Where Have You Been?

Welcome to new readers wondering why there are hardly any posts up during the last few months, and to old ones who have been thinking the same.

In case you missed An Unexpected Hiatus, two days after I wrote Ted Cruz: Constitution Man in March, I fell and broke both arms. I’ve had arm surgery, recovery in a nursing/rehab facility, and now I’m going to physical therapy. After initial optimism, my surgeon is now doubtful as to how much range of motion I’ll regain in my right arm—that elbow joint has two pins in it—but my physical therapist still fights the battle. I’ll also soon be wearing a brace that rachets out to gradually increase my arm extension.

It’s been difficult to use my computer—it’s been only a few weeks I’ve been able to type without painful elbow jars, and it’s still uncomfortable to type for any length of time. I’ve been online with twitter because I can use my phone to do retweets and brief comments. If you want my current thinking you can find it in the sidebar!

The very few posts I’ve done since March have been reposting and tweaking old ones. I’ve found it’s not just my ability to type, but also exhaustion. I’ve had to shelve re-editing my propanda series, and I’ve started drafts, but the energy hasn’t been there for finishing them for publishing! If only you could sit down with me, and we could talk!

Pamphleteer stampThis is the Pamphleteer stamp published for the Bicentennial. Bloggers have been called modern-day pamphleteers, and this is also a reminder of how important it is for us to be not only informed of current events, but to read about our American heritage and the whys and wherefores of our nation.

In Reagan’s Farewell Speech he charged us:

“If we forget what we did, we won’t know who we are. I’m warning of an eradication of the American memory that could result, ultimately, in an erosion of the American spirit. Let’s start with some basics: more attention to American history and a greater emphasis on civic ritual.”

Sadly, too many have forgotten what we did, and don’t know who we are, and that eradication of the American memory and erosion of the American spirit prevails in too many. However, that American spirit can be regained. Almost two hundred years ago, in 1818 John Adams tells us not only how it began, but how the American spirit is to be continued.

“But what do we mean by the American Revolution? Do we mean the American war? The Revolution was effected before the war commenced. The Revolution was in the minds and hearts of the people; a change in their religious sentiments of their duties and obligations.”

I continue to be very grateful to God for His sustaining help, and I’m very thankful for my family. I would appreciate your prayers for my ongoing healing. Please continue to pray with me in petitioning God for his mercy and grace in this great time of need for our nation.


Praying For Our Country In 2016

Prayer in an integral part of our American history. From our earliest days as a country we have a heritage of turning to God in times of urgent need in humiliation, confession, and prayers for clemency and forgiveness.

By federal law the first Thursday in May is the annual observance for the National Day of Prayer. The presidential proclamation for today is frankly meaningless hypocrisy given Obama’s promotion of immorality, and his efforts to undo the First Amendment and impede Christians from freely exercising their beliefs. We don’t need feel-good generic pablum prayers, we need to to echo the words of Lincoln’s 1863 Proclamation.

It behooves us then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.

In National Days of Prayer: A Historical Comparison Dr. John S Uebersax points out a glaring omission in our modern Days of Prayer:

Since 1952, the President of the United States has, by law, annually issued a proclamation recommending a National Day of Prayer. This seeks to revive a similar practice that emerged in Revolutionary times, and again in the Civil War. The modern proclamations, however, differ in important ways from the earlier ones. The main difference is evident in the change of titles — from the earlier ‘Day of Humiliation, Fasting, and Prayer’ to the modern ‘National Day of Prayer.’ The earlier proclamations emphasized humiliation — understood as including a deep conviction of God’s Providential sovereignty in all things, recognition that calamities may express God’s chastisements, expression of guilt, sorrow for sins, and earnest pledge for reformation.

Via Dr. Uebersax, this was written by Benjamin Franklin Morris in Christian Life and Character of the Civil Institutions of the United States. G. W. Childs, 1864. (pp. 526-7).

The fathers of the Republic, in the earliest period of the Revolution, adopted the custom of consecrating, by acts of legislation, days of thanksgiving and prayer for special religious worship; and thus the public mind received a higher religious culture through the civil authorities of the country.

Thomas JeffersonAt the beginning of the great conflict for liberty and an independent nationality and government, Mr. Jefferson, who, whatever were his peculiar views of the Christian system, always acknowledged the government and providence of God in national affairs—recommended in Virginia the appointment and observance of a day of public prayer and humiliation. In June, 1774, when the news of the Boston Port Bill reached Virginia, the Colonial Legislature, then in session, appointed such a fast-day for that colony. Mr. Jefferson’s account of it is as follows:—

We were under the conviction of the necessity of arousing our people from the lethargy into which they had fallen as to passing events, and thought that the appointment of a day of general fasting and prayer would be most likely to call up and alarm their attention. No example of such solemnities had existed since the days of our distresses in the war of ’55,—since which a new generation had grown up. With the help, therefore, of Rushworth, whom we rummaged over for the resolutionary precedents and forms of the Puritans of that day, preserved by him, we made up a resolution, somewhat modernizing their phrases, for appointing the 1st day of June, on which the Port Bill was to commence, for a day of fasting, humiliation, and prayer, to implore Heaven to avert from us the evils of civil war, to inspire us with firmness in support of our rights, and to turn the hearts of the king and Parliament to moderation and justice.

To give greater emphasis to our proposition, we agreed to wait the next morning on Mr. Nicholas, whose grave and religious character was more in unison with the tone of our resolution, and solicit him to move it. We accordingly went to him in the morning. He moved it the same day. The 1st of June was proposed, and it passed without opposition. The Governor dissolved us. We returned home, and in our several counties invited the clergy to meet the assemblies of the people on the 1st of June, to perform the ceremonies of the day and to address them in discourses suited to the occasion. The people met generally, with anxiety and alarm in their countenances; and the effect of the day through the whole colony was like a shock of electricity, arousing every man and placing him erect and solidly on his centre.

Washington, then a member of the House of Burgesses, sent a special message to his family and constituents to observe this day; and Mason, a distinguished patriot, also a member, “charged his household to keep the day strictly, and to attend church clad in mourning.”

Dr. Uebersax adds:

According to Jared Sparks (The Life of George Washington, 1839, p. 520), on the appointed day, Washington “writes in his diary: ‘Went to church, and fasted all day,’ thus conforming not only to the spirit, but to the strict letter of the order.”

Virginia House of Burgesses

TUESDAY, 24th of May, 14th George III., 1774.

This House, being deeply impressed with apprehension of the great dangers to be derived to British America from the hostile invasion of the city of Boston, in our sister colony of Massachusetts Bay, whose commerce and harbor are on the 1st day of June next to be stopped by an armed force, deem it highly necessary that the said 1st day of June be set apart by the members of this House as a day of fasting, humiliation, and prayer, devoutly to implore the Divine interposition for averting the heavy calamity which threatens destruction to our civil rights, and the evils of civil war, to give us one heart and one mind firmly to oppose, by all just and proper means, every injury to American rights, and that the minds of his Majesty and his Parliament may be inspired from above with wisdom, moderation, and justice, to remove from the loyal people of America all cause of danger from a continual pursuit of measures pregnant to their ruin.

Ordered, therefore, That the members of this House do attend in their places, at the hour of ten in the forenoon, on the said 1st day of June next, in order to proceed, with the Speaker and mace, to the church in the city, for the purpose aforesaid; and that the Reverend Mr. Price be appointed to read prayers and to preach a sermon suitable to the occasion.

Ordered, that this Order be forthwith printed and published.

By the House of Burgesses,


The National Day of Prayer Task Force emphasizes, “personal repentance and righteousness in the culture.” Without neglecting this, America needs prayers that include national acknowledgement of sin and repentance asking for God’s mercy and forgiveness. Yes, I’m serious about that. Our nation has a long history of turning to God in times of crisis with confession of sin and pleas for His help. Look at the Proclamation Appointing a National Fast Day signed by Abraham Lincoln on March 30, 1863:

And, insomuch as we know that, by His divine law, nations like individuals are subjected to punishments and chastisements in this world, may we not justly fear that the awful calamity of civil war, which now desolates the land, may be but a punishment, inflicted upon us, for our presumptuous sins, to the needful end of our national reformation as a whole People? We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power, as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us!

It behooves us then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.

In the midst of the Civil War what does the proclamation declare to be the sins of a nation? Ingratitude and pride. And because of these sins of presumption, the Proclamation’s call for humility, confession, and prayer.

Those same sins are mentioned in Romans 1. As the long litany of sins unwinds, three times Paul says that the consequence of men not honoring God as God and giving thanks, is that God gave them over to their own evil desires. If, as I do, you see this played out in our nation and in the current state of the election, then please pray for our country. We desperately need God’s clemency and forgiveness.

Daniel of the Old Testament was a godly man, but in his prayer he yet identified with the sins of his people, and cried out, “O Lord, hear, O Lord, forgive!” His prayer is a model for us.

It behooves us then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.

Reconstructed Chamber of the Virginia House of Burgesses in the Capitol at Williamsburg, Virginia.

What Made The Farmers Fight?

Here Once The Embattled Farmers Stood,

And fired the shot heard round the world…

Minute Man Concord MA

April 19, 1775

What made the farmers fight in 1775?

Judge Millen Chamberlain in 1842, when he was twenty-one, interviewed Captain Preston, a ninety-year-old veteran of the Concord fight: “Did you take up arms against intolerable oppression?” he asked.

“Oppression?” replied the old man. “I didn’t feel them.”

“What, were you not oppressed by the Stamp Act?”

“I never saw one of those stamps. I certainly never paid a penny for one of them.”

“Well, what then about the tea tax?”

“I never drank a drop of the stuff; the boys threw it all overboard.”

“Then I suppose you had been reading Harington or Sidney and Locke about the eternal principles of liberty?”

“Never heard of ’em. We read only the Bible, the Catechism, Watts’ Psalms and Hymns, and the Almanac.”

“Well, then, what was the matter? And what did you mean in going to the fight?”

“Young man, what we meant in going for those redcoats was this: we always had governed ourselves, and we always meant to. They didn’t mean we should.

Follow the links for the story of the people of that April morning with timelines, commentary, videos, and maps.

April 19th, 1775Patriots’ Day

Hour by HourDetails of the Day

The Old North ChurchOne If By Land, Two If By Sea

Paul Revere’s Ride

Hancock-Clarke HouseBuckman TavernHartwell Tavern

Battle RoadThe King’s Own

Lexington Battle GreenAn Eyewitness Account

Battle at Concord’s North BridgeConcord Battle Road

Meriam’s CornerParker’s RevengeMunroe Tavern

Blogging the RedcoatsBlogging the Revolution

Mapping The RidesMapping The RegionMapping The Revolution

…for we must Consider that we shall be as a City upon a Hill, the eyes of all people are upon us; so that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken and so cause Him to withdraw His present help from us, we shall be made a story and a byword through the world…
John Winthrop, 1630

Check out each word of Paul Revere’s Ride, because each one has a different link!
Ralph Waldo Emerson, Concord Hymn.
Samuel Eliot Morison, The Oxford History of the American People, (Oxford University Press: 1965) 212-213. Emphasis added.

Race of Hope

Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene *came early to the tomb, while it *was still dark, and *saw the stone already taken away from the tomb. So she *ran and *came to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and *said to them, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him.” So Peter and the other disciple went forth, and they were going to the tomb. The two were running together…
John 20:1–4a

Peter and John Running to the Sepulchre
James Gurney posted The Disciples Peter and John Running to the Sepulchre on the Morning of the Resurrection by the Swiss artist Eugène Burnand on his Facebook page two years ago, along with these enlargements of the faces of Peter and John. He pointed out the complexity of emotions that Burnand caught on each man. You can literally see their thoughts chasing across their faces—the anxiety and hope against hope on John’s face, and the hope against hope tempered with sorrow and regret on Peter’s face. In disbelieving shock, they run. Not knowing what they will find, they run. In hope against hope they run. They run.

John's Face

Peter's Face

…and the other disciple ran ahead faster than Peter and came to the tomb first; and stooping and looking in, he *saw the linen wrappings lying there; but he did not go in. And so Simon Peter also *came, following him, and entered the tomb; and he *saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the face-cloth which had been on His head, not lying with the linen wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself. So the other disciple who had first come to the tomb then also entered, and he saw and believed.
John 20:4b–8

Eugène Burnand, The Disciples Peter and John Running to the Sepulchre on the Morning of the Resurrection. Click on the painting for an enlarged view.
*The NASB Explanation of General Format has this explanation of their use of an asterisk in translation:
“ASTERISKS are used to mark verbs that are historical presents in the Greek which have been translated with an English past tense in order to conform to modern usage. The translators recognized that in some contexts the present tense seems more unexpected and unjustified to the English reader than a past tense would have been. But Greek authors frequently used the present tense for the sake of heightened vividness, thereby transporting their readers in imagination to the actual scene at the time of occurrence. However, the translators felt that it would be wiser to change these historical presents to English past tenses.”
Original content: Copyright ©2011–2016 I. N. Carpenter

Dawn of Joy

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures…
1 Corinthians 15:3–4

Into the devastation of our world came the God-man Jesus Christ. A man who outrageously declared He was God and performed miracles to authenticate His claims. A man who confronted those who lived in self-righteous piety, and spoke with compassion and forgiveness to those who knew they were dead from the ravages of sin. A man who was nailed to the cross because of the debt of record of our sins that stood against us. A man who took upon Himself our punishment and the just wrath of God we deserved for our rebellion and who died in our place.

Christians know that our belief is in Jesus Christ, who is truly God and truly man. He was born into this world, He died, and He rose again. Because of Him we know what it is to be brand-new, forgiven, and clean. Because of Him we know that death will not hold us, for through Him the hold death had on us because of our sin is forever gone.

In the glimmering dawn of the first Easter, the women who came to minister to a dead man found instead an empty tomb.

The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying. Go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead.”
Matthew 28:5–7a

Empty Tomb by Leo Richardson

O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?

The sting of death is sin; and the power of sin is the law.
But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory
through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:55–57
…who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord…
Romans 1:4

He is risen!

He is risen, indeed!

Happy Easter!

Empty Tomb by Leo Richardson. Artist perspective at the link.
Original content: Copyright ©2011–2016 I. N. Carpenter