Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Mary Mackillop a saint?

Bishop Glenn Davies earns his keep:

The Pope has accepted, following a rigorous scientific analysis by a Catholic committee responsible for approving miracles, that two NSW women were healed of inoperable cancer by MacKillop.

"Who can prove that the reported miracles were actually the work of Mary McKillop?" Bishop Davies said.

"Did the persons healed pray to only Mary or did they also pray to God?

"Even if they prayed to Mary MacKillop, what evidence is there that it was Mary MacKillop's intercession that healed them? Furthermore, what evidence is there in the Bible that departed saints pray for us?"

Bishop Davies argued that nobody who had had their sins forgiven by God should be scared of referring to themselves as a saint. "It is a title that God has bestowed upon us through our union with Christ, and we should therefore own it with pride," he said.

All good stuff. Let's send these spurious saints packing!

Monday, 28 December 2009

Islam will continue to be a terrorist threat in the year to come

Islam will continue to be a terrorist threat in the year to come.

There's a careful explanation of why by Mark Durie, here.

Reading the whole Bible

I started a blog post and realized that I need to read the whole Bible to establish whatever it is I'm trying to establish.

So I've read up to Numbers 13 and looked at all of the Psalms, but now I need to go and move a refrigerator from Rhodes to Lidcombe.

Ah well, slow and steady.

UPDATE: Refrigerator moved.

Sunday, 27 December 2009

10 easy economic principles

From Ross Gittins in the Sydney Morning Herald, summarizing Harvard economist Greg Mankiw.

The first doctrine to be outrightly rejected in the history of the world

The serpent first questioned God's word by asking Eve if God had really said that they could not eat from the tree.

The serpent then goes on to outrightly reject God's word, which was a word on the doctrine of judgement:

But the serpent said, 'you will not surely die' - Genesis 3:4

(Thanks to Josh Etter for the concise reminder. This doctrine is the one I'm tempted to push just slightly to one side, most of the time, yet when I'm reminded of it, is the one that makes me flee to Christ time and again)

Friday, 25 December 2009

Christmas 2009: A Saviour, Jesus, is born.

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them,

“Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another,

“Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.”

And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

(Luke 2:1-21)

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Not taking a break from blogging

I'm always interested when my friends announce that they're taking a break from blogging, and sometimes I do it myself. But other times, I just stop. Is that bad?

I only actually started blogging so that I could tell a bunch of nutty types that they were nutters, on their blog, under my own name, so I've never really felt that this blog existed for any purpose other than my own self-indulgence. You may well have nobler reasons for blogging than this, and so feel that you should let people know if you are stopping. Me, more often than not, I just don't post for a bit. I figure that after a few weeks people work it out for themselves, by which time I am generally posting again.

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

My goodness I'm tired

Actually that's not true, or I wouldn't be typing this. I'm trying to crawl back into the land of the living from the pit of chaos, and I began by cleaning the kitchen. The symptom that life is either completely out of control, or beginning to return to stability (and you have to choose between the either and the or) is that the kitchen is clean.

So now I'm trying to follow some good advice, picked up on the internet somewhere, and spend an hour on something important before I get on to anything else, even though it is nearly midday, so I must have been doing something before I got onto what I'm doing right now, and so must have disregarded the advice.

So the way I'm going to choose to spend the next hour is reading the gospel of Luke.

Join me if you want, click on the link and don't de-click until you're done.

UPDATE: You need to know that I typed this, then pfaffed in the kitchen for a bit, and then remembered some milk I left fermenting in the midday sun, so went out to the car, got the milk, and put it in the fridge, and now I'm back here sitting and about to open my Bible, except it occurred to me that I need to type the word 'ambulance' to myself as a reminder.

UPDATE 2: OK I've finished reading Luke's gospel, and I have to work out what to do next. I wouldn't have finished reading if it weren't for you, dear readers, because I would have convinced myself that something else was more important to do.

The main thing to say as a result of this first reading is that God is very good, he saves people, but if you don't believe this and trust him then you are certainly going to hell. So what a blessed escape Jesus provides, by his death and confirmed beyond doubt by his resurrection from the dead. Trust the resurrection!

UPDATE 3: Realized a friend could be coming around, phoned, confirmed, they'll be here soon, so got to move on to the housecleaning list.

UPDATE 4: Not really sure I needed to post all those updates, but there we are.

Friday, 18 December 2009

A pile of paper

A pile of paper.

A rainy day.

What more does a body need for comfort or happiness?

Deprived of the right to kill their baby

How awful is this:

A COUPLE are suing their doctor for failing to tell the mother she was at a high risk of having a child with Down syndrome.

When Bethany McDonnell was born at Wyong Hospital on July 26, 2007, her parents, Jean and Terrence McDonnell, were shocked to discover she had the congenital abnormality.

In what has been described as a highly unusual case, the McDonnells are suing their general practitioner, Sachin Choudhary, and the Northern Sydney Central Coast Area Health Service, claiming that they were ''deprived of the opportunity to discontinue the pregnancy'' and would continue to ''suffer psychological injury and economic loss'' due to doctor's negligence.

But at least we can sue these parents for choosing to remain alive themselves. In so doing they are depriving us of a significantly higher quality of life, unimpeded by their decision to keep consuming oxygen that would otherwise be available to the rest of us.

(From here).

Thursday, 17 December 2009


This is a particularly classy version of the Hallelujah chorus from Handel's Messiah.

If you look at the back row of singers, third from the left is Brett Weymark, who conducts the choir I sing with.

How to pray

This is how Luther used the 10 commandments to pray:

I divide each commandment into four parts, thereby fashioning a garland of four strands.

That is, I think of each commandment as,

first, instruction, which is really what it is intended to be, and consider what the Lord God demands of me so earnestly.

Second, I turn it into a thanksgiving;

third, a confession;

and fourth, a prayer.

(Thanks to Justin Taylor)

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Read and weep

The kingdom of God belongs to the poor in spirit.


Having a bit of Greek will help, but work slowly through to the conclusion, here, and find blessing.

Daniel 7—a really bad dream.

The best way to understand Daniel 7 is as a really bad dream.

7:1 In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, Daniel saw a dream and visions of his head as he lay in his bed. Then he wrote down the dream and told the sum of the matter. 2 Daniel declared, [1] “I saw in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of heaven were stirring up the great sea. 3 And four great beasts came up out of the sea, different from one another. 4 The first was like a lion and had eagles' wings. Then as I looked its wings were plucked off, and it was lifted up from the ground and made to stand on two feet like a man, and the mind of a man was given to it. 5 And behold, another beast, a second one, like a bear. It was raised up on one side. It had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth; and it was told, ‘Arise, devour much flesh.’ 6 After this I looked, and behold, another, like a leopard, with four wings of a bird on its back. And the beast had four heads, and dominion was given to it. 7 After this I saw in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, terrifying and dreadful and exceedingly strong. It had great iron teeth; it devoured and broke in pieces and stamped what was left with its feet. It was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns. 8 I considered the horns, and behold, there came up among them another horn, a little one, before which three of the first horns were plucked up by the roots. And behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking great things.

Read and weep.

Even the comfort that the Lord Jesus offered, which you find in the same chapter was not enough for Daniel:

Here is the end of the matter. As for me, Daniel, my thoughts greatly alarmed me, and my color changed, but I kept the matter in my heart.

Monday, 14 December 2009

I read nothing of value there

I read nothing of value there for about 20 weeks, so I unsubscribed. It's saved about 20 minutes.

Saturday, 12 December 2009

The best and only post you will ever need on Bible teaching, and how to do it.

From Lionel.

If you don't have time to read the whole thing, don't feel you need to. Here's an executive summary:

# Pray
# Read the passage several times

A gold star by e-mail, if I can figure out how to do that, to any child in the classroom who can find the phrase '…Remember not to spend too much time on this' within two minutes of beginning to read. I want to see hands, anyone who calls out doesn't get a lolly, no phoning a friend or googling.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

My dad

When I was a teenager and starting to think political thoughts, my dad said of the Left, not unkindly, that they look good on paper.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Thou who wast rich

Yep, it's a good one.

1. Thou who wast rich beyond all splendour,
All for love's sake becamest poor;
Thrones for a manger didst surrender,
Sapphire-paved courts for stable floor.
Thou who wast rich beyond all splendour,
All for love's sake becomes poor.

2. Thou who art God beyond all praising,
All for love's sake becamest man;
Stooping so low, but sinners raising
Heavenwards by thine eternal plan.
Thou who art God beyond all praising,
All for love's sake becamest man.

3. Thou who art love beyond all telling,
Saviour and King, we worship thee.
Emmanuel, within us dwelling,
Make us what thou wouldst have us be.
Thou who art love beyond all telling,
Saviour and King, we worship thee.

2 Corinthians 8:9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.

Ignore the poncy costumes and listen to the tune on youtube, here.

Piper ruined twitter

So I won't start using it, then.

Read about it, here.

Thanks Nathan.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

All quiet on the Eastern front.

Heading to Canberra, then Belmore, for AFES NTE, so things are going to be a bit quiet for a week or so.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Hey kids, look at this!

Very very cool.

An episode from The Jesus Storybook Bible, read by David Suchet.

Thanks to Justin Taylor.

Paris in the 1540s

I've been reading Calvin by Bruce Gordon. Here's an extract, quoting Eustache Knobelsdorf, a Catholic German student in Paris, who witnessed executions of Protestants in 1542:

I saw two burnt there. Their death inspired in me differing sentiments. If you had been there, you would have hoped for a less severe punishment of these poor unfortunates....The first was a very young man, not yet with a beard...he was the son of a cobbler. He was brought in front of the judges and condemned to have his tongue cut out and burned straight afterward. Without changing the expression of his face, the young man presented his tongue to the executioner's knife, sticking it out as far as he could. The executioner pulled it out even further with pincers, cut it off, and hit the sufferer several times on the tongue and threw it in the young man's face. Then he was put into a tipcart, which was driven to the place of execution, but, to see him, one would think that he was going to a feast....When the chain had been placed around his body, I could not describe to you with what equanimity of soul and with what expression in his features he endured the cries of elation and the insults of the crowd that were directed towards him. He did not make a sound, but from time to time he spat out the blood that was filling his mouth, and he lifted his eyes to heaven, as if he was waiting for some miraculous rescue. When his head was covered in sulphur, the executioner showed him the fire with a menacing air; but the young man, without being scared, let it be know, by a movement of his body, that he was giving himself willingly to be burned.

-Bruce Gordon, Calvin (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009), p. 182.

The Roman Catholic church in France didn't treat its heretics with kindness. It makes awful reading, but on the other hand, it is not a bad thing to be reminded of how unnatural it is for the government to leave us alone to believe the gospel.

"32 But recall the former days when, after you were enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings, 33 sometimes being publicly exposed to reproach and affliction, and sometimes being partners with those so treated. 34 For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one. 35 Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. 36 For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. 37 For,

“Yet a little while,
and the coming one will come and will not delay;
38 but my righteous one shall live by faith,
and if he shrinks back,
my soul has no pleasure in him.”

39 But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.

(Hebrews 10:32-39)