C.S. Lewis On Old Books

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“Every age has its own outlook. It is specially good at seeing certain truths and specially liable to make certain mistakes. We all, therefore, need the books that will correct the characteristic mistakes of our own period… The only palliative is to keep the clean sea breeze of the centuries blowing through our minds, and this can only be done by reading old books. Not, of course, that there is any magic about the past. People were no cleverer then than they are now; they made as many mistakes as we. But not the same mistakes.” ~ C.S. Lewis, “On the Reading of Old Books”

Is it time for Kings to replace Democracy? Four arguments from a Christian viewpoint.

Is it time for Kings to replace Democracy? Four arguments from a Christian viewpoint.

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I am, I have to admit, a complex and at times somewhat contradictory-seeming individual! One of the ways in which this plays out is my love of and devotion to the Constitutional, representative Republic established by our Founders (despite the fact that its government has diverged in many ways from what they originally intended), combined with my appreciation and admiration for Monarchy, in principle if not always in practice. Our present election cycle seems to be making the monarchic option look even better!

As my friend Ryan Hunter has put it,

“I believe, and thousands of years of history have shown, that a man or woman instructed from youth in the art of government, a person who is trained from childhood to see their rule as a sacred duty, a solemn service, and a public stewardship rather than an earned right, governs more benignly, sincerely, capably, and nobly than someone who has either taken power through brute force, violent revolution, or contested elections. Democratic elections are an extraordinary thing in that they propose that, upon being elected, a politician who has previously been partisan, divisive, and factious will somehow, almost magically, cease to be partisan, divisive, and factious upon taking office. I believe it is the very height of naivete to believe that a popularly elected, partisan politician can somehow serve as a supra-political, unifying figure.”

While I do not agree with all aspects of the linked essay’s critique of current society — and I disagree rather strongly with his negative assessment of Freemasonry! — this is nonetheless a very interesting consideration of the Biblical and theological arguments for (and in one case, against) monarchy, from a Judeo-Christian perspective. Needless to say, if you do not come from that tradition, you may not find them convincing! Or, for that matter, even if you do… but you may still find them interesting.

In particular, I found the author’s counter to one of the most commonly-cited Biblical texts against monarchy very much in line with my own thoughts on the subject:

“… those who use I Samuel 8 to argue against monarchy certainly cannot use it to argue for democratic republics as we know them today. The system under Samuel was a theocracy, a nation under specific laws from God. Whatever is argued for today, whether it be democracies, republics, loose confederations, or pseudo-anarchism, to argue that Israel before its monarchy modeled the ideal government is to argue for something even more radical for today’s sensibilities than monarchy. A few actually do this, but everyone else needs to chill a little bit.”

And as he points out, “these four arguments set forth here are not expected to win the day politically any time soon. I’m not even willing to say that I am a monarchist. However, I do believe that the case for democracy is not air tight, if the starting point is the Scriptures or church tradition. And the way things are going today in the U.S. and the west, every idea, however old or shocking, needs to be reconsidered as an option.”

The Queen at 90: A countrywoman at home with the family, horses and her ‘rock’ Philip

The Queen at 90: A countrywoman at home with the family, horses and her ‘rock’ Philip

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Nice to see, not only something about the “private” life of Her Majesty, but also about Prince Philip — sadly cut out of this picture — who I find both interesting and admirable. Nephew of the late Lord Mountbatten (last Viceroy of India), he is both fit and energetic at 95! It was he who drove the Obamas (and H.M. The Queen, of course) around, this last visit, and of him Her Majesty has said: “He is someone who doesn’t take easily to compliments but he has, quite simply, been my strength and stay all these years, and I, and his whole family, and this and many other countries, owe him a debt greater than he would ever claim or we shall ever know.”

Happy 90th Birthday to Her Majesty, The Queen!

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The Queen meets well wishers during a walkabout close to Windsor Castle in Berkshire as she celebrates her 90th birthday. The British Monarchy

One of the things that I think is awesome about the British Commonwealth (approximately, though not precisely, coterminous with the former British Empire) is how epically “multicultural” it is — and in the good and true sense of a myriad of cultures and ethnicities being celebrated and allowed to flourish in their own historic spheres, not all mashed and muddled together everywhere — which to me is the precise opposite of true diversity.

And because of this, The Queen is loved in many places beyond the British Isles (even as a handful of Brits find it fashionable to trash the Monarchy at home, in the same way that some idiots here trash our American history and heritage). Here is but one example of this, from many I’ve seen among the birthday wishes for Her Majesty on the various British Monarchy-related pages:

Terry Otonye Igoni writes on Facebook, “The entire Niger Delta and Brass Kingdom of Nigeria humbly wishing HRH our mother Queen Elizabeth who was born on this day the year 1926. Long live the Monarch… Long live the Commonwealth of 53 independent countries and 2.2 billion citizens.”

Something about that just really touches me!

Four Generations of England’s Royal Family

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On the happy occasion of Her Brittanic Majesty’s 90th Birthday! The reigning Monarch, Sovereign Lady of Great Britain and the Commonwealth Realms, Queen Elizabeth II, with her heirs: Prince Charles, Prince William, and Prince George!

Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II

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Though a magnificently Monarchical picture, this Royal photo makes Her Majesty look much more severe than I like to think of her. Still, it is not entirely inappropriate, given her position as Sovereign not only of the United Kingdom, but a full sixteen Commonwealth Realms, including Canada, New Zealand, and Australia, and head of the Commonwealth of Nations, also known as the British Commonwealth and Anglosphere, with no less than 53 nations (personally, I think there should be 54 nations, and seventeen Realms, but I know not all Americans would agree with me…). The sun may have set on the British Empire, but that does not mean that Great Britain is not without significance in the world, or its Monarch without influence!

Washington Post: “Why the Church should neither cave nor panic about the decision on gay marriage”

“The church will need in the years ahead to articulate what we believe about marriage; we cannot assume that people agree with us, or even understand us. Let’s not simply talk about marriage in terms of values or culture or human flourishing. Let’s talk about marriage the way Jesus and the apostles taught us to — as bound up with the gospel itself, a picture of the union of Christ and his church (Eph. 5:32).

As we do so, we must not just articulate our views of marriage, we must embody a gospel marriage culture. We have done a poor job of that in the past. Too many of our marriages have been ravaged by divorce. Too often we’ve neglected church discipline in the cases of those who have unrepentantly destroyed their marriages. We must repent of our failings and picture to the world what marriage is meant to be, and keep the light lit to the old paths…

Permanent, stable marriages with families with both a mother and a father may well make us seem freakish in 21st-century culture.

We should not fear that.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2015/06/26/why-the-church-should-neither-cave-nor-panic-about-the-decision-on-gay-marriage/?postshare=3401435343561636