Helping At A Food Pantry

Last week I spent one morning helping at a charity food pantry (i.e., non-profit welfare line) in the ghetto of what once was a really nice part of what was once one of the more cultured and wealthy cities in the country. It was in the basement of a dying church that was a cornerstone of the community when it was built in the 20s, but today the descendants of the founders have all moved into the western suburbs.

We all know that I love all the little nigra chil’ren of the world. I had thought about flying to Nigeria to help people with a different skin color than me, but then I realized that was stupid.

Nine o’ clock. The doors open, and you would think it was nigger Christmas. They poured in ready for their presents. Nothing like the handout line to bring the smiling faces. I felt like 10% less guilty for being one of the winners of history.

I think I saw maybe three non-Blacks total. Some people were genuinely crippled, and I also understand that after ten years on crack you can’t just hold a job and have a normal life. But I’ve always been very ambivalent about these organizations ever since reading Robert Lupton’s Toxic Charity. We criticize the welfare system because the government does it, and then we go and create our own welfare system. How does this not turn people into beggars? This does the polar opposite of creating an autonomous, self-sufficient Black community.

Nor are they homeless people. They are people with (broken) families that can’t afford 69-cent cans of beans.

But anyway, some I’m sure had real needs, and several were physically disabled, so whatever. As long as the crack addicts and transvestites of St Louis give us a fake smile, it’s all worth it.

Now some people will say, “Oh those people should just take care of themselves. There’s no shortage of thrift stores and Dollar Generals.” But let’s be realistic. Is there any evidence anywhere in the world that more than 10 or 20 percent of Africans are able to function in a modern Western society? McDonald’s doesn’t want to hire a functional retard who is missing half his motor skills. These people are poor and dumb and should have stayed on the plantation where they got three meals a day, but we screwed that up, so now we have to give them expired cans of green beans.

White people are so racist, we feed our slaves even when they don’t work for us anymore.

And yes, it is totally possible to both have compassion on someone and realize that they aren’t remotely your equal in any possible way except in the eyes of God. You can do both.

Naturally the single mothers let their kids run around unsupervised. One little girl spilled her drink at least twice, which I knew would happen but had no way to prevent it because the mother had wandered off. And then I couldn’t clean it up — we didn’t have any paper towels out, because the manager said that the people will just steal them.

I thought about how in a few years that little girl, no matter how adorable and innocent she may look now, will almost certainly have a bunch of stupid piercings and get pregnant by someone she knows doesn’t care about her in the hope that the baby might. Like by the age of thirteen. There’s also a decent chance she has an uncle who will rape her by eleven, because black girls go through puberty at eight these days and Africans don’t care about White people concepts like consent or morality.

Another man licked his hands “clean” before touching the tongs for the free cookies. It’s a jungle out there.

Driving home on the interstate, I passed a beautiful old Catholic church that looked like Notre Dame. It was surrounded by crumbling brick houses and a BP gas station where you can buy crack and get shot.

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A Defense Of Donald Trump: Four Reasons

I’ve been reading a lot of Andrew Anglin lately. Obviously I don’t agree with him on everything, but what compels me to keep reading is his gift for non-fiction prose. You will learn more about how to write from reading him, Chateau Heartiste and Delicious Tacos than you will getting a graduate degree in English.

I think the funniest thing I’ve heard all week was from his website, either, “The Jews didn’t give Judas $40 for saying Jesus was a terrorist – they paid him to dox Our Lord.”, or, “And this is why I am telling you: get right with the real and only true GOD, Jesus Christ, as he is the only one who is going to be able to jam the guns of the Jews.”

He recently put out an article, “Is There Anyone Other Than Outright Shills Trying to Defend the Orange Cheeto Man?”. And so I’m going to do that now. Four reasons that, warts and all, I still worship at Donald Trump’s altar.

1. Donald Trump has made the media and activists commit suicide.

If nothing else, for this alone I will be eternally grateful. For too long the media and activists declared themselves to be society’s moral police, and people mostly went along with it out of fear. Donald Trump very quickly and irrevocably broke them. People can bitch all they want about how ugly politics has gotten, but in thirty years people will be grateful that we no longer live under the boot heel of the activists.

Even if he becomes a total Romney controlled opposition sellout, that he robbed the activists of their moral authority is worth our eternal gratitude, and it’s not something any other Republican would have ever dared to do. And apparently it was really easy. All it takes is courage.

Trump began his campaign by saying something vaguely racist about how the dregs of Mexican society are coming here. Macy’s discontinued their sponsorship of his line of ties. I figured that he would buckle with grovelling apologies, but instead he steamrolled on. When he refused to apologize, I knew that he would be our next president. He was the only candidate willing to say what most Americans were secretly thinking.

The biggest reason the left-wing hates him is because he demonstrated that their only weapon is their words and that the solution is as simple as ignoring them. When you ignore their cries of racism, they have nothing left to attack you with.

That’s my president.

2. He’s the closest thing to a third party president we will ever have.

People wanted a third party political outsider. They complained that there’s never any difference between the candidates and that the issues were all pre-approved. Well here you go. This is as close as you’re going to get. This is your Dixiecrat George Wallace.

So far he has failed to build a border wall, and it doesn’t really matter if he gave it an A+ effort or not, because the effect is still the same. We have no wall. We’ve de-escalated our never-ending wars, though that could always change. The ZOG continues to tighten its grip on Heritage America. There’s little to no slowdown of immigration, and most Whites can’t bother to care. The gays have multiplied their bullying tactics beyond what I thought was possible, and Trump has largely ignored the child drag queens and public schools.

If Donald Trump could not or would not solve these problems, then it shows that these problems will not be solved. There’s a bitter black pill. The only person who might have been able to turn back the clock was Donald Trump. That these problems continue to get worse only prove that democracy has been, is and will continue to be an utter failure.

I think that’s the real lesson from Donald Trump. The problems are not fixable. Bring in a mad dog from the outside, and all he will do is slow down the implosion.

3. He has reintroduced American cultural norms.

You know who has nothing in common with almost any American citizen? The dumb Somalian congresswoman from Minnesota. She speaks English, and that’s about the only thing I can think of that reflects American culture. She doesn’t even know you aren’t allowed to criticize the Jews.

Donald Trump uses Christmas and Easter to talk about Christian doctrine. Yes, obviously he is not a theological powerhouse, but that he tries to normalize faith as a normal part of American discourse is huge. And of course he instructed the IRS to quit harassing churches, something that the Bushes and Reagan never did despite the undying support of the religious right.

People criticize him for how he responds to critics, but I think it’s fantastic. He doesn’t meekly yield like Bush Jr always did. He slaps them back and lets people know what the reality is. He is bold and outspoken and doesn’t carefully plan every speech.

The president does not just make laws; he sets a tone for the culture. Clinton brought back the trendy liberalism of the 60s. Bush Jr made America a place where moderately conservative Christianity was a consumable product. Obama turned America into a gay disco where the niggers burn down their own neighborhood every time a cop does his job. Trump is bringing back cowboy America. He is the lovechild of Andrew Jackson, Teddy Roosevelt and Richard Nixon, and that’s an America we have not seen in a long time.

4. I trust him.

This one isn’t quantifiable. Other people can look at the same data and come to a different conclusion. I respect that.

The Wall is the only major campaign promise he hasn’t kept, and currently they are fighting it out in the courts. Tensions with Russia have de-escalated. So far our ZOG wars are minimal. ISIS has been exterminated. The GDP is soaring, along with wages and employment. NAFTA is dead, which I thought would be the most difficult campaign promise for him to keep. The UN and NATO have been slapped down. The environmentalists are politically irrelevant. The Supreme Court is relatively conservative (i.e., constitutional). Over 100 judges have been approved. Regulations are slashed. People have hope.

I grew up evangelical protestant in the Bush years. Abortion was a hysterical issue for a lot of people, and I became very burned out on the pro-life rhetoric. While I have never supported abortion, I always knew that voting Republican isn’t going to change anything beyond some minor funding. Now to my great surprise there is a small possibility that abortion could become totally illegal or at least kicked back down to the states. And I’m finding, again to my great surprise, a vast amount of otherwise very secular people who have become very anti-abortion and anti-homosexuality. The younger generations have woken up to the reality of what it means to live in a Babylon, and they are disgusted with it.

Donald Trump sacrificed everything to save an ungrateful nation. I don’t believe he would go through all of that just to betray us. Every time it seems like he is about to sell us out, he holds the line. There has been no major upswing in immigration. There has been no real prosecution of the far-right. There has been no escalation in ugly desert shithole wars. Over the last year, Donald Trump declared the national emergency to allocate funds for the wall, he finally appointed an aggressive AG who go to war with the Democrats and deep state, and he gutted out the moderate cuck Republicans in congress.

I have ceased doubting him and learned to just trust that Donald Trump has our best interest at heart and will do the right thing.

It’s like having Batman for president.

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Dark Phoenix Was A Great Movie

Apparently critics hated it and it lost a ton of money. Andrew Anglin said it’s because the star actress is fat and ugly, which I don’t think is fair or even true. She’s okay-looking. Not stunning, but not at all ugly. Certainly not ugly enough to tank an entire movie by herself, though I’m sure she’s an idiot Hollywood liberal who assumes she makes less money than men.

I saw Dark Phoenix on a weekday a week after it came out, because I hate crowds at the theater and I just assumed that opening week would be packed. And I had a voucher for a free ticket. To my surprise, there was maybe half a dozen people in the whole theater.

I really appreciated how they didn’t bother with continuity with the previous films while still existing in the same universe. This allowed them to avoid the baggage of making a continuous story but also without having to re-explain everything, and thus they could build a really good story from the source material without the extra propping needed for a stand alone film or reboot. I didn’t understand all of what was going on, but I didn’t need to. The sets were the same from the original films, even though clearly the characters went in different directions.

I found this work-around extremely brilliant, and I’m sure it’s half the reasons critics and audiences hated it.

Comic book franchises don’t exist within a perfect canon. Like Greek mythology, there are reboots and re-tellings and re-imaginings of the same characters for different times. I most especially how they reused Mystique/Raven, making her a good character but with the same basic motivations as her villain character in the original movies. (I haven’t read the comic books, so I’m only vaguely familiar with the source material from Wikipedia.)

Thus Dark Phoenix had a lot of the themes of relationships and ethics that made the first films so good. Themes about sacrifice, surrogate families, loving someone despite their dangers, the ethics of how to use your gifts, the ethics of advice, authority and intervention, the ethics of autonomy, the ethics of public image. The scene where Raven approaches Jean, quietly telling her that she loves her because she’s her family, knowing that Jean will likely kill her, and it’s so quiet that you can barely hear because of how loud Jean’s inner world is, was especially touching, and it couldn’t have happened if the movie tried to make perfect continuity with the expository interpretation of the decades-long franchise from 2000.

But the X-Men film franchise is twenty years old and has none of the original actors. The superhero genre, despite whatever success Marvel Studios is still having, is dying. You can only tell these stories the same way over and over.

I didn’t see the last several X-men films, for that very reason. You can only recreate the magic so many times. I’m not even sure which ones I saw. Looking at Wikipedia, I saw the one where he went to Japan, but I remember almost nothing about it. And I saw the one with the time machine, which again I don’t really remember. If those sound stupid, that’s because they were.

I saw Dark Phoenix because I heard something about the purist fans being upset that the third film ruined the phoenix storyline from the comic books. And because I had a free voucher.

Critics also hated Bad Teacher. At this point I just assume that if they hate a movie it’s probably pretty good.

The only superhero franchise I care about is Batman, because the villains are usually villains of ideology. But even then, I’ve seen almost nothing after the Christopher Nolan movies. I might see the upcoming Joker movie, but I think I heard something about how it’s really about refugees or global warming. Last year I read Alan Moore’s The Killing Joke, which was terrible no matter how many ways I tried to convince myself otherwise, and Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns, which might have actually been better than Watchmen. And I watched nearly all of the first two seasons of the 1960s show before I decided I was wasting my life.

While on the topic (wildly divergent from the original blog post theme), everyone misunderstood the 2008 The Dark Knight. Heath Ledger’s Joker was a two-dimensional prop, and he was that way by design. The movie was actually about Aaron Eckhardt’s Two-Face. It was about Nietzchean themes of looking into the abyss and succumbing to it, and the Joker merely pushed Two-Face in a certain direction. The story was about how we react to the loss of loved ones and the failure of those who were supposed to be good, and that’s not something relevant to the Joker, because we don’t know anything about his character. No one picked up on that, because we live in Babylon with air conditioning.

Anyway, if you don’t have to pay $11, Dark Phoenix is a great film. Very human themes about the ethics of care. I’ve always said that the true test in any fantasy-type story is that if you remove the special context, does it still hold up as a good story? The Harry Potter books were a C at best. The Gotham City Sirens comic book series was a B+. Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy was an A+++. I’d give Dark Phoenix an A-.

The First Blast Of The Trumpet Against The Monstrous Regiment Of The Book of Concord

At the insistence of a different Lutheran-aspirant friend from the one who made me originally read The Augsburg Confession, I have made another analysis of Lutheran confessional documents. I could give a bunch of back history to what all this means, but if it’s the kind of thing you care about, then you’ll already know the context. Suffice it to say that The Book of Concord is the set of documents that conservative Lutherans swear in blood to believe in its fullness.

And again, I have a lot of respect for traditional Lutheranism. They got a lot right that a lot of other protestant groups got wrong. Ultimately I think their flaw was that their vision was short-sighted. What I see in the Book of Concord is a community trying very hard to be faithful to the Bible and to historic Christianity but unsure of what the implications of that are.

Other interesting articles on how Orthodoxy relates to Lutheranism can be found here and here. My previous treatment on Lutheranism is here, and you can also read my very long explanation of what Biblical monasticism looks like. My analysis and philosophy of Greek New Testament critical texts is here.

A big thank you to New Advent and BookofConcord.com for making the primary source documents available. All Bible quotations are NKJV (I’m going to try to start respecting copyright laws regarding citations).

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The First Blast of the Trumpet against the Monstrous Regiment of The Book of Concord

First Thesis

The Large Catechism says,

1] As monastic vows directly conflict with the first chief article, they must be absolutely abolished. For it is of them that Christ says, Matt. 24:5,23ff : I am Christ, etc. 2] For he who makes a vow to live as a monk believes that he will enter upon a mode of life holier than ordinary Christians lead, and wishes to earn heaven by his own works not only for himself, but also for others; this is to deny Christ. 3] And they boast from their St. Thomas that a monastic vow is equal to Baptism. This is blasphemy [against God].

The Augsburg Confession has a similar notion.

Jesus, Paul, and John the Baptist were all overtly monastic. So were Elijah and Noah in the Old Testament (Noah did not procreate until he was 500 years old and after God told him that the world would end, and only his son Ham had sexual relations during the flood). The Augsburg Confession quotes Augustine and Ambrose as authoritative and says that the Church must adhere to the Nicene Creed, yet all these ancient Christians referenced by The Augsburg Confession were monastic.

Matthew 19:10 His disciples said to Him, “If such is the case of the man with his wife, it is better not to marry.” 11 But He said to them, “All cannot accept this saying, but only those to whom it has been given: 12 For there are eunuchs who were born thus from their mother’s womb, and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He who is able to accept it, let him accept it.”

Therefore, according to Jesus, celibacy is a spiritual gift. However, The Book of Concord says that someone would only be celibate if he wanted to earn his way to heaven. So did Paul, whose writings form the basis of faith-only soteriology, wish to earn his way to heaven? Should John the Baptist have left the Jordan River to have a nice house with a television and three square meals a day? Did Jesus waste his life as a lonely virgin who fasted forty days in the wilderness?

This is a minimalist morality, that anyone who wants to do more than the minimum must have something wrong with their soul.

Matthew 19:21 Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”

Why does Lutheranism teach that no one should aspire to perfection?

I could understand if The Book of Concord said that late Renaissance Catholic monasticism was very errant and that we need to return to the models laid out by Augustine and Benedict or if it tried to build an ascetic philosophy from the Bible alone. But instead The Book of Concord just wants to burn it all down.

Second Thesis

The Small Catechism says,

Confession embraces two parts: the one is, that we confess our sins; the other, that we receive absolution, or forgiveness, from the confessor, as from God Himself, and in no wise doubt, but firmly believe, that our sins are thereby forgiven before God in heaven.

The confessor is instructed to say,

Dost thou believe that my forgiveness is God’s forgiveness? […] And by the command of our Lord Jesus Christ I forgive thee thy sins,

To my understanding, the only other part of The Book of Concord that addresses the sacrament of confession is The Augsburg Confession.

1] Of Confession they teach that Private Absolution ought to be retained in the churches, although in confession 2] an enumeration of all sins is not necessary. For it is impossible according to the Psalm: Who can understand his errors? Ps. 19:12.

The Large Catechism does not address this topic, except that concerning The Apostles’ Creed it says,

We further believe that in this Christian Church we have forgiveness of sin, which is wrought through the holy Sacraments and Absolution, moreover, through all manner of consolatory promises of the entire Gospel.

What is not stated is who the confessor is. Does he have to be a pastor, or can any layman hear confession? If the confessor does not grant absolution, does this mean that God will not forgive the person? Does this conflict with the protestant notion that Christ alone is the mediator between God and man? Can’t God alone forgive sins [Mark 2]? From where does the confessor receive his power? What if I don’t trust my pastor? Is the confessor under a sacred bond to never reveal what is confessed no matter what? Can I start my own nondenominational megachurch Grace Life River Pointe and tell the people that I have the power to forgive their sins? Does every LCMS parish require all their congregants to confess their sins to the pastor?

This topic is woefully under-explained. You could write a seven-to-ten-page-double-spaced college paper on the doctrine of the sacrament of confession. It would be understandable if the Catechism merely said, “Make sure you confess your sins to each other, because accountability is very important and the Devil works best when we are isolated and ashamed of our sins.” But instead they make this into a metaphysical sacrament with eschatological and soteriological implications, and then they never explain how that works in relation to everything else they teach.

Third Thesis

The Augsburg Confession, in its first article, says

Our Churches, with common consent, do teach that the decree of the Council of Nicaea concerning the Unity of the Divine Essence and concerning the Three Persons, is true and to be believed without any doubting;

[Nicaea, also spelled Nicea or Nice, was the first of the seven (or eight or nine or maybe ten, depending on how you count) of the ecumenical councils, sometimes called universal councils.]

But do Lutherans accept Nicaea in totality? Nicaea also had various canons about Church governance. For example, the fourth canon [a rule to govern the Church that was often passed at these councils] says,

It is by all means proper that a bishop should be appointed by all the bishops in the province; but should this be difficult, either on account of urgent necessity or because of distance, three at least should meet together, and the suffrages of the absent [bishops] also being given and communicated in writing, then the ordination should take place. But in every province the ratification of what is done should be left to the Metropolitan.

So clearly there was a belief at Nicaea that the Church has a strict, formal structure with ongoing succession from the Apostles. Why does The Book of Concord accept only one part of Nicaea and disregard the rest? The same people who wrote that creed are the same people who wrote the above canon and believed in very non-Lutheran things like monasticism and prayer to the saints. Are these men of Nicaea both heretics and God-inspired? Can you atomize the parts of their ideology from each other?

An ideology exists as a whole. You cannot pick out the parts you don’t like and then accept the Swiss cheese as a complete belief system.

Basil of Caesarea (AD 330 – AD 379) wrote,

According to the blameless faith of the Christians which we have obtained from God, I confess and agree that I believe in one God the Father Almighty; God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Ghost; I adore and worship one God, the Three. I confess to the oeconomy of the Son in the flesh, and that the holy Mary, who gave birth to Him according to the flesh, was Mother of God. I acknowledge also the holy Apostles’, prophets, and martyrs; and I invoke them to supplication to God, that through them, that is, through their mediation, the merciful God may be propitious to me, and that a ransom may be made and given me for my sins. Wherefore also I honour and kiss the features of their images, inasmuch as they have been handed down from the holy Apostles’, and are not forbidden, but are in all our churches.

This same Basil, who would be a heretic and idolator by Lutheran standards, is quoted as authoritative in The Solid Declaration of the Formula of Concord, articles I “Original Sin” and VIII “The Person of Christ”.

Furthermore, the Nicene Creed quoted in The Book of Concord is not actually the creed formulated at Nicaea. The original said,

We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of all things visible and invisible; and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the only-begotten of his Father, of the substance of the Father, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten (γεννηθέντα), not made, being of one substance (ὁμοούσιον, consubstantialem) with the Father. By whom all things were made, both which be in heaven and in earth. Who for us men and for our salvation came down [from heaven] and was incarnate and was made man. He suffered and the third day he rose again, and ascended into heaven. And he shall come again to judge both the quick and the dead. And [we believe] in the Holy Ghost. And whosoever shall say that there was a time when the Son of God was not (ἤν ποτε ὅτε οὐκ ἦν), or that before he was begotten he was not, or that he was made of things that were not, or that he is of a different substance or essence [from the Father] or that he is a creature, or subject to change or conversion [τρεπτὸν in Greek; convertibilem in Latin] — all that so say, the Catholic and Apostolic Church anathematizes them.

The ending about the Holy Spirit was added at the next council, and so sometimes the full creed is referred to as the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed.

And in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver-of-Life, who proceeds from the Father, who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified, who spoke by the prophets. And in one, holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. We acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins, [and] we look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen.

And yet neither the actual creed of Nicaea, nor the addendum of Constantinople, is recited in The Book of Concord, for their Creed adds the phrase “and the Son” after “who proceeds from the Father”, according to the papists, teaching the double procession of the Holy Ghost. It has been most clearly documented that this is an innovation of the papists and was not confessed by those at Nicaea.

Does the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod believe that the Pope has more authority than the Fathers at Nicaea? By what authority does The Book of Concord include the phrase “and the Son”? The only authority that has ever granted this inclusion is the Pope of Rome, and the LCMS believes that this inclusion is authoritative and absolutely beyond compromise. Therefore, the Lutheran Church believes that the Pope of Rome has the authority to change doctrine and over-ride the conciliarity of the Church, even though later universal councils explicitly taught that the Creed should never be changed (particularly the Council of 431 in its seventh canon).

What does the Lutheran Church really believe about the Fathers of Nicaea? Are they only authoritative on this one document, which is also believed to have been inadequate (since it did not yet say “and the Son”), and that all other doctrine believed by these same ancient Fathers is questionable at best? Was Nicaea a fluke of history, a gamble that happened to get the right answer despite the wrong methodology? Was the later addition of “and the Son” a similar gamble and fluke with the right answer despite all the wrong premises? How much authority does the Pope actually have in Lutheranism?

The Book of Concord does not address these questions. Personally, I NEVER allow the Pope to tell me how to pray or what to believe.

Not only is the phrase “and the Son” a documented papist addition, it is also against what the Bible teaches.

John 14:16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever.

And,

John 15:26 But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me.

Clearly it is not Jesus Who sends the Spirit, but rather the Father Who sends the Spirit on behalf of Jesus’s prayers. That’s what the Bible says. Double procession is the tradition of man.

Fourth Thesis

The sixth article of The Augsburg Confession says,

Also they teach that one holy Church is to continue forever. The Church is the congregation of saints, in which the Gospel is rightly taught and the Sacraments are rightly administered.

Yet they believe that the entire Church, East and West, fell into error by teaching monasticism, icon veneration, a strict Church structure, and prayer to the saints. This article is self-contradictory.

Furthermore, the Church of the first several centuries (and still today in the Orthodox East) baptized with full immersion and used leavened bread in the Eucharist. This is also clear from the Gospels. Jesus was not sprinkled by John the Baptist, nor did he distribute a tortilla to the disciples. Leavened bread is used, because it is the risen bread that becomes the body of the risen Savior.

Sometimes protestants justify a sprinkling baptism because Moses sprinkled blood on the Israelites at Mount Sinai. However, that is not referred to as baptism in the text, nor is it the model that Jesus and the apostles gave. The Greek word “baptizein” means “to dip” — Plato used it in The Symposium to describe getting drunk.

Sprinkling baptism and unleavened bread are the traditions of man, initiated by the papist schism. Why does the Lutheran Church allow the Pope to dictate how they administer the sacraments?

Therefore, because the Lutheran Church does not use the administer the sacraments rightly, it is not part of the Church, according to its own confession.

Fifth Thesis

After the Preface, The Book of Concord opens with the section The Three Ecumenical or Universal Creeds. However, none of these creeds were ever in any way universal to the entire Church. All of them are of uncertain origin and never authorized by anyone except the Pope of Rome, whom the Lutheran Church believes to be an antichrist.

The issues with the imputed Nicene Creed have already been discussed. The Nicene Creed of The Book of Concord has as much in common with the original Nicene-Constantinoplian Creed as the New World Translation of the Bible has in common with the actual Bible.

The Apostles’ Creed and The Athanasian Creed were never confirmed by a universal council, and the universal councils actually forbid the addition of other creeds.

The Apostles’ Creed isn’t really bad, but it’s very insufficient. It does not clarify the doctrines of the Trinity or Incarnation or explain salvation. There is nothing in The Apostles’ Creed that a Mormon would disagree with. I do not understand why anyone would prefer the Apostles’ Creed over the Nicene Creed, except either to accommodate people’s short attention span or to accommodate people’s heresy. The Apostles’ Creed could cast a wide net to extend the hand of fellowship to Joyce Meyer and Joel Osteen.
The Athanasian Creed is heresy. For one thing, it teaches the double procession of the Holy Ghost,

The Father is made of none: neither created nor begotten. The Son is of the Father alone; not made, nor created, but begotten. The Holy Ghost is of the Father and of the Son: neither made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding.

This sets the Trinity up as a dualism. Some veins of historic Catholicism taught that the Holy Spirit is a kind of pre-eternal, abstract and impersonal creation generated out of the love between the Father and Son.

Thomas Aquinas in High Theology, Question 36, said,

Now it is a property of love to move and impel the will of the lover towards the object loved. Further, holiness is attributed to whatever is ordered to God. Therefore because the divine person proceeds by way of the love whereby God is loved, that person is most properly named “The Holy Ghost.” […] Now it is a property of love to move and impel the will of the lover towards the object loved. Further, holiness is attributed to whatever is ordered to God. Therefore because the divine person proceeds by way of the love whereby God is loved, that person is most properly named “The Holy Ghost.” […] Furthermore, the order of the procession of each one agrees with this conclusion. For it was said above (I:27:4; I:28:4), that the Son proceeds by the way of the intellect as Word, and the Holy Ghost by way of the will as Love. Now love must proceed from a word. For we do not love anything unless we apprehend it by a mental conception. Hence also in this way it is manifest that the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Son. […] When the Holy Ghost is said to rest or abide in the Son, it does not mean that He does not proceed from Him; for the Son also is said to abide in the Father, although He proceeds from the Father. Also the Holy Ghost is said to rest in the Son as the love of the lover abides in the beloved; or in reference to the human nature of Christ, by reason of what is written: “On whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending and remaining upon Him, He it is who baptizes” (John 1:33). […] for He proceeds from them as the unitive love of both.

This is the basis for Lutheran theology. One could make the argument that Aquinas did the best he could within his context, but extending that benefit-of-the-doubt does not make the fruit any better. I do not know why Lutheranism relies upon medieval papist theology instead of the early Fathers or even the Bible itself.

The second heresy of the Athanasian Creed is monophysitism.

One, not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh, but by taking the manhood into God;

Monophysitism teaches that Christ’s humanity was absorbed into his divinity. The Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon in 451 dealt with this heresy.

Following, then, the holy Fathers, we all unanimously teach that our Lord Jesus Christ is to us One and the same Son, the Self-same Perfect in Godhead, the Self-same Perfect in Manhood; truly God and truly Man; the Self-same of a rational soul and body; co-essential with the Father according to the Godhead, the Self-same co-essential with us according to the Manhood; like us in all things, sin apart; before the ages begotten of the Father as to the Godhead, but in the last days, the Self-same, for us and for our salvation (born) of Mary the Virgin Theotokos as to the Manhood; One and the Same Christ, Son, Lord, Only-begotten; acknowledged in Two Natures unconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably; the difference of the Natures being in no way removed because of the Union, but rather the properties of each Nature being preserved, and (both) concurring into One Person and One Hypostasis; not as though He were parted or divided into Two Persons, but One and the Self-same Son and Only-begotten God, Word, Lord, Jesus Christ; even as from the beginning the prophets have taught concerning Him, and as the Lord Jesus Christ Himself hath taught us, and as the Symbol of the Fathers hath handed down to us.

And

These things, therefore, having been expressed by us with the greatest accuracy and attention, the holy Ecumenical Synod defines that no one shall be suffered to bring forward a different faith (ἑτέραν πίστιν), nor to write, nor to put together, nor to excogitate, nor to teach it to others. But such as dare either to put together another faith, or to bring forward or to teach or to deliver a different Creed (ἕτερον σύμβολον) to as wish to be converted to the knowledge of the truth, from the Gentiles, or Jews or any heresy whatever, if they be Bishops or clerics let them be deposed, the Bishops from the Episcopate, and the clerics from the clergy; but if they be monks or laics: let them be anathematized.

The papist schism of Western Europe picked up this unauthorized creed with Christological and Triadological heresy laid in it, and then the Lutheranism decided that it was sufficient for confession and teaching merely because it was approved by the Pope.

Why are Lutherans unaware that Jesus Christ was and is fully God and fully man without confusion or division?

One could perhaps make the argument that this is not what the Athanasian Creed is saying. If that be the case, then the Athanasian Creed is, at best, vague and liable towards confusion. It should not be used, because it does not teach clearly.

Furthermore, the addition of any creed would imply that the Nicene Creed is not sufficient. Why, then, is the Nicene Creed insufficient? What information is it lacking that the Apostles’ and Athanasian Creeds contain?

There is exactly one creed that was agreed upon by the whole Church at a universal council, and it is recited every time the Orthodox Church partakes of the Eucharist. I do not know why the Lutherans refuse to include it in The Book of Concord.

Sixth Thesis

The Athanasian Creed also states,

He shall come to judge the quick and the dead. At whose coming all men shall rise again with their bodies, and shall give an account of their own works. And they that have done good shall go into life everlasting; and they that have done evil, into everlasting fire.

This does not seem like a normal Lutheran thing to say. Is The Book of Concord teaching a works- and merit-based salvation? Isn’t eternal life by faith in Jesus Christ alone?
One could make the argument that works are the product of faith and therefore true faith will produce said good works which correlate with “life everlasting”. However, the Athanasian Creed does not qualify this. This is the only place in any of the creeds where the word “works” is used.

Even as an Orthodox Christian, I find this phrasing scandalous. The Athanasian Creed merely states that one must acknowledge that the Incarnation and Trinity are real and then do good stuff. This easily leads to the very Pharisaical attitude that led the Lutherans to reject monasticism.

Jesuits (usually) believe in the Incarnation and Trinity and perform what they believe are good works — is that sufficient for salvation? Or is faith in the blood of Christ alone sufficient for salvation? The Book of Concord is confusing on this topic.

My Church teaches that salvation is the gift and mercy of God apart from any merit you may have, so that you may be transformed into the likeness of Christ. I do not know why the Lutheran Church, in one of its three cornerstone confessions, does not teach this. If for nothing else, because of the Athanasian Creed I could never swear undying loyalty to The Book of Concord as the LCMS requires.

Seventh Thesis

The Apostles’ Creed says that it believes in both “the communion of the saints” and “the life everlasting”. Yet they forbid communion with the Christians who are alive in heaven.
How can one both believe that Jesus Christ has conquered death and also believe that we are separated from other Christians at death? The Small and Large Catechisms do not clarify what the phrase “the communion of the saints” mean. Surely “communion” at least would mean praying together.

And yet, when someone you deeply love dies, do you not speak to their body at the funeral home? Would you really forbid yourself from saying the thing you always meant to say but never got a chance? Do you believe that your hypothetical Baptist pastor grandfather does not care how you live your life, now that he is basking in the eternal rays of the sunshine of the resurrected Lord? Do you believe that Jesus is unable to bridge the gap between you and him, or that “the effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” [James 5:16] only applies to those who have not been perfected yet in the eternal glory? Μη γενοιτο!

But if we are to grant that those alive in heaven have no connection with those on earth, what exactly does this phrase, “the communion of the saints”, mean? In what sense do the saints commune with each other? The Book of Concord does not clarify this phrase — it only knows to accept The Apostles’ Creed because that’s what the Pope usees.

As Basil of Caesarea said above, Christians have always believed in the communion of saints. The Book of Concord‘s prohibition on asking for the prayers of the Christians alive in heaven is as entirely an original innovation as Zwingli’s sacramentology. These are the traditions of man.

Eighth Thesis

This isn’t as much from The Book of Concord itself, but the LCMS frequently uses translations of the Bible like the NIV and ESV which are not based on the Textus Receptus. The WELS claims to normally use the 1984 version of the NIV.

Why does the LCMS and WELS use Bibles created by unitarians, higher critics and liberal mainline protestants? If they, as The Book of Concord says, believe in the unending continuity of the Church, shouldn’t they only use a Bible which is based only on manuscripts preserved by Christians?

For the same reason, the Lutherans began using an Old Testament preserved by non-Christians. Historically the Church has always used the LXX and included the so-called Apocrypha as regular canon without qualification. If The Book of Concord teaches an unbroken succession of the Church and frequently quotes the Fathers of the Church, why does it not use the Bible preserved by that very same Church?

Just as I do not allow the Pope to tell me how to pray or administer sacraments, I also do not allow Jews to tell me what the Old Testament really means.

2 Corinthians 2:14 But [the Jews’] minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ. 15 But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. 16 Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.

Ninth Thesis

As far as I can tell, nowhere in The Book of Concord is the canon of Scripture laid out, nor is the rationale for what books should go into Scripture stated. Why are the books after the prophets but before the New Testament, which do not exist in Hebrew, removed from the Bible? How did the Lutherans decide that James and Hebrews should be kept in the canon of Scripture?

Why does this collection of documents, which is supposed to be the ultimate and final summary of Christianity, not include a list of which books it considers to be Holy Scripture? Is the canon of Scripture irrelevant? Am I free to believe whatever I wish to be Scripture?

If there is no formal Church structure, such as that which produced the ecumenical councils, how does one determine that there are only 66 books, and not 65 or 67? In the 300s and 400s, Revelation was in doubt, because heretical groups often used it. To my understanding, it is almost never quoted or commended during that time from the Fathers of the Church otherwise referenced by The Book of Concord. I know Augustine and Athanasius reference it, but Chrysostom never once preached on it, and many lists of Scripture at the time only had 25 or 26 books of the New Testament. Should we therefore believe that The Book of Concord does not consider Revelation to be Scripture?

How does the LCMS know that Revelation should be included in the canon of Scripture? It cannot appeal to Church Tradition, because that Tradition always included the “Apocrypha”. Nor can it appeal to the ecumenical councils, because the councils never formalized a canon of Scripture, except perhaps in the second canon of the Quini-Sext Council, which ratified the Carthaginian councils, which had ratified the “Apocrypha”.

This is a major oversight of any group wishing to restart the Church from scratch.

Tenth Thesis

The original Reformers, unlike later groups of protestants, often appealed to the Fathers of the first seven or so centuries. They believed in a conciliarity of the Church. For example, John Knox, in his sermon on Isaiah, said,

This saw that notable servant of Jesus Christ, Athanasius, who being exiled from Alexandria by that blasphemous apostate Julian the emperor, said unto his flock, who bitterly wept for his envious banishment, “Weep not, but be of good comfort, for this little cloud will suddenly vanish.” He called both the emperor himself and his cruel tyranny a little cloud; and albeit there was small appearance of any deliverance to the church of God, or of any punishment to have apprehended the proud tyrants, when the man of God pronounced these words, yet shortly after God did give witness, that those words did not proceed from flesh nor blood, but from God’s very Spirit. For not long after, being in warfare, Julian received a deadly wound, whether by his own hand, or by one of his own soldiers, the writers clearly conclude not; but casting his own blood against the heaven, he said, “At last thou hast overcome, thou Galilean:” so in despite he termed the Lord Jesus. And so perished that tyrant in his own iniquity; the storm ceased, and the church of God received new comfort.

The Protestant Reformers at the time truly believed they were returning to the Church of Nicaea, even if this was never explicitly defined. This is especially apparent in The Book of Concord.

The Reformed Episcopal Church, which is a part of ACNA, says,

For these reasons, Anglicans have been manifestly reluctant to definitively enumerate those general or ecumenical councils claimed to have universal affirmation, though the first four ecumenical councils have always been held in special regard within historic Anglicanism.

The Episcopal Church’s website says,

From NT times the church has relied on the decisions of councils called by recognized authority to settle disputes over doctrine and discipline. When a council involves representative bishops from the whole church, it is called “general.” When the decisions of a council are recognized by the whole church, it is called “ecumenical” (from the Greek oikoumen’, “inhabited world”). The terms “general” and “ecumenical” are not quite synonymous. Seven councils are recognized as ecumenical by both eastern and western churches: Nicaea (325), which dealt centrally with the divinity of the Logos; Constantinople (381), which established the formula for expressing the Trinity and dealt with the divinity of the Holy Spirit; Ephesus (431), which decided against Nestorianism and promulgated a definition of the person of Christ; Constantinople II (553); Constantinople III (680-681); and Nicaea II (787). The latter three councils did refining work on the person of Christ and defined the role of images in worship.

Because of their crucial role in defining the doctrine of the Trinity and Incarnation, Anglicans often regard the first four councils as the most important.

The appendix to the 1580 Book of Concord, which is not part of the official book, although the LCMS specifically adheres to the 1580 edition, states,

But since we must not only know and firmly believe that the assumed human nature in the person of Christ has and retains to all eternity its essence and the natural essential attributes of the same, but it is a matter of especial importance, and the greatest consolation for Christians is comprised therein, that we also know from the revelation of the Holy Scriptures, and without doubt believe the majesty to which this His human nature has been elevated in deed and truth by the personal union, and of which it thus has become personally participant, as has been extensively explained in The Book of Concord; accordingly, and in order that likewise every one may see that also in this part the book mentioned has introduced no new, strange, self-devised, unheard-of paradoxes and expressions into the Church of God, the following Catalog of Testimonies — first of all from the Holy Scriptures, and then also of the ancient, pure teachers of the Church, especially, however, of those fathers who were most eminent and leaders in the first four Ecumenical Councils — will clearly show, from which it may be understood how they have spoken concerning this subject.

This is a common attitude among mainline protestants, both conservative and liberal, that the first four councils are authoritative and the three afterwards are authoritative so long as they agree with Scripture, and that there must be a continuity and a conciliarity of the Church to at least the 400s. This may not be an outright dogma, but it’s clearly felt.

Yet the mechanism for another council does not exist. If we need a council to make an authoritative statement for all Christians, there is nothing. At most groups of Christians can produce something like The Book of Concord or The Westminster Confessions, but there are just theological opinions with which onecould make an honest disagreement.

This loss of any conciliarity gives rise to the gross relativism of ecumenism, such as the WCC and the 1999 “Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification” of the Roman Catholic Church and the Lutheran World Federation.

How then does the Lutheran Church believe itself to be in the same continuity of Augustine, Athanasius, Chrysostom and Basil, if it neither holds all the doctrines of those people, nor exists in the same ecclesial structure?

Surely then the Lutheran must admit that even with the best efforts of the best of the Reformers, the Church was not so much reformed as marred, and that the original conciliar structure of the Church of Nicaea is forever gone.

Early Lutherans appealed to the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Constantinople for some kind of recognition, but they could not come to an agreement. As for the Anglicans, the nineteenth of The Articles of Religion states,

As the Church of Jerusalem, Alexandria, and Antioch, have erred; so also the Church of Rome hath erred, not only in their living and manner of Ceremonies, but also in matters of Faith.

So the Reformers soon found themselves not just distanced from the western papist organization, but also from the Eastern Church, which had always rejected the magisterial structure of Catholicism. If one sought to return to the Church of Nicaea and submit himself to the historic Christian faith and all the ways in which The Book of Concord claims the Holy Ghost moved in early centuries, if one wishes for the fullness of the Biblical exegesis of Chrysostom and Basil and Augustine, surely he would become an Eastern Orthodox Christian. For in what regard does the Eastern Orthodox Church disagree with these very Fathers? Indeed, the Ecumenical Council of 553, the fifth in the sequence, states,

We further declare that we hold fast to the decrees of the four Councils, and in every way follow the holy Fathers, Athanasius, Hilary, Basil, Gregory the Theologian, Gregory of Nyssa, Ambrose, Theophilus, John (Chrysostom) of Constantinople, Cyril, Augustine, Proclus, Leo and their writings on the true faith.

Therefore, the claims of historicity and conciliarity of the Lutherans are a fraud. This obvious short-sightedness gave rise to American evangelicalism, in which history doesn’t matter and the text of the Bible is used as a kind of case law.

Thus, as Patriarch Jeremias II wrote to the Lutherans of Tuebingen in 1581, after they tried to seek some form of recognition,

[You] treat these luminaries and theologians of the Church in a different manner. You honor and exalt them in words, but you reject them in deeds. For you try to prove our weapons which are their holy and divine discourses as unsuitable. And it is with these documents that we would have to write and contradict you.

Cultural Ecumenism Week

What’s up, deplorables? It’s cultural ecumenism week.

This week (like, another 22 hours) I’m going to try to find the best in Catholicism. Why? For the mere intellectual exercise. It’s easy to shit on what you hate. The truly difficult task is praising that which you find revolting. So I’m going to find something to praise about Catholicism.

Tonight’s post is brought to you by this video of Muddy Waters playing with The Rolling Stones. If none of those words mean anything to you because Kanye West is your only connection to Black music, then you should kill yourself instead of continue to make America terrible again.

 

Look at that. The race gap bridged. Whites and Blacks brought together through a love of music. Cry me a rainbow.

The website Catholic Exchange lists “Ten Great Things about Catholicism”.

The first entry is “Hope”.

Classical paganism, as we know, always ended in despair — a noble despair sometimes, but despair nevertheless. Eastern religions don’t offer much in the way of hope, as they are tied to doctrines of fate, cycles of history, and a nirvana of extinction. Reformation Protestantism is pretty despairing, too, with Calvin’s belief that it would have been better for most people if they had never been born, predestined as they are for damnation. Secularism and materialism are no better, as wealthy secular societies tend to have the highest rates of suicide.

But in the Catholic Church, there is hope. Salvation is open to every man willing to take it. And though Jesus warned His apostles that following His way meant enduring inevitable persecution and hatred, He also gave them this promise: The gates of hell would not prevail against the Church. Even outsiders recognize this. Who ever heard of a deathbed conversion to Methodism? Hope comes from the Real Thing.

Sure, there’s a real point. No one becomes a Presbyterian on his death bed.

Protestantism did a lot of great things, like mass-produce the Bible and reintroduce the experiential element into Western Christianity. Still, there’s a dreariness to it, even outside of Calvinism. In standard evangelical theology, if an eight-year-old dies without that crucial “getting saved” awakening moment, then he goes to Hell.

In Catholicism, as long as you show up and do what you’re told, then you can go to Heaven. Which, maybe that’s not great theology, but it shows that salvation is available to everyone of all ages.

You have the power to choose in Catholicism. Whether you “got saved” at ten years old at VBS is irrelevant. The choices you make every day matter. So there’s a better sense of accountability.

All right, I recognize that this is another problem area for some milquetoast Catholics, but let’s be blunt: Do we believe in reclaiming the world for Christ and His Church, or don’t we? Medieval knights took that responsibility seriously, wore the cross on their capes and tunics, and prayed and understood an incarnational faith that acted in the world. It was these knights’ defensive war — and the defensive war of the Church and its allies up through the 18th century, for a millennium of Western history — that repelled Islamic aggression and kept western Europe free. For that we should be ashamed? No: It is one of the glories that was Christendom that in the Middle Ages the pope could wave his field marshal’s baton and knights from as far away as Norway — not to mention England, France, and Germany — would come to serve. Men were Catholics first in those days.

In my most vulnerable moments, when I must admit that my ancestors were papists, I can at least take pride that we Britons fought the Crusades. Why? Not for glory, gold and women, but for the glory of God. We took back the Holy Land and made a safe haven for Christians. Yes, some horrendous things happened, but these wars were ultimately defensive. I will never apologize for the crusades.

And look at our wars today. We pansy-ass fight against the Moslems because we are afraid to look racist, and so we are caught in a never-ending war with third-world countries we should have steam-rolled.

Nōn nōbīs, Domine, nōn nōbīs, sed nōminī tuō dā glōriam.

Not to us, Lord, not to us, but to your name give the Glory.

Which was inscribed on the Templars’ flag.

What Orthodox Christian could disagree with this statement? May it be my last dying words.

Ου ημιν, Κυριε, ου ημιν, αλλ ονοματι σου δοξαν διδου.

The Catholic Church, instead, offers a celebration of beauty; and beauty, in our world of pierced faces, body tattoos, gangsta rap, and concrete tower blocks, is something we could use much more of.

Okay, sure, the modern mass is awful. But historically, the Catholic Church built a lot of beauty-ish that is in stark contrast to the ugliness of our times. This is because Catholicism still (at least at one time in history) had a notion of absolutes. Today we believe that everything can be beautiful, and so everything has become ugly.

When the media, Protestants, and dissenters tell practicing Catholics that the impulse to sexual activity is overwhelmingly powerful and can’t be controlled or renounced, Catholics alone say, “No, man is free. All Christians are called to chastity, and what they are called to do, they can do, and some can freely take on celibacy as a sacrifice to better serve God and His Church.”

This is obviously done horribly, but it’s still a valid point. Our society values sex above anything else — even money or power. And the Catholic Church has such a centrality of celibacy that it’s a powerful counter-argument against the “worship of the creation” of our times.

The Catholic Church gets a special hatred by the secularist, and perhaps with some very valid complaints, but I think this is largely because the prots don’t have a teaching on celibacy. Only the Catholic Church gets a special kind of rejoicing from secularists every time there’s a sex scandal. No one cares if a Baptist pastor cheats on his wife.

Consider also how Catholicism transcends culture. From Poland to Colombia to Vietnam, Catholicism has truly transcended all nationality. All it asks is that you come as you are.

Another great thing about Catholicism is the sacrament of confession. Catholicism recognizes that people need accountability. Having to vocalize your sins to another human is much different than silently asking Jesus to forgive you for your sins.

*****

Oh, who am I kidding? Catholicism is the whore of the nations. An antichrist par excellence.

Yes, there are definitely godly Catholics. My employer is a Catholic family, and they seem like really good people. But Catholicism, by and large, is spiritually dead. Any Catholic who is a Christlike person is so in spite of being Catholic instead of because of being Catholic. Catholicism is more likely to make you suck cock than oppose feminism.

People who defend Catholicism have to pull out examples from histories centuries ago and then grossly stereotype them. They try to excise most of modern Catholicism and then defend the Swiss cheese that’s left over. Two problems with this:

1) You cannot isolate the aspects of an ideology from each other. An ideology exists as a whole, warts and all. Somewhere there’s a Nietzsche quote that the fallacies in a belief system are not a flaw but a condition.

So no, you can’t just say that Vatican II “isn’t real Catholicism”. Vatican II is a product of the Catholic mind. In no way was it an accident of history. You can’t arbitrarily decide what you like and dislike from a belief system, especially when what you dislike is the mainstream viewpoint propagated by the formal structure you believe is the ultimate authority for all metaphysical teaching.

To be a non-Vatican II Catholic is like being a non-Calvinist Presbyterian. At that point you should just find a different name.

2) Even pre-Vatican II Catholicism was spiritually dead. Those who try to argue otherwise have an idealized fantasy of the past. Much how evangelical protestants believe that the 1950s were a time when everyone was a Christian who held traditional Christian morality and then burned it down in the mid-60s for no reason.

Catholicism has never really been good. By the 1200s Francis of Assisi had to missionize Catholicism’s own territory. The high middle ages with the glories of scholastic theology ended in the tragedy of the Protestant Reformation. The Counter-Reformation resulted in the St Bartholomew’s Day Massacre and Jesuits tricking Indians into taking baptism.

So no, at no point in any recent history has the Catholic Church been spiritually healthy. This is because the Catholic Church does not have the Holy Spirit.

The Catholic Church does not have the Holy Spirit. How can you claim to be the Church if you don’t have the Spirit? It makes no sense.

John 16:13 But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.

The Catholic Church, obviously, does not have all truth, as evidenced by their history of secularism. Therefore, the Catholic Church does not have the Holy Spirit. Therefore, the Catholic Church isn’t actually the Church.

It’s just basic Aristotelian logic. Something that Catholics should be familiar with.

Why Is The Bible Soft On Slavery?

I just saw The Prince of Egypt for the first time since it came out. It seems to be one of those movies that kids didn’t really understand until twenty years later (c.f., The Iron Giant and Treasure Planet). Visually and musically stunning, I understand why the adults loved it. As an eight-year-old, I was really bothered that there were puddles on the “dry ground” of the Red Sea.

The movie is a little heavy on the social justice abolitionism angle. This makes sense, since it was made by former Disney employees. I get that this is a really pedantic thing to complain about.

So, anyway, why is the Bible soft on slavery? Despite the whole Exodus thing, the Mosaic Law makes allowances for slavery. Most infamously, in the New Testament St Paul tells a runaway slave to return to his master. Not until maybe the 1700s did Christians really concern themselves with slavery.

Of course I want to say that you can’t just the Bible by modern ethics, but the ethics of slavery are so ingrained into our culture that this question is hard to avoid asking. The simple answer would be just to say, “Slavery is totally fine, and slaves should never run away from their masters.” But that doesn’t account for the actual slave trade, where they went to Africa and ripped people out of their homelands. It also doesn’t address the ethics of dividing up families by selling a slave to another plantation in another state.

Some people say that American slavery was unique and that normally slaves have more autonomy. I don’t know. This is probably true.

Okay, so, when the Bible (and particularly the New Testament) talks about obeying civil authority, I think what it’s saying is to not cause social chaos unnecessarily. Obey the emperor, pay your taxes, whatever. Don’t get bogged down in social justice. St Paul didn’t start a slave revolt, because that would cause the government to bring down the hammer even harder.

And another thing. You free the slaves and tell them good luck, and you get modern Baltimore. Aristotle said that slaves are naturally slaves and that it’s a disservice to free them. As I’ve written before, even with all the freedom and education and pandering, Blacks still have no sense of social responsibility, because they still have a slave mentality. The slave doesn’t ask about the viability of the welfare state — he just takes what he’s offered and lets someone else do those calculations, much how the grunt employee asks the business owner for a raise and doesn’t care about labor costs.

When the Hebrews were freed from slavery in Egypt, they had a country to go to. There was a plan to give them a new civilization to live in. There was an existing social infrastructure, with leaders of the community and a nascent theocracy. This is totally different than smuggling negroes to Canada just so that they can get a job mopping floors.

God delivered the Hebrews from slavery not because of social justice or self-determination but because of the covenant he made with Abraham. This was immediately followed by the Mosaic Law, which was a strict set of rules to govern every small aspect of life. So clearly this isn’t the “watch tv and be a poet” careerism we think of as freedom. The freedom from Egypt was the freedom to enter into a deeper submission to God.

What is never addressed is how far is the moral license of a slave escaping. If it’s okay for a slave to run away, is it also okay for him to kill his master? Is it okay for the slave to steal food? These questions are never asked.

I think the position of the Bible is that slavery is a not-ideal thing, and there are allowances in the Mosaic Law to ease the burden. But the Bible, and especially the Mosaic Law, understands the brutalness of human nature. Instead of totally wiping out man’s selfishness, the Law tries to mollify it. So if you conquer another city and want to take a sex prize, there are rules for how you must treat her.

This sounds horrendous to us today, but we live in a society that can allow for a much more advanced morality. And anyway, I don’t pretend to fathom all the depths of the Bible. My natural tendency is to instantly provide an answer for any challenge, but after making enough dumb answers to “Why does the Bible allow rape?”, I’ve learned to just be comfortable saying, “I don’t know. I’ll have to do some research.”

The Bible tolerates slavery but does not encourage it, as it does with polygamy and alcohol.

Furthermore, what is the normal reason people give that slavery is wrong? “Slaves can’t do what they want! People have a right to their own self-determination.”

This idea of self-determination is a new thing. In most of human society, your father is a farmer, so you become a farmer. Whether or not you would rather be a poet is irrelevant. At best your family might be able to apprentice you out for some kind of skilled trade. Maybe you can join a band of thieves.

Our obsession with “following your dreams” is the product of a resource-excessive society. So is mass literacy and democracy. These things don’t exist in most human society for a reason. To super-impose that on a civilization like ancient Rome and then condemn slavery is anachronistic.

So what do I think about slavery, based on what I see in the Bible? I think it’s something society should try to not have, but I also don’t think it’s a sin. I think slave masters are obligated to treat their slaves a certain way, and I think slaves are obligated to follow the law. I am really tired of Christians loudly virtue-signalling how much they oppose slavery, as though it matters.

Nor was slavery the worst labor conditions America has ever thought up. I would strongly argue that that position belongs to coal mining scrip towns. There are things worse than slavery, or at least things just as bad. Blacks in Alabama had to pick cotton. Whites in New York had to live in squalid apartments.

Even today, most people don’t live like Sex and the City. They live paycheck to paycheck working a job they hate. Everything is terrible. Causing a slave revolt in ancient Greece isn’t going to make that better. Just look at Haiti.

Elvis Presley Favorites Playlist

I tried making this on Youtube, but they keep blocking videos. So here it is, having examined almost every non-film studio song he’s done. 100 best, with the top dozen or so at the top and then the rest loosely organized by genre. If you want to know where to start with Elvis Presley that doesn’t include his sappy early hits everyone knows, this is it.

Before I just start, let me say that those early mega hits were all made in Nashville. All music made in Nashville has the life sucked out of it, no matter how much it sells.

This mostly follows his 70s work.

  1. The Wonder of You
  2. I’ll Remember You (live version from Walk a Mile in My Shoes)
  3. An American Trilogy
  4. Bridge Over Troubled Water
  5. Always on My Mind
  6. It’s Impossible
  7. Let It Be Me
  8. If I Can Dream
  9. For the Good Times
  10. The Twelfth of Never (studio outtake)
  11. Unchained Melody
  12. It’s Diff’rent Now (live)
  13. My Way
  14. Bringin’ It Back (dubbed version)
  15. Any Day Now
  16. Long Black Limousine
  17. Kentucky Rain
  18. Suspicious Minds
  19. You’ll Think of Me
  20. In the Ghetto
  21. Mama Liked the Roses
  22. Memories (live, ’68)
  23. The Next Step is Love
  24. Loving Arms
  25. I Just Can’t Help Believin’
  26. Love Coming Down
  27. We Can Make the Morning
  28. Separate Ways
  29. My Boys
  30. Hurt
  31. Twenty Days and Twenty Nights
  32. It’s Your Baby, You Rock It
  33. It’s Midnight
  34. Mary in the Morning
  35. Just Pretend
  36. I’ve Got a Thing about You Baby
  37. Burning Love
  38. Make the World Go Away
  39. It’s Over
  40. Something
  41. You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling
  42. Pledging My Love
  43. Can’t Help Falling in Love (Live, ’73, Aloha)
  44. Early Mornin’ Rain (Live, ’73, Aloha)
  45. I’ll Be Home on Christmas
  46. If I Get home on Christmas
  47. Santa Clause Is Back in Town
  48. I’ll Be Home for Christmas
  49. Long Tall Sally
  50. Heartbreak Hotel
  51. Don’t Be Cruel
  52. Let’s Have a Party
  53. Old Shep
  54. Don’t
  55. A Big Hunk of Love
  56. It Hurts Me
  57. Fame and Fortune
  58. Are You Lonesome Tonight?
  59. Little Sister
  60. Treat Me Nice
  61. Love Me
  62. Maybellene
  63. That’s All Right, Mama
  64. Blue Moon of Kentucky
  65. Good Rockin’ Tonight
  66. I Don’t Care if the Sun Don’t Shine
  67. Milkcow Blues Boogie
  68. You’re a Heartbreaker
  69. Baby, Let’s Play House
  70. I’m Left, You’re Right, She’s Gone
  71. I Forgot To Remember
  72. Mystery Train
  73. My Happiness
  74. That’s When Your Heartache Begins
  75. I Love You Because
  76. Harbor Lights
  77. Blue Moon
  78. Tomorrow Night
  79. I’ll Never Let You Go
  80. Just Because
  81. Tryin’ To Get Home To You
  82. When It Rains It Really Pours
  83. You’ll Never Walk Alone
  84. How Great Thou Art
  85. Stand By Me
  86. He Touched Me
  87. Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus / Nearer My God To Thee (rehearsal outtake)
  88. Lead Me, Guide Me
  89. A Thing Called Love
  90. Run On
  91. Without Him
  92. Somebody Bigger Than You and I
  93. You Gave Me a Mountain
  94. Little Cabin on the Hill
  95. Good Time Charlie’s Got the Blues
  96. That’s What You Get for Loving Me
  97. Mr. Songman
  98. Stranger in the Crowd
  99. Danny Boy
  100. Susan When She Tried