Philippians 4:8, "Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things."

Sunday, November 16, 2008

So, are you interested to know what your culture thinks of you? Follow this link and read the comments below the article. Chilling, isn't it?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

If you think that handing the reigns of power over to radical left wingers was a good idea, think again. In Palm Springs this week a group of gays protesting the passage of proposition 8 assaulted a 69 year old woman and trampled the cross she was bearing in her own peaceful protest against them.

Desert Sun Article

Youtube video

If these are representative of the gay community, expect persecution: legal, verbal, and physical.

Romans 1:26-32 describes the syndrome that was so evident in Palm Springs: "26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due. 28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, 30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; 32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them."

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Strange Bedfellows?

The San Francisco Chronicle on the Mormon Aid to Prop 8

I have to find a better way to put it. California's proposition 8 was a ban on gay marriage . It passed, with a lot of help from the Latter-Day Saints. I'm glad they helped. It was good legislation that reflects the values of greater California, not just San Francisco, Marin County, and the Los Angeles basin. As a result, the liberal glitterati of the world are now organizing a boycott of Utah as a tourist destination, hoping to avenge this blow to their hopes for a better world.

I have all kinds of problems with Mormon doctrine. I think for most part they are a Christian denomination in name only, and the great majority of their worldwide members remain without Christ and without hope of eternal life. The result is that I am hesitant to support the Mormons by encouraging everyone to visit Utah. But Utah is a state, and not a church (well, maybe), and I think it may be within the realm of good conscience to choose Moab next year.

It's a war on every front.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

The following is the text of an email from my friend Charlie Clough. Note also the link for a pdf of the report at the end.


Pastors,

For years I've looked for some documentation of the cost of sinful lifestyles on the economy. At last there is a recently published report, The Taxpayer Costs of Divorce and Unwed Childbearing. It gives cost estimates at the federal level and at each state level. (The federal cost is in the billions)

As the legal noose tightens around the freedom to proclaim the Word of God concerning marriage and family, these kind of facts can be powerful weapons to show that the biblical structure of the family is rooted in reality such that violation of that structure increases costs and decreases economic efficiency. To the pagan, we can say "the biblical lifestyle is vastly more efficient than yours" echoing the pragmatic argument of Daniel 1. Since the fantasy of paganism down through the centuries is that the state should be the confiscator of private property and children (through "public" education), we will increasingly have to dig in our heels to defend the historic biblical view of marriage and family which is the true custodian of private property and children, the heart of any social order. This report is one tool that can be used to show pagan foolishness for what it is and to assist believers in adhering to Scriptural norms.

The report is available from: Institute for American Values, 1841 Broadway, Suite 211, New York, NY 10023; telephone 212-246-3942; email = charity@americanvalues.org. 1-4 copies $5.00 plus $3 shipping & handling.

I'm ordering a copy for each of my state and federal representatives to accompany a letter and/or a personal visit with them.

In His Grace,

Charlie (Clough)


Taxpayer Costs

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Alas, Cruisin' the Fossil Freeway comes from the pagan evolution viewpoint. As Ray Troll comments in his critique of creationists on p.140: "What blows my mind is that evolution is the biggest puzzle mankind has ever solved, and it took generations to do it. Everything, and I mean everything, falls into place when you perceive the world through evolutionary eyes." Well not exactly everything, Ray. There is the matter of eternal salvation.

My mind is equally blown by evolutionists, who have the big picture of Noah's flood right in front of them, and they don't see it. Johnson and Troll's fun book is teeming with accounts of the ubiquity of fossils in the American West. The map that came with the book testifies to this, and artist Troll goes on to say that he could have created dozens of maps like it with different artwork prehistoric creatures on each.

That under just about every inch of the western third of the United States are fossils of every description, all of which have died suddenly in a flood no less (localized flash floods of 500 million years we are told) totally blows my mind regarding the nearly universal blindness of pagan paleontoligists. That this is also the dogma that is imposed on us by the pagans of the public education system makes it that much more amazing that we creationists are treated with such disdain.

They scrabble out their lives like so many cockroaches on the funeral mound of God's greatest judgment to date, and foist a Great Lie upon the public about it all. The preponderance of evidence fits the biblical account of the flood, but accepting that might make the Word seem true...

Monday, October 27, 2008

I know, I know, it's kind of late in life to be going through a dinosaur phase, but at least I can blame it all on my daughter. She had wanted to visit Dinosaur National Monument as part of her earlier and much more normal dinosaur phase, and I was obligated to drive. While in Vernal, Utah's Field Museum of Natural History we ran across a really cool book and map set called Cruising the Fossil Freeway, by Kirk Johnson and illustrated brilliantly by Ray Troll. After negotiating on the internet for a much more price-friendly copy than what was offered in the museum gift shop, the book arrived and Alex dove in with a love only a dinosaur-enamored kid could have. She sat at the dining room table with the map spread out and the book before her, indexing places and events and fossils, and Jurassic dreams of her own.

I'm already a map nut, and I deeply admired the map with Ray Troll's excellent artwork. He has a funky style all his own. Then there sat the book, inviting me to read it because the pages were festooned with the same kind of work, and a fun travelogue of a paleontologist and an artist trekking the American West's famous and obscure (but still great!) bone sites. Who wouldn't catch the fever with such paper pathogens?

There is a catch to all this, of course. The whole Noah's flood/what the heck were those dinosaurs thing always sticks in the craw of Bible-believing Christians, because we get all those pagan paleontologists telling us how it really was, according to the infallible scientific method (TM). As a result, all this time I am carefully thinking about the data of paleontology and how it fits into the biblical record, which actually is infallible. One bolt came out of the divinely-created blue: the K-T Boundary!

Alex, Rene', and I went to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science today, which has a really excellent exhibition on dinosaurs right now. There was a display on the K-T Boundary (Cretaceous-Tertiary... they can't even spell it right...), which is THE place in the fossil record, that one narrow band of rock at which the dinosaurs die, and a few modern critters supposedly make it because of their evolutionary superiority. Scientists speculate wildly about what this boundary represents. There is an intriguing bit of evidence: in the rocks of the K-T Boundary there is wildly unusual amount of iridium, an element that normally does not occur in the outer part of the earth's crust. However, it is found with greater frequency in asteroids and in the inner part of the earth. Two possibilities are obvious: an asteroid smacked into the planet like a big grapefruit hitting a mack truck travelling at thousands of miles per hour, or somehow a whole bunch of Iridium got ejected from the inner part of the earth.

Genesis 7:11 says something remarkable that fits the iridium mystery like a rocky glove: "In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened." That's right, the fountains of the deep were broken up. The Hebrew verb there is baqa', which the Brown-Driver-Briggs lexicons defines as "cleave, break open or through." God did a geologically violent act on that day when He opened those fountains from below the surface of the earth, something that we can hardly fathom from our comfy armchairs in the 21st century. Great rifts on the surface opened, and water spewed out, enriched with iridium from the depths of the earth. That iridium now remains in a narrow band of geological strata (umm, rocks) that flashes a neon advertisement for the miraculous judgment of God, antediluvian tough love and then some. But of course it might also have come from an asteroid, which is the more acceptable version for the Any Answer but the Bible's crowd.

Now I'm thinking something more along these lines. There are asteroids, meteors, and comets out there, spewed into space and captured by the sun's gravity by some violent act in the past. Could any of those objects have started at earth, made gravity-leaving velocity, and gone out into space, bearing lots of iridium? That's worth a google or two, isn't it.

But no, I think that God killed the dinosaurs. Not with an asteroid, but with a flood.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Hoop Dreams. Yes, I'm 14 years behind on movies I've wanted to watch. I've known about this 1994 documentary for quite some time, and finally got around to a viewing. I took a big risk because Roger Ebert has it on his Great Movies list, and he has a post-modern approach to films. But sometimes I like his favorites.

But here is what I want to say: Hoop Dreams is an American story. Two junior high boys in the ghettos of Chicago are recruited by St. Joseph's high school, a prestigious suburban Catholic school with a history of great basketball teams. There seems to be a thesis of sorts, something of a racist idea, that basketball talent is the ticket out of the drugs and violent crime scene for young African-American men. They experience highs and lows in their high school careers. They are exploited for their talent. They make mistakes and have rotten things happen to them as well. But I ask: are all others left to rot in a destiny limited by their lack of expertise on the court?

Almost three hours later, I think the answer is a clear no, but it doesn't come just through the biographies of William Gates and Arthur Agee. Rather, their families, ostensibly the canvas for the main figures, tell stories of desperation, mistakes, and triumphs. For me the great quiet hero is Agee's mother, who loses one job, goes to night school and graduates at the top of her class as a nurse's assistant, despite an absent drug-addict and criminal husband, and trying to subsist on $268 a month through welfare. She beats any of the on-court drama with a slam dunk.

The first scenes of the film are of two 13 year olds, playing pickup basketball in the junglelands of the Chicago Cabrini Green ghetto. My heart broke. They were young and full of NBA dreams, and they did not know of the heartaches that waited for them in the years ahead. They still believed in their families, their coaches, their friends, and themselves. As the movie ended they flashed back to those opening scenes, and I think every parent would pause then and think of their own children at that age and what might lie ahead for them.

I'll leave it to you to discover how they turned out. I can reveal this: the two basketball players are constantly at risk, and I found myself wanting to categorize them according my own preconceived notions. They struggled as human beings do, they both have had tragedy come knocking at their doors in adult life, and they both have had the opportunity to turn to God.

What is it that makes Americans triumph over their circumstances to transcend to a safe and normal life? We are not doomed to live it out in the Harlems and Cabrini Greens of our childhoods, are we? Is there really opportunity to rise? Hoop Dreams is very much an American story, and I think in reading the postscripts on Arthur Agee's and Pastor William Gates' lives, I am inclined to appreciate my country to a greater degree than before I watched this film.

Proverbs 20:29: "The glory of young men is their strength, And the splendor of old men is their gray head."

Titus 2:6-8: "6 Likewise, exhort the young men to be sober-minded, 7 in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility, 8 sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you."

An anonymous reader told me that I should reconsider Juno as a virtuous movie. Reason: it's one redeeming virtue is that the protagonist decides to have her baby, but there is little virtue elsewhere. I agree. Furthermore, there is not a single good male role model in the film. Again I agree. Although this may work as a warning about watching movies on trans-Atlantic flights (when I watched Juno), because I tend to rate movies higher when I'm flying... hmm... still, I think there is value in the example set by the young woman. I'll trust everyone to figure out the rest about the males who lack a sense of responsibility and leadership.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Regarding abortion, check out this link: www.abortionchangesyou.com. The website is filled with testimonies of terror, guilt, and hopeful recovery through Christ. The most enlightening thing? The pro-choice movement is the most inaptly named organization on the planet. In testimony after testimony women reveal that they were put under oppressive coercion, by their boyfriends, friends, husbands, and parents to undergo an abortion. That's not real freedom, but that's what a liberal-controlled government would advocate. There is also resounding testimony concerning what happens to a woman's soul through abortion.

Monday, September 22, 2008

What's Eating Gilbert Grape? has been in my Netflix queue for a long time, and on my list of movies to watch for even longer. You know the feeling - you hear of a good movie, you're busy, you can't watch it with the kids, so it's a procrastination victim. Last night I finally got to it, and I was rewarded.

It's not a perfect move with perfect morals, oh my goodness, no. Definitely not for the kids. But neither is it one of those artsy movies with good acting and production values that turns out to be a cesspool of depravity. What's Eating Gilbert Grape? has great values and is an excellent pro-life message. Well, what's eating Glibert Grape is that he has a retarded younger brother with a penchant for climbing the town water tower, a 500+ pound mother who threatens the structure of their Iowa farmhouse, and a bored and wanton mother of two who wants 20 year old Gilbert to deliver the groceries and a whole lot more, a lot more often than Gibert's comfort zone. Then he meets a beautiful young woman who seems to like him as much as he likes her, and you can see his agony: who would ever stay with me, with all the burdens that are attached to my life?

Well, I would say Leonardo DiCaprio steals the show as the retarded brother - long before he was the twerpy guy on the Titanic - but Darlene Carter is also fantastic as the multi-X large mom who can't leave the couch, is the town legend, and object of derision who has eaten away her husband's death through gargantuan helpings of fried chicken and baked potatoes. The great appeal of the movie is that Gilbert and his two younger sisters care deeply for Arnie their brother, and their mother as well, and their mother likewise for them.

As Arnie's 18th birthday approaches (according to the doctors he was never to reach 10) many loving preparations are made, crises come by the bushel, and Gilbert stoically, and not-so-stoically manages to cope. There is no God brooding over this family, caring for them and intervening at appropriate times, but God is there in their behavior and care for one another, and ultimately in Arnie.

Gilbert Grape communicates very effectively in showing the sacrifices that families with special needs kids have to make, and also the rewards that come to them for those sacrifices. Gilbert himself is the very paragon of this message: he is stuck with his brother and his mother and sisters, and that's that. But his brother was born, and not aborted. And it is evident, and I mean really evident that Arnie is on the earth for a reason.

One of the most deeply offensive things that I have heard in this political campaign is Barack Obama's statement that if his daughter made a mistake he would not want her "punished with a child." Children, even deeply burdensome children like Arnie, are a blessing.

Psalm 127:3-5 "3 Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, The fruit of the womb is a reward. 4 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one’s youth. 5 Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; They shall not be ashamed, But shall speak with their enemies in the gate."

Thursday, September 04, 2008

I am currently reading a fascinating book: Natasha's Dance, A Cultural History of Russia, by Orlando Figes. It has been very enlightening and thought-provoking read, reminding me of the various contributing factors to a culture, like geography, language, interaction with other cultures, war and peace, and, ultimately, the national attitude toward God. Reading through sections on the peasant effect, the cities of St. Petersburg and Moscow, the parties, the music, the art of Russia made me appreciate the vastness and beauty of the Russian culture.

What in the world?!? Why glorify Russian culture now? The same Russia that has wrongfully invaded Georgia, and threatens Poland, Ukraine, and other free states? Yes, I looked at the paintings by Levitan, and listened to the music by Mussorgsky, and read the poetry of Anna Akhmatova, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Mussorgsky's Pictures of an Exhibition has skyrocketed to one of my all-time favorite pieces of classical music (an album by the same name, and with similar music in the rock genre was put out by Emerson, Lake, and Palmer... cool, huh?). But then comes the chapter on the Soviet influence. Truth became subordinate to the state. Film, a new cultural medium in the twentieth century, became the vehicle of deception and influence.

Figes' analysis of the use of this medium, especially Sergei Eisenstein's Battleship Potemkin is well worth the time to read. Film critics like Roger Ebert rate the movie as one of the greatest of all time, waxing lyrical about Eisenstein's use of the media to influence public opinion. But Potemkin is not about truth, and that's the problem. It is about manipulation of the facts (which some of us call falsehood) in order to gain an outcome favorable to you and your cause. Whereas most of the pre-revolution Russian musicians, artists, and writers attempted to show truth and beauty, Eisenstein worked toward a revolution that was false. Not surprisingly, culture in the Soviet era suffered miserably, not only because it was no longer about beauty and truth, but because artists lived in fear of reprisal, prison, and death. They were not free to communicate truth in their chosen medium and through their unique personalities.

Political correctness in our own culture tends to have the same suppressing and perverting effect on our own art. If you are politically correct, any perversion is a grand success, while if you are not, any truth is ridiculed, and slandered into hopefully inconsequential nowhere. More than this, the liberal media in our country tends toward the Eisenstein method of falsehood, which should alarm truth-lovers into standing for what is right and true, and not tolerating those who use the old Soviet methods of propaganda. One such media organ is US Magazine, which this week featured this cover, a shameful attack on John McCain's running mate:

Regarding Senator Obama, the same magazine ran this cover:
You can almost see the halo in the second cover as much as you can see the hate in the first.

S.I. Hayakawa wrote a wonderful book on the subject of the manipulation of truth, Language in Thought and Action. It can serve ably as a guide to this season's election.

Yes, I like Sarah Palin, and yes, I'm energized.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

I have been gloomy these past few days, watching the Russian invasion of Georgia, and the response of the West (words, but of course deeds might be too costly). It is a depressing thing to watch the liberal media cover this. There are surely many atrocities being committed, but because Georgia is aligned with the U.S. and the West, they will likely not be reported. I'm also gloomy because of what this means for Ukraine and my friends there. They are doubtless next on the list, even as they have been under clandestine assault by Russia for some time (like an assassination attempt vs. their pro-West and pro-U.S. president). Now, the issue of the lease of the Black Sea ports to Russia will work in much the same way as Ossetia did in Georgia. It is a an excuse to exert sovereignty as an empire, and it is demonic in its inspiration.

Here are three good summaries of what has happened and what is likely to happen.

Victor Davis Hanson

George Will

Robert Kaplan

It is not that military victory in Georgia is impossible. In fact, it is entirely doable thanks to the Caucasus Mountains - a high range (with Mt. Elbrus, the highest in Europe), and with Georgia on the far side from Russia. Destroying the few roads in the mountain passes and along the Eastern coast of the Black Sea essentially cuts off the Russian troops that have invaded, so that they can be hectored, harrowed, and hounded until they surrender. But of course the loss of a Russian Army would be unacceptable to Vladimir Putin and his puppet, Medvedev, and a greater war would ensue, including the specter of nuclear escalation. The conclusion: real support is out of the question, and our enemy knows it. Therefore, we undertake diplomacy from a position of significant weakness, and the people of Georgia, and perhaps soon other former Soviet Republics, suffer.

Please pray for the Christians of these nations, that their steadfastness in Spirit may perpetuate their political freedom.

Edit: One more article from National Review

My summary of all these articles: weakness in unwillingness to do what is right means terrible losses and much more bloodshed. Satan continues to deceive the nations; few understand this principle and its consequences.

Edit: there are a number of articles out there, all by liberals, that the West and Georgia have to share some blame for Russia's invasion. They're the same people who said we deserved 9/11, and that's the same kind of reasoning that says a woman who wears provocative clothing deserves it if she gets raped. Russia has done an evil deed. There is no mitigation for it.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Alexandr Solzhenitsyn has died. His Gulag Archipelago was one of those literary works that changed the world. The combined influences of Solzhenitsyn and Ronald Reagan (and not Charlie Wilson - like the liberal fantasists would have us believe) were primary causes in the collapse of the Soviet Union. But even two decades before the collapse, the Gulag made a push that did indeed cause change and relief from oppression. Now more than ever, it is a work that deserves to be read. But if you don't want to invest a huge amount of time, at least wade in the baby pool with One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich. Here also are a couple of articles:

The first is the obituary of the Associated Press, a very honest appraisal of his life and literary works, flaws and all (Solzhenitsyn never embraced the West).

The second is his critique of the West in the 1978 commencement address at Harvard University. It was one of those offensive speeches that provoked thought, very worthwhile.

Finally, the memory of Whitaker Chambers bubbles up to the consciousness. He was another great Cold War figure, whose faith and courage were indisputable.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

"Good luck" is the polite standard for wishing someone the best in their endeavors. When someone prospers we remark that they are lucky. My least favorite is when someone tells me I am so lucky to have good kids, as if I had nothing at all to do with that. Luck is an entirely pagan concept that has its roots in demonism.

The word daimon means "fate-giver." In the Greek and Roman worlds, the gods of the pantheon (fallen angels) were very active in the lives of men, prospering and cursing them in seemingly random turns and at the least provocation. Such activity was fear-inducing and ultimately maddening. Thus various kinds of worship and services were developed to placate the cursing of these gods and with little confidence, even bring their blessing. Someone who was blessed by the gods was "lucky" or "fortunate," but with little understanding of why it had come about. Such was the hapless religion of classical times.

Remember that the next time your mouth opens to wish someone good luck. Instead, tell them that you pray for them every blessing in the Lord.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

From time to time I read the Wilson Quarterly (usually about every quarter, hmmm...). The latest online edition has an article by John R. Miller that deserves a read. As I mentioned in a recent Bible class, we tend to think that since we outlawed slavery, that issue has been dealt with. Nothing can be further from the truth. As in the past, I believe that Christians need to be involved in the abolition of the new kinds of slavery in the world.

http://www.wilsoncenter.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=wq.essay&essay_id=459603