Thursday, April 28, 2016

Odds and ends 4/28/2016

Monday, April 25, 2016

Turn my heart

I know You, God, but who am I? I’m torn apart
I treat my brothers not with love but distrust
Daily I’m laid to waste by insatiable lust
Inside I’m against what Jesus’ teachings impart
I worry my soul, like flesh, will be ashes and dust
Lord, can’t You do anything to turn my heart?

Your lofty temple shines as a beacon of hope
But this will of mine just won’t cooperate
I’m finished trying to this old man placate
Lord, don’t let me perish on this barren slope
I’m slipping short of the top, I can’t anymore wait
Quick! send Your Spirit down for my heart to elope

In the final act I’m not me, but Your creation
Idolatry separated by a divine sieve
A broken heart fixed and filled, from which to give
And all will be clean under God’s supervision
With the old man dead Jesus in me can freely live
And graft His people to the Father’s nation


  • Jeremiah 31:33
  • Luke 11:41
  • 1 Cor. 3:16

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Disney values

After Indiana, big business, like Disney, is breaking against property rights in favor of same-sex marriage appropriation. Andrew Klavan asks why corporations oppose religious liberty:

What big corporations hate is freedom of the individual conscience, internally governed families, and churches powerful enough to stand up to the make-believe righteousness of government decrees. All of these things tend to generate independent action and thoughtful morality which can get in the way of profits. People who think for themselves and pray with others tend to be a little less quick to watch the latest soul-degrading film or half-time show or to buy a product simply because it’s the going thing.

Freedom is good for business in general, but it is not good for an individual business that has already made it to the top. Where freedom and competition thrive, prices fall and good ideas rise. Where government coerces, where government pays the freight, where government grants you “rights” to the labor and products of others, prices soar and good ideas that threaten the status quo are trampled under and left behind.

They oppose gender reality, too (see PayPal), and I doubt these are separate issues in their minds. This is the zeitgeist. If you’re inclined to buy one part of the big lie, you’re inclined to buy all of it.

They support gay “rights” and gender fluidity because their corporate offices are ivory towers, disconnected from reality. They’re in the business of salesmanship and public relations, which is absolutely opposed to giving offense to the cult of self and its shrieking, narcissistic purveyors.

Most importantly, corporations serve a consumer culture, where freedom of choice, no matter what the choice is, is the highest good. Publicly observed Christian morality, on which our civil society stands, obstructs unbounded nihilism in individuals. Assertions of morality in the public square threaten consumer culture, which threatens corporations’ gravy train. They are responding accordingly.

We can respond accordingly, and refuse to associate with these businesses. The free market is not anonymous. I’ll be boycotting Disney’s mediocre Marvel movies, mediocre Star Wars movies, and mediocre TV programming from now on. I’d rather forgo a little profit, lose a little pleasure, than know my money goes to such causes as the rottening of the core of America’s soul.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Unamerican creed

This doesn’t bother me that much.

So these Muslims prefer sharia law. At the very least, they honor something higher than worldly authority. Ask me if I prefer the American civil code over God’s law written on my heart. Ask me if I follow the American creed, based on the big lie of sexual self-fulfillment, over God’s law that sets me free from sin.

It’s no surprise secular liberalism is losing to sharia in the West. The inherent corruption is no competition to a supposedly god-ordained, if fundamentally flawed, alternative.

The missing follow-up question is, Should sharia replace the Constitution as the founding document? Should non-Muslims be shunned and oppressed for confessing belief in another, as they are all over the Muslim world? That’s just the civic-minded follow-up. What about, Should belief be coerced or persuaded on the evidence of God’s truths? Is God unendingly wrathful or forgiving to the penitent?

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Odds and ends 4/5/2016

  • “The contemporary denial of reality,” Anthony Esolen
  • “Gender non-conformity running roughshod over parents’ rights,” Carl Trueman. I saw this coming after the Indiana RFRA hysteria, and really before then. Start here.
  • Daniel Harsanyi: “Our founders could never have imagined a person’s private property becoming the national property of a pagan inquisition, and federal and state governments, which were intended to encourage religious virtue (although not coerce it), serve as a conduit for compulsory servitude to the idols of hedonism.”
  • Jerry Falwell says leadership trumps principle. When I hear Donald Trump is a leader, I think of a line from The Dark Knight: “Buyer beware. I told you my compound would take you places. I never said they’d be places you wanted to go.” Even if he’d be a good leader, we don’t know if he’d be a good, good leader. So, buyer beware.
  • “I No Longer Say ‘Chair,’” Austin Ruse
  • Scott McKay:
    In short, Brussels has devolved into yet one more European city in which an unassimilable Muslim population rife with jihadists, overwhelmingly dependent on the welfare state and completely hostile to the values and standards of the host country. The terror problem in Brussels is of a piece with the rape problem in Stockholm and Malmo and Cologne, the sexual grooming and white sex slavery of Rotherham and Marseille and the jihadism of Paris — and Europe’s political class has responded to shocking revelation after shocking revelation of the depravity of their new residents with cover-ups and shaming of concerned citizens with terms like “racist” and — here it comes again — “Islamophobe.”
  • “Europe at War,” Rod Dreher
  • “Obama’s Cuba perfidy was worse than you thought … WAY worse,” Caleb Howe
  • Great line from Steve Deace: “Clearly we are duplicitous in creating an infestation of false converts who have mistaken cultural conformity for salvation.”
  • Excellent comment by Chris Rawlings via Rod Dreher:
    The prosperity of my law school colleagues made moral degradation much easier for them. It insulated them to an extent from real consequences (daddy will take care of it), it widened the possibilities for moral failure (the working poor will never have the opportunity to blow thousands on liquor and prostitutes in Thailand), and it allowed them to cover debauchery in a veneer of prestige and accomplishment (“Oh, so you’re an attorney?”). Prosperity is to nihilism what gasoline is to fire, I’ve found. And so I’m not entirely sure why we’re still privileging prosperity as an ontologically “higher” mode of living.
  • “Personal love and the call to chastity,” Samantha Schroeder
  • Bogus: “The dream of home ownership is crumbling for San Antonio young people.” Budget every month for a future down payment. Find a bargain. There are a lot of empty nesters downsizing right now.
  • TxDOT just netted a 2,400-percent loss on the Austin bypass. “Price for removing Texas tolls: $30 BILLION!” Remember this when they come back for more road funding.
  • God created man upright, but they have gone in search of many schemes. (Ecclesiastes 7:29)

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Good guy

Listen, I’m a good guy, better than most
I treat people right, don’t cheat or boast
I’m straight with the law, I’ve done no evil
People respect me, don’t think of me ill

See my wife, my job, my house
One look at my life, you can tell I’m no louse
What does God want with me, anyway?
Can’t Jesus see I’m doing okay?

Dig deep enough and, sure, you’ll find dirt
It’s not like anyone else I’ve hurt
So don’t stand there with your Bible and shout
I’m not the one God warned you about

Don’t be such a drag
On my happiness, I’m feeling fine
Don’t bother me with superstition
I don’t mean to brag
But my life’s in order, I feel fine
To hell with God, don’t need no religion

Make no mistake
I’ve done well for myself, I’m a success
But something inside just doesn’t feel right
I deserve a break
From all this, did I tell you, I’m a success
Big things are coming, my future is bright

I can’t recall ev’ry last deed was good
I’d change a few things I did if I could
No one’s perfect, of course, and I’m not
Least I’m no liar, killer, or thief, those lot

My hands brought me this far, so why change now?
I’m a good guy, it doesn’t matter how
I’ve done all right living for myself
Look, I don’t want yours or the Lord’s help

As long as my ability holds out
And this life gives me no reason to doubt
And no awful trials threaten to break me
See, I won’t be joining the Lord’s family

  • Proverbs 21:2
  • Ecclesiastes 9:1, 12
  • Luke 18:11-14
  • Acts 17:30-31
  • 1 Timothy 5:24

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Free college

A San Antonio city councilman has suggested the first 2 years of community college in Bexar County, Texas, be free. Two questions to ask:

  1. Is 2 years of free college what high school graduates need?
  2. Can Bexar County community colleges supply enough degrees at half the price without diminishing their value?

The second question is easier to answer, because the answer is no, unless the colleges spend way more money on teachers and staff than they are willing to spend. If a degree is supposed to be worth something, it has to cost something to produce. Selling degrees (or degree halves) for free overburdens the manufacturer and/or diminishes their value.

My father-in-law is a community college teacher. He says loose enrollment standards are killing scores, raising attrition, and demoralizing teachers, who are burdened with the task of raising graduation rates. Those problems would be exacerbated by a glut of teenagers with zero buy-in and with 2 years to kill. It’s true that cost is a barrier to college enrollment, but that’s a problem solved by scholarships and cost-cutting. Cost-eliminating worsens the problem created by loose enrollment standards: students taking their education unseriously. You could do what the public schools do and just graduate them, but eventually the lack of skills that they’ve failed to learn will drag down productivity, whether they become dependents or twiddle their thumbs at work.

The first question is more important because it implies a bigger question has already been asked and answered. What is the bigger question? It’s different for everyone, but for most people it’s, How do I make money?

The economic establishment prizes credentials, of which a degree is the prime example, as essential to breaking into the middle class and beyond. But the official measures of success have gotten away from what best serves people in real life. The degree, not an education, is the end itself. Most people who go to college go because it’s what you’re supposed to do after high school. Personally, they don’t know why they’re there.

George Gilder writes in Wealth and Poverty:

Characterized by a worship of degrees, diplomas, tests, credentials, and qualifications, this system has created a schoolmarm meritocracy that steadily extends the reach of its primary rule: you cannot pass if you cannot parse; if you cannot put the numbers in the right boxes at the requisite speed; and if you cannot perform in the accustomed academic mode.

The question college prospects should ask is, How can I contribute to society? What can I do to give to others to enhance their lives and create wealth? That’s a supply-side question that isn’t answered all the time—not even most of the time—by a college degree.