Archive for May, 2007

my supper and a story

Monday, May 28th, 2007

Once a month for the last two years our church, Crossfire Assembly, has held a supper and story time. After a meal a member or a couple from the church would tell their story. Last night Linda and I were the guest speakers.

I began with my conception and birth. I then handed the microphone to Linda. (I’ll let Linda write about what she spoke in her blog.) When she told a bit of her story she passed the microphone back to me and we traded it back and forth. I would like to thank pastor Roy Pierce for giving us an additional 25 minutes. That enabled us to give a little better telling of the story.

The theme I spoke on was vows spoken when being hurt. This hurting was usually in the form of punishment at the hands of my parents. Very early in my life I vowed not to be forced to show affection. I vowed never to be free with my affection. I vowed always to tell the truth no matter who got hurt. Speaking these vows during times of physical punishment and emotional turmoil put me on a path of separation from people. I spent long periods of time in self imposed isolation.

Eventually, instead of being a victim of circumstance I began a life of self-victimization. The results where drug and alcohol abuse, risky sex because it was dangerous, cutting, and attempted suicides. At the rate of self-destruction I didn’t think I had long to live.

My story then jumped to my rediscovery of God. This time instead of religion I had a more personal encounter. To make a long story short, I have been walking with him for more than 25 years since that time. The road has been rough and there were challenges that broke me at times. Yet, the Lord was faithful and in time would draw me back to him.

What I learned was that the vows that I spoke as a child, teen, adult and husband bound my spirit and stopped me from growing in the character of God. I was still a baby, a child or teen in respects to my maturity. When God began to remind me of the vows I had forgotten, we began to tear down those mental and spiritual strongholds. That didn’t mean that I matured overnight, far from it, but it did free me up to begin to grow-up mentally and spiritually. It has been, and in some respects still is, a long process. Yet I appreciate what God has and is doing for me.

It was a good night and I thank Crossfire for the opportunity to share my story. I hope that my story was a help to those who heard it… by opening a door of understanding into the destructive nature of vows… and hope that God could help them as well.

God bless.

A Very Unpopular View

Thursday, May 17th, 2007

A big problem with society is that they believe that: once a child molester always a child molester. There is a quick attack by people against those who sin in this peculiar and tragic manner. To stygmatize people and say there is no recovery of the soul is to condemn these people. Because of this they cannot seek the help they need… they don’t dare.

Yet as a Christian I believe that there is always hope. That repentance is possible. That a person can have his life changed. The difficulty comes from believing that with the right incentive someone using will power will be able to walk the right path. Yet will power will never change the heart. This approach has never worked. To change a person’s life they need a gift that can only come from God. That gift is self-control. It is planted as a seed and with time and patience will bear the fruit of someone who can walk in obedience to God’s way and decently. Their hearts are transformed. This is true for every person under the control of their particular “sinful act”.

I feel sorry for those who are heading down the path that will result in a child eventually being hurt. I feel saddened and concerned for the child who will be their victim. I am angry at the culture that puts stumbling blocks in front of those who need the help to stop the cycle from continuing.

Regardless of what the sinful behaviour…
The tempted need help without judgement
The sinner needs correction and help
But the monster needs to be removed from society.

Pan Handler and the Parking Meter

Wednesday, May 16th, 2007

Last Thursday I went to city hall to to pay for the CFC fee for putting an air-conditioner out in the trash.

When I got out of the car I went toward the ticket dispenser. As I was fumbling for change in my pocket a street person came up to me and asked for change. He told me it would most likely go for a drink. Honesty. I looked at what I had in my hand and gave him fifty cents. Not much but I wanted enough for the parking machine. He thanked me and moved on. I got to the machine and looked at what they wanted. Great, now I didn’t have enough. I opened my wallet and took out a tooney. Good for an hour and twenty minutes. My bussiness inside city hall took ten minutes. As I got back to my car I thought it ridiculous, I still had an hour on my ticket. I drove my car to the ticket machine and saw a man about to buy a ticket. I rolled down my window and asked him if his bussiness was going to take more than an hour. He said no, so I gave him my ticket. That day I blessed two people.

I wouldn’t have blessed the second without blessing the first. I asked God, “which one was I supposed to bless?” Perhaps both?
I chuckled to myself and drove home.

About Christian Traditions

Saturday, May 12th, 2007

The word of God is quick and lively.
He speaks a word, we’re alive.
We repeat the message and life continues.
We are strange creatures.
We organize that lively word.
It becomes a tradition of men.
The life ebbs slowly away.
A stale crumb is left.
A message meant for a day…
became the standard meal.
God’s Word is like mercy,
They are new every morning.
Seek a fresh word of God…
A well rounded diet…
Stay spiritually healthy.

A further word on tradition. It does have its place. It does have worth. It shows us our roots and how we came to be where we are today. Yet the message and how it’s delivered will continue to be modified and changed as culture changes. Technology will also open up new avenues. My worry is that we can get so caught up in the style we use to deliver the message that we run the risk of losing the power of the message. I have seen this; through tradition as well as innovation.

Can an Atheist Judge a Christian Worship Service?

Friday, May 11th, 2007

No. An atheist is the bottom of the “faith” pile. A view of Romans the first chapter shows the descent of the soul. Believing nothing but what the senses can tell you is the end.

What can an atheist tell us about connecting to the divine? Absolutely nothing. He can however be a judge whether something is aesthetically pleasing. He could also judge whether the worship is having an impact on the individual but cannot tell whether it is strickly a chemical emotional response, some form of insanity or if they are being touched by God.

He can tell you whether your service is running slicker than “snot” but has no idea what the snot is. And if it is snot, well God ain’t in that, is he?

The War of Ideas by Walid Phares

Thursday, May 3rd, 2007

 The War of Ideas by Walid Phares
published by Palgrave MacMillan

Here is a book that should be a must read for all people who want an understanding of the forces of terrorism now engulfing the world. Phares describes who the enemy is and those who directly and indirectly support them. He lays out their motives. He blows aside the common misconceptions that prevent the west from getting a good grasp of the religious political forces at work in societies from Baghdad to Washington and out to the world.

He describes three different periods of this war starting in the early to mid 20th century, how it changed focus in the 1990’s and finally the adjustments to strategy they are using after 9/11. This struggle is between Islamic Jihadism and the Democratic principles and ideals of the West. He goes further to explain why controlled societies such as Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia and others not only give tacit approval but financial and material support to the Islamic Jihadists.

During the mid 20th Century in the United States there was the embarrassment of the McCarthy hearings. The fifth column that never materialized as the broad threat that was being painted. However, in our world today there is a fifth column at work in the US and other western nations. It is being fuelled by petro dollars. There is an agenda to misdirect governments, institutions and the general public. Mr Phares does an admiral job explaining this threat to world peace.

To come up with viable workable solutions misconceptions must be cleared up. Only then can we hope to apply the correct actions to resolve the situations faced by freedom loving people. Only then can we understand the enemy and only then as a people stand firm against a common foe. For many Mr Phares book, the War of Ideas, will be a likely and beneficial start; on our road to understanding what lays before us and how to defend the Democratic principles and ideals we have come to cherish.

gathering for the common good

Tuesday, May 1st, 2007

 Defence of Democratic Principles

In Canada we have a democratic form of government. This government has basic principles by which the governed agree to abide. In this context having meetings that cross denominational lines are not a problem. We all agree that each of us has freedom of conscience. We have have certain rights that are extended to all. When our conscience is at odds with others we are not (usually) compelled to agree. Though Political Correctness is gradually changing that last sentence. Yet our country corrected other actions that in time all deemed as wrong: child labour, torture, denial of the vote to women, etc. For better or worse we are living in a society that is in a state of constant flux. As long as we defend basic democratic principles as we have come to know them we assure our peace.

Broad Common Good Events

The broadest grouping is the federal legislature. It comprises of the largest and perhaps most diverse amalgamation of ideas. The purpose for this gathering and many smaller ones is to formulate plans for the common good. When we take care of our brothers and sisters, our neighbours, we take care of ourselves. Going to an inter-faith meeting for the purpose of coming together to do a good work is an admiral example of co-operation for the common good. Such events we can only hope would be well attended by all.

Unequally Yoked Alliances and Prayers

We can enter into difficulty if during such a gathering we enter into alliances with those who have a different or perhaps hidden agenda. You are known by the company you keep. There is a level of caution that the Christian should maintain when joining with others. What would be the perception of such an alliance? Would God approve of such fellowship? There are obvious connections we should resist.

The same goes when we enter into the realm of prayer. There are more so called gods and goddesses out there that are receiving prayer. I am reminded of Israel falling into disfavour with God because they offered the sacrifices that God required and then would prostitute themselves with a myriad of gods and goddesses on every hill and in every grove. How does the Christian join his prayer to God with another person’s prayer to Belial. Surely we can both carry the same burden for the needs of people without being spiritually yoked in prayer.

In this regard I believe, in many situations, it is possible to go to an inter-faith meeting. It may, however, be inappropriate to attend an inter-faith prayer meeting.

Organized Like Faith Events

So now we enter into a smaller, like minded faith, group of people. They speak a common (spiritual) language. They hold to the same values. It is here that the problem can be addressed more directly. In larger groups even the terms we use have to be double checked to assure we are talking the same “language” and mean the same thing. (I remember when Communism would take our very words of freedom. They would then change the definitions. Even though we sounded the same the resulting vision was far different.) We would not have to worry about the perception of being unequally yoked. We would also know that God could move among us to bring about his purposes and for his glory. We would not share God’s glory with others opposed to him.

Defence of Our Truth

We must defend our democracy and its democratic principles. Yet if the law opposes God we need to stand firm against the whole. In our society we must also be willing to defend the freedom of conscience of other faiths. Except when they oppose democracy and democratic principles. However, we do not need to agree with their vision. Then we must stand firm in our resolve to believe and obey of Saviour and Lord and the revelation given to us. In a country that holds to democracy and democratic rights and principles,  we have the freedom to walk out our faith as others do theirs. We have the right to share our faith as do others. We have the ability to gather together for the common good… no matter how small or large the group. Above all we can defend our truth. It is a freedom that must be given to all or it will be given to none.