Wednesday, 30 April 2008

United Church Observer backs... evolution exhibit

An exhibit at Toronto’s Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) celebrating Charles Darwin almost failed to open until an unlikely donor came through: the United Church Observer, the independent magazine of the United Church of Canada.
Read it here...

Hmmm... Interesting place to spend 40 grand.

Take Care

Thursday, 24 April 2008

Jesus Wept

A comment I posted on This Thread that I wanted to repeat here.

Jesus wept.
Yes, Jesus wept. He wept when he approached the pain and torment of crucifixion, but knowing he had to face them for the sake of the world. He knew that what he was about to endure was the only way to save those who are or would become his. He wept because he knew that only through what he was about to suffer could anyone ever realize forgiveness and a right relationship with the Father.

And may I be so bold as to surmise that he wept for all those who would refuse his free gift of forgiveness; for all those who arrogantly assumed that they were quite all right, thank you very much, and didn’t need it. Those who insist on living accountable only to themselves diminish this gift, indeed, negate it. They might as well have walked up to the cross upon which Jesus hung and spit in his face.

Dare I also think he might weep still for those who deny him: his Deity, his mother’s virginity, his sacrifice of death and his victory in a physical resurrection. For all those in dead churches who woodenly mouth the Creeds that affirm all of the above with their fingers figuratively crossed behind their backs.
In short, for all those whose behaviours, actions, thoughts and speech indicate their opinions that he died for naught, still he surely weeps.

Take Care

Canadian Anglicans Set to Make Ecclesiastical History

Again, for my non-Anglican reader(s)...
Fourteen bishops, including several archbishops, many from the Global Anglican Communion, led by the Archbishop of the Southern Cone, the Most Rev. Gregory Venables, will make an historic visit to Vancouver, British Columbia, this weekend to officially launch an ecclesial organization that will stand in permanent opposition to the theologically liberal Anglican Church of Canada.

More than 500 people are expected to fill the South Delta Baptist Church near Vancouver to worship, celebrate and hear Archbishop Venables speak. He will commission a new generation of evangelical clergy at odds with a morally and theologically compromised Anglican Church that many believe has moved beyond the boundaries of historic Christianity and is at odds with the vast majority of the Anglican Communion.

Read it all Here...

Pray that God is doing a new and lasting thing.

Take Care

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Statement by Nine Anglican Network in Canada Clergy

To Bishop Michael Ingham. This will be old news to my Anglican viewers, but for the benefit of others, from the Anglican Network newsletter:
Delivered April 21, 2008
We, the undersigned clergy, are writing in response to the Notice of Presumption of Abandonment of Ministry that you have sent to each of us. We would like to point out that the Notice is not in compliance with the Canons in that it does not set out the required facts but simply repeats the language of the Canon. The canonical process
has therefore not been engaged.
We have not abandoned the “ministry to which we were ordained”. Each of us was ordained into Anglican ministry; indeed, we were ordained into ministry in the “Church of God” as per our ordination vows. We have been privileged to serve in the Anglican ministry for many years and it is our intention and prayer that we may continue in the Anglican ministry.
Further, it is our intention to remain members of the Anglican Church. We are not leaving the Anglican Church to become members of another church or to minister in another church, which is the concern of Canon XIX.
However, with deep reluctance and regret we have concluded that we cannot continue the Anglican ministry to which we were ordained under your jurisdiction. The Diocese, under your leadership, has departed from historic, orthodox Anglican teaching and practice. It has departed from what the Primates have unanimously recognized as the standard of teaching of the Anglican Communion. The Diocese is in a state of broken or impaired communion with the majority of Anglicans worldwide. Sadly, it appears the Anglican Church of Canada has now similarly departed from Anglican teaching and practice.
We have therefore determined that in order to uphold our ordination vows, we must leave your jurisdiction, and by this letter, we hereby relinquish the licences we hold from the Bishop of New Westminster. Each of us will receive a licence to continue our present parish ministries from Bishop Donald Harvey, who, as you know, is under the jurisdiction of the Primate of the Southern Cone. In this way, we will be able to continue our Anglican ministry within the Anglican Church, under the jurisdiction of and in communion with those who remain faithful to historic, orthodox Anglicanism and as part of the Anglican Communion worldwide.
Signed by:
Rev. Dr. James I. Packer
Rev. Dr. Trevor Walters
Rev. David Short
Rev. Simon Chin
Rev. Stephen Leung
Rev. Dr. Archie Pell
Rev. James Wagner
Rev. Dan Gifford
Rev. Mike Stewart

Take Care

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

The Church is Growing Somewhere, and it's Not Here

From the latest Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC) newsletter comes this encouraging report regarding church growth in Africa, the very church that the liberal, stagnating and shrinking North American churches accuse of standing in the way of their new, enlightened and non-Christian agenda:
Read Bishop Martyn Minns thrilling account of God’s working in the Church of Nigeria. He says in part, “Their church is alive and growing, they are planting individual churches and complete dioceses, people are giving, lives are being transformed and nobody seems surprised.” As examples, he tells us:
· “…they created eighteen new missionary dioceses (with) all of the resources to start these new dioceses... already in the bank.”
· “…(T)he seventeen missionary dioceses they created last year have already planted more than three hundred congregations and no one seems surprised.”
· “…the Church of Nigeria now has sufficient funds in its endowment fund that they no longer need any of the dioceses to pay any assessments. The Primate announced that the Province has enough income from the endowment to cover all of its operations. Each diocese is now encouraged to use the funds that they formerly passed along to the Province to plant more churches and create more new dioceses.”

Read it here...

See what happens when you hold to the truth? People see you are relevant.

Take Care

Sunday, 13 April 2008

Double Edged "Green" Sword

Lorne Gunter writes in the Edmonton Journal,
It turns out the production of biofuels such as ethanol and biodiesel is likely to cause far more environmental damage than it prevents, not to mention triggering widespread famine and eating up more rainforest and grassland than beef production ever could.

Read it all here...

Of course the "green" devotees can never admit they might have been wrong, so the disastrous charge into the valley of error and potential disaster will continue headlong. There have been so much ideoligical dogma, as well as government and corporate money committed to it that it is practically impossible to turn around. And the longer the charge toward calamity continues, the more difficult it will be to correct.

They have shot not only themselves, but all of us in the foot.

Take Care

Saturday, 12 April 2008

Babylon is Falling

I don't feel as comfortable as some confident 'prophets' in predicting what is to come, but for quite some time I have been imagining the decline of our own western society and the ascendency of the East, notably China. I don't say this with any sense of panic, or even any great distress. I just believe this is the way things are headed. The universe is unfolding as it must, I suppose.

An article from the Daily Mail:
Just as the 19th century was the British century, and the 20th century was the American century, the 21st century is the Asian century. But the handover of global power from the UK to the U.S. was trivial compared to what is happening now.

The U.S. was Britain's offspring, based on the same values and the same language. It, too, was an Anglo-Saxon country, and passing the baton across the Atlantic ensured the continuation of the Anglo-Saxon world order, based on democracy, free trade and a belief in human rights, upheld through international institutions that both powers supported.

But the world order we have grown used to - and comfortable with - over the last century is coming to an end.

Read it all here...

One thing the article doesn't mention, but which is, I think, the 800 pound gorilla in the room, is the presence in both Great Britain and North America, during their times of affluence, of the Christian faith, and more specifically, the Protestant Christian faith. Now, I am not a word-faith apologist, or a "name-it-and-claim-it" believer. But I do believe that it was people of faith who built these societies, and the prosperity associated with them would seem somehow tied to the Christian worldview. After all, many of the early scientists were Christian believers who believed that God created the universe and whose intellectual curiosity led them to attempt to discover how God had done it and how it all worked. Much of our present social order came out of Christianity, from hospitals, to charities, to the abolition of slavery.

Not the least factor in the former strength of our society and the current decline in it, is the changing model of the nuclear family. I envision a set of stairs leading down to a pit of quicksand, and we, as a society, have opened the door and started descending the steps. Each step follows the previous one as a natural consequence. One step is the abandonment of our faith. Another is the resulting decline in morality. There is licentiousness, self-centeredness, drug abuse. There is the breakdown in the family, leading to an increase in single parent and child poverty. There is more substance abuse. There is crime and violence.

I believe that as the morals of a society decay, the society itself will necessarily do the same. The results are not necessarily immediate. We are still living on "borrowed capital," but I believe that unless there is some kind of incredible turning back, the consequences are inevitable.

Yet I don't see all this as all bad. The universe is still in the hands of a sovereign God and is not unfolding outside His will. The Christian church is growing by leaps and bounds in China, and I have said it before, but must say it again, that China will not only be a great nation, it will be a Christian nation. And the pattern of God's blessing on those who honour Him will not be broken.

Take Care
h/t T19

Friday, 11 April 2008

Rachmaninoff for a Friday Afternoon

There doesn't seem to be much else going on, so I hope you can enjoy this...

Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No 2. The second movement. This is one of my favourite pieces of music by Rachmaninov. It literally floats me away. Pop singer Eric Carmen used this music as the basis of his hit song, "All By Myself," back in the '70's or '80's.

This is the first half of the movement. It is concluded Here...

Take Care

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Anglican Warfare

In both the US and Canada, Anglicans determined to remain true to the historic Christian faith are coming under attack by their national Churches, and in most un-Christian ways. Here is the latest vindictive action from Katharine Jefferts Schori, presiding bishop of the Episcopal church in the US.
What did she do? She inhibited 80-year old retired Bishop of Quincy Edward H. MacBurney. She did so after being told that his son was on his deathbed, and despite pleas that she forestall any such action until the crisis in the bishop's family had resolved. And her response? A mere two days before Bishop MacBurney's son died, she deliberately proceeded with her cruel and callous and truly unnecessary act. Today, while undoubtedly still experiencing grief that no parent should ever have to endure, Bishop MacBurney was informed of the inhibition.

Read it here and check the comments as well, some of which try disingenuously to defend the bishop's actions.

Here in Canada we have parishes being dragged into civil courts and surreptitious lock changing on church doors. I needn't expand too much here. Much more information can be found on some of my links below.

But this "scorched earth" policy on behalf of the National churches belies their true hearts, in spite of all their talk of inclusiveness, tolerance and compassion.

Take Care

Our Tax Dollars at Work

From the back page of the Edson Anchor, the Town of Edson Community Services is offering the following...

Does this come under job training? Are the fees deductible against future earnings? I'll be retiring sometime in the future. Perhaps this skill would help me to augment my meagre pension income.

Take Care

Monday, 7 April 2008

Rachmaninov, Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Variation 18

This is the first piece of music I remember ever hearing. For the first three years of my life we lived in an apartment backing onto the Rosedale ravine on Bloor Street East in Toronto. There was a sunporch on the back of the apartment, screened in on two sides, and the light that streamed in was all yellow and green, filtered by the leaves of summer. I have always had a vague memory of playing on the floor and having this recording playing on a scratchy recording in the background. It was many years before I heard it again and recognized it as the piece I had heard in childhood.

For this and other reasons I have always felt a kind of connection with Rachmaninoff and have loved his music. My mother, who was a wonderful pianist herself, had seen Rachmaninoff himself perform live at Eaton's auditorium in Toronto. It was one of her favourite memories.

I have asked my family to play this at my funeral (not that I expect it any time soon, Lord willing!). But it was there at the beginning of my life and I would like it to accompany me out.

Take Care

Marshalling Jets

The RAF has a little fun...

Watch the whole thing.

h/t Peter Ould

Take Care

Christian Courage

From "Felix Hominum"
Last year a young girl with disabilities was about to be harassed by two boys on a neighbourhood playground, when another a young man who heard what was happening came over and stood between the girl and the two boys. He stood his ground until they backed down.

The young man is a Christian, and "knew what they were doing was wrong". He is also 5 years old; a kindergarden student at a local school. He was recognized by his school for bravery. I know the story because the girl is my daughter.


Take Care

Sunday, 6 April 2008

CD Review -- You and You Alone

You and You Alone is a new CD that introduces ten new songs by songwriter and pastor Pat Sczebel and his son Joel. Pat and Joel are based in CrossWay Community Church in Surrey, British Columbia. From their site,
You and You Alone is the fifth CD in Overflow, a series featuring new songs emerging from songwriters within the Sovereign Grace family of churches. Although these CDs are produced by local churches, the goal is the same: to provide the church with songs that encourage passionate, biblically informed, Christ-glorifying worship.

I was sent this CD by Crossway on the promise that I would review it on my blog so I think it is about time I did, and indeed, I am pleased to do so. I had no idea what to expect. I feared that a mere, “worship band” might end up being sincere, but amateurish.

I like to listen to worship music while I drive. I have installed a JL Audio sub and amp system in my truck and I like my worship to be LOUD! So when I first received this CD I plugged it in and must say I was pleasantly surprised by what I heard, right from the first song.

The very first song, "Trust in You," comes on with a bang, so to speak, with distorted guitars, a driving beat and a sort of punky edge… great travelling music. In fact the first three tracks come on nice and strong with that same kind of aggressive edge (musically speaking).

Some of my other favourites? The fourth song, “The Greatest of All,” gives one of the best summations of the Gospel I have ever heard in a song. The verses…
The greatest of all transactions, the costliest purchase price
Father, Your Son’s atoning death was given in payment for mine
To buy me back from slavery, to set me free from my chains

Now I’ll never know Your judgment; my Savior was judged for me
Jesus, Your death and Yours alone has cancelled the debt that I owed
You satisfied the law’s demands and new life’s been given to me

With a refrain by Fanny J. Crosby worked in as seemlessly as if it had been written as one song…
Redeemed, how I love to proclaim it!
Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb;
Redeemed through His infinite mercy
His child and forever I am.

Track five slows things down with a worshipful, “I Surrender All” (reprised as track 11) that just makes me want to raise my hands to the Lord in thanksgiving and acknowledgement of His sovereignty, but as I am driving, of course, I can only raise one at a time.

Now, I must say, even at the risk of being accused of misogyny, that oftentimes I don’t care for worship songs sung by a female lead. I too often find certain female voices too strident, overpowering both the instrumentation and distracting from the message or the intended mood of worship. I realize that this is just me, but this extends even to some songs by Rebecca St James and Candy Pearson of the Passion series. Such a song here, and may I be forgiven for saying it, was song number eight, “Lord, You are Gracious.” Meaning to hurt no feelings, and speaking only my personal taste, I found the lead voice a little too shrill, and the instrumentation a little too thin. That, however, is the only criticism I have of the whole CD.

Having said what I just said about female voices, I must turn completely around and concede that my favourite track is number ten, “Jesus, You Are Beautiful.” The song begins with just a soft piano and the voice of Pat Sczebel singing,
Son of God You saved me
Rescued me out of darkness
Caused these blinded eyes to see
Just how beautiful You are

Then the chorus with male and female harmonization,
Jesus, You are beautiful
Jesus, You are beautiful
Because You first loved me, I love You
Jesus, You are beautiful

Then comes the second verse – a female lead – in this case the voice of an angel with a hint of a gravelly whisper on the edge of it. For some reason, and without being able to explain it or even justify my opinion, the voice fit the song perfectly.
Jesus Christ, my Savior
Your great love knows no measure
Though I sin continually
Lord, Your kindness follows me

The second chorus begins as a repeat of the first, sung with soft and beautiful harmonies, until the 1:58 mark (if you are counting) when the guitars, bass and drums come in force in what I found was a truly, “Wow” moment. The transition from soft to hard surprises the listener, but the effect is perfect, the instruments to coming in beneath the vocals and supporting, even lifting them heavenward.

All in all, I truly enjoy this CD and find it a real blessing. The music is much to my taste and is theologically sound (and that in itself is a bonus, considering what sometimes passes a “Christian” music these days). The group to which I find myself comparing the sound, if I may be forgiven for doing so, (in the hope that such a comparison will not be misleading), is Kutless. I think that if you like Kutless, or perhaps Switchfoot, you will like this CD
Better yet, decide for yourself. You may Listen to samples or purchase the CD Here…

Take Care

Friday, 4 April 2008

Letter from the Federation

I know I am late with this, as far as my anglican friends are concerned, but for others, The Federation branch of Anglican Essentials (representing those who have chosen to try to work for a return to orthodoxy and yet remain within the Anglican Church of Canada)have come out with a statement Here...

From it...
While same sex blessings are only one barometer of this fundamental shift in Church teaching, it is the most visible indication of a Church that is abandoning Biblical Christian doctrine and historic Anglican practice.

I believe it is time for all Anglicans, as individuals and a congregations, to declare where they stand, and declare it boldly, not only on same sex blessings, but on issues such as:
The deity of Christ
Original sin
The Virgin birth
The physical resurrection of Christ
The inspiration, inerrancy and authority of Scripture
Salvation by grace alone through faith alone
Christ as the only way to the Father
The feminization of God

Have I left any out?

I believe that each of the above doctrinal issues are necesssary pillars of the true Christian faith, and when they begin to be removed, the whole thing starts to collapse.

Many of our churches are abandoning these traditional Christian tenets and are therefore becoming part, not of Christian, but new religions. They are trying to retain the name, "Christian" but are, indeed, co-opting it in the name of someting entirely new and different.

Take Care

Good News

From Stand Firm
BREAKING: Virginia Judge Rules in Favor of Parishes

Pray that this might be an indication of good news to come for our Canadian Network churches as well.

Take Care