Why Akathleptos? Because it means Uncontainable. God is infinite. Hence, the whole universe cannot contain Him. The term also refers to the incomprehensibility of God. No man can know everything about God. We can know Him personally but not exhaustively, not even in Heaven.
Why Patmos? Because the church is increasingly marginalized and exiled from the culture.
Why Pen-Names? So the focus is on the words and not who wrote them. We prefer to let what we say stand on its own merit. There is precedent in church history for this - i.e., the elusive identity of Ambrosiaster who wrote in the 4th century A.D.
“Truth is so obscured nowadays, and lies so well established, that unless we love the truth we shall never recognize it." Blaise Pascal
Wednesday, January 31, 2018
The apparent psychology underlying this arrangement, likewise evident in many current celebrity sex-abuse cases, was: Support, protect and defend cherished left-wing feminist causes like abortion, and in return many grateful women will reward you – or at least accommodate or tolerate your atrocious, predatory behavior.
.... To understand what’s really happening and why, we must realize this seemingly sudden epidemic of powerful men sexually abusing women and girls (and sometimes boys) is just the tiny tip of a very large iceberg.
.... Hold that thought – that sexual anarchy is the natural outgrowth of progress and enlightenment – as we widen the angle of our lens to reveal that we are currently swimming, drowning actually, in an ocean of wild sexuality, and all by design. Since the 1960s, America has been engulfed in an unfolding sexual revolution as radical and life-changing as the most dramatic coup d’etat.
A million abortions per year (that’s one dead child every 29 seconds), millions of out-of-wedlock births (40 percent of all U.S. births), a ubiquitous “hook-up” culture of casual sex, 110 million Americans with a sexually transmitted disease, and, of course, hard-core pornography pervading every nook and cranny of society all testify to the wholesale abandonment of the Judeo-Christian morality of previous generations. Not to mention the glorification of homosexuality (indeed, its elevation to the status of specially protected class), the redefinition of marriage and the creation of dozens of bizarre new genders that never before existed in all of human history.
The predictable result of all this wild “sexual freedom”? Confusion, immorality, insecurity, pain, guilt, addiction, mental illness, infidelity, divorce, family breakdown, depression, self-destructive behavior and suicide.
..... Leftists have been dreaming, scheming, preaching, protesting, demanding, litigating and legislating total sexual freedom – complete sexual anarchy, no rules whatsoever – for decades. Now that their wish has finally come true and the “old rules” have been done away with, they’re still complaining – about people crossing ethical and moral lines with regard to sex!
Let that sink in: These are the same people who didn’t ever want to be told any sexual behavior was wrong, immoral, predatory, disordered, aberrant, sinful or criminal. (Remember the popular LGBT saying used to deflect all criticism: “Love is love.”)
So, for example, while many justifiably recoil in horror at reports of sexual predators seducing underage actors in Hollywood – chillingly detailed in the acclaimed documentary film, “An Open Secret” – the truth is, pretty much the entire gay subculture could not exist without this same kind of predation on minors.
.... The jewel of human civilization – comprising the biblical laws of life meant to guide us safely and surely through this troubled world – has been foolishly thrown into the trash heap, reviled, spat upon and worse.
The left, which has been obsessed with removing Judeo-Christian morality from our schools, culture and minds for several generations, now claims to be shocked – shocked – at the inevitable excesses and crimes they themselves have brought about.
As the saying goes, be careful what you ask for, because you just might get it.
The sexual anarchy now reigning is ultimately the fruit of a full-scale rebellion against truth. Paul elaborates in Romans 1 on this issue, identifying sexual chaos (v. 24-27) as the end result of those who "suppress the truth" (v. 18). There are two possible outcomes at this point: either the culture bends to truth, or truth (reality) will destroy the culture.
Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces, and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him. (Luke 20:18, ESV)
Tuesday, January 30, 2018
This was the perfect embodiment of the gigantic problem the Grammys has in proudly joining the charge for better treatment of women.
Because let’s be perfectly frank: it’s the single most sexist, misogynist and abusive awards show of them all, celebrating many of the most sexist, misogynist and abusive people in an amoral industry of spectacular proportions.
If you thought Hollywood’s bad, it’s got nothing on the record business, particularly in the worlds of hip-hop and rap.
Monday, January 29, 2018
This is part of the ongoing rabid effort to purge Christ from the collective conscience of the culture
This is of course part of the ongoing rabid effort to purge Christ from the collective conscience of the culture. But it is doomed to fail.
... on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. (Matt 16:17-19, ESV)
Two words: Absolutely not.
New research published late last year by scholars at Harvard University and Indiana University Bloomington is just the latest to reveal the myth. This research questioned the “secularization thesis,” which holds that the United States is following most advanced industrial nations in the death of their once vibrant faith culture. Churches becoming mere landmarks, dance halls, boutique hotels, museums, and all that.
Not only did their examination find no support for this secularization in terms of actual practice and belief, the researchers proclaim that religion continues to enjoy “persistent and exceptional intensity” in America. These researchers hold our nation “remains an exceptional outlier and potential counter example to the secularization thesis.”
Story is here.
Sunday, January 28, 2018
Saturday, January 27, 2018
Friday, January 26, 2018
..... evil may be done in strikingly virtuous and honorable ways. The vicious may at least seem to be virtuous—and not only in separate moments but in one and the same moment. Vice really may be splendid, or so it seemed to Augustine and seems to me (to go from the greater to the lesser). So, for example, General Erwin Rommel, while pursuing the war aims of Hitler’s regime, nevertheless burned an order issued by Hitler in 1942 calling for all enemy soldiers caught behind German lines to be summarily executed. Are we not inclined to praise him for this, even while regretting or deploring his willingness to put his training and skill in service of the German war effort?
.... I am certain that if we may only honor those of unblemished character, we will save a lot of money on monuments. So, for example, while the near reverence shown the memory of General Robert E. Lee has probably been overdone and must be in part a product of the lost cause myth of the virtuous South, should we dishonor him while honoring General Philip Sheridan who, under Grant’s command, ordered his troops to burn the crops in the Shenandoah Valley, famously saying that he left it so decimated that even a crow flying over the Shenandoah would have to carry its own provisions?
.... Must a person who possesses one virtue necessarily have them all? Or if we lack one, must we lack all?
.... Conflicts within the moral life are not tragic; they do not result from the fact that the goods of this life cannot be reconciled. They flow from the flaws in our character.
.... In “After Ten Years”—the famous “reckoning” addressed to his fellow conspirators—Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote, “the great masquerade of evil has played havoc with all our ethical concepts.” Among those concepts that had become unraveled in Bonhoeffer’s experience was that of virtue. He was not prepared simply to criticize his fellow Germans who had supported—and even died for—the Nazi regime. “Who would deny,” he writes, “that in obedience, in their task and calling, the Germans have again and again shown the utmost bravery and self-sacrifice”—surely estimable virtues. They took their calling as citizens of the German realm seriously and tried to live it out faithfully. And yet, Bonhoeffer says, something was lacking in these virtuous Germans. They could not see the need for “free and responsible action, even in opposition” to what they took to be their calling. And, hence, they served evil.
.... Bonhoeffer writes in his Ethics:
In Jesus Christ we have faith in the incarnate, crucified and risen God. In the incarnation we learn of the love of God for His creation: in the crucifixion we learn of the judgment of God upon all flesh; and in the resurrection we learn of God’s will for a new world. There could be no greater error than to tear these three elements apart.
When we loosen ethical ties for the sake of "lesser evil" as we are often tempted in this fallen world, we open Pandora's box. It's noteworthy that - although often confronted with difficult choices - Jesus never sinned. Bonhoeffer hits the nail on the head with his assertion that there could be no greater error than failing to keep the incarnation, crucifixion and resurrection (and all they entail) in union.
I think we Protestants are handicapped here. While certainly upholding the incarnation and resurrection, we often tend to keep the crucifixion on the back-burner out of a false conviction that it downplays the glory of the subsequent resurrection. But in so doing, we de-emphasize the fearsome and all-encompassing judgment of God. As I noted earlier here,
In a crucial (quite literally) sixteenth-century moment, a central symbol of the incarnation was removed forcibly from the church. This was the point at which some zealous Reformers went beyond tearing down paintings and smashing statues to take the very body of Christ off of the crucifix—thus (they thought) defending the church against idolatrous images and defending the resurrection. Left behind was (arguably) only an abstract symbol of a judicial transaction.”
This passage was not penned by a Roman Catholic, but by evangelical Protestant Chris Armstrong in his recent book “Medieval Wisdom for Modern Christians.” He effectively argues the incarnation is diminished in much of modern evangelicalism, leading to a serious problem of gnostic super-spirituality. He makes a strong argument. Indeed, it would help explain the mystifying support for abortion among many Protestants, including the astonishing early support from many conservative denominations (i.e., the Southern Baptists - see here.)
Failing to keep the incarnation, crucifixion and resurrection in union results in a distorted worldview, which ultimately blurs ethical truth. Focusing on the incarnate, crucified and risen Christ empowers us to live in truth, walk in freedom .... and make wise ethical choices.
Thursday, January 25, 2018
That worldview says that God created the universe out of nothing, that He has set up a series of observable, rational laws to govern it, and that mankind—male and female—has been created in His image with the God-given ability to discover things about the physical world and bring order and blessing to it. As the eminent historian Rodney Stark has written, “Christian theology was necessary for the rise of science.”
.... Ecklund and Scheitle, for their part, suggest that our churches should take a more active role in recognizing and promoting science as a calling from God. They say that the church needs “faith leaders to celebrate the scientists within their congregations, and they need these scientists to speak out about how scientific knowledge is not a threat to their faith.”
I just had cataract surgery by one of the premier eye surgeons in the world, Dr. Ming Wang. He believes there are few surgeons in the world that could have successfully handled the extra degree of difficulty of my eyes (cataracts, very high myopia, astigmatism, and even a colobama). He had warned me before surgery that with such a high refraction (-11.5), getting good vision in one shot was like trying to hit the hole from 800 yards. It looks like he hit the hole from 800 yards in both eyes. There were at least 3 medical doctors that I could discern undergoing surgery by him the same day as me (he’s operated on over 4000 doctors.) He invented the artificial cornea and holds the patents on 8 specific eye surgical procedures. And he's a strong Christian. In his autobiography, he writes that it was after he became a Christian and merged his new faith with his scientific understanding of the world, that new discovery of scientific truth came.
Wednesday, January 24, 2018
Tuesday, January 23, 2018
Monday, January 22, 2018
As Charlotte observes,
I have no idea myself whether Charles Darwin was a “self-effacing” and “endearing” beetlemaniac—a Mahatma Gandhi of biology, so to speak—as his fans claim, or a cat-killing, digestive tract-obsessed egotist and plagiarist, as Wilson seems to think. But one thing is clear: Wilson has gotten under the skin of people who make at least part of their living promoting Darwin.
There is a reason for that. Wilson, a devoted Christian as a young man (he had successively been an Anglican, a Roman Catholic, and an Anglican again), lost his religious faith during the late 1980s. He published a militant secularist tract, Against Religion, in 1990, and in subsequent years biographies of Jesus and Paul of Tarsus, presenting the former as a kindly Jewish rabbi whose memory was traduced by his fanatical followers and the latter as an out-and-out nutcase. Wilson hobnobbed with celebrity atheists who would have been on Jerry Coyne’s A-list: Richard Dawkins and the late Christopher Hitchens. But then, as Wilson wrote in an eloquent 2009 article for The New Statesman, his long-repudiated Christian faith crashed back against him like the tide against a jetty.
As Wilson states,
... the existence of language is one of the many phenomena—of which love and music are the two strongest—which suggest that human beings are very much more than collections of meat. They convince me that we are spiritual beings, and that the religion of the incarnation, asserting that God made humanity in His image, and continually restores humanity in His image, is simply true.
I recently had eye surgery performed by one of the premier eye surgeons in the world - Dr. Ming Wang. He grew up an atheist, but it was his study of the human eye that drove him to the realization of a supreme Creator with unimaginable skill and power. After becoming a Christian, it was the merger of his new faith with his scientific understanding that propelled him to discover new scientific truth that changed the world of eye surgery.
Sunday, January 21, 2018
Saturday, January 20, 2018
Friday, January 19, 2018
Thursday, January 18, 2018
...... for most of human history, actors were considered low-class. They were akin to carnies, grifters, hookers and other riffraff.
In ancient Rome, actors were often slaves. In feudal Japan, Kabuki actors were sometimes available to the theatergoers as prostitutes -- a practice not uncommon among theater troupes in the American Wild West. In 17th century England, France and America, theaters were widely considered dens of iniquity, turpitude and crapulence. Under Oliver Cromwell's Puritan dictatorship, the theaters were forced to close to improve moral hygiene. The Puritans of New England did likewise. A ban on theaters in Connecticut imposed in 1800 stayed on the books until 1952.
Partly out of a desire develop a wartime economy, partly out of disdain for the grubbiness of the stage, the first Continental Congress in 1774 proclaimed, "We will, in our several stations ... discountenance and discourage every species of extravagance and dissipation, especially all horse-racing, and all kinds of gaming, cock-fighting, exhibitions of shews [sic], plays, and other expensive diversions and entertainments ..."
Needless to say, times have changed.
.... to watch the endless stream of award shows for Hollywood titans is to subject yourself to a narcissistic spectacle of collective self-worship. In 2006, George Clooney gave an (undeserved) Oscar acceptance speech in which he said, "We are a little bit out of touch in Hollywood every once in a while, I think. It's probably a good thing." He went on to deliver a semi-fictional though no doubt sincere account of how actors are like a secular priesthood prodding America to do better.
.... The interesting question is: Why have movie stars and other celebrities become an aristocracy of secular demigods? It seems to me an objective fact that virtually any other group of professionals plucked at random from the Statistical Abstract of the United States -- nuclear engineers, plumbers, grocers, etc. -- are more likely to model decent moral behavior in their everyday lives. Indeed, it is a bizarre inconsistency in the cartoonishly liberal ideology of Hollywood that the only super-rich people in America reflexively assumed to be morally superior are people who pretend to be other people for a living.
I think part of the answer has to do with the receding of religion from public life.
When the culture banished religion from the public square, they also unknowingly jettisoned absolute truth. Once that happened, the culture naturally gravitated to Hollywood, the chief purveyor of worldly wisdom (which is foolishness, 1 Cor 3:9).
The solution is to acknowledge and embrace transcendent truth again.
Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won't be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. (Eph 4:14, NLT)
Wednesday, January 17, 2018
Michael Tanner asks a good question here - Why Is There So Much Government Hostility to Private Charity?
The evidence suggests that private charity is simply more effective than traditional welfare at both providing for people’s immediate material needs and dealing with the barriers to their moving up the economic ladder. Why, then, is there so much government hostility to the practice? One might simply conclude that “bureaucrats will be bureaucrats.” The enforcers of rules and regulations soon come to believe that, in the absence of those rules, society would collapse — that the rules were disregarded, even for a good cause, we might soon come to question the need for them altogether. But there is also a troubling skepticism toward the very idea of charity among some progressives.
Ultimately, it's all about control. Progressive bureaucrats want to control literally every aspect possible of your life, believing they know better than you. What you eat, what you wear, what you drive, where you live, where you work, what you watch, what you listen to, how you play, what kind of medical care you receive, what you can say .... and even how to "properly" think (like them.)
More importantly, they want to "save" you from what they regard as delusional out-dated beliefs (primarily Christianity) that are seriously detrimental to both you and society, and usher you into Utopia. The problem is that their vision of "Utopia" becomes literally hell-on-earth.
It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man (Ps 118:8, ESV)
Tuesday, January 16, 2018
Peter Heck observes here that Christians were right after all about the institutionalization of sexual immorality being a slippery slope.
When Antonin Scalia wrote his scathing dissent in the Lawrence v. Texas sodomy case, predicting that a tidal wave of sexually immoral permissiveness would follow the ruling, he wasn't just grinding a bigoted axe. He was making a logical deduction – the same logical deduction that many of us "social conservatives" (read: "Christians") made when the Supreme Court did precisely what Scalia had anticipated and effectively "undefined" the institution of marriage in the country.
When you rebel against God, you are rebelling against any firm, logical order for life and morality – including sexual. The consequences are increasingly terrible. They are also predictable.
This isn't a gloating "told you so" rant. There's no point to that. Societally, there is no putting the genie back into the bottle, and we are sentenced now as a people to sleep in the bed that we have made. But what we can do, and should do – and what I implore all people like Ms. Rumpf to do – is recognize what we've done and testify to the better way.
Acknowledge that only in obedience to God can we find freedom from sin and all its ugly consequences, even when those ugly consequences are called "impressive and magical" by those who perish.
Sin is indeed a slippery slope. Romans chapter 1 verifies that one sin usually leads to others. Verses 24 to 31 list at least 27 sins that can result from the original sin of not glorifying God and all He has done. In the description of the descent down the slippery slope, it is mentioned three times that God “gave them up” and “gave them over” to their sins. The words in those phrases mean “surrendered”. God saw that their mind was set on “doing their own thing”, not on acknowledging Him and certainly not obeying His commandments; so God took His guiding, protecting hands off them and let them face the consequences of their own sin. They wanted their sinful lifestyle, so God “surrendered” them over to the wages of their own unrighteousness.
Heck's observation in the article above that we are now sentenced societally "to sleep in the bed that we have made" lends credence to Benedict Option (here) which argues that Christians should be figuratively building community arks to ride out the coming flood of judgment.
Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God's righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them. (Rom 1:24-31, ESV)
Monday, January 15, 2018
“We would be naïve, I think, to suppose that people, young or old — our own children or those of others — will act on the basis of reason and biblical truth when it comes to justifying divorce,” Piper said. “I would guess that 95 cases out of 100 people do what they want to do and then find reasons to do it. Those who claim to believe the Bible will find biblical reasons to do it.”
In the end, Piper said it’s all about keeping a promise and a covenant. He lamented the modern selfishness that has overtaken so many and has, in turn, led to divorce and multiple marriages.
Story is here.
I've always been amazed at how callously the culture treats divorce. If one cannot keep the most solemn oath they take (and the only one they profess for "life"), then why-in-the-world would we entrust them with anything else of consequence - i.e., sensitive secrets or serious responsibility? No wonder there is such rampant immoral and unethical behavior among the ruling elite in government, journalism, academia, Hollywood, etc.
We reap what we sow. If you're looking for a trustworthy person, start with the relative few today that are still married after decades together.
But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
(Jesus Christ - Matt 5:32)
Although it is true that the whole world was engaged in slavery at one point in the temptation of wealth they witnessed from Muslim slavery, it is also true that African blacks, under the indoctrination of Islam, captured and enslaved more white Europeans in 1,200 years of slave raids on European shores than all of European and American slave trade combined.
Sunday, January 14, 2018
Saturday, January 13, 2018
Friday, January 12, 2018
Luke, Leia, and the other protagonists of the original trilogy continue to see their stories as central to the universe, even though they have accomplished nothing. Rather than restoring balance and galactic order, they have produced a generation of orphans, stuck fighting their supposed leaders’ battles all over again. And no wonder the leaders are no help—they have never even read their own sacred texts, and they abandon their commitments as soon as they face failure.
.... Kylo Ren, our new villain, is the only character to draw attention to these galactic defects: He wants to sweep away the failures of the previous generations and start afresh. “Let the past die,” he says. “Kill it, if you have to.” Kylo was nearly killed by his uncle and mentor, Luke Skywalker, who feared being supplanted by his student (and was probably a lousy mentor anyway, having never completed his own training).
.... Critics have complained that the movies return us to exactly the same balance of power. But this is the point. Nothing changes. Neither the First Order nor the Rebel Alliance is worthy of trust. Their fight over who is in control is irrelevant to the daily lives of the oppressed masses. As Benicio Del Toro’s jaded codebreaker, DJ, expresses: “They blow you up, you blow them up.”
.... The title of the film, The Last Jedi, only emphasizes that there are no Jedi. These mythical figures, who were supposed to have achieved a mastery of self, are gone. Note that in none of the eight movies so far is the intensive and painful Jedi training regimen followed through. Not a single real Jedi is produced. Instead we have Luke, the “last Jedi,” who cannot master himself or his feelings. He wallows in failure and refuses to do the hard work of addressing what his emotional reactions have wrought. Instead—while hallucinating Yoda’s approval!—he torches what little remains of millennia of tradition, because it feels good.
..... The film’s meta-commentary is that the revolutions of 1968 and following accomplished nothing. The boomers endlessly cling to their narrative and rehash their fights under slightly different names, with no real change. It is no wonder that those who want to burn the past are emboldened today, whether on the far left or on the fascist right. And no wonder, too, that in a world still controlled by the boomers, this critique had to be an esoteric one, hidden within a narrative the boomers would love and pay for.
"The Last Jedi" embodies the contemporary worldview of hopelessness and meaninglessness that has ensnared so many today where the distinction between good and evil is rapidly evaporating. In a futile attempt to find real meaning, many today resort to frantic attempts to destroy the past and reinvent the future. If we are not careful, we will witness the tragic reincarnation of the French Revolution with its attendant destruction and bloodbath.
Only a recommitment to truth will save us.
Thursday, January 11, 2018
Freedom is on the wane even as talk of liberation gets louder and louder .....
Political correctness creates the optical illusion that our era is one of new orthodoxies. Political correctness polices our assertions, true, but it does so in order to prevent them from becoming strong. It seeks a paradoxically obligatory inclusiveness, which is the postmodern perversion of Erasmus’s ideal of peace. Obligatory inclusion is a trompe l’oeil orthodoxy, one that explodes all orthodoxies. Talk to young proponents of identity politics. You will find they exhibit a combination of ideological ardor and moral minimalism bordering on relativism. This seems contradictory, but it is not. They presume that the authority of truth needs to be destroyed so that society can be fully inclusive and people can be free to choose to live in whatever way they wish.
.... I’m confident that investigative reporting will show that the activists currently making uproars at elite universities invariably go on to work for McKinsey and Goldman Sachs, or end up at elite law schools and other programs that further groom them for their roles in the ruling class.
.... Soul-defining truths come to be seen as public menaces, signs of an illiberal “dogmatism” at odds with the spirit of inclusion and a threat to “adult spirituality.” As Luther recognized, this may expand free choice, but it undermines freedom. The banishment of assertions from public life leaves us limp and uninspired. We have no basis on which to stand up to the principalities and powers that rule us. We must plight our troth to something higher than ourselves if we are to become capable of true freedom. Love’s bondage is the engine of liberty.
.... The depth and scope of today’s bondage to “the system” is extraordinary. This explains why something as bizarre as transgenderism gets widespread support from young people. The assertion that one is a woman, not a man, however misguided and self-defeating, seems like a powerful expression of freedom. To say “No!” to nature adds up to a remarkable (and unworkable) declaration of independence.
..... affirming truth sets us free. Asserting that there are intrinsically evil acts limits our choices. But in a deeper sense, these moral assertions provide the foundation for a culture of freedom. In a moral system in which everything depends upon circumstances or inner intentions, the resulting ambiguity favors the status quo. Without moral absolutes, we are left to our own devices, making us vulnerable to manipulation and intimidation. The principalities and powers that rule the “world” punish dissent. Given our weakness, we find ways to avoid paying a price for moral truth. At best, we retreat into an inward dissent that maintains outward conformity. At worst, we exploit the supposed ambiguities of moral truth to rationalize our compromises and capitulations.
.... Only a man who can say, “I will not” is genuinely free. I will not “accompany” the culture of death. I will not conform to the sexual revolution. I will not deny my Lord and God. The freedom to say no—no to evil, no to lies, no to groupthink and easy self-deceptions—is the grace of moral truth. It provides us with a natural anticipation of the supernatural freedom given in God’s Word.
Wednesday, January 10, 2018
Why is what unacceptable to socially enlightened Europeans, fully acceptable to American progressives?
Tuesday, January 9, 2018
Earlier I reported here on the apparent effect the Enchroma glasses are having on my color-blindness.
I heard back from the CEO of Enchroma regarding my inquiry if it were possible that the glasses were rewiring my brain to recognize color. What he had to say is interesting, particularly “color vision tests are somewhat different, because these don’t really measure your ability to see and identify colors, but rather your absolute detection limits for differences between shades of colors."
Most really don't understand the impact of color-blindness (really, color deficiency). I was denied entry into both the Air Force and Navy. While the Army accepted me, many jobs were closed to me. I could never be a commercial pilot, cop, chef, electrical engineer, or maritime seaman. Many jobs in medicine are closed. I cannot drive in some countries. Etc, etc, etc
And I am only mildly color blind. For anyone at the moderate or extreme level, life becomes difficult.
It's difficult for anyone with normal color vision to fully comprehend the impact of this technology upon the color handicapped. Indeed, other than when Christ walked the earth in human flesh, this is the first time in history when the color blind could see and appreciate true color.
If the glasses are truly helping me (and many others!) to correctly identify color, it is astonishing testimony to the incredible flexibility and adaptability of the human brain (even when decades old) which can apparently compensate for faulty color receptors in the eye. Jaw-dropping testimony to the power of the Creator.
Below is the answer I received from the CEO of Enchroma .....
- thank you for the email. We have heard from many people that Enchroma glasses “fixed” their color vision in a similar way. Currently we do not have an exact technical explanation for this yet but you might call it a sort of learning by example: the glasses help you see and identify colors so that your brain can build a better map of the range of color experiences - this ends up translating to benefits in the unaided conditions as well (unaided meaning without Enchroma glasses). There is also a lot of evidence that there is a strong connection between color naming (the ability to name a color) and color perception.
The results on color vision tests are somewhat different, because these don’t really measure your ability to see and identify colors, but rather your absolute detection limits for differences between shades of colors. We have seen more mixed results with using our glasses on standardized tests.
President & CEO
And here is the background of Andrew ...
President & CEO, Co-Founder & Inventor
UC Berkeley-trained mathematician Andrew Schmeder has broad expertise with technological innovation and was responsible for the design and optimization of Enchroma’s products. Andy’s diverse background includes time as a staff researcher at UC Berkeley where he was introduced to the concept of perceptual psychophysics: the science of how physical events that occur in the world relate to the human perception and cognition resulting from those events. Through this intellectual framework, Schmeder was initially introduced to the idea of using technology to assist with sensory disabilities by looking at how the parameters of digital hearing aids can be manipulated in real-time to improve experiences such as enjoyment of music for the hearing impaired. Later, this experience would prove invaluable in his work developing Enchroma.
Every hospital in the country has been ordered to cancel all non-urgent surgery until at least February in an unprecedented step by NHS officials. The instructions on Tuesday night - which will see result in around 50,000 operations being axed - followed claims by senior doctors that patients were being treated in “third world” conditions, as hospital chief executives warned of the worst winter crisis for three decades. Hospitals are reporting growing chaos .....
The naive progressive liberals that live in wonderland and have never lived in a truly socialist country are wishing for the dark side. They are akin to the American Islamic supporters who have never visited or lived in Saudi Arabia or Pakistan. Ironically, many (most?) of them grew up in and live in comfortable privilege - something they will surely lose if they achieve what they ignorantly strive for.
The simple believes everything, but the prudent gives thought to his steps. (Prov 14:15, ESV)
Monday, January 8, 2018
Think about that. No other creature in all of material creation has that kind of power available to them. It is the most powerful weapon a Christian has at their disposal. And most of us use it far too little and too late.
Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. (Mark 11:24, ESV)
Sunday, January 7, 2018
.... this week Vanity Fair published a book excerpt by Emily Chang revealing that Silicon Valley is as sexually debauched as Hollywood, the political world and the media. Many titans of the tech world – entrepreneurs, executives, investors, founders of companies – regularly host drug-fueled, sex-laced parties.
Women in the tech industry often feel compelled to attend to get ahead in their careers. But the reality is that joining the party often stalls their careers, as they are reduced to sex objects instead of respected as people. Progress? More like regress.
..... For real reform, we have to dig deeper. A hedonistic ethic pervades all our public institutions ....
.... A society’s view of sex reflects its deeper commitments – its prevailing ethos or worldview. The sexual liberation ethic stems from an underlying idea that the world is a product of blind, material forces.
.... Sexual exploitation is unlikely to stop with drug-and-sex parties in Silicon Valley – unless we are ready to rethink fundamental convictions.
..... at the root of moral issues is the question: What kind of cosmos do we live in? Are we products of blind material forces? Or does the natural world reflect some kind of purpose – and behind it, a Person who loves us and has a purpose for our lives?
Saturday, January 6, 2018
Humans, with our three cone types, are better at discerning color than most mammals, but plenty of animals beat us out in the color vision department. Many birds and fish have four types of cones, enabling them to see ultraviolet light, or light with wavelengths shorter than what the human eye can perceive. Some insects can also see in ultraviolet, which may help them see patterns on flowers that are completely invisible to us. To a bumblebee, those roses may not be so red after all.
It was the complexity of the eye that convinced Dr Ming Wang, one of the premier eye surgeons in the world, that evolution is a hoax - that it is statistically impossible for something like the eye to emerge by chance - and that only God could create something so marvelously complex. He came to Christ as a result and once he merged his faith with science, he was able to discover and invent new things such as the first artificial cornea and pioneer new surgical procedures that revolutionized eye surgery.
To God be the glory.
Friday, January 5, 2018
As Michael Horton explains in the book, “[Ambition] did not mean drive or initiative. It meant putting oneself forward, as in an election, but in a spirit of rivalry that is not beneath resorting to unscrupulous tactics.”
Later, he cites a couple uses of the word “ambition” in the Bible. One of these uses appears in James 3, where the author writes, “[I]f you have … selfish ambition [eritheia] in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth” (James 3:16, italics mine). As Horton explains, older English versions translate the word eritheia as simply “ambition” rather than “selfish ambition.” The modifier (“selfish”), he says, “would have been considered redundant, like talking about ‘cold ice.’ Ambition was selfish by definition. The fact that our modern translations feel obliged to add ‘selfish’ points out the change in our culture’s evaluation of this attribute.” .......
...... If pursuing your grand ambitions will prevent you from doing the simple and ordinary things of life well, then they’re not worth pursuing. Sometimes these grand things in life get in the way of what’s truly important.
Amen. Well said, Leah.
Thursday, January 4, 2018
Read about it here.
It is the first anti-Star Wars Star Wars movie.
TLJ essentially deconstructs the whole SW saga.
The classic tale of the perennial battle between Good and Evil collapses in on itself, here being revealed as an epic delusion begotten by the monumental arrogance of those—the Jedi—who thought themselves heroes.By insisting upon a hard and fast distinction between the dark and light sides of the Force—by insisting that morality is an objective feature of the universe—and positioning themselves as guardians of the Light, the Jedi, in their “hubris,” as Luke Skywalker says, gave rise to all that had gone wrong in the galaxy.
In other words, it is the Jedi Order that is the “root cause” of evil (if we can even coherently speak of evil in connection with TLJ).
..... In The Last Jedi, Light and Darkness, the Jedi and the Sith—these are for all practical purposes dismissed as relics of a bigoted past.
..... In glaring contrast, the Resistors are more like the French Revolutionaries, radical egalitarians inspired by Rousseau and against whom Edmund Burke defined what would become known as conservatism.
The radicals of the French Revolution were zealots who, for the sake of leveling the inequalities and hierarchies that were the legacy of the past, fiercely and indiscriminately used the guillotine against the members of the Ancient Regime that they sought to purge from their midst.
Most decent folks today, regardless of their politics or religion, share Burke’s assessment of the French Revolution. The radicals were many things, but they were not good.
This, then, is another respect in which The Last Jedi underscores the arbitrary, the arguably artificial, character of our conceptions of right and wrong, good and evil ......
Kurt Schlichter pontificates here about Hollywood's deteriorating product.
It was nice to go to a movie for once and not be bored to tears by spandex-clad magic people flying about punching and exploding stuff. Of course, it was also weird because everyone in the theater was alive when Reagan was president, and no one was on their iPhone tweeting .....
.... it’s easy to lament the death of Hollywood, which seems determined to ritually sacrifice itself on the altar of homogenous corporate moviemaking, if not the altars of leftism and perversions.
Earlier I wrote here about how recent Disney animated movies are propaganda masterpieces. Hollywood plays a key role in purveying the propaganda that is reshaping the culture - i.e., that transcendent, objective truth does not exist. Truth is presented as relative, subjective ... and ultimately meaningless.
Wednesday, January 3, 2018
Social media can help foster friendships and keep us connected to loved ones. When people insisted it couldn’t replace face-to-face, in-person conversation, I scoffed, responding with anecdotes of how many of my friends needed it to keep in touch when the military moved them from place to place.
When folks warned that social media was likely exacerbating my depression, I shook my head, pointing to my support just a click away. When my husband suggested I spent too much time on my accounts and should consider deactivating, I insisted I needed the outlet for an escape from the stress of work and home, of life in general.
But no more. I’m over it. I’m done.
..... At first, it was insanely difficult. I had been on Facebook since its inception.
.... I actually felt more connected when I was forced to intentionally contact someone to talk rather than waiting for people to react to my status updates and posts.
I also had to decide who I wanted to talk to rather than shouting into the ether and waiting for a response. As a result, conversations became deeper, more personal, more heartfelt than those that could happen on timeline threads. And having friends reach out to me individually to see how I was doing meant more to me than any “like” or comment ever could.
..... It’s designed to distract us over and over and over. The constantly updating timeline — and their obnoxious algorithms meant to show you “what really matters to you” — keeps us scrolling and scrolling to see if we’ve missed anything from someone. It’s a wonder we don’t all develop some form of attention deficit disorder from these hours of social media use.
It seemed everyone had been right. Social media wasn’t helping me. It was hindering me.
...... We don’t need to accept a social media takeover of our lives as our fate. We can rebel against it and come out stronger, healthier, and saner.
Tuesday, January 2, 2018
Throughout the course of church history, many people have taught that Jesus’ spirit descended into Hell after His death on the cross. Basing this idea on Ephesians 4:8–10 and 1 Peter 3:18–20, most of those who have taught that Jesus’ spirit went to hell after His death affirm that He went there to proclaim judgment to sinners and/or rescue the saints of the Old Testament (Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy affirm this). Today, many in the heretical Word of Faith movement teach that the crucifixion was insufficient to atone for our sins and that Jesus also had to suffer three days of torment in hell. Among the heresies taught by the Word Of Faith movement, is the doctrine that Jesus Christ was "born again" after suffering in Hell at the hands of the Devil. It is taught by Joyce Meyer, Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland, Kenneth Hagin, as well as nearly every other false teacher in the Word Of Faith movement.
The Ephesians passage, however, is better understood to refer only to His descent to earth and perhaps to the grave: “of the earth” is better understood as an appositional phrase meaning that Christ descended (at His incarnation) into the lower parts (of the universe), namely, the earth at His incarnation, or perhaps even into the grave in His burial following His death on the cross. The prisoners He took are not the OT believers confined in Paradise, but those Jesus defeated by His death and resurrection. In keeping with the analogy of the Roman Triumph Paul had in mind, it refers to Satan and his demon host (see Col. 2:14-15).
1 Peter 3:18-20 is another passage that is often used in this regard because it seems to refer to Christ’s spirit proclaiming His victory over death to those demons who were bound in the abyss. This passage could possibly refer to a glorious proclamation He made by His human spirit while His body lay in the grave, but Bible students and scholars are divided on this issue.
As to paradise or Abraham’s bosom, the gulf fixed separating the two compartments in heaven is probably the heavens themselves. Remember that Elijah was taken up into heaven. Because of the need of Christ’s death to remove the barrier, Old Testament saints may not have been allowed into the direct presence of God, but Sheol or Hades for them (the place of the dead) was a paradise and in the third heaven somewhere. Remember that Sheol or Hades refers to the place of the dead and the exact condition and location (heaven or hell) depends on whether a text is referring to believers or unbelievers. Sometimes, depending on context, it refers simply to the grave.
We must reject outright any claim that Jesus suffered in Hell because of His triumphant cry from the cross that it was finished (John 19:30.) In evidence that His suffering was indeed finished and fully satisfied the wrath of God against sin, is the record that the curtain in the Jewish Temple guarding the Holy of Holies was immediately torn in two from top to bottom (Matt 27:51.) The commitment of His spirit into the Father's hands at the moment of His death (Luke 23:46) seems to clearly affirm the end of the temporary separation between Father and Son.
What about the promise of Jesus that the repentant thief next to Him would be in Paradise with Him that very day before sunset (Luke 23:42-43)? Jesus prefaced His response with the phrase, “I tell you the truth”. Many scholars note that Jesus uses this as a prefix phrase when He is about to say something that should be listened to with care. Seventy-six times in the New Testament, Jesus uses the phrase. Interestingly, no one but Jesus ever says it. When the Lord says “I tell you the truth,” He is affirming that what He is about to say is worthy of special attention. It was Jesus’ way of saying, “Listen up! What I’m about to say is very important and should be listened to carefully.” We’re too used to hearing the phrase to appreciate the astonishing authority it expresses and the often solemn nature of the announcement that follows. In every one of the 76 times Christ uses this introductory phrase, He simply says it and then makes a startling statement. The strongest argument from Scripture is that after Christ died, it was His body that was buried in the tomb. However, Jesus’ spirit was not in the tomb. Jesus’ Spirit was in the Father’s presence (Luke 23:46; Ephesians 4:8). On the day of Resurrection when Jesus tells Mary that He has not yet ascended to the Father (John 20:17), He is clearly referring to an ascension in His resurrected physical body.
A Biblical understanding of the suffering of Christ has practical implication. If we believe that Christ's suffering continued after His death on the cross, we demean what happened on the cross. Ultimately, the cross becomes insufficient in and of itself to atone for sin.
Everything teeters on the edge of apocalypse.
Today’s world seems to be a scramble of disconnected data points, but there’s coherence in the chaos. The most penetrating analyses focus on the West’s loss of confidence in globalization. That framework doesn’t explain everything, but it explains a lot.
..... Revelation 18 isn’t a prophecy about globalization. It’s not, as many believe, about the fall of the Roman Empire. Rather, it portrays the collapse of the world order that ancient Jews believed centered on Jerusalem and its temple.
..... Revelation gives insight into contemporary history in several ways. It unveils the distorted Christian inspiration behind globalism. The vision of a global city saved by commerce is a counterfeit gospel that gathers a counterfeit church, but it’s hardly even thinkable without the real gospel.
By recognizing that globalism is a faith, we can understand the ferocious tenacity of its defenders. People cling to idols even after they’ve been shattered.
Monday, January 1, 2018
Global warming is an infinitely flexible, unscientific, unfalsifiable theory which can be stretched to accommodate any observation
No matter what happens to the weather, the climate explainers shamelessly cobble together an explanation which blames bad weather on your sinful lifestyle. Whatever the observation, the climate explainers have their theory – their infinitely adaptable theory, which they claim is science. Stephen Moore authored an enlightening essay here this past summer entitled "Climate Change Hypocrites". Read about it here.
Contrary to the flood of insults directed at the Trump administration, the U.S. is not the bad actor on the world stage when it comes to environmental protection. We are the world leader in environmental stewardship, and our energy use, as a share of the economy, continues to shrink.
An even more preposterous claim is that China — the largest polluter by far — and India are moving away from fossil fuels and transitioning to wind and solar power.
No, they are not.
.... The press is also having a field day with the story that Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SolarCity, has resigned from a Trump economic advisory council out of protest. But Musk, according to the Los Angeles Times, has received almost $5 billion in government subsidies. SolarCity and Tesla are likely out of business without all the taxpayer-funded green handouts. Why doesn't the press report that Musk has a multibillion-dollar personal stake in global warming?
Kurt Schlichter also calls out the phony prophets here for "painting fake pictures to produce an alternate global warming reality".
Record cold. Record snow. Recovering sea ice. But, things are not always as they appear. The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space and Technology announced in February 2017 they are investigating the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for alleged climate data manipulation after whistleblowers stepped forward, including Dr. John Bates, former principal scientist at the National Climatic Data Center in Asheville North Carolina who claims NOAA scientists put a “thumb on the scale” to favor their global warming argument.
Maybe this is not about science at all. Maybe it’s more about phony prophets painting fake pictures to produce an alternate reality.
Alarmists are not interested in the indisputable evidence the Earth goes through cyclical periods of cooling and warming. The Earth experienced periods of glaciation, then melting, long before the construction of Al Gore’s energy-devouring Nashville home and Leonardo DiCaprio’s excessive use of private jets.
Gore said the Arctic would be ice free by 2014 and the guy that Democrats call a “prophet,” James Hansen, former director of NASA’s Godard Institute for Space Studies, predicted the Arctic ice would melt by the end of 2017.
..... Obviously, climate alarmists have the same answer for every weather pattern, so the rest of us normal folks should forget them and focus on reality.
This is a perfect illustration of how the culture bends truth to fit whatever perception of reality happens to be in vogue. The facts are an inconvenient truth for Al Gore and his climate change groupies. What's happening with the global warming controversy is prima facia evidence of how truth is irrelevant to a hell-bent world that is determined to create its own fictitious wonderland no matter what. The truth be damned.
The problem is that reality always rudely intrudes sooner or later.