Desiring Revival

Spurgeon:

“Yet again, my brethren, before I leave this point, imitate Jesus in secret. When no eye seeth you accept the eye of God, when darkness covers you, when you are shut up from the observation of mortals, even then be like Jesus Christ. Remember his ardent piety, his secret devotion — how, after laboriously preaching the whole day, he stole away in the midnight shades to cry for help from his God. Recollect how his entire life was constantly sustained by fresh inspiration of the Holy Spirit, derived by prayer. Continue reading

Big Government Enhances Problems of Swine Flu

Ron Paul and his typically commonsensical and constitutional approach. The first time swine flu was voted on a few decades ago, one person died from the flu and over 25 from the vaccine. Last year we had 13,000 cases of tuberculosis, and 644 deaths in 2006 from that disease. Now is the federal government more effective, or less effective today than it was in the 1970s? Not that you’ll hear the results of the Department of Homeland Security’s actions.

Neo Republican Marriage

Anyone who thinks a McCain presidency would have been fundamentally morally different than Obama’s would benefit from reading this article. We know McCain was set to spend all sorts of money to prop up the mortgage industry, and it appears that his cabinet would have included strong gay marriage backers. Peter Schmidt, a former top McCain adviser, assures us that Republicans will adjust their values to wherever American public opinion is headed: “I’m confident American public opinion will continue to move on the question toward majority support, and sooner or later the Republican Party will catch up to it.” Oh good. For a second there, I thought they pretended to stand for something. Continue reading

Islam Rising

Mark Steyn, Pat Buchanan and others have been talking about this in books the past few years, but here is a video summary. These predictions are always based on the assumption that current trends will continue for the next 20 years, which they almost never do. Still, the Muslim influence in Europe influence is enough to frighten anyone who actually knows what is is be western–since those who do are so few, it isn’t surprising that our culture is being taken over.

Our Visible Mother

The Reformation was a breakaway from a late medieval corruption of part of the Church. In many ways, it makes more sense to think of the Roman Catholic Church as the one leaving the standards, beliefs and practices of the ancient church. It only looks like Protestants broke off because they left the old buildings and lit the world on fire with the Gospel. Many today have a high view of the invisible church, by which they mean all the truly saved whom we cannot know for certain or see or interact with until we die. They think this is a reformational viewpoint and that a high view of that shabby group who meets in the building down the street with the sign and coffee brewing after service doesn’t deserve the same esteem. Only Papists think forgiveness and authority resides in the church. Read this quote and tell me, without reading after it, who wrote it. Or just guess: Roman Catholic or Protestant? Continue reading

Didactic Suffering

The problem of evil and suffering will never go away as long as people understand their existence apart from Jesus. Outside of the God-man, there is no solace, only sound and fury signifying nothing. Suffering in faith doesn’t make the actual suffering less, but it does make it meaningful and hopeful.

In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered.   –Hebrews 5:7-8

Even Jesus, a man with no sin, learned obedience through his trials, culminating in his horrific crucifixion. He loved and obeyed in the midst of a trial that no one else could endure, and because of this he can empathize, comfort and sustain all those who would turn to him for help. His shouts and tears reveal no stoic distance from the circumstances, but neither do they serve as accusations, distrust or cynicism toward his God.

Help Africa–Stop the Aid

This article features a number of insights by Dambisa Moyo on the harm aid given to Africa has caused. It’s refreshing to hear an African call out trendy aid given without accountability: “You get the corruption — historically, leaders have stolen the money without penalty — and you get the dependency, which kills entrepreneurship.”

Aid breeds corruption which breeds dependency which kills entrepreneurship. Why can’t leaders in the United States figure this out? Oh, because they’re the ones getting to dole out the money and collect accolades for doing so. Any business worth saving or starting will do so by legitimately borrowing and repaying a loan. Money given or received otherwise should be seen as money taken from people who would otherwise spend or invest it wisely. Of course, this doesn’t apply to all giving–individuals giving mercifully of their own money, gifts to orphans and widows etc. But it does apply to any governmental “investing” which is not just ineffective but also counterproductive.

Regretting Rightly

P. D. James, whose books I can recommend based on the fine appreciation of my wife who has actually read them, says this in her autobiography:

There is no point in regretting any part of the past. The past can’t now be altered, the future has yet to be lived, and consciously to experience every moment of the present is the only way to gain at least the illusion of immortality.

The sentiment about leaving regrets behind is common, so common it is likely taken for granted. Still, I can’t see how not regretting, rawly understood, is really of any benefit. Of course we ought not to live in fear or paralyzation or any sort of bondage to a past that has been confessed to God, but this does not mean abolishing all regret. It might mean better understanding something that happened, being thankful for an unexpected or unforeseen outcome and rejoicing in what was meant for evil being used for good. All of these healthy responses in no way mean that one shouldn’t regret doing evil if that is in fact what was done. If we’re not talking about evil, then refusing to regret makes sense since it’s simply another form of ingratitude or complaint over our limitations–“if only I’d known, then I would have turned left instead of right.” These regrets refuse to admit and embrace God’s sovereignty. Ethical matters, sins, are another thing. If we don’t regret these then we don’t realize the harm done, and forgetting simply ensures that we will not be matured by our past actions and therefore won’t react different in the future. This also leads to despair. Receiving forgiveness and learning from mistakes and sins is far different than just forgetting them. Leaving guilt behind but living in gratitude precisely because of all that has happened is the only way for reconciled people to love the idea of immortality–our past story and current adventures allowed to continue and come into more than we could ask or think.

Cautionary Tales

I Am Charlotte Simmons by Tom Wolfe is a gross book, a crass and crude and bawdy book, or at least it’s a story containing a heavy dose of those things however negatively (read: unappealingly) they are presented. And this is exactly where its merits lie.

Many people consider themselves cultural connoisseurs and therefore rationalize spending inordinate amounts of time watching stupid, obscene, softly pornographic and gratuitously violent films (books not as much because of the amount of work involved to digest them) only to say that “this movie [sorry, "film"] is a great example of depravity….” So a movie like The Departed is somehow considered worthwhile. Yeah, if you were considering the career path of organized crime. Continue reading