Christian Idealism

Let’s see if I can make this summary in only four parts.

A. The reality of our experience is not of “an outside world” and “an inside world” but of a world where we can’t change things and a world where we can change things.

Experience of things we can affect and things we can’t affect has a problem, though: we may be mistaken about those categories. The mistake of things we can or can’t affect is limited by the feedback of our own thoughts, which will try to mirror our experience back to us consistently with our thoughts, regardless of whether those experiences are of the word of God in the world, or of our own rebellious will.
The rebellion has a cheering section, which wants us to will the wrong things and think about them, promising us excitement, pleasure, and power.
Christians have another cheering section, the Holy Ghost, who perfects our experience of the words of God, both in creation and in his words. Our ability to perceive is limited, so we see things in different places at different times, rather than in the direct experience of the one time that is all time and the one place that is all places (though the problems of the quantum world become much easier with that perspective). The Holy Ghost perfects our prayers as we try to communicate to God, who in Jesus suffered as we do and who is the truth, and the way, and the life. God wants to know us as we really are, being redeemed by that righteousness and perfected by that spirit, rather than by the list of excuses and despair generated by our sins, so that he can receive the honor and glory that each of us in our own way can give to him, free from the limits of our diseased wills and thoughts. We are to trust and thank God.

B. We have the illusion that we are independent of God by the exercise of our own wills, when the reality is that God has granted us everything that we have including the free will to turn away from him and try to put ourselves at the center of our lives. That reality involves our need to turn toward him and away from our own diseased wills and consequent sins, both the important omissions (see Matthew 25:14-46), and the soul and community warping sins of commission. God communicates to us by our experience of his words in creation, by his words in the Bible, and by his gifts to us of problems and pains. God values his words, and has promised they will be preserved.

C. When we submit ourselves to our creator, we have resources we wouldn’t have without him. God tries our hearts, usually in the form of problems or pains, to show us who we really are. Note, we don’t need to talk about our problems, set goals, make plans, take meetings, consider logistics and support. We need to focus on God, confess our sins, accept his gifts to us, thank him for his help, and praise him for his majesty and generosity. God will make ways for us to do good. All we need to do is walk in them.

D. Finally, we come to the role of feelings. They are an inaccurate guide, but useful in one other way. When we are thinking thoughts God approves of, we feel great. When we are trapped in our own rebellion, we feel lousy, down, and anxious. When we feel the latter, it is time to re-orient, pray, praise God, and rely on him to solve our problems and pains, make a way for us to do good, a way to walk in him. Through God, we have access to peace, love, and wisdom. Without him, we flounder.

If you want access to that other cheering section, by the way, it is very simple. More simple than you may be ready for, but here goes. Sit down. Put your hands together. Say, and mean, these words:

Thank you, God, for loving me, and for sending your Son to die for my sins. I sincerely repent of my sins, and receive Christ as my personal savior. Now, as your child, I turn my entire life over to you. Amen.

Find a good church, one that uses an adult bible, rather than an “easy to read” children's bible. The King James Bible is available inexpensively, uses the same text that has been in use since Antioch began copying and translating texts in Acts, and get a short dictionary with the words you don't use often (costs about fifty cents). We tend to learn how to be going Christians by being around other Christians.

UPDATE: In response to the sarcastic email on the "gift" of problems and pains, I remind you that one of the central tenets of Christianity is that we are improved by suffering, and that it has important lessons for us. We are not exempt from suffering by being Christians, and in God's love: after all, Jesus Christ, his beloved son, suffered on the cross, and we are told that we, too, will have to take up our crosses. When we suffer righteously, we imitate God, and there is no higher calling.


American Politicians: The Guiding Flaws

It’s a discovery. Not mine. And I don’t like it.

A good politician is courageous. A good politician is transparent. A good politician has integrity. But if you look at our current leaders, every single one of them is missing at least one of those three things.

Many of them are so bought into their status as the ruling class that they fail on two of the three but continue to think that they are the great and the good, with any criticism coming from people who don’t matter, commoners. Peasants. In a country founded on the legal equality of all human beings, they don’t believe it.

I am His Excellency Arnold Williams Count of Sealand. Not a commoner. They are not the great and the good, and most of them know it. They don’t expect criticism coming from above, but they deserve it. "Noblesse oblige" is the duty of rulers, not the whim of rulers. Look at your state representatives. Look at your state government. Look for the missing virtues, and find better people to vote for, even if you have been doing a poor job up to now. Your current choices are hurting your country. America can be better than this. Everyone around the world is affected by American choices. Choose better.

You can do it.




We must follow God
Rather than the scruples
Of the great and good
Who have, so far, failed
To make the omelette they promised
When they broke us like eggs.


Classes in America

I am dismayed that people don't recognize the class problem that the United States has.  

I'm not alone in finding it: see this article, for example.

The tipoff is easy: listen for the contempt of their fellow citizens, and the casual assertion that group x (the x is proxy for a wide number of descriptors), which does not include anyone that they work with or are friends with, and whose characteristics are mainly imaginary, is contemptible. Their descriptions sound vague for a reason: they are making them up from a list of things they dislike, not from people they know.


Why Science Discourages Kids

Because they pay attention to Carl Sagan, and others like him.

If all you see is that anything you do doesn’t matter, there goes any reason to do anything. Being outstanding has no purpose. Avoiding bad behavior has no purpose. Gandhi and Hitler don’t matter, if you just pick exciting stuff, that might be the best you can do.


It is always about Class, not Race or Culture

I have been saying this for a while. "It is always about class, not race or culture." People want to argue because they say there are no classes in America. But the class structure peeps through both their actions and their aspirations.

And people notice.

That meant, of course, that those who had entered the ­upper ranks did what the insecure lower tiers of aristocracy always do: devote a lot of attention to distinguishing themselves from the non-elite.

In America, class war is disguised as cultural war, and cultural war is often waged under the guise of fighting racism. Thus, the Deplorables had to be cast as racists, though it wasn’t the working class that redlined neighborhoods or set college ­admissions policies.

And that means that they can’t be humanized, or shown to be victims. The sympathy of the upper classes is doled out in careful measure, toward select targets.


Ira Madison got banned from Twitter

Twitter personality and podcast host Ira Madison III got permanently suspended from twitter for impersonating politician Beto O’Rourke.

Before the election Ira as Beto offered nudes if Texas would flip blue (well)

Twitter did not find it funny and suspended his account, Ira now confirmed on his instastories that it is a permanent ban


what internet places have you been banned from ontd?

The Missing Verses

Stolen from Will Kinney: the list of verses that Presbyterians don't know about because their Bibles don't contain them.

Matthew 17:21- “Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.” (All omit)

Matthew 18:11 - “For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.” (All omit)

Matthew 23:14- “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation.” (All omit)

Mark 7:16 - “If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.” (All omit)

Mark 9:44 - “Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.” (All omit)

Mark 9:46 - “Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.” (All omit)

Mark 11:26 - “But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespases.” (All omit)

Mark 15:28 - “And the scripture was fulfilled, which saith, And he was numbered with the transgressors.” (All omit)

Luke 17:36 - “Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.” (All omit)

Luke 23:17 - “For of necessity he must release one unto them at the feast.” (All omit)

John 5:4 - “For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had.” (All omit)

Acts 8:37 - “And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” (All omit)

Acts 15:34 - “Notwithstanding it pleased Silas to abide there still.” (All omit)

Acts 24:6b to 8a - “and would have judged according to our law. But the chief captain Lysias came upon us, and with great violence took him away out of our hands, Commanding his accusers to come unto thee” (All omit)

Acts 28:29 -”And when he had said these words, the Jews departed, and had great reasoning among themselves.” (All omit)

Romans - 16:24 “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.” (All omit)

I John 5:7-8 - omits the words: “in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth” (All omit)

And yet they are sure that they are “scholarly” because Greek and Hebrew words (one per sermon) are used on Sunday.