Friday, June 29, 2012

Apropos of this world and the next

A chaotic week. Just before the 4th of July, a Chief Justice of the Supreme Court appointed by a Republican President provides the swing vote in a landmark, and disastrous, ruling. More about that here. (Be sure to read the comments. We have some good commentators on this one.)

This Sunday next will be the fourth Sunday after Trinity, for which the collect (which I never get tired of quoting) is this:

O God, the protector of all that trust in thee, without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy; Increase and multiply upon us thy mercy; that, thou being our ruler and guide, we may so pass through things temporal, that we finally lose not the things eternal. Grant this, O heavenly Father, for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Here's a long-ago post on this wonderful collect. 

It seems to me right now that we have to cling to the things eternal. Not because our beloved country doesn't matter. Not because our freedoms don't matter. Not because we as Christians should be "apolitical." (On which see here and here.) But because it's the one legitimate comfort we have when things are not going well "down here." And let's remember: Jesus' return is supposed to make everything right, to inaugurate a new heaven and earth, and to bring justice and righteousness. To quote someone more eloquent than I:

Wrong will be right when Aslan comes in sight,
At the sound of his roar, sorrows will be no more,
When he bares his teeth, winter meets its death,
And when he shakes his mane, we shall have spring again.

While we're being encouraging, and in line with this blog's tradition of switching with dizzying speed from Anglican liturgy to Southern gospel music, here's young Phil Collingsworth and his family to remind us of the good things we know:

Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Bishop of Exeter and the Eco-crucifixes

Not much time to blog these days, but here's something to enjoy. It brightened my day. A rip-roaring anti-environmentalist editorial about the Bishop of Exeter's foiled attempt to erect a couple of huge and hideous wind catchers on glebe land. Heh.

OK Bishop, I understand that the Church is hard up. (And why is that I wonder? Surely not because it has sacrificed most of its values and traditions in order to get down with the kids – who, by the by, hate it when squares try to be cool – and to embrace modish issues like sustainability and climate change instead of all that complicated old-fashioned stuff like belief in God?) I understand that the £50,000 a year you might have earned from the wind farm companies could have come in pretty handy. 
But to quote a book I know the church doesn't use that often these days, so forgive my impertinence in reminding you of it:

For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
Because where, ultimately, Bishop, do you think that annual £50,000 would have come from?
Not from the electricity generated by the turbines themselves, let me assure you. Wind energy is to all intents and purposes worthless since, being intermittent and unreliable, it has no value in a consumer-demand-led free market. The only reason the wind industry exists at all is because of the massive subsidies it receives, mostly added onto electricity bills in the form of concealed tariffs.
And there's more. Enjoy.

I must admit: I really have little patience with the ecos. Their yen to make everyone else's lives more difficult becomes pathological at times. I'm coming more and more to believe that if someone tomorrow came up with a cheap energy source that had substantially less environmental impact than anything else we know and that allowed mankind to maintain a first-world standard of living, the ecos and (I'm sorry to say) other nostalgia-driven paleo types would find something to complain about and would try to block it. In other words, I'm coming more and more to believe that inefficiency and driving down the first-world standard of living are at least functioning as ends in themselves for such people, perhaps for aesthetic reasons. Maybe they would say this is false, but that's what it's looking like. What I wish I could do is drive a wedge between, on the one hand, the conservative agrarian types and, on the other hand, the ecological left, which hates mankind and thinks we are a cancer on the planet. Unfortunately, I'm probably not savvy and tactful enough to do that.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Encouragement from Lloyd-Jones

Think of soldiers in an army fighting in their little sector. They are being hard-pressed and things are going against them. If they think that it is just their own private fight they will soon be defeated. But when they remember that they are only a part of a great and mighty army, and that at the back of it all, and directing it, is the Captain, their Leader, immediately the situation is entirely transformed. In other words, we have got to realize as we fight this fight of faith and wrestle with these principalities and powers and face the assaults of the world and the flesh and the devil, that God is involved in it with us. We would never have been in it but for that. The ultimate battle is the battle between God and the devil, between heaven and hell, between light and darkness. That in turn should make us realize a further truth, that this campaign cannot fail, because God’s honour is involved in it. Lift up your minds and your hearts in the thick of the battle and call this to mind. You see the might and the power of the enemy and you are conscious of your own weakness. But say to yourselves, ‘This is God’s battle, we are given the privilege of being in it and of fighting as individual soldiers, but God’s honour is involved in it all. He cannot allow this to fail because His character, His glory, and His honour are involved at every point.’ ‘Be strong in the Lord;’ remember that He is there, and that it is His battle. This cannot be emphasized too much.

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

HT The Sacred Sandwich