Archives For Albert Camus

Weiss’ resignation last week raised eyebrows, ruffled feathers, and furthered speculation about the existence of an internal war being waged between the traditional Left and radical Leftists within modern liberalism.

This “civil war” isn’t new.

What has been emerging from a series of high-profile defections and protests over the past decade, is evidence of an unstable hegemonic power purging itself of the rational in order to exalt the radical.

Wiess’s protest exit adds to a growing list of intellectuals walking away from Leftism and its corrosive “convert, pay a tax or else” culture. The late Roger Scruton was exiled for not towing the party line, as was ex-Guardian journalist, Melanie Phillips. The rise of black conservatives, disingenuously called Uncle Toms by Leftists, also find themselves in a similar social position. Add to this the growing number of professionals calling out Apocalyptic Climate Change.

All of which is reminiscent of Jean-Paul Sartre’s disdain (and that of his French Communist intellectual clique) for Albert Camus’ critique of the Soviet Union, epitomized in Camus’, 1950 book ‘The Rebel.’ Cancelling people, they don’t like, or who disagree with them is what the radical left does.

Just as Sartre disowned Camus for questioning the new normal, for being applauded by the Right, and ‘refusing to call himself a Marxist’, Weiss has found herself in her own clash with ‘upstarts of the revolutionary spirit, nouveau riche and Pharisees of justice.’ (Camus)

For example, The New York Times ran a petty article snidely listing an array of Weiss’ “wrong think” misdemeanors. The list included Weiss ‘questioning aspects of [recent] social justice movements’ and expressing concerns about the “believe all women” witch hunt applied to Trump Supreme Court Justice nominee, Brett Kavanaugh.

They made no mention of Weiss’ allegations about being called a “Nazi and a racist” by staff members. No real surprise. Many on the Left genuinely believe those who aren’t ideologically aligned or marked on the forehead in exactly the same way are Nazis’ and racists. It’s also the manipulative fallback for any Leftist not willing to engage in an intelligent debate, or the thought process in an honest way, generally.

As if to prove my point, the NYT gave special attention to Weiss’ comments on Twitter. Specifically, those made about “staff unrest” over James Bennett deciding to run the now infamous opinion piece from Senator Tom Cotton ‘calling for military response’ to extremists hijacking civil protests in response to the killing of George Floyd.

The Left’s response to Wiess has been somewhat more of a laugh it off, arrogant “meh”. They’re both dismissive and indifferent. Despite the restrained tone, the NYT couldn’t hide its contempt for her. They may as well have just said: “Weiss was never really one of us, so don’t take anything she has to say seriously.”

Odd, since Weiss is Jewish, a (lower case) liberal, and is staunchly anti-Trump.

Set the smug NYT piece alongside Wiess’ resignation letter, and it’s pretty clear why the Leftist activists in the NYT, who self-identify as journalists, are happy for her to move on. It’s better for the brand. There’s no effort required in having to remove her, nor defend against the very Nazified image of the New York Times “canceling” a Jewish woman’s livelihood because she wasn’t welcome within the culture, or didn’t fit its ideological mold.

In true intersectional inquisition fashion, The Guardian published a bizarre academic rant mocking Weiss. Her allegations were discounted and the author declined to call her a victim of ‘illiberal liberalism.’ According to the Guardian, the culprit wasn’t Leftism, it was “right wingers”. The piece strongly insinuated that Weiss was a ‘professionally cancelled pundit; a genre of primarily center-right contrarian who makes their living by deliberately provoking outrage online.’

The reaction from the Left solidifies Weiss’ her overall claim about experiencing hostility in the workplace simply for having, and voicing a different opinion. The fact the Guardian so easily discounted her accusations, and that NYT seemed happy enough to see the back of someone who thinks for themselves, instead of following herd thinking, speaks volumes.

In line with Weiss’ resignation, Andrew Sullivan, former editor of The New Republic, resigned from the New York Magazine saying the reasons were “self-evident”.

Sullivan’s support of Weiss seems to have triggered his own departure from a Mainstream media organization dominated by the Leftist cult of modern liberalism.

Sullivan wrote:

“Mainstream Media seems to believe, that any writer not actively committed to critical theory in questions of race, gender, sexual orientation, and gender identity is actively, physically harming co-workers merely by existing in the same virtual space. Actually attacking, and even mocking, critical theory’s ideas and methods, as I have done continually in this space, is therefore out of sync with the values of Vox Media.’

Despite Weiss and Sullivan being staunchly anti-Trump. Weiss won huge support from Conservatives.

Donald Trump Jnr responded to the news on Twitter saying: “NYT editor Bari Weiss resigns in STUNNING fashion & exposes the Times’ rampant attacks on anyone who breaks from the far-left narrative.”

Rita Panahi tweeted: “Bari Weiss isn’t a conservative, far from it, and they still made her life unbearable because she challenged aspects of Leftist orthodoxy. The modern Left is ruled by its fanatics & poses the greatest threat to free expression.”

Miranda Divine added,

“What an indictment of the NY Times. Rational leftie Bari Weiss driven out by the “illiberal environment” governed by trends on Twitter and workplace “bullying.” Appalling what Weiss endured. Kudos to her integrity.”

To be anti-leftist is not the same as being anti-Liberal (big “L” Classical Liberal). An anti-leftist, refuses to join the Leftist cult, an anti-Liberal is someone who tries to cancel those who refuse to join the Leftist cult.

It’s pretty simple math.

Weiss is another reminder that radicals on the Left are taking a form of theocracy; superiority. Where to be “sinless” is to be a Leftist.

I agree with Weiss. The Left has a serious problem.

Those who’ve pandered to the new normal, fanning the flames of cancel culture, shouldn’t wonder at why it’s so pervasive.  They are Frankenstein, and cancel culture is their monster. Literati on the Left shouldn’t be one bit surprised that they cannot control it, nor that they are finding themselves being cancelled by it.

Here, Hannah Arendt’s ‘revolutions devour’ its own, joins Karl Barth’s analysis of revolution: ‘far more than the conservative, the revolutionary is overcome of evil, because with his or her “No” they stand so strangely near to God. This is the tragedy of revolution. Evil is not the true answer to evil… Order and not disorder is the meaning of Divine revolt. The real revolt comes from God, not human revolution.’ (The Epistle to the Romans, XIII)

For Weiss there’s also the impossible-to-overstate irony of her signing an open letter that boldly claims Donald Trump ‘is a powerful ally of illiberalism’; that he’s a ‘threat to democracy,’ yet says nothing about the “illiberal” Leftist dominated Mainstream Media, and it’s repression of ‘the free exchange of information and ideas.’

Which is odd, since Donald Trump supports Classical Liberal freedoms, and is himself hounded by the Mainstream Media, Big Tech and American liberal elites. Some who have openly voiced how much they themselves want to cancel him, if not his Presidency.

Weiss’ resignation is a protest against the increasingly fascist Leftist hegemony. Her negative experiences provide the perfect reason for a Trump 2020 win. They also give reasons for why The Daily Wire, PragerU, and Caldron Pool (among others) are essential grass roots media service providers.


First published on Caldron Pool, 21st July 2020.

Photo by Marco Lenti on Unsplash

© Rod Lampard, 2020

In the book which effectively severed his connection from the French Communists, agnostic French existentialist philosopher, Albert Camus wrote,

‘If everyone believes in nothing, if nothing makes sense, if we can assert no value whatsoever, everything is permissible and nothing is important.’ (The Rebel, 1951)

Camus, a golden-child of the French Communists, famously ‘went against the grain among members of the French left-wing intelligentsia.’ [i] As result ‘Camus was virtually excommunicated from the French intellectual life by Jean Sartre and his comrades’ [ii]

Camus fired a flare out from within the inner sanctum of Leftist elitism. He had fought against fascism in WW2, and saw the terror unleashed in the name of anti-fascism. In this he witnessed an equally oppressive movement, which road on the coattails of false promises, and carefully targeted outrage. His decision to break free exposed the false promises of a utopia built on totalitarianism, and the unquestionable ‘epistemological privilege of the oppressed’ [iii], all enforced by appeasement, and maintained by the buzzwords emancipation and justice.

In the light of Camus’ experience and wisdom, and the past three years, it is no exaggeration to say that the upcoming 2020 election in the United States will be even more important than 2016.

The re-election of the Trump administration will be a decisive and final cut, one that separates a free people from the burdensome shackles of globalism, the smiles, lies and hi-fives of its career politicians, and its bureaucratic caste.

This is why they are in a tail spin, they know that a Trump 2020 win, will be a rebuke of their decades long hold on power. They know that such a win, will give power back to the masses who inherited the responsibility of nurturing the hard-won freedoms handed down them.

They know that a Trump 2020 win will be a loud, unified “no” to fear, manipulation, false promises and the dysfunctional fabric of socialism; a revolt against the burgeoning bureaucratic aristocracy, and it’s globalist imperial feudalism.

They know such a win will be a “yes” to freedom, not a denial of it.

The caveat to this of course is that Trump is no different to any of us when it comes to sin and the need for salvation. Donald Trump is not Jesus Christ or the herald of a golden age. He is the bulwark and resounding “no” of a people who want a return to a government for the people, of the people, by the people. In this Trump at least acknowledges the importance of his office and its role as a servant leader of one nation, under God.

As with the rest of us, Trump still has potential. He is still very much a diamond in the rough. For sure, he has irritating idiosyncrasies. We all do. He may talk about himself far too much, but he at least has the balls to boldly act against the madness of political correctness, the Leftist equivalent of shari’a law; showing that his administration uniquely understands the danger of the political quagmire, the crushing weight of bloated bureaucracy through its forced speech, imprisonment for non-compliance to its irrational ideological standard, and its contempt for Biblical Christianity.

The fact that Trump hasn’t quit under the normal pressure of leadership, or abandoned his post, at every crack of the whip sent his way, by his political enemies, shows character. By not giving up, or irresponsibly giving in, he has expressed value and appreciation for the office he holds and the free, discerning citizens he represents.

Think what you will. Disagree if you must. Trump has proven that he has the chops to fight an unwanted “culture war” thrust upon the West. Nothing changes this fact. He and his team have stood firm, in the face of a contempt and hatred that can only be described as demonic. This is manifest in the manufactured lies, and the hate-Trump-love-trumps-hate dissonance and fear, imposed on the world since 2016.

Our would-be Leftist overlords in the West know that a Trump 2020 win, will be a vote for the restoration of ideas that his office, and his nation were founded upon. In this vote for the restoration of freedom, and the rights and responsibilities attached to it, such a win is not only a win for those in the United States, it’s a win for every man and woman, who cherishes the very concept of liberty, under God, and who, with grateful solemnity, remembers the ultimate price many have paid for it.

Like Camus, Trump was once a darling of the Left. Like Camus, Trump has been rejected by it under the charge of treason against the long ruling Leftist ideological paradigm.

Like Camus’ publication of The Rebel, the 2016 election was an historic time of choosing.

The 2020 election in the United States will be no different.

Ronald Reagan’s words in 1964 hold true:

 “The martyrs of history were not fools, and our honoured dead who gave their lives to stop the advance of the Nazis didn’t die in vain… The greater risk lies in appeasement; surrender. We’ll [either] preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we’ll sentence them to take the last step into a thousand years of darkness.’ [iv]

A Trump 2020 victory will be a resounding “yes” to freedom from those dragged into fighting the unwanted “culture war” thrust upon the West.


References:

[i] Todd, O. 2013, Afterward in Camus, A. The Rebel (Penguin Modern Classics) Penguin Books Ltd. Kindle Ed

[ii] Elshtain, J.B. 1995 Democracy On Trial Basic Books

[iii] Newbigin, L. 1989. The Gospel in a Pluralist Society, SPCK Classics (p.150)

[iv] Reagan, R. 1964 ‘A time for Choosing’, PDF transcript

First published on Caldron Pool, 8th October 2019.

©Rod Lampard, 2019

Born out of conversations with a friend from the United States, I was given the opportunity to read a compilation of fragments and essays written by Simone Weil called: ‘Oppression and Liberty’.  The compilation flows in chronological order and presents some of Weil’s thoughts on anthropology, economics, politics, ideology and war.

Simone was a French intellectual. Like Jacques Ellul, whom she presumably never met, Weil worked in the French resistance and was well schooled in Marxism.  Among many others in the elite French communist circles of mid 20th Century, she was a contemporary of rebel and excommunicated member, Albert Camus.

Later in life, Weil matured back towards Roman Catholic Christianity, taking an interest in aestheticism and Catholic mysticism. Detaching herself from the French intellectual trends of her day, Weil also made a break with Marxism. Whilst remaining a fan of Karl Marx, Weil set alongside her criticism of [crony] capitalism, an intense critique of Marxism, detailing the threat posed by plutocrats and bureaucrats when they choose to entertain and ride the backs of both monsters.

Unpacking this threat is ‘Oppression & Liberty’s recurring theme. Weil makes it known that she is no fan of big business or big government. It’s more apparent in the latter than the former, but both big business and big government form big bureaucracy.  This creates a ‘bureaucratic caste’ and is dangerous because ‘all exclusive, uncontrolled power becomes oppressive in the hands of those who have the monopoly of it’ (p.15).

Readers wouldn’t have to look far to locate examples of where big business and big government corroborate to create big bureaucracy. Some corporate promotion and imposition of new cultural laws such as those posited by radical feminist ideology, punishment for disagreeing with any forced imposition or disloyalty to the LGBT flag and the questioning of the movement’s agenda; weapons factories, political groups, career politicians, Islamist shar’ia, some parts of the institutional Christian church, pharmaceutical, oil and power companies, information tech companies and, the education and military industrial complexes, all provide adequate proof.

From an historical point of view, it’s easy to see the beneficial relationship that developed between industrialists and “Captains of industry” with the rise of National Socialists in Germany, Europe and America throughout the 1930’s. As is shown by Thomas Doherty in his 2013 book ‘Hollywood and Hitler’, European and American corporations did their best not to upset the newly established status quo. It could be argued that this is one of contributing factors to why Winston Churchill was so highly criticised for speaking out against the ‘gathering storm’.

Additionally, the Soviet nonaggression pact with the Nazis also gives further credibility to Weil’s conclusions about how big government and big corporations create big bureaucracy. Stalin had imperialist ambitions. Hitler was a way to implement them. Hence the Soviet attack on Norway on the 30th November 1939, three months after the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact (23rd August 1939) between the Nazis and the Soviets was signed. This gave parts of Eastern Europe to the Soviet Union and open commercial ties with the Nazis.

Weil is right then to say that the ‘bureaucratic machine, though composed of flesh, and well fed flesh at that is none the less as irresponsible and as soulless as are the machines made of iron and steel.’ (p.13)

The ‘bureaucratic machine excludes all judgement and all genius; it tends by its very structure, to concentrate all powers in itself. It therefore threatens the very existence of everything that still remains precious for us in the bourgeois regime […] Instead of a clash of contrary opinions, we end up with an “official opinion” from which no one would be able to deviate. The result is a State religion that stifles all individual values, that is to say all values’ (pp.15 & 16).

For Weil, bureaucrats, like [crony] capitalists, can become parasitic. They receive benefits by causing damage. The three main areas Bureaucrats operate in are ‘Trade Union bureaucracy, Industrial bureaucracy and State bureaucracy’ (p.16). The working-class only exist as pawns, even in the ‘hands of trade unions’ (p.26). The worker and the poor are putty in the hands of the revolutionists, who utilise the hope that revolution inspires, unaware that ‘fanning revolt to white heat, can serve the cause of fascist demagogy’ (p.21).

This last point then leads into her much larger criticism and separation of Karl Marx from Marxism, which is something I don’t have room here to delve into. Very briefly, Simone applies Marx’s critique of power structures, including Marxism, stating:

‘All power is unstable, there is never power, but only a race for power – the quest to outdo rivals and the quest to maintain’ (p.64). This is the black hole of greed, the ‘aimless merry-go round’ (p.65) which the lust for power drags humanity into.

Weil concludes that all monopolies (centralised power) to be a leading cause of oppression. This might surprise some, but her conclusion aligns with capitalist economists such as Milton Friedman, Thomas Sowell and Hayek. All of whom, see and saw, monopoly and big government as a being a restriction on the free market.  There are of courses differences between them on this, however, the object of their concern is the same. For the latter group, monopolies are oppressive to the free market, for Weil monopolies are oppressive to people. Despite this difference, they are essentially saying the same thing because economics is about people. There is no free market without people, who are free to operate responsibly within it.

My only point of real disagreement with Weil in regards to this subject is her position on Nazism and Socialism. For Wiel Nazism was not socialism, and attempts to bring National Socialism into the Marxist framework are ‘vain’ (p.7).

This is contrary to the well defended conclusions of F.A Hayek, George Reisman, Jacques Ellul, Roger Scruton, and Richard Wurmbrand. All of whom present National Socialism and Communist Socialism as branches of Marxism.

Simone seems to have her own definition of what Socialism and National Socialism are.

‘The orientation of the Hitlerite masses, though violently anti-capitalist, is by no means socialist, any more so than the demagogic propaganda of the leaders; for the object is to place the national economy, not in the hands of the producers grouped into democratic organizations, but in the hands of the State apparatus.’ (p.7)

On these points, genuine capitalists would agree that the economy should be in the hands of producers grouped into democratic organizations.  Genuine capitalists understand that capitalism without compassion is not capitalism. Greed strangles the life out of the free market. This is one of the reasons, why, in the West, Frank Capra’s 1946 movie, ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ remains the number one film of all time.

Not because people long for a socialist revolution, but because they understand that a market weighed down by monopolies, big government and big business is not free. It is instead chained to the aimless merry-go round of big bureaucracy where the bureaucratic caste do what they can to outdo each other and maintain power.

Oppression & Liberty’ was a surprise. It wasn’t something I planned on reading, but am thankful I had the chance to. Simone’s work isn’t easy to read. ‘Oppression & Liberty’ sometimes comes across as lofty and too complex, which is very much a reflection of her schooling in French intellectual circles. That, however, doesn’t subtract from Simone’s sincerity or the insights that this compilation of fragments and essays offers.


References:

Weil, S. 1955 Oppression & Liberty, 1958, 2001 Routledge Classics NY

The Rise of the TechnocratIn ‘Augustine and the Limits of Politics,’ political scientist, Jean Bethke Elshtain lamented:

‘Albert Camus’ work, ‘The Rebel’ is understudied and underestimated.’ (p.115)

Elshtain’s work is peppered with references to Camus. Her affinity with the French agonistic and “existentialist” philosopher is easy to observe. Elshtain sees a good amount of Camus’ questions and conclusions as relevant to contemporary discourse.

That is of course, where dialogue and dissent are allowed, which to the keen observer like Elshtain and Camus, are things fast being forced into private. This is because the pathos in post-modern monologues (such as: facebook rants, easy likes, mob put downs and whip statements) are taking over. (It was from this that Elshtain later wonders whether or not, ‘democracy can survive social media and the rise of the technocratic class. See: ‘‘State Of Democracy’)

Earlier in her book, Elshtain provides some commentary on  a post war lecture Camus gave in 1946 at Columbia University:

‘To what was no doubt a hushed auditorium, Camus went on to enumerate the clear symptoms of what he called a ‘crisis of world-dimensions; a crisis in human consciousness.’ He described these as a rise in terror, following upon such a perversion of values that man, woman or historical force is judged today not in terms of human dignity but in terms of success (consider here: doing and saying whatever makes you popular – or gets the most likes). The crisis is based, as well, on the growing “impossibility of persuasion.” Human beings live and can only live by “retaining the idea that they have something in common,” a starting point to which they can return […] Camus noted two other symptoms of the crisis. One he called the substitution of the “political” for the “living” person.’ (p.70)

Citing Camus, Elshtain then points to the unhealthy ‘growth of bureaucracy.’ – ‘For what counts now is whether or not one has helped a doctrine to triumph, not whether or not one respects a mother and spares her suffering” (ibid). All these, Elshtain asserts, ‘can be summed up in a single tendency – the cult of efficiency and abstraction.’ (ibid)

Camus’ conclusion is then highlighted:

 “That is why the man in Europe today experiences only solitude and silence; for he cannot communicate with his fellows in terms of values common to them all, and since he is no longer protected by a respect for man based on the values of man, the only alternative henceforth open to him is to be a victim or an executioner.” (Ibid)

What stands out the most, though, is Elshtain’s own conclusion about what Camus was on about:

‘Camus lays the crisis squarely on the doorstep of an unchecked will-to-power. And from that flows the terrible notion that one can cleanse the world, purge the old, the tired, the imperfect, though terror.’ (p.71)

Directly connected  to this is a post-war assessment made by Albert Camus in 1948:

‘Between the forces of terror (coercion) and the forces of dialogue (persuasion), a great unequal battle has begun. I have nothing but reasonable illusions to the outcome of that battle. But I believe it must be fought, and I know that certain men and women have resolved to do so. I merely fear that they will occasionally feel somewhat alone, that they are in fact alone, and that after an interval of two thousand years we may see the sacrifice of Socrates repeated several times.’
(Camus, A. ‘Resistance, Rebellion & Death: Essays’ pp.73-74)

I agree with Elshtain, Camus has the potential to wake The West up from its slumber; to bring technicolour back into focus and persuasively correct the current politically correct technoblur. He names that which should be named and wasn’t afraid to address what needed to be addressed. It’s also helpful to note that after he published,’The Rebel’, French communists (among them was J.P. Sartre) labelled Camus, who was one of their own, a reactionary et.al. Simply because he questioned the ideology and where that ideology landed. He disagreed with them and spoke out against it. As a result he was threatened, ridiculed into submission, excommunicated and disowned by his friends. Which, for the Christian who participates in these realms and seeks responsible dialogue translates into:

‘You will be hated by all because of My name, but the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.’
(Jesus, Mark 13:13)


Sources:

Camus, A. 1960 Essays: Resistance, Rebellion and Death, Vintage Books, Random House

Camus, A. 1946-1947 The Human Crisis, pp.20-24

Elshtain, J.B 1998 Augustine and the Limits of Politics, University of Notre Dame Press (pp.70-71 & p.115)

The image used here is my own.

Lately, I’ve been working in a new guitar by experimenting with the Line 6, Pod HD400. Hence the slower output on the blog. There’s a few loose bits here, but such is improv.

First, I created a bass line, then played some melody to run over the top of it. This is my third experiment with the new system. All recorded with an iphone.

As for the quote and the picture. As some of you know, I find a heavy relevance to contemporary issues in some of Albert Camus’ material. The quote seemed to fit. The photo is also mine.

 

A Dose Of Dodgem: Dads

April 19, 2015 — 2 Comments

Dodgem, April, RL2015For most dad’s it’s a case of getting their jobs done. They’re not worried about having labels such as ‘super’ or ‘working’ pinned to their chest.

Granted, some dads fail so miserably that applying such a prefix would render the term meaningless.

As much as it is appropriate and has been necessary for ‘working [super] mums’ to be recognised as such, it is rare to hear those seemingly necessary titles applied to men.

It would be capitulating to the intellectually absurd if we denied that there is an imbalance when it comes to good publicity, or lack thereof, for dads that do their absolute best. Dads who, despite their circumstances or how they themselves may have been let down by their own fathers, refuse to use abuse as an excuse.

These dads, by God’s grace, are able to step up and step in to the void of their own brokenness. To confront themselves and allow themselves to be confronted in order to move forward.

They are not ignorant or arrogant about the failures of men towards women or why it is important to be on guard against misogyny. Nor are they ignorant about the negative side effects of it. Such as,  misandry, the very Marxist paradox of creating inequality in order to achieve equality; or the grotesque abuse applied to anyone who does not placate, hypocritically oppressive forms of contemporary tolerance, by using the ”correct” label in order to avoid offending others.

It’s overlooked, but, in a similar way to a lot of mums, some dads soldier on in spite of their pain. They breathe, pray, think, act carefully and hope for the best. They stand on sacred ground. Applying what they have learnt about life from their pain, experience and healing.

I think one would be hard pressed to find a dad who actually feared not being labelled with the correct badge. One that measured his achievements with the principles of identity politics. The kind that sees people forced to meet the need for affirmation and legitimacy in others, even if they disagree on reasonable grounds.

As a side note, this is something that can be linked back to some in the politico-academic aristocracy. (That ironic institutional group of anachronistic, reject-anything-Christian, Marxists who are stuck in the early 1900s and 1960s – I refer to Camus’ ‘The Rebel’, et.al and Elshtain’s discussions in ‘Public Man, Private Woman, et.al’ on both these)

The great thing is, for most of those dads, none of the branding matters.These dads are not worried about the lack of politically sensitive labelling.

Their homes matter. In the right order, their families and friends matter. Their wives matter. Life matters. Faith matters. Providing for their families and creating a healthy home, matters.

Taking this into consideration we can see why God chose to be identified in the language of the biblical texts as being a dad who loves, firmly guides and protects. Although, ‘God is'[i] in His being more than a father (because ‘he is not creature’ [ii]), the retelling in Luke of Jesus’ parable of the prodigal speaks profoundly about how much God is for us, even when we are at or worst.

This is a genuinely revolutionary ethic. It teaches us, by example, that by God’s own standard, established in covenant and fulfilled in Jesus Christ, that a dad is not to be viewed as a means to an end; a ‘mechanism or a naked ape who is imprisoned by hidden motives and controlled by what the intelligentsia so often call hang-ups, such as: altruism and values'[iii]; i.e.: social constructs.

It will only reflect the sad state of a society when one day it becomes necessary to loudly protest and point out, that dads are far from, Matt Groening’s satirical, bumbling, ‘Homer Simpson.’ To one day, have to loudly protest that what it means to be a dad is not doing what is popular or comfortable, but doing what is right.

 


Sources:

[i] Barth, K. 1957 CD. II/1 The Doctrine of God: The Being of God in Freedom, Hendrickson Publishers (p.283)

[ii] ibid, (p.313 & p.323)

[iii] Frankl,V.1978, The Unheard Cry of Meaning: Psychotherapy & Humanism, Touchstone, Simon and Schuster (p.55-57) [paraphrased]

Photo: Introducing my youngest son to dodgem cars a few weeks ago (bumper cars)

Five links_Jpeg

Scrolling the net landed some articles that hold their value long after reading them.

1. Since it’s Lent there is a great deal of material moving around about it. One of the stand-out, no frills, straight-up reflections I’ve read of late is ‘Spiritual Warfare For Christians’. Courtesy of the Benedictines via DigitialNun. My attraction to this is how it presents Lent as part of a ‘battleline of the community and in the spiritual combat of the desert where solitaries engage’.

The place that firmly directs us onto a journey of paradox, joy, and thanksgiving fused together with anticipation in spite of what appears hopeless and desolate; the giving and being given to. The giving up in order to be drawn nearer to the One who has shown that we are not given up on.

2. Rob Stroud has written an impressive piece about the competitive and ephemeral nature of popularity. What he brings here is perspective. Check it out: Fleeting Flame.

3. I was surprised to find that George Orwell’s political novel ‘1984’ was made into a radio play by NBC University Theatre in 1949, featuring one of Britain’s classiest actors of the time, David Niven. If you can tolerate the brief introduction the production can be accessed at on Spotify or archive.org for free or for a price from itunes.

4.  I don’t usually listen to podcasts. In truth, the only one I ever really tuned into was from Relevant Magazine, but that was sometime ago. This year I stumbled (metaphorically speaking) back into listening to Relevant and a few that differ significantly from each other, yet have worth on more than one level.

First, Nerd Machine’s ‘Picking Favourites’. It is edgy, informative, well-produced, but rough and contains a ton of quirky material. With special guests, some days are enough to make you walk away saying: “that was awesome”, others: “what-were-they-thinking?” Some episodes breach the language barrier. Some just give out way too much information. So, consider that me giving you a fair warning. Still, it has to be said, right now at least, that this is one of the best Podcasts available in it’s category.

Second,  ‘Mortification of Spin’.  There is a lot more they could do to improve on what is already a stand-out production. Full of theologically centred discussion, the content is consistent, conversational, easy to follow and not overly highbrow.

5. From my reading notes:Albert Camus quote on Intellectuals