Is it real?

There are few books that have captured my imagination in the way that The Harbinger has. When I purchased it, I read it twice; the original reading and the re-read it immediately after! It has to be a pretty good read to make a reader go from reading the last page of the story to turning to the front of the book and reading it again.

In hopes of not giving too much away about the story, here is part of the Wikipedia synopsis:

Premise

The author says that The Harbinger is a fictional story which is nevertheless concerned with a real-life connection: a prophecy about ancient Israel that was eventually fulfilled in the eighth century BC when Israel was destroyed, and certain events and facts related to the 9/11 terror attacks against the U.S. in 2001. Cahn calls these events and facts “harbingers,” and argues that they show a connection between ancient Israel’s destruction and a possible coming destruction of the present-day United States. He also says that ancient Israel received a warning before being destroyed, and that the 9/11 harbingers form a similar warning from God to America.[4]

The author argues that America was founded similar to ancient Israel and the Founding Fathers envisioned a country based on the rules of God and a Light Unto the Nations. The author lists a series of warnings or harbingers that were given to ancient Israel before its final destruction by the Assyrians and makes a parallel between each and the events of 9/11.

It’s not a long book – most could probably read it in an afternoon. But it is a powerful book. Easy to read, instantly grips the reader’s attention, and a logical progression of a series of events, ancient and recent, that makes the reader put the book down for a moment and reflect.

It isn’t just that the writing style is precise and devoid of excess verbiage – although there is that; and it isn’t just that the characters are interesting and recognizable – although it has that going for it, too. No, it’s the footnotes, a ton of them, supporting the theme and point of the story. Footnotes taken from history you don’t have to be very old to remember. I traced them; they are accurate.

I have The Harbinger, by Jonathan Cahn, on my tablet to read at any time. Good thing, too! I also bought the book and loaned it a lady at church; yeah, I’ll never see That book again. I also sent the book to my son in Texas. I received a call from him shortly after he finished reading it. He said, “Mom! Is it real?”

I suspect that’s what we all have to decide.

(The Amazon link https://www.amazon.com/Harbinger-Ancient-Mystery-Secret-Americas/dp/161638610X/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=the+harbinger&qid=1584713362&sr=8-1

A Lying Execrable Plagiarist, and His Helpers at the Smithsonian

Like just about everybody else that knows anything about American history, I’ve fulminated about the crap (which is what Mitch Daniels, then Governor of Indiana and now President of Purdue called it when Zinn finally died) that is Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States which is not only bad history slanted far left  but full of  plagiarism, as the main link today tells us.

In any case, what brings this on is that The Smithsonian is sponsoring some seminars to help history teachers to lie (perhaps inadvertently) to their students by promoting Zinn’s execrable pseudohistory. Mary Grabar explains on The Federalist:

This semester, the Smithsonian Institution is helping. Teachers will learn new teaching strategies and receiving continuing education credits at two “teach-ins” — on Sept. 7 in Washington, D.C., at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, and on Sept. 28 in New York City.

Both “teach-ins” are efforts of our national museum, the Smithsonian, and D.C. Area Educators for Social Justice, “a project of Teaching for Change.” The invitation promises to feature “classroom resources for K-12 from Native Knowledge 360 [Degrees]” and from “the Zinn Education Project, including the campaign to abolish Columbus Day.”

The Zinn Education Project’s Infiltration

The Zinn Education Project is a nonprofit launched by one of Zinn’s former Boston University students who was taken in by the radical professor’s tales of derring-do in protesting the Vietnam War and, in spite of Zinn’s pro-communist rhetoric, had done quite well for himself as a capitalist.

The Zinn Education Project’s mission is to distribute materials from its namesake’s record-breaking best-seller, “A People’s History of the United States,” in the form of downloadable K-12 lessons on such topics as imperialismLatinxLGBTQsocial classprison uprisings, Black Lives Matter, reparations, and immigration. Zinn died in 2010, but these lessons are updated by his acolytes, such as Adam Sanchez, who, in a lesson titled “When Black Lives Mattered: Why Teach Reconstruction,” claims President Trump’s “racist rhetoric and policies have provided an increasingly encouraging environment for attacks on Black people and other communities of color.”

Our tax money at work, undermining the United States. Time to privatize the Smithsonian, and tax the hell out of it.

Many of you know that I fell in love with history when I was about eight years old. I happened to check out of the library with a biography of US Grant, and I was off.  By the time I graduated high school I probably had 150 or so books on history, lots of it military history. Those books burned with dad’s house,  and I’m still replacing some of them. But a lot of the reason is that I stumbled across some that knew how to tell a story, and yes, some were historical romances. But you know, those romances, interested me enough in some parts of history to follow up with real history,  Like the invasion of Quebec up the Kennebec River during the Revolution, or the life of William the Marshal, First Earl of Pembroke, and the man who actually made Magna Charta law. The absolute best for me was Bruce Catton on the American Civil War, but Winston Churchill on the First Duke of Marlborough wasn’t all that far behind. There were many others, and others have joined the list over the years.

The thing is, when my stepdaughter was in eighth grade,  she asked me for help with her history class. I tried to read the chapter in her book (I don’t know if it was Zinn’s, quite a while ago now) but I simply couldn’t force my way through it. It was both amazingly dry and badly written, and much of it was false: a political screed.

There is an antidote for Zinn’s crap. It is Wilfred M. McClay’s Land of Hope: An Invitation to the Great American Story. I’ve read many reviews of it, unless blinded by prejudice they are all outstanding, Here’s one from Amazon:

“This book is the antidote to abysmal levels of historical knowledge our high school graduates possess. History bores them; the textbooks are dreary; lessons play up guilt and identity politics. It turns them off. They want powerful tales and momentous events, genuine heroes and villains, too―an accurate but stirring rendition of the past. This is Bill McClay’s Land of Hope, a superb historian’s version of the American story, in lively prose spiced with keen analysis and compelling drama. Every school that assigns this book will see students’ eyes brighten when the Civil War comes up, the Progressive Era, the Depression, civil rights . . . The kids want an authentic, meaningful heritage, a usable past. McClay makes it real.”
― Mark Bauerlein, author of The Dumbest Generation

Yes, it’s on my list, and thankfully nearing the top of it. To be honest, I have other interests,  like eating, that subtracts more than I like from my book budget. Especially if you have kids, but for yourself as well – buy this book, borrow it from a friend, check it out of the library, whatever – read it.

Before the Dumbest Generation destroys the country we love.

Teaching the History of a Free People

Earlier this week, my friend Schaeferhistorian wrote on his blog about how we are, in many ways, Expunging Our Past.

Progressive historians like Charles Beard… went to great lengths to discredit the work of America’s first published historian, George Bancroft.  The Nationalist school of American history revered our Founders and proclaimed American exceptionalism.  Beard argued that America’s founding ideals were nothing more than a clever disguise for our true inspiration, greed.  The New Left revisionism that pervades historiography today is a mere continuation of Beard’s fundamentally flawed concept- America really isn’t that great….

[…]

The overriding message should be that historical figures are human and not infallible. We can honor their great deeds and learn from their most human mistakes. 

We must stop this current craze of tearing down and erasing our history because the historical figures did not possess our modern sensibilities. 

I couldn’t agree more and the emphasis is his.

Then comes Jonathan Pidluzny with more of the story in The Federalist.

If “reading maketh a full man,” as Sir Francis Bacon avers, Then the New York Times best-seller list is a window into the American soul. To judge from the view, we are an angry, divided, and shallow nation.

A deeper look, however, can give us some hope even in that bleak landscape of elite Americana. One finds several encouraging entries on this week’s predictable slew of political screeds and celebrity tell-alls. David McCullough’s “The Pioneers: The Heroic Story of the Settlers Who Brought the American Ideal West” is an academic history about the settlement of Ohio written in characteristically beautiful prose. A little further down, “The British Are Coming: The War for America, Lexington to Princeton, 1775-1777,” by Rick Atkinson, is the first volume of his Revolutionary War trilogy.

He mentions a few more including Senator Tom Cotton’s memoir of his time in The Old Guard. And I’d add that if you want your kids to have a better appreciation of what it has cost to build this country – Go to Arlington.

There at General Robert E. Lee’s house, stolen from him by a vengeful US government for use as a cemetery (the first graves were those of colored infantrymen in Mrs. Lee’s Rose Garden). Over time the hurt has faded, and I doubt that the General could find a better use for his plantation than as a beacon of American Duty and Honor. Something he himself epitomized, whatever the loons say, R. E. Lee remains amongst the greats of American history.

But you won’t learn that in a current textbook, you’ll be taught mostly that he was a slave owner (he was, he had one. His wife had some, inherited from her family, that under the law, they couldn’t free.)

In any case, Jonathan is making a valiant effort to show, that while Americans will quite happily read American history. And he’s right, they will. The most-read posts here are the ones on history, which is a good thing because they are my favorites, as well. But quite a few Universities are dropping their history programs.

Bernie Patterson, chancellor at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, explained his university’s rationale for eliminating its history major along similar lines, as part of the institution’s effort to build a “new kind of university” focused on delivering “programs aligned with the career-focused goals of our students and the needs of regional communities and businesses.”

Stevens Point abandoned the proposal after a student and faculty insurrection. Unfortunately, universities elsewhere—including Wheeling Jesuit University and the University of Tulsa, both institutions long known for strong liberal arts curricula—are moving forward with plans to axe programs and faculty in traditional arts and sciences disciplines.

Good-faith concerns about graduates’ workplace readiness in the age of skyrocketing tuition costs may explain a part of the precipitous decline. But so does the abandonment by history faculties of the kind of history Americans hunger for—the kind that catapults a book onto The New York Times best-seller list. As professors move away from offering “big picture” survey courses—Colonial America, American History to 1865, Twentieth Century America, etc.—in favor of “micro-histories” tailored to their specialized research interests (or worse, invocations to political activism welded to histories designed to desecrate the country’s past), their numbers will continue to dwindle.

I also note that UW-Stevens Point, on their website, claims to prepare their student for global citizenship with a catalog which looks to me like a teacher’s college. Well, They are part of the Unversity of Wisconsin, where the revisionism nonsense itself got started, so no big surprise.

He’s correct, it is worrying that we are starting to not teach our heritage, but I also say this, better not to teach history at all than the evil practice of filling young heads with knowledge that is not only wrong but knowingly and intentionally wrong. That is truly evil.

P.J. O’Rourke on the Baby Boomers

It’s funny sometimes how things happen. Yesterday, I was chatting with some friends on a blog post about how the world went to hell in a handbasket between about 1963 and 1970. Specifically we were talking about how Vatican II unleashed the hordes of modernist (supposedly) Catholics in the clergy and academia, drawing on example we saw from Oxford to Notre Dame.

So last night I’m sitting here idly wondering what I’ll write about today when I run a cross this video. P. J. O’Rourke on his new book: The Baby Boom, they also talk about what may be the best book ever on politics, Parliament of Whores. It’s an outstanding video, worth more than your time in watching it. One of our generations best authors speaking about us.

Simply outstanding.

Julian of Norwich: The ‘Sharpness’ of Sin

Julian of Norwich

Julian of Norwich (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Have you ever heard of Julian of Norwich? She was a mystic who is venerated in the Anglican and Lutheran churches although not officially in the Roman Catholic Church. She also wrote the first book by a woman in the English language.

Her Revelations of Divine Love was published in 1395. Wikipedia tells us this about her life

Her writings indicate that she was probably born around 1342 and died around 1416. She may have been from a privileged family that lived in Norwich, or nearby.[…] Julian may have become an anchoress whilst still unmarried or, having lost her family in the Plague, as a widow. Becoming an anchoress may have served as a way to quarantine her from the rest of the population. There is scholarly debate as to whether Julian was a nun in a nearby convent or even a laywoman. […]

When she was 30 and living at home, Julian suffered from a severe illness. Whilst apparently on her deathbed, Julian had a series of intense visions of Jesus Christ, which ended by the time she recovered from her illness on 13 May 1373.

In other words nobody knows a lot about her life

Her theology is interesting, she comes fairly close to being an Universalist, although some of it appears to be based somewhat on St. Augustine, and her thinking is such that I have heard her called a Proto-Lutheran, because it does somewhat parallel Luther’s beliefs.

I would guess that I will write on this again, since I have just obtained a copy it (it is available online here). But I wanted to introduce you to some of her theology and Journey Towards Easter wrote about her yesterday.

In the thirty-ninth chapter of the Revelations of Divine Love, Julian of Norwich writes about the effect that sin has upon the conscientious soul. It is a great pain to one who desires to escape vice and to grow in virtue, and in a certain sense is its own punishment. However, the sense of unworthiness that comes with an experience of the ‘scourge’ of sin does have its positive benefits – it humbles us, […]

When we have sinned then, we recognise not only that we have done wrong, have offended against the good will of our Creator, but that there is also a profound sense in which we know ourselves to have done violence to the fabric of reality itself. Deep down we know that the will of God is reality, and so when we sin we find ourselves in a kind of spiritual disjunct. This sense of disjuncture, perhaps even more than the feeling of moral outrage, is what so often causes a sense ofembarrassment after sinning – ‘how could I have done this again?’ ‘Am I mad…what was I thinking?’ It is at this point that it is important not to fall into another kind of pride, lambasting ourselves only because we should have known better, because we have fallen short of our expectations, instead of turning to God in a spirit of true contrition.

This is an extract of the book that is quoted in the article that I wanted to share with you, although somewhat out of his context.

Sin is the sharpest scourge that any elect soul can be flogged with. It is the scourge which so reduces a man or woman and makes him loathsome in his own sight that it is not long before he thinks himself fit only to sink down to hell…until the touch of the Holy Spirit forces him to contrition, and turns his bitterness to the hope of God’s mercy. Then he begins to heal his wounds, and to rouse his soul as it turns to the life of Holy Church. The Holy Spirit leads him on to confession, so that he deliberately reveals his sins in all their nakedness and reality, and admits with great sorrow and shame that he has befouled the fair image of God. Then for all his sins he performs penance imposed by his confession according to the doctrine of Holy Church, and the teaching of the Holy Spirit. This is one of the humble things that greatly pleases God…

…Dearly indeed does our Lord hold on to us when it seems to us that we are nearly forsaken and cast away because of our sin – and deservedly so. Because of the humility we acquire this way we are exalted in the sight of God by his grace, and know a very deep contrition and compassion and a genuine longing for God…

Do read the article, in its entirety it makes more sense, Julian of Norwich: The ‘Sharpness’ of Sin and the Goodness of Contrition | Journey Towards Easter.

Remember that this was written by a woman in 14th century England who referred to herself as a “simple creature unlettered (Rev. chap. 2), it is possible that she was educated and that “unlettered” carries a more nuanced meaning.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer on the Ministry of Authority « bonhoefferblog

Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1932)

Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1932) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I got pulled away last night, which is why my post is late this morning but, this is very apropos. I would call this appropriate in a few different arenas,

First it would be well for my CofE friends to keep in mind as a new Archbishop of Canterbury takes office

It is also appropriate for my Roman Catholic friends as they begin to search for a new Bishop of Rome

And finally, we should all keep this in mind as we deal with our political leadership, which is, after all, the sector that matyred Bonhoeffer.

Jon Walker in his book, In Visible Fellowship: A Contemporary View of Bonhoeffer’s Classic Work:  Life Together writes in chapter 28 about the “Ministry of Authority.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote…
“Every cult of personality that emphasizes the distinguished qualities, virtues, and talents of another person, even though these be of an altogether spiritual nature, is worldly and has no place in the Christian community; indeed, it poisons the Christian community. “
Walker writes that The Big Idea is…
The question of trust, which is so closely related to that of authority, is determined by the faithfulness with which a man serves Jesus Christ, never by the extraordinary talents which he possesses. We have been given the authority to love one another.

Walker added:
Bonhoeffer notes that New Testament leadership is not defined by “worldly charm” or “brilliant attributes.” In fact, the apostle Paul, in effect, tells Timothy, that leadership is as leadership does (1 Timothy 3:1-7). The true test of leadership is in service to others.

Emphasis mine and continue reading Dietrich Bonhoeffer on the Ministry of Authority « bonhoefferblog.

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