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Saturday, March 28, 2015

BY YOUR LOVE

"By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one to another."
-John 13:35
Johnny stared at the floor angrily.  His shoes were still muddy and a few flower pedals stuck to them like shoddy decorations on a chocolate cake.
"You know very well that you shouldn't have done it!" Johnny's mother declared.  Johnny didn't respond, just pouted more.  "Honestly I don't know what to do with you some days.  When your father gets home he'll paddle you good but until then no more X-Box for a week!" She said, almost despairingly.
"That's no fair!!!" Johnny burst out, glaring up at his mother.
"Johnny, you deliberately stomped all the new flowers Annie Gordon just planted along her walk next door -- you crushed them all on purpose!  You knew that was wrong!"
"You hate me!"
"No Johnny, I love you."
"That's dumb, you're being mean to me, you don't love me!" Johnny wailed.
Johnny's mother knelt down and held him by his shoulders, looking into his face.
"Johnny, love means teaching and correcting, too.  Just letting someone get away with wrong hurts someone, it doesn't help.  I am punishing you because I love you."
"You're being mean to me, you're a hater!"  Johnny stomped out of the room, leaving muddy tracks in the carpet.
Recently on Twitter, someone became upset that Christians want to be able to deny making a cake for a homosexual "wedding."  They claimed that Christians are supposed to be known by their love, and all she could see was hate.
This made me think a moment, something I try to do whenever someone confronts or opposes my worldview or perspective on something.  Its too easy to just kneejerk reject them and attack, but maybe they have a point, maybe they know something I've been blind to.
Is it, in fact, not loving to refuse to bake a cake for a couple seeking to officially declare and bind their love in a ceremony (or photograph it, arrange flowers, etc)?  And are Christians violating a Biblical principle by not showing love in this manner?
Certainly I believe we as Christians have been guilty of being unloving in our conduct recently far too often.  Frequently, instead of being concerned about the truth and the glory of God, we've been concerned with our fears and anger at the changes in culture.  We've been defensive and upset rather than loving and humble.  We haven't been patient and loving, we've been angry and aggressive, even insulting and mocking.  And that is not showing the love of Christ or obeying God.
So to a certain extent, this tweeter was right: Christians have not been demonstrating love.  For that, we must seek forgiveness and humbly work toward being better ambassadors in this world.  Her tweet should act for me as a wake up call in how I behave and talk; it should urge me to be a better child of God.
So while I'm certain this tweeter thought they had the big zinger that Christians would be stopped and unable to respond to, the ultimate answer to shut up her opponents, there was something to it despite her likely motivations.
THE SONG, NOT THE BOOK
However, there are some flaws with this tweeter's idea.  The first problem this person had is that they were basing their theology on a song.  The song was popular in the 70s and I suppose is still sung around campfires and in some churches:
we are one in the Spirit
we are one in the Lord (x2)
and we pray that all unity
will some day be restored

and they'll know we are Christians
by our love, by our love
yes, they'll know we are Christians
by our love

And so on, the song goes: Chorus, verse, chorus, repeat; pretty standard "praise chorus" stuff.  And its the chorus this tweeter is going from: They'll know we are Christians by our love."  This is a song, not a creed, and while it comes from the Bible, the actual quote is at the top in bold face from the gospel of John.
The verse is that people will know Christians by their love for each other.  Now its not that Christians are not to love others, that's plainly taught in scripture.  Its that this verse is not about how people perceive Christians acting toward the world at large, but how they see love between fellow Christians being demonstrated fully and joyfully.  Too often this isn't the case - wars between Christians have been going on almost since Jesus ascended into heaven - but in general its the truth.
WHAT IS LOVE?
Then there's a basic problem with definitions. This girl was defining both love and hate improperly, based on personal focus.  She defines "hate" as "people behaving in a manner I don't like" and love as "people behaving in a manner I think is nice."  That's pretty common today and I blame the church more than anyone else for not clearing up the true definitions of these terms.
Love I've written about several times, but never as well as C.S. Lewis in The Four Loves.  I recommend that book highly to everyone as a masterpiece on love and its meaning, consequence, and fullness. 
The barest thumbnail summary goes like this: there are several kinds of love, and as each moves toward the ultimate, truest form of pure love, it focuses less on self and more on the object loved.  Ultimately, pure, true love is absolutely focused on the other person, not on yourself.
But as I've written about before (and pointed at in the introductory little story), love doesn't mean doing what other people like or want.  In fact most often love is defined by doing for someone else what they aren't even aware is needed or good for them.
Love means fighting to get your buddy off heroin.  Love means stopping someone from breaking the law or hurting themselves.  Love means helping someone correct a personal flaw, fight a personal demon.  Love means helping someone be the best they can be more than doing nice things for them.  Its easy to buy flowers and say nice things to someone.  Its hard to help them be a better person.
Love isn't controlling: you don't force them to be better; you encourage, help, teach, support, and fight with them to be better.  And sometimes love means punishment.  We don't lovingly punish our kids out of hate or sadism, we punish them because they need to know right from wrong, need to do good and not evil, and need to grow and learn to make proper, good choices on their own when they are mature.
If someone is doing something wrong, the very minimum level of love means you don't help them out in their wrongdoing.  Period.  Doing so is not loving, it is destructive toward them, and even hateful by helping them damage and destroy themselves.
IMMATURE
And that's the problem here.  Her definition of love is a child's: selfish and self-focused.  She thinks
that someone shows love by letting people do whatever they want.  And what's more, she believes that unless you go along with and endorse someone's behavior, you're not just lacking in love but showing hatred.
Now as I've mentioned many times before, the opposite of love is not hate.  Hate still cares about the other person, it is a passionate response to them.  The opposite of love is apathy: you care nothing for them, they mean nothing to you.  And that is what she wants from Christians.  She wants us to not care about other people, to not be concerned for them.  To let them do whatever they want and more to assist them in whatever they want.
And further, this concept of love and hate is all entirely self-focused.  What it means to Christians to endorse and help out people in their sin is no particular concern to her.  Who cares what they think and feel, they should do what I want!  The idea of forcing people to violate their essential religious liberty and conscience is completely irrelevant to her.
And if she loved Christians as she demands they love her, then she would insist that she endorse and assist Christians in their ideals and practices.  But that's not even on the table, her whole worldview is inwardly directed.  Her desires, her wants, her lusts, her happiness, comfort, and ease.
GROUNDLESS
And as I've written countless times before, the problem is that she has no basis, no grounds for her ideals, only what she prefers.  She has no foundation from which to build, only the shifting miasma of personal preference and current whims.  These whims change continually, based on the prevailing societal trends (from the leftist leadership and cultural forces she likes).
But she insists, insists that everyone go along with this or they're not just different, mistaken, confused, or wrong but hateful.
TYRANNY
And in the end, demanding other people not just agree with you but support, affirm, endorse, and assist you in your lifestyle is tyranny.  Its as bad as if Christians insisted that all homosexuals be jailed or sent to camps for "reeducation."  She has her worldview and she demands everyone follow it or there will be consequences.  Legal punishment, loss of a business, jail time.
To make this more palatable, its presented in terms of "civil rights" and "hate" and "love" but in truth, all that does is put a nice bow around a steel spiked glove of tyranny.  No matter how you dress it up, forcing people to violate their consciences, forcing people to go along with what you demand is not loving or good, but tyrannical and bad.
Yet I'm confident she's not even aware of this.  I think she's grown up in an environment where this kind of thing never even comes up, she's never been challenged to think through her worldview, and she's surrounded by people who reinforce and support her ideas.
Further, she's been raised to think that people who think like her are good, nice, positive, and loving, which means that anyone who differs is necessarily evil, mean, negative, and hateful (because she thinks that's the opposite of love).
And for far too many people, that's as far as they get.  And what's worse is that they've been raised with the idea of "there oughta be a law" not "I tolerate people and love liberty."  
They call themselves liberal, but they don't want liberty, they want dominance and control.  They call themselves progressives, but they don't want progress, they want tyranny and stagnation.  They haven't had a new idea since 1930, but consider themselves progressive and far-thinking. 
They call themselves tolerant, but will only tolerate what they already agree with, which means they "tolerate" nothing whatsoever.
They claim to love science but know little about actual science, only the use of the terms as a bludgeon to attack and demean those they disagree with.
And the saddest thing of all is that they don't even know any of this, not most of them.  They've just been raised a certain way, surround themselves with people who agree, and every day make sure they get a new dose of indoctrination by filling their heads with Jon Stewart, MSNBC, and the latest TV show or film that promotes everything they agree with.
So these are sad, ignorant fools who need our love and prayers.  But they also need to grow up and learn, and I am not confident that will ever take place.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

BOYCOTTING FOR BOYCOTTING

"There are absolutely no absolutes"

Recently, Indiana governor Mike Pence signed into law the "Religious Freedom Restoration Act" into law.  This bill essentially allows businesses to refuse to do business with people if they believe it violates their faith and conscience.  In specific: you can refuse to bake a "wedding" cake for a homosexual couple if you desire without worrying about the cops knocking no your door in Indiana.
Now, the idea that we should get to a point that people who decide they don't want to bake a cake for other people should become a legal matter that supreme courts in states are demanding take place is ridiculous to the point of insanity.  But putting aside the absurdity that this was even considered necessary, lets consider this a moment.
First off, it has always been the case that businesses are able to refuse service.  That's never been in question.  There have been times when certain kinds of refusals were brought up as legal matters, but at no point has it been a legal doctrine that businesses cannot refuse service.
Bars are, in fact, required by law to refuse to serve drinks to someone who is visibly and excessively drunk.  It is quite common for businesses to have "no shirts, no shoes, no service" type of signs which indicate that this establishment will... refuse service... to anyone who is lacking shoes and/or a shirt.  The principle that a business may reserve the right to refuse service to customers based on a certain standard is unquestioned.
The only question here is whether or not businesses ought to be able to do what they are perfectly able and have the right to do, in the specific situation of offering their services to homosexuals.  May an establishment refuse to do business with someone because they are homosexual?  May a photographer, for instance, refuse to photo a homosexual "wedding"?
The current trend of legal thought is that it is a 14th amendment violation to do so; that somehow not taking pictures of a wedding is a violation of the clause requiring equal treatment under law.  But only a homosexual wedding.  If the wedding is too far away, or the customer is too rude, or the offered payment too small, that's perfectly acceptable.  But not if they are homosexual.  This tiny group of humanity has been deemed specially protected and the law extends them particular defense.
If a group of rude people or underpayers went to the courts or called the cops, they'd be laughed at and hung up on.  If someone who lived too far away called the cops, the police would tell them to find a closer photographer.  But homosexuals, they've been deemed a special human rights group that must be protected.  Some are more equal than others.
What's interesting to me is the response of the left to this bill being signed.  "Boycott Indiana!" they cry.  I'm not really sure what they've been buying from Indiana, but now they're vowing to never visit the state, its a "no fly zone" for some.
Which I find particularly curious and even comical.  Lets put this as clearly as I can.
Because the state of Indiana has now made it legal for a business to refuse service to homosexuals because they believe the practice to be wrong... they are refusing service to Indiana, because they believe such a refusal to be a practice which is... wrong.
So they're officially doing what they are objecting to.  They are engaging in exactly the behavior they consider so reprehensible.  In fact, one of the left's favorite tools to attempt to blackmail businesses into doing what they want is the boycott: the refusal to do business with them.  Because of a moral decision.
Now I guess they would say that there's a difference because one is on the retail end and the other the customer end.  So the evil oppressor business owner must not be allowed the freedom of their conscience, but the customer must always, or something.  But in the end it comes down to my moral system vs yours.
So we come down to the same quandary that I brought up a while back with The Mirror Take; you are declaring someone who is making a moral decision to be wrong because of a moral decision on your part.  You consider their moral choice to be immoral.  And as I said in that essay:
Both sides on this issue have chosen or been led to hold a set of principles which they believe should shape life, thought, and activity.  Both sides are making their decision upon a set of moral principles.
Which is right?  Which is wrong?  How do we make that call?
In other words, why should we listen to one side and not the other?  What basis, what system do we use to decide which is correct?
And how can one side say that the other is absolutely wrong and horrible, how can you decide one so completely that you attack and try to destroy the other?  You believe you are right and they are wrong.  They believe the same thing.  Why should one side dominate the debate, culture, and legal system instead of the other?  How do you decide who wins in a fight like that?
If you have no absolute, overarching standard no objective basis for your decisions and judgments, you cannot hold others to your morality.  I'm not saying you ought not do so or that you should not.  I'm saying that you have absolutely no basis either philosophically morally, or conceptually to do so.  Because you believe morality to be simply a matter of whim.
And one man's whim is as good as another's, if that's all it is.
The whole thing is fascinating to me, watching a set of absolute moral codes develop among people who utterly reject absolutes, and swear that there is no such thing.  They're creating as rigid a system of ethical rules and blue laws as any Puritan ever did while claiming the high road of freedom and condemning their enemies as being so legalistic and tyrannical.  No hate, except the people you say are haters, then you can hate them doubleplusgood. 
The blindness is astounding.  Foolish.  Insane.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

TODAY'S GOOD GIRL

Recently I posted on the way people are letting the most crazy stuff infiltrate their lives as the world gets stranger and more radical in its push to the left.  Here's a good example of that effect:
I’d always been “the good girl,” and had slept with only three guys before getting involved with Scott at the age of 26. I was pretty conservative.
Now its "pretty conservative" and being the "good girl" to only sleep with three guys before getting married.  Wow, she was practically a virgin!
The story is about a woman who slutted it up for a year, with 12 complete strangers, because her sex life with her husband had become "boring" and "in a rut."  Apparently she was unable to work out that sex with each guy was the same mechanical act, and the only change would be betrayal of her vows and the inability to be with her husband again without all those memories and experiences.
The entire article is basically an attempt to defend her actions while describing the process of finding these guys in details to interest readers without giving too many away for public reading.  And its all pretty sad.
But that quote really stood out to me.  Good girl.  Conservative.  Madness.

Friday, March 13, 2015

A MAD WORLD RUN BY FOOLS

"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act."
-George Orwell

For those of you who are not conservatives, I'd like to give you a glimpse into what its like to live in today's world.  For those of you who are, maybe this will help you clarify and think through some things you face and frustrations you feel.
Imagine that you are sane.  Now, imagine that you wake up one day, and almost all of the rest of the world has gone insane.  Not 'wow things are crazy' but actually, clinically raving lunatics.  They're mentally damaged - nearly everyone - and so many are so that they declare this totally normal.
So now having mumbled conversations with yourself or your dog, seeing things, deciding you are an important historical figure and living that out, etc, that's all perfectly normal and the average person is this way.
Now imagine you have to try to work and live among these people all the time.  They argue down is up, that they are swimming in the ocean instead of driving a car, that they are a talking goose, that women are actually made of small bits of straw, that cats are the highest being and should be venerated and protected, pretty much every day some new insanity is insisted upon.  Not just by a few people, but by many, in places of authority, education, entertainment, and in the news.
These ideas aren't argued for, they are simply assumed, insisted upon, and forced upon everyone else.  Movies and TV suddenly take one of these ideas and present it not just as normal, but so normal and right that anyone who differs is portrayed as not confused or wrong but evil, as a horrific person that must be stopped.
Imagine that you're part of a small group that sees how crazy this is, how foolish the world has become, and all around you it keeps getting randomly and irrationally worse.  That each day you wonder what lunacy you're going to have to deal with.
Imagine that life, what stress it is on you.  More than a few would likely start to give in.  After all, so many people must be right, they can't all be crazy. It must be sane people that are damaged and they should change, keep up with the times.  Its all around you, surely it can't be all that crazy, right?
More than a few would pretend to go along with it, just because its safer that way and they won't stand out, be noticed, be attacked or accused.  People who know better would begin to dress with their pants on their head and hats on their feet, fake talking to an invisible person near them, and go along with the scene.  You meet girls that way.  You can't get hired if you don't play along.  People stare at you and think you're weird if you don't act the same.  All your friends are saying it, and you don't want to seem odd.  And besides, the cool people all are this way, it must be cool for me to do it too.
And you know, if you fake something long enough, at least part of you begins to believe it and live it for real.
Such a world would be a mad world, run by fools.  It would be upside down, wrong, basically messed up at a fundamental, core level.  And most of the people who are insane in it aren't actually trying to cause trouble or hurt you, they are either just living their lives or going along so they won't be hurt themselves.  They're part of the crowd, the mob.
Thus it feels to live as a conservative.  You know what is right, you know what is sane, and you know what the problems are with what the left keeps pushing the nation into.  You can see right through the lies and insanity, but few want to listen, and the ones in power have the might to punish you for not being one of them.  Just ask the groups audited and leaned on by the IRS under Lois Lerner, by the EPA, by federal programs such as Operation Choke Point.  Ask cake companies penalized for not making someone a cake, and told that they are violating a basic constitutional right... to have a cake baked for you.
This isn't odd, its insane.  Being told that men can marry men is like being told that cats can fly and rule the world.  Its not a different viewpoint, its lunacy.  And every day it seems like the lunacy gets pushed further and further.  Either you go along so you're with the current... or you have to fight it every stroke of the way and get bashed by debris as you fight.
Every day.
A while back, Bill Whittle did a bit in which he discussed the concept of "gaslighting" which comes from an old psychological thriller by the name Gaslight.  In essence, the villain who among other things keeps changing the level of the lights in a house and when his wife says they are changing, he says she's crazy, and its always been the same.  After a while she starts wondering not what is wrong with the lights, but what is wrong with herWhittle explains this concept and how Gaslighting is used in modern culture to get you to start questioning what you know to be true because why would people lie?
Theodore Dalrymple earlier explained this concept in terms of what totalitarian communist nations would do:
In my study of communist societies, I came to the conclusion that the purpose of communist propaganda was not to persuade or convince, nor to inform, but to humiliate; and therefore, the less it corresponded to reality the better. When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is to co-operate with evil, and in some small way to become evil oneself. One's standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control
Its the same kind of crazy: you're confronted by what you know is nonsense over and over by authorities and what feels like a majority, until you break and give in, or the fight becomes overwhelming.  And most give in, after a while.
The Big Lie follows the same pattern - people are more likely to believe that an authority or group of people considered authorities are somehow right even when they are saying things that are in direct opposition to what they know to be true.  If the entire government of the US said, without blinking or correction, that up was down, after a while, the meanings would switch.  Its how the Ministry of Information in 1984 worked.  We have always been at war with Eastasia.  We have never been at war with Eurasia.
All the books say it.  All the authorities say it.  Your neighbors start to say it, having fallen for it or wanting to be accepted and go along.  How long will you fight for what you know to be true?
In a world where people have rejected absolute, objective standards - where there's no outside standard of right and wrong that we can appeal to and look toward - all that's left is what you feel inside and what the majority seems to hold.  Or what people in power insist upon.
And without that rock solid foundation to stand on, you have no footing to push back against it all.  And even the strongest of us, the boldest, the most eager to fight back eventually get ground down and either give in or fall by the wayside.
That's what its like folks.  That's what conservatives see in the world around us.  A world where even people who claim to be conservative keep giving in on things like abortion, promiscuity, pornography, homosexuality, and so on.  Where even people who are supposed to be conservative shout "there ought to be a law!"
And on the left, the same people who would first shout "lunatic" when someone called their opponents communist or extremist.... are the first to shout "fascist" and extremist against their foes.  The hicks and knuckle dragging idiots on the right are rightly mocked and derided for saying Obama is a double secret Muslim, but praised and endeared for saying President Bush deliberately sent planes into the Twin Towers - or set bombs and blamed Muslims.
Say that Democrats are riddled with communists who hate America and many on the right shun you.  Say Bush killed thousands of Americans to start a war to avenge his daddy and you get a seat of honor at the Democratic National Convention and nobody blinks an eye.
I imagine it was awfully hard for folks in the 1930s to fight against racism and poor treatment of women.  They probably thought the world was crazy and it was a hopelessly immense burden to lift it all.  So I'm not saying there's no hope here.  Only that the cultural tide is so vastly against what I know to be true and good and just that its like living in a mad world run by fools.
And I want to encourage people on the right to stand fast, to not give in, but at the same time to be patient, understanding, compassionate, and gentle with those who have.  Not everyone who goes along with the madness is themselves insane.  For some its a matter of survival, coping with family and friends, or just plain lacking the footing to push back.