See danger and hide.

On a day when the issues seem to be around which celebrity has got anorexic, or has been selected to be part of Barry Obama’s new re election team, it is quite useful to look  at today’s reading, which is from Proverbs.

Proverbs 21:30—22:6

30 No wisdom, no understanding, no counsel, can avail against the LORD.

31 The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the LORD.

1 A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold.

2 The rich and the poor have this in common: the LORD is the maker of them all.

3The clever see danger and hide; but the simple go on, and suffer for it.

4 The reward for humility and fear of the LORD is riches and honor and life.

5 Thorns and snares are in the way of the perverse; the cautious will keep far from them.

6Train children in the right way, and when old, they will not stray.

Let’s start backwards, and praise the Jesuits. For they put a huge amount of effort into the education of the Catholic nobility, and this led to a sense of duty and nobility that (most of the time) preserved the culture of Mitteleurope., They also evangelized indians — in fact one of my friends from High School,Andrew Umbers, joined the priesthood and was severely sick  in his mid 30s from fulminant hepatitis contracted on the mission field.

The time we spend in training our children is not wasted. It is an important job, and it requires adults to do it.

Now, look at the clever seeing danger. This fits in as well. In our society, there is an expectation that the current social welfare state will be able to continue. People see being supported by the state if they are frail and old as a right (it is not: families and churches used to have to do this. Unions used to have to do this.)

This idea has not been extended to women who have children out of wedlock, social activists demanding the government fund their foundation and thus their version of the revolution. The union man of the 1900s, who campaigned for an eight-hour working day read from his lending library and voted Labour while providing for his family (it was a point of pride that they could do this without the wife being in service: in NZ at the time keeping a house required six to ten hours of fairly physical work, six days a week. The Labour saving devices of the time were servants).

We have had a social welfare system of some form in NZ since around 1890. It was redesigned in the 1970s with a few assumptions (a) that NZ would continue to prosperously sell bulk agricultural products to England (b) that people would choose to  keep working if there was an alternative and (c) that the family would remain intact.

All three have been proven wrong. England joined the EU. We have 20% of the working age population on benefits. and we now have three generations of women raising children on the DPB.

The current system is unsustainable. The clever are shrinking their lifestyles and getting prepared for austerity. The foolish will, instead, listen to Labour and the Greens who will promise what no government can afford — particularly in a country that had its second biggest city flattened in a two year long pattern of earthquakes (there was a 5.2 aftershock in Christchurch last week, and almost every high rise in the city of 400 000 has now been demolished).

This all requires humility. Being discreet, Not seeing self esteem as the highest goal. For in the end, God not only gives victory, but defeat.


Orthosphere in two paragraphs.

This is the best explanation as to why the secular, modern project has failed, and as MacIntyre argues, we need to return to something akin to Christendom.

The biggest problem with Separation of Church and State is not that it is wrong, but that it does not and cannot exist. So long as every living man is made up of body and soul, God and Caesar will both have legitimate claims upon him — and these claims, at the best of times, may conflict. Moreover, he himself will often look to his religion for temporal benefits, and will — often unconsciously — expect Caesar to have some sort of Divine backing if the Emperor wants his full allegiance. Church and State are inextricably bound together: every religious question has a political side, and every political question has a religious side.

No human society can escape this fact, and to function, each needs an animating philosophy, a sort of State Church, to function properly and mobilise popular support. Some historical examples are obvious: the Church of England did so for the British Empire, as the various continental protestant established churches did for their respective kings and princes. The Eastern Orthodox Churches did so to a great degree for the Byzantine Empire and later Russia, Serbia, Greece, Bulgaria, and Romania, although this was somewhat mitigated among them by consciousness of belonging to a great whole beyond national borders — nor must it be denied that certain Catholic monarchs, governments, or thinkers envisaged a similar role for the Church within their bounds, although the Papacy served as a constant supranational reminder of reality.

via One World Religion or Religion of One World? |

My fear is that both the Liberals and Islamists know this. They are not as much interested in preserving the modern era as destroying the foundation of it (which is the Christian consensus with toleration of dissent, best formulated in the laws of the UK after the Glorious Revolution and before the long war began in 1914.

Instead they either want the pagan worship of Gaia or Sharia. The correct answer, for Christians, to this, is disobedience, protest, and  (if there is no freedom and an oppressive government) rebellion.

We may find that we again have to look at Cromwell as a model of how to resist the state, and a warning about how to run a state.

Spine and reconciliation

One of the issues that we are facing is that many of the people who are involved in the alt right / orthosphere / Christian traditionalists (which are not the same thing) is that we will fight.

We will always fight. There are some issues that we need to correct each other on. None of us are perfect, and none of us completely have the gospel grasped in its fullness.  I’d argue, in fact, anyone who claims they are perfect has fallen into the Catharist heresy. We need to examine ourselves, and be clear about our sin, keeping short accounts.

Galatians 2:11-21

11But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood self-condemned; 12for until certain people came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But after they came, he drew back and kept himself separate for fear of the circumcision faction. 13And the other Jews joined him in this hypocrisy, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. 14But when I saw that they were not acting consistently with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, “If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews?”

15We ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners; 16yet we know that a person is justified not by the works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ. And we have come to believe in Christ Jesus, so that we might be justified by faith in Christ, and not by doing the works of the law, because no one will be justified by the works of the law. 17But if, in our effort to be justified in Christ, we ourselves have been found to be sinners, is Christ then a servant of sin? Certainly not! 18But if I build up again the very things that I once tore down, then I demonstrate that I am a transgressor. 19For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ; 20and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21I do not nullify the grace of God; for if justification comes through the law, then Christ died for nothing.

When I noted that Peter did this out of fear of the Judaizers it made me think of a conversation I had yesterday, when my colleague helped me identify that the team was afraid of someone. And we were acting on our fear.

Because this is a point where there is a need for balance. We need to be able to confront each other when we make mistakes — and then we need to also maintain a unity. If we over value maintaining a unity between us, we are leaving people in error, and that is not loving.

One of the besetting flaws among the reformers is our ability to split into hyper-Calvinistic groups that function, like the anabaptists, as a bunch of increasingly cranky individuals each convinced that they are most righteous. We forget that the church is catholic — universal — and Christ will call people from every group, We also forget that there is truth in the criticisms that other orthodox have of our flavour of Christianity.

I’m aware that, particularly on the Internet, there is now a series of networks of serious Christians. I think this is a good thing.  I can recall the newsletters, the cost of postage, and the smell of solvents my father used to print from carbon copies his newsletters.

But we need to put our pride on hold. If Peter and Paul fought, we will to. And at times we will be wrong, and at times right. To quote the proverb, Iron will sharpen Iron.

And this is a test, in fact, of our wish tor wisdom. The wise are happy to be corrected. The fools instead, are offended by words, and frequently have to be allowed to live with the consequences of their actions before they will change.

Be wise. Hard words hurt, but hard living hurts more.

Readings & vive le differance

I play reconciler at work. I play reconciler at home (two teenage boys. Fights. Will. Happen).

But, referring back to two days ago, Trying to reconcile during a fight means that you will end up physcially or emotionally bruised.  You see, at work we have to get in and physically stop these things. (The Police will turn up with aggressive and agitated people, take the handcuffs off, and unless we tell them to stay walk away).

I want to compare two passages for a minute this morning.

Psalm 123

1   To you I lift up my eyes,
O you who are enthroned in the heavens!
2   As the eyes of servants
look to the hand of their master,
as the eyes of a maid
to the hand of her mistress,
so our eyes look to the LORD our God,
until he has mercy upon us.

3   Have mercy upon us, O LORD, have mercy upon us,
for we have had more than enough of contempt.
4   Our soul has had more than its fill
of the scorn of those who are at ease,
of the contempt of the proud.

Ecclesiastes 2:16-26

16For there is no enduring remembrance of the wise or of fools, seeing that in the days to come all will have been long forgotten. How can the wise die just like fools? 17So I hated life, because what is done under the sun was grievous to me; for all is vanity and a chasing after wind.

18I hated all my toil in which I had toiled under the sun, seeing that I must leave it to those who come after me 19 – and who knows whether they will be wise or foolish? Yet they will be master of all for which I toiled and used my wisdom under the sun. This also is vanity. 20So I turned and gave my heart up to despair concerning all the toil of my labors under the sun, 21because sometimes one who has toiled with wisdom and knowledge and skill must leave all to be enjoyed by another who did not toil for it. This also is vanity and a great evil. 22What do mortals get from all the toil and strain with which they toil under the sun? 23For all their days are full of pain, and their work is a vexation; even at night their minds do not rest. This also is vanity.

24There is nothing better for mortals than to eat and drink, and find enjoyment in their toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God; 25for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment? 26For to the one who pleases him God gives wisdom and knowledge and joy; but to the sinner he gives the work of gathering and heaping, only to give to one who pleases God. This also is vanity and a chasing after wind.

  1. Both are valid, and both are true. The default wise position in this life is a stoic nihilism.
  2. Wisdom does not keep you from despair.
  3. The Psalmist is describing relationships: the Preacher ideas.
  4. Relationships and submission (to God) provides comfort and security. Our naked wisdom does not. For we are not big enough.

As a consequence, and thinking about this, I kind of like both. I can enjoy reading some fairly girly things about fashion at TC, but I don’t like when sides like that get catty. I also enjoy reading discussions about the big ideas — my idea of fun is to solve the worlds problems with my Dad and my boys over a huge pot of coffee and a good meal — but there is a risk we will end up rigid, legalistic.

The Catholic idea of complementariness is useful here. Women (thank God) are not like men and do not think like men, on average). — Those who do, generally female engineers, are highly prized by the more mathematically talented of us — and Men think more about principles and practically doing things than relationships and the pecking order.

This can lead to women being terribly affronted if someone calls them. This drops them down the order, removes their face.

Men. Don’t. Care.  I have a few letters after my name, but I would learn from a Texan teenager when it comes to things he knows better than me. Like guns. Or Chevy small block engines. I will listen to some pretty crunchy Poms and Aussies when it comes to Catholic Doctrine.

We are differnent, and trying to force us to be the same is a foolishness neither the psalmist nor the preacher would tolerate.

Not “Ooh Shiny”

This blog evolved. In the first iteration, I was a fairly angry person campaigning about the then leftist government. Then I became more interested in the politics of divorce and relationships. Over the last year I have tried to blog the lectionary, and the political, social and scientific posts are becoming less and less.

Most posts here are not “Ooh, shiny”. I am not commenting as much as I used to on arguments that I like, or comments that make me smile. I tend to instead comment at other places. I

n the end, this place is a discipline for me: It makes me read the word. I don;t see this as my ministry — that is too pretentious, and I have a job and mission apart from this.  That mission involves answering impossible questions from intelligent adolescents. Who get distracted by the sbiny — the most recent was “If humans have retractable claws? by a son playing with a cat. While I am posting this.

Ooh, shiney, of course, is folly, But effective folly, It sells the iPhone and Leicas. And I am as vulnerable to this as any other geek.

Ecclesiastes 2:1-15

1I said to myself, “Come now, I will make a test of pleasure; enjoy yourself.” But again, this also was vanity. 2I said of laughter, “It is mad,” and of pleasure, “What use is it?” 3I searched with my mind how to cheer my body with wine – my mind still guiding me with wisdom – and how to lay hold on folly, until I might see what was good for mortals to do under heaven during the few days of their life. 4I made great works; I built houses and planted vineyards for myself; 5I made myself gardens and parks, and planted in them all kinds of fruit trees. 6I made myself pools from which to water the forest of growing trees. 7I bought male and female slaves, and had slaves who were born in my house; I also had great possessions of herds and flocks, more than any who had been before me in Jerusalem. 8I also gathered for myself silver and gold and the treasure of kings and of the provinces; I got singers, both men and women, and delights of the flesh, and many concubines.

9So I became great and surpassed all who were before me in Jerusalem; also my wisdom remained with me. 10Whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them; I kept my heart from no pleasure, for my heart found pleasure in all my toil, and this was my reward for all my toil. 11Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had spent in doing it, and again, all was vanity and a chasing after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun.

12So I turned to consider wisdom and madness and folly; for what can the one do who comes after the king? Only what has already been done. 13Then I saw that wisdom excels folly as light excels darkness. 14The wise have eyes in their head, but fools walk in darkness. Yet I perceived that the same fate befalls all of them. 15Then I said to myself, “What happens to the fool will happen to me also; why then have I been so very wise?” And I said to myself that this also is vanity.

I work with the mad. I have seen their lives, and I do not want to live like that. I pray frequently that I will be spared this. In a simlar way, I have seen folly (now sanitized in DSM to “personality disorders”). And I ahve seen the damage the selfish fools do to themselves and thosw who love them. I pray that also does no further damage to to my family. (My grand daughter is a dancer. Dance Moms… Oh. my… they can be horrible).

What the preacher is showing in this is the final end of existentialism. I t is despair. And booze and weed does not cover the problem: in fact they can make it worse. We are confronted by our mortality most days. Now, in Christ, we say that this is not the end, and that sufferingl can lead to growth and depth.

But this is no longer shiny, full or new toys, or a promise of prosperity. Solomon is again, a warning. He was greatly rich, but not happy. He had more beautiful women than any modern Casanova (and wrote the song of songs: he knew and enjoyed sex) but that did not satisfy.

We should not, of course,  treat people as toys or as means to obtain more toys.

In the end, our shiny toys break, . God does not. .



Comment at Patri

I could have made this at a bunch of places today. It seems that everyone has been having catfights, standing on their own righteousness, and hurting people who should be allies.

In the end, I commented at Patri .

General comment. I like the people here, and get on OK the people Svar mentioned. Most of the time we are all fighting for the same things.

But when we get on our little holy horses it looks ugly. The only good thing one thread was that a certain person made it into a Barbie Cartoon.

None of us are holy. It is easy to hurt another (hell, I am as guilty of that as the next man) by email etc. This infighting, however, leads to us not having our brothers at our back.

As his Imperial Horror Misha I said recently.

If the government is allowed the right to force the Catholic Church to violate their own beliefs, then the government has, by precedent, the right to order you to do anything.

And now I put back on my Christian garb, although I am not a Catholic. Because this has nothing to do with Catholicism, it’s just the opening shot in a war that the liberal fascist left wants in order to squash any ideas that individuals have liberties that nobody can take from them, as long as they do not hurt others.

But I AM a Christian, and the Catholics, papist scum that they are, are my brothers and sisters. And I am not in the least bit unaware of the debt us protestants owe them for keeping the Faith alive in the dark years. But, most of all, they, like the Jews, are my brothers and sisters and always will be. Our differences are a matter of doctrine.

And one thing I DO know, no matter what your denomination might be (OK, if you’re Episcopalian, Bible Optional, you’re exempt. You’re just the hangers-on wanting to be with the cool kids without having to follow the rules. You’re morons) is that G-d is G-d and you are seriously delusional if you decide to pick a fight with Him.

Let’s get down from our tottering pedestals, and instead cover each other’s back.

We are taught to account others as better than ourselves. The thing that saddens me is that people who actually agree with each other are infighting.

Not on.

We are called to unity. Now, before we start talking areas of division between the Puritans and Papists, we need to cover each other.

If a Paleolithic neatherthal like Misha knows that, and will stand for his Catholic brother, so should we. The enemy loves our division.

Can we get our sense of humour back and cheerfully go irritate the infernal bureaux of the state instead, which indeed is part of our calling?


One of the reasons I read the Rott is you sometimes find examples that shame you. This is what I mean by unity, but said much better than I can, by Tallulah

My ancestor Sir Thomas Wyatt rode to London in 1554 at the head of a 4,000-man army to prevent the marriage of Bloody Mary and Phillip of Spain (this was during the era of the Roman Catholic Inquisition). When the Queen’s men captured him, he withstood days of severe torture as they tried to force him to implicate Princess Elizabeth, but he did not yield. They beheaded him at Tower Hill.

He gave his life for religious liberty and the nation he loved.

I know that even he, a Protestant martyr, would be riding into battle at the Papists’ side on this cause. We are all Christians, and Obama is a savage heathen who would thrust a dagger through the heart of CHRISTENDOM.

Deus Vult.

But gird your loins for battle, people. The government tyrants in Massachusetts tried to force the Catholic church to allow sexual deviants to adopt defenseless babies. The Church refused, and their adoption agencies were shut down.

Quare fremuerunt gentes? [Why do the heathen rage?]

“Why do the heathen so furiously rage together? and why do the people imagine a vain thing?
“The kings of the earth stand up, and the rulers take counsel together against the LORD, and against his Anointed:
“Let us break their bonds asunder, and cast away their cords from us.

“He that dwelleth in Heaven shall laugh them to scorn: the LORD shall have them in derision.
“Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure:
“Yet have I set my King upon my holy hill of Sion.
“I will rehearse the decree; the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.
“Desire of me, and I shall give thee the nations for thine inheritance, and the utmost parts of the earth for thy possession.
“Thou shalt bruise them with a rod of iron, and break them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.
“Be wise now therefore, O ye kings; be instructed, ye that are judges of the earth.
“Serve the LORD in fear, and rejoice unto him with reverence.
“Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and so ye perish from the right way, if his wrath be kindled, yea but a little. “Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.”

Psalm 2, from the Book of Common Prayer

This CHRISTIAN Episcopalian signing off (only the clergy are “Bible Optional,” most congregations endure them with some exasperation.

Tallulah is correct. I know of many believers in Anglicanism, including among the clergy.


Why the church will survive.

Over the last 24 hours or so some of the conversations around the traps have been about Micheal Coren’s excellent book on Catholicism. (I note that he has a new book about Heresy, which I have yet to read),  Now, at times we in the church fall into error. Will S has called out a fellow reformed on being too much of a churchian and expecting perfection, and Svar (who is on the other side of the Tiber) agrees that this expectation that we are perfect is not part of the gospel.

The problem is in part outlined by Douglas WIlson, the very theologian that Will called out. He correctly pointed out, using Rom 1, that the widespread celebration of homosexuality is a sign of God’s judgment on a society, and noted that the role of the church in society — to be salt and light — must be broken.

Correct so far. But this role is prophetic. Society can and will go its own way. In fact, stating straight Pauline doctrine around this can be a hate crime.

It seems that the West is dying and the covenantal  system that was Christendom is gone. But this has happened before..

Ezekiel 37:1-14

1The hand of the Lord came upon me, and he brought me out by the spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. 2He led me all round them; there were very many lying in the valley, and they were very dry. 3He said to me, “Mortal, can these bones live?” I answered, “O Lord God, you know.” 4Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them: O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. 5Thus says the Lord God to these bones: I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. 6I will lay sinews on you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live; and you shall know that I am the Lord.“7So I prophesied as I had been commanded; and as I prophesied, suddenly there was a noise, a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone. 8I looked, and there were sinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them; but there was no breath in them. 9Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, mortal, and say to the breath: Thus says the Lord God: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.” 10I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood on their feet, a vast multitude.

11Then he said to me, “Mortal, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are cut off completely.’ 12Therefore prophesy, and say to them, Thus says the Lord God: I am going to open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people; and I will bring you back to the land of Israel. 13And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people. 14I will put my spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you on your own soil; then you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken and will act, says the Lord.”

Today is Pentecost. Today we should recall the Holy Spirit descending with power and the sign of tongues (speaking an unknown foreign language). And today we should not get into a division about what the role of these things is today. Instead it is important to look at a core truth

John 15:26-27, 16:4b-15

26“When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who comes from the Father, he will testify on my behalf. 27You also are to testify because you have been with me from the beginning.

16:4b”I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you. 5But now I am going to him who sent me; yet none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ 6But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your hearts. 7Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. 8And when he comes, he will prove the world wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: 9about sin, because they do not believe in me; 10about righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will see me no longer; 11about judgment, because the ruler of this world has been condemned.

12“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.”

The church, the congregations that include the chosen of God (for no church is perfect, and no church does not have unbelievers within it) is in the end, owned and guided by God through the ministry of the Spirit.

We should not let this puff us up. In my view, no man is infallible or completely reliable: only God is . We all have errors in our doctrine, like we all sin. We all need to confess. We all need, today, as all days, to turn to God.

But… instead the Spirit has corrected the errors of the church, from generation to generation. I believe in the Holy Catholic Church and its survival. Not because of anything man does, but because it belongs to God.

And God is jealous of his glory. He will not let the church fail, and he will purge it of error. If needed, he will regrow it from a people close to spiritual death.

Because, to quote the Catechism, the chief aim of man — of us being here — is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.  We are here, and the church is here, to glorify God,  not to demean his name. And he will have the church restored. I pray it happens in my lifetime.


Brett Kimberlin Day.

Who is Brett Kimberlin and why should we care?

Today is Brett Kimberlin Day. This “activist” of the left has made it his business to threaten and intimidate. This has led to Stacey McCain taking his family to an undisclosed location outside of his home state (Maryland), and threatened Andrew Breitbart, as reported by Patterico. It is fairly clear that there is a campaign to harass bloggers in the US: Aaron Worthing shows how this got him involved, and his lawyer, ended up being threatened as well.

It is getting ugly.

There is a question here as to how Christians should respond. Madeline Fleming, who is a NZ Christian Blogger, has currently got a case in the civil court around defamation and harassment. She quite properly does not mention details as the case is sub judice, and In NZ it is contempt to publish data not given to open court — you can publicise what is said in court (excluding suppression orders: unlike Madeline, Aaron and Patterico, I am not a lawyer).

What is more interesting is the ethics of suing and defense.  We are taught (Mt 18) to try to get a resolution. We are told not to use law courts. But we are also told that we can end up in them. The question is if the damage being causes is disproportionate. For professionally, reputation is an asset. As Madeline says.

The publicity was started by the Respondent who blogged about the case and supplied very limited extracts of our affidavits but not the evidence supporting them. I am replying in an effort to minimise harm.
With respect you are not party to the facts, I am and my call is that my reputation is at more risk if I do and say nothing.
The media already have this, the Respondent has been blogging for some two weeks about me and the other applicant unchecked.

Now, this concern about reputation is a reason that many of us use a nom de plume. If you are a professional (as I am) your name, your legal name, is your brand. You are known professionally by this name, and anything associated with that name is seen as affecting your professional reputation.

This is why I am pukeko. Finding my real name is trivial: in New Zealand we have not reached the point where people are making complaints to get the SWAT team to forcibly enter your house in the hope you will be injured or worse, so unlike McCain, I am not worried about by boys.

But our reputation has some value. Consider the text.

Today’s Reading.

Ezekiel 36:22-27

22Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord GOD: It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations to which you came. 23I will sanctify my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, and which you have profaned among them; and the nations shall know that I am the LORD, says the Lord GOD, when through you I display my holiness before their eyes. 24I will take you from the nations, and gather you from all the countries, and bring you into your own land. 25I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. 26A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will remove from your body the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27I will put my spirit within you, and make you follow my statutes and be careful to observe my ordinances.

About 20 years ago my then wife and I decided that — after she sat her specialty exams — we were having a holiday. We booked accommodation in four resorts in four states, and spent a month in the US. The final stop was Martha’s Vineyard. While we were there, we visited Plymouth, and noted that the Congregational church had split in the mid 1820s due to Unitarianism.

The evangelical arm remains vibrant. But the Unitarians are moribund, and Mass. is a spiritual wasteland.

The warning here is that if we do not repent — individually and corporately — and act like the people of God, God. will. Act.

Which we will not like. It is indeed a fearful thing to fall into the hands of a living God. Because when he prunes, when he winnows, it hurts. We do not like it. If we do not listen to the quiet voice, God gets loud: as C. S. Lewis said, in suffering God is shouting. And out of that trial comes, time and time again through history, a more fervent and righteous people, who will glorify God.

This is a time of crisis. We have not been fated to live in unhistorical times. We need to look first at our own house, purify our lives, and then, and then, pray that we can still be salt and light for our culture. You can stake your life on the truth getting out, and on God being glorified.

But, you cannot ever pretend that there will be no opposition to this. There is more than one Brett Kimberlin, and the more damaging varieties do their intimidation in committee rooms, not by manipulating the police and courts.


Patterico and Aaron Worthing both have made it clear that Kimberlin has also threatened bloggers on the left end of the political spectrum. This is not as much about politics as using intimidation to shut people up.


We are judged by our actions.

Will commented yesterday

Mmm. I wonder what your response to this bible passage is that seems to contradict that faith alone saves:
Faith and Deeds James 2:14-24

14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If
one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but
does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
18 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”
Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. 19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that —and shudder.
20 You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless[d]? 21 Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23 And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,”[e] and he was called God’s friend. 24 You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.

Well today’s reading helps. Sort of.

Ephesians 5:1-14

1Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children, 2and live in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

3But fornication and impurity of any kind, or greed, must not even be mentioned among you, as is proper among saints. 4Entirely out of place is obscene, silly, and vulgar talk; but instead, let there be thanksgiving. 5Be sure of this, that no fornicator or impure person, or one who is greedy (that is, an idolater), has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.

6Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes on those who are disobedient. 7Therefore do not be associated with them. 8For once you were darkness, but now in the Lord you are light. Live as children of light – 9for the fruit of the light is found in all that is good and right and true. 10Try to find out what is pleasing to the Lord. 11Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. 12For it is shameful even to mention what such people do secretly; 13but everything exposed by the light becomes visible, 14for everything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, “Sleeper, awake! Rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”

Now, I firmly believe that our salvation comes from the cross. There is nothing we can do to justify the evil we have done. And all of us are tarred by this. It is a bit like the “one drop” rule — it only takes a cup of sewage to contaminate thousands of gallons of drinking water, or a drop of some pollutants to make the water poison.

And sin is poison. We should not be sinning. And if we continually and flagrantly sin…

Paul, however, has a cure. And it is confession and accountability. Here by Catholic friends have it aright by insisting that confession occurs before communion: indeed the rubric for the confessing churches has a general prayer of confession and clear instructions  for this before we come to the table.

What is in the light is not hidden, and it needs to be dealt with.   What is unsaid here is that this is very painful. It requires keeping short accounts with our brothers and sisters, and with the Almighty, It requires concentrating on the means of grace, and not on the things of grace.

And it makes us humble. We think we have our desires controlled, and then there is a poster of [insert movie star here in a bikini], Or a beer ad. Or we are encouraged to cheat, to cut corners, to lie, to hurt, to exploit: in fact all the above may be SOP in the firm you work for.

We are judged by our actions, and on this we all fall down. We all massively fail.

Do not use your enemies tools.

This morning I have been feeding coffee to son number one. He found that an assignment he thought was due next Thursday is due today: He was reading history texts (at year 12 you are expected to find the original sources not merely regurgitate the textbook) until well after midnight fueled by adrenalin and caffeine.

Some people turn the following text into a list. That misses the intention Paul had. The way we interact with each other — and please note that he is not talking about sex but more noxious ways of damaging each other, such as lying, cheating, gossiping and stealing — flow from the theology of the cross.

Ephesians 4:17-32

17Now this I affirm and insist on in the Lord: you must no longer live as the Gentiles live, in the futility of their minds. 18They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of their ignorance and hardness of heart. 19They have lost all sensitivity and have abandoned themselves to licentiousness, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. 20That is not the way you learned Christ! 21For surely you have heard about him and were taught in him, as truth is in Jesus. 22You were taught to put away your former way of life, your old self, corrupt and deluded by its lusts, 23and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24and to clothe yourselves with the new self, created according to the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

25So then, putting away falsehood, let all of us speak the truth to our neighbors, for we are members of one another. 26Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27and do not make room for the devil. 28Thieves must give up stealing; rather let them labor and work honestly with their own hands, so as to have something to share with the needy. 29Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear. 30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with which you were marked with a seal for the day of redemption. 31Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, 32and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you.

As Elspeth noted, we can lose our principles and logic in the course of argument and use the assumptions of the enemy.

The enemy is materialistic (there is no God, and there is no afterlife: what you see is what you get) and therefore driven by economic explanations for behaviour.  Most economists function using Marxist analysis, and almost every sociologist uses the analysis of class (feminism is a subset of this) and power.  This permeates politics: the sociologist influences the left and the economist the right.

The enemy is hedonistic.  Pleasure is seen as the ultimate good,

The enemy is against the law. This antinomian position is couched in terms such as freedom, rights. The result is different: the shaming of virtue and the enslaving of many in vices  — from the current pick up scene to gambling to the use of substances (mainly alcohol).

The language of the Kingdom of God is more about love, caring, submission accepting correction and gentleness. It is less about pleasure, possessions and being offended by any criticism.

If we argue using the tools of the enemy, which is what American conservaties tend to do, we tend to lose.  If we lay bare the assumptions behind their work, and do not allow ourselves to be blinded by numbers, truth will out.

But the tactics we use matter.