The intellectual chattering classes throughout Europe and the English speaking world have moved over recent decades towards anti-semitism. There are a number of reasons or causes–all of them either specious or evil.
One cannot help but wonder what was really going on amongst the bureaucrats at the Wellington City Council. It’s actions and words imply, either latent anti-semitism, or a fear of retribution from (unknown) anti-semites. Here is the story:
Israel Spat for Wellington’s Children’s Festival Artsplash
Wellington City Council has been forced to apologise to multi-award winning lyricist Sir Tim Rice, after the word “Israel” was removed from his work being used for a children’s festival. Lyrics from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat were being used as part of Wellington’s annual children’s festival, Artsplash.
But the song sheets soon sparked controversy, after the line “Children of Israel” was changed to “Children of Kindness”. Questions were raised on Twitter by Kate Dowling, who asked why it was done. That tweet prompted a response from Rice himself, who warned he hadn’t given permission for any changes. He described the “totally unauthorised” change of lyrics as “a terribly drippy and meaningless alteration”. Wellington City Council moved quickly to fix the mess, apologising and telling Rice they loved his work. “A community coordinator made an error in judgement which we will rectify before the schoolkids perform in Sept. Sorry, we love your work.” [Wellington City Council–Artsplash]
So far, so good. People make mistakes, right?
But what followed is more noisome: the Artsplash folk removed the song from the programme altogether. What was so significant about the phrase “Children of Israel” that it had to be stricken out by a censor’s pen?
Artsplash Coordinator Mary Prichard told Fairfax the change was made to “keep life simple” at a festival for primary school children. After the complaints about the lyric changes, organisers decided to remove the song from its programme entirely, rather than change them back. Prichard said it wasn’t worth it to go “looking for trouble”.
Trouble from whom? The United Nations Human Rights Council perhaps? Or, is it that Prichard has friends who detest the nation of Israel, and by implication, the Jewish people? No? Well, trouble from whom, then?
At its most benign, the actions of the Council might reflect supine “political correctness”; at worst, it may represent an attempt to placate the anti-Semites amongst us. Either way, something smells.
devotional post # 2054
Luk 21:20 “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then realize that its devastation has come near.
Luk 21:21 Then let those who are in Judea disappear into the mountains, and let those who are inside the city go away, and let not those who are out in the countryside enter it,
Luk 21:22 for these are days of punishment, to fulfill all that is written.
Luk 21:23 It will be terrible for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days! Because there will be massive trouble in the land and wrath against this people.
Luk 21:24 They will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive amid all nations, and Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.
Jesus continues to describe the terrible time that Jerusalem will face in the not too distant future from his prediction. God judged the land and people of Israel for their having rejected Christ as the Messiah. But Jesus warned believers that since this time of trouble was coming to the land, they had better hide, because the punishment would affect everyone there.
When God begins to punish a people, even his true believers will feel the effects of it.
LORD, when we are in the midst of trouble in our land, we trust you to limit your judgment so that some of us survive.
Jesuit Scholar: Islamic Extremists Are the True Muslims
Thomas D. Williams, Ph.D.
What Kind of Prayer Pleases God?
“This is the man to whom I will look, he that is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word.” (Isaiah 66:2)
The first mark of the upright heart is that it trembles at the Word of the Lord.
Isaiah 66 deals with the problem of some who worship in a way that pleases God and some who worship in a way that doesn’t. Verse 3 describes the wicked who bring their sacrifices: “He who slaughters an ox is like him who kills a man; and he who sacrifices a lamb, like him who breaks a dog’s neck.” Their sacrifices are an abomination to God — on a par with murder. Why?
In verse 4 God explains: “When I called, no one answered, when I spoke they did not listen.” Their sacrifices were abominations to God because the people were deaf to his voice. But what about those whose prayers God heard? God says in verse 2, “This is the man to whom I will look, he that is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word.”
I conclude from this that the first mark of the upright, whose prayers are a delight to God, is that they tremble at God’s Word. These are the people to whom the Lord will look.
So the prayer of the upright that delights God comes from a heart that at first feels precarious in the presence of God. It trembles at the hearing of God’s Word, because it feels so far from God’s ideal and so vulnerable to his judgment and so helpless and so sorry for its failings.
This is just what David said in Psalm 51:17, “The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” The first thing that makes a prayer acceptable to God is the brokenness and humility of the one who prays.
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Every political party, every social organization has a particular view of human nature and what is intrinsic to being human. Most of us never stop to think what those respective views might be–so we end up accepting a view without thought. Alternatively, we wander round in a confused haze.
Tom Paine represents the world view of human nature as atomised. We come into this world without obligations being foisted upon us, or imputed to us. We come into this world as tabula rasa, a blank slate. This, according to Paine, represents true human freedom.
Burke, on the other hand, argued that we come into this world as a slate upon which a great deal has already been written and laid down, long before we were born. Human nature is shaped and controlled by spiritual and societal and natural forces which, in effect, we inherit (for good or evil).
The role of consent in this view of society is secondary at best. Social relations flow out of natural relations, and consent is assumed where it cannot be expressed, not because the individual chooses to accept his obligations, but because the consent of every rational creature is assumed to be in line with “the predisposed order of things.” This vision of society begins with the family–not the individual–and moves up toward society. [Yuval Levin, The Great Debate: Edmund Burke, Thomas Paine and the Birth of Right and Left (New York: Basic Books, 2014), p. 103.]
It’s worthwhile pausing and addressing a question to you, dear reader: Which view do you believe is right?
If you side with Paine, you consequently would hold no fixed view of what constitutes human nature and human society, except the fixed belief that there is no fixed view. You would believe, then, that a human being can be anything he or she wants to be. He/she can change gender at will, can change race or ethnicity on a dime. It’s all up to the atomised will of the individual. The role of a free society is to accept, endorse, ratify, and support such iterations in every possible way.
Whilst it is true that Tom Paine never went that far in his social and political philosophy, it’s only because he never had the chance. Mortality caught up with him. But the logic of his tabula rasa view of human nature would eventually drive his ideological descendants to advocate and claim such “freedoms” to be fundamental human rights. Rachel Dolezal claims that her ethnicity is what she chooses it to be; trans-genderists claim that their gender is whatever they choose it to be. This is all a consistent outworking of an atomised view of human nature being the essence of freedom.
Burke’s view, on the other hand, is warranted and certified as true and correct by Holy Writ. Burke’s view of human nature captures the Christian position–at least in part. Man is not born as an autonomous, atomised individual, but as a creature shaped and controlled and socialised by inheritance, genes, family, and social conditioning. These are ultimately the choices and determinations of the All Conditioning Conditioner–the Living God Himself–who loves us and calls us to enjoy His abundant life.
It is not for nothing that the tabula rasa revolutionaries focus upon tearing down the family, thereby striking out at the most powerful conditioning and social institution. Burke, on the other hand, acknowledges and accepts the sovereign role of the family and acknowledges it to be a fundamental component of human existence.
Paine and the radical revolutionaries would attempt to break the family down because it is the primary obstacle to free choice. Burke, however, saw human freedom as a duty to care for and protect the social relationships that emerge out of the immediate and extended family.
Whence does human freedom come: from the atomised sovereign choices of man, or from accepting and working within the obligations and relations which we have inherited, and making our own sovereign choices within that context? Does it come from adherence to duty, or from atomised, unconstrained choice?
That, as they say, is the question.
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devotional post # 2053
Luk 21:12 But before all these things they will brutalise you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors because of my name.
Luk 21:13 This will turn out to be your opportunity to testify.
Luk 21:14 Settle it therefore in your minds not to prepare beforehand how to defend yourself,
Luk 21:15 because I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which none of your confronters will be able to withstand or contradict.
Luk 21:16 You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends, and some of you they will put to death.
Luk 21:17 You will be hated by everyone because of my name.
Luk 21:18 But not a hair of your head will be lost.
Luk 21:19 By your endurance you will get your souls.
Jesus is warning believers of an intense period of persecution that will take place within the generation before the destruction of the temple. He warns that some will suffer the ultimate persecution and be put to death during this time. Others will be beaten severely, others imprisoned. But Jesus encourages his listeners to look beyond this tough time and remember his promise of permanent protection. In the end, not even a hair on their heads will be lost — even if those heads roll. By their faithful endurance in testifying to who he is, these Christians going through a tough time will get their souls — they will be delivered at his return.
As I right this, I am going through a very tough time. My promise from Jesus is that he will rescue me. It may not be in the way I want. It may not be what I expect. But, ultimately, I have his promise of permanent protection. And while this is happening, I have an opportunity to testify about Christ. I can endure this tough time because of the faithfulness of the One who has promised me permanent protection.
LORD, your faithfulness inspires us to be faithful — no matter what.
Violence Is No Respecter of Persons
Is the Left prone to violence in its propagation of its ideology? Clearly there are millions of left-wing folk who detest violence and eschew it to the depths of their being. Clearly there are plenty of left-wing politicians who speak against attempting to promote their ideology by deploying force. Nonetheless there is now a disturbing trend (it would seem) for some left wing folk to resort to aggressive behaviour, if not outright violence.
The latest example is James ‘Tom’ Hodgkinson, a left-wing protagonist who “shot congressman Steve Scalise during an attack on a Republican congressional baseball practice session on Wednesday, was a leftwing political activist with a record of domestic violence.” [The Guardian]
But this is not an isolated occurrence.
The Daily Caller has provided a list of leftist violence and intimidation breaking out in the United States over the past twelve months.
A wave of liberal rage has marked the last 11 months since the rise and subsequent election of President Donald Trump. Antifa protestors clad in black masks shut down college campuses, destroy property and indiscriminately attack those they disagree with, whether women or the elderly. Meanwhile, CNN fires Kathy Griffin for taking photos with a bloody replica of the president’s decapitated head.
Amid this backdrop, The Huffington Post publishes an article calling for the execution of Trump and “everyone assisting his agenda.” Then, shots ring out as a man gorged on media hysteria attempts to slaughter Republican congressmen while they practice for a charity baseball game.
The extremists of the right wing are well known from Timothy McVeigh through to the KKK. But there is another list which, sadly, appears to be getting longer. Evil, it seems, is not limited, nor proscribed by political party or ideology.
“Thy Redeemer.” Isaiah 54:5
Jesus, the Redeemer, is altogether ours and ours forever. All the offices of Christ are held on our behalf. He is king for us, priest for us, and prophet for us. Whenever we read a new title of the Redeemer, let us appropriate him as ours under that name as much as under any other. The shepherd’s staff, the father’s rod, the captain’s sword, the priest’s mitre, the prince’s sceptre, the prophet’s mantle, all are ours. Jesus hath no dignity which he will not employ for our exaltation, and no prerogative which he will not exercise for our defence. His fulness of Godhead is our unfailing, inexhaustible treasure-house.
His manhood also, which he took upon him for us, is ours in all its perfection. To us our gracious Lord communicates the spotless virtue of a stainless character; to us he gives the meritorious efficacy of a devoted life; on us he bestows the reward procured by obedient submission and incessant service. He makes the unsullied garment of his life our covering beauty; the glittering virtues of his character our ornaments and jewels; and the superhuman meekness of his death our boast and glory.
He bequeaths us his manger, from which to learn how God came down to man; and his Cross to teach us how man may go up to God. All his thoughts, emotions, actions, utterances, miracles, and intercessions, were for us. He trod the road of sorrow on our behalf, and hath made over to us as his heavenly legacy the full results of all the labours of his life. He is now as much ours as heretofore; and he blushes not to acknowledge himself “our Lord Jesus Christ,” though he is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords. Christ everywhere and every way is our Christ, forever and ever most richly to enjoy. O my soul, by the power of the Holy Spirit! call him “thy Redeemer.”
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The evidence is not responsible for satisfying the biases of the historian; rather, the historian is responsible for setting aside his biases and considering the evidence.
Michael Licona, The Resurrection of Jesus.
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