Posts Tagged 'culture'

America Lite

I got a new book over the weekend. It’s by David Gelernter who is “a professor of computer science at Yale, contributing editor at the Weekly Standard, a regular contributor to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and former board member of the National Endowment for the Arts.”

The book is called America Lite — How Imperial Academia Dismantled our Culture (and Ushered in the Obamacrats).

Professor Gelernter has been writing occasional guest posts for Power Line blog on the subjects he covers in this book, and having found them all interesting I finally decided to get the book for myself.

From the inside cover:

America-Lite (where we all live) is just like America, only turned into an amusement park or a video game or a supersized Pinkberry, where the past and the future are blank and there is only a big NOW. How come we know so little about the past, care so little about the future, and expect so little (except cynicism) from our culture, our leaders — and each other?

In this refreshingly judgmental book, David Gelernter connects the historical dots to reveal a stealth revolution carried out by post-religious globalist intellectuals who, by and large, “can’t run their own universities or scholarly fields, but are very sure they can run you.” These imperial academics have deployed their students into the top echelon of professions once monopolized by staid, steady, stately WASPs. In this simple way, they have installed themselves as the new designated drivers of American culture…”

Mere facts are disdained, “old-fashioned fact-based judgments like true are false” are no longer valid, and the teaching of actual history has been replaced by the teaching of “theories about history.”

By removing objective facts and absolute truths observable by all or arrived at by “common sense,” and inserting endless theories and tropes and feelings and gauzy visions of utopia, concepts that on the surface don’t make sense (“lead from behind,” “spend money in order to save money,”) and as such are only really understood by the most intellectual and enlightened among us, we clearly must abandon the attempt to think for ourselves and let these brilliant academicians do it for us.  And, says Gelernter, so we have.

“In fact, we have handed over the keys to the star pupil and teacher’s pet of the post-religious globalist intellectuals, whose election to the presidency of the United States constituted the ultimate global group hug.

How do we finally face the truth and get back into the driver’s seat? America-Lite ends with a one-point plan.”

And of course the jacket doesn’t say what that plan is. I’ll have to read the book to find out. I’ve already read the introduction and it generated enought thought for me to write an entire post in addition to this one (which I’ll put up probably tomorrow).

Even the back cover is fascinating (Click to enlarge):

 

The Plague of Busy-ness

Recently I’ve been going through old computer files and came across the following article which I wrote in August 2002 for the newsletter I was putting out then. This was about three months after Arena’s release, during which time I was busy making  trepidatious trips into local bookstores (“Who did you say you were? And why are you here, exactly?”), designing and ordering bookmarks, mailing out postcard announcements, putting together press kits and having a book signing.

In addition to a family related vacation to the east coast that summer, followed by a trip to the west coast for the 2002 CBA conference in LA, I also finished up the final touches on The Light of Eidon before turning it in to Bethany House, then began the rewrite of The Shadow Within to bring it into line with changes I’d made in Eidon.  All this in addition to updating my website, and writing the newsletter in which the following appeared.  Hence the reference to “activity and folderol.” The ideas expressed seem as applicable to me today as ten years ago, so I thought I’d share it again, this time in a different venue.

***

“Let your occupations be few if you would lead a tranquil life.” ~ Democritus

THE PLAGUE OF BUSY-NESS

With all this activity and folderol, I’ve seen how easy it is to lose one’s focus on the things that really matter — that is, the things above, rather than the things on earth. In fact, in some research I was doing recently I learned that one of the techniques used by cults to suck in their new recruits is to keep them busy all the time, to tire them out and to never let them be alone.

If they are constantly occupied with some task or engaged with some person, they’ll have no opportunity to stop and think about what they’re doing, why they’re doing it, and what they’re coming to accept as truth simply by default.

I believe this plague of busy-ness is one of the main assaults Satan’s world system is deploying upon Christians today, particularly in the United States with all of its prosperity and corresponding options.

Daily we are bombarded with things to do and be and have. With people to listen to and do things with (and for). It can get overwhelming, to the point we’re just like the newly-snagged pre-cultist. Run ragged by all the demands, opportunities and perceived obligations, by all the people who come into our lives (have you ever stopped to count how many?) we can end up losing track of who we are and what we really want.

Worse, we end up losing track of the One who’s put us here and for whose glory we’ve been created. We sell ourselves out for the “stuff” of the world.

We may say we haven’t, but in the measure of our hours spent, how many are devoted solely to concentrating on and communing with the One we claim to love above all others? Even one out of twenty-four hours is only 1/24th of our day.

Doesn’t seem like very much, looked at that way, does it? Especially when you consider that none of us could even live were it not for our Lord who holds the very atoms of our bodies together.

Nor when you remember that time is a drop in the bucket compared to eternity and that eventually all these things that seem so important today will be destroyed and utterly forgotten…

 “If then you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.”         ~ Colossians 3:1-2

 

 

 

I’m In Rebellion – Sort of…

Yesterday I was supposed to … planned to … write about the Olympics, since that was the prompt that the Daily Post had provided this week. I even wrote some thoughts about the subject, that basically my attitude toward the Olympics was … meh. In fact, that was the title I’d selected: “Olympics… Meh”

Then I more or less ranted about various elements of hypocrisy and political correctness that I observed… like the rule in the all around for the gymnastics competition that says each country can only have two athletes in that competition even if a country has five that would blow most of the athletes from the other countries away. Doesn’t matter. Only the top two from each country can enter the competition.

Which mean’s they’re merely being politically correct, not interested, for all the trumpeting otherwise, in who is actually the best. They just want to give everyone a chance to play.

Which is even weirder when you consider how many athletes from other countries move to the US to train, use US equipment, US coaches, train with US athletes… then go back to represent their own country (which did nothing for them in this regard) and maybe win a medal for their ‘homeland.’

So… what does all that mean anyway?  And when they tally up the medals should they count the athletes that trained in Country X using Country X’s coaches, techniques, food, fellow athletes, living conditions… should they count their medals alongside those of athletes actually representing Country X? Oh, but then countries A-Z minus X would feel bad… They might stop coming. And then where would we be?

So then the Olympics and medal counts aren’t about which country has the better athletes, training, coaches etc, but … really… making everyone feel like a participant. Making everyone feel good.  Making everyone feel like “we are the world.”

The commercials were the worst… but no, I will not go off on a riff about the commercials, and all the worldly, rah-rah viewpoints they were continuously spewing.

Maybe I’ve watched too many Olympics over the years… Maybe I’m getting old and seeing how the young wonders of yesteryear, like Greg Louganis, now stand in the bleachers and watch, gray-haired, far past their prime… poor guy. All that glory and now it’s gone… Which is the way of the world, of course, but you’d never know it from all the hooplah.

The focus for me is just all wrong. Unless you use the general idea of it all — training for the games  — as an analogy for the Christian life… it does take the dedication the athletes demonstrate, in order to eventually finish the race, fight the good fight, run so as to win, win the crown… But as far as the world… it just seems sort of meaningless.

Wait a minute! I started this post intending to write about how I was NOT going to write about the Olympics. How I  just couldn’t bring myself to follow the five posts a week plan any more. How I was too tired, too chafing against the requirements, not interested…

Yet somehow… I ended up writing about them anyway.  😦

Hmph. I think I liked the clip they played in the opening ceremonies of Chariots of Fire best (minus the nonsense with Rowan Atkinson). I still remember the thrill of seeing that movie on the big screen for the first time, that wonderful running on the beach scene, hearing that now-familiar theme…one of my all time favorites.  Maybe you loved it, too. If so… enjoy…

4 July 2012

“We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” ~ John Adams*

Today, as we celebrate the freedoms we’ve enjoyed as a nation for over three hundred years, freedoms which seem to be eroding away because of the very elements Adams notes in the quote above, let us remember that while human freedom is weak because it depends on fallen humans for its maintenance, the spiritual freedom we have in Christ cannot be touched by anyone.

“Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” ~ 2 Corinthians 3:17

*The Works of John Adams, ed. C. F. Adams, Boston: Little, Brown Co., 1851, 4:31


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