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On Friday, July 13, 2018, President Trump met with the UK’s two most powerful women.

In the morning, he met with Prime Minister Theresa May at the prime ministerial weekend residence, Chequers, regarding US-UK trade deals post-Brexit. Philip May, meanwhile, was with Melania Trump at Royal Hospital Chelsea.

Before arriving in Brussels for the NATO conference, Trump made frank remarks about the UK. On July 10, the Daily Mail reported (emphases mine):

Speaking to journalists as he set off for Europe, Mr Trump said there were a ‘lot of things’ going on in the UK at the moment and the country seemed to be ‘somewhat in turmoil’.

‘The UK certainly has a lot of things going on,’ he said.  

Boris Johnson’s a friend of mine. He’s been very, very nice to me. Very supportive.

‘And maybe we’ll speak to him when I get over there. 

I like Boris Johnson. I’ve always liked him.’ 

Asked by DailyMail.com whether Mrs May should continue as PM, Mr Trump said ‘that is up to the people’.

However, he added that he had a ‘very good relationship’ with Mrs May. 

Mr Trump joked that his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin might be the ‘easiest’ leg of his trip to Europe.

The Mail said that the Prime Minister was unruffled and looked forward to meeting with Trump:

Asked directly abut his incendiary comments, she said: ‘I am looking forward to seeing president Trump not only at the Nato summit in the next couple of days but also when he comes to the UK. 

‘There is much for us to discuss.’

She added: ‘We will be talking positively about how we can continue to work together in our special relationship for the good of people living in the UK and the United States and, actually, for the wider good‘ …

Downing Street insisted they were ‘relaxed’ about the intervention, pointing out that Mr Trump also stressed his ‘very good’ relations with Mrs May. A spokesman said the president was ‘being humorous’ with his remark about the Putin meeting.

The weekend before, Mrs May convened ministers at Chequers to put forward a ‘soft’ Brexit plan, released as a government white paper on the day of the dinner at Blenheim Palace, July 12. A number of MPs resigned their ministerial posts as a result. A leadership contest could well be in the offing. In addition to Boris Johnson, another front runner is the ‘hard’ Brexit MP Jacob Rees-Mogg, who took London’s LBC talk radio calls on July 10:

This seems off-topic until one considers that Trump said that the US might not be able to make trade deals with the UK in the case of a ‘soft’ (EU-tied) Brexit. Instead, the US might have to negotiate with the EU to trade with Britain.

Whilst the dinner May put on for the Trumps, the American entourage and British business leaders at Blehneim Palace on July 12 went very well, Trump had sounded a warning on future trade negotiations in a Sun interview that appeared that evening. BT.com reported:

Donald Trump has warned Theresa May her Brexit plan could “kill” any UK-US trade deal because Britain would remain so closely aligned to the European Union.

The US president said he would have done the Brexit negotiations “much differently” and claimed the Prime Minister did not listen to his advice, in an interview with The Sun.

His highly-controversial remarks came at the end of a day in which he had already waded deeply into the Brexit row over Theresa May’s white paper ahead of his first official visit to Britain as President.

He had used a Thursday morning press conference in Brussels to attack the Prime Minister’s Brexit plan and highlight Cabinet divisions.

In a Sun interview released while Mr Trump and First Lady Melania were being entertained by the Prime Minister at Blenheim Palace, the president said: “If they do a deal like that, we would be dealing with the European Union instead of dealing with the UK, so it will probably kill the deal”.

The comments, following on from the morning press conference, will a cause of great concern for Mrs May.

She had used the Blenheim black tie dinner with political and business leaders to press Mr Trump on the benefits of a free trade deal after Brexit …

Speaking to reporters in Belgium after a fiery Nato Summit, Mr Trump had described the UK as a “hot spot right now with a lot of resignations” and dismissed the Prime Minister’s Chequers plan on the next stage of Brexit.

That day, May’s 98-page white paper appeared, proffering an ‘Association Agreement’ with the EU. BT.com reported:

The 98-page document sets out a significantly “softer” version of Brexit than desired by more eurosceptic Tories, and prompted the resignation of Boris Johnson and David Davis from Mrs May’s Cabinet earlier this week.

Extracts of Mr Davis’s alternative White Paper, published on the ConservativeHome website, show that the former Brexit secretary was planning a “Canada plus plus plus” free trade deal based on mutual recognition of independent systems of regulation.

By contrast, Mrs May’s plan involves the UK accepting a “common rulebook” on trade in goods, with a treaty commitment to ongoing harmonisation with EU rules.

It envisages the UK entering an Association Agreement with the EU and making continued payments for participation in shared agencies and programmes.

And it states that an independent arbitration panel set up to resolve UK-EU disputes will be able to seek guidance from the European Court of Justice, but only on the interpretation of EU law.

The Eurosceptics are correct: that is not what 52% of voters had in mind when they voted to Leave on June 23, 2016. Trump was diplomatic:

Mr Trump said it seemed the Prime Minister’s plans meant the UK was “getting at least partially involved back with the European Union”.

Borrowing one of Mrs May’s old slogans, Mr Trump told a Brussels press conference: “I would say Brexit is Brexit. The people voted to break it up so I would imagine that’s what they would do, but maybe they’re taking a different route – I don’t know if that is what they voted for.”

That was part of the backdrop to Trump’s meeting with May.

However, there is also a historical aspect to America’s trade with Britain, explored below:

Over the past few years:

Meetings had taken place beforehand between Liam Fox and Woody Johnson:

Defence is highly important …

… as is international co-operation:

With the last two areas of shared interest in mind, it was not surprising that the Prime Minister hosted Trump at Sandhurst that morning before their meeting at Chequers:

After the bilateral meetings at Chequers concluded, May and Trump held a joint press conference (YouTube video here), excerpted below.

PRIME MINISTER MAY: … This morning, President Trump and I visited Sandhurst, where we saw a demonstration of joint working between British and American special forces. Just one example of what is today the broadest, deepest, and most advanced security cooperation of any two countries in the world …

That partnership is set to grow, with our armies integrating to a level unmatched anywhere, and the UK set to spend £24 billion on U.S. equipment and support over the next decade.

Today, we’ve also discussed how we can deepen our work together to respond to malign state activity, terrorism, and serious crime. In particular, on Russia, I thanked President Trump for his support in responding to the appalling use of a nerve agent in Salisbury, after which he expelled 60 Russian intelligence officers. And I welcomed his meeting with President Putin in Helsinki on Monday. We agreed that it is important to engage Russia from a position of strength and unity, and that we should continue to deter and counter all efforts to undermine our democracies.

Turning to our economic cooperation, with mutual investment between us already over $1 trillion, we want to go further. We agreed today that, as the UK leaves the European Union, we will pursue an ambitious U.S.-UK free trade agreement. The Chequers Agreement reached last week provides the platform for Donald and me to agree an ambitious deal that works for both countries right across our economies, a deal that builds on the UK’s independent trade policy, reducing tariffs; delivering a gold standard in financial services cooperation; and, as two of the world’s most advanced economies, seizing the opportunity of new technology …

And that is why I’m confident that this transatlantic alliance will continue to be the bedrock of our shared security and prosperity for years to come.

Mr. President.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you very much. Thank you. Prime Minister, thank you very much. And it is my true honor to join you at this remarkable setting — truly magnificent — as we celebrate the special relationship between our two countries. On behalf of the American people, I want to thank you for your very gracious hospitality. Thank you very much, Theresa …

Today, it’s a true privilege to visit historic Chequers that I’ve heard so much about and read so much about growing up in history class, and to continue our conversation, which has really proceeded along rapidly and well over the last few days …

Before our dinner last night, Melania and I joined Prime Minister May, Mr. May, and the Duke and Duchess of Marlborough for a tour of the Winston Churchill Exhibit at Blenheim Palace. It was something; it was something very special. It was from right here at Chequers that Prime Minister Churchill phoned President Roosevelt after Pearl Harbor. In that horrific war, American and British servicemembers bravely shed their blood alongside one another in defense of home and in defense of freedom. And together, we achieved a really special, magnificent victory. And it was total victory …

In our meetings today, the Prime Minister and I discussed a range of shared priorities, including stopping nuclear proliferation. I thanked Prime Minister May for her partnership in our pursuit of a nuclear-free North Korea. She’s been a tremendous help.

The Prime Minister and I also discussed Iran. We both agree that Iran must never possess a nuclear weapon and that I must halt, and we must do it — and I’m going to do it and she’s going to do it, and we’re all going to do it together. We have to stop terrorism. It’s a scourge. We have to stop terrorism. And we have to get certain countries — and they’ve come a long way, I believe — the funding of terrorism has to stop, and it has to stop now.

I encouraged the Prime Minister to sustain pressure on the regime. And she needed absolutely no encouragement, because she, in fact, also encourages me. And we’re doing that, and we’re doing that together — very closely coordinated.

The United Kingdom and the United States are also strengthening cooperation between our armed forces, who serve together on battlefields all around the world.

Today, the Prime Minister and I viewed several U.S.-UK Special Forces demonstration — we saw some demonstrations today, frankly, that were incredible. The talent of these young brave, strong people. We saw it at the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst. Seamless cooperation between our militaries is really just vital to addressing the many shared security threats. We have threats far different than we’ve ever had before. They’ve always been out there, but these are different and they’re severe. And we will handle them well.

We also recognize the vital importance of border security and immigration control. In order to prevent foreign acts of terrorism within our shores, we must prevent terrorists and their supporters from gaining admission in the first place …

I also want to thank Prime Minister May for pursuing fair and reciprocal trade with the United States. Once the Brexit process is concluded, and perhaps the U.K. has left the EU — I don’t know what they’re going to do, but whatever you do is okay with me. That’s your decision. Whatever you’re going to do is okay with us. Just make sure we can trade together; that’s all that matters. The United States looks forward to finalizing a great bilateral trade agreement with the United Kingdom. This is an incredible opportunity for our two countries, and we will seize it fully.

We support the decision of the British people to realize full self-government, and we will see how that goes. Very complicated negotiation and not an easy negotiation, that’s for sure. A strong and independent United Kingdom, like a strong and independent United States, is truly a blessing on the world.

Prime Minister May, I want to thank you again for the honor of visiting the United Kingdom — a special place. My mother was born here, so it means something maybe just a little bit extra; maybe even a lot extra. And we had a wonderful visit. Last night, I think I got to know the Prime Minister better than at any time. We spent a lot of time together over a year and a half. But last night, we really — I was very embarrassed for the rest of the table. We just talked about lots of different problems and solutions to those problems. And it was a great evening.

As we stand together this afternoon at Chequers, we continue a long tradition of friendship, collaboration, and affection between ourselves and also between our people. The enduring relationship between our nations has never been stronger than it is now.

So, Madam Prime Minister, thank you very much. It’s been an honor. Thank you. Thank you, Theresa.

BT.com reported that Trump apologised for the biting statements he had made to The Sun (article since updated to show photos of his UK visit) before he arrived. The article also has a photo of Mrs May smiling broadly:

Mr Trump said he apologised to Mrs May over the Sun front page story, and she replied: “Don’t worry it’s only the press.”

But he repeated his praise of Mr Johnson, saying: “Boris Johnson, I think, would be a great prime minister.”

Mrs May said it was “all of our responsibility to ensure that transatlantic unity endures”.

The PM said the United States is “keen” to do a deal with the UK.

“We will do a trade deal with them and with others around the rest of the world,” she added.

Then it was time for the US president to rejoin his wife and meet the Queen at Windsor Castle.

Elizabeth II has met every serving US president during her reign, except, it seems, for Lyndon Johnson. She has met Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, John Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George HW Bush, Bill Clinton, George W Bush, Barack Obama — and, now, Donald Trump.

Visiting the Queen meant a lot to President Trump, because his mother, born in Scotland, was an avid fan of hers and watched her appearances when they were transmitted in the US.

He gave The Sun his longstanding impressions of her earlier in the week:

You can see how pleased he was here:

BT.com reported that the visit, which included tea, lasted longer than previously scheduled:

The president, whose visit to Windsor Castle lasted 57 minutes – 17 more than expected – kept his jacket unbuttoned.

The Queen greeted the Trumps:

The monarch and the president then inspected a Guard of Honour:

Then:

The video below gives a view of where the Queen and her guests stood in relation to the Guards:

Afterwards:

Here is a bit of history about the Coldstream and Grenadier Guards:

Then it was time for a tour — and tea:

The Queen provided a reception for those accompanying the president, which included his press secretary:

These two short videos nicely recap the Trumps’ first official visit to England:

Then it was off to Scotland for the weekend at the president’s Turnberry golf resort:

More about Trump’s weekend tomorrow.

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Before I post the next entry of Forbidden Bible Verses, it is important to know where Paul and Silas went after they left Philippi.

The first half of Acts 17 is in the three-year Lectionary but needs explaining. The next post will be about Berea, so this one will be about their first stop in Thessalonica:

Paul and Silas in Thessalonica

17 Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. And Paul went in, as was his custom, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, 3 explaining and proving that it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus, whom I proclaim to you, is the Christ.” And some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a great many of the devout Greeks and not a few of the leading women. 5 But the Jews[a] were jealous, and taking some wicked men of the rabble, they formed a mob, set the city in an uproar, and attacked the house of Jason, seeking to bring them out to the crowd. And when they could not find them, they dragged Jason and some of the brothers before the city authorities, shouting, “These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also, and Jason has received them, and they are all acting against the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus.” And the people and the city authorities were disturbed when they heard these things. And when they had taken money as security from Jason and the rest, they let them go.

Philippi was to the north (see this map of Thrace). Paul and Silas — along with Timothy — travelled south (see map of Thrace, indicated by red dots) to Thessalonica, an important port city from ancient times to the present. Until the Second World War, Thessaloniki (present day name) always had a sizeable Jewish population.

John MacArthur describes Paul and Silas’s journey from Philippi (emphases mine):

When they had passed through Amphipolis, now that was 33 miles from Philippi, they went from Amphipolis to Apollonia that was 30 miles from Amphipolis. And then they went to Thessalonica, which was 37 miles from Apollonia, which was 30 miles from Amphipolis, which was 33 miles – and don’t you ever forget it – from Philippi.

What’s the significance of that? The significance of that is that they had minds set on Thessalonica. They probably stopped for the night in Apollonia and Amphipolis. If they went that way and did cover 30 miles a day and stayed overnight at those two places, which were perfect points – it is as some scholars tell us, evidence that Paul didn’t walk everywhere he went. He probably hired horses, which is an interesting thought. Nevertheless, they just stopped overnight at Amphipolis and Apllonia, likely, that isn’t in the text. That’s a likely conclusion. “And they came to Thessalonica.” Now, watch. “Where there was a synagogue of the Jews.”

As we have read so many times in Acts, every time Paul starts preaching in the local synagogue, he makes a lot of converts, then the Jews who disagree become angry and rile the Gentiles. The angry mob then persecutes Paul and, beginning in Acts 16, Silas.

MacArthur summarises the pertinent persecution points:

Every time he got near a synagogue, wham, he got it. And that’s right. He did.

Chapter 13, verse 6, they had gone to – they met a sorcerer. In verse 6 of chapter 13, the first place they went, the island of Cyprus, they met a sorcerer who was a Jew. Every time they got close to the Jews, they got persecuted and confrontation with Satan.

Go to verse 45. It says that when they came into the area of Galatia, the whole place came together to hear the word, verse 44, “When the Jews saw the multitudes filled with envy, spoke against these things as were spoken by Paul and contradicting and blaspheming.”

Look at verse 50. “The Jews stirred up the devout and honor of women. The chief thieves raised persecution against Paul and Barnabas, expelled them out of their borders.

Chapter 14, verse 1. “They went to the synagogue of the Jews. There were some Jews who believed that just stirred up trouble.”

Verse 2. “The unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles.” They tried to stone them in verse 5. They fled in verse 6.

Go down to verse 19. They threw him out of the city of Lystra. Stoned them there. It was always the Jews, the Jews, the Jews, who persecuted Paul in his ministry.

The same thing happened in Philippi.

However, Paul always began his holy work in synagogues. He would not go near a pagan temple.

Note that Luke, the author of Acts, thought it was worth mentioning that prominent women of the city also converted (verse 4). Recall that Lydia, the purple goods merchant, was the first convert in Philippi. Therefore, women had considerable autonomy at this time.

A man named Jason was among the converts (verse 5) and, perversely, the angry Thessalonians ambushed his house (verse 6). MacArthur describes what happened. Satan was working through these miserable individuals:

Boy, I mean they turned the city up. They got a riot going all through town, they were crying in this blowtorch kind of oratory. “These men are seditious and they are revolutionaries,” and they got everybody all stirred up. Well, they knew they were staying with Jason – who must have been a new Christian there – and so it says, “They all assaulted the house of Jason.” Here comes the whole town, down to Jason’s house. “And they sought to bring them out to the people.” But you know what? God is so far ahead. Paul and Silas and Timothy are gone – they’re gone. And old Jason is there. Well, they didn’t find them, in verse 6 “And when they found him not, they drew Jason and certain brethren under the rulers of the city.”

So, they took Jason and the other Christians instead. “And they hauled them off.” You know, it’s amazing what Satan can do with lazy people. It’s amazing too, what the Lord can do with lazy people who get busy for Him. I was thinking that lazy people must have been a problem in Thessalonica. I don’t know if they had a welfare program or what there, but there was a lot of laziness. These guys were lazy, but later in, 2 Thessalonians 2, in verse 11, he says, “For we hear that there are some who walk among you, disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies.” You know, some of the Christians were loafing around. I don’t know whether that was a common thing but Satan can always use laziness.

Poor Jason. He and the other Christians were accused of disloyalty to the Romans (verses 6, 7). That stirred up the authorities, in addition to the mob (verse 8). Everyone in the Roman world believed there was only one ruler: Caesar.

MacArthur reminds us of Pontius Pilate’s words to our Lord:

Remember Pilate questioned Him, “Are you a king?” And the Jews all cried out, “No, He’s not our king. We’ll have no king but Caesar.” Well, it was the whole issue of His Kingship, and here Paul had been preaching the Kingship of Jesus Christ, and so they grabbed on that, the same thing that the crowd used to execute Jesus, they were gonna use again, to execute Paul.

Jason had to pay a bond in order for him and the others to be left alone (verse 9):

Boy, that’s smart. You know, what they did, they made Jason come across with a bond, to guarantee that Paul and Silas and Timothy wouldn’t trouble them anymore. So, they had Jason on the spot.

Once again, Paul had to leave a newly established church. MacArthur explores Paul’s letters to the Thessalonians:

Paul reflected back on this, in 1 Thessalonians 2:17, he says, “We brethren, being taken from you for a short time in presence, not in heart, endeavor to more abundantly to see your face with great desire.” Paul says, I tried to come back and see you, but he says, “Satan hindered us.” This whole setup, with the security, the bond, guaranteed by Jason – and Jason did it for their sake – meant that there was never a way he could get back in there, as long as those magistrates were there.

So, the conflict came. Believe me, that’s a good thing. Conflict is a good thing. You know, that that wonderful little church in Thessalonica, became the best church, and probably one of the reasons was it existed in terrible persecution. Paul couldn’t even get back to see them. “We went to Berea” – and what happened there? – You say, certainly, those noble guys wouldn’t give him trouble. You’re right, they didn’t. But guess what? Verse 13, “The Jews of Thessalonica had knowledge that the Word of God was preached by Paul at Berea, and they came there also.” – and did the same thing. So, here comes a gang, 60 miles away, from Thessalonica, and they stirred up trouble.

Boy, Satan if he doesn’t have local people, he imports ’em. “And they dogged his steps.” Paul, in 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16, talks about how the “Jews have dogged his steps all his life. And they stirred up” – the word, stirred, at end of verse 13, is like a wind, shaking, just shook the whole city. Well, Paul had to leave again. You know, I really think, just as a little insight into Paul; I think was the low point in Paul’s life, up to point, as a Christian.

Let’s look at what happened to Paul’s entourage. In Philippi, he was with Luke, Silas and Timothy, but:

He had left Luke at Philippi.

That was so Luke could shepherd the church there.

The next post will be about Berea, where Paul left Silas and Timothy for a while to minister to the new church.

Bible readingThe three-year Lectionary that many Catholics and Protestants hear in public worship gives us a great variety of Holy Scripture.

Yet, it doesn’t tell the whole story.

My series Forbidden Bible Verses — ones the Lectionary editors and their clergy have omitted — examines the passages we do not hear in church. These missing verses are also Essential Bible Verses, ones we should study with care and attention. Often, we find that they carry difficult messages and warnings.

Today’s reading is from the English Standard Version with commentary by Matthew Henry and John MacArthur.

Acts 16:11-15

The Conversion of Lydia

11 So, setting sail from Troas, we made a direct voyage to Samothrace, and the following day to Neapolis, 12 and from there to Philippi, which is a leading city of the[a] district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. We remained in this city some days. 13 And on the Sabbath day we went outside the gate to the riverside, where we supposed there was a place of prayer, and we sat down and spoke to the women who had come together. 14 One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul. 15 And after she was baptized, and her household as well, she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.” And she prevailed upon us.

————————————————————————————————————————

Last week’s entry was about the travels of Paul, Silas and Timothy in Asia Minor and the vision Paul received one night of a call to Macedonia. Luke, the author of Acts, joined the three in Troas. It is likely he lived there.

The four were on their way across the Aegean Sea to Samothrace (Thracia in the map below). From Troas, the journey would not have been far. This map by Caliniuc — ‘Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=58363914’ — on Wikipedia will help understand their travels. Those needing a larger image can click on the map, which will open in a new window:

They then went to Neapolis (verse 11) and on to Philippi, home to the Philippians and an important city of Macedonia (verse 12).

The map below shows the area centuries before Paul, Silas and Timothy travelled through it, but we get an idea of geographical location nonetheless. This file comes from Wikipedia and was created by Marsyas (French original); Kordas (Spanish translation) derivative work: MinisterForBadTimes, CC-BY-SA-3.0 via Wikimedia Commons:

In the map, Philippi is inland in the southern part of Thrace.

Luke wrote that the four stayed in the Roman colony of Philippi for several days. Matthew Henry’s commentary gives the rationale for beginning the Macedonian ministry there (emphases mine):

they began with the first city, because, if the gospel were received there, it would the more easily spread thence all the country over. (2.) It was a colony. The Romans not only had a garrison, but the inhabitants of the city were Romans, the magistrates at least, and the governing part. There were the greatest numbers and variety of people, and therefore the most likelihood of doing good.

John MacArthur tells us more about Philippi:

One of the reasons it was important was it was located on what was called the Egnatian Highway Now the Egnatian Highway was one of those massive Roman accomplishments, it was a road 490 miles long. Now that would have been built by hand … The Romans had built this road as a military access to the east. It ran from the western coast of Macedonia on the Adriatic Sea to across Macedonia to the Aegean Sea up and then right across the top area there and it went right through Philippi. So Philippi was a very important area. It was an area where there was much traffic and trade and military movement. Incidentally that road was built in about 146 B.C. Another footnote on that, if you took the Egnatian west you’d finally hit the Adriatic Sea. You take a boat across the Adriatic Sea and it would connect up with another road in Italy called the Appian Way which you may be familiar with. Well, that was one long extension of highway just separated by two of those little, that little sea the Adriatic and the Aegean. And so they were well-known geographical areas.

On the Sabbath, the four men went outside the city gates to the riverside to talk to women who had gathered for prayer (verse 13). Henry’s commentary says there was no synagogue and they were not going to preach in a pagan temple. Also note that the man who appeared in Paul’s vision was not to be found in Philippi. Hence the ministry among the women. MacArthur makes an important point:

You say, – You mean that the whole gospel spread in Europe is going to begin with a bunch of women? Listen, my dear friend, the gospel spread all over the world has been beginning with women for years. Just check out the nearest list of missionaries that you have and find out. In Christ there is neither male nor female.

He says that the women were probably exiled Jews:

There’s a sad thing, you know, they loved their temple, they didn’t have that. And you remember when they had been carried off into Babylon they founded those places called synagogues, remember Psalm 137, they sat by the rivers of Babylon and yes, we wept, it says in Psalm 137. And here were some exiled and only women, no men to lead them, no men to teach them. But they faithfully met.

MacArthur surmises that Paul found out where these women worshipped. A waterside location would have also been important for them for ritual cleansing purposes.

One of the women listening to the four was Lydia from Thyatira, later home to one of the churches in Revelation. Lydia sold purple goods (verse 14). Purple goods refers to dye and/or cloth. Thyatira was a long way from Philippi. Lydia probably moved there for better business opportunities.

MacArthur tells us:

Incidentally, Thyatira was famous for purple dye. Homer in the Iliad says the art of the women in Thyatira and the area is the art of dyeing with purple. So we have historical evidence that this woman came from the right place and she did what the women in that area did.

Proper purple was reserved for the wealthiest people in those days, and there was a cheaper kind of dye for everyone else. MacArthur explains the dyeing process and thinks Lydia was involved with the cheaper dye:

There were two kinds of dyes they used. The first kind was for the rich people. You know, most of the purple stuff was for, you know, royalty and all that. And they used to extract this purple dye drop by drop from a little thing called a murex which was a shellfish. And they would catch these shellfish and they would extract drop by drop this precious purple dye and really super rich people would have purple dye from the murex shellfish for their garments. And like everything, once the elite get it all of us peons want to get in on the thing, so the next thing you know they had to come up with a second class dye and they got it from an extraction from a madder root and they used that for the commoner’s dye. Well, she was in this business. And she was the one that the Lord had in mind, unbelievable, as Paul’s first convert in Europe. God was going to begin the work with a woman

Luke included two spiritual details about Lydia: she worshipped God and she opened her heart to Paul’s words.

MacArthur thinks that Lydia was probably a Gentile who became a God-fearer, the name the Jews gave to Gentile worshippers who did not fully convert or follow all aspects of Mosaic law.

Divine grace was working in her as she took in Paul’s words. She and her household were baptised (verse 15). She then invited the four to stay at her house, provided, she said, they judged her as being faithful to the Lord. They must have been reluctant, because Lydia ‘prevailed upon us’, meaning that she insisted they be her guests.

No doubt, she wanted to learn more from them. Henry has this:

She desired an opportunity of receiving further instruction. If she might but have them for awhile in her family, she might hear them daily (Proverbs 8:34), and not merely on sabbath days at the meeting. In her own house she might not only hear them, but ask them questions; and she might have them to pray with her daily, and to bless her household. Those that know something of Christ cannot but desire to know more, and seek opportunities of increasing their acquaintance with his gospel.

MacArthur says the church in Philippi was in Lydia’s home and tells us what happened later when Paul wrote his letters to the Philippians:

Lydia’s house became the place where the church meets. Look at verse 40; “They went out of the prison and returned entered into the house of Lydia and when they had seen the brethren they comforted them and departed.” Now the church met in Lydia’s house. So Lydia became a leader in the church. The little prosukee by the river became God’s ekklesia, God’s church in Philippi. You say, – But it was only womenYou say, – Well, where are the men? Ah, they’re there, verse 40. I don’t know – they must have been in Lydia’s household and the jailor and maybe his household. They [our four preachers, referring to the next part of Acts 16, coming next week] went out of the prison and went into the house of Lydia where they had seen the what? The brethren, there’s got to be some men, that’s a collective term but if it was only women they wouldn’t have used brethren. So there were some men there. But you know, what’s interesting. In later date, that little church that began with that group of women, some of those women still wanted to run things. They did … Phil. chapter 4, you know Paul loved the church at Philippi, he just loved them so much. Look at chapter 1 for a minute verse 3; he says, Phil. 1; “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy.” He says, I’m just so excited about all of you, “For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day“, what was the first day? We’ve Just been there, haven’t we? For that first day by the river. Oh, did he love them. But he says, You’ve got one problem named Euodias and Syntyche, both ladies. Verse 1, pardon me, verse 2 of chapter 4, “I beseech Euodias and beseech Syntyche that they be of the same mind in the Lord.” Now he says, I’m going to ask you true-yoke-fellow, the Greek is suzugos and it is likely a proper name so he says, Suzugos, help those ladies, get that issue straightened out. Here were a couple of women who were problematic. Now there’s no hierarchy in the body of Christ, men and women, male and female are one in Christ. But in the church the men are set to put things in order. So he says to this man, Suzugos, you take charge over these women and get them together. They are dear women who labored with Clement and with me in the gospel.

I enjoy reading about Lydia, a great female role model from the ancient world: a good businesswoman, a good hostess — and a good Christian. The world could certainly use more Lydias.

Next time — Acts 16:35-40

Yesterday’s post about Acts 16:1-5 introduced Timothy, whom Paul invited to minister with him.

The post also discussed Timothy’s mother Eunice and grandmother Lois.

History’s Women has a good article, ‘Lois and Eunice: Passing Down a Godly Heritage’. Excerpts follow, emphases mine.

On Lois (image of Rembrandt’s Timothy and His Grandmother from 1648 courtesy of Wikipedia):

The name Lois means ‘agreeable’ or ‘desirable’. And she appears to have lived up to her name! The Apostle Paul praises her in his second letter to Timothy as one who passed on the mantle of faith to both her daughter and her grandson. While their are numerous grandmothers mentioned in the Bible, 2 Timothy is the only place where the term ‘grandmother’ is actually used.

Lois was a devout Jewess who had obviously instructed her daughter and grandson in the Old Testament Scriptures. The Scripture is silent about Lois’ husband, yet we do know that she gave her daughter a Greek name, which might indicate that he himself was Greek.

As for Eunice (image of Henry Le Jeune’s The Early Days of Timothy from the Victorian era courtesy of Wikipediafull image with Lois at Art.com):

She has a Greek name that is derived from the name Nike, which was the Greek goddess of victory. Her name actually means ‘conquering well’ and was a name expressive of a good or happy victory. Eunice, too, lived up to her name. She had victory over the immoral society in which she lived by raising a devout son.

Both of these women had a tremendous spiritual effect on Timothy:

The compelling feature of the Scriptural record of Eunice and Lois is their religious influence on Timothy. Since his father is not mentioned in connection with Timothy’s faith, it is apparent that these two godly women trained him up so that he both knew and loved God’s word. The name Timothy means ‘one who fears God’, a name obviously picked by his faithful mother. Grandmother and mother had no doubt been the teachers of his youth. His fitness to be the companion and co-worker of Paul’s finds its explanation largely in the home training and pious example given him by these two noble women. It was from them also that the young Timothy derived his first impressions of Christian truth; for Paul calls to remembrance the earnest faith which first dwelt in them.

It is important for parents to pass on solid Christian teachings to children today:

The record of Timothy demonstrates the value of positive Christian training in the home. Lois and Eunice took the responsibility to pass on their faith very seriously and as a result they raised up a young man to become a servant of Christ. For this, they have gone down in history as outstanding mothers and great women of faith.

The world needs more Eunices and Loises — not to mention Timothys — today.

Last week, a certain Democrat senator was accused of something deeply unpleasant:

Good point.

Now, for Imperator_Rex’s analysis of predators, most of which follows:

He also warns about fake victims who speak through lawyers, something a real victim would not do:

It is fascinating how these sexual predator scandals have come out of the woodwork since 2016. It’s akin to a release — an exposure — of demons.

Pray that these powerful people are dealt with according to the law, which now only seems to apply to us — the little people, the great unwashed.

Returning to the Twitter thread, however, I hope this helps us spot predators more easily. I had not considered all of the characteristics, but, with the examples given, they ring true.

 

In July 2017, a then-Google employee, James Damore, wrote a ten-page essay, including footnotes, about Google’s approach to diversity.

While other sites posted abridged versions, you can read ‘Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber’ in full here and here: recommended reading for all.

Consider that things like this are happening — or could so easily happen — i.e. blacklists, suggested in this supposed joke:

Summary

James Damore’s perspective is one of promoting diversity but doing it in a realistic, individualised way that looks at people’s strengths and perceived weaknesses — and making good use of both. He wrote that his commentary pertained only to the Mountain View, California location where he works.

Two excerpts follow. The first is the introduction:

I value diversity and inclusion, am not denying that sexism exists, and don’t endorse using stereotypes. When addressing the gap in representation in the population, we need to look at population level differences in distributions. If we can’t have an honest discussion about this, then we can never truly solve the problem.

Psychological safety is built on mutual respect and acceptance, but unfortunately our culture of shaming and misrepresentation is disrespectful and unaccepting of anyone outside its echo chamber.

Despite what the public response seems to have been, I’ve gotten many personal messages from fellow Googlers expressing their gratitude for bringing up these very important issues which they agree with but would never have the courage to say or defend because of our shaming culture and the possibility of being fired. This needs to change.

The second is this brief part from his detailed conclusion:

I hope it’s clear that I’m not saying that diversity is bad, that Google or society is 100% fair, that we shouldn’t try to correct for existing biases, or that minorities have the same experience of those in the majority. My larger point is that we have an intolerance for ideas and evidence that don’t fit a certain ideology. I’m also not saying that we should restrict people to certain gender roles; I’m advocating for quite the opposite: treat people as individuals, not as just another member of their group (tribalism).

Heavy summarised his detailed conclusion as follows:

He suggested Google do the following: De-moralize diversity; stop alienating conservatives; confront its biases; stop restricting programs and classes to certain genders or races; have an open and honest discussion about the costs and benefits of its diversity programs; focus on psychological safety, not just race/gender diversity; de-emphasize empathy; prioritize intention; be open about the science of human nature; and reconsider making Unconscious Bias training mandatory for promo committees.

Reaction

This is a summary of the reaction by Damore’s colleagues:

On Saturday, August 5, Business Insider reported on the reaction from certain Google employees (tweets at the link):

Google employees are up in arms after a senior engineer at the company penned an anti-diversity manifesto that has spread through the company like wildfire.

At that time, no one knew the author’s identity because only excerpts were available. Business Insider contacted Google for comment:

A Google spokesperson referred Business Insider to internal memos posted by Google’s head of diverisity, Danielle Brown, as well as to an internal post by Ari Balogh, a Google VP of engineering.

Business Insider found out about the document from Vice‘s Motherboard, whose team saw it at Gizmodo.

Dilbert’s Scott Adams tweeted the link to the Business Insider article:

On Monday, August 7, Google fired Damore. Bloomberg reports:

James Damore, the Google engineer who wrote the note, confirmed his dismissal in an email, saying that he had been fired for “perpetuating gender stereotypes.” He said he’s “currently exploring all possible legal remedies” …

Earlier on Monday, Google CEO Sundar Pichai sent a note to employees that said portions of the memo “violate our Code of Conduct and cross the line by advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace.” But he didn’t say if the company was taking action against the employee. A Google representative, asked about the dismissal, referred to Pichai’s memo.

Damore’s 10-page memorandum accused Google of silencing conservative political opinions and argued that biological differences play a role in the shortage of women in tech and leadership positions. It circulated widely inside the company and became public over the weekend, causing a furor that amplified the pressure on Google executives to take a more definitive stand.

After the controversy swelled, Danielle Brown, Google’s new vice president for diversity, integrity and governance, sent a statement to staff condemning Damore’s views and reaffirmed the company’s stance on diversity. In internal discussion boards, multiple employees said they supported firing the author, and some said they would not choose to work with him, according to postings viewed by Bloomberg News.

“We are unequivocal in our belief that diversity and inclusion are critical to our success as a company,” Brown said in the statement. “We’ll continue to stand for that and be committed to it for the long haul.”

It looks as if Google might have been trying to protect themselves:

The memo and surrounding debate comes as Google fends off a lawsuit from the U.S. Department of Labor alleging the company systemically discriminates against women. Google has denied the charges, arguing that it doesn’t have a gender gap in pay, but has declined to share full salary information with the government. According to the company’s most recent demographic report, 69 percent of its workforce and 80 percent of its technical staff are male.

However, Bloomberg stated that the subject of diverse opinions at Google arose during their shareholder meeting in June (emphases mine):

A shareholder asked executives whether conservatives would feel welcome at the company. Executives disagreed with the idea that anyone wouldn’t.

“The company was founded under the principles of freedom of expression, diversity, inclusiveness and science-based thinking,” Alphabet Chairman Eric Schmidt said at the time. “You’ll also find that all of the other companies in our industry agree with us.”

Yes, and that is the problem. I have read anecdotally from conservative Silicon Valley employees that they keep their heads down and get on with the work. They said they would not dare to discuss social issues or politics and do their best to fit in with the prevailing culture because they like their work.

Heavy says that Damore told a New York Times reporter:

he will likely take legal action against Google. He said he believes the company acted illegally by firing him.

“I have a legal right to express my concerns about the terms and conditions of my working environment and to bring up potentially illegal behavior, which is what my document does,” Damore told the New York Times. He said he wrote the memo to start an “honest discussion” about what he believes to be Google’s intolerance for ideas that don’t fit into its left-leaning biases, according to the Times.

Damore told the Times he submitted a complaint to the National Labor Relations Board before he was fired, claiming Google’s upper management was “misrepresenting and shaming me in order to silence my complaints.” He said it is “illegal to retaliate” against a complaint made to the NLRB.

An account to help with his legal fees is now open on WeSearchr.com.

Twitter lit up.

Alternative media’s Mike Cernovich had this pertinent comment:

A young woman took exception to Google employees who were happy about Damore’s dismissal:

A professor of evolutionary psychology defended Damore:

Who is James Damore?

Heavy tells us that Damore is originally from Illinois.

He graduated from the prestigious — and rigorous — Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy in 2007.

He was also a chess champion in his youth:

As a child, Damore was a chess champion, earning the FIDE Master title, putting him in the >99th percentile, according to his CV. He won regional tournaments in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007, and finished second in the Nation Youth Action 2003 Chess Tournament.

He graduated with high honours from the University of Illinois:

he graduated in 2010 in the top 3 percent of his class with a degree in molecular and cellular biology, according to his CV. He graduated as a James Scholar and was given the Bronze Tablet, the highest awards given to graduates, he said.

He then enrolled in a graduate programme at Harvard University:

Damore also pursued his Ph.D. in systems biology from Harvard University in from 2011 to 2013, according to his Linkedin profile. He is listed in the alumni section of the Harvard Systems Biology Ph.D. program, but it is not clear if he completed the degree.

He was employed as a researcher at Harvard, MIT and Princeton:

He published two research papers while working at Jeff Gore’s biophysics laboratory at MIT in 2011 and 2012: “Understanding microbial cooperation” and “A slowly evolving host moves first in symbiotic interactions.”

He says that he has “Senior or graduate level knowledge of biology, physics, chemistry, mathematics, game theory, and computer programming.”

He was delighted to be offered a job at Google in December 2013:

“Flying home tonight and starting at Google in two weeks, so excited,” he wrote on Facebook. Damore worked on infrastructure for Google’s search product, according to the New York Times.

Heavy delved into Damore’s Facebook musings and posted a few of them. Not surprisingly, this genius is an introvert, although not without friends. He also tries to make life as efficient a process as possible. He does not like to waste time. He is also an artist and posts his charcoal drawings on Facebook.

Instant popularity and job offers

James Damore’s Google memo has made him a national hero.

He has attracted the attention of many online, including Julian Assange:

Gab — similar to Twitter but less censorious — also wants to interview Damore:

It looks as if James Damore has an even brighter future ahead of him. I wish him all the best and applaud him for his guts.

Wow.

After a two-week break which was largely free from US news, I return to find that things across the pond are as crazy as ever.

First, a reminder that fake news — then known as yellow journalism — existed a century ago:

The New York World — long since defunct — is the press organ that supposedly came up with the eponymous World Series for baseball. Ironically, Joseph Pulitzer — of the esteemed journalism prize — was the paper’s publisher. The World was a leading national ‘voice’ of the Democratic Party. Enough said.

Now onto the week’s news.

Anyone who is sensitive or easily triggered is advised to avoid some of the material in this post, particularly the first few news items. That said, this entry ends on a positive note.

White supremacy ends with white abortion

I really hope the following article is yellow journalism and nothing more but, with all the madness going on, it is difficult to be sure.

An online magazine, Medusa, has an article called ‘Beyond Pro-Choice: The Solution to White Supremacy is White Abortion’. I hope Tucker Carlson is able to get the author, Nicole Valentine, on his Fox News show.

In response, alternative media journalist and author Jack Posobiec tweeted:

Valentine says that white women are not doing enough:

White women: it is time to do your part! Your white children reinforce the white supremacist society that benefits you. If you claim to be progressive, and yet willingly birth white children by your own choice, you are a hypocrite. White women should be encouraged to abort their white children, and to use their freed-up time and resources to assist women of color who have no other choice but to raise their children. Women of color are in need of financial and humanitarian resources. As this white supremacist society continues to imprison black fathers, women of color are forced to stand alone in their plight to raise the next generation of Americans.

But why is that? It is because the welfare state has benefited single mothers since the late 1960s, discouraging traditional marriage and the family. For nearly 50 years, women have been ‘married’ to the government, not a (or the) father of their children.

Valentine continues:

How about adopting children of color who have lost their parents to the destructive white supremacist society that you have enabled and encouraged?

However, that, too, has been criticised both in the United States and the United Kingdom, especially when a white couple does so.

Valentine concludes:

Of course, the best choice is to act preventatively to ensure that white children are not at risk of being born. But in circumstances in which termination and generation are the options, it is best to take advantage of your right to choose, and abort in favor of assisting women of color.

This is her brief autobiography located beneath the comments (photo supplied):

Nicole Valentine

Worship Leader for the Progressive Women’s Christian Ministry at my college, intersectional feminist, dedicated to Jesus and the progressive movement as a whole! Also an advocate for AAPI rights as a woman of color! Jesus, women, and progress: basically my life! White men need not contact.

Not a Christian attitude.

For those wondering what intersectional feminism means, USA Today explains:

If feminism is advocating for women’s rights and equality between the sexes, intersectional feminism is the understanding of how women’s overlapping identities — including race, class, ethnicity, religion and sexual orientation — impact the way they experience oppression and discrimination.

A white woman is penalized by her gender but has the advantage of race. A black woman is disadvantaged by her gender and her race. A Latina lesbian experiences discrimination because of her ethnicity, her gender and her sexual orientation.

The United States has had a plethora of laws on state and federal books, some of which date back 50+ years, that clearly prohibit racial, sexual as well as age discrimination and, in some cases, favour positive discrimination.

White professors should ‘get out the way’

An article on the American Mathematical Society blog says that whites should step aside from teaching. It should be noted that:

The opinions expressed on this blog are the views of the writer(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the American Mathematical Society.

In May 2017, mathematician Piper Harron wrote ‘Get Out The Way’ for the AMS blog. (She wrote a follow-up in June on her own website.) She opened her AMS article with this:

If you are a white cis man (meaning you identify as male and you were assigned male at birth) you almost certainly should resign from your position of power. That’s right, please quit. Too difficult? Well, as a first step, at least get off your hiring committee, your curriculum committee, and make sure you’re replaced by a woman of color or trans person. Don’t have any in your department? HOW SHOCKING.

Remember that you live in a world where people don’t succeed in a vacuum; most success happens on the backs of others who did not consent. You have no idea how successful you would have been if you were still you, but with an additional marginalization (not white, or not male, or not cis gender, or with a disability, etc).

In other words, echoing POTUS 44: ‘You didn’t build this’.

Also:

Remember having white cis women run the world is no kind of solution.

This is because — and she supplies an accompanying chart — 63% of white males and 53% of white females support President Donald Trump.

It is highly unlikely that (m)any whites teaching in a college or university support Donald Trump. Not long ago, I met with a group of professors (white and Hispanic, male and female). None of them supports Trump.

Next?

More calls for president’s assassination — one arrest

As we know, the calls for President Trump to be assassinated have been incessant.

What that man and his family have to endure every day for no good reason is beyond our ken. Please continue to pray for their safety.

With a rewrite of a Shakespearean play which recently ran in Central Park about a Trump assassination, Kathy Griffin’s sick video of his ‘decapitation’ and the attempt on Republican congressman Steve Scalise’s and others’ lives, Johnny Depp decided to ‘joke’ at the Glastonbury music and cinema festival in the west of England.

USA Today reports:

Speaking onstage Thursday at Glastonbury Festival in Somerset, England, Depp stepped into controversy with jokes aimed at President Trump that addressed presidential assassination.

“Can we bring Trump here?” Depp asked the crowd at the festival.

“I think he needs help,” Depp said, according to video posted online. “This is going to be in the press and it’ll be horrible. But I like that you’re all a part of it. When was the last time an actor assassinated a president?” …

The Associated Press reported that Depp then added it’s “been a while, and maybe it’s time.”

Actor John Wilkes Booth assassinated President Abraham Lincoln in 1865.

Depp’s representative did not immediately respond to USA TODAY’s request for comment about Depp’s jokes.

For Depp fans currently out of the loop:

The actor has been in the headlines this year following his contentious divorce from ex-wife Amber Heard and a lawsuit with his former business managers. Depp sued the Management Group in January for more than $25 million, charging fraud and negligence.

Sad.

Meanwhile, an Edwardsville, Illinois, man was arrested and charged with threatening to kill President Trump. The Belleville News-Democrat reports:

Joseph Lynn Pickett was charged with threatening the president of the United States on June 15.

U.S. Secret Service Special Agent Vincent Pescitelli said Pickett threatened to “take the life of, to kidnap, and to inflict bodily harm” against Trump on Facebook, according to a criminal complaint filed with the charges. The complaint included screenshots of Pickett’s Facebook posts.

Breaking 911 says:

A judge has ordered Pickett be held without bail.

Both articles have his Facebook comments. Fortunately — perhaps, ‘finally’ — the Secret Service reacted.

Like Depp, Pickett also had his personal problems. The Belleville News-Democrat tells us (emphases mine below):

Until about six to eight months ago, Pickett had been working at Lowe’s in Granite City until he was fired for making threats to a coworker, according to the complaint.

Two Lowe’s employees contacted the St. Louis chapter of the U.S. Secret Service and told them that Pickett had threatening posts on his Facebook page. They also said he had bragged about having weapons.

A financial affadavit submitted to the court says Pickett has not been employed since February. He got by with food stamps and financial support from his father.

Pickett will be detained until his trial, according to court documents. A judge ruled that Pickett should be detained because the court couldn’t ensure the safety of other people in the community and because of “mental instability.”

Good on the Lowe’s employees.

Would the Secret Service had done anything otherwise?

One wonders if the Secret Service would have paid Depp a visit if he still lived in the US.

Trump remembers Scalise at Congressional Picnic

On Thursday, June 22, the Trumps hosted their first Congressional Picnic at the White House, which included Ivanka ‘Vanilla’ (see here and here) Trump and her daughter:

The video below is of President Trump’s remarks:

In his short speech, Trump remembered Steve Scalise, in hospital for the foreseeable future, after the shooting on Wednesday, June 14:

On June 22, the Free Beacon reported that 30 Republican congressmen have been threatened or attacked since the beginning of May. There is no excuse for that. Few arrests have been made.

These are the latest two attacks (language alert, emphases in purple mine):

June 22: An Ohio man was arrested for leaving a voicemail threatening the life and family of Rep. Steve Stivers (Ohio).

“We’re coming to get every goddamn one of you and your families. Maybe the next one taken down will be your daughter. Huh? Or your wife. Or even you,” the man said.

The same day, Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz played a threatening voicemail he had received on “Fox & Friends.”

“I suggest you prepare for the battle motherf**ker, and the apocalypse,” the caller yelled. “Because we are going to hunt your ass down, wrap a rope around your neck, and hang you from a lamppost.”

Jeffrey Epstein update

On June 22, federal prosecutors broke their decade-long silence regarding the soft treatment billionaire Jeffrey Epstein — a close friend of Billary Clinton — received after his intimate involvement with teenage girls.

The Palm Beach Post reports (emphases mine):

Contrary to claims by attorneys representing two of Epstein’s victims in a lawsuit against the federal government, Assistant U.S. Attorney Marie Villafana said she and her superiors were trying to help the traumatized young women when they agreed to let Epstein plead guilty to state prostitution charges.

The now-64-year-old money manager, who spends most of his time on his estate in the Virgin Islands, served 13 months of an 18-month sentence in the Palm Beach County Stockade. He was allowed to leave each day to go to work.

Hoping to persuade U.S. District Judge Kenneth Marra to throw out the lawsuit that accuses the government of violating the federal Crime Victims Rights Act, Villafana said she tried to keep Epstein’s victims informed about the investigation and the eventual plea deal. But, she said, negotiations were sensitive and neither Epstein, his victims nor their attorneys made it easy.

For instance, she said, most of the young women were extremely reluctant — or simply refused — to testify against Epstein, who had paid them to give him sexually-charged massages at his mansion …

Jane Doe 1, who is also suing the government, agreed to testify. But Villafana said one victim wouldn’t have been enough to convict Epstein.

Rather than let Epstein use his considerable influence to evade prosecution, she and top officials at the U.S. Justice Department crafted the plea deal.

In exchange for pleading guilty to charges of solicitation of prostitution and soliciting minors to engage in prostitution in Palm Beach County Circuit Court, Epstein was not charged with any federal counts.

The article says that Epstein’s legal team will file a response at the end of July.

New US ambassador to the UK

In more neutral news, President Trump has appointed a new ambassador to the UK who succeeds Matthew Barzun, an Obama bundler and National Finance Chair for his 2012 presidential campaign.

It would have been nice if Trump had promoted a career diplomat to this plum position, however, the president chose to go down the same route of selecting a big campaign donor.

New York Jets owner Woody Johnson is the new man in London:

Bloomberg reports that, in 2016:

Johnson backed Trump when Bush dropped out of the race. He gave $349,000 to Trump Victory, which split donations between Trump’s campaign, the Republican National Committee and state Republican parties. The committee reported receiving the bulk of the money ($249,000) on Nov. 10, 2016, two days after Trump’s election, according to Federal Election Commission records.

Perhaps Trump thinks that Johnson will be a true ally who can help smooth over the cracks in the US/UK relationship which no one can call ‘special’ right now:

Johnson will step into challenges that have arisen in the six months since Trump took office, notably how to stabilize the U.S.-U.K. relationship in the post-Brexit world and how to win over Britons who have shown open hostility toward the U.S. president.

A planned state visit to the U.K. by Trump still hasn’t been formally scheduled, and no reference to it was made by Queen Elizabeth II during her speech to parliament this week — an omission observers noted as a departure from tradition in advance of state visits.

I hope my fellow Britons will be nice to him. I wish him all the best in his assignment.

I also hope that Mr Johnson enjoys lamb, because its frequency at many British dinners deeply disappointed Mr Barzun, who clearly prefers beef.

And finally …

The notional White House Anon who surfaced briefly on 4chan/pol/ made a second — and, perhaps, final — appearance on June 22 to say:

I’m here to let you know that sometime between right now as I type this, or no later than around 2 pm tomorrow, you will either read about, listen to, or watch a news story. You will probably see it first on Twitter from a few well known conservative (right wing) people. It will break on cable news shortly after. I cannot go in to specifics. I know most of you all support President Trump, so have no worries on the matter. This information will completely shift the narrative away from him and any of his staff. You will all be very happy and excited about this as many of us have and will too. Look forward to many happenings next week. Things are about to shift in a direction Democrats are going to hate. It will be lovely. Big happenings, not just silly things like “Russia” hoax or “Yet another terrorist attack has happened”. Most of you all have been waiting for a happening like this for a year or more, and people will be talking about this for years to come. Stay thirsty my friends. Promises made, promises kept.

I really hope Anon is legit. With only two appearances, it was hard to tell. Even FBI Anon was considered suspect after several lengthy postings, even though it seems he was right on the money.

In closing, The_Donald‘s contributors remind us that June 23 is Britain’s first anniversary of Brexit! Thanks, chaps!

Mother’s Day in the US — Sunday, May 14, 2017 — brought tributes to President Donald Trump’s mother Mary on The_Donald which included this tweet:

I did a little more digging and found two interesting videos on the former Mary Anne McLeod (1912-2000), who emigrated from the Isle of Lewis in 1930 and arrived in New York to live with her sister Catherine on Long Island.

Mary worked as a domestic servant, possibly as a nanny to a wealthy family. She lost her job during the Depression, but presumably was re-employed in another household.

Catherine introduced Mary to the enterprising property developer Fred Trump at a dance a few years later. The two fell in love and married in 1936. They moved to Jamaica Estates in Queens. Mary was a homemaker and charity volunteer.

The following video describes Mary McLeod’s family history, going back to the 19th century:

Genealogist John Lawton, cited in the film, says that no one on Lewis used surnames until the 19th century. Mary McLeod’s ancestors were Smiths and McLeods. The men worked as fishermen and crofters in the 19th century. Many families were relocated on the island during that time, and Mary’s ancestors ended up in Tong, a village three miles away from Stornoway.

In the early 20th century following the First World War, so many of Lewis’s young men had lost their lives that it was difficult for the island to revive their fishing industry and crofting. That was also true of other Scottish islands in the Outer Hebrides.

Most young people, including young women, left for North America to pursue a better life. Mary, Catherine and another sister left at different times for the United States. It is unclear what happened to their other seven siblings.

Their parents ran a small shop in the village, and the croft house still stands. Mary’s cousins live there now but do not give interviews about the Trump family.

Locals say that the McLeods were better off than most in the village. Certainly, the family homestead is larger than one would expect, but with 12 people living there, there was probably just enough room for everyone.

Mary’s first language was Gaelic. She returned to visit family 20 times once she moved to New York and always spoke Gaelic during her stay on Lewis. She also attended church on every trip.

The next video describes more about Fred and Mary Trump’s home life and the influence they had on the US president:

Fred Trump had firm ideas on how Mary was to run the household and raise their five children. Mary had to give him a daily report on the children’s behaviour.

Their daughters — Maryanne and Elizabeth — were closer to their mother than the three boys, Fred Jr, Donald and Robert. Fred took the boys to his building sites to pick up discarded nails and bottles. Fred gave the nails back to the workmen to straighten out and reuse. The boys collected deposit money for the bottles. Fred raised the boys to be tough. He lost his own father at the age of 13 and went into business with his mother at the age of 15. By the age of 18, he had built and sold his first house.

As a child, Donald doubted his mother’s intelligence, because, she was, after all, either at home or volunteering for charity. His sister Maryanne set him straight one day and told him things he didn’t know or hadn’t noticed about Mary. He changed his mind and began looking at his mother in a new light.

Mary later went to work for Fred. She would ride in her chauffeur-driven Rolls Royce to the various Trump properties to collect the coins from the washing machines. She was known to wear fur coats on these trips. As she grew older, her personal style became more extravagant. She was also known to be the life and soul of the party, but in a congenial way, making everyone feel comfortable.

Donald picked up a lot from both parents, which affected his own family life. Donald Trump, like his father Fred, is the head of his household. What he says goes. Like Fred, he, too, expected his own children to behave in a certain way that would not disgrace the family. He wanted his wives to be mothers first and foremost. They were also active in charity work.

What the video did not say was that Mary gave her five children Bible lessons. Trump was sworn in on that Bible on Inauguration Day, with the Lincoln Bible underneath it.

The following video shows what he inherited from his mother — facial expressions and hairstyle:

Mary gave a short interview to two Irish people. This took place at her son’s Taj Mahal resort in Atlantic City in 1994. (Three years earlier, at the age of 79, she had been the victim of a brutal mugging. She tried to fight off a 16-year-old mugger and sustained severe injuries, some of which were permanent. Fortunately, a delivery driver came to her rescue and apprehended the assailant. Donald paid off the man’s mortgage as a reward.)

In the video, Mary says that she was always close to the Irish people in the New York area. She was a personal friend of the man in the video, who is a singer and was performing at the Taj Mahal.

Mary says that she and Donald even went to a benefit for the Carmelite nuns in New York and raised a substantial sum of money for them. This seems to be where he got his admiration for Catholics, even though Mary was a Presbyterian and the children were also raised in that denomination.

Her son has picked up her talent for being courteous and generous with everyone.

I quite like the Instagram that President Trump posted on Sunday showing the First Lady and their son Barron. It’s clear that Barron idolises his mother — and quite rightly. Melania tweeted the photo:

The second video above said that Trump idolised his mother and that part of the reason for his earlier marriage difficulties was that no woman could possibly measure up to Mary.

The same could happen with young Barron. Melania will be a tough act to follow.

Further reading:

Mary Anne McLeod Trump (Wikipedia)

Daily Mail story on Trump’s Scottish golf course (2013)

On Friday, May 12, 2017 President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump hosted a reception for active-duty troops, their spouses and mothers at the White House.

Mother’s Day was on May 14 in the US, and Mrs Trump’s speech touched on that beautifully:

As everyone in this room knows, mother is a title that claims your heart and changes your life forever. In fact, it has been said that having a child means allowing your heart to walk around outside of your body.

She added:

For the mothers of someone who has or is serving our country, this must be especially true …

However, I have no idea what kind of different challenges each of you must face as the parent of a soldier. And while you stand with many other parents, so strong and so proud, I am sure that you sometimes march on this journey alone. While your sons and daughters are away serving so selflessly, having a community share even some of that burden must make all the difference in the world.

I want to know – I want you to know, you’re among that community today and we are all so proud to be part of it with you. I also want to say thank you for all that you do, for your selflessness and for your own sacrifice on behalf of our country. Let today’s celebration with this community of strong and selfless moms be a first step in building the relationships and – and in your knowing that my husband and I, along with the vice president and Mrs. Pence and everyone here at the White House, hold you close in our hearts and thoughts each and every day.

Here’s the video:

.

I hope they were able to see the White House Movie Theater, which was opened to the public for the first time that day.

It’s heartening to see the Trump White House give the military and their families such deep consideration.

April was the Month of the Military Child and May is Military Appreciation Month in the United States, so the Trumps and the Pences have been holding a number of events for service personnel, their families and veterans.

I do not understand how people still cannot see that the current administration is working for the benefit of all Americans.

Follow the White House site and Twitter feeds to see all the news that Big Media fail to report to the American public.

Over the past few weeks I have been running a series of posts on Percy Dearmer‘s 1912 volume, Everyman’s History of the Prayer Book, published by Mowbray.

These are the previous posts in the series:

Percy Dearmer on the Anglican Thirty-nine Articles of Religion

Percy Dearmer on the title page of the Book of Common Prayer

Percy Dearmer on the title page of the Book of Common Prayer – part 1

Percy Dearmer on the title page of the Book of Common Prayer – part 2

Percy Dearmer on the earliest church service manuscripts

That last post referenced Chapter 4 of Dearmer’s book. That chapter has so much information in it that it will be the subject of my next few Sunday night posts.

What caught my eye — and is the subject of today’s entry — is Dearmer’s sound interpretation of St Paul’s instruction regarding prophecy and tongues from 1 Corinthians 14. (I use the ESV.)

Dearmer defines both terms for us.

Prophecy:

probably resembling the utterances and prayers which break the silence of a Quakers’ meeting (or of those “quiet meetings” which are now happily being revived in the Church of England), as it is mentioned in 1 Cor. xiv. 1, 29, 1 Thess. v. 20, and in 1 Cor. xi. 4 …

Tongues:

which we see by 1 Cor. xiv. 23-39, were already becoming somewhat of a babel, and are unfavourably compared by St. Paul with Prophecy …

For each, Dearmer went on to explain what St Paul meant in 1 Corinthians 14:34:

the women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says.

This passage is contentious, especially today with the contrast between certain fundamentalist notions of ‘federal’ (‘male’) headship and women’s active participation in church services, particularly those who have been ordained in certain denominations.

Dearmer provides suitable historic explanations, particular to the Corinthians.

With regard to prophecy (emphases mine):

This passage is interesting because it shows that the Apostle’s injunction, “Let your women keep silence in the churches” (1 Cor. xiv. 34), did not mean that they were not to take any part in the service, but referred to a habit which had grown up amongst the women, of chattering during service time

The men then joined in with tongues:

the men, it seems from the context, interrupted by babbling with “tongues,” or by all prophesying at once

One exacerbated the other:

and then the women increased the confusion by asking questions about what they meant — which is not to be wondered at

Paul gave the Corinthians specific instructions on both in 1 Corinthians 14.

Paul valued prophecy over tongues (verse 5), because prophecy built up, encouraged and consoled the whole congregation (verse 3).

He told those speaking in tongues that they needed to be ready to interpret what they had just uttered, so that the rest of the congregation could understand (verses 13-17).

This is interesting:

18 I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you. 19 Nevertheless, in church I would rather speak five words with my mind in order to instruct others, than ten thousand words in a tongue.

Remember that, in Acts 2:12-13, about which I wrote in December 2016, the 70 who received the Holy Spirit at the first Pentecost began speaking in foreign languages — tongues. Some of the Jews ridiculed them because they did not understand the languages spoken. They said these holy followers of Jesus were intoxicated on new wine.

With that in mind, Paul exhorts the Corinthians to be mindful of what they say and how they say it (verse 23):

If, therefore, the whole church comes together and all speak in tongues, and outsiders or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are out of your minds?

Paul made a clear distinction between tongues and prophecy. Each was for a different audience. Tongues, he said, were for unbelievers’ ears (verse 21, citing Isaiah 28:11, Deuteronomy 28:49). Prophecy was for the believers. Paul says that both, done properly, would have a dramatic effect on the listener:

24 But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or outsider enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all, 25 the secrets of his heart are disclosed, and so, falling on his face, he will worship God and declare that God is really among you.

That is what happened in the early chapters of Acts and what Paul wanted the Corinthians to achieve.

He wanted them to speak in an orderly fashion and maintain silence rather than speak idly (‘Oooh, I wonder what that was about?’):

27 If any speak in a tongue, let there be only two or at most three, and each in turn, and let someone interpret. 28 But if there is no one to interpret, let each of them keep silent in church and speak to himself and to God. 29 Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others weigh what is said. 30 If a revelation is made to another sitting there, let the first be silent. 31 For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all be encouraged, 32 and the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets. 33 For God is not a God of confusion but of peace.

40 But all things should be done decently and in order.

1 Corinthians 14 also gives us an idea of the worship of Paul’s converts:

26 What then, brothers? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up.

From these early practices — ‘done decently and in order’ — a liturgy began developing which became fuller and more structured as the Church matured. An orderly worship benefited everyone in the congregation.

Next week’s post will describe New Testament Christian worship in more detail.

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