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Tomorrow we embark on Term 3. The past year has been full of privilege and anticipation. We’ve made some new friends, been encouraged and branched out into new areas of learning. One of the biggest being our commitment to Driver’s Education.

In my particular State, each learner driver has to complete 120 hours of supervised driving before sitting for a practical drivers test. If they pass that, they can go on to drive unsupervised, working their way up through two different levels, over three years, before being able to attain their full licence.

One of the challenges of drivers education is monotony. Discipline requires repetition. Practice requires discipline. Overcoming a dreary routine requires creativity.

So, from the beginning I laid this journey before the Lord, and then come up with a road map. Each lesson will be a road trip. They won’t be the same every time and each lesson will have a deliberate goal and destination.

In addition, once we nailed down the basics, and worked up confidence to a satisfactory level, we’ve just come into the stage where we can safely add “mix tapes”. Music and driving go hand in hand. Since our young drivers are at this more confident level, adding music, takes the lessons to a new level.

With this in mind, here’s what’s on our current A-list:

1.  Lift Your Head Weary Sinner (Chains) [feat. Tedashii] [Live], Crowder

The lyrics and music already shine, but Tedashii makes this version. Heart felt, honest, raw.

2. Ghost Ship, Theocracy.

I started listening to Theocracy around the beginning of the year after having had the band pointed out to me in a Facebook post from an internet friend. The quality this band puts out meets the genre head on. It’s solid, lyrically intentional and well thought out.

3. Kyrie (Eleison), & Serve Somebody, Kevin Max.

Released this past week, Kevin Max’s cover album, ‘Serve Somebody‘, fills some gaps missing in the eclectic, electric musician’s anthology. His version of Mister Mr’s, 1985 Kyrie Elesion (Lord, Have Mercy) levels up against the original, at some points, even exceeding it. I had added this song without really thinking about the lyrics, but God has a sense of humour, so as He does from time to time, the humorous set-up couldn’t be more relevant. The album also contains a rock version of Bob Dylan’s, ‘Serve Somebody’. It’s the best cover of the Dylan original that I’ve heard; Johnny Q. Public’s version on their ’95 album, ‘Extra*Ordinary‘, coming in a close second.

4. Golgotha, W.A.S.P

I never really clung to this band. It wasn’t until last year when I read an article about front man, ‘Blackie Lawless’s’ conversion to faith in Jesus Christ, that my interest in the story of W.A.S.P. was peaked.

“Certainly, lyrically everything is written from the eyes of my faith, everything is through that filter. You’re also talking about a genre that, in general, is obsessed with the idea of God and/or the Devil. Jazz, pop, there is no other genre that is absolutely obsessed with it as this genre is.’ [i]

Golgotha is lyrically intense. It reaches straight into the void, the silence, its pain, the feeling of absence, abandonment and points the listener to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. As a bonus the finale of this epic seven minute song, contains one of the best guitar solos I’ve heard. There’s no glam rock finger tapping, every string is hit, every note played, every beat felt.

5. Who’s The (Bat)man, Patrick Stump.

After watching the Batman Lego movie, our homeschoolers came to me and said, ”hey dad?”, ”check this song out, it’s you’re new anthem.” So, I log into Spotify and find it added to a few of my lists. It’s not a bad song. The guitar work, works. The lead solo is okay and the lyrics remind me of Weird Al, so win-win.

 

‘If there is one word, which describes learning, it is process. Hence, to teach is to enhance and facilitate that process. The teacher is the facilitator. The function of education is to do everything to promote the process.’
– ( Obed Onwuegbu, Teaching That Guarantees Learning).

References:

[i]  Sourced 16th July 2017W.A.S.P. Frontman Blackie Lawless Delves Deep Into His Faith + New Album ‘Golgotha’ 

BarthTravis McMaken is a published Barth scholar and blogger. Last week he featured in a one hour interview with Tripp Fuller from ‘HomeBrewed Christianity‘, answering the question: ”Why Go Barthian?

For which McMaken gave these five reasons:

1. Barth’s reform of the doctrine of election. Where the reformers didn’t develop a Christocentric double-predestination (putting Christ at the center of God’s election, electing and who He chooses to elect) Barth does.

2. Barth was not a fan of mixing philosophy with theology. Speculation is the cardinal sin for theologians. Theologians deal in the tangible “what was, what is and what will be”, not “what in ifs?”

3. Barth’s reassertion of the Doctrine of the Trinity and his rejection of natural theology as being another means of God’s revelation.[i]

4. Barth’s anti-nazi theology, as expressed in letters and manifested in the Barmen Declaration.

5. Barth’s early involvement with socialism due to his pastoral experiences in Safenwil, Switzerland, between workers and factory owners.

I agree with the first three of the five points. I am in cautious agreement about the fourth and consider the fifth debatable.

My cautious agreement with point four is justified by the fact that any new anti-nazi theology, if it’s to be true to Barthian anti-nazi theology would have to include a a declaration against,

‘Islamists and their own manifestation of the doctrine of “blut und boden – blood and soil” and Leftism’s selective outrage.
Both of which do violence to classical liberal rights, such as free speech, freedom of religion, and, in the case of the Left, families and thousands of unborn children every day. It’s concerning that academics are falling over themselves to denounce Trump. Yet fail to acknowledge the more pertinent historical parallels, which share a closer affiliation with a Nazified Germany and the compromised Church [and theology] of the 1930s and early ’40s.
Outrage that is often positioned between one selective set of protests and another. The targeted call to inclusion, for instance, shows up as a front for the more sinister goal of picking and choosing those who will have to be excluded; which is potentially those who disagree. It’s not far to jump from this to the assumption that such selectivity could result in the doctrine of “Lebensunwertes Leben – life unworthy of life.” (or in a more milder dosage, people unworthy of an opinion)’ [source]

Such an anti-nazi theology must have at it’s end a solidarity against servitude to any ideology, not in masked conformity to one:

‘From the bullied youth, to the oppressed members of a family, there is a resonance that moves from the suffering of African-Americans out to all the down-trodden. From this resonance comes a basic solidarity of suffering. It’s from here that we arrive at a point, where understanding the pain of others, helps us understand our own.
In recent months we’ve seen the rise of #blacklivesmatter. A cause not without justification, but its presence has always coincided with the caveat from those who’ve read history and heed it. It’s a cause that must have as its inevitable conclusion, #humanlivesmatter.
If it doesn’t, the movement slides into a kind of reverse racism. It fails to mature beyond protest to justice to reconciliation. If this happens, “black lives matter” will inevitably morph into “only black lives matter,” and the positive aspects of the movement’s cause will be lost.’ [source]

These are counter-points that I’m sure Barth would agree with. In his long discussion on the Omnipotence and Constancy of God, this shines through:

‘If we abandon and pay no attention to the question of obedience to God’s Word, but try to seek the limit of the possible in an absolutised system of relationships alongside or in place of God’s Word, we discover and imaginary God and an imaginary world, the fundamental dissolution of all systems of relationships and therefore complete sceptisim and anarchy in the realm of creation, the irruption of a Third Reich of madness.’    (CD.II:I p.537)

Any new anti-nazi theology from Barthians would have to reject the ‘legalistic coercion, control of the narrative, excessive political correctness, excessive shaming, blurred distinctions, a forced allegiance to false ideologies, gods, political systems and totalitarianism’ (source). Subjects that would necessarily also involve the push back against the imposition of new cultural laws such as the redefinition of marriage and the reckless rush into un-democratically erected laws pertaining to the entire spectrum of gender/identity politics.

As Barth, and even George Orwell wrote:

‘It is only wantonly and irrationally that we can aspire to the statement that two and two are five.’ (CD.II:I p.538)

Barthian theology might advocate protest in true Protestant form, but in and of itself Barthian theology is not a perpetual protest against whatever the Leftist disagrees with.

It’s not Barthian theology that exists as the perpetual protest against politics and disorder, it’s:

 ‘prayer, [which is as Barth states, is] the beginning of an uprising, [a revolt] against the disorder of the world’ [ii]

Such prayer would include a revolt against the oppressive and regressive elements of progressivism, not just that which progressives order us to protest against.

Point five on McMaken’s list is debatable. Barth may have danced to the socialist jive in Safenwil, but his life shows that he was far from a propaganda poster boy for any “Red” movement.

For economic reasons, Barth was a member of the Social Democrats, who opposed the National Socialists. Although he firmly opposed the Nazis, Barth never fully tied himself into the politics of the Social Democrats. Which, just like his (failure) to openly criticize the Soviet Union, annoyed people.

That silence should not be taken as a license to assume he was for the communists. Whether that be Bolshevik, Stalinist, Maoist, or the KPD (1930s, German Communists).

He was not a Leftist and, his very own anti-nazi stance, tells us that, were he  alive today, Barth would push back hard against any attempts to force him into such a box. Just as he distanced himself from being owned by American Evangelicals.

Therefore, I reject Travis’ closing remarks, that

“those Barthians who didn’t support‪ #‎blacklivesmatter‬ or ‪#‎occupywallstreet‬, may want to question whether or not they are Barthian, and even may have to repent”

Overall, Travis is to be applauded for the way in which he communicated the Barthian position on election, philosophy, the trinity and for parts of his discussion on anti-nazi theology. However, the applause should stop there.The remainder of the interview becomes a bitterly sour education in what happens with the Left assert their assumed ownership of Barth.

This kind of muscling shows that at its worst the Left have no problem with overlooking some aspects of Barth’s theo-political action and thought. Bypassing these in order to conscript Barthian’s and Barthian theology into the service of Leftism by way of the modern political trend to argue half-truths against balance, for the side of the story that sells best.

Whilst I recommend the interview, as with most video mediums: if you’re really interested in Barthian theology, check out the book before you see the movie.

For the best place to start reading Barth, I’m with Travis in his recommendation of  Evangelical Theology.


Sources:

[i] A rough summary of Barth’s “Nein” to natural theology: in this sense Barth freed theology from any attempts within science and the theological sciences to undermine and over-rule knowledge about God, that He has Himself given to the world through revelation. That knowledge confronts us. We are faced with only responding to it. Humans don’t determine such knowledge and cannot summon it, or as ideologies can go, build a religion around claims to own special knowledge of God (as in gnosticism); building God in our own image around human knowledge (as in Nazism). Rejecting who God is and has identified Himself as, for example: As father who enters into covenant, in Jesus Christ, through His Spirit.

GB 1Ghostbusters along with Star Wars IV, is one of the movies, that as a kid, I remember watching over and over again. I’d fast-forward the VHS tape past the opening scene in the library and go straight to the title. It was part “skip-the-scary-bit” and part, just get me to the Ray Parker Jr, theme song.

As far as the remake goes, each of the main actresses were convincing enough, but they had big shoes to fill. The pressure on them to meet such a high standard would have been enormous. Taking all this into consideration it’s not a really bad film.

Best expressed through the general response of my daughters: “the movie was okay. I liked the gadgets, but there was not enough guys, and they made Chris Hemsworth look dumb.”

Or best summed up by Richard Lawson in his review for Vanity Fair:

‘Ghostbusters is a flat, occasionally charming disappointment. While certainly funny in parts, Paul Feig’s much-debated reboot can’t find its groove…There are brief highlights [but the] film is largely an uninspired slog, everyone doing their best to get to the end without screwing things up too much’ (source)

I had my own thoughts on it, so here’s a short, 16 point review:

1. Cerebrally effortless, fun movies, do exist.

2. Ghostbusters can fit all genres. If you liked The Golden Girls this one’s for you – (minus the humour of Estelle Getty)

3. If you’re obsessed with the Ghostbuster movies, then this is an edition that’ll uniquely sparkle in any pristine, shrink-wrapped, for-display-only, collection.

4. If you like to see men, particularly Australian men, portrayed as dim-witted buffoons, then you’ve picked a winner.

5. If you’re ideologically bent towards supporting the emasculation of a classic, it’s for you, but in answer to the question “who ya gonna call?” – perhaps, first, call a therapist, not Ghostbusters. #justsayin

6. Crude statements about how a woman’s anatomy works, no matter how subtle, doesn’t communicate well for any actor selling a story to a wider audience, outside the teen angst bracket.

7. The storyline was strong enough to withstand the small amount of innuendos.

8. Overreaching in order to empower feminism disempowers feminism (and almost squeezes the life out of everything it touches).

9. Outside the Gilmore Girls, I’m not a big fan of Melissa McCarthy’s later work. (You deserve better, you can do so much better because you’ve done so much better).

10. Hollywood peaked in 1984. It’s been on a slow downward slide since. It seems to have literally run out of really cool, original ideas.

11. Bill Murray is still one of the coolest comedians alive, and Ernie Hudson must be part Vulcan, he’s hardly aged at all.

12. Chris Hemsworth, Australia thanks you for Thor, but we’re pulling faces and scratching our heads over this one, mate.

13. Hollywood is still capable of making a comedy without copious amounts of swearing or sexual innuendos [thumbs up]. It’s the genius in the legacy of Dean & Jerry, the Dick Van Dyke show, Mchales Navy, and Hogan’s Heroes.

14. Ecto-1 remains one of the coolest pop culture cars to have ever been created. With the ban on the General Lee, Ecto-1  moved into the number 4 slot, just under the A-team’s GMC van, KITT & the Delorean.

15. It doesn’t matter how awkward a movie might seem, gizmos and gadgets always make it better.

16. The modern liberal quest for what it, and it alone, determines to be tolerance and equality, creates inequality. In well-timed humour, on screen chemistry and one-liners, this reboot of Ghostbusters is not even close to being equal to its predecessor.

Does the movie speak to it’s audience and Ghostbusters fans? Yes, sometimes.

Does it do anything for feminism? Yes, however not in the way I suspect that it might have been intended. It shows that the frown of feminist idealism is kryptonite. That it’s misandry and overshadowing hypocritical disapproval of men, is toxic. Feminism is fundamentally about empowering women to be as equal-in-value as men. Any medium that betrays this platform rests not on talent, wit and moxie, but on a destructive ideology that perverts feminism, and clouds its positive achievements.

The absence of Ivan Rietmann and Dan Ackroyd is noted. Although, Ackroyd, Hudson and Murray make a cameo appearance, they’re not credited as being directly involved in the remake, which might explain the movie’s awkwardness. The brilliance of the first film was its disciplined balance between the serious and the silly. The retake barely seems to attempt to do the same. Paul Feig (Director/Writer) and Katie Dippold (Writer) could have made the story line deeper and tapped into the tension Reitmann maintained. It’s not clear why they didn’t choose to go in this same direction.

Putting the apparent hi-jacking of Ghostbusters by feminist idealism aside. Dedicated fans of the franchise might not be as thrilled as the fans of Batman were with Nolan’s trilogy, or Bay’s Transformers, however, they’ll probably be more forgiving. This is because Ghostbusters, the reboot, isn’t just a remake. Its in-part, an interesting retake on the whole Ghostbusters story.


Note: Thoughts expressed here are my own. I received no payment of any kind for this review.

Trailer: Ghostbusters, 2016 Sony Pictures