Sunday, 22 November 2009

Ending Poverty, Black, White or Other

From Here...
The absent father stands alone as the most reliable predictor of social and psychological trouble. Research by the U.S. Census Bureau shows that annual household income is below $30,000 for 65 percent of children in single-mother families, compared with 15 percent of children in two-parent families. Children raised in homes without fathers are more likely to run away, commit suicide, use drugs, be arrested, and engage in a host of other unfortunate—and sometimes deadly—behaviors.

The article cited gives three proposals, the first two strictly secular, the third rather new-age, which may or may not work, and work to varying degrees.

What is the solution? Well, liberals, of course, say the way to eradicate poverty is through massive government spending, transferring more and more wealth from those they see as, "rich" to those who need it, the, "poor." This is hopelessly naive and unfortunatley, even laughable. It just plain has not worked, nor will it ever. An organization called, Make Poverty History" laments the fact that Canada's Parliament, in 1989, vowed to end child poverty by the year 2000. Laughable? Yes! It's like Parliament committing to meet the requirements of the Kyoto Accord. It's just not going to happen, whether the committment was well-intentioned or disingenuous.

The real solution will be one of morality and accountability. I have posted on this subject before and you can link to my other posts by the labels below, so I won't dwell at length here, but here's a start.

We can stop indoctrinating our young people into sexual irresponsibility through our popular songs and culture (the American Music Awards are on in the background as I write, and some of the numbers on this show are prime examples). The popular dancing shows on TV, Dancing With the Stars and So You Think You Can Dance could stop simulating sex on stage. This applies in particular to the hip-hop choreographers on the latter, whose work is especially blatant, and whose main focus is young black men, the very ones (according to the article cited above) who most need to hear the message of self-restraint and sexual responsibility.

Will it happen? I don't expect so. Would it work? Yes, I'm sure it would. Of course, the best solution, ultimately, would be a true change of heart, a new heart, a work of God.

Take Care

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Miraculous Signs

"...we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him." (John 3:1a,2)

Miraculous signs. Some people get'em, some don't. Nicodemus here tells Jesus that he knows he is from God by the miraculous signs he performs. I don't think it's clear exactly who the, "we" is in the actual quote. Some say it refers generically to the Pharisees of the ruling council, as if somehow they all knew that Jesus was from God. I don't think so, because the Pharisees obviously knew he raised Lazarus from the dead, acknowledged it as a miraculous sign, yet rather than acknowledge that Jesus was from God, wanted to kill him for it. (John 11: 38ff)

There are ministries, television or otherwise, who bill themselves as, "signs and wonders" ministries, often using the term, "...with signs and wonders following," as if a sign or a wonder would force or cause someone to believe. Frankly, and forgive me if I am out of line, but I often find this kind of claim rather pretentious, possibly having more to do with the ego of the leaders than anything else. Mind you, Jesus did perform many miraculous signs, but I think they were rather an affirmation for those who did believe than mere tricks by which to convince people to believe. Many people saw them and still did not believe. There are veils over some eyes that even the most miraculous sign cannot penetrate.

Having said all that, I do believe that many of us can look back and see miracles surrounding our own coming to faith. We may be able to see certain signs or events that God used, meant only for us, to draw us to Him. The greatest miracle, of course, is that God wass able to take a dead heart, a heart of stone, and give us a living one, one of flesh. But I know in my own case, that God used certain signs, events and circumstances that would be meaningful only to me, and that others might dismiss as mere happenstance.

Let me tell you of another case. I heard the testimony, years ago now, of a woman who had not been walking with the Lord. I don't remember many of the details of her life. It would make a wonderful story if she had been involved with a life of drugs, or prostitution, or biker gangs, or something else equally dramatic, but I don't think she was. But whatever the case, this woman told me that she came to the point where she intended to take her own life. She was in her car, driving along a highway when, at rock bottom, she pulled into a service station. She asked for the key to the washroom and went in. She did not intend to come out. It was there she was going to end everything. I don't remember whether she was going to take pills, or slash her wrists, or something else, but while she was there, looking at her miserable self in the mirror, she glanced down and saw that there were some gospel tracts on the back of the toilet. She sat down and began to read them. And there, in a dingy service station washroom, she surrendered her life to Christ. She had entered that room alive and intended to come out dead. Instead, she entered dead and came out alive.

Now, she was and is convinced that the appearance of those tracts was a miracle, and frankly, I am not one to dispute it. The skeptic might brush it off as a mere coincidence; anyone could have put them there. But in any case, someone felt called to leave some tracts in the washroom of some anonymous service station, on some anonymous highway, in the hope, no doubt, that someone might read them. And even if it was by a human hand, God led them to do that. And someone else just happened to choose that same washroom as the place to end it all. Little might that anonymous evangelist have known that they would save a life, and begin a new one.

And neither one will ever know who the other was... until they meet in glory. And what a meeting that will be!

Take Care

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Islamophobia? No... Islamophilia!

Have I just coined a new word?

I find it fascinating how many people of a liberal slant are afraid to entertain any criticism of the Islamic faith. Case in point is the latest mass shooting at the Fort Hood army base in the US. Liberals are tripping all over themselves to avoid any connection between the shootings and the alleged shooters Muslim faith. From Dr Phil on CNN to the liberal panelists on the Michael Coren Show, they have, practically without exception, refused to admit that the alleged shooter's faith had anything to do with his actions, even though, as he unloaded his weapons into an unsuspecting crowd of people, he shouted, "Allah achbah," and, as has come to light, frequented radical Islamic websites and defented the actions of suicide bombers.

I came across an interesting analysis of a related phenomenon, that is, the tendency of these same liberals to raise past Christian wrongs when attempting to answer for current wrongs of other religions, particularly Islam.

Often, when I am criticizing crimes inspired by Islamic extremism, I am interrupted by the remark that Christianity was once culpable of similar abuses. That Christianity may have been intolerant in the past, however, does not make criticisms of Islam’s present-day intolerance any less valid. Also, Islamic intolerance is an immediate danger, whereas Christian intolerance is generally a historical phenomenon and no longer a threat to civilization. And Christendom’s crimes were recorded by Christians themselves—a stark contrast to our politically correct climate, in which many, especially Muslims, are reluctant to criticize Islam.
Read it all here...

Take Care

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Fun With English

A site I just discovered, Fake AP Stylebook purports to be a guide to proper writing for writers and journalists. Some of the tips, I must admit, are in questionable taste, some make no sense at all, but some had me laughing out loud. Here are a few examples.

A 'queue' is a short line of people or other objects. A 'queueueueueue' is a longer line.

In a byline, "With additional reporting by" can be shortened to "Big Ups To."

"Redneck" is considered a derogatory term but you know what? Who cares about those stupid rednecks.

When covering a flood always include a photo of a dog stranded on a roof. Throw your own dog up there if needed

United States of America - Named for its original Norse discoverer, Erik Unitedstatesofamerica

For unnamed sources, agree on an attribution that gives the reader an idea of who it is. Ex.: "rhymes with President Bobama" (As far as my favourites, this was a close second, JK)

Do not use "Whoomp! There it is!" unless it actually is there.

The term for word misuses such as "irregardless" and "supposably" is "uncorrect."

The plural of July is "Steves." I know that doesn't make sense, but that's our crazy English language for you.

To describe more than one octopus, use sixteentopus, twentyfourtopus, thirtytwotopus, and so on.

“Buggy jockey" is an insulting term to the Amish and should only be used in the online edition. (My favourite - you have to think about it, JK)

It is poor newsroom etiquette to throw yourself out of the window to prove that your co-worker is Superman.

When embedded in a military unit, give precise locations so worried mothers at home know their children are safe.

(In the spelling of “Hallowe’en”) The apostrophe is correct, as the word is a contraction of "Halloweddiedeezen".

You may use "ghost whisperer" in a generic sense, but if referring to the CBS TV character, use her name: Cleavage McGee.

We are uncertain about the plural of 'apocalypse' ourselves, but we bet it would be cool to watch.

This is true. Correct spellings are: Sanford & Son, Five & Dime, ham s&wich, &y Gibb, ampers&, etc.

Questions regarding the spelling out of acronyms should be addressed to the GCCAAPT.

Take Care

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Lotteries in the Temple Courts

In our Sunday morning adult class this morning, we studied Jesus' clearing of temple as recorded in John chapter 2

This episode can be seen on many levels, but one new one (new to me, anyway) came to my mind as we studied and shared.

The story revolves around the fact that, among other commercial endeavors, sacrifices for the Passover were being sold in the temple courts. Jesus drove them out with the cry, "How dare you turn my Father's house into a market."

Then I read This Blog on the Anglican Essentials blog, concerning the Anglican diocese of Niagara's need for $750,000.00 to cover, "...all those costs incurred, in part, when the four parishes left the Anglican church for the Network." These costs involve, "lost revenue" and legal expenses for lawsuits that, of course, should never have been instituted.

"Lost revenue..." Revenue... Just like the merchants in the temple courts needed (or coveted) revenue.

When the Passover was instituted, Exodus chapter 12 we see that if a family was too small for a whole lamb for themselves, one was to be shared. It occurred to me that there shouldn't have been any selling or purchasing of sacrifices at all in the temple courts. There should have been no need for selling or purchasing because there should have been sharing, according to the LORD's own command. Somewhere along the line, a sense of community, and caring for those in that community who needed help, was lost.

The point was also raised, this morning, that, in connection with all the Jewish feasts, the people were always to bring their, "firstfruits" to present to the LORD.
He brought us to this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey; and now I bring the firstfruits of the soil that you, O LORD, have given me.Deut 26:9-10

The LORD has also brought us to this place, the place of salvation through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ. How can we also not offer Him our firstfruits. A community of true Christians, born-again believers, should be at the very least a tithing community.

And a church of tithers should never need to do fundraising for its own support. There should not be a need for bake sales, or garage sales, or lotteries, or any other kind of selling in the temple courts, simply to keep the organization afloat. Our community should be one of sharing with those among us who are in need, and one who brings our firstfruits to the LORD in grateful thanks for what He has done.

Take Care