The Clintons Lie. So Why Is This News?

The new biography about Hillary Clinton by Carl Bernstein promises to be an unflattering portrait.  There is no surprise in this.  Such have been written in the past.  The difference is in the source.  Carl Bernstein, of Watergate/All the President’s Men fame, is no neocon or conservative of any other kind.  So why are the liberals (including former Clinton supporter David Geffen) trashing their own?

It would be a long business to lay everything out, but here are some ideas:

  • It’s not about electability.  Hillary may be polarising, but she has a formidable machine behind her that is capable of destroying just about everything that gets in its way.  She is electable.  The Republicans know this.
  • It’s not about ideology.  Hillary is the true leftist of the Clinton pair; Bill is an opportunist, a product of a culture that doesn’t know what the meaning of the word ideology is.
  • It is about control.  The central problem the left has with the Clintons is that, when the latter get in power, it is their agenda that gets forwarded, not that of their myriad of special interest groups.  In some ways they are like Stalin: outside of the USSR he was the embodiment of communism, but inside he had no problem liquidating many loyal communists (including Leon Trotsky, who was hounded into exile and then murdered.)  The left still believes that, out there, there is a true believer who will carry out a pure ideology (even when they have different priorities on what that ideology is!)
  • It is about a rivalry, one between the Clintons and George Soros.  Barack Obama is Soros’ man, a "Manchurian Candidate" of sorts.  Combined with the excitement he has created with the many disaffected in his own party, and you have the scenario for a real contest, which is what we have now.

In the 1990’s the left stuck with Bill Clinton over his many lies about his scandals.  The whole Monica Lewinsky business, for example, destroyed feminism’s credibility even as the feminists stuck with Clinton.  Now the left is having second thoughts.  But they should be careful: it’s fun to see the Clintons have a contest, but there’s no guarantee that the Soros-backed alternative will be an improvement.

At the Inlet: September, Part 2 (A traitor in the midst)

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The following week, Terry and Darlene were getting towards the end of their stack when the door knocked.  Annette entered; they both stood and said, “Your Majesty.”

“Don’t be so formal, ladies,” Annette said.  We’ve got something important to discuss.”

“Oh,” Darlene said, a little worried.

“My lady-in-waiting was down at the fish market, and saw Reverend James Woolsey and a younger man disembarking off of the ship from Alemara.  She made inquiry and discovered that the other man was his son Thor.  She also found out that he was here to see the Canon—they’re staying with him—and the Bishop.  I found this highly distressing, after the way he carried on during his last visit.”

“It’s more than distressing,” Terry said.

“What do you mean by that?” Annette asked.

“The only reason why Woolsey has the position he does is because the Verecundan government let him,” Terry observed.  “To get that, he had to agree with the Six Statements.”

“You mean the ones George talked about on the trip?” Darlene asked.

“The same,” Terry responded.  “He can’t really be any kind of Christian and agree with them.  Moreover, the last time he was here, he came with my brother—which meant that he was an agent of their government.  And, as we all know, elements of that government are still very active in Verecunda.”

“Then why has the Canon invited them here?” Darlene asked.

“Perhaps Terry has already answered that question,” Annette said gravely.  They looked at each other.  “I think we have a serious problem here,” the Queen resumed.  “I know my son is much enamoured with the Canon, but”—

“You think that Desmond is into something serious?” Darlene asked.

“The only way to find out,” Terry said, “is to have him investigated.  I learned the hard way that this place is good at doing that.”

There was another pause in the conversation.  “I think Terry’s right,” Annette broke the silence with, “but let’s do a little research first.  I’ll ask Norman Cameron to check our current files.  I wonder if there’s anything else we can do…”

“Isn’t the Princess Catherine in town?” Darlene asked.

“Yes, but why?” Annette asked.

“She’s fresh from Verecunda,” Darlene observed.  “Maybe she would know some things we don’t have.  And maybe she might know something about Thor too.”

“Then you, Terry, need to spend some time with her,” Annette directed.

“What’s she in town for, anyway?” Terry queried.

“The common currency agreement with ourselves, the Drahlans and the Alemarans,” Darlene answered.  “We finally worked it out to everyone’s—and most importantly the Alemarans, since it’s their currency—satisfaction.”

“The finance ministers and bank heads are having a state dinner tonight—the King and I are attending.  I’ll just ask her to come to the Sea Garden afterwards and meet with you,” Annette said.

“Then it’s done,” Terry said.  “I’ll be there.”

Annette faced Darlene directly.  “Darlene, I know we’ve had our differences, and you love my son more than life itself, but don’t tell him anything about this until I’ve sorted it out with his father.  Let him take care of it.”  Darlene looked at Terry, who nodded yes in support.

“As you wish,” Darlene replied to her mother-in-law.

“And, of course,” Annette continued, looking at Terry, “don’t say anything to Julian about it.  If he’s involved in anything—and I doubt it seriously—the reason is obvious.  If he isn’t, it’s for his own protection.”

“I understand.  Why don’t we have prayer over this matter?” Terry asked.  They did so and then departed.

Terry for her part had time to freshen up a bit before joining Julian at the organ for Evening Prayer.  Desmond let James Woolsey deliver the homily; Terry remarked to Julian that it was dead on arrival.  Afterwards they wandered towards the narthex to see Desmond and to greet his guests.

“So this is the little woman that brought down the greatest nation the Island ever knew,” James Woolsey said, looking up at Terry.”

“I couldn’t have done it all by myself,” Terry observed.

“No, that’s part of the problem,” Thor responded.  “There are too many people like you on this Island.”

“Let’s not spoil this fine evening,” Desmond interrupted.  “There’s an excellent feast waiting for us.”  He turned to Julian and said, “The Cathedral kitchen is closed—I wanted the cook’s undivided attention on this matter.”  With that the three walked off towards the deanery, leaving Julian and Terry in the narthex.

“That was rather rude of them to say,” Julian said, turning to his love.

“Par for the course,” Terry sighed.  Their distaste of Desmond’s guests faded into the oblivion of their love for each other.  They joined their hands, lefts to rights, and just stood and stared at each other in silence.  The sun was going down, shining through the main entrance to the Cathedral, nicely framing their tall and slender figures, both clothed in black as if to match.  They were experiencing a moment that words could not do justice to; only a kiss could communicate what they felt.

Coming back down to earth, Terry said, “Let’s go to my aunt and uncle’s, since Desmond has commandeered the cook.”

“That’s a splendid idea,” Julian agreed, and with that they left the Cathedral hand in hand.

They arrived at the restaurant; it was moderately busy.  As they walked in, they saw none other than the Bishop and his wife Leona waiting for their meal.

“Good evening, sir,” Julian said, walking up to the table with Terry.

“Dear Julian,” the Bishop addressed him.  “And Miss Marlowe.  “The Cathedral’s fare not good enough?”

“The Canon closed the kitchen,” Terry replied.  “We had to do something.”

“His guests,” Julian added.

“Oh, them,” the Bishop said in disgust.

“Why don’t you join us?” Leona broke in.  The Bishop didn’t look very happy with the invitation, but Leona was only one of two people in this world who could bring the Bishop to heel, so Julian and Terry were able to sit down.

“That’s very kind of you, Mrs. Collingswood,” Julian said.  They engaged in light talk about the weather and other things.

“You didn’t seem very pleased at the Canon’s guests,” Terry observed.

“Why should I be?” the Bishop responded.  “I have no idea why Desmond is putting me through this again.  I gave my firm answer when Canon Woolsey was here the last time, with your obnoxious brother, I believe.”

“That’s him,” Terry quipped.

“Talking with Woolsey is almost as bad as going to Lambeth,” the Bishop continued.  “Every trip I get the same questions—why don’t you change your prayer book?  Why don’t you ordain women?  Why don’t you get involved in social justice?  Why are you so tightly integrated with an absolute monarchy?  Why do you have an ecclesiastical constabulary?  I dread the next one, because I’ll probably have to take Desmond with me, and he wants to do all this and more.  But, he’s His Highness’ favourite, so there isn’t much to be done about it.”

“I’m not sure, since she is new to our Communion, whether she is familiar with the specific problem of the Anglican Church of Verecunda,” Julian came in.

“Oh, yes,” the Bishop replied.  “The problem is both simple and complicated.  The current Bishop of Verecunda is a man named Farnsworth—splendid fellow, too liberal in my opinion, but certainly an improvement over Woolsey.  The government in Verecunda put tremendous pressure on our church—and the others, as you well know from your Roman Catholic friends—to conform to their whole idea of life and politics.  About ten years ago, the government gave an ultimatum to our church to make changes in their doctrine and liturgy—this in the wake of the changes already made along the lines of those of, say, the Episcopal Church in the States.  Those changes would have put them in conformity with what we now call the Six Statements.  Bishop Farnsworth refused, so they started vandalising churches and arresting ministers and vestrymen that agreed with him.  Farnsworth and his wife got on an airplane and fled to the mainland.  Since he was the senior cleric, Woolsey became the leader of the church, at least in the government’s eyes.  That didn’t stop them from closing all but one of our churches subsequent to that, although by then many of our parishioners were busy with other religious activities.

“With the end of the regime in Verecunda, in principle Bishop Farnsworth should return and re-establish the church as it was before.  Unfortunately, Woolsey has tried for the last decade to force Farnsworth into retirement and have himself consecrated Bishop of Verecunda.  In this he has been assisted by Farnsworth’s health; he is quite frail, and lives in a retirement home.  My counterparts in Alemara and I have refused to consecrate Woolsey for any reason, but he has supporters on the mainland.  They have threatened to consecrate him, but even they do not have the face to intervene in the affairs of another province; the three provinces on the Island have an agreement regarding consecration, and we have enough bishops to consecrate a new one.  So this is our stalemate.”

“And I would suppose that things are complicated,” Terry added, “by the fact that Verecundan territory is now split amongst three jurisdictions, all of which regard the remnants of the Anglican Church of Verecunda as agents of the previous government.  I can’t believe any of them would regard Woolsey’s consecration in a positive light.”

The Bishop gave Terry an astonished look as their food came to the table.  The Bishop gave a standard Anglican blessing and they started to eat.

“You know quite a lot about these things,” Leona said to Terry.

“His and Her Highnesses and I were involved in bringing things to their present state,” Terry answered.  “The Collinans and Aloxans are my friends—without them, we wouldn’t be here.  If I can help with them, I would be glad to.”

“I hope that won’t be necessary,” the Bishop said.

“Evidently, you’ve got quite a special person in your life,” Leona told Julian.

“I certainly think so,” Julian answered nervously.

“Dear Julian is a fine man,” observed the Bishop.  “He has good judgment.  If I had doubts, I would have stopped the relationship.”  That remark raised everyone’s eyebrows.  “In any case, I find it hard to see what Julian finds in common with a person such as Miss Marlowe, given the vast differences in their background and religious temperaments.”

“Maybe they like what they see,” Leona cheerily chimed in.  “I saw them in the narthex coming to dinner—they were just staring at each other most of the time.  They make such a handsome couple.”  The Bishop was feeling quite outnumbered at this point.

“I don’t think it’s as difficult as it looks,” Julian came back.  “The event that really moved things along—for me, at least—was the Bishop’s directive for Terry’s catechisation.”

“That was supposed to be a joint effort of both you and your brother,” the Bishop replied.

“Desmond dumped it on Julian,” Terry said brusquely.

“He hasn’t done a confirmation class since the cease-fire,” Julian followed up.  “I had the full responsibility of Terry’s instruction in the doctrines of our church.”

“So tell me, dear Julian, how did you manage to turn a catechisation into a mutual discovery adventure?” the Bishop asked.

“The first thing he did was to give me a Prayer Book as his first gift to me,” Terry said glowingly.

“That was sweet,” Leona agreed.

“After that,” Terry resumed, “in the course of discussing all the doctrines of this Church and so many related matters, I discovered something about very special about Julian.”

“And what might that be?” the Bishop asked.

“Evangelicals—and Pentecostals are in their number—usually hold a high opinion of themselves and their relationship with God, sometimes at the expense of others.  When you directed that Julian catechise me, he dropped everything else and set himself to it.  He spent time with me on every point.  He never wanted to leave anything unresolved on the one hand or browbeat me on the other.  I’ve been in the ministry a long time, and many ministers really don’t do well in explaining doctrine.  He did, and the reason he does is that the deep things of God are really important to him.  This is where his heart is.  I then understood that Julian really does love God with everything he is, and in living out that love has made many sacrifices.  That melted my heart about him—that made it easier for me to be received into the Church of Serelia.”

Both the Bishop and Leona were left speechless at this.  “I must say I came to the same conclusion about her as well,” Julian added.  “We’re always taught—Desmond spends a lot of time on this—that people such as her are very unloving and fanatical, but honestly she has so much love for God—and for me—that I don’t know sometimes how to respond to it.  Moreover her ministry experience—so different from ours yet so alike—is fascinating.”

“Fascinating, dear Julian?” the Bishop asked.

“Oh yes.  First, she was the youth pastor to the man who is now Drahla’s prime minister.  Then, she started the large Pentecostal church in Barlin from scratch.” The women couldn’t help but laugh at the way he put that.  “She’s baptised people, counselled them, taught them at her Bible school, married them and buried them.”

“Too many of them during the war,” Terry added dolefully.  “That doesn’t include my own husband and son.”

“We lost our son too during the war,” Leona added.

“Well, that’s quite interesting,” the Bishop said.  But he then changed the subject and they spoke of other things.  Terry was getting nervous about the time, but their meal ended long before the state dinner and the four of them returned to the palace gate to depart, Terry returning to the palace in plenty of time for her next appointment.

Cathy came to the Sea Garden about 2200, dressed for her state dinner.  Terry was waiting for her there; the Queen’s lady-in-waiting served them coffee and then Kyle and the palace guard secured the entrances very subtly.

“You’ve got a lot of pull around here,” Cathy said, after hugging Terry.  “The Queen herself asked me to come here.  Next thing I knew, I was being escorted across the palace grounds.”  She looked at her surroundings.  “This is gorgeous, Terry—that’s one thing I miss in Barlin, the ocean.”

“This is where your husband and I met with the King, Queen and Prince back in March, and decided to make the trip,” Terry observed.  “He had no idea I was going to bring him back a wife.  Seriously, I do like being close to the ocean myself—it had been a long time.”

“So how do you like Serelia?” Cathy asked, sipping her coffee.

Terry had to think for a minute.  “Cathy, this has been one of the most manic-depressive things I have ever done in my whole life.”

“Manic-depressive?  What you do mean?”

“Let’s start with the depressive.  They took away my country, which I know was unavoidable.  They took away my privacy—just about all of it.  I still haven’t gotten over my first day with their Intelligence Service, even though I know that was necessary for them.  They told me where to live—in some ways, not even the Avalon Retreat was this communal.  Last but not least, they took my church away, although they had help with that.  They took just about everything.

“Now for the positive side—they brought my grandmother and Chinese relatives here and with them threw a surprise birthday party for the big one.  Darlene is probably the most eager and intense new convert I have ever discipled.  The Queen has, for want of a better term, ‘rededicated’ her life to the Lord.  George is thinking about things now.  Last but not least is Julian, who has to be the sweetest man I have ever met, my late husband included.  I feel like this is one of those times in a Christian’s life where they have to abandon everything for what God has called them to do, and He has used these people to give it back to me and more.  So what about you?”

Cathy sighed and began.  “It’s been a long six months for me, too.  I first have had to grow as a Christian and adjusting to church, most of the time without you there.”

“I’m sorry that came out that way.”

“It’s not your fault—I agree, Darlene needed you more than I did.  Then I got married again, with a new husband and this time children.  After that it was my new position at the Bank, which was difficult because the Drahlans know absolutely nothing about central banking.  Then we’ve had all the political changes we’ve had.  Finally I’ve just had to deal with being a girl from the Point who ended up in the sticks.”

“Change is never easy, is it?” Terry observed.

“If it weren’t for Dennis and Andrea, we wouldn’t have made it.  You remember all the stuff about Dennis being the Kings ‘special envoy?’  Forget it.  I’ve been on the road more than he has.  They made a covenant with each other that they would put everything else aside to meet our needs and that of the King and Queen.  They did.  They’ve cried with us, they’ve prayed with us, they’ve studied the Word with us, they’ve lobbied for us in every part of the country, they’ve done everything.  They even had their darling children help out.  Without them William and I would not have made it.”

“How are the King and Queen doing?  Has their spiritual life changed?”

“Henry is sick of the whole thing—Andrea thinks he’ll abdicate, I’m not sure just yet.  These people are totally unprepared for real democratic processes—that’s something I do know something about.  Janet cries just about every night, even though she does sometimes study the Bible with Andrea and me.  As far as their spiritual walk, they’re starting to go back to attending the Anglican church in Barlin—I’m not sure where that’s going to go, after my experience I guess I’m gun-shy about it.”

“Then you’re not going to like what I’m about to tell you,” Terry informed her friend.

“I know you had to join here—but I understand, that just goes with the position.  You’ve got Julian and Darlene and now the Queen, and that makes a big difference.”

“It’s not me, Cathy,” Terry replied.  “James Woolsey is in town.”

Cathy made a face.  “How awful.  Why?”

“To see Canon Desmond and the Bishop about getting a new Anglican bishop in Verecunda.  He’s got his son Thor with him.”

“That’s even worse.”

“You grew up at Christ Church, didn’t you?  Don’t you know them?”

“Unfortunately,” Cathy began.  “James Woolsey came as assistant rector just as we were starting Fourth Form.  My father was Senior Warden on the vestry when he came. Within six months Woolsey managed to both get my dad kicked off of the vestry and ease out the rector—Paul Langley, your cousin Patty’s uncle”—

“He came up here after that—he’s now chaplain at St. Anne’s School,” Terry interrupted.  “A very traditional Anglican.”

 “—and have himself installed.  He’s been there ever since.  He helped to run Bishop Farnsworth out of town, too.  I guess he wants to finish the job.”

“What about Thor?  Is he a minister or what?”

“Thor is about six years younger than us.  He’s a complete brat—PK all the way.”

“I remember that.  Father Avalon used to say that PK’s were the strongest argument for celibacy there was.”  They laughed at that.

“He certainly was,” Cathy resumed.  “No, he’s not a minister.  His father got him into seminary, but he wouldn’t stay.  He ended up as a Special Investigator for the Inland Police.  He’s one of the ones who used to come by and badger me about my brother.”

“An IP,” Terry noted.

“More than that, I think he’s a Druid too—I think he was in on that Golden Light ceremony where they burned your brother.”

“That is worse.”

“But it doesn’t end there, Terry.  You remember Maeve Martin?”

“The herbalist from the Ministry of Health?”

“The same.  About a month ago she showed up in Barlin, looking for Ann Gilbert.  She stayed with Ann for about two weeks.  They had a good time talking about herbs.”

“What about her and this?”

“She found out that Maeve is a Druid priestess.  Maeve admitted to Ann and me that Seamus Gallen and some of his people—and I think that includes Thor—have gone to Vidamera and Claudia to join the Lodge and advance their own cause there since they lost Verecunda.”

“And why did she tell you that?  She knows you’re Christians.”

“Oh, yes.  Two reasons.  First, she’s committed to non-violence, and she feels that sooner or later what they’re doing will end in war.  Second, she says that she won’t have anything to do with the Lodge since all she can aspire to is being stuck in Eastern Star.”

“Darlene has expressed the same sentiment.  And Maeve is probably right about the violence part, I’m afraid.  Did you try to take her to church?”

“Oh, yes.”

“What did she think of it?  Did you talk with her afterwards?”

“She thought it was okay, and yes, we talked with her at length.  Maeve is a nice person, but she’s a committed feminist—a combination unusual with our peers but more common with younger women in Verecunda—and her family was mostly Roman Catholic.  She flatly told us that she would never consider Christianity unless she saw a priestess celebrating Mass.”

“Don’t hold your breath,” Terry said.  They weren’t going to waste an opportunity like this to catch up on the news; they even went to the beach and stuck their toes in the water.  It wasn’t until midnight that Cathy left to return to the Inn.  About five minutes later Terry left the Sea Garden.  Kyle met her and debriefed her, then told her not to come and see Darlene in the morning.

Cape Henry and the Triumph of “Plan C”

This weekend we celebrate the 400th anniversary of the landing at Cape Henry, the first enduring landfall of English settlers in the New World.  On 29 April 1607, a group from the Virginia Company landed and, led by their Anglican chaplain Robert Hunt, prayed for the establishment and propagation of the Christian religion in the land they had just landed in.

But wait a minute.  Didn’t the Pilgrims come to Plymouth thirteen years later for that purpose?  And what about the Puritans further up the coast in Massachusetts Bay Colony?  How did the Anglicans get the drop on this?  Why, in less than two centuries, did the colonies that made the Church of England the state religion dump it in favour of a state without any kind of official church?  What happened to the Puritans’ vision of a "shining city on a hill" built on their own Calvinistic theology and theonomy?

Too much knowledge leads to too many questions.  The basic problem is that Hunt’s Anglicans in Virginia and the Puritans up the coast didn’t come to establish one country, or one colony for that matter.  Their differences reflected the religious struggle that would consume the "old country" during the seventeenth century, and would affect the English colonies in the New World, both when they were colonies and when then went "from many to one" (E Pluribus Unum) as the United States of America.

As we’ve remarked before, the "Elizabethan Settlement" that set the Church of England on a stable course was meant to provide England with a Christian religion that was broad-based in many senses.  To accomplish this, church and state felt it necessary to exclude two extremes: Roman Catholicism and extreme Calvinism, such as the Scots practiced.  The former were fairly easy to keep out, for a while at least.  The latter weren’t, especially when James I became King and the Scots became part of the realm.  Some of them couldn’t wait for the Church of England to get around to "reforming" itself, thus Plymouth and the Massachusetts Bay Colony, where they could put their various visions of a pure Christian state into practice.

Before that, however, English businessmen looked to the New World for profit, just as the Spanish had done for more than a century.  They formed various companies to carry out their business plan, packing along chaplains like Robert Hunt, who proved invaluable in keeping the travellers on an even keel.  This pattern–or variations on it–was repeated for the rest of the Southern colonies.  The biggest blight on the whole enterprise was the importation of African slaves, one which they did because they understood the nature of the usual labour force.

From here, things went in different directions on both sides of the Atlantic.

Back home, the conflict between Roundhead Puritan and Cavalier ended in the English Civil War, with both Charles I and William Laud losing their heads.  But Cromwell and the Roundheads couldn’t sustain their victory, something modern theonomists should take note of.  The Church of England became the guardian of religious stability through the enforcement of religious mediocrity, a state interrupted occasionally by movements such as Methodism, the Evangelical movement and even the Oxford Movement.

In the colonies, both Virginia and Massachusetts visions were diluted by the formation of alternative refuges for religious dissenters such as Pennsylvania (Quakers) and Maryland (Roman Catholics.)  This was assisted by the English policy of exporting their malcontents to their overseas possessions, be they religious dissenters, debtors or criminals.  (The French and Spanish would not allow theirs to do the same in their own empires, be they Jansensist, Huguenot or Jew.)

But the biggest upsetter of the "apple cart" of religions in the colonies were the Celtic rowdies who emptied the fringes of the British Isles and settled along the spine of the Appalachians, challenging the Church of England (and everybody else) on its new "home turf" in the New World.  It was they who made the most direct challenge to an established religion, which led to the First Amendment and a level playing field for all religious beliefs to thrive in the new nation.

But it was also they who helped to change the nature of Christianity itself, and to do what the Anabaptists in Europe couldn’t: make it a voluntary association of believers rather than an expression of the sovereign’s belief or national culture.  Such was a break both from the Anglicanism of the Southern colonies but in reality was also a break from the "Geneva on the Charles" that the Puritans aimed to establish.  That voluntary aspect is the reason why Christianity in the U.S. has taken such deep roots, roots that have had to withstand a secular onslaught from on high the last half century or so.

Today, everyone talks freedom but aims for coercion.  Liberals talk of "diversity" but insist on quotas and litmus tests, unleashing the politics of personal destruction on those who disagree.  Conservatives talk of our freedoms as Americans but dabble in theonomy or wartime "neo-con" authoritarianism, ignoring what would happen if they have the misfortune to lose power altogether.  Such are the ways of boomers and, as we’ve said before, the Republic’s #1 priority is to survive this generation.

So what can we make of the Cape Henry landing?  For Americans in general, it is a reminder that our country was founded with a religious people (and the personal discipline that goes with that) in mind.  The exercise of freedom goes hand in hand with the assumption of responsibility and the accountability that goes with it.  What better accountability is there than an eternal one to God Himself?  Those who belittle that role say in effect that they would rather manipulate a mob than lead a nation, and the results are entirely different.

For Anglicans, it is a reminder of an important truth that is being rediscovered: that Anglicanism, rather than being a simple "middle of the road" or place for prayer of the overmoneyed, was and can be a positive way in its own right.  They should not allow us to forget that, when Robert Hunt celebrated the Holy Communion, he did so using the 1559 Book of Common Prayer, with all of its liturgical flourishes.  Anglicanism paved the way towards liberating American Christianity from the rigid Augustinianism that plagued Europe, certainly more so than the Calvinistic Puritanism further up the coast.  That liberation has altered the course of Christianity–and the eternities of many along the way–in ways that few fathom even today.  It is the "Plan C" that neither Anglican nor Puritan could foresee.

So it’s time to celebrate.  Although we’ve had echoes of the English Civil War in our own, the country that came out of these settlements is the absolute triumph of none of them but the synergistic triumph of all of them and those who came after to make "one nation under God."  Will it remain that?  If it doesn’t, it won’t remain at all.

The Children of Hurin: Tolkien’s Christian Roots

Asia Times Online’s "Spengler’s" review of J.R.R. Tolkien’s "newest" (actually oldest, and edited by his son Christopher) The Children of Hurin is a reminder of the deep roots of Tolkien’s Christianity from a source outside of the normal track of Christian writers, and we commend it to our readers.

We should note, however, that this story in itself and this part of Tolkien’s mythology is covered in other parts of his work, including The Silmarillion.

At the Inlet: September, Part 1 (A Surprise Family)

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The turn of the month was framed by two weighty events: a tropical storm on the windward side which had about the same effect as the hurricane a few weeks earlier, and on the lee side Terry’s birthday.  Since it was a milestone, Terry regarded its coming about as positively as she did the tropical storm.

Annette and Darlene extended birthday wishes during their Bible study, but that was about it.  Darlene didn’t mention it further during their work.  About 1545 Darlene suddenly announced that their workday was at an end, that she should go see Julian before Evening Prayer.  Terry was mystified by this quick dismissal but had learned to let things ride in this place, so she did as she was bid and went over to the Cathedral.

When she got there, Julian was up in the choir rehearsal room giving private piano lessons.  He taught a limited number of students to supplement his meagre income from the Cathedral.  Terry quietly came in and sat down as he was winding up an initial lesson to a young boy who was with his younger sister and mother.  The mother was Chinese, her children mostly so.  As they were changing children on the piano bench, Julian stopped and introduced them to Terry.

“This is Jasmine Liu,” Julian said, introducing the mother, “and these are Eric and Katherine.”  The children bowed slightly at Terry.  “This is their first lesson here—they’ve just moved from the mainland.”

“Nice to meet you,” Jasmine said.  “My husband is an engineer.  He has just starting with Serelian government—first engineer in the country,” she noted proudly.  His father, mother and grandmother are here—they were retired, but they are now opening a restaurant.”

“A pleasure—your children are adorable,” Terry said.

“Thank you,” Jasmine replied.  This whole scene threw more questions at Terry than she could easily process.  Why didn’t someone tell me that Chinese people were coming to Serelia?  Why hadn’t I seen the charter application for her restaurant?  Why didn’t I know who the engineer on this sewage treatment project was?  Why does her name sound familiar?

These questions were shoved aside when Katherine started her lesson.  She went over to the bench, crawled up, and began to play a Bach piece, her last audition piece.  Terry was blown away by the professionalism of this six-year old as she sat in awe through the performance.  Even Julian couldn’t conceal his shock from the quality of this little concert, even though he related later he had just seen a similar one out of Eric.  Julian then spent much of the rest of the lesson setting up her curriculum and digging through what he had and what Eric had been using, as getting music pedagogy materials in Serelia wasn’t a simple matter.

“What is your profession?” Terry asked Jasmine, as the lesson was wrapping up.

“I was a music major,” Jasmine replied.  “I gave private lessons before moving here.  But Reverend Lewis’ has great reputation as organist and music teacher.  Perhaps I will teach later.”

“We went to the same school,” Julian interjected.  “Obviously at different times.”

“When does your husband’s parents’ restaurant open?  I haven’t eaten Chinese food in years.  My grandmother is Chinese.”

Jasmine lit up.  “It opens tomorrow, but for you and Reverend Lewis, you can come by this evening.  When can you come?”

“About 1900,” Julian replied.

“We will see you then,” Jasmine confirmed, and with that, took one child in each hand and left.

Terry came over to Julian, and they embraced and kissed.  “Now let’s see what you can do on the piano,” Julian said.

“Oh, no, not after that,” Terry replied, backing up a step.

“Please, Terry—what happens is between ourselves.  Really,” he said.

Terry thought for a minute, and then said, “All right, but just for a minute.”  She sat down at the piano; Julian could tell she was tensing up as she faced the keyboard.  Julian sat down in his teaching chair.  She rolled through her mind her last audition pieces, then tried to plough into one.  Her plough got stuck; the result wasn’t very melodious and she ground to a halt.

“I can’t!” she exclaimed in frustration.

Julian reached over to her left arm  “If you can survive this”—he pointed to the drug scars on her lower arm—“and this”—he pointed to the war wound on her upper arm—“then you can master this.”  He placed his hand gently on the keyboard.

“God brought me through that,” Terry said.

“I’m not aware that God has changed since our war was concluded,” Julian calmly asserted.  Terry looked at her love with a combination of anger and fright, but both were subsiding.  “Now let’s see where we can begin,” he said, gently repositioning her fingers on the keyboard.

This lesson, however, did not last long; Julian had to prepare for Evening Prayer, which Terry spent beside him on the organ, as was her custom.  After that they walked down past the Inn to the restaurant.

They entered the restaurant.  The sign on the front proclaimed the “Tian Guo Chinese Restaurant.”  It was dark inside; Terry couldn’t see a thing with her eyes unadjusted from the light.  Suddenly she heard a cry from somewhere in the room: “My baby!”  It was Ling Shu-Yi, her grandmother.  Terry gasped, then ran over and gave her a tearful embrace.  “I never thought I would see you again,” Shu-Yi said through the sobs.

“Neither did I,” Terry agreed.  After some time Shu-Yi reintroduced Terry to her relatives: Terry’s aunt Evelyn and her husband Victor Liu, their son Paul Liu and of course his wife Jasmine and the children.  Terry felt a void in her life being filled when a familiar voice came from behind.

“Happy birthday!” exclaimed George, and with him not only Darlene but Adam and Annette as well.  It suddenly hit Terry that the royal family had not only planned a surprise birthday party for her; they had kept secret the entry of her Chinese relatives as well.

The party was a blast; Adam and Annette had never eaten Chinese food before, so they were in for a treat.  There was a lot to catch up on; Terry hadn’t seen her grandmother or aunt on her father’s side since her father had died.

“Why did you pick Serelia?” Terry asked Paul.  “This is a very remote place for someone living on the mainland.”

“It was my mother,” Evelyn answered.  “She has wanted to see you for years.  After your brother was killed, she said she could not bear the thought of dying without seeing you, or perhaps living near you again.  She made our lives miserable for this.”

“I had done work in Alemara for my old firm,” Paul added.  “They told me about this position.  Not only did my grandmother persist, but also I wanted to raise my children in a good place.  I hear that people are filial here.”

“They are that,” Terry agreed.

The Chinese also got a chance to meet Julian; they did not pass up the opportunity to work on moving things forward with Terry.

After dinner the Chinese gave them yet another treat: a concert on traditional Chinese instruments, which was a strong family tradition of the Liu’s.  As a musician, Julian was fascinated by the instruments and the music.  Much of what they played was sad; as they sat and listened, the sadness of their own Island experience came up, and, like the Chinese official of old, they found themselves moistening whatever they could dry their eyes with.  The music also drew a crowd outside, none of whom had heard such playing before.

It was a hard departure; the royals did it first.  Before she left, Annette could not resist the obvious question for Shu-Yi: when could she come to the palace for a game of mah-jongg?  She quickly found she had more than one new opponent.  As Julian and Terry were about to leave, Victor had one more request for Terry.

“When we start in new building,” he began, “we like to consult with feng shui expert for most auspicious layout.  But Miss Ling says that we don’t need feng shui here.  She says that, if you pray for this restaurant, we won’t have any problems.  Since she is oldest among us, we listened to her.”  Terry looked at her grandmother wide eyed; Shu-Yi grinned back.

“Very well,” Terry responded.  She got out her anointing oil and anointed the building the same way she had the study where she did her work with Darlene.  Julian, Jasmine and Shu-Yi joined in.  Once this task was done they made their farewells and returned to their homes.

The next day it was back to work for Terry and Darlene. They had gotten far enough and processed enough applications so that they could do two things.  One was propose to the King a more systematic method of dealing with minor charters so as not to bog down the royals when they could be dealing with the more important matters.  The second was to hear appeals of the charters where the results did not please those making application.  It was decided that George and Darlene would hear most of these together; the King reserved a few for himself.  This still involved Terry and Darlene getting the appeals ready for the hearing.

Before all that was Bible study. Annette came and she was almost as excited about the new arrivals as Terry was.  But she had things other than immigrants and charters on her mind.

“I think I’ve about heard enough of the Canon’s snide remarks about Pentecostals from the pulpit,” Annette began.  “He’s been making them every Sunday since you returned from Julian’s tour.”

“So have I,” Darlene agreed.  “That’s why I told him last Sunday he should keep his opinions of royal appointments to himself.”

“That was rather abrupt,” Annette observed.

“We all know who he’s aiming at,” Darlene said.

“So what was George’s reaction to that—Desmond is his friend,” Terry asked.

“He’s said very little,” Darlene replied.

“It may be just ‘mother’s instinct,’ but I think my son’s enthusiasm for the Canon has cooled of late.”  She took a sip of her coffee.  “But that leads me to a question for you, Terry.”

“And what is that?”

“Your old church is very conservative in many ways, isn’t it?”  Annette asked.

“I think the proper term is ‘fundamental,’” Terry answered.  “Our teachings state the we believe the Bible is the inerrant Word of God, ‘rightly divided.’  That’s an old phrase to mean when it is properly interpreted.”

“It certainly has some very restrictive ideas about apparel,” Darlene observed.

“But that’s the problem,” Annette said.  “Your church is conservative in ways ours isn’t, and yet your church ordains women.  Ours doesn’t.  Why is that?”

Terry sat and thought for a minute, then began.  “Julian has asked me the same question.  I guess the best way to answer it is to go back and explain how I was ordained in the first place.

“Father Avalon was preparing me to be a lay minister—a youth pastor, a lay theologian, or something along those lines.  Those were the best he could hope for, since the Catholic Church, like this one, doesn’t ordain women.  I think he wanted to eventually send me to the parish in Alemara, but he was sidetracked.”

“By what?” Darlene asked.

“When the Retreat was started, there were actually two groups of people—the students like me, and the adults, who were in a prayer group he led.  Once we got to the retreat, there was a great deal of conflict between the two, which almost sank the whole adventure.  The adults ended up moving away from the Retreat, either to Alemara, the mainland, or in a couple of cases back to Verecunda.  Unfortunately they also financed the purchase of the Retreat, so for many years they kept their influence.  One of the more influential couples was Steve Eck’s parents.  Steve wanted to become a priest, and his parents very much wanted to see this, but we had dated off and on.  His parents were afraid I would romance him to marry me and end his priesthood before it started.”

“Given recent events, a justifiable fear,” Annette observed.  They all laughed at that observation.

“They were even afraid I would seduce him if I were to have a position in a parish with him when he returned to the Island.  They tried to accuse me of mishandling the money, but they couldn’t make that stick.  Then they convinced Father Jim to send me to Cresca, figuring I would either fail, or be arrested by Serelian authorities, or marry.  To make sure one of these happened, they cut off support after I got there.”

“So you were abandoned—just like you were in Barlin after the war,” Darlene said.

“More or less,” Terry agreed.  “Once I made my decision, I had no problem working for the church in Cresca.  But then it finally sunk in that, when Martin Lindell said that he was ‘setting me forth in the ministry,’ he meant ordaining me.  I was in shock; my first question was, ‘How can you ordain women given all of the scriptures to the contrary in the New Testament?’”

“And what did he say?” Annette asked, eagerly.

“‘We’ve always done it that way!’” Terry replied, the room bursting out with laughter.

“It’s the Serelian way,” Darlene observed.

“Seriously, he explained that, since the beginning of the modern Pentecostal movement in places such as Topeka, Azusa Street and Camp Creek, women had always been ministers.  In what was then the Crescan Pentecostal Fellowship, women neither served as superintendents nor voted at the camp meeting, although I ended up for a time as provisional superintendent when the Barlin District was created.  Other than those restrictions women were permitted to pastor, evangelise and even marry people, and I did plenty of all of that.

“Although I went ahead and was ordained, that didn’t settle the Biblical issues that I had.  So I did some research, talked with people in the church, and prayed about it.  This in brief was the position of our church on the matter.

“First, women in ministry are not viable without the Pentecostal experience.  On the first day of Pentecost, Peter quoted Joel in saying that ‘your sons and daughters will prophesy.’  Now prophecy is a very high gift of God; it is one of the sign gifts, along with healing, miracles, and the like.

“Second, it was God’s intent at the start for men and women to be equal partners; it was only our first mother’s cupidity that got us into trouble.  Jesus Christ came as the last Adam to undo the mistake of the first; that’s what Christianity is all about.

“Third, women held positions of leadership—deacons, and apostles, depending on interpretation—in the age of the apostles. This was shunted aside in later years for two reasons.  The first were due to the mistakes of the women themselves.  The second was due to the demands of respectability, which ran against women in authority in the Roman world.”

“The Serelian world isn’t much different in that regard,” Annette wistfully observed.  “This war has done more than anything else to change that.”

“But in my opinion the most important ingredient for successful ministry by women is the whole concept of servant leadership.  I found it distasteful enough that men used Diotrophes—who always loved the pre-eminence—as their role model in ministry, but with a woman such behaviour is a real disaster.”  Terry turned to Darlene.  “Look at yourself—the way you got your people on the estate to follow you is to stay up with Althea’s daughter all night.”

“It was a reflex,” Darlene confessed.  “I couldn’t help but stick with her.  It wasn’t the last thing either—I helped their children with their homework and stuck up for them in a wide variety of ways.”

“But they made running the estate a lot easier,” Terry observed.  “That’s the way a woman especially can have a successful ministry.”

“And that brings something else to mind,” Annette interjected.  “Don’t Pentecostal churches do foot washing, like Our Lord did on Maundy Thursday?”

“They do,” Terry replied, a little surprised by the question.

“So how did that work?” Darlene asked.

“We did it during a church service.  We would gather the men in one place and the women in another, get basins of water—we always liked to use washtubs in Barlin—and everyone would wash everyone else’s feet.  We had some very moving times together during foot washing—it’s considered on par with baptism and the Lord’s Supper in the Drahlan church.”

Annette and Darlene looked at each other, and then Darlene reached over and pressed the button that summoned Althea.  Althea came in promptly, bowed and said, “Yes, Your Highness?”

“I need you to bring a pitcher of water and a wash basin,” Darlene ordered.

“And ask Lydia to come and do likewise,” Annette added.

“Don’t forget the towel,” Terry threw in.

“Yes, Your Highness,” Althea said, and, bowing, left.  She returned with the pitcher, wash basin and Annette’s lady-in-waiting Lydia in a few minutes.

“And what does Your Majesty require?” Lydia asked very formally.

“We’re having a foot washing ceremony here—and we request that both of you stay for it.”  Lydia looked at her mistress with a look of sheer horror—she had been in Pentecostal churches most of her life and knew what was about to happen.  Althea was too Anglican to know any better.

“Your Majesty,” Lydia finally choked out, “I have never been at a foot washing with royalty before.  I am to bow to you—how can you wash my feet?”

“Why don’t you stick your feet in the water and find out for yourself?” Darlene finally asked, matter-of-factly.

“So how does this work?” Althea asked, still a little mystified at the whole process.  With that, Terry gave them a little instruction and then they set themselves up for washing feet.

The washbasins of the palace were an improvement over the galvanised washtubs of Barlin, but the Spirit was the same.  Those that could speak in tongues did, and it was especially emotional when the Queen, none too agile, got down and washed her lady-in-waiting’s feet along with everyone else’s.  The women alternated between washing feet and praising God for a good part of the morning, and it was difficult to get back to any kind of routine after that.

Virginia Tech, The Supreme Court: Counting on the System?

To be honest, I haven’t said anything about the Virginia Tech massacre because I wasn’t sure what to say.  Best to start brain before engaging mouth (or keyboard.)

However, it’s becoming obvious that the "system" had considerable warning of what was going on in Cho Seung-Hui, both before and on the day of the massacre.  It’s also obvious that "the system" dropped the ball at various points.

The usual response (in this country at least) is to change the system "so this will never happen again."  This assault on the status quo will extend from whittling down (or eliminating) Second Amendment rights to more intrusive snooping in people’s lives.  Sooner or later Congress (the opposite of progress) will get involved.  But two things need to be kept in mind in all of this excitement:

  1. You first need to see if existing procedures were followed before you change them.  A good example of fixing what wasn’t really broken is Sarbanes-Oxley, and now Europe/Russia trades more in securities than we do for the first time since the Great War.
  2. You need to realise that the "system" isn’t perfect.  It is made up of people who make mistakes both in setting the system up and in execution of their duties within it.  That’s why, as a Christian, I keep hammering at the importance of trusting a Saviour rather than an institution for what’s really important in this life and the life to come, be it church, state, or otherwise.  That means any institution.

Note: after we wrote this piece, it was pointed out that many of the laws that exist tie universities’ hands in dealing with students such as Cho.  This is an interesting point, but the problem again is thoughtless changing of the "system" in the past. Years ago colleges and schools were in loco parentis, but this went out with the Sixties, an era when many problems that weren’t "broke" were "fixed."   The system isn’t perfect.  It’s human.

Perhaps the best way to respond is to have Congress and our state legislatures engage in a "repeal session," where they can’t pass laws, only repeal them.

We don’t doubt that pro-life activists will be dancing the streets over the recent Supreme Court decision to allow the ban on partial birth abortions.  We will doubtless hear some triumphalistic rhetoric about our country "coming back to God" and the like.

There’s no doubt that this was the right decision.  Abortion should have never become a constitutional issue in the first place, although doing so has handed the conservatives a fabulous issue the last third of a century.  But it’s too early to tell whether this is the trend or just an aberration.  That depends upon the continued course of Supreme Court nominations, and that in turn depends upon the next election cycle.

Once again confidence in "the system" needs to be tempered.  The system got us into this mess at a time when our nation was supposed to be closer in time to its traditional values (it wasn’t, but that’s another story altogether.)  And, of course, we need to continue working on other issues to insure that our defence of life isn’t just to produce people whose main earthly purpose is to support and humour left-wing bureaucrats.

What It Takes to Experience Discrimination

Today is the so-called "Day of Silence" put on by the LGBT community to attempt to illustrate their idea of what they go through because they are LGBT.  The idea is to "raise consciousness" (a good Maoist term) about the "plight" of LGBT people.

Since this event targets schools, it’s fair game to bring up the whole subject of bullying and persecution in a school context.  Having been at the bottom of the heap in Palm Beach at that time in my life, I can bring some hard-earned expertise to the table.

Liberals of all kinds have many explanations as to why people are persecuted and picked on.  They use morally loaded terms such as "racist," "sexist," "homophobe," and whatever other insult comes to their minds.  Doing it in this way demonises people, forcing them either to retreat to the background (if the liberal-induced attack allows that option, which it frequently doesn’t) or be forced to publicly "repent" of their "feudal attitudes," as Chinese Communists used to force people to do in "group struggle meetings" during the Cultural Revolution.  But the idea is always the same: attack people for what they "are" in a morally loaded fashion, with the result that they are either beat into submission (silence!) or come over to your side.

I find it ludicrous that secularist liberals–especially those veterans of the "sexual revolution" of the 1960’s, which was supposed to toss morality–always resort to moral pressure to get their way.  Even worse is to see people who scoff at the idea of a personal devil demonise people on a regular basis.

The simple truth is this: the only thing you need to experience discrimination is to be different.

We–and when I say this, I mean those of us who live in the U.S.–are part of a society that is held together by shared values.  Without a common ethnic origin, state religion or any of those things that hold other nations together, Americans are ultimately defined by the values they share.  That can rapidly deteriorate into the "dictatorship of the proletariat" (or any other group that can seize power, and that includes the LGBT community) without the checks that we have enshrined in our legal system.  That’s a fine line, one that gets crossed more often in American society than we care to admit.

If liberals–and we include but are not limited to LGBT liberals–were really committed to expanding freedom in order to promote real diversity, they would rid us of many of the "politically correct" requirements we have.  They would allow people to rob themselves of the benefits of interacting with large expanses of the human race through discriminating–but also allow people to discriminate against them.  Discrimination is costly: one reason the South took more than a century to recover from the Civil War is that it immobilised itself through systemic discrimination against a large portion of its population.

The problem with this is that it forces people who are different for whatever reason to learn why they are different and decide whether it is worth it or not.  This is too painful for most people.  Liberals know this, and they also know that the easiest way to make your ways society’s ways is by having your ways defined as "normal" and those you don’t like as "different."  The whole objective of liberalism is to supplant values long accepted in American society as their own.  The whole diversity agenda is a smokescreen for this.

And that brings us to the subject of Christians: liberals need to define real Christianity as different so they can put it down and elevate themselves in the process.  But Our Lord said it would be like this:

“Blessed are those who have been persecuted in the cause of righteousness, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. Blessed are you when people taunt you, and persecute you, and say everything evil about you–untruly, and on my account. Be glad and rejoice, because your reward in Heaven will be great; for so men persecuted the Prophets who lived before you.” (Matthew 5:10-12)

As we said, being different makes you stop and decide whether it is worth it.  For the Christian, it is.  First, there is eternity.  Second, with the mediocrity passed off as success we see in our society today, being "normal" is a major step backward.

Too Much Like the Lizard Queen?

They are strange creatures, these Bolsheviks. They talk of freedom and the reconciliation of the peoples of the world, of peace and unity, and withal they are said to be the most cruel tyrants history has ever known. They are simply exterminating the bourgeoisie, and their arguments are machine guns and the gallows. My talk to-day with Joffe (Soviet negotiator) has shown me that these people are not honest, and in falsity surpass all that cunning diplomacy has been accused of, for to oppress decent citizens in this fashion and then talk at the same time of the universal blessing of freedom—it is sheer lying.  (Count Ottokar Czernin, Austro-Hungarian foreign minister, from  his book In the World War)

Czernin wrote this before Stalin, before the purges, before the whole 70 years of Soviet history.

Some things never change.  This sounds too much like the "Lizard Queen" and her colleagues on the left.

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