnight from one party line to its exact opposite is characteristic of ideological apparatchiks.  Never before in my experience had high officials from a previous Presidential administration sought to openly delegitimize and oppose a new President, his administration and their voters.

This uniform denunciation and resistance moves from shocking to sinister when you consider that the underlying rationale was utterly debunked by the Mueller Report.  That is, they claimed that their access to information while serving in the Obama Administration justified their unprecedented charges of treason against the next sitting President.

What the Mueller Report actually revealed is that, after almost two years of investigation by an aggressive team of prosecutors, “[T]he investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.”  Therefore, it is logically impossible for these three and other ex-Obama high officials to have known credible incriminating information about President Trump and/or his campaign since said information was shown by the Mueller Report to be nonexistent!

Thus the motives for their vile behavior must have been a combination of ideological and personal.  As the Justice Department Inspector General’s report and the Barr / Durham investigations become available we may finally see the extent of personal corruption behind these behaviors.  We need not wait to understand that these and other ex-Obama officials were motivated by an ideological foundation that sees the holding and wielding of government power to be more important than any other good.  Even more important than the legitimacy of our nation’s elections.

Willingness to tear a nation apart in pursuit of raw, illegitimate power is well within the realm of bloody-mindedness.

antifa-beating

ANTIFA in the streets, doing what needs to be done to oppose the election of Donald Trump to the Presidency.  After all, when our highest justice and intelligence officials say that the nation is being led by a “traitor” and “oppresser” what isn’t permissible to oppose him?

What Have We Lost? (2)

BenFranklin-Republic

Living in a Republic that We May Not Keep

In the previous post I pointed out that there have been (and will continue to be) social and political issues for which compromise by finding the “middle ground” isn’t a realistic option.  Thus, when people pine for those lost times when compromise ruled the day they are imagining a past that never existed.  However, they are correct in believing that something from our past has been lost.

That “something lost” is a shared commitment to our Republic as founded through our Constitution and Bill of Rights.  That shared commitment broke down entirely during the Civil War.  However, aside from that tragic failure it has managed to hold even when issues upon which compromise was difficult or impossible to find roiled the nation.  Using the two examples from the previous post, the nation was able to hold together even when faced with terrible win/lose situations.  Yes, there was great acrimony and sometimes even violence.  But the parties on both sides of these issues didn’t break from republican values (as defined in our Constitution and Bill of Rights).

What we are experiencing now is a powerful desire by one political group, the Progressives, to “fundamentally transform” the foundations of our nation’s political life.  And this group has come to dominate the Democrat Party.  Thus, the Progressives have achieved fundamental transformation of the Democrat Party and are using this institution to seek fundamental transformation of the United States.

Many people would like to ignore this seismic shift.  However to not take note is to be purposefully blind, as its proponents are screaming their views from the roof tops.

electoral-college-abolishAbolish the Electoral College

Many Presidential candidates in the Democrat Party are openly pledging to abolish the Electoral College because it, in 2016, prevented them from winning the Presidency.  This is a popular position with the party’s base, as explained in this article.

Elizabeth Warren kicked things off at a CNN town hall Monday night when the Massachusetts senator drew enthusiastic applause by saying: “Every vote matters, and the way we can make that happen is that we can have national voting, and that means get rid of the Electoral College.”

The next day, former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke said there was “a lot of wisdom” in abolishing the Electoral College. California Sen. Kamala Harris told late night host Jimmy Kimmel on Tuesday night that she’s “open to the discussion.” Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, tweeted a clip of him saying the Electoral College “has got to go.”

Were they to somehow achieve this end our Republic would indeed be transformed from a federation of states into a direct democracy completely dominated by our major urban centers.  Of course this transformation would benefit the Progressives.  But it would also nationalize the urban political dominance that has led to great anger in states like New York and Illinois.  I very much doubt that citizens in states like Nebraska or Alaska would accept such an outcome.

In normal times I’d be confident that the rules for Constitutional change would prevent this from occurring.  However, given the demonstrated will to power by the Progressive movement it’s not beyond belief that extra-Constitutional means could be brought to bear.  The consequences of such a move are unpredictable, but could well be dire for the nation’s life.

DefProg-GNDThe Union of American Socialist States

I have previously discussed how even partial implementation of the Green New Deal (GND) would necessitate transformation of the United States from a democratic republic to a socialist police state.  But this end doesn’t in the slightest prevent our Democrat presidential candidates from giving it rhetorical support.  I take small comfort in their refusal to vote for it on the record.  However, were they elected they would likely take that result as a mandate to implement the GND even if they dissembled and outright lied to the voting public about their intentions in the campaign.

So Much More

The Progressives have also clearly communicated their intention to repeal our Constitutional protections contained in the FirstSecond and Sixth Amendments.  There is also pressure to abolish the Senate.  In these and other areas the Progressives who now control the Democrat Party have made it crystal clear that there is nothing in our founding documents that they will not destroy if it diminishes their ability to seize and keep power.

In the next post I’ll discuss what this means with regard to what has been really lost.

The Romance of 1970s Hi-Fi

Please forgive my bout of nostalgia. I’ll be back to “normal” soon.

HiFi1

Marantz 1070 Integrated Amplifier (top), Pioneer AM/FM Tuner (middle), Pioneer Turntable (bottom)

My son recently sent me a link to a video about “record changer” systems that existed in large numbers up to the 1970s.  These devices allowed multiple records to be stacked and played one after the other.  Given that I was born in the late 1950s this was a familiar review of something I hadn’t thought about for decades.  I think my son sent it because he thought I’d be interested, but also because of the novelty and strangeness of such a device too a Millennial.

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Bose 301 speaker system.  Note the plastic vane to control the “direct/reflected” listening experience.

This video reminded me of my years in the 1970s as a moderate budget Hi-Fi audiophile.  I saved money obsessively from my first real job as a grocery bagger to buy a Hi-Fi stereo system.  I can well recall walking into the local Hi-Fi shop with five one-hundred dollar bills in my pocket and leaving with a Marantz receiver, a turntable and Bose speakers.

This first system lasted only a couple weeks because I started reading Hi-Fi magazines and became convinced that my stereo receiver needed to be replaced with separate components (i.e., and integrated amplifier and an AM/FM tuner).  I still remember the disgust with which the shop owner eventually lived up to his “no questions” return policy when I brought back the receiver.  But I also bought the new equipment and became a regular as more Hi-Fi components became “necessary” for my listening experience.

Listening to a record went far beyond the content.  I used elaborate disk cleaning kits prior to each play.   I hung my speakers from the ceiling with chains so that the “direct/reflecting” feature could be optimized.  When the music was playing it wasn’t just the instrumentation and vocals that I heard but also my mighty Hi-Fi components creating this sonic wonder. In sum, playing a record was a complex ritual of human senses intersecting with analog custom purpose “computers” programmed to deliver a “realistic” listening experience.

HiFi2

Pioneer 707 reel-to-reel tape deck (top) and TEAC 400 cassette tape deck (bottom)

I very quickly became a recording enthusiast.  When I bought a new album I would record it on the first play onto tape.  From that point on I played the tape, thus (in my fevered youthful mind) recreating the virgin play of the record indefinitely.

From there I built up a mobile recording system of microphones, mixer and a reel-to-reel tape deck.  I hooked up with some folk music people and ran around my town recording folk and jazz performances.  I loved the electro-magnetic/mechanical technical “magic” by which audio information was transferred from the actual experience onto tape.  It was a wonderful experience.

I’m certain that it was the Hi-Fi magazines’ equipment reviews that got me interested in my eventual vocation, electrical engineering.  The reviews often included photos from the test lab, showing the complex equipment used for the tests.  I loved the idea of technical measurements being connected to the human experience.

The entire adventure was a blast.  It knocked me off my default plan of becoming a history or english professor.  My electrical engineering career in wireless technology has been extremely rewarding, so Hi-Fi was a portal into another world that I didn’t know existed.

Now I just touch a couple soft buttons on my iPad which communicates via Bluetooth with my integrated speaker and music plays.  Ho hum.

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My 2010s hi-fi system.  Convenient, good sound, zero romance (playing the classic 1970s rock ballad, Thunder Road).

Making Sense of Progressive Nonsense (7)

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Map of reported incidents of human feces on the streets of San Francisco

I Can’t Handle the Truth Edition

It turns out that Progressive policies don’t just create hell-holes in far away countries like Venezuela. Here in the good ole United States there are cities and whole states that have been so dominated by radical Progressivism that they too are becoming at least Purgatory-ish for their inhabitants.  For example, in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Seattle the homeless population has both skyrocketed and metastasized to the point of unbearability  for the general population.  In Chicago the city’s failure to control gang violence and deliver minimal education in their public schools is an unending scandal.

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But this has nothing to do with our Progressive policies!

It’s gotten so bad that even some Progressive activists have noticed.  However, this realization creates dangerous cognitive dissonance.  For a Progressive activist doesn’t just believe that their policy prescriptions are undeniably the best, but also that they possess ultimate intellectual and moral superiority.  Therefore to even approach the possibility that their policies, let alone themselves, might be faulty is unthinkable.

So how to square this circle?  One noteworthy recent attempt was made by Farhad Manjooopinion pieceAmerica’s Cities Are Unlivable. Blame Wealthy Liberals.”  Mr. Manjoo gets off to a good start in his first three paragraphs.

To live in California at this time is to experience every day the cryptic phrase that George W. Bush once used to describe the invasion of Iraq: “Catastrophic success.” The economy here is booming, but no one feels especially good about it. When the cost of living is taken into account, billionaire-brimming California ranks as the most poverty-stricken state, with a fifth of the population struggling to get by. Since 2010, migration out of California has surged.

The basic problem is the steady collapse of livability. Across my home state, traffic and transportation is a developing-world nightmare. Child care and education seem impossible for all but the wealthiest. The problems of affordable housing and homelessness have surpassed all superlatives — what was a crisis is now an emergency that feels like a dystopian showcase of American inequality.

Just look at San Francisco, Nancy Pelosi’s city. One of every 11,600 residents is a billionaire, and the annual household income necessary to buy a median-priced home now tops $320,000. Yet the streets there are a plague of garbage and needles and feces, and every morning brings fresh horror stories from a “Black Mirror” hellscape …

However, from these initial sweeping (and damning) observations the article’s scope suddenly narrows to a commentary on affordable housing.  The issues of public defecation and drug use, crime and disease simply evaporate.  Yes, Mr. Manjoo continues to stick it to the wealthy Progressive left, but the focus has shifted to complaining that they aren’t sufficiently living up to their stated beliefs on urban planning.

It was another chapter in a dismal saga of Nimbyist urban mismanagement that is crushing American cities. Not-in-my-backyardism is a bipartisan sentiment, but because the largest American cities are populated and run by Democrats — many in states under complete Democratic control — this sort of nakedly exclusionary urban restrictionism is a particular shame of the left.

By the article’s end a reader is left with the impression that if these unlivable cities would just modify their zoning laws the problems would be mostly solved.

Reading opposition to SB 50 and other efforts at increasing density, I’m struck by an unsettling thought: What Republicans want to do with I.C.E. and border walls, wealthy progressive Democrats are doing with zoning and Nimbyism. Preserving “local character,” maintaining “local control,” keeping housing scarce and inaccessible — the goals of both sides are really the same: to keep people out.

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Progressive logic: (1) the homeless are victims; (2) victims are all blameless; (3) white middle-class women are oppressors; (4) a victim raped an oppressor; (5) it’s therefore oppression to complain about being raped! Q.E.D.

By this sleight of mind Mr. Manjoo is able to acknowledge that which he sees without ever considering the implications for his Progressive ideology and his presumed personal superiority.  This purposeful myopia is a necessary consequence of Progressivism’s intentions-based reasoning and self-righteousness.  For, to even acknowledge the possibility of failure in policy or reasoning is to place in doubt their self-image of unquestionable superiority.  For Mr. Manjoo and many other Progressive activists this is the black hole whose event horizon cannot be ever crossed.  To do so would cause their entire identity to be obliterated.  Better to let the people in our cities suffer than for a Progressive activist to experience that worst of all fates — admitting that they aren’t perfect.

Narcissist-Self-love

My self-image of superiority is far more valuable than the health, well-being or very lives of those who live under my Progressive policies!

The Problem of Righteousness (6)

Narcissist-Self-love

The concept of an objectively real sovereign God has been replaced by that of a subjectively imagined sovereign-self in Western Civilization and much of Western Christianity.

The Self-Righteousness Compulsion (2)

The-Death-of-Truth1. Postmodernism

I have written at length about postmodernism’s impact on Christianity in general and the PCUSA in particular.

The Encyclopedia Britannica top-level definition of postmodernism is:

Postmodernism … in Western philosophy, a late 20th-century movement characterized by broad skepticism, subjectivism, or relativism; a general suspicion of reason; and an acute sensitivity to the role of ideology in asserting and maintaining political and economic power.

The same article goes on to explain the postmodern view of “truth.”

2. The descriptive and explanatory statements of scientists and historians can, in principle, be objectively true or false. The postmodern denial of this viewpoint—which follows from the rejection of an objective natural reality—is sometimes expressed by saying that there is no such thing as Truth.

The destructive consequences of this philosophy are obvious and can hardly be overstated.  Given that “political and economic power” is the only remaining value and that there “is no such thing as Truth,” then there is nothing wrong with the use of deceit or the talking of contradictory positions in the pursuit of raw power.

So, postmodernism has created the conditions by which identity politics can prosper.

The postmodernists built on the Marxist ideology, Peterson said. “They started to play a sleight of hand, and instead of pitting the proletariat, the working class, against the bourgeois, they started to pit the oppressed against the oppressor. That opened up the avenue to identifying any number of groups as oppressed and oppressor and to continue the same narrative under a different name.”

“It was no longer specifically about economics,” he said. “It was about power. And everything to the postmodernists is about power. And that’s actually why they’re so dangerous, because if you’re engaged in a discussion with someone who believes in nothing but power, all they are motivated to do is to accrue all the power to them, because what else is there?” he said. “There’s no logic, there’s no investigation, there’s no negotiation, there’s no dialogue, there’s no discussion, there’s no meeting of minds and consensus. There’s power.”

Berkeley-Protesters

“By Any Means Necessary” (BAMN) protest in Berkeley California

What we see here is the emergence of a dominant organizing ideology built of the rejection of truth and the embrace of power at all costs.  This elite cohort doesn’t consider itself to be “righteous” because they conform to any objective standard of morality.  Rather, they are “righteous” because they have, by any and all means necessary, occupied positions of power in our civilization.  They have made it absolutely clear that they will utilize any and all means possible to safeguard and extend that power.  Thus, they are “righteous” because they have achieved the power to crush anyone who dares to challenge them.

Can there be any less fit a foundation upon which to base the moral life of a civilization?

Template-5col2. Social Media Enabled Mobs

I have also previously discussed this phenomenon within context of the gay-marriage debate.  However what is observed for this specific case is clearly applicable to our general political discourse.

The tragic fact is that almost every person with exposure to the public square lives in fear of being targeted by the social justice mob.  One group that is particularly terrorized by this mob are the public “intellectuals” (Jonathan Kay on the tyranny of Twitter: How mob censure is changing the intellectual landscape).

… you will find intellectuals who have made extraordinary financial sacrifices to pursue their artistic or activist passions, and whose entire livelihood hinges on a thin patchwork of government grants, modest book advances, sessional teaching contracts, and honoraria from small journals, websites and magazines. Just one wrong Tweet or misplaced open-letter signature can send these people back to a life working for Uber or foodora.

The following excerpt provides an accurate summary of the environment that has been created social media’s mobs.

rights-feelingsTheir behavior is so insane, their on-command ability to jump on anyone or anything who deviates from the now-current party line so absolute, their arguments so ridiculous, it took me a while to realize what they’re doing is the equivalent of Mao’s brigades of aggressive young people fanning out to rural areas to teach the peasants how to think and what to do.

Our colleges and universities are purposefully creating hordes of these cultural revolution goons … tragic credentialed, entitled lives with no actual useful skills but masters of personal and civilizational destruction.  These hordes of social justice warriors have conquered much of our mass media and social networks (including the private companies that deliver them).

Even people living generally non-public lives fear that they could be, for mysterious reasons, singled out and viciously attacked by this mob.  Small business owners who offer services to the general public are particularly vulnerable.

And so, we come to the crux of our current predicament, that being the increasing inhumanity in our supposed pursuit of social good (as profoundly explained by Dr. McClay).

The presence of vast amounts of unacknowledged sin in a culture, a culture full to the brim with its own hubristic sense of world-conquering power and agency but lacking any effectual means of achieving redemption for all the unacknowledged sin that accompanies such power: This is surely a moral crisis in the making …. The rituals of scapegoating, of public humiliation and shaming, of multiplying morally impermissible utterances and sentiments and punishing them with disproportionate severity, are visibly on the increase in our public life. They are not merely signs of intolerance or incivility, but of a deeper moral disorder, an Unbehagen that cannot be willed away by the psychoanalytic trick of pretending that it does not exist.

While these social justice mobs are comprised by a small percentage of the population their weaponization of social media multiplies their power many times over.  Given this threat people have become increasingly protective of their public “self-righteousness” persona, either by aggressively identifying with the mob’s current talking points or by retreating into sullen, fearful silence.  Both of these responses are detrimental to an understanding of human righteousness that leads to a proper mix of humility and responsibility.

The Travail of the United Methodist Church (2)

UMC-Tunnel

The travail of the UMC has deepened due to the recent decision of the Judicial Council.

The UMC’s nine-member Judicial Council convenes a four-day meeting in Evanston, Illinois, … to consider legal challenges to the Traditional Plan. If the plan is upheld, it would take effect for U.S. churches on Jan. 1. If parts of it are struck down, that would likely trigger new debate at the UMC’s next general conference in May 2020.

The Council ruled last Friday to:

uphold major components of its recent plan bolstering bans on same-sex marriage and the ordination of LGBT pastors.

The impending solution to inner turmoil seems to be a parting of ways.

As reported by ABC News:

The Rev. Tom Lambrecht, general manager of the conservative Methodist magazine Good News, hailed the council’s ruling as a “strong affirmation” of the Traditional Plan’s core elements.

He suggested that Methodists opposed to the plan should start negotiating to leave the UMC and form a new denomination that would allow them to adopt LGBT-inclusive policies.

And there’s also this:

Opponents of the Traditional Plan will have a chance to overturn it at the UMC’s next general conference in May 2020. But Lambrecht said he agreed with other analysts who predict the UMC’s conservative bloc will be even stronger then.

So, one way or another the largest Mainline denomination in the United States is likely heading fo a split.  It’s too early to determine how that split will occur, but 2020 may be a decisive, traumatic year for the UMC.

Erasing the Old Testament (4)

Peter’s Pentecost Sermon

Pentecost is a central day in the Christian calendar, which the Encyclopaedia Britannica describes as follows.

Pentecost, also called Whitsunday, (Pentecost from Greek pentecostē, “50th day”), major festival in the Christian church, celebrated on the Sunday that falls on the 50th day of Easter. It commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles and other disciples following the Crucifixion, Resurrection, and Ascension of Jesus Christ (Acts of the Apostles, chapter 2), and it marks the beginning of the Christian church’s mission to the world.

After the descent of the Holy Spirit a large crowd of Jews from many nations gathered “because each one heard their own language being spoken” (Acts 2:6, NIV).  The Apostle Peter stood up to address them.  This was the first Christian sermon preached after Christ’s resurrection.  It is saturated with direct and indirect allusions to the Old Testament, which Peter demonstrates predicted and prepared the way for Jesus Christ, the Messiah.

The focus of comments on this sermon will be the Old Testament sources from which Peter proclaimed Jesus Christ to be “both Lord and Messiah.” Excerpts from The International Bible Commentary (F.F. Bruce General Editor, (c) 1986) will be indicated by purple text.  My comments are in regular unbolded black text.



14 Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. 15 These people are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning!

The gathered crowd initially attributed the Apostle’s ecstatic behavior to drunkenness. 

16 No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:

17 “‘In the last days, God says,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your young men will see visions,
your old men will dream dreams.
18 Even on my servants, both men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days,
and they will prophesy.
19 I will show wonders in the heavens above
and signs on the earth below,
blood and fire and billows of smoke.
20 The sun will be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood
before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.
21 And everyone who calls
on the name of the Lord will be saved.’

The conditions for quotation from the OT are fulfilled if we understand that elements of Joel’s prophecy were seen in the happening of Pentecost, and that the cross and resurrection had opened a new age which would culminate in universal spiritual blessing.

22 “Fellow Israelites, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. 23 This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross.

24 But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.

Peter appealed to the personal knowledge of the Palestinian Jews when he spoke of the ministry of Jesus of Nazareth, whose mighty works showed that he was attested by God as His messenger to Israel.  The terrible responsibility for rejection of such a Man fell squarely on the shoulders of the inhabitants of Jerusalem.  … But their unreasoning hatred became the instrument for the fulfillment of the divine plan established in the fore knowledge of God.

25 David said about him:

“‘I saw the Lord always before me.
Because he is at my right hand,
I will not be shaken.
26 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest in hope,
27 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
you will not let your holy one see decay.
28 You have made known to me the paths of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence.’

29 “Fellow Israelites, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day. 30 But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne. 31 Seeing what was to come, he spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, that he was not abandoned to the realm of the dead, nor did his body see decay.  32 God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it.

Both Peter and Paul (13:35) appeal to Ps. 16 as a prophecy of the Resurrection.  Much of the Psalm expressed David’s own experiences, but certain elements — as in all the messianic Psalms — could only be fulfilled in his greater Son. Note especially the phrase: Nor will you let your Holy One see decay.  As a prophet David saw that the resurrection life of his descendent would be the means of fulfilling the covenant (2 Sam. 7:12-17; Ps. 89:3,4, 26-37; 132:11-18).

33 Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. 34 For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said,

“‘The Lord said to my Lord:
“Sit at my right hand
35 until I make your enemies
a footstool for your feet.”’

The verb raised of 2:32 refers to the resurrection to which the apostles bore witness, but it leads directly to the exaltation of the Messiah as prophesied by Ps. 110:1.

36 “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.”

Prophecy and contemporary fact had been welded into a strong argument which was the basis of a direct appeal to all Israel.  God had constituted Jesus, the crucified one, both Lord and Messiah for His people, despite their tragic rebellion.



Thus, with this sermon the eternal, unbreakable bond between the Old Testament and the Gospel of Jesus Christ was confirmed.

The Apostle Paul’s Epistles and sermons are no less saturated in what we now call the Old Testament. But then they were the only existing Scriptures by which the Gospel of Jesus Christ could be proclaimed.  By them and the Holy Spirit’s power tens, then hundreds, then thousands then tens-of thousands were converted to Christ.  The fact that we now also have the New Testament makes the Old Testament no less potent a witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.