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Theology [quotage]

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Via Wintry Knight.

In the Rabbinical literature there are explicit teachings on the resurrection. It says in the Mishnah 10.1, it says, “All Israelites have a share in the world to come; … and these are they that have no share in the world to come: he that says that there is no resurrection of the dead prescribed in the Law.” Moses Maimonides, a Jewish rabbi and a medieval Jewish philosopher who has forever influenced the Jewish and non-Jewish world said:

” The resurrection of the dead is one of the cardinal principles established by Moses our teacher. A person who does not believe this principle has no real religion, certainly not Judaism. However, resurrection is for the righteous. This is the earning of the statement in Breshit Rabbah, which declares: “the creative power of rain is both for the righteous and the wicked, but the resurrection of the dead is only for the righteous.” Our sages taught the wicked are called dead even when they are still alive; the righteous are alive even when they are dead” (Bab. Talmud Brakhot 18 b).

3 points are made here: 1. Resurrection is a cardinal principle taught in the Torah which all Jews must believe 2. It is for the righteous alone 3. All men must die and their bodies decompose.

Donal Graeme (If you were a Presbyterian of the old school you knew your OT very, very well, but these moderns…)

I covered how Jesus came to live among us in order to take away the sins of the world. The nature of sin and sacrifice is not something that I have always understood well. In fact, one really has to have a decent grasp of the Old Testament (which is the most generous description of my understanding of the Old Testament I dare to give) in order to truly understand that. For me, that has been a recent process. Before that time, I focused on another aspect of Jesus’ life among us, namely nature as both Man and God.

To me, at first, the message of Jesus (the one that I understood best, anyways) was that God would never ask of us what He wouldn’t be willing to undergo Himself. Like everyone Human being following Adam and Eve, God endured all that we must endure. He was born of a woman. He was born to a noble lineage, but his family itself was not well off. He grew up, and was obedient to His parents. Later, He walked among us, teaching us the Truth and working great miracles. As a result of this he was slandered, with many vile, and false, accusations made against him. Eventually, he was arrested, tried unjustly, tortured, and finally forced to endure a slow and agonizing death. There is little in the way of the misery of life that Jesus did not undergo while he lived among us. To me, this was a striking thing- the Creator of the entire universe was willing to subject Himself to the pitfalls of mortal existence, all for the benefit of the very people who rejected Him.

This was a very humbling lesson when I first came to understand. It still is, in fact. Yet it is also a comforting one. For I know that nothing I do, nothing I experience, nothing I suffer, will be any worse than what my God endured on my behalf nearly two millennia ago. It is a hard path that I walk, but I do not walk it alone, for He is with me on it, and the gladness that fact brings me cannot be taken away by this world or its ruler.

Christianity does not change. Our duty remains the same. If the churches preach the gospel they will succeed, otherwise, they will fail.

Ordering one’s life around faith and the church requires considerable sacrifice. Therefore, people have to see why church is so compelling that they would bother to get out of bed on Sunday morning. Moralistic pabulum and vague niceties don’t cut it. Pastors and teachers need to constantly trumpet the shocking claims of the gospel. Our sin has put us in jeopardy of hell. God became incarnate as a man, Jesus, lived a perfect life, and died on the cross so we could be forgiven. He rose again bodily to defeat death. He reigns forever now with the Father. These and others are historic, bracing truths of Christianity, and they compel a response of adherence, for those with ears to hear.

Without coincidence, true truth is triune truth: it’s decreed by God (the Father), personified in God (the Son), and effected by God (the Spirit). Contrary to popular belief, truth isn’t based on personal feeling, self-understanding, or a contemporary situation. It’s based on God’s revelation, centered in the gospel, and revealed by the transforming work of the Spirit.

Unlike the mood of our age, truth isn’t something we can create, discover, or deny. Like the innocent man Pilate sentenced to death, truth has a way of coming back to life.

May we, like Jesus, make the good confession and hold fast to the truth.

So, as we move forward from Easter, let us hold fast to the gospel. Where the gospel is preached, there is life, where there is the gospel, there is no life.

Fear, not self esteem.

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This photo was taken in the sanctuary following church. After writing and showing multiple Italian churches over Lent it is a contrast. We held the service in the smaller, chapel area (which is more modern and easier to heat) but that overflowed so we had to go and get benches from the older church. Which, for people who read this over time, is one that I have argued we should demolish. It will cost us over a million dollars to get this up to earthquake standards, and I’d rather have something simpler, smaller, and cheaper.

But that is the Pentecostal background of my parents. Pentecostals like warehouses for churches, because they are cheap, and only build big centres when they run out of room in schools. One of the unintended consequences of having earthquake regulations is that a fair number of historical churches will be lost — left to become ruins, or demolished and rebuilt to code, simply because no church will spend that kind of money with a clear conscience to restore when you can rebuild. The church is the people, not the building.

Besides, the building now feels strange. My congregation meets in the hall across the road: the folks I worship with when they are in abeyance (or I sleep in) from Grace Presbyterian meet in a bowling club.

The building and the governance are important, but they are not of great importance. Christ is. For this world is falling.

I can no longer write about politics or political issues because they are superficial, transient and only partially attached to what is real; they are sinkholes of illusion meant to turn us away from the outreach of love that is the taproot of all that is reality — all that is genuine — and that is begging to be accepted. I wrote about politics yesterday and did it poorly because I hated it, and how it made me feel.I don’t want to write about these theatrics anymore, and become complicit in the distraction; I don’t want to assist in leading people away from that pulsing affirmation I felt, “Oh, my people…””

This. This is why HHH isn’t about being-a-dear-wife 99% of the time. Not that being a good wife isn’t important. But being a good wife flows from being in love with Christ. So I try to write as rawly as possible, and I write about the state of my soul and how it got there. I tried writing about other stuff, it felt fake.

We can get caught up in the politics of the day, in the craft of the day. We can forget that our society is at the end of the cycle, atomizing into lonely individuals grokking screens connected to the internet in some search for comfort, for fleeting pleasure in a nation that calls good evil and evil good. It has to be about Christ.

1 CORINTHIANS 15:1-11

1Now I would remind you, brothers and sisters, of the good news that I proclaimed to you, which you in turn received, in which also you stand, 2through which also you are being saved, if you hold firmly to the message that I proclaimed to you – unless you have come to believe in vain.

3For I handed on to you as of first importance what I in turn had received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, 4and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, 5and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. 7Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. 8Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. 9For I am the least of the apostles, unfit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me has not been in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them – though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. 11Whether then it was I or they, so we proclaim and so you have come to believe.

GOSPEL READING MARK 16:1-8

1When the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. 2And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. 3They had been saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?” 4When they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back. 5As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man, dressed in a white robe, sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. 6But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Look, there is the place they laid him. 7But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you.” 8So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.

I want to concentrate for a second on the response of the women. One of the things that makes the gospels read like history is that the approved or pious reaction does not occur. “For terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid” . Calvin says this is because that the disciples had not the power of the spirit, and had not reached a point where their fears were consoled.

With fear and great joy. By these words Matthew means that they were indeed gladdened by what the angel told them, but, at the same the were struck with fear, so that they were held in suspense between joy and perplexity. For there are sometimes opposite feelings in the hearts of the godly, which move them alternately in opposite directions, until at length the peace of the Spirit brings them into a settled condition. For if their faith had been strong, it would have given them entire composure by subduing fear; but now fear, mingled with joy, shows that they had not yet fully relied on the testimony of the angel. And here Christ exhibited a remarkable instance of compassion, in meeting them while they thus doubted and trembled, so as to remove all remaining doubt.

Yet there is some diversity in the words of Mark, that they fled, seized with trembling and amazement, so that through fear they were dismayed. But the solution is not very difficult; for though they were resolved to obey the angel, still they had not power to do so, “Toutesfois le moyen leur defailloit, et elles n’eussent sceu le faire;” — “yet they wanted the means, and would not have known how to do it.” if the Lord himself had not loosed their tongues. But in what follows there is greater appearance of contradiction; for Mark does not say that Christ met them, but only that he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, while Luke says nothing whatever of this appearance. But this omission ought not to appear strange to us, since it is far from being unusual with the Evangelists.

As to the difference between the words of Matthew and of Mark, it is possible that Magdalene may have been a partaker of so great a favor before the other women, or even that Matthew, by synecdoche, may have extended to all what was peculiar to one of their number. It is more probable, however, that Mark names her alone, because she first obtained a sight of Christ, and in a peculiar manner, in preference to the others, and yet that her companions also saw Christ in their order, and that on this account Matthew attributes it to all them in common. This was an astonishing instance of goodness, that Christ manifested his heavenly glory to a wretched woman, who had been possessed by seven devils, (Luke 8:2,) and, intending to display the light of a new and eternal life, began where there was nothing in the eyes of man but what was base and contemptible. But by this example Christ showed how generously he is wont to continue the progress of his grace, when he has once displayed it towards us; and, at the same time, he threw down the pride of the flesh.

Fear is consistent with being in the presence of God. If you look at the prophets, when they met God the first thing they were aware of was their own unworthiness. The law came down with some much glory that the people of God stood back — and Moses alone ascended. It is a terrifying thing to be in the hand of the living God. It is only through the work of the Spirit in our lives that we can indeed approach him.

Calvin’s comment about Christ appearing first to Magdalene and this pushing our pride into the mud is also important. Our self-esteem is but a lie. We are broken, we are fallen, we are not worthy — that is the truth. None of us deserve to be near the righteous.

The rebellion of our society began when we decided that liberty and its bastard child self-esteem was going to be the measure of all things, instead of the older more stern rules of duty and honour.

The problem is that pleasure has no spine, and getting one’s self-worth out of your score on the latest game has no reflection on real life. Struggle is the very essence of being human: dealing with our daily failures, remaining in training, remaining disciplined, doing our duty to others. For in this world, in your college, in your employment, you are generally but a number — indeed when I mark student’s essays I see but their number, to ensure impartiality. The dissonance around this is breaking.

Locally, this is a public holiday. Let us praise God, who made this world, and even in the most broken state, still reflects his glory.

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The prime directive is Christ, not ephemera.

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Today we need to do a bit of contrastiness, but the main issue for the day is the proclamation of the gospel of Christ. It is easter Sunday. Over the weekend the History Channel is doing the usual “Real Jesus” stuff… which I avoid. One of the lads said it does not matter providing that the atoning death and resurrection are real, and that is not quite right.

It does matter what we think of Jesus, for he is God incarnate for a period on this world, and he is our example, he is our rule, and what he did mattered, as what we do matters.

For the duty of the Church is to preach the gospel to a world that would censor us.

ACTS 10:34-43

34Then Peter began to speak to them: “I truly understand that God shows no partiality,35but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.36You know the message he sent to the people of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ — he is Lord of all.37That message spread throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John announced: 38how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; how he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.39We are witnesses to all that he did both in Judea and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree; 40but God raised him on the third day and allowed him to appear, 41not to all the people but to us who were chosen by God as witnesses, and who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one ordained by God as judge of the living and the dead. 43All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

COLOSSIANS 3:1-4

1So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth, 3for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.4When Christ who is your life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory.

My favourite Papist is a hardcore Italian who regrets everything that happened in Vatican II. He noted that the number of Catholics dropped in South America, and is afraid that these people are going to hell. Since salvation is Christ’s not which side of the Tiber you are on, he should be less worried, or perhaps more so.

…the PuffPo people think the flock… flocks to the Evangelicals because of the pedophile priest scandal (if you are a pervert or his friend, it is absolutely taboo to mention the Church without the scandal) and because of the “solemn” Catholic masses as opposed to the “emotional, vibrant sermons” of the Evangelicals. If they had respectively said “vapid, childish, and stupid” and “with a recognisable Christian content” they would have gone nearer to reality; but this is the PuffPo, and reality isn’t much high in their list of priorities. They also imply that religion is something for the uneducated poor, as they point out that in Chile and Uruguay – the wealthiest Countries of the region – atheism apparently advances, or so they say, without mentioning data.

Still: the number is there. The Francis effect is… causing losses for Catholicism. Losses in a traditionally extremely catholic continent, and losses even after the hugely expensive and media-hyped exercise of last year’s World Youth Day.

Francis stinks of secularism from the black shoes up. He is a betrayal and a parody of what a Pope is supposed to be. More and more people throw away the baby together with the – admittedly: very dirty – bathwater and start going to Protestant services. I can well imagine many of them have no easy access to even a half decent mass, and have not heard a decent homily from a Catholic pulpit for a long time. No, wait: pulpit? Not many of those are used anymore, either.

And so the Church continues to shrink, and souls are put at risk of damnation, whilst Francis and his friends – some of them heterosexual; some of them Catholic; some of them actually not Marxist – keep having the time of their life.

Mundabor, it is not merely a Catholic problem. If Christ is proclaimed, the church will grow and we there will be rejoicing in heaven. When instead we turn to the issues of the world: have liturgies around global warming or the rights of women or make services too relevant (the code is ‘seeker friendly’) or preach prosperity and not the gospel we will fail, for our minds are not on the things of God.

And there are no exceptions. No church is immune from this corruption, and one has to watch for false teachers who mouth the creeds but have another agenda. I have seen the same issues in the reformed churches I hang around.

Binary: preach the gospel. Let the word speak to people. It will not be comfortable. Live. Or preach pretty lies, a narrative, be relevant and become dated, and dead.

For our world is fallen. This is Elizabeth Scalia, sitting in a New York Railway station, with a restorative stout, when suddenly, an epiphany. [Context: Merton is one of the monks from last century who is seen as a modern mystic by many Catholics, and John Paul was a Polish Pope].

I wouldn’t presume to say that anything was being communicated to me, but I nevertheless had a glimpse — or an overwhelming “sense” — of something. In that brief flash I knew that hovering over us, near us, within us, all about us, was an awful, unstoppable ache of love and sadness; a sense of “Oh, my people! How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldn’t let me.”
This ache of longing, reaching out; of be-longing unanswered, unfulfilled.
It lasted the merest second, and then all was normal; everyone was moving; the radio was blaring. But nothing has been right for me, since then. Nothing has been good. I have been weepy and restless and everything seems unsuitable to me.
This was not Merton’s wonderful, joy-filled sense of people gadding about, shining like the sun. This felt more like a gloaming; like the space between dark and light that, of an ordinary twilight vespers, can bring such a sense of comfort and completion. And yet, this moment contained a note of what I can only characterize as desolation. Unfulfilled be-longing. Oh, my people…
There is a story about Blessed John Paul II, that he was once discovered in his private chapel with his arms about the Tabernacle, crooning a song in Polish, as a mother might croon to a child. He looked up to his visitors with a distraught expression and said, “I don’t know how to comfort him!”
That is precisely what it felt like to me — as though I had one of my children in my arms, and he was inconsolable.
Nothing has been right, since that moment. I cannot be easy or simply go on as I have.
Today I have realized that I can no longer write about politics or political issues because they are superficial, transient and only partially attached to what is real; they are sinkholes of illusion meant to turn us away from the outreach of love that is the taproot of all that is reality — all that is genuine — and that is begging to be accepted. I wrote about politics yesterday and did it poorly because I hated it, and how it made me feel.
I don’t want to write about these theatrics anymore, and become complicit in the distraction; I don’t want to assist in leading people away from that pulsing affirmation I felt, “Oh, my people…”
I don’t want to abandon that bereft-seeming outreach of desolated love that I sensed in Penn Station — so much like a modern, subterranean Agony of Gethsemane. I can’t let it go and walk away from it, even though I know I am free to.

The purpose of the Church is to preach the gospel. When you are in the trenches, fighting battles — and at times losing, and grieving — one tends to forget that. There are political battles and moral stands we have to take, if we are to illuminate the evil in this day and preserve what is good in our society. But that flows from our main role. We are to proclaim the gospel, in our lives and in our words.

For this time is fallen, and this world is told instead it is progressing.

Appeasement is trumped by mockery [quotage]

We are now post storm and the internet has been restored, which led to general rejoicing and raiding of Steam accounts in Casa Pukeko. I have not done a quotage and linage post over the last few days, but now that things are settling down.

I’ve just had dinner with a friend and we discussed the Eich case. He pointed out that if he only had friends who agreed completely with him he would be lonely. I concurred, pointing out that in my ideal world the state would be so small that a capital would require no more administration than a small village.

But too many people appease when they should confront.

I also noticed that the Muslims all pointed out that orthodox Christians, Jews, Mormons, etc. also put their religious laws above the civil laws. That is true. I absolutely agree. We all try to get along with the others, but when it comes down to the wire, the only thing that counts is eternal life. Amen.

This is not what makes our religions different from Islam, but rather that our religions have an easier time mixing with a civil government because they simply don’t require the same amount of meddling in the running of the state and the state’s monopoly on violence. Our religions are just… more flexible and peaceful. And, on the rare occasion that we do interfere in the state, then mostly to promote universal rights, and less to win special privileges for our fellow believers.

Alte even managed to quote revelations in her post. But Mark Steyn expanded on this in discussing one of Mel Gibson’s movies — interestingly, Mel remains one of the people it is safe to hate, and is shunned in Hollywood in part because of his Catholicism.

That’s the real argument over The Passion Of The Christ. It’s not between Christians and Jews, but between believing Christians and the broader post-Christian culture, a term that covers a large swathe from the media to your average Anglican vicar. Some in this post-Christian culture don’t believe anything, some are riddled with doubts, but even the ones with only a vague residual memory of the fluffier Sunday School stories are agreed that there’s little harm in a Jesus figure who’s a “gentle teacher”. In this world, if Jesus came back today he’d most likely be a gay Anglican bishop in a committed relationship driving around in an environmentally-friendly car with an “Arms Are For Hugging” sticker on the way to an interfaith dialogue with a Wiccan and a couple of Wahhabi imams. If that’s your boy, Mel Gibson’s movie is not for you.

Indeed, although Mel is Catholic, his Passion became a hit thanks to evangelical Protestants – those who believe the Bible is the literal truth and not a “useful narrative” culminating in what the Bishop of Durham called a “conjuring trick with bones”. Instead of Jesus the wimp, Mel gives us Jesus the Redeemer. He died for our sins – ie, the “violent end” is the critical bit, not just an unfortunate misunderstanding cruelly cutting short a promising career in gentle teaching. The followers of Wimp Jesus seem to believe He died to license our sins – Jesus loves us for who we are so whatever’s your bag is cool with Him.

Strictly as a commercial proposition, Wimp Jesus is a loser: the churches who go down that path are emptying out and dying. Those who believe in Christ the Redeemer are, comparatively, booming, and ten years ago Mel Gibson made a movie for them. If Hollywood was as savvy as it thinks it is, it would have beaten him to it. But it isn’t so it didn’t. And as most studio execs had never seen an evangelical Christian except in films where they turn out to be paedophiles or serial killers, it’s no wonder they were baffled by The Passion’s success.

It is not good to sit and agree with those who oppose you. We are called to be men, not jellyfish: to be women, not doormats. We need to know what we believe, and be prepared to defend this. To do this, we have to accept a certain degree of offense and mockery. Because what Christians believe is offensive. The torture and death of Christ was a travesty, and injustice. But to Christians, it is the great work of atonement, for his punishment was for me, for my sins, and only by that act can the wrong I have done reach any form of atonement.

There is no scales, no measure to weigh evil. It corrupts everything. One theft makes you a thief, one affair an adulterer, one bribe corrupt. And thus we are all damned. We cannot pay back. Christ took that away from us, and in doing this he opened a way to a new freedom in which redemption is possible.

But the elite don’t believe this. You should read Mark’s essay, but he ends with people saying that Gibson’s movie should, in effect be banned, because it is too violent, or not approved, or suggests that there such things as standards.

Which is not where the elite want us to be. Bill Price points out that Putin’s anti-gay stance is fairly popular, and in making homosexuality the issue of the day there may be a degree of over-reach.

Again, institutionalized homosexuality is only one issue, but it may have been the one that finally crossed a red line. Considering that even in my very liberal state of Washington legalization of gay marriage passed by only about one percentage point in late 2012, and then only after enormous campaign donations from the globalist billionaires in the state, it is probably too costly even for the US to successfully convince the rest of the world that it is a good idea. But for whatever reason, progressives have made it their defining cause and staked their movement’s claim to the future on it. This act of hubris may prove to be progressivism’s Achille’s heel, but in the long run what matters – and hurts – the most for those of us more traditional Americans is our dramatic loss of faith in our own nation.

To see the US reduced to little more than a platform for the greedy and licentious when it used to be a beacon of liberty and common decency in a savage world is profoundly unsettling. It is also why I am all but certain that our decline is a fait accompli rather than an imminent threat.

At this point, we can only hope that nihilistic radicals like Masha Gessen refrain from plunging, us into a catastrophic war on their behalf, sacrificing our sons for ideals that we despise from the bottom of our hearts.

There is a dissonance between the rulers and the ruled in America at present. It is less in New Zealand, but even here the PM donates his salary to charity (he made his money as a bankster) and the leader of the opposition is also independently wealthy. Even here, the elite bureaus treat everyone else as peons to be educated.

But in their blindness, they have over reached. It is time to mock them: to not comply, to not be jellyfish. For if mockery is banned… we have tyranny, and tyrannies generally do not end well.

Unlike this world, the word of God is living and active.

It is Easter Saturday and I have no fast internet… and two boys who are rediscovering books and the joys of the playstation 2. We have been spared. Ele Ludemann lives an hour or so north of me and she has blogged about yesterday’s storm, which was not accounted as a Cyclone (after if left Queensland) but did a lot of damage. I’ve added to the note she posted yesterday the results, from the local paper.

I am warm, dry, and the cellphone has a data plan. Many are not.

From the Facebook page of Waitaki Mayor, Gary Kircher:
Gary Kircher – Mayor for Waitaki
Latest update on river levels:
North Otago
Kakanui at Clifton Falls has peaked at 580m3/s at 12:30pm and currently at 495m3/s and still receding.
Kakanui at Mill Dam is at 550m3/s and still rising, the water from Clifton falls will take approx. 4 hours to reach this site. This will continue to rise and then slowly recede after. The SH1 at Maheno is closed.
Shag at the Grange is holding at 230m3/s
The rainfall for the North Otago catchment has slightly eased off with hourly accumulations now at 5-7mm and hour.

Long queues of traffic built up either side of Maheno when the Kakanui River burst its banks yesterday afternoon, forcing authorities to close SH1 at Maheno.

Waitaki District Council emergency services manager Chris Raine said the welfare centres, accommodating up to 400 people, were established last night when it became clear there would be no way through for vehicles overnight.

The centres were at the Palmerston Child Care Centre, Hampden Hall, Maheno Hall and at St Kevin’s College, Waitaki Boys’ High School and Waitaki Girls’ High School in Oamaru, which have boarding accommodation and kitchens.

Southern District Command Centre deployment co-ordinator Senior Sergeant Brian Benn, of Dunedin, said traffic was initially diverted along the coast road but one of the bridges at Kakanui was single-lane and there were concerns about its structural stability, so it too was closed. SH1 was reopened last night.

”It’s been very frustrating for people travelling north and south of Oamaru.

”There’s some big queues there. I’m sure that’s frustrated quite a few people.”

The heavy rain, which got Easter off to a sodden start, is expected to ease today but Otago Regional Council flood managers say the worst may be yet to come.

The deep low from ex-Cyclone Ita, which sat west of New Zealand yesterday, is expected to weaken and move across the lower South Island tonight.

The MetService lifted its severe weather warnings for Dunedin and North Otago at 5.30pm yesterday but ORC flood managers say many Otago rivers remain high and are likely to stay high for the next few days.

By 8.30pm yesterday, the Silver Stream had peaked at 120cumecs and the Kakanui River at Clifton Falls had peaked at 575cumecs, one of its highest recorded levels.

The Shag River (at The Grange) was flowing at 258cumecs and the Taieri River (at Outram) at 314cumecs at 8.30pm, but both were still rising.

As the day progressed, most district roads in coastal Otago had surface flooding – some serious enough to be closed, including Silverstream Valley Rd and Danseys Pass.

But, given that the internet is flakey, I am experimenting and composing this in Libreoffice, and then I hope to import it into WordPress.

Onto today’s text. There are two things that I consider important on an Easter Weekend: one is to re-proclaim the gospel, and the other is to discuss why this matters.

So let’s start with why text, why the quotes from scripture. Daily. Many mornings I would rather sleep in – and many days I really do not want to confront a text that is living, active, and by the work of the Holy Spirit lets us discern the truth. But it is, and so I do.

HEBREWS 4:1-16
1Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest is still open, let us take care that none of you should seem to have failed to reach it. 2For indeed the good news came to us just as to them; but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened. 3For we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said, “As in my anger I swore, ‘They shall not enter my rest,’” though his works were finished at the foundation of the world. 4For in one place it speaks about the seventh day as follows, “And God rested on the seventh day from all his works.” 5And again in this place it says, “They shall not enter my rest.” 6Since therefore it remains open for some to enter it, and those who formerly received the good news failed to enter because of disobedience, 7again he sets a certain day – “today” – saying through David much later, in the words already quoted, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.” 8For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not speak later about another day. 9So then, a sabbath rest still remains for the people of God; 10for those who enter God’s rest also cease from their labors as God did from his. 11Let us therefore make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one may fall through such disobedience as theirs.
12Indeed, the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow; it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13And before him no creature is hidden, but all are naked and laid bare to the eyes of the one to whom we must render an account.
14Since, then, we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. 15For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin. 16Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

ROMANS 8:1-11
1There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. 3For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do: by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and to deal with sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4so that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7For this reason the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law – indeed it cannot,8and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
9But you are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you.

The reason for having disciplines around the reading and meditation on the word of God is that this forces us to read the word of God, to proclaim the word of God. This occurs in all the confessional churches — among the reformed the tradition is that you carefully preach and read every text in one book of the Bible then another, while the more liturgical churches read every verse of the Bible in a three year cycle.

For the word of God is living and active. It is not God incarnate — Christ is — and we do not worship the book as the Muslims in their superstition do, calling the book God incarnate rather than Christ who died for us. Today the liturgical churches are dark as we recall his time in the grave. Today the text reminds us of what this meant.

Let us therefore consider that whatever he is asking us to do today, he has done more. Our rest is with Christ, and not in the fleeting pleasures of this time. The leaders and fashions of this time will pass. The word of God will remain.

Storm on Good Friday.

We are having interesting weather today, marked downpours with strong gale-force winds. This has left us with an internet connection that is about as useful as an umbrella in high wind. One wonders if water has got in around the fibre optic cable, or in the router box. But we still have power, and the house is warm. This photo was taken yesterday, before the storm hit full intensity: one cannot see the hills today.

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Today’s service was quiet. A series of dramatized speeches were played: from Barabbas, from the Centurion who executed Jesus. The Church was dark: no light, no candles. And we lingered, for the weather was (and is) appalling, before going to a friend’s place for hot cross buns.

But to the text for today. It is worthwhile considering that the first Letter is that of Peter, who betrayed Christ at this time when we remember his trial and crucifixion. In a storm we may shelter, but we stood stand fast.

JOHN 13:36-38

36Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus answered, “Where I am going, you cannot follow me now; but you will follow afterward.” 37Peter said to him, “Lord, why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” 38Jesus answered, “Will you lay down your life for me? Very truly, I tell you, before the cock crows, you will have denied me three times.”

1 PETER 1:10-20

10Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that was to be yours made careful search and inquiry, 11inquiring about the person or time that the Spirit of Christ within them indicated when it testified in advance to the sufferings destined for Christ and the subsequent glory. 12It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in regard to the things that have now been announced to you through those who brought you good news by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven – things into which angels long to look!

13Therefore prepare your minds for action; discipline yourselves; set all your hope on the grace that Jesus Christ will bring you when he is revealed. 14Like obedient children, do not be conformed to the desires that you formerly had in ignorance. 15Instead, as he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in all your conduct; 16for it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

17If you invoke as Father the one who judges all people impartially according to their deeds, live in reverent fear during the time of your exile. 18You know that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your ancestors, not with perishable things like silver or gold, 19but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without defect or blemish.20He was destined before the foundation of the world, but was revealed at the end of the ages for your sake.

 HEBREWS 10:16-25

16  “This is the covenant that I will make with them
after those days, says the Lord:
I will put my laws in their hearts,
and I will write them on their minds,”
17he also adds,
“I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.”
18Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin.

19Therefore, my friends, since we have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus, 20by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain (that is, through his flesh), 21and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22let us approach with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful. 24And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, 25not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

These times are ones of challenge. In the last week we have had a series of fairly horrible accusations, that could be libel (but I no lawyer am) and more than enough hurt — among the cybernetic community of tradition, and locally. But Peter and Paul remind us that we have our salvation purchased at a great cost. It is our job to worry about being holy, and a witness for Christ, and to urge each other forward.

Our competitive urges should be working on righteousness… and doing good. Not in necessarily looking good, not in appearing to be “good” but in acting as a witness, even if we cannot open our mouths.

So let us pray that our churches, both leaders and lay, remain faithful. For the storm we are in is not merely the weather.

On the anonymous denounciation. (and why your comments are down)

I am going to start this with an example that is public. Via Mark Steyn, who comments that the process of the courts is the punishment: it is immaterial that the man is exonerated by the courts: his career is ruined and his reputation in tatters.

Our second Nigel in the News is Nigel Evans, formerly Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons at Westminster. Like almost everyone in the Cameronized Conservative Party, Mr Evans is gay. Around the time the Canadian Nigel’s career was heading south, the Welsh Nigel’s career was plummeting in the same direction in the express elevator. A fellow Tory MP alerted the Speaker to a conversation she’d had with a young man regarding a supposedly unwanted sexual encounter with Mr Evans. Shortly thereafter, Nigel was arrested and charged with rape and sexual assault, his career collapsed, and he wound up on trial.

Here’s how that went:

What happened next is a matter of public record. Nigel Evans was acquitted of all charges. Not a few of the charges. Not most of the charges. All of the charges. It took the jury just four and half hours to throw out all ten counts.

And there was a reason they threw them out. Nigel Evans was totally and utterly innocent. Three of the alleged victims testified in court that they didn’t understand why the charges had been brought, and they themselves didn’t believe they had been the victim of any crime. The main complainant, who had alleged that he’d been raped, was proved in court to be a liar. He had twice told police Evans pushed him into his bedroom and onto the bed, forcibly tried to undress him, and promised him a job if he agreed to have sex with him. But on the witness box he was forced to admit there was no pushing, he’d taken his own clothes off and there had been no promise of a job.

Nigel Evans didn’t get off on a technicality. He didn’t do it… A wholly innocent man had his reputation destroyed and his career ruined, and now faces crippling debts to cover the cost of his legal fees.

So Mr Evans is innocent but a quarter-million dollars poorer. And, unlike his false but anonymous accusers, only Evans’ name will forever be indelibly linked to the words “assault” and “rape”. For both Nigel in Ottawa and Nigel at Westminster, guilt and innocence are irrelevant: as I like to say of my own legal travails, the process is the punishment.

And the Crown Prosecution Service will note that they lost this, but not reform. The anonymous denouncement, the accusations of nonconsensual sex, can affect us all.

As can accusations around children. This is one of my weaknesses: I find those who show their children off a little creepy, and try to keep the private private. Which brings us to catfights, and accusations. Firstly, at least locally, you are accountable for what you say.

David Bain supporter Joe Karam has been awarded more than $500,000 in damages after two men were found to have defamed him on the internet.

Kent Parker, the publisher of the Counterspin website, was ordered to pay $350,500 and Vic Purkiss, who had posted on the site and on Facebook, was ordered to pay $184,500. Justice Patricia Courtney found the pair had launched a “full-scale assault on Mr Karam’s reputation”. She found about 50 statements were defamatory without defence.

Karam is the main supporter of David Bain, who was retried after 13 years in prison and found not guilty of the 1994 murder of his family.

The judge said the pair accused Karam of “dishonesty in his motivations, lack of integrity in his dealings with expert witnesses, fraud in relation to the LSA (Legal Services Agency), lack of integrity in his motivation and dealings with David Bain”. “Few aspects of Mr Karam’s reputation were left untouched.” The publications caused Karam great distress and the judge said she accepted the evidence of witnesses who said Karam became “preoccupied, unsociable and visibly distressed” during the period.

Justice Courtney said the pair pleaded the defence of truth right up until Parker was cross-examined in court and admitted he could not prove the truth of his statements.

This last bit of information was published in today’s paper. Now, this means that I would have to be able to defend any accusation and prove the truth of it, if such remain on my website. So… a lot of comments will be taken down as of now. I have no ability to ascertain if any of them are true.

Which also brings me to another point. These are the tactics of our enemies, and we are not them. Matt Forney has written wisely on this, from his time in the trenches, and his post is well worth reading

If you’ve been exposed (or already write publicly), the next step for the haters is to make shit up about you. The rabbits will throw everything and the kitchen sink at you in hopes that something, anything will stick. Whether anything they say is true is irrelevant, because the goal of ganging up on someone in this fashion isn’t to be truthful, it’s to warn the other rabbits that dragons be here.

For example, my Portland article at Return of Kings generated a raft of false and baseless claims about me, from the obvious ones that I’m “ugly” and “misogynistic” to all sorts of bizarre speculation about both me (people were claiming that I’m in my thirties/forties) and the woman in the pic on my About page. Outraged feminists alternately claimed that she was my sister, that I was “hoverhanding” her, that she didn’t really want to be there, that I roofied her (?) and other blatant lies. Multiple people commenting on the article lied that Roosh and I were deleting hater comments, and one guy even claimed I had edited the article to add a whole entire section after Reddit Portland started gossiping about me.

The truthfulness or lack thereof of the hate Portland threw at me doesn’t matter to them. The purpose of hating on someone isn’t to get at the truth, it’s to pressure the offender to recant his evil ways and rejoin the flock. It’s also to warn other rabbits that here be dragons. Unfortunately for the bunnies, a proud hunter like the wolf has no reason to care about their disapproval, which leads to step three…

If they can’t pressure you into recanting, the haters’ next move will be to threaten you into recanting. They’ll dig up your Facebook profile, your address, your phone number and more and encourage each other to harass you. In pure Stalinist fashion, they will also harass your employers, your family members, your friends and more. The bunnies will defend their actions in a cowardly, Pharisaical fashion: claiming that what they’re doing is perfectly legal, as if the law is the only determiner of what behaviors are apropos.

They’ll even threaten physical violence against you, because while one rabbit will always lose to the wolf, a hundred rabbits might be able to win.

Going back to the Portlanders, their harassment of me was unprecedented in the manosphere; not even Roosh received this level of hate for his Toronto article. I’ve already written about how someone posted my phone number to Reddit Portland and on Twitter and how I stopped a DDoS/hack attack on my blog. I didn’t mention how I got a not insignificant number of hits for “matt forney portland address” from feminists trying to find out where I live. I also didn’t bring up how one loser created a Facebook page entitled “Matt Forney Should Kill Himself” (since deleted for blatantly violating the Terms of Service), after he spent an entire afternoon commenting on every single thing on my own page.

At the moment, there are other things happening locally, and I have to protect myself (and those who have commented, most of whom I respect) from accusations. So a pile of comments are going to be deleted. If they go up again, they will be deleted and the people added to the blacklist — that automatically routes all spam to /dev/null.

Folks, I don’t live in a place with a constitution. That usually is a good thing, but libel has teeth over here. And it clearly cannot be tolerated.

Flee this pagan public religion.

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We are not living in the times of Jeremiah, nor in the times of Paul. They wrote for the people of their time, and in that context. But we believe that their words are inspired, and can correct and reprove us.

This morning when I look at the readings I think firstly that the idol of our day is ideology. It is a sense that one should fit within a correct mode of speech and action — be politically correct, agree with the correct views, many of which are culturally bound. Consider firearm ownership, or gambling, or regulation of alcohol, or censorship, or prayers in schools — and on the last one I argued against Karakia (Maori prayers to in a language I do not understand, perhaps to God, perhaps to Pagan deities) should not be said before a scientific meeting and I was told that not doing this was grossly inappropriate and would cause offense — the exact opposite of what would happen in the secular temples of American Higher Education (TM). A better illustration of this comes from Twitter: the NZ minister of defence collecting for Poppy Day as the Antipodean day of remembering those who fell in war is April 25 — with a Marine escort.

Our ideology and our worship of self esteem are the idols of our age. This leads to a fear in giving offense. And that means that there is no ability to correct.

LAMENTATIONS 2:10-18

10The elders of daughter Zion sit on the ground in silence; they have thrown dust on their heads and put on sackcloth; the young girls of Jerusalem have bowed their heads to the ground.

11My eyes are spent with weeping; my stomach churns; my bile is poured out on the ground because of the destruction of my people, because infants and babes faint in the streets of the city.

12They cry to their mothers, “Where is bread and wine?” as they faint like the wounded in the streets of the city, as their life is poured out on their mothers’ bosom.

13What can I say for you, to what compare you, O daughter Jerusalem? To what can I liken you, that I may comfort you, O virgin daughter Zion? For vast as the sea is your ruin; who can heal you?

14Your prophets have seen for you false and deceptive visions; they have not exposed your iniquity to restore your fortunes, but have seen oracles for you that are false and misleading.

15All who pass along the way clap their hands at you; they hiss and wag their heads at daughter Jerusalem; “Is this the city that was called the perfection of beauty, the joy of all the earth?”

16All your enemies open their mouths against you; they hiss, they gnash their teeth, they cry: “We have devoured her! Ah, this is the day we longed for; at last we have seen it!”

17The LORD has done what he purposed, he has carried out his threat; as he ordained long ago, he has demolished without pity; he has made the enemy rejoice over you, and exalted the might of your foes.

18Cry aloud to the Lord! O wall of daughter Zion! Let tears stream down like a torrent day and night! Give yourself no rest, your eyes no respite!

1 CORINTHIANS 10:14-17; 11:27-32

14Therefore, my dear friends, flee from the worship of idols. 15I speak as to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say. 16The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a sharing in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a sharing in the body of Christ?17Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.

11:27   Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be answerable for the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Examine yourselves, and only then eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For all who eat and drink without discerning the body, eat and drink judgment against themselves. 30 For this reason many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. 31 But if we judged ourselves, we would not be judged. 32 But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world.

It is worthwhile noting that the priests of this new dogma will peddle nothing but pretty lies. They will not say why they are purging this person or that person. They will not indicate that the reason that Brandeis will not let Ali speak of her oppression under Islam or Mozilla got rid of their CEO is because they offended their idols, their ideology. Instead it is inappropriate, it is unsafe.

The reason for the deceit is twofold; it is first necessary to preserve the self-conceit of the individuals involved. They do not wish to admit that they are hypocrites who are failing to live up to their professed ideals. It is no different than the reason priests who commit child abuse, teachers who have affairs with their students, and con men who perpetrate frauds are reluctant to confess to their misdeeds even after they are caught red-handed; they are ashamed of their idealistic failures and seek to hide those failures from the knowledge of those who will judge them for it.

And second, the self-deception is vital because admitting their failures means sacrificing the moral high ground in criticizing other organizations and losing their ability to hold other organizations accountable for doing the same thing they are doing.

Both reasons are why it is vital to continue to flaunt their actions in their faces, without mercy, until they admit what they have done and make an open and public choice between their supposed ideals and their ideological dogma. SFWA thought it was marginalizing me by purging me from its ranks, but instead, they elev

The second is that there is a need to correct. To reprove. For leaving a person in error is no mercy. Which is why I contacted the two people who managed to increase my traffic with their argument directly, and did not publish their emails back. One should discuss privately first, and then with two people.

And this should not happen in the combox. There are people out there who feel that they are appointed as troll hunters, or ideologues. Matt is generally not an offender, but GOMI (Get this off my Internetz) is. And those slugs are poisonous. I’d rather deal with 4 chan, because they have a sense of humour.

Matt attacks SSM and Danny. I hate internet drama because everything is based on non-verifiable anonymous comments. Also, why is Matt, or any man, involving themselves in a catfight?

We are told to shun idols. Which leaves me in a bind: I’m chairing this scientific meeting with the Karakia. What I will try to do is get someone high up in the organization to be there and be busy doing something else during that ceremony. I’m more interested in reading the bible or listening to the papers will be presented.

But one needs to control what one can. I call this locus of control, because my trade has terms for such things, But Aaron described it well.

Slowly, but surely, over the course of my 2 week wild-west road trip, this juxtaposition between what I heard on the radio/podcasts versus what my eyes saw and what I was actually experiencing brought forth to my frontal lobes another important epiphany:

The importance of controlling your micro-environment.

Understand that although your “macro” environment (the government we live under, the economy we endure, the culture we’re born into etc) has a profound effect on your life, your “micro-environment” has a much larger and determining effect on you, your life, and your happiness. And the reason why is simple – you personally interact with your micro-environment more than you do you macro environment. Thankfully, your micro-environment has an additional advantage over your macro-environment – it is nearly 100% under your control. Ergo, while there isn’t much you can do to about the idiot Millineals voting in an anti-American socialist into the presidency, there is a lot you can do to ensure such idiots play no role in your personal life whatsoever.

These facts about the micro-environment (let alone realizing there is one) is often underappreciated, and therefore, undercapitalized by most Real Americans. They, naturally and logically, focus on the general decline of the US, the destruction of their culture and the demise of the former-greatest country on the planet. However, if people were to step back, clear their eyes, and take a look at their lives, they’d soon realize that for all the dire news they hear in the media, practically none of it affects their daily lives.

All the Marxist hyperbole of “privilege” does nothing to change the fact you’re still employed and current on your mortgage, while those who constantly invoke “privilege” are still dead-last place in society with student loans, a worthless degree, and no future prospects.

All propaganda about “global warming” may drive up your taxes and costs, but in the end you can still afford infinitely more sushi and martinis than the unshaven, dirty, and impoverished “professional” environmental activists.

All all the whining about race, class, gender, ethnicity, etc., will not change the fact that regardless of your color, you made the right choices in life, didn’t get/get somebody pregnant before marriage, majored in the right thing, and never have to live in the ghetto, section 8 housing, or send your kids to some crappy inner city schools.

It’s time to dissociate ourselves from this public religion of identity politics, self esteem and a toxic fear of offense. Within the church, we have enough to do in dealing with the corruption within our destroyed families, for we have tolerated functional divorce overmuch. We need to deal with the false teachers and corrupt practices that continually peddle pretty lies. The idea that we can be perfect. The thought we can improve our spirituality.

And we need to walk away from the mass media, those activists, those political movements that continually want to keep us in some kind of safe plantation where our votes can be harvested.

For Christ did not die to enslave us in some socialist project, so that we may be free to turn to him, and be saved from this society as it enters a zomboid death spiral.

Moderation and administrivia.

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One of the issues that has become apparent over the last couple of days is that the argument between various people have spilt into the combox. No one new has been banned (yet) but some people have been de-whitelisted, so that all their comments will go through moderation.

I have had a series of emails from various parties, expressing their distress. And I’ve also had various people telling me to read Matt Forney’s stuff. Which I have avoided: the very idea that someone would out another’s children is repugnant, or that one would maliciously complain to Children’s Aid — which in Canada, does not have a sense of humour.

Or proportion.

But there is a time zone problem: many of the comments occur at hours I should be asleep, or when I am working. I have had to go back and move some comments into moderation until I can think about what to do with them.

So I have switched moderation on for everyone. I am doing this reluctantly, because I believe that the correct response to bad speech is more speech. But, locally, you can be sued for the content of your blog, regardless of where it is hosted. The suing of bloggers to shut them up, unfortunately, occurs in NZ (but the fact you have to pay for all legal advice and that you will not get costs limits this somewhat).

Onto something cheerful, sort of, for nein sprachen der Deutsch. . SSM may be gone, but Alte is back, practicing her German…

I’ve decided to start this blog off with a mea culpa. This is going to be a German-language blog, but my German sucks.
Correction, my written German sucks. I can speak and read fluently, in German and in multiple southern dialects, but once I put it all down on paper you can cringe at my faulty declensions and giggle over my article errors. My German sucks so badly that I’m practicing dictation with 5th grade material and am proud that I only have ca. 19 errors per excerpt.
I had no idea how awful my German skills were until I started improving them. I’ve been raped and beaten by German grammar and left emotionally scarred for life.
So, my husband has suggested that I practice writing in German and I immediately remembered that I’d started this blog and then never posted anything for the shame of sounding like an ignorant foreigner in my own mother-tongue. How can I have a Germanic reactionary blog when I don’t even know that it’s das Schulzeugnis and die Tradition?
And then I realized: Who cares? It’s just a damned blog and I don’t even have any readers yet. Just go for it, baby! Live dangerously.

She’s linked… in cod German, no less. She is already on form (I don’t read German, but she has an English translation for us monoglots) and she’s decided, sensibly, to keep comments closed. Recommended.

Finally, the Liberal Cathedral has some competition.

Finally, Autumn is upon us: this was this morning. Wet, and cold.
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We are all broken witnesses.

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R0010273We are, in this age, and in this time, the only witness of Christ that this world has.

We are it. Yesterday a series of accusations took over the combox and increased the traffic here considerably: I have checked with Will S, and he has had a similar experience. And it meant I had to consider what I moderated out. When I was made aware of what Matt Forney said (who I half trust) then I contacted one party and suggested that if it was true she should step back: I have asked both parties if their children are OK.

And that is what email is for, and privacy. There is a reason that the photos here and at shattered light only rarely show photos of me or my kids. And I mistrust GOMI.

But, since the traffic is way up, fair warning. This blog is mainly about the lectionary. And I am very, very easy to find: my employers are quite aware of what I write. Let’s say that I am not looking for promotion until I am so far above the criteria that it would be a rubber stamp.

2 CORINTHIANS 1:23-2:11

23But I call on God as witness against me: it was to spare you that I did not come again to Corinth. 24I do not mean to imply that we lord it over your faith; rather, we are workers with you for your joy, because you stand firm in the faith.

1So I made up my mind not to make you another painful visit. 2For if I cause you pain, who is there to make me glad but the one whom I have pained? 3And I wrote as I did, so that when I came, I might not suffer pain from those who should have made me rejoice; for I am confident about all of you, that my joy would be the joy of all of you. 4For I wrote you out of much distress and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to cause you pain, but to let you know the abundant love that I have for you.

5But if anyone has caused pain, he has caused it not to me, but to some extent – not to exaggerate it – to all of you. 6This punishment by the majority is enough for such a person; 7so now instead you should forgive and console him, so that he may not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. 8So I urge you to reaffirm your love for him. 9I wrote for this reason: to test you and to know whether you are obedient in everything. 10Anyone whom you forgive, I also forgive. What I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for your sake in the presence of Christ. 11And we do this so that we may not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs.

GOSPEL READING MARK 12:1-11

1Then he began to speak to them in parables. “A man planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a pit for the wine press, and built a watchtower; then he leased it to tenants and went to another country. 2When the season came, he sent a slave to the tenants to collect from them his share of the produce of the vineyard. 3But they seized him, and beat him, and sent him away empty-handed. 4And again he sent another slave to them; this one they beat over the head and insulted. 5Then he sent another, and that one they killed. And so it was with many others; some they beat, and others they killed. 6He had still one other, a beloved son. Finally he sent him to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ 7But those tenants said to one another, ‘This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ 8So they seized him, killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard. 9What then will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the tenants and give the vineyard to others. 10Have you not read this scripture: ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone;11this was the Lord’s doing, and it is amazing in our eyes’?”

When all the accusations were flying around yesterday I was at work. The idea that any person may find themselves losing their kids is horrible. But… I’ve been involved in pulling children away from their mothers: at work — and I am a solo Dad who for some years lived by a court order that (initially) had the children living apart from me, and then with me. Been there, done that. And yes, that disqualifies me from elder-ship, and probably disqualifies me from a teaching ministry.

But Paul tells us that after a period of repentance, to let a person back into the fellowship. To allow them into the fellowship. For we are all broken, and this world will always turn away from the truth.

And at present the times are perilous.

In these times, we need to recall that as the people and authorities rejected Christ, so they will reject us. We need to maintain unity. And we cannot be altogether precious. If there is wrong, we need to confront us.

[And, for the new readers, I am quoting a Catholic, but Catholic I am not]

One of the most liberating teachings of our Catholic faith is the idea that suffering–though undesirable and not part of God’s original plan–is an inescapable part of living in a fallen world.
That might not sound terrifically liberating on the face of it. Who wants to suffer? No one, of course. But although life is filled with trials and problems, much of the suffering we endure is brought on by the idea that suffering itself means that there is something wrong with us. As a culture, we have been led to believe that the greatest good is a stress free, problem-free, perfectly healthy, blissfully happy life. In light of this over-riding sense that the only life worth celebrating–much less living–is the perfectly contented life, even those of us who are hip to the secret that (as Scott Peck once shocked people by saying) “Life is hard” are inclined to give into the temptation that every stressor, ache, or disappointment is just another unbearable catastrophe that must mean that our life is terribly, terribly, broken and there is something terribly, terribly wrong with us and/or our circumstances

We must, must comfort the people broken and bleeding from accusations. We must pray for each other. We must check that people are OK. For everyone of us is broken. Everyone of us is fallible. And each one of us fears the turn of the screw, the publicity of the doxxing (which I misspelt as Dozzing yesterday, for it feels like the buzzing of malevolent bees).

So, after yesterday, can people pray for Sunshine Mary’s family and For Lena and 7man and their families. For they alone know the truth. Can we pray particularly for the safety of any children who were doxxed as collateral damage in a fight between parents.

And can we pray for Matt Forney, and the Trollettes at GOMI, for being a witch-finder and the accuser of the brethren will indeed damage your soul.


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