Friday, 24 September 2010

Lionel blogs on righteousness

Lionel Windsor has resolved to blog more regularly, and begins his new expedition into prolixity with this absolute cracker on righteousness.

If this is what he produces, long may his resolve hold! Delete a few of the more long-winded blogs from your rss feeds, dear friends, and follow The Lionel.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

A man who dares

At last! A man—a Christian man—who will publicly slight Bono for his vapidity and (at least by implication) his inability to find a stadium large enough to contain his own ego:

Personally, I blame Bono. That you have the ability to wear ridiculous sunglasses with confidence and the ability to write lyrics that sound cool but do not actually mean anything should not qualify you to have any more significance in the shaping of society than the single vote your nation's constitution allows you come election time; and, in my opinion, as soon as rock music starts to take itself seriously, something crucial (I think it is called `fun') in the genre dies. Whatever one thinks of Bush's legacy, I trust that we can all agree that taking the U2 frontman seriously and giving him a platform was one of his least helpful actions during his tenure as US President.

Carl Trueman, the small but ever defiant group of U2 dislikers, of whom I am an insignificant and lowly member, salute you.

By the way, and totally unrelated to anything, but how many times have you heard the argument that because God made this world beautiful, so we should make every effort to praise and worship him in a beautiful way?

Poppycock and faradiddle, as they said in an Enid Blyton book I read one time. God made all sorts of things, and his making of them doesn't necessarily mean anything for the way we approach him. He made slugs. He made rat droppings. He made those little bits of diced carrot that appear when babies vomit. He made things functional, prosaic, quotidian, ugly, excessive, flat, sleepy, containing traces of nuts, and gaseous. And this means what for the way we approach him?

That's right. Absolutely nothing!

Now don't ask because I'm not telling.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Robert Frost: The exposed nest.

A poem by Robert Frost:

You were forever finding some new play.
So when I saw you down on hands and knees
In the meadow, busy with the new-cut hay,
Trying, I thought, to set it up on end,
I went to show you how to make it stay,
If that was your idea, against the breeze,
And, if you asked me, even help pretend
To make it root again and grow afresh.
But 'twas no make-believe with you today,
Nor was the grass itself your real concern,
Though I found your hand full of wilted fern,
Steel-bright June-grass, and blackening heads of clovers.
'Twas a nest full of young birds on the ground
The cutter-bar had just gone champing over
(Miraculously without tasking flesh)
And left defenseless to the heat and light.
You wanted to restore them to their right
Of something interposed between their sight
And too much world at once--could means be found.
The way the nest-full every time we stirred
Stood up to us as to a mother-bird
Whose coming home has been too long deferred,
Made me ask would the mother-bird return
And care for them in such a change of scene
And might our meddling make her more afraid.
That was a thing we could not wait to learn.
We saw the risk we took in doing good,
But dared not spare to do the best we could
Though harm should come of it; so built the screen
You had begun, and gave them back their shade.
All this to prove we cared. Why is there then
No more to tell? We turned to other things.
I haven't any memory--have you?--
Of ever coming to the place again
To see if the birds lived the first night through,
And so at last to learn to use their wings.

I like this bit: "We saw the risk we took in doing good,
But dared not spare to do the best we could
Though harm should come of it".

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Mark Durie on the Ground Zero mosque

Mark Durie is an Anglican minister in Melbourne who I know from our time down there. He is an expert on Islam, and everything he writes about it is well worth a read. Here's his take on the proposed mosque at Ground Zero.

He says:

America is in deep trouble. It seems impossible to have any substantive debate about Islam. Facts no longer matter, and genuine analysis has been replaced by prejudice and paralysing, fear-driven denial. A politically correct narrative has taken hold among the elites —that Islam has been hijacked by a few extremists — and a principle of censorship — that we must not offend the sensibilities of the other Muslims. The effect is that Islam is being given a higher place than that accorded to other religions.

A lot of his observations about the cringing way the American elites have approached Islam can be directly applied across to similar ignorances here in Australia.

Definitely have a look not just at this post but his whole website.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Time for some Andy Goldsworthy

At least, that's who I think did it. From one of my favourite websites, Things Organized Neatly.

Preaching hell from the Bible

The most recent 9 Marks e-journal prompted me to write this post for the Sola Panel on 'Preaching Hell from the Bible'.

If you read it, don't miss Mark Dever's article in which he explains why fear tactics are a good thing.

Of course, it’s good to teach our children not to be scared by shadows, and to be wary of those who use fear to sell us something. But what if there really is something to fear?

A fine question, and inviting of follow-up.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010


Excellent letter from Ian Powell in today's SMH:

I hope Matthew Smith (Letters, September 4-5) has learnt his lesson. It has seemed for some years that you cannot disagree with gay rights advocates on anything without being accused of being filled with hate, anger and homophobia. So Smith is rebuked by Peter Lloyd (Letters, September 6), and David Clarke is attacked by John Greenway. Agree, be silent or put on your helmet.

I thought tolerance was the leading virtue for our times, and yet tolerance has been confused with agreement. Tolerance is the willingness to treat people kindly and respectfully when their views deeply annoy and hurt us.

I visited the University of Sydney recently and saw a fine example of real tolerance. The much maligned Evangelical Union held a large forum on world religions. These Christians gave over two-thirds of the time to people with whom they clearly disagree, speaking for atheism, Buddhism and Islam. This, I thought, was a demonstration of real tolerance, which Herald writers could imitate - where different views and convictions can be discussed without slandering those with whom we disagree.

Ian Powell, Annandale

From here.