Sunday, November 28, 2010

LA on the the Mayor of Portland

The Mayor of Portland has issued a sickening response to the Christmas tree bomber. Move along, folks, this has nothing to do with Islam. It would be wrongthought to think this has anything to do with Islam. The most important thing we can think in the wake of this attempted murder is that it has nothing to do with Islam. Shades of General Diversity-would-be-the-worst-casualty Casey.

Auster nails it:

The Liberal Prime Directive is: Thou shalt not make negative judgments about, discriminate against, or exclude people who are different from us. So, when people different from us attempt to mass murder us, what the liberal sees is not the threat to us, but the threat to liberalism. His immediate response therefore is not to defend us from those who are attempting to kill us, but to defend and reinforce liberalism from the truth which threatens liberalism.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Holy Manna

When I was a small child, I sang at the mission in Chicago, though I don't remember what any of the songs were. I vaguely remember the time a fight broke out between two of the men, and I just went on singing. My parents told that story over and over again and thought me very brave, but it never occurred to me to stop. What did frighten me was the water fountain. Some trick of the light made the water look beer-colored from the stage, and to my overactive imagination it seemed that this was a sign that Something was Wrong whenever one of the men went back to get a drink.

Eventually my father and I stopped going to the mission, and what seemed like many years passed. Really, it was only a few. In my teens I began attending the church that also ran my high school, and the church sent a group once a month on a Monday (as I recall) to be in charge of the service at the mission.

Few women came with our group, and few women were needed. Our men--teens and adults--preached and led the singing, and at the end our men were the ones most needed to pray with those who came forward. There were few women in the audience.

I must have been about fourteen years old when it happened. The only other woman with our group, one of my school teachers, had already gone to pray with someone.

Then she came forward--I do not know her name--and it was my turn. I believe one of the boys had to signal me before I realized what I had to do. I went into a side room with her, we sat down on two metal chairs, and a gulf yawned between us.

No one had told me ahead of time what to do or say, though my head was full of Bible, theology, and theory. All the words went out of my head. I do not think I asked her name or told her mine. (At this time, I believed that I would be a missionary someday.)

Her hair, I remember, was red. She seemed to me very old, much, much older than I. Now I think she may have been as much as thirty. Her face had perhaps once been pretty but was ravaged by I knew not what griefs, and on her bare legs there were sores. Perhaps I exaggerated them. No doubt I stared. She tucked her legs under the metal chair as if to hide them.

I asked her why she had come. Choosing her words with care, looking at me sideways, she said that she had been bad, that she had done bad things, that she would try not to do the bad things but then would do them again. I do not remember what I said. It seems to me likely that I would have launched into a devastating treatise on "how you can know that you are going to heaven," and yet in my mind when I think of that night there is a great silence, and I think perhaps this once I did not say that. We prayed together. I do not know what we prayed.

And that is all. In this life, I will never see her again, nor she me, and I do not know if I did her good or harm or neither. But I have not forgotten her, and perhaps she has not forgotten me.

A few months ago when I spoke to my father he was pleased that, despite his poor health, he was able to go to the mission the previous Monday with the church group.

Brethren, we have met to worship and adore the Lord our God;
Will you pray with all your power, while we try to preach the Word?
All is vain unless the Spirit of the Holy One comes down;
Brethren, pray, and holy manna will be showered all around.

Sisters, will you join and help us? Moses’ sister aided him;
Will you help the trembling mourners who are struggling hard with sin?
Tell them all about the Savior, tell them that He will be found;
Sisters, pray, and holy manna will be showered all around.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving music

I have much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. Without going into details, there has been some sickness in my family lately which is now healed. The entire process has reminded me just how much I have to be thankful for.

For this Thanksgiving post, I have only two music recommendations for albums that I enjoyed listening to today. Both involve hymns, acoustic instruments such as the harmonica and penny whistle, and some of the same performers. One album I've recommended before: Acoustic Sunday by Kevin Williams (and friends). The other, which I just listened to today at the insistence of patient Eldest Daughter (who has had to wait a while to share it with me) is Michael Card's Hymns album.

Both feature Buddy Greene on the harmonica, which ought to be an enormous selling point in itself. I wish I had some whole tracks to show what they are like, but the clips on Amazon give at least some idea. The Michael Card album features a wonderful new tune (written, I believe, by Greene) for "Where Cross the Crowded Ways of Life."

Blessings to all of my readers, and I hope you all had a happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Local police being forced to arrest people by TSA

Previous news from the John Tyner incident said that if you left an airport without TSA permission, you would be threatened with a civil suit and an $11,000 fine. Now it has gone one notch up.

This U.S. citizen eventually got through customs and back into the U.S. without undergoing either a scan or an invasive pat-down, but he was repeatedly told that the TSA could order local police to arrest him. (Link HT: Josh Trevino) By continued, polite questioning, he induced the TSA to back down and not actually order the police to arrest him, but apparently they could have done so.

woman was told by the local police that the TSA had it in for her and could order them to arrest her if she did not "play along." She missed her flight because she had breast milk with her.

So what are the local police arresting you for? What crime? And how does the TSA have the authority to order them to do so? And can state and local governments possibly fight this regime by passing laws ordering local police not to make arrests on the orders of the TSA?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

And Hitler built the autobahn

Robert Spencer nails it. Another fake "moderate" who praises Hezbollah. Next time somebody starts talking to you about all the moderate Muslims in the world, ask him how many of them have good words for Hezbollah.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Poem recitation: "Go Down, Death"

Thanks to Eldest Daughter, here is an excellent recitation of a poem I hadn't encountered before--James Weldon Johnson's "Go Down, Death." Recited by Wintley Phipps. (The person who posted it chose to subtitle it in Portuguese. Just ignore that.)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Police state territory #2

Turns out you really can be treated as a criminal, or civilly sue-able, or finable, or something of the kind, for declining the naked-picture-or-grope regime and then simply not flying. John Tyner, the fellow in San Diego who refused both and left the airport, is being "investigated" for "leaving the security area without permission." The TSA even adds, with chutzpah, that the fine he might face is now $11,000 rather than $10,000, because $10,000 is the "old fine." Of course, that would be nothing in comparison to his legal fees. Think of the implications of this for women and children. You go to the airport, hoping you will be one of the lucky ones and not selected for this regime, but if you are, you must go through it or allow your child to go through it, or you will be punished. Still no details as to who made up this fine, how it got on the books, and who decides when it applies. A little actual investigative reporting by some news outlet on this legal situation would be helpful. Was this something put in place in the Bush administration? Was it passed by Congress? Was it meant to apply to leaving the airport, even if you were willing not to fly, without allowing the TSA to do whatever it wants to you?

HT: Josh Trevino

Sunday, November 14, 2010

"Glory Be To Jesus"

It's been too long since we had a hymn. This was our Communion hymn this morning. These are the verses found in the 1940 hymnal. Midi of the tune can be found here.

Glory be to Jesus,
Who, in bitter pains,
Poured for me the lifeblood
From His sacred veins!

Grace and life eternal
In that blood I find;
Blest be His compassion,
Infinitely kind.

Blest through endless ages
Be the precious stream
Which from endless torments
Doth the world redeem.

Oft as earth exulting
Wafts its praise on high,
Angel hosts, rejoicing,
Make their glad reply.

Lift we then our voices,
Swell the mighty flood;
Louder still and louder
Praise the precious blood!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Story behind "This Old Place"

Two entries ago I posted the Gospel song "This Old Place" together with a lengthy quotation from The Last Battle. I was reminded of that part of The Last Battle when I heard the song.

Thanks to Eldest Daughter, I have the story behind the song. Now, listen up, any of you readers who dislike emotional Gospel music but are traditionalists. You know who you are. You'll like this story. From an interview between Gospel music blogger Daniel J. Mount and songwriter Diane Wilkinson.

My daddy came back from World War II a different person. My mother says that a man came back who looked like my daddy, but it wasn’t my daddy. And he was drinking. My daddy was never able to overcome that. And that was back in the ’40s, before there was any Al-Anon or any help for alcoholics like that.

So my daddy was a full-blown alcoholic, when he was still a young man. He was a medic; he was at the Battle of the Bulge, and he carted his friends away, what was left of ‘em. And we know now what happens with many who come back from war, but back then, I don’t think they knew how to help people like that.

Bottom line, I’m a child of divorce, and no one my age had divorced parents when we grew up. So my mother and her two little ones moved into my grandmother’s house. My granddaddy had built that house, in Blytheville, Arkansas, in the ’40s. It was on a corner of a little, sweet neighborhood there, right around the corner from the Calvary Baptist Church. So we moved into that house, and I lived all of my life in that house, till I married.

After my grandparents passed on, my mother never re-married. She lived in that house until 2001, when she began to be so weak in her legs that we had to move her to Dyersburg. So “family home” doesn’t begin to say … I grew up being raised by my godly grandmother. She taught me about Jesus, she sent me for my first piano lesson.

I love every blade of grass growing there. There’s just something about that place—of course, everyone feels that way.

Well, my brother and I were put into the position of our mother had already moved in with him. His wife doesn’t work outside the home, and I do, so she lives with him. No one is supposed to have to do the final cleanup at your family home while your parent’s still alive. We had to pack all those things—our mother wasn’t able. We would go up on Saturdays, and pack up all those things.

We didn’t know how we would get it sold. It was run-down, and old. And as it turns out, my mother’s sweet neighbors bought the house for a son of theirs. And so I was on my way up there to help my brother do the final cleanup and turn the key over.

And, Daniel, my heart was all the way down in my knees. I just didn’t think I could do it.

I was focusin’ on the boards, and the nails, and the roof. And the Lord began to speak to me with that song. He got me to focus on the people in that house who were waiting for me.

I got the whole thing before I got there. It got me through that afternoon; I don’t think I could have done it any other way.

Well, this was in the Centergy days. And it was so personal that I almost didn’t send it to Niles Borop, my publisher, ’cause I thought, “This is so my song; this happened to me.” And I made a Gospel song out of it, but it was really about my homeplace.

But I told him about it, and he said, “No, just send it, just send it..."

When any of those Cathedrals boys were lookin’, back before we could mp3 stuff, unlike we’re taught to pitch songs, they wanted to hear virtually everything I had, so they could pick and choose from a disc. So I sent Ernie probably ten or twelve songs. He picked “Pray For Me”—their version is bluesy—and he picked that one. He said, “That song touches me, because I’ve lived that song.”

So he recorded it—sings it like an angel. And what happened—I still get emails from people about that song. And I thought, “I was so wrong!” Because everyone will live “This Old Place.” You’ve either already lived it, or you’re gonna.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Police State territory--What would Patrick Henry say?

So: Because we will not stop Muslim immigration, because we will not profile passengers, everybody now, including children, must be willing either to have a photo taken of his naked body (through the clothes, by an X-ray machine), which photo will be viewed by a government agent, or must be willing to be touched all over, including in the genital area, by a government agent.

Are we insane? The government must have a warrant to search your house. Vile criminals, drug lords, et. al., can have evidence withheld from use against them in court if it was collected without a warrant, and the apparent motivation for this is to discourage police from doing "dreadful" things like looking through a window without a warrant or searching a car trunk without a warrant. But the TSA can take (with a potentially cancer-causing machine) and view a picture of your naked body without a warrant, and if you refuse, can touch your entire body, including your private parts, full palm on, without a warrant. This, as the price one pays simply for engaging in normal travel in an ostensibly free country.

This is police state territory. What would those who wrote the Fourth Amendment (that's the unreasonable search and seizure one, by the way) say about this? What would Patrick Henry say? "Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God!"

I am not in the least amused by the fact that on an ostensibly "conservative" blog site we are being told to get over our problems with having our children touched in this manner because we would presumably prefer this over their being blown up by terrorists. The stupidity of this response--again, from an ostensibly conservative source--is beyond belief. It involves the assumption that everybody, including children, must be subjected to these invasive and inappropriate measures if anybody, including children, is to be safe. This is just wrong. I am appalled by the Allahpundit article.

(For the record: If, which heaven forbid, I ever were in a situation where I had to fly with a child and the child were selected for the screening, I would have the child accept the machine screening, despite knowing the type of image it would produce. To the child it would not seem like anything untoward was happening, and hence it would be far less traumatic for the child than the "enhanced pat-down." But it is a terrible choice to make, and at this time I am determined--even more than I already was--to avoid traveling by air with children in response to these new, outrageous procedures, for as long as they are in place.)

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Hah! Take that, Barry!

Right. No kidding. Netanyahu says something that should not need to be said. Jerusalem is not a settlement! If Bibi's new spine is a result of the elections last Tuesday, that's one result I can get on board with.

And, to be fair, guess who it was that I first noticed lumping the eastern part of Jerusalem (you know, the capital city of Israel) with "settlements" in "the West Bank"? Yup. Condoleeza Rice. Obama is far more virulently anti-Israel than Bush, but Bush was in some ways more dangerous, because Israel, viewing him as a friend, made more concessions for him.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Songs to Die For--No need to grieve for this old place

"This Old Place"--Ernie Haase and Signature Sound

"So," said Peter, "night falls on Narnia. What, Lucy! You're not crying? With Aslan ahead, and all of us here?"

"Don't try to stop me, Peter," said Lucy, "I am sure Aslan would not. I am sure it is not wrong to mourn for Narnia. Think of all that lies dead and frozen behind that door."

"Yes and I did hope," said Jill, "that it might go on for ever. I knew our world couldn't. I did think Narnia might."

"I saw it begin," said the Lord Digory. "I did not think I would live to see it die."

"Sirs," said Tirian. "The ladies do well to weep. See, I do so myself. I have seen my mother's death. What world but Narnia have I ever known? It were no virtue, but great discourtesy, if we did not mourn."


It still seemed to be early, and the morning freshness was in the air. They kept on stopping to look round and to look behind them, partly because it was so beautiful but partly also because there was something about it which they could not understand.

"Peter," said Lucy, "where is this, do you suppose?"

"I don't know," said the High King. "It reminds me of somewhere but I can't give it a name. Could it be somewhere we once stayed for a holiday when we were very, very small?"

"It would have to have been a jolly good holiday," said Eustace. "I bet there isn't a country like this anywhere in our world. Look at the colours! You couldn't get a blue like the blue on those mountains in our world."

"Is it not Aslan's country?" said Tirian.

"Not like Aslan's country on top of that mountain beyond the Eastern end of the world," said Jill. "I've been there."

"If you ask me," said Edmund, "it's like somewhere in the Narnian world. Look at those mountains ahead - and the big ice-mountains beyond them. Surely they're rather like the mountains we used to see from Narnia, the ones up Westward beyond the Waterfall?"

"Yes, so they are," said Peter. "Only these are bigger."

"I don't think those ones are so very like anything in Narnia," said Lucy. "But look there." She pointed Southward to their left, and everyone stopped and turned to look. "Those hills," said Lucy, "the nice woody ones and the blue ones behind - aren't they very like the Southern border of Narnia?"

"Like!" cried Edmund after a moment's silence. "Why, they're exactly like. Look, there's Mount Pire with his forked head, and there's the pass into Archenland and everything!"

"And yet they're not like," said Lucy. "They're different. They have more colours on them and they look further away than I remembered and they're more .. . more . . . oh, I don't know..."

"More like the real thing," said the Lord Digory softly.

Suddenly Farsight the Eagle spread his wings, soared thirty or forty feet up into the air, circled round and then alighted on the ground.

"Kings and Queens," he cried, "we have all been blind. We are only beginning to see where we are. From up there I have seen it all - Ettinsmuir, Beaversdam, the Great River, and Cair Paravel still shining on the edge of the Eastern Sea. Narnia is not dead. This is Narnia."

"But how can it be?" said Peter. "For Aslan told us older ones that we should never return to Narnia, and here we are."

"Yes," said Eustace. "And we saw it all destroyed and the sun put out."

"And it's all so different," said Lucy.

"The Eagle is right," said the Lord Digory. "Listen, Peter. When Aslan said you could never go back to Narnia, he meant the Narnia you were thinking of. But that was not the real Narnia. That had a beginning and an end. It was only a shadow or a copy of the real Narnia which has always been here and always will be here: just as our world, England and all, is only a shadow or copy of something in Aslan's real world. You need not mourn over Narnia, Lucy. All of the old Narnia that mattered, all the dear creatures, have been drawn into the real Narnia through the Door. And of course it is different; as different as a real thing is from a shadow or as waking life is from a dream." His voice stirred everyone like a trumpet as he spoke these words: but when he added under his breath "It's all in Plato, all in Plato: bless me, what do they teach them at these schools!" the older ones laughed. It was so exactly like the sort of thing they had heard him say long ago in that other world where his beard was grey instead of golden. He knew why they were laughing and joined in the laugh himself. But very quickly they all became grave again: for, as you know, there is a kind of happiness and wonder that makes you serious. It is too good to waste on jokes.

It is as hard to explain how this sunlit land was different from the old Narnia as it would be to tell you how the fruits of that country taste. Perhaps you will get some idea of it if you think like this. You may have been in a room in which there was a window that looked out on a lovely bay of the sea or a green valley that wound away among mountains. And in the wall of that room opposite to the window there may have been a lookingglass. And as you turned away from the window you suddenly caught sight of that sea or that valley, all over again, in the looking glass. And the sea in the mirror, or the valley in the mirror, were in one sense just the same as the real ones: yet at the same time they were somehow different - deeper, more wonderful, more like places in a story: in a story you have never heard but very much want to know. The difference between the old Narnia and the new Narnia was like that. The new one was a deeper country: every rock and flower and blade of grass looked as if it meant more. I can't describe it any better than that: if ever you get there you will know what I mean.

It was the Unicorn who summed up what everyone was feeling. He stamped his right fore-hoof on the ground and neighed, and then cried:

"I have come home at last! This is my real country! I belong here. This is the land I have been looking for all my life, though I never knew it till now. The reason why we loved the old Narnia is that it sometimes looked a little like this."

C. S. Lewis, The Last Battle

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Election post at W4

I've been having a terrible case of blogger's block recently. I can think of philosophy stuff to write or to prepare to write but just don't feel inspired to blog at all.

But I did put up a piece here at W4 concerning election day. I feel curiously detached (though perhaps you wouldn't guess it to read that post) because in my particular district there are no federal elections in which I am voting. We have no Senate seats empty in my state this year, and my U.S. Representative is a RINO incumbent whom I opposed in the primary and stopped voting for in the general years ago. (Did I ever vote for him in the general? Can't recall.) I imagine he'll retain his seat without my help, but what he'll do with it is up for grabs. He's certainly not reliably conservative on much of anything at all.

I can't help but be somewhat inspired by the election fever in the conservative blogosphere, though. No matter what, I think we can say with some confidence that President Punish-your-enemies Obama won't have things as easy as he had hoped for during the next two years, which is worth a good deal in itself.

I'll go vote later today when I get my car back out of the shop--quite a number of in-state races to vote in.

I've gotten the "put not your trust in princes" thing down pretty well over the past few years. But I haven't quite given up hoping that some "princes" will be better than others, and some interest in watching to see whether that works out. If the Republicans do get a solid majority, let's hope they use it to the max.