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Wednesday, August 12, 2020

The Fire

 I will never be convicted of being a great prayer warrior, but I also truly do speak with the Holy Spirit, and He speaks with me. One thing you come to realize is that you can go deeper than the plain words of Scripture, but nothing true will ever be said without them. So there I was, reading and meditating on Luke 24, the part where the two disciples walked along the road to Emmaus. Remember how sad they were? Then Jesus comes up, playing a little coy, and asks them what they were talking about. The rough equivalent of a response was, "What, have you been living under a rock?" (Well, not exactly, but that's funny.) So they're explaining to Our Lord what he's allegedly missed--quite amusing, really--and then he tells them they don't get it. "And beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted for them all the Scriptures concerning himself." We all know that was a sermon to end them all. Remember how they reacted? "Did our hearts not burn within us, while he talked to us on the road?"

I got around to saying that the great gift of this Age of the Holy Spirit is that our hearts burn, but we need not be sad first. That is, they didn't quite believe it, when he told them he must suffer, die, and be raised again. They were shaken out of a certain disbelief, when he revealed himself in the breaking of the bread. This seemed to happen a lot: unbelief, interrupted by delirious joy. Then I remembered the burning bush: aflame, but not consumed. He seemed to say that there need not be sadness now, at least in a certain way. Sadness and tragedy are so human, so common. Those things cannot touch the joy which comes from God, even so. A small paraphrase from Isaiah 43 says, "When you walk through the fire, you'll not be burned. And the flames will not consume you." I realized this was actually about the Holy Spirit. I am like the burning bush: on fire, but not consumed. It's a bold thing, to ask God to light you on fire, so to speak.

This wasn't exactly how I thought calling down fire from Heaven would go, but that's exactly what it is. We have met the enemy, and they are us. Maybe we are purged, purified, but still not destroyed. It will never be easy to surrender everything to God. Carrie Underwood can sing about it, but in a certain sense, Jesus taking the wheel is only putative, until we know the Spirit's power.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Juan, Nick, and David

 Juan Williams, Nicholas Kristof, and David French. I might be persuaded to read some other columnist, if the headline manages not to be needlessly inflammatory, but I always read these 3 guys. You'll notice that only one is "conservative," whatever that means. David French reminds me of who I used to be. When I wasn't trolling people, on my very best day, I could sound like French.

And no, I don't routinely read Ross Douthat. He just annoys me, on every conceivable level. Not that he never says anything good. Far from it. But behind the smart words is a schemer, trying to make peace with the indefensible. Yes, I mean Trump. And he brings his Catholicism into every bit as much disrepute as any progressive, when you realize that he doesn't ride or die with the Church, but rather, some "conservative Catholic" something. This is why I can't read George Weigel; it's the same thing. It seems like the ghosts of Novak and Buckley are haunting us. If forced to choose between Republican and Catholic, these guys chose Republican. And there's a whole new generation ready to take their place.

I shouldn't have to be the one saying this; I doubt anyone was more of a party man than me, from 2001-16. It's time to blow up the GOP, and start over. Fine; if you want to blow up the Democrats, too, be my guest. But I can see voting Democratic in self-defense a whole lot clearer right now. That's where I am right now.

When I read Kristof, I sense the righteous fury of a liberal internationalism sold down the river for 30 pieces of silver. I don't like the UN per se; the corrupt autocrats, the flagrant hypocrisy, the anti-Americanism. But if you press me, I believe in multilateralism and its institutions. Yet it seems like the Right only engages here in order to score domestic political points.

The only time Juan Williams is wrong is when he's babbling about "reproductive choice." Otherwise, I think I get a good read on the average Black member of the Democratic coalition. Frankly, the only time the Right cares about Black anything is to use them to convince their own voters that they're not racist. And before you say, "There's the Left, resorting to 'Racist!' again!," I recognize a distinct difference between Left, and uber-Progressive, "might-as-well-hate-yourself-Whitey" Left. You can prop up Kanye all you like; you still aren't convincing Black America to vote Republican, and you deserve that.

I believe right now that I'm more interesting to read than 85 percent of the opinion writers in America, and it's a darn shame.