Shared posts

18 Feb 23:30

Natalie Vellacott wrote a blog post: Why I Won't Be Watching "The Shack"

Reviewing books on Goodreads, I find that many of my most popular reviews are actually those where I have given a one star rating. I have also observed that these tend to be the best-selling books especially in the Christian book market. ( The Purpose Driven Life , The Shack, Heaven is for Real) The popularity could be because more people are aware of the books hence more likely to read a review about them, consider reading them or have read them in the past. On the other hand, it could be that Christians are lacking discernment in the books that they buy, read and recommend. Therefore, these books end up clogging up the best-seller lists when they really shouldn’t be there in the first place. Tim Challies has written a good review series on Christian best sellers including The Shack. I am sympathetic to those who act in ignorance or through naivety. I’m sure there have been books I have bought in the past that I wouldn’t want to read now and maybe books that I would read now that I will look back on with a different attitude. This is how the Christian life should be as we progress in holiness and sanctification. What I struggle with, however, is Christians who are aware of the error and decide to overlook it because they want to be entertained.  The Shack is a book that I have warned a lot of people away from over the years. I was given it as a gift by a well-meaning friend and just read the first few chapters before throwing it away. I was annoyed by the profanity and don’t think it's ever okay for a Christian to swear or use blasphemy in their books whether fiction or non-fiction. My most popular blog post to date is interestingly on that topic. Aside from the cursing, I couldn’t believe it when members of the Trinity began to appear to the main character as black women.  Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t about race, it is about gender and the representation of God.  Representing God the Father as any image or human is a serious error even in fiction. We are not to build an image in our minds of God--we cannot "reduce" Him to our level of comprehension as He is so far above us in all things. Jesus had to die a painful death to reconcile us as sinful humans to God the Father due to His holiness. Jesus is the bridge and mediator, we cannot approach God apart from Him, let alone misrepresent Him in this careless way. Why represent God as a woman? The Bible makes it clear that the authority structure is for a man to be at the head. The Shack is more dangerous because it feeds society's attempts to undermine the biblical gender roles and provides direct support for the feminist agenda. Christians should be standing against cultural trends where they conflict with the Bible, not promoting and supporting them. And now, there is a movie. Hooray! In the same way that Christian authors have a responsibility to ensure they are not promoting and advancing erroneous theology, even in fiction. Christian readers must exercise discernment in their reading. It is not legalism it is necessary and biblical. Why should this be any different for a movie?If enough Christians refuse to go and see this movie on the basis that the theology is erroneous, even dangerous, then it at least sends a message that the Bible cannot be undermined in this way. It also ensures that non-believers aren’t confused by the misrepresentation of the Christian message like some have been by the Da Vinci Code.  If you are not put off by the issues mentioned already, then an examination of the agenda of the author should be enough to make you think twice before reading the book or going to see the movie. This documentary from Paul Flynn is worth watching. Sadly, I know that many Christians will still go to see this movie. They will go for the entertainment factor and some will say it is so they can critique it afterwards or start a Christian conversation with a non-believing friend. But, why start with something so confusing and potentially lead your friend down a blind alley from the outset, there are definitely easier ways to start an evangelistic conversation. Why not pray then try—would you like to come to church with me on Sunday? or, have you read this Christian book?—Ultimate Questions by John Blanchard is a good opener and the PDF is free here. God didn't teach us to walk along danger lines or to study falsehood in order to learn error. We should instead study the truth (the Bible) so that we can recognise error. We are taught to resist evil and to flee from temptation. If we walk along danger lines instead of seeking to be more like Jesus by staying away from the lines, we will eventually veer across the line and fall into sin. It’s human nature and there is an active enemy seeking to devour us! Christians who go to watch the movie are endorsing the errors in the teaching, undermining the Bible, funding this series and future projects and encouraging other authors and movie makers to write more of this type of thing. We need to remember that it is the broad way that leads to destruction and the narrow way to life. In the latter times, people will gather teachers that say what their itching ears want to hear and we are warned that many will be deceived. The popular way is not God's way. Simply put in this modification of a quotation from G. K. Chesterton, Wrong is wrong even if everyone else is doing it. Right is right even if no one else is doing it  Christians, let’s boycott this movie! Psalm 101 vs 3 I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless. Romans 16 vs 1 Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them. 1 Timothy 4 vs 7 But have nothing to do with worldly fables fit only for old women On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; Philippians 4 vs 8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 2 Timothy 4 vs 3-4 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. Proverbs 4 vs 14-15 Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not walk in the way of the evil. Avoid it; do not go on it; turn away from it and pass on.
17 Feb 21:44

European Commission responds to the FSFE's information request for Horizon 2020

European Commission responds to the FSFE's information request for Horizon 2020

The European Commission Directorate-General for Research and Innovation responds to a Freedom of Information (FOI) request about the use, development and release of software under Horizon 2020 - submitted by the FSFE on January 9, 2017.

With this FOI request, the FSFE directly aimed at shedding light on how much money is spent on the use and purchase of proprietary software licences through the Horizon 2020 funding for the beneficiary projects. Respectively, it intended to figure if and what kind of data is collected, apropos of Free Software licences. The FOI request followed the publication of the FSFE's position paper for the endorsement of Free Software and Open Standards in Horizon 2020 and all publicly-funded research.

However, the response by the Commission revealed that no information is being collected on how the EU funds are being spent, when it comes to the software used and developed by the beneficiary projects within Horizon 2020:

"[...] we checked if the requested information existed and the competent Commission services informed us that the European Commission does not systematically collect information about open source software used or developed under Horizon 2020 grants, as this is not a reporting requirement in the Horizon 2020 legal basis. Consequently we are not in a position to provide you the information that you are looking for. The same applies to data concerning Horizon 2020 projects paying licence fees for software or developing software on their own."

Breaking down the EC's reply

The EC is justifying the lack of information with the argument that "it is not legally mandatory" to collect data concerning the use and acquisition of software licences.

According to the Article 14(1) of the Regulation (EU) No 1291/2013 establishing Horizon 2020, particular attention in the framework shall be paid to the development and application of key enabling and industrial technologies as well as future and emerging technologies; and shall contribute to the Digital Agenda for Europe initiative. Regarding this particular point, the interim evaluation of Horizon 2020 shall assess the efficiency and use of resources, with particular attention to cross-cutting issues and other elements referred in the Article 14(1). Software is no doubt falling under all of the points that Horizon 2020 is supposed to focus on when it comes to both industrial and emerging technologies, as well as part of the Digital Agenda for Europe. The absence of monitoring the use of resources Horizon 2020 projects are allocating to the use and development of software in Research and Innovation will not allow to assess the efficiency and use of resources of Horizon 2020 in its Interim evaluation.

Indeed, in the first Annual Monitoring Report 2014 which focuses on the implementation of the first year of the programme, information regarding the share of EU financial contribution to the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Research and Innovation was missing. According to the second report for 2015, however, preliminary data show that over one fifth of the EU funding in Horizon 2020 contributes to ICT Research and Innovation.

What "no information" means for Free Software and Open Science

The absence of data about the use of software within Horizon 2020 beneficiary projects makes almost impossible the accurate estimation of the amount of both proprietary and Free Software, being used or developed under Horizon 2020 grants.

Taking into consideration the fact that nowadays, scientists irrespective of their field of study depend on software in order to successfully conduct their research, it is indisputable that almost every beneficiary project spends a considerable amount of the hand-out grant in the purchase of software licences. The fact that the EC does not collect data on the spending of public money for software licences disregards an essential part of the modern research.

Consequently, without relevant data, Horizon 2020 monitoring and evaluation processes cannot draw safe conclusions. Critical factors, such as the re-use of software being developed with Horizon 2020 funding, or the costs for re-purchasing the same licences cannot be scrutinized and therefore, cannot lead decision-makers to optimised funding solutions. Albeit, the most significant complication is the fact that the EC is not in position to prove with a degree of certainty that Open Access and subsequently Open Science, two of the Horizon 2020 most fundamental principles, are implemented in practice. As already argued in the FSFE's recent position paper, Open Science can neither be achieved nor be sustainable in long-term without Free Software being its chief constituent.

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10 Feb 00:06

Recommended: Thucydides’ Melian Dialogue

by geoffreysteadman

A Professor of Classics at Mt. Holyoke College has just published a 96-page commentary on the Melian Dialogue in the same format that is used in the volumes on this website. The book is available in paperback for 8.95 USD on Amazon (link).


I recommend this book to anyone reading Greek at the intermediate level or above and hope that teachers of ancient Greek will consider using this inexpensive commentary in their courses.

If you consult the “Look Inside” search function on the Amazon website, you will have full access to the introduction, bibliography, core vocabulary, and a few pages of the commentary itself.

The book is well worth a look.



08 Feb 20:59

Focus Knob

Maybe if I spin it back and forth really fast I can do some kind of pulse-width modulation.
07 Feb 11:25

David Rader: Don’t move your Oracle database to the cloud

Why move your Oracle database to the cloud? It just doesn’t make sense. You are moving to the cloud for flexibility, for cost savings, for ease of changing your infrastructure. Does doubling your Oracle license fee for AWS or Azure usage sound like Oracle wants to let you have flexibility or cost savings??

(Hint: NO!!)

Instead of moving your winnebago of an Oracle database to the cloud, Migrate to PostgreSQL in the cloud!!

Let’s see what you would get:

  • World’s most advanced open source database
  • Scalable and high performance db engine
  • Large, active community
  • Commercial support available

And what you would be missing that you’re used to from Oracle:

  • Huge license fees and annual maintenance
  • Constant bugs and patch maintenance
  • Arbitrary price hikes

We have done many migrations for customers from Oracle (and other commercial databases). Some are small, quick projects. Others are larger and more involved with large stored procedures and business logic in the database or SQL and C-api calls embedded throughout the application code. In many cases, customers see their payback — from Oracle licenses savings alone — in 6 to 12 months, and always it’s less than 2 years!

The biggest cost of a migration is testing. If you’re moving to the cloud, you will already be testing, and setting up staging environments, and working on a cut-over plan. Why not take all the effort you’re putting in to move to the cloud and get a huge benefit by moving to Open Source?

Think about that for a minute. Keep paying huge fees for a buggy product you don’t own and whose rent can go up any time? Or move to open source and recoup your migration cost in 12-24 months?

I know I would rather migrate than be assimilated by the Big Red Borg.

25 Jan 18:09


With the right 90-degree rotation, any effect is a side effect.
20 Jan 11:12

Joshua Drake: PostgreSQL for Oracle people

Below is the video of the webinar I did recently on PostgreSQL and Oracle. This webinar went very well. This is the first time I had ever performed a webinar that I recall. It was an interesting experience.

PostgreSQL for Oracle Developers and DBA's

If you would like more information on this topic or any other topic surrounding PostgreSQL and Open Source, don't hesitate to contact us.

19 Jan 22:10

Douglas added 'Eve in Exile and the Restoration of Femininity'

Eve in Exile and the Restoration of Femininity by Rebekah  Merkle Douglas gave 5 stars to Eve in Exile and the Restoration of Femininity (Paperback) by Rebekah Merkle
bookshelves: marriage-and-family, theology
I read portions of this in manuscript, but have been working away at the final version since it came out. And it is, of course, fantastic. Now one of you will say to me that I am rating it this way because it was written by my daughter. But the fact that Bekah wrote this does not make me rate it this way. It would be fantastic (and greatly needed) regardless.

This book will be a great encouragement to women who want to think, live, and adorn biblically. I recommend it particularly to girls in high school and college -- a great time to get your thinking straight on these issues.
16 Jan 12:45

Natalie commented on Natalie's review of The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here for?

New comment on Natalie's review of The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here for?
by Rick Warren

Dave wrote: "NO! I don't care about links from others. This should be YOUR review. I check out Goodreads as an alternative to "a basic Google search" in order to digest reviews from INDIVIDUALS. Even this respo..."

Im sorry that my review seems to have upset you Dave. All I can say is that maybe it was spiritual discernment. When I first read this book which was given to me as a gift, I had a completely open mind and knew nothing of Warren or his ministry. My PERSONAL concern was that as I read it I felt that it was basically a tick box exercise--teaching me how to get closer to God in twelve easy steps. The results, according to Warren are guaranteed. He writes about them as if he has found a special secret that has for many years been hidden. I knew that there were no short-cuts to sanctification and that the only way to draw closer to God was through prayer and studying the Bible so Warren's methods felt like a deception and I threw the book away. That is my personal experience--the other things I learned later through research but they just confirmed what I had already detected myself. I gave you the links because the theologians can express themselves much better than I can....
16 Jan 12:45

Felipe wants to read 'Mei Fuh: Memories from China'

16 Jan 12:43

Felipe Sabino liked a review

Esquizofrenia intelectual by R.J. Rushdoony
"Com muita competência e erudição, Rushdoony mapeia todo o problema com a educação estatal até a sua raiz numa linguagem simples, objetiva e acessível. Ele chega a dizer, a certa altura do livro, que a resistência de alguns estudantes à educação contemporânea é um indicativo de saúde mental e cultural. Se isto já era verdade na década de 60, que dirá hoje?
Apesar de este já ser um assunto até certo ponto batido entre nós — graças, em parte, ao princípio de declínio da hegemonia esquerdista nas prateleiras de nossas livrarias —, o livro continua atual e necessário, tendo em vista que ainda são poucas as publicações em português que se propõem a tratar do tema a partir de um ponto de vista cristão reformado.
No entanto, é um livro que exige maturidade da parte de quem lê, especialmente no que tange a certas soluções propostas pelo autor. É preciso situar a obra em seu contexto histórico antes de sair por aí defendendo a extinção disto e daquilo outro. O fato de Rush, por exemplo, incluir a Escola Dominical vigente em sua época na lista de escolas a serem extintas não significa que devemos juntar todas no mesmo pacote. Enfim, é preciso acautelar-se das utopias, não importa de que lado do espectro político venham — se do esquerdo, se do direito."
16 Jan 12:39


Plus, time's all weird in there, so most of it probably broke down and decomposed hundreds of years ago. Which reminds me, I've been meaning to get in touch with Yucca Mountain to see if they're interested in a partnership.
09 Jan 20:39


Hey Rob, sorry it took me a while to get back to you! Sure, I'd love to see WALL-E opening weekend! Are you still doing that, or...?
09 Jan 20:31

Emilio added 'The Biblical Counseling Movement After Adams'

The Biblical Counseling Movement After Adams by Heath Lambert Emilio gave 4 stars to The Biblical Counseling Movement After Adams (Paperback) by Heath Lambert
Muita coisa boa e útil para se pensar no movimento de aconselhamento bíblico. Parece-me que Lambert exagera em algumas críticas a Adams e limita demais o escopo do livro aos autores do CCEF. Embora estes corretamente sejam identificados como desenvolvedores do movimento de aconselhamento bíblico, há muitos outros ramos do movimento.
09 Jan 20:31

America should speak softly and carry a big stick -- but we need a bigger stick

05 Jan 23:45

John added 'Zeal Without Burnout: Seven Keys to a Lifelong Ministry of Sustainable Sacrifice'

Zeal Without Burnout by Christopher Ash John gave 5 stars to Zeal Without Burnout: Seven Keys to a Lifelong Ministry of Sustainable Sacrifice (Hardcover) by Christopher Ash
This is an excellent/accessible book. This isn't just for pastors!
04 Jan 18:52

Simon Riggs: PostgreSQL’s Popularity Goes Up Again

Mirror mirror on the wall,
Who is the fairest Database of all?

A frequently asked question, certainly.

DB-Engines recently announced it’s DBMS of the Year. Maybe the cool thing is that PostgreSQL is in 3rd Place. Yee-ha, an open source project is up there!

Let’s look closely about what this means.’s agreed response was this…

“It’s great to see the continued success of PostgreSQL being reflected in DB-Engines rankings. It’s clear that the strength of the following for the World’s Most Advanced Open Source Database is enough to outweigh the largest software companies as people continue to choose to move away from commercial databases.”

though because of commercial sensitivity this was changed down to this

“It’s great to see the continued success of PostgreSQL being reflected in DB-Engines rankings. It’s clear that the strength of the following for the World’s Most Advanced Open Source Database is enough to draw people away from commercial databases.”

What were the commercial sensitivities? (What about “open source sensitivies”? Well, blame me, cos I agreed the change.)

Well, the title of the post is that a Microsoft product is actually DBMS of the Year, even though it’s not ranked #1 on the main list, that’s still Oracle. And Postgres is #3 on DBMS of the Year, even though we moved through to #5 again, competing with MongoDB for position 4 (although mostly level).

My guess is that Microsoft would like to highlight how it gets more press than PostgreSQL, a point I would concede in an instant. Whether that means it is more popular or has better features is a different thing entirely. People are simply leaving commercial databases in droves to come to PostgreSQL, which is clearly reflected in the very public decline of Oracle licencing revenues over the last 10 quarters and I’m sure its just the same for Microsoft revenue.

The purpose of the announcement from was to highlight that “the strength of the following for the World’s Most Advanced Open Source Database is enough to outweigh the largest software companies”, though my conclusion is that we are not YET in a position to do that. Larger marketing budget does still give a larger audience. Real world usage does still show PostgreSQL usage increasing at an amazing rate. And our technology continues to set the pace of feature development that other databases would like to achieve.

Number 3 means we’re on the list. We can discuss exactly place we’re at, but its enough to put us on the short list for every major technology decision, worldwide. And when people see the feature list, price and responsive support, the effect is compelling.

Anyway, ain’t no such thing as bad publicity, so we’re all happy.

Thanks very much to DBEngines for mentioning PostgreSQL in this post…

Anyway, I do thank Microsoft for continuing to support PostgreSQL in its framework and driver.


04 Jan 18:40

David Rader: Thank you PostgreSQL for Secure Defaults

One of the most common questions from new PostgreSQL users is “how do I connect to the database server?” The nuances of pg_hba.conf and how to correctly enable your Python web app to connect to your db server without opening up connections to all users and all servers is not simple for someone new to Postgres. And architecting a secure multi-tenant SaaS system requires knowledge of how roles, schemas, databases, and search paths interact. That’s one reason we wrote a Security Whitepaper a while back.

But, after seeing thousands of MongoDB instances taken hostage by ransomware the “no authorization required” default for MongoDB is looking like a very dumb idea. Just imagine what executives whose developers picked MongoDB are saying today:

“You mean we store our client list in a database without security?

“Anyone can just delete our NoSQL database from the internet?”

“Were we hacked last year when you said we lost data in MongoDB?”

So, a quick “Thank You” to PostgreSQL for making sure that your data is Secure By Default.

04 Jan 00:42

If liberals don’t oppose Palestinian colonialism, they can’t be liberals

by Melanie

One of the most mind-twisting aspects of “liberal” opinion is the way it has been harnessed to support tyranny and Jew-hatred. Listen here to find out exactly whom I think people of good conscience should and should not support in the Arab-Israel impasse.

The post If liberals don’t oppose Palestinian colonialism, they can’t be liberals appeared first on

04 Jan 00:41

Understanding the Relational Data Model: A New Series of Papers

by (Fabian Pascal)
"Nowadays, anyone who wishes to combat lies and ignorance and to write the truth must overcome at least five difficulties. He must have:
  1. The keenness to recognize it, although it is everywhere concealed;
  2. The courage to write the truth when truth is everywhere opposed;
  3. The skill to manipulate it as a weapon;
  4. The judgement to select in whose hands it will be effective, and
  5. The cunning to spread the truth among such persons."
--Berthold Brecht
A rather accurate explanation of why it has been so difficult to dispel the misuse and abuse of the Relational Data Model since inception. To the point that most of its core practical benefits have failed to materialize, with the IT industry regressing all the way back to its pre-relational and even pre-database state:
  • Graph DBMSs;
  • XML;
  • JSON;
  • NoSQL;
  • Application-specific databases and DBMSs;
  • "Unstructured data";
  • No integrity enforcement;
  • A cacophony of imperative programming languages rather than declarative data sublanguages (suffixed with QL, just like old non-relational DBMSs were with /R). 

Read more »
02 Jan 19:23

Australia lines up against the axis of infamy

by Melanie

Plaudits to Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and his Foreign Minister Julie Bishop for condemning the UN Security Council’s vicious anti-Israel resolution 2334 which, in falsely delegitimising Israel’s settlements, struck at the very heart of Judaism and Jewish history.

On New Year’s Eve Turnbull called the resolution “one-sided” and “deeply unsettling”, while Bishop said it was “unlikely” that Australia would have voted for it had it still been on the Security Council.

This lines up Australia with the incoming US Trump administration against the axis of infamy consisting of Obama, the British government, France and assorted Islamists and other tyrants.

In addition Tony Abbott, the man Turnbull ousted as Australia’s PM, recently reasserted his own place on the side of the angels in the Spectator where he called for Australia to suspend aid to the Palestinian Authority because “it keeps paying pensions to terrorists and their families”. He also said Australia could demonstrate “unswerving support for Israel” by joining any move by the incoming Trump administration to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Well done, Oz.

Whenever I have visited Australia, I have been struck by the absence there of any fundamental cultural hostility towards or suspicion of the Jewish people, of the kind one finds in Britain or mainland Europe.

I assume that at least part of the reason for this very welcome difference is that, unlike Britain and Europe whose particular histories are based significantly on Christianity with all its problematic attitudes towards Judaism, Australia is an overwhelmingly migrant nation with a culturally level playing-field.

I was very struck, though, by another explanation I was given on a visit down-under a few years back. At that time, I was told, Australian forces were deployed in numerous conflict spots in the region. I was unaware of many of these because globally they were of minor significance.

They were very alarming, though, to Australia. The reason I was given was something that had never previously occurred to me. Australia is an extremely large continent. Only a tiny fraction of it, however, is populated. That means most of it is potentially open to attack, for the simple reason that there is no-one there to defend the territory. Australia therefore feels itself to be vulnerable.

This makes it innately sympathetic to tiny Israel which is so terribly vulnerable to the attacks under which it has been bombarded for the past century. And it must also mean that Australia understands a point that is dismissed out of hand by those who demonise the Israelis living in the disputed territories: that in populating otherwise hostile land in such close proximity, these “settlements” are essential to help defend Israel itself against even worse attack.

Inside Australia, Malcolm Turnbull has his political difficulties. But he deserves praise for making a stand for justice and common decency over UNSC 2334 – and for pivoting Australia onto the same axis as the US as Trump turns global politics upside down.

The post Australia lines up against the axis of infamy appeared first on

02 Jan 18:25

E-M1II tested at TheVerge: “Olympus has pushed the MFT format to insane limits”

by Andreapazzo
The E-M1II will be finally be back in Stock on January 5th at Amazon US TheVerge posted their full E-M1II review and writes: The E-M1 Mark II is a breath of fresh air in an industry that values iteration over…
02 Jan 18:24

Furry added 'Discourse Features of New Testament Greek: A Coursebook on the Information Structure of New Testament Greek, 2nd Edition'

02 Jan 18:24

Furry added 'Discourse Grammar of the Greek New Testament: A Practical Introduction for Teaching and Exegesis'

02 Jan 18:13

Douglas added 'Great Good Thing'

Great Good Thing by Andrew Klavan Douglas gave 5 stars to Great Good Thing (Hardcover) by Andrew Klavan
bookshelves: biography, theology
Hope to write more about this soon, but for now, let us just say it is superb.

Here is what I wrote on my blog:

Testimonies are powerful. The apostle Paul gives his testimony in the book of Acts more than once, and he did so to great effect. The center of New Testament-style evangelism is found in the two-fold ministry of preaching and testimony. How will they hear without a preacher (Rom. 10:14)? And the one who believes has the witness (marturia) in himself (1 John 5:10).

Witnesses in the first century gave testimony to what the incarnate Christ said and did (1 John 1:2). But that does not render witness superfluous in the ages after—because the Holy Spirit was given to take the place of Christ, and He has been active down to the present day. This is why testimonies have the capacity to be singularly powerful. They can be done poorly, and can be over-run by hackneyed clichés. But sermons can be done poorly also, and yet no one doubts that preaching is an instrument appointed by God.

This testimony is delivered with exceptional grace and force. The Great Good Thing is the testimony of how Andrew Klavan, a secular and very messed up Jew, was found by Christ.

Klavan is an award-winning writer, and it shows. He brings exceptional talents to the description of an exceptional story, one I thoroughly enjoyed reading. The genre of his other books is “crime novel,” a part of Lit Town where I do not usually go, and so until this book I was unfamiliar with his writing. But in the world of mystery and crime writing, he is a well-known name. His novel True Crime was made into a movie, as was Don’t Say a Word. He has won the Edgar Award twice, and can safely be called a competent wordsmith.

I was familiar with him because of his online video commentary on politics and culture, which are very funny and almost always leave bruises. I found out about this book because of his political presence online, ordered it willingly, and read it even more willingly. This is a testimony that has the power to put both hands on your shoulders, and make you sit down with the book.

Here is his description of how he began praying, before He even knew who he was praying to.

“After a while, though, it began to seem to me that I was thinking too much about perfect truth-telling. It was a waste of prayer time. The human heart is so steeped in self-deception that it can easily outrun its own lies. It can use even meticulous honesty as a form of dishonesty, a way of saying to God, ‘Look how honest I am.’ So I let it go. I let it all go. I just flung wide the gates to the sorry junkyard of my soul and let God have a good look at the whole rubble-strewn wreck of it. Then I went ahead and told him my thoughts as plainly as I knew how” (p. 239).

His was a conversion that had cultural, historical, intellectual, and emotion reasons. He deals with them all, honestly, seriously, and without any sanctimony. You will never read a less sanctimonious testimony.

We live in a time when stories like this need to be told, over and again. I cannot recommend this book highly enough.
02 Jan 18:11

Natalie added 'God Planted Five Seeds'

God Planted Five Seeds by Jean Dye Johnson Natalie gave 5 stars to God Planted Five Seeds (Paperback) by Jean Dye Johnson
bookshelves: missions
I loved this book and was really quite amazed not to have heard of it before.

In the early 1940's, five men traveled deep into the Bolivian jungle, the first group of missionaries sent out by New Tribes Mission to share the Gospel with the Ayore people.....They didn't return to their anxious wives and children and what had happened to them remained a mystery for many years to come.....

This is probably all sounding a bit familiar....but this is NOT the story of Jim Elliot and companions martyrdom at the hands of the Auca tribe in Ecuador. This very similar story actually occurred years beforehand. Why, you might wonder, did one group of men become famous worldwide and the other fade into comparative obscurity?

I can't answer that but maybe if enough people read this book as a result of this review, it will go a little way to rectifying the injustice.

The story is relayed by one of the wives of the men. The incredible decision to remain on the field attempting to reach the suspected murderers for Christ, despite the years of uncertainty--hope then disappointment as rumours surrounding the fate of their husbands abounded. Until one day they would learn the terrible truth....

I don't want to spoil the story, but this was a definite highlight. Ecarai (one of the converted tribesmen) insists on being taken to a small town meeting:

"Here I am," he began in understandable Spanish, "a barbaro that has come from the jungles to tell you people who are civilised about Jesus Christ. God's Word is written in your language so that you can clearly understand it. And yet you do not receive it. We haven't known the Gospel very long, yet what I do know I want to share with you of this wonderful truth." Then in a few sentences Ecarai urged them to believe that Christ died to save them from their sins.

You could have heard a pin drop in that audience. A Bolivian woman sat there that afternoon and cried. In the evening she brought others out to the meeting that had been scheduled and asked if Ecarai would 'tell it again.' "I want these people to hear the most amazing story I have ever heard." she explained.

This missionary biography, despite being relatively unknown, is comparable to Peace Child and Lords of the Earth I highly recommend it.
02 Jan 18:10

Felipe added 'Faith & Wellness: Resisting the State Control of Healthcare by Restoring the Priestly Calling of Doctors'

Faith & Wellness by R. J. Rushdoony Felipe gave 5 stars to Faith & Wellness: Resisting the State Control of Healthcare by Restoring the Priestly Calling of Doctors (Kindle Edition) by R. J. Rushdoony
Como Van Til escreveu numa carta de 1969, impressiona a quantidade de livros que Rushdoony escrevia (e escreveria dezenas de outros). Parecia trabalhar neles dia e noite.

Neste livro em particular fica claro o que sempre menciono: a extensão da erudição de Rushdoony. Ele não apenas escreveu muito, mas sobre praticamente tudo debaixo do sol.

Rush fala sobre a importância da profissão médica, a necessidade desta ser pautada na ética cristã e os perigos e males causados a esse santo chamado por um Estado controlador e sua filosofia humanista.

Eu não poderia ter começado 2017 com uma leitura melhor!
30 Dec 19:58

Natalie Vellacott liked a review

They're Rugby Boys, Don't You Know? by Natalie Vellacott
"I've read a few books by missionaries or about missionary work. But most of them were too esoteric, failing to give a sense of day-t0-day life. But Natalie Vellacott does a fine job of charting her experiences in the Philippines.

They're Rugby Boys, Don't You know? opened my eyes to what it's like engaging young boys (the "rugby" boys) who live in extreme poverty.

"Rugby" is a slang reference to the solvents they inhale as a means of coping.

Natalie takes you through the ups and downs of seeking to establish relationships with boys who are living invisibly along the edge as societal cast-offs.

Their story is remarkable and Natalie's writing will make a lasting impression.

30 Dec 17:24

Mrs May’s screeching U-turn

by Melanie

You can virtually see the skid marks.

The British Prime Minister, Theresa May, has issued what’s been called an unprecedented rebuke to the Obama administration over the Israel-bashing speech by US Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday.

The Prime Minister’s spokesman criticised him for not only attacking the composition of Israel’s government but disproportionately focusing on the issue of Israeli settlements “when clearly the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians is so deeply complex.”

The US State Department said it was surprised since Kerry’s remarks “were in line with the UK’s own long-standing policy and its vote at the United Nations last week.”

It amazement was understandable. For reports suggest that Britain not only voted for the UNSC resolution 2334 but was instrumental in its drafting and in persuading New Zealand to propose it.

As I wrote here and here, resolution 2334 demanded an end to all Israeli settlement construction, cemented permanent Palestinian aggression and rejectionism towards Israel and worse still dictated that Judaism’s most holy places in Jerusalem, the ancient capital city of the Jewish people and the focus of its deepest religious yearnings, constituted “occupied Palestinian territory”.

Yet Mrs May’s spokesman further condemned Kerry’s speech by saying: “The Government believes that negotiations will only succeed when they are conducted between the two parties, supported by the international community.”

But resolution 2334 sought to dictate Israel’s borders and the geographical area of a Palestine state, the very thing that was supposed to be negotiated between Israel and the Palestinians.

So why the screeching U-turn? Almost certainly it was because of the ferocious pushback from both Israel and US President-elect DonaldTrump which presumably made Mrs May realise she had created a diplomatic crisis between the UK and its two ostensible allies.

Nevertheless, her spokesman doubled down on the UK government’s belief that the settlements were illegal. In the Jewish Chronicle, an unnamed government source was reported as saying that Mrs May believes the settlements are the main obstacle to peace in the Middle East.

Anyone with any knowledge of Middle East history will know that this is ludicrous. The main obstacle to a settlement of the Arab -Israeli impasse is that the Palestinians’ goal continues to be the extermination of Israel, and that Britain, the EU and America have excused, funded and incentivised that infernal aim.

Now the Palestinians believe UNSC resolution 2334 has given them the green light for deeper intransigence and more terrorist attacks on Jews.

Mrs May can hardly be blamed for having the deluded belief that the settlements are the main problem when so many British Jews agree with this.

On BBC Radio’s Today programme (0750) Tony Blair’s former Middle East envoy Lord Levy was wheeled on to say that he actually agreed with Kerry’s attack.

Such people in Britain’s Jewish community, with their naive and blinkered tendency to scapegoat the settlers along with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, have been unwittingly reinforcing Whitehall’s deep prejudice against Israel for years.

Mrs May may have been startled by the strength of some of the pushback from the normally meek British Jews. Among these protesters, however, even those who are themselves hostile to the settlers have been dismayed beyond measure by the way resolution 2334 went far beyond this issue to strike at the very heart of Jewish religion and history. What they fail to see is that hostility to the settlers is inescapably connected to hostility towards the Jews.

In America, even Democrats have expressed dismay that the Obama administration failed to veto resolution 2334.

If reports are to be believed, however, this vicious resolution was Obama’s own personal creation, facilitated by an eager British government keen to assist in weaponising its obsession with settlements – an issue which serves as such a convenient distraction from Britain’s century-old betrayal of the Jewish people in its own homeland, which continues to this day.

In both Britain and America, this is now crunch time for these diaspora Jews.

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30 Dec 00:26

Felipe started reading 'Did Adam Exist?'

Did Adam Exist? by Vern Sheridan Poythress Felipe started reading Did Adam Exist? by Vern Sheridan Poythress