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.

Anticipating change

One of the primary benefits of studying history is wrestling with the question “how could they not have seen that coming?”  As the saying goes, “hindsight is always 20/20,” but foresight usually falls far short of that.  Most people expect things to continue on as they always have in their experience.  Until suddenly they don’t.

Try to remember that Sarajevo once hosted an Olympics. Remember that Beirut used to be called “The Paris of the Middle East.” Remember that women used to wear lipstick and miniskirts in Tehran.

I believe this inability to visualize the possibility of disastrous change is one of the key vulnerabilities of the United States.  Yes, every generation whines about how things aren’t like they were “in the good old days” — mine included.  But few put these vignettes together into a narrative that might be pointing to a larger journey into disaster.  This blindspot in America is likely caused/enhanced by the fact we haven’t faced disaster as a society in a very, very long time by the world’s standards.  Even though we participated in both World Wars, the chance of either posing an existential threat to the United States was extremely low.  The last time American civilians had to fear soldiers on the march in their homeland was the War Between The States — over 150 years ago.

Any advanced and thriving civilization has large numbers of people – especially at the top of the pile – who are comfortable and safe, and are so for generations. This lack of meaningful threats, from birth onward, causes the amygdalae structures in the brain to not fully develop compared to prior, more stressed, generations because of a lack of stimulation; thus, the ability to recognize actual threats has atrophied. This leads to the society as an aggregate, and the leadership class in particular, taking actions that they do not recognize as dangerous, which result in the collapse of the civilization.

When gun controllers say the 2nd Amendment is outdated, they are reflecting the atrophy described above.  The Holocaust is well-known; the various Communist purges less so, but far too many believe that’s just what happens to “other people.”  It couldn’t happen in America, right?  Some people know better but choose to seek disarmament anyway, the better to advance a political agenda.  But a substantial number simply have no personal frame of reference of an experience where they were in mortal peril, and needed to defend themselves.  Media coverage of the topic emphasizes criminal use of firearms, neglecting the far larger number of cases of defensive use.  This is one reason why veterans and many civilians are separated by a wide gap on the 2nd Amendment.  The handful of veterans who are celebrated for advocating gun control are either those whose work never exposed them to danger, or who know better but desire public acclaim more than common sense.

The same dynamic is at work in the issue of mass migration.  The millions of current Muslim “refugees” (an abused term if there every was one) trigger a much different social memory in Eastern and Central Europe than it does in the West.  The advance of Islam in the Middle Ages was largely stopped at the Battle of Tours, so Western Europe, Scandinavia and England never dealt with the threat on any large scale.  Not so with the East, Islam’s initial momentum culminated in two sieges of Vienna (1529 and 1683), and sectarian violence and discrimination between Muslim, Orthodox and Catholic ensued for generations.  This is the origin of the term “balkanization,” and if you’ve paid attention you’ve heard it applied to modern demographic trends in the U.S.

That is why Polish, Hungarian and Czech attitudes toward the current wave of Muslim migration differ considerably from those of the Germans or French (though the latter two are starting to realize the consequences).

In the United States, immigration has become enshrined as part of the national experience.  The downsides of previous waves of immigrants (ethnic tensions in the cities, cramped living conditions, crime, etc) are rarely examined except to try to place the blame solely at the feet of Anglo-Americans.  That’s why those who oppose mass immigration (especially the illegal variety) today are accused of being “on the wrong side of history.”  Those who know their history, however, realize today’s wave of invaders “immigrants” bear little resemblance to those of Schoolhouse Rock fame.  For starters, immigrants in the late 1800s understood they were leaving most all ties to their homeland to become immersed in a new one, which required adaptation to language and culture.  They were scrutinized carefully by U.S. authorities to screen out political radicals, the diseased and those who would likely become a burden on society.  Today, millions have entered the U.S. without permission or scrutiny (the largest contingent by far being from Mexico and Central America).  In the U.S. they can watch Spanish-language TV, demand translation services for all official business, and largely insulate themselves from adapting to their new home if they so choose.  There is no incentive to assimilate; indeed, many ardently proclaim their greater loyalty to their country of origin.  As one person put it online:

“Too many people are coming to America just to be in America. They aren’t coming here to be Americans. That needs to change.”

In short, immigration today bears only a passing resemblance to the immigration of decades past.  It more closely resembles the settling of the Goths within the Roman Empire.

The point of this post is to emphasize that America is not immune to disaster, despite her long history.  Over the decades, many planks have been removed from the platform our Founders carefully constructed – overturning the prohibition of an income tax, allowing direct election of Senators, and so forth.  Each of these, while debated at the time, were considered incremental in effect.  But decades of such increments eventually add up to something substantial.  Our politics today are not about degrees of policy anymore.  There are irreconcilable differences in the worldviews in play, and a desire to use the machinery of government to enforce an orthodoxy at odds with our traditions.  We are at a tipping point in our history.  Those who would disarm and displace the historical American body politic now hardly disguise their intent.  Those who recognize what is at stake are more energized to resist it than ever before (hence the previously inconceivable election of a man like Donald Trump).

Many Americans assume those who are preparing for possible disaster somehow are looking forward to it.  Nothing could be farther from the truth.  They fail to realize the ability to visualize potential futures and make preparations to meet them are the best ways to prevent America from suffering the fate of other nations.

What do YOU see ahead?  What are YOU doing to prepare?  What are YOU willing to do to prevent disaster?

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Molon Labe

 

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

Why don’t they do something?

Once again the actions of a crazed killer are being used to push the idea of further restrictions on the right of law-abiding citizens to own firearms.

“Why don’t they do something,” the Left wails about Congress as they clamor for Americans to give up their right to self-protection and unilaterally disarm.

But that question could be put equally to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  You know, the agency that’s poured thousands of man-hours (not to mention taxpayer money) into looking for what appears to be non-existent evidence of “collusion” between Trump and Russia.  Why bring up the FBI?

Because they were aware of yesterday’s murdererSix months ago.

This is not a one-time observation, either.  “Known wolf” is a phrase that keeps popping up after these events:

So the real question should be this: in an age where we are closing in on ubiquitous surveillance, and authorities have unfathomable–and unConstitutional–capability to eavesdrop on our every move, why are known threats continually able to pull off such tragedies?

Why don’t they do something?

But that’s not how He identifies

We’re constantly told in this insane era that we must refer to another person by their “chosen gender identity.”  But apparently this moral imperative doesn’t extend to the Almighty:

…the Diocese of Washington for the Episcopal Church passed three resolutions over the weekend at a gathering at Washington National Cathedral. Delegates to the 123rd Diocesan Convention moved within one hour to adopt proposals titled “On Becoming a Sanctuary Diocese: Offering Sacred Welcome to Immigrants,” “On Inclusion of Transgender People,” and “On the Gendered Language for God.”

The resolution about language for God emphasized replacing gendered references to God with gender neutral language and pronouns wherever possible…

The understanding of God and of language has evolved over time, drafters of the resolution maintained, and current gender roles inhibit such understanding.

Billy Graham once addressed this question, noting the modern tendency to want to blur this distinction is a dangerous one:

The answer to the question about why God is referred to in masculine terms in the Bible really has only one answer: This is the way God has chosen to reveal Himself to us. God is never described with sexual characteristics in the Scriptures, but He does consistently describe Himself in the masculine gender.

While God contains all the qualities of both male and female genders, He has chosen to present Himself with an emphasis on masculine qualities of fatherhood, protection, direction, strength, etc. Metaphors used to describe Him in the Bible include: King, Father, Judge, Husband, Master, and the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

One famous Christian scholar, C. S. Lewis, has suggested that gender is far deeper than our human distinctions reveal. He suggests that God is so masculine that we all are feminine in relation to Him. If this is true, it might explain why the church is referred to as the bride of Christ, though it is composed of both men and women.

As for being ‘inclusive’ of transgenders (one of the other resolutions), it’s worth noting that all are invited to repentance at the foot of the Cross.  But repentance is based on acknowledging God’s authority over ours, and acting accordingly.  In His Word God clearly states:

(Jesus) answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?

So in our National Cathedral, Satan is once again reprising his gambit from the garden of Eden: “Did God actually say…”  Then again, it’s worth noting the entire founding of the Episcopal Church was due to an English king splitting the Church in part because the Pope wouldn’t grant him a divorce.  In other words, defiance of Scripture was built into the denomination at the very beginning.

And we wonder why our nation’s in the state it’s in.

Learning something new every day

I’ve never had much use for the United Nations or the European Union.  Neither seem particularly responsive to the desires of the average person on the street.  Both are attempts to create structures that subordinate the nation-state, something I’m extremely wary of.

I just didn’t realize until this week how open they could be about their chosen symbology.   This is a somewhat well-known painting from 1563 of the Biblical Tower of Babel by Pieter Brueghel:

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Compare this with the pictures below of a 1990s European Union poster promoting the theme of “many tongues, one voice,” as well as the shape of the European Union parliament building in Strasbourg France:

img_4429067786def     2011_04_12_parl_european

Not exactly subtle, is it?

Both the European Union and the United Nations push strongly for multiculturalism and the amalgamation of nations into some sort of global entity.  So a second attempt at a Tower of Babel seems a pretty apt symbol to adopt.  There was a reason God scattered the nations at Babel, and this statement of intention to overturn that action is possibly one of the most arrogant ones ever fashioned by human beings.

Wow.  Just… wow.