Friday, 19 July 2019

Leftward Ho

Racism Inflation


Douglas Wilson
Blog and Mablog

No, let me correct that. We have entered an era of racism hyper-inflation. And what that does, in every instance, is debase the currency. The word and the offense is it supposed to represent have become meaningless, devoid of content, a null set, a big nothing. And it is the ostensible foes of racism what did it.

Let me rehearse the facts for you, working backwards from yesterday. The House, led by Nancy Pelosi, issued a condemnation of the president’s “racist” tweet. Prior to that, the president had inserted himself into an intramural spat among the Democrats, in which he urged four hard leftist women, haters of America, “the squad,” to go back where they came from. That was the racist tweet. Prior to that, AOC (one of those women) had, in the course of the aforementioned intramural spat, accused Nancy Pelosi of racism. And now, in the aftermath of these gaudy and overdone events, the so-to-speak cherry on top is that the squad revived their contretemps with Pelosi, warning her darkly that she must remember, whenever she singles them out, that they are “women of color.”

I must pause here for a moment to deal with possible charges of inadvertent racism that could perhaps be brought against me. I just now said that Pelosi was warned “darkly” by “women of color.” This was not a dog whistle, and yet, upon quiet reflection, I realize the hurt that my comments may have caused in the cis-adverbial community. But this is not who I am as a person, and it genuinely does not represent my core values. I intend to take a few days off to spend some time with my family, a few days of quiet reflection, and then back to the campaign trail. Let the healing begin!

Where was I?

Daily Meditation

Discipling and Disciplining

There is a strange dichotomy in the language of the contemporary church. Much is said and written about the important function of discipling new Christians, while at the same time the function of church discipline has almost vanished. Today, discipline is a word used to refer to the instruction and nurture of the believer. It does not usually carry the connotation of ecclesiastical censure or punishment.
In one sense, this modern version of discipling is linked to the New Testament model. The term disciple in the New Testament means “learner.” The disciples of Jesus were students who enrolled in Jesus’ peripatetic rabbinic school. They addressed Him as “Rabbi” or “Teacher.” To follow Jesus involved literally walking around behind Him as He instructed them (the word peripatetic comes from the Greek word peripateo, which means “to walk”).
The New Testament community was forbearing and patient with its members, embracing a love that covered a multitude of sins. But in the New Testament, church discipleship also involved discipline. Part of apostolic nurture was seen in rebuke and admonition. The church had various levels or degrees of such discipline, ranging from the mild rebuke to the ultimate step of excommunication.

Coram Deo

Do you accept discipline as well as discipling from your local church body? Ask God to make you more receptive to His discipline.

Passages for Further Study

Thought For the Day

God's Justice Cannot Sleep Forever

Here is a thought for the day.

God who gave us life, gave us liberty.  Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis--a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God and that they are not to be violated but with his wrath?  Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep forever.
Thomas Jefferson, from a statement engraved inside the Jefferson Memorial in Washington DC. 

Thursday, 18 July 2019

"Pointless and Stupid"

Anti-Christian Persecution

Christian doctor lost his job after refusing to identify a six-foot-tall bearded man as ‘madam’, tribunal hears


Gabriella Swerling
The Daily Telegraph


A Christian doctor lost his job in a government department after he refused to refer to “a six-foot-tall bearded man” as ‘madam’, a tribunal heard.  Dr David Mackereth, 56, claims he was sacked as a disability benefits assessor by the Department of Work and Pensions over his religious beliefs.

The father-of-four alleges he was asked in a conversation with a line manager: “If you have a man six foot tall with a beard who says he wants to be addressed as ‘she’ and ‘Mrs’, would you do that?”  Dr Mackereth, an evangelist who now works as an emergency doctor in Shropshire, claims his contract was then terminated over his refusal to use transgendered pronouns.

He argues that he was dismissed “not because of any realistic concerns over the rights and sensitivities of transgender individuals, but because of my refusal to make an abstract ideological pledge”.   The doctor is now suing the government at an employment tribunal for discrimination on the grounds of his religious belief.

Doctor David Mackereth at home in Dudley, West Midlands
Dr Mackereth

A hearing in Birmingham was told how Dr Mackereth believes transgenderism is a “delusional belief” and an ideology “which I disbelieve and detest”.

Daily Meditation

Being Clothed in His Righteousness

The church is our mother, but it is Christ’s bride. In this role, we are the objects of Christ’s affection. We, corporately, are His beloved. Stained and wrinkled, in ourselves we are anything but holy. When we say that the church is holy or refer to her as “holy mother church,” we do so with the knowledge that her holiness is not intrinsic but derived and dependent upon the One who sanctifies her and covers her with the cloak of His righteousness.
As the sensitive husband shelters his wife and in a chivalrous manner lends her his coat when she is chilled, so we are clad from on high by a husband who stops at nothing to defend, protect, and care for His betrothed. His is the ultimate chivalry, a chivalry that no upheaval of earthly custom can eradicate or make passé. This chivalry is not dead because it cannot die.
The bride of Christ is soiled but will one day be presented spotless to the Father by the Son who bought her, who loves her, and who intercedes for her every day. If we love Christ, we must also love His bride. If we love Christ, we must love His church.

Coram Deo

Ask God to rekindle your love for members of the body of Christ, the true church.

Passages for Further Study


Environmentally Destructive Electric Cars

If Only the Sahara Desert Turned Green . . . 

We had a sneaking suspicion that this would be the case: electric vehicles would turn out to be fundamentally more destructive/dangerous to the environment.  But dangerous in what way?  The levels of  production and release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, of course.

A study by the IFO think tank in Munich found that electric vehicles in Germany emit 11 percent to 28 percent more carbon dioxide than their diesel counterparts. The study considered the production of batteries as well as the German electricity mix in making this determination. Germany spent thousands of euros on electric car subsidies per vehicle to put a million electric vehicles on the road, but those subsidies have done nothing to reach the country’s greenhouse gas emission targets. This is just the latest example of government programs expecting one outcome and getting quite another, instead. To some it is ironic; to others it is funny. At IER, we believe it to be sad, as it is a waste of time and money that could be better put to use solving real problems.
In one sense this is all a storm in a teacup.

Wednesday, 17 July 2019

A Mendacious Machine

The BBC Will Be Dismantled Eventually

The Facts Will Out

James Delingpole
Breitbart London

Today I’m at the funeral of my dear friend Christopher Booker.

Were he alive — and I still can’t quite believe he is not — I know exactly what we’d have been talking about this morning: the risible section of last night’s Newsnight which the BBC had cobbled together in a sad, desperate, and unconvincing attempt to debunk the Climategate scandal.

Climategate is fast approaching its tenth anniversary (which falls in November). Naturally the BBC — as one of the key promoters of the man-made global warming scare — is keen to get its excuses in early.

How did it achieve this?  Why, by the genius move of speaking to some of the activist-scientists implicated in the Climategate scandal and getting them to explain how it was always a lot of fuss about nothing.  I particularly enjoyed the contribution from NASA GISS’s director Gavin Schmidt.
“I had about 400 emails in the hacked email package…15 years of emails and people were picking and choosing out of them. People were kind of like putting them together in weird orders that made it seem like one email was talking about this event when it was really talking about something else. There was a lot of confusion.”
Schmidt is being disingenuous here.

It really doesn’t matter in what order you rearrange the Climategate emails. You get the same result every time: a bunch of second-raters bullying dissenters, troughing lavish grants, racking up air miles on conference freebies, cooking the books, manipulating the evidence, torturing the data till it screams in order to make man-made global warming look like a much more significant and well-understood problem than it actually is.

Daily Meditation

Accepting Nurturing from the Church

Holy mother church”—historians are not certain who first said it. The statement has been attributed by some to Cyprian, by others to Augustine. The assertion has survived since the early centuries of Christian history—“Who does not have the church as his mother does not have God as his Father.” From its earliest days, the church was given the appellation “mother.”
The use of paternal and maternal language is an intriguing phenomenon in religion. We cannot deny the virtual universal tendency to seek ultimate consolation in some sort of divine maternity. We have all experienced the piercing poignancy that attends the plaintiff cry of a child who, in the midst of sobs, says, “I want my mommy.” Who of us, when we were children, did not utter these words? Among those who are parents, which of us has not heard these words?
The nurturing function of the church most clearly links it to the maternal image. It is in the church that we are given our spiritual food. We gain strength from the sacraments ministered to us. Through the Word we receive our consolation and the tears of broken hearts are wiped clean. When we are wounded, we go to the church for healing.

Coram Deo

Spend some time reflecting on the nurturing function of the church. Is this evident in your church fellowship?

Avoiding Racism in Our Child Rearing

No Room For Failure

A colloquial description for "taking responsibility" is that there is a soul to damn and a butt to kick if things go wrong. 

In the endless, recurring debate over child welfare in New Zealand Maori are sadly over represented in the statistics.  Maori leaders and spokespeople appear to want two fundamental changes: they want Maori to have a far bigger say in how Maori children are looked after and raised.  Secondly, they want a racial division in New Zealand such that most Maori children will end up being raised by Maori--whether the birth parents or, secondly, the extended family of the child, or, if that fails, the tribe, or, if that were to fail, Maori in general, and only then, when all that has failed, will Maori tolerate a Maori child being raised by someone else from a non-Maori race.  Even then a Maori child being placed in a non-Maori household does not sit well at all. 

This arrangement does not seem right.  Nor is it something to which other racial or cultural groups in the country appear to be bound.  If a Korean child, for example,  needs to be placed in a family the placement selection process appears far more colour-blind than the Maori process.  Insofar as racism is fundamentally perverse, this does not seem kosher at all. 

MP Judith Collins has a more straight forward approach:  make sure you do no harm--and if you do, you need to take responsibility and be held accountable.

Tuesday, 16 July 2019

Douglas Wilson's On Human Nature

Emoting Like Pelagians 

Douglas Wilson
Blog&Mablog



INTRODUCTION

It may seem odd to put it this way, but the only thing that can save us from the sexual revolution now is total depravity. Of course this is shorthand, but it is shorthand with a point.  

Of course we know that it is Christ who saves us, and total depravity is not the name of our Savior, but rather a phrase that refers to what we are saved from. Hence the shorthand.
And it is not the most ideal phrase either. It makes people think that we are proclaiming something like absolute depravity, which sounds like we are saying the unsaved are orcs out of hell, already as bad as it is possible for a creature to get, with no common grace whatever. Yeah, that’s not accurate either.
But let’s just go with total depravity for a bit. Work with me here.

HORSE DOSES OF CALVINISM

In theology, there are two foundational approaches to human nature out there, and they are the Augustinian and the Pelagian. Calvinism is simply a later nickname given to the Augustinian approach.
According to the Augustinian understanding, moral obligation is created by the Word of God. Morality is defined by the law of God. If Scripture says not to do something, then doing it is sin. Pretty straightforward.
But according to the Pelagian understanding, moral obligation is defined by our abilities. Put another way, there is no moral responsibility that can be assigned to inability. According to Pelagianism, sin is not sin unless it can actually be avoided. Sin is always a function of free choice, and hence cannot be grounded in our nature. There is no such thing as a constitutional or natural depravity.
The Augustinian answer to this, of course, is a raft of Bible verses.

Daily Meditation

Entering into Your Priesthood

In the sixteenth century, Martin Luther formulated the concept of the priesthood of all believers. Contrary to widespread misconceptions of this doctrine, Luther did not mean to reduce the supernatural concern of personal redemption to a core or essence of social concern.
In reaction to the modernist-fundamentalist controversy, many evangelicals, zealous to retain the biblical concern for personal redemption, began to minimize or even reject the social agenda of the New Testament. Social concern and relief ministry became identified with liberalism. Ministry to the poor, the homeless, the hungry, and the imprisoned was often all-too-willingly surrendered to the state or the liberal church.
This reaction was utterly foreign to and in violation of the clear mandate of Scripture. James wrote concerning the essence of pure religion: “Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world” (James 1:27NKJV).

Coram Deo

What are you doing to help those around you who are in distress? Are you keeping yourself clean from the world’s pollution, as James admonishes?

Passages for Further Study


Corruption On A Grand Scale

Disingenuous and Depraved

The Supreme Court Brett Kavanaugh circus continues.  Firstly we have reports of an  idiotic bookseller, Amazon attempting to censor positive reviews of a recent book describing the circus.  For a bookseller acting prejudicially against books it sells and (apparently) does not like provides an eyebrow raising moment.

Why Is Amazon Blocking Reviews Of The No. 1 Best-Selling ‘Justice On Trial?’

Amazon is blocking the book reviews of many verified purchasers of the No. 1 best-selling book 'Justice on Trial' by Mollie Hemingway and Carrie Severino.

By Sean Davis
Amazon is refusing to publish many reviews and ratings of the No. 1 best-selling “Justice on Trial: The Kavanaugh Confirmation and the Future of the Supreme Court,” according to multiple reports from readers who purchased the book directly from Amazon.

The behind-the-scenes dive into the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, which was written by Carrie Severino and The Federalist’s Senior Editor Mollie Hemingway, debuted at No. 1 on Amazon’s list of best-selling books.

The Federalist independently confirmed that many reviews by verified purchasers of “Justice on Trial” were not being published by Amazon. Some fake reviews from non-purchasers and reviews from those who clearly had not read the book, however, were published immediately.
Then there is the book itself.  An extensive review by Nathanael Blake of "Justice on Trial" which documents Kavanaugh's nomination process, now that the shouting has faded, leaves us aghast at the senseless, unprincipled idiocy of most Democratic Congressmen and Senators.  Could they have been that unprincipled, idiotic, and corruptly perverted?  Yes, they could.

Monday, 15 July 2019

Reading the Tea Leaves

‘Stupid Guy’ Ambassador Resigns 

Great News for Trump, Boris, Britain and Brexit

James Delingpole
Breitbart London

Sir Kim Darroch, the British Ambassador to the U.S. described by President Trump as “a very stupid guy”,  has resigned his post. The final straw, he has claimed, was watching future Prime Minister Boris Johnson repeatedly failing to support him last night in a TV debate.

This is great news for a number of reasons.

First, it means that Britain is now free to appoint a replacement ambassador prepared to nurture the Special Relationship rather than undermine it with snarky memos dissing President Trump.

Second, it has quite ruined the day of Britain’s liberal elite – aka the Wankerati. Anti-Brexit, anti-Trump, pro-climate-change hysteria, Darroch was very much their man in Washington. One dripping wet Times columnist has even gone so far as to suggest – without irony – that Darroch’s departure is a national humiliation to rank with the Suez crisis. 

Third – and most importantly – it’s the first glint of steel we have seen from Boris Johnson and encouragingly suggests that Britain is about to get a Conservative prime minister very different from his recent predecessors.  The situation is summed up well here in the Spectator by Robert Peston, in a piece headlined ‘Why Boris Johnson failed to defend Kim Darroch.’ 
According to those closest to him, this isn’t just kowtowing to the most powerful person in the world – Trump – in order to borrow some of his status. It’s to do the opposite of what many of his critics allege is proper; it is deliberately to put Whitehall on warning that it’s Johnson’s way or none.
Yes, exactly.

Daily Meditation

Finding Your Identity

Several images are used in the Bible to describe the church: the body of Christ, the elect, the house of God, the saints. One of the most meaningful expressions the Bible uses is “the people of God,” the laos theon.
The church, then, is people. The Roman Catholic Church once declared, “Where the bishop is, there is the church.” The Reformation declared, “Where the people of God are, there is the church—the church under the Lordship of Christ and indwelt by the Holy Spirit.”
The church is neither a building nor the clergy nor an abstract institution—it is the people of God. When Martin Luther articulated his vision of the priesthood of all believers, he did not denigrate the legitimate role of the clergy. He understood that Christ has given pastors and teachers to His church, along with other offices, with specified tasks. What Luther was getting at, however, is that the priestly ministry of Christ is passed on in some measure to every believer. 

Coram Deo

Give thanks that you are part of the body of Christ, the elect, the people of God.

Passages for Further Study

Obedience Becomes Null and Void

When a State Goes to War Against Its Citizens

Augusto Zimmermann writes:

. . . according to [John] Locke the state puts itself into a "state of war" against society every time it attempts to undermine our basic rights and freedoms.  Being God-given and inalienable, even if one seeks to bargain these rights away, one simply cannot succeed because natural rights are not the sort of things than can actually be bargained.  Such rights to life, liberty and property set limits on civil authority, thus providing a lawful justification for civil resistance against political tyranny should they be violated.  To the extent that the state does not recognise and protest these rights, it actually ceases to be a legitimate authority and the people can lawfully dismiss it for breach of trust. 

As Locke himself put it: 
Whenever the legislators endeavour to take away and destroy the property of the people [that is, their rights to life, liberty and property], or to reduce them to slavery under arbitrary power, they put themselves into a state of war with the people, who are thereupon absolved from any further obedience, and are left to the common refuge which God hath provided for all men against force and violence.  
[Augusto Zimmermann, Christian Foundations of the Common Law.  Volume 2: The United States (Brisbane: Connor Court Publishing, p. 2018), p. 68f.]

Saturday, 13 July 2019

Trans-Genderism And the Law Courts

Wilful Destruction of Lives

We are not prophets.  We cannot predict the future--beyond reasonable speculation.  However, some speculations are more compelling than others.  We predict that some of the world's biggest tort cases in the next twenty-five years will swarm around the present febrile madness of trans-genderism.

Walt Heyer writes about the growing destruction of people's lives arising out of this devastating "procedure". 

4 Trans People Beg For Help With Their Gender Identity Crises

These four accounts from trans people show that the transgender-affirming medical establishment is failing at their duty to help people who are hurting.

Walt Heyer
The Federalist

My email inbox has exploded lately with requests from transgender people wanting to find a “good therapist” who will help them detransition—that is, go back.

Transgender people who want to go back understand that consulting the gender specialists who helped them get into the transgender mess doesn’t work.

Daily Meditation

Facing a Crisis of History

In Luke 12:49–57, Jesus told His disciples that He had not come to bring peace, but division. He told them that He was bringing a baptism of fire to the earth, warning the crowd to flee the wrath to come.
This was the great moment of crisis in history. It was a time of urgency that swept the earth with the appearance of Jesus. Jesus’ coming to this planet in the fullness of time was a time of division, judgment, and separation.
It was a time of personal choosing, when eternal destinies were at stake. Everyone who encountered Jesus had to make a choice, to stand with Him or against Him. Thus, since the time of Jesus’ first appearance, the world has been gripped in a kind of crisis that will continue until the last great crisis, the last judgment.
How do men encounter Jesus today, thus facing their own crisis of history? Jesus is in heaven, but men and women encounter Him through His people, the church. The church is His body and His herald. The fiery baptism Jesus came to bring fell in one sense at Pentecost to ignite the tongues of His people so that they might bring the crisis of decision to all men.
Knowing these things should make us urgent in our proclamation of His name and make us insistent that the generation of our day be exposed to the Lord of lords.

Coram Deo

What are you doing to proclaim His name to this generation? Pray about the role God would have you fill.

Passages for Further Study

An Essential Implication Of Limited Government

Either Fear God Or Be Made to Fear Human Rulers

We in the West believe in limited government.  We believe in a political system that recognizes the citizen's right to say to the State, "thus far--and no further".  In order for that assertion or claim which sets boundaries upon the State's authority to have any warrant whatsoever a higher authority than the State must be acknowledged. 

The limit's to State authority have weakened considerably in the past hundred years.  The State has progressively claimed more authority and greater competence than was previously the case.  Democracy risks becoming once again a "tyranny of the 51 percent".  We firmly believe that this is inevitable.  When a people set to banish God from their affairs, when there is no fear of God in their hearts, all we are left with is tyranny of one sort or other.

In a Christian system of government, politicians and governors are held to account by the citizens.  This was made abundantly clear by the Reformers of the 16th and 17th centuries.  Here is a summary of John Calvin's teaching on the subject:

Friday, 12 July 2019

How Deep the Rifts?

Volcanic Rumblings in the UK

The UK Labour Party appears to be in the midst of a split.  How significant this will prove to be in the months and years ahead remains to be seen.  But for the moment the signs are showing there is burley in the water.  The sharks are circling.

Local Labour Politicians Defect to Brexit Party

Labour Slumps in Polls

Victoria Friedman
Breitbart London

Two local Labour figures have defected to the Brexit Party, as Labour sinks to fourth place in a recent YouGov poll.  West Heywood councillor Alan McCarthy and former Labour councillor and leader of Rochdale council Colin Lambert defected to the Brexit Party this week.  Their constituency of Rochdale voted 60 per cent in favour of Leave in the 2016 referendum, and Councillor McCarthy said that he left because Labour no longer represents the people.

Mr McCarthy told Rochdale Online on Thursday: “I have been a Labour Party supporter for 40 years, nigh on 20 of those as a sitting councillor for West Heywood. The Labour Party pledged to respect the decision of the referendum and has gone back on its word.  I have resigned the Labour whip and will be joining the Brexit Party – the only party that is standing up for democracy – and the only party committed to investing in the north and the regions which, for too long, have been ignored by the other political parties.”

Mr Lambert, who was a local Labour leader from 2010 to 2014 and councillor until 2016, also told the news website: “I have served the people of Rochdale for nearly two decades but I no longer believe my former party represents the people of this town.  We need to deliver on the referendum result, that is why I have left Labour and will be joining the Brexit Party – I want to change politics for good.”

Daily Meditation

Giving Meaning to Life

The broad question that the writer of Ecclesiastes seeks to answer is, “Is there any meaning to the time that I spend in this world?” We put on a man’s tombstone that he was born on a certain date and that he died on a certain date. Between these two poles of time we live our lives. The basic question is, “Does my life have meaning?”
A common refrain echoed in Ecclesiastes is that there is futility, vanity, and “nothing new under the sun.” If our lives begin under the sun as a cosmic accident, a result of random collisions and mutations of inert matter, and if our ultimate destiny is to return to the dust that bore us, there can be no purpose.
When we cease to look “under the sun” and seek our destiny “under heaven,” we find our purpose. Our origin was not in the primordial soup but in the very hands of God, who shaped us and breathed life into us. Our destiny is not to return to dust, but to give honor and praise to God forever. Under heaven we find purpose. If we have God as our origin and as our destiny, between those poles there is purpose and meaning.
The writer answers the question with a resounding “Yes!” There is a reason for our lives. There is a reason for our suffering and a reason for our pain. There is also a reason for our joy.

Coram Deo

Are you living your life “under the sun” or “under heaven?” Have you found true purpose and meaning to life?