Patterico's Pontifications


Constitutional Vanguard: Dealing with the Scourge of Trump: Go Forth Into the World in Peace

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:58 pm

My free newsletter this week is up, and deals with how a follower of Christ might think about dealing with the problem of spineless politicians who want to coddle Donald Trump despite his recent attack on our democracy. I take cues from today’s Gospel lesson and from the blessing our pastor gives us at the end our service each week

Reading today’s Gospel lesson, and reflecting on this blessing, it occurs to me that I spend too much time being angry at people like Mace, Roy, McConnell, and others. In fact, with all their political power, they are simply “the fainthearted” and in a sense “the weak” in the above blessing. The word “privileged” has too many connotations to wokeism to be useful, but these folks are indeed “privileged” in most of the ways that the woke crowd means when they use the word: they are economically comfortable, they have an elevated status in society by virtue of their political offices, and they have a good measure of power over how Americans live our lives. But they are fainthearted, and they are weak in character. And it occurs to me that, rather than being angry at them all the time, it might be helpful to try to strengthen them and help them not to be fainthearted. And to the extent that they are weak in character (and they clearly are), perhaps we ought to support them — not in the sense of “supporting” their weakness, of course . . . quite the opposite: to support them and help them to overcome their weakness. To give comfort to the angels on their shoulder, and help them reject the devil on the other.

It’s over 2,000 words of free ice cream, and you can read it here, or get it delivered straight to your inbox by subscribing here. Paid subscribers get extra stuff, but even if you’re not going paid, check out the post and let me know what you think.

Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 56

Filed under: Bach Cantatas,General,Music — Patterico @ 11:01 am

It is the second Sunday in Lent. The title of today’s cantata is “Ich will den Kreuzstab gerne tragen” (I will gladly carry the Cross):

When I first published this version of this piece three years ago, I said:

The performance features Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, a nice choice for a cantata composed entirely for the bass (at least until the final chorale). Fischer-Dieskau’s intelligence and uniquely recognizable voice make this a very special performance. . . . It’s hard for me to listen to this man sing without chills running down my spine. What greater evidence could there be of God’s existence than a piece like this, and a voice like his to sing it?” I continue to feel the same way.

Today’s Gospel reading is Mark 8:31-38:

Jesus Predicts His Death

He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.

But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. “Get behind me, Satan!” he said. “You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

The Way of the Cross

Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”

As I said in 2018:

These are words that stick with you long after the reading is done, and the very title of the cantata shows it to be a perfect pairing with the reading. For a reading in which Jesus says: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must … take up their cross and follow me,” no music could accompany the message better than a cantata titled “I will gladly carry the Cross.”

The words stick with me enough that I believe they will make an appearance in today’s edition of my newsletter.

The text of today’s cantata is available here, and the opening aria contains these words:

I will gladly carry the Cross,
it comes from God’s dear hand,
and leads me, after my troubles,
to God, in the promised land.
There at last I will lay my sorrow in the grave,
there my Savior himself will wipe away my tears.

Happy listening! Soli Deo gloria.

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