Book Sale

Friday 20 December 2019

The Christmas Gift

Christmas is a wonderful time of year, a time of joy, a time of celebration, a time for gifts, and a time to be with family. In fact, for just these reasons, for many people this is their favourite time of year. But I want to ask a simple question what is the message of Christmas? What does it all mean?
I think in today’s world there are many messages at Christmas. In fact, you could say that Christmas sends a lot of mixed symbols.

Gifts: One of the messages of modern Christmas is that it is all about gifts. People love gifts, nearly everyone loves giving gifts, and nearly everyone loves receiving gifts. It is a simple and personal way that you can bless a person, bring them a moment of joy, and add to their lives.

But let’s be honest, everyone here who has kids, and kids love gifts, how many of your kids are still focused on what they got for Christmas last year? Haven’t they forgotten them already. Indeed, they then had their birthday, and their grandparents came around with gifts, and after a little while the gifts they loved when they opened them and said wow when they saw them are all but forgotten…like clouds in the desert. Already they have completely moved on from most of the gifts, though they will still bring their favourites out every now and then to play with. If your kids are like mine, they have been trawling through the catalogues for a while now, pointing out things they want…indeed they don’t take long after Christmas to start doing this.

Why do they move on so quickly? Because as we all know, even the best gift can only bring a moment of joy. No gift can satisfy forever, no thing can satisfy forever, no matter how awesome, expensive, or novel it was.

Gifts are wonderful, and good to give and receive…but they don’t satisfy. 

Food: Another message of Christmas that we are all familiar with is feast, feast till your heart is content, feast like there is no tomorrow, feast till you can feast no more. There is no such thing as a good party without good food. I mean, when there is no food at a party, you can’t wait to leave and get some. And when the food is bad, it brings the whole thing down, doesn’t it?

Feasting has a long tradition in our culture, indeed in every culture. In fact peace treaties are often signed over food, weddings involved great meals, and many more examples could be given. Indeed, we all know, that most of us are going to eat too much on Christmas, day, and it will be rich food, hams, pork roasts, turkeys, and for the less fortunate: tofurkey… But we will grow hungry again. It might take a few extra hours than normal, because we feasted so liberally. But food, as awesome as it is, doesn’t bring us lasting joy. Indeed, it is more temporary than other gifts, because it is gone in but a few moments. It’s something we all enjoy, but it’s not something that will bring us lasting satisfaction…it’s not possible. 

Family: This is probably one of the most important messages that many of us will be hearing about this Christmas. Indeed, you could say that in this secular day and age, family has become central to Christmas, the crux upon which it all hinges. And this makes sense. Family is one of the most important things that God gives us, one of the greatest gifts we ever get to experience, and it is the natural habitat of the healthy human being: to be and live in a family.

Where as gifts and food don’t satisfy for very long, family can bring us a deeper and more real joy. Seeing your kids play with their toys is often more enjoyable than opening your own gifts. Seeing them fight over their toys five minutes later reminds you of what it was like to be a child and have such simpler priorities. And a meal with a family you love is better than a meal alone.

But family can be a double edged sword at Christmas. For some people Christmas reminds them of how lucky they are to be in the family they are in. For others is brings into sharp relief the pain of broken relationships, the pain of loneliness, the despair of not being with the family they love and cherish.

Family is one of the best and most important gifts we can have this side of Christmas. But even family doesn’t truly satisfy us. There is still a deeper longing we all feel, a longing for a more eternal satisfaction.

C.S. Lewis, the famous writer who wrote the book The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe says that the reason that we can’t find full satisfaction in this life, is because we are not created to, our quest for eternal satisfaction can only be fulfilled before our eternal creator, and it can only begin to be satisfied by finding it’s true home: in Christ.

There is this fascinating encounter in the gospels that Jesus has with this Samaritan woman. We don’t know her name, but we know this about her, she has had five husbands, and the man she is now with is not her husband. We know this because Jesus mentions it. Why does Jesus bring this up with this woman? Because he sees that like so many of us in this life, she had sought satisfaction in the things this life can offer, but she had not found it.

But here is the key, he offers her something that he knows she wants, and it’s something we all need. He says this: “14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:14). Jesus offers us something lasting, something solid, something that will never fade. Eternal life.
There are many messages we will hear at Christmas, many of them good. But the most important one is the reason Jesus came, and the reason we still celebrate Christmas today. Jesus was born of a virgin, as a small child, he grew to be a man in favour with God. He never sinned, like we do, he never made a mistake, he never rejected God in any way. You see when we lie, or hate, or be selfish, we are sinning before God. But Jesus never did any of that. He lived a perfect life, and he took the punishment we deserve for our sins, dying on the cross and rising again to prove that he is God. And why did he do all this: so that we could have the only thing that will ever satisfy us: salvation in God.

When we sing about peace and goodwill to all mankind at Christmas time this is what we refer to. When we say that “man will live forevermore, because of Christmas day” this is what we are referring to. Don’t say no to this gift. Enjoy the other parts of Chrissy, the gifts, the feasting, and especially your family, but don’t say no to the best gift of all, eternal life. Trust in Jesus, the king the angels sung about, who offers us eternal satisfaction with him.

Don’t Envy The Elites

We live in a world of haves and have nots, of the elites and their glittering lifestyle, and the ordinary and our mundane way of life. Many people envy the elites of this world, because of their beauty, their wealth, the clothes they wear. Indeed this envy is a whole industry. People watch award shows just to see what their favourite actress is wearing, online clothes stores will sell copies of these original clothes, so that women can feel like ladies in the movies. Men will drool over wealthy man’s cars and access to beautiful women.

Envy is an massive industry. But here, in this shot snippet from Dickens A Tale of Two Cities, we get an amazing insight into why we should not envy the elite, indeed, to a large degree we should pit them.

“For, the rooms, though a beautiful scene to look at, and adorned with every device of decoration that the taste and skill of the time could achieve, were, in truth, not a sound business; considered with any reference to the scarecrows in the rags and nightcaps elsewhere (and not so far off, either, but that the watching towers of Notre Dame, almost equidistant from the two extremes, could see them both), they would have been an exceedingly uncomfortable business—if that could have been anybody's business, at the house of Monseigneur. Military officers destitute of military knowledge; naval officers with no idea of a ship; civil officers without a notion of affairs; brazen ecclesiastics, of the worst world worldly, with sensual eyes, loose tongues, and looser lives; all totally unfit for their several callings, all lying horribly in pretending to belong to them, but all nearly or remotely of the order of Monseigneur, and therefore foisted on all public employments from which anything was to be got; these were to be told off by the score and the score. People not immediately connected with Monseigneur or the State, yet equally unconnected with anything that was real, or with lives passed in travelling by any straight road to any true earthly end, were no less abundant. Doctors who made great fortunes out of dainty remedies for imaginary disorders that never existed, smiled upon their courtly patients in the ante-chambers of Monseigneur. Projectors who had discovered every kind of remedy for the little evils with which the State was touched, except the remedy of setting to work in earnest to root out a single sin, poured their distracting babble into any ears they could lay hold of, at the reception of Monseigneur. Unbelieving Philosophers who were remodelling the world with words, and making card-towers of Babel to scale the skies with, talked with Unbelieving Chemists who had an eye on the transmutation of metals, at this wonderful gathering accumulated by Monseigneur. Exquisite gentlemen of the finest breeding, which was at that remarkable time—and has been since—to be known by its fruits of indifference to every natural subject of human interest, were in the most exemplary state of exhaustion, at the hotel of Monseigneur. Such homes had these various notabilities left behind them in the fine world of Paris, that the spies among the assembled devotees of Monseigneur—forming a goodly half of the polite company—would have found it hard to discover among the angels of that sphere one solitary wife, who, in her manners and appearance, owned to being a Mother. Indeed, except for the mere act of bringing a troublesome creature into this world—which does not go far towards the realisation of the name of mother—there was no such thing known to the fashion. Peasant women kept the unfashionable babies close, and brought them up, and charming grandmammas of sixty dressed and supped as at twenty.

“The leprosy of unreality disfigured every human creature in attendance upon Monseigneur. In the outermost room were half a dozen exceptional people who had had, for a few years, some vague misgiving in them that things in general were going rather wrong. As a promising way of setting them right, half of the half-dozen had become members of a fantastic sect of Convulsionists, and were even then considering within themselves whether they should foam, rage, roar, and turn cataleptic on the spot—thereby setting up a highly intelligible finger-post to the Future, for Monseigneur's guidance. Besides these Dervishes, were other three who had rushed into another sect, which mended matters with a jargon about "the Centre of Truth:" holding that Man had got out of the Centre of Truth—which did not need much demonstration—but had not got out of the Circumference, and that he was to be kept from flying out of the Circumference, and was even to be shoved back into the Centre, by fasting and seeing of spirits. Among these, accordingly, much discoursing with spirits went on—and it did a world of good which never became manifest.

“But, the comfort was, that all the company at the grand hotel of Monseigneur were perfectly dressed. If the Day of Judgment had only been ascertained to be a dress day, everybody there would have been eternally correct” (Dickens 1976, pp 73-74).

But we all know that judgement day will not be kind on people just because they were beautiful, well dressed and powerful. Indeed, on those who have been given much, much will be asked.

Don’t be envious of the elite and what they have, because many of them have it because they have sold themselves to get fame, or connections, or money, or power, or all of these things. They have enslaved themselves to a system that offers them everything to entice them in, but gives them nothing they can take with them, when the system is done with them. Think of how men like Epstein were cast away when they were no longer useful, or how famous actors, famous for making us laugh, take their lives because they live in the pit of despair, surrounded by every luxury we can imagine.  

They have believed the lie, that the devil gave to Jesus, ‘submit to him and he will give you the world.’ Only to find out that the devil is cruel with his followers. And the world of the elites is a cruel one. It’s all about glamour, money, fame, and the destruction of that which we all hold dear, our souls, and the beauty of the simple things of life, that God offers us.

This does not mean, that floating around in that high strata world, are some people who have stayed true to themselves, and not sold out, but they are the exception. Because that whole level of social strata is designed to corrupt you, tempt you, and get you to sell their lie and perpetuate their grip on power.

Don’t envy the elites. Like Dicken’s sit back and observe how truly corrupt they are, and how ill fitted they are for the day of judgement. As Mary says in Luke 1:51-53 –

“51 He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; 52 he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate; 53 he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty.”

Don’t envy the elite, pity them, as you would pity anyone whose eyes are so distracted by glitter they cannot see their end. And trust in the God who promises to clothe you with the garments that count on judgement day, the garment of Jesus’ righteousness.

“3 For I was envious of the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. 16 But when I thought how to understand this, it seemed to me a wearisome task, 17 until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I discerned their end. 18 Truly you set them in slippery places; you make them fall to ruin. 19 How they are destroyed in a moment, swept away utterly by terrors!” (Psalm 73:3, 17-19)

List of References

Dickens, Charles 1967, A Tale of Two Cities, Heron Books, London.

Tuesday 10 December 2019

Have Babies While The Plague Is Raging

I want to address the black-pillers out there, and not just the black-pillers but those who have friends, or family or people in their lives who are black-pillers. The Western world is assailed on all sides. Not only has Christendom failed to maintain its glory, we have imported all the pagan ideologies which enslaved the peoples of the rest of the world. We converted the Vikings, we made devil worshippers and human sacrificing heathen, who raped and pillaged the coastlines of Europe into the builders of the great northern European churches and castles. We did a lot of great things like this, but for too long now we have failed to defend our borders, and because of this we see the Western civilisation that was made by men who were far greater than us breaking down in every way possible.

In the last 100 years the Western world has fatally wounded itself with three civil wars, World War 1, World War 2 and the Cold War. These were not civil wars within national borders, but civil wars within Christendom. The Western culture which took parliaments, indoor plumbing and Rugby League to primitive lands like Australia, is now teetering on the edge of something really bad.

You can see it, I can see it. There will be war, it will likely be sooner rather than later, and the resultant horrors which will follow that will torment humanity for some time to come. A study of history shows us that when complicated civilisations go through major upheaval and collapse that there will be famines, drought and disease. Cities that were once places of bustling life, become too dangerous, and too expensive to maintain. Populations spread out, as they seek somewhere safer to live and to farm or raise livestock. Technology starts to fail as the complicated systems which enabled it to function lack the man power, or knowledge to maintain them. The result of all this upheaval is increasing migrations of people that fight with previously settled populations, or other moving peoples, and this accelerates the collapse and causes all of the problems of declining civilisation to be exacerbated. 

Maybe it won’t get that bad, maybe it will be much, much worse. Who knows, maybe modern society has another 100 years under its belt. But the signs of decay tell you and me, and others something different.

And the response of some of you is to take the black-pill. For those not familiar with this term, though I am sure most of this readership is, the black-pill is a step removed from the red-pill. Being red-pilled is when you see the world the way it really is, in all it’s confronting reality. But the black-pilled person says there is nothing we can do about it, we may as well accept it and let the inevitable happen.

I couldn’t think of a more non-Christian perspective to have.

Yes, we learn from history that periods of civilizational decline are hard times…SO DAMN WHAT? We also learn that we are the descendants of those who did not give up when things got tough.

You think it is bad now? What about when the black plague struck Europe? When the black plague struck Europe it created devastation like you can only imagine if you picture what happened with the Ebola virus in Liberia a few years ago, and you multiply it across all of Europe and beyond.

The Black Death was devastating. Listen to this description from Schaffs A History of Christianity:

“During Clements Pontificate, 1348-1349, The Black Death swept over Europe from Hungary to Scotland and from Spain to Sweden, one of the most awful and mysterious  scourges that has even visited mankind. It was reported by all the chroniclers of the time, and described by Boccaccio in the introduction to his novels. According to Villani, the disease appeared as carbuncles under the armpits or in the groin, sometimes as big as an egg, and was accompanied with devouring fever and vomiting blood. It also involved a gangrenous inflammation of the lungs and throat and a fetid odor of breath. In describing the virulence of the infection, a contemporary said that one sick person was sufficient to infect the whole world. The patients lingered at most a day or two” (Schaff, 99).

“A large percent of western Europe fell to the pestilence. In Sienna, 80,000 were carried off; in Venice 100,000; in Bologna, two thirds of the population; and Florence, three fifths. In Marseilles the number who died in a single month is reported as 57,000. Nor was the papal city on the Rhone exempt. Nine cardinals, 70 prelates, and 17,000 males succumbed. Another writer, a cannon writing from the city to a friend in Flanders, reports that up to the date of his writing one-half of the population had died. The very cats, dogs, and chickens too the disease…No class was immune except in England, where the higher classes seem to have been exempt. The clergy yielded in great numbers, bishops, priests and monks. At least one archbishop of Canterbury, Bradwardine, was carried away by it. The brothers of the king of Sweden, Hacon and Knut, were among the victims. The unburied dead strewed the streets of Stockholm. Vessels freighted with cargoes were reported floating on the high seas with the last sailor dead. Convents were swept clear off all their inmates. The cemeteries were not large enough to hold the bodies, which were thrown into hastily dug pits. The danger of infection and the odors of the bodies were so great that often there was no one to give sepulture to the dead” (Schaff, 100).

It is estimated that half the population of England died (Schaff, 100-101). Of the rest of the known world, some people said it killed a third of the population, some said a half, others estimated that only 1/10th of mankind had survived (Schaff, 102).

Can you picture a more devastating thing that could have happened to Western Civilisation? I think the only things which come close are the Muslim Conquests of the 7th and 8th centuries, and World Wars 1 and 2. But even those events didn’t so thoroughly devastate Europe. Not that it’s a competition, none of those events would have been a wonderful joy to live through, and at least in the World Wars you could go down fighting in a blaze of glory, rather than just dying painfully in a puddle of your own vomit, blood and puss.

If any generation deserved to black-pill and give up it was the generation of the Black Death. Yet not only did European civilisation continue, it flourished in the wake of the plague. People kept having babies, old structures which had grown stagnant and stale were overthrown by the sheer loss of people to maintain them, and Europe moved into a real golden age of inventions and cultural development. But none of that would have happened if people had have just given up, packed it in and waited for the end.

Many Christians today think the end is nigh, and therefore they don’t want to invest into society. There are reasonably strong, solid Christian couples, who don’t want to have children because they know things are getting bad. Why would we bring children into a world where drag queens do story hour at the local library Matt, a world we know is going to get worse? Why? Because those who have the most kids always win the next generation, or the one after that. And those who don’t are utterly forgotten to history, unless they are the Pauls, or Isaac Newtons of the world.

Have you heard of the Shakers? Probably most of you haven’t, and why should you have heard of them? They were a break off sect from the Quakers in the Mid-18th century, they moved to America and founded a society that was thoroughly egalitarian, giving equal leadership to men and women, oh, and they required all members, married or not, to be celibate. They had some success in the revivalist atmosphere of the 18th century America. They peaked at about 4000 members, and over 200 years about 20,000 Americans have been in their ranks at one time, spread between 18 different communities. A website dedicated to them says they are a great success, because they still exist today. How many of them are there? 10, 10 living members. Wikipedia, quite unironically points out that there are more descendants of those who abandoned the sect, than those who founded it. For obvious reasons. I am amazed that they even got that many followers. But you can never under estimate the ability for stupid to be catching.

Compare the Shakers to the Catholic, Anglican, Baptist, or Puritan Presbyterians churches whose members literally gave birth to the American nation, among others, and who sustain many societies to this day. It’s not even a comparison really, having babies is the best way to win the future, at least, it is the best way that the average person has.

If you want to win history, the least you can do, is make sure your name shows up for the generation after yours. The Church has always believed, throughout history, that this is the first and foremost way of growing the Church. Even the Catholic Church recognizes this, which is why birth control it against Catholic policy. 

If you don’t like the way the world is going, that’s good, we shouldn’t. The devil who rules this world seems to be having a field day with Western civilisation right now. But to quote Jerry Seinfeld, “Fathers just say, to hell with the world, I’ll make my own people.” That is the attitude we need to have, not the attitude of Seinfeld, but of the fathers who say to hell with what’s happening in the world, we will make our own people.

Men of the West rise, fight for your civilisation, fight for the future, have babies while the plague is raging. Because those who win the future are those who show up for it. Let me finish with the words of Aragorn at the final battle, in the Return of the King:

“Hold your ground! Hold your ground! Sons of Gondor! Rohan! My brothers. I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me. A day may come when the courage of Men fails. When we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship. But it is not this day. An hour of wolves and shattered shields when the Age of Men comes crashing down. But it is not this day! This day we fight! By all that you hold dear on the good earth I bid you stand, Men of the West!”


Schaff, Philip 1989, A History of the Christian Church Volume 6: The Middle Ages, William B Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan. 

Lord of the Rings: The Return of The King

Tuesday 3 December 2019

Our Cultural Heritage Is More Christian Than You Think

Grimms' Fairytales.
One thing I am finding from reading the original Grimms fairy-tales is how thoroughly Christian many, if not most of them are. The scattering few we get of them from pop culture through Disney and other re-tellings gives the impression that our cultural heritage is pagan. But it's not, the West is by definition Christian.
These Grimms stories all have a deep Christian influence and many of them have a strong and explicit Christian message.

Take this short one for example. This is a great message all should hear, and also a fun story:

"Once on a time a poor pious peasant died, and arrived before the gate of heaven. At the same time a very rich, rich lord came there who also wanted to get into heaven. Then Saint Peter came with the key, and opened the door, and let the great man in, but apparently did not see the peasant, and shut the door again. And now the peasant outside, heard how the great man was received in heaven with all kinds of rejoicing, and how they were making music, and singing within. At length all became quiet again, and Saint Peter came and opened the gate of heaven, and let the peasant in. The peasant, however, expected that they would make music and sing when he went in also, but all remained quite quiet; he was received with great affection, it is true, and the angels came to meet him, but no one sang. Then the peasant asked Saint Peter how it was that they did not sing for him as they had done when the rich man went in, and said that it seemed to him that there in heaven things were done with just as much partiality as on earth.
Then said Saint Peter, "By no means, thou art just as dear to us as any one else, and wilt enjoy every heavenly delight that the rich man enjoys, but poor fellows like thee come to heaven every day, but a rich man like this does not come more than once in a hundred years!"

We have been taught to forget who we are, where we came from, and what made our civilisation great: the ideas and concepts of the Christian faith. We need to remember who we are. Pick up an old book and look inside and you will see: our entire cultural heritage is filled with Christianity. 

The West Did Not Invent The African Slave Trade

You will often, particularly online, hear people say something like this; the African slave trade was a ‘racist, white, patriarchal colonialist institution’, it was the white man’s hatred of the black man that fuelled the slave trade. Now, putting aside the fact that the word ‘slave’ developed from ‘Slav’, the white eastern Europeans who were taken as slaves so often their names became synonymous with the institution of slavery in Europe, this idea that the African slave trade was a ‘white, patriarchal, colonial institution’ is both ahistorical and ridiculous.

Did Colonialists engage in it? Yes. Did racists engage in it? Yes. Did white Europeans start the African slave trade? No. Long before white Europeans engaged in the African slave trade, Muslims, and prior to that Arab slave traders were heavily involved in running Slaves to and from Africa. How far does this go back. Well at least a few thousand years actually. Genesis 37:25-28 says this:

“25 Then they sat down to eat. And looking up they saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead, with their camels bearing gum, balm, and myrrh, on their way to carry it down to Egypt. 26 Then Judah said to his brothers, “What profit is it if we kill our brother and conceal his blood? 27 Come, let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, and let not our hand be upon him, for he is our brother, our own flesh.” And his brothers listened to him. 28 Then Midianite traders passed by. And they drew Joseph up and lifted him out of the pit, and sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty shekels of silver. They took Joseph to Egypt.”

Who are the Midianites/Ishmaelites in this passage? The ancestors of the Arabs, from whence Islam developed in the 7th century AD. What are they doing? They are engaging in the African (Egyptian at this time) slave trade. And Joseph’s wicked brothers participate in it with them, selling their own brother as a slave. The African slave trade, in all its various forms existed long before England even existed as a nation, let alone set their sights on the evil trade. How long were these proto-Arabs involved in this trade before this passage? We cannot know, but here we have a clear indication that it has a long history in their culture. 
As the image above shows, the African slave trade dates back far into ancient times. This picture represents Nubians, a north African people and an ancient and at times powerful kingdom, being transported as slaves by Egyptian slave traders. Indeed, sadly this African slave trade still exists today, long after Colonial rule has been removed from the continent. With open slave markets in Libya and other parts of Africa. And we can safely predict, that sadly, it will probably go on for some time yet. 

For most of early European history, various European people's made slaves of each other. Greeks made slaves of other Greeks and non-Greeks, Romans of Thracians, Germans of Slavs, Romans of Celts and Gauls, etc, etc. But regarding our specific topic here, yes, Europeans, got involved in the evils of the African slave trade, and yes it corrupted us for a time. But we also put an end to it in the West. To blame the West for the institution of the African slave trade is ahistorical, and blaming it on the idea of "white patriarchy" is just plain ridiculous. History always makes a mockery of bad arguments. If you don’t know where to start, begin with the most well-read history ever written, the Bible.