Saturday, 29 September 2018

Mountebanks All

UN a Bunch of Condescending Snobs

Mike Hoskings
NZ Herald

The trouble, of course, in defending Donald Trump, is that your first hurdle is he is a buffoon, which makes any sort of defence difficult.  But the laughter we saw at the United Nations and grab all the headlines around the world yesterday encapsulates, in one small moment, just why the place is so disliked and distrusted by so many.

They are snobs. They're elitist, condescending snobs who, unless you have bought into their view of the world, see you as little more than an inconvenience and a Luddite.

Laughing at people is bad manners, it's rude, it's unnecessary - and of all places that should appreciate that it's the United Nations. Allegedly a global grouping designed to take on board the vast array of cultures, ideas, and political agendas, and mould them into some sort of workable operation in the hope of making a better world.  I'm not sure you are achieving that by belittling the world's most powerful country.

In the areas it really matters of course they're an abject failure and that is why - and they're too up themselves to have worked this out - we have seen the rise of people like Trump in the first place.  It's why Sweden lost its Prime Minister this week, it's why Angela Merkel virtually lost her reign as Europe's most powerful operator, it's why Britain is in the Brexit mess it is.

Daily Meditation

Growing into Conformity

The modern distinction between the “carnal Christian” and the “Spirit-filled Christian” is a dangerous one. If a carnal Christian is described as one whose fallen nature has not yet been changed by grace, it is a contradiction in terms. If a person is carnal in the sense that the Holy Spirit resides in him without affecting his constituent nature in any way, then he is simply not a Christian. To view regeneration as not effecting any real change in the person is a serious distortion of regeneration. Here the Holy Spirit indwells but does nothing to effect change in the person.
If a Spirit-filled Christian is defined as one in whom the flesh is absent entirely, then the only Spirit-filled Christians are those now in heaven. Every Christian is to some degree carnal in this world, insofar as the remnants of the flesh are still there provoking warfare. In this sense, the Apostle Paul, after his conversion, was a carnal Christian. Every Christian is also spiritual in that the Holy Spirit indwells him and works in him, through him, and on him.
The biblical view involves the indwelling of a divine person within a human person who has been truly regenerated by the power of the divine person. The human person has changed. His old nature is dying, and by cooperation with the grace of the Holy Spirit, the new man is growing into conformity to Christ.

Coram Deo

Thank God for the ministry of the Holy Spirit working in, through, and on you.

Passages for Further Study

Where to Start?

What a Mess

They say that politics is a blood sport.  Those who don't like that fact ought to retire to the croquet lawn.  

The Labour-led government is presently in disarray.  PM Jacinda Ardern is scrambling left, right, and centre.  The government is leaking like the proverbial sieve.  Ardern sacked a Labour-led Minister, Meka Whaitiri for common assault--in this case laying hands in anger upon one of her employees.  Now, the evidence was not beyond reasonable doubt, but the barrister conducting an investigation into the affair considered the evidence provided met the required "probably true" standard.

Ardern sacked Whaitiri--the right action--but enclosed the whole thing within a (laughable) cone-of-silence.  Then she left our glorious isles for overseas duties.  The laughable nature of the situation emerged the next day.  Details about the assault were leaked to opposition National MP, Amy Adams, who then addressed the House under the protection of parliamentary privilege.
The staff member at the centre of an incident involving former government minister Meka Whaitiri was left bruised in the encounter, the National Party has claimed in Parliament.  Speaking under the protection of parliamentary privilege, National MP Amy Adams said the allegations were at least of bullying and at worst assault.

Adams made the comments during a snap debate on Whaitiri in Parliament this afternoon.  "This involves allegations of at the very least bullying and at the worst violence and assault. If we are speaking about a minister laying hands on a staff member, that is incredibly serious," Adams said.  Adams said there had been no proper statement from the Prime Minister on what occurred, none from Whaitiri and no apology to the staff member.  [NZ Herald]
Ardern is "hugely disappointed" that the secret report was leaked, first to the National Party, and then to the media.

Friday, 28 September 2018

Vlad the Impaler's Machinations Fall Apart

Skripal 'Hitman' Unmasked as GRU Colonel 

Awarded Russia's highest military honour by Vladimir Putin

Hayley Dixon, Robert Mendick
Daily Telegraph UK  
NZ Herald

One of the trained assassins wanted for poisoning Sergei Skripal is a decorated colonel in Russian military intelligence given the country's highest award by Vladimir Putin.  The real identity of one of the wanted men in the nerve agent attack - named by counter-terrorism police as Ruslan Boshirov - can be disclosed as Colonel Anatoliy Vladimirovich Chepiga.

The 39-year-old, who has served in wars in Chechnya and Ukraine, was made a Hero of the Russian Federation by decree of the President in 2014 in a ceremony shrouded in secrecy.

This combination photo made available by the Metropolitan Police on Wednesday September 5, 2018, shows Alexander Petrov, left, and Ruslan Boshirov, who has been identified as Colonel Anatoliy Chepiga.
This combination photo made available by the Metropolitan Police on Wednesday September 5, 2018, shows Alexander Petrov, left, and Ruslan Boshirov, who has been identified as Colonel Anatoliy Chepiga.

The disclosure, uncovered by investigative journalist organisation Bellingcat in conjunction with the Telegraph, exposes as lies Mr Putin's claims that the Skripals' would-be killers were innocent "civilians".

Daily Meditation

Becoming a New Creation

As Christians, we are new creations. Our hearts of stone have been turned into hearts of flesh. In this metaphor, flesh is used as a positive figure, not a pejorative one. Where once my heart was cold and recalcitrant, dead and inert to the things of God, now it throbs and pulsates with spiritual life. Once I was biologically alive but spiritually dead. Now I am biologically alive and spiritually alive as well. I am a new person.
There is radical discontinuity between my new self and my old self. This radical discontinuity, however, is not total discontinuity. A link between the old man and the new man remains. The old man has been dealt a mortal blow. His total destruction is certain, but he is not yet dead.
The conflict of the Christian life is a struggle with sin. Sin no longer has dominion over us if we are in Christ, yet sin is still in us. Regeneration liberates us from the bondage of original sin, but our corrupt nature is not totally annihilated this side of heaven.
Paul speaks of the warfare that goes on between the flesh and the spirit. “For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish” (Gal. 5:17).

Coram Deo

Thank God for the new heart of flesh He has implanted in your spiritual being.

Passages for Further Study

Celebration of Truancy

Indulgent Parents Reproducing After Their Own Kind

We blogged recently on the brouhaha at Hamilton's Fraser High School.  Columnist Kate Hawkesby has taken the "rebel students" to task for their walkout.  Well done.  Well said.

I fully support the principal of Fraser High in Hamilton.  To the parents who don't support her - and say she called your kids losers - newsflash: they are losers.  They are losing out on teaching, on some tough talk about their futures, they're losing an opportunity to learn respect and what care looks like.

This principal, on the occasions she leaves the school grounds during class time for meetings, sees groups of students sitting outside the dairy, fish and chip shop, bus stop, just wagging, smoking, and basically avoiding school.

She wants better for them. She was urging them to put in the work now, and create a better future for themselves.  She didn't mince her words, and quite likely realised she had to be blunt to be heard. To make an impact. Telling it like it is, is not infringing someone's human rights.

Thursday, 27 September 2018

More on Massey-Uni-Gate

Massey University is a Joke That's No Laughing Matter

Jarrod Gilbert
NZ Herald

Massey has recently made an interesting decision. Instead of being a university, it has decided to be a joke.

Setting the scene for the madness to come, Massey vice chancellor Jan Thomas wrote a piece for the paper that was weak on free speech. Except she didn't write it, somebody else did and she put her name to it. But that is the least of her problems.

Thomas then cancelled a speech by Don Brash organised by a student politics society citing security concerns. That she never engaged the police raises questions about that, but Thomas assured the chair of Massey's Academic Board that was the true reason and that she had "not considered cancelling the event" before security issues were raised. The chair, in good faith, communicated that message to all staff.

Perhaps Thomas wasn't aware her emails were subject to the Official Information Act.  Thomas' emails show that she is no fan of "racist" Brash and as soon as she heard he was coming she began plotting how to cancel the event.

One of her ideas was to restrict funding to the students' association. In itself that is utterly extraordinary. It's also a pretty creative playbook for somebody claiming to have given no mind to cancelling the event.

Daily Meditation

Understanding the Basic Conflict

The story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde could be an allegory for the Christian life. There is a war in our members, a constant conflict between the old and the new, between vice and virtue, sin and obedience. We seem to be moral schizoids. It is a struggle between what the Bible calls the “old man” and the “new man.”
Whenever I hear an evangelist declare, “Come to Jesus and all your problems will be over,” I cringe because I am hearing false advertising. I cringe because this promise conflicts with my experience and my spiritual pilgrimage.
In one sense, my life didn’t become complicated until I became a Christian. Before my conversion, I only had one man with which to contendthe old man. My spiritual life was one-dimensional. I was Mr. Hyde. Dr. Jekyll never showed up to bother me.
Prior to my conversion, I was dead in trespasses and sins. As Paul describes the course of the unregenerate person in Ephesians 2, I “walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience” (v. 2).
But now I am a Christian. I have been made alive to the things of God, being quickened to new life by the regenerating grace of God.

Coram Deo

Thank God that you no longer walk according to the course of this world and the prince of the power of the air.

Passages for Further Study

Self-Deceit On A Grand Scale

Racism Alive and Well in New Zealand

The National President of the Tertiary Education Union [TEU] has put out a statement which reveals how that particular organization propagates racism on a grand scale.  The grand irony of their "hate-speech" is that its position employs racial discrimination at the very centre of their thinking and speech.  

On the recent debacle which unfolded at Massey University, the TEU has this to say:

To all TEU members at Massey University for information

Kia ora koutou,

My criticism of the Vice-Chancellor is about how she handled the cancellation of a recent politics club event. Clearly, it could have been handled a great deal better than what has been revealed in recently published emails.

For starters, the Vice-Chancellor should have spoken to those involved, including students, and worked collectively to find a solution to what is a complicated issue, one that evidently played on her conscience. She also should not have floated the idea of withholding funds from student bodies as a way of exerting influence. Such steps are not be acceptable in any circumstances.

What’s most regrettable though, is that the Vice-Chancellor did not just come out and say that anyone failing to respect the values of Massey University, particularly its obligations as a Te Tiriti led organisation, is not welcome to share those views on campus. Yes, they are free to speak their mind elsewhere, but not at any public institution that prides itself on rejecting the sort of loathsome, race-based views propagated by Hobson’s Pledge. Had she done that, she would have had my backing.

That is because the Tertiary Education Union Te Hautū Kahurangi is also a Te Tiriti led organisation. We take our obligations extremely seriously and, as national president, I am constantly looking at ways to improve the way our organisation is run in order to uphold the values expressed in Te Tiriti. Should meetings or events be organised that are not compatible with these values, then I would have every right to say they should not happen under the banner of the TEU. This would not be in violation of free speech, because the organisers of said event would be entitled to air their views elsewhere. Instead, it would be a strong statement of what our organisation stands for.

Te Tiriti o Waitangi promotes a set of values that must become an integral part of how we behave as New Zealanders, and how our public institutions are run. We must continue working for a future where these values are upheld and strengthened by our right to free speech – and a future where showing leadership by putting the values of a public organisation ahead of the out-dated, contemptible views of one person, is seen as the right thing to do.

With that in mind, let’s start focusing on how good it is to see the seriousness with which the Vice-Chancellor takes the responsibilities that result from actively acknowledging Te Tiriti o Waitangi as the foundation for the relationship between Māori and the Crown. I only wish she could have stuck to this position publicly at the time this debacle first surfaced.

The views the Vice-Chancellor was seeking to keep off campus have no place in Aotearoa New Zealand. They should not be encouraged, respected, nor accepted, especially not under the banner of free speech. All public institutions should take the advice of the Human Rights Commission and give nothing to racism.

Sandra Grey
National President
So, let's get this straight: Public Enemy No 1--Dr Don Brash--is alleged to be a flagrant racist for insisting that race should have nothing to do with citizenship and voting.  The view of the TEU, however,  is that race and racial distinctions must be at the heart of what Massey University stands for.

When a trade union becomes so perverted in mind, evil stalks the Public Square.  And it's not Dr Brash who is the culprit.  The TEU is manifestly promoting racism--and institutionalised racism at that.  It is guilty of the kind of Orwellian double-speak that would endorse their particular racist views as a "greater good".

And since the NZ Human Rights Commission has declared we should "give nothing to racism", we urge the Commission to follow its own advice and haul Sandra Grey and the TEU into the dock for their racist, "contemptible views".  What is sauce for the goose . . . and all that.

Wednesday, 26 September 2018

Winston Peters About To Ask PM Ardern to Bring Him Tea in His Office

The Sorry Day the Labour Party Gave Itself an Uppercut

Duncan Garner

OPINION: It's the simple little things in politics that tell you everything you need to know.

A complex scandal with too many moving parts equals switch off. An easy one and the paying public get it.

When John Key ruled out working with Winston Peters, it was clear what he meant.

When David Cunliffe dribbled a pathetic "I'm sorry for being a man" from the corner of his mouth, we all collectively sighed, thinking some people can't be saved from themselves. But we got it.

However, this latest brainfart takes the cake and a second serving.   Labour has been rolled on an industrial scale over what appears to be the trivial matter of what to call this government.  But don't be fooled, names aren't trivial, and what people call you can reveal so much.

So can you believe this?

Daily Meditation

Waiting in Faith

When Abraham arrived in Canaan, it was by no means a great nation. But he dwelt there, living in tents. God may have prepared a mansion for him in heaven, but in Canaan all he had was a tent. The only parcel of Canaan he ever actually owned was his burial plot.
Most importantly, Abraham waited. This is perhaps the hardest test of faith. Unrealized expectations make for bitterness and despair in many people’s lives. But Abraham waited in faith, just as God later required of the prophet Habakkuk, when He said: “Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time; but at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry” (Hab. 2:2–3).
Abraham waited in faith and died in faith. With the rest of the Old Testament saints, it was said: “And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us” (Heb. 11:39–40).

Coram Deo

Do you have a good testimony of faith? Have you learned to wait in faith for God to move on your behalf?

Passages for Further Study

Keeping Our Feet On the Ground

The Dangerous Folly of "Newspaper Exegesis"

We read once about a (fabled) US Naval Captain who enjoyed a stellar career.  In order to keep himself on track professionally, as it were, he used to keep a piece of paper in his cabin safe.  Every day he would get the paper out, read it, then return it.  It was later found out that upon the paper was written a simple message: "Right=Starboard; Left=Port"

Many of us have out grown the foolishness of what is known as "Dispensationalism", but in our late teenage years it was all the rage amongst "Bible-believing" Christians--ourselves included.  Once a year, lest we be tempted again, we get out a piece of paper recounting the number of times Dispensationalism had (wrongly) predicted the end of the world.  Then we replace it in the office safe for another 12 months--lest we forget. 

Historian Dwight Wilson summarized the never-ending litany of exploded claims concerning the "End times".

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

A New Twist on the Salem Witch Trials Mindset

The Flawed Statistic That’s Helping Poison the Brett Kavanaugh Debate

By David French
National Review Online

Only a small fraction of rape claims are proved false, but far more are never pursued, because of insufficient evidence.

It happens every single time there’s a public debate about sex crimes. Advocates for women introduce, in addition to the actual evidence in the case, an additional bit of  “data” that bolsters each and every claim of sexual assault. You see, “studies” show that women rarely file false rape claims. According to many activists, when a woman makes a claim of sexual assault, there is an empirically high probability that she’s telling the truth.

In other words, the very existence of the claim is evidence of the truth of the claim.

Here, for example, is Isaac Stanley-Becker writing in the Washington Post: “No crime is more underreported than rape, according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, which estimates that the rate of false reporting is somewhere between 2 and 10 percent.”

This same statistic is cited again and again. And it’s being cited to bolster Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations against Brett Kavanaugh. Here it is at the BBC, in Vogue, and at Raw Story. This Vox report goes even farther,  repeating an incredible and unverifiable claim that “994 out of 1,000 perpetrators walk free.”

I could go on and on. Writing in Vox, Sandra Newman adds a new twist, not only arguing that false rape reports are “quite rare” but that people who make false claims tend to fit a particular profile. Ford’s claim, she says, “sounds nothing like a false rape accusation,” but it “does sound like millions of real attempted rapes.”

If you believe this data, it’s easy to see why people are so outraged when a skeptic says that an alleged victim hasn’t come forward with compelling evidence. After all, it’s a statistical fact. Women are almost always telling the truth. It’s science.

But there’s a problem. A serious problem.

Daily Meditation

Putting Faith into Action

The author of Hebrews defines faith as “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Heb. 11:1). Faith fills the vacuum of hope. Hope, when coupled with faith, has substance, and substance is something rather than nothing. Faith also provides evidence for that which is not visible. Faith is not blind. Indeed far from being blind, it is both far-sighted and sharp-sighted. Its evidence rests not on speculation but on confidence in a God who sees what we cannot see. It rests on trust in the reliability of every promise that is uttered by God.
It is one thing to believe in God. It is quite another to believe God. Abraham believed God when He said He would show him a better country. He believed God again later when God dramatized His covenant promise in Genesis 15, and by this faith Abraham was counted righteous. He was justified by his faith.
That Abraham’s faith was genuine is seen in that he obeyed God by faith. True faith is always obedient faith. Abraham obeyed the call of God on his lifeand he demonstrated this obedience when he “went out.” His faith issued in action.

Coram Deo

How can you put your faith into action today?

Passages for Further Study

The Emergence of Autonomous Man

Being The Master of One's Own Fate

Around the 1970's the construct of man as an autonomous being was coming into fashionable vogue.  Gradually, bit by bit, the notion of man as autonomous appeared to be winning the battle.

There is a philosophical connection now clearly emerging between the author of Invictus (early 20th century) and the alphabet soup now needed to describe over 75 semi-official genders running rampant in the wild by the time 2015 rolled around. 

Here is William Henley, author of Invictus:

Out of the night that covers me, 
  Black as the Pit from pole to pole, 
I thank whatever gods may be 
  For my unconquerable soul. 
In the fell clutch of circumstance
  I have not winced nor cried aloud. 
Under the bludgeonings of chance 
  My head is bloody, but unbowed. 
Beyond this place of wrath and tears 
  Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years 
  Finds, and shall find, me unafraid. 
It matters not how strait the gate, 
  How charged with punishments the scroll, 
I am the master of my fate:
  I am the captain of my soul.

Compare this with the "my gender identity is what I choose it to be" brigade.  Whatever else it may be, genderism is an attempt at individual autonomy so extreme and severe is requires denying one's genetic structure and makeup in favour of an extreme form of autonomous voluntarism: "I am whomever I decide to be".

These gender constructs, you understand, are of recent vintage--only just recently "discovered", as it were.  But that's no matter.  It is the latest iteration of a philosophy of human autonomy that has been around a long time.

Not only is this being pushed energetically by sexual gurus, it is being cheered on by professional groups, doctors, researchers, sociologists, and ivy league "experts".  They are able to operate in a fact free, make-believe world.  The only downside is the horrific cost being born by those young people who get caught up in the latest push for autonomy.

The deep irony in all of this is the more autonomous gender is pushed, the more it relies upon and thrives within a social context rampant with "me-too-ism" and peer pressure.

Monday, 24 September 2018

Jeremy Corbyn's Great Contribution

Poll Shows UK Labour Losing Respect

Anti-Semitism Row Destroying Public Standing

Simon Kent
Breitbart London

UK Labour is being defined as the “nasty party” of British politics by voters fed up with its rampant anti-Semitism, according to the latest polling. 

The term harks back to a label once used for the Conservative Party, when Theresa May famously told the Conservative conference 16 years ago the party was deemed “‘nasty” by an increasing section of the electorate.  Now the hard-left Labour Party wears the appellation after a summer of discontent over leader Jeremy Corbyn’s past – and present – relations with the Jewish community.

A ComRes poll conducted for the Jewish News shows Labour today is viewed as “nasty” by 31 percent of Britons compared to 34 percent for the government. 35 percent of the 2,002 adults quizzed “don’t know.”  Other findings will also startle Labour’s leadership. Just on 50 percent of those polled agree that Labour is “not doing enough to tackle anti-Semitism within its ranks” against just 19 percent who believe it is.

Similarly, 45 percent say Mr. Corbyn is “either unwilling or unable to act decisively against anti-Semitism in his party”, compared with 27 percent who say he is “the target of a concerted smear campaign by his political opponents to try to discredit him over anti-Semitism.”

Daily Meditation

Moving Out in Faith

Abraham went to a far country at the bidding of God. He was not young and foolish. He was advanced in years, being seventy-five years old when God said to him: “Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you” (Gen. 12:1).
Abraham’s move was not a temporary trip for purposes of study or relaxation. It was to be a permanent uprooting for himself and his immediate family. It meant leaving both his father’s house and his fatherland. It meant leaving everything that was a part of his security. He left his home, his property, his business contacts, his doctor, and everyone else that was integral to his community. He took his wife, his nephew, and some servants. The only other person who went with him was God.
What made Abraham’s departure all the more startling was that he had no idea where he was going. He was a pilgrim with no place to call his home. But he went with a promise, a sacred pledge from God Himself that the Lord would show him a land wherein Abraham would become the father of a great nation.
This moment in his life was memorialized by the author of Hebrews: “By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance” (Heb. 11:8).

Coram Deo

Is God asking you to move out by faith in some area of your life or ministry?

Passages for Further Study

Desperately Seeking Scapegoats

Indulgent Parents 

Modern psycho-babble demands that we surround our children with "positive" messages.  "You are a wonderful child.  If anything bad happens to you, it's not your fault.  We are telling you this now, in advance, so that you will be surrounded by a self-image of relentless positivity.  It's the least that you deserve."  

Whatever happened, one innocently asks, to the duty to warn the young of the dangers that lie ahead, of good and bad choices?  No, never.  How can children ever grow up into wonderful human beings if doubts are cast upon the inevitable triumph of gooey, sweet goodness.  Such destructive negativity.  Tut.  Tut.  Tut.

Some parents are up in arms over one school principal's "tough love" approach to unacceptable behaviour--particularly truancy.  For our money, Principal Crawford stands out as a much needed, welcome truth teller.  When you see a child at the top of a sheer cliff skipping along, the righteous person shouts at them, warning them of their danger.  But, apparently, there are more than a few who, upon seeing such a child, will clap and cheer, giving lots of "positivity" and "affirmation" and "support" assuring the child they are a wunnerful, wunnerful dancer and that their future is bright and red-rosy.

Let us be clear.  Those kinds of parents are the child's worst enemy.  They represent the serpent's hiss.  Not so in the case of Principal Crawford: