Monday, June 29, 2015

Progressivism and Its Flaws

Hubris, Arrogance, Domination, Elitism

The secular zeitgeist (spirit of the times) enveloping the United States of America is Progressivism. True to its moniker progressivism has streaked through American life with lightning speed. Since January, 2009 America has been led by a progressive national government.  

Progressivism, it must be said, is a mirage. What appears to be sweeping change for the common good is really sweeping change for those who want to control all aspects of society. Even though there are three so-called independent branches of America’s national government, the progressive zeitgeist has taken control of the tiny but powerful Supreme Court of the United States. Just recently a majority of five SCOTUS justices decided to change (or ignore) thousands of years of history by redefining marriage. Their judicial activity was not simply a redefinition of traditional marriage; it was a mandate by an elitist group of five, a mandate imposed on the people of the United States. Do not think for one moment that this most recent action of SCOTUS is the end of this matter, nor the end of their intent to change the social arrangement of the traditional family.

For progressives, the Constitution of the United States is an obstacle to “progress.” Progressives believe that only they have the intelligence and the right to decide what is appropriate for Americans. If the Constitution is an obstacle to their intended actions, and in most cases it certainly is an obstacle, then the progressive courts and the progressive executive branches of government either alter or ignore structures meant to maintain a stable and just society.

Progressivism can never be long lasting. It eventually collapses on itself. Progressivism moves quickly as the past six-plus years have demonstrated. Progressive leaders understand all too well that if they do not move quickly, they will be overthrown in the next election. Their subterfuge promises the people one thing, but they always resort to mandates to implement their way. Progressivism in the early to mid-twentieth century had elements of conservative thought present within its ranks to check some of the inane, intended changes. But that internal check disappeared by the early twenty-first century. Thus progressivism is alive and well politically because conservative elements have been purged.

Progressivism is a mirage also because it does not help any citizen substantially. Contrary to what it proclaims, progressivism helps only its leaders. Leaders of any political party want to remain in charge, but progressivism propagandizes its proposals as if its programs would bring on a new and better world. In order to promote that propaganda it is imperative that progressives demonize their opposition and continue changing the political and social landscape in rapid order.

Tradition is anathema to progressivism. It cannot thrive in an umbrella of tradition. A long-running progressivism, ironically, “progresses” into a tradition of its own and when recognized, it quickly dumps its old beliefs and “progresses” to newer beliefs. Change, constant change, is the life blood of progressivism. There is no time for rest and relaxation. No time allowed to reap benefits because there are no benefits to enjoy. No time to settle in.

Traditional faith and religion inhibit progressivism. The progressive ideology cannot entertain any sentiment for religious tolerance. Progressivism’s freedom is an “anything goes” freedom that too easily garners popular votes but hardly delivers on its promised new freedoms. The recent action by SCOTUS on marriage is an exception: the SCOTUS marriage decision is a progressive mandate with intended (and unintended) consequences in the months and years to follow.

Traditional religious tenets challenge the concept of “anything goes.” It should be evident that traditional religion and progressivism are fundamentally incompatible. The way progressivism combats this challenge by traditional faith is by diluting the faith by ignoring and/or demonizing those faith groups, legislating against them, or through judicial activism.

Progressivism demands toleration except when intolerant expression opposes its agenda. Progressivism, although it is maintained by the elite with false verbiage purportedly in support of the masses, has developed the power to orchestrate mob rule, mobs composed of paid protesters, the uninitiated and the politically immature. In other words they manufacture false protests against manufactured false offenses.

Consider the aftermath of the murder of nine African-Americans in Charleston, South Carolina. A moment meant for mourning and remembrance of those who lost their lives and their surviving families has been re-directed into a condemnation of selective history and its symbols. Offenses of all sorts surfaced: flags, monuments, memorials, history. Specifically selected objects are declared offensive and must be removed, according to the mob. The secular, progressive zeitgeist seemingly is moving to destroy the past. But that is not what the mob is really doing.

The mob, directed by the progressive elite, is condemning the present because someone or something is in their way, distorting their rhetoric, or blocking their progressive agenda. Guilt, shame, and demagoguery are tactically employed. Why? Because the living saints of Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church went in an unexpected and different direction, a direction guided by forgiving hearts. Forgiveness is antithetical to progressivism: it was an unexpected deviation to the progressive narrative. For progressives, forgiveness is an obstacle limiting or possibly curtailing its appetite for constant movement for change, demagoguery, condemnation, and casting blame.

Progressivism appeals to no metaphysical mooring. Any reference outside itself would establish “principle” and principle instead of constant change would be self-destructive. For a progressive to admit to any external citation is tantamount to an admission of God, another obstacle. As an ideology progressivism is a natural enemy of history, an enemy of tradition, and an enemy of principle. History exposes flaws. Progressivism's only principle is change and the obliteration of history. 

The natural evolution of this ideology yields socialism, not free markets; communism, not republican democracy; and then totalitarianism. Embodied in the select few, Progressivism personifies hubris, arrogance, domination, and elitism.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Rebuttal Sermonettes

Rebuttal Sermonettes

For two successive Sundays,
The congregation gathered and met,
To worship and pray to their Creator,
But were lectured with unscheduled sermonettes.

The first Sunday service began smoothly,
With liturgical expectations set,
But a lacking in the prayers of the people
Were difficult for one member to accept.

The assisting pastor at the passing of the peace,
Approached by one who was offended,
A personal sensitivity lurched her in caprice,
To lecture the congregation in a manner open-ended.

“You have offended me,
By what you have not prayed,
For with all of your privileges, you simply cannot see
That your oppression, even in prayer, is justice delayed.”

The second Sunday was pretty much the same,
A sermon on Christian marriage brilliantly explained.
This time it was the senior pastor who was approached,
By a congregant who on the sermon then encroached.

As if the senior pastor had not delivered his proper calling,
The lecture from the congregant appeared somewhat appalling.
There is no doubt that the original sermon was clear,
No expansion, nor lecture did the congregation expect to hear.

Both congregants in their emotional speech,
Doubtless were sincere in their expressed beliefs.
But much more unsettling was worship digression,
The sudden altering of liturgy in a different direction.

Understanding hearts were clearly present,
With empathy, sympathy, and love for all to see.
But when orderly worship bows to moments of feelings and sensation,
It tends to shift prayerful intent from Thee.

“There is a time and place for everything,
And a season for every activity under the heavens …
[There] is a time to tear and a time to mend,
A time to be silent and time to speak.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1,7)

WENjr      6-28-2015

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Supreme Court of the United States

The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) has spoken, or at least a majority of five of the nine justices have spoken and in effect, have created law. The job of SCOTUS is to interpret law, to identify the constitutionality of law. On June 26, 2015 the high court declared that same-sex marriage was legal in the land. How should this law affect those persons who disagree with this interpretation?

Many people of differing faiths have always held that marriage is between one man and one woman. To a Bible-believing Christian just the idea of same-sex marriage is a creational oxymoron - it defies God's creational purpose. There is no such thing as same-sex marriage. What has happened is simply a sign of the times. Remember the Exodus story when the Israelites preferred their Golden Calf in place of the one God who set them free.

But Christians of the true faith need to continue in their love and respect for all of God's people regardless of how they choose to live, or what a secular court decides. We evangelical Christians need to understand that no matter how good or how bad America may seem to be at any one point in its history, we are Christians first. Christianity and American citizenship should not be conflated as an identity. To my way of thinking, churches which don their campuses with American flags on July the Fourth and other secular holidays misunderstand their vocation.

The first impulses of us who disagree with the SCOTUS decision make us want to lash out. But we Christians are called to be different from the culture while we live in the culture. Our identity is with God the Creator and Jesus His Son. We are called to be witnesses through God's Holy Spirit, to be salt and light.

We live in the "between times." The Death and Resurrection of Jesus the Christ marked the beginning of a restored heaven and earth. Full restoration has not come but we live and work in anticipation of that promised renewal. We Christians have work to do in faith through grace. Christian faith is not passive, Christian faith is the active living out of the Gospel message pointing to Jesus the Christ.

Do not be pessimistic even though more difficult times will come to the Church from the state and its disciples. Love all people, but be vigilant in proclaiming the Gospel. God is still in charge working out His own purposes.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

An Unfamiliar Drum in Old Charles Towne

It was a deadly evening in Old Charles Towne;
Nine souls of God brutally gunned down.
Satan’s hatred reared its ugly head,
While standing over its newly dead.

Satan took Him to this Holy City,
And stood Him on the highest steeple.
“Ignoring me would be a great pity;
Worship me and You will save these people.”

“I am the Good Shepherd;
I gave My life for My sheep.
I am the Good Shepherd,
They love Me and My love is complete.”

In a flash Old Charles Towne is mourning,
The thief in the night had come.
Families of lost souls now borne in
Rhythms of an unfamiliar drum.

“We forgive you for those you have taken.
We cry for the ones we have lost.
But Satan, be not mistaken,
The Good Shepherd has paid the cost.”

WENjr 2015-06-21

Friday, June 19, 2015

Charleston, South Carolina

Almost 48 hours have passed since the domestic terrorist attack at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church (A.M.E.). Nine innocent people were murdered. We pray for the families of those who lost their lives this past Wednesday evening.

Before I go any further with this blog, I want to say how proud I am of Charleston, South Carolina and their handling of this tragedy. Foremost, I give thanks to God for the families of the those who died; families who displayed and who are still displaying their Christian love and forgiveness. How difficult this must be for them? Or, perhaps it is not that difficult for them because of their own love for Jesus. What a blessing those families are to the nation! This is Christian courage and Christian love, make no mistake.

It is gratifying also to witness the outpouring of love and compassion for the families of the 9 victims - an outpouring not only from Charleston people, but from around our nation.

Allow me to digress to a degree, but historically related.

Anyone who has ever visited Charleston would recognize what I am about to write. Charleston is a lovely town. The downtown area is ripe for visitors and it is always welcoming in the attitude of its people. And it is not simply a summertime place to visit either. Wintertime brings its own welcoming call.

For years the Mere Anglicanism conference is held near the end of the month of January. I do not know how many years it has been convened, but the conference has been a steady Christian witness conference for a long time. Yes, the conference has local founders and organizers, but it is an international event bringing in Anglican (and non-Anglican) scholars, bishops, clergy, and laypersons from all over the world.

Charleston, I learned only this week, is called the Holy City because there are more than 400 places of worship there.

There is a Huguenot Church in Charleston, one of the first, if not the very first, French Huguenot Church founded on Colonial America's shores. The church is not a "tourist trap," it is a living, vibrant Christian community.

The African Methodist Episcopal church has a large presence in South Carolina. The next time you drive, say from Wilmington, North Carolina to Charleston, South Carolina on U.S. Hwy 17, check out the high number of A.M.E. churches established along that highway.

Charleston's history, however, is tainted for its participation in slavery and the slave trade. A slave named Denmark Vesey (I don't know if the name is pronounced "vessey" or "veezey") was one of the founders of Emanuel A.M.E. Church prior to 1820. Vesey was owned by slave trader and ship owner John Vesey who allowed Denmark to work. Denmark Vesey was an excellent business man and eventually bought his freedom and lived in a nice home on Bull Street. But he quietly began to develop over the years a plan to free Charleston's slaves. After attacking their owners, the plan called for slaves to leave by ship and head for Haiti. The conspiracy was discovered and Vesey and many other black men were hanged.

During those early days of the American colonies and the beginning of the new United States, Charleston was a commercial rival to New York City. Charleston harbor provided for much international shipping trade and commerce. Young British entrepreneurs trying to make their money on Barbados relocated to Charleston to make their fortunes when land on Barbados became scarce. Barbados was a slave trading center as well as a center of other commerce. Those young British entrepreneurs were known in Charleston as Barbadians.

Charleston has come a long way in how it understands itself and how each of its citizens regard one another. Most of that progress has come, mostly likely, in the most recent 45 to 50 years. But progress it is.

I am proud of Charleston, South Carolina, and I am humbled by their gracious spirit, particularly now as they mourn.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

USMC Musician Enlistment Option

The United States Marine Corps has a new enlistment option for musicians. Otherwise, not much has changed in the past 50+ years. SEMPER FI.

I served in the following 3 USMC Bands:

  1. 2nd Marine Air Wing Band, Cherry Point, North Carolina (Oct., 1962 to November, 1963)
  2. 3rd Marine Division Band, Okinawa (December 24, 1963 to January, 1965)
  3. Marine Corps Schools Band, Quantico, Virginia (February, 1965 to September, 1966)

Scroll down the link and click the video.
USMC Bands