The Spires of Oxford Town

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Other parts of the city are reportedly not as well-preserved – but it’s nice to see that at least part of Oxford has retained something of its traditional charm and beauty. Or at least had, as of six years ago!

The Spires of Oxford

Winifred M. Letts – 1882-1971

I saw the spires of Oxford
As I was passing by,
The gray spires of Oxford
Against the pearl-gray sky.
My heart was with the Oxford men
Who went abroad to die.

The years go fast in Oxford,

The golden years and gay,
The hoary Colleges look down
On careless boys at play.
But when the bugles sounded war
They put their games away.

They left the peaceful river,

The cricket-field, the quad,
The shaven lawns of Oxford,
To seek a bloody sod—
They gave their merry youth away
For country and for God.

God rest you, happy gentlemen,
Who laid your good lives down,
Who took the khaki and the gun
Instead of cap and gown.
God bring you to a fairer place
Than even Oxford town.

When did Humans First Inhabit Australia? New Findings Suggest a Much Earlier Date | The Vintage News

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The underlying reason for the hostility towards early inhabitation was the absolute conviction that modern humans emerged from Africa 70,000 years ago. These findings are are casting all that into doubt.

Source: When did Humans First Inhabit Australia? New Findings Suggest a Much Earlier Date

Further challenges to the “out of Africa” theory for the development of anatomically modern humans. If they were inhabiting Australia 120,000 – 140,000 years ago, that theory – as this article suggests – is rather noticeably failing to hold water! Not surprising that these findings are controversial, as they have not only scientific but present-day sociopolitical significance, at a time when Africanism appears to be the flavour du jour.

Melania Trump on Twitter: “A Farewell Message from First Lady Melania Trump”

I have deleted my Twitter account, but this is an excellent final address by our very lovely and gracious First Lady.

Orwell’s 1984 and Today | Imprimis

George Orwell – 1984 – Big Brother

We can see today the totalitarian impulse among powerful forces in our politics and culture. We can see it in the rise and imposition of doublethink, and we can see it in the increasing attempt to rewrite our history.

Source: Orwell’s 1984 and Today | Imprimis

From the introduction to this essay:

“On September 17, Constitution Day, I chaired a panel organized by the White House. It was an extraordinary thing. The panel’s purpose was to identify what has gone wrong in the teaching of American history and to lay forth a plan for recovering the truth. It took place in the National Archives—we were sitting in front of the originals of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution—a very beautiful place. When we were done, President Trump came and gave a speech about the beauty of the American Founding and the importance of teaching American history to the preservation of freedom.

“This remarkable event reminded me of an essay by a teacher of mine, Harry Jaffa, called “On the Necessity of a Scholarship of the Politics of Freedom.” Its point was that a certain kind of scholarship is needed to support the principles of a nation such as ours. America is the most deliberate nation in history—it was built for reasons that are stated in the legal documents that form its founding. The reasons are given in abstract and universal terms, and without good scholarship they can be turned astray. I was reminded of that essay because this event was the greatest exhibition in my experience of the combination of the scholarship and the politics of freedom.

“The panel was part of an initiative of President Trump, mostly ignored by the media, to counter the New York Times’ 1619 Project. The 1619 Project promotes the teaching that slavery, not freedom, is the defining fact of American history. President Trump’s 1776 Commission aims to restore truth and honesty to the teaching of American history. It is an initiative we must work tirelessly to carry on, regardless of whether we have a president in the White House who is on our side in the fight.

“We must carry on the fight because our country is at stake. Indeed, in a larger sense, civilization itself is at stake, because the forces arrayed against the scholarship and the politics of freedom today have more radical aims than just destroying America.”

The whole essay is excellent. Read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest!

“The Language of the Unheard” | Corydon Baptist Church: Corydon, IN

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Double standards are now our only standard, it seems. Hypocrisy is now the crown of our Nation.

Source: “The Language of the Unheard” | Corydon Baptist Church: Corydon, IN

This is a superb essay, from a Baptist pastor who happens to be the brother of a dear friend of mine. That is irrelevant, however, to the quality of his arguments, which are superb. I strongly commend it to your attention.

“In an all-too-common scene now in America, a peaceful protest turned violent in our Nation’s Capitol last week.  After months of what so many media outlets called ‘peaceful’ protests foisted on American cities by Antifa and BLM, every single media outlet was quick to condemn yesterday’s violence as unacceptable lawlessness…

“Double standards are now our only standard, it seems.  Hypocrisy is now the crown of our Nation.

“Don’t misunderstand me.  I am deeply saddened by the deaths and any injuries that happened at the Capitol Building.  I was also deeply saddened by deaths and injuries to persons and property during the BLM riots last fall.  My prayers are with suffering families, and our hurting Nation.  While conservatives have traditionally claimed the moral high ground, it is now painfully obvious that rage is consuming both sides of the political aisle.  We are all sinners, after all.  All in need of a Savior.  And it won’t be a President or Party.  It will only be Jesus Christ.

Amen!

That said, the author rightly asks,

“While not condoning violent riots, isn’t it still fair to ask if anyone in our media or broader culture or in our churches will assign the label of ‘oppressed’ to those who stormed the Capitol?  If indeed ‘A riot is the language of the unheard,’ then will anybody acknowledge that millions of Americans do, in fact, feel unheard right now?”

Preach, Brother! And to you, my friends and loyal readership – “Read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest“!

‘Queen raven’ Merlina missing from Tower of London and feared dead | The Independent

A raven at the Tower of London

One of the Tower of London’s resident ravens has been missing for several weeks, and the raven keepers believe the bird may have died.

Source: ‘Queen raven’ Merlina missing from Tower of London and feared dead | The Independent

The news “follows reports earlier this year that the ravens had been increasingly straying from the tower because they were ‘bored’ as visitor numbers had plummeted during lockdown.”

Please note, anyone who may be concerned for Britain’s fate:

“The resident ravens which are kept at the Tower are shrouded in myth, which holds that if the ravens are lost or fly away, the Crown will fall and Britain with it.” However: “A minimum of six ravens are supposed to be kept at the tower, and even with Merlina’s departure, there are still seven.”

Be further advised and reassured that the six-raven minimum appears to be of relatively recent origin:

“During the Blitz of the Second World War, the ravens were apparently used as unofficial spotters for enemy planes and bombs, resulting in just one raven – named Gripp – surviving. As a result, Winston Churchill ordered a minimum of six be kept at the tower at all times.”

So the end of Britain appears not to be imminent! 🙂 Still, ’tis sad that she is gone. According to the Tower’s official announcement, “in time we hope that a new chick from our breeding programme will be up to the formidable challenge of continuing her legacy.” May it be so!

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/tower-london-queen-raven-missing-dead-b1787146.html

Prayers for our Nation, in a Time of Trouble

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Regardless of which side of the political aisle one makes one’s home, I think most would agree that we are in troubled and troublous times here in the U.S., these days. In such times (indeed, always), it is well to remember that our ultimate trust should not be in any human person – “put not your trust in princes, or in any child of earth,” as the Holy Scriptures remind us – but in Almighty God, our Heavenly Father, and in His Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Regardless of the outcome of this or any election (as my dear late mother would undoubtedly have reminded me), God is still in charge!

With that in mind, I offer the following prayers from The Book of Common Prayer 1928 (traditional Anglican):

A Prayer for Congress.

MOST gracious God, we humbly beseech thee, as for the people of these United States in general, so especially for their Senate and Representatives in Congress assembled; that thou wouldest be pleased to direct and prosper all their consultations, to the advancement of thy glory, the good of thy Church, and the safety, honour, and welfare of thy people; that all things may be so ordered and settled by their endeavours, upon the best and surest foundations, that peace and happiness, truth and justice, religion and piety, may be established among us for all generations. These and all other necessaries, for them, for us, and for thy whole Church, we humbly beg in the Name and mediation of Jesus Christ, our most blessed Lord and Saviour. Amen.

For Our Country.

ALMIGHTY God, who hast given us this good land for our heritage; We humbly beseech thee that we may always prove ourselves a people mindful of thy favour and glad to do thy will. Bless our land with honourable industry, sound learning, and pure manners. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion; from pride and arrogancy, and from every evil way. Defend our liberties, and fashion into one united people the multitudes brought hither out of many kindreds and tongues. Endue with the spirit of wisdom those to whom in thy Name we entrust the authority of government, that there may be justice and peace at home, and that, through obedience to thy law, we may show forth thy praise among the nations of the earth. In the time of prosperity, fill our hearts with thankfulness, and in the day of trouble, suffer not our trust in thee to fail; all which we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

For the Unity of God’s People.

O GOD, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, our only Saviour, the Prince of Peace; Give us grace seriously to lay to heart the great dangers we are in by our unhappy divisions. Take away all hatred and prejudice, and whatsoever else may hinder us from godly union, and concord: that as there is but one Body and one Spirit, and one hope of our calling, one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism, one God and Father of us all, so we may be all of one heart and of one soul, united in one holy bond of truth and peace, of faith and charity, and may with one mind and one mouth glorify thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

A Prayer for The President of the United States, and all in Civil Authority.

ALMIGHTY God, whose kingdom is everlasting and power infinite; Have mercy upon this whole land; and so rule the hearts of thy servants THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, The Governor of this State, and all others in authority, that they, knowing whose ministers they are, may above all things seek thy honour and glory; and that we and all the People, duly considering whose authority they bear, may faithfully and obediently honour them, according to thy blessed Word and ordinance; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with thee and the Holy Ghost liveth and reigneth ever, one God, world without end. Amen.

Or this:

O LORD our Governor, whose glory is in all the world; We commend this nation to thy merciful care, that being guided by thy Providence, we may dwell secure in thy peace. Grant to THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, and to all in Authority, wisdom and strength to know and to do thy will. Fill them with the love of truth and righteousness; and make them ever mindful of their calling to serve this people in thy fear; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.

In Time of War and Tumults.

ALMIGHTY God, the supreme Governor of all things, whose power no creature is able to resist, to whom it belongeth justly to punish sinners, and to be merciful to those who truly repent; Save and deliver us, we humbly beseech thee, from the hands of our enemies; that we, being armed with thy defence, may be preserved evermore from all perils, to glorify thee, who art the only giver of all victory; through the merits of thy Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

2 Cor. xiii. 14.

THE grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Ghost, be with us all evermore. Amen.


Image credit: Arnold Friberg was an American illustrator and painter noted for his religious and patriotic works. He is perhaps best known for his 1975 painting “The Prayer at Valley Forge,” a depiction of George Washington in prayer at Valley Forge, as pictured above.

The End | American Greatness

U.S. Capitol Reels After Pro-Trump Mob Breaches Building; Woman Is Killed |  WBUR News

Source: The End – American Greatness

Well, the saga of the 2020 General Election ended in a way few could have predicted, when a small group of the much larger number of peaceful protesters who were there supporting President Trump – and objecting to the utter failure of either Congress or the Supreme Court to seriously address legitimate and widespread (far from “baseless,” as the mainstream media continually claims) allegations of voter fraud – broke into the Capitol in Washington, DC.

In the ensuing fracas, one woman, identified as 35-year-old Ashli Babbit, a 14-year Air Force veteran and Trump supporter, was shot and mortally wounded by Capitol Police. Ms Babbit was unarmed at the time. Three other individuals who appear to have been involved with the protests have also died of “medical causes,” and one Capital Police officer appears to have succumbed to unspecified injuries; few details of these cases have been released.

Needless to say, I do not condone an assault on the Capitol, no matter what legitimate grievances those of us who supported the President (or oppose the increasingly hard-Left stance of the Democratic Party) may have. But I would be a lot more emphatic and unequivocal in my condemnation if the Democratic Party had not turned a blind eye to – and in many cases, actively supported – violent riots, vandalism, looting, and burning, not to mention assaults on persons and several deaths, this past summer and indeed extending all the way back to the aftermath of the 2016 Election.

Let us remember that more than 200 were arrested in violent anti-Trump riots on Inauguration Day (January 21st), 2017. In October of 2018, opponents to Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh took over the Hart Senate Office building, to great applause by the Democrats. In June of that same year, Democratic Representative Maxine Waters had called on followers to confront and harass White House officials and members of Trump’s Cabinet – and their families – wherever they might be.

And of course, this summer, Democratic officials on all levels of government actively encouraged, aided, and abetted the BLM rioters. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi went so far as to call federal riot-control officers “stormtroopers,” and responded to rioters in Baltimore – her native city! – who pulled down a statue of Christopher Columbus and then tossed the monument into the city’s Inner Harbor with a dismissive “People will do what they do.”

Democratic Mayor of Seattle Jenny Durkan referred to the destruction of a police precinct on Capitol Hill there, along with the establishment of an “autonomous zone” which resulted in mass vandalism, attempted (or actual) arson, multiple assaults, and the fatal shooting of a 19-year-old, as a “summer of love” event. And VP-elect Kamala Harris and a number of Biden staffers supported a bail fund to free those arrested for rioting; those released included at least one child abuser.

And this past June, large swatches of DC were ablaze, and the President was temporarily ushered into a bunker, to the complete absence of Democratic outrage – a least, any directed toward the rioters. In fact, it was the measures taken to bring the rioting under control that brought Democratic opprobium!

After standing back and standing down – even cheering – while cities burned, now the Democrats are suddenly the party of law and order? Sorry, not buying it. That is at best disingenuous; a more accurate characterization might be one of blatant and egregious mendacity and hypocrisy! A good deal of the blame for what happened in DC on Wednesday can and should be laid directly at the doorstep of the Democratic Party. Despite their constant efforts to shift responsibility to President Trump, THEY are the ones who let this genie out of the bottle. But of course, they are counting on the short memories of much of the American voting public.

In any case, I think the linked essay is a sadly all-too-accurate assessment of the situation as it currently stands.

To be fair, although President Trump was let down by many he should have been able to count on, he was not perfect in his own actions and reactions, either. Some of that was likely based on poor advising, but honesty compels my admission that some of it was just his own personality: there have been times when he has been his own worst enemy, and sadly, it seems that this is one of them. There is good analysis to be found, I think, in this interview with former White House communications director Alyssa Farah, and in this assessment by Fox commentator Tucker Carlson.

Carlson is particularly on-point, I think, when he warns that “freedoms are more important than any single politician,” and that Trump’s base – 74 million ordinary Middle Americans who believe in “making America great again” and in what used to be normal, middle-of-the-road political and social norms – are in danger from Democrats who will be fired up and feeling their oats after not only a hard-fought electoral victory, but what looks like the perfect excuse for retaliation. Carlson notes that

“Thirteen days from now, these voters will not have Donald Trump to protect them, they won’t have anyone unless the Republican party decides to wake up and push back against the lies and progress and acknowledge the purpose of those lies which is an unprecedented crackdown on the way you live… The point of the Republican party is to protect its voters. In practice that means protecting the Bill of Rights, the most basic freedoms and bedrock promises of American life – without them you wouldn’t want to live here.”

He further describes the incidents at the Capitol as a “political protest that got out of hand after the president recklessly encouraged it.” (Note: President Trump did not encourage anyone to attack the Capitol! But some of what he did say could well have been misinterpreted by hotheads in the groups.) Carlson adds, however, that to call the events “insurrection” or “domestic terrorism,” as many Democrats and leftist media talking heads have, is an exaggeration – a major one, I would say! – and warns that Democrats are using the Capitol storming as a “pretext for an unprecedented crackdown on civil liberties.”

Sadly, I fear he is all too correct. I fear for our country, in the next two-to-four years. May God help and protect us!

Church and Culture: the true Covid Crisis of 2020 | Anglican Way Magazine

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Source: Church & Culture: the true Covid Crisis of 2020 | Anglican Way Magazine

While this essay could perhaps be formatted a bit better and concluded a bit more decisively, the points that it raises are nonetheless ones that Christians, and Anglican Christians in particular, need to “read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest“: our temporal future depends upon it – and so, it may well be, does the eternal well-being of many souls.

The role of Christianity in shaping the culture, laws and ultimate identity of both the United States and United Kingdom specifically, and more widely of western civilization, has been central to the emergent intellectual and cultural crisis that may well prove for history the most enduring legacy of the COVID virus…

The seeming zeal… with which bishops closed churches and the State shut down public worship and access to the sacraments has exposed a fundamental crisis about what the fullness of life and its support requires. Is human life really just about mere physical well-being and comfort in the end?

The cooperation of the churches in their own marginalisation is striking and threatens deep change for their influence, unless firmly turned around and challenged. While on a more mundane level, hard questions will soon have to be faced too about the long term consequences of promoting “live streaming” of worship with the express intent that congregations can therefore stay at home!

Indeed.

Political Correctness in the History of the South | Intellectual Takeout

Republicans won't repeal three Confederate state holidays

Source: Political Correctness in the History of the South | Intellectual Takeout

In this insightful essay, Paul Gottfried – editor in chief of Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture, which has been offering cultural commentary since 1977 – describes his reading of the Kennedy brothers’ The South Was Right (now in a new and updated edition) as “an antidote to the PC historiography in which our universities are now awash.”

Noting that “the first part of The South Was Right includes obligatory, predictable attacks on ‘Yankeedom,’ [but] the Kennedy brothers’ discussions of antebellum slavery, the Civil War, and Reconstruction are certainly worth looking at,” Gottfried continues,

The present “leftist ideologues,” more than their predecessors, hate the white South and have worked tirelessly to discredit it, facing no significant opposition. As a result, “everything associated with the traditional, conservative Bible-believing South has been demonized.”

This is especially true since “older forms of Marxism,” the Kennedy brothers write, have been replaced by “Neo-Marxists composed of liberals, progressives, socialists and other social justice warriors.” Such complaints echo my own arguments about the rampaging “post-Marxist Left” that is taking over our country.

Gottfried notes that

The Kennedys produce copious evidence that many Americans, including constitutional jurists, believed prior to 1861 that states had the rights to nullify and secede. This belief persisted among Northerners as well as Southerners, as New England states discussed secession in January 1815, at the Hartford Convention, because of their outrage over the War of 1812.

and continues,

Such details are worth noting not because we can undo what happened in 1865, but because it seems foolish to argue that the South was engaged in “treason” when it seceded. In my mind, a far greater sin than the South’s effort to leave the Union was what was done in response,

reminding us that

The successful campaign to force Southern states back into the Union cost over 750,000 lives and left large sections of the country devastated. This devastation remains for me the most horrendous chunk of American history.

It is indeed. That any American administration, or any portion of America, would go to such horrific lengths to force other Americans who wished to walk apart back into the fold against their will is simply appalling to me. It is like an abusive husband chasing down his wife as she tries to escape, beating her, and forcing her back to the house, rather than allowing her to divorce him.

But I digress…

This is a very well-written and timely piece, and it is well that more people are starting to see the truth! Chronicles is a respected publication, as in Crisis Magazine, mentioned in a previous post; and Intellectual Takeout is a popular website. The discussion is moving out of niche audiences, and beginning to address a larger readership, and that is all to the good, in my opinion.

We may not be able to undo what occurred in 1861-1865, but that does not mean that the rights to nullification and secession are off the table – particularly as more people begin to realize that they were part and parcel of our national (not mere regional / Southern) self-understanding, prior to the War. And they may be the only thing that can save us from another vicious (and the first true U.S.) civil war, in our present age.