Oct 01 2014

C.S. Lewis: TO DON GIOVANNI CALABRIA, who had sent Lewis the Litany of Humility composed by Cardinal Merry del Val: On the danger of being too aware of global worries and of forgetting to help Christ in the people close at hand; on the dignity to which God raises human beings when they receive Holy Communion; and on Lewis’s besetting temptations against humility.

Tag: C.S. Lewis: Mere ChristianitySage @ 1:15 pm

C.S. Lewis Daily

TO DON GIOVANNI CALABRIA, who had sent Lewis the Litany of Humility composed by Cardinal Merry del Val: On the danger of being too aware of global worries and of forgetting to help Christ in the people close at hand; on the dignity to which God raises human beings when they receive Holy Communion; and on Lewis’s besetting temptations against humility.

27 March 1948

I was glad to receive your letter—so full (as is your wont) of Charity.

Everywhere things are troubling and uneasy—wars and rumours of war: perhaps not the final hour but certainly times most evil.

Nevertheless, the Apostle again and again bids us ‘Rejoice’[Philippians 4:4 [show/hide]ERROR: You have exceeded your quota of 5000 requests per day. Please contact the developer of this application if you have questions. (If you're the developer and have questions about this error message, please contact Crossway.)
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].

Nature herself bids us do so, the very face of the earth being now renewed, after its own manner, at the start of Spring.

I believe that the men of this age (and among them you Father, and myself) think too much about the state of nations and the situation of the world. Does not the author of The Imitation warn us against involving ourselves too much with such things?

We are not kings, we are not senators. Let us beware lest, while we torture ourselves in vain about the state of Europe, we neglect either Verona or Oxford.

In the poor man who knocks at my door, in my ailing mother, in the young man who seeks my advice, the Lord Himself is present: therefore let us wash His feet.

I have always believed that Voltaire, infidel though he was, thought aright in that admonition of his to cultivate your own garden: likewise William Dunbar (the Scottish poet who flourished in the 15th century) when he said

Man, please thy Maker and be merry;

This whole world rate we at a penny!

Tomorrow we shall celebrate the glorious Resurrection of Christ. I shall be remembering you in the Holy Communion. Away with tears and fears and troubles!

United in wedlock with the eternal Godhead Itself, our nature ascends into the Heaven of Heavens. So it would be impious to call ourselves ‘miserable’. On the contrary, Man is a creature whom the Angels—were they capable of envy—would envy. Let us lift up our hearts! ‘At some future time perhaps even these things it will be a joy to recall.’ [Virgil, Aeneid, I, 203]

For the Litany composed by Cardinal Merry many thanks. You did not know, did you, that all the temptations against which he pours forth these prayers I have long been exceeding conscious of ? [From the longing to be thought well of, deliver me, Jesus, . . . from the fear of being rejected, deliver me, Jesus, . . . ] Touché, you pink me!

Let us pray for each other always. Farewell.

From The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, Volume II

- Bible Gateway.Com

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Oct 01 2014

President Obama admits U.S. “underestimated” rising threat of ISIS in Iraq & Syria. Here’s exactly what he said.

Tag: Israel: Middle EastSage @ 1:10 pm

From Flash Traffic Blog Wordpress.Com

President Obama admits U.S. “underestimated” rising threat of ISIS in Iraq & Syria. Here’s exactly what he said.

by joelcrosenberg

· “That’s why it’s so important for us to recognize part of the solution here is gonna be military,” he said. “We just have to push them back, and shrink their space, and go after their command and control, and their capacity, and their weapons, and their fueling, and cut off their financing, and work to eliminate the flow of foreign fighters.”

Obama tells "60 Minutes" that US intelligence underestimated the ISIS threat. (source: CBS News)

Obama tells “60 Minutes” that US intelligence underestimated the ISIS threat. (source: CBS News)

For the last several years, President Obama and his top advisors told us over and over again that “al Qaeda is on the run,” and “we decimated al Qaeda.”

In January, the President dismissed ISIS — formerly known as “al Qaeda in Iraq” — as a “jayvee” team and not a serious threat in Iraq or a serious threat to U.S. national security. He said this even though ISIS forces had just seized control of the city of Fallujah days before the January interview with a reporter from the New Yorker.

But as many Mideast analysts, myself included, have repeatedly warned, the forces of Radical Islam have grown more powerful and more dangerous in recent years, not less so — and ISIS, in particular, is no “jayvee” squad. They are a vicious, battle-tested, barbaric terrorist organization. They are slaughtering Muslims and Christians throughout Iraq and Syria. They are beheading American reporters. They seek to conquer not only Iraq and Syria but Lebanon, Jordan and all of Israel. They want to build a global kingdom or “caliphate,” and ISIS leaders openly vow to attack America and raise their black flag over the White House.

As I have been researching and writing my forthcoming novel about the ISIS threat — THE THIRD TARGET — I have been astonished to see President Obama and his top advisors repeatedly dismiss the ISIS threat and refuse to take action until just within the last few weeks when they have begun to change course.

Now the President is admitting that the U.S. ”underestimated” the rise and severity of the ISIS threat.

But is he really taking responsibility, or is he actually blaming American intelligence officials for underestimating the ISIS threat? Does he finally understand the magnitude of the threat and is he really willing to do all that is necessary to protect the American people and our allies and fully defeat ISIS, or is he talking big but taking half-measures?

You be the judge.

Consider the following excerpts from a CBS News report, and an interview with the President that aired on “60 Minutes” on Sunday evening:

· President Obama acknowledged that the U.S. underestimated the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS, also called ISIL) and overestimated the ability of the Iraqi military to fend off the militant group in an interview that aired on 60 Minutes.

· The president was asked by 60 Minutes correspondent Steve Kroft about comments from Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who has said the U.S. not only underestimated ISIS, it also overestimated the ability and will of the Iraqi military to fight the extremist group.

· “That’s true,” Mr. Obama said. “That’s absolutely true.”

· “Jim Clappper has acknowledged that I think they underestimated what had been taking place in Syria,” he said, blaming the instability of the Syrian civil war for giving extremists space to thrive.

· The comments were among the president’s most candid to date about the rapid rise of the terrorist group that has ransacked much of Syria and Iraq in recent months.

· “Essentially what happened with ISIL was that you had al Qaeda in Iraq, which was a vicious group, but our Marines were able to quash with the help of Sunni tribes,” he explained. “They went back underground, but over the past couple of years, during the chaos of the Syrian civil war, where essentially you had huge swaths of the country that are completely ungoverned, they were able to reconstitute themselves and take advantage of that chaos.”

· The group was able to “attract foreign fighters who believed in their jihadist nonsense and traveled everywhere from Europe to the United States to Australia to other parts of the Muslim world, converging on Syria,” the president said. “And so this became ground zero for jihadists around the world.”

· He said their recruitment has been aided by a “very savvy” social media campaign. He also blamed remnants of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s military, which were expunged from the Iraqi military after Hussein’s fall, for lending some “traditional military capacity” to the terrorist group.

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Oct 01 2014

PJ Media: News Index - 1st October 2014

Tag: Global CommentarySage @ 1:05 pm

From PJ Media.Com

Featured Story
Liberals as Low Information Voters
By Roger L. Simon

The liberals we know and love, most of them anyway, aren’t bad people. They’re just so scared of what’s happening they can’t think.

PJ Media
Is the DOJ Correct to Ban Religious and Racial Profiling?
By Walter Hudson

The practice of profiling bears an unfair negative connotation. Profiling has been an integral part of law enforcement and national security operations for as long as such endeavors have existed, and for good reason.


6 Elements of ‘Extremist’ Islam That ‘Moderate’ Muslims Endorsed as They Condemned the Islamic State
By Robert Spencer
At last, moderate Islam! The Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Fiqh Council of North America held a press conference in Washington on Wednesday at which they announced with great fanfare that they had refuted the religious ideology of the Islamic State.

Read More >>

Movement in Congress Wants to Strip NFL of Anti-Trust Exemption
By Bill Straub
Several members of Congress have expressed disgust with what they view as the lenient way the National Football League has treated players accused of domestic abuse, with one asserting the sport’s anti-trust exemption should be revoked.

Read More >>

PJTV
ZoNation — Leaving a News Reporting Gig to Run a Marijuana Business…What You Smoking?

This Alaska reporter left a paying news gig, while on the air, to make a statement about weed legalization. Watch Alfonzo Rachel clear the haze of this high stunt.


Presidential Candidate Gary Johnson: How the Libertarian Party Can be Viable
What’s the current state, and future, of the Libertarian Party? Gary Johnson, a 2012 presidential candidate, joins Stephen Kruiser to discuss the movement’s issues and more.

Watch Now >>

Feed the Hungry People, Not the Dumpster: Activist Eats Your Garbage
Is it possible to feed every hungry person in America, five times over with what’s thrown in the dumpster? Michelle Fields introduces you to Rob Greenfield, an activist seeking to put food waste into perspective. Tune into this interview, and sound off in the comments section.

Watch Now >>

What you May Have Missed
Religion of Peace Iranian Government to Execute Woman for Fighting Off Rapist (Stephen Kruiser)
[VIDEO] The Constitutional Model for Reforming Governance from the Ground Up
Dispatches From the Reality-Based Community (Ed Driscoll)
Dynasty (Richard Fernandez)
How Not to Be Poor (Helen Smith)
The 10 Best Science Fiction Titles in Comics (Pierre Comtois)
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Oct 01 2014

Jihad Watch: News Index - 1st October 2014

Tag: Global CommentarySage @ 12:52 pm

From Jihad Watch.Org

Netanyahu: “It’s not militants. It’s not Islam. It’s militant Islam.”

Sep 30, 2014 10:33 pm | Robert Spencer

That statement from Netanyahu seems to mean that the threat is not coming from militants who have nothing to do with Islam, as Obama and Kerry and Cameron and May and all the rest of the witless dupes in Western leadership positions would have us believe, and it is not coming from every last Muslim, […]

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Prosecutor downplays Islamic aspects of Oklahoma beheading

Sep 30, 2014 09:10 pm | Robert Spencer

Lots of people get fired all the time. A small number react violently. An even smaller number start beheading people in that situation. And it just happens that Jah’Keem Yisrael adhered to a religion that directs believers to “strike the necks” of unbelievers (Qur’an 47:4) and that he had photos of jihad beheadings on his […]

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Australia: Pizza man charged with funding U.S. Muslim to join Islamic State

Sep 30, 2014 08:45 pm | Robert Spencer

Your pepperoni dollars at work. “Hassan El Sabsabi charged with funding terror after police raids across Melbourne,” by Shannon Deery, Monique Hore, and Jon Kaila, Herald Sun, September 30, 2014 (thanks to Kenneth): A MAN accused of funding terrorism is being kept in a prison cell on his own following his arrest this morning. Hassan […]

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Rabbi Reuven Firestone, President Elect of International Qur’anic Studies Association, wrongly rebukes Pamela Geller, claims Qur’an not anti-Semitic

Sep 30, 2014 04:59 pm | Robert Spencer

And he twists himself, as well as the Qur’an, into pretzels to make his case. “Rabbi Reuven Firestone is Professor of medieval Judaism and Islam at Hebrew Union College in Los Angeles and Senior Fellow of the Center for Religion and Civic Culture at the University of Southern California. He is author of Jihad: The […]

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Boston Marathon jihad mass murderer’s sister: “I have people. I know people that can put a bomb where you live.”

Sep 30, 2014 02:50 pm | Robert Spencer

Lots of people have heated words with their former flame’s new girlfriend. That’s not news. But threatening to put a bomb where the new girl lives? That puts a unique jihadi cast on the proceedings, courtesy a notorious jihadi family. “Boston Marathon bombing suspect’s sister appears in court for alleged bomb threat,” by Holly Bailey, […]

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State Department disagrees with Netanyahu’s contention that jihadis aim to “dominate the world”

Sep 30, 2014 01:35 pm | Robert Spencer

To mention just a few of many available examples, the Islamic Republic of Iran’s former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad once said: “Have no doubt… Allah willing, Islam will conquer what? It will conquer all the mountain tops of the world.” Sheik Ali Al-Faqir, former Jordanian minister of religious endowment, said this on Al-Aqsa TV on May […]

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Robert Spencer in PJ Media: 6 Elements of ‘Extremist’ Islam That ‘Moderate’ Muslims Endorsed as They Condemned the Islamic State

Sep 30, 2014 01:16 pm | Robert Spencer

Hamas-linked CAIR and an international coterie of Islamic scholars condemned the Islamic State. In doing so, they endorsed jihad warfare, dhimmitude, stoning for adultery, amputation for theft, the death penalty for apostasy, and the necessity of the caliphate. Not exactly “moderate.” My latest at PJ Media: At last, moderate Islam! The Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic […]

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UK Home Secretary Theresa May: Islamic State’s actions “have absolutely no basis in anything written in the Quran”

Sep 30, 2014 10:16 am | Robert Spencer

The imam Theresa May weighs in on a question about which her fellow imams, Barack Obama, John Kerry, David Cameron, Philip Hammond, Tony Abbot et al, have already spoken — a veritable ulama of renowned Islamic authorities. Her fatwa echoes theirs: The Islamic State’s “actions have absolutely no basis in anything written in the Quran. […]

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Australia: Man refused bail after saying of policeman, “I’m a member of ISIS and next time I see him, I’ll behead him.”

Sep 30, 2014 09:44 am | Robert Spencer

Is Lamin Savage a Muslim who supports the Islamic State or just an idiot who thinks the Islamic State is cool? This mainstream media report does not, of course, bother to clarify that crucial detail. In any case, the advance of this jihad savagery on the international stage is inevitably going to appeal to the […]

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Even in Israel, the media won’t call jihad jihad

Sep 30, 2014 09:23 am | Robert Spencer

Nathaniel Roi Arami fell to his death at a construction site in Israel. An “Arab co-worker” was questioned and released, but now the “incident is now being investigated as a possible nationalistically-related murder.” There is nothing unique about this story. It is one of many just like it that have come before, and many more […]

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Qatar is “a benefactor of the genocidal armies of ISIS, al Qaeda, and Boko Haram”

Sep 30, 2014 07:44 am | Robert Spencer

Ms. Malika Bilal and Ms. Femi Oke Al Jazeera English PO Box 23127 Doha – Qatar Dear Ms. Bilal and Ms. Femi Oke: This letter is being sent to you on behalf of the Qatar Awareness Campaign Coalition. The purpose is to inform you and the public of the activities of Qatar, the country which owns […]

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Sep 30 2014

The Bible: A Treasure

Tag: The Bible: Inspired WordSage @ 5:54 pm

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I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies, as much as in all riches.

The Editor of a magazine sent out a questionnaire to “the hundred greatest men in Britain,” asking: “If for any reason you were to spend a year absolutely alone [in a prison, for instance], and could select from your library three volumes as your companions during your retirement, please inform us what those three books would be.”

In the answers, it was found that ninety of the hundred named the Bible first in the list of the three books to be chosen.

This holy Book I’d rather own
Than all the gold and gems
That e’er in monarch’s coffers shone,
Than all their diadems.

Nay, were all the seas one chrysolite,
The earth one golden ball,
And diadems all the stars of night,
This Book outweighs them all.

Ah, no, the soul ne’er found relief
In glittering hoards of wealth;
Gems dazzle not the eye of grief,
Gold cannot purchase health.

The Bible is a treasure. It contains enough to make us rich for time and eternity. It contains the secret of happy living. It contains the key of heaven. It contains the title-deeds of an inheritance incorruptible, and that fadeth not away. It contains the pearl of great price. It contains the Saviour and the living God Himself. – James Hamilton.

The Bible walks the ways of all the world with familiar feet and enters land after land to find its own everywhere. Children listen to its stories with wonder and delight, and wise men ponder them as parables of life. The wicked and the proud tremble at its warnings, but to the wounded and the penitent it has a mother’s voice. It has woven itself into our dearest dreams; so that love, friendship, sympathy, devotion, memory, hope, put on the beautiful garments of its treasured speech. No man is poor or desolate who has this treasure for his own. – Henry Van Dyke.
- The Christian’s Daily Challenge: E.F. & L. Harvey.

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Sep 30 2014

GOD’s fearless Messengers

Tag: Spiritual ReflectionsSage @ 5:47 pm

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And I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them; and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall they be lacking, saith the Lord.
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For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.

Although the following advice, from the pen of G.D. Watson, may apply particularly to ministers and preachers, it can also come as an appeal to all of us, rank and file Christians. Which of us has not some portion of God’s flock for which our conscience tells us we are responsible? The challenge is to every true Christian, that he may be given that holy courage that will defy all hell until precious souls are son to Christ.

“The world and the visible Church both need messengers of God so perfectly purged by the Spirit and filled with Him as not to fear rich and cultured sinners, who are not ever afraid of offending someone, who have no fear about their salaries or votes of the conference, who are not afraid to preach very simple Bible sermons, who are not afraid of telling their experience, who are not in the least afraid of the flattery or abuse of the whole world.

They need men who so bury themselves in the bosom of God that the created universe cannot scare them; men who so fix their eyes on Jesus that they are oblivious of stained glass, pipe organs, fine clothes, and the foolish whims of proud theatre-going church members; MEN WHO WALK SO CLOSE WITH GOD THAT WHEN THEY PREACH THE PEOPLE FEEL AS IF A SOLEMN SECTION OF ETERNITY WERE FALLING ON THEM.”

“But this holy courage cannot be studied out, nor thought our, nor volitioned out, nor counterfeited. It comes only into an utterly purified hear, and is one of the fruits of perfect love.”

It is easy to appear a Daniel in a country where there are no lions.

Be careful that what you take for sweetness is not cowardice, and what you take to be the defense of the truth is not theological sourness. – Reader Harris.

- The Christian’s Daily Challenge: E.F. & L. Harvey

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Sep 30 2014

Marshall the FORCES

Tag: Prayer For...Sage @ 5:35 pm

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Proclaim ye this among the Gentiles; Prepare war, wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near; let them come up.

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For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds.

Samuel Chadwick lay dying. His colleagues stood waiting to catch the last words from the lips of this man of vision. They were not extended educational advantages, bigger buildings, greater finance or for more effective methods. What was his final command to these men left with the heritage of time? It was simply, “Marshal the forces of prayer”.

A famous French physician-scientist, Dr. Alexis Carrel, author of “Man the Unknown”, wrote concerning the omnipotence of intercession: “Prayer is a force as real as terrestrial gravity. It is the only power in the world that seems to overcome the so-called ‘laws of nature.’ When we pray, we link ourselves with the INEXHAUSTIBLE MOTIVE POWER that spins the universe. Prayer is our greatest source of power. But it is miserably undeveloped.”

“When our God beholds us there –
Pleading in the place of prayer,
Then the tide of battle turns,
Then the flame of conquest burns,
Then the flag of truth prevails,
Foes slink back and Satan quails !
Then the faltering wail of fear
Turns to victory’s ringing cheer !
Bring us, Lord, O bring us there,
Where we learn prevailing prayer”.- Unknown

He who truly prays keeps the age under his feet; he goes out to fight and to win, and returns asking help, that he may bear his trophies safely home.- J. Parker.

“The Christian on his knees is a king and priest unto God in His universe and the inner chamber becomes a gymnasium for the soul. The effort to realize God’s presence in His world stretches the sinews of our faith and hardens its muscles. We believe because it is impossible. Prayer invigorates the will, purifies it and confers decision on those that waver.

It gives energy to the listless, calmness to the fretful, sympathy to the selfish and largeness of heart to those who are narrow and provincial.

Paul calls this part of his life “wrestling”. It is a great spiritual conflict in an arena where weapons are never carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds. The energies of the universe, nay, of God Himself, are at the disposal of those who pray – to the man ‘who stirreth up himself to TAKE HOLD OF GOD’”.- Zwemer.

“Frail are thou, O man,
As a bubble on the breaker;
Weak and governed by externals,
Like a poor bird caught in the storm;

Yet thy momentary breath
Can still the raging waters;
Thy hand can touch
A lever that may move the world.”- M.F. Tucker.

Royal Exchange : E.F. & L. Harvey.

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Sep 30 2014

Confucius Shrugged

Tag: Global CommentarySage @ 4:03 pm

From American Thinker.Com

Helen Raleigh’s cleverly titled book Confucius Never Said is an instructional primer in Randian Capitalism contrasted against a bleak mural of Communist ingress. Raleigh, a first-generation American whose great-grandfather was persecuted by the communists in the 1940s, and whose father, in the 1950s, escaped the oppression of his home village, has given us a powerful moral argument for Capitalism in a simple recounting of the human tragedies made possible by its absence.

The power of Confucius Never Said comes from Raleigh’s binding of generations of family memory; the wisdom gained through experiencing the conditions of life prior to and during China’s Communist Era contrasted with with her own experiences as a free woman in America. Ayn Rand would be pleased with Raleigh’s approach to capitalist thought; a cautionary tale documenting the creeping tolerance of collectivism by an easily manipulated population.

A straightforward personal history, Raleigh’s book, her first, begins with the story of her great-grandfather who at the turn of the last century was born in Shandong Province, the ancestral home of the venerated Chinese philosopher, Confucius. The author sets the philosophical stage for 20th century radical socialism by detailing the principles taught by Confucius. Confucianism sets forth strict rules of order and social conduct, which historically provided a point of reference for Chinese culture. Absent the “all men created equal” and “government by the people” ideals of the United States, Confucius nevertheless encouraged respect for citizens by rulers, respect for the rulers by citizens, and respect for the individual duties given to each man to regulate his own actions, thus promoting peace and order for all. One might refer to Confucianism as a sort of benevolent collectivism that, tragically, may have made the Communist victory in China easier than it would have been in a western Democracy.

“An oppressive government is more to be feared than a tiger.” ~Confucius

The Communist takeover of China began with a reordering of class structure; what modern Progressives would refer to as “leveling the playing field.” But in Raleigh’s account of her family’s personal experiences, we see how “collective progress” incrementally strips away class, wealth, property, freedom, and eventually life in its inexorable march to totalitarian government.

Chapter 1 describes how, in the late 1940s, Communists used “Land Reform” efforts to set the land-owner and peasant classes in conflict with one another. Following the Soviet model, villages were controlled by Communist Party members, and land was confiscated from landlords and redistributed among the poor. This subversion of agrarian traditions required a campaign of propaganda that exploited the grievances of the “working class,” thus making hatred, aggression and theft directed at landowners more palatable; what modern Progressives would call “social justice.” It’s believed that during this campaign between 1949 and 1953, at least one million landowners were rounded up and executed.

Raleigh’s great-grandfather, a landowner whose modest holdings were acquired through years of toil, was denounced by the Communists and dispossessed of his private property, but his life, unlike many others, was spared. In the following chapters, the story of Helen Raleigh’s father, the “Landlord’s Grandson,” is traced from his early life before communist rule, through his teenage years during the devastating Chinese famine of the 1950s, which debilitated national morale and left millions dead.

Through a number of fortunate turns, Raleigh’s father was able to escape the hopelessness of his village, and become educated as an engineer in Beijing. The author uses these memories to illustrate how the Chinese Communists supplanted family traditions with state identity. Oral and written genealogy was discouraged. The family structure was weakened through classism and displacement, and the traditional Chinese veneration of ancestors was replaced with fear and obedience to village leaders and the state they represented. Using Marxist devices, familial bonds to past and present generations were obliterated, making the state the ultimate and only authority. Though Raleigh’s father “chose to do whatever it took to change his fate,” she sums up the net effect of China’s experiment in Socialism:

The kind of poverty and subsistence living that my father and millions of other Chinese people grew up with was a direct result of the poor policies driven by the government’s overzealous push for economic equality through command and control. Yet the only thing Chinese people equally shared was misery. (pg. 21, “Food for Thought”)

Each chapter of Confucius Never Said ends with a short postlude that Raleigh calls “Food for Thought.” As the chronologically-ordered chapters relate the author’s family saga, her “Food for Thought” summaries connect the dots between historical events and Marxist principles, as expressed in Chinese social policy, Communist Party machinations, and the punishing government force of the time. Raleigh also draws unpleasant parallels with 21st Century American Progressivism, and the alarming inroads made by Marxists following the election of Barack Obama, whose path to power was paved by the work and philosophies of avowed Communists, from Frank Marshall Davis to Van Jones.

Raleigh confronts the illusory, yet seductive, idea of “fairness,” used universally by Socialists to justify state theft of private property from those who earn to be redistributed to those who do not:

Many people who grow up in this environment don’t realize that government assistance comes with two notable costs: the unfair cost to those whose wealth is confiscated to support the government programs and the cost to those on the receiving end who pay by giving up freedom and dignity. (pg. 21 “Food for Thought”)

Chapter 3, devoted to Mao Tse-tung’s insurgence between 1949 and 1959, describes not only the misery, starvation, and displacement of millions, but the manipulation of information by state propagandists as well. Few were aware of the full scale of the unfolding Communist disaster. Intended treachery and violence were renamed or simply hidden, but inscrutable policies, such as that which lead the government to increase grain exports while its own people starved during China’s worst famine in memory, were never elucidated in any meaningful way.  “In China, official archives about the Famine are still largely sealed by the government and difficult to access. We can only estimate that the death toll of the Chinese Famine ranges between thirty and sixty million.” (pg. 31) In that chapter’s summary Raleigh exposes the way state propagandists successfully hid the horrendous crimes of Chinese Communism, and still do, to this day:

If you google “China’s Famine,” you will see a lot of gruesome images. Yet in China, the Great Famine remains a taboo subject. Some people in China claim that Mao had good intentions. They believe that Mao merely misstepped in his implementation. The government hid official records of the Famine from the majority of Chinese people in order to preserve Mao’s “savior of China” image. (pg. 33 “Food for Thought”)

Raleigh’s sternest warnings follow the chapters recalling the bloody horrors of Mao’s Cultural Revolution.

Tolerance for ever-growing government power:

Mao’s Cultural Revolution might be an extreme case in world history, but that doesn’t mean it won’t reemerge in various degrees, shapes, and forms in other countries. The lesson from the Cultural Revolution has universal implications. Are your forging your own chain right now? (pg. 67 “Food for Thought”)

Dissolution of the traditional family:

It concerns me deeply that one of the most obvious unintended consequences of the welfare policies in the U.S. in the collapse of marriages and families…No one can be truly free if he or she is chained to the welfare system. (pg. 79 “Food for Thought”)

Loss of privacy:

Why do communists hate privacy? Because they want absolute control, and the only way to do that is to control people’s intimate thoughts and behaviors. The totalitarian government in China showed no regard for people’s right to privacy because there is no “individual” in communism. (pg. 94 “Food for Thought”)

Thought control:

It is disturbing how much the socialist ideology emphasizes the virtue of self-sacrifice. Mao promoted selflessness and self-sacrifice through a mass campaign of the make-believe example of Lei Feng. But the real motive of his campaign was selfish, because communism was founded upon the belief that an individual must sacrifice for the collective in order to achieve the common good. Government requirements always took precedence over individual preference. (pg. 103 “Food for Thought”)

Rays of light from the West broke through the fog of communist misinformation with Chinese attempts at economic reform in the 1980s. This was largely due the exposure of images and stories of western wealth and personal freedom to Chinese citizens. The communist government was weakened as people recognized that there was a better way of life, and people in free countries were living it.

Confucius Never Said, like a shadow cast on the American conscience, reminds us that life can be much worse, and is for people in countries where freedom is limited. And it cautions us that a similar fate looms for us if we don’t change our national trajectory now. Despite all of its gentle wisdom for harmonious living, Confucianism lacks the strong individualism of western traditions. America’s fate does not have to be tied to China’s past, present, or future.  The belief that solutions are found with individuals, not the collective, is still America’s defining characteristic.

Confucius Never Said is at once a paean to the morality of genuinely Free Markets and the free exchange of wealth and ideas, as well as an alarm bell. Chinese Communism is again on the move. Once confined by its own stubborn adherence to a rigid state economy, Communist China, thorough corporatism and “economic reforms,” now stretches its arms of influence beyond its own borders and deeply into western economies. China’s allies include sworn enemies of America, and Communist China has never lost its appetite for control of world markets and vast swaths of resource-rich lands. This is why Helen Raleigh’s new book, a cautionary tale of the rise of Communism in 20th Century China, is more important today than ever before.

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Sep 30 2014

Watch Out For Traps

Tag: Marriage/CouplesSage @ 1:21 pm

“Whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 [show/hide]ERROR: You have exceeded your quota of 5000 requests per day. Please contact the developer of this application if you have questions. (If you're the developer and have questions about this error message, please contact Crossway.)
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We’ve found that retired couples and stay‐at‐home spouses are especially likely to fall into four traps that can take the joy out of life. Here they are, along with some suggestions for avoiding each trap. First is the trap of isolation. Don’t allow yourself to withdraw within your own four walls. Stay connected to people even when it’s easier to stay home.

The second trap is inactivity. The simple act of taking a walk, visiting the library, or going grocery shopping keeps the muscles limber and the mind alert.

Third is the trap of self-pity. This attitude can cripple or even kill you! To ward it off, reach out to others. Develop a ministry of prayer and hospitality for those around you.

The fourth trap is despair. The elderly, in particular, can slip into thinking that life is over and no longer worth living. Yet the Christian must always be future oriented. The beauty of our faith lies in the assurance of the next world, where true joy awaits us all.

Just between us…

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Do you ever fall into any of these traps? Which one(s)?

What specific things can we do to avoid them?

Are you looking forward to the future? Why or why not?

How does God use the elderly for His purposes?

How could praying and caring for others lead to joy for us?

Father, we are so thankful that we will one day leave life’s troubles behind and enter the joy of eternity with You. In the meantime, help us redeem the time for Your glory, confident that You are ready to work out Your divine purposes in every moment. Amen.

- Bible Gateway.Com

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Sep 30 2014

Questions Answered: Are proverbs iron-clad promises?

Tag: The Bible: Inspired WordSage @ 1:18 pm

Are proverbs iron-clad promises?

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–4

Proverbs are principles of right living and general descriptions of life’s realities, rather than sure-fire promises or guarantees. For example, Proverbs

3:1 appears to promise a long life and prosperity to those who do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart. Yet some godly people live in poverty and die at a young age.

This proverb isn’t offering immunity from illness, accidents or financial troubles. Rather, proverbs such as this point to a general principle, which if applied consistently to our lives, will save us from unnecessary pain and suffering. While we aren’t guaranteed we’ll never contract cancer or go broke, we can avoid the foolish choices that can prematurely cut our lives short or cause financial ruin.

While Proverbs observes the way life works time after time, exceptions to the general rules are evident in the books of Ecclesiastes and Job.

- Bible Gateway.Com

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