Guess she’s not hiding it anymore

Bet you didn’t expect to read this headline:

“Hillary Clinton Joins International Elite Coven (Yes, really.)”

Earlier this week, Hillary Clinton made an appearance in New York City at an exclusive women’s club called The Wing. The event was put together by co-founders Audrey Gelman and Lauren Kassan in honor of Hillary. They were able to converse on her new book What Happened, her legacy, and (unsurprisingly) Russian meddling. It was quite the typical post-election conversation to be expected from Hillary. However, on this occasion, there was one significant difference. This time Hillary was speaking to a group of women who practice witchcraft and openly call themselves a coven. According to The Wing’s Instagram page: “We’re a coven, not a sorority.”

Now, when I first ran across this I thought maybe that last quote was an overdone “girrrrrl power” remark.  This is a serious charge, so I did my own due diligence.  Scrolling through the Instagram page for the group shows witches and occult symbolism to be rife in the organization, especially in the clothing and trinkets it offers for sale.  It’s worth noting the URL address for the membership application page, too:  “https://witches.the-wing.com/apply.”  Various stories I looked up about the rise of The Wing point out the space is forbidden to men, which seems to go along with this little gem:

Knife

On her own Instagram page, one co-founder of The Wing, Audry Gelman, describes herself this way:  “I’m like any modern woman trying to have it all. I just wish I had more time to seek out the dark forces & join their hellish crusade.” 

In short, this isn’t a case of women calling each other “witches” in the casual way blacks sometimes throw the “n-word” at each other.  I’m sure the tongue-in-cheek elements are meant to provide an “it’s a harmless inside joke” cover, but there’s no denying a consistent theme pervading the organization.  An organization that charges more than $2000 a year for membership, yet is growing rapidly:

The Wing, a trendy women-only co-working space with Instagram-worthy decor, is expanding its empire to six new locations around the world, including another location in Brooklyn.  Women in Toronto, London, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and, yes, Williamsburg, will soon have working spaces of their own in the near future, the company announced today with billboards in the neighborhoods getting their Wings.

And as you might suspect, such a well-connected, well-funded organization actively supports some fellow travelers:

The Wing in politics

I’m guessing this appearance by Her Hillariness may be a sign she’s recognized the presidency will never be in her grasp.  Thus, her usefulness is now in lending support and name recognition to others like her.  While I’m mildly surprised at how openly she’s embracing such a group as The Wing, I’ve never doubted her sympathies.  As I shared shortly before the election, the one time I was in a room with her and Huma Abedin, the sense of spiritual oppression was palpable.  I’m sure there are plenty of people who would read that and laugh.  But the same Bible that assures me Christ died and rose for my salvation also warns me there is an Enemy that prowls around, seeking to devour, and that there are those among us who willingly serve that Enemy.  If you read much about the Wing, you’ll see that Hillary is far from the only well-known name associated with it.  So I’ll close with what C.S. Lewis had to say years ago to those who would guffaw at the idea of dark forces in the world:

I know someone will ask me, ‘Do you really mean, at this time of day, to re-introduce our old friend the devil-hoofs and horns and all?’ Well, what the time of day has to do with it I do not know. And I am not particular about the hoofs and horns. But in other respects my answer is ‘Yes, I do.’ I do not claim to know anything about his personal appearance. If anybody really wants to know him better I would say to that person, ‘Don’t worry. If you really want to, you will. Whether you’ll like it when you do is another question.’

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Movie Report: Paul, Apostle of Christ

Went to see the above-named movie with several Paul_387x580banner_nowintheaters-387x580friends from church Saturday evening.  It’s well worth your time and the price of admission.  A caution: much like the movie Passion of the Christ, this is not escapist entertainment.  It makes you think.  As with that other movie, I noticed there was very little conversation as people left the theater.

Several things impressed me about this production.  First, much of what Paul says is drawn from the various letters he wrote in the New Testament — either verbatim or by paraphrase.  You get the sense his dialogue is intended to be close to the spirit and heart of the man being depicted.  Second, while the movie is nowhere near as graphic as the Passion of the Christ, it does not shy away from highlighting the very real persecution and martyring of the Church in the time of Nero.  (The PG-13 rating is a good guide for age appropriateness.)  But it does so in a way that provides a reminder of the encouragement we have in Christ even when facing death at the hands of others.  A closely related third, the Christians of Rome are not cardboard saints.  They wrestle with how to respond to such wanton evil being inflicted on them.  Without giving spoilers, I’ll say it was refreshing to see that not everyone made perfect “Sunday School” choices.

Which brings me to a final point.  A pitfall of many “Christian” movies is a desire to tie everything up neatly: the antagonist repents, there is miraculous deliverance, and so forth.  This movie manages to avoid that.  I won’t get more specific so as not to ruin it for others, but suffice to say while the film concludes in a very appropriate manner for the story it is telling, it leaves open the question of how some characters’ futures resolve.

The best compliment I can give the movie is to note that before we went separate ways Saturday evening, our group agreed it could drive some discussion in our Bible study Sunday morning.  (I should note we’ve been in Paul’s letters for a while now, so the movie’s release was very timely).  Much like the Visual Bible films of a few years ago, this movie provides a way to look at familiar scripture through a different lens than the written word alone.  I find myself hoping more such thought-provoking films will be made — movies that demonstrate a respect for scripture even while carefully filling in historical blanks.

This one is worth your support.

They don’t really represent “us”

Congress has become a place where people entrench themselves practically for life, clinging to power without regard for the actual job of representing their constituents:

PHOENIX — Meghan McCain says she’s “cautiously optimistic” that Sen. John McCain could return to Washington by the summer.

The 81-year-old Republican senator has been battling a rare and aggressive form of brain cancer called glioblastoma. He was diagnosed last summer.

John McCain was hospitalized and treated for a viral infection in December. He has remained at his family’s ranch near Sedona to undergo chemotherapy and physical therapy since mid-December.

The senator had initially expected to return to Washington in January, but was unable to do so.

So for six months–maybe even more–the people of Arizona will only have half the representation in the Senate that is prescribed under the Constitution.  Of course, even when McCain is present in the Senate, one could hardly call his recent track record properly Republican.

Whatever his past services to the nation, John McCain is clearly seriously ill, and unable to perform the duties of an elected representative.  I wish him only well as he and his family battle the common scourge of cancer.  But a true public servant would recognize his inability to perform his duties and step aside.  We have precious few of those in office these days.  Instead, we have the image of an elderly politico clutching hold of his power even as he tries to cling to life, as though he’s permanently entitled to either.

Membership in Congress has become a sort of nobility in America, even to the point of attempts to maintain “dynasties.”  Of the current 50 senators, 18 have been in office since the Bill Clinton Administration, and the most senior senator–Patrick Leahy of Vermont–entered the body six years before Ronald Reagan became president in 1981.  McCain, a one-time candidate for president, currently is the 7th longest serving senator.

Before the “progressives” added the 17th Amendment, Senators were appointed by State legislatures, not by direct election.  I suspect if we reverted back to the original intentions of the Founders, it would be far easier for Arizona to tell McCain to focus on his health while another is sent to represent the State’s interests in D.C. Mordor.

I’ve said before we have to stop enabling careerism in politics.  No politician should be able to simultaneously run for higher office and reelection to his current seat (thus forcing the taxpayer expense of a special election if “promoted.”)  Politicians should not be able to shop around for a favorable district just by maintaining a second (or third…) home there. I’d even be in favor of allowing States to mandate their senators be drawn only from native-born residents.  Most importantly, Congress should only meet a limited period each year, forced to get the essentials done (like, say, passing a budget on time), then return to their constituencies.  By roosting in Mordor with others like them, it’s far to easy to become self-important and isolated from the people they supposedly serve.

The Greek historian Thucydides once said “of all the manifestations of power, restraint impresses men the most.”  I’d offer a corollary to that: nothing becomes a statesman more than the willingness to relinquish power.  That was the essential difference between George Washington and King George III.  We need to regain that sense of civic mindedness.

Too many Wrinkles

Even though I really enjoyed the Wrinkle in Time series by Madeleine L’Engle (and still have a copy of it), I won’t be buying tickets for the new movie about to open.  Two words: Disney and Oprah.

That’s a combination enough to ruin anything, even a children’s classic.

What’s funny is that until very recently I wasn’t aware of just how controversial the book had been among Christians when it was first released.  That said, when I first read it as a teenager I did pick up on some strange vibes, such as listing Jesus, Ghandi, Einstein and great artists like Leonardo da Vinci and Beethoven as examples of historical figures standing against evil.  Nowhere in that passage does it hint at any greater role for Jesus — he is simply one of the great figures.

L’Engle was an Episcopalian, a denomination that has skewed ever more liberal and heretical since the mid-1900s.  If, as the linked article above infers, the author was trying sincerely to reconcile the Christian faith with science, it may have been at the expense of watering down the Christian elements into a general spirituality that hesitates to draw clear theological lines:

“To be truly Christian means to see Christ everywhere, to know him as all in all,” L’Engle wrote in her book Walking on Water. “I don’t mean to water down my Christianity into a vague kind of universalism, with Buddha and Mohammed all being more or less equal to Jesus-not at all!  But neither do I want to tell God (or my friends) where he can and cannot be seen!”

And that’s where Oprah comes in.  The longtime TV host may have recently claimed she wouldn’t run for president unless “God tells me to,” but it’s fair to wonder what sort of god she’s expecting instructions from.  She is anything but an orthodox Christian — for a short glimpse of the evidence of this statement, click this link.  That’s just the tip of the iceberg.  Disney, of course, regularly provides content full of themes incompatible with the historic Christian faith — all under the cute guise of “kids entertainment.”

So with a recipe involving a book of nominally Christian fiction, a New Age television guru, and the House of Mouse, what could go wrong?

Madeleine L’Engle’s classic young adult novel “A Wrinkle in Time” is the latest victim of diversity-deranged stunt casting in which no respect is paid to the race or sex of existing literary characters. But that’s only one reason why this frustrating fiasco is such an embarrassing failure. Director Ava DuVernay (“Selma”), who has no feel at all for the material, seems more interested in promoting colorblind multi-culturalism than producing an entertaining adaptation that is worthy of its much-beloved source…

Also, it’s unfortunate that the film eliminates the novel’s references to Christianity that resulted in it being banned from some libraries. Inclusion apparently has its limits.

I didn’t need the confirmation of yesterday’s movie review.  As soon as the very first trailer debuted last year, I knew this was a “must-pass” event.  The original book is still a fun read, but has more of a dualist worldview than a properly Christian one in which salvation through Christ alone is the central tenet.  Adding Hollywood to the mix just exacerbates the issue.  Christians are understandably hungry for good entertainment these days.  But that doesn’t mean we should spend our dollars in a way that encourages Hollywood’s tendency to take anything reasonably good, gut it, stuff it with their agenda, and pass it off as something worth seeing.

Find something better to do this weekend.

Simply unbelievable

Many on the Left were certainly hoping to use last week’s school shooting to push for more gun control (there’s even been talk of a “semiautomatic weapons ban,” which would essentially outlaw the vast majority of rifles and handguns in circulation today).

But as the facts come out about this tragedy, it’s more and more clear that anger — and an insistence on maintaining the right to self-defense — is far more appropriate.  To summarize:

  • Local police had been called to alleged shooter Nikolas Cruz’s residence 39 times over the previous seven years, with the Broward County Sheriffs involved in 23 of them.
  • The Broward County Sheriff has admitted his department did not follow standard protocols regarding such a recurring residence, and two deputies are under investigation in that regard.
  • The FBI says it also failed to follow protocols after being warned in January about Cruz — one of two such warnings it received.
  • During the event, Cruz was able to leave the school undetected because officers were watching security video they thought was live but had been rewound more than 20 minutes.   As much as I try not to use it, all I can say to this is WTF?
  • And to top it all off: there was an armed, uniformed sheriffs deputy assigned to the high school as a resource officer who never entered the building or engaged the shooter during the entire massacre!

The Broward County Sheriffs Department released that last item Thursday morning, right after the previous evening’s CNN “Town Hall” on the event, during which Sheriff Scott Israel puffed his chest and pointed fingers at Dana Loesch and the National Rifle Association, as though the failures listed above are somehow their fault.  Sheriff Israel had to have known of his officers’ failures even as he preened for the cameras!

Given all the above, public school teachers would be justified in refusing to work until/unless they are given permission to be trained and armed.  These data points starkly illustrate the truth of the adage “when seconds count, the police are only minutes away.”  The gunfire lasted four minutes.  Time that on a clock, and while the timer’s running, imagine being a teacher or teenager in a closet hearing gunfire the whole time… with no effective way to fight back.  While a armed veteran officer cowered outside the school, a 15-year old JROTC cadet died holding a door for fellow students to escape (one of three cadets to die that day), others quickly thought to use kevlar mats to protect their classmates, and a beloved coach, with no weapon available to him, died shielding his students with his own body.

This entire event is best summarized by a military acronym whose use I also keep to a minimum:  FUBAR.  I’ve really, really tried not to entertain theories that mass shootings are a conscious tool of people who want to disarm us, but such a complete and catastrophic failure makes that increasingly difficult.  It doesn’t help the government any that one of the most prominently featured students with various media is the articulate son of an FBI agent.  There’s also the fact that four months after the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history (in Las Vegas), the authorities are either still clueless about what happened and why, or are simply refusing to tell the public anything.

The Left wants us to be angry, and I am.

I’m angry that government at every level utterly failed to recognize and act on a wealth of threat information about Cruz.

I’m angry that the information was not routed in such a way as to prevent Cruz from purchasing his weapons (the entire POINT of a background check!).

I’m angry that a veteran officer (with enough time to qualify to retire) did NOTHING as 17 people died around him.

I’m angry that only the resource officer has had the sense of shame enough to resign (although he stands to collect his retirement).  While there have been public calls for people to be fired, recent history doesn’t lend much confidence anyone with real authority will be held accountable.

I’m angry that institutions such as the FBI are more focused on political witch hunts than they are actual protection of citizens.

I’m angriest that all of this is being exploited emotionally to try to further restrict our means of self-defense, even as it becomes apparent we cannot count on anyone else to take care of it for us.  There’s not a law or restriction that could have solved the failures listed above, and I don’t intend to pay for somebody else’s abdication of responsibilities.

The Bible cautions us “in your anger, do not sin.”  I don’t think it’s a sin to warn the gun-grabbers they don’t know the fire they’re playing with.  In the same passage we’re told not to give the devil an opportunity.  The history of firearm confiscations would seem to show it’s just that – a grave opportunity for evil.  So I’ll conclude with a phrase that’s being seen more and more these days:

molonlabegreek

Gone home

“Someday you will read or hear that Billy Graham is dead. Don’t you believe a word of it!  I shall be more alive than I am now. I will just have changed my address. I will have gone into the presence of God.”  — Billy Graham

And so he has:

The world’s best-known evangelist, the Rev. Billy Graham, has died. He was 99.

From the gangly 16-year-old baseball-loving teen who found Christ at a tent revival, Graham went on to become an international media darling, a preacher to a dozen presidents and the voice of solace in times of national heartbreak. He was America’s pastor…

Presidents called on Graham in their dark hours, and uncounted millions say he showed them the light. He took his Bible to the ends of the Earth in preaching tours he called “crusades.” Even now, anywhere a satellite, radio, TV, video or podcast can reach, his sonorous voice is probably still calling someone to Christ…

His reputation was untouched by sex or financial scandals. When anti-Semitic comments came to light as transcripts of conversations with Richard Nixon surfaced, Graham was promptly and deeply apologetic.

He never built a megachurch, set up a relief agency, launched a political lobby or ran for office. Yet he redefined American Protestant life by popularizing Christianity’s core message — Christ died for your sins — downplaying denominational details and proclaiming the joys found in faith…

In 1996, when he and Ruth were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, he once more shared his faith in God with some of the most powerful men on Earth:

“As Ruth and I receive this award, we know that some day we will lay it at the feet of the one we seek to serve.”

That day is today.  I can only imagine the joy of him hearing “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

“You sure keep it simple
And you sure preach it plain
And, Billy, I just wish
More would preach it just the same