27 June 2017

A DTS Podcast on Theology and Technology

A recent Dallas Theological Seminary podcast on technology and theology provided a sobering instance of worldview teaching's syncretistic tendencies. It might be added the failure and unbiblical nature of worldview-Dominionism can have startling implications for both the Church and the culture. When it comes to technology the stakes are high and I found myself a bit taken aback by the guest's shortsightedness, even blindness when it comes to these questions.

24 June 2017

A Very Confused Marine

This is one of those stories that got a lot of traction in Evangelical circles but it's so fraught with problems it's difficult to know where to begin. I see little point in investing a great deal of time and energy in hashing out an extensive commentary but a few points are warranted.

19 June 2017

The Congressional Shooter: The Right's Ridiculous Response

I shouldn't have been surprised but I must confess I was taken aback by the recent comments and diatribes by Right-wing figures over the GOP baseball shooting in Alexandria VA. A Bernie Sanders supporter decided to go after congressional Republicans and he himself went down in a hail of gunfire after shooting several people including House Whip Steve Scalise.

18 June 2017

The DUP and Ulster's Christian Witness

With Theresa May's failed bid to secure a sold Parliamentary majority in the recent Snap election, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) of Northern Ireland has been the subject of a great deal of media attention. They are her 'ace in the hole', her means to retain power and avoid resignation and further elections in the near future.

17 June 2017

The Karzai Connection: Afghanistan, the CIA and Drugs

Some time ago I listened to this Fresh Air piece on NPR. It was interesting but also a little frustrating in that it represents what I consider typical Establishment journalism.
Ahmed Wali Karzai, brother to the more famous and now ex-Afghan president Hamid Karzai was involved in the drug trade and had connections to the CIA. He occasionally made it into the international news but was largely ignored except by those following the seemingly endless US occupation. His assassination in 2011 is really the only reason he's getting any attention now.

11 June 2017

Gülen's Compound: A Backcountry Exile... Conveniently Located

I must confess it was kind of exciting to sit in my car outside the gate of Gülen's compound in the Poconos. I was passing through and PA-33 actually facilitated my route. Coming out of southern New Jersey, I was working my way up to I-80. I pulled off in Saylorsburg and my wife turned to me and asked "Are you looking for that Turk?"
I couldn't suppress my grin. It's not a question I get asked every day.

09 June 2017

Trump and the Qatar Crisis

While receiving some press coverage, the growing Qatar Crisis is worthy of larger consideration. Standard commentaries on the Middle East rightly identify the ongoing struggle between the Saudi's and Islamic Republic of Iran. Sometimes it's even referred to as the Middle Eastern Cold War. This is a multifaceted struggle over the leadership of Islam, Sunni vs. Shiite, Arab vs. Persian and it also represents an aspect of a larger proxy struggle between the great powers.

07 June 2017

The West and Trump +138

Reflections on the Trump Era (Late Spring 2017)
It's difficult to assess the Trump administration thus far. Its chaotic nature and moment by moment shifts in action, narrative and presentation have created an air of bedlam and disarray. While sometimes unintentional, a strong case can be made that in many cases this is a deliberate tactic.

06 June 2017

Evangelical Testimony in the Islamic Republic of Iran

I've been following a story which broke at the end of last year about the Assemblies of God in Iran. They were accused by Tehran of being collaborators with the American CIA. As a consequence they've had some property seized.

30 May 2017

Comey and Conservative Theological Liberalism

It is not my intention here to comment on the Comey-Trump scandal and all that goes with it. I hope to write something about these early days of Trump in the near future.
I found this article interesting because awhile ago I picked up on the Comey connection to religious education and the fact that he had been a Sunday School teacher in a United Methodist Church.
Suddenly this Niebuhr-related article tied it all together. His place in the grand order of things suddenly made sense.

27 May 2017

Air Force One: Hollywood Lies and Regime Propaganda

Even though the movie came out some twenty years ago, I had never seen it before. It was pretty much what I expected but actually the more I brooded on it, I became angry.
Many will remember the angst of the 1990's as the US and its entertainment industry sought new enemies. The fall of the USSR had eliminated the old stand-by 'bad guy'. The Serbs just couldn't quite fulfill that role.

25 May 2017

Asian Perspectives: South Korea's Generational Shift and the Life Ethic of China's Underground

This article was interesting if spiritually speaking a little disappointing. Christianity in South Korea is complex as its somewhat brief history. On the one hand it's good to see some questioning the 'conservative' political bent and the corruption inherent within the Mega-Church model and yet like so many reactions in American culture... the response can sometimes be just as bad.

23 May 2017

21 May 2017

Rouhani and Trump

I caught a few minutes of Trump's Saudi Arabia speech this morning and I thought it unfortunate. By lambasting Iran he (consciously or not) places Rouhani in a difficult situation.

18 May 2017

Fatima Veneration as Adiaphora: John Paul II and Evangelicals

John Paul II took up the office of Pope during the waning years of the Cold War. As the Christian Right sought to expand its political and cultural influence they found common cause with the Polish Pope who seemed to stand for conservative cultural values and was an ally in the war against the Soviets and Communism.
In other words, John Paul II was a bridge between the Evangelical and Roman Catholic worlds.

15 May 2017

DeMint and Heritage

If Heritage is indeed going to be 'torn apart' by this 'coup' against PCA member Jim DeMint, then I say tear away.
Heritage has been a force for evil, virtually writing the policy of the Reagan, Bush II and now Trump administrations. This 'think-tank' and its operatives have helped to implement policies of economic exploitation and warmongering. From Latin America to Africa and Asia, it was Heritage and the people within its orbit that helped unleash a stream of violent paramilitary and terrorist actions that still reverberate across the world.
Politics over research? Research? Propaganda is more like it. Heritage has churned out an endless stream of statistical manipulations, revisionist history and outright lies. Heritage has never been one to do research with an objective aim. The bias is built in. This is the nature of think-tanks. They're not to be trusted.

The EU's Sham Concerns for Religious Freedom

These sorts of initiatives cannot but make one groan. It is but another case of blind bureaucrats addressing issues far beyond their ken. The EU is actually quite hostile to religious minorities nor do its leaders grasp what religious life is. The growing hostility to homeschooling in Germany and Scandinavia are prime examples of this. You can attend worship services, though increasingly what you say in them is under scrutiny but the idea that you would live out your faith is... increasingly verboten.

11 May 2017

Police Protection for the Church: Evangelicals, America and Guns

A Church, a Church-affiliated campus, with a police force? Why the controversy?
This move by an Alabama PCA is hardly surprising and will even be praised by many. Not a few Evangelicals are confused as to why this would even be an issue. It's normal for colleges and universities to have police forces, so what's the big deal? Why are people so bothered by this?

The United Methodist Church is Apostate

I continue to encounter United Methodists who pretend their domination is still somehow 'conservative' or has the possibility of being steered back in that direction. Just because the denomination hasn't officially endorsed homosexuality (even though it really has) doesn't mean that they don't accept it. The same is true for most Evangelicals. Even though they continue to largely reject homosexual conduct in accepting homosexuality as a valid 'orientation' they have already lost the argument.

05 May 2017

Suu Kyi: An Inspirational Let-Down

Ang San Suu Kyi inspired a generation of human rights activists through her long struggle with the ruling junta of Myanmar/Burma. Suffering years of house arrest, all but abandoning her family for the sake of the cause, she was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1991 and seemed in recent years to be finally vindicated. Freed from arrest she now sits in a position of political power.

01 May 2017

Erdogan's Byzantine Tactics

Turkey continues to move away from the West. While still ostensibly a member of NATO it is clear the EU accession project is now dead. In many ways Ankara is moving toward the Moscow orbit, itself a great coup in terms of modern geopolitics.

29 April 2017

The Plight of Christians in Laos

This is a heartbreaking story but one that we need to hear and follow. There is perhaps another story here... a growing nationalist/Sacralist tendency within Theravada Buddhism. We've already seen it in Sri Lanka but it's definitely on the rise in places like Burma, Thailand and indeed Laos.

27 April 2017

Americans Cashing In: Uganda's For Profit Schools

I've heard quite a few Christians advocate this model for the United States. They believe that if parents had some investment in their children's schooling they would be more pro-active in managing their conduct and making sure they take time to study etc.

24 April 2017

Bulgaria: Parliamentary Coalitions and Potential Dangers

This is the means by which some of the Far-Right and fringe parties are able to enter government. Under the parliamentary system (which I still think is better than the US model) a party who wins the election without a clear majority must form a coalition government.

20 April 2017

Violence in Context

Prashad is always interesting. I was first introduced to him on Democracy Now! I find his writings scattered here and there and he's always worth a read.
While certainly not a Christian, he is nevertheless insightful. This piece exposes the dual logic and ethics at work in how violence is perceived in the West.

19 April 2017

Theresa May's Gamble

I must say Theresa May has left everyone a bit shocked and there's a scramble on the part of pundits and commentators in attempting to interpret her actions.
Obviously frustrated, May wants to strengthen her hand which at the moment is hindered by divisions within the UK political Establishment. The Brexit negotiations are proving very complicated and difficult. The attempt to form an even closer alliance with Washington has proven dubious and has not strengthened London's hand when it comes to dealings with the Continent.

16 April 2017

Spanish Evangelicals and Reformation Reflections

I'm afraid this article coming out of Spain is just more rubbish from some of the Lausanne-affiliated groups.
They misrepresent Luther and his focus on the Gospel. It's a stunt but one that will get them some media attention in this anniversary year.

11 April 2017

Bucer's Magisterial Reformation: The Social Gospel of Sacralism

https://calvinistinternational.com/2016/11/28/bucer-civil-education/

When one hears about educators, educational reform and the push for compulsory universal public education one might be tempted to think about the Progressive Era or in Christian circles the advocates of Social Gospel.

And yet this impulse while tempered, to some degree secularised and certainly affected by the age of industry was no novelty. The idea of compulsion and a push toward an engineered uniform society is as old as Babel. The Reformation is often touted and celebrated as the foundation of modern Western Civilisation, the genesis of human rights and modern representative democracy, its reality and legacy are in fact more complicated.

07 April 2017

The Watchtower Society versus Orthodox Sacralism

I've said it before and it saddens me, but the Watchtower Society has more of the type of testimony the Church should have. Pressure is growing on them in Russia but for the right reasons. They're feeling the beginnings of persecution for their doctrinal witness and life... not because they're connected to Western values and the agendas of Washington and Wall Street.
They are hated because they reject nationalism, they refuse to be involved in civics and the military and they raise their children to be 'other' than that which the increasingly Sacralist Russian state would want them to be.

03 April 2017

Vault 7 and the Deep State

The Nozomi Hayase piece on Wikileaks Vault 7 is the article I've been looking for. Since the leak, the story has of course permeated the media but it has often been shrouded in confusion and politicisation. The Hayase article does a good job summarizing the leaks and providing analysis of the issues.

02 April 2017

Musings on the Nobel Prize and Selling Out

It was a big news story and something of a shocker. Bob Dylan receives the Nobel Prize for Literature? While at first the Nobel committee was surprised and insulted by Bob Dylan's silence he came around... sort of.

30 March 2017

The Musings of Mutti Merkel

The Trump Administration is making Europe nervous, even frantic but it is also opening doors. From a European military force to a new Brussels and Berlin defined IMF, to new autonomy in trade, the instability is laying great weight on Merkel... but at the same time she's more powerful than ever.

The Heritage Howse of Cards

Brannon Howse runs a popular 'discernment ministry'. Of course the only discernment one requires is to determine that he's something of a charlatan.
I stumbled on his worldview survey and from the get-go I knew what it was. It was a scam. It's the same kind of survey that The Heritage Foundation sends out. The questions are completely rigged.

27 March 2017

Soros, Orban and the Struggle for Hungary

George Soros is demonised by many in the alternative media, but especially in the Right and Alt-right sectors. Viewed as a liberal globalist they consider him to be a 'Dark Lord' type figure working behind the scenes to manipulate world events.

19 March 2017

Dirty Oil Deals and The Italian Connection

This is a link to a remarkable if incomplete story regarding oil corruption and money laundering. What is of particular import is that it points to the overlap between the corporate and finance sectors and strategic interests.  

Dominionist Scripture Twisting on Display

This article authored by a PCA pastor completely misrepresents the position of Two-Kingdom advocates, especially those within his own Reformed circles. Most of the Two Kingdom advocates in Reformed circles are actually Kuyperians and his criticisms are invalid. He falls into the classic straw-man argument, projecting 'dualism' on to people who aren't dualists. He accuses Two Kingdom theology of a world-abandonment mindset that no one actually advocates.

17 March 2017

Condor Convictions

Operation Condor was a project of cooperation between various Right-wing Latin American governments. They collaborated in the sharing of intelligence and a commitment to destroy Left-wing movements. This included kidnappings, assassination, torture, terror and secret prisons. Spanning the 1970s and 1980s the Condor legacy resulted in the deaths of thousands and the traumatising of whole societies. Even US apologists will admit that Washington knew about it and yet the evidence suggests that not only was the United States in the know, it was managing the project, funding it, as well as arming and training the death squads.

The Mainstreaming of Sodom

Obviously this is little more than the culmination of a long-standing trend within our culture. What is sometimes most disturbing to me is that I look at my children's generation and realise they're growing up in a time when this sort of thing is becoming normative.

15 March 2017

Neo-Nazis and the German Intelligence Services

The nebulous Nazi connection lives on or so it would seem. Even this Guardian article openly admits the connections between the American formed post-war German intelligence services and ex-Nazis. The question is, as Neo-Nazi groups have acted and continue to act (often with impunity) are they being facilitated by the state intelligence apparatus? It would seem so.

12 March 2017

Max Boot has joined the CIA

Boot recently produced an article entitled Wikileaks has joined the Trump administration at Foreign Policy, the largely Neo-conservative magazine founded by Samuel Huntington of Clash of Civilisations fame.

Tolkien Cosmology Update

I recently updated The Cosmology of Tolkien on The Pilgrim Path/Proto-Protestantism website. The link is here if anyone is interested, followed by the additions I made.

11 March 2017

The Latin American Pseudo-Left Revolutions and the American Backlash

The Bush years afforded a rise of a new Latin American Left. From Argentina, to Brazil, Venezuela, Ecuador and even some of the nations in Central America, the people reacted to over a century of US imperialism and voted in governments that were openly hostile to American interests. It was a New Leftist Revolution, or was it?

10 March 2017

Brave Christians on the Tumen Frontier

There's an ongoing, heroic and very moving story that's been taking place in North Korea and in China's nearby region of Manchuria. It's a story of missionaries, refugees and an underground railroad. It's often a sad and very cruel story and yet there are some real shining lights, people who are labouring as Christians to reach out to escapees and in some cases help them embark on the long road to a new life in South Korea.

09 March 2017

The Intercept: The Good, Bad and Ugly

It's hard to deny The Intercept is an exciting online magazine. Launched in 2014, it came on the scene in the wake of the Snowden revelations. Laura Poitras, Glenn Greenwald and Jeremy Scahill were the big names associated with its launch. Poitras has since departed to focus on her film-making.
Since its start the magazine has put together an impressive team of journalists and they literally churn out articles and analysis. The website has become a wealth of information and due to their high-profile in the alternative media world they are getting a lot of tips and leaks which facilitate their reporting. 

Economic Warfare and the US Justice Department

There are so many stories like this floating around if you go looking. The US is waging a war against companies that do business in places and with people not liked by the Washington Establishment.

06 March 2017

Croatian Proxies and the Balkan Strategy

The article proclaims the Croatians ignored well-founded concerns the arms they sold to Saudi Arabia would end up in Syria.
These concerns weren't ignored. This was the whole point.

Greece, NATO and Moscow

Greece has often been one of the most volatile members within the NATO alliance. Under the Karamanlis government which came to power in 1974 after the US-backed Junta of Colonels was ousted, Greece left the military structure of NATO and did not return until the 1980s. And even then under Andreas Papandreou the relationship was less than brilliant.

04 March 2017

Deutsche Welle (DW): Turkish Intelligence (MIT) Hunting Down Dissidents in Turkey... but there's more to the story

The Turkish intelligence agency, the MIT is hunting down Kurdish dissidents affiliated with the PKK, Gülenists and others beyond its borders. Germany with it large Turkish population, which includes numerous Kurds is the special focus of the operation. Germany was a nation without colonies and thus when it looked for cheap labour, it couldn't import Africans, Indians or other Asians. Instead a deal was cut.

Proxy Espionage and Empire

This article fails to connect its own dots. Der Spiegel has already reported on US dominance of the German intelligence service, the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND). In light of that we must ask, why is the BND spying on foreign journalists?

01 March 2017

The Pull of the CIA: Italy Capitulates

I've been following this story, especially as it has been in the news the past few days. How frustrated the Italian prosecutors and investigators must be. They've laboured to bring this to trial, to hold someone accountable for what was done within their borders, in violation of their nation's sovereignty. They're trying to demonstrate that America cannot act with impunity.

Carlson on Capitalism

LPR's Issues Etc. usually frustrates me but this segment was a pleasant surprise, although I'm not sure if the host or most of the audience was equally enthused.

26 February 2017

The Trump Liturgy

This was passed to me recently. I think it's starting to generate some attention.
I don't have a lot to say about this Washington Post article but I think readers will find it interesting. I suppose one of the reasons is due to the fact that this Nazarene pastor, while thoroughly patriotic and supportive of Christian America... all the things I'm not.... still has enough, what shall we say... sanctified common sense?... to realise something is very wrong.