Thursday, 30 June 2011

Witty GKC

I've recently started reading this great book wherein I've discovered that Chesterton was a man of  ample girth - six feet four inches and tipping the scales at a whopping three hundred pounds. Apparently this enormous stature led to a famous exchange during World War I. A lady once asked him why he wasn't out at the Front? His reply: "If you go round the side, you will see that I am."

What is man?

"A biped without feathers.” — Plato

"...the only animal that can remain on friendly terms with the victims he intends to eat until he eats them.” — Samuel Butler

“...the only animal that laughs and weeps, for he is the only animal that is struck with the difference between what things are and what they ought to be.” — William Hazlitt

"...made a little lower than the angels
            crowned with glory and honour
                   given dominion over all things" --- The Bible 

O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Clarke on rape seems tame

Compared to what Camille Pagila once said:
If rape is a totally devastating psychological experience for a woman, then she doesn't have a proper attitude about sex. Rape is just like getting beaten up. Men get beat up all the time (Coments made in an interview published in Spin magazine, 1992, pp. 64-65)
A feminist speaks, and the heart shudders.

Manners trumps Law

So said Edmund Burke:
Manners are of more import than laws. Upon them, in a great measure, the laws depend. The law touches us but here and there, and now and then. Manners are what vex or soothe, corrupt or purify, exalt or debase, barbarise or refine us, by a constant, steady, uniform, insensible operation, like that of the air we breathe in. They give their whole form and colour to our lives. According to their qualities, they aid morals, they supply them, or they totally destroy them.
Edmund Burke, Letters on a Regicide peace

In other words you can legislate all you like, but laws can never have the same socially binding effect as manners and you simply can't dictate all human behaviour without enslaving us. Think for example of our excessive health and safety regulations - where have they gotten us? Not so much healthier and safer but rather as a money-making engine for lawyers, bureaucrats and wily companies ready to offer "safety" products. Or consider our child protection laws - have they ensured that our children are protected from the snare of physical abuse and/or sexual harm? The untimely deaths of Victoria Climbie, Baby P, Khyra Ishaq tell a different story (and if you think these three cases are exceptional, talk to any social worker and they'll tell you this is just the tip of the iceberg).

All these horrors and abuses I would suggest, would be better dealt with if our society was more into their manners i.e. if we as a society had unspoken precedents, taboos, ceremonies and protocols governing everyday situations (e.g. always opening the door for the ladies, not leaving the table until everyone has finished eating, speaking to the father of the girl before asking her out and so on). Without these rituals, society often ends up either in totalitarian tyranny or anarchical chaos.  Or put another way, between law on the one side and freedom on the other, there needs to be a middle territory where good manners govern. Or as someone once said, Manners trumps Law.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Questions to a baptist [2]

The introduction to this set of questions can be found here. For now let it suffice that this probing of the baptist mindset is carried out in a spirit of grace and truth: grace in that I consider my baptist brethren to be part of the one holy catholic and apostolic church; truth in that I consider them to be badly badly mistaken in their opposition and denial of paedobaptism. Nuff said... now onto my second question.

Dear Baptist,

In Genesis 17, God establishes a covenant with Abraham which incorporates not just him, but also his children throughout all their generations. In other words in Genesis 17, God commits himself to be Lord and Saviour to Abraham and his descendants forever. Now here is my question where in Scripture is this promise rescinded? Can you think of anywhere post-Genesis 17 where God says the promise "to be God to you and your offspring after you" has been overturned? If not, doesn't this then mean that we are to view things in the same way as Abraham i.e. as people to whom God's covenant love extends to us and our children throughout all their generations?

Sunday, 26 June 2011

God bless Sarah Palin

You may have heard of the attempt by America's MSM to try and find a smoking gun amongst the e-mails Sarah Palin sent whilst she was Governor. So far nothing has turned up and somehow given the resources spent  + all the media hype, I'm rather pleased that these recent attempts to portray Palin as a dipsy dimwit have come to nothing. In fact, the one e-mail that the MSM have hardly mentioned actually portrays Sarah Palin as a saint worthy of an OBE or Knighthood or whatever exalted commendations they give over across the pond. It's an e-mail penned by Palin, a few days before her Down's Syndrome child (Trig) was born. In it, she writes an imaginary letter from God, seeking to reassure those friends and family who didn't know about Trig's condition.

I’ll let the email speak for itself:

To the Sisters, Brother, Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, and Friends of Trig Paxson Van Palin (or whatever you end up naming him!): 
I am blessing you with this surprise baby because I only want the best for you. I've heard your prayers that this baby will be happy and healthy, and I've answered them because Ionly want the best for you! 
I heard your heart when you hinted that another boy would fit best in the Palin family, to round it out and complete that starting five line-up. Though another girl would be so nice, you didn't think you could ask for what you REALLY wanted, but I knew, so I gave you a boy because I only want the best for you! 
Then, I put the idea in your hearts that his name should be "Trig", because it's so fitting, with two Norse meanings: "True" and "Brave Victory". You also have a Bristol Bay relative with that name, so I knew it would be best for you! 
Then, I let Trig's mom have an exceptionally comfortable pregnancy so she could enjoy every minute of it, and I even seemed to rush it along so she could wait until near the end to surprise you with the news - that way Piper wouldn't have so long to wait and count down so many days - just like Christmastime when you have to wait, impatiently, for that special day to finally open your gift? (Or the way the Palins look forward to birthday celebrations that go on for three, four days... you all really like cake .) I know you, I knew you'd be better off with just a short time to wait!
Then, finally, I let Trig's mom and dad find out before he was born that this little boy will truly be a GIFT. They were told in early tests that Trig may provide more challenges, and more joy, than what they ever may have imagined or ever asked for. At first the news seemed unreal and sad and confusing . But I gave Trig' s mom and dad lots of time to think about it because they needed lots of time to understand that everything will be OK, in fact, everything will be great, because I only want the best for you! 
I've given Trig's mom and dad peace and joy as they wait to meet their new son. I gave them a happy anticipation because they asked me for that. I'll give all of you the same happy anticipation and strength to deal with Trig's challenges, but I won't impose on you...
I just need to know you want to receive my offer to be with all of you and help you everyday to make Trig's life a great one. 
This new person in your life can help everyone put things in perspective and bind us together and get everyone focused on what really matters . The baby will expand your world and let you see and feel things you haven't experienced yet. He'll show you what "true, brave victory" really means as those who love him will think less about self and focus less on what the world tells you is "normal" or "perfect". You will grow and be blessed with greater understanding that will be born along with Trig. 
Trig will be his dad's little buddy and he'll wear Carhartts while he learns to tinker in the garage. He'll love to be read to, he'll want to play goalie, and he'll steal his mom's heart just like Track, Bristol, Willow and Piper did. And Trig will be the cuddly, innocent, mischievous, dependent little brother that his siblings have been waiting for in fact Trig will - in some diagnostic ways - always be a mischievous, dependent little brother, because I created him a bit different than a lot of babies born into this world today. 
Every child is created special, with awesome purpose and amazing potential. Children are the most precious and promising ingredient in this mixed up world you live in down there on earth. Trig is no different, except he has one extra chromosome. Doctors call it "Down's Syndrome", and Downs kids have challenges, but can bring you much delight and more love than you can ever imagine! Just wait and see, let me prove this, because I only want the best for you!
Some of the rest of the world may not want him, but take comfort in that because the world will not compete for him. Take care of him and he will always be yours! 
Trig's mom and dad don't want people to focus on the baby's extra chromosome. They're human, so they haven't known how to explain this to people who are so caring and are interested in this new little Alaskan. Sarah and Todd want people to share in the joy of this gift I'm giving to the Palin family, and the greater Alaska family. Many people won't understand... and I understand that. Some will think Trig should not be allowed to be born because they fear a Downs child won't be considered "perfect" in your world. (But tell me, what do you earthlings consider "perfect" or even "normal" anyway? Have you peeked down any grocery store isle, or school hallway, or into your office lunchroom lately? Or considered the odd celebrities you celebrate as "perfect" on t.v.? Have you noticed I make `em all shapes and sizes? Believe me ,, there is no "perfect"!) 
Many people will express sympathy, but you don't want or need that, because Trig will be a joy. You will have to trust me on this. 
I know it will take time to grasp this and come to accept that I only want the best for you, and I only give my best. Remember though: "My ways are not your ways, my thoughts are not your thoughts... for as the heavens are higher than the earth, my ways are higher than yours!" 
I wrote that all down for you in the Good Book ! Look it up! You claim that you believe me - now it's time to live out that belief!
Please look to me as this new challenge and chapter of life unfolds in front of you. I promise to equip you. I won't give you anything you can't handle. I am answering your prayers. Trig can't wait to meet you. I'm giving you ONLY THE BEST! 
Trig's Creator , Your Heavenly Father

May the Lord richly bless Sarah Palin.

Monday, 20 June 2011

Mission minded?

Ever heard that Jim Elliot quote "He is not fool who loses what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose" and thought of jacking it all in and seeking a new "mission field"? Author, Rachel Jankovic suggests that such a thinking might actually be driven by discontent rather than a desire to win the lost. Here is a teaser:
It is easy to think you have a heart for orphans on the other side of the world, but if you spend your time at home resenting the imposition your children are on you, you do not. You cannot have a heart for the gospel and a fussiness about your life at the same time. You will never make any difference there if you cannot be at peace here. You cannot have a heart for missions, but not for the people around you. A true love of the gospel overflows and overpowers. It will be in everything you do, however drab, however simple, however repetitive.
Read the rest at Desiring God 

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Disaster Pastor

If a man cannot string a decent sentence together from a pulpit, has the personality of a ping-pong ball or the social graces of a pit viper, he will be a disaster in the ministry.

From a great article by the inimitable Carl Trueman

Monday, 13 June 2011

More Einstein

If a is a success in life, then a equals x plus y plus z.  Work is xy is play; and z is keeping your mouth shut.

Friday, 10 June 2011

Relatively simple

When you are courting a nice girl, an hour seems like a second.  When you sit on a red-hot cinder, a second seems like an hour.  That’s relativity.

Albert Einstein

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Is Keller being a chicken?

I've already expressed my concern regarding Keller's reticence to speak publicly about homosexuality. I came across another video today which makes me wonder - is Keller selling out on the Gospel? Whaddythink?

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

The wife is the head...

...of the household!
One of the things that Proverbs 31 teaches us is that our language of “head of household” is somewhat of a biblical misnomer because according to Proverbs 31, the wife is the head of the household. The husband is the head of his wife (1 Cor. 11:3, Eph. 5:23), but the wife is the watcher and guardian of the household.

I was a bit suss when I first read that but having just read through Proverbs 31, and today noticing for the first time bits like verse 27, I feel the tectonic plates of my headship theology wobbling. Any thoughts?

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Temptation's Modus Operandi

Temptation only works if the possible futures open to you are concealed. Consequences, including those of Judgment Day, must be hidden from view or outright denied. That’s why in humanity’s ancestral sin the serpent told our mother Eve, “You will not surely die” (Gen. 3:4).

Monday, 6 June 2011

John Lennon saw through the Myth...

...that overpopulation is destroying us!

The video below is another example of a pagan showing the World that they've understood the Truth better than most and could be used to rebuke the Church of our day about embracing the pernicious lie that the World's population needs to be curbed.

3 Lo, children are a heritage of the LORD:
and the fruit of the womb is his reward.
4 As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man;
so are children of the youth.
5 Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them:
they shall not be ashamed,
but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.
Psalm 127:3-5

If you are one of those who considers people to be a drain on resources and who also thinks that population growth needs to be controlled, then your worldview is both unbiblical and un-Christian. For that, you need to repent. Before you do that, let John and Yoko inform and entertain you...

Friday, 3 June 2011

Is Sprinkling THE mode of baptism?

We've been reading the book of Exodus as part of our evening devotions, helped along by the sagacious and insightful Philip Graham Ryken. Last night, here is what we read as part of his commentary on Exodus 24 verse 6 {And Moses took half of the blood and put it in basins, and half of the blood he threw against the altar.} Ryken comments:
In the old covenant, blood was sprinkled on the people as well as on the altar. Is there any equivalent for this in the new covenant? We enter into a covenant relationship with God simply by trusting in Jesus Christ and in his blood. Salvation comes by grace through faith. But we do get sprinkled, because the outward symbol of belonging to God by covenant is Christian baptism. Baptism is the formal act by whcih we become part of the covenant community. And in baptism we are sprinkled. With blood? No, because Jesus has made the one and only sacrifice for our sins. No other blood can be shed, and no other blood can be sprinkled. But God has given us the sprinkling with water in baptism as a sign of his covenant. This was promised already in the Old Testament, when God promised to send a saviour who would "sprinkle many nations" (Isaiah 52:15). Scholars debate whether the sprinkling Isaiah had in mind involved water or blood. Possibly both. Jesus saved the nations through the blood he sprinkled on the cross, and the nations are joined to God in covenant through the sprinkling of water baptism.
So, is sprinkling the mode of baptism? Discuss.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

"Every Christian festival condemns the devil...

but this one especially" said John Chrysostom (c.347-407). Which festival?