From China, through Rome, to Hope

Writers are readers first and forever. Once we appreciate the mind-to-mind transmission of ideas and scenes as a craft, words take hold of us. Afterward, it’s our turn to draw from the inkwell and take up our own purpose. What results is a snapshot of sorts, at times representing very well its author’s essence, as preserved through transcription.

Lately, I’ve been working my way through Meditations by Marcus Aurelius, an emperor of Rome in the second century following the birth of Christ. Not an undertaking for the easily distracted or weak-willed, these twelve Books comprise the man’s personal notes, set down for no one but himself. In this they are similar to George Washington’s Rules of Civility & Decent Behaviour In Company and Conversation, composed as a means of self-edification.

The nature of truth being what it is, the date of a valid premise is irrelevant. What is, in a broad enough sense, always has been and ever shall be. Yet today, we may reliably draw on the prim, intellectual propriety of Washington, the Stoic observations of Aurelius, and the selfless clarity of Lao Tzu, whose Tao Te Ching predated them all.

The study of history, apart from the rote memorization of timelines, is also a quest for past perspective. That, if you’ve not noticed, is a factor powering my fiction: the deep points of view relating the personal factors driving its characters—good, evil, strong, and unenduring—to act as they do.

It is something more than an arbitrary delineation dividing history in the period before the birth of Jesus and the epoch Anno Domini. Regardless of any secular designation as Before Common Era or CE, the point of demarcation is the same. To a lesser extent, the line of time in the ebb and flow of cultures, viewed as history, will be reflected in the microcosm of our personal experience. Each of us will have our predating, transformative, and later periods.

Washington, of course, wrote in the context of a Christian culture, one whose eventual adoption of our founding documents acknowledged rights given universally and an essential dependence on blessings bestowed to the reverent. Aurelius worked at the dawn of the Church and from the perspective of a pagan and Stoic, though his text alternates between poly- and monotheistic language. Lao Tzu penned his eighty-one chapters wholly in his own pre-revelation context and more than two thousand years ago.

I was struck almost immediately by the similarity between Lao Tzu and Aurelius. Both depended on naturalistic observation in a moral presentation of natural laws. Likewise marked by a serene acceptance of the overall state of affairs, this is presented as one best lived within rather than striven against. Self recedes in such philosophy as perspective broadens. Each of these wise men, however, reached the limit of their individual vision. Though the What, Where, and When of their reporting is valid, it is also limited in supplying the Why.

Why is an important component of understanding, as it aids repeatability, which in turn helps assure a given lesson will be passed along. Why helps define the observations of validity resulting in the universal canon of natural law.

Why is also the reason we divide history at the point of the appearance of Christ. Without His mission to validate its prophecies, the testament of Judaism would have faded alongside the competing sects of the time in which it flourished, crumpling into the sands of history with the ruins of its Temple. Because He arrived, we can assign rational hope to scriptural promises yet to be fulfilled. In portraying Why on Calvary, He allowed us to assume our place in everything going on, just as Christ exemplified and proved a sure hope through demonstrating the Resurrection.

Absent this resultant Christian assurance, the benefits of anticipation are lost for the faithless. Life fades into nothingness with each year, day, hour and moment of time. Standards of behavior become relative without guiding moral absolutes, and wandering follows to varying ends.

Moral strength isn’t enough. Lao, once his calligraphy brush dried, rode into the desert to die, sick at heart of the ways of men. Aurelius found his end disappointed in a son whose upbringing failed to reflect in its results. Both were denied a sufficiently broad vision to bestow hope, yet allowed wisdom enough for their observations to endure through many centuries. To what end we can debate without knowing, but not without something to which we might, in our present era, hold onto.

God, in His essence as embodied in the mission of Christ, has an inclusive plan for those receptive to wisdom. His equations balance our inadequacy with overwhelming sufficiency in our favor, somewhere, I need to believe, past legalistic boundaries and strictures set in limited understanding. The brightest of us see only, as Paul said, through a mirror darkly, on a path toward clarity as starkly terrifying or joyously fulfilling as His just judgment or coverage in grace might decree.

Such questions on the way from here to there remain worthy of consideration. Truth remains what it is, now as in times past: a treasure sought by the living.

Choose to love, -DA

*****

In production news, my ninth novel and Boone’s fourth, now approaching the three-quarters mark in primary editing, continues toward an early summer release. We remain optimistic this will occur in June, but also are determined to hold off until it’s ready, and without applying arbitrary deadlines. You should expect a read worth the wait, once the second half of Boone’s File launches with Meat for the Lion.

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Arma Virumque Cano

The news out of London today, regarding the attack on Parliament, is tiresome. Not so only from the repetitive nature of predictable aggression from adherents of an ideology of conquest and subjugation, but amplified by acculturated false premises enabling tragedy among the civilized.

Long gone are the days of the Victorian era, when Dr. Watson or a man of his bent walked the streets of London with a prudent revolver in his pocket. Restrictions on the rights of free folk to go armed began at the turn of the twentieth century, with the permitting processes progressing through ever-increasing requirements to show necessity. The necessity of free people possessing arms at all was deemed nonexistent by 1920, after which point the Brits were effectively disarmed before the advent of hostilities in the 1940s.

The inherent right to defend one’s person and property remains, of course, and by extension so does possessing the means. Those are qualities inherent in the human condition, not granted by consensus or through the beneficence of government. Yet in Britain those rights are denied in the name of civility. In our time, even police officers, save for a few widely dispersed armed response teams, are denied tools to address in an effective manner realities encountered wherever free will exists. They are, after all, policing a civil country.

The world, sad to say, does not function on the basis of civility, but on enforcing order. Civility is a luxury guarded by the capable, in whose absence the overly civil become cowards and then slaves. Released from the bonds of service, government out of bounds becomes a master when no one remains capable of returning it to its line.

The U.K. should learn from today. But then again, they should have learned already from readily available studies of days behind and ages past. Regardless of valued civility, subsequent lessons might be louder and closer to home until consequences deliver their common message: gentility does nothing to stop armed aggression. Strength does that.

Civility, though a worthy goal, does nothing to curtail the compulsions of the predatory and tyrannical to direct the lives of others. To those, civility marks nothing more than a target for domination, because such seems a reasonable outcome of aggression. Evil discounts the admonitions of humanity with mocking laughter, neither appreciating the beauty and fragility of life nor wishing and hoping for its abundance. Where gentle people see reflections of themselves, evil sees a food chain, and that is a condition imagined universal amenity will never change. Just as love is a choice, so are works of death instead.

Writing of such things as I do, out of convenience I termed the resulting philosophy The Amidei Doctrine, which states that whoever sets aside humanity loses the consideration of civilized folk. There’s nothing new in this, as it merely recognizes the way things have always been. Truth is like that, as whatever solid premise exists has always been and ever will be so.

Unwanted fire must be extinguished, unless one is willing to watch its depredation eventually run out of fuel. Likewise, violence needs to be met with countervailing force to bring about an early end to it, ideally before any of the goals of evil are met. One need not be brutish, or relish the process, or strut in the aftermath. One need not lay down civility in being capable. One does, however, require the means to work whatever noble purpose is set in place by destiny. Lacking such, one’s end may be ignoble rather than inspiring, and victimhood anywhere does nothing to improve the general state of affairs.

It was, unfortunately, the case in London today, and in 2015 Paris, where another unarmed police officer was executed in submission on a sidewalk outside the offices of Charlie Hebdo. Similar tragedies have occurred in many other places where people “didn’t feel right” about keeping weapons close at hand. Obliviousness, cowardice, and abrogation of responsibility have an effect wherever they are allowed, and always to the detriment of those subject to abrupt disillusion. Reality can be a harsh schoolmaster, and some of its worst lessons are appreciated only at a distance by observers after the dust settles. We can and should do better. Nothing is so uncivil as unhindered homicide.

Choose to love. Choose strength as well. -DA

*****

In production news, my ninth novel and Boone’s fourth, Meat for the Lion, has passed the halfway point in primary editing. As predicted, tax season is hampering progress. Yet, the good Doctor and company—Terry Bradley, Sean Ritter, General Peter McAllen, and the returning Deborah Vosse—should be back in time for summer beach reading, in June or shortly after.

The Power of Disruption

Yesterday, the President initiated a kerfuffle in conducting an extended beating of the White House Press Corps / news conference. Many were horrified, with others just as delighted in the result. I choose not to engage in political cheerleading here, as Vae Obscurum is a place for ideas, and secondarily for promotion of where you can find more of mine. But as is evident today, many fail to understand what Donald Trump accomplished in those couple of hours, and related implications going forward. Let’s try.

The credo is: Always Cheat. Always Win.

Among the naturalistic rules regulating conflict, this is one of the more important. When winning is the objective, the means to the desired end are secondary. A fight is not a philosophy. The latter justifies in the mind action before it arises, and, as my characters often discover, either provides the strength carrying one through to a successful resolution or weights the crush of karma comprising a spectacular demise.

So why would anyone play by someone else’s rules? Often, it’s because another someone, who got there first, wishes it so. Bruce Lee once opined life to be combat, and at times he is correct. Given the essential choice between the pursuit of lame advantage and excellence, the laws of standard deviation decree a population will always split down the middle between these two camps.

There are a variety of interests to be encountered throughout the world. Self-interest is one. Ideology is another. Humanitarianism is a choice as well. One orients depending on the quality of character engaged in setting one’s priorities, choosing—as Jon Anthony proclaimed in The Anvil of the Craftsman—between love, hate, and indifference.

But once established, a solid set of values and tested beliefs need to be put into action to do anyone any good. And that’s where upright people need to be strong enough to win against the immature, idiotic, barbaric, tyrannical, and reprobative mindsets who comprise the usual suspects of their opposition.

Balance points are a subject of study in the martial arts. Centered, one stands. Taken outside the means of support, one is sometimes airborne and almost always vulnerable immediately after. It is the same everywhere conflict arises. Whether in debate, in governance, in sports, or in the pages of a novel, the same principles of stance and support apply.

Strength arises from testing the foundations of what we believe. Truth is rewarded by success, and delusion by disaster, and each outcome is inevitable subject to the long proof of time in revealing their obvious consequences.

There exist constructs—heavily defended—in society today with the sole objective of securing lame advantage. Discussions are steered and chilled by those unable to rationally defend their premise. Through rally words, social pressures, and even legislation, the effect is to produce a safe zone for indefensible thinking. Standing rules, in effect, are all they have, and once the Oz curtain drops around a pseudo-intellectual alcove, we can see the person behind it is little indeed.

So the President, a businessman rather than a politician, decided to set the rules instead. When Donald Trump showed up packing a rhetorical sledgehammer, people accustomed to previously existing parameters of the bout couldn’t handle what happened next. They were, in effect, disrupted. Antagonists were excoriated, fairness was rewarded, and lessons were learned throughout.

Deconstruction, the ultimate disrupter of a faulted premise and any equally illegitimate extensions, need to become a way of life for free people. The only rehabilitative action available to deal with untruth is rejection and reconstruction. Put off through compromise and “agreeing to disagree,” the initial dysfunction remains instead of resolves, and society continues to suffer as a result.

We are encountering disruption in America via the political process and in the presidency. That this is causing a good deal of anxiety in weak minds is, in the long term, a good thing. Reset in society may come about in two ways. One is reform, where a preponderance of adult thinking imposes order on chaos. The other is the much more painful and brutal correction of natural law, which decrees systemic collapse as the penalty for delusion before everyone begins again, regardless of affiliation.

Choose to love, -DA

*****

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In production news, the fourth title of Boone’s File, Meat for the Lion, is thirty-eight percent complete in primary editing. We are suspecting a June delivery, depending on how tax season goes. The Editress, also the Single Candle Press CFO, is given a considerable amount of leeway in scheduling. There are certain lessons one learns experiencing thirty years of marriage, and patience is one of them.

What have we learned, America?

Eight years is a long wait for something to be over. Faith leads to endurance by the promise of James 1:3, and so those who hope also cultivate patience for the sake of what will become apparent eventually.

What have we learned in the interim of what is so close to being a lost decade? Left to drift away, these lessons will be lost, and we will have further diminished rather than rallied. That is not the American way.

Historically, societies trend downward in a cycle leading from decline to slavery. Through revolution and revitalization, perhaps, a people may rise again. The efforts and achievements of the capable produce comfortable complacency and lay the seedbed of decline anew through overproducing the idiot children of success. People survive such times, but nations of the past in many instances have not. This, supposedly, is the Information Age, though; we need not follow the same stumbling path yet again. Toward that end and amongst many others:

Lesson One:  Angry crowds do surprising things
We’ve learned that the American people, put to the hard choice, will choose the deeply crass over the utterly corrupt. Such impertinence is the fruit of having the GOP elephant and the Democrat donkey morph into the statist ass-weasel, an invasive species currently dominating the swamp habitat of Washington, D.C. Legislators, rediscover integrity and heal yourselves.

Lesson Two: Iconography is a poor substitute for competence
Going forward, the electorate needs to demand results from the beneficiaries of its populism, rather than serve as cheerleaders for any cult of personality. To take up the duty of preserving our constitutional ideals in the face of arrogant elitism of whatever stripe must become a consuming, national passion. The spice of Americanism must flow.

Lesson Three: Do Not Feed The Tyrants
Empowerment will only intensify a compulsion to direct the lives of others. Affliction with ideology assigning citizens servitude to government rather than the reverse cannot be sated, only isolated, vilified, and shunned by honorable folk. Meeting or failing recurring challenges of the magnitude encountered in the outgoing administration will define us for future generations. Those defective souls who eventually lead government past the bounds of humanity may only be put down by force of arms, and technology is leaving good men with rifles nearly out of contention on the modern battlefield.

Lesson Four: Situational awareness
Enemies domestic thrive on the disinterest of honorable folk. Matters recently progressed to the edge of tolerance because the majority of the population had their heads down and their eyes closed. Our founders constructed this system of government with the assumption its citizenry would look after their own interests, as would the co-equal branches of limited government. Patterns of power leaving this righteous construct must be corrected or excised going forward and without exception, despite any lure of contrarian pragmatism.

Lesson Five: Be the People
Character remains the primary issue in politics and life generally, and needs to be cultivated in expectations held for ourselves and others. A disciplined population will elevate substantive people, following the advice of Jethro to Moses. Those fear God, are trustworthy, hate dishonest gain, and enter public service appreciating the duty of servant leadership. While they are empowered we must watch them carefully, and, should the lure of privilege take hold, dismiss them as warranted. Term limiting is a great place to begin, but will need to be enacted over the squalls of currently entrenched officeholders.

So here we are, at another end and beginning as has been the construct of history since we became a literate species. But who reads, right? Beyond prayerful supplication, one may only hope for the best, check the household inventories for shortfall, and know that God will be glorified at the conclusion of our days.

Choose to love, -DA

*****

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In production news, the fourth title of Boone’s File, Meat for the Lion, has passed through story-line refinement in Content Edit and now stands twenty percent complete in primary editing. We currently anticipate a summer release!

Because He Arrived

It’s a continual challenge in an overly accessorized world to effectively relay the significance of the mission of Christ. People, by and large blessed by a successful society and subject to many distractions, are able to ignore their primal nature and focus on less significant matters. But that Jesus appeared is a historical actuality, and one should understand why.

The Christ Child didn’t arrive because God changed in any way, but because He chose to manifest Himself in the person of a begotten son. The Craftsman is the same from age to age, existing outside the line of time in what can only be termed as nontemporal superdimensionalism. It is an altogether singular existence, dependent on nothing else. He is, and so he told Moses His name: I Am.

He Is today as He was then. We, as a portion of His portfolio, observe what He is doing as our limits allow. Time passes, because we are encapsulated and subject to the Line of Time, while we learn and grow to His purpose. In the fullness of our days, we will return to Him—going back under the Hand and the Eye of the Craftsman—to be evaluated.

My first novel, The Anvil of the Craftsman, led with His promise from Isaiah 43:25 that “I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions, for My own sake, and remembers your sins no more.” That’s Who He is.

God’s covenantal promise is to reconcile the difference between who He is and who we are in the only way He is able. He needs to balance His equation, working in a manner that is representable mathematically. He chose to do so in a way that in its nature addresses another of our predictable failures.

Nontemporal superdimensionalism was not a term likely to flourish in the first century, let alone the times before the Hebrews became Israel. Though the concept is intuitive, humanity’s grasp of the universe was limited. We had an excuse, seeded by doubt from His enemy, that God didn’t know what it was like to be alone and abused and dying. From the beginning, in the crossroads of our minds where our voice and that of God and the deceiver meet, there was the premise planted of our Creator as a tyrant rather than a Father.

Jesus arrived, because our last excuse could be countered in no other way. I emphasize again: nothing changed then. This is the way God Is. His revelation is progressive, not His nature, and he judges men and women today on the same basis He has ever.

We are judged on a perfect standard, as He is perfect, for the reason that He must maintain, as we are told, what He creates. To do so, He must remain as He is, undiminished. It is our great opportunity and danger to arrive in eternity as a child of God or a castaway perceiving too late the nature of our existence and His.

So it is we initially fear God, and do so in our clarity. By His will, we come closer to see a message being not one of tyranny, but relaying His motivation of divine love, and His saving grace, and the overwhelming sufficiency of Christ.

Because Jesus arrived, we may understand. Join us in celebration if this is your first season of realization, and be blessed this Christmas as we remember again.

Choose to love, -DA

Review of ‘The Caliphate’

As I’ve said elsewhere, I am generally in the business of producing books, not reviewing them. As the Editress also has learned, doing what we do well sometimes makes it difficult to find a satisfying work in which to lose oneself through the magic of immersion. Recently I did that, and my resulting thoughts exceeded the venue of a retail book review. Here’s the first part of what I had to say about author friend Anna Erishkigal’s latest:

The Caliphate is wound around the premise that an ISIS-like conquest of the United States has been successful. One might think ‘Yeah, like that would ever happen,’ until Erishkigal constructs her disturbingly plausible backdrop for the novel to follow.

Eisa McCarthy is a faithful Muslim, one who refuses to set aside her humanity in the name of doctrine. We see the story through her eyes as she navigates her difficult path. Burdened by memories of a father now besmirched by propagandized history into the image of a traitor, she finds herself propelled by her circumstances into a fold of resistance marking America’s last efforts at redemption.

'The Caliphate' on Amazon

Get it on Amazon

The parallels the author draws between the current landscape in Syria and Iraq and a future United States are unsettling, as they portray present-day atrocities with unflinching accuracy. The dominion of evil Eisa opposes is factual, departing only in scope from conditions experienced already inside less fortunate borders. Likewise, the courage of female fighters against a misogynistic foe is drawn from our world and extended into the author’s adroit, fictional presentation.

One is left with the conclusion that, yes, this could happen here. If it does, we will have the same choices Eisa, her compatriots, and fellow victims of dominant, Islamist fundamentalism do: resist for the sake of those who can or will not, or hope for the best at the sparse mercy of conscienceless oppressors.

Overall, a solid work of thriller/suspense and an easy five stars.”

That was the easy part. Dealing with the threads of actuality the author pulled together into to this work  came next, all part of the era our world will attempt to resolve into the foreseeable future.

One of her themes is the nature of absolutism, in particular Islamofascism of the type now plaguing portions of Iraq and Syria. Fundamentalist Muhammadanism continues to export its proponents into every corner of the globe via the infrastructure of a world growing smaller by the year. As in Anna’s backstory, misplaced guilt and sympathy provided the inroad for a substantial population of assets who intended to fulfill the vision of their Prophet:  to conquer each piece of land on which they place their foot.

Here stateside, we only days ago decided a presidential election. One of the major candidates for years had been advised by a staffer connected to the transnational, Sunni Islamist ‘Muslim Brotherhood.’ Huma Abedin fulfilled for Hillary Clinton a role similar to Valerie Jarrett, a current Senior Advisor to the President and of Iranian birth who principally influences his foreign policy. Had the electoral process gone another way, through  the fruition of policies enabling Muslim influx we might have been well on the way toward the same type of soft cultural  jihad currently being suffered by Europe.

Anna extended the premise into a plausible scenario, in which the movement eventually gains control of America’s nuclear arsenal. Afterward the regime holds the threat of annihilation over not only America but the remainder of the civilized world.

There she hits another thread weaving itself through human history. There are two types of us, you see. The first and perhaps the larger contingent would rather give in than get hurt. Those hope for the best, that their predators in life will pass them by, and that they will be allowed to continue what is an essentially undeserved existence. For the bright spirits, the heroes amongst us such as Anna’s protagonist Eisa McCarthy, the opposite philosophy takes hold. From somewhere within, the Spirit finds a foothold, and one finds the reverse to be true. Courage follows, and one threads a path though fear forward to decisive action.

Conflict is tiresome, and those who seek to dominate their fellows know this. Domineering personalities therefore promote division at every level possible, so their policies might eventually flourish through a lack of resistance. Fear likewise is a circumstance the undeveloped soul seeks to avoid. Violence and its terrifying aftermath, of course, is the most effective cowing agent of all.

So it is under the rule of ISIS within the bounds of its miserable territory today. It is well to remember the laws of human nature are as much in effect in this country as they are in the Near East.

We enshrine and protect freedom of religion in our Constitution. Such recognition resulted to ensure the freedom from oppression for the devout and conscientious. Islam of the modernistic, reformed variety—the sort content to reside in the front half of the Qur’an as encountered in the Balkans—seeks only to worship the God of Abraham after the prompting of the Spirit as do their brother Jews and Christians. Such folk choose love over hate and indifference, and bother no one as a result.

Islam metastasized is an altogether different entity. There, civilized harmony is antithetical to the later verses of Muhammadan scripture they embrace, in which adherents are instructed to accept the latter of contradictory guidance. Those are the chapters, which encourage terror and subjugation, making the global war between twenty-first and seventh-century philosophies what it is.

Such can no longer be tolerated under the banner of ‘freedom of religion.’ As the social media meme points out, if your religion requires you to kill me to get to heaven, I don’t need to tolerate that. Assigning constitutional protection to the polar opposite of Americanism and an ideology of conquest is beyond foolish; it is self-destructive.

Islam, particularly in Wahhabism, cannot be considered only another quaint religious tradition safe for the imagined secular humanist to dismiss and ignore. It engenders, as Winston Churchill observed, a distinct fanaticism as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog. Past a certain point, the two afflictions have only a singular and identical course of effective treatment.

Anna Erishkigal’s characters, particularly her women, you may rest assured become masters of addressing this condition in their enemies. We might contend with Eisa McCarthy’s premise that “Allah has no sons, only daughters,” but in the end we cheer the courage that is her byproduct of faith. These contests, as they have throughout history, retain a significance beyond the contexts of their actors. There are lessons there, unseen if unsought, God-placed for those who will.

Choose to love, -DA

Fear, Faith, and Politics

The 2016 Election is unique for me, in that it is the first in which deciding my course of action is a matter of spiritual crisis rather than politics. Now content to consider myself a Christian first and a conservative after, I was previously aligned with Republican positions. This was a result of Ronald Reagan’s second term being my first election after reaching voting age. Those were good days, when faith and admiration in conservatism were rewarded with quantifiable gains in American culture and the economy lasting two wonderful decades.

Things were as they should be. So we thought then.

What happened, slowly, and cyclically, was the degradation of character in the children of America’s success. Affluence sired distraction culminating in the arrival of the Internet, after which it was possible to find a peer group to affirm and reinforce any level of substandard thinking.

Faith and Christian witness should have found a foothold there in the arena of ideas as well. It hasn’t, at least to prominence, and there’s a particular reason why; such can be called consensus censorship.

The sense of community enabled by long-distance collaboration discovered a powerful mechanism to avoid facing criticism of their behavior. It was for the few to assume the appearance of many, and thereby control discussion through threats, intimidation, and economic sanctioning.

Too many bought into their specious arguments and let their false premises ride. Left-think occupied cultural ground faith should have contested, and territory was lost. Defining sin was labeled intolerant by those who identify with and advocate for sinful behavior, and conversation was chilled by force. We became mired in an intimidated, secularized national culture.

Since then we’ve degraded into the nation whose choice between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump made our democratic process a laughingstock. In this tiresome time, when many are contemplating fateful courses of action and pondering the nature of civic duty, I am reminded of a foundational premise from long ago. In this I concluded our primary concern is to deliver back to God our soul in some semblance of order after a lifetime of formative experience.

Fear will not do that, nor compromise, nor faithless pragmatism. Those are vices: grand delusions cast as a veil to guide us away from our potential and our work.

A statist Congress of one flavor or another will not save us. Neither will a Supreme Court stocked with the same affliction of compromise and willingness to consider expansive government an established paradigm. The only power able to redeem our nation is the Spirit making the longsuffering seedbed of virtue overcome the lure of vice. Easy answers, lesser evils, and incremental reduction to nominality are not and never were the path toward a better tomorrow.

It’s a time for a revival of faith in a nation in which the gift of the Spirit seems to be withdrawn. When this episode of history is over, we each will have at best held our ground, or diminished into compromise, or at worst embraced reprobative thinking and provoked predictable, disastrous consequences.

It is evident that someone is going to have to rebuild. Only those who appreciate concepts of the level, square and plum and who know how to live will prosper soon. Those precepts have been available for millennia. For as long, we’ve been presented case studies of nations who forget the God Who Is and lapse into idolatry, and the thought we live in another such epoch is sobering. Unfortunately, it is also an increasingly unavoidable conclusion.

Faith, as I’ve said elsewhere, is given to overcome fear. That gift from God allows us warn and advise while opportunity remains. Faith invites the Spirit, who brings discernment as a gift in return for our hospitality. Clarity follows, where we see God remains dominant throughout Creation, and the noisome discordance of the enemy fades in comparison to divine glory.

All is not lost with an election cycle. One need not align with Baal to hinder Moloch. Even with things as they have been before, and as they were predicted long ago, God will be glorified in the days to come. No device of the enemy, no weapon formed against His plan will prosper. The decisions of our days should reflect our sure knowledge that it is so, and that He will keep enough of his own people for Himself, if we hope to be numbered among them when this is over.

It’s a time when everyone will have the opportunity to define themselves in the ordering of their loyalties. Mine are defined: The God of Israel bought me with the blood of Christ long before I was, and better men defined the righteous and descendant principles of just governance through the American Constitution. Afterward follow my marriage and loyalties to the ones I love.

People whose perception culminates at the level of human government might see things differently than I, and it seems much of the right wing acts out in just such a way these days. Fear those as much as you do the secular leftist; in each camp is the temptation toward pragmatism that has marred humanity in the past. I’m no prophet—only someone who pays attention.

Choose to love, for the road to redemption begins there. -DA