Monday, August 30, 2021

Ecumenism and History


Karen Wong has a YouTube channel, The Meaning Code.  She recently had a conversation with Gavin Ashenden; I want to focus on the portion of the discussion on ecumenism – primarily between Catholic and Protestant, although he also touches on the Orthodox community as well.

I say up front: I don’t agree with all of the comments, but the discussion was quite valuable.  There was, especially, a couple of insightful (at least to me) points made by Ashenden, which I will expand on when it comes up in the conversation.

Wong: Is there an ecumenical path possible between Catholic and Orthodox, and why do you leave out Protestants?

Ashenden: I leave out Protestantism because it makes a tremendous category error: it reads history backwards, and, therefore, makes some terrible mistakes.  It starts history in about 1520, and then reads the Bible back into time, whereas that just isn’t what happened.

Protestants will say that the Bible takes precedence over the Church, and of course it does.  But it was also the Church that said what was the Bible – which did not come together until the fourth century. 

Ashenden: Jesus made a promise, that the Holy Spirit would lead us into all truth; that there were things that the apostles couldn’t cope with then.  Whatever that means, it does mean that over the next 50, 100, 200, 500 years – what period of time was Jesus talking about – that the Holy Spirit would lead the Church into all truth.

This is one of the insightful points.  The passage is from John. chapter 16:

12 I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.  13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.  14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

Understood as Ashenden explains, it kind of throws the Sola Scriptura idea out the door.  Maybe, more precisely, it says that there is something to tradition.  Or, maybe a Protestant might say that the “guiding into all truth” was the later inspired writing (by the apostles) of the Gospels and letters, nothing more.  In any case, I find Ashenden’s point worth pondering.

Returning to Ashenden: if you start Church history from Pentecost, and go through Polycarp, Irenaeus of Lyon, Ignatius of Antioch, through Clement of Rome and the early popes, through Eusebius, what you have is a series of councils – “and the acorn becomes a tree.”

And you see the acorn becoming a tree, and you see the branches.  And you see: that branch is a legitimate part of the acorn, I see where it comes from now.  But Protestantism starts with the Bible in 1520, and a whole series of cultural norms of the Enlightenment, and says we are now going to reconstruct Christianity without the apostles, without the work of the Holy Spirit for 1500 years, we are going to recreate the Church ex-nihilo.  But that’s not what Jesus said was going to happen.

To be fair to Protestants, and certainly the early Reformers: there was meaningful and significant corruption in the Church, corruption the Church was unwilling to address at the time Of Luther (or Wycliffe or Hus).  Luther did not initially intend for a split – a protest.  He was driven to it (of course, his personality also had something to do with it).

Protestants therefore have 1500 years of amnesia – like an amnesiac telling the family history.  So we end up with arguments about the Eucharist, Mary, the saints, miracles, the pope, the patriarchates – Antioch, Jerusalem, Alexandria, Constantinople, and Rome.

And this to me is the other insightful point – obvious once he said it: the ecumenical dialogue doesn’t work well if we begin with the dozens of different branches of the Church today.  Begin at the roots, then the trunk, etc.  Follow the early Patristic fathers, follow the Church councils.  Understand their reasoning and justification.

Friday, August 27, 2021

Today’s Crisis


There is nothing new under the sun….

The Crisis, by Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776

THESE are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.

Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value.

Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated. Britain [Globocap], with an army to enforce her tyranny, has declared that she has a right not only to TAX [JAB] but "to BIND us in ALL CASES WHATSOEVER" and if being bound in that manner, is not slavery, then is there not such a thing as slavery upon earth. Even the expression is impious; for so unlimited a power can belong only to God.

I have as little superstition in me as any man living, but my secret opinion has ever been, and still is, that God Almighty will not give up a people to military destruction, or leave them unsupportedly to perish, who have so earnestly and so repeatedly sought to avoid the calamities of war, by every decent method which wisdom could invent.

Neither have I so much of the infidel in me, as to suppose that He has relinquished the government of the world, and given us up to the care of devils….

'Tis surprising to see how rapidly a panic will sometimes run through a country. All nations and ages have been subject to them.

Yet panics, in some cases, have their uses; they produce as much good as hurt. Their duration is always short; the mind soon grows through them, and acquires a firmer habit than before. But their peculiar advantage is, that they are the touchstones of sincerity and hypocrisy, and bring things and men to light, which might otherwise have lain forever undiscovered.

In fact, they have the same effect on secret traitors, which an imaginary apparition would have upon a private murderer. They sift out the hidden thoughts of man, and hold them up in public to the world.

There are cases which cannot be overdone by language, and this is one. There are persons, too, who see not the full extent of the evil which threatens them; they solace themselves with hopes that the enemy, if he succeed, will be merciful.

It is the madness of folly, to expect mercy from those who have refused to do justice; and even mercy, where conquest is the object, is only a trick of war; the cunning of the fox is as murderous as the violence of the wolf, and we ought to guard equally against both.

By perseverance and fortitude we have the prospect of a glorious issue; by cowardice and submission, the sad choice of a variety of evils - a ravaged country - a depopulated city - habitations without safety, and slavery without hope…

Look on this picture and weep over it! and if there yet remains one thoughtless wretch who believes it not, let him suffer it unlamented.


I thank God, that I fear not. I see no real cause for fear. I know our situation well, and can see the way out of it.


Isaiah 41: 10 Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

Deuteronomy 31: 6 Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.

Psalm 23: 4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Matthew 10: 28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Time to Mask Up


Thus, we have a key piece to the puzzle explaining why the Delta outbreak is so formidable — fully vaccinated are participating as COVID-19 patients and acting as powerful Typhoid Mary-style super-spreaders of the infection.

Vaccinated individuals are blasting out concentrated viral explosions into their communities and fueling new COVID surges. Vaccinated healthcare workers are almost certainly infecting their coworkers and patients, causing horrendous collateral damage.

Peter A. McCullough, M.D., MPH

Dr. McCullough is drawing his conclusions based on a preprint paper by the prestigious Oxford University Clinical Research Group.  The study examined vaccinated healthcare workers and found:

Viral loads of breakthrough Delta variant infection cases were 251 times higher than those of cases infected with old strains detected between March-April 2020.

One could call these workers weapons of mass destruction.  If this plays out globally, then what we have is a large mass of weapons of mass destruction.

I had a hard time trying to figure out the strategy behind the big push for vaccinations.  Sure, I get massive profits; I can even believe the depopulation narrative.  But it would be the most compliant sheep that would become the depopulated.  Is that really the best strategy if one wants to further centralize control?

I recall reading of the Red Army’s push toward Warsaw, toward the end of World War II.  As the Poles were fighting the Germans in Warsaw, Stalin stopped short.  Those courageous enough to fight the Germans would also next fight the Soviets.  Let the majority of the Polish fighters die against the Germans, and the Soviets would inherent the remaining docile population.  So, the Red Army waited.

So, why would those in control of this disaster of the last eighteen months have a strategy to kill off only their most adamant supporters, those most willing to acquiesce to any demand?  I kept wondering: is there something in the jab that – while of danger to those jabbed – is more dangerous to those not jabbed?

Maybe now I have an answer…time to mask up.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Why Should the Species be Preserved?


Why must our conquest of nature stop short, in stupid reverence, before this final and toughest bit of ‘nature’ which has hitherto been called the conscience of man?

The Abolition of Man, C.S. Lewis

It is time to extend Lewis’s vision….

Lewis is writing of the Tao: also known as Natural Law, Traditional Morality, or First Principles of Practical Reason.  After all else of nature has been conquered, why not also this?  After all, there have always been those, through each advancement in the conquering of nature, who have warned that the next step would be the disastrous step.  Yet, here we are.  So why concern ourselves with messing with the Tao?

Let us decide for ourselves what man is to be and make him into that: not on any ground of imagined value, but because we want him to be such.

But what is meant by “man’s conquest of nature”?  In reality, it is the power of some men over other men, with nature as the instrument (or weapon).  Lewis is not after the issue of man using this power in potentially corrupt ways.  He is after something more fundamental: what is meant when we say man has conquered nature?  It is using nature to exercise power by some men (the Conditioners) over other men (the Subjects).

And this power extends through time: conquest builds on conquest, ever more men are lorded over by ever fewer men; each new power won by men is also a power over men:

Man’s conquest of Nature, if the dreams of some scientific planners are realized, means the rule of a few hundreds of men over billons upon billions of men.

It will be a conquest over human nature.  At this point, the battle is won…but who, precisely, will have won it?  Having removed the Tao, or Natural Law, men are free to do as they please.  They need no longer act in accord with their nature – the nature of man.

The power of men to do as they please in reality is the power of some men (the Conditioners) to make others (the Subjects) do as these Conditioners please.  The Conditioners will create an artificial Tao, one that ensures ever greater power by ever fewer men: Nietzsche’s Übermensch.

Will some of their impulses, their Tao of artificial creation, prove benevolent?  Lewis has doubts.  History only offers examples of the opposite:

I am inclined to think that the Conditioners will hate the conditioned.

Without the Tao, obedience to impulse is all that is left; without the soul and reason, man’s base nature is all that is left.  In other words, we move from obeying Natural Law (the Tao) to laws of nature (the strong dominating the weak).

It is not that they [the Conditioners] are bad men.  They are not men at all.  Stepping outside the Tao, they have stepped into the void. 

All that is left to guide these Conditioners is their felt emotional weight of the moment.  When everything that gave us the idea of objective “good” is debunked, all that is left is subjective “want.”  To say that they are corrupt or degenerate implies some standard of objective value.  But there is none.

This, it turns out, is equally true for the Subjects – those being conditioned by the Conditioners:

Nor are their subjects necessarily unhappy men.  They are not men at all: they are artefacts.  Man’s final conquest proved to be the abolition of man.


What did I mean about extending Lewis’s vision?  He is writing of the most important and unique aspect of man – his soul, his reason; that which God breathed into him, the one thing that makes man different from all other created beings.  It is this that has been abolished.

Lewis hints at this extension, the next and final step, when he asks: with all of this power in ever fewer hands, what motivates them – these Conditioners?

The preservation of the species?  But why should the species be preserved?

In March 2020, we entered this phase.  There is no reason for the Conditioners to concern themselves with the preservation of the species.  The subjects, due to their training, have no reason to expect it or even desire it.

Once man’s soul, his reason, has been abolished – via abolishing the Natural Law – this step was inevitable.