Thursday, December 29, 2016

Mood music: Adeste Fideles -- Oh, come all ye Faithful -- in Latin

Video -- Luciano Pavarotti - Montreal - 1978:

  Dion, English:

Latin Text:
1. Adeste Fideles laeti triumphantes,
Venite, venite in Bethlehem.
Natum videte, Regem Angelorum;

    Venite adoremus,
    venite adoremus,
    venite adoremus

2. Deum de Deo, lumen de lumine,
gestant puellae viscera.
Deum verum, genitum non factum; (refrain)
3. Cantet nunc io chorus Angelorum
cantet nunc aula caelestium:
Gloria in excelsis Deo!
4. Ergo qui natus, die hodierna,
Jesu, tibi sit gloria.
Patris aeterni Verbum caro factum;
5. En grege relicto, Humiles ad cunas,
vocati pastores approperant.
Et nos ovanti gradu festinemus;
6. Aeterni Parentis splendorem aeternum,
velatum sub carne videbimus.
Deum infantem, pannis involutum;
7. Pro nobis egenum et foeno cubantem,
piis foveamus amplexibus.
Sic nos anamtem quis non redamaret?
8. Stella duce, Magi, Christum adorantes,
aurum, thus, et myrrham dant munera.

Jesu infanti corda praebeamus;
Verses 1-4 by John Francis Wade, 1740-43
5-7 by Abbé Étienne Jean François Borderies, 1822
Verse 8 author unknown, 1850
Standard English rendering:
1. O come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant!
O come ye, o come ye, to Bethlehem.
Come and behold Him, born the King of angels;1

    O come, let us adore Him,
    O come, let us adore Him,
    O come, let us adore Him,
    Christ the Lord!

2. God of God, Light of Light,
Lo! He abhors not the Virgin’s womb.
Very God, begotten not created; (refrain)

3. Sing, choirs of angels, sing in exultation!
Sing, all ye citizens of heaven above:
Glory to God, glory in the highest!2

4. Yea, Lord, we greet Thee, born this happy morning,
Jesu, to Thee be glory given.3
Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing;

5. See how the shepherds, summoned to His cradle,
leaving their flocks, draw nigh to gaze.
We too will thither bend our hearts’ oblations;4

6. There shall we see Him, His eternal Father’s
everlasting brightness now veiled under flesh.
God shall we find there, a Babe in infant clothing;

7. Child, for us sinners, poor and in the manger,
we would embrace Thee, with love and awe.
Who would not love Thee, loving us so dearly?

8. Lo! Star-led chieftains, Magi, Christ adoring,
offer Him frankincense, gold and myrrh.5
We to the Christ-child, bring our hearts oblations;

Verses 1-4 translated by Frederick Oakeley, D.D., 1841
Verses 5-8 translated by William Thomas Brooke, 1885
Amen and amen to the Heaven-sent Prince of Peace. END

Matt 24 watch, 300: Putin of Russia -- yes, the former KGB Colonel and now Orthodox President of Russia! -- warns his nation and our civilisation about the ongoing collapse of Christendom . . .

Food for thought.

Video (in Russian, with English sub-titles):

Vox Day (and I most definitely do not approve of him in general -- hence no link . . . ) has a transcript:
A further challenge for the national Russian identity is connected to the processes we observe outside of Russia. They include foreign policy, moral, and other aspects. We see that many Euro-Atlantic states have taken the way where they deny or reject their own roots, including their Christian roots which form the basis of Western civilization. 
In these countries, the moral basis and any traditional identity are being denied - national, religious, cultural, and even gender identities are being denied or relativised. There, politics treats a family with many children as juridically equal to a homosexual partnership; faith in God is equal to faith in Satan.
The excesses and exaggerations of political correctness in these countries indeed leads to serious consideration for the legitimization of parties that promote the propaganda of paedophilia. 
The people in many European states are actually ashamed of their religious affiliations and are indeed frightened to speak about them. Christian holidays and celebrations are abolished or "neutrally" renamed, as if one were ashamed of those Christian holidays. With this method one hides away the deeper moral value of those celebrations. 
And these countries try to force this model onto other nations, globally. I am deeply convinced that this is a direct way to the degradation and primitivization of culture. This leads to deeper demographic and moral crisis in the West. 
What can be better evidence for the moral crisis of human society in the West than the loss of its reproductive function? And today nearly all "developed" Western countries cannot survive reproductively, not even with the help of migrants.
Without the moral values that are rooted in Christianity and other world religions, without rules and moral values which have formed, and been developed, over millennia, people will inevitably lose their human dignity and become brutes. And we think it is right and natural to defend and preserve these Christian moral values. 
One has to respect the right of every minority to self-determination, but at the same time there cannot and must not be any doubt about the rights of the majority. 
At the same time as this process plays out at a national level in the West, we observe on an international level the attempts to create a unipolar, unified model of the world, to relativise and remove institutions of international rights and national sovereignty. In such a unipolar, unified world there is no place for sovereign states. Such a world needs merely vassals. 
From a historical perspective, such a unipolar world would mean the surrender of one's own identity and of God-created diversity.

F/N: This seems to be from a Sept 19, 2013 meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club in Russia. The fuller excerpts here are well worth the reading.

Putin here alludes to Acts 17: " 26 And He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their lands and territories. 27 This was so that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grasp for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us. 28 For in Him we live and move and exist [that is, in Him we actually have our being], as even some of [f]your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His children.’ . . . " [AMP]

Food for sobering thought as we approach the threshold of another new year, one that portends to be tumultuous, given Brexit, Trump and Syria, not to mention the recent UN Security Council resolution targetting Israel.

Brethren, let us pray, for kings and all in authority, that there may be stabilisation enough that we may live a reasonable life and have a climate in which the good news of the Prince of Peace can be shared without let or hindrance.  END

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Trump easily wins at Electoral College despite threats, protests, pleas

. . . and Mrs Clinton had a bigger faithless elector problem.

Reuters headline (yes, Daily Mail had no easily seen, inimitable bullet point lead!):

A clip or two:

Republican Donald Trump prevailed in U.S. Electoral College voting on Monday to officially win election as the next president, easily dashing a long-shot push by a small movement of detractors to try to block him from gaining the White House . . . . [however] more Democrats than Republicans went rogue, underscoring deep divisions within their party. [which were not the focus of a media firestorm, unlike issues with Republicans] At least four Democratic electors voted for someone other than Clinton, while two Republicans turned their backs on Trump.

With nearly all votes counted, Trump had clinched 304 electoral votes to Clinton's 227, according to an Associated Press tally of the voting by 538 electors across the country.

"I will work hard to unite our country and be the President of all Americans," Trump said in a statement responding to the results.

The Electoral College assigns each state electors equal to its number of representatives and senators in Congress. The District of Columbia also has three electoral votes. The votes will be officially counted during a joint session of Congress on Jan. 6.
In short, Mr Donald J Trump is now the 45th President-Elect of the United States of America.

It is worth noting at this point that at least one prominent Christian figure, Lance Wallnau, has felt that God has told him that Mr Trump is a Cyrus-like, Isaiah 45 figure.


(Notice, this was spoken TO Mr Trump, six months ago, by Mr Wallnau.)

Isa 45:This is what the Lord says to His anointed,
to Cyrus [king of Persia],

Whose right hand I have held
To subdue nations before him,
And I will ungird the loins of kings [disarming them];
To open doors before him so that gates will not be shut:

“I will go before you and level the mountains;
I will shatter the doors of bronze and cut through the bars of iron.

“I will give you the treasures of darkness [the hoarded treasures]
And the hidden riches of secret places,
So that you may know that it is I,
The Lord, the God of Israel, who calls you (Cyrus the Great) by your name.

“For the sake of Jacob My servant,
And of Israel My chosen,
I have also called you by your name;
I have given you an honorable name
Though you have not known Me.

“I am the Lord, and there is no one else;
There is no God except Me.
I will embrace and arm you,
though you have not known Me,

That people may know
from the rising to the setting of the sun [the world over]

That there is no one except Me.
I am the Lord, and there is no other,

The One forming light and creating darkness,
Causing peace and creating disaster;
I am the Lord who does all these things. [AMP]
Let us test all things, holding to the good. 

For me, I said openly that I would believe the nomination and election of Mr Trump when I see them.

I have now seen, I believe that he has won the election.

Now, he has an opportunity to make a good difference in the world. Let us pray that he does so, as scripture mandates that we do.

Let us go to 1 Tim 2:
1 Tim 2:1 First of all, then, I urge that petitions (specific requests), prayers, intercessions (prayers for others) and thanksgivings be offered on behalf of all people, for [a]kings and all who are in [positions of] high authority, so that we may live a peaceful and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.  

This [kind of praying] is good and acceptable and pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who [b]wishes all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge and recognition of the [divine] truth. 

 For there is [only] one God, and [only] one Mediator between God and mankind, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom [a substitutionary sacrifice to atone] for all, the testimony given at the right and proper time. [AMP]

This one gets stranger and stranger. END

PS: Rebuilding Jerusalem and its wall of defence -- which took quite long, was the key step to national renewal, as we can see from Nehemiah.

Monday, December 05, 2016

I need to test in-page anchors -- successful so far

To test, kindly click on "testa" below and see if it goes to the line, LINK.


Saturday, November 26, 2016

BREAKING -- Fidel Castro dead, at 90 years of age

I saw a pointer on The Hill, and did a Google search. BBC is good for this sort of thing:
Fidel Castro, declining years (HT: BBC & AFP/Getty)
Fidel Castro, Cuba's former president and leader of the Communist revolution, has died aged 90, his brother has said.

"The commander in chief of the Cuban revolution died at 22:29 hours this evening (03:29 GMT Saturday)," President Raul Castro said.

Fidel Castro ruled Cuba as a one-party state for almost 50 years before Raul took over in 2008.
His supporters said he had given Cuba back to the people. But he was also accused of suppressing opposition.
The obituaries will roll in, but in responding to them let us understand that we are here dealing with a Marxist-Leninist (aka Communist) dictator with much to account for, starting with the blood of many innocents. Of course, I have come to the view that on the whole we are the worst, most blood-guilty generation in history; with the blood of 800+ million victims of abortion in the past 40+ years crying up from the ground against us.

Our judgement is suspect, and neither our praise nor our blame is to be regarded as so absent serious and sober-minded fact checking.

I write this in full expectation that in the Caribbean as a whole, there will predictably be a one-sided celebration of Castro. The people of Cuba and of the Caribbean as a whole will be better served if we have a more sober-minded assessment.

As for BBC, no, he was not merely ACCUSED of suppressing opposition, Castro was beyond any reasonable or responsible doubt a bloody-handed Communist Dictator, though the exact death toll in Cuba and through Cuba elsewhere is hard or impossible for us to determine.  (It does not speak well of the BBC that it cannot say such plainly. [Cf. here and here as a start, also noting the exchange here.])

Let us condole with those who mourn a loss, but let us not lose sight of the duty to truth of coming to a sober understanding of the lessons of history. For, those who refuse to learn from its too often bitter cup, doom themselves to repeat or to echo its worst chapters. END

PS: Discussion is blogged at UD.

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Mood Music -- Non nobis Domine, from the post Agincourt scene of King Henry V

Notice the grey devastation and death in the aftermath of the battle, and particularly note the telling point of how the King carries a dead lad -- but a short while before blooming with promise, now to be encased in clay -- over his shoulder:

A lesson on the cost and horror of warfare, physical and spiritual. 

War is no sporting game, and victory often comes at a price scarce different from defeat. So much so, that the big issue may be not, who won and who lost, but at what overall price have we -- all of us -- come to this. Thence, how can we come back together and find a way . . . the right way . . . forward, together.

In this case, the blood guilt of 800+ MILLION unborn children slaughtered in a generation hangs around ALL of our necks, like the infamous albatross.

This is the central evil of our time, and the heart of Sauron's wicked system of wolfish injustice dressed up as if it were Justice herself.

It is on this, that our civilisation will be broken and utterly condemned, if we do not turn back from evil and wickedness. And, once we turn back here, we can then turn to the many other things that have gone wrong, with a cleaner, keener conscience and a clearer vision.

So, as we go forward after Brexit and this US Election -- whatever we may think of both --  let us find a way to build through repentance and reformation. 

For, not unto us, not unto us, but to God alone, belongs the Glory. END

PS: Lyrics, from Psalm 113:9 --


Non nobis, Domine, non nobis, sed nomini tuo da gloriam


Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but to thy name give the glory.

UPDATE, 2: Shocker -- Donald J Trump is evident US President-45-Elect, as at 2:30 am Eastern


The UK's Daily Mail head and lead, in its inimitable style:
Revenge of the Deplorables: The most extraordinary Presidential campaign in modern history ends in utter humiliation for Hillary, the pollsters, and elites of business, media and show business as the voters America forgot sweep Donald to a stunning victory 
  • Donald Trump has won the presidency – taking Pennsylvania to secure 274 electoral college votes
  • Hillary Clinton had just 218 of the 270 electoral votes needed to win when Trump's victory emerged
  • Though Clinton called Trump to concede, she refused to make a public speech and sent her campaign chairman to tell supporters: 'We can wait a little longer. Every vote should count'
  • Trump claimed wins in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming
  • Clinton, a former secretary of state, earned victories in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Nevada, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and the District of Columbia
  • As Clinton's party fell flat and supporters streamed away in tears, she was locked in a hotel suite just round the corner from Trump Tower
  • At Trump Tower, following the victory Trump retired to his apartment to 'take a moment' with this wife
Political, policy and geo-strategic shock-waves are of course spreading around the world. In coming days, in assessing pundits, anchors, opinion leaders, political figures and academics, consider that almost to a man, they have been wrong. And, do not forget how in the tank the media have been.

There is much to ponder. END

UPDATE, US election, 12:40 am



NYT chance of win estimate across the count:

Note States spread for closest, 12:50 am NYT:

 The spread between popular and Electoral College votes seems to reflect strongly Democratic, largely urban concentrations, if it holds.

That spread will be a point for controversy, again, if it holds. END

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Matt 24 watch, 299: Thoughts as the US Election initially trends Trump

After sleeping for a short while earlier this evening, I woke up and looked up the trend in the bellwether US election, here, courtesy the New York Times at 9:24 pm Eastern:

 It seems that, by razor-thin margins, an Electoral College trend to Trump is emerging. Should that persist, it is likely that the 45th President of the USA will be Donald Trump. If Minnesota, Michigan, North Carolina and Virginia are trending Trump, it is now likely that he may well win the election.

However, I do not think this trend (which will be generally unwelcome news across the Caribbean and beyond for various reasons) is the pivotal issue we need to focus on at this time.

I find a sense of urgency that impels me to write in this time of being weighed in the balance and found wanting as a civilisation, before we know the ultimate result of the election. Somehow, something written in suspense is needed at this time.

I think, for our civilisation as a whole, a far more important issue is to be found in a statistic that was read out in a BBC news item some months ago, that global abortion rates were currently running at 52 million per year, down from 56 millions in recent years. And though I have seen numbers that suggest this level may have been sustained for perhaps decades, I think it is safer to draw out two numbers. 

First, that we face a holocaust of a million unborn infants slaughtered per WEEK.

Second, that, if we use a straight line growth model across 40 years and slice off 1/5 of the resulting total to be even more conservative, we see that across a generation something like 800+ MILLION unborn children have been slaughtered globally, under false colours of law and at the hand of a medical profession sworn to uphold life.

This is indisputably the worst holocaust in history, and is thus the central evil of our time.

Multiply this by the corrosive effect of the resulting mass blood guilt on the population, the complicit media, the law makers and judges sworn to uphold justice, educators sworn to teach the truth as knowledge and more, and we begin to understand just how utterly corrupt, perverse, willfully wrong, perverted and outright defiantly, iniquitously wicked our age is.

The Apostle Paul has a grim warning for us, in Eph 4:
Eph 4:17 Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds.
18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. 19 They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity.
20 But that is not the way you learned Christ!— 21 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22 to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. [ESV]
Only a few verses before this, he counselled the churches that through the proper working of the five-fold ministry, as the church matures as an embassy of the kingdom of God amidst the kingdoms of man, "we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes."

That is, we are called to prophetic, reformational, intellectual and cultural leadership by counter-example in the face of a dark, blood- guilt- riddled, besotted, benumbed, utterly perverse, blinded, hard-hearted age.

In that context, as I was in the midst of intercessory dreams earlier this evening, my heart was stirred to call attention to US President Abraham Lincoln's second inaugural address, given a few days before General Robert Edwin Lee's surrender to the Union Armies, and only a few more days before Lincoln was cut down by the treacherous bullet of an assassin. 

No, not the "with malice towards none . . .," the darker, terrible and yet wonderfully insightful words wrung and torn from his soul through carrying the excruciating burden of four years of war by brother against brother, neighbour against neighbour, friend against friend:
. . . four years ago all thoughts were anxiously directed to an impending civil war. All dreaded it, all sought to avert it. While the inaugural address was being delivered from this place, devoted altogether to saving the Union without war, insurgent agents were in the city seeking to destroy it without war--seeking to dissolve the Union and divide effects by negotiation. Both parties deprecated war, but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive, and the other would accept war rather than let it perish, and the war came. 

One-eighth of the whole population were colored slaves, not distributed generally over the Union, but localized in the southern part of it. These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest was somehow the cause of the war. To strengthen, perpetuate, and extend this interest was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union even by war, while the Government claimed no right to do more than to restrict the territorial enlargement of it. Neither party expected for the war the magnitude or the duration which it has already attained. Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with or even before the conflict itself should cease. Each looked for an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding. Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God's assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men's faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes. "Woe unto the world because of offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh." If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said "the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether."
There is an anguished, terrible wisdom in this, that we must heed in our own day. 

Let us refocus it, through the lens of an undated manuscript found among that martyr's papers, and now generally termed Meditations on the Divine Will:
The will of God prevails — In great contests each party claims to act in accordance with the will of God. Both may be, and one must be wrong. God cannot be for, and against the same thing at the same time. In the present civil war it is quite possible that God's purpose is somewhat different from the purpose of either party — and yet the human instrumentalities, working just as they do, are of the best adaptation to effect this
If the innocent blood drawn and spilled by perversion of law, professions, government and institutions were requited of our civilisation, we would be looking at a nuclear war with the four horsemen of the apocalypse loosed as never before. And such would be our just desserts.

I find it frightening to note, that we are actually arguably playing with that sort of nuclear fire, as I have warned again and again in recent months in this blog and in public presentations:

However, God is merciful, let us turn to him in penitent prayer and so turn back from the brink.

Then, let us face and deal with our blood guilt and the perversion of our souls that has led our civilisation down a path of ruinous folly.

For, again, we hear Sophia warning us:

Prov 1:
20 Wisdom cries aloud in the street,
    in the markets she raises her voice;
21 at the head of the noisy streets she cries out;
    at the entrance of the city gates she speaks:
22 “How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple?
How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing
    and fools hate knowledge?
23 If you turn at my reproof,
behold, I will pour out my spirit to you;
    I will make my words known to you . . . .
29 Because they hated knowledge
    and did not choose the fear of the Lord,
30 would have none of my counsel
    and despised all my reproof,
31 therefore they shall eat the fruit of their way,
    and have their fill of their own devices.
32 For the simple are killed by their turning away,
    and the complacency of fools destroys them;
33 but whoever listens to me will dwell secure
    and will be at ease, without dread of disaster.”
We have been warned, will we listen?

Even Nineveh of old had the sense to turn back at the rebuke of the prophet, forty days and Nineveh shall be destroyed!

So, again, we are back to the Mordecai challenge: why not now, why not here, why not us? END

Monday, October 31, 2016

Matt 24 watch, 298: Chaos hits the US presidential election (650,000 emails' worth), while the onward targetting of Christians begins

Sophia's warning seems to be haunting the 2016 US presidential election, first with Mr Trump's potty mouth "playboy" mentality boasting of sexual prowess and now with a revelation of 650,000 emails being discovered on the computer used by Ms Huma Abedin's husband (in the course of a pedophilia investigation regarding a 15 year old girl).

Drudge's "screamer," last night and up to this morning:

Daily Mail's header (overnight, updated) with bullets -- a very useful approach, BTW -- amplifies:

Swirling in the background are not only issues of state secrecy violations (which had been coming out in the Wikileaks infodumps now amounting to 35,000 emails), but also quite nasty rumours of pedophilia trips in the 650k emails and the like, which spin off the long history of "bimbo eruptions" surrounding the Clintons. (This last may in the end be a payback dirty operation: I see you one groping tape and raise you rumours of pedophilia trips. The emails will likely be months in the vetting before we see redacted releases, as they will have to be assessed for potential secrecy issues and relevance to legal cases.)

All of this goes to underscore the revelations of how broken and bankrupt our civilisation's leadership culture is.

Lesson 1: character counts.

It also tosses the election trends and projections into the waste basket. Mr Trump's odds of winning in the dirty media war election have just risen, and that may well trump the rumours of a nasty November surprise targetting him in the last week. Doubtless, he has saved up his own "killshots" for the last week. (I doubt that the  FBI emails story was in itself a Trump operation. This letter by a very angry retired FBI officer and the implication of near-mutiny in the FBI are much more likely to be triggers, especially if Comey was shown smoking gun emails off the record. His choice then would be, explosion now or worse and uncontrollable explosion by mutiny and leaks later. He picked, explosion now.)

And, it points to a coming wave of attacks on Christian leadership not only in the North but likely here in our region. (The major media have become utterly ruthless and people will be out for revenge. We are handy scapegoats.)

Indeed, here is Michael Brown:
Consider this Oct. 26 headline on Fox News: “State of Georgia demands pastor turn over sermons.”

Yes, “A lay minister who is suing the Georgia Department of Public Health for religious discrimination has been ordered by the state’s attorney general to relinquish his sermons to the government, according to federal court documents.”

In the words of Attorney General Samuel Olens, “Please produce a copy of your sermon notes and/or transcripts.”

And why is the state of Georgia demanding his sermon notes and/or transcripts?

As Todd Starnes reports, “Walsh, a Seventh-day Adventist lay minister, had been hired in May 2014 by as a District Health Director with the Georgia Department of Public Health. A week later, a government official asked him to submit copies of his sermons for review. He complied and two days later he was fired.”

In other words, he was not fired because of any lack of qualification. To the contrary, he was highly qualified for the job.

As noted by attorney David French, Walsh’s résumé included “working for former President Bush and President Obama to combat AIDS, serving as a board member of the Latino Health Collaborative, and starting California’s first city-run dental clinic for low-income families dealing with HIV/AIDS,” but that “wasn’t sufficient to overcome the horror at Walsh’s Christian views.”

Yes, Walsh was fired for the unpardonable sin of preaching against homosexual practice, based on Scripture – and note that he was preaching this to his fellow-congregants, not giving a lecture to his staff . . .
In short, if one has a scripturally grounded moral-theological view on homosexual behaviour as destructive soul-robbing sin, it is already held to be disqualifying, and a sermon from Rom 1 or 1 Cor 6:9 - 11 may be in effect deemed hate speech. 

Let me cite the latter, to make the non-negotiable, Biblically grounded Christian view (backed up by thousands of cases across the ages of gospel-transformed lives) utterly clear:
1 Cor 6:Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality [--> the Greek words identify active and passive roles in such acts], 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. [ESV]
Nor is this just the USA. 

A very disturbing case in the UK, shows how Christian parents are being targetted for objecting to a demand for sex change by their 14 year old daughter:
Interview that will chill every parent: Social workers accuse Christian family of 'emotional abuse and homophobia' because they refuse to let their teenage daughter undergo a sex change at 14
  • Peter and Kate Wilson's daughter was a 14-year-old wanting to be a doctor
  • That was a little less than a year ago, but today, she threatens suicide
  • Social workers believe behaviour shift is due to her wanting a sex change
  • Parents have given a harrowing interview lifting the lid on their experience
By Rebecca Hardy for the Daily Mail

Published: 21:00 GMT, 28 October 2016 | Updated: 07:45 GMT, 29 October 2016

. . . Melissa is surly, rude, self-harms, threatens suicide and is being monitored by social workers, who insist that her sudden change in behaviour [over the past eleven months] can be attributed to one extraordinary fact. 

Melissa, they insist, wants to be a boy.

Not only that, but they are accusing Peter and Kate of ‘emotional abuse’ and ‘homophobic’ behaviour and putting them under extraordinary pressure to call their daughter ‘Mark’ as a first step towards changing her gender.

The Wilsons, who believe their daughter is far too young to make such a momentous decision, fear that if they don’t toe the social services line she will be taken into care.

‘Can you understand how we feel as parents?’ asks Peter. 

‘We’ve known our daughter her entire life, but after meeting her for just a few months the social services say they know her better and she wants to be a boy.

‘They’ve told us if we don’t allow her to be called “Mark” and give permission for her to be assessed at one of these centres that’s pushing the transgender agenda, we’re emotionally abusing her. 

'I said: “It’s not going to happen, not now. When she’s older she can make her own decision, but not at 14.”.

‘She’s not even old enough legally to have a sexual relationship . . .
Notice, in a demonic turnabout, it is suddenly abuse in the minds of activist, agenda-driven social workers etc,  to object to petulant demands for a drastic and unnecessary medical procedure with irreversible consequences. 

And, thanks to vague, ugly, loaded laws and policies, sincere moral objections are suddenly transformed into irrational fears -- that is specifically what the suffix, "phobia" means --  and/or hate.

The hour is late, and our failure to thoroughly engage the discipling the nations challenge across the board in recent generations is coming back to haunt us.

I again put the seven mountains of influence challenge on the table:

We may not be interested in these issues, but as our civilisation spins utterly out of control and becomes stubbornly heedless of warning signs of a march of folly:

. . . these things are very much interested in us. END

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

A collapse of leadership -- as Sophia warned us about

. . . In Proverbs 1:20 - 33:
20 Wisdom [Gk: Sophia] cries aloud in the street,
    in the markets she raises her voice;
21 at the head of the noisy streets she cries out;
    at the entrance of the city gates she speaks:
22 “How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple?
How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing
    and fools hate knowledge?
23 If you turn at my reproof,[a]
behold, I will pour out my spirit to you;
    I will make my words known to you.
24 Because I have called and you refused to listen,
    have stretched out my hand and no one has heeded,
25 because you have ignored all my counsel
    and would have none of my reproof,
26 I also will laugh at your calamity;
    I will mock when terror strikes you,
27 when terror strikes you like a storm
    and your calamity comes like a whirlwind,
    when distress and anguish come upon you.
28 Then they will call upon me, but I will not answer;
    they will seek me diligently but will not find me.
29 Because they hated knowledge
    and did not choose the fear of the Lord,
30 would have none of my counsel
    and despised all my reproof,
31 therefore they shall eat the fruit of their way,
    and have their fill of their own devices.
32 For the simple are killed by their turning away,
    and the complacency of fools destroys them;
33 but whoever listens to me will dwell secure
    and will be at ease, without dread of disaster.” [ESV]
  Here, we see a picture of a city in trouble. 

Sophia -- wisdom personified -- is about to give a final warning, and she goes about like a town-crier, calling people to the gates; the traditional place for merchants, movers, shakers, decision-makers, courts and rulers to meet. That's where she makes her speech.

In the implied presence of the elders in the gates, she speaks to the city in grim rebuke.

The diagnosis addresses three influential groups: the simple, the mockers, the hardened fools. For the first, she points out that it is wrong to be simplistic and lazy-minded in the face of the complexities of reality, that just sets you up to fall into traps and troubles. The second group have taken a further step down the road of folly to ruin: lacking the fear of God, they mock sound insight and counsel, to try to discredit sound teachers sent by God. The third, are the confirmed, hardened fools who resist correction and are hostile to knowledge. Indeed, they hate sound knowledge, and of course sound teachers who will not tickle their ears with what they want to hear.

A city -- and I daresay, a nation or a civilisation -- in such hands is patently on a march of folly; on, a road to ruin:

That's why Sophia now sounds almost cruel: when the calamity comes, it will be my turn to laugh. 

Or as Solomon famously put it in Ecclesiastes:
Eccl. 7:It is better for a man to hear the rebuke of the wise
    than to hear the song of fools.
For as the crackling of thorns under a pot,
    so is the laughter of the fools;
    this also is vanity.
The fools -- 3,000 years ago or as close as your favourite Cable TV news channel, or on your verandah, or in the street or the office water-cooler, or the election meeting or debate, or the pages of the newspaper, or even the board room -- may laugh and mock for now, and twist and spin, and cleverly lie and deceive; but all the while they are only thorns crackling away under the pot that is cooking supper. 

And when the end of the day comes, that crackling will have long since turned to ashes when the family sits down to the day's stew or soup.

Yes, a march of folly may seem successful at the first, and s/he who warns of where it ends can be made to seem to be ridiculous, someone to be dismissed with a barbed quip and mocking laughter.

But all along, that laughter is as thorns crackling in a fire under the pot of reality.

And of course, Sophia is showing us that there comes a point of no return, when a march of folly takes us to a crumbling cliff's edge, and it gives way underfoot. When that happens, consequences have to be faced, personal, community, national, civilisational.

Along the way, we see also the solution to one of those dark, wise sayings in the Proverbs, a seeming contradiction:
Prov 26:Answer not a fool according to his folly,
    lest you be like him yourself.
Answer a fool according to his folly,
    lest he be wise in his own eyes . . . .

12 Do you see a man who is wise in his own eyes?
    There is more hope for a fool than for him.
In short, one should not become like a fool when one answers one. Instead, he should be answered as his folly deserves, exposing and correcting its error so that he (or at least onlookers) will not become so deceived that their folly seems wisdom to them.

No wonder, Sophia points out the end of such a march of folly: death, destruction, calamity, ruin.

She counsels instead, that we should heed soundness so that we may go in another, saner, safer way.

And that brings me to my concerns as outlined in the place-holder note I wrote yesterday:
I will come back when I can to argue this case, that we are seeing a breakdown of moral, spiritual and intellectual fibre in our civilisation occasioned by the rotten fruit of turning our backs on God. DV, later today. Exhibits A and B, of course, will be the two main US Presidential candidates. For a preview of my line of thinking, please read Prov 1 from v 20 on.
I am of the considered view that for decades -- and in some quarters, centuries -- our civilisation has increasingly turned its back on God, and has instead walked in ways of apostasy and folly, leading to ruin.  This march of folly has eaten out the moral, spiritual and intellectual fibre of our civilisation. And, that is the context for, for instance the sort of silly season we see every four years on our TV screens as the next Presidential Election of the USA plays out across the scope of half a year or more. 

So, it is no surprise to me to see the want of moral fibre in the major candidates, or the blatantly dishonest manipulation in the media, or the shadowy agendas that lurk behind the slogans, adverts, street activism, debates, news, punditry and more.  Perhaps a hundred billion dollars is being spent to manipulate the public and by and large to advance an anti-Christ agenda posing behind would-be political messiahs. 

(Yes, I have just named a spirit at work in what is going on.)

Now, the USA is the leading nation in our civilisation, and where it is going has strong influence on where we are going; especially here in the Caribbean. Indeed, it is the primary source of the tidal wave of de-Christianisation from the North that has been pounding on our region's shores ever more powerfully since the turn of the new millennium:

That is why I have long been of the view that we need to understand that and prepare ourselves to withstand the pounding, then restore our strength and surge forth under our own calling from God.

We need to realise that after the so-called sexual revolution in the 1960's, demonic chaos, defiance of decency and perversion have spread far and wide among elites and across the whole civilisation. With the plague of addictive porn just a click away. That is why it is no surprise to see the potty-mouthed boasting of sexual conquest, the disrespect for marriage, the perversion, the enabling of infidelity, the intimidation of inconvenient victims, the trotting out of dubious accusers as part of the "October surprise" game, and more.

The utter breakdown of leadership, soundness, wisdom manifest in the ongoing US Election cycle is a big red warning flag.

Meanwhile, sobering policy challenges and a dangerous geostrategic situation spin faster and faster, out of control -- by and large, unheeded:

I have already said, that I expect much worse to be coming, as the big media guns are turned on the Christian faith in an attempt to utterly discredit it and sweep it to the far margins of our civilisation.

The question is, how are we to respond.

First, as above, with the voice of Sophia in sober warning, identifying and exposing what our civilisation faces due to its march of folly.

Second, I think a modified form of the seven mountains of influence analysis of the "gates" of a culture, give us key insights -- to the point that it is worth putting it up yet again, for reference:

Then, let us take a prophetic viewpoint, informed by Daniel 2:

Despite the rise and fall and dirty power games of men, God is still in ultimate control and he is building his eternal Kingdom. So, let's look at the seven mountains theme from a different angle:

We are called to discipleship, and we are to take seriously the force of the operational form of the church's mandate and call to transformational discipleship under the fullness of Christ:
Eph 4:10 . . . He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.) 

11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 

 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.
17 Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. 

18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. 19 They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. 

 20 But that is not the way you learned Christ!— 21 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22 to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
In Christ, the Rock has already struck, and the waves of impact are spreading out through the gospel, the service of the church and discipleship. As we mature in godly knowledge and the life of the truth in love, we will not be vulnerable to manipulation and deceptions and clever corrupt schemes. We will not walk in the futility of the gentiles, we will not be caught up in marches of folly. Instead, we will undergo godly, morally upright transformation.

Unfortunately, too often, this does not ring true of Christians, or the church as a whole, today in our region and in the wider civilisation.

That is a sign that we are in serious trouble and must repent, starting the process of renewal, revival and reformation; yielding fruit of salvation, blessing and transformation.

And so, as we see ourselves in the mirror of how we have been caught up in clever, manipulative, foolish schemes and ways, we hear again Sophia's call to wisdom. As first, a call to repentance.

We know where marches of folly lead.

So, the question before us is, will we repent? 

Even, on the crumbling brink of a cliff of civilisational ruin?

Time, is short. END