Saturday, 22 December 2007

This is Scary...

...Pitiful and frustrating that this story is even there to present. From the Age to Come...
...a few years later, I did have an abortion. I was a single mother, working and pursuing a path to ordination in the Episcopal Church. The potential father was not someone I would have married;(!!!) he would have been no better a candidate for fatherhood than my daughter's absent father. The timing was wrong, the man was wrong, and I easily, though not happily, made the decision to terminate the pregnancy.

I have not the slightest regret about either of these decisions, nor the slightest guilt. I felt sorrow and loss at the time of my abortion, but less so than when I'd miscarried some years earlier. Both of my choices, I believe, were right for me and my circumstances: morally correct in their context, practical, and fruitful in their outcomes.

That is, both choices were choices for life: in the first instance, I chose for the life of the unborn child; in the second, I chose for my own vocational life, my economic stability, and my mental and emotional health and wholeness. (emphasis mine, JK)

The Reverend Fowler's profile is Here...

Reverend Anne Carroll Fowler is an Episcopal priest and Rector of St. John's Church in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts and is currently co-convener of the Pro-Choice Religious Leadership Council of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice. She is also a member of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice Speakers Bureau. She is a former member of the Boards of Preterm and Planned Parenthood and of the Ethics Committee at Faulkner Hospital, a former chair of the Women-in-Crisis Committee and the Sexuality Study Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts. She is a participant in the Public Conversations Project, the ongoing dialogue among "pro-life" and pro-choice leaders in Boston. She is also President of the Board of the Massachusetts Religious Coalition for the Freedom to Marry.

"Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter." (Isaiah 5:20)

Pray without ceasing. Pray that people's eyes would be opened to see the difference between servants of Satan and servants of righteousness.

Take Care

Chesterton for Christmas

"The great majority of people will go on observing forms that cannot be explained; they will keep Christmas Day with Christmas gifts and Christmas benedictions; they will continue to do it; and some day suddenly wake up and discover why." - "On Christmas," Generally Speaking

Lord Willing

Take Care

Monday, 17 December 2007

What Are The Odds?

Women's spines evolved to curve as fetus grows

I wonder how evolutionists explain the evolutionary mechanism involved in this story.

According to my understanding of evolutionary theory, a female would have been born with a mutation; namely, vertabra(e), "reinforced and slightly curved." This mutation would then have been passed on to her female offspring only, not her male offspring. As the article says, men do not have this spinal attribute.

Would that mutation have been one vertabra, some of them,or conveniently, all of them at once. If only one, then how many mutations must have occurred before all lower vertabrae were suitably curved and reinforced?

Would this have been while our 'ancestors' walked upright or on all fours? If while they walked upright, how did they survive before this mutation. Would this mutation have been valuable enough so that 100% all 'non-curved- females were eventually eliminated while only 'curved-spined' females survived. Females must have been bearing children for any number of years prior to this mutation, and most of the species would have continued to bear offspring, and survive, for any number of years afterward.

I assume that "all" females today, of every race, have this particular spinal 'adaptation.' If that is so, then all women today must have had this first mutated female as a common ancestor. Or are we to assume that this mutation occurred simultaneously in multiple females.

Whitcombe says, ""The whole point of an adaptation isn't to be perfect, or optimally designed, but just to be better,..." (emphasis mine), but remember that an adaptation is not purposeful at all, but just an accident that sticks.

If this occurred before our 'ancestors' walked upright, what would have been the evolutionary point of it. If both males and females were quadripeds, and this mutation occurred only in the female, what was it that first made her stand up on two legs? Why would she do it. Did this first 'curved and reinforced-spined' female just decide to stand up as soon as her fetus grew to more than 3 pounds, while all the rest of her species, male and female, were crawling around on all fours? What a rebel!

I would love to have this explained to me in a believable manner.

Take Care

Smile of the Day

Or, Someone's Bible must be gathering dust (II)
Runner's World magazine occasionally interviews 'celebrity' runners. this month's was with the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, leader of the Episcopal Church in the USA.

One of the questions, along with her answer:
RW: Do you have a favorite Bible passage that inspires you to get out and run?
KJS: There's a wonderful passage in the Psalms that says, "Beautiful are the feet of one who brings good news." (emphasis mine: JK)

The passage to which the Most Reverend refers is not in Psalms, but Isaiah 52:7. Oh well, she only missed it by about 4 books. Now, mind you, I may have missed the reference as well but then, well... I'm not the head of a church.

Read it all here...

Take Care,
h/t: TitusOneNine

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Neil Young and G. K. Chesterton

My last post, which mentioned child sacrifice in pre-Columbian South- and Latin-American civilizations brought me through a somewhat circuitous route of thought, to this one. I thought of Neil Young’s song, Cortez the Killer, and I remembered something G. K. Chesterton said in his book, “The Everlasting Man.”

From the chapter, “The Demons and the Philosohpers”, Chesterton writes,
But those who criticise (the history of)… their own civilisation have a curious habit of not merely doing their legitimate duty in condemning its crimes, but of going out of their way to idealise its victims.

On the other hand, Young's lyrics include,

And the women all were beautiful,
And the men stood straight and strong...

And later...
Hate was just a legend
and war was never known;

There is this notion that because a civilization was more primitive, or was not our own, or has faded far enough back into the mists of history, that it was somehow more innocent. We view it as we might a fading wedding picture, shot through a gauze filter with all the sharp edges softened. We seem to have a need for some kind of masochistic disparagement of our own history. Driven by a collective societal guilt we look back with anachronistic eyes and focus selectively on the wrongs of our own forefathers, as if all but they were pure and innocent.

We see the Spanish as great killers, massacring the Aztecs, the Incas and the Mayans, yet those civilizations as somehow pure and innocent. This is not to excuse Cortez or others, but those civilizations were not innocent. They all practised human sacrifice and slavery themselves. And their victims were truly more innocent than they. Most were children.

All mankind is evil - has been since the fall – and continues to be. This applies to every race, in every place, in every generation since the first. No one is innocent. And mankind, in his own strength, is powerless to change this plight. It is our nature.

It took God Himself, becoming a man in the person of Jesus Christ to make it possible for things to be set right.
For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! (Romans 5:10, NIV)

Take Care

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

"...That they May Have Death..." (Again)

Compare to John 10:10

Teen dead after alleged attack by father
Child sacrifice in the name of Allah or in the name of Molech or some Mayan god a is a child sacrifice, is a child sacrifice, is a child sacrifice.

If only everyone could know the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ, instead of such anger, and now, pain. Pray that they might.

Take Care.

h/t to The Muse

Sunday, 9 December 2007

Two Letters

California diocese leaves Episcopals in historic split
This is not news to some of you. The vote took place Yesterday )Saturday) and much more extensive coverage and discussion can be found at two links at the bottom of my blog, Stand Firm and TitusOneNine.

But I wanted to publish two letters written in the days leading up to the historic convention.

The first, here... was written by The Most Reverend Katharine Jefferts Schori (KJS), Primate of The Episcopal Church to Bishop John Schofield of the Diocese of San Joachin.

The second, here is Bp Schofield's reply.

See what you think of them. As for me, and speaking only of the letter, not the writer, KJS's letter seemed like a cold wind that gave me the shivers. The reply seemed to me very gracious, considering the tone of the first.

In any case, the lot has been cast, the path chosen. Pray for developments in the worldwide Anglican Communion, especially here in Canada, in the next few months. Pray for the process of selecting a new bishop in the Diocese of Edmonton, and that the right course of action will be made clear. Pray for first discernment and then courage that the right path be seen and then followed by those who still hold to the authority of Scripture and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Take Care

Saturday, 8 December 2007

Burn Down Their Houses?

From Doug Wilson's Blog...
"If someone says that no ethical standards are fixed, and so we ought not to apply our standards to anybody else, we now know what to ask. What does the good gentleman mean, "we ought not"?
Read the rest here...

The tolerant, of course, can only tolerate others who are equally tolerant. In other words, they cannot tolerate anyone with a firmly held belief, unless it is the same as their firmly held belief that beliefs other than their own should not be firmly held.

Take Care

OK, Call Me a Weaker Brother

I deleted my last post. No, not the one below this one. The one that was here before this one. If blogs had layers, it would have been the one underneath this one.

It was a joke. No, not in the same way some people might disparagingly refer to some of the things I write. It was supposed to be a joke. But I wondered whether it was appropriate for a blog entitled, "A Reasonable Faith." And because I wondered, it wasn't.

So it's gone... forever

Take Care

Friday, 7 December 2007

Chesterton For This Week

Here is a Chesterton quote that made me think of various, "signs and wonders" and healing ministries one sees so much on television and in "crusades."

It is not the simple viewing of miracles that leads to conversion, it is God by His Holy Spirit acting on the heart. After all, even Jesus' enemies witnessed his miracles during his very lifetime... and remained his enemies.

In any case, here is the quote. I have taken the liberty of paraphrasing the quote slightly. But referring to those who think miracles alone are enough to convince a person to believe,
It is not that they ask men to believe anything so incredible; it is that they ask men to be converted by anything so commonplace.

The quote comes from an article Here..... Well worth the read.

Take Care

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Homosexuality is Not the Sin

I heard Bishop Don Harvey, new moderator of the Anglican Network in Canada, on 630 CHED radio yesterday. Dave Rutherford, the host, made a comment that the orthodox Anglicans believe homosexuality to be a sin. Bp Harvey did not correct him.

I think it is crucial to remember, in the midst of all this confrontation, that it is not the orientation that is sinful. The Bible is silent on homosexual orientation.

Homosexual impulses may be an innate part of some people's sexual makeup. The jury is still out on that, but that is not the argument. They may indeed occur at some time during many of our lives. But it is the acting out on them that is the sin and requires repentance. A homosexual person must no more act on their impulses than I should on my adulterous ones. Both behaviours would be equally sinful.

Take Care

c/p in comments Here

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Don't Worry... The Planet is Safe

News of a train derailment from the Edmonton Journal this morning.
One of the cars was previously used to transport gasoline and roughly one litre of residue did leak out. That spill is contained...

One litre? And it is contained? Phwef... good thing our environmental disaster response people are ever vigilant! :-)

Take Care

Sorry for the flippancy, but I couldn't help but chuckle at the dramatic way this story and the containment of one litre of gasoline was presented when I heard it on the radio news this morning.

Monday, 3 December 2007

The Great Anglican Divorce

From the Vancouver Sun,
The bane of abusive husbands is the community of faithful neighbours who offer shelter and encouragement to the battered wives. Without them, the wives would have no chance for healthy independence. Similarly, liberal leaders reserve their angriest words for the faithful worldwide Anglican leaders who shelter and encourage the conservative Canadian churches.

Read it here...

Take Care
h/t: TitusOneNine

Friday, 30 November 2007

The Creed of Islam

"I have come that you might have death, and have it more abundantly"

Take Care

Chesterton for the Week

That creed remained in the shape of a miracle; a river still flowing through the sea. And the proof of the miracle was practical once more; it was merely that while all that sea was salt and bitter with the savour of death, of this one stream in the midst of it a man could drink. (The Everlasting Man, Part II Chapter IV)

The original context of the quote was the distinctiveness, even the survival, of Christianity in the midst of a flood of other religions and schools of philosophy.

I believe it applies even today, to the preservation of truth amidst heresy and apostasy. God's truth will refuse to be watered down or polluted. No matter how far some may fall away, or how powerful they may seem to be, or how entrenched in positions of authority, through the middle of the cesspool flows a stream of living water, pure, sweet and undiluted.

The gates of hell will not prevail.

Take Care

Thursday, 29 November 2007

Oh... So It's Alright Then

Ammunition for a future Charter rights case?
Pedophilia may be the result of a person's brain not properly functioning due to faulty connections, according to a report released Wednesday by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.
Read it here...

Or perhaps a new blessing ceremony to be developed for liberal churches. (Ooohhh that was cruel and tasteless)

Here is an opinion piece on the subject that might just indicate where our liberal, non-accountable society might be heading.

A comment from the same site seems to have it in perspective,
I believe that an urge does not carry its own justification: we are all ultimately responsible for what we do. Sometimes I get the urge to punch slow-walking people in the back of the head in order to, you know, get them to hurry up*, but I haven't yet acted on that urge...

But the opinion piece itself ends up with this,
Now, back to my earlier question: should pedohiles be made responsible for their actions? I thought after writing this post, I would have an answer, but I don't. I can only assume that the sexual urges of pedophiles towards their child-victims are equivalent to those a teleiophile might have. Then what are they to do? How legally responsible should people be for deterministic causes of illegal activity?

There is no slippery slope... there is no slippery slope...

Just keep telling yourselves.

Take Care

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

... And These People Have Guns and Bombs...

This is almost too ridiculous to believe.
A British schoolteacher in Sudan may face blasphemy charges for insulting Islam's Prophet after letting her pupils name a teddy bear Muhammad.

Read it here...

One might have thought that the kids were trying to honour their prophet by naming their teddy bear, an object of their affection, after him. Or maybe they were just giving it the name they did because it is such a popular name in the Islamic world.

Read the comments. Most are moderate but some are downright scary, to think that an adult person in today's world could actually think this way.

Take Care

Monday, 26 November 2007

J. I. Packer: A Theological Perspective

"In England, when Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones called on evangelicals ministering in doctrinally-mixed denominations to leave them, I resisted the idea. I did not expect that in Canada withdrawal from the diocese and province that had welcomed me would become an issue of conscience, but so it is."

Read the rest here...

Take Care

My Wife Says She Is Going To Leave Me

Eva and I were watching the Oilers game when my daughter Jen called. We started talking about my previous blog and how we used to create spoonerisms with song titles when she was a kid ("It's a Hard Lock Knife.") We started giggling like kids, while Eva just shook her head at such juvenile behaviour. She just doesn't get it.

Jen and I both share the same weird sense of humour and it was something that kept us close all through her growing-up years. She reminded me of another favourite.

So now, for your listening and viewing pleasure, may I present the great old Frank Sinatra classic,

"You Nork, You Nork"
Take Care

Saturday, 24 November 2007

"Rhymes With Orphanage" - (Language Warning)

This one is for my daughter Jen.

When she was dancing, there were oftentimes dance productions at various festivals based upon any number of Broadway shows. One of these was to the number, "It's a Hard Knock Life," from, "Annie." We used to joke and call it, "A Hard Lock Knife." Well, OK... its one of those "inside" things perhaps only a father and daughter with the same wierd sense of humour might think funny. In any case, it contains the line,
No one cares for you a smidge
When you're in an orphan(idge)

We always thought that was one of the cleverest examples of rhyming. Well now, in my opinion, that has been topped.

I found this Bob Dylan video the other night and this honky tonk, boogie-woogie number instantly became one of my new favourites.

Thunder on the Mountain

Here's the language warning, but I couldn't help but share it,
Gonna raise me an army, some tough sons of bitches
I'll recruit my army from the orphanages

Now, perhaps I shouldn't, but I can't help but smile at the mind that came up with that one.

Take Care

See That You Are Not Alarmed

End-of-the-world alarmism has been a perpetual feature of human existence for as long as we have recorded history.
Generally, it occurs within a religious framework: Whether it is Apocalypse mania, or a fear that any moment now Ragnarök is going to erupt in earnest, lavish claims of total world destruction have always furnished the necessary motivation for extremist agendas.
The new craze about global warming ought not to surprise us.
Read it all...

Here is an interesting article that ties the current hysteria regarding global warming to any number of other previous claims about the sky falling or the world ending.

Another interesting perspective, a fascinating analogy near the end of the piece regarding population control,
...the modern population control alarmists, like the prophets of Moloch or the Aztec priests of Tlaloc, demand that human children be sacrificed in order to prevent storms, floods and disease.

Take Care
h/t: TitusOneNine

Here We Go Again

As usual I am a few days behind on this. Dr Al Mohler posted,
So many moms want to act like teenagers and dress as provocatively as their offspring. Far too many parents want to act like their teenagers' friends and peers, not like parents. Parents, after all, are expected to act like adults, and this is a society that depreciates adulthood and valorizes adolescence.

Read the rest here...

I noticed this story when it was first posted and have been trying to organize my thoughts on it since. I was positive there was a Scripture that spoke directly to this situation, but as yet it has not come to my mind. I thought of Isaiah 5:20,
Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.
I thought of the passage beginning with Romans 1:18 and ending with,
...they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.
I thought of Jeremiah 5:30,31,
A horrible and shocking thing has happened in the land: The prophets prophesy lies, the priests rule by their own athority, and my people love it this way.

None of these seemed to make the exact connection I was searching for.

But indeed they all apply to what we see today. We live in a society of moral contradictions, moral inconsistencies, moral hypocrisies. I have posted before on the the hand-wringing concern we seem to have for child poverty on the one hand, and the acceptance of the type of serial and temporary sexual relationships that contribute to it on the other.

We decry teen pregnancy, calling for ever greater doses of education, but accept, even endorse the type of behaviour, dancing and apparel that force our young people to a premature focus on sexual things. The markets are driven, or at least directed by adults who are obsessed with all kinds of things sexual, and think there is no danger in applying their own "mature" attitudes on sexuality to kids who are not ready for them.

We rise up in righteous anger when we hear about child sexual abuse or rape, while our twelve-year-old daughters dress like sluts. We introduce the term, "pimp" into the mainstream of our everyday language as a boast. We nod in smug agreement when a Warren Jeffs (not that I would in any way attempt to take his part) is convicted in the case of forcing a 14-year-old girl to marry an older man, while liberal politicians work to reduce the age of consent for sexual activity between adults and children of any sexual persuasion to that very same age.

As Dr Mohler closes his post,
...something significant has shifted on the moral landscape. When parents demand that their "good kids" be allowed to freak dance at school events, the real story shifts from the kids to the parents.

Take Care

Friday, 23 November 2007

Someone's Bible Must be Gathering Dust

In testimony before a Virginia court last week, US Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori stated she had directed the Diocese of Virginia to sue the clergy and lay leaders of 11 congregations...
Read the rest here

On the other hand,
If any of you has a dispute with another, dare he take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the saints? Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life! Therefore, if you have disputes about such matters, appoint as judges even men of little account in the church! I say this to shame you. Is it possible that there is nobody among you wise enough to judge a dispute between believers? But instead, one brother goes to law against another—and this in front of unbelievers!
The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated? Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers. (1 Corinthians 6:1-8, NIV)

This is so obvious I actually feel a little silly posting it.

Take Care
h/t: TitusOneNine

Chesterton Quote of the Week

"The Bible tells us to love our neighbors, and also to love our enemies; probably because they are generally the same people." - ILN, 7/16/10

Take Care

Piper on Gratitude

May I humbly invite you, and others you have influenced, into the lowly ranks of the dependent, thankful, happy, children of the living God on this Thanksgiving Day. There is great grace. Great forgiveness. All-supplying mercy. All-satisfying Beauty. Inexhaustible wisdom. It is all in Jesus Christ. And it lasts forever. May we say together, “Thanks be to God for his indescribable Gift.”
Here (a couple of days old) is an open message addressed by John Piper to Christopher Hitchens, a high profile atheist, and Bishop John Shelby Spong, an atheist for all practical purposes.

h/t Between Two Worlds
Take Care

Thursday, 22 November 2007

Dr J. I. Packer From the Network Conference in Burlington

More details Here

Here is an exerpt,
It is not we who are the schismatic, it is those who are unfaithful to the scriptures and the Anglican heritage that have made it necessary for us to walk apart from the ACoC. Those who accuse us of schism should be told that they do not understand what schism is.

Please hold this conference in your prayers. Its participants will face much opposition from many in the mainstream ACoC.

Take Care

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Nicky Gumbel Interviews Mark Russell

Thanks to BabyBlueOnline for this link.

I'm not sure how this will turn out, or whether there's any point in my telling it. Just some personal thoughts.

As you may know, I was involved for a number of years in the Alpha Course at  my home church in Edmonton and in prison at the Fort Saskatchewan Correctional Institution.

I must say that I liked Nicky Gumbel, from his tapes, and as leader of our courses, I had long imagined meeting him. My motives for this desire were entirely improper, I will tell you. In part, I believe, I may have wanted to say, in effect, "Look at me, Mr Gumbel, and what I've been doing for you all these years." In part, I believe I may just have wanted to be in the "presence of greatness." I confess now that my desires in this area may have bordered on (or even have been) idolatry. I have always seemed to have, and still do, to some extent, this fascination with celebrity. In any case, I wanted so badly I could taste it to meet Nicky, or rather, I feel I must confess, wanted him to meet me. It was an intense desire of my heart. I even prayed that God would make it happen.

A number of years ago there was an Alpha conference in Vancouver at which the Holy Trinity Brompton team, including Mr Gumbel, would be teaching. I jumped in my truck and drove non-stop, fourteen hours or so, to attend.

I had become somewhat acquainted by telephone with Sally Start, the administrator of Alpha Canada, and at some point during the conference, was invited by her into the "VIP" room for refreshments. At one point I was standing by myself beside a small table, surveying the scene and feeling thrilled to be just exactly where I was at that moment. I became aware,out of the corner of my eye, of someone rifling through a briefcase beside me on this table. I looked over, and at the same time he looked up at me. It was Nicky Gumbel. We may have nodded at one another. Neither of us spoke. But that was it. It was only a moment, but in that moment every improper, idolatrous or prideful desire I spoke of above was gone. The big deal was just no longer a big deal! The memory of it is still so vivid it could have been yesterday.

Again, at tonight's Bible study, we touched on issues here. James says,
"...but you cannot have what you want. ...You do not have, because you do not ask God." (James 4:2, NIV)
The point was raised that sometimes we may want the wrong things, but we should pray and ask God anyway, because rather than simply granting them, He may just do an 'attitude adjustment' and put our wants into perspective. I think also of what the Psalmist said,
Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:4)

If we truly delight ourselves in the Lord, He will change any improper desires that may be in our hearts to right desires, and then He will give them to us.

Time for bed now, but all I can think to say is this:
GOD IS GOOD!
ALL THE TIME!

Take Care

A Step Into.....?

Last night I e-mailed notice of my intention to resign my position as manager of the Raven Truck Accessories Store here in Edson to our President. In a previous post I spoke about my desire to discern and follow God's will for my life. I said, in part,
The other night at Bible study I asked for prayer from the group about decisions I feel I must make about my future. I am approaching retirement age and sometimes my current job weighs heavy on me. But that is not really the point. My real concern, and I do pray that I am being honest with myself and before God in this, is that I want God to lead me to where I can best serve Him. My heart has been telling me that that may be back in Edmonton. But my heart is not enough. I want it to be God telling me. I am convinced that He led me to Edson for His own good reasons several years back, but now I have a growing sense that my purposes for being here, whatever they may have been, may now no longer apply. I have been praying, and asking others to pray, for guidance.

As I dug back into my blog archives to find this post, I found it interesting how points I mentioned above were discussed in our study tonight, totally independently. One of them was, should we as Christians follow our hearts? It is still my intense and heartfelt prayer that it is God, not my heart, who is calling me in a new direction, and after much prayer for guidance and discernment, I believe it is.

Also today I came across this prayer, by Thomas Merton, which seemed to speak to my situation, although I wouldn't be so presumptious or melodramatic as to think my circumstances might compare to what any of Mr Merton's may have been.

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore I will trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.

But I do indeed pray that my desire is above all to please God and to walk in His will. And I do indeed hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I pray that even should my motives fall short, He will not let my mistakes get in the way of my serving Him.

Take Care
h/t TitusOneNine for theprayer.

Monday, 19 November 2007

Poverty, Morality, Society (Again)

I came across a couple of posts related to one of my favourite hobby horses.

They are Here at Magic Statistics and
Here
, thanks to TitusOneNine.

I recommend caution on the second link, as many of the comments are from some of the very people who just can't seem to see the truth of the matter. They just don't get it. Their solution is either more sex-education or abortion. Now I don't object to proper sex-education, but it seems we've had that for quite a long time, and the worse the problem gets, the more education its devotees call for. It seems to me that both are increasing in a direct correlation. They still don't get it.

The problem is one of morality, pure and simple, and the behaviour that follows it. It's a heart problem, because where the heart is, actions will follow. Sexuality is designed to be a wonderful thing, in its proper context. It's the abuse and misuse of this gift that has led to the disastrous consequences we see today.

Take Care

Saturday, 17 November 2007

Is 'Bibliolatry' Really The Issue?

Thanks to Pastor Terry for putting me in touch with this post.
(A critic) says that the problem with evangelicals is that they see the Bible as the sole source of knowledge of God, morality, and a host of related important items, and accordingly, the Bible is taken to be the sole authority for faith and practice. This may be true in some circles, or at least it might seem that way, but most evangelicals that I know believe that the Bible is the final source of authority, not the sole source.
Read it all...

I think this post speaks directly to what is happening in the Anglican Church today. Check out comments 4 & 5 on This post by Rob, who also claims the "evangelical" label.

Take Care

Another One Bites The Dust

The Anglican Diocese of Niagara votes in favour of same-sex blessings. Details here.

Meanwhile, Kendall Harmon of TitusOneNine exmines the real basis of the crisis in Anglicanism Here.

I know I'm behind Scott in all this, but I think he is a faster typer than I am.

Take Care

UPDATE: Bishop Ralph Spence assents to the blessing of same sex unions in the Diocese of Niagara.

Amen. Come Lord Jesus

Untitled, So Far

Pastor Terry Stauffer of Edson Baptist Church poses a number of questions over at New Lumps

I keep wanting to comment, but I don't quite know what to contribute. As anyone who has been reading this blog will know, I am concerned with what has been going on in the Anglican churches of North America lately. I still have one foot and a large part of my heart in the Anglican communion. I am sure that Pastor Terry's concerns with what's happening in the Fellowship do not fall into the same category. But I will say this.

I am thankful that the town where I now live has a church like Edson Baptist and as long as Pastor Terry is there, I am confident it will be a place where the truths of the Christian Faith are upheld and the gospel of Jesus Christ is preached without compromise. No one who comes through its doors will be able to say, when they stand before their Lord one day, "No one told me."

Take Care

I Like This Quote

From Doug Wilson at Blog and Mablog,
People with a low view of the law have a low view of grace.

To take the liberty of paraphrasing, what it says to me is that people who don't have an appreciation of how greatly they have sinned, cannot appreciate the great grace God has extended them through the cross.

And people who don't think they have done anything wrong see no need for a Saviour at all.

Take Care

Friday, 16 November 2007

These Things Were Important Once

I have long been a huge fan of John Lennon. Even now, having been a new creation in Christ for a number of years, I appreciate his genius. I have been thinking about him lately. Why? I don’t really know, except that the anniversary of his death at the hands of Mark David Chapman is approaching. He was shot dead on the evening of December 8, 1980. He had been 40 years of age for two months, and he will now be 40 years of age forever. I, and the rest of the world, have continued on. I was five years younger than he was when he was killed, now I am twenty two years older than he will always be.

Lennon and The Beatles defined a generation, my generation. I remember exactly where I was when I first heard them in the fall of 1963. I remember first hearing, “Sgt Pepper” and I remember how important in all our lives was the release of the White Album when I was in teachers’ college.

I remember the famous bed-in in Montreal. We were younger then. Eva and I had been married just a year, and our hair was longer. We were caught up, as young people of every generation tend to be, in the same things that other young people were. We watched the event unfold over the several days it lasted, wishing we could be there and feeling vicariously a part of it. Here is a video of its most famous moment. (If you look closely, just to the left of the, “Hair/Peace” sign, Tommy Smothers is there too, playing the guitar. At the end of the video you will also see Timothy Leary, with gray hair, pony tail and no shirt, the early proponent of LSD)



These things were important to me once. And as much as one may have changed over the intervening years, certain chapters and events of one’s life become inoperably embedded in one’s consciousness.

But now I have come to know Christ. And as much as these things were a part of my past and remain at least a part of who I am even now, I can do nothing more than quote the Apostle Paul,
But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. (Philippians 3:7-9)

And say,

Take Care

Chesterton Quote O' The Week

"My attitude toward progress has passed from antagonism to boredom. I have long ceased to argue with people who prefer Thursday to Wednesday because it is Thursday." - New York Times Magazine, 2/11/23

Take Care

Thursday, 15 November 2007

A Series of E-mails About Silly Stuff

I received an e-mail from my brother Don the other day. For those who may not know, Tim Horton's is a coffee and donut chain here in Canada famous for the "double-double". It is a lot of sugar with a lot of cream with some coffee added. The name comes from a hockey player who played defence for both the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Buffalo Sabres (at different times, of course). He was killed on a curve on the QEW (Queen Elizabeth Way) in St Catherines while driving between the two cities in a Mercury Panterra

Don says, under the heading, "Go Figure" (It took me several days to get the pun)
Well, I saw one this week that tops them all. Went to Tim Horton’s in Winnipeg for a coffee. While they were pouring, I was kinda looking at the donut rack and wondering if I should or shouldn’t. Well, my eye caught the cookie area.
I had a gingerbread figure. That’s right, a figure. Not a gingerbread man, not a gingerbread person, not even a gingerbread cookie.

A GINGERBREAD FIGURE!

Can't even do the rhyme any more – run run as fast as you can, you can't catch me I'm the gingerbread figure.
Just when you think you have seen it all.

When I didn't reply :-), he followed up with this,

Still Figuring
So we were talking about my gingerbread figure last night and it came to me. Its O.K. it is still a gingerbread man. If it were a woman, it would be a figurine.
Long live exclusivity!
(Still can't rhyme it)

It then occurred to me that a female figure could also be called a figurette, which rhymes with cigarette,... but they don't allow those in Tim Horton's anymore either.

Take Care

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

An Unfinished Symphony (XIII) )(Final thoughts)

Kadence Jennifer Groff. June 27 - November 15, 1999

A cadence is a rhythmic flow of a sequence of sounds...
Just as a beautiful sequence of notes falls with pleasure upon the ear bringing peace to the soul, joy to the heart and a smile to the lips, so did Kadence come into our lives. But just as a beautiful note flares brilliantly and then fades into silence, she did not linger nearly long enough.

In a classical symphony, as one movement fades into stillness, we wait quietly, expectantly, for the next movement to begin. But here there is no next movement, at least not in this world. The music has ended before it has any right to do so. We sit, dumbly, waiting for more, but there is no more. The performance has ended. The musicians are putting away their instruments even before the applause has begun. We are shocked, silent. We are not ready for this. But that’s all there is. This is, truly, an Unfinished Symphony.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil of fade --kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith -- of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
(1 Peter 1: 3-9 NIV)

Peace be with you.

To Whom Do We Submit?

Just back from Bible study at Edson Baptist. We are studying the book of James. Tonight we began with chapter 3, verse 13,
Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom.(NKJV)

From Pastor Terry's notes,

Note that this verse begins and ends with wisdom. Wisdom is proven by works done in righteousness and with the right attitude (humility).
As believers, there are times to bow and submit and times to stand tall and courageous. We must know when to do both of these.

I was encouraged by this report from BabyBlueOnline: regarding court proceedings against orthodox believers by the diocese of Virginia:
Another great moment was when John Yates was being cross-examined by the Episcopal Church counsel. They were trying to get him to affirm that the ultimate authority in the Episcopal Church was the constitution and canons and John would affirm that, but qualify it by adding "under the Lordship of Jesus Christ." And when he was questioned whether he would obey the constitution and canons he said he would "unless they go against the teachings of Christ." It was extraordinary to hear that affirmation in a court of law, while Lord Fairfax and George Washington and James Madison looked down from their portraits.

May God continue to give His servants the words to speak and the courage to speak them boldly.

Take Care

A Couple of Prayer Requests

Regarding the Anglican communion.

The Anglican Network Conference coming up. Today's prayer,
“As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.” John 17: 18-19

Also, in the American diocese of Virginia, there is a lawsuit in progress, launched by the diocese, over who owns the church properties of congregations that refuse to go along with the "official" liberal agenda. Pray for God's will to be accomplished there. I am not entirely familiar with all that is happening, but I'm sure God is.

You may follow some details of the proceedings Here

Take Care

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Not of This World

From the Anglican Essentials Blog

Today’s entry from the Network "Building on the solid Rock" Conference prayer guide, “Contending for the Gospel Through Prayer”:
“They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.” John 17: 16-17

Jesus makes it very clear that His followers are no longer “of this world”. To allow today’s hedonistic, pantheistic culture to set the moral and even theological standards for the Church makes a travesty of this statement. Let us pray that the sanctifying Word of Truth would direct our leaders in all decisions to be made.

The conference runs November 22-23 at the Crossroads Christian Center in Burlington, ON. Please pray for this conference of faithful Anglicans during these troubled times in the Anglican Church of Canada.

Take Care

Monday, 12 November 2007

Canada's Least Kyoto-Friendly City

Or at least my nomination for it: St Albert, Alberta.

Rant Warning!
This post is regarding a matter that has long been one of my pet peeves. It is partly tongue-in-cheek, but there is a serious basis for what I am about to say.

I visited my former city of residence this weekend. That is nothing new, I do so often, as one of my daughters still lives there. But this weekend I particularly noticed what has long been an issue for me. That is, there are virtually no straight routes from one place in the city to any other. The entire city is designed with curvy streets, stop- and yield signs, and indirect traffic routes through residential neighbourhoods.

It occurred to me long ago as I navigated through St Albert that whoever planned the city was not thinking of conserving greenhouse gasses as part of their planning process. Because every stop and start, every slow down and speed up, results in extra and unneccessary carbon dioxide being spewed into the atmosphere,

And they keep on doing it. In designing one of their newest neighbourhoods, North Ridge, in the northwest corner of the city, they took a perfectly straight road, Hogan Road, and manufactured a curve into it!

Now the curve in itself is not that important, but how much energy was expended in ripping up a perfectly good road and inserting a bend into it? How many pollutants were emitted by the bulldozers and other construction equipment changing that road when they could just as easily have left it as it was and built the new development around it?

I don't know whether whoever designs these things just isn't thinking, or trying to be cute, or trendy, or just has a fetish for curves, but believe me, they are doing our planet no good by designing inefficient traffic routes and forcing vehicles to emit more pollutants through constant stopping and starting.

But speaking of inefficiency and pollutants, St Albert is also the greatest place for seeing great large diesel busses driving all over town with absolutely no one on them. Why don't they use mini-busses. My sense is that they would be embarassed. They consider themselves a big city and cannot use anything less than big city busses.

So much for the rant. We lived in St Albert for twenty years, raised our kids there and for the most part, enjoyed it. But these things bothered me for as long as I lived there. I am just now getting them off my chest.

I hope my wife doesn't see this. She loves St Albert, and she considers me curmudgeon enough already.

Take Care

Sunday, 11 November 2007

An Unfinished Symphony (XII) )(more of a grandfather's thoughts on SIDS

Although the events about which I am posting here occurred a number of years ago, I found that through that time and over the intervening years, my trust in the sovereignty of God has been strengthened, not lessened. The sovereignty of God had been a mere phrase of dogma, a teaching of the church, a concept to which I subscribed. I was about to say I accepted it in some kind of intellectual sense, but it was more than that. It was a part of my faith, but it was an untried part. Yes, there had been times in my life when it came close to home, but nothing like this. Here I have had to consider it, analyse it, wonder about it, wrestle with it. Faith has been tested, and it has been made stronger. This has been the refiner’s fire.

Take Care

Saturday, 10 November 2007

Friday Night @ Baby Blue

Found this over at Baby Blue Online

I was not familiar with Eva Cassidy while she was alive, but I found this haunting, beautiful and riveting.

Enjoy

Chesterton Quote of the Week

"Once abolish the God, and the government becomes the God." - Christendom in Dublin, 1933
Take Care

Friday, 9 November 2007

Joke of the Day II

Opposition Liberal party leader Stephane Dion is grovelling for attention. I'm almost embarassed for him. He has turned to his cupboard of "guaranteed vote-getting platitudes" and pulled out the, "I will eliminate poverty" file. What makes me shake my head is the fact that I believe his Liberal forebears are in large part responsible for the problem in this country in the first place. Why? My short answer is, high taxes and the breakdown of the family. Both causes, it seems to me, grew in the fertile soil of previous liberal governments, starting especially with Pierre Trudeau.

My longer opinion is expressed Here, although no politician, especially a liberal one (doesn't matter whether small-l or capital) will or can admit it.

Take Care

Thursday, 8 November 2007

My Kingdom is Not of This World

Robertson Backs Rudy

From the Edmonton Journal:
Rudy Giuliani, whose two divorces and stance in favour of abortion rights have alienated many Christian conservatives, Wednesday captured the endorsement of the Rev. Pat Robertson, a prominent televangelist who said the former New York mayor would be the best candidate to counter the "blood lust of Islamic terrorists."

Yet, as Doug Wilson posts:
Pro-choicers, like Giuliani, have collectively killed more Americans every day for over thirty years running than the Islamic rage-boys have killed in the last five years total.

I suppose it depends upon one's perspective, but Pat Robertson seems to be hedging things by miring at least one foot in the kingdom of this world.

In Rudy we trust?

Take Care

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

An Unfinished Symphony (XI) )(more of a grandfather's thoughts on SIDS

Why? Why Kadence, child of Christian parents, grandchild of Christian grandparents? Is it because as Christians we are supposed to find it easier to take? Is our faith supposed to make this easier to bear? Is that it, God? If so, it’s just plain cruel.

I have asked the question over and over again. Why? What was the point?
Oddly enough, this is the question upon which I now, in a sense, dwell the least. It’s not that I know that some day I will have the answer. It is that when that day comes, I will no longer have the question. I will not even have to ask it. When I see her again, the question will be gone forever from my mind before it ever comes to my lips. I imagine that time coming and I think of what was said by the prophet Isaiah,
“Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear.” (Isaiah 65: 24)


Take Care

The Overseer Must be Above Reproach

"He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil's trap. (1 Timothy 3:7, NIV)"

In the news recently:
Acting on tips about preachers who ride in Rolls Royces and have purportedly paid $30,000 for a conference table, the top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee said Tuesday he's investigating the finances of six well-known TV ministers...

Read the entire story Here

Not only must a Christian in the public eye be blameless, he must be seen to be blameless, lest he drag the name of Jesus Christ through the mud.
Since an overseer is entrusted with God's work, he must be blameless—not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. (Titus 1:7)

And why does this passage come to mind?
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature[b] of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:3-11)


Take Care

Joke Of The Day

What more can be said.

Take Care

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Laundry Calls???? Please!!!!

I found this post over at felix hominum fascinating, until I got to the "to be continued" part.
The suspense is killing me now.

I have read some of Francis Schaeffer and particularly enjoyed, "The God Who Is There." Even the title makes the perfect statement. Another of his books I enjoyed is, "The Church at the end of the Twentieth Century", which I thought was profoundly prophetic, as it was written some time before the actual end of the century and yet proved amazingly accurate.

I look forward to reading the rest of Mr hominum's post ;-).
Take Care

Tim Challies' Great November Giveaway

Challies.com is giving readers the chance to win some great Bible and Christian Classic CD's. Click on the link below to find out how. Tim suggests to all who enter that they link to his contest on their blogs, if they have one. And I have one, as you know by now because, well, you're here.

If you link to his contest and enter, there is a place for you to enter a referral ID. My referral ID is 30982. I would appreciate if you entered it.

You can read about the contest
Here
and enter it
Here

Thanks and take care

Has Al Gore Bought a Smaller House Yet?

Regarding a story this morning in the Edmonton Journal, Scott at Magic Statistics poses this perspective.

One might well ask what Al Gore has done personally to reduce his carbon footprint, besides buying carbon credits, which is a complete cop out, paying others to do what he is unwilling to do himself. It was revealed several months ago that his house in Tennessee uses several times the energy of the average home in that state.

I wonder if he has moved yet?

Take Care

Sunday, 4 November 2007

An Unfinished Symphony (X) )(more of a grandfather's thoughts on SIDS

It hurts so badly when your own child is hurting, but this is worse. Your own baby is in pain because she, herself, lost her own child. The pain is doubled.

From time to time, black thoughts creep into my head; dark thoughts of blame and fault. These are thoughts that dare not even be thought, let alone written. Kadence is gone; let healing begin. I keep thinking, “It didn’t have to happen.” And yet it did, and it cannot be changed.

People say that only time will heal the pain. Why doesn’t time just jump forward so I could be over the anguish?

How selfish is my grief. Do I mourn for Kadence or for my own pain?
The Bible talks of God comforting us in our troubles so that we in turn can comfort those in trouble themselves. That’s alright for some troubles, but for this? Is that the reason for all this? Surely not! That would be too cruel.

Take Care

Ephesians 5:22?

Just back from helping our daughter move. (She wasn't there, she's on business in Yellowknife.) At some point, in conversation with the movers, I jokingly referred to myself as the henpecked husband.

Eva said indignantly, "John, you're not henpecked!"

I said, "Yes, dear."

Take Care

Thursday, 1 November 2007

Luther: The Movie

We viewed a screening of the movie Luther at church last night. It is a PG-13 movie and the usual warning before the movie cautioned, "Parents strongly cautioned." My first thought was that it might be for blatantly Christian content, but as it turns out there were probably some violence and even, believe it or not, some minor language issues. Here are a few random thoughts.

As much as I enjoyed the movie, I would like to have seen a little more emphasis on the specific doctrine of salvation by grace through faith. Luther apparently came to true faith through his study of Romans, particularly chapter 1, verse 17:
For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: "The righteous will live by faith." (NIV)
As I recall, there was surprisingly little Scripture quoted. The movie spent some time showing Luther giving sermons to his flock, but I wish there had been more of his explaining the Scriptures that led to his epiphany.

A couple of scenes stand out in my mind. There was one scene where Luther was in a crowd purchasing indulgences, then having to crawl on his knees up the steps of a cathedral, reciting an "Our Father" every step. He was promised by the person collecting the money that when he reached the top, the person he was praying for would be released from purgatory. I don't quite know why, but that scene reminded me of a couple of TV preachers I see on Vision TV. One touts, "miracle spring water" and the other pushes, "green prayer cloths," as the way to have God do your bidding. All you have to do is use these devices according to instructions and God will bend to your will. These "televangelists" are merely selling modern day indulgences.

The other scene I remember, and it very nearly brought tears to my eyes, involved a fellow priest of Luther's who was Dutch. He was about to set out on a dangerous journey to his home country and Luther was trying to dissuade him, because of the perils on the road. "No," the priest said, clutching a newly printed Bible, "I want people in my own country to read the Word of God in their own language." The moment brought a lump to my throat. Such faith and love for God! How marvellous is God's word and how much we sometimes take it for granted, here in comfortable twenty-first century North America.

Take Care

Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Reformation Day, October 31

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. (Eph 2:4,5 NIV)

This is a slight rethinking of some thoughts I guest-posted last year over at New Lumps. This year I am reclaiming and reposting them here and linking to Tim Challies' Reformation Day Symposium. .

It seems to me that in these days when certain denominations seem to be going sideways, in need of a new Reformation for all intents and purposes, we might gain encouragement from God’s promise that He will not allow His true Church to die. Out of present ruins I believe He will raise it anew. He has reserved a remnant who have not bowed the knee to Baal. Indeed, one of the things the Reformation did was to confirm His faithfulness in this area.

In my opinion, one of the most meaningful aspects of the Reformation is that it peeled away layers of obscurity from God’s plan of salvation – a plan that could have been written by no human hand or imagined by no human intellect. These layers had been built up over the centuries for political or selfish reasons, the encroachment of human “wisdom” or just plain error.

How wonderful is the truth of His plan, even if it may seem from time to time to have been forgotten; buried in the mists of time, or tradition, or fashion, or ignored in favour of some formula of human invention that transfers sovereignty from God to man. But the truth has always been there, even when it has been forgotten or ignored or even deliberately pushed aside for some human agenda.

It is the truth even if we are unaware of it, or indeed whether or not anybody is aware of it. And in fact it was there, wasn’t it, for each of us, even before we were conscious of it.
“…While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom 5:8b)
But at the time of the Reformation, the truth of salvation by grace alone through faith alone, completely aside from works, had been largely forgotten or obscured, even denied by the official church. The Reformers rediscovered and reminded us again of the sufficiency of Christ and his atoning sacrifice on the cross for our salvation. The Reformation did not bring a new thing – it remembered an old thing; an ancient thing; a thing that had been there all along, as truth always is.

How marvellous to know this truth. How wonderful the assurance of it!
What a blessing to one who first discovers it, or to a Church that re-discovers it.

G. K. Chesterton wrote of the deaths of the church and its recurring resurrection, although as a Catholic, I’m sure he didn’t write it in approval of the Reformation. But I think the image fits. Just as out of the seemingly complete destruction of a forest fire springs regrowth and new life, so out of the ashes of a dead and corrupt church came the rediscovery of these earliest truths, and the Church was reborn. Christ promised that his Church would not die and the Reformation was his way of ensuring it at a certain time and place in history. We do indeed serve a God who knows His way out of the grave.

How marvellous to realize we are saved by God’s grace alone, not by works that would be so pitifully inadequate to earn us the right to stand in His presence. How wonderful to be assured that no further suffering beyond that of Christ on the cross was necessary for our salvation and that the fictional netherworld of “purgatory” is a mere fabrication of man. “Jesus paid it all!” How marvellous to know that the hand of God Himself wrote the formula for our rescue from sin. How wonderful to realize that Jesus, by his death and resurrection, has accomplished it. How beautiful that God has told us of it in His Holy word. How loving and comforting of Him to give us His Holy Spirit that we might be assured and confident in Him.

Indeed, how great is our God!

Take Care

An Unfinished Symphony (IX) )(more of a grandfather's thoughts on SIDS

It hurts so badly when your own child is hurting, but this is worse. Your own baby is in pain because she, herself, lost her own child. The pain is doubled.

It’s not supposed to be like this. It’s tough when it’s not supposed to happen. I have lost both my parents, but that was different. They were supposed to die, eventually. Yes, there was sadness, but not the overwhelming grief there is now. When one loses parents, one has many memories to look back on. Those memories are something that cannot be taken away. With a tiny baby, just beginning life, the memories are still in the future. They haven’t happened yet. They have been stolen even before they occur.

Take Care

Saturday, 27 October 2007

James 3:1 and Elizabeth May

This is a few days old, but it seems to be the speed at which I'm operating lately. It took that long to see the link between a verse we studied last Wednesday night and this story.

According to this post I found on Magic Statistics, Green Party of Canada leader, Elizabeth May, is studying to be an Anglican priest, something she "settled on" in part, appartently, because it is "...something that (i)s appropriate for an aging single woman."

As the StatGuy asks rhetorically, "Does that sound like a call from God to serve his people in the ordained ministry?"
Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. (James 3:1)

I can only hold my nose and hope she gets elected to Parliament in order to avoid what may be an even more disastrous career decision.

Take Care

Wilson on Rowling on Dumbledore

Doug Wilson over at Blog and Mablog gives this insight into JK Rowling's revelation that she always thought of Dumbledore as gay, even though she never even hinted at it in any of the Harry Potter books. It almost seems to me like it was a spur-of-the-moment disclosure; an impulsive slip of the tongue. For all we know, when she was by herself sometime later she might have said, "Oops!" But I guess she can't take it back now.

Anyway, here is Wilson's quote, which made me smile:
It happens that Rowling is a Church of England Christian, and once we discount the small roster of stalwart holdouts fighting the good fight there, she belongs to a communion that is foremost among the tolerance-mongers. And so that is what we get -- a plea for tolerance. This is the kind of denomination that, once you take the Calvinism out, goes straight to gay.

It turns out, as was pointed out by a commenter, that Rowling is actually Church of Scotland, which is Presbyterian, but I think the quote can apply to any Protestant denomination. It certainly happened in the church in which I grew up, the United Church of Canada.

Take Care

An Unfinished Symphony (VIII)

I wander from the kitchen back to Kadence's bedroom. There is some question whether someone should clear out the baby's room before Jon and Jen return to the apartment. They think it may be too painful for them to see her things. Having walked into her room, I don’t think so. Even with the initial lump in my throat, I found it somehow comforting to be among her things. To see her change table, her crib, her dresser with the coloured knobs; to smell the scent of her outfits in the drawers, gave, somehow, a sense of peace. To strip the room bare as if there were some terrible secret, something to hide, I think would not be the right thing to do. It would be like the closed off wing of a Victorian mansion where the insane relative was kept.

It will be good, I think, for Jen to see Kadence’s things once again, and to tidy them up herself, in her own time.

Life will go on, but it will never be the same.

Take Care

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Recipe For Success (Romans 12:3)

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.

Here is something interesting. Apparently there is a direct correlation between between being willing to say you're sorry and higher personal income. (I suppose that means the old line from the movie, "Love Story," "...love means never having to say you're sorry," should be interpreted as, "...love means never making much money.") The article doesn't explain exactly why. There may be several factors, but there is definitely a parallel.

I remember hearing another trait of successful people years ago and it reminds me of Philippians 2:3:
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.

A definite key to success is to have a desire to serve others. People who are out only for themselves will tend to take whatever others will give them. But that's all they will ever have: only what others will give them. And people will give a selfish person as little as possible.

But people willing to serve, thinking of others before themselves, will often be rewarded for what they provide, and willingly so, be it services or products. In other words, a person who goes into business thinking, "How can I best serve my customers?" will go much farther than one whose attitude is, "How much can I get from them?"

Sometimes I just feel like Joel Osteen.;-)

Take Care

(From Magic Statistics)

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

An Unfinished Symphony (VII)

I am thinking of the bedtime episode with the 23rd Psalm. Kadence never met my own mother, her great grandmother. I am confident they have met now. I can picture them sitting together in heaven and Kadence telling her, “Hey, Great Grandma, you know what? Grandpa said the 23rd Psalm to me just like you said to when he was little – and guess what! It worked!” It reminds me of the importance of passing our faith from generation to generation. In the Anglican church we closed every service with this: “Glory to God, whose power working in us can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine. Glory to God from generation to generation, in the Church and in Christ Jesus, forever and ever. Amen.” It is from Ephesians 3:20,21. From generation to generation. As has been said, Christianity is always one generation away from extinction. Keep the faith... pass it on.

We went in to the apartment to get a few things in preparation for the memorial service. Jon and Jen had not been back since the night at the hospital, so everything was just as it had been left the night of that panic trip to emergency. The high chair was in the kitchen. There were three different Bibles, each open to the same passage. There was a Strong’s Concordance open on the table, and a couple of textbooks. Jon had been doing his Bible school homework at the kitchen table; an essay on Ruth, the story of the bond of love between two generations of women.

From generation to generation.

Take Care

Friday, 19 October 2007

Is A "Freethinker" Free To Believe In God?

It is popular for certain atheists to refer to themselves as "freethinkers," as if to assume that to not believe in God somehow gives one more freedom in one's thought life. I disagree. Belief in God actually adds to one's available spectrum of thought. I, for instance, have been on both sides of the theistic fence, so to speak, and recently enough (up until age 45) to remember both sides. Am I more free or less now than I was before? Definitely more!

To give what may be an overly simple analogy, imagine that the entire field of thought consists of two areas, athiestic and theistic. Let's say, for the sake of this argument, that they are of equal "proportions," in other words, sort of 50/50. The atheist, then, has access to only 50% of all thought available to him. The theist has all of it. He has been through the atheistic terrain, seen it for it's emptiness, and now realizes the real truth of the other.

Here is a quote from G.K. Chesterton:
"Somehow or other an extraordinary idea has arisen that the disbelievers in miracles consider them coldly and fairly, while believers in miracles accept them only in connection with some dogma. The fact is quite the other way. The believers in miracles accept them (rightly or wrongly) because they have evidence for them. The disbelievers in miracles deny them (rightly or wrongly) because they have a doctrine against them." (Orthodoxy Chapter 9)

Substitute "God" for "miracles" and the argument still stands.

Take Care

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

An Unfinished Symphony (VI)

It is the night before the memorial service. I am sitting in my study staring out the window. People are passing by, walking, jogging or walking their dogs. They don’t seem to care. Don’t they know what has happened? Don’t they know there is grief here? Life has no business going on as normal. I am thinking about what I have written; about tucking her in that last night with her arms over top of the covers when suddenly I can visualize the scene so clearly. I can see here little face and shoulders above the blankets and her little pink sleepers. It’s as if I’m right there. And it hits me, “God! Kadence isn’t here. She won’t be with us anymore.” I curse myself for all my intellectualizing. For all these words I’ve written. What business have I, feeling pain. It is Kadence who is gone. She won’t be with us any more, ever. O God!

C.S. Lewis, in “A Grief Observed:”
“There is a sort of invisible blanket between the world and me. I find it hard to take in what anyone says. Or perhaps, hard to want to take it in... Yet I want the others to be about me. I dread the moments when the house is empty. If only they would talk to one another and not to me.”

We were extremely thankful for people’s presence and calls. Even if it felt awkward and people didn’t know what to say, it was nice having them there. There were times when we merely sat in a circle on chairs in the living room, no one speaking for minutes on end, but I am still thankful for their being there. It would have been unbearable to be alone. People sent notes with names mis-spelled. People stammered, not knowing what to say or how to react or how we would react. It didn’t matter. The mistakes were somehow most precious of all because it showed people willing and wanting to help regardless of appearances. The faux pas made it seem almost more genuine. I will try to remember that if I ever have the opportunity to comfort someone in a similar position. One might think, “I should leave so they can be alone,” or, “I won’t call because I don’t know what to say,” or, “They’ve probably had too many calls already,” but that is not the case. A grieving person needs the company, and to know that others are caring, even if they can’t say so.

Monday, 15 October 2007

It Strikes Me As Odd

That the motion passed in Ottawa this past weekend to allow clergy “whose conscience permits, to bless duly solemnized and registered civil marriages between same-sex couples, where at least one party is baptized...” contained the condition, "...where at least one party is baptized."

Well, I must ask, what abut the rights of the unbaptized?" Isn't this discriminatory? Does this not fly in the face of inclusivity? Is it not hurtful to those who have not been doused, sprinkled or dunked? If those in favour of the motion see it as "...bringing gays and lesbians fully into the full life of the church," why do they not desire also to bring unbaptized people into the full life of the church. It's just another silly rule.

"Well...," the liberal might say, "...if a person wants to have their gay union blessed, all one of them has to do is to be baptized."

"But...," might come the reply, "...then you are forcing me to do something I don't want to do. Those who were against this whole same-sex blessing thing insisted that a gay or lesbian Christian should remain celebate, and you took our side then. You said it was unfair for them to insist that we abide by their rules. Now you are insisting we abide by yours. I should be free to continue in my unbaptized lifestyle. Besides, I was born this way -- unbaptized."

Surely this is some kind of phobia! If those who see marrriage as only for heterosexuals are called homophobes, there must be a term for those who discriminate against the unbaptized. Unfortunately the term has yet to be coined. I look forward to its invention.

In any cse, I expect that now this inequity has been pointed out, the liberals of the Diocese of Ottawa will be falling all over themselves to right this egregious wrong and remove this unreasonable restriction from their requirements for their yet-to-be-implemented-but-coming-soon-to-a-church-near-you ceremony.

Take Care

An Unfinished Symphony (V)

Christians say, “I will pray for you.” Non-believers say, “I will keep you in my thoughts.” What an incredible difference there is between the two! How sad not to know the power of prayer. Even though the heart is in the right place, and those thoughts are much appreciated, that is all they are -- thoughts. They are so ineffectual, compared to the mighty power of a believer’s prayer.

Who will ever know the effect in all of this of the prayers of our brothers and sisters in the faith? As excruciating as the pain was, what would it have been like if not for those prayers; some of them from people we did not even know. People came up to my wife in the mall, saying, “We’re praying for you.”

Psalm 124 begins: “If the LORD had not been on our side...” I wonder… what would it have been like if He weren’t.

I think of it often.

Take Care

A Discouraging Church Meeting

No it was not at my Baptist church. I ducked out early this morning to attend a meeting at the Anglican church on behalf of my wife, who was out of town. They are considering building a much needed addition and Eva asked me to go and cast a vote on her behalf to proceed. All was fine, for a time. The drawings of the new addition were shown and the plans for the expansion and its advantages were discussed with great optimism. Then came the financial proposals.

The entire congregation, including Eva, have been working hard to raise funds, and have seen the fund-raising thermometer in the foyer grow steadily. The meeting was positive and upbeat. But then the person giving the financial report dropped what was to me, and apparently to me alone, a bombshell. They are going to apply for lottery grants!

Asked if there any questions, I raised my hand. I apologized to anyone who may have thought of me as an outsider (even though I did once attend there), but I said I was there representing Eva. I said that it might be none of my business, but that I had to express my opinion that I would be very uncomfortable with the church accepting lottery funds for any church project.

The pastor turned to me and said that he understood my position and once felt as I do, but that he had reconciled himself to feel that it was alright to accept such funds because lotteries were no different than investing in the stock market or in RESP’s. They are all a form of gambling. There was no indication that all the others did not agree with him.

But that was not my point. I was not able to express myself fully (I don’t think that quickly on my feet) but what I did say was this, “This money is not coming from people who can afford to play the stock market. It is coming from people who can’t afford to buy lottery tickets.”

You see, it’s not a matter of the gambling. I’m not that much of a prude. But lotteries are basically a tax on the poor, because the poor make up so large a portion of lottery ticket buyers. I have worked with many of these people as a result of my time in jail and street ministries, and winning the lottery, to them, is a constant dream. But it is a false and destructive one, and I don’t think it appropriate or honouring to God for His church to be taking money in this manner from those who cannot afford to give it. I'm afraid I cannot help but see the acceptance of these funds as anything but a serious compromise for the sake of expediency. Several years ago, St Paul’s Anglican, where we attended at the time in Edmonton, specifically refused to apply for a lottery grant for their own expansion, even though it was available to them. I was proud of them for that.

*************************************************************

The other night at Bible study I asked for prayer from the group about decisions I feel I must make about my future. I am approaching retirement age and sometimes my current job weighs heavy on me. But that is not really the point. My real concern, and I do pray that I am being honest with myself and before God in this, is that I want God to lead me to where I can best serve Him. My heart has been telling me that that may be back in Edmonton. But my heart is not enough. I want it to be God telling me. I am convinced that He led me to Edson for His own good reasons several years back, but now I have a growing sense that my purposes for being here, whatever they may have been, may now no longer apply. I have been praying, and asking others to pray, for guidance.

One of the things that may have kept me here involves the current crisis in the Anglican Church of Canada over same-sex blessings. It is inevitable that there will be a split, and that congregations faithful to Scripture and to the gospel of Christ will have to leave the national church. I was prepared to wait and see what this local church would do in the event of such a split. I was thinking (I hope not arrogantly, thinking more highly of myself than I ought) that if they did hold true to the faith, and separate themselves from those who rejected it, that I might be called to rejoin them and serve in whatever way I could.

But today I feel that door may have closed. The local Anglican church was given the opportunity to do the right thing in one instance and in my opinion, failed. I’m afraid my hope is less than it was that they will do it in the next.

These are but my own personal thoughts. May I be forgiven if I have given any inappropriate offense.

Take Care

Sunday, 14 October 2007

Lydia

I heard the news today.

It was announced at church that Rick and Heidi lost their little baby yesterday. I wept. Little Lydia was born prematurely. I shall not try to give or even remember every date, fact or figure here, but so prematurely that she never was given much of a chance. But all who knew her characterized her as a fighter. Many people were praying for her. We saw a video of her the other week. She was so tiny, yet still so fully a real person. The video showed her gripping her mother's finger and we all smiled at that.

But for whatever reason, God decided to take her to Himself. She is with the Him now, I believe that for a fact. Others may hope, but I am confident to the point that I can say I know it to be so. I hope Heidi and Rick know it too.

Rick and Heidi, I write this, not to say that I know how you feel, but to say that having been there I know that I can't. You may never read this, but my heart aches and my tears flow for you.

May the God of peace be with you.

Take Care

Friday, 12 October 2007

Somebody's Setting Somebody Up

I meant to do this post yesterday, predicting that the Anglican Diocese of Ottawa would approve a motion requesting its bishop to allow clergy “whose conscience permits, to bless duly solemnized and registered civil marriages between same-sex couples, where at least one party is baptized” and to authorize rites for such blessings. It is now a fait accompli. The motion passed today, 177 - 97.

As the synod approached, Bishop John Chapman urged Anglicans in the diocese to, "embrac(e)... differences rather than fretting over them.” The reader will note that Bishop Chapman voted at last summer's national synod of the ACoC in favour of allowing individual dioceses to allow same sex blessings, even though that motion did not pass.

His statement, then, translates, in my humble understanding to mean,
"We have hijacked the church, we are going to ignore the tradition of the Anglican Church, we are going to ignore the authority of Scripture, the decision of the national synod and we are going to allow the blessing of same-sex unions, but we hope that those who disagree with us will compromise everything they believe and stay because they are probably the only tithers and we need the money. Besides, we will then have accomplished our objective. We will be in charge and we don't want our numbers to dwindle, so just be a good, tolerant little minority and get along with us."

Bishop Chapman's statement was replete with stock cliches such as, "...I do not take this task lightly," and " I will utilize (this information) in a prayerful manner."

This translates, in my humble yet prescient opinion, to say,
"I have already decided what I am going to do, but I will wait what I feel is an appropriate time to give the impression that I giving it serious thought when in fact what I am really considering "prayerfully" is just how long I should wait to release my decision."

Now, if he decides not to allow the blessing of same-sex unions in his diocese, I will have to eat crow and I will apologize. I expect he would like to proceed with his agenda, but what may hold him back is his wish to give the illusion of respecting the decision of the national church at its synod, and the reaction of the worldwide Anglican communion if he were to allow such blessings. If I am wrong I will certainly apologize to my reader(s?).

But I will be surprised. Let's just wait and see, shall we?

Take Care

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

An Unfinished Symphony (IV)(more of a grandfather's thoughts on sudden infant death (SIDS)

We were blessed to have Kadence for the weekend before her death, Friday and Saturday nights. Memories of her were more recent, real and pleasant. Sunday we took her to church, and it was the best I had ever seen her. She was so bright and alert, babbling away during the hymns and choruses, looking all around and smiling at everyone she saw. Everyone could not help but smile back at her. She had a nap during the sermon, but as one friend said, tongue in cheek, “She may not have been the only one.”

Friday night she had slept in another room. Saturday night my wife said she would feel more comfortable if we moved her playpen into our own bedroom, so we did. Kadence was a little restless during the night and I found I heard every little fuss and whimper. At about two o’clock I could not sleep so I got up and went into the spare bedroom. Still, I could hear intermittent cries coming from our room, even through two closed doors. I lay awake until probably about four o’clock, feeling guilty for leaving Kadence in Eva’s care, so I got up and went in. Eva had Kadence in bed with her, but the baby was still fussing and not sleeping. We tried offering her a bottle, but she did not take it. I thought the husbandly thing to do was to let my wife get some sleep so I took Kadence into the spare room with me. I tucked her in, lying on her back beside me in the double bed, with the covers under her arms (she always liked her arms free, so it was no good to try to cover them, she would just throw off the covers).

When I was a little boy, I remember my mother telling me that if I couldn’t sleep, to recite the twenty-third Psalm from memory. She always said that I would be asleep before I got through it twice. Funny, as much as I like the more modern translations of the Bible, the twenty-third Psalm just sounds better in King James English. I lay down beside Kadence in the dark, gave her her soother, gently placed my hand upon her tummy, and began to recite softly;
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me; Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

By the time I was finished, she was asleep. I didn’t even have to say it the second time. I suppose that because she was so tiny, she didn’t need the full dose.

Take Care

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

LDS President says Mormon Faith is Unique (But Still Christian)

From the Magic Statistics site:
Hinckley said men have struggled for generations to understand the nature of God. He added that he can't understand the creeds used by most Christian churches.

To Which the StatGuy responds:
If he doesn't understand Christian creeds, how does he know his religion is Christian?

Take Care

Mark Larratt-Smith (Part III)

Many of the issues affecting the Anglican Church divide along lines between the British and North American (Canadian and American) churches and the "third world" (the Global South). In my opinion it is hard to avoid the reality of the accusation of racism or at the very least, an attitude of cultural superiority on the part of the western Anglican Churches. Liberals in these organizations quite obviously see themselves as more enlightened, superior and advanced than the "savages" of Africa. This is the same attitude that led to the "white man's burden" of years past, that of our felt obligation to enforce western ideals on those perceived as less advanced than we are.

Now the reader may raise the point that this "white man's burden" in the past involved the sending of Christian missionaries to convert the "pagans" of foreign lands. That is true, but the mere proclamation of a message is one thing, the forced imposition of a culture or a lifestyle is quite another. Faith or belief, almost by definition, cannot be imposed. True Christian faith is not imposed by man, it is given by God. But to be believed it must be heard, and the missionaries of the past were obeying Jesus' Great Commission of Matthew 28.

Now I realize that I may be accused of contradictory reasoning here, but I believe the message of Jesus Christ is one that everyone does indeed need and is entitled to hear. But that is where it should (or should have) stopped. Unfortunately, it was too often accompanied by a colonialist mindset or motivation and not by a true concern that all men hear the saving message of Christ. Too often, we (the western caucasion) tried to turn African, South American and North American Natives into little Europeans, depriving them of their culture and language and manipulating, even forcing them, according to our own cultural or economic agenda. This was not only not necessary from a Great Commission point of view, it was downright disastrous. Many of my experiences in my jail ministry attest to the disaster that this attitude has caused in my own country of Canada.

And so it is with the current differences between the western church and the Global South. In so many cases, the western church as abanoned the message of truth it once preached and has become cultural. Indeed, it is now the former students who have become the teachers, and the former teachers who need to be reminded of the truth they once taught. They learned the truth from us; now they are just trying to get us to return to what we once preached.

Here is a quote from Larratt-Smith's post:
The truth is that Westerners are perceived by non-Westerners (if we can make such a huge generalization about a truly global phenomenon) as rich, technologically sophisticated, economically and politically dominant, morally contemptible barbarians…Why barbarians? For despising tradition, the ancestors and the dead. For despising religion, or at least for treating it lightly. For the shallowness and triviality of their culture. For their sexual shamelessness. For their loose adherence to family and sometimes, also to tribe. For their absence of any sense of honour. (Meic Pearse, Why the Rest Hates the West, InterVarsity Press, 2004)


Take Care