Archive for May, 2017

31
May
17

A Hate-Speech Whirlwind

Australian tennis great, Margaret Court, has become the centre of a hate-speech whirlwind.
She apparently wrote an open letter to a newspaper, announcing she was boycotting the airline Qantas because it’s CEO has been using his position to promote a pro-same sex marriage message. In addition to announcing her boycott, Court allegedly criticised a young Australian tennis player who is in a Lesbian relationship and raising children within that relationship.

In response some have called for a boycott of the tennis arena named in honour of Margaret Court.

 

A few thoughts and observations:

If Court chooses to boycott Qantas for the reasons she stated, she has every right to do so.
If Court chooses to be public about her choice, spelling out the reasons for it, she has every right to do so.

If she did publicly speak out and criticise the Lesbian tennis player personally– I think that wasn’t only very unwise, it was irresponsible and not her place to do so. (“What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside”. 1 Cor 5))

As for those calling for the boycott of the tennis arena – again that is their choice to do so, but would their reaction be hurting Court in any way – or just be hurting others (competition organisers, spectators, other players with less profile than themselves) who have no connection at all to Court’s comments?

 

I’ve followed some of the commentary arising out of this situation and have seen the same kind of responses that always seem to dominate any discussion associated with homosexuality and homosexual marriage. Responses regularly bring up claims of young homosexuals suffering and being driven to suicide because of hate speech directed against them.

 

And yet in ironic hypocrisy, ALL of the hate speech I’ve seen in those “discussions” has been directed against Christians and others who don’t support a homosexual agenda. Extremely aggressive, abusive hate speech, sneering and railing against “Right Wing Religious Nut Jobs” and applying similar pejorative descriptions to those holding different views for religious (or other) reasons.

 

Personally I don’t take a hostile position against homosexuality and homosexual marriage within a secular democratic society. (Homosexuality within the church is a different issue. Refer again to the quote I gave earlier from 1 Cor 5: “What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside.”)

It’s not our place as Christians to try and enforce Godliness upon the nations where we live. Followers of Jesus are strangers here, living in foreign (often hostile) territory representing God’s kingdom as His ambassadors. It’s not our role to change the nature of the Kingdoms of men. We are placed in those Kingdoms to encourage others to flee those Kingdoms to find refuge in the Kingdom of God.

 

Those who choose to remain outside of God’s Kingdom will answer to God Himself later.

 

 

_______________________

 

See comments section of these articles for countless examples of hate speech, and see who it is directed at.

https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/may/31/andy-murray-ramps-up-pressure-with-call-for-swift-resolution-to-margaret-court-furore

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/may/18/penny-wong-says-marriage-equality-fight-proves-need-for-separation-of-church-and-state

 

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31
May
17

Shavuot (Pentecost) and Transition to the New Covenant

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them

God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it. Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear.

Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2)

_________________________________________________________

 

Fifty days after the first Passover (on the first Pentecost) God first gave His commandments to His people Israel through His prophet Moses.

Fifty days after the Passover when Jesus was crucified, God first poured out His Spirit upon His people, those trusting in Jesus.

“The days are coming,” declares the Lord,
“when I will make a new covenant
with the people of Israel
and with the people of Judah.

It will not be like the covenant
I made with their ancestors
when I took them by the hand
to lead them out of Egypt,
because they broke my covenant,
though I was a husband to them,
declares the Lord.

“This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel
after that time,” declares the Lord.
“I will put my law in their minds
and write it on their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people. (Jer 31)

 

 

He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. (2 Cor: 3)

26
May
17

A Few Thought About Recent Events

 

Yet another terrorist attack in the west, and who knows how many more outside of western interests where these things are not as rare or infrequent as they are closer to home? (At least one in Indonesia reported today 25th May)

And not unexpectedly, the murderer was a deranged Muslim extremist expecting to get fast-tracked to paradise. Imagine the disappointment on arriving at his eternal destination.

the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. (Rev 21)

I can see at least two of those labels are clearly relevant to that deluded young man (cowardly and murderer) and possibly more.

 

At these times debates always arise about the nature of Islam. There are inevitable contradictory contrasts presented, with some declaring Islam a religion of peace, others that it’s a religion of violence and hatred.
While arguments fly, with people taking one side or the other, equally valid arguments could probably be made for both views.

 

Firstly, most Muslims are probably no less peace loving, peace desiring than the majority of non-Muslims. They just want to get on with their lives, taking care of their families in safety and security. They are Muslims because they were born into a Muslim family and follow the rituals and practices they’ve been taught. There would be little difference between them and their attitudes and those of most western “Christians”, except the Muslim often has a much more developed daily awareness of their god than the majority of westerners (even church goers) and are often far more devoted to their beliefs than a great number of professing Christians. And remember, it is only in recent decades that the Muslims among us have become targets of suspicion. Previously they lived  among us with little cause for concern, and Christians need to resist  demonising the people no matter how we view the religion they’ve been brought up to follow.

 

Moving to the other side of the argument, we only have to look at those nations where Islam dominates and see how it affects their laws, their governments and the lives of their people. Those nations include some of the most openly brutal and intolerant in the world, often responding to perceived lawbreakers with violent punishments, and dealing harshly with those alleged to have been insulting to Islam. All of that is justified by appeal to Islamic teaching.
Those who insist on portraying Islam as violent need only to point to those nations, and also highlight those parts of the Koran that justify the harshness in those nations – the parts that teach intolerance for and retribution against “the infidel” (or non-Muslim) and the lawbreaker. And parts of the Koran can make that an easy argument to prosecute. It is to this view of Islam that the terrorists belong, seeking to bring down those outside of their particular religious view of the world.

 

However is pointing out Koranic violence the wisest argument for Christians to make, when it is equally easy to turn the accusatory finger to point the other way?
The Bible itself isn’t free of violence commanded by God. God given Law also demands lethal and violent punishment (some punishments the same as in the Koran, which partially draws on the older scriptural writings that preceded it).
It can be non-productive and unhelpful, to make arguments against Islam citing violent instruction in the Koran, that can equally be levelled against Christianity and Judaism through citing the old and New Testaments.

 

So is there any difference? Are Judaism and Christianity any less condemnable that Islam for having violence at their heart (as provable from the evidence of their holy writings)?

I say there is a difference.
The unfolding message of the Bible is different. There is an ongoing purposeful development throughout. The Bible presents a history of God’s relationship to mankind, showing where we came from, through to God’s ultimate purpose for us.
The Bible starts with God’s creation of the universe and the planet where we live, and how he populated it with an incredible variety of living things, culminating in man and woman.
It tells of how His perfect creation was tainted by the introduction of sin (rebellion) and continues with an unfolding account of God’s means of restoring the relationship between God and man that was lost through that initial rebellion.

 

The violent events recorded in scripture fall within the context of that developing history of fallen mankind struggling with a Holy God of perfect justice. A history that continues to unfold, heading towards a complete renewing of creation. In fact a totally new creation where only righteousness can dwell, a creation free of the hatred and violence that became the inevitable result of man’s rebellion against God.
It will be a new creation, a new heavens and earth populated only by those who have chosen to be willing followers of God through the gift given via His Son Jesus.

 

And that is the difference I see – that there’s an end purpose; GOD’s purpose, where the continuing cycle of men’s violence and other corrupt actions are stamped out, and God’s ways become man’s ways.

 

There’s a reason why we are told that the enemies we face aren’t flesh and blood. That we don’t wage war as the world does. And yet Christians often go against that instruction and put hope and trust in, and support, man’s violent military solutions to the evils of groups like ISIS, Al Qaeda, and their blind foolish followers. Support that can take on a misplaced patriotic fervour. Support for military action often conducted against relatively small groups who have established themselves in poor, vulnerable and insecure nations, or nations MADE insecure by earlier military action. Military action that exacerbates the problem and supercharges the recruitment drive of the enemy “we” are intended to defeat, to the extent that it’s “our” purpose that is defeated and not the enemy “we’ve” been fighting.

 

And while they turn their military might against the nations unwillingly harbouring terrorists – our governments continue to align themselves with gulf state sheikdoms, particularly Saudi Arabia, home and supporter of extremist Islam; who have thrown hundreds of billions of dollars into exporting the extremists Islamist ideologies that we allegedly want to destroy.

And why is that the case?
Indian researcher Professor Brah-ma Chellaney of the Centre for Policy Research in New Delhi says:

“Money is the main reason why the United States in particular is unwilling to break its longstanding alliance with the gulf sheikdoms.”
(http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/breakfast/saudi-arabia-responsible-for-worlds-terrorist-ideology/8553832 )

 

As the title of this article says, this post expresses a FEW thoughts about recent events.
There’s probably a lot more that could be said to add to the topics I’ve touched upon. Some of the subject matter is far more complex than many people like to think, and therefore I’m not sure whether I’ve clearly expressed some of the things I wanted to say. I just hope I’ve made enough sense to take a glimpse beyond the glib political and religious rhetoric we tend to be bombarded with through various mass media, so we can avoid the same feelings and expressions of hatred that we accuse others of harbouring.

25
May
17

Here a leak, There a Leak, Everywhere a US Leak (compromising security)

I’m speechless.

But obviously the US President isn’t and neither are US security services:.

 

Firstly, the President Donald Trump appears to have unilaterally released sensitive classified intelligence provided by an ally to the Russian Foreign Minister and Ambassador in an Oval Office meeting.

Secondly, it appears that US officials have been providing information and photographs of the Manchester Arena bombing to US media before they are officially released by the British government.

 

from:

http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/breakfast/can-the-us-government-keep-a-secret/8556924

 

Also see:

Trump calls North Korea leader ‘madman’

The US president told Duterte that Washington had sent two nuclear submarines to waters off the Korean peninsula, comments likely to raise further questions about his handling of sensitive information after US officials said Trump discussed intelligence about Islamic State with Russian officials this month.

http://www.news.com.au/world/breaking-news/trump-calls-north-korea-leader-madman/news-story/b3cd014022856c019d351e751b420ada

 

Theresa May to tackle Donald Trump over Manchester bombing evidence

Prime minister will raise concerns at Nato summit that intelligence leaks from the US have damaged investigation .

British officials were infuriated on Wednesday when the New York Times published forensic photographs of sophisticated bomb parts that UK authorities fear could complicate the expanding investigation into the lethal blast in which six further arrests have been made in the UK and two more in Libya.

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/may/24/theresa-may-to-tackle-donald-trump-over-manchester-bombing-evidence

 

Photographs of Manchester bomb parts published after leak

A series of photographs of the remains of the bomb, the detonator and what appeared to be a rucksack were leaked. The preliminary investigation by the police is extremely detailed, down to the belief that the killer, Salman Abedi, held the small detonator in his left hand.

Suspicion on who leaked it to the US-based reporter rested on US officials, who have been feeding a series of details about the Manchester bombing to American journalists.

Leaking such inside information from the investigation will add to tensions between the US and UK over the extent to which much of the investigation is being leaked by authorities in America.

The latest revelations came hours after the home secretary, Amber Rudd, expressed irritation with the US and expressed hope that the leaks would stop

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/may/24/us-officials-leak-more-manchester-details-hours-after-uk-rebuke

25
May
17

Calvinism and a House Divided

Another insightful article from Jeff Weddle about the inconsistencies of Calvinism.

anti-itch meditation

If there were a sixth point to Calvinism’s TULIP, it would be Meticulous Determinism. Unfortunately, this would make it TULIPM, which doesn’t sound right. Perhaps TULIMP?

Meticulous Determinism is best defined by The Westminster Confession of Faith like so:

God from all eternity did by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass.

This includes sin and bad stuff.

One of the particularly bad things that has occurred in the course of human events is demon possession. Demons make people crazy. They throw them into fires and convulse them and all manner of other physically harmful things.

Jesus took the opportunity to demonstrate His divinity by casting out demons.

On one particular day, Jesus was charged with being a tool of Satan. Various Jewish religious leaders said the demons were cast out by the power of Satan.

Jesus said that…

View original post 242 more words

25
May
17

The Last Trump: Financing and Arming Terrorism

Donald Trump makes $100+ billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia and blames world terror on Iran.

Contrast with:

“Saudi Arabia responsible for world’s terrorist ideology”

From:
http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/breakfast/saudi-arabia-responsible-for-worlds-terrorist-ideology/8553832

US president Donald Trump has been courting the Saudis this week — sealing another arms deal, this time worth about 110 billion US dollars.

But leading Indian researcher Professor Brah-ma Chellaney of the Centre for Policy Research in New Delhi has warned the Saudis cannot be trusted.

Money is the main reason why the United States in particular is unwilling to break its longstanding alliance with the gulf sheikdoms.

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+6%3A24&version=NIV

 

(Complete interview can be found here:

http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/religionandethicsreport/intolerant-gulf-money/8554430 )

_________________________________

(see more “Last Trump” worthy news here:
https://onesimusfiles.wordpress.com/2017/05/19/%d0%bf%d0%be%d1%81%d0%bb%d0%b5%d0%b4%d0%bd%d0%b8%d0%b9-%d0%ba%d0%be%d0%b7%d1%8b%d1%80%d1%8c-19-%d0%bc%d0%b0%d1%8f/#comment-9188

And here:
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/may/23/trump-budget-medicaid-food-stamps-obamacare

Donald Trump launched a budget proposal Tuesday and, as may not be a surprise, it’s a horror. The pompously titled A New Foundation for American Greatness is a rightwing wish list of tax cuts for the rich and beatings for the poor. Fortunately, as with most things Trump, it’s as likely to become reality as his “great big beautiful wall”.

(note to 80% of white evangelicals who supported this man: “Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court? Are they not the ones who are blaspheming the noble name of him to whom you belong?”)

24
May
17

Leaks, Heartbreak, and Demonic Delusion (The Manchester Murders)

Excerpts from a Guardian article, “US leak of Manchester attacker’s name strikes new blow to intelligence sharing” by David Smith in Washington and Ewen MacAskill in London

“Naming of Salman Abedi by ‘US officials’ hours before it was announced by UK authorities is latest in series of leaks that may damage credibility with allies.”

“American officials have been criticised for leaking the identity of the Manchester bomber before British police officially named him.

Salman Abedi was identified in media reports that attributed “US officials” as the source even as their British counterparts remained tight-lipped.”

“Although UK journalists had Abedi’s name, the UK government and Greater Manchester police declined to confirm it more than two hours after it appeared in the US press. Earlier in the day, the government indicated it might not release the name at all on Tuesday because the investigation was continuing.”

Full article here:
https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/may/23/trump-administration-manchester-bomber-name-leak

 

I first heard about the leak on the radio when I was driving to work, then I saw the guardian article confirming the radio story. (See more links regarding leaks in the comments section).

 

 

The guardian also has a heartbreaking accounts of what happened after the bombing:
https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/may/23/couple-helped-injured-girl-manchester-attack

 

 

The Daily Telegraph has a page with photos of those still missing. One of the “missing” was Saffie Rose Roussos, the eight year old girl who has now been confirmed dead. It seems likely that some of the others mentioned by the Telegraph will sooner or later join the list of those confirmed killed.

This is from another source: “Saffie was unable to be found after an explosion tore through Manchester Arena in the UK on Monday night, killing 22 and injuring a further 59 concertgoers.Family friends called the police crisis phone number, hotels and mustering points for the injured searching for Saffie.They also posted an appeal on Facebook in a desperate bid to find her.”
(from:http://www.news.com.au/world/europe/girl-8-among-dead-in-manchester-terror-attack/news-story/9c3facc7e59181ec2c8e0bbba70b5345

 

 

There are conflicting descriptions of the murderer Salman Ramadan Abedi.

“He was such a quiet boy, always very respectful towards me… He is such an unlikely person to have done this.”

Contrasted with:

Mohammed Saeed, a senior figure of Didsbury Mosque and Islamic Centre, said Salman Abedi had looked at him “with hate” after he gave a sermon criticising Isis and Ansar al-Sharia in Libya…
“Salman showed me a face of hate after that sermon,” he said. “He was showing me hatred.”

Above quotes from article here:
https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/may/23/manchester-arena-attacker-named-salman-abedi-suicide-attack-ariana-grande

 

 

Only severe demonic delusion could make someone think it was honourable – deserving of martyrdom and a fast-track to paradise – to murder children and teens in the name of their god. Only a severe demonic delusion could allow someone to think such a god was worthy of worship and such an act of “martyrdom”.

You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. (John 8)

…you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him. (1 John 3)

…the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. (Rev 21)




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