Entertaining Stuff

Tearing Apart the Body Politic
National politics in the United States is entering an interesting phase.  2020 looms and the Democratic Party is desperate to secure the Presidency.  To do so it has to defeat the incumbent, Donald Trump.  It also has to carry the House and the Senate if it is to be able to change the directions of national policy.  

We are eagerly anticipating the show.  We recall the memorable words of Captain Jack Ross in A Few Good Men when he prepares the jury for the anticipated antics of his courtroom opponent:

Lt. Kaffee is gonna try to put on a little magic act here. He’s gonna try a little misdirection. He’ll astound you with stories of rituals and dazzle you with official-sounding terms like Code Red. He might even try to cut into a few officers for you. He’ll have no evidence, mind you, none . . . but it will be entertaining.

We expect that the Democratic Party will end up having no substance, mind you, none at all–but the campaign for President will be entertaining. Already we see infighting that has the hall marks of a Party dismemberment.
  Each candidate–already announced or soon to be so–has to appear more radical, more ideologically pure, and, therefore, more fringe and extreme than those who have already thrown their hats into the ring. 

As Rich Lowry from National Review put it:

Democrats are about to embark on the first “woke” primary, a gantlet of political correctness that will routinely wring abject apologies out of candidates and find fault in even the most sure-footed. The passage of time will be no defense. Nor the best of intentions. Nor anything else.

Any lapses will be interpreted through the most hostile lens, made all the more brutal by the competition of a large field of candidates vying for the approval of a radicalized base. The Democrat nomination battle might as well be fought on the campus of Oberlin College and officiated by the director of the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.

Every new candidate that emerges has to hurdle two obstacles: firstly, they have to distinguish themselves from everyone else in the Democratic Party that has announced an intention to run for the Presidency.  And the coin of that realm today is lots and lots of evidence of being more radically chic than everyone else who has declared their ambitions.  The second hurdle follows immediately after: they have to face down a roaring amphitheatre which is devoted to undermining their credentials of radicalism.  In this game, it is the most extreme, and the most radical who wins. 

Candidates now need to prove their views are the most radical of all.  Daily, the rank-and-file of the Democratic Party moves leftward.  Consequently it is now well into the territory we used to call the “Loony Left”.

Rich Lowry concludes:

In every presidential campaign, candidates have to explain and backfill to get with the party’s latest program. What will make this process so much more intense for Democrats is the belief that even past mistakes involving the choice of words or symbolism are affirmatively injurious of other people. And that such mistakes represent deep sins to be repented of.

Even Kamala Harris, who calls racism, sexism, and transphobia matters of “national security,” isn’t safe. She was once a prosecutor, after all. Reviewing her record, a New York Times op-ed writer said that “she needs to radically break with her past.” 

Who doesn’t? No one will be woke enough to emerge from this process unscathed.

Such extreme political correctness is thoroughly engaging.   Not at all helpful to the fortunes of the Democratic Party.  But entertaining.  Thoroughly so.  There are few things more captivating than a Lefty politician repenting of “deep sins”.

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he gave everything

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John 19:23-24

John 19:23 When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes and divided them into four parts, a part for each soldier. They also took the tunic, which was a seamless tunic, woven in one piece from the top.

John 19:24 So they said to one another, “Let’s not tear it, but gamble for it, to see who gets it.” This happened that the Scripture might be fulfilled that says: They divided my clothes among themselves, and they gambled for my clothing. This is what the soldiers did.

he gave everything

When I was young, just starting out in my missionary work, I had an interesting take on the idea of sacrifice for Christ. People would remark about my personal sacrifices in giving up family and possessions and going overseas to serve Christ. I would tell them that it was no sacrifice. I brought my family with me, and I had everything I needed.

That was true. But I have to confess – I feel some of the by-product of that lifestyle now. Following God’s call to separate myself from forms of stability has left me wondering what is going to happen when I can no longer “go therefore.” I have no home, and my family is scattered with their own places and families.

What does this have to do with today’s text? Well, my Lord himself went to the cross with nothing – literally only the clothes on his back. Then the soldiers took those too. If I have to endure hardship because of my commitment to him, I know I am in good company.

Lord, thank you for giving your all for us. Give us courage to keep on sacrificing for you.

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Circular Reasoning, Empty Propaganda

New Zealand is Being Led By the Nose

Below is a Guest Post which was published recently in Kiwiblog.  We reproduce it in full.  Climate change and global warming is a hoax.  But lots of institutions and companies can make money out of it–at the expense of others.  It’s one of the worst examples of illicit redistribution of wealth yet invented. 

 A guest post from Bryan Leyland:

The West Coast District Council has asked the government to provide evidence that demonstrates that the policies claimed to reduce New Zealand’s emissions of carbon dioxide and agricultural methane are justified.

They are right to do so.

Recently, the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition formally asked the Royal Society of New Zealand to provide evidence based on observational data that man-made greenhouse gases cause dangerous global warming. They were unable to do so. We persuaded them to consult Prof James Renwick who was also unable to provide the evidence. All they did was refer us to the IPCC reports.  Scientists with the Climate Conversation Group are reviewing the latest IPCC report for convincing evidence of dangerous man-made global warming. They hope to announce their results in the near future.

Careful scrutiny of the reports found many statements that were not supported in the technical reports and revealed several references to the fact that there were major uncertainties in many of the critical factors fed into the computer models that, alone, predict dangerous global warming. None of these models have been validated, and none has made an accurate prediction. Over the last three years, world temperatures have dropped by 0.3° and, according to the satellites, are the same as they were in 2002.

If man-made global warming is found to be real and dangerous, the government’s “carbon zero” policies will fail dismally unless they result in a reduction in worldwide emissions at a reasonable cost. A close examination of these policies indicates that they will lead to an increase in worldwide emissions, higher electricity prices and do serious damage to many of our efficient and productive industries.

The ban on future gas and oil exploration has paralysed the industry and is likely to mean that we will have to start importing gas and increased imports of oil and coal will be needed to make up for the gas shortfall and to keep the lights on in a dry year. This will result in higher costs and increased emissions. Higher gas prices will lead to a major increase in electricity prices such as we have seen over the last four months, when problems with gas supply more than doubled wholesale electricity prices. Continuing gas supply constraints indicate that the high prices will continue for several months.

The most critical factor in power supply in New Zealand is keeping the lights on in a dry year when hydropower energy generation drops by 10% of total demand. Transpower has already warned of a high risk of dry year shortages. To mitigate the dry year risk Huntly needs to have 1 million tons of coal on its stockpile as a national insurance policy. This will only happen if Genesis is compensated for the annual cost of maintaining the stockpile. The embargo on gas exploration rules out gas storage at Ahuroa even though it could provide the dry year reserve with less emissions.

Increasing the tax on CO2 emissions will further increase the cost of power from Huntly. Whenever it is burning coal it is likely to be the most expensive generator and this will jack up the wholesale price that is paid to every generator. Hydro and other generators will reap windfall profits. Every dollar paid in CO2 tax by Huntly will provide something like $10 in windfall profits. Even Genesis will be better off because it also owns hydro power stations. So the perverse result will be that consumers will pay a lot more for electricity and the generators will have a financial incentive to make sure that Huntly continues to burn coal!

The policy on agricultural emissions does not make sense. There is considerable debate worldwide on whether or not methane is a significant greenhouse gas. Some estimates say that it has about 80 times the effect of the same weight of CO2, NIWA says 25, others say that it is only 6 and some are sure it has no effect. If it the effect is small, it is not worth bothering about because methane emissions are much smaller than those of carbon dioxide. This must be resolved before any action is taken.

If, as the Green Party hopes, government actions constrains dairy production to reduce methane emissions the shortfall will be made up by less efficient and more expensive production overseas. So the net effect will be an increase in worldwide emissions.

Wind and solar will do little to mitigate CO2. The records show that wind power is least during the critical autumn and early winter period and solar power is least in the wintertime. If the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine for several days we will be burning more coal and gas and could easily have massive blackouts. Wind and solar can only make a useful contribution if, for instance, we spent something like $3 – $5 billion on the pumped storage facility that has been identified in the South Island. This is likely to meet strong opposition from the Green Party and getting it through the Resource Management Act would be a nightmare. Maintaining a million tonne coal stockpile would do the same job for about 10% of the cost and without an unacceptable 10 year time delay.

Policies encouraging electric cars are likely to have little effect because most of the power they need will come from increased generation at gas and coal fired stations. Also, battery manufacture causes significant emissions of CO2 that take years to recover.

If the government really wanted to reduce emissions from power generation, it would be seriously considering nuclear power generation. Small modular nuclear reactors that are inherently safe and produce cheap and reliable power will soon be available. Worldwide, 170,000 MW of nuclear generation is under construction or proposed.

Bearing in mind the tiny effect New Zealand can have on global emissions and the huge uncertainties surrounding almost every aspect of “climate change”, any rational government would concentrate on policies that would reduce worldwide emissions in a cost effective manner.

Bryan Leyland MSc, DistFEngNZ, FIMechE, FIEE(rtd), MRSNZ, is an electrical engineer with 60 years experience worldwide in electricity generation, transmission and distribution. He and his wife are majority owners of a small hydro power station. 

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Hell

It is often suggested that the Christian doctrine of Hell is morally unconscionable. Understanding this doctrine to be that the nonbeliever is sent to a physical location where for his non-belief he is burned for all eternity, the skeptic makes the point that this is incompatible with the moral perfection of God. The claim that God is all loving and the claim that God punishes his creatures eternally for finite offences seem at odds. In what follows it will be my concern to show that this objection is based on a crude caricature of Hell that is quite different from what the church actually teaches. And we shall see that when that doctrine is properly understood there are no indefeasible moral objections against it.

The Problem

How will a morally perfect and all powerful being deal with those who by the end of their life have become incorrigibly bad? Let us first understand “incorrigibly bad” to describe a person who has exercised his free will to do evil to such a degree that he has finally developed an evil character. His natural desire is to perform bad actions and in particular to hurt and dominate others. God has good reason to allow moral evil while people form their moral character in this world. But there is no good reason for God to allow people to continue hurting others forever. I will now briefly discuss two alternative views about the fate of the incorrigibly bad before defending, but carefully qualifying, the traditional teaching of the church. My conclusion will be that while we may reasonably hope that Hell is empty its possible existence must be affirmed in view of human freedom.

Universalism

Why does God not simply force upon such people a good moral character? Some hold that God does just this—including Origen, an influential Church Father, and several contemporary theologians. [1] This view, because it entails that all people go to Heaven, is called Universalism. But forcing a good moral character upon an evil person is forcing upon them a character which they have persistently and knowingly chosen not to have. And if God is to respect the free will of persons in choosing their own moral character he must finally respect the moral character they have chosen. To do otherwise would be to rescind the free will he had originally given: God would then be a sort of moral totalitarian who ensures that, in the end, whatever choices people make, they become the sort of people God wants them to be with no ultimate freedom to determine the sort of person they want to be.

I have argued elsewhere that incorrigibly bad people are a possible outcome of any world in which all people enjoy significant moral self-determination; and that naturally good people will be naturally happy in loving communion with a morally perfect being. By contrast: Allowing oneself to become a collection of evil desires whose fulfilment is eternally frustrated by an all powerful being would be a deeply unhappy state. The question arises: If God will not force a good moral character upon such people, what is he likely to do with them?

Annihilationism

Christian theology holds that all things are sustained in existence by God from one moment to the next. Each one of us therefore stands in the same relation to God as the piano sonata to the pianist: The moment God ceases to consciously and deliberately sustain us in existence is the moment we cease to exist. This doctrine helps to introduce a second view on the fate of the incorrigibly bad: Annihilationism. Annihilationism holds that at the end of the world God simply ceases to sustain the incorrigibly bad in existence; and the incorrigibly bad, as a result, simply cease to exist.

Proponents of this view suggest that Bible verses which speak of evildoers being thrown into a lake of fire in fact symbolise their annihilation. “If talk of fire is to be taken literally or even as an analogy for the destiny of the wicked,” writes Oxford Professor of Philosophy Richard Swinburne, “the consequence of putting the wicked in such a fire would be their speedy elimination.” We have just noted that having all one’s desires frustrated by an all powerful being would be an inherently miserable state. And so perhaps God would eliminate evil people—particularly if that is what they wanted. It is this fate, annihilationists insist, that Jesus warned us to avoid in many places in the New Testament, such as Matthew 10:28,

And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

However, others have objected to Annihilationism on the grounds that, much like Universalism, it puts God in the role of a moral totalitarian. God does not force a good moral character upon those who have freely chosen evil; rather, he refuses to allow them to exist at all. And so, in the end, whatever choices people make, they either become the sort of people God wants them to be or God destroys them.

Hell

Let us consider finally the traditional teaching of the church that the incorrigibly bad are in danger of Hell. How can we understand this idea in light of the moral perfection of God? We can begin to do so by first recognising that Hell is not a physical location to which people are sent and actively tormented by God. It is, rather, an existential state that results from freely rejecting the divine love. Indeed, Augustine believed the suffering of Hell is compounded because God continues to love the sinner who is not able to return the love. “The massive beauty of an opera,” writes Peter Kreeft, illustrating the same point, “may be torture to someone blindly jealous of its composer. So the fires of hell may be made of the very love of God; or rather, by the hatred of that love among the damned.” Whatever the torments in Hell, the church emphatically teaches that, “they are not imposed by a vindictive judge.” [2].

Recall our three operating assumptions. One: In Heaven naturally good people freely submit themselves to the will of God; two: God, being all loving, wishes for all people to be happy in so doing (happy in reverencing what is holy, loving those who were formerly enemies, selflessly cooperating with others and so forth); and three: All people are given radical freedom in determining their own moral character. It follows from all this that at least some people may eternally resist the invitation to participate in the divine love, preferring instead to hate their enemies and the God who enjoins them to let go of that hatred. As Dallas Willard expresses it, for some people, “the fires of Heaven, we might suspect, are hotter than the fires of Hell.” C. S. Lewis before him made a similar point. “The gates of Hell,” he wrote, “are locked on the inside.”

It should also be kept in mind here that any person who finds themselves in Hell was not thrust there suddenly upon death; Hell, rather, is the ultimate logical consequence of the pattern of choices an evil person made throughout his earthly life. God provides each of us with a conscience and countless opportunities to exercise our free will for good or evil. An incorrigibly bad person therefore owes his character to his prolonged and decisive refusal to heed the deliverances of the conscience which God gave him in preference for evil. Lewis understood this too. “There are only two kinds of people in the end,” he said. “Those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’” and those to whom God says in the end, ‘Thy will be done.’”

Conclusion

Understood in this way, Hell has a surprising, ironic but entirely logical entailment: It pays deep respect to persons. Faced with the incorrigibly bad, God does not force upon them a good moral character and he does not destroy them. God accepts the person they have chosen to be and provides a place in his created order for them to live out the reality of being that person. Only in Hell can the free will and so the personhood of the incorrigibly bad be preserved. “Hell,” as Willard puts it, “is God’s best for some people.” And it was the unhappy possibility of finding ourselves forever in this state that Jesus is warning us of when he speaks of the eternal torments of Hell.

In discussing the possibility of Hell it is important to remember that it is no part of Christian doctrine that any particular person, or that any person at all, is actually in Hell. Not many people, I would think, allow themselves to become incorrigibly bad and only God can know what transpires in a human heart in the final moments of life and in the first moments of the afterlife. A private moment of redemption in extremis or even in articulo mortis is always possible and no one knows what opportunities are available beyond that.

Reflections similar to these led the twentieth century theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar to say, “We may reasonably hope that all people will be saved.” Balthasar’s position thus draws right back from the deep pessimism of Aquinas and Augustine, who both held that the mass of humanity will be lost, without quite affirming the Universalism of Origen and others. Balthasar instead suggested that we entertain Universalism with a cautious optimism. Why?

The optimism was justified, Balthasar said, in view of the radical expression of divine love manifest in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus—that God should send his Son all the way to the limits of God-forsakenness in order to bring back into the divine life all those who had wandered far from it. But the caution was necessary in view of the radical freedom God entrusted us with—a freedom which, if it is to be honoured and upheld by God at all, must include at least the possibility of eternally rejecting God. The Catholic author and theologian Bishop Robert Barron agrees. A Christian, he says, must accept the existence of Hell as a possibility because of human freedom. “But” he adds, “we may pray, and may even reasonably hope, that all people will be saved.”

————————————————————————–

[1] See Love Wins by Rob Bell for a contemporary defence of Universalism. Origen, for the record, taught that even Satan and the demons would be reconciled to God—a view known as apocatastasis.

[2] See The Creed: The Apostolic Faith in Contemporary Theology by B. L. Marthaler.

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INRI

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John 19:19-22

John 19:19 Pilate also had a sign written and put on the cross. It said: Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.

John 19:20 Many of the Jews read this sign, because the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and it was written in Aramaic, Latin, and Greek.

John 19:21 So the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Don’t write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but that he said, ‘I am the King of the Jews.’”

John 19:22 Pilate replied, “What I have written, I have written.”

INRI

Jameson, Fawsett and Brown show the significance of this nameplate:

it was written in Hebrew – or Syro-Chaldaic, the language of the country and Greek – the current language and Latin–the official language. These were the chief languages of the earth, and this secured that all spectators should be able to read it. Stung by this, the Jewish ecclesiastics entreat that it may be so altered as to express, not His real dignity, but His false claim to it. But Pilate thought he had yielded quite enough to them; and having intended expressly to spite and insult them by this title, for having got him to act against his own sense of justice, he peremptorily refused them. And thus, amidst the conflicting passions of men, was proclaimed, in the chief tongues of mankind, from the Cross itself and in circumstances which threw upon it a lurid yet grand light, the truth which drew the Magi to His manger, and will yet be owned by all the world!”1

The famous paintings with “INRI” as a shorthand for the Latin do not really convey the embarrassment the Jews must have felt by reading this sign. But one day this king will return, and many more will be ashamed that they did not submit to his rule. This king who died in shame rose in victory. He is coming again as king of the universe.

Get ready.

1Jamieson, Robert; A.R. Fausset; and David Brown. “Commentary on John 19.” . Blue Letter Bible. 19 Feb, 2000. 2018. 17 Nov 2018.

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There are Good and Evil Rights–Are We Clear

What’s Wrong With Human Rights?

Douglas Wilson
Blog&Mablog

As the prospective candidates for president are multiplying on the Left already, and as their competition with one another appears to be over which one can promise the most chocolate milk to everybody, absolutely free of charge, I thought it was time for a small tutorial, a refresher course.

The most recent splash was made by Kamala Harris, who promised us all high speed rail to the moon and back, I think it was. No, no, sorry. Mountain ranges of free health care. Oceans and oceans of free college. That was it. We are being urgently summoned to the next Great Leap Forward, which will land us on the Big Rock Candy Mountain, where the handouts grow on bushes.

Five year plans and new deals, wrapped in golden chains.

So fix this in your mind at the very beginning. It is the key to the tutorial. There are two different kinds of “human rights,” the good kind and the evil kind. Those who seek to protect and preserve the good kind are your friends, and those who talk up and promote the evil kind are your enemies and adversaries. Good rights protected and preserved will liberate and bless you. Bad rights instituted will enslave you.

The good kind of human right is bequeathed to us by God, and not by the government.

The government—like all other creatures—is obligated by God to respect and honor such rights, and they honor them by leaving you alone. You write something critical of the administration, and they leave you alone. You buy an AR-15, and they leave you alone. You go to worship God on the Lord’s Day, and they leave you alone. You haven’t done anything that would compel an honest judge to issue a search warrant, and so they leave you alone. And one of the cooler features of this approach is that leaving people alone doesn’t cost anything. Not a dime. All you have to do is leave them alone.

Human rights of this kind are the grace of God. They are given by God. He pays for them. Because honoring the grace of God bestowed on others doesn’t cost anything, all we have to do is recognize that there is a God, and that He did create us in His image, and that He endowed all of us with certain inalienable rights. Easy peasy lemon squeezy. So all we have to do is deny Darwin and reject the foundations of the entire secularist project.

If there is no God over the secular state, then the secular state is god. And if the secular state is god, then elections will turn into what we see them turning into all around us. Democracy turns into a loose confederation of wolves and rabbits voting on what to have for lunch.   

If the secular state is god, then we find ourselves drifting into the other conception of human rights—the evil one. And while some might want to fault me for overheating things a bit, I can assure you, in the most moderate way possible, that this conception of rights is highhanded wickedness. It is a set of economic lies straight from the Pit. And it is masterminded by people who hate and despise you—people who, if they cannot herd you into their idea of liberation, would just as soon see you dead. Totally not kidding—this conception of rights has murdered over one hundred million people over the last century, and this approach to rights is totally geared up to do it some more.

And for them to get away with it, all they need is “free” government education that doesn’t teach anybody anything about the hundred million dead, or about the differences between liberty and slavery. All they need is a docile population of millions of Christians who like this kind of free education for their children, and who apparently want this kind of slavery for their grandchildren. And so far, the bad guys pretty much have what they need.

The kind of rights honored by the Constitution are rights that leave you alone. They are descriptions of the nature of your liberty. The kind of rights—let’s call them kamala-rights, shall we?—that are being heavily promoted by all the aspiring jitney tyrants, and which are being accepted by economic illiterates, are descriptions of the padlocks on your cages.   

The rights filed under this heading are the kinds of rights that Kamala dangles in front of you. Free health care. Free college. Free prescriptions. Free and affordable—so affordable. So affordable. Are you starting to salivate yet?

So let’s contrast the essential difference between the two kinds of rights. If you, my neighbor, have the right to own a gun, all everybody else has to do is let you. But if you, my neighbor, have a right to a free college education, then this means that somebody else has a corresponding obligation to pay for it.

I wonder who that somebody else is. I wonder if that slave has a name.

Hey, tax season is coming up. You may have already had your tax forms mailed to you. Why don’t you look at what was withheld this year? Just curious. Also—still curious—I wonder if that withholding amount might ever grow at all. After all, you apparently have an obligation to pay for a lot of stuff.

And what happens if that slave fails to meet his obligations? What happens when there is a bit of difficulty over you paying his fair share? That’s when the men with guns come to his house.

So here it is. When someone declares that anything with a price tag is “a right,” whether it is affordable housing, insurance that must ignore pre-existing conditions, free college tuition, single payer health care, or five-gallon drums of chocolate milk, remember that the reception of this right by the beneficiary is paid for by the enslavement of someone else.

And we should also prepare ourselves for this—just so you are ready. In the next election, there will be more than a few Christian thought-leaders urging all the rabbits to vote for the wolf.  

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final act in the farce

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John 19:15-17

John 19:15 They shouted, “Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Should I crucify your king?” “We have no king if it isn’t Caesar!” the chief priests answered.

John 19:16 Then he handed him over to be crucified. Then they took Jesus away.

John 19:17 Carrying the cross by himself, he exited to what is called Place of the Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha.

John 19:18 There they crucified him and two others with him, one on each side, with Jesus in the middle.

final act in the farce

None of the trials Jesus had undergone resulted in anything like justice. They were all a pretense – a sham. Now our King is handed over to those who had mocked and insulted and cruelly abused him – for the final act in the farce.

He begins by carrying his own instrument of torture and execution. His destination is death. He still had the power from the sky to destroy the entire city. But he has a purpose which necessitates his submitting to their power. His purpose is us. For the sake of those whom he would redeem, he suffered and died on the cross.

Thank you, Lord, for your sacrificial love.

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a preparation day

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John 19:12-14

John 19:12 From that moment Pilate kept trying to release him. But the Jews shouted, “If you release this man, you are not Caesar’s friend. Anyone who makes himself a king speaks against Caesar!”

John 19:13 When Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus outside. He sat down on the judge’s seat in a place called the Stone Pavement (but in Aramaic, Gabbatha).

John 19:14 It was a preparation day during the Passover, the hour was about noon. Then he told the Jews, “Here is your king!”

a preparation day

The preparation day that the Gospel authors speak of was apparently not the preparation for the Passover itself. Jesus and his disciples had already eaten the Passover meal the night before. It appears that “preparation day” (παρασκευή) had become a regular term for Friday, the day of preparation for a regular Sabbath.1 This particular Friday fell within an entire week of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and the whole week was sometimes called Passover.

During this week of celebrations, the Jews made a series of special offerings meant to encourage sincerity and honesty. This is the time in which our Lord offered himself as a sinless sacrifice to purchase deliverance for us.

Notice what Paul told the Corinthians:

1 Corinthians 5:7 Thoroughly cleanse out the old yeast, so that you may be a new product, because you are unleavened. Since Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed,

1 Corinthians 5:8 so that we can celebrate the festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of evil and wickedness, but with the unleavened product of purity and truth.

Paul contrasted the evil and wickedness that resulted in Jesus arrest and death with the kind of people Christians should be. We also should keep the feast by cleansing ourselves of the old yeast.

Lord, give us the courage to live cleanly in light of your sacrifice for us.

1https://www.gotquestions.org/Day-of-Preparation.html

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The Stumbling Stone

“Made In The Holy Image of God”

The One Specific Moment in Trump’s State of the Union that Highlights Our Culture’s Vast Divide

Al Mohler

After a week-long delay due to the partial government shutdown, the 2019 State of the Union Address showed up in a big way. When the time arrived for President Donald Trump’s speech, it came with all the requisite drama that surrounds The State of the Union and then some. Indeed, the deep worldview divides represented by the current political climate overshadowed the usual political pageantry associated with this speech. It was an epic drama of democracy.

Long before he became President of the United States, Donald Trump understood television. He understood reality TV, and his expertise was on display last night. The President carefully orchestrated arguments and policy statements on a range of issues like infrastructure, women in the workplace, or the price of pharmaceutical drugs—issues that his partisan opponents could not help applauding. He understood the optics of this event and he crafted a message that would paint himself as a statesman of the republic who could speak to issues that bridged partisan divides. By evoking imagery of Ronald Reagan, the President summoned the divided congress to greatness: to pursue results, live for a grand vision, and promote America’s “destiny” as an example for the world.

At the same time, the President also knew exactly what he was doing when he articulated points that would not garner support from Democrats but remarkable disagreement. That, too, was part of the plan—and one issue, specifically, magnified the vast worldview divide present within the American culture.

During his speech, the President promoted a policy for paid family leave. This policy boasts the support of many Democrats and even some Republicans. The Democrats, along with many in the President’s own party, applauded the policy proposal. The President’s next series of words silenced the bipartisan applause:

“There could be no greater contrast to the beautiful image of a mother holding her infant child than the chilling displays our nation saw in recent days. Lawmakers in New York cheered with delight upon the passage of legislation that would allow a baby to be ripped from the mother’s womb moments from birth. These are living, feeling, beautiful babies who will never get the chance to share their love and dreams with the world. And then, we had the case of the governor of Virginia where he stated that he would ‘execute a baby after birth.’ To defend the dignity of every person, I am asking the Congress to pass legislation to prohibit the late term abortion of children who can feel pain in the mother’s womb.”

The President struck a contentious, volatile, and crucial chord with these words that not only condemned late-term abortion but called on Congress to completely ban the atrocity now legal in New York and championed in Virginia.

Abortion reigns as the only sacrament that remains amongst the political left. They treat it as a sacrament to cherish and defend at all costs—a worldview that presses them to pass legislation like the new law in New York State.

Indeed, the President’s words highlighted that great worldview divide over something as basic as the dignity and sanctity of human life. When the President condemned late-term abortions, the cameras in the House Chamber panned the faces of the Democrats who exhibited a stone-cold expression—they sat in disgruntled silence. As Donald Trump called for legislation to end the practice, their opposition to his call was painfully and visibly clear. The ideology and worldview of the political left has trapped them within an argument from which they apparently have no intention of escaping. On a nationally televised address with the eyes of the nation watching, lawmakers eagerly embraced a culture of death.

Then, the President did something remarkable, taking his comments in a direction virtually unprecedented in the language of recent presidents. The President said, “Let us work together to build a culture that cherishes innocent life. And let us reaffirm a fundamental truth: all children—born and unborn—are made in the holy image of God.” Right there, one of the most fundamental doctrines of Scripture and definitional truths about humanity was affirmed. That ought not to go without our attention. The President made very clear that the grounds for human dignity and the protection of the unborn flows from a biblical worldview—that all humanity is made in the image of God.

The left was unmoved. They sat as stone statuary. The worldview of the left, however, leaves them with no other choice. This has had two horrific consequences. First, the logic of the pro-abortion movement, if honest, must point to the unrestricted access of abortion at any point in the pregnancy for any reason. Second, the pressure of the pro-abortion worldview has made pro-life Democrats an extinct species.

The horror of abortion has dotted the headlines of recent days, and the President’s speech put the issue front and center in the national spotlight. It is my hope that this issue will not be swept under the rug in the coming days, weeks, and months, but that the nation’s leaders will, with zeal and urgency, pass legislation that will protect the lives of the unborn—precious creatures of God made in his holy image.

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Mistakes, Regrets, Restoration

14 Years After Becoming Transgender, Teacher Says ‘It Was A Mistake’

After much soul-searching, this teacher says, ‘I have come to the realization that I made a mistake. I am living my life as honestly as I can.’
Walt Heyer

By Walt Heyer

Fourteen years ago, school teacher Herb McCaffrey made the local news by deciding to live as a female with the name Kerri. After much soul-searching, however, this teacher says, “Since then I have come to the realization that I made a mistake. I am living my life as honestly as I can. I am working as ‘Ms. McCaffrey.’ I have learned to love both the reading and writing of poetry. I try to be as graceful in life as I can. I put my heart and soul into being the best I can be. God is there for me each step of the way—but only by being totally honest in prayer.”
Kerri’s kind of transparency is rare because it is uncompromising in knowing “God is there for me.” Kerri says this comes from the core of the teacher’s soul, knowing it is time to set the record right with God. 
I have come to know Kerri over the last year or so, spending time together and finding Kerri to be a bright, honest, sensitive, and caring person who now realizes changing genders was a mistake. Kerri originally contacted me because Kerri found my website, and we became friends as a result of having much in common with our transgender journeys.
Kerri transitioned at age 41; I transitioned at age 42. We both were heterosexual men who had married wonderful women and had great careers. We were each a father to two children and loved our family. We were not homosexual—our struggles were with our gender persona.
Kerri was looking for answers about the time Renee Richards captivated the world playing tennis in the U.S. Open as a transsexual woman and felt this was a new direction in life. Like Kerri, Richards later had regrets, as The New York Times revealed in a 2007 article titled “The Lady Regrets.”
I learned about “sex change surgeries” when former U.S. Marine Christine Jorgensen made headlines in 1952 as the first person to undergo sex-change surgery and hormone treatments in Denmark. Jorgensen continued to make headlines. He drank all day to excess and was a chain smoker. Jorgensen’s health deteriorated, and he died at age 62.  
As a boy named Herb, Kerri grew up in the idyllic setting of Hawthorne, New York, directly next to a Dominican convent with a raspberry farm, fields, and orchards. Life was delicious. Herb loved the outdoors, romped around David Rockefeller’s Hudson Pines farm, and sat in crabapple trees praying as the nuns sang heavenly vespers close by.
I grew up in California near downtown Los Angeles. There were no orchards or raspberry fields on the streets where I lived, but it was so idyllic our street would have made a good canvas for a Norman Rockwell painting. Herb and I were just boys, each struggling with our core identity growing up. The media stories of transgender celebrities lit the match that started each of us on a transgender journey. Eventually, we both came to admit it was a mistake we regret.

How Kerri’s Mixed Feelings Began

Kerri remembers the childhood feelings as boy Herb: “Into this beautiful place inner confusion started snaking its way toward my heart and soul. I would be at our summer pool—Rocky Ledge, in North White Plains, New York, and would see the girls playing hopscotch, or cat’s cradle with yarn, or jumping rope. I didn’t want to be playing cards with the boys—hearts, black jack, and rummy—I wanted to be with the girls. I began to feel a knot inside which I could not tell anyone about.”
Herb soon felt he wanted to be a girl. By age ten, his desire felt set in concrete, but Herb had shared it with no one. His parents moved the family to a well-heeled town in New Jersey where, Kerri says, “I would dress as the young lady I thought I was, hiding bracelets or necklaces under my long-sleeves.”  
Herb grew into an excellent swimmer; he was even nominated to West Point by Rep. Millicent Fenwick, but did not follow that path, and eventually graduated from college. Herb married and became the father of two sons. But eventually Herb became convinced the answer to his feelings was to become “that someone else” he had thought about as a kid. Divorce ensued.
At age 41, Herb underwent gender reassignment surgery in Canada, and became the first openly transgender teacher in New Jersey to retain his position. At first, life as a woman was exciting, Kerri says. There was a relief in being able to dress and act as Kerri wanted. But as the years went by, Kerri felt more spiritually uncomfortable as a woman than Kerri ever felt as Herb the man.

Kerri Regrets What Transgenderism Cost

Kerri lost a stable marriage to a wife who did everything she could to keep Herb stable. This father of two boys lost the ability to see his children whenever he wanted and to coach his boys in sports. Most of Herb’s friends went away. Relationships with siblings ended. The transition across the gender bridge, Kerri found, affects everything.
Now, when sitting in a pew at church and reflecting quietly, Kerri says, “I know that what I have done to my body and soul is wrong for me—this is the evidence that indicts. My family life was nearly destroyed by changing gender. I can only do a few things like pray and try over time to correct the mistake that was made.”  Kerri is still “Dad” to his boys. Kerri tried the “Mom” thing early on, and it didn’t work. Kerri says, “They have a mom already, and the truth is, biologically, I am a father—their father. My boys are comfortable calling me Dad.”
Kerri isn’t trying to stop others from transitioning, but to send up a caution flare to all considering it that the transgender journey may look attractive at first but may not turn out to be as enticing as it looks. As Kerri says, “We can take hormones, have surgeries—we can change our names—but we cannot change the core of our soul…If you are contemplating a change of gender, consider that you are not changing the reality of the natural world. This is transgender surgery—it is not a spirit transplant.”
As a transgender person, Kerri has “talked the talk and walked the walk” for 14 years. As teacher “Ms. McCaffrey,” even with regret, Kerri is part of the transgender population’s diversity.

People Regret Becoming Trans All the Time

Transgender regret is not rare at all. Many regrettable outcomes from “sex changes” are featured in my newly released book, “Trans Life Survivors.” Even the liberal-leaning Guardian reported in a 2004 article that “Sex Changes Not Effective, Say Researchers.” The article explains, “Research from the US and Holland suggests that up to a fifth of patients regret changing sex.” That 20 percent regret rate confirms Kerri, Richards, and I are not alone in our regret.
Regrettable outcomes deserve to be taken seriously, not scorned or marginalized.
We should not be surprised by Kerri saying it was a mistake. Transgender activists 40 years ago were told gender changes would only provide a “temporary reprieve,” not a lifelong treatment solution for gender distress or dysphoria.
Dr. Charles L. Ihlenfeld, a homosexual and transgender activist endocrinologist who administered hormone therapy to some 500 transgenders over a six-year period at a New York gender clinic, claimed a sex change is by no means a solution to life’s problems. He thinks of it more as a kind of reprieve. “It buys maybe 10 or 15 years of a happier life,” he said.
Kerri’s female identity has lasted 14 years, falling into the timeframe Ihlenfeld predicted 40 years ago. Ihlenfeld said that 80 percent of the patients who want to change their sex shouldn’t do it because “There is too much unhappiness among people who have had the surgery. Too many of them end as suicides.” No one was listening to the doctor then; are we willing to listen now? Regrettable outcomes deserve to be taken seriously, not scorned or marginalized.
Many people, including doctors and researchers, are sounding the warning that the transgender bridge is rickety and unstable. More people who choose detransition are uploading their stories in videos to YouTube. More websites are discussing regrettable outcomes, and posting stories, such as Harvestusa.org, Sexchangeregret.com, 4thWaveNow.com, and Help4Families.org.
The Harvest USA website says, “These transition stories are important because they present a reality that the general media blithely ignores. Our culture’s aggressive push to disconnect gender from biological sex, rooted not in reality but ideology, does not always lead to ‘authentic lives’ and happy endings.”

I Regret My Transgender Life Now, Too

When I became Laura Jensen, a transgender female, at the hands of Dr. Stanly Biber in 1983, I was told hormones and surgery was the only treatment for gender dysphoria. As Laura Jensen, I was welcomed into a California church and through prayer came to realize my gender change was unnecessary and a mistake.
I knew the gender change came from disordered thoughts about who I was. I learned hormones and surgery cannot change me from a man into a woman—that is biologically impossible. Gender and sex are fixed and innate at conception and unchangeable, no matter how expertly the doctors try with hormones and surgery.
More than anything, I wanted my real life back. I turned to Jesus Christ in prayer for years, along with others I asked to pray for me. The Lord did redeem and restore my life, starting on April 6, 1990, and I never looked back except to say, “Thank you, Jesus. Redemption is wonderful.”
Kerri has nothing to gain by telling this story, but Kerri’s faith in God has bestowed the courage to set the record straight and openly share what Kerri has learned. To one with such bravery I say, “Thank you, Kerri, and bravo for acknowledging the transgender life, for you, was a mistake.”

All Transgender Journeys Should Include Stopping Points

Both Kerri and I want people to think carefully before encouraging or guiding anyone, especially children, into a transgender identity, because the consequences can be devastating and irreversible.
Kerri says: ‘Be brave. Be faithful. Be resolute.’
All children are curious about gender. That is normal. Don’t panic, don’t scold the child, and do not make the child feel ashamed of his curiosity, because curiosity does not equal gender dysphoria or a future transition. Avoid any shame or punishment, because that can force the child into isolation. In isolation disordered affections and faulty thinking can take hold.
Kerri says: “Be brave. Be faithful. Be resolute. Before you help [children] change their bodies or gender, teach them about their souls. I must live with mine for eternity; that’s why I wrote this.”
The media is pushing the “T” agenda of the LGBTQ on society, making a change of gender sound promising. Kerri says, “Perhaps they are correct: I can’t speak for anyone but myself and my 14 years of experience. If you need help, talk to someone. I would help you to a professional myself. But on your own, add prayer to your journey.”
Few in the media are willing to accept that transgender people with regrets exist and their stories give a much-needed balance to the conversation. Their voices deserve to be heard, too. It’s time to offer the same compassionate support, protections, and equality as had been afforded them when they transitioned the other way.

Walt Heyer is an accomplished author and public speaker with a passion for mentoring individuals whose lives have been torn apart by unnecessary gender-change surgery.

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