Monday, November 30, 2015

Pilot Point Sale Ends Tonight

Good Monday Morning!

Sorry I haven’t been posting much.  I thought I would use Thanksgiving break to catch up with life logistics.  Instead I’ve fallen further behind.  Ugg.

But I do want to remind you that today is the last day to get my Texas Anglican novel Pilot Point for only 99 cents in Kindle form.  This great deal ends tonight.

Surely you have avid readers on your Christmas list, but do not want to blow up your budget.  Or you’ve thought, “I want to check out Pilot Point some day.”  But you’ve just haven’t gotten around to it.

You know what to do. ;)

That and having a blessed St. Andrew's Day.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Pilot Point is on sale!

I know you all are already being bombarded with sales of various permutations, so I might as well join in!

I’m now having a Kindle Countdown Sale for my Texas Anglican novel Pilot Point.  Through Monday, you can get the Kindle version of my novel for only 99 cents, about two-thirds off the regular price of $2.99.

Try finding another good Texas Anglican novel at any price! ;)

I’m hoping this helps you good readers with your Christmas shopping.  I think when you begin reading the novel, relatives, friends, even enemies will come to mind who would like this as a gift.

But if you just want to buy it for yourself or as a “Thank you” for my dogged efforts on this blog, that would be perfectly fine as well.

Here are the most recent posts about Pilot Point, including some excerpts.  And here is the post announcing the publication of Pilot Point last year.

You may find the on-sale Kindle version of Pilot Point here.

Thanks.  And may my U. S. friends have a Happy Thanksgiving.  (If my U. K. friends wish not to celebrate us fleeing your shores, that is very understandable.)

Ten Years Ago. . .

Yesterday, it occurred to me that ten years ago, I was in England for the first time.  I was still at my first destination Cambridge, and still very much in awe of the Chapel of King’s College and of its choir.

I had recently become Anglican, and it was a pilgrimage to my new spiritual roots.  (I wish now I had the wisdom when young to appreciate the glories of Anglicanism and England.  But I couldn’t tell an Anglican from an angle.  And England interested me little.  Yes, I was a hapless fool and didn’t know it.)

In hindsight, I was understandably a bit na├»ve during my first visit.  And today, you would never see me order a HALF-pint with a meal.  I was only beginning to become aware of the glories of English ale.

England got ahold of me then and hasn’t let go.  Lately, I’ve been in one of those times when I yearn for England.  And in fact, I’ve been looking into the possibility of further studies there. (I studied at the Center of Medieval and Renaissance Studies in Oxford in 2007 and did independent study in Oxford in 2011 as long time readers may recall.)  My chances do not look good, to be honest, at least not to study where I really want to.  But if you wish to pray for me, don’t let that stop you.

And if you wish to see my first visit to England through my eyes, my posts from that time are over in the archives to the right, late November and early December 2005.  I regret that readers’ comments have been lost due to a later technical issue.  I remember getting a lot of support from good readers.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Hear No Evil. See No Evil… 2

I won’t delve into the details of the growing scandal at the U. S. Central Command.  Others can do that better than I.  But it suffices to say intelligence analysts were pressured not to be so serious in their assessments of ISIS.

Yes, given the events of recent weeks and months, this is no trivial scandal.

And, of course, the question immediately arises: how responsible is Obama for this?  I consider it doubtful he was directly responsible.  But indirectly responsible?  Oh, yes.

I have already noted last week that Obama is not interested in intelligence on terrorism that does not fit his rosy world view.  (And sometimes my timing on posts is amazing if I say so myself.  And I do.)  It is a well known phenomenon that if an executive treats with disdain unpleasant information and those who provide it to him, then those under him will be all the more reluctant to provide him with unpleasant information, no matter how needful it may be.

Whether by intent or by the withering pressure of group think and of trying to avoid displeasing one’s superiors, Obama’s Hear No Evil, See No Evil attitude has resulted in Speak No Evil beneath him in our military intelligence.

And that, in turn, has helped enable ISIS.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Terrorists Already Have Gotten into the U. S. as “Refugees”

Christians and people of good will want to be hospitable, especially to those fleeing bad situations.  So it should not surprise that many of the same well meaning people are allowing those good instincts to overwhelm common sense and oppose efforts to stop or severely restrict bringing Middle Eastern “refugees” into the U. S.  I see this myself in a number of personal friends of mine.  They are good people.  But on this subject, they are mistaken.

I’ve already stated that the very nature of Islam makes allowing the mass migration of Muslims pretty much a death wish.  But, leaving that aside for now, it has become a meme that the U. S. screens refugees so closely that we should not be concerned and let those that pass screening right on in.

But it is already evident that whatever screens we are using, they are not working with Muslim refugees.  Kentucky knows that well:

Of the 31 states that have declared their opposition to taking in Syrian refugees, one state, Kentucky, has a specific reason to be wary of the background check process: previously two Iraqi refugees who settled in Bowling Green turned out to be al Qaeda-linked terrorists with the blood of American soldiers on their hands, an ABC News investigation found. Both pleaded guilty to terror-connected charges after trying to acquire heavy weapons while in America’s heartland.

The 2013 ABC News investigation also revealed that several dozen other suspected terrorist bombmakers, including some who were believed to have targeted U.S. troops, may have mistakenly been allowed to move to the U.S. as Iraq and Afghanistan War refugees, among the tens of thousands of innocent immigrants.

The Obama administration insists now that Syrian refugees are subjected to intense vetting before they’re allowed to settle in the U.S. and that a vast majority of the millions of refugees the U.S. has resettled since the 1970s are normal, peaceful people, but the program has had serious security problems before. In 2009, a flaw in background screening of Iraqi refugees allowed the two al Qaeda-linked terrorists to settle in Bowling Green and led to a temporary suspension of the refugee program, officials told ABC News in a 2013 investigation.

More recently, refugees from Bosnia and Somalia have been caught being involved with Islamic terrorist groups as well.

And now we are supposed to let in tens of thousands of Syrian “refugees” without letting in terrorists or future terrorists?  Why should we trust our screens when they have already failed against lesser numbers?

Should Christians desire to aid refugees who are refugees indeed?  Of course.  But aiding them and allowing masses of them to come to the U. S. even if they have problematic backgrounds (And, again, Middle Eastern Islam is a problematic background if there ever was one.) are two different things.

And I have not mentioned that the behavior of most of the “refugees” is that of economic opportunists rather than that of genuine refugees.  Why must so many of them go to countries with sweet welfare benefits, hmmmm?

I believe in prison ministry and have contributed to it and even been involved in it on occasion.  And many prisoners have good hearts and/or changed hearts.  But I have no plans to let a bunch of prisoners I don’t know move into my house.  Just no.  Sorry. 

I guess I’m xenophobic that way.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Hear no evil. See no evil…

There are certain intelligence reports on terrorism Obama makes a point of ignoring.  And it’s not just laziness or an eagerness to get on the golf course. 
Sharyl Attkisson says he is not interested in intelligence on designated terrorist groups if he does not consider them terrorist.

Attkisson said, “I have talked to people who have worked in the Obama administration who firmly believe he has made up his mind. I would say closed his mind, they say, to their intelligence that they’ve tried to bring him about various groups that he does not consider terrorists, even if they are on the U.S. list of designated terrorists. He has his own ideas, and there are those who’ve known him a long time who say this dates back to law school. He does not necessarily—you may think it’s a good trait you may think it’s a bad trait—he does not necessarily listen to the people with whom he disagrees. He seems to dig in. I would suppose because he thinks he’s right. He is facing formidable opposition on this particular point.”

Attkisson continued, “I don’t know the reason for it. I’ve only been told by those who have allegedly attempted to present him, or have been in the circle that has attempted to present him, with certain intelligence that they said he doesn’t want it. He said he doesn’t want it or he won’t read it, in some instances.”

So a technique of Obama in dealing with terrorism . . . is to stubbornly pretend it doesn’t exist in at least some instances and to ignore it.

Remember the Fort Hood shooting being officially labeled as “workplace violence” by the Obama Regime?

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Why Mass Muslim Immigration to the West Must Be Stopped, Illustrated

Those who advocate for cramming yet more Muslim immigrants and “refugees” down the throats of the U. S. and of European countries would have us think the overwhelming majority of immigrant Muslims are good people.

Oh really?  Such a sentiment, of course, begs the question of whether bringing in all those wonderful Muslims is worth letting in a few hundred more jihadis.  But I seriously doubt whether even a majority of Muslims invading immigrating to the West are decent people.  Yes, I said it.  The following video illustrates why I say it.

At a match in Turkey, there was a moment of silence for the victims of the Paris attacks.  That may be seen when the players and referees gather around the circle.

Or at least there was supposed to be a moment of silence.  Jeers and chants of “Allahu Akbar” rang through the stadium, and not just from a few yahoos.  Watch it for yourself.

Now this is in Turkey, one of those “moderate” Muslim countries.  Turkey even has a history of secularism, at least until recent years.  Some of the insane even want to bring Turkey into the EU.  Yet a large number of those who went to this soccer match are such cretins that they loudly jeer and even shout over a moment of silence of victims of Islamic terror.

Now most of those doing the shouting would not appear on a terror watch list.  If they tried to immigrate to the West there would be no indications they are sympathetic to Islamist terrorism.  Yet they clearly are.  At the very least, they do not share Western standards of decency.

It may be shocking, but it should not surprise.  Islam contains the seeds of these attitudes.  Islam from the very beginning is a religion which blesses killing and subjugating non-Muslims.  That is exactly how Islam spread in the first place.  Early Christianity spread in the face of being killed.  Early Islam spread by killing.  (Not so early Islam as well.)  This is not disputable.  Inconvenient as it may be, it is basic history.

Most American Muslims may have completely outgrown that history and those attitudes.  But non-Western Muslims?  Not so much.  Sure, some have.  Maybe, perhaps, barely (though I doubt it), most. 

But how the heck are we to keep out the bad Muslims while letting in tens of thousands of the more enlightened Muslims?  Do we have a brain scan which detects jihadi and anti-Western attitudes?  Again, most of those who jeered in that stadium would be welcome to travel or even immigrate to the West.

Obama, Hillary, yes, Jeb!, too, Merkel etc. are wrong, dead wrong, to inflict hoards of non-Western Muslim “refugees” on the West.  Tony Blair and Gordon Brown were wrong, dead wrong, to import Muslims to shore up the Labour Party.  And the victims of the Paris attacks are only part of the dead. 

We need to – we must – stop fooling ourselves.  Non-Western Muslims as a whole are not compatible with Western values and freedom.  The vile nature of Islam ensures that.  As a whole, they should be kept out.

But they won’t be kept out.  I intend to comment on some of the possible consequences before week’s end.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Another Pilot Point GUN SHOW Appearance!

It has been a while.  But this weekend I am once again taking my Texas Anglican novel Pilot Point to a gun show!  The Liberty Gun Show in New Braunfels to be exact.

I will have a table from 9 to 5 Saturday and Sunday at the gun show which will be at the Convention Center in New Braunfels, Texas.

Wurstfest is also going on in New Braunfels through the weekend, and you know I will enjoy that, too! (“Wurst” is German sausage.  And don’t even start with the puns.)

But I know not all readers can make it to New Braunfels.  So Pilot Point remains on sale at Amazon in both print and Kindle formats at very reasonable prices.

Have a great weekend!  I know I will.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Defund the Campus New Totalitarians

This morning, I could enumerate further enormities from campus totalitarians at Missouri, Yale etc.   Believe me I could.  Instead, I propose a solution.

The Feds have long pressured universities with money.  A big reason the campus has suddenly become such an UNsafe space for young men with healthy heterosexual instincts is that the Obama Administration has pushed campus kangaroo courts – which, by the way, I warned you about over four years ago.

Since the Feds give universities so much money for student aid, research grants, art grants etc., it is time that is levered for good for a change.  Universities should be required to uphold and protect freedom of speech and freedom of religion on their campuses or else face a cut off of federal funds.

My proposal includes requiring universities to discipline faculty and students who commit fascist behavior such as “students” not permitting speakers to speak and professors grading down students with “incorrect” political views.

Universities who have a persistent history of attacks on the rights of non-Leftists would be required to correct that quickly with draconian measures or would have ALL fed funds cut off.

Trust me that respect for freedom of speech and freedom of religion and conscience would improve dramatically on campus.  Most universities do NOT want to lose their fed funds.

By the way, some readers may themselves give to their alma mater thinking they are giving to the beloved college of their younger years.

You might want to double-check that.  You may be appalled at what your school has become.  I once gave to Duke.  I do not give to the Duke of today.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

A Totalitarian Speech Code

Yesterday, I briefly looked at the big picture of the New Totalitarianism on campus.  Today, I will focus on one instance of the same, the new speech code at the University of Missouri Law School.

One provision of the speech code is totalitarian practically by definition.  A characteristic of totalitarian countries is authorities pushing a duty to rat on those who express counter-revolutionary thoughts.  Such is the case in Cuba, North Korea, and Obamerica, and was the case in the Soviet Union.

So guess what the Missouri Law School speech code mandates.

…the officers of SBA [Student Bar Association, i. e. Law School students – Ed.] not only expect students to obey—they expect students to inform on other students who violate the policy:

It is the duty of each member of the SBA to report instances of possible non-compliance with this policy to the Vice-President of the SBA-all reports will be kept anonymous and in confidence.

Note that the speech code was written by the law school students themselves.

These are the New Totalitarians who will be future judges.

Monday, November 09, 2015

The Campus War on Free Speech and Our Future

I’ve hesitated to post much on the enormities of Leftist students and campus administrators of late in part because said enormities are so . . . enormous and numerous it is difficult for me to get my arms around them in one post.

But one Conservative Wahoo has managed to do so in a manner that well reflects my concerns.

Your blogger is vastly more worried about the strong authoritarian impulse that seems to beat within the heart of today's undergraduates, at least at elite universities. Their first response when confronted with something they don't like is to appeal to authority. In doing so, they demand that the authorities impose a punishment on the target of their ire calculated not only to redress the particular perceived offense, but to intimidate third parties. In the linked case, they are demanding the termination of two professors because one of them voiced objections to a university policy, and the other one defended his wife. Seriously?

The term we would have used back in the day to describe these impulses -- and that is what they seem to be -- is fascistic.

The common response of my generation is "these delicate flowers are in for a real shock when they enter the real world."

I am more worried the effect this generation of students will have on the real world. We are breeding a generation whose first impulse is to appeal to power, and to demand that "the Man" crush people that the local majority finds offensive, or out of step, or in some undifferentiated way non-conforming in their ideas.

What are we going to do when these very bright and hard-working elite students become our judges, regulators, prosecutors, and politicians?

It do not feel comfortable quoting more, and the post is quite succinct, so go read the whole thing, which includes an already infamous Halloween conflict at Yale which prompted Mr. Wahoo's missive.

These campus speech Nazis seem destined to increase the number of New Totalitarians in power in the future, both by how they vote and by rising to power themselves.  And I have waxed vehement about the New Totalitarians and their attacks on freedom of speech and religion.  I look at what is already happening in government and politics and what is transpiring on the campuses and fear that American freedom will not survive this generation. 

I doubt it will even survive mine.

Sunday, November 08, 2015

A Sermon on the Octave of All Saints

Today on this 23rd Sunday after Trinity, which is also Octave of All Saints this year, I preached the following during Morning Prayer.

(Sorry I don’t have all the references up, and the formatting may not be perfect.  I am occupied with additional ministry this afternoon, but still wanted to get this posted quickly while it’s still All Saints.)


With last Sunday being the Feast of All Saints, this Sunday is the Octave of All Saints.  One of the nice things about traditional Anglicanism is you can take just about any favorite Holy Day and celebrate it for a week!

And All Saints is a favorite holy day of mine.  One reason is that All Saints is a harbinger of my favorite church season of the year, Advent.  When the Feast of All Saints comes, Advent Sunday is only a very few weeks away.

But All Saints and Advent are not only close in our church calendar, but the celebration and liturgy of All Saints has themes that point to Advent, that point to the Second Coming of Christ, to the victory of Christ . . . and of his sharing his victory with his people, with all saints. 

You may remember that the Epistle Lesson for All Saints last Sunday was not from an epistle.  There are other holy days when that is the case, but it is unusual.  The Epistle Lesson came from Revelation, Chapter 7.  And of course the Revelation to John focuses on the end times and on the triumph of Christ at the end of history.  And it does so more than any other book of the Bible.  In chapter 7 last Sunday, we glimpsed the worship of God in Heaven by “a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and peoples, and tongues.”

And we saw the strong yet tender love of God for His people.  Because of His love,

They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.  For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.

As our church year nears its end with Advent Sunday soon beginning the new church year, the assigned readings often point to Christ’s Second Advent.  For example, in our lectionary, beginning tomorrow the 2nd Lessons for Evening Prayer begin going through the Book of Revelation. 

Now some may think it is still bit early to read from Revelation.  Reading the Revelation to John now this long before Advent season may seem akin to the enormity of putting up Christmas decorations now.  Well, such are correct about Christmas decorations.  But they would be mistaken concerning the Book of Revelation.  For Revelation has themes that are very relevant to both Advent and All Saints.  For the Revelation to John proclaims the final triumph of Christ AND of all his saints, which we shall see presently.

The 2nd Lesson this morning of the 23rd Sunday after Trinity is from Revelation 21 as you just heard.  And in this passage, we heard echoes of themes we heard a week ago on the Feast of All Saints in Revelation 7.  (For reference, the Second Coming of Christ is in chapter 19.)

Now, after the Second Coming, beginning with verse 3 in chapter 21:

And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.  And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.  And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new.

And I can personally attest that last verse becomes more meaningful as one’s body becomes less new.

Those who have any familiarity with the Bible, and even many who don’t, know that the Book of Revelation focuses on the final triumph of God and of His Christ and on God’s judgement against an evil and corrupt World.  But what is easy to miss amidst the strange beasts, monstrous locusts, awful sores, earthquakes, and diverse disasters is that a recurring theme of the Apocalypse of John is the great extent all the saints, all the church get to enjoy and even participate in the triumph of God.

We begin to see glimpses of this theme in the letters of Christ to the Seven Churches in which the Lord Jesus makes wonderful promises to those who are faithful to the end.  The promise to the Church in Thyatira especially reflects that Christ will share his final triumph with his people:

The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations, 27 and he will rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received authority from my Father. 28 And I will give him the morning star.

We know from scripture – Psalm 2 being perhaps the most famous example - that it is Messiah, the Christ, who shall rule the nations with a rod of iron.  Jesus here is clearly stating here that he will share even his authority with his faithful people.  We briefly revisit this subject later.

His promise to the Church in Philadelphia is also glorious:

The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name.

How intimate, how personal this is that Jesus himself will write his “new name” on the faithful saints.

In chapter 7, we have already seen, in the Epistle Lesson on All Saints Day, the great multitude of all the saints participating in the worship around the throne of God in heaven.  And, yes, our service of Holy Communion reflects this worship.  But time does not permit us to go into that.  And we see God’s tender love for his triumphant saints.

In chapter 11, the worship of the 24 elders also reflect that the end times and the Book of Revelation are not only about judgement but about God blessing his faithful saints.  These 24 elders say in verse 18:

The nations raged,
                  But your wrath came,
                  and the time for the dead to be judged,
          and for rewarding your servants, the prophets and saints,
                  and those who fear your name,
                  both small and great…

And in Chapter 19 is the Marriage Supper of the Lamb which is usually interpreted as the marriage between Christ and his Church.

We could go if we had all day.  We haven’t even gotten to the Second Coming of Christ later in Chapter 19 – and there is a hint that the saints may get to participate in that as well. That old song When the Saints Go Marching In – there’s some good Bible behind that.  But there is so much more to the remaining chapters of Revelation.  22:3-5 about the eternal city of God is especially wonderful.  Take close note of the wording.

And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him:  4 And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads.  5 And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.

“They” shall reign for ever and ever.  I find that “they” the most astounding pronoun in the Bible.  Christ will not only reign but He will have us reign with Him.  A whole sermon, nay a series of sermons, can be preached on that.  At the same time, what can we say to such things?

I will say that I am not ripping one pronoun out of context here.  We’ve seen Christ’s promise to the Church of Thyatira.  To the Church in Laodicea, Jesus promises that…

The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne.

Astounding, is it not?  As St. Paul wrote to Timothy,

If we have died with him, we will also live with him.
If we endure, we will also reign with him.

But even with these wonderful verses, we have only scatched the surface of how the Revelation to John and the rest of scripture reveals to us the glory that Christ has stored up for his people, even how all his saints will get to participate in his triumph.

To use Biblical language, these things are “too wonderful” for us, are they not?  We cannot fully comprehend them.

And yet there is much we are not told.  St. Paul mentioned in 2 Corinthians 12 that in Heaven there are “unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.”  And in 1 Corinthians 2 he wrote, “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”

The Collect for All Saints makes reference to these things in daring to mention “those unspeakable joys which thou hast prepared for those who unfeignedly love thee.”

My opinion is that one reason God is not telling us everything of how glorious Christ’s Second Advent will be for all the saints is because if He were to tell us everything we could not handle it.  We already see that some today do not handle responsibly what he has told us.  And back in the 1st Century, that was already a problem St. Paul found needful to address when he wrote the Thessalonians.

Still, what God has told us is wonderful indeed.  All Saints and Advent do indeed belong close together.  For out of the astounding grace of God, the triumph of Christ in his Advent will also be the triumph of all his saints.

But, in concluding, let us be frank.  As we walk day to day, with temptations surrounding us, and sometimes just weighed down by concerns and fatigue, it is not easy to be faithful.  And we know we cannot be faithful without God’s help.

But as we walk day by day, let us not look to the drudgery and temptation of today, but let us be encouraged and, yes, energized by looking to Jesus and by looking to the great glory that He has so graciously stored up in his Advent for all his faithful, for All Saints.

Collect for All Saints

O ALMIGHTY God, who hast knit together thine elect in one communion and fellowship, in the mystical body of thy Son Christ our Lord; Grant us grace so to follow thy blessed Saints in all virtuous and godly living, that we may come to those unspeakable joys which thou hast prepared for those who unfeignedly love thee; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Hoard of 5000 Anglo-Saxon Coins Found

I thought of titling this post “Maybe I Should Buy Some English Land.”  For these hoards of old coins are still being found in England 1000 years and more after the fact.  However, this latest 5000 coin find is exceptional.

The reason these caches are still being found is there were so many of them in Early Medieval England.  There were few reliable ways to store one’s wealth back then.  (I’ll leave aside the question of whether that is still the case.)  So it was common practice to simply bury wealth, particularly coins. 

And it frequently happened that buried hoards were never revisited.  A soldier buried his coins before marching off to war, and never returned.  A family fleeing before Vikings, buried what wealth they felt was not practical or safe to take with them, but never returned to their cache.  Perhaps their flight was unsuccessful; or they never felt it safe enough to retrieve their cache; or they just never got around to it.  Thieves understandably concealed their ill-gotten gain, and then received harsh and final justice in an attempt to add to it. 

And have you ever lost something very important to you?  That was a problem back then as well.

So no telling how many early medieval coin hoards still lie hidden in England.

Maybe I really should go buy some English land….