Blog Archive


Friday, May 28, 2010
This New York Times column shows why just throwing money at Third World poverty will continue to reap nothing but more poverty. It's even more true in the U.S. Many times, economic poverty is led by the nose ring of impoverishment of the soul. You can't cure the former without first fixing the latter.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Christianity Today has a useful little piece on the Intelligent Design versus Evolution debate.
Asking what advocates of intelligent design must do to gain credibility in the academy is a bit like asking a man when he stopped beating his wife. Such a question makes a prejudicial assumption.

When queried about his history of spousal abuse, an innocent man should say, "I don't concede the premise of your question." Similarly, I would suggest that behind the Village Green question lurk some false assumptions. Indeed, the question seems to presuppose three things: the scientific community is uniformly opposed to the theory of intelligent design; the theory needs majority support in the academy to be credible; and there is good reason—such as lack of supporting evidence—for hostility toward the theory within academia.
[HT: JT]
I haven't posted a Mark Steyn column for awhile, but this one was too good to pass up.
Barack Obama's remarkable powers of oratory are well known... [but] [l]ike a lot of guys who've been told they're brilliant one time too often, President Obama gets a little lazy, and doesn't always choose his words with care. And so it was that he came to say a few words about Daniel Pearl, upon signing the "Daniel Pearl Press Freedom Act." Pearl was decapitated on video by jihadist Muslims in Karachi on Feb. 1, 2002. That's how I'd put it. This is what the president of the United States said:

"Obviously, the loss of Daniel Pearl was one of those moments that captured the world's imagination because it reminded us of how valuable a free press is."

Now Obama's off the prompter, when his silver-tongued rhetoric invariably turns to sludge. But he's talking about a dead man here, a guy murdered in public for all the world to see. Furthermore, the deceased's family is standing all around him. And, even for a busy president, it's the work of moments to come up with a sentence that would be respectful, moving and true.
Instead, he delivered the one above, which in its clumsiness and insipidness is most revealing. First of all, note the passivity: "The loss of Daniel Pearl." He wasn't "lost." He was kidnapped and beheaded. He was murdered on a snuff video. He was specifically targeted, seized as a trophy, a high-value scalp. And the circumstances of his "loss" merit some vigor in the prose. Yet Obama can muster none.

Even if Americans don't get the message, the rest of the world does. This week's pictures of the leaders of Brazil and Turkey clasping hands with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad are also monuments to American passivity.

But what did the "loss" of Daniel Pearl mean? Well, says the president, it was "one of those moments that captured the world's imagination." Really? Evidently it never captured Obama's imagination because, if it had, he could never have uttered anything so fatuous. He seems literally unable to imagine Pearl's fate, and so, cruising on autopilot, he reaches for the all-purpose bromides of therapeutic sedation: "one of those moments" – you know, like Princess Di's wedding, Janet Jackson's wardrobe malfunction, whatever – "that captured the world's imagination."

Notice how reflexively Obama lapses into sentimental one-worldism: Despite our many zip codes, we are one people, with a single imagination. In fact, the murder of Daniel Pearl teaches just the opposite – that we are many worlds, and worlds within worlds. Some of them don't even need an "imagination." Across the planet, the video of an American getting his head sawed off did brisk business in the bazaars and madrassahs and Internet downloads. Excited young men e-mailed it to friends, from cell phone to cell phone, from Karachi to Jakarta to Khartoum to London to Toronto to Falls Church, Virginia. In the old days, you needed an "imagination" to conjure the juicy bits of a distant victory over the Great Satan. But in an age of high-tech barbarism the sight of Pearl's severed head is a mere click away.

And the rest of "the world"? Most gave a shrug of indifference. And far too many found the reality of Pearl's death too uncomfortable, and chose to take refuge in the same kind of delusional pap as Obama.
Daniel Pearl was the prototype for a new kind of terror. In his wake came other victims from Kenneth Bigley, whose last words were that "Tony Blair has not done enough for me," to Fabrizzio Quattrocchi, who yanked off his hood, yelled "I will show you how an Italian dies!" and ruined the movie for his jihadist videographers. By that time, both men understood what it meant to be in a windowless room with a camera and a man holding a scimitar. But Daniel Pearl was the first, and in his calm, coherent final words understood why he was there:

"My name is Daniel Pearl. I am a Jewish American from Encino, California, USA ..."

He didn't have a prompter. But he spoke the truth. That's all President Obama owed him – to do the same.

I mentioned last week the attorney general's peculiar insistence that "radical Islam" was nothing to do with the Times Square bomber, the Pantybomber, the Fort Hood killer. Just a lot of moments "capturing the world's imagination." For now, the jihadists seem to have ceased cutting our heads off. Listening to Obama and Eric Holder, perhaps they've figured out there's nothing much up there anyway.
Doug Wilson has a followup post to his previous one on the difficulties of discerning the difference between false teachers and false dichotomies.
One of the first things to distinguish is someone who wants to go the same place you do, but has a different view about how best to do it, from someone who wants to go somewhere completely different, but wants to use the same methods you are using. Distinguish principles and methods -- where you are going is more important than how you get there. This is not to say that how you get there is unimportant; it is simply less important.

So if one man wants to drive to the East Coast in a Ford, he has more in common with a man who wants to do the same thing in a Chevvy than he does with another man driving to the West Coast in a Ford. Couple this with the fact that it is possible to pass someone on the road who is going the opposite direction, and at the precise moment when you do that, you are in exactly the same spot. Further, somebody else who is going to the same place you are might be a hundred miles behind you.

And sometimes it is hard to tell, when you are in the same spot, if you actually are headed in opposite directions. The whole thing can be quite confusing.
Now in this context, what statement is being made when you team up with somebody? A lot depends on the nature of the yoke. If you are bringing someone on to the local session, you ought to be saying that you believe there is a fundamental like-mindedness. If you invite someone to your conference, it means at the least that you want to be friends and that you believe his ministry is going more good than harm. Or maybe it is doing more harm than good, but not by much, and you want to play the role of Priscilla and Aquila to his Apollos (Acts 18:26) simply because the trajectory is promising.
In order to sort all this out, you have to have a sharp and clear distinction between the fundamentals and the secondaries, and you have to have the right kind of suspicious mind concerning your own rascal heart. Rascal hearts find just the wrong thing to do at just the wrong time, just like raccoons can find the garbage cans.
Now, with this said, what issues are fundamental in our day? This is key -- one of the common mistakes is that of thinking that the decisive point in the 16th century has to be the decisive point today. This is yet another failure to read the narrative right. Principles are constant, but plot points aren't. But, lest this point be mistaken, as it always is, our Protestant fathers in the 16th century were right to take the stand they did, and the pope and his Council were wrong.
Where is the battle now? What are the issues that threaten the purity of the gospel now? Where are the compromises now?

The real rot that we must contend with begins with Darwin, not Bonaventure, and any and all accommodations with Darwin. Darwin gave modernity the mechanism it needed to throw off the authority of God's Word, and the sovereignty of the Lord Christ. Darwin is foundational to the secularist modernity project, but there is more. He is also foundational to the postmodern goo cauldron that is our culture today, and every form of what I have called pomosexuality. It is striking that postmodernists never want to be post-Darwinian.
Monday, May 24, 2010
I found this video interesting. Apparently, a huge portion of movies are practically bereft of useful female characters. Now, the gal in this video seems to think this is a big problem. Perhaps. But I think it points to something that liberals and feminists have been trying to deny for decades: men are the natural leaders. No matter how egalitarian our society tries and pretends to be, the God-given inherent tendency for people to look to men as the leaders and protectors cannot be dismissed or covered up. Would anyone want to watch Saving Private Ryan with a bunch of female leads?

Doug Wilson has a good post on differentiating between false teachers and the practical problems it can pose.
Now let's sort this out. Or, rather, let's have a go at sorting it out, because it is not as easy as it looks.

Tullian Tchividjian is the pastor of Coral Ridge, which oversees Knox Seminary, which just hired Bruce Waltke, the theistic evolutionist, because he resigned from RTS, because his position on evolution was very similar to that of C.S. Lewis, who is everybody's hero, including mine, and the aforementioned RTS employs John Frame, who is a stalwart of the faith, but has views on worship styles that I find discordant with mine, but he had to leave Westminster West, which has an R2K thing going, and Scott Clark there at Westminster West is on a jag against me because I deny justification by faith alone, which I don't, but that's another discussion, and even though he is in the URC he is very concerned about this frenetic virus (FV) spreading in the PCA, whose major rock star right now is Tim Keller, who is okay with women deacons, which I oppose, but John Piper is willing to work with Keller, which shouldn't be surprising, because he was also willing to work with me, even though I met Mark Driscoll once when he was in college at Washington State University. Still with me?

The problem is a thorny one, and it is an enormously practical problem.
Friday, May 21, 2010
Okay, before you get out your pitchforks and start screaming "racist" at me, read the rest of this post and the accompanying links.

This week, Rand Paul, son of libertarian 2008 presidential candidate Ron Paul, was selected as the Republican candidate for the Kentucky Senate race. Then he made the "mistake" of going on MSNBC (guess he doesn't mind talking to five liberals and a box of rocks... er, Rachel Maddow). During the interview, the topic of racial segregation, federal powers, and the Civil Rights Act surfaced. His comments that followed have stirred up some significant debate throughout the media and blogosphere. For a good defense of Paul's line of thought, go here; particularly check out what John Stossel had to say. Another such discussion can be found over at Denny Burk's blog. Now I'm not a libertarian per se (libertarians tend to go overboard in their pursuit of a logically consistent ideology), but I do occasionally play one on the internets, and so I found myself defending Rand Paul's comments to Burk and several other commenters there who couldn't look past their initial emotional revulsion to actually consider the veracity of Paul's argument. I made the following comment:
The same logic that supports the complete criminalization of racially segregated groups supports the banning of Christian groups that won’t accept unrepentant homosexuals. So those who don’t like what Rand Paul says here can only blame themselves when Christian student groups on campuses across America are shut down because of their membership requirements.
Not terribly eloquent, but pretty much to the point. But then Doug Wilson got my back, elucidating that which I had so quickly stated.
The other night Rand Paul was chosen to be the Republican candidate for the Senate in Kentucky, and how long did it take for charges of racism to surface? What? Thirty seconds?

This was all on the basis of Paul's opposition to certain portions of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. And since the lighting here in the 1964 Civil Rights Act Official Shrine is composed entirely of flickering candles, it is terribly difficult to read. So we have gotten by for the last fifty years by chanting racially sensitive slogans to one another. But it turns out that sensitive slogans do not constitute a real education.

There are different issues involved. One is the difference between federal, state and local governments, and the meaning of our constitutional arrangement. Just because a law requiring x,y,z might be good and desirable does not mean that a federal law requiring x,y,z is good and desirable. Second, there is a stark difference between public and private, a distinction that Paul tried in vain to explain to Rachel Maddow. "These are strange words, Dr. Paul. What do they mean? Doesn't the government own everything?" And the third point is related to the second, and it is one that I like to think is in my wheelhouse. What is it? Everybody, all together now -- there is a difference between sins and crimes.

Suppose someone decides not to invite someone else to his birthday party. Could that be a sin? Sure. Suppose that someone refused to invite someone else to their birthday party for no other reason than the color of that person's skin. Is that a sin? Again, sure. Now, should the fellow who failed to invite someone to his birthday party (sinfully, remember) be fined, flogged, imprisoned, or executed for it? In other words, should his churlish behavior be a crime? "Of course not," I would say, followed up with "are you crazy?"

Why not? Because there is a difference between sins and crimes. It is a radical difference. Abortion should be against the law because God said to Moses on Sinai that we were not permitted to murder, and because He assigned civil penalties to violations of this law. Racial prejudice in the private sphere should not be against the law. God never assigned a civil penalty to it. Now, before anybody starts screaming, refusing to make something illegal (like racial bigotry) does not constitute indifference to whatever sin or immorality may be involved. Coveting the neighbor's lawnmower is a sin. Should it be a crime? Eating way too many apple fritters is a sin. Should it be a crime? Lusting after the cutest girl in the high school is a sin. Should it be a crime?
Rand Paul was absolutely correct that all publicly owned and operated spheres had an obligation to be color blind, and those aspects of the Civil Rights Act that addressed this were not confusing sins and crimes -- although the federal issues are still there. But at least that did not muddle sins and crimes. And muddling sins and crimes is about all we do in public discourse anymore, and it is one of our chief intellectual shortcomings. Christians are included in this indictment.

In short, when contemporary Christians complain about political correctness run amok, when they complain about sodomy being declared a civil right such that their pious Aunt Matilda had to rent her duplex out to homos, when they complain about the intrusiveness of an incompetent gummint into absolutely everything, they need to trace the poison back to the source. They need to stop condemning the poison while praising the great wisdom of the poison pot. {emphasis added}

You want me to genuflect in the Shrine of the 1964 Civil Rights Act? Not going to do it, and while I am here I will put out as many of the candles as I can. Nobody's reading anyway. Might as well all sit in the dark. The chanted slogans sound more impressive and spiritual -- almost Benedictine -- that way. Spooky almost.
Wilson nails it in that penultimate paragraph; if private citizens cannot choose their company(no matter how loathsome the reasons for that choice may be), then Christians should not be surprised when the Gestapo stop at their door next. Knock, knock.
"Charity - giving to the poor - is an essential part of Christian morality... I do not believe one can settle how much we ought to give. I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare. In other words, if our expenditure on comforts, luxuries, amusements, etc., is up to the standard common among those with the same income as our own, we are probably giving away too little. If our charities do not at all pinch or hamper us, I should say they are too small. There ought to be be things we should like to do and cannot do because our charitable expenditure excludes them." - C.S. Lewis
Thursday, May 20, 2010

[HT: My hot wife]
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Doug Wilson has a good post this morning on Christian involvement in politics.
[C]onservative Christians should be preparing to mount a faithful prophetic witness against the established powers after the progressives are routed (and good riddance, yay) and the conservatives win. If our thinking is, "What do you mean, after the conservatives win? Doesn't the millennium come then?" -- this illustrates our problem.
Statist idolaters like President Obamafail do need to be chased off the stage, no question. We can't afford him, for starters.

But what do we think we are actually accomplishing when we do this necessary thing? Without an eschatology to govern the direction of our efforts, our efforts are aimless. And secular eschatologies (of the right or the left) are either damnable or stupid or both. The teleology of all human history, and everything it contains, has to be Jesus Christ. How can we as Christians say that it could possibly be anything else? Now I know there are decent Christians engaged in our political life who don't know this, but they are decent Christians who are in the process of being suckered. And one of my assigned tasks in life is to talk Christians away from the pleasures of being suckered.

H.L. Mencken once trenchantly observed that trying to reform Washington by electing new guys was like trying to reform prostitution by staffing all the brothels with virgins. Now the only way out of this is to think in terms of the teleology of it. The brothel needs something other than new, fresh faces. The brothel needs to become something else. But that is a teleological question. That is eschatology. And no Christian can have any eschatology that leaves Jesus out of it. If Jesus is Lord of heaven and earth, then we can turn the brothel into something else. And not otherwise.

Party-line thinkers are always short-term thinkers. Ideologues care only about the moment. When Christians succumb to this kind of thinking, they are still Christians, and they still go to Heaven when they die. But they are playing their roles in this grand story as extras or bit players. The Author of all this can use them wisely and well, and they will rejoice in His wisdom forever and ever. But it would be far better for us to understand more of the story now. It glorifies His name, and it blesses our souls and hearts. And it advances the plot.
Mark Steyn wrote a brilliant piece this past week on the Islamic encroachment into the West while receiving the tacit approval of many cowardly world leaders, including our own moronic Attorney General.
At Ford Hood, Major Hasan jumped on a table and gunned down his comrades while screaming “Allahu Akbar!” — which is Arabic for “Nothing to see here” and an early indicator of pre-post-traumatic stress disorder. The Times Square bomber, we are assured by the Washington Post, CNN, and Newsweek, was upset by foreclosure proceedings on his house. Mortgage-related issues. Nothing to do with months of training at a Taliban camp in Waziristan.

Listening to Attorney General Holder, one is tempted to modify Trotsky: You may not be interested in Islam, but Islam is interested in you. Islam smells weakness at the heart of the West. The post–World War II order is dying: The European Union’s decision to toss a trillion dollars to prop up a Greek economic model that guarantees terminal insolvency is merely the latest manifestation of the chronic combination of fiscal profligacy and demographic decline in the West at twilight. Islam is already the biggest supplier of new Europeans and new Canadians, and the fastest-growing demographic in the Western world. Therefore, it thinks it not unreasonable to shape the character of those societies — not by blowing up buildings and airplanes, but by determining the nature of their relationship to Islam.

For example, the very same day that Eric Holder was doing his “Islam? What Islam?” routine at the Capitol, the Organization of the Islamic Conference was tightening its hold on the U.N. Human Rights Council — actually, make that the U.N. “Human Rights” Council. The OIC is the biggest voting bloc at the U.N., and it succeeded in getting its slate of candidates elected to the so-called “human rights” body... And they will support the U.N.’s rapid progress toward, in effect, the imposition of a global apostasy law that removes Islam from public discourse.
The U.N. elections are a big victory for the Organization of the Islamic Conference. By the way, to my liberal friends who say, “Hey, what’s the big deal about the Organization of the Islamic Conference? Lighten up, man”: Try rolling around your tongue the words “Organization of the Christian Conference.” Would you be quite so cool with that? Fifty-seven prime ministers and presidents who get together and vote as a bloc in international affairs? Or would that be a theocratic affront to secular sensibilities? The casual acceptance of the phrase “the Muslim world” (“Mr. Obama’s now-famous speech to the Muslim world” — the New York Times) implicitly defers to the political ambitions of Islam.
Last week, the American Association of Pediatricians noted that certain, ahem, “immigrant communities” were shipping their daughters overseas to undergo “female genital mutilation.” So, in a spirit of multicultural compromise, they decided to amend their previous opposition to the practice: They’re not (for the moment) advocating full-scale clitoridectomies, but they are suggesting federal and state laws be changed to permit them to give a “ritual nick” to young girls.
Der Spiegel, an impeccably liberal magazine, summed up the remorseless Islamization of Europe in a recent headline: “How Much Allah Can the Old Continent Bear?” Well, what’s wrong with a little Allah-lite? The AAP thinks you can hop on the sharia express and only ride a couple of stops. In such ostensibly minor concessions, the “ritual nick” we’re performing is on ourselves. Further cuts will follow.
Incredible story and witness...

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Tuesday, May 18, 2010
"Gambling ought never to be an important part of a man's life. If it is a way in which large sums of money are transferred from person to person without doing any good, then it is a bad thing. If it is carried out on a small scale, I am not sure that it is bad. I don't know much about it, because it is about the only vice to which I have no temptation at all, and I think it is a risk to talk about things which are not in my own make-up, because I don't understand them. If anyone comes to me asking to play bridge for money, I just say: "How much do you hope to win? Take it and go away."" - C.S. Lewis
Monday, May 17, 2010
Doug Wilson gives some brilliant yet basic (but rarely understood) economic lessons this morning.
[I]t is time to resort to some moral philosophy, and discussion of the seven deadly sins. And in societies like ours, envy is among the deadliest. It is the stealth killer. How many sermons have you heard on this sin in the course of your lifetime? Why is it assiduously ignored?

But there is another factor in this. God is not mocked and a man reaps what he sows. Because we do so poorly at reading the narrative we are in, because we don't see the events in chapter 10 following from the events in chapter 3, we fail to see how envy destroys the envious. We don't run the thread out far enough.

Here is just one example. Whenever you see public complaints that corporations and businesses "don't pay taxes," you can be assured that envy has done its deadly work. And what happens if everyone is persuaded, and Congress fixes everything by passing a law? (Where would we be if Congress didn't fix things for us?) Now, do corporations and businesses now pay taxes?

No, the only thing we have done is make these corporations and businesses collectors of taxes, on behalf of the government. From whom do they collect them? Why, from John Q. Envy, who now pays higher prices at, say, the gas pump.

No business ever paid a tax. Businesses adjust their prices according to overhead, and when the public clamors to have that overhead raised, that sometimes happens. The overhead is raised. And when this happens, the business makes its adjustments, collects the new money from the saps at large, and passes that money on to the government. And, the saps mutter in satisfaction, at least greedy gusses at OilCo are paying their fair share now.

But wait, there's more. Now that we have insisted that the corporations, businesses, and the government put their heads together in the collection of our taxes (we didn't know that that was what we were doing, but envious people know very little), we cannot be surprised that the relationships up there in the macro-managerial class manifest an ever-increasing coziness. An outrage, we cry! Make them do it more!

Envy is the driving engine of economic follies.
Friday, May 14, 2010
Recently, a friend sent me an email urging me to sign this petition against the upcoming "JC" comedy series on Comedy Central. Now, I am certainly sympathetic to the urge to protest/boycott/verbally excoriate this program, particularly considering that it comes on the heals of Comedy Central's cowardly censorship of images of Muhammad on South Park a couple weeks ago. Comedy Central is baldly hypocritical, and everyone now knows it. For a cable station that prides itself in its parodies, it's ironically fallen into self-parody itself. What's worse, it shows them to be the true xenophobes and bigots, since by their cowardice they imply that Muslims are uncontrollably violent. So yeah, Comedy Central is full of a bunch of hypocritical racist lefties... what else is new?

My primary concern, though, is that Christians not respond foolishly (cause let's face it, we have a recent history overflowing with examples of just that... Harry Potter, anyone?) and unwittingly heap even more scorn and shame on the name of Christ than will be thrown on it by the new sitcom. I'm not sure if a petition or boycott is the best way to make God's name great in our culture. Either of those may have their place on occasion, as they can help the petitioned group or company obtain a clearer picture of just how many people aren't pleased with their actions. But other times, boycotts merely act as a promotional tool for whatever is being protested, particularly when it's regarding a medium like books or television shows. After all, what person doesn't want to keep up with the hottest water cooler topics? So there's the utilitarian argument against boycotts; you'll just end up making it more popular than it would have been otherwise.

Another and vastly more important argument against (most) boycotts, petitions, and rabidly-upset Christians in general is this: the Bible seems to call for a different response in the face of persecution (Matt. 5:44-45). And lest we forget, the persecution faced by Christians in the New Testament was a tad tougher than hearing about some irreverent cable show.

So how should a Christian respond? This guy and this guy give some great advice.
Put down the boycott signs. Jesus promised mockery, abuse, and suffering for his name so this ain't no big shocker. Possible responses:

1. Pray for the creators of this show.

2. Ignore it by not watching it. Flag waving and sign-holding protests oftentimes don't accomplish much other than more hype and hype sells.

3. Use it as a conversation starter with your co-workers. Ask them what they think of it. Why Jesus and not other religious figures throughout history?

4. Remember that Christianity grew out of the most abusive and violently oppressive regime known to man (The Roman Empire). If Rome couldn't stop Jesus and his mission, Comedy Central probably doesn't pose much of a threat.
First, some Christians are going to be mad. . . . very mad at Comedy Central. That anger will be fueled by the fact that Comedy Central censored South Park in light of threats of violence from Muslims upset over that series' depiction of Muhammad. But I wonder if we should ultimately be more sad than mad? Should we be angry that the people at Comedy Central are doing this? Or should we be sad over the condition of the hearts from which their actions come?

Second, if the show does make it into the fall lineup, I'm sure it will develop a huge following, particularly among teenaged and young adult males. This is just the kind of irreverent cartoon humor that's been lining them up for years. They've been groomed by South Park and Family Guy. Sadly, this army of followers will include those who proclaim allegiance to the very God who the show grossly misrepresents and blasphemes. It will be another in a long line of examples of how integration of faith into all of life is waning.

Third, God's big enough to take care of Himself. The day after the premiere episode of JC airs, the God who remains the same yesterday, today, and forever will not have changed.

Fourth, that unchanging God is the God we need to proclaim to our kids. I sometimes wonder if our anger might not be sparked by the fact that too many of our Christian kids fall for this kind of stuff. . . . which might actually be an indicator of the fact that we haven't prepared them to filter this kind of stuff with any sense of discernment long before shows like JC are even conceptualized. Without knowing the truth, one has no ability to discern lies.

Finally, I wonder how much we're like the folks at Reveille, the production company that's got JC in the works? They're reinventing God in their image. The Father and Son in JC will bear little resemblence to the Father who revealed Himself to His creation in the written and incarnate Word. Don't we (the church) have a pretty successful track record of doing and still doing the same? I'm wondering if that's the thing that should concern us the most.{emphasis added}
So when this story hits the Christian airwaves in the coming weeks, consider carefully how God would have you respond. Do you want to be a clanging cymbal?
Here is a fascinating post on the perception that Americans are more individualistic than their Western peers.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Here is a great interview with Dr. Willie Soon, a solar and climate scientist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. What is your opinion of the anthropogenic (man-caused) global warming theory?

Dr. Soon: It’s never been about the science – even from the very beginning. It’s based on confusion and a mixture of ideology. We should deal only in the facts that we do know. Many of the scientists promoting the global warming theory appear to be driven by politics rather than hard scientific data. What are your thoughts?

Dr. Soon: I am a scientist. I go where the facts take me. And the facts are fairly clear. It doesn’t take very long to discover that their views [of man-caused global warming] aren’t grounded in the facts. Why would any solid science need so much promotion and advertisement and the endless shouting about how the science has all been “settled”? And now we’re supposed to believe that the growing consensus on the street that humans are not responsible for global warming is due mainly to the confusion created by climate “deniers.”
... What needs to be done to combat the strong-arm tactics being used against scientists who disagree with the AGW theory?

Dr. Soon: Science needs to stand up. The AGW movement is killing science. It’s very unhealthy in many ways. They are corrupting science for material gain. It’s time for us to take back climate science.
This is a great piece by Raquel Welch (yes, THAT Raquel Welch) on the regrets of a 1960's sex symbol and how today's promiscuity is worse than anyone from her "free love" generation expected or imagined.
Seriously, folks, if an aging sex symbol like me starts waving the red flag of caution over how low moral standards have plummeted, you know it's gotta be pretty bad. In fact, it's precisely because of the sexy image I've had that it's important for me to speak up and say: Come on girls! Time to pull up our socks! We're capable of so much better.
Doug Wilson constantly talks about how media (movies, books, etc.) are the primary mode of education in today's world, and how few people recognize that fact. They watch movies or read books thinking they are purely entertainment when, in fact, most are educational tools at best, pieces of propaganda at worst. And not just the Inconvenient Truth's of the world. Some have socio-political messages, others wash the viewers' brains with subtle relational morals. But almost all teach something. Which brings me to this great article on the topic of emotional porn. Everyone knows how to recognize visual pornography, but few know the emotional kind when they see it. And it's just as dangerous, if not more so. Wilson has been recently writing against the emotion variety found in the Twilight series of books/movies, pointing out how it encourages girls to enter abusive relationships. But you can find heart porn with a couple clicks of the remote every night as well. Men, guard your hearts and your homes. This may mean asking your wife (or kids) to stop watching or reading certain things.
Kids eventually understand that pumpkins don’t turn to glass carriages and Fairy Godmothers don’t grant wishes, but many girls never grow out of the idea that one day they will be rescued from reality by some magic and a fictitious prince. And little boys never live up to the fantasy of the mind or that they’re supposed to be that prince and that their spouse is an all-fulfilling princess.

Next time you’re thinking about seeing a movie, be aware of what’s pulling you toward it. If you decide to watch it, recognize the moment when you feel the emotional reinforcement of fake love. And when you walk out, recognize what you now hope for and expect.
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Heavenly Father, we come before You today to ask Your forgiveness and seek Your direction and guidance. Lord, we know Your Word says, "Woe to those who call evil good," but that's exactly what we've done. We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and inverted our values.

We confess that we have ridiculed the absolute truth of Your Word and called it moral pluralism.

We have worshiped other gods and called it multiculturalism.

We have endorsed perversion and called it an alternative lifestyle.

We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery.

We have neglected the needy and called it self-preservation.

We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare.

We have killed our unborn and called it choice.

We have shot abortionists and called it justifiable.

We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building esteem.

We have abused power and called it political savvy.

We have coveted our neighbors' possessions and called it ambition.

We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression.

We have ridiculed the time-honored values of our fore-fathers and called it enlightenment.

Search us oh God and know our hearts today; try us and see if there be some wicked way in us; cleanse us from every sin and set us free.

Guide and bless these men and women who have been sent here by the people of Kansas, and who have been ordained by You, to govern this great state. Grant them Your wisdom to rule and may their decisions direct us to the center of Your will. I ask it in the name of Your Son, the Living Savior, Jesus Christ.


- Prayer given by Pastor Joe Wright in 1996 to the Kansas House of Representatives
Jennifer Knapp in 1998
It's time
To get down on my knees and pray
"Lord, undo me!"
Put away my flesh and bone
'Til You own this spirit through me Lord,
Undo me.

- "Undo Me"

Lord, come with your fire,
Burn my desires; refine me
Lord, my will has deceived me
Please come and free me
Refine me

- "Refine Me"

Knapp in 2010
Even though they say we have fallen
Doesn’t mean that I won’t do it twice
Given every second chance
I choose again to be with you tonight

– “Fallen”

Sorry I ever gave a damn
Sorry I even tried…
If it made a difference
I might grin and take it all in stride
Walk an extra mile just for your pride

– “If It Made a Difference”

I know they’ll bury me before they hear the whole story…
I know they won’t care to chalk it up to a mistake
Or, God forbid, they give me grace
Well, who in the hell do they think they are?

– “Inside”
As most Christians probably know by now, Christian musician Jennifer Knapp "came out" as a lesbian recently as she began to promote her new "Letting Go" CD, which just released today. I came across the lyrics to several of her songs this morning which you can read above. Gone are the worshipful lines and pleas for spiritual sanctification. Instead, Knapp's lyrics seem full of anger, rebelliousness, and pride. She has chosen the cares and lusts of this life over the eternal rewards of the next. May she yet repent and let Christ truly undo her.

She and Ray Boltz are only the beginning of what promises to be many "Christian" artists publicly and proudly falling for the desires of this world. What is particularly sad in their cases is that both Knapp and Boltz weren't the ones you'd expect to fall. As opposed to so many of their contemporaries in the CCM industry, they were lyrically solid and seemed well-founded on the Gospel... which I suppose is a good warning to all Christians that right doctrine alone won't protect you when Potiphar's wife comes knockin'.
Monday, May 10, 2010
"Don't give me that you snotty-faced heap of parrot droppings!"
Today is the 35th anniversary of the U.S. release of Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

"The controversy about faith and works is one that has gone on for a very long time, and it is a highly technical matter. I personally rely on the paradoxical text: "Work out your own salvation... for it is God that worketh in you." It looks as if in one sense we do nothing, and in another case we do a damned lot. "Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling," but you must have it in you before you can work it out." - C.S. Lewis
Friday, May 07, 2010
This is just an awesome story!

[HT: Z]
Here a couple worthwhile reads on the In Character online journal, one on the lack of embarrassment in today's culture and the other on the need to be a gentlemen before being a scholar.
Wednesday, May 05, 2010
"The modern evangelical generic invitation to nonbelievers to develop "a personal relationship with Jesus" is... more like a suggestion for shacking up than it is a proposal of marriage. A proposal of marriage involves a church, vows, commitments, authority, and submission. Hooking up does not." - Doug Wilson
Tuesday, May 04, 2010
Dalrymple rightly picks on Amnesty International this week on Pajamas Media. AI has long become merely a political tool, choosing to defend tyrants while supporting abortion and terrorism. It's a shell of its former self. Don't ever donate to them or support them in any way.
It is as if Amnesty grew bored with its original purpose and now seems to suffer from what one might call the not-a-sparrow-falls-but-it-is-our-moral-concern syndrome, itself a result of believing that virtue is proportionate to the number of good causes that one espouses. Therefore, one must spread one’s moral wings and fly off into the ethical stratosphere.
This is the best analysis of the health care reform issue I've seen yet. Absolutely brilliant... now if only I could vote for him.

[HT: Zeal for Truth]
Monday, May 03, 2010
Dalrymple wrote a great piece for the Wall Street Journal this past Saturday, focusing his attention on the increasingly immense (no pun intended) problem of obesity around the globe.
In the West, the march (or waddle) of obesity is in step with other social (or antisocial) developments. Obesity in Britain, for example, has increased pari passu with the splintering of families: and now it is never too early to teach children lack of self-control.

The connection between the fragmentation of the family and obesity is easy to understand. Of course, there is no one-to-one correspondence between the two phenomena—in human affairs there never is such a close fit—but there is nevertheless a strong and comprehensible correspondence.

For much of the population, family meals are a ritual of the past: Thirty-six percent of British children never eat a meal at a table with another member of their family or household (we have now passed the milestone long desired by radical social reformers, more children being born illegitimate than legitimate). In the homes of the poor, the unemployed and the single parents that I used to visit as a doctor, I would find no evidence of cooking ever having been done there. Fatty take-away meals and ready-prepared foods heated in the microwave were the diet, together with almost constant snacks. There was not even a table to eat at: an absence that was not the consequence of raw poverty, since the flat-screen television would have been large enough, turned horizontal, to serve as a dining table.

In these circumstances, children graze or forage; but unlike previous hunter gatherers, they do not come up against a scarcity of food, but rather a surfeit of it. Nothing is easier for them than to overindulge, and the appetite grows with the feeding. Their tastes never develop beyond the most instantly gratifying types of food, sugary and fatty, and they eat like children for the rest of their lives; they never learn the discipline of subordinating their appetite to the exigencies of family life and social convention. They are like Pooh Bear, for whom it is always time for a little something. It is hardly surprising if, like Pooh Bear's, their waistlines expand until they can't fit into a normal seat.

Family and social meals are among the most powerful teachers of self-control in the human repertoire. They teach that the appetite of the moment is not, or rather ought not to be, the sole determinant of one's behavior. The pattern of grazing or foraging independently of everyone else teaches precisely the opposite lesson. It is hardly surprising that those who do not experience family or social meals early in life exhibit the lack of self-control that underlies so much modern social pathology in the midst of plenty.
On a lighter, related note, here is a classic discussion of family mealtime.

Doug Wilson had a good post on Friday regarding the idea that Christians shouldn't be political. He hits on a great point here:
The political state in our day is swollen and overgrown, and has gotten into everything. Politics, the great secular idol of modernity, has virtually filled up every public space. This means that it is not possible to go into any public space in order to have a public witness of any kind without it resulting in some kind of political confrontation.

To this extent, to blame public Christians for being "too political" is like blaming Noah's ark for being "too wet."

Abortion and sodomy were sins long before they were constitutional rights. If a minister preached against them a thousand years ago, he was preaching against moral failings, and he was not being political. He was being public, but not political. When I do it, I am preaching against moral failings also, but I am also being political. What changed? It wasn't the Decalogue. It wasn't the history of the church, or the history of preaching. It wasn't the nature of the gospel. It wasn't me. Rather, it was the nature of the idol being challenged -- and this idol aspires to omnipresence.
Now, obviously, that's not to say that Christians can't make an idol out of politics themselves. But it is to say that they haven't necessarily changed their battle positions if what once was merely societal skirmishes is now a fight with the State.

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Darius' book montage

The Cross Centered Life: Keeping the Gospel The Main Thing
Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God
Overcoming Sin and Temptation
According to Plan: The Unfolding Revelation of God in the Bible
Disciplines of a Godly Man
Money, Greed, and God: Why Capitalism Is the Solution and Not the Problem
When Helping Hurts: Alleviating Poverty Without Hurting the Poor. . .and Ourselves
The Prodigal God: Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith
Respectable Sins
The Kite Runner
Life Laid Bare: The Survivors in Rwanda Speak
Machete Season: The Killers in Rwanda Speak
A Generous Orthodoxy: Why I am a missional, evangelical, post/protestant, liberal/conservative, mystical/poetic, biblical, charismatic/contemplative, fundamentalist/calvinist, ... anabaptist/anglican, metho
Show Them No Mercy
The Lord of the Rings
Life at the Bottom: The Worldview That Makes the Underclass
The Truth War: Fighting for Certainty in an Age of Deception
Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist's Guide to Global Warming
The Chronicles of Narnia
Les Misérables

Darius Teichroew's favorite books »