Friday, 15 December 2017

Advent Meditation

Two Kinds of Opposition to Jesus

When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. (Matthew 2:3)

John Piper

Jesus is troubling to people who do not want to worship him, and he brings out opposition for those who do. This is probably not a main point in the mind of Matthew, but it is inescapable as the story goes on.

In this story, there are two kinds of people who do not want to worship Jesus, the Messiah.

The first kind is the people who simply do nothing about Jesus. He is a nonentity in their lives. This group is represented by the chief priests and scribes. Verse 4: “Gathering together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, [Herod] inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born.” Well, they told him, and that was that: back to business as usual. The sheer silence and inactivity of the leaders is overwhelming in view of the magnitude of what was happening.

And notice, verse 3 says, “When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.” In other words, the rumor was going around that someone thought the Messiah was born. The inactivity on the part of chief priests is staggering — why not go with the magi? They are not interested. They do not want to worship the true God.

The second kind of people who do not want to worship Jesus is the kind who is deeply threatened by him. That is Herod in this story. He is really afraid. So much so that he schemes and lies and then commits mass murder just to get rid of Jesus.

So today these two kinds of opposition will come against Christ and his worshipers. Indifference and hostility. Are you in one of those groups?

Let this Christmas be the time when you reconsider the Messiah and ponder what it is to worship him.

More on NZ's Abysmal Government Education System

When There Is No Queen in the Hive Bad Consequences Follow

In 2013, Dr Elizabeth Rata, Associate Professor of Education at the University of Auckland was quoted in the NZ Herald:
New Zealand's school curriculum has been hollowed out of knowledge as academic learning is increasingly abandoned for a misguided focus on skills and the process of learning, an academic claims.  University of Auckland education associate professor Elizabeth Rata has launched a blistering attack on the NZ Curriculum, calling it a social experiment that will deprive Kiwi kids of intelligence.

Her award-winning article, The Politics of Knowledge in Education, published in today's paper, has reignited debate about what children should be taught at school.  In it, she writes that "one of the great puzzles in education today is what has happened to knowledge".

"Why does our national curriculum not mention content knowledge? Why is it all about skills, competencies, and values? For the past few decades many in education have worried about how to teach, and rightly so, but in doing so, we have taken our eyes off what to teach."
Her ideological opponents sneered.

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Voices Calling Us Out of the Wilderness

On Point

For years the mantra, "NZ has the world's best education" has been chanted by incompetent "educrats", bureaucrats and short-sighted teacher unions.  The truth, of course, is very different. 

Another recently released report, the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study confirms the sorry state of NZ education.

Among all the rhetoric and blameshifting is one of the real culprits--the 2007 NZ National Curriculum.  It is a document that continues to sell children and teachers short.  Sparse on actual content it makes "experience" central to teaching and learning rather than knowledge and skills.  We are in desperate need of well-trained, highly qualified, intelligent teachers who teach a content-rich curriculum where knowledge and skills are paramount.  We do not need "facilitators" who masquerade as teachers and elevate "child's experience" to the supposed cornerstone of all learning.

It will take leadership of conviction and purpose to make inroads into a system that needs a complete makeover.  Unless this happens we will be destined to revisit another round of hand-wringing accompanies by a plethora of reasons and excuses for further failures, delivered by "the experts" several years from now. 

Shane Kennedy
Principal, Manukau Christian School

Advent Meditation

Bethlehem’s Supernatural Star

“Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.” (Matthew 2:2)

John Piper

Over and over the Bible baffles our curiosity about just how certain things happened. How did this “star” get the magi from the east to Jerusalem?

It does not say that it led them or went before them. It only says they saw a star in the east (verse 2), and came to Jerusalem. And how did that star go before them in the little five-mile walk from Jerusalem to Bethlehem as verse 9 says it did? And how did a star stand “over the place where the Child was”?

The answer is: We do not know. There are numerous efforts to explain it in terms of conjunctions of planets or comets or supernovas or miraculous lights. We just don’t know. And I want to exhort you not to become preoccupied with developing theories that are only tentative in the end and have very little spiritual significance.

I risk a generalization to warn you: People who are exercised and preoccupied with such things as how the star worked and how the Red Sea split and how the manna fell and how Jonah survived the fish and how the moon turns to blood are generally people who have what I call a mentality for the marginal. You do not see in them a deep cherishing of the great central things of the gospel — the holiness of God, the ugliness of sin, the helplessness of man, the death of Christ, justification by faith alone, the sanctifying work of the Spirit, the glory of Christ’s return and the final judgment. They always seem to be taking you down a sidetrack with a new article or book. There is little centered rejoicing.

But what is plain concerning this matter of the star is that it is doing something that it cannot do on its own: it is guiding magi to the Son of God to worship him.  There is only one Person in biblical thinking that can be behind that intentionality in the stars — God himself.  So the lesson is plain: God is guiding foreigners to Christ to worship him. And he is doing it by exerting global — probably even universal — influence and power to get it done.

Luke shows God influencing the entire Roman Empire so that the census comes at the exact time to get a virgin to Bethlehem to fulfill prophecy with her delivery. Matthew shows God influencing the stars in the sky to get foreign magi to Bethlehem so that they can worship him.  This is God’s design. He did it then. He is still doing it now. His aim is that the nations — all the nations (Matthew 24:14) — worship his Son.

This is God’s will for everybody in your office at work, and in your neighborhood and in your home. As John 4:23 says, “Such the Father seeks to worship him.”

At the beginning of Matthew we still have a “come-see” pattern. But at the end the pattern is “go-tell.” The magi came and saw. We are to go and tell.  But what is not different is that the purpose of God is the ingathering of the nations to worship his Son. The magnifying of Christ in the white-hot worship of all nations is the reason the world exists.

Why Johnny Can't Read

Resolute Ignorance

New Zealand schools are failing.  The sad thing is that it is not going to change in a hurry.  In focus at the moment is reading and writing.  According to a NZ Herald Editorial,
The news that our children's reading abilities are slipping should be a wake-up call.  For the first time in 15 years, not only have we been overtaken by similar countries, but our literacy levels have actually regressed.  New Zealand dropped 10 places (to 32 out of 50 countries) in the latest international Pirls reading test for 10-year-olds — putting us below the global median.

Once again, we have a large gap between the results of the rich and poor — largely characterised by the shameful "tail" of Maori and Pacific children allowed to fall behind their Pakeha peers.  That is a trend we have known about for a long time, and done a limited amount to fix.  But the numbers also revealed something new — Pakeha children's reading skills are also falling. In fact, Pakeha literacy slid most steeply, down 13 points to an average score of 545.  [NZ Herald]
The government education system will not be able to correct this.  It is too hidebound.  It has set a course and it is not likely to backtrack.  There is too much ideological investment in the present direction.  Without humble pie being eaten in prodigious quantities, nothing will change.  Institutional inertia and vested interests will see to that.

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

The Shouts of War

The sacramental host of God's elect is warring still on earth, Jesus Christ being the Captain of their salvation.  He has said, "Lo! I am with you alway, even to the end of the world." 

Hark to the shouts of war!  Now let the people of God stand fast in their ranks, and let no man's heart fail him.  It is true that just now in England the battle is turned against us, and unless the Lord Jesus shall lift his sword, we know not what may become of the church of God in this land; but let us be of good courage and play the man.

Charles H. Spurgeon (1866)

This warning and exhortation is as relevant today as when Spurgeon wrote it 150 years ago.  In fact the war of which Spurgeon speaks has not lessened; it has intensified.  Let us pray for our Lord of the hosts to lift his sword again, and again, and again.

Advent Meditation

Messiah for the Magi

Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews?” (Matthew 2:1–2)

John Piper

Unlike Luke, Matthew does not tell us about the shepherds coming to visit Jesus in the stable. His focus is immediately on foreigners coming from the east to worship Jesus.

So Matthew portrays Jesus at the beginning and ending of his Gospel as a universal Messiah for the nations, not just for Jews.  Here the first worshipers are court magicians or astrologers or wise men not from Israel but from the East — perhaps from Babylon. They were Gentiles. Unclean.

And at the end of Matthew, the last words of Jesus are, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations.”

This not only opened the door for us Gentiles to rejoice in the Messiah, it added proof that he was the Messiah. Because one of the repeated prophecies was that the nations and kings would, in fact, come to him as the ruler of the world. For example, Isaiah 60:3, “Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.”

So Matthew adds proof to the messiahship of Jesus and shows that he is messiah — a King, and Promise-Fulfiller — for all the nations, not just Israel.

Free Speech Only For Those Approved

A Pot Calling a Kettle Black

One of the enduring characteristics of the modern liberal is his intolerance.  He demands free speech for himself and censorship for everyone else.  Particularly, those who have contrary views must be silenced.  

There are a variety of ways to silence opponents.  One is to rabble rouse and express paroxysms of anger.  Then, in a clever sleight of hand, one transfers the guilt and responsibility for one's anger to the one who made one angry.   "You make me so angry, the authorities must issue a silencing order, an indictment, a fine, a prison sentence. It matters not, but pay you must."

In a more educated age, such sleights of hand would have been mocked out of existence.

Another way to silence opponents is to ascend a soap box and issue a fatwa against the offensive speaker by presuming to pity those who have ostensibly taken offence.  "How dare you offend so many people!  You are an anti-social bigot.  You are doing great harm to others.  You must be silenced for your offensive speech."

A third variant is to trot out an ultimate mover and shaker: the spectre of "hate-speech".  The problem with "hate-speech" of course is that one's guilt is determined by the perceptions and  reactions of others.  One will claim to be "triggered" by your words.  In this context, "triggered" means jumping off the deep end and alleging that someone's speech had dredged up all kinds of bad memories, fears, and vulnerabilities.  Others will claim to be deeply hurt and offended by one's allegedly hateful speech.  Others will claim not to be offended on their own account, but on behalf of someone else.  And so it rolls.

In New Zealand we have a resident hater who writes opinion columns for the NZ Herald.  Clearly she hates big corporates.  She writes with invective laced passion against companies like Fonterra who, to her  mind, are responsible for most of what ails the human race.  Here's a sample:

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

The God of the West

The Pervasive Influence of Humanism

Society is shaped by humanist concepts such as existentialism, a philosophy which emphasises individual existence, freedom and choice.  It expresses the view that human beings live in an irrational universe, that life has no essential purpose and that we must make our own meaning by exercising personal freedom and choice.  People with this worldview believe that they are not answerable to anyone but themselves.

In such societies people pursue experiences, pleasure and instant gratification.  It is all about the here and now, and looking and feeling good. 

Other terms can also be used to describe aspects of a humanist society: narcissism (to love oneself above all else); hedonism (the pursuit of sensual pleasure and avoidance of any discomfort); relativism (having no absolute truth); and postmodernism (living according to what you feel is right for you).  In societies which are influenced by these ways of thinking, where right and wrong are considered merely relatives, some injustices and sins are ignored or overlooked and some are even celebrated. 

The Church has not been immune from this and there are elements within the Church that have been influenced by this prevailing humanist culture.

[Patrick Sookhdeo, The New Civic Religion: Humanism and the Future of Christianity (MacLean, Virginia: Isaac Publishing, 2016),  p.94.]

Advent Meditation

Peace to Those With Whom He’s Pleased

“And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2:12–14)

John Piper

Peace for whom? There is a somber note sounded in the angels’ praise. Peace among men on whom his favor rests. Peace among men with whom he is pleased. Without faith it is impossible to please God. So Christmas does not bring peace to all.

“This is the judgment,” Jesus said, “that the light has come into the world and men loved darkness rather than the light because their deeds are evil.” Or as the aged Simeon said when he saw the child Jesus, “Behold this child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel and for a sign that is spoken against . . . that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” O, how many there are who look out on a bleak and chilly Christmas day and see no more than that.

“He came to his own and his own received him not, but to as many as received him to them gave he power to become the sons of God, to as many as believed on his name.” It was only to his disciples that Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

The people who enjoy the peace of God that surpasses all understanding are those who in everything by prayer and supplication let their requests be made known to God.

The key that unlocks the treasure chest of God’s peace is faith in the promises of God. So Paul prays, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing.” And when we do trust the promises of God and have joy and peace and love, then God is glorified.

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men with whom he is pleased — men who would believe.

10-80 Poisoning in New Zealand

At Last Some Progress on an Interminable Argument

New Zealand is one of the last countries in the world to use 10-80 poison.  The government drops This poison in pellet form from helicopters throughout the bush and farmland to kill off possums--a destructive pest.  For years deer stalkers and others have complained that the poison is also consumed by deer--which then go on to die painful deaths.  Others have complained that birds also are vulnerable to 10-80.

This poison is used sparingly in a few countries of the world  (Australia, some states in the United States, the Galapagos Islands, Israel and Japan).  New Zealand is the biggest user of the poison.

Those opposing the use of 10-80 have never been in a position to prove that deer and birds are susceptible to aerially dropped 10-80.  It is all allegation, conjecture, or mistaken claims of causation.  Or, at least, that is how their "narrative" gets dismissed.

Now, for the first time we are aware of, some comprehensive (albeit, initial) research is being undertaken.

Monday, 11 December 2017


A Full Life

A Man Who Lived 52 Years Longer Than Doctors Expected

Scott Yeoman
NZ Herald

Christopher John Ranby: June 7, 1945 – November 20, 2017

Christopher Ranby was never expected to live longer than 20 years.  He was born in 1945 in Christchurch with an intellectual disability after having a brain haemorrhage due to a lack of oxygen at birth.

Against all odds, Christopher lived a long, inspiring life right up until less than two weeks ago when, aged 72, he died in his sleep.

"My mother was told to lock Christopher away and forget about him," Dr Allison Oosterman says of her older brother's start in life.  "Doctors told her that Christopher wouldn't live beyond 20 but he defied doctors and lived to 72."

It was a different time in the 1950s, Allison says, with no state provision of housing, training or assistance for children with intellectual disabilities and their families.

Advent Meditation

No Detour from Calvary

And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. (Luke 2:6–7)

John Piper

Now you would think that if God so rules the world as to use an empire-wide census to bring Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem, he surely could have seen to it that a room was available in the inn.

Yes, he could have. And Jesus could have been born into a wealthy family. He could have turned stone into bread in the wilderness. He could have called 10,000 angels to his aid in Gethsemane. He could have come down from the cross and saved himself. The question is not what God could do, but what he willed to do.

God’s will was that though Christ was rich, yet for your sake he became poor. The “No Vacancy” signs over all the motels in Bethlehem were for your sake. “For your sake he became poor” (2 Corinthians 8:9).

God rules all things — even motel capacities — for the sake of his children. The Calvary road begins with a “No Vacancy” sign in Bethlehem and ends with the spitting and scoffing of the cross in Jerusalem.

And we must not forget that he said, “He who would come after me must deny himself and take up his cross.”  We join him on the Calvary road and hear him say, “Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you” (John 15:20).

To the one who calls out enthusiastically, “I will follow you wherever you go!” Jesus responds, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.”

Yes, God could have seen to it that Jesus have a room at his birth. But that would have been a detour off the Calvary road.

The Ghost of Jo McCarthy Rides Again

A Small Matter

We once watched actress Zoe Wanamaker describe the acute travail suffered by her father and family during the Joe McCarthy "Reds under beds" allegations and "investigations" in the fifties.  Eventually the Wanamaker family decamped from the United States to the UK.  America's loss was the UK's gain.

We are now left wondering whether a new form of McCarthyism is presently sweeping across the United States.  A Guardian writer has been lamenting the summary firing of NBC's Matt Lauer over sexual misconduct allegations.  We wonder whether columnist Jill Filopovic's mind was properly engaged when she wrote lines such as:
We must deal with complexity of admiring a man – and accepting that he may have done something awful

. . . . the latest in a string of high-profile men brought down by accusations of handsiness or inappropriate behavior toward female colleagues.

This is new. And it’s a feminist victory.
Ah, but is it true?

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Orwellian Madness

Gender Agnosticism

Pediatrician: Revealing Your Baby’s Sex Might Traumatize Him In Later Life

Dr. Leena Nahata, a pediatric endocrinologist at the highly ranked Nationwide Children’s Hospital, is sounding the alarm about the ‘gender reveal’ phenomenon.

Mary Hasson
The Federalist

The medical establishment is losing its bearings. Caught in the twilight zone of transgender alt-reality, where hurt feelings matter more than hard science, America’s pediatricians see a new threat on the horizon.

In the November 2017 issue of Pediatrics, Dr. Leena Nahata, a pediatric endocrinologist at the highly ranked Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, sounds the alarm about the “gender reveal” phenomenon. She warns that a sonogram posted to Facebook, or a party to announce the unborn child’s sex, is a hazard to “pediatric health.” So is the traditional delivery room cry of “It’s a girl!” or “It’s a boy!” Why? Because “there are scenarios in which a sex assignment may later be questioned or reversed, leading to a significant amount of distress.”

Nahata isn’t concerned about blurry sonograms that fail to capture anatomical details.

Daily Meditation

For God’s Little People

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. (Luke 2:1–5)

John Piper

Have you ever thought what an amazing thing it is that God ordained beforehand that the Messiah be born in Bethlehem (as the prophecy in Micah 5 shows); and that he so ordained things that when the time came, the Messiah’s mother and legal father were living in Nazareth; and that in order to fulfill his word and bring two little people to Bethlehem that first Christmas, God put it in the heart of Caesar Augustus that all the Roman world should be enrolled each in his own town?

Have you ever felt, like me, little and insignificant in a world of seven billion people, where all the news is of big political and economic and social movements and of outstanding people with lots of power and prestige?

If you have, don’t let that make you disheartened or unhappy. For it is implicit in Scripture that all the mammoth political forces and all the giant industrial complexes, without their even knowing it, are being guided by God, not for their own sake but for the sake of God’s little people — the little Mary and the little Joseph who have to be got from Nazareth to Bethlehem. God wields an empire to bless his children.

Do not think, because you experience adversity, that the hand of the Lord is shortened. It is not our prosperity but our holiness that he seeks with all his heart. And to that end, he rules the whole world. As Proverbs 21:1 says, “The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will.”

He is a big God for little people, and we have great cause to rejoice that, unbeknownst to them, all the kings and presidents and premiers and chancellors of the world follow the sovereign decrees of our Father in heaven, that we, the children, might be conformed to the image of his Son, Jesus Christ.

The "Freedom" of Secular Humanism

. . . And In the Darkness Bind Them

Secular humanism and atheism commenced their campaign to "rule them all" by appealing to tolerance and liberty.  People, we were told,  should be free to embrace causes and ethics which recognize and respect atheist and humanist beliefs in the public square.  The first step represented a "feel good" stage.  The opposition was cast as illiberal and stingy.  In particular Christians were cast as bigots, narrow minded, and holding to outdated, non-scientific beliefs. 

The UK provides a case study of how this has unfolded and played out in the West.  Marriage and family was the first battleground.  At first, under the cloak of freedom, toleration of homosexuality was gradually extended throughout the UK.  In 1967 homosexual acts were legalised in  England and Wales (subsequently extended to Scotland in 1980 and Northern Ireland in 1982.)  In 2001 the age of consent for homosexual acts was lowered to 16 years old. 

The acceptance of homosexuality and homosexual acts was then fleshed out (still under the banner of liberty and freedom).  In 2002 the Adoption and Children Act allowed unmarried and same-sex couples to adopt children.

Friday, 8 December 2017

Meanwhile, Back in the Real World

The Trump Presidency Isn't Nearly As Bad As It Sounds

Amid the miasma of manufactured controversies, lurid distractions and conspiracy theories, Trump’s presidency is, as Mark Twain is supposed to have said of Wagner’s music, “better than it sounds.”

By Rich Lowry

The president of the United States wakes up some mornings seemingly determined to convince as many people as possible that he’s unsuited to high office.  Fortunately for him, he has a Twitter account allowing him to act on this impulse immediately and without any filter.

On Wednesday [last week], Trump retweeted three videos from an apparatchik of an extremist party in Britain purporting to show acts of violence by Muslims. One of them is reportedly a fake—it’s not clear the perpetrator is a Muslim.

He followed up with a tweet calling for the firing of “Morning Joe” host Joe Scarborough on the basis of a noxious conspiracy theory. (A woman with a heart condition died in Scarborough’s district office when he was a congressman. Ever since, a kooky fringe has accused him of murder.)

It’s difficult to exaggerate how mind-blowing these tweets are.

If a friend on Facebook shared the fake Muslim video, you’d hesitate to credit any of his opinions going forward, let alone bestow on him the biggest megaphone on Planet Earth.  If a candidate for town council called for an investigation of Scarborough for allegedly murdering one of his interns, you’d doubt his fitness to decide whether to approve a zoning permit for an Applebee’s, let alone to wield the world’s most fearsome nuclear arsenal.

Yet Trump’s presidency operates on a largely separate track than his Twitter feed and his other off-script interjections and pronouncements. His domestic policy is so conventional that it could have been cooked up by Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell—and, in fact, it was. He’s pursued a largely status quo foreign policy, except more cautious than Barack Obama’s and, especially, George W. Bush’s.

Amid the miasma of manufactured controversies, lurid distractions and conspiracy theories, Trump’s presidency is, as Mark Twain is supposed to have said of Wagner’s music, “better than it sounds.”

Daily Meditation

The Long-Awaited Visitation

“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David, as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old, that we should be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us...” (Luke 1:68–71)

John Piper

Notice two remarkable things from these words of Zechariah in Luke 1.

First, nine months earlier, Zechariah could not believe his wife would have a child. Now, filled with the Holy Spirit, he is so confident of God’s redeeming work in the coming Messiah that he puts it in the past tense. For the mind of faith, a promised act of God is as good as done. Zechariah has learned to take God at his word and so has a remarkable assurance: “God has visited and redeemed!”

Second, the coming of Jesus the Messiah is a visitation of God to our world: “The God of Israel has visited and redeemed.” For centuries, the Jewish people had languished under the conviction that God had withdrawn: the spirit of prophecy had ceased, Israel had fallen into the hands of Rome. And all the godly in Israel were awaiting the visitation of God. Luke tells us in 2:25 that the devout Simeon was “looking for the consolation of Israel.” And in Luke 2:38 the prayerful Anna was “looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.”

These were days of great expectation. Now the long awaited visitation of God was about to happen — indeed, he was about to come in a way no one expected.

Idiots All

Climate Change Orthodoxy Creates Perverse Blindness

Folk appear to be a bit "challenged" in South Australia.  Greenist politicians are dedicated to creating a robust electricity network which will comply with Global Warming orthodoxy, on the one hand, and which will deliver sound, stable, continuous electricity, on the other.  The state has suffered in recent years from massive power outages caused by what wags are calling Greenist Power Gridlock.  Its a terrible affliction.

It's not that South Australia cannot access or generate sufficient electricity if it chose to do so.  Rather, the electricity must be green.  It must be generated by technologies and methods which comply with Greenist orthodoxy.

One of the wacky-do "solutions" has seen South Australia commission a Gigantor Battery built and installed by Elon Musk of Tesla fame.  Musk's core business is not cars, but what is called colloquially Grant Farming.  He is super skilled at extracting funding and subsidies from fleeced taxpayers all over the world. 

One of our local bloggers (Aussie based) wrote:

Thursday, 7 December 2017

The School Is Not a Parent, Nor a Parent Substitute

In a Fight

John Lewis
Otago Daily Times

A Dunedin school principal is increasingly concerned by the social expectations imposed on schools - and says some parents need to take more responsibility for their children's actions.  During the recent King's High School senior prizegiving, rector Dan Reddiex praised his present cohort of pupils for their outstanding achievements during the year, but went on to express deep concern about the future of education in New Zealand.

He said the school's ability to educate boys "in mind and in heart" was under threat.  "Alarmingly, in my view, we are increasingly becoming as much a social institution as we are an educational one.  The expectations imposed upon us now as a school, to attend to and reverse the ills of our society, are completely unrealistic and they are beyond our resource capability."

Advent Meditation

Mary’s Magnificent God

“My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate; he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his offspring forever.” (Luke 1:46–55)

John Piper

Mary sees clearly a most remarkable thing about God: He is about to change the course of all human history; the most important three decades in all of time are about to begin.

And where is God? Occupying himself with two obscure, humble women — one old and barren (Elizabeth), one young and virginal (Mary). And Mary is so moved by this vision of God, the lover of the lowly, that she breaks out in song — a song that has come to be known as “the Magnificat” (Luke 1:46–55).

Mary and Elizabeth are wonderful heroines in Luke’s account. He loves the faith of these women. The thing that impresses him most, it appears, and the thing he wants to impress on Theophilus, his noble reader, is the lowliness and cheerful humility of Elizabeth and Mary.

Elizabeth says (Luke 1:43), “And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord would come to me?” And Mary says (Luke 1:48), “He has looked on the humble estate of his servant.”

The only people whose soul can truly magnify the Lord are people like Elizabeth and Mary — people who acknowledge their lowly estate and are overwhelmed by the condescension of the magnificent God.

The Great Ejection

A Self-Imposed Famine

There are many legacies which have been passed down from Oliver Cromwell and the Puritan revolutionaries.  Some have continued to influence the churches in England to this day.  One of the most significant and long lasting arose out of the Conventicles Act (1664) which banned Nonconformist or Puritan worship from Henry's Church of England.

There was to be one national church; other churches were not recognised after 1660.
Thus, non-Anglicans were forced to conform to the Church of England or give up public office.  About 1,000 ministers (one in six) gave up their livings, and about 2,000 clergy and teachers were ejected.  Charles (II)'s attempts to circumvent this legislation were blocked.  Intended to restore unity, these acts on the contrary created a permanent religious schism in England, the long-term legacy of the Civil War.  [Robert Tombs, The English and Their History (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2015), p. 253.]
State churches were and will ever be an oxymoron.  They do not survive--at least with any evidence of sustained spiritual life.  It is not drawing too long a bow to observe that the fruits of the Great Ejection are still being borne in the Church of England.

The modern Anglican church in the UK remains largely bereft of spiritual life: the one sign of spiritual life rests with the Evangelical wing.

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow (On Criminal Justice)

False Witness

Douglas Wilson
Blog & Mablog


For Christians who want to be biblically grounded, the sin and crime of bearing false witness is a very big deal. It is serious for two great reasons. The first is that it is a violation of God’s holy law, which reflects His character. It was by means of this particular evil; technique that the Lord Jesus was railroaded, and so all Christians who love Jesus should hate the kind of lies that took Him to the cross. The first reason is therefore love of God.

The second reason is that the tables of the law are connected, and we cannot love God whom we have not seen without loving our neighbor, whom we have seen (1 John 4:20). But who is my neighbor? as the fellow once asked. Your neighbor is of course the one who might be falsely convicted on the basis of a lie—and this really is a grievous evil.

But our neighbor is also the person who really has been violated, but who has difficulty getting people to believe her story. Genuine victims are abused by the one who abused them directly, but they are also abused by those liars who make every genuine accusation more difficult. And the problem here is not the responsible officials who suspend judgment until the investigation of a reported crime is complete. That is what Scripture requires of them. The problem is made worse by the liars who have corrupted the system. Victims who effectively cannot come forward are the victims of the perpetrators who violated them in the first instance, and in the second they are also victims of those who traffic in deceit.

Daily Meditation

Chant the War Song

The Lord mighty in battle.  Psalm 24:8

Charles H. Spurgeon

Well may our God be glorious in the eyes of his people, seeing that he has wrought such wonders for them, in them, and by them. For them, the Lord Jesus upon Calvary routed every foe, breaking all the weapons of the enemy in pieces by his finished work of satisfactory obedience; by his triumphant resurrection and ascension he completely overturned the hopes of hell, leading captivity captive, making a show of our enemies openly, triumphing over them by his cross. Every arrow of guilt which Satan might have shot at us is broken, for who can lay anything to the charge of God's elect? Vain are the sharp swords of infernal malice, and the perpetual battles of the serpent's seed, for in the midst of the church the lame take the prey, and the feeblest warriors are crowned.

The saved may well adore their Lord for his conquests in them, since the arrows of their natural hatred are snapped, and the weapons of their rebellion broken. What victories has grace won in our evil hearts! How glorious is Jesus when the will is subdued, and sin dethroned! As for our remaining corruptions, they shall sustain an equally sure defeat, and every temptation, and doubt, and fear, shall be utterly destroyed. In the Salem of our peaceful hearts, the name of Jesus is great beyond compare: he has won our love, and he shall wear it. Even thus securely may we look for victories by us.

We are more than conquerors through him that loved us. We shall cast down the powers of darkness which are in the world, by our faith, and zeal, and holiness; we shall win sinners to Jesus, we shall overturn false systems, we shall convert nations, for God is with us, and none shall stand before us. This evening let the Christian warrior chant the war song, and prepare for to-morrow's fight. Greater is he that is in us than he that is in the world.

One Way Or the Other . . .

May They Face Justice

This story has got to be one of the worst we have encountered over the past year.  It is blood-boiling stuff.  It involves liars, creeps, dissemblers, manipulators, and confidence tricksters.  In other words, it involves the leaders of our present government.

At this point, most readers will turn the page, thinking "So, what else is new.  Let's move along."  But for our own sanity we feel compelled to write about this.

The issue involves the dreaded Pike River Mine, inside which the remains of 29 dead miners have been left.  The mine is now sealed: flooded with methane, the risk of entry was assessed as too high. The previous government ruled that re-entry was too risky; it would endanger the safety of those entering.  Therefore, the mine would be sealed.  However, a small group of miner families, having lost loved ones, has pushed and pushed and pushed the government to re-enter the mine and retrieve the remains so that the families can put the tragedy to rest.  The rest of the mining families have made the better decision, humbled themselves, accepted reality and moved on.

In the recent election campaign three people, who can only be described as amoral creeps, sought to exploit the situation for political gain: Winston Peters, Andrew Little, and Jacinda Ardern.

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Diabolism Of The UN

UN "Human Rights" In Action

Commissioner Urges Abortion for Down Syndrome Babies

Thomas Williams
Breitbart London

A member of the United Nations Human Rights Committee has defended the use of abortion to eliminate babies with Down syndrome and other disabilities as a “preventive measure” to “avoid the handicap.”

In a meeting of the U.N. Human Rights Committee this month, Mr. Yadh Ben Achour, a Tunisian lawyer and committee member, argued that one can be an advocate for handicapped people while still encouraging abortion in the case of fetuses with permanent disabilities.  Captured on videotape, the commissioner defended the inviolable right of women to an abortion, especially when her child has been diagnosed with Down syndrome or another disability.

Mr. Ben Achour said in French:
If you tell a woman, “Your child has Dow…” — what is it called? Down syndrome, Dawn syndrome — if you tell her that, or that he may have a handicap forever, for the rest of his life, you should make this woman… it should be possible for her to resort to abortion to avoid the handicap as a preventive measure:
While describing himself as “an ardent defender of the handicapped,” Ben Achour insisted that the State must do everything possible to protect the handicapped “and ensure they have a life, a possible living.”

“But that does not mean that we have to accept to let a disabled fetus live,” he said. “This is a preventive measure.”

Advocating the abortion of handicapped children “doesn’t mean that we are against the disabled or that we won’t help the disabled when born disabled,” Ben Achour said.  The commissioner went on to contend that the key difference lies in catching the disability before the child is born so that it can be aborted because afterward society is obliged to defend the child’s right to live—even if the child has a genetic anomaly.

“So this is where we will find the difference between the birth of the human being. Once he is born, it is finished; with a handicap or without a handicap, he must live and we must protect absolutely, in an absolute manner, his right to life,” he said.  “So us, we defend the right of the handicapped, but, but we can avoid the handicaps, and we must do everything we can to avoid them,” he added. “And it is not contradictory.”

In response to Mr. Ben Achour’s speech, a young woman with Down syndrome made her own YouTube video in response, suggesting that the commissioner apologize for his “horrible comments.”

“I’m a human being just like you,” said the woman, identified only as Charlotte. “Our only difference is an extra chromosome.”

“My extra chromosome makes me far more tolerant than you, sir,” she said. “If any other heritable traits, like skin color, were used to eradicate a group of people, the world would cry out. Why are you not crying out when people like me are being made extinct? What have we done to make you want us to disappear?”

“As far as I know, my community doesn’t hate, discriminate, or commit crimes,” Charlotte said. “What you are suggesting is eugenics. It’s disgusting and evil.”

“You need to apologize for your horrible comments,” the woman continued. “You should also be removed from the Human Rights Committee as an expert. You are not an expert about Down syndrome. You, sir, do not speak for my community.”

“I will fight for our right to exist for the rest of my life,” she said.

Daily Meditation

The Seduction of Spiritual Pride

Screwtape shows Wormwood how to transform a minor trespass into a major sin

C. S. Lewis

Success here depends on confusing him. If you try to make him explicitly and professedly proud of being a Christian, you will probably fail; the Enemy’s warnings are too well known.

If, on the other hand, you let the idea of ‘we Christians’ drop out altogether and merely make him complacent about ‘his set’, you will produce not true spiritual pride but mere social vanity which, by comparison, is a trumpery, puny little sin. What you want is to keep a sly self-congratulation mixing with all his thoughts and never allow him to raise the question ‘What, precisely, am I congratulating myself about?’

The idea of belonging to an inner ring, of being in a secret, is very sweet to him. Play on that nerve. Teach him, using the influence of this girl when she is silliest, to adopt an air of amusement at the things the unbelievers say. Some theories which he may meet in modern Christian circles may here prove helpful; theories, I mean, that place the hope of society in some inner ring of ‘clerks’, some trained minority of theocrats. It is no affair of yours whether those theories are true or false; the great thing is to make Christianity a mystery religion in which he feels himself one of the initiates.

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.

What's the Harm With a Little Deceit?

Lies For the Greater Good

Truth is a precious jewel.  But why?  Because the Living God has declared, "Thou shalt not bear false witness".  The Bible is unequivocal on the matter: "there are six things which the Lord hates; yea, seven which are an abomination to him--haughty eyes, a lying tongue . . . " [Proverbs 6: 16,17]

But if you happen to be someone who does not fear God, what then?  Lying, fraud, deception and so forth have no sanction against them.  There is no standard by which lying can be condemned.  Rather, if you can get away with it, go for it.  So our present evil world reasons--and cogently.

It is said that in the East lying is automatic, reflexive, and no problem at all if one can get away with it.  In the West, a lingering tradition of Christian truth has meant that publicly lying is not generally endorsed or celebrated.  But in the Muslim world, lying or practising taqiyya towards an infidel or one's wife is perfectly acceptable, even meritorious.

The Greens, in particular, appear to be a political party beset with lies.

Monday, 4 December 2017

When Accusations Serve As Evidence

Understanding the Times

Douglas Wilson

. . . . It cannot be denied that we live in a time when our culture believes, and many Christian leaders unfortunately echo it, that it is our duty to simply say "I believe you" to any woman who accuses any man. No investigation necessary. This is a false, pernicious, and wicked lie. But we also live in a generation, catechized as it has been by porn, where genuine abuse between the sexes is by no means unusual, and where powerful leaders know how to circle the wagons to protect their own. Many of the accusations are true. But to refuse to sort them out is not to fight the corruption, but in fact it is to surrender to it.

True Christian courage is the kind that is willing to stand up to any mob that wants to bypass due process. And true Christian courage is also willing to stand up to any entrenched power-brokers who want to carve out sexual perks for their martinets. But in doing this, the Spirit must provide the courage, and the Scriptures must provide the definitions of justice.