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  • Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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The Political Divide

Angelo M. Codevilla

Whether we acknowledge it or not, America has a ruling elite. It is a bureaucratic class that has learned to manipulate our system of government in order to obtain wealth and power. Its members are mostly interested in power and remaining in power. Angelo M. Codevilla, professor emeritus of international relations at Boston University, makes the following observations:

Today, few speak well of the ruling class. Not only has it burgeoned in size and pretense, but it also has undertaken wars it has not won, presided over a declining economy and mushrooming debt, made life more expensive, raised taxes, and talked down to the American people. Americans’ conviction that the ruling class is as hostile as it is incompetent has solidified. The polls tell us that only about a fifth of Americans trust the government to do the right thing. The rest expect that it will do more harm than good and are no longer afraid to say so.

While Europeans are accustomed to being ruled by presumed betters whom they distrust, the American people’s realization of being ruled like Europeans shocked this country into well nigh revolutionary attitudes. But only the realization was new. The ruling class had sunk deep roots in America over decades before 2008. Machiavelli compares serious political diseases to the Aetolian fevers — easy to treat early on while they are difficult to discern, but virtually untreatable by the time they become obvious. . . .

Who are these rulers, and by what right do they rule? How did America change from a place where people could expect to live without bowing to privileged classes to one in which, at best, they might have the chance to climb into them? What sets our ruling class apart from the rest of us . . . .?

In fact, our ruling class grew and set itself apart from the rest of us by its connection with ever bigger government, and above all by a certain attitude. . . .

What really distinguishes these privileged people demographically is that, whether in government power directly or as officers in companies, their careers and fortunes depend on government. . . .

Professional prominence or position will not secure a place in the class any more than mere money. In fact, it is possible to be an official of a major corporation or a member of the U.S. Supreme Court (just ask Justice Clarence Thomas), or even president (Ronald Reagan), and not be taken seriously by the ruling class. Like a fraternity, this class requires above all comity — being in with the right people, giving the required signs that one is on the right side, and joining in despising the Outs. Once an official or professional shows that he shares the manners, the tastes, the interests of the class, gives lip service to its ideals and shibboleths, and is willing to accommodate the interests of its senior members, he can move profitably among our establishment’s parts.

Read this entire article here. . . .

Embracing The Reality Of Hell

Quoting Jonathan Leeman:

Embracing the reality of hell means setting aside moderation. It means admitting that our sin is dark and heinous to the point of eternal damnation; that the white light of God’s character justly destroys those who have fallen short of his glory; and that that our non-Christians friends have nothing greater to fear. That’s tough to do when you have moderate views of your sin, your friend’s sin, and God’s glory.

Embracing the reality of hell also means going against the fallen cultural structures and belief systems of this world, all of which conspire together with our own hearts to repeat the serpent’s promise of a moderate outcome, “You will surely not die.”

As hard as it is to stare at the doctrine of hell, surely it must be salubrious to our faith to do so from time to time. It forces us to once again reckon with who God is and who we are.

Real Change

Quoting Burt Prelutsky:

I suppose it’s only natural that politicians who wind up on Capitol Hill forget that they are mere mortals. After all, when everyone is vying for your attention and all the Sunday talk shows are eager to have you stop by and spout off, and you have as many flunkies at your beck and call as Marie Antoinette, it must be awfully easy to believe you have achieved royal status. In fact, all that you’ve really done is beat out some other schnook in a popularity contest.

As a result, these pettifoggers must be constantly plagued by the fear that the very next election can turn them back into the very same rodents they were before their Fairy Godmother touched them with her magic wand.

For the run-of-the-mill politician, it must be bad enough, but imagine being Harry Reid, king of the Senate one day, and just another old pickle puss the next.

In a way, it would be even worse for Nancy Pelosi, who, unlike Reid, will easily win re-election, but could still go from being the queen bee on November 2nd to losing her Speaker’s gavel and watching her jumbo jet turn into a pumpkin at midnight.

The Purpose Of God’s Peculiar People

Christ the Saviour (Pantokrator), a 6th-centur...

Saint Catherine's Monastery

Do you ever think very much about why Christ saved you? Christ wants us to become a distinct people set apart from the rest of the world. He desires a special people whom He is not ashamed to call His own. God desires a people through whom He can reveal Himself to the rest of the world. He has ordained a people to reflect His glory. “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” (1 Peter 2:9)

God revealed Himself and increasingly unfolded the meaning of His covenantal purposes to the people of Israel. They were called to be a special people of God. God redeemed them from their slavery to Egypt and gave them His Law. The Law of God distinguished Israel from the other nations of the earth.

Through the distinguishing marks of His influence upon Israel, God was revealing Himself to the world. The purpose of Israel was to reveal God to the world. They revealed Him by their actions, their sacred writings and songs, and by their form of worship. Sin, however, prevented Israel from achieving its purpose.

The failures of Israel and its great leaders served to demonstrate the need for God’s grace, which would be fully revealed in Christ. God’s grace gives His people the power to be his peculiar people. We are redeemed and purified through Christ. We are God’s chosen people. We are called to reveal the character of God to this world, in our lives. Whatever we do and say is to reveal God’s moral goodness to the world.

The daily life of a Christian exerts an influence on those around him. This influence affects the eternal destiny of his family, friends and the ones he comes in contact with. Can you honestly say you are making a good impression for God?

As Christians, we can help others to make progress toward God through the example of our godly living. But, our lives can also have the opposite effect. We must exert a godly influence. God has blessed us with His wonderful grace and therefore, living godly lives is the least we can do for the Lord after all He has done for us. As faithful followers of Christ, our lives become the means by which others may know the Lord and follow Him.

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