Jesus swaps places with us

From Grace Upon Grace: Spirituality for Today by John W. Kleinig (which, at last count, we have boosted to #7,389 on the bestseller list, up from #200,000 something):

“Jesus does not offer us superhuman life; He does not turn us into supermen and superwomen with extraordinary physical and mental powers. Instead, He swaps places with us. He joins us in our human life on earth so that we can join Him in his life with God the Father. By Jesus’ union with us, we share in His Sonship, just as a woman who marries a man joins his family. Jesus’ position with God the Father, His status all his privileges as God’s only Son, His righteousness and His holiness, His access to the Father, His Father’s love and delight in Him, and the Holy Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit—all these are our through faith in Jesus. Yet we do not possess these gifts by ourselves; we have them only as we receive them from Jesus. We have eternal life by believing in Him and receiving it from Him. In short we borrow everything from Him.

Jesus joins Himself to us and takes us on the way that He pioneered. Therefore, we depend on Jesus as the author and perfecter of our journey in faith (Hebrews 3:14; 12:2). Since we have been baptized, we join with Him in His journey and receive all that He has gained for us in His death and resurrection. We have been crucified with Christ, put to death with Him and buried with Him; we have been raised from the dead with Him, made alive with Him and enthroned with Him in the heavenly realms for work (Romans 6:4-8; 3:1; 2 Timothy 2:11:12). As we follow Jesus in the journey of faith, we receive from Him and share in His divine life as God’s Son.” (Page 11-12)

Climategate e-mails

Hackers broke into the computers of some prominent global warming scientists, whose e-mails show them fudging data, suppressing contrary evidence, and violating scientific protocols to advance their hypothesis about catastrophic climate change. Here are some of the e-mails, as classified by the London Telegraph:

Manipulation of evidence
I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) amd from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline.
Private doubts about whether the world really is heating up:

The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t. The CERES data published in the August BAMS 09 supplement on 2008 shows there should be even more warming: but the data are surely wrong. Our observing system is inadequate.

Suppression of evidence:
Can you delete any emails you may have had with Keith re AR4? Keith will do likewise. He’s not in at the moment – minor family crisis. Can you also email Gene and get him to do the same? I don’t have his new email address. We will be getting Caspar to do likewise. . . .

Attempts to disguise the inconvenient truth of the Medieval Warm Period (MWP):

Phil and I have recently submitted a paper using about a dozen NH records that fit this category, and many of which are available nearly 2K back–I think that trying to adopt a timeframe of 2K, rather than the usual 1K, addresses a good earlier point that Peck made w/ regard to the memo, that it would be nice to try to “contain” the putative “MWP”, even if we don’t yet have a hemispheric mean reconstruction available that far back.

And, perhaps most reprehensibly, a long series of communications discussing how best to squeeze dissenting scientists out of the peer review process. How, in other words, to create a scientific climate in which anyone who disagrees with AGW [Anthropogenic Global Warming] can be written off as a crank, whose views do not have a scrap of authority:

“This was the danger of always criticising the skeptics for not publishing in the “peer-reviewed literature”. Obviously, they found a solution to that–take over a journal! So what do we do about this? I think we have to stop considering “Climate Research” as a legitimate peer-reviewed journal. Perhaps we should encourage our colleagues in the climate research community to no longer submit to, or cite papers in, this journal. We would also need to consider what we tell or request of our more reasonable colleagues who currently sit on the editorial board…What do others think?”

“I will be emailing the journal to tell them I’m having nothing more to do with it until they rid themselves of this troublesome editor.”“It results from this journal having a number of editors. The responsible one for this is a well-known skeptic in NZ. He has let a few papers through by Michaels and Gray in the past. I’ve had words with Hans von Storch about this, but got nowhere. Another thing to discuss in Nice!”

This is a reminder that science is an enterprise of human beings, with the whole array of agendas, ambitions, personalities, biases, preconceptions, and sins. Yet we are on the verge of risking our whole economy on a carbon-trade system that assumes what these guys have been saying about catastrophic global warming is objectively true.

The young picking up the tab for their parents

Economics columnist Robert J. Samuelson finds another quirk in the Health Care bill. Already, our system of entitlements is forcing the young to subsidize the old, what with Social Security imbalances.

Now comes the House-passed health-care "reform" bill that, amazingly, would extract more subsidies from the young. It mandates that health insurance premiums for older Americans be no more than twice the level of that for younger Americans. That's much less than the actual health spending gap between young and old. Spending for those age 60 to 64 is four to five times greater than those 18 to 24. So, the young would overpay for insurance that — under the House bill — people must buy: Twenty- and thirtysomethings would subsidize premiums for fifty-and sixtysomethings. (Those 65 and over receive Medicare.)

Dictating how much something is allowed to cost is always disastrous, since market mechanisms work whether one wants them to or not. (When I was in Estonia under the Soviet Union, the communist government kindly mandated that bread be sold for a price that was less than what it cost to produce it, which meant that bread was reasonably priced but that there was no bread in the shops!) For the bill to presume to set these kinds of prices–as well as others, such as not allowing insurance companies to charge extra for pre-existing conditions–is a dire sign.

But now to force young adults just starting out–who already have a hard time making it, thanks to housing prices and the rest of our high cost of living–seems especially unfair. This is not a matter of the young helping out the venerable old. Retirees are under Medicare. This is paying for their parents, who are at a stage where they make far more than their 20-something kids.

Preach about Hell to improve the economy

Here is a fascinating article on the influence of specific religious beliefs on economic growth. It’s too long to do justice with excerpts, so I will give you this teaser from The curious economic effects of religion – The Boston Globe:

A pair of Harvard researchers recently examined 40 years of data from dozens of countries, trying to sort out the economic impact of religious beliefs or practices. They found that religion has a measurable effect on developing economies – and the most powerful influence relates to how strongly people believe in hell.

The research goes into far more than this sensationalistic tidbit, finding, for example, that Protestants were involved in greater economic growth in the years after the Reformation than Catholics. Why? Some still suggest Max Weber’s hypothesis that the “Protestant work ethic” came from the need to prove one’s salvation through attaining earthly prosperity. The problem is that PROTESTANTS DIDN’T BELIEVE THAT! A more convincing reason is that “mass education was a Protestant invention.” A peasant taught to read the Bible could then read anything, giving him access to all kinds of information, and opening the door to prosperity. Even more fundamentally, I would argue, is the DOCTRINE OF VOCATION, which gave economic labor a new value and spiritual significance. The article also shows strong evidence that Christianity builds trust, honesty, and other virtues necessary for a strong economy.

HT: Joe Carter

Spiritual healing in the health care bill?

Christian Science practitioners are trying to get spiritual healing to be paid for in the Health Care Reform bill:

The calls come in at all hours: patients reporting broken bones, violent coughs, deep depression.

Prue Lewis listens as they explain their symptoms. Then Lewis — a thin, frail-looking woman from Columbia Heights — simply says, "I'll go to work right away." She hangs up, organizes her thoughts and begins treating her clients' ailments the best way she knows how: She prays.

This is health care in the world of Christian Science, where the sick eschew conventional medicine and turn to God for healing. Christian Scientists call it "spiritual health care," and it is a practice they are battling to insert into the health-care legislation being hammered out in Congress.

Leaders of the Church of Christ, Scientist, are pushing a proposal that would help patients pay someone like Lewis for prayer by having insurers reimburse the $20 to $40 cost.

The provision was stripped from the bill the House passed this month, and church leaders are trying to get it inserted into the Senate version. And the church has powerful allies there, including Sens. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), who represents the state where the church is based, and Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah), who said the provision would "ensure that health-care reform law does not discriminate against any religion."

What do you think of that? Would you be OK with acupuncture? macrobiotics? “natural healing” techniques? (I don’t know if the bill would cover those treatments or not. Does anyone know? Do most insurance companies? Do any insurance companies cover “alternative medicine”?)

“Inappropriate” vs. “Improper”

Edward Skidelsky in Prospect Magazine writes about Words that think for us . He notes a difference in our terms for moral censure:

No words are more typical of our moral culture than “inappropriate” and “unacceptable.” They seem bland, gentle even, yet they carry the full force of official power. When you hear them, you feel that you are being tied up with little pieces of soft string.

Inappropriate and unacceptable began their modern careers in the 1980s as part of the jargon of political correctness. They have more or less replaced a number of older, more exact terms: coarse, tactless, vulgar, lewd. They encompass most of what would formerly have been called “improper” or “indecent.” An affair between a teacher and a pupil that was once improper is now inappropriate; a once indecent joke is now unacceptable.

This linguistic shift is revealing. Improper and indecent express moral judgements, whereas inappropriate and unacceptable suggest breaches of some purely social or professional convention. Such “non-judgemental” forms of speech are tailored to a society wary of explicit moral language. As liberal pluralists, we seek only adherence to rules of the game, not agreement on fundamentals. What was once an offence against decency must be recast as something akin to a faux pas.

But this new, neutralised language does not spell any increase in freedom. When I call your action indecent, I state a fact that can be controverted. When I call it inappropriate, I invoke an institutional context—one which, by implication, I know better than you. Who can gainsay the Lord Chamberlain when he pronounces it “inappropriate” to wear jeans to the Queen’s garden party? This is what makes the new idiom so sinister. Calling your action indecent appeals to you as a human being; calling it inappropriate asserts official power.