Musings of a Recovering Lutheran: March 2015
O LORD, God of my salvation,
         I have cried out day and night before You.
Let my prayer come before You;
         Incline Your ear to my cry. 

Psalm 88:1-2 (NKJV)

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Today's verse

And they come to Jerusalem: and Jesus went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves; and would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the temple. And he taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves.

Mark 11:15-17 (KJV)

Monday, March 30, 2015

Today's verse

And it came to pass, when he was come nigh to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount called the mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, saying, Go ye into the village over against you; in the which at your entering ye shall find a colt tied, whereon yet never man sat: loose him, and bring him hither. And if any man ask you, Why do ye loose him? thus shall ye say unto him, Because the Lord hath need of him. And they that were sent went their way, and found even as he had said unto them. And as they were loosing the colt, the owners thereof said unto them, Why loose ye the colt? And they said, The Lord hath need of him. And they brought him to Jesus: and they cast their garments upon the colt, and they set Jesus thereon. And as he went, they spread their clothes in the way. And when he was come nigh, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen; saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest. And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples. And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.

Luke 19:29-40 (KJV)

The King approaches! Not to punish, but to take our punishment.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Today's verse

And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint; saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man: and there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary. And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man; yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me. And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith. And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?

Luke 18:1-8 (KJV)

We live in a time when persecution against Christians worldwide is increasing. One example is the case of Asia Bibi, a Pakistani mother who has been imprisoned for almost five years for "blasphemy". Nor is persecution of Christians is not limited to countries like Pakistan with large Muslim populations. Communist countries such as China and North Korea are infamous for their treatment of Christians. Even in the United States, there is heated opposition to the notion of giving Christians freedom of religion.

Jesus warned His followers that they would be persecuted, and like everything else He said this has come to pass. Yet the Parable of the Unjust Judge reminds us that God is a god of justice. The rich and powerful of this world who are using what God has blessed them with to persecute Christians will eventually be held accountable for their injustice.

Above all, Christians are not to respond in kind. When the world rapes, tortures and persecutes us, we are not to do the same to them. When the CEO of Apple (who is gay) demands the right to force his beliefs on Christians, we are not to discriminate against homosexuals in retaliation. Judgement is reserved for the Judge, and Christians are not to usurp God's place by judging others. We are to proclaim the coming of the Kingdom, not try to bring it about ourselves. "Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord." (Romans 12:19). We Christians need to remember this.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Reading list

Jubal Sackett, by Louis L'Amour.

Today's verse

Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.

Psalm 51:4 (KJV)

Friday, March 27, 2015

Today's verse

And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

John 8:32 (KJV)

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Today's verse

For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.

1 Corinthians 3:10 (KJV)

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Today's verse

For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind: it hath no stalk; the bud shall yield no meal: if so be it yield, the strangers shall swallow it up.

Hosea 8:7 (KJV)

Monday, March 23, 2015

Do unto others...

...whatever you want, just don't do unto me. That is the opinion of this college professor, anyway.

Key quote #1:

I’ve been in academe for about a decade now, and the only professors I’ve known who have slept with or dated students were female.

I’m sure plenty more shenanigans were happening out of public view. Absolutely. But I don’t pry. I don’t care, really. I trust my colleagues not to be rapists, and barring severe warning signs I’d never take any interest in their sex lives, even if those sex lives involved relationships of a sort that I’d personally never partake in.

But lately I’ve noticed a marked, very loud silence from these professors and instructors, the ones who dated students. See, there’s a big kerfuffle going on about a female Northwestern professor, Laura Kipnis, who made the mistake of speaking honestly on the internet. She said that blanket bans on teacher-student relationships were dumb and infantilizing. In response, students and colleagues have called for her to be formally censured. And out of the several female professors I’ve known to have engaged in relationships with students, not a one has lent Kipnis a single word of support.

This isn’t an issue of hypocrisy. This is a matter of real, palpable fear. Saying anything that goes against liberal orthodoxy is now grounds for a firin’. Even if you make a reasonable and respectful case, if you so much as cause your liberal students a second of complication or doubt you face the risk of demonstrations, public call-outs, and severe professional consequences. My friends and colleagues might well agree that the student-teacher relationship ban is misguided, but they’re not allowed to say as much in public.

Do tell. But then there is this howler in the same post (key quote #2):
Personally, liberal students scare the shit out of me. I know how to get conservative students to question their beliefs and confront awful truths, and I know that, should one of these conservative students make a facebook page calling me a communist or else seek to formally protest my liberal lies, the university would have my back. I would not get fired for pissing off a Republican, so long as I did so respectfully, and so long as it happened in the course of legitimate classroom instruction.
This professor - whoever he is - refers to conservatives and Republicans as "assholes" elsewhere on his website, and some of his other posts I read are even more childish. I doubt this professor is as successful as he fancies himself to be in getting conservative students to question "awful truths": more likely, these conservative students know it is safer to back off when confronted with a rigid ideologue who has the power to fail you (or worse). It's not too hard to imagine what it is like to be a student in his class if you disagree with his far-left viewpoint.

Unfortunately, this professor's attitude is all too common in academia. He wants ideas and opinions he disagrees with driven from public debate, but is upset that the same tactics used on those whom he hates might one day be turned against him and his side (the irony of this seems to have escaped him). His not-me-get-that-conservative-behind-the-tree attitude is not exactly edifying, but I am sad to say he has a lot of company. This is modern academia in a nutshell: double standards leavened with cowardice. Do unto others what you wish, just please spare me because I am one of you - really.

The question is: what to do now? The professor may not realize it, but the leftist mobs whom he fears are at least partly his creation. After decades of using the college classroom to proselytize Marxism and punish dissent, liberal professors should not be shocked if their students now seek to purge them (all Marxist revolutions eventually turn inward as "enemies of the people" become scarce and the revolutionary rank-and-file suddenly decide that their old leaders are not pure enough). But to stuff this unruly genie back into its bottle would requite the good professor to stop working both sides of the street. He cannot have both academic freedom and continue to empower the victimization mentality that seeks to undermine it. Choose one side or the other, professor.

Today's verse

Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise thy name: the righteous shall compass me about; for thou shalt deal bountifully with me.

Psalm 142:7 (KJV)

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Today's verse

I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.

Psalm 121:1-2 (KJV)

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Friday, March 20, 2015

Today's verse

The Lord preserveth the strangers; he relieveth the fatherless and widow: but the way of the wicked he turneth upside down.

Psalm 146:9 (KJV)

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Freedom is slavery

...or so believes Tanya Cohen. Read the article (which unfortunately is not satire) and judge for yourselves.

Key quote:

Most countries have freedom of speech, but only in the US is “freedom of speech” so restrictive and repressive. Not only is the US the only country without any laws against hateful or offensive speech, but it’s also the only country where the government cannot ban any movies, books, or video games, no matter how dangerous, demeaning to human dignity, or harmful to society they may be. The US government is also the only government that cannot ban any groups or political parties, even when those groups or political parties pose a serious threat to democracy. This is completely incompatible with international human rights standards, which clearly state that freedom of speech does not protect speech which is harmful to society, to morality, or to human rights. Countries like the UK, the Netherlands, Germany, France, and Australia – to name just a few examples – take a much more sensible approach to freedom of expression. They allow legitimate freedom of expression while banning bigots, hatemongers, conspiracy theorists, anti-vaxxers, pro-pedophile groups, terrorist sympathizers, harmful media, Holocaust deniers, pick-up artists, climate change deniers, and other forms of expression which damage society and social cohesion.

The United States has a very limited and very outdated understanding of human rights and political freedoms. In all other countries, it is simply common knowledge that freedom of speech does not permit hatred or other human rights abuses. This is not something that anyone outside of the US would ever question. In the US, however, it’s a concept that seems to be utterly alien to the vast majority of the population. The US appears completely backwards and positively uncivilized to the rest of the world when it refuses to crack down on manifestations of hatred.

While America has always been far behind the rest of the world when it comes to basic human rights – we still have yet to ban firearms, we still have yet to provide free higher education, and we still have yet to implement free universal healthcare, for example – the need to outlaw hate speech is one of the most basic and fundamental human rights obligations.

Wow. When it comes to dangerous paranoia, Richard Nixon could take lessons from Tanya Cohen.

Of course, it is easy to undermine the logic behind Cohen's love-letter to totalitarianism by asking a few simple questions. For starters: who gets to decide which groups/ideas are "legitimate" and protected by the State, and which ones are not? Cohen's short answer is: her side does (how she became the moral and intellectual judge of what is right and wrong with the legal authority to punish dissent is never explained). The irony is exquisite: if a Christian merely says that the only way to God is through Jesus Christ or that the homosexual lifestyle is wrong, he or she is denounced by secular progressives as a dangerous theocratic bigot. Now Cohen is proposing jailing people just because they disagree with her. Dissent used to be the highest form of patriotism; now (according to Cohen) it should be considered a crime against the State.

Another question to ask her is: how do you protect free speech by decreasing it? Cohen's "Freedom is Slavery" argument, that liberty is expanded only when it is rationed and doled out by those who presume to know more than everyone else, is an Orwellian nightmare. One may as well argue that the only way to combat hunger is to ban food. America suffers from too little free speech and too little freedom, not too much.

There is no question that Cohen's thuggish plea comes from her fear that she is losing the debate on many political and social issues. Rather than win legitimately by argument and persuasion (which I doubt she is capable of anymore), she instead seeks to use the power of the State to persecute those whom she hates. So much for "diversity and tolerance".

While it would be easy to dismiss Tanya Cohen as a powerless fringe kook, it would not be wise. Cohen's totalitarian fantasies are unfortunately widespread in academia, the media, and other organizations where our self-anointed moral and intellectual betters tend to congregate. Having wrecked the US economy, politicized Federal agencies like the IRS, enabled Islamic terrorist groups abroad like ISIS and al-Qaeda, and poisoned race relations, all that modern-day progressives like Cohen have to show for their efforts are very impressive, lengthy enemies lists - and little else. It should not surprise anyone that they will do anything to continue to cling to power.

The Bible tells Christians that we are to respect those who are in authority over us (Romans 13). At the same time, we are not to put our trust in the princes of this world (Psalm 146:3). When we make government a god (as some liberal Christians seem to want), we instead make government a demon. I strongly recommend reading Tanya Cohen's article, since it reminds us how cruel and bloodthirsty people can become when they prize political power above all else.

Today's verse

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.

1 Peter 5:8-9 (KJV)

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Today's verse

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Hebrews 11:1 (KJV)

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Today's verse

And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.

Daniel 12:3 (KJV)

Monday, March 16, 2015

Reading list

The Red Badge of Courage, by Stephen Crane.

Today's verse

Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: but I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.

Matthew 5:38-9 (KJV)

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Happy Pi Day!


Today is 3/14 - Pi Day. And since no one can get enough pi, here is pi to one thousand digits (source):

3.1415926535897932384626433832795028841971693993751058209749445923078164062862089986280348253421170679821480865132823066470938446095505822317253594081284811174502841027019385211055596446229489549303819644288109756659334461284756482337867831652712019091456485669234603486104543266482133936072602491412737245870066063155881748815209209628292540917153643678925903600113305305488204665213841469519415116094330572703657595919530921861173819326117931051185480744623799627495673518857527248912279381830119491298336733624406566430860213949463952247371907021798609437027705392171762931767523846748184676694051320005681271452635608277857713427577896091736371787214684409012249534301465495853710507922796892589235420199561121290219608640344181598136297747713099605187072113499999983729780499510597317328160963185950244594553469083026425223082533446850352619311881710100031378387528865875332083814206171776691473035982534904287554687311595628638823537875937519577818577805321712268066130019278766111959092164201989

Here is a video about pi:

(Note: this is an annual repost.)

Today's verse

And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.

John 6:35 (KJV)

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Today's verse

The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.

Isaiah 40:3-5 (KJV)

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Today's verse

Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.

Jeremiah 1:5 (KJV)

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Today's verse

Give ear to my prayer, O God; and hide not thyself from my supplication.

Psalm 55:1 (KJV)

Monday, March 09, 2015

Today's verse

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

John 3:16 (KJV)

Sunday, March 08, 2015

Today's verse

Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

Ephesians 6:11 (KJV)

Saturday, March 07, 2015

Today's verse

Oh that thou wouldest rend the heavens, that thou wouldest come down, that the mountains might flow down at thy presence, as when the melting fire burneth, the fire causeth the waters to boil, to make thy name known to thine adversaries, that the nations may tremble at thy presence!

Isaiah 64:1-2 (KJV)

Friday, March 06, 2015

Today's verse

Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord shall be a light unto me.

Micah 7:8 (KJV)

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Today's verse

Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

Matthew 16:24-26 (KJV)

Monday, March 02, 2015

Reading list

The Time Traders, by Andre Norton.

Today's verse

When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; what is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?

Psalm 8:3-4 (KJV)

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Today's verse

Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Hebrews 4:14-16 (KJV)