Monthly Archives: March 2016

It Is Inevitable.

It is inevitable. The sentiment is exuded by Agent Smith as he seemingly conquers the Matrix. But almost at every stage, shortly after he employes the phrase, he get’s what he wants, but then he doesn’t want what he got. Because inevitability is a cruel master. Just because something is inevitable doesn’t make it right. It doesn’t make you right for participating. You look down and find the sword in your hand, or the woman in your bed, or the silver in your purse, then you realize that you are Judas. Just because you were able to make all that money, or sleep with that woman or be elected to that office, doesn’t mean it was right. You may be the tragic fool in the hand of God. As Jesus said on the night he was betrayed

“For the Son of Man goes as it has been determined, but woe to that man by whom he is betrayed!” (Luke 22:22)

which harkens back to an earlier verse in Luke:

“Temptations to sin are sure to come, but woe to the one through whom they come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin.” (Luke 17:1)

Of course it was inevitable, there may be conspiracies, there may even be conspiracies involving Lucifer himself, but they are all part of God’s plan. God’s plans will be accomplished with or without you. But for your sake you do have a choice whether you are that tragic fool or not.

"That is the sound of inevitability."

“That is the sound of inevitability.”

You have to wonder about the career of Judas. He finds himself hanging out with the hottest show in town. A guy who is clearly a prophet, in a time when everyone is looking for just such a man to overthrow Rome. Then this guy chooses you to be part of his inner circle. This has to validate everything you believe, he chose you, so it must be because your particular philosophy of anti-Roman zealotry was right. Then you start making money on the side pilfering from the money box. You do it once, and then a few more times and no one seems to notice. So you keep doing it. God is making you rich and powerful. You are propelled by inevitability. This is so easy to fall into. But just because you can doesn’t mean you should. Then Jesus all but tells him to go out and betray him(John 13). I think he is on auto pilot by this point. He is probably getting those warm tingly feelings and perhaps déjà vu. This is where I’m supposed to be. It’s a feeling, we even call it the will of God or use that lamentable phrase “It’s a God thing”. It was inevitable. And so it was. But then Judas found out that he was on the wrong side. He had said his lines and played his part. But it was not the part of the hero, it was the part of the villain. He got to the point where his choices led him, and he didn’t like it. There were two layers of story, God’s purposes, where someone had to betray him, it was Satan’s plan for conquering Yahweh, it was God’s plan for conquering Satan. And the second layer, the man who betrayed the Messiah, and incarnate Lord of the Universe. But it all seemed to be going so well, so many open doors, it had to be the will of God. But it was clearly wrong, and he couldn’t face it so he killed himself.

So much the same situation with Agent Smith. He acts because he is compelled, it is in the cards, or the code as the case may be. What is possible, what is inevitable, seems like it is right. It just has to be, because he can’t understand anything else. He can’t understand a transcendent God communicating moral issues of right and wrong. It’s very similar to the Darwinian view of man and life on this planet. We must evolve and perpetuate the planet and the human race, because we must. Never mind that we have very little control over any of it. In so far as we do, we simply must. Like that idiot at the end of Cast Away. We deliver the package because and we get up every day because, it’s inevitable. What a lame ethos. Even the most strict man of fate has to feel that tinge of a moral tug in the back of his mind. Of course after getting away with whatever a few times, it is dulled and your inevitability complex can reign free. It’s so easy to do. Like Agent Smith the first time he clones someone. Maybe it was the first time you sold someone a piece of garbage and made a bunch of money. Maybe it was the first time you stole something from the company. Maybe the first time you misrepresented yourself, and gained positions or power. This is really the basis of Muhammad’s tribal cult. We can conquer all these other tribes, therefore God wants us to conquer the world. Or even the whole host of 20th century dictators. Science made our machines better, therefore it is only inevitable that we should treat our society like a machine. It has to make things better, regardless of the fact that we are murdering millions. We even see the same thing today with the voting for Trump. He can win votes therefore he should win votes and I want to be part of the inevitable so I vote for him. Which gets us to the other tribal cult which we are perhaps more prone to than victory by the sword. Victory by the competitive business model, unfettered Capitalism. Trump has learned about inevitability here too (so too has our local Gianforte, as he pursues the power of the governorship). He can throw his weight around and make money, so he does. He never has to repent because he has been a success, he’s a ‘winner’, which is the test of his morality. This gets back to the genius of Hilaire Belloc’s book The Mercy of Allah. Where he parodies the capitalist and the Muhammadan. As they go about the world defrauding everyone they can and then marveling that Allah has been so merciful. Or as we say in ‘merica, god has been good. That’s little ‘g’ generic god, who doesn’t mind all the corners I cut to get here. Because all that matters is the outcome, I’m a good person, I gave a bunch of it to charity, which I created, which gave me more power. Of course there are people who get wealthy by completely legitimate means, like Job, but many more who do not. But the fact that you do have wealth or power doesn’t mean that it’s a gift from God and that you are completely virtuous. It could mean that it was a curse from God and you are Agent Smith or Judas Iscariot. God’s plan marches on and the only thing we have orchestrated is our own demise. The blood is on our hands. And we feel betrayed, “but I was just following orders”. Unfortunately it doesn’t work that way, we made the choice. We reap what we sow. We broke the law, we are the betrayer, because the character of God says so.

I wonder about the contrast between Peter and Judas. Jesus tells us that Satan asked for Peter that he might sift him as wheat. But Jesus prayed for him. And we know the result, after the resurrection Peter became and integral building block in the Church. But we never hear the story about Judas. We can assume that Satan also asked for Judas as well. And it’s pretty clear that Jesus allowed Satan to use him(John 13:26,27). But it was just the way Judas wanted. It was inevitable.

I am also reminded of this passage:

And Micaiah said, “Therefore hear the word of the Lord: I saw the Lord sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing beside him on his right hand and on his left; and the Lord said, ‘Who will entice Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth- gilead? ’ And one said one thing, and another said another. Then a spirit came forward and stood before the Lord, saying, ‘I will entice him. ’ And the Lord said to him, ‘By what means? ’ And he said, ‘I will go out, and will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. ’ And he said, ‘You are to entice him, and you shall succeed; go out and do so. ’ Now therefore behold, the Lord has put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these your prophets; the Lord has declared disaster for you.”

God sent a spirit to deceive Ahab. It might not seem fair. But the truth is that if Ahab hadn’t given in to vice, it wouldn’t have been possible. When God allowed Job to be tested by Satan, Job passed the test. But we can’t overlook the fact that we have to use a lot of wisdom, and hold fast to the Word of God, or we might be swept up in something, which feel right, or looks good, but is really a subtle temptation to sin. Giving in to one sin makes us more vulnerable, it makes our sense dull to future temptation. It makes it easier to give into the feeling of inevitability. Don’t give in! Don’t be swept up! Hold fast to the commands of God, and do them! Every time!

"No, no, no, no, it's not fair."

“No, no, no, no, it’s not fair.”

Inevitability makes for a thin and shabby god. He has no “why”, he has no reason or character to back up his commands. Right is what is possible, wrong is what is not possible. “When God closes a door he opens a window” as they say. The door is open, it must be right. Except when it is wrong. And we find a window dropping us onto the potter’s field, or the dust bin of the Matrix source code. The story was told and you are the fool, you would be better off drowned at the bottom of the sea.


Serious Girl

It has come to my attention that I have been far to humorous both in print, and in person, and whatever this is.  I realize that the single class of the fairer sex does not really like this.  Oh sure the first thing on their long list of magical abilities they must have in their perspective male accessory is that they be humorous.  By this, they only humor themselves.  We all know that life is really all about being serious, they are quite serious themselves, which is why they would never dare to get so much as an A- all the way through grad school.  And there are so many things to be seriously worried about.  There is of course the ever looming WWIII, War in the Middle East, The Yellowstone Super Volcano, and now, a new threat as never before, of breaking your smartphone.  Not to mention the millions of food combinations that can result in sudden death at the slightest miscalculation.  As any serious woman knows the only solution is to constantly read every blog post from every blog on the subject of Organic Food and of course the ever formidable GMO’s.  I will pause while you shudder.  And who can ever know if their food has enough adjectives describing the entire life story of this food’s extended family and that of the extended family of the people who killed it and sold it to you?  All in all avoiding all the known and unknown dietary pitfalls requires the enlistment of none other than Batman.  No not that one, I’m talking about Michael Keaton in his stylishly modified Corvette.  Speaking of fast cars, I suppose I will have to sell that as well.  Serious women and I suppose God, knows that cars are the surest way to meet your own demise these days.  And who knows if I am using the correct child seat?  Which brings us to the subject of kids,  Women know that kids are really just a list of things to worry about.(Is that why they love them so much?)  Which is why they view men as kids, because what is more worrisome than a creature that doesn’t worry constantly?  Now that I think about it I’m not sure I exercised enough today, much less worried about exercise.  In fact I probably spent more time making sarcastic jokes and wisecracks, by far, than I did exercising.  Oh dear.  Is there any hope for me?  All in all I am probably exactly like that guy you dated in whenever from wherever, who dared to threaten the perfect plan you had for you life.  We really are all alike and how dare we. You should probably just stick to your Nazi war, I mean career path.  As it turns out, I will probably never be less funny or less dangerous.  But I will have more money, which would allow me to get a silly girl.  Hmm.

Objective Fantasy

What is objectivity?  We talk about it a lot in reference to understanding events of recent or distant history, be it in the newspaper or books. My dictionary says “(of a person or their judgment) not influenced by personal feelings oropinions in considering and representing facts”. And even quoting that dictionary is an appeal to the objective.  Now we could deconstruct this and every word as the philosophers do, but they  end up knowing nothing in the end.  I think a better approach is to connect the word with other ideas we already have and construct something.

I think this is a fairly decent definition.  But even definitions are out of style these days.  People lack the clarity of though to define what they are saying and their hearers don’t want to question or clarify because that might betray ignorance or create a division.  And we all know that getting along is the ultimate virtue these days.  Now word definitions come about in many ways, we get them from the past, from our friends, from various forms of media and we take them and change them.  No one is really certain how it works, but it does.  As Christians we should understand that things works as they do because they reflect the character of God.  Words have objective meaning outside ourselves because God is a standard outside of ourselves and this is his world, he gave us language.

These post-modern times are about the furthest thing you can get from the objective.  I hear people often discount history because ‘we can’t know what really happened because everyone is biased.”  But the fact remains that there are facts, something did happen and it was one thing and not another.  This type of futilism is nothing more than an excuse to avoid the hard work of sorting out the truth.  Of course people are biased they come from different perspectives and have different experiences.  But there is another source of information.  The world is more than just many selves asserting.  There is reality, there is truth.  What do you call someone who only knows their view of things and can’t understand someone else’s perspective.  I believe it’s ‘selfish’.  And so we can see that not making an attempt to understand the objective is sin.

The word of the year last year was ‘selfie’ because we all know that if there is anything the world needs, it’s more pictures of me, me me!  I think instead of ‘social media’ they should call it ‘self media’.  It is all about self and affirming self.  Your ‘friends’ are allowed to affirm you, but that’s it.  Any questioning or dispariging comments put you in the category of a troll or hater, so better stick to telling your friends that everything they do is awesome. . . *like*.

The opposite of asserting yourself onto something is to let something else change you.  One of my favorite books is C. S. Lewis’, An Experiment in Criticism.  Lewis was man of letters, his work in the area of medieval and renaissance literature is still valued by academics today.  But he was also a thinking Christian.  He understood the problems of higher criticism which had begun in his day and he fought it as a Christian.  These critics thought that the art of literature was subjective, the words mean whatever each individual fancies they mean.  Hmm, sound familiar?  This is exactly what they do with the Bible, and so we can see that their attempts to undermine God’s word force them to maintain this consistency in all the arts.  No problem for them, or so they think.  Look around this isn’t working out too well, everyone does what is right in his own eyes and you have anarchy.  Now there is no such thing as gender or marriage and suggesting a gender of bathroom out of sync with a person’s mental disorder is now a crime.  Lewis goes another way, back to allowing literature to change you.  It involves surrender and humility only then, in being changed, can you evaluate if the change was good.  You don’t just evaluate a book by putting yourself onto it “i liked it” “I thought it was about this”.  But you let it speak to you and then evaluate if it made you a better person.  This applies to literature and to the study of God’s word and all of the arts and even all of life.

Interesting that the classical writers even understood that as they created literature it was not just themselves acting.  They often appealed to the muses, because as every good writer knows, the creative process often seems to come from somewhere else, outside the mere self.  They didn’t create to express themselves but to express  or reveal objective truth.  They developed their skill and measure it by how well that was done.

This is also the importance of developing your imagination.  Imagination is the minds’ ability to theorize something outside of itself.  It allows you to empathize with other people and their situation.  It allows you to imagine how you were wrong in any given way, and to open the possibility of change.  But even fantasy requires rules.  It requires that you know where you are a what the rules of the story are.  Don’t eat that, don’t go through there, don’t touch that.  It can aid our imagination and allow us to see that our story is not what we thought it was.  Fantasy can shift our perception to be more in line with the real objective standard.

But even many Christians today think that everything is subjective.  It’s really sad.  The Christian religion is based on objective facts stated in a book about objective events that really happened.  As Paul says, if they didn’t really happen we above all people are to pitied, for we are living a lie( I Corinthians 15:19).  But Christians today live another lie.  Pretending they are Christians without actually believing anything that Christ did or said, well except some of the Social Gospel stuff.  Giving people free stuff and helping prostitutes is cool, because, well because it feels cool, and also it’s the current fad.  As with so many things we all really, deep down believe in objective standards.  But we have changed the source from the Word of God to the whims of Pop Culture.  Because it’s convenient.  Because we are cowards.  Coward: a person who lacks courage to meet danger; a poltroon; a timid or pusillanimous man. Well, objectively speaking.