Sky Links, 5-18-19

We’re in an economic war with China. It’s futile to compromise.

-Steve Bannon 

Getting tough with China to bring manufacturing jobs back to the United States was the linchpin of President Trump’s electoral march through the Rust Belt during his 2016 victory. Today, the goal of the radical cadre running China — the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) — is to be the global hegemonic power. The president’s threatened tariffs on Sunday demonstrate the severity of this threat. But as Washington and Beijing wrap up months of negotiations on a trade deal this month, whatever emerges won’t be a trade deal. It will be a temporary truce in a years-long economic and strategic war with China.

These are six “understandings” that highlight why it is futile to compromise with this regime.

The first understanding: The CCP has been waging economic war against industrial democracies ever since China joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001, and now China has emerged as the greatest economic and national security threat the United States has ever faced.

As a framework for the current trade talks, China must agree to end forced technology transfers; intellectual property theft; cyberintrusions into business networks; currency manipulation; high tariff and nontariff barriers; and unfair subsidies to state-owned enterprises. However, if the CCP agrees to the United States’ demands in an enforceable manner, it would amount to a legal and regulatory dismantling of Chinese state capitalism.

Americans Paid For The Internet. We Deserve Free Speech On It

-Daniel Greenfield

“But, it’s a private company.”

It’s a familiar argument. Bring up the problem of Google, Facebook and Twitter suppressing conservative speech and many conservatives will retort that it’s a free market. The big dot com monopolies created their own companies, didn’t they? And we wouldn’t want government regulation of business.

Facebook censors our new ‘still one of us’ ad campaign

-Iona Institute
Facebook has censored our new ‘still one of us’ ad campaign which we launched last week. It has been placed behind a notice of warning and we are no longer allowed us to promote it. The campaign is currently running on a number of billboards in various parts of the country and we had extended the campaign to Facebook where we were paying a small amount (€150 in total) to bring it to a wider audience.

Christian Student Forced to Write Islamic Conversion Creed Appeals Case to Supreme Court

-Tyler O'Neil

 During the 2014-2015 school year, a Christian teenage girl was forced to recite the Islamic conversion creed — the Shahada — in writing for her 11th-grade class. She was also taught that "Most Muslims' faith is stronger than the average Christian." The Thomas More Law Center (TMLC) sued the school responsible, and the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled with the school. TMLC appealed to the Supreme Court, filing a Writ of Certiorari on Monday.

The Places in America with the Most Cases of Human Trafficking

Human trafficking is the crime of transporting a person from one country to another, usually for the purposes of sexual exploitation, and it’s much more common that one may know. Underlying much of the prostitution industry and illegal massage parlors is the horrible fact that many of the women supposedly working there are being held against their will.
Spotting when someone is being trafficked against their will is challenging, but increasingly airlines, hotels, and other industries are training their employees to spot when it’s happening and to alert authorities. Increasingly, flight attendants and hotel receptionists are helping to spot and rescue these victims.

As a student at the University of Notre Dame, I have always been taught to try to make a difference in my community. So when I noticed that campus culture has a pornography problem, I wanted to do everything possible to remedy it.

On campus, I have met several people who struggled with an addiction to this pervasive drug. Pornography harms users’ ability to form healthy relationships, and it harms women by fostering a culture of exploitation and violence. But while it’s no secret that many students consume pornography, what most people don’t acknowledge is that many students want to stop.

The Spell That Must Be Broken Over America | Dr. Lance Wallnau

Andrew Klavan | Can We Keep Silent in a World Gone Mad?

Dr Charles Kraft Shares His Story: Rediscovering Jesus' Ministry

Tim Wimber Shares His Story

Anne Kennedy's Reflections on Rachel Held Evans' Legacy

For context, this was Anne's central commentary on Rachel that the following post is about:
I said this post, in some very indirect way, is about RHE. I prayed for her for many years, being angry with the way she undermined and twisted the scriptures. She wanted to be a help, as we all do, and wanted to make sense of a church that I think, from all that I have read of her writing, failed her, as it does so many. To make a place for herself, then, she read the bible with a revising, judging eye, inviting others, like her, to stand in judgment over the text.
This angered me, deeply, because when you stand over the text, the text can never stand over you to judge the truth about you. And if the text never can judge you, you can never catch hold of the hope of the resurrection—that though the Lord died, he rose, he defeated death itself.
Death in Eastertide

Anne wrote a follow-up post, Answering A Kind Comment.

The comment is in italics, followed by Anne's response:

She helped me face and work through my fundamentalist upbringing in which I became a believer out of fear of hell rather than the love of Jesus. She reassured me that my doubt was survivable. She introduced me to liturgical praying (lots of BCP) as a way to talk to God when doubt had taken the words from me. And I could go on. Did I always agree with her? No. Did I ever doubt her love for Jesus and his word? Never. So I was quite distraught, liking you and all, to read the last paragraph of this post in which you seem to be inferring that Rachel wasn’t a Christian and hoping she’d made some sort of death bed confession. Perhaps I read too much into what you said. Anne, we’re all in Christ, eating at the same table, though perhaps you and Rachel are at different ends of it. I hope you’ve been reading the deluge of tweets from people who decided to stay in the church or who went into ministry or learned to love others better because of Rachel. It’s an astounding testament to God’s speaking through her…All of this to say that I’d really like it if you’d reconsider your take on her. She’s one of us.

And so here we have a deep and tragic divide within the visible church. There are two kinds of churches—biblically faithful, orthodox churches on one hand, and on the other churches where the Bible is subject to revisionist reading, and where church doctrine is measured by the cultural doctrines of the day.

In other words, some churches cease being true biblical churches when they willingly and purposefully embrace teaching contrary to that same bible.

This isn’t to say that everyone inside of those churches is then not a Christian, nor that no church can have any error to be a real church, but rather that some teachings are big enough to set a church, and certainly individuals within the church, outside of ‘the bounds of orthodoxy.’ Which is to say they are no longer truly Christian.
I think there is a great deal of confusion for evangelicals right now about what constitutes real error with regard to issues of race. But that is a topic for another time. What is very clear is that the biblical gospel does not allow for the “radical inclusive love” that Rachel espoused. God is love, of course, but that love is not defined by modern 21st century inclusivest, intersectional categories. It has to be defined by the Bible itself. It is agape—the self giving love that characterizes the Godhead and is the foundation of the created order. It is holy, perfect, and does not desire the death sinners but that they should turn from their wicked ways and live.

And so an unapologetic embrace of the LGBTQ agenda is not biblically Christian. Those who teach and preach it can be said, without any confusion at all, to be outside the visible boundaries of biblical faith. The church, in its true and biblical sense, cannot embrace that agenda. Can it embrace individuals caught up in that life and offer to them the way of repentance, the hope of salvation? Yes it can. And it should. And I think one reason why Rachel had such a far reaching message is that it had not.

I left the Episcopal church—probably as Rachel was entering it—for this reason: it looks inviting to say that everyone is welcome as they are, no questions asked, but it is actually cruel. In so far as inviting someone in out of a snowstorm, but then opening all the windows and doors, so that the furious icy snow comes in with them, is cruel. There is a reason the human heart longs for the warm shelter of the church—because inside the heating fire of God’s atoning grace binds sinners together in one holy fellowship. But the sin has to stay outside, and we can’t change the definition of sin to make it easier.

And so we are not sitting at opposite sides of one long table. We are not eating of the one bread and drinking out of the one cup. We are talking about two different faiths, two different kinds of love, two different lords.

Christians who love sinners, as Christ has commanded them to do, must speak the truth about who that God is, and who we are as his creatures. Moreover, we ought to pray that those who are walking away from his warm and gracious mercy will turn around, will repent, will walk back toward him. And that when they come to the haven of the church, the church does not throw away that mercy by saying that it is something other than what it really is.

Answering A Kind Comment
-Anne Kennedy 

Rod Dreher quoted Dana Ames who said this about Rachel:

I spent +30 years as an Evangelical. I was on my way into Orthodoxy as Rachel’s star was rising. I read her blog faithfully until she stepped over the line about which Rod writes, but I continued to check it every once in a while to see what Rachel was working on next. I believe she remained a Christian and could affirm the Nicene Creed. I also believe she became confused about something important, as pretty much everyone is right now in the Western world.
Rachel had the following she did because she was a good writer who exuded real honesty, and was asking questions Evangelicals were thinking but were often afraid to say out loud because of the inability of those in authority in Evangelical institutions to engage with those questions.

And this:

I think Rachel became a Progressive Christian because she was a kind person; she wanted Christians to be kind to those she believed were excluded, moved from one thin theology to another that supposedly justified that kind of inclusion, and found friendships and intellectual and other kinds of support among other Protestants who had also moved in that direction. Many of the problems of Evangelicalism she highlighted, other than the issues around sexuality, have been real problems that the majority of Evangelicals have not yet managed to adequately address in theology and praxis. If there is any blame to be cast for Rachel’s “drift”, in my view a large portion of it falls into the lap of conservative American Evangelicals and their ineptitude in addressing all of issues she highlighted in her work.


Psalm 78:1 Tell The Story

My people, hear my instruction; listen to the words from my mouth.
-Psalm 78:1

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it" (George Santayana)

We who are older, must tell the story (salvation history) to the younger generation who just does not know. We must teach them to learn from the past, about God's grace and our faithful or unfaithfulness; and the results.
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History is "His story"- What God did in the lives of people. And we are the historians who get to tell the story and teach the next generation. Telling the stories is a mandate and a solemn duty. Every older person who has been around, who has seen, heard, and known the story; is commissioned to teach it, to tell it to everybody that will listen.
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This isn't someone else's job. We are it. We are all elders now. We are all responsible to encourage and warn the next generation.
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Tell the story of God's grace and of the people who rebelled. The kindness of God and the severity of disobedience.
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The purpose is so that we don't forget God, but trust and obey Him.

We are always one generation from extinction.
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God has no grandchildren.  This means that each generation must become and be made disciples.
Faith must be passed down intentionally

Francis Chan, Letters to the Church: Good Shepherds

Francis Chan, Letters to the Church

Good Shepherds (chapter 5)

"For those who have never had to deal with floods of people strongly stating their opinions about you, be grateful. I have met very few people who have navigated that world and remained humble and loving yet courageous.

"Large crowds do something strange to all of us. We can subconsciously begin preaching to avoid criticism rather than teaching truth regardless of the response. We live in a time when people are so volatile.

"If we say one wrong word in public, it can wreak havoc. It is only going to get more difficult for pastors to speak in front of large crowds with boldness and humility.

"Maybe that's why we are finding fewer pastors known for being humble and courageous. I was deeply affected by a pastor in China who said to me, "In America, pastors think they have to become famous to have a big impact.

"In China, the most influential Christian leaders had to be the most hidden." My soul leaped when I heard that, imagining a chance to fight for impact and obscurity all at once.

"It feels as if our current way of doing things in America sets us up for failure. Those who pursue massive Kingdom impact seem to always be fighting a losing battle with pride.

"It is how the Enemy lures us away from the very character that makes us effective."

Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.
-Hebrews 13:17 (ESV)

"Leaders, I want to challenge you to examine your lives and see whether you can truly tell people in good conscience to follow you as you follow Christ.

"For those not yet in positions of leadership, as we go through the qualities that are essential for good, biblical leadership, I urge you to examine your leaders in a spirit of grace and humility to discern whether their faith and way of life is something you want to imitate. For some of you, God may be calling you to step into leadership, and I implore you to devote yourself to growing in the following areas.


"That heading may sound ridiculous, but is it safe to assume all pastors are Christians? Just because we claim to believe in Him or went to school to study for ministry, it doesn't ensure that our hearts are His.

"Having spent two years in Bible college and three years in seminary, I can tell you that a degree can be proof of intelligence or discipline but not spirituality. Those were easily the five worst years of my life.

"Remember that in Jesus' day, some of the religious leaders were the most evil. Scripture is always warning us to be on guard against false teachers.

"But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.

"And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words.
-2 Peter 2:1-3a (ESV)

"There will always be false teachers on this earth.

"Jesus taught that wolves will come in sheep's clothing (Matt. 7:15). What better camouflage than as a minister? Some will teach false doctrine because of their desire to be accepted. Others will preach truth while living a lie

"Whether it's their message or lifestyle that is false, both are condemned. If you read the rest of 2 Peter 2, you will see that terrifying judgement is reserved for them.

"If you are reading this and living an immoral life, it is time to step down. The worst thing you can be is a false teacher. There is nothing more evil you can do during your few years on earth than to lead people away from their Creator.

Psalm 71:2, Righteousness and Justice

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Psalm 71:2
(NET) Vindicate me by rescuing me! Listen to me! Deliver me!
(NIV) In your righteousness, rescue me and deliver me; turn your ear to me and save me.
(NLT) Save me and rescue me, for you do what is right. Turn your ear to listen to me, and set me free. Psalm 71:2
(CSB) In your justice, rescue and deliver me; listen closely to me and save me.

"In your justice" = "In your righteousness"

Psalm 119:40b (CSB) "Give me life through your righteousness."

(same word, בְּצִדְקָתְךָ֗ - bə-ṣiḏ-qā-ṯə-ḵā, "In your justice", Ps. 71:2)

(My words) "God, because You are my righteousness, rescue me, bring me through this; let me know you hear me, and continue your salvation story in my life." (based on Psalm 71:2)

Jehovah Tsidkenu (Jer. 23:6 & 33:16)
"The Lord Who Is Our Righteousness"

Psalm 74:8

They said in their hearts,
“Let us oppress them relentlessly.”
They burned every place throughout the land
where God met with us.
-Psalm 74:8
Titles for Psalm 74

Prayer for Israel
A Plea for Relief from Oppressors
We Need You Now
Plea for Help in Time of National Humiliation
A Prayer for National Deliverance
Arise, O God, Defend Your Cause
A Prayer for the Nation in Times of Trouble
A Nation in Trouble Prays
Psalm 74 is a Maskil of Asaph.

The word is derived from a verb meaning “to be prudent; to be wise.” Various options are: “a contemplative song,” “a song imparting moral wisdom,” or “a skillful [i.e., well-written] song.”
Pss 32, 42, 44, 45, 47:7, 52-55, 74, 78, 88, 89, and 142.
Richard Thompson

Who was Asaph?
Asaph was a young priest from the tribe of Levi, when David brought the Ark of the Covenant up to Jerusalem in about 1000 to 995 BC. His father, Berekiah was appointed Doorkeeper of the Ark.
Asaph was so talented that David put him in charge of the music before the Ark of the Covenant. He was assisted there by his brother Zechariah. He was probably in his twenties at the time.

Asaph was in charge of the music in Jerusalem where the Ark and the King were.
We know that Asaph kept that position at least until the dedication of the Temple in Jerusalem almost forty years later. At that time the worship services of the Tent of Meeting and the Tabernacle were consolidated in the Temple.
Asaph served in Jerusalem for all of David's reign, and no doubt set to music, many of the Psalms that God gave David.

He saw the death of David, the accession of Solomon, and the building of the Temple. He thought he was standing on the verge of Israel's Millenium.
After Solomon's dedication of the Temple, Asaph saw Israel's "golden age" turn into something quite apart from what he expected.

Asaph saw Solomon become a wicked man who entrusted the administration of his Kingdom to other wicked men.
After Solomon's death,... ...the Egyptians invaded, along with Israel's neighbors, took Jerusalem, burned and stripped the Temple, killed many of the priests, and left, mocking Israel, and Israel's God.
In the winter of his years Asaph surveyed the wreckage of his hopes. The Kingdom was destroyed, the Temple was in ruins, many of his own family had been killed.

If there was ever a man who had an excuse for being disillusioned, Asaph was that man.
Yet, through it all, Asaph finds God's faithfulness a strong tower of hope.

Psalms 74 and 79 reflect Asaph's distress at the invasion of Shishak the king of Egypt. Asaph was an old man of at least a hundred years old when he wrote many of his Psalms.
They said to themselves, “We will utterly subdue them”; they burned all the meeting places of God in the land.
-Psalm 74:8

The only time Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote a date into his Bible, was here in Psalm 74, which was the day the Nazi’s started burning synagogues. Nov 9, 1938
David A. R. Clark (DC)
The Sunday following Kristallnacht, Bonhoeffer had no pulpit from which to preach a sermon. He made no public comment.
He wrote a letter on Nov. 20th, in which he said, "In the last few days, I have thought much about Ps 74, Zech 2:8, Rom 9:4-5, +11:11-15.
...That leads me deeply into prayer."

In 1935, Bonhoeffer delivered a lecture, "Christ in the Psalms". He considered the tension that a psalm is both the divine word of God and a human prayer to God.
"How can the prayerful word of the church-community simultaneously also be God's word?", he asked.
"God as the one praying and God as the one answering the prayer, is only resolved in Jesus Christ."

"Christ is the supplicant in the Psalter."
Steve and Walt Westerholm:
What matters to him the most is that Christ is to be heard in every psalm.
"The whole Psalter can be understood as the prayer of Jesus Christ."
The frame of reference for interpreting the Psalms becomes Christ himself, since "what becomes important now is that we understand and pray together these psalms as the prayers of Jesus Christ in his church-community." -Bonhoeffer

Life Together '38
Prayerbook of the Bible '40
Bonhoeffer did not claim merely that certain psalms prefigure Christ or find their full meaning in Christ, but instead made the more radical claim that all psalms must be interpreted as the very prayers of Christ.
And more importantly for the purpose of analyzing his Kristallnacht annotation, Bonhoeffer emphasized the need to hear the suffering Christ as the voice speaking in the psalms of suffering, revealing Christ's presence amid contemporary suffering, lamentation and abandonment.
Patrick D. Miller, Bonhoeffer and the Psalms

"There came to [Bonhoeffer] this shattering awareness of the loneliness of the despairing Jews in the pogrom over 2000 years before when the Babylonians destroyed the temple and deported the people",
"the burden of a solidarity he felt with the despairing cries of the Jews on that Crystal Night of the later pogrom."
Barry Harvey, Taking Hold of the Real: Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the Profound Worldliness of Christianity

"Bonhoeffer uses figural exegesis to posit a real connection grounded in the revelatory activity of God in Christ btween the people and events narrated in the Old Testament..
...and those in the Germany of his day. Through these interpretations he endeavors to show the way that these people and events, separated in time and space, nonetheless belong together as two aspects of a single economy or pattern orchestrated around the one
...divine utterance made in Christ. Though events never repeat themselves identically, there is the contention that a nonidentical repetition is at work in God's redemptive activity in the world, a repetition articulated through typological interpretation."
Quoting Jeremy Worthen, Praying the Psalms

"When Bonhoeffer reads Psalm 74 in the context of Kristillnacht, the subject of the psalm is not merely 'some ancient Israelites', but indeed, 'might be extended to include the Jewish people', of 1938."


I created this post from my Twitter thread using Spooler

A Mother's Day Prayer

What can I say and how do I pray for my wife who already has everything?

Thank you God for my wife.

She is your gracious gift.

May she continue to be blessed by you and be a blessing to everyone.

Grant her the desires of her heart.

Give her wisdom and make her a sage.

Grant her peace.

Let her be insightful.

Give her your understanding.

Keep giving her the gift of joy.

She is clever, considerate, and careful.

Multiply her teaching gift.

Keep showing her your love and let her share it.

Dropping The Charges

Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.
-Luke 23:34

Back at the beginning of the year, I got this idea to look in my heart and forgive whoever I thought of.  And the way I thought about it was, dropping the charges.

I know that I am not supposed to hold onto unforgiveness against anyone.  But I found out that resentment, anger, and bitterness can easily creep into my heart.

It is easy to be judgmental towards anyone and everyone.  Being a sensitive person, who is easily hurt, makes me more prone to resentments and holding grudges that are judgments.

The way I described (expressed) and prayed was dropping the charges.  I would say, "I drop the charges against ______."

And it was funny (embarrassing and humbling) to find out how many charges there were for me to drop.  They stack up, when you live life and get your feelings hurt or take offense, or get ripped off in various and sundry ways.

Jesus' words, "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do," is the first of his seven words from the cross.  Jesus' example here and teaching through it blows away all of our bases for unforgiveness or resentment.

How can I not forgive anyone when my Lord showed me this? 

Sky Links, 9-27-17