Wednesday, 14 August 2013

 Question Everything
This is an initiative by local churches throughout Alberta to re-engage friends and neighbours, family members and acquaintances in matters of faith.
It stems from the consideration of a number of statistics from Reg Bibby:
  1. Church attendance in the last couple of generations has declined dramatically. At one point, around 1950, a higher percentage of Canadians actually attended church regularly than Americans.
  2. As shown above, many people would be open to greater religious involvement "if they thought it was worthwhile." (what that means is a whole 'nother subject for discussion.)
  3. Most of these would probably re-engage with a tradition with which they felt some connection - either a denomination they themselves had left, or that their parents attended, etc.
  4. A program was needed that could be run by, and was acceptable to, all denominations, across the board.
  5. The best fit seemed to be Alpha.
So my time leading up to the launch this fall has been contacting and encouraging churches all around the Province to reach out to their communities through Alpha. I tell people I love driving and I love Alpha, so I have the perfect job.

Interestingly, I really like the avatar, "Question Everything." Years ago I participated on an atheist discussion board, dedicated to debunking the Christian faith (it is no longer in existence) and that was my signature line. I have said before that I believe a person is an atheist because they haven't asked enough questions.

Christians don't need to be afraid of questions if the inquirer is truly seeking the truth. Jesus, as we know, is the truth, and he has promised that anyone who seeks, will find.

Take Care

Monday, 12 August 2013

It Only Comes Out When I Bite

This is a rant about dentists.
The tooth you see missing was a crown. It was originally the result of an accident I had when I was in my teens, driving a 1961 Vauxhall off a gravel road and into a culvert.

For years I had a gold tooth there, until I finally, a number of years ago, had it replaced with a regular-looking crown. This one had been coming loose for the last few months, but I kept hoping beyond hope that it might never come completely out.

But it was a recent cob of corn that finally did the deed. (Yes, I know... I should have known better.) Actually I can put it back into place and it looks completely normal, as I have done for a couple of weeks now.  But it just sits there, as a decoration. It comes back out every time I try to bite something.

So... what about this rant I was talking about.  Well, years ago I had another crown, a molar, that came loose. I went to a dentist to have it re-attached. He told me he couldn't do it; that I had to have an entirely new crown made for a couple of thousand dollars. I actually was able to afford it then, so I went ahead.

Fast forward to about 5 years ago. This crown - the one in the picture (or, more properly, the one not in the picture) broke off the day before my wife and I were to leave on vacation. I went in to my local dentist and asked him if he could re-attach it. He started on the "official dentist line" about not being able to fix it - I must have a new one. I told him I was leaving for Mazatlan the next day, so could he just glue it and I would come in as soon as I got back. So he "glued" it back into place.

That was five years ago. It has lasted that long. I have phoned my current dentist (not the same one)for an appointment. I will see if he can re-attach it again. I will be happy if he can make it last another five years, because I don't now have the money for a new crown. Frankly, I don't expect I will have it in five years either but whatever works, even temporarily. I know I'm being unfair here, but I just had a sense that some dentists are like unscrupulous auto mechanics - "Oh we can't repair that, you have to buy a new one!"

Thus endeth the rant. Having said all that, if my current dentist is able to re-attach it for me, I will completely recant everything I have said here. Stay tuned.

Take Care

UPDATE!: My totally awesome current dentist has re-cemented it, so I take it all back (most of it anyway). Now if I can just remember to stay away from hard apples and corn on the cob, it might even outlast me, although he didn't give me a warranty on it.

Friday, 9 August 2013

PC(USA) Removes, "In Christ Alone" From Hymn Book

From here...

The Presbyterian Committee on Congregational Songs for the Presbyterian Church (USA) has decided to not include the hymn "In Christ Alone" because one phrase speaks about God's wrath.
 Mary Louise Bringle, who chairs the Presbyterian Committee on Congregational Songs, recently wrote about the decision in her blog for the Christian Century. Bringle shared that after they initially voted for the inclusion of the hymn by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend, they discovered that although they had found materials that changed the words, "as Jesus died / the wrath of God was satisfied," to "Till on that cross as Jesus died / the love of God was magnified," if they wanted to include it in their updated hymnal, the wording would have to be printed as the authors originally intended, and not revised.
...we discovered that this version of the text would not be approved by the authors, as it was considered too great a departure from their original words [good for Getty and Townend, JK]
Also of note in the article is this grammatically awkward phrase, a reflection of the liberal attitude of anathema towards any hint of uninclusivity: 
"...the cross is primarily about God's need to assuage God's anger,"
One can only shake one's head in wonder at those in the liberal church who sit and shake their own heads in wonder at why people are abandoning their numbers.

Take Care
h/t @pastormark