Daily Archives: April 27, 2021

Tuesday: The Meaning of Blessed | Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals

Sermon: The New Humanity

Scripture: Matthew 5:1-16

In this week’s lessons, we see in the Beatitudes the standard of morality that Jesus sets forth for all who claim to belong to him.

Theme: The Meaning of Blessed

It is a new humanity because when you begin to read the Sermon on the Mount, the first thing you discover is that this thinking is utterly different from the thinking of the world. It begins by talking about the “blessed” man, and really answers the question of who the blessed ones are. Today, people might use the word “happy.” It’s not a very good substitution, but that is how the world thinks. It equates blessedness with happiness, which produces ideas that are not what Jesus was talking about when referring to those who are blessed. If we were writing the Beatitudes today according to the world’s standards, it would go something like this: “Blessed are the rich, for they have it all. Blessed are the famous, for people will idolize them and hang on their every word. Blessed are the happy because they’re content with themselves and don’t need other people. Blessed are the arrogant because people defer to them. Blessed are those who fight for the good things in life because they’ll get them. Blessed are the sophisticated for they will have a good time. Blessed are the winners because they’ve got it made.”

What does Jesus say instead? Jesus says that the ones who are blessed are those who are poor in spirit, who mourn for sin, who are meek, who hunger and thirst for righteousness, who are merciful, who are pure in heart, and who make peace, and who are persecuted. So how the world counts blessedness and how Jesus counts blessedness are two very different things.

To speak of being happy is a poor substitute for being blessed for this reason. The word, “blessed,” doesn’t mean much to most people today. “Happy” at least can be heard and understood, but it’s a weak term because happiness has become so debased. It comes from the old Anglo-Saxon word, “hap,” which means “chance.” We have it in words like “happenstance.” In other words, happiness is a feeling we get that is rooted in our circumstances. If things go the way we want them to, we are then said to be happy. But if events go other than what we would like, then we feel unhappy.

However, that is not how the word, “blessed,” operates. It goes far beyond that. Whereas happiness depends on circumstances, blessedness is something that God does. It describes those who are favored by God. And because God has put his favor upon them, they have happiness in a far deeper and far more meaningful sense, which unpleasant or unfavorable circumstances cannot take away.

In the Sermon on the Mount, we have eight beatitudes. Undoubtedly, Jesus taught on these themes again and again, but it’s worth looking at them each briefly by way of introduction, and then in coming weeks we will look at them in depth. The first one is “Blessed are the poor in spirit.” Now it has nothing to do with poverty. Poverty in itself isn’t good. Jesus isn’t saying that we ought to have social exploitation, or squalor, or slums, or starvation. Jesus is always talking spiritually. Thus, when he talks about being poor, he’s talking about being poor in the inward man, not in outward circumstances. In other words, what he’s saying is that to be poor in spirit is to know one’s own deep spiritual poverty before God. So the first principle of the Sermon on the Mount is to know that you can’t meet God’s standards by yourself. No matter how hard you try, you can’t do it. It’s not merely a list of high but attainable goals, as if we could somehow motivate each other to reach it. To put it another way, we need to realize that we are spiritually bankrupt before God. As D. A. Carson expresses it:

To be poor in spirit is not to lack courage, but to acknowledge spiritual bankruptcy….The kingdom of heaven is not given on the basis of race,…earned merits, the military zeal and prowess of the zealots, or the wealth of a Zacchaeus. It is given to the poor, the despised publicans, the prostitutes, those who are so “poor” they know they can offer nothing and do not try. They cry for mercy, and they alone are heard.1

1D. A. Carson, “Matthew,” in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, vol. 8, Matthew, Mark, Luke (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1984), 132.

Study Questions:

  1. Why is the term “happiness” a poor substitute for blessedness? What does “blessed” mean in the Sermon on the Mount?
  2. Describe what Jesus means by being “poor in spirit.”

Application: How can you show the spiritual happiness of the Beatitudes to those around you?

For Further Study: Download and listen for free to James Boice’s message from John 13, “A Clue for Finding Happiness.” (Discount will be applied at checkout.)

Think and Act Biblically from James Boice is a devotional of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals. It is supported only by its readers and gracious Christians like you. Please prayerfully consider supporting Think and Act Biblicallyand the mission of the Alliance.

— Read on www.thinkandactbiblically.org/tab/tuesday-the-meaning-of-blessed

Understand | Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

13 διὰ τοῦτο ἐν παραβολαῖς αὐτοῖς λαλῶ, ὅτι βλέποντες οὐ βλέπουσιν καὶ ἀκούοντες οὐκ ἀκούουσιν οὐδὲ συνίουσιν, 14 καὶ ἀναπληροῦται αὐτοῖς ἡ προφητεία Ἠσαΐου ἡ λέγουσα· ἀκοῇ ἀκούσετε καὶ οὐ μὴ συνῆτε, καὶ βλέποντες βλέψετε καὶ οὐ μὴ ἴδητε. 15 ἐπαχύνθη γὰρ ἡ καρδία τοῦ λαοῦ τούτου, καὶ τοῖς ὠσὶν βαρέως ἤκουσαν καὶ τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς αὐτῶν ἐκάμμυσαν, μήποτε ἴδωσιν τοῖς ὀφθαλμοῖς καὶ τοῖς ὠσὶν ἀκούσωσιν καὶ τῇ καρδίᾳ συνῶσιν καὶ ἐπιστρέψωσιν καὶ ἰάσομαι αὐτούς. Matthew 13:13-15 (NA28) 

13 For this reason I am speaking o them in parables for while seeing they do not see and while hearing they do not hear nor do they understand, 14 and the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled in them, which says, ‘In hearing you will hear and by no means understand, and while seeing you will see and my no means perceive. 15 for the heart of this people has been made dull, with their ears they hear with difficulty, and their eyes are closed, lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart and return, and I would heal them.’ Matthew 13:13-15 (translated from the NA28 Greek text)

In the heartbreaking passage above the word “understand” translates the Greek verb συνίουσιν (syniousin) it the third person plural present tense, active mood, and indicative voice of συνίημι (syniēmi), which means “understand.” It originally meant to bring together. One Greek scholar has explains this word this way, “The comprehending activity of the mind denoted by συνίημι entails the assembling of individual facts into an organized whole, as collecting the pieces of a puzzle and putting them together. The mind grasps concepts and sees the proper relationship between them.”

Another example of this word appears in Acts 28:25-28.

25 ἀσύμφωνοι δὲ ὄντες πρὸς ἀλλήλους ἀπελύοντο εἰπόντος τοῦ Παύλου ῥῆμα ἕν, ὅτι καλῶς τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον ἐλάλησεν διὰ Ἠσαΐου τοῦ προφήτου πρὸς τοὺς πατέρας ὑμῶν 26 λέγων· πορεύθητι πρὸς τὸν λαὸν τοῦτον καὶ εἰπόν· ἀκοῇ ἀκούσετε καὶ οὐ μὴ συνῆτε καὶ βλέποντες βλέψετε καὶ οὐ μὴ ἴδητε· 27 ἐπαχύνθη γὰρ ἡ καρδία τοῦ λαοῦ τούτου καὶ τοῖς ὠσὶν βαρέως ἤκουσαν καὶ τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς αὐτῶν ἐκάμμυσαν· μήποτε ἴδωσιν τοῖς ὀφθαλμοῖς καὶ τοῖς ὠσὶν ἀκούσωσιν καὶ τῇ καρδίᾳ συνῶσιν καὶ ἐπιστρέψωσιν, καὶ ἰάσομαι αὐτούς. 28 γνωστὸν οὖν ἔστω ὑμῖν ὅτι τοῖς ἔθνεσιν ἀπεστάλη τοῦτο τὸ σωτήριον τοῦ θεοῦ· αὐτοὶ καὶ ἀκούσονται. Acts 28:25-28 (NA28) 

25 And when they did not agree with on another, they were dismissed after Paul had spoken, “The Holy Spirit spoke through Isaiah the prophet to your fathers, 26 saying, ‘Go to this people and say, “You will keep on hearing, but will not understand, And you will keep on seeing, but will not perceive. 27 For the heart of this people has become dull, and with their ears they scarcely hear, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart and return, and I would heal them.”’ 28 Therefore, let it be known to you that this salvation of God has been set to the Gentiles and they will listen. Acts 28:25-28 (translated from the NA28 Greek text)

While under house arrest in Rome for two years, Paul taught those who visited him. Some believed, but some didn’t. When he saw the unbelief of the Jews, He said, quoting Isaiah 6:9-10:

9 He said, “Go, and tell this people: ‘Keep on listening, but do not perceive; Keep on looking, but do not understand.’ 10 “Render the hearts of this people insensitive, Their ears dull, And their eyes dim, Otherwise they might see with their eyes, Hear with their ears, Understand with their hearts, And return and be healed.” Isaiah 6:9-10 (NASB) 

Romans 3:11 likewise declares:

11 THERE IS NONE WHO UNDERSTANDS, THERE IS NONE WHO SEEKS FOR GOD; Romans 3:11 (NASB) 

In both cases the point is that the unbeliever does not understand spiritual truth; he cannot “put the pieces together” and comprehend what he is hearing. This is why Jesus used parables in His teaching.

In contrast, Romans 15:21 declares that Paul’s word among the Gentiles fulfilled Isaiah’s prophecy, that the Gentiles who had never before heard God’s truth would hear and understand. This is a great encouragement to us. Why? After’s Peter’s confession that Jesus was “The Christ, the Son of the living God,” our Lord responded, “Flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.” Likewise, the Holy Spirit illumines spiritual truth to us so we can understand it, so we can “put the pieces together.” 

I know that before the Holy Spirit did that for me I was spiritually clueless even though I had gone to church my whole life. But one Sunday morning as I was minding my own business trying to be as invisible as possible in Bible Study class, the truth of the Gospel hit home like a ton of bricks and all those years of hearing the Gospel suddenly made sense and I saw that I was a lost sinner whose only hope was to turn to Jesus as my Lord and Savior, repent of my sins and be baptized. I have never been the same. How about you?

Soli Deo Gloria!

— Read on mikeratliff.wordpress.com/2021/04/26/understand/

April 27 – The Patience of the Lord — VCY America

April 27
Judges 7:1-8:17
Luke 23:13-43
Psalm 97:1-98:9
Proverbs 14:7-8

Judges 7:3 –  Deuteronomy 20:8 says to let the fearful and fainthearted go home. Gideon had to wait for God to reiterate this command.

427px-Gideon_and_His_Three_Hundred_(Bible_Card)
English: Gideon and His Three Hundred; as in Judges 7:9-23; illustration from a Bible card published by the Providence Lithograph Company

Judges 7:10 – If thou fear… Ever notice how merciful God was as He orchestrated this victory?

  • Israel did evil (Judges 6:1)
  • Israel cried unto the LORD (Judges 6:6)
  • The LORD allows Gideon to ask a sign (Judges 6:17)
  • The LORD puts up with Gideon thinking he will die (Judges 6:23)
  • The LORD helps Gideon even though his father has an altar to Baal (Judges 6:25)
  • The LORD helps Israel even though the townsmen wanted to kill the obedient Gideon (Judges 6:30).
  • The LORD helps Gideon even though he asks a second sign (Judges 6:37)
  • The LORD helps Gideon even though he asks a third signs (Judges 6:39)
  • The LORD helps Israel even though 22,000 of them were fearful and afraid of trusting in the LORD (Judges 7:3).
  • The LORD helps Gideon even though he’s still scared (Judges 7:10)

The LORD was patient and victorious – all Israel did was sin and cry.

Luke 23:14 – Notice the contrasts:

  • The man charged with perverting all of the people, is found with no fault at all. (v.14)
  • Bar-abbas (Son of the father) was desired instead of the Father’s Son (Luke 23:18)
  • The rebel to authority was traded for the King of the land (Luke 23:19)
  • The typically bloodthirsty Romans (Luke 13:1), wanted to release a prisoner (Luke 23:20).
  • The priests of mercy (Hosea 6:6), want death (Luke 23:23).
  • The governor obeys the governed (Luke 23:24).
  • The guilty murder was released, the innocent victim was punished (Luke 23:25).

Luke 23:42 – The guilty malefactor did what the Israelites did (Judges 6:6) and cried to the LORD.

Psalm 97:9 – The LORD who puts up with Gideon and Israel, who humbles himself to accept the judgment of His Creation, is the same LORD who is high above all the earth.

Proverbs 14:8 – Deceit blinds your eyes to the truth. Understanding opens your eyes to the truth. Not all truth is immediately visible – Proverbs 25:2.

Share how reading thru the Bible has been a blessing to you! E-mail us at 2018bible@vcyamerica.org or call and leave a message at 414-885-5370.

April 27 – The Patience of the Lord — VCY America

Faith Nation: April 26, 2021 – YouTube

TONIGHT: NEW CALLS FOR JUSTICE; PROTESTORS DEMAND ANSWERS IN THE WAKE OF ANOTHER POLICE SHOOTING DEATH.

PLUS, FEDERAL HEALTH OFFICIALS OK THE JOHNSON AND JOHNSON VACCINE, PUSHING PLAY AFTER THAT PAUSE OVER RARE BLOOD CLOTS.

AND, PRESIDENT …

— Read on m.youtube.com/watch

Explosive: Iran sells out Kerry who sold out Israel (Full show) – YouTube

President Biden’s much-lauded virtual climate summit saw vows of concrete action from world-leaders, including Saudi Arabia, Russia, China and the US. The assembled leaders emphasized that they could cooperate on climate change despite sore points of difference in other areas and that adequate funding and concrete action was necessary to make their plans a reality. But are they all talk? RT America’s Natasha Sweatte reports the highlights of the summit and the reactions of critics. Then attorney and Democratic commentator Jan Ronis and Ed Martin of Phyllis Schlafly Eagles debate the summit and its likely impact.

A damning leaked tape contains Iran’s foreign minister alleging that acting State. Sec. John Kerry shared classified information about Israel’s strategy in Syria with Iranian officials. The response of US media has been muted. Why? Former naval intelligence officer and political strategist John Jordan weighs in.

Plus, Dr. Joe Ricci joins to talk about his new documentary, “Forgotten Genocides: The Sin of Silence.”

#QuestionMore #RTAmerica #NewsViewsHughes

— Read on m.youtube.com/watch

WOKE HOLLYWOOD DISASTER: Oscars Show Ratings Down Almost Sixty Percent From Last Year | American Lookout

The Oscar awards show on Sunday night saw its ratings fall almost sixty percent from last year, which until now was the worst rated Oscar awards show ever.

One has to wonder why they even bother with this awards show anymore. Rich, left wing celebrities feel a burning need to lecture the country on politics and all it does is damage the entertainment industry.

Millions of Americans have just tuned them out.

Variety reports:

TV Ratings: Oscars Plummet to Record Low, Down 58% Compared to Last Year

The 93rd Academy Awards ceremony, broadcast live from both Union Station and the Dolby Theatre in L.A. on ABC, hit a staggering low.

Per Nielsen Live+Same Day preliminary national numbers, an average of 9.85 million viewers tuned in on Sunday evening to watch a more intimate and stripped-down version of the Oscars in the midst of a pandemic. That’s a 58.3%, 13.75 million viewer drop-off from last year. The Academy’s third host-less show in a row scored a 1.9 rating among adults 18-49 in the fast national ratings, a 64.2% dip from 2020.

For comparison, last year’s ceremony garnered a 5.3 rating in the key demographic and 23.6 million viewers per the night’s time-zone adjusted fast national charts. The Oscars in 2019 delivered a 7.7 rating in adults 18-49 and 29.6 million viewers.

While up 12% from 2018, that viewership figure represented the second-smallest audience ever for an Academy Awards telecast at the time. 2018 delivered the previous smallest viewership tally with 26.5 million viewers.

Hollywood doesn’t seem to be getting the message.

What is it going to take for these pampered liberal celebrities to learn their lesson?

(Image:Source)

— Read on americanlookout.com/woke-hollywood-disaster-oscars-show-ratings-down-almost-sixty-percent-from-last-year/

Trump One-Ups Kamala By Visiting Border And Handing Out Copies Of ‘Art Of The Deal’ | The Babylon Bee

EL PASO, TX—Kamala Harris has been spotted everywhere except the border, where she’s supposed to be addressing the immigration crisis her administration, along with Joe Biden, created. But she’s made up for her absence by having free copies of her book passed out to children.

Former President Trump wasn’t going to take this lying down, though, and decided to one-up her by visiting the border before she ever got within 1,000 miles of it and hand out copies of his own book, The Art of the Deal.

“Hola, muchachos!” Trump said as he arrived to cheers from the migrants locked in cages. “I have a wonderful, fantastic gift for you all — a book! Do you guys have books in your country? We have them here in this tremendous country. Books. I think that was one of mine. I came up with them. America is the only place with books, I’m pretty sure. Anyway, enjoy! And have fun getting packed tightly in those cages like sardines — you can thank Fake President Joe for that! Sad!”

Unfortunately, Trump forgot to hand out Spanish copies of the book, so most migrants could not read it. But they have been able to fashion comfortable beds, chairs, and other elaborate pieces of furniture using Art of the Deal and copies of Kamala Harris’s book.

— Read on babylonbee.com/news/trump-one-ups-kamala-by-visiting-border-and-handing-out-copies-of-art-of-the-deal/

Doocy to Psaki: Is VP Kamala Harris Profiting Off Of Copies Of “Superheroes Are Everywhere” At Border? | Video | RealClearPolitics

FOX News White House correspondent Peter Doocy asked White House press secretary Jen Psaki at Monday’s press briefing to explain why copies of Vice President Kamala Harris’ book “Superheroes Are Everywhere” are being handed out in “welcome kits” at border facilities with children and if she is profiting from the endeavor. Psaki had no answers and suggested Doocy check with Health and Human Services.

“There was a report in the last couple of days in the New York Post that every migrant child being brought to a shelter is being given a copy of her children’s book, ‘Superheroes are Everywhere.’ Do you know why that is and if she is making any money off of that?” Doocy asked.

“I’d have to check with our Health and Human Services team,” Psaki told Doocy.

“I’d have to certainly check on that. I hear it’s a good book,” she added.

Q And then, about those facilities: There was a report in the last couple of days in the New York Post that every migrant child being brought to a shelter is being given a copy of her children’s book, “Superheroes are Everywhere.” Do you know why that is and if she is making any money off of that?

MS. PSAKI: Of the President — of the Vice President’s —

Q The Vice President’s book. Yeah.

MS. PSAKI: I’d have to check with our Health and Human Services team if — you’re talking about if they go to shelters or if they go —

Q Yeah. In the welcome kit, apparently, there’s a copy of her 2019 children’s book, “Superheroes are Everywhere.”

MS. PSAKI: I’d have to certainly check on that. I hear it’s a good book.

Watch a promotional video for the book featuring Harris:

— Read on www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2021/04/26/doocy_to_psaki_is_vp_kamala_harris_profiting_off_of_copies_of_superheroes_are_everywhere_at_border.html

10 Signs That “Things Are Getting Better In America” — The Economic Collapse

Everything is great, and America is about to enter a golden new era that will be overflowing with peace, prosperity and happiness.  If you believe that, there is a very large bridge that I would like to sell to you.  There is certainly nothing wrong with being optimistic about the future, and personally I am very excited about the next chapters in my life.  But if you think that the United States is heading in the right direction you are not thinking straight.  Evidence of our advanced state of decline is all around us, and yet we continue to embrace our self-destructive ways.

Over the years, I have literally shared thousands of examples that show that our society is coming apart at the seams, and today I would like to share 10 more…

#1 New York City was once one of the most beautiful cities in the entire world, but now giant mountains of trash are piled up everywhere and approximately 2 million rats are rampaging all over the place.  In an attempt to turn the tide, city officials plan to create a “City Cleanup Corps”

New York City is being forced to deploy an army of 10,000 cleanup workers in response to worsening problems with trash and rats.

A newly created ‘City Cleanup Corps’ will be tasked with fighting the piles of garbage on the streets of the Big Apple, with complaints surging by 150% between March and August last year.

After a $100 million cut to the city’s sanitation budget, filth and rodent infestations have become a common sight, with data revealing that waste tonnage rose 15% by the end of March compared to the early months of the pandemic.

#2 In 2020, homicide rates increased by an average of more than 30 percent in major U.S. cities, and now homicide rates in many of those cities are even higher in 2021…

A Baltimore sanitation worker was fatally shot yesterday evening on his trash truck. The city has 94 homicides in less than four months.

To the south, DC had two more homicides yesterday, bringing its tally to 62, up 41 pct over 2020.

To the north, Philly has 156, up 31 pct.

#3 In cities all over the United States, police officers are leaving the force in record numbers.  For example, just consider what is happening in New York City

More than 5,300 officers — or roughly 15% of the force — at the New York Police Department either retired or put in their papers to leave in 2020, the New York Post reported after reviewing department data.

In all, 2,600 officers simply left the job, while another 2,746 filed for retirement, bringing the total to a whopping 5,346. That figure marked a 75% increase over the number of officers who left the force during the previous year.

#4 Meanwhile, police departments across the nation are having an exceedingly difficult time recruiting new officers.  In New Jersey, the number of qualified applicants is only a small fraction of what it was a few years ago…

In some years the State Police would field between 15,000 and 20,000 applicants, according to Col. Patrick Callahan, the department’s acting superintendent. But they only had a “historically low” 2,023 qualified applicants as of Thursday, about a week before deadline, Callahan said.

#5 Less police officers will be needed if cities decide to simply stop enforcing the law.  In Manhattan, a decision has been made to no longer prosecute prostitution at all

Manhattan’s DA has announced he will no longer prosecute prostitutes, and asked a court to dismiss nearly 6,000 related cases as part of a city-wide change in policy.

Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr. said prosecuting these types of crimes does not make the city safer, ‘and too often, achieves the opposite result by further marginalizing vulnerable New Yorkers.’

#6 Earlier this month, Charlie Biello shared some dataregarding the explosion in commodity prices that we have seen over the last year…

Lumber: +265%
WTI Crude: +210%
Gasoline: +182%
Brent Crude +163%
Heating Oil: +107%
Corn: +84%
Copper: +83%
Soybeans: +72%
Silver: +65%
Sugar: +59%
Cotton: +54%
Platinum: +52%
Natural Gas: +43%
Palladium: +32%
Wheat: +19%
Coffee: +13%
Gold: +3%

But the Federal Reserve insists that inflation is “low” and that we don’t have anything to be concerned about.

#7 The “most Googled sex question in 2020” certainly says a whole lot about where we are as a society today…

Data from the online health clinic From Mars released this week indicates the most Googled sex question in 2020, with more than 2 million searches, was: “What are the symptoms of chlamydia?”

#8 As I detailed earlier this month, cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis have all soared to all-time record highs in the United States.  We want America to be great at a lot of things, but not at spreading sexually-transmitted diseases.

#9 The western half of the country is in the midst of a multi-year “megadrought”, and 2021 is the worst year of that megadrought so far by a very wide margin.

In fact, water levels are dropping so fast in Lake Powell and Lake Mead that authorities are on the verge of declaring “an official shortage” for the first time ever…

The US Bureau of Reclamation released 24-month projections last week forecasting that less Colorado River water will cascade down from the Rocky Mountains through Lake Powell and Lake Mead and into the arid deserts of the Southwest and the Gulf of California.

Water levels in the two lakes are expected to plummet low enough for the agency to declare an official shortage for the first time, threatening the supply of Colorado River water that growing cities and farms rely on.

#10 We have known for a very long time that government agencies endlessly spy on us, but now even the Postal Service is tracking and collecting our social media posts

The law enforcement arm of the U.S. Postal Service has been quietly running a program that tracks and collects Americans’ social media posts, including those about planned protests, according to a document obtained by Yahoo News.

The details of the surveillance effort, known as iCOP, or Internet Covert Operations Program, have not previously been made public. The work involves having analysts trawl through social media sites to look for what the document describes as “inflammatory” postings and then sharing that information across government agencies.

When I visit my local Post Office I will never be able to look at the employees the same way again.

What in the world is happening to us?

Do we really need postal workers monitoring our Facebook accounts?

If they are supposed to be stopping “extremism”, it doesn’t appear to be working because we continue to see regular riots in Portland, Seattle and other major cities across the country.

Sadly, the truth is that our society is coming apart at the seams all around us, and it is only going to get worse in the years ahead.

America has been on the wrong path for decades, and all of the foolish decisions that we have made during those years are catching up with us in a major way.

Of course we could always choose to reverse course and start heading back in the right direction, but we all know that isn’t going to happen any time soon.

10 Signs That “Things Are Getting Better In America” — The Economic Collapse

For the Church | God Doesn’t Need You

No, we serve him not because he needs us to, but because he has given us everything we have. This is the reason that God demands that we give allegiance to him. Repenting and believing in Christ is not an option, but a requirement from the one who gave you the breath to say, “I believe.” It’s due him. He made you. He’s not begging; he’s demanding. Paul went on to say, “he commands all people everywhere to repent.”

 

He is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else.” Acts 17

Paul on Mars Hill in Athens proclaimed the entire self-sufficiency of God.

We are his body, it is true, which is the fullness or completion of the Head. He uses us. But he needs nothing from us. Let that sink in. We do not add to him in any way, but rather, he gives us our “life, our breath and everything else.”

He does not need my service to him. I do serve him, but he does not need it because he is the source of everything I have. He started out before my birth with everything that I could give him.

My money is not needed.

My time is not needed.

My intellect is not needed.

My skills are not needed.

My efforts are not needed.

My devotion is not needed.

My wisdom is not needed.

My personality is not needed.

My sincerity is not needed.

My LIFE is not needed.

Though he has the right over all of that and everything else, they are not needed. He gave them to me in the first place. I can add nothing to him that he does not already possess.

I do not make him stronger, bigger, wiser, or more loving, kind or just.

You may think that you have a lot to offer God. Perhaps you have years of experience or a tender heart or an intriguing story, or a sharp mind or a quick tongue, or an easy way about you that people like. God needs people like you, right? Not so. He may use you, but he does not need you. He gave you whatever you think is so special in the first place. He can produce a lot of “me” whenever he wishes.

In fact, you could have a heart attack today, and God would not be diminished one tiny bit. Others may miss you and feel the loss, but God is able to raise up more like you if he wishes. And, he can make even better ones than you if he wants to. After all, he gives breath. He can take it away. He will not even miss you because he has given you life with him forever if you are a Christian. He suffers no loss by your death.

Read More

— Read on ftc.co/resource-library/blog-entries/god-doesnt-need-you/

The Rise of the Woke Cultural Revolution – New Discourses

What actually triggered the Woke Cultural Revolution in the West?

The Rise of the Woke Cultural Revolution

For at least three or four years now, I have, together with my closest colleagues, been recognized as something of an authority of the ideology most of us just refer to now as “Wokeness.” Spanning that time, certainly at least as far back as early 2018, I have frequently faced the challenging question of “how did this Woke stuff escape the university and go mainstream?” While we were doing the Grievance Studies Affair, in fact, we ended up in an epic argument about the issue that led to us giving a kind of quirky name to the difficulty we had in answering this question. We called it “crossing the Tim Pool Gap.”

This challenge in communications gained this name for us in February of 2018, when Peter Boghossian, Helen Pluckrose, Mike Nayna, Tim Pool, and I all met at Peter’s house, rather by chance, to have a discussion about this exact topic. In a heated discussion that went on for hours, we hit a major impasse in which we could not satisfactorily convince Tim of our thesis, and neither could Tim convince us of his. Tim argued that activists, especially in media, were the primary agents of change in Wokifying everything. We insisted that, while this may be, there was a significant university component as well and, further, that it was the root of the activist mentality. “Ideas like ‘hegemonic masculinity’ didn’t come out of the sky! They came out of academia!” I still remember Peter yelling in frustration. The thing is, Tim wasn’t wrong, and neither were we (there’s something like a revolving door of bad ideas between these groups, who all fancy themselves activists in the same causes). We were so alarmed and frustrated by our inability to communicate the university-to-culture pipeline (or lab leak, as it might better be understood) that we referred to this challenging comms problem ever after as a search for a way to bridge the Tim Pool Gap, or “TPGap,” in our private communications.

This is a question that deserves an answer though, because when something this pernicious takes hold of the core of a culture, we have a duty to understand how it was able to do so, so that, whether our culture stands or falls by it, future societies will not so easily be threatened. As indicated by the existence of the Tim Pool Gap, though, the answer to that question is complex and probably deserves a book’s length to get anything better than a very cursory treatment. Certainly, the roles played by the Internet (thus democratization of information), social media (thus decentralization of publishing and broadcasting), and other infrastructural changes are significant. They are also beyond my scope, and I recommend the reader consult Martin Gurri’s admirable book The Revolt of the Public, if not works by Marshall McLuhan and even the postmodernist Jean Baudrillard, for insights in that regard. So too have intentional agents who funded or promoted Wokeness as a tool for facilitating their own agendas or for waging political warfare by turning the West simultaneously stupid and wholly against itself. That said, media and academia also both played a role, as we argued, and I would refer readers to Tim Pool’s analysis of the former and Helen Pluckrose’s analysis of the latter—though until someone (I know, I’m someone…) takes on the bear of Critical Pedagogy in sufficient detail, that latter domain will remain a bit mysterious. I will touch on that aspect here, but I will only touch.

In this essay, I hope to outline a few factors that I think offer a partial analysis of how this societal virus escaped the university lab. I don’t really mean to be so narrow, though, as to insist that the university is the only relevant “lab” or to imply that the media and activists were merely vectors, as we shall see. Reaching back even into the 1960s, radical leftist thinkers, notably including the very famous Herbert Marcuse, were writing that a fusion between the radical outsiders, racial minorities, and leftist intelligentsia (itself a loaded and important term) were to form the vanguard movement to change Western culture from within and prepare the way for what has ultimately become the Woke movement and whatever horrors might follow it, if it is not put to a stop.

Rather than detailing the various structural components that made possible the ascendancy and temporary grasp of power that Wokeness has achieved, I want to outline something like a timeline of when and how it managed to thrust itself upon us, where it was never particularly welcome. Thus, simplifying in the extreme, I hope to shed some light on four (or five, depending on how you count them, not on what two and two equal) phenomena have led to the rapid mainstreaming of the Critical Social Justice, or “Woke,” ideology in Western society over the course of the last decade and a half. I hope to tell the story of how susceptibility to this catastrophic ideology played out through a small number of key events that moved Wokeness from fringe to center stage (hopefully very temporarily). I offer this with the hope that it will help us backtrack psychologically and socially and take a step back from the ledge before its too late, and also to give some account so that others in other times and places may be able to see these manipulations before they become a full-blown civilizational threat.

Preparing the Soil

Insofar as I’ll talk about the relevance of Critical Pedagogy to the mainstreaming of Wokeness, I will say this: had the soil not been properly prepared and tilled for the ideology to take root, it probably wouldn’t have. Ideas like Critical Theory, especially in its contemporary manifestations, which are grossly anti-intellectual and, in fact, not only stupid but also insults to hard-won truths about human dignity, do not take root in healthy societies filled with healthy minds and healthy relationships. People, frankly, have better sense until they’ve been manipulated into a position of susceptibility to its backwards frame of analysis.

The responsibility for preparing a culture for such an infiltration falls on all the players mentioned above, plus on the general complacency of neoconservatives and astonishing greed of neoliberal players throughout, but it lands significantly on the shoulders of the Critical Pedagogists. Behind that fancy term, these are activist “reformers” of education who sought to bring Critical Theory into the theory of education, thus our society’s schools, thus our children’s heads. This, believe it or not, has been a successful push that has been proceeding in the West since the 1970s and that has been generally victorious since the very early 1980s. That means that Critical Theory activists have had significant access to the subversion of the minds of our nations’ youth for almost forty years with almost unmitigated access probably for at least the last twenty of those and the ability to run a full-court press over the last ten.

It’s tempting to call this shift in educational priorities toward the neo-Marxist an “indoctrination,” but it would be more accurate to call it a “reprogramming,” or, with children, merely a “programming.” The goal of Critical Pedagogy in general isn’t to educate students but rather to induce in them a so-called “critical consciousness,” which is to say that it aims to shape their minds to interpret the world in “systemic” thought processed through Critical Theory. This process has much less to do with installing some doctrine or dogma into the minds of the students by force and enforced ignorance and much more to do with teaching them a particular—and particularly bad—way to think, claim to know, and, crucially, to act with respect to anything and everything they might encounter in their lives. Critical Theory demands social activism by definition, after all, so Critical Pedagogy is designed to train students to become generally uninformed, uninformable, incurious complainer-activists in the mold of Critical Theory.

This programming and reprogramming of an entire generation or two has mostly succeeded. While most students in America, perhaps until recently, would not have been identifiable as little critically conscious proto-Red Guards, the cynical and self-hating line of Critical thought—an uninformed yet profoundly radical skepticism not just of what we might know but of why our society is even organized the way that it is, even to the level of basic shared assumptions of right and wrong—wormed its way in some degree into the thought processes of virtually everybody currently under the age of forty, unless they’re traditionally conservative.

The proof of this is in the pudding. The Millennials are, in this respect, largely a lost generation (unless they start bootstrapping themselves into a different frame that better realizes the power of responsibility and freedom to speak), as are at least half of the so-called Zoomers. This is a tragedy even without its being dangerous, and it has mostly to do with so-called education “reformers” ruining their educational milieu with crackpot theories about self-esteem and asking Critical questions about their own civilization (all done against a backdrop of not-so-called neoliberal corporatists screwing them over enough to make Critical Theory far more relatable in their lives). As a result, not only is it highly likely that most Millennials and Zoomers you meet will think at least in some part in this toxic “Critical” way, which mustn’t be confused for critical thinking, as proof that Critical Pedagogy tilled the soil for the Woke ideology (and planted most of its seeds), there’s also the wholesale bending of the university to the ideology that has to be appreciated for what it represents.

It turned out to be a naive assumption on our part back in 2018 that the process of Wokification emanated from universities that, in housing and nurturing Theory, then must have taken it up and stared indoctrinating students in it (or, as above, reprogramming them). “They teach! They teach lawyers! They teach journalists! They teach teachers!” I remember repeating at the time. “How would Wokeness not get out into society if they teach everyone who enters its professional class?!” I still think we had a point, but this analysis is far too simplistic and cannot explain an crucial fact that undermines its credibility almost totally: it gets the Wokification of the university backwards.

 Whatever was going on in some fringe classrooms in the humanities and occasionally social sciences departments in those schools, they had only a little effect in directly changing the institutional and administrative direction of our centers of higher learning. How do we know? Besides the fact that, at least until quite recently, fewer than 2% of university graduates left with any sort of “Studies” degree, the administrators have told us so. Their self-defensive claim about the Wokification of institutions of academia is that these changes were institutionalzed after being demanded from below, from the students coming into the schools and wanting “safe spaces,” “homes,” and all manner of protections from the slings and arrows of rather cushy middle- and upper-middle-class life.

This claim mostly checks out, even though there were certainly some activists in their administrative ranks. Generation Snowflake had the administrations by the balls because academia had, following the federal underwriting of student loans, foolishly entered into an unsustainable student-services arms race that, even by the late 1990s, was forcing those once-venerable institutions into a business model that had to attract (with gyms, fancy dorms, and movie theaters on campus, for example) and keep (by never failing them or letting them feel unwelcome or even uncomfortable) students at virtually any cost. A whining minority of Snowflakes in any given institution, by the early 2010s, didn’t just represent a moral provocation to university administrators, but also a credible financial threat under the weight of all those new mortgages and student-services administrators hired to help keep them happy.

So, the Critical Pedagogists were able to till the soil in the primary and especially secondary education arenas for a couple of decades, which resulted in our society sending these disproportionately Critical, self-esteem-obsessed, entitled little monsters (half of whom, at least, had no business going in the first place—another catastrophic civilization-threatening lie we still attempt to maintain) off to colleges that would be willing to do anything to keep them happy. Puppies and crayons? Bubbles? A special room because a conservative-leaning Democrat is speaking in a hall across campus? No problem! Just don’t drop out (and take your gravy-train tuition dollars you’re saddling yourself with crushing debt (and more anxiety) to pretend to have with you)!

For those who had been reprogrammed, even if a rather tiny but terrified and vocal minority, remaking college into a safe-space that taught the only view of the world they found morally tolerable became an increasing priority, and the universities were no longer in any position to withstand those demands. Inch by inch, these already progressive institutions sought to coddle the least consolable until they became, in the oft-repeated words of my colleague Peter Boghossian, “indoctrination mills” in leftist ideologies, particularly the emerging Wokeness of Theory. More accurately, Critical Pedagogy wormed its way into many required courses for all majors while the administrative architecture of the institution enforced a cultural expectation of deference to Wokeness and coddling to the Woke.

This background phenomenon was not merely how the societal soil was tilled to promulgate and accept Critical Theory analyses of the crucial events of the last dozen years or so. It was—as we had hoped to persuade Tim Pool—also the programming bed for the new crops of little professionals who would either work to remake society around them, just as they had done college, or who, seeing themselves as elites with their fancy degrees, would do anything to stay in the good graces of a society that has to think in a particular way to be considered Respectable (more accurately: not Deplorable). That is, universities were training the new generation of professionals, particularly in education and media, that Tim was pointing to as the primary disease vector of the Woke pandemic we’re now engulfed in. Unfortunately, our analysis was too shallow, relying largely on the idea that something as technical and academic as “critical constructivism” (which is the right name for the operating system of the Woke ideology) must have wholly academic origins.

I’ll leave this issue here—it being rightly the subject of several chapters’ treatment in a proper analysis of the broader phenomenon of the Woke bid to take over society—and turn to several societal-scale phenomena that led to the widespread adoption of some Woke ideology, if not full reprogramming in many cases, outside of the academic setting. Suffice it to say that my view on the role the university played, beyond just in incubating and nurturing this demon where it should have been uniquely equipped at several points to have aborted its development, is one of having tilled the earth so that when the events and phenomena I now describe unfolded, conditions were right both to push (through “educated” activists) and to receive the ideology in ever greater numbers in the Western mainstream, especially on the left, but also on the country-club right, which has never had the chops to stand up to anything that looks like it came out of the once highly esteemed halls of the Ivy Leagues, to which, not knowing what time it is between cocktail parties and dinners, they dearly hope to send their precious children.

Read More

— Read on newdiscourses.com/2021/04/rise-woke-cultural-revolution/

The Wall Between Civilization And Our Innate Savagery Is Weakening

Despite being surrounded by material abundance and wondrous gadgetry, human depravity still finds a way.

While human sacrifice is not (yet) part of the curriculum, its designers are open about wanting to reverse the replacement of native gods by Christianity. Whatever we call this ideology, it is leading to depravity, not virtue. This embrace of evil is, as Cameron Hilditch notes, an attempt to out-Christian Christianity itself, taking Christian concern for the downtrodden to the point of sympathy for the devil.

 

Civilization is difficult.

Civilization is especially difficult if it means not just political stability and material advancement, but also a decent moral order. We’re all born into this world as tiny barbarians. Without care, we will grow to be larger, more dangerous barbarians.

The murder of Mohammad Anwar, an immigrant working as an UberEats driver, allegedly by two teenage girls attempting to carjack him, is a case in point. Following the fatal accident, video footage shows one of the accused girls complaining that her phone was still in the wrecked car. A man was dead or dying next to her, apparently by her hand, and she was focused on retrieving her technological bauble.

Unfortunately, this horrible event is already receding from our consciousness, slipping out of the headlines and away from our attention. Still, it’s worth more reflection before it fades away, as it shows the frailty of our modern hopes of taming the savagery that lies within us, and the need to remember where our real hope lies.

To begin with, the event illustrates that science cannot save us. Surrounded by material abundance and wondrous gadgetry, human depravity still finds a way. Having enough is not sufficient to make us good. Indeed, humans will often commit evil acts simply out of boredom. Ironically, contained within innumerable texts, podcasts, and videos, the phone the accused was so concerned about retrieving provided free access to the moral wisdom of the ages. Yet, the availability of moral teaching is insufficient to inculcate virtue — indeed, without guidance, we lack even the rudimentary virtue needed to know that we are morally deficient and have much to learn and practice.

Children need personal instruction and examples to develop into good men and women, but our culture no longer shares the same moral vision. Morality is, of course, always contested to some degree, but ours is particularly an age of fractured moral consensus and seemingly intractable moral disagreements. Those who mourn what they see as moral decline must recognize that many symbols and rituals of the older consensus were losing power even before they were discarded, and they will not be efficacious if restored. Official but superficial school prayers, observing the national anthem before games, and other civic or religious ceremonies are no longer representative of a united moral and social order.

Read More

— Read on thefederalist.com/2021/04/09/the-wall-between-civilization-and-our-innate-savagery-is-weakening/