Saturday, June 27, 2015

Antonin Scalia obliterates the perverse Left's black-robed tyranny

The obliteration of Marriage, the death of the Constitution, and the Abolition of Man.

You can sit in a garage and call yourself a car, but that doesn't mean that you're a car.

Marriage is and can be only one man and one woman; one man's urge to insert himself into another man's digestive system is not "love," and it can never be marriage.

Sodomy-as-marriage is a delusion, a fantasy, a violation of Nature, and a (temporarily) successful attempt to use the force of law to coerce the endorsement of perversion. (Or at least, intimidate its critics.)

This is the abolition of Marriage, for there is no legally, logically, practically, nor morally consistent way to endorse homosexual unions and still deny "the right to love," "due process," and "equality" to practitioners of the other paraphilias.

And just wait; Islam is licking its lips in anticipation of its chance to argue in favor of Muhammad-endorsed and Allah-ordained polygyny and child sex slavery.

Justice Antonin Scalia obliterates the perverse Left's judicial tyranny, from Power Line:
The substance of today’s decree is not of immense personal importance to me. The law can recognize as marriage whatever sexual attachments and living arrangements it wishes, and can accord them favorable civil consequences, from tax treatment to rights of inheritance.

Those civil consequences—and the public approval that conferring the name of marriage evidences—can perhaps have adverse social effects, but no more adverse than the effects of many other controversial laws. So it is not of special importance to me what the law says about marriage. It is of overwhelming importance, however, who it is that rules me. Today’s decree says that my Ruler, and the Ruler of 320 million Americans coast-to-coast, is a majority of the nine lawyers on the Supreme Court. The opinion in these cases is the furthest extension in fact— and the furthest extension one can even imagine—of the Court’s claimed power to create “liberties” that the Constitution and its Amendments neglect to mention. This practice of constitutional revision by an unelected committee of nine, always accompanied (as it is today) by extravagant praise of liberty, robs the People of the most important liberty they asserted in the Declaration of Independence and won in the Revolution of 1776: the freedom to govern themselves.


[W]hat really astounds is the hubris reflected in today’s judicial Putsch. The five Justices who compose today’s majority are entirely comfortable concluding that every State violated the Constitution for all of the 135 years between the Fourteenth Amendment’s ratification and Massachusetts’ permitting of same-sex marriages in 2003. They have discovered in the Fourteenth Amendment a “fundamental right” overlooked by every person alive at the time of ratification, and almost everyone else in the time since. They see what lesser legal minds—minds like Thomas Cooley, John Marshall Harlan, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., Learned Hand, Louis Brandeis, William Howard Taft, Benjamin Cardozo, Hugo Black, Felix Frankfurter, Robert Jackson, and Henry Friendly—could not.

They are certain that the People ratified the Fourteenth Amendment to bestow on them the power to remove questions from the democratic process when that is called for by their “reasoned judgment.” These Justices know that limiting marriage to one man and one woman is contrary to reason; they know that an institution as old as government itself, and accepted by every nation in history until 15 years ago, cannot possibly be supported by anything other than ignorance or bigotry. And they are willing to say that any citizen who does not agree with that, who adheres to what was, until 15 years ago, the unanimous judgment of all generations and all societies, stands against the Constitution.

The opinion is couched in a style that is as pretentious as its content is egotistic. It is one thing for separate concurring or dissenting opinions to contain extravagances, even silly extravagances, of thought and expression; it is something else for the official opinion of the Court to do so.

Of course the opinion’s showy profundities are often profoundly incoherent. “The nature of marriage is that, through its enduring bond, two persons together can find other freedoms, such as expression, intimacy, and spirituality.” (Really? Who ever thought that intimacy and spirituality [whatever that means] were freedoms? And if intimacy is, one would think Freedom of Intimacy is abridged rather than expanded by marriage. Ask the nearest hippie. Expression, sure enough, is a freedom, but anyone in a long-lasting marriage will attest that that happy state constricts, rather than expands, what one can prudently say.)

Rights, we are told, can “rise . . . from a better informed understanding of how constitutional imperatives define a liberty that remains urgent in our own era.” (Huh? How can a better informed understanding of how constitutional imperatives [whatever that means] define [whatever that means] an urgent liberty [never mind], give birth to a right?) And we are told that, “[i]n any particular case,” either the Equal Protection or Due Process Clause “may be thought to capture the essence of [a] right in a more accurate and comprehensive way,” than the other, “even as the two Clauses may converge in the identification and definition of the right.” (What say? What possible “essence” does substantive due process “capture” in an “accurate and comprehensive way”? It stands for nothing whatever, except those freedoms and entitlements that this Court really likes. And the Equal Protection Clause, as employed today, identifies nothing except a difference in treatment that this Court really dislikes. Hardly a distillation of essence. If the opinion is correct that the two clauses “converge in the identification and definition of [a] right,” that is only because the majority’s likes and dislikes are predictably compatible.)

I could go on. The world does not expect logic and precision in poetry or inspirational pop-philosophy; it demands them in the law. The stuff contained in today’s opinion has to diminish this Court’s reputation for clear thinking and sober analysis.
Scott Johnson notes Justice Scalia’s footnote 22:
If, even as the price to be paid for a fifth vote, I ever joined an opinion for the Court that began: “The Constitution promises liberty to all within its reach, a liberty that includes certain specific rights that allow persons, within a lawful realm, to define and express their identity,” I would hide my head in a bag. The Supreme Court of the United States has descended from the disciplined legal reasoning of John Marshall and Joseph Story to the mystical aphorisms of the fortune cookie.
The Republic is dead.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Turning fiends into friends: The bad medicine of Barack Obama

One might assume it took quite a presidential beer summit to turn those demoniacal health insurance companies into allies of the Demagogue-in-Chief. But make no mistake, it was greenbacks, not six packs, that turned fiends into friends.

And it's not unusual. Donor helps politician get elected. Politician makes law favorable to donor. Donor helps politician get reelected, and so on, ad infinitum, ad nauseam. It's a never-ending cycle of corruption, like Poe's tragedy:
That motley drama—oh, be sure
It shall not be forgot!
With its Phantom chased for evermore
By a crowd that seize it not,
Through a circle that ever returneth in
To the self-same spot,
And much of Madness, and more of Sin,
And Horror the soul of the plot.
It's a perverse thing, studying something in order to learn how to undo it. Like the serial killer who studies anatomy, or the pyromaniacal fire-fighter, or the liberal educator. Many of our elected officials are experts in the law (not the least of whom is the "smartest president ever," the Constitutional professor in the White House). All of them swear to defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Yet they use their knowledge of law, government, politics, and human nature to serve not We the People, but themselves.

Barack Obama is to the Constitution as Jack the Ripper was to the ladies of Whitechapel. Which makes the president Barack ... the Ripper.

And the electorate wonders what happened.

Posted here:
"The administration waived conflict-of-interest laws ...."
Of course they do.
Despite his best efforts to disarm and bankrupt the Republic, the president has provided one valuable service to the nation: He has dispelled forever (except to the most deluded) the notion that liberals are noble public servants who care only about helping the "common man." They are as corrupt and cruel and greedy for wealth, power, and status as the most demonic Conservative of leftist fantasy.
Democrats today (and a lot of Republicans) are nothing more than professional campaigners who care only about maintaining their power and position no matter the cost to the rest of us. They live like kings off our backs while promising to the dull and greedy crumbs for which we all have to pay.
And so will our children.
"In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution." -Thomas Jefferson

Sunday, December 21, 2014

An answer for The Morning Answer

Good afternoon, Brian, Ben, and Elisha,

Recently you considered the question of whether or not Muslim terrorists represent Islam. In light of the many incitements to anti-Semitism, genocide, rape, and slavery found throughout Islam's foundational texts -- Qur'an, ahadith, and sira -- and the centuries of obedience to those mandates, it is clear that though there may be moderate Muslims, Islam itself is not moderate.

Islam's great exegete Ibn Kathir explains in his authoritative tafsir that even "disbelief" is considered "waging war" against Allah, a crime punishable by dismemberment and crucifixion (Qur'an 5:33).

Of course, there are those who self-identify as Muslim who do not support the harming of non-Muslims, but the vast majority of the faithful -- even in the West -- support the goals of the jihadists, even if they are unwilling to engage in violence themselves.

All major schools of Islamic jurisprudence, both Sunni and Shiite (nearly all of official Islam), uphold the commands to war against all who refuse the "invitation" to convert. In fact, Ahmadiyya Muslims -- who reject offensive warfare against non-Muslims -- are persecuted as apostates by their coreligionists, even in "modern" and "moderate" Islamic states like Indonesia.

This is because Islam's "Ideal Man" Muhammad -- its "beautiful pattern of conduct" for those who want to please Allah -- preached and practiced offensive warfare to make the world Islam. He commanded:
"Say to the Unbelievers, if (now) they desist (from Unbelief), their past would be forgiven them; but if they persist, the punishment of those before them is already (a matter of warning for them). And fight them until there is no more Fitnah (disbelief and polytheism: i.e. worshipping others besides Allah) and the religion (worship) will all be for Allah Alone (in the whole of the world)" (Qur'an 8:38-39).
Muhammad's command and example have inspired his followers to war against the non-Muslim world -- as knowledge, zeal, and resources have allowed -- for nearly one and one-half millennia.

This is why Islam conquered pagan Arabia. This is why it exploded (pun intended) out of Arabia after Muhammad's too-late demise and swept through the Holy Land, North Africa, western and eastern Europe, Persia, greater India, western China, and southeast Asia. This is why the Rome of the East, Constantinople, and the greatest church in Christendom, the Hagia Sofia, were conquered, desecrated, and Islamized.

This is why Maimonides observed that no one was as much a scourge to Jews as were Muslims (so much for the "Golden Age of Islam"). This is why Queen Isabella warred to complete the liberation of her nation from eight hundred years of Islamic rule (a feat accomplished very early in the same year she funded a little trip by an Italian navigator named Columbus. Not coincidentally, Islam's hatred of Christians is one reason she was willing to pay for the opening of a western ocean route to the rest of Asia.)

This is why the first Crusade was called in defense of eastern Christianity, under attack for centuries by the spiritual ancestors of ISIL, Al Qaeda, the rest of the Islamic alphabet.

(And from where do you think that at least nominally Christian rulers got the idea to use the force of government in matters of conscience? How might centuries of "Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him" (Bukhari Volume 9, Book 84, Number 57) and "kill the pagans wherever you find them" (Qur'an 9:5) have warped those languishing under Islamic oppression?)

This is why Vlad Dracula -- yes, Dracula ("Dracul" meaning "Dragon"; Vlad's father was a member of the Order of the Dragon, a group founded to defend Christianity from Islam) -- fought to repel the Ottoman Empire's invasion of the Balkans. This is why John Smith -- yes, Pocahontas' John Smith -- warred for Europe against Islam before arriving in the New World; his successes there earning him a family crest depicting the heads of the three Muslims he defeated in one-on-one combat.

This is why Thomas Jefferson and John Adams reported to Congress the Libyan ambassador's admission that the reason the Barbary States warred against nascent America was not because of imperialism, racism, or George W. Bush but because we were unbelievers who refused to submit to Muhammad and so all that we had and were belonged to Islam. This is why John Quincy Adams forcefully and eloquently contrasted Christianity and Islam as the difference between Heaven and hell. And this is why Winston Churchill observed that the world would never experience the end of slavery as long as anyone held Muhammad to be the prophet of a deity.

This is the reason for the Armenian Genocide. This is why it was not Hitler's pope but Hitler's mufti -- the grand mufti of Jerusalem -- who raised volunteers for a special Muslim SS division in the Balkans, advised Hitler on his handling of the Jews, and exhorted Nazis manning the concentration camps to do their "work" there diligently.

This is why 9/11, 7/7, and 3/11 were carried out by Muslims in Islam's name. This is why Christian schoolgirls are kidnapped, raped, enslaved, and beheaded in places as divergent as Indonesia, Nigeria, Egypt, and the UK.  This is why modern Israel was attacked repeatedly by its Muslim neighbors as soon as it was founded and why it  -- and Jews in general -- will never experience peace with the Islamic world.

No one can defeat an enemy they're afraid to name. The non-Muslim world needs the truth to be told about its ancient and existential enemy.


Sunday, October 05, 2014

The racist party hates Reagan

Yes, there is little to distinguish many of the two parties' leaders, but the principles those politicians are supposed to represent couldn't be more diametric.

A response to this with credit to this:
A greater percentage of Congressional Republicans than Democrats supported the Civil Rights Act. MLK was a Republican.

You ought to ask the reasons for Reagan's positions, but you won't, since facts are anathema to you.

Blacks benefited from Reagan's economic policies more than Whites (color-based identifiers are revolting, but since you define people by the melanin-content of their skin cells, so be it).

Pat Buchanan (who's got his own issues with jihad and Israel) invented the term "Southern strategy"; what did he say about the "change" in Republicanism?
"We would build our Republican Party on a foundation of states' rights, human rights, small government, and a strong national defense, and leave it to the ‘party of [Democratic Georgia Gov. Lester] Maddox, [1966 Democratic challenger against Spiro Agnew for Maryland governor George] Mahoney and [Democratic Alabama Gov. George] Wallace to squeeze the last ounces of political juice out of the rotting fruit of racial injustice.”
If Southerners wanted to stay with the racist party, they'd have stayed Democrat. They went to the Republican Party because of the freedom issues Buchanan noted.

And right after Reagan's "states rights" speech in Philadelphia, Mississippi -- where Democrat Michael Dukakis spoke eight years later -- he went to New York to speak before the Urban League.

Reagan opposed "affirmative action" -- racial quotas -- just like JFK, Bayard Rustin, and the Urban League board of directors. He hired Clarence Thomas and Colin Powell. And Reagan signed Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday into a national holiday and approved a 25-year extension of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

Why do you hate "states' rights, human rights, small government, and a strong national defense"? Why do you hate America and its citizens of every hue?

Democrats depend on the obedience -- and ignorance -- of "minority" voters in fastening their chains on them.

You're either too gullible to realize it or too complicit to admit it.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Anything else is self-deception and a denial of the Word of God

God is holy and punishes sin, but He is not some vengeful judge standing far above us eager to condemn and destroy.

Instead, He is the One Who became flesh, died for the sins of the world, rose again, and stands alongside us now in our sufferings, struggles, burdens, temptations, and fears. He is not the "friend" that so many imagine Him to be -- as if He's some kind of semi-divine coffee buddy. The Son of God is our gracious Lord (and Brother) Who bears our weaknesses in Himself.

Christians often misinterpret God's Law and Gospel to their own great harm, denying themselves the comfort for which Christ paid with own blood. Following are some of those recent misunderstandings.

I. Who's the buyer?

In the parables of the Treasure in the Field and the Pearl of Great Price, who is the actor? Christ or man?
"The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it" (Matthew 13:44-46 ESV).
It is tempting to think that we are the one who finds, sells, and buys. (So much of what passes for modern "evangelicalism" comes down to this error.) But that would require us sinful, selfish, sick souls to be a whole lot stronger, mature, and holy than we really are. Than Scripture shows us to be. We're dead in our trespasses and sins, and "every intention of the thoughts of [our] heart[s are] only evil continually" (Genesis 6:5 ESV).

Christ Himself tells us over and over again that it is God Who seeks and saves the lost. What a comfort it is to know that even though we've earned His wrath, God seeks desperately for us wretched sinners not to destroy us, but to save us!

II. Choosing life?

What about Moses' command to "Choose life"? Christians turn this into a slogan, as if they somehow actually do it. Here's what Moses wrote (emphases added):
If you obey the commandments of the LORD your God that I command you today, by loving the LORD your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his rules, then you shall live and multiply, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to take possession of it. But if your heart turns away, and you will not hear, but are drawn away to worship other gods and serve them, I declare to you today, that you shall surely perish. You shall not live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to enter and possess. I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the LORD your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the land that the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them" (Deuteronomy 30:16-20 ESV).
Did Israel keep God's commands and thereby "choose life"? No, they violated them and so chose death. And what was God's answer to His people's wickedness? He became flesh and died for the sins of the world.

III. Fear whom?

When Christ commanded His people, "do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell" (Matthew 10:28 ESV), to whom was He referring?

Not the devil, for where does God ever say to fear the enemy? But He does say over and over and over again to fear Him:
"Fear not, you worm Jacob, you men of Israel! I am the one who helps you, declares the LORD; your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel" (Isaiah 41:14 ESV).
"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight" (Proverbs 9:10 ESV).
(Besides that, the devil does not rule in hell. He and his fellow fallen are "cast [...] into hell and committed [...] to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment" (2 Peter 2:4 ESV). They're on short leashes until their final, eternal punishment where they "will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night [...]" (Revelation 14:10-11 ESV).

Don't fear that.

IV. Our utmost?

What about the popular book, "My Utmost for His Highness"? The idea is not a Christian, since God calls our good deeds "filthy rags" (and that term is itself a heavy-duty euphemism).

We have nothing to offer God. Our "utmost" is worthless. We're beggars. Christ Himself told His Apostles -- the Apostles -- that, "So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, 'We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty'" (Luke 17:10 ESV).

And I've never yet met anyone who's done "everything."

V. A final note

In judging a sermon -- or any other "Christian" message -- ask yourself: Who is the actor, God or man? On whom is the focus, us or Him? Is the speaker's interpretation consistent with what Scripture actually says? It is Gospel?

In other words, is the message essentially, "Christ for us," or is it something else? When the "greatest man born of women," John the Baptizer called the people of God to repentance, to whom did he point? Did he cry out, "Behold yourselves, contributors to your own salvation! Do your utmost!" or was his message, "Behold! The Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world!"?

And did the Apostle Paul proclaim, "you have been saved through faith; you're on your own for the rest"?

It is human nature to want to play a part in our own salvation, even when we say we don't. Man either turns Gospel into Law, waters-down the Law, or denies his sin, all of which rob the believer of the comfort for which the Son of God paid so great a price.

Christ is Life, and He showed us the way:
"Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.' But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me, a sinner!' I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted" (Luke 18:10-14 ESV).
The only time we should focus on ourselves is when we use the Law to evaluate our own thoughts, words, and deeds, an exercise which shows us only our sin and our need for the Savior. 

Anything else is self-deception and a denial of the Word of God.

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Prelude to sacrifice or Sacrament?

One of the truly divine aspects of traditional, orthodox Lutheran liturgy -- and therefore, Biblical, Apostolic worship -- is the proper understanding of what actually occurs during a church service. So many Christians of various stripes look at the service as something we do (sacrifice), but that is completely inconsistent with -- and contrary to -- the Word of God.

Rather, worship is Christ's service to us (sacrament).

I. The Divine Service

Church is not a fitness club where we struggle and strive to improve. We're miserable sinners. What can a dead man do to make himself alive again? What can beggars do before a holy God that He would want it highlighted during His worship?

A better analogy is that church is a hospital in which the Great Physician Himself tends to our sin and sickness. That is what the Divine Service is. Christ comes to us sinners with His mercy through His Word (read, sung, recited, and preached), His "Washing of Rebirth and Renewal" (Baptism), and the feeding of God's people with His own Body and Blood (Communion).

Because we're such wicked sinners, because we're so given to self-aggrandizement, because we so easily lie to ourselves, each other, and God, every word, act, and symbol in worship has special import. So, we must ask ourselves: Does a particular element of the Service focus on Christ, His sacrifice for the life of the world, and His ongoing, unfathomable mercy (and our utter depravity and helplessness, as necessary), or does it focus on what we do to, for, or toward God?

In other words, is it Christ-centered, Christ-on-the-periphery, and Christ in-between, or does it focus on man? Who acts and who receives?

II. The Sacraments

And there's a categorical difference in the Divine Service between a purely-symbolic act and an actual practical function that may or may not have symbolic meaning.

For example, when the offering is brought forward, there is a lot of symbolism. The congregation offers its "firstfruits" for God's work, expresses gratitude for His blessings, and offers itself symbolically to God. But there is also the practical matter of the church needing money to carry on its work.

But what of bringing the elements of the Lord's Supper to the altar during the Offertory?

Thinking it was just a bit of "high church," it was surprising to hear last night that the bringing forward of the bread and wine (with the offering and prayer requests -- completely appropriate, by the way; God invites us graciously to pray on all occasions) during our service is a presentation of our firstfruits, an offering to God.

That's a problem because in the Lord's Supper, the Son of God gives of Himself freely to all. He does the work. We have nothing to contribute to it. Suggesting otherwise resembles strongly the Roman Catholic (mis)understanding of Communion as (in part) our sacrifice.

Considering the less-than-charitable (reductio ad absurdum is not very nice!) and unsatisfactory explanation offered for this practice, I began doing some research. It turns out that out of several pages of search results, all but one or two were links to Roman Catholic sites.

Now, just because something is Roman doesn't mean that it's wrong. But the Church of Rome's understanding of Communion as something in which we play a part (our "sacrifice") is inconsistent with the Gospel. (Don't worry; "evangelicals" deny God's grace also, but they do it by removing Christ and His promises from Communion entirely.)

The General Instruction of the Roman Missal states in part (emphases mine throughout):
God has first blessed us with the gift of creation. Humans take those gifts given, wheat and grapes, and, using our creativity, make bread and wine. Then, we bring those gifts we have received and labored over to present them at the Altar / Table that they might be transformed into the Body and Blood of Christ. Finally, we receive them back in communion. The procession of the gifts says, in essence, “Behold the gifts God has given us!” The priest says the proper prayers aloud [...] the only prayer that is usually audible at this part of the Mass is the invitation of the presider, “Pray my brothers and sisters…” followed by response of the faithful, “May the Lord accept the sacrifice at your hands…" The rite closes with the Prayer over the Offerings.
So, what is the Lutheran understanding of bringing forward the Bread and Wine? According to this article, the bread and wine are "your own [God's] gifts," an interpretation consistent with the Lord's Supper as sacrament, not sacrifice:
Remembering, therefore, his salutary command, his life-giving Passion and death, his glorious resurrection and ascension, and his promise to come again, we give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, not as we ought, but as we are able; and we implore you mercifully to accept our praise and thanksgiving, and, with your Word and Holy Spirit, to bless us, your servants, and these your own gifts of bread and wine; that we and all who share in the + body and blood of your Son may be filled with heavenly peace and joy, and receiving the forgiveness of sin, may be + sanctified in soul and body, and have our portion with all your saints.
But is that definitive? It is Wikipedia, after all. (Yes, I know.) The official Lutheran (LCMS) explanation of the Liturgy clarifies:
There is, however, an offering that we do make, both now in our worship and one day in heaven itself. It is the sacrifice of thanksgiving as we call on the name of the Lord (Ps. 116:17). In the Apology to the Augsburg Confession (Article 24), this eucharistic sacrifice is carefully distinguished from the propitiatory sacrifice of Christ. The sacrifice for sins belongs to him alone. Every time we try to grab that honor for ourselves, we come up short--very short. But when we recognize our rightful place--that we are on the receiving end of God's merciful goodness--then the sacrifice of thanksgiving cannot help but pour forth from our lips as we give our thanks to the One who gave everything for us.

The giving of our firstfruits, whether it is money or possessions, time or talents, is also a part of this sacrifice of thanksgiving. Our mouths cannot remain separated from the rest of our bodies. If the thanksgiving is flowing from our lips, then it will also find expression in the giving of our very selves for the sake of Christ and the neighbor.
So, we do give something to God at this time: Our thanks in the form of our words and our "firstfruits" -- "money or possessions, time or talents." No mention of bread or wine. (Unlike today, the first Christians had to bring bread and wine to worship for the Lord's Supper, or there wouldn't have been any for Communion.)

What, if anything, did Luther have to say on the subject?

Communion has been called, "Holy food for holy people." Because Christ declares us holy, we are. But we are also sinners prone to self-deception. As long as we're on this side of Heaven, it might be better to refer to The Lord's Supper as "Holy food for wicked people."

Perhaps then pastors, Catholics, and Evangelicals will stop thinking of themselves as meritorious enough on their own to either contribute to the Lord's Supper or deny its power.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Not everyone in Silicon Valley's having a cold one with Barack "Jim Jones" Obama

What good is all the processing power in the world if you don't have any sense?

When Silicon Valley -- and Hollywood and other multibillionaires -- fund the destruction of the Republic, one small voice might not be much to get excited over.

But if dissent against Dear Leader crops up in even liberal strongholds, then perhaps there is hope for the nation.

It's good to see that not everyone in Silicon Valley's having a cold one with Barack "Jim Jones" Obama, from here and here.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Microsoft are the creators of the Blue Screen of Death, but we ought to be able to expect basic keyboard functionality from their operating systems, shouldn't we? Modifier keys sticking in Windows 8 (and other maladies)

As a long-time user of Microsoft operating systems, I've done my fair share of troubleshooting. But a problem cropped up early last year in Windows 8 that's been impossible to solve (though it was quiet for much of 2013). Searches show that it's been plaguing users running other versions of Windows as far back as 2006. Even the new Surface tablets are not immune.

Without warning or any discernable trigger, one or more modifier keys stick virtually. They're not sticking physically; the keyboard is clean and the keys work fine normally. (And yes, Sticky Keys are disabled.)

Often only restarting Explorer, singing out, or restarting will correct the issue.

(I've also experienced certain keys not working -- usually C, V, and H -- unless Shift is held down. Normally when this occurs, they'll work in some programs (like Notepad) but not in others (Firefox, Chrome, or the Metro Start screen).)

I've tried a variety of suggestions. Nothing's worked, not even a Repair Install for the tyrannical and broken Update 1. And Microsoft's support is worthless. Last night, one tech never appeared before transferring me to someone else. That tech seemed unable or unwilling to address the issue. And when I finally found someone competent, the Send button in the chat window stopped working, so I couldn't communicate with him.

Microsoft are the creators of the Blue Screen of Death, but we ought to be able to expect basic keyboard functionality in their operating systems, shouldn't we?

(Perhaps someone can let Satya Nadella know so that he can put an engineer or two on fixing this. And the fact that Windows Updates sometimes refuse to install if you've modified your Start Menu folders. Yes, the Start Menu that doesn't officially exist in Windows 8.)

Below is a complete listing of every workaround I've attempted (with observations; failures are crossed out) for keys sticking virtually in Windows 8 and 8.1 over the last one and one-half years:
Clean install of Windows 8.1: System ran cleanly for a week. Installed Java (for LibreOffice) and PowerDVD, played some of a movie file, quit, and the Windows key locked (though it wasn't visible on either touch keyboard). Right Windows key?

Coming out of sleep, Windows key was stuck. Opened G700 Logitech Gaming Software to see if key assignments had disappeared again. Started recording a MultiKey Macro and found that the right Windows key was stuck. This keyboard has no right Windows key.

After a few Lock Screens, the right Windows key released.

Then, C, V, and H stopped working in Chrome without the Shift key, and unable to search in Start screen.

Someone suggested that Chrome waiting to install an update was the problem, but this install was up-to-date.

Checked Windows Update; several are waiting to be installed.

(Get keyboard with right Windows key?)

Used KeyTweak to remap RWin to RCtrl. Windows also updated.

So far, so good ....

Uninstalled iTunes, Bonjour, Apple Software ....

Uninstalled Unity Web Player ....

Remove SetPoint, use X-Mouse

Disabled T650's SetPoint Zoom in and out

Press the right Windows key (None on this keyboard, so I can't try it.)

The malfunctions seem to occur often with Windows and Flash updates and/or YouTube videos (whether Firefox or Chrome).

Disable Microsoft Input Configuration Device

Keep keyboard in front of receiver (not blocked by television

Disable "Turn on Toggle Keys" and "Turn on Toggle Keys by holding down the NUM LOCK key for 5 seconds."

Unplug USB mouse (Event Viewer reporting angle errors)

Remove all keyboards from Device Manager, reboot

Pressing Ctrl and +

Press any Function key

Uninstall Logitech drivers and software; use X-Mouse

End jusched.exe in Task Manager

Moved DiNovo Edge USB receiver from USB hub to motherboard USB port

Removed T650 USB receiver

Disabled Touch Keyboard and Handwriting Panel Service

Killed Origin

Tapped Shift and Alt

Update of English Input Personalization Dictionary causing sticking?

Don't use Windows Magnifier

Uninstalled Classic Shell, ModernMix, and SkyShellEx.

Okay, so that didn't work. Alarms is gone, and still the keys locked. It was after a long time, and I got a low memory warning. Chrome was running along with iTunes, Origin, and Magnifier.

Pressing keys on physical and virtual keyboards -- and switching virtual keyboards -- seems to have worked ... temporarily.

PowerDVD, USB device, Logitech or Touch processes

Killing BZTRANSMIT64.EXE or BONJOUR released Win key. (Then it reappeared stuck in Touch Keyboard -- but not physically -- until switching to another Touch Keyboard)

Killing Bonjour, some Logitech processes, and turning the keyboard on and off made a difference (this time).

A pointer device did not report a valid unit of angular measurement?

A pointer device has no information about the monitor it is attached to?

A multi-touch device reported inconsistent contact information?

USB issue failing to load drivers?

VLC? Windows Update? Bztransmit64.exe? (overloaded system?)

Disable Intel xHCI mode (?) Enabled USB Legacy Support. Disabling Fast Boot in BIOS not an option with current motherboard; perhaps powering off computer completely (in order to access BIOS; did it clear a conflict Windows 8.1 was saving from restart to restart?) and/or enabling USB Legacy Support might have solved (?) the problem.

Disabled Sleep

Removed unknown from Control Panel\All Control Panel Items\Language\Language options\Input Method

Uninstalled VirtualBox

Tap Win (Ctrl, Shift, Alt, hardware and virtual) several times

Detached G700 and T650 TouchPad

Removed Logitech extensions from Firefox, Chrome, and IE. Both browsers have been running for hours. The computer's entered and exited sleep several times.

Uninstalled Zune, iMon

After a Windows Update, no problems for a couple of days. (2/17/13)

Uninstalled WizMouse

Uninstalled Firefox

Uninstalled and removed all traces of Logitech software (except Harmony); old versions conflicting? IE and Firefox extensions conflicting?

Twice keys stuck when removing DiNovo from base.

Desktop icons starting to stick; using On-screen Keyboard to press NumLock released them. Great!

Signed-in to LastPass?

Press Shift and type with On-Screen keyboard?

NumLock on in Accessibility On-Screen Keyboard?

Update Classic Shell?

Remove extra keyboards from Device Manager?

Device Manager, Human Interface Devices, disable Microsoft Input Configuration Device?

Hold F12 and Numlock (Numlock not present on DiNovo but is enabled on On-screen keyboard)?

Uninstall BetterDesktopTool? Dexpot?

Hold both Ctrl keys for five seconds?

Hold Ctrl + Shift for 15 seconds to release modifier key lock?

Press Fn and Ctrl keys?

Press Ctrl and Alt keys?

Hold both shift keys and F7 together for several seconds?

Control Panel, Language, Advanced Settings, Change Language Bar hot keys, Advanced Key Settings?

Press function key (e.g., F2), then Ctrl?

Shut down, remove AC power, hold power button for 30 seconds?

Remove tweak programs?

Hold both control keys at same time to reset keyboard BIOS?

Stop Human Interface Device Access service (hidserv)?

Enabled Microsoft Keyboard Filter (Services)

Sunday, July 06, 2014

Despite "stockpiles" of Saddam's WMD in the hands of jihadists, the Left still blame Bush

The "irrational" Left is at it again, trying to provide cover for Obama's malfeasance by blaming his predecessor:
McCain is right; it could have been avoided. If, in the aftermath of 9/11, President George W. Bush had treated the arguments of Feith, McCain, and other advocates of the Iraq War with the disdain they deserved, we (and the Iraqis) wouldn’t be where we are today.
Iraq is imploding because Sunni and Shiite have warred against each other for more than a thousand years. This is what Islam does.

So, yes. Put the blame where it belongs. Some of it on a president who didn't know and didn't learn but had to do something in light of 9/11. (And he was right about Saddam's "stockpiles.") Pile a more generous helping on his successor who, being the "smartest president ever" and a(n allegedly) former Muslim, must have known what would occur but abandoned anyway gains made in Iraq at unfathomable cost in blood (and treasure).

But the bulk of the responsibility for the current "mess" in Iraq goes to the ideology that motivates so much death and destruction: Islam.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

If only Muhammad's murderous misogyny were limited to shaking hands

It won't get published there -- we wouldn't want any moral clarity on an Islamic site; Muslims there might start thinking for themselves, maybe even listening to their consciences -- but here are my comments left in response to whether or not it is permissible for a Muslim man to shake a woman's hand:
Respect of women and their rights to their own body and whether or not they allow men to touch them is at the very core of this answer. Keep in mind, Allah is the one who knows best what he has created and what the needs and limits are for each of us. Shaking hands (and touching) members of the opposite sex when [not] closely related, is not permissable for Muslims according to the teachings of Islam.
Muhammad hated women (scroll down a bit here), which is why he preached and practiced polygyny, child sex slavery ('Aisha, the Mother of the Believers. And don't try to lie: she was only a poor, prepubescent nine-year-old when he started raping her as his favorite "wife"), sex slavery, rape, murder, wife-beating, and oppressive, discriminatory laws making women (and little girls) into chattel.

And don't try to justify his murderous misogyny by claiming it was done out of "respect" or "Allah knows best."

There's no one on Earth who doesn't know that Muhammad's laws regarding women are wrong for him.