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

 

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When Darkness Reigns

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The preacher in me chafes at taking scriptures out of context to make a point, but sometimes things happen, and they remind me of scriptures that just don’t really seem to have anything to do with them. Well, today that happened, being the day after the annual global nuttery known as “Earth Hour.”

According to the World Wide Fund for Nature, they started Earth Hour in 2007. It arose out of globalist hand-wringing over the faux crisis of global warming. As I sat here today, wading through the post-Earth Hour nattering, I hit upon the phrase “hour of darkness”. Maybe to the global warming alarmists and Mother Earth devotees, that phrase means something positive, but to me it intimates something more nefarious.

It is an unfortunate side effect of living in a fallen world that if something is popular (embraced by the world system), then most likely it is also inimical to true Christianity (i.e. fidelity to Jesus Christ as the Son of God). For Earth Hour and global warming to be so widely favored by the world system, it is virtually guaranteed that somewhere in its roots, it is anchored onto something evil.

Because Earth Hour is always on the last Saturday in March, it necessarily falls in proximity to the Passover and Easter observances. I am not going to try to make more of this than is warranted. I have long been skeptical of the environmental movement, first for religious reasons (for its invoking of Gaia and other pagan gods), and later for the socialist tendrils that run through it. My skepticism is amplified by this very proximity, because while I don’t want to make more of this, I also find it hard to accept that things like this are always coincidental.

The prophet Isaiah speaks of a people who resort to necromancers and mediums rather than to God, and of what becomes of them, in the book of Isaiah:

And when they say to you, “Inquire of the mediums and the necromancers who chirp and mutter,” should not a people inquire of their God? Should they inquire of the dead on behalf of the living? To the teaching and to the testimony! If they will not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn. They will pass through the land, greatly distressed and hungry. And when they are hungry, they will be enraged and will speak contemptuously against their king and their God, and turn their faces upward. And they will look to the earth, but behold, distress and darkness, the gloom of anguish. And they will be thrust into thick darkness. Isaiah 8:19-22 (ESV)

I don’t think I have to make a point of demonstrating that America has become a nation of necromancers, mediums, witches, and wizards, or of people who consult them. And it’s not just America: most of the world has gone this way as well. In this, people have rejected God–indeed, they have cursed him and reviled him. Once a people have rejected the Creator, all they have left to turn to is the creation (the earth). Environmentalism has devolved into what can only be characterized as earth worship. The point of “Earth Hour” is to demonstrate “commitment to the planet” and to “change climate change.” The ever-growing willingness to “save the planet” by hobbling people demonstrates the perverse reversal of priorities–further enslave people under increasing financial oppression by driving up energy prices while pursuing this dubious endeavor to save the planet. I’m all for responsible stewardship of resources and for reasonable controls of pollution, but this idiotic carboniphobia and the obsession to curb carbon dioxide production is pointless and ineffectual. What it does is make it more difficult and expensive to improve and maintain the quality of life for people–not just western people, but people everywhere. What you never hear is that the largest component of greenhouse gas in our atmosphere by far isn’t carbon dioxide; it’s water vapor. Good luck reducing that one.

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This illustrates the global environmental agenda’s disdain for humanity–save the planet at the expense of its people. Some of the more radical environmentalists actually regard humans as akin to a disease infecting “mother earth.” This is in stark contrast to the manner in which Christ regards humanity, “in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8 KJV).

I mentioned in the previous post the “blood moon tetrad” the midst of which we are in right now. Eight days after an exceedingly rare solar eclipse (visible at the North Pole–the first such eclipse in human history), and immediately prior to the commencement of Holy Week (Palm Sunday–March 29th), we have Earth Hour on March 28th. One week later comes Passover on April 4th (during which there will be another lunar eclipse). It is partially because of these highly unusual signs in the skies, in conjunction with high Jewish holidays and the anniversary of Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection, that I find this iteration of WWF’s “hour of darkness” so intriguing. For it echoes Jesus’ own words at the time of his arrest:

Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come with swords and clubs? Every day I was with you in the temple courts, and you did not lay a hand on me. But this is your hour—when darkness reigns.” (Luke 22:52 NIV)

Coincidence? Probably. Am I making more of this than it is? Probably again. Then again, sometimes the Holy Spirit speaks to us and reveals things in Scripture that we haven’t seen before. So while I still think I’m just connecting dots in the noise, maybe there might be something to it after all.

Rumors of Wars

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I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.  — Joel 2:30-31 NIV

Anybody who keeps an eye on current events (as any prophecy-minded Christian should) has seen a mind-boggling confluence of weird, unusual, and or scary events transpiring over the course of the past few days.

There has already been much ballyhoo over “blood moons” and “tetrads”, and indeed these aren’t to be dismissed lightly.  Today (March 20, 2015) there will be a total solar eclipse in the northern hemisphere which will be visible at the north pole. Supposedly, this is a rather rare occurrence, and it is the eclipse embedded within the latest “blood moon tetrad.” No sense in reinventing the wheel here, so do an internet search on “blood moons” and “tetrad” and you’ll undoubtedly find plenty on it.

Today also marks the Spring equinox at 5:45pm CDT. This week also saw geomagnetic storms and aurora displays resulting from solar storms. The impending solar eclipse is also during a so-called “super moon” during which a full or new moon is at perigee (closest to earth). Since this is a new moon, it will not be visible, but will cause a total solar eclipse rather than an annular one. Surely, the period around this significant solar eclipse is one in which the skies are alight with strange signs.

Something that went absolutely unnoticed in the media is the fact that for the first time since September 11, 2001, the United States Central Command elevated the nation’s defense condition (DEFCON) to DEFCON 3. It was initially elevated to DEFCON 4 in response to massive drills by the Russian military. DEFCON 3 came about later (on March 16) when apparently Russian aircraft made incursions into US airspace. There were hints of possible hostilities and a US base on alert due to “possible incoming” (attack). For more information, I refer you to DEFCON Warning System’s Twitter feed. Scroll down to March 15, 2015 and read up through March 17, 2015. There you will see that, regardless of the silence in the news, something significant–possibly World War III significant–was unfolding in the Arctic between US and Russian military forces. By God’s grace, it deescalated, but this shows how very much on the brink we live, and how dangerous the times are. The peril didn’t end with the Cold War.

You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains. — Matthew 24:6-9