Forgiveness is Virtuous

The College Loans thing has come back up, as it will keep returning until either debtors are enslaved openly in America, or else the debt is forgiven, presumably by some socialist takeover that brings on mass starvation.

I prefer neither option.

My favorite “plan” to deal with the Student Loan Crisis is as follows: declare that most college degrees to be scams. Seize the university endowments to pay the debt. Forgive the students.

I am led to believe this would cover the debt without having to dip into tax money. The Universities are bastions of the Left. There is nary a Right-winger who wouldn’t claim that most degrees aren’t fraudulent. Advocating this and, indeed, enacting it, would win the hearts and minds of many brainwashed children who are currently en route to imposing the Communist Revolution, and our homebred version of the gulags. And both I, and many others who advocate it would without hesitation agree to many of the stipulations that the so-called Right insists it would have to have.

  • “Well then, those degrees are revoked.” Certainly. It’s not as though they are furnishing the jobs they were billed as providing.
  • “If you aren’t smart enough not to sell yourself into slavery, you shouldn’t vote.” By all means. Revoke the franchise from those so forgiven.
  • “The federal loan program would have to be ended to prevent it happening again.” We are in complete agreement.

And yet, it is a mark of the “Right’s” commitment to losing that the mere mention of delivering this relief pushes them into shrieking fit for any vampire confronted with a crucifix.

“Why should my taxes pay for the forgiveness?” But I never proposed that they should.

“You just aren’t willing to cut Netflix and work two jobs like me.” I don’t have Netflix, and moreover, my debt is not at issue. Even if I get my way, mine will be paid off before it ever happens.

“If your student loan gets forgiven, what about my car loan?”

And now we have landed on something meaty. Something meaningful. Something I’ve been wanting to get around to.

Yeah. Let’s forgive that too.

You see, the Church has historically been against usury. That is, lending money at interest. At all.

Now this business of student loans is cast as a political and economic argument. These are not my area of expertise. My interests are drawing, writing, storytelling, programming games. On subjects outside my expertise, I defer to religion. In fact, I defer to religion even within my expertise. If I say one thing, and Jesus says another, I am wrong and Jesus is right. Period.

And what does religion tell me about debt, forgiveness, and usury?

Well, the theocracy of Israel is forbidden to loan at interest to their countrymen, and they are to forgive all debts every seven years.

I eat bacon and shellfish. I am not under the Mosaic Covenant. But I am not about to say I am wiser or more righteous than God. So the idea that it is morally superior to make men pay their debts is out the window.

You cannot be more just than God. Simple as. Nor more wise.

Which undercuts another argument, namely that debt forgiveness would create perverse incentives. Surely, God knew the incentives when He devised the Mosaic Covenant.

And of course, we are taught to pray “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.”

Even supposing we paid for student loans out of our taxes, do you really intend to stand before Christ and say “I was unwilling to pay for my neighbor’s freedom, but I’d sure like you to pay for mine!”

“But Jesus is talking about moral debts, not financial debts!”

So, if I take your money, that has no moral component? Balderdash. Anyway, the idea that monetary debt has no moral component certainly undercuts the line “No one put a gun to your head and forced you to sign. You agreed to pay that.”

Either it is not immoral for me to refuse to pay, or “forgive their moral debts” applies to financial debts. You can’t have it both ways.

So yeah. I think student loans and car loans should be forgiven. Maybe once every seven years. Maybe through some process like bankruptcy. I’m not a theonomist. I’m not committed to reinstating Moses in America.

But I am saying if your argument for your system is that it is more righteous than Moses’s, or more wise, then you are flatly wrong.

“But our economy can’t work like that!”

You underestimate my willingness to appear an utter gibbering moron if it means doing what Jesus says. I am certain that a country who makes “foolish” financial decisions because that is what Christ would command will somehow find a way to daily bread.

The Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Anything that claims to be wisdom and is not founded in God-Fearing, cannot be wise.

Anyway, our economy is crumbling already. The Horseman of inflation rides among us. And our country will continue to be accursed so long as it murders infants and enslaves children.

Politics and Economics

Now, I do think there is an argument that can be made for forgiveness that is political and a couple that are economic.

A country’s true economy, I would argue, is measured in whether men are taking wives and having children. By murdering half my generation, the Boomers have doomed America to darker winters for a long time. By selling the remaining half to the banks, they have made the coming winters darker and longer still.

Our house is on fire. To pull out of this nosedive, we need normal men and woman raising families. To make this happen, we need to get normal men and women out of debt.

This is one economic argument. Let us suppose that the only possible way to forgive student loans is with taxes. Let us suppose we don’t do it.

There will be fewer goods and services in the years to come because there will not be the human capital to furnish them. Nor the brain capital to maintain the automation needed to furnish them.

The second economic argument is that building an economy on debt is as foolish as centrally planning an economy, and for the same reasons. The ability to take imaginary money out of the bank and buy real things with it disrupts the healthy mechanisms of supply and demand. Our currency isn’t just inflated by the money printers. It is also inflated by credit cards.

To be sure, we have food, and communists have starvation. So to say our system is as bad as, say, Venezuela’s is objectively false. But I think it is still bad, and will all blow up in our faces.

The political argument I have already made above. Men have gone to college, been told that capitalists are evil, and had every evil for which capitalism is blamed done to them by the colleges. If we let them be, if we let Bernie and his ilk continue to enchant them, they will put us all in gulags, and then everyone gets to starve to death. But if we forgive the debt, and fix the blame where it belongs, perhaps another path becomes available.

I am neither a politician nor an accountant. I believe these arguments, but I am not really able to defend them.

But That’s Not the Point

The point is forgiveness is objectively good and laudible and I cannot and will not claim otherwise so long as I hope for salvation in the Blood of Christ.

My conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and will not retract anything, since it is neither safe nor right to go against conscience. Here I stand. I cannot do otherwise. God help me.

That’s not how my religion works. That’s not how ANY religion works.

Every now and again, I find myself uttering that phrase.

You see, every day I come across men who seem to believe that my religion is a therapeutic or a crutch. A tool I use to deal with the world.

It can serve these purposes. But it is not my religion because I find it helpful. On the contrary, several times a day I find it profoundly unhelpful. Rather, it is my religion because I think it is true.

I think a man really rose from the dead. And because He really rose from the dead, His claims about reality take precedence over the claims of historians, scientists, and other philosophers by a country mile.

I may have misunderstood the Resurrected Man, to be sure. Though He claims to be merciful and the author of language itself, so I trust that any misunderstanding is either willful on my part, or else temporary. Hopefully always the second, even if the first. But because He Lives, I am no fool for favoring His account even if evidence seems to point the other way.

Man or Rabbit

C.S. Lewis once addressed the question of whether you can lead a good life without being a Christian. His essay, Man or Rabbit? formed the foundation of my habits of thought. For in it, he he repeatedly returns to hammering home the same concept.

One of the things that distinguishes man from the other animals is that he wants to know things, wants to find out what reality is like, simply for the sake of knowing. When that desire is quenched in anyone, I think he has become something less than human.

I don’t give two figs whether Christianity is useful or not. I care whether it is true. I follow it in my own mangled, befuddled way because I am convinced it is true. If it were false, I would rather believe what was true, whether it was Odinism, Atheism, or Taoism.

And while I am pleased to be a believer now, I have not always been. For long decades of my life, I was convinced that Jesus was the Christ, the Risen Son of God, and I wished it were not so. But even then, I did not discard it.

I am not much of a man. I will not win many fistfights. I have not earned a great deal of money, or skillfully managed my affairs. My foes have many vectors to mock me.

But at least I am no rabbit. I am devoted to that which I am persuaded is true. I swear fealty to the God who lives. And if I learn different, I will not abandon my faith easily or lightly, but I will abandon it. I will take up the true faith.

I am dead serious. I have already switched from revivalist non-denominationalism to Confessional Lutheranism, and come within a hand’s breadth of swimming the Tiber. I am not devoted to my tradition because it is my tradition. I am devoted because I believe it to be true.

Diversion: The Paucity of Pagans and Pragmatists

Now, every week or so, some gentlemen on social media says that to save the West, we should abandon Christianity and become Odinists. After all, Odinists fight. Odinists can stand against the SJWs.

I rather suspect that the proportion of Odinists with blue hair greatly exceeds the proportion of blue haired Christians. But even if it were not so, even if Odinists always fight and Christians always lay down and die, I would hold there is one and only one reason to become an Odinist: that Odin is really and truly king of the gods, and Jesus is not.

If Odin is imaginary and Jesus is imaginary, which I strongly suspect to be the real belief of most Odinists I meet, then the manly thing to do is own up to it. “I am playing make-believe for the psychological and social benefits.”

Well, I make children’s books. I play make-believe professionally. There is nothing wrong with that. But there is something wrong with calling it a religion.

A religion is a practice spawned by an honest assessment of reality. It is service to the gods because they are gods, not because they are cool. A real Odinist really sacrifices real goats to really Odin. He doesn’t just braid his beard and wear a meowmeow amulet for funsies.

When a man tells me “give up your faith, mine is far more practical”, he tells me he believes lies on purpose for their benefits. In short, he tells me he is not a man.

A beast may be stronger than me. Elephants are. A beast may be wealthier than me. The housecats of elite widows are.

The dignity of manhood may be improved by strength or funds or cleverness. But without it, you are simply not a man.

Beliefs Have Consequences

As soon as we have realised this, we realise something else. If Christianity should happen to be true, then it is quite impossible that those who know this truth and those who don’t should be equally well equipped for leading a good life. Knowledge of the facts must make a difference to one’s actions. Suppose you found a man on the point of starvation and wanted to do the right thing. If you had no knowledge of medical science, you would probably give him a large solid meal; and as a result your man would die. That is what comes of working in the dark. In the same way a Christian and a non-Christian may both wish to do good to their fellow men. The one believes that men are going to live for ever, that they were created by God and so built that they can find their true and lasting happiness only by being united to God, that they have gone badly off the rails, and that obedient faith in Christ is the only way back. The other believes that men are an accidental result of the blind workings of matter, that they started as mere animals and have more or less steadily improved, that they are going to live for about seventy years, that their happiness is fully attainable by good social services and political organisations, and that everything else (e.g., vivisection, birth-control, the judicial system, education) is to be judged to be ‘good’ or ‘bad’ simply in so far as it helps or hinders that kind of ‘happiness’.

Now there are quite a lot of things which these two men could agree in doing for their fellow citizens. Both would approve of efficient sewers and hospitals and a healthy diet. But sooner or later the difference of their beliefs would produce differences in their practical proposals. Both, for example, might be very keen about education: but the kinds of education they wanted people to have would obviously be very different. Again, where the Materialist would simply ask about a proposed action ‘Will it increase the happiness of the majority?’, the Christian might have to say, ‘Even if it does increase the happiness of the majority, we can’t do it. It is unjust.’ And all the time, one great difference would run through their whole policy. To the Materialist things like nations, classes, civilizations must be more important than individuals, because the individuals live only seventy odd years each and the group may last for centuries. But to the Christian, individuals are more important, for they live eternally; and races, civilizations and the like, are in comparison the creatures of a day.

The Christian and the Materialist hold different beliefs about the universe. They can’t both be right. The one who is wrong will act in a way which simply doesn’t fit the real universe. Consequently, with the best will in the world, he will be helping his fellow creatures to their destruction.

– Man or Rabbit? C. S. Lewis, emphasis mine.

A week or two ago, an anti-“Critical Race Theory” activist by the name of James Lindsay went around claiming the plain teachings of John 1, accepted by Papists and Lutherans, Greeks and Baptists alike, are that old heresy, Gnosticism, thereby setting himself up as a great defender of the Faith he doesn’t hold.

When Christians of every stripe questioned his theology, he got butthurt and salty and went around talking about how Christians could Save the West if they only stop being Christians.

Now. I am in favor of his crusade against CRT. I am a uniquely bitter foe of the vicious, abusive, racist policies of the American Government School.

But Mr. Lindsay seems to believe people choose religion the way they choose socks. Because they like the color and fit.

And maybe for many men, that is true.

But that’s not how religion works.

I would like to Save the West. I am fond of flush toilets and video games. When the collapse comes, I am ill-suited to be the local warlord. When the Stasi come to my door, I expect to die offering a futile token resistance.

But in the long run, the West is nothing; Christ is everything.

Moreover, the only Christians who could Save the West are those who believe the West is nothing; Christ is everything.

You cannot get the benefits of religion without really believing. And if you really believe, you will have to act in accordance with what you believe.

Deep down, Mr. Lindsay believes, or acts as though be believes, that everyone is secretly an atheist, who affects religion because it is practical.

But, Mr. Lindsay, if that is so, why do you want to be yoked with such dishonest men? Or if I have charged you falsely, and you think we really do serve the Risen God Man (in our own minds, anyway), why should we obey you and not Him?

And Thus, I am Unconcerned By the Dying Church

Many a man forecasts the death of the Church if it doesn’t do this or that.

Many a man within the Church on my side laments that the church has become emasculated. Toothless.

I feel your pain. I wish to see a righteous army stand undaunted against the foe. I wish to be part of this. To hold the line. To reconquer. To rebuild.

Which of you wants to tell the King of Creation that His Bride needs more chest hair?

If Christianity is true, Christ will preserve His Church, weak though she is, foolish though she is.

If Christianity is false, the church deserves to die. Because lies deserve to die.

The health of the Church is not my problem. Only the health of the local Church, in which I am a member, which I am to love as my own body. And my duty there is not to make sure they have rock bands to attract the youth, nor even specifically to protect them against rock bands (though that is more my wont). It is to hear the Word and repeat it. To be shriven. To take the Sacrament. And to love my neighbor as myself.


You know, I really do believe all that crazy stuff happened. That the sun stood still for Joshua. That Jonah was swallowed by a big fish. That a virgin conceived and gave birth. That water became wine and that wine becomes blood.

Because I really do think that a man died and returned from death. And what He says goes. Even if it doesn’t make sense to me.

Even if it’s utterly impractical.

And because I really believe all that, I have to live my day-to-day life as if it were true, even though it seems foolish to those who believe differently.

That’s how my religion works.

That’s how every religion works. You either act in accordance with it, or else you’re larping.

A Hagiography of St. Kyle

The phrase “St. Kyle” is ironic. I don’t know if Kyle is or will be a Saint. I find icons of him just as “cringe” as icons of Bernie.

My position with regard to his legal standing is this: I was on Twitter the nights of the Kenosha riots. I saw the videos of the events minutes or hours after they happened. I thought at the time it was clear-cut self-defense. But even if there is some fact that has surfaced in the last months that makes Rittenhouse legally culpable for some infraction, which was presented at the trial, I still hold to “Innocent until Proven Guilty,” and therefore hold the jury adjudicated rightly.

I was not there for the riot. Neither was I there for the trial. God will judge all things correctly on the Last Day. My judgment is nothing.

So. If my position is so cold, to a man beloved to so many on my side, then why have I chosen the title “A Hagiography of St. Kyle”?

Many who are on or near my side have been criticizing Rittenhouse as follows: “He should’t have even been there.”

He lived there part time. His father and grandmother lived there. He worked there. It was as much his home as his mother’s house 25 miles away.

Now, for those who say he was “looking for trouble,” I have scorn. The Scriptures instruct us not to slander a man. He says he was there to render aid and not to fight, and his actions are the actions of a man who was there to render aid and not to fight. To go beyond his word in assessing his motivation is to break the 8th Commandment. Shame on you. Repent in dust and ashes.

For those who say he was a child, he should have stayed away from riots, in fact, everyone in that town should have fled for the hills, let alone people who legitimately had a hearth in another town, I will be more gentle.

Standing up for your neighbor when the authorities have abandoned you is the American way.

The Struggle of the American Christian

But is the American way the Christian way?

Romans 13 tells us to be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except from God. It was written under a tyrant no less opposed to Christ than our current regime.

Nevertheless, when Peter disobeyed the Sanhedrin, he said, “We must obey God rather than men.” And the church has long recognized this line as authoritative, even though it is descriptive and Romans 13 is prescriptive. If Caesar tells you to go to jail, you go to jail. If Caesar tells you to murder an innocent, you refuse. If Caesar tells you to deny Christ, you deny Caesar instead.

This is the Christian way.

David is commended, in part, because Saul was delivered into his hand, and knowing that he, too, was anointed to be king, yet he did not strike down the Lord’s anointed.

But the American way is that if a tyrant gives you an illegal command, you ignore him. If he presses the matter, you shoot him.

Well, I am American. But my primary citizenship is the Kingdom of Heaven. If my culture commands one thing and my religion another, I must choose my religion. Simple, right?

But here’s the rub: the Americans have made the American way the law of the land.

Lex Rex or Not?

The Second Amendment exists not for hunting nor for self-defense, but precisely so Americans can shoot illegitimate governing authorities. The assumption of the Constitution is that any law written by Congress, any order given by the President or by any Judge, if it violates the Constitutions, will be ignored or set aside by the other branches of government and by the American People. And Sheriffs and Congressmen and Judges and Military Men are sworn to defend the Constitution from all enemies, foreign or domestic.

The Militia mentioned in the Second Amendment is intended to be every able-bodied male at or above the age of (if I recall correctly) 17. In modern English, the amendment might read: “We are not free unless every 17 year-old boy is well-armed and well-trained. Therefore the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

This is part of America’s heritage, it’s culture and its laws. The Saxon is called a Saxon because he is unclothed without his short-sword, his saex.

Now, in practice, this is not reality any more. If you fail to send in your income taxes because it is unconstitutional, you may find yourself accidentally shot by federal marshals. Every 17-year-old boy isn’t well armed and well trained.

Fourscore and seven years after the republic was founded, we decided it wasn’t even a republic, but an empire.

But, part of America’s heritage is that every man is a lesser magistrate. Part of his duty is to protect his neighbor not only from hunger and robbery, but even from the authorities above him. The sheriff, the congressman, the president.

And sometimes, the judges still rule that way. Sometimes, when a church remains open after a state orders it closed, the courts say, “no, the church was in the right.”

After all, those who violate the Constitution above us do so under an authority they are granted by an oath to defend the Constitution.

And, of course, the whole moral of Nuremburg is that our current pluto-theocracy has publicly said that you must not do evil even if given a lawful order to do so.

Where do I come down on this?

The argument I have presented is not a slam-dunk case.

In American jurisprudence, the Constitution is neither wholly dead nor wholly alive.

The Romans 13 text is talking about people, not laws. But our hierarchy of people swears fealty to the laws and even sometimes upholds them.

And in 2020 and 2021, this churning pot of acid has been boiling in the gut of every American Christian who was not already long since wholly convinced of one side or the other.

I know men who believe they have a duty to obey the tyrant’s every command, so long as he does not command apostasy.

My church is full of Germans. Germans have a long history of loving authority.

I know men who believe they have a duty to resist even tiny tyrannies, for such is our duty as citizens.

My family is full of Anglo-Americans. We don’t cotton to authority when it’s just, let alone when it’s plainly not.

My council is Conscience and Grace. Let every man study the Scriptures and be convinced. Let no man violate his conscience.

And when you see Christians going the other way, whether it be submitting to tyrants or resisting them, my council is to understand this is a hard call, and we all have to stand alone before Christ and account for ourselves.

And the good account is not “I submitted,” nor “I resisted,” but, “Christ have mercy on me, a sinner!”

Likewise, I commend Kyle Rittenhouse to your grace, even if you think that towns should lie down and let the current tyrannies roll over them.

But as for me

But I do not think this.

I have decided for the sake of my neighbor, I cannot follow Romans 13 in a manner inconsistent with American culture and governance, even though I’m living and going to church with a bunch of German immigrants who don’t understand the systems they inherited from my ancestors.

God help me.

God help us all.

Captain’s Log LB•11: the Primacy of Vidya

After several days of consideration and a day walking ’round in chilly weather with a cyborg eyepatch and a cockatiel, I have settled on some conclusions for Bunny Trail Junction and my various projects going forward. Chief of these is this:

Vidya is Prime

Vidya is my prime medium. Comics, children’s books, internet videos, and so forth are all fine ways to tell stories, and I should use them, especially when vidya is unsuited to a specific story. But most of my alternative media should be vidya first, and then derived from vidya.

LB1•11

Now, there are arguments against vidya being prime.

Vidya is Bad!

I’ve been listening to a podcast called A Brief History of Power, and it has been recommending that we disconnect as much as possible from screens in general. Your life will, it is argued, be more functional without TV, Facebook, and Mario. And I agree. I try to limit my kids’ screen time and advocate the whole family limit theirs.

But I do not believe the technology is intrinsically evil. I believe it is a usable tool that has been made into a glowing idol before which men bow and receive propaganda from their gods. Christians ought to be wary of the tool because that is its primary usage. But we can and should use it to our ends by our means.

In A Brief History of Power, especially BHOP 063, Rev Fisk and Dr. Koontz make a distinction between media intended to be integrated into life and most media, which is design to wholly absorb your attention and suck you into its world. This is regarded by Fisk and Koontz as an unhealthy thing, especially in excess.

I am a proponent of Tolkien’s Escapism.

Fantasy is escapist, and that is its glory. If a soldier is imprisoned by the enemy, don’t we consider it his duty to escape?. . .If we value the freedom of mind and soul, if we’re partisans of liberty, then it’s our plain duty to escape, and to take as many people with us as we can!
– J.R.R. Tolkien

That is, I agree that Escapism to the extent that you run away from the real world when you could be making it better is at some point a vice, and it is a vice that is clearly endorsed especially by the Pop Cult, one of the Secular Cults of my area and era.

The Pop Cult is devoted to movies, video games, and other franchises. It is the religion of Disney, Marvel, and other forms of mass media. Men escape their sad lives into fantasy worlds. The Pop Cult is offered up to the population by the Death Cult as a narcotic, and the media therein is intentionally laced with Death Cult propaganda. However, practitioners of the Pop Cult are not necessarily conscious Death Cult Members.

However, I believe that attention absorbing, escapist media is good, right, and salutary for two purposes, hinted at by Tolkien.

  1. For Christian Rest. That is, for escape from this world, this vale of tears, with all its woe, toil, struggle, and incessant Death Cult propaganda.
  2. For escape from cults. That is, Christian men should create media that permits refuge for their fellow believers, and a doorway to freedom from evil cults for the trapped cultists.

Consumption of non-Christian-made entertainment is not wholly contraindicated here. I’m not making a law saying “don’t watch TV”. Nor are Fisk and Koontz.

Fisk and Koontz, (and I) would recommend, rather, that you consider what the media you consume is doing to you, and consciously decide whether you want that to happen.

And what is indicated is the production of media by Christians.

Reasons FOR the Primacy of Vidya

  • can make it. While the barriers of entry are lower than they ever have been, and continue to plummet, not many men can.
  • It combines all the skills in my talent stack, making it both more valuable and harder to duplicate.
  • Distribution is solved. While I can (and want to) make physical copies, I can give away a game to Kickstarter backers for 25% of the final intended cost, or as a free add-on for subscribing to my mailing list. These things are not possible for paper children’s books.
  • It is easier to derive my other media forms from vidya than vidya from the forms. I have already solved the problem of making black and white print comics from pixel art. I have not yet made motion comics for YouTube, but I suspect a game->video pipeline is simpler than a video->game pipeline.
  • It is much more likely (IMO) that I will build a game business that puts out books and comics than that I will build a book business that puts out games.

Conclusion

My new plan is to finish out December in Bunny Trail Junction, then go on indefinite hiatus while I roll up a video game business. That game business should quickly start leaking into videos, comics, and books as well. I hope in time to end the hiatus in February with a bimonthly format that carries through 2022, so that the 2021 annual and the 2022 annual are roughly the same size, but the Vidya is Prime.

Against Apologetics

I love apologetics. I love the study of why, in fact, Christianity is true. I love piling up historical evidence after historical evidence. Of understanding Textual Criticism.

My faith was preserved in my youth, when I deeply desired to apostate, by the writings of C.S. Lewis and Francis Schaeffer. The wounds my college teachers inflicted on my faith were salved by the balm of Peter Kreeft and James Patrick Holding. And to this day, I think Irenaeus’s Against Heresies is hilarious.

I think every Christian child should be armed with an understanding that our Myth is the True Myth. That they should not be going out in the world unprepared for the attacks that will come their way.

So why am I coming out against Apologetics?

I am not. But I would that my brothers would put it in it’s proper place.

Every apologetics ministry cites as its theme verse 1st Peter 3:15. But let’s look at it in context. It’s a long bit. But please, please, read it all. We’re going to start partway through 2, and go into 4. But if you want to do even better, read the whole letter. I triple-dog dare you.

Therefore subject yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether to the king, as supreme; or to governors, as sent by him for vengeance on evildoers and for praise to those who do well. For this is the will of God, that by well-doing you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: as free, and not using your freedom for a cloak of wickedness, but as bondservants of God. Honor all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.

Servants, be in subjection to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the wicked. For it is commendable if someone endures pain, suffering unjustly, because of conscience toward God. For what glory is it if, when you sin, you patiently endure beating? But if, when you do well, you patiently endure suffering, this is commendable with God.

For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving you an example, that you should follow his steps, who did not sin, “neither was deceit found in his mouth.” Who, when he was cursed, didn’t curse back. When he suffered, didn’t threaten, but committed himself to him who judges righteously; who his own self bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live to righteousness; by whose stripes you were healed. For you were going astray like sheep; but now have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

In the same way, wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; so that, even if any don’t obey the Word, they may be won by the behavior of their wives without a word; seeing your pure behavior in fear. Let your beauty be not just the outward adorning of braiding the hair, and of wearing jewels of gold, or of putting on fine clothing; but in the hidden person of the heart, in the incorruptible adornment of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God very precious. For this is how the holy women before, who hoped in God also adorned themselves, being in subjection to their own husbands: as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose children you now are, if you do well, and are not put in fear by any terror.

You husbands, in the same way, live with your wives according to knowledge, giving honor to the woman, as to the weaker vessel, as being also joint heirs of the grace of life; that your prayers may not be hindered.

Finally, be all like-minded, compassionate, loving as brothers, tenderhearted, courteous, not rendering evil for evil, or insult for insult; but instead blessing; knowing that to this were you called, that you may inherit a blessing.

For, “He who would love life, and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking deceit.

Let him turn away from evil, and do good. Let him seek peace, and pursue it.

For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears open to their prayer; but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”

Now who is he who will harm you, if you become imitators of that which is good?

But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed. “Don’t fear what they fear, neither be troubled.” But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts; and always be ready to give an answer to everyone who asks you a reason concerning the hope that is in you, with humility and fear: having a good conscience; that, while you are spoken against as evildoers, they may be disappointed who curse your good way of life in Christ. For it is better, if it is God’s will, that you suffer for doing well than for doing evil. Because Christ also suffered for sins once, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring you to God; being put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit; in which he also went and preached to the spirits in prison, who before were disobedient, when God waited patiently in the days of Noah, while the ship was being built. In it, few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water. This is a symbol of baptism, which now saves you—not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who is at the right hand of God, having gone into heaven, angels and authorities and powers being made subject to him.

Forasmuch then as Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind; for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin; that you no longer should live the rest of your time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. For we have spent enough of our past time doing the desire of the Gentiles, and having walked in lewdness, lusts, drunken binges, orgies, carousings, and abominable idolatries. They think it is strange that you don’t run with them into the same excess of riot, blaspheming: who will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. 6For to this end the Good News was preached even to the dead, that they might be judged indeed as men in the flesh, but live as to God in the spirit.

Emphasis mine, verse in question in red.

In the context of submitting to authorities, and wives submitting to husbands, with the example of Christ suffering under the authorities, Peter tells us if we suffer for doing good, to count ourselves blessed, and be ready to answer anyone who asks why we put up with evil masters.

Namely: because Christ suffered for our evil.

This is not a verse that urges us to defend the faith against all comers. It is a verse that urges us to proclaim the faith when people ask why we’re acting weird.

For Apologetics

There are passages that, I think, would make good theme verses for an apologist.

Now I Paul, myself, entreat you by the humility and gentleness of Christ; I who in your presence am lowly among you, but being absent am bold toward you. Yes, I beg you that I may not, when present, show courage with the confidence with which I intend to be bold against some, who consider us to be walking according to the flesh. For though we walk in the flesh, we don’t wage war according to the flesh; for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but mighty before God to the throwing down of strongholds, throwing down imaginations and every high thing that is exalted against the knowledge of God, and bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ; and being in readiness to avenge all disobedience, when your obedience will be made full.

2nd Corinthians 10: 1-6

Spiritual warfare is the war of ideas, and we fight with ideas taken captive to Christ.

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Therefore, as you go make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to keep all that I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Matthew 28:18

The mission of the church is to baptize and teach as we go.

Therefore take up the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you will be able to stand your ground, and having done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness arrayed, and with your feet fitted with the readiness of the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Ephesians 6:13-17

The Scriptures are our sword. The gospel our sandals. The truth our belt.

But should we always give a defense to every bad argument we see on Twitter?

The Nuance of God’s Wisdom

A whip is for the horse, a bridle for the donkey, and a rod for the back of fools!

Don’t answer a fool according to his folly, lest you also be like him.

Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes.

One who sends a message by the hand of a fool is cutting off feet and drinking violence.

Proverbs 26:3-6

Solomon endorses the old adage that when you fight with a pig, you both get muddy, but only one of you enjoys it. Nevertheless, he goes both ways. When you answer a fool, you are in a lose-lose situation; choose how you want to lose.

Don’t judge, so that you won’t be judged. For with whatever judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with whatever measure you measure, it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but don’t consider the beam that is in your own eye? Or how will you tell your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye;’ and behold, the beam is in your own eye? You hypocrite! First remove the beam out of your own eye, and then you can see clearly to remove the speck out of your brother’s eye.

Don’t give that which is holy to the dogs, neither throw your pearls before the pigs, lest perhaps they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.

“Ask, and it will be given you. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and it will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives. He who seeks finds. To him who knocks it will be opened. Or who is there among you, who, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, who will give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

Matthew 7:1-12: Emphasis mine

I referenced this verse when debating this point and received the reply, “I take ‘pearls’ to be the deep truths of the Kingdom, not explication of the fundamental propositional truths of scripture. Whether a man is an honest truth seeker is frequently only revealed with time.”

Interesting, that this comes right after “Do not judge” and right before “Seek and you will find.” I acknowledge that this supports the idea that when deciding whether someone is swine, to not cast pearls before, you reserve judgement rather than guilty until proven innocent. A point to the man who occasioned this post.

However, I dispute the idea that when you are pondering whether to set Holy things before dogs, the fundamental propositional truths of Scripture are not Holy! The Scriptures do indicate that some teachings are milk, and some teachings are meat, but all Scripture is God-Breathed and how could the Breath of God be anything but Holy?!

It happened on one of those days, as he was teaching the people in the temple and preaching the Good News, that the priests and scribes came to him with the elders. They asked him, “Tell us: by what authority do you do these things? Or who is giving you this authority?” He answered them, “I also will ask you one question. Tell me: 4the baptism of John, was it from heaven, or from men?” They reasoned with themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say, ‘Why didn’t you believe him?’ But if we say, ‘From men,’ all the people will stone us, for they are persuaded that John was a prophet.” They answered that they didn’t know where it was from. Jesus said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.”

Luke 20:1-8

I am not the Son of God, except in as much as He has made me. Nor, then, do I subscribe wholesale to “WWJD,” for Jesus has authority to do things He has not, in turn, given me. Nevertheless, Our Lord exercises discernment in deciding what to answer and what not to answer. Discernment He Himself commends in the passage I cited previously! So in addition to His example, we also have His command.

The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt. They have done abominable works. There is none who does good.

Yahweh looked down from heaven on the children of men, to see if there were any who did understand, who did seek after God.

They have all gone aside. They have together become corrupt. There is none who does good, no, not one.

Have all the workers of iniquity no knowledge, who eat up my people as they eat bread, and don’t call on Yahweh?

There they were in great fear, for God is in the generation of the righteous.

You frustrate the plan of the poor, because Yahweh is his refuge.

Oh that the salvation of Israel would come out of Zion! When Yahweh restores the fortunes of his people, then Jacob shall rejoice, and Israel shall be glad. 

Psalm 14

When the decision comes as to whether to answer a challenge to the faith, remember: those who deny God are all fools, so you are in square in Solomon’s dilemma! To be sure, we should take pity on fools and bring them the Scripture. But we are permitted to exercise discernment when answering fools!

Conclusion?

The reality is, the Scriptures do advocate teaching, and advocate contending for the faith. But there is no command to always answer any challenge you see anywhere. In fact, there are proverbs and commands that caution us against doing so.

And, in fact, such Scriptures as I know that talk about contending for the faith don’t primarily talk about defending the truth of Scripture in public.

They talk about defending yourself against false teachers.

And they talk about proclaiming the truth into the world.

I believe (but will not exegete here) that the role of Apologetics is self-defense.

And that those verses that even I use to support Apologetics aren’t meant to support the defense of the faith. They are meant to support the offense of the faith. We are not meant to be on the back foot, we are meant to be storming the gates of Hell.

Okay, Then Why Did You Make a Big Deal of This?

Tell me, you that desire to be under the law, don’t you listen to the law? For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the handmaid, and one by the free woman. However, the son by the handmaid was born according to the flesh, but the son by the free woman was born through promise. These things contain an allegory, for these are two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai, bearing children to bondage, which is Hagar. For this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and answers to the Jerusalem that exists now, for she is in bondage with her children. But the Jerusalem that is above is free, which is the mother of us all.

For it is written, “Rejoice, you barren who don’t bear. Break forth and shout, you that don’t travail. For more are the children of the desolate than of her who has a husband.”

Now we, brothers, as Isaac was, are children of promise. But as then, he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so also it is now.

However what does the Scripture say? “Throw out the handmaid and her son, for the son of the handmaid will not inherit with the son of the free woman.”

So then, brothers, we are not children of a handmaid, but of the free woman.

Galations 4:21-31

Jesus did not commend the Pharisees for piling law upon law upon their brethren. Nor did Paul commend the Galatians for adopting circumcision.

The way of men, of Christian men, throughout all history, is to see God’s requirements — which we do not even keep! — and say, “that can’t be enough. There needs to be more rules.” And when Christ pays with His life for the sins we committed — the sins against His law, not the sins against our made up laws — we get antsy. “Can’t tell people about Grace. They might get the idea it’s okay to start sinning.”

That’s not how this works. That’s not how any of this works.

Do you like that you don’t tell your neighbor about Jesus? Do you like that you are shamed into silence when God’s word says unpopular things like “Wive’s submit to your husbands”?

If you’re a Christian, it eats at you. If it doesn’t, your faith is fading. (Stay tuned: I can tell you what to do about it.) You want to be good. Even though you aren’t doing good things, you want to do good things.

The solution is not to make up new laws, to go beyond the words of Scripture, and make a laudable act, such as defending the faith, into a requirement. By taking Scripture out of context, no less!

When you try to be holier than God, you fail. Period.

The solution is easy, and yet in this demonic age, oh-so-hard.

I am the true vine, and my Father is the farmer. Every branch in me that doesn’t bear fruit, he takes away. Every branch that bears fruit, he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already pruned clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I in you. As the branch can’t bear fruit by itself, unless it remains in the vine, so neither can you, unless you remain in me. I am the vine. You are the branches. He who remains in me, and I in him, the same bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If a man doesn’t remain in me, he is thrown out as a branch, and is withered; and they gather them, throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you remain in me, and my words remain in you, you will ask whatever you desire, and it will be done for you. “In this is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit; and so you will be my disciples.

John 15:1-8, emphasis mine

When you make up a new law to try and keep God’s Word better, you add the leaven of the Pharisees.

When you look at your life, and realize that you are not doing what is good, and you flee to Christ’s sacrifice, and to His Word, you abide in Him. Eat the Bread. Drink the Wine. Hear the Scriptures. Pray the Scriptures.

Do not elaborate on the Law. Meditate on the Law. Your pride, your cowardice, whatever mountain is standing between you and the good you would do? You will not move that mountain with your own cussedness, let alone with verses taken out of context to create laws that do not exist.

Mountains are moved with faith. And faith doesn’t come from trying. Faith comes from asking, and from hearing the Word of God.

But seriously, every Christian teen should read Mere Christianity and The Case for Christ at minimum. The night is dark. Don’t walk out without some decent armor.

This is wisdom; not a commandment.

Doctor’s Note

I do not give nor promulgate a stance on the medical effectiveness of masks or vaccines.

I am a cartoonist. Not a doctor. I am more logical and analytical than the average man, and so it is reasonable for me to do my own medical research and come to my own conclusions. But it is also reasonable for me to say “that’s not my job; I have this other way I need to spend that time.”

From a legal and political standpoint, it is quite clear that specific measures against Covid 19 are being used to institute petty tyrannies. There is no slippery slope fallacy to be had. Australian police beating men for daring to leave their homes and Canadian police arresting pastors are cut from the same cloth as the governers and business leaders demanding masks and vaccines in America. They themselves admit that they are of the same cloth. That they have not yet dared the same level of action does not matter.

As for whether I will wear a mask or get the jab, I offer this stark, bare fact.

The medical and pharmeceutical industry should have come out strongly and universally against the murder of unborn babies fifty years ago. They did not.

The medical and pharmeceutical industry should have come out strongly against pretending men are women and women are men five years ago. They did not.

These are two political topics where the science is so clear and obvious you do not need to be extremely educated or do a lot of research to take an opinion. And the result of both topics is that the medical and pharmaceutical industries are perfectly willing to ignore hard science, even it it results in the mass death of innocents, in order to have the right politics.

Therefore I do not trust them. And I hold that even if I die of not trusting them, if I refuse some simple, lifesaving treatment that is obviously the right choice out of blind distrust, that is on them and not on me because they have plainly allowed millions of innocents to be murdered rather than dare to speak the truth.

They have earned distrust.

Captain’s Log L841

Bunny Trail Junction is excruciating. Today is the fourth. There are four episodes up. I have gotten 31 episodes uploaded. But nobody will see them all until the 31st. Unless they buy the paperback or subscribe to the subscribestar.

And this is necessary. I am trying to lay a solid foundation, and build up a six month backlog (I currently sit at an unacceptable “almost two month” backlog.) I want to gather fans one at a time, slowly, steadily. I want the rock solid growth that doesn’t vanish, not the flash-in-the-pan growth that is amazing one day and gone the next. This is how to do that.

But it’s agonizing to watch. I’m currently drawing comics that wont be seen until November. And nobody cares about the website yet. Nor should they. The story everybody cares about just started today. I’ve already posted all 14 episodes of that story on Twitter. There will be no new, unseen episodes until September 15th.

The middle of next month is the soonest I can expect interest to start picking up. But the plan, the plan I’m working, isn’t a failure until the comic has been running, unmarked and uncared for, for ten years.

Today, as an experiment, I tried printing out a double-size template and drawing the comic with a pocket brush. I am not displeased with the results. Here’s a comparison of the test comic and an earlier comic in the format I’ve been using:

And in a final progress report, I may or may not have abandoned my day job rather than submit to a mask mandate.

I am by no means certain and dogmatic in my position. I don’t think masking up is a terrible umbrage, not to be borne. I think it may even be sensible. But I also increasingly think that the only hope of preserving the culture and values I love is to respond to even paltry requests for concession with defiance. The elites are not acting in good faith, and should be treated as such.

Anyway, I’m not fully convinced of my own position. My workplace forced me to make a call before I had sufficiently considered it. I have made the best call I can. God help me.

ADHD is fake though.

Been a lot of talk about ADHD in the social media lately. And the general consensus, especially on the Right, is that it is fake and/or gay.

Stuck a bee in my bonnet, and I got started making comics, but…

Too many words. Not funny. Not interesting.

This is a bad comic.

I feel like a series of comics springboarding from here would either be too preachy or too whiny. I want Bunny Trail Junction to be fun and entertaining.

But I feel the need to get this off my chest, and this is the blog of whatever I feel like, so…

Continue reading “ADHD is fake though.”

Captain’s Log 21.6 | 21.A: Concept Singularity 2

I’ve got a bunch of ideas whirling about right now. They’re not organized, and I’m blogging them because it’s better to have them out than in. This is going to take into account many of my recent adventures.

For general blog readability, I’m tucking this beneath a fold, but the conclusion came to me the next day.

Continue reading “Captain’s Log 21.6 | 21.A: Concept Singularity 2”

Neopatronage II: The Antimouse Equation

Peanut Butter

Author/Musician David V. Stewart has argued on YouTube that we are exiting the Corporate Era of art, a distinct era like the Baroque or Romantic eras, where art is marked by being owned, funded, and distributed by corporations. As this model collapses, Brian Niemeier argues we slip into a new model of artistic existence: neo-patronage. I noted the synergy in these concepts some time ago. It’s of personal interest to me because I would like to be paid to make cool stuff.

Basically, the idea is that art is returning to a patronage model where eccentric millionaires keep stables of intellectuals for the purpose of making neat stuff. Since most eccentric millionaires are Death Cultists these days, crowdfunding can enable collections of upper middle-class men to support their own stables of artists.

This is the first ingredient; the peanut butter. Now for the bananas.

Continue reading “Neopatronage II: The Antimouse Equation”