Saturday, 29 April 2017

Self-Centric "Advice" From Medical Know-It-Alls

Mothers of Down Syndrome Children Encouraged to Terminate

Ruby Nyika

The mother of an unborn child with Down Syndrome says she was advised by medical professionals to terminate the pregnancy.  Antenatal screening meant Masterton mother of two Danielle Bolt knew her unborn daughter Noa would have Down Syndrome, but she did not hesitate in giving birth to her now 21-month-old.

Bolt was angry with the advice she was given and said doctors and nurses should change their approach.

Noa, who is 21 months old, with her father Joshua Matthews and mother Danielle Bolt.

Noa, who is 21 months old, with her father Joshua Matthews and mother Danielle Bolt.

"I was told to terminate by the specialist," Bolt said. "They literally said to me Noa will become a burden on society and she's not worth it.  It's so cruel because they don't know her potential."

Bolt, who went for Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS) at Wellington Hospital, said she was called by staff, who apologised and told her that her daughter would have Down Syndrome.   Bolt was upset they felt the need to apologise about an otherwise healthy baby girl.

Daily Meditation

It is Good of Him To Force Us

TO MARY WILLIS SHELBURNE: On the hard task of learning to depend only on God and on nothing and no one else.

6 December 1955

C. S. Lewis

I was most distressed by the news in your letter of Dec. 2nd. . . . And I can’t help you, because under the modern laws I’m not allowed to send money to America. (What a barbarous system we live under. I knew a man who had to risk prison in order to smuggle a little money to his own sister, widowed in the U.S.A.) By the way, we mustn’t be too sure there was any irony about your just having refused that other job. There may have been a snag about it which God knew and you didn’t.

I feel it almost impossible to say anything (in my comfort and security—apparent security, for real security is in Heaven and thus earth affords only imitations) which would not sound horribly false and facile. Also, you know it all better than I do. I should in your place be (I have in similar places been) far more panic-stricken and even perhaps rebellious. For it is a dreadful truth that the state of (as you say) ‘having to depend solely on God’ is what we all dread most. And of course that just shows how very much, how almost exclusively, we have been depending on things.

That trouble goes so far back in our lives and is now so deeply ingrained, we will not turn to Him as long as He leaves us anything else to turn to. I suppose all one can say is that it was bound to come. In the hour of death and the day of judgement, what else shall we have? Perhaps when those moments come, they will feel happiest who have been forced (however unwillingly) to begin practising it here on earth. It is good of Him to force us: but dear me, how hard to feel that it is good at the time....

All’s well—I’m half ashamed it should be—with me. God bless and keep you. You shall be constantly in my prayers by day and night.

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

Media Effluent

She Was Just a Concerned Random

Some years ago when we were foolish enough to take courses on media at Auckland University we were informed that journalists were generally lazy.  Rather than being both investigators and reporters they tended, as a group, to dress up press releases as if they were the produce of an independent investigation by the media.  Rather cynical, non?  Let's see.

It's school holiday season in New Zealand, so public libraries are full of school aged children.  Apparently one lady believes that's a terrible indictment upon our society.
Libraries are being inundated with unsupervised children during the school holidays.  Clendon woman Therese Luxton said her local library is teeming with unsupervised kids who have been dropped off by parents who can't afford childcare.  She said she met a "very frazzled" librarian who said they were being used as a free babysitting service. Children had come without food and the librarians had not budgeted for food.

"After returning to the library with bags of feijoas I was met at the library door, by an unattended little chap who was all of six," Luxton said.  "He asked for a bag with no hesitation at all and took it by himself with a bag on his back."  Luxton believed this was the consequence of expensive child-minding which resulted in the over-extension of a community facility having to double as a social agency.  [NZ Herald]
So far we have been led to believe that a random person, called Therese Luxton, is making a general complaint that libraries are full of unsupervised children.  This lady believes (apparently) that it is due to parents not being able to afford childcare for their kids during school holidays.  Implication: the gummint is ultimately at fault.

Who is Therese Luxton, we hear you ask?

Friday, 28 April 2017

Drawing Righteous Lines

Christian University Will Sever Ties With Planned Parenthood

Kate Scanlon

Whitworth University, a Christian liberal arts university in Spokane, Wash., will sever its ties to Planned Parenthood, Campus Reform reported Wednesday.

The university’s Students for Life chapter objected last fall to Planned Parenthood’s status as a “community partner” of Whitworth, which has an enrollment of 3,000 and is affiliated with the Presbyterian church. The partnership allowed university students to intern at the organization for school credit.

In an email to students Tuesday, which was obtained by Students for Life, Whitworth President Beck Taylor wrote that he instructed the school “not to renew” its “limited partnership” with Planned Parenthood.

Daily Meditation

Afraid to Stray

Oh, how abundant is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you and worked for those who take refuge in you, in the sight of the children of mankind! (Psalm 31:19)

Consider two important truths in Psalm 31:19.

1. The goodness of the Lord

There is a peculiar goodness of God. That is, there is not only God’s general goodness that he shows to all people, making his sun rise on the evil and the good (Matthew 5:45), but also a peculiar goodness for “those who fear him.”

This goodness is abundant beyond measure. It is boundless. It lasts forever. It is all-encompassing. There is only goodness for those who fear him. Everything works together for their good. Even their pains are filled with profit (Romans 5:3–5).

But those who do not fear him receive a temporary goodness — a goodness that does not lead to repentance, but leads to worse destruction (Romans 2:4).

2. The fear of the Lord

The fear of the Lord is the fear of straying from him. Therefore it expresses itself in taking refuge in God. That’s why two conditions are mentioned in Psalm 31:19 — fearing the Lord and taking refuge in him.

They seem to be opposites. Fear seems to drive away and taking refuge seems to draw in. But when we see that this fear is a fear of not being drawn in, then they work together.

There is a real trembling for the saints. “Work out your salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12). But it is the trembling one feels in the arms of a Father who has just plucked his child from the undertow of the ocean.

Why the Left Protests and Shouts So Much

Invincible Ignorance and Shouting

The studied ignorance of some folk, whom one would expect to know better, leads to much head shaking at times.  The latest disappointment is Bryan Gould who is a former UK Labour MP and former vice-chancellor of Waikato University.  Sadly, Mr Gould has offered an unintended explanation of why the Left is held in such disrepute these days.  

Mr Gould has ventured into print to expose his ignorance of the banking system and how it works.  For these schoolboy errors he has been taken to task by Dr Don Brash, who has had a long career in the banking system.
But Mr Gould went further . . .  He said banks like to pretend they provide a useful service to the community by channelling resources from those who have no immediate need for them (savers) to those who do need them (borrowers), charging a modest spread for rendering that service.

But, said Mr Gould, this "benign view of [bank] operations is inaccurate and misleading. The banks do not lend you mortgage money deposited with them by someone else. They lend you money they themselves create out of nothing through the stroke of a pen or, today, a computer entry. The banks make their money, in other words, by charging interest on money that they themselves create". [NZ Herald]
One suspects that Mr Gould is reflexively drawing upon old-fashioned Marxist dogmas, commonly believed in the nineteen sixties.

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Elephants in the Room

A Big Begged Question

The following piece was recently republished in Patterico.  Whilst Mr Sullivan is not a reliable guide in all things, the following excerpts below are right on point.  

Our old friend Andrew Sullivan seems to be trying on his conservative hat once again. In a column at New York magazine titled “Why Do Democrats Feel Sorry for Hillary Clinton” (a sensible essay, if fairly predictable), he includes an interesting criticism of people who have apparently been trying to spin the whole United Airlines kerfuffle as a battle in the social justice wars:

Do you know the real reason Dr. Dao was so brutally tackled and thrown off that United flight? It was all about white supremacy. I mean, what isn’t these days?

Daily Devotional

None Can Withstand Him

"Who is even at the right hand of God."  Romans 8:34

Charles H. Spurgeon

He who was once despised and rejected of men, now occupies the honourable position of a beloved and honoured Son. The right hand of God is the place of majesty and favour. Our Lord Jesus is his people's representative. When he died for them, they had rest; he rose again for them, they had liberty; when he sat down at his Father's right hand, they had favour, and honour, and dignity. The raising and elevation of Christ is the elevation, the acceptance, and enshrinement, the glorifying of all his people, for he is their head and representative. This sitting at the right hand of God, then, is to be viewed as the acceptance of the person of the Surety, the reception of the Representative, and therefore, the acceptance of our souls. O saint, see in this thy sure freedom from condemnation. "Who is he that condemneth?" Who shall condemn the men who are in Jesus at the right hand of God?

The right hand is the place of power. Christ at the right hand of God hath all power in heaven and in earth. Who shall fight against the people who have such power vested in their Captain? O my soul, what can destroy thee if Omnipotence be thy helper? If the aegis of the Almighty cover thee, what sword can smite thee? Rest thou secure. If Jesus is thine all-prevailing King, and hath trodden thine enemies beneath his feet; if sin, death, and hell are all vanquished by him, and thou art represented in him, by no possibility canst thou be destroyed.

"Jesu's tremendous name
Puts all our foes to flight:
Jesus, the meek, the angry Lamb,
A Lion is in fight.
"By all hell's host withstood;
We all hell's host o'erthrow;
And conquering them, through Jesu's blood
We still to conquer go."

An Offensive Decision

Bent And Twisted Moral Compasses

Every so often decision are made by bureaucrats which defy common sense.  We use that term deliberately.  There are some things which are beyond the comprehension of the ordinary bloke.  And so it has come to pass in New Zealand in a matter of deportation.

An immigration official has made a decision not to deport a twice-convicted sex offender, whose victims have included young girls.  This chap--an immigrant--has been allowed to remain in New Zealand, provided he does not re-offend over the next five years.  Cynics have opened up by asking the question that is begged loudly and insistently: what would it take for an immigrant to be deported?  Let's think.  Mass murder? Spitting on an immigration official? Refusing to vote for the Greens?  Unreasonable and stupid questions, we hear you mutter.  Quite.  Immigration New Zealand appears to be nonsensical, stupid, without rhyme or reason.  Unreasonable and stupid bureaucrats deserve to be mocked in the same vein in which they have assailed and mocked their fellow citizens, whom they ultimately, in this life, serve.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

It's Deja-Vu All Over Again

Arctic Ocean Getting Warm

Seals Vanish, Icebergs Melt

Sourced from:
Anthony Watts
Watts Up With That

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.
What is the provenance of this story?  The Washington Post.  Ah, might have known.  But there is a slight problem.

Daily Meditation

Not Far From Home

"That through death he might destroy him that had the power of death."  Hebrews 2:14

Charles H. Spurgeon

O child of God, death hath lost its sting, because the devil's power over it is destroyed. Then cease to fear dying. Ask grace from God the Holy Ghost, that by an intimate knowledge and a firm belief of thy Redeemer's death, thou mayst be strengthened for that dread hour.

Living near the cross of Calvary thou mayst think of death with pleasure, and welcome it when it comes with intense delight. It is sweet to die in the Lord: it is a covenant-blessing to sleep in Jesus. Death is no longer banishment, it is a return from exile, a going home to the many mansions where the loved ones already dwell.

The distance between glorified spirits in heaven and militant saints on earth seems great; but it is not so. We are not far from home--a moment will bring us there. The sail is spread; the soul is launched upon the deep. How long will be its voyage? How many wearying winds must beat upon the sail ere it shall be reefed in the port of peace? How long shall that soul be tossed upon the waves before it comes to that sea which knows no storm? Listen to the answer, "Absent from the body, present with the Lord." Yon ship has just departed, but it is already at its haven. It did but spread its sail and it was there. Like that ship of old, upon the Lake of Galilee, a storm had tossed it, but Jesus said, "Peace, be still," and immediately it came to land.

Think not that a long period intervenes between the instant of death and the eternity of glory. When the eyes close on earth they open in heaven. The horses of fire are not an instant on the road. Then, O child of God, what is there for thee to fear in death, seeing that through the death of thy Lord its curse and sting are destroyed? and now it is but a Jacob's ladder whose foot is in the dark grave, but its top reaches to glory everlasting.

Cleaning Up

The Changing Shape of the Fourth Estate

So, Bill O'Reilly is out at Fox News.  We have appreciated Fox News in general as an antidote to the anodyne Progressive pablum that is found just about everywhere else in the media spectrum in the US.  O'Reilly was part of the Fox lineup.

He was, however, at least to our taste, to be taken in small doses.  We quickly tired of his vainglorious boasting about his own show's attributes.  How "the spin stops here", and "we are always looking out for you".  After a while it was a case of "methinks he doth protest too much".  The Proverb says, "Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips."  [Proverbs 27:2]  The English have a similar proverb, albeit more laconic: "self praise is no recommendation".

There are plenty of Fox News shows and programmes which do not need (apparently) the brazen self-blown trumpet of Mr O'Reilly.  As to the allegations of misconduct, we are not in a position to be judge, jury, nor executioner.   But the old adage of where there is smoke there is fire appears a reasonable position in the circumstances..

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow (About Camp Christianity)

Watermelons and Worldviews

Douglas Wilson

Twenty years ago or thereabouts, Christian worldview seminars for young people were all the thing. The erosion of centuries of cultural consensus had become generally apparent, and so a number of organizations and churches threw themselves into the task of helping young people—who were obviously going to be bringing up their children in bizarroworld—to know how to navigate said world. If you could call it a world.

But as time went by, and as things got weirder, a number of the cool kids began to sneer at the term worldview. As though life consisted of a cluster of conservative propositions! “Here, roll this thought around in your head. It will fix everything.”

And of course, as with all effective lies, there was an element of truth in this, as in, a smidgen of truth. A worldview does consist of more than just thoughts. We must include the way we worship, and the way we actually live, the symbols we use, and the non-Darwinian story we tell of our people and how we got here. In other word, everything we are and do is part of our worldview.

The problem was that those who sneered at the term worldview were not in the process of ascending above the truth of biblical propositions, but rather in the decadent process of sinking below them.

Daily Devotional

A Future for Failures

“Fear not; you have done all this evil, yet do not turn aside from following the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart; and do not turn aside after vain things which cannot profit or save, for they are vain.” (1 Samuel 12:20–21).

John Piper

When the Israelites have been brought to fear and repent of their sin of demanding Samuel to give them a king, then comes the good news: “Fear not; you have done all this evil, yet do not turn aside from following the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart; and do not turn aside after vain things which cannot profit or save, for they are vain” (12:20–21).

This is the gospel — even though you have sinned greatly, and terribly dishonored the Lord, even though you now have a king which it was a sin to get, even though there is no undoing that sin or its painful consequences that are yet to come, nevertheless there is a future and a hope.

Fear not! Fear not!

Then comes the great ground of the gospel in verse 22. “For the Lord will not cast away his people, for his great name’s sake, because it has pleased the Lord to make you a people for himself.”

ANZAC Day Memorial

Oh What a Lovely War--And All That

We are in the midst of the centennial remembrance of World War I.  That war commenced one hundred years ago in 2014 and the centennial remembrance will conclude next year in 2018.  From New Zealand's perspective some of the "stand outs" in terms of our national remembrance have been the respective exhibitions in the Dominion Museum and the national museum, Te Papa, both in Wellington.  

For some reason, World War I has been a war which in the telling of popular history has been vilified repeatedly.  World War II (which was arguably a continuation of World War I) has by contrast been celebrated as a great and glorious triumph.

Why has WWI been so scandalous in popular memory?  And how scandalous has it been?  Historian Robert Tombs has pointed out that antipathy towards the Great War, as it has been named, emerged well after the event.  This probably is an instance of populist history being, once again, a trick that the living are playing upon the dead.  

Tombs surveys the modern canon of poetry to illustrate how sentiment towards WWI has changed from positive to negative in our lifetimes.  He writes:

Monday, 24 April 2017

Islamic Thuggery in Australia

Australian, Wearing Cross, Beaten By Muslim Gang

Jack Montgomery

Christians in Sydney, Australia, are being advised to hide their crosses after an Arabic-speaking gang shouting “F*** Jesus!” attacked a couple on a train while transport officers looked on from a “safe space” and did nothing.

The Sydney-based Daily Telegraph – a News Corp outlet unrelated to the Telegraph Media Group newspaper of the same name – reports the couple were attacked while riding the train through “Muslim enclaves” in south-west Sydney.  Mike, who asked for his surname to be withheld for fear he might be targeted, said that four men of Middle Eastern appearance ripped his cross from his neck, stomped on it, and rained kicks and punches on his face, back, and shoulders. Two women attacked his girlfriend when she tried to protect him.

Five uniformed transport officers watched the attack take place but failed to intervene, Mike claimed, leaving the police to meet the train at a later station.  “I was born in Australia of Greek heritage,” Mike told the Telegraph. “I’ve always worn my cross. For [them] to rip it off and step on it has to be a religious crime … It’s not on to feel unsafe in your own country.”

Daily Meditation

A Rumour Going Round The Shop

C. S. Lewis

What man, in his natural condition, has not got, is Spiritual life—the higher and different sort of life that exists in God. We use the same word life for both: but if you thought that both must therefore be the same sort of thing, that would be like thinking that the ‘greatness’ of space and the ‘greatness’ of God were the same sort of greatness. In reality, the difference between Biological life and Spiritual life is so important that I am going to give them two distinct names. The Biological sort which comes to us through Nature, and which (like everything else in Nature) is always tending to run down and decay so that it can only be kept up by incessant subsidies from Nature in the form of air, water, food, etc., is Bios. The Spiritual life which is in God from all eternity, and which made the whole natural universe, is Zoe. Bios has, to be sure, a certain shadowy or symbolic resemblance to Zoe: but only the sort of resemblance there is between a photo and a place, or a statue and a man. A man who changed from having Bios to having Zoe would have gone through as big a change as a statue which changed from being a carved stone to being a real man.

And that is precisely what Christianity is about. This world is a great sculptor’s shop. We are the statues and there is a rumour going round the shop that some of us are some day going to come to life.

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.

Hindsight and Crystal Balls

 Rethinking The Causes of World War II

As we approach ANZAC remembrance in New Zealand, thoughts will be turning once again to war, and in particular, New Zealand's involvement in World Wars I &II, along with lots of smaller actions since the Korean War to which New Zealand has contributed soldiers.

We have been ruminating once more on whether World War II could have been averted.  Now, a disclaimer is required: hind sight is always 20/20 vision, which means that it is speculative to one extent or another.  But the matter has assumed more relevance, given that Hitler turned out to be the wild-card which led Europe into armed conflict.  In our days, we face similar kinds of threats.  Replace Hitler with Kim Jong-un and we all get the point.

Therefore, re-thinking how Britain failed to avoid the conflagration which exploded when Hitler unleashed his legions, is not as academic today as it was three or four years ago.  Historian Robert Tombs provides a list of some things, which, in hindsight, Britain got wrong during what he calls the "Twenty-Year Truce" between the two world wars.  These become potential lessons for the future.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

The Narks Are Watching and Listening--At Oxford, No Less

The Thought Police Are Right Behind YOU... 

Don't look now

Peter Hitchens
Daily Mail

I have a brilliant suggestion for a new TV detective drama. Its glamorous but sternly correct heroine is newly in charge of enforcing 'diversity' among the domes and towers of Oxford.  She lingers in its donnish common rooms, listening out for incorrect remarks and swooping righteously on those who 'stereotype minorities'.

As usual there are false leads and picturesque panoramas of Oxford embowered in water meadows. Unlikely suspects are revealed in the final minutes as homophobic reactionaries – or even Christians.
At the end of each episode we see handcuffed offenders being led away to police cars, their heads pushed down by officious constables as they bend to take the seat of shame.

Actually some of this is happening now. The arrests are a little way off still, but the nasty snooping is going on, and careers are in danger. We know this because of what happened to former Lord Chancellor Michael Gove when he recently attended a dinner at an Oxford College.

Daily Meditation

Take Comfort From the Fear of Our Saviour


C. S. Lewis

2 April 1955

In great haste. I hope your next letter will bring me news that the operation has gone swimmingly. Fear is horrid, but there’s no reason to be ashamed of it. Our Lord was afraid (dreadfully so) in Gethsemane. I always cling to that as a very comforting fact. All blessings.

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

Trump's War Doctrine

Bombast, Money, and Technology

With the advent of Donald Trump "wartalk" has suddenly assumed much greater weight.  Jehu drove his chariot furiously, as does Trump.  This represents a radical change from Barack Obama, who appeared to like the blood and guts, but only cerebrally, you understand.   Obama, we suspect, was the ultimate arm-chair general.  He pondered extensively over the minutia of the matter.  He insisted (we were told) on personally authorizing each drone strike against Islamic mujahideen,  He thought himself into a blue funk over Syria, announcing a "Red Line" which overnight morphed into an "Invisible Line drawn with Fading Ink".

Meanwhile, he struck great blows for human rights within the military.  He recognised homosexuality in the ranks, striking down "don't ask, don't tell"; he strove to achieve gender equality; he wanted the military to resemble a modern liberal arts campus.  Obama was a feckless president.  He was also ideologically blinded.  He refused to see any real threat in Islam, preferring instead to see the whole matter as little more than a Marxist struggle on the part of Islamic nations for self-respect and independence.  His role, as he saw it, was not to make things worse, but to cut the mujahideen lots of slack.  Hence, he forbade calling terrorist attacks upon the US "Islamic"terrorist acts.  He proclaimed that Afghanistan was a war the US had to fight (as opposed to finishing the job in Iraq); within months the Afghan war morphed into "nation building", requiring a time frame of over twenty-five years.

Donald Trump is none of these things.  But this does not make him right.

Friday, 21 April 2017

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow

The Boutique Option

Douglas Wilson

[This piece is part of a series where Doug Wilson interacts with Rod Dreher's Benedict Option.]

The next chapter in The Benedict Option is well written, and makes many pertinent observations. A lot of true and necessary things are said, largely concerning the need for older doctrine and need for a liturgical worship that shapes cultures. But there is still a problem, and it is largely architectonic. The chapter has a structural problem.

One of the rhetorical virtues of this chapter is the ecumenical tone—while Dreher is Eastern Orthodox, he goes out of his way to be inclusively respectful of other believers in other communions. He promotes and argues for what he believes, albeit respectfully—but he is so respectful that the structural problem with his entire project is laid bare. This structural problem is, again, what is called the retreat to commitment.

In this chapter, Dreher commends, recommends, quotes and praises Pentecostals, Evangelicals, Calvinist Presbyterians, Anabaptists, Mainline Protestants, Eastern Orthodox, and Catholics, urging them all to recover their doctrinal roots, and urging them all into a more formal liturgical worship. He wants us to “immerse ourselves in the words and the world of the old saints” (Loc. 1566). Which old saints should we resort to? Well—and this is the problem—whatever works for you.

Daily Meditation

Pray for His Fame

“Pray then like this: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.” (Matthew 6:9)

John Piper

Dozens of times Scripture says that God does things “for his name’s sake.” But if you ask what is really moving the heart of God in that statement (and many like it), the answer is that God delights in having his name known.

The first and most important prayer that can be prayed is, “Hallowed be thy name.” This is a request to God that he would work to cause people to hallow his name.

God loves to have more and more people “hallow” his name, and so his Son teaches Christians to put their prayers in line with this great passion of the Father.

“Lord, cause more and more people to hallow your name,” that is, esteem, admire, respect, cherish, honor, and praise his name. It is basically a missionary prayer.

Prejudice Against the Burka

Ah, the Idiocy Of It All

We posted yesterday on how the spirit of long dead Tom Paine stalks our cultural ghettos.  People, said Tom, have a right to be whatever they want to be.  It's a "funamenal" human right.  This has led many in the West to swoon in religious ecstasy, falling down before the claims of trans-genderism and trans-sexualism.

Further to this matter, a sensitive and sophisticated Auckland City councillor had laid a complaint against a shop in West Auckland which has allegedly discriminated against women and Muslims--at least in the mind of our precious petal councillor.  The jewellery shop has a sign banning certain items of clothing:

Councillor Casey apparently believes it's ok to ban customers wearing hoodies, sunglasses and helmets, but not burkas.  Consequently, it must be  OK to discriminate against those who wear hoodies, sunglasses, and helmets.  No human rights violated there.   Casey happily endorses discrimination against the desires and wishes and rights of those people.

Nevertheless, she has complained about the burka-ban.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Greenies Don't Do Science

Only Gullible Fools Believe that the Great Barrier Reef Is Dying

James Delingpole

The Great Barrier Reef is dead. It has ceased to be, expired and gone to meet its maker, kicked the bucket, shuffled off its mortal coil, run down the curtain and gone to join the bleedin’ choir invisible. It is an Ex Great Barrier Reef.  Well, at least it is if you believe the left-wing media such as the Guardian, which claims today that the reef is at “terminal stage” because of damage allegedly caused by “climate change”.

Lots of eco loons have been rending their garments and throwing their (recyclable, organic, gluten-free) toys out of the pram in horror at this hideous disaster.

But it’s OK. As I keep trying to explain here to anyone who’ll listen – and obviously, also, to annoy the greenies – is that the Great Barrier Reef isn’t in the remotest danger.

Daily Meditation

The Great King's Wine

We do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. (Hebrews 4:15)

John Piper

I have never heard anyone say, “The really deep lessons of my life have come through times of ease and comfort.” But I have heard strong saints say, “Every significant advance I have ever made in grasping the depths of God’s love and growing deep with him, has come through suffering.”

This is a sobering biblical truth. For example: “For Christ’s sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as refuse, in order that I may gain Christ” (Philippians 3:8). Paraphrase: No pain, no gain. Or:  Now let it all be sacrificed, if it will get me more of Christ.

Here’s another example: “Although he was a Son, Jesus learned obedience through what he suffered” (Hebrews 5:8). The same book said he never sinned (Hebrews 4:15).

So learning obedience does not mean switching from disobedience to obedience. It means growing deeper and deeper with God in the experience of obedience. It means experiencing depths of yieldedness to God that would not have been otherwise demanded. This is what came through suffering. No pain, no gain.

Samuel Rutherford said that when he was cast into the cellars of affliction, he remembered that the great King always kept his wine there. Charles Spurgeon said, “They who dive in the sea of affliction bring up rare pearls.”

Do you not love your beloved more when you feel some strange pain that makes you think you have cancer? We are strange creatures indeed. If we have health and peace and time to love, it is a thin and hasty thing. But if we are dying, love is a deep, slow river of inexpressible joy, and we can scarcely endure to give it up.

Therefore brothers and sisters, “Count it all joy when you meet various trials” (James 1:2).

How Smart We Are

Beware People in Black Robes

The aged care industry in New Zealand had laboured under government price controls for many years.  Our "socialism without doctrines" has led us down the track of the government funding rest home care for the elderly.  Once upon a time it was incumbent upon each family to ensure reasonable care could be afforded for aging parents and grandparents.  But gradually the state has subsidised and paid more and more of the care of the elderly.  Smug New Zealanders patted themselves on the back and said to one another, "What a wonderful system we have here in 'godz own'."  

Baby boomers are now entering the demographic cohort of the "aged".  Large numbers are needing care.  There is a burgeoning aged care industry, with large corporates building swanky retirement and rest-care facilities.  But the industry has been effectively price controlled.  The presence of a state subsidy for rest home care functions as a price control in the market.  Therefore, the market is inefficient.  Price signals are grossly distorted.

Recently the government was (indirectly) hit with a court case.  A rest-home carer took her employer (and implicitly, the state) to court on the grounds of pay equity.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Irresponsible Parents

Your Kids Aren’t Equipped to be Public School Missionaries

Matt Walsh

A concerned parent sent me this. It’s the school newspaper for Mary Ellen Henderson Middle School in Falls Church, Virginia. Among the other hard hitting pieces of journalism targeted at children, ages 11-13, is an article on “transgender rights.”

The article explains how Obama “improved the lives of transgender people by fighting the discrimination against them,” but all of that is now in jeopardy because of President Trump. The next article delves into the intricacies and wonders of various forms of gender identity, including “transgenderism,” “non-binary,” “bigender,” “agender,” “demigender,” “genderfluid,” and “genderflux.” I’m obviously more innocent and naive than the typical middle schooler these days, so I’d never even heard of some of these. For anyone else who may be curious, here’s how the last three types of genders are explained to an audience of pre-pubscent kids:

Demigender: Demigender refers to people who partially identify as one gender. Demigender people may also identify as partially a different gender. Examples include demigirl, or someone who partially identifies as a girl; demiboy, or someone who partially identifies as a boy; demiagender, meaning someone who identifies as partially agender; and more broadly, deminonbinary, or someone who just partially identifies as nonbinary.

Genderfluid and Genderflux: Genderfluid refers to someone whose gender changes between any of the above categories. For example, someone may feel female one day, male another day, and agender the next day. Similarly, genderflux refers to someone whose gender changes in intensity. This typically means that someone’s gender will fluctuate between agender and a different gender, which could be binary or nonbinary. For example, someone might sometimes feel completely female, sometimes demigender, and sometimes agender.
Did you get all that?

Someone can partially not have a gender, while the other part of them has three genders, and the third part is a futon. These are the notions being implanted in our kids’ heads in their public schools.

Daily Meditation

On Forgiveness

C. S. Lewis

I find that when I think I am asking God to forgive me I am often in reality (unless I watch myself very carefully) asking Him to do something quite different. I am asking Him not to forgive me but to excuse me. But there is all the difference in the world between forgiving and excusing. Forgiveness says “Yes, you have done this thing, but I accept your apology, I will never hold it against you and everything between us two will be exactly as it was before.” But excusing says “I see that you couldn’t help it or didn’t mean it, you weren’t really to blame.”. . .

Real forgiveness means looking steadily at the sin, the sin that is left over without any excuse, after all allowances have been made, and seeing it in all its horror, dirt, meanness and malice, and nevertheless being wholly reconciled to the man who has done it.

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

Our Disinterested Media

Veering Towards Sociopathy

It's a universal truth apparently: everyone believes the media are biased.  Except the media--at least officially and formally.  

The closest we have seen to public acknowledgement of media bias by the media is the Daily Mail.  It kindly gives a listing of columnists and bloggers who are published in that paper.  It has a category called "Rightminds Bloggers".  There is a whole other collection of columnists who are in no special category at all.  By implication, one assumes that all others, not listed in the "Rightminds" category, are "Leftminds".  The Mail, however, apparently believes that these folk are not biased at all.

The media in general has high self-regard and would tell anyone who listens that the media are thorough going professionals without bias of any sort.  Its only bias is to be professionally unbiased.  Now you just know that's codswallop.  Insofar as the belief may be genuinely held, it amounts to self-deceit, or at best a lack of self-awareness that moves towards sociopathy.

Liam Hehir puts it this way: