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Tfw Cannot Speak Taishanese

Central Guangdong

My ancestral home is in Taishan (Toisan) 台山 County, Guangdong 廣東. Even though I don’t speak or even really understand the Taishanese language – my mother tongue, and that of my parents, is Cantonese – and even though my grandfather was the last person among my closer relations who ever lived in Taishan County, I do identify as Taishanese. (The phænotypes of broadly Cantonese folk differ enough that I can sometimes tell which county people are from, and certainly there are people from Panyu who do not look like anyone from Taishan.) That I cannot understand much Taishanese, let alone speak it fluently, is something I find regrettable. A great majority of my ancestry is from Taishan County or from Xinhui County next to it, whose language is very similar.

Taishanese is often thought to be a variety of Cantonese, but the two are about as different as Portuguese and Italian: the average Hongkonger who speaks Cantonese can understand about 30% of Taishanese accurately, and my guess is that a native speaker of Taishanese can understand about 50% of Cantonese without prior exposure. For those who know or can recognize Cantonese, this is a Tang dynasty (618–907) poem by Li Bai 李白 read aloud in Taishanese:

Here’s something more colloquial, about certain reduplicative constructions in Taishanese (warning: there’s one curse phrase in there):

Probably the most Taishanese thing about me is my boneheaded hillbilly stubbornness. Who knows? Maybe that could help me learn a bit more of the language.

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New Heavens, New Earth, New Life

O LORD, from whom all good things do come; Grant to us thy humble servants, that by thy holy inspiration we may think those things that are good, and by thy merciful guiding may perform the same; through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Lesson: Revelation 21.

Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.

Alleluia, Christ is risen. [He is risen indeed.]

DEAR brethren in Christ, today is the last Sunday of Easter. This Thursday, 40 days after our Lord’s bodily Resurrection from the dead, we will remember his Ascension to the right hand of the Father in heaven. Since Easter Day, 1 April, I hope you have reflected well on what the Resurrection of a Jew from Nazareth, 2000 years ago, means for you today. If he conquered the grave 2000 years ago but it does not change your life today and tomorrow and the day after that, it is of no use to you.

And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. St John, at the end of his visions in heaven, after many momentous events and the rising and falling of nations, sees this. After many frightful signs and many encouragements of God’s faithfulness to those who love him, after long spiritual battles between the saints and the wicked, this is the place we are come to in the visions given to John: a new heavens and a new earth, when the first heavens and the first earth are passed away.

Here are three basic truths I would impress upon you today: The new heavens and new earth are real. The wicked will not partake of this kingdom. The kingdom is glorious for those who have a part in it.

The new heavens and new earth shown here, at the end of all things, is real, as surely as the Lord lives today. Many Christians imagine that the end of all things is heaven, a place up high above the earth, away from real life. They think of it as a kind of never-never-land. They think of it as a dream. That is completely backward. The Bible never teaches that we go to heaven when we die, and that this heaven is the end of every Christian. Let me say it in other words: Your destination is not heaven. The Bible does not say you will go to heaven when you die, and it does not say you end up in heaven. What the Bible teaches is something much more real and substantial. What does the Bible say?

I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. What is being made ready now is the holy city, the new Jerusalem, not some faraway thing called heaven. Look at your Bible. Look at John’s vision. Where is this city in the end? This city comes down from God, out of heaven. So where will this new Jerusalem be? The holy city, the new Jerusalem, will be on earth.

And this holy city is a bride adorned for her husband. As St Paul also says of the Church, in Galatians, Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all. The bride is the Church, the holy city, new Jerusalem; the husband is Jesus Christ. Think who Jesus is, and you will see whether this holy city that will come upon the earth is real. The Son of God is the realest being there is, because he is God. Anything imagined by you alone is less real than you. If the new heavens and the new earth were just your imagination, it would be as real as your imaginary friend when you were five. But the Son of God is realer than you, because you were imagined by him. If Jesus did not continually imagine and sustain your existence, you could not exist. And for you he was born of the Virgin Mary in Bethlehem, descended from king David. And for you he tabernacled with men, and dwelt with men. And for you he was crucified outside the walls of Jerusalem. And for you, on the third day, he was raised from the dead and walked out of his tomb. And for you he remains a man today, with a new and glorious body. And for you he has imagined the new heavens and the new earth, and has laid it before you as your hope at the end of the world, and says he will wipe all tears from your eyes, and declares that this holy city of the saints, this New Jerusalem coming to the earth from heaven, is his bride. I ask you, Is Jesus such a damned fool as to be married to a mere figment of your imagination?

Hear what Jesus says: Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. Jesus says, these things are true and faithful. What he has showed John, and us, is as good as done. It is done because his own glorious Resurrection from the dead is the firstfruits of our own resurrection. The two resurrections are part of the same thing. For this reason, if Jesus surely walked out of the grave alive, then just as surely we who trust him with our lives will be raised out of our graves and come into his new world. For he himself is the first person to live this reality. The first Adam brought death into the world, and Jesus is the last Adam, bringing life into the world by his own Resurrection. Therefore he says, Behold, I am making all things new.

So this kingdom, this city, is real; but the wicked do not partake of it. Jesus says, The fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. You’d better believe it. Who has his part in the lake that burns with fire and sulphur? The fearful and unbelieving. Remember who feared the coming new world: those who did not believe in Jesus or love him above the things of this world, those who loved even a sick and dying world rather than Jesus. Those who love the world rather than Jesus, he tells us what that character looks like when taken to its logical conclusion. Unbelief makes people into the abominable, people who deserve to be hated. It makes people into murderers, people who are willing to kill Christians because they hate Jesus that much. It makes people into whoremongers, people who take what is meant for marriage and spoil their bodies by doing it with whores. It makes people into sorcerers, people who refuse to submit to God and instead use witchcraft to try to control the world. It makes people into idolaters, people who serve images of health, wealth, and beauty, who refuse to know God as he truly is and instead indulge themselves with pictures they have made for themselves. These are the fruits of unbelief, and unbelief ends in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone.

Think about whether you believe when your belief is tested. Or, if your belief is being tested now by suffering, see if you actually believe. As C. S. Lewis says in his book A Grief Observed, ‘Of course it is different when the thing happens to oneself, not to others, and in reality, not in imagination. Yes; but should it, for a sane man, make quite such a difference as this? No. And it wouldn’t for a man whose faith had been real faith and whose concern for other people’s sorrows had been real concern. The case is too plain. If my house has collapsed at one blow, that is because it was a house of cards. The faith which “took these things into account” was not faith but imagination. The taking them into account was not real sympathy. If I had really cared, as I thought I did, about the sorrows of the world, I should not have been so overwhelmed when my own sorrow came. It has been an imaginary faith playing with innocuous counters labelled “Illness”, “Pain”, “Death”, and “Loneliness”. I thought I trusted the rope until it mattered to me whether it would bear me. Now it matters, and I find I didn’t.’ What is your belief like, and what is your share? Do you trust the rope, do you trust Jesus, or are you the fearful and unbelieving, who will die the second death in fire and brimstone?

But let us speak of better things. The kingdom of God, which will be fully revealed and burst forth out of our hearts when the power of the Holy Spirit has remade the whole world, is glorious for those who have a share in it. This is what baptism promises us. Scripture tells us, by the pen of St Peter, that baptism saves us by appealing to God out of a good conscience, that we might share in Christ’s death and resurrection. Let us look at the resurrection. Let us look at the bride, the Lamb’s wife. If we believe in Jesus Christ, we are that city, descending out of heaven from God. The wall of this city of God has 12 foundations, and in the 12 foundations are the names of the 12 Apostles. Look at the materials of the 12 foundations: each is made of a different kind of stone, like the 12 stones that in the Old Testament were inlaid in the breastplate of the High Priest. The priests led the worship of God. This city is a city of worship, in which the saints lead all creation in praising God. We have heard about the city of Jerusalem, in the land of Israel; but here John calls us to see the glory of what the new Jerusalem will look like on the new earth. The twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass.

This imagery is strange to us. We are hardly able to imagine it. God invites us to see it, and our minds are hardly able to look at it. This is the opposite of shadows, which we can easily look at. The world we live in now is not the real world. Because of sin, we are now living shadows of the real stuff we will be when God makes the new heavens and new earth. Whatever is good in this world now, whatever is worth loving in this world now, we love in the world to come because it will be realer then than it is today. Whatever you can lose in this world now, in the new world you will have it realer than you have it today; whatever good you do in this world now, in the new world you will see it realer than you have ever seen it here. What are your realest and greatest joys here and now in today’s world, and what will it be like when the former things are passed away and the real world of Christ’s Resurrection is begun?

The reality is, Jesus is the Lord of the world today, and in his new world this reality will be realer than ever before. The dying bodies we have now will be raised into bodies of glory and incorruption, worshipping God and doing great things with a strength we have never known. What heroism lives in us now, the heroism of Christ living in us and redeeming our bodies, it will be something greater than we can imagine, just as what John saw was beyond what he could fully describe. Justice and mercy, wisdom and power, we will see them real and glorious, stranger and truer than we have ever known.

Let us pray, that the Lord may grant us a share in his Resurrection.

O God, who for our redemption didst give thine only-begotten Son Jesus Christ to suffer death upon the cross, and by his glorious resurrection hast delivered us from the power of the enemy: Grant us so to die daily unto sin, that we may evermore live with him who died and rose again for us; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Jesus the Risen Keeper of the Church

Call to worship: Psalm 16.
Lessons: Revelation 6.1–8 and Matthew 28.

Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.

Alleluia, praise the Lord, Christ is risen. Give me the answer: He is risen indeed. Say it. Alleluia, Christ is risen. Tell me.

DEAR brethren in Christ, we are gathered today to continue to rejoice in the Resurrection of the Lord, to worship God’s Anointed king on his holy hill, and to see him by the Holy Spirit at his throne in heaven. For a week ago, after the Lord’s progress to Jerusalem, his knocking at the doors of our hearts, after the Lord’s Crucifixion outside the walls of Jerusalem, his death for you and me, he was then found on Easter Day, the third day from his death, to be alive. For this reason, since Jesus is risen from the dead, since Jesus has split the sea like Moses and made the faithful to walk through it, since Jesus has brought us over from death to life æternal, we count it Easter for 40 days, until the day of his glorious Ascension to the throne of God. This Easter, this feast of our Lord’s glorious Resurrection, is our Passover of gladness.

When John was taken up to heaven to see the throne of God, and the book was in God’s hand but no one could be found to open its seals, no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth, he wept. John wept because no one was able to break open those seven seals of the book, to unseal the revelation of God’s heart to us in the things which were to come. No one was worthy to do so. Now, by the power of his Resurrection in glory, Jesus the Christ, the Lamb of God, has taken the scroll from the open palm of God and is able to open its seven seals. In this man’s hand are all the corners of the earth, and the seals of destiny are in the hand of this man who was raised from the dead, and we can trust in him.

On the book are seven seals, and we have heard John tell us of four. Let us look at these with the eyes of our hearts, that the same Holy Spirit who showed these things to John may also show them to the eyes of our believing hearts. These visions in heaven are fantastical signs, wonderful and strange; but they were revealed to John, and thus to us, in order that we might understand God. Though we do not understand everything, yet we may understand what is given us to know. So let us now consider these seals, Revelation 6, that were opened by the man who conquered death.

And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see. And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer. Here, one of the four winged beasts at the throne of God, having eyes all over him and having the face of a lion, summons John with a voice of thunder: come and see. Come, draw near by faith, and see what you have not yet known. And we see a white horse, and on that horse a conqueror. This conqueror is the first horsemen of four, and these four are often called the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. This is the first seal that Jesus has broken open: a horseman is sent out on a white horse, and he has a bow, and he is given a crown, and he is sent forth conquering and to conquer. Remember, at the beginning of this book of Revelation, John calls Jesus Christ the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. For when the Lord ascended into heaven and opened all things, he held all authority in heaven and on earth. This righteous man took this kingly authority when God raised him from the dead, and thus he is today the prince of the kings of the earth. When you see the kings of the earth, when you see their power, do not be deceived: they can have no power except by the will of Jesus, whom God the Father has made King of Kings. But when Jesus goes forth to conquer with the authority given to him, he sends the Twelve. At his Resurrection, he sent the eleven disciples – the twelfth, Judas, had killed himself – he sent them to conquer the earth, saying, ‘All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.’ This is the conquest of the white horseman, the conquest of Jesus the king, the conquest of the Church crowned with Christ. Our Lord sent the Holy Spirit, whose words the Church sent forth as arrows reaching to the human heart, that they might overcome unbelief. And the crown on the head is promised to the Church by the Holy Spirit. This is how our risen king conquers the earth. When the Lord conquers, we conquer. So he says to the church in Smyrna, Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.

And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see. And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword. Come and see, says the winged calf. Do not be frightened when there is war and terrorism on the earth, when men kill one another and take peace from the earth. When fatherless sons who do not know hope burst into a school and shoot innocents, it is not a surprise. When the unbelieving Jews kill Palæstinians in Gaza, and drop poison gas on innocents, it is not a surprise. When the Saudis use American funding to rain bombs upon the people of Yemen, and destroy their hospitals where innocents are, it is not a surprise. Jesus has opened the first seal for the Church to conquer the earth with his word, and he has also opened this second seal for nations to kill one another. Our king, who is risen from the dead and rules all the nations, is willing that the nations should kill one another with the sword. For he said, in Matthew 10, Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it. War and blood is nothing unusual, and we are not so great that it will leave us untouched. The gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ was hated by those who did not want the temple cleansed, and they killed him; those who reject the gospel are like wild beasts, and they kill both us and one another. But the Lord was raised. The glorious Resurrection of our Lord brings peace and rejoicing to the hearts of those who love him, but war and the sword and the spilling of blood to the hearts of those who oppose him. Yet when you hear of wars and rumours of wars, do not be frightened, says Jesus in Matthew 24; for he is king. So he says to the church in Thyatira, He that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father.

And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a denarius, and three measures of barley for a denarius; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine. Come and see, says the winged man. Just a quart of wheat for a whole day’s wages, and just three of barley for a whole day’s wages. The black horse is famine, for the Lord says in Matthew 24, ‘There shall be famines in various places’; but the word is particularly applied to the time of the destruction of Jerusalem, 40 years after our Lord’s Resurrection, when there was a horrible famine in the land, and men killed each other for a hint of food, and a mother in the city killed her own baby to eat him. These dreadful events that befell Jerusalem at the destruction of the city and its temple are recorded by the Jewish historian Josephus, as the Lord Jesus foretold in Matthew. And today we also see starvation. The civil war in South Sudan, even with billions in American aid, has killed many with famine; an eight-year war in northeastern Nigeria waged by Boko Haram jihadi terrorists has killed many with famine; the war of the Saudis against their neighbour Yemen has killed many with famine, in the largest humanitarian crisis in the world today. The balance in the hand of the black horseman weighs grain for food, but it also weighs the faithfulness of the Christian believer. In the midst of famine, the Lord keeps for those who love him the oil of the Holy Spirit and the wine of his own blood poured out for us. The Lord keeps for us the joy of his kingdom, and he assures us that the joy of the Church is not hurt even in time of starvation. The Lord provides for his people. He gave his judgement against Jerusalem in Matthew 24, and the Church heard and recorded what he said. A few years before Jerusalem was destroyed, all the disciples obeyed the Lord’s word in Matthew and fled to another city across the River Jordan. Because they had fled in obedience to the Bible, they were not destroyed. Against the enemies of the Lord, however, the Roman army brought against Jerusalem a holocaust that killed one fourth of all Jews on the earth. By the Lord’s care, the Church was not destroyed. So he says to the church in Ephesus, To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see. And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth. Come and see, says the winged eagle. Here is the horseman of pestilence and death, pale as sickness. This too, even as the other three, is a seal opened by the risen Christ for us to look into the book of God’s heart and God’s judgement: the sword, hunger, pestilence. As the Lord in the Old Testament once showed his mastery over the gods of Ægypt by the ten plagues he brought upon the land when Pharaoh would not let his people go, and as the Angel of the Lord struck down the firstborn of all Ægypt, so the resurrected God-man Jesus is master of even death and Hades. Those who hate him, especially, them he destroys with plagues that man is powerless to stop. Those who see the frightful scenes of the Black Death in the Middle Ages may feel relieved that modern medicine keeps this death away. Those who saw the HIV plague kill hundreds of thousands in the 1980s and 1990s think medicine saves them now. HIV is less and less caught through drug needles and natural sex, but has only increased among men who have sex with men, who believe their medicine will save them. But I am told that our medicines for preventing death by HIV already show signs of failure, and those infected with it need harsher and harsher drugs to live. We may be on the cusp of another outbreak. What God wills, no man can stop. But the Lord loves us. Those who love God, who trust Jesus the risen Christ, who has power over all sickness and death, will be masters of death. Jesus has been raised incorruptible, unable anymore to die, and we too share in his glorious body when we eat his flesh and drink his blood in his holy Supper. So he says to the church in Pergamon, To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.

The preaching of the gospel of God’s kingdom comes together with war, famine, and plague; the peace of the heavenly Israel comes together with the bloody destruction of the wicked Jerusalem on earth. For God’s people, who trust in him, the gospel is good news of peace. As surely as Jesus has been raised from the dead, so will we be raised from the dead immortal and incorruptible, masters of sickness and death. The Lamb that was slain has opened the seven seals of the book of God, and he has given us the oil of the Holy Spirit and the wine of his own blood, which will not be hurt by starvation. For the wicked, however, who reject the peace of God, the gospel of peace is a rumour of war, a hunger pang of famine, a smell of death.

In the words of John Wesley, ‘The Son of David rode forth, conquering and to conquer, and will reign ’till he has brought down all opposing rule, principality and power.’ If Jesus Christ is not the treasure of your heart, the one in whom you trust, every kind of death will catch up with you, because Christ is king, and you are with Death. The choice is before you today: Do I serve this Jesus of Nazareth, or do run away in horror? Shall I kiss him today, or shall I wait for war and sickness and death to catch up to me when God wills it? Without Christ, you will be mastered by death; but with Christ, you will master death, because Christ has already conquered, and holds the keys of hell and death.

This is the choice before you because Christ has been raised from the dead. Come and see, says the angel with the face of a lion. Come and see, says the angel with the face of a man. Come and see, says the angel with the face of a calf. Come and see, says the angel with the face of an eagle. Come and see the power and majesty and love of the one who is worthy to open the seals of the book of God. Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen. Let others fear war and famine and sickness: for our own part, let us fear nothing but the King of Kings. This man is with us, and this man now reigns over war and famine and sickness. The war comes at the leave of the Son of Man. The famine comes at the leave of the Son of Man. The sickness comes at the leave of the Son of Man. Choose to live and reign with Christ, because he is the faithful one who overcame. Because Christ has conquered, we will conquer. Come, war! we will conquer. Come, famine! we will conquer. Come, sickness! we will conquer. Come, Lord Jesus! in thee, we will conquer, and we claim the crown through thee. Let us say with the Greeks today, Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and on those in the tombs bestowing life.

Hell took a body and came upon God!
Hell took earth and encountered Ηeaven!
Hell took what it saw, but crumbled before what it had not seen!

O Death, where is thy sting?
O Hell, where is thy victory?

Christ is risen, and you are overthrown!
Christ is risen, and the demons are fallen!
Christ is risen, and the angels rejoice!
Christ is risen, and life reigns!
Christ is risen, and not one dead remains in a tomb!

For Christ, being raised from the dead, has become the firstfruits of them that have slept. To him be glory and might, world without end. Amen.

Let us pray.
ALMIGHTY God, who through thine only-begotten Son Jesus Christ hast overcome death, and opened unto us the gate of everlasting life; We humbly beseech thee that, as by thy special grace preventing us thou dost put into our minds good desires, so by thy continual help we may bring the same to good effect; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost ever, one God, world without end. Amen.

Psalm of response: Psalm 2.

Flimsy Grounds for Dismissing Jason Reza Jorjani

My eyes are shot, enough that I donʼt believe I can take my final exams, but I thought I would post some comments from an email I sent a while ago, on a statement written by the history faculty of the New Jersey Institute of Technology and Rutgers University against Jason Reza Jorjani:

The entire statement is to denounce Jorjani’s ‘views on race’. I cannot feign knowledge of the details of Jorjani’s views on race, enough to judge his ability to ‘educate and evaluate [NJIT’s] students’. Some of the details given in the statement, however, are not to the purpose.

First, the ‘exposé’ cited is classified even by the New York Times as an opinion piece. Jorjani is there quoted as saying, ‘We will have a Europe, in 2050, where the bank notes have Adolf Hitler, Napoleon Bonaparte, Alexander the Great. And Hitler will be seen like that: like Napoleon, like Alexander, not like some weird monster who is unique in his own category – no, he is just going to be seen as a great European leader.’ While I disagree with classing Hitler together with Napoleon and Alexander the Great, I also think no good is done by maintaining a mythos in which he is the one great unique man of Europe, ‘without father or mother or genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life’, whether favourably or unfavourably. Is it objectionable to glorify Hitler? For his objectionable deeds, aye. But I do not think Hitler’s genocidal behaviour toward Jews, Slavs, Gypsies, and others unique. It is those who most strongly play up The Holocaust™ as a culture-defining mythic event that have most often find it useful to attribute to Hitler a quotation about the Armenians as a genocide no one remembered:

Accordingly, I have placed my death-head formation in readiness – for the present only in the East – with orders to them to send to death mercilessly and without compassion, men, women, and children of Polish derivation and language. Only thus shall we gain the living space [Lebensraum] which we need. Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?

Indeed, I cannot see who still remains as a proper subject of guilt for The Holocaust™. The desire to foist it upon all White Europæans, and even upon all who can plausibly be called White (except Jews), is itself at least as despicable as the desire to rehabilitate Hitler for which the op-ed blames Jorjani.

Second, believing in differences in IQ distribution among broad population groups keeps no one from recognizing academic ability and achievement in students of all genetic and ethnic backgrounds.

Third, given most people’s firm support for keeping the likes of Peter Singer at Princeton, I cannot see how this quoted opinion of Jorjani’s is particularly problematic: ‘With the emerging technologies of embryo selection and genetic engineering, it would be possible, with the right leadership and government planning, to restore the pre-Arab and pre-Mongol genetic character of the majority of the Iranian population within only one or two generations.’ The implicit approval of abortion and related evils is objectionable, but that is not at all what the authors of the statement consider objectionable. Nor does it give any more reason to find Jorjani more inappropriate an instructor than Singer. A fortiori, if approval of abortion be insufficient to consider Jorjani unable to educate and evaluate students, so is approval of genetic engineering aimed at restoring a certain genetic character to a countryʼs population.

Marginalia on What?

In light of the impossibility of hope, I return to Dávila for Jerusalem.

Sang Calon Lân and Put It on YouTube

For YouTube, donʼt you think singing is easier than talking?

Symeon the New Theologian’s Account of Regeneration Agreeable to Reformed Theology?

symeon-nowy-teolog-autorzy-filokalii

The Byzantine monk Symeon the New Theologian, in Discourse 24.3, says that what unlocks the treasure enclosed and sealed up in the word of God, ‘eternal life together with the unutterable and eternal blessings which it contains’ (24.2), is God the Son himself, who has said, ‘He who loves me will keep my commandments, and my Father will love him, and I will reveal myself to him.’ The only way for the chest of knowledge to be opened, Symeon says expressly, that we may enjoy, partake of, and contemplate its good things, is for God to ‘[live] in us and [move] among us’, and perceptibly to reveal himself to us; thereupon we consciously contemplate the divine mysteries hidden in Scripture. These mysteries, says Symeon, consist in perfect love toward God and neighbour, contempt of visible things, mortification of the flesh. And it is in seeing immortality, incorruption, the kingdom of heaven, adoption as sons through the regeneration of the Holy Spirit, that we indeed become sons by adoption and grace, and are called heirs of God and fellow-heirs of Christ.

But it is not clear to me whether Symeon sees this work of God himself – for he says no one but God can do it, since it is ultimately God and not the fulfilment of the commandments and the practice of the virtues that opens the door of knowledge – as being given all at once or over a protracted length of time, and how it is related to those works of ours. He does say it is by means of our fulfilling the commandments and practising the virtues (both given by God, as the commandments and the virtues) that God opens the door of knowledge to us, but he does not say explicitly how God uses these things to open the door. Instead, he contrasts those who enjoy the blessings and those who ‘lack the knowledge and experience of any of the things of which we have spoken’, who ‘have no taste of their sweetness, of the immortal life derived from them, since they lean on the mere study of the Scriptures’; for the latter ‘wish to commend themselves as though they were to be saved apart from the exact observance of Christ’s commandments, and so they altogether deny the power of the Holy Scriptures’. Nevertheless, by denying that our own fulfilment of the commandments and practice of the virtues is itself the power that opens the chest of treasure, Symeon seems to disclaim any notion of God’s respecting these things as meritorious works: they are instruments in some way, but God is the one who unlocks all these gifts to us when we cease to commend ourselves (trusting in our own meagre merits?) apart from the exact observance of Christ’s commandments, which is the true power of the Holy Scriptures!

To a Protestant, the expression here is unfamiliar, but the substance seems very much related to what Protestant divines held about regeneration in the broader sense. This intuition leads me to wonder how a Reformed scholastic such as John Davenant, Bishop of Salisbury, might have interacted with the thought of Symeon the New Theologian on the topic of regeneration. In a letter to Samuel Ward, Master of Sydney Sussex College, Davenant does treat carefully and sometimes subtly of regeneration in relation to infant baptism and perseverance of the saints. In that letter, Davenant’s purpose is different, but his categories might fruitfully be brought to bear on Symeon’s somewhat mysterious account here of the way in which God enlightens the soul and thus unlocks the treasure borne by Scripture, a treasure that none can reach by commending themselves, but that God himself must unlock.

Appropriating Geʼez Music as Chinese?

Æthiopian music like this can probably be adapted into Chinese music. It already sounds similar.

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John of Damascus and Æternal Subordination of the Son

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Degeneracy Is Just Not the Same as It Used to Be

Because Hong Kong in those days did it better.

Any Thing, Any Time, Any Where

Fear God, and what else shall you fear? Shall you fear armies or the wrath of the king? Is the Lord your stumbling-block or your sanctuary? Isaiah 8.

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Regarding disagreement among the bishops and the whole clergy on women’s ordination (WO) in the Anglican Church in North American (ACNA), Joel Martin reads the tea leaves in the interview below and says, ‘Unity and expediency are trumping truth and … Continue reading

I’ve Been Away from Twitter Since Lent


Clearly, the world has not stopped turning because of my absence from Twitter. On the other hand, with some discipline – which I may not have – it can be a useful tool. Nevertheless, the time away certainly has been salutary, and I’m glad to have taken it.

Thematic Bible Conference 2017

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The Mystery of the Kingdom of God. First weekend of July, main site in Princeton. New York and Philadelphia are both only an hour away. Think about it. I hope you can go!

Christianity Refuted by the Use of Easter Rabbits

The Easter bunnies are not good for food: rabbit starvation and all that. Checkmate, Christcucks. Pesach is where it’s at.