This Week’s Learning: Ancient Sparta

I’m currently listening to A History of Ancient Sparta by Timothy Shutt. Some thoughts, so I keep posting:

  • I thought gay marriage was a new thing, but the Spartan’s practiced a form of contractual gay relationships. Twelve-year old boys were paired with twenty-year old men, and these pairings lasted until the younger’s training was completed, when he turned twenty. Then he’d be picked for another gay contract. Of course neither the modern practice nor the ancient Spartan are marriage, but they do exist under official and overt contracts.
  • Spartans were a feared, but small force. There were never very many Spartan men; usually less than 10,000. The land they controlled was worked by their slaves, the Helots, who outnumbered Spartans 10-1. There were also a class of craftsmen, the perioikoi, who were free, but not citizens of Sparta. Shutt theorizes that Sparta developed into a military state because they needed every man in the professional army to control such an overwhelming number of slaves.
  • Spartan women were known to be beautiful, athletic, naked, (too) outspoken, and “free with their sexuality” in comparison to the other Greek city-states, and even other peoples. Older Spartan men often shared their younger wives with other men. Spartan wives, it is said, liked this arrangement. A wife would preside over two homes and no Spartan–male or female–was allowed to do work. Keeping house meant telling Helot slaves what to do.
  • The crimson cloaks of Sparta–the official and mandatory uniforms–were dyed with the same Phoenician/Canaanite/Tyrian purple dye which the Romans used for their garments, and which is mentioned in Revelations. I may never buy another red or purple shirt.

One thought I had concerning the reasons that Spartan men became so individually imposing is because there were so few of them, and there had to be a lot of Spartan women. The men often died in battle, right? So what do you get when the men are constantly going off to either train for war, or go to war? You get women who can’t be bridled. You get women who expect every man to be better than the one who came before, and men who want to live up to that; if not exceed it. You get an elite group of men who can’t individually “service” the population of beautiful, nude, mouthy women.

As I was listening, I wondered if America isn’t working itself, unreflectively, towards a Spartan model. The author mentions, and I have heard myself directly, that many Europeans consider American women to be beautiful, (too) outspoken, and “free with their sexuality”. I certainly think there is a case to be made that we are developing–again, without thought–a marked separation between peoples which is turning America into a society of:

  • Spartans (Athletes/politicians/entertainers/bankers/etc. In a word: Alphas)
  • Perioikoi (Technicians/programmers/lawyers/accountants/middle management/Master Tradesmen/etc. In a word: Betas)
  • Helots (Mexicans/Blacks/Poor Whites/etc. In a word: Chumps)

A Draft of a Manual to War Against the Necropolis

I wrote earlier that I would write some thoughts on how one goes about living and moving in Babylon, the Necropolis. Here is the first draft of what I hope to become a fully-realized manual, or even possibly an organization.

  1. Men going into problem churches, or church-related problems, in elite teams of two or more. These men are armed with scripture and resources provided by other members. They should also travel with arms against physical foes. Jesus said:

35 And he said to them, “When I sent you out with no moneybag or knapsack or sandals, did you lack anything?” They said, “Nothing.” 36 He said to them, “But now let the one who has a moneybag take it, and likewise a knapsack. And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one. 37 For I tell you that this Scripture must be fulfilled in me: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors.’ For what is written about me has its fulfillment.” 38 And they said, “Look, Lord, here are two swords.” And he said to them, “It is enough.”

When Jesus had first sent out the disciples he sent them out in twos:

10 After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to go.And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. Go your way; behold, I am sending you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. Carry no moneybag, no knapsack, no sandals, and greet no one on the road.

“But now…” Jesus said, and has the state of things from that time–that now–changed? I don’t believe it has. I believe He meant from that moment going forward. I want to be clear that weapons are for defense on the way to the mission; not to accomplish the mission. The battle is not against flesh and blood, but we have to survive highwaymen and murderers to arrive at the spiritual battles to fight them. I would go so far as to say that any man who is not physically armed had better have an excellent reason.

I also note that the scheme of sending them out in groups has not changed. Jesus doesn’t send out individual heroes. I am strongly against the idea of “bootstrapping” a correction of a church.

We need an elite group of men who both drink the living waters, and who keep sharp eyes on their surroundings.

2. We need a resource for men searching for a church home. It is no longer enough to look at a church sign and determine what they practice. Churches of the Southern Baptist Convention, for example, say as a matter of faith and doctrine that they believe in families and churches led by men. In practice though, they vary. You will find among them Sunday School classes, and worship services, and Bible studies led by women.

As another example: Many believe that there are no churches which teach head-coverings by example. That’s not true. You can find some Anglicans who do (Even in America!), as well as some Pentecostals, and I believe some Lutheran as well. I’m sure I’m missing some.

Another example: The Biblical instruction for choosing elders/priests/bishops and deacons is the husband of one wife, and a father of children who are well-behaved believers. Is this true of the First Baptist Church of Podunk? Does he have a whore-mongering son? Does the pastor of Grace-filled Calvary Chapel have children in another state whom he does not see?

The point of this…database…would be to provide a catalog of churches which shows who they really are, and thus hold them accountable to the Scriptures, and force them to make a defense of themselves–to show themselves approved.

Feel free to criticize, suggest, or otherwise improve upon this barest of beginnings.


Do Church Doors Erase Bibles?

Moose Norseman has a post in response to a bit of writing by John C. Wright.

In effect, the Lutheran claim is a claim of the right to rebel against the teaching authority of the Church, on the grounds that the Church is apostate. Unfortunately, the sole witness for the apostasy of the Church is an alleged disagreement between Church teachings and the scriptures on which the Church relies for those teachings.

But the sole witness for the validity, canonicity, historicity, and divinity those selfsame scriptures is the authority of the Church whose members wrote them, gathered, sanctified, protected, promulgated and canonized them.

This is false. It is an opinion woefully uninformed about the history of The Church of Rome, the Orthodox Church, and the Reformation which came out of the Church of Rome. It’s also very common among all those who call themselves Christian. Here is a very truncated version; particularly concerning Martin Luther and those who heard him.[1]

~30-33AD: Pentecost happens in Jerusalem. You can read about it in Acts. Then you can continue reading Acts, and then Romans, and then the rest of the NT. It contains (some of) the history of the spread of Christianity by the Apostles and their helpers; which occurred in a generally westward direction. The Gospel is established in Asia Minor and Greece prior to Rome; though it is all under the Roman Empire. Among the important churches are Jerusalem and Antioch. However; in Revelation we get addresses to seven churches none of which have I mentioned yet: Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea. These are all in Asia Minor; what is now called Turkey.

330AD: Constantine, emperor of Rome moves the Roman Empire’s capitol to Byzantium, and renames it after himself: Constantinople. This is the seat of power.

1053AD: The Great Schism happens. The Church in Rome and the Church in Constantinople separate. From then until 1543, there is dispute between the two churches/empires and a good deal of bloodshed back-n-forth. You can read about the Massacre of the Latins and the Siege of Constantinople on your own.

1299AD: The Ottoman Empire is founded in Anatolia; a province of Asia Minor. Muslim in religion, they proceed to move westward, and conquer for the next 200 years. During this time, theologians, historians, and other academics in the Constantine Empire flee westward to escape the Ottomans. They bring with them texts and documents which had been either forgot, or ignored, in the west. As these documents are translated and disseminated in the sphere of the Church of Rome, many theologians began to study them. It was a reunion of scholarship. The teachings of the Early Church fathers (so many of whom were in Asia Minor) reveal a gulf between the teachings of that Early Church, and the teachings of the Roman Church. Among other things: The official translation of the Bible of the Church of Rome is found to have many discrepancies and errors when compared to the treasure-trove of documents the eastern scholars brought west.

They also brought with them Greek ideas about art and architecture and all sorts of things. Western buildings from the Middle Ages fell out of fashion, and deemed Gothic; which meant Germanic as in the Visigothic and Ostrogothic kings who had crushed the Western Roman Empire and divied it up amongst themselves. In other words: They called them barbarians. Well, western Europeans got bad feelings about this and so they started a Renaissance to be cooler than the Greeks. In this milieu is born a movement among the Roman academics called Humanism. They are seeing the discrepancies between what the actual Early Church Fathers said in these exiled documents, and what the Roman Church does. Questions are asked. New translations of the Bible are written; this time cross-referenced with the thousands of translations brought out of the Eastern Roman Empire to check for accuracy in word and meaning.

1440: The printing press is invented by Gutenberg. Literature becomes cheap, literacy becomes easy, and the Roman clergy’s stranglehold over theological education is broken. Even some priests learned to read! That’s right, a good number of them could not. It was too expensive. This is the world and maelstrom into which Martin Luther is born.

1453AD: The Fall of Constantinople occurs at the hands of Mehmad the Conqueror and his Ottoman Empire. The second Roman Empire never rises again. Christian scholasticism is shifted permanently west.

1517AD: Roman Catholic theologian, monk, and priest Martin Luther writes his 95 Theses and posts it for debate; as was the habit of Roman Catholic academics. He had been influenced by the writings of Erasmus and others of the Humanist movement, and was incensed by the practice of the sale of Indulgences; particularly as done by Johann Tetzel. The printing press spreads Luther’s ideas.

Obviously this is far from complete. What I want to demonstrate is that the criticism of the Church in Rome came from explicitly Christian sources–as recognized by the Church of Rome itself.

John C. Wright cannot say “Unfortunately, the sole witness for the apostasy of the Church is an alleged disagreement between Church teachings and the scriptures on which the Church relies for those teachings.

But the sole witness for the validity, canonicity, historicity, and divinity those selfsame scriptures is the authority of the Church whose members wrote them, gathered, sanctified, protected, promulgated and canonized them.”

That’s a gross falsehood which darkens the mind of any who believe it. You cannot say–with integrity and knowledge–that the Church in the Eastern Roman Empire was not a legitimate Church. The Orthodox Church bore witness before the Romans. It was there first.

Nor did Martin Luther begin his criticism of the Roman Church from the outside, but from within. They trained him! In modern speech we would call him a whistleblower, and he sought out justice from the hierarchic structure of the Roman Church. But the Church in Rome was threatened because ignorance, corruption, and abuse were rampant in that structure.

Wright might as well say that he can’t be sure his Bible contains the same words on one side of the church door as it does the other.

[1]  (The story of Henry VIII is the story of a Roman Catholic and superstitious opportunist; which church Reformers under him both used, and from whom they suffered.)

Whore Mother May I

The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and jewels and pearls, holding in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the impurities of her sexual immorality. And on her forehead was written a name of mystery: “Babylon the great, mother of prostitutes and of earth’s abominations.”And I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of the martyrs of Jesus.

When I saw her, I marveled greatly.

I’m sure most of my readers are familiar with Dalrock’s repeated skewering of theological cross-dressing. So they’re also aware that in Protestant teaching and churches this happened under the teaching of the theology of Complementarianism. The Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood was formed in 1987 specifically to spread that theology. They have been widely and wildly successful.

But did you know that complementarianism first becomes a thing in a movement called New Feminism? New Feminism is a conservative feminist movement of the 1920s supposedly meant to combat radical feminism by swallowing the radical conceits under a dress. There are overlaps in leadership with the suffragettes. It was also a Roman Catholic movement. The writings of John Paul II are supportive of New Feminism, and I do not know of a retraction from either Benedict XVI, or Francis.

What I observe when I look at Protestant or Roman Catholic clergy is that they are far-and-away more likely to be sons of their mothers rather than sons of their fathers. In short: Clergy are a collection of Momma’s-boys. This makes sense once we realize that the organizing thought of New Feminism, and therefore Complementarianism is around the concept of Mother; not wife, or sister, or daughter. Those are viewed as larval stages. Full-grown woman is Mother. But the Bible, and most of the vastness of Christian theology, teaches men that we are to be imitators of Christ. Christ’s emphasis is on being a son of God; even when full-grown.

Let me say the overarching theology of Christian Complementarianism clearly: The vocation of men is to be Sons of God, and the vocation of women is to be Mothers of God.

What I have also observed of the women of Christian churches is that the majority of them both affirm and excuse the abuse of sex as a means to get what they want (attention, material objects, affection, status, etc.) rather than as the enjoyable work of marriage. They abuse sex by fornicating while unmarried to get what they want, and by refusing sex while married; to either display their unhappiness, or with the full-blown sexual refusal which is divorce. This is the essence of whoredom. The rumors about Catholic school-girls are not unfounded, nor are those about the daughters of Protestant preachers and deacons.

Proposed: Complementarianism just is matriarchy. It was smuggled into churches under the guise of the goodness of motherhood which scratched itchy conservative ears. It has delivered to us whores, and delivered us unto whores.

Where Does One Find Romanism in America?

Colin Kaepernick is not the only one who has trouble honoring the symbols of the United States. For years now I have observed and taught my children that during the National Anthem or Pledge of Allegiance we stand at attention, but we do not pledge, and we do not place our hands over our hearts. We are pledged to Christ. If America were dedicated to Christ in spirit and in prose then there would be no division for us. From its deistic founding by overt Christians and an unfortunate critical mass of deists, the US has rambled from a state of spiritual allegiance to Christ in the hearts of the people (who labored under an overtly indifferent-to-Christ system of government) to an empire which has set it’s face against Christ.

The NRx crowd says, all day every day, that this is the spoilage of Protestantism; particularly of the Puritan sort, though they also say that Puritanism is the only really logical end of a fully-realized Protestantism. Somehow, Puritans get linked to Jews because after some Puritans fell into deism (taking Harvard and Yale with it) Jews immigrated in much larger numbers to the US. What can be counted against many Puritans (though not nearly all) is that they fell and fattened into deism. Because deism is like a negative of Roman pantheism. Instead of believing as the Romans did that any god is a god worth worshipping–it is the belief that every god is really just some aspect of one amorphous god who, or what, somewhere, did something. There’s some Babylonian Whoredom, for sure, but where is the connection of Puritan descendants and Jews?

All this gets blamed on Puritanism/Protestantism for the integration and ascension of Jews into American society; particularly in the spheres of education, government, entertainment, and journalism, but why? Whatever sins or corruptions the Jews have committed in journalism and entertainment I think is squarely on them. The one real exception to that is that someone (Who very well could have been Puritan. I have no idea.) let them into this country with its free press. The US also let in a lot–a whole lot–of RomanCatholics.

Starting in 1820, the US let in wave after wave of immigrants from Ireland (mostly Roman Catholic) Italy (Roman Catholic) Poland (Roman Catholic) Germany (predominantly from the Roman Catholic portions) Hungary (Roman Catholic). At the same time people are immigrating from Mexico (Roman Catholic) and Everything South of Mexico (Roman Catholic). Coming with them–especially from Germany and the Eastern European countries–were Jews.

By the 1900s, socialism is a force in American politics. Animating socialism–it’s thinkers and organizers–are Jews and a lot of Catholics who have brought liberalism over from the Continent and deposited in the streets of American cities. It is fair to say that it had already crept into Harvard, Yale, and the upper classes. That’s a far different thing than socialism in factories and schools and churches.

In 50 years the populations of the powerful, mostly east-coast–US cities are transformed from mostly Protestant to mostly Catholic, because these Roman Catholic immigrant tended not to disperse into the country and remained in the cities. It is this constant supply of fresh blood that allows to Union army to absorb massive casualties and still field more immigrants against their America brothers.

As American politics developed, Roman Catholics–regardless of ethnicity–were soundly in the camp of the Democrats; as were the Jews. The leaders of Marxist-inspired movements in schools and factories and city councils were: Atheist, Roman Catholic, or Jewish. Not Protestant.

It turns out that Roman Catholics in power want more Roman Catholics, and that Jews are glad to help them do it. At the American Revolution .6% of Americans were Roman Catholic. By 1960 it was 30% and the Protestant United States elected its first Roman Catholic president, John F. Kennedy. In the years between Roman Catholics came to dominate the Democratic party, and the Democratic party injected its policies with Marxist ideas from Roman Catholics and their long-time neighbors: Jews.

Around the same time, out of Latin/South American Roman Catholics would come Liberation Theology; a Marxist interpretation of Christianity which interprets Christian history, Traditions, and the Bible according to “class struggle”. Liberation Theology came with the Roman Catholic hordes flowing over the US’ southern borders. This will be important later.

In 1965 the Immigration and Nationality Act is passed, and limits on immigration are wildly reduced–especially in that it no longer restricted immigration from Asia, Africa, and Southern and Eastern Europe. That is: Roman Catholic countries. The act was proposed by Emanuel Cellar (descended from Jews and German Roman Catholics), co-sponsored Philip Hart (an Irish Roman Catholic), and promoted by Ted Kennedy (Irish Roman Catholic and brother of the then-dead John F. Kennedy.)

Basically: The 60s happened, and it happened at the hands of the Democrats which the Roman Catholics and the Jews built, and the United States never recovered.

By then radicalism began to scare some Roman Catholics and Jews alike, and a political split occurs. But it doesn’t split in the sense of Jews going one way and Roman Catholics another. Those who went, went together and those who stayed, stayed together. At this time we get the rise of the Neo-Conservatives and the Republican party starts absorbing the fellow-travelling Roman Catholics and Jews who had split from their radical brothers.

The tailspin of America has only accelerated, and it is accelerating at a quadratic rate. Whatever our ethnicities or religions, we now have two groups of people in America: Those who think men who dress as women should disrobe with little girls, and those who think they should disrobe with little boys. (There is no debate about the wrongness of trans-sexualism. There is no concern for the boys.) How did we come to this? Who has been presiding?

I’m going to finish this post with a descending-order list of powerful politicians which I think illustrates how profoundly wrong the NRx theory of Judeo-Puritan conspiracy is, how poorly political parties in the US fail at what they say they will do when infiltrated by Roman Catholics and Jews, and how much spiritual nationality matters.

  • President Obama – Raised Muslim/Atheist, converted to “Protestant” Christianity. Actually mentored and taught by Jeremiah Wright; who preaches Liberation Theology
  • Joe Biden – Roman Catholic
  • Paul Ryan – Roman Catholic
  • John Boehner – Roman Catholic
  • Eric Cantnor – Judaism
  • Marco Rubio – Roman Catholic
  • Jeb Bush – Roman Catholic
  • Rick Santorum – Roman Catholic
  • Newt Gingrich – Roman Catholic
  • Nancy Pelosi – Roman Catholic
  • Barbara Boxer – Judaism
  • Dianne Feinstein – Atheist Jew
  • William F. Buckley – Roman Catholic
  • Jonah Goldberg – Judaism
  • Irving Kristol – Non-practicing Jew
  • etc.

But here is the list that I think is really eye-opening. The most powerful branch of the US government is the Supreme Court:

  • John Roberts – Roman Catholic
  • Anthony Kennedy – Roman Catholic
  • Clarence Thomas – Roman Catholic
  • Ruth Ginsberg – Judaism
  • Stephen Breyer – Judaism
  • Sam Alito – Roman Catholic
  • Sonia Sotomayor – Roman Catholic
  • Elena Kagan – Judaism
  • Antonin Scalia (deceased) – Roman Catholic

Before Scalia died there were six Roman Catholics on the Supreme Court. Before them, there had only been seven total. American Roman Catholics repeatedly leave the problems of America at the feet of Protestantism and say, “Tsk! Tsk! What a mess you’ve made. If only you knew the Mother Church in Rome you wouldn’t have these problems.”

What I, the NRx, and the Alt-Right agree upon is that America’s direction is no longer in the hands of the people. And I tell you that Mother Church in Rome already knows the decision-makers in America. So what are we going to do about it?

The Surrender-by-Death of Ethno-Nationalism

Donal Graeme commented:

While I cannot prove it, I can quite imagine that if John were writing that text today, it might be the harlot of Rome he would be warning us against. And by Rome, he would mean America.

Oscar commented that the sexual immorality attributed to the Whore of Babylon is actually a reference to idolatry. Several others echoed both with similar comments. I agree. America is tracking with Rome, and it is accelerating. These are, I believe, very bad things for us to have done or allowed. Some examples of that shortly, but now I want to get back to my disagreement with the Vox and the Alt-Right emphasis on ethno-nationalism, and also my disagreement with the NRx diagnoses and prescriptions.

The supposed antidote ethno-nationalism is proposed to combat empire; which they deem an intrinsic evil. Vox calls it (empire) Babel, or Neo-Babelism. But I think it is demonstrably false (according to the scriptures) to think empire intrinsically evil…at least in a way that nations aren’t evil. Are there ethnic nations so good that we should subject our faith to ethno-nationalism? If a nation is good, then does that mean all its clans are good? All its families? Is each individual given atonement by his ethno-national blood?

Nebuchadnezzar, an emperor, is praised and blessed by God. His reign and empire is described by God in a vision to Daniel as a “golden head”. Better: What does “King of kings and Lord or lords” mean, if not empire?

However, we are not there yet and here is a trouble which can come with every human endeavor (including empire) and that is idolatry. Since empire is a thing on a grand scale, the soiling by idolatry can be immense. But idolatry is a problem of the spirit–not the flesh–because the spirit is greater than the flesh. The flesh will be conformed to the spirit. This is what the law of sin and death teaches. When Adam rebelled, his spirit–our spirit–died in the Garden. Our bodies took on the shape of sin and so grow into death. The Necropolis came. It also points us to Christ, in whom those who die in the flesh will be reborn–even in the flesh–according to the Spirit of Christ, who was the firstborn of the dead.

And we had better believe that the spirit really is stronger than the flesh. If you attack a spiritual problem with the worldly weapon of ethno-nationalism you will lose; you will lose not only to good spirits but evil spirits as well. We cannot defeat the dead by making a priority of separation according to various forms of unlife.

…And Also the Elephant in the Rome

Wherein I follow the truth and make some of you uncomfortable, and others angry. I am aware that among those are some of my friends. All I ask is that you find my mistakes.

It is undeniable that when one of the angels speaks to John

17 Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the judgment of the great prostitute who is seated on many waters, 2 with whom the kings of the earth have committed sexual immorality, and with the wine of whose sexual immorality the dwellers on earth have become drunk.” 3 And he carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness, and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was full of blasphemous names, and it had seven heads and ten horns. 4 The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and jewels and pearls, holding in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the impurities of her sexual immorality. 5 And on her forehead was written a name of mystery: “Babylon the great, mother of prostitutes and of earth’s abominations.” 6 And I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of the martyrs of Jesus.

When I saw her, I marveled greatly. 7 But the angel said to me, “Why do you marvel? I will tell you the mystery of the woman, and of the beast with seven heads and ten horns that carries her. 8 The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to rise from the bottomless pit and go to destruction. And the dwellers on earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world will marvel to see the beast, because it was and is not and is to come. 9 This calls for a mind with wisdom: the seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman is seated

that this is a reference to Rome. Rome is the city founded on seven hills. Likewise, when Constantine built up Byzantium into Constantinople as the “New Rome”, it was consciously built upon seven hills. Babylon, the Harlot, the Necropolis, is spread across the seas, and there are two beasts and one beast has a false prophet. I do not claim to have a mind with wisdom as in full, but I have enough wisdom to know I need more.

Revelation is a puzzle and I don’t mean to set out what it all means here and now. And there is a lot about Babylon in Revelation which I have not quoted. What is Rome? I mean: What is meant by Rome as Babylon? Is it significant that Rome and Istanbul both are set on seven hills? Are they references to the two Roman Empires…or the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church…or the Roman Catholic Church and Islam? When Babylon falls and breaks into three pieces, is that a reference to the two great splits of the Church–and so including Protestants? I don’t know.

I do know that it has to do with Rome, and things that look like Rome, or are symbolized by Rome. I know the end has not yet come. I know that there is a lot of strife described in the text and that there has been a lot of strife in the world around Rome (both physically and spiritually) and there are many things I cannot square with the Roman Church and what is said in the Bible. Let us all submit to the tradition of the Church, but let us never exclude the Bible from Tradition! It seems to me Rome has done that…does that. Protestants and Orthodox have and do too, but at least you can suggest that with them without being dragged down a rabbit-hole of nonsense and–ultimately–gnosticism. The teaching of the Church of Rome is that Gnosticism is a heresy, but the practice of it is Knowledge for me, but ignorance for thee. There is no going back from the Council of Trent except to either eat their way through seven mountains of crow…or destruction.

I am also quick to consider that I am not free from influence. I have been listening to those podcasts and audiobooks; several of which have Roman Catholic thought at their centers. Tolkien was RC. The NRx leaders (and therefore flagship podcast) are are RC. The Reformation series was RC-centric. It did not praise Protestants in any way. But one of the several aspects that stuck out as a back-handed compliment that Madden noted about Martin Luther was that Luther was supremely lucky. Every time Charles V (The “Holy Roman Emporer” was about to put Luther to the torch with the blessing of the various Popes, something got in the way: The Turks, the French (The French are notorious as villains with cause.),…foreign kings in general. Some catastrophe happens which meant parole or pardon for Luther. Someone was looking out for him.

…Things I Didn’t Ask to Think About…

That’s a lot to think about. And I have been. In addition to listening to podcasts I’ve spent a lot of time with screens and speakers and voices off; just thinking. All the while praying for wisdom and discernment. What I want to find is big-picture understanding, but what I have found is a lot of conviction, and only a little bit of the larger scene.

A while back I wrote that I had come to the unavoidable and humiliatingly simple conclusion that the Sabbath ought to be kept.[1] Well–as I was listening to the History of English Podcast and thinking about Nationalism, the Alt-Right, and NRx–I came to similarly simple conclusion of the Real Presence of Christ in the Lord’s Supper. That was on a Wednesday. The following Sunday, our priest (I am Anglican) stopped me at the door and said “We need to train you to be a Lay Eucharistic Visitor so you can take Eucharist to Bob.” (Bob is homebound with sickness and injury.) We have never before spoken on the subject of LEV, or training me for anything. Of course I agreed. It was not a question.

Which naturally brings one to head-coverings for women. It did me, anyways. It’s been my habit to read 1 Corinthians 11 and then quickly cloud it–that men should never pray or prophesy with their heads covered, but women should only pray or prophesy with their heads covered–with what I have been taught all these years.. Though, it would be more true to say what I have been untaught all these years. Part of the trouble we Christian husbands and fathers have is underestimating how eroded are our churches and their habits.

Today I had the family together and I read to them I Corinthians 11:1-16; stopping ten or twelve times to ask them questions to see if they agreed with me–though I had not told them my interpretation. Then I asked “So, if St. Paul is an imitator of Christ, and he commends the Church in Corinth’s imitation of him, and if we are supposed to also imitate St. Paul and therefore Christ according to the traditions St. Paul delivered to them: Should women wear head coverings when they pray or prophesy?” They all answered in the affirmative and I told them, happily, that I agreed. Mrs. Caldo agreed, but then momentarily balked, and then agreed. I could in no way hold it against her: The balk was my words out of her mouth. I cannot hold it against her, and neither do I blame myself for listening to my elders on the matter. Though, we both would have to admit that no one forbid us head coverings.

Also: Thanks to Moose Norseman and Blake Law

[1] My habit is to look up links after I write the post. I see now I posted about my change of mind on the Sabbath just a few days from a year ago. I am slow.

Suppose We Change the Subject to…

It has become my habit to listen to audiobooks and podcasts as I work. The last two audiobooks were:

The Modern Scholar: Rings, Swords, and Monsters, by Michael Drout. I thought the subject would be broader, but more than half concerns Tolkien and LotR. It turns out that Drout is a Tolkien scholar. Still, I enjoyed it.

The Modern Scholar: Christianity at the Crossroads, by Thomas F. Madden This one I enjoyed less, but learned more. Why? When I began the series I didn’t know (or care) Madden’s religion. It became evident that Madden is Roman Catholic when every motive of every Protestant is chalked-up to confusion followed by vanity, love of money, or power-seeking–but every RC motive is innocent mistake which is pursued by restoration, conciliation, and protection of the people. Yet Madden faithfully reports the facts, and this is what makes it valuable: It’s like listening to a 250 lbs. fighter congratulate himself for fighting a 150 lbs. opponent to a draw.

As for the podcasts…there have been several.

The History of English Podcast, which I wrote about before. I’m up to episode 30. So many things learned. Much of the podcast is history of people since language is a people thing.

Fighting for the Faith. It’s a Lutheran podcast. I’ve only listened to one episode about the “Code Orange Revival”. The host refers to it as the “2016 Heresy Olympics”. Featured were extended clips from the so-called revival along with the host’s scathing commentary. Honestly, I agreed fully with the host on every point, but I found his pattern of speech irritating; too much sarcastic inflection, and not virile enough; like a hipster with a beard. Beards are manly, but so is muscle and action and passion.

Jesus Changes Everything, by R.C. Sproul Jr. I wanted to like this. Instead it is lame; a limp, passive Christianity which doesn’t remind me of his father. I wrote favorably of Sproul Sr.’s work here. By the way: Sproul’s “Catholicism” was a great companion to the audiobook “Christianity at the Crossroads”.

Ascending the Tower. I’ve listened to five episodes, I think. Each is fairly long and often in two parts. I’d guess 10-12 hours total listening time. These guys are the core group of NRx–which is explicitly exclusive and, I believe, hierarchic. (For example: Nick B. Steves is a leader.) My impression is that I would like these guys in real life. However, I find little agreement with either their diagnoses or their cures. They rightly see that the various Puritan groups who fell to become the congregationalist and universalist heretics of the northeastern United States opened up a Pandora’s Box of problems; but they wrongly conclude that the spirits released were Puritan-Judaic. Pandora did not come out of the box she opened; yet every problem is to them systemic, and every system from a Puritan or a Jew. The prominence of Roman Catholics among the NRx plays a role in their monomaniacal myopia.

What tower, exactly, is to be ascended? Babel comes to mind. And for what purpose? There is a definite emphasis on grasping power, but the methods and ends are elided in their conversations. Perhaps these are covered in podcasts I have not heard.

Christian Hangouts, by Reactionary Ian. I found this when I was mentioned in a Tweet about this YouTube series. I’ve only listened to one, and haven’t formed any real thoughts about it except that I wish I had some suggestion to help them structure the format a bit. There’s 20 minutes of on-topic talk and 100 minutes of digression. Ascending the Tower is pretty good about this without being unbendable. Then again, I could be missing the point of CHs. My impression was that I would like a good deal of the contributors, but that the converse is far from sure.

The other thing I have listened to recently (though not at work) is The Revelation of Jesus Christ to John. I say listened to because it opens:

The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who bore witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw. Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near.

So I read it aloud in a couple hours. It’s been a long time since I’ve read it; with the exception of the letters to the churches. As better Christians than me will note there is A LOT said about Babylon in there, and it was during my reading in which I decided to pursue on this blog the theme of Babylon, the Necropolis.

…But It’s a Good-Looking Necropolis

Deep Strength commented:

I assumed/thought ‘churchianity’ was the word because the ‘church’ was the idol as opposed to Christ. Or in other words, pastors generally teach what they teach (feminized bunk) to keep people — women and wives — in the pews, ostensibly for money.

Churches[1] that have become idols are haunted places of the undead. They move and moan and collect other undead through imitation of life. Some mausoleums look like churches. These churches are mausoleums.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness.

Most pastors I’ve known want butts in the pews because they take it as proof that the harvest is plentiful. Wondering for too long how many tares are in his wheat field (In the terms of Babylon the Necropolis: How many undead are among the living.) saps enthusiasm which no one is going to help him rouse. Many of these pastors are running their churches essentially alone. Sometimes that is their fault, and sometimes it is despite their best efforts.

Pastors usually have been separated from the rest of the congregation because they are weird. Because of that weirdness, or separation, or both, they are largely mystified by the dearth of men. A pastor starts out his career thinking that all men are like him even though he was probably scapegoated. Then he notices that many men aren’t in church as he is. He comes to believe that they simply lack his commitment. It never crosses his mind that it is more difficult for more manly men to tolerate modern church, than it is for him. He won’t allow himself to think it, and if he does he will quickly explain it away that they are “too macho” and “caricatures of manliness”.

And perhaps some are and that will soothe him so that he doesn’t have worry about the absence of men anymore; except to think to himself, What a pity that more men aren’t like me. What great things I could accomplish with an army of men like myself. These ladies are really something, though. And with his thoughts now turned inward towards himself instead of outward to Christ and His commands, he heads down to Sheol, and the church with him; even as he, and the comfortable women, and the men under the sway of women gather to whitewash it every Sunday.

[1] Here I mean “congregations of the Church” as it is used in the Bible; such as in “Letter to the Church in Smyrna, etc.