Saturday, 27 August 2016

On-Line Schools

Empowering Parents A Little Bit

The New Zealand government has thrown a monkey wrench into the vast state school engine.  At the drop of a hat, out of left field, the Ministry of Education has incorporated on-line schooling into the system.  If the media's reporting on this move reflects accurately the response of the educational establishment, it has been condemned swiftly, unequivocally, and universally.

Basically, it will involve education providers being allowed to instruct and teach kids via on-line media.  The providers will need to be registered with the State and doubtless their educational offering, processes, and disciplines will be subject to the Education Review Office--which currently inspects all registered schools.

The Minister of Education, Hekia Parata had this to say:
"This innovative way of delivering education offers a digital option to engage students, grow their digital fluency, and connect them even more to 21st century opportunities.  "There will be a rigorous accreditation process alongside ongoing monitoring to ensure quality education is being provided." [NZ Herald]
But it turns out that on-line learning is a very, very bad idea. It takes pupils away from the institution of the physical bricks and mortar school.  That, apparently, is terrible.

Friday, 26 August 2016

Just the Facts, Ma'am

Reject The Priestcraft Peddled by the Government

How a Formerly Pro-Choice Nursing Instructor Discusses Abortion with her Students

The Torch
Cynthia Isabell

I have been a labor and delivery nurse since 1980.  During my thirty-six year nursing career, I have also worked in medical units and for hospice. Being a nurse has allowed me to be present with people through their early beginnings of intrauterine life, and with others through their last breaths.  It has been an amazing and rewarding journey. Life is precious and life is fleeting, and life should be respected. I am pro-life.

I am also a nursing instructor and have taught obstetrics to hundreds of young men and women, our future nurses.  My students often ask me what my opinion is regarding abortion.  “Are you pro-life or pro-choice?” they ask me.  I do not ask them the same, as I don’t want them to fear that their position might affect how I grade them.

When I answer that I am pro-life, the students often assume that my position is based on my religious beliefs, and so they respond that “you can’t force your religious beliefs on everyone else.” I explain that my argument against abortion is based on the anatomy and physiology of pregnancy, and on logical reasoning.

I was not always pro-life.  In the past I considered myself pro-choice.

Daily Devotional

Make Us Peacemakers

"If fire break out, and catch in thorns, so that the stacks of corn, or the standing corn, or the field, be consumed therewith; he that kindled the fire shall surely make restitution."  Exodus 22:6

Charles H. Spurgeon

But what restitution can he make who casts abroad the fire-brands of error, or the coals of lasciviousness, and sets men's souls on a blaze with the fire of hell? The guilt is beyond estimate, and the result is irretrievable. If such an offender be forgiven, what grief it will cause him in the retrospect, since he cannot undo the mischief which he has done! An ill example may kindle a flame which years of amended character cannot quench. To burn the food of man is bad enough, but how much worse to destroy the soul! It may be useful to us to reflect how far we may have been guilty in the past, and to enquire whether, even in the present, there may not be evil in us which has a tendency to bring damage to the souls of our relatives, friends, or neighbours.

The fire of strife is a terrible evil when it breaks out in a Christian church. Where converts were multiplied, and God was glorified, jealousy and envy do the devil's work most effectually. Where the golden grain was being housed, to reward the toil of the great Boaz, the fire of enmity comes in and leaves little else but smoke and a heap of blackness. Woe unto those by whom offences come. May they never come through us, for although we cannot make restitution, we shall certainly be the chief sufferers if we are the chief offenders. Those who feed the fire deserve just censure, but he who first kindles it is most to blame.

Discord usually takes first hold upon the thorns; it is nurtured among the hypocrites and base professors in the church, and away it goes among the righteous, blown by the winds of hell, and no one knows where it may end. O thou Lord and giver of peace, make us peacemakers, and never let us aid and abet the men of strife, or even unintentionally cause the least division among thy people.

The Quickening Vortex

It Was Meant to Be

Angelo Codevilla's book, The Character of Nations is an insightful volume.  He explores the relationship between the character of citizens, or the ruled, and the character of the regime, and the interaction between the two.

The changing character of people, society, and regimes throughout the West is well known, particularly by Christians, but it remains a staggering event, nonetheless.  The speed at which the character of nations and regimes have changed within one generation has left many people wondering, along with Theoden of Rohan, "How has it come to this?"  What on earth has enabled and facilitated such a rapid change?

Codevilla provides a description of the magnitude of the change--in this case in the United States.  There is little new in his account--but it serves to remind us once more how profoundly the character of Western societies and regimes has changed.
Consider a snapshot of life in New York City.  In July 1994, after lengthy deliberation, the city government decided that a person riding the subway stark naked could be arrested--but only if the individual was smoking.  Whereas an earlier generation of city officials would not have hesitated to protect the community against "indecent exposure", by 1994 it was difficult to find an official who would explain that concept.  But there was broad agreement among officials that subway riders should be protected against second hand smoke, something unknown to these officials' parents.  The change from intolerance of public nudity to intolerance of public smoking is just a whiff of what amounts to a revolution in American public life.  [The Character of Nations: How Politics Makes and Breaks Prospertiy, Family, and Civility (New York: Basic Books, 1997), p. 2.]
Codevilla's book was published at the end of the twentieth century, just a few short years ago.

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Letter From the UK (About Self-Righteous Patricians Sneering at the Plebs)

Betraying Brexit

The Revolt of the Elites Against the People

Brendan O'Neill
The Spectator

Why is everyone so chilled out about the threats to Brexit? Why isn’t there more public fury over the plotting of lords and academics and experts to stymie Brexit and thwart the will of 17.4m people? In all the years I’ve been writing about politics, I cannot remember a time when democracy has been treated with as much disgust, with as much naked, Victorian-era elitism, as it is being today. And yet we’re all bizarrely mellow. We’re going about our business as if everything is normal, as if the elites aren’t right now, this very minute, in revolt against the people. We need to wake up.

Every day brings fresh news of the revolt of the elite, of the march of the neo-reactionaries against the mandate of the masses.

Daily Devotional

On Pleasure

C. S. Lewis

[The demon Screwtape writes:] [God, the “Enemy,” is] a hedonist at heart. All those fasts and vigils and stakes and crosses are only a facade. Or only like foam on the sea shore. Out at sea, out in His sea, there is pleasure, and more pleasure. He makes no secret of it; at His right hand are “pleasures for evermore.” Ugh! Don’t think He has the least inkling of that high and austere mystery to which we rise in the Miserific Vision. He’s vulgar, Wormwood. He has a bourgeois mind. He has filled His world full of pleasures. There are things for humans to do all day long without His minding in the least—sleeping, washing, eating, drinking, making love, playing, praying, working. Everything has to be twisted before it’s any use to us. We fight under cruel disadvantages. Nothing is naturally on our side.

From The Screwtape Letters

Compiled in Words to Live By The Screwtape Letters. Copyright © 1942, C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. Copyright restored © 1996 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.

Big Brother Knows Best

Parental Incompetence Is a Fundamental Assumption of the System

A universal state school system--such as we have in New Zealand--is predicated upon the incompetence or failures of parents. The state's Ministry of Education, together with teacher unions, justify their existence persistently on the assumption that parents are of little use when is comes to arranging for the education of their children.

Those who might be sufficiently obtuse to challenge this assertion, can be swatted away with a couple of questions.  Firstly, does our objector favour a universal parental voucher system so that parents can choose a school for their children?  If they don't they clearly think that parents are incompetent to choose wisely for their children.  Or, they hold to the idea that the state school system could not cope with the resultant disruption--which is an implicit acknowledgement that the state school system is bureaucratically hide bound and, to that extent, ineffective.

Secondly, since a voucher system would very quickly and effectively empower parents, why has no political party promoted or supported the idea?  Why has the Ministry of Education not advised the Government to move rapidly in this direction?  Why is empowering parents such an anathema?

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Iranians Turning to Christ

The Story of Iran’s Church in Two Sentences

The Gospel Coalition
Mark Howard

Everyone loves a good story. As Christians, we especially love stories that tell us how, when all seems lost, God makes a way.  One such story is about the church in Iran—and it’s one of the greatest stories in the world today.

It’s a simple story that can be summarized in just two sentences: Persecution threatened to wipe out Iran’s tiny church. Instead, the church in Iran has become the fastest growing in the world, and it is influencing the region for Christ.  As simple as it is, such an amazing story is worth examining deeper.

Growth Amid Persecution

The Iranian revolution of 1979 established a hard-line Islamic regime. Over the next two decades, Christians faced increasing opposition and persecution: All missionaries were kicked out, evangelism was outlawed, Bibles in Persian were banned and soon became scarce, and several pastors were killed. The church came under tremendous pressure. Many feared the small Iranian church would soon wither away and die.

But the exact opposite has happened. Despite continued hostility from the late 1970s until now, Iranians have become the Muslim people most open to the gospel in the Middle East.

Daily Devotional

An Unshakably Happy God

“These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” (John 15:11)

John Piper

God is absolutely sovereign.  “Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases” (Psalm 115:3).

Therefore he is not frustrated. He rejoices in all his works when he contemplates them as colors of the magnificent mosaic of redemptive history. He is an unshakably happy God.

His happiness is the delight he has in himself. Before creation, he rejoiced in the image of his glory in the person of his Son. Then the joy of God “went public” in the works of creation and redemption. These works delight the heart of God because they reflect his glory. He does everything he does to preserve and display that glory, for in this his soul rejoices.

All the works of God culminate in the praises of his redeemed people. The climax of his happiness is the delight he takes in the echoes of his excellence in the praises of the saints. This praise is the consummation of our own joy in God.

Therefore, God’s pursuit of praise from us and our pursuit of pleasure in him are the same pursuit. This is the great gospel!

Free Speech for Me--Restrictions for You

The Stench of Self-Righteous Hypocrisy

We have a great deal of sympathy for the following issue, raised by several unions over recent days. 

We have seen numerous incidents in New Zealand where workers have been going about their lawful business, heading into their places of work, only to be confronted by loud, screaming, intolerant, and reprehensibly rude Greenpeace bigots.  Apparently their employer had been involved in some actual or potential degradation of the environment and Greenpeace is now busy victimising the innocent workers involved.  

The unions are proposing that a 150 metre exclusion zone be placed around all workers in transit to their place of employment.  Others have been calling for a one kilometer exclusion zone.  The emotional damage caused by Greenpeace zealots is incalculable and entirely without defence.  However, longtime Greenpeace activist and prominent actress, Lucy Lawless has reacted angrily to the union proposals.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Consistency--Thou Art a Jewel

Rugby Stars Lobby Against Easter Trading Changes

Isaac Davison
NZ Herald

Former All Black Michael Jones says the Government should not be interfering in Easter Sunday. Photo: Jason Oxenham
Former All Black Michael Jones says the Government should not be interfering in Easter Sunday. Photo: Jason Oxenham
Two former All Blacks are putting pressure on Pacific Island MPs to vote against law changes which will allow shops to open on Easter Sunday.  Former rugby stars Michael Jones and Aiolupotea Tonu'u said today that the law change could harm Pacific workers who had obligations to their churches and families on the religious holiday.  They are appealing directly to Pacific MPs in Parliament to cast their vote against the Shop Trading Hours Amendment Bill when it returns to Parliament.

The bill will give councils the power to pass bylaws to allow trading on Easter Sunday.  It narrowly passed another hurdle this week, 62 votes to 59 votes.  MPs cast a personal vote, rather than voting along party lines, because of the religious aspect of the legislation.

Two Pacific MPs - National's Sam Lotu-Iiga and Alfred Ngaro - voted in support. If they switched their votes, the legislation would fail.  Jones is a devout Christian who refused to play rugby on Sundays. He also has links to the National Party.  However, he was critical of the National-led Government for "interfering with Easter Sunday".

Daily Devotional

Why You Give in to Sexual Sin

Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have broken rejoice. . . . Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. (Psalm 51:8, 12)
John Piper

Why isn’t he crying out for sexual restraint? Why isn’t he praying for men to hold him accountable? Why isn’t he praying for protected eyes and sex-free thoughts? In this psalm of confession and repentance after essentially raping Bathsheba, you would expect David to ask for something like that.

The reason is that he knows that sexual sin is a symptom, not the disease.

People give way to sexual sin because they don’t have the fullness of joy and gladness in Christ. Their spirits are not steadfast and firm and established. They waver. They are enticed, and they give way because God does not have the place in our feelings and thoughts that he should.

David knew this about himself. It’s true about us too. David is showing us, by the way he prays, what the real need is for those who sin sexually — joy in God.

This is profound wisdom for us.

Back to the Future

Islamic Imperialism and Its Failures

Islam is a uniformitarian religion.  It recognises no distinctions of race, colour, ethnicity, or geography--theoretically.  In his final visit to Mecca, Muhammad uttered his "closing" address:
O people, your Lord is one and your ancestor is [also] one.  You are descended from Adam and Adam was [born] of the earth.  The noblest of you  all in the sight of Allah is the most devout.  Allah is all knowing and all wise. [Koran, Sura 49, 13]
Theoretically this made all human beings equal; it also made the community of Islam--the umma--borderless and universal.  The promise of Islam to remake the world via the universal umma could be expressed as follows:
At a stroke the past was wiped clean.  One's ethnic origin and traditional ties and relationships counted for nothing, only one's faith and piety.  The umma was not merely a novel form of socio-political communal organisation.  It was a divinely ordained brotherhood, bound together by something far stronger than blood and far wider than the Arabian Peninsula: the great equalizer between Arabs and non-Arabs, free men and freed men. [Efraim Karsh, Islamic Imperialism: A History (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2007),  p.19.]
This was a radical notion.  It was Muhammad's version of the Lord's Great Commission.  But, it had a critical difference: in the mind of Muhammad there was no distinction between temporal and religious authority or rule.  They were one and the same.

Monday, 22 August 2016

Post-Christendom's Latest Death Wish

The Tragic Transgender Contagion

Anguished parents note that entire peer groups seem determined to ‘transition’ together.

By David French
National Review Online

When thinking about transgender issues, you can choose to believe either the Left’s comforting lie or the messy — and sometimes quite sad and scary — truth. Here’s the comforting lie: that there are a certain class of people who live in “a state of emotional distress” because their sex “assigned at birth” conflicts with their “gender identity.” For these people it is the height of cruelty to ask them to live according to their “assigned” sex. So, when even children demonstrate the allegedly objective criteria of “consistence, insistence, and persistence,” then they can and often should begin the process of transitioning to a new gender.

It’s all science, you see. And denying that science not only makes you a Neanderthal, it makes you a bigot.

According to this lie, parents should rejoice when their children finally identify as transgender. After all, it’s the first step to becoming their “true selves.” According to this lie, there is nothing to fear except discrimination itself. Once individuals embrace their true identity, only intolerance can destroy their lives. Thus the fury at dissenters. Thus the academic censorship. Because of high suicide rates in transgender populations, endorsing ideological conformity becomes a matter of life and death.

The truth, however, is stubborn.

Daily Devotional

Time

C. S. Lewis

[The demon Screwtape writes:] The humans live in time but our Enemy destines them to eternity. He therefore, I believe, wants them to attend chiefly to two things, to eternity itself, and to that point of time which they call the Present. For the Present is the point at which time touches eternity. Of the present moment, and of it only, humans have an experience analogous to the experience which our Enemy has of reality as a whole; in it alone freedom and actuality are offered them. He would therefore have them continually concerned either with eternity (which means being concerned with Him) or with the Present—either meditating on their eternal union with, or separation from, Himself, or else obeying the present voice of conscience, bearing the present cross, receiving the present grace, giving thanks for the present pleasure.

Our business is to get them away from the eternal, and from the Present. With this in view, we sometimes tempt a human (say a widow or a scholar) to live in the Past. But this is of limited value, for they have some real knowledge of the past and it has a determinate nature and, to that extent, resembles eternity. It is far better to make them live in the Future. Biological necessity makes all their passions point in that direction already, so that thought about the Future inflames hope and fear. Also, it is unknown to them, so that in making them think about it we make them think of unrealities. In a word, the Future is, of all things, the thing least like eternity. It is the most completely temporal part of time—for the Past is frozen and no longer flows, and the Present is all lit up with eternal rays.


The Screwtape Letters. Copyright © 1942, C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. Copyright restored © 1996 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 Fruits of Believing The State is as God

No Surprises There

We have oft stated in this blog that statism is the prevailing religion throughout the West.  Each and every problem can be solved by the State--acting, reacting, ruling, punishing, pushing, directing, funding, defunding, taxing--always taxing.  Mark Twain was right: there are only two certain things in a statist world: death and taxes.

One prosaic example will suffice.  New Zealander's diets are pretty bad in some quarters.  We are now learning that, contrary to decades of bad science and advice, the real dietary problem is sugar, not fat.  We are facing an obesity epidemic that has a long road of multiplying diseases that will play out over generations.  For example, in New Zealand we are now seeing young children develop Type II diabetes--which is entirely diet caused.  This is not a hereditary condition, but a result of the amount of sugar the children ingest as part of their daily diet.  The list of ailments and diseases which flow from having diabetes is as long as can be imagined, with more coming to light as the epidemic worsens.  But, let's repeat.  This is an epidemic plague that is inextricably lifestyle related.

What has been our response?

Saturday, 20 August 2016

The Dominican Republic Presents Its Credentials

Sophisticated and Exemplary

Doubtless there are many things in the Dominican Republish which are not exemplary.  But on one matter, the murder of unborn children, the Dominican Republic is far, far more enlightened and advanced and sane and sophisticated and exemplary than Western and China and the Japanese nations.

This, from Turtle Bay and Beyond:

Unborn Dominican Children Protected 

By Marianna Orlandi, Ph.D

Yesterday, the Chamber of Deputies of the Dominican Republic affirmed that the unborn has a right to life in their country.   Upon approval of the new Criminal Code, the majority decided to eliminate a new paragraph of article 110, which would have decriminalized abortion not only to save the mother’s life, but also in cases of malformation, incest, and rape.

The prolife vote of the Chamber is consistent with a previous judgement of the Constitutional Court, which struck down an amendment to the criminal code that already tried to legalize abortion in those same “exceptional” cases.  Moreover this vote is consistent with article 37 of the national constitution: “The right to life is inviolable from conception to death. The death penalty cannot be established, pronounced or applied, in any case.”

Given the bicameral nature of the Dominican legislature, local prolifers are waiting for the vote of the Senate before crying victory. Nonetheless, the overwhelming majority that refused to decriminalize abortion is a true miracle already: 132 votes against – 6 in favor. . . .

At present, the killing of a preborn child remains a crime, punishable by a 2 to 3 years sentence both for the mother and for anybody who helps her. The physician, nurse, obstetrician, pharmacist, or any other professional who assists in or performs an abortion faces a sentence of 4 to 10 years.
Just the reading those criminal sentences for the aborting mother and professionals who aide and abet the crime of murder of the most innocent amongst us are a ray of light in a dark, dark world.

Daily Devotional

What It Means to Bless the Lord

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! (Psalm 103:1)
John Piper

The psalm begins and ends with the psalmist preaching to his soul to bless the Lord—and preaching to the angels and the hosts of heaven and the works of God’s hands. The psalm is overwhelmingly focused on blessing the Lord. What does it mean to bless the Lord? It means to speak well of his greatness and goodness.

What David is doing in the first and last verses of this psalm, when he says, “Bless the Lord, O my soul,” is saying that speaking about God’s goodness and greatness must come from the soul.

Blessing God with the mouth without the soul would be hypocrisy. Jesus said, “This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me” (Matthew 15:8). David knows that danger, and he is preaching to himself that it not happen.

Come, soul, look at the greatness and goodness of God. Join my mouth, and let us bless the Lord with our whole being.

Pavlov's Dogs

Education Unions Have No Confidence In Their Members

Unionised teachers in New Zealand hate "bulk funding" with a vengeance.  It's tribal, it's visceral.  It is without rhyme nor reason.  The idea behind bulk funding is that the government hands over a lump sum of taxpayer's money (less the bureaucratic costs of collecting, administering, calculating, budgeting, etc.) and school management decides how this is spent.  

Bulk funding has been used in other areas, with great success.  It is a way of devolving decisions to those responsible to carry them out.  It minimises the risk of "one size for all" head-office control and planning.  It also reduces the control of teacher unions over school operations and for that reason unions hate bulk funding in schools.

The government is once again giving bulk funding in the education sector a crack--at least in concept.  Consultations are being held.  Unions have already jumped, going public to declare emphatically that there is no way they are going to agree.  Never, no Never, no Never! is the line.

This self-interested position has led to all kinds of rather strange outcomes.  The one that has caused us to laugh loudest into our corn flakes bowl is the sight of the President of the Principals Federation implying that his members (that is, school principals) are a bunch of incompetent, ignorant dodos, desperately in need of the education they are supposedly giving to students.

Friday, 19 August 2016

Letter From America (About a Victorious Skirmish Over Religious Liberty)

California Relents For the Moment

Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra
Christianity Today

A day after religious leaders released an open letter calling on California to protect religious liberty in higher education, the lawmaker behind a controversial bill dropped the proposal in question, allowing religious schools to keep exemptions to anti-discrimination laws related to sexuality.

Under state Senator Ricardo Lara’s amended bill, schools must “disclose if they have an exemption and report to the state when students are expelled for violating morality codes,” the Los Angeles Times reported.  “HUGE NEWS! Sponsor of #SB1146 is amending bill to keep exemptions in place,” tweeted Andrew Walker, director of policy studies at the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC). “#SB1146 is still bad, because it has the disclosure (public shaming) element, but this, for now, is good.”

“Sighs of relief and prayers of gratitude that California #SB1146 bill (restricting religious liberty of colleges) has been dropped,” tweeted National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) president Leith Anderson.

Earlier versions of Senate Bill 1146 would have prevented colleges that received state funds from enforcing codes of student conduct reflecting a college’s religious beliefs about sexual identity, including teaching that marriage is between a man and woman and limiting bathrooms to biological gender. Traditionally, California’s religious schools have received a religious exemption from non-discrimination laws. This bill would have limited it to students who were preparing for a religious career, such as ministry.

Daily Devotional

Put on the Brakes

TO HARVEY KARLSEN: On the remedies for sexual temptation—frequent and regular prayer and communions, monthly confession, avoiding discouragement, not exaggerating nor minimizing one’s sins, avoiding either trains of thought or social situations that lead to temptation, and applying the brakes, gently and quietly, while the danger is still a good way off.

C. S. Lewis

13 October 1961

Your letter did not reach me till to-day. Of course I have had and still have plenty of temptations. Frequent and regular prayer, and frequent and regular Communions, are a great help, whether they feel at the time as if they were doing you good or whether they don’t. I also found great help in monthly confession to a wise old clergyman.

Perhaps, however, the most important thing is to keep on: not to be discouraged however often one yields to the temptation, but always to pick yourself up again and ask forgiveness. In reviewing your sins don’t either exaggerate them or minimise them. Call them by their ordinary names and try to see them as you would see the same faults in somebody else—no special blackening or whitewashing. Remember the condition on which we are promised forgiveness: we shall always be forgiven provided that we forgive all who sin against us. If we do that we have nothing to fear: if we don’t, all else will be in vain.

Of course there are other helps which are more commonsense. We must learn by experience to avoid either trains of thought or social situations which for us (not necessarily for everyone) lead to temptations. Like motoring—don’t wait till the last moment before you put on the brakes but put them on, gently and quietly, while the danger is still a good way off. I would write at more length, but I am ill. God bless you.


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.

Androgynous Drones: Sweden's Inhumanity to Man, Part II

Going Solo

In the nineteen sixties, the Swedish regime decided that it would move rapidly to create the New Model Man, Sweden style.  It sought to achieve a rebuilding of society upon Marxist lines, without resorting to Mao's dictum that power grows out of the barrel of a gun.  Its new society was to be accomplished indirectly, by making each citizen depend more and more on the State and its regimes.

One critical objective was to deconstruct and dismantle the institution of the family.  In this grand endeavour, Sweden's regime has been remarkably successful.  The regime's first target was the push women into the workforce--a goal which was achieved by taxation policies that made it far more profitable to have women leave homes and enter the work force.  The regime also punished employers who would not co-operate in meeting hiring quotas for females by predatory fines.  Today, 91 percent of Swedish women between 25 and 54 are employed in the work force.  Behold the New Model Androgynous Humanity.

The Swedish state opened up an additional front.  It systematically began to remove any special distinction or status attached to marriage and family.  The objective was to make marriage and family a minority lifestyle--a vestige of a former faded primitive time.

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Flickering Sparks

Decline in UK Christianity 'Halts'

Sun 07 Aug 2016
By Antony Bushfield
Premier

The decline in the number of people calling themselves Christians has halted, new figures suggest.  A small increase in the percentage of Brits who classify themselves as followers of Christ has been found in the British Social Attitudes Survey.

The report, which is published every year, has not been official released but the Sunday Telegraph has reported some of its findings.  The amount of Brits who say they are Christian has increase in the past year from 42 per cent to 43 per cent, it says.  Such a small change is within the margin of error in surveys but if it is to be believed it shows a decade long decline in Christianity has levelled off.

Most of the increase in Christian numbers appears to have come from the 'nones' category, which includes people who had no faith. The number choosing that option fell from 49 per cent to 48 per cent.

Figures in the survey also suggest the number of young people with no belief is falling. Last year 65 per cent of under 25s identified themselves as not having a religion. Now it is 62 per cent.  The number of people saying they are Christian is now back at the same level it was in the survey seven years ago.

Daily Devotional

Fixed Bounds of Tribulation

"This sickness is not unto death."  John 11:4

Charles H. Spurgeon

From our Lord's words we learn that there is a limit to sickness. Here is an "unto" within which its ultimate end is restrained, and beyond which it cannot go. Lazarus might pass through death, but death was not to be the ultimatum of his sickness. In all sickness, the Lord saith to the waves of pain, "Hitherto shall ye go, but no further." His fixed purpose is not the destruction, but the instruction of his people. Wisdom hangs up the thermometer at the furnace mouth, and regulates the heat.

1. The limit is encouragingly comprehensive. The God of providence has limited the time, manner, intensity, repetition, and effects of all our sicknesses; each throb is decreed, each sleepless hour predestinated, each relapse ordained, each depression of spirit foreknown, and each sanctifying result eternally purposed. Nothing great or small escapes the ordaining hand of him who numbers the hairs of our head.

2. This limit is wisely adjusted to our strength, to the end designed, and to the grace apportioned. Affliction comes not at haphazard--the weight of every stroke of the rod is accurately measured. He who made no mistakes in balancing the clouds and meting out the heavens, commits no errors in measuring out the ingredients which compose the medicine of souls. We cannot suffer too much nor be relieved too late.

3. The limit is tenderly appointed. The knife of the heavenly Surgeon never cuts deeper than is absolutely necessary. "He doth not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men." A mother's heart cries, "Spare my child;" but no mother is more compassionate than our gracious God. When we consider how hard-mouthed we are, it is a wonder that we are not driven with a sharper bit. The thought is full of consolation, that he who has fixed the bounds of our habitation, has also fixed the bounds of our tribulation.

How Is Greece These Days?

The Sick Man of the West

Little over a year ago, Greece was in the news daily.  It was facing a severe economic crisis.  Having borrowed heavily to sustain a national lifestyle to which it was not entitled, the country was unable to meet its interest and capital repayments.  Greece's membership in the European Union was the fundamental cause of the problem.  It had been able to borrow vast amounts of money using the credit worthiness of much stronger European countries (such as Germany) since the EU (once Greece became a member)  now implicitly guaranteed Greece's loans.  Suddenly Greek debt became as "safe" an investment as lending to the German or the UK governments.

So Greece had been on a borrowing splurge.  But it could not pay the loans back, or even service them.  It turned once again to the EU to provide more funding, more borrowing.  The EU finally caved in, and turned on the money spigots once again, in exchange for more draconian financial disciplines.  Greece tightened its belt and groaned.

The emergency borrowing had the effect of kicking the can down the road until another day dawned.  We hear little these days of Greece and its fortunes.  But a recent article in the Guardian reminds us that the piper is still waiting to be paid.  Greece is going to come back to its EU masters in even worse shape.  When it does, it will become apparent that the UK did the smartest thing in a century when it voted in favour of Brexit.

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

The Inglorious Ignominy of Multi-Culti

Is Britain Finally Waking Up?

James Delingpole
Breitbart London

If ever you’ve worried that parts of Britain now resemble some hideously corrupt, Third World Islamic basket case hell hole then you’re going to love Sir Eric Pickles’s gloriously robust report on electoral fraud.

His target, it’s clear, isn’t just the Muslim communities in places like London’s Tower Hamlets (and Birmingham and many Northern towns) which have imported to Britain the kind of political skullduggery and malpractice routine on the Indian subcontinent. More broadly what Pickles is attacking is the bankrupt philosophy of Multiculturalism and the entrenched, institutional political correctness that have made it all possible.

Consider, for example, this passage on the use of “foreign languages” at polling stations:
The languages spoken in polling stations (and other places such as the count) has recently become an issue with concerns that promoting the use of non-English languages could disguise coercion or influence within the polling station. This has not been helped by the Electoral Commission facilitating what it calls “community languages”. Such an approach undermines integration and leaves the door open to fraud. These are not ‘community languages’ – they are foreign languages.
Here is a bloody-minded Yorkshireman being about as blunt as you possibly can in an official report. The reason Muslim communities get away with flouting and corrupting British values, he is saying, is because the relevant authorities are turning a blind eye.

In this instance, he is referring to the practice of “booth capturing”, explained here for Breitbart last year by Jonathan Foreman.
Few people in the UK have heard of “Booth-Capturing”. In India and across South Asia it is a political phenomenon that is all too familiar. It is one of the most visible and outrageous illegal methods that are used to undermine democratic elections in the region.

Essentially, thugs working on behalf of a political party physically take over polling stations and use the threat of violence to prevent supporters of opposing parties from voting. (It helps that many parties have youth wings whose real purpose is the supply of necessary muscle).
Of course, these thugs speak in languages like Urdu and Bengali in order to make it harder for English speaking authorities – mainly the police – to prove that voters are being intimidated.

The obvious solution to this is to do what the Pickles report suggests and insist that from now on only English (or for historical reasons, Welsh) can be spoken at polling stations. Why, given the scale of the problem, hadn’t the Electoral Commission already suggested and instituted this?

Daily Devotional

The Diabolical and Animal Selves

C. S. Lewis

If anyone thinks that Christians regard unchastity as the supreme vice, he is quite wrong. The sins of the flesh are bad, but they are the least bad of all sins. All the worst pleasures are purely spiritual: the pleasure of putting other people in the wrong, of bossing and patronising and spoiling sport, and back-biting, the pleasures of power, of hatred. For there are two things inside me, competing with the human self which I must try to become. They are the Animal self, and the Diabolical self. The Diabolical self is the worse of the two. That is why a cold, self-righteous prig who goes regularly to church may be far nearer to hell than a prostitute. But, of course, it is better to be neither.

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.

Androgynous Drones: Sweden's Inhumanity to Man, Part I

Forced Labour By Whip and Bribe

Sweden is a magnet for rape and rapists.  Why?  Because it is a society where the family has been systematically weakened and even destroyed by purposeful design.  By intent, the State has replaced the family.  All sorts of unintended, disastrous consequences have followed and will follow.  One is that Sweden has the highest rate of rape in Europe--in fact, the highest rate of all Western nations.

Whilst the nation had toyed with the ideas of achieving a similar destruction of the family as was occurring in Soviet Russia, Sweden did not get serious until the 1960's.  The objective was to create a truly Marxist society where both men and women were measured and treated primarily as economic entities, as units of labour.  This meant that women needed to get out of the home and away from caring for children, and needed to be put to work in paid employment.  This, in turn, could only be accomplished by policies which deconstructed the family.  Angelo Codevilla takes up the story:
The centrepiece of the government's effort was to push and pull women out of the home into the labor market.  The push came from Sweden's steeply progressive income tax.

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow

A Vast Aquifer of Corruption

Douglas Wilson
Blog&Mablog

INTRODUCTION:

Rachel Held Evans has recently argued that a vote for Hillary Clinton is not inconsistent with a pro-life ethic. There are any number of confusions involved in how she presents the case, but I am going to try to limit myself to addressing just three of them.Hillary

I want to limit what I say to those things which are relevant to the pro-life issue, but without intimating that the other issues surrounding the Clintons are unimportant. The Clinton metropolis was built in its particular location deliberately, with nothing accidental about it. Thinking ahead, they built the whole thing on top of a vast aquifer of corruption. The people living there are not going to run out of brown water for hundreds of years. I say this simply to set the stage.

IS HUMANISM PRO-LIFE?

I actually am grateful that RHE is pro-life, but she has been so compromised by her other commitments that her pro-life understanding has gotten pretty anemic. When you combine the following language with the fact that she is supporting the candidacy of Hillary Clinton, one of the most ardent defenders of abortion to be found anywhere, I trust you understand that what we are dealing with is kind of pro-lifey, but is not really pro-life. The emphasis is mine.
“Or, put another way, as a Christian, I believe the sacred personhood of an individual begins before birth and continues throughout life, and I believe that sacred personhood is worth protecting, whether it’s tucked inside a womb, waiting on death row, fleeing Syria in search of a home, or playing beneath the shadow of an American drone.”
Worth protecting. What does that mean?

Daily Devotional

My Soul Thirsts for God

As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God? (Psalm 42:1–2)

John Piper

What makes this so beautiful and so crucial for us is that the Psalmist is not thirsting mainly for relief from his threatening circumstances. He is not thirsting mainly for escape from his enemies or for their destruction.

It’s not wrong to want relief and to pray for it. It is sometimes right to pray for the defeat of enemies. But more important than any of that is God himself.

When we think and feel with God in the Psalms, this is the main result: We come to love God, and we want to see God and be with God and be satisfied in admiring and exulting in God.

A likely translation of the end of verse 2 is: “When will I come and see the face of God?” The final answer to that question was given in John 14:9 and 2 Corinthians 4:4. Jesus said, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.” And Paul said that when we are converted to Christ we see “the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”

When we see the face of Christ, we see the face of God. And we see the glory of his face when we hear the story of the gospel of his death and resurrection. It is “the gospel of the glory of Christ who is the image of God.”

May the Lord increase your hunger and your thirst to see the face of God. And may he grant your desire through the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.