The empty tomb, not the cross

…is the most significant symbol of the Christian faith.  The cross is where Christ took our place, judged and condemned for our sins.  The pivotal moment, that.  But the empty tomb proved he wasn’t just a madman on a fool’s errand with delusions of grandeur.  Christ claimed to be the Son of God, equal to the Father.  Thus, as C.S. Lewis famously wrote, there are only three ways to respond to Him: call Him a liar, call Him a lunatic, or call Him Lord.  Eternity hinges on which one you choose.

And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.

If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.

But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.

1 Corinthians 15:14-22

He is risen!  He is risen indeed!

Utopia doesn’t exist

Israel Wayne takes staccato shots at some of the top utopian myths:

Here are the Top Ten Utopian Myths, in no particular order:

Myth 1. Life would be better if everyone had the same income and/or resources.
Truth: A totally classless society is impossible. All attempts at socialism (forced redistribution of wealth) have resulted eventually in overall collective poverty (and an insanely wealthy oligarchy who steals from the public).

Myth 2. If we could only communicate better, then we would understand each other, and we would all get along.
Truth: If we truly understood what everyone else really believed, we might like each other less!

Myth 3. We can legislate our way to a perfect and peaceful society.
Truth: All law is an imposition of an external standard on someone who doesn’t want to embrace it. The problem is not a lack of legislation, it is that many people desire to do things that are harmful to others, and they always will. In case we haven’t noticed, criminals do not obey the law…  (emphasis added)

Read the rest here.

Our utopian dreams are a reflection of our deep understanding we were meant for a better place than this fallen world.  We have the power to change our own individual behavior.  We don’t have the power, individually or collectively, to create a perfect society.  That hasn’t kept humanity from trying, often at great cost.  We need to live as much like Christ as possible in this life, and rely on His promise of a future where there is no more “mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore.”  Ironically, such “living forwardly” provides the best possible solution to our present circumstances, to the extent we embrace it:

“If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this.”                   — C.S. Lewis

Facts versus feelings

The issue of illegal immigration is an emotionally charged one.  I believe far too many of our leaders enable its continuation due to cynical political calculations: if the American people won’t vote them greater powers, they’ll import a people who will.  But for the average citizenry, those who support the continued entry of hundreds of thousands of migrants each year are largely driven by genuine compassion.  Indeed, it’s hard not to compare the conditions many of these people are leaving to those in the U.S. and not feel a sense of obligation to help.

That is why dispassionate examination of the facts of the matter is absolutely essential.  Simply put, this ongoing, unprecedented wave of migration is demonstrably harmful to the citizenry already living within the United States:

A majority of “non-citizens,” including those with legal green card rights, are tapping into welfare programs set up to help poor and ailing Americans, a Census Bureau finding that bolsters President Trump’s concern about immigrants costing the nation.

In a new analysis of the latest numbers, from 2014, 63 percent of non-citizens are using a welfare program, and it grows to 70 percent for those here 10 years or more, confirming another concern that once immigrants tap into welfare, they don’t get off it…

“Concern over immigrant welfare use is justified, as households headed by non-citizens use means-tested welfare at high rates. Non-citizens in the data include illegal immigrants, long-term temporary visitors like guest workers, and permanent residents who have not naturalized. While barriers to welfare use exist for these groups, it has not prevented them from making extensive use of the welfare system, often receiving benefits on behalf of U.S.-born children,” added the Washington-based [Center for Immigration Studies].

The numbers are huge. The report said that there are 4,684,784 million non-citizen households receiving welfare… Compared to native households, non-citizen households have much higher use of food programs (45 percent vs. 21 percent for natives) and Medicaid (50 percent vs. 23 percent for natives).

The American people have historically been a generous one, no doubt in large part to the legacy of Christian charity.  The current level of charity, however, is both unsustainable and unfair to the Americans who have paid into various systems like Social Security and are now unlikely to realize their promised benefits because those funds went to others.  The injustice of transferring wealth from citizens to those who have entered the country (legal or illegal) only to become a burden on it should be obvious.  Given the fact the United States is already flirting heavily with insolvency, carrying trillions of dollars in debt and routinely hearing warnings about Social Security and other programs running out of funds for promised benefits, it’s clear the current situation cannot be tolerated.

The soothsayers who want to allow the status quo to continue try to shame concerned Americans by pointing to our history as a ‘nation of immigrants.’  In doing so, they omit certain critical data points:

  • Past waves of immigration, such as the early 1900s, were conducted according to strict legal protocols, requiring processing at such places as Ellis Island.  It was not a free-for-all “rush for the border” as we have today.
  • Previous immigrants had to prove, among other things, that they had the means to be self-supporting.
  • Previous sources of immigration were mainly from Western European nations with at least a tenuous connection with the English social and political context that framed the United States.  Today, not so much.  (Note the dramatic change on this animated map, both in terms of volume and sources of immigration, starting about 1970.)

This is not to say that individual people from other parts of the world are any less human. It acknowledges, however, that culture is an essential facet of any country, and is not easily discarded in favor of a new worldview. In short, we have allowed alien ways of thought to establish themselves among us, with major implications for the future of our Constitutional heritage.

Much, if not most of our current inflow of people is from Latin America.  Is it not prudent, then, to examine the fact Latin America is “the murder capital of the world?”

With just 8% of the world’s population, Latin America accounts for roughly a third of global murders. It is also the only region where lethal violence has grown steadily since 2000, according to United Nations figures. Nearly one in every four murders around the world takes place in just four countries: Brazil, Venezuela, Mexico and Colombia. 

The linked article goes on to note most of these murders are never solved, a result of the very weak legal systems and lack of accountability that exist in most of the countries south of the Rio Grande.  Gangs like MS-13 represent the effective local authority, and it should be no surprise that as we continue to receive large numbers of people from this area, that the established gangs export their influence north with it.  It’s understandable to want to help people fleeing such lawlessness.  But such an impulse has to be tempered by at least two questions:

  • Given the pervasiveness of violence and lawlessness, are we willing to import the entire populations of countries like El Salvador or Honduras to allow their people to escape it?  For how many nations are we willing to do this?
  • Does it do any good to permit large-scale immigration from this region that results in importing to the U.S. the very social problems so many profess to be fleeing?

The first duty of any legitimate government is the protection of its own citizens, not provision to outsiders.  Yet many of our leaders seem to turn that on its head, viciously attacking and slandering any who then question their priorities.  In turning the U.S. into the world’s charity, we have forgotten a warning given to us in the famous parable by C.S. Lewis:

Do what you will, there is going to be some benevolence, as well as some malice, in your patient’s soul. The great thing is to direct the malice to his immediate neighbours whom he meets every day and to thrust his benevolence out to the remote circumference, to people he does not know. The malice thus becomes wholly real and the benevolence largely imaginary.

Indeed, the benevolence we think we bestow when we allow people to move to America only to become trapped in ethnic enclaves as wards of the state, is indeed largely imaginary.  Worse, it breeds understandable resentment among citizens who see their job prospects (see: H1B) and sources of public support diverted to newcomers, many of whom already broke our laws just coming here.

Our commendable compassion is being used to subvert us, and it’s well past time that stopped.  It isn’t compassionate to destroy one’s own nation trying to provide dubious help to others.  Universal birthright citizenship and the resulting “anchor babies” need to go, as does the vast majority of immigration of any kind for the foreseeable future.  When the lifeboat is already leaking and listing as the U.S. is, it’s suicidal to keep adding to the passenger list.

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.’

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.

Leaders literally with no future

As we celebrate motherhood today, there is a significant trend worth noting.  We often hear “think of the children” when an unpopular or unwise piece of legislation is being proposed.  And yet, few of our leaders have “skin in the game” when it comes to their nation’s future:

Emmanuel Macron founded a new party, and his election as France’s president is said to herald the “revival of Europe.” Interestingly, Macron has no children.

This is not that notable in itself. After all, George Washington had no biological children. But across the continent Macron wants to bind closer together, there’s a stark pattern:

German Chancellor Angela Merkel also has no children. British prime minister Theresa May has no children. Italian prime minister Paolo Gentiloni has no children. Holland’s Mark Rutte has no children. Sweden’s Stefan Loumlfven has no biological children. Luxembourg’s Xavier Bettel has no children. Scotland’s Nicola Sturgeon has no children. Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, has no children.

This is too remarkable to ignore. While Macron is young—39 years old—the rest of Europe is being governed by childless Baby Boomers

It’s clear which side has political power now. But the demographics point to a different future. In 2009 Phillip Longman noted that in France (for example) a tiny minority of women are giving birth to over 50% of the children every year. These women are either practicing Catholics or immigrant Muslims.

Contemporary childless leaders, however ascendant they feel today, may be the last gasp of secularism. The future is won by those who show up, and only the religiously orthodox are having children.

Those still swimming in the ancient streams of Faith and Culture in France will have the observant offspring of two rival religions living within the borders of one nation. The second Battle of Tours, (or Vienna, or Lepanto) might be extra bloody due to the policies of today, but the authors of those policies will not be around because they will be dead, and their offspring will not be around, because they do not exist.

Surely Macron, Merkel, Juncker, and the rest would argue that they can do their crucial jobs better because they don’t have children to distract them. C.S. Lewis provides the rebuttal: “Children are not a distraction from more important work. They are the most important work.”

The elite have long been insulated from the effects of their piously pie-in-the-sky policies by doing such things as living in gated communities and sending their children to high-priced private schools.  As this article points out, they have even less reason today to worry about the effects of their futile utopianism.  This is probably a key reason why our leadership seems so out of touch with the people they allegedly lead, especially in the area of immigration.  It won’t be their children suffering from the resurgence of long-controlled diseases like measles and whooping cough.  It won’t be their children who will either have to fight or conform to alien ideologies that were allowed in through millions of adherents’ migration.   It won’t be their children who face falling wages due to competition from cheaper labor overseas and immigrant labor at home.  They can afford to wear utopian blinders in a way no parent can.

While I’ve excerpted a good bit, read the entire piece for yourself here.

Where have all the Christians gone?

This is a lengthy excerpt.  I recommend you read the entire piece here.

A generation ago pop star Bonnie Tyler famously asked: “Where have all the good men gone?”

Since then, the situation has only gotten worse, Bonnie.  As C.S. Lewis noted, men in the English-speaking world have largely been emasculated, and men in the Church are seldom an exception to this decades-long trend.

To stand strong for one’s faith in Jesus Christ and push back against a culture that, in the words of Isaiah 5:20, “call[s] evil good and good evil” is to be “divisive,” “unloving,” “bigoted,” and “intolerant.”

This is because evangelicals have confused Christ’s command to love others with being likable, as if that were an attribute of God. (It isn’t.)  As such, they endeavor to be, above all else, inoffensive and polite.  This doctrinal malpractice has given us a generation of men who are what Lewis called “men without chests.”  …

I urge you instead to be offended by the way our God’s name is blasphemed in our country every day; by the 54 million children murdered in the holocaust of abortion since 1973; by the sordid sexual agenda that is eroding the very fabric of Western civilization; by the fact that Christians are dying for their faith, largely at the hands of Muslims, at a rate of 100,000 per year; and, most of all, by the reality that these things are being ignored, trivialized, or celebrated.  These are things that offend me deeply, and I hope they offend you, too.  Righteous anger has a place within the Christian life.  Tap into it.  In the words of Ephesians 4:26, “Be angry and do not sin.”   …

Evangelical Christians comprise a hefty 26 percent of the U.S. population. I fully believe that if they were to find their voices, their courage, and were to dispense with candy-assed Christianity, that we would see a Great Awakening in America.

Agreed.  Christ himself on several occasions was contemptuous with the authorities of the day, and felt no need to be “nice” to the those who wore the trappings but denied the Truth.  The Church should worry less about getting along with the world, and more about challenging that world, whatever the cost.  We need Paul’s persistence, not Osteen’s opulence.