The most important German composer before Bach! Man, where have I been these past 48 years? In any case, this short piece provides a wonderful introduction to his work if, like me, your engagement with this master has come rather late in life.
I must have been living under a rock or something for the past 48 years because I only recently discovered the music of Heinrich Schutz (1585-1672). Schutz is generally regarded as "the most important German composer before Johann Sebastian Bach.
The most important German composer before Bach! Man, where have I been these past 48 years? In any case, this short piece provides a wonderful introduction to his work if, like me, your engagement with this master has come rather late in life.
Craig, a reader of this blog, took this photo after he had stepped out of his backdoor the other day. He kindly forwarded the image to give me a sense of "the kinds of displays God puts on" for those living in Colorado. I have to admit, that's quite a breathtaking display.
Though I appreciate the photo, I appreciate Craig's sentiment even more. It served to remind me of how much more explicitly wonderful and beautiful the world became after I fully re-acknowledged that it was indeed a part of Creation and not merely some random, meaningless mix of matter and chemicals haphazardly thrown together by chance.
When I was a child, I had an unspoken understanding of Creation. I was filled with a deep sense of wonder and awe. It permeated every fiber of my being. Back then, I was aware of Creation and I was aware that I too was part of Creation, but this understanding slowly faded in my late teens and early twenties. I managed to regain my belief in Creation somewhere in my mid-thirties, and it has enriched my life ever since.
When you understand that we live in Creation, things are not merely beautiful, but Beauty-Full. Art galleries house some of the finest masterpieces in the world, but few can compare with the masterpieces that await you everywhere - like just outside your backdoor, for example.
Yesterday, Dr. Charlton posted an important piece in which he explained why he 'rants on' about metaphysics. The post strikes at the heart of the matter when it comes to our mortal lives in this time and place. I highly recommend the post to those who may not have read it yet.
The answer is that I regard our primary assumptions about the nature of reality (i.e. metaphysics) to be of primary importance (ultimately, in the end, in the long term).
Your metaphysics will bite you - sooner or later, one way or the other.
I don't think this was necessarily always and everywhere the case. Through most of human history, it was apparently possible for someone to have some primary beliefs; and to lead their life in a 'pragmatic' fashion, without taking much notice of those beliefs...
Or maybe it wasn't, maybe this dissociation was only temporary, and only reflected superficial 'opinions' rather than genuine deep convictions... At any rate, if it ever was true that metaphysics was ignorable, that does not apply now.
Whether they know it or not, whether they admit the fact or not, people nowadays live in accordance with their metaphysical assumptions.
And this means that the large majority of people live life 'as if' there is no real life, but as if the universe of reality is partly-determined, partly-random, with no motivation and going nowhere in particular.
Their own life is lived on the basis that their deepest beliefs and convictions are actually superficial, temporary and of such little importance that they can and should be changed according to convenience, and on the basis of no good reason - or no reason at all - except what seems expedient, what currently makes them feel better about themselves.
The great moral education of modern life is this: that it strips our beliefs down to our basic assumptions. Modern life shows that 'If you believe this; then your world will be like that'.
When there is no real and solid reason for personal motivations, attitudes, behaviours - then we cannot defend them, cannot continue to live by them in face of opposition. Thus modern people are lacking in courage (i.e. are cowardly) to a degree which would have been astonishing to anyone in the past.
Modern people take the easy way because - why not?
I encourage you to read the rest here.
A memorable scene from the film or novel Fight Club is Tyler Durden's declaration of the Rules of Fight Club. What makes the scene memorable are the first two rules, which are exactly the same in content: The first rule of Fight Club is: You do not talk about Fight Club. The second rule of Fight Club is: You do not talk about Fight Club. The emphatic repetition of the first rule as the second rule serves to stress the significance of the first.
The same logic can be applied to the unspoken rules regarding Christian persecution which, in the spirit of Fight Club, could be listed in the following manner:
Still, these conferences could serve another purpose - sending out a warning signal of the Christian persecution that might yet come, particularly in the West.
Whatever the case, the world in general and the Western media specifically has followed the first two rules of Christian persecution flawlessly in the past two or three decades by simply refusing to talk about it.
Regarding the remaining rules, the United States was gracious enough to send some representatives to the 2019 Budapest conference. One of these US representatives went on to demonstrate how the remaining rules of Christian persecution work. I won't bother posting any additional information about that here, but those who feel inclined to investigate can do so by doing a quick internet search on their own.
I recently noticed a four-star review for my novel, The City of Earthly Desire on Amazon's UK site. I like the review a lot because it provides a good synopsis of the narrative without going into any specific details:
The novel concerns the trials and tribulations of a family of culturally German Hungarians (Danube Swabians) from the second world war though to post communist Hungary. It is very readable and in places very moving and despite a dark centre has a positive, hopeful ending.
I thank the reviewer for taking the time to comment on the novel and welcome the thought that he found the novel to be very readable and moving. I also appreciate the observations about the positive, hopeful ending despite the narrative's dark center.
The review above is of my earlier, unrevised version of the novel. I believe the revised version, which I published in early January, is even more readable, in part because I made a concerted effort to tone down the dark centre to which the reviewer refers.
I am curious to see what readers will think of the revised version. Time will tell.
When I arrived to Hungary in 2015, Viktor Orbán declared he was adamantly dedicated to establishing an "illiberal democracy." In 2018, he dropped the term illiberal and began using the phrase "Christian democracy." I am and have always been ambivalent about politicians who wave the Christian flag. At the same time, I am extremely aware that most leaders in the West have implicitly expressed allegiance to the anti-Christian flag and have worked and continue to work diligently for the establishment of post-Christian countries and, ideally, a post-Christian superstate or post Christian one-world order ruled by a totalitarian, anti-Christian government. In light of this, I am inclined to listen and give the benefit of the doubt to any politician, thinker, artist, or leader who speaks explicitly about the value and importance of Christianity.
Naturally, not every politician, thinker, artist, or leader is on the right track in their advocacy of Christianity, and one must always be wary of the risk that the most virulent of anti-Christian thought and action might actually arrive cloaked in Christian garb. I myself have been fooled or disappointed by many who seemingly talked the talk, but had no intention of ever walking the walk. Nevertheless, one must also consider that most politicians, thinkers, artists, and leaders in the West make great efforts to disavow, disparage, and reject Christianity, from both a historical and a contemporary perspective. Simply put, most of the Western elite are explicitly anti-Christian and, as mentioned above, have dedicated themselves to the establishment of a post-Christian world.
People in the public sphere who openly advocate in favor of Christianity clearly pit themselves against this zeitgeist. At its most basic level, arguing in favor of Christianity has become an act of defiance and contention. Unfortunately, the number of people in the public sphere that openly support and defend Christianity is continuously dwindling. Nevertheless, a few voices do exist. Viktor Orbán, the Prime Minister of Hungary, is one of these voices.
The only important question regarding Orbán and Christianity is this - is he the real deal? If one were to judge solely by the amount of negative press he receives in the anti-Christian West, one would be quick to say yes, but judgements must never be made solely on the opinions and rhetoric and others. The individual's own thoughts and actions must also be scrutinized.
One of the first things Orbán did shortly after he returned to power in 2010 was to ensure the drafting and ratification of the first Hungarian Constitution since the collapse of communism in 1989. The document itself is a bold series of declarations - one that pits itself in direct opposition to the progressive, globalist agenda. Below are some excerpts:
The next question that the Hungarian government must answer is this: Isn’t there enough to do combating anti-Christian phenomena here in Europe? Why do we need to provide help on other continents? The Hungarian government is convinced that these two aspects – the problems facing Christianity in Europe and the persecution of Christians in Africa and the Middle East – cannot be separated. The facts are widely known: around the world, of those persecuted for their religion four out of five are Christian; in 2018 alone, 245 million Christians suffered persecution; 4,300 Christians were killed because of their faith – and these are the people we know about; 1,847 Christian churches and other Christian institutions were attacked. Yet Europe is silent – silent time and again. Some mysterious force seals the lips and ties the hands of European politicians. In Europe the persecution of Christians can only be seen as a human rights issue. And if it is a human rights issue, Christians cannot be named specifically, but only alongside other people persecuted for their faith. As a result, Christians and the persecution of Christians is dissolved within the diverse family of the religious persecuted. This is some credit to politicians, and it mustn’t be underestimated; but we must realise, we should understand, that those who treat the persecution of Christians as merely a humanitarian problem fail to talk about the most important aspect. An organised and wide-ranging attack is being made not only on individual human beings, not only on individual communities, but on an entire culture: our culture, our civilisation. Not only in Africa, not only in the Middle East, but also here in Europe – in the land of the most successful Christian civilisation in history. The forms taken by the attacks are varied: population exchange, immigration, stigmatisation, ridicule, the muzzle of political correctness.
Why are we talking about this here in Budapest, of all places? I have personal experience of the fact that there are many good, true Christian politicians working in Europe today; but in the current zeitgeist, its media landscape, and under the burden of ongoing coalition talks, they’re unable to speak out, don’t dare to and don’t want to. Here in Hungary the situation is different: there is a coalition-free government, political stability, a general atmosphere opposed to immigration; there is a majority demanding the defence of Christian culture, which states that instead of bringing problems here, we should take help to where the problems are. Hungary lies on the route of the Muslim immigration invasion; it must defend itself, and here in Hungary everyone knows that. The starting-point for Hungarian policy is that we Christians have the right to defend our culture and the way of life that has grown from it, and that we are free to do this. In Hungary there is also general agreement that assistance must be taken directly to communities in distress: not provided to agencies, but directly to communities in distress. Therefore we make contact with church leaders there, because we know that they take full responsibility for their communities, and we know that they persevere in the most appalling circumstances. And unlike politicians in many European countries, we believe that people must be encouraged to live and flourish in the lands in which their ancestors have lived for centuries. What we must help them to do is not to move away, but to stay in their homes. Therefore, through the “Hungary Helps” programme we’re financing the rebuilding of many schools, hospitals and homes in Iraq and Syria – in places where perhaps people had not even known of the existence of Hungary. We’re also helping many persecuted young Christians from the Middle East and Africa to study at universities in Hungary: young people who – due to their faith – could perhaps never gain admission to such institutions in their own countries.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Your Eminence, Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Finally, on hearing about the persecution of Christians, the greatest mistake Europeans can ever make is to say that this could never happen to them in their own country. Many people share this delusion, even though Europe has been repeatedly struck by the terrorism. We also know that the western countries of Europe have provided the Islamic State with many soldiers who were born and went to school here in the West. We also knows that illegal and uncontrolled migration flows have resulted in the arrival in Europe of masses of adherents of radical Islam. Demographic forecasts also indicate that in the not too distant future there will be European countries undergoing rapid change in the religious and cultural composition of their populations. Everything that has happened in Syria and Iraq – or what is happening in Nigeria today – is much closer to us than many people think. We believe that the only thing that can save Europe from this is for it to find its way back to the source of its true values: to Christian identity. To put it briefly, Dear Brothers and Sisters, we Europeans are also in great trouble. I am convinced that today the greatest help in saving Europe can be provided by precisely those people whom we are helping right now. The resistance of those who suffer is the sowing of seed. Today we are giving persecuted Christians what they need: homes, hospitals, schools. And in return we are being given what Europe most needs: Christian faith, love and perseverance. In this spirit I wish you a valuable conference.
Soli Deo gloria!
Read the whole thing here.
What is the most important sin (and virtue) of these times? Dr. Charlton explored this question in a piece he posted yesterday and arrived at the following conclusion:
We get to the most important sin and virtue: The current situation is that anyone who believes The System is Good and real, is himself actually in service of the demonic agenda. And only those who recognise The System as evil and fake are able to become Good; are able to join with the meaning and purpose of God's creation and plan.
This not only makes sense to me, but also strikes at the heart of the matter concerning our circumstances in the modern world. I probed the issue in my own clumsy way earlier this week and came to similar conclusions – the most important sin one can commit in our current time and place is the firm belief that the System is Good and real, while the most important virtue could very well be the recognition that the System is Evil and unreal.
The sin becomes graver if one embraces the System as Good while concurrently rejecting Reality as Evil. In essence, this is the macro inversion from which all the other inversions we encounter spring, and this is the overarching strategy the System employs to achieve its ultimate goal of soul damnation.
What makes an evil system truly evil is its direct and intentional opposition to God, Creation, meaning, purpose, love, Truth, Beauty, Goodness, Virtue, and everything else that comprises Reality. Evil systems seek to convince people to accept the System as the only reality and to accept this fake reality as the only possible good that can be achieved.
This immediately prompts a question. How can an evil system effectively persuade people to accept the macro inversion so readily and easily? How can an evil System so effectively divorce people from Reality? Convince people to reject the Good in favor of evil?
There are many explanations for this. Perhaps Heaven has something to do with it.
The System offers something Reality cannot - the promise of heaven on Earth. Reality cannot make this promise because it would essentially work against the entire purpose and meaning of our existence in this world. If Reality established heaven in this world, it would basically render our physical incarnations here moot. Spiritual development, learning, growth - none of it would be necessary.
The System, on the other hand, readily offers the promise of heaven on Earth and convinces people that utopia can only be achieved through the mechanisms of the System itself. Whether this utopia is a classless, communist state, or a more personalized world of individual freedoms and rights promising success, status, power, and hedonistic gratification is irrelevant. What matters is that people turn away from Reality and the promise of actual Heaven and focus instead on Unreality and the false promise of heaven on Earth.
The rejection of Reality reduces life to the purely material level, which entails that the Good exists in the material and nowhere else. The System then convinces people that this material good - which is the only good that can be had - is only accessible through the mechanisms of the System itself. People accept the lie and live their lives accordingly.
Once this is achieved, self-damnation is practically guaranteed, which, in the end, is exactly what the System wants.
Note added: The promise of heaven on Earth, not the actual delivery of heaven on Earth appears to be a key part of the System's strategy. Most people who accept the System as Good and believe Good can only be achieved through the System do not seem discouraged by the thought that they may not actually live to see the manifestation of the heaven on Earth they worked towards. The promise appears to be enough - especially if this promise includes feelings of having done the right thing through some sense of philanthropy or altruism. Even more so if the promise is reinforced and supported by high-paying careers, fame, wealth, and status. The sanctioning and encouraging of various immoralities - primarily sexual - is an added incentive.
Most people are familiar with Asperger's syndrome, but almost no one has ever heard of Asberger's syndrome, which is a highly individualized strain of the 'spiritual malaise' spectrum that is pandemic in our modern world.
Though Asberger's syndrome can be lumped together with the general spiritual maladies infecting our civilization, it is unique in the sense that it was my own, personalized experience with the illness. I suffered extreme bouts of the affliction between the ages of 22 and 37. Symptoms included, but were not limited to, the following:
Thankfully, I have discovered the antidote for this spiritual sickness. My eventual recovery from Asberger's was filled with ups-and-downs, but I am happy to report that I have been living symptom free for over a decade. As far as I can tell, I have developed an immunity to the disorder and do not anticipate any relapses in the time I have left on this Earth.
The most crucial part of the recovery process involved acknowledging the existence of the disease. I lived in denial for many years. I simply could not accept that I had Asberger's, regardless of the proof staring me in the face.
Of course, this is somewhat understandable. After all, acceptance of my Asberger's syndrome required the full recognition that for over the course of a decade-and-a-half, I had essentially done nothing more than make a spiritual ass of myself. Miraculously, the symptoms began fade the moment I conceded that I had been a fool. The disease cleared up entirely once I consciously repented and turned back to the Divine.
Unfortunately, I am not completely in the clear. Although Asberger symptoms no longer plague me at the spiritual level, they have somehow infected me at the material/physical level where, despite my best efforts, I continue to make an ass of myself on an almost daily basis.
Sadly, there appears to be no cure for this highly-individualized, material strain of the syndrome. I guess I'll just have to learn to live with it.
Everyone in the West knows how anti-democratic, authoritarian, repressive, xenophobic, homophobic, fascist, anti-semitic, and generally not nice the nation of Hungary is. In light of this, it will probably surprise many to know that there is one progressive issue in which Magyarország is literally light years ahead of its enlightened Western counterparts - that issue is gender pronouns. One could even go as far as to claim that when it comes to gender pronouns, Hungary stands among the 'wokest' nations on Earth.
Allow me to explain . . .
In Magyar (Hungarian):
The gender-gifted, the gender fluid, the two spirits, the butches, the femmes, the gender blenders, the transpeople, the crossdressers and, yes, even good old regular men and women all get the same gender neutral pronouns in Hungary.
It makes no difference if you have a penis, wish you had one, or simply crave one - there's no need for gender specific pronouns like ze xe, per, or, ve because gender simply does not exist in Hungarian pronouns.
The only open question you would need to decide when you addressed someone else is whether or not you should address the person formally or informally.
Now how woke is that?
Note added: The gender confused should not take this as a cue to flock to Hungary in the hope of finding a Shangri-La of inclusivity and human rights. Quite the contrary. As any Western media source will happily inform you, this little landlocked country is hideously backward and bigoted in practically every other field of political correctness. Probably best to stay away and continue the good fight at home.
Yeah, this is one of those long-winded, poorly-argued posts.
As I reflect back upon my nearly half-century of life, I come to the rather sad and startling realization that much of it has been spent contending with what I would term the enforced normalization of stupidity and evil.
Stupidity and evil are facts of life in our imperfect world. In fact, one could argue a major impetus of our mortal lives centers around dealing with, learning from, and repenting our own individual stupidities and evils. This is a monumental task all on its own – a task one hopes would be reflected on a broader scale within society and civilization.
I have lived during an era where the exact opposite is clearly the case. Rather than dealing with, learning from, and repenting stupidity and evil, Western civilization has become a major force in the creation, promotion, distribution, and enforcement of stupidity and evil. Simply put, the West can no longer be referred to as a force for good, at least not in any real or meaningful sense. On the contrary, the West has become a force for evil, and nowhere is this more evident than in its dedicated enforcement and normalization of obvious stupidities and evils. The enforcement and normalization of stupidity and evil is fundamental to the overarching goal of damnation.
Much of this has to do with Reality. By Reality I am referring to basic principles; to the fundamental understanding and awareness of God, Creation, Natural Law, Truth, Beauty, Goodness, and Virtue. The West has not merely abandoned Reality and all it encompasses, but is actively, vigorously, and purposively working against the basic principles of Reality through every means at its disposal. Whatever can still be considered Good or Real in the West are either unintended side-effects of the war against Reality or the clinging remnants left over from an earlier time.
In my experience, the war against Reality relies chiefly on the normalization of stupidity and evil. This normalization involves the acceptance and endorsement of the unnatural as natural; evil as good; stupid as intelligent; immoral as moral; foolish as wise; vice as virtue; and so forth. The System in the West employs the various means at its disposal – the media, education, employment, law, science, medicine, religion (by this I am referring to corrupt institutions only, not religion in general – to condition and acclimate people to reject Reality and embrace Unreality. Thereby, an obvious right gradually becomes an obvious wrong.
The process tends to unfold in a ‘gradually-then-suddenly’ manner. First, an aspect of Reality is cast into doubt and suspicion. Second, an evil or stupid ‘unreal’ alternative –presented as more ‘good’ than Reality – is suggested to replace the suddenly flawed or oppressive or outdated or unjust or objectionable aspect of Reality. Third, the ‘unreal’ alternative is promoted and endorsed as superior, better, and more just by all the avenues noted above, with the explicit understanding that any objection to the ‘unreal’ alternative instantly renders one ‘stupid and evil.’ Lastly, the greater proportion of the population accepts the unreal stupidity and evil as the new normal. The System then enforces this normalization through its various mechanisms until it indeed becomes ‘normal.’ These new normals become tools of damnation.
This is all easily observable in the West and is common knowledge to those who have eyes to see and ears to hear. It goes without saying that the vast majority of people in the West have accepted this normalization, either willingly or through some form of coercion. Though I sometimes yearn to be part of some universal, collective reaction against this imposition of Unreality, this enforcement of stupidity and evil, I am beginning to understand that such a development at the universal, collective level is highly unlikely at this point in time. The vast majority of the West is too far gone. The only question that remains for me now is how do I respond to or cope with this normalization of stupidity and evil.
Countless books, blog posts, and podcasts offering advice and guidance on the subject exist, but very few of them have left any lasting impact on me. This is probably because most of these books, blog posts, and podcasts address the issue from universal, collective perspectives that tend to incorporate the mechanisms of the System itself into their plans to correct or restore Reality. And even among these, I have found no clearly defined, feasible, singular way of addressing the issue of enforced evil. When it comes to the enforced normalization of stupidity and evil, I have come to the realization that we are all essentially on our own.
This may sound like a defeatist attitude, but it isn’t. I believe the only victory of which we can be assured in our own individual lives lies in thinking. The normalization of stupidity and evil can only be enforced in our thinking if we allow it to be. Put another way, there is no way the System can make you believe an evil is good unless you yourself let that happen. This may seem trivial, but it is actually vital. The simple act of believing in Reality and remaining steadfast in this thinking is the ultimate form of insurrection against stupidity and evil. All is not lost if you make a mistake in your thinking as long as you acknowledge the error and return to Reality. Repentance is key in thinking. Without it, the enforced normalization of evil and stupidity will eventually prevail and your grasp of Reality will fade.
Once we are secure in our thinking (as secure as we can be), we can contemplate action, but we mustn’t forget that action is, ultimately, secondary to thinking. The range of possible actions any of us can take in resisting evil will depend on our own individual circumstances. Some individuals will be able to take many decisive actions against evil in their lives; others will find themselves in circumstances similar to those of slaves. Many more will find themselves scattered on points along the spectrum between these two poles. Whatever the case, any action or inaction must be supported by thinking. Those individuals who are free to take decisive actions against evil must not allow themselves to be consumed with pride. Those individuals who feel compelled to make compromises with evil must acknowledge these compromises and repent them.
I believe we are in this world for a reason and that each of us has a purpose in this life. The world we inhabit has been arranged to grant us the experiences needed to find this purpose. Part of this purpose entails the recognition and acceptance of Reality. It is crucial to remember to find our purpose in this world, but it is also crucial to remember that our purpose is not restricted or confined to this world. Reality is bigger than that. And if we remember, acknowledge, and have faith in Reality, we will be bigger than that, too, both in this life and the one to come.
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Blog posts tend to be spontaneous, unpolished, first draft entries ranging from the insightful and periodically profound to the poorly-argued and occasionally disparaging.
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Blogs/Sites I Read
Bruce Charlton's Notions
Meeting the Masters
From The Narrow Desert
No Longer Reading
Fourth Gospel Blog
Synlogos ✞ Aggregator
New World Island