Saturday, September 12, 2009

Hill's Hubris

At least he was right. I'm embarrassed for my new home state.

Friday, September 11, 2009

9/11 from Space

Thanks to InternetPopCulture.

Ground Zero after the smoke cleared:

Denominational Schizophrenia

Ever noticed how the stuff coming from the highest levels of church government in the mainline (or legacy) denominations always seems to skew left, while the folks in the pew underneath keep tellin' em to keep right?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

WCF XX.4 and the BCP

My brother presbyter asks an interesting question:

Westminster Confession of Faith

Chapter 20: Of Christian Liberty, and Liberty of Conscience

4: And because the powers which God has ordained, and the liberty which Christ has purchased are not intended by God to destroy, but mutually to uphold and preserve one another, they who, upon pretence of Christian liberty, shall oppose any lawful power, or the lawful exercise of it, whether it be civil or ecclesiastical, resist the ordinance of God.[401] And, for their publishing of such opinions, or maintaining of such practices, as are contrary to the light of nature, or to the known principles of Christianity (whether concerning faith, worship, or conversation), or to the power of godliness; or, such erroneous opinions or practices, as either in their own nature, or in the manner of publishing or maintaining them, are destructive to the external peace and order which Christ has established in the Church,[402] they may lawfully be called to account, and proceeded against, by the censures of the Church.[403]

Did the Westminster Assembly violates it's own guidance when they tossed The Book of Common Prayer out the window (a form of thoroughly biblical form of worship established under legitimate ecclesiastical and civil authority)? Where was the "Christian liberty?" Was it done to build up the people?

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

NSF Scientists find links between solar activity and climate change

Looks like somebody didn't get the memo.

From NCAR:

An international team of scientists led by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) used more than a century of weather observations and three powerful computer models to tackle one of the more difficult questions in meteorology: if the total energy that reaches Earth from the Sun varies by only 0.1 percent across the approximately 11-year solar cycle, how can such a small variation drive major changes in weather patterns on Earth?

The answer, according to the new study, has to do with the Sun's impact on two seemingly unrelated regions. Chemicals in the stratosphere and sea surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean respond during solar maximum in a way that amplifies the Sun's influence on some aspects of air movement. This can intensify winds and rainfall, change sea surface temperatures and cloud cover over certain tropical and subtropical regions, and ultimately influence global weather.

"The Sun, the stratosphere, and the oceans are connected in ways that can influence events such as winter rainfall in North America," says NCAR scientist Gerald Meehl, the lead author. "Understanding the role of the solar cycle can provide added insight as scientists work toward predicting regional weather patterns for the next couple of decades."

Source 1 & 2

What? you mean my van isn't causing global warming, but instead it's that ginormous thermonuclear furnace near our planet? Preposterous.

Now how am I supposed to salve my conscience - especially since Obama's energy* is going into health-care instead of Waxman's wealthcare cap-n-trade?

Whew...that's better. So would this be vehicular confession?

Bush I investigated for speaking to students

When Bush spoke to students, Democrats investigated, held hearings

By: Byron York
Chief Political Correspondent
09/08/09 7:11 AM EDT

The controversy over President Obama's speech to the nation's schoolchildren will likely be over shortly after Obama speaks today at Wakefield High School in Arlington, Virginia. But when President George H.W. Bush delivered a similar speech on October 1, 1991, from Alice Deal Junior High School in Washington DC, the controversy was just beginning. Democrats, then the majority party in Congress, not only denounced Bush's speech -- they also ordered the General Accounting Office to investigate its production and later summoned top Bush administration officials to Capitol Hill for an extensive hearing on the issue.

Unlike the Obama speech, in 1991 most of the controversy came after, not before, the president's school appearance. The day after Bush spoke, the Washington Post published a front-page story suggesting the speech was carefully staged for the president's political benefit. "The White House turned a Northwest Washington junior high classroom into a television studio and its students into props," the Post reported.

With the Post article in hand, Democrats pounced. "The Department of Education should not be producing paid political advertising for the president, it should be helping us to produce smarter students," said Richard Gephardt, then the House Majority Leader. "And the president should be doing more about education than saying, 'Lights, camera, action.'"

Democrats did not stop with words. Rep. William Ford, then chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, ordered the General Accounting Office to investigate the cost and legality of Bush's appearance. On October 17, 1991, Ford summoned then-Education Secretary Lamar Alexander and other top Bush administration officials to testify at a hearing devoted to the speech. "The hearing this morning is to really examine the expenditure of $26,750 of the Department of Education funds to produce and televise an appearance by President Bush at Alice Deal Junior High School in Washington, DC," Ford began. "As the chairman of the committee charged with the authorization and implementation of education programs, I am very much interested in the justification, rationale for giving the White House scarce education funds to produce a media event."

Unfortunately for Ford, the General Accounting Office concluded that the Bush administration had not acted improperly. "The speech itself and the use of the department's funds to support it, including the cost of the production contract, appear to be legal," the GAO wrote in a letter to Chairman Ford. "The speech also does not appear to have violated the restrictions on the use of appropriations for publicity and propaganda."

That didn't stop Democratic allies from taking their own shots at Bush. The National Education Association denounced the speech, saying it "cannot endorse a president who spends $26,000 of taxpayers' money on a staged media event at Alice Deal Junior High School in Washington, D.C. -- while cutting school lunch funds for our neediest youngsters."

Lost in all the denouncing and investigating was the fact that Bush's speech itself, like Obama's today, was entirely unremarkable. "Block out the kids who think it's not cool to be smart," the president told students. "If someone goofs off today, are they cool? Are they still cool years from now, when they're stuck in a dead end job. Don't let peer pressure stand between you and your dreams.

R/T from Washington Examiner

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Send, Go, or Disobey

Powerful video on missions.

Forgive us, Father, for being unwilling to walk across the street and share hope. Strengthen, O Savior of men, the hands of them that carry the light of the gospel to different lands. Soften, Comforter Divine, the stony hearts of your people that we would send or go - and not disobey. Amen.

"O God of all the nations of the earth: Remember the multitudes who have been created in thine image but have not known the redeeming work of our Savior Jesus Christ; and grant that, by the prayers and labors of thy holy Church, they may be brought to know and worship thee as thou hast been revealed in thy Son; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

O God of all the nations of the earth: Remember the multitudes who have been created in thine image but have not known the redeeming work of our Savior Jesus Christ; and grant that, by the prayers and labors of thy holy Church, they may be brought to know and worship thee as thou hast been revealed in thy Son; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. AMEN.

Collect for Ember Days
O ALMIGHTY God, who hast committed to the hands of men the ministry of reconciliation; We humbly beseech thee, by the inspiration of thy Holy Spirit, to put it into the hearts of many to offer themselves for this ministry; that thereby mankind may be drawn to thy blessed kingdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Go, Labor On

Clyde McLennan - Nature with open volume stands

Found at bee mp3 search engine

A great way to end your Labor Day...with Horatius Bonar.

Come Labor On

Where Does Labor Come From?

by Bojidar Marinov, Sep 02, 2009

originally hosted at American Vision

Several years ago a newspaper in Eastern Europe asked a socialist economist a question: “Why is it that the same worker works the same number of hours in Eastern Europe and in America but they make an average of $22/hr in America and only $1.5/hr in Eastern Europe? Where does the 15-fold difference in productivity come from?” The goal of the chief editor was to educate his readers with a short, easy to understand and illuminating article. The socialist economist replied with a 25-page essay full of religious . . . er, I mean, “professional” language that no one could understand, including the economist himself.

The chief editor filed the article in the round file, and called me, the Protestant missionary. “Bojidar,” he said, “I need an article. I need it quick, and I need it simple, digestible and informing. Do you have one?” I did. A good Reformed missionary always has a simple, digestible and informing article on every aspect of human life and action. If he doesn’t, he must go to his Reformed heritage. So I went to one of my Puritan ancestors in the faith, Daniel Defoe, and his character Robinson Crusoe.

Imagine Robinson on an uninhabited island. He has one immediate problem to solve: He needs to eat. He may have a few tools from the ship, but none of these tools give him any immediate solution. What gives him a solution are the few trees near the beach with fruits on them. There is a problem though: The trees are tall and difficult to climb. It takes Robinson one whole day of work to gather only as much fruits as to survive, and then go to sleep at night. He can’t do more than that, unless he wants to go hungry for one day.

Well, one day he has an idea and he really decides to go hungry for a half day. He spends that half day making a long 20 ft. pole to knock fruit down without having to climb the trees. The next day he tries his new production tool, and finds out that it has doubled his productivity: He can knock down the quantity of fruits needed for his survival in a half day instead of one whole day.

So, our first lesson about increased productivity is: It comes from sacrifice, i.e. from forbearing present consumption plus ideas and work. Increasing productivity always comes at a cost.

Now Robinson has several options. He can work a half day, have as much as he had before, and sleep the rest of the day. Or he can work one whole day and double his rations. Or he can work one whole day but eat as much as before, and save the rest—dry it and store it. He decides to take the last option. In a few days he has enough saved to be able to survive a few days without work, so he embarks on a journey to the heart of the island to catch a few wild goats. A week later he returns with two goats. Now he can gather fodder for them one hour a day, and milk them one hour a day, and have even more food than he had before.

Again, his increased productivity came from sacrificing present consumption and using the saved resources to explore and work.

Then one day Friday comes, and he is a good fisherman, but he has no boat. That’s not a problem because by now Robinson is productive enough to feed both of them and work with Friday for two weeks to build his boat and make his net. Now, with Friday’s productivity increased, they have enough time to apply themselves to even better use of their time. The effect of the original sacrifice can be multiplied many times over if they keep saving and use the savings in the right way—not for increased consumption but for more work and investment.

There is no other way to become more effective, more productive, and wealthier. This is how America became what it is today: The fathers of modern Americans sacrificed, saved, and worked, forbearing present consumption and looking to the future. America is rich today because it was founded on that Puritan spirit of self-restraint and work ethic, unknown to most European nations. It is as simple as that.

The editor liked my article, and by the response from his readers, they liked it too. Within a few weeks from its publication the article was republished on many web-sites and blogs online. Eastern Europe is learning from our American heritage.

The question is: Is America today learning from her own heritage?

She isn’t. For the last century Americans have gradually adopted an economic doctrine completely hostile to the spirit of their Puritan forefathers and to common sense in general: That not sacrifice, but consumption is what produces economic growth. We think we have found the way to both eat the cake and have it at the same time. If we eat more, buy new cars more often, spend more money on entertainment, these will somehow make us richer and more productive.

Our government is operating under that same doctrine more and more. Government projects for “creating jobs,” bailouts, “cash for clunkers” programs, printing more money, encouraging unrestricted expansion of money supply and credit—they are all offshoots of the grand illusion that sacrifice is not needed anymore, that utopia will come from unbridled indulgence.

If we look at our example above, this is equivalent to believing that Robinson will become more productive and better off by consuming everything he produced the day before, and even more than that, depleting his stores. Even simple common sense tells us that production for consumption and investing for economic growth are two completely different activities, and they compete for our resources. The more we consume, the less we will have to make our life better in the future. And vice versa, the more we sacrifice and save, the more we will have to invest and make ourselves more productive.

We don’t want to sacrifice anymore; we don’t want to pay the cost for real economic growth. We deceive ourselves that consumption comes at no cost. We are wrong. Both consumption and investment have costs. They both have costs, whether we realize it or not. Of course, we keep telling ourselves that in consumption we are transferring the costs to the future, that we or our children will pick up the tab in the future. But we are wrong. Gary North pointed to the fact that there are no future costs, all costs are present. (Gary North’s articles are true CR, I mean Chivas Regal: only appreciated 12 years after production.)

We need to go back and learn from the heritage of our forefathers. Our indulgence has cost us much so far, and it will cost us more and more. We need to learn to sacrifice our consumption and save. We have paid exorbitant amounts of money to self-destroy ourselves. It is time to start paying for rebuilding. If other nations are willing to learn from our history, we need to learn from it too.

As for me, I say Come, Labor On!

Clyde McLennan - Come, labor on

Found at bee mp3 search engine

Come, labor on!
Who dares stand idle, on the harvest plain
While all around him waves the golden grain?
And to each servant does the Master say,
“Go work today.”

Come, labor on!
Claim the high calling angels cannot share—
To young and old the Gospel gladness bear;
Redeem the time; its hours too swiftly fly.
The night draws nigh.

Come, labor on!
The enemy is watching night and day,
To sow the tares, to snatch the seed away;
While we in sleep our duty have forgot, He slumbered not.

Come, labor on!
Away with gloomy doubts and faithless fear!
No arm so weak but may do service here:
By feeblest agents may our God fulfill
His righteous will.

Come, labor on!
No time for rest, till glows the western sky,
Till the long shadows o’er our pathway lie,
And a glad sound comes with the setting sun,
“Well done, well done!”