Wonkery?

Roger Simon, no fan of Trump all through the primary and elections seasons, suddenly thinks he knows how to manage the Donald.  On another site that properly tells Simon to to “take a hike,” I posted a comment there that, upon further reflection, I thought should be here as well.

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I don’t believe Donald is capable of “wonkery.”  He is a salesman.  Having been one on the side for many years, successful sales is not some sort of magic some people have and others don’t do not.  It is a learned task – difficult because most folks cannot or will not put in the time to learn sales.  In sales (and I did mine door-to-door, one of the hardest forms of sales), you have 15 seconds to overcome objections to get in the door, and must know your product inside and out so that when you customer offers an objection (which seems like a reason not to buy to those who give up in sales), the true salesman realizes the objection is to be overcome, and on the spot.  He shows yet another feature of his product to overcome the objection.  Once the objections are overcome and finished, the real salesman will get the sale .

It is not fraudulent or any such thing, it is the experience of being comfortable with people, hearing them, and answering their questions.  Trump got the sale in November because he didn’t listen to the nay-sayers and those (like many of the PJ crew and posters on Insty) that decried his effort.  He sold the American voters.  He had a new ground game no one in the political class seemed to understand.  He looked people in the eye when he offered his “product,” and emphasized his personal guarantee.  And in doing so, he showed why the “old product” is really useless.

It is the Presidency, a culmination of his life’s work, along with a love for his country (not gummint) that he was able to reach out those those who have been ripped off or sold junk by others (politicians) – or “wonkery by another name.

It’s just not in him to do so.  He, in fact, detests wonkery, and sees through the bullshit in DC and has come into town, guns a-blazin’ and changing the tune and tone.  And I believe he will say something to the effect (he has before in various ways):

“Guys and gals, it is not my wrath you should fear, but that of your constituents.  They don’t like what you have been doing, or not doing,  I promised to change that and am changing that, to the consternation of the whole political class.  You guys don’t get it.  Well, it’s high time you quit screwing around, because the people sent me here to tell you to quit screwing them around!

“Don’t pull the same old act and expect all cheers when you go home.  You won’t hear them, because you have worn the people out with your usual dealings in this chamber.  It’s a new day with a new sheriff, and unless you prefer being “retired,”  you had better “git ta gittin’ – and pronto!”

Not a bit of wonkery there.  He sold the electorate.  Now, like a good salesman, he is warning Congress not to void the sale, or they will be voided.  By now they should know that when he directs himself to a specific problem, he aims to fix the problem.  He is merely going to give them a road map for their own political fortunes to succeed.  It’s their call, and he will make sure they know it’s their call.

He has absolutely no need of wonkery.

Hear ends the Epistle.  Amen.

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“Conservative”

Throughout the entire primary and election season, the word “conservative” has been tossed into the discussion big time.  To the liberals and their commie/socialist partners, the word  “conservative” could well be likened to a crucifix to a vampire in a Grade B, low budget movie.  On the other hand, we have seen the Republican candidates trip over their tongues trying to appropriate to term to themselves personally.  If one considers the neocon/Buckley definitions and applications, then yes, having been at war with someones virtually non-stop since WWII, would qualify as its definition.

Having been in any number of back and forth chats online and in personal discussion, I have come to the conclusion that almost no one knows the precise meaning of “conservative.”  The question begs an answer.

Long before Bill Buckley (and all of his connections to the CIA), as well as the Kristol family, whose present face needs a real job, and one cannot forget the Bush family with its “deep state” ties, the understanding of “conservative” was well-explained and understood.  I must admit  I find great amusement in neocons trying to present themselves as “the real deal” conservatives.

So, I am posting, with full credit to the Russell Kirk Center, a copy Russell Kirk’s words.  It would be a profitable read by all calling themselves “conservative,” especially politicians!  Kirk’s words are unassailable, and they show us we have few or no true conservatives in our midst.

Ten Conservative Principles

By Russell Kirk

Being neither a religion nor an ideology, the body of opinion termed conservatism possesses no Holy Writ and no Das Kapital to provide dogmata. So far as it is possible to determine what conservatives believe, the first principles of the conservative persuasion are derived from what leading conservative writers and public men have professed during the past two centuries. After some introductory remarks on this general theme, I will proceed to list ten such conservative principles.

Perhaps it would be well, most of the time, to use this word “conservative” as an adjective chiefly. For there exists no Model Conservative, and conservatism is the negation of ideology: it is a state of mind, a type of character, a way of looking at the civil social order.

The attitude we call conservatism is sustained by a body of sentiments, rather than by a system of ideological dogmata. It is almost true that a conservative may be defined as a person who thinks himself such. The conservative movement or body of opinion can accommodate a considerable diversity of views on a good many subjects, there being no Test Act or Thirty-Nine Articles of the conservative creed.

In essence, the conservative person is simply one who finds the permanent things more pleasing than Chaos and Old Night. (Yet conservatives know, with Burke, that healthy “change is the means of our preservation.”) A people’s historic continuity of experience, says the conservative, offers a guide to policy far better than the abstract designs of coffee-house philosophers. But of course there is more to the conservative persuasion than this general attitude.

It is not possible to draw up a neat catalogue of conservatives’ convictions; nevertheless, I offer you, summarily, ten general principles; it seems safe to say that most conservatives would subscribe to most of these maxims. In various editions of my book The Conservative Mind I have listed certain canons of conservative thought—the list differing somewhat from edition to edition; in my anthology The Portable Conservative Reader I offer variations upon this theme. Now I present to you a summary of conservative assumptions differing somewhat from my canons in those two books of mine. In fine, the diversity of ways in which conservative views may find expression is itself proof that conservatism is no fixed ideology. What particular principles conservatives emphasize during any given time will vary with the circumstances and necessities of that era. The following ten articles of belief reflect the emphases of conservatives in America nowadays.

First, the conservative believes that there exists an enduring moral order. That order is made for man, and man is made for it: human nature is a constant, and moral truths are permanent.

This word order signifies harmony. There are two aspects or types of order: the inner order of the soul, and the outer order of the commonwealth. Twenty-five centuries ago, Plato taught this doctrine, but even the educated nowadays find it difficult to understand. The problem of order has been a principal concern of conservatives ever since conservative became a term of politics.

Our twentieth-century world has experienced the hideous consequences of the collapse of belief in a moral order. Like the atrocities and disasters of Greece in the fifth century before Christ, the ruin of great nations in our century shows us the pit into which fall societies that mistake clever self-interest, or ingenious social controls, for pleasing alternatives to an oldfangled moral order.

It has been said by liberal intellectuals that the conservative believes all social questions, at heart, to be questions of private morality. Properly understood, this statement is quite true. A society in which men and women are governed by belief in an enduring moral order, by a strong sense of right and wrong, by personal convictions about justice and honor, will be a good society—whatever political machinery it may utilize; while a society in which men and women are morally adrift, ignorant of norms, and intent chiefly upon gratification of appetites, will be a bad society—no matter how many people vote and no matter how liberal its formal constitution may be.

Second, the conservative adheres to custom, convention, and continuity. It is old custom that enables people to live together peaceably; the destroyers of custom demolish more than they know or desire. It is through convention—a word much abused in our time—that we contrive to avoid perpetual disputes about rights and duties: law at base is a body of conventions. Continuity is the means of linking generation to generation; it matters as much for society as it does for the individual; without it, life is meaningless. When successful revolutionaries have effaced old customs, derided old conventions, and broken the continuity of social institutions—why, presently they discover the necessity of establishing fresh customs, conventions, and continuity; but that process is painful and slow; and the new social order that eventually emerges may be much inferior to the old order that radicals overthrew in their zeal for the Earthly Paradise.

Conservatives are champions of custom, convention, and continuity because they prefer the devil they know to the devil they don’t know. Order and justice and freedom, they believe, are the artificial products of a long social experience, the result of centuries of trial and reflection and sacrifice. Thus the body social is a kind of spiritual corporation, comparable to the church; it may even be called a community of souls. Human society is no machine, to be treated mechanically. The continuity, the life-blood, of a society must not be interrupted. Burke’s reminder of the necessity for prudent change is in the mind of the conservative. But necessary change, conservatives argue, ought to be gradual and discriminatory, never unfixing old interests at once.

Third, conservatives believe in what may be called the principle of prescription. Conservatives sense that modern people are dwarfs on the shoulders of giants, able to see farther than their ancestors only because of the great stature of those who have preceded us in time. Therefore conservatives very often emphasize the importance of prescription—that is, of things established by immemorial usage, so that the mind of man runneth not to the contrary. There exist rights of which the chief sanction is their antiquity—including rights to property, often. Similarly, our morals are prescriptive in great part. Conservatives argue that we are unlikely, we moderns, to make any brave new discoveries in morals or politics or taste. It is perilous to weigh every passing issue on the basis of private judgment and private rationality. The individual is foolish, but the species is wise, Burke declared. In politics we do well to abide by precedent and precept and even prejudice, for the great mysterious incorporation of the human race has acquired a prescriptive wisdom far greater than any man’s petty private rationality.

Fourth, conservatives are guided by their principle of prudence. Burke agrees with Plato that in the statesman, prudence is chief among virtues. Any public measure ought to be judged by its probable long-run consequences, not merely by temporary advantage or popularity. Liberals and radicals, the conservative says, are imprudent: for they dash at their objectives without giving much heed to the risk of new abuses worse than the evils they hope to sweep away. As John Randolph of Roanoke put it, Providence moves slowly, but the devil always hurries. Human society being complex, remedies cannot be simple if they are to be efficacious. The conservative declares that he acts only after sufficient reflection, having weighed the consequences. Sudden and slashing reforms are as perilous as sudden and slashing surgery.

Fifth, conservatives pay attention to the principle of variety. They feel affection for the proliferating intricacy of long-established social institutions and modes of life, as distinguished from the narrowing uniformity and deadening egalitarianism of radical systems. For the preservation of a healthy diversity in any civilization, there must survive orders and classes, differences in material condition, and many sorts of inequality. The only true forms of equality are equality at the Last Judgment and equality before a just court of law; all other attempts at levelling must lead, at best, to social stagnation. Society requires honest and able leadership; and if natural and institutional differences are destroyed, presently some tyrant or host of squalid oligarchs will create new forms of inequality.

Sixth, conservatives are chastened by their principle of imperfectability. Human nature suffers irremediably from certain grave faults, the conservatives know. Man being imperfect, no perfect social order ever can be created. Because of human restlessness, mankind would grow rebellious under any utopian domination, and would break out once more in violent discontent—or else expire of boredom. To seek for utopia is to end in disaster, the conservative says: we are not made for perfect things. All that we reasonably can expect is a tolerably ordered, just, and free society, in which some evils, maladjustments, and suffering will continue to lurk. By proper attention to prudent reform, we may preserve and improve this tolerable order. But if the old institutional and moral safeguards of a nation are neglected, then the anarchic impulse in humankind breaks loose: “the ceremony of innocence is drowned.” The ideologues who promise the perfection of man and society have converted a great part of the twentieth-century world into a terrestrial hell.

Seventh, conservatives are persuaded that freedom and property are closely linked. Separate property from private possession, and Leviathan becomes master of all. Upon the foundation of private property, great civilizations are built. The more widespread is the possession of private property, the more stable and productive is a commonwealth. Economic levelling, conservatives maintain, is not economic progress. Getting and spending are not the chief aims of human existence; but a sound economic basis for the person, the family, and the commonwealth is much to be desired.

Sir Henry Maine, in his Village Communities, puts strongly the case for private property, as distinguished from communal property: “Nobody is at liberty to attack several property and to say at the same time that he values civilization. The history of the two cannot be disentangled.” For the institution of several property—that is, private property—has been a powerful instrument for teaching men and women responsibility, for providing motives to integrity, for supporting general culture, for raising mankind above the level of mere drudgery, for affording leisure to think and freedom to act. To be able to retain the fruits of one’s labor; to be able to see one’s work made permanent; to be able to bequeath one’s property to one’s posterity; to be able to rise from the natural condition of grinding poverty to the security of enduring accomplishment; to have something that is really one’s own—these are advantages difficult to deny. The conservative acknowledges that the possession of property fixes certain duties upon the possessor; he accepts those moral and legal obligations cheerfully.

Eighth, conservatives uphold voluntary community, quite as they oppose involuntary collectivism. Although Americans have been attached strongly to privacy and private rights, they also have been a people conspicuous for a successful spirit of community. In a genuine community, the decisions most directly affecting the lives of citizens are made locally and voluntarily. Some of these functions are carried out by local political bodies, others by private associations: so long as they are kept local, and are marked by the general agreement of those affected, they constitute healthy community. But when these functions pass by default or usurpation to centralized authority, then community is in serious danger. Whatever is beneficent and prudent in modern democracy is made possible through cooperative volition. If, then, in the name of an abstract Democracy, the functions of community are transferred to distant political direction—why, real government by the consent of the governed gives way to a standardizing process hostile to freedom and human dignity.

For a nation is no stronger than the numerous little communities of which it is composed. A central administration, or a corps of select managers and civil servants, however well intentioned and well trained, cannot confer justice and prosperity and tranquility upon a mass of men and women deprived of their old responsibilities. That experiment has been made before; and it has been disastrous. It is the performance of our duties in community that teaches us prudence and efficiency and charity.

Ninth, the conservative perceives the need for prudent restraints upon power and upon human passions. Politically speaking, power is the ability to do as one likes, regardless of the wills of one’s fellows. A state in which an individual or a small group are able to dominate the wills of their fellows without check is a despotism, whether it is called monarchical or aristocratic or democratic. When every person claims to be a power unto himself, then society falls into anarchy. Anarchy never lasts long, being intolerable for everyone, and contrary to the ineluctable fact that some persons are more strong and more clever than their neighbors. To anarchy there succeeds tyranny or oligarchy, in which power is monopolized by a very few.

The conservative endeavors to so limit and balance political power that anarchy or tyranny may not arise. In every age, nevertheless, men and women are tempted to overthrow the limitations upon power, for the sake of some fancied temporary advantage. It is characteristic of the radical that he thinks of power as a force for good—so long as the power falls into his hands. In the name of liberty, the French and Russian revolutionaries abolished the old restraints upon power; but power cannot be abolished; it always finds its way into someone’s hands. That power which the revolutionaries had thought oppressive in the hands of the old regime became many times as tyrannical in the hands of the radical new masters of the state.

Knowing human nature for a mixture of good and evil, the conservative does not put his trust in mere benevolence. Constitutional restrictions, political checks and balances, adequate enforcement of the laws, the old intricate web of restraints upon will and appetite—these the conservative approves as instruments of freedom and order. A just government maintains a healthy tension between the claims of authority and the claims of liberty.

Tenth, the thinking conservative understands that permanence and change must be recognized and reconciled in a vigorous society. The conservative is not opposed to social improvement, although he doubts whether there is any such force as a mystical Progress, with a Roman P, at work in the world. When a society is progressing in some respects, usually it is declining in other respects. The conservative knows that any healthy society is influenced by two forces, which Samuel Taylor Coleridge called its Permanence and its Progression. The Permanence of a society is formed by those enduring interests and convictions that gives us stability and continuity; without that Permanence, the fountains of the great deep are broken up, society slipping into anarchy. The Progression in a society is that spirit and that body of talents which urge us on to prudent reform and improvement; without that Progression, a people stagnate.

Therefore the intelligent conservative endeavors to reconcile the claims of Permanence and the claims of Progression. He thinks that the liberal and the radical, blind to the just claims of Permanence, would endanger the heritage bequeathed to us, in an endeavor to hurry us into some dubious Terrestrial Paradise. The conservative, in short, favors reasoned and temperate progress; he is opposed to the cult of Progress, whose votaries believe that everything new necessarily is superior to everything old.

Change is essential to the body social, the conservative reasons, just as it is essential to the human body. A body that has ceased to renew itself has begun to die. But if that body is to be vigorous, the change must occur in a regular manner, harmonizing with the form and nature of that body; otherwise change produces a monstrous growth, a cancer, which devours its host. The conservative takes care that nothing in a society should ever be wholly old, and that nothing should ever be wholly new. This is the means of the conservation of a nation, quite as it is the means of conservation of a living organism. Just how much change a society requires, and what sort of change, depend upon the circumstances of an age and a nation.

Such, then, are ten principles that have loomed large during the two centuries of modern conservative thought. Other principles of equal importance might have been discussed here: the conservative understanding of justice, for one, or the conservative view of education. But such subjects, time running on, I must leave to your private investigation.

The great line of demarcation in modern politics, Eric Voegelin used to point out, is not a division between liberals on one side and totalitarians on the other. No, on one side of that line are all those men and women who fancy that the temporal order is the only order, and that material needs are their only needs, and that they may do as they like with the human patrimony. On the other side of that line are all those people who recognize an enduring moral order in the universe, a constant human nature, and high duties toward the order spiritual and the order temporal.

Alien Citizens.

“Alien Citizens”

“A very long time ago, when Christians were a persecuted minority of maybe fifty thousand in the great empire of Rome, an anonymous writer explained to a pagan named Diognetus the way it is with this peculiar people. Until Our Lord returns in glory, Christians do well to embrace the second century “Letter to Diognetus” as their vade mecum (maual):

For Christians cannot be distinguished from the rest of the human race by country or language or customs. They do not live in cities of their own; they do not use a peculiar form of speech; they do not follow an eccentric manner of life. This doctrine of theirs has not been discovered by the ingenuity or deep thought of inquisitive men, nor do they put forward a merely human teaching, as some people do. Yet, although they live in Greek and barbarian cities alike, as each man’s lot has been cast, and follow the customs of the country in clothing and food and other matters of daily living, at the same time they give proof of the remarkable and admittedly extraordinary constitution of their own commonwealth. They live in their own countries, but only as aliens. They have a share in everything as citizens, and endure everything as foreigners. Every foreign land is their fatherland, and yet for them every fatherland is a foreign land. They marry, like everyone else, and they beget children, but they do not cast out their offspring. They share their board with each other, but not their marriage bed. It is true that they are ‘in the flesh,’ but they do not live ‘according to the flesh.’ They busy themselves on earth, but their citizenship is in heaven.”

The above is culled from an extraordinary essay by Fr. Richard John Neuhas, in 1996.  It was a fair depiction of that time, but most interesting is the degree to which he foresaw our day and age, if not implicitly, then indirectly, but true nonetheless.

Draw your own conclusions.  All I can do is recommend you read it.

Likewise, a very insightful piece by Rod Dreher.

Pax

Getting Out of Ourselves

Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

The words of that last sentence of today’s Gospel lesson in Matthew 5:38-48, are compelling, to say the least.  The irreducible nature of Jesus’ words in that sentence, and the conclusion into which they seemingly force us are, at 1st, or 31st glance, an impossible demand.

Talk about raising the bar!  Not only would seekers who come to find hope be perplexed, but even lifelong Lutherans are taken aback by the abrupt bluntness of the words:

Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

Even I, having more than a clue where Jesus was taking all of that, still want to rush to the exchange between Peter and Jesus in Matthew 19:24-26:

24Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” 25When the disciples heard this they were greatly astonished and asked, ‘Who then can be saved?’  26Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

We will get to that question and the almost instantaneous realization of the Apostles in that exchange.  Today’s lesson is very thorny to wade through – no give or take – here it is, deal with it.  Verse one of Chapter 6 (there were no chapter or verse indicators for some time after Christ was on earth), double down on the idea:

“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.

Sweet Jesus!  Out of the proverbial frying pan, into the fire.  First comes “Be perfect . . .” – followed by “don’t give anyone else a clue.”

If the Beatitudes, and these verses in particular, are somehow “Good News,” it takes a pretty good stretch of the imagination, or maybe some overzealous translator used “perfection” when the actual text really said something else.  Except, well, no – because the word used for “perfect” in Greek is τέλειοι” – and, well, in the Greek it means “perfect.”

Well, that doesn’t help us in our quandary.  Not especially we Lutherans, who confess daily (or should!):

“Heavenly Father, I confess before You that I am sinful and unclean, that I have sinned against you in thought, word and deed – my sinful thoughts, my many words, and my uncaring actions – in my concupiscence – my very original sin.  I have not loved You with my whole heart, I have not loved my neighbor as myself.  I justly deserve Your temporal and eternal punishment.”

Youch!  Be perfect?  Oi!  Fr. Larry Peters, who writes a daily meditation, put it in even more succinct terms about us Lutherans – we are either “all in” in the Faith, or not.  There is no in-between.  Yikes – we might as well just shrug our shoulders and give up.  Me – righteous?  Yeah, when pigs fly!

Or maybe, just maybe, our hope and solution in – not from – the demand to be perfect made by Jesus is really there in Jesus’ words, as he said elsewhere, more – for those “who have ears – hear!”   For the word for hear in Greek means to hear with understanding!  Aha!!  Maybe now we are getting warm.

And what is it we are supposed to hear?

Back to our first word – perfect.  Just what is Jesus really saying?  How can we, who are anything but perfect, somehow achieve perfection?  Let me answer that with another of Jesus’ words – the two words by which he called the Apostles, and everyone one of us – “Follow Me.”

Now I am sure more than a few are thinking – “Geez, Pastor, that leaves us right back where we start!”  No, not true!  It asks us get away from “our” mode of thinking as sinners, and thinking and into, as St. Paul said oft-times of believers, “Let us have the mind of Christ!”  So – the first order of business is to hear, realize, as God told Isaiah:

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.

The word for perfect in our text – τέλειοι – carries with it the connotation of “complete; whole”  – as we find the word in Colossians, Chapter One. While you’re there, read all of Chapter One – what a glorious description of all that has taken us from death and hell to the fullness, the completeness of being children of God!

Okay. now we can go back to the question of Peter “Who then can be saved?”  Answer to his question from Jesus  then also answers our text for today: “Be ye perfect, as My Father in Heaven is perfect.”  Jesus answers:

“With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

It is the work of the Holy Spirit, which Luther understood and in magnificent words, described this way in the Small Catechism:

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.

Q. What does this mean?

A. I believe that I cannot come to my Lord Jesus Christ by my own intelligence or power. But the Holy Spirit called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with her gifts, made me holy and kept me in the true faith, just as she calls, gathers together, enlightens and makes holy the whole Church on earth and keeps it with Jesus in the one, true faith. In this Church, we generously forgives each day every sin committed by me and by every believer. On the last day, He will raise me and all the dead from the grave. He will give eternal life to me and to all who believe in Christ. Yes, this is most certainly true!

Clearly there we find the the very reason we use Liturgical Worship, receive Holy Absolution at the Confession of Sins, hear the Words of the Called Servant in Christ – in Law and Gospel, and make us perfect in God’s eyes through His Word and His Blessed Sacraments – His Means of Grace.  And what makes us perfect?  What comes to us in Faith that we might be made perfect?  Again to Luther on the 2nd Article of the Creed, in words one of our most beloved theologians in the Missouri Synod – Professor Norman Nagel, once said are the most beautiful words any man has ever written! –

I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord.
He was conceived by the Holy Spirit
and born of the Virgin Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended into hell.
On the third day he rose again.
He ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again to judge the living and the dead.

Q. What does this mean?

A. I believe that Jesus Christ is truly God, born of the Father in eternity and also truly human, born of the Virgin Mary, is my Lord!  He redeemed me, a lost and condemned person, bought and won me from all sins, death, and the authority of the Devil. It did not cost Him gold or silver, but His holy, precious blood, His innocent body — his death! Because of this, I am Christ’s very own, will live under Christ in his kingdom and serve Christ righteously, innocently and blessedly forever, just as Christ is risen from death, lives and reigns forever. Yes, this is most certainly true!

Now we can explain God’s perfection AND our own, and make perfect sense of our verse.  Faith in Christ, no matter how lowly or humble, is “perfection” in God’s eyes, for we who by faith have been washed in the Blessed Waters of Holy Baptism, hear the Word and especially the Gospel preached by faithful Pastors, and partaken of Christ and Him crucified in the Blessed Body and Blood of the Eucharist, have put on Christ, taken on the mind of Christ, and God no longer sees us in sin, but sees, as Luther put it so lovingly – “Little Christs.”

We have been made perfect by faith in ChristWho takes us out of ourselves and, Who IS God, and thus perfectly holy as is the Father!  Let us close this day with the words of our post-Communion canticle:

(chant)

Thank the Lord and sing His praise, tell everyone what He has done.

Let all who seek the Lord rejoice and proudly bear His name.

We recall His promises, and lead His people forth in joy

With shouts of thanksgiving, Alleluia, alleluia.

Amen

 

Requiescat in Pace

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February 18, 2017

Today we honor the anniversary of the death of Martin Luther – Reformer. He died at 2:45 a.m., 18 February, 1546, aged 62, in Eisleben, the city of his birth. He was buried in the Castle Church in Wittenberg, beneath the pulpit. A piece of paper was later found on which he had written his last statement. The statement was in Latin, apart from “We are beggars,” which was in German. (Wir sind Bettler, das ist wahr”)

By the grace of God, the light of the Reformation was not extinguished with Luther’s passing but continues on today giving glory to Jesus’ bride, the church. Let us not forget the many other reformers, on whose shoulders we stand, who have defended those truths and helped the bride to shine even more gloriously. How grand she is now, adorned with the bridal dress train of the Reformation reflecting how the truth of the Gospel brings hope to us beggars who wear Christ’s robe of righteousness. Let us be also remember to show our gratitude for our pastors who faithfully carry the bride’s train and lead and shepherd us in the those same truths of the Word of God each and every day.

A Return to the Regular

Having been a bit of a hermit, justifiably so, as the posts of the last seven week indicate, I have still kept “in touch” with the news.  It has been, since when I almost forget, a target-rich environment what with the nomination and election of President Donald J. Trump.  And given that the end of this weekend marks the first month in office for President Trump, I thought it would be appropriate to put forth a bit of a grade for his first month.

Looking back on all he has accomplished against fierce opposition, is remarkable.  That he has done so in a likewise remarkably good humor, is as noteworthy.  Much from which to choose.  But as I surveyed it all, there was one monumental achievement by President Trump that outshines all others.  He, better than all, understood his first and foremost problem, and how unless he dealt with it forcefully, yet properly, it would dog his every step.  So without a word of description, and a hat-tip to my prescient friend, Abby, I give you my first month’s grade on President Donald J. Trump:

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A letter grade seemed, to me, woefully inadequate.

I had not seen that before this morning, when it caused an immediate reaction within my sinuses to the effect of the coffee flowing through them.

True – there have been many weighty issues facing our new President these last 30 days, but a press that had long ago disdained the notions of boundaries or civilities, could interfere and muck up everything else our President hoped to accomplish.  He knew that, and especially yesterday, launched his main salvo of missiles in what the press must think, given their words and reactions today, must have felt like the nuclear option.  Yesterday, the media was hardly the message, as Marshall McLuhan once defined it.

It was, at last – the target.  Our President hit the bulls-eye.

It did this older American’s heart good.  That is how I describe myself – an American.  That name carries with it not the the fluff and stuff of the modern mind, but the direct connection to the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and our Constitutional Republic, about which we have a terrible record of stewardship.  Nonetheless, by God’s grace it remains, and no one in DC but our current President, a politician by no means, thank the Lord, understands.

Even a few in the media kinda get it, finally, maybe. Dickerson admits it, then turns right around and undoes it.  So the message is hitting home.  The media has been given fair and ample warning.  Trump has taken this to us – the Dirt People – and the Cloud People in the press and society need to understand.

This is our country.  You have had more than enough opportunity, and have done nothing but bring America to the precipice of ruin in all it was intended to be.  Simply put . . .

No more.