Saturday, 30 July 2011

Studies in I Samuel

Saul's Slide Begins

Expository - Book of Samuel
Written by Douglas Wilson
Saturday, July 23, 2011

I Samuel 13


God is the Lord of all things—and this means that He is Lord of both the inside and the outside of a man. Sin loves to divide them in two, and yet God does not permit it. True faith begins on the inside, but does not rest content until the outside is brought under. If you start with the outside of the cup, what you almost always wind up with is a clean outside and putrid contents. As we seek to live as consistent Christians, we must take into account the example of King Saul.

Salute the Beckhams

Choosing Life, Not Death

When a culture turns away from the Lord and giver of Life, it ends up championing death.  The transformation is normally not immediate, but gradual.  Nevertheless, it is ineluctable.  The particular manifestation of death-devotion can vary.  As Germany transformed from a Christian nation to a champion of Enlightenment rationalism and idealism, it eventually elected a government which went on to exterminate six million Jews and millions of Gentiles--all in the name of the Volk and its superior "life".

The West generally has championed death through a perverse celebration of human rights.

Friday, 29 July 2011

Douglas Wilson's Letter From America

Another Plate of Sausages

Culture and Politics - Politics
Written by Douglas Wilson
Thursday, July 28, 2011

I don't often commend Republicans, so let me do so here. Throw in all of the qualifications -- not all of them, they could still flake, and so on -- and yet a commendation is still in order.

There are times when countries run out of money/credit absolutely. The cash is simply not there anymore, and hello, Greece. There are other times when it becomes obvious that they are going to run out of money/credit down the road sometime . . . obvious to anyone who is willing to do the math. In the latter instance, it always requires political courage to act now on the basis of math that concerns the future.

The Bollard Doctrine

Hide Behind the Eight-Ball

Faced with mounting evidence of inflation at every hand, the Governor of the Reserve Bank, Alan Bollard today opted boldly to do nothing.  New Zealand official cash interest rates remain at artificial, historic lows.  Dr Bollard cited global uncertainty and the soaring New Zealand dollar to record highs as justification for his sitting-on-hands repose. 

The higher the dollar rises, the lower the prices of imports, keeping inflationary pressure down--which is to say, obscured.  Despite this, food price inflation is reported to be running at nine percent. 

It would appear that the good Governor may have forgotten Goodhart's Law.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Greenism Browning Off

Is Environmentalism on its way out?  It would appear, at least, that some fundamental realignments and even paradigm changes might be emerging.  Stephen F. Hayward brings us up to speed on the latest happenings down at the Greenist in-house conventions.  Heretics have been seen roaming the halls.

US Responsible for Atrocity

The Deadly Long Bow

It's clear.  There is no doubt about it.  At least if you are equipped with one of the very long bows that the useful idiots in the media all seem to possess.  The United States is responsible--to some degree--for Breivik's murderous rampage in Norway.  It is high time that the US scrapped its founding documents. 

OK, so the very long extended bow of the media did not quite stretch this far--but it needs to, to maintain a shred of credibility.  Over the weekend, the logic of the media in the US ran like this:

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Broadly Nonsense

Slow Motion Disintegration

A Labour administration in Australia knows its in serious trouble when cheerleading media such as the Sydney Morning Herald give up on the government.  Paul Sheehan is a columnist and editorial writer for the Herald.  He is frustrated with Julia.  Climate change legislation is looking like a deadly torpedo heading straight for Julia's midships.  It's staggering that a minority government would have attempted such a radical and revolutionary shift in the country's direction.  For some reason, known only to her, Gillard apparently thought that the support of a few flaky independents and the Greens, forged around a commitment to tax carbon, represented a Grand Alliance.  Pity she forgot about the electorate.

Enlightenment Claptrap

Forcing People to be "Free"

Paul Holmes, one of the great liberal lions of our time, wants to Ban the Burqa in New Zealand.  Maybe it's a "short man syndrome" thing but Paul thinks that President Sarkozy of France has it right. 
The French, in overwhelming numbers right through their legislative process, banned them [burkas] in April.  Said Nicolas Sarkozy, "In our country we cannot accept that women can be prisoners behind a screen, cut off from all social life, deprived of all identity." That says it all, really.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

The Legacy of a Post Modern Prophet

Splendid Images, Skin Deep

When we were ensconced in the ivory towers completing our grad and post-grad work, Marshall McLuhan was a name to conjure.   He was "framed" according the academic narratives of the day as a prophet who was discerning the depths of the emerging technological culture, foreseeing the impact of mass media upon us all.  To evoke McLuhan in an intellectual discussion was chic.  To quote him was an intellectual tour de force.   

Alan Jacobs, writing in the New Atlantis, evalutates McLuhan and his legacy.  The distillate?  Nothing much left, really.  To quote a modern poet, "Ain't it funny how times slips away."   Here are some of the more scintillating observations made by Jacobs.

A Darwinist Uberman

 Zarathustra Has Spoken in Norway

When news of the Norwegian mass murderer surfaced, the chattering classes, the media, and the Commentariat were quick to react.  Able quickly to dismiss the canard of Islamic terrorism, the narrative changed. Suddenly,  Anders Behring Breivik was a right wing fundamentalist Christian.  That has had more sticking traction.  At least thirty-six hours.  So it will now inevitably go down as cold hard fact.

Would that the truth were so congenial.  Sufficient time has elapsed to discover and read Breivik's Manifesto.  The Commentariat and its supine media have gone strangely silent.  Having framed the narrative, it is now time to move on to other matters it would seem.

It turns out, however, that Breivik--far from being a Christian--is a self-confessed apostate.

Monday, 25 July 2011

Douglas Wilson's Letter From America

The Baseball Cap of Punditry

Culture and Politics - Sex and Culture
Written by Douglas Wilson
Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Let us talk about the problem of Marcus Todd, and by this I am not referring to what ought to be the name of an upscale men's clothier, but rather to the problem of Marcus Bachmann and Todd Palin.

Anyone with an Internet connection and an interest in politics should know that in the last week there has been an incident on the playground involving Marcus Bachmann. The aspect of it that interests me is the enthusiasm with which the progs (my autocorrect tried to change this to prigs, but that would be an entirely different although equally fruitful line of discussion) began to attack the sexuality of Marcus, alleging that he is gayer than a unicorn covered with glitter.

Counting Noses

Principles of Convenience

Owning dairy farms is a risky business in New Zealand, particularly if you are Chinese.  Despite the louidly trumpeted free trade agreement between NZ and China, whenever a Chinese conglomerate attempts to buy dairy farms in this country we are instant xenophobes.

The worm, however, has turned.  Fonterra, New Zealand's monopoly owner/controller of the dairy industry, announced this week that it was buying another dairy farm, at a cost just short of NZ $50m, its third--in China!  These are not family farms.  They are huge industrial enterprises.  According to the NZ Herald:  
Construction of the third farm, which would train and employ about 100 local people, was expected to start in November and be completed by late next year.  The 40ha free stall dairy farm was expected to increase Fonterra's overall milk production in China to around 90 million litres a year.

The first farm was operational but had not reached full stable state production, while the second farm was expected to be fully commissioned by the end of the October, Moore said.  The farms would be capable of managing about 3000-3200 milking cows, with an initial production target of 28-30 million litres a year each. 
Predictably there has been an outpouring of splenetic rage in New Zealand.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

The Religion of Oprah

The Good News is You!

The following is a truncated summary of:

O Sister, What Art Thou: Kathryn Lofton on the Religion of Oprah

By Genevieve Walker–
Published in The New York Review of Ideas

The article deals with the Oprah phenomenon as the propagation of a self-salvation Gospel. It consists of an extended interview with author Kathryn Lofton, and a review of her latest book, Oprah: The Gospel of an Icon.

The Deathy Hallows

 Maintaining Perspective

. . . a single organic farm in Germany has recently killed more people than have all the nuclear power plants Germany is rushing to shut down.

Standing up to Pope Carl
By Steven F. Hayward

A Necessary Evil

Poverty is A Requirement of Modern Life

Our Lord said that we would always have the poor with us.  We never imagined how those words would be twisted and perverted by modern Unbelief.  The prevailing narrative of state exacted redistribution of property to achieve equality (or as near to it as possible) requires that the poor be always with us--for propaganda purposes.  We repeat, the seize-and-redistribute property brigade requires a narrative where the poor perpetually exist.  How else could you justify perpetually increasing exactions of other people's property and assets?  How else could you maintain the politics of guilt and pity? 

One of our favorites in New Zealand is the inequality approach.

Friday, 22 July 2011

Douglas Wilson's Letter From America

He Will Come

Liturgy and Worship - Exhortation
Written by Douglas Wilson
Monday, July 18, 2011

Because we present arguments in the presentation of the gospel, we sometimes come to think that the outcome of matter rests upon those arguments. But God uses arguments -- He doesn't depend upon them. He doesn't lean on them.

The reason people resist and reject the gospel is because of willfulness, not because we have not yet assembled the perfect, knock-down argument. I am not arguing against arguments here -- Paul reasoned in the synagogues, and so should we. But it is the same with all the external things we may do -- pray, preach, send, ordain, plant, or reason. Unless God anoints it, you are praying to the ceiling, preaching to the air, sending a schlub, ordaining his brother, planting a religious club, and reasoning with a two-year-old. You are sweeping water uphill.

You are, in short, entirely dependent upon the Holy Spirit, who is a sovereign wind who blows where He pleases. And this means that when the reformation arrives, it will not be because we whistled Him up. That's the first thing to be settled in our minds. The second thing is that He will come. He promised.

Religious Freedom

That's Not What We Meant At All . . .

This event in Sydney reads like a scene out of Monty Python, except that it is not.  A thirty year old man converts to Wahhabism--the form of Islam that is regnant in Saudi Arabia.  He apparently doesn't take the tee-totalling fetish of Wahhabism seriously and has a bit of a tipple.  His new brothers-in-the-faith enter his flat at night and administer a thorough lashing to the backslider--over 40 corrective stripes.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Be Warned


"Whoever marries the spirit of the age will find himself a widower in the next."

William Inge, Dean of St Paul's Cathedral, d.1954

It's Official

China's Christian Explosion

[The article reprinted below is from the May edition of the OMF Newsletter.  The growth of the Christian church and the spread of the Gospel in China is now being officially acknowledged in government circles.  This brings some risks.  It also begs the question which many Western Christians have been asking for some years.  Since the West is turning away from the Lord, and the lights are going out on Western Christendom, will Asia in general, and China in particular, become the new Christendom of the next one thousand years of our Lord's reign?]

For many years leaders of China’s State-controlled church would cautiously tell foreign visitors that the number of Chinese Protestants, although growing, was still only “a tiny minority” of the population.

This year, leaders of the China Christian Council and the Three Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM) have issued the official statistic of 23 million registered Protestants in China. That is an amazing increase compared to less than one million in 1949 when the Communist Party took power. However, it is under 2% of the total population of 1.3 billion. So is the TSPM right in sticking to its story of a “tiny minority”?

Not if researchers and academics advising the government at the highest level are to be believed.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Green Elitism

A Luxury Only the Very Wealthy Can Afford

For years, Tasmania has been bedevilled by greenist, tree-huggers.  At present they enjoy more political power in that state than previously.  Industrial plant is being shut down.  But not to worry.  Tourism is what will save the day.  Clean, green tourism.  Sound familiar.  Sure does.

In an op-ed piece in the Sydney Morning Herald, Gerard Henderson argues that there is a strong streak of elitism at work here.  Elite, monied Greens telling everyone else how to live their lives and conduct their affairs.  That too sounds very familiar.

It's Fair, I Tell You!

Boasting in Curses

New Zealand lies under a curse.  Just how powerful a curse is made evident from time to time.  Here is the latest indication:  the current Minister of Finance boasting in Parliament about how few people in this country pay tax, and how steeply redistributive our taxation system has become.  This boasting comes from a leader in the so-called conservative, centre-right government! 

Here is the boast:

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Douglas Wilson's Letter From America

When the Veneer Peels

Culture and Politics - Sex and Culture
Written by Douglas Wilson
Sunday, July 17, 2011

A staple argument of homosex apologetics is that when the Bible condemns the vile behavior of the residents of Sodom, it was addressing the violent side of it -- the attempted rape of Lot's visitors. It does not address at all, so the argument goes, the kind of loving, caring, mutually affirming same sex relationships that we are are talking about today. You have to take context into account, you see, and there have been those who bought this argument. Simple Simon, after all, did go to the fair.

Blood Boiling Stuff

We Will Fight Them On the Beaches . . .

Some have said the abiding legacy of current Prime Minister, John Key will be that he single handedly managed to turn upstanding, decent New Zealand parents into criminals.  In this he has not just been a naive fool; he has done irreparable harm.

The organization Family First has just published a video detailing the damage done to families by the brute force of  tyrannical government.

Monday, 18 July 2011

It's Control, Stupid

Tin Foil Hats To Thwart Aliens

James Delingpole, one of the most effective and trenchant critics of the global warming rort, has written a book entitled, Watermelons: The Green Movement’s True Colors.  Charlie Cooke has written a review in the National Review, with the by-line, "When it comes to global warming, the issue is not about science, but about control".

The Promised Land, Part IV

Israel Must Return to the God of Its Ancient Fathers

Christians get confused over Israel.  We are commanded to have a longing for God's ancient people that they might come to Christ (Messiah), believe upon Him, and be saved.  Sadly this often "translates" into support the state of Israel at all costs.  We believe that this is a grave mistake. 

If God does not wink at the sins of nations, why should we wink at the sins of Israel?

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Douglas Wilson's Letter From America

Too Many Hypocrites in the Halls of Reason

The Odd Delusion
Written by Douglas Wilson
Tuesday, July 12, 2011

This is why I could never become an atheist or part of the skeptic community. Too many factions, divisions, snarls, petty fights, and so on. Worshipping the goddess Reason, they descend into frenzies of irrationality at the slightest provocation. I am tempted to say of them what Chesterton once observed about the enlightened ones at the French Revolution. They worshipped at the altar of the goddess Reason, when that was the deity who had smiled upon them least.

Klingon Cloaking Devices

Unmasked by Boat People

It was inevitable.  Sooner or later a boat filled with desperate people would set out from India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, whatever, for New Zealand.  We have been "protected" to date only by an accident of geography--New Zealand's relative distance.  Australia has faced the problem for decades. 

A group of Sri Lankan poor (allegedly Tamils previously caught up in the former civil war) have boarded a boat large enough to make it all the way here.  They have been declaring their intent to sail to New Zealand to seek asylum.  The Prime Minister has made dark hints that he has received intelligence briefings that leave him in no doubt that New Zealand was the intended destination.  Others have accused him of overreacting.  We believe Mr Key in this instance. 

The Commentariat is having conniptions.

Friday, 15 July 2011

The Promised Land, Part III

Getting Redemptive History Straight

We have argued that the modern nation state of Israel has nothing at all to do with biblical prophecy or with God's plans for the Jewish people.  It is just one more nation state, along with the 178 others.  It has no special claim to divine right or favour.  Like all other nations, if its inhabitants and citizens do not repent and believe it will eventually fall under the chastening and judgment of God.

But does the same apply to the Jewish people as a whole?  Here's where things get really interesting.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Douglas Wilson's Letter From America

My Old Friend, Controversy

Engaging the Culture - Moscow Diversity Cleansing
Written by Douglas Wilson
Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Inside Higher Ed has published a fair-minded piece on the resurgence of classical Christian education at the college level, which you can read more about here. Since New St. Andrews is featured prominently in that piece, and since NSA has among its founders a controversial figure (three guesses), and a portion of the article was dedicated to that particular item of interest, I thought to post just a few words on my old friend, controversy.

First, anybody who thinks that genuine reformation of education is possible without exciting this kind of controversy is like the person who wants to raft down the Grand Ronde without encountering any white water.

The Race Card and Wax Noses

It's Always About Control

Secular humanism--like all religions--has a list of cardinal sins, blasphemies if you will.  Since the West has established secular humanism as its official religion, one consequently risks severe penalty if one commits a cardinal sin against secular humanism. 

One of the cardinal sins is to be sexist. Actually, that is too generous.  The sin of discrimination against women is the real McCoy.  Miscreant Alisdair Thompson, in repeated outbursts of malice, was fired from his job for blasphemously arguing that women as a group are less productive in the workplace than men.  Yes, he had data and evidence and some facts, but to secular humanism and its high priests this is irrelevant.  Blasphemy is blasphemy.  He was "gone by lunchtime" as they say. 

A second cardinal sin of the established religion is racism--equally heinous.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

The Path to Cloud Cookoo Land

The Science is Not Settled

Sydney Morning Herald

July 3, 2011 - 10:21PM

IAN CHUBB says the climate change debate is not about politics but science. Would that it were so.
But it is not that simple, for there really are two matters at hand, namely the science relevant to global warming and the principle of sound empiricism and calm rational thought to determine important affairs of state (politics).

Alas, in the public debate about global warming, these principles of sound science and sound governance have become entwined with political self-interest by well-funded lobby groups of both the ''save the world'' and ''let's make money'' variety.

First, the science. The scientific method is a brilliantly successful technique for discovering, understanding and managing the world around us, born out of the fire of the European Enlightenment.  Sound science is based upon observation, experiment and the testing of hypotheses in the context of the principle of simplicity (often termed Occam's Razor).

The unvalidated computer models that now dominate the public face of climate ''science'' are a jungle of complexities, and represent speculative thought experiments not empirically tested science.

The Promised Land, Part II

Return to Sender--No Such Number, No Such Name

The modern state of Israel was carved out of the landscape of the Middle East in 1947.  Many Christians in the West saw this as a fulfilment of biblical prophecies.  They could not have been more mistaken.

Clearly the Bible speaks of a glorious future for Zion and for Israel.  But the Bible also speaks of how that glorious future has been fulfilled--and will be fulfilled in the future.  Is the modern day nation of Israel part of that fulfilment?  Let's lay out the Biblical teaching.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Studies in I Samuel

Not Where They Should Have Been

Expository - Book of Samuel
Written by Douglas Wilson
Saturday, July 02, 2011 8:21 am


God is sovereign and God is gracious, and this means that God takes you from where you are, and not from where you should have been. If we were standing around where we should have been, we wouldn’t need salvation. If we need salvation, we are not where we should have been. A godly response to this is always the same—cry out to the Lord. Trust in Him. Follow Him.


“And Samuel said unto all Israel, Behold, I have hearkened unto your voice in all that ye said unto me, and have made a king over you. And now, behold, the king walketh before you: and I am old and grayheaded; and, behold, my sons are with you: and I have walked before you from my childhood unto this day . . .” (1 Sam. 12:1-25).


Douglas Wilson's Letter From America

Jitney Dictators of Glorified Shantytowns

Money, Love, Desire - Wealth and the Christian
Written by Douglas Wilson
Monday, July 11, 2011

You may have heard about the kerfluffle related to Paul Ryan, budget cutter man, eating out with a couple of his friends at an upscale restaurant. He was espied by an inebriated leftie, who took him to task for the price of the bottles of wine they had (over three hundred clams a bottle), and that leftie then made a little Internet tempest over it. This was an unreasonable price for the bottles of wine, or so it was claimed, as opposed to the 80 cucumbers per bottle price that the inebriated leftie had.

The whole thing was an attempt to turn Paul Ryan into a Marie Antoinette figure ("let them drink two buck Chuck"), grinding the faces of the poor whilst he himself was flying high.

But the event illustrates, as little else could, the power and potency of envy.

The Promised Land, Part I

 Rough and Rocky Travelling

Here is an interesting idea--the Jewish Promised Land is actually the United States.  No, this is not some latter day British Israelite theory, wondering where "those feet in ancient times" might have walked.  The thesis, however, (that the US might actually be the Jewish Promised Land) raises some really interesting theological and historical issues which we hope to explore in a short series of posts.

But first, the argument.

Monday, 11 July 2011

Douglas Wilson's Letter From America

The Savannahs of Heaven

Theology - Life in the Regeneration
Written by Douglas Wilson
Sunday, July 10, 2011

In John 8, Jesus has a remarkable interaction with the Jewish leaders, an interaction that teaches us what it means to be an evangelical indeed.

Jesus has collided with these men, and they do not grasp what He is talking about. They do not grasp it because they do not know the Father. They do not get it because He is from above and they are from below -- and unless you are born from above, you cannot see the kingdom. It is clear in this interaction that for Jesus being from below does not mean being a creature, but rather means being the kind of person who dies in his sins. He says they will die in their sin (v. 21). He says they are from below (v. 23). He says again they will die in their sin (v. 24). This is moral blindness and stupidity; it is not creaturely limitation.

The thing that had them confused is that their papers were all in order.

Burdens of Proof

Letting the Guilty Go Free Can Be Very Good

Folk in the United States have been wound up over the Casey Anthony murder trial.  Since the jury failed to convict the mother of murdering her four year old daughter there has been much venting of spleen.  The jurors have been smeared as idiots with the IQ of brute beasts. 

For our part, we believe the jury got it precisely right.  One juror being interviewed afterwards was accosted by her interlocutor with the question, "Well, who did kill the child?" and she quite rightly responded, "I do not know."  But not knowing is regarded by many as a fundamental dereliction of duty.  The Commentariat was sure that the mother was guilty--if the jury was not equally sure it had to be either prejudiced or obtuse or both. 

Yet "beyond reasonable doubt" is a very high standard of proof.  The state failed to meet that standard.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Semper Reformanda

Returning to the God of Our Fathers

J. I. Packer:

I think of the two pans of an old fashioned pair of scales. If one goes up, the other goes down.
Once upon a time folks new that God was great and that man by comparison was small. Each individual carried around a sense of his own smallness in the greatness of God’s world.

However, the scale pans are in a different relation today. Man has risen in his own estimation. He thinks of himself as great, grand and marvelously resourceful. This means inevitably that our thoughts about God have shrunk. As God goes down in our estimation, He gets smaller. He also exists now only for our pleasure, our convenience and our health, rather than we existing for His glory.

The Elegance of Consistency

Colour-Blind State

New Zealand's policies towards Fiji have been cringe-inducing.  Not a moment of history which makes us proud.  Here we are, engaging in all types of positive international relations with China and  India and Russia--and a host of countries which are run by authoritarian, anti-democractic regimes. But Fiji--it is the pariah state--at least to New Zealand and Australia.

Why the double standard, we may well ask?  Well, Fiji has been a "client state" of  New Zealand.  Its constitution was co-written by a Very Prominent New Zealander, one Sir Paul Reeves.  That Constitution, now suspended by an army strongman, achieved pretty much what Maori want to achieve in New Zealand--greater civil and political rights for the indigenous people.  This meant that the Constitution discriminated in favour of Fijians, and made Indians (which make up a large component of the population) second class citizens.  The New Zealand chattering classes and Commentariat regarded this arrangement as one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Leviathan Stirring, Part II

The Dragon as Judge, Jury, Executioner

Ordinary folk are being indicted and tried in the West.  Their crime?  They spoke out.  Others took offence.  The State rose up to discipline and punish.  In the previous piece we let one of the (now acquitted) victims of state oppression--MP Geert Wilders--speak out. He has been one of the more fortunate ones.

The scene shifts to Australia.  Andrew Bolt, a judicious columnist has been hauled into court because he had the audacity to question the authenticity of some Aboriginal grievance mutterers.  They took offence.  The State is prosecuting him.

In a recent gathering to express solidarity and support for Bolt, columnist Mark Steyn, himself a target of Leviathan's wrath, sent a video in lieu of attending in person.  He looks  into Leviathan's lair and tells us what lies within.

Indulgent Parenting

How to Land Your Kid in Therapy

There is a great article written by Lori Gottlieb, published in the July/August edition of The Atlantic, entitled "How to Land Your Kid in Therapy".  It exposes the damage done to children through child-centric, indulgent parenting. (Incidentally, child-centric, indulgent parenting is why state educators are so resistant to testing regimes in schools.  We are repeatedly told that testing against national standards for reading, writing, and maths will do "damage" to children.  In fact, as Gottlieb argues, the reverse is the case.)

The complete article is worth reading.  Gottlieb is a psycho-therapist, who, early in her practice began to meet young adults who had perfect parents and who had come from really happy families, yet were empty and depressed. We reproduce some excerpts from the piece.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Leviathan Stirring, Part I

We have written extensively at ContraCelsum on the phenomenon of soft-despotism.  In the West faith in the Living God has been subsumed by faith in the State.  Consequently, Western societies have continually voted for extending state powers, in exchange for the largesse of tax-extorted state funds being showered upon them. But eventually the "soft" despotism turns into hard-despotism.  The State will turn on its own citizens to enslave them under threat of discipline and punishment. 

The cuddly toy of social democracy will turn into Leviathan, the rapacious monster. One of the places where Leviathan can be observed stirring from its lair is Free Speech Avenue.   In this and the next piece we profile the whiff of brimstone, first in the Netherlands, then in Australia.

Firstly, the acquittal of Geert Wilders, by his own account.

Why Greece will Default

 Going Down With the Ship

Countries and governments declaring bankruptcy have ignoble but many historical precedents.  Why would we think that we in our generation are any different?  Hubris.  That's the fundamental reason, we believe.  Defaulting on debt obligations has been expected in the Third World--but not in the magnificent, mighty, enlightened West. 

Greece will almost certainly end up defaulting on (euphemistically these days referred to as "restructuring") its debt.  The size of the hole to fill if national bankruptcy is to be avoided is huge, according to the Financial Times:
New figures published by the European Commission make clear just how big Greece’s budgetary hole now is. Over the next three years, the Commission says Greece will need €172bn in financing. But the current bail-out only has another €57bn left – meaning €115bn has to be found.
We suspect that 115bn will turn out to be an optimistic, best case number.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Douglas Wilson's Letter From America

Pick-Up Trucks With American Flags on Them

Mere Christendom
Written by Douglas Wilson
Monday, July 04, 2011 8:01 am

Most people only know half of Stephen Decatur's famous toast -- "my country, right or wrong." But the whole thing was much more admirable. "My country, may she always be right. But my country, right or wrong." The abbreviated version makes it sound like national interest is the only standard that a full-tilt patriot would ever recognize. The full version recognizes that there is a standard of right and wrong that far transcends national interest. One of those transcendent standards, incidently, is what undergirds the necessity of a connected loyalty to other sinners -- the second part of the toast.

In a fallen world, such loyalties are obviously not absolute.

For Cricket Fans . . .

And Others Who Appreciate Skill (or Chance)

This YouTube vid is engaging--not just because of the skill on display, but also the interaction between Swann and Murali. Enjoy.

Hat Tip: Whaleoil.

Without God, Without Creed, Part VIII

The End Game Gambit

Terry Eagleton, writing in the New Statesman, claims that post-Christian Western societies are ceaselessly searching for a God-substitute, an idol.
Secularisation is a lot harder than people tend to imagine. The history of modernity is, among other things, the history of substitutes for God. Art, culture, nation, Geist, humanity, society: all these, along with a clutch of other hopeful aspirants, have been tried from time to time. The most successful candidate currently on offer is sport, which, short of providing funeral rites for its spectators, fulfils almost every religious function in the book.
Eagleton has hit the nail on the head.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Douglas Wilson's Letter From America

Not Entirely Gone

Liturgy and Worship - Exhortation
Written by Douglas Wilson
Saturday, July 02, 2011

As you know, tomorrow is the 4th of July. This is the day on which we as Americans commemorate our independence from the tyranny that was being driven by the Parliament of England, but which was allowed by the king—who was constitutionally bound to protect us from all such usurpations. Because he failed in this fundamental constitutional duty, we no longer owed him our constitutional allegiance.

Now that declaration of independence had particular political details tangled up with it, tied to that time and place. Now I trust that when you set off your fireworks tomorrow night, you will teach your children to shout, “Down with the House of Hanover!” At the same time, the House of Hanover is not the present threat.

Without God, Without Creed Part VII

 Man the Measure of God

In the post-Christian West, Christendom lies broke in the temples of Baal.  What place, then, is left to Christians and the Church of our Lord?  Terry Eagleton, writing in the New Statesman gives us a succinct description of tolerable Christianity in our modern secular world.
Societies become truly secular not when they dispense with religion but when they are no longer greatly agitated by it. It is when religious faith ceases to be a vital part of the public sphere, not just when church attendance drops or Roman Catholics mysteriously become childless, that secularisation proper sets in. Like art and sexuality, religion is taken out of public ownership and gradually privatised. It dwindles to a kind of personal pastime, like breeding gerbils or collecting porcelain. As the cynic remarked, it is when religion starts to interfere with your everyday life that it is time to give it up. In this respect, it has a curious affinity with alcohol: it, too, can drive you mad.
Dwindling to a kind of personal, private pastime.  Christendom is indeed broke.   But, as Theoden wondered, "How did it come to this?"  James Turner, in his very helpful book, Without God, Without Creed: The Origins of Unbelief in America (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1985) goes a long way to answering Theoden's question.

Monday, 4 July 2011

Ten Principles for Church Music and Singing, Part II

Ten Principles for Church Singing (Part 2)

This is the second of a two-part presentation on Church music and singing.
(Go here for Part 1)

6. We should strive for excellence in the musicality and the poetry of the songs we sing.
I’m not for a moment suggesting elitism. A tine has to be relatively simple for hundreds or thousands of people to sing it at the same time.  But we can still insist on undistracting excellence (to use Piper’s phrase). We want the cross to be the stumbling block, not our poor musicianship or faltering powerpoint.

While I believe a wide variety of styles can be used in worship, I am not a musical relativist.  Some songs are better than others.

Without God, Without Creed, Part VI

Christianity's Trojan Horse

The West has experienced prodigious economic growth and increasing living standards for over six hundred years.  The two world wars of last century appear now as a mere blip in a distant horizon.  This has encouraged the secular narrative of life constantly improving and getting better.  In turn, this has supported the just-so story propounded by evolutionism that the world is progressing higher and higher.

Natural calamities, however, when they occur, teach a very important lesson: the future can be worse than the past--much worse. Because one decade succeeds another does not necessarily mean that it will be better.

In the West, Christendom has been overthrown.  It has been replaced by an atheistic materialism that purports to interpret, justify, and explain all reality.  Its hand maiden is naturalistic science.  Because it has succeeded Christendom the conclusion is facilely drawn everywhere that atheistic materialism is better than, an advance upon, the Christian faith.  It is smarter, evidentially based.  It is true and real.  Christianity is a myth, a relic of an ignorant and superstitious past.  And so on. 

But the Word of God itself provides a different narrative.

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Ten Principles for Church Music and Singing, Part I

Things Old and New From the Storehouse

Kevin De Young has written a very helpful ten point homily on church music and singing.  Since song and music are an essential component of worship--commanded in the Scriptures--our duty is to employ music in a manner and motif worthy of the God Whom we worship. 

De Young's ten points in summary are:

1. Love is indispensable to church singing that pleases God.
2. Our singing is for God’s glory and the edification of the body of Christ.
3. We ought to sing to the Lord new songs.
4. Church singing should swim in its own history of church singing.
5. Sing the Psalms.
6. We should strive for excellence in the musicality and the poetry of the songs we sing.
7. The main sound to be heard in the worship music is the sound of the congregation singing.
8. The congregation should also be stretched from time to time to learn new songs and broaden its musical horizons.
9. The texts of our songs should be matched with fitting musicality and instrumentation.
10. All of our songs should employ manifestly biblical lyrics.

In this first post, we reproduce De Young's exposition of the first five principles.

The Lt Dan Band

Hold The Troops in Due Honour

Now, this is rather neat.

Regular readers of this website will know that we have been staunch critics of US global military involvement to "make the world safe for democracy" or, whatever.  The idea that the US would arrogate to itself the role of being the world's saviour, protector, redeemer and messiah is not just misplaced, it is offensive and blasphemous.  There is only One to Whom the Living God had given that honour, power, and authority, and He does not  tolerate idol-pretenders in His presence.

But we are not anti-war.  Far from it.

Friday, 1 July 2011

Surreptitious Revolution

Poland On the Verge of a Blasphemous Heresy

Lucia Maria, over at NZ Conservative had blogged on something quite startling.  We reproduce the post in full, and make a couple of closing observations.

Poland set to give total protection to babies from conception

The Catholic country of Poland is set to give universal protection to unborn babies from conception after a massive grass roots campaign gathered support for such a measure. They've kept the news from the English-speaking world until now, because the Poles were worried they would be flooded with pro-abort money to oppose their efforts. 

The Coming Race

An Offensive Mirror

We are simple souls, and so find ourselves "conflicted" (to use pop psych jargon) over the public vituperate venting about one Macsyna King.  How we love a mob.  All heat and no light.  A dirty bomb.

Macsyna is coming out of the closet via a book, written by Ian Wishart.  The mob has called for the book to be banned, via boycott, successfully pressuring booksellers not to carry it.  She was the mother of murdered (or manslaughtered) infant twins, Chris and Cru Kahui.  The court acquitted her then current boyfriend (and father of the twins) of responsibility for their deaths.  No-one else has been charged.  The defence argued that Macsyna was their killer.

If the court evidence is to be believed, King has been both wretched and depraved.