Monday, 29 February 2016

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow

Unicorn Flatulence

Douglas Wilson

Rick Phillips recently wrote that socialism is evil. Now this is a sentiment that should make all God’s children rejoice and be glad, and I applaud Phillips for saying out loud what needs to be said out loud. Socialism really is evil, and it is evil for the reasons Phillips said.

But more needs to be said than that theft is bad, that laziness is bad, and that a swollen state that perpetuates such things is bad.

Here is the problem. When we react to the disease of socialism, we are reacting to a disease that we already have.

Daily Devotional

Great News

TO MARY NEYLAN, who had told Lewis she was going to resume the prac- tice of her faith after years of alienation and theological struggle: On acting on the light one has; on the unreliability of religious emotion; on confession of sins to a spiritual director; and on daily spiritual and Bible reading.

C. S. Lewis

4 January 1941

Congratulations . . . on your own decision. I don’t think this decision comes either too late or too soon. One can’t go on thinking it over for ever; and one can begin to try to be a disciple before one is a professed theologian. In fact they tell us, don’t they, that in these matters to act on the light one has is almost the only way to more light. Don’t be worried about feeling that, or about feeling at all.

As to what to do, I suppose the normal next step, after self-examination repentance and restitution, is to make your Communion; and then to continue as well as you can, praying as well as you can . . . and fulfilling your daily duties as well as you can. And remember always that religious emotion is only a servant. . . . This, I say, would be the obvious course.

If you want anything more e.g. Confession and Absolution which our church enjoins on no-one but leaves free to all—let me know and I’ll find you a directeur. If you choose this way, remember it’s not the psychoanalyst over again: the confessor is the representative of Our Lord and declares His forgiveness—his advice or ‘understanding’ though of real, is of secondary importance.

For daily reading I suggest (in small doses) Thomas à Kempis’ ‘Imitation of Christ’ and the ‘Theologia Germanica’...and of course the Psalms and New Testament. Don’t worry if your heart won’t respond: do the best you can. You are certainly under the guidance of the Holy Ghost, or you wouldn’t have come where you now are: and the love that matters is His for you—yours for Him may at present exist only in the form of obedience. He will see to the rest.

This has been great news for me I need hardly say. You have all my prayers (not that mine are worth much).

The Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis, Volume II: Family Letters 1905-1931. Copyright © 2004 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers. Yours, Jack: Spiritual Direction from C. S. Lewis. Copyright © 2008 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.


You Can't Handle the Truth

An old adage has it that when you can't win the argument you speak up and shout.  Volume--to weak minds--speaks volumes, pun intended.  Shouting down your opponent(s) is just another way of silencing opposition.  Might as well exile them, or throw them into klink, or rip out their tongues--or whatever.

The silencing of opponents is a strong indication that the case has folded.  It lacks substance, credibility, and force.  It is not understood.  It is inchoate.  It lacks compelling argument.  And so forth. This is the conclusion we believe we are increasingly entitled to draw throughout the West as Christians and Conservatives are shut down and shut out.

The great tolerance buzzsaw has screamed once again.

Saturday, 27 February 2016

Beyond Belief

Cry The Beloved Country

Regular readers of this blog will be familiar with the incredible situation in Rotherham in the UK, where young girls were preyed upon by creeps on an industrial scale.  The authorities knew about it but did nothing for fear of being called racists.  The authorities are now being investigated, including the Yorkshire Police.

The first court case has now been concluded.  The Guardian gives a comprehensive account:

Daily Devotional

You Are Greatly Loved

Among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ — by grace you have been saved. (Ephesians 2:3–5)

John Piper

Would you not love to hear the angel Gabriel say to you, “You are greatly loved”?

Three times this happened to Daniel.
“At the beginning of your pleas for mercy a word went out, and I have come to tell it to you, for you are greatly loved” (Daniel 9:23)

“O Daniel, man greatly loved, understand the words that I speak to you, and stand upright, for now I have been sent to you” (Daniel 10:11)

“And he said, ‘O man greatly loved, fear not, peace be with you; be strong and of good courage” (Daniel 10:19).

Take heart. If you have faith in Jesus, God himself says to you, “You are greatly loved.”

We were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ . . . For by grace you have been saved through faith. (Ephesians 2:3–5, 8).
This is better than an angel’s voice. If you are “alive,” you are greatly loved.

Great Expectations

A Dying Industry Bleeding Out

Abortion is one of those horrific practices that mean just a few abortions a year are too many.  One abortion a year is too many.  Sacrificing an innocent child for the convenience of its mother or society is reprehensible.  It is a great moral evil.  

But there is no magic switch to transform societies instantly.  Society is made up of millions of hearts and minds.  It is made up of habits, traditions, and institutions which give power, influence and presence to beliefs.  The ultimate beliefs of a society are inevitably enshrined in law codes and practice.  Therefore, to drive abortion out from society, which is our goal, takes time.  It also takes effort on a wide diversity of levels.  It requires that we live with evil for a time whilst the life is choked out of it--metaphorically speaking.  (Our opponents, of course--the pro-aborts--advocate and practise literal murder, literally cutting and choking life out of human beings.)

In the United States there is a growing conviction that abortion is a great evil.  The cause is capturing hearts and minds.  Abortion is a shrinking industry.  Let's hope that what is seen in the United States becomes the harbinger of doom for the abominable practice throughout the West.

This report has come in from Bloomberg, a pro-abort institution:

Friday, 26 February 2016

Letter From America (About The Existential Threat of Donald Trump to the Republic)

Trump: A Fraudster, An Authoritarian, a Liar, and a Despot in Waiting

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:42 pm

A few links about the looming disaster for our Republic that is Donald Trump:
Here’s a part of the political calendar that nobody in the Republican Party seems to have noticed: This spring, just as the GOP nomination battle enters its final phase, frontrunner Donald Trump could be forced to take time out for some unwanted personal business: He’s due to take the witness stand in a federal courtroom in San Diego, where he is being accused of running a financial fraud.
In court filings last Friday, lawyers for both sides in a long-running civil lawsuit over the now defunct Trump University named Trump on their witness lists. That makes it all but certain that the reality-show star and international businessman will be forced to be grilled under oath over allegations in the lawsuit that he engaged in deceptive trade practices and scammed thousands of students who enrolled in his “university” courses in response to promises he would make them rich in the real estate market.
Read it all. Or, if you’re a Donald Trump fan, ignore it all.

Daily Devotional

Fury Blown Over--Forever

"The wrath to come."
Matthew 3:7

It is pleasant to pass over a country after a storm has spent itself; to smell the freshness of the herbs after the rain has passed away, and to note the drops while they glisten like purest diamonds in the sunlight. That is the position of a Christian. He is going through a land where the storm has spent itself upon his Saviour's head, and if there be a few drops of sorrow falling, they distil from clouds of mercy, and Jesus cheers him by the assurance that they are not for his destruction.

But how terrible is it to witness the approach of a tempest: to note the forewarnings of the storm; to mark the birds of heaven as they droop their wings; to see the cattle as they lay their heads low in terror; to discern the face of the sky as it groweth black, and look to the sun which shineth not, and the heavens which are angry and frowning! How terrible to await the dread advance of a hurricane--such as occurs, sometimes, in the tropics--to wait in terrible apprehension till the wind shall rush forth in fury, tearing up trees from their roots, forcing rocks from their pedestals, and hurling down all the dwelling-places of man! And yet, sinner, this is your present position.

No hot drops have as yet fallen, but a shower of fire is coming. No terrible winds howl around you, but God's tempest is gathering its dread artillery. As yet the water-floods are dammed up by mercy, but the flood-gates shall soon be opened: the thunderbolts of God are yet in his storehouse, but lo! the tempest hastens, and how awful shall that moment be when God, robed in vengeance, shall march forth in fury! Where, where, where, O sinner, wilt thou hide thy head, or whither wilt thou flee?

O that the hand of mercy may now lead you to Christ! He is freely set before you in the gospel: his riven side is the rock of shelter. Thou knowest thy need of him; believe in him, cast thyself upon him, and then the fury shall be overpast forever.

Oxymorons Aplenty

Modern Islam Is An Impossibility

The chattering classes in the West fondly cling to the idea that Islam can be Westernised.  It can be transformed into the kind of nominalism tolerable to the West.  What is being proposed is readily understandable.

The idea is that the teachings and doctrines of Islam would be filtered through Western humanitarian glasses.  All doctrines which clashed with Western values--particularly socio-political values--would be modified if not discarded.  All Islamic teaching would be filtered so as to exclude or modify every teaching that did not conform to Western values and beliefs.  What would be left would be a nominal Muslim--that is, a Moslim in name only.  But there is a trade-off.  The West in return would honour and genuflect before the butchered remnant of the religion.  The nominal Muslim would be treated with respect.  He would be invited to participate in the highest councils of the land.  He may even get the odd invitation to the White House.

We in New Zealand have seen how this process works.  In fact our nation is built upon it.  We proudly proclaim ourselves to be generally multi-cultural, but specifically bi-cultural.  We have welcomed Maori into the highest councils and counsels of the land.  But every Maori knows that most of the traditional beliefs of Maoritanga have long been left behind.

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow

21 Principles for the Christian Citizen

Douglas Wilson

Because the teaching of the apostle Paul on civil authority is widely misunderstood and misrepresented, we need to review some basic principles. As we do, we need to remember something that Abraham Kuyper once said: “In any successful attack on freedom the state can only be an accomplice. The chief culprit is the citizen who forgets his duty, wastes away his strength in the sleep of sin and sensual pleasure, and so loses the power of his own initiative.”

Political Principles

So here are 21 principles concerning civil government that the Christian must understand.

“Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God” (Rom. 13:1).

1. Civil government and rule is a blessing from God, and not a necessary evil. “The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God. And he shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds; as the tender grass springing out of the earth by clear shining after rain” (2 Sam. 23:3-4).  We are not anarchists.

2. God establishes a righteous throne with majesty.

Daily Devotional

Enjoying His Fullness

From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. (John 1:16)

John Piper

Just before the service last Sunday, the little band of praying saints was hard at work fighting for the faith of our people and for the churches of the Twin Cities and for the nations as they prayed. At one point one man prayed the words of John 1:14–16:
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. . . . And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.
It was one of those epiphany moments for me. God granted in that moment that the word “fullness” — from his fullness — carry a fullness that was extraordinary in its effect on me. I felt some measure of what the word really carries — the fullness of Christ.

I felt some of the wonder that, yes, I had indeed received grace upon grace from this fullness. And I was at that moment receiving grace upon grace. I felt right then that nothing would have been sweeter than to simply sit at his feet — or read my Bible — all afternoon and feel his fullness overflow.

Why did this fullness have such an impact on me — and why is it still to this moment affecting me unusually? In part because...

. . . the one from whose fullness I am being drenched with grace is the Word that was with God and was God (John 1:1–2), so that his fullness is the fullness of God — a divine fullness, an infinite fullness;*  
. . . this Word became flesh and so was one of us and was pursuing us with his fullness — it is an accessible fullness;*
. . . when this Word appeared in human form, his glory was seen — his is a glorious fullness;*
. . . this Word was “the only Son from the Father” so that the divine fullness was being mediated to me not just from God, but through God — God did not send an angel but his only Son to deliver his fullness;*
. . . the fullness of the Son is a fullness of grace — I will not drown in this fullness but be blessed in every way by this fullness;*
. . . this fullness is not only a fullness of grace but of truth — I am not being graced with truth-ignoring flattery; this grace is rooted in rock-solid reality.*

Citizen Journalism

No Small Accomplishment

Media conglomerates love sensation.  Sensationalism sells the media's product/service--both directly and indirectly.  More often than not the old media have an axe to grind, and that axe is called self-interest.  The more eyeballs or clicks, the more advertising revenue they can command.

When an ostensibly random individual poured muck over a Cabinet minister recently in New Zealand it was tailor made for sensationalism.  It happened in Christchurch as that city marked the five year anniversary of the big quake.  It was a pretty solemn occasion.  But the random protestor wanted to protest how cruel, heartless, and oppressive the government has been towards the people in Christchurch.

This is how the media framed the incident:

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Another Case for the Supreme Court?

An Exception That Will Make a Rule

This is a really interesting issue.  On the one hand is the US Department of Justice and the FBI.  On the other is Apple.  

The Department of Justice is seeking to compel Apple to build a tool which would override and nullify the in-built privacy protections of Apple i-phones.  The US Government wants this "special tool" to read the phone(s) of the two terrorists who murdered people in San Bernadino.  Apple is refusing.  Here is Apple's argument:

Daily Devotional

Horror of the Same Old Thing

C. S. Lewis

Screwtape reveals a powerful tool for distraction:

What we want, if men become Christians at all, is to keep them in the state of mind I call ‘Christianity And’. You know—Christianity and the Crisis, Christianity and the New Psychology, Christianity and the New Order, Christianity and Faith Healing, Christianity and Psychical Research, Christianity and Vegetarianism, Christianity and Spelling Reform. If they must be Christians let them at least be Christians with a difference. Substitute for the faith itself some Fashion with a Christian colouring. Work on their horror of the Same Old Thing.

The horror of the Same Old Thing is one of the most valuable passions we have produced in the human heart—an endless source of heresies in religion, folly in counsel, infidelity in marriage, and inconstancy in friendship. The humans live in time, and experience reality successively. To experience much of it, therefore, they must experience many different things; in other words, they must experience change. And since they need change, the Enemy (being a hedonist at heart) has made change pleasurable to them, just as He has made eating pleasurable. But since He does not wish them to make change, any more than eating, an end in itself, He has balanced the love of change in them by a love of permanence. He has contrived to gratify both tastes together in the very world He has made, by that union of change and permanence which we call Rhythm. He gives them the seasons, each season different yet every year the same, so that spring is always felt as a novelty yet always as the recurrence of an immemorial theme. He gives them in His Church a spiritual year; they change from a fast to a feast, but it is the same feast as before.

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.

The Truth Will Out

Child Abuse Has Becomes A Compelling Necessity

There is a logic in Unbelief which "will out".  Christian philosophers and theologians have referred to it as moving towards epistemological self-consciousness.  Epistemology is that branch of  philosophy which considers not just what we know, but how we know.  Self-conscious epistemology is achieved when the knower reworks all his beliefs and knowledge according to his favorite theory of knowledge.  This process of working towards epistemological self-consciousness can take generations, but the process itself is irrevocable.

Not that everyone willingly goes along for the ride.  Take the resident world-view of materialistic evolutionism.  This peculiar world-view has implications for knowledge, truth, and beliefs--the main one being that all knowledge is ultimately without meaning or certainty.  It is not just that all knowledge is relative; it is that knowledge and knowing is changing, adapting, and morphing into an unknown.

For generations, willing adopters of evolutionism celebrated this world-view because it liberated man from God and ostensibly made mankind the top dog.  It facilitated human pride in implying that the current generation was the biggest, brightest, and best of all.  But the more self-conscious men became about evolution, the more the radical relativism of this worldview began to impinge.

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

No Limits To The Evil of Their Caliphate

Islamic State Stones Four Rape Victims for ‘Adultery’

Mary Chastain

Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) militants raped four women and then stoned them for adultery in Mosul, Iraq.
“The four victims were arrested earlier on [W]ednesday in a raid by ISIS jihadis,” stated Raafat Zarari, spokesman of the Nineveh Media Center. “The jihadis claimed to have captured the women while committing adultery.”

A Sharia court operated by the Islamic State sentenced the women to death.  “The four women were stoned to death on Thursday in front of a large crowd of people in central Mosul,” continued Zarari.  The sentence did not mention the men who raped the women, who, it can be assumed also committed “adultery” if they were married when the rape took place.  “The four women were most likely exposed to sexual abuse at the hands of ISIS militants before being driven out of their homes and transferred to the Sharia Court,” explained activist Abdullah al-Malla.

He added:
The statement of the Sharia Court regarding the case of those four women has avoided mentioning the men who have been involved in the alleged adultery. Apparently, the victims have been raped by ISIS jihadis and then stoned to death on charges of committing adultery.
The Islamic State has a history of stoning rape victims or anyone who allegedly commits adultery.

Daily Devotional

Don't Be Afraid of God's Power

"The Lord is slow to anger, and great in power."
Nahum 1:3

Charles H. Spurgeon

Jehovah "is slow to anger." When mercy cometh into the world she driveth winged steeds; the axles of her chariot-wheels are red hot with speed; but when wrath goeth forth, it toileth on with tardy footsteps, for God taketh no pleasure in the sinner's death. God's rod of mercy is ever in his hands outstretched; his sword of justice is in its scabbard, held down by that pierced hand of love which bled for the sins of men. "The Lord is slow to anger," because he is great in power.

He is truly great in power who hath power over himself. When God's power doth restrain himself, then it is power indeed: the power that binds omnipotence is omnipotence surpassed. A man who has a strong mind can bear to be insulted long, and only resents the wrong when a sense of right demands his action. The weak mind is irritated at a little: the strong mind bears it like a rock which moveth not, though a thousand breakers dash upon it, and cast their pitiful malice in spray upon its summit.

God marketh his enemies, and yet he bestirs not himself, but holdeth in his anger. If he were less divine than he is, he would long ere this have sent forth the whole of his thunders, and emptied the magazines of heaven; he would long ere this have blasted the earth with the wondrous fires of its lower regions, and man would have been utterly destroyed; but the greatness of his power brings us mercy. Dear reader, what is your state this evening?

Can you by humble faith look to Jesus, and say, "My substitute, thou art my rock, my trust"? Then, beloved, be not afraid of God's power; for by faith you have fled to Christ for refuge, the power of God need no more terrify you, than the shield and sword of the warrior need terrify those whom he loves. Rather rejoice that he who is "great in power" is your Father and Friend.

NZ's Anti-Family Madness

A Huge Failure Born of State Overreach

In 2007 the NZ Parliament passed a law which made the parental smack of a child a crime.  It represented at the time a gargantuan sledgehammer to crush a nut.  But the do-gooders meant well. They were convinced that violence against children perpetrated by adults was endemic in New Zealand.  In this they were right.  They were convinced that passing the law would set a bright line in societal consciousness--violence against children was never to be tolerated.  In this they were completely wrong.

But politicians exist to make laws.  For the vast majority, if not all, of them making laws, rules, and regulations are they only tools they have to "change things".  Adult violence against children was endemic in New Zealand; passing a law would fix things up.  Three politicians stand out (there were many others) as believing most passionately that the anti-smacking law would stop violence against children.

Serial protester, Sue Bradford had increased her sense of self-righteousness and self-worth over many years campaigning to make the parental smack of children for purposes of training and disciplining them a crime.  In Parliament at the time, she seized the opportunity to introduce just such a bill to the House.  She promised, she vowed, she gave solemn oaths that if her bill became law, the tidal wave of abuse against children in this country would begin to recede.  She misled the nation.

Monday, 22 February 2016

Taking Stock of Where We Are

Rhymes With Bruise

Douglas Wilson

I want to begin what I say here by honoring the memory of Justice Antonin Scalia. He was a man who understood himself, who understood the Constitution, and who understood the enemies of constitutional liberty — whose name unfortunately is Legion. Here is Scalia on the reason for this.
“God assumed from the beginning that the wise of the world would view Christians as fools…and He has not been disappointed. Devout Christians are destined to be regarded as fools in modern society. We are fools for Christ’s sake. We must pray for courage to endure the scorn of the sophisticated world. If I have brought any message today, it is this: Have the courage to have your wisdom regarded as stupidity. Be fools for Christ. And have the courage to suffer the contempt of the sophisticated world.”
Scalia was not ashamed to be out of step with the times, so long as he was in step with the truth. Here he is again: “Bear in mind that brains and learning, like muscle and physical skill, are articles of commerce. They are bought and sold. You can hire them by the year or by the hour. The only thing in the world not for sale is character.” Scalia was a bulwark of our republic, and a very great man. He is now at peace, and because of that we are deeper into war.
Ted Cruz
 Ted Cruz:  I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t mind that flag on the left in the Oval Office . . .

So we need to take stock of where we are.

Daily Devotional

A Diligent Pupil in the College of Content

"I have learned, in whatever state I am, therewith to be content."
Philippians 4:11

Charles H. Spurgeon

These words show us that contentment is not a natural propensity of man. "Ill weeds grow apace." Covetousness, discontent, and murmuring are as natural to man as thorns are to the soil. We need not sow thistles and brambles; they come up naturally enough, because they are indigenous to earth: and so, we need not teach men to complain; they complain fast enough without any education. But the precious things of the earth must be cultivated.

If we would have wheat, we must plough and sow; if we want flowers, there must be the garden, and all the gardener's care. Now, contentment is one of the flowers of heaven, and if we would have it, it must be cultivated; it will not grow in us by nature; it is the new nature alone that can produce it, and even then we must be specially careful and watchful that we maintain and cultivate the grace which God has sown in us.

 Paul says, "I have learned ... to be content;" as much as to say, he did not know how at one time. It cost him some pains to attain to the mystery of that great truth. No doubt he sometimes thought he had learned, and then broke down. And when at last he had attained unto it, and could say, "I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content," he was an old, grey-headed man, upon the borders of the grave--a poor prisoner shut up in Nero's dungeon at Rome. We might well be willing to endure Paul's infirmities, and share the cold dungeon with him, if we too might by any means attain unto his good degree.

Do not indulge the notion that you can be contented without learning, or learn without discipline. It is not a power that may be exercised naturally, but a science to be acquired gradually. We know this from experience. Brother, hush that murmur, natural though it be, and continue a diligent pupil in the College of Content.

A One-Eyed Man Amongst the Blind

The King is Dead

It is with great sadness that Contra Celsum notes the passing of US Supreme Court Justice, Antonin Scalia.  We well remember his visits to Auckland, NZ in 1999 and 2004.  He has been lionised as the leader of the conservative justices on the US Supreme Court--their intellectual champion, their leader, and their mentor.  A giant, some have said.

We suspect that such praise is hyperbolic.  We suspect that Scalia himself would have thought so.  The fact remains that in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.  Scalia was the one eyed man amongst a Court stacked with the blind.  We do not mean to imply that the "liberal lions" of the Court (Ginsburg, Kennedy, etc.) are dumb.  Rather that they cling to an epistemology that is so idiotic, so myopic that all it takes is for someone to state the obvious, like the boy who pointed out the sartorial inadequacies of the emperor, to be  seen as profound and far-seeing.

Scalia was the exponent of "originalism" when it came to interpreting and applying the Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights.  The original intent and meaning of the actual text, to be discovered by studying the text in its Sitz im Leben--its "Situation in Life"--once uncovered would help us in applying the text appropriately to the modern world.

Saturday, 20 February 2016

You Will Do as We Say

The Religious Narrow Mindedness of the Left

2015 will undoubtedly go down as the year the Left’s efforts to impose its absolutist ideology went well beyond targeting lecturers and graduation speakers invited to colleges.

In late spring, the University of California distributed a guide to forbidden classroom phrases, including “America is the land of opportunity” and “America is a melting pot,” to faculty at each of its 10 campuses. Later in the year, George Mason University professor Jagadish Shukla and 19 others went national with a letter to President Obama and Attorney General Loretta Lynch, demanding they criminally prosecute any company or organization that denies climate change.

Now, in 2016, we discover that even public officials directly responsible for the safety of millions—the police chief of Cologne, Germany, and the mayor of Philadelphia, for example—have been cowed into a stunning dereliction of duty by the apostles of political correctness.

Many on the Left will argue that prescience justifies their rigidly enforced opinions. Having twice elected a liberal black president, successfully promoted gay marriage, enabled women to serve in combat roles, and taken major steps toward legalizing marijuana—all in less than a decade—liberals like to see themselves as prodding a cautious public to go where it sooner or later will agreeably follow.

Yet a much stronger case can be made that the Left’s aggressive enforcement of its ideology stems, not from any victory-inspired confidence, but from the very opposite.

Daily Devotional

The Sweet Designs of God

But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace. (Galatians 1:15)

John Piper

Ponder the conversion of Paul, the sovereignty of Christ, and what Paul’s sins have to do with your salvation.

Paul said that God “set me apart before I was born,” and then on the Damascus road “called me by his grace” (Galatians 1:15). This means that between Paul’s birth and his call on the Damascus road he was an already-chosen but not-yet-called instrument of God (Acts 9:15; 22:14).

This means that Paul was beating and imprisoning and murdering Christians as a God-chosen, soon-to-be-made-Christian missionary.
As I was on my way and drew near to Damascus, about noon a great light from heaven suddenly shone around me. And I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” (Acts 22:6–7)
There was no denying or escaping it.

Utopian Madness

Verging On Insanity

The old saw about the genie being let out of the bottle has it that once out, the genie can't be returned; it remains wildly uncontrollable.  Once out, bad consequences follow.  

There is a strong body of evidence to demonstrate that "assisted suicide", when legalised, is just such a genie.  Now, of course, nations that make assisted suicide legal always comfort themselves with the platitude that their particular version will not be misused by the unscrupulous.  After all, the fomenters and the legislators mean well.  They are only thinking kindly of the person suffering as they die.  Their version of assisted suicide is a law of love, dripping with compassion and pity.

But these folk are wilfully naive.  They do not operate on the premise that "the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked", but rather its opposite: viz, "the heart is truthful above all things and comprehensively righteous."  Given the supposed universal righteousness of men, of course it's reasonable to expect everyone will use a law permitting assisted suicides for the sole and only purpose for which it was intended, which was to reduce the suffering of the dying.

But which premise about men is true?

Friday, 19 February 2016

Letter From America (About Political Cowardice)

Stop Applying a Different Standard to Donald Trump

Filed under: General — Patterico 

Journalists do not hold Donald Trump to the same standard as other candidates. When he makes grand, sweeping, and ridiculously unsupportable statements, they let it go — apparently thinking that the silly nature of the statements is self-evident. Maybe they are — to educated, intelligent, and informed people. But those aren’t the people still making up their minds about who should be President.

This idea that we apply a different standard to Trump is likely to be a running theme here. Today, let me start the discussion by showing you this video:

Daily Devotional

There Is No Denying

TO SISTER PENELOPE: On the consequences of Mrs. Moore going into a nursing home; and on cheerful insecurity rather than worry.

30 December 1950

C. S. Lewis

Yours was a cheering letter which warmed my heart (I wish it would have warmed my fingers too: as it is they will hardly form the letters!). . . .

Our state is thus: my ‘mother’ has had to retire permanently into a Nursing Home. She is in no pain but her mind has almost completely gone. What traces of it remain seem gentler and more placid than I have known it for years. Her appetite is, oddly, enormous. I visit her, normally, every day, and am divided between a (rational?) feeling that this process of gradual withdrawal is merciful and even beautiful, and a quite different feeling (it comes out in my dreams) of horror.

There is no denying—and I don’t know why I should deny to you—that our domestic life is both more physically comfortable and more psychologically harmonious for her absence. The expense is of course very severe and I have worries about that. But it would be very dangerous to have no worries—or rather no occasions of worry. I have been feeling that very much lately: that cheerful insecurity is what Our Lord asks of us. Thus one comes, late and surprised, to the simplest and earliest Christian lessons!

. . . I am glad to hear your inner news. Mine, too, is I think (but who am I to judge?) fairly good. Oremus pro invicem [Let us pray for each other].

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

More Delicious Irony From the US Primaries

Egalitarianism's Faithful Sons (and the Odd Daughter)

On the grand banquet table of delicious ironies, here's a morsel to keep you chuckling through several courses.  Bernard Sanders--candidate to be nominated by the Democratic Party in the United States as its very own presidential candidate--is doing pretty well in the early primaries.  He is a serious socialist.  We mean by this that he believes fervently in egalitarianism.  Enforced equality should characterise human society.  In everything.  Thus says Bernie.

But, hold on.  Bernie is running in a political race against Hillary Clinton.  It's expected that there will be a winner and a loser.  Not co-winners.  That very notion should be a severe provocation to Bernie.  But, thankfully sanity has broken out.  Bernie had a big "win" in the New Hampshire primary.  He trounced Hillary.  Theoretically, in an unjust world, he would have left New Hampshire with significantly more delegates than Hillary.

But justice has prevailed--and just as well.

Thursday, 18 February 2016

See No Evil, Hear No Evil

Sweden's Somnolence

Oliver Lane
Breitbart London

The world recoiled in horror in January after a young woman who worked in a ‘unaccompanied minor’ refugee centre was murdered by one of her charges, but it has now been revealed the killer shouldn’t have been in the children’s centre at all, as he lied about his age.

Twenty-two year old Alexandra Mezher was rushed to hospital in late January after being repeatedly stabbed. She had been a worker at a migrant centre in Mölndal, Sweden caring for unaccompanied minors aged between 14 and 17 years old and was killed by one of the residents there, Somali-born Youssaf Khaliif Nuur.

There were some doubts of the man’s true identity from very early on in investigations, including over his age which seemed remarkably young for the bearded, six foot man.

Daily Devotional

Always in Heaven

TO BEDE GRIFFITHS, with whom Lewis shares an insight from The Great Divorce (Chapter 9), which he is writing at the time: On the utter truth of losing one’s life to save it (with another word about Charles Williams).

C. S. Lewis

25 May 1944

Thanks for your letter. I too was delighted with our meeting. About the past, and nothing being lost, the point is that ‘He who loses his life shall save it’ [Matthew 10:39] is totally true, true on every level. Everything we crucify will rise again: nothing we try to hold onto will be left us.

I wrote the other day ‘Good and evil when they attain their full stature are retrospective. That is why, at the end of all things, the damned will say we were always in Hell, and the blessed we have never lived anywhere but in heaven.’ Do you agree?

You’re right about C.W. He has an undisciplined mind and sometimes admits into his theology ideas whose proper place is in his romances. What keeps him right is his love of which (and I have now known him long) he radiates more than any man I know. . . . Continue to pray for me as I do for you.

The Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis, Volume II: Family Letters 1905-1931. Copyright © 2004 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers. Yours, Jack: Spiritual Direction from C. S. Lewis. Copyright © 2008 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

Scintillating Confabulations of Outrage

An Internationalist Bridge Too Far

The cause of fighting against the Trade Pacific Partnership ("TPP") has been weakened by the syndrome of embarrassing advocates.

A local journalista/opiner has written:
The opposition to the TPP was ugly. Worse than that, it backfired. At first, the crowds of thousands walking Auckland's streets in protest were impressive.  Until you talked to them.

Too many of them didn't even know why they were protesting.  "I dunno, to be honest," was roughly what one man said.  "I'm just here for my people."  The sight of Sue Bradford wrestling with police - again - can do quite a good job of drawing attention to a cause.  But the sight of Sue Bradford sitting on the tarmac in the middle of a main road to deliberately disrupt the traffic of a city already cursed with motorway constipation is just infuriating.

How did the TPP become the fault of Aucklanders who are just trying to get to work? How did it require vandalism of one minister's electorate office?  How would molotov-cocktail bombing another minister's office stop it?
A  delicious irony emerges when considering these embarrassing advocates.

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Pakistan's Version of Islam

More Horrific Persecution of Christians

Pakistani Police Strip Christian Man Naked, Beat Him to Death with Logs

Thomas D. Williams

A gruesome story of anti-Christian police brutality has emerged from the Punjab province of Pakistan, where police allegedly tortured a Christian man to death in an attempt to make him confess to stealing from his Muslim employer.

When a wealthy Muslim businessman was robbed last November, he accused his Christian employee, 47-year-old Liaqat Masih, of the crime, and reportedly “pressured police” to arrest and force a confession out of the man and his son, Khurram. The businessman, Mohammad Raza Hameed, is a leader of the Pakistan Tehreek Insaf political party in the community, and although he had many Muslim employees, he only accused Masih, a Christian who had served as his driver for over 15 years.

Based on the accusations, the police arrested Masih and his son and brought them in for interrogation. When the son Khurrum refused to confess to the crime, the police forced him to strip, tied him up and beat him. When the young man continued to protest his innocence, the police brought his father in and also ordered him to strip naked.

Daily Devotional

Better Than Money, Sex, and Power

Do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. (Hebrews 10:35)

John Piper

We need to ponder the superiority of God as our great reward over all that the world has to offer. If we don’t, we will love the world like everyone else and live like every one else.

So take the things that drive the world and ponder how much better and more abiding God is. Take money or sex or power and think about them in relation to death. Death will take away every one of them. If that is what you live for, you won't get much, and what you get, you lose.  But God's treasure is abiding. It lasts. It goes beyond death. It’s better than money because God owns all the money and he is our Father. “All things are yours, and you are Christ's and Christ is God’s” (1 Corinthians 3:22-23).

It's better than sex. Jesus never had sexual relations, and he was the most full and complete human that ever will exist. Sex is a shadow — an image — of a greater reality, of a relationship and pleasure that will make sex seem like a yawn.

The reward of God is better than power. There is no greater human power than to be a child of the Almighty God. “Do you not know that we shall judge angels?” (1 Corinthians 6:3).  And so it goes on and on. Everything the world has to offer, God is better and more abiding.

There is no comparison. God wins — every time. The question is: will we have him? Will we wake up from the trance of this stupefying world and see and believe and rejoice and love?

The Next Domino to Fall? Part II

The Deaths of Two Fathers

Guest Post by Alwyn Poole
The Care Alliance

I had two fathers who died two quite different deaths. One, my birth father (who I never met), chose suicide assisted by a shotgun in his back shed. The other, the one who adopted me and brought me up, died of natural causes in his lounge – at home with his wife – in 2006.

Strangely enough, re the debate on euthanasia, it is the death of the second one I want to address. This should not be a nice trendy issue for someone to try and gain electoral support. It has stunning potential to become a slippery slope for a range of groups in society. It also has the potential to confer power to a group of people (doctors) who are highly fallible in a range of ways.

As I said – my adoptive father died naturally at home. His life almost did not end that way. A few months prior to his death I received a phone call at work that my father was “dying that day”. It was a Tuesday and he was in intensive care in a hospital in a small city in NZ. I had spent time there with him on the Sunday and had left him on the improve and​, apparently, ​ in good spirits.

Ray Poole was 67 years old at the time and had a terminal illness, emphysema, that had progressed.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow

A Six-Inch Swath of Orange Shag

Douglas Wilson

So the other night at the recent Republican debate, three candidates said they would be fine with women having to register for the Selective Service. Those three were Christie, Bush, and Rubio. After the debate, Cruz said that he thought the idea was “nuts.” “We have had enough with political correctness — especially in the military,” Cruz said.

You traditionalists need to develop a more
realistic view of what it would actually
be like to have women in combat.
So let us talk about this for a minute, shall we? I have some random thoughts on the subject, which will probably require systematic organization later.

First, I want to say that there are a number of striking things about Rubio’s conservatism that I like. I like his free and open confession of Christ. I like how unabashedly pro-life he is. But this answer of his reveals that he is not functioning with an integrated biblical worldview at all. This is a profound and radical inconsistency in his professed conservatism.

Once you have signed off on the nation/state conscripting your daughters to go serve in combat roles, whatever it was you thought you were conserving — thus allowing you to call yourself a conservative — has had a fork stuck in it and is done. Nothing really to conserve any more.

A nation that conscripts its daughters for its defense is a nation that no longer deserves a defense. We may have to fight later as a practical matter, but this is a matter of rudimentary allegiance.

The compromise runs deep also (as it does with Christie and Bush), because the formal legality of women serving in combat roles is merely weeks old.

Daily Devotional

Watch and Pray

"Lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil [or, the evil one]."
Luke 11:4

Charles H. Spurgeon

What we are taught to seek or shun in prayer, we should equally pursue or avoid in action. Very earnestly, therefore, should we avoid temptation, seeking to walk so guardedly in the path of obedience, that we may never tempt the devil to tempt us. We are not to enter the thicket in search of the lion. Dearly might we pay for such presumption. This lion may cross our path or leap upon us from the thicket, but we have nothing to do with hunting him. He that meeteth with him, even though he winneth the day, will find it a stern struggle. Let the Christian pray that he may be spared the encounter. Our Saviour, who had experience of what temptation meant, thus earnestly admonished his disciples--"Pray that ye enter not into temptation."

But let us do as we will, we shall be tempted; hence the prayer "deliver us from evil." God had one Son without sin; but he has no son without temptation. The natural man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upwards, and the Christian man is born to temptation just as certainly. We must be always on our watch against Satan, because, like a thief, he gives no intimation of his approach. Believers who have had experience of the ways of Satan, know that there are certain seasons when he will most probably make an attack, just as at certain seasons bleak winds may be expected; thus the Christian is put on a double guard by fear of danger, and the danger is averted by preparing to meet it. Prevention is better than cure: it is better to be so well armed that the devil will not attack you, than to endure the perils of the fight, even though you come off a conqueror. Pray first that you may not be tempted, and next that if temptation be permitted, you may be delivered from the evil one.

The Next Domino to Fall? Part I

Riding the Tsunami of Secularism

In Proverbs 8: 35-36 we read:

For whoever finds me finds life
    and obtains favour from the Lord,
but he who fails to find me injures himself;
    all who hate me love death.

The extended context is one of Wisdom being personified.  It speaks of how God's wisdom is immanent throughout the creation.  Consequently, those who "dismiss" God from their lives end up hating life and loving death.  Proverbs 8: 35-36 is a fearful condemnation, for it indicts the smart and intelligent as well as the ignorant and the brutish.

In the West we have seen how this works out at the extreme end of the spectrum.  Literally.  Abortion is a love affair with death and a hatred of new, innocent life.  It deploys an entire infrastructure and industry devoted to death in the name of human rights.  It is celebrated by those who hate God's wisdom as a profound respect for life (the "mother's").  It loves the death of the child.  It cheers and celebrates the murder of the defenceless, innocent child.  Surely our culture hates God.  Surely it loves death.

In New Zealand we are about to debate (and probably legislate) another preference for death over life.  "Assisted dying" is likely to be approved by our Parliament, and made the law of the land.  One can see the logic.

Monday, 15 February 2016

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow

Title Nine, Schmitle Nine

Douglas Wilson

While nobody was looking, the swells who run our international affairs effectively destroyed the entire concept of women’s athletics. We have now advanced well past the absurdity horizon, the point past which no recovery is possible without resorting to the forces of dark bigotry and reaction.

It used to be that for a male to compete as a female in the Olympics, he needed to have had the requisite surgery two years prior. That was stupid and perverse, but at least it was post-op stupid and perverse. If some guy wanted a gold medal bad enough, he had to do something drastic for a chance to get there. But now, wafting along with the zeitgeistian breezes, the intelligentsia has effectively destroyed women’s athletics everywhere.

Meet Tiffany, silver medalist in the 2016 hammer throw. Her teammates call her Bruno, but not when she is around.

This rules adjustment by the Olympic committee will make it necessary for every institution down to high school to make the same adjustments, and poof, there go all your feminist advances. Title nine, schmitle nine. And it wasn’t even done by the religious right. Of course, we conservatives are allowed to get a certain wheeze out of it, but we had nothing to do with it. Not our zoo, not our monkeys.

Daily Devotional

God is Not Static

All sorts of people are fond of repeating the Christian statement that ‘God is love’. But they seem not to notice that the words ‘God is love’ have no real meaning unless God contains at least two Persons. Love is something that one person has for another person. If God was a single person, then before the world was made, He was not love.

Of course, what these people mean when they say that God is love is often something quite different: they really mean ‘Love is God’. They really mean that our feelings of love, however and wherever they arise, and whatever results they produce, are to be treated with great respect. Perhaps they are: but that is something quite different from what Christians mean by the statement ‘God is love’. They believe that the living, dynamic activity of love has been going on in God forever and has created everything else.

And that, by the way, is perhaps the most important difference between Christianity and all other religions: that in Christianity God is not a static thing but a dynamic, pulsating activity, a life, almost a kind of drama. Almost, if you will not think me irreverent, a kind of dance.

Mere Christianity. Copyright © 1952, C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. Copyright renewed © 1980, C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers. A Year With C.S. Lewis: Daily Readings from His Classic Works. Copyright © 2003 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

A Picture More Profound Than A Thousand Words

Reality--Unrehearsed and Spontaneous

Remember the 'Napalm Girl' shot which aroused the world over the horror of US napalm being dropped on Vietnamese villages?  The picture of the naked, fleeing infant, amidst the other terrified children, said it all.

Sometimes a news photos capture a reality which is so profound it becomes indeed much more powerful than thousands of words.

What is wrong with this photo? What is so graphically epitomic about this image?

A group of migrants walk on the road near a border line between Serbia and Croatia, near the village of Berkasovo, Serbia, Monday, Oct. 19, 2015. Tension was building among thousands of migrants as they remained stranded in fog and cold weather in the Balkans on Sunday in their quest to reach a better life in Western Europe, two days after Hungary closed its border with Croatia and the flow of people was redirected to a much slower route via Slovenia. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
A group of migrants walk on the road near a border line between Serbia and Croatia, near the village of Berkasovo, Serbia, Monday, Oct. 19, 2015. Tension was building among thousands of migrants as they remained stranded in fog and cold weather in the Balkans on Sunday in their quest to reach a better life in Western Europe, two days after Hungary closed its border with Croatia and the flow of people was redirected to a much slower route via Slovenia. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

Some hints:
Count the number of young men. Consider their clothing and what they are carrying.
Compare and contrast with the woman.

The culture which Western feminists lionise and idolize is portrayed quintessentially in this image.  It is a negative parable of how the truth of Jesus Christ sets people free.

Saturday, 13 February 2016

Letter From New Zealand (About An Imaginary Sex-Crime in the UK)

Tried for a Sex Crime... 

'because I brushed past a film star in rush-hour'

Mr Pearson seen on CCTV footage recorded at Waterloo Underground Station.
Their paths crossed for precisely half a second during the evening rush hour at Waterloo Station.

Mark Pearson, a 51-year-old artist, was on his way home from work, weaving through a thick tide of London commuters.  Walking towards him across the concourse came an award-winning star of film, TV, theatre and radio. She had just been to a yoga class and was heading to a rehearsal. Neither knew the other.

What happened next - or rather what didn't happen - would cast Mr Pearson into what he calls a year-long "Kafkaesque nightmare" from which he has only just escaped, and for which he squarely blames the Crown Prosecution Service.  It cannot be said with certainty that the artist and the actress made even fleeting physical contact. CCTV images showed only that they walked past each other.

Yet the woman, who is in her 60s, claimed Mr Pearson sexually assaulted her - penetratively - for "two or three seconds".  This was followed, she insisted, by a violent blow to her left shoulder. Images of the moments before and after they passed were captured from CCTV and shown to a jury during Mr Pearson's three-day trial at Blackfriars Crown Court in London last week.

Daily Devotional

Gladly Not God

Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the peoples, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength! (Psalm 96:7)

John Piper

Here’s what I think would be some of what’s included in a full experience of what the psalmist calls for when he says, “Ascribe [=give] to the Lord strength.”

First, by God’s grace, we give attention to God and see that he is strong. We give heed to his strength. Then we give our approval to the greatness of his strength. We give due regard to its worth.

We find his strength to be wonderful. But what makes this wonder a “giving” kind of wonder is that we are especially glad that the greatness of the strength is his and not ours.  We feel a profound fitness in the fact that he is infinitely strong and not us. We love the fact that this is so. We do not envy God for his strength. We are not covetous of his power. We are full of joy that all strength is his.

Everything in us rejoices to go out to behold this power, as if we had arrived at the celebration of the victory of a distance runner who had beaten us in the race, and we found our greatest joy in admiring his strength, rather than resenting our loss.

We find the deepest meaning in life when our hearts freely go out to admire God’s power, rather than turning inward to boast in our own — or even think about our own. We discover something overwhelming: It is profoundly satisfying not to be God, but to give up all thoughts or desires to be God.

In our giving heed to God’s power there rises up in us a realization that God created the universe for this: So that we could have the supremely satisfying experience of not being God, but admiring the Godness of God — the strength of God. There settles over us a peaceful realization that admiration of the infinite is the final end of all things.

We tremble at the slightest temptation to claim any power as coming from us. God has made us weak to protect us from this: “We have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us” (2 Corinthians 4:7).  O what love this is, that God would protect us from replacing the everlasting heights of admiring his power with the futile attempt to boast in our own!

Reality Shock

Paper Tigers Face Up to Jihad

World views matter.  Tacitly believed world views are as profoundly influential as the world view of the self-aware.  When however the tacit believer is confronted by an alien world view most often confusion results.  A normal reaction is for the tacit believer to retreat to the old "certainties", like "Nobody believes that", or "What an extreme view", or "Everybody agrees that's wrong".

We are seeing this every day in the confrontation between Islamic world views, on the one hand, and sophisticated secular humanists in the West who have spent most of their adult lives in the thrall of the fallacy of argumentum ad populum.  Everyone believes the mores and principles of secular humanism, so it must be right.  Islamic believers are a devastating threat because they don't give a fig for the Western world-view.  Moreover, because Islamic believers are far more self-conscious about the foundations and fundamental principles of their world-view, their militancy comes as a great shock to the fellow-travellers of Western secular humanism.

Here is an example of one writer expressing his bewilderment over the behaviour of Islamic migrants:  Karl du Fresne opines--

Friday, 12 February 2016

Letter From America (About Venezuela)

Venezuela is on the Brink of a Complete Economic Collapse

Matt O'Brien,
The Washington Post

The only question now is whether Venezuela's government or economy will completely collapse first. The key word there is "completely." Both are well into their death throes. Indeed, Venezuela's ruling party just lost congressional elections that gave the opposition a veto-proof majority, and it's hard to see that getting any better for them any time soon — or ever.

Incumbents, after all, don't tend to do too well when, according to the International Monetary Fund, their economy shrinks 10 percent one year, an additional 6 percent the next, and inflation explodes to 720 percent. It's no wonder, then, that markets expect Venezuela to default on its debt in the very near future. The country is basically bankrupt.

That's not an easy thing to do when you have the largest oil reserves in the world, but Venezuela has managed it. How?

Daily Devotional

Hallelujahs of Eternity

"Thou shalt call his name Jesus."
Matthew 1:21

Charles Haddon Spurgeon

When a person is dear, everything connected with him becomes dear for his sake. Thus, so precious is the person of the Lord Jesus in the estimation of all true believers, that everything about him they consider to be inestimable beyond all price. "All thy garments smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia," said David, as if the very vestments of the Saviour were so sweetened by his person that he could not but love them. Certain it is, that there is not a spot where that hallowed foot hath trodden--there is not a word which those blessed lips have uttered--nor a thought which his loving Word has revealed--which is not to us precious beyond all price.

And this is true of the names of Christ--they are all sweet in the believer's ear. Whether he be called the Husband of the Church, her Bridegroom, her Friend; whether he be styled the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world--the King, the Prophet, or the Priest--every title of our Master--Shiloh, Emmanuel, Wonderful, the Mighty Counsellor--every name is like the honeycomb dropping with honey, and luscious are the drops that distil from it. But if there be one name sweeter than another in the believer's ear, it is the name of Jesus.

Jesus! it is the name which moves the harps of heaven to melody. Jesus! the life of all our joys. If there be one name more charming, more precious than another, it is this name. It is woven into the very warp and woof of our psalmody. Many of our hymns begin with it, and scarcely any, that are good for anything, end without it. It is the sum total of all delights. It is the music with which the bells of heaven ring; a song in a word; an ocean for comprehension, although a drop for brevity; a matchless oratorio in two syllables; a gathering up of the hallelujahs of eternity in five letters.

"Jesus, I love thy charming name,
'Tis music to mine ear."

Useful Idiots

The Syndrome of the Embarrassing Advocate

Both the Republican and Democratic parties in the United States are learning all about the Syndrome of the Embarrassing Advocate.  It's that feeling of hollow victory when someone who is a few sandwiches-short-of-a-picnic starts to advocate for a position you hold dear.

We have seen Republicans wincing when Donald Trump, a celebrity politician, has started to espouse conservative causes.   We in New Zealand can afford to laugh at Trump because none of the avian excrement is likely to foul our nests.  So he has been good for us--as a comedic figure can be.  After all, laughter is the best medicine, they say.  Thus, we were heartily amused when, being confronted by his ideological and philosophical about-faces, Trump (with a straight face, no less) justified them by saying, "Well, look, back then I was a business man,  Now I am a politician."  What a deliciously ironic turn of phrase.

And don't get us started on Hillary Clinton.  Democrats and Independents all over the country must be wincing every time she opens her mouth to change feet.  It pays to be sanguine about it all.  As Mr Bennett has said, "What do we exist for, eh Lizzy, but to make sport for our neighbours, and for us to laugh at them in their turn."

We have had our own Kiwi incident of the embarrassing advocate right here in NZ.

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Turning of the Tide?

The Patriot Spring

Geert Wilders
Breitbart News

“A revolution,” Wikipedia says, “is a fundamental change in political power or organizational structures that take place in a relatively short period of time when the population rises up in revolt against the current authorities.”

In Europe and America, revolutions are brewing. They are peaceful and democratic, but they are going to send the elites home that are running our nations into the ground.

I have just reread Ronald Reagan’s 1982 Westminster speech, in which he predicted that freedom and democracy would soon send the communist dictatorships in Eastern Europe and Russia to “the ash heap of history.”

Reagan spoke of “Poland’s struggle to be Poland.” And today, three decades later, history is about to repeat itself in the United States and in several West European countries.

Daily Devotional

Eleventh-hour Breakthroughs

“Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” (Luke 23:42)

John Piper

One of the greatest hope-killers is that you have tried for so long to change and have not succeeded.

You look back and think: What’s the use? Even if I could experience a breakthrough, there would be so little time left to live in my new way that it wouldn’t make much difference compared to so many decades of failure.

The former robber (the thief on the cross next to Jesus) lived for another hour or so before he died. He was changed. He lived on the cross as a new man with new attitudes and actions (no more reviling). But 99.99% of his life was wasted. Did the last couple hours of newness matter?

They mattered infinitely. This former robber, like all of us, will stand before the judgment seat of Christ to give an account of his life. “We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil” (2 Corinthians 5:10). How will his life witness in that day to his new birth and his union with Christ?

The last hours will tell the story. This man was new. His faith was real. He is truly united to Christ. Christ’s righteousness is his. His sins are forgiven.  That is what the final hours will proclaim at the last judgment. His change mattered. It was, and it will be, a beautiful testimony to the power of God’s grace and the reality of his faith and his union with Christ.

Now back to our struggle with change. I am not saying that struggling believers are unsaved like the robber was. I am simply saying that the last years and the last hours of life matter.

If in the last 1% of our lives, we can get a victory over some longstanding sinful habit or hurtful defect in our personality, it will be a beautiful testimony now to the power of grace; and it will be an added witness (not the only one) at the last judgment of our faith in Christ and our union with him.

Take heart, struggler. Keep asking, seeking, knocking. Keep looking to Christ. If God gets glory by saving robbers in the eleventh hour, he surely has his purposes why he has waited till now to give you the breakthrough you have sought for decades.

Immigration Will Crush European Equal-Treatment Rights

Europe's Nutcracker Problem

Stopping the flood of migrants into Europe is a relatively easy matter.  What is far more difficult is the lack of political will throughout Europe to do it.  In addition there are some complicating factors which mean that permitting migration to Europe is fraught with much, much higher costs, disruption, and negative outcomes than what used to be the case.

These "complicating factors" are philosophical and ideological in nature.  But they make an enormous difference.  The explanations are not hard to find.  It has to do with radical, novel beliefs about intolerance, and a recently manufactured "human right" to be treated equally in the market place.

A window into what is wrong can be found in a published report entitled, Europe: The Problem of Intolerant Equality Laws.  In it, we read the following:

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Letter From New Zealand (About Free Trade)

Trans Pacific Partnership is too Important for New Zealand

Labour Leader's  Plays Partisan Political Football  From Unionist Playbook

Fran O'Sullivan

The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) is too important to New Zealand's economic future for Andrew Little to turn it into a partisan political football.

Little has attempted to somersault on the proverbial pin by giving former Labour leader and trade minister Phil Goff a dispensation to take his own position on the agreement - ostensibly because of "his involvement in negotiating its predecessor the P4 agreement" . Yet at the same time, stamping on former leader David Shearer for vocalising support for TPP because he wants his MPs to fall into line with the nebulous notion of caucus "collective responsibility".

It is difficult to understand why Little prefers the judgment of NGO activists over that of a former NZ Trade Minister who not only negotiated the ground-breaking bilateral China free trade deal but also finalised the Asean deal with New Zealand and Australia.  Frankly there is nothing responsible in Little's positioning.

Daily Devotional

The Pathway to a Better Country

"Arise, and depart."
Micah 2:10

Charles H. Spurgeon

The hour is approaching when the message will come to us, as it comes to all--"Arise, and go forth from the home in which thou hast dwelt, from the city in which thou hast done thy business, from thy family, from thy friends. Arise, and take thy last journey."

And what know we of the journey? And what know we of the country to which we are bound? A little we have read thereof, and somewhat has been revealed to us by the Spirit; but how little do we know of the realms of the future! We know that there is a black and stormy river called "Death." God bids us cross it, promising to be with us. And, after death, what cometh? What wonder-world will open upon our astonished sight? What scene of glory will be unfolded to our view? No traveller has ever returned to tell. But we know enough of the heavenly land to make us welcome our summons thither with joy and gladness.

The journey of death may be dark, but we may go forth on it fearlessly, knowing that God is with us as we walk through the gloomy valley, and therefore we need fear no evil. We shall be departing from all we have known and loved here, but we shall be going to our Father's house--to our Father's home, where Jesus is--to that royal "city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God." This shall be our last removal, to dwell forever with him we love, in the midst of his people, in the presence of God. Christian, meditate much on heaven, it will help thee to press on, and to forget the toil of the way.

This vale of tears is but the pathway to the better country: this world of woe is but the stepping-stone to a world of bliss.

"Prepare us, Lord, by grace divine,
For thy bright courts on high;
Then bid our spirits rise, and join
The chorus of the sky."

European Fundamentalism

See No Evil, Hear No Evil

One of the most disturbing consequences of large numbers of  (mainly Islamic) migrants into the UK and Europe has been the willing complicity of authorities in covering up migrant crime.  We have seen, for example, the Rotherham Syndrome in the UK, where civil authorities (police, health authorities, and city council employees and officials) turned a blind eye to the systematic sexual exploitation of young girls by gangs of immigrant (mainly Pakistani) men.

If you are unaware of this travesty, a quick Google search on "Rotherham" will bring you up to speed, as will Wikipedia.

The apologia offered for ignoring the criminal activity was to plead fear--fear that committing police and community resources to identifying, detecting, punishing, and stamping out these horrific crimes would lead to charges of racism being made against the authorities.  The stifling effect of PC censorship meant that whilst plenty of officials knew what was going on, they turned Nelson's patched eye toward it.

It has now come out that this problem was not isolated to a rogue city in the UK.  In fact, authorities across the European Union have been systematically covering up migrant crime, particularly sexual crime.  Islamic men have been preying upon European women and the authorities have been keeping it quiet.

This has produced some bizarre, unexpected outcomes.

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Not a Laughing Matter

Political Correctness Shuts Down Comedy

Veteran British comedian and actor John Cleese is disturbed by modern society’s rampant hypersensitivity and thus avoids visiting college campuses due to political correctness, he said in a recent video.

In a video for Big Think,  the Monty Python star said he, too, is often offended by things, but added: “I’m not going to expect someone to stop that from happening, I should simply speak out about it.”

“Sometimes when people are offended they want someone to come in and say ‘stop that’ to whoever is offending them,” he said. “There are some people I would wish to offend… The idea that you have to be protected from any kind of uncomfortable emotion is one I absolutely do not subscribe to.”

Cleese continued, “If people can't control their own emotions, then they have to start trying to control other people’s behaviors. When you’re around super-sensitive people you cannot relax or be spontaneous because you have no idea what’s going to upset them next.”

Daily Devotional

On the Christian Life

C. S. Lewis

There are three things that spread the Christ life to us: baptism, belief, and that mysterious action which different Christians call by different names—Holy Communion, the Mass, the Lord’s Supper.

If you have once accepted Christianity, then some of its main doctrines shall be deliberately held before your mind for some time every day. That is why daily prayers and religious reading and churchgoing are necessary parts of the Christian life. We have to be continually reminded of what we believe. Neither this belief nor any other will automatically remain alive in the mind. It must be fed.

From Mere Christianity
Compiled in Words to Live By

Mere Christianity. Copyright © 1952, C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. Copyright renewed © 1980, C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers. Words to Live By: A Guide for the Merely Christian. Copyright © 2007 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

Propaganda In All But Name

Speaking the Powers' Truth

It's official.  Sort of.  German state media are really propaganda fronts for the German government.

In the European tradition, along with the US and the vestiges of the British Empire, state run media have long existed.  In virtually all cases they have become mouthpieces for various left-wing causes, consistently framed as what "reasonably minded people believe".  The presumption of rectitude and the assertion that one represents the voice of reasonable men carries great weight and authority.  At least in the minds of those who so presume and assert.

The tight fraternal bonds that exist between left-wing ideology and state media are not difficult to explain.  After all, state owned and state run media (whether print or broadcasting) rely upon public funding.  Their life blood runs along state-funded arteries.  They exist by virtue of presuming the rectitude and necessity of state ownership and state funding.  They are the working organs of left-wing, socialist ideology.  Never bite the hand that feeds.

Recently a state media "elder statesman" in Germany did the unthinkable.

Monday, 8 February 2016

Letter From the UK (About Not Baking A Cake)

'Gay cake' couple: 'We don't hate anyone.

It's done out of love for God'

The Guardian

Daniel and Amy McArthur say they have no regrets about refusing to bake cake with pro-gay marriage message on it.  An evangelical Christian couple at the centre of the “gay cake” court case have insisted they never meant to discriminate against anyone and do not hate gay people.  [They] also said the case against them last year had strengthened their marriage.

Ashers Baking Company was found guilty last year by a county court in Northern Ireland of breaking the province’s strict laws on political and sexual discrimination. The case centred on the McArthurs’ refusal to bake a cake with a pro-gay marriage message on it.  They were taken to court by the Equality Commission of Northern Ireland and the couple were fined £500.

Daily Devotional

The Greatest Love

I am writing to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven for his name's sake. (1 John 2:12)

John Piper

Why should we emphasize that God loves, forgives, and saves for his own glory? Here are two reasons (among many).

1) Because the Bible does.

I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins. (Isaiah 43:25)

For your name's sake, O Lord, pardon my guilt, for it is great. (Psalm 25:11)

Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of your name; deliver us, and atone for our sins, for your name's sake! (Psalm 79:9)

Though our iniquities testify against us, act, O Lord, for your name's sake; for our backslidings are many; we have sinned against you. (Jeremiah 14:7)

We acknowledge our wickedness, O Lord, and the iniquity of our fathers, for we have sinned against you. Do not spurn us, for your name’s sake; do not dishonor your glorious throne. (Jeremiah 14:20–21)

God put [Christ] forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. (Romans 3:25–26)

Your sins are forgiven for his name’s sake. (1 John 2:12)

2) Because it makes clear that God loves us with the greatest love.

Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory. (John 17:24)

God loves us not in a way that makes us supreme, but makes himself supreme. Heaven will not be a hall of mirrors but an increasing vision of infinite greatness. Getting to heaven and finding that we are supreme would be the ultimate let down.

The greatest love makes sure that God does everything in such a way as to uphold and magnify his own supremacy so that when we get there we have something to increase our joy forever — God’s glory. The greatest love is God’s giving himself to us for our eternal enjoyment forever, at the cost of his Son’s life (Romans 8:32).