Sky Links, 8-10-19

With Prayers for Gilroy, El Paso, and Dayton
-Wayne Jacobsen

Let me make a few comments about the tragic shootings last week in Gilroy, CA, and the two weekend shootings in El Paso, TX and Dayton, OH. Our community suffered a mass shooting only nine months ago where eleven young people and a sheriff’s deputy were killed in a country-western club, hosting a college night.  I’ve been asked to assist our community with planning some gatherings around the first anniversary to help our community heal. Being behind the scenes has taught me a lot about mass shootings and what goes on in a community that deals with this kind of horror.

It’s hard enough having a child die by disease or accident, but there the anger and helplessness that comes from a senseless murder is a deeper wound. To think someone is so depraved that murdering innocent people will somehow satisfy their twisted soul is impossible to comprehend. It’s maddening to think that a choice to go back-to-school shopping at a Wal-Mart, or dance at a club, should end someone’s life. Grief, anger, and frustration can mix in a toxic brew. The people who lost loved ones need our prayers and, if you know them, our support as they try to make sense of something that is entirely senseless. To be the victim of another person’s abject selfishness is so brutal.

Troubling Watergate Revelations, Too Late to Matter: Nixon was destroyed by prosecutors’ secret, but erroneous, accusation of personal wrongdoing
by Geoff Shepard

Those of us on Nixon’s defense team remained unaware of prosecutors’ allegation of Nixon’s personal involvement. Had we but known, we could have refuted their allegation. Had Nixon but known that this was the principal allegation being made against him — that he had personally approved the payment of blackmail to Howard Hunt — he would never had resigned, since he would have known it to be untrue.

But Nixon did resign — in the aftermath of the release of the smoking gun transcript. Three months later, when prosecutors sought to prove their allegation of Nixon’s personal approval during the course of the Watergate cover-up trial — with their witnesses having to testify under oath and subject to cross-examination — they were totally unable to do so.

I moved from LA to a town of 2,300 people — here were the biggest culture shocks I faced in small-town America
-Ryan Ariano

In January 2013, my wife and I left a balmy 70-degree morning in Hollywood with all our earthly possessions condensed into a pickup truck and a CR-V.

After close to a decade living in Orange County and Los Angeles, we’d decided to take a break from the traffic, the crowds, and the stress of competitive, busy coastal cities. Our destination was the rural town of Victor, Idaho, in the Rocky Mountain West, population 2,260.

A day later we arrived at our small, one-bedroom cabin on a minus-23-degree day. Our pipes were frozen and the baseboard heaters struggled to heat the place up.

As we began to wonder whether we’d made a mistake, and if we would ever feel warm again, much less make it a whole winter, our neighbor walked over with a massive load of split firewood and welcomed us to the neighborhood. I tried to give him some cash but he waved his hands — he seemed embarrassed by my thanks, as if to say, “Why wouldn’t I help out a neighbor in need?”

Thus began our new life in the small mountain enclave that we now call home.

Kissing Christianity Goodbye 
-Carl R. Trueman

 While (Josh) Harris seems to be making a clean break with his past, the style of his apostasy announcement is oddly consistent with the evangelical Christianity he used to represent. He revealed he was leaving the faith with a social media post, which included a mood photograph of himself contemplating a beautiful lake. The earlier announcement of his divorce used the typical postmodern jargon of “journey” and “story.” And both posts were designed to play to the emotions rather than the mind. Life, it would seem, continues as performance art.

In a sense, that is exactly how and why the YRR was so successful: savvy harnessing of fashionable idioms and marketing strategies, exceptionally clever use of social media, large and well-organized conferences, and professional-grade websites—all fronted by attractive personalities and brilliant communicators. Orthodoxy as performance art, one might say. And Harris was both a product of and a player in the YRR project.

Many Christians were helped by all this. The YRR theology was at best a diluted form of Calvinism, but it had a largely positive influence in the pews.

What’s Really Behind the ‘White Supremacy’ Terrorism Scare
-Julie Kelly

 The anti-Trump forces, now stripped of their Russian collusion ammunition, have invented another imaginary threat they hope to weaponize against the president: The public menace posed by “white supremacist” terrorism.

Much like the collusion conspiracy theory—which relied on random incidents, fictional villains, unconvincing evidence, and the Bad Orange Man in the White House—there is little substance to this purported danger.

Unironically, the whole ruse is being pushed by the same people who foisted the Russian collusion hoax on the American people for three years in the hopes of prompting President Trump’s impeachment and removal. The political agenda behind this manufactured white supremacy crisis is equally sinister because its specific purpose is to influence and undermine the 2020 elections.

The “white supremacy” canard is intended to further demonize Trump; falsely defame his supporters as white supremacists; and pressure nervous voters into defeating Trump and Republican candidates next year. The strategy is as cynical as it is pernicious.

The Lessons of the Versailles Treaty
-Victor Davis Hanson

Versailles certainly failed to keep the peace. Yet the problem was not because the treaty was too harsh, but because it was flawed from the start and never adequately enforced.

The Versailles Treaty was signed months after the armistice of November 1918, rather than after an utter collapse of the German Imperial Army. The exhausted Allies made the mistake of not demanding the unconditional surrender of the defeated German aggressor.

That error created the later German myth that its spent army was never really vanquished, but had merely given up the offensive in enemy territory. Exhausted German soldiers abroad were supposedly “stabbed in the back” by Jews, Communists, and traitors to the rear.

The Allied victors combined the worst of both worlds. They had humiliated a defeated enemy with mostly empty condemnations while failing to enforce measures that would have prevented the rise of another aggressive Germany.

England, France, and America had not been willing to occupy Germany and Austria to enforce the demands of Versailles. Worse, by the time the victors and the defeated met in Versailles, thousands of Allied troops had already demobilized and returned home.

The result was that Versailles did not ensure the end of “the war to end all wars.”

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