In regards to your delightfully understated post “A Dumpster Full of Grease Fire,” I could not help but do a little further reading. Thank you for the links to the “FISA Memo” as well as the commentary from the Federalist which were included in your post; anyone who did not take the time to read those links missed out on a lot of the explosive details. Having heard that a Democrat response was to be offered, I did a search, but the best l I could come up with was “Democratic Response to Nunes Memo ‘Leaked’ to NBC News.” That document, dated Feb. 3, 2018 and official looking but unsigned, is reported to have been authored by Representative Jerrold Nadler, to refute the “Nunes Memo” (AKA FISA Memo). In an attempt to be fair, I also waded through this Democratic Response. The response (AKA Final Draft), touted to quote case law establishing the validity of the FISA warrant in question, is for the most part a study in double talk (note that even the documents involved in this scandal have aliases). The “case law” cited is a prime example. I quote: “Second, there is already a well established body of law dealing with allegations that ‘material and relevant information was omitted’ from the application to the court and, in the case of Carter Page, that law appears to fall almost entirely on the side of the government. In Franks v. Delaware (1978), the U.S. Supreme Court held that a court may only void a search warrant if the government ‘knowingly and intentionally, or with reckless disregard for the truth,’ included false information or excluded true information that was or would have been critical to the court’s determination of probable cause. The Nunes memo alleges nothing that would even come close to meeting this standard. Indeed, we have every indication that the government made its application to the court in good faith.” Now, the statement that “The Nunes memo alleges nothing that would even come close to meeting this standard” is so far from the truth that one has to wonder if this is why Rep. Nadler did not attach his name to the document (if he is the author). In fact, if you read the FISA Memo, you might wonder if this particular FISA warrant should not be considered as a case study in why a search warrant should be voided based on that 1978 decision. The other reference to case law cited in the “Final Draft” (AKA Democratic Response to Nunes Memo [AKA FISA Memo]) is likewise nothing but double talk. Again, I quote: “The relevant legal standard for evaluating the FISA application is laid out in Franks v. Delaware.” “[T]here is, of course, a presumption of validity with respect to the affidavit supporting the search warrant. 438 U.S. 154, 171.” That is just the point of the Nunes Memo (AKA FISA Memo). When the affidavit supporting the search warrant has been shown to lack validity, are the general populace presumed to be dumbed down enough to believe they need to still assume it is valid? To quote one of my favorite authors, “Are you guys serious?” Regards,
Lee, AKA St. Lee
Lee, correct. They have been caught with hand in the cookie jar, up to the elbow, and they are still trying to brazen it out. They’ve got their story, and they’re sticking to it.
The missing detail in this enjoyable rant is that Obama, Comey, McCabe et al. had VERY LEGITIMATE reasons to be concerned about Trump’s associates, since they started investigating most of them BEFORE THE CAMPAIGN. These guys were eventually involved in Trump’s campaign—that campaign ended up securing the nomination. You bet they got worried. This was less a Hillary-led hit job, and more an opportunist moment for Hillary to use what was a legitimate investigation for her own ends. Spoiler alert—it didn’t work anyway. But, those guys were all dirty, and it’s going to be way worse than Watergate when those details come out.
Aaron, when you say this was “less a Hillary-led hit job,” the question that comes to my mind is all the evidence on the Hillary side that has been destroyed thus far. If the remainder has been sufficient to show her complicity, I wonder how convicting the data that has gone bye-bye would have been.
“They have no commitment whatever to any process that allows them to be defeated fair and square. Their faction losing is illegitimate, by definition. A non-starter. Legitimacy is defined as their faction on top. If fair elections result in losses for them, then they are unfair. If unfair elections result in positive outcomes for them, well, then, the people have spoken. They are hostile to the very concept of the rule of law.”
How then would you suggest we proceed? You can’t enter into any kind of deal, competition, or game with someone you know has no interesting in adhering to any of the terms of those arrangements. If the left cares nothing for the rules of the country, how is that qualitatively different from declaring war on the country? How can you continue to operate the nation as though it is one object instead of two, vying for dominance at any cost?
Justin, to be honest, as things now are, I don’t see any peaceful solution short of a massive reformation and revival. There is no political solution here. In our situation, politics is the disease, not the cure.
A Narnia Sabbatical
Not responding to any particular post here, but wanted to shoot this question at you. We are about to read the Narnia books to our young kids for the first time – I know there is some dispute about the “proper” reading order. I know of Lewis’ comments on the matter as wells as those of scholars who differ with him. Knowing that there may be no iron-clad standard here, what are your thoughts on the matter?
Matt, my two cents would be to read them in the order of their publication the first time. But since reading the Narnia stories ought to be a repeated activity, I would go with chronological order the second time, and then according to family votes after that.
You Tell Me That It’s Evolution
“In your last letters column, you interacted with BJ about the confusion of ‘those who argue for deep time in the biblical record.’ I just posted a new article on this topic on my blog that I think you and many of your readers would agree with and, I hope, find edifying. If you want to pass it along, it can be found at http://www.excellentthought.net/young-earth-or-old/
P.S. Now that you have ‘Call Me the Breeze’ under your belt, can we expect ‘Freebird’ in 2018?
Bill, we are working on Freebird now. We also did it a few years ago, and because at that time we were practicing in our basement, Nancy started calling it Longbird.
I don’t quite understand why people put the Bible and science/evolution against each other. I don’t deny evolution, but I also am not completely convinced, and at the end of the day I think it doesn’t matter that much. The Bible can be consistent with evolution, as Lewis and other brilliant theologians believe. And really science is constantly changing, we know 3% of the ocean, how would we know for sure what happened in the past, to any substantial degree of accuracy? But the Bible never changes. The problem is when you put the Bible against the cultural acceptance of evolution, which is the best but flawed science at the moment, you create a problem for many Christians. If kids are taught they have to choose the Bible or science then what happens when their teachers in high school and college convince them of evolution, or when they are convinced by friends or research? The Bible is consistent (or could conceivably be consistent) with evolution. Why would you die on this hill? It is so insignificant, I believe.
Malik, there are a couple reasons. The first is that evolution can be made consistent with a revered Bible on the shelf, but not with a Bible that is read, studied, exegeted, and treasured. A Bible that is read thoughtfully will collide with the teaching of evolution, whatever the Bible teachers may be saying. That’s the first reason. The second reason is that if evolution were God’s method of creating, that means that we have millions of years of agonistic death that God looked down on and pronounced “very good.” This leaves us with no answer on the premier objection to the Christian faith, which is the problem of natural evil. It is ironic that the Christians most eager to have us compromise with evolution are also the Christians most susceptible to the objection that natural evil means that we couldn’t worship “a God like that.”
Well here comes the letter tsunami. Enjoy :) “teach them to be into kids.” You can’t teach what you don’t know. Based on my own experience, I think the appreciation, enjoyment and “into-ness” of being a mom is a taste that God’s Spirit has to cultivate in our hearts. Years of being in classrooms, on a job, or in our me-culture can kind of drill it out of you. Prayer and lots of prayer is needed for God to open mom’s eyes to the FACT that nothing is better than kiddos.
Marriage is Hard
Here are a few random thoughts which may have a common thread somewhere. While at Westminster back in the 80’s John Bettler taught a Marriage and Family counseling course. He made a side comment which he didn’t expand upon, but it was something like we expect too much out of marriage in this modern age and put a burden on it that it wasn’t meant to bear. He followed it up with, ‘Ask your grandmother if your grandfather met her deep emotional needs.’ It made me ponder what would our third world brothers and sisters think of this? The cross-cultural sifter is a good way to sift our contemporary idols. I had another course with Dave Powlinson. I’ll try to describe the counseling rubric he shared. It was a picture of a sun and two trees. One tree thorny and barren. The other tree was lush and fruitful. The cross provided the transition from one to the other. When dealing with people the roots of their lives produces the fruit they live with. but we cannot ignore the sun either. These are the outside influences and they do produce an effect. While the Flip Wlison defense is a non-starter (and you’re old enough to get the allusion), there is a sort of PTSD from constantly being held in contempt or being unloved. Untangling this is quite a challenge for most people in my observation. This growth in grace for some comes in leaps and bounds. For others growth is fingernail length by fingernail length. There are things we aspire to and there is messy reality. Thanks for the post. It’s worth saving.
Jeff, yes. In our therapeutic age we often demand quick cures for everything—and if the cure is not forthcoming, then we blame the counselors.
I look forward to more of these posts, if that is your plan. I am presently tasked with counseling various Christians experiencing intractable marital conflict, and after months and months of this, I confess to being exasperated with them. I even fear we may be approaching the first step in discipline. I’m eager for all the help I can get. Blessings
Gil, yes. And see the answer to the previous letter. A marriage counselor is not a relationship mechanic. The couple are free agents, and they can both obey and disobey the Word. One can obey and the other disobey the Word. To complicate things still further, they can disobey while pretending to obey. They can treat the obedience of the other as disobedience. Or they can take the word of Christ to heart.
A woman who clobbers her guests over the head with her educational credentials and her superior understanding of Wittgenstein while their needs go unmet, the dinner burns, and her kids run riot has a manners problem at the very least. “See how smart I am” is unattractive in anybody, especially someone with a captive audience. But wit is not necessarily opposed to sweet-temperedness, nor are the fruits of education necessarily opposed to a tender and feminine love for husband and children. Which is why I think counsel to women to be their feminine well-mannered best selves is perhaps preferable to any hint that they conceal their wit as if it were a disability. The problem with dumbing down to make people like you better, even for excellent motives, is that you have to keep on doing it; otherwise the people who bought your dumb blonde act feel they’ve been played for fools. No need to ask how I know this!
Jill, I take your point. And as that was a sermon outline, not the sermon itself, I trust I qualified the point sufficiently. It is not a matter of playing dumb, but rather a matter of following the lead of Scripture in playing up certain things.
“And the duty of every human being is to look at those chromosomes, and then obey them.” It might be worth providing a little more nuance, if not here then somewhere. Intersex is a real condition (“some are born eunuchs”), and a lot of people want this fact to prove more than it perhaps does. For a lot of people the fluidity of sex (from an embryological perspective), seems to be a key piece of the argument for dissociating sex from gender. It’s true we “look at the chromosomes,” i.e. get karyotyping to aid a decision on sex determination, in cases of ambiguous genitalia in infants. Of course normally there’s no need for this; it’s phenotype that determines sex, and parents take a look and raise their kids accordingly. Phenotype generally corresponds to a standard 46, XX or 46, XY karyotype but often it does not. It turns out that sometimes there are 3 sex chromosomes in every cell. Sometimes there are 2 in some cells 3 in others. Sometimes the phenotype is female but all cells in the body are “male” (chromosomally XY). In some such cases (e.g. 46, XY with complete androgen insensitivity) androgens are present in utero but fail to masculinize the child, who is born and develops as a girl. These conditions are not that uncommon either, although it’s hard to know how prevalent exactly. To take the last case, some of these girls may display normal female development until puberty, when they seek medical attention for amenorrhea. A recent, and probably the first, serious attempt to assess prevalence finds 46, XY to occur in 6.4 per 100,000 live born females. Some of these children would have abnormalities early in childhood, but some not until puberty. Some engagement with this, or at least some acknowledgement that male and female do not perfectly correspond to XY and XX, may help biologically minded readers to follow the argument without shutting off at this point.
Matt, yes. Intersex is absolutely a thing. But the fact that it is pressed by the secularists into arguments about the fluidity of gender is as nonsensical as arguing from the existence of Downs (an indisputable fact) that there is no such thing as normal genetic formation.
Tough and Tender
Smooth Words Hard Heart . . . I was pleased to come across your essay this morning. It resonated as so true to my church today, and many others I am afraid. I really appreciate your calling the Word of God a jackhammer! I totally agree with this and I appreciate a great verse to back it up (Jer. 23:29). I also agree that all too often I have used words that dishonors God and ends up embittering the person I am addressing. I am asking God to soften my heart and teach me to speak to others in a way that turns away wrath and is gracious and seasoned with salt. I just wanted to say, Thank you, for your wise and timely words for me. Blessings,
Roger, thanks very much.
Trump from a Distance
I refer to your post “Already baked in.” Thank you for taking the time to write this piece. For a start I don’t live in the U.S. Thus the election of Trump is easily derided by me and so many others as your country “going crazy.” Thank you for pointing out the providential aspect of God’s work that I would have otherwise dismissed i.e. the third group you mentioned. In reality, many of us in other nations have experienced less than virtuous politicians ourselves, they come and they go. Trump, as a matter of fact, isn’t so new or special from the flamboyant “world leaders” you see from other countries. Christians, from my country and yours, will always find ourselves making difficult decisions at the ballot boxes. And your closing paragraph is what all of us must take heed at all times. Thanks,
Chee (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)
That Winsome Tartness Again
“Twinkies in Tight Tops and the Regime Illogiqué.” Maybe your blog should be called Theology that Back Bites, with this self-aggrandizing author brandishing verbal swords to caricature and slay women, the sisters in Christ that he doesn’t deem smart enough to warrant dignity and avoid the fall of his caustic “wit.” What a shame that members of the Body can quote Scripture in one breath and find wry joy in tearing down a large majority of the church in the very next.
Rosy, the central problem here is one that I have seen over and over again. To say something about some women who are disgracing their office is not the same thing as saying that all women are doing so, or even that most women are doing so. To translate a critique of some women into an attack on all is a basic SJW move.