Friday, 18 August 2017

The Fall and Rise of the Liberal Arts College

Out of the Ashes

Anthony Esolen in His Own Words: ‘Why I Left Providence College for Thomas More’

The acclaimed Catholic translator of Dante’s Divine Comedy shares with the National Catholic Register his reasons for leaving a tenured professorship to join the Thomas More College of the Liberal Arts.

Peter Jesserer Smith
NC Register

PROVIDENCE — Professor Anthony Esolen has thought deeply about the connections between excellence in literature and the cultural renewal of America. For a long time, he has fought a battle on the campus of Providence College, where he holds a tenure as an English professor, for a Catholic worldview that values cultural diversity anchored in truth and virtue, against a politically-inspired moral diversity that he believes homogenizes culture by celebrating mediocrity to the exclusion of Christian civilization’s wide patrimony of letters and learning.

In this interview with the National Catholic Register, Esolen explains in his own words why he decided to leave Providence College behind. The esteemed translator of The Divine Comedy, and recent author of Out of the Ashes: Restoring American Culture, will soon commence a new chapter at the Thomas More College of the Liberal Arts in Merrimack, New Hampshire, where he will have a hand in establishing its new Center for the Restoration of Catholic Culture.

Why are you leaving a tenured position as a literature professor at Providence College for a faculty position at the Thomas More College of Liberal Arts?

First, because Thomas More College is a sound and sweet and wise place that deserves the prayers, the attention, and the support, financial and otherwise, of every Catholic who wishes to see culture — the real thing, not its mass-produced counterfeit — restored in America; culture in general, and a vibrant Catholic life in particular. I came home recently from a day at Thomas More College, full of good cheer and energy, and for somebody who isn’t getting younger, those can take you a long way. They can add many years to your life as a teacher, whereas discouragement and disappointment lead to exhaustion.

Second, it is a great opportunity, because of the center for cultural renewal that the college has begun; it is as if they had read my mind, or I had read their minds, when I wrote my book, Out of the Ashes: Restoring American Culture.

Daily Meditation

Sparing An Hour to Walk

Isaac went out to meditate in the field at the eventide.   Genesis 24:63

Charles H. Spurgeon

Very admirable was his occupation. If those who spend so many hours in idle company, light reading, and useless pastimes, could learn wisdom, they would find more profitable society and more interesting engagements in meditation than in the vanities which now have such charms for them. We should all know more, live nearer to God, and grow in grace, if we were more alone. Meditation chews the cud and extracts the real nutriment from the mental food gathered elsewhere. When Jesus is the theme, meditation is sweet indeed. Isaac found Rebecca while engaged in private musings; many others have found their best beloved there.

Very admirable was the choice of place. In the field we have a study hung round with texts for thought. From the cedar to the hyssop, from the soaring eagle down to the chirping grasshopper, from the blue expanse of heaven to a drop of dew, all things are full of teaching, and when the eye is divinely opened, that teaching flashes upon the mind far more vividly than from written books. Our little rooms are neither so healthy, so suggestive, so agreeable, or so inspiring as the fields. Let us count nothing common or unclean, but feel that all created things point to their Maker, and the field will at once be hallowed.

Very admirable was the season. The season of sunset as it draws a veil over the day, befits that repose of the soul when earthborn cares yield to the joys of heavenly communion. The glory of the setting sun excites our wonder, and the solemnity of approaching night awakens our awe. If the business of this day will permit it, it will be well, dear reader, if you can spare an hour to walk in the field at eventide, but if not, the Lord is in the town too, and will meet with thee in thy chamber or in the crowded street. Let thy heart go forth to meet him.

Two Roads

Self-Made Saints

Every society believes in the existence of evil.  Every society has a code of right and wrong, good and evil--however different the codes and lists may be.  Where, then, does evil come from?  What are its origins and causes?

There are only two basic positions given in answer to this question:  the first argues that evil is resident in every human being and that unless it is restrained or checked, it will break forth in word, thought, and action.  The second world-view is that every human being is born morally good and pure: corruption comes from the "outside"--society, others, socio-economic conditions.  We well recall serving on a jury in which a child had given evidence.  Some members of the jury argued vehemently that of course the child told the pure, unvarnished truth because children are pure and uncorrupted and without sin.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau was of this persuasion.  He was very sure that, at least as far as he was concerned, his heart was free from any and all evil.  He said he felt that man is naturally good.  But, whatever others may thing or do, he was certain that he was morally and ethically pure.  He felt it was accurate to claim of himself that he was "on the whole the best of men".

Where, then, does evil come from?  It is at this juncture that Rousseau becomes a most notorious false prophet:  evil, he insists, has come into his life from the outside.  It comes from other men.

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Lies, Damned Lies, and Climate Change

Climate Change Report The Fakest of Fake News

James Delingpole, via BreitbartLondon

Scientists behind a bombshell new report revealing global warming to be worse than ever are now worried that the Trump administration may try to change or suppress it because it contradicts the president’s denialist agenda.”

Or so the New York Times has claimed. And also, in its wake, papers including the London Evening Standard and the Guardian.
This is worse than mere #fakenews.
This is #fakenews with icing and cherries on top, rings on its fingers, bells on its toes, a specially commissioned foreword by Al Gore and a rave review (“I love these lies. I could not have written better ones myself”) written from hell by the tormented shade of Josef Goebbels.
No, actually, it might even be worse than that.

Daily Meditation

Using Time As a Weapon

Screwtape strategizes with Wormwood On How to Combat Christians Walking In Communion With God

C. S. Lewis

I had noticed, of course, that the humans were having a lull in their European war—what they na├»vely call ‘The War’!—and am not surprised that there is a corresponding lull in the patient’s anxieties. Do we want to encourage this, or to keep him worried? Tortured fear and stupid confidence are both desirable states of mind. Our choice between them raises important questions.

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.

From The Screwtape Letters
Compiled in A Year with C.S. Lewis 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. 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.

Hectoring From a Very High Horse

No Longer a Puff-Piece in a Women's Mag

Oh, my!  That did not take long.  Jacinda Ardern, pop politician, leader of the New Zealand Labour Party for all of twenty one days, and a much salivated-over media creation, just hit the wall.  One gets a sinking feeling.  

She is trying desperately to project maturity, gravitas, decisiveness, and strength.  Sadly, she has come across as school marmish, which is entirely at odds with the persona the media have helped her build and craft over the past three years.  She suddenly has morphed into "Lecturer-at-large".  What happened to the commitment to "relentless positivity"?  It lasted five minutes, then hit the wall.

How on earth did the brand new leader of the Labour Party manage to provoke the Australian Government into scarcely concealed fury?  It all came about because of the idiocy of one of her senior MP's.  Chris Hipkins apparently conspired with the Australian Labour Party in an attempt to bring down the Australian Government.  He used the NZ Parliament to conduct his machinations.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Authorities are Back On the Job

Another UK Rapist Gang Busted

Lliam Deacon
Breitbart London

Seventeen South Asian men and one Caucasian woman have been convicted of involvement in a mostly Muslim sex grooming gang operating in Newcastle, in the largest case of its kind since Rotherham and Rochdale.

The gang was found guilty of nearly 100 offences, including the rape and human trafficking of vulnerable women and girls. They preyed upon teenage girls with drugs and alcohol at sex parties known as “sessions”, Chronicle Live reports. . . .

The victims were aged between 14 and 22 years old. They were passed around by their abusers and were sometimes said to be too intoxicated to even know what was happening to them.  One victim said she had been to 60 such “sessions”, the BBC reports. She spoke of seeing two older men at one of them with a woman who seemed “frightened and scared, like a slave”.  Jim Hope, from the Crown Prosecution Service, said: “These men systematically groomed and abused vulnerable teenage girls and young women over a number of years for their own sexual gratification.”

The police dubbed the investigation ‘Operation Shelter’, which formed part of the even larger ‘Operation Sanctuary’ into sexual exploitation in the North East.

Daily Meditation

Continuing To Do the Ordinary Things

TO EDWARD LOFSTROM: On what Lewis attempted in the Chronicles of Narnia; on the character of the man Jesus—his tenderness, ferocity, and even humor; and on the need to do one’s duty while having patience with God.


16 January 1959

1. I am afraid I don’t know the answer to your question about books of Christian instruction for children. Most of those I have seen—but I haven’t seen many—seem to me namby-pamby and ‘sissie’ and calculated to nauseate any child worth his salt. Of course I have tried to do what I can for children—in a mythical and fantastic form by my seven ‘Narnian’ fairy tales. They work well with some children but not with others. Sorry this looks like salesmanship: but honestly if I knew anything else I’d mention it.

2. Of course. ‘Gentle Jesus’, my elbow! The most striking thing about Our Lord is the union of great ferocity with extreme tenderness. (Remember Pascal? ‘I do not admire the extreme of one virtue unless you show me at the same time the extreme of the opposite virtue. One shows one’s greatness not by being at an extremity but by being simultaneously at two extremities and filling all the space between.’)

Add to this that He is also a supreme ironist, dialectician, and (occasionally) humourist. So go on! You are on the right track now: getting to the real Man behind all the plaster dolls that have been substituted for Him. This is the appearance in Human form of the God who made the Tiger and the Lamb, the avalanche and the rose. He’ll frighten and puzzle you: but the real Christ can be loved and admired as the doll can’t.

3. ‘For him who is haunted by the smell of invisible roses the cure is work’ (MacDonald). If we feel we have talents that don’t find expression in our ordinary duties and recreations, I think we must just go on doing the ordinary things as well as we can. If God wants to use these suspected talents, He will: in His own time and way. At all costs one must keep clear of all the witchdoctors and their patent cures—as you say yourself.

Long May It Ride

A Hangover from Karl Marx 

The union movement is an antediluvian relic--at least in New Zealand.  The movement was decimated when compulsory membership was removed from the statute books.  The system used to be that if you worked in certain industries, you had to be a union member.  Now the unions had lots of rationalisations for such an undemocratic, oppressive system.  There were mumblings about "equalizing" the disproportionately weak powers of the employee class versus the capitalist class that did the employing.

But all of these arguments amounted to one thing: the unions knew that they did not have sufficient popular support amongst the "working classes", or the proletariat (to use a Marxist term).  To survive, the union leadership knew the proletariat required to be forced to become union members.  When union membership became voluntary in 1991, with the passing of the Employment Contracts Act, union ranks depleted more rapidly than an melting ice-cream at high noon in the summer equinox.

But the unions, whilst greatly diminished, clung on.  They have sought to return to the "old glory days" of compulsion.  They have tried to push their case--not with workers and employees as one would expect--but with the Labour Party.  But even within that relic of a bygone era they could not find sufficient support.  They had to queer the pitch, so to speak.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Biological Determinism, Not A Matter of Choice

Gender Fluidity A False Construct

Why Are Lesbian Teens Having Two To Seven Times As Many Babies As Their Heterosexual Peers?  The surprising statistic suggests that for many, LGBTQ sexual orientation is not a fixed identity, but rather something that fluctuates.

Glenn T. Stanton
The Federalist

One thing you would think lesbians wouldn’t have to deal with is pregnancy. Seems like a solid assumption, right? Not so much.

Remarkably, research shows teen who identify as lesbian have significantly higher pregnancy rates than their heterosexual peers. I know what you’re thinking, but it’s true. It’s also true for teen gay males: they are substantially more likely to impregnate their sexual partners than are heterosexual males. The dramatic disparities are explained in these graphs from the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Numerous studies across many nations find that sexual-minority youth aged 14 to 19 have pregnancy rates two to seven times greater than their heterosexual peers. And their pregnancy rates continue to rise at a time when the overall teen pregnancy rate is declining in the United States.

Daily Meditation

The End of the Gospel

Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. (Romans 5:9-11)

John Piper

What do we need to be saved from? Verse 9 states it clearly: the wrath of God. But is that the highest, best, fullest, most satisfying prize of the gospel?  No. Verse 10 says "much more . . . shall we be saved by his life." Then verse 11 takes it to the end when it says, “more than that, we also rejoice in God.”

That is the final and highest good of the good news. There is not another “more than that” after that. There is only Paul’s saying how we got there, “through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.”

The end of the gospel is “we rejoice in God.” The highest, fullest, deepest, sweetest good of the gospel is God himself, enjoyed by his redeemed people.  God in Christ became the price (Romans 5:6–8), and God in Christ became the prize (Romans 5:11).  The gospel is the good news that God bought for us the everlasting enjoyment of God.

Desperate Times, Desperate Measures

Some Progress, Some Major Risks

The NZ National Party has come out with some interesting proposals on tackling teenage crime.  Justice Minister, Amy Adams made some announcements on the subject which will become part of the Government's strategy, if National is able to form a centre-right government post-election.

Due to the breakdown of the family as a cohesive social unit--a phenomenon long in the gestation--we now have marauding gangs of youth systematically working through communities seeking whom or what they can devour.  Most are too young to be convicted of crime and are dealt with by the proverbial wet bus ticket.  This is understandable insofar as what these juvenile offenders need is effective parenting.  And here lies the problem.  The State, irregardless of what many now fervently believe, is persistently incompetent when it comes to parenting.  Being placed in "state care" is an oxymoron.

We are told that there are a hardened group of juvenile defenders who are well known to the authorities.  They are not a large group, but they account for a good deal of the crime in our cities.  The state wants to do more than pulling the wet bus ticket out of its pocket.

Here is what Adams is proposing:

Monday, 14 August 2017

John Milton Spoke True Words

"Usually He'd Receive An Elbow . . . "  But Not Tonight

Anonymous Author
Courtesy of NZ Herald

The wife of an AOS officer involved in a recent call out to an isolated rural house where two women had been brutally murdered has spoken out.  She, of course, in this case is the "other half" .  Her account reminds us of the old adage, penned by John Milton, "They also serve who only stand and wait".

An open letter to the public of New Zealand
The next time you sit behind your keyboards and decide to s*** on our Police Force, spare a thought for who is reading your thoughtless speculation and comments.

Today my husband braved an unpredictable gunman. Along with his colleagues, they were the first responders who ran in to attempt life saving support for two beautiful women, all the while very aware they were being watched and most likely about to be targeted themselves; a situation that would have most people in flight mode. Tragically those ladies never made it home to their loved ones despite EVERY effort and determination on behalf of our emergency services.

Don't be mistaken, they love their job with every fibre of their being and would chose this over and over again. They don't ask for recognition, they certainly don't expect a thank-you, and you can rest assured that if the need arose, they would give their life for yours, every time, just as they swore they would.

What people fail to forget are those men (and women) dressed in black (and blue) from head to toe, are regular people. They have partners sitting at home refreshing every media source possible for updates. Often the first we hear of our men being at a job is via the internet.

Daily Meditation

The Work is All Done: The Application is Sure

The Son of Man hath power on earth to forgive sins.  Matthew 9:6

Charles H. Spurgeon

Behold one of the great Physician's mightiest arts: he has power to forgive sin! While here he lived below, before the ransom had been paid, before the blood had been literally sprinkled on the mercy-seat, he had power to forgive sin. Hath he not power to do it now that he hath died? What power must dwell in him who to the utmost farthing has faithfully discharged the debts of his people! He has boundless power now that he has finished transgression and made an end of sin.

If ye doubt it, see him rising from the dead! behold him in ascending splendour raised to the right hand of God! Hear him pleading before the eternal Father, pointing to his wounds, urging the merit of his sacred passion! What power to forgive is here! "He hath ascended on high, and received gifts for men." "He is exalted on high to give repentance and remission of sins." The most crimson sins are removed by the crimson of his blood.

At this moment, dear reader, whatever thy sinfulness, Christ has power to pardon, power to pardon thee, and millions such as thou art. A word will speak it. He has nothing more to do to win thy pardon; all the atoning work is done. He can, in answer to thy tears, forgive thy sins today, and make thee know it. He can breathe into thy soul at this very moment a peace with God which passeth all understanding, which shall spring from perfect remission of thy manifold iniquities. Dost thou believe that? I trust thou believest it. Mayst thou experience now the power of Jesus to forgive sin!

Waste no time in applying to the Physician of souls, but hasten to him with words like these:--

"Jesus! Master! hear my cry;
Save me, heal me with a word;
Fainting at thy feet I lie,
Thou my whisper'd plaint hast heard."

False Prophets Abound

Squawks of Malarkey

Readers of the Bible are well aware that the history of God's people is cursed at times with false prophets.  These were "gentlemen" who told the king or the political authorities what they wanted to hear.  Therefore, it's not unexpected that in our day false prophets claiming to speak in the name of God would arise, endeavouring to lead the faithful astray.

We are now told that Hillary Clinton wants to become a preacher--according to an article in The Atlantic.
Hillary Clinton wants to preach. That’s what she told Bill Shillady, her longtime pastor, at a recent photo shoot for his new book about the daily devotionals he sent her during the 2016 campaign. Scattered bits of reporting suggest that ministry has always been a secret dream of the two-time presidential candidate: Last fall, the former Newsweek editor Kenneth Woodward revealed that Clinton told him in 1994 that she thought “all the time” about becoming an ordained Methodist minister. She asked him not to write about it, though: “It will make me seem much too pious.” The incident perfectly captures Clinton’s long campaign to modulate—and sometimes obscure—expressions of her faith.
 What are we to make of this?

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Just Warfare?

Don’t Whitewash the Hiroshima Bombing

It reveals a dangerous strain of vengeance in U.S. foreign policy.

Peter Van Buren
The American Conservative

Ruins of the Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall on August 6, 1945.  Everett Historical / Shutterstock
August 6 usually doesn’t make headlines in America. But mark the day by what absence demonstrates: On the 72nd anniversary of the nuclear destruction of Hiroshima and some 140,000 non-combatants, there is no call for reflection in the United States.

In an era when pundits routinely worry about America’s loss of moral standing because of an offish, ill-mannered president, the only nation in history to employ a weapon of mass destruction on an epic scale, against an undefended civilian population, otherwise shrugs off the significance of an act of immorality.

But it is August 6, and so let us talk about Hiroshima.

Beyond the destruction lies the myth of the atomic bombings, the post-war creation of a mass memory of things that did not happen. This myth has become the underpinning of American war policy ever since, and carries forward the horrors of Hiroshima as generations of the August 6 anniversary pass.

Daily Meditation

Harvest Time

Let the whole earth be filled with his glory; Amen, and Amen.  Psalm 72:19

Charles H. Spurgeon

This is a large petition. To intercede for a whole city needs a stretch of faith, and there are times when a prayer for one man is enough to stagger us. But how far-reaching was the psalmist's dying intercession! How comprehensive! How sublime! "Let the whole earth be filled with his glory."

It doth not exempt a single country however crushed by the foot of superstition; it doth not exclude a single nation however barbarous. For the cannibal as well as for the civilized, for all climes and races this prayer is uttered: the whole circle of the earth it encompasses, and omits no son of Adam. We must be up and doing for our Master, or we cannot honestly offer such a prayer. The petition is not asked with a sincere heart unless we endeavour, as God shall help us, to extend the kingdom of our Master.

Are there not some who neglect both to plead and to labour? Reader, is it your prayer? Turn your eyes to Calvary. Behold the Lord of Life nailed to a cross, with the thorn-crown about his brow, with bleeding head, and hands, and feet. What! can you look upon this miracle of miracles, the death of the Son of God, without feeling within your bosom a marvellous adoration that language never can express? And when you feel the blood applied to your conscience, and know that he has blotted out your sins, you are not a man unless you start from your knees and cry, "Let the whole earth be filled with his glory; Amen, and Amen."

Can you bow before the Crucified in loving homage, and not wish to see your Monarch master of the world? Out on you if you can pretend to love your Prince, and desire not to see him the universal ruler. Your piety is worthless unless it leads you to wish that the same mercy which has been extended to you may bless the whole world. Lord, it is harvest-time: put in thy sickle and reap.

Trump's Achilles Heel

Pride and Vainglory

We find ourselves uneasy with the sight and sound of the President of the United States matching Kim Jong-un bluster for bluster.  It is not just that it is unseemly.  It is rather that such behaviour undermines the threat Trump is delivering.  It can be seen  far too easily as braggadocio and empty boasting, designed to augment Trump as a showman, a role-playing announcer at a pro-wrestling match, or the mouthing of a cheap Grade D actor.

Ironically, that's precisely the way Kim Jong-un comes across.  By trading blusters, Trump has descended into the ring of puerility.  But it is not just the optics.  Rather, when braggadocio enters the ring, cool-headed calmness coupled with relentless execution evaporates.  The showdown can deteriorate into pride and vainglory so very easily.  When the schoolyard bully (Trump) is called out by a vainglorious idiot (Kim Jong-un) what then?

Friday, 11 August 2017

"Thy Kingdom Come"

Reformation 500 for the Chinese Church

Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra
The Gospel Coalition

Wenhong didn’t think anything of it; everyone got baptized in the dark in China in the 1980s.
She had come to Christ two years before, after secret Bible studies with her English teacher from America. When Wenhong attempted to connect with the one other Chinese Christian she knew—a high school teacher—she was immediately shut down. (“She said, ‘How do you know? Let’s be quiet. Don’t say anything about it,’” Wenhong recalls. “She was so scared.”)
Wenhong’s father told her that if she talked about God, he’d kick her out of the house. So she quietly hid her Bible under her pillow and read once everyone else fell asleep.  After college, she moved to the city of Guangzhou to be near her American boyfriend (now her husband of 28 years), and he connected her with an international church. She told them she wanted to be baptized.
“On a cold November night, at 8 p.m., we were supposed to meet in the parking lot outside of a prearranged hotel, and then get on a van, and they would drive us all the way outside of the city and baptize us in the reservoir,” she said. “But we didn’t know anything different. I thought everyone was baptized like that.”
Wenhong remembers house-church meetings in living rooms, with the curtains pulled tight.

Daily Meditation

10 Things “Yahweh” Means

God also said to Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘The LORD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations.” (Exodus 3:15)

John Piper

God’s name is almost always translated LORD (all caps) in the English Bible. But the Hebrew would be pronounced something like "Yahweh," and is built on the word for "I am."

So every time we hear the word Yahweh, or every time you see LORD in the English Bible, you should think: this is a proper name (like Peter or John) built out of the word for “I am” and reminding us each time that God absolutely is.

There are at least 10 things the name Yahweh, “I AM,” says about God:

1. He never had a beginning. Every child asks, “Who made God?” And every wise parent says, “Nobody made God. God simply is. And always was. No beginning.”

2. God will never end. If he did not come into being he cannot go out of being, because he is being.

3. God is absolute reality. There is no reality before him. There is no reality outside of him unless he wills it and makes it. He is all that was eternally. No space, no universe, no emptiness. Only God.

4. God is utterly independent. He depends on nothing to bring him into being or support him or counsel him or make him what he is.

5. Everything that is not God depends totally on God. The entire universe is utterly secondary. It came into being by God and stays in being moment by moment on God's decision to keep it in being.

6. All the universe is by comparison to God as nothing. Contingent, dependent reality is to absolute, independent reality as a shadow to substance. As an echo to a thunderclap. All that we are amazed by in the world and in the galaxies, is, compared to God, as nothing.

7. God is constant. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He cannot be improved. He is not becoming anything. He is who he is.

8. God is the absolute standard of truth and goodness and beauty. There is no law-book to which he looks to know what is right. No almanac to establish facts. No guild to determine what is excellent or beautiful. He himself is the standard of what is right, what is true, what is beautiful.

9. God does whatever he pleases and it is always right and always beautiful and always in accord with truth. All reality that is outside of him he created and designed and governs as the absolute reality. So he is utterly free from any constraints that don't originate from the counsel of his own will.

10. God is the most important and most valuable reality and person in the universe. He is more worthy of interest and attention and admiration and enjoyment than all other realities, including the entire universe.

Practiced Deceit All Around

The Webs We Weave

So Greens co-leader, Metiria Turei has resigned.  For days she has insisted that she would not resign, despite many calling on her to do so.  But suddenly, out of the blue, she did indeed resign.  She got into a vehicle somewhere in Wellington insisting that she would not resign, took a short trip, and by the time she emerged from the car, she had decided to resign and leave Parliament.

What gestalt hit her during that trip?  What caused the change of mind?  The only credible explanation thus far has come from John Campbell, at Checkpoint.  For well over a week, Turei had been using her family (effectively her sole--now grown up--child) as the indirect cause of her lying to the welfare authorities.  She hid income, so as to extract more money from the state's welfare authorities, in order to support her needy child.  Turei was working her way through lawschool.  She has strenuously defended her duplicity and deceit over her actual financial circumstances at the time.  She has not resiled from her actions and instead claimed a rectitude borne out of necessity.  The sanctimony has been somewhat nauseating.

Whilst Turei was travelling in her vehicle she received a call from John Campbell informing her that he (and the Checkpoint programme) had been contacted by some of her extended family members.  Here is the statement Campbell has released to the media (reprinted from Kiwiblog):

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow (About The Rebellion Against Nature)

A Surgical Rape of Nature

Douglas Wilson

Over the years I have expressed in various ways my great debt to The Abolition of Man. This book was published as a non-fiction companion to my favorite novel, which is That Hideous Strength. Every year that goes by simply reinforces Lewis’s prescience.

In this post, I want to summarize The Abolition of Man in a paragraph, then take issue with a passing reference that Lewis makes near the end of his argument, and then go on to make some observations about Lewis’s profound insight into the precise nature of the modern rebellion.

Lewis begins with the modern effort to debunk statements of value, showing that this debunking spirit is a universal corrosive. It will eat out any container you try to store it in. He shows how our brand of relativism is arbitrary and capricious, tending to select one aspect of traditional morality, and absolutizing it randomly over against the rest. The result of this rejection of the Tao is something that Lewis calls “men without chests.” They have no fixed system of value and so it is that they are adrift in a blind and stupid cosmos.

Now at the same time we are embracing an inchoate hot mess as an ethical system, we are simultaneously making tremendous advances in the technocratic sciences, such that more and more of nature is coming under our authority.

Daily Meditation

Love and Marriage, Horse and Carriage

C.S. Lewis

If the old fairy-tale ending ‘They lived happily ever after’ is taken to mean ‘They felt for the next fifty years exactly as they felt the day before they were married’, then it says what probably never was nor ever would be true, and would be highly undesirable if it were. Who could bear to live in that excitement for even five years? What would become of your work, your appetite, your sleep, your friendships?

But, of course, ceasing to be ‘in love’ need not mean ceasing to love. Love in this second sense—love as distinct from ‘being in love’—is not merely a feeling. It is a deep unity, maintained by the will and deliberately strengthened by habit; reinforced by (in Christian marriages) the grace which both partners ask, and receive, from God.

They can have this love for each other even at those moments when they do not like each other; as you love yourself even when you do not like yourself. They can retain this love even when each would easily, if they allowed themselves, be ‘in love’ with someone else. ‘Being in love’ first moved them to promise fidelity: this quieter love enables them to keep the promise. It is on this love that the engine of marriage is run: being in love was the explosion that started it.

From Mere Christianity
Compiled in A Year with C.S. Lewis 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 Death of Slavery in the Death of Christ

Only Christ Can Keep Slavery Dead

One of the most intriguing things in the history of the Church is how slavery was washed out of European culture--and did not gain entrance again until the eighteenth century.  It was one of the great downstream effects of the Gospel upon the Roman Empire.  Slavery, we recall, was up front and centre in the culture of that Empire.

Yet there is no direct denunciation of slavery in the New Testament corpus.  There were no prohibitions issued.  It's as if in the West no public condemnations of  cigarette smoking were ever issued, but somehow the entire practice disappeared over half a millennium.  Sarah Ruden writes:
. . . the early Christian church, without staging any actual campaign against slavery, in the course of the centuries weakened it until it all but disappeared from Europe.  Slavery was doomed simply because it jarred with Christian feeling--the same basic circumstance that doomed it in the modern West.  [Sarah Ruden,  Paul Among the People: The Apostle Reinterpreted and Reimagined In His Own Time (New York: Pantheon Books, 2010), p.168.]
It's rather hard to maintain the institution of slavery within the fellowship of a local Christian congregation where the slave may end up a ruling elder in the congregation and the slave-owner not.  It's rather hard to endorse and participate in the slave markets when you are sitting at table next day with slaves and serving them the elements of the Eucharist.

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

The More Things Change, The More They Stay the Same

Bored to Death

The Arctic Ocean is warming up, icebergs are growing scarcer and in some places the seals are finding the water too hot, according to a report to the Commerce Department yesterday from Consulate, at Bergen, Norway

Reports from fishermen, seal hunters and explorers all point to a radical change in climate conditions and hitherto unheard-of temperatures in the Arctic zone.  Exploration expeditions report that scarcely any ice has been met as far north as 81 degrees 29 minutes.

Soundings to a depth of 3,100 meters showed the gulf stream still very warm.  Great masses of ice have been replaced by moraines of earth and stones, the report continued, while at many points well known glaciers have entirely disappeared.

Very few seals and no white fish are found in the eastern Arctic, while vast shoals of herring and smelts which have never before ventured so far north, are being encountered in the old seal fishing grounds.  Within a few years it is predicted that due to the ice melt the sea will rise and make most coastal cities uninhabitable.

The above was from the Monthly Weather Review in November 1922

[Note: these predictions could have been taken out of any newspaper, or read on any news programme over the last decade and seemed entirely "up-to-date"--or "out-of-date" depending upon your perspective. But at least back then they did not have to put up with Doomsday Prophet, Al Gore or the apocalyptic media frenzy of our day. Ed.]

Daily Meditation


C. S. Lewis

The idea that ‘being in love’ is the only reason for remaining married really leaves no room for marriage as a contract or promise at all. If love is the whole thing, then the promise can add nothing; and if it adds nothing, then it should not be made. The curious thing is that lovers themselves, while they remain really in love, know this better than those who talk about love. As Chesterton pointed out, those who are in love have a natural inclination to bind themselves by promises. Love songs all over the world are full of vows of eternal constancy. The Christian law is not forcing upon the passion of love something which is foreign to that passion’s own nature: it is demanding that lovers should take seriously something which their passion of itself impels them to do.

And, of course, the promise, made when I am in love and because I am in love, to be true to the beloved as long as I live, commits me to being true even if I cease to be in love. A promise must be about things that I can do, about actions: no one can promise to go on feeling in a certain way. He might as well promise never to have a headache or always to feel hungry.

From Mere Christianity
Compiled in A Year with C.S. Lewis 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.

It Says It All

It's All A Matter of Semantics

The cartoon below says it all.

It highlights the deliberate semantic change that was made about seven years ago.  "Global warming" was out.  The propagandists insisted upon a new term: "Climate change".

John Stringer Cartoon
H/T Kiwiblog

The significance of the change in terminology?  The gnomes and marketers argued that the appellation "Global Warming" restricted commentary and "argument" to events or data which arguably could be traced to rising temperatures.  "Climate Change", on the other hand, could (and now does) refer to any iteration in the earth's climate--whether heating up or cooling down--whether inundated or experiencing drought .  So, every day we could have--and do have--a jeremiad.  Every other day we could be told that we were on the very edge of global calamity.

And so it has come to pass.  Not the calamities, mind you,  but the daily propaganda about imminent catastrophes.

But--and this is a huge "BUT"--it meant that claims about climate catastrophic outcomes could never be falsified.

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Deep Red on the Inside

Crisis Unprecedented for the Watermelon Party

Audrey Young
NZ Herald

It seemed too good to be true and it was.

The apparent solidarity behind Greens co-leader Metiria Turei masked bitter divisions, just like other parties have.  The sudden resignation of two MPs, Kennedy Graham and David Clendon, over Turei's handling of historic offending has lifted the lid on turmoil in the Greens.

The MPs gave her an ultimatum. They said they would quit unless she stepped down as co-leader; she didn't so they did.  The party establishment moved to contain the fall-out in the way that other parties do - to criticise the two rebel MPs as pretty useless and lazy, which is particularly unfair on Kennedy Graham who works his butt off in strange areas of international law.

That accounts for their joint statement sounding more like a judgment from The Hague.  But the telling line is the one that says "the timing by Metiria of her admissions, and her continuing justification of her actions, we see as incompatible with the standards of leadership of the Green Party."  It is the "continuing justification" of her actions that have caused so much division across the country, not the original offence.

Daily Meditation

Our Weakness Reveals His Worth

My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

John Piper

God’s design for suffering is that it magnifies Christ’s worth and power. This is grace, because the greatest joy of Christians is to see Christ magnified in our lives.

When Paul was told by the Lord Jesus that his “thorn in the flesh” would not be taken away, he supported Paul’s faith by explaining why. The Lord said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). God ordains that Paul be weak so that Christ might be seen as strong on Paul’s behalf.

If we feel and look self-sufficient, we will get the glory, not Christ. So Christ chooses the weak things of the world “so that no human being might boast in the presence of God” (1 Corinthians 1:29). And sometimes he makes seemingly strong people weaker, so that the divine power will be the more evident.

We know that Paul experienced this as grace because he rejoiced in it: “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:9–10).

Living by faith in God’s grace means being satisfied with all that God is for us in Jesus. Therefore faith will not shrink back from what reveals and magnifies all that God is for us in Jesus. That is what our own weakness and suffering does.

Oozing Slime

Green Rectitude

The Greens in New Zealand have always clothed themselves in layers of oozing sanctimony.  They have persuaded themselves that they are humanity's true and loyal friend.  They have sought to persuade us that they would never be captive to crudities like money or capitalists.  They have borne all the brickbats thrown at their madness and blindness to economic realities--and have done so as a badge of Green honour.  They, and they alone, are the pure defenders of Gaia, the Environment, the Cosmos, of Being Itself.  Ad nauseous etceteras.

But the Greens, it turns out, are just another radical left wing political party, seeking to win popularity by spending citizens' money left, right, and off centre.  They see themselves as the last-man-er-person-standing up for the destitute, the dishevelled, and the deprived.  They have the strongest sense of entitlement we have seen in a long, long time.  And they are going to make you pay.  Now their oozing green effluent is sprayed not upon Mother Gaia but upon Homeless Charlie.

The Greens are in a fight for their political lives and their primary objective is to take votes off Labour, the erstwhile socialist party, which exists primarily at the behest and beckoning of the unions.

Recent days have shown us just how impure and poisonous the Greens have become.  Its co-leader, Metiria Turei has behaved so badly that even the greenist Herald has called for her resignation from Parliament.  A recent editorial states: