Thursday, 23 February 2012

We Heard This Before?

The insanity of the Christian doctrine of redemption really doesn't fit into our time. Nevertheless there are learned, educated men, occupying high positions in public life, who cling to it with the faith of a child. It is simply incomprehensible how anybody can consider the Christian doctrine of redemption as a guide for the difficult life of today...
A church that does not keep step with modern scientific knowledge is doomed.
Joseph Goebbels, explaining the thoughts of Adolph Hitler, (Bonhoeffer, Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy; p166)

A few years ago, I spent time on the very active discussion boards of a quite militant atheist website whose aim was to debunk Christianity. It is now defunct (smilie), but the quote above could very well come from thator any other current atheist site.

Take Care

Monday, 20 February 2012

Dawkins' Religion Poll Undercuts His Own Argument

Richard Dawkins' outfit, the Foundation for Reason and Science (UK), published the results of a poll into the attitudes of British Christians towards politics, science and morality as well as their knowledge of their own faith. Professor Dawkins reckons the result[s] buttress his secular agenda, showing as they do the waning influence of religion on British public life. But there is a sense in which the results undercut one of his main theses, namely that religion is something dangerous to society.

The majority attitudes listed above as regards the law, politics etc are ones that Dawkins would deem as rational and tolerant and it is self-confessed Christians who espouse these opinions.
But doesn't this rather undercut his thesis that religion is the everlasting foe of “rationality”, as Dawkins defines it? In his view, religion [is] a delusion and precludes reasonable thinking altogether.
[But]His poll actually reveals that in their attitudes to law and politics, Christians aren’t so different from other Britons. Therefore, why does he work himself into such a lather about them?
Frankly, I think Dawkins is so single-focused, so tunnel-visioned, so blind to his own contradictory logic, that, whatever proves to be reality, he will find a way to spin it to fit his own biased presuppositions.

Take Care
From Here...

An Alpha Reunion

I was standing at the sales counter Raven Truck Accessories, my 'other' employer last Wednesday night, waiting for closing time, 5:30. It was Alpha night at my own church so I wanted to get out on time. At about 5:20 the front door to the store opened and a man walked in. I rolled my eyes, thinking, "Oh no! Not a customer at this time of night." As he came toward me, he held out his right hand to shake mine, and as he got quite close I recognized him. "Ralph!" I exlcaimed. It was the Ralph who had been in my prison Alpha course about ten years ago, (link below) and because of the story related on my blog, as well as other reasons, I still think of him often. He obviously remembered where I work, although now I am in a different location.

He told me he is working on the pipelines and doing well. His long-ago girl friend (who at the time was 'working the streets' is now a receptionist at a social development office. I remember trying to help both of them through various struggles, back in the day. They are still together. It was pure joy to see him, and a real encouragement.

But then he asked me for a ride -- to the casino. Somehow, (you will see my point if you read my previous story at the link below) I remember thinking, with a smile, Ralph, you haven't changed a bit, have you." Ah well, it was still a wonderful thing to see him. And to see that he and his girlfriend are still alive. So many in 'that world' no longer are.

It also opened, or re-opened, the door to the possibility of doing an Alpha course at a Native Healing Centre with which I had contact through him all those years ago. I went and spoke to the admin team at the center and there is a possibility we can do a course there. I have e-mailed several 'Alpha' churches in the area and got some response.

Pray that it may come to pass.

Take Care
Original story here...

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Still the Same

If it is I who determine where God is to be found, then I shall always find a god who corresponds to me in some way, who is obliging, who is connected with my own nature. But if God determines where He is to be found, then it will be in a place which is not immediately pleasing to my nature and which is not at all congenial to me. This place is the Cross of Christ. (Bonhoeffer, Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy p.137)
In other words, Bonhoeffer is speaking of exactly the kind of god that modern liberal christians still worship; a god who, "accepts me as I am." A god who makes no demands, requires no repentance. A god who approves of our every self-centered whim.

A god who allows us to remain the center of our own universe, threatened not even by Him. One we can keep in a cage and bring out to pet whenever we want a little cuddly comfort.

Take Care

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Unequally Yoked - the Classic Example

Whitney Houston was found dead in a Beverly Hills hotel room today. She was 48. I have some thoughts, appropriate or not.

I have enjoyed Whitney Houston's music, but wouldn't count myself a great fan. It was just there and it was nice.

But I remember seeing her relationship with Bobby Brown, culminating in their marriage, back around the time I became a Christian. I remember reading that she had grown up singing in church, and I believe she said at that time that she was a Christian, and wanted a Christian husband. But then along came Bobby. I am sure that, morally, he was her exact opposite. At the time, she insisted he be a Christian for their relationship to progress. And I remember his claiming, at some point, to have become born again, so he could have her as his wife. I had an uneasy feeling even then, that this marriage would be a disaster.

I remember these details so clearly because I had two teenage daughters, and the concept of being unequally yoked was very much on my mind at the time. It was so transparent to me, but not, apparently to an innocent and gullible Whitney. She was conned, or she was too weak or timid to say, "No."

As you can read in any of her biographies, her life degraded into one of addiction and misery. I'm guessing it was largely due to her feeling trapped in the mistake she had made.

Well, it's over now, and if she really was that innocent Christian girl who was led away and trapped in a life she regretted until it was over, then she is now with her Lord, and will ever be with Him.

RIP Whitney.

Take Care

Coincidence? I Think Not

This will be a completely partisan and biased post. I freely admit that.

I travelled to the City of Lloydminster (pop. 26,502) the other day, on behalf of Alpha Canada. My purpose was to introduce myself as the Associate Regional Director for Alberta (I decided to annex the Saskatchewan side of the city as my own as well), and find out what interest there might be among churches there for the Alpha Course.

I was very warmly received by all the churches I was able to visit, (10 out of about 15 churches I was able to identify in the city). Many were familiar with the Alpha course and some had actually worked with it in the past.

There is one church currently presenting Alpha in Lloyd, Lloydminster Gospel Fellowship, affiliated with the PAOC. I first met Kevin, the Church's Alpha coordinator, at his home for lunch, and had the opportunity to speak with him at length and share what we discovered was our common passion for Alpha as a tool for reaching the unsaved for Christ. Visiting with him, I saw myself several years ago, when I would personally be involved in as may as six or seven Alpha courses a year, so on fire was I for what I still view as a most wonderful means of evangelism.

Later that day I visited the church itself and met its lead pastor, Lyle Berg. He gave me a tour of his facility, which they've just recently had to expand. The new sanctuary seats up to a thousand people. Average Sunday attendance, I was told, is over 600. Pastor Lyle spoke highly of Kevin and his wife, basically saying that he just let Kevin take the ball and run with it. This is the type of 'Triple e' (enabling, empowering, encouraging) leadership, in my opinion, that can really let a community flourish and grow.

But now, let's do some rudimentary math. A city of 26,000 people, with 15 churches, should allow fewer than 1800 people per church. If about 10% (a number I have heard) of the population regularly attend any church at all, then each church should average somewhat less than 180 people. Yet here is a vibrant, growing church averaging over three times, and as many as five or six times that.

And they are doing Alpha in a passionate and enthusiastic way. Go figure! I'm not saying Alpha is responsible for these numbers; not at all! What I'm saying is that here is a vibrant, growing, thriving church, and it is that in part because they have a heart to reach out into the community with the saving message of Jesus Christ. And Alpha is only one indication of that attitude. But is it any coincidence that the one church in town using Alpha also happens to be such a thriving place?

As wonderful a reception as I received at many of the other churches in town, well, I'm not really sayin', y'know, ...just sayin'.

Take Care

Friday, 10 February 2012

What Century Are You Living In?

Following a post over at the Anglican Essentials blog, touching on the current controversies regarding the role of gays and lesbians in the Anglican church, a commenter included the question, "What century are you living in?"

I replied there, but I want to post and expand it here as well.

The most sad, pathetic, yet telling part of your comments is the question, “What century are you in?”
By this you indicate that you feel there is a religion for the past and a different one for the present; that there is a new Jesus, different from the one of the past, the one of history. It indicates that you think Jesus is no longer “…the same yesterday, today, forever.”

It indicates that you, and others who agree with you, have invented a new religion; one you think is more relevant for today. And that is the whole reason for the schisms we are seeing now in our church.
But this new “religion” has no solid foundation in truth. It is a system of thought created, or at the very least adapted, to be relevant for, “today,” and like all fads, it will pass, to be overshadowed by whatever comes next. It is a house built on sand, and will ultimately fall. It certainly cannot last for the two thousand years that the true Christian faith has managed to stand.

I have had contact with a number of churches around the province, and many of them are dying. Gray is the colour of most of whatever hair is left there. Yes, there are a few grandchildren as well, but noticeably missing are people in their twenties and thirties, the generation that will keep a church alive.

People today, at least people who care, even young people; those with, "ears to hear," want honesty; they want consistency. They want a sound foundation on which to build their faith. They want to hear truth, and truth that is real truth does not change. This has always be the case and it always will be. They don't want compromise. They don't want an organization that tries so obviously to pander to what it thinks will appeal to them. Such manipulativeness is so transparent. But the leaders of today's liberal churches just don't seem to get it.

And the gray fades to black.

Take Care

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Nothing New

Thoughts from Dietrich Bonhoeffer in the 1930's
Bonhoeffer observed that Union [a liberal theological school in New York City] was on the side of Fosdick, Rockefeller and Luce [liberal "Christians"]. In an attempt to be more sophisticated than the fundamentalists, whom they hated, they had jettisoned serious scholarship altogether. They seemed to know what the answer was supposed to be and weren't much concerned with how to get there. They knew only that whatever answer the fundamentalists came up with must be wrong. (Bonhoeffer - Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy; p102)

Take Care