McAtee meets C. S. Lewis & Lances Judge Walker & Proposition 8 Ruling

Pluralism Fails to Make Critical Distinctions. In his short story, ―A Progressive’s Regress, Bret McAtee tells an allegorical story about being confronted with “the ruling spirit of the age” (zeitgeist).

At breakfast, McAtee’s protagonist commented to the Judge (who served as a picture of how the zeitgeist legislates from the bench) how good the eggs were and the Judge would respond that “Poppy” was eating the menstruum of a verminous fowl, or Poppy would comment on how delicious his milk tasted and the judge said it was only the secretion of a cow and not different from any other emission such as urine. McAtee’s protagonist (Poppy) cries out, and we pick up the conversation,

Poppy: “Thank heaven! Now at last I know that you are talking nonsense.”

Judge: “What do you mean?” said the Judge, wheeling around upon him.”

Poppy: “You are trying to pretend that unlike things are like. You are trying to make us think that milk is the same sort of thing as sweat or dung.”

Judge: “And pray, what difference is there except by custom?”

Poppy: “Are you a liar or only a fool, that you see no difference between that which Nature casts out as refuse and that which she stores as food?”

At another point in the story the Judge discourses w/ Poppy on the nature of marriage after Poppy inadvertently makes mention of his longing for his wife, and we pick up the conversation,

Judge: “Why not take a prison wife, there are many children and men who would be happy to give you companionship.

Poppy: “That would be a perversion.”

Judge: “If you decide it is not a perversion why would it be a perversion? Why, I have ruled in such a way that marriage means whatever I choose it to mean. You will never leave here until you learn that just as milk might legitimately be considered cow urine and eggs are fowl menstruum so marriage might be considered whatever we name it to be.”

Poppy began to protest but the Judge viciously brought his gavel down across Poppy’s jaw. Teeth flew.

Judge: There now, we will have none of that arguing here.

The Judge turned to his jury members — a jury of Poppy’s peers — and in a catechitical fashion grilled them asking,

Judge: “Now tell me, members of the jury, what is argument.”

The members of the jury, responding as the moral zombies they had become through their judicial indoctrination, replied in unison,

Jury: “Argument is the attempted rationalization of the arguer’s subjective desires, this and nothing more.”

Judge: “What is the proper answer to an argument that doesn’t conform to Lord Zeitgeist?”

Jury: “The proper answer is, ‘you argue as you do because you are either a religious fundamentalist or a white racist, or a capitalist, or a lover of Western Christendom.'”

Judge: “Just so. Now, one more for today. How do you answer an argument turning on the belief that five plus five equals Ten?”

Jury: “The answer is, ‘you say that only because you are a mathematician. Were you a business owner making change from a ten while trying to cheat somebody you would say something else.'”

Poppy said he began to despair until Reason came riding up on a white horse, scooped him up, and saved him. ―You lie, Poppy said to the Judge; ―You lie. You fail to understand what God meant for nourishment and what God meant for garbage. Milk is the same as cow urine the same way that perversion is equal to Marriage. Meaning is not what you legislate no matter how many times you bang your gavel.

In Memoriam … Dr. Glenn Martin — In Defiance … Dr. Ken Schenck

The greatest man in my life was Dr. Glenn Martin. Dr. Martin was chair of the Political Science Department at the college I attended and the college Dr. Ken Schenck now teaches at. Dr. Martin set me on the path of Presuppositionalism and Worldview thinking and introduced me to presuppositionalist authors such as Dr. C. Gregg Singer and Dr. Francis Schaeffer. Two of my majors at Marion (Political Science and History) found me sitting under almost every class that Martin offered.

Even before Cultural Marxism, Political Correctness and multiculturalism descended upon the West in full force, Dr. Martin was warning about these coming realities. Dr. Martin was pro-South, taught Austrian Economics, taught that the mainstream Media was captured by the Socialist left, exposed the leftist history of the Union movement in America, taught about the communist influence in the US Government and told the real story about Alger Hiss and Whitaker Chambers. Dr. Martin exposed the wickedness of Abraham Lincoln, Woodrow Wilson, and Franklin D. Roosevelt. Dr. Martin introduced me to Alexander Solzhenitsyn where I read Solzhenitsyn’s — to date unheeded warning to the West — in his Harvard address. From there I absorbed on my own Solzhenitsyn’s “Gulag Archipelago” and “A Day In The Life Of Ivan Denisovich,” as well as other writings by Russia’s Prophetic voice to the West. Dr. Martin introduced me to Dr. Fred Schwarz’s “You Can Trust The Communists To Be Communists.” This was a book written in 1960 that should be required reading even yet today for in that book one can learn a great deal about our current domestic enemies. From Martin I likewise learned Muggeridge, Kuhn, McLuhan, Efron, and a host of other authors.

At 18-22 I hardly understood these authors and their greatness as well as I one day would when I would circle back and re-read them as I aged. Likewise, at 18-22 I never appreciated Dr. Martin as much as I do now. I now realize I missed the bullet that most university students, who receive majors in the fields I received them in, take right between the eyes as their education is conditioned w/ Marxist poison of different varieties. Dr. Martin’s teaching was so exhaustive and so demanding that he always insisted that if you could earn an “A” in his class you could earn an “A” in any university in the country. The difference in those “A’s” though, was that most Universities in America were teaching history, political science, government, media, philosophy, from a pagan worldview while Martin was the Wesleyan version of R. J. Rushdoony.

Dr. Martin taught us the distinctions between different kinds of socialism (Fabianism, German National Socialism, Italian Fascism, etc.) and how it was, in most varieties, a political precursor to the same Utopian state that Communism was pursuing. Dr. Martin hated collectivistic and tyrannical government with every inch of his being. He hated them so much he loved telling a story about how he would speak in Churches and little old ladies would come up to him following his lecture and say, “What we need is a Christian dictator.” Dr. Martin would tell us in class that the very last thing we needed was a Christian dictator if only because such a thing is not possible. Dr. Martin believed in and taught Biblical government. Everything that Gary DeMar teaches in his “God and Government” book, Dr. Glenn Martin was teaching me in his 101 courses in 1977 at Marion College.

Further, as with all good presuppositionalists he taught the intellectual history of the philosophy of the West that was driving much of the cultural bankruptcy of the West. This included his course titled. “Western Intellectual and Social History.” In this course Dr. Martin traced the degradation of the Philosophy of the West starting w/ the attempt to synthesize Augustinianism w/ rationalism through Aquinas and the Scholastics. Martin’s premise was as long as the West kept trying to mix Biblical Christianity w/ pagan philosophy it would never have the strength to resist defeat. Martin spent a good deal of time covering existentialism covering Kierkegaard, Sartre, Camus, Nietzsche, Heidegger, and others. This training put me in good stead to understand postmodernism for what it was when it showed up on the scene.

As I grew older, I discovered other presuppositionalists (Bahnsen, Rushdoony, Clark, Os Guiness, Van Til, etc.) and by learning them I learned at the same time that Dr. Martin would have been well served if had been a little more conversant in Reformed Theology. Dr. Martin tried to avoid the Reformed vs. Arminian conflict his whole teaching career. I think his teaching would have been even more powerful if he had had some background in Reformed systematic and historical theology. As it was, since he taught at a Arminian college, he was forever trying to avoid the Arminian vs. Reformed debate, choosing to always only refer to himself as a “Biblical Christian.” As I became more conversant in Reformed Theology and later re-read his works I noticed some glaring inconsistencies in some of his lectures. I think though I can say that Dr. Glenn Martin, though he may have never intended to, planted some Reformed seeds in me that years later came to maturation. (I was still quite the rabid Arminian when I graduated Marion College.)

When I began college I was a personal mess. To this day I can’t believe I made it through my first year. (I even actually “quit” for a week, but went back because I had nowhere else to go.) I was failing exams and courses left and right. I finally made my failures a matter of prayer and told the Lord Christ that, “if in the exam I was taking on the morrow, in Dr. Martin’s class, I failed that really would be the end.” I took the exam and the next week received the exam back. I think I had scored something like a “45%.” I thought to myself … “Well, Lord I guess that does it — I’m finished.” However, I thought I would check on Dr. Martin’s door to correlate the score to the grade and found out, that because Martin graded on a curve, and because the rest of the Freshman class was as stupid as I was that a “45%” was a “C.” I stuck with it and the rest is, as they say, History.

Dr. Martin was also my adviser through college and we became as much friends as a bumpkin and a genius can become. I’ll never forget that he went out of his way to attend the first sermon I ever preached. (Which must have been quite painful for him to sit through.) I also remember him attending a meal in my honor at my graduation w/ my family and friends. I also was privileged to be invited to his home to watch the Republicans in 1980 nominate Ronald Reagan for President. Reagan was a man for which Dr. Martin had great hopes.

Dr. Martin was always viewed with suspicion at his place of employment. In reflection I would say that that was one part envy and one part ideological conflict. The suspicion became so deep while I was there that one professor each from the Sociology and the Psychology departments actually enrolled to take classes from Dr. Martin because they just couldn’t believe what Martin students were bringing to and saying in the classes in sociology and psychology they were teaching. It was clear that Worldview conflict between departments at Marion College was intense. Dr. Martin seemed not to be phased by this as he understood and taught the whole Reformed idea of the antithesis, though he never called it “Reformed.”

Dr. Martin’s influence was so great at Marion College while I was there that when an attempt was made to start a “Young Democrats Club” nobody showed up to become a member. Largely because of Dr. Martin Marion College was a conservative (I would even say paleo-conservative) campus.

I left in 1982 and occasionally I would hear through the grapevine that Indiana Wesleyan University (the new name of my Marion College) was going liberal. When I attended Marion College there was always a professor here or there who was loopy that way, but on the whole the religion and theology department (one of my degrees was from this department as well) was as solid as Arminians can be in that regard. I mean, in hindsight their theology sucked, but they weren’t teaching the historical-critical method of hermeneutics or singing the praises of Bultmann or Tillich, or Barth. They were basically “come to Jesus” (revivalist) people in their theology and while the damage in such theology is bad enough it was nowhere near the muck and mire that is being taught at Indiana Wesleyan University now.

And this brings us back to Dr. Schenck. Somehow (and I honestly quite forget how) I learned that Schenck and the Religion department was running down Dr. Martin. Then as I interacted w/ Dr. Ken Schenck I leanred for myself the incredible public disrespect Schenck exhibited for Dr. Martin.

Now, I have many faults. Legion is their name. However, one of them isn’t a lack of loyalty. I owe a debt that I will never be able to repay to Dr. Glen Martin and I didn’t and don’t take to kindly to these fool Ph.D’s in the religion department at IWU running down the greatest teacher that University will probably ever know. Further then that this becomes a, “Who is on the King’s side,” kind of tale because in the attacks the religion department made on Martin while he was alive and now makes on him now that he is dead they are attacking, as far as I am concerned, King Jesus. Not because Dr. Martin = Jesus but because many of the positions that Martin took were just your basic Christianity 101.

The theology of these people isn’t merely your garden variety Arminianism (which would be bad enough) but rather IWU has gone over the edge w/ a Barthian-post-modernist strain in their thinking. Schenck himself has told me that there is no way that one can ever find an objective. For Schenck all there is, is particulars. There are no Universals. This descends into pure subjectivism in theology and in matters of truth. Schenck insists that he prefers to play “small ball” when it comes to these issues but if there are no Universals then how can he know what small ball is?

I will always … always have a soft spot in my heart for the Wesleyans. When I was a child and a young adult they were the love of Christ to me when I was living in a pretty messed up family life. It may seem a severe mercy with the slapping around of Dr. Ken Schenck that I am returning to them for all their past kindnesses but if I could write anything to shake these people up and get them to return to John Wesley Arminiansim as opposed to Ken Schenck post-modern Arminianism I would be ecstatic.

And besides, I’m not a guy with a lot of heroes in my life and the handful I have I am going to defend against the attacks of little men like Dr. Ken Schenck who look big in our even smaller culture and church.

The Dwarves Are For The Dwarves

One of my favorite scenes from C. S. Lewis’ “The Last Battle, is where the forces of good in Narnia are fighting the Calormene forces of evil. However in this last battle there is a third army that is quite unanticipated to the reader and that is the dwarf army who are only on their own side. As the scene unfolds the Dwarf army are equal opportunity killers. Whenever they sense that either the good Narnians or the evil Calormenes are getting the upper hand they unleash a fuselage of arrows into the ranks of the advantaged force. With each fuselage Lewis has the Dwarves, who having been deceived by a false Aslan and thus refuse to believe in the true Aslan, reciting, “The Dwarves are for the Dwarves.” Lewis later uses the Dwarves to illustrate his vision of purgatory.

The reason I’ve always been drawn to this particular section because the situation Lewis imagines, with a few emendations, is so easy to imagine metaphorically in our current situation. Imagine, if, instead of the two forces fighting being clear good against unalterable evil what you have are two forces that are each evil of a different stripe fighting one another. And imagine instead of the Dwarves being selfish boneheads, they were, in our new scenario, God’s armed Heavenly host. In such a altered scenario you could easily find yourself chanting with the Dwarves, as they unleashed fuselage after fuselage into the ranks of both wicked armies, “The Dwarves are for the Dwarves.”

In many respects this is the situation that we find ourselves in the contemporary Church and also in the larger culture. Two opposing movements set themselves against each other and then those two opposing movements are presented to us as being, depending which side you’re on, as clear good vs. unalterable evil. Then we are told that we must choose which side we are going to be on. More often then not though, I feel like one of Lewis’ belligerent Dwarves who replies, while stringing his bow w/ whatever arrows that can be found laying around, “The Dwarves are for the Dwarves.

Take for example the whole Federal Vision vs. the Escondido Hermeneutic. For years it has been suggested that one side is clear good while the other side is unalterable evil. For years we’ve been told, “You have to choose one side or the other.” Yeah, well, all I can say in response is, “The Dwarves are for the Dwarves.” Or take the whole Postmodern Emergent theology vs. Enlightenment driven theology. Once again, “The Dwarves are for the Dwarves.”

Consider in our larger cultural context as it applies to the realm of politics. What it all tends to get reduced down to is having to choose between the Republicans vs. the Democrats. You guessed it. While somebody is passing me the arrows I’m already chanting, “The Dwarves are for the Dwarves.”

Look, in the end I refuse to be convinced by false dichotomies. I would rather be launching arrows into both sides of a false dichotomy then be forced to plight my trough to any false option. I would rather be surrounded by a faithful small tribal band of other fellow warrior Dwarves who won’t be fooled again and who know the chant well that “The Dwarves are for the Dwarves.”

Musical Defiance

The great Russian 20th century composer Dimitri Shostakovitch said in his memoirs that living under Soviet rule was like living in an insane asylum. To illustrate the point he told the following story about his friend and classmate in the conservatory, the piano virtuouso Maria Yudina.

One Sunday afternoon during the war Yudina was the featured soloist in a live broadcast over Radio Moscow of Mozart’s piano concerto 23. It just so happened that Stalin was listening to the broadcast that afternoon and was most favorably impressed. The following day he phoned Radio Moscow and “requested” that they send him the recording of the Mozart piano concerto with Yudina they had just played. Of course, having been a live performance, no such recording existed, but nobody at Radio Moscow was going to risk Stalin’s wrath by telling him that. So, they frantically summoned the entire Radio Moscow Symphony Orchestra, the conductor and Yudina to an emergency recording session that night…. Read More

It was already after 10 p. m. before everyone showed up, and the original conductor was so nervous about making a “mistake” and incurring Stalin’s ire that he could not beat time effectively. After several false starts, he was sent home and another conductor was summoned in his place. The second conductor arrived so drunk that he kept conducting sections of movements out of sequence.

After about 20 minutes of this, the orchestra members rebelled, put down their instruments and refused to play for him. He was sent home.

To everyone’s great relief, the third conductor summoned knew the score perfectly by memory. It was well after 1:30 a. m. when he arrived and was informed of his mission. He took off his coat, walked to the podium, rapped his baton on it and declared: “Alors, Mozart!” and proceeded to whip the musicians through the entire concerto in a single take! The tape was replayed, everyone nodded their assent, and a single disc was pressed and sent to Stalin.

About two weeks later Yudina received a note from Stalin himself congratulating her on a marvelous performance and expressing how much he approved of her interpretation of Mozart. Enclosed with the note was a personal check from Stalin to Yudina for 20,000 rubles!

Now, Yudina was a devout (some would say fanatical) Russian Orthodox Catholic who did not allow the official ban on religion in Soviet Russia deter her for a single second from practising and promoting her beliefs. Indeed, her public tweaking and avid annoying of the authorities in this matter had earned her the reputation of being one of Russia’s foremost “gifted eccentrics.” Good Christian lady that she was, she sent Stalin a thank-you letter which went something like this:

“Dear Josef Vissairyonovich,

“I wish to thank you for your most generous gift and express to you how much it touched my heart. I will continue to pray for you and your soul every day and every night for the rest of my life. Please remember that God’s love for you is as infinite as His mercy, and if you but confess and repent He will forgive your many sins against our homeland and our countrymen.

“Once again, I wish to thank you for your gift. I have donated it in its entirity to the church which I regularly attend.

Most sincerly,
Maria V. Yudina”

When this letter arrived at Stalin’s dacha it was opened and read by Stalin’s secretary, who promptly informed Moscow’s police chief of its contents. The police chief, in turn, passed it along to Beria, the head of the KGB. Together, all three of them showed it to Stalin, scrutinizing the leader’s face for the slightest sign of disapproval, which would have meant that Yudina was to “disappear.” Stalin read the letter, and without so much as arching an eyebrow, crumpled it and tossed it in the trash.

As the Russian author Gogol once said: “In an insane society, the sane person must convince his keepers that he is more insane than they.”

On March 5, 1953, Stalin died in his bed. Spinning on his record player was Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 23, performed by Maria Yudina.

HT — Caleb Hayden

Not Quite The Idea

Gulliver passed the boundaries into a strange country named “Notquiterightistand” where people seemed to grow up out of the ground from the shoulders up. At the same time a low, indecipherable chant could be heard bubbling up from under the ground. Curious, Gulliver took a stethoscope and placed it against the earth from which these bodies sprouted and the indecipherable mantra suddenly became coherent. In a thousand different timbres and a million different pitches Gulliver could make out the unmistakable words repeated endlessly … “God is Sovereign.”