Go. And behold, I send
you out as lambs in the midst of wolves.
- Luke 10:3
At the end of the fifth chapter of the
gospel of Luke, Jesus mentions wineskins. Wineskins? I'd always
struggled with that reference, until I carefully thought about what
he'd said just before that and started to wipe away the thick
smudges in my vision of the way things really are.
That itself is part of the meaning of the
The old wine is the law, and the new wine
is truth and grace. What happens when you try to put the old into
the new? Well, I guess you can, but Jesus says people try so hard to
put the old in the new that the new wineskins break. Instead of
living richly by the new, they stick with the old. What good is the
new when it's in old wineskins?
So let's just stay with the old. It's
better after all. That's the idea anyway, still held by
millions and millions of people across the globe. But that's the law. That's the brutal
reality of the most proficient law enforcement.
And one thing you must understand about
this necessary condition is that it always involves bullying.
You see this mostly in the enthusiastic
crusade of making sure people, mostly the more youthful ones, don't
go pushing around other smaller people. It's now more of a craze
with all the emerging dangers of social media, there's even a word for that
cyberbullying. Thing is, bullying shows up in so
many other places, we read about it in the news all the time, and
ordinarily we just shrug.
Or get out and do some bullying
For instance the Swiss bank Credit Suisse
was given the what's-what by the U.S. Senate the other day for not
doing more to share financial information about its depositors
seeking to evade taxes. Never mind that the U.S. has little
jurisdiction in this area, the important thing is that bullying may just get the
job done. Bullying has been the more obvious modus operandi for
undue IRS scrutiny of 501c4's being a little too unseemly with their
political proclivities. I mean when has the IRS ever not been
considered a great big bully?
Then there's the United Nations scolding
the Vatican for its role in the actions of sexually abusive priests.
I guess it's good that august organizations like the U.N. are
spitting up some kind of censure, but this is just bullying. Ironic
that a creation of the Vatican itself is doing the finger-wagging,
but this just demonstrates how much it is all part of the ruse — the
U.N. added that the Catholic Church should also stop being so mean
about abortion and homosexuality, and with a pope who's on record
for urging less intolerance of such things that makes it more likely
that those who say stuff about that will be firmly told that,
You're just a bunch of bullies.
Remember that story about the frog and the
scorpion? You know, the scorpion needs a lift across the river and
the frog is nice enough to give him one as long as he doesn't sting
him, but the scorpion does it anyway and as they both are about to
drown the frog asks him why he did that and the scorpion replies
"It's what I do."
It's what they do.
Recently I happened to come across a book in the
new stacks at the library titled A Dreadful Deceit.
Don't even know who wrote it and wasn't interested because even
though it declared racism wasn't really about race the book was filled with
how awful racism has been. That the history of institutionalized
racism is awful is not in question here. What is significant is that
the book's main thrust is that the evils are all much more about the
powerful exploiting the powerless in whatever way it is
rationalized, and that it is done with an almost innate unquenchable
The real deceit here is not that we don't
get that. Too many of us all so desperately want to return the
bullying with more bullying, that's easy to see. How stridently do
the thousands of elitist scholars like the gal who wrote A
Dreadful Deceit demand Caesar work even harder on getting more
tolerance going by hammering people with how much more
tolerant they have to be. Whatever. That's stultifyingly
No, the quite legitimate and functionally
institutionalized deceit is the truth that the innate unquenchable desire is to do human
Human sacrifice is what they do.
Or, as some proudly
announce themselves, it's natural. It's just natural: people generally bully
so much and regularly enable government to bully so much for one
If you don't have Christ and live out
your life with
His sacrifice as the force by which you love others, you will do
things to sacrifice others on the altar of your own insatiably
In other words, without Christ you have to
be a bully. And if you can't do that very well, you'll enlist
government to do the bullying for you. How easy is that, government
has seven times the strength of that other guy you really don't like
very much. It's like having a big bad-ass brother — how cool!
This was played out in spectacular fashion
with the recent controversy about whether or not a business can
refuse to provide a good or service to a same-sex couple who will do
something objectionable, such as hold a wedding that
prominently features that requested good or service, such as a baked cake or photograph-taking.
A law was recommended that would allow
such business persons to avoid any legal ramifications for such a
commitment, but the outcry from just about every quarter was so
great that the law was summarily shelved.
Now, let me get this straight. Some people
object to certain same-sex kinds of things, and they are merely
living their lives, doing their jobs, getting on with things, and
when they share their concerns they are blasted as narrow-minded
bigoted homophobic Neanderthals by the most powerful political and
commercial interests on the planet. Now, I'm confused here.
Who are the bullies?
Sure the language was a bit different.
Those interests issued official statements that said things like, "We're for acceptance and inclusion and
against discrimination and intolerance." Didn't matter. It was still
bullying by saying "We're against bullying."
And you know what?
Just yesterday I came across a phenomenal
piece written by Rod Dreher about how contemptibly impotent the
church is to say anything about the now raging homosexualist culture
around us. The modern church has been so emasculated that whenever
the challenge of the evils of sodomous behavior comes up they have
absolutely nothing to say. Well, excuse me, many try to, but,
hey, ehh, talk to the hand...
Churches today are only about eliciting
good feelings, saying pithy things, stirring up intense emotions, or
even pounding down more turgid rules to live by.
In other words, most churches are fully
They can only bully.
They can't articulate that the reason
homosexual actions are justifiably reprehensible is because they destroy the
lives of those who engage in them. There are dozens of veritable
proofs that sodomy kills, at every level, emotional, spiritual,
physical — many of which have nothing to do with religion. In fact,
this is why a law saying "People may discriminate for religious
reasons" is actually itself so foolish. It makes people with deeply meaningful
concerns about these things look like bullies, and it proclaims
that ultimately religious reasons are worthless in the discourse,
because really, religious folk are just spitting into hurricane
I wonder, what is the eventuality here?
Who is most likely to endure prosecution: the ones committing the
sexual crimes or those who speak truthfully about them? About a month ago U.S.
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia gave a speech at the University
of Hawaii on the anniversary of the Korematsu decision. He said
something very sobering in that speech, that
it is very likely the Supreme Court would uphold a decision requiring
certain people to be interred in camps should such an event require
What is the nature of that event? Could it
be when people actually make the most profoundly cogent argument
about the reality of sodomy as well as the homosexualist rhetoric
that always accompanies it? When the detractors move more rigorously on this now
wholly unacceptable dissent, will they proudly claim it is in the
best interests of the country?
U.S. President Barack Obama has introduced
an initiative (unrelated to sexuality issues) called "My Brother's
Keeper" — really, it's called that. Not only is this a direct
reference to the substance of Cain's defensive exclamation after he committed
the first human sacrifice ever, but it portends imminent fulfillment
of Jesus' prophecy that when you are dragged away they will say they
are doing God a favor.
I honestly don't think that'll
happen anytime soon, however. The church is too Catholicized, with everyone
just reveling in the bullying of one another. And having to haul
people to some kind of holding facility is quite messy. The human sacrifice mostly happens with
the fierce marginalization, the novel scare tactics from all of
Cain's fronts, and the persistent pressure to shovel over the tribute
in whatever forms are most mollifying.
At least for right now.
This is the World and its ways.
The interesting thing about the Kingdom is
that people in it can't bully — Jesus never did — and they can't be
bullied themselves — Jesus never was. The present bullying
environment is what God allows Cain's legacy to cultivate because from
it people may actually see it for what it is and then find rapturous relief from the horrors of their
condition by the saving work of the One who loves them enough to do
something about it.
Jesus loved the one committing acts of
sodomy so much that He sacrificed Himself so he'd be freed from such
a harrowing reality. If you were to scratch a homosexually minded
individual and you'll find deep woundedness, scorching pain,
harrowing fear — just like anyone suffering from the effects of any
It'd be nice if they could find the ones
who aren't bullies, who actually do love but also have a vibrant
spiritual intelligence to be the best elucidators of what
discovering the beauty and wonder of God's righteousness is all about.
Homosexualists would surely look at that
word, righteousness, and sneer "You just want to make us into
one of your Stepford people! Aaagh! Perfect, regular, 'normal'
No, God just wants you to live bountifully
in the way He created you, the way He bought you, with His blood —
He merely wants to speak gently to you and embrace you with the sweet mercy of His
kindness and care, with the healing and wholeness He shares with
anyone who is hurting.
And that's purely the message of that
fifth chapter of Luke.
The new wine is glorious.
Where are the wineskins to put it in?