Tuesday, 31 May 2011

He Leads Me Beside Still Waters

I'm reading a little book recommended by our associate pastor called, "A Shepherd Looks At Psalm 23" by W. Phillip Keller

This quote just leapt out at me:
Saint Augustine of Africa summed it up so well when he wrote, "O God! Thou hast made us for Thyself and our souls are restless, searching, 'til they find their rest in Thee."
All the long and complex history of earth's religions, pagan worship, and human philosophy is bound up with this insatiable thirst for God.
Worth thinking about.

Take Care

Altruistic Squirrels or Gullible Beliefs?

From here...
Arianna Huffington herself posts an opinion piece which includes this bit on the possible evolution of an, "altruism gene."

...when faced with a predator in the vicinity, some squirrels would cry out to attract the predator's attention, thus sacrificing themselves so that other squirrels would be spared. This behavior would seem to contradict evolution, because such altruism would not be genetically passed on and would thus be selected out. But, as Trinh explained:
'...it is the gene or the genome that is 'trying' to survive, not the individual, nor the species. Thus if a squirrel perishes but in doing so saves his brothers (those who share much of his genome), his genes still survive and are still the fittest. The study offered to the scientific world the evolutionary basis of altruism.'
The first obvious red flag here is the word, "trying." Evolution cannot 'try' to do anything; the theory is that it is a completely random process where mutations that benefit the species are preserved within the species, and animals who possess this successful mutation will flourish while others without it may eventually die out.

Secondly, it would be interesting to hear whether only, "some" squirrels do this, while others more selfishly keep silent. Clarification would be helpful.

Thirdly, it would seem just as reasonable that such crying out may be just a natural reaction of fear in the face of a predator. Dogs bark or growl, cats hiss. People shout out ,"Holy ....(whatever)!" Perhaps squirrels just do what squirrels do.

In any case, one of the commenters posed this seemingly sensible comment:
If there is an altruistic gene, arising by mutation in whatever creature first exhibited the trait, and that creature sacrifices itself for the sake of the species (who do not yet carry this mutation), then the mutation is not passed on. Even though the altruistic­ally mutated creature sacrifices itself to ensure that the genome survives, what survives is the genome without the altruistic mutation. This is not an explanatio­n for how the so-called "altruism trait" has evolved.
To which another, obviously a true believer, answered:
You are assuming there is only one squirrel with that gene. If many or most squirrels have that gene, making yourself the target of a predator will, in fact, enhance the survival of the gene and the species.
Which raises the obvious question (although perhaps not so obvious to who blindly accept what they are told); Do you really think that the same mutation would have occurred simultaneously in more than one squirrel? Or did he miss the plain point of the previous commenter that if this mutation occurred in one squirrel, and that first altruistic squirrel cried out to warn of a predator, and if that one special squirrel was then enjoyed by said predator for dinner, then the genealogy of said mutation would have ended right there and then.

Evolutionarily speaking, altruism would have lived a very short life.

Take care

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Love Wins? Rob Bell Doesn't Really Say

After viewing this program, a debate (more of a discussion) between Rob Bell and Adrian Warnock, I went out and bought Bell's book. I will comment further on the book in a later post. Suffice it to say that I arrived at the title for this post after reading his book, but for now, watch the television program. (It's nearly an hour long, so be prepared.)

Bell seems incapable of giving a straight answer. Either he evades a question entirely, responds with another question, or tries to turn the question back on the asker by asking something like, "Is that what you think?" Even after viewing the entire interview, one may be forgiven for not knowing exactly where he stands.

One point came immediately to mind as I watched it, however. He asks the question, if I recall correctly, "Do you think God would create a situation where there is no way out?" The question is not whether God would create such a situation (or whether indeed He has. Or have we created it by our wilful disobedience and rejection of Him?) but whether indeed there is no way out. In fact there is; that is, to put it in the simplest way possible, to realize that God exists (and I believe the evidence is clear enough for anyone to arrive at that conclusion) and that he rewards those who earnestly seek Him.

More to come on this,

Take Care
h/t The Wartburg Watch

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

More Church Bulletin Bloopers

  • Fasting & Prayer Conference Saturday; includes meals.
  • The sermon this morning: 'Jesus Walks on the Water.' The sermon tonight: 'Searching for Jesus.'
  • Ladies, don't forget the rummage sale. It's a chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house. Be sure to bring your husbands.
  • Remember in prayer the many who are sick of our community. Smile at someone who is hard to love. Say 'Hell' to someone who doesn't care much about you.
  • Miss Charlene Mason sang 'I will not pass this way again,' giving obvious pleasure to the congregation.
  • For those of you who have children and don't know it, we have a nursery downstairs.
  • Next Thursday there will be tryouts for the choir. They need all the help they can get.
  • Irving Benson and Jessie Carter were married on October 24 in the church. So ends a friendship that began in their school days.
  • A bean supper will be held on Tuesday evening in the church hall. Music will follow..
  • At the evening service tonight, the sermon topic will be 'What Is Hell?' Come early and listen to our choir practice.
  • Eight new choir robes are currently needed due to the addition of several new members and to the deterioration of some older ones.
  • Scouts are saving aluminum cans, bottles and other items to be recycled. Proceeds will be used to cripple children.
  • Please place your donation in the envelope along with the deceased person you want remembered..
  • The church will host an evening of fine dining, super entertainment and gracious hostility.
  • Potluck supper Sunday at 5:00 PM - prayer and medication to follow.
  • The ladies of the Church have cast off clothing of every kind. They may be seen in the basement on Friday afternoon.
  • This evening at 7 PM there will be a hymn singing in the park across from the Church. Bring a blanket and come prepared to sin.
  • Ladies Bible Study will be held Thursday morning at 10 AM . All ladies are invited to lunch in the Fellowship Hall after the B. S. Is done.
  • The pastor would appreciate it if the ladies of the Congregation would lend him their electric girdles for the pancake breakfast next Sunday.
  • Low Self Esteem Support Group will meet Thursday at 7 PM . Please use the back door.
  • The eighth-graders will be presenting Shakespeare's Hamlet in the Church basement Friday at 7 PM . The congregation is invited to attend this tragedy.
  • Weight Watchers will meet at 7 PM at the First Presbyterian Church. Please use large double door at the side entrance.
  • The Associate Minister unveiled the church's new campaign slogan last Sunday: 'I Upped My Pledge - Up Yours.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

A Little Pink Floyd for May 21, 2011

Goodbye Cruel World/Is There Anybody Out There

See you tomorrow...

Take Care

Friday, 20 May 2011

The Next Big Issue (So to Speak)

From here...

...weight discrimination ...now stands on a par with racial discrimination.
Dr. Rebecca Puhl (is) director of research at Yale University’s Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity. Her goal is to place weight discrimination and stigmatization squarely on the radar of social justice issues.
Another, "I was born this way; I can't help it" issue, no doubt. Sorry, people of colour, discrimination against you is no worse than against those who eat too much.

The costs of obesity bias in human productivity and quality of life are high, says Puhl.

As high as the costs of obesity itself?

Obesity bias victims and obesity advocates are beginning to challenge the status quo, in some cases successfully, according to Dr. Shaheen Azmi, acting director of the Policy, Education, Monitoring and Outreach Branch of the Ontario Human Rights Commission in Toronto. “Obesity is increasingly being interpreted as a type of disability,” he says. And under provincial and federal rights legislation, disabilities require accommodation.

Of course the HRC would weigh in. It gives them one more, "raison d'etre."

...advocates for the obese have not pushed as forcefully as other advocacy groups such as those of the transgendered. “People do not yet recognize that obesity bias is a social issue.” Fortunately, social justice-minded Canadians may soon change that.

Some of the above quotes are from various advocates, but the last sentence of the last quote is by the author of the Anglican Journal article, indicating, to me, that this is an issue that the Anglican church considers important.

I am not trying to be unsympathetic, especially to anyone who suffers from a condition beyond their control, but this is another symptom in the slow death of this once-great denomination. They have fallen away from what should be their true focus, proclaiming the REAL gospel. They have replaced things of first importance with secondary matters, and will slowly, yet surely, continue to slide into irrelevance as a result.

Take Care

Friday, 13 May 2011

Thankgiving and Faith

...in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.(Philipians 4:6b)
Thanksgiving is a manifestation of faith and a necessary part of it. In the verse above, notice that we are to present our request to God with thanksgiving. In other words, we are to be thankful as we present them to God; not after they have been granted. We are so to trust God's will that we can expect our prayers to be answered in the way He knows is best. They may not be answered in the way we initially desire, hope, or even expect, but we can pray in thankful expectation that His will is good and pleasing and perfect (Romans 12:2b)

Faith is not presumptiously believing that God will answer each of our demands according to our own narrow will. It is trusting that He will conform our desires to His, and that our prayers will be answered according to His will. It is the confidence that His will is so much bigger and better than ours.

Take Care

Friday, 6 May 2011

Atheist Bus Ads Raptured From Kelowna Vehicles

So reads the headline on an atheist website regarding this story...

CTV British Columbia - Atheist ads vanish from Kelowna buses - CTV News

It is interesting to see the, "poor persecuted us" reaction from some of the atheist community, and the assumption that this foul act was perpetrated by their arch enemies, those ignorant, imbecilic fundamentalist Christians.

But I am just amused, as I was in the post three down from this one, at the silliness of this ad campaign. It is rather discouraging, to me as an observer of human activity, to think an intelligent person might consider the statement, "There probably is no god, now stop worrying and enjoy your life," is anything but a purely ridiculous thing to say. I am surprised that the Centre for Inquiry Canada, the sponsors of the campaign, would think themselves clever for saying it. The so-called, "free thinkers", as they like to be called, show themselves completely ignorant in their apparent belief that a faith in God actually makes the believer miserable or unhappy. I have said before that this new, "pompous atheism," so so set in the certainty of it's assumptions, is directly analogous to a grub under a rock on the north shore of Alaska declaring, "I don't believe in New York!"

Well, I have been on both sides of the fence. They have only been on one, so to avoid embarrassment they would do well not to make such subjective assumptions. I was a non-believer until I was 45 years of age, so not only have I been where they are, I was there long enough, and recently enough, to remember it, and believe me, I would not want to go back. It is like the difference, to make what is perhaps a totally inadequate analogy, between having a 20" black and white television and a 52" LCD flat screen. The person watching the black and white might be perfectly happy with it if they don't know there is anything better.

Besides, saying, "There's probably no god..." is akin to saying, in Russian roulette, "There's probably no bullet in the chamber, so stop worrying and pull the trigger." Or having the girl from the escort service say, "I probably don't have an STD, so stop worrying and enjoy yourself..."

Take Care

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

"History... Moves on, Taking No Prisoners.”

When the Lights Go Out: The Death of a Denomination

From Here...

If a church is not passionate about seeing sinners come to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, if there is no powerful biblical message from its pulpits, then it is destined for decline and eventual disappearance.

When a church forfeits its doctrinal convictions and then embraces ambiguity and tolerates heresy, it undermines its own credibility and embraces its own destruction.

This applies just as validly to liberal church in Canada, of course. It should serve as a warning, but the irony is that the people who should take the warning will neither heed nor believe it.

Take Care

Sunday, 1 May 2011

With God's Help?

We had baptisms today. 8 of them, with 8 more to come next week.
The Anglican baptism service includes a series of questions to the candidates to which the candidate responds, "I will, with God's help."

Then the congregation stands and the question is posed, "Will you who witness these vows do all in your power to support these persons in their life in Christ?"
The congregation then responds, "I will, with God's help."

The pastor then said to the congregation, "Will you be seated." Without thinking, I blurted, as I was taking my seat, "I will, with God's help."

Sorry, I just couldn't help it.

Take Care