Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 – When Truth Made a Comeback?

At the beginning of this year, I noted that 2014 may have been The Year of the Lie.  And I resolved to do my part to counterattack in 2015 with the truth.

I think I did a decent job of keeping that resolution.  And I am happy to note that many others were so fed up with lies that they spoke out with the truth or at least backed those who did so.  Like him or not, one big reason Donald Trump is doing well is that he is perceived as telling it like it is, whether it’s politically correct or not.  (Whether said perception is accurate can be debated another time.)

I also noted a year ago that the Big Lie is a frequent tactic of the Left.  But perhaps their lies have become so brazen and so frequent that real Americans have had enough and are fighting back with the truth.  Perhaps 2015 is the year when truth began a comeback in this country.  I certainly hope so.

As for my part, some highlights in truth telling this past year:

I continued to call out “churches” and parachurch organizations for backing evil, including Catholic Charities and InterVarsity.  I’m ecumenical that way.

I continued to tell the truth about our U. S. “criminal regime disguised as an administration.”

I was willing to continence hard questions, such as it is time for a national divorce, whether endemic and tyrannical lawlessness in government will have lawless and ugly consequences, and whether one can be a genuine Christian and remain a Democrat.  (And please do not presume my answers until you carefully read those posts.)

And all that and more in spite of knowing these are dangerous times to be truthful.  I even considered self-censorship.

As I’ve noted, when I began this blog, I did not intend for it to become nearly this political.  I do not intend for it to remain this political beyond 2016 and perhaps beyond the next few months.  But the need of the times compelled me to do my part and tell the truth in the midst of a political culture of lies.


Not unlike Jeremiah, I really hope the Lord finds me something else to do and fast.  We shall see.  But for now I can say, in 2015, however imperfectly, I told the truth.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

InterVarsity Backs Black Lives Matter

During my Duke days I was a very active participant in InterVarsity, which chapter was then led by one Mark Dever.  And since then, although I knew InterVarsity was not quite as prone to devour heretics for breakfast as yours truly, I have long been well disposed towards them.

So imagine my shock when they turned their Urbana missions conference into a Black Lives Matter rally.  No, I am not exaggerating.

This is a total and complete lack of discernment and is sadly becoming typical of evangelicalism.  Evangelicals are oh so eager to be The Church of What’s Happening Now that they pay woefully inadequate heed to whether what’s happening now is right or not.


And racism, whether from Black Lives Matter or the KKK is never right.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Now that it is after Christmas Day...

Good morning!  I hope you all had a Merry Christmas Day and are continuing to enjoy the Christmas season.  As us Anglicans know, it’s still Christmas!

But now you might find yourself with the task of saying thank you to all those who were generous to you or to your family.  You might even be feeling a bit awkward if someone gave you a nice gift . . . that is a lot nicer than what you gave them.  Or maybe in the Christmas rush, you flat out forgot someone.  Hey, it happens.  I know.

Well, I am here to help.  My novel Pilot Point makes a great thank you gift or late Christmas gift, both in print and in convenient Kindle forms.  It shows appreciation in a tangible way, especially to Texas-minded or Anglican readers, more than only words can.  (And if you know Texas Anglican readers, what have you been waiting for?)

Now don’t give in to any post-Christmas guilt.  Nobody is perfect, and we all commit our holiday fails.  But if you want to do a little more for your friends and family now that it’s after Christmas Day, my novel is there to help.


And again, keep on enjoying this Christmas season.  After all, the gift of that Holy Child is for all time.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Carols from Kings 2015

The excellent YouTube channel, Collegium Regale, has the music from this years Carols from King's up in playlist form here.  (Unfortunately there are ads.)

In several past years, this channel has the complete Carols from King's up.  I hope it will do so again this year.  But having just typed that, I think found the complete Carols from King's 2015 at the VoicesChoral channel.


Remember this is the made for TV program with a different format than the live Christmas Eve Nine Lessons and Carols service on radio. (Trust me I could be more critical, but I will relent this day.)


Enjoy and have a Happy Christmas.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

King’s College Christmas Broadcast Schedule

I know many of my readers make a point to include King’s College in their Christmas celebrations.  For me, Christmas begins just past 9am (Texas time) on Christmas Eve when a lone boy sings, unaccompanied, the first verse of Once in Royal David’s City before the packed Chapel and a listening world.

So for your assistance, I am posting the schedule for the Christmas broadcasts from King’s.  The information comes straight from King’s College itself.

The times below are UK times.  Subtract 6 hours for the Central Time Zone, U. S.  And, unfortunately, Carols from King’s can only be seen on TV in the UK, not in the U.S.  (Please correct me if I am mistaken!)

And for those who have SiriusXM Radio, I think BBC World Service is one of your channels.

Have a Happy Christmas!  

Christmas Broadcast Dates

Daily Service (Choral Scholars)
24 Dec 0945: BBC Radio 4 LW

A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols
24 Dec 1500: BBC Radio 4 / World Service

Carols from King's
24 Dec 1715: BBC Two

1954: Carols from King's
25 Dec 0235: BBC Four

Carols from King's (repeat)
25 Dec 1100: BBC Two

A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols (repeat)

25 Dec 1400: BBC Radio 3

A Balanced Response to a Bomb Threat

This week, my last and still much beloved non-Anglican church, Denton Bible Church, received a bomb threat against their Christmas Eve service.

The response of the pastor, Tommy Nelson, is exceedingly well balanced and a good example to follow.  Therefore, I reprint it in full here.

----

Take a knee...
Y’all,
Take a knee.

You’ve probably heard by this time if you watch the news that we have had our first gen-u-ine bomb threat. It came in the mail Monday afternoon from a gen-u-ine super villian. Wouldn’t you know, it came 24 hours after I had boasted of our fair city’s apathy versus Dallas’s tirades.

Anyway, though this letter was not from Lex Luthor, The Joker or even The Penguin, we still must take all threats seriously and we shall. We shall have Christmas Eve as always but you will notice more folks at the entrances with more eyes. People write such threats for two reasons. A hatred toward what you stand for and a desire to disrupt through “terror” (hence the moniker), and also for the delight of their 15 minutes. Someone is no doubt up early this morning watching Fox 4 and chortling over their “beautiful wickedness” (c.f. Wicked Witch of the West).

We don’t yield to fear. We are Christians. We rejoice to be counted “worthy to suffer for His name’s sake.” Death and evil are conquered for us and our God sits supremely on the throne. If it breathes we do not fear it. But like Nehemiah in Nehemiah 4 we will build with a sword in one hand and a trowel in the other, with others on the watch. We shall be vigilant until evil loses heart. But stop the work? Who do men think we are? “Should a man such as I flee?!”

So, nothing changes. Come on if you planned to do so. But, make things simple by not bringing a backpack, a package, or some big bulky anything, lest a choir member frisk you or strip search you. Nothing kills the Christmas spirit quicker.

Be praying that God be glorified. See ya.

Tommy

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

In Praise of the Christmas Season

One of my discoveries when I was becoming Anglican is that Christmas doesn’t end on Christmas Day; it begins on Christmas Day.  (Or to be exact, it begins on Christmas Eve.)  For Christmas is a season that lasts until Epiphany, January 6th.

And observing Christmas as a season has a lot of benefits.  It takes some pressure off of getting one day, December 25th, just perfect.  You don’t have to give all your gifts on that one day.  You don’t have to complete your shopping before that one day.  Yes, you don’t have to end up in pre-Christmas gridlock.  You don’t have to get in a mad rush that turns Christmas into an ordeal.

You don’t have to take down the tree the day after Christmas (as my dear Grandma, suffering from post-Christmas let down, usually did).  I keep mine up well into January.  You can keep on celebrating.  And if the first day or two of Christmas is disappointing for some reason, you still have ten more days to make up for it.  Yes, Christmas really is twelve days, from Christmas Day to Epiphany.

I found this out after Christmas 2004.  I wanted to go to an excellent traditional Christmas service that year.  But there was not one that I could find near where I was visiting.  Yes, I enjoyed being with family, but I came home disappointed.

But when I entered my favorite local Anglican church the first Sunday back, there were candles all along the walls, and a manger scene, and Christmas carols.  It made me so happy I got a little teary-eyed.

When I talked to the rector afterward, I remarked that the service was like Christmas.  He immediately replied, “It is Christmas.”

And so it was.  Christmas is not just one day, but a season.  And wouldn’t we enjoy it more if we celebrated it that way.  No having to get *everything* done by Christmas Day.  Less pressure.  Not such a big let down if Christmas Day itself isn’t just perfect.  And getting to enjoy a bit more Christmas at your pace if you like.

And if Aunt Edna turns up her nose at getting a gift from you a few days after Christmas, let that be her problem.  I, like most people, enjoy the surprise of getting gifts a few days after Christmas.

And I like Christmas being a season, not just a day.  That helps me to enjoy Christmas that much more.


May you have a very happy and unrushed Christmas.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Paul Ryan’s Betrayal UPDATED

This may be short and somewhat stream of consciousness.  I lack the time and energy to get my arms completely around what a massive betrayal Speaker Paul Ryan’s Omnibus spending bill is, especially on immigration. But I have to say something at least. Didn’t Ryan promise not to cram his open borders views down our throat when he was elected Speaker?  Yet that is exactly what he is doing.

Yet with all the funds for a FOUR TIMES increase of foreign worker’s visas, for “refugees”, for “dreamers”, and for welcoming all manner of invaders right on in, Ryan could not be bothered to fund the border fence we were promised almost ten years ago.

This demonstrates why Trump is popular.  Twice, in 2010 and 2014, the American people elected Republicans to stop Obama, including on his immigration invasion.  Yet Republican leaders turn around and give Obama almost everything he wants.  Is it any wonder so many Republicans want to give the GOP Establishment the finger in the most obnoxious way possible?  Republican leaders screw the American people and then expect more support from them.  The Republican base is finally saying NO to that deal.  Heck, this deal practically helps elect Trump.

And don’t underestimate the anger over this Omnibus betrayal.  Yesterday I called my congressman’s office and gave the poor staffer an earful.  I don’t think he is so foolish as to vote for this, but if he is, I will be done with him and cut a check to his primary opponent.

And uglier things can happen when political leaders refuse to listen to the people.  Or, worse, pretend to listen to them to get elected then knife them in the back once in office.

God help us.

And this monstrosity just passed the House as I typed this.

----

UPDATE:
Here is the full roll call.

I'm glad to see my congressman voted "No".  

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

A Jubilee Year of Predestination!

One of the more enjoyable discoveries I’ve stumbled upon in Oxford, particularly while frequenting Pusey House, is that learned English clergy tend to have a wonderful sense of humor.

Fr. Hunwicke is a case in point.  Yesterday, he suggested that after this Jubilee Year of Mercy may come a Jubilee Year of Predestination:

Perhaps another Holy Year after the present one? A Jubilee Year of Predestination? With special indulgences for Calvinists? It could be celebrated with a double Holy Door; one entry for those predestined to Heaven, the other for those predestined to Hell. Confessarii specially commissioned by the Roman Pontiff could be there to tell everybody which category they were in. I bet that would get the crowds flocking along!! Wow!

Yes, that would be wonderful indeed!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Obama let Jihadi Bride Malik right on in even though she openly supported terrorism.

Obama wants us to trust him on vetting those thousands of lovely Muslim “refugees” he’s letting in.  Yet his administration could not be bothered with looking at the social media postings of the Jihadi Bride of San Bernardino infamy, Tashfeen Malik.  Big omission that:

Tashfeen Malik, who with her husband carried out the massacre in San Bernardino, Calif., passed three background checks by American immigration officials as she moved to the United States from Pakistan. None uncovered what Ms. Malik had made little effort to hide — that she talked openly on social media about her views on violent jihad.

She said she supported it. And she said she wanted to be a part of it.

But it gets worse.  Not looking at her social media postings was part of Obama Administration policy:

Fearing a civil liberties backlash and “bad public relations” for the Obama administration, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson refused in early 2014 to end a secret U.S. policy that prohibited immigration officials from reviewing the social media messages of all foreign citizens applying for U.S. visas, a former senior department official said.

“During that time period immigration officials were not allowed to use or review social media as part of the screening process,” John Cohen, a former acting under-secretary at DHS for intelligence and analysis. Cohen is now a national security consultant for ABC News.

One current and one former senior counter-terrorism official confirmed Cohen’s account about the refusal of DHS to change its policy about the public social media posts of all foreign applicants.

And Ed Morrissey points to one Janet Napolitano, Obama’s first DHS Secretary as the one who put this policy in place.

But now the Obama Administration is making noises about changing this policy.  I would say better late than never.  But it’s not better for those murdered by Malik and fiancĂ© in San Bernardino.

And, again, we are supposed to trust this administration in vetting Muslim “refugees”?

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Bob Dole Demonstrates Why the GOP Establishment is Hated

But when I was a faithful and active Republican Precinct Chair for eight years, I oft heard local establishment party leaders lecture others involved in the party to “support the ticket” with implications of blackballing if they did not.  And I did, working hard, including for Bob Dole in 1996.

Fast forward to today.  The same Bob Dole is stabbing conservative Republicans in the back, saying if Ted Cruz is the eventual Republican nominee, he “might oversleep” on Election Day.

Really?  If the choice is between Hillary Clinton and Ted Cruz, Dole might not even bring himself to vote for Cruz?

So us Republican base peons must support the ticket.  But Bob Dole can shoot his mouth off and undermine and threaten to sit out candidates the conservative GOP base prefers to his fave, Jeb Bush (of course).

And he’s not alone.  RINO Colin Powell endorsed Obama . . . twice.  Princess Lisa Murkowski not only did not accept the verdict of Alaska Republican Primary voters when they defeated her; she not only did not support the ticket; she then ran to keep her Senate seat as a write-in.

And I could go on.  But after conservatives like me have been lectured by the GOP establishment time and again to support GOP nominees – no matter how RINO they may be – only to see the GOP establishment turn around and stab conservative GOP nominees in the back, is it any wonder that so many of us now hate those establishment RINOs?

If the GOP Establishment undermines the eventual Republican Nominee for President if he is a conservative, they will hardly have a party left to boss around.  The Republican base is that fed up.

And, yes, RINO treachery is a factor behind Trump’s strength.  Again, I do not support Trump.  I like Cruz now FWIW.  But it is hard to think of a more emphatic way to give the GOP Establishment the finger than to support Trump.


If GOP Establishment RINOs want to blame someone for Trump’s rise, they can look in the mirror.

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Bad Examples, Mr. Speaker

It is unfortunate that I think it needful to begin with a disclaimer, but . . . .   I do not support Donald Trump.  I think nominating him for President would be a serious mistake with long term and probably undoable consequences.  And I disagree with his proposal to completely pause Muslim entry to the United States.

Having said that, I will now say Speaker Paul Ryan, in denouncing Trump’s proposal, made an unwise and flat out wrong statement I would throw back at him if I were Trump.

“Not only are there many Muslims serving in our armed forces dying for this country,” Ryan said, “there are Muslims serving right here in the House working everyday to uphold the Constitution.”

Ryan should have stopped in the middle of that sentence.  There are Muslims who serve this country honorably in and out of our armed forces.  Good on them.  (I will leave aside the case of Nidal Hasan.)

But about those Muslims serving in Congress . . . .  There are two, Keith Ellison and Andre Carson.  They are both far-left Democrats.  So, no, they are not upholding the Constitution everyday; they are undermining it.

And trust me that more can be said about those two.  In 2014, the House voted 395-8 to support Israel’s Iron Dome program to protect it from rocket attacks.  Keith Ellison was among the 8.  But I’m sure he’s not an anti-semite.  And sooooo few Muslims are anti-semites, right?

But he is a baby killer.  He has such a rabidly pro-abortion record that in 2009 and 2011, he got a 100% rating from NARAL.  (Yes, I know Islam is opposed to abortion.  Remember that my point is that the two Muslim members of Congress are hardly honorable.)

As for Andre Carson, he has repeatedly race-baited the Tea Party.   He claimed Obamacare protesters yelled racial slurs at Black Congressmen, a claim well documented to be almost certainly a lie.    And in 2011, he said, “Some of them in Congress right now of this Tea Party movement would love to see you and me... hanging on a tree.”


So, sorry Mr. Speaker, those two are bad examples to use against Trump.   Most U. S. Muslims are not nasty work like those two.  So use better examples of American Muslims next time, thank you.

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Aelfric on a New Heaven and a New Earth

As my circle of churchly friends has broadened in recent years, I’ve become more aware of the view that at the end of the world as we know it, the Earth will not be destroyed but renewed.  And, yes, I’ve heard this view from robustly orthodox and learned gentlemen.

When I came across this view, I did not necessarily disagree with it.  But it did seem a bit modern to me – and you know how ill disposed I can be toward modern things.  The fire and brimstone and destruction of the world from my pre-Anglican dispensationalist days seemed more traditional and (at least literally) biblical to me.

But I have just discovered that is not such a modern view at all.  The other night, I was reading a sermon for the Second Sunday in Advent from The Sermones Catholici, commonly known as the Homilies of Aelfric and was surprised by this passage:


Jesus concluded this gospel with these words: "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall never pass away." Heaven and earth will not turn to naught, but they will be changed from the form in which they now exist to a better form, as John the Evangelist said, "Then there shall be a new heaven and a new earth." There will not indeed be others created, but these will be renewed. Heaven and earth will pass away, but will, nevertheless, continue, for they will be cleansed by fire from the form which they now have, and will yet stand ever in their own nature. Then will the sun be sevenfold brighter than it now is, and the moon will have the light of the sun.


Now this was written in England about a thousand years ago.  So that long ago and likely well beforehand, the expectation that the earth would not be utterly and completely destroyed but instead be wonderfully renewed was accepted and well within orthodoxy.

Again, this surprised me and not just because of my fire and brimstone background.  I am somewhat familiar with medieval depictions of the end times in illuminated manuscripts, stained glass and other church art.  And they are scary and surely intended to be so.  They, at least as a whole, do not emphasize “I am making all things new.” (Rev. 21:5)  One would not expect a renewal eschatology to be much accepted in those times.  Or at least I wouldn’t.


Yet another area for further study . . .

Monday, December 07, 2015

A Helpful Suggestion (not to be confused with a shameless plug)

Good day! I hope you all had a good weekend. And I especially wish a Happy Hanukkah to those who are observing that worthy celebration.

But I’ve got some good news and some bad news for you.

The good news: Christmas is just over two weeks away.
The bad news: Christmas is just over two weeks away.

Well, if you have ALL your Christmas preparation and shopping done already, maybe it's not bad news at all. But if you're normal, you probably still feel you've got too much work to do.

So let me help. My experience is that Amazon is very good about delivery. So if you order a fine book like my Texas Anglican novel Pilot Point (Hint. Hint.) about now, it will almost certainly get delivered to yourself or to your lucky gift recipient well before Christmas. And, yes, Amazon will even gift wrap it for you if you want. It doesn't get much easier than that.

And, of course, the Kindle version of Pilot Point gets delivered electronically almost immediately.


You're welcome.  Always glad to help.  Now enjoy the rest of Advent.

Friday, December 04, 2015

Farewell for now, First Things

Long time readers may remember that I have been very well disposed toward First Things for years and have often recommended its articles.

But back in September, the sudden ousting of Maureen Mullarkey alarmed me, and I mentioned I would be watching First Things more closely.

And so I have and have come to a personal conclusion.  I will not be renewing my subscription to First Things, nor renew gifts subscriptions for friends.

Pretty much the last straw was the issue after Pope Francis’ U. S. visit.  It was weak sauce, to be frank.  Editor R. R. Reno was clearly well disposed towards his visit.  And any criticism of Francis was hard to find and weakly said.

This is a far cry from the courageous and critical First Things I used to know.

And R. R. Reno seems to be the problem.  He became editor in 2011.  Not only have I found the journal less interesting since then, I have referred to it favorably only once since he became editor.  That quite in contrast to the years before.

To be honest, I had not noticed that very much.  The Mullarkey episode alerted me that I should take notice, and now I have.

Should First Things be done with Reno and right itself, I will gladly return.  But for now, there are more worthy journals and blogs to read and support.


Farewell, First Things . . . for now.