Saturday, 31 March 2018

Reformation and Recovery in Eastern Europe

Eastern Europe's Christian Reawakening

Filip Mazurczak
First Things

In Hungary, Croatia, and elsewhere in Eastern Europe, a pro-family, pro-life revolution and a rediscovery of Christian roots is occurring. While few in the American media have noticed, this trend should challenge those who simply lament Europe’s moral malaise. Unnoticed in the shadow of a secularized west, religion’s public role has been growing in the east since the collapse of communism.

Since taking power in 2010, Prime Minister Viktor Orban—a charismatic veteran of Hungary’s anti-Communist underground—has victoriously stood at the forefront of what Americans call the culture wars. In 2011, Orban’s government ratified a new constitution that defines marriage as the union of a man and woman, speaks of the rights of unborn Hungarians, and ties Christianity to Hungarian nationhood. In 2013, Orban’s government reintroduced—for the first time since before Communism—religious education in public schools. Meanwhile, Orban (the father of five children) has made the Hungarian tax code friendlier toward large families.

Orban himself can be said to symbolize Hungary’s reawakening.

Daily Meditation

Acting the Judas

Betrayest thou the Son of Man with a kiss?  Luke 22:48

Charles H. Spurgeon

"The kisses of an enemy are deceitful." Let me be on my guard when the world puts on a loving face, for it will, if possible, betray me as it did my Master, with a kiss. Whenever a man is about to stab religion, he usually professes very great reverence for it. Let me beware of the sleek-faced hypocrisy which is armour-bearer to heresy and infidelity. Knowing the deceivableness of unrighteousness, let me be wise as a serpent to detect and avoid the designs of the enemy. The young man, void of understanding, was led astray by the kiss of the strange woman: may my soul be so graciously instructed all this day, that "the much fair speech" of the world may have no effect upon me. Holy Spirit, let me not, a poor frail son of man, be betrayed with a kiss!

But what if I should be guilty of the same accursed sin as Judas, that son of perdition? I have been baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus; I am a member of his visible Church; I sit at the communion table: all these are so many kisses of my lips. Am I sincere in them? If not, I am a base traitor. Do I live in the world as carelessly as others do, and yet make a profession of being a follower of Jesus? Then I must expose religion to ridicule, and lead men to speak evil of the holy name by which I am called.

Surely if I act thus inconsistently I am a Judas, and it were better for me that I had never been born. Dare I hope that I am clear in this matter? Then, O Lord, keep me so. O Lord, make me sincere and true. Preserve me from every false way. Never let me betray my Saviour. I do love thee, Jesus, and though I often grieve thee, yet I would desire to abide faithful even unto death. O God, forbid that I should be a high-soaring professor, and then fall at last into the lake of fire, because I betrayed my Master with a kiss.

Lenten Meditation

It Would Be Wise to Take Refuge In Him

This is the season of the year when the Christian Church particularly remembers the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord of all the earth, even our Lord, Jesus Christ.  

The traditional dating is somewhat unusual in that it varies from year to year, although the same formula is applied.  Easter is determined by the lunar calendar, which is based on the phases of the moon.  Easter has a "general window" based on a combination of the movements of the sun and the moon.  The anchor celestial event is the spring equinox (if your perspective is from the northern hemisphere) or the autumn equinox (if your perspective is from the southern hemisphere.)

The spring equinox is when the sun crosses the celestial equator--the imaginary line in the sky above the Earth's equator, as the sun heads from south to north.  So, Easter in the southern hemisphere is always observed in the autumn season as the prelude to winter.  In the northern hemisphere it is the reverse: Easter heralds the onset of spring and the coming summer.

Once the spring (or autumn) equinox has occurred, Easter falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the Spring Equinox around March 20.  Thus, it will always fall sometime between March 22 and April 25.  This year it falls on the 30th May through April 1st.

The precise date year on year is of no importance or significance.  Nor is the particular calculation formula.  If it were to be regarded as significant then probably it would be to reference historical Christian tradition and continuity--and little more. 

Nevertheless the events which are remembered are of the utmost significance for the hosts of heaven and earth.  Paul summarizes the significance for those chosen of God:

Friday, 30 March 2018

Letter From America (About Down Syndrome)

People With Down Syndrome Deserve Our Love, Not Genocide

Killing those with Down syndrome serves no rational purpose. It is a policy born of ignorance and fear. Worse, what it communicates to those so affected is simply unimaginable.

Jonathan Lange
The Federalist

Ann Turner Cook recently celebrated her 91st birthday. You may not recognize her name, but you surely know her face. She is the iconic baby sketched in charcoal who has graced Gerber baby-food jars since 1928. 

Gerber recently initiated an annual photo contest to name a national “Spokesbaby of the year.” This year more than 140,000 pictures were submitted, and on February 7 Gerber announced the winner, Lucas Warren.

Son of Courtney and Jason Warren of Dalton, Georgia, Lucas has an infectious smile and an endearing personality. The photo that made him famous caught him in mid-giggle sitting in an overstuffed chair with white pants and aqua shirt, bare feet, and black polka-dot bowtie to complete the ensemble.

The name “Lucas” means “light.” He is certainly that. Courtney said, “We hope this opportunity sheds light on the special needs community and educates people that with acceptance and support, individuals with special needs have the potential to change the world — just like our Lucas!”

His Genes Make Lucas Special

Part of what makes Lucas so adorable is genetic.

Daily Meditation

Ministry and the Fear of Man

Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, declares the Lord.  (Jeremiah 1:8)

John Piper

A great obstacle to serving the Lord, especially among the young, is the fear of rejection and opposition.  All kinds of thoughts enter the mind about how some people might not like the way I do it. People might disagree or be offended. I might make a mistake and get criticized.

The fear of man is a great hindrance to ministry.

So God says, Don’t fear, because I will be with you and I will deliver you. God’s presence and approval is more valuable than all the accolades of men. And God says that in and through all your troubles, I will deliver you. You will triumph in the end. You will be more than a conqueror.

And the same thing is promised to all of us in Christ Jesus today:

“God has said, ‘I will never fail you or forsake you.’ Therefore we can confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid; what can man do to me?’” (Hebrews 13:5–6)

“If God is for us who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31)

So God said to Jeremiah, and God says to younger people today whom he is calling to serve him, “Do not say, ‘I am only a youth.’” Why?

Because your life is rooted in the unshakable, sovereign purposes of God. You have been chosen and consecrated and formed and appointed for a great purpose.

Because God’s authority, not your own, is behind your going and your speaking.

And because God himself will be with you to deliver you in all your trials.

That's Not What I Wanted

It's All About Me

Sometimes the mask gets removed and one can see ugly suppurating flesh beneath.  Such was the case recently when an editorial writer for the Washington Post insisted that women "need" the right to abort babies with Down Syndrome.

It was a peculiar assertion.  Surely, in our benighted age, women actually do have (according to the law in most Western countries) a legal right to kill children with Down Syndrome.  So why would this opinionista state the obvious?  Well, it turns out that some states in the United States there is an argument being made that abortion for reason of a baby afflicted with Down Syndrome ought to be against the law.  According to Ruth Marcus, Deputy editorial page editor for the Washington Post:
There is a new push in antiabortion circles to pass state laws aimed at barring women from terminating their pregnancies after the fetus has been determined to have Down syndrome. These laws are unconstitutional, unenforceable — and wrong.
Let's focus on the last assertion--namely to prohibit an an abortion on the grounds that the child has Down Syndrome is wrong.

Thursday, 29 March 2018

How The Mighty Have Fallen

Can It Get Any Worse?

We have never seen anything like it in past political history.  Jacinda Ardern appears to be morphing into the most inept, inexperienced, and underdone NZ Prime Minister in the last half a century.  

When, against all expectations, she formed a coalition government consisting of  Uncle Tom Cobley and all she was hailed as a political superstar.  The hagiography was extreme.  The media coined a phrase to describe the political tour d'force descending upon the nation: Jacindamania!

Every media outlet, every woman's magazine, even Horse and Hound, had Jacinda on its front cover.  Here is a standard shot at the time:

Image result for Jacinda Ardern

Now, five months later, the stock standard pic of Jacinda is:

Hosking: From aspiration to aspirin for Jacinda Ardern

A picture, as they say, is worth a thousand words. 

Matthew Hooten summarizes the stumbled, ineptitudes, and mistakes of the current mob going through the motions of governing the country.

Daily Meditation

Satan’s Candy Store

Since Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin. (1 Peter 4:1)

John Piper

First it puzzles. Did Christ have to cease from sin? No! “He committed no sin” (1 Peter 2:22).

Then it clicks. When we arm ourselves with the thought that Christ suffered for us, we realize that we died with him. “He bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness” (1 Peter 2:24). When we die with him we cease to sin.

It’s just like Romans 6. “We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the sinful body might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. For he who has died is freed from sin. . . . So consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Jesus Christ” (Romans 6:6–7, 11).

Peter says, “Arm yourselves with this thought!”

Paul says, “Consider yourselves dead!”

The weapon for our vacation is a thought/consideration.  When the temptations of Satan come — to lust, to steal, to lie, to covet, to envy, to retaliate, to put down, to fear — arm yourself with this thought: When my Lord suffered and died to free me from sin, I died to sin!

When Satan says to you, Why deny yourself the pleasure of lust? Why deal with the mess you could avoid by lying? Why not go ahead and get that harmless luxury you covet? Why not seek justice by returning the same hurt you received?

Answer him: The Son of God suffered (really suffered!) to deliver me from sinning. I cannot believe he suffered to make me miserable. Therefore, what he died to purchase must be more wonderful than the pleasures of sin. Since I trust him, my susceptibility to your allurements has shriveled up and died.

Satan, be gone! My mouth doesn’t drool any more when I walk by your candy store.

On the Road to Mandalay . . .

A Plural Army Liberates A Plural Society

For those of our readers interested in historical cameos you may be interested in the following pieces.  They are taken from one of the best, recent books on Myanmar.  That country was the scene of some of the most terrible jungle fighting of World War II.  

So, for all amateur historians of WWII, we reproduce the following:
The last hurrah for Burma's plural society was, appropriately enough, the reconquest of Burma itself, for General Slim's 700,000--strong 14th Army was as dazzlingly multi-ethnic as pre-war Burma had cone been.  One historian has speculated that the 17th Army must have "contained more diverse races than any other perhaps in history", and at its core were the Indians: Rajputs, Dogras, Sikhs, Jats, Punjabis, Ahirs, Amirs, Chamars, Rawats, Minas, Mahars, Coorgs, Assamese, Adivasis, Kumaonis, Pathans, Brahuis, Mers, Tamils, Telegus, Paraiyahs, Brahmans, Hindustani, Mussulmans, Punjabi Mussulmans, Madrassi Mussulmans and Gurkhas, from Nepal.

They were joined by a wide variety of soliders from east and West Africa, including Hausas, Ibos and Yorubas from Nigeria, Mandis and Timminis from Sierra Leone, Baganda and Achole from Uganda and Womalis from Somaliland--as well as white New Zealanders, Australians, Canadians and South Africans, to say nothing of the Scots, Welsh, Irish and English.

The large and beautifully maintained Commonwealth War Graves cemetery at Kaukkyan on the outskirts of today's Yangon bears silent witness to the sacrifice of the 14th Army in the reconquest of Burma.  But the long lists of names from almost every part of the globe carved on plain white stone also testify to the pluralism of the army, even if the very society that those soldiers fought to preserve had all but disappeared by the time they reached Rangoon in August 1945.  Even so, it was, quite appropriately, an Indian solider, Mohammed Munsif Khan, who finally raised the Union Jack over the "liberated" city.  [Richard Cockett, Blood, Dreams and Gold: The Changing Face of Burma (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2015), p. 53.]
We have had the privilege of visiting the Commonwealth War Graves cemetery.  It remains a sober, yet awe inspiring place.

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Letter From America (About A New Gomorrah)

San Francisco Is Suffering

Drowning in The Excesses Of Its Own Liberalism

Erielle Davidson
The Federalist

About two years ago, I moved to San Francisco from Manhattan in order to pursue a position in economic research at the Hoover Institution. I had originally been working in finance, but welcomed with a special eagerness the opportunity to enter the realm of public policy.

My only interaction with California had been limited to a week in the Piedmont-area of Oakland, California during my junior year of college. Over the course of that first visit, I experienced the “quintessential” San Francisco that characterizes most people’s expectations of the city. I bought colorful groceries at a quaint farmer’s market. I ate an In-N-Out burger with the “special sauce” and donned the silly hat as I scarfed it down. I gawked at the sheer amount of tie-dye I witnessed in Haight-Ashbury. I even braved the earthquake simulation at the California Academy of the Sciences. In short, I developed a quick affection for the city that was only to be challenged severely upon my move.

Between receiving a job offer and my first day of work, I had precisely three weeks to relocate to the Bay Area. Despite my scant knowledge of the region beyond my short stint in Oakland, I managed to secure a decent apartment within my budget and within an hour or so of my work.  From my estimations, the neighborhood seemed adequately safe, though perhaps slightly less cared for than my old neighborhood on the Upper East Side. Still, it was a home, and I was appreciative. The afterglow of my moving victory, however, was short-lived.

Daily Meditation

Irrepressible Inner Joy

In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit.  Luke 10:21

Charles H. Spurgeon

The Saviour was "a man of sorrows," but every thoughtful mind has discovered the fact that down deep in his innermost soul he carried an inexhaustible treasury of refined and heavenly joy. Of all the human race, there was never a man who had a deeper, purer, or more abiding peace than our Lord Jesus Christ. "He was anointed with the oil of gladness above his fellows." His vast benevolence must, from the very nature of things, have afforded him the deepest possible delight, for benevolence is joy.

There were a few remarkable seasons when this joy manifested itself. "At that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth." Christ had his songs, though it was night with him; though his face was marred, and his countenance had lost the lustre of earthly happiness, yet sometimes it was lit up with a matchless splendour of unparalleled satisfaction, as he thought upon the recompense of the reward, and in the midst of the congregation sang his praise unto God.

In this, the Lord Jesus is a blessed picture of his church on earth. At this hour the church expects to walk in sympathy with her Lord along a thorny road; through much tribulation she is forcing her way to the crown. To bear the cross is her office, and to be scorned and counted an alien by her mother's children is her lot; and yet the church has a deep well of joy, of which none can drink but her own children.

There are stores of wine, and oil, and corn, hidden in the midst of our Jerusalem, upon which the saints of God are evermore sustained and nurtured; and sometimes, as in our Saviour's case, we have our seasons of intense delight, for "There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of our God." Exiles though we be, we rejoice in our King; yea, in him we exceedingly rejoice, while in his name we set up our banners.

Welcome Allies

Distinct, Clear Trumpet Calls

We are engaged in spiritual war.  Our wrestling is not against flesh and blood.  It is against the principalities and powers of the Dark Lord.
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. [Ephesians 6:10]
These spiritual powers manifest themselves in and through some of the political rulers and governing powers, the lawmakers and judges. But these are mere tools, false flag slaves.  The real powers are invisible--what the Bible calls the "the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places".

When Christ's Church stands firm and does battle against these enemies, we rejoice.  Whoever is taking up arms against the devilish spiritual forces of our day commands the respect and thanks of all visible churches throughout the world.

The following piece, therefore, is cause for thanksgiving.

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

The US Gun Control Debate

Things Are Not That Simple, Nor As They Have Been Painted

The issue of guns and gun controls in the United States has been up front and centre once again.  The issue is complex and has many moving parts.  It is tiresome just to contemplate writing a reasonable analysis, together with recommendations.  But every so often someone makes the attempt. 

Kiwi-in-America writes guest posts at Kiwiblog from time to time.  He has gone to the trouble of writing a (lengthy) post on guns and gun controls in the United States.  It is very well done--and written from the background of New Zealand's experience with firearms. 

For those who want an excellent precis on the issue, we cannot recommend this post too highly.  We will copy and paste the first few paragraphs, then provide a link to the full article.  The narrative describing the background to the recent Parkland, Florida--Nicholas Cruz murders--14 February 2018, alone leaves one aghast. 
It has been some months since I have guest posted here at Kiwiblog. I have chosen to wade into one of the most contentious topics of US domestic policy, that of suitable gun laws especially as America debates appropriate responses to the latest mass shooting in Parkland, Florida.

I begin this segment with an observation as a kiwi now living in the US. It is very common for us kiwis to view much of what goes on in the US through our own cultural lens. This is particularly true of America’s gun laws and gun culture. Almost all New Zealanders of all political persuasions find America’s obsessions with guns to be at best, odd and disconcerting and at worse, pathological and dangerous. It is very easy to moralise from afar that such horrible incidents of violence are because of America’s unhealthy attachment to its 2nd Amendment right to bear arms and the seemingly pervasive influence of the National Rifle Association (NRA), the largest gun owners association in the US. Most kiwis simplistically maintain that if only America conducted itself like NZ (or other Anglophile countries where handguns are outlawed, and rifle ownership is more strictly controlled) that such mass murders wouldn’t happen, or at least not with the same frequency.

I would ask that you read this post with an open mind and with the view that NZ’s gun laws will never be enacted in the US for reasons that will become apparent and that the issue is much more complex and nuanced than the simplistic and emotion-laden slogans indulged in by any who oppose the US gun ownership model and by the mainstream media in the US who heavily support stricter gun control measures. This post attempts to pierce through the rhetoric and partisan bias and tries to propose practical solutions that stand a chance of passage into law and likely implementation by law enforcement that can and should make a difference in reducing the carnage.


First off let’s examine the statistics to put mass shootings into context. Mass shootings, whilst they commandeer headlines, are actually very rare, especially when you look at the totality of gun related deaths in a country as large as the US where there are as many guns as there are people (325 million). Mass shootings in terms of numbers of victims have not been increasing in the US and indeed, the level of total gun related homicides in the US has dropped to 15,000 in 2016 (latest full year when statistics are available from the FBI) from a peak of almost 25,000 in 1991. . . .

Read the complete piece, here.

The Logic of One Form of Murder

Warnings about the Logic of Abortion Are Coming True

Brian A. Smith
National Review Online

Ruth Marcus's Washington Post column supporting the abortion of children diagnosed with Down syndrome revealed the disturbing end of pro-abortion arguments.

For some people, freedom isn’t worth having if it means being constrained by circumstances beyond their control. In general, American culture embraces the notion that being truly free is to be liberated from the frailties of our bodies and family circumstances. Almost no one disputes that the liberation that came through the achievements of modern medicine — liberation from early death and many debilitating diseases — is a good thing.

At some point, the quest for freedom became absolute. We can argue about who deserves the blame or when it happened. But now generous and humane countries in Europe allow their citizens to choose physician-assisted suicide at age twelve and parents can choose euthanasia for their children.

The triumph of “quality of life” over human dignity in arguments about abortion and euthanasia didn’t happen all at once.

Daily Meditation

Ignorance Guarantees Ungodliness

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence. (2 Peter 1:3)

John Piper

I am amazed at the power that the Bible gives to knowledge.  Consider 2 Peter 1:3: “God’s divine power has granted all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence.”

Literally, all the power available from God to live and be godly comes through knowledge! Amazing! What a premium we should put on doctrine and instruction in the Scriptures! Life and godliness are at stake.  Not that knowing guarantees godliness. It doesn’t. But it seems that ignorance guarantees ungodliness. Because, Peter says, the divine power that leads to godliness is given through the knowledge of God.

Here are three implications, a warning, and a promise.

1. Read! Read! Read! But beware of wasting your time on theological foam and suds. Read rich doctrinal books about “the one who called you to his glory and excellence.”

2. Ponder! Ponder! Slow down. Take time to think about the Bible. Ask questions. Keep a journal. Let yourself be humbly troubled by puzzling things. The deepest insights come from trying to see the unifying root of two apparently antagonistic branches.

3. Discuss. Discuss. Be a part of a small group that cares passionately about the truth. Not a group that just likes to talk and raise problems. But a group that believes there are biblical answers to biblical problems.

Warning: “My people perish for lack of knowledge!” (Hosea 4:6).“They have a zeal for God, but it does not accord with knowledge” (Romans 10:2).

Promise: “They shall not teach every one his fellow or every one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for all shall know me, from the least of them to the greatest. For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more” (Hebrews 8:11–12).

Monday, 26 March 2018

Letter From the UK (About Australia)

Australia Examining Fast-Track Visas for Threatened South African Farmers

Simon Kent
Breitbart London

Australia is ready to consider issuing special visas to mainly white, Afrikaans-speaking South African farmers due to the “horrific circumstances” of land seizures, violence and murder they face.
Peter Dutton, Australia’s home affairs minister, told the Sydney Daily Telegraph on Wednesday his department was examining a range of methods to smooth their path to Australia on humanitarian or other visa programs.

As Breitbart News has reported, South Africans are increasingly worried that the government’s plans to expropriate land from white farmers without compensation could destroy the economy and the country’s fragile democracy.  South Africa’s new president Cyril Ramaphosa has vowed to pursue the same course as Zimbabwe’s former leader Robert Mugabe in expropriating farmland from white farmers without compensation.

Daily Meditation

Original Sin: Man V. God

C. S. Lewis

Traditional doctrine points to a sin against God, an act of disobedience, not a sin against the neighbour. And certainly, if we are to hold the doctrine of the Fall in any real sense, we must look for the great sin on a deeper and more timeless level than that of social morality.

This sin has been described by Saint Augustine as the result of Pride, of the movement whereby a creature (that is, an essentially dependent being whose principle of existence lies not in itself but in another) tries to set up on its own, to exist for itself. Such a sin requires no complex social conditions, no extended experience, no great intellectual development. From the moment a creature becomes aware of God as God and of itself as self, the terrible alternative of choosing God or self for the centre is opened to it. This sin is committed daily by young children and ignorant peasants as well as by sophisticated persons, by solitaries no less than by those who live in society: it is the fall in every individual life, and in each day of each individual life, the basic sin behind all particular sins: at this very moment you and I are either committing it, or about to commit it, or repenting it.

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.

Reactionary Luddite Petulance

A Submission Opposing The Termination of Charter Schools in NZ

I wish to convey my concerns about the proposal of the Education Amendment Bill to:

Remove the Partnership Model

When I was a young man I was told that it was wrong to steal because the State did not like competition.  This was, of course, a sardonic jibe.  But it has embedded within it an element of truth.

As I have observed the animus of the Teacher Unions to charter schools in New Zealand I have become increasingly concerned that a lot of the antipathy and criticism has come from a State education system that fears competition.  The idea that some creative and enterprising individuals might construct and offer a special needs education programme (which is how charter schools in New Zealand have been framed from the outset) and succeed, is for some reason obnoxious to the education “establishment”.

I have followed carefully the reasons put forward as to why the Partnership Model must be terminated and not once have I seen it argued that it was due to the failure of these schools to educate.  That being the case, one is left with the a likely alternative: Partnership Schools are being terminated because they have been successful.

I am aware  this is could be seen as an extreme interpretation.

Saturday, 24 March 2018

Basic Human Liberties Under Threat in the UK

Confronting the Illiberality of Secular Humanism

During a recent debate in the UK, Fiona Bruce, MP exposed the erosion of human rights and religious liberty in the UK.  She makes a powerful appeal for religious liberty as one of the most basic of all human rights and liberties.  In the end, religious liberty is the liberty of conscience

Without liberty of conscience, tyranny beckons. 

Daily Meditation

The Most Insidious of Sins

C. S. Lewis

If you want to find out how proud you are the easiest way is to ask yourself, ‘How much do I dislike it when other people snub me, or refuse to take any notice of me, or shove their oar in, or patronise me, or show off?’ The point is that each person’s pride is in competition with every one else’s pride.

It is because I wanted to be the big noise at the party that I am so annoyed at someone else being the big noise. Two of a trade never agree. Now what you want to get clear is that Pride is essentially competitive—is competitive by its very nature— while the other vices are competitive only, so to speak, by accident. Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man.

We say that people are proud of being rich, or clever, or good-looking, but they are not. They are proud of being richer, or cleverer, or better-looking than others. If everyone else became equally rich, or clever, or good-looking there would be nothing to be proud about. It is the comparison that makes you proud: the pleasure of being above the rest. Once the element of competition has gone, pride has gone.

That is why I say that Pride is essentially competitive in a way the other vices are not. . . Greed may drive men into competition if there is not enough to go round; but the proud man, even when he has got more than he can possibly want, will try to get still more just to assert his power. Nearly all those evils in the world which people put down to greed or selfishness are really far more the result of Pride.

Lady Macbeth's Descendants Dance Around the Cauldrons

A Virulent Strain of Inquiryitus Unleashed

The current New Zealand government has an acute case of Inquiryitus.  This is a particularly debilitating disease, with no known cure.  It's an affliction with a long history.

Medical experts have suggested that early onset Inquiryitus can be detected in Lady Macbeth's habit of rubbing at imaginary blood spots in the middle of the night.  The rubbing syndrome has developed in our modern polity into launching inquiries.  The intention is that a long, slow, glacial inquiry will rub away the scandal or controversy from human memory.

We have lost count of the number of inquiries launched by the present administration into alleged defects and scandals since it took office a mere six months ago.  Every day, new blood-spot-rubbing inquiries are announced.  Neither the announcements nor the actual glacial inquiries are of any significance any longer.

We have "inquiries" announced into mental health and addiction, Labour Party drunkenness and debauchery, historical state care abuse, high power prices, Pike River Mine entry, taxation, climate change, prisons and incarceration, and the government education system, to name but a few.

Inquiryitus is a virulent disease.

Friday, 23 March 2018

A Move Inspired By Insecurity, Fear and Doubt

China’s Great Leap Backward

Stephen Blank, Ph.D

China took a great leap backward last week. By arranging to be president for life, and by instituting Xi Jinping thought as a new ideological requirement for China, Xi went beyond his well-known admiration for Mao Zedong to outright emulation. This decision cannot fail to be of the utmost importance, not only for China but also for the rest of the world.

Indeed, foreign observers and diplomats may have expected something along these lines since Xi had effectively neutralized any opposition to his power well before this announcement. Therefore it was not necessary to proclaim these changes unless he wanted to scrap the tacit rule on term limits and impose the Chinese Communist Party’s ideological and political control under him for the rest of his lifetime.

In other words, Xi announcement is not just a manifestation of power it is also a transparent, even possibly desperate attempt to cover up the fact that a great deal is rotten in the state of China.

Abroad it is already clear that this ascension to unchecked absolute power invalidates the theory that has governed not only U.S. policy but also European policy. That theory held that by integrating China into the global economy and its networks China would gradually liberalize not only its economy but also its political system. This decision makes it clear that the leadership in Beijing will not tolerate any such evolution. There is no force in China that is as yet capable of guiding China along that trajectory.

Daily Meditation

As Christ Loved, So . . . 

Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church.  Ephesians 5:25

Charles H. Spurgeon

What a golden example Christ gives to his disciples! Few masters could venture to say, "If you would practise my teaching, imitate my life;" but as the life of Jesus is the exact transcript of perfect virtue, he can point to himself as the paragon of holiness, as well as the teacher of it.

The Christian should take nothing short of Christ for his model. Under no circumstances ought we to be content unless we reflect the grace which was in him. As a husband, the Christian is to look upon the portrait of Christ Jesus, and he is to paint according to that copy. The true Christian is to be such a husband as Christ was to his church.

The love of a husband is special. The Lord Jesus cherishes for the church a peculiar affection, which is set upon her above the rest of mankind: "I pray for them, I pray not for the world." The elect church is the favourite of heaven, the treasure of Christ, the crown of his head, the bracelet of his arm, the breastplate of his heart, the very centre and core of his love. A husband should love his wife with a constant love, for thus Jesus loves his church. He does not vary in his affection. He may change in his display of affection, but the affection itself is still the same.

A husband should love his wife with an enduring love, for nothing "shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." A true husband loves his wife with a hearty love, fervent and intense. It is not mere lip-service. Ah! beloved, what more could Christ have done in proof of his love than he has done? Jesus has a delighted love towards his spouse: He prizes her affection, and delights in her with sweet complacence. Believer, you wonder at Jesus' love; you admire it--are you imitating it?

In your domestic relationships is the rule and measure of your love--"even as Christ loved the church?"

Second-Grade Politician Dishonours Himself

Not a Good Show

There are not many politicians whom we hold in honour and respect.  Largely that's because we don't know many of them personally.  But some, to our way of thinking, fail to carry the gravitas and seriousness which ought to be every politician's stock-in-trade.  

Our latest laughing bag is Shane Jones.  Here is a man who is a blusterer of blusterers.  He thinks that opening his mouth and bloviating forth in a loud voice is tantamount to creating-ex-nihilo his peculiar version of reality.  Hard work is not the boy's strong suit.  He has already been labelled a bully.

Shane thinks he has mana, now that he has "command and control" over $1 billion of tax payers hard earned money to spend at will in "regional development".  We confidently predict that the outcome will be an endless litany of boondoggles and failures.  Doubtless, with each failure it will be someone else's fault.  The reason is that Jones cannot do the hard work, the detail work, the planning and careful execution; he bloviates, but cannot build.  He gestures, but cannot grind out the hard yards.  Like most vacuous politicians he naively thinks that tax payers' money is pixie dust.  Sprinkle it liberally all over the show and the toadstools will grow.

Here his is latest public nonsense:

Thursday, 22 March 2018

Global Warming Junk Science

How Global Warming Became the Biggest #FakeNews Scare of All Time (Part 2)

James Delingpole
Breitbart News

Here is this week’s latest eructations in "Climate Stupid" Groupthink:

Let’s “solve” climate change by halting economic growth, argues a paper from the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Vienna, published in Nature Climate Change.

Texas Tech professor Katharine Hayhoe tells a summit in Edmonton, Canada that climate change is “the greatest humanitarian crisis of our times”; confides how shocked she was on discovering, six months into her marriage, that her husband did not believe in global warming. “You have somebody you respect and you also love and you also want to stay married. I said well, ‘Let’s talk about it.’” Apparently it took two years to convince him.

Activists at Cambridge University warn of “large scale disruption” if the university’s £6.3 billion endowment fund ignores their demands that it should divest itself of its fossil fuel investment holdings.

An ex-White-House staffer from the Obama era tells Washingtonian  about the time her date with a man came to a sudden end when he said he didn’t believe in global warming: “I started laughing, because I’m from Colorado and didn’t realize people actually didn’t believe in global warming. But he was serious.”

Climate industrial complex in UK has wasted £100 billion and shut down debate to no useful purpose, warns Peter Lilley – one of Margaret Thatcher’s former ministers.

‘Stop blaming both sides for America’s climate failures’, argues Guardian columnist. ‘The fault lies entirely with the GOP.’

‘Blame consumers not China for climate change‘, warns Clinton-Climate-Initiative-backed pressure group.

I could go on but I wouldn’t want to bore you. Or myself. When you’ve been covering the climate/environment/energy beat for as long as I have, every day is Groundhog Day. Every day it’s the same bunch of troughers, spivs, second-raters, crooks, liars, half-wits, chancers, bottom-feeders and eco-fascists churning out the same old propaganda.

Daily Meditation

A Five-Point Summary of the Gospel

Christ also died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God. (1 Peter 3:18)

John Piper

Here’s a summary of the gospel to help you understand it and enjoy it!

1) God created us for his glory.

“Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth, everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory” (Isaiah 43:6–7). God made all of us in his own image so that we would image-forth, or reflect, his character and moral beauty.

2) Every human should live for God’s glory.

“Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). The way to live for the glory of God is to love him (Matthew 22:37), trust him (Romans 4:20), be thankful to him (Psalm 50:3) and obey him (Matthew 5:16). When we do these things we image-forth God’s glory.

3) We have all sinned and fallen short of God’s glory.

“All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). “Although they knew God they did not glorify him as God or give thanks to him . . . . but exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images” (Romans 1:21–23). None of us has loved or trusted or thanked or obeyed God as we ought.

4) We all deserve eternal punishment.

“The wages of sin is (eternal) death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23). Those who did not obey the Lord Jesus “shall suffer the punishment of eternal destruction and exclusion from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might” (1 Thessalonians 1:9). “They shall go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life" (Matthew 25:46).

5) In his great mercy, God sent forth his only Son Jesus Christ to provide for sinners the way of eternal life.

“God so loved the world that he gave his only son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us” (Galatians 3:13). “Christ also died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God" (1 Peter 3:18).

Education Far Too Important For the State to be Involved

State Incompetence Is Endemic

Charter schools are going to close in New Zealand because of an antediluvian ideology gripping the hearts and minds of the Government.  That ideology can be summarized by the following maxim: "the Government does it best."

New Zealand has been pretty much a socialist country ever since European settlement.  Historian Michael Bassett characterised our dominant national ideology as "Socialism Without Doctrines".  He meant by this that New Zealand has always been a pragmatic nation.  "If it works, it's good" has been the idea.  A corollary sits right alongside this naive pragmatism--"when the Government does 'it' it's the best", whatever "it" may be.  It is held generally true by many that the Government is without interests.  It works for the good of all.  It does not seek its own interests.  Its contribution is objectively for the best.  It is not driven by selfish motives of profit.  It puts the nation and the community first--and so forth, and so on.

Of course, this is all silly nonsense.

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Global Warming Junk Science

How Global Warming Became the Biggest #FakeNews Scare of All Time (Part 1)

James Delingpole
Breitbart News

Why do so many apparently informed, intelligent, educated people still believe in ManBearPig?
For the same reason that the U.S. underestimated the Japanese threat before Pearl Harbor; that General MacArthur stupidly advanced north of the 38th parallel in Korea; that JFK got embroiled in the Bay of Pigs disaster; that LBJ dragged the U.S. deeper and deeper into the Vietnam War.

The reason is a phenomenon known as ‘groupthink’.

Though the name dates back to a 1952 article in Fortune magazine by William H Whyte, it wasn’t popularized for another twenty years when a Yale research psychologist called Irving Janis used it in the title of his influential 1972 Victims of Groupthink.

Little did he know it – Janis was looking to past events like the ones mentioned above, not the future – but his book would anatomize with unerring accuracy the perverse mindset which would lead to the creation of the biggest, most expensive junk science scam the world has ever witnessed: the great global warming scare.

Daily Meditation

Contempt For Self Can Elide Into Contempt for Others

Screwtape examines the virtue of Humility

C. S. Lewis

Your patient has become humble; have you drawn his attention to the fact?

All virtues are less formidable to us once the man is aware that he has them, but this is specially true of humility. Catch him at the moment when he is really poor in spirit and smuggle into his mind the gratifying reflection, ‘By Jove! I’m being humble’, and almost immediately pride—pride at his own humility—will appear. If he awakes to the danger and tries to smother this new form of pride, make him proud of his attempt—and so on, through as many stages as you please. But don’t try this too long, for fear you awake his sense of humour and proportion, in which case he will merely laugh at you and go to bed.

But there are other profitable ways of fixing his attention on the virtue of Humility. By this virtue, as by all the others, our Enemy wants to turn the man’s attention away from self to Him, and to the man’s neighbours. All the abjection and self-hatred are designed, in the long run, solely for this end; unless they attain this end they do us little harm; and they may even do us good if they keep the man concerned with himself, and, above all, if self-contempt can be made the starting point for contempt of other selves, and thus for gloom, cynicism, and cruelty.

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.

Unbelief Betrays Its LIcentiousness

The Immorality Implicit in "Robing Up"

You knew from the get-go that Hindu and Moslem women are profoundly chaste and faithful, right?  You knew that because they robe up.  Of course we knew that.

OK, so now we can dispense with the jokes and the kidding.  Below is a telling excerpt from Dr Vishal Mangalwadi, in, The Book That Made Your World,  in answer to the question, "What did the biblical idea of marriage and family do for the status of women and for civilization?"  He chose to answer the question by telling a story from his personal experience.
As I mentioned . . . we began our service to the poor in village Gatheora in 1976 by training Village Health Workers (VHS's).  Dr. Mategaonker and his staff would come to our farm twice a week to teach village folk how to stay healthy, prevent diseases, and cure simple ailments.  The village families wouldn't allow women to attend these classes, so we had to begin by training young men.  After a few months, after we had bonded and become free with each others, the VHW's conveyed to us their considered opinion: "You Christians are very immoral."

"What do you mean?" I was taken aback, since the jury had reached this verdict after due deliberation.  "How are we immoral?"

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

More Concern Over The Prothanasia Bill Before Parliament

NZ End of Life Choice Bill

Another submission against Unlawful Killing

We oppose the End of Life Choice Bill.

Reasons why.

We are opposed to the End of Life Choice Bill for the following reasons:

1. What we have read and heard from medical people about the way in which such bills have opened-up a Pandora’s box in countries where such legislation has been passed leads us to expect that the same will happen here. A bill which starts off allowing those who wish to end their life to do so, will end up taking the lives of many who do not wish to die. It seems strange that having abolished the death penalty for every crime, we should re-introduce it for the crime of being a burden on society or not being able to contribute anything useful.

2. Such legislation, if it were passed would forever change our relationship with our doctor and with the medical community.

Daily Meditation

Our Father . . . 
Ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:26

Charles H. Spurgeon

The fatherhood of God is common to all his children. Ah! Little-faith, you have often said, "Oh that I had the courage of Great-heart, that I could wield his sword and be as valiant as he! But, alas, I stumble at every straw, and a shadow makes me afraid." List thee, Little-faith. Great-heart is God's child, and you are God's child too; and Great-heart is not one whit more God's child than you are. Peter and Paul, the highly-favoured apostles, were of the family of the Most High; and so are you also; the weak Christian is as much a child of God as the strong one.

This cov'nant stands secure,
Though earth's old pillars bow;
The strong, the feeble, and the weak,
Are one in Jesus now.
All the names are in the same family register. One may have more grace than another, but God our heavenly Father has the same tender heart towards all. One may do more mighty works, and may bring more glory to his Father, but he whose name is the least in the kingdom of heaven is as much the child of God as he who stands among the King's mighty men. Let this cheer and comfort us, when we draw near to God and say, "Our Father."

Yet, while we are comforted by knowing this, let us not rest contented with weak faith, but ask, like the Apostles, to have it increased. However feeble our faith may be, if it be real faith in Christ, we shall reach heaven at last, but we shall not honour our Master much on our pilgrimage, neither shall we abound in joy and peace. If then you would live to Christ's glory, and be happy in his service, seek to be filled with the spirit of adoption more and more completely, till perfect love shall cast out fear.

Why Don't You Do Yourself and the Rest of Us a Favour?

"It's Best if You Cark It"

Kylee Black Does Not Want to Die

A terminally ill person has made a submission on the Death Bill now before the New Zealand Parliament's Select Committee.  Kylee Black is terminally ill.  She is a 31-year-old.  She has Ehlers Danlos Syndrome [EDS], a "genetic connective-tissue disorder that is progressive and incurable".

In fighting against and persisting in living with the disease--when there is no hope of a remedy or cure--Black raises the problem of depression.  Who would not get discouraged and depressed with such a bleak outlook preceded by years of pain? 
But Black does not want to die. And she does not want doctors suggesting death as an option to her, especially on her darkest days.  "I personally have seen over 20 specialists through my local district health board. If I was asked to consider my options as things progress by even a handful of these, I would certainly feel very pressured to consider euthanasia."  [NZ Herald]
When professionals such as doctors suggest to a terminally ill patient that it would be better for the suffering patient to die, we have to ask, Better for whom?

Monday, 19 March 2018

An Ideological Boondoggle

Not A Hint of Accountability Nor Contrition

The article below does not make any reference to "global warming".  Nevertheless we have a deep suspicion that "global warmist" ideology is the backstory to the boondoggle.  For whatever reason sometime during the cruise, it became politically correct to develop dual-fuel, hybrid destroyers for the US Navy.

For some inexplicable reason the failed consequences of this boondoggle were not predicted by navy engineers.  It was a case of build in haste, and repent at leisure.  But it's an inevitable consequence when ideology trumps common sense and the President D'Jour, Barack Obama was proclaiming at the time that Global Warming was the greatest existential threat facing the human race. 

US Navy Canceling Program

Gas-Guzzlers into Hybrid (Dual Fuel) Destroyers is Officially Destroyed

Former President Obama Reported To Be Dismayed

By: David B. Larter
Defence News

The guided-missile destroyer USS Truxtun (DDG 103) transits the Atlantic Ocean. Truxtun will be the sole hybrid destroyer in the fleet for the time being because the Navy is moving to cancel the program aimed at making destroyers more fuel efficient. (MC3 Danny Ray Nunez Jr./Navy)

WASHINGTON — The Navy is canceling a program to install fuel-efficient hybrid electric drives in 34 destroyers, leaving only one destroyer with the technology, the Navy confirmed in a statement.

Daily Meditation

Prayer’s Exclamation Point

All the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory. (2 Corinthians 1:20)

John Piper

Prayer is a response to promises, that is, to the assurances of God’s future grace.

Prayer is drawing on the account where God has deposited all his promises of future grace.

Prayer is not hoping in the dark that there might be a God of good intentions out there. Prayer goes to the bank every day and draws on promises for the future grace needed for that day.

Don’t miss the connection between the two halves of this great verse. Notice the “that is why”: “All the promises of God are Yes in Christ. That is why (therefore) we pray Amen through him, to God’s glory.”

To make sure we see it, let’s turn the two halves around: When we pray, we say Amen to God through Christ, because God has said Amen to all his promises in Christ. Prayer is the confident plea for God to make good on his promises of future grace for Christ’s sake. Prayer links our faith in future grace with the foundation of it all, Jesus Christ.

Which leads to the final point: “Amen” is a full and precious word in times of prayer. It doesn’t mean primarily, “Yes, I have now said all this prayer.” It means primarily, “Yes, God has made all these promises.”

Amen means, “Yes, Lord, you can do it.” It means, “Yes, Lord, you are powerful. Yes, Lord, you are wise. Yes, Lord, you are merciful. Yes, Lord, all future grace comes from you and has been confirmed in Christ.”

“Amen” is an exclamation point of hope after a prayer for help.

History Curiously Repeats

California Seeks Effective Secession From the Union

Life has a tendency to throw up some unexpected turn of events.  Or, as the saying has it, beware unintended consequences.  

The American Civil War was fought over the principle of States' rights.  The fundamental question was how much original authority resided in the states versus how much resided in the Federal government.  Did the Federal government hold a higher authority than the states when it came to managing their own affairs?  The signature issue at the time was slavery.  The Civil War "answered" the question: federalism triumphed over states' rights--by force of arms.

In recent years we have seen the re-emergence of the doctrine of states' rights, however.  It has come from an unexpected quarter.  Cities (and states) in the US have begun to assert a "sanctuary status" for illegal aliens, which means that they refuse to support or comply with Federal Government law on immigrants.  Leading the charge for this recrudescence of doctrines of states' rights has been California, one of the most "liberal" States in the union.

Saturday, 17 March 2018

Rampant Official Insecurity

China's War on Words

Anything used to insult Xi Jinping, banned

Jamie Seidel
NZ Herald

China's new President-for-life doesn't like criticism.  Since claiming the eternal throne of an Emperor earlier this week, he's clamped down — hard — on any hint of dissent.  Censorship has always been a way of life under China's one party state, reports  But things have just ramped up to a whole new level.

Authoritarian Rule is Being Established.

Earlier this week the Communist Party Council announced (a day before it actually met) that the limit of two five-year presidential terms will be abolished and Xi Jinping's guiding philosophy would be written into the constitution.  Immediately, Beijing's censors set to work.  They've attacked the very words people would need to use to express discontent.

Daily Meditation

Following in His Footsteps

Thou shalt love thy neighbour.  Matthew 5:43

Charles H. Spurgeon

"Love thy neighbour." Perhaps he rolls in riches, and thou art poor, and living in thy little cot side-by-side with his lordly mansion; thou seest every day his estates, his fine linen, and his sumptuous banquets; God has given him these gifts, covet not his wealth, and think no hard thoughts concerning him. Be content with thine own lot, if thou canst not better it, but do not look upon thy neighbour, and wish that he were as thyself. Love him, and then thou wilt not envy him.

Perhaps, on the other hand, thou art rich, and near thee reside the poor. Do not scorn to call them neighbour. Own that thou art bound to love them. The world calls them thy inferiors. In what are they inferior? They are far more thine equals than thine inferiors, for "God hath made of one blood all people that dwell upon the face of the earth." It is thy coat which is better than theirs, but thou art by no means better than they. They are men, and what art thou more than that? Take heed that thou love thy neighbour even though he be in rags, or sunken in the depths of poverty.

But, perhaps, you say, "I cannot love my neighbours, because for all I do they return ingratitude and contempt." So much the more room for the heroism of love. Wouldst thou be a feather-bed warrior, instead of bearing the rough fight of love? He who dares the most, shall win the most; and if rough be thy path of love, tread it boldly, still loving thy neighbours through thick and thin. Heap coals of fire on their heads, and if they be hard to please, seek not to please them, but to please thy Master; and remember if they spurn thy love, thy Master hath not spurned it, and thy deed is as acceptable to him as if it had been acceptable to them. Love thy neighbour, for in so doing thou art following the footsteps of Christ.

NZ Education System: Ideologically Driven Mania

Stupidity That Beggars Belief

The New Zealand government education system is a mess.  It is the product for which both major political parties (Labour and National) are to blame.  Both parties bought into the fundamental egalitarianism of the system: no child should leave school without a qualification.  No child would be left behind.  

The egalitarianism of the Left required that there be no failures, no rejects, no-one without qualifications.  In order to achieve this, the government education system has had to broaden its curriculum to the point that its entire system has become either insignificant or meaningless.  So many of the creaks and groans of the current set-up arise from the utopian attempt to build an education system which would enable every child to "pass" in some subject or other.

Simon Collins, the NZ Herald education reporter has illustrated the problem:

Friday, 16 March 2018

The Curse of the Metrosexual Male

Take Your Kids Out Of Class

Tucker Carlson and Jordan Peterson discuss the decline of masculinity

Dorothy McLean

NEW YORK CITY, March 8, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — American men are in serious trouble, but few people seem to care.  That was Fox News host Tucker Carlson’s theme last night when he introduced a new series for his show called “Men in America.” It will air on Fox on Wednesdays in March.

In a stirring monologue, Carlson laid out statistics, ranging from lifespan to addictions to incarceration to unemployment to wages, that prove that it is boys and men--not girls and women--who are seriously disadvantaged in the USA today.   “American men are failing, in body, mind and spirit. This is a crisis. Yet our leaders pretend it’s not happening,” Carlson said. “They tell us the opposite is true: Women are victims, men are oppressors. To question that assumption is to risk punishment.” 

“Our politicians and business leaders internalize and amplify that message,” he continued. “Men are privileged. Women are oppressed. Hire and promote and reward accordingly.  That would be fine if it were true. But it’s not true. At best, it’s an outdated view of an America that no longer exists. At worst, it’s a pernicious lie.”

Dr Jordan Peterson, author of the bestselling 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, told Carlson that there is a “directed policy” to emphasize that there is something wrong with masculinity and it should be limited in “all sorts of arbitrary ways.  The fact that male behaviour is often diagnosed as Attention Deficit Disorder is a manifestation of that,” he said.

Carlson asked Peterson why people would want to deemphasize or punish masculinity.

“Because it’s easy to mistake masculine competence for the tyranny that hypothetically drives the patriarchy,” the psychologist replied. “It’s part of an ideological worldview that sees the entire history of mankind as the oppression of women by men, which is a dreadful way of looking at the world.”

Peterson underscored that human history has been a cooperative endeavor between men and women and that to describe it as “centuries of oppression of women” is “an absolutely reprehensible ideological rewrite of history.”  This dystopian vision is taught as “unassailable fact” in universities and, increasingly, the public school system, demoralizing boys and young men.

Peterson advised parents to encourage their sons, that is, to instill courage in them, to teach them to be competent and to rely on themselves “to prevail, even in the darkest of circumstances.”

He had even more specific advice for parents regarding their children’s education.  “If you have your children in a school, and [teachers] talk about equity in class--equity, diversity, white privilege, systemic racism, any of that--you take your children out of that class,” Peterson said. “They’re not being educated; they’re being indoctrinated. And there’s absolutely no excuse for it.”

“You might run out of schools pretty quickly, though, here in this country,” Carlson quipped.  But Peterson wasn’t in a joking mood.  “That would be just fine,” he said, stony-faced. “The sooner, the better.”

The statistics Carlson provided--like the fact that 77% of suicide deaths are suffered by males or that 7 million working-age American men are now unemployed--were dire. However, the problem that he found most terrifying is that men are becoming “less male.”

“Sperm counts across the west have plummeted, down almost 60 percent since the early 1970s,” Carlson said. “Scientists don’t know why. Testosterone levels in men have also fallen precipitously. One study found that the average levels of male testosterone dropped by one percent every year after 1987. This is unrelated to age. The average 40-year-old-man in 2017 would have testosterone levels 30 percent lower than the average 40-year-old man in 1987.”

The host stated that low testosterone in men is associated with depression, lethargy, weight gain and decreased cognitive ability.  “You’d think we’d want to know what exactly is going on and how to fix it. But the media ignore the story. It’s considered a fringe topic,” he said.

Scientists don’t seem interested either.  “We checked and couldn’t find a single NIH-funded study on why testosterone levels are falling,” Carlson said. “We did find a study on, quote, ‘Pubic Hair Grooming Prevalence and Motivation Among Women in the United States’.”

Daily Meditation

When the Potter Is for Us

“Woe to him who strives with him who formed him, a pot among earthen pots! Does the clay say to him who forms it, ‘What are you making?’ or ‘Your work has no handles’?” (Isaiah 45:9)

John Piper

The majesty of God is magnified when we see him through the lens of creation ex nihilo (out of nothing). He commands nothingness, and it obeys and becomes something.

Out of nothing he makes the clay, and out of the clay he makes us — the pottery of the Lord (Isaiah 45:9) — his possession, destined for his glory, in total dependence on him.

“Know that the Lord is God! It is he that made us and we are his, his people and the sheep of his pasture” (Psalm 100:3). It is a humbling thing to be a sheep and a pot that belong to somebody else.

This morning I was reading in Isaiah and found another statement about God’s majesty. When I put it together with God’s absolute power and rights as Creator there is a combustion that goes off in my heart. Boom!

Isaiah 33:21 says, “The Lord in majesty will be for us!”

For us! For us! The Creator is for us and not against us. With all the power in the universe and with absolute right to do as he pleases with what he made — he is for us!

“Who has seen a God like this, who works for those who wait for him?” (Isaiah 64:4). “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31).

Can you think of anything (I mean anything) that is more comforting and assuring and delighting than that the Lord in his majesty is for you?

A Modern Version of the Goon Show

The Syndrome of Embarrassing Advocates

You have to spare a thought for our hapless Foreign Minister, Winston Peters.  Winnie (a nickname referring to his excessive love of horse racing) has for some strange reason singled out Russia as a country with which New Zealand very definitely needs to have a Free Trade Agreement.

This febrile enthusiasm for closer ties to Russia begs all sorts of questions, the most pressing of which is, Why?  What are we missing?  Given Peters past murky behaviour over money our suspicions cannot be anything but quickened by his strange crusade.  Unfortunately for Peters his public encomiums of Russia have been unfortunately timed.  Within a day or so, we awoke to find the UK has essentially cut diplomatic ties with Russia, expelling a phalanx of spies from the country.  This was followed by condemnations from the NATO powers: the US, Germany and France.  It seems Russia has been acting more like a rogue state.  It has committed murder and attempted murder of former Russian residents and a policeman, upon UK soil.  There are murmurings that this is just the tip of a bloody iceberg.

How will Peters respond?  Who can predict the mind of this rather strange man?

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow, Idaho

That Unthinkable 2020 Election

Douglas Wilson

So let us review where we are.

For my entire adult life (and I understand the pattern started earlier than that), the received wisdom has been for Republican candidates to run to the right and govern to the middle. Virtually everyone did this, whether because that was where their heart actually was, or because they were manipulated or forced in that direction. Some politicians were actual (albeit secret) members of the swamp tribes, some went native, and others were kidnapped. But whatever the reason that is the direction things invariably went.

The most principled conservative of the entire lot (Reagan) is perceived as an enemy of government bloat because he successfully slowed down the rate of the bloating. That is how “cuts” in Washington are defined, cutting the rate of growth. This is like a 400 pound man, who gains ten pounds annually, describing a regimen in which he gains five pounds during that same period as a weight loss program. And with all the care of exquisite and experienced liars, our politicians carefully rely on the difference between deficits and debts, pretending that to do something superficial about the former actually helps with the latter.

So this is the way it has been, and thus it seemed it always would be. This has happened over and over. Lucy and the football, over and over. Candidates who sounded really conservative, who talked a good game, who sounded genuine and sincere—the most we could hope for from them was to postpone the day of reckoning. The Democrats insisted on hurtling toward the cliff at 90 mph (“Venezuela or bust!”) while the Republicans (ever voices of moderation) wanted to hurtle in the same direction at 75 mph. The most drastic conservative measures always seemed to cash out to some form of slightly slower liberalism.

This bait and switch move has been the pattern for so long that it has gotten itself embedded in the conservative psyche. It certainly got embedded in mine.

Daily Meditation


C. S. Lewis

Affection, as I have said, is the humblest love. It gives itself no airs. People can be proud of being ‘in love’, or of friendship. Affection is modest—even furtive and shame-faced. Once when I had remarked on the affection quite often found between my cat and my dog, my friend replied, ‘Yes. But I bet no dog would even confess it to the other dogs.’

That is at least a good caricature of much human Affection. ‘Let homely faces stay at home’, says Comus. Now Affection has a very homely face. So have many of those for whom we feel it. It is no proof of our refinement or perceptiveness that we love them; nor that they love us.

What I have called Appreciative Love is no basic element in Affection. It usually needs absence or bereavement to set us praising those to whom only Affection binds us. We take them for granted; and this taking for granted, which is an outrage in erotic love, is here right and proper to a point. It fits the comfortable, quiet nature of the feeling. Affection would not be affection if it was loudly and frequently expressed; to produce it in public is like getting your household furniture out for a move. It did very well in its place, but it looks shabby or tawdry or grotesque in the sunshine.

Affection almost sinks or slips through our lives. It lives with humble, un-dress, private things; soft slippers, old clothes, old jokes, the thump of a sleepy dog’s tail on the kitchen floor, the sound of a sewing-machine, a gollywog left on the lawn.

From The Four Loves The Four Loves. Copyright © 1960 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

Personally Involved in Misery . . . Why?

The Answer Lies in One Word--Duty

We have been reading Georgina Battiscombe's biography of the 7th Earl of Shaftesbury.  It is insightful and instructive.  For anyone wanting to come to grips with the Victorian period it ought to be considered an essential read.    

It is a skillful account, insofar as Battiscombe gives us a "warts and all" rendition.  We have often made mention of God being pleased to strike straight blows with crooked sticks--and this case is no exception.  Shaftesbury was actually Anthony Ashley-Cooper and became the 7th Earl of Shaftesbury on the death of his father.  He spent his entire adult life labouring on behalf of those who were sorely afflicted.  Whilst he had a sterling career, firstly in the Commons, then in the House of Lords, it was not one removed from those he was seeking to help.  He was driven by a genuine human compassion--and aided therein by the faithful help of his wife, Minnie.

Here is an excerpt at the beginning of Battiscombe's biography which gives us a measure of the man.  Ashley-Cooper had been made one of fifteen commissioners charged with the licensing and inspection of mental asylums:

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Dumb, Dumber and Dumbest

Hopeless Idiots

John Nolte
Breitbart News

Facebook is run by dumboes.  Here is a classic illustration which proves the allegation.  It has attempted to come down hard on a satirical (christian) site, Babylon Bee.

The Christian satire site Babylon Bee has been fact-checked by Snopes and threatened by Facebook after it published an Onion-style article about CNN purchasing a washing machine to “spin the news.”

The Babylon Bee openly advertises itself as a satire site. Recent headlines include, “Local Pastor Hoping Curling Metaphors Go Over Big This Sunday,” “Nation That Calls Trump ‘Hitler’ Demands He Take All Guns Away,” “Calvinist Dog Corrects Owner: ‘No One Is A Good Boy’,” and “New Exercise Bike Forces You To Watch Christian Movies Until You Hit Your Calories Goal.”

Not only is this fairly anodyne stuff, but as you can see, the Babylon Bee is more than willing to satirize their own among the Faithful.  Naturally, none of this matters to our left-wing tech overlords, who are becoming increasingly desperate to censor free speech coming from conservatives, Christians, and the like.

This time, in order to protect the far-left CNN from ridicule, Snopes and Facebook worked in tandem to teach the Babylon Bee (and all of us) a lesson about mocking your betters.

Daily Meditation

Where Our Comfort Comes From

They cried out, “Away with him, away with him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.” So he delivered him over to them to be crucified. (John 19:15–16)

John Piper

Pilate’s authority to crucify Jesus did not intimidate Jesus. Why not?

Not because Pilate was lying. Not because he didn’t have authority to crucify Jesus. He did.  Rather, this authority did not intimidate Jesus because it was derivative. Jesus said, “It was given to you from above.” Which means it is really authoritative. Not less. But more.

So how is this not intimidating? Pilate not only has authority to kill Jesus. But he has God-given authority to kill him.

This does not intimidate Jesus because Pilate’s authority over Jesus is subordinate to God’s authority over Pilate. Jesus gets his comfort at this moment not because Pilate’s will is powerless, but because Pilate’s will is guided. Not because Jesus isn’t in the hands of Pilate’s fear, but because Pilate is in the hands of Jesus’s Father.  Which means that our comfort comes not from the powerlessness of our enemies, but from our Father’s sovereign rule over their power.

This is the point of Romans 8:25–37. Tribulation and distress and persecution and famine and nakedness and danger and sword cannot separate us from Christ because “in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Romans 8:35–37).

Pilate (and all Jesus’s adversaries — and ours) meant it for evil. But God meant it for good (Genesis 50:20). All Jesus’s enemies gathered together with their God-given authority “to do whatever God’s hand and God’s plan had predestined to take place” (Acts 4:28). They sinned. But through their sinning God saved.

Therefore, do not be intimidated by your adversaries who can only kill the body. Not only because this is all they can do (Luke 12:4), but also because it is done under the watchful hand of your Father.
Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows. (Luke 12:6–7)

Pilate has authority. Herod has authority. Soldiers have authority. Satan has authority. But none is independent. All their authority is derivative. All of it is subordinate to God’s will. Fear not. You are precious to your sovereign Father. Far more precious than the unforgotten birds.

The Long March Home

A Matter of Character

A friend recently did us a good turn.  Over recent days we have been reading through his copy of Adam Zamoyski's 1812: Napoleon's Fatal March on Moscow.  It is a magisterial work, yet accessible to the non-specialist.

We would recommend it to folk who have a vague or general idea that Napoleon went to war against Russia and that bad things happened.  It is a sequence of events that has affected the West until present times.  [The "dream" for a united Europe--a new model state--comes directly out of Napoleon's revolutionary secularist fervour.]  

Napoleon personally survived (just) the horrors of Russia, but from that point on his empire was to all intents and purposes broken.  The humanist revolutionary spirit would occasionally break out again, but thereafter it was more out of a longing for past glories.  Nevertheless, secularism in France has effectively controlled that country ever since--and now it faces slow demographic decline as a result.  Nationalism, of the Napoleonic variety, is a spent force in France: it could never survive the Revolution's tumbrels, nor the eventual defeat of Napoleon.  France, now the sick man of Europe, faces the ineluctable, inevitable take over from the Islamic Borg.  

The defeat of Napoleon, then, at the hands of Tsarist Russia--or more accurately, at the hands of the Russian winter--marked the beginning of the end.  Napoleon was broken; the Revolution was effectively a spent force.

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Unlimited State Power

Secular Prayer Offers No Limit on State Power

Bruce Logan
Director of Maxim Institute
NZ Herald

Parliament's Speaker, Trevor Mallard, in a unilateral fit of secular hubris, got rid of the reference to Jesus and prays the parliamentary prayer in Maori. Secular hubris? What's that?

Although now in danger of slipping away, one of the great achievements of our political tradition is its grasp on freedom. After much trial and error, we managed to separate the role of priest from the role of king. It took a while to put into practice what Jesus had said, "Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's and to God that which is God's."

For the Romans that was radical; the emperor was divine. There was no authority above the state. It didn't matter that many Romans might not have accepted the emperor's divinity, it was how it spun out in law.

The early Christians, refusing to accept the supreme authority of the divine emperor, were called "atheists", haters of mankind. It is not without irony that these hating and hateful atheists gave the West its insight into political freedom.

For most of my lifetime, the state was not absolute. There was an authority both the citizen and the government were expected to acknowledge. Certainly, the government could make laws, but even those laws were prescribed by a belief in an authority above the state.

Sometimes that division of powers is called separation of church and state. It is more than that. Secularists like Mr Mallard might find it unpalatable, but the limitation on state power is entirely the consequence of a belief in monotheism.

Daily Meditation

Far Too Easily Pleased

C. S. Lewis

If you asked twenty good men today what they thought the highest of the virtues, nineteen of them would reply, Unselfishness. But if you had asked almost any of the great Christians of old, he would have replied, Love. You see what has happened? A negative term has been substituted for a positive, and this is of more than philological importance.

The negative idea of Unselfishness carries with it the suggestion not primarily of securing good things for others, but of going without them ourselves, as if our abstinence and not their happiness was the important point. I do not think this is the Christian virtue of Love. The New Testament has lots to say about self-denial, but not about self- denial as an end in itself. We are told to deny ourselves and to take up our crosses in order that we may follow Christ; and nearly every description of what we shall ultimately find if we do so contains an appeal to desire.

If there lurks in most modern minds the notion that to desire our own good and earnestly to hope for the enjoyment of it is a bad thing, I submit that this notion has crept in from Kant and the Stoics and is no part of the Christian faith. Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.

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

Guest Post--Creation

Reformed Christians Should Embrace Six-Day Creation

February 14, 2018

This sponsored post was prepared by Director Thomas Purifoy Jr. on behalf of Is Genesis History?.

When Is Genesis History? opened in theaters last year, we had no idea it would be the top-grossing Christian documentary for 2017. We were even more surprised when our distributor said it was bringing it back to theaters on Feb 22, 2018, for an Anniversary Event.

Why did this film resonate so much with audiences? Perhaps it demonstrated that it’s intellectually reasonable for Christians to embrace 6-day creation.

By ‘6-day creation,’ I’m referring not just to one’s view of Genesis 1, but to an entire chronology of historical events. These include the immediate creation of everything in six normal days, a Fall that brought corruption and death into the universe, and a global Flood that destroyed the world. I recognize that among some Reformed Christians this is not a popular view of history. Instead, some have adopted the framework hypothesis, analogical days, or the cosmic-temple model to interpret Genesis 1.

They then accept the conventional chronology of universal history. This includes the slow formation of everything over billions of years starting with a Big Bang, the corruption, and death of trillions of creatures before the arrival of Adam and Eve, a Fall that introduced death only to mankind, and a local flood during the days of Noah.

I realize that intelligent and godly Reformed Christians hold to this model of Earth history. Nevertheless, many seem unaware of the actual events they must inevitably adopt when affirming a 13.8 billion-year-old universe.

Monday, 12 March 2018

More Public Outrage

Charting a Different Course

A Lesson For the Education Minister and His Boss

Roger Partridge

Sunday's "Save our charter schools march" was a moving experience. It wasn't just the hundreds of people who turned up in torrential rain to protest. Nor was it ACT leader David Seymour's impassioned chanting. Nor even the Vanguard school students' valiant haka.

What was moving was the procession of young students, mostly Māori and Pasifika, who strode forward, proudly, to the microphone. If their eagerness to speak caught the protest organisers by surprise, their words did not. They had only one message: a plea to the prime minister and Minister of Education Chris Hipkins not to close their schools.

One student explained that she had been failing at her state school and that she had nothing to live for after her friend had committed suicide. Another described the self-destructive path he had been following at his old school.

And a former charter school head-girl told us how she had felt worthless before starting at her new charter school. The young woman – now a scholarship winner – apologised as she started to speak, saying she was "no politician". Someone in the crowd called out, "Not yet!"

A young man I spoke to said his new school was different because the teachers all cared. He mattered to them, and he felt determined to live up to their expectations.  Each of them had found a sense of purpose at their schools – and a sense of family in the unique environments created by the schools. And all had clearly thrived.

But if their pride in their schools came through, so did their sense of bewilderment.

Daily Meditation

The Best Gift

Have faith in God. Mark 11:22

Charles H. Spurgeon

Faith is the foot of the soul by which it can march along the road of the commandments. Love can make the feet move more swiftly; but faith is the foot which carries the soul. Faith is the oil enabling the wheels of holy devotion and of earnest piety to move well; and without faith the wheels are taken from the chariot, and we drag heavily. With faith I can do all things; without faith I shall neither have the inclination nor the power to do anything in the service of God.

If you would find the men who serve God the best, you must look for the men of the most faith. Little faith will save a man, but little faith cannot do great things for God. Poor Little-faith could not have fought "Apollyon;" it needed "Christian" to do that. Poor Little-faith could not have slain "Giant Despair;" it required "Great-heart's" arm to knock that monster down. Little faith will go to heaven most certainly, but it often has to hide itself in a nut-shell, and it frequently loses all but its jewels.

Little-faith says, "It is a rough road, beset with sharp thorns, and full of dangers; I am afraid to go;" but Great-faith remembers the promise, "Thy shoes shall be iron and brass; as thy days, so shall thy strength be:" and so she boldly ventures. Little-faith stands desponding, mingling her tears with the flood; but Great-faith sings, "When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee:" and she fords the stream at once.

Would you be comfortable and happy? Would you enjoy religion? Would you have the religion of cheerfulness and not that of gloom? Then "have faith in God." If you love darkness, and are satisfied to dwell in gloom and misery, then be content with little faith; but if you love the sunshine, and would sing songs of rejoicing, covet earnestly this best gift, "great faith."