Saturday, 30 April 2016

Signs of the End of the Communist Dynasty

Resting But Not Retired

The Growing Burden of China’s Freeloading Officials

By Juliet Song,
Epoch Times

A recent article by a Chinese civil servant lamenting the employment policies that coddle the masses of officials and other state-sponsored personnel as a dead weight upon the national economy and a gross social wrong.

“I feel guilty to those hard-working taxpayers,” the confession says. “They toil from dawn to dusk; why on earth should they have to support us, people who hold the office without lifting a finger, with their hard-earned money?”

Chinese delegations sleep as they attend the opening session of the National People's Congress, or parliament, on March 5, 2007 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Guang Niu/Getty Images)
The piece, first published in China’s Information Times on April 10, takes aim at the issue of civil servants who, having reached a certain degree of seniority, are reassigned to ornamental positions while continuing to receive full salary and benefits. This status is swallowed up in a Chinese phrase that means “resting but not retired.”

Daily Devotional

We Must Be Hatched

C. S. Lewis

The real problem of the Christian life comes where people do not usually look for it. It comes the very moment you wake up each morning. All your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists simply in shoving them all back; in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in. And so on, all day. Standing back from all your natural fussings and frettings; coming in out of the wind.

We can only do it for moments at first. But from those moments the new sort of life will be spreading through our system: because now we are letting Him work at the right part of us. It is the difference between paint, which is merely laid on the surface, and a dye or stain which soaks right through. He never talked vague, idealistic gas. When He said, ‘Be perfect,’ He meant it. He meant that we must go in for the full treatment. It is hard; but the sort of compromise we are all hankering after is harder—in fact, it is impossible. It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad.

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.

Language and Number

Masters of Language

One of the strong positives of the Cambridge school curriculum is that it is focused upon core subjects.  The core represents subject areas which are the basis for all other learning and knowledge.

Modern, secular education in the government schools is being ruined by curriculum inflation.  Now there are endless choices, options, and multi-form subject areas.  Even the best students are left knowing a little about many subjects, but with little competence over any..  Modern education, as the proverb has it, risks leaving a student as "Jack of all trades, Master of none."

The subject core of the Cambridge curriculum is language, number, and science.  Every year builds upon this core, with all other subjects "tucked" around it.

Here is an example from one Christian school, using the Cambridge curriculum.

Friday, 29 April 2016

Au Contraire

Contrarian Peter Hitchens Confirms What The Wise Already Know

The United States Has Always Been Self-Interested

Now will we grasp that the United States is not our friend, but a foreign country whose interests are often different from ours?  President Obama’s blatant intervention in our internal affairs is not a sudden breach of a soppy ‘special relationship’. The USA’s only real special relationship is with Saudi Arabia, a 70-year-old hard pact of oil, money and power, welded together with such cynicism it ought to make us gasp.

Barack Obama’s open desire for us to stay inside the EU is by no means the first or worst example of White House meddling here in these islands. Bill Clinton forced us to cave in to the Provisional IRA in 1998 and his successor, George W. Bush, continued the policy by making us do Sinn Fein’s bidding afterwards.

Washington came close to scuppering our recapture of the Falklands in 1982. And with the current state of our Armed Forces, which can nowadays do nothing without American support, I often wonder how the White House and the Pentagon would behave if Argentina once again seized Port Stanley.  If anyone thinks Hillary Clinton is a great friend of Britain, they’re in for a big surprise.

But surely the Americans fought with us shoulder to shoulder against the Kaiser and Hitler? Not exactly.

Daily Devotional

The Greatest Guest

"If any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him."
Revelation 3:20

Charles H. Spurgeon

What is your desire this day? Is it set upon heavenly things? Do you long to enjoy the high doctrine of eternal love? Do you desire liberty in very close communion with God? Do you aspire to know the heights, and depths, and lengths, and breadths? Then you must draw near to Jesus; you must get a clear sight of him in his preciousness and completeness; you must view him in his work, in his offices, in his person.

He who understands Christ, receives an anointing from the Holy One, by which he knows all things. Christ is the great master-key of all the chambers of God; there is no treasure-house of God which will not open and yield up all its wealth to the soul that lives near to Jesus. Are you saying, "O that he would dwell in my bosom"? "Would that he would make my heart his dwelling-place forever"? Open the door, beloved, and he will come into your souls. He has long been knocking, and all with this object, that he may sup with you, and you with him. He sups with you because you find the house or the heart, and you with him because he brings the provision. He could not sup with you if it were not in your heart, you finding the house; nor could you sup with him, for you have a bare cupboard, if he did not bring provision with him.

Fling wide, then, the portals of your soul. He will come with that love which you long to feel; he will come with that joy into which you cannot work your poor depressed spirit; he will bring the peace which now you have not; he will come with his flagons of wine and sweet apples of love, and cheer you till you have no other sickness but that of "love o'erpowering, love divine." Only open the door to him, drive out his enemies, give him the keys of your heart, and he will dwell there forever. Oh, wondrous love, that brings such a guest to dwell in such a heart!

Heady Times

Living Amidst a Kuhnian Scientific Revolution

Amongst scientists and the various scientific disciplines, evolutionism--as a cosmology--is collapsing.  The evolutionist paradigm is falling apart.  The more strident the secular evolutionists become on the matter, the more they betray their deepest doubts and uncertainties.  

Most scientific paradigms do not collapse due to a full scale frontal assault from a competing paradigm.  Usually they collapse from within.  Those who once held the reigning paradigm, who had been card carrying members of the Association of the Ruling Paradigm, begin to find data and results and research that just "does not make sense" in view of current received wisdom.  The disquiet grows gradually.  Usually, the stridency of the ruling paradigm is toned down.  Folk don't discuss it much in polite scientific society.  It becomes a bit of an ugly cousin no-one talks about much any more.  It takes on the characteristic of a myth, a just-so story which no-one really believes "nowadays".

The textbooks used in schools and colleges which teach the incumbent paradigm are the last to change.  They represent the "establishment", particularly the State establishment.  It is here that the incumbent paradigm becomes "official".  State schools use state approved textbooks.  State textbooks teach the dominant paradigm.  State schools and state textbooks are usually the last to hear about a scientific revolution overthrowing the existing paradigm because neither the State, nor State schools are engaged in real science.  Rather, they represent the propagandists for the incumbent view.  As a paradigm is being overthrown, real scientists distance themselves, grow quiet, and adopt a "yes, but" mien towards the ruling official view.

This is the state of the current evolutionist paradigm.  It is crumbling from within.

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow

Jane Austen and Our Culture of Feeeeelings

Doug Wilson

As I noted in my brief review of Pride and Prejudice below, Jane Austen is amazing. A truly wise woman, she wrote a novel of two kinds of people — people who change and grow, and people who do not. This is simply another way of marking those who are capable of repentance and those who are beyond repentance, those who come to see themselves accurately and those who are utterly incapable of doing so.

The latter group is represented well by Lydia — “Lydia was Lydia still.” And of course, the same thing can be said about Mr. Collins, who doesn’t budge, and Lady Catherine, who continues to condescend from the mount, and Mrs. Bennett, who carefully cultivates her nursery of nerves, and Mary, who perseveres in delivering sententious bromides, and so on. Folly is a constant in this book. Aping the immutability of God, the folly here seeks to be without any variation or shadow due to change.Eliza Bennett

But Eliza Bennett comes to repent of her prejudice, and the folly of having been misled by appearances. Mr. Darcy repents of his pride, having been properly humbled by Eliza. They change. They repent. They come to terms with the world as it actually is, instead of the world as they thought it was.

But there is another layer to Austen’s wisdom.

Daily Devotional

Paul’s Salvation Was for You

But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. (1 Timothy 1:16)

John Piper

Paul's conversion was for your sake.

I want you to take this very personally. God had you in view when he chose Paul and saved him by sovereign grace.  If you believe on Jesus for eternal life — or if you may yet believe on him for eternal life — Paul’s conversion is for your sake. It is to make Christ’s incredible patience vivid for you.

Paul’s pre-conversion life was a long, long trial to Jesus. “Why do you persecute me?” Jesus asked. “Your life of unbelief and rebellion is a persecution of me!” Paul had been set apart for God since before he was born. So all his life was one long abuse of God, and one long rejection and mockery of Jesus who loved him.

That is why Paul says his conversion is a brilliant demonstration of Jesus’ patience. And that is what he offers you today.

It was for our sake that Jesus did it the way he did it. To “display his perfect patience” to us. Lest we lose heart. Lest we think he could not really save us. Lest we think he is prone to anger. Lest we think we have gone too far away. Lest we think our dearest one cannot be converted— suddenly, unexpectedly, by the sovereign, overflowing grace of Jesus

Greenist Nonsense

Fighting Over the Water Bottle

We have long suspected that whenever a Greenie's skin is scratched, underneath one finds a luddite.  Greenists have a hatred of economic development and the useful exploitation of earth's rich resources.  Moreover, most Greenists are wedded to the neo-platonic idea that the real is the non-tangible, the ethereal, the realm of the Idea.  

In a word, Greenists are fundamentally uncomfortable with human beings and sentient animal life.  Take humans.  They drink pure clean water, and express it as toxic polluted water, urine.  They eat natural greens and express them as toxic malodorous waste.

Starting with this cluster of misanthropic ideas, the Greenists have very little to contribute to political discourse or social organisation that is helpful and positive.  Moreover add to this mess of pottage a hatred of other people's property and wealth, along with a deep loyalty to Marxist ideologies, and one reluctantly concludes that there is little positive contribution a Greenist can make to the body politic.  As one cynic observed, Greenists are so anti-human the best they could make to society would be to live out their ideology in a consistent way by breathing their last.  On their own terms they could "help save the planet" by suicide.

The latest brouhaha is over bottled water.  Actually, it's not a brouhaha over bottled water: its anger at some people making a profit out of selling water.

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Fundamentals of Christian Social Ministry

The Priority of Adoption

An urgent meeting place for Christians

Russell Moore Interview
National Review Online

There was a wonderful Protestant gal who worked as the National Review Washington, D.C., manager a few years back who was adamant that if Christians took their duties seriously there would be no such thing as an orphan. Children would have loving homes. We would make sure that all children know they are loved by God Himself.

She had a point. It’s one that Focus on the Family devotes some focus to. It’s a subject that didn’t necessarily make headlines in Pope Francis’s apostolic exhortation on love and marriage and the family — Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love) — last week, but it was an important piece of his message. He wrote, in part:

Daily Devotional

The Place of Power

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

Charles H. Spurgeon

He who was once despised and rejected of men, now occupies the honourable position of a beloved and honoured Son. The right hand of God is the place of majesty and favour. Our Lord Jesus is his people's representative. When he died for them, they had rest; he rose again for them, they had liberty; when he sat down at his Father's right hand, they had favour, and honour, and dignity. The raising and elevation of Christ is the elevation, the acceptance, and enshrinement, the glorifying of all his people, for he is their head and representative.

This sitting at the right hand of God, then, is to be viewed as the acceptance of the person of the Surety, the reception of the Representative, and therefore, the acceptance of our souls. O saint, see in this thy sure freedom from condemnation. "Who is he that condemneth?" Who shall condemn the men who are in Jesus at the right hand of God?

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

"Jesu's tremendous name
Puts all our foes to flight:
Jesus, the meek, the angry Lamb,
A Lion is in fight.

"By all hell's host withstood;
We all hell's host o'erthrow;
And conquering them, through Jesu's blood
We still to conquer go."

The Enlightenment's Pretension

Shattered Dreams

Judd Owen has written a plaintive book trying to reconstruct the Enlightenment Mind after it has been ravaged by the acids of post-modernism.  It is a noble venture, doomed to failure.  But the author's effort is heroic, akin to the Charge of the Light Brigade into the valley of death.  It's hard not to feel sympathetic.

The fundamental problem is that the Enlightenment Mind asserted the objective authority of human reason.  Truth and Reason were roughly equivalent concepts.  If something were rational, it must be true.  Yet we now all know this is a nonsense.

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

All Religions Are the Same--Or Not

Do Jews, Christians, and Muslims Believe in the Same God?

Dennis Prager
National Review Online

Most Americans say they believe in God. And around the world, religious Jews, Christians, and Muslims all say they believe in God, as do many people who do not identify with any formal religion.

But this statement is actually meaningless. To cite but one example, the God in whose name Muslims cut innocent people’s throats and rape women cannot be the same God as the God of those who believe that God hates such actions.

Who, then, argues that all those who say they believe in God believe in the same God?

Two groups make this argument. The first consists of people who have an anti-religious agenda; in order to discredit God and religion, they say that all believers believe in the same God. The second group consists of people who have an “inclusion” agenda and wish to depict Muslims as believing in the same God that Jews and Christians do. (And some Muslims do indeed believe in the same God as Jews and Christians — see below.)

So, then, how are we to know whether any two people who say they believe in God in fact do?

Daily Devotional

The Key to Radical Love

Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew 5:11–12)

John Piper

One of the questions I posed recently, while preaching on loving our enemies from Matthew 5:44, was, How do you love the people who kidnap you and then kill you?  How can we do this? Where does power to love like this come from? Just think how astonishing this is when it appears in the real world! Could anything show the truth and power and reality of Christ more than this?

I believe Jesus gives us the key to this radical, self-sacrificing love in the very same chapter.

In Matthew 5:11–12, he again talks about being persecuted. What is remarkable about these verses is that Jesus says that you are able not only to endure the mistreatment of the enemy, but rejoice in it. This seems even more beyond our reach. If I could do this — if I could rejoice in being persecuted — then it would be possible to love my persecutors. If the miracle of joy in the midst of the horror of injustice and pain and loss could happen, then the miracle of love for the perpetrators could happen too.

Jesus gives the key to joy in these verses. He says, “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven.” The key to joy is faith in God’s future grace — “your reward is great in heaven.” I believe this joy is the freeing power to love our enemies when they persecute us. If that is true, then the command to love is a command to set our minds on things that are above, not on things that are on the earth (Colossians 3:2).

The command to love our enemy is a command to find our hope and our satisfaction in God and his great reward — his future grace. The key to radical love is faith in future grace. We must be persuaded in the midst of our agony that the love of God is “better than life” (Psalm 63:3). Loving your enemy doesn’t earn you the reward of heaven. Treasuring the reward of heaven empowers you to love your enemy.

One Brick At a Time

Here a Little; There a Little

There is an old adage that says the only way to change society is to change one life at a time.  This is why the family is such a powerful socialising institution: it brings concentrated, focused help to individuals (children growing into adults) over a long period of time.  The opposite is also true.  When families are dysfunctional the bad outcomes are as devastating to society as their opposites.  A child growing up in such an environment is normally transformed into an habitually bad citizen.  

No state programme can compensate or replace the family--for good or bad.  Once a bad citizen has become an adult, it's far better to focus upon small interventions over long periods.  Here is an example:

Literacy changing lives at Tongariro Prison

A student at Tongariro Prison believes his life has changed since learning to read.  For six months the student, who is being referred to as Sam for privacy reasons, has been participating in the Howard League Literacy Programme delivered by volunteers.

About 70 per cent of prisoners have low levels of reading and writing.  Volunteer Sandra works with Sam once a week.  "Before I started learning with Sandra, I would not even attempt to try and read, I used to push books and papers away," Sam said.  "I did not enjoy learning [but] I can now read words and I have even written a letter to my mother."

Monday, 25 April 2016

The Infamy That is in Norway

The Gestapo Redivivus 

To Think that the Allies Shed Blood and Lost Treasure To Defend This Country

By Jayme Metzgar
The Federalist

Scandinavia is in vogue on the American Left. Throughout this campaign season, Bernie Sanders and his disciples have pointed to the region as a shining example of their vision for “democratic socialism.” (After all, images of quaint Nordic streets are far more appealing than disaster zones like Venezuela.) While opinions vary on just how economically socialist Scandinavia really is, its nations undoubtedly offer a far more comprehensive social safety net than the United States.

But a recent child welfare controversy in Norway shows the dark side of this utopia. When government assumes a “nanny state” responsibility for its citizens, it also tends to assume a frightening degree of control over their daily lives. The results can be devastating—and decidedly undemocratic.

Sphere Sovereignty

The Bulwarks of Liberty

In order for civil freedom to flourish there has to be a widespread social consensus amongst the governed that the authority of governors is necessarily limited.  Democracy provides no such limitation.  In its brute form, democracy introduced the tyranny of the 51 percent.  The earliest democracies in Ancient Greece--in Athens--practised just such a democratic tyranny.  If more than 50 percent so voted, the victim could be exiled or executed at whim.  Justice had nothing to do with it.

The doctrine of political and government power being necessarily limited can only arise in human society when it is known and believed that God is the Judge of all men and human societies.  But this in itself, whilst necessary, is not sufficient.  It must also be known and believed that God has appointed a wide range of authorities within  the kingdoms of this world to serve Him and represent Him.  State power is always, thereby limited, because it "shares" power with a plurality of powers; the State is one such power, but only one.  There are many other divinely appointed powers.

In developing this truth, it was the Calvinistic Dutch theologians of the early twentieth century who introduced the concept of "sphere sovereignty".  God had established spheres of sovereignty in human society, each answerable to Him.  The Church, the civil state, the family, the individual soul, the market place, the school, the charitable/voluntary sector--each represented a God-ordained and protected sovereign sphere of social authority.  The state and the church may not intrude upon family life and family sovereignty--and so on.

Where God commands the family to live and act in a certain way, the State cannot prevent or outlaw the family thus acting.  To the extent that it does, the State is rebelling against God Himself.

In an organic society, the spheres of social action are always brushing up against each other, and interacting.  There is always tension between the respective rights of each sovereign sphere.  Each free society will work out its own particular dynamic tension between the spheres.  One free nation will differ from another at the margins.   But a free society cannot remain free without constitutionally enshrining the sovereignty of each respective sphere.  There is a separation of church and state; of state and family; of church and family--and so forth, while together they all make up the organic whole of society.

Without such truths and doctrines, power tends to aggregate towards the State.  Absolutism is the eventual consequence.

Saturday, 23 April 2016

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow

Savior of the World

Douglas Wilson


As we come to the conclusion of our study of kingdom optimism, the best summary would be to turn in order to fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. When we think through these issues carefully, we must recognize that the basic issue is really the view we have of our Lord Jesus.

At the same time, we want to guard our hearts so that we don’t fall into the trap of covenantal presumption.

The Text:

“Give the king Your judgments, O God, and Your righteousness to the king’s Son. He will judge Your people with righteousness, and Your poor with justice . . . In his days shall the righteous flourish; And abundance of peace so long as the moon endureth. He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, And from the river unto the ends of the earth . . . And blessed be his glorious name for ever: And let the whole earth be filled with his glory; Amen, and Amen” (Ps. 72:1-20).

Jesus Christ is Lord of All:

Consider what Paul tells us in Philippians 2:9-11. At the name of Jesus, every knee is to bow, and not just those in heaven. In heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, let Jesus Christ be praised. We are seeking nothing less than to exalt Him in every place.

That at the Name of Jesus . . .

Jesus Christ is Savior of the world—“And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world” (1 John 4:14). Jesus did not come in order to try to save the world, if the uncooperative world would only let Him. He came to save the world;

Daily Devotional

On God

C. S. Lewis

It is always shocking to meet life where we thought we were alone. “Look out!” we cry, “it’s alive.” And therefore this is the very point at which so many draw back—I would have done so myself if I could—and proceed no further with Christianity. An “impersonal God”—well and good. A subjective God of beauty, truth and goodness, inside our own heads—better still. A formless life- force surging through us, a vast power which we can tap—best of all. But God Himself, alive, pulling at the other end of the cord, perhaps approaching at an infinite speed, the hunter, king, husband—that is quite another matter. There comes a moment when the children who have been playing at burglars hush suddenly: was that a real footstep in the hall? There comes a moment when people who have been dabbling in religion (“Man’s search for God”!) suddenly draw back. Supposing we really found Him? We never meant it to come to that! Worse still, supposing He had found us!

From Miracles
Compiled in Words to Live By
Miracles: A Preliminary Study. Copyright 1947 C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. Copyright renewed © 1947 C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. Revised 1960, restored 1996 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.

Self-Destruction on a Grand Scale

Holding On to the Grenade Too Long

David Hume was (and is) the enfant terrible of modern philosophy.  His scepticism was (and is) like an acid which corroded much of what went before and came after.  By putting up a barrier between the mind (rational thought) and the senses, such that there is no necessary connection between the two, he scared Western philosophers so profoundly they all got a bad case of the heebie jeebies.  Empiricism devolved into scepticism.  

The way a good many of his successors dealt with his scepticism was to ignore it.  Actually, Hume ended up ignoring it for a large part of his output.  He could not help himself.  He retreated to the  more positive, safer realm of championing empiricism--the championing of knowledge through the application of our senses to the world around us.  But he had to assume there was a connection between rational thought and empirical observation.  He also had to assert there was a connection between cause and effect that held whether empirically observed or not.

He dismissed non-empirical philosophy in a grand manner:
. . . if we take in our hand any volume; of divinity or school metaphysics, for instance, let us ask, Does it contain any abstract reasoning concerning quantity and number?  No.  Does it contain any experimental reasoning concerning matter of matter of fact and existence? No.  Commit it then to the flames: For it can contain nothing but sophistry and illusion. [An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding.]
 Beware the universal acid--that acid so corrosive it cannot be contained and which in the end destroys all.  As Berlinski pointed out, with respect to Hume:
Analytical philosophers have been eager to commit books to the flames ever since [Hume], rather an odd vocational choice, all things considered.

Friday, 22 April 2016

Trump the Anomic Dope

Embarrassing Advocate

One wonders how Sarah Palin and Dr Ben Carson are feeling about now.  They have both endorsed Donald Trump as the Republican presidential nominee.  Trump came out yesterday and supported the notion that public restrooms be open to whomever.  If men want to go to a women's toilet they can. No probs.

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory signed the bill into law that prohibits “cities from allowing transgender individuals to use public bathrooms for the sex they identify as.”

Here is Trump at his most lucid on the matter:

Daily Devotional

Our Great Dread

TO MARY WILLIS SHELBURNE: On the hard task of learning to depend only on God and on nothing and no one else.  
6 December 1955

C. S. Lewis

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

I feel it almost impossible to say anything (in my comfort and security—apparent security, for real security is in Heaven and thus earth affords only imitations) which would not sound horribly false and facile. Also, you know it all better than I do. I should in your place be (I have in similar places been) far more panic-stricken and even perhaps rebellious.

For it is a dreadful truth that the state of (as you say) ‘having to depend solely on God’ is what we all dread most. And of course that just shows how very much, how almost exclusively, we have been depending on things. That trouble goes so far back in our lives and is now so deeply ingrained, we will not turn to Him as long as He leaves us anything else to turn to. I suppose all one can say is that it was bound to come. In the hour of death and the day of judgement, what else shall we have? Perhaps when those moments come, they will feel happiest who have been forced (however unwillingly) to begin practising it here on earth. It is good of Him to force us: but dear me, how hard to feel that it is good at the time....

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

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.

The Dreams of Children Become the Stuff of Nightmares

The Spirit of Canute Is Still With Us

As other people's money runs out, green energy companies are crashing faster than Wall Street in 1929.  Canny folk who did not get caught up in the "flavour of the month" euphoria surrounding wind power and solar power have that "I told you so" look on their visages.  It has taken a few years for the money to run out, but green companies are now crashing and burning.  

The great and noble cause of facing what President Obama grandly and sonorously declared to be the greatest strategic threat before mankind--global warming and balmy temperatures--is turning out to be a stinky dog's breakfast.  Almost every day now we are hearing about the collapse of another green company.  The first high-profile company collapse was Solyndra--millions of millions of tax payer funds were flushed down the sewer.  Never mind, you can't make an omelette without breaking some eggs, said Pressie Obama at the time.  Double the recipe and do it again.

Thursday, 21 April 2016

The War on Woman

The "Human Right" of Gendercide

Human Rights Group Decries ‘Gendercide’ 

200 Million Girls Killed by Sex-Selective Abortions

Thomas J. Williams

The real “war on women” takes place on the battlefield where abortion clinics target baby girls for elimination, according to congressional testimony from Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, a human-rights group.  “Sex-selective abortion is the ultimate violence against females,” Reggie Littlejohn, President of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, told Breitbart News. “Aborting a baby just because she is a girl is the ultimate act of gender discrimination.”

On Thursday, April 14, a congressional hearing is being held before the House Judiciary Committee to debate the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PRENDA) of 2016, a bill aimed at reducing gender-based abortion in America. The bill is being opposed by abortion-giant Planned Parenthood, NARAL and other abortion-rights groups.

The United Nations estimates that some 200 million women are “demographically missing” in the world today due to sex-selective abortion.

Daily Devotional

Daily Cleansing

"Ye are come to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel." Hebrews 12:24

Charles H. Spurgeon

Reader, have you come to the blood of sprinkling? The question is not whether you have come to a knowledge of doctrine, or an observance of ceremonies, or to a certain form of experience, but have you come to the blood of Jesus?

The blood of Jesus is the life of all vital godliness. If you have truly come to Jesus, we know how you came--the Holy Spirit sweetly brought you there. You came to the blood of sprinkling with no merits of your own. Guilty, lost, and helpless, you came to take that blood, and that blood alone, as your everlasting hope. You came to the cross of Christ, with a trembling and an aching heart; and oh! what a precious sound it was to you to hear the voice of the blood of Jesus! The dropping of his blood is as the music of heaven to the penitent sons of earth.

We are full of sin, but the Saviour bids us lift our eyes to him, and as we gaze upon his streaming wounds, each drop of blood, as it falls, cries, "It is finished; I have made an end of sin; I have brought in everlasting righteousness." Oh! sweet language of the precious blood of Jesus! If you have come to that blood once, you will come to it constantly. Your life will be "Looking unto Jesus." Your whole conduct will be epitomized in this--"To whom coming." Not to whom I have come, but to whom I am always coming. If thou hast ever come to the blood of sprinkling, thou wilt feel thy need of coming to it every day.

He who does not desire to wash in it every day, has never washed in it at all. The believer ever feels it to be his joy and privilege that there is still a fountain opened. Past experiences are doubtful food for Christians; a present coming to Christ alone can give us joy and comfort. This morning let us sprinkle our door-post fresh with blood, and then feast upon the Lamb, assured that the destroying angel must pass us by.

Immigrants or Cultural Suicide

The Infertility Trap

The sad reality is that Europe needs immigration to "survive" as a civilisation.  Demographic realities progress very slowly.  Like the frog in a heating pot, they do not present an immediate crisis to focus the mind.  Nor do they admit quick fixes.  Demographic catastrophes, when they arrive, are too late to stop.  They cannot be corrected--at least not in the short term--if ever.

Europe is in the midst of a looming demographic crisis.   In general terms, the civilisation that is Europe has decided that it is chic and culturally correct to have small families, few children. Consequently, Europe is not producing enough children to sustain its culture or civilisation.
For a society to remain the same size, the average woman needs to have 2.1 children in a lifetime (the so-called "total fertility rate").  All European countries except Muslim Albania are well below it.   There is a "safe zone" above 1.6 children per woman, where population declines are gradual and easily reversed.  Below that, population tends to collapse rather than decline.  A society that maintains a 1.8 total fertility rate will be 80% as large at the end of a century;  a society with a total fertility of  1.3 (Italy, Spain, Eastern Germany and the Baltic nations are such societies) will fall to a quarter of its size.

At current rates of decline, Italy's native population will be half its current size by the middle of this century little more than a generation from now.  [Christopher Caldwell, Reflections on the Revolution in Europe: Immigration, Islam and the West (New York: The Penguin Group, 2009), p.13.]
We can assume, therefore, that one reason why European authorities are sanguine about admitting huge numbers of immigrants is their understanding of these demographic realities.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

"I Told You So . . . "

World’s Biggest Green Energy Company Collapses

Breitbart London
James Delingpole

Did you short-sell your solar energy shares as I advised last week in my Breitbart piece “The Solar Industry is Dying: Good Riddance?

If you’d picked SunEdison – the world’s largest green energy company – you would have made a killing as its shares plunged further this week, amid rumours that it now faces imminent bankruptcy.

SunEdison, valued at $10 billion in July 2015 is now worth just $400 million today. This represents a catastrophic loss for the investors gulled into this sector in the mistaken belief that “clean” energy is the future and that it’s possible to make lots and lots of money and polish your environmental conscience at the same time.

Well maybe once you could but not any more. And it won’t be the last green venture to turn to ashes either for one very simple reason: renewable energy is almost entirely dependent on taxpayer subsidy. When the money runs out the business dies.

Daily Devotional

God, Touch Our Hearts

Saul went to his house at Gibeah; and the valiant men whose hearts God had touched went with him. (1 Samuel 10:26)

John Piper

Just think of what is being said in this verse. God touched them. Not a wife. Not a child. Not a parent. Not a counselor. But God.

The One with infinite power in the universe. The One with infinite authority and infinite wisdom and infinite love and infinite goodness and infinite purity and infinite justice. That One touched their heart.

How does the circumference of Jupiter touch the edge of a molecule? Let alone penetrate to its nucleus?  The touch of God is awesome because it is a touch. It is a real connection. That it involves the heart is awesome. That it involves God is awesome. And that it involves an actual touch is awesome.

The valiant men were not just spoken to. They were not just swayed by a divine influence. They were not just seen and known. God, with infinite condescension, touched their heart. God was that close. And they were not consumed.

I love that touch. I want it more and more. For myself and for all of you. I pray that God would touch me anew for his glory. I pray that he would touch us all.  O for the touch of God! If it comes with fire, so be it. If it comes with water so be it. If it comes with wind, let it come, O God. If it comes with thunder and lightning, let us bow before it.

O Lord, come. Come that close. Burn and soak and blow and crash. Or still and small, come. Come all the way. Touch our hearts.

A Volunteer Group Fighting ISIS

A Private War

A group of hackers has decided to wage its own private war against ISIS.  They are mercenaries without pay. According to a report in Epoch Times they have worked out how to take control of ISIS twitter accounts, which they then exploit to their own ends.  The group claims they also see a trove of material which would be very interesting to intelligence agencies.

We are not sure about the ethics of all this--being a private unofficial group and all, but presumably it is something which those nations presently engaged in undeclared war against ISIS should be doing in spades.  Maybe they are.  Who knows?

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Letter From the UK (About Massive Policy Failures)

Rejection of UK Government's Perverse Ineptitude

96% Label Government’s Anti-Radicalisation Strategy Ineffective At Tackling Extremism

Sarkis Zeronian

A poll has revealed the public has no faith in the government’s anti-radicalisation scheme, with 96 per cent of respondents saying it is a failure.

The coalition government’s flagship Prevent strategy was unveiled in June 2011 as part of its attack on extremism in Britain, and further revamped last year. It followed a review of the previous Labour government’s failed anti-radicalisation attempt. The three main objectives were:

“to respond to the ideological challenge of terrorism and the threat from those who promote it; to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism and ensure that they are given appropriate advice and support; and to work with sectors and institutions where there are risks of radicalisation that we need to address.”

Today the Daily Express reports that only four per cent of respondents to a poll believe the anti-radicalisation strategy can be described as effective.

Daily Devotional

The Greatest Grief

"All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head."
Psalm 22:7

Charles H. Spurgeon

Mockery was a great ingredient in our Lord's woe. Judas mocked him in the garden; the chief priests and scribes laughed him to scorn; Herod set him at nought; the servants and the soldiers jeered at him, and brutally insulted him; Pilate and his guards ridiculed his royalty; and on the tree all sorts of horrid jests and hideous taunts were hurled at him.

Ridicule is always hard to bear, but when we are in intense pain it is so heartless, so cruel, that it cuts us to the quick. Imagine the Saviour crucified, racked with anguish far beyond all mortal guess, and then picture that motley multitude, all wagging their heads or thrusting out the lip in bitterest contempt of one poor suffering victim! Surely there must have been something more in the crucified One than they could see, or else such a great and mingled crowd would not unanimously have honoured him with such contempt. Was it not evil confessing, in the very moment of its greatest apparent triumph, that after all it could do no more than mock at that victorious goodness which was then reigning on the cross? O Jesus, "despised and rejected of men," how couldst thou die for men who treated thee so ill? Herein is love amazing, love divine, yea, love beyond degree.

We, too, have despised thee in the days of our unregeneracy, and even since our new birth we have set the world on high in our hearts, and yet thou bleedest to heal our wounds, and diest to give us life. O that we could set thee on a glorious high throne in all men's hearts! We would ring out thy praises over land and sea till men should as universally adore as once they did unanimously reject.

"Thy creatures wrong thee, O thou sovereign Good!
Thou art not loved, because not understood:
This grieves me most, that vain pursuits beguile
Ungrateful men, regardless of thy smile."

Great Men Are Usually Bad Men

The Godly Do Not Trust Themselves

The patterns of power are fascinating--and all too often entirely predictable.  As Lord Acton put it,  "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men."  The intrinsic and distinctive human tendency to exercise power unto the suffering and destruction of other human beings is writ large everywhere.

Enlightened political theory or philosophy turns around this pivot: since power corrupts, those to whom it is granted must be checked and balanced, limited and restrained at every point.  Republican political theory requires a hydra of balancing and competing authorities, each with limitations, checks and balances.  Naturally such arrangements are rejected by many as inefficient.  Republican government is messy.  It limps along--by deliberate design.  The alternative--an efficient government--is to be feared, for if a government is efficient it can only be so by wielding vast, oppressive powers.

Christian political theory is marked by professing only One absolute power--God.  He has delegated all authority in heaven and upon earth to His anointed King--the man, Jesus Christ.  All other powers are derived, limited, and effective only within restricted spheres of competence.  All other powers are answerable to King Jesus.

Earthly tyrants always follow a different trajectory.  There is always a "One Ring" to "rule them all, one ring to find them, one ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them."

Monday, 18 April 2016

Pete Seeger Redux

When Will They Ever Learn . . . 

The Hill
Judd Gregg

We have now been through more than half of the Democratic primaries to choose that party’s presidential nominee.  In over forty percent of those contests, a socialist, Bernie Sanders, has been the winner. This is an exceptionally strong statement about where a significant percentage of the Democratic “base” is, and where the party is headed.

One has to wonder how the party of Kennedy, Truman and Roosevelt ended up here.

It is especially interesting that the primary drivers of this shift are college-age voters and their mentors on the left who teach them.  In college town after college town, Sanders turns out huge crowds, chanting his name and exalting his causes: the redistribution of wealth and the destruction of those deemed to be undeserving of their economic success.

Remember, President Kennedy was the first supply-sider of the post-World War Two period, cutting tax rates dramatically. President Franklin D. Roosevelt bounced socialists, who were extremely active in Depression-era politics, from his administration. President Truman expressed outright dislike and disdain for the socialist movement with his usual bluntness.  Now large segments of the Democratic Party are embracing with gusto the socialist creed as carried forth by Sanders — and at a less dramatic level by the likes of Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.

Daily Devotional

Pray for His Fame

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

John Piper

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

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

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

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

History Repeats, Along With Our Consternation

Fashionable Appeasement 

Random outlier, or the centre?  When it comes to Islam, the Western Commentariat fervently believe that centrist-Islam is roughly equivalent (in social behaviour and societal impact) to Christianity and Judaism.  Christians and Jews have a weekly holy day; so do Muslims.  Christians and Jews gather at their local house of worship to declare praise to their God; Muslims do likewise, except they adore a different deity.  But, general equivalence between the religions applies.  

What, then, does the Commentariat hold when the world is awash with Islamic violence (Muslim on Muslim; Muslim upon Jew; Muslim upon Christian; and Muslim upon Western secularists)?  The West's resounding response is to argue that such violence is not genuinely Islamic.  It is not the centre.  It is the random outlier.  It is Islamic extremism.  It is not genuinely Islamic.

We blogged recently on the brutal murder in Glasgow of an Islamic adherent by another Islamic adherent.  Now, Muslim violence perpetrated upon other Muslims is de rigueur  in many parts of the world, so its reasonable to expect it in the UK, as well as in NZ.  In this case, the violence, the brutal murder was religiously motivated.  Clearly so.

Saturday, 16 April 2016

Sanctifying the Church

Chinese Catholics Say No to Church ‘Controlled by Communist Party’

Thomas D. Williams
Breitbart News

As Chinese President Xi Jinping continues to tighten the Communist Party’s grip on religious practice, more and more Christians are opting out of the official, state-recognized church and heading underground.  Some six million Catholics have refused to join churches recognized by the Communist Party and have opted to worship in “house churches,” where they can remain loyal to the Vatican.

Father Dong Baolu, an underground Chinese priest, celebrates Mass in these so-called house churches in order to worship God in freedom and independence from state control.  For Dong, a church controlled by the Communist Party is no church at all. According to Dong, the Party “says we have religious freedom, but they only allow us to be free within a circle they drew.”

“They want to lead us. But those who don’t believe in God cannot lead us,” he said.

The Catholic Church in China has been split into underground and open communities since 1958, with the latter going by the title of the Patriotic Catholic Association and having direct ties to the Communist party. A Vatican document of 1988 barred Roman Catholics from participating in the sacraments of the Patriotic Church, since the association “had broken all relationships with the pope” and would be “under the direct control of the government.”

Father Dong fears that a thaw in relations between Beijing and the Vatican could compromise that freedom.

Daily Devotional

Underneath Are the Everlasting Arms

"Say ye to the righteous, that it shall be well with him."
Isaiah 3:10

Charles H. Spurgeon

It is well with the righteous always. If it had said, "Say ye to the righteous, that it is well with him in his prosperity," we must have been thankful for so great a boon, for prosperity is an hour of peril, and it is a gift from heaven to be secured from its snares: or if it had been written, "It is well with him when under persecution," we must have been thankful for so sustaining an assurance, for persecution is hard to bear; but when no time is mentioned, all time is included. God's "shalls" must be understood always in their largest sense.

From the beginning of the year to the end of the year, from the first gathering of evening shadows until the day-star shines, in all conditions and under all circumstances, it shall be well with the righteous. It is so well with him that we could not imagine it to be better, for he is well fed, he feeds upon the flesh and blood of Jesus; he is well clothed, he wears the imputed righteousness of Christ; he is well housed, he dwells in God; he is well married, his soul is knit in bonds of marriage union to Christ; he is well provided for, for the Lord is his Shepherd; he is well endowed, for heaven is his inheritance.

It is well with the righteous--well upon divine authority; the mouth of God speaks the comforting assurance. O beloved, if God declares that all is well, ten thousand devils may declare it to be ill, but we laugh them all to scorn. Blessed be God for a faith which enables us to believe God when the creatures contradict him. It is, says the Word, at all times well with thee, thou righteous one; then, beloved, if thou canst not see it, let God's word stand thee in stead of sight; yea, believe it on divine authority more confidently than if thine eyes and thy feelings told it to thee. Whom God blesses is blest indeed, and what his lip declares is truth most sure and steadfast.

Let's Get Going

Getting Serious Over Refugees

NZ Initiative has come forward with a great idea.  Open up NZ refugee quotas to privately funded support groups, is its argument.  The reality is that the world is awash with genuine refugees (as contrasted with economic migrants).  New Zealand's contribution towards the global need is paltry.  Present government policy favours encouraging qualified migrants to come to New Zealand.  It utilises the private sector to help facilitate this.  

It's high time the same principles were applied to its refugee policies.  Here is New Zealand Initiative's proposal:

Friday, 15 April 2016

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow

Twice as Much Water!

Douglas Wilson

It used to be that discrimination was a good word. A man with discriminating taste was a man with aesthetic standards that he understood and applied in wisdom. Now discrimination is an all-purpose term of condemnation designed to shut you up, Christian.

Of course, discrimination is one of those words that carry the inescapable concept around with it. It is not whether you have a standard of discrimination, it is which standard of discrimination you will have. Not whether, but which.

For example, Mississippi recently passed a law prohibiting, get this, discrimination by the government against sincerely held religious beliefs. Residents of that state will still have the freedom to follow their own conscience when their conscience requires them to decline to do crazy stuff. This outbreak of common sense was too much for the governor of New York, and so Andrew Cuomo banned all “non-essential travel to Mississippi” for state employees. Take that, Hattiesburg.

But the point here is that absolutely everyone involved is discriminating. Mississippi formally allowed her citizens to discriminate against abnormal people, and New York is mandating discrimination against normal people.

Ah, there it is — the intolerable word.

Daily Devotional

On Forgiveness

C. S. Lewis

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

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

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

An Off-Key Note

Avaricious Mendacity, Cloaked in Faux Grievances

(Some) Maori are all up in arms over the government's decision to create a marine sanctuary around the Kermadec islands.  They allege that their quota fishing rights in the area have been obliterated.  The sub-allegation is that once again government has illicitly appropriated what belonged to Maori by virtue of previous Treaty of Waitangi settlements.

Maybe.  For our money we always maintain a healthy scepticism towards government claims to land, wealth, and property.  The State has form when it comes to acquisitive mendacity.  In days now long past our parents were subjected to a government land grab by means of standover tactics, via threatening the compulsory acquisition if the family did not "consent" to sell. The forcibly-acquired land subsequently turned out to be land in excess of crown requirements.  The State then sold most of the land acquired at an excessive profit back to the private sector--not those from whom it was extricated in the first place.

But we digress.  Regardless of the merits and legality of the State's declaration of a marine sanctuary--which we would be glad to see tested in the Courts--the Maori action is risible.  One commentator skewers the Maori position:

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Only One Campaign Making It

An Interesting Inside View

National Review Online
Ian Tuttle

Trump and Cruz: A Tale of Two Campaigns, One of Which Is Competent

Earlier this week, the Washington Post released an “Internal Campaign Memorandum” penned by Trump campaign senior adviser Barry Bennett. Entitled “Digging through the Bull S[***]” and addressed to “Corey and Team,” the memo reads less like an internal communiqué than a fundraising e-mail sent to the wrong people:
So this week the Media and the Washington Establishment bashed the campaign with energy yet ever seen against a Republican candidate. You name the medium and it was dominated with Trump Attacks. The media themselves couldn’t wait to label the week, “THE WORST WEEK EVER.”

D.C. Pundits scurried to the networks to proclaim the end was at hand for Donald Trump.  Yet another pathetic display by the so called experts who line their pockets at the expense of our candidates and causes.  So what is the result of their efforts this week? Here it is . . . 
Bennett then quotes Reuters’s tracking poll, scolds the “Washington Establishment” once more for its “idiotic attacks,” and concludes: “Donald Trump 1 Washington Establishment/Media 0.”

Campaigns are grueling, and higher-ups sometimes have to boost staffers’ spirits. But one gets the sense that Bennett isn’t writing as one professional to others, but as one member of a cult proselytizing to other true believers.

Daily Devotional

The Great King's Wine

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

John Piper

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

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

Now let it all be sacrificed, if it will get me more of Christ.

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

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

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

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

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

Doomed to Disaster

The Government as Uber-Parent

The term "statism" refers to the doctrine or idea that the State is the ultimate reality upon earth.  In matter of justice there is no higher appeal than the State.  In society, the State is not just the ultimate court of appeal in civil and criminal matters, but the State is the ultimate and highest institution to which all other human activity is ultimately subject.   Statism declares there is no higher law than that which the State is prepared to acknowledge.  

Statism is the dominant political ideology of our secularist age.  The State is the most dominant social, moral, and commercial entity in our society.  It follows that all perceived social problems are ultimately the responsibility of the State to solve.  

In New Zealand, because of the dominant influence of  Statism, we are confronted with a weakening and attenuation of all other social structures.  There are many dysfunctional families, blended families, dislocated families, and broken families.  There are homosexual families, plural families, and solo-parent families.  All the colours of the rainbow.

One consequence is child abuse.  Another is successive generations of children growing up unable to function and cope in the adult world.  What is to be done?  The answer is naturally to hand.  The State will use all its efficiencies, potentialities, and powers to put things right.  Enter the State as Uber-parent.

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Trump, the Amoral Village Idiot

Abortion Ghouls Clinton, Sanders Bailed Out

Ben Shapiro
The Daily Wire

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders (Socialist-Loonbaggia) completely embarrassed themselves on Sunday over the issue of abortion. Confronted for the first time in their adult lives by questions about the morality of their abortion perspectives, they froze like deer in the headlights. Chuck Todd from NBC asked Clinton, “When or if does an unborn child have constitutional rights?” Clinton answered, “The unborn person doesn’t have constitutional rights.”

Well, that’s damned clear. The baby is an unborn human being; it doesn’t have rights because Hillary believes certain human beings do not deserve rights. This is the same perspective as that of slaveholders in the antebellum south: if the black person is on my plantation, he’s property. If you believe borders mark personhood – personal borders or state borders – you’re a monster.

But this is the Democratic Party official position. Unborn children have no rights. If you want to kill them, grab a scalpel, sister. No wonder Cecile Richards calls Hillary the "pinnacle of everything we've fought for."

Daily Devotional

On Heaven

C. S, Lewis

But God will look to every soul like its first love because He is its first love. Your place in heaven will seem to be made for you and you alone, because you were made for it—made for it stitch by stitch as a glove is made for a hand.

The Problem of Pain. Copyright © 1940, C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. Copyright restored © 1996 by 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.

It's Transition, Man

What a Lovely World We Are Building

In every society there are weirdos.  You may think of it as an axiom. Weirdos come in all shapes and sizes.  These days, sexuality is the preserve of weirdos who go to extravagant lengths to deny their genetic and biological makeup and turn themselves into something else (usually the opposite sex).

The chattering classes and the Commentariat have taken to lionising such weirdos.  They are the true heroes and heroines of our age.  In order to stand with them it is demanded of society (that is, you) that it ascribe every kind of civil, freedom, and human rights to such people.  If a male becomes a trans-female it is incumbent upon SS Society and all who sail in her to accord the "trans-her" the rights of females, including access to women's changing rooms and toilets.

The next iteration follows.  Weirdness is catching.  Up pops a fellow who makes no attempt at all to resist or deny his genetic makeup.  Instead this weirdo says, "OK, I am male on the inside and male on the outside, but I don't feel male.  I think of myself as female.  I identify as female."  Sure, says the captain of SS Society, no problem.  So now the guy who is trans-gendered in his mind's eye only is accorded access to female toileting and changing facilities.  And so the weirdo and weirdness rolls.

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow

Book of the Month/April 2016

Douglas Wilson

Back in the eighties, the debate over theonomy and Christian Reconstruction was a “thing.” It is still a thing, and in proof of what I say I offer the evidence that virtually no one thinks so.

The day of common sense shared assumption is clean over. We live in a day when decent folks can find themselves cudgeled by the state for maintaining that we should have restrooms for men and women. Imagine trying to explain our political controversies to Dwight Eisenhower. In order for Christians to open their mouths about any of the current issues, they have to be ready to answer the two great questions of theology, asked on playgrounds everywhere. They are, “Why?” and “Who says?” Bounds

The church is like a college sophomore sinking in his math courses, and who needs to back to the basics of how many two and two make. This book by Joel McDurmon is a wonderful place to start our remedial work. Here it is: The Bounds of Love.

This is an introduction to “theonomy,” God’s law, and there are two great takeaways from the book.

First, he carefully shows that these are issues that all Christians need to deal with. In line with that, he then goes on to show that the theonomic answer to the challenge of Old Testament/New Testament relations is a responsible exegetically grounded one.

Over the years, my joking answer to the question “are you a theonomist?” has been “oh, no. I hate God’s law.” What this reveals (or rather should reveal) is that all Christians are theonomists. We all agree that we should do what God directs us to do in His Word. We differ on the exegesis, and on the hermeneutic that drives much of it. What does God in fact require of us, and how can we know? McDurmon does a good job parsing out how members of different camps are perhaps not as far apart as they think.

Daily Devotional

Bearing Afflictions Lightly

"Look upon mine affliction and my pain; and forgive all my sins."
Psalm 25:18

Charles H. Spurgeon

It is well for us when prayers about our sorrows are linked with pleas concerning our sins--when, being under God's hand, we are not wholly taken up with our pain, but remember our offences against God. It is well, also, to take both sorrow and sin to the same place. It was to God that David carried his sorrow: it was to God that David confessed his sin. Observe, then, we must take our sorrows to God. Even your little sorrows you may roll upon God, for he counteth the hairs of your head; and your great sorrows you may commit to him, for he holdeth the ocean in the hollow of his hand. Go to him, whatever your present trouble may be, and you shall find him able and willing to relieve you. But we must take our sins to God too. We must carry them to the cross, that the blood may fall upon them, to purge away their guilt, and to destroy their defiling power.

The special lesson of the text is this:--that we are to go to the Lord with sorrows and with sins in the right spirit. Note that all David asks concerning his sorrow is, "Look upon mine affliction and my pain;" but the next petition is vastly more express, definite, decided, plain--"Forgive all my sins." Many sufferers would have put it, "Remove my affliction and my pain, and look at my sins." But David does not say so; he cries, "Lord, as for my affliction and my pain, I will not dictate to thy wisdom. Lord, look at them, I will leave them to thee, I should be glad to have my pain removed, but do as thou wilt; but as for my sins, Lord, I know what I want with them; I must have them forgiven; I cannot endure to lie under their curse for a moment." A Christian counts sorrow lighter in the scale than sin; he can bear that his troubles should continue, but he cannot support the burden of his transgressions.

It's Time for Another, Genuine Cultural Revolution

The Good Old Days

China is finding out that you cannot just turn babies off-and-on.  The government was hailed for recently easing the draconian restrictions upon married couples to just one child.  It was a start, but a stuttering beginning, at best.  The social dislocation in Chinese society from the One Child Policy will take decades, generations to redress and put right.  

A recent article in Epoch Times describes how nothing much has changed in a town lauded for its adherence to, and its disciplined alacrity over, carrying out the former "one child" policy.
In the 1980s, the county of Rudong in China’s coastal province of Jiangsu was lauded for its strict adherence to China’s infamous one child policy. Three decades later, the county’s residents are paying the price of the Chinese regime’s efforts at population control.  Rudong County has come under scrutiny recently for having negative population growth for 17 straight years, and for having a rapidly aging populace, according to a report by the semi-official Beijing News on March 29. And the county’s residents haven’t taken to recently instituted pronatalist measures.
The problem is that a social cluster (such as a town) eventually reaches the tipping point of death--the point at which it is not possible to rebuild the town or area.  Like other cities and regions throughout history, living there becomes too hard, or costly, or inconvenient and people move.  The city or town dies.  That's what is happing in Rudong now.

Monday, 11 April 2016

Thrice Condemned

The Language Bears the Truth

Hillary Clinton has left the reservation.  An ardent advocate for terminating the life of the unborn child, she was caught out revealing her soul, her conscience the other day.  She actually used language which shows she knows--and has always known--that the unborn child is indeed a person, a human being.  

In uttering these words she condemned herself and all the pro-abortion lobby.  In response she was condemned by that lobby for her inappropriate vocabulary.  The pro-abortion folks were forced to reveal what vocabulary is acceptable, and what is not.  It demonstrates that the pro-abortion lobby are propagandists of the worst kind.  Only the politically correct, approved lexicon of words may be used.

Finally, Clinton also provoked those opposed to abortion.  She condemned herself.  She was condemned by the abortionists.  She was condemned by the stalwarts fighting against the horror.  It was a genuine trifecta moment.

Daily Devotional

What It Means to Pray for Your Enemy

“Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” (Matthew 5:44)

John Piper

Prayer for your enemies is one of the deepest forms of love, because it means that you have to really want that something good happen to them.

You might do nice things for your enemy without any genuine desire that things go well with them. But prayer for them is in the presence of God who knows your heart, and prayer is interceding with God on their behalf.

It may be for their conversion. It may be for their repentance. It may be that they would be awakened to the enmity in their hearts. It may be that they will be stopped in their downward spiral of sin, even if it takes disease or calamity to do it. But the prayer Jesus has in mind here is always for their good.

This is what Jesus did as he hung on the cross:

“Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34)

And it's what Stephen did as he was being stoned:

Falling on his knees, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them!” (Acts 7:60)

Jesus is calling us not just to do good things for our enemy, like greeting them and helping supply their needs; he is also calling us to want their best, and to express those wants in prayers when the enemy is nowhere around.

Our hearts should want their salvation and want their presence in heaven and want their eternal happiness. So we pray like the apostle Paul for the Jewish people, many of whom made life very hard for Paul,

My heart's desire and prayer to God is for their salvation. (Romans 10:1)

Donald Trump's Embarrassing Reveal

The Great Pretender

One of the reasons Trump has appealed to "straight talking, straight shootin'" conservatives is that he appears fearless.  He tells the truth as he sees it.  He shoots from the mouth and the hip.  He doesn't care who he offends.  To change the metaphor, Trump is the great commander who shouts, "Full speed ahead, and damn the torpedoes."

At least that's why a lot of mid-America likes him, we suspect.  If so, what on earth are we to make of this interchange with   “Face the Nation” host, John Dickerson of CBS News.

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Climate Change Deniers Are an Evil Dastardly Lot

Big Oil Conspiracy

Breitbart London
James Delingpole

Rajendra Pachauri, the disgraced former head of the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC), has produced an ingenious defence against the sexual harassment charges he is now facing in an Indian court.

It turns out that, no he didn’t pester, bombard with emails, and grope the attractive female employee at his TERI climate research institute.  Rather, the whole thing is the result of an evil conspiracy by climate change sceptics and right-wing think tanks, funded by Big Oil. Apparently they hacked into all his computer accounts and, without his knowledge, sent a series of flirtatious emails and love poems to his unnamed accuser.
Pachauri was given generous space to make these extravagant claims by John Vidal, one of the numerous environment editors who works at the Guardian – in this case its Sunday edition the Observer – and who for years has uncritically championed the world-saving, Nobel-prize-winning work down by the IPCC.

He says: “I have repeatedly received death threats anonymously over the years. In recent months I have received these threats over the telephone from numbers that were valid when East Germany was a nation. I am not sure how these people have numbers pertaining to that defunct international code.” He says he suspects strongly, but cannot prove, that there has been a coordinated attempt to destroy him professionally and personally and that money may also be involved. Ever since he was elected to lead the IPCC in 2002, he says the IPCC has been vilified by climate sceptics and rightwing free-market thinktanks, often known to have been funded by powerful fossil-fuel interests.

Daily Devotional

Someday Riding Bareback

To shrink back from all that can be called Nature into negative spirituality is as if we ran away from horses instead of learning to ride. There is in our present pilgrim condition plenty of room (more room than most of us like) for abstinence and renunciation and mortifying our natural desires. But behind all asceticism the thought should be, ‘Who will trust us with the true wealth if we cannot be trusted even with the wealth that perishes?’ Who will trust me with a spiritual body if I cannot control even an earthly body?

These small and perishable bodies we now have were given to us as ponies are given to schoolboys. We must learn to manage: not that we may some day be free of horses altogether but that some day we may ride bare-back, confident and rejoicing, those greater mounts, those winged, shining and world- shaking horses which perhaps even now expect us with impatience, pawing and snorting in the King’s stables. Not that the gallop would be of any value unless it were a gallop with the King; but how else— since He has retained His own charger—should we accompany Him?

From Miracles
Compiled in A Year with C.S. Lewis
Miracles: A Preliminary Study. Copyright 1947 C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. Copyright renewed © 1947 C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. Revised 1960, 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.

Just the Facts, Ma'am

The Great Urban Legend Of Our Time

Evidentialism is the doctrine that demands everything one believes must be adequately grounded upon evidence. If no evidence, then belief is irrational.  Whenever we come across such sweeping, grandiose assertions, we find ourselves driven to ask, "By what evidence does that assertion hold true?"  Pray, what is the evidence for evidentialism?  Eerrrr.  Ummmm.  More time, please.

David Berlinski is on to it when he writes:
It is wrong, the nineteenth-century British mathematician W.K. Clifford affirmed, "always, everywhere, and for anyone, to  believe anything upon insufficient evidence."  I am guessing that Clifford believed what he wrote, but what evidence he had for his belief, he did not say.  [David Berlinski, The Devil's Delusion: Atheism and Its Scientific Pretensions.  (New York: Basic Books, 2009), p. 47.]
Fast forward to the Great Collider in Europe.   Naturally, this Collider is most famous because it is the biggest.  Twenty-seven kilometers of underground tunnel to house the great beast--all in an effort to research the tiniest particles in matter.  The biggest to find the smallest.  Looking for evidence.  So that the evidentialist can believe.   But what constitutes evidence?  Instantly, the "picture" becomes exponentially more complex, and less evidential, we may say.

Friday, 8 April 2016

Letter From America (About the Village Idiot)

It’s Time for Conservatives to Blackball Donald Trump

National Review Online
By Ian Tuttle

And just like that, the Republican presidential contest has veered into Todd Akin territory.
In a taped Wisconsin townhall with MSNBC voters, set to air Wednesday evening, Donald Trump says that, if abortion becomes illegal in the United States, the mother involved should be subject to “some form of punishment.”

Here’s the video:

Let me start here, for form’s sake: There is a valid philosophical question here. If you carry out the logic of the pro-life position, what should it entail, legally? As it happens, several leading abortion opponents addressed this question here at National Review in a 2007 symposium. If you’re looking for substantive considerations of this question, give it a read.

But while people are sure to spill gallons of ink on that question, thanks to Trump, it’s irrelevant — because Trump doesn’t mean what he said. Donald Trump has no considered opinion about what should happen in the hypothetical situation in which abortion is completely outlawed. He’s never given it a moment’s thought. Read the transcript of his exchange with Matthews. He’s not substantively “right” or “wrong.” He’s utterly and completely incoherent.

Daily Devotional

Honest Naming

"Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation; and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness."
Psalm 51:14

Charles H. Spurgeon

In this solemn confession, it is pleasing to observe that David plainly names his sin. He does not call it manslaughter, nor speak of it as an imprudence by which an unfortunate accident occurred to a worthy man, but he calls it by its true name, bloodguiltiness. He did not actually kill the husband of Bathsheba; but still it was planned in David's heart that Uriah should be slain, and he was before the Lord his murderer.

Learn in confession to be honest with God. Do not give fair names to foul sins; call them what you will, they will smell no sweeter. What God sees them to be, that do you labour to feel them to be; and with all openness of heart acknowledge their real character. Observe, that David was evidently oppressed with the heinousness of his sin. It is easy to use words, but it is difficult to feel their meaning. The fifty-first Psalm is the photograph of a contrite spirit. Let us seek after the like brokenness of heart; for however excellent our words may be, if our heart is not conscious of the hell-deservingness of sin, we cannot expect to find forgiveness.

Our text has in it an earnest prayer--it is addressed to the God of salvation. It is his prerogative to forgive; it is his very name and office to save those who seek his face. Better still, the text calls him the God of my salvation. Yes, blessed be his name, while I am yet going to him through Jesus' blood, I can rejoice in the God of my salvation.

The psalmist ends with a commendable vow: if God will deliver him he will sing--nay, more, he will "sing aloud." Who can sing in any other style of such a mercy as this! But note the subject of the song--"Thy righteousness." We must sing of the finished work of a precious Saviour; and he who knows most of forgiving love will sing the loudest.

Hoping the Best, Fearing the Worst

Let's Hope We are Proven Wrong

April 1st has come and gone.  And with it, a new government was sworn in Myanmar.  Aung San Suu Kyi, leader of the National League for Democracy ("NLD") and national heroine, saw an old friend and confidante become President of Myanmar.  Of course Suu Kyi could not, herself, become president because of a characteristic manipulation by the military masters who made a rule (deliberately to block Suu Kyi from becoming President).
Suu Kyi endured decades of house arrest and harassment by military rulers without ever giving up on her nonviolent campaign to unseat them. The constitutional clause that denied her the presidency excludes anyone from the position who has a foreign spouse or child. Suu Kyi's two sons are British, as was her late husband. The clause is widely seen as having been written by the military with Suu Kyi in mind. [NZ Herald]
Despite these, and other tricks, the NLD won 95% support in recent elections.  The challenges facing the new government are prodigious.  Moreover, the military dictatorship has reserved much control for itself.

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow

A Biblical Case Against the Minimum Wage

Douglas Wilson

As if we needed more evidence, we now have additional evidence that the progressive uplifters of our society are impervious to the claims of evidence. In support of this claim, I would simply point to the fact that California is now poised to join other economic illiterates in adopting a $15 an hour minimum wage.

Those advocating this are either ignorant or cruel. Since this is being done in the name of the poor, I would like to begin by noting that ignorant people can’t help the poor, and the cruel people won’t. The ignorant uplifters actually think that such measures will actually result in extra cash for low-wage works, and such advocates simply need to be escorted to a back room where they can lie down for a bit. The cruel know very well that this won’t help the poor, but rather will hurt them. But that is a small price to pay for the additional power they will acquire in harassing, controlling, and destroying the small business owners who actually supply jobs to the poor.

So I don’t keep you in suspense, here is the biblical case against the minimum wage. “Whoever oppresses a poor man insults his Maker, but he who is generous to the needy honors him” (Prov. 14:31).

The principal engine of oppression against the poor is fraud.