One of the thing that is happening in the west is that we are neither marrying nor breeding. We have dissolved the fundamental tenet of marriage since the beginning of he agricultural revolution — predating the laws of Moses, but to the time of patriarchs: that love is all in. It is once. For life.
Those of us who are divorced, by the grace of God, can repent, (indeed we all need to repent daily) and may love again. But we have lost the sense that our love is to the grave. For when I wed, I hoped that I would be with that one for life, for ever. Our myths say that love is stronger than the grave: our movies celebrate one love, forever.
But we have destroyed this by saying that spiritual development and happiness matter more. I am not sure about this pretty lie. What we need is hope: what we need is a knowledge that we will outlast the stars, in the next life if not this. If we have hope for ourselves and our tribe, we will bring children to this world. David Goldman writes wisely on this (be aware the linked passage discusses pederasty among Sufi poets. Not safe for children or SJWs).
It is not only the passion of love that challenges death, but the fruit of love, the birth of children, that keeps death at bay. Nature appears to have arranged matters so that these two presentiments of immortality occur together. The Judeo-Christian God becomes the partner of human lovers: “Lovers could not love if they did not have an ally against death, if the only certainty were the grave and silence,” writes Michael Wyschogrod. Anyone who has been in love with someone of the opposite sex knows precisely what I am talking about. Those who have not may consult the Song of Songs, for example:
The love of bride and bridegroom is not quite the same thing as the love of God and his congregation, but the passion as strong as death that unites men and women is analogous to the encounter with the Other in the person of God.
No parent in a time of horror wants to have children. To bear a child, to love it, and then have to kill it to prevent it being destroyed is a horror no one wants. If a parent cannot see a future, they will simply enjoy pleasures while they can: let us hold each other now, for tomorrow we die.
Without the LORD Almighty building our nations and houses, we are as foolish as a man confronting his enemies without a clan to back him up, by force if needed.
Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep.
Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.
(Psalm 127 ESV)
Children are a blessing. Let me say that again, Children are a blessing. I have three children: tomorrow I am going to a conference and after that I have the joy of spending a few brief days with my daughter and her three children.
In Ancient times, when you got to my age, you needed to have a few young sons who could enforce your will. The police did not exist, and the army was frequently a tool of imperial occupation. The sons kept the farm going. The sons defended your wife and grandchildren.
It is only in modern times, with no fault divorce and child support, that having a child is seen with horror. A distraction from your career. As if a career is your lover, or your child. Neither can give you joy in the evening or warmth at night.
Barry, the minister at my church, calls children the heart of the congregation. Without children, we are useless, we are nothing. He’s only half right. What children are is a sign that the LORD is building the house.
For history belongs to those who turn up. Who are alive at this time. The witness of the past is for us. h
The left are moving towards disappearing down a rabbit hole to be lost to any function and utility. There is a cost of being leftist: at present it is a form of conspicuous consumption: you are bright enough, you have enough geek points, to deliberately handicap yourself and still succeed.
It is a game for those with resources: wealth, connections, and intelligence. Because it gets stupid quick.
I’m going to quote out-of-order here, using ESR: he is one of the elder statesmen of hacker culture, which he is getting heat from the SJW about. Now ESR is fairly pagan and is not of the left but an anarchocapitalist, but he gets this correct, and he is paying for it.
I was there at the beginning, of course – the day Netscape open-sourced the code that would become Mozilla and later Firefox was the shot heard ’round the world of the open source revolution, and the event that threw The Cathedral and the Bazaar into the limelight. It should be a tragedy – personally, for me – that the project is circling the drain.
Instead, all I can think is “They brought the fate they deserved on themselves.” Because principles matter – and in 2014 the Mozilla Foundation abandoned and betrayed one of the core covenants of open source.
I refer, of course, to the Foundation’s disgraceful failure to defend its newly promoted Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich against a political mob.
One of the central values of the hacker culture from which Mozilla sprang is that you are to be judged by the quality of your work alone. We aspire to be a pure meritocracy, casting aside irrelevancies of race, sex, nationality, and of political and sexual preferences.
Brendan Eich lived those values. Though he was excoriated for donating to California Proposition 8, it was never even claimed – let alone established – that he judged gay hackers on the Firefox project by anything but their code.
Another central value of the hacker culture, intertwined with judgment only by the work, is free expression – the defense of people holding and expressing unpopular opinions. It must be this way, because suppression of dissent prevents us from discovering and acknowledging that our beliefs do not align with reality. That hinders the work.
When Brendan Eich was attacked, the correct response of the Mozilla Foundation from within hacker and open-source values would have been, at minimum “His off-the-job politics are none of our business.” Ideally, it would have continued with an active defense of Eich’s right to hold and express unpopular opinions, including by donating to the causes of his choice.
That’s not what happened. Instead, the Foundation truckled to that political mob, putting Eich under enough pressure that he felt he had no alternative but to resign. By failing to defend and support Eich, the Mozilla Foundation wronged a man who had every right to expect that he, too, would be judged by his work alone
Now I should disclose that I am writing this in WordPress, using a Icedove as a browser: the Debian version of Firefox, and the current default. It is open source after all. And I am using a fairly obscure fork of Debian at that.
Esr has to move ever leftwards, or else suffer persecution, and to prove himself sufficiently left, has to enthusiastically support the ever greater persecution of his fellow leftists. Thus each leftist has to move further left, and has to support the persecution of his fellow leftists even more than he did last year.
The mechanisms of this are those of the Pharisees: it is a matter of being seen as being completely politically correct: to be a Chekist, on the vanguard
The hallmarks of the left — holiness competition, the vanguard of the people, no one more extreme is an enemy — are present whenever anyone discusses a non-political subject that is relevant to the company.
But the people practising this: trying to get into the elite that their grandparents (boomers) made — have not lived: they are young. They have been encouraged to be priggish. They would be horrified to be called the new Puritans, but the lack Puritan humility. They are the new Pharisees.
After the transformation of society brought by the 1960s, a cohort of sentimental liberals naturally flocked to academia. Many of them set up shop in the humanities and social sciences and spread both post-modernism and blank slate fundamentalism (the ideological resistance to biology, genetics and evolution) far and wide throughout the academy. These two mutually reinforcing ideologies have had a massive effect on scholarship and the wider culture.
It would be prudent for us to remember that of the young people who police language and thought on campus today, many have not yet left home yet; their privilege has effectively kept them in a state of intellectual neoteny. While the political movements that their parents were involved in were creative, aspirational and good-hearted, many of these movements have now ossified into the most brittle of orthodoxies. P.C students on campus today are simply foot soldiers for their parents’ ideologies. And before we attack young people for being censorious and priggish, we should remember that this kafkaesque political baggage is what this generation has to bear.
OK. As one of the resident greyhairs of the nutraditionalist christianity (or what I prefer to call mere Christianity) the idea that people are horrified by thought horrifies me. What the half generation — born in the 1940s and 1950s — did was remove for the high school student access to the past. Latin and Greek were removed from the curriculum because they were irrelevant: the older composers, philosophers and authors were not to be used because they did not fit the narrative, because they were dead, and mostly men. Austen lived on for a bit because she was not male, but her very descriptions of marriage became too triggering, and she was dumped.
Since people no longer read good prose, they had no standard to imitate. Because people no longer had to struggle with why the Shrew changed, or how to handle Swiftian scorn, they did not develop intellectual muscles.
And because the older boomers bought in a culture of fear that had killed free range parenting deader than the dodo before I had my children, our children are less fit: the SJW demands on mothers increased as the practical support for them decreased. Our children are neglected, physically flabby, and angry.
For they know there is more, and not where to find it. To which I say: look back three generations. Preferably learn a couple of ancient languages: read your Homer and Seneca: discover both Milton and Augustine: understand Dickens and Scott. Do not let these modern Pharisees stop you from learning.
For the progressive experiment has failed: both soviet and gramscian versions. They are not the only ways society has organized itself. Consider how we self-organize, and that imitate. But do not become shock troops for a failing Pharisaical generation.
ESR graciously corrected me on where he stands politically. The text is edited to reflect this.
Karma, the sense that what happens to you is just recompense for what you have done or what your parents have done, is part of our sense of justice. It is a clear part of Eastern Religion: the observation that reflective men have made in trouble that they have hurt others, that they deserve this, is fairly universal.
Only the psychopath does not say this: but that one, who has dedicated himself to evil, rejoices in the suffering of others and sees not the warning.
But Karma is a lie. What matters is if one is chosen from the beginning. Christ here chooses a blind beggar: and the Pharisees reject him.
As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” Having said these things, he spit on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then he anointed the man’s eyes with the mud and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing.
The neighbors and those who had seen him before as a beggar were saying, “Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?” Some said, “It is he.” Others said, “No, but he is like him.” He kept saying, “I am the man.” So they said to him, “Then how were your eyes opened?” He answered, “The man called Jesus made mud and anointed my eyes and said to me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’ So I went and washed and received my sight.” They said to him, “Where is he?” He said, “I do not know.”
They brought to the Pharisees the man who had formerly been blind. Now it was a Sabbath day when Jesus made the mud and opened his eyes. So the Pharisees again asked him how he had received his sight. And he said to them, “He put mud on my eyes, and I washed, and I see.” Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.” But others said, “How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?” And there was a division among them. So they said again to the blind man, “What do you say about him, since he has opened your eyes?” He said, “He is a prophet.”
(John 9:1-17 ESV)
Now, what do we do about the disabled? Those who suffer? Those who beg? Do we have humility, and see ourselves there, but for the gifts we did not deserve?
Yes the choices we make have consequences in this life and the life beyond. It is not by our words we are judged, but by our actions, and by our actions we are all damned.
And this is why the Pharisees are in error. Not as much for wanting to keep the sabbath, but for not understanding that they remained fallen. They are equal with the most disabled within society: in fact, the blind man can now see that Christ is the full and final prophet while the question the legitimacy of healing on the day of rest and healing.
But, you say, the Pharisees died two thousand years ago, leaving us a shattered Temple and the Talmud. True. But we tend to legalistic competitions, trying to find a place where we can call ourselves righteous, and from that position justify our hatred of others.
We find oppression where there is none: we spend our energy tilting at windmills. We fight each other when winter is coming.
[A quick note. No, I don’t make these things up. I just look on twitter and find them. Usually within a minute or so. The haters are getting a little too obvious]
Self righteousness makes one blind. We start arguing with God that he is unjust, forgetting that Karma is a lie, because if Karma was true we would all be in hells of our own making. The very fact we are able to love, and work, and enjoy the simple pleasures of the season is due to the mercy of God.
Our actions have condemned ourselves. We can only beg for mercy. And the only mercy that exists is when the penalty for our wrongdoing is paid: for that we can only thank Christ, who in our place suffered and died.
The minister at my congregation is also the chaplain of a local school. Church school, and he was trying to explain undeserved grace is a free gift. So he pulled twenty dollars from his wallet and asked who wanted it. All the hands went up, and he gave it to a schoolboy.
Now after service that boy came with his mates, and tried to give him the money back. He said, look its yours, I gave it to you with no conditions. This was watched by a teacher… who then said that he should have told the schookid to donate the money to Vanuatu relief. At this point the minister said, strongly, it is unconditional. It is nothing to do with the kid. It is a gift.
We are not saved for anything we have done, but because Christ chose us. It is not our work. It is a gift, and the giver has the ability to choose whom he gives things to. It is not about justice. Salvation is not a human right. It is instead an act of grace, of mercy, that allows us into the presence of God.
And we should not forget this: for without this sense of gratitude we will fall . The times are evil.
Thus says the LORD of hosts: “Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you, filling you with vain hopes. They speak visions of their own minds, not from the mouth of the LORD. They say continually to those who despise the word of the LORD, ‘It shall be well with you’; and to everyone who stubbornly follows his own heart, they say, ‘No disaster shall come upon you.’”
For who among them has stood in the council of the LORD to see and to hear his word, or who has paid attention to his word and listened? Behold, the storm of the LORD! Wrath has gone forth, a whirling tempest; it will burst upon the head of the wicked. The anger of the LORD will not turn back until he has executed and accomplished the intents of his heart. In the latter days you will understand it clearly.
“I did not send the prophets, yet they ran; I did not speak to them, yet they prophesied. But if they had stood in my council, then they would have proclaimed my words to my people, and they would have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their deeds.
“Am I a God at hand, declares the LORD, and not a God far away? Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the LORD. Do I not fill heaven and earth? declares the LORD. I have heard what the prophets have said who prophesy lies in my name, saying, ‘I have dreamed, I have dreamed!’ How long shall there be lies in the heart of the prophets who prophesy lies, and who prophesy the deceit of their own heart, who think to make my people forget my name by their dreams that they tell one another, even as their fathers forgot my name for Baal? Let the prophet who has a dream tell the dream, but let him who has my word speak my word faithfully. What has straw in common with wheat? declares the LORD. Is not my word like fire, declares the LORD, and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces? Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, declares the LORD, who steal my words from one another. Behold, I am against the prophets, declares the LORD, who use their tongues and declare, ‘declares the LORD.’ Behold, I am against those who prophesy lying dreams, declares the LORD, and who tell them and lead my people astray by their lies and their recklessness, when I did not send them or charge them. So they do not profit this people at all, declares the LORD.
(Jeremiah 23:16-32 ESV)
And he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again. And he said this plainly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”
And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”
And he said to them, “Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God after it has come with power.”
(Mark 8:31-9:1 ESV)
Now, I am not a fan of female leadership. At all. There is a structure around this — men generally will work well under other men, but women don’t think about our issues and spend too much time thinking of status, which most men care less about than getting things done.
Yes, I am generalizing. However, having seen the seventy shades of hell women make among each other when left alone, the teaching that older women teach wifecraft and mothercraft makes more and more sense.
As Bee reminds us, equalitarian leadership devalues masculinity, and over time this kills the witness of the church.
Here is what generally happens when a Christian denomination accepts women as pastors and top leaders. I am speaking in general terms here, there are a few exceptions. This usually takes one to two generations to play out completely.
The churches don’t stop with just ignoring the Scriptures that forbid women from being pastors and leaders. The churches also relax their positions on divorce, remarriage, and sexuality.
The church begins to experience increasing levels of divorce, most initiated by the wives.
The innocent children in these divorced church families suffer. Without the covering of their fathers, with the father’s authority lessened, and without a lot of time with their fathers a larger number of the girls become promiscuous and a larger number of the boys become effeminate.
With feminine leadership comes increasing gender confusion among the children of the church families. Clear distinctions between masculine and feminine are blurred. This results in an increase in homosexuality and lesbianism among the teenage children.
Marriage after any divorce, not just a divorce due to adultery, becomes accepted. The romantic love of the couple in question is supposed to sanctify the adulterous second marriage.
Feminine traits are emphasized in the churches teachings and programs so that the masculine men leave. Many of the boys growing up in the church lack confidence and shy away from expressions of masculinity.
The natural 50% – 50% balance between men and women in the church shifts and begins to approach 65% women, 35% men.
The single, young women in the church are attracted to confident, successful, masculine men. Since there are very few of those left in the church, the women complain that they can’t find any good men at church (men that excite them emotionally) so they date outside the church. Some of these church girls fornicate with unbelievers and some marry unbelievers. Both are bad testimonies as Christians.
The false idea of sanctification of romantic love is now extended to homosexual and lesbian couples. The church no longer calls this a sinful practice.
The overall growth in numbers of the denomination has long ago ceased and the number of members drops off.
The Social Justice Warriors want to take the seat of Moses: kick the Pharisees, who are at least orthodox, off it, and decide to regulate inclusiveness by their own feelings, and any concerns about theology are to be trampled underfoot in this move to build a new Jerusalem.
They forget that the new Jerusalem comes with a new heaven and a new earth. It is not our doing. It is the gift of God: the very person they have rejected because Phallocentricity is the God who is living and near and active. And whom they have rejected, taking a denomination into heresy.
The way of Christ is not one of ease, where your feelings will be validated. Instead it is blood, sweat, struggle and pain: against those who do evil, and against the evil within. The daily cross is not a metaphor.
So dp not listen to those who say that all will be well. To those who say that it is well, when things are heading for destruction. To those who rejoice when they can legislate evil.
Bike Bubba said this yesterday, and it makes an introduction for today’s lectionary.
We have reached a point where all that matters is feelings, and the idea that one will correct in private before one brings in witnesses then the church is seen as wrong. Because correction may hurt.
As if we don’t do this at work on a regular basis. A regular basis.
I grieve when a church dies, but even more I grieve when a church is killed by the behavior of the leadership. You point to divorce and deceit as a measure of growth in Christ–at times the churches I’ve seen it’s far more basic issues. For example, someone I’d tried to confront per Matthew 18 responded to me by telling me we really ought to leave Matthew 18 out of it.
Um…..what? You might as well try to swim in a dry wash or rappel without rope. Shouldn’t an appreciation of Biblical reconciliation processes be pretty much instinctive for anyone who presumes to fill a pulpit?
Well, within the church, the answer is yes. But within the institution, people consider not that they are there to serve and sacrifice, but to be honoured for their title. To them, church is about ego, not Christ.
And therefore the people turn to their favourite sins, and the land suffers.
Concerning the prophets: My heart is broken within me; all my bones shake; I am like a drunken man, like a man overcome by wine, because of the LORD and because of his holy words. For the land is full of adulterers; because of the curse the land mourns, and the pastures of the wilderness are dried up. Their course is evil, and their might is not right.
“Both prophet and priest are ungodly; even in my house I have found their evil, declares the LORD. Therefore their way shall be to them like slippery paths in the darkness, into which they shall be driven and fall, for I will bring disaster upon them in the year of their punishment, declares the LORD. In the prophets of Samaria I saw an unsavory thing: they prophesied by Baal and led my people Israel astray. But in the prophets of Jerusalem I have seen a horrible thing: they commit adultery and walk in lies; they strengthen the hands of evildoers, so that no one turns from his evil; all of them have become like Sodom to me, and its inhabitants like Gomorrah.”
Therefore thus says the LORD of hosts concerning the prophets: “Behold, I will feed them with bitter food and give them poisoned water to drink, for from the prophets of Jerusalem ungodliness has gone out into all the land.”
(Jeremiah 23:9-15 ESV)
At times we get all caught up around buggery and homosexuality, in part because a church that tolerates these things has clearly gone apostate. But they are not the only sins that grieve God. God is angered by our fornication and wrath but more so by us tolerating these and injustice and oppression. Which we now have. There is an end-game to this: and it involves murder, frequently combined with rape: the fate of Lot’s daughters was reflected in the Benjaminites who gang raped a concubine to death.
The Liberal Presbyterians have been taken over by the trolls, and they think it is good.
What we forget is that immorality matters, for it corrupts. We hold
(heterosexual men) to very high standards. And we let others have a pass. If we do this, we are fools. We forget that it is not the church that calls people to salvation, but Christ. We forget the church has an owner, and it is not us, but Christ.
And we cannot legislate a change in the covenants Christ has made. For God does not change.
What is happening? Well, the faithful are leaving. Right now. We are letting this false church fall. The same tactics did not work in NZ because the alternate reformed churches (such as Grace Presbyterian) are very small and most reformed believers remain within the Presbyterian denomination: we could stop it cold.
Besides, we have more important things to do. Our brothers and sisters in Vanuatu have just been flattened by a cyclone (hurricane for the Americans). Our catholic and orthodox sisters and brothers are being crucified in Syria, while the morons who call themselves Muslims destroy their churches (and any structure older than they can recall) in their pathetic attempt to imitate the Jacobins and form a new year zero.
And our rulers Godly are not.
We need to continually reform. But reformation is not apostasy. Apostasy has two outcomes; a degeneration into perversion, and a depopulation to the point that one is no longer relevant. Do not do either.
It is time for the US reformed to leave the PCUSA. Do not be them, and do not be like them.
Only a few sentences on this passage for it stands by itself. Those who lead, those who teach, those who call themselves pastor are accountable for the congregation they lead.
For them the test is the amount of lying, cheating, corruption and divorce within their congregation. For by their fruits they will be judged.
“Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture!” declares the LORD. Therefore thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, concerning the shepherds who care for my people: “You have scattered my flock and have driven them away, and you have not attended to them. Behold, I will attend to you for your evil deeds, declares the LORD. Then I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them, and I will bring them back to their fold, and they shall be fruitful and multiply. I will set shepherds over them who will care for them, and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall any be missing, declares the LORD.
“Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is the name by which he will be called: ‘The LORD is our righteousness.’
“Therefore, behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when they shall no longer say, ‘As the LORD lives who brought up the people of Israel out of the land of Egypt,’ but ‘As the LORD lives who brought up and led the offspring of the house of Israel out of the north country and out of all the countries where he had driven them.’ Then they shall dwell in their own land.”
(Jeremiah 23:1-8 ESV)
The congregation that goes apostate fossilizes. It may last two or three generations as a social club, but it then dies. So look at the track record of the churches in your area. Some are faithful and generally have been so for generations. They have selected ministers who have served God and built the congregation.
Others look for the person who can do church growth, and are more like weeds. There are many abandoned mega-churches, and only a few where the leadership is being passed on — those ones tend to avoid the trap of cult like pastors, and preach the gospel not the culture.
I grieve when a church dies. Because the flock scatters. I see the damage. I know a remnant will be saved, but I want to see a greater number see salvation in my time and in my generation.
So I make no excuse, as a sheep in the pews, talking about evil within the leadership. I am not called to lead. But I still have a duty to think. And the more congregations where the pastor preaches the gospel the better we will be.
I stopped using the PCUSA lectionary about a year ago. In part because the church is apostate: in part because their site was unreliable. For the last year this blogger, who attends a Presbyterian church that teetered on the edge of apostasy, has used the ESV common prayer readings, not the RCL.
Which does not matter that much. What matters is how we influence those around us. To unpack a bit of the passage: it is only by the spirit of God that we can reform ourselves and it is only by the sacrificial blood of Christ that we are able to withstand the guidance of the spirit.
If we try to regulate our lives we can become incredibly disciplined. But that journey, that seeking of spiritual enlightenment, will build our own personal hell as surely as if we enslave, rape, kill and murder. But the criminal has the witness of society and his conscience that may bring him to repentance. While the seeker of enlightenment in the disciplines of religion: yoga, mindfulness, vegetarianism, even the careful observance of the rules within the law of Moses, the magisterium, or Calvin’s principles will assuage his conscience, blinding himself to his real state by recounting the efforts he has made.
But those efforts do not save. It is being saved that should empower us to leave the evil in our lives behind: and to the extent that we can do good, Christ’s spirit works within us.
For the true judgment of us is not our words but our actions: not our lives but the lives around us.
So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
(Romans 8:12-27 ESV)
Now, the PCUSA misses this. In their move to be tolerant, they are becoming intolerant: in their move to allow that which should not be they are losing the gospel and becoming apostate.
The fools within think they can legislate truth, as if “continual reformation” means that the words of God are some living document, that can be voted in and out of existence. They forget they are dealing with a God who made his words living and active, dividing at the joints: in a manner that those of us who classify things for a living struggle to attain in our description of nature.
And there is a time when the believer has to leave, because hearing these teachings corrupts. We all have difficulties with our bodily desires: if not lust, gluttony: if not either, then our training is making us selfish, and we hurt those around us. We need to pray for each other: some of us struggle with all of this.
The Presbyterian Church (USA), the largest body of Presbyterians in the country, approved a change in the wording of its constitution to allow gay and lesbian weddings within the church, a move that threatens to continue to split the mainline Protestant denomination.
The 171 regional presbyteries (local leadership bodies within the PCUSA) have been voting on whether to change the wording to call marriage a contract “between a woman and a man” to being “between two people, traditionally a man and a woman.” On Tuesday, the denomination reached its needed majority of “yes” votes from at least 86 presbyteries to take effect. The change will be included in the church’s “Book of Order,” part of its constitution, taking effect on June 21.
The church, which has more than 1.7 million members, voted last June to allow clergy to perform same-sex weddings. That vote gave clergy the choice of whether to preside over same-sex marriages in states where they are legal, an action which is now allowed in 36 state and the District of Columbia. Clergy will not be compelled to perform same-sex marriage.
Tuesday’s vote carries significance, writes Leslie Scanlon for The Presbyterian Outlook, because it will be much more difficult to reverse.
“Changing the constitutional language regarding the definition of Christian marriage would take the approval both of an assembly and a majority vote by the presbyteries,” Scanlon writes. “It also matters to many Presbyterians that their denomination is willing to put language affirming marriage equality directly in the denomination’s constitution.”
The vote comes amid a larger debate over whether gay marriage conflicts with Scripture and would cause more Presbyterian churches to break relations with the PCUSA. The church has lost 37 percent of its membership since 1992. Most of the congregations that depart opt to affiliate with either the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC) or a newer body called A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians (ECO for short). The formality of Tuesday’s decision could accelerate more departures.
I have said before that PCANZ (the Kiwi Presbyterians) have not taken this step: even though gay marriage is legal in NZ. I’d add that the state is not the originator of marriage, but is the consequence of the organization of families into clans, clans into tribes, and tribes into nations. Their attempts to reform what is a fundamental part of humanity is hubristic at best.
It is attempting, by human law, to make humans better. Which is not our place. It is the place of God.
At times people struggle with these teachings. I’m divorced. I struggle with the issues around remarriage. I have sympathy to those who are attracted to the same sex who remain faithful to the teaching of the church. Pretending that these issues do not exist is infantilizing. We are grown men (and women) and we have to discipline ourselves to remain functional in our society. We each have our cross: we each have our daily sacrifice which we make for the sake of Christ. (And within marriage, in my experience, these things become more obvious, not less so).
The law of Moses and the gospel do not contract themselves. You cannot legislate human nature away.
And the law does have a penalty for our wrongdoing: it is our life. Our deeds can not pay the weregeld on what we have done. If that was not the case, there would be no need for Christ.
And if we could do it alone, there would be no need for the spirit.
The apostate thinks they can make us all better: the believer should not have that illusion. So do not share a meal with them: they are convinced of their righteousness. Far better to break bread with the local taxmen, strippers and bartenders.
This morning much of the lectionary is wonderful. Go read it: it is linked below. This can wait.
The reason that we are turning again to Jeremiah is because our ways are evil. There are many out there who blame women — well at least feminists, but they are just the cheerleaders for the destruction of society: they are the ones in short skirts, putting themselves on display.
The progressive theologians and teachers, working quietly in schools and seminaries, who are quiet, decent men and true believers they are doing good are more dangerous. And the times are evil.
The evil that we confront on a daily basis is banal. Abortions go on everyday. We have no way of stopping it. Feminist rebellion has to reap it’s own wicked harvest, I reckon. If you are a student of the Bible, then you know that when the wicked rule, righteous men are hunted down and killed. Don’t kid yourselves……everything we say here is recorded. We will have to pay for our speech. I’m personally okay with that. I want my name written among those who mourned the slaughter of the innocent. As has been pointed out before, anyone who accepts the idea that abortion is a right will end up paying for that before God. If you want to get an idea of just how bad it’s going to get, read the Bible. As for dealing with a rebellious woman, divine wisdom says to consider your steps wisely. Don’t marry anyone with feminist leanings. That basically covers American women. Sure, some don’t, but most do.
Now, God lets societies fall. If we get too unjust, we are destroyed. He has not changed, and his warning to Judah still applies. We can no longer claim to live in Christendom: our society is apostate.
And for that there will consequences.
The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD: “Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will let you hear my words.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was working at his wheel. And the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do.
Then the word of the LORD came to me: “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter has done? declares the LORD. Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel. If at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom, that I will pluck up and break down and destroy it, and if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I intended to do to it. And if at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom that I will build and plant it, and if it does evil in my sight, not listening to my voice, then I will relent of the good that I had intended to do to it. Now, therefore, say to the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem: ‘Thus says the LORD, Behold, I am shaping disaster against you and devising a plan against you. Return, every one from his evil way, and amend your ways and your deeds.’
(Jeremiah 18:1-11 ESV)
We need a revival. Or we will fail. There is much good in our society, but much of that is now despised as the work of those evil males and eviler believers: one cannot listen to either Bach or Nic Cave, and one cannot have standards, or be blunt, for that is called bullying.
We are told to get along with the programme, even when the programme is damaging. Yesterday I was discussing how when I was in Auckland we had about half the staff that teams have now — and we saw people faster and got them to primary care quicker. But we did not do the forms. We did not have the time. We did what was needed, not what was deemed correct. And that senior doctors are annoyed with the tick-box mentality of the ministry and senior management, who ignore the gaping holes in the service but want their forms neat and tidy.
And I was told this is the way of the world. But that I am unsure of. Because in times of difficulty the non essential gets dumped.
What I see is storms coming: the end of the social democratic experiment, for the money has run out and the spirit of all has been crushed. We are not allowed to have vision unless it is approved by all stakeholders and signed off by the minister. The current SJW pile-ons make the Chekists weep, for people police themselves without the need for terror.
But this soon will be as one with the Soviets of last century. Do not drink their kool aid. This is a time to take courage and speak truth, even if the gulags reopen.
For we need to be counted among those who stood against the flood.
In our society the natural response of the male beast is generally repressed. We are told to compromise, to be team players, to do what the boss says, even when they are completely wrong, and cannot do their job.
And most of the time we are as simple as the code monkey. But code monkey called creep.
And the imperatives of men must not be allowed. Because ideology.
Even fun is not allowed.
In any case, I was scrolling down through the article’s list of strategies for eliminating gamers, trying to keep an open mind, and actually thinking there were one or two somewhat valid points. Then I got to item #11:
We stop upholding “fun” as the universal, ultimate criterion for a game’s relevance. It’s a meaningless ideal at best and a poisonous priority at worst. Fun is a neurological trick. Plenty of categorically unhealthy things are “fun”. Let’s try for something more. Many of the alternatives will have similarly fuzzy definitions, but let’s aspire to qualities like “edifying”, “healing”, “pro-social”, or even “enlightening”. I encourage you to decide upon your own alternatives to “fun” in games (while avoiding terms like “cool” and “awesome” and any other word that simply caters to existing, unexamined biases).
That paragraph represents everything that is wrong with social justice thinking in less than 100 words.
The trouble is that…. relationships are risky, and gaming is safer.
The current legal system, despite any consequences of these decisions, is set up in such a way that the older code monkey is still at the mercy ephemera. The security of a family is seen as less, much less, than happiness, or spiritual development.
The argument is been going over three sites, and I’m going to extract from them.
Are there situations in which a single-parent home is better than the alternative? Sure, many. I’m not arguing that we should outlaw divorce or force 15-year-olds to marry. But that doesn’t mean pretending there is no difference. There is a big difference — and a systematic difference between the way the affluent and the poor form families is going to mean systematic differences in the outcomes for affluent and poor kids.
Trying to explain this all with a bad labor market or insufficient government benefits won’t wash, either. It doesn’t explain why people in 1930, who were much poorer in every sense than people today and had virtually nothing in the way of a government safety net, managed to get and stay married. As David Brooks notes, to explain the problem — and to fix it — you also need to talk about community norms.
The problems are feminism. The cardinal virtue to the second wave of feminism is unilateral divorce law. This is used as a “threat point” to keep husbands in line, to give their wives marital “headship” in their marriage. Basically, he must do whatever she says OR ELSE she divoces him and takes half. The “state” besows upon the wife cash and prizes (the house, alimony, child support) at any moment she wishes to divorce her husband. This gives her the power. So now, an entire generation and half of young men who raised under “threat point” have learned NOT to marry. So, marriage simply doesn’t exist in significant portions of our working cl@ss. With only sticks in which to whack him and no carrots to entice him, there simply is no reason for men to marry.
Child support, far more than no fault divorce, abortion, and contraception, is the legal force which underpins modern feminism. Child support is the solution to shotgun weddings, unhappy marriages, and strong husbands & fathers. No fault divorce is designed not just to destroy families, but to weaken husbands in all marriages. However child support is the economic arm which makes divorce an attractive option for wives, and therefore makes divorce a credible threat when there are children involved. Child support is also the incentive which makes it more attractive for single mothers to remain single than to marry the father.
In short, long before we convince Hollywood that marriage is sacred and fathers matter, we will have to convince conservatives and then moderates that this is true. By the time we get around to selling liberals on the importance of marriage and fathers we won’t need Hollywood’s help anyway. In theory it should be easiest to convince Christian conservatives that marriage is sacred, but realistically it will probably be secular conservatives who come around on this first. Merely being vocally ambivalent on the role of husbands and fathers is now at the extreme right of modern Christian culture. While convincing anyone, even conservatives, that marriage and fathers matter may seem impossible now, this will become easier as the full cost of the broken homes underwriting feminist “empowerment” becomes harder and harder to ignore.
That which cannot go on will not. That which is not going to work, that will end up in disaster, will not be subscribed to.
This may be why I find chick movies, with the heroine walking into the sunset with the hero, leaving human wreckage behind, are making me more and more angry. It is not the wedding or the first bedding that makes a marriage. But the daily putting the needs of others before yours, building a life out of sweat, blood and tears.
For true joy does not come out of some magic packet. It requires hard work. It always has. If is far easier to talk about empowerment, spirituality, and how hard the choice to damage another was than to see how you are judged.
For it is not by the creepy or cool male imperative: if you are James Bond or Code Monkey. Instead it is how the lives of those you touch are improved. And our society is set up in a way which is at toxic to families as it is to our waistline.
The congregation I meet with has breakfast before a nine am service weekly. We drag some people in for the coffee (which is OK) and the sugary buns (which is a weekly struggle to avoid). The service is early because sport has been moved to Sunday, since Saturday in NZ is a day of commerce, and on Sunday many shops are open.
If your business is in a mall, you have contractual obligations to open seven days a week — for ten, or at the busy time, twelve or even fourteen hours.
In this time, Jeremiah’s concern about the Sabbath seems quaint. The kind of things only the ultra-orthodox worry about. For the rest of us, Sunday is the busiest day for the food industry and entertainment and a day of shopping.
But perhaps the neglect of the sabbath is an early sign of societal fall.
Thus said the LORD to me: “Go and stand in the People’s Gate, by which the kings of Judah enter and by which they go out, and in all the gates of Jerusalem, and say: ‘Hear the word of the LORD, you kings of Judah, and all Judah, and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, who enter by these gates. Thus says the LORD: Take care for the sake of your lives, and do not bear a burden on the Sabbath day or bring it in by the gates of Jerusalem. And do not carry a burden out of your houses on the Sabbath or do any work, but keep the Sabbath day holy, as I commanded your fathers. Yet they did not listen or incline their ear, but stiffened their neck, that they might not hear and receive instruction.
“‘But if you listen to me, declares the LORD, and bring in no burden by the gates of this city on the Sabbath day, but keep the Sabbath day holy and do no work on it, then there shall enter by the gates of this city kings and princes who sit on the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, they and their officials, the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And this city shall be inhabited forever. And people shall come from the cities of Judah and the places around Jerusalem, from the land of Benjamin, from the Shephelah, from the hill country, and from the Negeb, bringing burnt offerings and sacrifices, grain offerings and frankincense, and bringing thank offerings to the house of the LORD. But if you do not listen to me, to keep the Sabbath day holy, and not to bear a burden and enter by the gates of Jerusalem on the Sabbath day, then I will kindle a fire in its gates, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem and shall not be quenched.’”
(Jeremiah 17:19-27 ESV)
Do I burden others on Sunday? Well, our habit is to go to church, then a long walk, then have brunch. Which could be anywhere — most of the photos I take are on Sundays, when I try to spend a couple of hours walking with a camera attached to me. Days on call excepted: for emergencies do mean I will work.
However, the day of rest has other purposes, and they relate to justice. I’m fairly well off, and work five days a week: some of my successful colleagues have cut down to four days, while the poor and those trapped by contractual obligations often work two jobs, seven days a week, to make what I can make in two days.
The Sabbath regulations ensure that everyone stops and everyone rests. That commerce takes a day off. That we depend on families, or worse, churches. That perhaps. the poor can eat more than breakfast at services.
When we lose the regulations around rest we start to break down the natural laws of hospitality and recompense that allow societies to function. Jeremiah told the princes of Judah, who had the law and a regulated sabbath, to obey them or their society will break.
God has not changed. The exhaustion of the poor damns us as much as that other sign that we are a broken society: the annual Gay Parade (Romans 1: and they were abandoned to their lusts… man for man, and woman for woman, paraphrased).
When we reform, we need to remember that we are not silicon chips or robots. We are mammalian, frail, but with a huge capacity to recovery.
If we rest. If we do not rest as per a schedule, we break down.