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2010 World Cup Shockers

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World Cup Fever

June 12 quickly approaches!

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Escaping to Fly High Over Mont Blanc

This is much more satisfying and inspirational than reading about the Zimmerman-Martin case or the most recent Roberts Court jurisprudential disaster:

politics, economy, etc. World etc.

The Future Hiding in Plain Site

I am the way, the truth and the light. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6

Sometimes historical events are so convoluted that it is no wonder that few saw what was happening.  More often, however, historical events seem unsurprising in hindsight and we more often wonder why past generations did not see the imminent consequences until it was too late.

There are certain undeniable truths facing us today.  Undeniable however does not mean that they cannot be ignored.  It increasingly seems we may be living in a time where future generations will wonder why we failed to more timely act in the face of such obvious calamity. Five truths.

1. Crushing and unsustainable debt, public and private. Routinely living beyond our means in the USA and throughout western liberal democracies.

2. Both Iran and an evolving pan-Arabia based on strict Sharia law profess a commitment to destroying Israel, are fervently anti-semitic, and do not care a whit for western style liberal democracy or individual rights.

3. The Muslim world is growing by birth rates and by proselytizing and is fervent regarding strict adherence to Islam.  In contrast, the western-styled liberal democracies, to include the US suffer declining and unsustainable demographic trends.

4. The collapse of the Bible believing church in Europe and the United States.

5. We’re going on a second decade of war against Islamic people.  Notwithstanding or espoused noble purposes, it’s still two decades of war.

These five truths do not make portend well for the future.  As someone else recently observed, as we approach 17 TRILLION dollars in debt, a substantial percentage of voters and most the conventional media care more about how Mitt Romney spent his personal millions than how the current President has spent trillions of dollars of our money (and our children’s money).

We’re spending billions and countless lives to build Islamic nation states.  We’re in our second decade of war in Afghanistan.  They are so grateful that our “allied” Afghan troops there increasingly turn their guns on our troops.  In newly “democratic” and “liberated” Libya which we helped “liberate,” the grateful Libyans recently (a) enacted a Thank the Yanks Day!, (b) enacted a constitution guaranteeing freedom of religion, or (c) stormed our consulate and murdered our Ambassador, who had no U.S. Marines to guard him. Answer: (c) only. Same thing recently in Egypt, but our Ambassador was not murdered, notwithstanding our own efforts to disarm the Marines responsible for guarding our embassy in Egypt. They love us, not really.  Our money and words of appeasement are not what they want.  Like Hitler in 1920s Germany, they’re pretty forthright about what they want: elimination of Israel, elimination of Jews, and global caliphate.  Not terribly different from the Nazis or the Soviets, really.

The Afghans turning their guns on US and the Libyan’s way of thanking the USA are likely only a foretaste of what’s to come.  Unfortunately, our financial, demographic and religious trajectories do not trend favorably for western liberalism.

Finally, the fact that so many of our political elites, up to and including our President and Secretary of State, refuse to acknowledge the fundamental and deep level of this conflict, does not advance our chances.  The recent attacks against us had to be the result of a several months old YouTube video – just had to be, because it could not be something more fundamental, like a clash of incompatible civilizations.  No, it must be something frivolous and just a matter of misunderstanding.  The only misunderstanding is on our side, and it’s more an issue of denial that “they” don’t share our affinity for pluralism, compromise and tolerance.

A light is needed for the West.  The darker it becomes, the greater the opportunity for light to be seen.  Pray hard.

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NASA’s Mars Mission

Remember the old days, when NASA’s mission was simply to explore space?  Such simple and backwards times, before “O” taught us NASA’s fuller potential to reach the Muslim worlds.  

This past week’s events hint that perhaps NASA engineers are less adept at reaching the new Caliphate than they are at reaching everywhere else in our galaxy.  Probably due to NASA’s unfair hiring bias favoring engineers over cultural studies and critical race theorists.

Nonetheless, NASA’s “real” mission, albeit scaled back and currently somewhat politically  misguided, is still really cool.  What follows is a CGI re-enactment of the 2003 Mars rover missions – where the rovers landed in 2004. It’s very cool. 

NASA intended those rovers to last for up to three months … They lasted years, cruising around and collecting data. See here. In fact, one of the “original” two rovers, “Opportunity” is still cruising around and collecting data. See here.

Here’s an interesting video of the recent Curiosity rover landing, apparently produced from a compilation of images.

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The Myth of Islamic Democracy

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Misplaced Conservative Angst Over Paul’s Iranian Policy

The Great rule of conduct for us, in regard to foreign Nations is in extending our commercial relations to have with them as little political connection as possible. So far as we have already formed engagements let them be fulfilled, with perfect good faith. Here let us stop. . . .

‘Tis our true policy to steer clear of permanent Alliances, with any portion of the foreign world. So far, I mean, as we are now at liberty to do it, for let me not be understood as capable of patronizing infidelity to existing engagements (I hold the maxim no less applicable to public than to private affairs, that honesty is always the best policy). I repeat it therefore, let those engagements be observed in their genuine sense. But in my opinion, it is unnecessary and would be unwise to extend them.

Taking care always to keep ourselves, by suitable establishments, on a respectably defensive posture, we may safely trust to temporary alliances for extraordinary emergencies.

Pres. George Washington, 1796 (farewell address)

This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

Pres. Dwight Eisenhower, 1961 (farewell address)

I’m a former Airborne Ranger.  My first full-time job after college was as a rifle platoon leader in the 82d Airborne.  As readers of this blog know, I’m also a believer in the fundamental truths of Christianity: sola Christa, sola fide, sola scriptura, sola gratia, and Soli Deo gloria.  Accordingly, I’m no fan of the Islamic Republic of Iran and believe the world would be a much better place if it ceased to exist.  Iran is economically, politically, technologically, and morally a decrepit nation-state.  It’s a repressive regime and their Islamic-political leadership is openly anti-semitic.  Their leadership is deluded and dangerous.

In contrast, I like Ron Paul.  I dismissed him last election cycle because of his outspoken criticism of the Iraq war.  Now, four years later with the blood of our soldiers paying the price to establish Islamic regimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, insane levels of federal debt with no relief in sight, and spiraling western economies, I find myself much more open to criticism of those wars.  What’s surprised me is how hostile my colleagues on the right are to Paul’s utter disinterest to continuing our mideast war policies and the apparent anger over his refusal to entertain a preemptive war against Iran to stop it from becoming a nuclear state.

Although dangerous, Iran is not the greatest strategic threat to the United States.  Not even close.  Its military is third-rate, if that.  To the extent Iran is within reach of nuclear warheads, however, North Korea has nukes and a formidable army. Today, it is more unstable than ever.  Unstable Pakistan has nukes, as do the Russians and Chinese.  Turkey has nuclear technology and likely warheads and is increasingly trending itself away from US interests and toward political Islam.  In comparison to these military threats, Iran is a basket case.

Iran is also not a global “leader” of international terrorism.  It’s a terrorist state, but there are dozens of such.  Iran’s Persian ethnicity in general and brand of Shia Islam in particular is not popular throughout the Islamic world, to include throughout most of the mid-East.  Iran is not the primary or even a primary source for inspiring international Jihad.  Our “ally”, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia exports the dangerous Wahhabism Islam, built the Pakistani madrassa system and is the majority financier for Hamas.  Saudis started al-Qaeda, and 15 of the 19 attackers on 9/11 were Saudi citizens.  Bin Laden was a Saudi.  Saudi’s are the heart of Arabia.  They are neither fans nor allies of the Persian Iranians. Our “ally” Saudi Arabia is much more dangerous when it comes to global terrorism.

The Iranian issue is not, however, really about Iran.  Iran is about Israel, supposedly.  The argument is that a nuclear Iran would launch a nuclear weapon on Israel.  There are several problems with that claim though, particularly the facts that Israel possesses hundreds of nuclear weapons and several means for delivering them over all of Iran. Israel has one of the best armies and top air force in the world.  It has for a long time, which is why the Six Day War lasted days. Further, Israel’s narrow borders are filled with millions of Muslims and numerous Islamic holy sites. 

I’ve read some claim that Iran would welcome Israel’s nuclear retaliation, that the destruction of Iran would be a national martyrdom of sorts. If Iran wanted martyrdom, they’ve had decades to attack Israel, but have chosen instead asymmetrical means, entirely for purposes of avoiding the consequences of overtly confronting Israel.  Put simply, when confronted by Isreal’s superior strength, for decades Iran has acted like a rational state, even if it’s rhetoric has often been irrational.  While an Iranian nuclear attack would be theoretically possible, citing relying upon that risk to dimiss Paul misses a key point and an important part of Paul’s policy. Israel is an independent nation with a highly sophisticated and skilled military. Paul correctly charges that we should get out of their way and “allow” them to protect themselves as they believe appropriate.  As Iranian nuclear research facilities continue to spontaneously combust and top nuclear scientists meet sudden and tragic ends, one cannot help but suspect the Mossad.  I believe Israel could defend herself quite well if we allow them the same autonomy that we ourselves expect (and practice) worldwide.

Equally important, we simply cannot afford another prolonged military engagement that is not critical to our security.  We are living grossly beyond our means and destined to quickly become the latest republic in history to bankrupt itself. Further, even if we avoid a complete financial and corresponding national collapse, we are grossly encumbering our children’s generation.  We are racking up substantial debt for our children to pay.  You think Greece is bad?  The German socialist sugar daddies are certainly not going to bail us out.  The US needs to immediately contract federal spending in all areas, to include defense and nation building, particularly nation building for cultures that fundamentally reject our ideas of western liberalism and human rights.  We need to end welfare and warfare largesse.  We simply cannot afford not to.  And we simply cannot balance our books without reducing military expenditures, along with all the other expenditures. Paul is the only candidate that has taken on spending and an immoral fiscal policy and made those issues the center of his campaign.

By the Numbers:

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Prayers for Pastor Nadarkhani & the Barbarism of Iran

Iranian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, who is facing the death penalty, again refused to convert to Islam to save his life.

Nadarkhani was arrested in 2009 for the crime of apostasy because he allegedly abandoned Islam for Christianity. As a pastor, Iranian clerics believe that Nadarkhani was preaching in order to convert Muslims.

Before his last hearing Wednesday, Nadarkhani had been given three previous chances to repent, and all three times he has refused. After his final refusal Wednesday, no verdict has been announced, but many expect that he could be put to death as soon as Friday.

See Iranian Pastor Sentenced to Death: Nadarkhani Refuses to Convert

Senator Rubio’s (R, FL) statement today:

Iran’s rulers have spent over three decades terrorizing their neighbors, the entire world, and even their own people. Whether it was the violent crackdown following illegitimate elections in 2009 or the daily repression that has become routine, the Iranian people deserve America’s support.

I am deeply distressed by news accounts regarding Iranian Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani, who is facing imminent execution for apostasy (abandoning Islam) and failing to recant his Christian faith. Pastor Nadarkhani is 34 years old, has a wife and two young children, and is the pastor of an evangelical church in Iran.

Equally troubling are the facts that his wife was imprisoned to force him to recant, and his lawyer has been sentenced to prison and banned from practicing or teaching law. This is an unjust violation of the religious freedom that is a universal right of every human being.

According to international legal experts, the death penalty is not even codified in the Iranian Penal Code. Yet the Iranian courts claim that the writings of Islamic scholars and the “fatwas” of the Ayatollahs take precedence over the Iranian Constitution or law. Under Sharia law, the pastor can be executed after refusing three times to recant his Christian faith.

In recent years, there has been a very troubling increase in religious persecution in Iran. This is true for anti-Christian efforts, but it has also been evident in the repression of non-Shiite Muslims. While there has been some good documentation of this by a few in the media and in the human rights arena, there has unfortunately been a cowardly silence by the United Nations and most of the international community in this case and others.

Our own State Department should call for his immediate release. These are the moments when the government of this great nation must not be silent, and must be a voice for freedom for those who are defenseless.

In free and civilized societies, the freedom to practice one’s religion is a fundamental right. Once again, Iran’s government is proving to the world, and to the Iranian people, that it will spare no means to suppress their God-given right to freely express their ideas and worship.

As history has proven, countries that do not respect the rights of their citizens seldom respect the rights of their neighbors. The Iranian regime’s blatant disregard for its own citizens should raise alarms about its behavior in the region and the world should its illicit nuclear program be allowed to go on unchecked.

America’s commitment to the universal rights of man requires us to clearly speak out against their violations wherever they make occur. I urge the administration to relentlessly call for an immediate and unconditional release for Pastor Nadarkhani.

As if the West needed further evidence of the evil barbarity of the Republic of Iran or of the gross intolerance of Islamic regimes and their utter disregard for liberty (and for Christians, Jews, etc …)

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English Yobs

Just a few months ago, our family was studying the rich history of the English. We admired how the English planted worldwide highly refined views and systems of law, culture, and society.  The English system as reflected in its former colonies and former and current Commonwealth has been a blessing to millions if not billions over time.  The English belief in the rule of law, the common law, and the integrity of civil institutions has led to some of the freest and materially blessed countries in the world, to include our United States.  Our British friends are a long way from Runnymede and it’s been a dark hour in what used to be the center of an empire where the sun never set.

Are the English riots symptomatic of something fundamentally astray in the UK?  Are these the latest signs of the West unraveling?  Or are these isolated, unique occurrences?

Mark Levin believes the British riots are not an isolated aberrant event, but are instead reflective of the ongoing and accelerating collapse of the West.  See Levin: We are watching our society transform right before our eyes

Michael Youssef opines in Americans Should Learn from London, that those who sounded the warnings and tried to fix the UK’s unsustainable policies are being blamed for the violence and lawlessness – “whoever tries to bring sanity to a nation or a culture heading in the wrong direction will become the scapegoat.” The UK Socialist party readily agrees, at least that the Tory party reformers (conservatives) are to blame for the riots.  Indeed, they argue that the violent protests are a response to “Tory attacks.” The British socialists explain the nature of these supposed attacks – reductions in social welfare and overall government spending.  See here.

A Brit, Iain Murray has perhaps the most pointed and stinging critique of what gave rise to these mass acts of violence:

Most [rioters] have no jobs to go to or exams they might pass. They know no family role models, for most live in homes in which the father is unemployed, or from which he has decamped.

They are illiterate and innumerate, beyond maybe some dexterity with computer games and BlackBerries.

They are essentially wild beasts. I use that phrase advisedly, because it seems appropriate to young people bereft of the discipline that might make them employable; of the conscience that distinguishes between right and wrong.

They respond only to instinctive animal impulses — to eat and drink, have sex, seize or destroy the accessible property of others.

So there we have it: a large, amoral, brutalised sub-culture of young British people who lack education because they have no will to learn, and skills which might make them employable. They are too idle to accept work waitressing or doing domestic labour, which is why almost all such jobs are filled by immigrants.

They have no code of values to dissuade them from behaving anti-socially or, indeed, criminally, and small chance of being punished if they do so.

They have no sense of responsibility for themselves, far less towards others, and look to no future beyond the next meal, sexual encounter or TV football game.

They are an absolute deadweight upon society, because they contribute nothing yet cost the taxpayer billions. Liberal opinion holds they are victims, because society has failed to provide them with opportunities to develop their potential.

Most of us would say this is nonsense. Rather, they are victims of a perverted social ethos, which elevates personal freedom to an absolute, and denies the underclass the discipline — tough love — which alone might enable some of its members to escape from the swamp of dependency in which they live.

Only education — together with politicians, judges, policemen and teachers with the courage to force feral humans to obey rules the rest of us have accepted all our lives — can provide a way forward and a way out for these people.

They are products of a culture which gives them so much unconditionally that they are let off learning how to become human beings. My dogs are better behaved and subscribe to a higher code of values than the young rioters of Tottenham, Hackney, Clapham and Birmingham.

See his full critique: The Failure of the Rule of Law in Britain

In unwittingly supporting Mr. Murray, two English women explained their motivation to riot: “It was madness, good fun … . Showing the rich people we do what we want.”

As always, Jonah Goldberg in Riot Rationalization Misses the Mark, makes eminent sense in cautioning against reading too much into a riot or series of riots, since riots have been around as long as human nature.

The problem, of course, is that even if conservatives are right, there’s precious little government can do to fill the holes in such souls.

Moreover, I think we put way too much effort into intellectualizing or romanticizing mob violence. Whatever the root causes of such behavior, the simple and unavoidable truth is that looters loot because they can.

[T]he people tearing apart English society are simply criminals, whose villainy is not diluted by their numbers, but magnified by them.

Solution? I think Mr. Goldberg provides a valid short-term solution: “If Britain lacks prisons to hold them, build more prisons. Call it a jobs program if it helps.”

Ultimately, however, Mr. Goldberg’s suggestion is myopic.  You can never build enough prisons to restrain the vices of an immoral culture.  The disease of systemic immorality is spreading across the West.  Whether it’s a lack of respect for civil authority, rampant sexual promiscuity, normalization of perversion, a disregard for your neighbor’s property, or gross fiscal irresponsibility, the Western nations are rapidly loosing their moral bearings. Indeed, we’re rapidly becoming exemplars of Romans 1:18-32.  This should not be surprising to Christians since over the past 100 years, particularly in Europe, westerners have strayed further and further away from Biblical truth and morality.  You can build more prisons, but the answer long-term is in building more churches and training and equipping the next generation in the truths of God’s word. 

A beauty of the West, thus far at least, is that we can openly observe, comment and argue over what we’re doing incorrect and right ourselves before it’s too late.  While there is presently much going wrong with western liberalism, there’s nothing so drastic that an open, free and determined people cannot overcome.

[revised 8/15/11]

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The End Is Near!

Harold Camping has been in recent headlines as he predicts that the world will end this Saturday: May 21, 2011.

For those who don’t get to read this post until after Saturday, my apologies. Camping was wrong.

Actually, Camping says that May 21 is the first day of Judgement. The world will not be destroyed until 5 months later. Camping arrived at these figures by combining two Bible verses and a lot of date calculations. See specific details below.

Jesus himself warns us to not predict when he will return:

“But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.”
Matthew 24:36

Despite this warning, there is a long line of people in history who have attempted to predict when Jesus will return.  Camping is not alone.  So far, not one of them has been correct.

One such man in the early 1800’s was William Miller.  Miller had calculated that Jesus would return on October 22, 1844 (revised from March 22).  Several of Miller’s followers had sold their farms and stood with Miller on that night in October. That night would go down among these followers as “The Great Disappointment”.  Afterward, some of Miller’s followers revised their understanding of these events and began the movement that we now know of as the Seventh-day Adventist Church.  See here for more details.

I was in college when a popular booklet was distributed, entitled, “88 Reasons Why the Rapture Will Be in 1988″.  The author, Edgar C. Whisenant, had done extensive research into arriving at the conclusion that the Rapture would occur on September 1988.  I can recall my pastor at the time critiquing Whisenant’s findings, yet commending him on his scholarship.  But Whisenant was mistaken and the rapture did not take place in 1988.

Even in our more recent past, several people believed that Jesus would return in the year 2000.  (This belief was often in conjunction with the widespread fear of Y2K computer failures).

Harold Camping himself had originally predicted that the world may end in 1994.  Once again, the passage of time has shown these people to be mistaken.

Why does Camping believe that the world will end on May 21, 2011? Camping bases his conclusions on the following premises:

  1. Amos 3:7 says that “The Lord GOD does nothing without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets“.  Camping takes this as a promise that God will reveal the timetable of the world’s end.
  2. In Genesis 7:4, God is commanding Noah to enter the Ark and says, “For in seven days I will send rain on the earth forty days and forty nights, and every living thing that I have made I will blot out from the face of the ground“.  Camping takes from this that God will destroy the world in “Seven Days” after Noah entered the Ark.
  3. 2 Peter 3:8 says that, “with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day“.  Camping combines this with the Genesis account above to conclude that the “seven days” from Genesis 7:4 really mean 7,000 years.  Therefore, he concludes that the world will be destroyed exactly 7,000 years after Noah entered the Ark.
  4. Camping has concluded “by careful study of the Bible” that the flood occurred on May 21, 4990 B.C.  Therefore, 7,000 years later will be May 21, 2011.

Camping has done a lot of calculations in order to arrive at this date.  However, he has these problems in each of the above premises:

  1. He uses Amos 3:7 to prove that God will show us his timetable.  Amos 3 is warning Israel of their pending judgement.  But God also promises that he will deliver a warning through his prophets before sending judgement to Israel — a warning that God is currently doing through Amos.  There is no basis for extending the prophecy in Amos 3 beyond the Old Testament judgement on wicked Israel.  Also, Camping is equating himself (and his followers) with the Old Testament prophets.  He makes this conclusion without any basis.
  2. He uses Genesis 7:4 to set a timetable for the end of the world, yet the context of Genesis 7 is God’s command to Noah personally.  He has a week to get himself and all the animals onto the Ark.  There is no indicator here that the “7 days” has a further meaning beyond the worldwide flood of Noah’s day.
  3. He uses 2 Peter 3:8 to translate the “7 days” above to 7,000 years.  In addition to the problem mentioned above with trying to stretch the command to Noah beyond the flood, Camping is being inconsistent with translating days into thousands of years.  For example, why translate the 7 days waiting for the rain as 7,000 years, but not translate the 40 days of rain as 40,000 years?  2 Peter is not a tool to convert timetables from days to thousands of years.  Instead, a better understanding of of 2 Peter 3  is to look at 3:8-9 and realize that God will keep his promises, even if it takes a thousand years!
  4. He says that he discovered that the flood occurred on 4990 B.C. “by careful study of the Bible”.  Unfortunately, I could not find any information to support his claims for why he has so definitively chosen 4990 B.C. (There is an option to order a free book with these details, but I fear that they will not be able to ship it if the world ends).  This date is much older than any research that I have done, and it is in conflict with other Bible scholars who date the flood at approximately 2304 B.C.  See the link here for specific details on 2304 B.C.

You can see the full details on Camping’s treatise here.

What are the consequences of making predictions like this?  Unfortunately, there are two groups that are hurt by false predictions:

The first group is Camping’s followers.  Like William Miller in the 1800’s, false predictions can leave a trail of disillusioned followers.  Many of these people have contributed greatly to his cause, selling property and contributing to help spread his message.  These people have put their credibility on the line for a belief without a solid basis.  Like Miller’s followers in the 1800’s, this disillusionment can be fertile ground for new false teachings.

The second group that is hurt are those who are lost.  The mockery of a Christian leader grows as the word spreads about this prediction. Christians lose their credibility and the lost have one more obstacle in their way before they will listen to the truth about Jesus.  Regardless of attitudes, we need to pray for those around us.

What should we do?

The best advice comes from reading the rest of 2 Peter 3:

Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.
Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace. And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures. You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

Wait for Christ’s Return!

Be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and be at peace!

Don’t be carried away by the error of false teaching!

Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Jesus can come today, tomorrow, Saturday, or any day after that!  Until he returns!

entertainment World etc.

Smarter than a second grade Chinese frog?

If you think so, try this here.

World etc.

Jasmine Revolutions and Subversive Democracy

In Communist and Islamic dictatorships, democratic reform subverts the status quo. Mubarak is down in the polls now … but not out.  Dictators are good at digging in and paying overtime to soldiers who shoot straight as Nordlinger reminds in: The Duration of Dictatorships .   I am not, however, certain that even should Tunisia’s Jasmine Revolution spread to and topple the Egyptian dictatorship and then maybe Sudan … that we’ll see anything in the region emerge resembling a western democracy, or anything remotely friendly to western liberalism.   In fact, what emerges could well be even more hostile and subversive to our ideas of equality, liberty, and freedom of expression.

If this Mideast revolt persists, will we see an Ottoman Empire of the 21st Century?  Unlikely, given the numerous and violent Islamic factions, but some form of pan-Arabism or Islamic state could start to form.  Not a good time to buying futures in Arminian companies … if any were left.  As Nordlinger’s colleague Rich Lowry reminds us:

Every revolution against autocracy is initially stirring. Who wouldn’t have cheered when Louis XVI was forced to convene the Estates General, or when a liberal provisional government took over from Czar Nicholas, or when the rank and file of the Shah’s army refused to fire on protesters in the streets? All these inspiring events were mere prelude to catastrophe, making the years 1789, 1917, and 1979 synonymous with the onset of tyranny and bloodshed.

Full article here.  A Pew Global poll from December 2010 showed a vast majority of Egyptians in favor of harsh Islamic punishments and Sharia law, and a majority in favor of democracy.  See here.   I predict we’ll have an Islamic “democracy” soon in Egypt, similar to what developed in Iran.  And like there, we won’t like it and they won’t like us.

Iran 1979; Egypt 2011?  Interesting how the parallels between Obama and Carter continue.  President Obama was nearly silent when the citizens of our enemy Iran rose up against the government, but he speaks up in support of those that protest one of our closest allies in the region.

Prayer points from Dr. David Crandall, Answers in Genesis: 1-Restoration of law and order in the country, as there is no security system in place at present. 2-Peaceful transfer of power to a new democratic government. 3-Protection of the Christian people and their Churches. 4-The vacuum of power will not encourage the extreme Brotherhood Muslim group to fill the gap and rule the nation, as this will limit the Christian witness. 5-Quick resolution of this situation, so ministry plans in country will not be disturbed.

Ministry World etc.

The Uncomfortable Church

It’s easy to take for granted our religious freedoms here in the USA.  While sometimes we complain about cultural hostility to Biblical truths, we must be careful not to conflate a secular humanist culture with religious persecution.  This country is still the most open, freest place in the history of humanity to practice one’s religion and pursue the face of God.  In fact, I believe comfort and not our culture is a far greater threat to the Western church.  This is an easy place to be a comfortable, sleeping Christian … to be lukewarm.  We’re a very comfortable people.  We often make a fuss because we’re “losing” the culture and our public institutions. We are not, however, losing our lives for the Gospel of Christ. 

What would it be like to be a Christian for even a week and attend church in a hell hole like Iran or North Korea? Brothers and sisters in Christ suffer and die throughout much of the world because of their faith in Christ. 

Paul Marshall reports on NRO: Iran Escalates Attacks on Christians 

North Korea tortures Christian evangelist to death after years of imprisonment: here.

Compass News reports, Lao Officials Destroy Rice Paddies, Expel More Christians 

In Somalia, a 17-year-old girl was recently killed for converting to Christianity, a so-called “honor killing.”  Nurta Mohamed Farah, who had fled her village to live with relatives after her parents tortured her for leaving Islam, died on Nov. 25, 2010.  See here

Compass Direct News reports: Muslims in Pakistan Burn, Beat Evangelist Unconscious

Voice of the Martyrs reports: is reporting on the State Department being deeply concerned about the rise in Christian persecution worldwide.

U.S. State Department spokesman Philip Crowley told reporters at a recent press conference on Tuesday about the rise in attacks against Christians in Africa and areas of the Middle East. He explained that the State Department is aware of a “recent string of attacks against Christians” that has created heightened concern.

Jonathan Racho, regional manager for International Christian Concern (ICC), says his organization welcomes the response of the State Department. “The statement that they made is really powerful, and we believe that it will at least raise their concern with officials of countries where Christians are persecuted,” Racho suggests.

He goes on to note a recent attack on an Egyptian church that left 21 people dead, as well as the 86 believers who were brutally killed in Nigeria. In October, a local al-Qaeda group claimed responsibility for the deaths of 53 people after militants entered a church in Baghdad. …

Full article here.

I suspect that when we meet Christ on the other side of the veil, we will learn that here in the USA, we were nearly completely unaware of the giants of the faith in our time.  The American church is comfortable.  We are not broken, bleeding, or persecuted for our faith in Christ.  Indeed, I’m afraid to ask Christ for the strength and opportunity to be worthy of His calling …

homeschooling video World etc.
homeschooling World etc.

The nanny state marches on … Dominic Johannson

It’s been 16 months since Swedish “authorities” state-napped Dominic Johannson as he and his family were preparing to leave Sweden.  Swedish authorities forcibly removed Dominic from his family and placed the child in state-controlled foster care because his parents had been homeschooling the 7-year-old.  Authorities denied visitation rights but have relented to allow brief, supervised visits every five weeks or so. The parents raised an international protest, and Swedish social services have dug in and refuse to reunite the child with the family. 

Apparently, the legal authority Sweden cites to justify its exercising state parental rights over the authority of the actual parents is the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.  This convention is a very bad piece of public policy that should not be implemented in the US.  The state should not be given the authority to ensure that children are raised and educated as “the state” deems appropriate. 

See latest report from WND as well as links to prior reports here.  Kudoas to ADF and HSLDA for continuing the legal fight for Dominic and his family.

World etc.

Plan B: sharia and global caliphate

Islamist Watch reports details about the criminal prosecution of Christians who proselytize Muslims.  What makes this newsworthy is that the prosecution trend reported is in the United States.  See here.   Ruth R. Wisse writes at the Wall Street Journal (full access via Google) of uber-educated Harvard students responding violently to criticism (by Mr. Martin Peretz) of Muslims:

After the event adjourned, the afternoon turned ugly as police had to protect Mr. Peretz while he walked across campus surrounded by a mob of screaming students.  On Sept. 4, blogging at the New Republic’s web site, he lamented that Muslims don’t respond more vigorously to acts of terrorism against their own people:”Muslim life is cheap, most notably to Muslims. And among those Muslims led by the Imam Rauf [of the proposed Cordoba House mosque] there is hardly one who has raised a fuss about the routine and random bloodshed that defines their brotherhood. So, yes, I wonder whether I need honor these people and pretend that they are worthy of the privileges of the First Amendment which I have in my gut the sense that they will abuse.”

Apparently, there were no student protests or violent reactions over the serial use by Muslims of suicide bombers against Muslim civilians in Iraq and in Afghanistan.  No report today of protests at Harvard in response to the Muslim bombing of civilians at the Shirkat mosque in the Takhar province of Afghanistan.  So long as no one criticizes Muslims for such conduct, no protests at Harvard are expected.  Not to be outdone, a class of nearby Yale students interviewed Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, to better understand him and his goals, shortly after Ahmadinejad explained to the UN the possibility that the US staged 9/11.  Fifty years ago, our intellectual elites cozied up to Communist dictators and murderers.  (Of course, many Academics as well as most Hollywood still fawn over the same in Cuba.) The more things change, the more they stay the same.

The legitimacy of the Ivy League sympathies and of the criminal prosecution of those who seek to convert Muslims in this country depends at least in part on whether Islam poses a threat.  Were the agents of 9/11 and the numerous attacks against the US the acts of fringe radicals or are they representative of a large percentage of Muslims?  A recent and well-considered analysis by the Center for Security Policy concludes that Shariah, a fundamental component of Islam, poses a serious threat to the security and well-being of the United States.

Today, the United States faces what is, if anything, an even more insidious ideological threat: the totalitarian socio-political doctrine that Islam calls shariah. Translated as “the path,” shariah is a comprehensive legal and political framework. Though it certainly has spiritual elements, it would be a mistake to think of shariah as a “religious” code in the Western sense because it seeks to regulate all manner of behavior in the secular sphere – economic, social, military, legal and political.

 Shariah is the crucial fault line of Islam’s internecine struggle. On one side of the divide are Muslim reformers and authentic moderates – figures like Abdurrahman Wahid, the late president of Indonesia and leader of the world’s largest libertarian Muslim organization, Nahdlatul Ulama – whose members embrace the Enlightenment’s veneration of reason and, in particular, its separation of the spiritual and secular realms. On this side of the divide, shariah is a reference point for a Muslim’s personal conduct, not a corpus to be imposed on the life of a pluralistic society.

 By contrast, the other side of the divide is dominated by Muslim supremacists, often called Islamists. Like erstwhile proponents of Communism and Nazism, these supremacists – some terrorists, others employing stealthier means – seek to impose a totalitarian regime: a global totalitarian system cloaked as an Islamic state and called a caliphate. On that side of the divide, which is the focus of the present study, shariah is an immutable, compulsory system that Muslims are obliged to install and the world required to adopt, the failure to do so being deemed a damnable offence against Allah. For these ideologues, shariah is not a private matter. Adherents see the West as an obstacle to be overcome, not a culture and civilization to be embraced, or at least tolerated. It is impossible, they maintain, for alternative legal systems and forms of governments peacefully to coexist with the end-state they seek.

Full report here.

culture World etc.

Theirs is the kingdom of heaven

At her blog Holy Experience, Ann Voskamp shares touching thoughts and photos from her walk through a shanty town in Guatemala in her essay the one word that fixes a broken heart, this broken worldIt’s worth the read …

Ministry World etc.

Faith in Action – Son Jong Nam, aged 50 RIP

A loyal servant to the North Korean government, until NK police beat his wife and forced abortion in her 8th month of pregnancy because she had the audacity to complain about the policies of Kim Jong-il.  They fled to China.  She died shortly thereafter of cancer.  Through the loving witness of a missionary, Son Jong Nam put his faith in Christ.

Instead of rejecting God and the land of his birth and his countrymen, he embraced Christ and devoted his life to giving words of hope to his suppressed countrymen.  Returning to North Korea to preach the good news of Jesus Christ, Son Jong Nam was repeatedly imprisoned and abused.  Now reported tortured to death by the communist regime of Kim Jong-il.  Full story here

Martyred  at age 50 for spreading the gospel.  He enters his reward.

World etc.

Hush Now Baby Baby Don’t You Cry …

Update on one of the more revolting stories from the Euro-socialist nanny states (which stories the “mainstream” media routinely overlook):

Swedish authorities will convene soon to decide what to do about seven-year-old Dominic Johansson, who was seized by Swedish police and social workers last year because his parents chose to educate him at home.

In June, the Johanssons watched in horror as police snatched their son off the plane they were taking in order to move to Annie’s homeland of India. Police boarded the plane just one minute before its scheduled take-off and placed Dominic in the custody of social services.

Since that day, authorities have allowed the Johanssons only one-hour visits with their son – once every five weeks.

Full story here.  The Swedes argue they are protecting the child’s right to an education — the education the bureaucrats believe he should get, not the one his parents desire for their child.  Of course, the child is getting an education in big government: a jackboot is still a jackboot, even when worn by a nanny.