Churches Supporting BLM Have Lost Their Mission

So, as we reopen that which should never have closed, our churches, it seems clergy are coming under pressure to make statements supporting Black Lives Matter. It would be unconscionable for them to do so. Joshua Lawson explains in The Federalist.

As churches across America restart in-person services, Christians and their pastors are feeling the heat. The “heat,” however, is not from the lack of air conditioning in the sanctuary as things get hot and humid — it’s the pressure to “say something” in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Yet just as Christians shouldn’t feel obligated to issue “official church statements” every time sin is committed (there would be little time for anything else), they should oppose demands from Black Lives Matter activists to “take their Christianity further.” Why? The gospel is already sufficient.

Believers living out Christ’s commands to love God and love their neighbors as themselves led the West’s push to abolish slavery. Christians acting out a sincere application of the gospel were at the forefront of the civil rights movement, a movement steeped in the biblical message of neighborly love. We’re already in possession of the ultimate “user’s manual” to bring peace to our nation and defeat evil wherever it lurks — it’s called the Bible.

It’s true, you know, those things were accomplished, above all, by Christians, British and American mostly.

Not for nothing did President Lincoln say to Harriet Beecher Stowe, the author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, “So you’re the little woman who wrote the book that made this great war?” It is one of the most influential books in history, selling 300,000 copies the first year after it was published in the United States, and many times that number since. But here is the kicker, she was the daughter of very outspoken Calvinist preacher Lyman Beecher, and she was married to Rev. Calvin Ellis Stowe, Professor of Biblical Literature at the Lane Theological Seminary of which her father was president. He was an ardent anti-slavery man and they participated in the Underground Railway. If that’s not enough, her brother was Henry Ward Beecher, one of the most famous Abolitionist preachers, so too were two of her other brothers, preachers as well. Here indeed are the roots of American Abolitionism and the Civil War to come.

As stated in James 1:16-20, “the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” Indeed, James warns against being carried away by earthly movements. The only cause we should be following whole-heartedly is the cause of the gospel of Jesus Christ:

Don’t be misled, my dear brothers and sisters. Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow. … You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.

All Christians can, with confidence, emphatically say the words “black lives matter,” a statement that is resoundingly true. What they should not condone, however, is the BLM movement that removes the forgiveness, hope, and peace of the gospel and replaces those core values with continual protest, fear, and anger. As Paul reminds us in Romans 12:19, “Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, ‘I will take revenge; I will pay them back,’ says the Lord.”

The God-inspired words of the New Testament are already sufficient. The words and deeds of Jesus Christ are already sufficient. When before His last breath Christ proclaimed, “it is finished,” His mission was complete.

We’ll never know perfect human equality here on earth. But until our Lord returns, Christians can take comfort that the Bible app on their phone, the Holy Scripture resting on the shelf, and the Word in front of them in the church pew all contain the only guide needed to heal our broken world.

Indeed so, yesterday we wandered off on the tangent of the morality of self-defense, and in Christian morality it is moral, even a duty, not, in truth, so much to protect ourselves, although that is our right, but to protect our neighbors. And that is very good, but our first duty remains what it always is:

A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you … John 13:34

And protection of self and others is part of that, and yes, if you happened to wonder, that is why a large percentage of legal gun owners are also decisively Pro Life. In a very real sense, it is the same issue.

Note that I have published a connected post this morning on All around the Watchtower as well.

Ordered Liberty

On Saturday, Pontiac, questioned my use of the phrase ‘ordered liberty‘, saying this, ” Lastly, I’m intrigued, Dave, by the words “ordered liberty” used in your preface to Jessica’s article and that it could be a dream. Could you explain more on that because I find those 2 words together an oxymoron.” and that is good, when phrases like that are used, it is to convey a specific meaning, and if one is not to miss the point, one should question. Sadly, I gave him a fairly glib and off the top of my head answer. So let’s do better.

As it happens, on Sunday, our blog buddy Portly Politico touched on this very thing, saying:

Disorder” – Americans love to focus on our rights and our freedoms, but we often do so at the cost of understanding our obligations that flow from those rights.  We also tend to neglect that Burkean wisdom that liberty, to be truly liberty, must be ordered.  One of the most shocking elements of these riots is the continued violation of legitimate authority—of order.  The disorder and chaos these looters have unleashed threatens not just real people and property, but the very foundations of a stable, free society.

If we follow PP’s link above, we find ourselves looking at the work of Edmund Burke, the Father of English conservatism, and at least the uncle of American conservatism. As PP quotes he had much to say in his  Reflections on the Revolution in France written as the French Revolution got underway in 1789, he wrote with reference to the Queen of France:

“I thought ten thousand swords must have leaped from their scabbards to avenge even a look that threatened her with insult. But the age of chivalry is gone. That of sophisters, economists, and calculators, has succeeded; and the glory of Europe is extinguished forever. Never, never more, shall we behold that generous loyalty to rank and sex, that proud submission, that dignified obedience, that subordination of the heart, which kept alive, even in servitude itself, the spirit of an exalted freedom. The unbought grace of life, the cheap defence of nations, the nurse of manly sentiment and heroick enterprise is gone! It is gone, that sensibility of principle, that chastity of honour, which felt a stain like a wound, which inspired courage whilst it mitigated ferocity, which ennobled whatever it touched, and under which vice itself lost half its evil, by losing all its grossness.”

And here is as good an exposition of ordered liberty as one will find from its originator. Burke was an implacable foe of Revolutionary France, as was Pitt the Younger, but twenty years earlier he had been one of the staunchest allies of the Continental Congress to be found in Parliament, along with both Pitt and Charles James Fox, the only time the three agreed on anything.

The difference between the revolutions is vast, the Americans upholding the ancient rights of Englishmen, and vying for a return to the good old law, and the French overturning all convention with a drive for libertinism. Truthfully, exactly as BLM and Antifa are today.

In its basics, this dichotomy goes directly back to the Enlightenment where the French version sought to overturn all norms, creating radical personal freedom for elites by enslaving most of the population, while destroying all traditional things, the church, the family, personal responsibility, private property. The English/Scottish Enlightenment did none of this, it found a way to join ever-increasing personal freedom into the sinews of British society as well as Christianity, creating a free yet ordered society, as cognizant of its duties as it is of its liberties.

And yes, the modern world is built on the British model, because the two countries, the United Kingdom and the United States, who have led modernization since the eighteenth century, are the two countries who adopted Edmund Burke’s concept of ordered liberty. It is that fundamental. It is also the reason that the Regressives in all their multivariate hues, attempt to destroy the Anglo-Saxon powers above all else.

 

Galloping Across the Plains

I grew up on the Lone Ranger; my brother, the eldest of us four kids, had control of the television on Saturday mornings because he was the oldest. I don’t know why, but he said so. Shrug. That’s big brothers for ya. Dad had two topics when it came to movies – World War ll, and the Wild West. John Wayne was Dad’s idea of an actor. Who’s going to argue with Dad?

I miss westerns. I never read the novels, like Dad did; Zane Grey (trivia fact – did you know Zane Grey’s first name was Pearl? He was Pearl Zane Grey). Dad also liked Horatio Hornblower (C. S. Forester) but sorry – not for me.

I have two favorites that I watch every time they show up on television – we are forced to watch old movies because, hey – who can watch the junk they produce now??? I love Tombstone (https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0108358/) (best quote from Tombstone, “I’m your huckleberry”) and Jeremiah Johnson (https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0068762/). “He says you fish poorly.” Favorite quote from JJ – makes me smile just typing it.

These two movies represent a lot of what I think is American. Tombstone is at the cusp of modernization; they would soon see the end of the old west and the beginning of industrialization in places it never was before – our ingenuity, innovation, foresight, and ambition – full speed ahead and let the devil take the hindmost. Jeremiah Johnson is the American guy – I don’t like what I’m seeing, I hate what I’m doing, and I’m going to go in a different direction. Went up into the mountains with nothing more than a good idea and became a Mountain Man. He learned the hard way; attempt and failure. Before too long, he was having more successes than failures and met some pretty interesting characters along the way. Do you remember Gran’pa on the television show The Waltons? Will Geer played the old mountain man that helped ‘larn’ Jeremiah a thing or three about life as a mountain man. Second best line from JJ. The old mountain man, Bearclaw, is teaching JJ the best way to shoot an elk; he tells him to get beside his horse, put the Hawkins rife (“but damn if it were a Hawkin!”) to rest on the saddle and shoot. JJ asks won’t the elk see my feet? (here it comes …) “Elk don’t know how many feet a horse have!” I laugh every time.

I’m a city girl, born and raised. The old west, the wild west, fascinates me. People lived in their time as we do now; they would no more know how to function today than we would going back in time. Each generation makes its own discoveries; each generation holds its own destiny. We are a country filled with people willing to take risks – opening a bar today has the same problems (more, considering regulatory statutes) as opening a bar then. It’s a craps shoot – you pay your money and you throw them dice.

It was dusty and dirty and you made your way the best way you could. You depended on yourself first, helped a neighbor when you had them, and kept that goal in sight. Not such a bad way to live. The women worked every bit as hard as the men and never asked anyone to pat ’em on the back for it. It’s just what you did to live and to thrive.

I guess I like most of the old westerns; Rio Bravo, The Good the Bad and the Ugly, The Magnificent Seven, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance just to name a few, heaven knows there were a lot of them. I guess I have reached the age where I can say with authority, they sure don’t make ’em like they used to.

A note from Neo: Audre now joins Jessica and me on the topic of American movies, specifically the western, as the myth of America, that we not only believe ourselves but the world does as well. I’m going to have quite a lot to say, including links soon, so let’s see what you guys think. So, “Saddle up, Marines, the war ain’t over!”

Young People, TLM, the Dowry of Mary, and America’s Patron Saint

Long ago, the people at Catholicism Pure and Simple became friends and allies of mine. We each recognize that our essentials and druthers may be a bit different, but that our roads meet at the foot of the Cross. Sunday they posted an article on how the traditional Latin Mass is gaining much support amongst young people I’m not surprised but I am pleased.

The loss of young people is a problem for all of our churches, not just the Catholic Church, It’s true in my Lutheran Church, it’s true in the Anglican churches. But for us too, the more traditional the service (and historic Lutheran Services reach back to the Rev Dr Luther himself, while traditional Anglican services are based on Thomas Cranmer’s Book of Common Prayer, both of which are contemporaries of the Tridentine Mass) the better young people receive them. CP&S has a video of some of what young people are saying.

 

Adding weight to that, a young London based female Journalist, Enza Ferrari, whom I have been reading for a long time, adds weight to what those young people are saying, when she says…

During the Easter Triduum I repeated that experience several times, always choosing the Ancient Rite, except once, when by mistake I watched a video of the New Mass. The close sequence of the two with a distance of a few hours between them gave me an opportunity to compare the two liturgical experiences in a way that I’d never come across before.
And I saw differences that had previously escaped me.
It’s two entirely diverse experiences.
They were both from churches in Italy, the Latin Mass from the Church of Santissima Trinità dei Pellegrini, Rome (pictured above).
One, the Tridentine Mass, worships God and the other celebrates man, reflecting the analogous change in outlook brought by Vatican II Council.
The former brings you closer to the spiritual realm.
I’m not the only one to have noticed this peculiar gift that, in all the mayhem and panic, the Covid-19 quarantine has given us. I’ve discovered that Catholic writer and philosopher Peter Kwasniewski has also published two articles about it.
The celebrant’s ad populum orientation towards the people, which may seem a way to bring everyone together as a community and increase the participation of the faithful, is not the right thing for a Mass, where priest and congregation should not look at each other and focus on one another as if it were an assembly or meeting, but instead both should look at and focus on God.
Keep reading, there is quite a lot more, and if you are a traditional Christian (not only the Catholics among us) I think you’ll find it making a lot of sense.
In related news, The Catholic Herald tells us that The Catholic Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham reports that it is probably having the largest Pilgrimage season ever, since the government forced it to close its doors during the (still continuing) lockdown.

But rather than seeing this as a disaster, shrine rector Mgr John Armitage regarded it as an opportunity. England’s national Marian shrine had already built up a following with its livestreamed Masses. Armitage decided that it would now livestream 24 hours a day, with the help of a sturdy internet connection provided by EWTN.

He devised a programme that begins with morning prayer, followed by Mass, Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, a talk on faith, the rosary, the Angelus and another Mass. And that’s just the morning.

In the afternoon, there’s the Divine Mercy chaplet, the rosary, more Exposition, Benediction, the Angelus and Vespers, followed by all-night adoration.

“We’ve probably had the biggest pilgrimage season so far in the history of Walsingham because we’ve had thousands upon thousands of people every day joining us for our program,” Armitage told CNA.

Saying that he now felt like “the abbot of a monastery rather than the rector of a shrine,” Armitage explained that people from 135 countries had taken part in the program and that he had been inundated with letters of gratitude.

“Last week I had a lovely letter from a family of farmers in Wisconsin, just saying how much they appreciated it. They watched as a family,” he noted. “So it’s made that connection.”

He said the letters came from two types of people:

“There are those who have been in lockdown, like the rest of the world. They’re grateful that it’s given them a spiritual framework during this time.”

“But much, much more important, it’s given a spiritual framework for those who’ve been in lockdown for years. The elderly, the disabled, those who are never going to come out again.”

“And I don’t say we forgot them, but what’s happened is that we’ve discovered a way to connect that we kind of missed.”

The pandemic also forced a major change to Walsingham’s biggest event for decades: the rededication of England to Our Lady on March 29.

Armitage had spent three years planning the rededication, which was preceded by a two-year tour of England with the statue of Our Lady of Walsingham.

Catholics were due to gather at cathedrals across the country as the rededication ceremony took place at Walsingham. But when churches were ordered to close due to the pandemic, Catholics were asked to follow the ceremony live from their homes on the shrine’s website instead. So many logged on that the site crashed.

“The rededication of England was phenomenal,” Armitage said. “It overwhelmed our server. We had to transfer to YouTube. That rather took us by surprise.”

In his homily at the rededication, Armitage said: “We have long pondered and treasured the words of Pope Leo XIII to an earlier generation of bishops: ‘When England returns to Walsingham, Our Lady will return to England.’ In the hour of our need, Our Blessed Mother has indeed returned to England.”

Many of you know that I feel an affinity to Our Lady of Walsingham and have for years (albeit more the Anglican Shrine). This shrine known as England’s Nazareth was visited by every English King from William the Conquerer to Henry VIII, who destroyed it in The Dissolution of the Monasteries. It was revived in the early 20th century. Interestingly, the first Catholic Mass in Walsingham since the Reformation was held amongst the ruins of the monastery by the United States Army Air Forces shortly after VE Day.

A most pleasing report indeed, from the country known since the 14th century, at least, as Mary’s Dowry, because of England’s deep devotion to Our Lady. Perhaps it carries down to us in some measure, since Mary is also the Patron Saint of the United States.

As we have always known:

No real boundaries

I was moved Sunday to see folks back at church. It’s been a long haul for everyone but believers had an additional challenge of having to worship alone – although we often speak of the heavenly host being with us when we pray, it sure felt like alone. But God has a will and way for everybody and so our priests and pastors became techies so that we could come together for prayer and worship; FaceBook Messenger, Zoom, Skype, Face Time. We learned we could pray corporately while being isolated and it helped many people get through to the time of reopening. I am reminded of the old adage that we don’t know what we’ve got til it’s gone. It was never really gone, it has no real boundaries, but we felt cut adrift and that’s not a good feeling.

Here is a touching little video our friends of the Roman Church might enjoy. 

For sweet simplicity, there’s this

And this

But there is also this

I found this one to be fascinating!

Whoever seeks Him, no matter who they are, He can be found. Because there are no real boundaries.

Hypocrisy, Valor, and Prayer

Well, something new today and something that pleases me greatly. We are featuring a post by a guest author, whose nom de internet is 39 Pontiac Dream. He’s a friend of both Audre and me and lives in north Norfolk, England. It’s something I’ve wanted ever since Jess left, I find the English view of events here informative, and like so many of us, I care about what is happening to the cousins. So, Here’s Pontiac

The Hair Raising Hypocrisy of the Media

Take this title with a pinch of salt. It’s nothing more thanconjecture on my part, in relation to hat some might see as quite superfluous. In the UK, though, this superfluous musingcould potentially mean something quite different.

As Tina (my better other half as Neo and Audre will tell you) and I were watching the news ecently, Tina turned to me and asked, “who is doing their hair and makeup?” A relatively straight forward question with a simple answer in normal times however, here in good old Blighty, the hair and beautysector are being told that they will be some of the last businesses to reopen, considering the close and personal contact with their clients. If, however, those in the media are still using them, then they are disobeying the lockdown measures they propagate every day. Tina informs me (I’m a bloke – how the hell would I know?!) that hair and makeup, in relation to television, is a tricky business. The makeup, for one, and considering the cameras, the lighting, the heat in the studio has to be applied to ensure the presenters look completely natural. Apparently, that takes years of training and is not something a presenter would know how to do. With regards hair, not one of our news presenters or reporters look any different, presentation wise, to how they did before the lockdown. Some on the BBC insist they’ve been doing it themselves but I seriously doubt that. If they are, indeed, cutting their own hair, then inevitably there’d be someone who has made a mistake; cut one side higher than the other; cut a chunk out of the back of their hair leaving a bald spot. Inadvertently cut their fringe too short. There are no tell tale mishaps to back up their claims that they are doing it themselves which makes me suspect that they are not doing it themselves, as they say. They should, to all intents and purposes, all look as dishevelled as Boris Johnson does on one of his morning runs but they don’t so I ask again – who is styling these presenters?

If they’re not breaking the rules and are doing it themselves then you have to ask whether the stylists the BBC (and other channels) usually employ are now surplus to requirements
because I see no difference in how they look now to how they looked before.

I have no idea whether this sector, in the States, is suffering in the same way as it is here in Britain but I’m surprised no one has even thought to ask.

As I told Pontiac, likely they are employees of the network and considered essential, because TV makeup is pretty specialized. It can also be important. Back in 1960, the presidential candidates had a debate, Nixon refused makeup and Kennedy did not. By the transcript, it was nearly a draw, but Nixon won on the radio (more important then than now, of course) but Kennedy won on TV. Something to think about. But it is pretty hypocritical.

So say “Hi” to Pontiac in comments and let us know what you think, as well.


Today is an anniversary as well, of course, as most here will remember. Today 76 years ago, it must have felt pretty lonely in Southern England, as some million soldiers mounted the invasion of the continent that would result in VE day in about 10 months.

On April 2d of that year, A.P. Herbert published a poem that we should remember more than we do.

Boadicea from the Bridge looked down,
And saw the Yankee tanks invade the town.
Boadicea held her head more high
To hail the Sherman and the proud G.I.
‘Eyes right!’ she said. ‘Fine fellows though you are,
You’re not the first to drive an armoured car.
Halt, soldiers, halt! For here is one can tell
A tale of fighting chariots as well.
Look up, brave girls. In a.d. 61
I led the lads, and saw the Roman run.
God speed you too against an alien mob:
God bless you all for joining in the job.
By Grant! By Sherman!’ said the queen of queens.
I wish I’d had such men, and such machines.’

They passed. And Parliament, across the way,
Discussed the principle of equal pay.

I can remember waking up every Saturday to watch TV at 6:30 in the morning, no, not cartoons, a show called The Big Picture made by the Signal Corps. It showed various things the army was up to and was pretty interesting. This is one episode.

 

The Longest Day indeed, for here the future of Europe was decided for a generation by the Anglo Saxon powers. They went in with our prayers behind them, of course. In the United States led by the President.

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