Standing Advice

The following “goes without saying” – until I change my mind, at least.

Deep Sanity

  • All these things which are going on now, as well as all subsequent things, God will come with His broom and sweep them away in a manner known to Him. So, don’t worry. Let us commend ourselves and each other and all our lives unto Christ our God. (Elder Epiphanios)
  • Some fundamentals that we easily overlook:
    • The love of God that has been poured out to us in Christ Jesus is so strong that no conceivable hardship can separate us from that love. (Romans 8: 35-39)
    • Everything that happens to us is organized by Divine Love for our benefit, even if we can’t understand how. (Romans 8:28; Matthew 10:29-31)
    • In response to this love, we are commanded to replace anxious thoughts with a moment-by-moment awareness of all that is lovely, noble and good. (Philippians 4:6-8; 2 Thessalonians 5:16-18; Luke 12:29)
  • Repent. Acts 2:38. This is ongoing advice. You don’t repent just once.
  • To be deep in history is to cease being Protestant.
  • “Nominalists … don’t want to be ‘taken in’ and so profess that they can’t make heads or tails of the poet’s evocation of the ineffable penumbra of ordinary things. The realist and metaphysican, on the other hand, does not want to be ‘left out,’ does not want to fail to do justice to all that appears to us in any given thing, or to all hidden within it that may appear to us only with patient attention.” (From The Humane Vision of Wendell Berry)
  • You cannot comprehend God. If your religion “makes perfect sense,” it’s almost certainly heretical.
  • There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, “Thy will be done,” and those to whom God says, in the end, “Thy will be done.” (C.S. Lewis, The Great Divorce.
  • Corruptio optimi pessima.
  • Lex orandi, lex credendi.
  • Culture normalizes (which is a sort of variant on lex orandi …)
  • “The consumer society is in fact the most efficient mechanism ever devised for the creation and distribution of unhappiness.” Lord Jonathon Sacks, chief rabbi of Great Britain.
  • If it’s “too big to fail,” break it up into harmless little pieces (or be forever subject to economic blackmail).
  • No nation ever got rich selling each other burgers, Girl Scout Cookies, and raffle tickets.
  • You have no obligation to buy stuff you don’t need for the sake of the economy.
  • We used to make weapons to fight wars. Now we make wars to keep the weapon-makers profitable.

Church and State

  • “The designation of the religious and the political is itself a political act.” (William T. Cavanaugh)
  • “Put not your trust in princes, in sons of men in whom there is no salvation.” Psalm 146:3.
  • American Exceptionalism is bad politics and, worse, bad theology.
  • Culture war ≠ spiritual warfare.
  • “It’s a complete absurdity to believe that Christians will suffer a single thing from the expansion of gay rights, and boy, do they deserve what they’re going to get.” (The Law of Merited Impossibility, discovered by Rod Dreher)
  • At some point, conservatives within the churches will realize that when liberals call for “dialogue,” what they really mean is “we talk until you give us what we want.” (Rod Dreher)
The Culture
  • “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you odd.” (Flannery O’Connor)
  • American culture is not Christian. If we are to become Christ-like … we will have to reject familiar and beloved things … We must reject our old anti-Christian thoughts, attitudes, philosophies, and ways of life, especially those which are nearly unconscious, ingrained into our daily lives, and sometimes even labelled “Christian.”
  • “I think a great many of us are haunted by the feeling that our society, and by ours I don’t mean just the United States or Europe, but our whole world-wide technological civilisation, whether officially labelled capitalist, socialist or communist, is going to go smash, and probably deserves to.” W.H. Auden, 1966.
  • Sex is Optional.
  • “One law for the ox and the lion is oppression.” (William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell)
  • There is no “it” that “can’t happen here.”
  • Turn off the damned television set. It’s trying to make you vulgar and broke. It’s trying to steal your children’s souls. TV “news” makes you neurotic.
  • Beware the ménage à trois of American utilitarianism, individual rights, and a deficient interpretation of Christian love.
  • If Huxley is right, sexual freedom is the Last Freedom, the one that remains when all others are taken away.

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