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Archive for April, 2009

It’s funny how words change their meanings over time — or, perhaps, more accurately, how our perceptions of certain words change over time. Take the word “Protestant” for example. It is based upon the word “protest” and everyone knows that this implies being opposed to things. Thus, according to the Roman church’s take on history, the “Protestants” disagreed with the Church and didn’t like submitting to its authority and wanted to be able to teach whatever they thought the Bible taught (in contrast to Church tradition) and that’s why they came into existence. Protestants opposed the church, rebelled against it, and caused a great division. Sadly, this is not only the Roman church’s take on Protestant history, it is also the popular Protestant take on themselves. To be a Protestant is to be the personification of Opposition.

Words are powerful. They mold and shape; they build up or tear down; they form psychologies, ways of seeing, and self-identities. So it is. And the perception surrounding the word “protestant” has done a number on us.

The word “protest” originally meant (and of course, still means) “to affirm, declare, or attest” to something. It means, in the first place, affirming a truth or taking a positive stand for something. To protest is to be in favor of something rather than merely being “agin” it. Of course, if I protest something, I’m obviously against it’s contrary, so there is a negative aspect to “protesting” but the focus is upon affirmation rather than dissent. This is what the reformers were doing in the Reformation. They stood in favor of the truth revealed in the Word and called the Church to reform in those areas where it had departed from Biblical teaching. They stood to promote positive reformation; a return to a faith and practice that more closely conformed to the teachings of the Scripture. (more…)

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Iowa is still celebrating it’s entry into the ‘MODERN’ world this week. The state began issuing marriage licenses to homosexual “couples” (and let it be noted, there is NO mandatory three day waiting period). Ralph Smith, pastor of the Mitaka Evangelical Church (CREC) in Tokyo, Japan, made an observation about this that needs to be heard:

“It is interesting to me that the homosexuals, more than anyone else perhaps, understand that the real fight in America is about Christian ethics and ontology versus humanism.

It is the daily nuts and bolts reality of what Christian faith means that brings offense. We have to remember that there is no other religion or philosophy in the world that teaches “radical” monogamy. Only the Christian Bible (OT plus NT) teaches monogamy (though the OT teaches it, it is not so clear).

One-man-one-woman-for-life marriage is perhaps the most profoundly concrete cultural teaching of the Bible — the kind of thing that offended Aldus Huxley and his friends.

“For myself as, no doubt, for most of my contemporaries, the philosophy of meaninglessness was essentially an instrument of liberation. The liberation we desired was simultaneously liberation from a certain political and economic system and liberation from a certain system of morality. We objected to the morality because it interfered with our sexual freedom; we objected to the political and economic system because it was unjust. The supporters of these systems claimed that in some way they embodied the meaning (a Christian meaning, they insisted) of the world. There was one admirably simple method of confuting these people and at the same time justifying ourselves in our political and erotic revolt: we could deny that the world had any meaning whatsoever.”

[The quotation is from Huxley's Ends and Means.]

The homosexuals are the most self-conscious rebels against God in America today. If we recognize that American definitions of sexual orthodoxy are based solely on Christian teaching, we realize clearly that the fight about laws forbidding homosexual marriage, adult-child sex, incest, bestiality, etc. are all about whether or not the Bible is the ultimate standard for human life. If the Bible is not our standard, why shouldn’t men have sex with animals, fathers with children, brothers with sisters, men with men, etc.?

There is no basis for forbidding any sort of sexual liaison outside of the Bible. That is the reality. That is why the fight is all about sex and marriage.

Here in Japan, a daughter could be sold into prostitution at her father’s will until the year 1948. That is three years after the war ended. It took time even for Macarthur to end this “beautiful,” old Japanese tradition. Buddhism and Shintoism do not respect women or teach monogamy in any way. Neither do Hinduism or Islam.

Christianity and Christianity alone of all the religions and philosophies in the history of the world treats women with the high respect that God created them to receive. In the Bible, hsband and wife are one in Christ. The man is the head who dies for his bride, just as Christ died for the Church.

Only the Bible offers this sort of vision for the Christian home, because only the Bible offers an ultimate ontology of love.”

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The amazing Leonard

Set aside a couple of hours and relish this. Really. It’s worth it.

Leonard Cohen. Live. In London. And hurry. It’s on for this week only.

So cool you’ll have to wipe the frost off your screen.

[Thanks to Remy for finding this.]

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The end of Europe

The video below may be a tad dramatic but in reality it points to a very serious problem for the “Christian West.” Birthrates in Europe have been falling since the 1970s and are now seriously below replacement level. Apart from the high levels of immigration that the European countries have had, they would already be experiencing the serious effects of underpopulation. The culture of European nations is going to be transformed. It is now unavoidable. Here are the birthrates of Western countries as of 2002:

Australia…………………1.8
Canada………………….1.6
France……………………1.7
Germany………………..1.4
Ireland……………………1.9
Italy………………………..1.2
Japan…………………….1.4
UK…………………………1.7
USA……………………….2.1
(Estimates for 2002, source ‘The World Fact Book’)

If you take replacement level to be 2.1 children per family, the USA is the only “Western” nation meeting that level. And the only reason that we are meeting it is the very high level birthrates of the Hispanic population. One thing is clear: people of European descent don’t have babies.

The West has bought into the “overpopulation” myth and that coupled with the embrace of contraceptives and the general apostasy from Biblical faith have laid the foundations for a pretty bleak future (if things continue as they are). The birthrates of nearly all European nations over the past 30 years mean that there will be a massive shift in what we have known as “traditional European culture.” As Muammar Qadaffi says, Islam is about to win a great victory in Europe without shooting a gun or making a single threat. Again we see the real battle cannot be won with armies and ammunition. It is a spiritual warfare and one that we cannot ignore.

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Man way too high

I finally got to see “Man on Wire” and am stilled stunned by it. It’s hard for me to imagine someone actually doing what Philippe Petit did in 1974 in New York. Amazing. I don’t think I could have even looked over the edge of the North Tower, much less stepped out on a quarter-inch rope of steel cable. Crazy. Just watching made my stomach do back flips. Wow.

oh, and it was nice to see the Twin Towers again . . . . . standing.

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I guess I are a rightwing extremist now. Officially. According to the Dept. of Homeland Security’s recently declassified report on “Rightwing Extremism” the list of scary people just got a lot longer. Look at their description of those who may be rightly classified as “extremists”:

“Rightwing extremism in the United States can be broadly divided into those groups, movements, and adherents that are primarily hate-oriented (based on hatred of particular religious, racial or ethnic groups), and those that are mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely. It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration.”

I have a few questions for Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, who recently defended this report on CBS News. Ok, so groups, movements and adherents that reject “federal authority in favor of state and local authority” are now considered “extremists”? Does this include those who hold that the 10th amendment is a good idea? Those who believe the states still have constitutional rights? Who believe that the Federal Gov’t is best when it acts within its constitutional authority? Those sorts of people? Like the Founding Fathers?

Do you actually mean to say that groups and individuals “that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion” are “extremists”? Most of us realize that abortion is not the only legally sanctioned evil there is, but are you really saying that people who are dedicated to seeking an end to legalized abortion can be put on the list? Not just people to kill others (i.e, murderers) but those “dedicated to [lawful] opposition to abortion”? Like people who peacefully protest outside of clinics? All those frightening mothers with children?

Do you intentionally leave off mentioning those dedicated to the violent extermination of all who disagree with them? You mention “white supremacists” and I’m with you there, but what about those who like to blow up big buildings with lots and lots of people in them? And then brag about it and celebrate? Or those radical environmentalists groups who cause thousands of dollars in losses destroying private property? Or those who overtly seek to provoke racial animosity? Of course, you did mention the “white supremacists” but I didn’t see the Nation of Islam listed. Pregnant moms who oppose abortion are “threats” — or, excuse me, DOMESTIC RIGHTWING THREATS TO NATIONAL SECURITY — but Louis Farrakhon is ok?

Is there any evidence that those you warn us against in your report are actually genuine threats to the citizens of our country? No, wait, I see that the report begins by saying “The DHS/Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A) has no specific information that domestic rightwing* terrorists are currently planning acts of violence.” So, since you admit that you have no evidence, is this merely a grand exercise in demonizing innocent people whose only “crime” is disagreeing with the present administration’s agenda?

Assuming your definition of “right-wing extremists” — those groups and individuals who have a “hatred of particular religious, racial or ethnic groups” — and considering the general (and sometimes pointed) opposition to Christian positions being expressed by the President and the members of his administration, could it be that the largest group of “extremists” are, as they say, right in your own backyard? Like, just down the street? Sometimes the most obvious things are missed when they’re right under your nose.

Just a thought.

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Calisthenics with words

Dorothy Parker possessed what was unquestionably one of the quickest minds of any human on the planet. She was a writer and critic for Vogue, Vanity Fair, and the New Yorker, among others. She also wrote a number of screenplays, poetry, and short fiction. Her hilarious reviews, quips, and comebacks are well known. Remy’s post reminded me of Dorothy and that got me to searching for some of her quotes. They’re too good not to share.

“His ignorance was an Empire State Building of ignorance. You had to admire it for its size.”

“Look at him, a rhinestone in the rough!”

On the most beautiful words in the English language: “The ones I like. . . are ‘cheque’ and ‘enclosed.’”

Someone told Dorothy that Clair Boothe Luce was even kind to her inferiors; Parker replied, “Where does she find them?”

Parker’s answer when asked to use the word “horticulture” during a game of Can-You-Give-Me-A-Sentence?: “You can lead a horticulture, but you can’t make her think.”

In her review of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged: “This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force.”

On another book: “This must be a gift book. That is to say a book, which you wouldn’t take on any other terms.”

On Katharine Hepburn’s performance in the Broadway play “The Lake”: “She delivered a striking performance that ran the gamut of emotions, from A to B.”

“If you don’t have anything nice to say, come sit by me. . .”

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