Ten Years of Work

I just admire craftsmanship and dedication, in the pursuit of excellence. Even in small things, like fireworks.

I am confident that God feels even more strongly about this than I do.

Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest. – Ecclesiastes 9:10


Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God;

And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;

Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.

But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons. – Colossians 3:22-25

Even wealthy businessmen get that way because they are really, really good at serving customers.

Ye offer polluted bread upon mine altar; and ye say, Wherein have we polluted thee? In that ye say, The table of the Lord is contemptible.

And if ye offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? and if ye offer the lame and sick, is it not evil? offer it now unto thy governor; will he be pleased with thee, or accept thy person? saith the Lord of hosts. – Malachi 1:7-8

And value the Lord more highly than you value your biggest customer.

Same (or better) level of craftsmanship, but on the job, not a hobby. From the comments:

It’s always a joy to see a man who takes pride in his work, and does it “right.”

I will be extremely satisfied when Christians get a reputation for top-tier work…. something to work for!

Hearing Eternity

From Can Synthesized Music Touch Eternity?

Heaven and Earth

The scholastics, typically dated from St. Thomas Aquinas in the late Middle Ages, believed in the unity of all truth. Not that all truth was knowable, but it is potentially integratable. Whatever was true in one discipline had also to be true in every other discipline; one truth, stretching infinitely vertical but also horizontally to infinite applications. Similarly, whatever was true in the course of time in this world is a reflection of a truth that God ordained to be so outside of time.

The model went as follows. There is the forward march of time, which is the world you and I know, experience, report on, and it is defined by struggle, triumph over nature, and a sad ending that comes with mortality, dust to dust.  On the other side of life, there is new life in a complete world that lives outside of time, birth, and death. It is the transcendent realm, a kind of place where we can live at one with God and in full knowledge of all that is true. This was Heaven.


The highest goal of life on earth – and this goes for art, liturgy, learning, technology, science, commerce – was to reach outside of time and touch (or see or feel) that heavenly realm. Doing so, it was believed, would inspire us toward better lives because it would fire the imagination toward the goal of all our mental and spiritual actions, to love God and others ever more perfectly. Also, it’s psychologically and spiritually awesome to gain a glimpse of God or even to touch the Presence.

Eternity to Taste and Hear

This sensibility is embodied in Eucharistic theology, in which the faithful are granted the privilege of literally consuming the body of Christ. It is a way for time to touch eternity in the most tangible possible way, literally draw on the transcendent as a source of life and salvation. The art created in light of this sensibility was structured to achieve this very Eucharistic effect, to create visuals and sound that permit us some slight hint of access to the eternal.

What does eternity sound like? This was the task of the 16th-century masters to discover. And this task – which is not so much didactic as experiential – inspired vast creativity all over England and the Continent. There was Victoria in Spain, Tallis in England, Josquin in France, Palestrina in Italy, Di Lasso in the Netherlands, Isaac in Germany, and literally thousands of other musicians who contributed to the task. And their legacies are remarkable. Their music can still today transport your mind to another realm, exactly as the Scholastic model suggests.

Now, I fundamentally disagree with the Scholastics on a number of issues: it’s the Bible that must be our master and decider, not Aristotle and his idealism. Moreover, while heaven is indeed a good place to be, there is still sorrow and anger there:

And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held:

And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? – Revelation 6:9-10

(Without a doubt, both the laughing Muslims and the mocking Secularists believe that God is both deaf and powerless, when His people cry out to Him.

I’d rather not be in their shoes.

And – as the wickedness in my own heart never rests – I pray that God will keep me far from their hellish path, in Jesus Holy Name.

For God hears.

And God ACTS.)

In the New Heavens and the New Earth, there is no sorrow or tears or pain or complaints, not even the spiritual pain some of the saved experience in today’s Heaven.

But, contra Aristotle’s Timeless prison, history – in a purified and exalted form – will continue in the New Creation, just as we will have perfect bodies there, with pure and holy souls.

(An important qualifier, as the damned will have perfect bodies when they are cast into the Lake of Fire. Bodies that will transmit every jolt of pain, and never degrade or grow dull, forever. We need Christ’s salvation!)

From Gary North’s Christian Economics: Teacher’s Edition Chapter 54: Eternity vs. Entropy

Most Christians think of heaven as static: no work, no progress, and no dominion. There will be a total discontinuity between history and eternity. Basically, they see heaven, which they equate with eternity, in much the same way that neo-classical economists see the world of equilibrium. The difference is this: they see this realm as real. Neo-classical economists see equilibrium as hypothetical. But this is not the way that John describes eternity in the final section of the New Testament. He describes a transition from heaven to the post-resurrection world.

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:1–4).

This is why the parable of the minas in Luke 19 is crucial to a correct understanding of the post-resurrection world. It describes the beginning of the final inheritance. The resurrection will launch eternity, which will be an extension of history for covenant keepers. In contrast, entropy will swallow up covenant breakers. As I wrote in Chapter 52, there will be no progress in the lake of fire. There will be no unforeseen changes. There will be no prices. There will be no profit opportunities. There will be no human action. The lake of fire is the world of equilibrium—literally. This is the biblical view of eternity for covenant breakers.

Don’t be a covenant breaker.

Be a covenant keeper!

With all that being said, I do believe that we should communicate our love of God and His vision of eternity in our music.

The Christian Scholastics have serious flaws, but in several important ways they took God more seriously than we do today. This is obvious in their laws and their society, as well as their music.

We know more than they did, and we should be more than they were.

Our music should also be far better than their music was.

Certainly, we are more wealthy and technologically advanced and free and comfortable than they ever were: these are blessings from on high, and we should be thankful for it!

But this is insufficient: we should also have better music and better laws, but in many ways we don’t. Despite our wealth and ease, we also don’t have the strong hope they did: this is proven by our low birth rates.

Why not?

We must find how we are disobedient (as well as how we are obedient) to God. We must repent, and rip out the disobedience, and strengthen the ways we do obey God.

Then our joy can be complete, and be better than the past in all ways, not just some!

Good News for Japan!

According to Economica, the Japanese birth rate bottomed out in 2005 at 1.3, and is now at 1.5 and rising.

So it looks like, at this rate of change, the Japanese birth rate will rise to replacement level at around 2040-2050.

Naturally, their population will continue to shrink and shrink until then. And even when replacement levels are reached again, the total number of Japanese will still shrink for a while, due to the lagging effect of all those earlier shrinking populations.

In earlier (and for now, deleted) articles, Economia argued that the whole world economy will continue to decline for quite some time, as the number of people in rich nations (and thus, the number of wealthy producers & consumers) declines sharply. It’s good to know that there will be a floor to this process.

Hopefully, Japanese Christians will actually obey what God told them to do: when believers go forth and multiply – biologically and by the word – they expand the Kingdom, and get that much closer to inheriting the world.

Empires Before the Throne

When judging empires – and nations – the Bible is remarkably clear on the methodology.

As per Matthew 25:31-46:

31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:

32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:

33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.

34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:

36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?

38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?

39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?

40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:

43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.

44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?

45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.

46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

So, empires and nations are to be judged by how they treated His people, believing Christians.

As such, things are looking bad for Secular Europe (and getting worse), bad for Communist China (but getting better!), and horrendous for the Muslim nations (and getting worse… but with strange undercurrents as well.)

As Christ judges, so must His people.

This does not mean that things like property rights, or roads, or science are irrelevant. But they are the fruits, the end products, of what is really important: how nations treat God’s people, who represent Him on earth.

Colonizing the Arctic

“For homes and businesses, it will almost be like building on a different planet.”

The road networks of the arctic needs to be built with special (read: expensive) techniques and materials, too, due to the permafrost.

And colonizing the Arctic is a lot more easier than colonizing the Antarctic… but it makes a good, safe playpen, to practice colonizing moons and other worlds.

Of course, none of this – nor any serious plan to colonize the oceans – is going to happen in our lifetimes: the population of the planet is going to top out at something around 11 billion by 2100, as birthrates continue to fall. “And why colonize some frozen wasteland, when there is all this depopulated towns and cities in Europe we can move to instead?”

It would be nice to be on the grow, to colonize the Arctic, to lay down plans for submerged cities and orbital habitats… but all that requires a growing population.

A growing, educated, and productive population: sheer numbers alone won’t cut it.

“So, we are all going to sit around and wait for the childbearing Africans to pick up the pace?”
“I’m an optimist, so I think it will happen… sometime in the next two centuries or so.”
“And what’s the guarantee that they won’t pick up Sterile Richman Disease in due course, just like the Europeans and the East Asians?”
“I can’t give you a guarantee. Hopes and prayers, maybe, but no guarantee.”
“So all those Dyson Swarms and Orbital Habitats and even Arctic Cities will turn out to be just so many fantasies in the air.”
“Maybe. The door is open, but it is up to real human beings to make the real multi-generational commitment to get it done. If no one walks through the door today, then no one gets the prize tomorrow.”
“So then… back to Traveller Dreaming.”
“All great achievements begins with a dream, a vision. Only jailers hate dreams.”
“Worthwhile, noble dreams? Perhaps. But you can’t stay in dreamworld forever: actual results must be created. That takes work, as well as vision.”
“And children, who also see and desire and will work for the goal.”

(Duplicated in my Traveller sci-fi roleplaying blog)

Iran: Pay the Price, Gain the Victory

From God Reports:

Chaffing under repressive Islam, young Iranians are secretly turning to Christ in record numbers, and Iranian-born Shahrokh Afshar wanted to be part of the revival. So he filmed 13 programs for young people and offered them to SAT7, which broadcasts Christian programming into Iran via satellite.

“Iran is 25% 14 years or younger. Iran has the largest number of drug addicts per capita in the world. Alcoholism, prostitution. The economy sucks; it’s like 15% unemployment,” Afshar said. “Life is very very hard for the average young Iranian. There wasn’t much being done as far as programs are concerned to reach out to these kids.”

Iran has the fastest-growing evangelical population in the world (estimated at 19.6% by Operation World in 2015), despite an atrocious human rights record against people who abandon Islam, according to Christian Today. In fact, the explosive growth has overloaded the religious police.

A network of underground home churches thrives, and at least six satellite stations broadcast Christian programs continually into Iran. Afshar personally knows of 400 house churches with 5000 members. The number of Muslim converts to Christianity was “a handful” before 1971. Now, it is perhaps 1 million.

The Iranian Church is under a government that hates Christianity with more open violence and more stuffed prison cells than Sweden, or France, or Canada.

But, unlike the rotting church in those rotting secular states, the Iranian Church is on the grow.

She remembers her Lord, and her Lord remembers her: and, unlike the temporary and bitter retreat of the Church in Iraq, the Church in Iran will triumph over enemies, God willing — not just spiritually, but in history, in time and on earth.

Why the Church in Iraq failed is worth investigating, especially if you, like me, expects the faith to be victorious on this earth, with only temporary setbacks. I would note the strength of home churches in Iran, and the more modern Protestant cast of that branch of Christ’s Body: and compare that to the general ethnic (Assyrian) flavour of the Church in Iraq.

God does not want His church to be limited to a particular ethnic group: and it always seems to take a bloodbath to break those blood ties. It happened in Europe — does anyone associate Christianity with White Western Europeans anymore? Anyone? Anyone? — it happened in the US (from the Civil War to the Abortion Slaughter), and it happened to Iraq.

(And it even happened to the early Church in the Jewish Wars,leading up to the destruction of the Temple on 70 AD.)

Also: Orthodoxy/Eastern Christianity does not aim for victory, or Divine Law and Justice, or expanding the Kingdom of Christ. Instead, there is this escapist emphasis on mysticism, and suffering; of keeping things the same, of keeping the Spirit bottled up and under control of the Elders… and of not pushing missionary and conversion activity, “because it might anger our Muslim overlords.”

Now, how did that work out for the Church in Iraq?

Crawling before evil – be it Islamic, or be it Secular – only invites the wicked enemies of God to press the attack, to increase the level of oppression and lies, restrictions and public contempt… and, in the fullness of time, rape, theft, murder, and extermination.

Just as their master in hell encourages them to.

All either publicly celebrated by the hostile mainstream media, or passed in silence, with empty distractions pushed before the public.

Christians cannot afford to live in ghettos (physical or cultural), walled in by their loathsome enemies… or by treasonous clergy, their fears of the Power of Man, and their need to control their petty kingdoms.

The Faith must expand. The Kingdom of God must grow.

There is no substitute for this.

Jury Nullification

Every Christian in America needs to know – and be prepared to act – on the principle of jury nullification.

As judges like to lie and claim that there is no such thing (and yes, judges are legally permitted to lie from the bench on this matter), it is perfectly reasonable for Christians to conceal their actual views on the matter.

For more about Jury Nullification, visit the Fully Informed Jury Association.

Gary North’s fine article on the subject is here.