Friday, 30 September 2011

Silence Like a Cancer Grows

 White Fellas in the Black

As the West turns away from the Living God it will slide irrevocably into the darkness.  We have published many pieces on the "soft" despotism that now grips Europe and the Anglo-Saxon world.  Eventually and inevitably the soft despotism will become hard.  There will be plenty of sign posts along the way. 

By the time the proverbial "man-in-the-street" wakes up and decides that he does not particularly like living under a despot and that in rejecting Christ as his King he never meant nor intended to end up under the heel of a totalitarian regime, it will be too late.  Prufrock's  "That's not what I meant at all" will be heard on the lips of the sheep.  Even as we write these words we anticipate the reaction, "Totalitarian?  You've got to be kidding.  In the West?  In New Zealand?  Never.  Ever.  It's impossible." 

But as Santayana observed, those who don't learn from history are condemned to repeat it.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Douglas Wilson's Letter From America

Four Kinds of Idolatry

Theology - Roman or Catholic?
Written by Douglas Wilson
Monday, September 26, 2011

Richard Baxter once said, "It is almost incredible how much ground the devil takes when he has once made sin a matter of controversy: some are of one mind, and some of another; you are of one opinion and I am of another." Nowhere is this more apparent than when we discuss the use of images in prayer. We are given straightforward commands regarding this, but the commands go contrary to something that runs deep in the human heart, and so it has become controversial.

The apostle John warns his children to stay away from idols, and he does this because (presumably) it was possible that true Christians might not want to do so (1 John 5:21). This being the case, we should distinguish various kinds of idolatry. For my purposes here, I am understanding idolatry as placing a created thing where only the uncreated God should be. This clearly happens whenever images are used in prayer, but images need not be involved. Idolatry is more subtle than that.

The Debating Chamber

The Odium of Modern Politicians

The public hates partisan politicking.  Over and over, in virtually all Western democratic constituencies, the proverbial "man-in-the-street" professes disgust at politicians always trying to score (usually lame) points off one another.  (The one arguable exception is Australia where the public seems genuinely to admire politicians who rip their opponents up one side and down the other.) 

Consequently, the public tends to complain against politicians and in the job-admiration surveys politicians generally hover around the used-care-salesman rankings--which is probably being unfair to the latter.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Luther's Advice For Proud Preachers

Donkey Ears

Martin Luther:
If, however, you feel and are inclined to think you have made it, flattering yourself with your own little books, teaching, or writing, because you have done it beautifully and preached excellently; if you are highly pleased when someone praises you in the presence of others; if you perhaps look for praise, and would sulk or quit what you are doing if you did not get it—if you are of that stripe, dear friend, then take yourself by the ears, and if you do this in the right way you will find a beautiful pair of big, long, shaggy donkey ears.
Then do not spare any expense! Decorate them with golden bells, so that people will be able to hear you wherever you go, point their fingers at you, and say, “See, see! There goes that clever beast, who can write such exquisite books and preach so remarkably well.” That very moment you will be blessed and blessed beyond measure in the kingdom of heaven. Yes, in that heaven where hellfire is ready for the devil and his angels.

—Martin Luther, LW 34:287-288.
HT: Justin Taylor

No Doubt About This

Kings Shall Come to Your Rising

When the (Chinese) Communists took power in 1949 there were perhaps 2 million Christians in China. At the time, not only Marxists but even American liberal church leaders dismissed these as mainly "rice" Christians--people who put up with missionary efforts only in exchange for handouts. Fifty years later we have discovered that these Chinese rice Christians were so "insincere" that they endured decades of draconian repression, during which their numbers doubled again and again--there might be as many as 100 million Christians in China today! Moreover, conversion to Christianity is concentrated not among the peasants and the poor but among the best-education, most modern Chinese.

There are many reasons people embrace Christianity, including its capacity to sustain a deeply emotional and existentially satisfying faith. But another significant factor is its appeal to reason and the fact that it is so inseparably linked to the rise of Western civilization. For many non-Europeans, becoming a Christian is intrinsic to becoming modern Thus it is quite plausible that Christianity remains an essential element in the globalization of modernity. Consider this recent statement by one of China's leading scholars:

"One of the things we were asked to look into was what accounted for the success, in fact, the pre-eminence of the West all over the world. We studied everything we could from the historical, political, economic, and cultural perspective. At first, we thought it was because you had more powerful guns than we had. Then we thought it was because you had the best political system. Next we focused on your economic system. But in the past twenty years, we have realized that the heart of your culture is your religion: Christianity. That is why the West is so powerful. The Christian moral foundation of social and cultural life was what made possible the emergence of capitalism and then the successful transition to democratic politics. We don't have any doubt about this"

Neither do I.

Rodney Stark, The Victory of Reason, p.234f.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Studies in I Samuel

A Grotesque Parody of Holy War

Expository - Book of Samuel
Written by Douglas Wilson
Saturday, September 24, 2011

INTRODUCTION:
In the Gospel of Mark, we read the account of Jesus feeding the five thousand (Mark 6), but this occurs immediately after John the Baptist’s head was brought before Herod, at a banquet, and it was brought out on a platter. There are two kinds of kings, two kinds of rulers—those who feed the people and those who eat the people. There is no middle way.

THE TEXT:
“David therefore departed thence, and escaped to the cave Adullam: and when his brethren and all his father’s house heard it, they went down hither to him . . .” (1 Sam. 22:1-23).

A Speck of Dust

Will 2012 Represent a Sea Change?

Further to our piece entitled "Foolish Predictions" in which we had the temerity to suggest that President Obama and the Democrats will be toast in 2012 we came across this article which purports that the Democratic Party has now lost the centre. 

What many folks outside the US don't realise is that unlike most other Western democracies there are three dominant "parties" in the US electorate: Republicans, Democrats and Independents.  So, Republicans we know, Democrats we know, but who are the Independents?

Monday, 26 September 2011

Two-Faced Facebook

Facebook Hates the Christian Gospel

Social networking behemoth, Facebook has decided to promote homosexuality by classifying opinions and speech critical of homosexuality on Facebook as hate-speech.  As you all know, hate-speech is a big, big no no. It is the latest attempt at censorship and the denial of free speech. It always devolves into an attack upon Christians and Christianity.  The reason is that the Gospel is offensive to the natural man.

The Bible declares that the Unbeliever abides under the wrath of God (John 3:36).  Now to the natural man in his pride and arrogance, that is offensive.  He regards it as "hateful" speech. So, over time, banning "hate-speech" morphs into restrictions upon and persecution of Christians and the Church.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Hymn Writers and Music Leaders

Reforming Worship

This is a really neat piece from The Rabbit Room.

Avoiding Convenience: A Word to Hymn Writers

Every music minister knows the weekly anxiety of searching for the right songs for the upcoming Sunday service. The criteria may differ from church to church, but hopefully, the goal is to find songs that tie in thematically with the sermon or the weekly scripture reading. However, I know of a pastor on the west coast who directed his music minister to follow a grid when planning the music service—a large W—meaning that the service starts with upbeat songs that slowly give way to medium ballads, then go up again, then back down, before sending the congregation off with a happy bang. Never mind the content. The music becomes a space filler and provides the congregation with a reason to stand up and clap, or to settle down and get ready to dish out an offering, or listen to a sermon.

Foolish Predictions

How's That "Hopey-Changey" Thing Workin' Out

Ok, so a week in politics is a long time.  Therefore, anyone who presumes to pontificate upon the US presidential election that is still about twelve months off must be a sandwich short of a picnic. 

Yet, if present grass roots political realities in the US continue then it looks as if President Obama is not just going to lose the White House, but he is going to lose in such a way that the defeat will be labelled catastropic and historic.  We will see.  Ever since Obama took office we have ruminated on the likelihood that Obama would prove to be another Jimmy Carter--a president driven by naive ideological mishmash emotionalism, perceived as weak by the world, incompetent and ineffective at home.  His subsequent trouncing was a thing to behold (entirely unexpected by the media pundits at the time, by the way). 

It looks like we may have underestimated the negative fortunes of President Obama.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Douglas Wilson's Letter From America

Bad Stories and Good Cameras

Culture and Politics - Creative Control of the Reformation
Written by Douglas Wilson
Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A few weeks ago I wrote about A Jungle Full of Monkeys. In that post, I talked about the incipient reformation of aesthetics that may be taking shape among the young, restless, and Reformed. The interest in that post, and response to it, tells me that I am not just firing random neurons on this subject.

Here are just a couple of follow-up thoughts -- cautions directed at two different generations.

Utterly Evil

The Perverse Always Double Down

Further to our piece on sex-education in New Zealand government schools, Herald columnist, Garth George contributed an excellent piece on the subject. 

He commences by describing our world as mad and becoming progressively more insane.  "Mad" is George's description for a culture apostatizing from the Living God.  Religion has consequences.  False, idolatrous religion has false and evil consequences.  George is not enough of a Bible scholar to understand the profound consequences of a world where people are blinded in their own conceits and self-asserted autonomy.  He just calls it as he sees it: they are insane.  But he is not far wrong.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Douglas Wilson's Letter From America

A Jungle Full of Monkeys

Goo-Mongers - Postmodernism
Written by Douglas Wilson
Wednesday, September 07, 2011

There are two basic ways for evangelical Christians to care about the arts. One is the Kuyperian Reformed route, and the other is the way of bohemian pose-striking. One of the most heartening aspects of the "young, restless, and Reformed" development is the possibility of a real aesthetic reformation. Perhaps I should explain myself.

Scripture teaches us, over and over again, that deliverance comes from odd and unexpected places. And Scripture also tells us repeatedly that the faithful who are waiting for such deliverance have a tendency to wait by the wrong door.

Turning From the Sins of our Fathers

Reformation in our Day

The seeds of our current prevailing secular idolatry were sown three hundred years ago by church leaders.  They wanted to assure their world that the Christian faith was grounded, not in God and the work of His Spirit in the hearts of men, but in human reason.  This necessitated making room for reason--giving it a locus of authority independent of God.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Studies in I Samuel

Mercy Stands Taller

Book of Samuel
Written by Douglas Wilson
Sunday, September 18, 2011

INTRODUCTION:
David seeks to get away from Saul, but he cannot get away from his anointing. He can evade Saul, but he cannot evade the fact that a new Israel is going to start to form around him. David goes into the wilderness and finds a throne. Saul goes to his throne and finds a wilderness.

THE TEXT:
“Then came David to Nob to Ahimelech the priest: and Ahimelech was afraid at the meeting of David, and said unto him, Why art thou alone, and no man with thee? . . .” (1 Sam. 21:1-15).

SUMMARY OF THE TEXT:
David continues on the run, and he comes to Nob, a priestly city (v. 1). The tabernacle had apparently been moved there after the destruction of Shiloh. They didn't have the ark there, but they still put out the showbread. The showbread was also called the bread of the Presence—but the Presence wasn’t there anymore. A lot of things were dislocated. Ahimelech was concerned because David did not have the kind of entourage he should have had, and so David told him he was on a secret mission (v. 2).

Sex Education in Pagan Schools

 Imagining the World as Predominantly Homosexual

The NZ Herald has been running a "thread" on sex ed in schools.  Some parents have discovered what their children are actually being taught in the government schools and they are angry. 
Schools are being accused of going too far in what they teach children about sex. Children as young as 12 are being taught about oral sex and told it's acceptable to play with a girl's private parts as long as "she's okay with it".

In other cases, 14-year-old girls are being taught how to put condoms on plastic penises, and one female teacher imitated the noises she made during orgasm to her class of 15-year-olds. The often-graphic nature of today's sex education lessons is considered perfectly acceptable, and necessary, by some parents, but many others are shocked and say it has gone too far.
Now the other "side" has weighed in.  The professionals.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Bring Back the Cane, Sir

 Even Pupils Agree

Necessity is the mother of invention, they say.  Maybe it's not surprising, then, that in the UK half the parents want corporal punishment to be brought back into schools.  Many schools resemble war zones and a growing proportion parents have apparently had enough.  They no longer believe the naive idealism of their governments; they are ready for some hard headed realism.  And that means support for reintroducing the cane to government schools.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Canada Spreads the Love

Molech Ovens Making a Comeback

Here is Mark Steyn on the Canadian version of the death penalty: suspended sentence for the murderer who committed infanticide on her child for the crime of being alive.

Another Giant Leap Foward

Shakespeare Going the Way of the Dodo

According to NZ Herald columnist, Garth George, Shakespeare is on his way out.  No longer will Shakespeare be a compulsory part of the English curriculum for Level 13 students.  Here is George's cynical comment on this great educational leap forward at our government schools. 
As of next year changes to the Level 3 English component of the ridiculous National Certificate of Educational Achievement, which asks students to respond critically to a Shakespearean drama, will expire and not be replaced.

It is the last Shakespeare-specific unit in the curriculum and its demise will mean that studying the Bard will be entirely up to individual teachers. Not much hope for him, then, since I suspect that one reason for this is that far too many English teachers today are simply incapable of interpreting him to their students.
Whilst we understand George's frustration, and indeed agree that removing the study of Shakespeare from the government school curriculum is deplorable, we have to confess we are not surprised. 

Firstly--a general observation.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

The Ugliness of the Prosperity "Gospel"

The Gospel-Emptying Cruelty of Pat Robertson

Justin Taylor

Sometimes I think the category of “righteous anger” was created to respond to people like Pat Robertson.
His latest cringe-inducing statement is that a man should divorce his wife suffering with Alzheimer’s disease and “start all over again” if he is lonely and in need of companionship. When asked about the vow “to death due us part,” Robertson responded that “if you respect that vow,” then Alzheimer’s can be viewed as “a kind of a death.”

The best counsel is usually to ignore Robertson.

My Way, or the Highway

The End Game of Secular Humanism in Our Schools

When government schools, and the education system breaks down, guess what happens?  Parents--who can be expected to be far more concerned about their respective child's education than the local or national educrat--find alternatives.  More often than not the non-educrat controlled alternatives work far better. 

One of these alternatives is the rise of independent schools.  Another is home-schooling.  In the US, recent estimates have 2 million children being home-schooled.  And the number is rising.  A Canadian study purports to show that the educational outcomes are superior to government run schools.  No surprises there.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Embarrassing

 Nobel Physicist About to be Gored

A Nobel Prize winning physicist has resigned from the American  Physical Society because it claims that evidence for global warming is incontrovertible.

This from Fox News:

Let's All Have a Cup of Tea

Why The Nation Will Fail National Standards

As New Zealand approaches a national election we have the luxury this time around to be able to blissfully ignore the negative "hater and wrecker" proposals burping forth from parties on the Left (Labour, Greens, Mana) more obnoxiously and regularly than a Rotorua mudpool. 

We can ignore the Left this time around not because their policies will not eventually become government policy and the law of the land.  They will.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Studies in I Samuel

The Son of My Enemy

Expository - Book of Samuel
Written by Douglas Wilson
Saturday, September 10, 2011

INTRODUCTION:
In the midst of court politics, and treachery, and intrigue, we find a shining and glorious example of covenant loyalty. Jonathan disappears from our narrative at this point, at least as a major character, but he departs in glory. One of the noblest sons of Scripture was the son, not of Eli, or Samuel, or David . . . but of Saul.

THE TEXT:
“And David fled from Naioth in Ramah, and came and said before Jonathan, What have I done? what is mine iniquity? and what is my sin before thy father, that he seeketh my life? . . .” (1 Sam. 20:1-42).

SUMMARY OF THE TEXT:
David is on the run, and he comes to Jonathan to ask what his offense is (v. 1). Jonathan does not believe it (v. 2), not because he believes his father incapable of murderous thoughts, but because he apparently believes in the binding force of the vow.

Faith-Lines Versus Blood-Lines

Turbo-Charged Bloodlines

Bloodlines are very important.  Any Christian who doubts this should turn to the opening chapters of the Gospels of Luke and Matthew and read there the bloodlines of the Lord Jesus Christ, King of the world.  Who your ancestors were, your blood lines of descent are clearly material--both genetically and spiritually.  The Kingdom of God is constructed around bloodlines.

The Unbelieving world is deeply ambivalent about bloodlines.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

The Deadly Results of Left-Wing Politics

The Moral High Ground

Jim Lacey

NATIONAL REVIEW ONLINE
September 7, 2011
The Left’s “morally superior” policies kill millions and impoverish billions.

Soon after I published an article questioning the global-warming orthodoxy, the world’s foremost hypocrite, Al Gore, informed anyone who still listens to him that my position is akin to racism. The wise course of action would be to ignore the rants of a man who desperately needs the world to remain fearful of carbon, the element on which all life on earth is based. If that fear were to vanish, how would he continue to rake in the millions needed for the purchase of his next beach house?

But enough is enough. Why should I sit quietly and let myself be branded a racist? In fact, will someone please explain how the Left is always assumed to have the moral high ground in these kinds of debates? I am particularly curious about this, as leftist policies continue to destroy the lives of tens of millions in this country and billions worldwide.

Let’s go through just a small part of the evidence.

Being Played

Bad Manners

We have to confess that we have been enjoying a good belly-laugh at the clever Greg Growden, rugby columnist for the Sydney Morning Herald.  He has written a piece seething with faux indignation about the alleged bad behaviour of a Minister of the Crown at a corporate hospitality box watching the Australian rugby team struggle manfully against Italy.

Apparently the Minister (unnamed) shouted out ungentlemanly remarks about the Australian team's quality of play, its ethics, manhood, and other publicly unmentionable matters, whilst enjoying the hospitality of the Australian Rugby Union.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

9/11 Ten Year Memorial

Paul Simon at Ground Zero.  

Simon is one of the finest poets of our generation, and one of its most accomplished musicians. 


Simon's evocative rendition of Sounds of Silence becomes a lament for a lost civilization.

And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon god they made . . .

. . . there was no answer. We are truly lost.

May God have mercy upon us all.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Douglas Wilson's Letter From America

In the Thousands

Liturgy and Worship - Exhortation
Written by Douglas Wilson
Saturday, September 10, 2011

Today marks the tenth anniversary of 9/11, the horrific attack on our nation that caused the collapse of the World Trade Towers, and significant destruction at the Pentagon. On a horizontal level, on its own terms, this was an act of war which fully justified a military response, and with that we have no quarrel.

But we serve a God who providentially governs all things in line with, through, under, and contrary to the intentions of the human actors involved, as He pleases. This means His providential actions are not to be taken as an instance of Him taking up sides, the way a man would take up sides.

Ten Years On

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Ten years on from 9/11--what have we learned?  There are pluses and minuses--which is to be expected in a fallen world.  To our mind, here are some of them:
  1. There is now much more unease amongst Islamic people over the nature of their religion.  It is evident to many that Al Qaeda and its affiliates have killed many more Islamic "brethren" than infidels.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

All Things New

 The Renovation of the Whole World

"To the Lord and his kingdom belongs the whole world, with all that lives and moves in it.  All is yours, says the apostle (I Corinthians 3:22).  Religion is not a single, separate sphere of human life, but the divine principle by which the entire man is to be pervaded, refined, and made complete.  It takes hold of him in his undivided totality, in the center of his personal being; to carry light into his understanding, holiness into his will, and heaven into his heart; and to shed thus the sacred consecration of the new birth, and the glorious liberty of the children of God, over his whole inward and outward life.

"No form of existence can withstand the renovating power of God's Spirit.

Vying For the Lowest Honour

History and President Obama

There is a fair old chance that President Obama, once he has departed the White House and the dust has settled, will suffer the indignity of  the "worst US President ever" sobriquet.  (We understand that presently that dishonour belongs to President Buchanan.)

We imagine that historians will agree that he was a nice bloke, albeit with a challenged golf swing.   He was well-meaning, earnest at times, and a great orator (provided his teleprompter was working).  He achieved the high honour of being the first black US President.  It is deeply regrettable that he will most likely be judged as one of the more ignorant, naive and simplistic people ever to occupy the office.

Friday, 9 September 2011

The Big Lie

Simply Incoherent

Maybe it is just me, but Christopher Hitchens is at his very best when he is making sense. This is something he does, with his usual vim, in a recent article for Slate entitled “Simply Evil.” In it, he makes short work of the kind of anti-Americanism that tried to turn 9/11 into something complex enough for an obfuscating intellectual to puzzle over. He nails those who tried to blame the attacks on “the Bush administration or the Jews.” And for those who held up a simplistic tit-for-tat blowback explanation, Hitchens dutifully pulls their shirts over their heads and rolls down their socks.

Home Grown Jihad

Raggle Taggle Cowards

Chris Trotter has written a helpful piece on the Urewera 17, providing background and context.  The upshot: the Crown has had to drop charges against all but four of the "17" on technical legal grounds. 

For benefit of our overseas readers, the Urewera 17 episode involved secretive bush camps in the Urewera forest four years ago with a bunch of Tuhoe Maori and a raggle taggle assortment of fair weather, left wing extremists.  The camps were styled as "training camps" and involved practising with guns and explosives.  Four years ago, the NZ Police raided the area and arrested a gaggle of the raggle taggles. 

They were charged under the Terrorism Suppression Act--a hastily drafted, knee-jerk piece of legislation that Trotter describes as having "many and serious inadequacies".

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Douglas Wilson's Letter From America

If You've Lost Kinky . . .

Obama Nation Building
Written by Douglas Wilson
Saturday, September 03, 2011

Leave out the media's need to stretch out excitement (and therefore viewer engagement) to the maximum point of endurance. Leave out their ratings-driven need to keep the presidential contest as much of "a game" as they can for as long as they can. For example, if one Super Bowl team is 58 points ahead in the second quarter, there are an awful lot of people who won't see all those half-time commercials. Can't have that. Leave out their breathless "this-just-in" use of the latest polls to keep us going ooh! and aah! Like I said, leave all that out.

I think we should look at a different set of tea leaves, recognizing that they all are, in fact, tea leaves. Take these statements as qualified in just the ways they ought to be qualified.

That said, as Dylan (not Thomas) once said, you don't need to be a weatherman to tell which way the wind is blowing.

This Time It Will be Different

More Big Failures on the Way

In 2006, the NZ Green Party launched the "Buy Kiwi Made" campaign.  You don't need us to tell you that it failed dismally.  It was touted by Central Planners as the answer to all sorts of economic ills--including avoiding the "evils" of open border trade (or free trade) for which the Greens have a long professed loathing.

Whenever politicians introduce "Buy Local" sentiments or policies you have a strong indication they have not understood Economics 101; they are obscurantists.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Studies in I Samuel

Saul Among the Prophets

Expository - Book of Samuel
Written by Douglas Wilson
Saturday, September 03, 2011


INTRODUCTION:
Although Saul continues his reign for some time after the incidents in this chapter, this chapter does mark the formal textual end of his reign. Call this definitive foreshadowing, as well as some sort of formal closure. Put another way, for Saul this is all over but the shouting.

THE TEXT:
“And Saul spake to Jonathan his son, and to all his servants, that they should kill David. But Jonathan Saul’s son delighted much in David: and Jonathan told David, saying, Saul my father seeketh to kill thee: now therefore, I pray thee, take heed to thyself until the morning, and abide in a secret place, and hide thyself . . .” (1 Sam. 19:1-24).

SUMMARY OF THE TEXT:
Saul's hostility to David now comes completely out into the open (v. 1).

Through the Looking Glass

Professor Mutu Shifts the Paradigm

We always endeavour to give people a fair hearing before launching into a barrage of criticism.  Margaret Mutu not only deserves to be heard, she has some very positive things to say.  Professor Mutu of Auckland University  has been reported as saying there needs to be a cap on white immigrants to New Zealand because white immigrants tend to have racist attitudes.

Now while many have taken umbrage at her views we have listened carefully to her justification.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Stupendous Confidence Trick

Nabokov on Freud

Famously, Nabokov could not resist deriding Freud. And for good reason: Freud’s ideas were enormously influential, especially in Nabokov’s American years, but his claims were hollow. Nobel laureate Peter Medawar, perhaps the greatest of science essayists, declared in his book Pluto’s Republic, in terms akin to Nabokov’s, that Freudianism was “the most stupendous intellectual confidence trick of the twentieth century.” Nabokov saw the intellectual vacuity of Freudian theory and its pervasiveness in the popular and the professional imagination. He thought it corrupted intellectual standards, infringed on personal freedom, undermined the ethics of personal responsibility, destroyed literary sensitivity, and distorted the real nature of childhood attachment to parents–the last of which has been amply confirmed by modern developmental psychology.
From an essay by Brian Boyd, in The American Scholar. Boyd is a Distinguished Professor in the Department of English at the University of Auckland, New Zealand.

Pinot Noir On Its Way

Life Imitating Parody

The old saw is that a week in politics is a long time.  Anyone who is in the political prediction business is running a high-risk enterprise.  Predictions about elections that are over  year away are beyond high-risk--they are lunatic.

Yet, sometimes . . . . OK, so we are lunatics.  We are pretty confident that President Obama will lose next year's US election--which is just as well, since one of our beloved daughters has laid a bottle of Otago Pinot on the table over the outcome.  She up to now has taken the view that Obama will be re-elected. 

Why are we now more confident?  The ardent Obama advocates on the Left are deserting him.  That is a clear sign that it is over.  Here is Maureen Dowd penning a lamentation over her fallen and compromised former hero, in the New York Times.  It says it all.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Evolutionist Cant

Too Easily Gobsmacked

Atheism and Apologetics - Evolution
Written by Douglas Wilson
Saturday, September 03, 2011

"And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also" (Gen. 1:16).

Too many of us take this as saying nothing more than that God put a big shiny thing up in the sky for the daytime, and a small shiny thing for the nightime. But His craftsmanship and attention to detail are as apparent here as they are in the behavior of amino acids or the formation of crystals

"Great are the works of the Lord, studied by all who delight in them" (Psalm 111:2, ESV).

Now for those who think that the solar system is just the detritus left over after the big blooey, here are just a couple things to think about.

The sun is 93 million miles away, and the moon is an average of 238,855 miles away. These two heavenly lights are supposed to be the size they are, and the distance they are from us as a function of chance. So why, in an eclipse, does the disk of the moon fit over the disk of the sun like they were a couple of quarters on your coffee table? What are the odds?

Here is another one, twice as boggling, and a hundred times more fun.

The Right to be Dissolute

Unbelief Always Increases Poverty

Poverty is back in the news again.  Maori and Polynesian poverty to be exact.  It would appear that it is finally dawning on some that poverty--persistent intergenerational poverty--will not be overcome by throwing gummint money at the problem.  It turns out that the problems are far "thicker" than those which can be solved by throwing (not-a-few) taxpayer dollars around.  Poverty has now become institutionalised; it has become a culture all of its own--self-affirming and self-perpetuating and relentlessly powerful.   The Borg is assimilating the ship.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Politically Incorrect Science

Lawrence Solomon: Science getting settled

Lawrence Solomon Aug 26, 201, Financial Post.

New, convincing evidence indicates global warming is caused by cosmic rays and the sun — not humans

The science is now all-but-settled on global warming, convincing new evidence demonstrates, but Al Gore, the IPCC and other global warming doomsayers won’t be celebrating. The new findings point to cosmic rays and the sun — not human activities — as the dominant controller of climate on Earth.

The research, published with little fanfare this week in the prestigious journal Nature, comes from ├╝ber-prestigious CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research,

The Smart Money

Buyer Beware

We have been approached by several folk wondering about the investment wisdom of buying some of the state owned electricity companies when they come on the block.  On the surface of it, power companies usually provide stable income flows, a good dividend stream, and solid earnings growth.  The stuff blue chips are made of.

But--there is always a but--let's not neglect the big-picture, or helicopter view.

Friday, 2 September 2011

Black Theology and the Beginnings of Jazz

The Origins of Jazz

Here is a neat lecture on the Christian foundations of jazz.

We came across it posted on Justin Taylor's website.  

In the video below Dr. William Edgar, Professor of Apologetics at Westminster Theological Seminary, gives a combination of piano concert and historical-theological lecture on the African-American musical heritage of pain and joy expressed through spirituals, jazz, ragtime, gospel, and blues. It was delivered at the Gordon College Convocation on February 20, 2009.

You can listen to an audio version of the same lecture delivered at the Chesterton House in 2007. In that version he plays with his quartet.

For a CD of the full concert, go here.

For related materials, see also Edgar’s essay “The Deep Joy of Jazz” and Stephen Nichols’s Getting the Blues: What Blues Music Teaches Us about Suffering and Salvation.



Chris Carter, on His Merits

The Opportunities are Breathtaking

At this blog, as our readers know, we are anti-UN.  It is a hopeless, thoroughly compromised institution--as any grand Babelesque edifice erected to the praise of Man will inevitably be--but every now and again we have to acknowledge, the UN shows some smarts, and gets things right.  Praise where it is due, and all that.

Former Labour MP (and government minister) Chris Carter is off to Kabul, Afghanistan to fight corruption.  This, from the NZ Herald:

Thursday, 1 September 2011

It's Only Democracy If We Get Our Way

Crocodile Outrage

The spectre of Christians running for political office has again surfaced in the US on the Left.  Actually the fact that it has surfaced again is a clear sign that the Left is worried about the electoral prospects of one Barack Hussein Obama in 2012.  If the Left did not think that there is a strong probability that the Presidency will be won by a Republican, they would not have even bothered with raising the issue.  But, by all accounts, they are busily knotting up their underwear with febrile fervency. 

A helpful (and hopefully influential) article in the New York Times has appeared, by Ross Douthat.  It is reasonably sane and perceptive.  The upshot?  Calm down and unknot the underwear.

We Have Seen Our Future

Not Pretty

The recent British riots have provoked a variety of reactions.  Here is one.  It does not reflect a Christian position, but it does convey cynicism, sarcasm, anger and bitterness.  As UK (and Western) society continues to crumble, from the family outwards, we are likely to see much more of this kind of discourse.