Real Activism.

It is not enough to sit on facebook and twitter and other social media and indicate your thoughts and prayers, to use the appropriate hashtags, and to follow the moral outrages of the day. You will get a dopamine hit from likes and retweets, but nothing will change.

To change you have to act. On yourself: on others. It is hard enough to change yourself: it is much harder to motivate others. And if you are motivating others without a lived experience of struggle and change, others will know.

Real activism hurts.

For real activism involves working with people, and people are not their instagram or facebook feeds (Nor should they be: only a fool trusts social media).

Now, some of us are paid to do this kind of work, and in my society that leads to people thinking that they are entitled to whatever they want. Others work through the church, and part of that is simple, practical care. Some of us find ourselves on committees, and have to tone down what we are thinking and speak weasel — that language loved by bureaucrats, executive officers, journalists and politicians — which is orthogonal to reality, but the only language they understand.

Some confuse being kind with agreement. I can disapprove of what someone does and still help them. Indeed, our duty is to help those we disapprove of, because if we decided that we were only going to be in a club of the righteous we would be thrown out ourselves.


One more note. Doing good with people who are broken, scarred, and often not that particularly nice, drains you. For some, it is our calling, our vocation. We meet on Sunday to worship God, true, but also to encourage others and ourselves to keep on doing that which we ought.

Then we rest. We need time to recover. We need to look after ourselves. Real activism is not a hashtag. It is a calling, a life work. Which we do not to show our virtue, but to help.

The virtue signallers get in the way. Do not be them. Do not be like them.

Lectionary 13 April 2019

One of the very clear things in this fallen time is that if you preach the word of God without fear or favour it is highly likely that your employer will be frightened. I was encouraged to take down a blog last year, and go anonymous. For a season I did not blog the lectionary daily. I now think twice about what I say. For the narrative has costs. About 40% of the population are on the police intelligence list for various reasons.

It appears that Israel Folau is going to lose his job playing rugby because he’s taking the bible seriously. In the UK, liking his posts is getting Rugby players into trouble. The celebrities of NZ are falling in line to criticize Folau. It is as if we have blasphemy laws against the narrative of this age.

Folau is correct on this; without Christ we will all go to hell. If we preach Christ, those who have chosen otherwise will oppose you. Christ suffers, and those whom he calls will share in his suffering. Even our brother Milo, who married his boyfriend, because he had the temerity to defend Catholic teaching, has been deplatformed, bankrupted, and is fighting his way back.

There is nothing new here.

9 Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am in distress;
My eye is wasted away from grief, my soul and my body also.
10 For my life is spent with sorrow
And my years with sighing;
My strength has failed because of my iniquity,
And my [a]body has wasted away.
11 Because of all my adversaries, I have become a reproach,
Especially to my neighbors,
And an object of dread to my acquaintances;
Those who see me in the street flee from me.
12 I am forgotten as a dead man, out of mind;
I am like a broken vessel.
13 For I have heard the [b]slander of many,
Terror is on every side;
While they took counsel together against me,
They schemed to take away my life.
14 But as for me, I trust in You, O Lord,
I say, “You are my God.”
15 My times are in Your hand;
Deliver me from the hand of my enemies and from those who persecute me.
16 Make Your face to shine upon Your servant;
Save me in Your lovingkindness.

Psalm 31:9-16, NASB.

It is our role to be a reproach. By doing good to our neighbours, we are confronting their hatred. By speaking truth, we expose their lies. The spirit of this age wants us silent, fearful, cowed, and submissive so they can smear us with this evil as if we are doormats on a farm.

But in Christ we are saved, and by the Father we are held. Let the celebrities joke and mock. Their knee will bow eventually. But far better sooner than later.

Daybook: Loose lips sink ships.

We have a security problem in the West. No, it is not Trump. Nor whoever Q is. Or the deep state. It is coalition parties who get their candidates from shallow talent pools. It is not Julian Assange or Bradley Manning. Who do not understand that at times you do things for good reasons you cannot disclose. Via Whaleoil, this screenshot says it all.

My son sent me the first meme of the picture nasa has released about seeing an event horizon. Morphing into the firefox logo.

He said that the meme appeared within a couple of hour of the image being tweeted by nasa. Speaking of fun, I enjoy, with all the advertisements in lent for bunnies (but none dare name the season or mention Christ) this godzilla image.

Lectionary 12 April 2019

If you look at the lectionary you will finnd that there is a link to Hebrews.

That the promises of God for the Jews through Christ are now ours. This is for the saints in God His lovingkindness remains with you, regardless of your circumstances. Do not let your feelings, the fact you are rejected, hated, or that the God you love has his word called hate speech

“For [a]this is like the days of Noah to Me,
When I swore that the waters of Noah
Would not [b]flood the earth again;
So I have sworn that I will not be angry with you
Nor will I rebuke you.
10 “For the mountains may be removed and the hills may shake,
But My lovingkindness will not be removed from you,
And My covenant of peace will not be shaken,”
Says the Lord who has compassion on you.

Isaiah 54:9-10, NASB

Instead turn to God. Let the mockers mock. Israel Folau is orrect. We need to all repent, for the times of Noah followed judgement.


Some administration: I have made statcounter summary counts public, added a privacy page, and will soon add a commenting page. The theme currently does not allow for extracts only. This means the page is long. I am adding google analytics.

The theme is now Twenty eleven light, with the correct licence up.

FInally, the lectionary is going up most days apart from other things. I do have sermon notes, and need to review and study them: that will end up being an occasional series.

Hardware News.

I’m using a five year old Mac Pro at work, and windows laptops with Manjaro and Fedora installed on them at home, which are older. I don’t want to spend a lot on laptops: I want one that I can travel with, abuse and when it dies I can get another one… though, to be fair, I don’t break these things.

The pinebook is a cool plinking laptop. You can play with it: I have one, and I’ve even managed to get NetBSD running on it, but you would not try to do anything serious on it. But the makers know this, and are making a more powerful device.

Current Pinebook, Pinetab, and Pinebook Pro (on right) From FOSDEM report, Pinebook.

We’ve heard you. Many of you want a high-performance 64-bit ARM laptop that is strictly designed with FOSS in mind and can be used as a day-to-day Linux laptop. Premium materials, great manufacture quality and performance. We’re making it happen this year.

Before I let you in on all the details of the Pinebook Pro, let me assure you of two things. Firstly, the current Allwinner A64-based 11.6″ Pinebook isn’t going anywhere and secondly, there will be an upgrade path for owners of the 14″ regular Pinebook to a ‘Pro-like’ Pinebook (we’re exploring an upgrade path for existing 11.6″ users too – stay tuned).

The current Pinebook was never meant to be a daily driver – that is to say, it was never meant to replace the laptop you use for work or school. It was meant for tinkering, for learning Linux or *BSD, for development on A64 or ARM in general, as a terminal, a hackable device on-the-go, etc., In my first post on the Pinebook forum titled about the Pinebook – what to expect, I wrote ‘ (…)if you are looking for a device to replace your current work or school laptop then perhaps it’s wise to look elsewhere’. This is not the case with the Pinebook Pro.

The Pinebook Pro is meant to deliver solid day-to-day Linux or *BSD experience and to be a compelling alternative to mid-ranged Chromebooks that people convert into Linux laptops. In contrast to most mid-ranged Chromebooks however, the Pinebook Pro comes with an IPS 1080p 14″ LCD panel, a premium magnesium alloy shell, 64/128GB of eMMC storage* (more on this later – see asterisk below), a 10,000 mAh capacity battery and the modularity / hackability that only an open source project can deliver – such as the unpopulated PCIe m.2 NVMe slot (an optional feature which requires an optional  adapter). The USB-C port on the Pinebook Pro, apart from being able to transmit data and charge the unit,  is also capable of digital video output …

FOSDEM report, Pinebook

Around the traps.

Bruce Charlton argues that much of academic work is unfree, and the only way to do really good work is unpaid. Matt Briggs dips is pen in acid and writes about the politicization of student evaluation forms. Fortunately, all too often these forms are electronic and not filled in… sloth and disinterest are our allies against the woke cadre of this time. From LInkedin, the most sensible advice I’ve found about coping.

Back to technical stuff.

On the commercial side, those of us who take photos and process them have to watch Apple. They are going full 64 bit. My workflow is Linux based — primarily Darktable. I can and do install 32 bit libraries if required. Most professionals use Apples, and that will cause problems.

The Australians are trying to block Huawei from the pacific cable because they are concerned they make spyware, but the same company is getting contracts for networks here. To be fair, their equipment works… if it is spyware (and I wonder, in my more anxious moments, about the holes the five eyes — US, UK, Austalia, Canada and NZ — have built into routers for years) then ensuring it works matters. As it does to Amazon, who apparently are listening to us via Alexa.

It’s not quite enough to make me unplug: but rough drafts and important things should be on paper. That may be able to be stolen, but it cannot be hacked. Admittedly, something like the boring phone might help.

Two Poems.

Some Satire for Thursday. Shot:

A Happy Vicar I Might Have Been

A happy vicar I might have been
Two hundred years ago
To preach upon eternal doom
And watch my walnuts grow;

But born, alas, in an evil time,
I missed that pleasant haven,
For the hair has grown on my upper lip
And the clergy are all clean-shaven.

And later still the times were good,
We were so easy to please,
We rocked our troubled thoughts to sleep
On the bosoms of the trees.

All ignorant we dared to own
The joys we now dissemble;
The greenfinch on the apple bough
Could make my enemies tremble.

But girl’s bellies and apricots,
Roach in a shaded stream,
Horses, ducks in flight at dawn,
All these are a dream.

It is forbidden to dream again;
We maim our joys or hide them:
Horses are made of chromium steel
And little fat men shall ride them.

I am the worm who never turned,
The eunuch without a harem;
Between the priest and the commissar
I walk like Eugene Aram;

And the commissar is telling my fortune
While the radio plays,
But the priest has promised an Austin Seven,
For Duggie always pays.

I dreamt I dwelt in marble halls,
And woke to find it true;
I wasn’t born for an age like this;
Was Smith? Was Jones? Were you

George Orwell. Submitted to Adelphi magazine, later appeared in ‘Why I Write’. 1935

Chaser. We now have to be cruder, for progressivism makes men stupid, and they cannot see truth, or comprehend subtlety. I am not linking to this: it comes from social media, but it is cited correctly.


We are the very model of a modern university,
Demoting education and devoted to diversity
Indigenous ethnicity and gender multiplicity
And when we get offended how we generate publicity!

We’re cuddly Marxist-Leninists and Islamist apologists
And Helen Clarxist feminists and animist ecologists;
We have the NZUSA to help the LGBTQ
And when you’re brown and being put down we’ll stop the white man beating you!

And of your right to speak your mind we’re infinitely tolerant
Unless you’re white or on the right or male or Jew or Protestant
Our studies fortify the fifth (that’s almost every) columnist
And how we love the Catholics now the Pontiff is a communist!

By our denomination we’re the true identitarians
And number in our congregation many Treatifarians;
We peer review our mates’ research and doctor methodology
As members of the Leftist Church of Climate Scientology!

We’re all about identity: not what you know, but who you are;
If you’ve the right parentity it’s going to take you very far;
As our preferred minority you’ve got an opportunity
As from the need that you succeed you’re guaranteed immunity!

Reforming to be sure that we’re performing in Humanities
We’ve gender studies, ethnic studies, studies in profanities;
We’ve got the most discriminating funders that we have to please
Or soon we may not be in full possession of our faculties!

We educate the teachers of your children how to lie to them:
“The Treaty is a partnership!” whenever they reply to them;
We have to keep pretending cos the tribes are quite fanatical
And I’m expecting tenure and I’m due for my sabbatical!

(A tribal-sovereign partnership is manifestly risible;
That treaty had no principles unless in ink invisible
And neither did the doctor who concocted the untenable:
He was the very model of a bad Attorney-General!)

Defending all the rights of those who demonstrate obedience,
Abusing the respected and excusing every deviance
We vilify conservatives and glorify perversity:
We are the very model of a modern university!

John Ansell (with nod to W S Gilbert).Published in the Martinborough Star, March 2019.

Lectionary 11 April 2019

Via YouBible.

When Moses preached his final message it was recorded as the fourth book of the law. In it he says the following:

20 “When your son asks you in time to come, saying, ‘What do the testimonies and the statutes and the judgments mean which the Lord our God commanded you?’ 21 then you shall say to your son, ‘We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt, and the Lord brought us from Egypt with a mighty hand. 22 Moreover, the Lord showed great and distressing signs and wonders before our eyes against Egypt, Pharaoh and all his household; 23 He brought us out from there in order to bring us in, to give us the land which He had sworn to our fathers.’ 24 So the Lord commanded us to observe all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God for our good always and for our survival, as it is today. 25 It will be righteousness for us if we [h]are careful to observe all this commandment before the Lord our God, just as He commanded us.

Deut. 6:20 –25

Last night I saw some Hasidim refusing to immunize their children against measles though there is now an epidemic in Brooklyn. Because they take the promises Moses gave seriously. I would argue that they are in error.

But I would argue, more strongly, that for a person or a nation to choose apostasy, to turn away from the gospel, is a far greater error and that has consequences in this life and the life to come. In this life it makes one unable to test truth, for you have chosen evil. And in the life to come the apostate has proudly chosen damnation.

Youbible, again.

2 For this reason we must pay much closer attention to [a]what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it. For if the word spoken through angels proved [b]unalterable, and every transgression and disobedience received a just [c]penalty, how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? [d]After it was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard, God also testifying with them, both by signs and wonders and by various [e]miracles and by [f]gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will.

For He did not subject to angels [g]the world to come, concerning which we are speaking. But one has testified somewhere, saying,
“What is man, that You remember him?
Or the son of man, that You are concerned about him?
“You have made him [h]for a little while lower than the angels;
You have crowned him with glory and honor,
[i]And have appointed him over the works of Your hands;
You have put all things in subjection under his feet.”
For in subjecting all things to him, He left nothing that is not subject to him. But now we do not yet see all things subjected to him.

But we do see Him who was made [j]for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone

Hebrews 2:1-9, NASB

I plead you, above all, to choose Christ and the gospel.

Lectionary 10 April 2019

It is worth noting, when we talk to people and it appears that nothing is happening, that this is a normal experience. Most people don’t understand what is being said to them: the first time, the second time… and sometimes never, until experience teaches them. Our ideology — the Jews of that time expected the Messiah to come, and like the Judges, free them from foreign government — can blind us.

And at times the Spirit keeps us from understanding that which we should not know.

Tim Van Cleef, unsplash.

31 Then He took the twelve aside and said to them, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and all things which are written through the prophets about the Son of Man will be accomplished. 32 For He will be [a]handed over to the Gentiles, and will be mocked and mistreated and spit upon, 33 and after they have scourged Him, they will kill Him; and the third day He will rise again.” 34 But the disciples understood none of these things, and the meaning of this statement was hidden from them, and they did not comprehend the things that were said.

Luke 18:31-34 , NASB

Lectionary 9 Apri 19.

18 Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that [a]it would be shown that they all are not of us. 20 [b]But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all know. 21 I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it, and [c]because no lie is of the truth. 22 Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the [d]Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. 23 Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also. 24 As for you, let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father.
25 This is the promise which He Himself [e]made to us: eternal life.
26 These things I have written to you concerning those who are trying to deceive you. 27 As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, [f]you abide in Him.
28 Now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not [g]shrink away from Him in shame [h]at His coming.

1 John 2:18-28

Daybook (I like doors I can close)

There is a tendency to move to open plan. The trouble with this is that if I am interrupted in the flow: of writing, interacting, or developing I lose the “stack” of aspects of the problem I need to consider. Getting into that head space takes time and effort. It only takes one person asking me to do “this one small thing” and I have to start again. Doors rock. For a researcher, programmer, or writer, closed doors are essential. Management, of course, does not know this.

But open plan offices are worse. Much worse. Why? Because they decrease rather than increase employee collaboration. As my colleague Jessica Stillman pointed out last week, a new study from Harvard showed that when employees move from a traditional office to an open plan office, it doesn’t cause them to interact more socially or more frequently. Instead, the opposite happens. They start using email and messaging with much greater frequency than before. In other words, even if collaboration were a great idea (it’s a questionable notion), open plan offices are the worst possible way to make it happen. Previous studies of open plan offices have shown that they make people less productive, but most of those studies gave lip service to the notion that open plan offices would increase collaboration, thereby offsetting the damage. The Harvard study, by contrast, undercuts the entire premise that justifies the fad. And that leaves companies with only one justification for moving to an open plan office: less floor space, and therefore a lower rent.

Jeffery James,
From Gab.

The cure for an open office is simple: don’t be there. Work at home, in cafes (headphones on), the library, anywhere that you cannot be interrupted. Hide from your secretaries and Human Resources. If possible, avoid meetings. If you also shut off social medial and mute your phone, you will be more productive.

Which brings me to the other distraction of our time social media. Yes, I use it. But when I can’t think that well.

I absolutely detest modern “social media”—Twitter, Facebook, Instagram. It’s a disease. It seems to encourage bad behavior.
I think part of it is something that email shares too, and that I’ve said before: “On the internet, nobody can hear you being subtle”. When you’re not talking to somebody face to face, and you miss all the normal social cues, it’s easy to miss humor and sarcasm, but it’s also very easy to overlook the reaction of the recipient, so you get things like flame wars, etc., that might not happen as easily with face-to-face interaction.
But email still works. You still have to put in the effort to write it, and there’s generally some actual content (technical or otherwise). The whole “liking” and “sharing” model is just garbage. There is no effort and no quality control. In fact, it’s all geared to the reverse of quality control, with lowest common denominator targets, and click-bait, and things designed to generate an emotional response, often one of moral outrage.
Add in anonymity, and it’s just disgusting. When you don’t even put your real name on your garbage (or the garbage you share or like), it really doesn’t help.
I’m actually one of those people who thinks that anonymity is overrated. Some people confuse privacy and anonymity and think they go hand in hand, and that protecting privacy means that you need to protect anonymity. I think that’s wrong. Anonymity is important if you’re a whistle-blower, but if you cannot prove your identity, your crazy rant on some social-media platform shouldn’t be visible, and you shouldn’t be able to share it or like it.
Oh well. Rant over. I’m not on any social media

Linus Torvalds, Linux Journal.

Social Media are akin to open plan. When you really need to concentrate, switch them off.