Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Off to Africa -- and you are invited to join in!

The Dukoral has been quaffed; the British Airways cabin crew strike has been averted; the two lightweight duffle bags sit like magestic sentries in my living room, packed; and I've set my email to tell people I am no longer of this world, or, at least, that I'm in Africa until March 4th, 2007. All that remains is to call the airport limo service and ask them to come for 6:30am.

Someone must be going to Africa!

To follow all the exciting adventures of your intrepid short-term missionary, please bounce over to

for the next month.

Your prayers mean a lot -- the mystical communion of saints is very real, and never more keenly felt than when embarking on an enterprise like this.

Please join with me in this adventure, by joining in in prayer!

Friday, January 26, 2007

CBC red vs. Tory blue

CBC Newsworld TV had an article today about the rescue of some lost Newfoundlanders. Their graphics included a full-screen display of a solid-red map of Newfoundland. Now, I've only touched down in St. John's, but I'm pretty sure that Newfoundland is not actually red.

So why red?

Well, it matches the background colours on Newsworld, which are red.

Which also happens to be the official colour of the Liberal Party of Canada.

Which means that everytime you turn your TV to CBC Newsworld, you are confronted with an implicit message that the Liberal Party represents the way things are, or should be for Canadians; the blue Tories are interlopers.

Think I'm exaggerating?

I just can't see the CBC displaying a map of Newfoundland in Tory blue. Or adopting blue as its official colour.

It's interesting that no-one at the CBC seems worried about giving the appearance of bias in favour of a particular federal political party.

To them, it's just the way it is.

And that's the way the Ball bounces.

Benefit-of-the-Doubt Update: There was a blizzard happening that day. Perhaps Newfoundland was solid red because of blizzard conditions. The comment about red being the background colour of the CBC news set stands.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The Passion of the Cruise

According to a Scientology spokesman, Mr. Thomas "Tom" Cruise is the new “Christ” of Scientology. He has been told he has been “chosen” to spread the word of his faith throughout the world. Leader David Miscavige believes that Cruise, 44, will one day be worshipped like Jesus for his work to raise awareness of the religion.

I don't know about you, but I don't worship Christ because he raised awareness of religion.

I worship him because he raised awareness within me of my selfish, sinful condition, and then offered me a lifeline.

I worship Him because I came to believe that Jesus Christ was Lord, living, and not dead.

From this, I came to believe He rose from the dead.

From this, it was a short step to also believe that He was divine.

From this, I came to believe that he was born of a virgin.

And, from this point on, I succumbed to what would be called orthodox positions on everything -- his pre-existence in heaven, his incarnation, his passion, his resurrection, his ascension, his present glorified state in heaven, his pending return.

Until Tom Cruise can compete on these items, I will continue to worship Christ.

My advice? Christ is the real thing. Accept no substitutes.

And that's the way the Ball bounces.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Muslim policewoman refuses to shake commissioner's hand

A story out of London has it that a newly minted police recruit, a Muslim woman, declined to shake the police chief's hands during the graduation ceremony, citing religious prohibitions regarding touching a man other than her husband or close relative.

We know that Islam is getting more muscular, advancing its "rights" at every turn.

I'm not sure if that is what was going on here, but it seems to me an elegant solution would have been for the woman simply to have gone out and bought a handsome pair of white gloves.

In fact, since she presumably doesn't plan on touching any males during the course of her police work, it might not be a bad idea for her to have several pairs.

In Canada, meanwhile, our attempts to accommodate multicultural diversity have included:

- the RCMP bending to allow Sihks to wear turbans instead of the traditional mountie hat

- schools bending to allow Sihk students to wear hidden knives, and muslim students to have prayer rooms and prayer times, while banishing the Lord's Prayer and anything else that reeks of Christianity, such as Christmas carols

- a Toronto councillor of Asian heritage was allowed, as I recall, to forgo swearing allegiance to the Queen, since the woman's loyalty was to Canada, but not to Canada's sovereign

- meanwhile, in the name of tolerance and diversity, Christian marriage commissioners have been fired for declining, on religious grounds, to marry two men or women

- Simon Fraser university is dropping the two crosses from its emblem, so as not to cause confusion or consternation. At the same time, is is being endowed with a one million dollar fund for muslim studies. I guess it knows which side of the bread it's buttered on (did I say that right?).

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Sheriff Ken Jenne's crime video

This clip features video of two actual thefts.

The thefts took just a few seconds.

Who locks their car when pumping gas?

I guess we need to start!

Thanks to frappeur for this one.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Quote of the Day -- Onward Christian Soldiers

The following quote has been attributed to C. H. Spurgeon:

"If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point that the world and the devil are at the moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ.

Where the battle rages is where the loyalty of the soldier is proved, and to be steady on all the battlefield besides is merely flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point."

This quote, or something like it, has also been attributed to Martin Luther and C. S. Lewis.

What it means is, Christians must engage our culture (and, regrettably, the Church itself), on whatever issue of the day that opposes the Word of God.

Yesterday, it was abortion.

Today, it is homosexuality.

Tomorrow, it will be the legalization and social rehabilitiation of prostitution. The social rehabilitiation of prostitution has already been achieved in the Netherlands, where they have recently erected a statue in honor of prostitutes.

It's always amazing to see just how quickly the mind of a nation that casts off God degenerates.


Onward, Christian soldiers!
Marching as to war
With the Cross (the Cross!) of Jesus
Going on before


This is my Father’s world. O let me ne’er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet.
This is my Father’s world: the battle is not done:
Jesus Who died shall be satisfied,
And earth and Heav’n be one.


Jesus shall reign where’er the sun
Does his successive journeys run;
His kingdom stretch from shore to shore,
Till moons shall wax and wane no more.

Behold the islands with their kings,
And Europe her best tribute brings;
From north to south the princes meet,
To pay their homage at His feet.

There Persia, glorious to behold,
There India shines in eastern gold;
And barb’rous nations at His word
Submit, and bow, and own their Lord.

To Him shall endless prayer be made,
And praises throng to crown His head;
His Name like sweet perfume shall rise
With every morning sacrifice.

People and realms of every tongue
Dwell on His love with sweetest song;
And infant voices shall proclaim
Their early blessings on His Name.

Blessings abound wherever He reigns;
The prisoner leaps to lose his chains;
The weary find eternal rest,
And all the sons of want are blessed.

Where He displays His healing power,
Death and the curse are known no more:
In Him the tribes of Adam boast
More blessings than their father lost.

Let every creature rise and bring
Peculiar honors to our King;
Angels descend with songs again,
And earth repeat the loud amen!

Great God, whose universal sway
The known and unknown worlds obey,
Now give the kingdom to Thy Son,
Extend His power, exalt His throne.

The scepter well becomes His hands;
All Heav’n submits to His commands;
His justice shall avenge the poor,
And pride and rage prevail no more.

With power He vindicates the just,
And treads th’oppressor in the dust:
His worship and His fear shall last
Till hours, and years, and time be past.

The saints shall flourish in His days,
Dressed in the robes of joy and praise;
Peace, like a river, from His throne
Shall flow to nations yet unknown.

Count on it!

And that's the way the Ball bounces.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Christ's life offered on a silver platter

Disbelief in God is a moral problem, rooted in rebellion, and not primarily an intellectual problem.

God has structured the universe so we can see that He exists, and yet, at the same time, arranged His redemptive order so that we cannot see Him as He is, or turn to Him, unaided.

We need His help, and this, of course, addresses the root cause of our problem: the rebellious and prideful desire for man to be sufficient in himself.

Christ came as the exact opposite to us, in utter and astonishing submission and dependence upon God.

Likewise unlike us, since we are takers and He is a giver, He offers us the benefits of His perfect, redemptive life on a silver platter.

Rejection of this offer is the ultimate sin.

It bars us from heaven and consigns us to hell.

As Jesus said,

"He who believes and is baptized shall be saved; he who believes not shall be damned".

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The CBC shows its bias, in real-time

I was stuck in traffic on the 401 today, and had the CBC radio on.

I got to witness first-hand the increasing slant of a current CBC news topic.

The story is about some Canadians complaining that they were denied US dollar accounts by the Royal Bank because they hold dual-citizenship with countries on a US list of banned countries (such as Iran, Cuba, etc.).

The first pass of the story was reasonably straightforward; the main thing I noticed was that it was the kind of story the CBC would choose to promote -- what one might call a "level-one" bias, i.e., the articles you choose to run with, or not.

By the time the story hit the 6pm CBC radio and TV news, both the bias and the rhetoric had been bumped up; the slant of the story had been noticeably increased to imply that the US was interferring in sovereign Canadian affairs. Call it "level-two" bias.

By the time the 10 o'clock news came around, CBC news was in full gear, and CBC news gave what I considered to be not only a terribly slanted story, but a dishonest one. Call it "level-three".

The reason I say this is because Peter Mansbridge's opening sentence was something along the lines of "Canadian citizens are being denied US dollar bank accounts because of where they happen to have been born" -- the kind of statement designed to create an emotional reaction. As the story progresses, one complainant explains that, although Canadian, because he was born in Iran, he also happens to incidentally have an Iranian passport.

What the report should have made crystal clear, and emphasized, was that he was an Iranian citizen, as much an Iranian citizen, in fact, as he is a Canadian citiizen. And the US has decided to apply this law equally to all Iranians, not just some.

Those on the left are howling that this is an infringement of rights. As CBC radio put it, "at the Royal Bank, all Canadian citizens are equal, but some are more equal than others."

But wait a minute. The argument cuts both ways. Possession of foreign passports give dual-citizenship Canadians additional rights and privileges that "ordinary" single-state Canadians don't have -- rights to visit a country, move to the country (immigrate is probably not the right word when you are already a citizen), rights to work in the country. Is this OK with those on the left? For some Canadians to have special privileges, but not all?

Apparently so.

The other point, and an obvious one, is that if holding an Iranian passport causes a Canadian problems, he or she can presumably renounce citizenship in the other country, at which point they could expect to be treated like all other Canadians.

Problem is, too many Canadian citizens today want to "have their cake and eat it too" -- in this case, all the pluses associated with dual-citizenship, and none of the negatives.

And the CBC is more than happy to oblige -- especially when it involves a chance to smear the US and stir up anti-US sentiment.

After all, what could be more Canadian than the right to have a US-dollar bank account?

And that's the way the Ball bounces.

Sen. Barack Obama

US Senator Barack Obama announced his plans today regarding pursuit of the US Presidency.

He claimed that US politics is "all gummed up" by money.

To address this problem, he's forming an Exploratory Committee, which allows him to raise... money.

That should take care of the problem.

And that's the way the Ball bounces.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

More on the coming Ice Age

I've been having a very interesting, very civil blog conversation about climate change with an intelligent person named Alexandre.

Alexandre is convinced the earth is warming up. I think it more likely that we are on the verge of a shift back towards global cooling.

I posted something on this last week.

Here's more.

The man I referred to in the previous post, "Enjoy it while you can", is none other than Dr. Nigel Weiss, Professor Emeritus at the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics at the University of Cambridge, and past President of the Royal Astronomical Society -- eminent qualifications, no?

According to Dr. Weiss, the so-called settled science of global warming is anything but, except for one virtual certainty: the world is about to enter a cooling period.

Here's an extract from the relevant National Post article by Lawrence Solomon in the January 12th, 2007 National Post:

* * *

Dr. Weiss believes that man-made greenhouse gases have recently had a role in warming the earth, although the extent cannot yet be known.

What is known, however, is that throughout earth's history climate change has been driven by factors other than man: "Variable behaviour of the sun is an obvious explanation," says Dr. Weiss, "and there is increasing evidence that Earth's climate responds to changing patterns of solar magnetic activity."

The sun's most obvious magnetic features are sunspots, formed as magnetic fields rip through the sun's surface.

Typically, sunspots flare up and settle down in cycles of about 11 years. In the last 50 years, we haven't been living in typical times: "If you look back into the sun's past, you find that we live in a period of abnormally high solar activity," Dr. Weiss states.

These hyperactive periods do not last long, "perhaps 50 to 100 years, then you get a crash," says Dr. Weiss. 'It's a boom-bust system, and I would expect a crash soon."

In addition to the 11-year cycle, sunspots almost entirely "crash," or die out, every 200 years or so as solar activity diminishes. When the crash occurs, the Earth can cool dramatically. Dr. Weiss knows because these phenomenon, known as "Grand minima," have recurred over the past 10,000 years, if not longer.

"The deeper the crash, the longer it will last," Dr. Weiss explains. In the 17th century, sunspots almost completely disappeared for 70 years. That was the coldest interval of the Little Ice Age, when New York Harbour froze, allowing walkers to journey from Manhattan to Staten Island, and when Viking colonies abandoned Greenland, a once verdant land that became tundra. Also in the Little Ice Age, Finland lost one-third of its population, Iceland half.

In contrast, when the sun is very active, such as the period we're now in, the Earth can warm dramatically. This was the case during the Medieval Warm Period, when the Vikings first colonized Greenland and when Britain was wine-growing country.

* * *

So, the sun warms the earth, and when it is less active, the earth cools.

And there is nothing we can do about it.

Russian scientists are in agreement. An article on their views may be found at

Now, why do I tend to believe those who are predicting global cooling rather than global warming?

Because it looks and sounds like actual dispassionate science to me. The global warming advocates are exactly that -- advocates -- who now get buckets and buckets of money from governments. Their funding is proportionate to the alarm of their reports. There is a shrillness to the global warming advocates, and there is the usual undercurrent of western capitalist consumptive guilt about it all -- "if you don't believe us, you are bad, selfish capitalists; if you don't do as we say, catastrophe awaits".

Meanwhile, the cows and cattle are contentedly chewing away, happily contributing to more greenhouse gases than all human activity combined.

And tomorrow the sun will rise as it always has, and set as it always does, until the Lord Jesus Christ comes.

Now that's something to look forward to!

And that's the way the Ball bounces.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Enjoy it while you can

Apparently global warming is not here to stay.

In a National Post article today an eminent scientist states that, yes, the Earth is warming, and, yes, an unquantified amount of this is due to human activity.

But wait.

There's more.

He says that the Earth has been warming and cooling for centuries.

And it's based on sunspots and sun cycles, not greenhouse gases.

He says we are about to enter a cooling period, possibly in the next 5 years (although it could be longer), that will last for a considerable period.

So, enjoy the warm weather while you can.

And stock up on hats and mittens.

And, maybe, invest in winter ski-lift operations while they're in a melt-down.

And that's the way the Ball bounces.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Quote of the Day from Larry King

"I never learned anything when I was talking." -- Larry King.

It pays to listen, and to ask the right questions.

The same applies to our relationship with God.

God speaks to us.

Do we listen?

Do we hear his voice?

And, when we talk to God, do we ask Him the right questions, and confess the right things about Him, e.g., that He is

-- All-powerful
-- Good and Kind; never unjust, disinterested, never guilty of sins of commission or omission
-- Wise beyond our comprehension

What a great, faithful, wise God we serve!

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Apocalypto and Moral Relativism

Apocalypto, the new Mel Gibson offering, is apparently full of violence including savage murder and cannibalism.

How do we respond to this?

Here's one view from one reviewer, Craig Childs, author of the forthcoming House of Rain.

"To the religious core of pre-Columbian Mayans, a beating heart ripped from someone’s chest was a thing of supreme sacredness and not prosaic violence."

Supreme Sacredness. O-K. That changes everything.

"If Apocalypto has a fault, it is not with its brutality, but with us in the audience who cringe....

Right, moral relativism to the rescue. The fault is not with the culture that rips beating hearts out a man's or woman's chest, it is with us for recoiling at this action.

"The fault lies in our misunderstanding of a complicated history, thinking we can lump a whole civilization into a single response and walk out of the movie saying, “That was disgusting.’’

The fault, as usual, lies with us.

Seems in our morally relative culture, it always does.

And that's the way the Ball bounces.

Friday, January 05, 2007

This in from the BBC...

The lead sentence says, "UK scientists planning to mix human and animal cells to find disease cures fear authorities will ban their work".

Mix cells. Hmmmm. That might not be so bad.

But read on.

These aren't just cells. These are human embryos they plan to mix with animal embryos.

"The creation of hybrid human-animal embryos was first suggested as a way of addressing the shortage of human eggs available for research."

Pardon me while I throw up.

OK, I'm back.

Notice the bias of the lead sentence.

There is no qualifier expressed about cures to disease being found, such as "to try to find cures", or "in hopes of finding cures -- it's taken as a given that "cures" will be found, if only scientists are allowed to mix animal and human embryos.

Fear... authorities... will ban....

The authorities are cast as the bad guys; the scientists as the picked-on and oppressed. In this day and age both the word "authorities" and the word "ban" are considered negative -- because no-one should have authority over what we do, and nothing should be off-limits.

It never ceases to amaze me how quckly and utterly a society that tosses off its belief in God loses its moral compass and casts off moral restraint.

I am so glad that I am a Christian. Saved by a God who loved me beyond imagination. Born again, regenerated, soaked in the Holy Spirit.

And I am so glad that I am not an atheist. Shudder.

What a difference the light of Christ makes.

It seems that only Christians care about the unborn.

May the love of God be increasingly poured out upon us by the Holy Spirit. "Shed abroad in our hearts" as the KJV puts it!

Monday, January 01, 2007

The Passion of the Christ

I picked this up today at Small Dead Animals:

"Only passions, great passions, can elevate the soul to great things."

Denis Diderot
French author & philosopher (1713 - 1784)

In systematic theology, we are taught that God is without form, without passions, etc.

I know that God is a Spirit, but I'm not sure that that precludes Him from having a form, or, at least, assuming a form as He wills. We know He is seated on a throne in heaven, and elders cast crowns before Him; that suggests He occupies a particular space. And, we know that Jesus is eternally incarnate as the son of man; he didn't shed his humanity when he ascended to heaven, he took it with him, so He could take us with him to be seated with him there. And we know that Jesus, the Son of God, possesses a spiritual body that can be touched and handled. So, I really think the "without form" bit is perhaps overdone.

Same with the idea that God is without passions.

I believe that the original idea was to convey that God is not pulled to and fro by emotions; He's not an emotionally-unstable being who some days wakes up in a bad mood and acts accordingly.

But to say He is without passions, or has no emotions, is another matter.

I don't buy it.

I believe His love for the world is passionate. and He passionately resolved to do something about man's sin.

We have emotions, and we are said to be made in the image of God. Can God be something less than his creation?

Jesus was God in the flesh, and He was passionate. He whipped the money-changers. He mourned over Jerusalem. He wept at Lazarus' death. He rejoiced in Spirit that God hid the kingdom from the wise and prudent, and revealed it unto babes (and He does the very same today!). The death of Christ is referred to in the book of Acts as his passion.

The apostle Paul was passionate, and he was God's man. He wished himself accursed from God that his people Israel might be saved.

But what passions drive us? What are we passionate about? I used to be passionate about my business; would spend endless hours perfecting my training materials. I viewed this as a way of "loving God" -- doing my very best in business.

Maybe your passion is knitting or sports or politics.

But what about being passionate about the things of God, the kingdom of God, God's honour? Or having a passion for those whom the Bible declares are lost and perishing.

We cannot just manufacture a passion towards God.

But we can ask God to give make us passionate, and to share his passions.

Not a bad way to start the new year.

And that's the way the Ball bounces.

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