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Saturday Selections – May 25, 2024

Click on the titles for the linked articles...

Annie Wilson: Songs about Whiskey

We've all heard country songs about drinking whiskey, but this one is of a very different sort.

Why the best gift for your child is a brother or sister

God says children are a blessing (Ps. 127:3-5), and, as this secular article shares, that blessing doesn't just extend to their parents.

Is the transgender movement collapsing after the Cass Review?

Parents with confused boys were sold this bill of goods: "Would you rather have a dead son or a living daughter?" This false dilemma has been exposed with the Cass Review, the world's largest overview of these surgical and chemical mutilations.

The Cass Review is good news, but Jonathon Van Maren is more optimistic than I am that the transgender movement might now be collapsing. I am less so because of how the reversal came about – there is no return here to God's Truth and no submission to the reality that He made us male and female. One lie has been toppled, but the world is ready with many more (see Matt. 12:43-45). What the world needs are not more common-sense conservative commentators, but a clear Christian witness. And to turn to God's Truth, they first need to hear it, from us.

Why is Canada (and the US) short of doctors?

When I ask my kids why this-or-that major problem has occurred, experience has taught them that there's a likely culprit: the government. In both Canada and the US, the government has overseen a deliberate restriction of the number of positions available for medical students so our current doctor shortages can be laid squarely at their feet. The Canadian situation is described above and the US here.

So what's the solution? Some might think it a matter of firing the incompetent bureaucrats and replacing them with better ones. But what human being is ever going to be smart enough to know precisely how many doctors we're going to need in 10 or 20 years' time? The problem isn't so much a lack of competence, as a failure to, in humility, acknowledge a lack of omnipotence – we shouldn't expect our government to have this sort of know-how, and they should stop pretending they possess it.

Consistency matters on IVF too

In the US, after Roe vs. Wade was overturned, the IVF industry was threatened, because if embryos were recognized as precious human beings, then that industry would no longer be allowed to continue their inhuman freezing and disposal of any of the embryos they produce. But with more and more people having fertility difficulties, IVF has grown in popularity such that a very confused, supposedly pro-life senator is now trying to effectively enshrine a right to IVF. But, as Rachel Roth Aldhizer writes, if we are pro-life then that logic should extend to IVF too.

What Christians just don't get about LGBT folk (3 min)

Rosaria Butterfield: "Being a lesbian wasn't my biggest sin. Being an unbeliever was."


Is the State of Israel a fulfillment of biblical prophecy?

The nation of Israel has a special place in the hearts of many Christians. For one thing, the Savior once walked through the land that this nation now occupies. Furthermore, after the destruction of the Jewish state in the year 70 by the Romans, the reestablishment of the State of Israel on the same land after almost two thousand years can be considered to be nothing short of a miracle. So is the resurgence of Israel as a national entity a fulfillment of biblical prophecy? Many affirm this to be the case. In view of the ongoing conflict in the Middle East, it is good to reflect on these issues. The longing for a return Through the centuries, Jews have cherished the hope that some day they could return to the land of their forefathers. After the very last remnants of Jewish political power were crushed with the defeat of the second Jewish revolt under Bar Kokhba (A.D. 132-135), the dream of a return was never forgotten. Synagogue prayers, no matter where in the world they were offered, were made in the direction of Jerusalem. A strong emotional connection with that city was maintained. Through the centuries, the poetry and literature of the Jews spoke of Zion and Israel. Each year the Passover festival would end with the words, “Next year in Jerusalem!” However, and this is striking, for well over a thousand years, no attempt was made to return to the old Jewish homeland to transform the dream into reality. The pious hoped for a miracle and insisted that it would be blasphemous to force the hand of God by trying to get a homeland on their own. Even in times of tremendous persecution, in which the Jews suffered innumerable atrocities, there was no mass movement to the old homeland. There were some minor exceptions with relatively small groups going to Palestine, but that was all. Far more Jews went to other places for refuge. In spite of the emotional connection to Palestine, it was not coupled with action, even though those few who went apparently had no problems apart from enduring poverty. But that was surely a small price to pay compared to the difficulties they faced with oppression and persecution. What made the 19th and 20th centuries the time for the emotional ties and dream to be translated into action for a new reality? Why was it that even areas outside Palestine were considered as a possible new homeland for the Jews? The explanation is often sought in the anti-Semitism of the 19th century. This was undoubtedly an important immediate factor. But anti-Semitism had been around for centuries. Determinative were the new notions of nationalism and self-determination of which the French Revolution was a dramatic manifestation. People started to think that a nation is made up of individuals who determine their own destiny. A nation is no longer defined by a king or ruler, but by the people who determine what laws are to be passed and how to be a nation. The rise of nationalism positively impacted Jewish thinking about striving for their own homeland. Zionism The development of nationalism meant that Jews scattered all over the world began to think of themselves as needing to determine their own destiny as a people, and so the soil was prepared for modern political Zionism. Jews in the 19th and 20th centuries did what their forefathers had not done. They sought to determine their own future. Zionism was a nationalist movement in which a people sought their own self-determination and future as a nation. It was therefore not of ultimate importance to two fathers of modern Zionism, Leo Pinsker (Russian) and Theodor Herzl (Hungarian), exactly where the nation of Israel was to be established. Both had independently come to see the need for a national homeland and that was the important thing. When Pinkster published his Auto-Emancipation in 1882, he pleaded for self-emancipation, preferably in Palestine, but, if that wasn’t possible, elsewhere would do. Herzl and others had the same view, as indicated by the seriousness with which they considered a proposal from the British government to establish a Jewish homeland in what was then Uganda. Zionism was a political movement and not a religious one. The religious overtones were certainly there and that helped clinch Palestine as the place where the new state should be established. The basis for the state was, however, to be secular, although Judaism was privileged. Nationalist fervor demanded the restoration of the language of the nation – Hebrew. This return to an ancient language is unique in history, but Hebrew would bind Jews from Russia, France, Italy and other countries into the one people that they are. It is interesting to note that before the rise of modern Zionism, Reform Jews had eliminated all references to Zion from their prayer book, insisting that Judaism had outgrown Palestine and that it was now the mission of Israel to be a light to the nations. They therefore opposed Zionism. Orthodox Judaism was also against Zionism because they considered it forcing the hand of God. Their God would miraculously restore them to their homeland, for that is what He had promised, in their view. They must therefore wait for Him. The establishment of Israel was motivated by secular considerations and had little to do with obedience to God. But could it not nevertheless be possible that the reestablishment of Israel as a state was a fulfillment of biblical prophecy? Does Israel have a biblical right to the land? We need to look briefly at some of the prophecies that deal with the land and the promised return of Israel to the land that is now Israel. The land God promised Abraham, “To your offspring I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates” (Genesis 15:18; cf. 17:8). Dispensationalists, who make a sharp distinction between Israel and the Church, consider this promise to have been unfulfilled prior to the establishment of Israel in 1948. After that date, the prophecies about the land were being realized and so Israel will eventually get all the land from the river of Egypt to the Euphrates (which would include most of Syria). The New Scofield Reference Bible in its note on Deuteronomy 30:3 states that it is important to understand that the nation has never been in possession of the whole land that was promised to them. However, is this true? The answer according to the Bible must be “no.” God’s promise to Abraham was fulfilled in Old Testament times. This was most dramatically seen with Solomon’s kingdom. It extended from the river Euphrates to the land of the Philistines and to the border of Egypt (1 Kings 4:21; 2 Chron. 9:26). We can therefore say that the promise of the land given to Abraham has been fulfilled. God has no further obligations here, so to speak. The present nation of Israel has no special biblical claim to the land on the basis of God’s promise to Abraham. The return But what about the prophecies concerning the return? Many people regard the present situation of Israel in the Middle East as a partial fulfillment of the return to the land of which the Old Testament speaks. As a sample of what is usually quoted to support this idea, let us briefly consider promises made through the prophets Jeremiah and Isaiah. In Jeremiah 23:3, the LORD promised: “I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them, and I will bring them back to their fold.” Important here for Dispensationalists is the reference to “out of all the countries.” This must refer, according to The New Scofield Reference Bible note on this text, to a restoration other than the restoration from Babylon which is just one country. This prophecy still awaits fulfillment. However, that is not so. Why then does Jeremiah speak of a return “out of all the countries”? Because it was a customary practice to sell captives taken in war to other nations as slaves (see Joel 3:7, Amos 1:6,9). In this way Israelites could become scattered all over the known world (cf. Ezekiel 27:13). Representatives from both the northern and southern tribes returned. When for instance a sin-offering was brought at the dedication of the temple in the time of Darius, then it was “a sin-offering for all Israel, 12 male goats, according to the number of the tribes of Israel” (Ezra 6:17, also Ezra 8:35). The prophetess Anna belonged to Asher, one of the northern tribes (Luke 2:36). The New Testament also considers Israel as twelve tribes, whether literally or symbolically (Acts 26:7, Matthew 19:28). In view of the above, there is no need to take Jeremiah 23:3 and see the return mentioned there as referring to what is happening today. For further support to the notion that prophecy is now being fulfilled, Dispensationalists quote Isaiah 11:11-12: “The Lord will extend his hand yet a second time to recover the remnant that remains of his people … and gather the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.” Dispensationalists consider the reference to this return being “the second time” as conclusive evidence that the Lord here refers to what is happening today, the first return having been from Babylon. But the first return was not from Babylon, but from Egypt. That was the first release from bondage for Israel. The Old Testament is full of that and even Isaiah 11:16 specifically speaks of it and connects it with the Babylonian return, which is clearly then the second return. Furthermore, Isaiah 11:14 goes on to say that the returned exiles “shall swoop down on the shoulder of the Philistines in the west, and together they shall plunder the people of the east. They shall put out their hand against Edom and Moab, and the Ammonites shall obey them.” The late William Hendriksen aptly noted that these predictions were fulfilled, as is clear from the First Book of the Maccabees. In addition, “those who believe that now, in the twentieth century A.D., these Philistines, Edomites, Moabites and Ammonites must still be destroyed or plundered or subjected will have a hard time even finding them!”1 Israel was restored after the Babylonian captivity. The prophecy of the return was fulfilled. The New Israel There is one other factor that needs to be mentioned before we leave the issue of the promise of the land. Dispensationalism makes a very strong distinction between Israel and the Church. However, according to Scripture the Church is now “the Israel of God” (Gal. 6:16). The apostle Paul wrote to the Romans, “it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise” (Rom. 9:8). All those who have believed God’s promises belong to His children, “the Israel of God.” This identity of the Church has consequences for the promise of the land. The fifth commandment as given to God’s people at Mount Sinai stated: “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you” (Ex. 20:12). However, when this command is referred to in the New Testament, the reference is to living long “on the earth” (Eph. 6:2-3). God’s children as the new Israel will inherit the whole world! That is also the point of Romans 4:13 which states that the promise to Abraham and his offspring was that “he would be heir of the world”! The promise of the land for the new Israel is far more than some real estate in the eastern Mediterranean. In this final age, God’s people have been promised the world! What makes Israel special and why should we care? Most Christians have traditionally held a soft spot for the Jewish people. After all, they were God’s special people and they have preserved for us the Old Testament Scripture. “The Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God” (Romans 3:2) which have come down to us because the Jewish people so faithfully transmitted the Word from one generation to the next so that we have the complete Old Testament. We owe them much gratitude that God used them to give us so much of His Word. However, as we have seen, the State of Israel today has no special biblical claim to Palestine. Like Abraham, Israel must look forward “to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God” (Hebrews 11:10). Nowhere does the New Testament give a prophecy of restoration to the land of Canaan for Israel. The State of Israel is not the solution for the ultimate well-being and salvation of Jews. The New Testament clearly shows this to be the case because thinking that a national political restoration is the solution for Israel is an old heresy. When the Lord Jesus walked on earth, many in Israel were looking for a political messiah. But Jesus said that His kingdom was not of this world and He disavowed notions of a political restoration for Israel. Instead he prophesied the destruction of the temple. We do Israel no favor by appealing to the Bible to justify their existence as an independent nation in the Middle East. Their existence is legally and politically legitimate but not founded on the basis of biblical prophecy. If we want to help the Jews, and we should, we can begin by praying more for them. Part of the Reformed heritage are the beautiful prayers, found in books like the Canadian Reformed Book of Praise. Among these prayers is “A Prayer for All the Needs of Christendom” which includes this petition: “we pray for the mission among Jews, Muslims, and heathens, who live without hope and without you in the world.” Note the order. We can and should pray this prayer because Christ came so that also Jews may inhabit the land of the LORD, that is, the new world that is coming. And not only Jews, but also Arabs who according to the flesh are counted as sons of Abraham. One day in the Promised Land, the true Canaan, there will be peace and joy. All the elect, including Jews and Palestinian Arabs, will be there in perfect peace and harmony. The Jewish people may sometimes be off our radar, but not God’s. They remain a special people in God’s sight. A question sometimes asked is: but have the Jews not been rejected? Have they not shown they want nothing to do with the crucified Christ? Has God rejected the Jews? God has not rejected the Jews. Although the apostles turned from preaching to the Jews because of their unwillingness to listen and went to the Gentiles, yet, the apostle Paul said of the Jews: “Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved” (Rom. 10:1). Scripture teaches that the conversion of the Gentiles will stir Israel to jealousy so that as Gentiles are saved, God will also gather Jews to Himself, until “all Israel” will be saved (Rom. 11:1-11, 25-26). This “all Israel” can be Jews plus Gentiles as comprising the “Israel of God” (Gal. 6:16) or “all Israel” can refer to all the elect from Israel, all the believing Jews. In any case, the Bible gives no basis for the belief that there will be a mass conversion of Israel as a nation, but it does state that the total number of the Jewish elect will be saved (Rom. 11:26-27).2 We must never think that mission to the Jews does not concern us. In a sense we owe so much to them and they were God’s chosen instruments to prepare and to be part of the coming of our Savior to this world. The Jews remain a special people for the Lord and therefore also for us. The ongoing conflict in the Middle East reminds us of a sober truth. There is no abiding peace or political salvation here on this side of eternity. But there is hope and true salvation if eyes are lifted up on high and the God of Abraham is supplicated through our Lord Jesus Christ. Conclusion There is only one ultimate solution. It is found in the gospel and in embracing the glad tidings. The Lord Jesus gathers His Church, also in Israel, in the West Bank, and in Gaza. Messianic Jews in Israel are believers in Jesus Christ. In the West Bank and Gaza are also Christians who love and confess Christ under very difficult circumstances. They are a minority in a Muslim society. How God’s people would rejoice if the evil forces that function in nationalism and Islamism could be conquered by the Spirit-fed force of a joint Jewish-Arab Christian testimony in the Middle East. With such a testimony the importance of who gets Jerusalem or which piece of territory is relativized because of the overarching promise of a new Jerusalem which comes down from heaven to give the ultimate peace. There Jew and Arab can truly dwell in peace together. End notes William Hendriksen, Israel in Prophecy (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1968), 21 (emphasis is Hendriksen’s). See Romans 11 and the clear explanation in Hendriksen, Israel in Prophecy, 32-52....


Saturday Selections – May 11, 2024

Click on the titles for the linked articles... Rend Collective: Lighthouse This one had our girls dancing... How deer grow antlers They do it every year again, and we're only just starting to fathom how much is all involved. Stem cells have something to do with it, but " do the two antlers maintain their bilateral symmetry, such that they branch at almost exactly the same points while separated by many centimeters to feet apart? Don’t ask they deer. They don’t know." Rex Murphy passes away at 77 Though he was a long-time presence on the CBC, and once touted Pierre Trudeau as "the greatest Canadian ever," Murphy was still a favorite among conservatives for his criticisms of Justin Trudeau, and his common sense objections to Trudeau's climate agenda. Women are forfeiting rather than competing against men in dresses This isn't quite Eric Liddell and Chariots of Fire, because, so far as I know, these athletes aren't forfeiting because they are Christian. But their example is worthy of imitation, and that opportunity – to forfeit to the glory of God, in celebration of how He made us male and female – may present itself to our own daughters very soon. True North covers the March for Life Three to four thousand pro-lifers' March for Life hit Ottawa this past Thursday, though you'd be forgiven for not knowing that if you only read mainstream news. True North did cover the event, and that shibboleth is why, if you haven't already heard of them already, you might want to check them out. As the linked article demonstrates, True North is willing to cover Christians, listen to them sympathetically, and quote them accurately (and even employs at least one or two), but this is a conservative, not Christian outlet. They covered the March, but didn't really explore the heart of the conflict – they didn't explain how the issue is between what God says about where our worth comes from – being made in His Image (Gen. 1:27) – and the non-explanation for our worth offered by those who say the unborn only have value if their mom wants them. That said, True North is still one of the better media outlets in Canada. And the price is right – you can sign up to their daily email newsletter for free. The New York Times says it is now okay to question the COVID vaccine ...and they're not the only one. CNN host Chris Cuomo, who was calling people crazy for not getting the vaccine, is now compassionately raising the issue of vaccination injuries. What's important to understand is that this reversal isn't simply a matter of error – we all make mistakes – but showcases the arrogance of their original stand. When people then expressed the ideas the NYT and CNN are only allowing to be expressed now,  these two media entities didn't just differ, but advocated for those people to be fired and otherwise penalized, because to do anything other than be vaccinated was crazy. They couldn't conceive they might be wrong. But for some, it now seems getting the vaccine was the wrong thing to do. The point isn't that the vaccine was bad, or that it didn't help millions, maybe billions. The point is that there were inevitably going to be tradeoffs – there always are – and our political leaders not only didn't discuss those tradeoffs, but ridiculed those who tried to. And penalized anyone who refused to do as they said. This, then, is one more reason we don't want big governments. When they make mistakes it is on a grand scale, forcing everyone to join in with their mistake. The power to compel is one to use only with great restraint... but restraint isn't a quality of the arrogant. Check out the video below for Chris Cuomo vs. Chris Cuomo. 🚨Watch former CNN host Chris Cuomo's (@ChrisCuomo) dramatic 180 on Covid vaccines! — MilkBarTV (@TheMilkBarTV) May 6, 2024 ...

Interview with an artist

Deb Menken’s “thing” is she has no one thing

Interview with an artist "A New Creation gets its title from 2 Cor. 5:17. In it we see the new growth but behind the scenes is my return to more abstract work and a desire to reveal more of God and my faith in my work and art practice." ***** Deb Menken and her husband Jim live in the town of Mono, Ontario, where she works in her own home studio. “It is a very picturesque area on the edge of the Niagara Escarpment and has a vibrant arts community of which we both have surprisingly become members! I say surprisingly because it is not something that either of us had planned. God works in mysterious ways as they say!” Through her work Deb hopes to glorify God and add beauty and joy to others’ lives. Deb is a curious artist. Her painting process is spontaneous and imaginative and flows intuitively from the one question she’s always asking herself: “What happens if I do this…?” Deb has answered this question in many surprising and delightful ways but always in a way that reflects her love of color and texture. Menken has had a passion for creative arts her whole life but it wasn’t until 2015 that she decided to pursue the dream of learning to paint. "Lapping It Up is my impression of the area around Dorset and Lake of Bays in the Muskokas. The title is a play on words combining the water lapping up on the rocks and the viewer lapping up the beautiful scenery to be found in that area." Deb then spent the next several years experimenting as she searched for her "thing" – that elusive style or subject matter which she could claim as her own. Instead she discovered “having one ‘thing’ is not my thing!” Deb continues to explore the possibilities of what she can make paint do. This means mixing interesting color combinations and then layering color, shape and line on a canvas or panel until it results in something she is happy with. Deb is quick to point out “It’s possible to fiddle with these kinds of pieces forever and end up losing the initial spontaneity!” Her thing, if there is such a thing, is finding joy in the process of creating art, not the subject matter itself.  While she considers herself an abstract artist, she also loves to paint florals and landscapes with varying degrees of abstraction. Menken, who is now considered “mid-career,” wants to move her work in the direction of being inspired by the landscape without portraying it in a representational way. “I want to learn how to immerse myself in a landscape, examine how I respond to it, how it makes me feel and how to capture that feeling with expressive abstract artwork.” Menken’s work has caught the attention of a local arts council. Earlier this year, the Dufferin Arts Council awarded Menken a bursary to help her develop her skills. In 2024 Deb plans to travel to Newfoundland, alone, to spend at least 2 weeks exploring the beauty of the “raw landscape” there. Her goal with this retreat is to learn how to capture the feeling of the rocky maritime landscape in an abstract way and then apply this approach to other landscapes and subjects. True to form, Menken anticipates the painting done in Newfoundland will be mostly experimental in nature. It will be taken back to Deb’s home studio where it will form the basis for the creation of a new body of work. You can follow Deb and connect with her on Facebook and Instagram @debmenkenart. You can view more of her work on her website If you have a suggestion for an artist you’d like to see profiled in RP please email Jason Bouwman at [email protected]. The title picture is of the artist in the Headwaters Gallery at the Alton Mill in Alton, ON and the painting beside her is “Mossy Morning.”...


Saturday Selections – April 27, 2024

Click the titles below to go to the linked articles... Strawman and other logical fallacies Here's a fun way to get our kids to really understand how logical fallacies can be used – deliberately or not – to misdirect and confuse discussions. Watch below, and click the title above for a list of fallacies (including the strawman) you can work with.   View this post on Instagram   A post shared by Brett Pike (@classicallearner) Horribly neglected patient "chooses" euthanasia A quadriplegic Quebec man, stuck on an emergency room stretcher for four days, developed a bed sore so bad it left bone exposed. After being denied even the bed he needed, Normand Meunier then "chose" to be euthanized. Having doctors murder patients is portrayed as compassion. What it really is, is cheap and easy. "Even the compassion of the wicked is cruel" (Prov. 12:10b). Are you financially literate? 5 questions to find out Christians are called to be good stewards of what God gives us but it isn't harder for some than others. Here's 5 questions to help you figure out where you are at. Why is teen anxiety on the rise? The author of Why is my Teenager Feeling Like This? shares 4 thoughts... Caring for the adopted child Our kids' frustrating misbehaviors will often be a matter of déjà vu for parents who recognize they acted similarly when they were kids. But adoptive parents can face the additional challenge of dealing with behaviors they haven't seen before, perhaps because of their children's very different history, or physiological repercussions that might have come from having an alcohol- or drug-addicted birth mom. So how can adoptive parents be sensitive to their child's different needs, without succumbing to the temptation of just excusing bad behavior? Two biblical counselors offer some helpful biblical advice. Global warming isn't making weather more extreme If you listen to David Suzuki, Al Gore, or Greta Thunburg, you'd have every reason to believe that global warming was causing an increasing number of, and severity of, droughts, floods, hurricanes, and forest fires. But a new study by the Fraser Institute says, it simply isn't so. Click on the title above for their report, or watch the video below for Dr. Judith Curry's take. And for why we might consider them both more credible than their more mainstream critics, see my "Catastrophic Global Warming? A brief biblical case for skepticism." ...


How much government is too much government?

In its recently released The Size of Government in 2022 report, the Fraser Institute detailed the levels of government spending across the country as a percentage of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP, or how much the country produced including both goods and services). Canada overall – counting all three levels of government, municipal, provincial, and federal combined – spent just under 41% of the country’s GDP. This is down from the 52% they spent during 2020, which was higher because of both the COVID spending that took place that year, as well as the 5.5% drop in GDP that occurred due to the lockdowns. The Fraser Institute report also broke things down by province… and the range was enormous. In three of the maritime provinces, the three levels of government combined to spend more than half of GDP – Prince Edward Island (58%), Nova Scotia (63%), and New Brunswick (58%) – while on the other end, Alberta’s spending was 6 percentage points lower than anyone else at 27% of GDP. So what’s the right size of government? The Fraser Institute suggests that the optimum level is somewhere between 26% and 35% of GDP, basing that on studies that say that gets you the most economic bang for the buck. However, the prophet Samuel, in his “warning against kings” (1 Sam. 8:10-18), cautioned that the king might presume to demand the same percentage as God Himself required, 10%. Our governments presume much more, starting with more than double that. Presumption is evidenced also when our government recognizes no boundaries on their involvement. Sometimes their overreach is enormous, as when they run education, a parental responsibility. And sometimes it is just ridiculous, as was on full display south of the border this last month, when the White House announced it was going to investigate the problem of “out of order” soft serve ice cream machines. Ironically, it might be a good thing for the government to look into this, as they may be the source of the problem. Government rules seem to be blocking anyone but the manufacturer from repairing the machines. When the government is involved in everything, then whenever there is a problem it’s almost certain they are a part of it. So whatever the right size of government might be, it’s smaller and less presumptuous than what we currently have....

Music, News

Taylor Swift’s explicit evolution

Last week, Taylor Swift released her 11th studio album, The Tortured Poets Department, comprised of 16 songs. Hours later, she dropped part two of the album consisting of another 15 songs called The Anthology, creating a double album. In this latest effort, Swift says the f-word more than her first ten albums combined – one Reddit user says, “If you extrapolate this data, five albums from now she will have to release an album that says roughly 24,000 times.” Swift’s earlier music had been known for clean pop love songs, her country music devoid of explicit language and even incorporating biblical themes, such as in her 2007 song “Christmas Must Be Something More,” where she sings, “So here's to Jesus Christ who saved our lives.” That made her a favorite of many parents. That said, even her 2006 self-titled debut album, with its focus on cheating boyfriends, and Taylor longing after another girl's boyfriend, wasn't kid-appropriate. However, her latest album takes a darker turn, featuring explicit sexualized language and blasphemous lyrics mocking Christ’s death and resurrection. In her song “Guilty as Sin,” she sings,  What if I roll the stone away? They’re gonna crucify me anyway What if the way you hold me is actually what’s holy?  Another song, “But Daddy I Love Him” bashes Christians, calling them: …the most judgmental creeps Who say they want what's best for me Sanctimoniously performing soliloquies I'll never see  The rest of the material can be seen through a long X thread that asks “Is this the music you want your kids listening to?” Young people are impressionable, so it’s crucial to be mindful of the messages they’re exposed to.  Despite the album’s title, Swift is not a tortured poet; rather, she is praised by millions of fans worldwide. With a significant influence, especially on young girls, Swift’s dark turn is one parents need to know about. This is not the Taylor Swift of ten or fifteen years ago. Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it (Proverbs 22:6)....


Saturday Selections – April 20, 2024

Painting without a license could soon be illegal in Minnesota Government growth is like the slowly rising temperature that eventually boils the frog in the pot alive – so long as the red tape grows only bit by small bit, we don't really protest. Here then, is a cup of cold water (or some sharp scissors if we're going with the tape metaphor) to shake things up and highlight how the government will regulate everything if we give them the chance. Christians should lead the resistance to growing government, since we understand that God didn't entrust our leaders with the responsibility of managing every aspect of citizens' lives. And we know that limited fallible human beings aren't up to the enormity of that task. 3 things a Christian should consider before serving in the military This short piece has an American focus but offers thoughts for Canadians to consider too. Since it was written in 2017, both nations' militaries have taken an ideological turn, so more could be said, which Aaron Renn does here. Today's music really is angrier, more egocentric A new study says it isn't just your imagination, Mom and Dad; song lyrics really are getting more repetitive, "me" and "mine" are popping up more often, and the tone of the lyrics has gotten angrier over the last 40 years. We're all Christian Nationalists now I prefer the term "Christian patriotism" to "Christian Nationalism" due to the latter's many conflicting definitions. But, as Larry Ball suggests, if we run with the definition of Christian Nationalism that the secular media is increasingly using – as Christians who think our rights come, not from the State, but from God Himself – then we are all Christian Nationalists now. What are the reasons disability exists? (10-minute read) AJ was struck with a progressive neurological disability that put him in a wheelchair as a young man. He had questions for God... and he went to Scripture to hear what God had to say. Were the Greek gods real? Douglas Wilson makes things clear with this "yes and no" answer. ...


Saturday Selections – April 13, 2024

Click on the titles below to go to the linked articles... If people did everything as a trick shot Evolutionists have no explanation for the origin of life Christian chemist James Tours has been challenging "origin of life" researchers to put up or shut up. He has offered to take down all his published videos and never speak on the topic again, if only someone will show how they are making any real progress in explaining how life could come from non-life (as evolution would require). Tours did get a chance to debate, but under hilarious conditions. He agreed that after his 20-minute talk, that in the dinner discussions that followed, he would not talk at all unless asked a question, and if interrupted, he would stop talking. The linked article and video are not an easy read or watch, but even the gist of it underscores how the opposition isn't guided by the science, but by their ideology. Though the science shows that life can't come from non-life (scientists can't even create life on purpose, let alone explain how it could happen by chance), the scientific establishment still clings to the notion that it must have, because they need it to have done so to justify their rebellion against God. Euthanasia as a cost-saver for public healthcare Luc Van Gorp, head of Belgian's biggest health care fund, Christian (?!?) Mutualities is saying the quiet part out loud – they could save a lot of money if they murdered their old people. Once murder is medicine, it becomes quite the attractive treatment: cheaper and quicker than anything else. In related news, Belgium has lightened the penalties for "illegal euthanasia." It will no longer be treated as murder. They did it because if doctors had to fear getting charged with murder every time they murdered someone without following the approved procedures, then there might be less doctors willing to murder people. So one way to save lives here in Canada might be to ensure that "illegal euthanasia" is treated as murder. Maybe we can scare bloodthirsty, but self-preservation-seeking "doctors" from this line of business. How is our economy really doing?  The Fraser Institute argues that while Canada had one of the better expansions of its economy compared to other G7 countries, the real picture is horrible when you consider just how much the population increased. So they are pitching a better measure than just GDP – GDP adjusted for population. Big surprise for me here is that two Liberal PMs – Chretien and Martin – did better by this measure than the last two Conservatives. Atheist Richard Dawkins likes Christian culture Dawkins might be the world's most famous atheist, and he made news last week for praising Christian culture: "If I had to choose between Christianity and Islam, I’d choose Christianity every single time. It seems to me to be a fundamentally decent religion in a way that I think Islam is not." But as John Stonestreet notes, you can't have Christian fruit without the Root. The strange truth about the pill The birth control pill was embraced because it enabled sex outside of marriage by separating sex from conception. But as this BBC article highlights, the pill's nine different hormones come with side effects, some of which "have subtle 'masculinizing' effects." Identifying misinformation (5 min) In an online world awash with misinformation, here are three simple ways to identify what's not true. ...

Interview with an artist

Hetty Veldkamp’s landscapes began with a birthday

Interview with an artist ***** Lighthouse at Snug Harbour36" x 24”“Taken last year when a friend gave us a boat ride to Snug Harbour, near Killbear Park. As we were entering the harbor, the sun was low and casting a warm glow on everything. It was such a beautiful moment and i tried to capture it in this painting.” Years ago, Hetty Veldkamp retired from a successful career in graphic design to raise her family. But then, two decades later, a birthday gift she created for her husband launched her second artistic career, this time as a landscape painter. She’d always been drawn to art. When she was younger Hetty would often create pencil drawings, just for fun, based on photos from magazines or advertisements. Her high school art teacher saw potential in her work and encouraged Hetty to consider art as a career. After studying illustration and graphic design at Sheridan College, Hetty accepted a job as a graphic designer/coordinator with the Alberta government’s Public Affairs Bureau. She designed brochures, report covers, and logos for the various government departments. Then in the evenings Hetty would work on freelance projects or paint small watercolor paintings which she sold to friends and colleagues. “I was busy with everything art.” But when she and her husband decided to have a family, Hetty took a break from art-making. That break would last 25 years. For as long as she can remember Hetty has also been drawn to nature. She grew up beside the sea, living in a quaint fishing village in the Netherlands. She later settled in the rural Niagara Region in southern Ontario after immigrating to Canada with her parents. In the years that followed, Hetty and her family explored the many different regions of Ontario’s “cottage country” and Hetty became “hooked on the peace and beauty found there.” “I have always enjoyed the great outdoors, hiking, camping, and cottaging. The vistas of Northern Ontario, Kilarney, Algonquin, and Killbear Provincial Parks; Georgian Bay and the landscapes of northeastern Ontario are a real inspiration to me.” Lily on a Summer Day40" x 20"“This one was inspired while kayaking near a friend's cottage. It was summer and so peaceful, the lilies just seem so calm and serene. Lilies are a popular subject, and I paint them often.” For her, they all brought the words of Psalm 8 to mind; “How majestic is your name in all the earth!” It was those experiences and memories of those landscapes, previously painted by members of the famous Group of Seven, that inspired Hetty to pick up her brushes again. First she painted a painting as a gift to her husband for his birthday. She didn’t stop there. Many more paintings followed, some successful and some not so much. But Hetty persevered. She now has no problem selling everything she produces. Scenes of Ontario’s north feature prominently in her vast portfolio on her website. Judging by the number of paintings that are labeled “SOLD,” the scenes are popular with buyers too! Hetty lives and works in Richmond Hill, Ontario. Working primarily in oil paint she works to capture her love of the outdoors and the peace she finds there. “The lakes, trees, islands and rocks are beautiful; the ever-changing skies and water continue to inspire me.” I remember Hetty speaking at my high school for a career day – she was one of the people who inspired me to pursue illustration and design. I even studied at the same college as she did! You can see more of Hetty’s artwork on Facebook, Instagram, or at You can also email her at [email protected]. Jason Bouwman loves landscape painting too. Find his work at and send him suggestions for artists to profile at [email protected]....


When “helping” kids hurts them

Why the generation accessing the most mental therapy is the most mentally unhealthy  ***** As the old saying goes, “to a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” Among the hammers today is psychotherapy, and too many wielding it are convinced that every human problem is a nail. However, the unprecedented rise of mental health problems in Generation Z suggests that the overuse of this tool has done as much harm as good. In a bold new book, Abigail Shrier confronts the idea of psychology as an all-consuming ideology. In Bad Therapy: Why the Kids Aren’t Growing Up, Shrier argues that much of what is now taken for granted about psychological and emotional “trauma” is wrong and has left millions of young adults more “traumatized” than if they’d had no therapy at all. This thesis aligns with that of her previous book Irreversible Damage, which exposed the reckless push to medically transition gender-dysphoric kids, especially girls. This push has been driven by the mental health industry. In Bad Therapy, Shrier points out the many indications that the whole approach of our therapy-obsessed age is awry. Most obvious is that despite living in one of the most objectively prosperous and safe times in human history, our young people are, en masse, mentally sicker and emotionally sadder than ever. In fact, over 40% of young adults have a mental health diagnosis, twice the rate of the general population. So, the generation most treated for psychological wellbeing is doing the worst psychologically. How did we get to this point? In a podcast with former New York Times columnist Bari Weiss, Shrier told the story of her grandmother, Bess, who grew up during the Great Depression. Bess was orphaned and so malnourished that her teeth grew in gray. She then contracted polio and spent a year in an iron lung. Yet, despite her suffering, she managed to recover, get married and have kids, go to law school, and become one of the first female judges in her state. She was also, as Shrier puts it, “One of the most optimistic and can-do women” she’s ever met. Today, doctors, psychiatrists, counselors, and teachers would tell Bess, because of her “trauma,” to lower her expectations for what she could achieve. They’d constantly watch her, waiting for confirmation of her permanent damage. Eventually, Bess, like millions of children today, may have even believed them. The central thesis of Bad Therapy is that the anti-adversity worldview that has been embraced by everyone from therapists to parents to self-appointed TikTok influencers hurts children. Therapy has become an ideology, an entire way of looking at life. Experiences that previous generations understood as a part of the human condition are diagnosed and “treated” and, in the process, a generation has been robbed of resilience, responsibility, and character—things that, as Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang recently noted, only come from facing adversity and, at times, failing. As she told Weiss, Shrier is “no more anti-psychotherapy than… anti-chemotherapy.” Interventions are necessary sometimes but, like chemotherapy, mental health treatments carry risks. Shrier believes we must begin taking these risks seriously, especially when it comes to the youngest patients who have neither the experience nor the authority to argue when adults tell them, “You’re sick.” For Christians who understand that human beings are more than matter that can be molded and medicated, the need for a book like this is even more obvious. Divine revelation and millennia of insight suggest that much of what passes for “psychological trauma” today is spiritual brokenness. Spiritual healing can take the form of counseling and medication, but to put it simply, no amount of psychotherapy alleviates our need for a Savior. In the meantime, Abigail Shrier has, once again, launched a cultural conversation that is a vital corrective. Not only can it help curb the excesses of bad therapy and pop psychology and make us better, wiser parents, but a book like this can help us rethink the true complexities of who and what we are as human beings. For believers, it is a chance to show what it looks like to live redemptively amid the groaning of this fallen world while using all the tools at our disposal. This Breakpoint was first posted to March 20, 2024, and is reprinted here with their gracious permission. We're sharing it because Christians need to understand where and why secular counseling can fall so short. The world understands Man as simply matter, and sees Man’s purpose as self-actualization, or perhaps the pursuit of our own happiness. Our "Owner’s manual," the Bible, describes Man’s nature as both body and spirit, and our purpose as being built to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. So, secular psychology could have tips and tricks and drugs to modify our behavior and feelings, but it misunderstands Man at the foundational level. No wonder then, that some of its help hurts instead. If this article caught your interest, then you may want to sign up (see the subscribe button on the top right of the page) to get their free daily commentaries delivered right to your inbox....


Saturday Selections – April 6, 2024

Click on the titles below to go to the linked articles... Quite the fish story! (8 min) How do salmon find their back to where they were first spawned? Elon Musk gets folks talking about problems with the Pill Of the many gods in the world, unfettered sex is among the biggest. So it shouldn't surprise us that information that might hinder worship of that god could get pushed to the side. That's what's happened with the side effects of the birth control pill, which largely seem to be unknown. Christians should be aware of one that's not touched on in this article – the third action the Pill can have, of being an abortifacient. J.K. Rowling uses her influence to fight Scottish "hate law" J.K. Rowling might be best known for popularizing witchcraft in her bestselling Harry Potter series and normalizing homosexuality by declaring a principal character, Dumbledore, gay. But this past week she made headlines for her stand against a new Scottish "hate law" that could be used as a weapon against anyone who says men aren't women. So, Rowling did just that, on Twitter. And she promised: “If they go after any woman for simply calling a man a man, I’ll repeat that woman’s words and they can charge us both at once.” Canadian man wants a set of both genitalia A Canadian man says that Canada's anti-conversion therapy law means the government has to pay for him to get both sets of genitalia. He might win his case, but he won't get a "vagina." What he'd get amounts to an open wound that he'll have to dilate weekly or even daily for the rest of his life, lest it heal up. Sadly, his isn't the only experiment being performed in the name of trans affirmation. Surgeons are leaving folks looking like Barbie dolls, with no genitalia at all. The silver lining? The world is starting to get horrified too, but they don't really have a basis to be. So, brothers and sisters, this craziness is an opportunity to point them to the reality, sanity, and salvation that comes only with repenting and believing in Jesus Christ through whom we were made male and female. Sweden had the lowest mortality in Europe from 2020–2022 Sweden didn't do the lockdowns like the rest of the world, and the "experts" said they were going to pay a high cost for it. But, Sweden didn't. How do I respond if I'm asked to state my pronouns? Greg Koukl explains why we should never "give our pronouns" and how we can use questions to steer the conversation in our direction. ...

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