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Saturday Selections – June 15, 2024

Dr. Matthew Wielicki: I refused to stay silent about climate change (8 min) One silver lining to the COVID-related censorship that happened on social media was that everyone got to see it. Mention the "lab-leak" theory and your post would be banned or have a warning label assigned to it... no matter that the case for the theory was always obvious. This "shut up the critics" tactic has long been employed in origins research too – 6-day creationists and even Intelligent Design proponents were excluded from publishing in the mainstream science journals, no matter how high the quality of their research. It shouldn't surprise us to learn that this same sort of censorship and pressure is being exerted on the climate front. As Dr. Matthew Wielicki shares, "This isn't about truth. This is about silencing people who disagree with you..." Hopeful amillennialism How is God going to bring this broken world to an end? That's a much-debated topic in Reformed circles, but maybe not all that hotly, simply because we don't think it a "salvific" issue. That's why we can more easily leave it as a matter where we might be a bit muddled. That said, one thing is clear: if you are a pessimistic amillennial, you need to repent. 3 core beliefs of the transgender movement It's no coincidence that these three beliefs run almost exactly opposite to what God has said.  As Samuel Ferguson explains, the transgender movement affirms that: My identity is self-determined My feelings, not my body, determine my gender We find wholeness through external, not internal, change Transgenderism isn't primarily an attack on logic, but rather a specific assault on God's Truth. Any godless argument against transgenderism is, then, going to be akin to standing up for your favorite athlete when the guy you're talking to has just spent the last fifteen minutes talking about your mom's weight. You're not addressing the real fight! This is a spiritual battle, and God's people need to defend Who is really being attacked. We need to give the world what it really needs to hear: that God has assigned us our gender, and given us an identity, and we can mar and mutilate, or receive and celebrate, what He has given us. Beating bullies with a compliment Kids will often have fun at another child's expense by insulting them – one child can feel big by making another feel small. Sometimes teachers will have to be involved. But as Prov. 15:1 notes, "a gentle answer turns away wrath..."  and what's proposed in this article is a version of that: try giving the bully a sincere compliment. What are they teaching kids about sex in public schools? This is a US article, but there's no reason to think it any different in Canada – mention of "alternative lifestyles" is going to be affirming. How eating out keeps you poor (7 min) Even if you don't eat out nearly as often as these people, this will still be "food" for thought for most of us. ...


Saturday Selections – June 8, 2024

Looking deeper at tiny, extraordinary engineers  Hives have been called the pinnacles of biological engineering, and we're only now learning just how extraordinary they are. The Sexular Age never sleeps: 4 stages We've seen the woke advance happen in sports, which the writer calls the West's true religion, in four distinct stages: What you cannot say - first Christian athletes were told to shut up about homosexuality What you must say - then Christian athletes were told to wear the jersey, or patch Who you must not associate with - Christians couldn't be on the wrong organization's board Who you must associate with - don't distance yourselves from men in dresses Why conservative Christian men make good husbands "Many people assume that most theologically conservative men are ...domineering. But sociological studies have refuted that negative stereotype. Compared to secular men, devout Christian family men who attend church regularly are more loving husbands and more engaged fathers. They have the lowest rates of divorce. And astonishingly, they have the lowest rate of domestic violence of any major group in America." Why not private providers? It worked (briefly) in Saskatchewan  When the government is in charge, long waits and high costs don't surprise anyone. And yet, in Canada, most seem to want public healthcare even though they have to wait half a year or more for surgeries. There is an animosity towards private care, in part, because it is thought it might allow richer Canadians to get quicker care than the rest of us. But isn't that akin to being jealous that our neighbor can have sushi when we can only afford hot dogs? Or, to put it in more biblical terms, isn't that the envy God forbids in His 10th Commandment? The lack of private care options eliminates the competitive pressures that could lower costs or speed up wait times for everyone. Even if the government is going to be the universal payer, why does it need to be the universal provider? We have private family doctors, so why not expand the private options to increase the competition? As the Fraser Institute notes in the report above, it seemed to work in Saskatchewan for the decade they tried it. How to ask for a raise Christians are supposed to be humble. But that doesn't mean we should underestimate our value to our company. So what might we keep in mind as we ask for more money? Bubba changed his name to Charlene Ray Stevens is still around, and still making music. Here he is with his latest, about our culture's latest shenanigans. ...


Saturday Selections – June 1, 2024

If there is a common theme to this week's edition it might be government overreach. For Christians, who know God has set up different governments for different purposes – Family, Church, Civil – we understand that our elected leaders should only rule in a limited realm. But leaders who reject there is a God above them seem increasingly eager to step into His unlimited role. They want to expand their impact... but that they aren't doing so well with the areas already under their influence only underscores the importance of God's limits. Minimum wage up to $20 in California (6 min) Minimum wage laws are put in place by governments that run a deficit every year. If they can't mind their own business, why would they think they can run everyone else's (Matt. 7:3-5)? And it gets worse – as John Stossel notes below, some US minimum wage laws were originally put in place to discriminate against blacks. Raw sewage in the Thames: an actual environmental ill we can fix Some of the political leaders promising they can adjust the world's weather are having problems with more local matters – there is raw sewage hitting the Thames (Luke 16:10, Luke 19:17). "More people will die from real environmental problems than from the climate in 2050, whether it’s warmer or colder. We need to move beyond attention-grabbing headlines about distant imaginary threats and focus on actual ones." South Korea down to just 0.72 children a woman To keep its population stable, South Korea would need to triple its birth rate. Canada, in comparison, is at 1.33 children per woman (as of 2022) or about two-thirds of the 2.1 children per woman we'd need to keep our population stable. Canada was last at the 2.1 figure way back in 1971 (that so shocked me, I tripled-checked, but I think I have it right) and has masked its declining birth rate with massive levels of immigration. South Korea is not interested in that approach and is instead looking to government programs for the fix, but to this point throwing money at the problem hasn't really helped anywhere else in the world. Why not? Well, maybe it's because having kids is always a leap of faith, and the secular world is without hope. Christians are still having kids though; we have a God worthy of our faith. Another reason is the communion of saints that He provides can help lighten the load. June 1 is Dinosaur Day! Everyone loves dinosaurs, but there are some tall tales being told about them. So here are some fun facts to counter the fake news. Click on the title above for an entire chapter on dinosaurs – something for the serious reader – and for something shorter see below: Did dinosaurs fit on Noah's Ark? Is there scientific proof dinosaur fossils aren't millions of years old? Is there evidence dinosaurs died in the flood? Is there cultural evidence dinosaurs lived at the same time as Man? Yes, NBC, homosexuality is "natural" but so are... Just in time for Pride Month, NBC is broadcasting a series called "Queer Planet" to show that homosexuality exists among animals. True enough... but so does rape, slavery, necrophilia, and cannibalism, so "natural" hardly means right. As Kurt Mahlburg notes, we can aspire to act better than animals, because we are different from them, made in the very image of God. Jordan Peterson and whether euthanasia victims are drowning to death Euthanasia was sold to Canadians as a means of providing near-death patients some mercy and autonomy. But where is the mercy and autonomy for 49-year-old Roger Foley? When he admitted to medical staff that despair was driving him to have suicidal thoughts, he wasn't helped, but was encouraged in that direction. And, he says, since euthanasia has been put in place, his care has suffered. Perhaps that's because he's now seen as a patient who is stubbornly refusing "treatment." In the article linked above, Jordan Peterson is involved in a discussion about how the drugs Canadian doctors use to "mercifully" murder their patients may, effectively, cause them to die via drowning, with a paralytic drug preventing them from crying out. The neglectful care for Foley, and the possibility that euthanasia victims are dying slow drowning deaths, are both horrific. But the issue here isn't how euthanasia is being offered, or how it is being administered. (If it were, then we could be satisfied if only it were offered and administered better.) The real debate – the real battle – is over whose life is it? and who owns our life? The Christian answer to both questions is, God. He says, do not murder, even ourselves. The contrast we need to present then, is how following His ways leads to true compassion and mercy, and a culture of life, while following the culture of death, and its lies of autonomy, leads to where "even the mercy of the wicked is cruel" (Prov. 12:10b). ...


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." ...


Saturday Selections – May 18, 2024

Gray Havens: See You Again (3 min) This Gray Havens' song is an attempted answer to a question that many a married couple has wondered: how can there be no marriage in heaven (Matt. 22:30)? In my head I understand that as a part of the Church we will all be the very bride of Christ, and what we had here with our spouse was only a pale shadow of this perfected bond we will have with our Saviour. But if you were in a good marriage how can you help but wonder, what about the wonderful special relationship you've had with your spouse for so many years? How can that just be done?  The answer, I think, is that it won't be. We won't be married, but that doesn't mean we'll be strangers. As the song puts it: Gonna see you again On the gold streets Standing next to me, I know I'm gonna see you again Darling, won't be long Till every trace of trouble is gone We'll be together And I'm not sure what that means But I know it'll be better than we ever dreamed When I see you again I'm not sure what that will mean either, but I can trust my good and gracious God that it will indeed be better that any of us dreamed. 25 ways to provoke your children to anger "How much of the anger in my home is caused by me? That’s a painful question. As parents, fathers in particular, we must heed God’s Word from Eph. 6:4 Of course, this is not to say that all of our children’s anger is caused by us. Each of our children is personally responsible for his or her own sin. However, this warning from God is here for a reason. One of the ways our sinful flesh manifests itself is by provoking others to anger. And the easiest place to do that is in our own home." DeYoung: homework on Sunday? In his book The 10 Commandments, Kevin DeYoung shares how he has never regretted deciding to make Sunday a homework-free day. Green hydrogen: a multibillion-dollar energy boondoggle (10-min read) When ethanol-from-corn-production first started it probably took more energy to produce a unit of ethanol than that unit could then produce. So why did governments push it? Because it looked good, even if it didn’t do good. Increased farm efficiencies since then may have changed that net negative into a positive but the return is, at best, still modest, with estimates of 1.5 units of energy created for every unit of energy used in corn-ethanol production. By way of comparison, in the US, one unit of energy used in gas production returns 15-30 units of gas energy. Now the US is ramping up production of hydrogen, but a unit of hydrogen takes more energy to produce than that unit of hydrogen then contains. And according to this article, that’s a matter of physics, and no manner of technological advances will change that net negative result. We should not be surprised that a world that has rejected God isn’t concerned with doing actual good, even as it still wants to look good. Thus this showmanship instead of stewardship. Preparing our children to suffer well (10-min read) There are things we can do to better prepare our children for the challenges and pains they will inevitably experience. Pulling the reverse card on a woke feminist (1 min) When a feminist is offended by a guy wearing a "feminist for Trump" shirt, he reverses it on her, questioning why she presumed his gender. Think of it as an addendum to the Golden Rule (Matt 7:12) – we aren't supposed to do to others as they do to us, but what about when a little tit for tat would be highly educational? Then that could be the best thing for them... which is what we should want others to do to us, right? But turnabout is all this fellow's got. Meanwhile Christians can do one better by finishing the argument. As Paul writes in 2 Cor. 10:5, we should want to "demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God," but note what comes next: "we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." Ben Shapiro, Jordan Peterson, Pierre Poilievre and others can tear down the other sides' arguments. But if that's all they do, then they're leaving the world in the same state as the man in Luke 11:24-26, who after being freed from an evil spirit, replaced it with nothing, only to have that spirit return with seven others "and the final condition of that man" was even worse than before. Merely dismantling a lie leaves a person vulnerable to the infinite number of others lies out there. So we should learn how to tear down false idols, like we see many conservative commentators doing. But we need to offer the alternative too, doing what only God's people can do – pointing people away from the lie and towards God, and the truth that He made us male and female (Gen. 1:26-27). ...


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 ...


Saturday Selections – May 4, 2024

Did ancient cultures believe in a third gender? This is an interesting question, in as far as, what point would it prove if they did? Does our culture now believe that because something is traditional, is is right? If so, I have some other traditions to tell you about! Why you should go to sleep early tonight There are physical, emotional, and spiritual reasons too, for why you should be early to bed. Can a Christian be a lawyer? (15 min read / 25 min listen) The short answer is, yes, of course. The longer answer is, yes, but the job does come with some real challenges. Two celebrities talking about how disobeying God hurts Recently Joe Rogan and Oliver Anthony were chatting about how disobeying God's will for sex really messes people up. Anthony is a self-professed baby Christian, and Rogan is no Christian at all, so they aren't talking about this from a biblical perspective. They've just come to the realization that porn usage doesn't work. Theirs was a practical, pragmatic case, but an observant one. Sin really is stupid, and some people learn that the hard way. Others don't have to suffer through the pain that running into the brickwall of reality will cause you, and instead trust God's Wisdom as He's revealed it to us in His Word. What's the difference between venting and lamenting? One is sinful, the other godly, yet they share a lot of similarities. A moral case for capitalism If you have an economic system that respects property rights (i.e. the 8th Commandment), and doesn't covet what the wealthy have (10th Commandment), and doesn't look to the government as savior (Commandment #1), then what sort of economic system would you have? Well, it wouldn't be socialism, communism, or crony capitalism. What you'd be left with is the free market, aka, capitalism. And you'd be left with it, not because it has raised more people out of poverty than any other economic system, but because it is the system God proscribes. The prosperity that results is simply a blessing that comes with obeying our Heavenly Father. This gentleman below makes a different moral case for capitalism (and gets a few things wrong, going back 12,000 years, on a planet that's only been around for about half that) but brings in one more wrinkle that I did not... but which has a biblical parallel. He speaks of capitalism being the result of a society that has moved from "status to contract." In kingdoms and empires it is about who you know – if you are a friend of the emperor, you will prosper, but if he doesn't like you, you're in trouble. But when rules were elevated above the ruler, when even the king could be held accountable to the law, then we had a society built on agreements – contracts – rather than status. Though this gent doesn't describe it as such, that development has Christian roots. Christians understand that the most powerful king has always been accountable to God and His law. ...


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." ...


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. ...


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. ...


Saturday Selections – Mar. 30, 2024

Rich Mullins: Creed (4 min) Rich Mullins riffing off of the Apostles' Creed. How C.S. Lewis predicted the pronoun push... ...and in a passage in The Horse and His Boy, he taught us how to respond. Bug zappers might do more harm than good Sick of mosquitos? Your bug zapper might be the problem. A couple decades back two universities tested how many mosquitos actually get zapped and found that of the approximately 24,000 bugs their zappers killed, just 39 were mosquitos. Less than o.2 percent! The rest included bugs that actually eat mosquitoes, which means the bug zappers might actually be making your mosquito problems worse. The Road to Socialism and Back Again – a free e-book This free e-book charts the fall and rise of Poland's economy, stagnating for decades under centralized communist management, then quadrupling once some freedoms were returned. It's history we need to share. However, while this notes that socialism doesn't work, it doesn't dig into what God says about the why: that a centralized economy doesn't work because it lacks humility (a distant leader knows how to run all our lives better than us?), it fosters envy over what the rich have (breaking the 10th Commandment), it requires men to be angels (working hard with no thought of gain for themselves), and in eliminating private property, it violates the 8th Commandment. No wonder then that it doesn't work. Christians aren't ready to argue against AI-generated porn When it comes to pornography, Christians will point out the harm it does to "performers," highlighting the dark, dark side of porn production. It is dark, so that argument is certainly valid. But that the performers are harmed isn't the foundational reason pornography is wicked – the underlying problem is that porn conflicts with God's plan for sexuality. And now, with the advent of AI-generated, actorless films, talking about the harm done to the actors, rather than mentioning anything about God, won't work as an objection anymore. The conclusion to the linked article is both spot on, and really, really sad, because it makes it seem as if talking about God is the very last thing any Christian would want to do in the culture wars. But is that true? "This will be uncomfortable, because it will force Christians to make moral arguments that appear irredeemably at odds with the secular society. The benefits of emphasizing things like exploitation is that such concepts resonate with non-Christian audiences. There’s nothing wrong with seeking this common ground, but the reality is that we’re not going to have that ground at all very soon. The arguments against consuming or licensing pornography that will matter in the age of AI will be moralistic arguments: arguments rooted in the goodness of embodied sexuality in the context of marriage, and the destruction that occurs to hearts and emotions by feasting on a fake version of sex that collapses us inward. 'This is somebody’s child' will have to become, 'You are somebody’s child.' "Here will be a good stress test for Christian moral theology. Western Christians can articulate a vision of life that makes sense in a radically fractured, technologically isolated context. But that vision requires helping people get beyond the 'Does it harm anyone' framework, not simply appropriating the question. So it seems very likely that Christians will have to bring God into the discussion. When there’s no one to exploit, there is still God to offend. When there is no one to be trafficked, there is still God who sees. And when there is no one to stand over your shoulder to intervene or care, there is still God who saves." Pre-natal screening: should we do it? Some prenatal testing – specifically the sort that is called "invasive" – comes with a risk for the unborn, and so Christians should question why we'd want to get such a test at such a cost. As the article above and video below explain, "non-invasive" tests come with a different sort of "risk" for the unborn... though not when conducted by pro-life Christians. ...


Saturday Selections – Mar. 23, 2024

How to undermine election trust The title of this video – "how to steal an election" – isn't as much the issue here as the fact that results become more disputable, and more controversial, when in-person voting is replaced with mail-in balloting. This is an American case, but applicable to Canada and elsewhere. Why chromosomal differences do not create additional sexes The Christian apologetic group Stand to Reason has made this short and to the point, but with plenty of links to go explore deeper. Sadly, Jordan Peterson still isn't Christian Aaron Renn argues that Peterson is basically New Age. Only God as Trinity can offer Atonement Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and other prominent atheists have equated Good Friday as nothing more than a case of "cosmic child abuse" – a vengeful Father venting His wrath on His innocent Child. That's a charge shared by Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons (so lock this in for the next time you hear a knock at your door) and others who deny that God is indeed Three in One, because then the Cross is indeed a god punishing some "entirely other" being. But, as we know, at the Cross it is a just God also showing mercy by voluntarily taking on our punishment. In the linked article, Jeremy Treat explores this truth from two other analogous angles. Yes, teens, virginity is good for you Virginity doesn't just provide freedom from sexually transmitted diseases, but it also lowers incidences of all sorts of other risky behaviors, such as smoking and drug use. Are biblical counselors unbiblical? (20 minute read) Secular psychologists who ignore the spiritual world can, at best, treat only half the person: their material body. Biblical counselors can turn to the wisdom God has written in His Word to treat the soul too. But how much should biblical counselors rely on, and turn to, what God has also revealed in His Second Book, the "book" of Creation? That's where an important debate is being had. Astonishing fly can breathe underwater even after losing its underwater lungs (6 min) This fly as a larvae has organs that allow it to breathe underwater, but it loses those in its adult stage. But it still lives underwater using a completely different system to get its needed oxygen. That all happened by chance? You have to be willfully blind to miss God's creative genius here. ...


Saturday Selections – Mar. 16, 2024

Click on the titles below to go to the linked articles... If $50/hr is a good minimum wage why not $100... or $1,000? (9 min) A Californian legislator recently proposed raising the minimum wage to $50/hr, or approximately $100,000 US/year (or roughly $135,00 Canadian). And, as the video below shares, Batman himself thinks it's a great idea. But if $50/hr is good, why not $100/hr... or $1000? These minimum wage proponents and transgenderism activists share one thing in common: both believe that wishing can make it so. But simply declaring everyone worth a certain wage doesn't change reality. Older employees, still skilled but slower than they once might have been, and lower skilled or inexperienced workers aren't going to be able to bring $50/hr in value to their employers. That means this minimum wage is going to price them right out of the labor market. And that's true of every minimum wage, no matter how well intentioned – they declares a minimum value for labor, and anyone who can't meet it, or can't meet it yet, is legislated out of any chance at a job. Childless China: coercive population plan implodes "Kenneth Emde of Minnesota, who came of age during the Swinging Sixties, recently explained why he is childless today. 'I was a college student when I read Ehrlich’s The Population Bomb,' he said in a letter published by the Wall Street Journal. 'I took it to heart and now have no grandchildren, but 50 years later the population has increased to eight billion without dire consequences. I was gullible and stupid.'” This is a secular piece, so it doesn't make the case for how Emde could have known better. He needed to listen to the real Expert, who says in His Word that children are a blessing, not a curse. On the cost of business subsidies, and the trouble with electric cars The Fraser Institute was busy this past week, issuing two eye-opening reports. The first was on the $52 billion Canadian governments spent on corporate welfare in 2022. We can't agree on much in this country, but can we at least agree not to take money from some companies to prop up other companies? From 2007 to 2019, PEI, Quebec, and Manitoba spent all or nearly all of their corporate income tax revenue on business subsidies! The second report was on the impossibility of meeting the new electrical demands that will come if all new cars from 2035 onward have to be electrical. We'd need the equivalent of 10 new dams, each of which, if history serves, would take 10 years to plan, another 10 years to build, and cost $16 billion each. So what happens if we have the cars but not the electricity? March 16 is the 4th anniversary of "15 days to slow the spread" In this look back a professor explains how he got fired from Harvard for refusing to be vaccinated (he'd already had COVID), and got fired from the CDC for being too pro-vaccine. Dissenting opinions, whatever the direction, weren't allowed and that came with a cost. "Sweden was the only major Western country that rejected school closures and other lockdowns in favor of concentrating on the elderly, and the final verdict is now in. Led by an intelligent social democrat prime minister (a welder), Sweden had the lowest excess mortality among major European countries during the pandemic, and less than half that of the United States. Sweden’s Covid deaths were below average, and it avoided collateral mortality caused by lockdowns." When the pope isn't Catholic This is a lament from Canada's pro-life and mostly Roman Catholic media outlet LifeSiteNews, highlighting the ways the pope is targeting established Catholic doctrine. Roman Catholics dealing with a corrupt pope face a situation a little like Martin Luther, who wasn't looking to start a new church but was left with no choice once he was kicked out. We can pray that when orthodox Roman Catholics are kicked out of today's Roman Catholic Church, they'll finally stop putting their trust in this institution. Bluey: the beach (7 min) Our family just learned about a cute Australian dog named Bluey, and so far we are about 20 episodes into the first season. Our kids are older than the target audience, but the whole family is enjoying the accents, the energetic (and generally respectful) kids, and the super fun dad (mom ain't bad either). This is a current show, so I was wondering if it would take a turn for the weird some time soon. But so far so good, and from what I could read online, it does seem pretty solid. We found it on DVD from our local library, but some episodes can be watched for free online. This one will play everywhere except, unfortunately, Bluey's native land. ...


Saturday Selections – Mar. 9, 2024

Click on the titles below to go to the linked articles... College isn't for everyone (3 min) Christians listening to this Mike Rowe clip might hear echoes of Paul's message in 1 Cor. 12:12-31, about how the Body has many members. We're not all the same, so we shouldn't presume that university is for everyone. This is a clip from Rowe's free 20-minute mini-documentary called The Case for Trade School. Good news: the Earth is getting greener Even NASA is sharing this, though with a negative spin (they can't get away from their cataclysmic take). Millions of Americans are banned from pumping their own gas Under the pretense of "safety" millions of Americans are prohibited from pumping their own gas. But is it really so unsafe? No, as all of us who manage to pump our own gas without blowing ourselves up can attest. So then what's the real reason for the ban? It's a case of private interests using the levers of state power to fight off their competition. And that's far from unusual. When is a question better than an answer? John Stonestreet – riffing off of Christian apologist Greg Koukl – offers 6 simple, great questions that'll help you stand up for the truth. "Time to admit genes aren't the blueprints for life" Have you heard that your cellular DNA is the instruction sheet or blueprint for your cell and body? Well, now it seems that was a gross oversimplification. This article is complex too, but here's the key: scientists keep discovering the life is more and more complex than they'd previously thought. And evolution only makes sense if we are simple enough to have come about without design or direction. Equal pay for equal work laws hurt (4 min) Milton Friedman offers up a practical objection to "equal pay for equal work" laws, no matter how well-intentioned they might be. ...


Saturday Selections – Mar. 2, 2024

Click on the titles below for the linked articles... How did we get the Bible? (12 min) Was the Bible authorized, or simply recognized, by the Church? 10 astonishing alien underwater photos Here's a Top 10 of an award-winning National Geographic photographer's underwater shots showing some of the amazing diversity of life God has crafted under the water's surface. For more, check out his website - it's in French, but you don't need to know that to appreciate his pictures. 10 diagnostic questions for your marriage Do you and your spouse laugh together? Kevin DeYoung's friend suggested that "the couple that laughs together lasts together." That got DeYoung thinking: "What are some other questions that can help diagnose the health of our marital life? Here are ten that may prove useful." 10 best evidences confirming a young earth The folks at Answers in Genesis have a lot here for us to chew on! Why the world is running out of babies "Only 3% of the world’s population currently lives in a country whose birth rate isn’t declining. ...Italy, Spain, Portugal, Thailand, and South Korea will lose half their populations by the end of this century." Why? Even protesters are blessed by oil Everyone instinctively understands that hypocrisy is bad – that's one of those truths God has written on our hearts (Romans 2:15) – but like many truths, it can be deliberately obscured. So showing that someone is a hypocritic isn't enough anymore. We need to spell out in detail the implications of their double standard. The spoof below highlights even oil protesters' dependency on all sorts of oil products in their daily lives. Until someone somewhere starts living without oil themselves, what we are all demonstrating (anti-oil protesters too) is the blessing of oil for meeting so many of our daily needs. The video is PG-rated for one mention, and one inference, of the word "ass" so don't watch it with the kiddos. ...


Saturday Selections – Feb. 24, 2024

Click on the titles below for the linked articles... Shane & Shane with "You've already won" (7 min) Love this one – this is why we can take on that scary world out there without fear. Repetitive near the end, but it's a point we'd benefit from hearing on repeat. Court recognizes frozen IVF embryos as children The IVF "industry" has frozen hundreds of thousands of embryonic children and killed hundreds of thousands, and perhaps millions, more. So we can be thankful for a ruling this past week that had the University of Alabama hit the pause button on their IVF treatments. "Alabama’s IVF industry may be forced to make radical changes in its practices. The sole dissenting justice said as much in his opinion: 'the main opinion’s holding almost certainly ends the creation of frozen embryos through in vitro fertilization (‘IVF’) in Alabama.'" The case for phone-free schools (10-minute read) "...Students around the world became less likely to agree with items such as 'I feel like I belong at school,' and more likely to agree with items such as 'I feel lonely at school.' That's roughly when teens went from mostly using flip phones to mostly using smartphones. It's also when Instagram caught fire with girls and young women globally, following its acquisition by Facebook. If we must pick a date for the start of selfie culture and its poisonous levels of visual social comparison, I'd say it's 2012." Big Tech and the role of families and government When social media companies do damage to teens and won't self-police, is it time for even the strongest small-government proponents to look to the State to intervene? John Stonestreet makes the case. Farewell to a pro-life hero John Barros wore dents in the sidewalk of the abortion clinic he witnessed in front of. He saw horrors. But he also saved babies. As he told his fellow demonstrators "Isn’t it amazing what God will do if you just show up?” When tree rings go bad When you hold the marvel of a smartphone in your hand, or consider the complexities that were conquered to put a man on the moon, you might think much of Science and what scientists have been able to do. But there is a difference between that kind of repeatedly and immediately testable science and the very different and much more uncertain historical science that's being used to promote everything from the theory of evolution to the theory of cataclysmic global warming. There we are dealing with could-haves and maybes, but in adherents' arrogance these findings are too often delivered as discoveries and facts. And now it seems too-certain-by-half might be a thing with tree ring findings too, as John Robson details below. ...


Saturday Selections – Feb. 17, 2024

Failing at failure? This could be a great way to bring up an important conversation with our kids. The fear of failure stops many children from trying new and hard things. God gave them talents, and if they are going to develop those skills (and not bury them - Matthew 25:14-30) our children will need to push their limits. That might mean running so hard they start tripping, stumbling, and even eating some dirt. They need to know there is such a thing as God-glorifying failure... but not God-glorifying cowardice. Marriage makes men better Though he doesn't acknowledge God, this evolutionist has discovered that God's plan for the family – marriage – works best, reining in men's antisocial behaviors. There is a really great metaphor here, too, about our rational self being a rider trying to control an elephant that represents our impulses. Those impulses – or, in Christian terms, sinful desires – can be easier or harder to control depending on where we take them. So, for example, a rider troubled by alcohol shouldn't "take his elephant" into a bar. To extend this to the family realm, a dad or mom trying to deal with a kid that pushes their buttons shouldn't indulge in watching the late show – they'll have to put their elephant to bed early each night to better enable them to be calm and controlled. The Swiss Family Robinson: a return to the classics Jonathon Van Maren makes a plug for this great book. Parents, if you get your kids a copy, be sure you get an attractive one: a great cover, good font, and a few illustrations thrown in here and there can really help by making a classic so much more appealing. G.K. Chesterton on AI If you want to understand AI, then who better to ask than someone born two hundred years before it was invented? This is a good one! And for an in-depth dive check out what's on offer at The most bizarre experience of my life When theologian E. Calvin Beisner was invited to do an interview about climate change, he never expected to be interviewed by a clown. Who knows how this will end, but some people certainly are desperate to try to make Christians look bad. "He Gets Us" takes a big "L" in the Super Bowl Among the Super Bowl commercials last week were two to promote the "He Gets Us" evangelistic campaign. Many Christians have defended them as "pre-evangelism" – sure, they didn't hint at the Good News, but they did tell people that Jesus gets them. That's a start, right? There's some truth to that – they had a minute, and if you had just a minute would you be able to present the whole of the Gospel to someone? To say it another way, an incomplete message isn't wrong... it just needs more. But the problem comes when we say the easy part and stop. And a lot of "churches" are content with just telling folks that Jesus gets them. But they don't want to offend anyone. Telling people they need to repent? Jesus as Saviour is offensive indeed. Now someone has shown how it is possible, in just a minute, to tell people quite a lot about Jesus and their need for a Saviour. And Ray Comfort gives his own version here. ...


Saturday Selections – Feb. 10, 2024

Click on the titles below to go to the linked articles... Remy: Look what you made me do A serious point can be had from this goofy parody of a Taylor Swift song. Both the original and this version are about denying responsibility, though Taylor was denying her own responsibility and this time it's about criminals and the State denying their responsibilities. Our governments have inserted themselves into most aspects of life – healthcare, childcare, education, agriculture, tourism, job creation, arts, entertainment, recreation, media, and more – but how are they doing with their actual God-given responsibility to bear the sword to punish evildoers (Romans 13:4) and rescue the oppressed (Ps. 72:12-14)? What does it mean to tell your spouse, "I love you"? As Valentine's Day approaches, the world has one definition of love to pitch us, and the Bible has quite another. Doctors admit puberty blockers aren't reversible With Alberta's Premier Danielle Smith facing heat for banning puberty-blocking hormones for children 15 and under, this article couldn't be better timed. Be sure to share this one widely, especially if you live in Alberta. In related news, even the New York Times is willing to admit that transgender surgeries are getting pushed on confused kids. Sex outside marriage has triggered an international bloodbath While the numbers are estimates, more than half of all deaths in 2023 may have been due to abortion, largely performed on the babies of unmarried women. So, in other words, chastity can save lives. Millions of lives. The tattooed generation While some tattoos are meaningful – maybe a Bible text or a spouse's name – many others, as this article declares, "permanentize trivial things." And as such, that sort are a metaphor for a generation which also "trivializes permanent things." This isn't a Christian article, so while it is on to something, it doesn't understand that the Devil always wants us to make big of little and little of big (Matt. 23:23). How to say forbidden things on YouTube Whatever your thoughts on the thing, Prov. 18:17 highlights why they shouldn't have restricted our ability to talk about the thing. ...


Saturday Selections – Feb 3, 2024

Click on the titles below for the linked articles... Make more babies! I don't share enough good news, so here's a fun one. This is a diaper company taking the sort of stand that any self-interested diaper company should logically take - give us more customers! But with all the doom and gloom about population these days, it's probably brave for even a diaper company to come out in favor of babies. While they hang their baby endorsement on a statement from agnostic Elon Musk, there's also an uncredited voice-over recognizable as American's favorite pastor, Billy Graham (or, possibly, his son Franklin). So while they could get bolder – let's explicitly proclaim God's truth as God's truth – these folk are certainly taking some baby steps in the right direction! The price of legalized pot Way more teens are smoking way more marijuana than 10 years ago. And what they're smoking is way more potent than what was around a generation ago. And it's costing many teens their mental stability... Euthanasia normalized by manipulation under the Trudeau government (10 min read) There's been some good news on the state-sanctioned suicide front this week. On March 17 the "eligibility" of death-as-medicine was going to be expanded to include the mentally ill too. Rising costs have made it impossible to find a home? If that left you depressed, the government might have helped, not with more affordable housing, but a prescription of lethal drugs. But on January 29, the federal health minister announced they would suspend, at least for now, this expansion. You can read more, and what to do about it at the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, and ARPA Canada. To find out how we ever got here, read the longer article, from REAL Women of Canada, linked above. Barbara Kay: on "Grave Error: How the media misled us (and the truth about residential schools)" "''Canadians deserve to know the truth,' Federal Opposition leader Pierre Poilievre told reporters earlier this week, regarding 2021 claims made — but never investigated — of unmarked graves at the Kamloops, British Columbia Indian residential school." And there's a new book out highlighting how the media, and some of our elected leaders, steered us wrong. A 21st-century Peasants’ Revolt World traveler and sometime RP contributor Jonathon Van Maren was in Europe this past week to report on the massive farmer protests going on. How we got here - a  transgender documentary (12 min) How did transgenderism shift so quickly from a fringe movement to something taught in our public schools and affirmed by almost all our political leaders? This documentary gets to some of it. While narrator Christopher Rufo doesn't frame it in specifically Christian terms, what he highlights is how transgenderism is seen by its proponents as more than simply surgery, more than a personal decision, more than a struggle some small minority have to deal with: leading proponents view it as an all-encompassing worldview from which we are to interpret all else. Susan Striker, one trans proponent, spoke of his transgender manifesto as a "secular sermon." That gives us all the clue we should need as to how best to counter this movement. Not with Rufo's equally secular response, in which he's left confused enough to refer to Striker with female pronouns. No, what's needed is our own sermon of sorts, but a spiritual one. We need to lead with the facts as God as defined them, that He defines our gender. ...


Saturday Selections – Jan 27, 2024

Click on the titles below for the linked articles... 80's "kids'" movies aren't how you remember them Those classic 80s kids' movies that you remember so fondly? Turns out they aren't kid movies at all - woah! There's a strange blessing that comes with understanding stuff was wacky back in the day too (Eccl. 7:10). We can remember how God was with us in the middle of that craziness, and be reassured that He's able to sustain us in today's clown world too. "Be fruitful and multiply" is not religious bumph. It’s how civilizations survive. The West is facing a coming economic implosion due to its low birthrate. And we don't seem to get it. What is Critical Race Theory? Samuel Sey offers this succinct explanation. Brits take Canada to task for state-sanctioned suicide (10 min read) This is a really good summary of how Canada has flung itself down the slippery slope, offering death as the medical treatment for more and more conditions. And while this is a secular article, they almost get to the root of it: they recognize that autonomy is a lie, and death isn't medicine. What they miss is that our lives are not our own to dispose of as we wish – the author doesn't acknowledge life as a gift from God entrusted to our stewardship. "In less than a decade, Canada has gone from legalising assisted dying in the tightest of circumstances – for adults suffering from terminal illnesses, for whom death was imminent – to offering suicide as an alternative to life’s woes. It amounts to a cautionary tale of the deep inhumanity, the cruel disregard for human life, that is unleashed when you introduce state-assisted death." We owe so much, just the interest is going to cost Canadians almost $2,000 a year Whenever you borrow, you're actually taking from future you, which might be fine sometimes if you really need to (for example, it's tough to buy a house without borrowing any money). But when it comes to massive government debt loads, what the previous generation borrowed is hitting us now, and if we keeping going along this route, then we'll be taking from our children. 8 fossil fuel facts: the other side (6 min) While we often hear about supposed downsides to fossil fuel usage, we rarely get the upside. But if we aren't taking that into consideration, then we aren't really counting the cost (Luke 14:28-30) of going "carbon free." This is a secular presentation but it presents the other side of the argument that we most often don't hear but need to (Prov. 18:17). ...

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