Monday, 5 October 2015

Still Here


Obviously I've not been posting here much lately. Even the traffic this blog gets is mostly concerned with my thoughts on two older subjects; the pre-trib rpature, and the age of accountability.Most of my diminishing time spent on blogs is devoted to my other blog here..., and I expect that trend to continue.

But this is just to let you know that I haven't completely dropped off the edge of the earth.

It just occurred to me though, "What happens to blogs, twitter accounts or facebook pages that fall into disuse, or even when the blogger dies. I keep getting birthday reminders on Facebook for a friend who died 5 years ago.

Perhaps it's time to unfriend him.

Take Care

Friday, 28 August 2015

The Religion of Atheism

The article referred to here was from a couple of weeks ago, and I cannot source it, but I figure I might as well try to finish the post.

I don't know if it is a first, but a recent column on the religion page of the Edmonton Journal was written by an atheist, from an explicitly atheistic perspective. And it exposed the typical internal inconsistency and non-sequitur fallacies of the atheist's position.

The author claims to be an atheist but in reality he sounds more like a pantheist, ascribing divinity to the earth and ecosystem itself. So rather than acknowledge a Supreme Creator, who brought all we see around us out of nothing and has commanded us to take care of it, he and his ilk seem more to think that the universe created itself, and that it somehow holds us as humans to some kind of accountability. This ascribes a sort of personality to the ecosphere and all things within it, living or not. Which makes as much or as little sense as the theistic position with which atheists so vehemently disagree.

It seems to me.

Take Care.



Thursday, 27 August 2015

In the Western Catholic Reporter...

Josh, Alana and me
During Alpha's Alpha for Catholics Coordinator Josh Canning's recent Alberta visit, we were interviewed by a reporter for the publication, "Western Catholic Reporter."

Or rather, he was interviewed and I sat in. The article is now out and you can read it here.

I think it is a fairly balanced article, reflecting Alpha in a positive light, although I don't remember giving the final quote attributed to me.

Everything we can do, every effort we can make, every inroad we can establish to make use of Alpha as a tool for reaching our communities and our country, is worth the effort we put into it.
Cross-posted here

Take Care

Monday, 24 August 2015

Whatever You Ask For...

Some verses that crossed my mind. I may expand on them or I may let the reader ponder them and make whatever connection comes to their minds. 

From Scripture:
Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. (Mark 11:24)
 Take delight in the Lordand he will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:4)
 And the collect for the 10th Sunday after Trinity for our Anglican Church (ANiC)
Let your merciful ears, Lord God, be open to the prayers of your people and, so that we may obtain our petitions, teach us to ask for those things that please you, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen. (emphasis mine)
Do you see a connection? What do you think?

Take Care

Saturday, 8 August 2015

Charter of Rights & Freedoms; Credit or Blame?

As I just said in my previous post, I'm in a writing mood today.

A friend on Facebook, who I care for and respect as a brother, even if some of our views may be polar opposite, posted this on Facebook:
Think about this for a minute folks. It is my contention that if Steven Harper were the PM in 1980, 81 and 82, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms would never have come into existence. What do you think?
My comment, upon which I will then expand, was this:
Frankly I think we'd have been better off without it. We already had a bill of rights. Question is have certain "rights" we acknowledge now come as a result of the charter, changing public attitudes or has it been a symbiotic action? Frankly I think more the second. The right to freedom of religion and conscience IS guaranteed in the charter, but seems to take a back seat to certain sexual "rights."
 
What I mean is this: Society has changed. Attitudes of morality have changed; I and others might use the word, deteriorated." Now, has that been a function of having the Charter, or has the Charter just been used to codify this deterioration? I think the latter, although is it the Charter's fault? The Charter may have been used to write many of these new so-called rights into law, but I think the same might have happened anyway.

It all goes back to the post-war generation, whose behaviour and attitudes have been responsible. This generation was responsible for removing many of the previous generations' stigmas in matters of sexuality and personal entitlement. Therefore, when this generation came to a position of power, sexual licence, for example, became a "right," and I believe we will see more and more areas of what used to be considered sexual abnormality or deviance, be reclassified as mere preferences, and therefore rights and entitlements. These will include polygamy, bestiality and yes, eventually, even pedophilia. Just this morning I saw in the paper where a prisoner has the, "right" to have access to pornography in his jail cell.

The same is happening, or will soon happen completely in the area of mind-altering drugs. I remember hearing, years ago, before it even seemed a real possibility, the prediction that marijuana would some day become legal because the generation now (then) using it would be the generation some day in power, and all the pot-smoking law students would some day be the politicians and the judges. They would be the lawmakers and the law-enforcers, and their attitudes would be reflected in the laws they both made and enforced.

So do we blame the Charter exclusively, or do we place the blame for our current society's deterioration at the feet of those who have merely utilized it as a tool to enforce their agenda as the new norm?

Take Care

Up to Us; Up to Them

Saturday morning and I'm in a writing mood. It is my turn to give the devotional message on our Monday morning Alpha Canada conference call, and I've been thinking of Isaiah 65:1-2:
 
I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me; I was found by those who did not seek me. To a nation that did not call on my name, I said, ‘Here am I, here am I.’ All day long I have held out my hands to an obstinate people, who walk in ways not good, pursuing their own imaginations—

God longs for every one of us, all His people, to come to Him. He so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, not just for certain preselected people. He offers everyone, throughout all time and over all the earth, the opportunity to know Him. There are various ways in which He has done this.

He has made himself known through His Creation:
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice[b] goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. (Psalm 19: 1-4)
 …since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. (Romans 1:20)
He has made Himself known through the human conscience; 
…Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts… (Romans 2:14b-15a)

And He makes Himself known through us, and what we do – the messages we communicate. So we have a crucially important place in His plan to reach the whole world.

It is our responsibility to communicate the message. It is not our responsibility how people receive it. Some will, some won’t. Just like the time in the desert when the Lord sent venomous snakes among them; they bit the people and many Israelites died. The Lord said to Moses, “Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.” So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, they lived. (from Numbers 21)

I believe it is obvious that this snake was available for all to see, but the Bible uses the term, “looked at,” indicating a wilful action. People had not just to see it, they had to “look” at it; focus their attention on it. This is a picture of faith. “Looking at” the snake is analogous to actually putting faith in something. In that case it was faith that God would be true to His word; that if they turned toward that bronze snake they would be healed, as God had said they would. It was a matter of trusting in God, even if it seemed to be against all human reason.

And it`s the same today. The idea of God coming to earth in human form, offering Himself to die in our place as a sacrifice for our sins, may make no sense at all from a perspective of rational human thought, but it is what He did and He asks us to trust Him; that that is what is necessary for us to be able to spend eternity with Him.

But not all will believe. Go back to the Isaiah passage. Verse 12 says: 
…for I called but you did not answer, I spoke but you did not listen.
Even God realizes that not all will believe the message, and he speaks of the fate that awaits those who reject it. Those who reject His offer of eternal life with Him through Jesus Christ will perish. He will grant their wish and allow them to spend eternity apart from Him.

It`s our job to proclaim the message; to make the good news known. It`s up to the hearer what to do with it.

Take Care

Monday, 27 July 2015

Biohistory and the Decline of the West



Here is a rather long interview with the author of a book I have previously mentioned, "Biohistory," tracing the decline and fall of civilizations throughout history, and predicting the impending decline and fall of our own.

The encouraging thing is that he feels there is something we can do to prevent it in our own case. It will not be easy, and will demand a great deal of discipline and determination.  One of the factors in preventing this coming decline and fall must be a revival of religion and the constraints it imposes on  us humans whose nature it is to be self centered, self indulgent and morally licentious.

So that's where our passions cross paths. My own prayer is to see a religious revival, or at least as many people as possible transferred from the dominion of darkness to the Kingdom of Light. In my case it is not necessarily to prevent the decline of our civilization (although that would be nice), but for the glory of God and the sake of those who do not yet know Him. In any case, as the Apostle Paul says,
...what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. (Philippians 1:18)
So, as I am somewhat biased, if you are reading this, find an Alpha or run one.

Take Care

I suppose I should add that I've been around long enough to have heard a number of these predictions of societal doom; from global cooling to global warming to over population to nuclear holocaust. This one may be no different. It's just interesting to see them come and go. As I have said, I'm not a prophet, just an observer.

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Father's Arms

This is a song I wrote years ago when my daughters were little.



FATHER’S ARMS
1. Life is new, she’s so tiny, looks so helpless
If I drop her will she break, I don’t know
I’m kinda scared; I’ve never been a daddy
Will I be a good one? God I hope so.

In her father’s arms she is sleeping
Sheltered from the world and all its harms
The world is bigger than she knows but for this moment
Her whole world is her father’s arms.

2. Time goes on, she’s growing up too quickly,
Making other friends, not so much time for Dad,
But he peeks at her asleep at night and he wishes
She could stay this way forever, but she can’t.

3. From a girl to a woman, years of changes;
Years of questions; “Dad, what’s life all about?”
Years of good times and of fun, of pain and heartaches,
But in her father’s arms there’s never any doubt.

In her father’s arms there’s a haven;
A shelter from the world and all its harms
The world outside can be dangerous and confusing
But it’s safe here in her father’s arms

4. On her father’s arm she is walking
Down the aisle to the new man in her life.
He lets her go and he smiles because he loves her.
She’s no longer just a daughter, she’s a wife.

5. By her father’s bed she is sitting,
Those arms, once so strong, now lie weakly by his side.
She holds his hand, she comforts him, he whispers,
“I love you,” then he dies.

In his Father’s arms he is sleeping,
Sheltered from the world and all its harms.
He has served the best he could but now it’s over
He is safe now in his Father’s arms.

In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye
He is home and in his Father’s arms.

John Kivell
© 1992

I have now been through the first four verses, and have only the fifth to look forward to.

I hope you will forgive the low production quality.

Take Care.



Monday, 29 June 2015

Don't Believe Me Just Watch

To quote a line from Uptown Funk.

The U.S. Supreme Court has made gay marriage legal in all 50 states. Now first let me say I am not opposed to gay marriage in the secular world. In fact I am neutral. It was inevitable and something that was obviously going to happen. But I have a few thoughts.

First of all, gay marriage will not destroy the institution of marriage. The hetero world has already accomplished that quite well, thank you very much, thanks to adultery, easy divorce, internet porn, the acceptance of common law relationships as equivalent, etc.

But let me tell you a few things that will happen as a result of this decision.
  • The record of discrimination will be flipped to the B-side. Whereas in the past there was no doubt discrimination against people of same sex orientation, the case will not now be that discrimination will cease. It will just be reversed. Those who, in conscience, feel they cannot approve of same sex marriage, will now suffer the discrimination. And it's not only the ones who feel they cannot bake cakes, or take pictures for gay weddings, but even voicing a dissenting opinion (the one that until relatively recently was held by Hilary Clinton, Barack Obama and Michael Coren) will earn you accusations of hating and personal vilification. Just look at any comment board where the prevailing opinion is in agreement with the Supreme Court decision,and where anyone attempts to defend, "traditional" marriage.
  • Pressure will mount for the government to remove the charitable status of any church or organization who does not toe the new line. Not to single out gays, but there is a tendency on what I will call the progressive side not to tolerate anyone with a different opinion. Disagreement cannot be tolerated but must be vilified, even penalized.
  • New movements of various sexual proclivities will now push for acceptance. This has already begun. I was actually wrong in my prediction some time ago that paedophilia would be next, because we've already seen the next issue - that of gender identity. One now already, it seems, has the right to decide whatever gender, or even, I suppose, non-gender one wants to be, regardless of what plumbing one was born with and even whether or not one decides to keep it or lose it. But paedophilia will almost certainly be coming. Already there is a move to have it labelled a sexual orientation, and once that happens, the courts will almost certainly have to include it as such as a human right. This is not to say that the same people who fought for gay rights will be the ones lobbying for, "intergenerational sex," as its proponents are wont to call it. There are paedophiles of both homo- and hetero- persuasions, but the advances accomplished by gays will no doubt embolden the paedophile community. I don't know when we'll see the first adult/child love relationship on prime-time TV, and it's hard to imagine right now, but I won't be surprised when it comes.
Having said all that, let me say that I'm not a campaigner, just an observer. As Jerry Seinfeld said in one of his routines, "I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'"

 Here is a very helpful and well thought out article, linked to by my friend Terry. The author makes five basic points, all of which we as Christians would do well to ponder and remember.
  1. The church has always been counter-cultural.
  2. It’s actually strange to ask non-Christians to hold Christian values.
  3. We’ve been dealing with sex outside of traditional marriage for a LONG time.
  4. The early church never looked to the government for guidance or lobbied it to change policies.
  5. Our judgment of LGBT people is destroying any potential relationship.
There are two kingdoms, that of the world and that of God. Only one will last. We Christians would be far better spending our time working to see people transferred into the latter, than harping about what's wrong with the former.

Take Care

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

I Keep Sayin'

From Here...
China on course to become 'world's most Christian nation' within 15 years.
Christian congregations in particular have skyrocketed since churches began reopening when Chairman Mao's death in 1976

One of my Favourite predictions. I've been saying it for years. China will be the next great Christian nation. The sooner it becomes Christian the sooner it will become great and the greater it will become. We are on track to be replaced.

How long will it take? I don't know. How long has it taken for our own society to sink to it's present position, with more sinking to come?

What's in store for the West? Another prediction: as Christianity is chased from the public square it will not become godless, it will become Muslim, eventually.

Just sayin'.

Take Care #RunAlpha.

I Saw A Sex Tape

Before I go any further, I must try to explain. You may accept my explanation; you may not. After all, this is a faith-based blog, and I am taking a large chance even talking about this video, let alone admitting I saw it. You may choose to read no further, because even my description and opinion of it may be considered too graphic to some. I post this only as my reflection on how far we have fallen as a culture and as a society, and why I despair for our future.

You may remember Emma Sulkowicz, the co-ed at Columbia University who claimed to have been raped, but which accusation later proved to be false.

Nevertheless, she carried a mattress around with her in protest wherever she went, even on to the stage at her graduation. In spite of her lying about the alleged rape, she has been hailed as a hero among feminists and those who claim to be concerned with the, "rape culture" ostensibly prevalent on college campuses.

Well, Ms Sulkowicz, in my opinion, has set her cause well back with the release of a sex tape, made in her dorm room, of a fairly mechanical sexual encounter between her and a male partner. I would think this would discredit her in the minds of any reasonable person, and in all but her most blinded admirers. Needless to say, I'll not link to it here.

Now, you may think of describing porn as revolting, repulsive or disgusting, but this video wasn't even porn. The best way to describe the video was, "pathetic." Rather sad, actually. All the intimacy of an overweight bull servicing a cow. He might just as well have masturbated and she might just as well have been a piece of Kleenex. After he was finished he didn't even bother to get dressed. He just got up, gathered up his clothes and left the room - naked. That may be an interesting insight into the culture of the college dorm, that it may be quite normal to see a guy leaving a girls room naked, with his clothes gathered up in his arms. If this is an indication of the current college hookup culture, one should despair for the future of our society. At the end of the encounter, she rolled over into a fetal position facing the wall and remained thus for a time. It is almost like she was ashamed, or perhaps unfulfilled. In other words, one might imagine that such impersonal sexual encounters on campus may be an attempt to find love or intimacy, but which encounters ultimately fail and disappoint.

And this was in a college dorm room. There was a bookcase clearly visible with NOT A SINGLE BOOK ON IT! You can tell by just that fact, that this girl's focus was probably not on any particular higher level of learning. In fact, Ms Sulkowwicz's final thesis for her visual arts course, was to do nothing more than carry this mattress around the campus. And she graduated! The university graduated her! I'm not sure anything more need be said.

In the end, to bring us back to the subject of faith, there is really only one relationship that will ultimately satisfy - one with God, our Creator, through His Son, Jesus Christ. If only those who search so earnestly for it in all the wrong places could just see. We Christians should be doing all we can to help them do just that; see the truth. #RunAlpha.

Take Care

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Heroes




This is the former Bruce Jenner, now Caitlyn. She has been selected as the winner of ESPN's Arthur Ashe Courage Award. I'll not dispute that. I'm sure Bruce's decision to undergo what procedures he has have been traumatic and heart-wrenching. From his point of view it probably did take a lot of courage. But now he is a she.

Below is a picture of Noah Galloway, a double amputee who lost his left arm and left leg in Afghanistan. He seems to have overcome and coped well with the challenges of his disability.


 
There has been quite a bit of online chatter concerning the perceived idea that ESPN chose Ms Jenner over Mr Galloway for this award, but ESPN denies that. They say that they merely chose Ms Jenner, and that there was no, "second place."
But of course, the fact that they chose Caitlyn means that all other potential heroes were considered no better than second place, so their protestations seem a bit hollow. But my point here is just to make what I think is an interesting observation:



How times have changed, and how quickly! We are seeing, as a new era of, "gender rights" is now following on the heels of the already accompli, almost passé issue of, "gay rights," that a person who follows their feelings of gender confusion with physical (and irreversible) procedures, is encouraged, even lauded as a hero. Meantime a person with same-sex attraction who wants help addressing what they may see as confusion over their orientation - it is seen as hateful, perhaps even illegal, even to help that person with counseling.   

Just sayin'

Take Care

Sunday, 10 May 2015

An Author, An Idea, A Story

Having attended the 2015 Alpha Global Week and Leadership Conference in London, Eva and I were able, through a combination of Air Miles and hotel and car rental points, able to add a short holiday to our time in the UK. Our first stop was Oxford, a fascinating city, with some buildings close to a thousand years old, and the many Colleges of Oxford University.

One story I found fascinating was this:

One winter evening, when a rare snowfall fell gently and covered the ground, a gentleman, an Oxford scholar, walked out of this, the side door of St Mary's Church;

which led him into this narrow laneway;
 
where he saw this door on the opposite side of the lane;

with a lion's head crest on it. Turning to his right, a few feet away he saw;

this solitary lamppost, glowing in the darkened, snow-covered laneway. The seed of a story was planted.

The story was, The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe." The gentleman was C. S. Lewis.

Take Care




Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Another Jehovah's Witness Question

A passage from the Jehovah's Witnesses own New World Translation of the Bible:
But Peter said: “An·a·ni′as, why has Satan emboldened you to lie to the holy spirit and secretly hold back some of the price of the field?   As long as it remained with you, did it not remain yours? And after it was sold, was it not in your control? Why have you thought up such a deed as this in your heart? You have lied, not to men, but to God. (Acts 5: 3-4, NWT)
This is just another bit of evidence for the Trinity, at least for the personhood and Divinity of the Holy Spirit.

In Watchtower theology, the holy spirit is not a person, but an impersonal force. So, I would ask, how does one lie to an impersonal force. And Peter makes it clear that when Ananias lied to the Holy Spirit he lied to God.

Just another question to ask.

Take Care

Monday, 30 March 2015

We Will Never Have To

I heard Ravi Zacharias say something that I thought was quite profound:
"My God, my God, why have you forsaken me." Jesus spoke these words so that we would never have to.
 This Passion week, ponder what Christ has done for us and be grateful.

Take Care

Saturday, 28 March 2015

It Was Nice While It Lasted

I'm reading a rather fascinating book, "Biohistory, Decline and Fall of the West," a book sent me by its publisher for review. I'm nowhere near finished it, but already the author is developing some very interesting theories, backed by genetic evidence. Two of the factors contributing to the decline of a society are decreased sexual restraint and increased permissiveness with children, two of the very factors we are seeing today.

It all has to do, in part, with the overall general level of the hormone testosterone in a society's citizenry. High levels, as I understand it, lead to more aggressive, self centred people. Slightly lower levels are associated with people with more patience, more willing to work toward a yet-unrealized goal, more willing to focus on the common good. Therefore, successful long-term civilizations tend to be made up, counter intuitively perhaps, of those with generally lower testosterone levels. Not radically lower, but only slightly, as a societal whole. Factors in slightly lower levels are delayed sexual activity and increased self discipline. Most world religions have similar views on sexuality, tending toward restraint, so religion has a role to play in building a successful society, and falling away from, or rejecting religion, as we see happening now, tends to lead toward that society's decline. What I believe is the increasing self-centeredness, selfishness, lack of moral restraint and power given to the young we see today are also factors in our slow but eventual decline.

Will we be able to reverse these two factors? I'm not betting on it, but I suppose anything can happen.

I may report further on this book as I progress through it.

Take care

Friday, 27 March 2015

My New Book



This is a video based on my recently published first book, The Story of Zacchaeus. It is one of the raps I did for kids at church. They loved it and I hope you will enjoy it too.

I think every Christian parent, grandparent and every Sunday School should have a copy. You can buy it here. Help a poor starving blogger.

Take Care,

John

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Question For Jehovah's Witnesses

I'm sitting in a Tim Horton's in Ponoka Alberta. I called on 4 churches this morning and hope to see three more this afternoon. But right now it's lunchtime - time for my usual $5.95 lunch; chilli and a bun with coffee.

I'm not sure how this thought came to me, but here it is: from time to time I have JW's come to my door. I think they keep coming back because I take their literature.

One thing I have wondered is how they reconcile Isaiah 9:6
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given,...   ...and he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting (Eternal, in the NWT) Father, Prince of Peace.
 I should have thought that verse would have given them enough trouble, considering their non-belief in the divinity of Christ, so I asked the gentleman at the door how, when this verse was generally accepted as referring to the birth of Jesus, what they think of the Bible referring to him (even in their own New World Translation) as, "Father."

"No problem," he answered, "Jesus is the everlasting father."

Well, I shook my head over that one because I still don't see how that fits with their theology. But sitting here at Tim's, another verse came to my mind; Matthew 23:9
"...do not call anyone on earth 'father,' for you have one father and he is in heaven."
So - another verse for them to reconcile. How can they, indeed, how can Isaiah, refer to Jesus as father unless Jesus is indeed God. If he is not, then they, and their own Bible, are disobedient to him.

I have not thought this entirely through, so I am open to receiving instruction or clarification on this, but I thought it made interesting food for thought.

Take Care
 

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Salvation and the Mentally Handicapped

I was checking out the numbers on some of my posts. The one with the greatest number of page views by far is this one, on a Biblical age of accountability. I suspect it reflects the heartache and worry one feels when one loses a young child and wonders about its eternal destiny.

One of the comments on the original post was from a woman concerned with her mentally handicapped brother, and how God treats those without the mental capacity to actively and consciously understand the Gospel and accept Christ as Saviour and Lord.

I heard a verse mentioned on a Christian radio program the other day. I'm afraid I don't remember which one, or I would give them credit. It was John 9: 41,
Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.
It got me thinking. This verse had always seemed rather confusing to me. What did Jesus mean? Does it mean we shouldn't evangelize? If people aren't aware of Jesus, would they then not be guilty of sin? No, I don't think so. Read the first couple of chapters of Romans. Read John 3:19,
This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.
No. People, I'm convinced, are quite aware of sin. There is a standard of morality that runs across all cultures, peoples and generations. All fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23) and I believe all realize it, in some way.

As Hank Hanegraaff, possibly among others, has said, "It is not the ignorance of truth but the despising of truth that keeps people from God." I refer again to John 3:19, above.

Over and over again we see God and Jesus extending generous invitations to come to them. In the parable of the great banquet, where we see that God wants His house to be full; in passages such as  Matthew 11: 28-30, 1 Timothy 2: 3-4, 2 Peter 3:9.

So it occurred to me that perhaps John 9:41 (above) might just apply to those who have not the mental capacity to consciously reject Christ as Saviour. Now, don't take the equating of mental illness to blindness to be insulting. This was not wilful blindness. The man in the story in John 9 was born that way as are those who are mentally handicapped. Neither are in a position to heal themselves, by themselves. Some of those to whom we might refer as handicapped may indeed be perfectly able to make a decision for Christ, but some may not, and it is those who cannot to whom God, I believe, may extend His grace and apply to their account the shed blood of Christ.

As I argued in my original post, the Bible does indicate that there is an age before which young people know right from wrong. What significance that has in terms of eternal salvation, I'm prepared not to be dogmatic. But I am quite prepared to accept that God's grace and generosity extend to those who are incapable, because of immaturity or handicap, of understanding sin or making the intellectual decision to accept or reject Him.

In the end, I fall back on Genesis 18:25c,
Will not the judge of all the earth do right?
Take Care

Monday, 16 February 2015

Consistency?

Someone messaged me tonight about my, "What I Believe" column to the left. It is based, as you will probably know, on the Apostles' Creed. But she wondered if the holy catholic church should have been, "holy Catholic Church."

I replied, explaining the difference; that small 'c' catholic means, "universal," and that every born again believer is a member. But it reminded me of something from the past.

A church I once attended, a very good church; one that held to the inerrancy of the Bible and the importance of proper and accurate translations if same, used  The Hymnal, by Word Publishing. In that hymnal, in the Apostles' Creed, they use the phrase, "holy Christian church," a total and flagrant mistranslation. I mentioned this to the powers that be, and, although they admitted the mistranslation, did not change it or explain the inaccuracy to the congregation. Apparently, some members of the conservative Protestant denominations that use this hymn book are so anti Catholic that they didn't even want to use the word.

Not a big deal I suppose, but I just found it interesting that those who insisted on total accuracy in some areas were so willing to ignore, even deliberately employ, inaccuracy in another.

Take Care

21 Christians Murdered For Their Faith; Remember Them

The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him. Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: “Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Messiah. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down.
They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony;
they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.
Therefore rejoice, you heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short.” (Revelation 12:9-12)
 And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (Revelation 20: 4b)
 Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. (Revelation 22: 20b)
Read this for a perspective.

Take Care

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Friday, 13 February 2015

High Horses (Obama's Prayer Breakfast Speech)



Frankly I did not find this speech as offensive as some apparently did. It seems to have brought apoplectic rage in some circles, but I think Mr Obama was rather balanced in what he said. However, I do have a few thoughts.

For some reason he seems to indicate that we, today, shouldn't be critical of other people's past actions because we, somehow, share the same history. That, to me, is a non sequitur.

Does the fact that injustices were committed in the distant past preclude us from condemning atrocities now being committed? Should we not be on our "high horses" condemning slavery, for instance, even though our own ancestors may have owned slaves? Does the fact that our forefathers may have owned slaves now eliminate from us the right to criticize slavery? Why should we who are alive today carry the guilt for things done hundreds of years ago over which we now living had no control and nothing to do with.

(I'm afraid I see a connection with Canada's treatment of our First Nations People, wringing our hands in guilt over actions of past generations instead of actually considering what can actually be effectively done to make things better now. In fact, this sense of guilt over our forefathers' past sins is probably preventing us from solving, or even addressing, the current situation.)

Lastly, Mr Obama seems quite at ease linking former crimes to Christianity, but somehow can't seem to connect current ones to Islam. I believe he specifically avoids referring to , "Islamic terrorists," even though that is what Islamic terrorists truly are.

Islam seems to be the religion whose name cannot be spoken negatively.

Anyway, just my thoughts.

Take Care

Saturday, 7 February 2015

The Right to Have Life, Liberty and Security of the Person (And the Right Not To)

The unanimous decision by Canada's Supreme Court to rescind the law against doctor assisted suicide is an interesting one. And I find it interesting on a number of levels. First of all, to be completely technical, "doctor assisted suicide" is not really what it is anyway. What it is, is getting and allowing a doctor to kill you. Whatever the mechanism, a doctor who participates in the procedure is really complicit in your death. Now, whether you think that right or wrong is not my point here. But that's just what it is.

It's also interesting that they referenced our constitutional right to life, liberty and security of the person, when their decision allows for the exact opposite - the actual removal of life, liberty and security. Somehow, Alice and the rabbit hole come to mind here.

The decision was unanimous; 9 to 0. I haven't researched, but I wonder if any of the judges of this court were involved in the exact opposite decision when they last ruled on it. If so, do they think that they, or the judges on that court, were in error then. or just that times have changed. If the latter, it raises an interesting point about the definition of right and wrong; are they absolute or do they depend on societal standards or prevailing public opinion. What if slavery become a popular concept again?

And if the latter, what happens when public opinion comes to the point where euthanasia, of the elderly, disabled or handicapped children ever become acceptable or felt necessary in the eyes of the majority. Already, in European countries where assisted suicide has been legal for some time, it has come to the point where a sizeable percentage of deaths in this connection have occurred without the express permission of the patient.

I must admit, frankly, that I am rather neutral in this whole matter. I'm not going to try to judge another person who is in such agony that they want to end their life. And we don't live in a theocracy, where the values of Christianity or any other religion can (or should) be imposed, if the majority don't want them. Mind you, this decision was, "imposed," if you like, by nine unelected judges, but I suspect that a majority of Canadians actually might agree with them, in the narrow sense of "assisted suicide," perhaps not considering the, "slippery slope" scenario which, I predict right now, will almost certainly occur over time. The one thing I hope will be included in any eventual law is an effective, "conscience" provision for doctors who, on personal moral grounds, don't wish to be a part of taking a life.

No, we live in a democracy, where laws are generally made by those who represent the majority, and whether we agree with them or not, we often must abide by them, or at least accept them. Mind you, if anyone feels strongly enough about the wrongness of a particular law, he is free to fight and argue against it, but generally speaking, gay marriage, for instance, whether we agree with it or not, is law, and we must accept it. (Having said that, gay marriage is another issue where I am fairly neutral, as far as the world, as opposed to the Church, is concerned,)

I often think of Revelation 22:11 in these matters.
 Let the one who does wrong continue to do wrong; let the vile person continue to be vile; let the one who does right continue to do right; and let the holy person continue to be holy. (Rev 22:11)
This world will continue until Christ returns. We will not always agree with every opinion this world holds. There will be injustice, even if it looks to be acceptable in the majority of the world's eyes. In the meantime, Christians are called to be salt and light, each in his particular corner of the world or sphere of influence. We cannot change the world - we can only assist in the work of God and His Holy Spirit in changing individual hearts. Then, enough of those individual hearts can change the world.

Take Care

Friday, 6 February 2015

Fifty Ways to Lose Your Love Life

This post is probably going to take a couple of different tacks, although I believe there is a common theme.

Driving down to Calgary yesterday I happened to hear the Focus on the Family program. Two guests, Dr Juli Slattery and author Dannah Gersh were discussing the phenomenon fr the Fifty Shades of Gray series of, "erotica," which, although I have not read them, they classify as pure pornography, and I am quite willing to accept their opinion. Apparently there is a focus on fetishes of bondage and discipline between a strong, dominating man and a weaker, innocent woman. The main audience for these books is primarily. women. If you have time to listen, Part one is here and Part two is here.

Several reasons for the popularity of these books, among them the desire of many women to escape their reality of their lives, a desire to revive their love life, an urge to change their husbands, the tendency on the part of some, even many, women to secretly fantasize about the tough male. But the one that struck a chord with me, perhaps appealing to my curmudgeonly side was this: the emasculation of men in our society.

I think we all been aware of how some sitcoms, for example, have come to portray men, especially fathers, as buffoons, pushed around or manipulated by their wives and children. I have noticed, in watching popular television and movies, an increase of strong, powerful woman characters who regularly are able to outfight even the strongest male characters. I'm thinking of shows like NCISLA, Person of Interest, Agent Carter, Agents of Shield, etc. I'm not saying good should not win out over evil, but these portrayals of strong women kicking butt over men is, in my opinion, a bit of an agenda, and an unrealistic one at that.

Of course we know that in kids' sports, girls are allowed to play on many boys' teams (not the other way around, of course), where, before puberty, girls can often out perform boys, but what does that do to a young boy's self esteem. It has taken the struggle for women's equality and elevated it to the point of women's superiority.

Which brings me to the subject of pornography itself. It is almost universally accepted nowadays, that porn and porn addiction have very negative effects. Study after study show it. Just Google, "effects of porn" or similar and you will find endless material on the subject. In short, porn and porn addiction on the part of males inhibits, damages or even destroys his ability to have a normal sexual relationship with  a real woman. Watch this video for a rather interesting talk on the subject.

One of the biggest steps toward the decline of our Western society, in my opinion (and that's all it is; my opinion) was the legalization of pornography on the basis of freedom of speech, or freedom of expression. We all know there are limits on freedom of speech for the common good, and this should have been one of them.  We've all heard about shouting, "Fire" in a crowded theatre, and now,  "Bomb" in an airport. Well, I believe that the legalization of porn has had far more negative consequences than either one.

Porn has destroyed relationships, marriages and families. Now, that statement is hearsay, I must admit, but I can remember at least one case very clearly. It was when I was participating, over a period of two or three years, on the discussion boards of a now defunct atheist website. These websites often lead, as they did in this case, to rather a feeling of closeness or friendship, even to those with whom we disagree. The online commenting community becomes a sort of family.

One of the group was a woman in her thirties, single until, during the time we were part of this community, she posted that she had found the perfect man and fallen in love. Within a few months they were married. After a time, she began to post some rather sad posts. One could almost sense her agony as she began to share about her husband locking himself in his study, in front of his computer, watching internet porn, while she sat outside the locked door in tears, longing for his attention and affection. Porn destroyed her marriage and her happiness, and it didn't take long. I wonder how many times this scenario occurs all around our country.

Anyway, just personal opinions based on somewhat rambling personal thoughts.

Take Care

 

Friday, 16 January 2015

So What's the Difference? (Charlie Hebdo and Slutwalk)

Obviously, Charlie Hebdo, free speech and religious sensibilities have been at the top of the news recently.

First of all, let me say that I believe in free speech. However I have no desire, nor do I see the need, to publish reproductions of those cartoons that many Muslims find so offensive. On the other hand, I can't see how millions of people can be as upset as they seem to be over them, to the point of committing violence and even murder. It just doesn't seem to be worth it. Having said that, I guess I wasn't out on the streets protesting the Viet Nam war, back in the day either. I just don't get that riled up over stuff.

So... having said that I agree with anyone's right to publish cartoons such as these, even my own right, had I the inclination, one might take the position, as many surely do, that it may not be wise to do so, knowing what the consequences might be. This thinking , I believe, is not uncommon. In other words, they might be saying that Charlie Hebdo had it coming; that they should have known what would be the consequences of doing what they did.

However, this brings me to the title of this post, and raises another area where I suspect people holding this same attitude might think quite differently, even expressing their thoughts in a strident and aggressive manner. That is, the idea that women should be careful how they dress, or where they walk alone, in order to avoid sexual assault. I suspect, and forgive me if I'm wrong, that at least some of those who blame Charlie Hebdo for bringing on their fate themselves, might also be those who would condemn, equally as adamantly,  those who say that women should not dress provocatively, or walk alone in dangerous areas, to avoid sexual attacks.

Just saying. Publishing  those cartoons, just to make a point regarding freedom of the press is really just the conservative version of Slutwalk, and vice versa.

Obviously, publishing cartoons does not justify murder, just as a woman wearing as much or as little as she chooses does not justify rape. But I believe there is cause for caution and good judgement in both cases, those who would argue for it in one case should examine themselves to see if they are being consistent in their thinking.

Take Care