Friday, April 3, 2020


We conjure up our skeletons
Enlist the den of thieves
Frightened from our closets
Then sewn upon our sleeves

-          Lines in the Sand, Dream Theater

In classical antiquity, the cornucopia, also called the horn of plenty, was a symbol of abundance and nourishment, commonly a large horn-shaped container overflowing with produce, flowers or nuts.

This one will be filled solely with nuts.

The Age of Science and Reason?

For a society – even a world – that swears by science, reason, testing, facts, etc. – anything but “faith” or “revelation,” it really is pathetic to watch the hysteria that comes with irrationality.  It would be hilarious if it wasn’t for the devastating consequences for the countless millions who are losing their jobs and businesses.

The War on Death

Our masters have successfully (so far) been winning the battles in the war on death of favored companies; they have failed to convince us to take meaningful action in the war on the death of the planet – climate change was way too distant in the future to drum up emotional hysteria in the population.

So, what do they come up with?  They made it very personal: the immediacy of a war on death…of death.  No one is allowed to die, even if it kills you.

An Essential Worker

Every time I hear this phrase, I think of this.  I feel very saddened for those whose work is deemed non-essential.

Living in a Material World

When all you have is the material world of atoms randomly smashing together, what else do you have to live for but a war on death? 

Prepositional Obfuscation

It isn’t the same thing, to die “with” coronavirus” as it is to die “from” coronavirus.

What Comes Next?

There have been countless editorials speculating on this – chips inserted via vaccine, no more paper currency, documentation of vaccination or immunity, etc.  I am sure that there are a million more.

I have been hearing inklings of things like “you will have to wear a mask and gloves to go out in public.”  That will be great…for criminals.  No facial recognition, no fingerprints.

Sure, you think this is silly?  But really, is it any sillier than what we are going through right now, today?  [Well, that didn’t take long; see below. *]

The Market

My shopping trips have been great:

·         At checkout, we now have distance markers on the ground – 6 feet apart. 
·         The customer behind me, wearing gloves, had no problem getting right next to me.  I was about to ask “what the f^c& are you doing wearing gloves and crowding my social distance,” but I don’t think I could have got it out without breaking up in hysterical laughter.  Talk about an irreconcilable incongruity.
·         A very nice couple shopping with two babies – no masks, no gloves, nothing on any of them.  I wanted to give those kids a big fat kiss!
·         Lines outside waiting to get into store with empty shelves inside.  A picture is worth a thousand words, and this picture reminds me of the pictures from the Soviet Union.

Silver Linings

·         Traffic is way down
·         I am saving a lot of money on gas and eating lunch out
·         More time at home
·         Getting outside more (until they catch me without my papers, I guess)
·         Going cold turkey on sports, and praying that I can get really used to this
·         Ammo and firearms sales – way up!

My Best Self-Defense Advice

If assaulted or confronted by a stranger, sneeze or cough as loudly and hard as you can.  And then pray that your assailant is brainwashed with the afflictions gripping all of humanity.

Next Year?

What happens next flu season?  What happens this allergy season?


I cannot write anything here without breaking down.  Church closures will leave a very long-lasting scar on Christianity.

The Suicide of the West

Jacques Barzun writes: “The blow that hurled the modern world on its course of self-destruction was the Great War of 1914-18.”

This is true enough, but the disease was introduced much earlier.  Alexandr Solzhenitsyn, from his Harvard University commencement address, “A World Split Apart,” delivered 8 June 1978:

How has this unfavorable relation of forces come about? How did the West decline from its triumphal march to its present sickness? Have there been fatal turns and losses of direction in its development? It does not seem so. The West kept advancing socially in accordance with its proclaimed intentions, with the help of brilliant technological progress. And all of a sudden it found itself in its present state of weakness.

This means that the mistake must be at the root, at the very basis of human thinking in the past centuries. I refer to the prevailing Western view of the world which was first born during the Renaissance and found its political expression from the period of the Enlightenment. It became the basis for government and social science and could be defined as rationalistic humanism or humanistic autonomy: the proclaimed and enforced autonomy of man from any higher force above him. It could also be called anthropocentricity, with man seen as the center of everything that exists.

No church services during Holy Week?  This could be called the final breath of a man dying from a self-inflicted wound.

How would St. Dionysius the Great feel about this?  Writing of a devastating third century plague (HT a good friend):

…out of the blue came this disease, a thing more terrifying to them than any terror, more frightful than any disaster whatever…

Most of our brother-Christians showed unbounded love and loyalty, never sparing themselves and thinking only of one another. Heedless of the danger, they took charge of the sick, attending to their every need and ministering to them in Christ, and with them departed this life serenely happy; for they were infected by others with the disease, drawing on themselves the sickness of their neighbors and cheerfully accepting their pains.

The heathen behaved in the very opposite way. At the first onset of the disease, they pushed the sufferers away and fled from their dearest, throwing them into the roads before they were dead and treating unburied corpses as dirt, hoping thereby to avert the spread and contagion of the fatal disease; but do what they might, they found it difficult to escape.

Remember that death
Is not the end but only a transition.

-          Scene Three: II. Fatal Tragedy, Dream Theater

From G.K. Chesterton (and thanks to Paul VanderKlay):

Christianity has died many times and risen again; for it had a God who knew the way out of the grave.


In the stream of consciousness
There is a river crying
Living comes much easier
Once we admit
We're dying


*  The Trump administration is expected to urge all Americans to wear cloth masks in public, based on a forthcoming shift in C.D.C. guidance. (NYT)

I drafted this post on Wednesday, April 1, published, obviously, today – Friday April 3.  In between the two, out pops this headline.

Now…I am thinking of a meme: no mask, no gloves…no service.  I won’t add the picture.  For one thing, it is beyond my technical abilities.  For another, the picture is best left to the imagination: a grocery store, a pharmacy, a gas station?  How about a cat house, or a lady of the night?

Better yet, a bread line.  Because that’s where we are headed.


  1. “Christianity has died many times and risen again; for it had a God who knew the way out of the Grave.”

    Beware. I have no intent of impugning Chesterton, but hope to broaden some of the thinking.

    "Religion [Christianity] and God have never left the scene . . . it is our rationality which is too narrow for God."
    - Jean-Luc Marion

    Do we make God an idol (and Christianity idolatrous) when God is encapsulated into "our" narrow metaphysical rationality: universal truths within history, a priori epistemic conditions, etc.? Can Christianity and/or God die and rise as described? Maybe our individual Reason needs to expand, eliminating metaphysical “absolute truths” we hold dear in order to start seeking an epistemology of real individual choice, to witness and will ourselves toward God’s Revealed Truths (that we often love to hate).

    Why is this important?

    Ideology (with or without a bible) begins individually within us. Ideology (via human conduit) “ . . . having ‘killed God’ due to God’s non-conformity to metaphysical epistemology’s strictures, aims this decidal conceptual violence against human beings.” AKA genocide.

    Seeking to liberate our relationship with God, faithfully choosing to will ourselves to “moment-to-moment Christlike acts” under a broader Reason of the Greatest Commandment (especially broader in how we understand ideology and nonviolence) should be taken seriously. God has never left the scene - we, individually, are the ones who have chosen to narrow and alter reason, cleverly willing away from the Truth Revealed. Seeking a radical epistemology of Revelation that confronts us as witness (not someone else) to challenge our metaphysical strictures on God is vitally important.

    A paper “Another Name for Liberty: Revelation, . . .” might help:

    1. Nat, do you really think Chesterton believed - or even meant to imply - that God died in the way you seem to suggest via the Marion quote and your subsequent comments?

    2. I don’t know. As I said, I have no intent of impugning Chesterton, but hope to broaden thinking away from the possibility of ideology (with or without a bible). I am by no means a Chesterton scholar nor have I read all his numerous writings, so obviously, cannot speak for him. I brought this up because I hope during this time when many are individually experiencing change we do not turn toward ideologies.

      The paper “Another Name for Liberty . . .” attached in the prior comment catches my interest when it states: “Philosophy [apologetics], when it claims to be able to access a universal, absolute truth within history, degenerates into ideology.” I think we can all agree, Barth understood the dangers of ideology at a deeper than mere political realm.

      Barth is quoted: “Good for him, if in the framework of philosophy he is nothing but a human thinker, a philosophus among others, reflecting fundamentally on the conception of human existence [relative, not absolute certainty], and yet is still a witness to thinking based on divine revelation.” Christianity (the way of Christ - nothing new here) involves the way of the witness, individual “thinking based on divine revelation” (as the paper concludes the witness of sola scriptura, an epistemology of Revelation - possibly the inverse of collecting facts and constructing arguments? Acts 17 . . .).

      Marion expands this further, to aid the philosopher and avoid ideology (amongst other things). The philosopher is aided because the schism often accepted today between reason (philosophy) and faith (Revelation) is reconciled (as if the likes of Augustine or Pascal ever got the news that there was a schism). “Rather than subordinating philosophy to theology, however, and thereby revoking the former’s aspiration to intellectual freedom, this aperture to the Given strengthens philosophy’s critical capabilities.”

      To avoid ideology we must ensure that “no a priori restrictions can limit the Given in the way that metaphysics - whether deified as “the moral God” (classical metaphysical theism to Kant) or “the new gods” (modern ideology) desires; thus, the “task of thinking” remains forever open, both to potentially ever-arriving phenomena and to better interpretations of ones already given (the infinite hermeneutic).”

      The scale of the individual witness is important. If we conceptualize an a priori limit on God can we witness? Or do we just continue to “run into” our own constructed (or accepted from elsewhere?) ideological limits? Do these constructed limits/ideologies objectify God into merely a being? What does that do to our witness? When we objectify God, altering, if not eliminating the possibility of witness, can we love God subjectively and can we even imagine treating another human subjectively, in love versus objectively (the realm of exchange, or worse)? Or just read MT 22:36-40, the greatest commandment. The “action” happens at the scale of the individual witness - could we say similar to human action, but under God? Within the “higher order” charitable realm? The aperture in relationship to God and between/amongst neighbors? What shows up in the rests between the notes?
      continued . . .

    3. . . . continued
      So, to go back to the quote (expanding it to include some surrounding text) and thinking about possible discussions. What “thinking based on divine revelation” aka epistemology of Revelation are we familiar with to aid us in avoiding philosophical “certainty”/ideology? Is Christianity being described as an institution of men? Does it matter that the scale describing Christianity is at the collective, not individual witness? Does Christianity depend on numbers of participants, ebbing and waning in worldly power like an empire? Can it die? What about a remnant? Do they not count? Are “the newest Christians” more Christian than the ones from hundreds of years ago? Were there Christians before Christ/did Christianity exist before Christ? (and I get it, the only “perfect” Christian is Christ). Most concerning: could “the God who knew the way out of the grave” be the a priori (ideological) limit that subsequent iterations of “new Christianity” asymptotically attempt to approach over time? I suggest this because the way this quote is embedded in the text might be akin to the comment that caught my interest in the paper: “philosophy, when it claims to be able to access a universal, absolute truth within history, degenerates into ideology.”

      From my limited knowledge, I like and think Chesterton makes good and compelling arguments. As Justin Martyr argued, the best Christian is the most atheistic aka least idolatrous. The idea of men over time cyclically rebirthing “Christianity” with fewer and fewer idols, maybe influencing worldly politics by “reducing” the violence in pursuit of an ideal (is it always God?) seems to be a good argument and worthy narrative from the philosophical perspective. But how do we incorporate an epistemology of Revelation, our “thinking based on divine revelation” into philosophy/apologetics to avoid ideology (which degenerates into genocide)? I hope during this time of change effecting many individuals we take the time to seek (and seek relationship with, witness) the “Unknown God” and explore “a possible epistemology of Revelation.” Hope I’ve brought to your attention something helpful.

      Is the absence of certainty another name for liberty?

    4. Acts 2: 32 God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it.

      38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

      41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.


      Peter preached the Resurrection. Everything beyond this is detail. I am certain none of these 3000 had to answer your questions before receiving the Holy Spirit; if they had, they certainly would have looked elsewhere for salvation.


      For others reading this, I offer my email in our exchange, which prompted your replies posted here – most important to me is the last paragraph (especially today, Palm Sunday), but without the rest there is no context:

      Begin email:

      Marion writes: “every pretension to absolute knowledge therefore belongs to the domain of the idol.”

      From this paper, I understand Marion is critiquing the idea of an Aristotelian-Thomistic metaphysic. In fact, he critiques any and every foundational principle.

      Fair enough. I agree, we cannot have absolute knowledge – as this would make us God. But what is man to do? The Bible must be understood somehow, to mean something. God has revealed Himself to us through both Scripture and through the natural world. As God is author of both – Scripture and nature, faith and reason – there can be no contradiction here.

      Or can there? Perhaps this is also one of the foundational principles that Marion calls an idol? So, God can offer to us contradictions? If so, then we are stuck. Because we cannot even just live the way that Jesus lived; maybe there are contradictions even here. How can we know…absolutely?

      We cannot. So, we are left to swim in a sea of nothingness, making a mockery of 2 Timothy 3:16, or making a mockery of God’s creation, or both.

      Yes, no absolute knowledge. I agree. But then what? Do we not strive to learn, understand, grow? We are left with nothing.

      It is not enough to state that metaphysics – or any other foundational principle – is an idol. Where do such things contradict Scripture? And even this is insufficient, because proponents of any such ideas will also have Scripture on their side.

      Through my studies of the last several years I have come to grow increasingly tired of the internecine battles within Christianity, all the while the world around us turning evermore insane. The thousands of factions in Christianity will each say to God "we won the battle," while God looks on us and says "you have not paid attention to the war or My Kingdom." Or maybe God doesn't want us to pay attention to His Kingdom. How are we to know, absolutely?

      End email.


      It is Palm Sunday. Churches are closed. They will also be closed next Sunday, on Easter.

      With this in our face, I am reminded of something said by N. T. Wright (from my memory). He was asked: what would the Apostle Paul say about the countless divisions in Christianity today? To which Wright replied: he would be appalled and grief stricken.

    5. Author: Thomas Merton
      My Lord God,
      I have no idea where I am going.
      I do not see the road ahead of me.
      I cannot know for certain where it will end.
      nor do I really know myself,
      and the fact that I think I am following your will
      does not mean that I am actually doing so.
      But I believe that the desire to please you
      does in fact please you.
      And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.
      I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
      And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road,
      though I may know nothing about it.
      Therefore will I trust you always though
      I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.
      I will not fear, for you are ever with me,
      and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.

    6. "Philosophy [apologetics], when it claims to be able to access a universal, absolute truth within history, degenerates into ideology."

      So philosophy is only healthy when it sticks to the realm of relative truths? Doesn't it just become aesthetics at that point? Isn't Barth's statement above itself a dangerous philosophical venture into the realm of absolute truth and the unavoidable pitfalls of ideology?

      What's the point of philosophy if you can't arrive at the truth?

  2. "And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;" —Romans 5:3 (KJV)

    Coronavirus is a tribulation. Where's the glorying?

    1. It is sheltering in place....hiding what little light is left under a bushel.

  3. Here's my view of the churches playing scaredy-cat and being good little house servants to the state:

  4. One of the things that gives me heart around this virus comedy is the massive business being done by gun stores.

    It demonstrates that people aren’t quite as gulled as our overlords have hoped, and that while wanting to do the right thing by not contaminating others, they still put survival of themselves and their loved ones at the forefront.

    We must have awareness that shutting down the economy can easily lead to civil unrest, including enormous increases in theft by the desperate. The risk will increase as the shutdown goes on, and people will steal, or worse, to provide for their own. Peg

  5. No mask, no service! It used to be that the only ones who wore masks and gloves were armed robbers. It used to be that 'bad' people could easily be identified BECAUSE they wore a mask and gloves. Now everyone is being encouraged to do that. How will business owners or anyone else have even an inkling that someone has intent to rob them until a gun is shoved in their face?

    No mask, no facial identity, no video identification, no visual recognition, no fingerprints, no nothing. Add to this the certainty that people are going to run out of food and the likelihood that armed robbery will spike in the near future becomes self-evident. With virtually no chance of identifying the criminals.

    1. I read something about this ushering in thermal imaging. I didn't get far enough into it to figure out if this was speculation or based on some facts.

      Like the patriot act and the eternal war on terror, the ramifications of this manufactured crisis will be far worse than any of us might reasonably imagine at the moment.

    2. With thermal imaging, no one would be able to remain hidden anywhere, but the threat would not be from a common holdup man or a starving parent. Only the State has the resources, capability, and determination to use thermal imaging on a wide scale to achieve its ends. In a drive to clear any area from human population, it would be used to locate those who wished to remain and tried to stay hidden, enabling the seekers to either arrest them or exterminate them.

      Thermal imaging in the wrong hands and/or used for the wrong purposes is a terrifying weapon. There is literally no defense against it that I know of, unless it's to submerge yourself in a bathtub full of ice water as Tom Cruise did in The Minority Report.

      For the first thirty seconds this might work, after that you're history.

    3. If a multitude of government drones start flying the American skies searching for the un-vaccinated or those with "fevers" for quarantine, I would say that the war is on, and it's time to go drone hunting.