Wednesday, May 31, 2006

In Which Chagrin is Expressed

Heavens to Betsy! Talk about the Scriptures.... one comment. Talk about philosophy.... four comments. Post a picture... no comment. Talk about yourself... FIFTEEN DANG COMMENTS!
Is this blog a metaphor for our culture?
Is the most desired realm of mind to be found in those cloying, faux personalities of MySpace?

Maybe the peasant class has always been horizon- impaired and our culture has given them both money and the technology to speak peasant pleasantries to the world.

"Hey!" sez you, "Wasn't it you talkin' 'bout yerself?"
"Yep," sez I, "I was bein' a metaphor."
"I don't think you even know what a metaphor is!" you cry.
The Oracle ponders the vast halls through which his voice will echo.
"Correct again, but I was bein' one anyway."

Monday, May 29, 2006

My Frame of Mind

Everyone, by now, knows that I, The Oracle, am a Futilitarian (© Evan Wilson). They suspect I am also too fond of hierarchical models of the cosmos and believe, not only in monarchy as a preferred form of rule, but in the Divine Right of Kings. That explanation of life(futility) and control of its insults(monarchical government) cries out for a salvation which is only in the Lord Jesus Christ. We Christians cannot speak of our frame of mind without pointing to the God who made it, reframed it, and stands athwart all things as that which our minds contemplate and adore.
Christianity makes me the same as other Christians but some things make me a discrete player in the vision of all others. For the sake of a broad belief in my mental continuity, I give you the list, not including the above, that shaped my adult life. These were written circa 1984 on a scrap of index card measuring perhaps 1.5 inches by 3 inches and pinned to the end of a bookshelf in a Chrsitian bookstore. I was asked what they were and I said, near as I remember, "These fell words, words of portent and dark omen, words of a numinous dread and terrible sublimity, these words, they are my five philosophic bases of life."
He (the annals suggest that t'was Mark Knecht) unto whom I spoke asketh, "Why five?"
I saith "Less than five is shallow and tests the line between man and beast. More is just unwieldy, says less for saying more, and evinces a lack of clarifying thought."
He nodded and murmured, "I gotta get me some of those."
The five words of the Oracle:
1. Imperialism
2. Stoicism
3. Order
4. Realism
5. Northernness

Twenty-two years later I ask you, have I lived it? Have these concepts grown logically into what I am? Do you need any defined?

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Where Our Hearts Are

Jesus speaking to his disciples in Matthew 28:
"18 And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age."
This is the Great Commission. Evangelicals the world over view this as their marching orders. I have a number of problems with that. It is not necessarily a command to Christians worldwide for all time. We all are aware that it was a command to the disciples. Why would it or would it not be a command to the rest of us? One device used to make it expansive is that within the command it suggests that the disciples "teach all that was commanded" and this command was one of those things. Slam dunk some would think. St. James, the Lord's brother, introduces a speed bump. If we all have to teach all that is commanded how can he say "Let not many of you become teachers."? St. Paul also "I permit no woman to teach or have authority over men; she is to keep silent." Half the Christian population is forbidden to teach the other half and if James is to be believed, very few of the other half should be teaching anyway. St. Paul asks in I Corinthians 12, "Are all teachers?" as a rhetorical question defending the varied gifts of the body of Christ.
Admittedly, the Great Commission is primarily used for evangelical motivation. This "teaching to observe" sophistry is just a defense to bring the command aspect back to our witnessing. The narrow application is not just present in my narrower application. The evangelicals do the same. They only want a witnessing command. They don't really want, nor do they apply, the "everyone teaching everyone else the whole council of God". They don't even obey the "baptize" portion of the command. Everyone should witness, they claim, because of the Great Commission. No, everyone should not baptize or teach. The command proves powerless to get various parachurch groups or individuals to take up the task as much present in the command as the "make disciples". Why is it that the evangelicals so inconsistently want a command to witness?
The "why" is present in the arena suggested in the title to this post. When ever I have said that the Great Commission was to the Apostles alone the singular response has been, "Why would anyone witness?" Even if I was wrong about my interpretation, this response is unnerving. Why indeed? Perhaps love? Perhaps the overwhelming wonder of the Gospel? Perhaps thanksgiving? The absence of a good reason to witness in the hearts of the Christians minus a command, suggests to me that the Judaizers have taken over the church. The church lives by Law not Grace. So much so that the saving message of Jesus Christ cannot find a way to our tongues without a rule of which we must constantly be reminded. And it must be defended as a command. In another example of becoming slaves again to the external demands of the law, how many pastors would be willing to wait, regarding their church's giving, until the hearts of the congregation became loving and generous? The shortest distance between getting paid and not, is the Law. So the tithe law is preached even in the most antinomian churches.
So who is really saved, changed by the power of the Living God? Who is living by Faith and bearing fruit given by the Spirit? Remove the Law and see. Would you witness if you didn't "have to"? What would you give if you were convinced that the Gentile church was not under the tithe law?
How willing are you to see your actual spiritual state or that of your church? Law hides the state of the heart. Would you or your company of Christians still want the lost to come to know Jesus Christ if the Great Commission had never been recorded?

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

De Futilitate

I have met Futility. Futility and I go way back. The insults it brings to any hope of an earthbound Utopia are an inescapable offense, so Futility an I have come to an agreement. I will glory in the enjoyment of the moment and glory in the hereafter. It will slowly tear me to pieces, kill me and feed me to the worms. That should work out fine.
If I should ever write a book about this agreement, it will deal with the governing arrangements natural to the admission of a world beset by the pleasant and the unpleasant. It will build a case for the admission of Futility and the subsequent creation of a man's identity. Our wills are expressed, since the Fall, by the manifest need to arrange our way through this problem. We, in it, discover the "who" of what we are by feeling both chaos and order. We note the parts of both, (including movement, memory and anticipation) by which we hope (anticipated gratification) and fear (anticipated pain). Feeling is a good reason for Intentions. The presence of the "felt" provides meaningful impetus to cling to, move to the pleasant. We are introduced by it to value the exercise of our will. We must be exercising the will to comfort our flesh, our souls, and the Other, (that which we don't feel but wish to control for its effect on our feeling).
Who are you? How great are you? Your Identity and your Dignity are defined by the success and range of your fiefdom.
"Oh Death, where is thy sting? Oh Death, where is thy victory?

Thursday, May 18, 2006

A Poem

The Divine Comedy

I, with poem, divine the comic wonder
And divide the smile from the laughing fit.
Is the grin more the good when we sunder
From Guffaw? The sanctity of the wit
Shan’t grant the bliss of witless slapstick hit
That canonized St. Jack-A-Knapes, buffoon,
One of the Ancient Order of the Twit.
The liturgy we’ll sing is of lampoon
Which turns ironic phrase in pleasant jest.
We now bow our tonsured heads to snicker
As it descends, the chortling mystic rest,
On we few that get the joke. The thicker
Heads beside us, with bovine face bemused,
Are confused by mild humour with alarm.
While worship of the funny and amused
Can speak the gentlemanly art of charm
To lightly flush our ladies blush with grace,
The peasants choose to riot at the farce.
The great unwashed, the vulgar, set a pace
Of pratfalls, landing laughing on their arse.

by Evan Wilson


I have a bed.
I lay there a couple of nights ago and it flashed by my brain. I had to seize on it almost peripherally to have the time to examine this grateful spasm of the often ignored.
Think of the countless other places a man might be given to sleep.
I have been given a bed.
Thank God, for all good endowments come down from the Father of Lights!
Unlike Jacob, in history or hymn, "my rest [is not] a stone."
I sleep nightly on a pancake stack of padded bliss with a fluffy pillow wrapped 'bout my head.
I have a bed.

Do you have one?

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

How Shall I Then Speak?

They look at you with the expression of those that have heard everything you said. They listened but, alas, said nothing. One tries to assess whether their mood was positive and thrilled that such illumination has been granted unto man or negative to the point of wondering what was wrong with Heaven if the ground didn't open up and swallow you whole. That assessment is left to whatever facial tics the mute hearer is willing to permit a travel permit across their face. Perhaps if you sneak up on them, and pronounce fell and dark curses on that which they hold sacred.
Something like:
"Soccer is for euroweenie wussies. You could train horses to play it. It was introduced to The U.S. of A. to give a sport opportunity to the boys who couldn't play other, more real sports. "
"I think the Bush family should be given imperial control over the nation."
"Calvinism is being married to girl for whose "good looks" an argument has to be made."

Maybe that will gain more than a raise eyebrow.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Pleasure Seekers

The problem of life: we feel. God subjected the world to Futility because of Sin and that Futility introduces the unpleasant. God made the world good out of his benevolence and that introduces the pleasant. We feel both. Some think the way to handle the range of feeling is to try to dump more of the pleasant sensations into their time so that there can be less room for the unpleasant. Drown out the cries of the dying. But Futility will not be denied. The pleasure seeker will have to give it up or have it torn from their grasp because this world will kill them.
Is pleasure seeking the correct handling of the tension? It is as if a jackhammer was going in the street outside your home. You have a battery powered boombox which you turn up to skin peeling volumes and you don't hear the jackhammer anymore. For now. The batteries don't keep going, and going and going. And the music you played did not suit the rhythms of the hammer and that is all too evident when your batteries allow insufficient volume for your "music". Instead of "lots of the pleasant" we should arrange the pleasant with the unpleasant. Find the rhythm of the curse and play a song that is beatific while fitting the beat. You will feel Reality, and Reality, once understood, can be ordered. It can be governed on all of its pleasant to unpleasant axis. There is one of those for your emotions, your physical existence, your social setting, your spiritual walk, your intellectual wellbeing. In all of those, "if you get anything get insight." Wisdom governs by arrangement while the Fool merely magnifies the one and ignores the other. Both the Wise Man and the Fool die, but one in Peace and Comfort and the other torn to ribbons by the very hungry dogs of Calamity.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Of a Mother's Day Just Past

I preached out of I Samuel 1 yesterday on Hannah's excess in her prayer of hope and song of vindication. This was all over a child she almost immediately gives up to Eli to serve at Shiloh. What I said was that the merely "fulfilling her body's purpose", female competition, or having a child-toy plaything were not enough for, although they may be objects of, the true desire she expresses. Men, in response to a similar if not the same desire, build kingdoms and fight wars for greater kingdoms. We have a pothos, a longing and we yearn as Hannah yearned. Alexander wept for there were no more worlds to conquer. Our songs of victory in conquest could be her song almost verbatim. Men build buildings, kingdoms, and systems. Women build people. We men punch out our spheres of government to hold the insults of futility at bay. Our vindication is that we live in a moment of peace that we have carved out and rest in. A woman breeds as a claim on that contentment. She has replaced herself, and then her husband and then, with more, she slaps her coming death in the face with a leaving more people of her will and making living their willful way into a future. This is true for believer and infidel. When, as with Hannah, the child or empire is lent to God, futility lies gasping on the field with its wind knocked out and a slight blush over the embarrassment.

Friday, May 12, 2006


Thesis: The Oracle's ideas are great.
Observation: He has no following.
Maxim: Achieving a following (orthodoxy adjudicating the Biblical) is the truest measure of truth.
Or so everyone tells me as they point out that The Oracle has no following.
"Why don't you get a following?" they say. "Everybody in the thinky business should have one."
Maybe The Oracle's ideas aren't so great.
Contrary Maxim: Orthodoxy is meaningless regarding the truth of ideas. It is only meaningful regarding 1] reassuring the faint hearts of the following when they wish to believe without adequate epistemological support, and 2] a helpful lever for those who enjoy being followed when they, too, lack adequate support.
The Oracle still has no following.
Maybe his ideas are still not so great in spite of the lucidity of two sentences earlier.
Nope. The Oracle has checked. They are great!
They just have a problem.
His ideas suggest that autonomous ideas should be held by others. These personal notions should be proved by personally appraised epistemologies because those are the only ones with meaning to an individual's knowledge that he believes truth.
See the problem?
Such individualism is faint support for Movements. It is not an area that will gain a great harvest of weak willed fanboys who can't be sure of which way to comb their hair without an orthodoxy promulgated by alpha-males.

Some say The Oracle is confused. Here he pushes individualism, radical Anabaptist autonomy of the worst stamp. There, he is all over the hierarchies and submission.
Actually The Oracle is all for hierarchies in ideas but an idea's claims to height is measured not by dictate of a governing church, school of philosophy, or the emotion of a movement. Ideas are only measured by epistemology. You cannot have an idea dictated by position. If you believe an idea because you were told to, it is not the idea you believe. It ceases to be an idea and becomes a loyalty. A husband cannot command that his wife think as he does, not because there is no hierarchy in thought, but because there is, and he has not adequately appealed to it.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Mind and Matters

I am a comfortable slab of meat. Why is this, you ask? Lack of achievement or initiative perhaps. True, there is much that I have not devoted myself unto. I have not gotten a graduate degree and many of the works that smart people have read I have not. I wouldn't last five minutes in the scholarly sphere where published people rub antelope suede elbow patches one with another. In spite of this, I am that aforementioned comfortable slab. Not only that but, in my comfort, souls arrive and ask "O Oracle, how hast thou reached this state of comfort?" Startled, I look up over the current cigar and acknowledge their presence with a "What?" They ask again and suggest that, although I know little, those little things have aligned themselves for the good of comfort. It is, this comfort, what all men and women seek. They want to know what it is I know and how I got to know it (considering the manifest inactivity they see beached in The Big Haus library). Loving, if loving nothing else, the sound of my own voice, I tell them the answer to the first of their two points, I tell them a few things that I know. It will be mere tidbits mind you, for more would spoil them for the greater truth of the Oracle's Path to Calm. The second and greater truth is this; get answers to only your own questions. The things that matter most to you will, once answered, mean (in the mind sense) the most to you. You will remember the answers to your own questions. You have to memorize those of other people. If you are given the answers to someone else's questions (see The Shorter catechism) it only becomes important to you by the insistence and threats of some other agent. You learn for fear of the teaching agent not the desire for the thing learned. The comfortable, calm life is not for such people. Their knowledge is inserted like an artificial heart built in a factory somewhere. They don't even know that they don't know well. This is even if they know all true things. They are less humane, and more like a trick pony that can stomp out the correct math answer if it gets a sugar cube.
Still, a warning must be given to the individualist. Autonomy is not an epistemology any more than the magisterium. You will not be at peace and calm just for having thought for yourself. You must think correctly for yourself.
Consider this simple path that all men, from car mechanic to PhD can follow.
1. Have a question of your own. Out of all circumstances come "which, why, what, how, who".
2. Justify the validity of the question. Is it answerable? Is it logical?
3. Know what makes an answer true. To what authority will the answer need to appeal to prove to you it is true?
4. Follow where it leads you. All this puts you in a new circumstance, a more knowing circumstance where new questions, deeper questions are raised.
It is your insight, not C.S. Lewis', that will bring you peace. For his insight to benefit you he must answer your question. I always said that Lewis had answers where I didn't know of a question. While always impressed by his lucidity, those are the parts of his writing I can't remember. Where he is answering my thoughts, God bless him, he is remembered down to what part of what page.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

The Big Haus

It is the end of a semster in this college town. Our Haus is alive with its current students preparing to be off in a week for their summer and their futures. Some will stay on with us next year, others will not. If you know of anyone (your self or a student attending WSU or UI) consider the possibilities of The Big Haus. Check the link on this site for information and resident handbook for current costs. We are seeking two or three girls and four guys (we have three confirmed for this next year). Also, if anyone is interested in summer housing in Moscow let us know as well. We will have a number of open spots and would like to have people stop by for a month or two.

Friday, May 05, 2006


Like Passions

An August moon in morning hung
Fist high above the west.
In August blue the heavens sung,
But Earth was not at rest.
A whisper-wind, slight breeze had thrown
Dust into mind and doubt.
Bright day, bright skies alike were blown
And not a cloud was out.
The ground was dry beneath, and breath
As dry was all but dead.
His hands were crimson caked with death,
And Kishon, Sidon red.
Was his as theirs? Aside? Asleep?
Not true, he called Him blessed.
A cloud, with thunder dark and deep,
Fist size above the west.

Notes on Nobility

There is a fear in the hearts of the rebellious. A citizen does not want to look up to his rulers, and a wife does not want to look up to her husband. They are afraid, (and feel justified in the rebellion thereby) that their superiors, if ever acknowledged as superiors, will get all arrogant and treat the lower realms as a doormat. They are correct that elevation has with it temptations exactly as their fears describe. The Scriptures enjoin us in Romans 12:16 "Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; never be conceited." The problem is that the passage does not ask the lowly to police their betters to be sure this never happens. It doesn't encourage the lowly to deny the existence of their betters, convince their betters that they have no standing, so that their betters will not even think about functioning as betters (with this attendant black temptation of having their betterness inform the lowly in some self-esteem damaging way). The lower think it is their place to exercise discipline in the cosmos against this dark temptation. Their efforts to discipline are essentially those of the Prohibitionist. Alcohol could tempt to drunkenness. Simple, ban all alcohol. Or, for a Christian Legalist, since dancing can inflame our sexual urges, simple, no dancing. Since a Marquis could be tempted to, and once did, look down his nose at a peasant, simple, off with their heads. It smacks of the horrific folly of the French Revolution or the blood-drenched buffoonery of the Bolshevik.
The Scripture sees police action coming down from above.
Ecclesiastes 5:8 "If you see in a province the poor oppressed and justice and right violently taken away, do not be amazed at the matter; for the high official is watched by a higher, and there are yet higher ones over them. 9 But in all, a king is an advantage to a land with cultivated fields. "
And in case you are immediately dumbing down the concept "king", Solomon defines his sense of it in chapter eight.
"2 Keep the king's command, and because of your sacred oath be not dismayed; 3 go from his presence, do not delay when the matter is unpleasant, for he does whatever he pleases. 4 For the word of the king is supreme, and who may say to him, "What are you doing?" 5 He who obeys a command will meet no harm, and the mind of a wise man will know the time and way. 6 For every matter has its time and way, although man's trouble lies heavy upon him. 7 For he does not know what is to be, for who can tell him how it will be? 8 No man has power to retain the spirit, or authority over the day of death; there is no discharge from war, nor will wickedness deliver those who are given to it. 9 All this I observed while applying my mind to all that is done under the sun, while man lords it over man to his hurt. "
Solomon, who, by the by, was wiser than you, has this absolute view even though he sees what the egalitarian communist sees (verse 9: "while man lords it over man to his hurt").

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Notes on Nobility

A person's clarity of self is discovered through the rule he or she takes in their fief. Initially that fief is inside their skin, as it is inside that region that they feel the first inroads of chaos, of the pleasant and the unpleasant. This is their "self" and they, and they only, are the ones that feel it. They are the ones with a vested interest to control it. That act of will to govern defines themselves to themselves by answering the question "what is the edge of my will?" Those that rule inside their skin effectively (movement, cleanliness, health, defense, etc) move on to control inside their governing will (morality, beauty, wisdom). Surrounding our "selves", in fact everything else, is "other". Most of the pleasant and unpleasant crosses into our "selves" from the "other" and as we watch it coming we have Hope and Fear. With Hope and Fear come Desire and Potential which take shape in our wills to craft Intention. The will that governs "self", and values the peace that comes from such effort's success, realizes that governing more of the "other" becomes part of our personhood's self definition. To own our dwelling, to clean our dwelling, to mow its lawn, is part of the natural imperial urge of all fief's we call man. While some begin to extend their borders wishfully thinking that their lack of self-control will be aided by further gains, we here are watching the self-controlled decide that they are best defined by the government of a larger fiefdom. The borders will perhaps grow and the reach of that fief and the quality of its government are the ultimate measure of "who" that person is. There are greater and lesser persons on this scale. Not greater and lesser tennis players, or magicians, or Christians as those have their own subgroup's standards of merit and betterness. The lower "person" is lower to the extent that he does not govern himself or his environs. This is the gradient of what defines "person" and the greater, wiser, and successful government makes a better one.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Artificial Intelligence

It shall never be.
You can create a robot that notates the edge of themselves but not one that has incentive to govern themselves. The notation, the feeling that registers the edge of their being, needs to carry more than "measurement". It must carry pleasant and unpleasant stimuli. They must feel pain and pleasure or else they have no cause, no value, in their governance. They have not hope and no fear about impending pain or pleasure with its attendant Desire and Intention.
And ethically getting there would be a problem. Think about the lab work for establishing "pain" in a machine. How many times would you have to test it and at how many levels would you torture it? The first time you "turned it on" it might endure such an exquisite level of pain that it would descend into madness or such a level of pleasure that it would do, say anything to keep it.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Once Before When Islam Touched the Skirts of Europe


Was not the fight a mighty thing beheld
As Infidels fell lifeless on the field?
As Philistines of Holy Writ the same
With Baal murmured on dying lips betrayed.
Their hearts not insincere yet cursed on curse,
And Allah here, invoked in charge and death,
Remains at peace whither that deity dwells.
The peasant foot and knight alike lie dead,
An hour gone lay praying t’ward the Stone.
It heard them not at all, and Durendal
In Roland’s hand tore life and light from limb.

What is it with Me and Clouds?

I'm sure I'll get comments about the inaccuracy of her garb. But what are you looking at the bonnylike lassie for? Have you no made a covenant wi' your eyes? Hoot fie, mon, there's a cloud, a brawly fine cloud, past her!

Three Hotties

The Blessed Adrien, St. MichalAngela, and The Amazing Missus were all dressed up on Saturday for the closing Fete of Montrose Academy's Week of Manners. Yowza!