Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Mrs Cicely Maunder is now an un-person

For 35 years, Mrs Cicely Maunder was a local Conservative Party (UK) activist - organising meetings, handing out leaflets, campaigning; latterly, she served as the chairman of the Chipping Norton branch. That's in the Witney constituency of Prime Minister, David Cameron.

You might think, then, that upon resigning after 35 years service, the Prime Minister would reply to Mrs. Maunder's letter of resignation.


On the other hand, you might think that if Mrs. Mauder were to knock upon the door of the Witney Conservative Association, having previously informed them of when she was coming, wishing to hand over a letter signed by 300 people, then they might have the human decency to open the door and receive the letter. At least, not to totally ignore her existence.


You see, as you can read here, Mrs. Maunder is an un-person. She no longer exists. She's a heretic. In the modern newspeak lingo of "compassion" (Mr. Cameron having made his party into a "compassionate" one),  compassion is what is extended to the orthodox, not to heretics. Heretics must not even be shown common human decency. Mrs Maunder resigned because of the issue of homosexual marriage. She did not agree that radical revolution in the nature of the family was very conservative - or indeed, as she testified, Christian. Neither did she agree that those who did desire radical revolution - such as Mr. Cameron - ought to ram through their new idea despite never having mentioned it to the electorate (and in fact having said the contrary, 3 days before the election).

So, today Mrs. Maunder knocked on the door of her local constituency agency office, accompanied by a letter signed by 300 local voters... and knocked; and knocked. C4M have the photos (same link as above).

The refusal to even open the door illustrated what the "gay marriage" debate is really about. Homosexuals in the UK can already form civil partnerships and inherit the same rights as those who are actually married. "Gay marriage" will gain homosexuals no new legal rights. But what it will do is to give intolerant secularists and homosexual activists a big legal stick with which to beat anyone who dares to disagree with their opinions. The point is not to give homosexuals "equal rights" - they have had those since the civil partnership law was passed under the previous government. The point is to give homosexuals a privileged place in society; super-rights; and to withdraw rights from those who fail to tow the line. The heretics. Like Mrs. Maunder. When the new heretics refuse to teach children that two who are sexually the same can sexually complement each other, or that gender is a mere social construct, or that for two men to give each other sexual pleasure is unnatural, then the law will now encourage the liquidation of those heretics - their removal from their jobs, relegation in society, and stigmatisation. Homophobes! They will be the new class of non-conformists, excluded from all civilised society.

"Equal marriage" is a nice slogan, but it begs the question. An astonishingly arrogant crop of politicians, of all parties, have decided that marriage is not a universal ordinance, much greater than their petty goals and politics, but theirs to honour, protect and promote. They have determined that it is their political football, and a plaything for them to re-mould as they see fit, when the prevailing winds incline them to do so. Marriage is not something greater than them, and binding upon them to recognise - it is a mere government-given contract, that government can change the terms of as and when it sees fit. Marriage is no longer a lifelong, covenantal union between a man and a woman - the only environment in which children can naturally be born, or ought to be raised. No - marriage is just two people, any people, who desire to pleasure each other and have the state recognise their desire to do so, for a time.

The action of knocking on a closed door that Mrs. Maunder partook of today was symbolic. It's a taste of things to come on a larger, and less trivial scale, if the ungodly in this present age get more of their way. She is a lady who no doubt by constitution as well as politics was 'conservative' - an unnatural protester. But some lines are too far. If systemic unrighteousness is the new party policy, then it's so much the worse for the party - and time to be an outsider. "Marvel not, if the world hate you", Jesus said. It's what to expect. Are you ready to move from 'insider' to 'outsider' for the sake of the truth? An 'outsider' is what Jesus was - and he's ready to meet and fellowship with you there.

Saturday, 27 April 2013

The problem of goodness

Different people, for different reasons, challenge Christians with the "problem of evil" - if God is as good and powerful as the Bible tells us, then why is there so much evil in the world?

Ultimately, only Christianity can provide the grounds for a "problem of evil". Under the atheist, materialist world-view, there is no evil. Evil is an abstraction of thought. It is a value judgment. In a materialist world, those have no objective value. They are merely the swirling around of chemicals over here and over there. The "opinions" that they "experience" do not mean that evil is a real substance, with a real existence. The problem of evil? There is no problem, because there is no evil.

And yet it is indelibly impressed upon our souls that there is evil. And in as much as we know that, we also know that atheism and materialism are utterly defective and wrong.

However, if non-believers understood Christianity better, then they'd see the "problem" which Christians begin to see more and more as they grow. Namely, the problem of goodness. If we are as sinful and depraved as the Bible says we are - and we grow more convinced of that as we grow as Christians - then why does God keep on being so good to us? How can a God who is himself utterly and infinitely separated from evil, pour out such daily goodness upon us? Why does he not send the stinging lash of angry chastisement, and keeps on sending us mercy, kindness and grace? Why am I not damned? Why am I a co-heir with his wonderful Son?

The unified solution to the problems of both evil and goodness is found in the cross of Christ.

Friday, 19 April 2013


The premise behind this "news" story is envy: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/othersports/athletics/london-marathon/10004521/London-Marathon-2013-Mo-Farah-says-running-half-the-race-is-not-a-gimmick.html

If Mo Farah were to instead say, "actually, I'm running this race to make money", then the Biblical, godly response would be... "good for you, I hope you spend it wisely".

In a free society, what my neighbour earns lawfully and freely is none of my business. If he earns vastly more than I do, apparently for a few hours work (though in fact long distance runners can only peak a handful of times a year), then that also is none of my business.

In this case, though, we might also consider that being a super-elite world's best runner is an occupation which is generally filled for a tiny amount of time compared to life's typical span, and that it's a "role" which can be ended in an instant; one false step, one unexpected pothole, one unfortunate twist - and it's gone. For good. You'd actually be a fool to not arrange your affairs so as to make hay whilst the sun shines. Most athletes, even if they compete at a national level, will train a vast amount of time for tiny financial rewards.

John Wesley is reputed to have advised: earn all you can... save all you can... give all you can. That's Christian advice. By all means criticise the selfish earning of all you can in order to hoard it for your own selfish, temporal pleasure. Jesus critiqued that in the strongest terms in Luke 12. But firstly, critique those whom it is your God-given place to critique. Mo Farah's affairs, however he conducts them, are nothing to do with me, since he's not spending any of my money, nor defrauding me in any way, and nor am I in any kind of authority or mentorship relationship with him. Secondly, the mere "earning of all you can" is not itself ungodly, unless you fail to follow it up with the godly stewardship of what you then have (save all you can and give all you can). The premise behind the above article isn't that Mo Farah isn't using his resources badly (which, to repeat myself, is none of my business), but simply that he either is, or might be, accumulating lots of them.

When that is the premise, then the real problem is simply envy, which God identifies as a serious enough matter to have placed it within the ten commandments. Envy is a ruinous and God-denying sin. Does it bother you that Mo Farah is earning oodles and oodles of money? Why? What in your heart causes that concern? Why don't we, above all, desire the glory of God in Christ, rather than troubling ourselves with how much temporary, fading gain others have for the few years of this life?

Anti-smacking arguments are bad logic

Researchers confirm what we all knew: that firm discipline combined with tender care and love is the best way to raise children: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/10004517/Smacking-does-children-no-harm-if-they-feel-loved-study-claims.html

The anti-smacking lobby need some new arguments.

Does imprisoning criminals teach them that it's OK to kidnap people?

Does fining criminals teach them that it's OK to steal money?

So why do the anti-smacking brigade allow discipline via "the naughty step" or withholding away your children's pocket money - but claim that smacking your children means that you're teaching them to be violent?

The inability of the anti-smackers to imagine a smack in any other terms than a violent assault says nothing about the realities of discipline as carried out within loving homes. It says something very worrying about what presumably must be going on in their homes.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

What isn't front page news in the modern West

The image our politicians and media like to project is one of vast courage and compassion, caring for the very weakest and neediest in society. Conveniently, this is all done with other peoples' money. When it comes to actual need, and where real courage is needed, the story is different. The politicians and bureaucrats look the other way, and the media connive. Meanwhile, innocent human babies are put to death as if they were animals.
"But we think this was something more. We think the reason no one acted is because the women in question were poor and of color, because the victims were infants without identities, and because the subject was the political football of abortion."


"Let me state the obvious. This should be front page news. When Rush Limbaugh attacked Sandra Fluke, there was non-stop media hysteria. The venerable NBC Nightly News' Brian Williams intoned, 'A firestorm of outrage from women after a crude tirade from Rush Limbaugh,' as he teased a segment on the brouhaha. Yet, accusations of babies having their heads severed -- a major human rights story if there ever was one -- doesn't make the cut."


Friday, 12 April 2013

The great leveller

The passing out of this present life of British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher has brought many things to life... but this quote from Bernard Jenkin strikes me especially:
It was often difficult to believe that this frail figure once held the world in the palm of her hand and yet there would still be flashes of the Margaret Thatcher of Downing Street.

The article contains the rather strange line "Lady Jenkin, who together with her husband Bernard Jenkin MP, became friends with Thatcher, added...", omitting all mention that Bernard Jenkin's father, Patrick Jenkin, served Margaret Thatcher as Secretary of State for Social Services, then for Industry, then for the environment.

Old age and death and the great levellers. At one time, two may be holding the great offices of state, and even (surely some hyperbole) "hold the world in the palm of the their hands". A few years later, they are frail old folk who struggle to make outings to the garden - or become nobodies who are completely forgotten.

Thus, the Bible says, is the glory of man. The flower flowers; and is gone. The mighty become the weak - or the completely forgotten; and then they are scarcely thought of any more. Today's political titans are tomorrow's names in dusty old books read only by the specialists. And that happens just in a few turnings of the earth, whilst we were looking the other way.

There is another world in which man, because of the death and resurrection of Christ, is immortal. Mrs. Thatcher has enough quotes on record concerning her faith in Christ to give us hope that she was and continues to be part of it, and will be part of all its fullness. Will you?

Monday, 8 April 2013

What is East African Christianity really like?

I just read the following blog post: http://matthiasmedia.com/briefing/2013/04/what-we-can-learn-from-african-christians/

I felt that I couldn't but add this comment:
This is all very encouraging. However, as someone who’s just completed 5 years in Kenya, mostly in the Rift Valley, I’m sorry to say that it’s also not representative of reality. This is a typical and understandable short-term visitor’s perspective, but represents only a superficial understanding of the state of East African Christianity; and unfortunately one which is damaging when allowed to spread.

As outsiders, short term visitors interpret what they see and here, as if they were seeing the same things in a Western context. The author of this post has his heart in a very good place, but he is not aware of how to interpret the different phenomena that he has seen and experienced with understanding. He is not aware that what is said and shown to short-term visitors is carefully selected and scripted. To give a trivial example: “He is always emailing me, enquiring about my family and telling me that they are praying for us.” And indeed there are plenty of African pastors who are continually emailing visitors from the West, and combining that with utter neglect and disregard for their own flock (apart from dispensing some goodies now and again, in order to maintain their positions of respect and power). Why is that? Because short term visitors from the West are wealthy, powerful and hence useful to a local pastor looking to get on, whereas their own flock are usually useless in that regard. Is the writer’s contact of that kind? I cannot possibly know, of course. But I can know that the overwhelming majority are.

Many times we have met short-term visitors, who have had limited contacts with a few select local pastors. They have their own impressions of how wonderful those folk are. As residents, we are able to tell them what the folk they are working with are really like, and what they really get up to when visitors aren’t looking at them. This is unpleasant fodder to hear, I well realise. Are the writer’s contacts like that? Again, I have no way of knowing. But I do know the Christian scene in the Rift Valley of Kenya, and by report from residents from beyond. The writer has come back accepting the superficial image that is projected – but the state of Christianity on the ground is utterly different, unfortunately. The phrase “a mile wide and an inch deep” is not applied so often to East African Christianity for nothing. Most short-term visitors come away believing that this only applies to other projects than the ones they happened to visit. I’d advise folk to pause and wait until they have a deeper insight into how this dynamic works.

I say all this not to depress anyone, but because these superficial impressions are so harmful to the real gospel work that is going on. The idea that East African Christianity is booming ultimately leads to more easy money being pumped into the hideous religious marketplace which our investments have created, which in turn increases the number of people without a heart for Christ or his cross coming into that marketplace, and exacerbating the problem.

Friday, 5 April 2013

The Lord of all things

It's quite fitting that not only the calendar (welcome to Anno Domini 2013, the year of Our Lord, 2013), but even language itself should reflect the facts (whether our present age likes them or not) of Christ's supremacy, both in his sufferings and in his glory. It's fitting, because he is, in fact, supreme.

Someone may ask, "What is the crux of the matter?". And the word "crux" is Latin for cross; because the cross of Jesus is the central event of all human history. It's "crucial"; which means that it's like the cross. We speak of the worst pain as excrutiating - from the same Latin root, meaning literally that something is "like the (sufferings of the) cross". When we enter the time of deep testing, we enter the crucible - the place like the cross, where Jesus entered the greatest of all contests, with sin and death themselves. The man full of zeal for his particular cause is a "crusader" - because there's nothing better to be taken up with than the cross of Jesus.