Thursday, September 21, 2006

It’s Good To Be the King!

Toque thinks of Monty Python and the Holy Grail whenever he hears dogs barking:
ARTHUR: Be quiet! I order you to be quiet!

WOMAN: Order, eh? Who does he think he is? Heh.

ARTHUR: I am your king!

WOMAN: Well, I didn’t vote for you.

ARTHUR: You don’t vote for kings.

WOMAN: Well, how did you become king then?

ARTHUR: The Lady of the Lake . . . [angels sing] . . . her arm clad in the purest shimmering samite, held aloft Excalibur from the bosom of the water signifying by Divine Providence that I, Arthur, was to carry Excalibur. . . [singing stops] . . . That is why I am your king!

DENNIS: Listen, strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.

ARTHUR: Be quiet!

DENNIS: Well, but you can’t expect to wield supreme executive power just ’cause some watery tart threw a sword at you!

ARTHUR: Shut up!

DENNIS: I mean, if I went ’round saying I was an emperor just because some moistened bint had lobbed a scimitar at me, they’d put me away!

ARTHUR: Shut up, will you. Shut up!

DENNIS: Ah, now we see the violence inherent in the system.

ARTHUR: Shut up!

DENNIS: Oh! Come and see the violence inherent in the system! Help, help! I’m being repressed!

ARTHUR: Bloody peasant!

DENNIS: Oh, what a give-away. Did you hear that? Did you hear that, eh? That’s what I’m on about. Did you see him repressing me? You saw it, didn’t you?

Toque is our premier Reliable Source, with a good sense of humor. David Bayly is out of his mind.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

This Just In:

Hatwitness News has learned that Pastor Tim Bayly is under investigation by the IOC on suspicion of using banned performance-enhancing substances.

Eyebrows were raised after his breakaway performance in the 1000-M Ad Hom, but investigators didn’t become suspicious until his easy 30-second victory in the 3200-M biathlon, an event which combines simple rudeness with aggressive subjugation of women.

Bayly has declined to comment on the accusation, instead citing the desire to “Bite off the kneecaps” of several argumentative women of his acquaintance.

Witnesses say that they observed Bayly applying an unknown substance, and then activating it using a motion strikingly similar to pounding on his chest with alternate fists.

Bayly’s trainer suggested that the substance may have been applied without Bayly’s knowledge by a masseuse, “One of those feminist, rebellious, educated working women who took exception to the simple truths Tim exegetes so masterfully from Scripture. She set him up.”

A source close to the investigation, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the A samples contained a 5:1 bloviation/hypocrisy ratio, were much higher than the normal limit of 2.4:1. The results of the B sample testing are expected later this week, after which the investigative committee will present its findings to the disciplinary panel.

If found guilty of the violation, Bayly will likely receive one week with no dessert and an injunction to quit reading Doug Wilson books so close to bedtime.

Film at 11.

Boonie is the Site Reporter for Unchristian Affairs; Tim Bayly is out of his mind.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The Need of Reproof

For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision; Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake. — Titus 1:11

St. Paul informeth us that there were many rebels even among the faithful, and such as attempted to preach the gospel, who were given to vain prattling and filthy lucre, teaching that which did not edify . . . St. Paul notes them as being the greatest disturbers of the church.

When the wicked sow tares (whether it be of false doctrine or wicked talk), to turn the faithful from the right way, if we dissemble, or make as thought we saw them not, the weak will become infected, and many will be deceived; thus there will be a general plague. . . . Shall we leave the church of God among thieves and wolves, as it were, and let the whole flock be scattered, and the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ trodden under foot? Shall we suffer all order to be abolished, the souls which have been redeemed destroyed, and in the meantime shut our eyes and be silent? If we act thus, are we not cowards?

Let us therefore remember that when persons of honor and dignity have been in credit a long time, and then become deceivers, and endeavor to sow tares and destroy the building of God, we must withstand them the more courageously; for they are far more dangerous than those of lower rank. If an ignorant man, who is but little known, be wicked, and disposed to do evil, he cannot pour out his poison afar off, for he is, as it were, fettered. But he that is of reputation and intelligence, who setteth himself on high that he may be seen afar off, who can boast of his credit, that man, I say, will be armed like a madman; and if he is suffered, he may do much hurt.

Let us mark well when we see men that are honorable, whether it be on account of the office they fill, or the reputation they have had for a long time. In other places where St. Paul speaketh of those that pervert the truth of the gospel, and put forth errors and false doctrine, he calleth them heretics: but in this place he calleth them unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, who will not be ruled by truth or reason. There are no worse enemies than traitors who, under color of God’s name, come and make divisions in the church, and endeavor to destroy that which God hath established. . . I would to God we were entirely rid of such infection and filth. . . We ought to withstand such enemies courageously; but we are so far from it, that every one seemeth to thirst after nothing so much, as to be wittingly poisoned. . . .

There are bastard Christians among us at this day who know not God, nor obey His Word; therefore they will not bear correction. St. Paul reproveth the Cretians by putting them in mind of the witness of their own prophet; who saith, “The Cretians are always liars, evil beasts,” &c. When God maketh known our faults, and reproveth us, He doth it for our salvation; we ought therefore to be displeased with ourselves, and confess our sins with the deepest humility. We gain nothing by being stubborn: it is of no use; for if we will not bow, God will break us into pieces. (John Calvin, The Mystery of Godliness and Other Sermons, “The Need of Reproof” [Morgan, PA: Soli Deo Gloria Ministries] 171–178)

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Mister Ed’s Greatest Hits

Not to kick a dead horse, but I searched the archives and put together a handful of letters to the editor, written to the Moscow-Pullman Daily News, in response to Ed Iverson’s regular columns. Here are my top-ten favorites, unedited, from the past year:


Ed Iverson is an ass
Yes, lots of things in this world can be an ass or ass-like, including myself from time to time. However, at least in my case I hope, not as often nor as enormously as Iverson regularly demonstrates himself to be. There’s not even remotely enough space (300-word limit and all) to recount each way he has made an ass of himself, but the “Advisory Board II,” the paper’s ownership and editors, can consider this letter my comments as solicited in the same edition containing Iverson’s most recent column.

My feeling is that providing a special interest group’s representative regular access to the bully pulpit isn’t exactly unbiased or nonpartisan (a tenet of good journalism as I recall). I cannot remember a single of his columns that hasn’t whined to some extent of his group’s self-described “persecution.” His opinions are his, perhaps are shared by others, and mine is that he can kiss my curvy white “Iverson.”

John O’Dowd
Moscow


Look in the mirror, Mr. Iverson
In his Daily News column (Opinion, Nov. 5 & 6), Ed Iverson called upon Charles Dicken’s character, Mr. Bumble, as a supporting chorus for what he judges as wrong laws being passed today. Over and over again, Iverson uses Bumble’s remark, “The law is an ass!” as a litany-like echo for a list of current legislative actions he begrudges. This could be an interesting device, but Iverson’s choice of character to support his point of view is his own folly.

Many of us who read Oliver Twist in our juvenile years recognize Mr. Bumble as the pompous, cruel, and dishonest beadle who ran the workhouse where Oliver was born — the man who starved the poor under his care, working many of them to death. Remember? — Mr. Bumble, the self-righteous church official who preached Christian morality, but lacked anything even close to compassion or actual moral sense in his relationships with others.

So, calling up Bumble as any kind of credible chorus for legal authority is folly. In fact, Mr. Bumble is the bigger ass here — and invoking the words of a hypocritical ass (even a fictional one) in support of one’s own opinions, seems, well, (sorry to say it so bluntly) just a little bit “asinine,” don’t you think?

Rebecca Rod
Moscow


Column was waste of space
What in the world possessed you folks to run Eddie’s rant (Ed Iverson, Opinion, Feb. 25 & 26) about diversity on the weekend of the Jazz Festival when Moscow is swarming with crowds of diverse visitors?

Every family has its embarrassing secret. We in Moscow are learning to live with the New Saint Andrews’ gang, which is our little secret. But for heaven’s sake keep Uncle Eddie up in his room when there’s a big party, and let him rant next week at a regular family dinner where everyone understands and no one cares.

Or maybe you figure that no one reads the paper anyway.

Ross Coates
Moscow


Gold Star logic of columnist
I lament the fact that I feel too old and already have accumulated enough degrees to return to college. If things were otherwise I would certainly enroll in New Saint Andrews College. For in carefully reading the statements and opinions of those associated with the college for the past several years, such as the example of Ed Iverson (Opinion, Aug. 27 & 28), head librarian of the college, I am convinced that NSA has solved puzzles and conundrums that have plagued Western thought for nearly 25 centuries.

Iverson’s view on Cindy Sheahan is exemplary of this unassailable logic. It begins with an unsubstantiated premise that also serves as the conclusion, thereby deftly skirting the “begging the question” fallacy of Western logic. The argument then truncates the world into “us,” the God-fearing Christians, versus “them,” the unwashed secularists, or worse, liberal lefties. Again, here too, the logic apparently taught at NSA allows one to deftly ignore ad hominem assertions, the genetic fallacy of Western philosophy in developing argument.

Then, of course, there is the obligatory invocation of biblical truth to trump empirically confirmed evidence. So, Iverson, despite the availability of an entire library (not to mention the Internet) at his disposal, seems unaware of the countless non-Christian societies that have moral codes they live by nor with the fact there is no society known to scholarship that reserves moral authority for the individual.

The dénouement of the NSA style of argument is a thinly veiled smugness that its logic is so foolproof that no one but the unwashed could not be convinced of its validity. So, is it any wonder that I lament my restrictions from enrolling in NSA. I would certainly save time not having to struggle through the puzzles of many centuries and save considerable money because of the far fewer books I would need to purchase.

Eugene Rosa
Moscow


This is not Mark Twain’s time
Once again it was a pleasure to read Ed Iverson’s erudite drivel (Opinion, Oct. 8 & 9). This time he decried the lack of opportunity for men to be around men and, I assume, women to be around women. According to Iverson the breakdown of our Christian values has made this impossible. This seems to me to be a genuine non-problem.

In my limited social sphere, there are men’s discussion groups, women’s raft trips, boys’ and girls’ separate soccer teams, and my children’s social groups, which are voluntarily quite strictly sex segregated. And that is the operative term: voluntarily. Kids continue to have same-sex groups, like Tom Sawyer’s gang, but unlike Mark Twain’s time, my daughter is much less likely to be excluded from sports or adventures or the country’s finest universities. It is really quite wonderful how many opportunities are now open to her.

Janice Boughton
Moscow


Stop insulting the majority
There are several errors in Ed Iverson’s recent editorial (“Crossing the line between liberty and tolerance,” Moscow-Pullman Daily News, Aug. 13 & 14) worth noting.

First, Iverson is not the only one who thinks he has a hand on the “absolute truth.” I think it is an absolute truth that slavery is always wrong; persecution “even of gays and lesbians” is always wrong; and it is always wrong to appeal to God in an effort to try to condone one’s immoral actions. The problem is not that you, Iverson, adhere to an absolute truth and I do not. Rather it is that your supposed absolute truths differ from mine. Not all who disagree with the folks at Christ Church are relativists.

Second, if those in Christ Church are at “liberty” to “evangelize” given that the “Constitution” acknowledges religious liberty (Iverson’s claim, not mine) then it is also true that others are allowed to criticize Christ Church.

Third, there have been no “frivolous zoning complaints, tax-code grievances and other public harassments” against Christ Church, as far as I know. Christ Church is in violation of zoning laws and tax codes. That is a fact. What Christ Church wants is not freedom from persecution but the right to be above and beyond the law. This is not guaranteed by either the Constitution or the Bill of Rights.

Maybe if the folks at Christ Church stop blaming others and took responsibility for their own indiscretions, we might be able to get beyond this mess. Maybe if they stopped insulting the majority of people in town and started to acknowledge our concerns, the rest of us might be able to believe that their indiscretions were mistakes and not merely an effort to gain power at any cost.

Joe Campbell
Moscow


Proud to be intolerant
In his discussion of tolerance and liberty (Opinion, Aug. 13 & 14), Ed Iverson shows he is proud to be intolerant. His church is infallible; it knows the truth about everything. “Other religions, while well-intentioned, are false.” Persons who believe in tolerance wish others Godspeed in their individual quests for truth. How should they react to folks who are smugly certain they own the truth? With tolerance, of course — plus occasional constructive criticism!

Clifton Anderson
Moscow


Same old tiresome choices
I stopped participating in Vision 2020 because it was so dominated by the great polarizer, Doug Wilson. I got a sense for how he thought and it had no intrigue and no interest. Demagoguery and closed mindedness draws out the reaction of opposition or agreement, both tiresome choices.

Now, the Daily News has given the microphone to a similar speaker. Ed Iverson presents a false dichotomy and then demands a choice, like there really is such a thing. I think he’s been watching Master Wilson too long. The Daily News is just trying to sell papers (Duh!). If this is your idea of promoting a community discussion, I suggest a booth at the Saturday market: “Arguments $5.”

Dan Schmidt
Moscow


Some interesting definitions
Ed Iverson (Opinion, Aug. 13) has given us some interesting new definitions. First, “religious liberty” means the freedom to try to convert everyone else. Second, “diversity” means acknowledging that some people follow “real truth” and others “real falsehoods.” Third, “religious tolerance” means being religiously indifferent while surrendering one’s religious convictions.

Iverson says we should all be concerned. I agree. But what we should be concerned about is his mischaracterizations of liberty, diversity, and tolerance.

Sandy Hathaway
Moscow


Time to look in the mirror
Your Aug. 13 Their View titled “Crossing the line between liberty and tolerance” was informative. This column provided insight into the controversy surrounding Christ Church, its Pastor Doug Wilson, and New Saint Andrews College. In the view of guest columnist Ed Iverson, the “tolerance police” are restricting the liberty of Christ Church. He accuses the “tolerance police” of subjecting Christ Church and New Saint Andrews College to “frivolous zoning complaints, tax grievances and other public harassments.”

Iverson’s reasoning neglects very important facts. The legal processes of our government have found that Christ Church and New Saint Andrews College are not in compliance with our tax and zoning laws. He also disregards the fact the vast majority of our community disagrees with Wilson’s views about slavery and gay rights. To challenge such views is not harassment. It is common sense.

He suggests that this unnamed Christian church’s “only crime” is that they are the arbiters of “absolute truth” confirming that their religion is the “true” religion and all others, including my own are “false.” This sounds all too similar to the ideas of other infamous churches in the recent history of northern Idaho. It is hostile and intolerant to label others religions as false.

It is bigotry to defend slavery and not support gay rights. It is arrogant to think that this church is being unfairly persecuted because they are expected to abide by our laws. I think that Iverson and the “Christian church along with its pastor and affiliated ministries” which he defends, should look in a mirror where they will find neither religious tolerance nor religious liberty.

Bill Beck
Pullman

Heaps Upon Heaps

The Book of Judges tells us that Samson deployed the mandible of an equus asinus as a weapon to slay 1,000 men:
And he found a new jawbone of an ass, and put forth his hand, and took it, and slew a thousand men therewith. And Samson said, With the jawbone of an ass, heaps upon heaps, with the jaw of an ass have I slain a thousand men. (Judges 15:15, 16)

One wonders the exact body count that Ed Iverson can boast.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Cultist of the Week Award

Ed Iverson wins our Cultist of the Week Award for his column “Contemporary Comedy and Tragedy in Society,” which he published in last weekend’s Daily News as one of their biweekly guest editorialists. Mr. Iverson, of course, is the head librarian at New Saint Andrews College where “head” is the operative term, because Ed makes quite the fashion statement with that pricey silver fork from Tiffany’s lodged firmly in his skull. Mr. Iverson is also an elderling at the Christ Church Cult, where their canon law holds two primary doctrines:
Article 1: All human life in gestation must be protected.

Article 2: All post-gestation human life must suffer profound abuse and suffering with sharp weapons — at the hands of kulters — if that post-gestation human life disagrees with or offends them.

Furthermore, subsection (a) of Article 2 requires the use of across-the-board misrepresentations to justify their application of said sharp weapons, as witnessed by the glosses, falsehoods, and strawmen advanced by Mr. Iverson in his award-winning column, which we have appended below along with the letters to the editor it garnered.

We wish we could attribute Mr. Iverson’s highly irregular opinions to the brain damage caused by that shinny piece of cutlery embedded in his gray matter; however, he has convinced us that his opinions stem from an unbending loyalty to a bent canon law, which appears more crooked daily. Therefore, Ed, we tip our Fedora to you, acknowledging your twisted sense of values and leaving you with a word of wisdom: You can’t extract the fork from your cranium unless you pull your head out first.


HIS VIEW: Contemporary comedy and tragedy in society
By Ed Iverson

So many things in our society are bottom side up that a person doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry. The line between tragedy and comedy is a narrow one. It is sometimes hard to know if we should howl with laughter or howl in anguished disbelief.

Take the common case in which municipalities and companies extend employee benefits that were formerly reserved for married couples to men who are romantically involved. This means opening the health group to homosexual domestic partners. These same municipalities and companies are generally very severe about employees using tobacco. Employees are badgered about tobacco because it drives up the cost of health insurance for the group.

Can you think of a bigger howler? We must ban smoking for health reasons and at the same time we will invite practicing homosexuals to participate in our health plan? That is either deep tragedy or high comedy. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, homosexual men are 1,000 times more likely to contract AIDS than someone in the general population. The Medical Clinics of North America report that almost 80 percent of homosexual men have had at least one sexually transmitted disease. We could go on citing statistics like these. The truth is, homosexual behavior is not user friendly.

Even if it were to be shown that inviting practicing homosexuals into the insurance group dramatically increases insurance premiums, municipalities and corporations would never dare to openly resist the homosexual juggernaut. It is cool to be hotly opposed to “big tobacco.” But it is “in” to be “out.”

Then there is the case of the uncomfortable geese. Long ago and far away some curious Frenchmen wondered what would happen if they force-fed their geese. Someone must know the story of the goose herder who first dreamed up this plan. However that tale goes, it seems as though this force-feeding results in big goose livers. This appeals to goose liver lovers (even if they are not French); and so the story has been written for centuries. French farmers stuff their geese and make them fat. French butchers wring the neck and cut out the big goose liver. French chefs take the big goose livers and make a paste they call foie gras. French connoisseurs pay big bucks for the resulting snack.

Everything is pretty cool until the loony left rides in to champion the cause of the fat geese. By their own reckoning, the trendy lefties are the guardian of the oppressed and the defender of the defenseless. (Well, actually they are the defenders of only a select few of the defenseless.) No one ever cared for geese like these guys. They contend that every goose has the right not to be overfed. To my knowledge, no useless lefty judge has yet discovered that right tucked away in the U.S. Constitution. No doubt they will.

Advocates for fat geese decry the cruelty of poking food down a gooses’ [sic] neck. They bemoan the animalistic pain involved. They assault restaurant patrons with pictures of crazy Frenchmen stuffing grain down the neck of a goose. A number of localities (including Chicago) have simply thrown up their hands and outlawed the French delicacy.

Is there anything more tragic, or perhaps more comic than earnest folly? These are the same people who can enthusiastically support plunging a fork into an “unwanted” child’s head, killing it in the very act of birth. Feeding an animal more than it would normally eat is condemned as cruel and painful, but chopping up a baby is celebrated as a “choice” of someone who has a right to privacy. Storming eateries with pictures of force-feeding geese earns respectful attention while showing pictures of developing babies to women contemplating an abortion is condemned as emotional blackmail.

Protesting the production of foie gras while rationalizing the killing of defenseless infants has a comedic aspect. But it is not comedy. It is one of the tragedies upon which the ship of our state is foundering.


Columnist’s hate rhetoric twists the truth
Ed Iverson is a “contemporary comedy and tragedy of society.”

I have had it with Iverson and his Saturday morning rants (Opinion, Sept. 9 & 10) It’s supposed to be an editorial page, not a propaganda page. He would have us believe the world is black and white. Most of us know the world is black, white and so many shades of gray that are complex and ever changing. The fact is that everyone’s life experiences are different and lead to different views. If Ed Iverson’s worldview is as narrow as he tells us then so be it. But it is my right to my worldview. Don’t like it? Tough — welcome to grown-up land.

He stated “. . . according to the CDC, homosexual men are 1,000 times more likely to contract AIDS than someone in the general population. . .” I went to the CDC website and could not find any facts to verify this claim. I emailed the CDC and gave them the quote. Here is part of the information I received from them:
MSM (Men who have Sex with Men) are slightly more than 2 times more likely to have HIV than non-MSM, however, that profile is changing. While HIV infections in MSM remain relatively stable, infections in heterosexual persons, especially women, are increasing.

This seems to say that not only are homosexual men not 1,000 times more likely to get AIDS than I am (he only missed it by 997) but that this is a health issue that affects all Americans. It is typical of hate rhetoric to twist the truth.

I am tired of the hateful rhetoric. Ed Iverson must go. A community with two public universities, many faith communities that preach tolerance for others, and people who believe in respecting our differences deserve more from the Daily News than someone preaching hate.

Leslie Fort
Pullman


Iverson’s rant spoils weekend
A big football weekend (Sept. 9 & 10) with Vandal and Cougar supporters pouring into the Palouse, and the University of Idaho College of Art and Architecture celebrating a new beginning with visitors from all over the Northwest (and one from Spain), and amazingly the Moscow-Pullman Daily News unlocks the attic door and Uncle Eddie (Iverson) clumps down the stairs for one of his Saturday rants about homosexuals, the loony left, the emotional blackmail used by supporters of women’s right to choose and useless lefty judges.

What a strange Saturday morning read for all our visitors. And a time for the rest of us to have another cup of coffee, shake our collective heads in embarrassment and turn to Peanuts for some love and compassion and Frank and Ernest for real intellectual exchange.

Ross Coates
Moscow


Columnist spreads prejudice
I urge the people of Moscow to read Ed Iverson’s column (Opinion, Sept. 9 & 10). I realize my 27 years of medical practice does not compare to his wisdom, and I don’t have the space here to refute his slanted statistics about disease and sexuality, so suffice it to say I humbly disagree.

I routinely see spontaneous abortions (miscarriages) in the first trimester of pregnancy and have known gynecologists who perform first trimester abortions. The image of a doctor “plunging a fork into a child’s head . . . in the very act of birth” is beyond ludicrous. And the connection between abortion and foie gras? Only a schizophrenic off their medicines could make that one.

But that is not why I am writing. I would ask the people of this community to read Iverson’s column and ask: Is it written with humility or arrogance? Is it tolerant or intolerant? Does it come from love or hatred? What would Jesus write?

I am the father of a gay son (whose picture happened to be in that same day’s paper in the 9/11 story). God created him gay just like he created me straight. I have seen him hurt too many times when nasty people like Ed Iverson spread their prejudices under the cover of religion.

I would be a hypocrite to call myself a Christian because I cannot live up to the Christian philosophy of selflessness, loving one’s enemies, and rejecting personal wealth. Now I have another reason to avoid the label. That is to avoid being associated with people like Ed Iverson and the institution of Christ Church which he represents.

Maybe if we all boycott the businesses downtown that support Christ Church we can help. Sometimes if you deny a cancer it’s blood supply, it goes away.

Jay Hunter M.D.
Moscow

The Thing About Money

“The thing about money, Bud, it makes you do things that you don’t want to do.” — Hal Holbrook to Charlie Sheen in the movie Wall Street.

Not Given to Filthy Lucre

For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre. — Titus 1:7

They must be no strikers nor brawlers: they must not be like soldiers or contentious men, who are always ready to fight and wrangle; this fault must be corrected also: neither must they be given to filthy lucre; they must not be covetous. The minister that seeketh to enrich himself by his office, will not do his duty faithfully. He will put a gloss upon the Word of God and . . . he will endeavor to ascertain in what way he can make it most advantageous to himself. Therefore, if covetousness reign in ministers of the Word, they will undoubtedly prove to be false teachers, whose chief study will be to pervert good doctrine, and turn the truth into a lie. (John Calvin, The Mystery of Godliness and Other Sermons, “The Character of the Faithful” [Morgan, PA: Soli Deo Gloria Ministries] 160)

Thursday, September 14, 2006

The Character of the Faithful

For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not self-willed. — Titus 1:7

The virtues here spoken of by St. Paul are necessary for all ministers of the Word of God, who must show the way to others. . . Is it a small matter to be a minister of God, and governor of His house? St. Paul showeth in this place that those to whom God hath committed His Word, and called to preach the gospel, ought to conduct themselves in an exemplary manner.

St. Paul saith a good shepherd must be blameless; not self-willed, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre: as if he had said, the man that is given to these vices, doth nothing but infect the place he is in, and injure the church. He that is blemished with any of these faults is not a fit man to serve God: these things must therefore be purged out from among us. The first virtues required by St. Paul, in order to qualify a man to preach the Word of God, is to abstain from the faults which are here condemned.

If he be stubborn and self-willed, he will offend the flock of God, and make a breach in the church. . . Thus we have the meaning of St. Paul in a few words: namely, those who are called to preach the Word of God must take heed that they be not self-willed, but willing to be taught: they must be meek and quiet spirited; not puffed up with pride, but endeavoring to edify others; they must not think that they know all things, but on the contrary desire to learn continually and be gentle in their behavior. Those who are lofty spirited, and self-willed, often become schismatics: that is to say, they trouble the church of God, and divide it into sects.

They must be no strikers nor brawlers: they must not be like soldiers or contentious men, who are always ready to fight and wrangle; this fault must be corrected also. . . . (John Calvin, The Mystery of Godliness and Other Sermons, “The Character of the Faithful” [Morgan, PA: Soli Deo Gloria Ministries] 158–160)

Monday, September 11, 2006

When in Doubt, Confess the Other Guy’s Sins, or Kicking the Habit

The Confederation of Evangelical Churches has memorialized today, September 11, as a day of prayer and fasting for member churches, that they “may unite in confessing the sins of [their] respective nations.” Accordingly, the CREC believes that the 9-11 terrorist attack against the USA was a judgment from God for our republic’s sins of “wholesale idolatry and polytheism,” “tolerating everything except the truth,” “telling damnable lies,” and “turning its face against the living God.”

Now, from a distance, this memorial appears devout, noble, grandiose, and even prophetic. Indeed, such a memorial might even tempt one to believe that the men who framed it held genuine religious convictions grounded in a sincere desire to see the Christian Church united in true biblical worship. Up close, however, when you examine the origin of the CREC and the backgrounds of its principal leaders, the nobility, as well as the sins needing confession, takes another form.

Consider, for example, the Rev. Randy Booth, CREC “Council Moderator,” who is pictured to the right wearing a snappy black habit. In 1994, while he was an ordained elder in a Reformed Baptist church, the Rev. Booth split his church over infant baptism. At the time, Booth tried to get the building and the money, however, he only succeeded in getting half the people, which compelled his elders to draft a letter declaring him a “wolf in sheep’s clothing.”

In January 1998, the Rev. Booth applied for membership in the CRE during its first “Presbytery Meeting,” and they received him into full membership in November 1998. Unfortunately, the Rev. Booth had to reapply for membership into the CRE in 2000 because he left his previous church — the splinter group that gave him his first pastorate — for another church after a few issues at home called his qualification for the ministry into question. The Rev. Booth’s household problems didn’t produce any felony convictions or unplanned children, so in 2002 the CRE once again welcomed him into full membership, appointing him moderator in 2003.

It’s safe to say that while the Rev. Booth lived up to his former elders’ denunciation, his checkered past certainly didn’t hinder the CREC from elevating him through their hierarchy. This is probably because Booth’s approach to the ministry resembles Doug Wilson’s, whose coup is carefully documented on Dr. Terry Morin’s website.

Moving right along, in 1998, while only 1 year old, the CRE voted to receive Pastor Dennis Tuuri and his church into fraternal status even though the CRE minutes say that Tuuri needed to “seek reconciliation” with Westminster Presbyterian Church (PCA), who charged him with “abuse of the flock.” The minutes also say that Westminster Presbyterian Church cautioned the CRE not to accept Tuuri into membership. But Doug Wilson argued “that reconciliation between RCC (Reformation Covenant Church) and WPC is unlikely apart from RCC becoming part of a larger body like the CRE,” which makes perfect sense to us. In 1999 the CRE voted unanimously to receive Tuuri into full membership.

Greg Strawbridge, moderator for the CREC “Augustine Presbytery,” once held the office of elder in a Reformed Baptist church, and though he did not split the church, he embraced infant baptism — contrary to the Statement of Faith — and somehow forgot to notify his fellow elders of this change in doctrine. Two years later, in 1998, those same elders accidentally discovered his secret when they caught him teaching paedobaptism. They terminated his employment immediately. In 2001 he joined the CRE where bad faith appears to be a prerequisite for membership in good standing.

In 1999, PCA minister Burke Shade split his church, making a move on its savings account and half of the furniture. His money grab failed as did his quest for the furnishings; but he did take half the congregation. Not long afterwards, the PCA defrocked him, which placed him on the fast track to join the CRE who welcomed him with open arms a year later. Michael Metzler has thoroughly documented this scandal on Pooh’s Think.

Of course, we must note R.C. Sproul Jr., whom the RPCGA defrocked earlier this year for a laundry list of crimes that uniquely qualify him for honorary membership in the CREC, though he is currently unaffiliated. And since Sproul is not a member of any denomination, the Rev. Booth commissioned a “non-judicial” tribunal from the CREC to vindicate Sproul from the RPCGA’s uncontested Declaratory Judgment. A few weeks later, without trial or testimony, the CREC deemed RCJR “ordained.” Michael Metzler has documented this travesty as well.

We could write more, but this short list of rogues, scoundrels, and miscreants represents the body of men who framed the CREC’s “Memorial on Terrorism,” which certainly puts their lofty words in another light. So if it’s not too late, the editorial staff at Cultists in Hats calls upon the CREC to confess its own sins this day, that the Christian Church may be safe from your schismatic hypocrisy.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

You Know You’re in a Cult if . . .

You know you’re in a cult if your religious sect’s reputation is so bad and untrustworthy in the community that the City Council requires you to give regular “progress reports” to them, to insure that you are being good neighbors in compliance with the conditions the Council imposed on you. How humiliating.

You Know You’re in a Cult if . . .

You know you’re in a cult if your pastor denies that he is a racist, but he affirms that the Son of God is a racist who used racial insults to “make a point.” No one looks better in the pointed hood worn by the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan than Douglas Wilson for one simple reason: he put the “N” word on the lips of the Lord Jesus Christ, who “made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth” (Acts 17:26).
Jesus was not above using ethnic humor to make His point either. . . . (Mt. 15:22–28) . . . . My understanding of this encounter is that Jesus was pulling his disciples’ chain. This woman was not a Jew, and the Jews had problems dealing with such people, considering them beneath contempt — in a word, dogs. Put in terms that we might be more familiar with, Jesus was white, and the disciples were white, and this black woman comes up seeking healing, for her daughter. She gets ignored. The disciples ask Jesus to send her off. She comes up and beseeches Christ for healing. It’s not right, He says, to give perfectly good white folk food to “niggers.” Disciples mentally cheer. But she sees the look in His eye, and the inverted commas around the epithet, and answers in kind. He relents, which was His intent all along, and heals the woman’s daughter. If this understanding is right, then Jesus was using a racial insult to make a point. If it is not correct, then He was simply using a racial insult. In either case, His language is more than a little rough. (Douglas Wilson, A Serrated Edge [Moscow: Canon Press, 2003], 43–44)

Friday, September 08, 2006

Cultist of the Week Award

We hand our Cultist of the Week Award to attorney at law Gregory Dickison, lawyer for the Christ Church Cult as well as legal counsel for New Saint Andrews College. Mr. Dickison wins our prize for his stellar performance before the Moscow City Council on Tuesday night, as he argued in defense of NSA’s conditional use permit during an appeals hearing. We note in particular, however, Mr. Dickison’s extraordinary composure in front of the Council notwithstanding his gangly jester’s cap and an incredible five-alarm fire raging in his pants, which ignited the moment he opened his mouth and blazed the entire evening. You know, there are some things that they just don’t teach in law school, such as sticking to your story despite black-and-white evidence and a khaki inferno. Therefore, we give you a ripping round of applause and a tip of the Fedora, Gregory, as we leave you with a word from our Juris Doctor who has a few victories in court under his belt — Get used to the heat.

Christ Church & NSA Put the “F U” in Fun

Thanks to the men-folk at the Kirk, Moscow has become a really fun place.

How so? Business owners in the Central Business District are still dancing with glee that they get to pay higher property tax so that NSA can avoid paying a thin dime to the county coffers. How much fun is that?

Shoppers who would like to park reasonably close to downtown shopping have the fun of healthy exercise thanks to the corn-fed lazy piggies attending NSA. Thank a Kirker for being so darned concerned about our health and fitness.

The whole community gets the fun of Trinity Festival complete with the yodeling of “Sweet Home Alabama” in Friendship Square. What could beat that for a good time?

And how ’bout the spectacle of long-time NSA attorney, Greg Dickison, clumsily avoiding questions raised in the recent City Council hearing for NSA’s CUP? That was the best time I’ve had in weeks.

What could be funnier than Doug Wilson pretending to be godly? Oh, I know, failing to alert his flock to a presence of sexual predators in their midst; robbing the church till to pay off gambling debts from the NSA casino; shunning members who publicly disagree with the Bishop of Moscow; touting Nate Wilson’s explanation for the Shroud of Turin as a legitimate and insightful investigation; and claiming to be a good neighbor (to downtown business people as well as the unfortunate neighbors of NSA under-the-radar boarding houses).

This is fun on a world-class level — at least in terms of the first two letters of fun.

Zoning Wars: Revenge of the Androids

On Tuesday night, the Moscow City Council voted 4-2 to show kindness to New Saint Andrews College by granting them a temporary conditional use permit, to use the downtown, predicated on four conditions:
1. NSA must maintain 160 feet of commercial street frontage.

2. NSA must provide 42 parking spaces in or out of the Central Business Zoning District within the next two years, though they do not have to use the parking lot.

3. NSA must cap its student body at 150 FTE students until they have met the parking requirement.

4. NSA must give City Council a “progress report” every six months.

As far as conditions go, NSA got off easy. In fact, their leadership should get down on their knees and thank God that City Council didn’t deny the CUP outright, exacting from the Kultmaster the letter of the law without mercy, which would have been much kinder than the various sanctions he’s meted out to various members of Kult and community over the last decade.

Nevertheless, City Council did put an edge on its kindness. The terms of the fourth condition, i.e., the “progress reports,” included a very clear message to NSA that they had better start getting along with their neighbors. Indeed, the point of the condition is to insure that NSA works with their neighbors as they endeavor to mitigate the parking problemn caused by their 166 students and 25 faculty..

The City Counci framed this condition after NSA spent the last 18 months hurling monkey clumps and other insults at anyone who squeaked a complaint about their loss of parking due to NSA’s illegal presence in the downtown. Of course, this has been the Kult’s standard operating procedure since 2003 when the leadership adopted A Serrated Edge as their public relations manual, which successfully helped them achieve their goal of giving offense to everyone — especially their neighbors.

For example, Louis Reed, who is the former owner of Bassilios Restaurant (NSA’s next-door neighbor for three years), testified that his sales plummeted 70% after NSA occupied downtown, essentially squeezing him out of business through lost parking. The Daily News reported,
But some neighboring business owners said the students who drive are causing the problem with parking. Louis Reed, owner of Basilios Italian Ristorante, located in the Moscow Hotel building and adjacent to the college, said he is being forced to shut his doors. “I’ve been here for six years and I’m going out of business because of the lack of parking. NSA claims it is a nonprofit institution. Well, I’m nonprofit too, but not by choice,” Reed said.

Reed said during peak restaurant hours during the week, at noon and at dinner time, there is no parking available for potential customers. “A retail parking space can generate nine customers in an eight-hour shift, whereas a parking space for the college only generates one customer for eight hours,” he said. (March 29, 2006)

And how did the Christ Church Cult respond to Louis Reed, who also happens to serve as deacon in a local Christian church? — with their usual insults and contempt. Gabe Rench, organizer of the Trinity Fest, posted these thoughts concerning his neighbor on the worldwide web:
In regards to the owner of Basilios: Microwave Spaghetti has never tasted good to me, and how many restaurants have moved to Moscow or grown since 2003 . . . hmmm . . . Patty’s, Rudy’s, Sangria, Wingers, Tucci’s . . . I understand competition is tough but blaming it on parking what a cop-out. I cant [sic] tell you how many restaurants that I have been to in big dowtowns were [sic] parking was way more difficult than in our little downtown . . . it is not about parking. But hey it is always good to find someone to blame when your business can’t make when there is ligit [sic] competition. . . . . . . Cheers! (Gabe Rench)

Factoid: Louis Reed owns Basilios Italian Ristorante in downtown Pullman, which has operated successfully for years, and the only difference between his Moscow & Pullman operations was parking supply: the City of Pullman protected Reed’s parking whereas NSA and the City of Moscow have not. And Reed’s lost parking supply translated into lost customers, forcing him to change his menu several times in the last three years as he scrambled to make a profit while serving a leaner customer base. More importantly, Reed was one of many downtown merchants who complained about lost revenue because of NSA, which gives the serrated saints even greater cause to thank God because if they had any Christian virtue they would pay restitution to their neighbors. But then A Serrated Edge gives license to abuse in the name of the gospel, much like “Corban” relieved the Pharisees of their obligation to the Fifth Commandment, which brings us back to City Council.

NSA has two years to be nice neighbors. They have two years to provide a limited number of parking spaces, and during that time they have to give “progress reports,” like a schoolyard bully on the verge of expulsion, updating the Council on how well they’re getting along with the other kids on the playground. Unfortunately, at the end of those two years, the Moscow City Council will learn that despite all of their good faith in granting the “classical Christian college” a CUP, Friendship Square will be unchanged if not worse. And hopefully by then, the new Council will understand that there is only one remedy to the problem created by NSA — “Cast out the scoffer, and contention shall go out; yea, strife and reproach shall cease” (Prov. 22:10).

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Grandiose Fantasies

Question:
What happens to a narcissist who lacks even the basic potential and skills to realise some of his grandiose fantasies?

Answer:
Such a narcissist resorts to deferred Narcissistic Supply which generates an effect of deferred grandiosity. He forgoes his grandiose schemes and gives up on the present. He defers the fulfilment of his fantasies — which support an inflated Ego — to the (indefinite) future. Such narcissists engage in activities (or in daydreaming), which they fervently believe will make them famous, powerful, influential, or superior in some future time. They hold themselves answerable only to History, God, Eternity, Future Generations, Art, science, the Church, the Country, the Nation, and so on. They entertain notions of grandeur which are dependent upon a (sometimes) positive judgment or assessment of a fuzzily defined collective in an ambiguous time frame. Thus, these narcissists find solace in the embrace of Chronos.

Deferred grandiosity is an adaptive mechanism which ameliorates dysphorias and grandiosity gaps.

It is healthy to daydream and fantasise. It is the antechamber of life and often anticipates its circumstances. It is a process of preparing for eventualities. But this is different from grandiosity. Grandiosity has four components.

Omnipotence
The narcissist believes that he will live forever. “Believe” in this context is a weak word. He knows. It is a cellular certainty, almost biological, it flows in his blood and permeates every niche of his being. The narcissist “knows” that he can do anything he chooses to do and excel in it. What the narcissist does, what he excels at, what he achieves, depends only on his volition. To his mind, there is no other determinant. Hence his rage when confronted with disagreement or opposition — not only because of the audacity of his, evidently inferior, adversaries; but because it threatens his worldview, it endangers his feeling of omnipotence. The narcissist is often fatuously daring, adventurous, experimentative and curious precisely due to this hidden assumption of “can do.” He is genuinely surprised and devastated when he fails, when the “universe” does not arrange itself, magically, to accommodate his unbounded fantasies, when it (and people in it) does not comply with his whims and wishes. He often denies away such discrepancies, deletes them from his memory. As a result, he remembers his life as a patchy quilt of unrelated events and people.

Omniscience
The narcissist often pretends to know everything, in every field of human knowledge and endeavour. He lies and prevaricates to avoid the exposure of his ignorance. He resorts to numerous subterfuges to support his God-like omniscience. Where his knowledge fails him — he feigns authority, fakes superiority, quotes from non-existent sources, embeds threads of truth in a canvass of falsehoods. He transforms himself into an artist of intellectual prestidigitation. As he gets older, this invidious quality may recede, or, rather, metamorphose. He may now claim more confined expertise. He may not be ashamed to admit his ignorance and his need to learn things outside the fields of his real or self-proclaimed expertise. But this “improvement” is merely optical. Within his “territory,” the narcissist is still as fiercely defensive and possessive as ever. Many narcissists are avowed autodidacts, unwilling to subject their knowledge and insights to peer scrutiny, or, for that matter, to any scrutiny. The narcissist keeps re-inventing himself, adding new fields of knowledge as he goes. This creeping intellectual annexation is a round about way of reverting to his erstwhile image as the erudite “Renaissance man.”

Omnipresence
Even the narcissist cannot pretend to actually be everywhere at once in the PHYSICAL sense. Instead, he feels that he is the centre and the axis of his “universe,” that all things and happenstances revolve around him and that disintegration would ensue if he were to disappear or to lose interest in someone or in something. He is convinced, for instance, that he is the main, if not the only, topic of discussion in his absence. He is often surprised and offended to learn that he was not even mentioned. When invited to a meeting with many participants, he assumes the position of the sage, the guru, or the teacher/guide whose words carry a special weight. His creations (books, articles, works of art) are extensions of his presence and, in this restricted sense, he does seem to exist everywhere. In other words, he “stamps” his environment. He “leaves his mark” upon it. He “stigmatises” it.

Narcissist the Omnivore (Perfectionism & Completeness)
There is another “omni” component in grandiosity. The narcissist is an omnivore. He devours and digests experiences and people, sights and smells, bodies and words, books and films, sounds and achievements, his work and his leisure, his pleasure and his possessions. The narcissist is incapable of ENJOYING anything because he is in constant pursuit of perfection and completeness.

Classic narcissists interact with the world as predators do with their prey. They want to own it all, be everywhere, experience everything. They cannot delay gratification. They do not take “no” for an answer. And they settle for nothing less than the ideal, the sublime, the perfect, the all-inclusive, the all-encompassing, the engulfing, the all-pervasive, the most beautiful, the cleverest, the richest, and the most brilliant. The narcissist is shattered when he discovers that a collection he possesses is incomplete, that his colleague’s wife is more glamorous, that his son is better than he is in math, that his neighbour has a new, flashy car, that his roommate got promoted, that the “love of his life” signed a recording contract. It is not plain old jealousy, not even pathological envy (though it is definitely a part of the psychological make-up of the narcissist). It is the discovery that the narcissist is NOT perfect, or ideal, or complete — that does him in. Ask anyone who shared a life with a narcissist, or knew one and they are likely to sigh: “What a waste.” Waste of potential, waste of opportunities, waste of emotions, a wasteland of arid addiction and futile pursuit.

Narcissists are as gifted as they come. The problem is to disentangle their tales of fantastic grandiosity from the reality of their talents and skills. They always tend either to over-estimate or to devalue their potency. They often emphasise the wrong traits and invest in their mediocre or less than average capacities. Concomitantly, they ignore their real potential, squander their advantage and under-rate their gifts.

The narcissist decides which aspects of his self to nurture and which to neglect. He gravitates towards activities commensurate with his pompous auto-portrait. He suppresses these tendencies and aptitudes in him which don’t conform to his inflated view of his uniqueness, brilliance, might, sexual prowess, or standing in society. He cultivates these flairs and predilections which he regards as befitting his overweening self-image and ultimate grandeur.

But the narcissist, no matter how self-aware and well-meaning, is accursed. His grandiosity, his fantasies, the compelling, overriding urge to feel unique, invested with some cosmic significance, unprecedentedly bestowed — these thwart his best intentions. These structures of obsession and compulsion, these deposits of insecurity and pain, the stalactites and stalagmites of years of abuse and then abandonment — they all conspire to frustrate the gratification, however circumspect, of the narcissist’s true nature.

An utter lack of self-awareness is typical of the narcissist. He is intimate only with his False Self, constructed meticulously from years of lying and deceit. The narcissist’s True Self is stashed, dilapidated and dysfunctional, in the furthest recesses of his mind. The False Self is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, creative, ingenious, irresistible, and glowing. The narcissist often isn’t.

Add combustible paranoia to the narcissist’s divorce from himself — and his constant and recurrent failure to assess reality fairly is more understandable. The narcissist overpowering sense of entitlement is rarely commensurate with his accomplishments in his real life or with his traits. When the world fails to comply with his demands and to support his grandiose fantasies, the narcissist suspects a plot against him by his inferiors.

The narcissist rarely admits to a weakness, ignorance, or deficiency. He filters out information to the contrary — a cognitive impairment with serious consequences. Narcissistic are likely to unflinchingly make inflated and inane claims about their sexual prowess, wealth, connections, history, or achievements.

All this is mighty embarrassing to the narcissist’s nearest, dearest, colleagues, friends, neighbours, even on-lookers. The narcissist’s tales are so patently absurd that he often catches people off-guard. Unbeknownst to him, the narcissist is derided and mockingly imitated. He fast makes a nuisance and an imposition of himself in every company.

But the narcissist’s failure of the reality test can have more serious and irreversible consequences. Narcissists, academically unqualified to make life-and-death decisions often insist on rendering them. I “treated” my father for muscular pain for five days at home. All that time, he was enduring a massive heart attack. My vanity wouldn’t let me admit my diagnostic error. He survived. Many others don’t. Narcissists pretend to be economists, engineers, or medical doctors — when they are not. But they are not con-artists in the classic premeditated sense. They firmly believe that, though self-taught at best, they are more qualified than even the properly accredited sort. Narcissists believe in magic and in fantasy. They are no longer with us.

Sam Vaknin

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The Most Dangerous Man in the World

The most dangerous man in the world is the religious leader who is guided by nobody. He trusts his own visions. He obeys the attractions of an interior voice but will not listen to other men. He identifies the will of God with anything that makes him feel, within his own heart, a big, warm sweet interior glow. The sweeter and warmer the feeling is, the more he is convinced of his own infallibility. And if the sheer force of his own self-confidence communicates itself to other people and gives them the impression that he is really a saint, such a man can wreck a whole city or a religious order or even a nation. The world is covered with scars that have been left in its flesh by visionaries like these. (Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation [New York: New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1961] 194–195)

Monday, September 04, 2006

Another Contemplation for Labor Day

As the United States honors its working force with a national holiday, we reflect upon the Communist hero Joseph Stalin whose rise to power paved the way for Douglas Wilson and whose form of government became the blueprint for the Christ Church Cult. Purges, show trials, secret executions, “rehabilitation” camps — Comrade Stalin wrote the book; and Wilson has incorporated every principle into everyday Kult life.

Today, we shall contemplate Nikolay Ivanovich Yezhov, whom Stalin appointed to carry out his decrees. Nikolay led the NKVD (Russian acronym for People’s Commissariat of Internal Affairs), which developed into the KGB (Kirker Gone Bad), and you can be sure that a midnight visit from Nikolay meant that you would disappear for the rest of your life. Starvation in a gulag, bullet in the head, mass grave — it didn’t matter — you were a dead man. And after you vanished, everyone knew better than to ask what happened because they could disappear just as fast.

But Nikolay knew the importance of cleaning up the details. He left no loose ends, no evidence, if you will, or reason to inquire. If you were a well-known party official, he made sure to erase you from the history books and, more importantly, he airbrushed you out of the photographs to insure that you never existed. This, of course, made it easier for people to adapt their worldviews to Stalin’s, though their ease probably ended there, which brings us back to the Kult.

A visit from Nikolay in 1936 was tantamount to a letter from Doug Jones, “on behalf of the elders,” in the Kult. He may lead a “life less petty,” but if you hear from him then it’s guaranteed your life in the Kult is finished. They’ve arranged your disappearance; the only question is whether or not you’ll get a show trial. For example, in one case, they took an entire family of members in good standing and simply dropped them from the membership roll, in defiance of their constituted authority and their pastoral charge. But in another case, they conducted the trial and the execution by mail. First, kulters received written notice of the imminent demise of a high-profile member in good standing; second, the member and his family vanished from the Kult forever, which is where we meet Stalin’s playbook again.

Take a moment to examine these two side-by-side photographs of the NSA faculty. The photo on the left was taken before the arrest, and the photo on the right is the same image after the arrest. Please notice that the Wilsonist regime erased a man from memory, as if he meant no more to them than an electronic pixel, simply because he voted against promoting the Kultmaster’s son to full fellow. If you didn’t know this, it’s probably because Wilson fabricated all the other stories you’ve heard. After all, he hadn’t written his 89 “Justice Primers” yet, so he couldn’t draw from his own wisdom before pumping the rumor mill full of yarn. But what did that matter? It only mattered that kulters had something to hang their hats on. The people need something to believe.

And what of Doug Jones who lived next door to the terminated? Well, Jones extended to his neighbor in time the very thing that Jones should expect in eternity — shunning. He didn’t bother to help his neighbor move; he never lifted a finger or said goodbye. He was too busy being “less petty.” But he did dispatch his son to ask the names of those who were helping the vanished family move, which reminds us of this text:
Take ye heed every one of his neighbour, and trust ye not in any brother: for every brother will utterly supplant, and every neighbour will walk with slanders. And they will deceive every one his neighbour, and will not speak the truth: they have taught their tongue to speak lies, and weary themselves to commit iniquity. Thine habitation is in the midst of deceit; through deceit they refuse to know me, saith the LORD. Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts, Behold, I will melt them, and try them; for how shall I do for the daughter of my people? Their tongue is as an arrow shot out; it speaketh deceit: one speaketh peaceably to his neighbour with his mouth, but in heart he layeth his wait. (Jer. 9:4–8)

So the next time you open your Cantus Christi, don’t worry about the Table of Contents. Comrades Wilson & Jones will airbrush the forgotten name away forever, before the next printing.

Preparing for Labor Day

For those unfamiliar with Greyfriar position papers, “each student in Greyfriars’ is required to complete four position papers per year. The papers are to be pastoral in nature, written for the edification in the church.” Most students seemed to understand the guidelines: Virgil Hurt addressed Returning to Old Paths: Rediscovering the Riches of the Westminster Shorter Catechism; Ben Zaked Smith struggled through a treatise on Pastoral Confidentiality; Dave Hatcher showed less-than-original scholarship in Remember the Sabbath: Our Privilege and Obligation. But the intellect that trumps them all is Ben Merkle’s, and his work Preparing for Childbirth is a tour de force of maladroitness.

Now, it is curious that given all of Scripture and all the works of Reformed theologians, two of Merkle’s papers focus on feminine issues, of limited church-wide interest, where he has no experience or training, viz. childbirth and head coverings for women. It is even more curious that given his deficiencies, Merkle did not hesitate to arrive at conclusions that hitherto the world has never known. Accordingly, Merkle believes that childbirth — and this is where the Kirk stench begins to waft pass my nostrils — is not limited to the physical process of having a baby. Rather, it’s about the attitude and behavior of the laboring woman — hang on, this précis is frankly unbelievable — insofar as it reflects upon her husband.

Consider this quote, for example, where Merkle affirms that the delivery room is a stage upon which the birthing mother’s hidden bitterness erupts to disgrace the man:
There are plenty of stories of women in labor losing their tempers, shrieking and cursing, and generally doing things that they wouldn’t dream of doing at any other time. And most of these stories are true. When a woman is in child labor, somewhere inside, someone turns the volume on her heart all the way up and plugs in four amps. What may have been just a murmur of discontent under ordinary circumstances turns into a deafening shriek in the delivery room. Put another way, the pregnant woman is about to have a number of people come and visit her heart; and this company is going to see how well she has kept her heart in order. . . . Bitterness, when given the chance, will spring up and defile many. It is the sort of sin that easily pollutes others. If a woman goes into labor and has any sort of bitterness within her, it is a fairly certain thing that the delivery room will see this bitterness springing up and causing trouble.

Is there no activity on earth that is spared a critique by a Kirk-contaminated man? Is there any subject conceivable upon which they do not possess universal knowledge? It appears not. Regardless, charity obligates us to ignore Merkle’s reliance on hearsay evidence regarding the “shrieking and cursing” of laboring women. Charity also demands that we refrain from undue scrutiny of the recurrent misuse (7 times) of the term “child labor,” which originally denoted the forced labor of children during the Industrial Revolution. And charity compels us to overlook the hackneyed cliché, “A woman should remember that labor is called labor for a reason, there will be a lot of work,” which denotes the author’s incompetence.

However, if this position paper were graded on the basis of cogent argument, satisfactory development of its thesis, syntactical error, and substantiated research, it would receive a D letter grade in a government high school. That this trifling essay fulfilled a quarterly requirement of Greyfriars Hall exposes the inferior academic quality of the singularly indifferent faculty that accepted this shoddy product, which at that time was composed of one man — Ben Merkle’s father-in-law — Doug Wilson.

That said, these things are true: Unlike Ben Merkle, I draw no spiritual inferences from the way a laboring mother expresses herself. Unlike Ben Merkle, I’ve actually been in labor a time or two. And, unlike Ben Merkle, my husband did not interpret my travails as anything more than the normal pain experienced by a woman when her uterus expels a twelve-pound baby through her narrow birth canal into the world. Thankfully, my husband didn’t feel that my labor provided an opportunity for him to showcase his headship — but then, he was more concerned about me than he was about himself.

On this Labor Day, I wish that Ben Merkle, and other like-minded Kirk men, would put aside their pathological need to be the bride at every wedding, the pregnant woman in every delivery room, the authority on every subject, and the center of attention at every moment. I wish that they would labor at evacuating a whole cantaloupe while simultaneously and melodiously thanking God for the fruits of the earth. And I wish, with all my heart, that their wives would have the spiritual and intellectual wherewithal to refuse to allow this pigheaded misappropriation of childbirth.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Pop Quiz

Why does Roy Atwood wear a lampshade on his head?
1. To keep the sun out of his eyes.

2. Because he was drunk when he bought it and mistook it for a fez.

3. Because he is the light of the world.

4. Because it matches the lamp on his wetbar.

5. What lampshade?

Friday, September 01, 2006

Cultist of the Week Award

Today we bellow a high and mighty “Congratulations!” to Warren Jeffs, winner of this week’s Cultist of the Week Award, who can add our prize to his long list of accomplishments, which is noteworthy. Jeffs is the prophet and president of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, husband of about 40 wives, father of 56 children (give or take a few), stand-up comic, and, until his arrest this week, member of the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted list. The FBI wanted him for being an accomplice to child rape, for having sex with a minor, and for conspiracy to have sex with a minor. If convicted, Jeffs faces a life sentence in Purgatory Correctional Centre, a just end for the self-proclaimed prophet who ruled his cult “with an iron fist, making outrageous demands and expelling anyone who disobeys (as well as those whom he considers to be a threat).” Hmmm, that sounds familiar. Therefore, we tip our Fedora to you, Warren Jeffs, as we bid you fair adieu, confident that neither your anointing nor your costume will keep you safe in Purgatory. But we take pleasure in this, for as Groucho Marx said, “Time wounds all heels.” And your time just started.

Update From the Bunker: Two Roys Don’t Make A Right

From: New Saint Andrews College
Sent: Friday, September 01, 2006 9:18 AM
To: NewSaintAndrews@nsa.edu
Subject: City Council to rule on appeals against NSA Tuesday night

NSA NewsBrief
City Council to rule on appeals against NSA Tuesday night

Moscow City Council members will turn their attention to New Saint Andrews College on Tuesday night, Sept. 5, to hear the remaining appeals against the College’s conditional use permit. The meeting begins at 7:00 p.m. at City Hall.

President Roy Atwood is encouraging friends of the College to turn out in support of New Saint Andrews. “We’re hopeful this will be the last of it and the community can move on to more important issues,” he said. “But given our experience, anything could happen.”

Tuesday’s hearing is for the Council to consider the appeals based on the existing record, not new testimony. At its June 5 meeting the City Council remanded the permit back to the Board of Adjustment based on an appeal claiming new information existed that would have impacted the board’s decision. The new information turned out to be old and the Board of Adjustment reaffirmed its earlier decision to grant the College a conditional use permit.

The College’s conditional use permit, originally granted March 29 and reaffirmed June 30, limits the school to 200 FTE students and its existing amount of commercially accessible street frontage, which refers to the library and the restaurant.

Posers and Hypocrites

They devour books of piety indiscriminately, not stopping to consider how much of what they read applies, or can be applied, to their own lives. Their chief concern is to acquire as many externals as possible, and to decorate their persons with the features they have so rapidly come to associate with perfection. . . . If they do their job thoroughly, their spiritual disguises are apt to be much admired. Like successful artists, they become commercial. After that there is not much hope for them. . . They have become satisfied with their own brand of sanctity, and with the perfection they have woven for themselves out of their own imagination.

Such “sanctity” may perhaps be only the fruit of mutual flattery. The “perfection” of the holy one is something that reassures his neighbors by confirming them in their own prejudices, and by enabling them to forget what is lacking in their own communal morality. It makes them all feel that they are “right,” that they are on the right way, and that God is “satisfied” with their collective way of life. Therefore nothing needs to be changed. But anyone who opposes this situation is wrong. The sanctity of the “saint” is there to justify the complete elimination of those who are “unholy” — that is, those who do not conform.

So too in art, or literature. The “best” poets are those who happen to succeed in a way that flatters our current prejudice about what constitutes good poetry. We are very exacting about the standards that they have set up, and we cannot even consider a poet who writes in some other slightly different way, whose idiom is not quite the same. We do not read him. We do not dare to, for it we were discovered to have done so, we would fall from grace. We would be excommunicated.

A clever kind of insolent servility, a peculiar combination of ambition, stubbornness and flexibility, a “third ear” keenly attuned to the subtlest modulations of the fashionable clichés — with all this you can pass as a saint or a genius if you conform to the right group. You will be blamed in a way that gives you great pleasure, because the blame will come from an out-group by which to be blamed is praise. You may not be enthusiastically praised, even by your own friends. But they know exactly what you are driving at. They full accept your standards. They dig you. You are canonized. You are the embodiment of their own complacency. (Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation [New York: New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1961] 110–103)