Sunday, 30 November 2008

Gentleness and Respect

But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect... (1 Peter 3:15)

Our Sunday morning adult class today was on the subject of apologetics, the art of defending the Christian faith to both questioners and attackers alike. The discussion was a lively and informative one, the focus this morning being on Scriptural inerrancy, but the question that occurred to me over the intervening time is this: are gentleness and respect called for in every circumstance?

As I mentioned earlier, one of the areas we are called to defend or explain our faith is when, as in the verse above, we are asked to give the reason for the hope that we have. In other words, when someone seems sincerely interested in our faith and would like us to explain it to them. This we are to do with gentleness and respect. This was also my attitude when I used to have discussions with an employee who was quite a devout Jehovah's Witness. There was nothing to be gained by arguing with her, so I just tried to focus on explaining the differences between our two faiths in the hope that she might begin to see the truth where we Christians believe the Watchtower to be in error.

The other is when the tenets of our faith are under direct attack, either from unbelievers, or those inside the church. Is such gentless and respect called for in all circumstances? Certainly Jesus himself didn't think so in Matthew chapter 23 where he calls the religious leaders hypocrites and a brood of vipers. In fact, not only Jesus, but Paul, Peter and Jude all warn against those who would destroy the faith, and in these cases, it seems to me, they are calling for neither gentleness nor respect.

I believe the difference is between sincere seekers, and those (outside or particularly inside the church) who would see Christianity either destroyed or radically altered. These enemies of our faith deserve neither our gentleness nor our respect.

Someone questioned whether inerrancy in and of itself was that important. Wasn't it enough to believe that Jesus died for our sins? But the leader rightly raised the question of how, if we don't believe the Bible is inerrant, can we be sure about Jesus, his death and resurrection at all. In other words, if we start giving away inerrancy on even seemingly small points, how do we know where to stop?

And again, even though this is in a Baptist church, I see the lesson large and clear in the Anglican church here in Canada.The term, 'slippery slope' can be somewhat of a cliche, but it becomes a cliche only because it is a truism. Once an individual or a church begins to discount certain areas of Scripture, the next is easier to ignore. Soon we see central doctrines like the Virgin birth, the Divinity of Christ and Jesus as the only way to the Father being questioned or abandoned.

And the irony of it all is that churches that adopt these more 'open' views, do so often to appeal to a broader audience, but end up withering gradually away. This gradual dying away is surely the inevitable consequence of these liberal views, but their adherents seem to keep blindly and determinedly plodding down the same broad road, somehow expecting a different result. And as I said this morning, it is indeed heartbreaking to see a denomination one cares for being rent apart by these divisions, but that is exactly where the abandonment of the doctrine of the inerrancy of Scripture leads.

You have heard the expression that those who refuse to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Someone also told me once that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. But some people just never learn!

Take Care

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

O'Byrne Scores Empty-Net Tying Goal...

Unfortunately it was on his own net, while his goalie was out for an extra attacker on a delayed penalty call.

For those who haven't seen it...

Oops!

I witnessed this next one in person, Steve Smith scoring on Grant Fuhr to virtually put an end to the Oilers playoff hopes back in '86. Eva and I had seats behind the net at the other end of the rink.



I'm sure all of us are happy we've never in our lives done anything nearly so embarassing. ;)
Take Care

Monday, 24 November 2008

Revenue Canada Tax Calculations?



h/t StandFirm bailout explained

Then It's Not Science, Is It?

From Here...
Law prof to geneticists: keep racism out of science
A University of Alberta law professor is urging caution and precision in the field of genetic research to avoid a flare-up in racist attitudes.

Timothy Caulfield, the Canada Research Chair in Health Law and Policy, says biomedical scientists keen to explore genetic variation across populations run the risk of encouraging racism.

Now, I don't think, from the article, that he's saying we should fudge scientific research to accomodate the feelings of racial minorities, but he comes awfully close.
There is also tentative evidence that reading about race-linked biological research in the press can fuel discrimination. For example, last year Nobel prize-winning geneticist James Watson told a British newspaper that he believes black people are less intelligent than white people. The comment caused widespread outrage.

Things are either true or they're not. If so, acknowledge them. If not, dispute or disprove them. But don't let someone's feelings, individual or collective, dictate what is accepted as scientific fact. Let's not have the middle ages all over again - Copernicus & Galileo et al. Except this time it won't be the church. It's the "pretzels," a term I just coined to refer to those who bend over so far backwards to be politically correct that they tie themselves in knots.

Take Care

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Even When It Hurts

In this morning's adult class we looked at Psalm 15, speaking of who may dwell in the LORD's sanctuary. Parts of verses three and four gave me food for thought:
...(he who) has no slander on his tongue,
who does his neighbor no wrong
and casts no slur on his fellowman,
who despises a vile man
but honors those who fear the LORD,
who keeps his oath
even when it hurts...

Someone raised the point that slander involves speaking lies about another person. But I believe the Christian is held to an even higher standard. Sometimes there are things that, even if true, we should keep to ourselves. We can cast slurs even if what we say about another might be true. Let's say we have been wronged in some way by another, even a brother or sister in Christ. And let's say even that our complaint is legitimate. Matthew 18 gives us instructions for resolving conflicts in the church, but whether the situation is resolved or not, we must let it go. It is not up to us to grumble, or even hint at in casual conversation, how badly we have been treated. I was reminded by a recent post on Dave Groff's blog of Ephesians 4:29,
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

No matter how justified we might feel, or how wronged we might feel ouselves to have been, or how right our case against the other, we are commanded by the Apostle Paul to speak only what will build others up, not tear them down.

And this brings me to the last part of my quote from Psalm 15,
...who keeps his oath even when it hurts...

As Christians, I believe that keeping an oath also refers to our obeying the word of God. Not only are we to refrain from all speech that does not build others up, we are not to, "go public" with our disputes.

I believe this applies to the current disputes within the Anglican Church of Canada, where various dioceses are taking congregations to court (over Church properties) who have opted to join the Anglican Network in Canada under the oversight of the Province of the Southern Cone. It should be well known that my sympathies lies squarely with the Network in these disputes. I link to them below. But I believe they should not be involved in these legal disputes, even as the, "passive" party. Why? Because these proceedings are being held in front of unbelievers, and even just defending oneself, being the party under attack, if you like, becomes part of the spectacle of what the world sees as Christians divided amongst themselves. Now I realize I have the luxury here of not being involved in one of these disputes. I have the luxury of not having to see the building in which I have worshipped, perhapes all my life, being claimed by what I see (rightly I might add) as an apostate organization. But these are just buildings, which is more than the most vibrant Church of all time, the first century Church, had. I realize I may draw the ire of my brothers and sisters who are the victims of these litigations, but I believe they should just walk away. As Paul said, "Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated?"

The one who would dwell in the LORD's sanctuary, who would live on His holy hill is the one who, "keeps his oath... even when it hurts."

Take Care

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Is There a "Symetry Gene?"

OK, so this might seem silly, but sometimes the silliest seeming questions are the ones left unanswered.

We have a new kitten. It is a tabby with brown, black and tan markings. The pattern of the markings are the same on both her sides, and I found myself wondering why. The simplest answer is that she got her pattern from her parents, but that is not very satisfying. One can just keep asking, "Where did they get it from?" all the way back to the beginning, whenever that was.

The same question could be asked about humans. Why do we have five fingers on both our right and left hands? Why five toes on each foot. Why, in effect, are the right and left sides of our bodies mirror images? How do genes work. Is there a, 'mirror-image gene' that ensures both halves of our bodies are the same? Or are we the way we are because our parents and hence our ancestors were that way?

Which leads me to the evolutionary part of this question. If we trace ourselves, and all life, back to some kind of blob, what was it that caused both sides of our bodies to be the same? Wouldn't that be the world's greatest coincidence? And if we, and all plant and animal life, came to be the way we are through a countless series of mutations, why are virtually all animals built the same way today? Wouldn't some of these mutations have affected this particular attribute? They certainly seem to have affected a multitude of others.

Now the evolutionists say that the creatures that survive have done so because they were more suitably adapted to their environments that those that didn't. In other words, if a certain mutation gave its recipients a survival advantage, then those specimines would eventually take over and the disadvantaged ones die out. But is there any record, fossil or otherwise, of any extinct animal sepcies that are unsymetrical? Besides, it wouldn't seem to me to be a particular disadvantage to have had five fingers on one hand and seven or eight on the other? Why aren't there more people or animals around with these or other "abnormalities?"

One of the advantages, for instance, that we humans have, along with the great apes, is the "opposing thumb." Why are both thumbs opposing? There are evolution sites that explain its development but no one thinks to wonder, let alone explain, what mutation happened to develope it on both hands at once? Or are there fossil records of our ancient ancestors with only one of them?

As I said, these may seem like silly questions. But sometimes the experts are so concerned with the complex questions that they don't see or bother with the simple ones. Far be it for me to expect that anyone with expertise in genetics might read this blog, but I would like to hear an explanation. If there is a gene that automatically ensures our bodies are, 'mirror imaged,' that is one thing. But if our bodies are the way they are just because every one of our ancestors were, I'm afraid that leaves a lot of unanswered questions.

Or maybe we were just made that way? Go figure.

Take Care

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Sarah Palin'?

I just realized what it is about Sarah Palin. She has been interviewed more times, it seems, since the American election than before it, and I finally came to me -- she omits the letter 'G' from the 'ing' about half the time. She is lookin' forward to reachin' out to Barak Obama and gettin' goin' to solve the problems of the country. She may think it sounds homespun, but I'm afraid I just find it annoyin'.

I think here real name must have been Paling and she just shortened it as well.

That's Sarah Palin' of the Republicin' party.

Take Care

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

It's Back!


A year and a half after it was stolen, I now have my toy, my 1984 Buick Grand National, back. It has been freshly painted, and partly re-upholstered - looks gorgeous!
The start of the whole adventure began because it wasn't running right. The local service shop couldn't figure out the problem, and the car was stolen while waiting for them to pick it up at my shop. However, its poor running may have been why it was recovered because the thiefs abandoned it in Fox Creek Alberta, not wanting to try to coax it any further.
The service shop, which will remain unnamed, spent a lot of their time (and my money) trying to figure it out, all to no avail. Finally a friend discovered the mass air flow (MAF)sensor (don't ask me exactly how it works) was faulty. These are no longer available for the '84 turbo Regal, so I had to get one from an online used parts seller in North Carolina. So now it runs perfectly as well. I have actually had it back for a few weeks and have had a blast driving it. But now the first snow has come, so it is sequestered in my garage til spring. Here is a little info I prepared on the '80's Grand Nationals:
The 1984 - 1987 Grand Nationals represent the hallmark of the Buick Turbo Cars. The all-black exterior paint and the bulging hood remind one of the muscle cars of the sixties. The Turbo V6 engine, with all of its sophisticated components, proves that technology, when applied in the right manner, can effectively substitute for cubic inches.

Beginning in 1984, the Grand National package (Option WE2) came with standard black paint, black bumpers, rub strips and guards, black front air dam, deck lid spoiler, aluminum wheels with black paint, and Grand National identification on the exterior and instrument panel. Standard was a turbocharged, fuel injected V6 (Engine Code LM9), rated at a strong 200 bhp and 300 lb-ft of torque. To put that power to the road, the GN came with a 3.42:1 Posi-Trac rear end.

Many people still consider them to be the only true muscle car of the ‘80’s (although I would add the late '80's 5.0 litre Mustangs). Each year they were made they were the fastest North American production automobile. In fact, speculation is that GM forced Buick to drop the Grand National after 1987 because Chevrolet insisted that nothing in the GM stable should be faster than the Corvette, as the Grand National was.

Take care

Monday, 10 November 2008

War No More

Mahalia Jackson sings, "Study War No More".

In the last days
the mountain of the LORD's temple will be established
as chief among the mountains;
it will be raised above the hills,
and all nations will stream to it.

Many peoples will come and say,
"Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD,
to the house of the God of Jacob.
He will teach us his ways,
so that we may walk in his paths."
The law will go out from Zion,
the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.

He will judge between the nations
and will settle disputes for many peoples.
They will beat their swords into plowshares
and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will not take up sword against nation,
nor will they train for war anymore. (Isaiah 2:2-4)

As believers we look forward to a time, yet future, when there will be no more war; when fathers and mothers, husbands or wives, daughters and sons will no more mourn loved ones lost on the world's battlefields. But for now, let us remember those who have served, and serve still, performing their service in places and ways in which many, myself included, could never imagine ourselves.

Take Care

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Oprah - "I Would Have Lost My Soul..."

Following Barak Obama's election victory, Oprah Winfrey referenced Mark 8:36,
For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?
saying, "I would have lost my soul had I not stood up for Barak Obama."

I don't think she quite gets Jesus' point about the losing the soul thing.

View the interview Here...

h/t Nova Scotia Scott

Take Care

A Few More Bulletin Bloopers

~ The Honeymooners are now having bile studies each Tuesday evening at 7:30 p.m.

~ Hymn of Invitation: "Whoever He Leads I'll Go"

~ The visiting monster today is Rev. Jack Bains.

~ Worshipers are asked to wail until all have been served to partake of the Body and the Blood of Christ.

~ Pray for continual growth in the lives of many of our teens--that a food foundation will be laid in their lives.

~ Boars of Trustees

~ We are always happy to have you sue our facility.

~ The activity will take place on the church barking lot.

~ Hymn: I am Thin, O Lord.

~ I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, even though he diets, yet shall be live.

~ Hymn: I Need Three Every Hour

~ New Missionaries: Tim is a pilot and flies missionaries and supplies into the bush.

~ Palm Sunday: Our regular service will be gin at 11:00 a.m.

~ All children are requested to bring fresh followers to decorate the cross for Easter Sunday.

~ When parking on the north side of the church, please remember to park on an angel.

~ Jean will be leading a weight-management series Wednesday nights. She's used the program herself and has been growing like crazy!

~ Volunteers are needed to spit up food for distribution following the Restaurant Supply Show at the Expo Center.

~ This evening at 7 P.M. there will be a hymn sing in the park across from the Church. Bring a blanket and come prepared to sin.

~ The King's Bras will present a concert at our church this evening at 6.

~ On Easter Sunday, our bulletin read "Jesus was buried in a bomb but He lives today!"

~ Women in the Word starts next week. There are several different studies to choose from. Ladies, make sure you sign up for a stud before next week.

~ On the sign in front of the church:
This week's sermon: "When is Sex Not Enough?"
The choir sings: "I Need Thee Every Hour"

These and more from mikeysFunnies.com

Monday, 3 November 2008

When Will They Ever Learn?...

...or at least admit that the sexualization of our children is having disastrous results?
Study: Sex on TV linked to teen pregnancies
The RAND Corp. study is the first of its kind to identify a link between teenagers’ exposure to sexual content on TV and teen pregnancies. The study, released Monday and published in the November edition of the journal Pediatrics, found that teens exposed to high levels of sexual content on television were twice as likely to be involved in a pregnancy in the following three years as teens with limited exposure.
Wow, quel surprise!

“We were surprised to find this link,” said Anita Chandra, the study’s lead author and a behavioral scientist at RAND,...
Oh, really?

“This might surprise people, but sitcoms had the highest sexual content,”
Surprise? I don't think so. Think, 'Friends' or 'Will & Grace' for starters. And that's not even counting what's on today. I'm afraid I don't keep up, but it seems to me it's getting more and more blatant. I never watched the two shows I just mentioned, but a while ago a I started to watch an episode of "Scrubs" and found it disgusting. A priest at a former church mentioned from the pulpit how much he liked 'Friends,' and I could only shake my head. (Neither he nor I are now at that church). How could someone who names the name of Christ, and is supposed to be preaching it, enjoy regularly watching a show that glorifies immoral lifestyles, and boast about it?

This has long been a concern of mine. When my own daughters were young it was Madonna and explicit rap lyrics. Now I have only to be concerned for my grandchildren.

But this issue is infused with the greatest hypocrisy imaginable. I remember shaking my head at Madonna leading the fight against AIDS, while everything she did professionally seemed determined to promote the very behaviour that led to its spread. So, I am sure, it is with the current producers of this overtly sexual material. They are probably in the forefront of movements calling for more sex education, the fight against AIDS, the fight against child poverty, etc., all the while pumping out material that directly contradicts their words. Why don't they include proper sex education in their shows if they are so concerned? Probably because neither proper sexual morality, nor a frank and genuine discussion of sexual issues, is very funny.

But they themselves are laughable.

Thus endeth the rant.

Take Care

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Psalm 57:1

Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me,
for in you my soul takes refuge.
I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings
until the disaster has passed.

Some time ago I went through a peiod of severe clinical depression. It was the blackest, most horrific time I could ever imagine experiencing, and I can remember sitting, literally immobilized in an armchair, repeating this verse over and over again. It seemed to be the only thing that kept me going.

So I find myself wondering, what is it that carries us through a time of disaster? Is it God, or faith in God? In other words, if we find ourselves in an unbearable situation do we say, "My faith is carrying me through," or, "God is carrying me"?

Surely, in the end, it is God who carries us, not just our faith. Faith, properly placed in God Almighty and His Son Jesus Christ, shows us that it is indeed He who carries us, but it is God Himself, not our faith, even in Him, who is our refuge and our strength. If faith; if belief, then our strength is all within us. Our power is all in ourselves, in our own capacities, our own minds, and faith in anything might suffice, for a time.

But even genuine faith is a gift of God. So an extra measure of faith may be given to us to undergird us in untenable circumstances, but under that supporting faith is God Himself. Underneath are the everlasting arms

Take Care

Saturday, 1 November 2008

What's In My CD Player

Daughtry - Crashed

And then I crashed into you,
And I went up in flames.
Could've been the death of me,
But then you breathed your breath in me.
And I crashed into you,
Like a runaway train.
You will consume me,
But I can't walk away.

I've been listening to Daughtry lately. It took a while of hearing him on the radio before I really caught on to whom it was I was listening. The older I get, the further I get behind (not in the sense of 'supporting,' but, 'lagging') current pop culture. but I still like my music fairly heavy from time to time. This CD has been out for a couple of years now, but is still getting radio play.

Chris Daughtry acknowledges Christ as his Saviour on the CD jacket, and with this in mind, I wondered about the spiritual meaning of this song, which I particularly like. These lyrics remind me of my own salvation experience, with one notable exception. I wasn't exactly moving at the speed of sound, and I didn't exactly crash into God. I was just sort of ambling along and bumped into Him.

But it's still the same thing. We find God only because He is there. And He's there only because He puts Himself there. In other words, the unsaved person doesn't find God, can't find God, even if he insists he is looking for Him. It is God who does the 'finding'. The one who does not yet know God is still stumbling directionless in the dark until God Himself brings him into the light.

But as I have said in other places, God placed Himself in front of me, at a particular time, and in a partular place, and under particular circumstances, exactly according to His good pleasure. And suddenly, instantly, everything was different. And I knew it was different. I was in a new place, and I was taken completely by surprise. This new place was not something I could have invented, made up or even dreamed of. But it began to dawn on me that in this new place I was a child of God, where before, in the old place, I wasn't. And one thing a child of God realizes is that before he was in this place, before God breathed His breath into him, he could never have imagined what it would be like.

Having said all that, I am convicted just how poorly I share the wonders of this new place with those around me who are not yet in it. May God widen my own vision, and may I make the effort to step out in faith to reach those who need to hear.

Take Care