1 Feb 21: The problem of sophistry.

There are many forms of power and most people in authority are driven by fear. In part this is because they have the imposter syndrome: all too frequently they were given the job and htye have not the skills to do it. It is too often more expedient to have a semi competent man who will please the current rulers -- driven by fear -- than it is to have an engineer who says that the job can be done -- and here are the costings.

The question that we have now is do we say what is expedient or do we way what is true. I need to at this time note that the Papists are doing far better than the reformed here, because thy have come out and confronted the current president and his minions. They have a choice. Stick to the teaching of the church or do not call themselves Catholic, or Christian.

The establishment media has been pulling out all the stops, as Stephen Kruiser noted Monday, to convince us that Joe Biden is the most serene Catholic monarch since King St. Louis IX. Huffington Post writer Beth Stoneburner even wondered if “Christians will ever allow themselves to admit that a Democratic president is actually doing more for their supposed causes than the Republican Party ever did.” The New York Times hailed Old Joe as “the most religiously observant commander in chief in half a century,” who “regularly attends Mass and speaks of how his Catholic faith grounds his life and his policies.” However, a wrench was thrown into this propaganda machine on Friday by the unlikeliest of sources: the U.S. Catholic bishops.

Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, and Bishop David J. Malloy, chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace, issued a statement on Thursday saying that Biden’s executive order removing blocks on funding for abortion providers overseas was “incompatible with Catholic teaching.”

Heinously indifferent to their contravention of the prevailing propaganda, Naumann and Malloy wrote: “It is grievous that one of President Biden’s first official acts actively promotes the destruction of human lives in developing nations. This Executive Order is antithetical to reason, violates human dignity, and is incompatible with Catholic teaching. We and our brother bishops strongly oppose this action. We urge the President to use his office for good, prioritizing the most vulnerable, including unborn children.”

I really need to pray more for the bishops and lead pastors in this time. There are those who sand up, and then there are those who compromise. You can always, as a tyrant, find an amenable authority who you can quote. There is a name for this: sophistry. And it usually ends badly.

Numbers 22:1-21

22 Then the people of Israel set out and camped in the plains of Moab beyond the Jordan at Jericho. 2 And Balak the son of Zippor saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites. 3 And Moab was in great dread of the people, because they were many. Moab was overcome with fear of the people of Israel. 4 And Moab said to the elders of Midian, “This horde will now lick up all that is around us, as the ox licks up the grass of the field.” So Balak the son of Zippor, who was king of Moab at that time, 5 sent messengers to Balaam the son of Beor at Pethor, which is near the River in the land of the people of Amaw, to call him, saying, “Behold, a people has come out of Egypt. They cover the face of the earth, and they are dwelling opposite me. 6 Come now, curse this people for me, since they are too mighty for me. Perhaps I shall be able to defeat them and drive them from the land, for I know that he whom you bless is blessed, and he whom you curse is cursed.”

7 So the elders of Moab and the elders of Midian departed with the fees for divination in their hand. And they came to Balaam and gave him Balak's message. 8 And he said to them, “Lodge here tonight, and I will bring back word to you, as the Lord speaks to me.” So the princes of Moab stayed with Balaam. 9 And God came to Balaam and said, “Who are these men with you?” 10 And Balaam said to God, “Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab, has sent to me, saying, 11 ‘Behold, a people has come out of Egypt, and it covers the face of the earth. Now come, curse them for me. Perhaps I shall be able to fight against them and drive them out.’” 12 God said to Balaam, “You shall not go with them. You shall not curse the people, for they are blessed.” 13 So Balaam rose in the morning and said to the princes of Balak, “Go to your own land, for the Lord has refused to let me go with you.” 14 So the princes of Moab rose and went to Balak and said, “Balaam refuses to come with us.”

15 Once again Balak sent princes, more in number and more honourable than these. 16 And they came to Balaam and said to him, “Thus says Balak the son of Zippor: ‘Let nothing hinder you from coming to me, 17 for I will surely do you great honour, and whatever you say to me I will do. Come, curse this people for me.’” 18 But Balaam answered and said to the servants of Balak, “Though Balak were to give me his house full of silver and gold, I could not go beyond the command of the Lord my God to do less or more. 19 So you, too, please stay here tonight, that I may know what more the Lord will say to me.” 20 And God came to Balaam at night and said to him, “If the men have come to call you, rise, go with them; but only do what I tell you.” 21 So Balaam rose in the morning and saddled his donkey and went with the princes of Moab.

Acts 21:17-26

17 When we had come to Jerusalem, the brothers received us gladly. 18 On the following day Paul went in with us to James, and all the elders were present. 19 After greeting them, he related one by one the things that God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry. 20 And when they heard it, they glorified God. And they said to him, “You see, brother, how many thousands there are among the Jews of those who have believed. They are all zealous for the law, 21 and they have been told about you that you teach all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children or walk according to our customs. 22 What then is to be done? They will certainly hear that you have come. 23 Do therefore what we tell you. We have four men who are under a vow; 24 take these men and purify yourself along with them and pay their expenses, so that they may shave their heads. Thus all will know that there is nothing in what they have been told about you, but that you yourself also live in observance of the law. 25 But as for the Gentiles who have believed, we have sent a letter with our judgement that they should abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols, and from blood, and from what has been strangled,[a] and from sexual immorality.” 26 Then Paul took the men, and the next day he purified himself along with them and went into the temple, giving notice when the days of purification would be fulfilled and the offering presented for each one of them.

The Apostles feared the Pharisaic fanatics, and so they suggested Paul sponsor some men of the faith who were finishing a time of dedication as Nazirites. (Their hair, grown in this time, was to be offered to God). This infuriated the mob. Any sense of compromise is seen as weakness by our enemies.

We should pray for them, yes. But we should not expect success. Success often means we have failed.

If worldly people call me “successful” then I must assume that I’m serving Satan instead of God. They see me as being of the world, in possession of various accolades and possessions that are coveted by those who also prize the world. Neither my work nor my achievements should ever garner acclaim by the multitude, and if they do, I must have made a wrong turn and forsaken God in exchange for earthly treasures.

The best defense we have in this time of fear is Christ. Don't try to be clever, and thing you can sup broth with the minions of the devil. You don't have a long enough spoon. Instead, do not be them. Do not be like them.