The sin of Sodom will destroy this nation!

This is something I’ve blogged about before, specifically. The overall issue is one I repeat quite a lot since it’s one of my ‘hobby-horses’ i.e. something that people who know me might say I bang on about quite a lot. Guilty! I keep saying it because it seems that nobody wants to hear it these days. Now I feel even more sympathy for the Old Testament prophets, the weird bunch of misfits!

It should be safe for me to say that in God’s eyes, all sin is sin, and all that we might think are ‘righteous acts’ are to him, relatively, no more than ‘filthy rags’ – thank you, Isaiah! (64:6). God cannot bear sin in his presence, and so crafted the master plan of the atoning blood of Christ for all our sins to be covered so that he can no longer see them… A MASTER PLAN INDEED! Praise his holy name.

However, might it also be possible that certain sins or vices anger God more than others? He really did get very irate at that idolatry thing in the Old Testament, for instance, so might there be some things that we should avoid in order to placate his wrath against us? The way many preachers rant about certain things, you’d think there’s something in that! If it is true that God will judge now as he has done before (but in an age of grace that’s a HUGE debate!), then we would be wise to take note. Take just one example: Sodom (and Gomorrah – it’s often forgotten, poor city). Sodom is a byword right through the Bible for God’s judgment; prophets of the Old and writers of the New refer to it as an example of how God can expunge an entire city (sorry, two cities) in one act of divine retribution for their acts of disobedience – he reigned down fire from heaven upon them! In these references, there are differing approaches or contexts; idolatry is mentioned (e.g. Isaiah, Jeremiah, Amos & Deuteronomy 29), as is ‘sexual immorality and perversion’ (Jude). However, Ezekiel is particularly specific – as with most prophetic utterances, he is actually addressing Jerusalem, and comparing ‘her’ with her ‘sisters’, the other cities:

Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen. Samaria did not commit half the sins you did. You have done more detestable things than they, and have made your sisters seem righteous by all these things you have done. Bear your disgrace, for you have furnished some justification for your sisters. Because your sins were more vile than theirs, they appear more righteous than you. So then, be ashamed and bear your disgrace, for you have made your sisters appear righteous.

(Ezek. 16:49-52)

So in order to be careful we do not suffer the same fate (if we truly fear it may happen), then let us enact laws and campaign for such vices to be legislated against and hinder their development. Since one of the clearest ones is greed; Ezekiel said “this was the sin…”, we need to ensure our government provides for the poor and needy, and restrains the greed of individuals. If we let them become too arrogant and unconcerned (and let’s not forget overfed i.e. gluttony), we might incur such unquenchable wrath from God.

I find it incredible that greed (and gluttony) are hardly mentioned in evangelical pulpits. Well, no, I’m not surprised – the religious right mind control police have their agendas, and they are as clear as crystal to me. There are many Biblical references to the consequences of greed, or of not looking after the poor and needy – loads, in fact, and they are very scary (look them up)! Greed is even called idolatry in the New Testament (Eph. 5:5 & Col. 3:5)! We may think that idolatry is an ‘old thing’ but it actually still pervades everything today – it is when I see people making themselves very rich from “the preaching of the gospel” that I get irate myself and think of ‘the moneychangers at the Temple’, which is the only time we read in the gospels that our Lord Jesus let his anger get physical! Divine wrath indeed!!

But take heart, Ezekiel goes on to tell us in the rest of that chapter that God will restore the fortunes of Sodom (and Samaria), once the sin of his own people has been exposed and they are contrite and repentant for the worse things that they have done (and they – sorry, we – shall be restored too), and he foretells of the new covenant he will make for us. Praise him for his grace!

Let us repent of such things, and help ‘restore Sodom’s fortunes’ by showing the way of that new covenant.

Grace be with you.

Government v. Corporations

BBC+LogoAn old friend of mine posted a petition on Facebook calling for the abolition of the UK TV licence. The arguments sounded fine, and for him, he was happily considering leaving behind watching live TV and getting all his entertainment via various internet ‘catch-up’ services and/or media memberships like Netflix or Amazon Prime.

I disagreed on the point in the petition since I am an avid lover and huge fan of the BBC. It is an organisation truly independent of commercial interests, and set up to be unbiassed in any way to whichever government is in power at any time; it is owned by the ‘state’ (we, the people, who pay for it) and not the incumbent of Downing Street. On analysis, though, I became aware of a bigger picture. The main opponents of the BBC are the very media companies that would see them as rivals; they are not happy with a state-funded operation that may take viewing traffic away from them and eat into their profits. Perhaps the most vocal of these has been the son of Rupert Murdoch, CEO of Fox and Chairman of News Corp.: James Murdoch. In 2009, while a non-executive chair at British Sky Broadcasting, he delivered a lecture railing against the ‘state-sponsored news’ of the BBC that is hostile to ‘the independence of news reporting’ [his words]. He used another word sometime later to describe the BBC which was akin to ‘disgusting’ – I think that anyone associated with Fox need not talk about ‘independent news’ unless they wish to get bitten on the behind! He was forced to resign in 2012 from Sky due to his implication in the phone-hacking scandal. Glass houses, James!!

The war being waged on the BBC is part of the bigger corporate war on government. It comes down to who runs our country – our elected representatives or unelected commercial interests? These national… no, multinational companies are of the opinion that you and I would be better served by them than by government, with all their controls and nanny-like telling you what you can and cannot do. Sure we would all be happier being more independent and masters of our own destiny, yes?

Trouble is that things we say we believe in can be used by others to make us think they stand for the same things, but they don’t mean the same thing that we do. Those of us who are conservative-minded and desire ‘less government’ and the paring away of ‘unnecessary regulation’ know what we mean by this – we all would wish to be able to live as we please without interference or encumbrance; no civil service bureaucrat telling us that we can’t build that extension to our house, or that our perfectly docile dog must be kept restrained from wandering towards neighbour’s children. Or the police knocking our door… no, hold on, the police do a great job! Sure I’m a law-abiding citizen! They serve me and go after those criminal elements in our society, so I’ve no problem with them.

However, the corporations, whose sole aim is to make profit for their executives and shareholders, may speak the same language as us, but the meaning is different; less government means they don’t have to answer to anyone else about what they broadcast, what they charge, how they deal with opposition (like the BBC!), what customer service they have to give you and me. All those things that a pesky government might do to hinder them is what they see as ‘unnecessary regulation’ – the ‘free market’ serves them to defeat or devour the opposition until they control a monopoly, and ultimately, us!

For the love of money is the root of all evil. – 1Tim. 6:10

220px-Abraham_Lincoln_November_1863While we all wish for more control over our own lives, living in a society (if you still do believe it exists!!) means we must have some sort of controls to limit the reach of criminality and evil. Thus we do need effective government, who must be allowed to do their job of governing those who have elected them to power. Note that in that most memorable quotation from the Gettysburg Address, Lincoln did not say “less government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” That would just not make sense, and I think that old-fashioned conservatives, like the original US Republicans, would cringe at what ‘less government’ has come to mean today, when rebranded by the free market neocons.

Look around you and take note that the spending cuts of ‘austerity’ is biting at everything! EVERYTHING we hold dear, including our own forces of law and order! Most police stations I try to visit now are closed to the public!! This war between them and us (for the division is not along lines of religion, race or culture) is a real one, and it is a war of ideology. I believe in democracy, the will of the people, the right of everyone to elect those whom they think will serve them best and to remove the current government from power if they think that they deserve to be removed.

So at this time of nearing election, I keep my ears peeled for what they say. The phrase ‘less government’ is the rallying cry in the US, but here it is a bit more subtle. However, any reference to a need for ‘austerity’ for me is a sign that that government is willing to reduce the services that you and I benefit from in order to spend less on those things and thus reduce the ‘amount’ of government that we all would be happier with, which makes it harder in the future to reintroduce those services, and not raise any more taxes on the rich, which would be the answer to austerity! ‘We’ being you and me, and not the less than 1% that head the corporations that wish to run everything for profit. Even ‘sacred’ things like defence!

The day before 9/11, Donald Rumsfeld gave a speech to the Pentagon, now notorious on various ‘conspiracy’ websites, where he addressed how A LOT of their money had gone missing/ been overspent/ was not properly tracked/ been siphoned off by someone [delete as appropriate to your political belief]. Above all this debate and counter-debate about what Rumsfeld actually meant, we saw a change in US defence spending: the Iraq War saw the use of private contractors on the ground in a way never seen before. This was the agenda – to divert spending from government-run defence to corporation-run defence. Mark my words, this day, and I may yet be hailed as a prophet before I die: some day, someone will make a serious proposal to privatise our Trident nuclear defence! We’ve already allowed the privatisation of the submarine bases!

If you want ‘less government’, make sure the people you vote for mean the same thing that you do.

Grace be with you.

50 shades of greed

greed1024x768I have always called for an even approach to sin. We need to define just what sin is (well, it’s the chapter I’m working through on my book right now, so maybe it’s just me!). Then once we have established that, we need an even-handed approach by not suggesting that any one sin is any worse in God’s eyes than another. I truly believe the 21st century church is guilty of such unevenness, and maybe the most prevalent example is the zero attention to greed.

I’ll not take the time here to outline all the Bible verses where it is condemned alongside the other ones we always hear decried from pulpits, like drunkenness, adultery, deceit, lust, nor do we hear the greedy person condemned alongside the sexually immoral or the slanderer, yet this is exactly what I read in my Bible! Here’s just one example:

For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. (Eph. 5:5)

Did you notice that little hidden word there? Greedy! Just that it’s not exactly hidden, is it? Some preachers, who may be millionaires themselves, and are telling their congregations that they too can become millionaires just by faith in God, seem to miss it when they read from their Bibles to proclaim their truth. And I have never come across it as a sermon topic!

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“This is my truth, tell me yours.”

 – Aneurin Bevan.

 

Problem is that we all have a truth that is ours alone, and we all like to find the scripture that fits that personal ‘truth’ and ignore the others. I have yet to meet anyone who genuinely does not do this – it is a human trait and is practically impossible to throw off and be 100% subjective. However, when faced with an overwhelming amount of scripture that repeats the same thing, we must allow it to shape our truth, must we not?

Recently much of our media attention has been directed at a book & film that just should not have amassed an overnight fortune for its author, since it is so badly written (from practically every review that has been written about it). I am not fuming jealousy at the idea of a bad writer getting all the money… no, maybe I am, if I’m honest enough; if this book of mine only makes one percent of what that book/film made, I could retire a very contented man! Nor am I accusing the author of greed – she could not have known just how much she would make from a piece of sleazy chick lit, and I am sure she must have some idea that she is no Shakespeare! It wasn’t her fault that our media moguls fawned all over it, and Holywood came calling! Reports are that it has outstripped even Harry Potter in book sales and film revenues!! Whatever you may think of the Harry Potter stories, very few would try to say that JK Rowling is a bad writer!

50ShadesofGreyCoverArtIf you’re still not sure which book I am referring to, it’s ’50 Shades of Grey’. Did you not even see my title? Now this is a book I have never set eyes upon, nor do I wish to, and I have no desire to see any more of the film than has been shown in trailers. Fortunately, a brave female fellow Christian blogger has read and watched it, just to be able to critique it properly, so I’ll take her word for it. She’s a good blogger and writer and I have no reason to challenge her opinion (and it is refreshing for once to not find a Christian voice condemning something without actually having looked themselves!).

 

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Here it is if you wish to read it:

A Missionary’s Position on 50 Shades of Grey.

The basic conclusion is interesting; this is a book about a stalker! Had anybody else acted as creepily obsessive over the woman in the story as Mr. Grey, they would have had an exclusion order slapped on them! It is just bad, for our 21st century emancipated women – the poor woman in the book is the pawn of a control freak! Just why and how does the male protagonist get away with his behaviour? Because he’s a handsome billionaire!! He’s such a great man, so successful, so wealthy, so revered by society, he just couldn’t really be a nasty criminal type, or any sort of mentally ill wacko! Surely not! However, that is the problem: with everyone falling over themselves to promote this work of crass sordidness, and throw their investment money at it, is it any real wonder when it is billionaires who are the ones who like what the book is stating?

Can I be allowed to cast a stone? While I am trying to promote a ‘condemn the sin, not the sinner’ attitude, there are times when it becomes pretty clear that a stone or five could be chucked. For instance, were I to meet a man who had cheated on his wife about half a dozen times, I would be justified to say “you’re an adulterer!” No? Really? I would try to understand just why they would come to behave in such a way, if I could, and offer counsel if asked, but I should be safe to say; they are an adulterer! Likewise, I think I should be entitled to say to a billionaire “you’re a greedy person!” The aforementioned JK Rowling was a billionaire, but she has now given most of it away! If such wealth is such a burden, as some of them try to make us believe, then let us relieve them of some of that burden… please!

We have got to stop revering greedy people, as a church of followers of Jesus: He, as our example, had “no place to lay his head.” (Matt. 8:20). We are called to “not conform to the pattern of the world” (Rom. 12:2), so let us renew our minds and recognise sin where it lies and be the example of ‘betterness’ – just as we should not be sexually immoral, so we should not be greedy.

“But,” you may object, “this is just a work of fiction, that’s not true in the real world! Billionaires are not given any more respect than the rest of us. They don’t have any real higher ‘status’!”

Really? My reply to that is that you’re living in cloud cuckoo land! A judge once said “the rich get justice, the poor get the law” since they can always afford the best lawyers. If you have enough money, you can get one of them to go through your arrest report for drunk-driving and search for the smallest mistake that can see you avoid court! Still not convinced that there is a culture of reverence for the rich and famous? Why was it that many called for Paris Hilton to not be sent to prison for a crime she committed? Is that just stupid uneducated people? No, it occurs in the well-educated judiciary too: Read this news report and then come back to me and try to say we don’t have a major cultural problem that the church is failing to address!

1396212401000-wildc5-6ehdlb201ybix4mc8ky-originalI am not saying in any way that all super-rich people are like this lowlife, but I am saying that we have allowed ourselves to disassociate greed from any taint of sin or wrongdoing and have in fact allowed people who suffer from this sin to not only go unchecked but to be exonerated in churches as much as they are in society.

Grace be with you.

Who can we blame for ebola?

I’m waiting for the conspiracy theories about how ebola has been manufactured by some sinister supra-government organisation at the behest of the Illuminati. Somebody is bound to offer ‘evidence’ for it. However, while we may all just see this as a new virus that has appeared in nature, we need to ask just why it is spreading right now with little action having been taken against it, especially considering it first appeared forty years ago!

I refuse to join in the media circus of fear that looks like keeping us housebound for the next year or so until this blows over in case we contract a disease that for now looks like it might take the lives of a few dozen people here who have been to West Africa. Unless it really does get worse – there have been many scares of this type over my lifetime.

No, the question remains: why have we not tackled the disease up until now? Why are we now instigating lockdowns and quarantines after ‘the horse has bolted’ from its African paddock? Forty years could well have seen the development of treatments and vaccines, surely. A BBC news report admitted the truth, rather softly, that “big pharmaceutical companies have not seen a market for such treatments!” In other words, they take the position that “those poor black Africans couldn’t afford the costs we would have to charge for our R&D and production.” Much rather pour billions into treatments for chlamydia and the development of viagra – that’s where the money lies. At what point do we actually take on board this 2000-year old axiom: “the love of money is the root of all evil” (1Tim. 6:10)?

For me, our current crisis is squarely at the foot of capitalism. These companies never think of a need for cures, nor do they have a passion for research or for saving lives; no, the market is their mantra, the god they serve!

No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. (Matt. 6:24)

Such development should be done by our governments, you say? Well then, let’s stop slashing budgets and stop listening, yet again, to these capitalists who detest paying their fair share of taxes. Many experts are stating that independent research has been severely underfunded for decades:

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/10/nih-director-wed-have-an-ebola-vaccine-by-now-if-not-for-budget-cuts/

Grace be with you.

History repeats itself /or/ So you want to vote UKIP?

History repeats itself

 

History repeats itself.
Has to.
Nobody listens.

– Steve Turner

[And now a bit more explanation for those not politically aware enough to fully understand the above]

Between the wars:

Mosley was the leader of the British Union of Fascists in the 1930s, a friend and ally of Hitler and Mussolini.

In 1928, the top 1% of earners in the US (with similar figures in other parts of the world) took 23% of the nation’s income. This was a peak. Banks had been given a ‘laissez-faire’ attitude by governments, to allow them to ‘generate wealth’.

In 1929, The Wall Street Crash occurred, sending world markets into a downward spiral. Our grandparents never trusted banks or bankers again.

In Germany, Hitler managed to blame a lot of the condition they found themselves in on Germany capitulating to the wishes of the rest of Europe after WWI, and of course, the Jews.

[Many Jews had been involved in banking: simple reason – pre-reformation, the Christian church did not allow usury, or banking interest, to be charged between fellow Christians. This was an Old Testament law not to lend to compatriots, BUT Jews in Europe could fill this niche market and lend money to Christians, all and sundry, and funded kings and emperors in their warfaring and campaigning. Many pogroms against Jews were simply to oust the bankers from a country before the country’s ruler or government had to pay back their loans. Anti-Semitism, while truly abhorrent racism, is based upon the resentment of debtors towards their lenders. It became institutionalised due to the biggest debtors being the rulers!]

The vast majority of Jews were not in banking, but why just blame a few people when you can blame the lot of them?

The 21st century:

Farage is the leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), a ‘single-platform’ party that claims leaving the EU will solve practically all of the UK’s problems.

In 2007, the top 1% of earners in the US (with similar figures in other parts of the world) took 23% of the nation’s income. This was another peak. Banks had been given a ‘laissez-faire’ attitude by governments, to allow them to ‘generate wealth’.

In 2008, The ‘Great Financial Crisis’ Crash occurred, sending world markets into a downward spiral. Maybe we should never trust banks or bankers again? This time around, though, they are still in control of governments and calling the shots, with many of our politicians just too scared to act against them. Some of them are so big now, compared to the many small banks in the 20s, that it was considered unwise to let them collapse. Taxpayer’s money was used to bail them out.

Now, Farage manages to blame all of the condition we find ourselves in, on the UK capitulating to the wishes of the rest of Europe, and of course, the immigrants. The fact that many of the cultural problems (and the perceived economic problems) are raised by immigrants with a different culture and/or religion who do not hail from Europe but from all the parts of the British Commonwealth means nothing to Farage – he’ll just go on blaming Europe and the immigrants for our woes until he can get enough people to take him seriously.

Just like Hitler garnered the will and emotions of the German people against the Jews… Farage wishes to emulate that ‘success’ with a new scapegoat.

This could end up with the same ‘solution’ to our problems with ‘Muslims’ and ‘immigration’ as Hitler enacted for his problems with the Jews. No way, you say? There are even ‘evangelical Christians’ advocating it!:

http://defendchristians.org/commentary/im-islamaphobic-are-you/

Grace be with you.

Clause 99, Catch 22 and Penning is telling lies.

Sorry to say that even I was unaware of these changes, and I count myself well-informed.

Politics and Insights

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The Government are claiming victory because of a fall in the number of benefit tribunal hearings. Today, the Express boasts:
A HUGE drop in the number of people appealing against benefit decisions at tribunal hearings was yesterday hailed as a victory for the Government’s reforms.”
Actually, it’s a victory for the Government’s tyranny.
There were 32,546 tribunal cases between January and March this year, compared to 155,000 in the same period of 2013.
“Official figures” reveal an 89 per cent fall in people contesting the decisions to cut, deny or restrict Employment Support Allowance (ESA), long-term sickness and disability benefits.
Tribunals contesting Jobseeker’s Allowance decisions also fell 70 per cent this year.
Disability minister Mike Penning said: “Fewer appeals going to tribunal is welcome. Getting more decisions right first time avoids the need for protracted tribunal appeals.”
Under the Department for Work and Pensions reforms officials look…

View original post 965 more words

HERE is where your money is going!

This is a brief political blog (maybe apt for a few days before European and local polling). No scripture verses, just common sense!

Don’t you just love it when things come together?

A few days ago, I made up my own boldomatic ‘meme’ and posted it on Facebook (and got the usual flak, of course):

Image

Yesterday, the governor of The Bank Of England stated boldly that we are heading for another major economic disaster unless we build more houses to stop this new house price bubble that is rising from the swamp. He didn’t say ‘rising from the swamp’ – that’s just my own poetic licence being waved in the air!

You see, he’s Canadian, so he hasn’t been brainwashed by the surrounding swamp of ‘free market’ ideologues we have in British economics.

This morning, I got an unusual lie-in, got up and had a late breakfast in front of the TV. We were watching ‘Homes under the hammer’ – a typical daytime production that follows people who have modest amounts of capital to auctions where they show how easy it is to buy houses, spend a few thousand (or a few hours if they’re tradespeople themselves) and sell it on for a tidy profit (maybe £10,000 for a few days’ labour or a few months’ waiting) or just rent it out for a nice income. I’ve always said that monkeys could do this, so I stand by my own meme (see above).

Today, however, we were treated to a gem! A couple bought a run-down terrace house that was virtually derelict: there was damp in the house, most likely caused (as the presenter pointed out) by a leaking roof, and a massive hole in the bathroom floor, just for starters. They bid £43,500 for it and reckoned, with the husband’s rewiring skills as an electrician, they could fix it up with their budget of around £4,000! The presenter’s eyes widened at this estimate, believe me, and then later he made it clear how ridiculous he thought that figure was. He also pointed out to them that they had broken a cardinal rule in not getting a ‘legal pack’ i.e. they had NOT involved the services of a solicitor.

They closed the house up over a cold winter, obtained insurance for it, returned after some heavy snow, and found that the snow had caused MORE damage to the house so put in a claim. The insurers informed them that since they had NOT got a surveyor’s report before they took out the insurance, it was void, and they walked away (and for once I was on the side of the insurance company). So there they were, with no money left and a worthless shell of bricks and leaking tiles. I think it was then that my wife said “slap it into them!” I nodded in agreement.

So what next for these morons? No, I’m not being harsh; let’s face it, they were an insult to monkeys!

Apparently their local council, with the housing shortage for tenants, decided to step in and give these imbeciles a grant! NOT a loan, like the ones given to all the intelligent students out there, a GRANT! OF £12,000!!!!! So the couple would finish the house and allow the council to place tenants in it for at least 5 years. The council would charge the tenants the going rate of £400/ month, take 10% for their admin costs (a standard fee any agent would levy) and give the owners £360 each and every month!

So dim-witted capitalists, investing their money unwisely in a scheme that could well have netted profit for anyone with a brain, who make a mess through their ignorance, greed and cost-cutting mistakes, get bailed out by government money! Hold on, why does that sound familiar?

Now these people are NOT benefit cheats, nor even legal benefit claimants; you know, all those people who ‘sponge taxpayers’ money’. Nor are they immigrants! Although the wonderful irony is that they are about to become immigrants: they’re heading off to a new life in Australia.

AND in 5 years’ time, they are out of their obligations of the contract and can sell or just rent to a higher paying tenant, as they wish. Nice long-term solution to our housing problems there!

AND if the tenants are on benefits or low-paid income, guess who’s going to pay most of that rent for them? To the owners sunning it up in Australia. Well, at least we’ve rid this country of a pair of dorks who were just a drain on the collective intelligence!

Just thought I’d highlight this, so that the likes of our politicians, including the new kids on the block who have their own scapegoats, will see just exactly where taxpayers’ money IS going. Glad to be of help.

This blog is in no way condemnatory towards intelligent capitalists, believe me.

(I’ll save my vitriol for the crafty capitalists for another time)

Grace be with you.