Daybook

Flee this pagan public religion.

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

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

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

LAMENTATIONS 2:10-18

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The importance of controlling your micro-environment.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We are all broken witnesses.

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

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

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

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

2 CORINTHIANS 1:23-2:11

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

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

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

GOSPEL READING MARK 12:1-11

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

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

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

And at present the times are perilous.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Seek wisdom, for the times are foolish

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I am doing the blog while downloading printer drivers so I can print something the son needs while he inhales breakfast. It is test week for him: he is stressed: there are around 200 places in second year (with around 2000 people in First year competing for them). Being above average is not good enough: he is aiming for perfection and is grumpy about every error he makes. While his younger son will visit is mother for the Autumn (or Easter) holidays, he will… study harder.

The coffee is disappearing twice as fast as usual. And there is nothing wrong with this. Scholarly excellence is a good thing, particularly when combined with wisdom.

PSALM 119:73-80

73  Your hands have made and fashioned me; give me understanding that I may learn your commandments.
74  Those who fear you shall see me and rejoice, because I have hoped in your word.
75  I know, O LORD, that your judgments are right, and that in faithfulness you have humbled me.
76  Let your steadfast love become my comfort; according to your promise to your servant.
77  Let your mercy come to me, that I may live; for your law is my delight.
78  Let the arrogant be put to shame, because they have subverted me with guile;
as for me, I will meditate on your precepts. 79  Let those who fear you turn to me, so that they may know your decrees.
80  May my heart be blameless in your statutes, so that I may not be put to shame.

Without wisdom, without a sense of probity, without a sense of mission, men just check out. And the consequences of this are appalling. Lamentations is not merely a poem of mourning for those days, but is a description of modern Japan, of Europe: without vision the people cannot have the confidence to love, and the next generation arrives not at all.

LAMENTATION 1:1-2, 6-12

1How lonely sits the city that once was full of people! How like a widow she has become, she that was great among the nations! She that was a princess among the provinces has become a vassal.
2She weeps bitterly in the night, with tears on her cheeks; among all her lovers she has no one to comfort her; all her friends have dealt treacherously with her, they have become her enemies.
6From daughter Zion has departed all her majesty. Her princes have become like stags that find no pasture; they fled without strength before the pursuer.
7Jerusalem remembers, in the days of her affliction and wandering, all the precious things that were hers in days of old. When her people fell into the hand of the foe, and there was no one to help her, the foe looked on mocking over her downfall.
8Jerusalem sinned grievously, so she has become a mockery; all who honored her despise her, for they have seen her nakedness; she herself groans, and turns her face away.
9Her uncleanness was in her skirts; she took no thought of her future; her downfall was appalling, with none to comfort her. “O LORD, look at my affliction, for the enemy has triumphed!”
10Enemies have stretched out their hands over all her precious things; she has even seen the nations invade her sanctuary, those whom you forbade to enter your congregation.
11All her people groan as they search for bread; they trade their treasures for food to revive their strength. Look, O LORD, and see how worthless I have become.
12Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by? Look and see if there is any sorrow like my sorrow, which was brought upon me, which the LORD inflicted on the day of his fierce anger.

Lamentations is describing a desolate Jerusalem, following a siege, and the depopulation of the countryside: the men are dead, and the farms are not worked (or destroyed) so people are starving in the ruins. But he then sheets home the problem to not merely the leadership, but the corruption of the people. THe people have chased after their own pleasure, and forgotten duty. They have forgotten that one is supposed to court, wed, and parent, not party and travel. Many will say that we no longer live as peasants, needing five children to work the farm by the time we are in our forties.

True enough. But… we cannot rely on being able to tax other people’s children to ensure that we have an old age of comfort. We cannot rely on the state — it can be destroyed, and when it goes bankrupt or is conquered all the government bonds in your portfolio, along with all the local shares, are worthless.

I have argued that there is a place for Godly singleness. It is an option, for those who can control their passions — having said that, we all need to control these. We need to be disciplined, we need to be wise. James commands us to pray for wisdom.

For our society is not wise, but going down a path that, is akin to the decline and fall of other great civilizations. We must not be fools with them.

Why OK cupid’s marketing department is weeping.

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I have a hate-love relationship with dating sites. There are some very nice and lovely people on them, and they seem, at least in NZ, to be the only way you meet people if you are over 30. However, wading through the hopes and dreams of others, particularly when they give off tells. (Ladies, do not put your kids on your dating page. Yes, I know they are precious, but they are civilians, and you do not know who will watch, and why they will contact you).

Most lonely hearts are heterosexual: simply because most people are heterosexual. In large towns (and by large I mean a million plus) there is often a suburb or three that is gay-friendly, and places that are swinger friendly. And if you want lots of casual sex, there are bars you can go to… just leave your dignity at the door.

The big market for dating agencies are those who, despite the “sex-positive” messages of the main culture, want more. Much more. They want to be married: one and done, despite the risks, or indeed despite seeing the consequences of a breakup in their own life. The market for these sites is a little more serious, a little more conservative, and a little more conventional than other parts of society.

Which brings us to OK Cupid. It appears that liberalism trumps marketing.

Now, I do not belong to OK cupid: I used to, but have never met anyone interesting there so gave up. Not even for the blog: I live in NZ and a US centric site is not appropriate: I am fairly serious about my faith. If I did belong, I would quit. Because of the hounding of Brendan Eich, driven initially by OKcupid… who forget who their main audience is.

This, then begets the standard request of dumbass, oblivious SWPL republican Americans to actually inconvenience themselves from their posh lives and boycott the evil that plots against them. But I know, I know, that’s too much to ask from the sedated class.

They will still attend Leondardo DeCaprio movies. They will still buy Starbucks coffee. They will still use Firefox. They are so stupid, ignorant and lazy they are the real reason the US will collapse.

Still, I insist on making my little commentary here for posterity so that I may die with a clean conscience 30-40 years from now. So here’s the basics:

Boycott OK Cupid if (for some reason) you have an account with them. Also: Get rid and uninstall Firefox if you’re using it and replace it with Chrome, Explorer or some other browser.

Sorting out your browser and email is simple: there are alternatives.
I am sure the marketing department of OK cupid will get the message if you all go somewhere else. There are multiple sites out
there from match.com to plenty of fish. There are also specific Christian sites. If you are a serious man or woman of God, and you have to use the internet dating scene, go for the overtly Christian ones. A buycott of OKcupid may get the message across.

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Zotero now has plugins that work with Google chrome and safari. I strongly suggest that if you are an academic you move to Zotero standalone and then use the relevant plugins. You lose a little of the functionality (but not much — it is basically as good as the Firefox version) and you can keep the pressure up on Mozilla. Zotero standalone is packaged in the AUR for arch and as ppa (for Ubuntu and other debians) or .rpm for most other versions of Linux. Please note I have not tested the debian or rpm systems: I’m running versions of Arch on everything at present.

Niceness is idolatry.

This post has gone viral, with good reason.

This is for the benefit of all the logical slowpokes. It is logic so basic that even those who are intellectually limited to the rhetorical level should be able to follow it:
If you have the right to demand that I bake you a cake, then I have the right to force you to attend church, mosque, or synagogue.
If you have the right to fire me because you don’t like my political position on the legality of homogamy, I have the right to fire you because I don’t like your political position on the legality of homosexuality.
If you have the right to deny me access to the news media because I don’t believe in climate change, I have the right to deny you access to the media because you don’t believe in God.
If atheists truly want a power struggle for the right to be intolerant, Christians will eventually engage and win. Because we will die before we will give up our beliefs and you will not. We invented the Crusade and the Inquisition, two institutions so historically intimidating that atheists still shiver and tell each other scary stories about them centuries after the event.

We will revive them before we will abandon our faith. And while we would prefer to live with both Christian and traditional Constitutional values, if we are forced to choose between the two, we will choose the former without even thinking twice.

Including making the Day by Day cartoon.

Daybyday quotes Vox

I think I have just quoted an entire Matt Walsh Post here.

If you want to adopt some blasphemous, perverted, fun house mirror reflection of Christianity, you will find a veritable buffet of options. You can sift through all the variants and build your own little pet version of the Faith. It’s Ice Cream Social Christianity: make your own sundae! (Or Sunday, as it were.)

And, of all the heretical choices, probably the most common — and possibly the most damaging — is what I’ve come to call the Nice Doctrine.

The propagators of the Nice Doctrine can be seen and heard from anytime any Christian takes any bold stance on any cultural issue, or uses harsh language of any kind, or condemns any sinful act, or fights against evil with any force or conviction at all. As soon as he or she stands and says ‘This is wrong, and I will not compromise,’ the heretics swoop in with their trusty mantras.

They insist that Jesus was a nice man, and that He never would have done anything to upset people. They say that He came down from Heaven to preach tolerance and acceptance, and He wouldn’t have used words that might lead to hurt feelings. They confidently sermonize about a meek and mild Messiah who was born into this Earthly realm on a mission to spark a constructive dialogue.

The believers in Nice Jesus are usually ignorant of Scripture, but they do know that He was ‘friends with prostitutes,’ and once said something about how, like, we shouldn’t get too ticked off about stuff, or whatever. In their minds, he’s essentially a supernatural Cheech Marin.

Read the comments under my previous post about gay rights militants, and you’ll see this heresy illustrated.

That post prompted an especially noteworthy email from someone concerned that I’m not being ‘Christlike,’ because I ‘call people names.’ He said, in part:

“You aren’t spreading Christianity when you talk like that. The whole message of Jesus was that we should be nice to people because we want them to be nice to us. That’s how we can all be happy. Period. It’s that simple.”

Be nice to me, I’ll be nice to you, and we’ll all be happy. This is the ‘whole message’ of Christianity? Really?

Jesus Christ preached a Truth no deeper or more complex than a slogan on a poster in a Kindergarten classroom? Really?

A provocative claim, to say the least. I decided to investigate the matter, and sure enough, I found this excerpt from the Sermon on the Mount:

“We’re best friends like friends should be. With a great big hug, and a kiss from me to you, won’t you say you love me too?”

Actually, wait, sorry, that’s from the original Barney theme song. God help us. We’ve turned the Son of God into a purple dinosaur puppet.

There is a difference between being polite and courteous and being nice. The current formulation of niceness is that of a doormat, a wimp: total agreement with the current shibboleths of the elite, who are becoming more intolerant by the day. Given a choice between worshiping the living God and being nice, choose God.

Otherwise politeness is an idol: you are worshiping your position as a doormat. For the truth will hurt.

This happens nowadays, at least in some societies, not only in extreme cases – one understands a real trauma would require a real healing, because a real wound has occurred -, but everytime everyone hasn’t liked something that can be referred to him. Then, the entire community feels bound to perform the exercise described above and finds it not only normal, but necessary.

If anyone within this very community – say, the local church – where, then, to point out that facts are facts and Truth is Truth, and those who are hurt by facts and can’t hear the Truth should take a hard look at themselves rather than whining like wet pussicats would be immediately accused of being even more insensitive, even more hurtful, and causing the need of an even longer “healing”.

One truly wonders what has become not only of humanity, but of manhood.

Be not nice. Be truthful, and righteousness. Let the hurt that stance causes among those who are evil allow the Spirit to bring people to Godly repentance.

The rich are handicapped.

Cathedral, Florence.

Cathedral, Florence.

We can handle only so much truth. There are two parts to this that one must consider. The first is that the rich young man was fairly good. He was keeping the law of Moses, and he was sincere.

The second is that Christ loved him, and wanted him: so identified his idol, his weakness. Which was his wealth. It is so hard to enter the kingdom of God carrying an idol.

And the third is that the prosperity doctrine is condemned here by Christ. It was orthodox teaching from the Rabbis, referring to Proverbs, and the many promises of blessings that would come from obedience to the Law of Moses in this life. But Christ reverses this. The rich are not blessed, they are handicapped.

 MARK 10:17-31

17As he was setting out on a journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 18Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. 19You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; You shall not defraud; Honor your father and mother.’” 20He said to him, “Teacher, I have kept all these since my youth.” 21Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, “You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” 22When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions.

23Then Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” 24And the disciples were perplexed at these words. But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” 26They were greatly astounded and said to one another, “Then who can be saved?” 27Jesus looked at them and said, “For mortals it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible.”

28Peter began to say to him, “Look, we have left everything and followed you.” 29Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields, for my sake and for the sake of the good news, 30who will not receive a hundredfold now in this age – houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and fields with persecutions – and in the age to come eternal life. 31But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.”

Now, we should not interpret this as the Disciples did: that the rich cannot enter the kingdom of GOd. Jesus says that this cn happen: there are biographies of saints, from Francis (of Assisi) to the Henry Hudson, giving all their monies to charity — and money they had a lot of.

But we should not hold our security in our bank balance, or consider ourselves righteous by the number of possessions we have. We have to be grateful for what we have. Ironically, the best advice here comes from a photography gear site, but run by someone who shoots a lot of stuff.

Back in my days running Backpacker magazine, we had an “authenticity” metric that we developed and practiced. I think it’s time for that here in the photography arena, as well.

The Backpacker metric was “bag nights.” You got a bag night if you spent your sleeping hours in a sleeping bag in the wild (not your backyard ;~). One of the reasons we developed that metric was to make sure we were practicing what we preached. However, it also turned out to be a key differentiator between our magazine and some other “outdoor” magazines that pretended they covered the same territory as us.

Consider this, you make tents and two magazines come to you see if you’ll advertise. Magazine #1 says they’re the #1 outdoor magazine, but most of their stories are about personalities, they don’t have a significant field editor staff, and they have high turnover in subscribers. Magazine #2 says that their 20 editorial staff (including the graphics department) spent an average of 40 bag nights a year, with a couple logging over 100. Oh, and they do have a large field staff and their long-term subscriber rates are amongst the highest of all magazines. Which would you pick to advertise your tents?

Authenticity is important. It means that your opinions are based upon real use and not casual contact with something.

The Internet is filled with non-authentic opinions. That’s not to say that there aren’t plenty of authentic ones, only that it’s often difficult to discern which is which.

What worries me is the high dependence upon product measurement numbers. We saw this same measurement-happy craze back in the HiFi era, where frequency and power numbers suddenly became the primary way to judge product. As I write this, DxO has just produced their “numbers” for the Nikon V3, for instance, and the emails are already pouring in bemoaning the fact that the V3 doesn’t score better than the V1 or V2. Uh, okay. But what’s that really mean? Are those numbers “authentic?”

What if I were to tell you that I could give you a camera that had 30% more pixels with basically the same image quality when measured in a standard sized print? Would you want one? I hope so, because that many more pixels should equate to more acuity, all else equal. That’s close to what I’d expect out of the V3 over the V2, by the way. I’m a little worried about the small drop in DR on the V3, but without a camera to test in the wild yet, I can’t make any definitive assessment. However, I’d bet that on modest sized prints I’d prefer the V3 over the V2. We’ll see when I eventually get some time with the camera.

So where am I headed with all this?

Today I’m going to introduce a new metric, one that I hope you’ll take to heart and start tracking: viewfinder hours. Simply count the number of hours you’re primarily working the viewfinder. I’d count wandering the streets of your town for 60 minutes with your camera looking for photos and taking one every few minutes as “a viewfinder hour.” Obviously, you don’t need to be looking through the camera’s actual viewfinder the entire hour; you can use your eyes as a virtual viewfinder, as long as you eventually put the camera up to your face and consider or take the shot.

The people I respect in the review industry shoot a lot of frames: more than I do, and I shoot a fair few. Thom goes on to talk about measurement.

And is advice is good: spreadsheet the stuff. See how much time you spend working with this instrument or that thing. Log your workouts, your camera time… but log your time in the word. You do not need much equipment to be good.

And in may situations … including getting the photos I have just linked to — a lot of gear would have missed the shot. Less is frequently more.

Man and woman of God, your priority must be God. For everything else will fade and be destroyed. So consider how your time is spent, rather than if you are in the top 1% of assets, or how the stock market has adjusted your net worth today.

Finally, find your inner GAS (Gear acquisition syndrome) and ablate it. For, that, too is an idol.

Twitterage and quotage. [quotage]

I have now not only uninstalled mozilla, but have some outcomes to report.

Firstly, almost every modern mail app works well with google mail and the common mailhosts. Naturally, I have to connect to two fairly odd places; one is my webhost for all my personal mail, and the other is the university. I have managed to get both working securely — requiring some modification so that IMAP ran via SSL on both machines, and sending mail does not.

Geany is a little less friendly, but works, and is fast, and does most of a good job. It is now recommended over claws mail.

And chrome is very, very good. So is opera. The surprise is how good epiphany has become — it is faster than both, and rock stable. I recommend chrome and epiphany — and Opera as a backup for sites that are picky, if you don’t mind closed source.

Finally, if you visit using firefox, there is now a nice script that points you at a stop firefox website, but does not block your visit.

The final solution will always be for businesses to avoid taking political stands. Even alienating 30% of the population because of politics just kills the bottom line.
You could try to blame the Mozilla CEO for stuff before he was hired, but the Mozilla Board were the ones who elevated politics and now have essentially killed the company.

Pray for the progressive cannon fodder [muslims, that is you. gays, that is you]

Church courtyard, Florence, 2009

Church courtyard, Florence, 2009

Today is the last day of daylight saving in New Zealand. It is almost 8 am, and it is dawn. The nights are getting long, and from tomorrow the nights will be longer. And during this season of Lent (despite the fact I don’t have a seasonal theology) I have been posting with the lectionary blogposts a picture from Florence. This photo was taken in the courtyard of a monastery church, and it reflects some things that are occurring.

For the night is falling. The overt symbols of Christendom are deemed offensive: the acts of the Mozilla foundation indicate that anyone who is deemed politically incorrect is to be punished. This is frightening even the secularists who understand the need for freedom of conscience and speech, Let us say that Mozilla is going, and since I don’t use Windows (and do not recommend IE if you do) I suggest people switch to Chromium or Opera.

There is a reason for this resistance: a reason for my fear. The Liberal Arts have fallen, and I mourn. They are threatening to take down natural philosophy and clinical science, and I fear. Consider this example, based on a ban on dealing with Isreal made by an American Academic Society, based on reasons of “social justice”.

Clearly this is the enforcement of a moral orthodoxy — or, rather, an enforced set of rules about permitted academic investigation or engagement which are in turn based on a preconceived moral orthodoxy. It’s quite telling that the ultimate justification, the “punch line” if you will, is that of having “the moral upper hand”. This is the ultimate “moral” (in reality, ideological) basis which justifies the accepted orthodoxy of one’s actions, and which trumps the academic freedom of any dissenters from such “consensus” orthodoxy. Of course, while being both banal and unsurprising, it is nevertheless ironic (and an irony that appears completely lost on most of the academy, alas) that a group which has claimed inherited solidarity with Galileo in the face of his persecution for articulating ideas which went against the orthodoxy of his day has now completely turned around, and essentially become its own perceived caricature of what it has despised — namely fulfilling to a tee the academy’s caricature of the Christian church as an ideologically-based enforcer of an orthodoxy of ideas, based on a set of moral principles held in consensus by its own appointed few. What we are witnessing is nothing less than the “coming out party” of a new church — complete with a priesthood, monasteries and an emergent, and zealously enforced, orthodoxy.

First they came for the Jews… then the Catholics… and now those who do not praise the Gays. To the horror of the old-school gay activists, who simply wanted the freedom to love and live: not that their acts, along with abortion, would become a compelled sacrament of a new religion.

But our duty remains clear. Let them do evil. We will do good, and we will do good not merely to the righteous, but also to the evil.

ROMANS 12:1-21

1I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God – what is good and acceptable and perfect.

3For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of yourself more highly than you ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. 4For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, 5so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another. 6We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us: prophecy, in proportion to faith; 7ministry, in ministering; the teacher, in teaching; 8the exhorter, in exhortation; the giver, in generosity; the leader, in diligence; the compassionate, in cheerfulness.

9Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; 10love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. 11Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. 12Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. 13Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.

14Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are. 17Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. 18If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”20No, “if your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads.” 21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

In this time, we need to know how to live, and this will lead to us sticking out. We will be outed: (I outed myself some time ago). We will need to live righteously, which is as much about living in humility and with knowledge that we are as vulnerable to the sins of this age as any pagan as it is choosing to remain married, to serve our children and our spouses and our God. To preach against those who see God as some provider of miraculous plans, and instead about duty, honour, and nobility.

And we need to pray for those who are being drafted in as footsoldiers by the Antichristian Academy.

We can see that our academics are the new priesthood. But who are the foot soldiers? They are the victim classes favored by liberals. Homosexuals appear to sit at the top of the victim class foot solider hierarchy, as Mozilla’s CEO Brendan Eich recently discovered, but Muslims are not far below them. That is why UCLA-Berkley’s Center for Race and Gender hosts the Annual International Conference on the Study of Islamophobia.

I have ideological and theological problems with Homosexuality as an ideology, but not with homosexuals. Homosexuality is a sin, but so is fornication, gluttony, envy and spite: I am guilty of all of those. (And I deeply love my oldest daughter, and regret that I did not raise her). One cannot be self righteous when you have broken the same commandments.
In the church, as a divorced male. I am commanded to continence and self control, as are they (and when you are married, the same issues occur).

I am more scared of Muslims, because they have a track record of martyring Christians just because their presence offends them. The massacre of Copts, which is occurring at this time, is evil.

But when they are drafted into an ideology of intolerant tolerance, into a politics of identity which enslaves them in a victim class, then these people are being oppressed, and deserve our support and our prayers.

For we forget, that despite the blood stains on Christendom and Islam… and the Hindu, Buddhists and others who have cheerfully gone killing in the name of God, the biggest mass murderers were progressive socialists — from the Jacobites to the Red Terror they have killed as a matter of policy, and not for a God but for their ideology.

We need to see this new priesthood as the resurgence of progressive paganism. We saw that in Germany and in Russia last century, and it did not go well. But no one reads history anymore, and it seems we are fated to repeat it.

Ideology == Idol.

P1020541

P1020541

If I wanted to be technical, I could call this passage against antinominalism: against those who deny the law. It is better to recall that Schaeffer says that we use the law as a cover, a way of hiding, from love, for love will drive us to do all for the glory of others and the glory of God. Love is the higher calling.

I will come back to Idols after the passage, Paul takes the question he has been given (WHich would have been something like — All the meat in the market comes from sacrificial animals. We do not worship them. Should we go vegan?) and uses it around to a principle: do everything for the glory of God.

1 Corinthians 10:14-11:1

14Therefore, my dear friends, flee from the worship of idols. 15I speak as to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say. 16The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a sharing in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a sharing in the body of Christ? 17Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread. 18Consider the people of Israel; are not those who eat the sacrifices partners in the altar? 19What do I imply then? That food sacrificed to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? 20No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be partners with demons. 21You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. 22Or are we provoking the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he?

23“All things are lawful,” but not all things are beneficial. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up. 24Do not seek your own advantage, but that of the other. 25Eat whatever is sold in the meat market without raising any question on the ground of conscience, 26for “the earth and its fullness are the Lord’s.” 27If an unbeliever invites you to a meal and you are disposed to go, eat whatever is set before you without raising any question on the ground of conscience. 28But if someone says to you, “This has been offered in sacrifice,” then do not eat it, out of consideration for the one who informed you, and for the sake of conscience – 29I mean the other’s conscience, not your own. For why should my liberty be subject to the judgment of someone else’s conscience? 30If I partake with thankfulness, why should I be denounced because of that for which I give thanks?

31So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God. 32Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, 33just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, so that they may be saved.

1Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.

I used to think that idols were completely virtual. Then a Hindu temple was built two blocks away from where I used to live, and the neighbourhood blocked up every festival day. And I do not worship or venerate art: I appreciate it. I would find it hard to worship in the Florentine churches I took enough pictures within to theme the pictures until Easter because I would be distracted by them. I’m Presbyterian, and attuned to plain worship, but I am aware that the painters of the frescos were working to glorify God. De gustibus non disputantenm

The idols that infect our society are much more likely to be ideological. The current witch-hunt in Mozilla is an example.


This morning, a number of Mozilla employees took to Twitter
with a united, nearly simultaneous message to new Mozilla Corporation CEO Brendan Eich: “Step down.”

Brendan Eich’s Prop 8 donations come to light, and internal response is mixed.
The internal response began this morning with two tweets from Mozilla Open Badges project lead Chris McAvoy. “I love @mozilla but I’m disappointed this week,” McAvoy said, referring to the controversial decision to appoint Eich as CEO after he had donated thousands to both California’s Proposition 8 and political candidates who supported it. “@mozilla stands for openness and empowerment, but is acting in the opposite way.” He then made a more pronounced declaration: “I’m an employee of @mozilla and I’m asking @brendaneich to step down as CEO.”

Within minutes, many other Mozilla employees followed suit, using similar language or copying each other’s statements outright. Those included Mozilla Festival curator Chloe Vareldi, partnerships lead John Bevan, designer Jessica Klein, and engagement team member Sydney Moyer.

McAvoy added that he feels fortunate to work at a company like Mozilla, “where I can say that without fear of retribution.” Neither McAvoy nor the other quoted employees mentioned Eich’s statement this week about LGBT outreach.

There is a certain inquisitorial stench about all this. Brendon Etch is a good techie: he was one of the founders of Mozilla and wrote Javascript. He has personal stands — but the benefits for lesbians and gays are OK: Mozilla appears to be a good employer. But that is not enough. One must worship the ideology of homosexualism. In a similar way, Stephen Colbert (who I do not particularly like most days) is almost being accused of blasphemy when his offence is satire.


Satirist Stephen Colbert is under fire for what some people
are calling a racist tweet sent from the account of his show, “The Colbert Report.”

The original message, posted Thursday afternoon but now deleted, was a play on Asian stereotypes. It was pulled directly from a segment on Wednesday’s show mocking Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder for responding to pressure to change his team’s name by instead setting up a charity to aid Native Americans. The tweet read, “I am willing to show #Asian community I care by introducing the Ching-Chong Ding-Dong Foundation for Sensitivity to Orientals or Whatever.”

Colberts satire brings us back to another issue about idolatry. It is designed as a “publick religion” and one has to make sacrifices and indulgences — while not dealing with the real issues.

The issue for gay men and women is that they do have more health problems as a consequence of the partying lifestyle many of them lead. And these vary — lesbians do not have the same issues as gay men. There are issues around funding health care, around who can attend parties, time off for festivals. Mozilla deals with these. What they should do is sack the openly disloyal, for open-ness and diversity should not be causes for a charge of blasphemy.

On the Asians, the issue is that one of discrimination: historically Chinese in my country were subject to a poll tax (in the hope they would go home). Did not work: my sons are descendants of people who paid this. The diversity people in the USA (and NZ) are worried that most competitive classes have a disproportionate number of Chinese and Indian members, and are trying to bring in some kind of quote system — which is active discrimination.

Rude words? Meh. Most gay men I know (and I work with a few) have been called everything under the sun by patients. As have I: on the days my gay colleague is accused of being boring and straight and I am called a flaming petunia (which does happen) it’s time for a coffee and a good laugh. Being abused is part of the job. What matters is actions.

And when words become crimes, we functionally have blasphemy laws again. We are worshipping idols again. And there is a stench of the demonic within society.

Admin notes for the week.

Will S has now put up two new sites: Will S’ culture war blog and Will S. random weirdness. Both are linked — given Will’s eclectic interests, one is in nutraditionalism and one in dark enlightenment,

Simon Travalgia is the bloke who writes the ur-systems operator blog, the Bastard Operator from Hell (BOFH). This week’s one is a doozy.

“Look,” I say, interrupting the PFY’s murderous threat. “This company would be the greenest company in the world if – it didn’t cost any money, but I suspect that you’ll find that the number of board members in favour of this is inversely proportional to the order of magnitude of the cost.”

“I’m not with you.”

“If it cost 1 quid, all six board members would be in favour; 10 quid, 5 board members; 100 quid 4 board members, etc… until it costs a million quid and no one’s interested.”

“Really?”

“Yes, except that it’s probably more like when it we hit 10,000 quid they’d all abandon ship.”

“Well if you want to be greener perhaps we could look at carbon offsets.”

“Carbon Offsets,” I say, working up a head of steam, “are dumb. I could word it better than that but it’s so dumb that the people that support it wouldn’t understand those words.”

“What’s wrong with carbon offsets?”

“Analogy-wise, paying someone in South America to grow trees so that I can burn trees is a bit like me paying someone in Uganda 10 quid to be good to someone else so that the PFY can punch you and the Boss here in the face.”

“I think that’s being rather simplistic – carbon offsets will negate the harm you do in the shorter term while you look for better alternatives,” says the Architect.

“Yes, but it doesn’t cancel it out geographically. If that were the case I could pay someone in Africa to filter water while I pee in your bathtub!”

Finally, I have not changed themes — but Brightnews (the theme) does allow you to change colours and move to extracts rather than the whole article. The colour is back to blue(ish) and the posts are extracts.

On the server front, I have all machines now running Archbang using xfce as my window manager. This seems to be relatively quick for most jobs. I have installed Rstudio, which is much better than previous R guis. I can use Revman… now if only people would stop writing word documents full of macros. (Do people not understand that this is a way to hack machines? Bring back emacs and LaTeX, I say).


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