Mike Vanderboegh has passed away. We knew this was coming, but it’s still bracing and reflective at the same time. Since I’m going to link a number of articles and commentaries at the end, I see no point in recapitulating what’s already been said. Instead, I have some (what I hope to be) unique reflections to make about Mike.
I’ve heard it said that such-and-such a man had “redeeming qualities.” Hogwash. Men don’t have redeeming qualities. Men are themselves redeemed, or they are lost. The God-man Christ Jesus saves men or they perish without Christ but with all of the punishments due to them, and all men are under judgment.
That’s the sweet thing about Mike. He knew this, and he believed it. Mike didn’t do a single thing to redeem himself, but he trusted Christ and the vicarious atonement for his very life. That means that it was a life well-lived. Everything else is wasted.
But if man cannot redeem himself, that doesn’t mean he cannot redeem what’s around him by taking dominion of the world for God’s glory. Mike did exactly that, and today he is in heaven with his Lord. I don’t believe in the phrase “rest in peace” (and Isaiah 57:2 isn’t discussing ethereal floating of one’s spirit for eternity). I also don’t believe that man’s body cools to ambient temperature and that’s the end. Mike didn’t believe that either.
In heaven there is worshiping, and there is work. It’s just that work won’t be done by the sweat of our brow and we won’t be fighting sin, either in ourselves or others. No, Mike is active, and you can bet your soul on it. Thankfully, his son, Matthew Vanderboegh, told me that his friends should call him, and gave me the direct line into where he and Rosie were. Mike was too weak to speak, and Rosie sounded exhausted, so the conversation was one way and very short.
But I told him that they were planning a party in heaven, and he was wasn’t a guest, but the newest resident. He was almost home, and he would soon see our Lord. “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his faithful servants” (Psalm 116:15). That party is now underway, and Mike is casting his crowns down at the feet of his savior, giving Him all of the glory.
In case you haven’t gotten the picture by now, I am claiming that Mike did the Lord’s work. I advocate a Calvinian world view, in which, following Christ, redeemed man is prophet, priest and king. What we do during the day, how we work, the attitudes we take to our calling, is as holy a practice and activity as administering The Lord’s Supper (communion) or baptizing a newborn. I’ve made no secret of the fact that I view liberty and proper government a function of our calling before God, and that when covenants are broken, the Biblical justification for separation is clear. Thus is was with the American war of independence.
Mike saw what he did as a calling as well, and so he took it very seriously. So I took his acceptance into the community of bloggers as a sign of both affirmation and his good judgment. When I left military blogging (for reasons I’ve outlined before but won’t here), I began advocating duty of self defense, liberty and constitutionally limited government. It wasn’t long before I ran across Mike. It didn’t take Mike long to start linking my work, and when he did, I always looked forward to his clever titles, his pithy observations or his lengthy analyses. Seriously, with a cup of coffee, it was first on my list every day.
I say good judgment about Mike’s acceptance of me and my work because Mike has his detractors, and the liberty movement has its imposters who fly fake flags. I pay no attention to those men, and I’m not one of them. When I advocate something, you can bet I’m being serious about it. This is a labor of love for me. Mike knew that in short order, and he was right. He was a good judge of character.
And concerning the detractors, I mock them to myself and my close friends, and I ignore them on the pages of my blog. They want attention, and I studiously avoid giving it to them. I’ll offer up one final observation. Mike traveled, wrote, spoke and blogged under his own name and true identity, just like I do. The liberty movement is filled with men who are a former spook, former special forces or special operations, former lawyer, former dish washer of ditch digger (you continue the list yourself), and while I don’t really know whether these men are who they say they are, I suppose I get a little from their writing from time to time, but I mostly ignore them too.
I mean no offense, I just don’t give much credence to someone who tells me the world is going to hell, I have to plan and train, I have to do my part to save my piece of it, and oh by the way, you don’t even know my real name because I’m using a nom de guerre. So maybe I don’t really believe it after all, or maybe I’m just running my mouth, or maybe while the world goes to hell and I want people to save their piece of it, I’ll be hiding.
You know them. They blog, write and comment anonymously. They are “gray man.” Matt Bracken had some words for gray man.
Same here. If everybody goes “gray man,” the tyrants win by default. We need to stand on the roof and be seen by everybody, on all sides. Others can go gray man, that’s fine, their choice. But we all can’t hide forever.
I don’t use a nom de guerre, and Mike wasn’t gray man. If I put myself on the line every day I write, Mike did in the superlative. He did it with humor, grace, and wisdom. I will miss him, truly I will. He leaves behind quite a legacy, but you again I say, you can bet everything that he is busy today. There is no rest for Mike, there is just rest from a sinful world.
The Kansas City Star