Saturday, 25 June 2016

Grimly Counting the Dead

An Elite Disembodied

One of the most interesting aspects of the Brexit vote was the way the "working stiffs" deserted the Labour Party and voted to leave the EU.  This went against the collective wisdom of the vast majority of Labour politicians.  It turns out that the working classes in the Midlands had some grievances that their political masters were paternalistically ignoring.  Until the Brexit vote.

Here is the view of one Guardian columnist.

They listened to experts tell them that Brexit meant disaster … and their answer was: get stuffed

Matthew D'Ancona
The Guardian

Before analysis, let us admit to awe: the sheer scale of the moment requires it. The word “historic” is deployed too lazily in political discourse. But it is entirely appropriate this morning. This is a hugely significant day in British (and European) history.  When a party loses an election, its soon-to-be-ex-leader rallies the troops and promises a different result next time. But no such option is open to the crushed chieftains of remain today. There is no “next time”.

This was a unique opportunity to seal Britain’s relationship with the European Union, or to end it. And the voters – at a high level of turnout – decided that it was time to go. They heard the warnings, listened to experts of every kind tell them that Brexit meant disaster, watched the prime minister as he urged them not to take a terrible risk. And their answer was: get stuffed.

The ramifications leave one giddy.

Daily Devotional

On Self

C. S. Lewis

A rejection, or in Scripture’s strong language, a crucifixion of the natural self is the passport to everlasting life. Nothing that has not died will be resurrected.

The Weight of Glory: And Other Addresses. Copyright © 1949, C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. Copyright renewed © 1976, revised 1980 C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers. Words to Live By: A Guide for the Merely Christian. Copyright © 2007 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

Collective Responsibility of the Politburo

Keep Them In the Dark

Sometimes the most anti-democratic folk around the bazaars are politicians.  We see this cropping up in lots of different ways.  One example is the abuse of Freedom of Information regimes, which most Western democracies have these days.  Under FOI regimes, ordinary citizens (voters) have a right to request information from governments, which in many cases must be released to the requester.

In daily practice this means media and researchers and interest groups peppering government bodies and administration with FOI requests, which are supposed to be complied with in a certain time frame.  Almost inevitably the process gets clogged, delayed, and obfuscated.  This, of course, is not helped by opposing political parties making innumerable FOI requests just to be a nuisance.  But basically politicians love democracy only when they have to appeal for public support at the polling booth.  Suddenly democracy is wonderful.  But for every other day of the year . . . not so much.

Here is another egregious example of a political body which has completely lost touch with what it means to serve the people.

Friday, 24 June 2016

Daily Devotional

Faith Honors Him Whom It Trusts

No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God. (Romans 4:20)

John Piper

I long for God to be glorified in our pursuit of holiness and love. But God is not glorified unless our pursuit is empowered by faith in his promises.

And the God who revealed himself most fully in Jesus Christ, who was crucified for our sins and raised for our justification (Romans 4:25), is most glorified when we embrace his promises with joyful firmness because they are bought by the blood of his Son.  God is honored when we are humbled for our feebleness and failure, and when he is trusted for future grace (Romans 4:20). So unless we learn how to live by faith in future grace, we may perform remarkable religious rigors, but not for God’s glory.  He is glorified when the power to be holy comes from humble faith in future grace.

Martin Luther said, “[Faith] honors him whom it trusts with the most reverent and highest regard, since it considers him truthful and trustworthy.” The trusted Giver gets the glory.  My great desire is that we learn how to live for God’s honor. And that means living by faith in future grace, which, in turn, means battling unbelief in all the ways it rears its head.

Mistakes We Christians Have Made

Calling Out the Dumbcluck

In the conflict between Christian faith and dogmatic secularist science, Christians are often at the mercy of their own credulity.  They are far too willing to believe consensus science to be the truth, based on hard, established fact.  Therefore, when science and the Bible appear to be in conflict, the text of scripture must be adjusted to accommodate hard science.

However, the more one becomes aware of the assumptions and presuppositions of science, the more one becomes familiar with scientific internal debates, the less one is impressed by consensus science.  Science is a helpful servant.  It makes an exceedingly poor master.

The Enlightenment rationalist argued as follows: if a religious doctrine cannot be established by Reason and/or Empirical Inquiry (science) then it must be dismissed as myth or baseless speculation.  On this basis Christianity, the Gospel, and the Bible become discredited and were eventually rejected by Western society in general--which is where we are today.

Unfortunately, far too many of us Christians are willing to concede to the authority of science over the Bible.

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Double Standards, Blindness, and Rank Hypocrisy

Muslim Privilege Kills In Orlando

Islamophobia kills… non-Muslims.

Daniel Greenfield

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam.
The deadliest mass shooting in American history happened because of Islamophobia.  Islamophobia killed 49 people in Orlando. It didn’t kill 49 Muslims. Instead it allowed Omar Mateen, a Muslim terrorist, to kill 49 people in the name of his Islamic ideology and the Islamic State.

Omar, like so many other Muslim killers, could have been stopped. He talked about killing people when he worked at G4S Security, a Federal contractor that provided services to the Department of Homeland Security and the State Department. But, according to one of the co-workers he stalked, a former police officer, his employers refused to do anything about it because he was a Muslim.

The FBI conducted an investigation of Omar Mateen. They put him on a watch list and sent informants. They interviewed him and concluded that his claims of Al Qaeda ties and terrorist threats were reactions to “being marginalized because of his Muslim faith.”

Daily Devotional

The Sheltered Life of Bad People

C.S Lewis

You may remember I said that the first step towards humility was to realise that one is proud. I want to add now that the next step is to make some serious attempt to practise the Christian virtues. A week is not enough. Things often go swimmingly for the first week. Try six weeks. By that time, having, as far as one can see, fallen back completely or even fallen lower than the point one began from, one will have discovered some truths about oneself. No man knows how bad he is till he has tried very hard to be good.

A silly idea is current that good people do not know what temptation means. This is an obvious lie. Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is. After all, you find out the strength of the German army by fighting against it, not by giving in. You find out the strength of a wind by trying to walk against it, not by lying down. A man who gives in to temptation after five minutes simply does not know what it would have been like an hour later. That is why bad people, in one sense, know very little about badness. They have lived a sheltered life by always giving in.

We never find out the strength of the evil impulse inside us until we try to fight it: and Christ, because He was the only man who never yielded to temptation, is also the only man who knows to the full what temptation means—the only complete realist.

Mere Christianity. Copyright © 1952, C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. Copyright renewed © 1980, C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers. A Year With C.S. Lewis: Daily Readings from His Classic Works. Copyright © 2003 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

The Little Red Hen and Her "Helpers"

Some Speech Is More Free Than Others

Liberal democratic values apparently have limits.  Only so far, and no further.

An interesting debate has broken out over free speech and diversity and tolerance in New Zealand.  As in so many countries, the provocation is the vexed issues surrounding refugees.  The rub: should we allow people to migrate into our country who hold views "we" find intolerant, and therefore intolerable?

The NZ Herald has devoted an editorial to the question which reeks of self-righteous smuggery.  It suggests that New Zealand's liberal tolerance of ideas reflecting our view of freedom, liberty, and equality do not need promoting to potential refugees, nor do we need be concerned about inculcating these values into hearts and minds of refugees.  Why,
those values do not need promoting. Refugees are well aware of them; those values are the reason they want to come here.
Puleeze.  Has not the editorial writer heard of Maslow's Heirarchy of Human Needs?  To suggest that refugees are fleeing to our country because of our superior values rather than because they face starvation and death is smuggery beyond compare.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Trump Tanking. Where's Plan B?

Reality Begins to Catch Up with Trump

His poll numbers are tanking at precisely the moment when they should be on the rise.

By Andrew Badinelli
National Review Online


Throughout his campaign, Donald Trump has bragged about how he is beholden to no one — not interest groups, not donors, not the media. But unfortunately, he is beholden to voters. Just a few days after the terrorist attack in Orlando, and just over a week after his racist comments regarding federal judge Gonzalo Curiel, Trump faces his worst polling numbers since he entered the race.

The newest ABC News/Washington Post poll shows Trump with an overall unfavorable rating of 70 percent, including 77 percent among women, 69 percent among independents, and an incredible 88 percent among non-whites. NBC News and Bloomberg Politics have Hillary Clinton leading by seven and twelve points, respectively, with 55 percent of Bloomberg respondents saying they would “never” vote for Donald Trump.

These numbers should come as no surprise.

Daily Devotional

Serve God with Your Thirst

So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. (2 Corinthians 5:9)

John Piper

What if you discovered (like the Pharisees did), that you had devoted your whole life to trying to please God, but all the while had been doing things that in God’s sight were abominations (Luke 16:14–15)?

Someone may say, “I don’t think that’s possible; God wouldn’t reject a person who has been trying to please him.” But do you see what this questioner has done? He has based his conviction about what would please God on his idea of what God is like. That is precisely why we must begin with the character of God.

God is a mountain spring, not a watering trough. A mountain spring is self-replenishing. It constantly overflows and supplies others. But a watering trough needs to be filled with a pump or bucket brigade.

If you want to glorify the worth of a watering trough you work hard to keep it full and useful. But if you want to glorify the worth of a spring you do it by getting down on your hands and knees and drinking to your heart’s satisfaction, until you have the refreshment and strength to go back down in the valley and tell people what you’ve found.

My hope as a desperate sinner hangs on this biblical truth: that God is the kind of God who will be pleased with the one thing I have to offer — my thirst. That is why the sovereign freedom and self-sufficiency of God are so precious to me: they are the foundation of my hope that God is delighted not by the resourcefulness of bucket brigades, but by the bending down of broken sinners to drink at the fountain of grace.

Darwinism on the Ropes

A Lesson In What Not to Do

We have argued that the text of the creation account in Genesis 1-3 is pretty straightforward and clear.  But it suddenly became complex and murky when, in the nineteenth century, Christians tried to reconcile the theorising of evolutionists with the plain text of Scripture.  Darwinists claimed to have hard, solid, irrefutable scientific evidence of the world existing for over 150 million years before man appeared here.  What some Christians then attempted was a reconciliation between the text of Genesis and the "evidence" and conjectures of evolutionists.  

The first great attempt at reconciling the two authorities (science and Scripture) was called the Gap Theory.  It posited a vast gap of time between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2.  Douglas Kelly summarises the theory:

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Letter From America (Ouch . . . )

The Other Side of the Coin

Blogger Patterico turns the tables on the NY Times over the matter of the Orlando Mass Murderer.

The Corrosive Politics of the New York Times Editorial Board That Led to the Orlando Shooting

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 11:59 am

The New York Times editorial board is blaming the Orlando shooting on Republicans:
While the precise motivation for the rampage remains unclear, it is evident that Mr. Mateen was driven by hatred toward gays and lesbians. Hate crimes don’t happen in a vacuum. They occur where bigotry is allowed to fester, where minorities are vilified and where people are scapegoated for political gain. Tragically, this is the state of American politics, driven too often by Republican politicians who see prejudice as something to exploit, not extinguish.

To the contrary: the precise motivation for the attack is quite clear, actually. John Sexton explains:

Daily Devotional

On God

C.S. Lewis

God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.

The Problem of Pain. Copyright © 1940, C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. Copyright restored © 1996 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers. Words to Live By: A Guide for the Merely Christian. Copyright © 2007 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

The Layman's Koran, Part II

Easy Recruits to Violence and Murder

The fog of war still swirls around the Orlando shooting, but the murderer of fifty or so people appears to be Islamic, who had attended a homosexual bar, either to "case the joint" or to participate in the bar's social life, or something else.

But once again it begs the question of how Islamic people can so easily be radicalised and commit murder.  What is it about the faith of Islam that makes it the most violent and murderous religion upon the planet by a long, long shot?

Reading the Koran provides some clues.  We offer a possible explanation.  On virtually every page of the Koran the reader is threatened with references to Hell, hellfire, judgment, and curse.  Allah is a minatory deity.  The key reason to persuade people to believe and follow Islam is to avoid the judgement of Allah for their sins.  These precepts are repetitive and pervasive throughout the Koran.  Pick any chapter.  Here is one chosen at random:
Hell will lie in ambush, a home for the transgressors.  There they shall abide long ages; there they shall taste neither refreshment nor any drink, save boiling water and decaying filth: a fitting recompense. [The Tidings]
 But at the same time there are repeated references to Allah being both compassionate and merciful.

Here is the question: to whom is Allah compassionate and merciful?

Monday, 20 June 2016

Idiots Masquerading As Intellectuals

New York Times Profound Ignorance

Religious illiteracy among journalists is reaching crisis levels.

Mollie Hemingway
The Federalist

Journalist Terry Mattingly wrote a great column back in 2006 noting the trouble many journalists have understanding the finer details of religion news. His column, “Reporters, crow’s ears and Karma Light nuns,” begins with an anecdote about how The New York Times covered the funeral of Pope John Paul II the prior year:
“The 84-year-old John Paul was laid out in Clementine Hall, dressed in white and red vestments, his head covered with a white bishop’s miter and propped up on three dark gold pillows,” wrote Ian Fisher of the New York Times. “Tucked under his left arm was the silver staff, called the crow’s ear, that he had carried in public.”

Get the joke? You see, that ornate silver shepherd’s crook is actually called a crosier (or “crozier”), not a “crow’s ear.”

Sometimes I check in on this April 4, 2005 piece to see if the Times has gotten around to correcting it. As of today, they have not! Sometimes I hope they never will.

But crozier mistakes are understandable. Less understandable? Saying Jesus is buried in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, that Easter marks Jesus’ “resurrection into heaven,” that St. Patrick is known for banishing slaves from Ireland, or that William Butler Yeats is the author of the Book of Hebrews.

Then there’s what New York Times political reporter Jeremy W. Peters wrote for his piece “After Orlando, a Political Divide on Gay Rights Still Stands.” Peters is a reporter who struggles to cover issues fairly. He’s known for helping Nancy Pelosi avoid questioning on her abortion stance and other instances of being almost comically partisan in his reporting.

The article is less reportage than it is fuel for what it purports to describe:
The massacre, with stunning speed, has been transformed into a political wedge, beginning with fierce disagreements over just what the crime should be called. An attack by “radical Islamic terrorists,” as Republicans insisted? A hate crime in a place seen as a safe haven by gays, as many Democrats said?
And then this:
A Republican congressman read his colleagues a Bible verse from Romans that calls for the execution of gays.
Come again? Wait, what? What? What in the world is he talking about?

Daily Devotional

Banish Unbelieving Fears

"And I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish."  John 10:28

Charles H. Spurgeon

The Christian should never think or speak lightly of unbelief. For a child of God to mistrust his love, his truth, his faithfulness, must be greatly displeasing to him. How can we ever grieve him by doubting his upholding grace? Christian! it is contrary to every promise of God's precious Word that thou shouldst ever be forgotten or left to perish. If it could be so, how could he be true who has said, "Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I never forget thee."

What were the value of that promise--"The mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee." Where were the truth of Christ's words--"I give unto my sheep eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand."

Where were the doctrines of grace? They would be all disproved if one child of God should perish. Where were the veracity of God, his honour, his power, his grace, his covenant, his oath, if any of those for whom Christ has died, and who have put their trust in him, should nevertheless be cast away?

Banish those unbelieving fears which so dishonour God. Arise, shake thyself from the dust, and put on thy beautiful garments. Remember it is sinful to doubt his Word wherein he has promised thee that thou shalt never perish. Let the eternal life within thee express itself in confident rejoicing.

"The gospel bears my spirit up:
A faithful and unchanging God
Lays the foundation for my hope,
In oaths, and promises, and blood."

Singing the Songs of Zion

Many Servants, Manifold Testimony

One of the most encouraging things for Kingdom servants is to realise that the Spirit of God is working His ministries throughout the world in many, many different ways.  These ways are not necessarily our ways.  God's thoughts are not our thoughts.  One thinks of our Lord's encouraging rebuke to Elijah, when he feared he was the last man standing.

We recently came across a vid of an encounter between Bono (of U2 fame) and Eugene Peterson ("The Message").  The conversation had to do with the Psalms.  The discussion covered the nature of the Psalms, the essential importance of metaphor, and the nature of the Psalms as "brutally honest" and "not pretty".  It includes some excellent thoughts about the Imprecatory Psalms, which the Church has pretty much ignored for over three centuries.

Maybe that is one reason why the Church is appears in many places to be so anemic, so confused, and so busy trying to win the approval of the Gentiles.

You can listen to the discussion below:

Saturday, 18 June 2016

Whose Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Apocryphal Death Bed Conversions

Jake Meador
The Federalist

In a recent essay for the New Yorker, Lawrence Krauss bemoaned the common habit among some conservative Christians of conjuring up fanciful deathbed conversion narratives about prominent non-Christians. He specifically mentions the well-known tale of evangelist Elizabeth Cotton, who made up such a story about Charles Darwin. She claimed that he told her from his deathbed that he wished to “recant the doctrine of evolution in exchange for Christian salvation.”

Krauss’s odd phrasing aside, he points to a problem that really does exist in pockets of conservative Christianity. In addition to the stories of Darwin, other conservative Christians have made up similar tales about other prominent enemies of the faith—Voltaire and Thomas Paine, most notably. Making up a conversion story about a famous person is obviously a horrible thing to do. At its root it is lying about a person’s views of God, which is horrifying enough, but it also implies a certain distressing insecurity in the believer. Krauss is right to condemn this sort of thing.

Daily Devotional

Escaping the Slough of Despond
"The Lord hath done great things for us, whereof we are glad."  Psalm 126:3

Charles H. Spurgeon

Some Christians are sadly prone to look on the dark side of everything, and to dwell more upon what they have gone through than upon what God has done for them. Ask for their impression of the Christian life, and they will describe their continual conflicts, their deep afflictions, their sad adversities, and the sinfulness of their hearts, yet with scarcely any allusion to the mercy and help which God has vouchsafed them.

But a Christian whose soul is in a healthy state, will come forward joyously, and say, "I will speak, not about myself, but to the honour of my God. He hath brought me up out of an horrible pit, and out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings: and he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God. The Lord hath done great things for me, whereof I am glad."

Such an abstract of experience as this is the very best that any child of God can present. It is true that we endure trials, but it is just as true that we are delivered out of them. It is true that we have our corruptions, and mournfully do we know this, but it is quite as true that we have an all-sufficient Saviour, who overcomes these corruptions, and delivers us from their dominion.

In looking back, it would be wrong to deny that we have been in the Slough of Despond, and have crept along the Valley of Humiliation, but it would be equally wicked to forget that we have been through them safely and profitably; we have not remained in them, thanks to our Almighty Helper and Leader, who has brought us "out into a wealthy place."

The deeper our troubles, the louder our thanks to God, who has led us through all, and preserved us until now. Our griefs cannot mar the melody of our praise, we reckon them to be the bass part of our life's song, "He hath done great things for us, whereof we are glad."

Post-Colonial Myopia

The Second Hundred Years War

For the past fifty years or so the West has practised the politics of guilt and pity with respect to Islam.  It has done so assiduously.  The guilt is grounded in nasty Western imperialism, which the Chattering Classes long ago rejected as evil.  The navel of Islam--the Middle East--suffered under Western imperialism--hence the guilt.  Backward, impoverished and ignorance are perpetual conditions in the Middle East caused by Western sins.  

The pity is an expression of atonement, a longing to make things right, an expression of restitution and atonement for wrongs committed and sufferings caused.  So, when Islamic heroes commit murder--even mass murder--they are immediately washed with the cleansing flow of Western guilt and pity.  "We can't blame them.  We in the West are to blame".  Mea culpas all around.

Western imperialism notwithstanding, the West has willed itself to ignorance when it comes to Islam and Islamic teaching.

Friday, 17 June 2016

Letter From the UK (About Life on the Hustings)

Asian Brit Slams PM Cameron 

Life in the  ‘No Go Zones’

Breitbart London
Raheem Kassan


The Prime Minister failed to answer a hard-hitting question on “no go zones” in the United Kingdom during his Q&A session with audience members on ITV tonight.  Speaking on the topic of uncontrolled immigration, Asian-background Harry Bhopara slammed the Prime Minister’s broken promises on bringing down net migration.

Mr. Bhopara said he could no longer get appointments with a doctor, nor get on the housing ladder, and harking back to Mr. Cameron’s closing statements from his town hall event last week, he said that Mr. Cameron was rolling the dice on Britain’s future by staying in the EU.

Mr. Bhopara said: “I have no GP, as all of them are full in my area. I can’t get onto the housing ladder and have three kids in one room. My kids’ school is growing in size every year but not in staff. The place where I grew up was a lovely area but is now a no-go zone.  So how is the EU and uncontrolled immigration working for me, a 41-year-old Brit who has been working full-time since I was 16, and my community?”

Mr. Cameron failed to address the question, pivoting immediately to the economy.

Daily Devotional

Coping With Illness

TO MARY VAN DEUSEN: On how one responds to the diagnosis of serious illness and on four strategies for coping.

C S Lewis

10 April 1959

I have just had Sister Hildegarde’s letter. My heart goes out to you. You are now just where I was a little over two years ago—they wrongly diagnosed Joy’s condition as uremia before they discovered cancer of the bone.

I know all the different ways in which it gets one: wild hopes, bitter nostalgia for lost happiness, mere physical terror turning one sick, agonised pity and self-pity. In fact, Gethsemane.

I had one (paradoxical) support which you lack—that of being in severe pain myself. Apart from that what helped Joy and me through it was

1. That she was always told the whole truth about her own state. There was no miserable pretence. That means that both can face it side-by-side, instead of becoming something like adversaries in a battle-of-wits.

2. Take it day by day and hour by hour (as we took the front line). It is quite astonishing how many happy—even gay—moments we had together when there was no hope.

3. Don’t think of it as something sent by God. Death and disease are the work of the Devil. It is permitted by God: i.e., our General has put you in a fort exposed to enemy fire.

4. Remember other sufferers. It’s fatal to start thinking ‘Why should this happen to us when everyone else is so happy.’ You are (I was and may be again) one of a huge company. Of course we shall pray for you all we know how. God bless you both.

The Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis, Volume III: Narnia, Cambridge, and Joy 1950-1963. Copyright © 2007 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers. Yours, Jack: Spiritual Direction from C. S. Lewis. Copyright © 2008 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

Faith, Hope, and Love

And the Greatest of These Is . . . 

Surprises on the "upside" are always welcome.  So, it came to pass, when we read the following piece in the NZ Herald.  It was written in defence of human life and the protection of the most vulnerable of all:

Diagnosed with Down Syndrome before she was born, a US woman's doctor recommended she abort her unborn child.  But Courtney Baker and her husband, despite being told their quality of life would suffer, decided to proceed with the pregnancy and gave birth to little Emersyn Faith, known fondly as Emmy, 15 months ago.

Last month Courtney wrote a letter to the doctor and together with Emmy, mailed to to him.  This is their letter:

Courtney Baker and her daughter, who was born with Down syndrome, Emmy. Photo / ParkerMyles.com
Courtney Baker and her daughter, who was born with Down syndrome, Emmy. Photo / 
"Dear Doctor,

A friend recently told me of when her prenatal specialist would see her child during her sonograms, he would comment, 'He's perfect.' Once her son was born with Down syndrome, she visited that same doctor. He looked at her little boy and said, 'I told you.  He's perfect.'  Her story tore me apart. While I was so grateful for my friend's experience, it filled me with such sorrow because of what I should have had. I wish you would have been that doctor.

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow

7 Reasons Not To Tattoo You

Douglas Wilson
Blog&Mablog

Let me begin by saying that God takes you from where you are, and not from where you should have been. If anyone is in Christ, there is no condemnation. If anyone is already tatted up, and the thing is done, then thank God that in Christ there is no condemnation.

But the fact that there is no condemnation in Christ does not mean that in Christ there is no such thing as a bad idea.

I know that there are godly individuals who don’t have the same view of tattoos that I do, and I would not apply everything I write below to them. This is not a one-size fits all argument. I know that someone who 2 Cor. 10:17 tattooed on his forearm will not be affected by my #5, for example.

So this is a post meant to exhort those who are contemplating what I would regard as a bad idea. Here are seven reasons for thinking so.

1. Let us begin at the beginning. What does the Bible say?

“You shall not make any cuts on your body for the dead or tattoo yourselves: I am the Lord” (Lev. 19:28, ESV).

The point here is not to say, “here’s the verse, that settles it.” Rather it is to say, “Here’s the verse. You are 21-years-old and are thinking about getting a barbed wire tattoo around your bicep. How settled and mature is your understanding of the relationship of Old Testament law to the question of Christian ethics? What is the likelihood that you might ever come to change your views on that question? And if you are already inked, does that create any pressure to not be open-minded about this pressing theological question?

Daily Devotional

When Reason Serves Rebellion

The sluggard says, “There is a lion outside! I shall be slain in the streets!” (Proverbs 22:13)

John Piper

This is not what I expected the proverb to say. I would have expected it to say “The coward says, ‘There is a lion outside! I shall be slain in the streets!’” But it says, “sluggard,” not “coward.” So the controlling emotion here is laziness, not fear.

But what does laziness have to do with the danger of a lion in the street? We don't say, “This man is too lazy to go do his work because there is a lion outside.”

The point is that the sluggard creates imaginary circumstances to justify not doing his work, and thus shifts the focus from the vice of his laziness to the danger of lions. No one will approve his staying in the house all day just because he is lazy.

One profound biblical insight we need to know is that our heart exploits our mind to justify what the heart wants. That is, our deepest desires precede the rational functioning of our minds and incline the mind to perceive and think in a way that will make the desires look right.

This is what the sluggard is doing. He deeply desires to stay at home and not work. There is no good reason to stay at home. So what does he do? Does he overcome his bad desire? No, he uses his mind to create unreal circumstances to justify his desire.

Doing the evil we love makes us hostile to the light of truth. In this condition the mind becomes a factory of half-truths, equivocations, sophistries, evasions and lies — anything to protect the evil desires of the heart from exposure and destruction.

Consider and be wise.

The Madness of the Gentiles

Sologamy

We have often pointed out that narcissism attends the Chattering Classes of the West as the limpet clings to the rock.  It is all about Me, Myself, and I.  Since there are no absolutes, no rules, no principles that bind--and above all, no Laws that govern the universe--it's all about Me.

This has got to the point of final idiocy where even one's identity is self-determined.  Genes?  Nothing at all.  Nurture? A wisp of fog.  What I conceive myself to be is the ultimate hard rock, universal value.  Before it all others must bow.

In praise of the new model where narcissism rules, and before which human civilisation must kowtow, comes a new "social relationship".  This, from Bob McCroskrie:

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Rebelling Against The Duty of Work

Living Without Working

Robert Tracinski
The Federalist

Voters in Switzerland just resoundingly defeated a referendum calling for a guaranteed minimum income that would have required the government to send a check to every Swiss citizen every month for as much as 2,500 francs, or a little more than $30,000 per year. That’s a solid lower- to middle-class income — for doing nothing.

There are two ways of looking at this news. We can applaud the Swiss for being sensible enough to reject a load of pernicious nonsense. Or we can be appalled that in a productive and orderly society, nearly a quarter of the population was ready to vote to make itself a ward of the state.

Because that’s the issue here.

The idea of a guaranteed minimum income has been gaining some popularity recently, oddly among libertarians, as a more efficient form of welfare spending.

Daily Devotional

Working Out Our Salvation

"We live unto the Lord."  Romans 14:8

Charles H. Spurgeon

If God had willed it, each of us might have entered heaven at the moment of conversion. It was not absolutely necessary for our preparation for immortality that we should tarry here. It is possible for a man to be taken to heaven, and to be found meet to be a partaker of the inheritance of the saints in light, though he has but just believed in Jesus.

It is true that our sanctification is a long and continued process, and we shall not be perfected till we lay aside our bodies and enter within the veil; but nevertheless, had the Lord so willed it, he might have changed us from imperfection to perfection, and have taken us to heaven at once. Why then are we here? Would God keep his children out of paradise a single moment longer than was necessary? Why is the army of the living God still on the battle-field when one charge might give them the victory? Why are his children still wandering hither and thither through a maze, when a solitary word from his lips would bring them into the centre of their hopes in heaven?

The answer is--they are here that they may "live unto the Lord," and may bring others to know his love. We remain on earth as sowers to scatter good seed; as ploughmen to break up the fallow ground; as heralds publishing salvation. We are here as the "salt of the earth," to be a blessing to the world. We are here to glorify Christ in our daily life. We are here as workers for him, and as "workers together with him." Let us see that our life answereth its end. Let us live earnest, useful, holy lives, to "the praise of the glory of his grace." Meanwhile we long to be with him, and daily sing--

"My heart is with him on his throne,
And ill can brook delay;
Each moment listening for the voice,
Rise up, and come away.'"

Nature Eats Up Grace

The Ape Versus the Toddler

The unfortunate death of Harambe, the silverback gorilla at the Cincinnati Zoo resulted in a public outcry.  It's the kind of outcry we have seen and heard more and more over recent years.  The brouhaha over the death of the gorilla, and the intent to place blame, even criminal blame upon the temporarily neglectful mother, indicates that something deep in the magma is boiling away.  Every so often, it erupts forth.

The case of Harambe is summarised by the following media report:
(CNN)The mother of the 3-year-old boy who fell into a gorilla exhibit at the Cincinnati Zoo will not face charges, an Ohio prosecutor said Monday.  "By all accounts, this mother did not act in any way where she presented this child to some harm," Hamilton County Prosecutor Joseph Deters said.  "She had three other kids with her and turned her back. ... And if anyone doesn't believe a 3-year-old can scamper off very quickly, they've never had kids."

After the boy slipped into the enclosure May 28, he had a 10-minute encounter with Harambe, a 450-pound gorilla. A witness told CNN the boy's mother was temporarily distracted by other children when the boy fell into the exhibit.  Harambe pulled the boy across a moat and was fatally shot by zoo personnel.  Deters said the zoo lost "a beautiful animal" that was beloved in the community, "but it's still an animal. It does not equate [to] human life."
It's that final statement by the County Prosecutor that roils the magma.

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Tactical Victory in Norway--But The War Continues

Norway Reunites Seized Children With Family

International Pressure Bears Fruit

The Bodnariu family’s ordeal ends, but advocates vow to keep fighting for reforms.

By Jayme Metzgar
The Federalist

A child welfare case in Norway that has been grabbing headlines and stirring protests worldwide came to a sudden end late last week.

The story, which I covered in depth for The Federalist in April, centers on Marius and Ruth Bodnariu and their five young children. Marius, a Romanian citizen, and Ruth, a native Norwegian, first ran afoul of Norway’s child protective services (called Barnevernet) in November 2015. After privately interviewing the family’s two oldest daughters at school, Barnevernet abruptly took all five children into emergency custody: first the girls, then the younger boys, and finally the three-month-old baby.

Charges focused on the family’s occasional use of physical discipline (which is banned in Norway), but lawyers pointed to troubling CPS statements about the Bodnarius’ Christian faith, suggesting religious discrimination had also played a role. Despite medical exams and interviews with family members, doctors, and neighbors, Barnevernet was unable to find any evidence of abuse. Still, the children were split up among three foster homes, where they stayed for months with minimal parental contact.