Oh, Canada.

My Daughter is married to a member of the Canadian Defence Force. As many will know, there have been two separate attacks on Canadian Defense Forces people in Ontario and Quebec: one at parliament. She posted this today: with her husband posted away from the Priaries where they live.

Our family is safe. But our Military family grieves. I know 6 years ago we sat down and decided to join a red and white family. We knew there would be stress and hard choices. But one thing we always thought was we would be helping far away lands it would not hit close to home. Well it has and I am proud of our CF Family and the fact that we banned together because it makes us stronger then we were. LOVE IS A CORD STRONGER THEN A CHAIN OF STEEL and can not be broken.

The Psalm tor today says.

Of David.

Fret not yourself because of evildoers; be not envious of wrongdoers! For they will soon fade like the grass and wither like the green herb.

Trust in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday.

Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices! Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil. For the evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for the LORD shall inherit the land.

In just a little while, the wicked will be no more; though you look carefully at his place, he will not be there. But the meek shall inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant peace.

The wicked plots against the righteous and gnashes his teeth at him, but the Lord laughs at the wicked, for he sees that his day is coming. The wicked draw the sword and bend their bows to bring down the poor and needy, to slay those whose way is upright; their sword shall enter their own heart, and their bows shall be broken.

Better is the little that the righteous has than the abundance of many wicked. For the arms of the wicked shall be broken, but the LORD upholds the righteous. The LORD knows the days of the blameless, and their heritage will remain forever;

(Psalm 37:1-18 ESV)

Our thoughts are with Canada today.

____________
Update: Added Ontario, Ottawa is on that side of the border. As Will said, both attacks were by recent converts to Islam. By your fruits you will know them: this Islamic State has stoned a woman for adultery (consult your gospels: Christ dealt with that in his time by shaming every person who was going to stone the woman into leaving).

Islam is the dark mirror of the gospel. Where we preach the law as a gateway to mercy, they proclaim mercy while insisting on a law that has… not any mercy at all.

Alhramba rugby Grounds, University precinct, Dunedin

The golden rule is not the gospel, nor the law.

The Golden Rule is not the gospel. It is true, and it is part of the law, but it misses the foundation of the law, which is that you will love the LORD your God with all you heart, and soul, and mind, and strength.

And Christ himself says that if you keep this you will live. There is an image in the psalms of a tree, well rooted and fertile, in a valley: to be contrasted with the desert, the wilderness. Palestine was surrounded by desert, and the ancients knew what good and fertile land looked like.

Alhramba rugby Grounds, University precinct, Dunedin

Alhramba rugby Grounds, University precinct, Dunedin

Now, from that shared foundation of what the Law is, Christ moves somewhere else. He brings in the despised outer, the Samaritans, with whom no observant Jew would have any business, as an example of what to do: and contrasts them with a priest and Levite who keep the regulations of purity but leave a man bleeding.


And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying
, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.”

But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”

(Luke 10:25-37 ESV)

The Golden rule is not the complete law. It is part of what some would call universal grace, that which all men share, that which is written in our hearts, our conscience. That which made Solzhenitsyn, while in military academy, refuse to join the Cheka: when he saw what the vanguard of the revolution was doing it disgusted him.

Many philosophers have and will expound the golden rule, and those who argue that hedonism and selfishness are better rules are left having to explain why this will help our neighbour.

But there is an implication in all this: none of us keep the law. We have all done things that shame us. We all have acts that prick our conscience, and we awake in the night, full of shame and regret. This is normal, this is healthy. To expunge shame, and guilt, and grief is to make yourself less than human, and I speculate if that is a sin against the Holy Spirit.

For the gospel is not about the Law, written or unwritten: the law is good, and right, and just, and true. The gospel is about our broken state. It is about mercy. It is about being rescued, by those we despise.

It is not about self-esteem, and definitely not about self righteousness. Christ was not interested in disputing Talmudic details: he was interested in saving souls. For there is a final risk: in our temptation to regulate all things so we can live righteously, we forget to be merciful, and again become proud. And that the Gospel has never been about.

The secular world is fungible

I often think of the Greens as a cult. Their original sin is existing: they worship nature, and the want to preserve all the cute plants and animals on this earth. Given a choice between impoverishing people and regulating clean air, they will choose clean air.

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And I think this is driven by a perversion of the Apocalypse. They see nature falling apart under our stewardship, even when it is not. The waters of the Manukau harbour are now safe to swim in, as are the beaches in Dunedin: neither was the case in my childhood, when raw sewage was pumped in. But big infrastructure costs: the more interesting thing is that with so many people now living off the grid that the septic tank and water collection systems have improved considerably to the point (along with new technologies, such as efficient and cheap solar panels or even the fusion nukes that Lockheed claims to have made) that making our environment cleaner has become easier.

We don’t need a hair shirt, and we don’t need to feel guilty. Instead we should praise God: I was muttering a quick prayer of thanks first thing as I cut a handful of flat leaf parsley from the huge bunch in the garden to put in the boys’ breakfast.

For the early signs of God’s judgment is the loss of standards and morals in our society. That we lose a sense of duty, and allow our vices to enslave us. The destruction of nature happens later, it is part of the endgame.

When the Lamb opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. Then I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them. And another angel came and stood at the altar with a golden censer, and he was given much incense to offer with the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar before the throne, and the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, rose before God from the hand of the angel. Then the angel took the censer and filled it with fire from the altar and threw it on the earth, and there were peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning, and an earthquake.

Now the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared to blow them.

The first angel blew his trumpet, and there followed hail and fire, mixed with blood, and these were thrown upon the earth. And a third of the earth was burned up, and a third of the trees were burned up, and all green grass was burned up.

The second angel blew his trumpet, and something like a great mountain, burning with fire, was thrown into the sea, and a third of the sea became blood. A third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.

The third angel blew his trumpet, and a great star fell from heaven, blazing like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water. The name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters became wormwood, and many people died from the water, because it had been made bitter.

The fourth angel blew his trumpet, and a third of the sun was struck, and a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of their light might be darkened, and a third of the day might be kept from shining, and likewise a third of the night.

Then I looked, and I heard an eagle crying with a loud voice as it flew directly overhead, “Woe, woe, woe to those who dwell on the earth, at the blasts of the other trumpets that the three angels are about to blow!”

(Revelation 8 ESV)

One of the things that Christ said that when he returns the earth will be on the brink of collapse. But we are not there: I am not sure if the Lockheed Martin proclamation that they have proof of concept for fusion reactors is a hoax, a breakthrough, or a sign of the end.

But this does not matter. We are not to know the hour or the day.

But we can take from this one thing. The secular world, and the ideologies of that world, are fungible. The parts can be interchanged: they are of little value: you can replace a king with a president and a president with a prime minister and society will keep on going.

Our governments are not quite as temporary as a newspaper, but like them, their future is being accounted as rubbish, Fishwrap. Eventually, those companies who seem to control so much: Google, Microsoft, Apple…. will be akin to Central Dynamics and Bell Telephone. There is a life cycle for all secular events. So do not put your trust into them.

What will be left at the end is the peoples of this earth. Your duties, man and woman of God, is to raise your children in the faith, provide for your family and your Kirk, and by the work of your life and the words of your mouth be a witness to God, bringing glory to his name.

Let the Greens have their error. We have work to do.

Bullshit and Compulsory Doxxing. [On the road to perdition #2]

I have always assumed that email is akin to writing postcards. The trouble is that email is how we talk. I email by boys, my Mum, the Photog… and last week when it was tough I sent a very snarky email to the Photog, the Mum, and my friends. Who I can trust to keep things private.

But not good enough. Doxxing must happen. Shaming must be public. The latest example in the Antipodes is New Matilda — who are publishing a partial list of emails to demonstrate that a professor does not think correctly.

I call this bullshit. I do not care of Professor Burr offends the SJW. So would Beethoven. Or Ezra Pound — a fascist, but he could write.

I have brought the great ball of crystal;

Who can lift it?

Can you enter the great acorn of light?
But the beauty is not the madness
Tho’ my errors and wrecks lie about me.
And I am not a demigod,
I cannot make it cohere.

But the SJW, akin to the Maoist Red Guard, must denounce. A previous generation locked Pound up in an asylum rather than executing him (for he was a traitor) this generation merely drums one out of tenure. Particularly if you are white, and male. Which is why I am now using a notebook to define ideas, and emails to publish them. As a commentator said:


To think that this has been going on for two years
, or has been recorded via email for two years, and his friends and colleagues think it is acceptable.

My son once told his teacher, during his HSC year a few years back, that he thought the curriculum was too ‘white’ and she said to him, ‘You’re just daydreaming.’ Yesterday (he now studies at Sydney Uni, but not English – he loathed English after enduring Advanced English) he told me the following: “Now that this has been exposed, I wonder what the same high school teachers think. There I was thinking I was an idiot for thinking the course was biased toward one culture – white.”

The only positive thing to come from this horrid revelation is that the university will need to address the issues, investigate the other members of staff that engaged with Spurr and participated in this sick ‘whimsical linguistic’ game. Hopefully the curriculum will be overhauled, with new individuals appointed to oversee it and add some balance.

But Spurr is not the only pompous boor in the English department at Sydney University. There are others who are just as ridiculous.

Yeah, freaking right. Spurr used words you should not use: Darkie, Fatso…. he is a chauvinist for the Aussie. He looks back to a monoculture, and he misses it: my main critique of what he has published is that he is too sentimental. But most artists are bastards: actively unpleasant. Many are drunk — in NZ that includes McCahon and Baxter, the two best modernists we have.

Please note that we all have to be re educated into this fresh hell.

This is standard shaming tactics. The best thing Spurr could do is write some poetry. And keep on teaching. Do not fold, do not apologize. Rejoice in the scabrous underbelly of our language.

For if the SJW cannot find anything to shame us with that is public, they will demand that we reveal all: that we name ourselves, that we Doxx ourselves.

The following quote may be attributed to Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Legal Counsel Erik Stanley regarding the city of Houston’s preliminary response Friday to an ADF motion to quash the city’s request for the sermons and communications of pastors in Woodfill v. Parker:

“The city of Houston still doesn’t get it. It thinks that by changing nothing in its subpoenas other than to remove the word ‘sermons’ that it has solved the problem. That solves nothing. Even though the pastors are not parties in this lawsuit, the subpoenas still demand from them 17 different categories of information – information that encompasses speeches made by the pastors and private communications with their church members. As we have stated many times, the problem is the subpoenas themselves; they must be rescinded entirely. The city must respect the First Amendment and abandon its illegitimate mission to invade the private communications of pastors for the purpose of strong-arming them into silence in a lawsuit that concerns nothing more than the authenticity of citizen petitions.”

It is time to work and love and produce. And completely ignore the regulators. Do not ask their permission. Do not beg their forgiveness. We need to form again the invisible college, and support those who think badly, but make beauty. Be they pastors, poets, or even academics.

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The Church is not tribal.

If you have a modern cellphone, you always have a camera. One son was playing in an orchestra last night — this was taken around 8PM looking over one of the university hostels and the hospital. The sky lit up: I wanted a better sensor than that in my smartphone, for this captures but a quarter of the scene. And yes, it is that light: daylight saving and the southernmost university in the world does that by mid October.

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In this world there is beauty, glory and at times power. We are not called to regret enjoying these things: they are given to us. They are good. But they are tools. and we have to recall that this nation is not ours, nor is this land ours. We are pilgrims. As the Hobbit was told, there was another nation on this land before us, and when we are forgotten yet another will tend the fields we love.


The seventy-two returned with joy
, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!” And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

In that same hour he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”

Then turning to the disciples he said privately, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see! For I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.”

(Luke 10:17-24 ESV)

There are three errors that Christians make: one is to spend too much time on the beauty of this world, of nature. even our objects designed for devotion can be a trap. Now, the ikon lover says that the image is not divine, but reminds us of that which is divine, of heroes, of martyrs. We need to remember that the nations we live in, are loyal to, can kill us, and can be destroyed: as surely as the Soviets killed the Romanovs, and were themselves destroyed.

The Church is not tribal. It is universal: every nation, every tribe will worship Christ. So to the sole Russian reader, that means Americans, to the Americans, that means the French, and the the French that means Austrians, to the Austrians, that means Jews.

The second error is to deny that the church bas power, to heal, to intervene, to do the work of Christ. There is no such thing as dispensationalism. The reasons Christ sent out 72 disciples exist, and the gifts of grace, of the Holy Spirit, exist. We should celebrate the miracles that happen, particularly on the mission fields, and not come up with theological explanations for our lack of power and fervour.

nastsicon

The final error is to chase power as an end to itself. To consider the church as akin to a role-playing game, where you want to hit level 100 as some kind of spiritual secular maze. We are not on this earth to seek power. We are here to drive the works of evil back. We are here to bear witness to Christ. But we belong elsewhere.

If we rejoice, it should not be in our tribe, but in the gospel: and that our friends will meet us in heaven. If we grieve, it should be for the friends that have been lost to the spirit of this age, that grinds men and women into mere shells of what they should be, and then damns them to the trash heap when they are broken, and no longer useful idiots.

The church is not tribal. Do not let the elite put you on some tribal plantation to farm your vote. I am reformed: but if on a Sunday I cannot find an evangelical kirk, or a protestant one, I will stand in the back of a Catholic or Orthodox one: although their theology is strange and I do not know the antiphons. For Christ is not limited to our denominations or tribes, and with my brothers it is my duty to be.

Notes on the perditon of this time… first in a series.

The liberals in the USA have moved beyond their colleagues in the Commonwealth. The PCANZ — Kiwi Presbyterians — has just ruled that any minister of the church cannot marry a gay couple in any capacity, as many ministers are also registered as celebrants. But this has been made illegal… In Idaho?

City officials told Donald Knapp that he and his wife Evelyn, both ordained ministers who run Hitching Post Wedding Chapel, are required to perform such ceremonies or face months in jail and/or thousands of dollars in fines. The city claims its “non-discrimination” ordinance requires the Knapps to perform same-sex wedding ceremonies now that the courts have overridden Idaho’s voter-approved constitutional amendment that affirmed marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

“The government should not force ordained ministers to act contrary to their faith under threat of jail time and criminal fines,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco. “Many have denied that pastors would ever be forced to perform ceremonies that are completely at odds with their faith, but that’s what is happening here – and it’s happened this quickly. The city is on seriously flawed legal ground, and our lawsuit intends to ensure that this couple’s freedom to adhere to their own faith as pastors is protected just as the First Amendment intended.”

Homosexual marriage is legal in NZ: we do have human rights rules, and this has forced the church to teach more clearly. The PCANZ allows eldership in two conditions (a) the Godly Celibate and (b) faithful and loving marriage between a man and woman. That is it: the rest of us can sit in the pews, where we belong. Not all are called to leadership: there are qualifications, and managing your wife and family well is one of the requirements if you are married.

And if we are told we must allow our buildings or ministers to marry — we will refuse: the local elders will only allow our church buildings to be used for marriage by a bona fide minister of religion, and (although some congregations are overtly disobeying the assembly on this) we have not as much interference and restriction on our freedom as occurs in the fascist anarchy that the USA seems to be descending into.

The Wintry Knight comments.


I think that the type of Christianity taught by parents and pastors is also to blame
. They keep telling us that Christianity is about God helping you to feel good, and be nice to other people, so they like you. Everything is about feeling good here and now. Feelings. Compassion. Non-judgmentalism. Irrationality. Nothing is about truth, nothing is about facts, nothing is about conflict. We have witnessed the feminization of the church, and as a result, nobody has any response to the rhetoric of the gay rights people. If Christianity is about being nice, being liked and feeling good, then we have no resistance to the gay rights movement’s rhetoric which urges us to “be nice” so we can be liked, and feel good.

Declaring that morally wrong practices are actually morally good is only a virtue to those who want to be liked above all. And that’s what the church has become. We are more concerned about appearing nice to others that we are about finding ways to make what the Bible teaches make sense to non-Christians. We want to be liked more than we want to tell the truth, and debate it.

One of those inconvenient truths is that we are not liked by this world. We will not be liked by this world. The world is opposed to us: we have the truth, and the world does not want people to hear it or see it.

We can be Godly and truthful. We can be faithful. We can not afford to be nice: Christ was not nice, and neither should we be.

Deleted from Google, the church will be.

I do not worry about the future of the Church, for it is glorious. I worry more about my generation, for they appear to be heading to perdition: it appears that (as we move into a post modern form of Victorianism where one’s power correlates with the ability to faint in outrage over smaller and smaller things) that the bigger issue is that we will be called trolls, convicted of hate speech, lose our ability to host things, have complaints to be deleted from Google, and removed from this marketplace into that grey part of the net where no index exists, akin to the map where the cartographers used to say Dragons lived.

For if we are faithful, we will be deemed to be homophobic, against Islam (for destroying the pretensions of both the Cathedral and the Islamist are the first steps in evangelism). There is a reason I pay for this web site to be up, and do not use wordpress.

WordPress would be more convenient.

But I need to pray more for this generation: as the hippies go to meet our maker us punks have a problem. We had some recollection of the faith before divorce destroyed our families. And we rejected it, like our parents and our older brothers.

But to do that we miss out on the glory to come.

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”

Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?” I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

“Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

(Revelation 7:9-17 ESV)

I am not worried about the Church, for God runs it, God controls it, and even the gates of hell cannot destroy it. I do worry about our nations: for as we lose the faith, we become credulous, foolish and tyrannical. We lose our sense of charity and we become tribal. We forget that in that great crowd John saw there were people of all nations, all languages, all tribes.

And they were leading the worship. If you click on the next video, be aware that it is Orthodox, in Church Serbian, and very long… the music of the church has taken many forms, not all of them hillsong. And they will all be part of that cloud of witnesses, and mixed into the melody.

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All under the cloud: against the nominalism of this age.

Michelle Shocked used to be a feminist hero, but converted: and feminism is indeed a jealous God, that chases down their apostates to the third generation. I am not sure if the music link to grooveshark will work, but there is music for the reading this Sunday.

Psalm by Michelle Shocked on Grooveshark

When Israel went out from Egypt, the house of Jacob from a people of strange language, Judah became his sanctuary, Israel his dominion. The sea looked and fled; Jordan turned back. The mountains skipped like rams, the hills like lambs.

What ails you, O sea, that you flee? O Jordan, that you turn back? O mountains, that you skip like rams? O hills, like lambs?

Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob, who turns the rock into a pool of water, the flint into a spring of water.

(Psalm 114 ESV)

Over the last week I have been using the quotes from the law and prophets as much if not more than the gospels. There is no contradiction here: God is not a man, that he should change his mind. His words are reliable, and we should learn from them. As the faults of the heroes of Israel — including the Psalmist — had consequences for the generations that followed, so it is today. We can call things whatever we like, but we still struggle with the same sins, idol worship being one of them.


Nominalism, is it?
That vast grey conspiracy of grasping fingers reaching to chain our friends and beloveds into the purgatory of this world? -growls softly-

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For I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud
, and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ. Nevertheless, with most of them God was not pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness.

Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did. Do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.” We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day. We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents, nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer. Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come. Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

(1 Corinthians 10:1-13 ESV)

I am not drawing a long bow when I say that the words of the Bible, the gospel, Christ himself only matter if they are true. This is why there are continual promotions of myths and false anthropology, philology… to disprove these words. For the words do not point to some spiritual gym, or means of self affirmation of our own sense that we are perfect, but to truth. Paul was writing to Corinth, who were not unaware of sexual depravity (although this generation would be damned by them — not as much for our homosexuality as for our institutionalized impiety).

Instead we are warned to keep the laws. For our own good. The way we show our love of Christ is by keeping his commands, and it is not loving to take another’s wife and destroy her marriage, or encourage young people to despoil themselves, making themselves unfit for marriage, or to steal, or to cheat, or to lie. You don’t need to have faith to know this: the Buddhist, the Hindu, the Bushman in the desert and the Islamist will pause killing Christians to agree with that

But when your idol is revolution, either within by developing a new sense of self (by meditation: drugs failed sixty years ago) or by changing our society and bringing Jerusalem to Otago, then any means is licit and words have to be slippery. You cannot have principles, and you cannot accept correction.

Consider the need we all have to discipline our diet and exercise. To eat well, not eat junk and to move: most of us know this well. But if we say it now — the rabbits will descend with fire and sword, for one cannot say that you are fat, you need to get fit.

When we do. We are under one of two clouds in this life: either the cloud of God, which guided Israel through the desert; in which we find ourselves drawn to obedience, or the cloud of rebellion, in which we will wander in despair. For Hearthie is correct about this post-modern world: we are not making heaven on this world, but a dark satanic mill that drives people to despair.

When we need to commit to one another. Only in being committed to each other, and to God, can we find joy. The Amos knew this would cost: she chose to marry an Englishman, and leave to live under those clouds. So to finish up…

Removing liberal ideas from the meme pool.

I have both active blogs open at the moment, as I am downloading photos for the other. It appears that there are now 1480 posts here and 360 posts there. Everyone is getting ready in the USA for winter and All Saint’s day (Hallow’even) but over here the spring is coming in and the wild flowers are out:
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Vox is one smart man: he quotes another very smart man (Tolkien) on the nature of chivalry, and its underlying faults: since that time, when the Lady decided to step down from her throne after she had shattered religion, she was left hurt, for the knights will not worship a fellow survivor of a shipwreck.

There is in our Western culture the romantic chivalric tradition still strong, though as a product of Christendom (yet by no means the same as Christian ethics) the times are inimical to it. It idealizes ‘love’ — and as far as it goes can be very good, since it takes in far more than physical pleasure, and enjoins if not purity, at least fidelity, and so self-denial, ‘service’, courtesy, honour, and courage. Its weakness is, of course, that it began as an artificial courtly game, a way of enjoying love for its own sake without reference to (and indeed contrary to) matrimony. Its centre was not God, but imaginary Deities, Love and the Lady. It still tends to make the Lady a kind of guiding star or divinity – of the old-fashioned ‘his divinity’ = the woman he loves – the object or reason of noble conduct. This is, of course, false and at best make-believe. The woman is another fallen human-being with a soul in peril. But combined and harmonized with religion (as long ago it was, producing much of that beautiful devotion to Our Lady that has been God’s way of refining so much our gross manly natures and emotions, and also of warming and colouring our hard, bitter, religion) it can be very noble. Then it produces what I suppose is still felt, among those who retain even vestigiary Christianity, to be the highest ideal of love between man and woman. Yet I still think it has dangers. It is not wholly true, and it is not perfectly ‘theocentric’. It takes, or at any rate has in the past taken, the young man’s eye off women as they are, as companions in shipwreck not guiding stars.

Within the faith, this is not a problem. We are fallen, yes, We are imperfect, yes. And the more we know about ourselves the more aware we are of our sins, and how they move beyond the sins that are so roundly condemned within and without the kirk. For if we are looking to Christ, we can love each other truly and fully: we are not making our spouse our God. That is part of the Hindu-ization of our society, that self esteem is all; and that we worship ourselves.

For that is at best make believe and at worst a grievious error that only those made enough to have delusions will be innocent of. We are not fit for worship, and we never will be. God is: for he created us: God is, for he redeemed us at great cost to himself: God is, for he is active and intervenes. And it is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

Which brings us to the issue of post modernism: that of nominalism: if we define it this way, so it is. Which only makes sense if there is no science, indeed no shamanism: the shaman is in error about many things, but he knows that there are things that are real, and that he must placate them: to him it is not myth or metaphor, but reality. But we have lost that basic wisdom.

The modern crisis all goes back to nominalism. The modern muddlings of clear definitions, confusions of really and essentially different things, and denials of essences or definitions in the first place are all outworkings of the nominalist turn. Once suppose that categories are merely conventional, that universals are merely nominal, that life is never simply black or white, but rather only shades of grey, and you find yourself on a steep and slippery slope to chaos.

We see this with marriage, lately. Once you budge from the idea that marriage is the permanently binding lifelong commitment of total loyalty between a man and a woman, you open the door to all sorts of insanity. Likewise with sex: once disagree that the only properly licit sex is the sort that married people can have with each other, and the whole social order begins to deliquesce.

Likewise also with abortion. The whole idea that abortion is not murder depends on the premise that the embryo is not a person. But this notion is wrong. Nature herself distinguishes quite clearly between a woman’s own cells and those of her children. Their chemistry, their proteins, are just different, and foreign to each other. The new and foreign person begins inside the mother when the new and foreign proteins of the child appear at conception, from the new and foreign combination of parental DNA. Immunologically, there is no confusion about this distinction on the part of nature. The cells of mother and child are cells of different animals. They apprehend each other quite clearly as foreigners, invaders, and potential threats, and elaborate mechanisms must be employed to stifle the immunological war that would otherwise pit them against each other, so that the pregnancy may proceed.

Once you decide that abortion is not murder, then other forms of murder become thinkable: infanticide, euthanasia, genocide (not so much, these days, of peoples inimical to one’s own, but certainly perhaps of the sort of “low men,” knuckle-walkers, and mouth breathers who love and honor her patrimony), eugenics, and so forth. It is but a step, then, to the thought that assassination is a proper tool of politics, business, or relations among families; to feud, vendetta, rapine, kidnapping, slavery.

Discriminations and discernments, limits and ordinations, laws and rules are the foundation and infrastructure, the skeleton and immune system of society. Without them, men have no way even to talk to each other. Society per se could be characterized as a set of agreements about what is what, and what is not. Muddle or vitiate the popular recognition of the real limits between things the least little bit, and lethal trouble must then soon follow. For, the limits are simple, clear, stark, and consequential. Depart from them, and all is muddied, and confused, and weakened. Nature abhors such weakness, and deletes it as quickly as may be; for nature herself is quite clear, and unconfused. It’s definitions, or death.

A sane society allows one to argue from nature, to test a policy by the results of it. But that is unacceptable, for the progressive policies have been tried of the last fifty years… and have failed about as completely as the Stalinist experiment did fifty years previously. And, like the latter Soviets, they are retreating to theory, for real life contradicts their ideas and policies.

And this is why I don’t particularly fear for the church. I do worry about those under attack from modernists — at the moment it is the Romans — but over time the liberal led branches of Christianity have died out and one is left with only believers. Who turn to the word of God, for in that teaching is life, and truth, and health. The current forae on the family the Romans are having is the last gasp of the liberals, who are seeing their time on this earth ending, and who want to cement a liberal polity in place.

The church needs to remain close to Christ, which sustains it: that is the lesson of the vine and vineyard. If we deviate from the gospel we die, as surely as if we walked through the Sahara without water. It is an ecclesiastical version of the Darwin award, removing your error from the meme pool.

For in the end, the church is not for us: it is for Christ. To do his work in this life, and to be his bride in the next.

Hard work, plain speaking or Political correctness?

Jesus healed people, and as someone who works in one of the healing trades, I get some comfort that he got irritated by those who just kept on coming to see him. One of the reasons we teach self care to medical students and talk boundaries to our colleagues is that we are fully aware that we are likely to call our patients, out loud, faithless, peverse, and demanding.

We are likely to say that we are exhausted. And any of those statements, though true, is a career ending move. At times that means that I retreat back up the mountain until I can control the snark, for the snark exists, and the only place it is useful is twitter. [1]

But we need not fear our careers being ruined. During the conference I was chairing the leftist political people kept on making political statements while praising the scientific committee for a good, scientific programme. Not seeing what they are doing, and what their assumptions were: in particular being snide about Nicky Hager and the dirty Politics “leaking” of information from the government to a blogger (Whaleoil) — using stolen emails and facebook posts.

I was silent. I’m probably in the stolen facebook posts: some years when Cam (the main whaleoil editor) was going through a bad patch we had some facebook chats. About how his illness was awful: having friends who support you via facesplat used to be one of the reasons it exists — and the main reason I still have an account.

Christ was looking to the cross. The people wanted him to stay, and heal them. He knew the cost of being healing to all the nations, and his duty.

And, as the great physician Christ is, he did his duty. As should we all.

On the next day, when they had come down from the mountain, a great crowd met him. And behold, a man from the crowd cried out, “Teacher, I beg you to look at my son, for he is my only child. And behold, a spirit seizes him, and he suddenly cries out. It convulses him so that he foams at the mouth, and shatters him, and will hardly leave him. And I begged your disciples to cast it out, but they could not.” Jesus answered, “O faithless and twisted generation, how long am I to be with you and bear with you? Bring your son here.” While he was coming, the demon threw him to the ground and convulsed him. But Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit and healed the boy, and gave him back to his father. And all were astonished at the majesty of God.

But while they were all marveling at everything he was doing, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let these words sink into your ears: The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men.” But they did not understand this saying, and it was concealed from them, so that they might not perceive it. And they were afraid to ask him about this saying.

An argument arose among them as to which of them was the greatest. But Jesus, knowing the reasoning of their hearts, took a child and put him by his side and said to them, “Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me. For he who is least among you all is the one who is great.”

John answered, “Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he does not follow with us.” But Jesus said to him, “Do not stop him, for the one who is not against you is for you.”

(Luke 9:37-50 ESV)

OK… what should we do? Well, in Christ we are to see each other as radically equal. Equally broken. Equally in need of salvation. Even if we are powerful and rich in the terms of this world, by the standards of heaven our greatest and best achievements are trash. We are all dependant on the word of God. We are as little children.

There is a second application. We need to be aware that the salvation is spread widely. God cares as much for our enemies as ourselves. He cares for the Islamists, for they have children who do not know their right hand from their left, and (as Jonah reminded us) he cares for the very animals in our cities and civilisations. We are not to condemn those who do good in the name of Christ, but help them: ally with them. If this means that the reformed believers are defending the orthodox (who do not acknowledge them) or the Anabaptists the Romans (who killed them) then we are doing our duty. There is a general witness to all, called our conscience, and a second witness, the laws of nature. This allows us to call things twisted: allows us to do analysis of our society and culture, and gives us a line on which to measure our own behaviour.

Of course, none of this is acknowledged by the progressives. They want but one message, and that is that we act as they demand.

In that book, I documented that cultural progressive activists tend to consider their political opponents to be irrational, religious individuals trying to move our culture backwards. They have little respect for their political opponents. They often express concerns about the ability of religious individuals to have influence on our political system. With this sort of mindset, it is easy to perceive a motivation from Houston officials, if they are cultural progressive activists, to gather sermons and other material in an effort to “expose” the irrationality and intolerance of their political opponents. Whether the documents are relevant to the current court case may be less important to these officials than stopping the efforts of those who would take our culture backwards.

My suggestion is that it is not as much a fear of Christians as it is the fear of the socially conservative culture linked to Christians driving these subpoenas. The lack of respect cultural progressive activists have for their political opponents allow them to rationalize using the legal system to “dig up dirt” on them. In my sample, I found several individuals who did not believe that religious individuals had the right to fully participate in our political progress. A good number of respondents also articulated a belief that religious individuals are brainwashed and cultural conservative political movements have developed due to the manipulation of ignorant Christians by evil leaders. Thus the political claims in this movement are not legitimate claims by people seeking to serve their own social and material interests, but are the result of manipulation whereby they have been persuaded to vote against their own economic and social interest. When we recognize that many cultural progressive activists do not see cultural conservatives as legitimate political players in our governmental system, then the overreaching request make a great deal of sense.

I am glad I waited a day or two before submitting this blog as new information indicates that the Houston mayor is backing away from some of the requests. Since she is a lesbian who is an activist on sexuality issues, it clearly would look political bad to have her requesting sermons from conservative preachers. Indeed this does look like an incredible political faux pas, one that an experience politician would not make unless blinded by previous stereotypes of her political opponents. The type of stereotypes I discovered in my cultural progressive activists research helps explain such a mistake.

Most of the progressives think I am one of them because I have a reasonable level of academic chops. One of the things I saw in the most recent meeting (and with some pleasure) that my old university has grants and is moving to getting needed research done. I appreciated advice from colleagues from Christchurch about what I needed to do next. I’m not jealous of other’s success, I’m hungry for their results. We all stand on the work of others. The big conversation was about networks, and in those networks we do have an ability to influence others.

Well, the answer is that Christians need to take seriously the need to speak and act intelligently when dealing with non-Christians. We need to study apologetics, yes. But we also need to be good at knowing other things – practical things, academic things. We should be able to earn a living and share with others. We should be able to demonstrate sobriety, discipline and chastity. We should be able to explain rationally and evidentially all the moral beliefs that non-Christians find the most objectionable. We should have an interest in current events, economics, law, politics and foreign policy. Etc. We have to be able to out-think our rivals, and win their respect the same way that Joseph won the respect of Pharaoh, and Daniel won the respect of Nebuchadnezzar.

I think it’s interesting that Dr. George Yancey himself is an excellent example of what I am talking about. He is a full professor at the University of North Texas, and has published books with Oxford University Press. If people want to know if it is possible to be a Christian and be intelligent, this is exactly who we need to show them – and who we need to be. We should be working on this! And raising our kids to counteract these perceptions that the secular leftists have of us. Often, the secular leftists are raised in Christian homes, see the anti-intellectualism in popular Christianity firsthand, then head off to university to train as a persecutor. We have to shape up and stop this from happening. We are train our own executioners, because of our laziness, ignorance and cowardice.

My brother the knight has made one error here, OUP does and will publish trash if there is a commercial justification for doing so: it is a commercial publishing house with some connections to Oxford.

But he is correct. We need to have knowledge, we need to be honest. And that will take courage.

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1. The text in other translations is “faithless and perverse generation”. The ESV uses twisted, which in this time is a better translation, for perversions are not merely sexual. I used the version I have read hundreds of times.