The Death of Discourse and the Coming Night

I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.   John 9:4-5

One of the biggest things that an entity can do to prevent a fight with another is to talk to that other entity. Talking ‘to’ somebody is different in intent and effect than talking ‘at’ them. By talking to another, one person offers their observations, opinions, desires to the other while that person listens. Then the roles of speaker and listener reverse, the listener now offering response to what the first person said and their own observations, opinions, desires, et cetera. Through this process, two opposing interests can interact and find some common ground upon which they might build trust, and maybe a fledgling relationship that could halt hostility or even establish a peaceful coexistence of mutual understanding and respect. “Talking at” someone is little more than a verbal barrage of demands, talking points, and propaganda, the intent of which is to fill the space with noise so that no other voices can be heard and thus make their positions known. “Talking to” is also known as ‘conversation’; “talking at” is nothing more than verbal warfare, designed to silence the voice of the other.

When people have a conversation on a subject about which they do not agree, but manage to do so while maintaining civility, it is called “civil discourse.” It is the process by which peace has come to warring factions since the beginning. For all the blustering and saber-rattling that occurs in international relations, the fact is that a lot of the real negotiation happens via back-channel communications. What we finally see publicized as peaceful settlements or reduction of tensions between states is usually the product of such back-channel conversations (i.e. civil discourse). Back-channel communications ultimately defused the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. Had President Kennedy not been able to communicate in a civil manner with Soviet Premier Krushchev during this period of unprecedented tension between the United States and the Soviet Union, it is a real possibility that those two nations would have finally come to blows, likely sparking some degree of a nuclear exchange. It is said that in 1219, during a Crusader siege of the Muslim-held city of Damietta, Egypt. that the Sultan al-Kamil allowed Francis of Assisi to enter Damietta during a cease-fire, remain there for several days, and preach to the Muslims there. He was received and treated cordially, and allowed to return to the Crusader position unharmed before the resumption of hostilities. I doubt that this visit had much effect on the situation, but who knows? That is happened is a remarkable note in history.

I say all that to make this point: get people talking to stop people fighting. From that, you can derive this corollary: to get people fighting, stop people from talking. What you are seeing in today’s headlines is the death of civil discourse, which has been a protracted murder by strangulation at the hands of that serial liberty-killer, Political Correctness. For decades, free speech has been systematically squelched and suffocated under the guise of protecting people from being offended. It has advanced from being merely an ever-growing list of proscribed words, to proscribed subjects, to proscribed opinions, until we have arrived where we are now in the time of proscribed facts. Truth will now get you a beat-down in the public forum.

Today is the day of the so-called “Great American Eclipse” (only about eight hours from now as I write this), but a greater American eclipse has begun already. With the death of civil discourse comes the end of the great age of American free speech. It has never been ‘safe’ to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ anywhere, even in the United States, but it has never been more dangerous to do so here than it is now. It will become more dangerous with each passing day unless something happens to reverse this tide of darkness. Whereas one could generally expect to be heckled and sometimes abused for preaching or witnessing, it is now more likely that a Christian will be physically assaulted and injured for such an act. The end is surely near; it is closer every day, and because of the lateness of the hour, we can only expect more trouble from the powers of darkness.

These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.  John 16:33



Signs in the Sun and Moon and Stars


Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.

Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. Matthew 24:26-31

Summer of 2017 is turning out to be quite the season astronomically. Around July 23, and X-class solar flare and accompanying CME (coronal mass ejection) occurred from a sunspot on the far side of the sun. Had that flare occurred on the earth side of the sun, it would have lit up the skies with auroras, and perhaps have interfered with many electronic systems on the planet. A strong enough CME could destroy the electrical grid and computer systems, effectively knocking the world back to the mid-19th century (only technologically speaking. Unfortunately, we would still be stuck with 21st century morals and problems).

Around the middle of July, earth entered the debris stream left by the comet Swift-Tuttle, and beginning the nearly month-long Perseid meteor shower. It starts slowly and peaks around August 9-13 every year. This year, it will peak on August 12. Meteor showers aren’t particularly big news; several occur like clockwork every year. However, this year’s Perseid shower are different from other meteor showers apparently, and for this reason are notable in to those of us watching for prophetically significant events. Astronomers say that the 2017 Perseids will be the brightest meteor shower…in recorded human history. Just how, exactly, one determines the brightness of a meteor shower, I don’t know, but I assume it has to do with the rate (meteors per hour) and perhaps the expected size of meteors, or maybe the number of fireballs (i.e. meteors brighter than the magnitude of the planet Venus). [After publication of this post, I was notified by those guardians of truth, the Facebook Truth Police, that the referenced article on the meteor shower is disputed by other paragons of truth, Snopes, and the Associated Press. Even if this story should prove to be 100% baloney, it doesn’t mitigate the myriad of other celestial signs happening these days.]

We’ve not heard much about this in the US, but on August 7th, parts of Asia, Australia, and the Indian Ocean will see a partial lunar eclipse. There’s nothing especially noteworthy about this event (as far as I know) other than its proximity to two other events, one of which is the Perseid shower above.

The other event, the total solar eclipse happening on August 21st, has been widely publicized in the United States, since the path of totality makes landfall on the Oregon coast, travels across Wyoming, Missouri, and leaves through South Carolina.

I would think that this eclipse could be considered a “sign in the sun and moon”, and maybe even the stars, since in areas in the path of totality, some of the brightest stars might be visible during the eclipse. Certainly, a brilliant meteor shower would appear that the stars are falling from heaven. It’s something to consider, anyway.

Weirdly, seven years hence, a second total solar eclipse will cross North America on April 8, 2024. this time entering the US at Eagle Pass, Texas, crossing Arkansas, Indiana, and skirting the US-Canadian border from Ohio to Maine. Much has been made of the paths of these two events, as the area where they cross is supposedly over the New Madrid seismic zone, which is the site of several extra-biblical, alleged prophecies of a massive earthquake that will supposedly destroy the Mississippi valley from the Gulf of Mexico to the Great Lakes.

I don’t know about all that. What I do know is that the area of common totality for both eclipses is a parallelogram, the southern border of which touches Cairo, Illinois. Cairo, Illinois is considered the northernmost point of the New Madrid seismic zone. It makes for some interesting coincidences for sure, but it’s nothing over which to get one’s knickers in a twist. Of course, there is that whole “earthquakes in divers places” in Matthew 24:7, but really, I’m not so sure that has anything to do with this. I guess we’ll see.

Just an interesting side note: In Judaism, solar eclipses are considered solemn signs or warnings to the nations (i.e. everybody except the Jews).  That kind of makes this “X marks the spot” thing seem a little more ominous.