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Posts Tagged ‘culture’

Wow. A missionary decided to show the movie Courageous to tribes in Malawi, even though her intended audience didn’t speak English. So, what happened? Read on.

Part 1

Part 2

The Resolution

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Some history of elites and the rest of us, plus some suggestions, in an interview with David Gelernter, the author of America-Lite: How Imperial Academia Dismantled Our Culture (and Ushered In the Obamacrats).

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Eric Metaxas has a few book recommendations for summer reading. It’s an interesting mix of old and new, fiction and nonfiction. At the end of the article are links to other summer reading lists.

(Shameless self-promotion warning.) Of course, I wouldn’t mind if you slipped one of my books into the mix this summer.  The MI5 1/2 books are lightweight and humorous – except where they’re not. The Smolder, likewise.  Why We Raise Belgian Horses was written as a winter read (much of the action takes place around Christmas), but it’s been my most popular book…

But that’s enough self-promotion for now. We will now return to our regular programming…

I think the Metaxas list is worth a look. So here’s the link again.

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Gramma addresses some textese. [updated link]

She also proposes TIF for That Is Funny, or TIVF for That Is Very Funny, to use when you aren’t really Laughing Out Loud. Because it’s lying to say you are, when you aren’t.

Added: There’s a follow up post at the same blog.

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This young woman thinks so. And says why.

hat tip: Barbara Curtis

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First, read this short post, for backgound. Then, either using James M. Kushiner’s link there, or coming back here, try to carve out twelve minutes to watch the video. Hang on through the first part, if you think it’s slow or not interesting. You’ll need to see from about minute eight and a half on, to ‘get’ it.

Amazing. Just amazing.

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Eric Metaxas (like a lot of us) has noticed that ignorance about the Bible keeps showing up in places like the New York Times. He provides some almost-comical examples.

I’d probably laugh harder if I hadn’t been a Biblically illiterate newspaper reporter for about ten years – and the editor of the religion page for many of those years, to boot.

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Gerard Nadal writes:

This book addresses one of the burning issues of our day. With prenatal diagnostics leading to the abortions of the less-than-perfect among us, with parents who are frightened into paralysis by these diagnoses and a medical establishment increasingly surrendering to the cowardice of eugenics, over thirty mothers and three fathers of special needs children have stepped forward to share their journeys.

If one is looking for a feel-good easy read, this book isn’t it. This book tells the story of fear, bewilderment, broken hopes and dreams, and the triumph of love in all of its raw and untamed beauty. It is a window into the human soul, into souls that have been forever transformed by children whose needs call forth what love demands most:

Sacrifice.

For those of us who have known the unspeakable beauty of being loved by another, we know that the love we have experienced has come at a cost to the one who has loved us. They have given us their time, attention; material, spiritual and emotional substance. They have accepted us with our strengths and pursued us in spite of our weaknesses–even because of our weaknesses. They have wrapped us in their love and esteem, and lifted us to heights we never could have attained by our own efforts.

That is the sort of love that flows through this book like a rampaging river, overflowing the banks that would contain it, and flooding the surrounding countryside. It is the sort of love that is desperately sought after in a world desperate for authentic love, and purpose, and meaning.

The stories in this book are the stories a frightened and weary world needs to hear, a world that has bought into the counterfeit culture for so long it mistakes love’s essence–sacrifice–with servility, and fails to see its reciprocity…

Read the whole thing.

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Some American history, from Citizen Magazine (emphasis in original):

…Today, there are some — mainly on the Left — who paint the Founders not as Christians but as Deists, believers in an impersonal creator who left his creations to fend for themselves. But while that description fits less than a handful of the Founders, to varying degrees, it clearly doesn’t fit the vast majority.

Of the 55 signers of the U.S. Constitution, “with no more than five exceptions, they were orthodox members of one of the established congregations,” wrote the late University of Dallas historian M.E. Bradford.6 “References made by the Framers to Jesus Christ as Redeemer and Son of God … are commonplace in their private papers, correspondence and public remarks — and in the early records of their lives.”7

And this wasn’t just lip service, Bradford noted: The faith the Framers professed played a large role in their lives.

Thus, both James Madison and Alexander Hamilton “regularly led their households in the observance of family prayers.” Roger Sherman “was a ruling elder of his church.” John Dickinson of Delaware “wrote persuasive letters to youthful friends conserving the authority of Scripture and the soundness of Christian evidences.” Richard Bassett, also of Delaware, “rode joyfully with his former slaves to share in the enthusiasm of their singing on the way to Methodist camp meetings.” Elias Boudinot of New Jersey “was heavily involved in Christian missions and was the founder of the American Bible Society.” 8

The Wall That Never Was
Why would such men have written a First Amendment that sought to purge religious expression and values from the public square? Simple: They didn’t.

The Founders wanted to preserve the many vibrant Christian churches that were thriving in America. So they provided in the First Amendment that no Congress could squelch the free exercise of religion or establish a national church body— as had happened in England, driving many of their ancestors to the New World.

They also created a decentralized system that left states free to pursue diverse policies. Some (New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, South Carolina and Maryland) gave funding or property to churches. A few state constitutions contained religious requirements. Pennsylvania and New York required officeholders to pledge belief in the divine inspiration of Scripture.

To be sure, that wasn’t the norm. Most states guaranteed religious liberty, on the principle that government compulsion was an affront to true worship. But the very language in those guarantees testified to the prevailing faith. Many used terms of praise like “Almighty God.” Massachusetts spoke of “the right, as well as the duty, of all men in society … to worship the Supreme Being, the great Creator and Preserver of the universe.”9

And the federal government itself, though much more limited in its religious involvements, did things that would make an ACLU attorney blanch. Even one of the least religiously orthodox Founders, Thomas Jefferson, used federal funds during his presidency to build churches and to support Christian missionaries working among the Indians.

That’s especially meaningful since it was Jefferson who authored the phrase “wall of separation between church and state” in a letter to the Danbury (Conn.) Baptist Association — words now commonly misused to claim that the Founders would have supported an ACLU-like approach. But as Dreisbach notes, “The absurd conclusion that countless courts and commentators would have us reach is that Jefferson routinely pursued policies that violated his own ‘wall of separation.’ ”10

In truth, the Founders never dreamed that, one day, the government they helped establish would so often be hostile to the faith that most of them — despite their many other differences — held in common…

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I was raised with the ‘founders were Deists’ idea pounded into my head again and again, which suited me fine (at first) since I was bouncing around from agnostic to atheist to deist myself – and since I was historically illiterate. But then I found more of the old documents, and contemporary accounts of the American Revolution and the decades before and after it. Thinking that the religious tone and references showed a different story than the one I was being told, I asked a teacher or two about it. I was then assured that the Founders wrote and talked that way because the masses were so ignorant as to still believe all that God garbage, and our Founders were wise enough to humor them.

Then I discovered letters that they wrote to each other, and to young people they were mentoring. So much for that ‘humoring the masses’ idea. Upon hearing this objection, my teachers told me that although the Founders were products of the Enlightenment, they were of course early in the process and so were of course poisoned by the social conventions of their times. They didn’t really believe in God, they simply didn’t know how to talk or write or think any other way…

Uh, huh.

While I will agree that we are all influenced by the culture in which we are raised (witness the fact that I actually believed my teachers for a while, even on that last point), at some point I had to decide that my teachers were protesting too much. The Founders – who pledged their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor for the cause, and stayed the course at tremendous sacrifice, and who prayed and praised God both publicly and privately – made sense only if I ignored the very odd, and very recent, spin put upon them by my teachers. The original documents, the earlier textbooks, the art around official buildings in Washington D.C., the policies of the government – pretty much everything put out by people who hadn’t fallen into Social Darwinist thinking (or its near cousins) – argued against the intellectual fad I was taught in public school, and then in college.

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From Mr. Smith and The Ides of March, by Robinson O’Brien-Bours:

While both Clooney’s and Capra’s films depict a political system rife with corruption, there is a hugely important difference between the two. Clooney’s dark and pessimistic tale brings no closure to it, and no hope; one leaves the theater with a bitter sense of disappointment and cynical contempt for our political process. It is a tragedy where everyone loses, much like the tale of Julius Caesar that the title alludes to.

Mr. Smith, though, has a far different, more lasting, and more important tone. It depicts one decent and determined common man, surrounded by petty bunch of political thugs, who nonetheless makes a difference. This is not to say that its title character, Jefferson Smith, is alone in his feelings–the people support him, and there are even members of the Senate who likely support him as well, but are yet complicit with the villains through their silence. Smith still wins in the end, though.

Perhaps this is too idealistic. Perhaps the cynical transformation of Gosling’s Stephen Myers is closer to the real thing than the determined support for lost causes exhibited by Stewart’s Smith. If that is the case, though, then the fault is not with our system of government, but with us. We are the government.

Many Americans over the past few years seem to see our country through the same jaded vision of The Ides of March, and are tired of it. Perhaps, then, now is the perfect time to revisit the 1939 classic, which came out just in time for Nazis, Soviets, and Fascists to all ban it for its dangerous idea. When Hitler banned American movies in France, one Parisian theater played Mr. Smith nonstop for the month leading up to the ban. Tyrants are threatened by the idea that individuals have power; mortified by the possibility that one single person has the power to change the world. The reason they fear this is because it is true: good men, armed by the truth and common decency, can do more to change the world than all the armies and propaganda of tyranny and corruption in the world combined. It just takes hard determination in face of the harshest adversity.

Read the whole thing.

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