Thursday, August 21, 2014

Fight the Stupids!

A lot of classic works of literature are proving to be prophetic in our day and age.  Our 21st century American culture and political life are growing more and more to resemble Orwell's 1984, Huxley's Brave New World, Rand's Atlas Shrugged, Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, and other seminal works of art.

I would also include one that resonates with me as a Christian pastor trying to shepherd people in Christ's Church amid the decay and normalization of the rot, and that is the insightful apocalyptic novel Father Elijah by contemporary Canadian wordsmith and raconteur, the traditionalist Roman Catholic author Michael O'Brien.

And then there is Mike Judge's satirical film Idiocracy, which has become eerily prescient of our own breakneck cultural decay a mere eight years after its release.  Things that seemed over-the-top crazy in 2006 have nearly become downright quaint in 2014.

Today's Drudge Report headlines could have stepped right out of many of these works that predicted the unraveling of western civilization into a quivering ball of anti-intellectual animalistic mush.

These current headlines include:

  • Outrage over LAPD's state-of-the-art spy drone
  • BRAIN DRAIN: IQ scores decreasing
  • Mob tackles airline employees as ticket giveaway descends into chaos
  • Debut 'SPIDER-WOMAN' Cover Slammed as Sexist Due to Butt Shot
  • 'DATING NAKED' sued by cast member -- for showing her naked!
  • 'SEX BOX' Reality Show to Put Couples on Display
  • HBO defends scenes of violence and rape
  • 'Performance Artist' Vows To Have Sex With Someone New Every Day
  • Sex-Crazed Narcissist
  • CHENEY: Obama Would 'Rather Be On Golf Course' Than Situation Room
  • All Smiles And Fist Bumps
  • Doctors baffled by rise in penis birth defect
  • Spanish senator blames national debt on homosexuals
  • Hook-Up Culture at Harvard, Stanford Wanes Amid Assault Alarm

This is our Brave New World, where ignorance is strength, a sensationalistic (and yet bored) culture of casual orgies and mind-numbing pharmaceuticals and lack of interest in books and in thinking, a society that rewards sloth and mooching, where good is evil and evil is good.  We live in that culture in which plants are figuratively believed to crave electrolytes, and to suggest otherwise is to invite ridicule from one's mouth-breathing "superiors."

Having said all of that, I believe I'm going to apply the cure suggested by Mrs. Hollywood: a daily dose of Anthony Esolen.  Go here.  Read an essay every day.  And even if you are not Roman Catholic or not Christian, give Dr. Esolen a shot anyway.  Your mind will thank you.  He is eloquent, uses our language as an art form, and writes with his mind directed at that which is good, beautiful, true, transcendent, and uplifting. Even in matters of disagreement with him, what a delightful alternative to the incessant pipeline of cultural bilge that flows unabated (and in fact, invited) into our inboxes and news-feeds incessantly.  We do not have to yield to the forces of barbarianism.  We can choose to be civilized.

In the words of the slogan of a local bookstore: "Fight the stupids!"

Saturday, August 16, 2014

In Memoriam, Francis T. Nichols

I had the privilege to say the prayer at a wreath-laying ceremony in honor of the birthday of a great hero of our state, Francis T. Nicholls - after whom is named a street in the French Quarter and a university.

Other than that, Nicholls's story is largely unknown to modern Louisianians and Americans.  As a devout Christian and confederate veteran of the War for Southern Independence (twice seriously combat-wounded brigadier general), along with being the first freely elected post-reconstruction governor (two terms) and state supreme court chief justice, today's ceremony was conducted under the auspices of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and held at his gravesite at St. John's Episcopal Church in Thibodaux, Louisiana.

Here is today's prayer:

In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Lord, God, heavenly Father, we give you thanks for the life and the memory of Your servant, Francis Nicholls.  We thank You for his legacy of courage and public service that continues to inspire us today.

Along with all the men and women, military and civilian, black and white, wealthy and impoverished, who sacrificed for the principles of limited government and independence, we honor General Nicholls, acknowledging his valor and continued service to his country even when severely handicapped by wounds in battle.

We also thank you, O Lord, for the post-war heroism of your servant Governor Nicholls, who defended the rights of those who were oppressed during the so-called reconstruction of the South.  We also acknowledge You, O Lord, as the King and Judge of all in calling Your servant Chief Justice Nicholls to serve as an honorable magistrate in our state.

In humility we honor Your servant Francis for his long and fruitful Christian life of courage and labor for the improvement of the lives of his countrymen.  May You continue to raise up men and women of courage in our day and in the days of our posterity: those willing to lead by taking up the cross, those willing to accomplish greatness through service.

And we pray in the name of Him who taught us to lay down our lives for others, the One who died on the cross for all, Your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, for You live and reign with Him and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.