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Substack Chronicles: Part 2

(Letter from the Editor)

(See Part 1)

By: E. Kyle Richey

On November 19, 2020 I announced here on Truth In Focus the beginning of my first Substack account, E.K.R. Report:

My how things have grown! The E.K.R. Report expands exponentially in content and audience. As of 2021, I have written eight posts, but the content is intended to be more in-depth and less sporadic while remaining more personal in my analysis on art, food, culture, and the political madness playing out in front of us. Of this year, I believe my most prophetic and accurate article is from the title: Inauguration D-Day: The New Kids On The Block Of Destruction, Power, and Romance. Here is a glimpse:

Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Amazon, and Apple are easy targets these days as they shutdown the President, Parlor, and anyone they consider radical. This week Facebook Ugandan pro-Museveni accounts ahead of election and in response Uganda blocked Facebook. Tensions such as these will continue for the foreseen future as the global elite solidify their great reset. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey was recorded saying as much. Big Tech is an oversimplification however as multinational corporations connected to environment, health, safety and sustainability (EHS&S) have their hands and funds in superpowers around the world in nearly every field. However, Big Tech does describe their endless scope which has obliterated privacy. Data is no longer simply a commodity, but a source of knowledge that filters through the veins of corporate and state; an intoxicating line of tubes, lines, ports, and catheters the system of our world is too interconnected to breakaway without a system malfunction or worse, a breakdown. Whatever the United States once was—a republic or a democracy —is now an administrative state of technocrats who know no boundaries between private or public lines in either the corporate and state or the freedom of speech and the rights of parents. Those days are now over, yet few realize it.

Corporatism was once a dirty word amongst progressives who now sit on the boards of Fortunes 500 companies. We are beyond the Industrial-Military complex, this is the beast of an entirely different nature. Our political ecology has evolved before our eyes with the belief that a three branch government and a few old documents could hold the tides of tyranny and change. That myth too is over. A national security state or the surveillance state is the new normal—totalitarianism is here to stay. To be fair this is the result of success and failures of modernity as humanity enters uncharted territory of climate change, limited resources, animal and planet extinction, higher exposure to viruses and sickness, and environmental elements that knocked man back to reality.

Painting, Sculpture & Design – Kurt Wenner, Master Artist

Our world is always passing away. Decay is the natural state and to that natural state we have returned. Elites are concerned about the future no matter their political persuasion. Take Elon Musk as an example of a man who like Stephen Hawking believes our only true hope is to find a new planet.

Elon Musk, digital, 1000x1000 px : Art

Corporate billionaires run our planet and our universe or so they think. Secular at heart these men look to the stars as means to be conquered. But fair warning, space travel is a humanist pipe dream; an illusion that will end in disaster. There are no planets in our galaxy nor near our galaxy that will house the next earthlings. Earth—Eden—is our birthplace and our tomb. Our only hope is to save the planet or risk losing it all. And perhaps that is and always has been part of God’s final plan. Ironic that humanity will be the sealers of their fate.

Click Here to Read the entire post: Inauguration D-Day: The New Kids On The Block Of Destruction, Power, and Romance

Serendipitously the toxic fumes of politics had breached my mind a bit too much as I noted in, New Directions: Moving Beyond the Political:

Here at Substack the purpose is to be more personal and maybe even a slight bit more careless, not in reason or emotion, but taking risks in discussing issues that are raw. Yes, a few articles even used language. I used those for merely aesthetic reasons, lessons learned from some of my favorite writers including Christians. And I was being apropos to both Rod Dreher and another time directly referencing the actual words of the Apostle Paul. Nevertheless, being careful with my words in times such as these are important.

I can only hope that my readers can take to heart that these ideas of mine are always open to discussion and critique. And I am very well. Just choosing to go through life publicly at a time when more and more choose to be quiet or private. But in fairness, the political discussions are ending today. No more for a time being anyways.

What does that mean for the various writings? For one, Truth In Focus will continue to be a philosophical and theological grounding point of thought and analysis. Granted, the topics at hand need to remain practical i.e. about present events, therefore I will be working on to improve the practical side of it, while also making it simple. Simple is not a bad word, in fact, it is being used here to mean in the utmost positive. In our age, many issues are complex. Issues such as living wages, abortion, C19, gun rights, corruption, etc. Matters, if ones that I believe only have one answer, are still complex in their planning and application. They require a greater simplicity, not sophistry and unhelpful rhetoric. At TIF I want to provide a much more thoughtful application events and issues. And to study ideas and their consequences. To make principles, not politics.

Click Here to Read the entire post in its entirety: New Directions: Moving Beyond the Political

As my personal Substack continues to evolve and develop I proud to announce the second Substack with my friend Thomas Doane titled: Philosophosaurus Rex:

Taking the helm of three sites can be a bit daunting let alone the content I am trying to put together on Youtube (All Things Veritas), Facebook (Truth In Focus), and Instagram page (Merebeautyintruth). My mind is constantly running through the various ways in which I can connect these together into a single network. Philosophosaurus Rex is beginning to pick up steam this month as seen from my article on February 5 2021, In the Beginning Was Philosophy and The Earth Was Material:

The Legacy of the Pre-Socratics ~ The Imaginative Conservative

Then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.

— Genesis 2:7

Every story has a starting place. Our starting place with philosophy will begin with the early greeks and pre-socratics. My systematic study will evolve overtime as books and essays are included in the study I am about to present. At the moment, this is the literature review:

Literature Used (updated as I go)

A History of Philosophy Vol. 1 Pre-socratics to Plotinus, Frederick Copleston S.J. Ref (Copleston, V1)

Early Greek Science: Thales to Aristotle, GER Lloyd. Ref (Lloyd, EGS)

There will be instances of going back and forth as additional sources are added for the sake of context. The way I intend to develop this study is to use the following approach:

  • Historical Oriented
    • Ideas/Concepts, Cultures, and Individuals
  • Subject Specific
    • A book and/or paper on Idea, Culture, Person(s)
  • Philosophically Focused
    • A philosophically focused/directed book and or paper on the Ideas and Persons

Historical context is the central theme of study and through it we can then engage with specifics both the subject matter and the philosophical nature of that subject. Please bare with me as I am sure I will need to explain that more at another time.

The notes you are about see are in relation to the books mentioned. Some are quotes while others are of my own. Again, this will slowly evolve and grow as I pursue forward with this process.

Continuing reading here is you are interested in that series: In the Beginning Was Philosophy and The Earth Was Material

Thomas is busy completing his degree in theology but he is aiming to start a series on his own concerning the book, Studies in Religious Philosophy, by Robert W. Hall, titled: A Pilgrimage Towards Knowledge:

So, as I begin this path, I would like to share with you in this pilgrimage, from what I have learned and the insights gained, to the joys and pains that will accompany the long road ahead. As I finish my final term in my undergraduate studies, I will share with you the insights gained from a book that one of my professors gifted to me

Studies in Religious Philosophy, by Robert W. Hall. What I hope to accomplish is a primer in the Philosophy of Religion that will prepare me for the more rigorous studies ahead and by doing so, share with you, the reader the historical, philosophical, political, and religious observations that are gained through the chapters I read. I hope this to be a systematic approach of what is a synopsis of some very difficult topics to examine and thus share with you in my education.

You can read everything Thomas has to say here: A Pilgrimage Towards Knowledge

Books, principles, ideas, politics, theology, policies… the themes run through all the sites but I promise each piece will be unique on the whole. Continued streams of thought only helps me and the reader as we pursue into the darkness with our lamps shining bright.

So far so good as I can tell. Substack’s newsletters don’t appear to fail as they do here on WordPress. Additionally, the founders of Substack have promised to not censor others over “hate speech” i.e. free speech that people do not concur as truth or real or polite etc. It is difficult to gain traction though that is the internet isn’t? Unless you are already famous enough, these matters take time. Overall the network is friendly, easy to utilize, and accessible.

Once more I have reached my place to bid you farewell until next time take ear to the first half of Proverbs 16:6:

By mercy and truth iniquity is purged

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Return to Virtue: The Source Of Virtue

(Insight)

(Part 2, see Part 1)

The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.

Psalm 19:7-11

Virtue has been defined for ages and put into practice equally as long. It is therefore both a place of reason and doing. In context to the western world, Aristotle is most famous for his explanation and application of virtue. Accordingly, in Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, he explains virtue as intellectual and moral; intellectual progress resulting mostly from teaching while the moral is fulfilled from habitual practices (Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, Book 2, p. 26). From the standpoint of virtue ethics in philosophy, Aristotelianism is its practical foundation. Ethics and morality are different branches of a similar tree as R.C. Sproul explains:

The English word “ethic” or “ethics” comes from the Greek word ethos. The word “morals” or “morality” comes from the word mores. The difference is that the ethos of a society or culture deals with its foundational philosophy, its concept of values, and its system of understanding how the world fits together. There is a philosophical value system that is the ethos of every culture in the world. On the other hand, mores has to do with the customs, habits, and normal forms of behavior that are found within a given culture.

In the first instance, ethics is called a normative science; it’s the study of norms or standards by which things are measured or evaluated. Morality, on the other hand, is what we would call a descriptive science. A descriptive science is a method to describe the way things operate or behave. Ethics are concerned with the imperative and morality is concerned with the indicative. What do we mean by that? It means that ethics is concerned with “ought-ness,” and morality is concerned with “is-ness.”

Ethics, or ethos, is normative and imperative. It deals with what someone ought to do. Morality describes what someone is actually doing. That’s a significant difference, particularly as we understand it in light of our Christian faith, and also in light of the fact that the two concepts are confused, merged, and blended in our contemporary understanding.

Not to discount all things Aristotle, Christianity has long argued not only for the differences between morality and ethics, but the ultimate source or ethic is God. Sourcing where our measure of what is right or wrong ought to determine our actions. Following from that understanding, the highest virtue arises from God and is progressed forward by God, in us and through us, all for the Glory of God and His Kingdom rather than our own. Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will Be Done is the imperative. Humanity, however, rebels against God seeking to make their own way forward. Now postmodernism, a reflection of present realities, promotes the Self as god and king. In response to that falsity, society must be rebuilt by Christianity once again until the return of Christ who is the ultimate ethic.

Dominion

In part one, Virtue By Decree, I explained the decree being:

[A] set of obligations weighted upon and against all institutions that hold power and authority over a people. And it represents a set of values expected from those institutions.

Virtue by Decree is a moral legal framework that applies to an entire society, an infrastructure of revolving checks and balances by an eternal clockwork of good over evil; right versus wrong; consistent rather than inconsistent. Roots or foundations though apply. Where does one gain this method of authority that binds all to its one accord however imperfect its creatures? Evolution? Hardly. Reason? Whose? It is enforced by God, the most perfect and most high authority. Yet, left to our own devices, we can quickly destroy that which we have been given. As the Book of Genesis explains,

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

Genesis 1:27

Imago Dei, the likeness and reflective substance of God, are the elements of men and women bound eternal to God regardless of their will. “His will be done” (Matthew 6:10), applies to the entire nature of man. There are no boundaries between God and man, only man and God. We can never reach heaven by our own will. A two-way street metaphor is entirely obliterated. Human sovereignty can only be inclined to the creators imputed design. God’s Sovereignty triumphs our own in every which way. Divine Providence holds absolute dominion.

Real-value virtue is therefore rooted in God—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Christ is the foundational source of all things virtuous through His Triunity and Christ Incarnation. Christ is the completed (perfect) Image of Man, not the distortions we have become, images broken long ago:

1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” 2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3 but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” 4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.

8 And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the LORD God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” 11 He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” 12 The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” 13 Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

14 The LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field; on your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. 15 I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”

16 To the woman he said, “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be contrary to your husband, but he shallrule over you.”

17 And to Adam he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; 18 thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. 19 By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

20 The man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living.21 And the LORD God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.

22 Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—” 23 therefore the LORD God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. 24 He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life (Genesis 3: 1-24).

Responding to the jarring event of human damnation God predestined the answer for humanity’s fallen state. Through the workings of Christ eternal, Jesus would one day become flesh. A man, yet divine without blemish. God and Man. The Incarnation of Christ is when “the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons” (Galatians 4:4–5). “And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:8). Christ is the final sacrifice, the last scapegoat, and the sacred feast for a holy altar. His incarnation completes the image bearer. Distorted images of believers can now slowly retune with the Incarnation of Christ through sanctification. In us and through us, Christ demonstrated for us by fulfilling the law and prophecies; He has revived the soul, made the wise simple, rejoiced the heart, enlightened the eyes, endured us on forever, and rules with truth and righteousness. Interpretation of the Scriptures are a sacred duty of all believers through the reliance of the Christian Church for Scripture is our guide.

True Virtue

True virtue is Christ incarnated. There can be no separation between He and the Common Good. Eudaemonia, in the ethics of Aristotle and many virtue ethics, is concerned with happiness or human flourishing by means of prosperity and blessings. While that exists in the Christian life, the goal is not happiness, but one of obedience toward the source of joy. In the final paragraphs of, The Cost of Discipleship by Bonhoeffer, he writes:

“But all our works are the works of God himself, the works for which he has prepared us beforehand… From this it follows that we can never be conscious of our good works. Our sanctification is veiled from our eyes until the last day, when all secrets are disclosed. If we want to see some results here and assess our own spiritual state, and have not the patience to wait, we have our reward. The moment we begin to feel satisfied that we are making some progress along the road of sanctification, it is all the more necessary to repent and confess that all our righteousness are as filthy rags. Yet the Christian life not one of gloom, but of ever increasing joy in the Lord. God alone knows our good works, all we know is his good work.” (p. 296-97)

Christian Virtue and the source of our JOY is in contrast with Eudaimonia.

The Christian walk requires sacrifice, surrender, service, admonishment, judgement, guidance, and above everything else to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ all for the Glory of God. Virtue and virtuousness are not the goal, though they are expected of believers, the purpose of the faith is to live out the truth of Christ for Christ. Virtue in Christian application is beyond just the habitual and the teachable, virtues are of eternal concern, a matter of works that demonstrates salvation and after salvation comes a life of discipleship and sanctification.

Uncovering Christ as the source for all institutions and peoples may at first appear disingenuous considering that not everyone is a Christian or a Primitive Conservative for that matter. However, as much as I would like to make everyone converts, I know that is not in my control nor even possible. My purpose here is only to clarify the root of a Christian and a Primitive Conservative by which virtue is justified and vice judged.

An Eye for Beauty – A Sermon on Luke 9:28-43 – Interrupting the Silence

Principles Over Politics

Ideas and the meaning of those ideas are important to practicing virtue, encouraging virtue, and decreeing virtue. For example, loyalty and patriotism share similar strands yet one is deeper than the other. Loyalty to friends and family hold a different form of bond versus that of a loyalty to country that we call patriotism. Equally vital to the institutions at hand even considered virtuous, but the cost of discipleship for which Christ commands can quickly turn these ideas upside down as it reads in Luke 14:25-33:

Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.

This is part of Bonhoeffer’s “Costly Grace” metaphor versus that of “Cheap grace” (The Cost of Discipleship, p.45) as one requires surrender, suffering, repentance, and a life dedicated to a singular purpose; the other is quick, painless, and easily dispensable when it fails to converge with competing narratives and visions and desires of ones life. But that exchange of choosing a costly or cheap grace has outward effects on family, friends, and even country. Where do such loyalties stand when they are juxtaposed between a rock and a hard place? Neither scripture nor the saints before us guarantee easy answers or always “the correct” responses, yet that should not dismay the principles of morality and ethics to be used in our laws, economies, education, and daily living standards. Furthermore, history has taught us that not every good idea ought to be enforced i.e. leniency is important; the law cannot save us from eternity anymore than can it save is from harm, ignorance, hurt, hate, or pain. Grasping the essential qualities of a conservative mind therefore are important for the political and social arena.

A Way Forward

Christian, how can we exclaim Christ Alone, but allow ourselves to be swayed in a life of debauchery? Or, how can we claim Christ as King yet spread disinformation for a political identity? True virtue is not an identity. It is a way of life. A philosophy and a religion. Virtue is the oxygen to whose lungs are gasping for air. The struggle for life is not life itself; the struggle is for the life maker Himself. Seek pardon from false riches, fraught authority, and expedient freedoms the world promises. Turn away from it all. Rather, run toward the light of Solus Christus the finished and forever foundation.

Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.

From my previous series, Principles Over Politics, in part one called Exordium, I cite Professor J. Budziszewski:

From time to time Christians may find themselves in tactical alliance with conservatives, just as with liberals, over particular policies, precepts, and laws. But they cannot be in strategic alliance, because their reasons for these stands are different; they are living in a different vision. 

And

Christians can no more be others on the right than others on the left. Citizenship is an obligation of the faith, therefore the Christian will not abstain from the politics of the nation-state. But his primary mode of politics must always be witness. It is a good and necessary thing to change the welfare laws, but better yet to go out and feed the poor. It is a good and necessary thing to ban abortion, but better yet to sustain young women and their babies by taking them into the fellowship of faith. This is the way the kingdom of God is built.

I knew then the time was quick at hand when Christians will have to confront the reality that their way of life in America was coming to an end. That time has arrived. As I proposed also in Part 1 of this series on Virtue, “Christendom and Conservative Thinkers must now begin to prepare for a better and brighter future should that future come. To begin a process of structuring what mankind has learned over the centuries, successes and failures, so as to reform or rebuild the crumbling globe before us.” My message remains the same to Conservatives as well. Anyone who is willing to at least consider the reality and truth of God should prepare for a post-liberal world.

Like Budziszewski, I cannot ignore the calling of Christ, but I will be arguing for a universal Christological Virtue Principle (CVP). It will take time, but it is necessary in preparing a better future for generations seeking a way forward beyond the false dichotomies of our modern political landscape. A landscape quickly decaying beneath our feet.

What Are The Virtues? – Lumen Ecclesiae Press

Next Time: Virtue Explained

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Mob Rule, Mob Rules: Part 3, Section 1

(Part 1, Part 2)

Trumphantism: Donald J. Trump & The Post-Trump World

By: E. Kyle Richey

Earth to America: Crashing til Landed

Marred by 2020 the world braces for impact in 2021. Humanity has witnessed a paradigm shift, yet the dust still settles as outcomes and consequences remain to be decided. Donald J. Trump, United States 45th President has lost an election which determined the cascading trajectory of the United States of America. Now is the time to understand what we are leaving behind as American’s and the world enter the fragmented universe of 2021. 

The irony of collapse is eventually a replacement appears. No power, however impressive, lasts forever per the testimonies of time by empires that long lay in ruin. Ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome lay in ruin while continuing to influence the present; they may be in ruin yet their voices speak an eternality of what is to come, “an end and new beginnings,” they whisper.  

Transitions from beginning to end are never definite in degree, but shared similarities showcase potential possibilities for historians and political thinkers alike to study and consider. 

In 1992 a profound and controversial book was published, The End of History and the Last Man (1992) by Political and Social theorist Francis Fukuyama. Immediately in his introduction Fukuyama premised that liberal democracies are the pinnacle of a free and open society, an end of history, while acknowledging stable nations such as the United States or France would continue to have issues due to an “incomplete implementation of the twin principles of liberty and equality (p. xi).”1 Within the end of history and fasts-forward to 2018 with the publication of Identity: The Demand for Dignity and the Politics of Resentment, both works acknowledge a demand for universal recognition (an idea from the philosopher Hegel) or dignity according Fukuyama, a place where all are seen heard, and known. Yet the ideal turns toward the ideological as demands of recognition include no forms of discrimination or disrespect felt by oppressed groups giving rise to a new totalitarianism, a “soft totalitarianism”2 whose overarching hand comes largely from corporations whose cooperation with governments make them complicit actors of the state. This is Modernity’s present conflict and a test concerning history’s end due to its irreality and polarizing affect of identity politics: 

Being a citizen of a liberal democracy does not mean, moreover, that people will actually be treated with equal respect either by their government or by other citizens. They are judged on the basis of their skin, their gender, their national origin, their looks, their ethnicity, or their sexual orientation. Each person and each group experiences disrespect in different ways, and each seeks its own dignity. Identity politics thus engenders its own dynamic, by which societies divide themselves into smaller and smaller groups by virtue of their particular “lived experience” of victimization (p. 164).3

Specific to the United States of America, a serious conflict is taking place concerning its future in the world as it continues to dim in the night sky. Our nebulae is fading while false promises of return continue from Trump to Biden. The election of 2020 further marks a crisis of culture and legitimacy. Black Lives Matter, ANTIFA, and additional Marxist movements in the areas of culture and political life are merely one revolt competing against another. Attempts in the final weeks of the Trump Presidency to override the Capitol was an extension of a radical right of QAnon conspirators and Alt-right fascism determined to prevent what they believe was an election stolen and an America quickly fading in front of their eyes. As Anne Applebaum from The Atlantic observed, extremists are emboldening one another.4 Events in America today are reminiscent of Germany as Marxist’s caused anarchy in the streets and out of frustration far-right extremist groups -began to take the streets ending in bloodshed and a revolution that brought about Adolf Hitler into power.

Would it be hard to believe that both sides of the the quarrel in America today carry legitimacy and illegitimacy? A conundrum for sure but a postmodern reality as conflicting interpretations5 swirl us into further disaster. Internally outcomes mean a warring between a weak versus strong state, however, a much larger powers hover over the once great nation. China, Corporatism, and Globalism each carry a new weight on the shoulders of Uncle Sam.

Socialist Technocrats riding of the back of Capitalism are aiming for a Great Reset in the midst of C-19.6 Spiraling out of control, disillusioned by their grander, they believe they can land a plane already in flames with President Biden and Vice-President Harris at the throttle. In order to comprehend the erosion and decay; to predict the outcomes that are likely to arise in 2021; and to understand the pinnacle of modernity—late modernity, a perpetual state7 of totalitarian incantations8—we must first review President Trump and the American ethos of 2016 that built up to this point. Mob Rule, Mob Rules did not develop overnight but it is rooted in the unsettled nature of mankind whose fears, wants, needs, and desires collide in a world of duality with the Self at the center of an unraveling universe that is the End of History & the Last Man.   

America’s Second Postmodern President

Donald J. Trump was an enigma and an archetype representative of the reverberating tensions in the modern world. America’s 45th President was not in the mundane category as he set a new standard for future leadership in the political landscape—an all gloves off approach. His own outrageous behavior polarized the most moderate into unmarked territories while enflaming political baselines. To call the man evil ignores the good he committed himself to doing while President, yet to call the man good evaporates his offensive oddities that perturbed Conservatives and non-Conservatives, Christians and non-Christians alike. The now former President was our first purely postmodern President; a genius capable of fragmenting and uniting in ways not thought possible in modern America.9 He successfully made the ecological landscape appear upside-down and right-side up, greatly due to the fact that American society at present is itself fragmented and united, engaged and disengaged, troubled and relived.

As I engaged on the EKR Report, it is important to reiterate here:

It is my belief that America’s 45th President Donald J. Trump was a complete postmodern President; a manifestation of late modernity’s yearnings for a hero and a villain. Trump just so happened to represent the radical right, the alt-right, but it is questionable if President Trump was indeed a man of the right or a man who took advantage of their woes. Previously I have mentioned that I believed Trump to be the first postmodern president, but I stand corrected as Barack Obama was the first (another topic to be sure). However, in reaction to thematics of Obama, Donald Trump entered center stage to fill a void in the political right, a strong arm who could MAGA his way though Washington. QAnon and the Alt-right are blatant examples of the modern malaise that is postmodernism. 

Continuing that thought-line I presented Donald J. Trump as a Postmodern Nebuchadnezzar:

Manifestation being the keyword President Trump embodies the essential postmodern stigma. He is the result of an ecological convergence within late modernity—a billionaire titan hungry for an abundance of power and wealth in order to make a legacy and the presidency was the perfect construct at a point of political strife…

President Trumps election and win in 2016 was understandably a response to the status quo, a push against the vanguard found in the Democratic and Republican parties that elected George W. Bush and Barrack Obama, respectfully, and a reactionary response from the public to the potential presidency of Hillary Rodham Clinton. People have grown weary of globalism, capitalism, socialism, war, and even peace. Citizens are worn.

And the election of Joe Biden is a reaction to Trump and Trumphantism, however, is also a response to the ills that minorities and progressives argue are repressing them. They too are enraged by hate speech, discrimination, low wages, and an expensive bloated healthcare system.

Combined a catalyst has been formed of good versus evil; light versus darkness. The postmodern stage has been set and the audience is watching:

In his book, Simulacra and Simulation, the postmodern thinker Baudrillard argues that within the United States a switch took place between the image relationship of art forms and reality; the image now has ontological priority over the real. Signs and Symbols have become the reality rather than the actual world itself thus resulting in life itself becoming “film-like” as he puts it:

It is not the least of America’s charms that even outside the movie theaters the whole county is cinematic. The desert you pass through is like the set of a Western, the city a screen of signs and formulas.”

Continuing:

A simulacrum is a representation of something or someone. Donald Trump, I am arguing, is a simulacrum due to the sociopolitical economic environment of the United States. He is a superficial force Americans had to contend with as either good or evil; right or wrong. Trump was not one but both. A master of media, Trump knew exactly how to market himself as savior and king as much as antichrist and tyrant. Christian professor and author of the book, Disruptive Witness: Speaking Truth In A Distracted Age, Alan Noble describes our media saturated society—what I see as a postmodern product of late modernity the emerged from secularism, technology, and science— Nobles writes that the:

[C]onstant engagement with media also invites us to unreflectively adopt ethical and political positions, creating a hodgepodge worldview. From a film on the treatment of animals in amusement parks we develop a fleeting concern for animal rights. A documentary on modern farming practices makes us see shopping local and organic a moral issue.

Are the events we are witnessing real? Who is telling the truth? What will become of the human estate? Former President Trump offered America one way forward and it was a way that now nearly half of America sought to maintain rather than surrender. So much so that a cabal raided the Capital. While another half, a half fearful of Trump and “his” America, elected Joseph Robinette Biden Jr to repose from a sudden decay in their vision of democracy.

Disturbingly there is a serious disconnect between needs and wants for the average American citizen versus the conflicting natures found in Washington. Following that logic, the innumerable hands influencing decisions in the American political system has designed a wide range of conflicts in terms of visions and, as I have termed it, a collision of ideas that relate to the competing visions of the nation and the world for that matter.10 

If the controversial terminology Deep State11 means anything it is that there are far too many actors involved in the decision making of the U.S. Government beyond its traditional capacity of the three branches of government and their inability of functional overwatch. Additionally, Deep State as I define is a clear cooperation, not conspiratorial, between the State (i.e. the Federal, State, and local governments including its many agencies) and private entities (i.e. Corporate entities such as Media conglomerates, Banks, and Private Military Companies); a layering of networks that has become the security state entwined with a global economy called neoliberalism. Modernity procured a “Too Big To Fail” attitude because our interconnected global economy is dependent upon its own continual success. Security and prosperity are its goals. Civilization is not post-modernity, its in the thicket of modernity. Postmodernism— philosophically and ideologically—acts a reflective state that mirrors modernity’s crisis. This is the present Market State12 out of which Trump triumphed, at least, momentarily.

Never A One Man Show

Trump became President in the midst of a rise of authoritarian figures, nationalism, and Brexit.13 But he also stood as a bulwark against socialism, critical race theories, and leftist radicalism. Yet he adopted agendas that aligned with alt-right motives.14 A man who was bitter and vial towards those he disliked and quick to dispose all those who showed a lack of Trump style loyalty. Paradoxically, Trump was willing to stand against our greatest enemies in the world including China and rail against the greatest evils such as abortion; the paradox would also have bizarre relations with our greatest enemiesRussia and North Koreathat themselves left many perplexed.

Mob Rule and Mob rules goes both ways. Once a society or group accepts a particular culture to the extent of an unwavering obedience that is when the mere obedient citizen morphs into the crazed devotee.15 In such a state of mind the individual joins a collective consciousness that bestows an ideological framework with its authoritative structures, a tyrannical voice speaks over the disillusioned. Granted that both authority and legitimacy are each necessary means to gaining such societal clout. Without that respect the people protest, rebel, and eventually turn into revolutionaries. Todays status quo can be tomorrows tyranny as the vanguard can be heroes and mob alike. No modern government is unaware of the populist pull.

With the populist shift in the recent decade as seen in the election of President Trump a void continues to grow in the desire of American political stability. As previously written in part 2 of this series:

Donald Trump was not Russia’s (forever) President Vladimir Putin nor North Korea’s Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un, however, the current President fit well within mob tactics. Portrayed as a hero who was set on “draining the swamp” it was clear that the Washington outsider brought in his own muck. 

Biden is the pendulum swing further to the left. Hardly a stabilizing force considering the policies the President and the democratic party have adopted.

Life’s A Riot

            Movements and the groups who fight for their beliefs can quickly be perceived as either just or unjust depending on which side a person stands. The avant-garde of the new or the progressive versus the conservative institutions or the reactionary, these are only a set of varying “stances” a person can be part of. However, where do hate groups, real hate groups such as the Ku Klux Klan, Nation of Islam, or Neo-Volkisch stand in the spectrum of differences between progressives and conservatives? They may share similar accepted norms and mores of general society, but their responses are dehumanizing, threatening, and often violent. Truthfully, they have no justification in relation to either the avant-garde or the establishment considering that these movements of hate are beyond even the fridge of accepted beliefs and are considered fraudulent in their cause. Yet liberalized governments tend to protect even the most hateful. Such a decision hardly premises legitimacy but it begs the question, How do liberal democracies successfully funnel extremist groups within their countries? That question relates to the United State most recent socioeconomic and political trajectories of riots and movements via Black Lives Matter and the Alt-Right. And it is a central topic as the 46th President Biden intend to tackle “white supremacy” after President 45 attempted to address the radical socialist left. It is therefore essential to understand Black Lives Matters, ANTIFA, and the Alt-Right; to see them as archetypical trajectories of what lays ahead in the radicalism that has overtaken the American Dream that is no more.

————

Next Time: Mob Rule, Mob Rules: Part 3, Section 2 Trumphantism: The Alt-Right, Black Lives Matters, ANTIFA, and the Fate of American Liberty

References

1 Dreher, Rod. (2020). Live Not By Lies: A Manual For Christian Dissidents. New York, NY: Sentinel

2 Fukuyama, Francis. (1992). The End of History and the Last Man. New York, NY: The Free Press

3 —. (2018). Identity: The Demand for Dignity and the Politics of Resentment. New York, NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 

4 Applebaum, Anne. (2020 October 30). The Answer to Extremism Isn’t More Extremism. The Atlantic. https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/10/left-and-right-are-radicalizing-each-other/616914/

5 As a point of reference I am using Jean Baudrillard’s usage as he explained this loss of the real in how we interpret events around us. In his example, he used Watergate. This is directly quoted from Simulations (1983) Translated by Phil Beitchman, Paul Foss and Paul Patton, “All hypotheses are possible, although this one is superfluous: the work of the Right is done very well, and spontaneously, by the Left on its own. Besides, it would be naive to see an embittered good conscience at work here. For the Right itself also spontaneously does the work of the Left. All the hypotheses of manipulation are reversible in an endless whirligig. For manipulation is a floating causality where positivity and negativity engender and overlap with one another; where there is no longer any active or passive (p. 30).”

6 World Economic Forum. The Great Reset. https://www.weforum.org/great-reset/; and for further commentary on events see: Doane, Thomas. (2020 November 1). The Convergence of the Progressive Telos. Truth In Focus. https://edwardkylerichey.org/2020/11/01/the-convergence-of-the-progressive-telos/

7 Richey, Kyle. (2020 October 26). PostModernity: A Perpetual State of Modernity. https://edwardkylerichey.org/2020/10/26/postmodernity-a-perpetual-state-of-modernity/

8 —. (2020 November 2). Totalitarian Incantations: Late Modernity’s Radical Manifestations. https://edwardkylerichey.org/2020/11/02/totalitarian-incantations-late-modernitys-radical-manifestations/

9 —. (2020 August 20). Mob Rule, Mob Rules 2020: Part 2. https://edwardkylerichey.org/2020/08/20/mob-rule-mob-rules-2020-part-2/

10 —. (2020 November 2020). Too Divided To Stand: Election 2020 & The Future of America. https://edwardkylerichey.org/2020/11/06/too-divided-to-stand-election-2020-the-future-of-america/

11 Several references: Lofgren, Mike. (21 February, 2014). Essay: Anatomy of the Deep State. Moyers On Democracy. https://billmoyers.com/2014/02/21/anatomy-of-the-deep-state/; Kaizen, Michael. (Fall 2017). The Rise of the Security State: From the Great War to Snowden. Dissent Magazine. https://www.dissentmagazine.org/article/world-war-i-aftermath-security-state-nsa; Healy, Gene. (1 March, 2015). National Security State. (Book Review) National Security and Double Government By Michael J. Glennonhttps://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/national-security-state; Epstein, Richard. (20 October, 2019) How Bad Constitutional Law Leads to Bad Economic Regulations. The Atlantic. https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/10/how-bad-constitutional-law-leads-bad-regulations/600280/

12 A great reference point for understanding the Market State is from Constitutional scholar Philip Bobbitt’s, The Shield of Achilles, including on page 347 where a small set of graphs or “plates” he calls them demonstrate the evolution of the state including a small definition of each entity. The Market State according to Bobbitt “will maximize the opportunity of its citizens.”

13 Greven, Thomas. (2016 May). The Rise of Right-wing Populism in Europe and the United States: A Comparative Perspective. Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Foundation. http://dc.fes.de/fileadmin/user_upload/publications/RightwingPopulism.pdf

14 Wilson, Matthew. (2020 July 17). Donald Trump and the “Alt-Right”: How Much Connection Is There. ISPI. https://www.ispionline.it/it/pubblicazione/donald-trump-and-alt-right-how-much-connection-there-26990

15 Richey, Kyle. (2020 August 20). Mob Rule, Mob Rules 2020: Part 2. https://edwardkylerichey.org/2020/08/20/mob-rule-mob-rules-2020-part-2/

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Our Shared Liturgy: A Culture of Christ For All The Ages

(Theology/Insight)

You are what you love, love is a habit, discipleship is a rehabituation of your loves” – James K. A. Smith

You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit

Doth My Heart Love Till Now

Hours tick by regardless of decisions made, actions taken, beliefs followed, or the time we commiserate with people. Some are time wasters, others efficient with their time. Weeks spent in the gym, years at work, and decades dedicated toward leisure. Temples built out of food, mammon, sex, guns, sports, or fishing. Rock etched by the blood of tears. Iron and Steel molted under intense heat. Days turn to months until moments become that last breath. Where one sits at the dinner table established a routine of rituals and processions. Altars surround our lives. But at what altar do you kneel? What does your heart speaketh in that final hour?

He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart. – Psalm 15:2

St. Augustine of Hippo once replied of Psalms 15:2 saying:

[I]t is possible that a man may speak with his mouth a truth which profiteth him nothing, if he hold it not in his heart, that is, if what he speaketh, himself believe not; as the heretics…

Faith requires a pure sincerity that may fade at periods of life but never will it burnout. Should that sacred fire not exist, yet a person continues forward into the Holy of Holies, a profane fire will be lite becoming a mere intellectual exercise; vain attempts of ritual without purpose or meaning. And should thou not be careful, one runs risk of Nadab and Abihu:

And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the Lord, which he commanded them not. And there went out fire from the Lord, and devoured them, and they died before the Lord (Leviticus 10:1-2).

Not to suggest that God will bring fire down as He did to Nadab and Abihu; rather we must layout the concern that tainting holy ground has serious consequences for the Christian faith and the Universal Church i.e. of whom Christ is the Head. Worship matters and where the heart settles daily determines a proclivity that has eternal consequences.

Augustine, a great father of the faith, understood Sacred Scripture in its clarity of the human heart before an Absolute Sovereign God. Numerous times in the Old and New Testaments, the scriptures warn us that the human heart is misleading:

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? – Jeremiah 17:9

Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. – Proverbs 4:23

But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof. – Romans 13:14

Christ, Family, & Community

For us to properly settled our minds on that which is true and good, Christ must do a divine work within us. Per salvation a work is begun in us as we seek to partake in a body, the local church. Salvation is not the end game for a true believer rather it is the beginning of a life devoted to the Lord and His Kingdom.

Kingdom building requires us to gather and worship, to be discipled and to learn, to go share the Gospel and help all in need. Christ, our bridegroom, betroths us, the body, His bride. Yet while are indeed His, Christ bestows us leaders: Pastors/Priests/Elders, Deacons, and Bishops to pasture the flock through and through. Along with other believers we are to admonish one another in the ways of the Word.

Lastly, the Church is to be the center of community; a symbol of refuge for the broken and downtrodden; and a place of growth and real prosperity for believers. Once a person is saved, Christians must build outwardly from their homes, workplaces, and events. Yes, we gather every Sunday to celebrate the Living Word and the Living God our Savior, but each day must be a day set aside for God and for others. We must not be like the pharisaical. Should a brother or sister be in need, even on a Sunday, we must rush to them. Sharing the Gospel is the essential element but it carries with it great responsibilities as it reads in Matthew 5:3–12:

Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

Our calling is strong and everlasting in nature. There is no separation between believer and the Word; we do not adopt the Platonic or Aristotelian over that of scripture—never. Only the God of the New and Old Testament—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Our sacred liturgy is binding to reality. When and where we gather, so the immanence of God shall be. No, that does not dissolve the sacredness of the cathedral or the holy day. What the immanence of God reminds us is that His will be done. He is not to be forgotten nor can He be defeated. God reigns forever and ever. That sacred liturgy then is the center piece of our Body and the Throne of our lives, Jesus Christ.

Immanence of God - Servants of Grace

So when we gather at the dinner table or the Lords Table we must be sure to layout the real purpose of our joy and hope; our reason for living and being; the meaning of life and purpose.

Christ is the King! O Friends Rejoice 

1. Christ is the King! O friends, rejoice;
brothers and sisters, with one voice
let the world know he is your choice.
Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah!

2. Oh magnify the Lord, and raise
anthems of joy and holy praise
for Christ’s brave saints of ancient days.
Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah!

3. They with a faith forever new
followed the King, and round him drew
thousands of faithful servants true.
Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah!

4. O Christian women, Christian men,
all the world over, seek again
the way disciples followed then.
Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah!

5. Christ through all ages is the same:
place the same hope in his great name,
with the same faith his word proclaim.
Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah!

6. Let love’s unconquerable might
your scattered companies unite
in service to the Lord of light.
Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah!

7. So shall God’s will on earth be done,
new lamps be lit, new tasks begun,
and the whole church at last be one.
Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah!

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Due North In A World Lost

(Letter From Editor)

Here we stand—in 2021—already facing turmoil. That is not a joyous remark by any means, it is only as I feared. I took time away from Truth In Focus and my other writing responsibilities to reflect and regroup. I watched in horror as the Capital was quickly ransacked my QAnon radicals devoted to President Trump all the while radicals of the left scheme their socialist ways forward as they subjugate the House, the Senate, and soon the White House. And I witnessed “Big Tech” eroding free speech under the guise of privatized policies. Failing to see, or accept, that the present public spaces are digital with Twitter, Facebook, Youtube as platforms of speech, economic activity, religious worship, and more. Everything we forewarned in our November Issue (2020) that tyranny is coming in multiple forms all at the service of globalism and the global economy has come. History has witnessed a paradigm shift soon to be completed as the new neoliberal order turns into a monstrous corporatized quasi-socialist beast.  

Now that the four horseman 1) Wokism 2) Socialism 3) Corporatism and 4) Globalism have arrived it is only appropriate to speak against them.

TIF has never been political, but rooted in principles. And this year will be no different. Now is the time to begin the process of renewal for generations to come. Imagination will play a fundamental role as we uncover the requirements for rebuilding society after its collapse in values, family, law, faith, and morality. Together we will embark on a journey just as the pre-socratic philosopher Anaximander who mapped the black sea and lead a colony to Apollonia (modern-day Albania). Transverse the lands as the Apostle Paul establishing the truth of the Gospel throughout the eastern and western worlds. And write as Plato in his Seventh Epistle concerning Italy and the political deluge he witnessed that left him with a revelation, “Wherefore the classes of mankind (I said) will have no cessation from evils until either the class of those  who are right and true philosophers attains political supremacy, or else the class of those who hold power in the States becomes, by some dispensation of Heaven, really philosophic.”

A true Christians and Conservatives it is clear that nothing perfect exists in the physical world, and even if it should, it will eventually collapse under its own weight. Mankind is left with a constant preparation for a New Eden while upholding the past including the dead who sacrificed to make the future possible. Indeed, no real eden will come from whence it first arose, but to imagine new beginnings is as American as it is human. Whether they are called colonies or city-states their purposes are designed to bring forth light and hope; justice and peace; law and order to a people. 

Presently the United States of America no longer represents that land of hope. It is therefore paramount to process present discourses in order to learn from failures and successes. This is not a call to rebellion. Rather the opposite. It is a call to dream again a better homeland for our children and grandchildren. Rarely in human history are the opportunity to recreate such a situation. A paradigm such as we have been witnessing, however, allows us to move beyond circumstances as a necessity to preserving sacred liberties and divine freedoms. 

Articles written by me will be focused on specific issues not just people and never on gossip. While there will be political coverage from writers like Kimberly Hagen concerning the Biden Presidency; my focus as the editor in chief is to bring theology and philosophy to the practical world concerning global concerns. 

Digital liberty, Corporate Tyranny, Food Politics, Climate Change, Sustainability, Abortion, Religious Freedom, Free Speech are all matters requiring redress. This year, I will personally be bringing forth concerns from around the world in order to build a coalition in the name of the Good, the True, and the Beautiful. 

Virtue is required. Faith in God is a necessity. Truth and justice must be directives for us to obtain liberty. Rediscovering the meaning of education beyond the laptop are as important as defining a true Republic away from broken democracies. Our goal is to accomplish peace, goodness, and morality as means of transcendence for a society desperate for life and purpose; hope and meaning. 

Truth In Focus (TIF), All Things Veritas (ATV), MereBeautyInTruth (MBIT), EKR Report, and the newest to the network, Philosophers Rex, will all be receiving much needed care. In doing so I must split up my time wisely and productively. TIF specifically will become a weekly report minus specials that I shall continue such as my monthly Visual Philosophy series. ATV will turn to monthly posting as well with a TIF podcast and Christ the Coffee series returning. Apologies but I am a one man show still. It takes time. Yet, there is much to be done and added. Lastly, the Substack EKR Report will return to some normalcy as continue to share more of my personal life and thoughts with the world outside of TIF and ATV networks. As Philosophsarus Rex (also Substack), I am proudly beginning this journey with Thomas Doane as we enter a philosophy program together. There are still kinks for us to work out, but expect at least weekly posting to begin tonight.

There is no ship too large for this journey. Join us in helping make a better world for the future. 

Sincerely, 

Edward Kyle Richey

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Renewing Our Mind: Part 2

(Christ Is King)

Alas I cannot speak of transformation without the renewing of our minds nor can I speak of the renewing of the mind without transformation for central to the proposition of transformation is Christ. He is the key ingredient. Additionally, if your mind has been renewed, then you have the Holy Spirit inside of you. Your mind has been reformed to be on the thoughts of God and not of man. What I am saying is that born-again Christians have an acceptance of and are obedient to the Holy Trinity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Therefore, I am going to explain what every person needs and must do to be transformed and also provide a measure by which whether their minds are truly renewed. 

The Transformational Process 

For there to be a beginning of the renewing of the mind, there must be the beginning of the renewing of the heart. Because “there is not a just man on earth who does good And does not sin” (Ecclesiastes 7:20) all individuals must both repent i.e. confess our sins (1 John 1:9) and turn away from sin (Acts 3:19) by turning toward Jesus Christ for as it says in Romans 8:9-11:

But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.

Now it is vital for our souls that we hammer out the understanding of Faith and Repentance as they are coequal and cannot be separated from another. 

Christ Is King 

We can never understand the God of heaven unless we come to know him through his earthly Son” (Batson, 22, Jesus is Lord). In the eternal perspective of things we cannot afford to take salvation lightly. Faith in Christ means understanding, respecting, and accepting Jesus Christ as Lord or Kurios as it is in the Greek. Kurios often translates as master, but in the context of Christ it is understood that He is the Supreme Authority because as all the gospel’s tell us and has been prophesied since the fall of Adam (Genesis 3:14-15) that a Savior would come, fulfill the law, die for the sins of the world, and physically come back from the dead on the third day. Jesus Christ of Nazareth is our Lord; our King who is without sin, and who conquered death. So often we make the death and resurrection of Christ about us, after all, John 3:16 states:

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

But understanding the world did not love God, but rather the world chooses to live in sin. We know this to be true from the Old and New Testaments but consider 1 John 4:10 which states:

Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 

God, by his mercy and grace, chose to love us; His creation. Thankfully, God is a God of promises who keeps His covenants with His people as we see throughout the Old Testament and fulfilled in the New Testament. From Genesis to Revelations we witness the Gospel; the promise and fulfillment of the Good News of Christ our Lord. Nevertheless, this really is not about us, but about His unwillingness to allow sin to pervade over His creation. Take to heart Romans 3:9-18 which again shows man’s choice to follow sin:

What then? Are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: Their feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in their ways: And the way of peace have they not known: There is no fear of God before their eyes.  

Humanity worships the Self rather than Yahweh. Thankfully the Gospel is not about us, but rather it about God’s eternal power, truth, justice, mercy, and grace that overcomes death in every way. To finish out here, the Lordship of Christ means putting him above everything else. Your family, friends, houses, cars, jewelry, favorite foods mean nothing in comparison to God. Our so called “righteousness” are but filthy rags before the King of Kings (Isaiah 64:6) or as King Solomon exclaimed when looking over his works saying it was “all vanity” before God (Ecclesiastes 1:1-11). It is that understanding of who Christ is that leads us to the coequal step in salvation: Repentance. 

All Must Repent

Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17) said Christ as he began to preach in Galilee. If true faith is upon a believer, repentance is waiting to bring godly sorrow. Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 7:9-11:

Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing. For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death. For observe this very thing, that you sorrowed in a godly manner: What diligence it produced in you, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication! In all things you proved yourselves to be clear in this matter.  

Worldly sorrow is when we feel bad because we got caught. Worldly sorrow is feeling sad and maybe even stop watching porn or getting drunk for a little while, but eventually falling back into it without consideration of the eternal perspective. Worldly sorrow is even when you kick a particular sin out of your life for good because you were just sick with the way it made you feel. This form of sorrow is temporal. 

Godly sorrow is the understanding that we are at enmity with God because of sin and implore for forgiveness from Adonai. Godly sorrow carries a thick air of esteem and contemplation of who we are before the Holy of Holy’s as sinful fools that attempt to taint His purity. The Puritan minister Thomas Watson would write that “Godly sorrow is abiding” (Watson, 25, The Doctrine of Repentance) explaining:  

It is not a few tears shed in a passion that will serve the turn. Some will fall a-weeping at a sermon, but it is like an April shower, soon over, or like a vein opened and presently stopped again. True sorrow must be habitual (Watson, 25, The Doctrine of Repentance). 

In the eternal perspective, godly sorrow is commanding the responses of our mind. In the temporal perspective, worldly sorrow drives the reactions of our heart. Heed my words then and repent with a godly sorrow for Christ is Lord and Christ must be addressed with deference. In doing so, we are then beginning the renewing of our minds through a process unlike any other.  

Trial by Fire: The Measuring Stick of a Renewed Mind 

Christ both justifies and sanctifies believers. In the First Letter to the Corinthians 6: 9-11 Paul explains this point clearly: 

Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.

Quoting from the Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry (CARM), here are a set of definitions of what it means to be justified and sanctified in Christ: 

Justification is the work of God where the righteousness of Jesus is reckoned to the sinner, so the sinner is declared by God as being righteous under the Law. Sanctification is the process of being set apart for God’s work and being conformed to the image of Christ. Where justification is a legal declaration that is instantaneous, sanctification is a process (Slick, CARM, Justification and Sanctification: What is the difference?). 

The renewing of our mind is a sanctification process, one that will continue until we pass-on, and it is what I call a Trial by Fire process as described in 1 Peter 1:6-9

In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.

Walking with Christ will not be easy as there will always be temptations in our lives. Sin waits on every corner. As sons and daughters in Christ we must always remember that we are not at war with our own, but rather at war with the unseen; principalities and darkness above; spiritual forces that our beyond our own fleshly capacity (Ephesians 6:10-12). Paul alerts believers to put on the armor of God in our daily walk with Him which means at all times the Armor of God ought to be equipped so that we can fully honor Him and remain faithful servants to Him in our walk for Him (Ephesians 6:13-20). The description of the armor is as follows (I am paraphrasing some): belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, shoes of the Gospel and the peace that comes from it, shield of faith, helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit (word of God). But there is more, believers are also called to pray always and always in the Spirit and be ever watchful with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints. This ultimately ties into the final part of this verse. 

Next Part 3: Trial By Fire
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Partake In the Sacred Liturgy Today

Click On Link: Christ Is King.

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Present Your Bodies as Living Sacrifices: Part 1

(Christ Is King)

By: Edward Kyle Richey

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. Romans 12:1-2 (KJV)

And do not be conformed  

As born-again Christians we are not to be part of this world living in the flesh or by the relative standards of the world. We are to live a life representative of Christ. In an earlier chapter of Romans Paul writes:

For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace (Romans 8:5-6).

The world is living by the flesh; the world is living in sin. And every person ever to be born is born in retched sin. We know this because the collected infallible word of God, the Sacred Scriptures, tell us this to be the case. This understanding begins with the sin of Adam who caused the fall of mankind:

Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned… Romans 5:12

Thusly the world was and remains damned without grace; without the blood of Christ humanity cannot enter the kingdom of heaven. Let me reiterate by providing two examples of men who have indeed sinned and who grasped their eternal position. King David, repenting for all he had done against God after lusting over another man’s wife, taking her for his own, and then murdering her husband, cries out in Psalms 51:4-5

Against You, You only, have I sinned, And done this evil in Your sight—That You may be found just when You speak, And blameless when You judge. Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me.

David understood his condition. He, as we all do, had a condition that is worse than any cancer or disease. We are all conceived with a terminal illness. In his sermon, Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God, the great Jonathan Edwards would preach before his congregation a warning to all those who lacked Christ: 

And let every one that is yet out of Christ, and hanging over the Pit of Hell, whether they be old Men and Women, or middle Aged, or young People, or little Children, now hearken to the loud Calls of God’s Word and Providence (Edwards, 1741, Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God) 

It must be noted that David did indeed have Christ, for he believed in the promise of the Messiah and it was that promise that brought all believers in the Old Testament to heaven. Now moving on to my second example. 

Scriptures inform us that this man persecuted the Church, he was set on imprisoning and killing Christians and yet, God had another purpose for him. This man’s name was Saul. He who would become the Apostle Paul was a man who had been bound by the shackles of sin; the very shackles that the world says are acceptable because they are “natural” but the world fails to realize that nature is the very nature that damns all to an eternal damnation away from God. What then is sin? In Galatians 5:19-21 Paul describes this sin of man:

Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

It is important that we breakdown the nature of sin. God brought the laws to man in the Old Testament not because he believed the Jews could obey the laws perfectly, but rather to make humanity aware of their sinful nature (Romans 3:20; 5:20; 7:7-8). Sin has not disappeared and it never will until the return of Christ. To make sin more relative, consider that mass consumerism is sin when material goods overtake the providence of God. Every time I disrespect my parents, lust after another woman, curse, or cause ungodly dissension I am being anti-God; I am living on the wages of sin rather than the spirit of Christ. Romans 8:7-8 warns us of the dangers of worldly standards and man’s conformity to them: 

Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

Enmity, do you know what that means? Enmity is “the state or feeling of being actively opposed or hostile to someone or something.” Every time we please the flesh in opposition to God, we are being therefore hostile toward God. Displeasuring God for our own selfish desires ought to bring fear to our hearts. During a sermon on the phrase “enmity against God”, the “Prince of Preachers” Charles Spurgeon would bellow out this fair warning:      

It does not charge manhood with an aversion merely to the dominion, laws, or doctrines of Jehovah; but it strikes a deeper and surer blow. It does not strike man upon the head; it penetrates into his heart; it lays the axe at the root of the tree, and pronounces him “enmity against God,” against the person of the Godhead, against the Deity, against the mighty Maker of this world; not at enmity against his Bible or against his gospel, though that were true, but against God himself, against his essence, his existence, and his person (Spurgeon, 1855, The Carnal Mind Enmity Against God). 

Sin is the opposite nature of God. God and sin never mix just as oil and water. This is why we must be transformed for transformation allows us to go before the Holy God of the universe. 

David understood his condition. He, as we all do, had a condition that is worse than any cancer or disease.

But be ye transformed 

Humanity cannot save itself from death. We learn this throughout the Bible, but take to heart these two verses: 

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; (Titus 3:5)

Transformation, in the context of this verse, is equivalent to a “permanent state to which a change takes place”; a metamorphoses that can never be retracted once it occurs. This should both excite and frighten us. True believers in Christ should be shouting in joy for they are eternally secured (John 6:37; John 10:27-29; Romans 6:23; Romans 8:38-39; Romans 11:29; 2 Timothy 2:19). To be clear, to burrow a popular phrase, “once saved, always saved” is a doctrine I believe to be biblically sound. However, do not be quick to rejoice. Pastor and author of the book, Crazy Love, Francis Chan in a chapter titled, “Profile Of The Lukewarm” warns people who call themselves “Christian” to check themselves and to “not assume you are good soil” (Chan, 67, Crazy Love) a phrase used to insinuate the parable of the sower spoken by Christ. Therefore, let us turn to the book of Luke 8:4-8 which reads as thus: 

And when a great multitude had gathered, and they had come to Him from every city, He spoke by a parable: “A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell by the wayside; and it was trampled down, and the birds of the air devoured it. Some fell on rock; and as soon as it sprang up, it withered away because it lacked moisture. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up with it and choked it. But others fell on good ground, sprang up, and yielded a crop a hundredfold.” When He had said these things He cried, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”

In response to this parable Francis Chan wrote the following: 

I think most American churchgoers are the soil that chokes the seed because of all the thorns. Thorns are anything that distracts us from God. When we want God and a bunch of other stuff then that means we have thorns in our soil. A relationship with God simply cannot grow when money, sins, activities, favorite sports teams, addictions, or commitments are piled on top of it (Chan, 67, Crazy Love). 

Chan later asks an important set of questions in his book, “Has your relationship with God actually changed the way you live? Do you see evidence of God’s kingdom in your life? Or are you choking it out slowly by spending too much time, energy, money, and thought on the things of this world” (Chan, 67, Crazy Love)? The Bible tells us in 2 Corinthians 5:17 that: 

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

Christ tells us in Luke 9:23-24 that: 

For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. 

These are not words that speak of a people that have conformed to the world, but have been transformed with their minds renewed.

Next, Part 2: The Renewing of the Mind

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Clausis Oculis, Caelo Late Patente

(Christ Is King)

By: Edward Kyle Richey

This is the reading of the LORD,

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones (Proverbs 3: 5-8).

Worldly wiseman, from John Bunyan’s Pilgrims Progress, informs the Christian that he need no longer burden himself with that “book” (the Bible) for he has a much more appropriate way to remove that pesky burden off of Christian’s back, “Why, in yonder village (the village is named Morality), there dwells a gentleman whose name is Legality, a very wise man, and a man of very good name, that has skill to help men off with such burdens as thine is from their shoulders;.” Indeed, there is mighty good to be found in the village of morality from whom Mr. Legality lives. Should any man or woman who praises virtue as a pillar to be built upon the foundations of eternality ought to admit, yes, there is goodness in work. Who are we without work? A dead faith according to St. James (James 2:17).

Neither the righteous seeking Christian or the virtuous practicing Pagan would argue against the value of feeding the hungry, healing the sick, clothing the homeless, or assisting the poor. Though today there are those who find that even the value of life, that of the person, is a deficit when compared to animals, plants, and other life outside of the human-being. Those blind and broken souls deny the Imago Dei. Absent from all three of these views, however different, are the wisdom of trust established in Proverbs. Doing good is never enough. Faith in the one true God can only save, heal, and progress the good man or the good woman.

We are called to not lean on our own understanding. That phrase to lean is sha`an in the Hebrew שָׁעַן which carried over into the English as a forewarning to not rest fully, to not support, to not rely on ourselves, but rather put all of our understanding, to invest all of our trust, in God.

It cannot mean we are never to rely on our understanding in the sense that I must doubt all that I think and do; that is an absolutist attitude of skepticism which the Scriptures are not advocating. If they were, we could not even rely on our own understanding of what the Bible is telling us. That would be foolish, rather the Proverbs are instructing us, as that is the literal meaning of Proverbs i.e. instruction. Solomon through the Wisdom of God is instructing believers to put their full and final faith in God, and for Christians’ in Christ the King, and never themselves.

Our world dictates to trust the Self, to value billionaires such as Warren Buffet or famous actors or a political leader. Trust thyself is the motto. Yes, there is plenty we can learn from such rich and powerful men like Buffett. Let there never be any doubt that Buffett knows how to invest money. But money and power will only last as long as the body is alive. Then shall all fade away from thy hands. No more, we are naked again, yet alive regardless of whether one believes in the Almighty or not. At that moment, their wisdom will be put to the test. God shall judge. And judge us all He shall.

Turning to the Lord requires a holy acknowledgement that only can be ignited by God in the midst of our pitch black, darkness of the night soul searching. Fumbling and bumbling we shall walk, but walk we must toward the light. Running from evil and calling out to the Lord are means to an eternal end, a life that is His alone. Once one is captured by the grace of Christ they are tied to the bosom of the Church by which Christ is King. Headship over heaven and earth; dominion over all that is and was and shall ever be. That is the wisdom that covers the believer. Do not fear the world, fear the Lord.

Like Noah, take cover in the Ark; let God seal the doors from the crashing waves in the rising floods. End will always be near whether it comes from war, famine, accident, or natural causes. Until the moment your eyes are shut once again, it is better to build a life that seeks the goodness of God than empires of gold, iron, and feast for they shall rot or rust. The world may be decadent today. But tomorrow is never guaranteed let alone a better tomorrow can always turn to worse. Only the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are eternal and always good.

Seek Him, Seek Christ Alone.

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CHRIST IS KING: Our Liturgical December Issue

Welcome, this month will be radically different because of a radical event that started two-thousand years ago through the sacred birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. For our December Issue (2020) you can expect updates of prayers, chants, psalms, scripture readings, articles, podcasts, and more all December with a focus on Christ. You can see the link here: Christ Is King or look for it in the top of our menu screen.

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A Review of The Year 202020202020

The Year That Never Ends

This special November Issue (2020) came at the wake of a radical leftist soft-totalitarianism that seeks to devour all that is human and humane. Now as November comes to a close and the great a-wokening continues forward, we must gather together as Christians to uphold the sacredness of our faith, the Truth of Christ in the darkness of our world.

Our approaching December Issue (2020) will be an evolving one. Not an all at once publication of articles, rather a liturgy of prayer, music, art, scripture, poetry, and articles that all direct the reader to the one essential reality that Jesus Christ is KING.

Month of November

November Issue (2020)

By Virtue of Desecration: Liberation & the Sexual Moral Erosion of America

“In-Doxycated”

The Left’s Feminist Narrative Killer

TruthInFocus Podcast: Ep 1 Book Review of Live Not By Lies by Rod Dreher

Totalitarian ‘Diversocrats’ and American Higher Education: A Review

Political Indoctrination and Enzyme Inhibition: How Imbalances Prevent Unity

The Voices of the Silenced

The Convergence of the Progressive Telos

Totalitarian Incantations: Late Modernity’s Radical Manifestations

TIF Podcast: November 3rd Is Here

Insight

Too Divided To Stand: Election 2020 & The Future of America

Thy Week, Thus Far (11/11/2020)

Thy Week, Thus Far: Anti-Trumpist Revoluionaires, Perverted Corruptible Men, & the Coming Judgement Upon Us All

Opinion

America’s Identity Crisis

Special Series

Target Takes Aim

Theology

For I Am Not Ashamed Of The Gospel

Letter From The Editor

Substack Chronicles

Mere Beauty In Truth

Symposium Of Dreams

In October, we approached the month by spreading our wings and laying a foundation with podcasts, an official statement, and a special series on virtue over politics.

Month of October

A Declaration

Foundations: What We Stand On

AVisualPhilosophy (Month of October) (MereBeautyInTruth)

Echo and Narcissus by John William Waterhouse (1903)

MereBeautyInTruth

Slow & Steady: Winning The Race

Thy Week, Thus Far

Wednesday October 7, 2020

Wednesday October 14, 2020

Wednesday October 21, 2020

Thy Week, Thus Far: Trump Vs Biden Vs God

Quick Thoughts

When The Eighth Grader See’s Through Them: The VP Debate Of 2020

Speak Now, Cause What Comes Next Isn’t Pretty

All Things Veritas

Christ & the Coffee Ep 2

TIF Podcast: Ep 1: Live Not By Lies By Rod Dreher

TIF Podcast: Ep. 2 Another Gospel? By Alisa Childers

Special Series: Principles Over Politics (Completed)

Principles Over Politics: Exordium

Principles Over Politics: Virtuous Individualism

Principles Over Politics: Industry

Principles Over Politics: Fidelity

Principles Over Politics: Moral Courage

Principles Over Politics: Integrity

In September, immediate events grabbed at us with the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and our public declaration of support for the selection of Amy Coney Barrett.

Month of September

Historical/Analysis

Welcome to the Party: America’s Established Political Parties By Race

Thy Week, Thus Far

Wednesday September 1, 2020

Wednesday September 9, 2020

Wednesday September 23, 2020

Visual Philosophy (Month of September ) (MereBeautyInTruth)

The Oath of the Horatii by Jacques-Louis David

Highlights (Aug/Sept 2020)

Highlights Reel

All Things Veritas (Youtube Channel)

Christ & The Coffee (Theological/Biblical Series)

Ep 1, Series 1

Insight

Burke, Kirk, & Scruton: A Conservative Legacy for the 21st Century

Special Edition

Ruth Bader Ginsburg: A Memoriam

Amy Coney Barrett: Our Next Supreme Court Justice Whose “Dogma” is Good for America

Special Report

Riled By Politics: The Fate of the U.S. Supreme Court & The Constitution

Quick Thoughts

The Presidential Retrobate… err Debate of 2020 (Round 1)

Hard to believe, but only four months ago, TIF was launched. August marked the beginning of the direction and purpose behind Truth In Focus. Well researched essays, art, poetry, theology… this is a safe haven for Christians and Conservatives.

Month of August

A Special Report Series

Mob Rule, Mob Rules 2020 Part 1: To Mask or Not To Mask Isn’t The Question

Mob Rule, Mob Rules 2020 Part 2: Mob Mentality & The Era of Trump

Opinion

Unsettling Statistics: Children & Consent

Get Woke or Get Broke: When Reason Fails to Stand

PAYWALL’Ed: Academic Research & Open Knowledge

Visual Philosophy (Month of August) (MereBeautyInTruth)

L’Apparition by Gustave Moreau

Poetry

Time by Edward Kyle Richey

Insight

Virtue By Decree (Part 1)

Theology/Scripture

A Word To The Wise

Thy Week, Thus Far

Wednesday August 26, 2020

You can always read these articles and more in our Archives section.

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Symposium Of Dreams

(Mere Beauty In Truth)

By E. Kyle Richey

Beauty assembles itself in many forms. Nature, Art, Humanity, and Architecture are all designs that can culminate beauty. Architectural design requires a synergistic adaptation to its environment either urban or rural, natural or manufactured; there must be a harmony between that which is and that which is becoming. A biomimicry between the incoming architecture and that of the existing world…

Bode Museum, Berlin Germany

Construction for the Bode began in 1897 with Eberhard von Ihne as the museums architect devoted the Bode to a Renaissance design. A masterpiece respectable to the period while symmetrical and honorable to the surrounding city environment.

What fails in respect is the atrocious Soviet Fernsehturm TV Tower seen in the background. An eye sore lacking in respect to the historicity of Berlin, the tower is protruding a modern gaucheness that pollutes the surroundings.

Indoors the Bode, however, continues the synergy between the City of Berlin and the Classical Renaissance design inside the Museum, as though the indoors and outdoors carry semblance in purpose and meaning for the German people and all those who come to visit its humble grounds.

Modernity produced a post-modern movement; an accolade of its success turned rebellious child. Do all thing modern and post-modern automatically lack a Mere Beauty In Truth? Hardly. Rather it is a matter of tact and a real desire to mimic the environment that make a community whole and wholesome by producing an air of remembrance that is transcendental, immanent, and traditional in a way that everyone wants to stay or return again; I would describe it as grandmas café’ where the coffee is always hot, rich in aromas of delicious food, and there is a seat that always feels reserved just for you.

Sultan Ahmed Mosque (Blue Mosque)

Temples, Churches, or Mosques like the Blue Mosque are fundamental to the whole design of a community as they represent real meaning and purpose as expressed through the architecture outside with its six minarets which call the people of Islam to their daily prayers. Indeed the Western, liberal, and secular mind tends to see religion as an affront, but such minds excuse the quintessential desire of the sacred; a root need to recognize God and the Heavens. Nothing is perfect, but the beauty of Islam for billions is portrayed in their belief of One God.

Sir Roger Scruton was a friend to Islam. Scruton writes that in Muslim philosophy there is a tradition where God and His oneness is definite, “that he is one, the possessor of an inimitable tawhid or oneness, which attaches to him precisely because it does not attach him as a property that might be shared” (Scruton 2014, Soul of the World, p. 190). Any attempt to eradicate the structure of mosques or churches or temples, in most cases, demonstrates a level of unrequitedness toward the higher ends of culture.

Al Masjid an Nabawi (Prophets Mosque)

Not everything in a culture requires such delicacy but areas of faith are part of the biomimicry, the DNA of societal wellness. And of course I say that as a Christian just as Sir Roger comprehended Anglicanism and the Church of England as sacred for England.

Canterbury Cathedral

Aesthetic moral worth is as much immaterial as material

Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore

To speak of beauty is to enter another and more exalted realm—a realm sufficiently apart from our everyday concerns as to be mentioned only with a certain hesitation. People who are always in praise and pursuit of the beautiful are an embarrassment… — Sir Roger Scruton, The Soul of the World

Humble harmony: the street as home, taking the term from Scruton, that is what the town of Florence represents, and the Florence Cathedral is the manufactured mountain side one witnesses in awe as they weave through a large river, never too sure what is exactly around the corner, until you see its immanent precipice; a refreshing liturgy from the day to day. Beauty is not merely ravishing architecture but more so it is humility in the midst of what it is trying to accomplish. Take for example the Sikh Golden Temple:

Think whatever you may of its intended space with which it mimics the surrounding environment (physical/cultural), but consider its purpose of worship and feeding roughly 40,000 people a day for free. Even Christians would do well to remember what good is our churches should they fail at helping the Samaritans in their surrounding communities who are in need of the eternal spiritual nourishment of the Gospel and failing at feeding the hungry or caring for the sick? True beauty, a Mere Beauty In Truth, has intention within its aesthetic value.

Radcliffe Camera, Oxford University

Radcliffe Camera,  Oxford University’s Science Library

I want to end with Radcliffe as it captures the centrality of Oxford University (old Oxford at least) where truth and knowledge intersect, a temple of knowledge surrounded by devotees and a city that exudes humble harmony.

Aesthetic moral worth is as much immaterial as material, not that the material has no worth, rather the moral worth is determined by factors outside of architectural material preferences. Feeding the hungry is a far more valuable material act than choosing a neoclassical design to match the exterior environment, but considering how an appearance creates or diminishes worth, not just monetary, but having a immaterial or spiritual respect for people and their needs is also a value worthy of consideration as we feed the hungry and care for the sick.

If we can build a community that has self-respect for its surroundings than there is a possibility in creating a respect for one another. Seeing the streets as a home instills eternal values for the soul. Entering a space of learning that inspires, like Radcliffe, can and must be applied to the baker shop, the gas station, and our homes. God created time, space, and matter that includes us; as Imago Dei there is a universal condition of self-worth places upon every human-being regardless of differences and conduct. In some manner, the aesthetic plays a central role in upholding that value.

That is a Mere Beauty In Truth.

— EKR