Thursday, 22 March 2018

Daily Meditation

A Five-Point Summary of the Gospel

Christ also died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God. (1 Peter 3:18)

John Piper

Here’s a summary of the gospel to help you understand it and enjoy it!

1) God created us for his glory.

“Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth, everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory” (Isaiah 43:6–7). God made all of us in his own image so that we would image-forth, or reflect, his character and moral beauty.

2) Every human should live for God’s glory.

“Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). The way to live for the glory of God is to love him (Matthew 22:37), trust him (Romans 4:20), be thankful to him (Psalm 50:3) and obey him (Matthew 5:16). When we do these things we image-forth God’s glory.

3) We have all sinned and fallen short of God’s glory.

“All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). “Although they knew God they did not glorify him as God or give thanks to him . . . . but exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images” (Romans 1:21–23). None of us has loved or trusted or thanked or obeyed God as we ought.

4) We all deserve eternal punishment.

“The wages of sin is (eternal) death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23). Those who did not obey the Lord Jesus “shall suffer the punishment of eternal destruction and exclusion from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might” (1 Thessalonians 1:9). “They shall go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life" (Matthew 25:46).

5) In his great mercy, God sent forth his only Son Jesus Christ to provide for sinners the way of eternal life.

“God so loved the world that he gave his only son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us” (Galatians 3:13). “Christ also died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God" (1 Peter 3:18).

Education Far Too Important For the State to be Involved

State Incompetence Is Endemic

Charter schools are going to close in New Zealand because of an antediluvian ideology gripping the hearts and minds of the Government.  That ideology can be summarized by the following maxim: "the Government does it best."

New Zealand has been pretty much a socialist country ever since European settlement.  Historian Michael Bassett characterised our dominant national ideology as "Socialism Without Doctrines".  He meant by this that New Zealand has always been a pragmatic nation.  "If it works, it's good" has been the idea.  A corollary sits right alongside this naive pragmatism--"when the Government does 'it' it's the best", whatever "it" may be.  It is held generally true by many that the Government is without interests.  It works for the good of all.  It does not seek its own interests.  Its contribution is objectively for the best.  It is not driven by selfish motives of profit.  It puts the nation and the community first--and so forth, and so on.

Of course, this is all silly nonsense.

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Global Warming Junk Science

How Global Warming Became the Biggest #FakeNews Scare of All Time (Part 1)

James Delingpole
Breitbart News

Why do so many apparently informed, intelligent, educated people still believe in ManBearPig?
For the same reason that the U.S. underestimated the Japanese threat before Pearl Harbor; that General MacArthur stupidly advanced north of the 38th parallel in Korea; that JFK got embroiled in the Bay of Pigs disaster; that LBJ dragged the U.S. deeper and deeper into the Vietnam War.

The reason is a phenomenon known as ‘groupthink’.

Though the name dates back to a 1952 article in Fortune magazine by William H Whyte, it wasn’t popularized for another twenty years when a Yale research psychologist called Irving Janis used it in the title of his influential 1972 Victims of Groupthink.

Little did he know it – Janis was looking to past events like the ones mentioned above, not the future – but his book would anatomize with unerring accuracy the perverse mindset which would lead to the creation of the biggest, most expensive junk science scam the world has ever witnessed: the great global warming scare.

Daily Meditation

Contempt For Self Can Elide Into Contempt for Others

Screwtape examines the virtue of Humility

C. S. Lewis

Your patient has become humble; have you drawn his attention to the fact?

All virtues are less formidable to us once the man is aware that he has them, but this is specially true of humility. Catch him at the moment when he is really poor in spirit and smuggle into his mind the gratifying reflection, ‘By Jove! I’m being humble’, and almost immediately pride—pride at his own humility—will appear. If he awakes to the danger and tries to smother this new form of pride, make him proud of his attempt—and so on, through as many stages as you please. But don’t try this too long, for fear you awake his sense of humour and proportion, in which case he will merely laugh at you and go to bed.

But there are other profitable ways of fixing his attention on the virtue of Humility. By this virtue, as by all the others, our Enemy wants to turn the man’s attention away from self to Him, and to the man’s neighbours. All the abjection and self-hatred are designed, in the long run, solely for this end; unless they attain this end they do us little harm; and they may even do us good if they keep the man concerned with himself, and, above all, if self-contempt can be made the starting point for contempt of other selves, and thus for gloom, cynicism, and cruelty.

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.

Unbelief Betrays Its LIcentiousness

The Immorality Implicit in "Robing Up"

You knew from the get-go that Hindu and Moslem women are profoundly chaste and faithful, right?  You knew that because they robe up.  Of course we knew that.

OK, so now we can dispense with the jokes and the kidding.  Below is a telling excerpt from Dr Vishal Mangalwadi, in, The Book That Made Your World,  in answer to the question, "What did the biblical idea of marriage and family do for the status of women and for civilization?"  He chose to answer the question by telling a story from his personal experience.
As I mentioned . . . we began our service to the poor in village Gatheora in 1976 by training Village Health Workers (VHS's).  Dr. Mategaonker and his staff would come to our farm twice a week to teach village folk how to stay healthy, prevent diseases, and cure simple ailments.  The village families wouldn't allow women to attend these classes, so we had to begin by training young men.  After a few months, after we had bonded and become free with each others, the VHW's conveyed to us their considered opinion: "You Christians are very immoral."

"What do you mean?" I was taken aback, since the jury had reached this verdict after due deliberation.  "How are we immoral?"

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

More Concern Over The Prothanasia Bill Before Parliament

NZ End of Life Choice Bill

Another submission against Unlawful Killing

We oppose the End of Life Choice Bill.

Reasons why.

We are opposed to the End of Life Choice Bill for the following reasons:

1. What we have read and heard from medical people about the way in which such bills have opened-up a Pandora’s box in countries where such legislation has been passed leads us to expect that the same will happen here. A bill which starts off allowing those who wish to end their life to do so, will end up taking the lives of many who do not wish to die. It seems strange that having abolished the death penalty for every crime, we should re-introduce it for the crime of being a burden on society or not being able to contribute anything useful.

2. Such legislation, if it were passed would forever change our relationship with our doctor and with the medical community.

Daily Meditation

Our Father . . . 
Ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:26

Charles H. Spurgeon

The fatherhood of God is common to all his children. Ah! Little-faith, you have often said, "Oh that I had the courage of Great-heart, that I could wield his sword and be as valiant as he! But, alas, I stumble at every straw, and a shadow makes me afraid." List thee, Little-faith. Great-heart is God's child, and you are God's child too; and Great-heart is not one whit more God's child than you are. Peter and Paul, the highly-favoured apostles, were of the family of the Most High; and so are you also; the weak Christian is as much a child of God as the strong one.

This cov'nant stands secure,
Though earth's old pillars bow;
The strong, the feeble, and the weak,
Are one in Jesus now.
All the names are in the same family register. One may have more grace than another, but God our heavenly Father has the same tender heart towards all. One may do more mighty works, and may bring more glory to his Father, but he whose name is the least in the kingdom of heaven is as much the child of God as he who stands among the King's mighty men. Let this cheer and comfort us, when we draw near to God and say, "Our Father."

Yet, while we are comforted by knowing this, let us not rest contented with weak faith, but ask, like the Apostles, to have it increased. However feeble our faith may be, if it be real faith in Christ, we shall reach heaven at last, but we shall not honour our Master much on our pilgrimage, neither shall we abound in joy and peace. If then you would live to Christ's glory, and be happy in his service, seek to be filled with the spirit of adoption more and more completely, till perfect love shall cast out fear.

Why Don't You Do Yourself and the Rest of Us a Favour?

"It's Best if You Cark It"

Kylee Black Does Not Want to Die

A terminally ill person has made a submission on the Death Bill now before the New Zealand Parliament's Select Committee.  Kylee Black is terminally ill.  She is a 31-year-old.  She has Ehlers Danlos Syndrome [EDS], a "genetic connective-tissue disorder that is progressive and incurable".

In fighting against and persisting in living with the disease--when there is no hope of a remedy or cure--Black raises the problem of depression.  Who would not get discouraged and depressed with such a bleak outlook preceded by years of pain? 
But Black does not want to die. And she does not want doctors suggesting death as an option to her, especially on her darkest days.  "I personally have seen over 20 specialists through my local district health board. If I was asked to consider my options as things progress by even a handful of these, I would certainly feel very pressured to consider euthanasia."  [NZ Herald]
When professionals such as doctors suggest to a terminally ill patient that it would be better for the suffering patient to die, we have to ask, Better for whom?

Monday, 19 March 2018

An Ideological Boondoggle

Not A Hint of Accountability Nor Contrition

The article below does not make any reference to "global warming".  Nevertheless we have a deep suspicion that "global warmist" ideology is the backstory to the boondoggle.  For whatever reason sometime during the cruise, it became politically correct to develop dual-fuel, hybrid destroyers for the US Navy.

For some inexplicable reason the failed consequences of this boondoggle were not predicted by navy engineers.  It was a case of build in haste, and repent at leisure.  But it's an inevitable consequence when ideology trumps common sense and the President D'Jour, Barack Obama was proclaiming at the time that Global Warming was the greatest existential threat facing the human race. 

US Navy Canceling Program

Gas-Guzzlers into Hybrid (Dual Fuel) Destroyers is Officially Destroyed

Former President Obama Reported To Be Dismayed

By: David B. Larter
Defence News

The guided-missile destroyer USS Truxtun (DDG 103) transits the Atlantic Ocean. Truxtun will be the sole hybrid destroyer in the fleet for the time being because the Navy is moving to cancel the program aimed at making destroyers more fuel efficient. (MC3 Danny Ray Nunez Jr./Navy)

WASHINGTON — The Navy is canceling a program to install fuel-efficient hybrid electric drives in 34 destroyers, leaving only one destroyer with the technology, the Navy confirmed in a statement.

Daily Meditation

Prayer’s Exclamation Point

All the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory. (2 Corinthians 1:20)

John Piper

Prayer is a response to promises, that is, to the assurances of God’s future grace.

Prayer is drawing on the account where God has deposited all his promises of future grace.

Prayer is not hoping in the dark that there might be a God of good intentions out there. Prayer goes to the bank every day and draws on promises for the future grace needed for that day.

Don’t miss the connection between the two halves of this great verse. Notice the “that is why”: “All the promises of God are Yes in Christ. That is why (therefore) we pray Amen through him, to God’s glory.”

To make sure we see it, let’s turn the two halves around: When we pray, we say Amen to God through Christ, because God has said Amen to all his promises in Christ. Prayer is the confident plea for God to make good on his promises of future grace for Christ’s sake. Prayer links our faith in future grace with the foundation of it all, Jesus Christ.

Which leads to the final point: “Amen” is a full and precious word in times of prayer. It doesn’t mean primarily, “Yes, I have now said all this prayer.” It means primarily, “Yes, God has made all these promises.”

Amen means, “Yes, Lord, you can do it.” It means, “Yes, Lord, you are powerful. Yes, Lord, you are wise. Yes, Lord, you are merciful. Yes, Lord, all future grace comes from you and has been confirmed in Christ.”

“Amen” is an exclamation point of hope after a prayer for help.

History Curiously Repeats

California Seeks Effective Secession From the Union

Life has a tendency to throw up some unexpected turn of events.  Or, as the saying has it, beware unintended consequences.  

The American Civil War was fought over the principle of States' rights.  The fundamental question was how much original authority resided in the states versus how much resided in the Federal government.  Did the Federal government hold a higher authority than the states when it came to managing their own affairs?  The signature issue at the time was slavery.  The Civil War "answered" the question: federalism triumphed over states' rights--by force of arms.

In recent years we have seen the re-emergence of the doctrine of states' rights, however.  It has come from an unexpected quarter.  Cities (and states) in the US have begun to assert a "sanctuary status" for illegal aliens, which means that they refuse to support or comply with Federal Government law on immigrants.  Leading the charge for this recrudescence of doctrines of states' rights has been California, one of the most "liberal" States in the union.

Saturday, 17 March 2018

Rampant Official Insecurity

China's War on Words

Anything used to insult Xi Jinping, banned

Jamie Seidel
NZ Herald

China's new President-for-life doesn't like criticism.  Since claiming the eternal throne of an Emperor earlier this week, he's clamped down — hard — on any hint of dissent.  Censorship has always been a way of life under China's one party state, reports  But things have just ramped up to a whole new level.

Authoritarian Rule is Being Established.

Earlier this week the Communist Party Council announced (a day before it actually met) that the limit of two five-year presidential terms will be abolished and Xi Jinping's guiding philosophy would be written into the constitution.  Immediately, Beijing's censors set to work.  They've attacked the very words people would need to use to express discontent.

Daily Meditation

Following in His Footsteps

Thou shalt love thy neighbour.  Matthew 5:43

Charles H. Spurgeon

"Love thy neighbour." Perhaps he rolls in riches, and thou art poor, and living in thy little cot side-by-side with his lordly mansion; thou seest every day his estates, his fine linen, and his sumptuous banquets; God has given him these gifts, covet not his wealth, and think no hard thoughts concerning him. Be content with thine own lot, if thou canst not better it, but do not look upon thy neighbour, and wish that he were as thyself. Love him, and then thou wilt not envy him.

Perhaps, on the other hand, thou art rich, and near thee reside the poor. Do not scorn to call them neighbour. Own that thou art bound to love them. The world calls them thy inferiors. In what are they inferior? They are far more thine equals than thine inferiors, for "God hath made of one blood all people that dwell upon the face of the earth." It is thy coat which is better than theirs, but thou art by no means better than they. They are men, and what art thou more than that? Take heed that thou love thy neighbour even though he be in rags, or sunken in the depths of poverty.

But, perhaps, you say, "I cannot love my neighbours, because for all I do they return ingratitude and contempt." So much the more room for the heroism of love. Wouldst thou be a feather-bed warrior, instead of bearing the rough fight of love? He who dares the most, shall win the most; and if rough be thy path of love, tread it boldly, still loving thy neighbours through thick and thin. Heap coals of fire on their heads, and if they be hard to please, seek not to please them, but to please thy Master; and remember if they spurn thy love, thy Master hath not spurned it, and thy deed is as acceptable to him as if it had been acceptable to them. Love thy neighbour, for in so doing thou art following the footsteps of Christ.

NZ Education System: Ideologically Driven Mania

Stupidity That Beggars Belief

The New Zealand government education system is a mess.  It is the product for which both major political parties (Labour and National) are to blame.  Both parties bought into the fundamental egalitarianism of the system: no child should leave school without a qualification.  No child would be left behind.  

The egalitarianism of the Left required that there be no failures, no rejects, no-one without qualifications.  In order to achieve this, the government education system has had to broaden its curriculum to the point that its entire system has become either insignificant or meaningless.  So many of the creaks and groans of the current set-up arise from the utopian attempt to build an education system which would enable every child to "pass" in some subject or other.

Simon Collins, the NZ Herald education reporter has illustrated the problem:

Friday, 16 March 2018

The Curse of the Metrosexual Male

Take Your Kids Out Of Class

Tucker Carlson and Jordan Peterson discuss the decline of masculinity

Dorothy McLean

NEW YORK CITY, March 8, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — American men are in serious trouble, but few people seem to care.  That was Fox News host Tucker Carlson’s theme last night when he introduced a new series for his show called “Men in America.” It will air on Fox on Wednesdays in March.

In a stirring monologue, Carlson laid out statistics, ranging from lifespan to addictions to incarceration to unemployment to wages, that prove that it is boys and men--not girls and women--who are seriously disadvantaged in the USA today.   “American men are failing, in body, mind and spirit. This is a crisis. Yet our leaders pretend it’s not happening,” Carlson said. “They tell us the opposite is true: Women are victims, men are oppressors. To question that assumption is to risk punishment.” 

“Our politicians and business leaders internalize and amplify that message,” he continued. “Men are privileged. Women are oppressed. Hire and promote and reward accordingly.  That would be fine if it were true. But it’s not true. At best, it’s an outdated view of an America that no longer exists. At worst, it’s a pernicious lie.”

Dr Jordan Peterson, author of the bestselling 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, told Carlson that there is a “directed policy” to emphasize that there is something wrong with masculinity and it should be limited in “all sorts of arbitrary ways.  The fact that male behaviour is often diagnosed as Attention Deficit Disorder is a manifestation of that,” he said.

Carlson asked Peterson why people would want to deemphasize or punish masculinity.

“Because it’s easy to mistake masculine competence for the tyranny that hypothetically drives the patriarchy,” the psychologist replied. “It’s part of an ideological worldview that sees the entire history of mankind as the oppression of women by men, which is a dreadful way of looking at the world.”

Peterson underscored that human history has been a cooperative endeavor between men and women and that to describe it as “centuries of oppression of women” is “an absolutely reprehensible ideological rewrite of history.”  This dystopian vision is taught as “unassailable fact” in universities and, increasingly, the public school system, demoralizing boys and young men.

Peterson advised parents to encourage their sons, that is, to instill courage in them, to teach them to be competent and to rely on themselves “to prevail, even in the darkest of circumstances.”

He had even more specific advice for parents regarding their children’s education.  “If you have your children in a school, and [teachers] talk about equity in class--equity, diversity, white privilege, systemic racism, any of that--you take your children out of that class,” Peterson said. “They’re not being educated; they’re being indoctrinated. And there’s absolutely no excuse for it.”

“You might run out of schools pretty quickly, though, here in this country,” Carlson quipped.  But Peterson wasn’t in a joking mood.  “That would be just fine,” he said, stony-faced. “The sooner, the better.”

The statistics Carlson provided--like the fact that 77% of suicide deaths are suffered by males or that 7 million working-age American men are now unemployed--were dire. However, the problem that he found most terrifying is that men are becoming “less male.”

“Sperm counts across the west have plummeted, down almost 60 percent since the early 1970s,” Carlson said. “Scientists don’t know why. Testosterone levels in men have also fallen precipitously. One study found that the average levels of male testosterone dropped by one percent every year after 1987. This is unrelated to age. The average 40-year-old-man in 2017 would have testosterone levels 30 percent lower than the average 40-year-old man in 1987.”

The host stated that low testosterone in men is associated with depression, lethargy, weight gain and decreased cognitive ability.  “You’d think we’d want to know what exactly is going on and how to fix it. But the media ignore the story. It’s considered a fringe topic,” he said.

Scientists don’t seem interested either.  “We checked and couldn’t find a single NIH-funded study on why testosterone levels are falling,” Carlson said. “We did find a study on, quote, ‘Pubic Hair Grooming Prevalence and Motivation Among Women in the United States’.”

Daily Meditation

When the Potter Is for Us

“Woe to him who strives with him who formed him, a pot among earthen pots! Does the clay say to him who forms it, ‘What are you making?’ or ‘Your work has no handles’?” (Isaiah 45:9)

John Piper

The majesty of God is magnified when we see him through the lens of creation ex nihilo (out of nothing). He commands nothingness, and it obeys and becomes something.

Out of nothing he makes the clay, and out of the clay he makes us — the pottery of the Lord (Isaiah 45:9) — his possession, destined for his glory, in total dependence on him.

“Know that the Lord is God! It is he that made us and we are his, his people and the sheep of his pasture” (Psalm 100:3). It is a humbling thing to be a sheep and a pot that belong to somebody else.

This morning I was reading in Isaiah and found another statement about God’s majesty. When I put it together with God’s absolute power and rights as Creator there is a combustion that goes off in my heart. Boom!

Isaiah 33:21 says, “The Lord in majesty will be for us!”

For us! For us! The Creator is for us and not against us. With all the power in the universe and with absolute right to do as he pleases with what he made — he is for us!

“Who has seen a God like this, who works for those who wait for him?” (Isaiah 64:4). “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31).

Can you think of anything (I mean anything) that is more comforting and assuring and delighting than that the Lord in his majesty is for you?

A Modern Version of the Goon Show

The Syndrome of Embarrassing Advocates

You have to spare a thought for our hapless Foreign Minister, Winston Peters.  Winnie (a nickname referring to his excessive love of horse racing) has for some strange reason singled out Russia as a country with which New Zealand very definitely needs to have a Free Trade Agreement.

This febrile enthusiasm for closer ties to Russia begs all sorts of questions, the most pressing of which is, Why?  What are we missing?  Given Peters past murky behaviour over money our suspicions cannot be anything but quickened by his strange crusade.  Unfortunately for Peters his public encomiums of Russia have been unfortunately timed.  Within a day or so, we awoke to find the UK has essentially cut diplomatic ties with Russia, expelling a phalanx of spies from the country.  This was followed by condemnations from the NATO powers: the US, Germany and France.  It seems Russia has been acting more like a rogue state.  It has committed murder and attempted murder of former Russian residents and a policeman, upon UK soil.  There are murmurings that this is just the tip of a bloody iceberg.

How will Peters respond?  Who can predict the mind of this rather strange man?

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow, Idaho

That Unthinkable 2020 Election

Douglas Wilson

So let us review where we are.

For my entire adult life (and I understand the pattern started earlier than that), the received wisdom has been for Republican candidates to run to the right and govern to the middle. Virtually everyone did this, whether because that was where their heart actually was, or because they were manipulated or forced in that direction. Some politicians were actual (albeit secret) members of the swamp tribes, some went native, and others were kidnapped. But whatever the reason that is the direction things invariably went.

The most principled conservative of the entire lot (Reagan) is perceived as an enemy of government bloat because he successfully slowed down the rate of the bloating. That is how “cuts” in Washington are defined, cutting the rate of growth. This is like a 400 pound man, who gains ten pounds annually, describing a regimen in which he gains five pounds during that same period as a weight loss program. And with all the care of exquisite and experienced liars, our politicians carefully rely on the difference between deficits and debts, pretending that to do something superficial about the former actually helps with the latter.

So this is the way it has been, and thus it seemed it always would be. This has happened over and over. Lucy and the football, over and over. Candidates who sounded really conservative, who talked a good game, who sounded genuine and sincere—the most we could hope for from them was to postpone the day of reckoning. The Democrats insisted on hurtling toward the cliff at 90 mph (“Venezuela or bust!”) while the Republicans (ever voices of moderation) wanted to hurtle in the same direction at 75 mph. The most drastic conservative measures always seemed to cash out to some form of slightly slower liberalism.

This bait and switch move has been the pattern for so long that it has gotten itself embedded in the conservative psyche. It certainly got embedded in mine.

Daily Meditation


C. S. Lewis

Affection, as I have said, is the humblest love. It gives itself no airs. People can be proud of being ‘in love’, or of friendship. Affection is modest—even furtive and shame-faced. Once when I had remarked on the affection quite often found between my cat and my dog, my friend replied, ‘Yes. But I bet no dog would even confess it to the other dogs.’

That is at least a good caricature of much human Affection. ‘Let homely faces stay at home’, says Comus. Now Affection has a very homely face. So have many of those for whom we feel it. It is no proof of our refinement or perceptiveness that we love them; nor that they love us.

What I have called Appreciative Love is no basic element in Affection. It usually needs absence or bereavement to set us praising those to whom only Affection binds us. We take them for granted; and this taking for granted, which is an outrage in erotic love, is here right and proper to a point. It fits the comfortable, quiet nature of the feeling. Affection would not be affection if it was loudly and frequently expressed; to produce it in public is like getting your household furniture out for a move. It did very well in its place, but it looks shabby or tawdry or grotesque in the sunshine.

Affection almost sinks or slips through our lives. It lives with humble, un-dress, private things; soft slippers, old clothes, old jokes, the thump of a sleepy dog’s tail on the kitchen floor, the sound of a sewing-machine, a gollywog left on the lawn.

From The Four Loves The Four Loves. Copyright © 1960 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

Personally Involved in Misery . . . Why?

The Answer Lies in One Word--Duty

We have been reading Georgina Battiscombe's biography of the 7th Earl of Shaftesbury.  It is insightful and instructive.  For anyone wanting to come to grips with the Victorian period it ought to be considered an essential read.    

It is a skillful account, insofar as Battiscombe gives us a "warts and all" rendition.  We have often made mention of God being pleased to strike straight blows with crooked sticks--and this case is no exception.  Shaftesbury was actually Anthony Ashley-Cooper and became the 7th Earl of Shaftesbury on the death of his father.  He spent his entire adult life labouring on behalf of those who were sorely afflicted.  Whilst he had a sterling career, firstly in the Commons, then in the House of Lords, it was not one removed from those he was seeking to help.  He was driven by a genuine human compassion--and aided therein by the faithful help of his wife, Minnie.

Here is an excerpt at the beginning of Battiscombe's biography which gives us a measure of the man.  Ashley-Cooper had been made one of fifteen commissioners charged with the licensing and inspection of mental asylums:

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Dumb, Dumber and Dumbest

Hopeless Idiots

John Nolte
Breitbart News

Facebook is run by dumboes.  Here is a classic illustration which proves the allegation.  It has attempted to come down hard on a satirical (christian) site, Babylon Bee.

The Christian satire site Babylon Bee has been fact-checked by Snopes and threatened by Facebook after it published an Onion-style article about CNN purchasing a washing machine to “spin the news.”

The Babylon Bee openly advertises itself as a satire site. Recent headlines include, “Local Pastor Hoping Curling Metaphors Go Over Big This Sunday,” “Nation That Calls Trump ‘Hitler’ Demands He Take All Guns Away,” “Calvinist Dog Corrects Owner: ‘No One Is A Good Boy’,” and “New Exercise Bike Forces You To Watch Christian Movies Until You Hit Your Calories Goal.”

Not only is this fairly anodyne stuff, but as you can see, the Babylon Bee is more than willing to satirize their own among the Faithful.  Naturally, none of this matters to our left-wing tech overlords, who are becoming increasingly desperate to censor free speech coming from conservatives, Christians, and the like.

This time, in order to protect the far-left CNN from ridicule, Snopes and Facebook worked in tandem to teach the Babylon Bee (and all of us) a lesson about mocking your betters.

Daily Meditation

Where Our Comfort Comes From

They cried out, “Away with him, away with him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.” So he delivered him over to them to be crucified. (John 19:15–16)

John Piper

Pilate’s authority to crucify Jesus did not intimidate Jesus. Why not?

Not because Pilate was lying. Not because he didn’t have authority to crucify Jesus. He did.  Rather, this authority did not intimidate Jesus because it was derivative. Jesus said, “It was given to you from above.” Which means it is really authoritative. Not less. But more.

So how is this not intimidating? Pilate not only has authority to kill Jesus. But he has God-given authority to kill him.

This does not intimidate Jesus because Pilate’s authority over Jesus is subordinate to God’s authority over Pilate. Jesus gets his comfort at this moment not because Pilate’s will is powerless, but because Pilate’s will is guided. Not because Jesus isn’t in the hands of Pilate’s fear, but because Pilate is in the hands of Jesus’s Father.  Which means that our comfort comes not from the powerlessness of our enemies, but from our Father’s sovereign rule over their power.

This is the point of Romans 8:25–37. Tribulation and distress and persecution and famine and nakedness and danger and sword cannot separate us from Christ because “in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Romans 8:35–37).

Pilate (and all Jesus’s adversaries — and ours) meant it for evil. But God meant it for good (Genesis 50:20). All Jesus’s enemies gathered together with their God-given authority “to do whatever God’s hand and God’s plan had predestined to take place” (Acts 4:28). They sinned. But through their sinning God saved.

Therefore, do not be intimidated by your adversaries who can only kill the body. Not only because this is all they can do (Luke 12:4), but also because it is done under the watchful hand of your Father.
Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows. (Luke 12:6–7)

Pilate has authority. Herod has authority. Soldiers have authority. Satan has authority. But none is independent. All their authority is derivative. All of it is subordinate to God’s will. Fear not. You are precious to your sovereign Father. Far more precious than the unforgotten birds.

The Long March Home

A Matter of Character

A friend recently did us a good turn.  Over recent days we have been reading through his copy of Adam Zamoyski's 1812: Napoleon's Fatal March on Moscow.  It is a magisterial work, yet accessible to the non-specialist.

We would recommend it to folk who have a vague or general idea that Napoleon went to war against Russia and that bad things happened.  It is a sequence of events that has affected the West until present times.  [The "dream" for a united Europe--a new model state--comes directly out of Napoleon's revolutionary secularist fervour.]  

Napoleon personally survived (just) the horrors of Russia, but from that point on his empire was to all intents and purposes broken.  The humanist revolutionary spirit would occasionally break out again, but thereafter it was more out of a longing for past glories.  Nevertheless, secularism in France has effectively controlled that country ever since--and now it faces slow demographic decline as a result.  Nationalism, of the Napoleonic variety, is a spent force in France: it could never survive the Revolution's tumbrels, nor the eventual defeat of Napoleon.  France, now the sick man of Europe, faces the ineluctable, inevitable take over from the Islamic Borg.  

The defeat of Napoleon, then, at the hands of Tsarist Russia--or more accurately, at the hands of the Russian winter--marked the beginning of the end.  Napoleon was broken; the Revolution was effectively a spent force.

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Unlimited State Power

Secular Prayer Offers No Limit on State Power

Bruce Logan
Director of Maxim Institute
NZ Herald

Parliament's Speaker, Trevor Mallard, in a unilateral fit of secular hubris, got rid of the reference to Jesus and prays the parliamentary prayer in Maori. Secular hubris? What's that?

Although now in danger of slipping away, one of the great achievements of our political tradition is its grasp on freedom. After much trial and error, we managed to separate the role of priest from the role of king. It took a while to put into practice what Jesus had said, "Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's and to God that which is God's."

For the Romans that was radical; the emperor was divine. There was no authority above the state. It didn't matter that many Romans might not have accepted the emperor's divinity, it was how it spun out in law.

The early Christians, refusing to accept the supreme authority of the divine emperor, were called "atheists", haters of mankind. It is not without irony that these hating and hateful atheists gave the West its insight into political freedom.

For most of my lifetime, the state was not absolute. There was an authority both the citizen and the government were expected to acknowledge. Certainly, the government could make laws, but even those laws were prescribed by a belief in an authority above the state.

Sometimes that division of powers is called separation of church and state. It is more than that. Secularists like Mr Mallard might find it unpalatable, but the limitation on state power is entirely the consequence of a belief in monotheism.

Daily Meditation

Far Too Easily Pleased

C. S. Lewis

If you asked twenty good men today what they thought the highest of the virtues, nineteen of them would reply, Unselfishness. But if you had asked almost any of the great Christians of old, he would have replied, Love. You see what has happened? A negative term has been substituted for a positive, and this is of more than philological importance.

The negative idea of Unselfishness carries with it the suggestion not primarily of securing good things for others, but of going without them ourselves, as if our abstinence and not their happiness was the important point. I do not think this is the Christian virtue of Love. The New Testament has lots to say about self-denial, but not about self- denial as an end in itself. We are told to deny ourselves and to take up our crosses in order that we may follow Christ; and nearly every description of what we shall ultimately find if we do so contains an appeal to desire.

If there lurks in most modern minds the notion that to desire our own good and earnestly to hope for the enjoyment of it is a bad thing, I submit that this notion has crept in from Kant and the Stoics and is no part of the Christian faith. Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.

From The Weight of Glory
Compiled in A Year with C.S. Lewis 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. 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

Guest Post--Creation

Reformed Christians Should Embrace Six-Day Creation

February 14, 2018

This sponsored post was prepared by Director Thomas Purifoy Jr. on behalf of Is Genesis History?.

When Is Genesis History? opened in theaters last year, we had no idea it would be the top-grossing Christian documentary for 2017. We were even more surprised when our distributor said it was bringing it back to theaters on Feb 22, 2018, for an Anniversary Event.

Why did this film resonate so much with audiences? Perhaps it demonstrated that it’s intellectually reasonable for Christians to embrace 6-day creation.

By ‘6-day creation,’ I’m referring not just to one’s view of Genesis 1, but to an entire chronology of historical events. These include the immediate creation of everything in six normal days, a Fall that brought corruption and death into the universe, and a global Flood that destroyed the world. I recognize that among some Reformed Christians this is not a popular view of history. Instead, some have adopted the framework hypothesis, analogical days, or the cosmic-temple model to interpret Genesis 1.

They then accept the conventional chronology of universal history. This includes the slow formation of everything over billions of years starting with a Big Bang, the corruption, and death of trillions of creatures before the arrival of Adam and Eve, a Fall that introduced death only to mankind, and a local flood during the days of Noah.

I realize that intelligent and godly Reformed Christians hold to this model of Earth history. Nevertheless, many seem unaware of the actual events they must inevitably adopt when affirming a 13.8 billion-year-old universe.

Monday, 12 March 2018

More Public Outrage

Charting a Different Course

A Lesson For the Education Minister and His Boss

Roger Partridge

Sunday's "Save our charter schools march" was a moving experience. It wasn't just the hundreds of people who turned up in torrential rain to protest. Nor was it ACT leader David Seymour's impassioned chanting. Nor even the Vanguard school students' valiant haka.

What was moving was the procession of young students, mostly Māori and Pasifika, who strode forward, proudly, to the microphone. If their eagerness to speak caught the protest organisers by surprise, their words did not. They had only one message: a plea to the prime minister and Minister of Education Chris Hipkins not to close their schools.

One student explained that she had been failing at her state school and that she had nothing to live for after her friend had committed suicide. Another described the self-destructive path he had been following at his old school.

And a former charter school head-girl told us how she had felt worthless before starting at her new charter school. The young woman – now a scholarship winner – apologised as she started to speak, saying she was "no politician". Someone in the crowd called out, "Not yet!"

A young man I spoke to said his new school was different because the teachers all cared. He mattered to them, and he felt determined to live up to their expectations.  Each of them had found a sense of purpose at their schools – and a sense of family in the unique environments created by the schools. And all had clearly thrived.

But if their pride in their schools came through, so did their sense of bewilderment.

Daily Meditation

The Best Gift

Have faith in God. Mark 11:22

Charles H. Spurgeon

Faith is the foot of the soul by which it can march along the road of the commandments. Love can make the feet move more swiftly; but faith is the foot which carries the soul. Faith is the oil enabling the wheels of holy devotion and of earnest piety to move well; and without faith the wheels are taken from the chariot, and we drag heavily. With faith I can do all things; without faith I shall neither have the inclination nor the power to do anything in the service of God.

If you would find the men who serve God the best, you must look for the men of the most faith. Little faith will save a man, but little faith cannot do great things for God. Poor Little-faith could not have fought "Apollyon;" it needed "Christian" to do that. Poor Little-faith could not have slain "Giant Despair;" it required "Great-heart's" arm to knock that monster down. Little faith will go to heaven most certainly, but it often has to hide itself in a nut-shell, and it frequently loses all but its jewels.

Little-faith says, "It is a rough road, beset with sharp thorns, and full of dangers; I am afraid to go;" but Great-faith remembers the promise, "Thy shoes shall be iron and brass; as thy days, so shall thy strength be:" and so she boldly ventures. Little-faith stands desponding, mingling her tears with the flood; but Great-faith sings, "When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee:" and she fords the stream at once.

Would you be comfortable and happy? Would you enjoy religion? Would you have the religion of cheerfulness and not that of gloom? Then "have faith in God." If you love darkness, and are satisfied to dwell in gloom and misery, then be content with little faith; but if you love the sunshine, and would sing songs of rejoicing, covet earnestly this best gift, "great faith."

Justice Minister Little Vs Reality

Up Close and Personal With Thuggery

A harrowing story has been published in the NZ media.  The case involved a private individual going about his lawful business only to be struck down by a "coward's punch".  Here we have a completely innocent victim being singled out for a sneaky sucker punch, just for the "pleasure" of the perp being able to show how powerful and significant he is.  
Tanner - a professional chef who has still (been) unable to return to work - said the assault came on an evening of celebration with his partner Charleen Trass with the couple having just realised years of hard work to buy their first home.  "We had been working so hard to achieve our goals. It was a rare night out," said Tanner.

The Kerikeri couple had bought tickets to go to the Marley NZ All Stars Show, a reggae collective playing at Waipapa's Kainui Road Vineyard. They had arranged care for their four children and were going with family and friends to the midday soundcheck - care of tickets won by Trass' sister - before the evening's entertainment.  [NZ Herald]
A local Northland MP, Matt King happened to be at the same event when he saw the perpetrator, Jaydin Locke commit a heinous crime.  He described what he saw:

Saturday, 10 March 2018

More on NZ Labour's Kamikaze Penal Policy

Labour’s Goal of a Safer Society Doomed to Fail

David Garrett

Hat Tip: Kiwiblog

[Justice Minister] Andrew Little has said  he is utterly committed to creating a safer New Zealand – a laudable  goal, but one which he simply cannot achieve given Labour’s present assumptions about offending and penal policy. His colleague Kelvin Davis wants to  reduce the prison population by 30% – impossible unless we release those convicted of violent offences. Some leftie claimed  on National Radio the other day that the jails are “full of people convicted of cannabis offences”. This is a myth.  In fact, only 12% of the prison population are there for drug offences, the vast majority of them for manufacturing, distributing  or importing P. None are in jail for possession of cannabis.

The first thing Labour needs to change is the common leftie perception that most prisoners are hapless boys who have had  one lamentable lapse – a sudden mad or drugged urge to commit an aggravated robbery perhaps. The reality is very different. The average prisoner has 46 convictions – yes you read that right – forty six , and has served the gamut of non-custodial sentences before finally being incarcerated. Of the 5% who have less than five convictions, they will invariably be in prison for murder or a very serious assault.

Do-gooders like Workman like to mock people like me by suggesting that we have an unreasoning and irrational  fear of a mythical  “Other”; that those in jail are really pretty much ordinary people, just like the rest of us. While this picture may have been at least partly true 50 years ago, it is emphatically not so today.