A little secret: I had to do community service for a misdemeanor. My crime: carrying a loaded weapon in public. (Hey, it’s California.) I plead guilty and, because it was a first offense, I received community service. Some might remember that I fractured my left wrist from a fall back in 2012. I had been doing community service when it happened.
During my community service – CALTRANs — most of the other offenders were black and Latino. They were there for things like major traffic violations which did not result in injury or accident – mostly first-time DUIs. Most were much younger than I was and I had little in common with most of them as far as our personal interests went.
However, one politically astute guy was there for fixing cars without a business license; his “crime” had caused him to awaken, he freely admitted. Still another guy – whose offense I don’t recall — and I discussed current events and religion a few times. Both men were very intelligent.
One day, as we performed our usually task, cleaning up the freeways, three groups formed: a black one, a Latino one, and a very small group who refused to go there. Of course, I was a part of that last group.
I walked up to the last guy I mentioned — part of the black group – and said, “What are we doing? Forming up according to race now? This isn’t prison.”
“It’s natural to do this.”
“It’s also natural to urinate and defecate where you stand, but our parents train us not to do that.”
He had nothing to say to that, but I noticed that he separated from the group and started working by himself.
I tell this story to point to the implications behind “natural behavior”: that it’s perceived as good and right. The Bible, of course, tells us otherwise for the most part. The natural man has no knowledge of God and feels more kinship with other human beings who look like him – starting with his immediate family and branching out to his ethnic tribe.
It’s natural. It’s also deadly to truth. We’ve never completely gotten rid of ethnic tribalism and we watch as it crests once again in our “modern” era. However, those of us who think we are more enlightened and don’t see race should not think of ourselves as better than our carcass-worshiping acquaintances. Often, we create our own tribalism. It behooves us all to be wary of it.
Because when we lie to ourselves for too long, those lies begin to look just like the truth. Naturally.
Every day there’s a new online outrage. This probably started eons ago — Internet time scale — but since the onset of the Social Media Age a little more than ten years ago, outrage has become its own reward. Watching it is a guilty pleasure – voyeuristic, one might say – but when one is other-directed, it’s essential to pull one’s self away from it for a specified period of time. For some, that specified period is forever. (As I recall, the late and much-lamented Steven Den Beste opted out of the pre-Social Media blog game after his fame as an essayist had nearly reached legendary status. There was a huge amount of poo-flinging even back then. I know.)
Don’t worry, I’m not considering this, though I have many times in the past. I like Social Media but I also think it’s detrimental for those who never learned long-term, pattern-based thinking. But for those who feed on emotionalism, especially outrage…
Social Media can be compared to a tropical storm which is capable of ramping ramp up to a Category 5 hurricane within seconds. To state the obvious, Cat 5 hurricanes can leave massive physical destruction of lives and property in their wake.
What lies in the wake of Social Media storms? Too often, truth is the casualty. Seemingly insignificant nuances of a story – on which knowledge of the truth often hinges – can get left out in the rush to weigh in … and to condemn an “evil-doer,” especially if that “evil-doer” is the “wrong” color or of the “wrong” political party.
And, sometimes, for the necessity of the maintaining the storm’s power, nuances big and small are ignored or discounted on purpose.
Reason: because destruction is the goal.
I’ve intentionally left out examples here, because as I began to compare this phenomenon to a hurricane, I felt that each specific example would require its own post. I’m sure that someone else has already undertaken this task, but I want to give it the Baldilocks Treatment. Look for Part Two on Tuesday.
John Dickerson:Mr Jefferson are you seriously suggesting we publish a paper declaring to all the world that an illegal rebellion is in reality a legal one?
Ben Franklin:Mr. Dickerson I’m surprised at you. You should know rebellion is always legal in the first person such as: “Our rebellion” It’s only in the 3rd person: “Their rebellion” that it becomes illegal
Part of my daily prayer life is scripture, a chapter each from the old testament, psalms, the new testament & the gospels. Thus the first bit of scripture I encountered in the new year was this:
In estrangement one seeks pretexts: with all persistence he picks a quarrel.
According to scripture proverbs was written by Solomon who was granted great wisdom by God at his request and this single verse is a great example on eternal truth and plays off something I’ve said for many years, the most dangerous thing in the world is an excuse.
Given the right excuse people will believe or disbelieve anything, it’s very much like what Kevin Kukla says here in defending Catholic doctrine:
In my experience I do not find the defiance against the Church to be on an intellectual level as much as it is a matter of the heart.
Far more people reject Catholic moral teachings because they simply do not want them to be true than because they think the teachings are untrue.
Not wanting something to be true is a powerful incentive in life, if you can deny that something is true, like the existence of Israel is legitimate it allows you to do things like this:
Two people were killed and two others seriously wounded in a shooting attack in Tel Aviv just before 3 p.m. Friday. Five others were wounded — three in moderate condition and two with light injuries. Hours later, the killer was still on the loose…
It can allow a washington pol to call spending increases a “cut” and allows a young Michigan Arab activist to claim objecting to the stabbing of Jews is “like defending animal rights”
It allows media to pretend that the greatest danger from attacks like those in Paris & San Bernardino is a backlash against muslims, a backlash apparently so hard to find that Islamists have to burn their own mosques to produce it.
It’s why students blame the patriarchy for their inability to find a job when their classes consists of women’s studies nonsense, it’s why Bill Cosby was (and Bill Clinton still is) able to be celebrated for decades by people who know better.
It’s why Hillary Clinton can lie emails and be defended, Why NYC can fine you for not calling Jenner a woman, why Belle Knox can be a feminist hero, why Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel can be defended by the black establishment And it’s also why the Black Lives Matter crowd going after the mayor will never ever spend time worrying about the gang violence that ends more black lives than police ever will.
All of these things are based on an estrangement from truth, and it’s for this reason that when you bring up obvious truths like:
Jews have a right to exist, Increasing spending is not a cut, Attempting to murder Jews is wrong, American Muslims are not in danger, woman’s studies class are not the route to a well paying job, Bill Cosby & Bill Clinton are dangerous to women, Hillary Clinton is a liar, Bruce Jenner is a man, Belle Knox is an expensive prostitute, Rahm Emanuel covered up misconduct to win an election and gang violence & culture by people of color is the real danger to black lives.
that people will as King Solomon says will pick a quarrel with persistence.
And while in comedy one might try to make a lying a virtue
The thing about truth is that one it is known,
requires a decision to act responsibility or to take the consequences of not doing so.
And that is the key to why the truth is so hated. When one chooses not to act and the consequences occur from the serious like the victims of radical Islam and the black mothers crying over their dead children killed in gang violence to the trivial like inability to have a good job or be happy with who we are, the realization that those consequences are traced not to strangers but to us is more than most can bear.
Earlier today we talked about love is not going along with a sin by giving into what is called weaponized empathy because if a Christian does so and helps a person to eternal death you are actually doing the opposite of love. One has to tell the truth about sin, or you can’t combat it.
But having acknowledging that one must always lead with truth brings up another point. Once you’ve established truth, you have to follow-up with mercy.
The best way to explain it is to tell the story of how my parents quit smoking.
For those of you too young to remember there was a time when a cigarette in a person hand was as common as a smartphone, in fact even more so. And when the surgeon general’s report on the link between cigarettes and cancer came out it was a long time before most people were able to walk away.
My father was not one of them. Although he had smoked since he was a kid, as soon as he found out about the cancer risk, he took every single cigarette he had and tossed them.
My mother was a different story.
She had also smoked since her youth but she wasn’t as anxious to quit as my father, so after waiting a year he decided to motivate her. Whenever he found her cigarettes he tossed them. My mother being who she was responded by buying more and smoking them.
This went on for several years until my father went to my mother one day and said he gave up, if she wanted to smoke he wasn’t going to stop her. The moment he said this she took every cigarette she had and tossed them herself. It looked a lot like the big climax between John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara in The Quiet Man:
Now Dad was right in thinking that it would have been healthier for his wife to stop smoking at once. He wasn’t pushing her to quit because he wanted to dominate her, because he thought himself better or smarter than her, he did what he did because he loved her and wanted to protect her and save her from something that was deadly.
But in his zeal to save her he attempted to impose his will and this is simply not the way to go.
This is the same principle when you’re dealing with someone trying to break the cycle of habitual sin. If you’re going to be of any help you have to show mercy and patience. Here are some excellent rules to remember along those line:
Everyone isn’t the same:
Some people can do things cold turkey, some have to do things gradually. Some people will believe something they are told, some need time to process things. people can’t. Some people have to work themselves toward a goal others can just dive in. In terms of helping someone away from long term sin, as long as you aren’t either sinning yourself or encouraging others to do so, the method is less important than the goal. Helping them along whatever path they take to conquer their sin, that’s mercy. Forcing them along a particular path, that’s not.
It’s not about you:
Never forget that if you are helping someone away from long term sin it’s not about getting kudos for yourself as my 8th grade teacher Sr. Janet used to say: “Pin a rose on me”. It’s about helping that other person. The moment you make it so you become the Pharisee in the Temple:
He then addressed this parable to those who were convinced of their own righteousness and despised everyone else.
“Two people went up to the temple area to pray; one was a Pharisee and the other was a tax collector. The Pharisee took up his position and spoke this prayer to himself, ‘O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity – greedy, dishonest, adulterous – or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week, and I pay tithes on my whole income.’
But the tax collector stood off at a distance and would not even raise his eyes to heaven but beat his breast and prayed, ‘O God, be merciful to me a sinner.’ I tell you, the latter went home justified, not the former; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
If you focus on helping them get through their issues, it’s about mercy. If you make it about you then you jump into the sin of pride, and whose going to be there to help you out?
There are going to be failures along the way:
Any person who goes to confession knows that it’s not uncommon to be confessing the same sins over and over because those are the sins you are working on, vulnerable to, and tempted to. A person working themselves away from serious sin is very likely to have setbacks. You don’t toss out the person who has setbacks, you don’t excuse failure, you help someone overcome it. That’s mercy.
In the end they have to make the choice:
Despite all the prayers, all the help and all the effort, all the doors the spirit opens and all the graces Jesus & Mary make available in the end a person has to exercise their free will, recognize the truth and accept the mercy Christ offers. It doesn’t matter if it’s your spouse, your kid, your friend, or a stranger no matter how much brush you clear away from the narrow path, they have to choose to walk it.
Bottom line: Truth without mercy is a trap both for the sinner and those counseling them. For the Counselor, truth without Mercy leads not just to the same result of mercy without truth, the sin of pride, but what Screwtape describes as “that most beautiful of the vices” Spiritual Pride. For the sinner in question it’s even worse. While mercy without truth keeps a person in their sins, Truth without mercy has a great potential to lead to self loathing and despair. A cycle as frightening as the base sin itself. Remember part of forgiveness is being able to forgive oneself and that requires mercy from within which grows from mercy from without .
Professor Horatio Smith: [under the guise of being Herr Boldenschatz] You know, the trouble with you propaganda boys, you’ve got so used to telling lies you don’t recognize the truth when you hear it.
Pimpernel Smith 1941
Jesus answered, “You say I am a king. For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.” Pilate said to him, “What is truth?
John 18: 37b-38a
Recently I discovered an old movie from 1941 called Pimpernel Smith staring Leslie Howard, it was one of the last movies he made before he was shot down and killed during World War 2. While the film is largely forgotten, there is a speech at the end that is very memorable as a tribute to truth.
For some reason watching that speech I couldn’t help but think of this one by Charles Barkely.
I trust that Barkley will not pay the price that Howard did in the cause of truth but it’s the same guts for the sake of truth and there are those who will crucify him for it.
Incidentally the movie is in the public domain, you can see it here.
But in the end, Netanyahu’s concerns translate to: No two-state solution, folks. Elsewhere I read that Netanyahu says the definition of “sovereignty” would have to change with regard to what was meant by a “sovereign” Palestinian state.
Abbas will not have this. But there it stands. The world is going to be angry at us and we had better learn to live with it. To give the world what it wants of us would be suicide.
The anti-Semitism didn’t start with Islamic immigration.
If your mother tells you that she loves you, get a second source.
The Ray Rice abuse video is being cast in many ways: his fault, her fault, the NFL’s fault, male abusers, female abusers, disparity in punishment between male and female aggressors, blah, blah, blah. Assuming that the Rices get the earthly penalties they deserve and the mental help they need, these opinions are less important than a long-term malaise demonstrated by the reaction to the Rices’ mini-drama.
Let’s roll the “tape.”
The very first incident in the video is committed by Ray Rice. He spits on his then-fiancee. The woman responds by slapping Rice on the face. Then, in the elevator, he spits on her again, enraging her. She begins to hit him again, and, in response, Rice cold-cocks her.
We don’t know what happened before, and, really, who cares? The court of public opinion goes by what it sees and hears…or, sometimes, what it fails to discern. And, this court is as faulty as more formal courts. This isn’t a surprise nor it should it be. All human endeavor is bound to have faults. (Thanks, Adam.)
The more alarming thing about the Rice situation is this: how effectively a group opinion can be formed without that opinion being based on the entirety of objective evidence. No matter how many times this happens, I am amazed by it each and every time.
In this case, many are asserting that Mrs. Rice was the aggressor due to the fact that the initial spit from Mr. Rice was missed. (Full disclosure: I missed it also, until someone pointed it out.) But, here’s the point: many are ignoring the truth of what the video reveals, in spite of the evidence.
As a Christian, I’m mindful of the fact that the Enemy roams the earth as a roaring lion, seeking those whom he may devour via his favorite tactic: deception. I’ve been fooled before and it will probably happen again. That’s the value of prayer, however, and thinking situations through.
Pride, anger, outrage–or even the erroneous assertions of trusted friends–can distort reality. Whether it’s about some sick relationship between a professional athlete and his spouse or about the larger troubles plaguing our country, the truth should be the most important factor.
This little soap opera is a test-case from the Father of Lies.
Speaking at the Brookings Institute Tuesday, Amos said the Obama administration paved the way for the emergence of the Islamic State of Syria and Iraq (ISIS) by completely withdrawing American troops in 2011.
“I have a hard time believing that had we been there, and worked with the government, and worked with parliament, and worked with the minister of defense, the minister of interior, I don’t think we’d be in the same shape we’re in today,” Amos said.
Many know that it is a violation of the UCMJ for any active duty service member to criticize the Commander-in-Chief in public, but that’s exactly what General Amos did and, I suspect, that the timing of this was intentional, since he could have waited until his October 2014 retirement to make such a statement.
But he did not…likely because criticism of the C-in-C from an active duty 4-star general is more likely to get the attention of the public.
In the wake of this, I got into an “argument” with a well-meaning man who hard time getting around the illegal nature of the general’s actions. He couldn’t quite grasp the concept that someone might do something like this on purpose; do it and pay the fine or stick one’s arms out to be cuffed…or go to one’s execution meekly…all for the sake of truth and honor.
When I pointed out that this is exactly what Jesus the Christ, many of the Old Testament prophets and almost all of the Apostles did, then my friend began to get it.
But it isn’t necessary to go back 2000 years to find persons who stood up for truth in the face of given legal authorities.
Any Marine is unique for a number of reasons, but one thing stands out, especially in relation to General Amos’ actions: Marines are willing to risk everything for honor and for their fellows. General Amos has charge over the entire Corps and, under his charge, many Marines have died or been permanently maimed. Marines all go into the Corps knowing that they may die or be maimed, but they hope that our country’s civilian leadership will not make their deaths/disfigurement meaningless by failing to lead—and that is exactly what President Obama has done.
So, I suspect that making this decision was easy for the general. I bet it was a piece of cake.
However, I bet that there are a lot more men and women like the general, many who aren’t even service members. At least I hope there are. I predict that this country will need them soon.
Drummond:Realizing that I may prejudice the case of my client, I must tell you that “Right” has no meaning to me whatsoever! But Truth has meaning—as a direction.
Inherit the Wind 1960
I was all set to write another papist piece this morning when I turned on the TV and saw Morning Joe all a twitter (although strangely not tweeting) concerning Ted Cruz.
During the party line vote in Committee that sent the Chuck Hagel nomination to the floor Ted Cruz did the unthinkable. He said aloud something everyone knew was absolutely true for the record:
Chuck Hagel is endorsed by Iran. Here is the clip from Cruz’s speech on the subject.
The reaction to Cruz’s words was incredible. It was called unfair, it was said we shouldn’t judge Hagel by those who endorse him, and Ted Cruz was attacked. His words were said to be inflammatory, uncalled for, extreme, improper and defamatory toward a person as honorable as Chuck Hagel.
Morning Joe particularly tore into Ted Cruz, he was portrayed as beyond the pale, as an extremist. He was mocked and derided and the entire Morning Joe table had a lot of things to say about what Ted Cruz had to say about Chuck Hagel.
In all of the words in all the critiques of Ted Cruz by the left in general and MSNBC & Morning Joe in particular there is one word that I noticed was missing from every statement hitting Senator Cruz for his statements on Senator Hagel:
The fact is Iran (along with North Korea) is the biggest terror threat to the United States and the President’s nominee for Secretary of defense has been endorsed by them. All of the brickbats thrown at Ted Cruz for saying it aloud will not make it any less true.
I was instantly reminded of another republican hated by the Media who once said a known truth aloud and was pilloried for it.
The simple power of being willing to say the truth aloud in the face of MSM critique is exactly the trait that the GOP needs the most. It is the trait that Ronald Reagan had and the MSM hated him for it. That Reganesque trait in Ted Cruz, a rising Hispanic star in the GOP, is why MSNBC in general and Morning Joe in particular are dedicated to destroying him.
Perhaps in 30 or 50 years when Ted Cruz is safely in his grave, the left will find reason to praise him
BTW here are Senator Cruz’s full unedited remarks for those of you who don’t want to rely on the TPM’s edited version:
Update: Just to make it clear it is Iran not North Korea who has endorsed Hagel.
Update 2:Instalanche (thanks Glenn) also changed the “That” to “The” in the paragraph starting with…The fact is Iran as better grammatically, also removed the word “dollars” below as redundant with the $ already present.
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The bad news is that’s because it’s gone from $0 to $27.
I’m grateful to the two people who hit DaTipJar yesterday and the Subscriber who kicked in for $2. I would ask those who have not kicked in who consider this coverage valuable to consider moving that Thermometer a bit higher if you can.
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