Monday, 31 October 2016

A Malarial Plague

Greenist Luddites 

The Damage and Death They Cause

Bob Brockie

Greenie alarmists spread needless fears about science.  They have long spread misinformation and lies about genetic engineering (GE), claiming it has never done any good, only harm. But these claims fly in the face of scientific evidence.

In separate reports, the OECD and the American Academy of Sciences reviewed more than 1000 scientific studies of GE earlier this year. They found that farmers using GE got bigger crops, made more money and used less insecticide than conventional farmers. They concluded that GE has never harmed anybody, nor harmed the environment.  Greenie Luddites so put the wind up the New Zealand government that it passed ludicrous restrictions on harmless GE imports and GE research here. We are the poorer for that.

Nuclear Greenies claim that nuclear radiation killed thousands of people at Chernobyl. In fact it killed only 68 men – those who first rushed into the stricken plant.  Repeated United Nations surveys show Chernobyl has produced no more deaths, birth defects or cancer than any other Russian city.

Alarmists also predicted that hundreds of thousands could become ill or die as a result of the Fukushima explosion. In fact nobody died, nobody became ill and nobody's radiation readings approached danger level.  Many fear that low levels of radiation will harm future generations but this idea gets no support from geneticists, who point to the children and grandchildren of Hiroshima and Nagasaki's survivors. They are as healthy as those in any other Japanese city.

Daily Devotional

The Danger of Drifting

Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. (Hebrews 2:1)

John Piper

We all know people that this has happened to. There is no urgency. No vigilance. No focused listening or considering or fixing of their eyes on Jesus. And the result has not been a standing still, but a drifting away.

That is the point here: there is no standing still. The life of this world is not a lake. It is a river. And it is flowing downward to destruction. If you do not listen earnestly to Jesus and consider him daily and fix your eyes on him hourly, then you will not stand still, you will go backward. You will float by.

Drifting is a deadly thing in the Christian life. And the remedy to it, according to Hebrews 2:1, is, “Pay close attention to what you have heard.” That is, consider what God is saying in his Son Jesus. Fix your eyes on what God is saying and doing in the Son of God, Jesus Christ.

This is not a hard stroke to learn so that we can swim against the stream of sin and indifference. The only thing that keeps us from swimming like this is our sinful desire to float with other interests.

But let us not complain that God has given us a hard job. Listen, consider, fix the eyes — this is not what you would call a hard job description. It is not a job description. It is a solemn invitation to be satisfied in Jesus so that we do not get lured downstream by deceitful desires.

If you are drifting today, one of the signs of hope that you are born again is that you feel pricked for this, and there is a rising desire in your heart to turn your eyes on Jesus and consider him and listen to him in the days and months and years to come.

Taken For A Long Ride

An "Oh . . . . Puleeeze" Moment

Here is something which has generated lots of belly-laughter in the JT household.  The incredulous world was stunned to read/see/hear that the United States FBI is to re-open its investigation into President-elect, Hillary Clinton (just before the election, mind you).

Clearly the soap-opera of American politics needed what those in the trade call a "revitalisation".  To a man, the American media are now frothing at the mouth, shuddering in apoplectic fits.  What a revelation!  What an event!  You never heard of anything like this in Game of Thrones.  This from a breathless Washington Post:

Saturday, 29 October 2016

Alt-Right Trump Trolls

The Price I’ve Paid for Opposing Donald Trump

Trump’s alt-right trolls have subjected me and my family to an unending torrent of abuse that I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

David French
National Review Online

I distinctly remember the first time I saw a picture of my then-seven-year-old daughter’s face in a gas chamber. It was the evening of September 17, 2015. I had just posted a short item to the Corner calling out notorious Trump ally Ann Coulter for aping the white-nationalist language and rhetoric of the so-called alt-right. Within minutes, the tweets came flooding in. My youngest daughter is African American, adopted from Ethiopia, and in alt-right circles that’s an unforgivable sin. It’s called “race-cucking” or “raising the enemy.”

I saw images of my daughter’s face in gas chambers, with a smiling Trump in a Nazi uniform preparing to press a button and kill her. I saw her face photo-shopped into images of slaves. She was called a “niglet” and a “dindu.” The alt-right unleashed on my wife, Nancy, claiming that she had slept with black men while I was deployed to Iraq, and that I loved to watch while she had sex with “black bucks.” People sent her pornographic images of black men having sex with white women, with someone photoshopped to look like me, watching.

When we both publicized some of the racist attacks — I in National Review and Nancy in the Washington Post — things took a far more ominous turn. Late the next evening — while Nancy was, fortunately, offline attending a veterans’ charity event in D.C. — the darker quarters of the alt-right found her Patheos blog. Several different accounts began posting images and GIFs of extreme violence in her comments section.

Click on a post and scroll down and you’ll see pictures of black men shooting other black men, close-up images of suicides, GIFs of grisly executions — the kinds of psyche-scarring things that one can’t “unsee.”

Daily Meditation

On Evil

C. S. Lewis

I think one may be quite rid of the old haunting suspicion—which raises its head in every temptation—that there is something else than God—some other country . . . into which He forbids us to trespass—some kind of delight which He “doesn’t appreciate” or just chooses to forbid, but which would be real delight if only we were allowed to get it.

The thing just isn’t there. Whatever we desire is either what God is trying to give us as quickly as He can, or else a false picture of what He is trying to give us—a false picture which would not attract us for a moment if we saw the real thing. Therefore God does really in a sense contain evil—i.e., contains what is the real motive power behind all our evil desires. He knows what we want, even in our vilest acts: He is longing to give it to us. He is not looking on from the outside at some new “taste” or “separate desire of our own.” Only because He has laid up real goods for us to desire are we able to go wrong by snatching at them in greedy, misdirected ways. The truth is that evil is not a real thing at all, like God. It is simply good spoiled. That is why I say there can be good without evil, but no evil without good. You know what the biologists mean by a parasite—an animal that lives on another animal. Evil is a parasite. It is there only because good is there for it to spoil and confuse.

Thus you may well feel that God understands our temptations—understands them a great deal more than we do. But don’t forget Macdonald again—“Only God understands evil and hates it.” Only the dog’s master knows how useless it is to try to get on with the lead knotted round the lamp-post. This is why we must be prepared to find God implacably and immovably forbidding what may seem to us very small and trivial things. But He knows whether they are really small and trivial. How small some of the things that doctors forbid would seem to an ignoramus.

From The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, Volume II
Compiled in Words to Live By 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. 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.

Ooops. Not So Fast

Madness Has Limits

It would seem that there are hard limits to transgenderism.  If parents get it wrong they can expect to be hauled before the courts.  If social agencies are complicit, they too will be "reindoctrinated" and corrected.  At least this is the way it seems to be in the UK.

Firstly, the case of the mother who wove a make-believe, fictional world about her son.

Boy ‘living life entirely as a girl’ removed from mother's care by judge

Woman who was convinced her son perceived himself as a girl caused seven-year-old ‘significant emotional harm’

The Guardian

A seven-year-old boy who was “living life entirely as a girl” has been removed from his mother’s care after a ruling by a high court judge.  Mr Justice Hayden said the woman had caused her son “significant emotional harm”, and he criticised local authority social services staff responsible for the youngster’s welfare.

The judge said the woman had been “absolutely convinced” the youngster “perceived himself as a girl” and was determined that he should be a girl. He said the boy was now living with his father, who is separated from the woman. The youngster still saw his mother.  Hayden said “flares of concern” had been sent from a “whole raft of multi-disciplinary agencies”, and he could not understand why so many concerns had been “disregarded so summarily” by social services staff.
Now, at this juncture, every parent involved in encouraging transgenderism in the lives of their children needs take careful note.

Friday, 28 October 2016

Green is the New Bad

Global Warmists are Anti-Green

Carbon Dioxide Greens The Planet
All Bad, Say Global Warming Doomsters

James Delingpole
Breitbart London

Alarmist scientists are trying to cover up the good news that rising CO2 levels are making the planet turn greener. And that even includes one of the scientists who made the discovery in the first place.
The discovery was first announced in 2012 in a lecture by Professor Ryanga Myneni of the University of Boston.

Rising CO2 levels are causing the planet to get greener, Myneni revealed. In the last 30 years, he estimated, the planet’s greenery has increased by 14 per cent. About half of this, he calculated, was a direct result of increased carbon dioxide levels, rather than of other factors like warmth, irrigation or fertilisers. And the area covered is vast:  as Myneni’s co-author Zaichun Zhu, of Beijing University, puts it, it’s equivalent to adding a green continent twice the size of mainland USA.

What’s more, Myneni showed, this greening is taking place across the board, in all manner of vegetation: tropical rain forests, subarctic taiga, grasslands, semi-deserts, farmland, the lot.

Daily Devotional

Christ Is Like Sunlight

He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature. (Hebrews 1:3)

John Piper

Jesus relates to God the way radiance relates to glory, or the way the rays of sunlight relate to the sun.

Keep in mind that every analogy between God and natural things is imperfect and will distort if you press it. Nevertheless, consider for example,

There is no time that the sun exists without the beams of radiance. They cannot be separated. The radiance is co-eternal with the glory. Christ is co-eternal with God the Father.

The radiance is the glory radiating out. It is not essentially different from the glory. Christ is God standing forth as separate but not essentially different from the Father.  Thus the radiance is eternally begotten, as it were, by the glory — not created or made. If you put a solar-activated calculator in the sunlight, numbers appear on the face of the calculator. These, you could say, are created or made by the sun, but they are not what the sun is. But the rays of the sun are an extension of the sun. So Christ is eternally begotten of the Father, but not made or created.

We see the sun by means of seeing the rays of the sun. So we see God the Father by seeing Jesus. The rays of the sun arrive here about eight seconds after they leave the sun, and the round ball of fire that we see in the sky is the image — the exact representation — of the sun; not because it is a painting of the sun, but because it is the sun streaming forth in its radiance.

So I commend this great Person to you that you might trust in him and love him and worship him. He is alive and sitting at the right hand of God with all power and authority and will one day come in great glory. He has that exalted place because he is himself God the Son.

The Parlous State of Particle Physics

"I Know Nothing"

We came across a hilarious piece by David Berlinski the other day, lampooning the current state of particle physics.

But some background is in order.  Back in the day, Christians and Jesus Christ used to be lampooned by secularists and atheists for the "God of the gaps" reflex.  This was when secularist and materialist science was in its heyday.  The science v. religion paradigm was portrayed as knowledge versus ignorance.  Before the rise--and dominance--of the secularist paradigm, the ignorant explained what they did not know or understand with reference to a Deity.  "Why do rainbows exist?"  Answer: "I don't know.  God knows and He makes them."  But as more and more knowledge came into existence about the natural world of matter and how it works, the gaps in our knowledge shrank.  Consequently, the "God of the gaps" got smaller and smaller.

We don't need God any more to explain things, said the secularists and materialists.  They happily retired Him to the House of Lords, whilst everyone got on with genuine reality.

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Letter From America (About Theresa May)

Theresa May and the Return of One Nation Conservatism

The new UK prime minister has a powerful center-right message.

James Pinkerton
The Federalist

1. The Conservative Ideal of “One Nation”

Theresa May, the new prime minister of the United Kingdom, has been in office for just three months, and yet already she has emerged as a consequential figure—and not just in Britain. Americans might take careful note of the way that she articulates a powerful center-right message.

Inevitably, as only the second female PM in British history, such side issues as her fashion style—including the inevitable comparison to Kate, Duchess of Cambridge—have attracted much attention. Following her footwear seems to be an almost fetishistic obsession with the Brit media.

Yet what really matters are May’s ideas, and those are sure to echo into the U.S., because she is seeking to create the sort of national majority that American Republicans have been striving, unsuccessfully, to create for the past quarter-century.

Of course, the hottest issue in the UK is Brexit, which Britons approved on June 23. And while that issue is specific to the UK, the larger implications of the vote have reverberated into every country that is confronting unaccountable multinational organizations—that is, all countries.  . .

Moreover, in establishing a new tone for the Conservatives, May has gone beyond Brexit; she has put forth a vision of Britain at home as “One Nation.”

Daily Devotional

Increasing Vigilance

"He began to wash the disciples' feet."  John 13:5

Charles H. Spurgeon

The Lord Jesus loves his people so much, that every day he is still doing for them much that is analogous to washing their soiled feet. Their poorest actions he accepts; their deepest sorrow he feels; their slenderest wish he hears, and their every transgression he forgives. He is still their servant as well as their Friend and Master. He not only performs majestic deeds for them, as wearing the mitre on his brow, and the precious jewels glittering on his breastplate, and standing up to plead for them, but humbly, patiently, he yet goes about among his people with the basin and the towel.

He does this when he puts away from us day by day our constant infirmities and sins. Last night, when you bowed the knee, you mournfully confessed that much of your conduct was not worthy of your profession; and even tonight, you must mourn afresh that you have fallen again into the selfsame folly and sin from which special grace delivered you long ago; and yet Jesus will have great patience with you; he will hear your confession of sin; he will say, "I will, be thou clean"; he will again apply the blood of sprinkling, and speak peace to your conscience, and remove every spot. It is a great act of eternal love when Christ once for all absolves the sinner, and puts him into the family of God; but what condescending patience there is when the Saviour with much long-suffering bears the oft recurring follies of his wayward disciple; day by day, and hour by hour, washing away the multiplied transgressions of his erring but yet beloved child!

To dry up a flood of rebellion is something marvellous, but to endure the constant dropping of repeated offences--to bear with a perpetual trying of patience, this is divine indeed! While we find comfort and peace in our Lord's daily cleansing, its legitimate influence upon us will be to increase our watchfulness, and quicken our desire for holiness. Is it so?

False Claims and the Salvation Army

Lies, Damned Lies, And . . . 

The Salvation Army has sadly morphed into an entity that is little more than a pressure group looking for the gummint to do something.  It joins a long list of social agencies that are fronts for the reigning statist ideology.  

Gone are the days when the Sallies relied upon door to door collections and free will donations to fund their once commendable work.  We recall many years ago the reverence in which the Sallies were held in the general community.  Our parents, whilst generally respecting the Christian faith, were non-church-attending nominal Christians.  In that sense they were like the vast majority of the population of that generation.  Yet they always spoke highly of the Sallies and the work they did.  In this they were typical.

Today, not so much.

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Letter From the Islamic Killing Fields

'Women Survive. They Do Not Live.'

Sulome Anderson
Stuff: The Washington Post

A handcuffed man sits on a dirty couch in a small room. The walls are painted a sickly, pale yellow that is even less appealing in the harsh fluorescent lighting. Two fighters and an officer clad in green camouflage stand by, watching.  The prisoner is in his mid- to late 30s, relatively fair-skinned for an Iraqi, with curly auburn hair and light brown eyes.  According to the Peshmerga, the fighting force of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), he was the leader of an Islamic State intelligence unit.

His jailers explain that the prisoner was responsible for interrogating people in Islamic State-held territory, trying to gather information and root out any internal dissent.  Tell me about your wife," I begin. "How did you treat her?"

"My wife completely covered her body and face and never left the house without me," he replies sullenly.

Daily Meditation

Love’s Greatest Happiness

No one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. (Ephesians 5:29–30)

John Piper

The union between Christ and his bride is so close (“one flesh”) that any good done to her is a good done to himself. The blatant assertion of this text is that this fact motivates the Lord to nourish, cherish, sanctify, and cleanse his bride.

By some definitions, this cannot be love. Love, they say, must be free of self-interest — especially Christlike love, especially Calvary love. I have never seen such a view of love made to square with this passage of Scripture.

Yet what Christ does for his bride, this text plainly calls love: “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church . . . ” (5:25). Why not let the text define love for us, instead of bringing our definition from ethics or philosophy? According to this text, love is the pursuit of our joy in the holy joy of the beloved.

There is no way to exclude self-interest from love, for self-interest is not the same as selfishness. Selfishness seeks its own private happiness at the expense of others.

Love seeks its happiness in the happiness of the beloved. It will even suffer and die for the beloved in order that its joy might be full in the life and purity of the beloved.

This is how Christ loved us, and this is how he calls us to love one another.

Useful Deceits

The Short Answer is No

The "Climate Change" catastrophe has become boring.  It's hard for folk to maintain a sense of deadly danger, as if perpetually perched on the edge of a cliff, adrenaline pumping through twitchy veins, whilst a maw of jagged rocks below awaits our flailing descent.   That kind of fear cannot be sustained.  Exhaustion quickly follows.  

So it has come to pass that the world finds itself exhausted over the "catastrophe" of climate change.  To be sure, the climate isn't helping us.  There's plenty of ice at both polar caps.  Temperatures are all over the place.  Meanwhile life goes on.

We are now entering the theatrical phase of the fight against anthropogenic global warming.  Governments all around the world are reduced to going through the motions of trying to get rid of carbon dioxide.

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Appeals to Pity Are Deceptive

Legalise Euthanasia, and Compassionate Society Dies Too

Paul Kelly
The Australian

If you love your parents, respect your children, care for your society and think compassionately about your world then it is time to open your heart and brain to what happens when a jurisdiction legalises killing or, as it is called, euthanasia.

The justification for euthanasia lies in human rights, individual autonomy and relieving pain — all worthy ideas, and that may prompt the question: why then is euthanasia still opposed by most nations, most medical professional bodies around the world and the Australian Medical Association?

The reason is not hard to find. It is because crossing the threshold to euthanasia is the ultimate step in medical, moral and social terms. A polity is never the same afterwards and a society is never the same. It changes forever the doctor-patient bond. It is because, in brutal but honest terms, more people will be put at risk by the legislation than will be granted relief as beneficiaries.

Daily Meditation

The Divine Presence Takes Many Forms

TO GENIA GOELZ: On the reality of our individuality in the body of Christ; and on the five sources of discernment: the scripture, the church, Christian friends, books, and meditation.

C. S. Lewis

20 June 1952

Thanks for yours of the 10th. I would prefer to combat the ‘I’m special’ feeling not by the thought ‘I’m no more special than anyone else’ but by the feeling ‘Everyone is as special as me.’ In one way there is no difference, I grant, for both remove the speciality. But there is a difference in another way. The first might lead you to think, ‘I’m only one of the crowd like anyone else’. But the second leads to the truth that there isn’t any crowd. No one is like anyone else. All are ‘members’ (organs) in the Body of Christ [I Corinthians 12:27]. All different and all necessary to the whole and to one another: each loved by God individually, as if it were the only creature in existence. Otherwise you might get the idea that God is like the government which can only deal with the people as the mass.

About confession, I take it that the view of our Church is that everyone may use it but none is obliged to. I don’t doubt that the Holy Spirit guides your decisions from within when you make them with the intention of pleasing God. The error would be to think that He speaks only within whereas, in reality, He speaks also through Scripture, the Church, Christian friends, books et cetera.

From The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, Volume III
Compiled in Yours, Jack 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.

Imperial Pretensions Withering On the Vine

Light Up Ahead

Ever since we read Bernard Connolly's The Rotten Heart of Europe: The Dirty War For Europe's Money [London: Faber and Faber, 1995] we have been anticipating the dissolution of the "European Project".  Therefore, when Brexit finally became mandatory by plebiscite, we saw brighter lights ahead.  It is possible that gradually the various Europe will eventually repent of their thraldome to idolatrous humanitarianism and humble themselves before God once more.

In the meantime, Brexit is having immediate consequences in the United Kingdom.  The teeth of the European Court of Human Rights have been summarily pulled out.  The extraction has meant that the growing restrictions upon Christian work and worship in that country are in the process of being removed.  It seems as if no longer will Christians standing on street corners preaching the Gospel be arrested and accused of "hate speech".  Free speech looks like it is making a gradual comeback.

At periods of history when a nation turns away from the Living God, whom it once feared and loved, the road to redemption and restoration can appear overwhelming.  Faithful Christians, sons of the prophets--if you will--can be downcast at the sheer size of the task.  Where to begin?  What to do?  In such times, we have been often reminded of Robert Frost's Stopping By Woods On a Snowy Evening.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
There appeared no prospect for rest ahead.   Then, when something like the Brexit vote occurs, prospects are immediately brighter and the journey does not appear so long and unending.  That is not to imply that the task of national Reformation is any small matter.  It will take several, if not more, generations of faithful preaching, teaching, and action.

But the challenges and issues are now local.  It was not the gnomes of Zurich but the gargoyles of Brussels and Strasbourg we feared, issuing dicta and promulgating judgements, so far removed, so untouchable, yet so sweeping and destructive.  How could the ordinary citizens of the UK redress and resist such imperial pretensions?  Now, all that has gone--at least in principle.

The ramifications stretch even way down to the Antipodes.  We read recently--with a merry chuckle--of the plans already being made for the UK and New Zealand to enter into a bilateral free trade agreement.
(REUTERS) – Britain and New Zealand agreed on Monday to set up regular trade policy talks to help push for greater global trade liberalisation and reform as Britain leaves the European Union, trade minister Liam Fox said.  Britain, which voted to leave the bloc in June, is keen to court countries outside the EU on trade, but cannot formally agree any deals until it has left the bloc, a process which will take at least two years from when it starts divorce talks.

“In leaving the EU, we have the opportunity to drive even greater openness and put Britain at the forefront of global trade,” Fox said in a statement after meeting New Zealand’s minister of trade, Todd McClay.  “This new trade policy dialogue reflects a strong political commitment from New Zealand and the UK to take the lead in pushing for greater global trade liberalisation and reform and I look forward to working closely with them.” [Breitbart London]
In some ways, a little thing.  In others, a harbinger of the magnum of the Brexit plebiscite.  Maybe, historians will eventually come to cast Brexit as the Second Glorious Revolution.

Monday, 24 October 2016

Jesus and His People Showed Up

I Thought Planned Parenthood Protected Family Values

Rosaria Butterfield
July 21, 2015

I was 11 years old when Roe v. Wade (1973) gave women a constitutional right to abortion. My parents told me a story to help me understand this momentous event.

Here was the content: a member of my family, whom I loved, once used her own knitting needles to abort a baby she knew she couldn’t afford to feed.

Here was the meaning: we were practical, hard-working Italians, and nothing was going to hinder us from achieving the American Dream for each and every family member.

This was a story of heroism. The woman was a matriarch who knew how to take control of her own womb, a loving mother who knew poverty and starvation were far worse than death before birth. This was also a story of a nation. Our country was advancing in its high regard for women, leaving the barbaric days of back-alley abortions and welcoming one where medical care came to the aid of heroic women like my beloved relative.

Grip of Old Family Values 

This was one of the first times I remember history folding into future and holding me solidly in the grip of family values: we were a progressive family, and even our unschooled ancestors showed the grit and goodness of the progressive ideas we knew were best.

My family member was not a feminist. Although long dead, she would not want to be remembered this way. She was a poor woman abused by her husband and trapped by a life with too many children to feed. I was taught that the right to choose came to the aid of all women, but especially poor ones.

For most of my childhood and early adulthood, the name “Planned Parenthood” conjured feelings of safety and security.

Daily Meditation

Always Glorying in Christ
"Babes in Christ." 1 Corinthians 3:1

Charles H. Spurgeon

Are you mourning, believer, because you are so weak in the divine life: because your faith is so little, your love so feeble? Cheer up, for you have cause for gratitude.

Remember that in some things you are equal to the greatest and most full-grown Christian. You are as much bought with blood as he is. You are as much an adopted child of God as any other believer. An infant is as truly a child of its parents as is the full-grown man. You are as completely justified, for your justification is not a thing of degrees: your little faith has made you clean every whit. You have as much right to the precious things of the covenant as the most advanced believers, for your right to covenant mercies lies not in your growth, but in the covenant itself; and your faith in Jesus is not the measure, but the token of your inheritance in him.

You are as rich as the richest, if not in enjoyment, yet in real possession. The smallest star that gleams is set in heaven; the faintest ray of light has affinity with the great orb of day. In the family register of glory the small and the great are written with the same pen. You are as dear to your Father's heart as the greatest in the family. Jesus is very tender over you. You are like the smoking flax; a rougher spirit would say, "put out that smoking flax, it fills the room with an offensive odour!" but the smoking flax he will not quench. You are like a bruised reed; and any less tender hand than that of the Chief Musician would tread upon you or throw you away, but he will never break the bruised reed.

Instead of being downcast by reason of what you are, you should triumph in Christ. Am I but little in Israel? Yet in Christ I am made to sit in heavenly places. Am I poor in faith? Still in Jesus I am heir of all things. Though "less than nothing I can boast, and vanity confess." Yet, if the root of the matter be in me I will rejoice in the Lord, and glory in the God of my salvation.

Amidst a Scientific Wreck

The Lone and Level Sands Stretch Far Away

We have noted before on this blog that evolutionism is in a shambles.  We have now reached the stage where a considerable number of highly respected biologists are quietly distancing themselves from Darwinist theories.  They don't have an alternative.  Only questions.  

This phenomenon is typical when a reigning scientific paradigm is going through the process of being dismantled by evidence (or, in Darwinism's case, the lack of it).  Questions arise out of research that are embarrassing to the scientific establishment because they "don't fit".  Former proponents of the paradigm hunker down, go quiet, get about their work, and say nothing.  They become nominal evolutionists--that is, evolutionists in name only.  Meanwhile the remaining ardent advocates of the paradigm embarrass themselves in the eyes of their colleagues.

Saturday, 22 October 2016

The Slope Is Slippery Indeed

The Death Cult

Netherlands Wants to Legalise Assisted Suicide for Healthy People who Feel their ‘Life is Complete’

Breitbart London
Nick Hallett

The Dutch government has announced plans to legalise assisted suicide for people who simply feel they have “completed life”, but are not terminally ill.  The country’s health and justice ministers said in a letter to parliament this week that people who “have a well-considered opinion that their life is complete, must, under strict and careful criteria, be allowed to finish that life in a manner dignified for them.”

The Netherlands was the first country in the world to legalise assisted suicide in 2002, but only for people who were diagnosed as terminally ill.  The Mail reports that at the moment, someone wishing to die must submit a request to a doctor who must agree they are either terminally ill, suffering “unbearably” or, more controversially, suffering mentally.  An ethics committee will then make a decision, usually within a week.

Increasing numbers of Dutch people suffering mental illness are asking doctors to help them take their own lives, with assisted suicides now accounting for four per cent of the country’s annual mortality rate.

Daily Meditation


TO Mrs. JESSUP, who seems to have written Lewis about the difficulties of being in a marriage in which one of the spouses is a Christian and one is not: On the slow process of being remade and how difficult we must be to live with after conversion as before; and on not concealing but not flaunting our conversion.

C. S. Lewis

15 October 1951

I agree with everything you say (except that I should publish anything on the subject: a bachelor is not the man to do it—there is such an obvious answer to anything he says!).

Our regeneration is a slow process. As Charles Williams says there are three stages: (1.) The Old Self on the Old Way. (2.) The Old Self on the New Way. (3.) The New Self on the New Way.

After conversion the Old Self can of course be just as arrogant, importunate, and imperialistic about the Faith as it previously was about any other interest. I had almost said ‘Any other Fad’—for just as the loveliest complexion turns green in a green light, so the Faith itself may have at first all the characteristics of a Fad and we may be as ill to live with as if we had taken up Nudism or Psychoanalysis or Pure Wool Clothing. You and I, clearly, both know all about that: one makes blunders.

About obedience, the principle is clear. Obedience to man is limited by obedience to God and, when they really conflict, must go. But of course that gives one very little guidance about particulars. The converted party must pray: I suppose it is not often necessary to pray in the presence of the other! Especially if the converted party is the woman, who usually has the house to herself all day. Of course there must be no concealment, in the sense that if the question comes up one must say frankly that one does pray. But there is a difference between not concealing and flaunting.

For the rest (did I quote this before?) MacDonald says ‘the time for speaking seldom arrives, the time for being never departs.’ Let you and me pray for each other.

From The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, Volume III
Compiled in Yours, Jack 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.

Medicinal Cannabis

Unintended Consequences

Medicinal cannabis is a hot topic.  Some see it as the thin edge of the wedge.  It may or may not be the case.  It all depends upon the compliance regime surrounding it.  After all, opiates have been prescribed by medical practitioners for years--centuries in fact.   "Prescription only" does not mean widespread use of a drug for recreational or non-medicinal usage.

We remain ambivalent about the long term effects of general (non-medical) cannabis use.  Different positions--all claiming to be research based--have been put forward.  The spectrum ranges from allegations of "no harm done" to allegations of significant damage.  But the medicinal applications appear clear cut.

Here is one example:

Friday, 21 October 2016

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow

The Whole Boot

Douglas Wilson

All right, since disclaimers here are most necessary, I will make them. I believe that I have repeatedly made it clear that I am not in Trump’s corner, and am not going to vote for him. If Hillary is elected, America will have successfully avoided stepping in the dog poo. If Trump is elected, America will have successfully avoided stepping in the cow pie. We are merely talking about the about the bottom of the shoe versus the whole boot. Humanly speaking, we don’t have good options, and we should all know it.

But here is the problem. Consider Trump’s ongoing claim that the system is “rigged,” and his failure last night to commit to abide by the election results. That all depends, sez he. The response of the buttoned-up right to this attitude is the spectacle of quite a number of analysts with their dresses over their heads. And this reveals that they still don’t have a clue as to why Trump’s message is resonating with as many people as it has.

Now I am trying to explain something here, which is not the same thing as trying to plump, push, puff, or otherwise promote it.

There are two elements to this.

Daily Devotional

Fear and Hope in God’s Jealousy

The LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God (Exodus 34:14)

John Piper

God is infinitely jealous for the honor of his name, and responds with terrible wrath against those whose hearts should belong to him but go after other things.

For example, in Ezekiel 16:38–40 he says to faithless Israel,
I will judge you as women who break wedlock and shed blood are judged, and bring upon you the blood of wrath and jealousy. And I will give you into the hand of your lovers and they shall throw down your vaulted chamber . . . they shall strip you of your clothes and take your fair jewels, and leave you naked and bare. They shall bring up a host against you and cut you to pieces with swords.
I urge you to listen to this warning. The jealousy of God for your undivided love and devotion will always have the last say. Whatever lures your affections away from God with deceptive attraction will come back to strip you bare and cut you in pieces.

It is a horrifying thing to use your God-given life to commit adultery against the Almighty.

But for those of you who have been truly united to Christ and who keep your vows to forsake all others and cleave only to him and live for his honor — for you the jealousy of God is a great comfort and a great hope.

Since God is infinitely jealous for the honor of his name, anything and anybody who threatens the good of his faithful wife will be opposed with divine omnipotence.

God’s jealousy is a great threat to those who play the harlot and sell their heart to the world and make a cuckold out of God. But his jealousy is a great comfort to those who keep their covenant vows and become strangers and exiles in the world.

Demons From An Ancient World

Western Fundamentalism

The noun fundamentalism has become a pejorative term.  In the West it has connotations of ignorant, uneducated, and of ancient and extreme beliefs, along with simplistic, superficial, and thoughtless lifestyles. "Fundamentalism" does not have a direct opposite.  If one were to complete the sentence, "I am not a fundamentalist, I am a(n) xxxxx" no noun springs to mind.  Maybe nouns such as "liberal" or "progressive", or adjectives such as "openminded" or "enlightened" or "sophisticated" or "educated" would go part of the way.  Fundamentalism, for good or ill, has now become inextricably linked to backwardness and primitive ignorance.

In Western Christian circles "fundamentalism" was a term coined by authentic Christians around the nineteen thirties.  It was a movement to identify the fundamental doctrines and teachings of the Bible in the face of widespread and rapid defalcation away from the true faith.   However, because the culture was quickly shape-shifting into Unbelief, the term quickly became one of contempt.  In the wonderfully enlightened scientific age, who would believe in ex-nihilo creation by God any longer, since Science "proved" all reality came into existence by chance.  And so it rolled.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

A Year of Redemption?

The Problem is Spiritual, Not Political

2016 has been a disaster and the future looks bleak. The first thing we must do is repent for our part in getting the country here.

By David French
National Review Online

It’s time for compassion, but it’s also time for hard truth. While there are a number of influential Evangelicals who have tied themselves so closely to Trump that they now feel obliged to publicly excuse the inexcusable, there are millions more who look at the present political situation with abject despair in their hearts. The true limits of Evangelical political power have been revealed, Christians seem to lose another critical political or cultural battle every week, and there is simply no clear political path forward.

Even worse, we have no one truly to blame but ourselves.

It wasn’t supposed to be like this.

Daily Devotional

Not Moving From Where We First Stood

"With thee is the fountain of life."  Psalm 36:9

Charles H. Spurgeon

There are times in our spiritual experience when human counsel or sympathy, or religious ordinances, fail to comfort or help us. Why does our gracious God permit this?

Perhaps it is because we have been living too much without him, and he therefore takes away everything upon which we have been in the habit of depending, that he may drive us to himself. It is a blessed thing to live at the fountain head. While our skin- bottles are full, we are content, like Hagar and Ishmael, to go into the wilderness; but when those are dry, nothing will serve us but "Thou God seest me."

We are like the prodigal, we love the swine-troughs and forget our Father's house. Remember, we can make swine-troughs and husks even out of the forms of religion; they are blessed things, but we may put them in God's place, and then they are of no value. Anything becomes an idol when it keeps us away from God: even the brazen serpent is to be despised as "Nehushtan," if we worship it instead of God.

The prodigal was never safer than when he was driven to his father's bosom, because he could find sustenance nowhere else. Our Lord favours us with a famine in the land that it may make us seek after himself the more. The best position for a Christian is living wholly and directly on God's grace--still abiding where he stood at first--"Having nothing, and yet possessing all things." Let us never for a moment think that our standing is in our sanctification, our mortification, our graces, or our feelings, but know that because Christ offered a full atonement, therefore we are saved; for we are complete in him.

Having nothing of our own to trust to, but resting upon the merits of Jesus--his passion and holy life furnish us with the only sure ground of confidence. Beloved, when we are brought to a thirsting condition, we are sure to turn to the fountain of life with eagerness.

Miles to Go

Secular Winds . . . and Whirlwinds

New Zealand is a proudly secular country.  In this it is not alone: most Western countries either share the vanguard with us, or are fast followers in the drive to work out the secularist mantra: "Man is the master of all things, and nothing human is foreign to me". 

The seedlings of secularism began in the Enlightenment, but have since grown into mighty trees. There are no chainsaws in sight.  The forest is now in full bloom, and the fruits of secularism are ripening.  But some are starting to complain that the taste of the fruit is a bit off.

Once we were able to see the blue sky.  Once we could see the sparkling lights of the Milky Way.  Now there is just the close, fetid air of Fangorn.  The secularist state has become our father, our mother, our nursery, our sustainer and provider, our Great White Hope.  The state has become our grand insurance policy, and, as Neddie Seagoon once observed, insurance is the White Man's Burden.

What does the secularist regime actually look like, metaphors aside?

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Not a Laudable Religion

Greenists Would Have Us Subdued and Enslaved by Nature

The Truth About Polar Bears: They’re a Dangerous, Out of Control Pest…

James Delingpole
Breitbart London

Polar bear populations are getting out of control and posing a threat to human lives. Obviously the greenies don’t want you to know this.

Last month in  Tuktoyaktuk in Canada, on the edge of the East Beaufort Sea, five children were terrified out of their lives by the extremely rare sight of a polar bear roaming through their village. The bear was so close they could hear it breathing.

At first, the other kids didn’t believe their cousin when she said a polar bear was nearby. And then they started running — and so did the “ever big” polar bear.  “That polar bear started running towards them,” said Kikoak. “And one of my twins, she was maybe about six feet away from the stairs [of the house], but she was so in shock to see that polar bear, she was just standing there looking at it. And it didn’t move. It kept on staring at her.”

Daily Devotional

The Master Servant

. . . so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:7)

John Piper

To me, the Bible’s most astonishing image of Christ’s second coming is in Luke 12:35–37, which pictures the return of a master from a marriage feast:
“Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning, and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the wedding feast, so that they may open the door to him at once when he comes and knocks. Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will dress himself for service and have them recline at table, and he will come and serve them.”
To be sure, we are called servants — and that no doubt means we are to do exactly as we are told. But the wonder of this picture is that the “master” insists on “serving” even in the age to come when he appears in all his glory “with his mighty angels in flaming fire” (2 Thessalonians 1:7–8). Why?

Because the very heart of his glory is the fullness of grace that overflows in kindness to needy people. Therefore, he aims “in the coming ages [to] show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:7).

What is the greatness of our God? What is his uniqueness in the world? Isaiah answers: “From of old no one has heard or perceived by the ear, no eye has seen a God besides thee, who works for those who wait for him” (Isaiah 64:4, RSV).

An Idiot In Search of Fame

On A Ship of Fools

We in New Zealand were treated recently to a right, royal display of hypocritical tomfoolery.  One of our political representatives has taken the cake for hypocritical cant.

Said representative, Green MP Marama Davidson has been taken to task in an opinion piece in one of our daily newspapers.  The occasion was Davidson's trotting off to Israel to protest that country's application of international law in patrollingl its seas to protect itself from water borne attacks by Islamist mujaheddin.

Now, it does not need too much intelligence to sense just the slightest whiff of hypocrisy here.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

By Far The Leading Cause of Death

The Biggest Killer Of All

Paul Stark

Abortion ends the life of a human organism—an individual member of the species Homo sapiens. Yet abortions are not classified as deaths in U.S. vital statistics. What would those statistics look like if this omission were corrected?

A team of researchers from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte decided to find out.

“There is no credible scientific opposition to the fact that a new genetically distinct human organism begins with fertilization,” James Studnicki, Sharon J. MacKinnon, and John W. Fisher explain in their paper, published in June 2016 in the Open Journal of Preventive Medicine.  “Yet, despite the universal acknowledgement that the act of abortion results in a death, abortion is not reported as a cause of death in the vital statistics system in the United States. … The exclusion of a major cause of death …, especially one with large racial and ethnic disparities, should be a major concern to the scientific community and society as a whole.”

So the researchers, using data from 2009 (the latest year for which all the relevant information is available), considered abortion among other causes of death. They found that induced abortion was by far the leading cause of death (1.152 million deaths), easily surpassing heart disease (599,413 deaths) and cancer (567,628 deaths) and accounting for 32.1 percent of all deaths that year. Disturbingly, among African Americans, abortions made up 61.1 percent of total deaths; among Hispanics, they accounted for 64 percent.

Daily Devotional

Cavilling Objections

C. S. Lewis

I have heard some people complain that if Jesus was God as well as man, then His sufferings and death lose all value in their eyes, ‘because it must have been so easy for Him’. Others may (very rightly) rebuke the ingratitude and ungraciousness of this objection; what staggers me is the misunderstanding it betrays. In one sense, of course, those who make it are right. They have even understated their own case. The perfect submission, the perfect suffering, the perfect death were not only easier to Jesus because He was God, but were possible only because He was God. But surely that is a very odd reason for not accepting them?

The teacher is able to form the letters for the child because the teacher is grown-up and knows how to write. That, of course, makes it easier for the teacher; and only because it is easier for him can he help the child. If it rejected him because ‘it’s easy for grown-ups’ and waited to learn writing from another child who could not write itself (and so had no ‘unfair’ advantage), it would not get on very quickly.

If I am drowning in a rapid river, a man who still has one foot on the bank may give me a hand which saves my life. Ought I to shout back (between my gasps) ‘No, it’s not fair! You have an advantage! You’re keeping one foot on the bank’? That advantage—call it ‘unfair’ if you like—is the only reason why he can be of any use to me. To what will you look for help if you will not look to that which is stronger than yourself?

From Mere Christianity
Compiled in A Year with C.S. Lewis 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.

Enrolling in the School of the Prophets

The Dervishes of Baal

As we have mentioned before these are great times for satirists to practise their art.  There is so much folly, so much lunacy, so much self-righteous poppy-cock masquerading as wisdom that Elijah would be rolling around on the floor, laughing fit to bust.

It is high time for Elijah to come again.  The Scriptures give some interesting insight into Elijah and his successors.  Elijah, of course, was the Lord's prophet who spent much of his ministry denouncing the established religion of Northern Israel--Baalism--during the reign of Ahab and Jezebel.  A good deal of his work involved excoriating the worship of Baal and the wickedness of King Ahab and his Phoenician queen.  The high point of his ministry was the contest on Mount Carmel and the subsequent defeat and destruction of Baal's prophets--much to Jezebel's fury. [I Kings 18:20ff] Elijah mocked the false prophets mercilessly as they proved to be,  not just impotent and powerless, but also liars and deceivers.

Fast forward to the day of the Lord.

Monday, 17 October 2016

Triumphalism Wearing Thin

Electoral Oblivion Beckons

Further commentary on the growing popular disaffection with Progressivism in the West, from Yahoo News.

Brutal Headwinds Blast Europe's Centre-Left

London (AFP)
James Pheby

Bitter internal strife, plunging support among voters and surging populism: has there ever been a worse time to be a centre-left party in Europe?  A dozen years ago, left-of-centre giants seemed a natural source of government in many European states.  But today the tally of parties that are declining, sidelined or ideologically adrift is long.

The sick list is headed by Britain's Labour Party, where veteran radical Jeremy Corbyn last week easily won a leadership challenge by centrist MPs angry at his part in the shock Brexit vote.  But political analysts say the venerable party -- founded in 1900 -- faces electoral oblivion despite his victory.  Its dismal standing in the opinion polls is mirrored across Europe.

Daily Devotional

The Christian's Path of Sorrow

"Godly sorrow worketh repentance."  2 Corinthians 7:10

Charles H. Spurgeon

Genuine, spiritual mourning for sin is the work of the Spirit of God. Repentance is too choice a flower to grow in nature's garden. Pearls grow naturally in oysters, but penitence never shows itself in sinners except divine grace works it in them. If thou hast one particle of real hatred for sin, God must have given it thee, for human nature's thorns never produced a single fig. "That which is born of the flesh is flesh."

True repentance has a distinct reference to the Saviour. When we repent of sin, we must have one eye upon sin and another upon the cross, or it will be better still if we fix both our eyes upon Christ and see our transgressions only, in the light of his love.

True sorrow for sin is eminently practical. No man may say he hates sin, if he lives in it. Repentance makes us see the evil of sin, not merely as a theory, but experimentally--as a burnt child dreads fire. We shall be as much afraid of it, as a man who has lately been stopped and robbed is afraid of the thief upon the highway; and we shall shun it--shun it in everything--not in great things only, but in little things, as men shun little vipers as well as great snakes. True mourning for sin will make us very jealous over our tongue, lest it should say a wrong word; we shall be very watchful over our daily actions, lest in anything we offend, and each night we shall close the day with painful confessions of shortcoming, and each morning awaken with anxious prayers, that this day God would hold us up that we may not sin against him.

Sincere repentance is continual. Believers repent until their dying day. This dropping well is not intermittent. Every other sorrow yields to time, but this dear sorrow grows with our growth, and it is so sweet a bitter, that we thank God we are permitted to enjoy and to suffer it until we enter our eternal rest.

The Mystery of Capital

Of Course!

We have just completed reading Hernando De Soto's The Mystery of Capital: Why Capitalism Triumphs in the West and Fails Everywhere Else (New York: Perseus/Basic Books, 2000.)  It is a seminal piece of work and deserves wide readership.

De Soto's thesis can be summarised in a series of seven propositions (which he sets about establishing in the book).

1.  The existence of capital is inextricably related to establishing a system of legal title for property.

2. Once legal title is established, property can be transformed into other forms of wealth.  Land to which one has legal title, for example, can be used as collateral for a bank loan.

3. Long before a system of legal title is established in a country or state, an informal system of ownership usually exists which recognises (amongst the participants) a person's title to property.

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow

The Religious Right Is Dead. 

Long Live the Religious Right.

Douglas Wilson

In the ongoing aftermath of the ever-generous fiasco that we call the Trump campaign, Russell Moore wrote that if Donald Trump has accomplished anything of value, it is that he has snuffed out the religious right. The first half of his piece says a lot of things that are pertinent, trenchant, on the mark, and otherwise okay.

I believe, with Moore, that this particular disaster-on-stilts is what we might call a “teachable moment.” It is filled with lessons we must learn if Trump goes down in flames, and with very similar lessons if Hillary does. But it is by no means assured that we have learned, are learning, or will learn those lessons.

My evidence for this is the second half of Moore’s post, and so I propose we take a brief walking tour through his comments.
“There is good news, though, behind all of this, regardless of how this election turns out. The old-school political Religious Right establishment wonders why the evangelical next generation rejects their way. The past year is illustration enough.”
First, it is always dicey to speak for something as ill-defined as the “next generation.” But second, to the extent that we can do so, it by no means clear to me that anybody is “rejecting their way.”

Daily Devotional

Beware of Serving God

“The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.” (Acts 17:24–25)

John Piper

We do not glorify God by providing his needs, but by praying that he would provide ours — and trusting him to answer.

Here we are at the heart of the good news of Christian Hedonism. God’s insistence that we ask him to give us help so that he gets glory (Psalm 50:15) forces on us the startling fact that we must beware of serving God and take special care to let him serve us, lest we rob him of his glory.

This sounds very strange. Most of us think serving God is a totally positive thing; we have not considered that serving God may be an insult to him. But meditation on the meaning of prayer demands this consideration. Acts 17:24–25 makes this plain.

This is the same reasoning as in Robinson Crusoe’s text on prayer: “If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the world and its fullness are mine. . . . Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me” (Psalm 50:12, 15).

Evidently, there is a way to serve God that would belittle him as needy of our service. “The Son of Man came not to be served” ((Mark 10:45). He aims to be the servant. He aims to get the glory as Giver.

The Echo Chamber

Utopian Left Wingers

Long May They Ride

We have published several posts on the desuetude of the Left in many Western countries.  We have argued that the maintenance of the "Centre Right" in government--despite all its faults and errors--is better for the Church and Christians because the Centre Right is less likely to persecute Christians.  We are more likely to be permitted to live in peace, able to serve our Lord without punishment.

The Left in New Zealand is approaching the more extreme fringes of the ideological spectrum.  Consequently, its national support has slumped to around 27 percent of the electorate, according to what is now a pretty stable polling trend.  A recent article in The Listener lamented this turn of events, even whilst many Christians are thankful.

Friday, 14 October 2016

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow

A Fight in the Leper Colony

Douglas Wilson


It is easy to treat the spectacle that is presidential politics in 2016 as though we were dismayed spectators, but we are not spectators at all. We are all participants. We are not watching a movie that contains a food fight in a junior high cafeteria; we are in the cafeteria. And if it is not too jarring to use the phrase casus belli about such a fracas, the causes for all of this lie deep within ourselves.dont-vote

To change my metaphor, this whole thing is a three-layer hypocrite cake.


The bottom layer is the Donald himself, the least hypocritical in this entire business. He has never made much of a secret of the fact that he is a boorish pig, and that he likes being a boorish pig, and so he at least has the virtue of largely being himself, to whatever extent that might be called a virtue. Anybody who was surprised by this recent fiasco is a person who could probably have written Gullible’s Travels in one sitting. There are traces of hypocrisy in his behavior, but for the most part Trump gained the Republican nomination as a known quantity.

This is why the feckless Republican distancing from Trump is so grimly amusing. Republicans who were reluctant to endorse Trump in the first place because of what everybody already knew are now jumping overboard because somebody produced proof of what everybody already knew. “The pope is Catholic? Talk about a bridge too far. I’m outta here.”

Now I don’t mind qualified prophets speaking a word of righteousness to Trump. He needs it, and the religious hacks he has surrounded himself with do not appear to be interested in fulfilling that duty. And the political hacks are not rats deserting a sinking ship. They are rats deserting a ship that some polls indicate might be sinking sometime soon, but there is nothing here that a few polls running the other direction couldn’t fix. If the polls run the other way, so will the rats.

Daily Devotional

On effort

C. S. Lewis

Many things—such as loving, going to sleep, or behaving unaffectedly—are done worst when we try hardest to do them.

From Studies in Medieval Literature
Compiled in Words to Live By 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.

South Australia's Backward-to-the-Future Move

Energy Insecurity

South Australia had a bit of a storm a few days ago.  It resulted in a state-wide power black out.  How did that happen?  Green energy.

South Australia has become seriously committed to wind power.  It plans to help stop the world warming up, and this is a great way to do it.  Now over fifty percent of South Australia's electricity comes from wind power.  There is just a wee problem.  The storm winds a few days ago were so powerful, the state's wind turbines were automatically shut down.  Ergo: brown outs and no electricity.

Australia's Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull lost no time pointing out the obvious:
. . . Mr Turnbull told reporters [South Australia Premier] Mr Weatherill still had a case to answer to “keep the lights on” in his state.  “What we need to do across all levels of government is this - we have to deliver energy security. Rule one - keep the lights on,” he said.  “Second, we have to ensure that energy is affordable. SA has the highest wholesale energy costs in Australia.  So that is a problem for SA and the government, Mr Weatherill has to answer for that.”  []
The first official report into the disaster concluded that the state's wind power over-capacity was the first cause of the problem.  Everything else cascaded down from that.  This was not a politically correct conclusion, but facts can be stubborn things, it seems.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Iconoclasm and Hypocrisy

Inconsistency Writ Large

Here is Alan Duff's take on modern attempts to erase the past so as to make ourselves more pure in the present.

Not For Us To Retry Crimes of Past Eras

Alan Duff
NZ Herald

According to Maori lecturer Steve Elers, the name of his university - Massey - should be changed because back in history Prime Minister William Massey was a racist who believed in the superiority of the white race, had a particular dislike for Chinese and no doubt looked down on Maori.

The alleged "white supremacist" of the early 20th Century is being judged by present-day views. Not only does Mr Elers want to revise history, he wants to reverse it. Come on, mate. When would it stop? Different Maori war chiefs, pre-European and post, believed their tribes were superior to others and went out attacking other tribes all over the land. (It wasn't a country then.) Should we toss them into the hall of shame?

Daily Devotional

Inward Digestion

"I will meditate in thy precepts."  Psalm 119:15

Charles H. Spurgeon

There are times when solitude is better than society, and silence is wiser than speech. We should be better Christians if we were more alone, waiting upon God, and gathering through meditation on his Word spiritual strength for labour in his service. We ought to muse upon the things of God, because we thus get the real nutriment out of them.

Truth is something like the cluster of the vine: if we would have wine from it, we must bruise it; we must press and squeeze it many times. The bruiser's feet must come down joyfully upon the bunches, or else the juice will not flow; and they must well tread the grapes, or else much of the precious liquid will be wasted. So we must, by meditation, tread the clusters of truth, if we would get the wine of consolation therefrom. Our bodies are not supported by merely taking food into the mouth, but the process which really supplies the muscle, and the nerve, and the sinew, and the bone, is the process of digestion. It is by digestion that the outward food becomes assimilated with the inner life.

Our souls are not nourished merely by listening awhile to this, and then to that, and then to the other part of divine truth. Hearing, reading, marking, and learning, all require inwardly digesting to complete their usefulness, and the inward digesting of the truth lies for the most part in meditating upon it.

Why is it that some Christians, although they hear many sermons, make but slow advances in the divine life? Because they neglect their closets, and do not thoughtfully meditate on God's Word. They love the wheat, but they do not grind it; they would have the corn, but they will not go forth into the fields to gather it; the fruit hangs upon the tree, but they will not pluck it; the water flows at their feet, but they will not stoop to drink it. From such folly deliver us, O Lord, and be this our resolve this day, "I will meditate in thy precepts."

Taking Back One's Country

Breathe the Free Air

We will make an educated guess that we'all did not know there was a such a beast as the European Commission Against Racism and Intolerance.  Not that we are surprised us to find out that such an animal actually exists: it's just that there are so many committees and commissions in the EU that if you laid out all the members serving on all the regulatory bodies head to tail, face down, in a long row . . . it would be a good start.

If ever there was an occasion to rejoice over the Brexit decision, the EU Commission Against Racism and Intolerance has provided one.
European human rights chiefs have told the British press it must not report when terrorists are Muslim.  The recommendations came as part of a list of 23 meddling demands to Theresa May’s government on how to run the media in an alarming  threat to freedom speech.

The report, drawn up by the Council of Europe's human rights watchdog, blamed the recent increase in hate crimes and racism in the UK on the 'worrying examples of intolerance and hate speech in the newspapers, online and even among politicians', although the research was done before the EU referendum campaign had even begun. [Daily Mail]
This oh-so-holy Committee of Rectitude has ordered the UK Government to forbid the media mentioning that an Islamic terrorist who commits atrocities is a professing Islamic adherent.  To mention such things provokes "hate crimes".

One thinks of King Theoden in Tolkien's Two Towers under the thrall of Wormtongue.  Once released by Gandalf, he is invited to come outside his palace-prison and "breathe the free air" once again.  What a jolt of Red Bull energy must now be running through the veins of the present UK government.  At last they are free to ignore such authoritarian, meddling rulings emanating out of Mordor-like Brussels.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Erasing the Past for Purity's Sake

More on ISIS-Like Purity

Massey, history, and memory

Why we honour flawed heroes

Jonathan Tracy

I am deeply troubled by the recent call to rename Massey University, on the ground of racist utterances made by New Zealand Prime Minister William Massey a century ago.  There is not a single historical figure, of any race, nation, culture, religion, sexual orientation, gender, or political creed, who could possibly stand the test of absolute ideological purity by modern standards.

Abraham Lincoln and Mahatma Gandhi both advocated forms of racial segregation and discrimination.  Should their homelands therefore stop honouring them as national martyrs and liberators?

There have been calls to change the name of Massey University because of racist comments made by William Massey almost a century ago.

As for names of New Zealand places or institutions, Abel Tasman, the Duke of Wellington, the Earl of Auckland, Viscount Palmerston, and Queen Victoria all held opinions that would today get them banished from polite society.  If we must shun every great man or woman of the past whose views did not precisely match our own, the only solution is to declare a Cultural Revolution, a Year Zero, and simply wipe the slate clean.

Daily Devotional

God’s Wise Mercy

We preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to the Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. (1 Corinthians 1:23–24)

John Piper

Over against the terrifying news that we have fallen under the condemnation of our Creator and that he is bound by his own righteous character to preserve the worth of his glory by pouring out eternal wrath on our sin, there is the wonderful news of the gospel.

This is a truth no one can ever learn from nature. It has to be told to neighbors and preached in churches and carried by missionaries.  The good news is that God himself has decreed a way to satisfy the demands of his justice without condemning the whole human race.

Hell is one way to settle accounts with sinners and uphold his justice. But there is another way.  The wisdom of God has ordained a way for the love of God to deliver us from the wrath of God without compromising the justice of God.

And what is this wisdom? The death of the Son of God for sinners!

The death of Christ is the wisdom of God by which the love of God saves sinners from the wrath of God, all the while upholding and demonstrating the righteousness of God in Christ.

Reality and the Past

There is None That Does Good--No, Not One

Over the past couple of years or so we have witnessed ideological cadres of the Left wanting to tear down all societal monuments and reminiscences of those who are now deemed impure.  In the United States, for example, public monuments to Robert E. Lee, the great Confederate general, are under attack--literally.

Some New Zealand academics have started a "me-too" dance.  Got to keep up with our brothers and sisters in the US.  A junior lecturer at Massey University has discovered that William F. Massey, Prime Minister of New Zealand (1912-1925) was a flippin' racist.  (Please excuse the academic jargon).  Therefore, said activist has argued, Massey University (named after the errant PM) bears guilt by association.  The name of the University should be changed.
A racially-charged debate is igniting over research that has revealed "white supremacist" comments made by the prime minister Massey University is named after.  Now, almost a century on, a top academic is calling for the university to consider a name change.  The controversial call comes from Massey lecturer and recent PhD scholar Steve Elers, who was startled to uncover blatantly racist comments made by William Ferguson Massey.  [Stuff]
Elers has discovered the following sentiments expressed by Massey:

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Book Review: "Intended For Evil"

Unbroken Inside Cambodia’s Socialist Killing Fields

The question is not, ‘How could Cambodia's Khmer Rouge regime be so evil?’ but, ‘Why are we all not more like the Khmer Rouge?’

Gracy Olmstead
The Federalist

“Intended For Evil” isn’t your typical biography or memoir. It is something different—a work of narrative nonfiction that seeks to convey both the historical and theological import of one man’s life. It’s the story of Radha Manickam, and his journey through the horror and death of the Khmer Rouge prison camps in the late 1970s.

Les Sillars, a journalism professor at Patrick Henry College, spent over a year interviewing Manickam and detailing his account. The resulting work of narrative nonfiction is reminiscent of Laura Hillenbrand’s “Unbroken” in scope and character—it’s a chilling story of suffering and survival—but it’s a shorter work, and focuses more closely on the protagonist’s Christian faith. Radha’s journey through Cambodia’s killing fields was guided by his belief in God, and his assurance that God had a plan for his life.

Daily Devotional

Engaged For Our Defence

"Able to keep you from falling."  Jude 24

Charles H. Spurgeon

In some sense the path to heaven is very safe, but in other respects there is no road so dangerous. It is beset with difficulties. One false step (and how easy it is to take that if grace be absent), and down we go.

What a slippery path is that which some of us have to tread! How many times have we to exclaim with the Psalmist, "My feet were almost gone, my steps had well nigh slipped." If we were strong, sure-footed mountaineers, this would not matter so much; but in ourselves, how weak we are! In the best roads we soon falter, in the smoothest paths we quickly stumble. These feeble knees of ours can scarcely support our tottering weight. A straw may throw us, and a pebble can wound us; we are mere children tremblingly taking our first steps in the walk of faith, our heavenly Father holds us by the arms or we should soon be down.

Oh, if we are kept from falling, how must we bless the patient power which watches over us day by day! Think, how prone we are to sin, how apt to choose danger, how strong our tendency to cast ourselves down, and these reflections will make us sing more sweetly than we have ever done, "Glory be to him, who is able to keep us from falling." We have many foes who try to push us down. The road is rough and we are weak, but in addition to this, enemies lurk in ambush, who rush out when we least expect them, and labour to trip us up, or hurl us down the nearest precipice.

Only an Almighty arm can preserve us from these unseen foes, who are seeking to destroy us. Such an arm is engaged for our defence. He is faithful that hath promised, and he is able to keep us from falling, so that with a deep sense of our utter weakness, we may cherish a firm belief in our perfect safety, and say, with joyful confidence,

"Against me earth and hell combine,
But on my side is power divine;
Jesus is all, and he is mine!"

Stark Choices Up Ahead

Christ or Caesar

One of the meta-narratives swirling around in the current US presidential election--indeed, in almost all US federal elections--is cynicism towards the state.  Donald Trump's selection as the Republican Party's nominee was essentially a protest vote reflecting disgust and antipathy towards "Washington" and the fetid swamp of Congress, as Sarah Palin once put it.  

This electoral revolt can easily morph into a worldview where the svelte set come to think that right wing protest is performed by rustic rubes who are fundamentally ignorant, and don't know how to spell.  The corollary is that those who stand with and believe in government uber-competence are the intellectual, educated, smart set.

It is possible, however, that this cynicism towards the state will not fade away.  It is possible that it will grow.  Angelo Codevilla explains why this may well turn out to be the case:

Monday, 10 October 2016

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow

Trump Tape

Douglas Wilson

I will have more to say about this, probably Monday, but I did want to take a moment to tell everyone something important. With the release of this TackyTrumpTape, we all ought to sit down, compose ourselves, and on the count of three, put on our surprised face.

What about this did anyone find surprising? What about this did all the Republicans who endorsed Trump find to be unexpected? And if they found it unexpected, why should we trust any of their political calculations ever again?

And who finds it disconcerting that the banner of “respect for women” will be carried at the debate tomorrow by Hillary “the Enabler” Clinton? As my son just tweeted, either way we go, degradation of women is coming to the White House. And degradation of women will come to the White House because, in just a few weeks, we the people are all going to make it happen.

FDR once glibbed, “We owe it to ourselves!” We can top that — “We did it to ourselves.”

Daily Devotional

Get On With Your Tentmaking

TO SHELDON VANAUKEN, who had asked whether he should continue with his postgraduate work in history or study theology: On the danger of combining one’s vocation with one’s spiritual interest.

C. S. Lewis

5 January 1951

We must ask three questions about the probable effect of your research subject to something more theological.

(1.) Would it be better for your immediate enjoyment? Answer, probably but not certainly, Yes.

(2.) Would it be better for your academic career? Answer, probably No. You would have to make up in haste a lot of knowledge which could not be very easily digested in the time.

(3.) Would it be better for your soul? I don’t know. I think there is a great deal to be said for having one’s deepest spiritual interest distinct from one’s ordinary duty as a student or professional man.

St. Paul’s job was tent-making. When the two coincide I should have thought there was a danger lest the natural interest in one’s job and the pleasures of gratified ambition might be mistaken for spiritual progress and spiritual consolation: and I think clergymen sometimes fall into this trap.

Contrariwise, there is the danger that what is boring or repellent in the job may alienate one from the spiritual life. And finally someone has said ‘None are so unholy as those whose hands are cauterised with holy things’: sacred things may become profane by becoming matters of the job. You now want truth for her own sake: how will it be when the same truth is also needed for an effective footnote in your thesis? In fact, the change might do good or harm.

I’ve always been glad myself that Theology is not the thing I earn my living by. On the whole, I’d advise you to get on with your tent-making. The performance of a duty will probably teach you quite as much about God as academic Theology would do. Mind, I’m not certain: but that is the view I incline to.

A Laugh a Minute

What Darwin Really Proved

One of the more engaging attributes of David Berlinski's book, The Devil's Delusion is its mockery of Darwinism.  As he points out, Darwinists strive valiantly to promote the theory of evolutionism, which is an enigma within a riddle.  It is a paradox.  For example, where are the physicists striving by might and main to argue for the veracity of  the theory of gravity?  Where are all the host of post-Newtonians thumping the table, insisting that the Master was right?  Where are the talking heads calling down Jeremiads upon those who demur from Newton?  Why, then, is Darwinism so widely disbelieved?

This has led to a strange situation:
Within the English-speaking world, Darwin's theory of evolution remains the only scientific theory to be widely championed by the scientific community and widely disbelieved by everyone else. No matter the effort made by biologists, the thing continues to elicit the same reaction it has always elicited: You've got to be kidding, right? There is wide appreciation of the fact that if biologists are wrong about Darwin, they are wrong about life, and if they are wrong about life, they are wrong about everything. [David Berlinski, The Devil's Delusion: Atheism and Its Scientific Pretensions (New York: Basic Books, 2009), p.186.  Emphasis, ours.]
Explain that, if you would.  Is it that the common people are just dumb?

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Lest We Forget

Miracle That Saved Girl 

The Auschwitz Gas Chamber

By Paul Ewart
NZ Herald

Yvonne Engelmann was just 15 when she was rounded up with her family and sent to Auschwitz concentration camp, one of the network of German Nazi extermination camps operated by the Third Reich in Poland in World War II from 1940-1945.

But it was an unlikely miracle that saw her survive to tell the disturbing tale.  After arriving at the camp, Yvonne was immediately sent to the gas chamber. Thanks to some strange twist of fate, it malfunctioned and she was left naked in the chamber overnight before being freed.

By some miracle, the Nazi's kept her alive, and she was sent to sort through the clothes of newly arrived Jews to find any gold or valuables they'd hidden.  Her "job" saw her stationed in between the crematorium (which burnt 24-hours daily) and the gas chambers. She ended up being the sole survivor from her entire family, and made a new life for herself in Australia.

Yvonne's Story

"I was 14 and a half when war broke out," Yvonne tells  "I wasn't allowed to go to school, I couldn't walk on the street, I had to wear the yellow Star of David and couldn't mix with any non-Jewish people. Friends I'd grown up with now totally ignored me, solely because I was born a Jew.

"My father was taken to the police station many times and we never knew if he would come back. One day he returned and his front teeth had been knocked out. We lived in fear constantly - we had no idea what would happen to us in the next hour, let alone in the next day."

Born in Czechoslovakia to shopkeeper parents, Yvonne was an only child.  "I had the most wonderful childhood that anyone could wish for, but unfortunately it was short-lived."  At the approach of her 15th birthday, she and her family were taken from the ghetto - along with hundreds of others - to the railway station where they were piled into dozens of cattle wagons.

Daily Devotional

Justice Will Be Done

John Piper

Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” (Romans 12:19)
All of you have been wronged at one time or another. Most of you, probably, have been wronged seriously by someone who has never apologized or done anything sufficient to make it right.  And one of the deep hindrances to your letting that hurt and bitterness go is the conviction — the justified conviction — that justice should be done, that the fabric of the universe will unravel if people can just get away with horrible wrongs and deceive everyone.

That is one of the hindrances to forgiveness and letting grudges go. It’s not the only one. We have our own sin to deal with. But it is a real one.  We feel that just to let it go would be to admit that justice simply won’t be done. And we can’t do it.

So we hold on to anger, and play the story over and over again with the feelings: It shouldn’t have happened; it shouldn’t have happened; it was wrong; it was wrong. How can he be so happy now when I am so miserable? It is so wrong. It is so wrong!

This word in Romans 12:19 is given to you by God to lift that burden from you.  “Never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God.” What does this mean for you?

Laying down the burden of anger, laying down the practice of nursing your hurt with feelings of being wronged — laying that down — does not mean there was no great wrong against you.  It does not mean there is no justice. It does not mean you will not be vindicated. It does not mean they just got away with it. No.

It means, when you lay down the burden of vengeance, God will pick it up.  This is not a subtle way of getting revenge. This is a way of giving vengeance to the one to whom it belongs.

It is taking a deep breath, perhaps for the first time in decades, and feeling like now at last you may be free to love.