Archives For December 2019

If Christianity Today is to remain at the top of its game after their recent support for the full impeachment of Donald Trump, on what is already widely agreed to be manufactured political manoeuvring by Leftists, they’ll now need to give voice to a broader theological critique.

Australia’s Eternity News also seemingly plopped itself onto the bandwagon, defending what looked like its own giddy, veiled applause with the dismissal that “reporting the news is not the same as supporting the contents of it.” This is despite individuals calling the article “brave.”

Readers of both Eternity News and Christianity Today would be right to now feel a fresh entitlement to see from them a FULL Christian theological critique of the spirit of the age, if they are to remain consistent, including:

1.Speaking out against abortion;

2.Exposing the lies of deep state Democrats and career politicians;

3.Providing a complete and rigorous defence of the rights of charities who graciously hold to a biological and biblical definition of marriage;

4. Criticism of Islamic terrorism;

5. Criticism of the abuse of women under Islamism;

6. A blanket protest against the manipulation and mutilation of young people via transgenderism and the apocalyptic climate change propaganda;

7. Condemnation of the bullying of Israel Folau, Margaret Court, and others under the guise of “LGBTQ rights.”

Given the trajectory, this all seems unlikely. As one commentator said, after reading about Christianity Today’s apologetic track record of Barack Obama, “don’t hold your breath, mate.”

Christianity Today’s treatment of Donald Trump and the previous President are miles apart. One simple search engine comparison proves it [same search engine, same search parameters, completely different result]:

Why the concern?

Franklin Littell, in analyzing the antebellum (pre-civil war) condition of the American churches, identified a pattern of ideological servitude. Churches across America, both North and South were internally divided along ideological grounds. Pastors preached a mix of politics and theology, subsuming the theological critique into the service of a louder ideological master. Thus, he said, was the precursor to the most devastating war the United States ever experienced.

How far Littlell’s analysis is to be viewed as a litmus test for us today remains an intriguing open question. Christianity Today has a right to voice their opinion, as we have a right to demand, and expect that this voice be a consistent one.

It’s in this demand for consistency; the necessity of a consistent Christian theological critique of all ideological strong-holds, that gives rise to a diverse, but united front, joined in understanding against all unnecessary division.

This may seem utopian, but the further people wake up to the Left’s own totalitarian sins while being fully conscious of the sins on the right, the more opportunity there is for the Church to boldly reflect light in an otherwise dark place. Thus perhaps avoiding what Littell identifies as an inevitable slide into a broader, all-out civil war.


First published on Caldron Pool, 23rd December, 2019

© Rod Lampard, 2019

Nicholas Best recounts a little known story about two Lancaster bombers. One crewed by Canadians, the other by Australians*.

Early on April 29th, 1945 the two Lancasters took off from East Anglia. They flew along a previously agreed upon ‘corridor’. The route was ‘prescribed by the occupying German forces in Holland, who being cut off from Germany due to the Allied advance’, had uncharacteristically turned to the Allies for aid.

They did so, on behalf of the Dutch who were suffering through a famine triggered by the Nazis. Similar to German occupation of Belgium in World War One, the German starvation of the Dutch was a means of punishment for assisting the Allies, by way of a rail strike, which had ‘prevented German reinforcements going up against the Allied assault in Arnhem during 1944.’

Best writes that the situation was dire, Holland, ‘after months of disruption as the fighting came closer, had finally run out of food.’ The situation was so bad, that ‘many Dutch had eaten their pets, and were now living on grass, sugar beet, and tulip bulbs.’

Despite ‘not having the authority to agree to a ceasefire’ [i], level-headed German officials who had sought out the Allies, reached an accord of truce. Thus, allowing the Allies to send much needed humanitarian aid.

Not completely trusting of the German truce accord, the Allies flew a test mission along the agreed upon corridor.

The test flight, as Stephen Dando-Collins wrote, ‘had all the hallmarks of a suicide mission.’ These bomber crews were ‘guinea pigs’ testing out the German agreement to not fire on the Lancaster’s flying low to deliver humanitarian aid to the starving Dutch. [ii]

The ominous mission was a success, and it kick-started Operation Manna – an unprecedented humanitarian air drop, which involved 200 bombers, flying at low levels, dropping much needed supplies into Nazi occupied Holland.

The first bomber, ‘Bad Penny’, flown by Canadian, Bob Upcott led the way. He described the event in detail, testifying that,

“when we passed the Dutch coast we saw anti-aircraft guns that pointed their muzzles in our direction. We even saw tanks that tried to keep their gun barrels on us. We were looking right down a number of barrels. All the guns were still manned…The Australian pilot was on my port side [left], flying echelon port. I dropped first when we were over the race track, while the Australian dropped almost the same moment.” [iii]**

The second Lancaster was flown by F/O. Peter G.L Collett, from Sydney. He was 21 at the time, and already a veteran. Along with the Canadian crew of the first Lancaster, Collett and his Australian crew* effectively spearheaded the humanitarian mission.

Collett passed away in 2012. Although his heroics are mentioned in passing chapters about Operation Manna/Chowhound, no Australian books have been written about him or his crew. Collett’s bravery isn’t taught in schools. His efforts and heroism currently only exist as a footnote.

While Upcott and his crew are celebrated, the same cannot be said for Collett.  Unlike Collett, Upcott and crew remained on as an integral part of the Manna Operation, drawing a bigger spotlight on the original flight into the unknown than was given to Collett.

Collett’s absence from the spotlight appears to have been due to him being reassigned to Operation Exodus. Collett’s service record reflects as much. From the dates 1st February, 1945, to 19th May, 1945, under 101st Squadron, right next “Bomber”, below the word “Bombing”, and above the word “Exodus”, sits the word “Supplies”, where the word Manna test flight should perhaps also be written.

Exodus ran from the 3rd April to the 31st May, 1945. It involved the repatriation of liberated Allied POWs from Nazi camps in Europe. Exodus itself was an enormous undertaking, ‘1,000 people per day were brought into British receiving camps; totaling 354,000 ex-prisoners of war by the end of May.’

At 21, Collett piloted a Lancaster bomber full of humanitarian supplies, at low level, with a full crew, on a mission of mercy into occupied Nazi territory. All based on the assurance of Nazi officials who had said that the ‘mercy drop’ would be allowed to proceed without harassment from the well-armed occupying German forces.

Collett is a national hero. Yet, his heroism and the heroism of his crew, isn’t mainstream knowledge in Australia. Even the Australian War Memorial’s official page for Operation Manna, called ‘Food from Heaven’, is silent about the test flight.

For an Australian/s to have played such a significant role in the relief operation, and for there to be little to no recognition of their daring and bravery, shows a real blind spot in how Australians are taught history, and how Australians embrace the importance of knowing what History teaches.

This is something to lament. This is something, we as a society, need to correct. If not for the men and women whose bold shoulders we now stand upon, at least for the generations they saved, in order to pass on the freedoms and responsibilities that allowed their own generation to stand against tyranny, in all its devouring and grotesque forms.

Lest we forget.


References:

[i] Best, N. 2012. Five Days That Shocked The World, Osprey Publishing, (pp.83-85)

[ii] Dando-Collins, S. 2015. Operation Chowdown, St. Martin’s Press (p.119)

*Confusion over Collett’s crew reinforces my point about the lack of historical interest in the Australian contribution to Operation Manna, from Australians. There are contradictory reports from various sources about whether his crew was an all Australian crew, British or mixed British and Australian.

** ‘NX579, No. 101 Sqn. Piloted by F/S Bob Upcott of Windsor, Ontario. Up at 1207, returned at 1444. 274 bags of food dropped. Second aircraft was PB350, No. 101 Sqn. Piloted by P/O Peter Collett of Sydney, Australia. Up at 1215, returned at 1442, 284 bags of food dropped.’ (RAFCommands)

First published on Caldron Pool, 15th December, 2019.

Windmill pic credit:  Vishwas Katti on Unsplash

© Rod Lampard, 2019

Gene Veith once wrote, ‘secularists are genuinely unable to tell the difference between art that has aesthetic merit and art that has none.’ His words were part of both a critique and lament of the ‘State of the Arts’, and what the world of art has become.

Calling art ‘the plaything of the rich’, ‘art is now considered to be whatever the artist does.’ Art has become a slave to the post-modern mind. Under the foppish, vain lordship of the unhinged, vague emptiness of moral relativity, art has lost all meaning. An ‘impersonal, dehumanised’ and desensitised public, is no longer capable of distinguishing between good modern art and bad.

Rather than speak of and to the human condition, the art of this post modern world is ‘anti-art’. It ‘rejects humanness’, worships ‘the cult of the artist’, and is controlled by the often contradictory ‘elitism of the art world’, whose global membership only amounts to the ‘size of a very small town.’ Where the ‘wealthy elite’ pose as proletarian, as they patron ‘bohemian’ artists in an irony that ‘combines Marxist poses with upper class social snobbery.’

Veith’s criticisms and lament is justified. Notorious examples include ‘a performance artist in Milwaukee who entertained his patrons by screaming abuse at them, stuck fishhooks under his skin and cut himself with razor blades’; and partially U.S. Tax payer funded artists such as, Anne Sprinkle, a self-described “post-porn Modernist” ‘masturbates, then invites patrons to come up and inspect her genitalia with a flashlight.’ [i]

Add to this the masochistic art of Robert Mapplethorpe, Andre Serrano’s ‘Piss cross, photographs of a crucifix in his urine’, Duchamp’s 1917, urinal entitled ‘Fountain’, and more recently Maurizio Cattelan’s ‘Comedian‘ – a banana taped to a wall with duct-tape.

Last week, Cattelan’s duct-taped banana, called Comedian, was sold to a French collector in Miami for $120, 000 (175k AU) U.S. dollars. The banana was then eaten by David Datuna, a performance artist.

Gallery officials questioned Datuna then asked him to leave the event, later stating that the performance artist didn’t actually destroy the ‘Comedian’ because the banana is meant to be replaced. As SBS noted, ‘the value of the work is in the certificate of authenticity.’

EJ Dickson for Rolling Stone adds that the Art Basel festival is ‘one of the biggest and most prestigious art shows in the country, even if few know about it.’ The saga didn’t end with Datuna. Dickson stated that after the banana heist, artist, Roderick Webber arrived and wrote on the wall: ‘“Epstein didn’t kill himself” in red lipstick.

Unfortunately for Webber, Datuna’s destruction in the name of art appears to have been more appreciated. Webber’s attempt at protest art saw him ‘arrested on charges of criminal mischief.’ With police escorting Webber out, he could ‘be heard saying “This is the gallery where anyone can do art, right?”

Dickson said that the banana “art work” has now been removed from the gallery due to the “compromised safety of the piece, and those surrounding it.”

Cattelan isn’t new to melodrama. His 18 karat gold working toilet, called America’ was stolen in September, from Blenheim Palace, and is yet to be recovered by police.

The Daily Wire’s Andrew Klavan rightly called the banana heist saga a metaphor for Western Elites, stating,

“These are our elites: where eating a banana someone else paid $120,000 dollars for is considered a work of art, because somebody put the banana on the wall and called it art.”

Klavan then reminded people that this is from

“the same civilization that created the Sistine Chapel, Hamlet and King Lear. Now art is a banana taped to the wall, and someone is willing to pay six figures to do this. Someone else thinks it’s art to eat the banana, which at least is a joke, and then when they put up something that is actually true about our elites, such as, “Jeffery Epstein didn’t kill himself” they cover it up!”

Had Klavan read Vieth’s criticism in its entirety, I think he’d agree that they were on the same page.

Cattelan’s $120, 000 edible banana and 18 karat gold working toilet fortify Veith’s criticism of post-modern art as anti-art. Artists using “art” in the ‘utter annihilation of art.’ (Veith, p.93)

Cattelan, Mapplethorpe, Serrano, Sprinkle, and work that mimics theirs all embody the content of Gene Veith’s lament and critique of the art world today. Although Veith’s analysis is grim, especially when weighed against these examples, he looks to a recovery of the arts where the divine Logos is rediscovered; where ‘artistic talent is not thought of as some innate human ability, nor as the accomplishment of an individual genius, but as a gift of God.’ (Veith, p.107)

To paraphrase, Calvin Seeveld, this recovery will mean the complete abandonment of the foppish, vain lordship of moral relativity, and the subsequent awakening of a desensitised, dehumanised public to an appreciation of the difference between cheap deodorant and good perfume.


References:

[i] Veith, G. 1991. State of the Arts, Crossway Books

First published on Caldron Pool, 11th December, 2019.

©Rod Lampard, 2019

Inciting people to rage against their neighbour in the name of the environment, or because of concerns about the climate, has been a constant part of human society’s obsession with who’s to blame for acts of God, or natural disasters.

In the pagan tribal cultures of the Americas, a bad crop meant another child sacrifice. Described by Cortez as ‘the most horrid and abominable custom; where many girls and boys and even adults, and in the presence of these idols they open their chests while they are still alive and take out their hearts and entrails and burn them before the idols, offering the smoke as sacrifice.’

In the 2nd Century, the formidable, North African theologian, Tertullian, noted that the causes of public evils were maliciously blamed on Christians:

“…If Tiber overflows, and Nile does not; if heaven stands still and withholds its rain, and the earth quakes ; if famine or pestilence take their marches through the country, the word is, Away with these Christians to the lion!” (Apology, Chapter XL)

To which Tertullian asks where were the Christians when Pompeii was consumed by Vesuvius, or when Hannibal threatened Rome?:

“Plato tells of a tract of land bigger than Asia and Africa
together, devoured by the Atlantic Ocean. Besides, an earthquake drank up the Corinthian Sea, and an impetuous force of water tore off Lucania from Italy, and banished it into an island, which goes now by the name of Sicily. Now these devastations of whole countries I hardly believe you will deny to be public calamities…
We have not a word of complaint against the Christians from Tuscany or Campania, when Heaven shot his flames upon Volsinium, and Vesuvius discharged his upon Pompeium. Was there any worshipper of the true God at Rome when Hannibal made such havoc of the Romans at Cannae, and computed the numbers of the slaughtered gentry by bushels of rings picked up after the battle?” (Apology, Chapter XL)

Today, the darker corners of the internet bubble and hiss with the hideous use of the term “deniers”, an emotionally charged term nefariously employed as newspeak, in order to lay blame for the alleged “climate change holocaust” on anyone critical of the prevailing apocalyptic climate change hypothesis.

Add on to this the equally grotesque blame game which claims that Jews are in control of the weather.

Then there are extreme anti-Chemtrail advocates who, according to the BBC, view chemical trails in the sky as evidence of ‘a massive, secret government conspiracy to control the weather; that secret powerful groups are spraying us with chemicals to make us pliant and easy to control.’

Connected to this group are those who propose a much more plausible theory about how Governmental use of cloud seeding is affecting natural weather patterns. They’re openly questioning how much of what we’re told about anthropogenic global warming (unnatural levels greenhouse gases in the atmosphere) and man-made climate change (the suspected result of those unnatural levels), is in fact, humans trying to manipulate the climate? Or the side effects of said manipulation?

The evidence to justify such questioning isn’t hard to find. In a 2015 article for the Sydney Morning Herald, Scott Hannaford wrote about the dubious practice of cloud seeding, stating that:

“While little evidence exists to support the conspiracy theories of the Americans investing in the practice during the Cold War, the US did use cloud seeding for military purposes during the Vietnam War, according to The New York Times. In July 1972 legendary journalist Seymour Hersh reported that the US had been conducting a highly classified cloud-seeding program known as Operation Popeye on a massive scale over North Vietnam, Laos and South Vietnam to increase and control rainfall. By dumping silver iodide and lead iodide into clouds, the Americans were reportedly able to extend the monsoon season by more than a month over the Ho Chi Minh Trail, softening roads to cause disruption to military trucks using the area.”

In 2016 Business Insider reported on the much talked about Chinese Government’s use of cloud seeding to manipulate the weather in order for the Beijing Olympics to take place free of rain. Worth noting, the Communist Government has a growing Weather Modification Office, whose department, according to The Independent, ‘employs nearly 40,000 people, 3,000 of whom work with an arsenal of 7,000 cannon, 4,687 rocket launchers, and have a budget of around £50m…’

Cloud seeding involves the use of ‘rockets full of chemicals (such as silver iodide), which are launched into clouds accelerating the creation of ice crystals that eventually become rain.’ QZ.com also described the process as a ‘meteorological enema’ that can make it rain, “clearout” pollution, as well as stop rain from falling.

The ability to control where and when it rains, and when and where it doesn’t rain, raises a lot questions about climate modification’s relationship to alleged man-made climate change.

Any possible connection between chemical manipulation of rainfall via cloud seeding, and the prevailing apocalyptic climate change hypothesis seem to be dismissed by most activists. NSW Greens senator, M.P. Dr. Mehreen Faruqi typifies the general blasé response from Climate Change activists. In her appraisal of Australia’s use of cloud seeding over the Snowy Mountains, Faruqi’s main concern was for the animal food chain and how those chemicals may impact endangered species. This is despite Faruqi acknowledging that the possible dangers of cloud seeding could be catastrophic, stating ‘we don’t know the long term impacts, but we do have the lessons learnt from DDT, asbestos, CFCs and their impact.’

One would think that the launching, or adding of more chemicals into the atmosphere, when there are raging concerns about unnatural levels of chemicals in the atmosphere, is counter-intuitive.

More so when the impact of making it rain in once place, is likely to mean it won’t rain in another. Thus, any unnatural disruption of natural rainfall patterns, would have a dire impact on the environment, and forge an anthropogenic adjustment of the climate.

Ignoring the possible contribution of cloud seeding to “climate change”, and conflating climate change with global warming (by calling it a climate change emergency) is irresponsible, and dishonest. It leaves out questions about the negative impact chemical modification of the weather has on the overall climate.

It also means that political opportunists are deliberately scaring children and the vulnerable in order to impose change via the reigning hypothesis. This criticism is further buttressed by an historical pattern of blaming humans for acts of God or natural disasters, and the questionable practice of cloud seeding; to be more precise, deliberate chemical modification of the weather.

If the “doomers” are correct and apocalyptic climate change is as bad as they have prophesied, than perhaps man-made climate change is a direct result of man’s attempt to control the climate?

I agree that there’s a socio-political, geo-political, economic and environmental need to address our dependency on fossil fuels, and unnatural levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. However, the answer rests in a calm response, which looks to horticulture – planting trees; water storage/management, new technology and improving our understanding and use of nuclear, which, as books on climate science admit, is far more powerful (and much more cleaner) than coal.

The way forward would also include a thorough critique of the practice of cloud seeding, and its negative impact on rainfall patterns and the climate.


First published on Caldron Pool, 7th Decemeber, 2019.

Photo by NOAA on Unsplash

©Rod Lampard, 2019.

Scottish Pastor, Richard Cameron, was suspended by church officials this week, until further notice, after “heckling” openly socialist, U.K. Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn.

Corbyn, who has the potential of becoming the U.K’s next Prime Minister in the December election, was day two into his campaign trail in Glasgow, when according to The Scottish Sun, Cameron, a 60 year old Church of Scotland minister, approached the Labour leader.

Referring to Corbyn’s tartan scarf and his criticism of the United States actions against the late ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Cameron stated,

“I thought you’d be wearing an Islamic jihad scarf. Do you think the man that’s going to be prime minister of this country should be a terrorist sympathiser? Who’s going to be the first terrorist to be invited to the House of Commons when you’re prime minister?” (The Times)

Short video footage of the incident shows Corbyn surrounded by staffers, with Richard Cameron calmly approaching the Labour leader. After hearing the nature of Cameron’s questions, a clearly indifferent Corbyn and his entourage dismissed the Pastor. Turned their backs on him and walked in the opposite direction. In response, as reported by The Scottish Sun, Cameron then allegedly tells the now shuffling huddle of retreating Labour members, “Aye, you’re running away.’

Not long after the event, screenshots from Cameron’s Twitter account were spammed over the social media platform, quickly denouncing the minister as a troll, homophobic, Islamophobic, and bigoted.

Some of the tweets in question show Cameron voicing support for Israel Folau, promoting the Bible’s view on marriage, homosexuality and idolatry.

The BBC, joining the chorus of hate and manufactured rage against the pastor, falsely accused Cameron of “shouting at Corbyn.” They also appear to have scoured the minister’s posts, and replies on Twitter for alleged abuses. Digging as far back as 2016 in an attempt to further the claim that Cameron’s views were both “homophobic and Islamophobic.”

Cameron has also been relieved of duties at a local primary school, with one facilitator stating that, “Cameron doesn’t belong in the pulpit and that he’s glad Cameron will no longer be providing moral guidance to kids.”

Cameron’s questioning of Corbyn triggered a soft-doxxing of the Pastor by outraged Leftists, effectively forcing his suspension and a Church of Scotland internal investigation. Church officials have stated that Cameron’s suspension will ‘allow them to carry out an enquiry in relation to the incident which took place earlier this week and the subsequent complaints about his social media use.’

Leftists love a firebrand, as long as that firebrand is singing the Leftist’s tune. For evidence of this simply compare the open arms celebrity treatment of Leftist, activist, and Anglican Minister Rod Bower, who remains in his lofty position even after publically falsely labeling LNP M.P, Peter Dutton,  “a sodomite”  (et.al)

Cameron’s suspension and the justifications for it make a mockery of freedom, and the Scottish people.

If Cameron’s Twitter feed is any indication, Cameron seems to epitomize the fiery, blunt, straight-talking Scotsman. To punish him for doing his job as a Pastor; for being true to his vocation, isn’t just to place a gag order on the Bible, it bogs down freedom of speech, and squashes part of a cultural attribute long associated with what it means to be Scottish.

The suspension is a farce. It was led by a lynch mob on social media, and triggered by Jeremy Corbyn’s apparent inability to face uncomfortable questions from a member of the discerning public.

Cameron should be reinstated on the grounds that the actions taken against him unfairly give advantage to manipulators. It gives power to dishonest critics who turn the term “hate speech” into a weapon, and abuse others from behind a wall of anonymity, and pompous self-righteousness.

As Franklin Littell warned in 1962, anti-Christian ‘movements are the product of persecuting or corrupt, self-indulgent establishments. Soft religiosity is more of a threat to the Gospel than hard opposition.’ [i]

Cameron may need to tweak his approach to others on social media, but his example raises questions about what happens when those who are led into all truth, by the Holy Spirit (John 16:13), are by consequence, entering into direct opposition to those being led by the spirit of the age.


References:

[i] From State Church to Pluralism, p.32

First published on Caldron Pool 28th November, 2019.

Photo by Ye Jinghan on Unsplash

©Rod Lampard, 2019