Preserving the past

Roger Pearse has a good post up on the historical preservation of digital content here. A snippet:

As I thought about all of this, I started to wonder about the results of my labours.  What will become of the translations that I made, or commissioned, which are all of value?  In every case there is or was no other English translation.  Can anybody find them?

In the past I relied on the decentralised nature of the web.  I was and am very happy for anybody to mirror my content, or to upload it anywhere.  The more the merrier, I thought, and thereby preservation is ensured.

But can anybody find any of this stuff any more?  I wonder, sometimes.  And what happens to my sites, my content, when, in the passage of time, something happens to me?

In the past I never worried about this, because I knew that Archive.org existed, and I felt that it would all get preserved somehow.  But is this true any more?  Are there measures that we should take, those of us working in specialised areas, to preserve our content?  If so, where?

I know myself that I have to work quite hard to preserve even the recent past. Texts, email, Facebook chats…they all take a good deal of work to save if you want to do so.

2020

It is commonplace to talk about what a year this has been, and yet I can only echo that sentiment. As I write this a good friend of mine has Covid, a family I know is suffering with it, and it seems like storm clouds have gathered all around. Due to spending so much time at home, it has felt like a long year, even though I love spending time at home.

All of my life I wondered what would happen to the Church if persecution or suffering came upon it, this year gave me an answer, and it wasn’t good. Instead of repentance, sackcloth, ashes, or a deep reformation and turning to the Scriptures, I saw politics, hatred, infighting, denial, arrogance, and foolishness. It is impossible to generalize about thousands of congregations across the country, let alone the world, but from where I sit I did not see the Church repent or search herself for sin. I saw pastors rushing to tell us that God does not punish nations with things like plagues. I saw congregants leave church rather than wear a mask because of some weird theological or more likely political reason. The idolatry I saw for Donald Trump was unlike anything I would have believed possible from people who should know better, and was akin to the Messianic frenzy that greeted Senator Obama on the campaign trail in 2008. It is a truly depressing time in the Church and the world, although there is a lot of hope on the horizon.

I would like to think that Christians will mature and embrace reason, paired with a deeper dive into the Scripture and history of the Church. However, I generally think that things will continue as they are. There is nothing new under the sun and the condition of humanity in our age is about what it always has been, which is to say poor.

I don’t have much hope for the ACNA and I am generally disengaged from its struggles because of this. Perhaps due to age or life circumstances, there is a weariness that comes with the rancor and failure to change on the part of our churches. Someone said, “Institutions, like organisms, seek survival for themselves and their descendants.” That’s what I see ACNA and the various sub-jurisdictions doing. The Church needs a reformation as badly now as it did 15 years ago, if not more.

OT in the NT

Doug Wilson has a short snippet on marking up his Bible:

“When I was first working through this, I bought a Bible I could mark up well. I then spent a few weeks looking up every passage in the Old Testament that is quoted in the New. Many Bibles will mark such cross-references in the New Testament, but it is rarely done in the Old. I highlighted every quotation from the Old Testament in the New Testament, and then I looked it up in the Old Testament and highlighted it there. Then I wrote in the Old Testament margin where in the New Testament this passage was quoted. When I was done, I had sloppily executed The Apostolic Study Bible. When I was reading in the Old Testament, I could immediately tell if Jesus, Peter, or Paul had ever discussed the passage I was currently wondering about. I would then look at what they said, and the striking thing is that they were consistently surprising. They oftensaid the passage I was reading was not about what I had thought it was” (Heaven Misplaced, p. 95).

I did the same thing to my favorite NAS back in the Nineties and it was and is an invaluable aid to study.

Slovenly Moderns

In his book From Dawn to Decadence, Jacques Barzun uses the term “demotic” to describe our era of decline. Demotic means “of the people.” I was struck by his analysis of casual style, and this is an extended excerpt from the book:

Casualness took many forms, and to wear jeans that were torn and stained was casual, but only at the start. When one could go to a shop and buy the jeans ready-made with spots and patches, cut short and unraveled at the edges, a new intention was evident. When young women put on an old sweater, pearls, and evening pumps together, when young men went about in suits of which the sleeves covered their hands and the legs of the trousers were trod underfoot, they made known a rejection of elegance, a denial of feminine allure, and a sympathy for the “disadvantaged.” Such clothes were not cheap; their style was anti-propriety, anti-bourgeois; it implied siding with the poor, whose clothes are hand-me-downs in bad condition. To appear unkempt, undressed, and for perfection unwashed, is the key signature of the whole age. As in earlier times the striving was to look and act like “quality,” whether aristocrat or upper bourgeois, now the effort was to look like one marching along the bottom line of society. The hitherto usual motive behind self-adornment-vanity-had the advantage of concealing physical blemishes, thereby showing regard for the onlookers’ sensibilities. The reverse, the self purposely uncared for, expressed at once demotic anti-snobbery and demotic egotism.

The Unfitting appealed to the young but was not their monopoly. A sample of the casual style among adults had been to sport a business suit at the opera; this expanded into the open collar and no tie or jerseys and T-shirts almost anywhere, even in church. Airport crowds offered a typical fashion show. Where office workers were still required by their employer’s rules to wear business suits, “free Friday” relaxed them to usher in the weekend. In schools, extreme unfitness caused a reversal. Dress codes were enforced despite protests and strikes, so as to put an end to the distraction caused by the bizarre and sometimes indecent garb that the pupils had devised, unchecked by their parents. It turned out that discipline in classes and hallways improved, further evidence that the unfitting was an aspect of the unconditioned life.

Clothing was but the most obvious sign of the demotic style. Other choices expressed the same taste, for example, getting married underground in a subway station or around a pool, in swimming suits. And since unfitness meant freedom, other conventions should be defied, notably those classed as manners. The word was seldom used and the practice highly variable. Business firms and airlines thanked their customers effusively, but civility between persons was scant, especially in cities. 

Deference toward women had decreased and was sometimes resented by feminists as condescending. Nor were the elderly entitled to more courtesy than other equals. The curious use of first names soon after acquaintance was a convention that showed the demotic paradox about convention itself.

The need to hurry, real or imagined, had created fast food, available at all hours, and it begot eating and drinking everywhere at any time. Shops, public offices, libraries, and museums had to post “No Eating or Drinking” signs to protect their premises from accidents and the disposal of refuse. The consumer society consumed, and up to a point one can sympathize with the impulse. In a heedless, uncivil world the driven needed to look after their wants as soon as they arose, to pay themselves back, as it were, by self-coddling. The indulgence was after all but the extension of the habit of EMANCIPATION. So many curbs and hindrances to desire had been removed-the legal and conventional by new laws and new conventions, the natural ones by techne with the aid of science-that the practice of permissiveness sprang in fact from the workings of welfare, coupled with the power of doing innumerable things by pushing a button.

Pleasure first and fast in a society that oppressed only unintentionally was bound to make instinctive rebels. At work, criticism or reproof was felt to be intolerable; there is a human right to make mistakes. Observers spoke of the decline of authority, but how could it survive in a company of equals? Distrust attached to anything that retained a shadow of authoritativeness-old people, old ideas, old conceptions of what a leader or a teacher was meant to do.

I realized that my youth came at the tail end of this process, when the last mores were crumbling. The idealization of the Sixties by the media colored my early reality. I sometimes think I will spend my whole life attempting to undo the foolishness I took for truth when I was young.

Matthew Weiner on America

A few years ago I started reading John Updike’s books and they really spoke to me, not in a morally uplifting way, but because they show what I think is a slice of reality regarding late 20th-century America. In the same way, I love Mad Men, not due to any moral lesson, but as a window into what the last century may have been like for some people. The near past is the hardest for us to decipher, because we are too close to it and yet so far away from it – what was 1992 like? I barely remember myself and would find it hard to reconstruct accurately. Anyway, Matthew Weiner discusses aspirational America in this interview, and I love his take on it:

Everyone loves the Horatio Alger version of life. What they don’t realize is that these transformations begin in shame, because poverty feels shameful. It shouldn’t, but everyone who’s experienced it confirms this. Sometimes people say, I didn’t know we were poor—Don Draper knows he’s poor, very much in the model of Iacocca or Walton, who came out of the Great Depression, out of really humble beginnings. Or like Conrad Hilton, on the show. These men don’t take no for an answer, they build these big businesses, these empires, but really it’s all based on failure, insecurity, and an identity modeled on some abstract ideal of white power. I’ve always said this is a show about becoming white. That’s the definition of success in America—becoming a WASP. A WASP male.

The driving question for the series is, Who are we? When we talk about “we,” who is that? In the pilot, Pete Campbell has this line, “Adding money and education doesn’t take the rude edge out of people.” Sophisticated anti-Semitism. I overheard that line when I was a schoolteacher. The person, of course, didn’t know they were in the presence of a Jew. I was a ghost. Certain male artists like to show that they’re feminists as a way to get girls. That’s always seemed pimpy to me. I sympathize with feminism the same way I identify with gay people and with people of color, because I know what it’s like to look over the side of the fence and then to climb over the fence and to feel like you don’t belong, or be reminded at the worst moment that you don’t belong.

Take Rachel Menken, the department-store heiress in the first season of Mad Men. She’s part of what I call the nose-job generation. She’s assimilated. She probably doesn’t observe the Sabbath or any of these other things that her parents did. That generation had a hard time because they were trying desperately to be buttoned-down and preppy and—this is my parent’s generation—white as could be. They were embarrassed by their parents. This is the story of America, this assimilation. Because guess what, this guy Don has the same problems. He’s hiding his identity, too. That’s why Rachel Menken understands Don, because they’re both trying desperately to be white American males.

CANA becomes CONNAM

I just saw this:

Appointment of Bishop Felix Orji as the Coordinating Bishop of the Church of Nigeria North American Mission (CONNAM)

The Rt Rev’d Dr Felix Orji, the Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of the West in the United States has been appointed as the Coordinating Bishop of the Church of Nigeria North American Mission (CONNAM) with immediate effect.

By this appointment Bishop Orji will coordinate the mission of the Church of Nigeria in the United States which operates in two Dioceses: Anglican Diocese of the Trinity (ADOTT) under the Rt Rev’d Amos Fagbamiye and the Anglican Diocese of the West under the Rt Rev’d Felix Orji.

The appointment was signed by the Primate of All Nigeria, His Grace, the Most Rev’d Henry C. Ndukuba on Friday October 16, 2020.

Congratulations to the Rt Rev’d Felix Orji, the Coordinating Bishop of CONNAM.

The LORD be with you.

The Ven. Paul Dajur, PhDGeneral

Secretary CON

I wonder what prompted this change?

An old catechism

I can’t remember where this came from, probably Credenda/Agenda. Maybe Doug Jones wrote it? Anyway, I found it in my files.

Opening

A. Why do the heathen rage?

The Lord has called them to a feast, quite fat

with milk and honey, rich with meat and bread,

but they would rather die than take a bite.

B. Why do they love the dark and not the party?

The dark helps them pretend they are alone,

where they can play the king of all,

where no one pushes back against their face.

C. And why does God offer a feast?

God is a feast: come taste and see; sweeter

than honey. He is a party, a dance

named Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

D. But what sort of dance is the Lord?

The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit dance

like heroes after triumph, King David,

and those women whirling at God’s wedding.

E. Wait, why does God have a wedding?

His joy bursts out, spilling; He wants to share

the pleasure of this dance. The Spirit woos;

the Father calls; the Son seeks out His bride.

Community

F. Why do Father, Son, and Spirit enjoy each other so much?

They have never been alone. Forever

side-by-side and through-and-through; they

have no secrets, and know each other inside out.

G. But some people who live long together despise one another.

But Father, Son, and Holy Spirit

give up life for one another, a sacrifice,

a gift received by each with greater thanks.

H. Why do they sacrifice for one another?

Each counts the other better, like friends who

brave a burning house to free a failing

friend; he cannot live without their breath.

I. But does that mean that God can die?

God cannot die; His sacrifice gives life,

more and more, a miracle of glory,

a light upholding light for evermore.

J. What do we call this mysterious connection of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit?
This sacrifice, this freedom, this excess
of joy that shapes all things, this dance of God,
this bond, this heart divine, we call: love.

Unity

K. So the three Gods love each other very much?

No, nein, nyet. Only one God lives and moves

and holds his own. Father, Son, and Spirit

are one, not three. Simple math is too loose.

L. Does this three-is-one not hurt your head?

No, we love the thrill. I am no judge

of God; no human mind would make this up.

We’re too bland and flat to match His art.

M. But still, can you make any sense of God’s oneness?

“The Lord our God is One” because the Son

indwells the Father, Father indwells Son,

Spirit in the Father, Spirit in the Son.

N. Is God also one from some other angle?

The Father brings forth the Son, begotten,

not made; the Son sends out the Spirit,

almighty, advancing from the Father.

O. Why is the oneness of God important?
We need not fear a thousand gods at war;
no petty squabbles with Zeus and Hera;
our One a handshake, a bond of harmony.

Particularity

P. So this one God must have three parts or wear three masks, a mask for Father, one for Son, one for Spirit?

No, nein, nyet. He wears no masks; God’s truly

three, each unique. The Father’s not the Son,

nor Spirit, Son, nor Father, Spirit.

Q. How is the Father unique?

The Father’s known for origins, beginnings,

and the past. He gets the story started,

then betrayed, and speaks the Son, begotten.

R. How is the Son unique?

The Son is known for body, fully God

in flesh, the present, faithful Word, the king

and priest who comes to win his bride.

S. How is the Spirit unique?

The Spirit’s known for power, giving life

to bones, the future. He brings relief and fire,

perfects with beauty, completes the story.

T. So some divine persons are better and some submit?
No, all are equal, wholly God on par,
none better, stronger, but the Son submits,
Spirit proceeds, none grasping for equality.

History

U. How, then, does God begin to draw us to His wedding?

At first, He pressed His face through matter,

His grin seen in whales, lions, ostriches,

that style shown in horses, locusts, marriage.

V. What marriage in creation is this?

Adam and Eve were married in the Garden,

a king and queen, enjoying peaches, hawks,

each other, sent to build bridges, phones, toys.

W. Why did they never accomplish these things?

They grew impatient, ungrateful, fussy;

they pictured God as simple, stingy, a rule.

God closed His dance and sent them off to grow.

X. Where did they go? What did they do?

Their numbers grew, and some loved Oneness,

as tyrants, others loved the Many, as

fragments; they could not dance the One-in-Three.

Y. How would they ever return to God’s wedding?
God gave them wedding gifts: sweet law, good land,
and death; he gave big piles of promises,
free desert trips—but no groom, no Son or Spirit.


Z. Who could overcome such thirst? such darkness? such death?
The Trinity unveiled in flesh, in Jesus Christ,
the long awaited groom, the Son of God,
who came to free His dirtied bride, weeping
and torn, now longing for the dance. He
slayed her dragon, poured her water, fed her
bread and wine. He brought her new white clothes
and a new white name, Church. He pulled her close
and whispered: Rage no more, just kiss the Son.

History

Y. How could the dirtied bride enter the Son’s wedding?

Christ killed her sin upon His bloody cross;

Like Father and the Spirit, triune life

is death and gift, a dance of sacrifice.

X. Where did the Son take her? What does she do?

United to His wife, He raised her from

the dead, ascended into heaven, and joined

the dance, the fellowship of Trinity.

W. How can the bride not fall again, like in the Garden or the desert?

Unlike Mosaic saints, who strained without

a will, God poured the Spirit in His Church,

empowering us for loyalty and love.

V. What is the purpose of this marriage of Son and Church?

This new Adam and Eve pick up the work

abandoned by the first—to raise a godly

seed, expand the feast, and build a garden city.

U. How does God send us from the wedding?

He loads our arms with water, wine, and bread

and sends us cheering down the highway,

to fill the wedding hall with guests

Particularity

T. How do connections in the Church somewhat reflect the Trinity?

The Church is one, a body joined by bone,

skin, and blood; some of us knees, some eyes, all

dependent, no toes surging to be lips.

S. How does the Spirit shape the Church?

The Holy Spirit changes us, step-by-step,

matures us for divine surprises now

and evermore, expectations unimagined.

R. How does the Son shape the Church?

The Son gives His body, His righteousness,

so we can share His throne beside the Father,

and join the song against His enemies.

Q. How does the Father shape the Church?

The Father calls the Church to love the past,

learn its story, overcome, hear the Son,

and boldly walk through earth and heaven.

P. How do the real differences between Father, Son, and Spirit reflect life?

God sends us death, disease, and war to help

us love the burning chasms bright within

His glory, depths beyond compare.

Unity

O. Why is God’s oneness important for the Church?

The Son prayed for union within His bride,

as Father dwelt in Him, and He in Father,

and so one day our splinters will connect.

N. How do we indwell one another?

We indwell by giving up our life and strength

for others, making them more free and full,

and they, in love, return the gift to us.

M. What does giving up life and strength look like?

The laws of God express the love of God,

they show us sacrifice and loyalty,

tenderness and jealousy, faith, hope, and gift.

L. How do we learn these mysteries of love?

We do not learn them in a lab or draw

them in a proof. The Lord reveals these things

in Scripture and leads the Church to truth.

K. How does Scripture go about showing Father, Son, and Spirit are one?

Scripture calls each one God and marks their work:

creating, saving, judging, all divine,

while saying none beside or like Him lives.

Community

J. Why can’t hermit-like gods of other religions love like the Trinity?

They “lived” alone from all eternity,

not sharing, giving, speaking to an equal;

they had no social skills, just solitude.

I. Should we think of three first then one, or one first then three?

God’s mystery declares for both, as one

ancient said, I cannot think one without

the three, nor three without the one.

H. Is the will of God arbitrary, able to change any which way?

Loner gods live like that, with no one else

to press against, but Father, Son, and Spirit

submit their wills in love, creating one.

G. Why is it often so hard for humans to get along together?

The modern world believes we’re little gods,

each alone, each supreme, each full, each a bead,

disconnected, rolling for no goal.

F. How can we imitate how the Father, Son, and Spirit enjoy each other?

For us, love must cover many little sins,

consider others as better than ourselves,

and keep our eyes on what’s important.

Closing

E. Why do Father, Son, and Spirit wish to share their life?

They find each other most intriguing—artists,

after all, of eagles in air, serpents on rock,

ships across sea, and men and women kissing.

D. Why does God laugh at those who reject His gifts?

Loyalty: the Son turns tables for the Father,

the Spirit defends the Christ, the Father

mocks those who seek the Son’s inheritance.

C. Why does God give us a banquet in front of our enemies?

To show the smallness of their hearts; they so

hate their bodies and its hunger, they cannot

dance or bear the triumph of His grace.

B. How do we come to love the wedding and not the dark?

By nothing in ourselves; God’s foolishness

undoes ours; He gives new eyes; some He drags,

some He pushes, many come born inside.

A. What is man, that Thou art mindful of him?
And why has He crowned us with such glory?
Praise God’s excellent name—Father all-gracious,
victor, Son our mansion, Spirit our breath.

This is why you avoid tainted leaders

Ravi Zacharias's Ministry Investigates Claims of Sexual Misconduct at Spas  | News & Reporting | Christianity Today

Over a year ago I expressed my disappointment that Ravi Zacharias was being invited to speak at the ACNA Assembly; you can read the post here. Lo and behold, the now dead Zacharias is being exposed more and more. One of the worst things about his sexual sins is that they caused others to give up on the faith:

One of the women said she stopped believing in God for a while after her encounter with Zacharias but has returned to faith after extensive counseling. Another said she has not been to church since and can’t trust religious institutions. It took her seven years of therapy to come to the conclusion that what Zacharias did to her was not her fault, she said.

The third moved away from Atlanta, changed names, changed careers, and never mentioned what happened—not even to her closest family—until she was contacted by CT.

“I put all of that behind me,” she said. “I don’t want money and don’t want them to even know who I am. The only reason I’m talking is for other women out there who have been hurt by him.”

ACNA messed up by inviting the fraudulent apologist because his history was already public knowledge, it was not some big secret. The latest stories from his spas are revolting and new information, but there was enough out there at the time to see that we should steer clear of him.

The other speaker I was worried about was Archbishop Mbanda. He has shown his true colors many times but western Anglicans are generally too ignorant to connect the dots and see his problems.

Who we ally with can say a lot about who we are. ACNA lacks wisdom in this area.

The Culture Wars Weren’t Real

Writing in the February 9, 2018 TLS, Julius Krein says:

…the culture wars, in a critical sense, were never real. The Right did not “lose” and the Left did not “win.” The true winners were Goldman Sachs, Amazon and Facebook, and their victory was inevitable. What was disputed all along were merely the terms under which a neoliberal political economy would be legitimated.

LLDM history

I first heard of La Luz del Mundo (LLDM) in 2018 when someone told me about a group trying to buy land in Flowery Branch, Georgia, which was creating controversy. Knowing nothing about them, I started doing some research. One great source of information I found was Native Evangelism In Central Mexico by Hugo and Jean Nutini. The basic history of the sect is as follows.

The Spanish La Luz del Mundo means “the Light of the World” in English.[1] The full name is the Church of the Living God, Foundation, and Support of the Truth (La Iglesia del Dios Vivo Columna y Apoyo de la Verdad), abbreviated to La Luz del Mundo. The sect was founded in 1926 in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. The founder was a man named Eusebio Joaquín González.

Eusebio Joaquín González, aka Aarón

González was baptized by two Pentecostal prophets going by the names of Saulo and Silas, who had themselves converted to a sect founded by Carmen Valenzuela who became a Pentecostal while in Los Angeles. When González was baptized he was named Abraham, however, on April 6, 1926, “he heard God tell him, “Here is a man whose name will be Aarón.” The clamor made him tremble, and, being very disturbed by this, he awakened his wife, who said she had heard nothing. Eusebio Joaquín went back to sleep, and a thundering celestial vision told him, “Your name will be Aarón.” He saw a hand with the index finger pointing at him. With a great splash of brilliance, the celestial vision told him again, “Your name will be Aarón, and your blessed name will be known and famous throughout the world.”[2] Amatulli Valente 1989:7–8 cited in Nutini, Hugo G.. Native Evangelism in Central Mexico (pp. 74-75).

González/Abraham/Aarón moved to Guadalajara, Jalisco where he tried out the Baptist and Congregational churches but eventually moved on to start his own church. As the church grew, “…Eusebio Joaquín realized that he had not been properly baptized by Saulo and Silas, who had done so in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, but not in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. On July 18, 1927, he baptized himself by total immersion and took the name of Aarón, as henceforth he was referred to by his followers.”[3] Nutini p. 75.

Mary Puckett describes what happened next: “In 1954, Apostle Aarón, founder and first Apostle of the Luz del Mundo (LDM), was granted a tract of land from the government of Guadalajara to establish a colony reserved for LDM members. Securing this grant was made possible thanks to Aarón’s indigenous Mexican background and the church’s origins in Mexico. The LDM was posited as an authentically Mexican church in contrast to the Catholic Church, accused of participating in the widespread government corruption which had inspired the Mexican Revolution. In return for the grant, the LDM agreed to contribute to the development of Mexico’s infrastructure…”[4] Puckett, p. 10.

Aarón died in 1964, and his son Samuel Joaquín succeeded him as the next apostle.

References

References
1 The full name is the Church of the Living God, Foundation, and Support of the Truth (La Iglesia del Dios Vivo Columna y Apoyo de la Verdad), abbreviated to La Luz del Mundo.
2 Amatulli Valente 1989:7–8 cited in Nutini, Hugo G.. Native Evangelism in Central Mexico (pp. 74-75).
3 Nutini p. 75.
4 Puckett, p. 10.