Great Defenders and Holy Composers

In the first centuries of the church, men called Church Fathers forever changed the course of Christianity by defending against heresies and spreading the faith. Many of these Fathers are sainted by both the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches. Origen of Alexandria, St. Basil the Great, and St. Polycarp are three important and imperative men of the early Christian Church.

While Origen of Alexandria is not a saint, he is considered a Church Father. He was born around 184 AD and spent the first half of his life working in Alexandria, Egypt. As a priest he wrote around 6,000 works and preached on every part of the Bible. Origen isn’t sainted because some of his views were proclaimed as heretical by the Fifth Ecumenical Council. Origen was said to have believed in the predestination of souls, which is the belief that everyone, even demons and Satan himself, would eventually receive salvation. He also supported the view of a hierarchy within the Trinity, that is the Father at the top, followed by the Son, and then Holy Spirit. And although he was against the Gnostic heresy, he apparently believed in the inherent evil of all material creation, the core principle of the Gnostics. On top of these accusations, he was said to have castrated himself. In 250, Origen was tortured for his faith and in 253 died of his wounds. Even though Origen is not a saint, he is a Church Father because of his works and martyrdom for Christianity. 

Origen of Alexandria.

St. Basil the Great was born in 330 AD and served as the bishop of Caesarea, in modern-day Israel. Basil is one of the three Great Hierarchs of Orthodoxy along with St. John Chrysostom and St. Gregory Naziazus. He’s also a Cappodocian Father with Gregory Naziazus and Gregory of Nyssia. As a bishop he fought the heresy of Arianism, the belief that Christ is not fully God, wrote the Liturgy of St. Basil the Great (which served as the regular Sunday Orthodox Liturgy until being edited and reformed by St. John Chrysostom), and helped destroy Arianism by participating in the writing of the Nicene Creed during the First Ecumenical Council of 325. Being a saint in both the Catholic and Orthodox churches, Basil is glorified mostly because of his fierce defense of Christianity against Arianism. In addition to this, Basil is also the Patron Saint of monasticism, exorcism, education, liturgists, and the country of Russia.

Icon of St. Basil the Great.

A disciple of John the Apostle and bishop of Smyrna, St. Polycarp, whose name means “much fruit,” was born in AD 65. During his time as bishop of Smyrna, he wrote the Epistle of Polycarp to the Philippians in which he strongly warns the Church of Philippi about heresy and apostasy. Polycarp is one of the three Apostalic Fathers alongside Clement of Rome and Ignatius of Antioch. Receiving the holy crown of martyrdom in 155, he was burned at the stake. However, when the saint was not touched by the flames, he was stabbed to death.

Orthodox icon of St. Polycarp.

By their writings, example, and works these three prominent fathers, Origen, St. Basil the Great, and St. Polycarp helped spread the Christian faith to the world, crush heresies, and compose influential writings.

Our autumn blur

I haven’t blogged in nearly three months — officially the longest gap I’ve ever had between writings. And that pretty much sums up the blur that has been life the last few months.

Our summer wrapped up with these end-of-dog-days notables:

  • Matthew’s birthday party;
  • our final trip of the season to Wet n’ Wild with Matthew and Miss Stacey;
  • my completing the Color Vibe 5k with Tricia;
  • Zeke breaking his arm while playing nighttime freeze tag at Miss Jessica’s;
  • my 45th birthday;
  • and Papa’s 80th birthday party in Richmond.

We attended a Trump rally, which served as our anniversary kick-off & the 3 Amigos’ civics lesson for the day. Plus, we ran into Tyrnan & Jim @ the event. What a win-win-win!

From then on, we began mixing a brew of activities, which seemed to make life rush by in the blink of an eye. Now, don’t get me wrong, it was all good stuff, just a bit overwhelming, especially for a mama who took Awana off our schedule this year just so we’d have more free time. Ha, live and learn.

There were 3 main ingredients to our cocktail of crazy:

1. SRA baseball

Baseball was the big kahuna time-wise because all three boys played this season, although Gabriel and Zeke were on the same team. However, being that there were two games a week per team and two early-morning Saturday practices every weekend … well, just talking about it makes me tired.

Houston the big-hitter! (Speaking of blurry, my apologies for the not-so-focused baseball pics. Sports photography is hard, people.)

Now, throw in these curve balls (pardon the pun):

  • that kids were supposed to show up a half an hour before game time to warm up;
  • the fields where they played were both 20-30 minutes away from home;
  • sometimes the 3 Amigos were scheduled for games on the same night (and sometimes at the same time);
  • dinner either had to be eaten in the van en route to the game, or made and served up upon arrival home to a tired and hungry (read: “hangry”) crew;
  • and then there were even games every night of the week during part of the playoffs.

Luckily for me, the boys’ teams didn’t advance too far in the tournament. I know that sounds callous to say, but sheesh, this old lady needed a break something fierce. I think the 3 Amigos and Daddy did, too.

Houston participated in his last season of coach-pitch ball with good buddy, NickO. His team, the Athletics, didn’t do that well, but Houston really came out of his shell as far as his personal skills go, especially his hitting.

Bum arm & all, Zeke does what it takes to help out his team during an early-season scrimmage game.

That child actually hit a few home runs and a lot of RBIs. He was even moved to 4th position in the batting lineup, which is the “cleanup hitter” (a.k.a. the “power hitter,” says Stephen). Way to go, Houston!

This season was Gabriel and Zeke’s first experience with competitive baseball. Their team was the Rockies. And I’ve gotta say, they really took to the regimen, the hard-nosed style of the rec coaches, the technicality and rules of the game, and the responsibility that comes with being part of both a winning or losing team.

It was amazing to see my two sometimes head-in-the-clouds boys out on the field, focused and ready for action; to watch them attentively listen to their coaches, heed their advice, and improve on skills; and to witness them strike out or be called out or lose a game, and not cry, although I know it often devastated them. Studs for sure.

Gabriel, whose running had been likened to a kid moving through quicksand, sprints to home plate. Running was just one of the many drastically improved skills the twins attained over the course of their baseball season.

Moreover, Zeke played the first five weeks in a cast. Sure, he didn’t get to hit. But when he was in the outfield, boy, he was working his butt off, stopping grounders and even catching a couple pop-flies with his baseball cap.

I’ve got to say, although it was an exhausting few months, it was such a pleasure to watch the 3 Amigos grow in their sportsmanship, maturity, and love of the game. It really was a blessing to be a part of it all.

2. CC + Essentials

Sure, this is our 5th year of doing Classical Conversations. But this is Houston’s (and my) 1st year of Essentials, which is the dialectic stage of the classical-education model called the trivium.

Zeke & Gabriel get ready to blow out their eight candles during their birthday celebration @ the Eden Drive-In. Where have all the years gone, my sweet babes?!

What the boys have been doing up to now is called Foundations. It’s the grammar stage of the trivium, and it involves tons of memorizing vocabulary and basic facts about a variety of subjects.

The dialectic is when kids start “asking questions, sorting, comparing, and practicing the knowledge learned in the grammar stage.” It involves delving deeper into English grammar and writing. It’s an extra 2-hours of instruction after Foundations wraps up at noon every Tuesday, but it does comprise our complete language-arts program.

It’s intense, humbling, time-consuming, and challenging, to say the least, but it’s effective. I also had good advice from a couple veteran moms, who advised us newbies to take it easy, chill out, and relax. After all, Houston will be in Essentials for three years, so no need to bite off more than we can chew. (The twins will start it in fall 2018.)

The neighborhood crew held their own election & the results are in: Zeke won secretary of state, Jacob governor, Gabriel treasurer, Houston VP & Congress, NickO president, Gavan (not pictured) press secretary & Congress, & Matthew (also not pictured) general.

Houston has become a madman at diagramming and parsing sentences. He actually enjoys it and always says, “Let’s do one more, Mommy.” And we’ve written some great papers on a myriad of medieval topics, with Houston taking the helm more and more each week, coming up with his own similes, alliterations, metaphors, and more.

It is quite a wonder to see a classically-educated child unfold and mature and grow into an independent learner. One day, the 3 Amigos will all be smarter than me … but not just yet, fellas. And can you believe we wrap up our semester this coming Tuesday? Life is a blur indeed.

3. “Church shopping”

That’s what Protestants call it when they flee a church because it’s not meeting their spiritual needs anymore. It may have gotten too worldly because it has too many parking volunteers, too much of a rock-n-roll praise band, or too much of a social-justice bent.

We had a corntacular good time w/ friends @ Harvest Ridge Farm on Halloween morning.

Or it may have been putting too much effort into lobby coffee, happy Sunday greeters, or video messaging. Whatever the case, evangelicals say their hungry for authenticity and truth, not watered down, gimmicky, commercial, popular sentiment. After all, truth is probably the most unfashionable thing these days … or any days, for that matter.

But because of this, we left our church of 3+ years this summer and have been “frolicking,” as one pastor called it, this fall. We have visited three churches over the last few months: two Reformed Presbyterian and one Eastern Orthodox.

I will write more about our religious adventures in a future blog. But for now, suffice it to say that we’re seeking a church with stronger roots and traditions, more liturgy, and a deeper respect for history and the early church.

The Halloween posse, featuring the 3 Amigos as different warriors throughout history: Gabriel is a Confederate infantryman, Houston a U.S. soldier, & Zeke a Medieval barbarian. Not politically correct in the least, which is just the way we like it!

And because we’re so serious about participating in a church, a denomination, a corporate worship that is grounded in longstanding convention with an adherence to great Christians and rituals of the past, we have been very intentional in our frolicking, as well as getting to know each church’s leaders.

My pal, Adair, and her family are extremely involved in Christ Covenant. Her husband, Eric, is an elder, and a few cool CC families attend there. One Sunday, Adair and Eric even hosted a lunch at their house, where they invited our family, the lead pastor, Neil, and his family, and a few other choice folks. That meant a lot to us.

Neil even reached out to Stephen on his own accord. The two met for lunch and talked about everything from faith to firearms to freedom and more.

The dudes go nuts on the giant jumping pillow @ Harvest Ridge. You gotta love the feel & smell of a warm autumn day … it’s just like a cozy blanket.

Our pals, Tricia, Jeremy, Bret, and Bella go to The Kirk. In fact, Jeremy preached during our first visit there. He’s not a pastor per se because he didn’t graduate from seminary, but still, that was super-cool. They even treated us to a post-church lunch twice and on their dime. Very kind indeed.

Like Adair and Eric, Tricia and Jeremy are serious, thoughtful Christians. They wear their faith humbly, but forthrightly, always growing, reading, discussing, reaching out, delving in, and just keeping Jesus at the center.

It’s like my BFF Christie, who actually introduced me to Tricia and Jeremy, once said: that her walk with Jesus was head and heart. Intellectual and emotional. Reason and faith. And that describes where Stephen and I are, and the Kirk and Christ Covenant, which are both Reformed/Calvinist, meet those needs.

Our crew @ the Carolina Renaissance Festival. Jousting, dungeons, falconry, fire eaters, jugglers, sword fighting, gothic weaponry, fairies & even camel rides + awesome friends = medieval merriment!

Holy Cross, on the other hand, is Orthodox, meaning that it has basically done things unchanged for 2,000 years. It was the early church. The first Christians sung the same songs, chanted the same prayers, and had the same liturgy.

When the Great Schism took place in 1054, Catholics tweaked a few tenets and invented some new ones from their base in Rome. But Orthodox Christians just kept doing things old school and kept its center in Constantinople. And when Martin Luther began the Protestant Reformation in 1517, it was against Catholicism, not Orthodoxy.

Admittedly, Stephen and I still researching this ancient, but not-well-known brand of Christianity. And it is vastly different than what we’ve become accustomed to at Protestant churches. It’s extremely serious, not casual. It’s highly ceremonial, not preacher-centric. It’s solemn, not loud and over-the-top.

Interestingly, Father Christopher, the head priest at Holy Cross, was in the popular alt-rock band Luxury in the ’90s (click on this NRP link, and he’s the second dude from the left). Before that, he was into punk and says that he used to read a lot of Noam Chomsky. Pretty zany for a man of the cloth, huh?!

Zeke’s uses his new double-headed axe to slay this scalawag pirate @ the Renaissance Fest.

Recently, Stephen met with Father Christopher for lunch, and even though some of the above tidbits might lead one to believe that he leans left, he explained to Stephen that, because of keeping with tradition, there’s really little room for politics in a homily. And for us, that’s a good thing.

Sickness, Stanley, & slogging

This triad of busy was intensified by a stomach bug that worked its way through the family in early fall. People puking in trashcans, on couches, in beds, and on walls… you know, the average abdominal-virus fare. It was rough.

Houston, Gabriel, and I were hit early on in autumn with severe seasonal allergies. Mine haven’t been that acute in years. We really should buy some stock in Kleenex.

Those illnesses subsided, only to be replaced by a harsh debilitating cold that’s been bringing Stephen, Gabriel, and me down for the past week and a half. Oh, and did I mention that I got a gargantuan stress-induced fever blister on my top lip the night of the election?! Here we are, nearly two weeks out, and I still have a healing scab. Nuts!

A nervous Houston grabs on for dear life on this real, live camel during a ride @ the Renaissance Fest. It was an hour-long wait to ride, so I hope the boys’ enjoyment & adrenaline rush outweighed any anxiety they may have felt these atop these huge, smelly beasts.

Stanley had an injury, too: a cat bite on his front right paw. Once I noticed his limp, I doctored it myself for a few days, and it seemed to get better. But all of a sudden, it ballooned up and his hobble intensified, so I finally took him to the vet.

The doc said he had the cat version of cellulitis, so he got his booboo drained and cleaned, a shot, meds for home, and had to have a check-up a few days later. While at that return visit, the vet noticed that Stan had lost 3 pounds since his annual appointment this summer. So, he had a third appointment for a round of blood tests.

Turns out, Stan has hyperthyroidism. Because we’ve caught his early on (unlike Bob’s, which was in the extreme stages once diagnosed) and because he’s 14, we are foregoing expensive treatment options, which the vet says is ethical at this point. However, once the condition worsens, we’ll have to put him down. So sad.

I actually completed an entire 5k (w/o walking) w/ my pal, Tricia. And amazingly, I have been running fairly consistently ever since. Here’s to good health.

Stephen’s job got a bit hairier than usual this fall, with calls from the powers-that-be for additional sacrifices in personal time and little to no telecommuting. So, I had to get creative in getting to all my necessary yearly medical appointments, which, for some reason, all take place this time of year.

Thankfully, Granny visited, allowing me to get to my gynecological and eye exams, and then I squeezed in my mammogram late one afternoon when I think the kids were playing at a neighbor’s house. I can’t really recall, but it was touch-and-go for a while there.

Fortunately, Stephen can work from home again without too much hand-wringing from his workplace overseers, but he could still use any and all prayers for just doing what he does so well: laboring diligently and providing for his family with little complaint. We love you, darling!

Gabriel readies himself to ride a mini-motorcycle @ NickO’s birthday party. What a cutie pie!

October occurrences

October always offers up an annual whirlwind of fun. Our 16th anniversary began with a Trump rally in the afternoon. That evening, we got Donni to babysit, and Stephen treated me to an hour-long couples’ massage and then an eating/drinking feast at World of Beer. Doesn’t my husband know me well?!

We celebrated Gabriel and Zeke’s 8th birthday at the Eden Drive-In. A smorgasbord of cool kids and even a few families were in tow for the movie. We packed up already-prepared hotdogs, sides, popcorn, and cake, and enjoyed the beautiful night outdoors under the balmy fall sky.

Bret and Tyrnan spent the night, so the good times kept on rolling until wee in the morning. And then our clan went out to Burger Warfare and Krispy Kreme that Sunday (on their actual birthday) to round out the celebratory weekend.

There’s always a haze of activity surrounding All Hallow’s Eve. A few days prior, Miss Julie hosted a Halloween piano party, at which each student played their spooky-themed songs.

During our outing to Harvest Ridge, Gabriel & I strike a pose w/ Miss Jessica — my partner in crime for mirth-making & mischief.

On Halloween morning, we went with Miss Jessica, Jacob, and NickO to Harvest Ridge Farm. It had massive hillside sliding boards, a giant jumping pillow, a corn cannon, huge rolls of hay to climb on, a barrel train, and of course, a corn maze and a tractor-pull ride.

Miss Stacey hosted a pre-trick-or-treating party that evening. She had a variety of games for the kids and food for all, which really came in handy since I had spent my whole late afternoon helping the 3 Amigos piece together their homemade costumes, not fixing dinner.

Trick-or-treating was a hoot. Miss Jessica even drove us wide and far in her golf cart, so the boys’ pumpkins were overflowing with goodies, and the adults were able to kick back and enjoy an adult beverage or two during our escapades.

Playing Risk w/ Daddy: a new favorite pastime of the 3 Amigos. It can get pretty intense, y’all.

We’ve had quite a few other special fall memories, like:

  • a rare visit from Gramsey and Papa, who got to catch both a Rockies and an Athletics baseball game;
  • a farewell dinner hosted by Miss Shawn for our longtime and wonderful neighbors, Miss Ruth, Mr. Kevin, and Maddie, who’ve moved back to their home state of Pennsylvania;
  • Q Commons, a “live learning experience” that focuses on discussing relevant topics through a Christian lens, which I attended solo;
  • the Renaissance Festival, which we did with Mr. Jeremy, Bret and Bella, as well as the J-Crew (sans Logan), who spent the night with us the night before;
  • local birthday parties for neighbor NickO and CC buddy Joel;
  • and Asher’s 10th birthday party, which was in Roanoke, so our entire clan made a weekend of it and was able to spend some much overdue with our beloved J-Crew.

So, yes, we are busy and our lives do sometimes seem to be a blur. But what is abundantly clear is that we are truly blessed. Of that, I am sure and grateful.

Truth is always the imperative

So, my dear friend, Christie, posed some introspective questions to me since my last blog. I’ve marinated on them deeply and prayed about them passionately. I’ve even woken up at night and not been able to go back to sleep (which is not my norm) pondering the ramifications of my positions. But I have finally formulated some answers.

All things to all people

The Apostle Paul said, “For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.”

I don’t interpret Paul’s words as saying to purge oneself of your individualism, heritage, and culture; rather, he is calling Christians to try to walk in someone else’s shoes and empathize. Then, you can more productively share the blessings of Jesus through admitting your own struggles, your own sins, your own backsliding, your own doubts.

I think that is the way of being “all things to all people” that Paul is talking about. That is compassion. That is authenticity. That is the power of the Word. It transcends differences and fosters real unity.

Otherwise, a white person could never share the Gospel with a black person, or a black with an Asian, or an Asian with a white. It would limit as opposed to liberate. It would ignore the unique qualities of each human as opposed to helping to open an individual’s heart.

I liken it to my time volunteering at the local pregnancy care center. Women participating in abortion recovery often said that having a post-abortive facilitator was a plus for them, as this woman could better understand her experience with terminating a pregnancy, killing her own child, and struggling with the subsequent guilt and ultimate forgiveness.

But that certainly doesn’t mean that a man couldn’t have led the class. Or that a female facilitator should have gone out and had an abortion just to better relate to her class. Paul’s call is for pragmatic understanding, not literally pretending to be something you are not.

An apology that was needed

Because of the Southern Baptist roots in using the Bible to defend slavery, the leaders at this year’s convention decided to denounce the Confederate Battle Flag. “All the Confederate flags in all the world are not worth one soul of any race,” preached Pastor James Merritt, while proposing an amendment to strengthen the ridiculous resolution.

Well, is pushing propaganda worth souls? Is perpetuating lies, whether historical or modern, worth souls? Is cleansing your white guilt through a hollow emotional display worth souls? Is appeasing the politically correct culture worth souls? Is setting a precedent of bending to the cultural Marxists within the church worth souls?

I would say emphatically, “No!” In fact, I would add that all of this virtue-signaling is extremely dangerous. It is a corrupting cancer not only on our culture, but on the church specifically.

All you have to do is go to most any American church’s website and see them promoting “diversity” like good little PC sycophants, touting their progressive aspirations and the using the Orwellian-speak they’ve been taught to utter often and loudly.

Sure, churches want varied congregants — sometimes a noble goal for helping people to understand the disparate experiences within their community a la empathy and compassion; but other times, it’s a purely business.

The intent should not be to represent “every tribe and nation” at the expense of truth. Preach truth, and promote accurate information about the culture and history, and the Kingdom of God will do just fine reflecting true diversity.

All this making of politically expedient public apologies for a sin you yourself didn’t commit, all this “feel-good,” yet deceitful rhetoric cloaked in unity, where does it end? It doesn’t, unless common-sense Christians fight back.

For goodness sake, now you’ve got Protestant bigwigs John Piper talking about how he doesn’t believe in self-defense, even if that means letting his wife get raped, and making videos to purge himself of his “racist past;” and his son, Barnabas Piper, supporting the existence of the made-up “rape culture.” Total treachery.

J.D. Greear, pastor of the Summit Church (the church from which Mercy Hill was planted) and nominee for SBC president, wrote on Facebook: “Depending on the tone and content of those [monumental convention] moments, it can make you proud to be a Southern Baptist … or, sometimes, feel affirmed in your decision not to be one.” I think it’s obvious by now in which camp I firmly fall.

I’m not sure if it’s even possible to find a Protestant church in America that doesn’t at least lean toward the social gospel. Is that because the seminaries have been infiltrated by leftists, or because churches tow the statist line as not to jeapordize their tax-exempt status, or simply because church leaders have read too much Francis Chan?

Whatever the case, leftism is a cancer, and it has infected the American church. There’s no reason to spread lies and perpetuate feminist-created, progressive-pushed, or historically inaccurate myths, other than to cause disunity, undermine community, and foster distrust. It’s sad and sickening.

The flag was co-opted

The thinking here is that even though the flag may have had noble intentions, that it was taken over by people who hated blacks during Jim Crow. But this minority of creeps also flew the American flag during their protests, so should we also ban Old Glory? And under which flag did slavery exist for longer, that of the U.S. or the C.S.A.? The U.S., of course.

And what about the KKK, which also flies the American flag, as well as the Christian flag? I mean, Christian socialists were all the rage in the KKK during its heyday, so does that mean we start banning Christian symbols, too, due to their association with stupid people?

Sure, many things have been appropriated by haters, but so what? Plenty of good things have been co-opted by idiots — like marriage, the church, parenthood, conservatism, much of our language (like the words “tolerance,” “rape,” and “racism”) — but that certainly doesn’t mean that their original meanings and significance have changed.

Truth is, nobody gave two hoots about the flag or any vestige of Confederate pride for a long, long time. “Dixie” was once the nighttime sign-off song for many radio stations and was the Washington Redskins’ fight song. Bands giving public concerts used to play both “Dixie” and “Battle Hymn of the Republic.”

I went to a high school named after Pulitzer-prize-winning, pro-Southern historian, Douglas Southall Freeman. We were called the Rebels, and our flag was (you guessed it) the Confederate Battle Flag. My nephew’s Boys Scouts troop was the Robert E. Lee Council, and I knew many people who went to Washington & Lee University.

Moreover, the Battle Flag is not only a symbol of Southern heritage, but it is also seen by many others as a representation of the fight for liberty.

For instance, after the final battle in Okinawa during WWII, the Confederate Battle Flag was raised over Shuri Castle, the last Japanese bastion. In 1958 at the end of the Lebanon crisis, the U.S. Marines marched out of Beirut under the Battle Flag.

In 1989, the Battle Flag made its mark in Berlin during festivities ringing in the fall of the Berlin Wall. And in 1992, after the fall of Communism, the Battle Flag flew beside the national flag of Yugoslavia during the independence celebrations in Ljubljana. This hated flag has been flown by rebels in Ukraine to Christians in Africa.

So, when did all this anti-flag stuff come to pass in America and who was it that created this race-bating agenda? Well, the answers in order are the early ’90s and the NAACP.

“Like the old March of Dimes after the polio vaccine had solved the problem of polio, the NAACP had succeeded on every legal front and frankly no longer had a purpose,” wrote Charley Reese, a 50-year journalist who worked mostly with the Orlando Sentinel. “The NAACP was hard up for a reason to stay in existence. It was having a hard time raising money. It had internal scandals. That’s when the NAACP decided to wage war on all things Confederate, and on the Confederate flag in particular.”

And as they say, the rest is history … or revisionist history, in this case. “At some point American progressives need to stop viewing the South as their whipping boy, being perpetually flagellated for its sin,” said New York libertarian Michael Malice in a recent article for The Observer. Can I get an “amen?”

So, here we go again, more haters co-opting historic symbols in order to grow their own power and notoriety. More haters using a flag as a political scapegoat as to increase their annual budget. More haters pushing a cultural genocide of the Southern people just to line their own pockets.

If anyone should be apologizing, it should be the NAACP and their social-justice enablers. They are the ones who have created racial divisions where there were none. They are the ones who invented this bone of contention for their own self-serving and destructive means.

Laying aside rights

Some Christians are calling for me, you, and anyone else with whom they disagree to forego their “rights” for the sake of solidarity. So, first let me provide a definition of rights, which I consider spot on.

“‘Rights’ are a moral concept — the concept that provides a logical transition from the principles guiding an individual’s actions to the principles guiding his relationship with others — the concept that preserves & protects individual morality in a social context — the link between the moral code of a man & the legal code of a society, between ethics & politics. Individual rights are the means of subordinating society to moral law.” — Ayn Rand

Now granted, Rand was a devout atheist, but I think she’s got it right, pardon the pun. But then again she’s speaking directly to individual rights, which were born out of the Protestant Reformation and the Enlightenment — two historic, world-changing occurrences that shaped Western Civilization for the good.

Martin Luther preached that God is each person’s conscience, that we’re all individually made in His image, that every Christian is responsible directly to Him. Hence, salvation is not dependent on priests or the government or any other worldly institution; it’s a personal thing, although your baptism should be made publicly and your faith shared widely.

But this doesn’t mean that individualism and communitarianism have to be mutually exclusive. After all, no man is an island, so uber-individualism will never fulfill most humans and, most specifically, the faithful Christian.

Instead, Christians must accept and protect this blessing, but also let it play out through the Gospel lens. And this is where, to me, John Calvin seems to come in.

“While liberalism and libertarianism are committed to individualism, stressing individual self-sufficiency, for Calvin, God is the ultimate source of all rights and obligations,” explains Avihu Zakai, history professor of at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

“Yet, given that, God has ordered human existence socially so that divine rights and obligations are mediated by social institutions, and the individual’s sphere is defined and shaped by the larger community in which he or she lives. Hence, Calvin anticipated contemporary communitarians, for whom individual rights and obligations derived from the social and political institutions to which individuals belong.”

“Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, & especially for their own household, has denied the faith & is worse than an unbeliever.” — 1 Timothy 5:8

In other words, there is a social nature to individualism. For the Christian, you practice self-interest, not selfishness. You relish your God-given rights, and never hold others’ rights in contempt. You work hard for your family, but you use those fruits as you see fit to help your neighbors, community, and the greater Christian social body. And you share Jesus with anybody and everybody.

Yet, many of the pastors and Christian social-justice warriors who claim it’s not Biblical to embrace individual rights within the faith are more than happy to promote civil rights or equality or special rights carved out for special-interest groups. So identity politics is good, but individual liberty is bad. Hmmmm, I think I smell a rat.

Alethophobia vs. truth

Obviously, so much of this inanity and hate stems from the miseducation of the American populace. I mean, what do you expect when federalized schooling, which got its start during the radical Reconstruction era, is one of the main institutions propagating the extermination of Southern tradition?

It was the “forced acculturation to Northern beliefs and social systems” back then, writes Tulane Professor Richard Marksbury. And today, those old ideologies have morphed into new modern dogmas: progressivism and political correctness.

Truth is the reason why I homeschool my children. We decided to homeschool even before having kids, namely because we understood the toxifying of true history and the perpetuation of cultural Marxism carried out in government schools. Then when we became Christians, that was just more of the impetus needed to home-educate our boys in all things truthful.

And I’m sorry government-schooled friends, I will never relinquish truth simply because people are miseducated as youth or have been re-educated as adults. Historical ignorance is no excuse for being a race baiter or supporting cultural genocide.

It is such cluelessness that has let good people throughout history to be duped by tyrants. Hitler misused the Bible, stirred divisions, and rewrote history to meet his Aryan political ends. Mao, Stalin, and Pol Pot created their own cults of personality as religions and then spread faux histories to hoodwink the masses.

“So justice is driven back, & righteousness stands at a distance; truth has stumbled in the streets, honesty cannot enter. Truth is nowhere to be found, & whoever shuns evil becomes a prey. The Lord looked & was displeased that there was no justice.” — Isaiah 59:14-15

Unfortunately, most of our society, and even our world, is suffering from alethophobia: a gripping fear of truth. And though Christians get the truth about Jesus right, many are stuck on the plantation of political correctness.

Truth is under the law of Christ, not cultural Marxism. I, for one, am not willing to concede the moral principle of truth just to spare someone’s feelings, especially when doing so only worsens matters for the human condition.

And that is my point: Political correctness is evil and has been a destructive force for Western civilization, so I will speak out against it and for truth. I will not be a “domesticated lapdog,” as Tom Woods likes to say, by supporting PC tyranny over public discourse. I will not cow tow to demagogues.

Journalist and anti-PC provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos defines cuckery as ” … prostrating yourself before the powers that be in a desperate attempt to curry favour with your oppressors, in defiance of the facts and your conscience.” I will not be a cuck. I will not goose-step in line with cultural Marxists, whether they be Christian or not.

I know fighting against lies is an uphill battle. Being a champion for truth has never made anyone popular. But I already feel like a foreigner in my own land, so why not, right?!

Never give an inch

“You will never please them and will never placate them … ” penned Yiannopoulos, who also happens to be gay, in a recent article about radical Muslims. “So don’t give an inch (because) they won’t stop taking.” He says that homosexuals have the choices of suicide, adopting Sharia Law, or fighting back.

I think the same analogy works for Southerners, and all common-sense, liberty-loving people for that matter. Just as Southerners are told to bend over and take it, gays are told by the very people who claim to be their advocates to pipe down about all this Muslim hysteria.

Just as a Southerner who fights back is called a racist cracker, a homosexual who casts any doubt or critique on the religion of peace is called an intolerant Islamophobe. The power of the ad hominem attack is strong in this brave new world.

Of course, unlike gays, white Southerners are no where to be found on the “privilege pyramid,” as Yiannopoulos calls it. It is within this progressive caste system that the Southern man must wear the yoke of burden of every “aggrieved minority” around his neck. It’s tight, limiting his freedom, but the benevolent PC dictators will loosen it, only if he behaves.

The cultural Marxists continue to push for lesser-class citizenship of Southerners (well, at least the white ones), always with shrill screams of unity and healing. These instigators say they want to bring about social harmony, but what they really seek is division, vengeance, and power.

Making concessions will never satisfy the enemies of truth. And if progressivism ends up the vanquisher, well, I will just be one chick the PC gestapo has to drag kicking and screaming into their horrid Marxist dystopia.