Monday, 31 July 2017

A Good News (Gospel) Story

Hamilton Mother-of-Four on a Mission

Flying in one of the Remotest Places in the World

NZ Herald

It took the death of Glenys Watson's father to remind her just how short life was and prompted her and her husband to do something extreme to help others.  Five years on the Hamilton mother-of-four is moving her family to Papua New Guinea to fly into some of the remotest areas in the world under the toughest of circumstances to deliver goods and services to their small communities.

Glenys, 36, her husband Jonny and their four daughters will move to Goroka in September where she will take up a role with Christian organisation Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) to fly light aircraft in support of local communities.  She will be flying in extreme weather conditions and often be landing on handbuilt airstrips, sometimes perched on the sides of mountains or near rivers.
"It is challenging in that you are taking off on short airstrips and having to deal with different weather phenomenons and mountains," Watson said.

Watson qualified as a commercial pilot in Hawke's Bay in 2001 and spent five years working for Air Hawke's Bay as a commercial pilot, flight instructor and air ambulance pilot before moving to Hamilton and taking up a role with CTC Aviation.

For the past nine years she has been a stay-at-home mum raising her four daughters and has maintained her pilot's licence by doing recreational flying.

Daily Meditation

Too Easy on Ourselves; Too Harsh on Others

C. S. Lewis

When it comes to a question of our forgiving other people, it is partly the same and partly different. It is the same because, here also, forgiving does not mean excusing. Many people seem to think it does. They think that if you ask them to forgive someone who has cheated or bullied them you are trying to make out that there was really no cheating or no bullying. But if that were so, there would be nothing to forgive. They keep on replying, “But I tell you the man broke a most solemn promise.” Exactly: that is precisely what you have to forgive. (This doesn’t mean that you must necessarily believe his next promise. It does mean that you must make every effort to kill every taste of resentment in your own heart—every wish to humiliate or hurt him or to pay him out.)

The difference between this situation and the one in which you are asking God’s forgiveness is this. In our own case we accept excuses too easily; in other people’s we do not accept them easily enough.

From The Weight of Glory
Compiled in A Year with C.S. Lewis The Weight of Glory: And Other Addresses. Copyright © 1949, C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. Copyright renewed © 1976, revised 1980 C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers. 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

In The Caverns of Isengard, Hard At Work

Methinks I am a Dodo

When arrogant fools stand forth to deny the law of the Creator, whether inscribed in General Revelation (the lawbook of nature) or in Special Revelation (the lawbook of the Scriptures) it's hard to know whether to mock, deride, pity, or weep.  

The current Canutist fad is to deny biological gender.  Despite the genetic structure, who knows which of the 65 recently "discovered" and identified genders a newborn baby will eventually alight upon for a day or two?  Therefore, when a baby is born, strict agnosticism is in order.  But if someone were to insist that there is no certainty whatsoever that a baby actually is a human being, but that being itself is a choice--a future choice that the as-yet-unidentified-being will discover and eventually make--most would think folly and madness had crossed the stoop and sat down at the dining table.  Most would be right.

Imagine the parental neglect and abuse arising out of the vain attempt to wait for the infant something-or-other to decide whether it were a bird, a dog, or a brontosaurus.  Preposterous, we hear you say.  Nothing like that would ever happen.  Sorry.  You missed the train.  It has already left the station.  Not only that--the idiocy is being celebrated by the rebellious talking heads of the age.

This from the BBC:

Saturday, 29 July 2017

Left-Wing Brown Shirts

 Angry Left Stirs Up Violent Hatred

Karl Du Fresne

Hamburg last week was described as looking like a war zone after masked rioters ransacked shops, torched cars and built barricades, which they then set alight.   The rioters were protesting against the G20 summit, although what noble purpose was served by looting shops, burning cars and making off with stolen ATMs wasn't clear.

Nonetheless we're expected to believe that the protesters had more high-minded motives than the G20 leaders, whom the protesters insist are all irredeemably venal and corrupt.  Meanwhile, thousands of kilometres away, a violent mob stormed the Venezuelan parliament and attacked opposition MPs, some of whom suffered broken ribs and head injuries.   In both instances, the perpetrators were from the Left: in Hamburg, anarchists, communists and environmental activists; in Caracas, supporters of the socialist president Nicolas Maduro.

The Left has a problem here.

Daily Meditation

"Rules" For Prayer

To Dr F. Morgan Roberts:

C. S. Lewis

31 July 1954

I am certainly unfit to advise anyone else on the devotional life. My own rules are (1) To make sure that, wherever else they may be placed, the main prayers should not be put ‘last thing at night’. (2) To avoid introspection in prayer—I mean not to watch one’s own mind to see if it is in the right frame, but always to turn the attention outwards to God. (3) Never, never to try to generate an emotion by will power. (4) To pray without words when I am able, but to fall back on words when tired or otherwise below par. With renewed thanks. Perhaps you will sometimes pray for me?

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.

Useful Idiots

It Was Taken For Granted

Author, Doris Lessing who died a few years ago in 2013, at the age of 94 was a celebrated lady-of-letters.  Like many of the "intelligentsia" in Britain, Lessing went through a stage in her early professional life--in her twenties, early thirties--when she joined the Communist Party in the UK.   

Towards the end of her life, she wrote (in Volume 2 of her autobiography, Walking in the Shade) how she rationalised this allegiance at the time.
I decided to join the Communist Party.  And this at a time when my "doubts" had become something like a steady, private torment.  Separate manifestation of the horror that the Soviet Union had become were discussed, briefly, in lowered voices--the equivalent of looking over one's shoulder to see if anyone could hear.  I do not remember one serious, sit-down, in-dept discussion about the implications of what we were hearing.  Rather, sudden burstings into tears: "Oh, it's so horrible."  Sudden storms of accusation: "It's just anti-Soviet propaganda, anyway."  Marital quarrels, even divorces . . . .

The first and main fact, the "mind-set" of those times, was that it was taken for granted capitalism was doomed, was on its way out.

Friday, 28 July 2017

Slow Tortuous Suicide

Europe is Taking the Slow-Release Poison Pill

As Europe’s migrant crisis enters a new phase, it’s clear that European leaders have neither the will nor desire to preserve their own civilization.

John Daniel Davidson
The Federalist

On Sunday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she would not limit the number of refugees coming into the country. “On the issue of an upper limit, my position is clear,” Merkel said. “I won’t accept one.”

Setting aside the electoral implications of Merkel’s statement, which defied her party’s long-term coalition partner just two months before federal elections, it perfectly captured the refusal of European leaders to face the migrant crisis head-on—a refusal that in turn epitomizes the slow suicide of European civilization.

President Trump’s Warsaw speech earlier this month provoked predictable cries of racism and xenophobia from a mainstream media worried that even the term “western civilization” was a dog whistle for alt-right nationalists. Implicit in such criticism is the dubious notion that western values are not really western, that people of all cultures and religions desire more or less the same thing.

His critics say Trump was playing on white Europeans’ fears that Muslim migrants won’t adopt western values and won’t assimilate into European society, and therefore pose a direct threat to western civilization. But there’s another group that Trump no doubt had in mind, a group that also rejects western civilization and has little interest in defending or preserving it: European elites.

European Elites Refuse to Defend Women

Without splitting hairs over what we mean by “western civilization,” let’s stipulate that, at minimum, it encompasses things like freedom of speech and religion, equal rights for both sexes, and democratic rule of law.

Daily Meditation

How to Defy Sinful Desire

By faith Moses . . . [left] the fleeting pleasures of sin . . . for he was looking to the reward. (Hebrews 11:24–26)

John Piper

Faith is not content with “fleeting pleasures.” It is ravenous for joy. And the Word of God says, “In your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11). So faith will not be sidetracked into sin. It will not give up so easily in its quest for maximum joy.

The role of God’s Word is to feed faith’s appetite for God. And, in doing this, it weans my heart away from the deceptive taste of lust.

At first, lust begins to trick me into feeling that I would really miss out on some great satisfaction if I followed the path of purity. But then I take up the sword of the Spirit and begin to fight.

I read that it is better to gouge out my eye than to lust (Matthew 5:29).

I read that if I think about things that are pure and lovely and excellent, the peace of God will be with me (Philippians 4:8).

I read that setting the mind on the flesh brings death, but setting the mind on the Spirit brings life and peace (Romans 8:6).

I read that lust wages war against my soul (1 Peter 2:11), and that the pleasures of this life choke out the life of the Spirit (Luke 8:14).

But best of all, I read that God withholds no good thing from those who walk uprightly (Psalm 84:11), and that the pure in heart will see God (Matthew 5:8).

As I pray for my faith to be satisfied with God’s life and peace, the sword of the Spirit carves the sugar coating off the poison of lust. I see it for what it is. And by the grace of God, its alluring power is broken.

Dealing Properly With Rogue Police

Sad Case, Right Outcomes

Rogue police.  Usually when this hits the headlines it is referring to some overseas country--often the United States, not infrequently Australia, and sometimes the UK and Europe.  But New Zealand is like any other country: rogue policemen and police women can and do exist.  Only constant vigilance, training, an open culture, and ethical standards set and lived from the top down keep such perversity and systemic damage to the police (and the public) to a minimum.  

In a recent case a rogue policeman has been dealt with before the courts, and it now undergoing an "employment process"--that is, his employer, the NZ Police is now dealing with him via the procedures of employment law.
The stalker who harassed a Dunedin businessman for two-and-a-half years can now be revealed as a police officer.  Constable Jeremy Fraser Buis, 39, was sentenced following a judge-alone trial in March to 200 hours' community work and ordered to pay the victim, Danny Pryde, $15,000 after being found guilty of criminal harassment, threatening to do grievous bodily harm and intentional damage.

Southern District commander Superintendent Paul Basham confirmed yesterday that the defendant had been suspended in February 2015 and an employment process was ongoing.  [NZ Herald]
What did this rogue police officer do?

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Very Positive Review of "Dunkirk"

Film Review: Christopher Nolan’s ‘Dunkirk’

Peter Debruge
Chief Film Critic
Variety Magazine

Dunkirk Review

Christopher Nolan recreates the World War II evacuation from land, sea and air, interweaving events in a bravura virtual-eyewitness account.

Steven Spielberg laid claim to the Normandy beach landing, Clint Eastwood owns Iwo Jima, and now, Christopher Nolan has authored the definitive cinematic version of Dunkirk. Unlike those other battles, however, this last was not a conventional victory, but more of a salvaged retreat, as the German offensive forced a massive evacuation of English troops early in World War II. And unlike those other two directors, Nolan is only nominally interested in the human side of the story as he puts his stamp on the heroic rescue operation, offering a bravura virtual-eyewitness account from multiple perspectives — one that fragments and then craftily interweaves events as seen from land, sea and air.

Take away the film’s prismatic structure and this could be a classic war picture for the likes of Lee Marvin or John Wayne. And yet, there’s no question that the star here is Nolan himself, whose attention-grabbing approach alternates among three strands, chronological but not concurrent, while withholding until quite late the intricate way they all fit together. Though the subject matter is leagues (and decades) removed from the likes of “Inception” and “The Dark Knight,” the result is so clearly “a Christopher Nolan film” — from its immersive, full-body suspense to the sophisticated way he manipulates time and space — that his fans will eagerly follow en masse to witness the achievement. And what an achievement it is!

Daily Meditation

A Little Fearful Flock

A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench. Matthew 12:20

Charles H. Spurgeon

What is weaker than the bruised reed or the smoking flax? A reed that groweth in the fen or marsh, let but the wild duck light upon it, and it snaps; let but the foot of man brush against it, and it is bruised and broken; every wind that flits across the river moves it to and fro. You can conceive of nothing more frail or brittle, or whose existence is more in jeopardy, than a bruised reed.
Then look at the smoking flax--what is it? It has a spark within it, it is true, but it is almost smothered; an infant's breath might blow it out; nothing has a more precarious existence than its flame.

Weak things are here described, yet Jesus says of them, "The smoking flax I will not quench; the bruised reed I will not break." Some of God's children are made strong to do mighty works for him; God has his Samsons here and there who can pull up Gaza's gates, and carry them to the top of the hill; he has a few mighties who are lion-like men, but the majority of his people are a timid, trembling race. They are like starlings, frightened at every passer by; a little fearful flock. If temptation comes, they are taken like birds in a snare; if trial threatens, they are ready to faint; their frail skiff is tossed up and down by every wave, they are drifted along like a sea bird on the crest of the billows--weak things, without strength, without wisdom, without foresight.

Yet, weak as they are, and because they are so weak, they have this promise made specially to them. Herein is grace and graciousness! Herein is love and lovingkindness! How it opens to us the compassion of Jesus--so gentle, tender, considerate! We need never shrink back from his touch. We need never fear a harsh word from him; though he might well chide us for our weakness, he rebuketh not.

Bruised reeds shall have no blows from him, and the smoking flax no damping frowns.

Meteria Turei and the Bible

Unwittingly Turei Confirms the Scriptures and Condemns Us All

We are finding it hard to move on past the mendacity and priggishness of Green leader, Metiria Turei.  Here was a public exposure of universal human depravity--an uncloaking of what lurks and festers inside all of us.

The particular events are now well known. But to recap, the Green Leader has admitted lying for over a period of at least five years in order to maintain her state income support benefit which was means tested.  In order to get the full entitlement, there were limits on how much "other income" Turei was receiving.  In this case she owned or operated successive apartments which she had sub-let to several other flatmates.  She lied to the welfare authorities about the income she was receiving from her cohabitants.  If she had told the truth, of course, like ordinary folk, her state welfare benefit would have been reduced accordingly.

Now, years later, Turei has cast herself as both a victim and a martyr.  She was forced into lying, she says.

Wednesday, 26 July 2017


Trump’s Education Department Takes on the Campus-Rape Lie

Will it have the will to restore due process for the accused?

By David French
National Review Online

Last week, while the most in the media fixed their eyes on Donald Trump Jr., far-left activists geared up for a different kind of assault on the Trump administration: a full-court press to maintain a series of unlawful Obama-era policies that have stripped young men of their constitutional rights, ruined lives, and fostered politically correct (but factually challenged) hysteria on campuses from coast to coast. At issue is the Obama administration’s April 2011 “Dear Colleague” letter, a document that skipped the legally mandated regulatory rulemaking process to require colleges to adjudicate campus sexual-assault cases under a “preponderance of the evidence” standard without also securing adequate due-process rights for the accused.

Why do such a thing? Because campus activists (and Obama-administration allies) were convinced that colleges were in the middle of a “rape crisis.” Shoddy studies conducted with expansive definitions of sexual assault convinced the Left that an astounding 20 percent of college women are assaulted during their campus years, rendering the university a virtual war zone for women. It’s a rate that contradicts Bureau of Justice statistics showing that women are safer on campus than off, and that the real rate of sexual violence on campus isn’t one in five but closer to 6.1 per 1,000, a number that had been trending downward for 14 years as of 2013, the last year covered in the BJS report.

But no matter, the fake crisis demanded extreme measures, and the result was a series of federally mandated kangaroo courts. The goal was to create a summary procedure that permitted wronged women to safely and easily report their abusers and remove them from campus. The actual result was that poorly trained campus officials stepped into a miasma of drunken hookups and broken hearts. By 2016, colleges were buffeted from two directions — by an activist Democratic administration that demanded ever-more-decisive actions to address the alleged “crisis” and by mushrooming lawsuits brought by aggrieved male students, young men who were often forced off campus on the flimsiest of charges.

Last week, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos signaled that help — or at least due process — was on the way.

Daily Meditation

On the Lord’s Prayer

C. S. Lewis

We believe that God forgives us our sins; but also that He will not do so unless we forgive other people their sins against us. There is no doubt about the second part of this statement. It is in the Lord’s Prayer; it was emphatically stated by our Lord. If you don’t forgive, you will not be forgiven. No part of His teaching is clearer, and there are no exceptions to it. He doesn’t say that we are to forgive other people’s sins provided they are not too frightful, or provided there are extenuating circumstances, or anything of that sort. We are to forgive them all, however spiteful, however mean, however often they are repeated. If we don’t, we shall be forgiven none of our own.

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

Summons to a Higher Court

Arrogance Paternalism and Racism Rife in the UK Foreign Office

State parties all around the world have taken a fancy to claiming authority over the Bible.  For decades this has been happening indirectly.  State schools, for example, teach evolutionism as fact.  Whilst this is not a direct attack upon the Holy Scriptures per se, it indirectly runs a flag up the flagpole: the state and government parties hold the Bible to be a bunch of baloney.  

We Christians have got used to this and end up returning the "compliment": we hold that state parties are riddled with cant, ignorance, and are grossly prejudiced.  We end up handing them over to their fate on Judgement Day.

But things are ratcheting up somewhat.  In the UK a functionary of the Foreign Office has decided that it is time to rein in Christians in the Southern Hemisphere (by which they almost  certainly mean Africa, since the Church has been going from strength to strength in that continent).  The Barnabas Fund has exposed the latest egregious action by an organ of the UK state.

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

NZ Government-Clinton Foundation Rort

The Clinton's Grubby Fingers Are Even in the Pockets of New Zealand Taxpayers

This piece is reproduced from the NZ Taxpayers Union newsletter

New Zealand Taxpayers' Union Inc.

Dear Supporter,

Another $2.4 million of our money goes to the Clinton Foundation

Clinton-Foundation-Conflict-of-Interest-cartoon.jpgBack in January, we exposed the $7.7 million NZ Aid had paid to the “Clinton Health Access Initiative” a subsidiary of the controversial Clinton Foundation. We hosted a petition calling for the funding to cease and our staff even took to the streets asking people whether there are better uses for taxpayers' money than a political charity.

After Murry McCully stood down, we wrote to the new Minister for Foreign Affairs, Gerry Brownlee, asking him to veto further funding.

This morning we revealed that another $2.4 million has been paid this year.  Minister Brownlee says the payments will continue because, he claims, the “Clinton Health Access Initiative” is not a subsidiary of the Clinton Foundation and that it is "independent". You can read the details here.

Gerry BrownleeYour humble Taxpayers’ Union has dug out the public charity filings of the Clinton Health Access Initiative. They show that far from being ‘independent’, the Clinton Foundation actually appoint the board of the Initiative – President Bill Clinton, and daughter Chelsea are even on it.

We have written back to the Minister to point out that the power to appoint the board alone make the Initiative a subsidiary of the Foundation under both New Zealand law and international accounting standards. Either Gerry Brownlee is trying to pull the wool over the public’s eyes, or his officials have completely misled him (and $9.1 million of our money has been paid out on false pretences!).

The Australian Government has pulled the plug on funding the Clinton Health Access Initiative.  Apparently, it considers there are higher priorities closer to home.  Hear hear!

You can add your name to our petition calling for the funding to cease here, or perhaps call Minister Brownlee's office on (04) 817 6802 to let his staff know what you think about this use of your taxpayer money. Let us know by return email how you get on.

Daily Meditation

His Timing Is Perfect

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may find grace for a well-timed help. (Hebrews 4:16)

John Piper

All ministry is in the future — a moment away, or a month, or a year, or a decade. We have ample time to fret about our inadequacy. When this happens, we must turn to prayer.  Prayer is the form of faith that connects us today with the grace that will make us adequate for tomorrow’s ministry. Timing is everything.

What if grace comes too early or comes too late? The traditional translation of Hebrews 4:16 hides from us a very precious promise in this regard. We need a more literal rendering to see it.  The more traditional wording goes like this: “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” The Greek original behind the phrase “grace to help in time of need” would be translated literally, “grace for a well-timed help.”

The point is that prayer is the way to find future grace for a well-timed help. This grace always arrives from the “throne of grace” on time. The phrase “throne of grace” means that future grace comes from the King of the Universe who sets the times by his own authority (Acts 1:8).

His timing is perfect, but it is rarely ours: “For a thousand years in [his] sight are but as yesterday when it is past” (Psalm 90:4). At the global level, he sets the times for nations to rise and fall (Acts 17:26). And at the personal level, “My times are in [his] hand” (Psalm 31:15).

When we wonder about the timing of future grace, we must think on the “throne of grace.” Nothing can hinder God’s plan to send grace when it will be best for us. Future grace is always well-timed.

Letter From Australia (About Victimhood, Grievance, and Entitlement)

"The Force is Strong in This One"

A politician in Australia has been caught out with her snout in the trough.  But because it's all to do with a PC cause, there is "nothing to see here.  Move along."  Nonetheless, voters have taken umbrage.
Here's a way to test your capacity for self-delusion.  If your child is too ill to go to school today, do you take her on a business trip at the taxpayer’s expense? A moral bind surely, even if it is within the so-called company rules.  But if you’re a warrior for Single Motherhood, that excuses everything.

You can attend, with a sick child in tow, an overnight jaunt to see a few whales and shuck oysters because you are simply doing your job.  In other words, tick, another problem solved in the tyranny of life known as Single Motherhood.  That is, of course, if you’re blindly entitled like the Greens’ Sarah Hanson-Young.

The Senator has this week been condemned nationwide for using a reported $3874.24 of taxpayers’ money to go whale watching with her daughter Kora last September in the Great Australian Bight.  Hanson-Young says she didn’t have an option and therefore had to take her unwell 11-year-old along on the trip to discuss BP’s plans to drill for oil in the marine reserve.  [Daily Telegraph]
 If anyone dare criticize this snout-in-trough behaviour, the good senator will face them down with masterful guilt manipulation.  How dare anyone persecute a single mother such as her!

Monday, 24 July 2017

"We the People" Are A Vanishing Species

Politicians Are Now Mere Figureheads

When a civil government extends its commands and controls over the realm, one immediate result is the growing size of the bureaucracy.  When governments reach forth their hands to regulate tiddlywinks, we end up with an ever growing cancer of tiddlywink monitors, data gatherers, inspectors, rule creators, and even prosecutors.

Eventually this rotten tree produces a collage of poisonous fruits.  The rules and regulations become self-perpetuating and self-propagating.  What began as an agency of one hundred eventually becomes a behemoth of thousands.  Secondly, the now behemoth agency begins to work more co-operatively and interlaces its functions with other behemoth agencies.  Before long the administrative state becomes both self-propagating and self-perpetuating.  Politicians--that is, those voted in two power--lose power.  They are made impotent, while the vast enterprise rolls on.  At this point the adjective, Byzantine becomes apt.

The end result is a soft, but extremely effective, transfer of political power has occurred.  The mere citizen, growing rhubarb in his hack yard, suddenly discovers that he is subject to fifty-three different, interlacing regulations promulgated by the Federal Vegetable Administration (FVA).  And he also discovers that his political representative (MP, Congressman, Assemblyman--whatever) can do absolutely nothing about it.

Daily Meditation

The Revelations of Affliction

The Lord our God hath shewed us his glory.  Deuteronomy 5:24

Charles H. Spurgeon

God's great design in all his works is the manifestation of his own glory. Any aim less than this were unworthy of himself. But how shall the glory of God be manifested to such fallen creatures as we are? Man's eye is not single, he has ever a side glance towards his own honour, has too high an estimate of his own powers, and so is not qualified to behold the glory of the Lord.

It is clear, then, that self must stand out of the way, that there may be room for God to be exalted; and this is the reason why he bringeth his people ofttimes into straits and difficulties, that, being made conscious of their own folly and weakness, they may be fitted to behold the majesty of God when he comes forth to work their deliverance. He whose life is one even and smooth path, will see but little of the glory of the Lord, for he has few occasions of self-emptying, and hence, but little fitness for being filled with the revelation of God.

They who navigate little streams and shallow creeks, know but little of the God of tempests; but they who "do business in great waters," these see his "wonders in the deep." Among the huge Atlantic-waves of bereavement, poverty, temptation, and reproach, we learn the power of Jehovah, because we feel the littleness of man.

Thank God, then, if you have been led by a rough road: it is this which has given you your experience of God's greatness and lovingkindness. Your troubles have enriched you with a wealth of knowledge to be gained by no other means: your trials have been the cleft of the rock in which Jehovah has set you, as he did his servant Moses, that you might behold his glory as it passed by.

Praise God that you have not been left to the darkness and ignorance which continued prosperity might have involved, but that in the great fight of affliction, you have been capacitated for the outshinings of his glory in his wonderful dealings with you.

Denying the Means of Grace to Homosexuals

The Church of England Genuflects to Baal

The Barnabas Fund has written:

The Church of England’s General Synod has just passed a motion calling on the UK government to ban what they term “conversion therapy”.

By this, they do not mean the sort of horrific medical treatments such as “chemical castration” that were sometimes forced on gay people half a century ago. Rather, what the General Synod voted to ask the government to ban was “prayer ministry”, i.e. praying for people who experience unwanted same-sex attraction to be set free from that. In other words, what the General Synod asked the government to ban was a particular form of prayer.

It is sad that the Church of England has done this.

The sadness is twofold.  Firstly, the General Synod has called for the State to exercise control over the content of prayers to the Lord Jesus Christ.  In doing so, the Anglican Church has declared its belief that the UK government is a higher authority than King Jesus.  It also exposes the church's disbelief in liberty of conscience and religious faith.  The Anglican Church would rapidly move back to the days of state control of religion--that is, to the same kind of tyranny over conscience that held sway before the Toleration Act of 1689.

The second point of sadness is this: the General Synod, by this benighted action, would remove a means of grace from penitents seeking to overcome the sin of homosexuality.  In this case at least the Anglican Church has become the enemy of converted and repentant homosexuals, showering them with a thousand treacherous kisses.  "Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy."  Proverbs 27:6

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Minimum Wage Hikes Reduce the Demand for Labour

Magical Thinking about Minimum Wages

The laws of supply and demand apply to labor, too.

By Kevin D. Williamson
National Review Online

Thanks to a new study from economists at the University of Washington, American progressives have learned that the laws of supply and demand apply to the labor market. Everybody already knew that, except for professional economists.

The study, commissioned by the city government of Seattle and published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, found that Seattle’s law incrementally raising its minimum wage — to $13 an hour last year, en route to $15 — resulted in low-wage workers’ earning less money rather than more. This surprised many in Seattle, who had been assured by all the best economists, including Paul Krugman, that such a thing would not come to pass.

So, what happened?

The short version is: You can pass a law saying you have to pay low-wage workers more, but you cannot pass a law that says you have to hire them in the first place, or that you cannot cut back on hours when the price of hourly labor goes up. As businesses responded to the new higher labor costs by reorganizing their processes in less labor-intensive ways (the classic examples here are the replacement of wait staff with computer screens in restaurants and the replacement of bank clerks with more sophisticated ATMs), the law that was supposed to increase low-wage workers’ incomes actually reduced them — substantially, by an average of $125 a month.

The first lecture in Economics 101 is that supply and demand interact through prices. (And a wage is a price — the price of labor.) Producers will produce more of any given product at a higher price, and consumers will consume less of it at a higher price. At some point, producers’ preferences coincide with those of consumers, and that is the market price that emerges. That’s a rough model, of course, but it describes the basic reality of how commercial transactions actually happen. . . .

Daily Meditation

The Rats Are Always There

C. S. Lewis

We begin to notice, besides our particular sinful acts, our sinfulness; begin to be alarmed not only about what we do, but about what we are.

This may sound rather difficult, so I will try to make it clear from my own case. When I come to my evening prayers and try to reckon up the sins of the day, nine times out of ten the most obvious one is some sin against charity; I have sulked or snapped or sneered or snubbed or stormed. And the excuse that immediately springs to my mind is that the provocation was so sudden and unexpected; I was caught off my guard, I had not time to collect myself. Now that may be an extenuating circumstance as regards those particular acts: they would obviously be worse if they had been deliberate and premeditated. On the other hand, surely what a man does when he is taken off his guard is the best evidence for what sort of a man he is? Surely what pops out before the man has time to put on a disguise is the truth?

If there are rats in a cellar you are most likely to see them if you go in very suddenly. But the suddenness does not create the rats: it only prevents them from hiding. In the same way the suddenness of the provocation does not make me an ill-tempered man; it only shows me what an ill-tempered man I am. The rats are always there in the cellar, but if you go in shouting and noisily they will have taken cover before you switch on the light.

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 Force is Strong With This One

The New Model Socialist

Metiria Turei's sense of entitlement is infuriating and nauseating.  "You owe me, bigtime" seems to underlie much of her political persona.  Yet she, courtesy of the taxpayer's dime, is one of the most highly paid people in the country.

She cheated the taxpayer.  She broke the law.  But only because she thought she was entitled to do so. "I deserved to be treated better.  The cruel system was at fault.  More taxpayer's money should have been distributed to me."  It turns out that Turei's lawbreaking was not a "thing of the moment" so much as a deliberate, repeated policy.  As the Herald editorial writer put it:
Spread over three years however, Turei's lie of omission starts to look less like a one-off act of dishonesty and more like a systematic attempt to rort the system. Letter writers and talkback callers have voiced their anger over what they see as her sense of entitlement to public money - not helped by the fact that taxpayers are providing her with a huge salary today. [NZ Herald]
The deep sense of grievance and entitlement now risks her being hoist on her own petard, since she is now one of the rich and wealthy--courtesy of the taxpayer.

Friday, 21 July 2017

State Resistance to Government Theft in the US

Some Progress

The struggle against civil asset forfeiture in the United States is making some progress at a state by state level.
Last Monday, Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy signed a bill to curb the state’s civil forfeiture laws. Under the new law, property confiscated via civil forfeiture may be permanently retained only if the property was seized through a lawful search and if the seizure ultimately leads to the suspect’s criminal conviction. Without a guilty verdict, the government must return all property to the rightful owner.

Prior to this new bill, Connecticut’s civil asset forfeiture policy made it legal for an individual’s property or cash to be seized and indefinitely retained by the state even if they have not been convicted or even accused of committing any crime.

According to the Institute for Justice, state civil asset forfeiture cases constituted 77 percent of all Connecticut forfeiture cases between 2009 and 2013. This indicates that that less than one-quarter of Connecticut’s forfeitures did not require proof that the property owner had committed any crime.  “Civil forfeiture is one of the most serious assaults on Americans’ private property rights,” said Institute for Justice Senior Legislative Counsel Lee McGrath.  [The Blaze]
Good news.  Roughly half a dozen states have already restricted the practice of civil forfeiture, or outlawed it altogether.

Daily Meditation

Energy for Today’s To-Dos

Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. (Philippians 2:12–13)

John Piper

God is the decisive worker here. He wills and he works for his good pleasure. But believing this does not make Christians passive. It makes them hopeful and energetic and courageous.

Each day there is a work to be done in our special ministry. Paul commands us to work at doing it. But he tells us how to do it in the power of future grace: believe the promise that in this day God will be at work in you to will and work for his good pleasure.

It is God himself, graciously arriving each moment, that brings the future into the present. It is not the gratitude for past grace that Paul focuses on when explaining how he “worked harder than any of them.” It is fresh grace for every new conquest in his missionary labor.

The power of future grace is the power of the living Christ — always there to work for us at every future moment that we enter. So when Paul describes the effect of the grace of God that was with him, he says, “I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me to bring the Gentiles to obedience — by word and deed” (Romans 15:18).

Therefore since he would not dare to speak of anything but what Christ accomplished through his ministry, and yet he did, in fact, speak of what grace accomplished through his ministry (1 Corinthians 15:10), this must mean that the power of grace is the power of Christ.

Which means that the power we need for tomorrow’s ministry is the future grace of the omnipotent Christ, who will always be there for us — ready to will and ready to work for his good pleasure.

Ignore the Stumbling Blocks: Paul Did

Preaching By Faith

Preaching a crucified Jesus to be the Lord of glory was indeed a stumbling block.  Paul was right on point when he declared, 
For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.  [I Corinthians 1: 22-25]
When the Jews demanded signs, they wanted miraculous confirmation that the claimant was indeed the Messiah.  They were given plenty of such confirmations, but chose to  "explain" them away.  For them--when they heard the Gospel preached- by the church-all that was left was the horror and humiliation of a public crucifixion.  It was a stumbling block because they had believed that Messiah would deliver them powerfully from Gentile oppression--even as David had delivered them from the Philistines centuries before.   A crucified Messiah was a mockery, a blasphemy.

For the Gentiles, following a crucified saviour was similarly the acme of foolishness.  Why?  Because the "rite" of crucifixion was the archetype of degradation.  Sarah Ruden carefully re-situates crucifixion in its ancient Greco-Roman setting.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow (Abour our Pelagian World)

Straight and Narrow

Douglas Wilson


One of the hidden drivers in our public debates about homosexual lust and practice is that a widespread and presupposed Pelagianism has riddled the church. I am happy to explain myself here, but I would like to ask you to walk with me for a piece.


Pelagianism holds, among other things, that a man cannot be blamed for what cannot be helped. In this system, sin is defined in accordance with our ability to meet the standard. If we cannot meet the standard, then it would obviously be unjust to hold us to the standard. Ability limits obligation. If I have no ability to jump over the ocean to Hawaii, then clearly I can have no moral obligation to do so. Makes sense, right?

Except that this muddles the difference between natural inability and moral inability. Natural inability answers every moral accusation that might be brought against a man. I can have no moral obligation to pick up rocks in my driveway and bounce them off the moon, because I have absolutely no physical ability to do so. This kind of inability really does limit obligation. I do not feel guilty for my inability to fly like a bird, or swim like a dolphin, or burrow like a mole. Neither do I feel guilty over my inability to publish in staid and responsible journals. The metaphorical adjectives have to go somewhere, and I can’t just keep them in my head. They just crowd in. Where was I?

But if my inability is a moral inability, then that inability excuses nothing. In fact, this kind of inability compounds the sin, making it worse. The Lord does not call the Pharisees a nest of vipers, but then go on to make the crucial point that vipers can’t help being what they are, having been “born that way” to viper parents. Not at all. Nor did the Lord hasten to add that we should be building bridges not walls. Little narrow snake bridges. See what I mean?

A man can have the natural ability to do something that he has no moral ability to do. For example, I have the physical ability to walk down to our main city square, and to stand on a bench, and yell slanderous and malicious accusations about my deceased mother. I have the feet, I have the lungs, I know the words, and no one has a gun pointed at me to prevent this from happening. But while I have the natural ability to do it, I do not have the moral capacity to do it. My point is considerably stronger than I would rather not. My point is that I couldn’t. Natural ability to do “this or that” and moral ability to do “this or that” are clearly two different things.

Daily Meditation

The Future of the Old Rattle Trap

TO MARY WILLIS SHELBURNE: On the resurrection of the body and of all creation; and on the goodness of the bodies we now have.

C. S. Lewis

26 November 1962

My stuff about animals came long ago in The Problem of Pain. I ventured the supposal—it could be nothing more—that as we are raised in Christ, so at least some animals are raised in us. Who knows, indeed, but that a great deal even of the inanimate creation is raised in the redeemed souls who have, during this life, taken its beauty into themselves? That may be the way in which the ‘new heaven and the new earth’30 are formed. Of course we can only guess and wonder.

But these particular guesses arise in me, I trust, from taking seriously the resurrection of the body: a doctrine which now-a- days is very soft pedalled by nearly all the faithful—to our great impoverishment. Not that you and I have now much reason to rejoice in having bodies! Like old automobiles, aren’t they? where all sorts of apparently different things keep going wrong, but what they add up to is the plain fact that the machine is wearing out. Well, it was not meant to last forever.

Still, I have a kindly feeling for the old rattle-trap. Through it God showed me that whole side of His beauty which is embodied in colour, sound, smell and size. No doubt it has often led me astray: but not half so often, I suspect, as my soul has led it astray. For the spiritual evils which we share with the devils (pride, spite) are far worse than what we share with the beasts: and sensuality really arises more from the imagination than from the appetites: which, if left merely to their own animal strength, and not elaborated by our imagination, would be fairly easily managed. But this is turning into a sermon!

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.

Will History Repeat?

"The Old B--- Likes It Narrow"

In 1951 a general election was held in the UK.  The Conservatives won; Winston Churchill was returned to power.  These were the days when large swathes of the working class supported and voted for the Conservatives.  Voting was not strictly along the lines of socio-economic class, despite very strong social class identity at the time.  

It took a long time to count the votes, and the final outcome was not known until the following morning.  In his book, Family Britain 1951-1957, David Kynaston quotes the writer Ronald Duncan's encounter with a train porter at Charing Cross.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow (About Christian Confusion)

Gayer Than the Kiwi Queen of the Fire Island Fruit Festival

Douglas Wilson

Every once in a while you run across something that is a few parsecs beyond the utter frozen limit. What do you do then? Tim Bayly recently posted a video of an offertory performance done at Redeemer Downtown in Manhattan, along with his comments, and I have reposted the video below. You can watch the whole thing, or if you have a medical condition, you can watch 30 seconds of it and still get the drift. If confusion were beans, this would be a 9-layer dip, suitable for Super Bowl parties.

So here it is. Brace yourself.

Life Together from Redeemer Video on Vimeo.

What is the problem with this? Summed up, it is that this performance is gayer than the kiwi queen at the Fire Island Fruit Festival. This performance is gayer than an HR memo at Google headquarters. How gay was it? It was gayer than an NPR tote bag full of rainbows. It was gayer than a unicorn parade through the Castro District. It was gayer than a lavender sparkly pen.

And to top it all off, we live in an antinomian generation, where the only sins possible are those represented by something like the preceding paragraph. It is not okay to say “gayer than,” but it is beyond okay to be “gayer than.”

It is no sin to watch this video clip and not know what the particular problem is. Human self-deception can occupy the heart like a rabbit warren under a large meadow. The particular problems can be hard to identify and trace. But the general problem is screamingly obvious. If you can look at this clip and not know that there is a grievous problem somewhere, then the self-deception involved is truly profound.

I referred above to the problem of confusion.

Daily Meditation

Becoming Sure of One's Election

Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God.  1 Thessalonians 1:4

Charles H. Spurgeon

Many persons want to know their election before they look to Christ, but they cannot learn it thus, it is only to be discovered by "looking unto Jesus." If you desire to ascertain your own election;--after the following manner, shall you assure your heart before God. Do you feel yourself to be a lost, guilty sinner? go straightway to the cross of Christ, and tell Jesus so, and tell him that you have read in the Bible, "Him that cometh unto me, I will in no wise cast out." Tell him that he has said, "This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners." Look to Jesus and believe on him, and you shall make proof of your election directly, for so surely as thou believest, thou art elect.

If you will give yourself wholly up to Christ and trust him, then you are one of God's chosen ones; but if you stop and say, "I want to know first whether I am elect," you ask you know not what. Go to Jesus, be you never so guilty, just as you are. Leave all curious inquiry about election alone. Go straight to Christ and hide in his wounds, and you shall know your election. The assurance of the Holy Spirit shall be given to you, so that you shall be able to say, "I know whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed to him."

Christ was at the everlasting council: he can tell you whether you were chosen or not; but you cannot find it out in any other way. Go and put your trust in him, and his answer will be--"I have loved thee with an everlasting love, therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee." There will be no doubt about his having chosen you, when you have chosen him.

"Sons we are through God's election,
Who in Jesus Christ believe."

Climate Change Update, Part IV

‘Nearly All’ Recent Global Warming Is Fabricated

James Delingpole

[This represents the fourth article in a series exposing the fraudulent re-stating of data in the vain attempt to "prove" global warming and climate change.  This represents the biggest fraud we have seen in our lifetimes.  JT]

Much of recent global warming has been fabricated by climate scientists to make it look more frightening, a study by statisticians has found.

The peer-reviewed study by two scientists and a veteran statistician looked at the global average temperature datasets (GAST) which are used by climate alarmists to argue that recent years have been “the hottest evah” and that the warming of the last 120 years has been dramatic and unprecedented.

What they found is that these readings are “totally inconsistent with published and credible U.S. and other temperature data.”  That is, the adjusted data used by alarmist organizations like NASA, NOAA, and the UK Met Office differs so markedly from the original raw data that it cannot be trusted.

This chart gives you a good idea of the direction of the adjustments.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Climate Change Update, Part III

The Rogue Train of Rising Electricity Prices in Australia

Something “seismic” has happened to our electricity prices.


Paul McArdle of WattClarity goes through each state looking at quarterly trends and prices, and remarks that things are going “off the chart”. We had some electricity crises in Australia in the last 12 months, and 2016 was a significantly more expensive than all previous years bar the major drought year of 2007. But ominously, prices haven’t come down in what should be a “normal” quarter. In Tasmania there was a crisis last year when dams ran dry, and the undersea Bass cable broke. But this quarter, prices are only $3.20/MWh lower than the crisis levels of Q2 2016 despite water in dams and a working cable to Victoria. Something has gone seriously wrong with our electrical grid and market. In both Victoria and South Australia prices are higher on average than any previous April-June quarter in the 19 year history of the National Electricity Market. In Queensland and New South Wales, prices are at the “second highest”. {Emphasis, ours.]

McArdle goes to some length to explain that this is not “one factor”, which seems obvious and fair — It's the combination of the closure of Hazelwood and Port Augusta coal generators; the extremely high gas-prices; the lack of wind; the increase of intermittent renewables; and the way electricity generators game the market. But what McArdle doesn’t mention is that these factors are not independent. If there was more coal fired power there wouldn’t be such high gas prices, and if there weren’t intermittent, highly subsidized generators, there wouldn’t be as much room to “game” the market. If there is some ominous leap in electricity prices, we know from years of experience that a grid with a lower renewables input provides cheaper time-weighted average prices even though for some isolated, miraculous moments every day, using a cherry picked description, and ignoring costs of transmission lines and auxiliary services (like “stability”) we could say we are getting “free electricity”.

A grid is a complicated animal, and people studying small separate parts of it can make accurate but totally contradictory statements. What matters is the total cost of electricity over all, after the wash, the games, the crises and the subsidies are played out. The high gas prices have other causes beyond coal and renewables, but there’s no question that Australia had a cheap backup: it could always use coal, which would mean the high gas prices wouldn’t have to hurt so much. The renewables subsidies are pushing the cheapest electricity source out of business. There is an Easy and Obvious way to let the market fix this problem that the government hath engendered, but there is no easy and obvious way to run a grid off wind and solar and no easy way to control our climate in 2100 using electrical power stations in 2017.

Thanks to Paul McArdle for crunching these numbers. Even the ABC is paying attention now, writing both “Power prices are ‘off the chart‘ and there’s no relief in sight” and  “Victorian businesses struggling with power ‘train wreck’ as wholesale prices triple since 2015“. Go to his site for the gory details.

If spot price outcomes through Q2 2016 were “truly remarkable” then price outcomes for Q2 2017 were off the chart"

Paul McArdle,

In Victoria, we see the average price for the Quarter break $100/MWh (up at $104.92/MWh) – a gut-wrenching level for the vast majority of energy users in what has traditionally been one of the more “boring” quarters.  In Victoria, we see that average Q2 prices have never been higher, across all 19 years of NEM history.

Saving (in this case) the worst for last, we then step over to South Australia where the time-weighted average price for the quarter reached a staggering $115.93/MWh, … it is clearly the highest Q2 average price South Australia has seen over the 19 year history of the NEM.

In the same vein as last year, the most important take-aways from this analysis should be:
1.  That the outcome for Q2 2017 was even more remarkable than Q2 2016; and
2.  That it appears that we’re entering a new environment that’s distinctly different from the years that preceded; and
3.  That this affects everyone, right across the NEM ; and finally that
4.  Those pre-disposed to draw overly simplistic  (“it was due to … [this one factor]”) conclusions are unlikely to be correct, and could be dangerously misleading.

Daily Meditation

If God Is For You . . .

When I cry unto thee, then shall mine enemies turn back: this I know; for God is for me. Psalm 56:9

Charles H. Spurgeon

It is impossible for any human speech to express the full meaning of this delightful phrase, "God is for me." He was "for us" before the worlds were made; he was "for us," or he would not have given his well-beloved son; he was "for us" when he smote the Only-begotten, and laid the full weight of his wrath upon him--he was "for us," though he was against him; he was "for us," when we were ruined in the fall--he loved us notwithstanding all; he was "for us," when we were rebels against him, and with a high hand were bidding him defiance; he was "for us," or he would not have brought us humbly to seek his face.

He has been "for us" in many struggles; we have been summoned to encounter hosts of dangers; we have been assailed by temptations from without and within--how could we have remained unharmed to this hour if he had not been "for us"? He is "for us," with all the infinity of his being; with all the omnipotence of his love; with all the infallibility of his wisdom; arrayed in all his divine attributes, he is "for us,"--eternally and immutably "for us"; "for us" when yon blue skies shall be rolled up like a worn out vesture; "for us" throughout eternity.

And because he is "for us," the voice of prayer will always ensure his help. "When I cry unto thee, then shall mine enemies be turned back." This is no uncertain hope, but a well grounded assurance--"this I know." I will direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up for the answer, assured that it will come, and that mine enemies shall be defeated, "for God is for me."

O believer, how happy art thou with the King of kings on thy side! How safe with such a Protector! How sure thy cause pleaded by such an Advocate! If God be for thee, who can be against thee?

Lying is the New Greenist Truth

Hypocrisy and Mendacity on Steroids

Green Party Leader, Metiria Turei went all candid over the weekend.  In one of the most egregious appeals to pity yet seen in this radical left-wing party, Turei confessed that while she was attending law school she had been so poor, she lied and broke the law in order to survive.  At least, that's her telling of it.
Green Party Metiria Turei concedes she could still be charged with fraud after she admitted lying to authorities to keep her benefit.  In her biggest speech of the year, Turei made the extraordinary confession while announcing her party's plans to dramatically reform New Zealand's welfare system.

Speaking at the Green Party AGM in Auckland, she said that as a solo mother on a benefit she did not tell Work and Income NZ that she had extra flatmates who were paying rent.  At a press conference afterwards, Turei said she could still face consequences for her illegal behaviour 24 years ago.  [NZ Herald]
Her appeal to pity in a nutshell: "I was impecunious so I lied and broke the law".  But this was not an honest confession.

Monday, 17 July 2017

Baalism Amongst American Churches

Worshiping America

Rod Dreher
The American Conservative

Back home in the US, I finally had the chance to watch the full video of the obsequious paean that Pastor Robert Jeffress of First Baptist Dallas gave extolling the virtues of Donald Trump. If you haven’t seen it, well, it’s jaw-dropping:


Dr. Robert Jeffress @robertjeffress
Thank you @POTUS @realDonaldTrump for a powerful message at #CelebrateFreedom tonight! We thank God every day that you are our president!

Jeffress’s remarks came as part of an extraordinarily nationalistic performance by the choir and orchestra from First Dallas. You can watch the whole thing below. Go to around the 34 minute mark to hear them sing a new song, “Make America Great Again,” written by a music minister at the megachurch. It’s now being offered for, no kidding, “worship”. The lyrics include:

Make America great again
Make America great again
Lift the torch of freedom all across the land
Step into the future joining hand in hand
And make America great again
Yes make America great (again)

Watch it for yourself:

Daily Meditation

The Intolerable Compliment

C. S. Lewis

Those Divine demands which sound to our natural ears most like those of a despot and least like those of a lover, in fact marshal us where we should want to go if we knew what we wanted. He demands our worship, our obedience, our prostration. Do we suppose that they can do Him any good, or fear, like the chorus in Milton, that human irreverence can bring about ‘His glory’s diminution’? A man can no more diminish God’s glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word ‘darkness’ on the walls of his cell.

But God wills our good, and our good is to love Him (with that responsive love proper to creatures) and to love Him we must know Him: and if we know Him, we shall in fact fall on our faces. If we do not, that only shows that what we are trying to love is not yet God— though it may be the nearest approximation to God which our thought and fantasy can attain. Yet the call is not only to prostration and awe; it is to a reflection of the Divine life, a creaturely participation in the Divine attributes which is far beyond our present desires.

We are bidden to ‘put on Christ’, to become like God. That is, whether we like it or not, God intends to give us what we need, not what we now think we want. Once more, we are embarrassed by the intolerable compliment, by too much love, not too little.

From The Problem of Pain
Compiled in A Year with C.S. Lewis The Problem of Pain. Copyright © 1940, C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. Copyright restored © 1996 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers. 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.

Backwards to the Future

Nutty, Venal Politicians

National elections in New Zealand give us dyspepsia.  So often political parties approach the electorate as if voters were totally corrupt and up for accepting bribes.  Consequently, elections bring out the worst in politicians, policy proposals, and the community.  

The radically left wing Labour Party wants to return to its ideological core: tax and spend, then tax and spend some more, and when it can tax the living no more, it would tax future generations by racking up fiscal debt.  It comes as no surprise, then, to have its present leader announce that Labour, if elected, would cancel the forthcoming tax cuts, so it can spend more tax payers' money on its constituency.  It then announced one of the more complex benefit schemes yet seen.

The present (National Party) Treasurer, Steven Joyce hit the nail right on its head:

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Climate Change Update, Part II

Record Cold Data at Goldburn Airport Scrubbed Out
The BOM got caught this week auto-adjusting cold extremes to be less cold. Lance Pidgeon of the unofficial BOM audit team noticed that the thermometer at Goulburn airport recorded – 10.4°C at 6.17am on Sunday morning, but the official BOM climate records said it was -10.0°C. (What’s the point of that decimal place?) Either way this was a new record for Goulburn in July. (The previous  coldest ever July morning was -9.1°C. The oldest day in Goulburn was in August 1994 when it reached -10.9°C).
Apparently this was an automated event where the thermometer recorded something beyond a set limit, and the value put into the official database was the artificial limit. Since colder temperatures have already been recorded in Goulburn, who thought it was a good idea to trim all future minus-ten-point-somethings as if they were automatically “spurious”?
Yesterday, the BOM have acknowledged the error and at first deleted the -10.0 figure, replacing it with a blank space. Then today, after Jennifer Marohasy’s post, they’ve corrected it.
You might think a half degree between friends is not that significant, but this opens a whole can of worms in so many ways — what are these “limits”, do they apply equally to the high side records, who set them, how long has this being going on, and where are they published? Are the limits on the high temperatures set this close to previously recorded temperatures? How many times have raw records been automatically truncated?

Daily Meditation

Faith Expels Guilt, Greed and Fear

The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. (1 Timothy 1:5)

John Piper

Faith in God’s grace expels from the heart the sinful powers that hinder love.

If we feel guilty, we tend to wallow in self-centered depression and self-pity, unable to see, let alone care, about anyone else’s need. Or we play the hypocrite to cover our guilt, and so destroy all sincerity in relationships. Or we talk about other people’s faults to minimize the guilt of our own.

It’s the same with fear. If we feel fearful, we tend not to approach a stranger at church who might need a word of welcome and encouragement. Or we may reject frontier missions for our lives, because it sounds too dangerous. Or we may waste money on excessive insurance, or get swallowed up in all manner of little phobias that make us preoccupied with ourselves and blind us to the needs of others.

If we are greedy, we may spend money on luxuries — money that ought to go to the spread of the gospel. We don’t undertake anything risky, lest our precious possessions and our financial future be jeopardized. We focus on things instead of people, or see people as resources for our material advantage.

Faith in future grace produces love by pushing guilt and fear and greed out of the heart.

It pushes out guilt because it holds fast to the hope that the death of Christ is sufficient to secure acquittal and righteousness now and forever (Hebrews 10:14).

It pushes out fear because it banks on the promise, “Fear not, for I am with you. . . . I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).

And it pushes out greed because it is confident that Christ is greater wealth than all the world can offer (Matthew 13:44).

In every case the glory of Christ is magnified when we are more satisfied with his future grace than we are with the promises of sin.

In A Time of Peace . . .

The US Secretary of Defense and the High Schooler

This is an interesting story on a number of levels.  The first is to acknowledge that a high school reporter in the US managed to score  a personal interview with Secretary of Defense, James Mattis.  Another aspect is the apparently quirky way the mind of the Secretary works--that he would grant the time for an interview.  A third facet is the way Mattis does not talk down to the high school student, but answers in an adult fashion.  And, finally, there is the content itself.  

High School Reporter’s Interview With Secretary Of Defense James Mattis


No matter how one feels about Donald Trump being elected president, I think it’s safe to say that most Americans are pleased with his selection of James Mattis for Secretary of Defense.

With that, back in May when the Washington Post published a photo with James Mattis’s phone number on it, a motivated reporter called the number, and then texted Mattis to request an interview. To the young high school reporter’s surprise, Mattis said yes. Teddy Fisher is a reporter for the Mercer Island High School Islander newspaper.

The interview took place on Memorial Day, but did not appear in the school paper until late June. Here are a few excerpts from the excellent, content-rich and informative interview. Subjects covered, and providing much to chew over, include foreign policy, national policy, political ideologies, the Middle East, Iran, and advice for high schoolers. But if you think the interview is geared for high schoolers, think again: “I speak the same to high schoolers, college grads, or congressmen,” [Mattis] said. “I’ve found high schoolers to be plenty bright.”


Friday, 14 July 2017

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow (About our Postmodern Tundra)

The Creosote of Manifest Nonsense

Douglas Wilson

I do not want to use Orwellian-the-world newspeak, but rather Orwellian-the-author plainspeak. But in a world of froth, babble, fustian, agitprop, bubble, and vain repetition, what I am about to say might come across like being slapped in the face with a cold, dead halibut. Some might even go so far as to say that I am guilty of “hate speech.” But I said I was going to try to stay away from the jargon of Orwell, and so wish me better luck.

Look, lords who walk the earth. You bought the tickets. You paid for them. You bundled us all onto the trains. We rattled along for many days and nights, across great chasms on trestles built out of semiotic arbitrariness, soaked in the creosote of manifest nonsense. The trains finally stopped, and we were all forced off. And my argument, such as it is, is this: “well, here we are!”

Daily Meditation

Crucify Our Tempers

God said to Jonah, Doest thou well to be angry?  Jonah 4:9

Charles H. Spurgeon

Anger is not always or necessarily sinful, but it has such a tendency to run wild that whenever it displays itself, we should be quick to question its character, with this enquiry, "Doest thou well to be angry?"

It may be that we can answer, "YES." Very frequently anger is the madman's firebrand, but sometimes it is Elijah's fire from heaven. We do well when we are angry with sin, because of the wrong which it commits against our good and gracious God; or with ourselves because we remain so foolish after so much divine instruction; or with others when the sole cause of anger is the evil which they do. He who is not angry at transgression becomes a partaker in it. Sin is a loathsome and hateful thing, and no renewed heart can patiently endure it. God himself is angry with the wicked every day, and it is written in His Word, "Ye that love the Lord, hate evil."

Far more frequently it is to be feared that our anger is not commendable or even justifiable, and then we must answer, "NO." Why should we be fretful with children, passionate with servants, and wrathful with companions? Is such anger honourable to our Christian profession, or glorifying to God? Is it not the old evil heart seeking to gain dominion, and should we not resist it with all the might of our newborn nature?

Many professors give way to temper as though it were useless to attempt resistance; but let the believer remember that he must be a conqueror in every point, or else he cannot be crowned. If we cannot control our tempers, what has grace done for us? Some one told Mr. Jay that grace was often grafted on a crab-stump. "Yes," said he, "but the fruit will not be crabs." We must not make natural infirmity an excuse for sin, but we must fly to the cross and pray the Lord to crucify our tempers, and renew us in gentleness and meekness after His own image.

Climate Change Update, Part I

Time to Invest in Freezing Weather Clothing Companies?

We are going to run a couple of updates on the climate change/global warming scam.  The first comes from the US, but focuses upon the authorities in Australia making up temperature data.

This is not isolated.  We will shortly republish and refer to some research completed in the US which demonstrates convincingly that a substantial conspiracy has been underway to "modify" actual temperature data so as to "prove" rising temperatures.  Government institutions are complicit.

Thursday, 13 July 2017

You Are Serving Somebody: Who Is It?

How Optional Is The Benedict Option?

Sean Johnson

“It may be the devil,” one Nobel laureate has opined, “or it may be the Lord, but you’re gonna have to serve somebody.”

There is an irony, then—and a difficulty—in the title of Rod Dreher’s latest book, The Benedict Option. He paints a bleak picture of Christianity’s future in a “Post-Christian” nation, barring a radical shift in the American Church’s self-understanding. “Is the Christianity we have been living out in our families, congregations, and communities a means of deeper conversion, or,” Dreher worries, “does it function as a vaccination against taking faith with the seriousness the Gospel demands?” (12). If the latter proves true—as Dreher suggests—then at many points the way of life he presents under the auspices of “the Benedict Option” seems like the only viable alternative to cultural and ecclesial death in America. That is to say, the Benedict Option is not, strictly speaking, optional. That fact is not so much a difficulty for Dreher, though, as for his critics.

Dreher really had little choice but to orient his book to the pre-existing scheme of a “Benedict Option,” since it was the tapestry of lively and controversial discussions around the “Option” that created the demand for the book in the first place. Meanwhile, his own understanding of the Option seems never to have been confined to the historical person of St. Benedict or his rule for monastic living.

Daily Meditation

Truth Is the Sanctifier

Sanctify them through thy truth.  John 17:17

Charles H. Spurgeon

Sanctification begins in regeneration. The Spirit of God infuses into man that new living principle by which he becomes "a new creature" in Christ Jesus. This work, which begins in the new birth, is carried on in two ways--mortification, whereby the lusts of the flesh are subdued and kept under; and vivification, by which the life which God has put within us is made to be a well of water springing up unto everlasting life.

This is carried on every day in what is called "perseverance," by which the Christian is preserved and continued in a gracious state, and is made to abound in good works unto the praise and glory of God; and it culminates or comes to perfection, in "glory," when the soul, being thoroughly purged, is caught up to dwell with holy beings at the right hand of the Majesty on high.

But while the Spirit of God is thus the author of sanctification, yet there is a visible agency employed which must not be forgotten. "Sanctify them," said Jesus, "through thy truth: thy word is truth." The passages of Scripture which prove that the instrument of our sanctification is the Word of God are very many. The Spirit of God brings to our minds the precepts and doctrines of truth, and applies them with power. These are heard in the ear, and being received in the heart, they work in us to will and to do of God's good pleasure.

The truth is the sanctifier, and if we do not hear or read the truth, we shall not grow in sanctification. We only progress in sound living as we progress in sound understanding. "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path." Do not say of any error, "It is a mere matter of opinion." No man indulges an error of judgment, without sooner or later tolerating an error in practice. Hold fast the truth, for by so holding the truth shall you be sanctified by the Spirit of God.