Lazy Sunday XLII: 2019’s Top Five Posts

2019 is winding down, and with this being the last Sunday of the year, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to look back at the most popular posts of 2019.

These posts aren’t necessarily the best posts—although that’s an entirely subjective measure—just the ones that received the most hits.

When looking through the most popular posts, there were a few surprises.  One thing I’ve learned from blogging is that posts I pour my heart and soul into may walk away with five views (and, oftentimes, only one!).  Then other posts that I dash off in a hurry to make my self-imposed daily goal take off like Rossini rockets, garnering dozens of hits.

Some of that is timing and promotion.  I find that the posts I have ready to launch at 6:30 AM do better on average.  But some generous linkbacks from WhatFinger.com really created some surprises here at the end of the year, surpassing even the exposure I received from Milo Yiannopoulos.  Writing posts about hot, current news items, the dropping links about said items in the comment sections of prominent news sites, also helps drive traffic, but I often lack the time required to do such “planting” (and it is a practice that can come across as spammy if not done with finesse).

Some posts take on a life of their own; I see consistent daily traffic from one of the posts on this list, “Tom Steyer’s Belt.”  Apparently, a bunch of people are as mystified as I am with Steyer’s goofy, virtue-signalling belt.

Well, it’s certainly been an adventure.  And while it may be premature—there are still two days left in the year!—here are the Top Five Posts of 2019:

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Lazy Sunday XXXIV: The Desperate Search for Meaning Series

Next to Halloween and Christmas, today is the most wonderful of the year—it’s the day that the clock falls back an hour!  Sure, that means I’ll never see the sun for the next few months, as I’ll spend the dwindling daylight hours inside a classroom, but at least I got an extra hour of sleep this morning.

This week saw a good bit of reflecting on what is important in life (like ghost stories), so I thought it would be a good opportunity to reflect on “The Desperate Search for Meaning” series of posts.  It will also help to aggregate those posts into one place.

  • The Desperate Search for Meaning” – The post that started this impromptu series (and the subject of this week’s Flashback Friday featurette), this essay was about a New Age healer, Audrey Kitching, who exploited vulnerable women into working in slave-like conditions.  Kitching bamboozled these women with her gauzy, neo-spiritualist babble; her thin sense of meaning of belonging roped them in, as they desperately attempted to fill a void in their lives—and that doesn’t even include all the women who bought Kitching’s fraudulent products.  It’s a sad story, one I think is indicative of our times.
  • The Desperate Search for Meaning, Part II” – This piece was about a crazy old lady who believes that cancer can be extruded from the body through a series of energy-channeling motions—at least on the surface.  The real focus was that, while this old loon was going through her bizarre ritual, she espoused a cult of death:  having babies is bad because of overpopulation.  It’s the religion of environmentalism, one of the several cults of modern progressivism.  It is a deadly ideology that is, essentially, anti-human.
  • The Desperate Search for Meaning, Part III: Progressive Power Crystal” – This post looked at an LA Times piece on New Age spirituality, and how it was replacing traditional Christianity as the “faith” of young Americans.  That’s all tied up with progressivism’s imperial and totalitarian ambitions—all off these anti-Christian, anti-American movements are of a piece, serving similar ends.  As I write at the end of the post:

    “Even if our elites aren’t specifically Satanists, they’re certainly not Christians.  Their religion is progressivism, an jumble of ideologies that, at bottoms, rejects Christianity and its view of human nature.  Their gods are power and envy—just like Lucifer.”

  • The Desperate Search for Meaning IV: Vanity” – This piece pulled from a sermon my pastor gave on Ecclesiastes, one of my favorite books of the Bible.  Ecclesiastes is a work of philosophy, in which King Solomon examines his life and finds that all of his pursuits are, ultimately, meaningless:  he will die, and everything he experienced and built will eventually disappear.  Therefore, his only true meaning comes through God.  It’s the earliest form of Christian existentialism ever written (with apologies to Søren Kierkegaard).  It’s also a powerful reminder that this world, in which we are so involved, is fleeting.

That’s it for this Sunday.  Going back through this posts really makes my soul ache for the people that fall for New Age nonsense and neo-paganism.  Good thing I’ve found the One True Faith—the Southern branch of the Free Will Baptist denomination. 😀

Happy Sunday!

—TPP

Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

Flashback Friday: The Desperate Search for Meaning

Seeing as yesterday was Halloween, I skipped the usual TBT feature to write about one of my favorite holidays.  Never one to waste effort, though, I simply cannot pass up the opportunity to copy-paste old material.  Even I need a break once a week.

So it is that we come to our first ever “Flashback Friday.”  Double-F won’t be a regular feature, but for those times when Thursdays warrant a fresh post, I’ll have this dubious quasi-featurette to assure I don’t have to spend too much time blogging at the end of a long week (seriously, knowing that Thursday’s post is an “easy” one usually helps, as Wednesdays are usually killer for me).

Being the Halloween season, I thought it would be worth looking back at one of the first posts in a currently four-part series (I, II, III, and IV), “The Desperate Search for Meaning.”  The series explores the various futile ways in which Westerners today attempt to find meaning in life without Christ, as well as the shockingly neo-pagan ideas that are regaining ground in our spiritually lost and fallen world.

The original post looked at a New Age fraud, Audrey Kitching, and the gullible, desperate women who literally slaved to help this snake-oil saleswoman sell cheap Chinese crap (if I ever try to sell any merchandise through this site, I promise I will not pitch Portly Politico: The Mug as having curative properties—it’ll just be a crummy mug with the blog’s name on it).  It’s a heartbreaking commentary on people’s willingness to ruin their lives just for the fleeting sensation of being a part of something bigger than themselves—filling their God-hole with Internet detritus instead of Christ.

So, without further soul-searching, here is “The Desperate Search for Meaning“:

Despite this post’s lofty title, the focus is somewhat narrow.  Many Christians and other people of faith believe there is an innate desire in all humans to believe in something higher than themselves—God.  I’ve heard this desire inelegantly (but accurately) described as a “God-hole,” a hole that cannot be filled with anything other than the Divine.

The West today is awash in cynicism and nihilism, and an aggressive form of anti-religious sentiment.  Just witness the amusing, angry lengths to which strident Internet atheists will go to denounce religious (almost always specifically Christian) beliefs.  It’s pedantic to write, but it bears repeating:  atheists ironically fill their “God-hole” with the religion of hating and/or denying God’s Existence.

The net effect of this existential nihilism is manifest in abundant ways:  high suicide rates, debased morality and behavior, the destruction of the family, and spiritual emptiness and confusion.  We overthrew God—or at least, we tried to remove Him from our lives—but the void, the “God-hole,” within us remains.

Nature abhors a vacuum, so something is going to fill that hole.  It was with interest, then, that I read this piece from The Daily Dot that I stumbled upon while mindlessly scrolling through Facebook one day.  The piece is about a “healer” and lifestyle blogger named Audrey Kitching, who by all accounts is a duplicitous fraud:  she resells cheap Chinese jewelry at a huge markup, billing them as “energy crystals” and the like, and her gullible followers/victims eagerly lap it up.

What caught my attention, though, was not that a woman was trading on her looks and Instagram filters to build an online business, but rather the women who sacrificed their lives and good sense to someone who is, essentially, a bubblegum-haired freak with a penchant for codependent, psychologically abusive relationships.  Kitching convinced one of her employees to sever all ties with her family for a full year, and essentially used the poor, misguided woman as slave labor.

Men seem to succumb to the supposed “logic” of atheism, priding themselves on their assumed intellectual superiority for refusing to believe in anything beyond themselves.  Women, on the other hand, love quasi-spiritual garbage like Kitching’s baubles (it’s humorous reading how allegedly “legitimate” healers are opposed to Kitching for diminishing their corner on the medium/spiritualist market—I guess she’s not in their Scammers Guild).

Kitchings and her ilk—palm readers, dime-store oracles, astrologers, “good witches,” etc.—offer spirituality on the cheap:  all the “feel-good” stuff about loving other people and being part of the Universe, without any of the obligations—forming a family, living chastely and soberly, etc.  In the absence of strong men and strong institutions—namely the Church—and in an age of #MeToo feminism and “you go grrrrrl”-ism, women are easy prey for bubbly charlatans (if you’ve followed Hulu’s Into the Dark horror anthology, the fourth installment, “New Year, New You,” beautifully satirizes this kind of Instagram-friendly quasi-spirituality—and its horrifying consequences).

Don’t get me wrong:  I don’t discount this stuff out of hand.  Indeed, I believe we’re always struggling against principalities and demonic forces, which is precisely why we should take this seriously.  Witchcraft and its associated branches are a real spiritual threat, and we’re losing a generation of women (and soy-boyish men) to a new wave of New Age spirituality and feel-good bullcrap.  It’s most insidious in the Church (by which I mean broadly all of Christianity, although I think High Protestant churches are particularly susceptible to this kind of infiltration), where its pernicious influence is far more subtle.

But the rise of witchcraft and other forms of knock-off spiritualism represent physical and metaphysical dangers.  Metaphysically, we shouldn’t be messing around with the spiritual world outside of our relationship with Christ.  Just look at what happened to King Saul when he consulted with the witch at Endor.

Physically, men and women are debasing themselves in the name of a “if it feels good, do it” mentality in a desperate attempt to fill their empty “God-holes.”  Women are literally prostituting themselves via Instagram—a terrifying intersection of online media attention-whoring and real-life whoring.  That kind of cheapness only comes in a culture that discourages traditional values and encourages riotousness and spiritual rebellion.

I always warn my students—I’m sure they occasionally roll their eyes—not to mess around with the spiritual world.  Angels are real—but so are demons.  And Satan always comes clothed in light—and shiny Snapchat filters.

Happy Halloween!

It’s Halloween!  All the build-up, all the ghost stories, it’s finally here!

Last night I took the opportunity to carve my one of the two pumpkins I picked up earlier in the month ($4 a pop!).  He’s the cheeky little guy pictured above, and in the photo collage below (I’m getting fancy with the production values in this post).

His brother was stolen off my front porch Wednesday night.  I’d just gotten in bed and switched off the lights when I heard some tires squealing.  Thinking it was one of my neighbor’s buddies hydroplaning on the wet street, I didn’t think much of it, until my neighbor began shouting for me minutes later!

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Unspeakable Horror

Blogger photog has a piece up at his blog, Orion’s Cold Fire, entitled “What I Took Away from the Weekend Horror Fest,” which sums up the root causes of this weekend’s two terrible shootings: fatherless, isolated young men with few prospects, few role models, and an excess of narrow ideology.

As I wrote way back in January, I don’t typically write about shootings, because I don’t have much to add, and because the discussion always (incorrectly) focuses on controlling guns, not on addressing the real underlying issue.  The United States doesn’t have a gun problem; we have a God problem.  More precisely, we’ve jettisoned any sense of a transcendent moral order in favor relativism and a form of neo-paganism.

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The Desperate Search for Meaning, Part III: Progressive Power Crystals

As I watch my niece and nephews grow up, I often think about their practical and spiritual educations.  It’s heartening to hear the older two sing hymns of praise to God.  In an age of progressive indoctrination in public schools, they’re going to need a lot of prayers and Christian parenting to grow up to be men and women of God.  Fortunately, my brother and sister-in-law are no-nonsense Christian conservatives.

Unfortunately, many Americans 40 and under grew up with a great deal of relativistic hogwash, and have imbibed deeply from the solipsistic brew of the “if it feels good, do it” and “I can define my own truth” culture.  Satan comes as a being of light, surrounded by overpriced power crystals.

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