So they called them back and ordered them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. Peter and John, however, said to them in reply, “Whether it is right in the sight of God for us to obey you rather than God, you be the judges. It is impossible for us not to speak about what we have seen and heard.”

Acts 4:18-20

I’ve often said here on the blog that the only reason to be a Christian in general and a Catholic in particular is because it’s true.  If it’s not true after all we’re just an Elk’s Club that meets on Sundays.

We’ll apparently there aren’t a lot of people who want to join the Sunday Elk’s clubs:

we found 93 percent of clergy members and 83 percent of worshipers from growing churches agreed with the statement “Jesus rose from the dead with a real flesh-and-blood body leaving behind an empty tomb.” This compared with 67 percent of worshipers and 56 percent of clergy members from declining churches. Furthermore, all growing church clergy members and 90 percent of their worshipers agreed that “God performs miracles in answer to prayers,” compared with 80 percent of worshipers and a mere 44 percent of clergy members from declining churches.

Or to put it another way, if you don’t actually believe in Christ,  why would you expect people to follow you into Christianity, assuming you want them to:

For example, because of their conservative outlook, the growing church clergy members in our study took Jesus’ command to “Go make disciples” literally. Thus, they all held the conviction it’s “very important to encourage non-Christians to become Christians,” and thus likely put effort into converting non-Christians. Conversely, because of their liberal leanings, half the clergy members at the declining churches held the opposite conviction, believing it is not desirable to convert non-Christians. Some of them felt, for instance, that peddling their religion outside of their immediate faith community is culturally insensitive.

If you aren’t really into that entire “We must obey God rather than man” business then you aren’t

The really funny part of this story? The fact that discovering believing in something vs believing in nothing tends to attract more people was “counterintuitive”.

Well to a reader of the Washington Post it would be wouldn’t it?

Closing thought, I’d like to ask those members of the clergy who don’t believe in the central tenants of Christianity why they remain?  I suspect the answer mimics this exchange from the old Yes Prime Minister episode “The Bishop’s Gambit:

James Hacker: Humphrey, what’s a Modernist in the Church of England?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: Ah, well, the word “Modernist” is code for non-believer.
James Hacker: You mean an atheist?
Sir Humphrey Appleby: No, Prime Minister. An atheist clergyman couldn’t continue to draw his stipend. So, when they stop believing in God, they call themselves “Modernists”.

When as I suspect, these “modernists” eventually become as extinct as the Shakers only Washington Post readers will be surprised.

Bloomberg headline today:
Solar Could Beat Coal to Become the Cheapest Power on Earth

Solar power is now cheaper than coal in some parts of the world. In less than a decade, it’s likely to be the lowest-cost option almost everywhere.

In 2016, countries from Chile to the United Arab Emirates broke records with deals to generate electricity from sunshine for less than 3 cents a kilowatt-hour, half the average global cost of coal power. Now, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Mexico are planning auctions and tenders for this year, aiming to drop prices even further. Taking advantage: Companies such as Italy’s Enel SpA and Dublin’s Mainstream Renewable Power, who gained experienced in Europe and now seek new markets abroad as subsidies dry up at home.

Since 2009, solar prices are down 62 percent, with every part of the supply chain trimming costs.

Some ten years ago, when remodeling my Princeton, NJ, house, we looked into solar energy.

The panels were very expensive.

They will not work when covered by snow.

They needed to be kept clean, which would be yet one more house maintenance chore, considering that the driveway was regularly coated by pollen for most of Spring.

A couple of trees would have to come down, adding to the cost.

And in that part of New Jersey, there is a significant number of cloudy/rainy days.

In brief, solar energy was not cost effective. The neighbor down the street had a solar house, but that was because he owned a solar business.

The countries mentioned in the above article – Chile, Jordan, Mexico, Saudi Arabia – have vast expanses of arid land where solar panels could be more cost effective now that solar prices are down due to “every part of the supply chain trimming costs.”

But there is an added component: investor confidence. The government of Puerto Rico experimented with solar energy, but, as Jeffrey Karp said,  “the reason for the lack of solar development is likely due to poor investor confidence in the local utility as offtaker.” With corruption scandals involving government-owned utilities in Mexico, and in other countries like Brazil and Venezuela, investor confidence may become solar’s highest hurdle.

Fausta Rodríguez Wertz writes on US and Latin America at Fausta’s blog.

There are many ways that you can make a suggestion in a story and create the meme you want to make in a persons mind.

A great little example of this took place in the coverage of the pro-forma vote for speaker in the new congress.

First lets look at the coverage via The Hill

Ryan reelected Speaker in near-unanimous GOP vote

Updated 1:50 p.m.

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on Tuesday won reelection as Speaker of the House in a near-unanimous GOP vote that reflected a unified Republican party dead set on dismantling the past eight years of the Obama administration.

Conservative Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), a frequent thorn in leadership’s side, was the sole Republican to defect from Ryan. Massie cast his vote for Rep. Daniel Webster (R-Fla.), who challenged Ryan for the Speaker’s gavel in 2015 but not this year.

The final vote totals were 239 votes for Paul Ryan, 189 votes for Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), two votes for Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) and one vote each for Reps. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.), John Lewis (D-Ga.) and Daniel Webster (R-Fla.).

Pelosi loses four, Ryan one

Updated 1:44

Paul Ryan and Nancy Pelosi are both basically winners today.

Ryan is the bigger winner. While the Speaker certainly would prefer to have not had a single defection, losing just one vote is a huge victory since just last year he lost nine votes in the House Speaker election from his own party.

Before Donald Trump‘s win in the presidential election, members of Ryan’s own conference were at least talking about voting against him. That talk completely died down after the election, and only Rep. Thomas Massie cast a GOP ballot against Ryan on Tuesday.

Pelosi lost only four votes, which suggests that she retains an iron grip on her caucus — despite terrible results in last year’s election for Democrats up and down the ballot. 

Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) ran a relatively strong challenge against Pelosi in the internal Democratic caucus vote last year, but it appeared most Democrats wanted to rally around their longtime leader in Tuesday’s vote. 

Who what when where how.  Basic strait forward facts. Reporting as it should be.

Now let’s contrast that with how the Washington Post tells the same story.

Lawmakers reelected Paul D. Ryan as House speaker Tuesday, choosing the Wisconsin Republican with a fraught history with President-elect Donald Trump to serve as Trump’s chief legislative partner.

Ryan won the support of all but one Republican, winning with many fewer GOP defectors than when he first won the speakership in 2015. The vast majority of Democrats voted for Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who was reelected as party leader last year despite an abortive effort among some colleagues to oust her after November’s disappointing election results.

But the 24 hours preceding the vote showed that unity can be fleeting: His reelection came less than two hours after Republicans held an emergency meeting to reverse proposed changes that would roll back the authority of the independent Office of Congressional Ethics. Ryan opposed those changes ahead of a Monday night conference meeting, but lawmakers voted for them anyway — then agreed to reverse course Tuesday after a public firestorm.

Notice the wording. Negative. Ryan has a “fraught history” the “unity can be fleeting”, lawmakers despite Ryan’s opposition “voted for them anyway.” Those who had opposed him were “defectors”

The take away? Paul Ryan may have won but he’s not sitting well with either his members or his president, he’s weak!

Now notice how the contrast with Pelosi. the “Vast Majority” of Democrats voted for Pelosi. A positive adjective not noting that with a caucus with 47 less members she lost four times as many votes. (4-1 by vote for 2.1% defections for her vs 0.5% for Ryan) The effort to oust her were “abortive”, The problem “disappointing election results” not anything to do with her leadership.

Now if it’s in one story it’s not a big deal, but if you use this subtle wording in say 10 stories a day, (the same wording is repeated in a later story at the post) every day then you plant the idea in the mind of the reader. Ryan weak, Pelosi strong, GOP divided, Dems united.

It’s all rather subtle but that’s what selling a meme is all about.

And that’s how the MSM continues to try to play you day after day, year after year, decade after decade, which is likely why you’re here.


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