The Disadvantage of Seeing

“In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is King”
Or so the proverb goes
But honesty in prose
Requires a different linguistic string

The one-eyed man in the land of the blind
Is the target of hate and spite
“Why should he have an eye to see
When all others have no sight?”

King, he may be, but uneasy rests the crown
And careful he should be in guarding his eye
As envy plots to pluck it out
In order to bring him down

The one-eyed man may be King
But not without the cost
Of all resolving to blind him also
To see him finally tossed

“We will have no eyes, in this Kingdom”
Shouts the rabble crowd
‘If we can’t see, no one will
No seeing shall be allowed.”

And so the one-eyed man better act as blind
If he desires to keep his vision
Les’t seeing and warning of the cliff ahead
Earns him an optical excision

History teaches that those who see
As living among the blind
Serve seldom as the respected King
But as outcast and maligned

Hotel Escondido

With Apologies to “The Eagles”

Off an Ocean sprayed highway, sea salt wind in my hair
Must smell of academy, rising up through the air
Up ahead in the distance, I saw the the absence of light 
My mind grew heavy and my sight went dim
I had to stop for the night

There they stood in the doorway;
Of their two Kingdom place
And I was thinking to myself
Was the Mosaic merit or was the Mosaic grace?
Then they took up their lecterns and they told me the way
There were voices from the corridors,
I thought I heard them say …

Welcome to Escondido California
Where Natural law’s place (Natural Law’s place)
Is in the left hand space (In the left hand space)
Plenty of room at Escondido California
Any time of year (Any time of year)
We’ll take your money here (Take your money here)

Their minds are hermeneutically twisted, they got the dualism bends
They’ve trained a lot of pretty, preacher boys whose thinking now ends
How they spin in the classroom, with exegetical dragnet
Some spin to remember, some spin to forget

So I called up the Porter
‘Please bring third law-wine’
He said, ‘We haven’t had that spirit here since Dr. Meredith Kline’
Still Reformed voices are calling regarding your stay
Wake you up in middle of the night
Saying, “Get far away!”

Welcome to Escondido California
Where Natural law’s place (Natural Law’s place)
Is in the left hand space (In the left hand space)
They’re changing it all at Escondido California
Now theocracy (Now Theocracy)
Is no more you see

Razors in their speaking
With Intrusion Ethic device
And they said ‘We are all just radicals here, giving well-paid advice’
And in the torture chambers,
They declare Mosaic Fatah
They stab it with their steely knives
But they just can’t kill God’s Law

Last thing I remember, I was
Countering their lore
I had to turn their worldview back
To the Calvin it was before
‘Relax,’ said the ordained man,
‘We are programmed to deceive.
You can argue anything you like
But we will never believe!’

A Paradigm For A New Reformation

“I have noticed the following parallel between the fourth century and the sixteenth century, periods I consider to be times of fundamental reform for the church. In both periods the dominant theology was a kind of synthesis between biblical thought and Greek philosophy: in the fourth century, Origenism; in the sixteenth, the theology of Thomas Aquinas. In both periods there came a heresy that upset the balance; in the fourth century, Arianism, in the sixteenth, the sale of indulgences by people like John Tetzel. Then came a Reformer: in the fourth century Athanasius; in the sixteenth, Luther. Then came a consolidator, someone who rethink the whole of the Church’s theology in the light of the gains of the Reformation: in the fourth and fifth centuries, Augustine; in the sixteenth, Calvin.”

Rev. John Frame 
A History of Western Philosophy and Theology — pg. 107

I am convinced that Rev. Frame is on to something here and I would suggest applying this template to a 21st-century setting. However, instead of Greek thought being the syncretistic factor as being added to Biblical thought and categories I would suggest that the syncretistic factor as being added to Biblical thought and categories is the hybrid form of Marxism called “Cultural Marxism.”

Per Rev. Frame’s model, I would offer something like,

1.) 20th-century syncretistic synthesis of Christianity with the Cultural Marxism originating with Antonia Gramsci, as introduced in America by the Frankfurt School (Herbert Marcuse,  Wilhelm Reich, Theodore Adorno, etc.) popularized by the civil rights movement in the 1960’s, and embraced in principle by many young Reformed Churchmen who would later become leading light in the Reformed Church. They absorbed this thinking during the Civil Rights movement of the 1960’s and at the very least have said very little to overthrow this warfare on God ordained distinctions.

2.) This syncretism that developed as a combination of Christianity and Cultural Marxism begat the egalitarian heresy that currently infects all of our social order including the Church. The egalitarian heresy has given us a warfare against distinctions wherein ontology as well as roles are flattened out so as to result in a social order where all colors, differences, and distinctions bleed into one. Viva la the distinction-less society.

3.) We are still awaiting a God raised Reformer to emerge to lead the Gideon sized orthodox army to do battle with the multitudinous heretics who currently control the Church.

4.) Then comes the consolidator who will rethink the whole of theology in light of the knowledge gained in what will be a new post tenebras lux.

This is the way that God has worked historically. First, the downgrade as exemplified in one particular person, then the widespread infection, then the battle to heal as exemplified in one particular person, and finally the reconstruction, again, as exemplified in one particular person.

We might add here that with each example in each century (fourth, sixteenth, and prospectively the 21st) the issue really comes down to the Supremacy of God. Athanasius and Luther, each in their times, were contending for the Sovereignty of God vis-a-vis the desire of man to pull God off His throne. The 21st century is no less a battle for the supremacy of God. If the Egalitarian heresy is given in its head then the final outcome will be the removal of the distinction between God and man… between the Creator and the Creature.

It is also interesting here that while the Reformations in question (4th, 16th, 21st) are separated by centuries the formal cause of Reformation in each case is the issue of Scripture as Authoritative.  The material causes of Reformation may switch but it seems the formal cause of Reformation is always the issue of whether or not Scripture will be taken as Authoritative. In the 4th century, the Arians refused to come under the authority of Scripture pertaining to the deity of Jesus Christ just as the Medieval Roman Catholic Church refused to submit to the authority of Scripture pertaining to the issue of justification by grace alone just as today the modern church refuses to submit to authority on the issue of God-ordained distinctions. In each Reformation, the formal cause remains the same (the authority of Scripture) while the material cause (the occasion for Reformation) changes.

In reading what I have offered here some may think that I am involved in a kind of Hegelian dialectic where I have posited a  Thesis/ Antithesis/ Synthesis.  Allow me to note the distinction between the Hegelian dialectic and what I am advocating here.

 First, the Hegelian dialectic is man wrought in opposition to God. This is a matter of God’s providence.
 
Secondly, there really is no synthesis here because it is the previous synthesis that is being pushed off the scene in favor of God’s thesis reality.
 
Thirdly, the Hegelian dialectic presupposes that truth is always becoming. There is no absolute Truth. This paradigm presupposes absolute truth and a return to God’s reality.
 
Finally, the Hegelian dialectic speaks of historical “progress” via the outworking of the Geist. This approach is not about progress or process so much as it is about providence.
 
 In brief, while the Christian offers a Thesis (proper distinctions) contra the Thesis of anti-Christianity (no distinctions allowed) no synthesis between the two or of the two is allowed.  Orthodoxy allows no synthesis. Only repentance and then realignment to God’s thinking and reality.

Our role is to pray that God will work to bring the man and the moment together as He did with Athanasius’s opposition to Arius and as He did with Luther’s opposition to schoolmen of his time.

“On Out ‘Enemying’ the Enemy” part II

“When you enter the land the LORD your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there.”

Deuteronomy 18:9

“Do not enter the path of the wicked And do not proceed in the way of evil men.”

Proverbs 14:4

My last column by this name generated some conversation and so I wanted to return and clarify some matters.

When I say that we do not want to become the enemy in order to defeat the enemy I am not saying we should just hold prayer meetings. Anybody who knows me knows that pietism is not my cup of tea. I’m not opposed to prayer meetings but I do not believe that prayer meetings are the only strategy to use in order to defeat the Cultural Marxists.

In terms of methodologies to avoid I was mainly referring to embracing the kind of outright lying, and deception, like the Cultural Marxists, engages in order to advance their agenda. The leadership of the Cultural Marxists knows very well that their propaganda is just sophisticated lying. They know the narrative that they are trying to create is not the on the ground reality.

Having said that I have no problem with Christians using a counter- propaganda that is in service of overturning false propaganda and is committed to telling the truth. Personally, I don’t even consider this “propaganda” but I understand that the enemies of the Christian faith would call this propaganda because it is contrary to their propaganda.

Christians don’t need the kind of propaganda that would be advancing lies. Christian do need the kind of propaganda that would be deconstructing the false narratives of the Mephistopheles propaganda. Those who use propaganda as a means to create a false reality are of their Father the Devil and those propagandists when they propagandize they speak the native language of their Father.

A Christian propagandist believes the Russian proverb, “One word of truth shall outweigh the whole world.” Christians don’t need to rely on deception, misdirection or spin. All they need to do is tell the truth. Telling the truth can happen in many ways. It can happen in the context of a logical well structured rational argument but let’s face it… in the age of social engineering and sociological techniques logical and well-structured arguments are typically not going to get it done. We live in an age where thinking is defined by keeping your cattle nose in the arse of the cow in front of him who is keeping his nose in the arse of the cow in front of him, ad infinitum. As such, logical well-structured arguments are often useless. As such Christians must present the truth in other more emotive ways. Pictures and/or videos are now more often than not are the way to present truth. For example, pictures of castles and beautiful European women juxtaposed with chaos and the ugliness of the inner city as created by the third world immavasion can be considered Christian propaganda. These kinds of methodologies, as they communicate truth, need to be used by Christians.

Another propaganda technique that can and should be used is that of ridiculing the enemy. Saul Alinsky in his “Rules for Radicals,” wrote,

“Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.” There is no defense. It’s irrational. It’s infuriating. It also works as a key pressure point to force the enemy into concessions.

Alinsky was a Christ hater but as he stole this principle from the Christian Sfaith to begin with it can be safely stolen back. So, faithful propaganda can and should ridicule the enemy just as Elijah ridiculed the prophets of Baal on Mt Carmel, just as Amos ridiculed the women of Northern Israel calling them, “Cows of Bashan,” just as Jesus ridiculed His enemies “white washed sepulchers full of dead men’s bones,” just as Paul ridiculed his enemies by wishing they would go all the way and emasculate themselves. Ridicule is seen everywhere in Scripture and it should be a common usage by Christians in order to deconstruct the lies of the enemy.  By way of ridicule, in a time of nearly universal deceit, we can be those telling the truth as a counter-revolutionary act.

So, Scripture does not allow us to out enemy the enemy, thus becoming the enemy, but Scripture does allow us to use one word of truth in whatever way delivered to outweigh the whole world of lies.

ADDENDUM

Recently I was asked if I could name an example from history where seeking to out enemy-ing the enemy led to someone become the enemy they had vowed to fight.

Well, clearly Robert E. Lee was aware of that possiblity as is seen in his Gettysburgh Order to the Southern troops. Robert E. Lee told his troops during that invasion,

“no greater disgrace could befall the army,” or discredit the Confederate cause, “than the perpetuation of the barbarous outrages upon the unarmed and defenceless [sic] and the wanton destruction of private property that have marked the course of the enemy in our own country.”

Lee here is warning his troops not to be so embittered by the enemy’s techniques that they become the enemy by employing the very same techniques.

Secondly, on this score, we have the explicit word of God, as cited at the beginning, that his people were not to become like the enemy.

There is no promise in out enemy-ing the enemy. To do such always ends in defeat.

 

A Biblical Approach to Price Gouging

“You shall not charge interest on loans to your brother, interest on money, interest on food, interest on anything that is lent for interest. You may charge a foreigner interest, but you may not charge your brother interest, that the Lord your God may bless you in all that you undertake in the land that you are entering to take possession of it.” 

Deuteronomy 23:19-20

110. What does God forbid in the eighth commandment?

Not only such theft and robbery as are punished by the magistrate; but God views as theft all wicked tricks and devices, whereby we seek to draw to ourselves our neighbor’s goods, whether by force or with show of right, such as unjust weights, ells, measures, wares, coins, usury, or any means forbidden of God; so moreover all covetousness, and all useless waste of His gifts. 

Heidelberg Catechism 

The issue has come up recently whether or not it is Biblical to engage in price gouging. The thinking on the part of some is that price gouging is always perfectly legitimate except possibly for cases where charity is needed for the poor.

I, however, do not agree with that reasoning. I believe, based on a principle that is found in the Deuteronomy passage above that price gouging while allowable is not universally allowable.

In the passage above having different fiscal dealings with different groups of people is clearly limned as acceptable. A foreigner may be charged usury because in such a way a foreigner is decapitalized in favor of God’s people who are capitalized. Usury was a means of taking dominion over the wicked and God’s law clearly allows for such dominion.

“the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous”

However, that very same usury could not be practiced on someone who was part of the covenant community because at that point the person charging usury is capitalizing himself at the expense of his brother.

It seems, therefore, we have a principle here that would apply to price gouging when it comes to fiscal interaction. Price gouging is acceptable when practiced upon those outside of the covenant community but when practiced on someone who shares a common faith in Christ it is not acceptable lest God not bless in all that they undertake.

So, the law concerning usury was kinda a split the difference approach establishing a key spiritual principle of distinction between those inside and outside the covenant/national community. Here we must articulate that with regard to this law, the covenant and ethnic/national community were basically treated as synonymous. This is to say that the covenant community that we are not allowed to decapitalize is inclusive of those who are part of a shared people group but who may not affirm the Christian faith. Even here, not all of Israel is of Israel so to speak. This is as simple as to say that a son would not price gouge his mother even if she didn’t share a common faith.

Per the Heidelberg catechism quoted above, I think a strong argument can be made gouging is a form of theft, especially when used against one’s own people, analogous to the usury case cited. We must be on guard certainly against the market idolatry so prevalent among Libertarians today and strive to look at the matter from a Biblical perspective. The market, comprised as it is of buyers and sellers is not Sovereign if only because the Market is comprised only of humans. To make the Market sovereign then is to make man sovereign then and is to give us a form of humanism. While the dynamics of a free market must certainly be taken into consideration those demands do not get the final word. Entrusting everything to a sovereign market only turns man into Homo Economicus wherein the only consideration is shekels.

For the Christian man as Homo Economicus is to be eschewed as economic theories centered on man as Homo Economicus (economic man), is a concept that teaches that humans are consistently rational and as such are narrowly self-interested actors who consistently pursue their subjectively determined self-centered ends. Yet, the Christian is to be the man who pursues not only his own needs but also the needs of his brethren. Price gouging those who have a shared faith and / or a shared ethnicity is hardly a case of not thinking only of our own needs but also the needs of the brethren (Philippians 2:4). We must not fall into the Gordon Gecko thinking that “greed is good,” forgetting that “the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.”

It is interesting that the same people making videos explaining the goodness of all price gouging are the same people who support usury hammer and tong.

Price gouging has been practiced repeatedly in history. In 1862 Major General Ulysses S. Grant issued general order #11 prohibiting the presence of all Jews in the theater he was serving in for the precise problem of the price gouging in cotton in which they were involved.

Likewise, Carpetbaggers and Scalawags took advantage of price gouging during the era of deconstruction to decapitalize the defeated Christian south and in the usage of this price gouging, Southern Christians went from being the head of the social order to being the tail of the social order. This proves, as mentioned earlier, that price gouging, like usury, decapitalizes who is subjected to it and capitalizes those who use it.

So, to make this all concrete let us consider an example. If one had ice in an area that had no power that ice becomes important to someone who needs to store insulin. For Christians selling ice their consideration, per the Scripture above, would be to consider the needs of the household of faith by charging a few lesser shekels vis-a-vis the household of those outside the covenant who would be able to pony up with a many more shekels. This would fulfill God’s command to the Church to ‘care for one another.’ In this example, the Christ hater would have to pay a more substantial per unit price of whatever product is being sold. The Christian, on the other hand, should be given a break and sold the same product as still for a profit but a lesser profit than what would be asked of the buyer outside the covenant. In the former case the Gougers makes a profit in the latter case profit is still made but not as much.

I will gladly concede that in a social order like ours it is extremely difficult to make these distinctions once the gouging begins, but I would hope that some effort to that end might be employed. For example, a Christian who owns a hardware store or gas station in the affected area could go out of his way to not make as great a profit of off fellow members of his Church as he would those he knows are opposed to Christianity but still make a handsome profit.

Now having said all this I do not think the State has any place making laws against price gouging.  Anti-gouging laws would likely make the prices even higher because laws against gouging increase the risk and with an increase of risk the prices go up correspondingly to offset the risk involved. Also, all because anti-price gouging laws exist, doesn’t mean that gouging won’t happen. The black market (which is the free market) will always exist.

Gouging is likely an inescapable reality. It is the way the market works and you can’t make the market unwork by making laws. But woe is the man who prioritizes his huge profit at the expense of those who share a common faith.