Fenelon, on Prayer

“Tell God all that is in your heart,
as one unloads one’s heart,
its pleasures and its pains,
to a dear friend.

Tell God your troubles, that God may comfort you;
tell God your joys, that God may sober them;
tell God your longings, that God may purify them;
tell God your dislikes, that God may help you conquer them;
talk to God of your temptations, that God may shield you from them;
show God the wounds of your heart, that God may heal them;
lay bare your indifference to good, your depraved tastes for evil, your instability.
Tell him how self-love makes you unjust to others,
how vanity tempts you to be insincere,
how pride disguises you to yourself as to others.

If you thus pour out all your weaknesses, needs, troubles,
there will be no lack of what to say.
You will never exhaust the subject.
It is continually being renewed.

People who have no secrets from each other
never want subjects of conversation.
They do not weigh their words,
for there is nothing to be held back;
neither do they seek for something to say.
They talk out of the abundance of the heart,
without consideration, say just what they think.
Blessed are they who attain to such familiar,
unreserved intercourse with God.”


We love to spend time pointing at the faults of other people. Sadly, this is a waste of time. People are as they are, with all their virtues and faults. We all have reasons to do what we do, even if no one understands them.

We have to accept their virtues and faults, as we accept our own virtues and faults (we’re really good at accepting our own faults: we need to apply that same energy into accepting others as they are).

We can't solve all their problems, but we can be there with them as they go through them. Jesus is with us as we go through our problems: and we can do the same. If we let people who care about us help us, things work out better: so we need to care about them. Sometimes, even if they know we see their suffering, they won’t want to talk about it. But I know what it is to be ashamed of something, and not want to talk about it.

If we can, we give them time to think and change, and a Bible if they don't have one, help where they let us, and offer them up in prayer.

On Being A Christian

Let us focus on our particular situation: Psalm 62:7 says "In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God."

What we should hear from this passage is that each believer can find peace and comfort, even when we don't think so -- we are prone to illusions (People are so good at finding things that we can even find them when they are not there.) So let's focus on the truth. God gives us the strength we need.(Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.") Through Jesus, we have righteousness, and no condemnation for sin. We have to invite Jesus into our lives, for he will not force us: but when we rely on him, he is all we need. Jesus died for us, and he accepts us when we accept his gift, and he understands us better than we understand ourselves. He is the father of the prodigal son, running to meet us with arms open wide.

We will never be alone, for he is with us. We have nowhere we need to go, because he is with us, always. He is there for us. He loves us. Even when we hate ourselves, he loves us. Even when we're so full of ourselves we're a balloon, he loves us, and he died for us.

He is our refuge. His arms are around us. He gives us what we need, and will remake us into a glorious creature of the new Jerusalem (Philippians 2:13 "For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.")

So say it: "In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God." This is our cry when we need help, knowing that he gives it when we ask, and our shout of triumph when we do right.

Say it one more time, slowly: "In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God.” Both in our need and our triumph, this is our cry.

What else needs to be said?

Ten Unpopular True Thoughts, With Reactions

The contest in the coffee shop was simple: what are some true, but unpopular thoughts?

1. Some women like the thought of becoming mothers and are willing to make choices about their careers that mean they do not work the same kinds of hours or in the dangerous --and therefore high-paying-- jobs that men do. If you say this, you will be called a "misogynist" by those who aren't willing to hear you tell the truth.

2. Black Lives Matter does not focus on the real problems in the black community of bad schools, a high abortion rate, fatherlessness that make it so difficult for them to get out of the cycles of gang-violence and poverty that affect so many of them, particularly the black young men. If you say this, you will be called a "racist" by those who aren't willing to hear you tell the truth.

3. In countries under Muslim-majority rule, women and gays do not enjoy the freedoms that they do in Christian-majority countries in the West: women are denied what we consider basic human rights, and gays are legally killed. If you say this, you will be called "Islamophobic" by those who aren't willing to hear you tell the truth.

4. America and the U.K. deserve to have borders that are legally enforced so that they can choose who comes into their countries, because preserving their culture and traditions matters. If you say this, you will be called a "white nationalist" by those who aren't willing to hear you tell the truth.

5.Most people don't find being fat as healthy or pleasurable as being thin, and encouraging young women to become fat only guarantees that they will be miserable and alone. If you say this, you will be called a "hater" by those who aren't willing to hear you tell the truth.

6. Young men are not served well by our educational system's focus on women at the expense of the kinds of activities and disciplines that would enable boys to become responsible and successful men. If you say this, you will be called a "misogynist" or "white supremacist" by those who aren't willing to hear you tell the truth.

7. It is vindictive and mean for gays to go after family-owned flower shops, wedding photographers, bakers, and pizza restaurants simply for standing up for their religious convictions in not supporting gay marriage. If you say this, you will be called a "homophobe" by those who aren't willing to hear you tell the truth.

8. Those who call themselves feminists seem more intent on bashing men than in ensuring equality of opportunity for women and men. You already know what they will call you.

9. The media lie all the time about libertarian and conservative values and those who hold them. If you say this, they won't forgive you.

10. It is the Left who turn to violence when they do not get their own way, in the overwhelming majority of instances. If you say this, you will be called a "fascist" or "Nazi" by those who aren't willing to hear you tell the truth.


Talked to a bright young black man today, and I mentioned that the Revolutionary War had lots of great people to learn about. He responded, "Yeah, they were all slaveholders, I'm not going to look."

I'm dismayed. How did his teachers miss Agrippa Hull? Casimir Pulaski? Crispus Attucks?
Do you think that it's the teacher's fault? Or the students' fault?

The Cell Phone: A Failed Technology At The End Of Its Life

If half the calls coming into your phone are scams, do you answer the phone when you don't see someone from your contacts?

The answer should be "no". The chances that it's legitimate are too small. There are even products "apps" on the market to help winnow calls, trying to tell you if they are in that half, like Hiya (IOS and Android). Why don't I recommend them? Because call scammers can call you from any number they want to, so blocking calls from a number doesn't work out all that well. They just shift to the next number. I have gotten four calls in a day, all from different numbers, all with the same recorded voice pretending to be the Social Security Administration cancelling my social security number. As if I would believe that the federal government has telephones! My whole life, they have operated only by mail. I don't think they deal with plebs like me in any other way.

Ways that work:

1. Put your phone on "Do Not Disturb" and set it so only "favorites" or "contacts" get through. Everyone else counts as a missed call, and you can review them at your leisure, and if they want to sell you something, the game is to see how long you can keep them on the line.

2. Use a Google Assistant to screen calls.

3. Only use calls from "mysudo" (app, IOS, not free). The calls won't be high quality, and are easily interrupted, but you can have trash numbers to hand out that you won't answer. Another NEW approach to that burner number is based on this article from Popular Science, which recommends alternative programs.

4. (New) Use Robokiller recommended by a friend of mine who used to get a lot of calls. They try to fingerprint callers so they recognize them no matter what number they use. New approach. Not free, but if you have to answer, probably a good choice.

My recommendation: First one on the list. If you miss an important call from a friend, add his number to your contacts.

Ways that do not work:

1. The Do Not Call List. Any exception to that list includes political calls and includes people who say you've given your consent on page 32 of their 50 page form contract you had to sign to use their service. And call scammers don't care, because they don't expect to be found if you report them: they're stealing someone else's number anyway.

2. Blocking numbers on your phone. The number that you see on your phone is a fake. It doesn't tie back to the scammer: sometimes, I've called back and gotten people on the other end who don't believe their numbers were used to sell timeshares.


UPDATED with the Popular Science recommendation reorganized for clarity.

Still Wrong

It is a matter of some amazement to me that the "scholars" spend their time translating a text which is no more than a decade old, while criticizing the translators of the KJV for relying on "a few recent manuscripts". That the manuscript they cite are wildly in conflict with each other, and only preserved because no one used them doesn't matter: for a scholar, a defective manuscript is good for many articles, while the correct one might command assent, which doesn't lead to tenure.

Let's see what that looks like for Dallas Theological Seminary's "NET Bible":