It’s not Going Away Yet

It’s not going away. We may wish for peace, wish to live peaceably with our governments and societies, but desiring it so does not make it so. We need to have our eyes open to where we are living, not where we want to live. We need to be making decisions based on what we are actually dealing with not decisions based upon idealistic motives. Rather than going away the restrictions continued, becoming even more long term in nature, more permanently built into our societal and cultural structures. In some places and areas of life they have gotten better, but in others worse.

“That includes private indoor gatherings, which will be restricted to two households if any person at the gathering has chosen not to get vaccinated.

Only 10 people will be allowed to gather outdoors on private property if someone is attending who’s eligible for vaccination but hasn’t gotten their shots. In indoor public spaces, only 25 people or 25 per cent capacity, whichever is lower, will be allowed in such a situation.

For indoor faith-based gatherings that don’t require proof of vaccination, capacity will be reduced to 25 people or 33 per cent capacity, whichever is greater. Fully immunized people and those under 12, who aren’t yet eligible for vaccination, will be allowed to gather in these settings without capacity limits.”

Manitoba Churches that do not discriminate against second class citizens will themselves be discriminated against by the Government. What will shepherds of Gods flock do now? Will they bar the unvaccinated? Or will they limit who can come to worship by following these directives? Or will they allow their congregation to gather together as one people again. The temperature is warming up lobsters, but slow enough so nothing jolts us into doing something. Get off the shifty ground. Do not enforce practices that are designed to create resentment towards second class citizens. Stand up for your people rather than execute and follow discriminatory practices. It’s time to go underground and evade their vain conspiring.

And if you think you can get away with going along with this discrimination because its just a short while, take it from the horses mouth.

“Roussin said for now Manitoba’s public health orders amount to “a very significant lockdown on the unvaccinated.” “If you are waiting until the proof of vaccine requirement ends, you will be waiting for a long time,” he said

Some of your people will be second class citizens, dangerous denizens, for a while. The Feds have booster shots booked for 2-3 years, which may or may not be needed, but either way the discrimination will likely last as long. It’s not going away, yet.

Second Class Citizen of Canada

As a second class citizen of Canada I cannot work for the government.

As a second class citizen of Canada I cannot fly, board a train, or a cruise ship.

As a second class citizen of Canada I cannot attend most universities (at least in Ontario).

As a second class citizen of Canada I cannot participate in cultural activities like professional sports.

As a second class citizen of Canada I cannot participate in any indoor community activities, playing indoor sports, exercising, etc.

As a second class citizen of Canada I cannot participate in the cultural activity of sharing food made by local food artisans.

As a second class citizen of Canada I might have harsher restrictions regarding how many visitors I can have in my own house (BC).

As a second class citizen of Canada I do not ‘deserve freedom’

As a second class citizen of Canada I am forced to participate in regular mass testing’s which first class citizens do not, even at a church owned seminary.

A country without visage

This is my second re-post of some translated works of Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben. Here is the first. 

Visage: a person’s face, with reference to the form or proportions of the features.

Till we have Faces- Lewis

In the visage of Christ, we have beheld God.

What separates Man from the Animals is that we have been made in the image of God.

At least look me in the face before you crush me, O Leviathan.

Expressionless masked masses.

A child knows his Fathers face,
but not the muffled voice.

“May God be merciful and bless us,
And cause His *visage* on us to shine;”-W.Helder Psalm 67

GENERAL HUMANITY

The visage and the mask. A text by Giorgio Agamben.

Quello che si chiama volto non può esistere in nessun animale
se non nell’uomo, ed esprime il carattere.
Cicerone

What is called visage can exist in no animal except the human, and it expresses the character.
Cicero

All living beings are in the open, they appear and communicate with each other, but only the human has a visage, only the human makes of its appearing and of its communicating with other humans its own fundamental experience, only the human makes of its visage the place of its own truth.

What the visage exposes and reveals is not something that can be said in words, formulated in this or that significant proposition. In its own visage the human puts itself unconsciously into play, it is in the visage, before that in the word, that it expresses and reveals itself. And that…

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The Tragedy of the “Leaders”: A Pastor’s Reflections on the Reformed (Gereformeerd) Churches in the early 1940s — Irrelevant

Below I have transcribed another piece of writing from Hermanus Knoop entitled “The Tragedy of the ‘Leaders.” It is from the book “A Theatre in Dachau.” You can find the book here with Inheritance Publications in Neerlandia, Alberta. You will find the piece that I have transcribed on p. 67-73. It is by Rev. Hermanus […]

The Tragedy of the “Leaders”: A Pastor’s Reflections on the Reformed (Gereformeerd) Churches in the early 1940s — Irrelevant

2 Opinions 8

Book of Second Opinions

Worship is not the only thing we are called to do on Sunday.

Let’s take a step back from what ‘public worship’ is in our time and tradition and take a look at from where it derives.

There are several key passages indicating that we should gather together, and what we should be doing when we do gather:

“Speak to one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.”
– Ephesians 5:19
“On the first day of the week, when we gathered together to break bread, Paul talked with them…”
-Acts 20:7
“On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that there will be no collecting when I come”
– 1 Corinthians 16:2″
And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.”
– Acts 2:42

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How Far We Are Bound to Obey the Magistrate

Theodore Beza’s Confession (1560) : Article 43 of the Sixth Point

“43. How Far We Are Bound to Obey the Magistrate

As there is no faithful man except from the obedience which he owes to Jesus Christ reigning in His church, whether it is a king, prince or subject, so there is no one from the greatest to the least who does not owe voluntary obedience to his magistrate as ordained by God (Rom. 13; Titus 3:1; 1 Peter 2:13–14), even if the magistrate is a tyrant, except in one point only, i.e., he commands you to do things which are against the Word of God. For in this case (as the apostles said), we must obey God rather than men, for otherwise we exalt men above God (Acts 4:19–20). Then, it is not rebellion to disobey princes when they would cause us to do what God forbids or to defend or forbid what God commands. But on this point, there must be a middle way kept by which they do not pass or exceed their vocation. For the apostles did not obey those who forbade and ordered them not to preach Jesus Christ, as they took no weapon or armor (which did not pertain to them). We must also note that there is a difference between doing wrong to another and suffering wrong done to us. For the first, it is forbidden us ever to do wrong, but it is especially commanded that we suffer the injuries done to us for the honor of God (1 Peter 2:20–24), as much as may or can be done without prejudice or against our vocation.* For we read that Jesus Christ, though He was free, nevertheless willingly paid tribute (Matt. 22:21). Therefore, it is a manifest and false slander to say that the doctrine which we teach and use makes men seditious and disobedient to kings and superiors. On the contrary, the gospel establishes their power. But this is impudently done by those who have notoriously exempted themselves from the subjection of princes and who do not understand any other way in the liberty of the church than what they have usurped from princes against all right, both divine and human; yet they have no shame in burdening us with that in which they themselves are notoriously culpable and offenders.” *emphasis my own.

James T. Dennison, ed., Reformed Confessions of the 16th and 17th Centuries in English Translation: Volume I, 1523-1552 (Grand Rapids, Mich: Reformation Heritage Books, 2008), chap. 53.

There are faithful reasons to temporarily suspend corporate worship but one of them is not “because the magistrate has forbidden it.”

God commands the church to worship. It would be wrong for the church to not gather because the magistrate has forbidden the church to do so. It is only lawful to temporarily not gather if the church herself deems it too great a hazard.

Is Online Worship rightly considered Corporate Worship?

Is Online Worship rightly considered Corporate Worship?

There is confusion and debate regarding this question. From my perspective, this is the one question we all should have been able to agree on during this Covid year. However, I don’t think there is disagreement because reformed churches were confused about it before, rather it is because we seem to be addressing it in light of ecclesiastical pragmatics. Or rather, we are often working from the practice/conclusion to the premise and this has often led to imbalanced and even wrong conclusions on both sides.

To address the question it is best to not care what the practical conclusions might be. To hell with conclusions! At least for now! I offer what I hope are simple, brief, and clear positions, to lead us to unity and truth as regards this question.

Can we ascribe the term Corporate Worship to Online Worship?

  1. Corporate worship is worship where the saints are physically present to gather for word and sacrament. This has always been understood in the plain sense that saints would be physically present together. In Online Worship the saints are not physically gathering and there is no physical presence. Therefore we cannot ascribe the term Corporate Worship to Online Worship
  2. Corporate Worship is a kind of worship where the Word and Sacrament can be administered. However, the sacrament of the Lords Table, like corporate worship, requires the saints to be physically gathered. Since, Online Worship cannot have the sacrament administered we cannot ascribe it the term Corporate Worship.

If you have questions, remarks, or critiques that address the arguments feel free to comment or send a message!

“¶ For restoring publick peace at home.

O eternall God our heavenly Father, who alone makest men to be of one mind in a house, and stillest the outrage of a violent and unruly people: We bless thy holy Name, that it hath pleased thee, to appease the seditious tumults which have been lately raised up amongst us: most humbly beseeching thee to grant to all of us grace, that we may henceforth obediently walk in thy holy Commandments, and leading a quiet and peaceable life, in all godliness and honesty, may continually offer unto thee our sacrifice of prayse and thanksgiving for these thy mercies towards us, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen .”

-1662 Book of Common Prayer

Should I Obey the Government and not Visit My Parents?

Should I obey the government and not visit my parents? 

As I plan to move back to BC for the summer the government restrictions may still be in place and so the question arises, will I obey the government with regards to this law?

Love visits and cares for one’s parents. I make some basic assumptions here, namely that humans need physical presence. This is common sense but our digitally catechized culture would love you to think otherwise (sorry Jeff Bezos…). Human life needs physical community. It’s not surprising then that we have heard of the state’s enforced isolation leading to elderly parents losing the will to live and teenagers killing themselves. In the name of life, they say with much altruism, we must give it up.

How would previous generations answer this question? I have thought recently about what my ancestors and specifically my grandfathers’ generation would be doing. I recall a story in The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom where the government, out of altruism to preserve order and peace I’m sure, banned the singing of the Dutch national anthem. The young organist of Corrie’s church, in defiance of the order, played the anthem during the church service. He was later imprisoned for his civil disobedience.

Admittedly, our situation is quite different. Yet I struggle to imagine those churches not gathering for several months in a year in the hopes of limiting the spread of a virus like Covid. Even if the government locked their church doors and barred them from gathering it wouldn’t be long before they would be gathering in barns or the countryside as the Dutch have done before (hagepreken or field sermons). However, with the strong calls for obedience to government laws that bar churches from gathering, and children from seeing parents, and grandparents their grandchildren, there seems to be a vast difference between the generations. One generation disobeyed certain laws without exhausting judicial and political avenues and was seen as disobedient to their government. However, this generation has placed the burden upon Christians to obey laws that forbid them from gathering together physically with parents and the church for worship.

The heart of the Law is Love. Even if the Bubonic plague was going around I wouldn’t neglect my duty to my parents and church community for months. The love for my parents and church compels me to gather physically. I do not offer my life to a state law (even if it was written out of altruism) under the claim it is offered to God (Corban) and then deny the church and my loved ones what I owe them. Rather, I offer the state my honour where it is due but I offer my family, church, and God, what they are due. It’s a warped love that won’t gather together with his parents because of a state law. Love is the fulfillment of the Law. This may mean that I will not visit my parents if doing so would be unduly dangerous. Yet, this is clearly not the case and if I needed an expert to know that I’d be a dud.

It is for this reason that disobedience to these laws is to fulfill the law of love. “It is for this reason that Dietrich Bonhoeffer stated that it is when “government violates or exceeds its commission at any point… obedience is to be refused, for conscience’ sake, for the Lord’s sake.” As Bonhoeffer continues, this disobedience is not a disobedience to said government wholesale, but of the individual edict which conflicts with God’s law.” https://presbyformed.com/2017/05/16/the-christian-and-submission-to-civil-government/ Disobeying the state law can be the right thing to do, and this disobedience doesn’t violate the commandment to obey the state as Bonhoeffer has shown with his words and life. Rather this disobedience fulfills our duty to the whole law of love.

In conclusion. I will disobey the government’s edicts to not visit my parents, for conscience’s sake, even while Christians and the Government seek to bind my conscience with false weights and burdens.

Dead Ends

The creature has evolved
his reign expanded
powers augmented

but the hole of his holiness
has kept pace

we race to the edge of the universe
to find we’ve already been there

We overturn every rock and pebble
in search of something
to escape this room
but in every overturning
our face is turned up.

Psalm –

The dark binds
with cold nothing
saltless tears fall
a thousand miles
crashing upon the rocks
and they splinter into mud

O God smite me
hard and fast
with thy lightning rod
splash a miracle of grace
and strike me with light
that life may yet spring forth