Sunday, December 31, 2006

Farewell 2006. Hello 2007.

It was exactly one year ago tonight I became a blogger. My daughter Rebecca taught me the basics as we sat by a crackling fire in Charlottetown, PEI and 2005 gave way to 2006.

A new world was opened to me.

Tonight, as 2006 gives way to 2007 my wife and dog and I are in our townhouse apartment in Toronto, watching an oldies movies TV channel.

It is with a profound sense of gratitude I give thanks to God for a wonderful life. What a beautiful world he has given us. How much greater still will heaven be, where we shed these vile bodies for incorruptible bodies undefiled by sin.

How good God is. He did so much more than "merely" cleanse us from our sins. Through Christ, He has brought us to a place where Adam never dreamed to go.

Incorporated for eternity into the Beloved One, to rule and reign with Him forever!

The gospel is simply too good to be man-made; it's too good not to be true.

May all who read this be blessed by the Spirit of the One who stooped so low to raise us up so high.

May he raise us all up in Him in 2007. May we soar to places we could never soar to in our own strength.

This is, I believe, my 250th post.

Not bad for one years' output.

See you in the new year.

And that's the way the Ball bounces.

Is the Bible literally true?

We know that Jesus used parables which are creative works of fiction, at least, they are not necessarily true.

But what about the Old Testament. Is it all full of allegories and stories that are not to be believed literally?

I would say no, it is not. When something is presented as historical, it should be accepted as such.

Still, the Old Testament is rich in imagery and sometimes even allegory --

* The prophet Nathan uses a parable in 2 Samuel 12 to teach David about his sin with Bathsheba. However, it is clearly used as such and should not be equated with stories such as Jonah and the great fish, which are clearly presented as factual.

* The apocalyptic writings in Daniel, and the dreams requiring interpretation in the life of Joseph, are clearly not to be understood literally but to be interpreted.

I like to stick to the idea that the Scriptures are inspired and true according to the authors' -- both human and divine -- intent. We should avoid placing a false literalism or false precision on Scripture where none is intended.

For example, if I say 500 people attended a church service, and another account says 512, is one of us lying? Not necessarily. I may have been just using a round number, and my intent may not to have given a mathematically precise number. The other person who said 512, may have been wishing to be precise. Both accounts may be said to be "true".

A good example of this in Scripture is when Luke or Paul in Acts says "For all the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing." If taken literally, they never ate, never slept, never went to the bathroom. But this was not the intent of the author, and is taking the literal words to an absurdity.

In some areas, it is hard to know exactly how a verse should be interpreted. Is the tree of life in Genesis literally a tree? Elsewhere in Scripture, it is used figuratively -- see Proverbs.

Is the snake in Genesis literally a snake? In Revelation 12:9 the dragon is revealed to be the snake, which in turn is revealed to be the devil.

We understand that Jesus IS the Lamb of God; at the same time, none of us would suggest that he is or was at any time a barnyard animal. Sometimes words are used to convey spiritual truths, and yet they can be true without being physically true, and yet more than just a metaphor. Calling Jesus the Lamb of God is not metaphorical; He really IS the Lamb of God; it's just that He's not a barnyard animal.

Scripture has a profound integrity to it, and, as we approach the new year, we should remind ourselves that struggling to understand it is one way we love God with all our minds as well as our hearts.

Maybe we should all resolve to read the Bible more in the new year!

And that's the way the Ball bounces.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

People for the Ethical Treatment of Icebergs (PETI)

The latest outrage in Canada, and it's gone clear around the world, is news that a great chunk of Canada has broken away from the rest of the country, and, no, it's not Quebec.

In former days it would would have been known as an iceberg.

But in these climate-catastrophe times iceberg sounds too much like ice cube; it's been upgraded to an "ice-island". And it comes complete with micro-organisms and its own eco-system that some would argue makes it a distinct society within Canada.

Laval University's Warwick Vincent claims (and this is the money-quote):

"This is a piece of Canadian geography that no longer exists."

Flags will be flying at half-mast across the country as the enormity of the loss sinks in:

"There are microscopic organisms and entire ecosystems associated with this ice, so we're losing a part of Canada's natural richness."

Entire ecosystems. Let's face it, he's good.

But he could have taken it even further.

Consider these comments by Arkay Ball, president of the newly-formed PETI:

"Newborn babies consist of 78% water.

We share more with icebergs than has been acknowledged.

Icebergs have rights too; after all, they're almost human. The breaking off of an iceberg is a form of infanticide.

Let's work to stop the slaughter."

Oh, and Arkay also wants to wish everybody a happy, iceberg-free new year.

And that's the way the Ball bounces.

Saddam Hussein - "How hath the oppressor ceased!"

A reading from KJV Isaiah 14:

And it shall come to pass in the day that the LORD shall give thee rest from thy sorrow, and from thy fear, and from the hard bondage wherein thou wast made to serve,

That thou shalt take up this proverb against the king of Babylon, and say, How hath the oppressor ceased! the golden city ceased!

The LORD hath broken the staff of the wicked, and the sceptre of the rulers.

He who smote the people in wrath with a continual stroke, he that ruled the nations in anger, is persecuted, and none hindereth.

The whole earth is at rest, and is quiet: they break forth into singing.

Yea, the fir trees rejoice at thee, and the cedars of Lebanon, saying, Since thou art laid down, no feller is come up against us.

Hell from beneath is moved for thee to meet thee at thy coming: it stirreth up the dead for thee, even all the chief ones of the earth; it hath raised up from their thrones all the kings of the nations.

All they shall speak and say unto thee, Art thou also become weak as we? art thou become like unto us?

Thy pomp is brought down to the grave, and the noise of thy viols: the worm is spread under thee, and the worms cover thee.

How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!

For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:

I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.

Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.

They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms;

That made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of his prisoners?

All the kings of the nations, even all of them, lie in glory, every one in his own house.

But thou art cast out of thy grave like an abominable branch, and as the raiment of those that are slain, thrust through with a sword, that go down to the stones of the pit; as a carcase trodden under feet.

Thou shalt not be joined with them in burial, because thou hast destroyed thy land, and slain thy people: the seed of evildoers shall never be renowned.

Prepare slaughter for his children for the iniquity of their fathers; that they do not rise, nor possess the land, nor fill the face of the world with cities.

For I will rise up against them, saith the LORD of hosts, and cut off from Babylon the name, and remnant, and son, and nephew, saith the LORD.

I will also make it a possession for the bittern, and pools of water: and I will sweep it with the besom of destruction, saith the LORD of hosts.

The LORD of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand:

That I will break the Assyrian in my land, and upon my mountains tread him under foot: then shall his yoke depart from off them, and his burden depart from off their shoulders.

This is the purpose that is purposed upon the whole earth: and this is the hand that is stretched out upon all the nations.

For the LORD of hosts hath purposed, and who shall disannul it? and his hand is stretched out, and who shall turn it back?

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Quote of the month

"Remember, we are not just working for victory, we are working from victory.

Victory is our starting point, because Christ is risen.

The outcome of the battle for life has aready been decided. It only remains for us to be sure to do our part to proclaim, celebrate, and serve that victory and bring its transforming power to every segment of our society."

-- Fr Frank Pavone, Priests for Life

What a great quote, and how true! And this applies not only to the battle over abortion and euthanasia, but to all aspects of our Christian life and witness.

The coming reign of Christ is assured; it is non-negotiable; it is inevitable.

Christians minister from weakness, as it pertains to themselves and their own righteousness, or, rather, the lack thereof, and the inclinations of our fallen, unregenerate human nature, which are, how shall we put it, not good.

But, we minister from strength, as it pertains to the Christ whom we believe in, before whom we have bowed, and before whom we shall one day stand.

We proclaim not a defeat, but the greatest victory this world has ever or will ever witness -- the defeat of the enemies of God at the Cross -- death, the devil, spiritual rebellion, deception -- all forever defeated at the Cross.

The resurrection makes sure, it clinches, what Christ accomplished at the Cross.

The resurrection is God's Great Big Stamp of Approval on all Christ said and did; it is his vindication, and, because we are His, ours as well.

And it is our assurance that what God has begun, He will bring to completion and fruition. It is not Christians who should be shaken -- it is atheists and unbelieveers of all stripes who are on the ropes and heading down for the count.

Let's never forget it -- we minister out of strength -- not ours -- but His -- His future reign is as certain as His past triumphs in life, death, and resurrection.

All praise, honour, and glory be to the One who stooped so low to raise us up so high, and to give us a gospel that is simply too good not to be true!

Well, I've "preached myself happy"!

Let me add a pentecostal, "thank you, Jesus!".

And that's the way the Ball bounces.

My Roots are showing

In my last trek to Zambia, I did a one-night stop-over, coming and going, in London. I found that my arm got very sore from lugging around my overnight bag from the tube stop to the hotel.

I decided then that it was time for me to try a backpack; all the young kids have one; why not me?

Well, the planning for the next Zambia trip is underway. I've already had my shots, and there's a brew in the refrigerator that I'm to drink a week before the trip. And so my thoughts turn to backpacks.

I did some research last night online. Roots has a leather backpack on sale at 50% off, for around a hundred dollars, plus taxes. So, after checking out Costco today, I swung over to the Roots store at the Bayview Village. When I asked about backpacks, I was told that the leather ones had all sold out within an hour or two of the store opening yesterday. I take that to mean they were a good value at that price.

No leather ones, but I spotted a decent backpack that originally sold for $50. On sale for $35. And then 50% off that; so I got it for just under $20, taxes included. In other words, I got it for about the amount I would have paid in taxes to buy the leather one!

There was just one left. And I got it! Nice little Canadian flag on the side and back. I'm looking forward to trying it out on my next trip through London.

The leather one is still available online at 50% off and free shipping; I think I'll order it too, and see which one I like the best!

And that's the way the Ball bounces.

Friday, December 22, 2006

The radically inclusive message of Jesus

Liberals, who are certain that God thinks homosexuality is wonderful, like to talk about the "radically inclusive message of Jesus", and how it offends many people.

You know what? They've got a point.

Jesus is certainly inclusive when he says we are ALL evil-hearted. He is inclusive when he says there is NONE good but God. He is inclusive when he says NO-ONE's self-righteousness cuts it with God. And, he is inclusive when he says that except we repent, we will ALL perish.

So, it's true. The radically inclusive message of Jesus does offend many -- primarily liberals.

Liberals who are forced to distort and change Christ's gospel of the narrow door because it offends them.

Liberals who are offended by the thought that all religions might not be equally acceptable in God's sight.

Liberals who are offended to think that God would blast all of humanity for its sinfulness and wickedness and speak in the blunt terms of Christ: repent, or perish.

Consider the following beloved verse of Scripture.

1. God so loved the world
2. That He gave His only begotten Son
3. So that whosoever believes in Him
4. Should not perish
5. But have everlasting life.

Liberals like the first line because it speaks of God's love -- He loves not just a few, but the world. They really like that one.

They like the last line about eternal life. If there is a heaven, they take it as a given that they will be there. Along with just about everybody else, regardless of faith or creed, it seems.

They tolerate the second line about God giving His Son, but they work hard to obscure Christ's male gender which is an embarrassment to them, and they find the idea of a blood sacrifice repulsive, primitive, and completely unacceptable. Which is why you are not going to find a hymn like Nothing but the Blood in a liberal-editted hymnal.

They dislike the third line about believing in Christ because it offends their warm-fuzzy sense of inclusiveness. There just shouldn't be any conditions put on entering into the love of God. (What was Christ thinking when he said it? If only he had had access to 21st century liberals, he could have avoided a lot of substandard, unchristian thoughts and ideas.)

But it's the fourth line they detest.

"Should not perish."

The idea that anyone might perish is a non-starter with them. To put it bluntly, there simply is no hell for the liberal to avoid. Or to warn his neighbour, or the person labouring in another faith, to avoid.

And yet, that is what Christ states, and that is the backdrop for Christ's sacrificial death -- we are perishing, and, unless He offers Himself in our stead, there is no hope for us.

And that is the heart of the evangelist's cry:

Souls in danger,
Look above
Jesus completely saves
He will lift you by his love
Out of the angry waves
He's the master of the seas -- billows his will obey
He your Saviour wants to be
Be saved today

Those who talk about God's love, but refuse to obey His command to turn and surrender, trust and obey, will find themselves eternally outside of friendship and fellowship with God.

My prayer is that God would raise up evangelists in our day to warn people of the danger they are in, and to present to them the open door of forgiveness and eternal life through Jesus Christ.

I'm hoping that my CD, which will be out shortly, will serve just such a role.

And that's one reason why it features the song Love Lifted me -- because the inclusive message of Christ is that whosoever believes on him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

It's also why the CD includes that great hymn by Robert Lowry, Nothing but the Blood.


And that's the way the Ball bounces.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Goodbye, Max.

Max, our new DVD player, is gone.

His adoption into our home was described in a nearlier blog.

He lasted 14 days.

And then, he expired.

I mean, he wouldn't even light up.

We returned him to from whence he came -- Future Shop.

An autopsy was performed -- primarily to retrieve the Murder, She wrote DVD Max had had for dinner the night before.

He was vibrant, he was in the prime of life. He was $29.95.

Fortunately, he died the night before we left PEI for Toronto, so I was able to return him for a full refund.

So, we enjoyed 14 nights of DVD-watching at no cost.

I think, when we return to PEI, I'll splurge and spend, oh, maybe $40 to get a top-of-the-line DVD player.

And that's the way the Ball bounces.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Customer? Service?

I called our cableTV provider on Monday to do a temporary disconnect.

After listening to all the various voicemail options, and making a couple of levels of selections, I got a message saying that they were upgrading their system to serve me better, and as a result, I should call back, but not before Wednesday.


Why did they make me listen to all the options, if I was just going to get this message? Couldn't they start with this message?

* * *

Today is Thursday and I'm on the phone again.



To the following cheery-voice message:

"We have recently upgraded our customer care system to serve you better. As a result, you may experience longer wait-times. We thank you for your patience. Please stay on the line..."

Makes sense. After all, if they are going to serve me better, I have to expect a longer wait.

Fifteen minutes and counting.

No end in sight.

Getting thirsty.

Eyes growing dim.

Stuck to chair.

Is this the way it all ends? Is this the way I'll be found?

Stuck to chair with phone dangling to one s

Gotta go -- they just answered my call.

And that's the way the Ball bounces.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Holy cow!

The United Nations has produced a 400-page report that reveals the world's greatest environmental threat to the planet's climate.

This threat is also responsible for damaging forests and wildlife. causing acid rain, the introduction of alien species, producing deserts, creating dead zones in the oceans, poisoning rivers and drinking water, and, finally, destroying coral reefs.

No, we are not talking about Americans on vacation.

The report by the Food and Agricultural Organisation, is talking about herds of cattle -- one point five billion of them.

According to the UN (and we know they never lie), livestock are responsible for 18 per cent of the greenhouse gases that cause global warming -- more than cars, planes and all other forms of transport put together.

Now all we need to do is spin this so we can blame mankind in general and Americans in particular for the cow menace (while sensitively offering Hindus a multicultural exemption).

Meanwhile, I'm going to do my part for the environment by continuing to own and drive a car, while absolutely pledging never to own a cow.

I hope you'll join me on this new crusade to save the planet.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Little Mosque on the Prairie

I was surfing through Mark Stein's site and took one of his links to something he had written. My eye was caught by an ad on the page -- "Little Mosque on the Prairie", premiering on CBC in January.

Satire, right?

The site says

I keep looking for something that will indicate that this is satire.

My next thought is that someone has hacked into and placed a satirical ad mocking the CBC, ultra-liberal values, and the desire to pander to and appease Islam before it bites them.

Even the CBC wouldn't be multiculti-nuts-enough to present a series like this.

Or would they?

And that's the way the Ball bounces.

Homosexuals up the ante

Having achieved their goal of gay marriage, militant homosexual advocates have moved on to their next goal: the indoctrination of Canadian school children.

This was confirmed by the National Post's lead-off letter on the same-sex marriage issue.

Gay advocates will frame the issue as "making schools a safe place for gay children".

Here's an amended version of the letter I wrote to the National Post in response.

Having robbed marriage of its role in protecting a child's natural right to know the love of both mother and father, the next goal of militant homosexual advocates will be to rob Canada's children of their moral innocence by insisting that every Canadian school child be taught the defiling knowledge of sodomy as a normal, natural, and healthy behaviour.

Given that homosexuality is intrinsically anti-procreative, the up-the-ante goal to control what our children are taught can only be viewed as a grievous perversity.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Gay marriage debate today at the Globe and Mail

The G&M is having an online discussion today on the gay marriage debate.

Here's the question I submitted:

Homosexual relations can never result in procreation, yet homosexual activists both insist that their behaviour is normal and natural and also insist on their "equal right" to children, in the process tacitly nullifying a child's natural right to a mother and a father.

They claim to be for marriage definitions rooted in sexual orientation rather than human biology, and "equal marriage for all", yet have not advanced the case for one of their own constituents, i.e., "bi-sexual marriage". It appears that some sexual orientations are more equal than others.

Could you please discuss the apparent contradictions.

* * *

We'll see if they use it. I've noticed that whenever I insensitively bring up the topic of teaching the act of sodomy to our school children as a normal, healthy behaviour, they always nuke the post. Perhaps they think it's impolite to bring up the subject, or perhaps they think it is irrelevant to discussions of homosexuality.

In the end, it's the children that get shafted.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Gay Marriage coming for a 2nd vote in the House of Commons

Gay rights and gay marriage are an extension of the "sexual liberation" that Canadians granted themselves in the 60s. Unfortunately, these liberations generally come at the expense of children's rights. Children used to have the right to expect to be born and raised by their natural parents, barring either immorality or natural disaster. Now, they're lucky if they're even born. If they get past that hurdle, there's single-parenting, divorce, and same-sex parenting -- all of which deny a child his or her natural right to be raised by and know the love of both his father and mother.

The fact that jurisdictions like Ontario have banned the terms "father" and"mother" from legislation should give you an idea that something more than tinkering at the edges is at work here.

The fact that people will insist a child really doesn't need his or her mother and father, just "parents", shows that this is a society in deep denial to the obvious.

The fact than anyone who opposes any aspect of the fundamentalist homosexual agenda is immediately branded as hateful and bigoted shows that this is a society that has overthrown a love of reason and truth for unvirtuous tolerance and misguided kindness.

A society anchored in sexual "liberation" rights is a society that will lack the moral discipline to succeed in the long run.

Who is fit for office?

Who is fit for office? For a position of responsibility in government, including the courts.

During a past election, a prominent Liberal suggested that Stockwell Day was unfit to be the Prime Minister. What made him unsuitable? Because "he believes that Jesus is the Son of God". The argument was that this was exclusionary to all other beliefs and therefore made him unfit for office. The person who voiced this view presumably forgot that Roman Catholics, who have occupied the highest offices in Canada for a generation, also presumably believe that Jesus is the Son of God.

I guess that the countering argument would be, "yeah, but Stockwell Day REALLY believes it!"

At the time all this was going on, I made some "talking points". Here they are:

* Any aboriginal who believes an Indian creation myth involving a turtle or an eagle is "unfit for office".

* Any Muslim who believes that an angel dictated the Koran word-for-word to Mohammed is "unfit for office".

* Anyone who believes that his religious head is infallible is both scary and "unfit for office".

* Anyone who believes that undirected evolution is a sufficient cause for the wondrous beauty, order, and compexity of nature is "unfit for public office".

* Anyone who fails to acknowledge the humanity of an unborn baby is "unfit for office".

Meanwhile, the Canadian media today refers to "so-called" family values when voiced by conservatives, but does not use the "so-called" qualifier when liberals go on about "Canadian values".

So, in that spirit, here's a bonus "talking point":

* Anyone who believes there is no God undermines the basis for positing the intrinsic dignity and worth of human beings, upon which all "so-called" human rights are based, and is thus "unfit for office".

And that's the way the Ball bounces.

Monday, December 04, 2006

The UN weighs in

Kofi Annan has "agreed" that the situation in Iraq is like a civil war, and that the Iraqis were better off under Saddam Hussein.

A biased UN leader speaking to a biased press. The under-theme: the US is bad.

Talking points:

* The head of the UN is a thoroughly politicized figure; anything he says should be understood in that light.

* We all long for the good old days when Saddam's torture chambers were running 24/7; perhaps the UN will offer to take over from the US and do in Iraq what it did in Rwanda.

* The US has given Iraq a chance at democracy; strong elements within the Muslim population are showing they have no interest in democracy when power can be obtained and held by brute force.

* We should keep that last point in mind; if this is the "Muslim mind", we are all in trouble as the Muslim presence in our countries grows.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

$29 gets you a new DVD player

We were in the process of watching the last two episodes of the MacGyver TV series when our SONY DVD player went on strike. It's pretending that I haven't put any in the player. It's really insistent. It's playing hardball.

What to do?

I could take the $200 SONY DVD player in for servicing, or, for $29, buy a new, off-brand, made-in-China model.

I opt for the $29 model. I buy it at Future Shop (although I could have just as easily bought one at the SuperCentre). They try to sell me the four-year insurance package, which, at $10, or the price of two double-doubles a year, I guess really is a good deal. But, as a matter of policy, I don't buy them. I know that, statistically, the reason they are so eager to sell me one is because they make a lot of money from them.

Get the new DVD player home, plug it in, and voila! MacGyver never looked better.

Plus, this new player has features my five-year old SONY player doesn't have. The best is the improved sound. It has Dolby, and I immediately noticed better, cleaner, stereo sound coming from my $29 model.

The remote is, admittedly, goofy. Way too many tiny buttons illogically placed. And you have to point it just-right at the TV.

But, at $29, I'll take it.

This reminds me of a day about 10 years ago when VCRs were in vogue. Our dog "ate" our SONY VCR remote. I phoned SONY in Toronto to find out how much a replacement remote would be.

It was well over $100; I think something closer to $150.

I found out later that this high price was supposedly to inhibit theft, since apparently many VCRs were stolen and the thieves would forget to take the remote. I suspect it was more likely because SONY thought they had a captive audience who would cough up more than $100 for a remote.

Anyway, last night I got both a functional DVD player, and a working remote, complete with batteries and cables, and a fabulous ninety-day warranty,

for $29.

And that's the way the Ball bounces.

"... nothing intellectually compelling or challenging.. bald assertions coupled to superstition... woefully pathetic"