Shared posts

29 Sep 11:15

Skill of the Week: Measure Remaining Sunlight With Your Hands

by Patrick Hutchison

An important part of manhood has always been about having the competence to be effective in the world — having the breadth of skills, the savoir-faire, to handle any situation you find yourself in. With that in mind, each Sunday we’ll be republishing one of the illustrated guides from our archives, so you can hone your manly know-how week by week.

You’re in the woods near the end of the day and you ask yourself: should I set up camp now, or do I have enough daylight to keep trekking further down the trail? But you’re not sure what time sunset is, and therefore how much light you have left. Sure, you could check your watch/phone, if you have one. But maybe it’s not working, and even if it is, there’s a simple, age-old method you can employ to find out how many daylight hours there are before the sun sets. The cool part is that the only equipment you need is your hands.

Keep in mind that this method varies depending on your geographical location. In the north, the sun sets at shallower angles, allowing more usable light than your hands will show. The day will grow dark quicker in the tropics, where the sun sets nearly straight down. And no matter what latitude you’re at, also consider your local environment. If the sun is setting toward a mountain range, you’ll lose light a lot faster than you would in a wide open plain. In a forest, you’ll also lose light faster as the tree canopy blocks out the fading light of dusk.

Like this illustrated guide? Then you’re going to love our book The Illustrated Art of Manliness! Pick up a copy on Amazon.

The post Skill of the Week: Measure Remaining Sunlight With Your Hands appeared first on The Art of Manliness.

29 Sep 04:09

Never Use the Biggest Spoon

by Douglas Wilson

“Preach simply . . . To preach truths and notions above the hearers’ capacity, is like a nurse that should go to feed a child with a spoon too big to go into its mouth” (William Gurnall, The Christian in Complete Armour, pp. 64-65).

The post Never Use the Biggest Spoon appeared first on Blog & Mablog.

29 Aug 05:00

Appropriate This

by Douglas Wilson
The Mikado is a massive display of innocent cultural appropriation, and a delightful operetta for normal people, which is why you don’t see it performed very often anymore.

So let me explain it to you once again, one more time. If a white girl wears a Chinese dress to the prom, she is guilty of “appropriation.” If another girl wears hoop earrings, she is also guilty of “appropriation,” but now in a different direction. If a fraternity hosts a Mexican dinner and the boys serve up their re-fried beans while wearing sombreros, they are guilty, guilty, guilty of “appropriation.” That’s cultural appropriation to you, and it is an offense that smokes to the sun and blackens the sky.

But if a dude starts wearing falsies, lipstick and stiletto heels (or—thought experiment!—maybe even hoop earrings), he is revealing his authentic and noble self to the world. And, as you know, the world is required to stand up and applaud. If you don’t stand up and applaud this cornucopia of fake authenticity, the boys down in HR have a few mechanical devices they want to attach to your thumbs, just for a minute.

So why are all these lesser “leaps” examples of hateful appropriation, and the giant appropriating leap across the sexual divide is taken in stride as a matter of course? It is as though everyone says whoa-we-can’t-believe-you-did-that if you jump across a sidewalk crack, and then yawn serenely if you try to ride your Evel Knievel rocket/motorcycle across Hell’s Canyon. No biggie. Only natural. Everybody knows how natural it is.

This is not even close to being consistent, and so this should provide all of us with the central clue to what is going on. This is not about consistency, or arguments, or truth, or conformity with the way God made the world. Nobody yelling at you about your white-boy-appropriating-ways cares anything at all about any of that, not the least little bit. The only thing they want to do is yell at you about anything that you will let them yell at you about. That is why there is so much yelling going on—we let them do it.

Realize that if Bruce Jenner had showed up somewhere in blackface, the pieces of the venue where he had done that particular misdeed would still be falling out of the sky. If the drag queens reading to the little kids at the libraries across our fair republic had decided to mimic and appropriate something else, something way closer to their actual DNA actually, and thus showed up to read to the kids in Charlie Chan eyes and a pigtail, they would find themselves outside the city limits of whatever metropolis they had tried that stunt in, trying to pick chicken feathers out of the tar in their hair.

So there are two things that should be noted about all of this. The first is that the inconsistency in the “anti-appropriators” is a principled inconsistency. They are not stupid. This whole thing is a power move, pure and simple. When someone is trying to establish alpha-dominance of this kind, and they are trying to make you do things, the more absurd it is, the better. A tyrant doesn’t want to command you to do things that make sense—because you might have done them anyway. He wants to establish a pecking order by making you do things that you would never had done had he not issued the command. It is Mark Studdock in the Objective Room.

The appropriate answer to this is the horse laugh.

The second observation is that people are yelling about cultural appropriation in those areas where people are making no serious truth claims at all. The appropriation is done for the sake of tribute, or humor, or flair. The woman wearing hoop earrings does want anybody to think she is a Latina. She likes hoop earrings. So the people yelling about sidewalk-crack appropriation and giving full-throated endorsement to rocket/motorcycle appropriations are doing this—again, because they are not stupid—because the former is consistent with truth-telling, and the latter is nothing but a lie. They want the right to remake the world, and in order to do this they have to excommunicate the truth and embrace the lie. So that is what they have done.

The third thing is an observation from the Normal Seating area in this weirdness stadium of ours. What does all of this look like—whether expressed out loud or not—to all of the normals? The Germans have a most necessary word that addresses our current situation. What do you call it when you have an acute case of vicarious embarrassment for someone who ought to be embarrassed about what they are doing, but somehow inexplicably is not? The word is fremdschämen, and that is where we live now.

So the cross-dressing library readers of the world do need to understand that there are millions of people staring at them goggle-eyed, with the same sense of wonder and amaze that we would have (over their lack of self-awareness) if they, in blackface and all, decided to do a banjo/fried chicken/watermelon skit for a Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial banquet. And they need to understand that we understand that what they are currently up to is worse than that.


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02 Jul 05:29

Why Revoice Hurts My Feelings, and Why Nobody Should Care

by Douglas Wilson

Whenever something happens that seems impervious to plain reason speaking with an open Bible, one starts to look around for an explanation. How is it possible for something like this to happen? The PCA is supposed to be one of the stalwart evangelical denominations, and we all looked away for a minute and then blammo. Here we all are, pole-axed by the impudence.

Not only do we see what is happening, but they know that we see it and decided that the time was right anyway. That judgment may have been correct, or perhaps incorrect, but they thought the time was right for the next normalization move. They thought that the time was right for a little more boundary-pushing. We shall see.

In the meantime, let us try to explain it. The progression of sin works the same way with churches as it does with individuals.

“Who can understand his errors? Cleanse thou me from secret faults. Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; Let them not have dominion over me: Then shall I be upright, And I shall be innocent from the great transgression.” (Ps. 19:12–13).

Note the progression here. Secret faults > presumptuous sins > great transgression.

In a church or denomination, the secret faults would be the things that were covered up, the things that were hushed up, and the things that were paid to go away. This would include situations like mishandled molestation cases, pastoral infidelities, quiet retirements and reassignments, and so on. Secret faults. The presumptuous sins are the sins that are out in the open, but which everyone budgets for. “Oh, that’s just how this works. Politics as usual. That’s just so-and-so.” Presumptuous sins. And then, one day, the whole thing blows up. Great transgression.

On an individual level, let us say that we have a hard-driving CEO of some ministry or other. He has long tolerated his own private lusts (secret faults). Everyone who works for him knows that he has a violent temper (presumptuous sins). And then, when he runs off with someone else’s wife (great transgression), the public is surprised, but no one close to the situation should be surprised at all. Sin is organic, and sin tolerated always grows.

With the Revoice conference, we are now at the place where the PCA is about to allow the great transgression. It might be suppressed for simple PR reasons if the outcry against it is loud enough, without real repentance, but that in my view is unlikely. But real repentance would involve dealing with far more than just this conference. Real repentance would work back up the line, and confess the presumptuous sins, and then the secret faults.

One of the glaring presumptuous sins when it comes to evangelicals engaging with the culture is the pride of place that is given to how something feels. Say an issue arises—families separated at the border, or sex trafficking, or something like that. Such issues really are legitimate issues, but the thing to watch is how they are handled by our evangelical ruling class.

It is like the kid at the Christian school who had to do his science project, and he decided to do something on stars. He does all the requisite work, and prepares his poster board display, and then realizes at the last minute that he forget the biblical worldview part. He redresses this by finding a verse with stars in it, and pasting it in the lower right hand corner of the poster board. “Praise ye him, sun and moon: Praise him, all ye stars of light” (Psalm 148:3). The verse is hauled in after the fact, after all the conclusions have been drawn.

Evangelical social action has deteriorated in just this way. Something happens that makes MSNBC sad, and CNN sad, and so by good and necessary consequence, it makes some Evangelical Thought Leaders (all rise!) sad as well. The sadness is a given. The sadness is the conclusion. The sadness is the imperative. All we need now is a verse.

Now whatever verse is found, that verse is fully authoritative, in its original context, and in the spirit of conscientious application. It has no authority at all when you are using it as a last minute decoration for a godless policy. Say the topic is immigration and open borders. You need to do more than just say “widows and orphans!”

Please note that I am talking about how we do our exegetical work, and have said nothing here about what I think our approach to immigration and open borders should actually be. That is a complex subject, worthy of study. What I am saying is that it is illegitimate simply to take the talking points of the globalizers (or the nationalists) and festoon them with your verse.

But if your process is an unfaithful one, and your feelings are already committed, the only thing that remains is to declare your verse, and demonize your opponents.

So this has been the Revoice process. How marginalized gays and lesbians feel (and the Ts and Bs, don’t forget the Ts and Bs! And the Qs! And the +++s!) . . . as I was saying, how they feel in our white bread churches has predetermined the conclusion of all this. All we need is a verse. In the inspiring words of Isaiah, “He hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted . . .” And someone to demonize and/or ignore.

Incidentally, should we be concerned about how they are going to unpack what we need to do to make the +++s welcome?

In the responses to Revoice thus far, there have been the measured and moderate critiques, valuable in their place (Wedgeworth, Mohler, Walker). There have also been the more vigorous responses that have been pouring hot grease on the guys coming up the ladders (Bayly, me). We may argue pleasantly about which approach is more effective, but please note that both approaches are being ignored.

And so we may conclude with this. Revoice hurts my feelings, and nobody should care. Revoice is a plain and naked play to make open effeminacy an acceptable option for PCA members in good standing, and what that does to my sensibilities is entirely beside the point. My feelings are as irrelevant to this as they are to the movement of the tides. Nobody should care what I think.

Let us modify that slightly. Nobody should care what I think unless I have an open Bible, and I have laid out the arguments. That takes us to a different level. What are God’s feelings about all of this? Given the nature of God’s attributes, what His feelings are may simply be equated with absolute truth.

This is something we ought to care about more than we apparently do.

The post Why Revoice Hurts My Feelings, and Why Nobody Should Care appeared first on Blog & Mablog.

27 Jun 05:56

The Best Quotes on Fatherhood

by Brett & Kate McKay

Fathers tend to be taken for granted.

We invariably make more of a fuss over Mom on Mother’s Day than Dad on Father’s Day, for one.

Dads are like a steady but less sentimentalized institution — the sun in our familial sky that warms and gives life but isn’t much thought about unless he goes missing.

Yet this belies the enormous impact fathers truly have on their children; while a dad’s nurturing may often take the form of playful roughhousing and silly jokes, his influence is quite serious and significant: the presence of a loving father greatly increases a child’s chances of success, confidence and resilience, physical and mental well-being, and yes, quite naturally, their sense of humor.

One of the manifestations of the way we take fathers for granted is that there exist many more quotes about Mom than dear old Dad (and even fewer about fathers and daughters). To make more accessible those great pearls of wisdom that do exist, we searched high and low for the very best, and created this ultimate treasury of quotes about fatherhood. These short quotations provide great prompts for reflection; typically, we’re so busy plowing ahead that we don’t pause to look up and get a “birds-eye” perspective on things — taking the time to ponder what our own dads meant to us, and the way we’re shaping, and should be savoring, our kids right now.   

Quotes About Fatherhood

“You don’t raise heroes, you raise sons. And if you treat them like sons, they’ll turn out to be heroes, even if it’s just in your own eyes.” –Walter M. Schirra, Sr. 

“Some dads liken the impending birth of a child to the beginning of a great journey.” –Marcus Jacob Goldman

“One father is more than a hundred schoolmasters.” –George Herbert

“Sherman made the terrible discovery that men make about their fathers sooner or later . . . that the man before him was not an aging father but a boy, a boy much like himself, a boy who grew up and had a child of his own and, as best he could, out of a sense of duty and, perhaps love, adopted a role called Being a Father so that his child would have something mythical and infinitely important: a Protector, who would keep a lid on all the chaotic and catastrophic possibilities of life.” –Tom Wolfe, The Bonfire of the Vanities

“The best way of training the young is to train yourself at the same time; not to admonish them, but to be seen never doing that of which you would admonish them.” –Plato

“The nature of impending fatherhood is that you are doing something that you’re unqualified to do, and then you become qualified while doing it.” –John Green

“One of the greatest things a father can do for his children is to love their mother.” –Howard W. Hunter

“To a father growing old nothing is dearer than a daughter.” –Euripides

“If there is any immortality to be had among us human beings, it is certainly only in the love that we leave behind. Fathers like mine don’t ever die.” –Leo Buscaglia

“That is the thankless position of the father in the family—the provider for all, and the enemy of all.” –J. August Strindberg

“Every father should remember one day his son will follow his example, not his advice.” –Charles Kettering

“Son, there are times a man has to do things he doesn’t like to, in order to protect his family.” –Ralph Moody

 “A boy needs a father to show him how to be in the world. He needs to be given swagger, taught how to read a map so that he can recognize the roads that lead to life and the paths that lead to death, how to know what love requires, and where to find steel in the heart when life makes demands on us that are greater than we think we can endure.” –Ian Morgan Cron

“Parenthood remains the single greatest preserve of the amateur.” –Alvin Toffler

“My father didn’t tell me how to live. He lived and let me watch him do it.” –Clarence Budington Kelland

“When you’re a dad, there’s no one above you. If I don’t do something that has to be done, who is going to do it?” –Jonathan Safran Foer, Here I Am

“‘Why do men like me want sons?’ he wondered. ‘It must be because they hope in their poor beaten souls that these new men, who are their blood, will do the things they were not strong enough nor wise enough nor brave enough to do. It is rather like another chance at life; like a new bag of coins at a table of luck after your fortune is gone.’” –John Steinbeck, Cup of Gold: A Life of Sir Henry Morgan, Buccaneer, with Occasional Reference to History

“If the past cannot teach the present, and the father cannot teach the son, then history need not have bothered to go on, and the world has wasted a great deal of time.” –Russell Hoban

“There are many kinds of success in life worth having. It is exceedingly interesting and attractive to be a successful business man, or railway man, or farmer, or a successful lawyer or doctor; or a writer, or a President, or a ranchman, or the colonel of a fighting regiment, or to kill grizzly bears and lions. But for unflagging interest and enjoyment, a household of children, if things go reasonably well, certainly makes all other forms of success and achievement lose their importance by comparison.” –Theodore Roosevelt

“Father!—To God Himself we cannot give a holier name.” –William Wordsworth

“We think our Fathers Fools, so wise we grow; Our wiser Sons, no doubt, will think us so.” –Alexander Pope

“His values embraced family, reveled in the social mingling of the kitchen, and above all, welcomed the loving disorder of children.” –John Cole

“Children are a poor man’s riches.” –English proverb

“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.” –Frederick Douglass

“A girl’s father is the first man in her life, and probably the most influential.” –David Jeremiah

“Fathers, like mothers, are not born. Men grow into fathers and fathering is a very important stage in their development.” –David Gottesman

“Father of fathers, make me one,
A fit example for a son.”

–Douglas Malloch

“I believe that what we become depends on what our fathers teach us at odd moments, when they aren’t trying to teach us. We are formed by little scraps of wisdom.” –Umberto Eco 

“My father used to play with my brother and me in the yard. Mother would come out and say, ‘You’re tearing up the grass.’ ‘We’re not raising grass,’ Dad would reply. ‘We’re raising boys.’” –Harmon Killebrew

“Until you have a son of your own . . . you will never know the joy beyond joy, the love beyond feeling that resonates in the heart of a father as he looks upon his son. You will never know the sense of honor that makes a man want to be more than he is and to pass something good and hopeful into the hands of his son. And you will never know the heartbreak of the fathers who are haunted by the personal demons that keep them from being the men they want their sons to be.” –Kent Nerburn

“When my son looks up at me and breaks into his wonderful toothless smile, my eyes fill up and I know that having him is the best thing I will ever do.” –Dan Greenberg

“Being a great father is like shaving. No matter how good you shaved today, you have to do it again tomorrow.” –Reed Markham

“It is easier for a father to have children than for children to have a real father.” –Pope John XXIII

“When I looked at you first I saw not your mother and me, but your two grandfathers . . . and, as my father, whom I loved a great deal, had died the year before, I was moved to see that here, in you, he was alive.” –Peter Carey

“Dads are most ordinary men turned by love into heroes, adventurers, story-tellers, and singers of song.” –Pam Brown

“‘Father’ is the noblest title a man can be given. It is more than a biological role. It signifies a patriarch, a leader, an exemplar, a confidant, a teacher, a hero, a friend.” –Robert L. Backman 

“Noble fathers have noble children.” –Euripides

“The father who does not teach his son his duties is equally guilty with the son who neglects them.” –Confucius

“No man can possibly know what life means, what the world means, what anything means, until he has a child and loves it.” –Lafcadio Hearn

“I cannot think of any need in children as strong as the need for a father’s protection.” –Sigmund Freud

 “A father is a man who expects his son to be as good a man as he meant to be.” –Frank A. Clark

“His father watched him across the gulf of years and pathos which always divide a father from his son.” –John Marquand

“A family needs a father to anchor it.” –L. Tom Perry

“Words have an awesome impact. The impression made by a father’s voice can set in motion an entire trend of life.” –Gordon MacDonald

“Children need models rather than critics.” –Joseph Joubert 

“A father is someone you look up to no matter how tall you grow.” –Unknown

“Certain is it that there is no kind of affection so purely angelic as of a father to a daughter. In love to our wives there is desire; to our sons, ambition; but to our daughters there is something which there are no words to express.” –Joseph Addison

“Mostly you just have to keep plugging and keep loving—and hoping that your child forgives you according to how you loved him, judged him, forgave him, and stood watching over him as he slept, year after year.” –Ben Stein

“Life doesn’t come with an instruction book — that’s why we have fathers.” H. Jackson Browne 

“Fathers, you are your daughter’s hero. My father was my hero. I used to wait on the steps of our home for him to arrive each night. He would pick me up and twirl me around and let me put my feet on top of his big shoes, and then he would dance me into the house. I loved the challenge of trying to follow his every footstep. I still do.” –Elaine S. Dalton

“A good father is one of the most unsung, unpraised, unnoticed, and yet one of the most valuable assets in our society.” –Billy Graham

“When you teach your son, you teach your son’s son.” –The Talmud

“My father always said there are four things a child needs: plenty of love, nourishing food, regular sleep, and lots of soap and water. After that, what he needs most is some intelligent neglect.” –Ivy Baker Priest

“Like so much between fathers and sons, playing catch was tender and tense at the same time.” –Donald Hall

“By profession I am a soldier and take great pride in that fact, but I am also prouder, infinitely prouder, to be a father. A soldier destroys in order to build; the father only builds, never destroys.” –General Douglas MacArthur

“The lone father is not a strong father. Fathering is a difficult and perilous journey and is done well with the help of other men.” –John L. Hart

“Children of the new millennium when change is likely to continue and stress will be inevitable, are going to need, more than ever, the mentoring of an available father.” –Ian Grant

“The quality of a father can be seen in the goals, dreams, and aspirations he sets not only for himself, but for his family.” –Reed Markham

“Fathering is not something perfect men do, but something that perfects the man.” –Frank Pittman

“Never fret for an only son. The idea of failure will never occur to him.” –George Bernard Shaw

“My son is seven years old. I am fifty-four. It has taken me a great many years to reach that age. I am more respected in the community, I am stronger, I am more intelligent and I think I am better than he is. I don’t want to be his pal, I want to be a father.” –Clifton Fadiman

“Some day you will know that a father is much happier in his children’s happiness than in his own. I cannot explain it to you: it is a feeling in your body that spreads gladness through you.” –Honore de Balzac, Pere Goriot

“A child enters your home and for the next twenty years makes so much noise you can hardly stand it. The child departs, leaving the house so silent you think you are going mad.” –John Andrew Holmes

“Every parent is at some point the father of the unreturned prodigal, with nothing to do but keep his house open to hope.” –John Ciardi

The post The Best Quotes on Fatherhood appeared first on The Art of Manliness.

21 Feb 04:39

A La Carte (February 20)

by Tim Challies

Today’s Kindle deals include a couple of books by Tozer and a few others also worth checking out.

(Yesterday on the blog: Three Things To Know about Korean Christianity)

Why Do Christians Still Die?

“Why do Christians have to die? Why can’t they just live and then go to heaven without passing through the experience of death? Although the wages of sin is death, and believers have certainly sinned, has Christ not paid the full penalty for our sins? So, why do Christians have to die?”

What Does it Mean to Abide in Christ?

“The exhortation to ‘abide’ has been frequently misunderstood, as though it were a special, mystical, and indefinable experience. But Jesus makes clear that it actually involves a number of concrete realities.” Sinclair Ferguson explains.

The Tragedy Of Adultery

“It is a tragedy that sells papers: sex, power, conflict, money – it has it all. An opportunity to embarrass and divide the government, to bring down a leader, to reveal the hypocrisy of a religious moralist – it is a politician’s and journalist’s dream. But apparently the politicians/journalists had to handle it delicately lest they be accused of moralising, invading privacy, returning to Puritanism, or opening up any inquiry into the home life of other politicians, journalists or staffers. ‘Love is love’ and people’s sex lives must not come into any moral question. ”

The Coin Flip Conundrum (Video) 

“When you flip a coin to make a decision, there’s an equal chance of getting heads and tails. What if you flipped two coins repeatedly, so that one option would win as soon as two heads showed up in a row on that coin, and one option would win as soon as heads was immediately followed by tails on the other?” Now things begin to get complicated.

Fake Videos Are on the Rise

This is a bit alarming and something to begin to keep in mind. “All it takes is a single selfie. From that static image, an algorithm can quickly create a moving, lifelike avatar: a video not recorded, but fabricated from whole cloth by software. With more time, Pinscreen, the Los Angeles start-up behind the technology, believes its renderings will become so accurate they will defy reality.”

Studying God’s Word When You’re Tired and Busy

“In any given season, a myriad of factors can keep us from reading the Bible: limited time, guilt, a lack of discipline, a lack of desire, unrealistic expectations of what time in the Word should look like, a lack of mental energy, or utter exhaustion.”

The Playboy Who Got Away With $242m

This is a good bit of reporting on a very successful confidence trickster. “One day in August 1995 a man called Foutanga Babani Sissoko walked into the head office of the Dubai Islamic Bank and asked for a loan to buy a car. The manager agreed, and Sissoko invited him home for dinner. It was the prelude, writes the BBC’s Brigitte Scheffer, to one of the most audacious confidence tricks of all time.”

Flashback: O NSA, You Have Searched Me and Known Me

We have every reason to fear the government’s desire to know everything about us. We have every reason to rejoice at God’s perfect ability to know everything about us. “How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!”

Any gospel which says only what you must do and never announces what Christ has done is no gospel at all. —Kevin DeYoung

23 Nov 02:44

MUID On/Off Shape LED Novelty Night Light [White] US $8.99 (~AU $11.85) @ GearBest

by sky blu
MUID On/Off Shape LED Novelty Night Light [White] US $8.99 (~AU $11.85) @ GearBest

Looking for a quality & portable night light that has the wow factor? I got you covered.

Limited to first 50 stock

1 times per account - HK,AU,NZ,MY,SG,MO,TW only

Unboxing and demo video

Unfortunately, only White colour is available

Main Features:

• MUID On Off shaped decorative LED night light for daily decors
Dimmable lights: 2 adjustable modes, highlight mode suitable for night lighting, light mode suitable for sleeping
Gravity sensor design: You can easy to control the night light
USB charging interface, easy to charge
• Lightweight, easy to carry
• Enhance your bedroom decor with this eye-catching nightlight
• It is not only a good decoration, but also a perfect gift for kids, parents, friends, etc.
• Suitable for home, bedroom, hotel, aisle, bar, KTV, etc.


Type: Decorative Lighting
Decorative Style: Simple and Modern
For: Bar,Cafe,Clothing Store,Home,Hotel,Lover,Office,Other,Restaurant,Saloon,School,Student
Material: ABS
Features: Adjustable brightness,Creative,Gift,USB charging
Power Supply: USB Cable
Battery Current: 500mA
Voltage(V): DC 5V
Color: White,Yellow
Product weight: 0.2000 kg
Package weight: 0.2800 kg
Product size (L x W x H): 19.00 x 6.20 x 9.60 cm / 7.48 x 2.44 x 3.78 inches
Package size (L x W x H): 22.00 x 8.00 x 12.00 cm / 8.66 x 3.15 x 4.72 inches
Package Contents: 1 x LED Night Light, 1 x USB Cable

28 Sep 02:27

12% off September Parking @ Brisbane Airport Parking

by Lemo
12% off September Parking @ Brisbane Airport Parking

Hi All,

12% off any parking at Brisbane airport corporation car parks for entry before 1 October. Use the code September.

This is very useful if you want to park right at the airport, but they also have a shuttle service parking that is also not too far from the Brisbane airport compared to the likes of BAP etc.

As you might guess I park at the airport a lot.

07 Aug 03:30

A La Carte (August 4)

by Tim Challies

Today’s Kindle deals include a pretty good selection, topped by a great book by Nancy Pearcey.

Logos users will want to check out this list of monthly deals on key resources.

Westminster books has more than 200 titles on sale as part of their back to school sale.

The Man Converted through His Own Preaching

Sometimes the Lord moves in mysterious ways. Like when he saves a man through his own preaching.

The Weird, Vain History of Who’s Who Books

“On an average day floating through the press release service PR Newswire, it’s inevitable that you run into a list of people who are designated as new members of a who’s who list.” But it turns out it’s not really much of a distinction.

Church Video on a Budget

This might work well for churches, but it would work equally well for other contexts. Here’s how to get set up with video for a reasonable amount.

A Gospel Presentation in Every Sermon

This article includes three solid reasons to include a gospel presentation in every sermon.

Texting and Driving Is Not Loving Your Neighbor

This is a good way of thinking about it: “As Christians, putting the phone down and focusing on the road follows the gospel imperative to love your neighbor as yourself. Every car on the road is operated by a man or woman created in God’s image who has an eternal destiny.”

Rosaria Butterfield Weighs In

Denny Burk recently shared 4 stages of evangelical affirmation of gay marriage. Rosaria Butterfield wrote him to suggest one more.

Sexuality: God Creates, the World Corrupts

“Here is a phrase I often use when I teach young people about sex: God creates; the world corrupts. God creates food; the world corrupts the use of food. God creates relationships; the world corrupts and uses relationships in ways that were never intended. God creates sex and sexuality; the world corrupts it and turns it into something it was never meant to be.”

Flashback: Fractured Christians

To resent even the smallest part of God’s perfect, holy character is to resent all that God is.

Those who think too much of themselves don’t think enough. —Amy Carmichael

10 Jul 23:49

Straight and Narrow

by Douglas Wilson

Something I didn't distinguish for many years: "Because I am loath to leave any ambiguity, this is because Scripture does not just fault us for what we do. It faults us for what we are."


One of the hidden drivers in our public debates about homosexual lust and practice is that a widespread and presupposed Pelagianism has riddled the church. I am happy to explain myself here, but I would like to ask you to walk with me for a piece.

Ability and Obligation

Pelagianism holds, among other things, that a man cannot be blamed for what cannot be helped. In this system, sin is defined in accordance with our ability to meet the standard. If we cannot meet the standard, then it would obviously be unjust to hold us to the standard. Ability limits obligation. If I have no ability to jump over the ocean to Hawaii, then clearly I can have no moral obligation to do so. Makes sense, right?

Except that this muddles the difference between natural inability and moral inability. Natural inability answers every moral accusation that might be brought against a man. I can have no moral obligation to pick up rocks in my driveway and bounce them off the moon, because I have absolutely no physical ability to do so. This kind of inability really does limit obligation. I do not feel guilty for my inability to fly like a bird, or swim like a dolphin, or burrow like a mole. Neither do I feel guilty over my inability to publish in staid and responsible journals. The metaphorical adjectives have to go somewhere, and I can’t just keep them in my head. They just crowd in. Where was I?

But if my inability is a moral inability, then that inability excuses nothing. In fact, this kind of inability compounds the sin, making it worse. The Lord does not call the Pharisees a nest of vipers, but then go on to make the crucial point that vipers can’t help being what they are, having been “born that way” to viper parents. Not at all. Nor did the Lord hasten to add that we should be building bridges not walls. Little narrow snake bridges. See what I mean?

A man can have the natural ability to do something that he has no moral ability to do. For example, I have the physical ability to walk down to our main city square, and to stand on a bench, and yell slanderous and malicious accusations about my deceased mother. I have the feet, I have the lungs, I know the words, and no one has a gun pointed at me to prevent this from happening. But while I have the natural ability to do it, I do not have the moral capacity to do it. My point is considerably stronger than I would rather not. My point is that I couldn’t. Natural ability to do “this or that” and moral ability to do “this or that” are clearly two different things.

Sin According to Scripture

Now all this is because sin is defined by Scripture, and not by our inability to do what Scripture requires. The fact that we have no moral ability to do what God requires of us compounds our guilt, and does not remove it. We have the natural ability to do what God requires—a true statement does not require more of us physically than a lie—but we do not have the moral desire. Our hearts do not desire holiness. This kind of inability, created by the shackles of what sinners want, cannot be compared to an innocent inability.

Consider this short litany. Before conversion, we are all objects of wrath by nature (Eph. 2:3). We were dead in our trespasses and sins (Eph. 2:1). We were slaves to sin (Rom. 6:6). Slaves can’t run free, dead men can’t go their own way, and the one central thing that not one of us can run away from is our own nature. All of this language demonstrates a radical inability, and all of it points to blame resting on the one exhibiting that inability.

So Scripture has the authority to wrap personal responsibility around our dirty necks, and the world has sought to fight this authority by resorting to the language of “disease” or “addiction” or “genetic programming.” Those are the spoken words, but the Pelagian confusion is lurking in the background. If alcoholism is a disease instead of being the habit of drunkenness, which is a behavior, then we shouldn’t blame anyone for it. We don’t blame them for catching other diseases, do we? And if addiction zeros out ability, then it also zeros out obligation, which means that someone who kicks their habit can be treated as some kind of paragon. Moral philosophers of previous ages who watched any of the ticker tape parades we give to celebrate the heroism involved in breaking a vile habit would be, to use a favorite term of theirs, bumfuzzled.

Make no mistake: there is an important place for celebration over repentance. See the prodigal son (Luke 15:22-24). See the Lord’s statement about joy in Heaven over one sinner who repents (Luke 15:7). But celebrating repentance is a very different thing from celebrating the innate goodness of someone who had a really tough time making it back into common decency. There are two mistakes to avoid here. One is that of the older brother, who wasn’t going to celebrate anything. The other is the mistake of the libertines back at the tavern who aren’t going to celebrate anything either, now that they had to pay for the hookers and drinks with their own money.

The Nature of Scriptural Blame

When speaking of the sexual sin that characterized false teachers, writers of the New Testament compared them to rutting animals who do what they do by instinct. Does this justify their behavior? Not even a little bit.

“But these, like irrational animals, creatures of instinct, born to be caught and destroyed, blaspheming about matters of which they are ignorant, will also be destroyed in their destruction” (2 Peter 2:12, ESV).

“But these people blaspheme all that they do not understand, and they are destroyed by all that they, like unreasoning animals, understand instinctively” (Jude 10, ESV).

So then, the hunt for a “gay gene” was a hunt for a Pelagian get-out-of-jail free card. That is because, if they ever found it, they could wave it under the nose of the modern evangelical church, which is chockablock with Pelagianism and not-so-semi-Pelagianism, and they would all say, “Whoa. Can’t argue with the science.”

Right. Suppose the science to be good, for the sake of discussion. We can still argue with the implicit Pelagian assumption that moral inability limits obligation because it is just like natural inability, which, of course, it isn’t. Sin is defined by the God who made us, and not by our rationalizations, which have unmade us.

Because I am loath to leave any ambiguity, this is because Scripture does not just fault us for what we do. It faults us for what we are. The corrupt fruit we produce is blameworthy, and God will judge us for such filthy deeds. But the fruit reveals the nature of the tree, and a corrupt tree can do nothing but produce corrupt fruit.

“O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things” (Matt. 12:34–35).

How can you, being evil, speak good? The answer is that you can’t. The words that come from the mouth reveal the nature of the heart’s abundance.

Scientists Find the Viper Gene

So suppose that after dint of much federal funding, our scientists finally found “the viper gene.” This is the gene that makes us love ourselves, hate our neighbors, despise God, and cultivate our precious lusts. There it is, under the microscope. There, that little twisted black one.

If we are thinking biblically, we would not capitulate to this evidence on the basis of a shared Pelagianism. We would never say, “Well, then I guess that you all can’t help being vipers.” No. What we would actually say is something like, “Look at that! Proof that the Bible is correct! We are sinful by nature!”

Why would finding a genetic basis for homosexual lust ever excuse anybody? We know that heterosexual lust has a genetic basis, and Scripture still condemns it. A young boy is enjoying life, and all his waking thoughts are occupied with cultivating an honest work ethic by means of his paper route, and enjoying the simple pleasures of his baseball card collection. Then one day his body floods with testosterone—which he did not in any way request or ask for—and blam. Breasts and legs everywhere.

Bottom line: We are to submit ourselves to the standard set by Scripture. We are not to concoct some tomfool standard, assembled from the shards of our own moral helplessness. Otherwise, what is a gospel for?

Strange Vanities

Now as Van Til noted, unbelief oscillates between rationalism and irrationalism. A great deal of the groundwork for the homosex revolution was laid in a rationalistic application of the principles of this Pelagianism. If a man or woman “was born this way,” then it would be obviously unjust to blame them for what they could not help. So the argument has gone, and it has been pretty effective on Christians who have, unbeknownst to themselves, been quietly assuming a Pelagian rationalism that made them vulnerable to the argument.

But once the church was cowed by this Pelagian rationalism, once we were frozen in place by it, the world meantime has raucously careened over to the irrational end of the pendulum swing, now telling us that gender orientation is a social construct.

The world has given us an argument which, given our assumptions, “should hold us for a while,” and they have scampered off to find more genders than will ever be found under anyone’s microscope. The source for all these is not in the DNA, but rather in the fevered imaginations of our horny seers. Good luck cataloging the genome of the pornified mind—57 genders and counting.

But—and I shouldn’t have to go over this—if it is a social construct, then it is not a genetic construct. And if it is a genetic construct, then it isn’t a social construct. If it is a social construct, then you weren’t born this way because you weren’t born any way. And if it is a genetic construct, then the rebels are still constrained by the limits of a world God “tyrannically” imposed on them.

Instead of answering this conundrum, the revolutionaries have settled for telling us ignorant haters to shut up. “If you can’t tell the difference between sex and gender, there is no sense talking to you bigots.”

“They hold fast deceit, they refuse to return” (Jer 8:5).

“Why have they provoked me to anger with their graven images, and with strange vanities?” (Jer. 8:19).

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16 Feb 03:11

Manvotional: The Essence of Simplicity

by Brett & Kate McKay

From The Simple Life, 1903
By Charles Wagner

When one passes in review the individual causes that disturb and complicate our life, by whatever names they are designated, and their list would be long, they all lead back to one general cause, which is this: the confusion of the secondary with the essential. Material comfort, education, liberty, the whole of civilization — these things constitute the frame of the picture; but the frame no more makes the picture than the frock the monk or the uniform the solider. Here the picture is man, and man with his most inimitable possession — namely, his conscience, his character, and his will. And while we have been elaborating and garnishing the frame, we have forgotten, neglected, disfigured the picture.

Thus are we loaded with external good, and miserable in spiritual life; we have in abundance that which, if must be, we can go without, and are infinitely poor in the one thing needful. And when the depth of our being is stirred, with its need of loving, aspiring, fulfilling its destiny, it feels the anguish of one buried alive — is smothered under the mass of secondary things that weigh it down and deprive it of light and air.

We must search out, set free, restore to honor the true life, assign things to their proper places, and remember that the center of human progress is moral growth. What is a good lamp? It is not the most elaborate, the finest wrought, that of the most precious metal. A good lamp is a lamp that gives good light. And so also we are men and citizens, not by reason of the number of our goods and the pleasures we procure for ourselves, not through our intellectual and artistic culture, nor because of the honors and independence we enjoy; but by virtue of the strength of our moral fiber. And this is not a truth of today but a truth of all times.

At no epoch have the exterior conditions which man has made for himself by his industry or his knowledge, been able to exempt him from care for the state of his inner life. The face of the world alters around us, its intellectual and material factors vary; and no one can arrest these changes, whose suddenness is sometimes not short of perilous. But the important thing is that at the center of shifting circumstance man should remain man, live his life, make toward his goal. And whatever be his road, to make toward his goal, the traveler must not lose himself in crossways, nor hamper his movements with useless burdens. Let him heed well his direction and forces, and keep good faith; and that he may the better devote himself to the essential — which is to progress — at whatever sacrifice, let him simplify his baggage.


Before considering the question of a practical return to the simplicity of which we dream, it will be necessary to define simplicity in its very essence. For in regard to it people commit the same error that we have just denounced, confounding the secondary with the essential, substance with form. They are tempted to believe that simplicity presents certain external characteristics by which it may be recognized, and in which it really consists. Simplicity and lowly station, plain dress, a modest dwelling, slender means, poverty — these things seem to go together. Nevertheless, this is not the case . . .

No class has the prerogative of simplicity; no dress, however humble in appearance, is its unfailing badge. Its dwelling need not be a garret, a hut, the cell of the ascetic nor the lowliest fisherman’s bark. Under all the forms in which life vests itself, in all social positions, at the top as at the bottom of the ladder, there are people who live simply, and others who do not.

We do not mean by this that simplicity betrays itself in no visible signs, has not its own habits, its distinguishing tastes and ways; but this outward show, which may now and then be counterfeited, must not be confounded with its essence and its deep and wholly inward source.

Simplicity is a state of mind. It dwells in the main intention of our lives. A man is simple when his chief care is the wish to be what he ought to be, that is, honestly and naturally human. And this is neither so easy nor so impossible as one might think. At bottom, it consists in putting our acts and aspirations in accordance with the law of our being, and consequently with the Eternal Intention which willed that we should be at all. Let a flower be a flower, a swallow a swallow, a rock a rock, and let a man be a man, and not a fox, a hare, a hog, or a bird of prey: this is the sum of the whole matter.

Here we are led to formulate the practical ideal of man. Everywhere in life we see certain quantities of matter and energy associated for certain ends. Substances more or less crude are thus transformed and carried to a higher degree of organization. It is not otherwise with the life of man. The human ideal is to transform life into something more excellent than itself.

We may compare existence to raw material. What it is, matters less than what is made of it, as the value of a work of art lies in the flowering of the workman’s skill. We bring into the world with us different gifts: one has received gold, another granite, a third marble, most of us wood or clay. Our task is to fashion these substances. Everyone knows that the most precious material may be spoiled, and he knows, too, that out of the least costly an immortal work may be shaped. Art is the realization of a permanent idea in an ephemeral form. True life is the realization of the higher virtues — justice, love, truth, liberty, moral power — in our daily activities, whatever they may be. And this life is possible in social conditions the most diverse, and with natural gifts the most unequal. It is not fortune or personal advantage, but our turning them to account, that constitutes the value of life. Fame adds no more than does length of days: quality is the thing.

Need we say that one does not rise to this point of view without a struggle? The spirit of simplicity is not an inherited gift, but the result of a laborious conquest . . . But by dint of action, and exacting from himself strict account of his deeds, man arrives at a better knowledge of life. Its law appears to him, and the law is this: Work out your mission.

He who applies himself to aught else than the realization of this end, loses in living the raison d’etre of life. The egoist does so, the pleasure-seeker, the ambitious: he consumes existence as one eating the full corn in the blade — he prevents it from bearing its fruit; his life is lost. Whoever, on the contrary, makes his life serve a good higher than itself, saves it in giving it. Moral precepts, which to a superficial view appear arbitrary, and seem made to spoil our zest for life, have really but one object — to preserve us from the evil of having lived in vain. That is why they are constantly leading us back into the same paths; that is why they all have the same meaning: Do not waste your life, make it bear fruit; learn how to give it, in order that it may not consume itself!

Herein is summed up the experience of humanity, and this experience, which each man must remake for himself, is more precious in proportion as it costs more dear. Illumined by its light, he makes a moral advance more and more sure. Now he has his means of orientation, his internal norm to which he may lead everything back; and from the vacillating, confused, and complex being that he was, he becomes simple. By the ceaseless influence of this same law, which expands within him, and is day by day verified in fact, his opinions and habits become transformed . . .

The necessary hierarchy of powers is organized within him: the essential commands, the secondary obeys, and order is born of simplicity. We may compare this organization of the interior life to that of an army. An army is strong by its discipline, and its discipline consists in respect of the inferior for the superior, and the concentration of all its energies toward a single end: discipline once relaxed, the army suffers. It will not do to let the corporal command the general. Examine carefully your life and the lives of others. Whenever something halts or jars, and complications and disorder follow, it is because the corporal has issued orders to the general. Where the natural law rules in the heart, disorder vanishes.

I despair of ever describing simplicity in any worthy fashion. All the strength of the world and all its beauty, all true joy, everything that consoles, that feeds hope, or throws a ray of light along our dark paths, everything that makes us see across our poor lives a splendid goal and a boundless future, comes to us from people of simplicity, those who have made another object of their desires than the passing satisfaction of selfishness and vanity, and have understood that the art of living is to know how to give one’s life.

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31 Jan 02:14

“The Single Most Illuminating Three Sentences I Have Ever Read about Our Civilization”

by Justin Taylor

C. S. Lewis:

There is something which unites magic and applied science [=technology] while separating both from the “wisdom” of earlier ages.

For the wise men of old

the cardinal problem had been how to conform the soul to reality, and

the solution had been knowledge, self-discipline, and virtue.

For magic and applied science alike

the problem is how to subdue reality to the wishes of men;

the solution is a technique.

Philosopher Peter Kreeft calls this “the single most illuminating three sentences I have ever read about our civilization.” He writes:

Technology is more like magic than like science.

If you are surprised at this statement, you do not understand the essence of technology. Heidegger does: it is the fulfillment of the Nietzschean “will to power” as the new summum bonum, greatest good, or meaning and end of life.

To see this point, imagine an experiment. Children are often given boxes to sort things in, and the observer can tell much about the children’s minds by how they classify things. For instance, if a child is told to put a baseball, a basketball, a baseball bat, and a basketball net into two boxes, the “structuralist” or “static” child will put the two balls in one box and the two other items, which are not spheres, in the other box; the “functionalist” child will put the baseball and the bat in one box, and the basketball and its hoop in the other.

Now suppose you are asked to classify four things—

  • religion,
  • science,
  • magic, and
  • technology

—and put them into two categories. Nearly everyone would classify science and technology together, and religion and magic together. There is a point to this classification: science and technology are limited to the empirically verifiable and the scientific method; religion and magic are not.

But there is a deeper classification, and Lewis uses it. Science and religion both aim at conforming the mind to objective truth, objective reality (science conforms our mind to the nature of the universe, and religion conforms our mind to the mind of God and our will to the will of God).

Magic and technology, on the other hand, try to conform objective reality to the human will. That is why they both arose at the same time—not the Middle Ages but the Renaissance, not the Age of God but the Age of Man. Both are Faustian, Promethean. The difference is, of course, that technology works while magic doesn’t (usually). But their end, their goal, the purpose behind them, the human values and desires and state of soul that set them in motion, are the same.


25 Jan 10:58

False Alternative

by Douglas Wilson

“Some defend objective beauty (as they ought to), but they approach aesthetics simplistically, with a stopwatch. Others see how difficult it is, needing to involve much more than a stopwatch, and conclude that it must be impossible, and veer into an incoherent relativism” (Food Catholic, p. 19).

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23 Jul 04:38


by Douglas Wilson

By now most of you have seen the video sting of Deborah Nucatola, a high placed operative in Planned Parenthood, discussing PP’s brisk trade in fetal body parts. If you haven’t, the video is embedded below.

What will it take before that which is self-evident is treated as self-evident?
What will it take before that which is self-evident is treated as self-evident?

That video perfectly captures the insolence of our secularist elites. The fact that she could discuss the sale and distribution of livers, hearts, and baby heads, and do it over wine and salad, has left everyone with a functioning conscience aghast. She looks like a nice lady, and Kermit Gosnell looked like a creepy abortion doctor, and so it just goes to show. The whole thing is vile. The face of evil looks out at America from the mirror — but we have not yet recognized it.

C.S. Lewis described modern evil in this way:

“I live in the Managerial Age, in a world of ‘Admin.’ The greatest evil is not now done in those sordid “dens of crime” that Dickens loved to paint. It is not done even in concentration camps and labour camps. In those we see its final result. But it is conceived and ordered (moved, seconded, carried, and minuted) in clean, carpeted, warmed and well-lighted offices, by quiet men with white collars and cut fingernails and smooth-shaven cheeks who do not need to raise their voices” (Screwtape, Preface).

Watch just a few minutes of that video, and ask yourself if the description above applies to Planned Parenthod. To ask the question is to answer it.
That said, here are just a few thoughts and suggestions:

1. Do whatever you can to make that video show up in every Facebook feed in the world.

2. Thank the Center for Medical Progress for capturing the footage. This was well done, and is one of the most potent things that pro-lifers have ever done.

3. Our nation has tried to muddle through the abortion issue by means of a willful suppression of imagination. This video cuts through all of that. Livers. Hearts. Heads.

But our natural response is a feeling, and feelings pass. One of the principles of war is pursuit. We must want this feeling to be codified in the public imagination. Planned Parenthood is an organization of ghouls with a taste for salad and wine. And money. So we should press the point so that every elected official we know of comes to the unalterable conviction that any vote to fund Planned Parenthood ever, under any conditions, is a toxic vote.

4. Embrace their inconsistency. Lean into it. Press it. This is because our nation is profoundly schizophrenic on this issue, and their inconsistency must be pressed hard, especially now. In other words, everyone is outraged because the body parts were sold to traffickers, instead of being thrown into the dumpster. Got that? Our nation wants to retain its self-respect on this issue through arbitrary legalisms. But surely the heart of the crime is the murder itself, and not the disposal of the body?

5. When the pope denounces free markets, he is talking through his mitre. Capitalism as gift is the work of the Holy Spirit. But like all gifts, when it is exalted into the place of the Giver and turned into an idol, it becomes something else entirely. Capitalism as ideology, capitalism as god, commodifies absolutely everything in order that it may devour. Merchants without Jesus are terrifying. What won’t they buy or sell? “And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; For no man buyeth their merchandise any more: The merchandise of gold, and silver . . . and wine, and oil . . . and slaves, and souls of men” (Rev. 18:11–13).

6. Now would be a good time for a bunch of people to get down off their high horse on any matters concerning the Confederate battle flag. If you voted for Obama (twice), the most pro-abort president we have ever had, a man who is an ardent supporter of Planned Parenthood, an organization that we now see practices (illegal) partial birth abortions, which preserve more marketable pieces, an organization which chops babies into pieces and then sells them off for ready money, then you are the problem. You want to do all this feeling morally superior to Robert E. Lee? I am not defending the sin of any past generations, but it seems to me that moralistic fury from this generation is more than a little bit out of place.

7. The way out is repentance. The only way out is to turn from sin, and turn to Jesus Christ. America needs to take a lesson from what the Lord said to another nation with a heart of stone.

“Have ye forgotten the wickedness of your fathers, and the wickedness of the kings of Judah, and the wickedness of their wives, and your own wickedness, and the wickedness of your wives, which they have committed in the land of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem? They are not humbled even unto this day, neither have they feared, nor walked in my law, nor in my statutes, that I set before you and before your fathers” (Jer. 44:9–10).

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23 Jul 04:23

Lamborghinis and Limbs

by Douglas Wilson

A second video of Planned Parenthood has now dropped, even more devastating. Click through to see it, and make sure you light up the Internet with #DefundPlannedParenthood and #PPSellsBabyParts.

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11 May 05:30

Why the Strategy of Conformation Is Socially Ineffective and Self-Destructive

by Justin Taylor

Miroslav Volf:

In contemporary de-Christianized, pluralistic, and rapidly changing Western cultures, only those religious groups that make no apology about their “difference” will be able to survive and thrive.

The strategy of conformation is socially ineffective in the short run (because you cannot shape by parroting) and self-destructive in the long run (because you conform to what you have not helped to shape).

A good deal of courage in nonconformity is needed both to preserve the identity of Christian faith and to insure its lasting social relevance.

-Miroslav Volf, “Theology, Meaning and Power,” in The Future of Theology: Essays in Honor of Jűrgen Moltmann, ed. Miroslav Volf, Carmen Krieg, and Thomas Kucharz (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1996), 100.

07 Apr 01:43

Our Transgressive Daisy Chain

by Douglas Wilson

Too big to fight, or too big to miss?

The great need of the hour is for Christians in North America to get a map in their heads, a map that has an x on it, that x indicating “you are here.” Related to this, we need to know how exactly we got here. We need to be oriented, and that means we need to be oriented by Scripture — not by the secularists who taunt us, on the one hand, or by the evangelical bedwetters, who believe every last one of their taunts, on the other.

It is not as though we were not warned. We were warned repeatedly, but we did not have the right categories in our minds to process those warnings. We had some prophetic souls who were able to point out where the x was going to be a century after their time. We are now standing on it and we still don’t know. Here is Chesterton, near the beginning of the 20th century.

“For the next great heresy is going to be simply an attack on morality; and especially on sexual morality. And it is coming, not from a few Socialists surviving from the Fabian Society, but from the living exultant energy of the rich resolved to enjoy themselves at last, with neither Popery nor Puritanism nor Socialism to hold them back . . . The madness of tomorrow is not in Moscow, but much more in Manhattan.” (G.K. Chesterton: ‘The Next Heresy,’ in G.K.’s Weekly, June 19, 1926).

And this libertine excess, which throws off the “chains” established by God’s moral order, does not result in greater freedom for all. It results in petty tyrannies, soft despotism, and all those 16 ounce soda bans. Chesterton again:

“For when you break the great laws, you do not get liberty; you do not even get anarchy. You get the small laws” (Chesterton on Dickens, Collected Works XV, p. 151).

A glaring example of breaking the great laws would be our culture-wide unwillingness or inability to tell the difference between boys and girls, along with our unwillingness or inability to admit that these are the only two possible options on the menu. In God’s world, if you are a boy, you to need to grow up liking girls, and then you need to pick one. If you are a girl, you need to like boys, and then you also need to pick one. Was that so hard?In contrast, we now have had a generation taught by sex ed courses designed by a bunch of our major brains. As William Buckley once said, apropos of another venture by the major brains, if we had had one more brain at Yalta, the Russians would have gotten Westminster Abbey. Anyhow, back to sex ed.

At the end of this process of curricular mayhem, nobody is quite sure of anything. Every letter of the alphabet that gets added to our transgressive daisy chain only testifies to our high levels of cis-confusion. Sound it out phonetically . . .


. . . and you will get some idea of how astute and insightful our sexual education must be.

“I was born gay!” “Gender is a social construct!” Hmmmm . . . which is it? Actually, the thing that everybody is overlooking is that we are all born with an innate tendency to rationalize our sin, taking whatever meme currently offers the most protective cover for our lusts. We do not examine these memes for logical consistency. Not at all. Rather, the only thing we expect from the meme in current use is for it to cover our butt. Kierkegaard once said that men read biblical commentaries the same way a boy might stuff magazines down the back of his trousers before a spanking. Kind of like that.

So if you are still sane in these times of sexual bedlam, you are likely in need of edification and encouragement. So read through Psalm 106 and you will encounter a pungent evaluation of our current situations.

Where did our troubles come from exactly?

The Israelites “lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, and tempted God in the desert” (Ps. 106:14).

Did we get what we wanted? Well, yes and no. We got the whole world but lost our soul, which Jesus once identified as a poor bargain. We got the highest standard of living in the history of the planet, which just turned out to be the milky product of Mammon’s millions of teats, expressly designed to suckle a generation of well-fed whiners.

“And he gave them their request; But sent leanness into their soul” (Ps. 106:15).

And this peculiar discontent of ours has envy at the bottom. Envy is always at the bottom of every discontent.

“They envied Moses also in the camp, And Aaron the saint of the Lord” (Ps. 106:16).

What then is the consequence of our sin?

“And he gave them into the hand of the heathen; And they that hated them ruled over them” (Ps. 106:41).

We are governed, if you want to call it that, by a ruling elite, an elite who were all apparently groped one time too many by their French teacher at their boarding school in rural Connecticut. As a consequence, a homo-jihad has now been declared, and woe to the chump who dares resist the absolute demands of our new sexual dhimmitude.

And that brings us to how we got here. We got here through evangelical leaders responding to every prescient warning with something along the lines of “that won’t happen,” “you are an alarmist,” “it’s not that bad,” “you must be one of those theonomists,” and so on. And then when the homo-jihad is declared, as it has now been, the accommodationists switch immediately to furrowed brow discussions of how we might best adjust to a post-Christian America. This is how our learned leaders have managed the process so far, in four easy steps.

1. There is no fight;
2. There might come a time when we might have to fight;
3. Too soon to fight;
4. Too late to fight.

In short, we are here because our respected evangelical leadership specialize in indistinct bugle blowing.

But this is not how battles are fought in the Bible. The main indicator that it is time to fight is when it is “too late to fight.” God loves delivering His people at the very last minute. He loves cliffhangers. He loves nailbiters. And He loves using men who love being used in just such a time.

“Thus they provoked him to anger with their inventions: And the plague brake in upon them. Then stood up Phinehas, and executed judgment: And so the plague was stayed” (Ps. 106:29–30).

Some time ago I wrote about David’s interactions with his marketing agent. There were also some recently uncovered conversations with his brothers that few know about.

And David saith, “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should taunt the army of the living God?”

And Eliab replied, “Thou art an impudent pup, and knowest not that there are two kingdoms in the new covenant era. Goliath simply represents the kingdom of man. It has always been thus.”

And Abinadab added, “Yea, verily. And hast thou not heard that the ancient world knew nothing about our modern approach to mutually-affirming same sex couplings? Something to do with the original Hebrew.”

And David answereth him, and said, “Abinadab, we are speaking Hebrew now.”

And Shimea saith, “And the Philistines, though uncircumcised, have made great strides in health care. I believe this is something we simply have to recognize.”

And Nethanel added, “And don’t forget their humane approach to a living wage.”

Raddai saith,  “I hear the Philistine girls are hot.”

And when the others were silent, Ozem saith, “In another two years I should have tenure. I might be able to write a position paper then.”

Everybody in the Israelite army thought Goliath was too big to defeat. David thought Goliath was too big to miss. What we need right now are the five smooth stones of theocratic libertarianism. And somebody to throw the first one.

The post Our Transgressive Daisy Chain appeared first on Douglas Wilson.

26 Mar 03:49

A La Carte (March 25)

by Tim

Here are today’s Kindle deals: Double Play by Ben Zobrist ($2.99); The End of Christianity by William Dembski ($0.99); Andrew Fuller by Michael Haykin ($0.99); The Word and the World by Eugene Merrill ($0.99). You might also consider 2 titles by Jeff Goins: Wrecked ($2.51) and The In-Between ($2.99).

When I Don’t Desire God - Ligonier and Desiring God have partnered to create a course called “When I Don’t Desire God” featuring John Piper. It’s free for the taking! (Also, Ligonier is having an #AskRC Live Twitter event today.)

Q&A with Sam Allberry - Denny Burk recently moderated a Q&A with Sam Allberry where he fielded questions from both Denny and students at SBTS. You can watch the video at the link.

Cannonball - Whether or not you like the music that accompanies it (I did!) this video is very well done.

Honoring Our Favorite Theologians - Westminster Books is offering a great deal on 3 volumes written in honor of some favorite theologians (Piper, Carson, Gaffin). Logos has some good deals in their March Madness event.

Take Note - Every serious reader has strong opinions about footnotes versus endnotes.

The Christian and Common Grace - I appreciated this reflection on God’s common grace. Now there’s something we too often take for granted!

Emotional Blackmail - John Piper comments on emotional blackmail within the church.

In the gospel, there is included all that the heart of man can wish. —J Gresham Machen


29 Aug 06:50

Tour of Jelutong Wet Market | Penang, Malaysia

by Lindsay Gasik

Penang is a foodie's paradise. The island has been listed multiple times as one of Asia's Top 10 Street Food Cities, despite technically not being a city. A large part of that focus on the gourmet goes to its durian, with street stalls selling highly rated and priced durians all over Georgetown.

But while its easy to visit only restaurants and fancy durian stalls during your stay on Penang, it's a great experience to get back to the basics: the traditional wet market.

One rainy morning while Rob was still in America, a few friends and I headed to Jelutong Market in the suburbs just south of Georgetown.

Jelutong Market is the largest, most chaotic and oldest market on Penang. Every morning and evening the bustling outdoor market shuts down a major throughway to spread vegetables, fruits and durians across the tarmac. It's a labyrinth of fresh produce, funky smelling herbal medicine, plastic trinkets and steaming trays of traditional street foods.

It's also a great place to pick up cheap durian. If you've been paying through your teeth for Red Prawn, a trip to Jelutong Market may give your pockets some relief.

Cheap Durians

When I say cheap, I mean cheap. You won't find durian for prices like this anywhere else on the island.

At Jelutong Market, you can buy fresh durians for as little as 50 Malaysian cents each. These are the unnamed, wild varieties of durian known as kampung, or village durian. They're no Red Prawns, but they're fun because each one tastes different. It's like the chocolate candy box where none of the truffles are labeled - all a delicious surprise.

And while kampung durians can be bought for pennies almost anywhere in Malaysia, they're often days old and turning to vinegar. These are fresh, Penang quality. Just look at the bright green color of the stem of the durian in the bottom left corner.

While durians are definitely not the focus of the market, at least during the season, durians have an almost uncanny presence. They can be spotted almost everywhere, propped on piles of vegetables, hidden half-opened between pots, and hanging in unlikely places.

Street Food

Street food almost has a bigger presence than the fresh ingredients, with hawker carts of steaming bowls of noodles interlaced between the piles of vegetables and fruits. The market has actually become as famous for its food as it is for being a large, vibrant market place and many of the small cafes and restaurants lining the streets are popular places to grab a late breakfast and a hot cup of kopi

Penang's foodie culture developed from the unique blending of five Chinese ethnic groups with Indian, Malay and Sumatran influences that each have their own culinary styles. The melting pot was evident even to me as I wandered the narrow aisles looking for durian past restaurants boasting the best Wan Tan Mee, Hokkien noodles, or Nasi Kandar, a Muslim Indian rice dish.

When it started raining hard, we took shelter at this Indian coconut stall, and watched him expertly hack open coconuts with a knife that looked like a saber. He also sold freshly made coconut milk, a thick, slightly salty liquid that blended perfectly with the durian we bought later to make a rich sauce like alfredo.

Spread On The Ground
The hard thing about Jelutong Market is there's interesting things to see in every direction, including down. The majority of fresh vegetables and fruits are spread on tarps on the pavement, meaning that you need to watch your feet as well as the dodging the crowds.

If you're coming from a Western country, vegetables themselves deserve some time to gawk. You'll see so many different forms of vegetables that we don't have, or at least aren't common outside of the Asian grocer. You'll find sweet potato leaves, different kinds of bok choy, eggplants ranging in color from dark purple to lavender to pearly white, and many things that look like a strange cross between a cucumber and a gourd, intermixed with the baskets of chiles and the chilies and gingers necessary for most local cuisine.

It's with the vegetables that you'll find the cheapest durians, as they most likely fell from the backyard trees of the veggie vendors.

Musang King
If cheap kampung isn't quite fulfilling your durian cravings this particular morning, you can buy the really good stuff too.

Some vendors sell packets of the higher quality durians, mostly Red Prawn and Musang King. Since by this point we were getting hungry, we decided to indulge in some Musang King.

I mean, who could really resist these wrinkles?

It was only 15 RM for a packet piled high, which really is a pretty good price for Musang King.

Which made me wonder...the funny thing about Musang King on Penang is that it tends to be fleshier, softer and more wrinkly than Musang King on the mainland. I'm not sure if it's the special climate in Penang that changes the durian, or if the durian is actually a close relative of the real Musang King. I've examined the durian shell, and I have my thoughts.

But whatever it is, it was a perfectly bitter way to wait out a rainstorm with friends. 

It was so good, we abandoned our plans to head up Penang Hill to go durian hunting in Georgetown instead. The rain might have influenced us a little bit. But just a little bit. Mostly it was the durian. 

More about our Georgetown Durian Tour in a coming post.

Getting To Jelutong Market
The main Jelutong Market building is on Jalan Penaga, just off Jalan Jelutong, but the market now sprawls down Lorong Ipoh as well. 

Jalan Jelutong is a major road that used to be the main throughway connecting Georgetown to the airport in Bayan Lepas before the Lim Chong Eu Expressway was built. A number of Rapid Penang buses pass by the market, which are mentioned on my friend Tim's excellent Penang blog.

From Komptar, taking the bus takes about an hour. If you're traveling with friends, a better option is to take a taxi, which cost us 20 RM and about 15 minutes of our time.

If you want to learn more about Penang's foodie culture or just get your hands on some cheap durian, Jelutong Market is a fun morning outing. And a great place for a durian breakfast.
19 Aug 23:40

A La Carte (August 18)

by Tim

Here are today’s Kindle deals: Healing for a Broken World by Steve Monsma ($2.99); Confronting Kingdom Challenges edited by Samuel T. Logan ($1.99); Why Cities Matter by Stephen Um & Justin Buzzard ($1.99); Political Thought by Hunter Baker ($0.99); The Problem of Evil by Jeremy Evans ($2.99); The Complete Works of E.M. Bounds on Prayer ($2.99).

Wrongful Birth - This is the awful story of a couple suing because pre-birth tests failed to discover their daughter’s genetic abnormality. Had they know it, they would have aborted her.

Iceland’s Aerial Landscapes - Here are some beautiful photographs from Iceland, just for a visual treat.

There Will Be No Sea - R.C. Sproul explains why the Bible says there will be no sea in the new heaven and new earth.

10 Grammar Rules It’s Okay to Break - Most grammar rules are okay to break, at least occasionally. This is a list of 10 of them.

The Ways We’re the Same - We’ve all been there, I guess. Here’s what not to do in an awkward social situation.

The Sin in Our Cynicism - Cynicism is not a Christian virtue or a godly character trait.

The most significant gifts in the church’s life in every era are ordinary natural abilities sanctified. —J.I. Packer


30 Jul 04:22

A La Carte (July 29)

by Tim

Here are today’s Kindle deals: A Model of Christian Maturity by D.A. Carson ($2.99); Connected by Erin Davis ($4.99); Holman Quicksource Guide to the Dead Sea Scrolls by Craig Evans ($2.99); Redeeming Church Conflicts by Tara Barthel ($1.99); Holman Quicksource Guide to Christian Apologetics by Doug Powell ($2.99); Holman Quicksource Guide to Understaning Creation by Mark Whorton ($2.99); Which Bible Translation Should I Use? by Andreas Kostenberger ($3.99).

An Open Letter to the Caliph - Tim Keesee has penned an open letter that is worth reading. “You and your Caliphate are destined for failure. Of course, all empires, caliphates, and reigns of terror eventually come to an end, but something else is happening — another kind of failure in your command over the Islamic world.”

The New Face of Richard Norris - This long article about Richard Norris, who underwent a face transplant, is fascinating, and introduces some important ethical issues. (Note: the article is at the GQ site, but I’m linking to the printable page, so everything there should be family-friendly; at least it is as far as I can see.)

Making the Bible BeautifulBibliotheca is a massively successful Kickstarter project that attempts to make the Bible beautiful [again]. This matters, and here’s why.

Coffee Shops and Productivity - Here’s some guidance on when coffee shops may and may not help your productivity.

Cold Case Christianity - Cripplegate has a review of a book I really enjoyed (and recommend).

The whole life of man until he is converted to Christ is a ruinous labyrinth of wanderings. —John Calvin


03 Jul 22:56

New & Notable Books (July)

by Tim

I am in the unique and enjoyable position of receiving copies of most of the latest and greatest Christian books. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve received boxes of them and, in sorting through the pile, some have risen to the top.

LifelinesLifelines for Tough Times by Mike Fabarez. Here is how the publisher describes this one: “When tough times hit, we often find ourselves vulnerable—to doubt, fear, worry, even depression. We ask, ‘Does God care? Has He forgotten me?’ So why does God allow suffering? Author Mike Fabarez—who is well acquainted with deep pain himself as the father of a special-needs child and as a pastor who has counseled many through life’s hurts—looks to the truths of Scripture for answers. Along the way, he shares how complete trust in God alone can restore your confidence and hope; the power of focusing on God’s eternal goals for you in life’s temporary setbacks; God’s promises to love and protect you no matter what happens. This book will not only help you understand why God allows suffering—it will provide you with the resources to stand strong, rest in God’s care, and endure!” It comes with endorsements from John MacArthur, Joni Eareckson Tada, Jay Adams, and others. (Learn more or buy it at Amazon)

60 People60 People Who Shaped the Church by Alton Gansky. “The Church exists today in its current form because of the people who have come before us. From a consummate storyteller comes this collection of inspiring biographical sketches of people who played pivotal roles in advancing the Kingdom of God on earth. In rich prose and spanning twenty centuries of church history, these engaging narratives range from the well-known to the obscure, highlighting personalities such as Josephus, Francis of Assisi, Thomas Aquinas, Galileo, John Calvin, Blaise Pascal, Jonathan Edwards, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, William Wilberforce, G. K. Chesterton, and many others. Readers will feel the past come alive and mingle in their minds with the present state of the Church, encouraging and galvanizing them to live their own faith courageously in our time—and shape the Church of the future.” (Learn more or buy it at Amazon or Westminster Books)

ExaltingExalting Jesus in Ezra-Nehemiah by James Hamilton. This is the publisher’s description of the series: “Edited by David Platt, Daniel L. Akin, and Tony Merida, this new commentary series, projected to be 48 volumes, takes a Christ-centered approach to expositing each book of the Bible. Rather than a verse-by-verse approach, the authors have crafted chapters that explain and apply key passages in their assigned Bible books. Readers will learn to see Christ in all aspects of Scripture, and they will be encouraged by the devotional nature of each exposition. Exalting Jesus in Ezra-Nehemiah is written by Jim Hamilton.” This series is sound, readable, and affordable. (Learn more or buy it at Amazon or Westminster Books)

Grace WorksGrace Works! by Douglas Bond. The publisher says, “When the church downplays the gospel, it breeds its own assassins: moralists who yawn at the notion of free grace in Christ alone. Douglas Bond sounds an alarm but also offers encouragement, a celebration of grace, and biblical solutions that work in our lives.” Michael Horton says this about it in his endorsement: “Anyone familiar with Douglas Bond’s other works will know him as a great story-teller. This book is about the greatest story of all: the gospel. Issuing from the faith of a recipient of God’s good news and the care of a shepherd, any wounds inflicted here will be those of a friend. Grace is not the enemy of works, but the only proper source. It s amazing how many ways we can get that wrong usually, as Doug argues, by incremental and often imperceptible changes. There is a lot of wisdom in this book, but none greater than the wisdom that Christ is and gives us in his gospel.” (Learn more or buy it at Amazon or Westminster Books)

People of GodThe People of God by Trevor Joy & Spence Shelton. “The most powerful asset a church has is it’s people. People of God is a challenge to the men and women of the church. It is a challenge to believe what God says about his people still applies to the church today. It is a challenge not to settle for church as just a program. It is a challenge to return the ministry of God to the people of God. People of God lays out the theology and practice of community. Authors Spence Shelton and Trevor Joy seek to show why community is central to the Christian life, and how to practice it in the 21st century church. Whether you are a pastor or a volunteer leader, People of God aims to equip and encourage congregations as they build a culture of discipleship in the life of their church. The authors draw on experiences and learnings from their time leading two of the fastest growing congregations in America to give you principles that can apply in a church of 50 or 15,000.” (Learn more or buy it at Amazon)

Christianity on TrialChristianity on Trial by W. Mark Lanier. “Does the Christian faith hold up under scrutiny? What does science tell us about the plausibility of a god? Can we trust the alleged eyewitness testimony of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus? These questions are worth investigating in order to find an answer solidified in fact and evidence. Mark Lanier, one of America’s top trial lawyers, uses his experienced legal eye to examine the plausibility of the Christian faith. Bringing science, current knowledge, and common sense together in a courtroom approach, this ‘trial’ elucidates a rich understanding of God and a strong foundation for Christian faith.” (Learn more or buy it at Amazon)

27 May 00:29

SEGA 48-Game Mega Arcade Pack[Online Code] US Address Required $US4.96 from Amazon - Save $64.96

by lukeloop
SEGA 48-Game Mega Arcade Pack[Online Code] US Address Required $US4.96 from Amazon - Save $64.96

For those of you with a US Address or if you don't refer to
You may have another method that suits you
Contains 48 games from the classic days of SEGA.
Platform: Windows Vista / 7 / XP | DRM: Steam

  • free $1 Amazon MP3 credit - thanks to "lachlan1"

List of Games:
Golden Axe
Altered Beast
Comix Zone
Ecco the Dolphin
Gain Ground
Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master
Crack Down
Shadow Dancer: The Secret of Shinobi
Space Harrier II
Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle
Bonanza Bros.
Ecco Jr.
Eternal Champions
Fatal Labyrinth
Galaxy Force II
Kid Chameleon
Super Thunder Blade
Alien Storm
Bio-Hazard Battle
Columns III
Sword of Vermilion
Virtua Fighter 2
Ecco: The Tides of Time
Decap Attack
ESWAT: City Under Siege
Golden Axe II.
Alien Soldier
Gunstar Heroes
Landstalker: The Treasures of King Nole
Light Crusader
Shining Force
Shining Force II
Shining in the Darkness
Streets of Rage
Streets of Rage 2
Wonder Boy III: Monster Lair
Sonic 3D Blast
Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine
Sonic Spinball
Sonic the Hedgehog
Sonic the Hedgehog 2
Sonic 3 & Knuckles
ToeJam & Earl
ToeJam & Earl in Panic on Funkotron

22 Dec 21:50

The Scars on Your Forearms

by Douglas Wilson

I have heard that this post was quoted this morning by @EWErikson on the Rush Limbaugh show, so I bumped it to the top so visitors could find the whole thing more easily. Welcome, all.

I once heard a story told of Ravi Zacharias, where he was being driven around a campus where he was to speak, and in the course of the tour they went by the art museum. This museum was designed as an attempt to match the same kind of nihilism that they would hang on the walls inside — doors that didn’t open, staircases that didn’t reach the top, columns that didn’t go all the way — I don’t know the particulars, but that kind of dada stuff. Zacharias made a comment that went right to the heart of matter when he said, “I’ll bet they didn’t do the foundation like that.”

Van Til once observed that unbelieving thought has to oscillate between rationalism and irrationalism, and the inconsistency that Zacharias pointed to is an example of that. In the political realm, they usually manage the oscillation frequency by being irrational when it comes to the demands of their own lusts (personal choice must rule), and rational when they demand that Christians play by “the rules” (we must live in community). In short, we are called upon to “rationally” support their forays into insanity. We believers earn the capital of cultural rationality, which they get to spend on their various benders.

Because we are all busy trying to live quiet and peaceable lives, as the apostle instructed us, this can go on for a while before everybody wakes up and says what the heck. When this happens, it is generally true that rank and file Christians catch sight of the cockeyed nature of things sooner. This is because our leadership generally went off and got educated (which is not necessarily bad), but many of them caught a bad case of the respectability cooties, and have trouble seeing that the lunatics have taken over the asylum. That is a hard thing to see when it is covered over with multiple layers of textured nuance, the kind of nuance you can learn in grad school.

The need of the hour is Christian leadership that is willing to show some intelligent fight. As Chocolate Knox put it in a recent tweet, “Homo’s know what Christians believe there’s no secret, yet they get surprised every time they hear us say it. Time to lean in.”

Time to lean in. This is why I want to come back to the third point I made about this imbroglio yesterday. This whole thing makes me think it is some kind of reprise of the Chick Fil A uproar. Somebody strayed from the Appointed Way, the homolobby flexed in order to shut up a critic, middle America responded by buying so many metric tons of chicken sandwiches, and then sophisticated Christians sneered at this inadequate and “entirely predictable” and “red statey” response. The same thing has happened in the aftermath of Robertson’s comments. He said what he did, A&E suspended him for it, and more than a million regular folks have signed on to a “Stand With Phil” website. And, here comes the point of this post, Christian sophisticates are critical of . . . you guessed it! But this reminds me of something that D.L. Moody once said — “I like my way of doing it better than your way of not doing it.”

The contrast must not be between how unsophisticated Christians fight and how sophisticated Christians . . . what do they do? At most, they demur, with a throat-clearing caveat or two. Theologians and ecclesiastical eggheads can make merry over this kind of pop culture melee if they like. The material is there — “look at those rubes, standing against the principalities and powers with their duck calls, zz top beards, and chicken sammich haute cuisine, hold the mayo.”

But the lack of self-awareness in this criticism is staggering. These are shepherds who feed only themselves (Ezek. 34:2). When shepherds have neglected the flock for so long, and the wolves are ravaging them, and the sheep come up with some kind of strategy to defend themselves, and the shepherds sit up on the ridge, laughing at the tactical inadequacy of what the sheep are attempting, what shall we call that?

So what do we need? We don’t need generals. We have that. We need generals who fight. We don’t need leadership councils. We have those. We need national leaders who fight. We don’t need pretty boy preachers. We have those. We need preachers who fight. We don’t need evangelical regiments of pajamaboys. We have that. We need fight, and we need to fight with everything we have — heart, strength, and brains. All in.

Show me your forearms. Unless there are scars all over them, then I honestly don’t want to hear your views of the inadequacy of these cultural clashes (Gal. 6:17). When the barbarians are throwing their scaling ladders against the city walls, if the only defenders at the top of those walls are Chick Fil A employees in paper hats and hot grease from the deep fryer, and rednecks with their beards and shotguns, and nobody at all there from Red Brick Memorial Reformed, Rev. Forsythe P. Snodgrass, D.Min, minister, then let us be frank. We shouldn’t blame the folks who are there.

“His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber” (Is. 56:10).

18 Dec 04:23

7 Councils: The First Council of Nicaea

by Tim

Today I am beginning a new series of articles on the seven ecumenical councils of the early church. These councils commenced with the First Council of Nicaea in 325 and concluded with the Second Council of Nicaea in 787. Between these two events were five more, each of which attempted to understand and establish a unified Christian theology.

In this series we will take a look at each of the seven councils. For each one we will consider the setting and purpose, the major characters, the nature of the conflict, and then the results and lasting significance.

We begin today with the First Council of Nicaea.

Setting & Purpose

The First Council of Nicaea was convened in 325 by the Roman Emperor Constantine. Constantine had hoped to unite his empire under the banner of Christianity, but now saw such unity threatened by a grave theological dispute. Hosius of Cordoba recommended a council as the means to address the brewing controversy and Constantine responded by calling church leaders to Nicaea in Bithynia (modern-day Iznik, Turkey). Somewhere between 250 and 318 bishops from across the Roman empire attended, and the council began its formal deliberations on May 20.

The major issue the council was charged with addressing was the nature of Christ‘s divinity, and in particular, the relationship between the Father and the Son. As a secondary matter the council was to debate the celebration of Easter.

Major Characters

The two most important figures at the council were Athanasius, a young deacon who came as a companion to Bishop Alexander of Alexandria, and Arius, a controversial presbyter and priest from Alexandria. Constantine was present as an overseer, but did not vote.

The Conflict

The conflict at the heart of the First Council of Nicaea involved the nature of God the Son in relation to God the Father. On one side of the conflict were those who held that Jesus Christ was created by the Father and on the other side were those who held that Jesus Christ was begotten by the Father.

Arius was the lead proponent of the created position. He held that God the Son was God‘s first creation and that through him everything else was made (Colossians 1:15). This made the Son the only direct creation of the Father and thus unique among all creation as the first and greatest created being. He believed that the Father‘s divinity was greater than the Son‘s, and cited John 14:28 in support of his position: “You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.” Arius said, “If the Father begat the Son, he that was begotten had a beginning of existence: and from this it is evident, that there was a time when the Son was not.”

Alexander of Alexandria and his protege Athanasius held that Christ was begotten, not created, and was, therefore, fully equal to the Father. The council agreed with this view and understood that Arianism undermined the unity of the Godhead, making the Father greater than the Son and contradicting such scriptures as John 10:30 and John 1:1. Over the course of the council, the great majority of the delegates came to agree with Athanasius that the Son had an eternal derivation from the Father but was nonetheless co-eternal and equally divine. Athanasius explained, “Jesus that I know as my Redeemer cannot be less than God.”

The Result

The debate lasted from May 20 until June 19, at which point the council produced an initial form of the Nicaean Creed which explicitly affirmed the begotten position and condemned Arianism. All but two of the attendees voted in its favor and those two, along with Arius, were excommunicated and banished to Illyria. All of Arius‘ writings were ordered confiscated and burned.

Here is the original version of the creed (which was adjusted at the Second Ecumenical Council in Constantinople in 381).

We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, begotten of the Father [the only-begotten; that is, of the essence of the Father, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father; by whom all things were made both in heaven and on earth]; who for us men, and for our salvation, came down and was incarnate and was made man; He suffered, and the third day he rose again, ascended into heaven; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead. And in the Holy Ghost. But those who say: ‘There was a time when he was not;‘ and ‘He was not before he was made;‘ and ‘He was made out of nothing,‘ or ‘He is of another substance‘ or ‘essence,‘ or ‘The Son of God is created,‘ or ‘changeable,‘ or ‘alterable,’ they are condemned by the holy catholic and apostolic Church.

The council also agreed on a date to celebrate Easter. In a circular letter Constantine issued after the council, he explained: “At the council we also considered the issue of our holiest day, Easter, and it was determined by common consent that everyone, everywhere should celebrate it on one and the same day.”

Lasting Significance

The First Council of Nicaea is most significant in settling an essential issue related to the divinity and humanity of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ was decreed to be eternal and divine, equal with the Father, and infinitely greater than a created being. However, the Council is also significant as the first attempt to achieve a consensus among all Christians through a debate between representatives from the opposing sides. It set a precedent for holding councils to decide other doctrinal and practical church matters, and for turning these decisions into creeds and canon law.

It would be 56 years before the next council, First Council of Constantinople.

18 Dec 03:34

Christmas Ham in the Slow Cooker (Honey Citrus)

by (Stephanie ODea)
18 Dec 00:13

Some of That Magic Constitution Dust

by Douglas Wilson

A number of months ago, I debated Andrew Sullivan on the subject of same sex marriage, and one of the points I sought to make was a point that he just couldn’t get his head around.

To review, the point was this: a society that doesn’t know what marriage is in situation x cannot suddenly and miraculously come up with an understanding of what marriage is for situation y. Once same-sex mirage is established, or even semi-established, you can count on it, said I — polygamists will start lining up, and they will ask for a judge to sprinkle some of that magic constitution dust on their lusts too.

At the time, Sullivan was most indignant with my idea that the trajectory of marriage law in this country was going to blow right past the arbitrary and capricious restriction of two people per marriage. And since that federal judge in Utah struck down their anti-polygamy law as placing an undue burden on the horniness of the men of Utah, as if they didn’t have enough troubles, I have been waiting by the phone for Andrew Sullivan to call. Given his behavior in the debate, I must assume that this is because he is busy rallying all his same-sex homies, mobilizing them to fight for traditional marriage. You know, the kind with two and only two persons in it. The kind of marriage that we haters insist on.

The judge didn’t legalize legal polygamy quite yet, but he did strike down the illegalization of informal polygamy, and that huge moving sidewalk taking us all into the marital madhouse has lurched into motion again — not that it ever really stopped. But now that it is obviously moving again, that means we can turn our corporate attention once more to the pressing duty of accusing people of hate crimes whenever somebody asks “is this sidewalk moving?”

Gives us something to do.

17 Dec 04:53

How to Deal with a Job You Don’t Like

by Jeremy Anderberg


While in an ideal world, we’d all have our dream jobs at every period in our lives, the reality is that everyone will go through periods of not enjoying their work. Whether it’s right out of college and you just need to pay the bills, or you’re 20 years into a career and finally realizing it’s not for you, it’ll happen to all of us. If you’re unhappy with your current job, you should be making moves that will get you to a place and position you’d rather be. But in the meantime, you don’t have to approach each day as if it were the Bataan Death March. Below, I suggest some tips that will help you cope with a less-than-ideal job. In trying them, you may even find yourself enjoying and engaging more with your work.

First and foremost, you may need an attitude adjustment. Do you feel like you’re doing work that’s “beneath” you? Or perhaps you dislike your boss, so you’re sticking it to him by doing shoddy work. There’s a saying: “How you do anything is how you do everything.” If you’re not doing your best work, for whatever reason, it’s likely that other areas of your life aren’t getting your best work either. Good habits are formed in the things we don’t like to do, but do anyway because that’s how you become a reliable man. When you start trying your hardest to do the best work you can, you may come to enjoy your work more, because it’s almost certain that you’ll feel better about yourself and more fulfilled in what you’re doing.

Negotiate changes. An unhappy employee isn’t good for anyone. Believe it or not, your boss and coworkers don’t want you unhappy, because it affects the bottom line. You may have this sense that your boss is willfully making your life hell, and while that’s certainly possible, it’s not likely. It’s more likely that you have different personalities, or that they simply don’t know your frustrations.

Are you overworked? Underchallenged? Unhappy with the pay? One of your first steps should be to set up a meeting with your boss or supervisor and just be honest about how you feel in a professional and civil manner. Maybe you’re just bored at work because you aren’t being challenged enough, so you play computer games half the day. Ask for some more responsibility. Or maybe you have too much responsibility — while there are times where overtime is a necessary evil, it’s not sustainable. Be honest about the amount of work that you can handle. If you write off the possibility of negotiating changes at work, and just assume that your boss is tyrannical, you’re only adding to your problem.

Other things you can negotiate include working from home one day a week, being more flexible with hours (shifting your work day by an hour or two every once in a while), even requesting to transfer departments if you think your gifts and passions would be better suited elsewhere.

Set small goals for yourself. If you’re bored or not challenged at work, set small “quality” goals for yourself. At the end of each project, ask yourself, “Is the best work I can do?” If it’s not, get back to it. Make it a goal to finish a big project a day early. Or maybe you’ll come in under budget. You will not only attract the positive attention of those around you, but you’ll feel better about the work you’re doing.

Do one small act every day to get you to your dream job. If you’re unhappy at work, you probably have some idea of what you’d rather be doing. If you’re in a situation that can’t be remedied and you know that someday you’ll want to be doing something different, take one small step every day to get yourself to your dream job. Do you need to go back to school for something? Read about what the requirements may be, or even start working on an application for that program. If you dream about starting your own business, get one of the zillion books out there on the topic and read a chapter every day. If nothing else, take 15 minutes to jot down ideas and what next steps may be. Doing this will help you see that your current situation is temporary.

Think about what your current job can lead to. Related to the above is to think about the possibilities that your current job offers. Even if you don’t like it, and plan on moving on, it’s not a waste. No matter what, you’re getting experience doing something. How can that experience be leveraged for further opportunities? Before joining the AoM team last January, I was relatively unhappy with my job. But, I had a great schedule, which left me time to work on my freelance, which led to this job that I now love. So even though my previous job didn’t directly lead to this one, it afforded me the opportunity to get here.

Find something you enjoy at work. Unless you’re a complete Mr. Scrooge, there’s probably something you can find to enjoy about your workday. Cling to that. It gives you something to look forward to. Even if it’s just lunch, you can know that there’s one part of your day that’s enjoyable.

This concept can also apply to the work itself. Now there’s certain jobs where this may not be possible, but if you can, volunteer for a project you’d enjoy. If you’re in marketing, volunteer to do some social media or video projects. If you’re in sales, come up with a list of clients you’d really enjoy pitching to. If you can inject something you’ll enjoy into your work, you’ll find your day much easier (and more pleasant) to get through.

Give yourself something to look forward to at the end of the day or week. Along with giving yourself something to look forward to during work, do the same with the end of your day. Allow yourself some small reward after working. For me at my previous job, it was the chance to have 45 relatively quiet minutes on the bus with a book in hand. I relished that time, because for me, reading let me wind down from the stress of work. Grab a coffee from your favorite shop on your way home (or make a cup when you get home). Go out to eat on Friday night to celebrate making it through another week. Some small reward can make the worst of tasks manageable.

Gravitate to and collaborate with the people you like. Even if you don’t like your job, take the time to cultivate relationships with the people you like at your workplace. You don’t have to be best friends, but having a work buddy is important. If you can shoot the breeze over morning breaks or lunch time or even drinks after work, you’ll be a much happier fellow. Even better is if you can collaborate with them on projects — even if they’re in a different department. Be creative and find ways to make sure you aren’t going through the whole day utterly alone.

Decorate your space. This might sound like a superficial solution, but there’s been plenty of research showing just how much a workspace environment can affect your mood and level of job satisfaction. The first part of this entails being physically comfortable in your space and having the right equipment/materials to do your job. How is your chair? Your desk? Do you have enough room to do what you need to do? Do you have all the right software? If any of these things are an issue, bring it up. Again, it’s likely that your boss just doesn’t know it’s a problem.

The second part of this may be even more important, however, and that entails simply the pleasantness of the space. If you’re in a barren cubicle with gray walls and a gray desk and a gray computer, it can be pretty depressing. Put up a calendar that features your favorite hot rods, get some pictures of your family and friends up on your desk…find a way to make the space really yours. Even something as simple as seeing a smiling face in a photo can motivate you to do your best work and remind you who you’re doing the work for.

Be intentional about refreshing. We tend to think of work as just one aspect of our life. The reality, though, is that everything else we do affects our work. If you aren’t getting enough sleep, you’ll be extra cranky for that morning meeting. If you aren’t eating well and aren’t exercising, you’ll feel sluggish all day, which makes anything worse, let alone a full workday you already don’t enjoy.

Treat your work as holistically as you can. Eating well, exercising, and getting enough sleep will significantly increase your energy, and also your ability to take each new day by the horns.

In addition to that, make sure you get refreshed at work. Take a 15-minute break in the morning and afternoon. Take your full lunch break when you can; sometimes you won’t be able to, but you can even take charge of that every once in a while. Instead of sitting at your desk with your lunch, where you can be asked to work on something, take a walk outside for 30 minutes or bring a book to a coffee shop close by. Physically getting away (and being active) will refresh your brain for another few hours of work.

Have a sounding board/confidant. If you’re frustrated at work, keeping it bottled in will only make things worse. With your boss and coworkers, you need to professional and courteous in bringing up workplace problems. It’s also important, though, to just have someone you can vent to. Whether it’s a spouse, girlfriend, or college buddy, being able to say, “Ya know, today was a crappy day at work,” can ease your burden. This can be a little tricky, as you can’t really be public about it, and you definitely don’t want your sounding board to be a coworker, even if they’re a good friend. Also make sure to balance out work complaints with good things happening in your life. You don’t want your spouse or friends to be on the receiving end of constant negativity. While you certainly want to find the best in everything you do, it’s also okay and important to be honest about how you’re feeling at work.

Keep a gratitude journal. If you’re having a hard time finding those positives to balance out the negative, start keeping a gratitude journal. This can take a couple different forms. You could write out one thing each day that you’re thankful for about your job specifically. It can be something about the work itself, or something that’s a consequence of your work. For example, my being able to read on the bus before and after work each day was a definite point of gratitude. Not every job would have afforded that. I was also grateful for being fairly independent in my work, even if I didn’t love what I was doing. I’ll bet that you can find one thing each day you’re thankful for, even if it’s the same thing most days.

You can also do a gratitude journal that’s just for life in general. If you’re thankful for the truly important things in life — your health, your family, your home, the fact that you have a job at all — you’re more likely to see a crappy workday in a better light. Being more thankful all around will ensure that the things you don’t enjoy don’t take over your life.

While you likely won’t be able to implement all of these, working on a few of them will make your workday more tolerable, and perhaps you’ll come to even enjoy the work you’re doing. If nothing else, you’ll know that you’re doing the best work you can, and your character will thank you.

Please don’t give me your sob story or your complaints in the comments. Instead, tell me what you’re going to do to take charge of your workday and make it better. 


17 Dec 04:53

New Dad Survival Guide: The Skillset

by Brett

New Dad Header 1

When my daughter Scout recently passed the 3-months-old mark, I found myself reflecting on how smoothly adding her into the family has gone. Every newborn brings a certain degree of chaos into your life, but throwing baby #2 into the mix has been surprisingly chill.


Me & a newborn Scouter

But oh, ho, ho, was baby #1 a whole different story! When Gus arrived on the scene he turned our formerly childless life upside-down. Charlie at How to Be a Dad jokingly compares the experience of having your first kid to being deployed to Nam and jumping out of a chopper into “a jungle bristling with booby traps of dung-encrusted bamboo stakes.” That about sums it up.

According to a survey by Esquire Magazine, more than a third of men spend about the same amount of time caring for their kids as their spouse does. That’s how it is around the McKay household and I wouldn’t want it any other way; I love being a really involved, hands-on dad. I know a lot of men in my generation feel similarly; according to that same Esquire survey, men ages 18-29 are much more likely to spend as much, or even more time with their kids than their spouses. Yet desire doesn’t always translate immediately into ability.

For several months after you have your first child, life can feel pretty chaotic. You may have never cared for a baby before, have no idea what you’re doing, and feel majorly stressed and overwhelmed. You want to do the right thing for your kid, but you’re worried you might accidentally kill him.

There is a lot to fathering that you just have to learn from trial and error. But preparing your mindset and honing your skillset before your progeny arrives can help the experience of being a new dad go more smoothly. So today we’ll talk about the how-tos and tomorrow the preservation of your sanity.

They don’t hand out an instruction manual in the delivery room, but if they did, these two posts will cover what it ought to say.

New Dad Survival Guide: The Skillset

With all of the baby-handling tips outlined below, don’t worry so much about hurting your baby. They’re not as fragile as you think. Sturdy little buggers, really.

Starting Things Off Right: Give Your Baby Skin-to-Skin Contact

Leaving the womb and suddenly becoming untethered in the wide, wide world can be a stressful experience for babies. Unsurprisingly, studies have shown that holding your baby skin-to-skin can calm and comfort him — stabilizing his heart rate, respiratory rate, and blood pressure, maintaining his body temperature, and decreasing his crying. It also helps you bond with your baby. These benefits occur whether it’s the mother or the father engaging in the skin-to-skin contact. Soon after your baby is born, and for the next few weeks, spend some time with your shirt off, holding him just in his diaper.

How to Hold a Baby

Hold Baby 2

Whatever hold you use, the important thing is supporting your baby’s neck, bottom, and small of the back.

How to Change a Diaper

“Spread the diaper in the position of the [baseball] diamond with you at bat. Then fold second base down to home and set the baby on the pitcher’s mound. Put first base and third together, bring up home plate, and pin the three together. Of course, in case of rain, you gotta call the game and start all over again.” —Jimmy Piersall, MLB center fielder, on how to diaper a baby

A new baby is a poop and pee machine. You’ll be amazed that such a small person can produce so much waste. With a newborn, you can expect to change a diaper every two hours. That’s twelve changes in a single 24-hour day! Wowza! As the baby gets older, the changings will get less frequent, but you’ll still be plowing through a lot of diapers. Unfortunately science has yet to create a self-cleaning baby, so it’s up to you and your wife to clean your little tyke and keep their waste-producing faculties in shipshape condition.

1. Assess the damage. If you smell something funky, you know you need to change your little turd machine’s diaper. When you go to check the damage, be prepared for anything. You might have just a small little nugget waiting for you, or you could have a runny, hazardous waste explosion that has left the confines of the diaper. If it’s the latter, it’s best to move the baby near the bath, so you can thoroughly clean her.

2. Get your materials. Grab a clean diaper and four or five baby wipes (if it’s #2). Place them to the side.

3. Put your gas mask on and assume the position. If your baby is formula fed, be prepared for a pretty potent smell. If your baby is breastfed, the stink isn’t quite as bad. If you have a boy, it’s always a good idea to juke to the side lest his little sprinkler baptize you into the Church of the Yellow Stream.

4. Undo the dirty diaper and lift up your baby’s butt. Lifting of the tuckus can be done by grabbing your baby’s ankles and gently hoisting her feet into the air. Use a clean part of the dirty diaper to wipe any excess poo from her behind.

5. Wipe. With your baby’s little butt lifted off the ground, grab a baby wipe and start wiping front to back. The front to back motion reduces the chance of spreading bacteria into their privates, which can cause a urinary tract infection (especially important for girls). Make sure you don’t miss a spot. Place the used wipes on top of the soiled diaper. Then, with your baby’s feet still suspended in the air, remove the soiled diaper.

6. Close the dirty diaper and dispose. Fold the diaper on itself with the hazardous waste and used wipes still in it. Use the sticky tabs to make a tight bundle. Place inside a plastic bag, tie the bag off, and hook shot the bundle into the diaper bin.

7. Pat dry. If you want to avoid diaper rashes, make sure your baby’s bottom is nice and dry. Apply some A&D or Desitin if her butt is red or irritated.

8. Slide the new diaper under your progeny. In order for a diaper to function correctly, it needs to be on right. The back of the diaper has the sticky tabs on it. Lay your baby down on this part.

9. Bring up the front of the diaper and attach the tabs. You want it tight enough so that it doesn’t slide off but not so tight it cuts off circulation to your baby’s legs. Most disposable diapers have little ruffles around the leg. Make sure those are sticking out, or you’ll have some leaking problems.

10. Give your baby a high five.

How to Burp a Baby

Burp Baby 1

With all of these methods, give your baby gentle pats or small, circular rubs to get the burp out.

Babies get gas from sucking in air whilst feeding. Burping helps them get these air bubbles out. If you’re feeding a baby with a bottle, burp her after every 2-3 ounces she drinks, as well as at the end of her feeding. If she’s fussy or spits up a lot, trying burping even more often during the feeding.

How to Calm a Crying Baby

The most important skill to have as a new dad (if you wish to maintain your sanity) is being able to calm your baby when she cries.

Whether your baby cries a lot or a little will largely determine whether your new dad experience seems easier than you thought or a whole lot harder. Unfortunately, whether you get a really happy baby or a cantankerous caterwauler is pretty much a crapshoot. Regardless of the straw you draw, here’s how to soothe their wailing.

Why is my baby crying?

It may seem like your baby is crying as part of some malevolent plot to melt your brain. But usually there’s a reason; remember, when something is bothering her, she doesn’t have any way to communicate besides howling. Therefore, when you’re trying to soothe your scream-machine, it’s helpful to run through a mental checklist of what could be putting a bee in her bonnet:

  • Dirty diaper? Doesn’t have to be full of #2. A big ol’ wet, soggy diaper can bring them to tears too.
  • Needs to burp? Try the different positions outlined above to get the burp out.
  • Gas? Try laying your baby on her back and then moving her legs and hips up and down like she’s riding a bicycle. Or gently massage her tummy in a circle. You can try over-the-counter remedies like simethicone and “gripe water,” but they haven’t been proven to work and honestly we had zero success with them with either of our kids. I think when people believe they work, the gas would have gone away on its own anyway.
  • Physical discomfort? Is the baby too hot or cold? Is there something on her that’s too tight or scratchy? I once had a very fussy Scout on my hands, and she wouldn’t calm down no matter what I tried. I was getting pretty annoyed with her, when I realized the little pieces of hair that had stuck to me after getting a haircut that morning were now all over her. Gave her a bath, and once again had a happy baby on my hands.
  • Lonely? The world is a big, unfamiliar place for your baby. If she wakes up and no one is around, she might cry out for some company and just want to be held.
  • Overstimulated? The womb was a pretty boring hang-out, so too much new stimuli all at once can make your baby feel overwhelmed. Take her somewhere quiet to decompress.
  • Hungry? Give her a bottle or hand her over to mom for some boob juice.
  • Tired? Time for a nap.
  • Fever? An easy-to-use forehead thermometer is a must for when you have a baby. If the reading says she’s running a temperature, you can give her some acetaminophen. Be sure to check with you doctor for the right dosage.

Crying Remedies

If you go through your checklist, and none of the fixes stop your baby’s wailing, you may just have a case of undiagnosed crankiness. Happens to all of us. Here are some potential soothers:

  • Stick a cork pacifier in it. Not all babies take to the pacifier, and there are pros and cons to using one, but they can definitely work wonders in silencing a cantankerous newborn.
  • Put the baby in a motorized swing. Neither of our babies ever really liked the ubiquitous baby swing, but works like a charm for others.
  • Swaddle. Babies like being tightly wrapped – it reminds them of being back in the womb. Swaddling a baby using a blanket is pretty simple – but we really like these Velcro swaddlers for further idiot-proofing the process.
  • Run the vacuum. The womb was a surprisingly loud place, so replicating that kind of white noise can put your baby at ease. Running your vacuum next to them can be amazingly effective; it’s like a hypnotist snaps his fingers and says, “Sleep!”
  • Take ‘em for a drive. When all else fails, stick the baby in her carseat and take her for a drive. Highly effective at calming a baby down — and your wife will be incredibly grateful to you for removing the scream-machine from the premises.

What if my baby has colic?

If none of the above remedies stop your baby’s caterwauling, and she cries for three hours a day for more than three days a week for three weeks, she has colic. The cause of colic is unknown, and it can wreak havoc on your mental state and your relationship with your wife. My only advice is to try the “5 Ss” (Swaddle, Stomach/Side position, Shush, Swing, Suck) as proposed in The Happiest Baby on the Block and hang in there. Colic often resolves itself around 4-6 months in.

Try to be zen about crying (and walk away if you need to)

Whether your baby has colic or just intermittent fussiness, their cries can really do a number on your equilibrium. Since babies can’t do anything for themselves, their cries are designed by nature to get your attention, burrowing into your brain and refusing to let go until you alleviate their distress. Their wails elicit a real physiological response – you start to sweat, your heart rate goes up, and your body releases cortisol – the stress hormone.

Try to deal with this physiological arousal the way you would any other kind of stressor. I find it helpful to concentrate on disassociating from the cries – I keep telling myself that it’s okay, that it’s just a noise. I also practice my tactical breathing.

Studies have shown that abusive parents have a stronger physiological response to crying, which leads them to lose control. So learning to calm yourself while you’re trying to calm your baby is crucial. Before you have a kid, whenever you see a commercial about not shaking your baby, you can’t help but chuckle and think, “What kind of Grade A moron needs to be told not to shake a baby?” Then, after you have a kid, and it’s 3 am, and you’re holding this little screaming tomato that won’t stop crying, you think, “Oh right, this is why people end up shaking their baby.” You won’t believe how angry you can feel at a little innocent baby — how tempted you are to drop kick them out the window!

If you’ve tried everything above to soothe your baby, and your brain is starting to short-circuit, there’s nothing wrong with putting your baby down in a safe place like her crib, closing the door, going into another room where you can’t hear her cries anymore (you may need to turn on the faucet and the vent), and taking five. Your baby will be fine — really. Far better to let her cry for a little while alone than for you to lose control.

The things outlined above will come more and more naturally with practice. They’re the easy stuff really. More important, and more difficult, is keeping a healthy attitude and perspective on the whole new dad experience. That’s where we will turn tomorrow.

What skills did you have to learn as a new dad? Any tips or tricks for making them a bit easier?


17 Dec 03:36

Photogenic Lies

by Douglas Wilson

For a bit of balance on the issues raised on the passing of Nelson Mandela, I would send you here and here.

If you sow the wind, sometimes you reap the whirlwind. Apartheid, a system of injustice established by Reformed Christians, was the wind. A significant part of the whirlwind is that we are beyond the ability even to identify that the whirlwind is upon us.

Although Mandela was a thug and a bad man, he was plainly a shrewd thug. Upon his election to the presidency, he did not go the route of Mugabe to the north and become a permanent fixture. And after he assumed power, his willingness to fore-go immediate and global retaliation on the white population (on the scale that could have happened) was a small mercy. He opted for a slow motion destruction of the country instead.

But my point this morning is a bit different. I want to point out — because it always needs pointing out — that progressives are profoundly racist. They insist on treating the political history of South Africa in terms of skin pigmentation, white and black, instead of looking at the basis of the true divisions — two white tribes, and three major black ones. Whether we are talking about the English or Dutch, Zulu or Xhosa, for the liberal, what color you are trumps everything.

They do the same thing over here. All the Native American tribes go into one great melting pot, as though no serious cultural and ethical distinctions could possibly exist between various tribes — for do they not all look the same to the bigoted liberal? And they also act as though no distinctions existed between the white tribes that were settling the continent. But remember that the troops that did what they did to the Sioux had just a few years before that been doing the same thing to the South Carolinians.

In this world of progressive racism, the ironies run two ways. The progressives who cannot think outside racial categories are mimicking the founders of the system of apartheid. Race trumps everything. And the racist assumptions of those who built the system of apartheid — however conservative they thought they were being — have conserved nothing, and those assumptions have bequeathed some scary tools to the commies. The commies here are doing nothing in principle but what was done first in Reformed pulpits. In retrospect, that was a really bad move.

Nelson Mandela is undergoing an apotheosis because he and the lies surrounding him are admittedly photogenic. He is the right color, and so are the lies. The black people he blew up in his stint as a terrorist were the right color too, but they didn’t fit in with the right narrative. No need to show photos of them. The truth isn’t the right color.