Monday, February 18, 2019

Difficult to Locate



A purely secularist, opposed-to-all-religion position takes it to have been established that all religious doctrines yet offered have been shown to be false, and it is quite willing to infer that any doctrinal replacements will suffer a similar fate. Since the great work in which it was shown that all religious doctrines are false is uncommonly hard to locate—it is hard to think of any barely plausible candidates—pure secularism possesses an unfounded optimism about its status and prospects.

                                                                                           -Keith Yandell, Religious Experience
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Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Belief





The human mind has sufficient resources to explain away any evidence that runs counter to what it is anxious to believe.

                                                       -George Schlesinger, on Miracles

Monday, February 11, 2019

Preaching and Living


(A congregation) will give you leave to preach against their sins, and to talk as much as you will for godliness in the pulpit, if you will but let them alone afterwards, and be friendly and merry with them when you have done, and talk as they do, and live as they and be indifferent with them in your conversation.  For they take the pulpit to be but a stage; a place where preachers must show themselves, and play their parts; where you have liberty for an hour to say what you list; and what you say they regard not, if you show them not, by saying it personally to their faces, that you were in good earnest, and did indeed mean them.
                                                -Richard Baxter, Puritan Preacher, 1615-1691

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

 

 

Before God can use a man greatly, He must wound him deeply


                                                           -Oswald Chambers

Friday, February 1, 2019

God of the Gaps



Isaac Newton and others who think of explanations of natural processes that refer to God and those that refer to natural causes as being on the same plane and interchangeable actually cause needless conflicts between science and religion, for it means that God and some natural causes are rivals for the same place in an account of a natural process. As science progresses and finds a natural account where before it had none, God, who had been used to fill the gap, is pushed out. It then looks as though science has discredited belief in God and suggests that belief in a deity developed in more primitive times, but as our knowledge grew, we saw our mistake and corrected it by giving up belief in God. Newton thus did a great disservice when he put God in to his accounts wherever there was a gap in the science of the day. As science progressed, God was pushed out of place after place into which Newton and others had put him.
               
                               -Allen and Springsted, Philosophy for Understanding Theology
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Friday, January 11, 2019

There is not a physician shortage in the US

 

 

"The physician shortage as a significant driver of poor health outcomes is a red herring."

                                                                  -Corso et al


If anything, the poor state of affairs in American health has to do with too many doctors, not too few. Authors Corso, Dorrance, and LeRochelle make a good argument that simply blaming poor healthcare on the lack of primary care is insufficient (see their article in Military Medicine).

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Lock Them Up - China's Tit for Tat


https://www.amazon.com/Two-Tears-Window-ordinary-disappears/dp/0228501539/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1546840956&sr=8-1&keywords=two+tears+on+the+window+book

Julia and Kevin Garrett are Canadians who were imprisoned in China under false charges in 2014.  Kevin spent more than 2 years in jail. Their well-written story is a window into China's oppressive and imbalanced justice system that cries out for reform. At the same time, it shows a complete disregard for justice at all on the part of Chinese leadership.  This book is best read along with the  wired article showing how the Garratt's story is a result of Canada trying to help the US curb Chinese pilfering of military secrets. In summary, Canada locked up a businessman for extradition after the US found him stealing military airplane plans and feeding them to the Chinese military. To punish Canada and pressure them to release the businessman, they charged the Garratts, who ran a coffee shop in China, with spying for Canada. This stuff is definitely movie material!

Find their book on Amazon

Read the wired article at https://www.wired.com/story/us-china-cybertheft-su-bin/

Monday, December 17, 2018

Free World in the Balance


"For all hideous realities, unrighteous politics, and arbitrary laws manifest the cross of Jesus Christ, the only means by which every Chinese person must be saved. They also manifest the fact that true hope and a perfect society will never be found in the transformation of any earthly institution or culture but only in our sins being freely forgiven by Christ and in the hope of eternal life.”   

                                                                                                 -Wang Yi


China, the most populous country in the history of the world, has purposely built a system of monitoring and restricting freedom in every sphere of life. Against this seemingly impenetrable force stands a humble man with a pen, a vision, and a willingness to sacrifice.

Pastor Wang Yi writes, pointing not to himself, but to something and someone far greater. He dusts off the best from great resistors of the past such as Gandhi and Martin Luther King. At the same time he is completely original, and speaks uniquely and specifically to his time in place and history. Every paragraph is crafted with power and depth. Yi very clearly carries a light in the darkness. Yet what platform he has is being removed as Yi, his family, and his church members are harassed and jailed. Time will tell whether this pastor, in his reeducation camp, carries years of patience and fortitude as did Mandela and Solzhenitsyn. And one wonders if the free world will be too distracted to recognize Yi’s work and sacrifice on its behalf. For the cause of Pastor Wang Yi will surely be victorious, though things may get a lot worse first.

Pastor Wang Yi, ministering in Chengdu, China, was recently arrested along with many of his church members. The above quote is from a statement he wrote to be given out 48 hours after possible detention. I encourage you read the whole thing below, it just takes a few minutes:

Pastor Wang Yi's Declaration of "Faithful Disobedience"

Pastor Wang Yi's Declaration in Chinese Language

 Related details:
CNN Story from Dec 17
Prior blog on persecution from Pastor Wang Yi



Thursday, November 22, 2018

The War


I have used the metaphors of war because that is exactly how the Bible describes the conflict between God and Satan. But our struggle is a very different kind of war. The revolution of the kingdom is not a revolution of violence to be won by force. It does not advance on the basis of earthly power or principles of warfare. It has no tanks or guns or bombs. Its weapons are paradoxical: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. We go out into the world assaulting the gates of hell by loving our neighbors—even our enemies. We go to the broken and ragged places to comfort the afflicted and bind up the brokenhearted. We carry the message of a new hope into our workplaces, schools, and town halls. We bind up the wounds of abuse, exploitation, addiction, and alienation with acts of forgiveness and healing. We are called to care for the widow, the orphan, the alien, and the stranger—to lift up justice and fight economic disparity, to speak up for the voiceless and hold our governments accountable, to challenge racism and bigotry, to be generous with our money-and to live lives of integrity. We see value in the worthless, find strength in the weak, and anoint the downtrodden with significance. We seek to right every wrong and take every thought captive to obedience to Jesus Christ. Our opponents are disarmed when they see our breastplate of righteousness, the belt of truth buckled around our waist, and the helmet of our salvation. We march on feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. Every act of kindness, each moment spent in prayer, and every expression of love in the name of Christ pierces the heart of the enemy and sends him into retreat. These are the gentle weapons of the kingdom. There is still evil in the world, but evil is on the run.
                                                     -Richard Stearns, Unfinished

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Surveillance



In a society that does not fear God, the only way to establish justice will be to put everyone under constant surveillance.
                                                                                -Vishal Mangalwadi, Truth and Transformation

Monday, October 29, 2018

Influence




As strange as it may seem, it may happen at times that the church is most influential when it is indifferent to exercising influence.

                                                                 -Richard John Neuhaus, The Naked Public Square

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Adam Smith and Medical Societies

 

“People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices.”


                                                          ― Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations