18.5% of Us are Dead*

The American Empire, when the sun of history sets on it, will go down as one of the most monstrous and deadly of all time. And it wasn’t even a different people group we slaughtered… we devoured our own children, for no better reason than the fact that they were inconvenient to us, interfering with our pleasure and indulgence. God have mercy. Since 1973, we have killed over 54 million [edit: actually 57 million] of our children. OUR OWN CHILDREN. The numbers are so large they almost cease to mean anything to us. Yet we consider the Nazis the face of evil, who murdered approximately 6 million Jews. And they were evil, terribly evil, and we are out-killing them 9-to-1 and counting, while considering ourselves good and right. And please keep in mind, as you move to vote in November, the Democrats think murder on this scale is a fundamental “right”, and the Republicans have repeatedly chosen to continue funding this “right”. Neither should receive the votes of God-fearing men. Make no mistake, there will be a reckoning for this. Evil does not go unpunished. True patriotism is this: we must repent, and we must remove the evil men and women who would do this from positions of power.

*The 2010 Census reported there are 308.7 million Americans; using the number of total abortions at 57 million, that is 18.46% of the current US population.

The Conqueror Worm (Poe)

Lo! ’t is a gala night
   Within the lonesome latter years!   
An angel throng, bewinged, bedight
   In veils, and drowned in tears,   
Sit in a theatre, to see
   A play of hopes and fears,
While the orchestra breathes fitfully   
   The music of the spheres.
Mimes, in the form of God on high,   
   Mutter and mumble low,
And hither and thither fly—
   Mere puppets they, who come and go   
At bidding of vast formless things
   That shift the scenery to and fro,
Flapping from out their Condor wings
   Invisible Wo!
That motley drama—oh, be sure   
   It shall not be forgot!
With its Phantom chased for evermore   
   By a crowd that seize it not,
Through a circle that ever returneth in   
   To the self-same spot,
And much of Madness, and more of Sin,   
   And Horror the soul of the plot.
But see, amid the mimic rout,
   A crawling shape intrude!
A blood-red thing that writhes from out   
   The scenic solitude!
It writhes!—it writhes!—with mortal pangs   
The mimes become its food,
And seraphs sob at vermin fangs
   In human gore imbued.
Out—out are the lights—out all!   
   And, over each quivering form,
The curtain, a funeral pall,
   Comes down with the rush of a storm,   
While the angels, all pallid and wan,   
   Uprising, unveiling, affirm
That the play is the tragedy, “Man,”   

   And its hero, the Conqueror Worm.

-Edgar Allan Poe, 1843

I have always loved this poem… there is a certain hope that stands in the shadows just off stage, that lurks in the meter, even as the subject matter of the poem is the despairing end of all men.  Perhaps it is just me, for I know the end of this act is not, in point of fact, the end of the play. The “heroism” of the worm will be triumphantly cut short.  Yet much in the flavor of Ecclesiastes – a book Poe was intimately familiar with in thought, if not in word – there is a hopelessness that thrives under the sun, for often things appear hopeless indeed.  The tragedy of man seems, in each successive generation, to be at its crescendo.

But to be a follower of Christ is to know Hope, deep in your bones.  And having known it, you start to see it everywhere.  Perhaps just the slightest hint of a bud, a smear of green on a single branch far out on the edge of reality’s despairing tree.  But we see it, and our souls know it for what it is.

So the funeral pall comes down, and the storm rages, and angels weep, and the cruelty of man expressed in the hatred of his neighbor seems a stain that can never be washed from the world, no matter the downpour…

And we linger in that moment just before the Hero comes to save the day.

The Doom of Men

What dreams escape their ivory bonds
Through ivory bound to bind in lie;
What sounds escape men’s ivory gates
Oft boundless cut to bind in time.

Though sword we fear, and bullet swift,
Though bombs hold sway to terrify:
Yet still the greatest doom of men
Sparks from no forge ere deadly flight.

It lurks in darkness, warm and wet
Awaiting form from thought and heart
At lights first glimpse it strikes its blow
To rend the soul, to tear apart
The form within that forms the man
A pain against he cannot stand.

Beware this blade unformed by hands
For none can tame it: none can stand.

-Charles Baldon, May 2014

of distance and pain

There are times – all too often lately – when God seems very far away.  I’m theologically grounded enough to understand this is a feeling and not a truth, yet I’m still sinfully prideful enough to put the blame for this seeming distance on Him instead of me.  Funny, isn’t it?  I usually say, or hear people say, that “God seems far away.”  The subtle implication being that I’m right where I’ve been, I’m where I should be, but He is distant.  And,really… how could He do that to me?

The truth is that I take my focus off of Him and put it where it shouldn’t be: on my sin, the sins of others against me, the consequences of all that sin, the mess it all has made… I recall a man sinking after a rather astonishing walk and realize we have a lot in common, he and I.  It’s so easy to lose focus, to lose true perspective.

I confess, I prefer pain as an intellectual exercise.  I exult in the call to suffer alongside Christ and in His name, but I would really prefer to avoid the actual pain, if at all possible.  As I considered all this, and worked through repenting (an ongoing process if ever there was one – never buy the lie that repentance is in the past tense), the Holy Spirit brought to mind a wonderful quote from C. S. Lewis:

“He wants them to learn to walk and must therefore take away His hand; and if only the will to walk is really there He is pleased even with their stumbles. Do not be deceived, Wormwood. Our cause is never more in danger, than when a human, no longer desiring, but intending, to do our Enemy’s will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.” –The Screwtape Letters

Ah, that I could walk confidently in the darkness.  Lord, hear my cry, and remember your rebellious servant.

Renewed

Help me, O Lord, delight in all Your ways;
Teach me, O King, to keep your perfect Law.

For only once did sin hang from a limb
 Such tempting fruit, fair begging to be plucked
So plucked it was – devoured by the lips
Against that first decree from Heaven giv’n.

And now the sin resides within the limbs
Growing from each heart’s deep, black, fertile soil
Needing no tree, no garden can contain:
It’s grasping, festering rot consumes the world.

Consumes! It writhes! Yet when the rock exclaims –
Such thought brings joy to heart and hope to mind –
The rock cries out, not pain, but worships still
The very One who formed it from the void.

To call my heart a stone insults Your world,
Your Word giv’n form: O, give such form to me!
Would that I obeyed simply as the wood
As perfect in my state as soaring oak.

Yet at such thought, another trembles mind
The image of Your son upon that tree –
A hope in blood that lifts pure sinner’s prayers
From hearts, renewed, as Eden soon will be.

Teach me, O King, to keep your perfect Law;
Help me, O Lord, delight in all Your ways.

-Charles Baldon, March 2013

one grey morning in March

I woke this day to sullen sky, pouting and spitting but not quite raining.  The sun has thrown its covers over its head and is holding out for the weekend.  Combine this weather with that particular American madness we call democracy, and it seemed a good morning to sip a cup of Poe.

You’re welcome, America.

…That motley drama—oh, be sure
   It shall not be forgot!
With its Phantom chased for evermore
   By a crowd that seize it not,
Through a circle that ever returneth in
   To the self-same spot,
And much of Madness, and more of Sin,
   And Horror the soul of the plot…

-Edgar Allan Poe, “The Conqueror Worm