On the Insurrection

Yes….an insurrection. A Republican insurrection. Republicans Gone Wild. Republicans breaking and entering, forcibly taking over a government building, and injuring 50 police officers.

When it was Black Lives Matters marching and violence erupted, the Right wanted to label BLM a domestic terrorist group. Now the Left wants to label these Trumper Republicans domestic terrorists.

Much has been written about terrorism in the last twenty years, but I think there is a general consensus among those who study the subject that what usually gives rise to terrorism, whether of the foreign or domestic sort, is the feeling of powerlessness, that there is nothing else that can be done to be heard or bring about change. It is the last resort of the disenfranchised. I offer that by way of explanation not excuse. I have written here before about why resort to violence is neither wise nor justified.

The BLM movement arose because of 400 years of systematic and cultural disenfranchisement of black Americans, culminating this year in some very public killings of black Americans by law enforcement officers. Black Americans were justifiably angry over a history of racism and systemic discrimination and some decided during marches that marching was not enough.

On Wednesday, Trump Republicans gathered in Washington D.C. feeling they had been disenfranchised by an election they believe was fraudulent. Incited by President Trump to march on the Capital, once there many decided that peacefully protesting was not enough and broke in, occupied, and trashed the Capital.

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Thanksgiving With Cotton Mather

I’ve just finished two biographies on Cotton Mather and purchased a third.

Cotton Mather is likely one of the greatest men you’ve never heard of, or if you have heard of him he is probably one of the worst men you never heard of.

If you have heard of Cotton Mather (1663-1728) you have probably heard him portrayed as the instigator behind the Salem witch trials, which means you have really never heard of him. But such false and defamatory portrayals draw clicks on the internet around Halloween, so the characterization remains.

Mather was a Puritan. He was a pastor, a prolific writer, as well as a scientist who first promoted inoculation in America to prevent smallpox. Mather’s writings and influence helped lay the groundwork for the Great Awakening, America’s first great revival.

But to the point of this post, Mather was also a husband and father, and his first two wives died young. The first, Abigail, died following giving birth, and the second, Elizabeth, died of the measles, along with two of their new born twins. Another son was born without an anus, and all Cotton and his wife could do was watch him die. Mather had fifteen children, but only two would outlive him. In other words, Cotton Mather would bury thirteen of his fifteen children.

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A Kingdom Response to COVID-19

We are in the midst of a pandemic.

And while history is no stranger to plagues and pandemics, we have not seen a pandemic like this in America or the world in general in over one-hundred years.

In a previous post, “Will This Be the Church’s Covid-19 Legacy?,” I asked whether the Church would be remembered for being a super-spreader of the virus. It’s a fair question.

But maybe the better question is, “What should the Church’s Covid-19 legacy be?” As one committed to continuing to see the advance of the kingdom of God on earth, I want the Church’s legacy in this pandemic to be a positive one, as it has been in other plagues, such as the Plague of Cyprian and the Black Plague, where the Church actually gained credibility and Jesus-followers as a result of its response to pestilence.

So, here is a best case scenario of how the Church could be remembered 50, 100, 200 years from now if it can pivot in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Viking Travel Journal––Epilogue

Replica Viking longship at Reykjavik museum

On the plane on the way back home, I watched the movie,Tolkien.

I enjoyed the movie, and highly recommend it.

But the movie failed to demonstrate the influence of Christianity in Tolkien’s life and his writing.

It was a fitting end to our Viking Travel Journal.

It reminded me of the uniqueness of the perspective of the GSB blog in general and the GSB travel journals specifically.

Historians write to impress other secular historians.

The travel industry is motivated to entertain the general public.

Neither are interested in showing how King Jesus has transformed and is transforming the world into the place He originally intended.

So, historians delve into Norse mythology hoping to find some nuance others have missed. Tourist guides,seeking to entertain their guests, tell their silly folk legends about trolls and elves. And, as a result, people miss out on the evidence of the most important event that has been in process for the last 2,000 years––the redemption of the planet by Jesus of Nazareth.

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Viking Travel Journal––Day 13

Godafoss, a fulcrum of history

Yesterday I wrote about the pagan chieftain who was instrumental in Iceland adopting Christianity.

His name is Thorgeir Ljosvetningagodi.

If you are wondering, his last name is spelled just like it sounds.

As I mentioned yesterday, after a a day and nights’ contemplation Thorgeir recommended to all the leaders at the assembly that Christianity be adopted and that those who wanted to could continue to practice paganism privately.

When Thorgeir returned to his village after the assembly, he gathered all his pagan idols, walked over to the waterfalls near his village, and threw the idols into the falls, hence the name Godafoss (“Waterfall of the gods”). Continue reading “Viking Travel Journal––Day 13”