Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Progress on The Sanctity of Human Life

Life Is Winning in America

The March for Life sends a strong message.

By Michael R. Pence
Vice-President of the United States
National Review Online 

Today, tens of thousands of Americans have traveled to Washington, D.C., for the 45th annual March for Life. They come from all across our nation, and from every walk of life – students of every age, blue-collar workers, people of many backgrounds, mothers and fathers, sons and daughters.

Yet no matter their story, today they will join hands and hearts on the National Mall, and with one voice they will call on the United States of America to rededicate itself to the most fundamental right enshrined in our Declaration of Independence – the unalienable right to life.

Thanks to their courage, and thanks to the leadership of President Donald Trump, life is winning in America again.

This year, President Trump will personally address the March for Life from the Rose Garden of the White House – something no president has ever done. It is fitting that he is the first to take such a historic step, because since the outset of this administration, we’ve taken historic action to protect the most vulnerable in our society.

In one of his very first acts in office, President Trump reinstated the Mexico City policy, to prevent American foreign aid from going to organizations that promote or perform abortions. Our administration has also broadened this policy to cover nearly $9 billion in foreign aid.

We’ve stopped U.S. funding for the United Nations Population Fund, so American taxpayers won’t have to support abortion in such countries as China.

Daily Meditation

How to Repent

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)

John Piper

A vague, bad feeling that you are a crummy person is not the same as conviction for sin. Feeling rotten is not the same as repentance.  This morning I began to pray, and felt unworthy to be talking to the Creator of the universe. It was a vague sense of unworthiness. So I told him so. Now what?

Nothing changed until I began to get specific about my sins. Crummy feelings can be useful if they lead to conviction for sins. Vague feelings of being a bad person are not very helpful.  The fog of unworthiness needs to take shape into clear dark pillars of disobedience. Then you can point to them and repent and ask for forgiveness and take aim to blow them up.

So I began to call to mind the commands I frequently break. These are the ones that came to mind.

  • Love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. Not 95%, but 100%. (Matthew 22:37)
  • Love your neighbor as you love yourself. Be as eager for things to go well for him as you are for things to go well for you. (Matthew 22:39)
  • Do all things without grumbling. No grumbling—inside or outside. (Philippians 2:14)
  • Cast all your anxieties on him—so you are not being weighed down by it anymore. (1 Peter 5:7)
  • Only say things that give grace to others—especially those closest to you. (Ephesians 4:29)
  • Redeem the time. Don’t fritter or dawdle. (Ephesians 5:16)

So much for any pretensions to great holiness! I’m undone.

But now it is specific. I look it in the eye. I’m not whining about feeling crummy. I’m apologizing to Christ for not keeping all that he commanded.  I’m broken and I’m angry at my sin. I want to kill it, not me. I’m not suicidal. I’m a sin hater and a sin murderer. (“Put to death what is earthly in you,” Colossians 3:5; “Put to death the deeds of the body,” Romans 8:13.)

In this conflict, I hear the promise, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). Peace rises.

Prayer feels possible and right and powerful again.

Face Up to Reality

A Little Used Language on Life-Support

We hope that commentator, Mike Hoskings has a security detail.  He has dared to question publicly the official attempts to preserve the Maori language.  For thirty years or so, Te Reo Maori has been made a cause célèbre amongst some Maori and heaps of politically correct bureaucrats.  But it remains an endangered language.  People just don't want to use the language, let alone learn it. 

Some  radicals have pushed to make Te Reo a compulsory subject in government schools.

Here is Hosking's piece--which, as you read it you would do well to bear in mind that he has possibly, if not probably, committed career suicide.

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Pakistan Going Rogue

Refugees Flee Government Tyranny

Edwin Mora

Christians and other minorities in Pakistan are bolting away from the predominantly Muslim nation by the “thousands” as Islamabad ignores harassment at the hands of Islamic extremists, reports Asia Times.  “Thousands of Christians, Ahmadis, and Hindus are fleeing as the government turns a blind eye to Islamic groups’ harassment of other faiths and beliefs; even atheists have now gone quiet,” notes the news outlet, adding “A closer look at the situation reveals that religious minorities and atheists are at a higher risk than ever.”

The report comes soon after U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration placed Pakistan on a U.S. watchlist for countries of “particular concern” over  “severe violations of religious freedom” after the commander-in-chief blasted Islamabad for harboring jihadists.

“This is only going to get worse,” Ibn Abdur Rehman, secretary-general of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, told Asia Times, referring to the persecution of religious minorities. “The state has surrendered to the radical Islamists and plans on gradually taking away every last bit of freedom from its citizens.”

Daily Meditation

If I Forget Thee, Jerusalem . . . 

C. S. Lewis

Just as the Christian has a great advantage over other men, not by being less fallen than they nor less doomed to live in a fallen world, but by knowing he is a fallen man in a fallen world; so we shall do better if we remember at every moment what Good Work was and how impossible it has now become for the majority.

We may have to earn our living by taking part in the production of objects which are rotten in quality and which, even if they were good in quality, would not be worth producing – the demand or “market” for them having been simply engineered by advertisement. Beside the waters of Babylon – or the assembly belt – we shall still say inwardly, “If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, may my right hand forget it’s cunning.” (It will.)

From The World's Last Night The World's Night. Copyright © 1952, 1955, 1958, 1959, 1960 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. "Screwtape Proposes a Toast" copyright © 1959 by Helen Joy Lewis. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

PIxie Dust

What Could Go Wrong?

Wow.  Let's cast all the pixie dust we can find into the air.  Magic is what's happening; magic is what we need.  North Korea is going to join with South Korea as One Team in the forthcoming Winter Olympics.
In addition to marching together under the unified flag, South Korea will send some of its athletes to train at a ski resort in North Korea and attend some kind of cultural event. South and North Korea will also jointly form a women’s ice hockey team. North Korea is also sending 230 cheerleaders to the Olympics. Even more bizarre, according to The New York Times, “negotiators agreed that supporters of both Koreas would root together for athletes for both countries.”  [The Federalist]
What could possibly go wrong?  What's to lose?

Well, anything is possible.  Here's a scenario that would be well within reasonable expectations:

1.  Some of the South Korean athletes sent to train at the North Korean ski resort "defect" to the North.

2.  Some of the South Korean team members of the joint women's ice hockey team disappear, and then suddenly reappear in North Korea.

All the "missing" South Koreans then gather together for a public TV presentation in which they announce their defections to the North and their shared belief that South Korea ought to surrender to North Korea.  Then, they disappear into the ether.

In fact, they end up in the Gulag, never to be see again.

Will this actually happen?  Who knows.  But who amongst us would be able to affirm without doubt that it would never happen.  Who would be willing to argue that such a scenario would be no more credible than proposing the moon is made of green cheese.

Monday, 29 January 2018

Sign of the Times

UK Govt Appoints ‘Minister for Loneliness’

Oliver J J Lane
Breitbart London

The collapse of the traditional family and local social structures is now so advanced the British government has been forced to appoint a so-called Minister for Loneliness, to combat the near-total isolation from other human beings that millions of people suffer.

Britain’s atomised society, in which individuals are assumed to be self-sufficient and little importance is placed on community or family bonds, means an estimated nine million people, many of whom are elderly retirees abandoned by their families or the disabled, are affected by loneliness.

The government announced Wednesday that Conservative Minister for Sport and Civil Society Tracey Couch was to become the first ministerial lead on tackling loneliness, following work on the problem initiated by murdered Member of Parliament Jo Cox.

Research cited by the government as they launched the initiative found that in the United Kingdom, more than 9 million people “always or often feel lonely”, and that around 200,000 older people have not had a conversation with a friend or relative in more than a month. Around one in 10 elderly people in the UK are estimated to be “chronically lonely”, with half of people over 75 living alone, reports the BBC.

Supporting the launch, Mark Robinson, Chief Officer of Age UK Barnet, cited research on the health impacts of being lonely, which found that having no human contact was as damaging as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

Daily Meditation

The Anchor of Joy

Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. (Matthew 5:11)

John Piper

Jesus revealed a secret that protects our happiness from the threat of suffering and the threat of success. That secret is this: Great is your reward in heaven. And the sum of that reward is enjoying the fullness of the glory of Jesus Christ (John 17:24).

He protects our happiness from suffering when he says,
Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven. (Matthew 5:11–12)
Our great reward in heaven rescues our joy from the threat of persecution and reviling.  He also protects our joy from success when he says,
Do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven. (Luke 10:20)

The disciples were tempted to put their joy in ministry success. “Even the demons are subject to us in your name!” (Luke 10:17). But that would have severed their joy from its only sure anchor.  So Jesus protects their joy from the threat of success by promising the great reward of heaven. Rejoice in this: that your names are written in heaven. Your inheritance is infinite, eternal, sure.

Our joy is safe. Neither suffering nor success can destroy its anchor. Great is your reward in heaven. Your name is written there. It is secure.  Jesus anchored the happiness of suffering saints in the reward of heaven. And he anchored the happiness of successful saints in the same.

And thus he freed us from the tyranny of worldly pain and pleasure.

Progressive Blindness

Hitler's a Good Chap

We have been re-reading in recent days the diplomatic interactions between Herr Hitler and the British, just prior to the commencement of World War II.  Of course, hindsight is always 20-20 vision.  Things seem so obvious, clear, and plain now.

The numerous interactions with Hitler amongst the British leadership were grounded in a grand presumption: Hitler, it was assumed,  shared  the same basic mindset as all European leaders.  Much of the interaction at top diplomatic levels reinforced the British conclusion that Hitler was "one of us".  He was a man who could be reasoned with on universal common ground.  Progressivist, pacifist ideology spurred them all on in a willing suspension of disbelief.

Saturday, 27 January 2018

Prothanasia Hysteria And Emotionalism

I’ve Never Seen Unmanageable Suffering

40 Years of Terminal Care 

Dr David Richmond

Dr Havill’s opinion piece in last Tuesday’s Herald  is a fine example of the genre of emotionalism he rails against in those who oppose his attempts to convince the public that legalised euthanasia is the holy grail of medicine.

Unfortunately he has not been able to save himself from the mire of emotionalism and exaggeration he criticises so keenly in others. He complains his opponents “typically resort to emotive misleading language”.

Excuse me, but how are we to define statements he makes such as, “People die cruel, agonisingly painful deaths…every day”. “Many suffer horribly for days….weeks… while others linger at death’s door for months….years”. “Terrible tales of family members…dying in conditions that would provoke criminal charges”. “Relatives sitting “at the bedside hoping that death will…quickly end their misery”, as anything but blatant attempts to milk the emotions of his readers?

In more than 40 years of medical practice as a physician, geriatrician and terminal care manager, I cared for many dying people. My testimony is that I have never seen a person dying with unmanageable suffering.

Daily Meditation

Go Directly to God

In that day you will ask in my name, and I do not say to you that I will ask the Father on your behalf; for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. (John 16:26–27)

John Piper

Don’t make God’s Son more of a Mediator than he is.

Jesus says: “I do not say that I will ask the Father on your behalf.” In other words, I’m not going to insert myself between you and the Father, as though you can’t go to him directly. Why? “Because the Father himself loves you.”

This is astonishing. Jesus is warning us not to think of God Almighty as unwilling to receive us directly into his presence. By “directly” I mean what Jesus meant when he said, “I am not going to take your requests to God for you. You may take them directly. He loves you. He wants you to come. He is not angry at you.”

It is absolutely true that no sinful human being has any access to the Father except through Jesus’ blood (Hebrews 10:19–20). He intercedes for us now (Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25). He is our advocate with the Father now (1 John 2:1). He is our High Priest before the throne of God now (Hebrews 4:15–16). He said, “No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).

Yes. But Jesus is protecting us from taking his intercession too far. “I do not say to you that I will ask the Father on your behalf; for the Father himself loves you.” He is there. He is providing an ever-present, ever-living witness to the removal of the Father’s wrath from us.

But he is not there to talk for us, or to keep us at a distance from the Father, or to suggest that the Father’s heart is guarded toward us or disinclined to us — hence the words, “Because the Father himself loves you.”

So, come. Come boldly (Hebrews 4:16). Come expectantly. Come expecting a smile. Come trembling with joy, not dread.

Jesus is saying, “I have made a way to God. Now I am not going to get in the way.” Come.

Daily Meditation

Trained to Rely on God

TO BEDE GRIFFITHS: On fortitude and trust in God in the face of war; and on ecumenical differences.

29 April 1938

C. S. Lewis

I have been in considerable trouble over the present danger of war. Twice in one life—and then to find how little I have grown in fortitude despite my conversion. It has done me a lot of good by making me realise how much of my happiness secretly depended on the tacit assumption of at least tolerable conditions for the body: and I see more clearly, I think, the necessity (if one may so put it) which God is under of allowing us to be afflicted—so few of us will really rest all on Him if He leaves us any other support.

About our differences: I feel that whenever two members of different communions succeed in sharing the spiritual life so far as they can now share it, and are thus forced to regard each other as Christians, they are really helping on reunion by producing the conditions without which official reunion would be quite barren. I feel sure that this is the layman’s chief contribution to the task, and some of us here are being enabled to perform it. You, who are a priest and a theologian, are a different story: and on the purely natural and temperamental level there is, and always has been, a sort of tension between us two which prevents our doing much mutual good. We shall both be nicer, please God, in a better place. Meanwhile you have my daily prayer and good wishes.

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

When Political Correctness Meets Islamic Schools

Ignoring the Obvious

The UK Government--riddled with political correctness--lumps all faith-based (religious) schools together.  A Christian school falls in the same category as an Islamic school.  No distinctions are made between the two religions.  To make any distinctions would be discriminatory.  Discrimination is a big No No.

When Islamic schools are found to be in breach of government educational guidelines or standards, all schools, including Christian schools, are brought under stricter and stricter controls from the state.  And some (if not many) Islamic schools are way off the mark.

School Teacher  Planned Attacks Against Parliament, Shopping Centres

Obsessed With Islamic State
Oliver J J Lane

A faith school teacher worked to radicalise his students and obsessed over plans to attack major landmarks in the British capital, a London court heard Tuesday.  A self-confessed “Loyal follower” of the Islamic State, 25-year-old Islamic radical Umar Ahmed Haque is standing trial for plotting to attack civilians and officials in London and targeted the Palace of Westminster and its Queen Elizabeth bell tower, and Westfield shopping centre, reports the BBC.

Among his significant list of potential targets were soldiers of the Guards, the iconic troops which protect the monarch in London, members of the police, diplomats, journalists, members of street protest groups Britain First and the English Defence League, and even other Muslims from the Shia denomination.  The Old Bailey also heard his physical targets included the London transport system, court buildings, and banks.
Now, at first glance, one may have assumed that this teacher was rogue and that his terrorist plots were clandestine, in no way integrated with his day job.  But no.  This teacher was openly promoting eschatological Islamic violence to his students.

Friday, 26 January 2018

Second Class "Citizens"

Canadian Christians Face Government Discrimination

Inapplicable For Federal Job Funding Due to Pro-abortion Clause

Kate Scanlon
The Blaze

Canadian Christians say they can’t apply for a federal job funding program called the Canada Summer Jobs program because it would require them to voice support for abortion, the Ottawa Citizen reported.

What is the Canada Summer Jobs program?

According to the Canadian government, the program provides funding to some nonprofits, public sector employers and small business so they can offer summer jobs to students. The Citizen reported the program subsidizes about 70,000 jobs with $113 million each year.

However, the government says CSJ applicants “will be required to attest that both the job and the organization’s core mandate respect individual human rights in Canada, including the values underlying the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms as well as other rights.”

These rights are listed as “reproductive rights and the right to be free from discrimination on the basis of sex, religion, race, national or ethnic origin, colour, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.”  The clause states that “reproductive rights” includes “the right to access safe and legal abortions.”

The document states that such rules will “prevent Government of Canada funding from flowing to organization whose mandates or projects may not respect individual human rights, the values underlying the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and associated case law” and will “prevent youth (as young as 15 years of age) from being exposed to employment within organizations that may promote positions that are contrary to the values enshrined in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and associated case law.”

What are Christians saying?

Daily Meditation

Pruned For Fruitfulness

Doth Job fear God for nought?  Job 1:9

Charles H. Spurgeon

This was the wicked question of Satan concerning that upright man of old, but there are many in the present day concerning whom it might be asked with justice, for they love God after a fashion because he prospers them; but if things went ill with them, they would give up all their boasted faith in God. If they can clearly see that since the time of their supposed conversion the world has gone prosperously with them, then they will love God in their poor carnal way; but if they endure adversity, they rebel against the Lord.

Their love is the love of the table, not of the host; a love to the cupboard, not to the master of the house. As for the true Christian, he expects to have his reward in the next life, and to endure hardness in this. The promise of the old covenant was prosperity, but the promise of the new covenant is adversity. Remember Christ's words--"Every branch in me that beareth not fruit"--What? "He purgeth it, that it may bring forth fruit."

If you bring forth fruit, you will have to endure affliction. "Alas!" you say, "that is a terrible prospect." But this affliction works out such precious results, that the Christian who is the subject of it must learn to rejoice in tribulations, because as his tribulations abound, so his consolations abound by Christ Jesus.

Rest assured, if you are a child of God, you will be no stranger to the rod. Sooner or later every bar of gold must pass through the fire. Fear not, but rather rejoice that such fruitful times are in store for you, for in them you will be weaned from earth and made meet for heaven; you will be delivered from clinging to the present, and made to long for those eternal things which are so soon to be revealed to you.

When you feel that as regards the present you do serve God for nought, you will then rejoice in the infinite reward of the future.

A Universally Available Death Pill Would Be Better

A Medical Professional Warns Against Prothanasia

We argued recently that prothanasia, which creates out of thin air a "human right to die" cannot be restricted to terminally ill elderly people.  A human right is a human right.  If you are a human being, you qualify.  

Therefore it comes as no surprise that a medical specialist, Dr Stephen Child has cut straight to the chase.  He wants the right to die to be removed from the purview of doctors, and left in the hands of the person who is wanting to die (for whatever reason).  He suggests the easiest and simplest way would be to make a "death drug" available in pharmacies nation-wide, and make it available for any person eighteen or over.  It should be as readily available as non-prescription medication.  (For that matter, it would also, inevitably be available in supermarkets and convenience stores such as corner dairies--as many non-prescription medications eventually come to be.)
Child says for those who want to end their lives with dignity, there are simpler, more logical solutions that could be considered.  "Let's make the drug available in pharmacies. And if you're aged over 18 and you sign a form of consent, then people should be able to make that choice and we leave this issue at that," he says.

"But of course that's really difficult to do because some people might go and get the medication because they're depressed."  [NZ Herald]
Child was really wanting to make the case against involving medical professionals in the whole business of prothanasia.

Thursday, 25 January 2018

Reject State Sanctioned Killing

The Case Against the Prothanasia Bill

Dr Paul Moon has made the following submission, opposing the Prothanasia Bill currently being considered by the NZ Parliament.

I wish to oppose the state sanctioning of medically-assisted dying – as sought in a Petition of Hon Maryan Street – on the following nine bases:

1. While medically-assisted dying may conform to notions of individual rights, it ignores the often traumatic and potentially long-term effects such deaths have, especially on those children related to the person choosing to end their life. The rights of relatives and friends are ignored in the potential legislation for medically-assisted dying, and are left to the person choosing to end their lives. People
in that position are not likely to be in a state of mind to balance rationally the intricacies of the conflicting rights of their decision;

2. From a community perspective, medically-assisted dying diminishes the absolute value of human life by introducing criteria for the legal termination of life. This is the same argument that New Zealand successfully applies against the death penalty;

3. There can be no guarantees that the psychological counselling received by a person considering a medically-assisted death would be adequate.

Daily Meditation

We Will Rule All Things

“The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne.” (Revelation 3:21)

John Piper

What does Jesus mean when he says this to the church in Laodicea?  Sit with Jesus on his throne? Really?

This is a promise to everyone who conquers, that is, who presses on in faith to the end (1 John 5:4), in spite of every threatening pain and luring pleasure. So, if you are a believer in Jesus, you will sit on the throne of the Son of God who sits on the throne of God the Father.

I take “throne of God” to signify the right and authority to rule the universe. So Jesus promises us a share in the rule of all things.  Is this what Paul has in mind in Ephesians 1:22–23? “He put all things under Christ’s feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.”

We, the church, are the “fullness of him who fills all.” I take this to mean that the universe will be filled with the glory of the Lord (Numbers 14:21). And one dimension of that glory will be the complete and unopposed extension of his rule everywhere.  Therefore, Ephesians 1:23 would mean: Jesus fills the universe with his own glorious rule through us. We are the fullness of his rule. We rule on his behalf. In that sense, we sit with him on his throne.

None of us feels this as we should. It is too much. That is why Paul prays for God’s help: “I pray that the Father of glory enlighten the eyes of your heart, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you” (Ephesians 1:18).

Without omnipotent help now, we cannot feel the wonder of what we are to become. But if we are granted to feel it as it is, all our emotional reactions to this world will change for the better.

Western Intelligentsia and the New Jerusalem

Omelettes, Eggshells, and Propaganda

We have commented upon this subject before--yet in our view it is a topic which needs to be revisited constantly, lest (as the saying goes) we forget.  We have in mind the near wholesale acceptance of the Left in the UK in the 1920's and 30's to the propaganda issuing forth from Soviet Russia.  

Strikingly, these are the very same folk whom the media, and the establishment viewed as the intelligentsia of the country.  It is one of the most degrading instances of "groupthink" seen in modern times.  Here was Uncle Joe, systematically grinding the bones of millions of people in his beloved Gulags, whilst the clever, educated, and sophisticated elites in the United Kingdom clapped and cheered the Soviet Union as representing the great promise and glorious future of mankind.

Many of these sophisticated folk believed Marxist doctrine, of course.  In 1929, the great stockmarket crash was followed by the Depression.  This, to many a Marxist mind in the UK, confirmed the Marxist dialectic: capitalism would fall apart to be replaced by the reign of the working classes, the Proletariat.
Communism . . . especially after the Wall Street Crash, attracted many intellectuals, not a few with public-school, Tory and Oxbridge backgrounds, dazzled by the contrast between a "successful" Soviet Russia and a faltering capitalist world.  The Communist Party never attracted more than a few thousand full members in England, but progressives--led by an elite of economists, political scientists, composers, actors, artists and writers--hailed Moscow as the New Jerusalem.  [Robert Tombs, The English and Their History (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2015), p. 672.]
It is not that all these talking heads were unaware of the horror and oppression, the famines and the cannibalism.  Many were, but rationalised them away as being little more than teething problems.  H. G. Wells went further and admitted the Soviet Union's  permanent Terror, yet he still believed that the Soviet Union represented the glorious future of mankind.  The USSR remained "something splendid and hopeful".

Tombs continues the indictment:

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Letter From the UK (Where Appearance Matter Most)

Stale, Male MP's Are Sometimes the Best Choice

Peter Hitchens
Daily Mail

Does anyone really think a government is better because of the way it looks?   Anyone who actually believes this surely deserves exactly what he or she gets.

The Blair and Cameron governments, among the worst in living memory (and in my view longer than that), were crammed with youthful idiots who looked reasonably good on TV, and great fusses were made of the numbers of women MPs (regardless of whether they were any good).

Yet here we go again.   We have just had a reshuffle openly based on the fatuous idea that the way the Government looks is what matters.  The slogans never change.

Theresa May recently reshuffled her cabinet - Justine Greening (left) resigned as education secretary rather than taking a new role at the Department for Work and Pensions. Boris Jonhson (right) remained as Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

Old-fashioned organisations are called ‘male, pale and stale’, even if they are headed by women and contain far more women and ethnic minority members than at any time in history.  Sometimes we are told that the Cabinet, or the fire brigade, or the police should ‘look like the people they serve’, or even that they should ‘look like Britain’.

Daily Meditation

The Remedy for Pride

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”—yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. (James 4:13–16)

John Piper

When you take three categories of temptation to self-reliance — wisdom, might, and riches — they form a powerful inducement toward the ultimate form of pride, namely, atheism. The safest way to stay supreme in our own estimation is to deny anything above us.

This is why the proud preoccupy themselves with looking down on others. “A proud man is always looking down on things and people: and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you” (C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity).

But to preserve pride, it may be simpler to proclaim that there is nothing above to look at. “In the pride of his face the wicked does not seek him; all his thoughts are, ‘There is no God’” (Psalm 10:4). Ultimately, the proud must persuade themselves that there is no God.

One reason for this is that God’s reality is overwhelmingly intrusive in all the details of life. Pride cannot tolerate the intimate involvement of God in running even the ordinary affairs of life.

Pride does not like the sovereignty of God. Therefore pride does not like the existence of God, because God is sovereign. It might express this by saying, “There is no God.” Or it might express it by saying, “I am driving to Atlanta for Christmas.”

James says, “Don’t be so sure.” Instead, say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and we shall get to Atlanta for Christmas.” James’s point is that God rules over whether we get to Atlanta, and whether you live to the end of this devotional. This is extremely offensive to the self-sufficiency of pride — not even to have control over whether you get to the end of the devotional without having a stroke!

James says that not believing in the sovereign rights of God to manage the details of your future is arrogance.

The way to battle this arrogance is to yield to the sovereignty of God in all the details of life, and rest in his infallible promises to show himself mighty on our behalf (2 Chronicles 16:9), to pursue us with goodness and mercy every day (Psalm 23:6), to work for those who wait for him (Isaiah 64:4), and to equip us with all we need to live for his glory (Hebrews 13:21).

In other words, the remedy for pride is unwavering faith in God’s future grace.

Victorian Clergy

The Perfect Occupation, or Not

Historian A. N. Wilson tells us what his dream job would have been, had he lived in the Victorian period.  Wilson is an historian of Marxist stripe.  He is not a Believer.  Nevertheless he writes:
It is difficult to conceive of any more agreeable way of life than that of the Victorian country parson.  If I had to choose my ideal span of life, I should choose to have been born in the 1830's, the son of a parson with the genetic inheritance of strong teeth. (Improvements in dentistry are surely among the few unambiguous benefits brought to the human race by the twentieth century.)

I should avoid a public school education through being 'delicate', and arrive at Balliol with a good knowledge of Greek to be taught by Benjamin Jowett. . . . After a short spell-say, five years-teaching undergraduates at the Varsity, one of them would introduce me to his pretty, bookish sister, and we should be married.  I should resign my fellowship and be presented with a college living, preferably a medieval church, a large draughty Georgian rectory and glebe enough to provide the family with 'subsistence'.  By now it would be, let us say, the 1860's, and I should remain here for the next forty years, a faithful friend to generations of villagers to whom I would act as teacher, amateur doctor and social worker, as well as priest.

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

The God of the System

Like a Dog Chasing a Firetruck

Douglas Wilson


What I would like to do, if you all will be kind enough to permit it, is further explain what I mean when I say that all societies are theocratic, by necessity, of necessity. I would also like to do it in a way that is compelling to absolutely everyone on the planet. But I know you can’t have everything.


As I just now indicated I might, let us begin with a scenario.

First, let us say that a godless and pagan politician says outrageous thing x, ghastly thing y, and appalling thing z. There is a sharp intake of breath from the east coast to the west coast.

Second, let us further say that as part of the general outrage a Christian leader steps forward, and using whatever platform is available to him, rebukes and denounces said three comments. That was really bad, he says.

And third—and here is where you have to stretch your imagination a little bit, but I am sure you can do it—suppose the politician in question stops dead in his tracks, turns to the Christian leader who offered the really compelling rebuke, and says something like, “You know, you really may have a point there. I’ll have to seriously consider that. I will take it up with my advisors tomorrow. Could you please go over why the standard that is clearly implicit in your rebuke applies to me, and why you think I should take your admonition to heart?”

At this point it would become clearly evident that many Christian leaders are engaged with the culture the same way a dog is engaged with chasing a fire truck.

Daily Meditation

A Rest That Remains

There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.  Hebrews 4:9

Charles H. Spurgeon

How different will be the state of the believer in heaven from what it is here! Here he is born to toil and suffer weariness, but in the land of the immortal, fatigue is never known. Anxious to serve his Master, he finds his strength unequal to his zeal: his constant cry is, "Help me to serve thee, O my God." If he be thoroughly active, he will have much labour; not too much for his will, but more than enough for his power, so that he will cry out, "I am not wearied of the labour, but I am wearied in it."

Ah! Christian, the hot day of weariness lasts not forever; the sun is nearing the horizon; it shall rise again with a brighter day than thou hast ever seen upon a land where they serve God day and night, and yet rest from their labours. Here, rest is but partial, there, it is perfect. Here, the Christian is always unsettled; he feels that he has not yet attained. There, all are at rest; they have attained the summit of the mountain; they have ascended to the bosom of their God. Higher they cannot go.

Ah, toil-worn labourer, only think when thou shalt rest forever! Canst thou conceive it? It is a rest eternal; a rest that "remaineth." Here, my best joys bear "mortal" on their brow; my fair flowers fade; my dainty cups are drained to dregs; my sweetest birds fall before Death's arrows; my most pleasant days are shadowed into nights; and the flood-tides of my bliss subside into ebbs of sorrow; but there, everything is immortal; the harp abides unrusted, the crown unwithered, the eye undimmed, the voice unfaltering, the heart unwavering, and the immortal being is wholly absorbed in infinite delight.

Happy day! happy! when mortality shall be swallowed up of life, and the Eternal Sabbath shall begin.

The Long Legacy of the Great War

Don't Panic: Crack Regiments Are On Their Way

We are in the middle of a lengthy series of memorials and remembrances in which the hundred-years-ago,  "Great War" is being remembered.  One particular exhibition in Wellington, New Zealand is developing and changing over four years to depict the successive changes and progress (and regresses) of the war through 1914-18. (New Zealand was militarily engaged in the War).  

Historian Robert Tombs provides an overview of this calamitous event--and its aftermath.
The "Great War" haunts the English and British memory as horror and futility, blundered into for incomprehensible reasons, and pursued blindly for unknown ends at unimaginable cost--750,000 lives, and money that could have paid for thousands of hostpitals and schools, and a university for every city.

Across Europe, 9 million soldiers died; one in three of all British males aged nineteen to twenty-two in 1914 were killed.  The war is taken, as in Kipling's searing lines, as condemnation of the old society, its morality and its values: "the supreme and tragic climax of Victorian cant," and "the old Lie: Dulce et deocrum est pro patria mori." ["It is sweet and proper to die for the fatherland."]

Monday, 22 January 2018

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow (On a Fundamental Confusion in Western Christendom)

I Will Be Brief If I Can

Douglas Wilson

So brief.

So the president allegedly called certain other countries a name that I will not repeat here, but it was rude, crude, and unattractive. In response, I tweeted this:

“In response to the president’s alleged rude comment about certain countries, I call upon Christian leaders everywhere to refrain from giving any theocratic admonitions.”
What did I mean by this?

Daily Meditation

A Moderated Religion

Screwtape offers ways to cleverly exploit the Patient’s dry spell:

C. S. Lewis

But there is an even better way of exploiting the trough; I mean through the patient’s own thoughts about it.

As always, the first step is to keep knowledge out of his mind. Do not let him suspect the law of undulation. Let him assume that the first ardours of his conversion might have been expected to last, and ought to have lasted, forever, and that his present dryness is an equally permanent condition.

Having once got this misconception well fixed in his head, you may then proceed in various ways. It all depends on whether your man is of the desponding type who can be tempted to despair, or of the wishful-thinking type who can be assured that all is well. The former type is getting rare among the humans. If your patient should happen to belong to it, everything is easy. You have only got to keep him out of the way of experienced Christians (an easy task nowadays), to direct his attention to the appropriate passages in scripture, and then to set him to work on the desperate design of recovering his old feelings by sheer will-power, and the game is ours.

If he is of the more hopeful type your job is to make him acquiesce in the present low temperature of his spirit and gradually become content with it, persuading himself that it is not so low after all. In a week or two you will be making him doubt whether the first days of his Christianity were not, perhaps, a little excessive. Talk to him about ‘moderation in all things’. If you can once get him to the point of thinking that ‘religion is all very well up to a point’, you can feel quite happy about his soul.

A moderated religion is as good for us as no religion at all—and more amusing.

From The Screwtape Letters
Compiled in A Year with C.S. Lewis The Screwtape Letters. Copyright © 1942, C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. Copyright restored © 1996 C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers. A Year With C.S. Lewis: Daily Readings from His Classic Works. Copyright © 2003 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

Flailing Political Leaders Can Do Great Harm

Ignorant and Out of Touch

Our present Prime Minister appears to be thicker than two short planks.  Either that, or she is lazy and does not engage her mind before opening her mouth.  

The previous government followed a trend in the United States and allowed the establishment of Charter Schools in New Zealand.  The present Labour government is moving to close them.  Monopolists and statists never appreciate competition, and this case is no exception.  Nothing, but nothing must be allowed to compete with the failing Government school system.

Our Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister stood up in Parliament to mouth off against the Charter Schools.  What became immediately apparent is that neither had the foggiest idea of the subject.  Their ignorance was appalling and appears invincible.

One of our local bloggers published a right royal fisking of the hapless pair on the subject.  The comments of the politicians are in bold.  The fisk is in italics.

Saturday, 20 January 2018

Vatican Confusion

Does the Left Hand Not Know What the Right Hand is Up To?

Here is a puzzling turn of events.  The "left hand" of the Vatican recently saw Pope Francis deliver a pro-life, pro-family, anti-abortion address. 
On Monday Pope Francis delivered the annual papal address to the diplomatic corps – the Vatican ambassadors from over 180 nations. His remarks focused on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted 70 years ago this year on 10 December 1948 by the General Assembly of the United Nations.

“At a distance of seventy years, it is painful to see how many fundamental rights continue to be violated today,” said the Pope. Noting the first right among all the rights as the right to life, the Pope said: “It is not only war or violence that infringes these rights. In our day, there are more subtle means: I think primarily of innocent children discarded even before they are born, unwanted at times simply because they are ill or malformed, or as a result of the selfishness of adults.”  [LifeSite News]
Then, the next day, we read this in the same publication:

January 12, 2018 (Lepanto Institute) – On January 12, reports began surfacing on Twitter that Lilianne Ploumen, former minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation in the Netherlands, was honored by Pope Francis with the title of Commander in the Pontifical Equestrian Order of St. Gregory the Great.

The Lepanto Institute was able to confirm from a December 22, 2017, Dutch radio broadcast that Ploumen indeed received the honor. In a brief video clip promoting the broadcast, Ploumen displays the medal while saying that she received it from the Pope. 

Here is a crude translation of the exchange:

BNR: And this is the umpteenth prize that Lilianne Ploumen observes, won in 2017 and from whom they came.

Ploumen: Yes, it is a high distinction from the Vatican; from the pope.

BNR: From the pope.

Ploumen: Beautiful.

BNR: Yes.

Ploumen: It is Commander in the order of St. Gregory.

BNR: And that despite that you are pro-abortion.

Ploumen: Yes, you can check.
Ploumen has militantly promoted the killing of children right around the world--using her positions of influence and power to punish nations which oppose the horrendous practice.   
To say that Lilianne Ploumen is “pro-abortion” is an extreme understatement and doesn’t even come close to the scandalous reality of her activism.

Daily Meditation


On how to rehearse for death and how to diminish fear.

17 June 1963

C. S. Lewis

Pain is terrible, but surely you need not have fear as well? Can you not see death as the friend and deliverer? It means stripping off that body which is tormenting you: like taking off a hair- shirt or getting out of a dungeon. What is there to be afraid of? You have long attempted (and none of us does more) a Christian life. Your sins are confessed and absolved. Has this world been so kind to you that you should leave it with regret? There are better things ahead than any we leave behind.

Remember, though we struggle against things because we are afraid of them, it is often the other way round—we get afraid be- cause we struggle. Are you struggling, resisting? Don’t you think Our Lord says to you ‘Peace, child, peace. Relax. Let go. Underneath are the everlasting arms. Let go, I will catch you. Do you trust me so little?’

Of course, this may not be the end. Then make it a good rehearsal.

Yours (and like you a tired traveller near the journey’s end) Jack

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.

The Cheka Lives On

Google: Toxic and Censorial

It would seem that Google has a toxic work environment.  At one level, this may be surprising; at another, not so much.  For years we have been "blessed" with storied accounts of how laid back, chilled, yet incandescently creative the company's work environment was.  It was a cool, cool, cool place to work.  The coolest place in Silicon Valley. 

The idea of an 8.00am to 5.00pm work day was long gone.  Encouraging creativity, lateral thinking, working outside the box, and having fun was all the rage.  But now Google has unmasked itself.  Underneath the appearance of free, lateral thinking lies the truth: Google is closer to replicating Soviet Russia at its worst.  Its work culture has now been labelled toxic.
Employees at Google used internal company message boards to advocate political violence, recruit for a hard-line left-wing activist group and even propose public "trials" for ideological opponents, documents filed in court suggest.

The nearly 100 pages of internal emails and message board postings are contained in a class-action lawsuit filed by former employee James Damore in California on Monday, accusing Google of discriminating against white people, men and conservatives.  Damore was the author of a controversial internal memo criticising the tech giant's "politically correct" diversity policies. He was sacked last year for "perpetuating gender stereotypes" after the memo was leaked to the media and went viral.

Screenshots of messages attached to the complaint show Google employees attacking conservatives and white people, advocating political violence and even sharing "how-to" guides to join Antifa, a violent left-wing anarchist group reportedly classified as "domestic terrorists" by US Homeland Security.  "Get in touch with your friendly local Antifa," one employee wrote in response to an anonymous thread in January 2017 titled "Whelp, guess it might be time for revolution", in which the questioner asked, "How do people cope with this? I've never been part of a military or war effort before, I guess I can be useful as IT support or for hacking."  [NZ Herald]
Now, all this might seem to be free-spirited debate--a bit like London's Hyde Park, or the Agora in ancient Athens.  But consider: a Google employee was fired for "perpetuating gender stereotypes".   So, not so "free-spirited" after all.  As we have seen many times before, the Left lacks sophistication and subtlety in its position and argumentation: shouting down the opponent is a hallmark of an empty mind.

Friday, 19 January 2018


Google’s Culture of Ignorant Intolerance

Social-justice warriors dominate a leading tech company.

By David French
National Review Online

Let’s ponder a disturbing question: What if the crisis of free speech on college campuses, with their often extreme intolerance for conservative points of view, represents the high point for free expression in a student’s life? In other words, what if the “real world” is more repressive, more ignorant, and more punitive toward dissenting speech? What if entire corporations adopt the ideologies and norms of the most ruthless campus social-justice warriors, ruining careers and depriving employees of their livelihoods when those employees dissent from the dominant ideology?

In other words, what if the rest of corporate America starts acting like Google?

Yesterday former Google employee James Damore filed a class-action lawsuit against Google, alleging systematic race, gender, and political bias against white, male, and conservative employees. Damore, you may recall, was summarily terminated after writing a lengthy memorandum noting that disproportionate male representation in tech fields may be more the result of individual choice and innate differences between men and women than of invidious discrimination. He also suggested some non-discriminatory methods for increasing diversity at Google. Scientists argued about his conclusions — some agreed with Damore, others vigorously disagreed — but rather than engage with Damore, Google proved one of his points (that Google is hostile to dissenting views) by summarily terminating his employment.

Damore has now answered Google with a legal broadside, and it’s extraordinary.

Daily Meditation

The Freeness of Grace

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ — by grace you have been saved — and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:4–6)

John Piper

The decisive act of God in conversion is that he “made us alive together with Christ” even when “we were dead in our trespasses.” In other words, we were dead to God. We were unresponsive; we had no true spiritual interest; we had no taste for the beauties of Christ; we were simply dead to all that mattered.

Then God acted — unconditionally — before we could do anything to be fit vessels of grace. He made us alive. He sovereignly awakened us to see the glory of Christ (2 Corinthians 4:4). The spiritual senses that were dead miraculously came to life.

Verse 4 says that this was an act of “mercy.” That is, God saw us in our deadness and pitied us. God saw the terrible wages of sin leading to eternal death and misery. And the riches of his mercy overflowed to us in our need. But what is so remarkable about this text is that Paul breaks the flow of his own sentence in order to insert, “by grace you have been saved.” “God . . . made us alive together with Christ — by grace you have been saved — and raised us up with him.”

Paul is going to say this again in verse 8. So why does he break the flow in order to add it here? What’s more, the focus is on God’s mercy responding to our miserable plight of deadness; so why does Paul go out of his way to say that it is also by grace that we are saved?

I think the answer is that Paul recognizes here a perfect opportunity to emphasize the freeness of grace. As he describes our dead condition before conversion, he realizes that dead people can’t meet conditions. If they are to live, there must be a totally unconditional and utterly free act of God to save them. This freedom is the very heart of grace.

What act could be more one-sidedly free and non-negotiated than one person raising another from the dead! This is the meaning of grace.

Fateful Choices, Bitter Outcomes

All Shall Love Me and Despair

In 1872 Benjamin Disraeli gave a speech at the Crystal Palace.  It was a call for England to decide upon its place in the world.
England will have to decide between national and cosmopolitan principles.  The issue is not a mean one.  It is whether you will be content to be a comfortable England . . . or whether you will be a great country--an imperial country--[and] command the respect of the world.  [Quoted by Robert Tombs, in The English and Their History (New York: Alfred A Knopf, 2015), p.419.]
There are many complaints these days, particularly amongst faithful Christians, against what has come to be called American Manifest Destiny.  This pagan doctrine is actually a recrudescence of the spirit of the pagan Roman Empire.  The doctrine of American Manifest Destiny has got murky though, because it also represents a deliberate attempt to "plagiarize" the manifest destiny and glory of the Kingdom of God upon earth.  The tap root of American Manifest Destiny is the belief that the United States has a god-given role and duty to save the world from itself.

If we consider Disraeli's speech in 1872, we can see that this doctrine of over weening arrogance had modern precursors.

Thursday, 18 January 2018

A Has-Been Cause

Another Blow to the Palestinians 

Trump Threatens To Cut Off Aid

By cutting off hundreds of millions in American aid to the Palestinian Authority, the president could radically alter the Middle East.

By Victor Davis Hanson
National Review Online

President Trump set off another Twitter firestorm last week when he hinted that he may be considering cutting off hundreds of millions of dollars in annual U.S. aid to the Palestinians. Trump was angered over Palestinian unwillingness to engage in peace talks with Israel after the Trump administration announced the move of the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

Given that the U.S. channels its Palestinian aid through third-party United Nations organizations, it’s unclear how much money Trump is talking about it. But in total it may exceed $700 million per year, according to reports.

A decade ago, the U.S. row with the Palestinian Authority would have been major news. But not now.  Why?

The entire Middle East has radically changed — and along with it the role and image of the Palestinians.

Daily Meditation

Addicted to Prayer

But I give myself unto prayer. Psalm 109:4

Charles H. Spurgeon

Lying tongues were busy against the reputation of David, but he did not defend himself; he moved the case into a higher court, and pleaded before the great King himself.

Prayer is the safest method of replying to words of hatred. The Psalmist prayed in no cold-hearted manner, he gave himself to the exercise--threw his whole soul and heart into it--straining every sinew and muscle, as Jacob did when wrestling with the angel. Thus, and thus only, shall any of us speed at the throne of grace. As a shadow has no power because there is no substance in it, even so that supplication, in which a man's proper self is not thoroughly present in agonizing earnestness and vehement desire, is utterly ineffectual, for it lacks that which would give it force. "Fervent prayer," says an old divine, "like a cannon planted at the gates of heaven, makes them fly open."

The common fault with the most of us is our readiness to yield to distractions. Our thoughts go roving hither and thither, and we make little progress towards our desired end. Like quicksilver our mind will not hold together, but rolls off this way and that. How great an evil this is! It injures us, and what is worse, it insults our God. What should we think of a petitioner, if, while having an audience with a prince, he should be playing with a feather or catching a fly?

Continuance and perseverance are intended in the expression of our text. David did not cry once, and then relapse into silence; his holy clamour was continued till it brought down the blessing. Prayer must not be our chance work, but our daily business, our habit and vocation. As artists give themselves to their models, and poets to their classical pursuits, so must we addict ourselves to prayer.

We must be immersed in prayer as in our element, and so pray without ceasing. Lord, teach us so to pray that we may be more and more prevalent in supplication.

Those Hating Wisdom, Love Death

Prothanasia Arguments Cannot Be Limited To One Class of People

A euthanasia debate is now underway in New Zealand.  Parliament is now considering a bill which would make the practice lawful.  

In writing about "euthanasia" we can't help but feel the lily has already been gilded.  The word is derived from Greek.  "Thanatos" means death; "eu" is an adverb meaning "good".  Thus, euthanasia means, literally "good death".  Since we believe that there is nothing good about the deliberate killing of another human being, we propose a new word would serve us much better.  Instead of "euthanasia" we will refer to "prothanasia", which literally means "for death", or "in favour of death".

Philip Matthews summarises what the new Bill intends:
The details may change but the bill presently would allow for a New Zealand citizen or resident over 18, who is suffering from a terminal illness that is expected to end their life within 6 months or has a grievous and untreatable medical condition, to opt for an assisted death. There are safeguards of informed consent and assessment by two doctors.  The pro-euthanasia camps argue that civilised countries like ours at this point in history should allow for death without suffering, a painless option. You hear a lot about the dignity of the dying.  [Stuff]
One of the strong advocates for the prothanasia is Maryanne Street.  She quickly exposes the Achilles heel of the position:

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

False Debt Scams

Scam Alert

False debt scamming is on the rise, we are told.  Drawing on the plethora of information which is available on-line, false debts are created, which are then often sold to criminal gangs at a fraction of the alleged outstanding debt, and the gangs then go to work.  Often the "tools" used to get people to pay up on the bogus demand include intimidation and threats.  

Here is an article/case-study of one "target" in the United States who fought back. 
On the morning a debt collector threatened to rape his wife, Andrew Therrien was working from home, in a house with green shutters on a cul-de-sac in a small Rhode Island town. Tall and stocky, with a buzz cut and a square, friendly face, Therrien was a salesman for a promotions company. He'd always had an easy rapport with people over the phone, and on that day, in February 2015, he was calling food vendors to talk about grocery store giveaways.

Therrien was interrupted mid-pitch by a call from his wife. She'd gotten a voicemail from an authoritative-sounding man saying Therrien was in some kind of trouble. "I need to verify an address to present you with your formal claim," the man had said. "Andrew Therrien, you are officially notified."

A few minutes later, Therrien's phone buzzed. It was the same guy. He gave his name as Charles Cartwright and said Therrien owed $700 on a payday loan. But Therrien knew he didn't owe anyone anything. Suspecting a scam, he told Cartwright just what he thought of his scare tactics.  Cartwright hung up, then called back, mad. He said he wanted to meet face-to-face to teach Therrien a lesson.

"Come on by, asshole," Therrien says he replied.  "I will," Cartwright said, "and I hope your wife is at home."  That's when he made the rape threat.

Daily Meditation

An Especially Reserved Portion

There is laid up for me a crown of righteousness. 2 Timothy 4:8

Charles H. Spurgeon

Doubting one! thou hast often said, "I fear I shall never enter heaven." Fear not! all the people of God shall enter there. I love the quaint saying of a dying man, who exclaimed, "I have no fear of going home; I have sent all before me; God's finger is on the latch of my door, and I am ready for him to enter." "But," said one, "are you not afraid lest you should miss your inheritance?" "Nay," said he, "nay; there is one crown in heaven which the angel Gabriel could not wear, it will fit no head but mine. There is one throne in heaven which Paul the apostle could not fill; it was made for me, and I shall have it." O Christian, what a joyous thought! thy portion is secure; "there remaineth a rest." "But cannot I forfeit it?" No, it is entailed.

If I be a child of God I shall not lose it. It is mine as securely as if I were there. Come with me, believer, and let us sit upon the top of Nebo, and view the goodly land, even Canaan. Seest thou that little river of death glistening in the sunlight, and across it dost thou see the pinnacles of the eternal city? Dost thou mark the pleasant country, and all its joyous inhabitants? Know, then, that if thou couldst fly across thou wouldst see written upon one of its many mansions, "This remaineth for such a one; preserved for him only. He shall be caught up to dwell forever with God."

Poor doubting one, see the fair inheritance; it is thine. If thou believest in the Lord Jesus, if thou hast repented of sin, if thou hast been renewed in heart, thou art one of the Lord's people, and there is a place reserved for thee, a crown laid up for thee, a harp specially provided for thee. No one else shall have thy portion, it is reserved in heaven for thee, and thou shalt have it ere long, for there shall be no vacant thrones in glory when all the chosen are gathered in.

Smart Money

There is Coin on the Table

Climate change is not a scientific proposition.  The reason is straightforward.  For any scientific discipline or inquiry, propositions must be falsifiable.  

Climate change, we are told, is universal.  It happens all the time.  A climatic event, such as recent snow storms in the United States or heat waves in Australia, are said to be "outside the norm", above average, even extreme events.  But, then the archives and databases are searched and we are told the recent heat wave in Australia produced temperatures that had not been recorded for over eighty years.  In other words, eighty years ago similar temperatures were experienced.

So far, so good.  Now, however, overlay another paradigm: global warming.  The reigning belief amongst politicians, world leaders, some scientists, and the media is that the globe is warming.  For most of us this means we are to expect temperatures to rise.  The cause is put down to humanity releasing ever growing amounts of carbon based gases into the atmosphere.  This creates a "greenhouse" effect.  Or so the scientific proposition has it.  But if that theory is truly scientific, it must be testable, and subject to data or experimentation that would make it is untrue or false.

At this point the card sharp joins the game.  He blithely tells us that global warming is so universal that any climatic event , whether hot or cold, flood or drought, storm or calm, manifests global warming.  Climate change means global warming.  Suddenly a false, marked card has been slipped into the deck.

So the "scientific" proposition has now morphed.  Global warming actually is the same as climate change.  Release of carbon dioxide causes climate change which is the same as global warming.  So, absolutely freezing temperatures in the United States represents climate change (things have changed from a few weeks ago when temperatures in Detroit were warmer).  And climate change is the same as global warming.  Therefore, freezing cold temperatures are in fact an evidence of  global warming!

We kid you not.

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

The Last "Bigger Fool" Collapses a Market

Be Warned, Beware

The Bigger Fool theory states that there is little risk when one invests in nothingness or empty air as long as a bigger fool will come along to invest afterwards.  Bitcoin and other crypto-currencies have all the makings of a classic Bigger Fool bubble.  It works, until it doesn't.  In other words, it works as long as there are bigger fools willing to invest in the bubble and purchase what you bought yesterday. 

Crypto wipeout: Market loses $200 billion

Frank Chung
NZ Herald

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies including ethereum, litecoin and ripple plummeted in value on Monday after Coinmarketcap removed prices from South Korean exchanges without warning.

Prices on South Korean exchanges are typically up to 30 per cent higher than in other countries. The widely used research site's decision to exclude average price data from Bithumb, Coinone and Korbit resulted in a sudden drop in displayed prices.

That caused confusion among investors and partly contributed to a major sell-off, which was also fuelled by news that South Korean and Chinese regulators planned to increase oversight on cryptocurrency trading and mining. . . .

Daily Meditation

How Believers Will Be Judged

I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. (Revelation 20:12)

John Piper

What about the last judgment? Will our sins be remembered? Will they be revealed? Anthony Hoekema puts it wisely like this: “The failures and shortcomings of . . . believers . . . will enter into the picture on the Day of Judgment. But — and this is the important point — the sins and shortcomings of believers will be revealed in the judgment as forgiven sins, whose guilt has been totally covered by the blood of Jesus Christ.”

Picture it like this. God has a file on every person (“the books” of Revelation 20:12). All you’ve ever done or said (Matthew 12:36) is recorded there with a grade (from “A” to “F”). When you stand before the “judgment seat of Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:1) to be judged “according to what you have done, whether good or bad,” God will open the file and lay out the tests with their grades. He will pull out all the “F’s” and put them in a pile. Then he will take all the “D’s” and “C’s” and pull the good parts of the test out and place them with the “A’s”, then put the bad with the “F’s”. Then he will take all the “B’s” and “A’s” and pull the bad parts out of them and put them in the “F” pile, and put all the good parts in the “A” pile.

Then he will open another file (“the book of life”) and find your name. Behind your name will be a wood-stick match made from the cross of Jesus. He will take the match, light it and set the “F” pile, with all your failures and deficiencies, on fire and burn them up. They will not condemn you, and they will not reward you.

Then he will take from your “book of life” file a sealed envelope marked “free and gracious bonus” and put it on the “A” pile (see Mark 4:24 and Luke 6:38). Then he will hold up the entire pile and declare: “By this your life bears witness to the grace of my Father, the worth of my blood and the fruit of my Spirit. Enter into the joy of your Master.”

Our Schools Have Die-Back Disease

The State and Education Do Not Mix

The clip below is about a principal of a school highlighting a problem in the government education system.  The state system is premised upon a belief that government schools are both the authority and the expert when it comes to education.  The entire government school system is built upon the premise that parents are both incompetent and ignorant when it comes to educating their children.  The state is the expert.

In fact the opposite is the truth.  The government is thoroughly incompetent when it comes to education.  The less it has to do with the education of the nation's children the better.  In the (Christian) schools we have been associated with over the years, we have believed in and applied the Triangle of Pedagogical Power.  Effective, potent education involves three parties, and no more: the school teacher(s), the parents, and the pupil.  These three are equally vital and necessary.

The intrusion of any other power or authority in that triangle makes for ineffective, impotent education.  The involvement of the State is worst of all because it squashes and drives out the influence of parents, and their fellow-team members: the school, and the pupil himself.  The State commands, it does not "partner".  More and more the State looks to its educational institution (the government school) to be responsible for, and drive, the welfare and social programmes of the State.  Almost every social problem amongst youth has the Government pushing for more of its schools' involvement in the child's life--usually over the battered and crippled bodies of its parents.

Richard Hall, rector of Otago Boys' High School spoke out about these matters.
Another Dunedin school principal has publicly aired concerns about growing expectations that schools act as social as well as educational institutions.   In a recent Otago Boys' High School newsletter, rector Richard Hall said he agreed there had been a "definite increase" in the number of issues involving pupils outside school hours which schools were being asked to deal with.

Monday, 15 January 2018

Join the Resistance

Facing Reality

Rod Dreher
The American Conservative

A fundamental mistake people make in interpreting The Benedict Option is to think that I am counseling escapism. That’s not true. It’s rather that I believe that orthodox Catholics and other conservative Christians should understand very clearly that at best we are fighting a rear-guard action . . . .  We live in a post-Christian society, one in which a far more serious conflict than we’ve seen so far between Church and State is inevitable. To think that we’re going to win these conflicts because we can’t afford to lose them is the worst kind of magical thinking.

That doesn’t mean we can’t afford to fight.

Daily Meditation

Putting Things to Right

C. S. Lewis

If you do not take the distinction between good and bad very seriously, then it is easy to say that anything you find in this world is a part of God. But, of course, if you think some things really bad, and God really good, then you cannot talk like that. You must believe that God is separate from the world and that some of the things we see in it are contrary to His will.

Confronted with a cancer or a slum the Pantheist can say, ‘If you could only see it from the divine point of view, you would realise that this also is God.’ The Christian replies, ‘Don’t talk damned nonsense.’ For Christianity is a fighting religion. It thinks God made the world—that space and time, heat and cold, and all the colours and tastes, and all the animals and vegetables, are things that God ‘made up out of His head’ as a man makes up a story.

But it also thinks that a great many things have gone wrong with the world that God made and that God insists, and insists very loudly, on our putting them right again.

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.

Landlords Heading For the Hills

The Certainty of Ignorant Left Ideologues

For the Left (and sadly much of the professed Right) the State is the avatar of deity, if not the deity itself.  If the gummint does something or runs a programme it is axiomatic that State involvement will have a much better outcome than if private individuals or corporations were to do it.  This is a deeply ingrained belief.  It is religiously held.

There are a number of beliefs which buttress this religious mantra.  Firstly, State run and controlled businesses appear to be riskless.  The gummint can enforce the rules and regulations and trading conditions in favour of the State to ensure its success.  Moreover, the gummint is not constrained for money: it can always borrow, and when its credit worthiness runs out, it can then resort to printing money.  Venezuela is an apt contemporary example of this thought pattern running to its logical and practical conclusions.  Destitution and starvation.

Secondly, State run businesses are believed to be more pure or holy.  Private business is inherently immoral.  It allows--nay, requires--people to make profits  This amounts to trafficking in filthy lucre, since (by definition) profits represent gain at the expense of customers.  If the customer or user were charged a "fair" price the provider of the service would be just clearing costs, and no more.  That is what the State (purportedly) does when it goes into business--clears its costs and no more.  In reality, the State layers costs upon costs throughout the activity in question, glorying in waste and inefficiency.

In New Zealand we have an alleged housing crisis.  The new Labour Government has decided to crack down on what it believes are private individuals and businesses taking advantage of people wanting to buy houses.  The Gummint is going to exercise more control over the market so as to force landlords to accept lower profits.  Remember, profit is tantamount to theft.  It is inherently immoral in the Left's mindset.

This, from Eric Frykberg of RadioNZ:

Saturday, 13 January 2018

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow (On the Image of God)

The Image of God and Life Between the Sexes

Douglas Wilson


People of course disagree about things, and one of the biggest things they differ on is the meaning and magnitude of their disagreements. One man’s adiaphora is another man’s summum bonum, one man’s mox nix is another man’s—oh I don’t know— buttterfly’s boots. I hope I am making myself clear.

Let me start over.

Unbelievers have grown so accustomed to their patterns of sexual license that they have come to regard the pattern of faithful monogamy among believers as just one more weird choice in a world full of weird choices. And—recognizing the differences between us—they (charitably, or so they think) want to relegate the importance of this particular difference to the museum of quaint religious opinions. Certainly we differ, they say soothingly, but surely, shouldn’t we be able to agree that it is no big deal? They allow that we can live this way if we want, but any hint from us that they ought to be doing so as well brings out all heir ire, not to mention the lawsuits.


Now because we Christians understand that the two sexes coming together in a particular way bears the image of God, the response from us always has to be—no, this is necessarily a big deal. It is central, a true fundamental article of the faith. You can have true Christian churches that don’t baptize the right way. You can have real Christian churches that sing the wrong kind of songs. You can have genuine Christian churches that have adopted unedifying forms of church government. But you can’t have Christian churches that have the wrong God. And biblical marriage is one of the creationally-established and central confessions of faith concerning the nature of God.

Daily Meditation

Ready For Work Or Sacrifice

For me to live is Christ.  Philippians 1:21

Charles H. Spurgeon

The believer did not always live to Christ. He began to do so when God the Holy Spirit convinced him of sin, and when by grace he was brought to see the dying Saviour making a propitiation for his guilt. From the moment of the new and celestial birth the man begins to live to Christ. Jesus is to believers the one pearl of great price, for whom we are willing to part with all that we have. He has so completely won our love, that it beats alone for him; to his glory we would live, and in defence of his gospel we would die; he is the pattern of our life, and the model after which we would sculpture our character.

Paul's words mean more than most men think; they imply that the aim and end of his life was Christ--nay, his life itself was Jesus. In the words of an ancient saint, he did eat, and drink, and sleep eternal life. Jesus was his very breath, the soul of his soul, the heart of his heart, the life of his life. Can you say, as a professing Christian, that you live up to this idea? Can you honestly say that for you to live is Christ? Your business--are you doing it for Christ? Is it not done for self- aggrandizement and for family advantage? Do you ask, "Is that a mean reason?" For the Christian it is. He professes to live for Christ; how can he live for another object without committing a spiritual adultery?

Many there are who carry out this principle in some measure; but who is there that dare say that he hath lived wholly for Christ as the apostle did? Yet, this alone is the true life of a Christian--its source, its sustenance, its fashion, its end, all gathered up in one word--Christ Jesus. Lord, accept me; I here present myself, praying to live only in thee and to thee. Let me be as the bullock which stands between the plough and the altar, to work or to be sacrificed; and let my motto be, "Ready for either."

A Shooting Star

The Deconstruction of Thomas Paine

The late eighteenth century has been called the decades of revolutions.  In the course of that particular season we are treated to a luminary, Thomas Paine rising brightly in the eastern sky only rapidly to become a burning, falling star in the west.

Paine had played an active role in the American Revolution.  He advocated strongly the merits and justice of the American colonies against the belligerence of England.  He based his argument upon the ground of universal human rights in the abstract.  He took his arguments and assertions to England itself and called for a similar revolt against the lords and the monarchy.  Whilst he found many supporters, there were not nearly enough to produce a revolution.

Then events in France undid his arguments and appeals.  The French Revolution, which Paine supported ardently, turned bloody and people saw first hand what radical revolution sanctioned by appeals to abstract human rights and inflamed with violence could accomplish.  It was not a pretty sight.  Paine's popularity in England evaporated.
. . . the gruesome "September Massacres" of 1792 (in France), when hundreds of men, women and children were butchered in the streets and prisons of Paris as suspected traitors, the execution of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette in 1793, the escalating Terror, war and economic disaster mocked Paine's confidence that "they order these things better in France."  He himself, at first feted in Paris, was imprisoned and sentenced to the guillotine--a fate he narrowly escaped due to a change of government.  [Robert Tombs, The English and Their History (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2015), p.387]
Suddenly the abstractions of Paine's Rights of Man had come face to face with human depravity at its worst and Paine, overnight, was exposed as little more than a deluded fanatic.   The effect upon England was substantial.

Friday, 12 January 2018

Loving One's Neighbour Rather Than "Global Mankind"

Poland and Hungary Unite Against Eurocrats

‘We Don’t Want to Live in an Empire’

Jack Montgomery


Prime Minister Viktor Orbán of Hungary and Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki of Poland have predicted a “year of great battles” with the EU establishment at a summit in Budapest.  “We don’t want to live in an empire. For us, the European Union is still the alliance of free European nations”, declared the veteran Orbán, who has been in office since 2010.

“The EU’s immigration policy is not working. What is more, it is not only not working but it has failed spectacularly,” he said.  “It’s clear that European people don’t want immigration, while some European leaders are still enforcing the failed immigration policy.

“The Hungarian standpoint is that we have to protect the borders [and] migration must be stopped. We shouldn’t bring migrants here, but we should bring the help where it’s needed,” he added, referring to his country’s ‘Hungary Helps’ programme of works to help people in the countries migrants typically originate from, particularly Christian minorities.

Daily Meditation

Being Unveiled

C. S. Lewis

We are always completely, and therefore equally, known to God. That is our destiny whether we like it or not.

But though this knowledge never varies, the quality of our being known can. A school of thought holds that ‘freedom is willed necessity’. Never mind if they are right or not. I want this idea only as an analogy. Ordinarily, to be known by God is to be, for this purpose, in the category of things. We are, like earthworms, cabbages, and nebulae, objects of Divine knowledge.

But when we (a) become aware of the fact—the present fact, not the generalization—and (b) assent with all our will to be so known, then we treat ourselves, in relation to God, not as things but as persons. We have unveiled. Not that any veil could have baffled His sight. The change is in us. The passive changes to the active. Instead of merely being known, we show, we tell, we offer ourselves to view.

From Letters to Malcolm Letters to Malcolm, Chiefly on Prayer. Copyright © 1964, 1963 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. Copyright renewed © 1992, 1991 by Arthur Owen Barfield. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.