A New Era

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Welcome. This is intended to be a news and information site, with lots of stops in between. Feel free to barge right in and join – or begin – any conversation. I only ask that you observe the generally practiced niceties which we sometimes call “netiquette.”

  • Don’t swear at one another
  • Don’t take the Lord’s Name in vain
  • Don’t make personal attacks
  • Verify when possible.
  • Enjoy

If I were Emperor

In just a few days the Electoral College will convene and confirm the election of President-Elect Donald Trump. There is just one problem. He has not called me yet to fill some post in his administration. So, I will offer to him, free of charge, this post I wrote a presidential election cycle ago (with very few alterations).

If I Were Emperor…

I have become less and less interested in politics in the last couple of presidential cycles. I guess it would be more accurate to say I have been dismayed at the quality of candidates we’ve had. Then I realize that we get the candidates we deserve.

God is in control.

But there are days, like yesterday, when I say things like, “That wouldn’t be a problem if I was King – or Emperor.” Believe me folks, neither you nor I really wish that were true.

But what if….

If I were Emperor…

  • We would not be dependent on foreign oil. We wth-2ould drill on our own land, being careful, of course, not to be destructive. Why is it, I wonder, that compassionate liberals find it wrong to disturb the tundra to drill for oil in our own nation, but think it’s OK to drill in other lands. (See this very current story).
  • English would be the official language of the land. I don’t have a problem with people speaking whatever language they want, but in order to do business, we should speak the same language. As I travel to other countries I find nearly everybody speaking English or wanting to learn. Not Here (unless I was Emperor).
  • We would not be moving toward a planned economy. We would actually learn from the history of the Soviet Union that planned economies do not work. We would recognize that all the former Warsaw Pact nations are striving after capitalism.
  • Illegal immigration would go away. I understand that people still want to come to this country for its many benefits. This Emperor would make sure that they do it legally. All benefits of any kind would be cut off to those who sneak into our country. I recognize that there would be hardships. Compassion would be part of the formula, but….
  • We would have a flat tax of some sort. We would get rid of the thousands (maybe millions) of pages of tax law, and the IRS.
  • We would rid ourselves of much of the bureaucracy which exists in government at all levels. The Education Department would be the first to go.
  • Recognizing that strong fences make good neighbors, I would fund the Department of Defense adequately.
  • I would either fight the war in Afghanistan on terror to win – or get out. We should have learned in VietNam that you cannot fight a war half-heartedly.
  • I would separate church and state. This means that I would not interfere with the religious beliefs of the people unless they constituted a danger to the nation. Remember, I’m the Emperor and I decide what constitutes danger. I would not allow foot washing stations to be built in public places (like airports and schools) at public expense, while denying manger scenes.
  • I would review all government policies having to do with health care. Maybe if the government got out of the way, health care would be more affordable. Did I mention no free health care for illegals?

This is a partial list. What would be on your list?

Not-So-Strange Bedfellows

Not-so-shocking revelations regarding the ties between FBI Director James Comey and the Clinton Foundation, reminded me of a review I wrote some years back of a book about Senator Joe McCarthy. One of the paragraphs I wrote in that review reads this way:

231155Leftist elitism runs rampant in our media, our universities, even in our pulpits today. As during the Cold War, one wonders about the loyalty and even the intelligence of those who offer aid and comfort to the enemies of our nation. For example, what makes today’s liberal think that, if radical revolutionaries –- whether domestic born or foreign controlled — should scuttle the American experiment, that liberals themselves won’t be first in line for membership in the vast left-wing gulag or next on the executioner’s schedule?  (The entire review article can be read here.)

The elites of our nation are no different from the royals of Europe who, in times gone by, intermarried regardless of nationality or supposed loyalties. They only mixed with their own kind. Even in our democratic republic, breaking through the lines of elitism, old school ties (Ivy League, don’t you know), and family money is no easy task.

Will members of the current administration ever be held accountable for their high crimes and misdemeanors? Not likely. But keep the faith.

Despite all this, my friends, God remains in control. Never doubt it.

I Hate Me

“Duke offers men a ‘safe space’ to contemplate their ‘toxic masculinity’” reads the headline in a news story published online Sunday morning October 2, 2016. The dateline might have been “Moscow, USSR, 1960.”

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This is America, 2016. Everyone (except a few now-anointed minorities) is considered toxic and offensive. By virtue of having been born male, or white, or middle class, entire segments of the population have been deemed worthy of scorn.

The news story defines the mission thusly,

The Duke Men’s Project, launched this month and hosted by the campus Women’s Center, offers a nine-week program for “male-identified” students that discusses male privilege, patriarchy, “the language of dominance,” rape culture, pornography, machismo and other topics.

While nations of the former Soviet bloc seek to distance themselves from their communist past, America rushes headlong into the numbing and dehumanizing morass of Marxism-Leninism. Consider this excerpt from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia.

Marx regarded “the weapon of criticism” as an effective means of the proletariat’s class struggle under the conditions of capitalist society, with its inherent social antagonisms. Lenin stressed the vital importance of criticism and self-criticism for carrying out the socialist revolution and for the work of the Communist party. In the course of the workers’ and communist movement and the national liberation struggle of peoples the weapon of criticism has been extensively employed to expose the exploitative essence of capitalism and the policies of the ruling classes and to bring about the revolutionary overthrow of the capitalist system and the liberation of the toiling people from social and national oppression.

Under socialism, the change in the nature of social relations and the elimination of antagonistic contradictions and exploiter classes fundamentally alter the purpose and nature of criticism. The weapon for the destruction and revolutionary overthrow of the old system becomes an instrument for the creation of socialism and communism.

Notice the aim of the self-criticism: to get rid of the old system (capitalism and democracy) and replace it with the glorious socialist and communist state.

Self-criticism is neither unheard of nor totally unwelcome in Christian circles. In fact, confession, as it is properly called, is one of the duties of the Christian. James 5:16 tells us, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”

The purpose of such declarations of our own sinfulness is not the creation of a Godless state, however, as is the aim of the self-criticism session. Rather, the aims of confession to one another are unity and healing. We are not confessing for the party bosses to hear us. We are proclaiming our need for prayer and claiming for ourselves the prayer of the Godly. The admonition to pray for one another, for the other members of the household of faith, is found in many places throughout God’s Word.

America is in a bad place. Americans today are thin-skinned and intolerant; easily offended by the least offensive statements and acts.

Perhaps these modern self-criticism sessions are a plea for prayer. Certainly our nation needs it. Pray for our country and for the generations of Americans affected by the current wave of self-loathing called for by those who do not recognize the image of God in mankind.

Striped Candy

 

From the church bulletin at Limington Orthodox Presbyterian Church this morning (9/25/2016).

And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.—Acts 2:42

Without Biblical authority, or any other right under the sun, carnal religious leaders have introduced a host of attractithons that serve no purpose except to provide entertainment for the retarded saints.

It is now common practice in most evangelical churches to offer the people, especially the young people, a maximum of entertainment and a minimum of serious instruction. It is scarcely possible in most places to get anyone to attend a meeting where the only attraction is God. One can only conclude that God’s professed children are bored with Him, for they must be wooed to meeting with a stick of striped candy in the form of religious movies, games and refreshments.

This has influenced the whole pattern of church life, and even brought into being a new type of church architecture, designed to house the golden calf.

So we have the strange anomaly of orthodoxy in creed and heterodoxy in practice. The striped candy technique has been so fully integrated into our present religious thinking that it is simply taken for granted. Its victims never dream that it is not a part of the teachings of Christ and His apostles.  (A.W. Tower, Man: The Dwelling Place of God, 135,136, 1966).

Preparing for That Iceberg

I have often remarked that with the way health care is being managed in the US, I half expect to be put on an iceberg and allowed to float away and perish. This thought is based upon a tradition among some Eskimo peoples to do exactly that when people got to old to contribute to the general welfare of the society. Note the past tense. I believe this practice may be out of vogue today. But, maybe it will be revived in America.

Consider the story of Barbara Wagner, an elderly woman in Oregon.

She was a lung cancer patient who was presented with the “choice” to end her life.

Wagner said: “I got a letter in the mail that basically said if you want to take the pills, we will help you get that from the doctor and we will stand there and watch you die. But we won’t give you the medication to live.” See the whole story here.

th-2There are numerous stories like this all over the nation. It’s variously called senicide or senilicide. One supposedly civil or dignified manner of doing this is called “doctor-assisted suicide.” Oregon, Washington, Vermont, and California have all passed legislation which call for “compassionate aid in dying.” More states are expected to follow suit. After all, it will see money and reduce the old person’s drag in the community.

Daniel Callahan, an influential bioethicist and co-founder of the prestigious Hastings Center, a nonpartisan bioethics research institute in New York  argues for a cease-fire in America’s “war against death,” calling on us to surrender gracefully; Americans thus “may die earlier than [is now common], but they will die better deaths.”  Read more here.

th-2Now I am very aware that there are some complex ethical questions involved regarding stewardship of our God-given resources. Sometimes “heroic measures,” or extraordinary life-sustaining treatment may be vain attempts to ward off the inevitability of death. These are decisions which must be made on a case-by-case basis, with the understanding that we do not lean toward the taking of a life because it’s easier than living.

I offer two good reads, one from a very practical perspective written by a woman who went through the death of her husband and position paper from a conservative denomination.

I am rapidly approaching the age at which the metaphorical iceerg may become a reality for me. What will that look like? It may be refusal of medical care.It may be the offer of pills to end it all.

God’s Word is not silent in this matter. It teaches that we are made in God’s image. It also teaches that he is in control of our lives and our deaths. We are not to try to usurp the authority which is His alone. It also teaches that we are to live and learn through suffering, not to give in and quit, though we may desperately desire to do so. Peter wrote tht suffering is part f the Christian life.

In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, 9 obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls. (1 Peter 1:6-9, ESV).

Listen to the Apostle Paul who struggled with the decision of whether to live or die.

Yes, and I will rejoice, or I know that brought your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ  will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death.  For to me  to live is Christ, and to die is gain.  If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell.  I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is  to depart and  be with Christ, for that is far better. But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account.    Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith,  so that in me  you may have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus, because of my coming to you again.

Do not, my friends, buy into the spirit of the age which devalues human life. We already, as a society, kill millions on the birth end of the life journey. Let us work against that scourge which is abortion and be vigilant in protecting the elderly as well.

 

Nothing New Under the Sun

What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. (Eccl. 1:9).

thAs I read in the book of Nahum, the Old Testament prophet, this morning, I came across an interesting term to describe the nation of Assyria. Nahum 2:1 describes Assyria as “the scatterer.”

This reminded me of the official policy of deportation carried out by the Soviet Union during its reign of terror and oppression  beginning at the end of World War II. Large numbers of men, women, and children in the occupied nations of the Soviet sphere were torn from their families and homelands and sent to far-flung outposts of the Soviet empire. Many of the men were separated from their families and sent to prison camps.

In Nahum 3:1 we read, “Woe to the bloody city, all full of lies and plunder—no end to the prey!” This verse refers to the city of Ninevah, representative of Assyria. The lies involved are likely the dishonest diplomacy practiced by Assyria in its international affairs. This deceitful dealing is detailed in Isaiah 36:16-17. Such also was the diplomacy of the Soviet Union.

The Assyrian Empire ceased to exist in 612 BC, having been destroyed by joint forces of several of its neighboring nations. The Soviet Union was dissolved in January 1992, after its client nations decided that they had had enough.

There are two points to this little exercise in historical comparison. The first is that it is true that there is nothing new under the sun. Nations still act in manners which were practiced long ago, carrying out mass deportations to weaken defeated populations and carrying out diplomacy by deceit and at the point of a spear, gun, tank, or other weapon.

The second point is that no nation is so big, so important, so powerful that it cannot fall. The Soviet Union was thought of as “the other super power,” along with the United States. Today it is gone. But what of the United States? Is its time near an end?

2 Chronicles 7:12 teaches, “if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” The United States is awash in wicked ways. There is only one way to save it. A return to the worship of the one, holy God is required. God is gracious.

Wickedness is not new. It began in the garden of Eden. It grew exponentially. God always gave mankind the option to return to Him. After the first murder, chronicled in Genesis 4, sin grew and spread in the earth. But there were people who turned from the mayhem and turned to God. The last verse in that chapter tells us that “At that time people began to call upon the name of the Lord.”

It’s not too late for America. Turn to the LORD and call upon His Name.

 

 

 

 

Coram Deo Farm Weekend

A couple of weekends ago, Sandra and I spoke at a conference at a farm in Thorndike, Maine. At the Coram Deo Farm website we find this description of the mission of the farm:

Coram Deo Farm has been established to provide an educational environment for those interested in homesteading and sustainable farming practices. We plan to provide instruction in composting, renewable energy design and installation, husbandry, and organic farming and permaculture.

Our goal is to incorporate homesteading courses in a way that glorifies our creator by applying Biblical principles and theological thought to the practice of self sufficiency. In this process we hope to encourage a young generation of potential farmers to support themselves and be a gracious example among the community by offering a portion of their crops to individuals in need.

At this first weekend of events at the farm, I spoke three times on the topic: “Is God Green?” We talked about the history of “environmentalism,” some of the hot-button topics such as the “greenhouse effect,” global warming/cooling/climate change, and population. Then we addressed the Biblical view on the creation and its Creator and application of Biblical principles.

Of course, we concluded that God is Green.

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Some twenty-five to thirty adults attended the talks and many children were in attendance. Sandra spoke to a group of women on the topic: “Nurturing an Organic Lifestyle,” addressing the idea of developing a lifestyle of harmony from the inside out. She also introduced the ladies to her Old Testament friend, Naomi.

BTW, we slept in a tent.