Lazy Sunday LVII: Christianity, Part II

A Special Easter Notice:  Pick up my latest release, The Lo-Fi Hymnalfor just $4 (or name your own price).

Way back on 17 March 2019, on just the fourth ever Lazy Sunday, the theme was “Christianity.”  I’ve written quite a bit about the One True Faith over the past year, but I haven’t made it another feature of Lazy Sunday since then.

Well, today is Easter, so it’s time to dust off the Christological archives and look at some more Christianity-related posts:

  • He is Risen!” (and “TBT: He is Risen!“) – Any Easter compilation has to include this post (and its TBT reblog), a simple celebration of the Resurrection.  This one will become a perennial reblog, I’m sure, as long as I keep this self-indulgent blog going.
  • The God Pill” (and “TBT: The God Pill“); “The God Pill, Part II“; “The God Pill, Part III” – These posts would make a really good Lazy Sunday (like “Lazy Sunday XXXIV – The Desperate Search for Meaning Series“), and out of increasing desperation to cobble together compilations, I’ll likely do it one week, with greater detail about each individual post.  Suffice it to say, though, that these essays reflect on the remarkable conversion of Roosh V to Christianity.  Roosh gave up his life of meaningless romantic trysts—and lucrative book sales—for Jesus.  Pretty amazing stuff.
  • The Joy of Hymnals” (and “The Lo-Fi Hymnal“) – I’ve been linking to this post more lately as I’m shamelessly turning My Father’s Blog into a den of thieves, promoting my hastily-compiled release The Lo-Fi Hymnal (just $4!).  But I also sincerely enjoy playing hymns at church; it’s one of the things I most miss about The Age of The Virus.  My tentative plan was to record some more cellphone hymns on my parents’ old upright piano, but the key bed is so gummy from lack of maintenance, half of the keys aren’t playable (sorry for calling you out, Mom).

That’s it for today.  Happy Easter!  He is Risen!

—TPP

Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

SubscribeStar Saturday: Easter Weekend

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It’s Easter Weekend 2020!  As I wrote on Wednesday, it doesn’t feel like Easter.  It will definitely be weird not waking up, getting all dressed up, and going to service at a packed church tomorrow morning.  Of course, many faithful Americans are planning on doing that, even in defiance of various States’ shutdown orders—more power to ’em!  No State can constitutionally shutdown religious services.  Naturally, you can elect not to attend—probably advisable.

That’s a point that people often miss about the Constitution.  There are tons of activities and laws that are constitutionally admissible—really, our entire legal system is built on the premise of “ask forgiveness, not permission,” as nothing is considered illegal unless explicitly forbidden (that’s the very simple explanation, anyway)—but that doesn’t mean every constitutional action is also a smart one.  The late Justice Antonin Scalia quipped that he wished he’d had a giant rubber stamp that read, “Stupid, but Constitutional.”

But I digress.  In the wake of this decidedly un-Eastery Easter, I thought I’d write a bit about my family has been celebrating in lieu of the traditional observance.

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The Lo-Fi Hymnal

Pick up my latest release, The Lo-Fi Hymnal, for just $4 (or name your own price).

Last October, I wrote a piece call “The Joy of Hymnals,” in which I waxed rhapsodic about, well, the joy of playing hymns!  They are fun, singable, and challenging, but not so difficult that they can’t be figured out with some judicious plunking at the keys.

Sometime earlier this year, I began making very short recordings of myself playing hymns on the piano at church, mainly during offertory or the invitational—or occasionally during what I call the “walk-off,” the time when the choir members walk back to their seats—as I can usually get through one verse and chorus without (too many) mistakes.  These were mainly to send to friends (you’d also be surprised how much Christian girls like a man who plays piano at church) and for my own edification.

It occurred to me that, albeit the qualities of the recordings were fairly low, I could package them together into a short little EP release.  So I set about compiling my meager collection of four cellphone recordings into The Lo-Fi Hymnal.

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TBT: He is Risen!

A Special Easter Notice:  Pick up my latest release, The Lo-Fi Hymnal, for just $4 (or name your own price).

Happy Maundy Thursday!  As I noted yesterday, it sure doesn’t feel like Easter right now.  That said, our present difficulties pale in comparison to the overwhelming sacrifice Christ made for us—and we didn’t deserve it at all.

The late Reverend Pete Cooper, who was once the ornery, cantankerous, and thoroughly lovable chaplain of my little private school, once made the point that Christ’s Crucifixion wasn’t merely excruciating in a physical sense.  In that moment, He took upon Him the weight of every sin ever committed, before or since.  Whoa—talk about a sobering realization.

Imagine—as impossible as it is—being completely without sin, and then assuming ALL of it—undeservedly.  It’s the greatest act in all of history.

So, let’s not let The Virus get us down.  Christ endured far worse.  Humanity has endured far worse, for that matter.  But we can be secure in our knowledge that our Savior watches over us, and is always with us.

Here is East 2019’s “He is Risen!

Happy Easter to everyone!  Today’s post is another short one for this important holiday weekend (it also marks sixteen weeks of daily posts—shew!).

Jesus Christ died for our sins around 2000 years ago, and was resurrected three days later.  Today, Christians all over the world celebrate His death and resurrection, and eagerly await His eventual return.

According to Scott Rasmussen, 74% of Americans will celebrate Easter today, but only 40% of Americans will attend church (but, hey, that’s better than nothing).  He also writes that 67% of Americans believe Jesus Christ arose from the dead—one of the more heartening statistics I’ve read in awhile, considering Pat Buchanan’s recent piece about our declining public morality.

This Easter, I’m praying for national and spiritual renewal for America and the West.  Part of that is the need for revival across our nation.

Enjoy a day of fellowship and family.  And if you have time, check out my old “Lazy Sunday” compilation of pieces about Christianity.

Happy Easter!

–-TPP

The Classiest Easter Eggs

It’s hard to believe that Easter is this Sunday.  The weather is just right for it, of course, with bees buzzing and flowers blooming, but with everyone cloistered away in their respective hovels, it sure doesn’t feel like the joyous, victorious Easter season.

Some perspective helps, though.  Other people in other times have endured far worse at Easter.  Just last year saw the Sri Lankan church bombings, a despicable act that itself came on the heels on the disastrous Notre Dame fire.  It’s surprising—even though it shouldn’t be by now—that we’ve largely forgotten about those two terrible occurrences, both acts of Islamist terror—religious war (it’s a bit unclear in the case of Notre Dame—which ISIS overtly tried to attack in 2016—but come now).

There was also the 1975 Hamilton, Ohio “Easter Massacre,” a brutal family shooting in which Jimmy Rupert murdered his massive family of eleven in cold blood (it was so grisly, one website considers the house where the mass murder occurred haunted).

So, all things considered, staying home and watching horror movies isn’t all that bad (perhaps even a tad apropos).  Still, it isn’t all that Easter-y.

To remedy that sensation, let’s look at a charming little piece from The Epoch Times about some rather unique—and extremely valuable—Easter surprises.

Read More »

Lazy Sunday XXVIII: World History

Most of my pieces here at The Portly Politico focus on American politics and culture, with some occasional dabbling in British and European affairs.  But contrary to Ron Swanson’s historiographical claim, history did not begin in 1776 (though everything that came before may have been a mistake).

As such, I’ve written a few pieces about events, current and historical, that take place in more exotic locales.  While I am a parochial homebody, I appreciate travel and the contributions of other cultures (I still wish I’d seen London and Paris before they became part of the Caliphate).  I wish I had the time to do more of it (on that note, stay tuned for details of my trip to the Yemassee Shrimp Festival).

So, here’s some worldly pieces for your Lazy Sunday:

  • North Korea Reflections” – I wrote this little piece on the occasion of President Trump’s historic summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un in Singapore.  My interpretation of the summit was cautiously optimistic.  It’s still unclear what the future holds for US-Nork relations, but the gambit seemed to work—North Korea is a still a bloodthirsty, repressive, totalitarian regime, but they aren’t lobbing missiles around constantly anymore.
  • The Impermanence of Knowledge and Culture:  The Great Library and Notre Dame” – this post was a synthesis of two events—the destruction of the Great Library at Alexandria, and the burning of a substantial portion of the Notre Dame Cathedral.  The fire at the latter riled up conservatives and traditionalists because the structure had endured for so long as a symbol of Christianity and of France’s faithfulness.  France is not a very faithful country now, but Notre Dame remains a powerful symbol of man’s capacity for focusing on the greatness of God.  The major point of this piece was to drive home how even great edifices eventually crumble, and that knowledge and culture must be preserved actively if they are to endure.
  • Sri Lankan Church Bombings” – coming on the heels of the catastrophic Notre Dame fire, the island nation of Sri Lanka was shaken on Easter Sunday of this year with Islamic terrorist attacks on churches.  Democrats referred to the slain Christians as “Easter worshippers” in what appeared to be a concerted effort to appear politically-correct.  Yeesh.
  • America’s Roman Roots” – I wrote this piece earlier in the week, based on an excellent op-ed a colleague sent my way.  Commentators often fixate on the similarities between the United States today and the Roman Empire, but often miss the parallels to the Roman Republic.  Those parallels exist because the Framers of the Constitution pulled heavily from Roman tradition, even naming key institutions like the Senate after their Roman counterparts.  The Roman Republic holds valuable lessons for Americans for how to craft a robust society that enables citizens to live worthwhile lives.

That wraps up this little tour around the globe.  Rome, France, Sri Lanka and North Korea—not a bad start, though I’d better get Africa and Latin America into the mix soon, lest I catch flack from the SJWs for lack of inclusion.

Happy Sunday!

—TPP

Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

He is Risen!

Happy Easter to everyone!  Today’s post is another short one for this important holiday weekend (it also marks sixteen weeks of daily posts—shew!).

Jesus Christ died for our sins around 2000 years ago, and was resurrected three days later.  Today, Christians all over the world celebrate His death and resurrection, and eagerly await His eventual return.

According to Scott Rasmussen, 74% of Americans will celebrate Easter today, but only 40% of Americans will attend church (but, hey, that’s better than nothing).  He also writes that 67% of Americans believe Jesus Christ arose from the dead—one of the more heartening statistics I’ve read in awhile, considering Pat Buchanan’s recent piece about our declining public morality.

This Easter, I’m praying for national and spiritual renewal for America and the West.  Part of that is the need for revival across our nation.

Enjoy a day of fellowship and family.  And if you have time, check out my old “Lazy Sunday” compilation of pieces about Christianity.

Happy Easter!

–TPP

Slammed Holy Saturday: Captain Marvel

It’s been a busy Easter Weekend, so I’m late posting what is going to be a very short post tonight.  I’ve been uncling busily with my little niece, playing “my little device,” as she calls my Nintendo 3DS XL.  Before that, we had some early Easter celebrating, as well as taking in Captain Marvel, the latest installment in the expansive Marvel Cinematic Universe.  Earlier in the morning, we watched a helicopter drop plastic eggs onto a football field, which was pretty cool.

As far as Captain Marvel goes, it was a good flick, despite star Brie Larson’s desire that men not go see it.  The title character is definitely a one-dimensional Mary Sue in the vein of Rey from the new Star Wars trilogy, just with a surlier attitude.  She goes from being pretty powerful to limitlessly powerful within a very short period of time, and is suddenly repelling high-tech space missiles and flying through entire spaceships.

Other than that—and a slightly dragging third act—it was enjoyable, and sets up the final MCU film, Avengers: Endgame, with some interesting questions.  The “grrrrrl power” stuff was a bit on-the-nose, but you know it’s going to be going into it.  Getting some of the backstory on Nick Fury is fun, and it really fleshes out his character in the “early days” of the current MCU.  That and the mid-90s nostalgia—the movie takes place in 1995—are the best parts.

So, the SJW politics weren’t quite as a ridiculous as I’d been led to believe; it certainly wasn’t as overwrought and insufferable as Star Wars: The Last Jedi (especially Rose—shudder).  It’s a fun movie, although I’m concerned that they’ve introduced this god-like, intergalactic, personality-less heroine at the last minute to be Endgame‘s third-wave feminist deus ex machina.

Of course, these are the insignificant complaints of doughy nerdiness.  What Marvel does with its stable of characters doesn’t matter too much, although it is annoying to see characters become stand-ins for the writers’ politics.  As readers know, I prefer to keep politics out of art except in the most subtle, clever of ways.  The best of these superhero movies keep the politics to a minimum, and instead focus on unifying virtues like justice, honor, and courage.

There was plenty of that in Captain Marvel amid the “you go girlism” and pseudo-sci-fi wackiness.  It’s worth seeing if you’re invested in the characters; let’s just hope Marvel isn’t selling out to trendy political fashions in the denouement of its storied, lengthy franchise’s main story arc.

Buttigieg and Buchanan: Redefining Morality

It’s Good Friday here in Christendom, and while it feels like Christianity took one on the chin earlier this week, we know there’s victory in Jesus.

Indeed, Christianity has been compromised quite a bit lately, with the rise of “feel-good” non-denominational churches and the decline of High Protestant denominations, both succumbing, in different ways, to social justice pabulum. Blogger Dalrock writes extensively about how “conservative” churches are snookered into radical acceptance of homosexuality (and extremist feminism) as somehow Christ-like. That goes beyond “love the sinner, not the sin,” which is correct; Dalrock writes about “same sex-attracted” preachers in prominent non-denominational churches arguing that their gayness makes them “holy.”

Political pundit, noted paleoconservative, and devout Catholic Pat Buchanan has a piece on Taki’s Magazine this week about Mayor Pete Buttigieg, the out-and-proud Democratic presidential hopeful who is making waves because he’s a.) deceptively normal but b.) also gay, which isn’t as glamorous for the Left as being transgender, but it’s still their alternative lifestyle of choice. Buchanan examines “Mayor Pete’s” assertion that God made him gay, so he’s supposed to live that lifestyle (despite some very specific New Testament injunctions against homosexuality; unless Mayor Pete is the Second Coming of Christ, he’s adding to God’s Word).

Ultimately, gayness isn’t the issue (it’s just one of many bludgeons the Left wields in a relentless culture war). The issue is a persistent redefining of morality, not to mention the moral arrogance of Leftists who believe they, not God, can redefine thousands of years of moral absolutes.

Permit me to quote Buchanan at length:

Consider what has changed already.

In the 19th century, blasphemy was a crime.

In the Roaring ’20s the “vices” of booze and gambling were outlawed. Now they are major sources of state revenue.

Divorce was a rarity. Now half of all marriages are dissolved.

After the sexual revolution of the ’60s, births out of wedlock rocketed to where 40 percent of all children are born without a father in the home, as are half of Hispanics and 70 percent of all black children.

Pornography, which used to bring a prison term, today dominates cable TV. Marijuana, once a social scourge, is the hot new product. And Sen. Kamala Harris wants prostitution legalized.

In the lifetime of many Americans, homosexuality and abortion were still scandalous crimes. They are now cherished constitutional rights.

Yet, Mayor Pete’s assertion — that God made him gay, and God intended that he live his life this way, and that this life is moral and good — is another milestone on the road to a new America.

For what Buttigieg is saying is that either God changes his moral law to conform to the changing behavior of mankind or that, for 2,000 years, Christian preaching and practice toward homosexuals has been bigoted, injurious and morally indefensible.

The decline of the family and Christianity, I believe, are twin evils that brought us to this point. The two go hand in hand: without strong families, moral instruction falls to the wayside (or is delegated to progressive educators and the system that supports them). Without Christianity, the foundation that makes strong family formation possible is missing (at least, family formation loses its metaphysical component).

To be clear, we should not persecute homosexuals, and should treat them with dignity and respect. That said, we should not indulge their petulant outbursts, much less their insistence that their lifestyle is not just normal, but somehow godly. Statistically and morally, neither of those claims are valid or borne out by history or Scripture.

We should love one another, acknowledging we are all sinners in need of Christ. That does not mean we have to condone or enable sin, in whatever form. Homosexuality is particularly difficult to address, but we could start by not openly celebrating it all the time, nor should we encourage people struggling with those proclivities to define their entire being around their sexual preferences. What a terrible foundation upon which to build your identity!

Enjoy this Good Friday, and pray for direction on how we can renew our nation and our relationship with God.