Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Most Peculiar

"Amazing", Said the Gruffalo.

Is Hillary Clinton a sandwich short of a picnic?  One never ceases to be surprised on the downside when politicians who have a fervent belief, not in the inane slogan, "Yes we can" but even worse, "Yes, the Gummint must" splutter forth. 

Hillary has been touted as a highly intelligent person--even, it is said, smarter than the average bear.  How come then this doyen of the Commentariat has uttered the following inanity: she has promised that, via executive action (that is, illegally) she will permit the families of people shot in the United States to sue the respective gun manufacturers. 

Two quick thoughts.  This sounds like a huge benefit to non US gun manufacturers.  One imagines the makers of kalashnikovs, berettas, and glocks--along with their shareholders--will sense a significant commercial opportunity. 

But even worse, why would Dillary stop with suing the manufacturers of guns which, way beyond their control, are used to hurt people?  The civil courts in the United States certainly won't.

Daily Devotional

Heavenly Calling

"Whom he did predestinate, them he also called."
Romans 8:30

Charles H. Spurgeon

In the second epistle to Timothy, first chapter, and ninth verse, are these words--"Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling." Now, here is a touchstone by which we may try our calling. It is "an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace." This calling forbids all trust in our own doings, and conducts us to Christ alone for salvation, but it afterwards purges us from dead works to serve the living and true God.

As he that hath called you is holy, so must you be holy. If you are living in sin, you are not called, but if you are truly Christ's, you can say, "Nothing pains me so much as sin; I desire to be rid of it; Lord, help me to be holy." Is this the panting of thy heart? Is this the tenor of thy life towards God, and his divine will? Again, in Philippians, 3:13, 14, we are told of "The high calling of God in Christ Jesus." Is then your calling a high calling? Has it ennobled your heart, and set it upon heavenly things? Has it elevated your hopes, your tastes, your desires? Has it upraised the constant tenor of your life, so that you spend it with God and for God?

Another test we find in Hebrews 3:1--"Partakers of the heavenly calling." Heavenly calling means a call from heaven. If man alone call thee, thou art uncalled. Is thy calling of God? Is it a call to heaven as well as from heaven? Unless thou art a stranger here, and heaven thy home, thou hast not been called with a heavenly calling; for those who have been so called, declare that they look for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God, and they themselves are strangers and pilgrims upon the earth. Is thy calling thus holy, high, heavenly? Then, beloved, thou hast been called of God, for such is the calling wherewith God doth call his people.

Millennials' Expectations

Getting That First Job

As the phrase "job market" implies, labour is a market place which is subject to the normal dynamics of every other market. Forces of supply and demand set a price of labour, for instance.  Since this is so, we predict there are likely to be huge opportunities opening up for the "right kind" of prospective employees in the forthcoming decades.

The reason our confidence is buoyed is that it appears the labour market is increasingly characterised by "Millennials" who believe that the work place exists to serve them, rather than the other way around.  Apparently there is a gulf opening up between the expectations of employers and employees.  This implies that any employee who has reasonable expectations is going to have a significant competitive advantage over the "you need to do more for me" applicant.
Millennials are wanting international career opportunities, investment in technology and rapid career progression from their jobs, with differing expectations between generations causing problems for employers according to research by recruitment company Robert Walters.  The international company surveyed 1,400 professionals and hiring managers across New Zealand and Australia to find out the habits of millennials (those born roughly between 1980 and early 1990's) and their employers as well as what motivated them. [NZ Herald]
What might be going on in the minds of folks graduating from school or university and seeking a job?

Monday, 12 October 2015

Defining Moments

Where Were You When They Made the Pogrom Legal?

This is one of the best pro-life videos on the web right now.
Posted by MRCTV on Monday, August 17, 2015

Daily Devotional

Our Place of Safety

"He himself hath suffered being tempted."
Hebrews 2:18

Charles H. Spurgeon

It is a common-place thought, and yet it tastes like nectar to the weary heart--Jesus was tempted as I am. You have heard that truth many times: have you grasped it? He was tempted to the very same sins into which we fall. Do not dissociate Jesus from our common manhood. It is a dark room which you are going through, but Jesus went through it before. It is a sharp fight which you are waging, but Jesus has stood foot to foot with the same enemy.

Let us be of good cheer, Christ has borne the load before us, and the blood-stained footsteps of the King of glory may be seen along the road which we traverse at this hour. There is something sweeter yet--Jesus was tempted, but Jesus never sinned. Then, my soul, it is not needful for thee to sin, for Jesus was a man, and if one man endured these temptations and sinned not, then in his power his members may also cease from sin. Some beginners in the divine life think that they cannot be tempted without sinning, but they mistake; there is no sin in being tempted, but there is sin in yielding to temptation. Herein is comfort for the sorely tempted ones.

There is still more to encourage them if they reflect that the Lord Jesus, though tempted, gloriously triumphed, and as he overcame, so surely shall his followers also, for Jesus is the representative man for his people; the Head has triumphed, and the members share in the victory. Fears are needless, for Christ is with us, armed for our defence. Our place of safety is the bosom of the Saviour. Perhaps we are tempted just now, in order to drive us nearer to him.

Blessed be any wind that blows us into the port of our Saviour's love! Happy wounds, which make us seek the beloved Physician. Ye tempted ones, come to your tempted Saviour, for he can be touched with a feeling of your infirmities, and will succour every tried and tempted one.

Utopian Educational Theory

21st Century Enlightenment

Madcap pedagogues control New Zealand government schools.  These are folk whose theology posits that all children are born in absolute innocence, without any moral impairment whatsoever.  When such doctrines are applied to educational theory (and practice) the results are always deleterious.

The modern educator is like a gardener who believes there are no weeds in the creation.  In such a perfect world, the best way to garden is to drop fertilizer on everything in the garden, stand back, and let it grow naturally.  The odd bit of assistance might be necessary, such as staking plants (or weeds) or tying up unruly outgrowth. And, oh, a bit of irrigation from time to time.  But basically the idea is to let the garden rip.

This modern educator we might describe as a gardener participating in a grand utopian innocence project.  Behind him stands endless serried ranks of educrats and unionistas along with unlimited tax payer funds.

The opposite view is the Christian one.  Man was created perfect and sinless, but sinned against God.  A moral, spiritual, and physical disease was imputed to the entire human race.  All of life is a struggle against this death.  To return to the gardening analogy, the Christian educator is like the groundsman who knows that lawns need to be trimmed, weeds uprooted, and trees pruned--constantly.

Once upon a time our culture was familiar with books like William Golding's dystopian Lord of the Flies.  Put a group of civilised teenagers on a remote, isolated island and within hours evil begins to flourish.  Evil comes from within, and must be actively fought against and trained out.  Wilful ignorance is just one aspect of the evil with which we are all born.  Such Christian notions have all fallen into a crevasse in the face of the secularist Utopian Innocence Project.

Here are some examples of the Utopian Innocence Project at work.

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow

A Sewer Ditch in Calcutta


I want to begin with a brief logic lesson, and then move to develop an important point about the biblical view of scandals.

One popular logical fallacy is called affirming the consequent. It runs thusly: If P, then Q. Q is the case, and so therefore P. Ta da! If it is a cow, then it has four legs. Fido here has four legs. Fido must be a cow.
So if we are not flipping tables with Him, it is our tables He is flipping.
So if we are not flipping tables with Him, it is our tables He is flipping.
All who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted (2 Tim. 3:12). I am being persecuted. I must be godly. No, you are being persecuted because you’re a jerk. And Fido is a dog.

But take another “if P” operation, this one a little closer to the action. If you study hard, then you will get good grades. Now you might get good grades without studying, because a blind squirrel finds a nut every once in a while. It nevertheless remains the case that if you want a particular thing, you have to be willing for another thing. If you want good grades, you have to be willing for the studying. This is simple horse sense, and is not affirming the consequent.

The Bible teaches that faithful ministry is scandalous. Faithful and effective ministry results in scandal. To say that everything that is scandalous is therefore faithful ministry is to affirm the consequent. But that is not a very common problem. It is a problem when it happens, but it remains relatively rare, even though there are Westboro Baptists who think that they are walking in the footsteps of the prophets of old.

Now by saying this I do not mean that scandals and cover-ups are rare. Far too many people in modern evangelical churches have been boinking people they oughtn’t to have. But I do mean that it is rare for people to claim a link between such scandals and their holy stand for righteousness. Maybe other generations thought that way, but ours usually doesn’t. It is far more common for our culprits, once caught, to play the role of victim and check into rehab than to play the role of mistreated prophet.

C.S. Lewis once observed that when we are confronted with a flood, we tend to break out the fire extinguishers. A far more common problem in our generation is that of ministers who want to be stalwart in battle, but with no bullets allowed. No live fire. They want to preach a scandalous, radical gospel, but with none of the blow-back reactions from angry mobs. They want to have skin in the game without having, you know, anything risked by any actual skin.

But in the Bible, scandal is a real deal. When it happens, people get furious. For some reason you walked up to that culture, licked your finger, and attempted to touch their eyeball. That gets a reaction, and not a mild one either. It is easy for the crowd to start search for what rhymes with “flay him.” My twitter feed, for just one edifying example, is currently disporting itself like a sewer ditch in 19th century Calcutta.

So the following passage is in the Bible for a reason.

“Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men” (Matt. 5:11–13).

So we always have to beware of affirming the consequent. Look at this passage closely. Jesus is saying, in effect, that there are two reasons why men might trample you underfoot. One is because you are salt that has lost its savor, and the other is because you are salt that hasn’t.

We have to be able to tell the difference because Jesus is teaching us to tell the difference. Unbelievers treat insipid Christians with contempt and they treat salty Christians with active hostility and hatred. When some manifestation of this arises, every Christian involved has to make a judgment call as to which it is, and has to be careful not to affirm the consequent. He has to read the situation correctly. And if he decides rightly and raises a glass of Scotch in a faithful toast, it matters not if men like Rod Dreher find it convenient to sneer at the obedience.

When men treat the salty with contempt, and persecute you, and say every evil thing they can think of, they are trying move you from one category to the other. Their central tool for doing this is their weaponization of apologies. They do this because they much prefer their Christians to be supine and saltless. The tragedy is that so many Christian leaders prefer it that way also.

Daily Devotional

On Easter


Tomorrow we shall celebrate the glorious Resurrection of Christ. I shall be remembering you in the Holy communion. Away with tears and fears and troubles! United in wedlock with the eternal Godhead Itself, our nature ascends into the Heaven of Heavens, so it would be impious to call ourselves “miserable.” On the contrary, man is a creature whom angels—were they capable of envy—would envy. Let us lift up our hearts!

From The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, Volume II
Compiled in Words to Live By
The Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis, Volume II: Family Letters 1905-1931. Copyright © 2004 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers. Words to Live By: A Guide for the Merely Christian. Copyright © 2007 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

Lawful Christian Resistance, Part VI

We Are Not Playing Tiddlywinks

Lawful Christian resistance to tyranny lies not in the hands of private individuals.  This duty lies in the hands of those who represent the people.  God made this plain throughout the history of Israel, particularly in times of the monarchy--and most pointedly at the time when Saul, the first king of Israel was inaugurated into office.

The people had asked for a king.  Samuel (representing God) told the assembled nation "the rights and duties of the kingship; he wrote them in a book and laid it up before the Lord."  (I Samuel 10:25).  Some time after Saul was chosen, Samuel again summoned Israel to "renew" the kingdom.  Then follows a remarkable passage in which God lays out the duties of the people with respect to the king.  These duties are not defined in terms of obeying and serving the king. They are defined in terms of the people obeying and serving God and following His law and His commandments.

Friday, 9 October 2015

The State as Oppressor and Thief

The Christian Temptation Towards Socialism

Pope Francis’s papacy has revived attention to an enduring, misguided strain of religious-tainted socialism.

The Federalist

The last temptation of Christ may not have occurred in the desert when Satan confronted Jesus. In the biblical book of Matthew, Christ goes alone into the desert and fasts for 40 days. While he is starving, the Devil confronts and tempts him: “If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.” Christ answers, “Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”

The Christian church, both Catholic and Protestant, has faced a similar temptation to turn stone into bread in the form of socialism. Many seem surprised by Pope Francis’s criticism of capitalism. Modern liberals trying to push for a more socialist agenda in Europe, South America, and the United States have used his statements as fodder. While it is commonly assumed that Christianity would be opposed to socialism because of its historic opposition to communism, the two are not the same.
Russian and Chinese communism did not allow for religious belief and practice, but the economic system of socialism itself has no such restrictions, and has been embraced by many Christian leaders and sects throughout the development of the modern industrial society. In an effort to create a Christian society, believers have lent support to and embraced socialism to the point of revolutionary action as a way to create heaven on Earth—bread out of stone.

Daily Devotional

Absolute, Sovereign, Almighty Love

“The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.” (Exodus 34:6)

John Piper

God abounds in steadfast love and faithfulness.

Two images come to my mind:
  1. The heart of God is like an inexhaustible spring of water that bubbles up love and faithfulness at the top of the mountain.
  2. Or the heart of God is like a volcano that burns so hot with love that it blasts the top off the mountain and flows year after year with the lava of love and faithfulness.
When God uses the word “abounding,” he wants us to understand that the resources of his love are not limited. In a way, he’s like the government: Whenever there’s a need, he can just print more money to cover it.

But the difference is that God has an infinite treasury of golden love to cover all the currency he prints. The government is in a dream world. God banks very realistically on the infinite resources of his deity.  The absolute existence, the sovereign freedom, and the omnipotence of God are the volcanic fullness that explodes in an overflow of love. The sheer magnificence of God means that he does not need us to fill up any deficiency in himself. Instead his infinite self-sufficiency spills over in love to us who need him.

We can bank on his love precisely because we believe in the absoluteness of his existence, the sovereignty of his freedom, and the limitlessness of his power.

Echoing An Empty Mantra

A Hollow Man Speaks

Some times when "everybody" is repeating a mantra, it gets difficult to continue to remain sceptical.  After all, repetition of a claim carries authority, provided one assumes the repeaters are both self-sceptical, and truth-tellers.

In the case of alleged global warming, all those folk repeating the claim as if it were a certainty can't be wrong.  There must be something in it.  To suggest that it is all myth, empty vanity, propagated by the platitudes of hollow men implies extra-ordinary hubris and cant on the part of the nay-sayers.  That is, until you observe the empty vanity and the endless platitudes of hollow men in action.

Senator Ted Cruz examined the claims of the President of the Sierra Club who asserted that the world is warming, toasting, cooking etc. etc.  Phrases like "skewered", "hung out to dry", "mindless vacuity", all seem apt.  Watch the inquisition below:

Thursday, 8 October 2015

The Great Squirmarama


We have blogged about the squirmarama underway with liberals trying to defend the Planned Parenthood videos, showing the secret and illegal trade in illicit baby body parts.  Front and central is the claim that the videos were "doctored". 

Yes, it's now been proven by an independent party.  The videos were indeed edited.  There are some parts that have been edited out.  Planned Parenthood, Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, and the gang are insisting that the whole nation be allowed to see the parts which put Planned Parenthood in a far more positive light. 

5 Shocking Scenes The Planned Parenthood Video Creator Doesn’t Want You To See

A forensic audit reveals what was left on the cutting room floor.

The Federalist

In late August, Planned Parenthood officials released a report they paid a shady Democratic opposition research firm to produce. The report focused on the scandalous videos showing high-level Planned Parenthood officials engaged in the fetal organ harvesting trade. Unlike the videos themselves, the report was quickly and credulously covered by the Washington Post, NPR, Politico and the New York Times, and claimed that the videos were missing key footage. Here’s how NPR put it:

Daily Devotional

It Is His Character . . . 

"If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous."
1 John 2:1

Charles H. Spurgeon

"If any man sin, we have an advocate." Yes, though we sin, we have him still. John does not say, "If any man sin he has forfeited his advocate," but "we have an advocate," sinners though we are. All the sin that a believer ever did, or can be allowed to commit, cannot destroy his interest in the Lord Jesus Christ, as his advocate.

The name here given to our Lord is suggestive. "Jesus." Ah! then he is an advocate such as we need, for Jesus is the name of one whose business and delight it is to save. "They shall call his name Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins." His sweetest name implies his success. Next, it is "Jesus Christ"--Christos, the anointed. This shows his authority to plead. The Christ has a right to plead, for he is the Father's own appointed advocate and elected priest. If he were of our choosing he might fail, but if God hath laid help upon one that is mighty, we may safely lay our trouble where God has laid his help. He is Christ, and therefore authorized; he is Christ, and therefore qualified, for the anointing has fully fitted him for his work. He can plead so as to move the heart of God and prevail. What words of tenderness, what sentences of persuasion will the anointed use when he stands up to plead for me!

One more letter of his name remains, "Jesus Christ the righteous." This is not only his character but his plea. It is his character, and if the Righteous One be my advocate, then my cause is good, or he would not have espoused it. It is his plea, for he meets the charge of unrighteousness against me by the plea that he is righteous. He declares himself my substitute and puts his obedience to my account. My soul, thou hast a friend well fitted to be thine advocate, he cannot but succeed; leave thyself entirely in his hands.

Lawful Christian Resistance, Part V

The Consent of the Governed A Biblical Pattern

All students of political philosophy know there is a connection between limited government and the doctrines of checks and balances.  No king, or president, or governor has absolute power; the power of all is limited.  The power of all ruling institutions is checked and balanced by other institutions and authorities.  Herein lies the essence of liberty, on the one hand, and the deconstruction of absolutism, on the other.

These fundamental precepts upon which life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness depend, arise out of ancient traditions.  In particular, we are confident that they arise out of Christian and proto-Christian civilisation.  The more a nation or civilisation turns away from acknowledging Christ as the King of kings, the more rapidly it will destroy liberty and descend into anarchy or an absolutist tyranny.

The essentials of the doctrine of limited, multiple authorities are found in the constitution of ancient Israel itself.  David was God's anointed king-to-be. God had chosen him, anointed him, and called him to be His king over all Israel.  David, therefore, had a divine right to rule.  But, actually, he did not, as the inspired record makes clear.  He had a divine calling, but not a divine right.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Full Inclusion Now Underway?

May the God of Israel and His Messiah Bless You

Joel C. Rosenberg has published an interesting post at his blog.  Given what appears to be a significant upsurge of interest amongst Jews in Jesus Christ as the Jewish Messiah, one wonders how long it will be before Israel will become recategorised as a Christian country.

As you read this, do so with the spectacles of Romans 11 firmly in place:  "So I ask, did they [the Jews] stumble in order that they might fall?  By no means!  Rather through their trespass, salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous.  Now if their trespass means riches for the world, and if their  failure means riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their full inclusion mean!"  [Romans 11: 11-12]

A big, untold story: Since last Yom Kippur, millions of Jews have begun searching for the Messiah, and for atonement for their sins. The media isn’t reporting this. But it’s worth examining.

Over the past year since the last Day of Atonement, millions of Jews around the world have begun a quest to find the Messiah.

Over the past year since the last Day of Atonement, millions of Jews around the world have begun a quest to find the Messiah.

At sundown, we begin Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. This is the highest holy day on the Jewish calendar, and one of great Biblical and historic and cultural importance to my people.  I so wish I was home with Lynn and our sons in Israel tonight. Instead, I am in the U.S. speaking at a number of events, from Dallas to San Luis Obispo to Washington, D.C. to Toronto. I am speaking about the darkness that is falling in our world. But I am also explaining to people about a fascinating phenomenon that I’m observing.

Since last Yom Kippur, millions of Jews have begun a quest to find the Messiah. For reasons I cannot fully explain, Jews are suddenly searching for answers to the deepest and most important questions concerning life and death and God and atonement and eternity, in numbers unprecedented in history. Some are searching through the Hebrew Scriptures for answers. A stunning number are actually reading the New Testament, most for the first time. They are searching on Google for information about the Messiah. They are even watching a new series of videos by Jews who claim to have found the answers. The videos — some of which have gone viral — were produced and posted on a new website called www.imetmessiah.com.
To me, these are fascinating developments. They certainly aren’t being reported by the media. But they are worth examining. That said, more on all that in a moment.

First, a few thoughts about Yom Kippur itself. 

Daily Devotional

Make War with Unbelief

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. (Philippians 4:6)

John Piper

When I am anxious about getting old, I battle unbelief with the promise, “Even to your old age, I shall be the same, and even to your graying years I shall bear you! I have done it, and I shall carry you; and I shall bear you, and I shall deliver you” (Isaiah 46:4).

When I am anxious about dying, I battle unbelief with the promise that “not one of us lives for himself and not one of us dies for himself; for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living” (Romans 14:7–9).

When I am anxious that I may make shipwreck of faith and fall away from God, I battle unbelief with the promises, “He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ” (Philippians 1:6); and, “He is able to save forever those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25).

Let us make war, not with other people, but with our own unbelief. It is the root of anxiety, which, in turn, is the root of so many other sins. So let us turn on our windshield wipers and use the washer fluid, and keep our eyes fixed on the precious and very great promises of God.

Take up the Bible, ask the Holy Spirit for help, lay the promises up in your heart, and fight the good fight — to live by faith in future grace.

The End of the Beginning for the Pacific?

Spare A Thought for Jane

In New Zealand we were greeted yesterday with the news that agreement had been reached in the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade negotiations.  Twelve Pacific rim countries have signed a deal which will effectively remove all tariff barriers on almost everything.  Whilst we have not read the fine print, this seems like a significant deal.

But we pause to spare a thought for law professor, Jane Kelsey and her rag tag mob of sheep.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

The Mailed Fist

You Will Obey

Abortion, Suicide, And Same-Sex Weddings Are Now Your Job

The Left’s ultimate objective is not merely to legalize abortion, assisted suicide, or same-sex marriage. It is to weaponize government to force your participation.
Matt Bowman

Despite all appearances to the contrary, the Left actually loves Kim Davis, who just switched her political affiliation from Democrat to Republican. The mantra against Davis is that you can’t refuse to “do your job.”  . . . .  This rhetoric provides a perfect distraction from the Left’s bait and switch. While they get you to agree everyone must “do his job,” they unilaterally redefine all jobs, including yours, to require you to help perform abortions, aid assisted suicides, and celebrate, consecrate, or solemnize same-sex weddings.

We have all been watching Rowan County, Kentucky, but Ohio is engaging in radical job redefinition of this sort. In Ohio, clergy, mayors, judges, and others have the option of officiating weddings—but no judge must perform weddings, and no one needs a judge to get married. But the Ohio Supreme Court’s Board of Professional Conduct has issued a new ruling demanding that judges perform same-sex weddings. It says judges cannot even opt out of all weddings if they believe marriage is one man and one woman—something President Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton both believed a couple of years ago.

California’s insurance mandate violates federal law, but the Obama administration has not stopped it. Oregon, likewise, is prosecuting a judge for no longer performing optional weddings, in what even one of the more aggressive same-same marriage proponents at The Daily Beast calls a “hit job.” Paying for other people’s abortions is your job, too.

Daily Devotional

God Is Greater Than our Hearts

On doubt

C. S. Lewis

As far as you (and I) are concerned I have no doubt that the fear you mention is simply a temptation of the devil, an effort to keep us away from God by despair. It is often the devil working through some defect in our health, and in extreme cases it needs a medical as well as a spiritual cure. So don’t listen to these fears and doubts any more than you would to any obviously impure or uncharitable thoughts. . . . Of course, like other evil temptations, they will not be silenced at once. You will think you have got rid of them and then they will come back again—and again. But, with all our temptations of all sorts, we must just endure this. Keep on, do your duty, say your prayers, make your communions, and take no notice of the tempter. He goes away in the end. Remember I John iii, 20 “If (=though) our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart.”

From The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, Volume III
Compiled in Words to Live By
The Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis, Volume III: Narnia, Cambridge, and Joy 1950-1963. Copyright © 2007 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers. Words to Live By: A Guide for the Merely Christian. Copyright © 2007 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

No Saccharin

Facing Up to the Hard Truth

A terrible crime has been committed in Sydney.  An Iraqi-Kurdish teenager has shot a man in a cold-blooded murder.

Such things are horrendous--and in our view, require the death penalty--which was duly administered in the course of the fracas.  Police officers returned fire and the teen was killed.  One aspect of the crime and its aftermath is particularly pleasing.  It is salutary the way Australian authorities have not tried to cover over or sanitise evil with politically correct saccharin.

They have stared evil in the face and they have called it for what it is.

Monday, 5 October 2015

Donald Trump Vying for "Entertainer-in-Chief"

Blogger Patterico Skewers Donald Trump

“The Policy Proposals of Donald Trump” sounds like one of those “thinnest book in the world” jokes, but
Bernie Sanders Trump was on “60 Minutes” last night talking policy. In a long-form interview, it’s actually quite surprising how his usual vapid platitudes give way to serious, specific proposals, when he has the time to sit down and really explain them.

Haha just kidding:

Daily Devotional

Let Not Your Harp Hang in the Willows

"Sing forth the honour of his name, make his praise glorious."
Psalm 66:2

Charles H. Spurgeon

It is not left to our own option whether we shall praise God or not. Praise is God's most righteous due, and every Christian, as the recipient of his grace, is bound to praise God from day to day. It is true we have no authoritative rubric for daily praise; we have no commandment prescribing certain hours of song and thanksgiving: but the law written upon the heart teaches us that it is right to praise God; and the unwritten mandate comes to us with as much force as if it had been recorded on the tables of stone, or handed to us from the top of thundering Sinai.

Yes, it is the Christian's duty to praise God. It is not only a pleasurable exercise, but it is the absolute obligation of his life. Think not ye who are always mourning, that ye are guiltless in this respect, or imagine that ye can discharge your duty to your God without songs of praise. You are bound by the bonds of his love to bless his name so long as you live, and his praise should continually be in your mouth, for you are blessed, in order that you may bless him; "this people have I formed for myself, they shall show forth my praise"; and if you do not praise God, you are not bringing forth the fruit which he, as the Divine Husbandman, has a right to expect at your hands.

Let not your harp then hang upon the willows, but take it down, and strive, with a grateful heart, to bring forth its loudest music. Arise and chant his praise. With every morning's dawn, lift up your notes of thanksgiving, and let every setting sun be followed with your song. Girdle the earth with your praises; surround it with an atmosphere of melody, and God himself will hearken from heaven and accept your music.

"E'en so I love thee, and will love,
And in thy praise will sing,
Because thou art my loving God,
And my redeeming King."

State Facilitated Child Abuse

No More Pixie Dust

In New Zealand we have a disturbing problem with the abuse of children. Children are being "raised" in dysfunctional homes where the "caregivers" are perpetually drunk or drugged.  The adults, many of whom are mere transients in the "home", are so dissolute that outbursts of rage and violence against children are everyday occurrences.

Years ago New Zealand set up a state agency (Child Youth and Family--"CYF") to intervene in cases of child neglect or abuse.  Its failures are now everywhere apparent.  We do not mean to imply that its failures are universal.  CYF has success stories--for which we are thankful--but these are exceptions to the general rule.

The agency itself is dysfunctional. A recent investigation by an independent panel of reviewers has discovered some startling facts.  CYF employs 3,000 odd social workers.  But how are they deployed?

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Letter From America (About Attacks Upon Religious Freedom)

Preventing ‘Discrimination’ against Gays

The Left Would Destroy Religious Liberty

By David French
National Review Online

Daily Devotional

Make It a Good Rehearsal

TO MARY WILLIS SHELBURNE: On how to rehearse for death and how to diminish fear.

C. S. Lewis

17 June 1963

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

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

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

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

From The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, Volume III
Compiled in Yours, Jack
The Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis, Volume III: Narnia, Cambridge, and Joy 1950-1963. Copyright © 2007 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers. Yours, Jack: Spiritual Direction from C. S. Lewis. Copyright © 2008 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

These Are the Days of Mourning and Lamentation

Why Do You Cast Us Off Forever?

One lesson that stands out in both biblical redemptive history and in the history of the Church is that God is never in a hurry.  One day with the Lord is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.  His plans and purposes unfold slowly, deliberately, and ultimately exhaustively.

One of the challenges to Christian maturity is learning to live coram Deo--before the Face of God--with patience and perseverance.  Our lives on this earth are of course ridiculously fleeting and brief, like the flower in the field which blooms at the dawn, but is limp and spent by day's end.  There is a perpetual temptation to expect (even demand) that all of God's promises come to pass now, in our days, in our lifetimes.  Another, opposite temptation is to conclude that since God's promises are not going to be realised in our lifetimes, why worry?  Be happy.  Such thoughts are anthropocentric, man centred, not God centred. They do not flow from living coram Deo.

One of the essential steps to Christian maturity is to learn to live our lives in God's time, not ours.  In many cases this requires that we need to live through seasons, if not lifetimes, of lamentation.  Unfortunately, it's not something we hear much about today, which is a sure sign that the Church in the West is misdirected, impatient, triumphalist, and, thus, largely irrelevant.  What do we mean?

In the West, the First Christendom has fallen apart.  Unbelief rules the councils of our lands.  Christians are assailed on every hand by militant secularism.  We are regarded as irrelevant relics, piteous anachronisms of a darker, ignorant age. Yet Christians are not found in lamentation before God.  Why?  We suspect that most Christians believe that the travails of our age and generation are not our travails, and in any event, will soon be over.

Some Christians expect to be "raptured" off the planet--in their lifetimes.  Others have locked themselves in Christian ghettoes, separating as much as physically and mentally possible from the militant march of Unbelief.

Friday, 2 October 2015

A Lament Of the Times

We’re Sorry For Producing Our Cisgendered Son

I, a patriarchal oppressor, have created more patriarchy. Read, and weep.

The Federalist

Trigger warning: The following contains references to PIV sex, gender, patriarchy, and cishets.

As a straight, white, cisgender male, I don’t face the challenges that many women, minorities, or genderqueer do on a daily basis. My life is easy. I benefit from a patriarchal system that lends power and privilege to individuals with my characteristics. While I didn’t ask for it, it is my duty to own it. I want to preface this article by acknowledging my privilege, and apologizing beforehand if I step out of line, or any of the following causes offense.

Despite my privilege, even I am faced with challenges. While my challenges do not hold a candle to say, my partner Gwendalin’s (though we are lawfully married, we prefer not to use the traditional identifiers of “man” or “wife,” as they carry connotations of patriarchal ownership and rape culture) even the most underprivileged in our societal system, who are victims of white corporate oppression, may sympathize. I’m speaking, of course, about the disappointment of raising a child who subscribes to the traditional gender binary.

Gwen and I, despite our best efforts, are currently the parents of a cisgendered son.

Daily Devotional

Hope for the Worst of Sinners

“I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy.” (Exodus 33:19)

John Piper

Moses needed hope that God really could have mercy on a stiff-necked people who had just committed idolatry and scorned the God who brought them out of Egypt.  To give Moses the hope and confidence he needed, God said, “I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious.” In other words, "My choices do not depend on the degree of evil or good in man but solely upon my sovereign will. Therefore no one can say he is too evil to be shown grace."

The doctrine of unconditional election is the great doctrine of hope for the worst of sinners. It means that when it comes to being a candidate for grace, your background has nothing to do with God’s choice.

If you have not been born again and brought to saving faith in Jesus Christ, do not sink into hopelessness thinking that the excessive rottenness or hardness of your past life is an insurmountable obstacle to God’s gracious work in your life. God loves to magnify the freedom of his grace by saving the worst of sinners.
Turn from your sin; call upon the Lord. Even in this devotional he is being gracious to you and giving you strong encouragement to come to him for mercy.

“Come, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool” (Isaiah 1:18).

Desperate Times, Part II

Squirming, and False Modesty

We hope that abortion will be a major issue in the forthcoming 2016 Presidential election in the United States.  The Democratic Party's plank is that abortion is entirely acceptable, moral, legal, and justified right up until the moment a child emerges from the mother's birth canal.  In the perverted world in which we now live, this position is said to derive from a manufactured human right: a woman's right to privacy.

The media, the Commentariat, the Chattering Classes, and the "intelligentsia" do not want abortion to be publicly debated.  The Left and the Democratic Party do not want to front up to the holocaust they promote, endorse, and fund.  So, deflection is the order of the day.  But the excuses, the evasions, and the pettifogging are, and will increasingly become, self-evident.

The Vice-President, Joe Biden is considering running for the Democratic nomination for President.  It is almost certain that he will enter the race.  It is highly likely that he will be the Party's nominee, as Hillary Clinton is shamed off the national stage.  Joe has offered a striking defence for supporting abortion.  It's above his pay-grade (a position he has learned from his boss, Barack Obama).