Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Boris Nemtsov and Vladimir Kara-Murza

Cry The Beloved Country

[We have characterized Vladimir Putin as a step child of Vlad the Impaler.  Some readers may wonder why we would connect Putin with such a former Russian tyrant.  Hyperbole?  Well, yes.  We concede there is an element of truth to the charge.  But the following piece suggests that the comparison may well be much more apt than might first appear.  Ed]

Boris Nemtsov’s Legacy Haunts Putin’s Russia

A new documentary on the liberal opposition figure shines a light on his achievements.

By Nat Brown
National Review Online

Amidst the hundreds of Russia-related headlines saturating the current U.S. media landscape, it was almost inevitable that a small but significant one of them would go almost unnoticed. On May 13, the U.S. Senate came one step closer to renaming the Washington, D.C., street on which the Russian embassy is located after one of the Kremlin’s most vocal critics: the late Boris Nemtsov.

Nemtsov, who once served as Boris Yeltsin’s deputy prime minister and was one of the most important liberal political figures in 1990s Russia, ended his life a steadfast opponent of Vladimir Putin and his authoritarian regime. On February 27, 2015, he was shot to death by a car full of assassins while walking home across a Moscow bridge mere yards away from the Kremlin.

Nemtsov’s life and work is the subject of a new documentary written and directed by Vladimir Kara-Murza, himself a well-known Kremlin critic and former adviser to Nemtsov who worked closely with him in various human-rights- and democracy-promotion efforts. With a running time of just over an hour, the film does an excellent job of deftly laying out Nemtsov’s many achievements, both as one of the principal figures of the Yeltsin era, and later as a key figure in the liberal opposition to the Putin government.

Daily Meditation

Transformed Into The Image of Christ

C. S. Lewis

I find I must borrow yet another parable from George MacDonald. Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on: you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently he starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of—throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.

The command Be ye perfect is not idealistic gas. Nor is it a command to do the impossible. He is going to make us into creatures that can obey that command. He said (in the Bible) that we were ‘gods’ and He is going to make good His words. If we let Him—for we can prevent Him, if we choose—He will make the feeblest and filthiest of us into a god or goddess, a dazzling, radiant, immortal creature, pulsating all through with such energy and joy and wisdom and love as we cannot now imagine, a bright stainless mirror which reflects back to God perfectly (though, of course, on a smaller scale) His own boundless power and delight and goodness. The process will be long and in parts very painful, but that is what we are in for. Nothing less. He meant what He said.

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.


The Jerusalem of God

The thirst for liberty is strong amongst mankind.  Many have been the ways and attempts to secure it.  Most have failed.  "Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity" in France turned into the "freedom" of the guillotine and the embrace of the Emperor Napoleon.  Freedom in the United States is morphing ineluctably towards greater and greater government rules, regulations, laws, and controls.  The same is true in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.  Freedom in the EU means submitting to the laws, rules, and regulations of the unelected Eurocrats.

Yet the longing for human freedom remains unabated.

It is significant, therefore, that the Gospel makes clear that human liberty is intrinsic to its presence and power.  Consider how the Lord of all announced His coming:
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.  He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed.  [Luke 4:18]
Now this when read is usually taken to refer to Christ liberating men from the guilt and slavery to sin.  This is a legitimate interpretation.  Charles Wesley captured this interpretation/application perfectly:

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

The Apostate Experience: Former Muslims Describe Their Plight

Inside the Secret World of Ex-Muslims

Even in America, these ‘apostates’ must meet in private.

By Andy Ngo
National Review Online

In April, a defiant group of self-identified “apostates” convened in downtown Portland, Oregon, to revel in the joys of brew culture, bacon burgers, and atheism. Nine ex-Muslims from several states in the region gathered for a local meeting of the Ex-Muslims of North America [EXMNA].

EXMNA is a nonprofit that provides support to individuals who have left Islam. Some of its members have faced disownership and death threats from family members for renouncing their religion.

Chapter gatherings across the United States and Canada are closed-group meetings for safety reasons. Individuals who wish to join the organization go through a screening process to authenticate their identities, explained Sarah Haider, who co-founded EXMNA in 2013. “Unfortunately, it is not paranoia that requires us to be careful,” Haider said. “In the Muslim world, we are openly persecuted and regularly meet grisly ends. In the Western world we are safer, but even here open meetings can be a big risk.”

In traditional interpretations of Islam, apostasy — the act of leaving one’s religion — is punishable by death or imprisonment. Across the globe, apostasy from Islam remains a capital offense in 13 Muslim-majority countries.

Daily Meditation

Jesus Knows His Sheep

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them.” (John 10:27)

John Piper

Jesus knows those who are his. What is this knowledge?

John 10:3 is a close parallel to verse 27. It says, “The sheep hear his voice, he calls his own sheep by name, and he leads them out.”  So when Jesus says, “I know them,” this means at least that he knows them by name; that is, he knows them individually and intimately. They are not anonymous, lost in the flock.

Verse 14 provides another insight: “I am the good shepherd, and I know my own and my own know me, even as the Father knows me and I know the Father.”

There is a real similarity between the way Jesus knows his Father in heaven and the way he knows his sheep. Jesus sees himself in the Father, and he sees himself in his disciples.  To some degree Jesus recognizes his own character in his disciples. He sees his own brand mark on the sheep.

He is like a husband waiting for his wife at the airport, watching as each person disembarks from the plane. When she appears, he knows her, he recognizes her features, he delights in her, she is the only one he embraces.

The apostle Paul puts it like this: “The firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, ‘The Lord knows those who are his’” (2 Timothy 2:19).

It is hard to overemphasize what a tremendous privilege it is to be known personally, intimately, lovingly by the Son of God. It is a precious gift to all his sheep, and it contains within it the promise of eternal life.

Entering The Lists Of Spiritual Conflict

The Paper Strongholds of the Enemy

The kingdom of the vanquished Dark Lord is in a deadly struggle with the Kingdom of God in North Korea.  We posted recently on the need to take up the Imprecatory Psalms as invocations upon the Lord to bring speedy judgement upon the petty tyrant, Kim Jong-un and his regime.

We came across the following information in a recent church bulletin: 

(1) Access to ministry in North Korea is greater than commonly perceived.  Foreign NGOs, both Korean and Western, are on site through aid and development projects. These brave missionaries are subject to becoming instant political pawns who risk being imprisoned and harshly treated.  Strict limitations on ministry are in place, but the very presence of believers and the testimony of loving generosity can make a difference in many lives.  There are possibly hundreds of Christians in North Korea in this capacity. Pray for boldness and protection.

(2) The country's leader, Kim Jong-un is a ruthless dictator who is harsh with he enemies and is hostile to Western nations.  His political power is cult-like and most of the people of the nation live in what amounts to a nation wide prison.

(3) Nevertheless, there are ministry opportunities to reach the lost in this prison nation.

a) Radio.  Many South Korean Christian broadcasts reach far into North Korea, but most radios are pre-tuned to government stations.  Smuggled radios pre-tuned to Christian frequencies and Chinese tunable radios are making their way into the country.

b) Scripture.  Bibles, the Gospels and tracts are smuggled into the country by various means as well as floated in via balloons from South Korea.  Smugglers are liable to be executed if caught, but the rarity of Scriptures makes them extremely precious to believers.  A North Korean dialect version of the Bible is being prepared. 

c) Ex-pat Korean Visitors.  Korean Christians from China and elsewhere who are able to visit and gain opportunities to witness.  Korea is open to Chinese businessmen, and their easy access to the country could be strategic for the Gospel.

d.) Prayer.  Prayer networks for North Korea have multiplied in recent years, too many to list. Most have an internet presence.  Many thousands of believers are forming an unbroken chain of intercession for this nation. 

There is much to be thankful for.

Monday, 29 May 2017

Running Interference for Ghouls Making Money From Aborted Babies' Bodies


“I Might Ask For A Second Set Of Forceps…And Pull Off A Leg Or Two, So It’s Not Partial Birth Abortion”


Just another day at the office for an abortionist.

Yesterday, the Center for Medical Progress released yet another video on YouTube filmed during the 2014 and 2015 National Abortion Federation conventions where abortionists and those involved in the industry talked and laughed about the business of killing babies:

“An eyeball just fell down into my lap, and that is gross!” [laughter from the crowd]
– Dr. Uta Landy, Founder of the Consortium of Abortion Providers (CAPS), Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA)

“I’m like — Oh my God! I get it! When the skull is broken, that’s really sharp!”
– Talcott Camp, Deputy director of the ACLU’s Reproductive Health Freedom Project

“I might ask for a second set of forceps to hold the body at the cervix and pull off a leg or two, so it’s not PBA [partial-birth abortion].”
– Dr. Ann Schutt-Aine, Director of Abortion Services for Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast

“I get a lot of oohs and ahhs from StemExpress. You know, they’re wanting livers…Last week I was in Sacramento, and she said, “I need four intact limbs.” And I said, you want what?”
– Dr. Leslie Drummond, abortionist at Planned Parenthood Mar Monte

Here’s the backstory about the video’s release:

Daily Devotional

Reaching the Havens

"The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me."  Psalm 138:8

Charles H. Spurgeon

Most manifestly the confidence which the Psalmist here expressed was a divine confidence. He did not say, "I have grace enough to perfect that which concerneth me--my faith is so steady that it will not stagger--my love is so warm that it will never grow cold--my resolution is so firm that nothing can move it"; no, his dependence was on the Lord alone.

If we indulge in any confidence which is not grounded on the Rock of Ages, our confidence is worse than a dream, it will fall upon us, and cover us with its ruins, to our sorrow and confusion. All that Nature spins time will unravel, to the eternal confusion of all who are clothed therein. The Psalmist was wise, he rested upon nothing short of the Lord's work. It is the Lord who has begun the good work within us; it is he who has carried it on; and if he does not finish it, it never will be complete.

If there be one stitch in the celestial garment of our righteousness which we are to insert ourselves, then we are lost; but this is our confidence, the Lord who began will perfect. He has done it all, must do it all, and will do it all. Our confidence must not be in what we have done, nor in what we have resolved to do, but entirely in what the Lord will do. Unbelief insinuates--"You will never be able to stand. Look at the evil of your heart, you can never conquer sin; remember the sinful pleasures and temptations of the world that beset you, you will be certainly allured by them and led astray."

Ah! yes, we should indeed perish if left to our own strength. If we had alone to navigate our frail vessels over so rough a sea, we might well give up the voyage in despair; but, thanks be to God, he will perfect that which concerneth us, and bring us to the desired haven. We can never be too confident when we confide in him alone, and never too much concerned to have such a trust.


Trumpo, The Circus Clown

It seems that the jury is back in the courtroom, rendering its verdict.  Donald Trump really is dumber than a sackful of hammers.  Or, if not, he manages to give a mighty compelling impression from time to time that the hammers are smarter than the President on a good day.  Or, yet again, if not--maybe it's all fake news.

Here is the latest which had us in a fit of laughter over the over cornflakes:
One of Donald Trump's cornerstone pushes since he's become President of the United States has been his focus on encouraging local manufacturing by increasing taxes on imported goods. And it's the motoring world that's feeling this more than other industries, in the form of a 35 per cent tax “for every car that comes to the USA,” in Trump's words.

And while some of his focus has been on the likes of Ford, it was German marques like BMW that have been in his sights this weekend at the latest North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) political summit overnight — featuring some of the EU's heaviest hitters.  [Motoring News]
Now, before going further, we hasten to run a few disclaimers up the pole.

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Nothing to See Here; Move Along

Sweden: Men of Migrant Families Responsible for 90% of Gun Violence

Virginia Hale

Almost all murders and attempted murders in Sweden using firearms are carried out by people with foreign backgrounds, according to a new study.

According to research carried out by Dagens Nyheter, 90 out of the 100 offenders and suspected offenders examined by the liberal daily newspaper have at least one foreign-born parent, the vast majority having roots in the Middle East and North Africa.

In around half of the cases, the men were born in Sweden whilst others migrated to the country at a young age. The study looked at 53 convicted and 47 suspected perpetrators involved in shootings in public places which have taken place since 2013.  “The fact is that street gangs, and violence are phenomena that occur in some areas, and most of the people who live in these areas are of foreign descent,” said Amir Rostani, a sociologist at Stockholm University.

Around 80 per cent of the men have roots in the Middle East and North Africa, with offenders having roots in Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Turkey, Somalia, and Eritrea.  “This is well in line with a study I previously conducted, on members of criminal networks,” Amir Rostami told Dagens Nyheter.

Daily Meditation

"My Heart Is Breaking"

C. S. Lewis

TO DOROTHY L. SAYERS: On the deep lessons in love that Lewis was learning.

25 June 1957

I ought to tell you my own news. On examination it turned out that Joy’s previous marriage, made in her pre-Christian days, was no marriage: the man had a wife still living. The Bishop of Oxford said it was not the present policy to approve re-marriage in such cases, but that his view did not bind the conscience of any individual priest. Then dear Father Bide (do you know him?) who had come to lay his hands on Joy—for he has on his record what looks very like one miracle—without being asked and merely on being told the situation at once said he would marry us. So we had a bedside marriage with a nuptial Mass.

When I last wrote to you I would not have wished this; you will gather (and may say ‘guessed as much’) that my feelings had changed. They say a rival often turns a friend into a lover. Thanatos [the Greek god of death], certainly (they say) approaching but at an uncertain speed, is a most efficient rival for this purpose. We soon learn to love what we know we must lose.

I hope you give us your blessing: I know you’ll give us your prayers. She is home now, not because she is better (though in fact she seems amazingly better) but because they can do no more for her at the Wingfield: totally bed-ridden but—you’d be surprised—we have much gaiety and even some happiness. Indeed, the situation is not easy to describe. My heart is breaking and I was never so happy before: at any rate there is more in life than I knew about. My own physical pains lately (which were among the severest I’ve known) had an odd element of relief in them.

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.

"Truly, You Have a Dizzying Intellect"

US Intelligence Officials

What would have caused it?  Hubris?  Ignorance? Myopia?  Deep state conspiracies?  Gross incompetence?  It beggars belief that highly classified intelligence originating out of the UK covering the Manchester terrorist attack would end up in media briefings in the United States within twenty-four hours.

Oliver J J Lane from BreitbartLondon filed the following report:
The United Kingdom has now stopped passing intelligence gathered as part of the investigation into the Manchester bombing to the United States according to claims made by the British state broadcaster BBC.
We need to exercise some degree of caution when a news report is being sourced from the BBC--hardly an organ of independent news probity these days--but the story has not been contradicted on either side of the Atlantic.

Friday, 26 May 2017

A Realigning of the Chess Pieces

Trumpism without Trump in the U.K.

Theresa May shares much of his agenda, but she’s outfoxing her opponents on all sides and gaining in popularity.

By Michael Brendan Dougherty
National Review Online

Donald Trump began fumbling the ball almost as soon as he ran away with it. The political revolution that was Trumpism is on hold for now, while the White House undergoes a series of scandals. All for reasons that are specific to Donald Trump: his lazy personnel decisions, his egotism, his inability to focus or master the forces that govern the Republican Congress.

What if you could have Trumpism without Donald Trump? That is, what if you could take the same basic issues — sovereignty, immigration ruled by law, and economic policies meant to promote social stability — and get rid of Trump’s moral turpitude, personal indiscipline, and the most noxious and divisive parts of his rhetoric?

Well, it would look a lot like the campaign being run by the Tory party under Theresa May. That is, it would look like an electoral juggernaut with revolutionary potential. . . .

Daily Meditation

The Light Beyond the Light

If then you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. (Colossians 3:1–2)

John Piper

Jesus Christ is refreshing. Flight from him into Christless leisure makes the soul parched.

At first it may feel like freedom and fun to skimp on prayer and neglect the Word. But then we pay: shallowness, powerlessness, vulnerability to sin, preoccupation with trifles, superficial relationships, and a frightening loss of interest in worship and the things of the Spirit.  Don’t let summer make your soul shrivel. God made summer as a foretaste of heaven, not a substitute.

If the mailman brings you a love letter from your fiancé, don’t fall in love with the mailman. Don’t fall in love with the video preview, and find yourself unable to love the coming reality.

Jesus Christ is the refreshing center of summer. He is pre–eminent in all things (Colossians 1:18), including vacations and picnics and softball and long walks and cookouts. He invites us this summer: “Come to me, all who are weary and heavy–laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28).  Do we want it? That is the question. Christ gives himself to us in proportion to how much we want his refreshment. “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13).

Peter’s word to us about this is: “Repent therefore and return, that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19). Repentance is not just turning away from sin, but also turning toward the Lord with hearts open and expectant and submissive.

What sort of summer mindset is this? It is the mindset of Colossians 3:1–2, “If then you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.”

It is God’s earth! It is a video preview to the reality of what the eternal summer will be like when “The city has no need of sun or moon to shine upon it, for the glory of God is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb” (Revelation 21:23).  The summer sun is a mere pointer to the sun that will be. The glory of God. Summer is for seeing and showing that. Do you want to have eyes to see? Lord, let us see the light beyond the light.

Government Overreach

Speech is Free, Only When the Bureaucrats Approve

Oh, what a silly mess we have made for ourselves.  Apparently it is not kosher to be a registered charity in New Zealand and also be involved in political advocacy.  As soon as a charity calls upon the state to take a certain course of action or dole out money for this or that cause, or the Parliament is pressured by a charity to legislate in a certain way, it ceases to be a charity.  Well, it ought to be de-registered as a charity, apparently.

Maybe not.  Around about this point, these "positions" of the government's Charities Services begin to experience the deaths of a thousand qualifications, carve outs, "on the other hands" and "maybes".   It all began when the DIA Charities Services threatened to de-registered Family First as a charity.   According to a report in the NZ Herald:

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Letter From the UK (About the Rochdale Predators Today)

Only Two Remain in Prison

Jack Montgomery

Only two of the nine men convicted following the Rochdale child grooming scandal remain in prison, and four are using taxpayers’ money to fight deportation to Pakistan.  The Manchester Evening News reports that only Shabir Ahmed, 64, and Mohammed Sajid, 40, are still in custody.

Mohammed Amin, 50; Abdul Qayyum, 49; Hamid Safi, 27; Adil Khan, 47; Abdul Rauf, 48; Abdul Aziz, 46; and Kabeer Hassan, 30, have all completed short sentences of five years or less, or been released on license halfway through longer sentences – as is standard since Labour passed the Criminal Justice Act 2003.

Four of the men, including ringleader Shabir ‘Daddy’ Ahmed, were stripped of their British citizenship so they could be be deported to Pakistan, but are now mounting a taxpayer-funded legal challenge in the Court of Appeal, aided by lawyers accused of “gaming the system”.  The paedophile targeted “dozens” of vulnerable white teenagers, usually underage, for years, in an episode which has been partly serialised by the BBC in the drama Three Girls.

An official report found that the grooming gangs, composed overwhelmingly of Muslim men, were able to operate with impunity because police, prosecutors and social services feared being accused of racism if they intervened.

Daily Meditation

Be Much in Prayer

"And he requested for himself that he might die."  1 Kings 19:4

Charles H. Spurgeon

It was a remarkable thing that the man who was never to die, for whom God had ordained an infinitely better lot, the man who should be carried to heaven in a chariot of fire, and be translated, that he should not see death--should thus pray, "Let me die, I am no better than my fathers."

We have here a memorable proof that God does not always answer prayer in kind, though he always does in effect. He gave Elias something better than that which he asked for, and thus really heard and answered him. Strange was it that the lion-hearted Elijah should be so depressed by Jezebel's threat as to ask to die, and blessedly kind was it on the part of our heavenly Father that he did not take his desponding servant at his word.

There is a limit to the doctrine of the prayer of faith. We are not to expect that God will give us everything we choose to ask for. We know that we sometimes ask, and do not receive, because we ask amiss. If we ask for that which is not promised--if we run counter to the spirit which the Lord would have us cultivate--if we ask contrary to his will, or to the decrees of his providence--if we ask merely for the gratification of our own ease, and without an eye to his glory, we must not expect that we shall receive.

Yet, when we ask in faith, nothing doubting, if we receive not the precise thing asked for, we shall receive an equivalent, and more than an equivalent, for it. As one remarks, "If the Lord does not pay in silver, he will in gold; and if he does not pay in gold, he will in diamonds." If he does not give you precisely what you ask for, he will give you that which is tantamount to it, and that which you will greatly rejoice to receive in lieu thereof. Be then, dear reader, much in prayer, and make this evening a season of earnest intercession, but take heed what you ask.

"For We Are Not Ashamed . . . "

Defying the Religious Establishment of our Day

Belief in God or gods is inevitable.  In this sense, all mankind is religious.  Secularism is an attempt to roll back this inevitability, and modify thought and action into a belief in Man.  The end result promulgates yet another religion: Humanism.  

This new religion, fashionable in the previous century, is unwinding at a rapid pace.  Humanism is so dumb that it can invent seventy different human genders, and insist that society profess and confess them all.  It's a human right to have my particular self-selected gender respected and acknowledged; it is also my right to embrace gender-fluidity: that is, my gender this hour may be quite different to what it was an hour ago.

The Apostle of the one, true Living God declaimed sin-wracked humanity in the following terms: "professing to be wise they became fools". [Romans 1:23]  But all religions, Humanism included, have the opportunity to present their systems of belief and theologies to the watching world.  Angelo Codevilla presents some of the unholy laws of Humanism:

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

The Ebb of the Tide?

Trump Derangement Syndrome

James Delingpole

Last night in London I took part in a debate staged by the How To Academy on Trump’s 100 Days.
I was on the pro side with journalist Melanie Phillips.

On the anti side of the debate were the Guardian‘s Jonathan Freedland and a flakcatcher from the Clinton era called James Rubin.

Let me tell you the bad news first: Trump derangement syndrome is everywhere, at least as bad in London as it is in the US.

To listen to my debate opponents you would have imagined that the US had recently elected to the presidency a cross between It the Clown, the Boston Strangler, Dr Strangelove and Alger Hiss. I’m fine with a bit of extravagant rhetoric but there were several moments where both Melanie’s and my jaw dropped at the outrageousness of the charges levelled by Freedland and Rubin at the Trump administration.

By what stretch of the imagination, for example, could former National Security Adviser Mike Flynn be described as a “foreign agent”? This was the phrase used by Guardian man Freedland in his speech and it got many laughs from the audience – Trump: the guy so bad he actually has Russky spies in his administration. But if the case against Trump is really such a slam-dunk as his critics seem to imagine, then surely there’d be no need so grotesquely to exaggerate his flaws?

With Freedland and Rubin acting up like snarky kids – and don’t get me wrong, they were good at it: sharp, quick, punchy, witty and relentlessly below the belt – I found myself forced into the unwonted position of having to play the grown-up.

This threw me slightly. I’d brought along my MAGA baseball cap and my Trump camouflage t-shirt – in order to tease the mainly liberal-leaning audience. But you can’t simultaneously play the clown and chastise your opponents for their puerility.

So I tried to keep my line on Trump as straightforward and honest as possible:

Daily Meditation

Why We Love God

We love because he first loved us. (1 John 4:19).

John Piper

Since loving God is the evidence that he loves you with electing love (Romans 8:28, etc.), the assurance that God loves you with electing love cannot be the ground of your love for him. Our love for him, which is the evidence of our election, is our spiritually apprehending the all–satisfying glory of this God.

It is not first gratitude for a benefit received, but recognition and delight that to receive him would produce overwhelming gratitude. This recognition and delight is, or should be, according to Scripture, attended immediately with the assurance that he does in fact give himself to us for eternal enjoyment.

The Gospel call (Christ died for sinners; believe on him and you will be saved) is a call not first to believe that he died for your sins but that, because he is the kind of God who redeems at such a cost and with such wisdom and holiness, he is worthy of trust and he is a truly satisfying repose for all my longings.

Believing (that is sensing, apprehending) this is then immediately attended with the confidence that we are saved and that he did die for us, since the promise of salvation is given to those who thus believe.

The core of Christian Hedonism is thus at the very heart of what saving faith is and what it means to truly "receive" Christ, or to love God.

Compare: "We love because he first loved us" (1 John 4:19). This may mean that God’s love enables our love for him through the incarnation and atonement and work of the Holy Spirit, not that our motive to love is first his making much of us.

Or it may mean that in beholding and spiritually apprehending God to be the kind of God who loves sinners like us with such amazingly free grace and through such stunningly wise and sacrificial means of atonement, we are drawn out to delight in this God for who he is in himself, rather than taking the sentence to mean that we love him first because we find ourselves personally and particularly chosen by him.

German Tomfoolery

When Diversity Reigns Supreme

One of the unfortunate realities we increasingly face is that the secular West is ideologically bankrupt.  The vault is empty and bare.  Or, to change metaphors, there ain't no juice left in the tank.  As a consequence, Western leaders are becoming dumb and dumber by the day. 

Take the unfortunate case of the German Federal Integration Commissioner, Aydan Özoğuz profiled in the previous blog post.  This worthy is arguing that because diversity is the cultural principle governing all other laws in Germany there is no such thing as "German" culture into which all must integrate.  The deep culture of Germany is multi-Kultur.  To be German is to be different from other Germans.  Therefore, no-one need integrate into anything: all that is required to be German is to live out one's own peculiar beliefs and practices.
Writing in Tagesspiegel, the Commissioner denounced the debate over Leitkultur (meaning ‘dominant’ or ‘guiding culture’) — in which conservative politicians have suggested migrants should assimilate to a shared set of cultural values  — as “ridiculous and absurd”.

“And no wonder, because it’s simply not possible to identify any sort of culture that’s specific to Germany beyond the language.   “Even historically, it is regional cultures, immigration and diversity that have had a bigger role in shaping our history.”  Globalisation, and the ongoing transformation of Germany into a society of ever increasing numbers of different peoples and lifestyles, “leads to diversity being amplified and multiplied further”, Özoğuz added. 
We are told that Chancellor Merkel has lustily clapped and cheered on this tom foolery.  We wonder in passing whether the Integration Commissioner understands what she is saying.  Probably not.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

The Neutered Country

Integration Commissioner Says German Culture Does Not Exist

Virginia Hale
Breitbart London

German culture does not exist and the nation’s history has been shaped by “immigration and diversity”, according to Federal Integration Commissioner Aydan Özoğuz, who has argued migrants should not be expected to assimilate.

Writing in Tagesspiegel, the Commissioner denounced the debate over Leitkultur (meaning ‘dominant’ or ‘guiding culture’) — in which conservative politicians have suggested migrants should assimilate to a shared set of cultural values — as “ridiculous and absurd”. “And no wonder, because it’s simply not possible to identify any sort of culture that’s specific to Germany beyond the language.  
“Even historically, it is regional cultures, immigration and diversity that have had a bigger role in shaping our history.” Globalisation, and the ongoing transformation of Germany into a society of ever increasing numbers of different peoples and lifestyles, “leads to diversity being amplified and multiplied further”, Özoğuz added. She conceded that “cultural diversity is perhaps tiresome”, but argued that it is “the strength of our open society”.

 “Promoting the idea that there is a dominant culture doesn’t create common grounds but instead erects borders to exclude. “Germany is diverse — a fact which seems too complicated for some”, she added. Rather than expecting migrants to assimilate into German culture, the Social Democratic Party (SPD) commissioner argued the country should create a national identity based on a social contract based on the values of Germany’s constitution.

 In November last year, Özoğuz demanded that the sentence, “The Federal Republic of Germany is a diverse country of immigration”, be enshrined in the constitution as Article 20b. The proposal was one of a raft of measures to improve migrants’ participation in German life, in a document unveiled by the Commissioner at the country’s Integration Summit. Chancellor Angela Merkel, who chaired the event, described it as “encouraging and exciting”.

 But Historian Klaus-Rüdiger May warned the demands of the document, which was developed by more than 50 migrant organisations, would bankrupt businesses, pensions, and the country, and would make native Germans second class citizens in their own homeland. “At its core [the paper seeks] the profound transformation of the Federal Republic of Germany” to the “considerable disadvantage” of the indigenous population, May said.

 Gone is even the term “Germans” he noted, suggesting that for Özoğuz, the word “seems to have become unmentionable”. Former Bundestag deputy Vera Lengsfeld was similarly scathing in her assessment of the proposals, writing: “No word of what the immigrants want to contribute to the receiving society. It is only about demanding the largest possible portion of a cake that hasn’t been baked yet.”

Daily Devotional

All is Yours . . . But Be Satisfied

"In him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him."  Colossians 2:9-10
Charles H. Spurgeon

All the attributes of Christ, as God and man, are at our disposal. All the fulness of the Godhead, whatever that marvellous term may comprehend, is ours to make us complete. He cannot endow us with the attributes of Deity; but he has done all that can be done, for he has made even his divine power and Godhead subservient to our salvation. His omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence, immutability and infallibility, are all combined for our defence.

Arise, believer, and behold the Lord Jesus yoking the whole of his divine Godhead to the chariot of salvation! How vast his grace, how firm his faithfulness, how unswerving his immutability, how infinite his power, how limitless his knowledge! All these are by the Lord Jesus made the pillars of the temple of salvation; and all, without diminution of their infinity, are covenanted to us as our perpetual inheritance.

The fathomless love of the Saviour's heart is every drop of it ours; every sinew in the arm of might, every jewel in the crown of majesty, the immensity of divine knowledge, and the sternness of divine justice, all are ours, and shall be employed for us. The whole of Christ, in his adorable character as the Son of God, is by himself made over to us most richly to enjoy. His wisdom is our direction, his knowledge our instruction, his power our protection, his justice our surety, his love our comfort, his mercy our solace, and his immutability our trust.

He makes no reserve, but opens the recesses of the Mount of God and bids us dig in its mines for the hidden treasures. "All, all, all are yours," saith he, "be ye satisfied with favour and full of the goodness of the Lord." Oh! how sweet thus to behold Jesus, and to call upon him with the certain confidence that in seeking the interposition of his love or power, we are but asking for that which he has already faithfully promised.

The Erosion of Common Law

Going Backwards

In his magisterial volume, The English and their History [New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2014] Robert Tombs describes the emergence of what came to be known as the English Law.  One presumes that when it was first instituted there was little expectation that it would evolve into such a significant institution, but such was the case.  It was a feature which separated England from the Continent.  Common Law was decidedly different from law on the Continent.

Henry II ascended to the throne of England in 1154 at the age of 21.  Tombs describes how the Common Law began.
Henry II's drive for law and order saw the introduction in the 1160's of travelling royal judges, who were increasingly professional lawyers, on "eyres" (journeys) to hear cases involving the Crown, and in the 1170's permanent royal courts began to sit at Westminster, developing standardized "writs" (court orders in the King's name) to initiate a range of procedures before royal judges.  Writs were the basis of the system, and could be purchased for a modest sum by any plaintiff to summon an adversary before a royal court.

Thus originated in practice as well as in theory the universal primacy of royal justice: the "Common Law."  It was gradually extended to cover every place and every free layman within the kingdom, irrespective of ethnicity.   [Ibid., p. 68.  Emphasis, ours.]
This was a radical, positive development.  It meant that access to the courts and to the rule of law was made accessible to the common man (hence Common Law).  Justice was not just for the rich, or the connected, or the political and ecclesiastical elites.  This is a great benefit which we, these days, take for granted--yet it is vital, if society is to be just.

Monday, 22 May 2017

Letter From America (About How Pence Would be Cast as Worse Than Trump)

Get Ready for the Pillorying of Pence

But if Trump is ‘uniquely’ unfit, his critics should be just fine with ultra-normal Pence, right?

By Kyle Smith
National Review Online

Daily Meditation

"That . . . Is What I Cry Out For"

C. L. Lewis

Lewis, grieving the death of his wife, Joy:

I know that the thing I want is exactly the thing I can never get. The old life, the jokes, the drinks, the arguments, the lovemaking, the tiny, heartbreaking commonplace. On any view whatever, to say, ‘H. is dead,’ is to say, ‘All that is gone.’ It is a part of the past. And the past is the past and that is what time means, and time itself is one more name for death, and Heaven itself is a state where ‘the former things have passed away.’

Talk to me about the truth of religion and I’ll listen gladly. Talk to me about the duty of religion and I’ll listen submissively. But don’t come talking to me about the consolations of religion or I shall suspect that you don’t understand.

Unless, of course, you can literally believe all that stuff about family reunions ‘on the further shore,’ pictured in entirely earthly terms. But that is all unscriptural, all out of bad hymns and lithographs. There’s not a word of it in the Bible. And it rings false. We know it couldn’t be like that. Reality never repeats. The exact same thing is never taken away and given back. How well the spiritualists bait their hook! ‘Things on this side are not so different after all.’ There are cigars in Heaven. For that is what we should all like. The happy past restored.

And that, just that, is what I cry out for, with mad, midnight endearments and entreaties spoken into the empty air.

From A Grief Observed
Compiled in A Year with C.S. Lewis A Grief Observed. Copyright © 1961 by N. W. Clerk, restored 1996 C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. Preface by Douglas H. Gresham copyright © 1994 by Douglas H. Gresham. 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.

What's Wrong With "Alternative Facts"?

The Whiff of Hypocrisy

Not infrequently we find reason to chuckle while chewing on the morning's cornflakes.  One of the lines which has been seized upon by US President Trump's opponents is that the Trump administration has coined a phrase: "alternative facts".  This has resulted in much mockery amongst his political opponents (a category which includes most of the public media).

Hah, hah, hah.  Alternative facts!  A fact is either a fact, or not.  "Alternative facts" is an oxymoron, a contradiction in terms.  It confirms that Trump is living in an alternate universe.  His world is an unreal, make-believe world.  He is consequently to be considered clinically insane.  The man's an idiot.  Blah, blah, blah.

This reaction, for our part, has also generated a great deal of mirth.

Saturday, 20 May 2017


The Laws of Consanguinity Are Not a Joke

Oliver J J Lane

A new report from the London Borough of Redbridge has revealed almost one in five of all child deaths in the area since 2008 were down to their parents being close relatives.   The statistic was discussed at a meeting of the Redbridge Council Health and Well-being Board on Monday, with the matter of child fatality being raised.  

The council’s report found between 2008 and 2016, 19 per cent of child deaths in the borough were caused by infants being born to “consanguineous relationships” — marriage or otherwise sexual relations between couples who are first cousins or closer. The recording year of 2009-10 saw the highest number of child deaths in the period.   Of all deaths in that year, the second greatest cause was “chromosomal, genetic or congenital abnormalities”.  

Overall, 65 per cent of child deaths occurred before the age of one.   The Ilford Recorder reports the remarks of Child Death Overview Panel Chairman Gladys Xavier who told the meeting there were ongoing education programmes targeting Asian communities in the area to address the prevalence of incest, which the paper referred to as a “continued problem”.

Daily Meditation

Then Comes The Tragic Dance

Lewis, grieving the death of his wife, Joy:

C. S. Lewis

And then one or other dies. And we think of this as love cut short; like a dance stopped in mid-career or a flower with its head unluckily snapped off—something truncated and therefore, lacking its due shape. I wonder. If, as I can’t help suspecting, the dead also feel the pains of separation (and this may be one of their purgatorial sufferings), then for both lovers, and for all pairs of lovers without exception, bereavement is a universal and integral part of our experience of love. 

It follows marriage as normally as marriage follows courtship or as autumn follows summer. It is not a truncation of the process but one of its phases; not the interruption of the dance, but the next figure. We are ‘taken out of ourselves’ by the loved one while she is here. 

Then comes the tragic figure of the dance in which we must learn to be still taken out of ourselves though the bodily presence is withdrawn, to love the very Her, and not fall back to loving our past, or our memory, or our sorrow, or our relief from sorrow, or our own love.

A Grief Observed. Copyright © 1961 by N. W. Clerk, restored 1996 C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. Preface by Douglas H. Gresham copyright © 1994 by Douglas H. Gresham. 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.

Modern Mouthpieces for Marx

Deformed Charities

It seems that more-than-a-few charities end up morphing into partisan hucksters promoting Leftist propaganda.  It is understandable, if deeply regrettable.   More than a few Christian based charities have travelled this road to corruption, which is even more deeply regrettable.

Those charities with a global horizon end up being confronted by genocides, famines, and gross injustices.  Of wars and rumours of wars there is no end.  Relying upon faithful donors in the "private sector" (that is, non-state parties) means that every such charity has to live with the dissatisfaction of never being able to make a difference in a global sense.  That is, they can only "win" in a micro, isolated sense.  They cannot win globally.

Faced with this perpetual failure many such charities go over to the dark side.  That is, they seek more and more support and funding from governments.  Why?  Because governments have the big bucks; with support from state-parties they can really make a difference--or so they tell themselves.  Within a decade or so, these now-State-dependant charities become fronts and mouthpieces for Leftist propaganda.  They increasingly look to governments to fulfill their mission.

The Institute of Economic Affairs profiles one such compromised charity: Oxfam.

Friday, 19 May 2017

The Fruits of Self-Worship

Self Indulgence and Narcissism

Virginia Hale
Breitbart London

One of Britain’s top private schools is bringing in ‘gender-neutral’ uniforms that would allow boys to wear skirts, as teachers report growing numbers of children ‘questioning their gender identity’.

The move by Highgate School in north London comes as activist pupils at schools across the country are demanding ‘gender-neutral’ bathroom facilities, a ban on terms they deem ‘sexist’, and for teachers to use gender-neutral pronouns such as “they”.

“This generation is really questioning being binary in the way we look at things,” headteacher Adam Pettitt told The Sunday Times.   Separate uniforms for boys and girls will be scrapped under the plans, and pupils at the £6,790 per term secondary school are being consulted on a mix-and-match dress code.   Items included in the new dress code won’t be linked to sex, noted Pettitt, who told the newspaper: “We are asking [pupils], should it be called uniform number one and uniform number two?”

Daily Meditation

What Is Meekness?

“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” (Matthew 5:5)

John Piper

Meekness begins when we put our trust in God. Then, because we trust him, we commit our way to him. We roll onto him our anxieties, or frustrations, our plans, our relationships, our jobs, our health.

And then we wait patiently for the Lord. We trust his timing and his power and his grace to work things out in the best way for his glory and for our good.

The result of trusting God and the rolling of our anxieties onto God and waiting patiently for God is that we don't give way to quick and fretful anger. But instead, we give place to wrath and hand our cause over to God and let him vindicate us if he chooses.  And then, as James says, in this quiet confidence we are slow to speak and quick to listen (James 1:19). We become reasonable and open to correction.

Meekness loves to learn. And it counts the blows of a friend as precious. And when it must say a critical word to a person caught in sin or error, it speaks from the deep conviction of its own fallibility and its own susceptibility to sin and its utter dependence on the grace of God.

The quietness and openness and vulnerability of meekness is a very beautiful and a very painful thing. It goes against all that we are by our sinful nature. It requires supernatural help.  If you are a disciple of Jesus Christ, that is, if you trust him and commit your way to him and wait patiently for him, God has already begun to help you and will help you more.

And the primary way that he will help you is to assure your heart that you are a fellow heir of Jesus Christ and that the world and everything in it is yours.

The Underclass

Self-Propagating Violence

The underclass is alive, growing, and powerful.  It is self-perpetuating.  And here's the thing about the underclass--no matter how prosperous or how sophisticated the house in which we were raised, anyone can fall right down to the lowest of the low within months, if not days.  All it takes is a little P, and hey presto, a life of theft, blackmail, violence--even murder--awaits.

Once in the underclass, sexual liaisons occur.  Children are born.  Most are raised consistently within the underclass's culture.  Violence in the underclass is a way of life.  It is the normal way to live.  Once that happens, the Underclass becomes permanent; like a bacterial disease it self-perpetuates and multiplies.

Author Alan Duff understands this.

Bad Behaviour All About Race, Class and Culture

Alan Duff
NZ Herald

Seems I'm lumped again with stating the obvious: the dairy robbers, the brawling schoolgirls, the bank robber, the bungling non-alcohol wine thieves, are all brown. If we're open about this then everyone can start addressing the problem knowing what we're dealing with.

I'll next say what should be said, that not a Maori or Pacific Islander I know behaves like these lowlifes. This is as much a class as race issue. Just we have to be honest about it. It's also about education - not the formal kind so much as home education. It's about culture.

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Pike River Re-Entry is Madness on Methamphetamines

Appeals to Pity Don't Cut It

In New Zealand we have the sad spectacle of some ex-mining families on the West Coast of the South Island pressuring the government to allow a recovery party to enter the deadly Pike River mine, which killed 29 miners.  The mine is now sealed up.  The disaster happened in November 2010.  Only a few hard-core families are still insisting that society owes them the right of re-entry into the mine to recover the remains of their loved ones.  

The matter has been taken up by a few despicable politicians.  They are despicable because they profess all care for the families of the lost miners, but carry no responsibility if  new entrants to the mine were to die in the attempt.   Political hack, Winston Peters--always the child who lacked attention--is stirring things up, insisting that the family's demands be met, and that people be sent down the mine.

The leader of the Labour Party, Andrew Little has joined Peters on this issue.  Both want a law change that would require Solid Energy to re-enter the mine.  Both want to make it an issue in the forthcoming election.  Bon chance to both of them.  It will entomb  their electoral chances more tightly than the Pike River mine.

A more knowledgeable scribe has written a piece in the NZ Herald exposing the hard realities.

Daily Devotional

Who can Count the Benefits

"Who giveth us richly all things to enjoy."  1 Timothy 6:17

Charles H. Spurgeon

Our Lord Jesus is ever giving, and does not for a solitary instant withdraw his hand. As long as there is a vessel of grace not yet full to the brim, the oil shall not be stayed. He is a sun ever-shining; he is manna always falling round the camp; he is a rock in the desert, ever sending out streams of life from his smitten side; the rain of his grace is always dropping; the river of his bounty is ever-flowing, and the well-spring of his love is constantly overflowing. As the King can never die, so his grace can never fail. Daily we pluck his fruit, and daily his branches bend down to our hand with a fresh store of mercy. 

There are seven feast-days in his weeks, and as many as are the days, so many are the banquets in his years. Who has ever returned from his door unblessed? Who has ever risen from his table unsatisfied, or from his bosom un-emparadised? His mercies are new every morning and fresh every evening. Who can know the number of his benefits, or recount the list of his bounties? Every sand which drops from the glass of time is but the tardy follower of a myriad of mercies. The wings of our hours are covered with the silver of his kindness, and with the yellow gold of his affection. 

The river of time bears from the mountains of eternity the golden sands of his favour. The countless stars are but as the standard bearers of a more innumerable host of blessings. Who can count the dust of the benefits which he bestows on Jacob, or tell the number of the fourth part of his mercies towards Israel? How shall my soul extol him who daily loadeth us with benefits, and who crowneth us with loving-kindness? O that my praise could be as ceaseless as his bounty! O miserable tongue, how canst thou be silent? Wake up, I pray thee, lest I call thee no more my glory, but my shame. "Awake, psaltery and harp: I myself will awake right early."         

Myths and What They Portray About Us

Between the Myth and Reality Falls the Shadow

Historian Robert Tombs gives us his account of the actual Richard the Lionheart.
King Richard I, "the Lionheart" [son of Henry II] was crowned in 1189 amid scenes of popular rejoicing and vicious attacks on Jews--a usual by-product of Crusading fervour.  Richard, who would spend only six months of his ten-year reign in England, was eager to join the Third Crusade, part of the widespread European reaction to the recapture of Jerusalem by the Caliph of Egypt, Saladin (Saleh-ed-Din Yusuf ibn Ayub), in 1187.  A fellow Crusader was his former accomplice and friend, Philip of France, but a series of personal, political and national disputes soon ended their always shaky alliance.

As a Crusader, Richard won a brilliant if chequered reputation.  He was a vainglorious  product of the warrior culture and little else.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Europeanism's Demise Enables Tory Resurrection

A Storm Is Coming on the Chiltern Hills

The Tories reclaim much of their former support in the patriotic working class.

By John O'Sullivan
National Review Online

Thursday’s local elections in Britain look somewhat less dramatic than people were expecting in the light of national opinion polls showing Theresa May’s Tories literally twice as popular as the Labour Opposition. The BBC summary was: Tories gain eleven councils and 563 seats; Labour lose seven councils and 382 seats; and UKIP retains just one seat nationally.

That looks pretty good for the Tories, very bad for Labour; disappointing for the Liberal Democrats; and terminally bad for UKIP.

For various reasons, however — mainly low turnout — this overall picture is misleading. Though chickens shouldn’t be counted before being hatched, the Tory prospects for June’s general election are even better than they look, which is terrific; Labour’s, very bad but short of terminal; the Lib-Dems’, purgatorial; and UKIP’s, terminal but with an escape clause. Unless all the pundits are wildly wrong — not an impossibility, as we know, but not likely either — the Tories will win a landslide with a three-figure parliamentary majority over all opposition parties. They are on course to be the natural governing party of Britain for the next three elections and two decades.

That’s a massive turnaround from the results of the 2010 election, when the Tories fell short of a majority, and the 2015 election, when they had a small and vulnerable majority. What happened in the meanwhile?

Daily Meditation

Don’t Serve God

The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show his might in behalf of those whose heart is blameless toward him. (2 Chronicles 16:9)

John Piper

What is God looking for in the world? Assistants? No. The gospel is not a “help wanted” ad. Neither is the call to Christian service.  God is not looking for people to work for him. “The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show his might in behalf of those whose heart is blameless toward him” (2 Chronicles 16:9).

What does God want from us? Not what we might expect. He rebukes Israel for bringing him so many sacrifices: “I will accept no bull from your house. . . . For every beast of the forest is mine. . . . If I were hungry, I would not tell you; for the world and all that is in it is mine” (Psalm 50:9–12).

But isn’t there something we can give to God that won’t belittle him to the status of beneficiary?  Yes. Our anxieties.  It’s a command: “Cast all your anxieties on him” (1 Peter 5:7). God will gladly receive anything from us that shows our dependence and his all-sufficiency.

Christianity is fundamentally convalescence. Patients do not serve their physicians. They trust them for good prescriptions. The Sermon on the Mount is our Doctor’s medical advice, not our Employer’s job description.

Our very lives hang on not working for God. “To one who works, his wages are not reckoned as a gift but as his due. And to one who does not work but trusts him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness” (Romans 4:4–5).

Workmen get no gifts. They get their due. If we would have the gift of justification, we dare not work. God is the workman in this affair. And what he gets is the glory of being the benefactor of grace, not the beneficiary of service.

"I, Only I, am Left"

Rekindling the Joy of Battle

Every so often we meet Christians who have taken shelter in Elijah's cave.  The reference of course is to I Kings 19 when Elijah fled from Jezebel to Sinai, and took refuge in a hole in the rock.  After what was arguably his greatest victory over the curse of Baalism in Israel, Elijah entered the pit of despair.  His lament to God was, "O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my fathers"  (verse 4).

Those Christian folk sheltering in a cave have seen the strength of Mordor, and have quailed.  They have conceded defeat in their hearts.  They have retreated to living out their days, awaiting the end of their lives, looking only then to release from suffering and an escape into heaven.

This demeanor is understandable.  If it took hold of Elijah, the greatest of the northern prophets, how can ordinary Christians avoid it, for we live in a day and age when Unbelief is both pervasive and adamant?  Yet, Christ calls us to be warriors.  He calls us to fight the good fight of the Faith.  He exhorts us to be of good courage.  He calls us to be like the Rohirrim as they slew the forces of Sauron before the gates of Gondor, with, we are told, the joy of battle in their hearts.  We Christians are to be merry warriors.

How can this be?  How can we maintain such a countenance when we find ourselves uttering Elijah's lament:  "I alone am left."

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

ISIS Call to Arms

London Declared an Easy High-Value Target

Virginia Hale

ISIS has singled out crowded London streets as “ideal targets” for supporters to mow down pedestrians in the latest edition of the terror group’s online magazine.
Published in ten languages, the most recent issue of ISIS’ magazine Rumiyah published tutorials on arson, knife and vehicle attacks, naming Regent Street and Piccadilly Circus in London as locations at which jihadis should “flatten [non-Muslims] under trucks”, The Sunday Times reports.

A piece on “terror tactics” tells supporters the best type of vehicle to use in a terror attack  — “double-wheeled, load-bearing” trucks with a “slightly raised chassis and bumper”, which are “fast in speed or rate of acceleration” are identified as features which would maximise the number of casualties. would-be jihadis are told to look out for.  Methods ISIS recommends for obtaining such a vehicle include taking one “from a kafir [non-Muslim] by force or deception”, or by “‘borrowing’ from a kafir or murtadd [apostate].”

“The language of force, the language of killing, stabbing and slitting throats, chopping off heads, flattening them under trucks, and burning them alive, until they give the jizyah [non-beleiver’s tax] while they are in a state of humiliation,” reads a paragraph from Rumiyah’s latest edition.

Daily Meditation

On Morality

I think all Christians would agree with me if I said that though Christianity seems at first to be all about morality, all about duties and rules and guilt and virtue, yet it leads you on, out of all that, into something beyond. One has a glimpse of a country where they do not talk of those things, except perhaps as a joke. Everyone there is filled full with what we should call goodness as a mirror is filled with light. But they do not call it goodness. They do not call it anything. They are not thinking of it. They are too busy looking at the source from which it comes. But this is near the stage where the road passes over the rim of our world. No one’s eyes can see very far beyond that: lots of people’s eyes can see further than mine.

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

The World's Most Armed Camp

The "New Model" Army

Christian nations and their governments should, when it comes to defence, be focused upon defending the lives of man, woman, and child.  There are few nations which comply with this doctrine of national defence.

Switzerland is one such nation.  Angelo Codevilla provides a description of the Swiss defence doctrine--and capability.  Many would be surprised.   The Swiss army . . .
is fit for only one mission: to defeat invaders.  For this, a country of 6.7 million can generate an army of twelve divisions (the US army has ten) and has twenty-six brigades, armed with some of the world's best equipment.  Of course Swiss forces completely lack, among other things, the mobility and capacity to sustain the long supply lines that the armies of great powers possess.  But the Swiss army's civil function and military mission requires steadiness rather than mobility, teeth rather than tail.  [Angelo Codevilla, The Character of Nations: How Politics Makes and Breaks Prosperity, Family, and Civility (New York: Basic Books, 1995), p. 207.]
It goes without saying that the Swiss army is not set up, nor resourced to "make the world safe for democracy".

Monday, 15 May 2017

Betrayed By Antarctica

Horrible News For Global Warmists

Justin Haskins

Warming on the Antarctic Peninsula has long been touted by supporters of the theory man is destroying the planet by using fossil fuels as proof of the dangers of global warming. Al Gore, the face of the world-is-going-to-end climate movement, has visited Antarctica on at least two occasions to highlight the alleged problem.

“This prediction has proven true,” Gore wrote about the claim Antarctica would warm faster than the global average. “Today, the West Antarctic Peninsula is warming about four times faster than the global average.”

Alarmists say the melting of ice sheets in Antarctica will cause massive problems for the rest of the world. For example, left-wing website ThinkProgress wrote in 2012, “Although the vast ice sheets of the frozen continent are remote from almost all of human civilization, their warming has drastic implications for billions of people. With the melting of those almost inconceivable reserves of ice, the planet’s sea levels are rising. Scientists now expect 21st-century sea level rise — on the scale of three to six feet or more — will be dominated by the melting of the Greenland and Antarctic ice caps.”

Climate realists have rightfully pointed out the evidence shows total ice accumulation on Antarctica has outweighed losses, a claim bolstered by a 2015 NASA study, which found, “An increase in Antarctic snow accumulation that began 10,000 years ago is currently adding enough ice to the continent to outweigh the increased losses from its thinning glaciers.” But even many climate change skeptics have accepted some significant parts of Antarctica are warming.

All that is about to change.

Daily Meditation

The Pool of Bethesda

"He that was healed wist not who it was."  John 5:13

Charles H. Spurgeon

Years are short to the happy and healthy; but thirty-eight years of disease must have dragged a very weary length along the life of the poor impotent man. When Jesus, therefore, healed him by a word, while he lay at the pool of Bethesda, he was delightfully sensible of a change. Even so the sinner who has for weeks and months been paralysed with despair, and has wearily sighed for salvation, is very conscious of the change when the Lord Jesus speaks the word of power, and gives joy and peace in believing.

The evil removed is too great to be removed without our discerning it; the life imparted is too remarkable to be possessed and remain inoperative; and the change wrought is too marvellous not to be perceived. Yet the poor man was ignorant of the author of his cure; he knew not the sacredness of his person, the offices which he sustained, or the errand which brought him among men.

Much ignorance of Jesus may remain in hearts which yet feel the power of his blood. We must not hastily condemn men for lack of knowledge; but where we can see the faith which saves the soul, we must believe that salvation has been bestowed. The Holy Spirit makes men penitents long before he makes them divines; and he who believes what he knows, shall soon know more clearly what he believes.

Ignorance is, however, an evil; for this poor man was much tantalized by the Pharisees, and was quite unable to cope with them. It is good to be able to answer gainsayers; but we cannot do so if we know not the Lord Jesus clearly and with understanding. The cure of his ignorance, however, soon followed the cure of his infirmity, for he was visited by the Lord in the temple; and after that gracious manifestation, he was found testifying that "it was Jesus who had made him whole." Lord, if thou hast saved me, show me thyself, that I may declare thee to the sons of men.

Alternative Multiverses

Theresa May's Inheritance

It seems like yesterday.  Prime Minister Maggie Thatcher, Churchill redivivus, leading Britain to victory in the Falklands War.  Yet, at the same time for many, it has faded in memory.  What was it all about, again?

It turns out that a major sea change had taken place in British society: in 1979 a Gallup poll had shown the British to be the most pessimistic of thirty-one countries surveyed; in 1983 [just four years later] they were the eighth most optimistic.  If you were going to pick one event, or sequence of events, which turned the tide in popular sentiment it would have been the Falklands War.

Robert Tombs, towards the end of his magisterial, The English and Their History [New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2015] reflects upon the aftermath of the Falklands War and its impact upon the British people.

The first impact was that it did not unite all.  Most significantly it drove the Left and Thatchers critics into the grounds of extremist sentiment, where many now dwell, ideologically separated from the the bulk of British people.  This group has continued, and are now living in a parallel universe--at least for the present.  Who knows what the end game for them will be.

Tombs describes this parallel universe as it was developing in the eighties in Britain.

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Science is a Mode of Inquiry Not a Belief Structure

‘Climate Change’ Is No More Credible than Magic Says Top Physicist

James Delingpole


The evidence for man-made climate change is so flimsy that you might just as well believe in magic, says one of the world’s top physicists.

Richard Lindzen, Alfred P Sloan Professor of Atmospheric Sciences, Emeritus at Massachussetts Institute of Technology, has long expressed doubts about the “science” behind anthropogenic global warming theory. (h/t Paul Homewood)  Now, in probably his most comprehensive and devastating assault yet on the Climate Industrial Complex, Lindzen shreds every one of the fake-science arguments used by the environmentalists to justify their hugely expensive “global warming” scare story.

The 97% meme

This is a fabrication designed to make idiots feel like experts.

As Lindzen puts it:

The [’97 per cent of scientists believe in global warming’] claim is meant to satisfy the non-expert that he or she has no need to understand the science. Mere agreement with the 97% will indicate that one is a supporter of science and superior to anyone denying disaster. This actually satisfies a psychological need for many people.
But, he explains, it’s just a trick created by pretending that all the scientists who agree that humans make a contribution to global warming (ie almost everyone) also agree with the alarmist theory that global warming is catastrophic, unprecedented and within man’s control. Which simply isn’t the case.

The ‘warmest years on record’ meme

Alarmists have been shrieking a lot recently that most of the hottest years on record – 14 out of 15, according to the UN – have happened since 2000.

This is silly for a number of reasons, Lindzen explains.

Daily Meditation

A Dangerous Motive

Who has given a gift to God that he might be repaid? For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. (Romans 11:35–36)

John Piper

When it comes to obedience, gratitude is a dangerous motive. It tends to get expressed in debtor’s terms. For example, “Look how much God has done for you. Shouldn’t you, out of gratitude, do much for him? Or: “You owe God everything that you are and have. What have you done for him in return?”

I have at least three problems with this kind of motivation.

First, it is impossible to pay God back for all the grace he has given us. We can’t even begin to pay him back, because Romans 11:35–36 says, “Who has given a gift to God that he might be repaid? [Answer: Nobody!] For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever.” We can’t pay him back because he already owns all we have to give him.

Secondly, even if we succeeded in paying him back for all his grace to us, we would only succeed in turning grace into a business transaction. If we can pay him back it was not grace. If someone tries to show you a special favor of love by having you over for dinner, and you end the evening by saying that you will pay them back by having them over next week, you nullify their grace and turn it into a trade. God does not like to have his grace nullified. He likes to have it glorified (Ephesians 1:6, 12, 14).

Thirdly, focusing on gratitude as a motive for obedience tends to overlook the crucial importance of having faith in God’s future grace. Gratitude looks back to grace received in the past and feels thankful. Faith looks forward to grace promised in the future and feels hopeful. “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for” (Hebrews 11:1).

This faith in future grace is the motive for obedience that preserves the gracious quality of human obedience. Obedience does not consist in paying God back and thus turning grace into a trade. Obedience comes from trusting in God for more grace — future grace — and thus magnifying the infinite resources of God’s love and power. Faith looks to the promise: “I will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9), and ventures, in obedience, to take the land

A Man Who Is Of The Earth

An Imprecatory Psalm For Kim Jong-un

In Tolkien's fictional universe, Ungoliant is a dark, mysterious being in the form of a grotesque spider.  Her origins are unclear, but she had descendants who lingered on in Middle Earth.  The spiders of Mirkwood are one line of descendants.  The dreaded Shelob is another.

In our present world there are few indeed who conjure up the horror of Shelob: black, bloated, delighting in torture, hungering always for victims.  Kim Jong-un is one.

Like his father and grandfather before him, he has enslaved an entire nation.  He drags is corpulent, self-indulged form over the squashed bodies of his slaves, grinning, always inanely grinning.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and his supporters would be forced to flee the country if the regime collapsed, leaving its impoverished people increasingly desperate. Photo: AFP

Repression and torture is such fun.

Friday, 12 May 2017

Incandescent Rage & Frothing At The Mouth

The Left Seeks to Silence Pro-Life/Pro-Family Voices

Austin Ruse

Silencing your opponent. That is now the main response of the political left in America.

You have seen the footage of speakers on college campuses being shouted down. You have heard about the liberal professor attacked by students for defending a conservative professor. You have watched black-masked rioters smashing the windows of stores and burning cars.

We are told that views that may conflict with the liberal world-view are no more than violence and hate and therefore may be silenced.  In recent days, C-Fam has come under that kind of attack and I am deeply worried.

C-Fam’s Lisa Correnti was chosen as a public-sector delegate for the Trump Administration to the just-concluded UN Commission on the Status of Women. Almost immediately the left attacked us. They harassed the US State Department for choosing us. The campaign to silence our voice went global. It was covered by the New York Times and Reuters, along with various LGBT blogs and news-sites.

A few days ago, a group of leftwing Democrat Congressmen sent a letter to US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley demanding that C-Fam never be chosen for another delegation and, ominously, that no other pro-life/pro-family group ever be chosen either.