We all live in a real world. It was here before we got here, and it will be here when we’re gone. And it has rules that do not depend the least bit on our own opinions, wishes, beliefs, traditions, habits, perceptions, concerns, or abilities. For example, gravity is always on whether we like it or not—whether we understand it or not—even whether it hurts us or not—-. The law of cause and effect is always on—even when the effects hurt us. The sustaining of life takes work—even when we “don’t feel like” working. Truth exists, even when it hurts our feelings or causes us inconvenience.
There is a certain fabric to reality—metaphorically speaking. It has certain qualities and properties. It works in certain ways. It is what it is. And most people spend a lifetime learning about it to some extent or another—learning how to navigate this real world. We make our mistakes, and we make improvements, and we learn our lessons—some more easily than others. That is, after living here a while, we “learn the ropes”, so to speak—we learn how things work. We figure it out. And to some extent, we adjust our own thinking and beliefs to better map onto the reality that surrounds us.
But some people refuse to let the rules be the rules—at least on some topics. They are unwilling to adjust their own thinking and beliefs to fit the real world, and prefer instead to act as if reality is different from what it is. They take a twisted view of things, believing against reality—against the evidence and against sound reasoning. And to do this, they have to lie.
…the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
The phrase above, taken from the traditional American oath for witnesses in court cases, has developed from the wisdom of the ages. That is, humans have figured out over time that when you talk about truth, you have to get very specific, else some people will try to evade it by either omitting parts of it, or adding to it some things that are untrue.
In this post, I want to talk about the former—about omitting parts of the truth, such that what is left does not paint the true picture at all. The way I see it, this happens with great regularity in America’s churches. Here’s what I mean:
If you experienced even one highly-excellent event in your schooling years, you can probably relate to what I want to say here. For some, it might have been winning the big game. For others, putting on a great play or musical. For others, winning the Spelling Bee or the Brain Brawl, or getting a Superior rating at the Band Festival. I trust you’ll know what I’m talking about.
Well, there’s a difference in what people do with those excellent schooling experiences—whether they experience many or few such things. Some people take those experiences as trophies—as things to be remembered—as high-water marks of life. They are the sort to say, “Hey, do you remember that time that such-and-such happened?” A lot of people are like this, and draw joy (whether much or little) from these schooling-years experiences throughout the rest of their lives.
Empowering Constitution-supporting citizens to remove bad-acting members of Congress with the help of state courts. (See the full text of the bill below.)
I’ve drafted a bill to help the states solve one of America’s greatest problems. That problem is that Congress does not very well follow the Constitution it swears to uphold. And who is responsible for impeaching and trying members of Congress who break the rules? Well, Congress is.
This article concerns a recent chart I put together, so let’s start there.
Suppose you were an imaginary State X, which entered the Union as a sovereign political entity, and only joined because of a handful of intended benefits that made it worth trading off a little bit of your independence. You would get the help of the Union in defending yourself from invasion and insurrection. And you’d be guaranteed fair trade with all the other member states. And in most other matters, you’d get to make your own rules as you see fit.
I’m not writing to create a full essay on American civic behavior, but rather, to point out just a couple of curious things. I posted meme pictured here on Facebook this morning, and then had further thoughts about it that seemed worth sharing.
Let me start by repeating in my own words what a friend replied. He said that we have many rights that are worth defending, but that the 2nd Amendment protects our option to defend our rights with force if necessary. And indeed, I have heard such statements before. So I replied with something like this, which I have since amplified after further reflection:
Once upon a time, there was a fox who could not reach the grapes he wanted. As he reflected on the scenario, he was dissatisfied with the truth of the matter: that he was unable to find a way to get the grapes. So he lied in order to “justify” himself to himself. He declared that those grapes (that he could never taste) were sour. And he did this with no evidence whatsoever that the grapes were indeed sour. It was an irresponsible, irrational, and dishonest assertion about the grapes, but maintaining his own arrogant self-view was more important than maintaining the truth.
And why am I reminding you of Aesop’s “Sour Grapes”? It’s because some people do a very similar thing when they find themselves in conflict with other people. What they want is to be validated by others, and when they don’t get it, they get angry. And then they feel a need to “justify” their anger and their negative attitude toward the others. And I put that word in quotation marks because very often, they cannot really justify it. Rather, they pretend to justify it.
Whether we like this or not about reality, here’s the fact: The path to hypocrisy is a short one.
Billy declares that “People should clean up after themselves!”, but Billy is just one decision away from leaving a mess himself–especially if he’s in a rush, or otherwise under stress. Sally gets onto others for being late and says it’s a matter of character. But Sally is just rough situation away from being late herself. And then, when it happens to her, she’s just one further decision away from not being fully accountable for her failure.
Are we simply done with law and order? Are we done with justice and fairness? Do we no longer value such things as a society? Do we intend to let the pendulum swing perpetually in the direction of unruliness and corruption?
Here’s what you must understand: When a political/economic regime has the power to control….
The news media—print, internet, radio, and TV
The healthcare industry
The Federal Reserve
The United States Government
The 50 state governments
The worldwide COVID-19 response
….there is NO WAY it’s not going to do its best to control as many churches as it can get its hands on. No way. Think of the power you’d yield if you controlled the churches—if you could slip in alongside their general business the sinister business of getting Americans to abandon certain realities and duties.