Love drives out fear.

I was checking the links and noted this comment by Hearthie, from the now dormant traditional Christianity. It is an example of what hospitality means, and plain common sense. Screenshot from 2015-04-25 11:49:30

You know, when the banger with the pitbull chases his dog over to me, it’s not like I don’t feel that fear moment. But I wasn’t targetable at 15 when I went to HS with them, at 40? Puhleeze. Invisibility cloak? I have one. Now, I do choose not to open the ball of wax that starts with “wearing a bandanna to cover my hair” because we have Bloods and Crips wandering around occasionally, and … why take the chance? That’s just dumb. Although they seem to have changed over to wearing sports clothing. -shakes head- I never can keep up with the winds of fashion.

I look like a young Mrs. Santa Claus, the only trouble I’ve had was a guy a couple doors down who tried to stare me down. Really. You’re 8 inches taller than I am, male, have tats on your neck, are dressed in gang clothing and in your early 20s? Really? You’re staring ME down? Doesn’t that make you feel like five inches high? Are you going to kick puppies next?

Fortunately the nice SWAT team took care of my problem about a month later.

Really, I’m not advocating that we talk to the scary guys. And some guys ARE scary. I don’t talk to the crazy homeless guy – but I DO talk to the nice homeless man. (I don’t talk to the scary homeless lady either, let’s do be fair).

We *can* take the chance and be nicer than we have been – it’s a cold cruel world out there, and a smile is a cheap commodity.

Well, I grew up in an area where the Mongrel Mob drank at one pub and Black Power in the pub next door. When I was a skinny geek wearing coke bottle glasses. And I learned to scan streets… carefully, and dress like the locals. It’s called being discreet. But that does not mean that I don’t smile and talk.

And it means that I have listened to the Photog and daughter and sister and let my hair grow out of a crew cut. Because then I look like an aging gangbanger. Which is a different kind of invisibility cloak.

One of the difficult things you have to do with kids ie sxpose them to this stuff under control: to explain — did I say that I’m a geek and the kids have not that different a group of personalities? — exactly why this Maori guy is OK and that one is not. To have some caution and also some wariness.

It’s good practice. For the kind of trolls who live in the senior common room can do more damage to you than the patched men drinking in their refuge.

And it is our duty to be hospitable. To give the daily courtesy of being graceful. With discretion: but to not close off from those within our society. For if we do not let love drive our fear, we become as one with the Anabaptists, sitting in what we think is a small, holy community, fearing the outside, and trying not to remember that evil lives in the heart of all.

The duty of laity (on ANZAC day). [III John]

I avoid crowds, and I mistrust the publick religion of this time. So, although I did watch a documentary on Andrew Russel last night (and I have read his autobiography: a good son of the Anglican church he was: and after the first world war he put his energy into the rehabilitation of veterans) I am not at the parade this morning.

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I did not serve. I honour those who did. And in this time it is far more important to do what is needed for the church and thus indirectly the community, rather than think that the works of the past generations should suffice.

Which brings us to the third letter of John, who started is life as a Galilean Jew: written to Gaius — that Good Roman name, and warning of the false teaching of Diotrephes, whose name is Greek. The next generation was about to move the church forward: those who had seen Jesus resurrected — tha five hundred still living when Paul wrote, were no longer alive.

And like Russell noted when reflecting on that disaster that was Gallipoli, we need to look beyond nationality to the humanity of all.

The elder to the beloved Gaius, whom I love in truth.

Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul. For I rejoiced greatly when the brothers came and testified to your truth, as indeed you are walking in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.

Beloved, it is a faithful thing you do in all your efforts for these brothers, strangers as they are, who testified to your love before the church. You will do well to send them on their journey in a manner worthy of God. For they have gone out for the sake of the name, accepting nothing from the Gentiles. Therefore we ought to support people like these, that we may be fellow workers for the truth.

I have written something to the church, but Diotrephes, who likes to put himself first, does not acknowledge our authority. So if I come, I will bring up what he is doing, talking wicked nonsense against us. And not content with that, he refuses to welcome the brothers, and also stops those who want to and puts them out of the church.

Beloved, do not imitate evil but imitate good. Whoever does good is from God; whoever does evil has not seen God. Demetrius has received a good testimony from everyone, and from the truth itself. We also add our testimony, and you know that our testimony is true.

I had much to write to you, but I would rather not write with pen and ink. I hope to see you soon, and we will talk face to face.

Peace be to you. The friends greet you. Greet the friends, each by name.

(3 John ESV)

Now, what is the duty of the layman? Gaius is not called an elder: he is a member. Probably of some means: he has the ability to offer hospitality, and to help those who travel for the gospel. His duty, indeed a test of qualification for elder-ship, is the ability to open your home and let strangers in for the sake of Christ. The false doctrine of Diotrephes is reflected in his life, for he does not open his home, but lives in the foolish mystery that he created.

We are also told it is our duty to imitate that which is good. And indeed there was good in the ANZAC campaign: we added Beersheba and Megiddo to our battle honours as we liberated Palestine from the Ottoman yoke, making the Balfour declaration a living document, and paving the way for the restoration of Israel. And Russell did his duty at the Western Front, including warning against the third battle of Passchendaele, in which the artillery shelled the advancing NZ Division, which means the blackest day in NZ military history was the consequence of “friendly fire”. (For the Canadian readers, this is before the Canucks captured the village).

We have to seek the good where we are and wherever we be. We need to seek the beauty in the circumstances we are in. Our duty is to do good and to imitate those who do good: hospitality is a duty but also an example.

And if the spirit of this world hates us, and turns the institutions against us, we continue.

I don’t like crowds, and as New Zealand falls into a neo pagan syncretic worship of the old Maori Gods, I avoid the publick religion. But our duties remain. Previous generations did their duty, at great cost. Let us not be remiss at this time.

A suspicion of novelty [ II Jn ]

I repeat myself a lot. I talk about errors a lot. I try to talk about reformation a lot. For I consider repetition good: I mistrust novelty, and I need to continually remind myself of these things.

This is quite unlike the academic world, where the careful scholarship of meta analysis will not get funded (which I know from bitter experience: I printed off two reviews for a colleague to help with the final proof read yesterday…. and this work has been rejected by funding agencies in two countries).

But John says he not writing a new word. He is repeating himself. He says that those who have new commands or new words or novelty are false, and encourage us to leave Christ, when in him we should abide.

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The elder to the elect lady and her children, whom I love in truth, and not only I, but also all who know the truth, because of the truth that abides in us and will be with us forever:

Grace, mercy, and peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ the Father’s Son, in truth and love.

I rejoiced greatly to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as we were commanded by the Father. And now I ask you, dear lady—not as though I were writing you a new commandment, but the one we have had from the beginning—that we love one another. And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, so that you should walk in it. For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist. Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for, but may win a full reward. Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works.

Though I have much to write to you, I would rather not use paper and ink. Instead I hope to come to you and talk face to face, so that our joy may be complete.

The children of your elect sister greet you.

(2 John ESV)

The metaphor here is obvious from the context. The elect sister is the church. The children of the elect sister are the believers. The elder is John: who probably was the last apostle left. And he is seeing a winnowing. The apostates are declaring themselves, and they are leaving the kirk: the heretics are teaching novelty.

And instead he talks about how we show our love for God by obeying his commands, and our love for each other by putting the interests of the other before ourselves.

And John, like Paul, knows that a letter is no substitute for sitting with someone and talking to them. There is no substitute, for our words are but part of the message. The full message of Christ was his life: our full witness consists of remaining with him as the remnant is found in an apostate society. Our cities may be full of light, but within our society the darkness, which has always been there, is now bold.

So do not come here for novelty. The truth is ancient. What we have, instead, is blindfolds, carefully constructed, that we have been trained to wear, so we stumble. And those we need to take off.

1984 was not a textbook.

It appears that some people think this is real. Such people deserve all the mockery they get.

At your local campus, ready for your scorn.

And to avoid the butthurt, the petunias from the thought police want to gag you. Do not be them. Do not be like them.

Against this postmodern apostasy [I John 5]

The last sentence of this verse used to puzzle me. But no longer. I see too many people who follow their ideologies and worship them alone, damning those who do not. Who expect perfection for all others, and forgiveness for themselves regardless.

We have to keep ourselves from idols, particularly if they are our ideologies. For we can break in and destroy: for the sake of fleeting political gain.

We need to keep ourselves from idols. I’d speculate that this relates to the sin that we cannot be forgiven from, on which more is needed. I would argue, like Calvin, that this relates to an active rejection of such an extremity that no grace can prevail. It is not an offense, nor the simple worship of the spirit of the age, for that latter is universal in this degenerate time, and if that was the case none would be saved.

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I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life. And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.

If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask, and God will give him life—to those who commit sins that do not lead to death. There is sin that leads to death; I do not say that one should pray for that. All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that does not lead to death.

We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him.

We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.

And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.

Little children, keep yourselves from idols.

(1 John 5:13-21 ESV)

We need to be warned against the mind that will not accept the forgiveness that our brother can bring to us, and we need to watch that we do not project — place upon those in Christ — the damnation that our conscience whispers we deserve. There is a difference between preaching against sin and leaving the sinner in an unshriven state. For if we damn another, we would damn ourselves: before Christ we are all evil. And we need not fear the unforgivable sin, for God is greater than our acts.

But what does this mean? Here Calvin’s commentary helps: and it seems he had more than a few people come to him with troubled souls after reading this passage.


What, then, is the meaning of the Apostle?
He denies that sins are mortal, which, though worthy of death, are yet not thus punished by God. He therefore does not estimate sins in themselves, but forms a judgment of them according to the paternal kindness of God, which pardons the guilt, where yet the fault is. In short, God does not give over to death those whom he has restored to life, though it depends not on them that they are not alienated from life.

There is a sin unto death I have already said that the sin to which there is no hope of pardon left, is thus called. But it may be asked, what this is; for it must be very atrocious, when God thus so severely punishes it. It may be gathered from the context, that it is not, as they say, a partial fall, or a transgression of a single commandment, but apostasy, by which men wholly alienate themselves from God. For the Apostle afterwards adds, that the children of God do not sin, that is, that they do not forsake God, and wholly surrender themselves to Satan, to be his slaves. Such a defection, it is no wonder that it is mortal; for God never thus deprives his own people of the grace of the Spirit; but they ever retain some spark of true religion. They must then be reprobate and given up to destruction, who thus fall away so as to have no fear of God.

Were any one to ask, whether the door of salvation is closed against their repentance; the answer is obvious, that as they are given up to a reprobate mind, and are destitute of the Holy Spirit, they cannot do anything else, than with obstinate minds, become worse and worse, and add sins to sins. Moreover, as the sin and blasphemy against the Spirit ever brings with it a defection of this kind, there is no doubt but that it is here pointed out.

But it may be asked again, by what evidences can we know that a man’s fall is fatal; for except the knowledge of this was certain, in vain would the Apostle have made this exception, that they were not to pray for a sin of this kind. It is then right to determine sometimes, whether the fallen is without hope, or whether there is still a place for a remedy. This, indeed, is what I allow, and what is evident beyond dispute from this passage; but as this very seldom happens, and as God sets before us the infinite riches of his grace, and bids us to be merciful according to his own example, we ought not rashly to conclude that any one has brought on himself the judgment of eternal death; on the contrary, love should dispose us to hope well. But if the impiety of some appear to us not otherwise than hopeless, as though the Lord pointed it out by the finger, we ought not to contend with the just judgment of God, or seek to be more merciful than he is.

Now to those who think that us Calvinists have no place for free will in our theology, Calvin did allow for it, because one can reject the witness and word of God. ANd this is what the spirit of this age wants, for the spirit of this age is indeed apostate. ANd as it becomes more evil, it becomes more stupid.

The current liberal habit of shamelessly lying about their opponents makes civil debate impossible. Similarly, the mockery of non-liberals before stacked audiences of trained seals a la Jon Stewart is part and parcel of the same strategy of delegitimizing any opposition. Closing down the option of discussion leaves their opponents with only the option of action. So far, the action has only been in funding campaigns for oppressed pizzerias and in the voting booth – though they’ve trying to nullify that too.

I’m not advocating violence – I am warning liberals that they are setting the conditions for violence.

And that better worry them, for the coastal elites are uniquely unsuited to a world where force rules instead of law. The Serbs were, at least, a warrior people. The soft boys and girls who brought us helicopter parenting, “trigger warnings” and coffee cups with diversity slogans are not.

I grieve for the West and my culture. It is gong down the toilet. We have rejected the very salvation that made us great: the British Empire did much good, and much of that good was done by the missionary doctors and priests. In New Zealand, it is 200 years this year since the gospel was first preached: within 20 years (1835) the Maori people had converted and their habits of slavery, and using their enemies as food (or indeed their slaves) had ceased. The wars were genocidal, and weakened the nation: the almost collapse of the Maori population — again stopped by the tribes sending their best and brightest to be educated (when we did that) and then changing their habits so that infections disease did not spread (The introduction of childhood and infant nurses among Maori and Pakeha, which reduced mortality, happened in parallel) is a consequence of the Free Church Scots arriving in Dunedin in 1841 and having a university built by 1865.

We have fallen from Christendom into a neopagan sludge. We have stopped being smart and anre now stupid. Yes, I know that God preserves a remnant of all people, but I pray for revivial, and far more than a remnant. For tha alternative is a long night, and only those who have fled the modern Babylon our elite is building having their lives and honour. For in doing so, their fortunes will be sacrificed.

Peak academic stupid.

If this kind of arrant assholery occurred among people below the age of consent we would call it child abuse. But since this is a university it is more akin to fraud. A university is supposed to educate. To communicate to a moderately intelligent person, who has shown that they have not merely basic literacy but sufficient understanding of our society to function within it as a citizen — you are supposed to learn how to read and write and add in primary school, and in secondary school enough English and logic and rhetoric and natural philosophy (now called science) to participate within society, voting and the draft included — and expand their understanding of their society by comparing it with others. Including the past.

But instead of expanding the current liberal arts believe that the correct approach is to return to the kindergarten, and compete as to who can throw the best tantrum. The context of the post is that a person was disciplined for serving mexican food at a Science Fiction meeting because it is raciss against illegal immigrants. The stupid is not merely here, it is enshrined.

And so, once again, students are being encouraged to cultivate a kind of pretentious racial paranoia, in which almost any innocuous thing can, via mental convolution, be associated with some pretext for grievance, however dishonest and opportunistic. Once some mental association has been discovered or contrived, everyone must act as if the innocuous object or action were in reality malicious and/or wounding, whatever the actual intention and regardless of how absurd and/or dishonest the claim of grievance is. Because whatever association of things is in the accuser’s head is assumed to be in everyone else’s head too.

And lo, grammar and punctuation are deemed racist, and paper coffee cups too. And hair, and genteel gardening programmes. And beards, on white men, are harmful and oppressive, and “glorify behaviours typical of people in white hegemonies.”

Yes, it’s ludicrous and pernicious, and not at all accidental. Dr Golz and her peers are in effect saying to students, “You should want to be the guy who bitches about the alleged racist subtext of party snacks. And if you do choose to behave that way, we’ll reward you and flatter you and make you feel important, while making other people jump through clown hoops to appease the feelings you pretend to have.” And the more implausible and contrived the claim of victimhood is, the more status points accrue, supposedly on account of the complainant’s heightened sensitivity and mental prowess. He has fathomed an injustice mere mortals cannot see.

And bewildered onlookers are expected to pretend that this is a high and noble function of an academic institution.

There is a simpler model for this. It was developed in Scotland. You select for professional schools from school or after and intermediate year, and specialize immediately, letting the Arts and Sciences be separate. You keep the places in apprenticeships available, and limit the places at university so that you graduate enough professionals to keep your hospitals, trains and schools running, and allow the very bright to have their sheltered workshop: the Scots sensibly exported them to Oxford and Cambridge.

The Americans allowed the less able take over, drive the true scholars out, and are now racing to the bottom. Parents, if you love your children, keep them away from the academic stupid. Use tertiary education as a trade school only if cheaper alternatives will not suffice.

The Blood of Christ, not the blood of the tribe [I Jn 5]

The normal service of the lectionary has been resumed. We have a passage that requires more coffee, for thinking my way through this makes my head hurt. Yet it is important: for within it are a few promises those of faith stake their life on. That our belief is not in man, or our tribe, or our nation, but in the death and resurrection of Christ. Although our body will die and rot, we will see God in our flesh, and we will gain eternal life by the work of Christ.

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We are approaching the centenary of the landing at ANZAC cove, the start of a failed campaign which has been celebrated as our day of remembering those fallen in battle since the first world war. This is a time that the patriotic drum is being beaten in Australia and NZ. We are wearing poppies on our coats and on our wrists. But our tribe and our nation will not save us.

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

This is he who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not by the water only but by the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. For there are three that testify: the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three agree. If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater, for this is the testimony of God that he has borne concerning his Son. Whoever believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne concerning his Son. And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.

(1 John 5:1-12 ESV)

I’m aware that love comes in many types. Lewis, whose scholarship related to the invention of romantic love by the troubadours (before that we jogged on as a species with duty and desire) noted that apart from lust or desire and the wishing for the best or agape there is the love of friends, which is different, and love of our tribe.

Our county, our nation. The land in which our forebears are buried, the skies under which we are raised. What is, to us, Home. This is natural: one of the things I find in the South Island is that although the society is much more akin to that in which I grew up, the hills look wrong and the trees are the wrong species, for I grew up not in a temperate latitude. You can grow bananas in Auckland: in Dunedin the Lemon Trees are in glasshouses.

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The people who oppose our nations know this. There have been plots discovered to distrupt the events that are planned. But they miss the point. Our salvation does not lie in our nation, our confidence is not in our nation, for a nation is but made of men and men fail.

Our confidence is in Christ. All the components of the trinity bear witness to each other, and all are faithful. And the spirit makes the duties we have in Christ acceptable: so that which was a burden becomes less so, and may, by the grace of God, be transmuted into joy.

So, yes, let us pray that we love our brothers and sisters in Christ, as that we are commanded to do. And let us pray for the Prime Minister, and the Parliament, and our Queen and Governor. For two things: that they have indeed a saving faith: and that they allow us to live in peace, in sobriety, and in Godliness. For an evil elite does not leave us alone.

The decaying of institutions by the entryist.

One of the interesting things about entryism, and the colonization of fields, is that they become irrelevant. In my field this happened with psychotherapy (CBT is now done quite well by computers, thank you very much), and to a certain extent case management. And management, which, after all, is soft and susceptible to cultic movements. But the number of numerate women in my field, in my country, I need but one hand to count: the academic jobs and the hardest jobs are generally filled by men.

The entryists have taken over politics, and it is now irrelevant. Particularly American style federal politics, where the question is how to most gently manage the implosion of an empire made bankrupt… by the entryists.


The whole thing is now like an incredibly bad daytime soap opera
, so painfully inept even as fantasy that I can’t bear to attend to it. The whole exercise is so patently false, so obviously completely irrelevant, thoroughly dishonest, and most of all stupid, that as with an aggressively bad TV show, you have to wonder how the actors can bring themselves to say their lines. It’s so boring that the boredom of it is excruciating. I’d rather watch paint dry. Literally: this afternoon I watched as a sample of paint dried and changed color (to see if it would look right when it did)(I wasn’t wasting time, see?), and it was more interesting than the election news. The thought of actually sitting down to read something about Hillary, Marco et alia is about as alluring as the prospect of taking sandpaper to my fingertips.

It’s like the half-time show at the Superbowl: ginned up, fake, full of noise, flashes, skin, shouting, hurry, and spastic jerks, signifying … nothing whatsoever.

I have very little time for the elite, for they care only about language and process, and not solving the problem: in the case of Katie Hopkins — who is correct to say that we have a duty to protect our borders, including sending gunboats to turn refugees away — the language is seen as ungoodthink, and the dangers of bankruptcy of the social welfare state and the intractable problems of the grumbling wars in northern Africa are left alone.

What we can see here, clear as day, is the moral turpitude of PC, the warped nature of modern society’s obsession with speech at the expense of everything else, its myopic focus on the appearance of things rather than on things themselves. Ours is an era in which supposed progressives care far more about policing and correcting people’s speech than they do about transforming and improving the real, physical, social world. Left-leaning campaigners devote infinitely more time to keeping an eye on the words politicians and newspapers use to talk about immigrants — insisting that they must ‘change the language’ — than they do to agitating for the dismantling of strict immigration controls. Radical student activists are now wholly concerned with the terms used to describe oppressed people and have nada, zilch, zero to say about how still-existing oppression might be ended.

Ours is a world in which radicals in Australia recently went berserk over PM Tony Abbott’s use of the word ‘lifestyle choice’ to describe the situation of extremely rural Aboriginal communities, yet cannot propose any solution to the depravity of Aboriginal life, the fact that Aborigines are the only people in a Western country who live in Third World conditions. And a world in which, now, numerous people have become obsessed with fixing the problem of Katie Hopkins — via a sacking or censorship or maybe police involvement — yet cannot utter a word about fixing the institutions and policies that caused the deaths of those 400 people she said stupid things about.

And this is leading to people walking away. How do you solve the problems in Africa? Do as teh Chinese are doing: develop it: buy up farms, get tehm productive. Or Nike: build factories and make shoes. The problems of the Islamic blight on that bleeding continent are harder to solve than HIV (which Uganda has stopped, cold, because they are unafraid to preach sexual morality).

The major decisions are no longer made in our capitals, but by the bureaux, in Brussels, Tokyo and Washington. By those who set the standards — which are useful, and regulations, that can stifle. Hold such in suspicion. For within every bureau the dark soul of tyranny lurks.

We do not have spirituality, but the Spirit. We do not have Oprah, but love. [I Jn 4]

Glenn Reynolds (Instapundit) pointed out that Dalrock had gone theological when he said that the modern church confuses love with being nice. We also confuse it with lust and over sharing; in the false thought that sharing is going to make things better, instead of abrading the boundaries that should exist. This is not a mere issue of clothing or coverage, but one of gossip: an expectation that we are all stars in our own reality show, and that people attend to our petty dramas as if we were some celebrity.

And that expectation is why the wiser celebrities avoid the towns where paparazzi lurk.

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The heart is easily damaged by exposure
and the sacramental nature of marriage is so deeply mysterious that any attempt to put it on display is to sully it with worldly concerns, like dropping the Host in the mud. Like a darkened church with closed doors, so is the marriage bed.

The Oprahfied culture of ‘sharing’ and scar worship does not have respect for such things. We can talk about foundations and important things while leaving details where they belong – in that sacred space where a one flesh couple dwells with God. Materialism attempts to protect the body with clothing while neglecting the heart, and mistakes a lack of willingness to do either with some defect, particularly of emotion.

Those who constantly wear their hearts on their sleeves in an undiscerning manner, however, may be the more emotionally shallow. That has at least been my experience. The hurt they experience is more about a bruised ego, something they are withholding, some façade they are maintaining, than it is about depth. The fierceness with which they defend their projections only shows the hollow space behind them.

What then is love? Well the text today helps. For we are told God is love, and God incarnate came and died for our sake. Which was not that much about feelings. Jesus did not want that cup, but did his duty. Love is providing: love is acting for the other’s best interests. Love is discriminate and looks at a person and considers what is best for them, and love puts the other before yourself.

This is different from lust. Lust is indiscriminate. Lust conquers. Love is merely about pleasure and control. Lost may keep a liaison or affair going, but it cannot raise a child.

And the secular conflation of the two words — if you want to be polite, use eros and agape — means that we displace our vows for attraction. Forgetting the sacramental nature of the marital bed: forgetting that the vows keep the marriage not our emotions, for anyone who has honest will say that their spouse at times irritated them like no other.

But these things are now betrayed. and we are left with Oprah, not healing.

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.

By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.

(1 John 4:7-21 ESV)

What are we supposed to do within the church? Care for each other. Be practical. Look after the brethren. And let not the memes of this world gome in and ruin everything. We need to stop talking about spirituality and feelings, and discover duty and sacrifice.

For it is not pleasure that takes me to work this morning, but my duty to my family and to my profession and patients. It is not spirituality that drives me to the harder passages of the Bible, but the need to continually examine my life and ways, and reform what is wanting.

We do not have spirituality, that is for Pagans. We have the Holy Spirit. Or the word and works of God are not within us.

A note on spiritual war. [I Jn 3]

The photog and I went walking yesterday and ended up talking theology and churches. Driven in part by yesterday, which felt odd: driven by other churches we had been in. And what she said is that at our church God is there, and when she goes to other churches he is not. We make mistakes in our Kirk: we take risks. Frying fish in communion and having pumpkins on the table felt wrong to both of us.

And sometimes they do not work. When Barry talked about pumpkin soup… the food, along with rice pudding, that I will take a trip to avoid, it did not work. But that does not matter. For he prays for and bleeds for the congregation. And if God is greater than our heart, he is also greater than our minds.

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But we need to move along from this. The gospel is the test for the church, and denial of the gospel is the test of the Antichrist.

By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us.

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

(1 John 3:19-4:6 ESV)

The gospel should reassure us. When our conscience damns us and the accuser says that we are but hypocrites, actors, who cannot keep what they say, and err (which is a daily event for this blogger) then we need to know that God is greater than our conscience. When the world stands up and calls us intolerant, backwards and damns us as oppressors, haters and wreckers, we need to recall that God is greater than the elite of the day.

And when the theologians within the Reformed reduce God to someone remote who does not bleed, and deny the Gospel, the Antichrist is there. As it is when the Pentecostals go all into power and spiritual warfare, and forget that the final victory is Gods: that in this period the spirit of the world rages, for the time is merely long enough that all those of God can be called to him.

So we need to test all teachings and all the influences within the church. Be they supernatural entities disguising themselves as angels of light, or the academic drawing all the life out of the church so it can appear as a neat model within a lecture. It is the duty of us in the pews to test these things[1]. In particular, we need to be wary of those who call themselves prophets[2]. There are some who are correct and sent by God, but many who spin sweet lies that give false comfort to the laity and glorify those with holy orders. And that has led many to join the fallen.

For when Lucifer fell, he did not go alone, and he is hungry that all join him in damnation. He drives the spirit of this age, to which the elite do bow. Do not be like him, and do not join him.

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1. I am quite aware that it is good practice that those who think they have a word from the LORD should share it with the elders first and let it be tested and prayed over. For our God is a God of order.
2. I do think that the classic conflation of those with the spiritual gift of prophecy and those who preach the word of God does apply here. If there have been many false prophets, there have been more false preachers.