COVID-19, like all great challenges, will eventually pass. Whether you are affected or simply worried by it, let it be well with your soul.
If you’ve never heard the story behind this beloved hymn, you should.
How joyless must life be for anyone who believes humanity to be merely a plague?
Fifty years ago, I concluded that the best thing for the planet would be a peaceful phase-out of human existence. We’re causing the extinction of hundreds of thousands of other species. With us gone, I believe ecosystems will be restored and there will be enough of everything…
At 25, I wanted to show I was serious. A medical school gave me a discounted vasectomy in exchange for being a student doctor’s first try at the procedure, which was successful…
Procreation today is the moral equivalent of selling berths on a sinking ship. It’s true that society would be greatly diminished without children, but it isn’t right to create them just because we like having them around.
And on the flip side, if they’re inconvenient, just abort them, right? The author doesn’t say this, but one can deduce enough of his worldview that it’s a good bet he supports abortion on demand. (“Marriage never made sense to me anyway: I would have missed getting to know many wonderful women had I stuck with one.”)
This desire to destroy humanity comes straight from The Enemy, who sees in us the imago dei and strikes at it in any way possible: war, murder, abortion, suicide — anything that snuffs out the physical vessel carrying the lifebreath of God.
As the Genesis account makes clear, we were entrusted with the stewardship of the Earth. One cannot steward if one is not around. Are there areas in which we can do better? Most certainly. But the root cause of the world’s problems is not our existence. It’s our fallen, sinful state – the same state that causes so many to worship the creation instead of the Creator.
Regarding this business of “selling berths on a sinking ship:” I can understand people who wonder about the wisdom of bringing a child into the world. I first became an uncle days after 9/11, and I wondered what sort of world my niece and my own (then young) children would grow up in. In many ways it hasn’t been what I would have wished for them. But one of the advantages of studying history is a realization there truly is nothing new under the sun. Did Americans in 1942, or 1917, or 1863 have any less reason to wonder about the world they’d leave to their posterity? What about earlier Europeans facing the plagues, or invasion by the Mongols? The West has enjoyed such a high standard of living since the 1950s that we forget what a rare exception to the rule this has been (and how much a Biblical worldview has been instrumental).
The West has all but lost the hope that comes from Christ. Churches are emptying. Bibles are unread ornaments. People trust their own wisdom rather than that of the ages. Other worldviews are not necessarily devoid of logic — their logic simply produces different conclusions. If we believe our physical environment is all there is, then preserving it at any cost – even human extinction – can seem a reasonable conclusion.
Modern environmentalism (as opposed to Biblical stewardship) is a religion. It seeks to answer “the big questions:” how did we get here (chance/evolution), why are things imperfect (human activity), and what is the solution (in this case, complete elimination of humanity). The writer of the linked article clearly takes comfort and derives purpose from adherence to the logic of his beliefs.
But if we believe this is just a stopover on the way to eternity, then the value of each individual human being becomes infinitely greater than a world already subject to entropy, whether we’re around or not.
It behooves us not to knowingly or carelessly foul our temporary home. It profits us even more to remember it’s just that: temporary. But love — true, sacrificial love: that between spouses, between parents and children, between those who belong to the Body — is eternal.
“Sinners, wrung with true repentance,
Doomed for guilt to endless pains,
Justice now revokes the sentence,
Mercy calls you; break your chains.
Come and worship, come and worship,
Worship Christ, the newborn king.”
The Christianity Today news site weighs in on impeachment:
Trump’s evangelical supporters have pointed to his Supreme Court nominees, his defense of religious liberty, and his stewardship of the economy, among other things, as achievements that justify their support of the president. We believe the impeachment hearings have made it absolutely clear, in a way the Mueller investigation did not, that President Trump has abused his authority for personal gain and betrayed his constitutional oath. The impeachment hearings have illuminated the president’s moral deficiencies for all to see. This damages the institution of the presidency, damages the reputation of our country, and damages both the spirit and the future of our people. None of the president’s positives can balance the moral and political danger we face under a leader of such grossly immoral character.
Translation: “yes, Trump managed to put a wedge between Planned Parenthood’s abortion empire and federal funding; yes, Trump has reversed some of Obama’s specific policy targeting of Christian groups; yes, minorities and the underprivileged are faring better economically than they have in ages; yes, Trump is completely reshaping the Federal judiciary by appointing people who respect the Constitution; yes, Trump is resetting trade policy to protect the U.S., and pressing allies to shoulder their share of the defense burden… despite all that, he’s crude, rude, uncouth and must be removed.”
In other words, better to go down to polite defeat than to get dirty while fighting. What a joke. I remind this magazine of the personality contrasts between Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee. The former was fond of alcohol and cigars (which killed him), was notoriously unkempt, and lacked any political polish whatsoever. In contrast, Lee was the so-called “marble man,” — the West Point graduate who did four years without a single demerit… the consummate gentleman of refined manners and a personal ethos that inspired others to follow him.
When confronted after the battle of Shiloh about Grant possibly crawling back into the bottle, Lincoln refused to remove him, saying “I can’t spare him… he fights.” For anyone who wants to see America safe and strong, the same is true of Trump. I don’t idolize the man (or any other, for that matter). But results matter.
I would be remiss if I didn’t address one other part of the editorial:
…the facts in this instance are unambiguous: The president of the United States attempted to use his political power to coerce a foreign leader to harass and discredit one of the president’s political opponents. That is not only a violation of the Constitution; more importantly, it is profoundly immoral.
That is but one interpretation of what happened, and I don’t believe it to be the correct one. Here’s an “unambiguous fact:” former Vice President Joe Biden openly (and profanely) admitted in a public forum that he withheld U.S. aid from the Ukraine until they agreed to fire a prosecutor. One who just happened to be looking into a company for which Biden’s son was paid thousands a month to “consult,” despite having no relevant experience. This is what Trump asked Ukraine to look into — whether the former U.S. vice president had abused his office. Looking after the nation’s vital interests surely must include investigating possible corruption, right?
To the writers of the editorial, though, that’s abuse of power by Trump. Sorry, that position is more alchemy than Christianity. The same people screaming “no one is above the law” are also yelling it’s wrong to look into actions Biden has acknowledged, because he’s a presidential candidate. So which is it? Can one now avoid scrutiny simply by throwing their hat in the ring? The writers of this editorial have swallowed a Democratic talking point without showing any discernment whatsoever.
It’s proper to be concerned about our witness, individually and as the Church. And it’s a good thing to strive for leaders we can emulate. We must be careful, however, of allowing the Enemy to use that concern to neuter effective resistance to godless globalism. I hope Christianity Today is enjoying all the temporary plaudits they’re receiving from people who detest everything Christianity actually represents. They fell for the trap, creating yet another crossfire that can only benefit the other side.
For all the public fables of Washington and the apple tree, or Lincoln and his log cabin, we never have or ever will elect a perfect man. I would love Trump to be more Christ-like as a person. But I need him to be an effective defender of America, its people and its traditions as a president. I don’t know why that is so hard to figure out.
As with “O Come, O Come, Emmauel,” this hymn anticipates the salvation and relief provided by the Christ Child.
One thing about the Trump era: it’s caused a lot of people to confront the misplaced notion that Christians are supposed to be all about inoffensive sweetness and niceness, and only support politicians of that variety:
There are innumerable examples of people who are wonderful but unaccomplished just as there are many notable examples of people with serious personal failings who nonetheless have excelled in other parts of their lives: artists, scientists, parents, and even politicians.
And yes, I’m not so subtly making a point about President Trump. His private failings have been made very public prompting some Christian pundits to say that not only do those failings disqualify Trump from office, but they are so egregious as to make supporting him sinful for Christians.
It should be obvious that support for a political candidate does not mean a blanket endorsement of every aspect that candidate’s life. It is merely an endorsement of that person’s policies and an assessment of his ability to perform in office. What’s more, it’s often not even a blanket endorsement of that, it’s a practical decision that Candidate A, while imperfect, is preferable to Candidate B…
The question is, by what standard should a Christian judge a candidate or an officeholder? Part of the answer is that the Christian and non-Christian ought to judge in the same way: what can the candidate do to protect the peace and prosperity of the nation and its citizens? Christians would add that they require political leaders that will protect the right of the Church to worship freely and its members to practice their faith in peace.
If personal sin were disqualifying, who could lead? Christians in particular, for whom recognition of indwelling sin is both a predicate and a sustainer of faith, should know this. I suspect what the Frenches really want is a prophet, a priest, and a king to rule in this secular age, a political leader in which they can invest their highest hopes. But in doing so, they are placing upon liberal politics a weight it cannot hope to carry and are headed for disappointment. The good news is, if they want a prophet, a priest, and a king, they already have one . . . in Christ.
As a presidential candidate in 2012, [Mitt Romney] was weak and ineffectual, letting Barack Obama walk all over him and run away with the race. But vote for him because he’s polite and he doesn’t curse! Voters, many of them Christians, decided that the time for beautiful losers is over.
Exactly. As I watch my country overrun by uninvited invaders, beset by hostile ideologies growing within and enemies gathering without, I am really not concerned with parlor games and political pleasantries anymore. It’s no exaggeration to say our birthright freedoms are in a fight for their very survival. In such a situation I’ll take a committed patriot with the manners of Genghis Khan over a manicured globalist who’s a disciple of Ann Landers; a Patton, not a Pope.
And as for Christianity requiring a milquetoast demeanor… our adversaries would have us forget that Our Lord’s example includes such pleasantries as flipping tables, driving people with whips, calling deceivers ‘vipers‘ and children of Satan, and calling down woe on feckless leaders more interested in themselves than in those they were called to lead. Christ isn’t just the Lamb… He’s also the Lion of Judah. “Not a tame lion,” either, as C.S. Lewis once pointed out.
So despite his many past moral failings, maybe… just maybe… Trump’s on to something here. I’ll certainly never confuse him with Christ. But Twitter aside, regarding the manner in which he is governing I’ll say he is more Christ-like than many of the false-faced Wormtongues who surround him in Mordor. It’s amusing: the Left always screeches that Christian faith should never influence public policy. But faced with Trump, who has committed the unpardonable sin of actually trying to govern as he campaigned, the Left — which recognizes no restraints of civility on its own quest for power — is more than willing to use a watered-down, denatured vision of the Christian walk to try to shame people out of supporting him.
I mean it literally when I say “to hell with that.”