This week, the cavalcade of guests hosts continues as we welcome our good pal David Limbaugh to the Long seat on the podcast. We talk Trump’s evolving cabinet, yesterday’s meeting with the tech-llegensia, and some insights into where Trump may lead the country on his first 100 days. Then, from The Federalist (and his indispensable daily news letter, The Transom), Ben Domenech stops by to discuss the view of the incoming administration in DC, Democrat’s incessant whining about the Russian hacking, and some thoughts (but no spoilers) on Rogue One. Also, a preview of David’s new book, and the the podcasters pick their favorite Christmas toys (thanks Ricochet member Chris Bogdon). Makes us want to tear up…

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Music from this week’s podcast: Stop Your Sobbing by The Pretenders

The opening sequence for the Ricochet Podcast was composed and produced by James Lileks.

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Members have made 29 comments.

  1. Profile photo of Arahant Member

    Good show.

    • #1
    • December 16, 2016 at 9:00 am
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  2. Profile photo of Henry Castaigne Member

    James makes a good point about the vastness of Star Wars.

    • #2
    • December 16, 2016 at 11:02 am
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  3. Profile photo of Goldwaterwoman Thatcher

    Thank you for a very enjoyable podcast.

    • #3
    • December 16, 2016 at 3:13 pm
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  4. Profile photo of Mr. Conservative Member

    I always enjoy the ricochet podcasts, but what struck me about this one was James’ comments about the parable of the prodigal son about the minute 53 mark.  “That dude [the elder brother] had a point!” Indeed, he did, @jameslileks. His point was this: “If there were any justice in this world, any reap what you sow cause and effect relationship, I should be able to earn the approval of God (represented by the father here) through my hard-work, my diligence, my devotion to duty, my self-control, my reputation as being the good son, the good guy. Isn’t this the aim of religion anyway? Be the best me I can be me.”

    But, dear James, Jesus had a different point. It is this: “My love, my approval, is not meted out on the basis of earning a paycheck or running up a debt I owe you based on your hard work–even the good things you do. That is the way of the world. My love, my approval, instead, comes to you based on grace, that is, undeserved favor. Think about your daughter. Do you love her because she makes good grades, does her chores without complaining, and keeps her room neat? Or do you love her because you love her–because she’s yours. Do you love her even when she flunks a course, forgets a chore, or even throws a tantrum and refuses to make up her bed.”

    Cont’d below

    • #4
    • December 16, 2016 at 5:17 pm
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  5. Profile photo of Mr. Conservative Member

    2 of 3

    Both the younger and the older brother in the parable are trying to get what they want–their share of the father’s inheritance and what it brings to them–without really having a relationship with the father. For the younger son, a piece of the father’s inheritance means access to pleasures he wanted to experience. For the older son, the father’s inheritance was a symbol of all his hard work, his achievement, devotion to duty. But neither son knew and loved the father. He was just a means to an end.

    In this parable, Jesus is saying, “I am your treasure, your portion, your inheritance–your deepest need, not the things you think you can get from me whether those things are respectable in the world’s eyes or not. Know me, rest in my love and on my favor which I give to you freely simply because you are my son, simply because I love you.”

    Of course, hard work and doing one’s duty is better than being a drunken bum. But that is not the point of the parable. The real question posed by the parable is what motivates you? Both sons had selfish motivations that had nothing to do with loving their father and had everything to do with selfishly getting what they wanted from him; they just had different ways of trying to achieve their goals.

    Many commentators think that the elder brother is really the focus of the parable.

    • #5
    • December 16, 2016 at 5:28 pm
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  6. Profile photo of Mr. Conservative Member

    3 of 3

    If one doesn’t “get” the meaning of the prodigal son parable (really the parable of the two sons), then I am afraid one is missing the entire point of Christianity and the cross. If we can work our way to earn God’s approval, be sufficiently devoted to duty, do enough good things to make him love us–why was it necessary for Christ to come and to die? What was the cross all about if it was not about Christ paying for the sins and self-righteousness of younger and elder brother types, and earning God’s favor on their/our behalf?

    “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9.

    Great book on this parable by Tim Keller, The Prodigal God.

    Here’s a 3 minute explanation of his premise by Tim Keller from YouTube. His point is there is a vast difference between the teachings of traditional religions (“do more, work harder”) and the gospel of Jesus Christ (“I have done the work for you, rest in my work.”)

    Forgive me for getting all preachy or telling you things you already probably know. I love you my friend. All this gospel stuff–it’s beautiful and it’s true. It’s my only hope. Scripture says even angels long to gaze upon the beautiful gospel.

    • #6
    • December 16, 2016 at 5:37 pm
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  7. Profile photo of Freesmith Member

    “Their whole strategy has been to divide and alienate minority groups against Republicans.” (David Limbaugh)

    First, understand that the tactic the Left is using to win is a variation of “divide and conquer” called “diverse and conquer:” the division is created by introducing a high level of diversity into a culture which has been rendered unable to defend itself. The elite won’t and the people have been told they shouldn’t. Goodbye, Shakespeare; hello, Audre Lorde.

    The Left’s multiple diverse elements are held together by what Steve Sailer calls the “KKKrazy Glue” of racism hysteria – giving each and every minority, whether they are suffering or prospering in America, a single object of resentment – not Republicans; white people.

    Ben: Thanks for the tip on the dirtbag Left. I don’t recall you mentioning it on the Federalist Radio Hour.

    • #7
    • December 16, 2016 at 8:30 pm
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  8. Profile photo of Kim K. Member

    Great show. I especially enjoyed the theological back and forth at the end. David – thank you for referring to Jesus in the present tense. Who Jesus IS.

    • #8
    • December 17, 2016 at 7:36 am
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  9. Profile photo of Mr. Conservative Member

    Kim K.:Great show. I especially enjoyed the theological back and forth at the end. David – thank you for referring to Jesus in the present tense. Who Jesus IS.

    Amen to that, sister!

    17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. 19 If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.

    But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.”
    ‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭15:17-20

    • #9
    • December 17, 2016 at 7:58 am
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  10. Profile photo of Percival Thatcher

    Part of the conversation at the end reminded me of this (h/t to Mollie and Amy who directed me to these videos.)

    • #10
    • December 17, 2016 at 9:16 am
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  11. Profile photo of DJ EJ Member

    @jameslileks Issues, Etc., the same podcast from which Ricochet was re-posting the Hemingway election updates, had Dr. Kenneth Bailey as a frequent guest to discuss the interpretation of Jesus’ parables from a Middle Eastern cultural perspective. A lecturer in Middle Eastern and New Testament Studies, he conducted ethnographic research on Middle Eastern customs and traditions for 40 years while living in Israel, Lebanon, Egypt, and Cyprus. Dr. Bailey passed away this year, so they uploaded encore presentations of their discussions with him about the parables The Friend at Midnight, The Lost Sheep, The Lost Coin and The Prodigal Son, The Prodigal Son (continued), and The Unjust Steward. Or if books are more your speed:

    Poet and Peasant and Through Peasant Eyes: A Literary-Cultural Approach to the Parables in Luke

    The central character is the father. It should be called “The Good Father and His Two Lost Sons”. Both sons are estranged from their father. The younger asks for his inheritance while his father is still alive, and the older refuses to attend a family meal and instead has a public argument with his father in front of their guests. Both are major breaches of Middle Eastern custom, and the father (the family patriarch) would have been within his rights to disinherit and/or severely punish both of them. Throughout the parable, though, we see a father who repeatedly shows undeserved grace, forgiveness, and love to his sons – actions most surprising to a 1st century audience. (Romans 5: 6-8)

    • #11
    • December 17, 2016 at 11:50 am
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  12. Profile photo of Egg Man Member

    I would just add a couple of quick points to the back and forth about the prodigal son.

    First, we aren’t supposed to place ourselves in the shoes of the elder brother, because even the most devout is still is essentially the prodigal son: constantly sinning, and then returning to God through forgiveness.

    Second, I posed the question once to a priest, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, that James did: “why bother?” His reply was essentially: Do you really want to take that chance? You could go anytime.

    • #12
    • December 17, 2016 at 7:31 pm
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  13. Profile photo of The Question Inactive

    Egg Man: First, we aren’t supposed to place ourselves in the shoes of the elder brother, because even the most devout is still is essentially the prodigal son: constantly sinning, and then returning to God through forgiveness.

    While I think we are supposed to see ourselves as the prodigal son for the reasons you say, we also need to see ourselves as the elder brother, for the reasons Mr. Conservative gives.

    • #13
    • December 17, 2016 at 10:18 pm
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  14. Profile photo of RufusRJones Member

    Supposedly if the GOP gets 25% of the black vote the Democrat party is toast. 12.5% of blacks have to be libertarian and socially conservative. The problem is, identity politics is a very powerful an easy to use weapon.

    • #14
    • December 18, 2016 at 2:31 am
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  15. Profile photo of ctlaw Thatcher

    This whole Putin making Trump win is ridiculous.

    It is one thing to say that some of the hacking was by Russians.

    One more step to assume the hacking was directed by the Russian government. Although I assume they were doing some hacking (e.g., one of the alleged 5 foreign intelligence services to hack Hillary’s server). Otherwise they would be committing spy malpractice, and we have a monopoly on that.

    One more step to assume the leaks were directed by the Russian government.

    One more step to assume the leaks were intended specifically to help Trump.

    One more step to assume the leaks were intended to help Trump actually win. But this level is what the left would have you believe.

    The circumstances strongly contraindicate that last step.

    There clearly had to be much more devastating email than what was disclosed. For example, we can only assume that there would also be debate rigging emails for the general election as there were for the primary. Wouldn’t those be more helpful? There have to be email trails around all the foreign donations and the apparent quid pro quo. The 30k alleged personal emails, even if personal, would have a lot of interesting info such as about her medical condition.

    Also, unless Putin had much better polling data than Clinton and the media, he would have had to assume she was going to win right up to the end. Why not release more? Why not fake the more?

    Your conclusions seem to mirror my theory, assuming the Russian government was involved. Russia wanted Hillary to win in the most chaotic way possible that left a lot of resentful Republicans and Democrats (Sanders supporters) while keeping its best blackmail powder dry.

    • #15
    • December 18, 2016 at 9:50 am
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  16. Profile photo of Mr. Conservative Member

    The Question:

    Egg Man: First, we aren’t supposed to place ourselves in the shoes of the elder brother, because even the most devout is still is essentially the prodigal son: constantly sinning, and then returning to God through forgiveness.

    While I think we are supposed to see ourselves as the prodigal son for the reasons you say, we also need to see ourselves as the elder brother, for the reasons Mr. Conservative gives.

    Yes, we all probably have some younger brother and some elder brother in us. But I think in some people the elder brother personality predominates. These types have convinced themselves that although they may not be perfect, they certainly aren’t as lost or as fallen as their “loser” little brother who’s a druggie, a porn addict, a college drop-out, bankrupt, maybe even in prison. Yet, ironically Jesus described such “losers” as closer to his kingdom than the more respectable types, even the “church people” of his day, like the Pharisees.

    “Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, … the tax collectors and the prostitutes go into the kingdom of God before you. ” Matt 21:31

    Why is this so? Because “losers” and “failures” know that need a Savior; respectacle people whom everyone thinks are “good guys” not so much.

    Skeptics say Christianity is a crutch. They’re right, but what they forget is that cripples (in this case, moral cripples) need a crutch. I do. I am one cripple who says “thank God” for crutches!

    • #16
    • December 18, 2016 at 5:30 pm
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  17. Profile photo of Kim K. Member

    Mr. Conservative:

    The Question:

    Egg Man:

    Skeptics say Christianity is a crutch. They’re right, but what they forget is that cripples (in this case, moral cripples) need a crutch. I do. I am one cripple who says “thank God” for crutches!

    I used to have a pastor who said that when someone said Christianity was a crutch his reply was, “No, it’s two crutches.”

    • #17
    • December 18, 2016 at 6:23 pm
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  18. Profile photo of MHillis Member

    I know people have already commented on the parable of the prodigal son, but if you’re looking for further reading on the parable, Tim Keller’s book “The Prodigal God” is an excellent resource. In it, he discusses how both sons are lost: the younger brother to license, but the older brother to legalism. It’s a very quick and easy read but is quite profound. Just my two cents…. @jameslileks

    • #18
    • December 19, 2016 at 2:55 am
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  19. Profile photo of Freesmith Member

    Isn’t the “Prodigal Son,” like the “Good Samaritan,” an example of fake news?

    Both are based on a single, unverified source, are about anonymous people, lack verifiable details and conform to the reporter’s preexisting narrative.

    Can someone fact-check them, please?

    I nominate Snopes.

    • #19
    • December 19, 2016 at 5:02 am
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  20. Profile photo of Mr. Conservative Member

    Freesmith:Isn’t the “Prodigal Son,” like the “Good Samaritan,” an example of fake news?

    Both are based on a single, unverified source, are about anonymous people, lack verifiable details and conform to the reporter’s preexisting narrative.

    Can someone fact-check them, please?

    I nominate Snopes.

    It’s hard for me to discern your intent but taking your questions at face value, here’s my answer:

    Although I read the Bible as true and the inspired word of God throughout its 66 books, that does not mean that I should overlook literary “signals” or code in the text that indicates the particular passage was intended not to be read literally. One example of such a “signal” is the use of a parable–a literary device well-known in the ME indicating the story is not meant to be taken as literally true but intended to express a moral lesson. Both stories of “the prodigal son” and “the good Samaritan” are such literary devices, called parables.

    When Jesus began the story with phrases like “there was once a man who had two sons” his audience would’ve known immediately he was telling a parable. No one but a doofus would’ve asked “what was the man’s name?” Or “where did the man live?” In our culture, it would’ve been the same as hearing Aesop’s fables and remarking to the reader “where is the fox that ate the sour grapes?” Duh.

    Cont’d below

    • #20
    • December 19, 2016 at 5:46 am
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  21. Profile photo of Mr. Conservative Member

    2/3

    Now someone may ask, “I get the idea of parables and fables, but what if the entire Bible is a collection of fables in parables – – not meant to be taken literally true but simply to illustrate moral lessons or moral truths? ” Good question but there are many reasons why such a conclusion would be wrong. First, the signals or codes (literary devices used) are different. In many parts of the Bible, the language in the text indicates the writer does intend to be taken literally.

    Since Christmas is approaching, let’s take the birth of Christ from Luke. Does Luke begin his account with “there was once a woman who gave birth to a child.” No. Of course not. He fills his account with names, dates, places, politicsl events, and other details which would been easily verifiable or disputable.

    “In the time of Herod king of Judea” (Luke 1:5),

    “In the sixth month…”, Nazareth, Mary,Joseph (Luke 1:26-28)

    “In those days Cesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taking of the entire Roman world. (This was the first senses that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register.” (Luke 2:1-3)

    See the difference my friend, @freesmith?

    • #21
    • December 19, 2016 at 6:10 am
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  22. Profile photo of Mr. Conservative Member

    3/3

    So, you are certainly free to dispute the historicity of the major events recorded in Scripture like the virgin birth, the crucifixion, and the resurrection. BTW, many have tried and most end up becoming Christians in the process. But I think you are on extremely thin ice to contend that the writers of scripture intended their writings to be taken as anything other than literal, historical fact (unless, as stated above, the literary device used indicated otherwise) .

    But we could debate the historicity and accuracy of the Scriptures forever and still miss the more cogent questions so relevant this time of year:

    Am I a sinner who has screwed up my life royally on my own? Have I violated my own personal standards of ethics or morality, much less those set out in Scripture? Have I hurt those who love me or those who tried to help me?

    if so, is there any help for me, hope for me, any way to be made right before God and man? Is there any payment or atonement for my sins and failures? Is there anyway to “balance the books” of my many misdeeds with the creditworthy deeds of another, especially someone like Christ?

    If these questions trouble you, the glorious truth of Christmas is simply this: He came for people like you. God bless you @freesmith and merry Christmas !

    • #22
    • December 19, 2016 at 6:29 am
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  23. Profile photo of Percival Thatcher

    The use of parables was a frequent means of information dissemination in pre-literate times. Stories stick better than specifications. 2500 years on, you remember why those grapes were sour, and the dearth of talking, grape-eating foxes doesn’t matter a whit.

    • #23
    • December 19, 2016 at 6:51 am
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  24. Profile photo of Freesmith Member

    I’m sorry that you found it hard to understand the intent of my comment made on a thread of a political website which discusses contemporary news.

    I was being ironic.

    Thanks for taking the time to respond at such length to my gentle little jab at those whose latest bete noire is “fake news.” I respect that your faith is very important to you.

    Merry Christmas.

    • #24
    • December 19, 2016 at 7:00 am
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  25. Profile photo of Mr. Conservative Member

    I thought you could be using irony or satire which is very hard to discern in the context of a blog post. Sorry, I did not mean to beat you up theologically speaking. Definitely overkill in hindsight.

    I might have to come back to the “I respect that your faith is very important to you” comment– if you don’t mind. I know I’ve probably scared you off with my abundance of words. Now I’m off Christmas shopping !

    • #25
    • December 19, 2016 at 7:48 am
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  26. Profile photo of Mr. Conservative Member

    Freesmith I respect that your faith is very important to you.Merry Christmas.

    Back from shopping, a little tired and a lot lighter in the billfold.

    Thanks for the Christmas cheer, but here’s why I push back a little on the “I respect that your faith is very important to you” sentiment. Many so-called faith traditions would be fine with that. If you can get some subjective benefit (peace of mind, freedom from worry, the ability to forgive, courage for tomorrow, hope in the face of death) without dealing with objective truth, no big deal.

    Christianity is not one of those faith traditions though. Any subjective benefit you get is premised wholly on an objective set of facts which is either true or not true. Either Christ the son of God was born in Bethlehem, walked on this earth for 33 years, lived a perfect life, performed supernatural deeds, died the most horrendendous death imaginable, and then became alive again later to ascend to his throne in heaven, or he did not. If he did not, Christianity is a worthless waste of time. A fraud. A lie.

    If, on the other hand, Christ did all those things in time, space, and reality, then the facts of his life, death and resurrection are “very important” not only to me and his other followers but to you as well (or will soon become so).

    • #26
    • December 19, 2016 at 12:05 pm
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  27. Profile photo of Mr. Conservative Member

    My friend, if you have the slightest inkling that all this is true, or even if you don’t, I challenge you to pray this prayer this Christmas: “I don’t know if you’re up there or you’re listening, but if you are show me.” Merry Christmas my friend. God bless

    • #27
    • December 19, 2016 at 12:07 pm
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  28. Profile photo of Arahant Member

    Mr. Conservative: Either Christ the son of God was born in Bethlehem, walked on this earth for 33 years, lived a perfect life, performed supernatural deeds, died the most horrendous death imaginable, and then became alive again later to ascend to his throne in heaven, or he did not. If he did not, Christianity is a worthless waste of time. A fraud. A lie.

    For a literalist.

    • #28
    • December 19, 2016 at 12:36 pm
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  29. Profile photo of Mr. Conservative Member

    Arahant:

    Mr. Conservative: Either Christ the son of God was born in Bethlehem, walked on this earth for 33 years, lived a perfect life, performed supernatural deeds, died the most horrendous death imaginable, and then became alive again later to ascend to his throne in heaven, or he did not. If he did not, Christianity is a worthless waste of time. A fraud. A lie.

    For a literalist.

    Yes, like the apostle Paul: “And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.”
    ‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭15:14‬ ‭ESV‬‬

    • #29
    • December 19, 2016 at 1:11 pm
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